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Asia Times Online: What happend at Fukushima? - 0 views

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    It is one of the mysteries of Japan's ongoing nuclear crisis: How much damage did the March 11 earthquake do to the Fukushima Daiichi reactors before the tsunami hit? The stakes are high: If the quake structurally compromised the plant and the safety of its nuclear fuel, then every other similar reactor in Japan will have to be reviewed and possibly shut down. With virtually all of Japan's 54 reactors either offline (35) or scheduled for shutdown by next




    April, the issue of structural safety looms over the decision to restart every one in the months and years after.

    The operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has been damaged by the crisis. On Tuesday it reported a 572 billion yen (US$7.4 billion) loss on clean-up charges and compensating people affected by the explosions at the Fukushima nuclear plant. TEPCO's share price is down about 80% since the day before the disaster struck.
Energy Net

Caesium fallout from Fukushima rivals Chernobyl - environment - 29 March 2011 - New Sci... - 0 views

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    "Radioactive caesium and iodine has been deposited in northern Japan far from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, at levels that were considered highly contaminated after Chernobyl.

    The readings were taken by the Japanese science ministry, MEXT, and reveal high levels of caesium-137 and iodine-131 outside the 30-kilometre evacuation zone, mostly to the north-north-west.

    Iodine-131, with a half-life of eight days, should disappear in a matter of weeks. The bigger worry concerns caesium-137, which has a half-life of 30 years and could pose a health threat for far longer. Just how serious that will be depends on where it lands, and whether remediation measures are possible.

    The US Department of Energy has been surveying the area with an airborne gamma radiation detector. It reports that most of the "elevated readings" are within 40 kilometres of the plant, but that "an area of greater radiation extending north-west… may be of interest to public safety officials"."
Energy Net

Japan's nuclear disaster and industry-government collusion: the price of compromised sa... - 0 views

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    "As Japan struggles to regain control of its Fukushima Daiichi power plant, there's lots of talk about which technical safeguards the plant lacked and which should be required in future nuclear facilities. But a new report points to another kind of safeguard that failed: public institutions.

    Nuclear power plants are designed for what the industry calls defense in depth: the inclusion of backup safeguards in case the primary safeguards fail. No single layer of protection should be trusted entirely.

    The same is true of people. No power plant operator should be trusted to maintain the safety of its reactors. We need multiple layers of scrutiny-inspectors, regulators, independent nuclear experts-to double- and triple-check the operator's work."
Energy Net

JapanFocus: Fukushima Residents Seek Answers Amid Mixed Signals From Media, TEPCO and G... - 0 views

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    "Mistrust of the media has surged among the people of Fukushima Prefecture. In part this is due to reports filed by mainstream journalists who are unwilling to visit the area near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. But above all it is the result of contradictory reportsreleased by the media, TEPCO and the government.

    On the one hand, many local officials and residents in Fukushima insist that the situation is safe and that the media, in fanning unwarranted fears, are damaging the economy of the region.By contrast, many freelance journalists in Tokyo report that the central government is downplaying the fact that radiation leakage has been massive and that the threat to public health has been woefully underestimated. While the government long hewed to its original definition of a 20 kilometer exclusion zone, following the April 12 announcement that the Fukushima radiation severity level has been raised from a level 5 event (as with Three Mile Island) to a level 7 event (as with Chernobyl), the government also extended the radiation exclusion zone from 20 kilometers to at least five communities in the 30-50 kilometer range."
Energy Net

Japan Officially Orders Censorship Of Truth About Fukushima Nuclear Radiation Disaster ... - 0 views

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    "he government of Japan has issued an official order to telecommunications companies and web masters to censor reports which contradict the state media reports that the Fukushima nuclear radiation disaster is over.

    Japan Government Officially Censors Truth About Fukushima Nuclear Radiation Disaster

    Japan Government Officially Censors Truth About Fukushima Nuclear Radiation Disaster

    The supposedly free democratic nation of Japan, which supposedly values and promotes freedom of speech, has officially issued orders to telecommunication companies and webmasters to remove content from websites that counter the official government position that the disaster is over and there is no more threat from the radiation."
Energy Net

Radiation level of 1,120 millisieverts per hour detected in damaged reactor building - ... - 0 views

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    "A high radiation level of 1,120 millisieverts per hour was detected within the damaged No. 1 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant when robots photographed the area on April 26, it has been learned.

    The level is the highest detected in the reactor building to date. The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), plans to fill the nuclear reactor containment vessel with water to contain radiation emissions, and is trying to cool down the reactor, but the high levels of radiation in the building are hampering work and are likely to cause difficulties for the company in achieving its goal of bringing the crisis at the plant under control within "six to nine months.""
Energy Net

Japan's nuclear disaster offers state lessons - 0 views

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    After Fukushima, what?

    Japan's disastrous earthquake and tsunami that crippled its coastal nuclear reactors have reopened old questions for California: How big could the next inevitable earthquake be, and how safe are the state's nuclear power plants that now produce more than 15 percent of our electricity?

