You are here

ROLLING UPDATE No.2 on Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster by Japan resident

Tony Boys's picture

Firstly, will you please refer to the original article and the first ROLLING UPDATE if you have not already read them.

There are also three videos now on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QefyXQs3cbE - the first video (English)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-yxEmjUqT4 - a re-edit of the first video (English)

And http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqIYk6QR8LA - a JAPANESE video

I have decided to start a new ROLLING UPDATE because the first one was becoming long and it was becoming hard to find specific information there. Here, as far as possible, I want to concentrate on two things:

1) The actual current situation at the Fukushima No.1 site. I will try to add an update each day.

2) The way in which TEPCO and the Japanese government (and related ministries and commissions) now appear to be playing down the disaster in order to assure that there will be no problem in continuing nuclear power in Japan in the future.

I would like to ask all friends and supporters of this 'campaign' to end nuclear power in Japan (and everywhere else) to PLEASE post any relevant information in the 'comments' section below. Important information will be re-entered into the body of the relevant section of this ROLLING UPDATE.

~~~

For the sake of convenience I will put updates on 1) LOWER down the page. 2) will be nearer the top. At some point down the page there will be a clear separating line so that you will be able to navigate to what you want to see.

The 'campaign' - Say 'No to nukes!' with it's campaign aim are unchanged and can be seen at the top of the first ROLLING UPDATE. I will not repeat this information here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please see the latest Nuke Info Tokyo (pdf file) from CNIC for information on the nuclear disaster and more...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you wish to send letters to the Japanese government with your concerns about nuclear power, here are the addresses and so on:

Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, Prime Minister Naoto Kan,
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8914, Japan.
Tel: +81-3-5253-2111

Japanese: http://www.cao.go.jp/minister/index.html

English: http://www.cao.go.jp/en/about.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TEPCO and the Japanese government (etc.) playing down the seriousness of the nuclear disaster

Updated April 4

Suddenly I knew what the problem was...

All this talk about the earthquake and the tsunami being "unforeseen circumstances" and "beyond the scope of assumptions" ("so-teigai" in Japanese) is of course nonsense, since all of this has been talked about in parliamentary committees and so on, and of course has been mentioned frequently by nuclear power opponents. Since nuclear power stations (currently 17 of them, including Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station, with two more planned) are dotted around the coastline of Japan, and since we now appear to be in a period of heightened seismological activity both around Japan and worldwide, a serious earthquake+tsunami could still happen at anytime, anywhere. There has been talk of the Jogan earthquake of 869 AD, and also, as mentioned in my original article, that a large tsunami hit the coastline close to where I live 'about 400' years ago. However, my wife, Chisato, told me that there had been a VERY large tsunami after the Sanriku earthquake during the Meiji era.

Looking around the Internet a little, I found a Japanese Wikipedia page on the Meiji Sanriku Earthquake of 15 June 1896. (This page also gives a useful table of large earthquakes in Japan since 1850.) The interesting thing about this earthquake in 1896, which occurred in roughly the same area as the one on March 11, is that it set a record for tsunami height of 38.2 m!! That's perhaps about twice as large as the largest tsunami to hit the Sanriku (Tohoku) coastline on March 11. Chisato says, "Anyone who says that the recent earthquake and tsunami were 'beyond the scope of assumptions' simply does not know their history!"

Suddenly I realized what the problem was. It was not that the earthquake+tsunami had been "beyond the scope of assumptions" BUT THE NUCLEAR DISASTER ITSELF. That's the reason why this disaster is being handled in the inept way that it is. It seems clear that there has been no prior attempt to put in place a crisis management system for just this kind of eventuality. It just wan't foreseen as something that could ever possibly happen here! With this level of crisis management, it ought to be quite clear (apart from the seismological environment) that this is not a country that should be building nuclear power plants, don't you think?

~~~

Seems that some people agree with me....

"The disaster plan didn't function," said a former TEPCO official, quote by the Journal. "It didn't envision something this big."

PLEASE SEE:

Japan nuclear plant's disaster plan inadequate: report

~~~

Tokyo Newspaper April 5

"Tsunami Assumption was Optimistic"

"What we have said in the past, that the multiple protection systems are OK, that was a lie. I think the accident was a man-made disaster."

The Tokyo newspaper published an interesting article on p.3 today (April 5) under the headline "Tsunami Assumption was Optimistic"

This article was in the form of an interview with Hon. Prof. Irikura Kojiro of Kyoto University. A specialist in 'strong tremor seismology,' he has been involved in earthquake safety evaluation guidelines for nuclear power stations, being the chairperson on the Special Committee that produced the new Japanese earthquake safety evaluation in 2007 (the Special Committee on Nuclear Safety and Earthquake Preparedness Design).

Q. What do you think about the recent nuclear accident?

As a researcher in seismology, I feel very apologetic. It is a fact that the tsunami evaluation was incorrect. The fact that an earthquake exceeding our assumtions occured is no excuse for this.

Q. What was the problem?

There are four nuclear power stations in the (March 11) earthquake zone. The reactors all shut down and basically withstood the tremors. However, the tsunami arrived after that. Onagawa and Fukushima No.1 nuclear power stations withstood the tsunami, but the multiple protection system at Fukushima No.1 had weak points.

Q. Tsunamis are not mentioned in the guideline as 'assiciated events' and the guideline is ambiguous.

The guidelines say, "It cannot be denied that an earthquake larger that foreseen could occur. Efforts must be made to minimize risks." Active faults and so on were re-evaluated, but there was insufficient consideration given to tsunamis."

Q. So the assumptions concerning tsunamis were optimistic?

Even if talk of tsunamis was on the table, mention of a tsunami of 5.7 m did not occur. We should have taken advantage of the experience of the Sumatra earthquake and tsunami (December 2004, M9.1) in Japan. We should have designed for the historically largest earthquakes, including those overseas.

Q. So should the Jogan earthquake (869 AD) have also been included in the assumptions?

There was agreement on considering the Jogan earthquake. However, I think there was a difference of opinion between specialists on 'earthquakes of the Jogan class occurring in series.'

Q. So earthquakes occuring in a coupled series was an unforeseen circumstance?

Facilities must be designed so that they are safe even if an event exceeding the assumptions occurs. We must absolutely never say that the power of science cannot cope. That should be the 'design philosophy' of nuclear power stations.

What we have said in the past, that the multiple protection systems are OK, that was a lie. I think the accident was a man-made disaster.

Q. What are the lessons to be learned from this accident?

That we must design nuclear power stations in full knowledge of the fearful power of nature. We must not blame it on nature. Events that exceed human knowledge can occur in nature.

One is left with the feeling 'so what were those weak points at Fukushima No.1?' In the end I think it has to come back to TEPCO mismanagement and incompetence, but that seems to be the one factor that characterizes the whole system...

