Fukushima, worse radiation than ever


This video from Japan says about itself:

Fukushima Unit 2 Scorpion Probe Dies But Sends Back Some Data

Feb 16 2017

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Japan: Fukushima’s high radiation wrecks robot

Saturday 18th February 2017

Nuclear disaster site’s clean-up hits big trouble

ROBOT probes sent into a wrecked Fukushima nuclear reactor suggest that the clean-up process faces worse than anticipated problems, the plant operator admitted yesterday.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said that the remote-controlled “scorpion” robot had been sent into the Unit 2 reactor’s containment vessel on Thursday to investigate the area around the core that melted six years ago.

However, its crawling function failed while climbing over highly radioactive debris.

The robot, carrying a dosimeter, thermometer and two small cameras, transmitted some data and visuals but failed to locate melted fuel, which is key to determining how to remove debris from the reactor.

The robot was abandoned inside the vessel at a point where it won’t block a future probe.

Preliminary examinations in recent weeks have detected structural damage to planned robot routes and higher-than-expected radiation inside the Unit 2 containment chamber, suggesting the need to revise robot designs and probes. Similar probes are planned for the two other melted reactors.

A tiny waterproof robot that can go underwater will be sent into Unit 1 in the coming weeks, but experts haven’t yet worked out a way to access the badly damaged Unit 3.

The operator needs to know the melted fuel’s exact location and condition and other structural damage in each of the three wrecked reactors to assess the best and safest ways to remove the fuel.

Despite the incomplete probe missions, Tepco is sticking to its schedule to determine methods for melted fuel removal this summer before starting work in 2021, said spokesman Yuichi Okamura.

The company is struggling with the plant’s decommissioning, which is expected to last decades, following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to the meltdown.

Tens of thousands of residents are still unable to return to their home because of high radiation.

Earlier this month, another robot, designed to clean debris for the main scorpion probe, had to return midway through because two cameras became inoperable after two hours when its total radiation exposure reached a maximum tolerance of 1,000 sievert. This level would kill a human within seconds.

Local servicemen may have radiation poisoning from Fukushima — San Diego City Beat, USA: here.

The Fukushima nuclear meltdown continues unabated — Helen Caldicott: here.

Asteroid namer after Dutch little boy with cancer


This 22 December 2016 music video is by Dutch singer Miss Montreal (pseudonym of Roos-Anne Hans).

She wrote this song ‘Tijn, deze is voor jou’ for and about a six-year-old boy called Tijn.

Tijn has terminal cancer and will probably die soon.

His last wish is to raise money for the Red Cross to help children suffering from pneumonia.

Doctors can’t cure Tijn’s cancer, but they can save pneumonia children’s lives for only four euros a child.

Tijn with red fingernails, ANP photo

This photo shows Tijn with red fingernails. He asked participants in the fundraising to also apply nail varnish to their fingers as a symbol.

Tijn expected to raise maybe 100 euros, saving 25 children.

However, today the amount has surpassed a million euros.

So, Tijn by now has saved 250,000 children’s lives.

Tijn’s parents are grateful to Miss Montreal for the song, which will remind them of their son after he will die.

From an astronomical newsletter, abound a recently named asteroid:

(6327) Tijn = 1991 GP1 Discovered 1991 Apr. 9 by E. F. Helin at Palomar. Named for Tijn Kolsteren from the Netherlands, who, at age 6 and diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor, raised over 2 million euros for the International Red Cross, as part of the Dutch charity radio program Serious Request 2016.

In recent years, rates of colorectal cancer cases and deaths in the United States rose among young and middle-aged adults, an American Cancer Society study of colorectal cancer trends between 2000 and 2014 finds: here.

Fukushima radiation worse than ever


This video from Japan says about itself:

The Radioactive Forest of Fukushima

27 January 2017

FULL Documentary 2017. The Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011 turned the surrounding towns into a desolate land, making the area into a “radioactive forest”. Without human presence, the land is roamed by wildlife like civets, macaques and wild boars. A project is underway to study the deserted areas by attaching a camera to wild boars to record the conditions of the former farmlands. 5 years after the disaster, we take a close look at how radiation has affected the wildlife, and what it entails for us humans.