    Federal and state experts are reviewing every aspect of what went wrong at Fukushima's reactors, where fuel rods overheated, cooling efforts proved inadequate, radiation escaped and evacuation signals were, at best, mixed.
Energy Net

Deutsche Welle: How to shut down a nuclear power plant - 0 views

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    German activists show how to shut down a nuke plant video, followed by news report over social democrats opposition in meetings. 
Energy Net

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Radiation (Infographic) : TreeHugger - 0 views

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    ou've probably already seen XKCD's radiation chart, which we shared here on TH last week. That chart did a nice job of putting the dangers of radiation in perspective, and probably helped soothe some worried souls -- at least it got people tweeting about the amount of radiation eating a banana exposes you to. Well, in case you didn't get your fill of information about how radiation impacts the human body, this infographic, designed by the folks at Geary explores that angle in greater detail:
Energy Net

AFP: WHO eyes 20 year nuclear health watch in Japan - 0 views

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    The World Health Organisation is seeking studies for up to 20 years to keep watch over public health in Japan following the Fukushima nuclear emergency, a senior official said on Wednesday.
    WHO environmental health chief Maria Neira played down a current risk to public health outside the 30-kilometre exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant, based on tests and monitoring by Japanese authorities.
    "There is no need for new public health measures," Neira told journalists.
    She nonetheless underlined that the UN health agency could not let its guard drop while the radiation emergency at the plant was underway, as the WHO maintained permanent monitoring with the Japanese and global detection networks.
Energy Net

Japan should change energy policy following nuclear power plant crisis - The Mainichi D... - 0 views

  • The government has no choice but to seriously consider whether quake-prone Japan can coexist with nuclear power stations, take prompt countermeasures and drastically change its nuclear energy policy.
  • It is not permissible to conclude that the crisis at the Fukushima plant was caused by an unexpected massive tsunami.
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    Events that have occurred since the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake have reminded us of the reality Japan faces -- another powerful earthquake could occur anytime and anywhere, and we have no way to predict it.

    Fifty-four nuclear reactors are situated in coastal areas of Japan. Many experts have repeatedly pointed out how difficult it is to ensure the safety of nuclear power plants in this earthquake-prone country.

    Some scientists had predicted that radiation could leak from a nuclear power plant if it was damaged by a powerful quake and ensuing tsunami. One of them, Kobe University professor emeritus Katsuhiko Ishibashi, called such a potential accident an "earthquake-triggered nuclear power plant disaster."

    However, electric power suppliers as well as the government had dismissed such warnings as a "minority opinion." The consequences of this attitude are the serious crisis at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).
Energy Net

Accumulated radiation tops 17,000 microsieverts in Fukushima's Namie | Kyodo News - 0 views

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    The accumulated radiation level in Namie, 30 kilometers from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, in the three weeks through Friday stood at 17,010 microsieverts, according to a tally released by the science ministry Saturday.

    The accumulated levels during the period starting March 23 stood at 9,850 microsieverts in Iitate and 495 microsieverts in Minamisoma, both near the plant, it said. The readings compare with the level of 1,000 microsieverts that ordinary people in Japan can expect to be exposed to over one year.

    The amount of radioactive cesium stood between 12.7 and 71.0 becquerels per liter of surface seawater near the plant on Monday and Wednesday and 10.1 becquerels at deeper levels on Monday, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said.
Energy Net

Bangkok Post : Russia stops 50 radioactive cars from Japan - 0 views

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    Customs officials in far eastern Russia said Thursday they had stopped almost 50 secondhand cars shipped for sale from Japan that showed excessive radiation levels.


    A sign with the nuclear hazard symbol stands in front of cars from Japan in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok on April 14. Customs officials in far eastern Russia said they had stopped almost 50 secondhand cars shipped for sale from Japan that showed excessive radiation levels.

    Customs officials stopped 49 cars with radiation levels up to six times above normal, while some vehicles had traces of the radioactive isotopes caesium-127 and uranium-238, said Roman Famin, who heads the regional customs' radiation monitoring department.

    The radioactive cars started arriving at the Vladivostok port 10 days ago, but the government consumer watchdog has not made a decision on what to do with the contaminated cars, Famin said at a briefing.
Energy Net

Burial of Japan reactors trickier than Chernobyl: pump firm | Reuters - 0 views

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    Encasing reactors at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant in concrete would present much more of a challenge than Chernobyl, according to an executive of the firm whose pumps are helping cooling efforts there.

    "In Chernobyl, where a single reactor was encased, 11 trucks were in action for a number of months. In Fukushima we're talking about four reactors," Gerald Karch, chief executive of the technical business of unlisted machinery maker Putzmeister, said in an interview with Reuters.

    He said that while no decision had been made in Japan, concrete encasing would be the most sensible solution once the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant has cooled down.