~~~

Bloomberg, March 18

Japan Nuclear Disaster Caps Decades of Faked Reports, Accidents


The cascade of events at Fukushima had been foretold in a report published in the U.S. two decades ago. The 1990 report by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, an independent agency responsible for safety at the country’s power plants, identified earthquake-induced diesel generator failure and power outage leading to failure of cooling systems as one of the “most likely causes” of nuclear accidents from an external event.

~~~

French reports of a possible full meltdown, but what do these radiation readings mean......?

Despite French reports of a possible full meltdown of the reactor core in reactor 3 of the Fukushima No.1 Power Station, there has been no such report inside Japan, where the media and the government continues to say that there has possibly been a partial meltdown. (More below in the update on the current situation at the site.)

Where I am in northern Ibaraki (Hitachi Omiya City), I cannot say there has been NO information on radiation. There is a website that shows current radiation level (air radiation dosage), wind speed and wind direction for about 40 locations which seem to centre on the nuclear power station at Tokai Village. The readings are updated every ten minutes and a graph of the past 24 hrs is easily displayed. There is a monitoring station about one km from my house (but I do not know where) and at the moment (10:30, April 2) it is showing about 150 nGy/h (it is explained on the page that this is the same as nSv/h, is that OK?) and slowly falling. PDF files showing records back to March 15 are also available. Looking at the records for March 15, it is possible to see that as records start just after midnight on March 15 the value is around 40 nGy/h. At 0530 that morning the value shoots up to 2241 nGy/h, recedes to 1391 nGy/h at 0630 and then rises to 2668 nGy/h at 0700. Thereafter the value declines gradually all the way down to the present at 150 nGy/h. This is still roughly 4 times the 'normal' level (it was 38 nGy/h at 0130). I have no idea what all of this means. I cannot correlate anything I have read in the newspaper with the radioactivity spikes at 0530 and 0700 on March 15 and are probably due to wind direction. Does anyone have any opinion or information about that?

I wonder how many people in my area are seeing this information? 1%? Maybe.

About radiation units... (Thanks, Mr Newman)

Please see this DOE website http://lowdose.energy.gov/ppt/Powerpoint_Dose.ppt for a PowerPoint presentation on radiation units.

The Gray (Gy) is a measure of the radiation energy dissipated in the tissues of a body in joules/kg. A Sievert (Sv) is a Gray
multiplied by a factor that is proportional to its relative impact on the body. For gamma radiation the factor is 1, for alpha radiation it is 20. 150 nSv/h is therefore same as 150 nGy/h for gamma radiation so the Ibaraki website must be reporting gamma radiation. A 150 nSv/h average exposure for one year would be 1,281,600 nSv, 0.00128 Sv.

The DOE presentation indicates that the background radiation exposure for a typical American is 3.7 mSv/y. That's 3,700 nSv/y. However, on the same slide, it states that radiation induced cancers have been seen in the atomic bomb survivors exposed to as low as (i.e. no lower than) 0.2 Sv. That's 156 times that which might accumulate in Ibaraki in the very unlikely event that radiation levels would remain where they are are for a full year.

April 5

Here is another article on radiation terminology: Radiation terminology numbs, confuses, varies by need and country

~~~

IMPORTANT - You don't need to know radiation data....

Govt holding radiation data back / IAEA gets info, but public doesn't

~~~

Meanwhile, please see the latest statement from CNIC

~~~

"Tremors at three reactors exceeded foreseen values"

The front-page headline of the Tokyo Newspaper this morning (April 2) says "Tremors at three reactors exceeded foreseen values". On April 1, TEPCO released the (tentative) records of the seismographs at Fukushima No.1 and No.2 Power Stations at the time of the earthquake. The values at Fukushima No.1 Power Station exceeded the foreseen parameters for the design of reactors 2, 3 and 5. The article goes on to say that the earthquake may even have exceeded the completely revamped 2006 earthquake preparedness criteria, showing that safety measures at the power station may have been 'inadequate'.

