Fukushima Update

ilene's picture

Fukushima Update (Video)

Arnie Gundersen at Fairewinds Associates Inc is an energy advisor with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, a former nuclear industry executive, and he was a licensed reactor operator. During this crisis in Japan, Arnie's become a premier expert offering frequent video updates on Fairewinds' website.

The newest video has not been posted on youtube yet, and I'm unable to capture the vimeo code for this site - but you can watch it by clicking here (Arnie's videos)Update on Fukushima: Discussion of High Level Radiation Releases and the Previous "Worse Case Senario" Planned for by The Industry from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo. - Ilene 

Gundersen describes the Fukushima plant as stable, but precarious. In this update, he discusses the high levels of radiation (2 Million disintegrations/second being found on the ground as far as 25 miles from the plant site.) He also addresses a New York Times report of hundreds of tons of water being put into the reactors each day. Gundersen points out that all of the water going in to the reactors is being irradiated, leaking out, and polluting the Ocean. He concludes by discussing the differences between the accident scenarios that the nuclear industry previously planned for and what has actually happened.

See also: 

Bodies of 1,000 victims of Japan earthquake left uncollected because of fears of high levels of radiation


anti-nuclear protests

It comes after Japan finally conceded defeat in the battle to contain radiation at four of Fukushima's crippled reactors. They will now be shut down.

Details of how this will be done are yet to be revealed, but officials said it would mean switching off all power and abandoning attempts to keep the nuclear fuel rods cool.

The final move would involve pouring tonnes of concrete on the reactors to seal them in tombs and ensure radiation does not leak out.

The country's nuclear safety agency revealed levels of radiation in the ocean near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant had surged to 4,385 times the regulatory limit.

The dramatic announcement that the four reactors are out of control and will have to be decommissioned was made yesterday by the chairman of the electric company operating the Fukushima plant.

With a deep bow and a grimace, Mr Tsunehisa Katsumata finally offered a humble apology for the failure to stop the leakage of radiation. 

  • Police, rescue workers and family members could be exposed to radiation
  • Radioactivity levels in the ocean 4,385 times above regulatory limit
  • Fisherman warned not to operate within 12 miles of plant
  • Compensation claims could top $12bn
  • Power firm's shares lose 80% of value - may need government bailout
  • President still recovering in hospital recovering from 'fatigue and stress'
  • U.S. sends specialist Marine unit to assist in decontamination
  • Traces of radioactive particles found in U.S. milk - Radiation from Japan's crippled nuclear plant detected in MILK in two U.S. states, Mail Online

Full article here >

Radiation Detected in Plant Groundwater

Fukushima Daiichi Operators Report High Iodine Isotope Levels, Then Reverse Course; Prime Minister Challenges Industry

TOKYO—Workers at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power complex found radioactive groundwater just outside one of its troubled reactor buildings, adding a new area of uncertainty to the battle to contain radiation at the troubled facility.

In a brief statement released late Thursday, Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant's operator, said a test of groundwater at the site revealed radioactive iodine—a common isotope found at the site since it was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11—at levels 10,000 times the limit the Japanese government sets on seawater.

A Tepco spokesman said shortly after the statement was released that the reading may have been in error and would be reviewed and re-released Friday. That echoed a similar moment last weekend in which the company released radiation readings from around the plant only to amend them down several orders of magnitude, exposing them to a government reprimand.

Continue here > 

For fun - "Ann Coulter versus physics" is a long, detailed analysis of Ann Coulter's ridiculous assertion that a little radiation is good for you. 


Last week Coulter wrote a blisteringly stupid followup to her blisteringly ignorant column from two weeks ago entitled A Glowing Report on Radiation. She wrote this article in the wake of the fears arising in Japan and around the world of nuclear catastrophe due to the damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant caused by the earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan on March 11. Coulter wassubsequently interviewed by Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor


