Sunday, May 29, 2011

Nuclear Safety is an Oxymoron | How will broken-melting-fuming-leaking Fukushima Daiichi weather Monster Typhoon?

isn't "nuclear safety" an oxymoron?

things to keep in mind while pondering this question: nuclear power kills - it is not clean, it is not cheap, and it is immoral - anyone who says that it is safe is either lying, making money, misinformed and/or delusional
re delusion: The psychiatrist and philosopher Karl Jaspers was the first to define the three main criteria for a belief to be considered delusional in his 1917 book General Psychopathology. These criteria are:
• certainty (held with absolute conviction)
• incorrigibility (not changeable by compelling counterargument or proof to the contrary)
• impossibility or falsity of content (implausible, bizarre or patently untrue)

but, can't nuclear power save us from global warming?

humanity could probably survive global warming and climate change, but is helpless when facing radioactive environmental pollution and the subsequent genetic mutation and cancers it causes

- why use something which is so inherently dangerous in the first place, especially when there are viable alternatives? - why use something which even requires such ultra-extreme, costly and ultimately fallible "safety measures?" - why use something with terrible potential to poison the entire planet for all future generations?

G8 leaders want tougher nuclear safety rule

From L-R, G8 leaders, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, President Barack Obama and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso are seen during a round table meeting at the G8 summit in Deauville, northern France May 26, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Markus Schreiber/Pool

(Reuters) - Leaders of the Group of Eight want more stringent international rules on nuclear safety following the disaster at Japan's Fukushima plant, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday.

Forget about Fukushima: Riding the Wave of Nuclear Renaissance, China, India, South Korea

Law in Action: "The biggest drop in prices of uranium in two years may be ending as China and India plan atomic power developments that will more than double global production even after Japan’s nuclear disaster. The radioactive metal has slumped 8.7 percent this year, the most since 2009, after tumbling as much as 27 percent as governments reviewed nuclear plants following the Japanese crisis in March, according to prices from MF Global Holdings Inc. China and India will lead a 46 percent increase in consumption by the world’s five biggest atomic-power developers by 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Soaring energy demand from the world’s fastest-growing economies is buoying uranium and prospects of miners from Cameco Corp. to Paladin Energy Inc. even after radiation leaks from Japan’s 40-year-old Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant sparked the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. China’s Nuclear Energy Association said May 12 it will boost atomic capacity as much as eight times by 2020. A day later, India’s Atomic Energy Commission said it will increase production 13-fold by 2030.

“The question is whether what happened in Japan with older-generation reactors justifies not building newer, safer reactors, and to me the answer is no,” Spencer Abraham, a former U.S. energy secretary who is now non-executive chairman of Areva SA, the largest nuclear-equipment producer, said in a May 17 telephone interview from Washington. “China recognizes they can’t satisfy the growth in electricity demand in a single dimension and they really need a diverse group of sources.”


Unit 3 of Fukushima Daiichi
Cryptome Nuclear Power Plants and WMD Series

Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan 'unready for typhoon'
BBC News | 28 May 2011

Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is not fully prepared for heavy rain and winds of a typhoon heading towards the country, officials admit.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), which runs the plant, said some reactor buildings were uncovered, prompting fears the storm may carry radioactive material into the air and sea. - Typhoon Songda is expected to hit mainland Japan as early as Monday.

"We have made utmost efforts, but we have not completed covering the damaged reactor buildings," a Tepco official said on Saturday. - "We apologise for the lack of significant measures against wind and rain," the official added.

Tepco has been pouring anti-scattering agents - such as synthetic resins - around the damaged buildings of reactors one and four. - But some of the buildings still remain uncovered after they were damaged by hydrogen explosions soon after the quake and tsunami struck.

A special adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan criticised Tepco, saying that the current safety measures "cannot be said to be appropriate". - Adviser Goshi Hosono added: "We are now doing the utmost to prevent further spreading of radioactive materials".

Typhoon Songda - with winds up to 216km/h (134mph) - was moving north-east and could hit Japan on Monday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.- It was unclear whether Fukushima could be directly in the path of the storm.

Supertyphoon headed for Japan could hit Fukushima nuclear site

Beyond Nuclear | May 27, 2011: "Typhoon Songda has been upgraded to a supertyphoon after hitting the Philippines and is on track for Japan, with the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in its pathway. The U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center currently predicts that the typhoon could pass over the Fukushima nuclear site on Monday, Japan time. TEPCO is reportedly planning protective measures but has not announced them. Bloomberg News has reported on this situation."