That may be true, but one gets the feeling that TEPCO is trying to cover over its own safety management inadequacies by releasing these values. As we have seen in previous articles, it appears that the reactors did all shut down after the earthquake and that the problems at Fukushima No.1 Power Station were caused by 1) loss of external power (which should have been backed up by battery and diesel generator power) and then 2) the arrival of the tsunami about 40 minutes later. If so, why the front-page news about the seismological measurements? Is this leading on to reportage about other reactors around Japan, which will be reassuringly found to have an earthquake preparedness that exceeds the tremors of the March 11 earthquake?

~~~

An example of how nuclear insiders see things...

[Updated 3 April, 17:30]

I was shocked this morning to receive email and an official-looking (Japanese) PDF file from a person whose work is related to the nuclear industry. The page entitled 'What happened at Fukushima No.1 Power Station' gives a FAR TOO oversimplistic version of events at the power station (in six short lines and two lines explaining what happened when the tsunami hit!!) in which he states that the earthquake occurred at 1445 and the tsunami arrived at 1450. I have sent him email to ask for a more detailed description of events at the power plant, to think again about the time of arrival of the tsunami, and to answer the hundreds of newspaper reports that the disaster (he doesn't even use the word 'accident' but the usual nuclear-related Japanese euphemism for 'incident') was 'man-made'. I will post his reply here if I get one. BUT, that is not the end of the story. He also plays down the radiation risk, claiming that it has now decreased to negligible levels ("about twice the normal level" - which is not so since the normal level where I live is about 38 nGy/h and today is about 140 nGy/h) AND makes no mention of the thousands of people who have been evacuated from the area due to the disaster. I find this totally unforgivable and will be questioning him about these issues later. HOWEVER, I have a very nasty feeling that this is exactly the kind of whitewash that we in Japan and everyone in the rest of the world is going to be subjected to concerning this horrific disaster and exceedingly dangerous ongoing situation at the site.

(Updated from here in the evening of April 3)

I received a reply after 6pm on April 2. The message said that the pdf file had been updated and was attached. Several pages had been added to the pdf file, mostly technical details of radiation emissions, but the page stating that the tsunami had arrived at 1450 had not been amended. I immediately wrote back asking him again if this was a fact. I also mentioned that many newspaper and other media reports had said that the nuclear disaster had been 'man-made' and what he felt about that. I received a reply before 7pm thanking me for my inquiry, telling me that the tsunami had actually arrived at 1510 and to look at the attached materials. There was no attached file. The email also explained that during this approximately 25 minutes the people inside the reactor buildings could not have done anything because when the earthquake hit the lights had gone out inside the reactor buildings, but were soon restored only to go out again plunging the central control room once more into darkness. He also says that since he was previously a senior reactor engineer (i.e. the top technical manager in a nuclear power reactor) he understands what was going on inside the control room and how the operators were trying to handle the situation. He then says that yes, it definitely was a man-made disaster, but please imagine yourself as one of the operators.

I wrote back to him thanking him for the information about the time of the tsunami arrival, but noted that what I meant about the disaster being 'man-made' was not supposed to refer to what the operators in the control room were doing. I pointed out that TEPCO has a 30-year record of accidents and irregularities, and that it is being said that a private company could never operate anything as dangerous as a nuclear power station because they would be sure to cut corners which would lead to safety issues. I also pointed out (as in the original article) that all or nearly all the people working inside the reactor buildings had rushed out as soon as the earthquake hit. (My wife and I heard later from a source who claimed that *everyone* in the whole power station had done so. The news reports today that, sadly, the bodies of two young men have been found [inside a turbine building?]) I also asked him whether it was true that the people running the power station were sub-sub-contractors. (It appears that this is so. One source tells us that up to about 10 years ago there were still actually TEPCO company personnel working in the nuclear [and thermal] power stations, but after that TEPCO personnel were not present in the power stations, but were working in offices [e.g. the head office in Tokyo] doing desk work. This is backed up in a later email from the man I received the emails from, who says that since about 10 years ago he has done nothing but 'work in front of a computer screen.')

I received two further emails overnight. Neither were written to me personally and neither of them had attachments. The contents were mainly about how TEPCO has changed for the worse in the past 10 years and some encouragements to people in the industry not to get too despondent and so on. I don't want to give the contents here - you can probably imagine what the gist of these are anyway.

Looking back on the exchange I noticed that in the first email he had stated that the height of the tsunami was seven metres. This was interesting since TEPCO has been trying to claim that there were 'traces' of the tsunami at 14 meters (above sea level??) and newspaper reports had said 10 metres. I also mentioned in the original article that 75 km south of Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station the tsunami had been measured at 6.3 metres. I would be prepared to believe it was more than 7 metres, but this man seems to know what he's talking about.

After two attempts he finally relented on the timing of the arrival of the tsunami, but gave it as 1510. I mentioned this to my wife and daughter as we had dinner last night. My daughter said that the newspaper had said 40 minutes. That is about what I had estimated in the original article. That would mean the tsunami must have arrived between ABOUT 1525 and 1530. My wife reminded me that one newspaper eyewitness report mentioned a man who had been working outside when the earthquake hit, had immediately run up to higher ground and had seen the sea retreat several hundred metres. Five minutes was then obviously wrong, and even 25 minutes seems strange. Why, I wonder, would anyone want to lie about that?

I got no response to my questions about ALL personnel rushing out of the power station buildings as soon as the earthquake hit, nor to my question about TEPCO cutting corners. Instead, he appears to have thought that what I meant by a 'man-made disaster' referred to something that the operators in the control room(s) had or had not done. Pure speculation, but I think he's telling me that when the earthquake hit practically everyone had stopped what they were doing and made a mad rush for the exits. At least after the lights went out for the second time...

I also want to say that throughout the emails and attached materials there was no mention of any sympathy for the people who have been evacuated from the 30 km exclusion zone around the power station due to the disaster. At one point in a later message (not written to me personally) he does mention "acting with sincerity towards the people in the power station location" and "10 or 20 years will not be long enough to atone for what we have done this time." But I do not feel that this was either an apology or an attempt at sympathy. It is as if he assumes that nuclear power will continue in the area and that therefore it is necessary to show a certain attitude towards local people, but that does not include an apology or sympathy for the plight of the people who are currently living as displaced persons. I asked my wife, "Are they not ashamed of what they have done?" She told me that for the power companies, the people living in the local area are not people. They just happen to be there, but that does not make them 'people.' People are only people who think as 'we' do and who 'agree' with us and what we are doing. That fits. This may be an inappropriate analogy, but I remember reading that the Burmese army calls itself the 'tatmadaw'. This word tatmadaw is the Burmese word for 'people'. So when the army says it's doing something for the people or in the name of the people, then what it means is itself. The definition of 'people' is then whether you are part of the army or not. If not, then you are a kind of non-person. Kind of rings a bell...

~~~

Please read about how local residents actually feel....

Japan nuclear refugees feel 'betrayed'

"We can't do anything unless the problem with the nuclear reactor is resolved," she said. "I want the reactors to be dismantled as soon as possible."

"The government's instructions did not work. It would not surprise me if there was another crisis like this one at another reactor."

~~~

Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station was “an accident waiting to happen”

The whitewash (e.g of TEPCO's and other power companies' past 'problems and the dangerous nature of nuclear power) must be countered with other information that we have. There is mountains of information on the English pages of CNIC about past accidents and irregularities. I also have two documents in Japanese (one long and one short) which I will make available in Japanese and try to translate into English - the short one today and the longer one starting to day and in installments over the next ten days or so - however long it takes me to do it. I will start to put up this information soon. Here's the short one now....{Japanese pdf file}

Testimony from a former engineer: Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station was “an accident waiting to happen”

Mainichi Newspaper, Distributed April 1, 02:33

Mr. Yoichi Kikuchi (69) of Kushima City, Miyazaki Prefecture, who worked as an engineer for a General Electric- (GE) related company, carried out repair work on nuclear reactors and was involved in the construction of reactor 6 at Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station, which lost external power due to the tsunami following the East Japan Earthquake, leading to the accident in which radioactive material leakages occurred, has stated that, “From events that happened on the site at the time, this was an accident that was waiting to happen.” Mr. Kikuchi revealed his opinion that a part of the ductwork and so on at the nuclear power station was constructed under sloppy construction management. Mr. Kikuchi was responding to research by the Mainichi Newspaper.

In the 1970s, Mr. Kikuchi worked on construction and repair works at the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station and took charge of the construction schedule management at reactor 6. There were large numbers of mistakes in the construction diagrams sent from the USA, and in the case of one length of ductwork they were forced to make more than ten alterations. Discovering a 1.8 cm bulge inside one duct, Mr. Kikuchi told to a superior, “The flow of steam will be altered, making the duct more easily damaged.” However, this was after the Japanese state inspection, and since it would cause a delay in the schedule, the duct was left as it was and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) was not informed.

When Mr. Kikuchi received questions from Japanese nuclear power station manufacturers about earthquake resistance, he sent the question on to the head office of GE, but sometimes received no clear reply. Mr. Kikuchi recalls that, “In the first place, GE did not give adequate consideration to earthquakes in their design.”

About to return to his company after completion of reactor 6, he was given the job of carrying out repair work on a water supply duct leading to the pressure vessel in a different reactor. Mr. Kikuchi says, “It was either reactor 2 or 3.” The duct had cracks along the whole length of it. “Design faults were the cause. Humans make mistakes, but this occurred in a nuclear power station, where mistakes are not supposed to happen.” Mr. Kikuchi entered the pressure vessel during the repair work and his leukocyte reading went down temporarily. He felt that he was working under difficult conditions. “At the time, even if you pointed out the dangers of nuclear power stations in the company no one would listen. Even if you left the company and appealed to the Japanese state you could not get through,” said Mr. Kikuchi biting his lip.

With the Three Mile Island nuclear power station accident occurring in 1979, Mr. Kikuchi left the company in 1980. From around the time he turned 50 he began to be active in the anti-nuclear power movement.

Mr. Kikuchi said, “Nuclear power is being promoted by politicians, bureaucrats, power companies and so on, and the people of the country are out of the loop. But earthquakes and tsunamis happen everywhere. Now it’s time for each and every person to think about nuclear power stations.”

[Shunsuke Sekitani]