    "In my opinion, when a closed-circuit cooling system has been developed and successfully set up, there will be no other option but to encase the reactors in concrete," he said.
Energy Net

AFP: Nuclear workers face radiation limit, but fight on - 0 views

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    The thinning ranks of men struggling to tame Japan's nuclear emergency are invoking the spirit of the samurai as they ignore personal radiation limits in their battle to avert disaster.
    Some are so determined to push on with a task they see as vital to saving Japan they are leaving their dosimetres at home so bosses do not know the true level of their exposure to radiation at the crippled plant.
    As Japan declared the Fukushima Daiichi disaster a level seven emergency -- the worst on an international scale -- engineer Hiroyuki Kohno was heading back into the leaking plant, fully aware that one day it could make him very ill.
    "My boss phoned me three days ago. He told me: 'The situation over there is much worse than what the media are reporting. It is beyond our imagination. But, will you still come?'," he told AFP.
    "It was just that. We didn't need to say anything more because we both knew that the situation is really dreadful," the soft-spoken Kohno said, leaving lengthy pauses between his sentences.
    The two did not discuss financial reward or compensation for the possible long-term health risks, which could include cancer.
Energy Net

2011/04/15 02:49 - S Korea, China, Taiwan Banning Food Imports From Japan - 0 views

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    -With no end in sight to the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japan's neighbors are increasingly stepping up efforts to curb food imports, both fresh and processed, from parts of Japan.

    South Korea has temporarily banned vegetables from Fukushima and four other prefectures. In addition, the Seoul government on Thursday announced a new measure that calls for government-issued documents for all food products -- mostly processed foods -- from Tokyo, Miyagi and six other prefectures certifying safe levels of radioactive iodine and cesium.

    The new requirement takes effect May 1. South Korea is also requesting that products from 34 other prefectures be accompanied by documents identifying their origin. As the Japanese have yet to decide whether to accede to the request, importation of such familiar Japanese products as sake rice wine, snacks and cooking sauces, is expected, in effect, to come to a halt starting next week.

    Another neighbor, Taiwan, has also prohibited food imports from five prefectures, including Fukushima. In addition, all fresh produce and some processed foods from Japan must be tested for radioactivity when they arrive.
Energy Net

Half of evacuees have no means to support themselves - The Mainichi Daily News - 0 views

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    About half of those who are staying at evacuation shelters after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami have been left with no means to support themselves, a Mainichi survey has revealed.

    Around two-thirds of respondents said they have no place to stay if they leave makeshift shelters while it is difficult for nearly 60 percent of them to rebuild and repair their damaged homes.

    The survey was conducted between April 5 and 9 on a total of 100 individuals sheltering at evacuation centers in Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and other prefectures. Those polled had lost their homes in last month's Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami or left their hometowns in the wake of radiation leaks from the disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

    The respondents included 40 evacuees in Iwate Prefecture, 30 in Miyagi Prefecture, 20 in Fukushima Prefecture and 10 others who have evacuated from areas near the damaged nuclear facility to refugee shelters outside the prefecture.
Energy Net

Heavy price for nuclear crisis : Business : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri) - 0 views

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    Given the increasingly serious circumstances involving Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the firm cannot be allowed to get away with ambiguous statements.

    Appearing Wednesday at a press conference at TEPCO's head office, the first he had held in about a month, company President Masataka Shimizu did not go into detail about future actions concerning the nuclear plant.

    All he said was: "I want to indicate [when the accident can be contained] as soon as possible."

    On the subject of compensation for people affected by the crisis, Shimizu said: "We'll act based on the law concerning compensation for nuclear disasters. We're considering provisional payments for urgently needed money."

    Under the law, the government will shoulder up to 240 billion yen for the Fukushima accident. If the total amount exceeds that figure, TEPCO is in principle responsible for the remainder. The total amount of compensation may reach trillions of yen, however, making it doubtful TEPCO will be able to shoulder such a burden.

    Therefore, the government and TEPCO have begun discussing a plan to establish a fund for compensation payments, to which other electric power companies will also contribute money.
Energy Net

Nuclear crisis (now fully accessible) | Kyodo News - 0 views

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    This is the Kyodo News Wire for the Fukushima disaster...

    Many stories posted daily.  
Energy Net

Japan may raise nuke accident severity level to highest 7 from 5 | Kyodo News - 0 views

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    The Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan released a preliminary calculation Monday saying that the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had been releasing up to 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials per hour at some point after a massive quake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan on March 11.

    The disclosure prompted the government to consider raising the accident's severity level to 7, the worst on an international scale, from the current 5, government sources said. The level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale has only been applied to the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.

    The current provisional evaluation of 5 is at the same level as the Three Mile Island accident in the United States in 1979.

    According to an evaluation by the INES, level 7 accidents correspond with a release into the external environment radioactive materials equal to more than tens of thousands terabecquerels of radioactive iodine 131. One terabecquerel equals 1 trillion becquerels.

    Haruki Madarame, chairman of the commission, which is a government panel, said it has estimated that the release of 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials per hour continued for several hours.
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