Fukushima radioactive leak again


This video says about itself:

Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant leaks radioactive water; 20 February 2014

New Highly Radioactive Leak At Japan’s Fukushima Plant

Around 100 tonnes of highly radioactive water have leaked from a storage tank.

By Will Morrow:

Japan: New radioactive water leak at Fukushima

24 February 2014

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) revealed last Thursday that one of the 1,000 makeshift tanks used to hold radioactive water at its Fukushima nuclear plant had leaked more than 100 tonnes of highly contaminated water over the previous day. The leakage—the largest since August 2013—occurs two weeks after revelations that TEPCO deliberately suppressed, for six months, its own findings of extremely high radiation levels in groundwater near the sea.

TEPCO spokesman Masayuki Ono said the company was sorry for “worrying the public with such a leak,” and claimed it was “unlikely” that the radioactive water had reached the ocean, which is just 700 metres away. The water had a radioactivity of 230 million becquerels per litre, 23 million times greater than the legal limit for drinking water.

The company has immediately sought to present the leakage—which occurred because the tank overfilled—as a result of human error. The company claims that valves controlling the flow of water along a pipe that fills the tank were mistakenly left open by an employee. However, TEPCO has admitted that one of the three valves was closed and is investigating why this did not prevent the tank from filling.

The leakage is a direct result of the short-term measures put in place by the company to address previous problems. The radioactive water breached a concrete perimeter around the tank by passing along a rainwater gutter. The gutters were installed in November to prevent rainwater from building up inside the barrier. Heavy rains the previous month flooded the storage area and allowed radioactive water to breach the concrete walls. Ono admitted that “this incident revealed [the gutter’s] weak point. We have to redesign it.”

The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami resulted in a failure of power supplies at the Fukushima plant, a partial meltdown, several hydrogen explosions and damage to the spent fuel rod pool at a fourth reactor. The failure of the reactors’ cooling systems meant that water had to be continuously injected into the cores, producing huge quantities of highly radioactive water. The company is now storing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of contaminated water in more than 1,000 tanks at the plant and the quantity continues to grow.

At every stage, TEPCO has sought to cut costs, creating further dangers. Yoshitatsu Uechi, an auto mechanic at the plant from December 2011 to June 2012, told the Asahi Shimbun in January that duct tape was commonly used to seal holes in storage tanks, and that wire nets rather than reinforcing steel bars were used in the storage tank foundations. Waterproof sheets were placed along the joints of the metal tanks to save on sealing agent. Uechi told the Japanese newspaper: “I couldn’t believe that such slipshod work was being done, even if it was part of stopgap measures.”

No faith can be placed in any of the claims of TEPCO or the government’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) about the extent of water leakage or the amount of radioactive waste that has reached the environment. TEPCO has a long and documented history of cover-ups and falsifying safety reports, with the collusion of the government’s nuclear supervisory organisations.

On February 7, TEPCO released its own findings on radioactivity levels in groundwater in the area around the plant—only 25 meters from the sea. The samples were taken in July and analysed by September 2013. Groundwater passes through the plant due to the natural weather cycle, becoming contaminated in the process. Between 300-400 tonnes of radioactive groundwater passes every day into the ocean.

TEPCO revealed that the groundwater at one of its monitoring wells contained five million becquerels per litre of Strontium-90, which is highly poisonous as it can replace calcium, accumulate in the food chain and build up in the bones of humans. This is more than five times the 900,000 becquerels per litre that the company reported at the time for all isotopes emitting beta radiation, including Strontium-90.

The company has given no explanation for the delay in releasing the data. NRA official Shinji Kinjo told Reuters on February 13: “We did not hear about this figure when they detected it last September. We have been repeatedly pushing TEPCO to release strontium data since November. It should not take them this long to release this information.”

The NRA was set up as a merger of two previous organisations, in a bid to dispel mass opposition to the Fukushima disaster and the collusion of regulatory bodies with giant energy companies such as TEPCO. Despite its history of deception and cost cutting, TEPCO has been left in charge of the massive task of dismantling the Fukushima reactors and cleaning up the site.

The latest storage tank leak is the largest since last August, when it was revealed that approximately 300 tonnes of radioactive water had leaked from a tank. Leaks are occurring regularly, however, and it is unclear how much of the water has already reached the ocean. Also on February 7, TEPCO announced that video footage taken by a robot used to clear debris from the damaged number three reactor showed highly radioactive water—containing large amounts of cesium and cobalt—leaking to the reactor’s drainage ditch.