~~~

Are we living on a different planet?? This article in the Mail Online does not look like the press we're receiving in Japan!!

And this article in the Mail Online showing that tiny amounts of iodine-131 are already being found in milk in two states of the USA. Thanks to Dr. K in the USA for these links.

~~~

My friend in Kyushu says, Hi, Tony. This article came up and is a good read. Hirose Takashi (this is the correct spelling) pops up half way through

As core breach nearly confirmed in Japan, radiation panic grips Russian Far East. Note the photo. NO NUKES!

~~~

Here's an interesting contrast:

Whitewash?

Reality 101?

Reality 102?

Are we even in the same galaxy?

~~~

A friend in Tokyo sent me this message:

Tony,

1. Very simply, do you think the spent fuel rods are laying there with no water on them?
If so, does that not mean large amounts of radiation being emitted? Also, the chance of
a plutonium reaction? I don't know.

2. Is it true a concrete sarcophagus would contain the radiation safely? If so, how can they
continue to allow this situation to fester?

He later partially answered his questions with this. Quite interesting on the differences between the Chernobyl reactor and the ones at Fukushima No.1.

~~~

April 3

Shocked, dazed and confused!! Can you believe THIS!!??

TEPCO, *after* the nuclear disaster that occurred following the earthquake+tsunami on March 11, submitted to the Japanese government a power supply plan that calls for two new reactors (No.7 and No.8) to be added to the 6 that they HAD at the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station. What in the universe can they be thinking about (assuming that they are capable of thinking at all)? TEPCO explains that they are required to submit the plan by the end of March each year and that the plan was finalized before the earthquake and that they were not able to reflect the impact (of the earthquake) in the plan. (Ahem... excuse me. If they don't know how to use word processing software, how can they run nuclear power stations??) The construction of reactors No.7 and No.8 have been included in the plan since 2005. The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy says that they have not publicized the plan because it did not reflect the impact of the earthquake disaster. Fukushima Prefecture were informed that the plan included construction of the two new reactors at Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station on March 26. Here are some Japanese links, including an NHK TV news clip that shows a quite irate official of the Fukushima Prefectural government saying that this was "totally unacceptable" and that they are "very angry."

This is a Yomiuri Online article in Japanese.

This is the NHK news clip including a full Japanese script of the clip.

April 5 update:
The vice-president of TEPCO appeared on a Japanese commercial tv programme last night (April 4) and concerning the construction of reactors 7 and 8 at Fukushima Nuclear Power Station stated that "I think it is impossible." Nevertheless, TEPCO's intention to do so is still stated in the power supply plan that was submitted to the government on March 31 and by this time next year it still might be possible for them to include the construction of reactors 7 and 8 in the next power supply plan (and even the resuscitation of reactors 5 and 6) unless pressure is brought upon them to desist from doing so.

~~~

...and of course, in the end the taxpayer will pay for all the mistakes...

On Wednesday TEPCO said it had secured two trillion yen ($24 billion) in bank loans but warned this would not be enough to keep the company running given the financial strain caused by the crisis at the plant.

Japan may inject tax money into TEPCO: reports

~~~

Japan experiences 10% of world's earthquake energy

An article on p.14 of the 3 April edition of Akahata (Red Flag) says that 10% of the world's earthquake energy is dissipated in and around Japan, and Japan also has 10% of the world's nuclear power stations. It is now being questioned whether nuclear power stations and earthquakes are compatible..."

~~~

Here's the Sea Shepherd's take on the nuclear disaster.

~~~

Natalia Mironova says Fukushima may be worse than Chernobyl

My Swedish friend in Saitama says: A Russian engineer and critic of nuclear power was quoted in the main Swedish newspaper [careful, please; this is in SWEDISH], saying Fukushima may be worse than Chernobyl. With 4 reactors destroyed and a crisis going on for over 3 weeks, and no end in sight, Natalia Mironova says to Dagens Nyheter that while Chernobyl was "dirty," this will be more costly and may have a larger effect on the health and environment. Natalia Mironova wants the IAEA to change its scale that ranks the seriousness of nuclear power plant accidents. Chernobyl ranks 7 and Fukushima so far ranks 6 on that scale.

April 5

Here's an English version of that: Fukushima 'much bigger than Chernobyl': expert

"If we did not learn from Chernobyl, we need to use Fukushima to make a real turning point" and move away from nuclear energy, Mironova said.

~~~

Radiation Experts Determine 200,000 Cancers Likely from Fukushima

The conclusions are interesting.

~~~


=============================
=============================

Daily Updates

The actual current situation at the Fukushima No.1 site - daily updates

[Later updates will be at the top.]

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

April 7

Please see the IAEA Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log update.

~~~

Here's the Washington Post article about TEPCO's plan to build new reactors at Fukushima No.1

Amid nuclear crisis, Japan’s Tepco planned new reactors

~~~

NHK

TEPCO: Nitrogen injection going well

Fuel rods inside the No.1 reactor are nearly half exposed because coolant water levels remain low. It is thought that the overheated fuel rods have caused a buildup of the volatile mix of hydrogen and oxygen. It is hoped the chemically stable nitrogen will counteract this buildup.

