Thursday, August 4, 2011

Truth About Nuclear Power | Lethal Levels of Radiation


Beyond Nuclear - Second extremely high radiation reading recorded at Fukushima Daiichi

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) recorded a second source of an extremely high radiation exposure amid the wreckage of its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant destroyed by the multiple unit hydrogen explosions and nuclear meltdowns as a result of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

On August 3, 2011, geiger counters used by TEPCO workers entering Unit 1 shot up to 5 seiverts per hour (500 REM/hr). This is considered a deadly dose of radiation forcing the workers to retreat from the area. On August 1, 2011 workers first encountered a radiation field that sent instrument readings offscale at more than 10 seiverts per hour.

Update on August 4, 2011 - Arnie Gundersen at Fairewinds Associates has posted a video explaining his theories about the origins of the lethally high radioactivity dose rates now being detected at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It is entitled 'Lethal Levels of Radiation at Fukushima: What Are the Implications?' - see below -

Beyond Nuclear
•   Unsafe at Any Dose by Helen Caldicott | Helen Caldicott, MD
•   The Nuclear Retreat | The Renewable Energy Renaissance

Lethal Levels of Radiation at Fukushima: What Are the Implications?

TEPCO has discovered locations on the Fukushima plant site with lethal levels of external gamma radiation. Fairewinds takes a close look at how this radiation might have been deposited and how similar radioactive material would have been released offsite.

Lethal Levels of Radiation at Fukushima: What Are the Implications?
Fairewinds updates on Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
Fairewinds videos

Aug 3, 2011
Tepco Reports Second Deadly Radiation Reading at Fukushima Nuclear Plant - Bloomberg

A handout photograph shows a gamma camera image of an area around the main exhaust stack of Unit 1 and 2 at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (Tepco) Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power station in Fukushima, Japan, on Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. On Aug. 1 in another area it recorded radiation of 10 sieverts per hour, enough to kill a person “within a few weeks” after a single exposure, according to the World Nuclear Association. Tokyo Electric Power Co. via Bloomberg

Tokyo Electric Power Co. reported its second deadly radiation reading in as many days at its wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant north of Tokyo.
The utility known as Tepco said yesterday it detected 5 sieverts of radiation per hour in the No. 1 reactor building. On Aug. 1 in another area it recorded radiation of 10 sieverts per hour, enough to kill a person “within a few weeks” after a single exposure, according to the World Nuclear Association.

Radiation has impeded attempts to replace cooling systems to bring three melted reactors and four damaged spent fuel ponds under control after a tsunami on March 11 crippled the plant. The latest reading was taken on the second floor of the No. 1 reactor building and will stop workers entering the area.

“It’s probably the first of many more to come,” said Michael Friedlander, who spent 13 years operating nuclear power plants in the U.S., including the Crystal River Station in Florida. “Although I am not surprised, it concerns me greatly; the issue is the worker safety.”
The 10 sieverts of radiation detected on Aug. 1 outside reactor buildings was the highest the Geiger counters used were capable of reading, indicating the level could have been higher, Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at the utility, said at a press conference...

August 2 2011
Fukushima Radiation So High, Geiger Counter Can't Register It!

Gaia Health: Fukushima radiation is six times more than the previous high, more than Geiger counters can register. News media and governments cover it up—and radioactive waste to be used as garden soil! - by Heidi Stevenson;

Radiation levels at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant suddenly rose to more than six times the highest levels they'd ever reached before now. And, of course, there isn't a hint of it in the mainstream media.

TEPCO, the company that owns the plant, reports today that radiation levels over 10,000 millisieverts per hour have been registered on the second floor of reactor one. How much more, we don't know. Geiger counters can't measure more than 10,000 millisieverts an hour! They say that they have restricted access to the room. But what is likely to happen to the workers who were there? The maximum allowed for reactor employees is now 250 millisieverts—an amount that was increased from 100 millisieverts for no medical reason.

August 1, 2011
Nuclear Crisis in Japan

NIRS: Tepco reported today the highest radiation levels yet measured at Fukushima Daiichi—1,000 Rems/hour (10 Sieverts/hour)—a lethal dose. The measurements were taken at the base of the ventilation stack for Units 1 and 2 (the stack that did not work during the accident). The actual levels may have been more than measured, since the monitoring equipment could not measure more than 10 Sieverts/hour. Workers sent to the area to confirm the measurements, which were first picked up by a gamma measuring camera, received doses of about 400 millirems in just a few minutes.

All of this brings up a lot of questions Tepco and the Japanese government must be held to account for. It has been more than four months since the accident began. The belief is that these readings are a result of the failed attempt at ventilation in the early hours of the accident. How is it possible that Tepco is noticing this extraordinarily high reading only now? How many workers have walked by this area in the past four and a half months without realizing the kind of dose they were getting? What does this say about Tepco’s, and the government’s, overall radiation measurements both onsite and offsite? ...

Friday, June 17, 2011. There have been increasing reports of radioactive “hotspots” being found around Japan, especially in the area outside but near the evacuation zone of course, but also quite far away. For example, the Wall Street Journal reported today on a hotspot found in Chiba Prefecture 120 miles from Fukushima Daiichi and not too far from Tokyo. There have been reports of elevated readings in Tokyo itself, and across northern Japan.