As is usually the case for any scientific claims made by Coulter, this is utter rubbish. Unfortunately for Coulter, her timing in publishing her article was exquisitely bad. On the very next day after her article was published, the National Cancer Institute released the most comprehensive study yet of thyroid cancer in Chernobyl survivors. The findings indicated that radioactive iodine (131I) from the fallout from the reactor was likely responsible for thyroid cancers that are still occurring among people who lived near the reactor and that the risk of this cancer is not declining. In other words, no, Ann, the hugely elevated levels of thyroid cancer among people who live near Chernobyl when the reactor disaster occurred are not due to iodine deficiency in the Russian diet. There is some evidence that iodine deficiency might have increased the risk of 131I-induced cancers, particularly in the youngest, but that's not what Coulter said. She implied that iodine deficiency could account for the elevated incidence of thyroid cancer among those affected by the fallout. Much more about the health effects of the Chernobyl disaster can be foundhere. It should also be noted that most people who lived in the area were not exposed to that much radiation according to the United Nations-sponsored team investigating. Most were exposed to about 9 mSv, about 1/3 the equivalent of a CT scan of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis, once the short-term doses to the thyroid were subtracted.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
wishnoti's picture



Cadmium yellow leves clinging to black branches.

Clustering when they fall.



Falling through the air,

Floating on the frozen breeze.



Breezing through our time,

Breathing in time with the music.



Music in our minds,

Must we undermine life.



Living for the day,

Leaving it all in death.



Death of the body,

Driven by it's soul.



Soul of this world,

Soures to it's maker.




tiger7905's picture

Some thoughts on how long Japan will be down for the count.


bud-wiser's picture

Is anyone aware of a site that reports daily radiation levels around the world? Thanks.

HungrySeagull's picture

My Dosimeter continues to click twice every few seconds indicating normal radiation in my home in Arkansas. There is Xenon above us along with a few other kinds of poison coming in the jet stream. The rain due on monday will make puddles that I might scan later that day.

Lapri's picture

Video of Reactor 4, taken from a camera at the tip of the boom of a concrete pump.


Element's picture

Ah, xlent find! ... you can have the rest of the day off ... and a free six-pack!

EDIT 1: First impressions, looks like the steam comes from behind the gantry, not from in front of it where the SPF is half covered over with debris.

EDIT 2: Second impressions ... O M G! That SFP is FULL to the top with every sort of concrete and metal debris imaginable. That dimple or dip in the debris sitting in front of the Gantry is the location the spent fuel pool is situated in. It's full ... but not of water. I guess that kinda rules-out convective air-cooling if/when it boils dry. And yes, it looks like the steam is coming from behind the gantry. i.e. from the service port area for the reactor vessel itself (i.e. there is fuel in that thar reactor ... as I had deduced). That SFP pond was not what made this reactor blow its lower walls off, an yet leave the roof structures still there.

EDIT 3: Horrific. They're going to have to get an airconditioned and positive pressurized excavator up there, and a crane, and pull all that debris out of that pond (and take the roof structure off too). Those fuel rods HAVE to come out of that pond, before they can deal with the reactor vessel and the radiological nightmare inside it.

God help them!

moneymutt's picture

do you get the impression they are implementing, let alone planning, anything remotely as developed as what you suggest must be done...which does seem like it logically must get done? Rather, they seem to be just doing minimal repairs/debris clearing to get power, and maybe a little work to bolster some damage structure. Of course, we have no idea what they are doing, other than cooling where they can by water dousing, but there are no signs that they are going in with suicide mission to start removing hazard of SFP and deal with reactor cool downs.

With the snips and snaps of photos, videos, and talking points we get, its almost like they think that slowly giving us hints is their best course of actions. Whatever, people assume worse anyway. Very strange. TEPCO is done as a private company, their fearless leader is in the hospital, many jobs will be lost and many workers will be sick and die...time to just let it all hang out and tell us everything they can.

Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Nuclear fission 1  humanity 0, let's move on to the next sport - Genetic Engineering - can't wait for this baby...

Seer's picture

Technology will save us!  Oh, wait...

Element's picture

See Fukusteama province in about 20 years

Madhouse's picture

I would love to see that bitch Coulter fed to an Egyptian mob, the slut. I don't know who is dummer, her high bitchness or (pick one) Hollywood slut.

Fuck the Jap govt. We are the sheeple. We all knew every word coming from the Japanese were lies - and yet now we are the ones getting cancer. How may of you called your Congressman and told him that he better get that mess concreted before... oh, no one ?  STFU then.. the rest here is fuckin ridiculo..

moneymutt's picture

why is all the derogatory stuff about Coulter have to be so misogynistic...slut, c#*t, bitch etc...there are lots of conservatives that have been speaking out about how good and safe nukes are, I don't see anyone calling the sexually promiscuous, calling them penises etc...stick to peoples ideas, or a worst if you have to get personal, don't attack their gender, that has nothing to do with it.