French lab: radiation may harm marine resources

The research projected that the contaminated water could be spread throughout the Pacific Ocean in 3 months by the Japan Current. The French laboratory said some radioactive substances may be diluted by seawater, but others are highly likely to settle on the seabed. It added that cesium-134 can remain in the sea for several years and cesium-137 for about 30 years. The lab warned that fish and seaweed in Pacific coastal areas of Japan could be contaminated by the substances.

~~~

Talk now is of Overcoming the Nuclear Crisis

The government should pay close attention to proposals made by 16 Japanese experts on nuclear power engineering, nuclear physics and radiology on April 1. It should mobilize all available means to mitigate the crisis.

The 16 "as people who have pushed peaceful use of nuclear power" expressed their regret over the nuclear crisis and apologized to people. But they did not hide their fear that a critical situation may develop at Fukushima No. 1. They do not rule out the possibility that as time goes on, a molten core melts a weak part of a pressure vessel and enters a containment vessel, destroying the reactor's function to contain radioactive substances, or that hydrogen gas forming inside a pressure vessel explodes and destroys a containment vessel, causing serious radioactive contamination over a large expanse of land and sea. They warn that release of a large amount of radioactive substances could make uninhabitable not only the current evacuation zone but also larger areas.

~~~

Update concerning my original article of 27 March.

In the original article I stated

1) When a (serious) earthquake tremor is perceived, the control rods are supposed to be inserted into the reactor core. From the links above, this happens in about four seconds. It’s still not clear to me what actually happened at Fukushima No.1 reactors 1-3 (4 was down for maintenance so there were no fuel rods in the core). It seems that the control rods did not insert correctly, but it is not certain whether that was because of the strength of the earthquake or because of mismanagement, poor maintenance and so on. 2) In any case, if the control rods failed to enter the reactor core(s), the emergency core cooling system (ECCS) should have then kicked in to cool the reactors.

However, a knowledgeable friend in Tokyo tells me:


"You referred to the situation where control rods fail to insert and suggested that emergency core cooling system should kick in. As far as I understand ECCS would do not solve the problem in the case where fuel rods don't insert. Besides being a coolant, water is also a moderator slowing down neutrons. That facilitates fission reactions. They actually removed water from around the precipitation tank at the JCO plant in order to stop criticality. But in the case of a nuclear power plant the heat generation is so huge that you have to cool the fuel rods somehow. That creates a big contradiction. No water gives you meldown, but water gives you a runaway chain reaction. They have thought of this, but I don't know what the response is supposed to be when lots of fuel rods fail to insert at once."

Apparently none of the experts have questioned the notion that the reactors shut down, meaning that the control rods inserted correctly in all three of the reactors that were running on March 11. My 'information' that they had not therefore appears to have been incorrect.

However, it also seems that the ECCS did not operate, either at all, or perhaps for a moment and then failed.

There is evidence of temporary recriticality, but perhaps it is not because of problems with the control rods. If it happened or is happening it might be due to melting and/or warping of (spent) fuel causing it to reach a critical mass. Please take a look at the following page:

What Caused the High Cl-38 Radioactivity in the Fukushima Daiichi Reactor #1?

Frightening once you get past the maths and try to imagine what is going on, but also INCONCLUSIVE. So we STILL do not really know what is happening in the three reactors.

The article suggests that readers take a look at Japan faces more than a decade of nuclear clean-up, which states:

After the tsunami on 11 March knocked out backup generators — preventing cooling water from circulating around the hot cores of reactors 1–3 — the fuel rods inside began to warp, split and at least partially melt. Steam reacted with the rods' outer sheath of zirconium, creating hydrogen gas that caused a sequence of massive explosions (see Nature 471, 417–418; 2011).

But data from Japanese regulators and TEPCO suggest to some researchers that conditions inside the core could be far worse than a partial meltdown. Some believe that molten fuel may have flowed into the outer concrete containment vessel, whereas others suggest that nuclear chain reactions are still happening inside the fuel.

...the Japanese authorities should have no desire to shroud Fukushima's reactors in a protective concrete sarcophagus like the one built over the exploded Chernobyl reactor in 1986. The risk of another earthquake or tsunami damaging the structure and creating more problems would be too great. Instead, Fukushima's fuel will have to be removed in a process similar to Three Mile Island's recovery.

That effort took 14 years. Based on what he has seen so far, DeVine believes that one thing is certain: decommissioning Fukushima will probably take longer.

There is also a link to The Fukushima Physicists Forum, where you can see this:

The monitor told NHK that no one can enter the plant's No. 1 through 3 reactor buildings because radiation levels are so high that monitoring devices have been rendered useless. He said even levels outside the buildings exceed 100 millisieverts in some places.

Which kind of takes us back to where we were yesterday. Whatever is going on? It's serious and it isn't going away soon...

~~~

Tokyo Newspaper, p.1
Preliminary Calculation of Fuel Rod Damage
Reactor 1: 70%, Reactor 2: 30%, Reactor 3: 25%

However the article simply quotes TEPCO's calculation results. TEPCO has apparently not explained in detail how the damage occurred or whether 'inadvertant criticality' is occuring in any of the reactors (as it appears to be).

~~~

Akahata (Red Flag) p.1

Not listening to warnings; initial reaction slow

Japan Communist Party (JCP) member of parliament Hidekatsu Yoshii has apprently been asking questions in parliament concerning loss of power leading to a destruction of cooling capability and then to a reactor meltdown since 2005. "The greatest cause of the nuclear dusaster was that the state, the power companies, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) all believed in the 'nuclear power station safety myth, failed to disclose information publicly and placed company profites above all else, even the safety of the Japanese people." Nobuaki Terasaka, Director of NISA, who replied to a question from Mr. Yoshii in May last year by stating that in reality a reactor core meltdown would not occur due to loss of power, stated yesterday, "I am deeply reflecting upon the fact that our awareness at the time was optimistic." Former member of the Nuclear Safety Commission, Noriyuki Suzuki (currently Chairperson of the Directors of the Japan Atomuc Energy Agency (JAEA) also apologised by saying, "In reality, just such an accident has occurred. I am sorry." The article also goes on to mention that one further element in the nuclear disaster was that there was a rougyly 10-hour gap between the realization at around 10am on the morning of the 12 March that the situation was extremely grave (venting had begun at reactor 1) and the order to dump seawater on the reactors 1 and 2, which was given at 2005 the same day. It is unclear whether this would have made much difference anyway since opinions differ on the effectiveness of dumping seawater on the partially melted core. Nevertheless, the delay points to an inability at the top level of the Japanese government to act decisively at times of crisis.

~~~

Akahata (Red Flag) p.2 - small article

Demand for Operation of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa

In a press conference on 6 April, Masamitsu Sakurai, representative of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, stated that it was necessary for the three reactors out of the seven at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station (Niigata Prefecture, TEPCO) that are not currently in operation to be restarted immediately in order to meet the expected power shortage that is likely to occur in the summer due to power stations on Japan's northeast coast having been stopped due to the March 11 earthquake (not only the six at the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station). However, a Niigata Prefecture committee is currently looking into the possibility that the power station might run at full power following restoration after the 2007 Niigata earthquake, when several of the reactors experience trouble in shutting down. The statement by Mr. Sakurai was criticised as having ignored the efforts taking place in the local region. See here especially for details of the problems at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station in 2007 and look for more articles at http://www.cnic.jp/english/topics/safety/index.html