We found the map below today on DailyKos which gives some indication of the extent of contamination. The areas in blue indicate slightly elevated radiation levels—high enough that a person exposed to these levels likely would receive an annual radiation dose in excess of 1 MilliSievert/year (100 millirems/year), which, until Fukushima was the maximum annual exposure level for the general public in Japan—as it remains the maximum level in the U.S.

As the colors move more toward red, the levels go higher. As has been well-understood, the areas to the northwest of Fukushima Daiichi have been hardest hit—but not all those areas in red and orange have yet been evacuated—and they should be. Indeed a good argument could be made that the areas in any color other than blue should be evacuated. Of course, no one will ever return to those areas that have been evacuated...

Areas not marked with a color are not necessarily uncontaminated—they may have just not been measured yet.
And that brings us to two points about radioactive “hotspots.” First, while the ongoing daily radiation releases from Fukushima certainly aren’t helping things, we believe that most of the hotspots are being discovered now simply because they are finally being measured now. The high levels of radiation most likely were generated during the first week of the accident. In other words, people have been living with these hotspots for the past three months—and are only in recent days learning about them. And we believe many more hotspots will be discovered as measuring continues and expands. This means that the exposures to the general unevacuated population—especially internal exposures—are most likely higher than has been presumed.

The second point is, as is obvious from the map, radiation does not deposit uniformly. Indeed, there can be, and likely are, hotspots even in those areas showing relatively low contamination levels. It is not uncommon to take a radiation measurement in one location, and find a much higher hotspot just yards, and even feet, away. That is usually due to the presence of a highly radioactive particle, and short of measuring every square foot of land, it is impossible to fully measure all of the hotspots.

That’s why governments must err on the side of caution, and where general radiation levels indicate that allowable limits may be exceeded, it should be presumed that those limits will be exceeded and appropriate measures—including relocation—should be implemented. That’s why villages dozens and even hundreds of miles from Chernobyl, well outside the Dead Zone, no longer exist.

Instead, Japan has chosen the opposite course. Instead of taking steps to prevent unnecessary exposures, it increased the allowable limit from 1 MilliSievert/year to 20 MilliSieverts/year (2 rems/year)—an “allowable” level more commonly associated with German nuclear workers (U.S. nuclear workers are allowed to receive 5 rems/year). Even so, many people in northern Japan are likely to receive doses above 20 MilliSieverts/year because of the government’s fear and failure to take necessary protective steps. And that is likely to turn out to be the real tragedy of Fukushima...

Nuclear Crisis in Japan
Nuclear Information and Resource Center (NIRS)

The Truth About Nuclear Power: Japanese Nuclear Engineer Calls for Abolition  核の真実−−日本の核技術者、廃絶を訴える :: JapanFocus

The seven sins of nuclear power

"(In closing,) - I would like to quote the “seven social sins” that Mahatma Gandhi warned against, and which are inscribed on his tombstone. The first is “Politics without Principle.” To those who gathered here today, I would like you to take these words deeply to heart. Gandhi’s other sins, such as “Wealth without Work,” “Pleasure without Conscience,” “Knowledge without Character,” “Commerce without Morality,” all apply to electric power companies, including TEPCO. And with “Science without Humanity,” I would challenge academia and its all-out involvement with the nation’s nuclear power policy, and that includes myself. The last one is “Worship without Sacrifice.” To those who have faith, please take these words to heart, too. Thank you very much."

Koide Hiroaki began his career as a nuclear engineer forty years ago drawn to the promise of nuclear power. Quickly, however, he recognized the flaws in Japan’s nuclear power program and emerged as among the best informed of Japan’s nuclear power critic. His cogent public critique of the nuclear village earned him an honourable form of purgatory as a permanent assistant professor at Kyoto University. Koide would pay a price in career terms, continuing his painstaking research on radio nuclide measurement at Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute (KURRI) in the shadows. Until 3.11.

Since the earthquake tsunami and nuclear meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi, he has emerged as a powerful voice and a central figure in charting Japan’s future energy course in the wake of disaster: in scores of well attended public lectures, in daily media consultations and interviews, in his widely read posts and in three books that have helped to redefine public consciousness and official debate...

Nuclear Power 101: Fairewinds examines the fundamental advantages and disadvantages of splitting atoms to boil water

Included in this presentation and PowerPoint is a discussion of how nuclear power plants work, how to cool a reactor during an accident, the effect of hot particles when inhaled, and concerns involving the long-term storage of nuclear waste. This presentation took place at the Nuclear Power Conference held at the University of Vermont July 23, 2011.

Nuclear Power 101: Fairewinds examines the fundamental advantages and disadvantages of splitting atoms to boil water
Fairewinds updates on Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
Fairewinds videos

All Things Nuclear • UCS’s Take on NRC’s Post-Fukushima Recommendations

Today (AUGUST 1, 2011) we released our critique of key recommendations by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) near-term task force in response to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident earlier this year.

Three of the five NRC commissioners have now voted to not put its own task force recommendations on the fast track, arguing that the NRC needs more information to proceed.

However, if the NRC balks at implementing new safeguards in a reasonable time frame on the grounds that it doesn’t have enough information about what happened in Japan, then the agency also doesn’t have enough information to relicense operating reactors or license new ones. If the NRC commissioners need more time to sort out the lessons of Fukushima, there should be a moratorium on relicensing old reactors and licensing new ones until they do.

All Things Nuclear
A project of the Union of Concerned Scientists

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