Seer's picture

In general I agree, but:

"I don't see anyone calling the sexually promiscuous, calling them penises etc"

I suspect it's because you're being more selective (you'll have to ask yourself why).  I believe that the word "prick" is well used... and furthermore, I have not, to-date, recalled anyone bringing up similar arguments against the use of this word (it's actually probably worse than the "C" word).

moneymutt's picture

can't speak to how each person would feel about such words slung at them, but I highly doubt anyone would claim prick or dick had they same heat and bite as c word. If you were around only guys, and a guy called another guy, not present a prick, and then callled a woman, not present a c$%t...which word would illicit the bigger response? And again, no one seems to be calling out guys they disagree with about their sexual habits. This stuff up above is straight up misogynist. I have seen people called jerks, arses arseholes etc...these are personal heated terms that reflect a lot of justified anger, but when your anger towards a woman has take on all these woman specific derogatory terms, it seems you are just using reasonable anger about one thing to unleash hateful discriminatory crap. Like if a group of 10 people did something awful, and 2 of them were black, and someone mad at them went off on those two with a bunch racial epithets, what does that have to do with it? I don't like when people take legit anger over bad acts that are harmful to others as a chance to stream out all their unlegit meanness towards someone's age, gender, nationality etc..The frustration over situation at hands has nothing to do with that messed up crap.

Frank N. Beans's picture

what's the name of that goop you fill your tires with to stop leaks? that'll fix a leak on anything because it vulcanizes.

BernankeHasHemorrhoids's picture

I want to see these buggers ritually disembowel themselves on live television.

G Mann's picture

Burba, yes I've heard this term. It is the name that the "two goddesses" have given to Charlie Sheens sperm.

Lapri's picture

Japanese government planning to nationalize the area affected by the nuke crisis and earthquake and tsunami. Eminent domain writ very large.


and on a humorous note - IAEA's recommendation morphed into fear of Japan treated like North Korea.


moneymutt's picture

so how do you compensate the guy for his land the family has had for 400 years, a farm that was a steady source of income?

Lapri's picture

You can't. In many parts of Tohoku, the land may have been cultivated for as long as 1,200, 1300 years. And those ports that got wiped out and now some of them may be contaminated, were considered the best fishing ports in Japan.

All for the push for "clean energy" and "global warming" s--t to dupe the populace, the reality is of course very different (i.e. big money).

HungrySeagull's picture

There is no compensation for property loss through radiation. If I lost my home and lands for radiation, my insurance company will say, so sorry, no money due to either war or act of god.


I get my CAT 936 out, throw the demo into several dumpsters haul them off and then scoop down three feet of topsoil and dispose of same.

After that, buy a small trailer while we accumulate income to build a new home.

miker's picture

They are going to have to "clean-up" the site to a much higher level if they have any hope of stabalizing the reactors by instituting a closed-loop cooling system.  Pumping sea water and now fresh water is a "once-through" system and the contaminated water  has collected around the site.

I am amused when I read official statements like "we have water in the tunnels but don't know where it came from".  Their public press releases are so amateurish, it's scary.  I guess the Japanese people are much more compliant than I suspected. 

Next step will be to bring in several old tanker ships and pump this nasty contaminated water on board so they can haul it out 500 miles and dump it in the Pacific.  Otherwise, they are simply going to continue to increasingly contaminate the site and nearby coast. 

Again, they have to get the site contamination under control so they can bring in people and equipment to get a more stable cooling system installed and running. 


miker's picture

They are going to have to "clean-up" the site to a much higher level if they have any hope of stabalizing the reactors by instituting a closed-loop cooling system.  Pumping sea water and now fresh water is a "once-through" system and the contaminated water  has collected around the site.

I am amused when I read official statements like "we have water in the tunnels but don't know where it came from".  Their public press releases are so amateurish, it's scary.  I guess the Japanese people are much more compliant than I suspected. 

Next step will be to bring in several old tanker ships and pump this nasty contaminated water on board so they can haul it out 500 miles and dump it in the Pacific.  Otherwise, they are simply going to continue to increasingly contaminate the site and nearby coast. 