May 29/30 -

Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC)


Fukushima nuclear reactors not to be affected by Typhoon Songda

BEIJING,May 30 (Xinhuanet) -- Typhoon Songda continued to move along the east coast of Japan on Sunday, causing travel disruption and hazardous conditions for commuters.Songda is Japan's second typhoon this year.
Strong winds and heavy rain thrashed Tokyo, causing flight disruptions at Haneda Airport. Warnings of landslides and flooding were issued in Kagoshima Prefecture early on Sunday, with some road closures. The typhoon is expected to move along the east coast through to Monday where it will weaken to a tropical storm. The troubled Fukushima nuclear reactors were not expected to be affected by the storm.


Deluge could spread Fukushima radiation
ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | May 30, 2011 7:39am AEST

There are fears a tropical storm off the coast of Japan could wash radioactive material from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the air and sea.

Now downgraded to a tropical storm, former Typhoon Songda is still expected to bring strong winds and torrential rain to Tokyo later this morning, with the Fukushima area also forecast to experience a deluge.

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), has apologised for not being prepared for the bad weather.

The company has been pouring synthetic resins over the facility to stop radioactive material from being swept away, but the job is far from complete. - TEPCO and the Japanese government both fear contamination could be washed out of the uncovered reactor buildings.

Live view of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

TEPCO: High Radiation Level at No.2 Reactor of Fukushima Nuclear Plant Detected

Arirang | Korea for the World, The World for Korea - | MAY 30, 2011: The amount of radioactive material detected around reactor No. 2 at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant increased drastically over the weekend.
TEPCO, the operator of the plant, says it detected levels of radioactive Iodine 131 that were 130 times the legal limit on Friday, BUT levels 600 times the limit were detected on Saturday.
Since Iodine has a half life of 8 days this announcement shows radioactive materials are still leaking from the reactors.

Meanwhile, as heavy rain and strong winds are expected to hit Japan this week, fears are rising that contaminated water could be carried into the air and sea.
And as the Typhoon season is coming to Asia soon, Korea is becoming increasingly concerned about the possible spread of radiation from Japan.

New leak feared at stricken Japan nuclear plant
Reuters | TOKYO | Thu May 26, 2011 2:46am EDT

Radioactive water appears to be leaking from a waste disposal building at Japan's Fukushima nuclear complex, operator Tokyo Electric Power said on Thursday, in a new setback to the battle to contain radiation from the crippled power plant."

The effort to regain control of the plant relies on pumping massive quantities of water to cool the three reactors that suffered meltdowns and storing the contaminated water in an improvised storage facility. Tepco officials said, however, that the water level in the storage facility had dropped, suggesting a leak.

Environmental groups have focused on the threat to sea and ground water from the accident. Greenpeace said earlier this month it had collected samples of fish, seaweed and shellfish along the Fukushima coast that showed radiation levels above Japanese safety limits.

Japan slammed as new leak found at stricken nuclear plant
Reuters | TOKYO | Thu May 26, 2011

The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Thursday detailed a new leak of radioactive water as Greenpeace slammed the country's 'inadequate response' to a growing threat to sea water and health.

And in an embarrassing reversal, Tokyo Electric Power officials changed a key element of an account of the early response to the crisis it had given on Saturday as part of a government investigation into the accident.

Tokyo Electric said up to 57 tonnes of highly contaminated water had leaked from a storage facility into a trench. It vowed to step up monitoring of groundwater.

The disclosure raises the stakes in a race to complete by next month a system to decontaminate a massive pool of radioactive water at the site that critics see as a growing risk to both the Pacific and groundwater.

In early April, the utility dumped about 10,000 tonnes of radioactive water into the ocean, prompting criticism from neighbors China and South Korea.

Environmental group Greenpeace said seaweed had been found with radiation levels 60 times higher than official limits, raising concerns about risks from contaminated sea water more than two months after the Fukushima-Daiichi plant was hit by an earthquake and tsunami.

"Our data show that significant amounts of contamination continue to spread over great distances from the Fukushima nuclear plant," a statement quoted Greenpeace radiation expert Jan Vande Putte as saying.

One seaweed sample showed readings over 60 times above the limits set by the government.

"The concentration of radioactive iodine we found in seaweed is particularly concerning, as it tells us how far contamination is spreading along the coast, and because several species of seaweed are widely eaten in Japan," Vande Putte said.

Greenpeace: Japan nuclear plant radiation accumulating in marine life

This Just In - Blogs | May 26th, 2011: Radiation from Japan's damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is accumulating in marine life off Japan's coast above legal limits for food contamination, Greenpeace said Thursday.

A Greenpeace crew tests waters off Japan for radiation contamination earlier this month

The environmental group said its findings run counter to Japanese government reports that radiation from the Fukushima plant, damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, is being diluted as time passes.

“Despite what the authorities are claiming, radioactive hazards are not decreasing through dilution or dispersion of materials, but the radioactivity is instead accumulating in marine life,' Greenpeace radiation expert Jan Vande Putte said in a press release."