~~~

Tokyo Newspaper, p.18-19

A long article explains the inadequacies of earthquake and tsunami resistance and preparation at Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station (Shizuoka Prefecture, Chubu Power Company) and the likelihood that a Tokai (coastal region south and west of Tokyo) earthquake may be imminent. Chubu recognize this to a certain extent and have begun to build a more substantial concrete tsunami prevention wall on the seaward side of the power station. Local people, however, are not particularly impressed and are calling for all reactors to be shut down, at least on a temporary basis. The article also mentions that Chubu Power Company has the capacity to meet its peak power requirements without the use of Hamaoka Power Station and that therefore the power station is unnecessary.

~~~

Tokyo Newspaper, p.20

An article on p.20 mentions that a) tsunami in the Tokai region in 1498 reached a height of 15 m and killed 50,000 people at a time when Japan's population totalled only about 12 million, and that b) this is far larger than current assumptions concerning possible tsunami disasters. A second article on p.20 mentions that after the Showa Sanriku earthquake in 1933, Miyagi Prefecture issued regulations including fines or imprisonment clauses prohibiting construction (of homes and so on) in coastal areas likely to be affected by tsunamis. The regulations appear to have been rescinded in the 1950s, when the national Building Standards Law was introduced. Over three thousand people lost their lives in the 1933 earthquake and tsunami. An article I missed in the yesterday's (April 6) Akahata (p.14) describes a book published in 1995 by former public school teacher Mr Yugi Iinuma on the history of the dangers of living in the flat coastal area of Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. A picture in the article shows the former teacher, now 80, holding the book at an evacuation center in Miyagino Ward, Sendai City. Mr Iinuma's house was destroyed in the tsunami, but he managed to escape in the time between the earthquake and the arrival of the tsunami. It would seem that people forget about the dangers of tsunamis over time. It's sad to see how a large part of the destruction, and the nuclear disaster, could have been avoided if the collective memory had remained intact.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

April 6 update

Please see the IAEA Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log update.

~~~

This NYT article By JAMES GLANZ and WILLIAM J. BROAD (Published: April 5, 2011) contains some information I haven't seen elsewhere:

U.S. Sees Array of New Threats at Japan’s Nuclear Plant

The document also suggests that fragments or particles of nuclear fuel from spent fuel pools above the reactors were blown “up to one mile from the units,” and that pieces of highly radioactive material fell between two units and had to be “bulldozed over,” presumably to protect workers at the site. The ejection of nuclear material, which may have occurred during one of the earlier hydrogen explosions, may indicate more extensive damage to the extremely radioactive pools than previously disclosed.

~~~

Akahata (Red Flag), p.1

Serious Pollution Requires Quick Countermeasures

Mr. Kunikazu Noguchi, lecturer at Nihon University, says he is surprised at the high concentrations of Iodine-131 that have been detected. In the water from under the turbine room and seawater Barium-140, which does not easily vaporize, has been detected. This indicates that fuel rods have disintegrated and that the water is flowing directly through nuclear fuel and that there is a strong possibility that Strontium-90 is also getting into the water. Strontium-90 accumulates in the bones (since it is very similar to Calcium) and emits beta radiation, and therefore may lead to bone cancers over a long period of time. This is much more dangerous than Caesium, which has a relatively shorter halflife and is excreted from the body. (In the Japan Times, Masayoshi Yamamoto, a professor of radiology at Kanazawa University says, "The half-life of Caesium-137 is 30 years, while that for Caesium-134 is two years. The longer half-life means it will probably concentrate in the upper food chain.") If Strontium-90 (halflife 28.9 years) gets into the bones of small fish that are eaten whole, then that may be a problem as it is likely to be taken up in the bones of the person consuming the fish.

Please see this Japan Times article: Seawater radiation shoots far past limit

~~~

Akahata (Red Flag), p.15

A Fukushima Farmer Commits Suidide Leaving the Crops in the Field

We don't want any more people to die

A 64-year-old male farmer committed suicide in Sukagawa City, Fukushima Prefecture (about 60 km inland from Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station), on 24 March after learning the day before that his crop of cabbages could not be shipped due to suspected radioactivity. He leaves behing a wife (61), a daughter (41) and a son (35). The farmer had been practising organic farming since his 30s. He often used to say, "Vegetables and rice are eaten by people and so I do not want to use herbicides and pesticides. Why should I produce food that even the insects won't eat?" His son returned to the farm five years ago to take up farming. Like others in the area, tiles fell off the roof of his house and plaster fell off the walls of his farmyard and barn. When he heard the news about the nuclear disaster, he said, "This is the end for farmers. Fukushima produce will be no good." His wife said later, "He was killed by the nuclear power station." His daughter said, "We don't want any more people to die."