Again, they have to get the site contamination under control so they can bring in people and equipment to get a more stable cooling system installed and running. 


HungrySeagull's picture

And then sink the tankers over the deepest trench in the ocean because they too will be radioactive scrap.

Ned Zeppelin's picture

Coulter is a c_ _t. 

LMAOLORI's picture

The biggest concrete pump in the world is headed for Japan about using concrete oh oh Nuclear Wasteland!

When that molten mass of self-sustaining nuclear material gets to the water table it won’t simply cool down. It will explode – not a nuclear explosion, but probably enough to involve the rest of the reactors and fuel rods at the facility.

Pouring concrete on a critical reactor makes no sense – it will simply explode and release more radioactive particulate matter. The concrete will melt and the problem will get worse.



Element's picture

When that molten mass of self-sustaining nuclear material gets to the water table it won’t simply cool down. It will explode


Do you think the so-called water table will be any wetter or any more presurised than what it has been sitting in, for the past 21 days?

I cant see why it will be suddenly more prone to an explosion.

Plus the water table, that people keep on going on and on about, is about 3mm below the foundation, its none other than the pacific ocean - the 'so-called ground water is effectively a slightly drier bit of the big wet bit to the east.

Plenty of cooling there, dont even need to be direct-inject nuthin' :D

All good!

TheMerryPrankster's picture

Since the entire reactor site is fucked anyhow, they should bring the functional reactors back on line and use the electricity they generate to run a giant refrigeration system that would be embedded in the tombed reactors. Cool it with liquid nitrogen extracted from the atmosphere.

It would put a lot of out of work japanese to work on a project that they could feel good about and make them feel like they are resolving this crisis. Plus we could have an endless stream of disaster movies based on what happens if the cooling is destroyed,malfunctions or the other reactors go tits up.

Otherwise we have to dril a mineshaft to the earths core and drop each fuel rod down it one at a time. It would take forever, that's why I'm in favor of the nuclear refrigerator option. And it defrosts itself and it makes extra ice in case people drop over for a party.

Lapri's picture

not just one but two (one later), and two lesser ones from Germany (62 meter boom) and another (58-meter boom) from Vietnam.


Homey Da Clown's picture

Screw Japan. you can't drink the damn water in Virginia!


“As a result of the incident with the nuclear power plant in Japan, several EPA air monitors have detected very low levels of radioactive material in the U.S.,” says State Health Commissioner Karen Remley, MD, MBA, FAAP. …

“Recent reports of elevated levels of radioactive material in rainwater in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have been expected, since radiation is known to travel in the atmosphere,” adds Dr. Remley, “however, we are not seeing that in any of the monitoring data for the state.” …

Although short-term elevations such as these do not raise public health concerns and are expected to be relatively short in duration, VDH is taking the following steps to resolve any concerns here in Virginia:

… VDH is advising residents that the state’s drinking water supplies remain safe, but reminds Virginians out of an abundance of caution they should avoid using rainwater collected in cisterns as drinking water. …

HungrySeagull's picture

There is a place in Texas that sells cistern systems where they bury two 8,000 gallon tanks into your back yard, collect rain water from your roof and store it all.

Series of filters of all different kinds ending with UV Light before it hits your taps inside the home provides you with a year or so of off=-grid water.

It is reasonably safe to assume that the cisterns are buried sufficiently deep to avoid most radiation.

Seer's picture


As someone with a cistern (not like I actually had to have one in order to note your faulty logic), the cistern ISN'T the issue, it's the contents!  Usually these things are filled with rainwater, and the rainwater comes from, well, never mind...

TheMerryPrankster's picture

But it is a nice way to store your radioactive water, if they had about 10,000 of these cisterns at the reactor site, Bob's your uncle, it would all be tea  and crumpets and time for a bit of feet up.

The solution to pollution is dilution, so they share a bit of their radioactive waste with the world and we all die a little bit, but we are stronger for it unless of course we get cancer later. I still say we were just lucky we didn't burn down the world before we got the hang of fire and the oceans helped alot, acting as natural barriers to fire. On the nuclear thing it could take us centuries to figure out how to properly deal with and mitigate risks, in the mean time we are all living in the lab as test subjects whilst it is all sorted out.