Marine life soaking up radiation along Fukushima coast

Greenpeace International: "Two week’s ago we released preliminary results from our marine radiation monitoring work off the coast of Japan, near the melted-down and leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. These results showed worrying levels of radioactive contamination in seaweed – a staple of the Japanese diet.

After having difficulties finding a lab in Japan to do detailed analysis, we sent samples of seaweed, fish, and shellfish collected by our radiation monitoring teams both onshore and on the Rainbow to professional labs in France and Belgium. The results of the details analysis are back – and we can say that the situation in the ocean along the Fukushima coast is worse than we originally thought.

The new data shows that some seaweed contamination levels are not only 50 times higher than safety limits – far higher than our initial measurements showed – but also that the contamination is spreading over a wide area, and accumulating in sea life, rather than simply dispersing like the Japanese authorities originally claimed would happen.

more includes radiation data link

Arnie Gundersen Gives Testimony to NRC ACRS

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) held a special ACRS meeting Thursday May 26, 2011 on the current status of Fukushima. Arnie Gundersen was invited to speak for 5 minutes concerning the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident as it pertains to the 23 Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactors (BWR's) in the US and containment integrity. Mr. Gundersen was the first engineer to brief the NRC on the implication of Main Steam Isolation Valve (MSIV) Leakage in 1974, and he has been studying containment integrity since 1972. The NRC has constantly maintained in all of its calculations and reviews that there is zero probability of a containment leaking. For more than six years, in testimony and in correspondence with the NRC, Mr. Gundersen has disputed the NRC's stand that containment systems simply do not and cannot leak. The events at Fukushima have proven that Gundersen was correct. The explosions at Fukushima show that Mark 1 containments will lose their integrity and release huge amounts of radiation, as Mr. Gundersen has been telling the NRC for many years.

Japan moves to protect children as new nuclear leak revealed

(Reuters) - Japan will pay schools near the quake-ravaged Fukushima nuclear power plant to remove radioactive top soil and set a lower radiation exposure limit for schoolchildren after a growing outcry over health risks.

In Japan, Fukushima Parents Grow Angry Over Radiation | May 25, 2011

FUKUSHIMA CITY, Japan — The accusations flew on Wednesday at the local school board meeting, packed with parents worried and angry about radiation levels in this city at the heart of Japan’s nuclear crisis."

A girl at a Tokyo rally on Monday held a petition urging protection from radiation. Yoshikazu Tsuno/Agence France-Presse -- Getty Images

Fukushima Risks Chernobyl ‘Dead Zone’

Bloomberg | May 30, 2011: Radioactive soil in pockets of areas near Japan’s crippled nuclear plant have reached the same level as Chernobyl, where a “dead zone” remains 25 years after the reactor in the former Soviet Union exploded.

Soil samples in areas outside the 20-kilometer (12 miles) exclusion zone around the Fukushima plant measured more than 1.48 million becquerels a square meter, the standard used for evacuating residents after the Chernobyl accident, Tomio Kawata, a fellow at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan, said in a research report published May 24 and given to the government...

Fukushima Daiichi Unit 5 loses cooling for 15 hours

Beyond Nuclear | May 29, 2011: The Kyodo News has reported that the Fukushima Daiichi Unit #5 atomic reactor, and presumably its high-level radioactive waste storage pool as well, lost cooling for 15 hours yesterday. The cooling water surrounding the nuclear fuel heated to close to the boiling point. Cooling was restored before boiling began. If enough cooling water had boiled away, fuel damage could have resulted. As with Units 1, 2, and 3 reactors -- as well as one or more high-level radioactive waste storage pools at the site, including at Unit 4-- irradiated nuclear fuel exposed to the air due to cooling water boiling and/or drain down, whether it be in a reactor pressure vessel core or high-level radioactive waste storage pool -- can lead to overheating, damage, explosive hydrogen gas generation, and even full-scale meltdown.

Nitrogen injection into No.1 reactor stops again
NHK WORLD English | Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Nitrogen injection to prevent a hydrogen explosion was stopped for more than 4 hours at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Wednesday."

TEPCO suspects new leak at Fukushima
NHK WORLD English | Thursday, May 26, 2011

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is inspecting a wastewater disposal facility for possible leaks, after finding that its water level had dropped.

Tokyo Electric Power Company has been removing highly radioactive wastewater from the plant's Number 2 and Number 3 reactors to waste disposal facilities within the compound.

The utility initially planned to transfer 14,000 tons, but it now wants to remove an additional 5,000 tons because there has been no noticeable drop in accumulated water in the reactors.

TEPCO suspended the transfer from the Number 3 reactor on Thursday to check whether the disposal facility could hold more water.

It found that the water level at the facility had dropped by 4.8 centimeters over a 20-hour period, meaning some 57 tons of water had been lost.