The Japanese government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, like its predecessors, is completely beholden to the interests of the big energy corporations. Last month, the government approved—in the face of popular opposition to nuclear power in Japan—TEPCO’s plan to restart its biggest nuclear station, Kashiwazaki Kariwa, this summer.

The government has vested interests in suppressing evidence of the catastrophe caused by the Fukushima disaster. Abe is determined to ensure that Japan maintains its capacity to produce nuclear energy and, if ordered by the government, nuclear weapons. At the same time, Abe has downplayed the threat to the population posed by nuclear leaks at Fukushima as part of his bid for the 2020 Olympic Games.

BBC News – North American scientists track incoming Fukushima plume: here.

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Fukushima disaster update


This video, recorded in Japan, says about itself:

5 March 2013

Dateline visits one of the most contaminated places on earth – the ghost towns around Fukushima – to see the effect of the nuclear meltdown two years on.

The Environment Ministry has classified 2.9 tons of sludge from Kanagawa Prefecture as radioactive waste derived from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the first such designation for the prefecture on the southern border of Tokyo: here.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. decommissioned the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors at its meltdown-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture on Friday: here.

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Fukushima disaster news


This video from Japan says about itself:

Radioactive Water: Fukushima Daiichi’s Hidden Crises

NHK World News Documentary: Fukushima Daiichi Crisis

In-depth look at the struggles of the brave men trying to stop the huge amounts of highly radioactive water flowing into the Pacific ocean. They think the melted core is still in unit-1.

As one of the engineers says we don’t know how we can stop the flow of contaminated water.

This documentary explores the men working in unit-1 reactor, exposing themselves to high doses of deadly radiation. When ask about units 2 & 3 they say we have no idea what’s going on in them because the radiation levels our so high they can’t go in them.

Speculation is the cores in units-2 & 3 have burned through the containment vessels and burned its way deep into the earth. If this theory is right there’s no chance to recover the molten corium.

Tepco waited five months before releasing Fukushima data about radioactive strontium-90: here.

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Fukushima disaster news


This video is called Nuclear Snow! USS Ronald Reagan Sailors Sue TEPCO Over Fukushima Radiation Sickness.

Fukushima: 20,000 tons of radioactive liquid in the drain system: here.

Tepco corrects last summer’s water pollution data to record high — JIJI Press News: here.

See also here.

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Fukushima disaster and fish


This video is called Radioactive Fish, Pacific Ocean, Fukushima Leaking MORE Radiation update 7/11/13.

By Dr. David Suzuki, EcoWatch:

Filling in the gaps on Fukushima radiation and its effects on fish

January 29, 2014

An Internet search turns up an astounding number of pages about radiation from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown that followed an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. But it’s difficult to find credible information.

One reason is that government monitoring of radiation and its effects on fish stocks appears to be limited. According to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, “No U.S. government or international agency is monitoring the spread of low levels of radiation from Fukushima along the West Coast of North America and around the Hawaiian Islands.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s most recent food testing, which includes seafood, appears to be from June 2012. Its website states, “FDA has no evidence that radionuclides from the Fukushima incident are present in the U.S. food supply at levels that would pose a public health concern. This is true for both FDA-regulated food products imported from Japan and U.S. domestic food products, including seafood caught off the coast of the United States.”

The non-profit Canadian Highly Migratory Species Foundation has been monitoring Pacific troll-caught albacore tuna off the B.C. coast. Its 2013 sampling found “no residues detected at the lowest detection limits achievable.” The B.C. Centre for Disease Control website assures us we have little cause for concern about radiation from Japan in our food and environment. Websites for Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency yield scant information.

But the disaster isn’t over. Despite the Japanese government’s claim that everything is under control, concerns have been raised about the delicate process of removing more than 1,500 nuclear fuel rod sets, each containing 60 to 80 fuel rods with a total of about 400 tonnes of uranium, from Reactor 4 to a safer location, which is expected to take a year. Some, including me, have speculated another major earthquake could spark a new disaster. And Reactors 1, 2 and 3 still have tonnes of molten radioactive fuel that must be cooled with a constant flow of water.

A radioactive plume is expected to reach the West Coast sometime this year, but experts say it will be diluted by currents off Japan’s east coast and, according to the Live Science website, “the majority of the cesium-137 will remain in the North Pacific gyre—a region of ocean that circulates slowly clockwise and has trapped debris in its center to form the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’—and continue to be diluted for approximately a decade following the initial Fukushima release in 2011.”