From Kyodo news agency in Japan:

Highest radiation reading since 3/11 detected at Fukushima No. 1 reactor

The radiation level in the containment vessel of reactor 2 at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant has reached a maximum of 530 sieverts per hour, the highest since the triple core meltdown in March 2011, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. said.

Tepco said on Thursday that the blazing radiation reading was taken near the entrance to the space just below the pressure vessel, which contains the reactor core.

The high figure indicates that some of the melted fuel that escaped the pressure vessel is nearby.

At 530 sieverts, a person could die from even brief exposure, highlighting the difficulties ahead as the government and Tepco grope their way toward dismantling all three reactors crippled by the March 2011 disaster.

Tepco also announced that, based on its analysis of images taken by a remote-controlled camera, that there is a 2-meter hole in the metal grating under the pressure vessel in the reactor’s primary containment vessel. It also thinks part of the grating is warped.

The hole could have been caused when the fuel escaped the pressure vessel after the mega-quake and massive tsunami triggered a station blackout that crippled the plant’s ability to cool the reactors.

The searing radiation level, described by some experts as “unimaginable,” far exceeds the previous high of 73 sieverts per hour at the reactor.

Tepco said it calculated the figure by analyzing the electronic noise in the camera images caused by the radiation. This estimation method has a margin of error of plus or minus 30 percent, it said.

An official of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences said medical professionals have never considered dealing with this level of radiation in their work.

According to the institute, 4 sieverts of radiation exposure would kill 1 in 2 people.

Experts say 1,000 millisieverts, or 1 sievert, could lead to infertility, loss of hair and cataracts, while exposure to doses above that increases the risk of cancer.

According to Tepco, readings of surface radiation on parts used inside a normally operating pressure vessel can reach several thousands sieverts per hour.

The discovery spells difficulty of removing the fuel debris to decommission at the plant. The government and Tepco hope to locate the fuel and start removing it in 2021.

In the coming weeks, the utility plans to deploy a remote-controlled robot to check conditions inside the containment vessel, but the utility is likely to have to change its plan.

For one thing, it will have to reconsider the route the robot takes into the interior because of the hole in the grating.

Also, given the extraordinary level of radiation, the robot would only be able to operate for less than two hours before it is destroyed.

That is because it is designed to withstand exposure of up to 1,000 sieverts. Based on the calculation of 73 sieverts per hour, the robot could run for more than 10 hours, but 530 sieverts per hour means it would be rendered inoperable in less than two hours.

Tepco has been probing reactor 2’s containment vessel since last week.

On Monday, it found a black mass deposited on the grating directly under the pressure vessel. The images, captured using a camera attached to a telescopic arm the same day, showed part of the grating was missing. Further analysis found the 2-meter hole in an area beyond the missing section on the structure.

If the deposits are confirmed to be melted fuel, it would be the first time the utility has found any of it at the three reactors that suffered core meltdowns.

The world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 triggered core meltdowns in reactors 1 through 3. Portions of the core in each reactor are believed to have melted through their pressure vessels and pooled at the bottom of their containment vessels.

The actual condition of the melted fuel remains unknown because the radiation is too high to check it.

Meanwhile, a nuclear research organization unveiled on Friday a robot that will be tasked with surveying reactor 1 at the complex.

Tepco plans to send the robot into reactor 1 in March, while its survey plan for reactor 2 remains unclear because of the high radiation levels.

The stick-like robot is 70 cm long and equipped with a camera, according to the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning.

During a robotic survey in April 2015, the operator found no major obstacles in the path planned in reactor 1 but found water accumulating in the basement.

In the upcoming survey, it hopes to examine the water by deploying a camera and a radiation sensor.

The man blocking the world’s largest nuclear plant says he grew opposed to atomic energy the same way some people fall in love. Previously an advocate for nuclear power in Japan, Ryuichi Yoneyama campaigned against the restart of the facility as part of his successful gubernatorial race last year in Niigata. He attributes his political U-turn to the “unresolved” 2011 Fukushima Dai-Ichi disaster and the lack of preparedness at the larger facility in his own prefecture, both owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.: here.

According to TEPCO, 8 Fukushima workers have developed leukemia; 5 workers have developed malignant lymphoma; and 2 workers have multiple myeloma: here.