TEPCO says there has been no increase in radiation levels in nearby groundwater, but that the water level continues to fall.

The utility plans to begin running a water purifier on an experimental basis in early June.

If a leak is found at the waste disposal facility, it could delay the resumption of water transfer from the Number 3 reactor, raising the risk of radioactive wastewater spilling into the sea or seeping underground from the reactor.

Containment vessels also damaged

The Daily Yomiuri | May. 26, 2011: "Not only the pressure vessels, but the containment vessels of the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant were probably damaged within 24 hours of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s analysis of the nuclear crisis."

Tepco can't stabilize reactors by year-end: report

TOKYO (MarketWatch) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501.TO) is coming to the view that it will be impossible to stabilize the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant by the end of this year, possibly affecting the timing for the government to consider the return of evacuees to their homes near the plant, Kyodo News reported, citing senior company officials."


Fukushima DAINI barely averted a catastrophe as well!

Beyond Nuclear: A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) official, testifying at a subcommittee of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) which is overseeing the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe review, testified that the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant -- just seven miles to the south of Daiichi -- barely survived the tsunami that devastated its sister plant up the coast. Dr. John E. Kelly, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Reactor Technologies at DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy, presented a powerpoint entitled 'DOE Response to Fukushima Dai-Ichi Accident' at the NRC Headquarters in Rockville, Maryland on May 26th.

Westinghouse Nuclear Reactor Design Flaw Is Found

The Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant in China, being built in 2009, will hold two of the questioned Westinghouse AP1000 reactors. Feng Li/Getty Images | May 20, 2011: WASHINGTON — In a setback for the only model of nuclear reactor for which ground has been broken in the United States, government regulators have found additional problems with the design of its shield building, a crucial component, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Friday.

“They need to be doing the work correctly and completely, and we need to have confidence that that’s what they’re doing,” said one commission official, who said he was not authorized to be quoted by name. “They have additional work they need to do, and a short time to complete it if it’s not going to have a significant impact on their schedule.”

Robert Alvarez warns about catastrophic risks at U.S. high-level radioactive waste storage pools

Beyond Nuclear: "Robert Alvarez, senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and former senior advisor to the Energy Secretary during the Clinton administration, has published 'Spent Nuclear Fuel Pools in the U.S.: Reducing the Deadly Risks of Storage.' The report comes in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, in which one or more high-level radioactive waste storage pools may have already discharged catastrophic amounts of radioactivity into the environment, and several more remain at risk of doing so for lack of cooling water. Alvarez warns that densely-packed high-level radioactive waste storage pools at U.S. nuclear power plants should be off-loaded into outdoor dry casks as a vital national security measure"

Germany pledges to end all nuclear power by 2022
BBC News

Germany's ruling coalition says it has agreed a date of 2022 for the shutdown of all of its nuclear power plants.

Environment Minister Norbert Rottgen made the announcement after a meeting of the ruling coalition that lasted into the early hours of Monday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had set up an ethics panel to look into nuclear power following the disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan.

Germany saw mass anti-nuclear protests in the wake of the disaster.

Germany to decide on nuclear phase-out plans

BERLIN, May 29 (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition is expected to formulate a timetable on Sunday for closing Germany's nuclear power plants and a plan for replacing their output.

South Korea: After Fukushima, nuclear policies must be rethought, South Korean bishops says

Spero News: "The president of the Bishops’ Conference of Korea revisits the issue of atomic energy safety and nuclear waste disposal. In case of accidents, the costs of environmental rehabilitation are greater than any benefits nuclear power can provide. He also expresses solidarity towards fellow Catholics in ..."

Some 20,000 people participated in the biggest anti-nuclear protests in Switzerland for 25 years

swissinfo | May 22, 2011 : "An estimated 20,000 people participated in the biggest anti-nuclear protest in Switzerland for 25 years on Sunday. Chanting and waving placards, anti-nuclear protesters marched in two groups to the site of Beznau, Switzerland’s oldest nuclear power plant which is located in canton Aargau."

Swiss cabinet agrees to phase out nuclear power
ZURICH, May 25 (Reuters)

The Swiss government decided on Wednesday to phase out nuclear power by 2034 after the Japan disaster shook public confidence in the industry, but said it will not shut any existing power plants prematurely.

The Swiss government suspended the approvals process for three new nuclear power stations in March pending a review into safety after the disaster at Japan's Fukushima plant.

Last weekend 20,000 people rallied against nuclear power -- the largest demonstration of its kind since the 1980s.

See also
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• recent Fukushima & related updates for nuclear news, background info, links and actions -
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Three Nuclear Meltdowns, Radiation Leaked into Sea; U.S. Waste Poses Deadly Risks
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What's going on at Japan's damaged nuclear power plant?
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