The same page carries another article about how fishermen are extremely angry about the radioactive pollution of the sea.

~~~

NHK

Edano: Gov't will closely monitor seawater

Radioactive water leak at Fukushima plant stops

This is really quite serious:

Plant radiation monitor says levels immeasurable

Fukushima Radiation Literally Off The Charts

~~~

Tokyo Newspaper, p.3

Flaws in Judgement to Promote Nuclear Power

On April 5, Japan's Nuclear Power Commission met for the first time, in regular session, since the earthquake disaster. They are due to produce a new Nuclear Power Policy Outline by the end of this year to supercede the previous Outline published in 2005. However, due to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima No.1 Power Station, the Commission has decided to suspend the formulation of the new Outline. At a press conference following the meeting, chairperson Shunsuke Kondo stated that he was aware that the securing of safety, the premise of a nuclear power policy, had collapsed due to the accident and that it had to be admitted that there had been flaws in the decision criteria for the policy of promotion of nuclear power. Since there is some doubt about whether the 14 nuclear reactors now being constructed or in the planning stage will be allowed to go ahead, it is clearly impossible for the Commission to draw up its Outline.

~~~

Despite the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station disaster now being reckoned to be 'worse than Chernobyl,' this does not appear to translate into the end of the use of nuclear power on the planet.

Energy Daily

No 'business as usual' on nuclear after Fukushima: IAEA

The world cannot take a "business as usual" approach to nuclear power in the wake of the disaster in Japan, UN atomic watchdog chief Yukiya Amano said Monday.

But Amano insisted that the basic drivers behind the interest in nuclear power -- which included rising global energy demand, concerns about climate change, volatile fossil fuel prices and energy security -- "have not changed as a result of Fukushima."

He said he was "confident that valuable lessons will be learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident which will result in substantial improvements in nuclear operating safety, regulation and the overall safety culture."

AND...

Nuclear Power Investment Must Not Be Delayed

This article is about the report
A Low Carbon Nuclear Future: Economic Assessment of Nuclear Materials and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management in the UK, which can be downloaded from this link.

Professor Sir David King, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment said: "Currently the UK has a window of opportunity to deal with its nuclear material and spent fuel management and to maximise the value of its existing assets. The renaissance in new nuclear build creates an advantageous way of using these legacy materials as fuel for new nuclear power plants. Despite the terrible events in Japan, the economic, safety and carbon case for a new build programme in the UK has never been stronger.

Dr Neil Bentley, Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Deputy Director-General, said:

"The terrible events in Japan are a horrific reminder of why safety has to be the number one concern when it comes to nuclear energy.

"At the same time, nuclear has to remain a solution to fulfilling our objectives to secure a future low carbon, affordable energy mix for the UK. The UK's nuclear legacy must be addressed in a safe, cost-effective manner and this report is an important step towards new nuclear being an even more secure low-carbon source of energy, in a world of rising uranium prices."

Clearly, hubris level rises in proportion to the cube of distance from the nuclear disaster at Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station. It would be nice to see Sir David and Dr Bentley do a little tour of Fukushima (and surrounding prefectures) for a close inspection the four damaged reactors and meet a few thousand of the people who have been displaced and/or have had their livelihoods destroyed.

~~~


Japan plant operator offers 'consolation' payments

...But in an illustration of public anger against Tokyo Electric Power, the utility at the centre of the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years, one of the municipalities refused the 20 million yen ($237,300) offer.

A spokeswoman for Namie town said it had rejected TEPCO's offer "so that we can leave room for speaking strongly against the company."

She added: "The town has a population of over 20,000, so the amount to be received by each resident would be less than 1,000 yen. Such money would not help affected people to make a living".

TEPCO shares dived to a record low Tuesday amid concerns it will face huge compensation bills. Some analysts estimate TEPCO could face claims of more than 10 trillion yen ($118 billion).

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

April 5 update

The Japanese media this morning is full of the news that over 10,000 tons of radioactive water is being dumped (from about 7 pm April 4) into the sea off Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station. This water is reckoned to have a concentration of radioactivity of from 100 to 1000 times the normal legal maximum.

Later in the day...

Ocean Death Zone: 7.5 million times legal limit of iodine in sea - how far will it go?

As usual, the IAEA Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log update is fairly detailed. The update mentions that, "In Unit 2 the indicated temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV has decreased from 153 °C to 140 °C. The temperature at the bottom of RPV was not reported." Is this perhaps because, as in the article Japanese Radiation Mystery: "Where is all the Radiation Coming From?" there IS no bottom? "Recently, the GE engineer who worked on the Mark I reactor has stated that the source is mostly a core meltdown in unit 2 that has eaten its right through the pressure vessel (which surrounds the super hot core.)" I.e. the "corium" meltdown that we have heard about before?

Later in the day...

It appears that a huge SRS concrete pump will head to Japan soon, as well as other smaller ones both inside and outside the country. This appears to mean that TEPCO and the government are planning to entomb the four reactors at Fukushima No.1, but have they already stated their intention to do so?? If that is indeed what they are planning, does that mean that the problem in reactor 2 mentioned above is in fact not happening, or are TEPCO and the government simply not aware of this possibility. Since they probably believe they *they are* the sources of information, then it is possible they are not paying any attention to English sources...

Thus, it would appear that we are by no means in the clear yet. However, the mood in the Japanese media and government seems to be mildly optimistic (smug?) - they seem to think both the post-disaster problems in the northeast and the nuclear disaster in Fukushima are slowly coming under control. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, the spokesman who appears before the media to give updates on the disasters, appeared in a suit and tie (not 'disaster fatigues') last night for the first time I have noticed since March 11. If the situation at reactor 2 is as serious as the reports above suggest we may yet see him changing back to the former attire. Later in the day Mr Edano appeared in suit and tie again. There seems to be quite a lot of optimism floating around. Let's hope it is not misplaced...

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Regarding current status of Reactor #1, please see latest update video from Arnie Gunderson:

{Earlier} Update on Fukushima: Discovery of Plutonium Leakage and Highly Radioactive Water -- Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer of Fairewinds Associates, discusses the recent finding of plutonium in the soil at five locations around the Daiichi power plant. He also addresses the discovery of highly radioactive water found in trenches which appear to be draining into the ocean.

Newly Released TEPCO Data Provides Evidence of Periodic Chain Reaction at Fukushima Unit 1.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

April 4

I found the overall tone of this interesting article (Friday, April 1) to be quite optimistic...

EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Latest Satellite Imagery From Fukushima Tells Sobering Tale

but one paragraph near the end reads...

On Thursday we learned from the Wall Street Journal that TEPCO only had one stretcher, a satellite phone, 50 protective suits, and only enough dosimeters to give a single one to each worker group. Given this woeful level of preparation it is not surprising to see that regular fire trucks, cement trucks, and a lack of staged materials comprise much of the current damage control mix.

... which suggests again that the one thing TEPCO had NOT foreseen was a disastrous 'accident'!

This article also gives a link to some high-resolution photos taken by a small unmanned drone. Please take a look at the first large photo on the page (i.e. not the small photo of the drone). On the roof of the turbine building to the seaward side of reactor 3 (and 1) I see quite a number of rod-like objects. You can see them in better detail in pictures further down the page. Er... excuse my ignorance, but these would not be fuel rods (either from the reactor core or from the spent fuel cooling pool) now, would they? (I think Prof. Chris Busby mentioned a few days ago fuel rods on roofs, but it is not perfectly clear to me if this is what is meant....)

~~~

The IAEA Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log is very useful.

Also see the IAEA Summary of Reactor Unit Status, which seems to convey the seriousness of the disaster more clearly than the Japanese reports I have seen.

