Fukushima 28 April 2011

It has been a few days since my last round up and there have been some "events". But first a couple of videos of critical importance.

Radiation Safety has this report:

Radiation in the #1 building is at highest levels since the crisis

They don't even know the source of the newly-elevated readings

From the "They don't even know..." link:
"Tepco must figure out the source of high radiation," said Hironobu Unesaki, a nuclear engineering professor at Kyoto University. "If it's from contaminated water leaking from inside the reactor, Tepco's so-called water tomb may be jeopardized because flooding the containment vessel will result in more radiation in the building."
Ah yes. The water tomb. Not exactly Davy Jones' Locker. At least not intentionally. So what is this water tomb? It is an idea that has been around for a few weeks. It sort of goes like this: we will fill up the reactor vessels and containment vessels with water and all will be well. Brilliant idea to be sure. If the structures (at least the containment vessels) are intact and there are no further significant earthquakes. And if Recriticality and/or Core On The Floor are not problems. Of course the structures haven't been rigorously inspected. The radiation levels are too high. And earthquakes? Well that is a crap shoot. But the odds are up for a while. Aftershocks.

Evidence Of Recriticality - 19 April

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reactor 1 "Water Entombment" - Same News, Different Spin

Also, TEPCO disclosed on April 26 that the survey by the robots inside the Reactor 1's reactor building could not pinpoint the location of the damage on the Containment Vessel.
But no matter. TEPCO and NISA are going with their "accidental entombment" and about to gradually pour over 7,000 tons of water in the Reactor 1 Containment Vessel.
I wonder if TEPCO has a secret office working on this disaster. The Office of "With a Little Bit Of Luck We can Make Things Worse". And preferably avoid blame.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: 1120 Milli-Sieverts/Hr Inside the Reactor 1 Bldg, But "Water Entombment" Has Started Anyway

That high level of radiation would indicate the highly radioactive water from the Pressure Vessel may be leaking outside the Containment Vessel, but TEPCO has decided to go ahead with the plan.
I was always told that before you do anything it is wise to know what is going on. Lest you make things worse. What this tells me is that the Japanese believe they only have "very bad" and "much worse" choices. Or else they are idiots. You can't rule out that factor.

Workers locked in battle at Fukushima, exposure to radiation rising

I believe a workaround to the rising dose workers are absorbing has been found.

Japan's Ministry of Health to Get Rid of Annual Radiation Limit for Nuclear Plant Workers

The normal limit of 50 milli-sieverts per year is to be eliminated, but 5-year total of 100 milli-sieverts limit remains.

If the limit is eliminated, the workers who will have been exposed to the radiation of more than 50 milli-sieverts but less than 100 milli-sieverts at Fukushima I Nuke Plant will still be able to work at other nuke plants, as long as 5-year total remains under 100 milli-sieverts.

Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is for the nuclear industry's health, labor and welfare. Of course, the argument is that unless these workers are able to maintain the power plants (there are 17 of them, with 54 reactors, according to this site), everybody's health, labor, and welfare will be threatened

You can go to the link for more links.

So what kind of workers are the Japanese getting?

Job offers come not from TEPCO but from Mizukami Kogyo, a company whose business is construction and cleaning maintenance. The description indicates only that the work is at a nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture. The job is specified as 3 hours per day at an hourly wage of 10,000 yen. There is no information about danger, only the suggestion to ask the employer for further details on food, lodging, transportation and insurance.
That is about $120 an hour given the current exchange rate. I might be tempted if it was an 8 hour day with 3 hours a day in the jump zone.

Radiation above safety limits detected in Fukushima fish, vegetable

Radioactive topsoil removed from school grounds

Workers are removing radiation-tainted topsoil from school grounds in the northeastern Japanese city of Koriyama. The city is about 50 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The city began removing the soil on Wednesday at two of the 28 public elementary and junior high schools and daycare centers.

Radiation levels at one of the schools are higher than the central government's new safe limit for children playing outdoors. That limit is 3.8 microsieverts per hour. Other schools are close to the limit.

And of course everything is under control and there is no chance of further distribution of radioactives. Scrape once and forget it. Come to think of it given the logistics problems - parents - children - teachers - schools - they may have no good alternative.

TEPCO starts test for more water injection

Tokyo Electric Power Company has begun testing one of the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to check its plan to submerge and cool the hot fuel rods.

The utility firm began pumping more water into Reactor Number 1 on Wednesday in order to monitor changes in the water depth in the containment vessel and check for leaks.

After increasing the amount of water from 6 to 10 tons per hour on Wednesday the firm says it has delayed further raising the amount injected due to data showing some instability in the state of the reactor.

Given that evidence of instability they are maintaining the injection rate at 10 tons an hour (roughly 2,500 gph).
The test is part of a plan to fill the Number 1 and 3 reactors' containment vessels with water by July, to cool the fuel rods in a stable manner.
Something in this explanation is not holding water. I'm wondering if the containment vessels will.

TEPCO: Water isn't leaking from No. 4 reactor pool. Well that is good to know. But they add this little tit bit at the end of their article.

The storage pool is to be reinforced by July.
Would that be reinforced or repaired? I suppose if you are not on site it would be hard to tell.

TEPCO to rid 200,000 tons of radioactive water. They plan on doing it by decontaminating the water.

On Wednesday, Tokyo Electric Power Company announced it would set up the treatment system to eliminate radioactive materials.

The utility firm says 87,500 tons of contaminated water has accumulated in the No.1 to 4 reactors.

It estimates that up to 200,000 tons of highly contaminated water will be produced by the year end if all the water used to cool the reactors becomes highly radioactive.

The company says it plans to start installing the system in early May and begin operating in June.

It hopes to dispose of 1,200 tons of highly contaminated water per day once the system is in place.

If the system works as planned it should be able to run the expected 200,000 tons of water through the plant in about 170 days. If it doesn't work as expected? There will be delays.

That ought to be enough to keep you depressed for a while.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 04.28.11 at 08:22 AM


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