With the lack of data from government, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is asking the public for help. In January, Ken Buesseler, senior scientist and director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity at the U.S.-based non-profit, launched a fundraising campaign and citizen science website to collect and analyze seawater along North America’s West Coast.

“Whether you agree with predictions that levels of radiation along the Pacific Coast of North America will be too low to be of human health concern or to impact fisheries and marine life, we can all agree that radiation should be monitored, and we are asking for your help to make that happen,” Buesseler said in a news release.

Participants can help fund and propose new sites for seawater sampling, and collect seawater to ship to the lab for analysis. The David Suzuki Foundation is the point group for two sampling sites, on Haida Gwaii and at Bamfield on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Data will be published at How Radioactive Is Our Ocean?, and will include an evolving map showing cesium concentrations with links to information about radioactivity in the ocean and what the levels mean.

The oceans contain naturally occurring radioactive isotopes and radiation from 1960s nuclear testing. Buesseler doesn’t think levels in the ocean or seafood will become dangerously high because of the Fukushima disaster, but he stresses the importance of monitoring.

The Fukushima disaster was a wake-up call for the potential dangers of nuclear power plants, especially in unstable areas. North Americans may have little cause for concern for now, but without good scientific information to determine whether or not it is affecting our food and environment we can’t know for sure. The Woods Hole initiative is a good start.

50 reasons we should fear the worst from Fukushima — Harvey Wasserman via EcoWatch: here.

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Are California’s kelp forests radioactive?


This video about California in the USA is called JEAN-MICHEL COUSTEAU: OCEAN ADVENTURES | Kelp Forest | PBS.

From the Los Angeles Times in the USA:

Study to test California’s kelp forests for radioactive contamination

By Louis Sahagun

January 16, 2014, 8:38 a.m.

The canopies of kelp undulating in the surges off the coast of California camouflage a complex ecosystem of sharks, rock fish, crabs, urchins and anemones that blossom like colorful flowers on the forest floor.

Now, Steven L. Manley, a biology professor at Cal State Long Beach, and Kai Vetter, head of applied nuclear physics at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have launched a campaign to monitor those groves for radioactive contaminants due to arrive later this year in ocean currents from Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant.

“Several features make kelp perfect for a study of this kind,” Manley, a leader of the “Kelp Watch 2014” campaign, said in an interview. “They include kelp’s ability to absorb chemical elements and inorganic ions in seawater and concentrate them in its tissues.”

Of particular interest are two long-lived radioisotopes of cesium released by the power plant after it was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

“Marine chemists following the damaged plant’s plume across the Pacific Ocean expect very low levels of radioactivity to reach California’s shores,” Manley said. “During the trip, some of these isotopes will be taken up by phytoplankton and enter the oceanic ecosystem.”

“Although kelp is a fairly hardy life form,” Manley added, “it would be interesting to know the contaminants’ effects on creatures that feed on kelp such as fish, which are eaten by sea lions, and urchins, which are eaten by sea otters.”

The initiative will rely on volunteers from 20 academic and government institutions to collect samples of Giant Kelp and Bull Kelp from 33 sites in California, including Long Beach, Malibu and Palos Verdes; two sites in Baja California and one in Washington state.

The sampling is to begin in mid-February and end in late winter.

“We’ll be collecting three 15-pound samples of kelp at each site over the course of the year — and that’s a lot of kelp!” Manley said. “Each sample will be dried, pulverized to powder and then sent to Vetter at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s Low Background Facility for detailed radionuclide analysis.”

“We have two main objectives,” Vetter said, “to learn more about the distribution and transport of these materials in our world, and to make the results and explanations available to the public.”

Those interested in taking part in the project can contact Manley at Steven.Manley@csulb.edu and should put “Kelp Watch 2014” in the subject line.

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Fukushima nuclear disaster news update


This video says about itself:

Gone Fission: Fish caught near Fukushima may swim in food chain

25 dec 2013

Japan’s seafood industry says it’s blighted by contaminated catches – nearly three years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster polluted surrounding land and waterways. They can’t convince customers their fish is safe – even though the authorities insist they’re doing their level best to show they’ve got a grip on the problem.

Fish with very high levels of cesium found near FukushimaThe Asahi Shimbun: here.

Tepco withheld Fukushima radioactive water measurements for 6 months; Radiation levels near Fukushima plant boundary 8 times the government standard — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

A Japanese engineer who helped build reactor 4 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant said such plants are inherently unstable, urging Taiwan to ditch atomic energy for renewable resources: here.

Defying Japan, rancher saves Fukushima’s radioactive cowsThe New York Times: here.

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