~~~

Reactor 1: Some fuel rods in core exposed and possibly damaged. The temporary pump being used to inject fresh water into the pressure vessel switched to external power source. [IAEA says 'replacing the temporary electrical pumps,' apparently meaning that the original pumps were in working order, but simply did not have power. This also refers to reactors 2 and 3.] Preparing to 'retrieve' water polluted with radioactive material from turbine building. Water level and so on in the spent fuel cooling pool is unknown. Some lights were restored in the turbine building on April 2.

Reactor 2: Possible core meltdown, Pressure control chamber also possibly damaged. Fresh water is being pumped into the pressure vessel. Water temperature in the spent fuel pool is falling - 61C at 0900, April 3.

Reactor 3: Some fuel rods exposed and possibly damaged. Water level in the spent fuel cooling pool is unknown.

Reactor 4: Water level in the spent fuel cooling pool is unknown.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

This one is from a few days ago... the explanations are interesting and clear.

Nuclear Fuel Pool Has NO WATER, RODS EXPOSED - Plutonium Could Become Volatile

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Nuclear Engineer Sees Evidence That Fuel Melted Through Reactor Pressure Vessel

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Gosh! Only a few more months to go...!

An advisor to the prime minister, Goshi Hosono, has pledged an all-out effort to contain the leakage of radioactive substances from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex within a few months.

This was later reiterated by Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA: Stemming leak will take months) who said a full-scale recovery of cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is needed to stem the leakage of radioactive substances, but that work will take several months.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

April 3

Reactor 1: Some fuel rods in core exposed and possibly damaged. Water injection nozzle in the pressure vessel at 261.5C at 1600 on April 2. Preparing to 'retrieve' water polluted with radioactive material from turbine building. Water level and so on in the spent fuel cooling pool is unknown.

Reactor 2: Possible core meltdown, Pressure control chamber also possibly damaged. Fresh water is being pumped into the pressure vessel. Now preparing to 'retrieve' water polluted by high temperature radioactive material (same for reactor 3). Water temperature in the spent fuel pool is rising - 72C at 1600, April 2.

Reactor 3: Some fuel rods exposed and possibly damaged. Fresh water is being pumped into the pressure vessel. Water level in the spent fuel cooling pool is unknown and water is being dropped in using a long concrete mixer arm (April 2).

Reactor 4: Water level in the spent fuel cooling pool is unknown and water is being dropped in using a long concrete mixer arm (April 2).

~~~

April 2

This is very reassuring, isn't it? At the end it says that TEPCO may have to wait for radiation levels to go down before completing the emergency cooling measures. I have seen this estimated in the newspaper to be about five years. The article in the Mail Online, linked above, estimates 50 to 100 years!

Update from the Japanese Tokyo Newspaper, presumably from official government sources.

Reactor 1: Some fuel rods exposed and possibly damaged. Water injection nozzle in the pressure vessel steady at 252.2C at 1800 on March 31. Water in the duct 'trench' leading to the turbine housing is being pumped out and the level was one metre lower on March 31. Water level in the spent fuel cooling pool is unknown and water is being dropped in using a long concrete mixer arm (March 31). External power has been available in the central control room since March 24 (same for all reactors).

Reactor 2: Possible reactor core meltdown. Pressure control chamber also possibly damaged. Fresh water is being pumped into the pressure vessel. Now preparing to 'retrieve' water polluted by high temperature radioactive material (same for reactor 3). Water temperature in the spent fuel pool is declining - 48C at 1800, April 1.

Reactor 3: Some fuel rods exposed and possibly damaged. Fresh water is being pumped into the pressure vessel. Water level in the spent fuel cooling pool is unknown and water is being dropped in using a long concrete mixer arm (March 31).

Reactor 4: Water level in the spent fuel cooling pool is unknown and water is being dropped in using a long concrete mixer arm (April 1).

This is all to some extent reassuring, but perhaps not the complete picture. Would anyone like to add anything?

Comments

"In Japan the entrails of the Fukushima nuclear plant are contaminated with radioactive iodine. It has just been detected in the subterranean water table 15m below one of the reactors at levels 10,000 times the legal norm, according to the management of the site. This is an indication that the water has been in direct contact with the radioactive fuel."

France2 Info, 0800hrs, 1 April, 2011.

Subject was: Reactor #1

Regarding current status of Reactor #1, please see latest update video from Arnie Gunderson:

Newly Released TEPCO Data Provides Evidence of Periodic Chain Reaction at Fukushima Unit 1 at http://fairewinds.com/multimedia at http://fairewinds.com/content/newly-released-tepco-data-provides-evidence-periodic-chain-reaction-fukushima-unit-1

Tony's very important comments about the loss of traditional local knowledge and sensible laws vis a vis local risks inspired me to write this article. http://candobetter.net/node/2429 "Disasters, Disinformation, Capitalist Totalitarianism and the Growth Lobby." This is what I am commenting on:

VLook for "Tokyo Newspaper, p.20" in
Tony's rolling update no. 2, here: but I am citing it below anyway:

"An article on p.20 mentions that a) tsunami in the Tokai region in 1498 reached a height of 15 m and killed 50,000 people at a time when Japan's population totalled only about 12 million, and that b) this is far larger than current assumptions concerning possible tsunami disasters. A second article on p.20 mentions that after the Showa Sanriku earthquake in 1933, Miyagi Prefecture issued regulations including fines or imprisonment clauses prohibiting construction (of homes and so on) in coastal areas likely to be affected by tsunamis. The regulations appear to have been rescinded in the 1950s, when the national Building Standards Law was introduced. Over three thousand people lost their lives in the 1933 earthquake and tsunami. An article I missed in the yesterday's (April 6) Akahata (p.14) describes a book published in 1995 by former public school teacher Mr Yugi Iinuma on the history of the dangers of living in the flat coastal area of Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. A picture in the article shows the former teacher, now 80, holding the book at an evacuation center in Miyagino Ward, Sendai City. The Mr Iinuma's house was destroyed in the tsunami, but he managed to escape in the time between the earthquake and the arrival of the tsunami. It would seem that people forget about the dangers of tsunamis over time. It's sad to see how a large part of the destruction, and the nuclear disaster, could have been avoided if the collective memory had remained intact."

You can find wind direction models available at ZAMG

Here is an example [Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on "download" to see an animated model of radiation being carried around by the wind.]

Google will translate from German

Jay