There is a significant portion of the population that can't even deal with using a turn signal properly, how we can expect to harness the atom safely lies beyond my expectations.

Buck Johnson's picture

It's going to get washed out anyway, because of a couple of reasons.  One, as the guy in the video says, there is leaking happening and it's going into the ground and out to the ocean.  So right there the caping of the whole reactor or reactors with a concrete mix would have to also have something that went under it and they don't have the ability to do that.  And so the radiation will essentially dick it's way down into the lower levels and also the ground water table and it will be like nothing was done.  And two, what about those earthquakes that happen alot in Japan.  having a concrete blob layered over the radiation meltdown may end up becoming cracked and the radiation will find it's way out.

There screwed.

plantigrade's picture

What happens to the oceanside Fukushima Pyramid(s) when the ocean level rises in the coming future ?

All the residual radioactivity probably gets washed out into the Pacific.

goldfish1's picture


Dangerous Levels of Radioactive Isotope Found 25 Miles From Nuclear Plant


WASHINGTON — A long-lasting radioactive element has been measured at levels that pose a long-term danger at one spot 25 miles from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, raising questions about whether Japan’s evacuation zone should be expanded and whether the land might need to be abandoned.


The isotope, cesium 137, was measured in one village by the International Atomic Energy Agency at a level exceeding the standard that the Soviet Union used as a gauge to recommend abandoning land surrounding the Chernobyl reactor.




Japan Doesn't Plan To Widen Nuclear Evacuation Zone Despite IAEA Findings


TOKYO (Dow Jones)--Japan has no immediate plan to expand the evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant despite a finding showing higher-than-permitted levels of radiation outside the current zone and a continued rise in radiation levels in nearby ocean water, the government said Thursday.


The International Atomic Energy Agency said overnight that one of its teams had detected radiation from cesium-137 that is double their recommended limit in the town of Iitate, 40 kilometers northwest of the Daiichi plant. Japan currently has a 20-kilometer evacuation zone with a request for residents in a further 10-kilometer band to remain indoors.



etudiant's picture

The bulk of the danger is from airborne radionucleotides. These get carried long distances by the wind and are randomly deposited, sometimes in high concentrations, depending on the air currents and the precipitation.

So widening the evacuation radius buys nothing. This pollution comes from the nuclear decay and is carried aloft by the steam from the cooling water.

The problem is that if the reactors are not cooled below boiling soon, they will still be blowing off this massive radioactive plume during the summer rains and fall typhoons, with predictably dire results for much of Honshu.

Only the southern part of Japan would be reasonably safe by then.

Element's picture

Gesus  ... not the fucking ”oily-cane" in the GOM BS again!

Whats next? Radi-cane in the pacific?’ Change the fucking MP3 dude!

(BTW, the word’s mine and no you can not use it)

And no I didn’t junk you … you’re allowed to believe whatever you want.

But I did junk the other guy, but for posting really stale news that actually was new news about 40 hours ago (notice how similar new and news are?).

HungrySeagull's picture

Find out how much material it takes to stop Alpha, Beta and Gamma .


I think it was something like 56 inches of wood on all sides of your shelter. Or a few inches of lead. Perhaps a foot of cinderblock with either concrete poured into the holes or sand. And again surrounded by three feet of earth or more.


That and adequate food supplies, ventilation and fluids for you and your family for up to 3 weeks max. Gamma is your worst enemy. Alphas and betas can be prevented and with masks stopped from entering your lungs.

fallst's picture

Would a 30 foot seawall have stopped the tsunami?

Would have to completely surround everything on all 4 sides, obviously.

Would have to be secure 24 hrs a day, only opening to allow egress.

One Would Hope they start doing so to the remaining 15 seaside locations.

moneymutt's picture

Japanese have built miles of back-to-back tall retaining walls to support elevated bullet trains ....some of these were built by putting horiozontal layers of geosynthetic in the gravel fill placed to create the height of the walls/grade change, with concrete facing. These type of retaining walls survived the Kobe earthquake just fine, just as well as traditional rebar reinforced concrete structures with deep foundations that cost 2 or 3 times as much as the geosynthetic soil reinforced walls. So basically, they can build these walls motly from compacted gravel/sand, add in some cheap layers of geosynthetic layers, put some concrete blocks on the face...basically cheap construction. If you did 20 foot wide back to back walls that were 35 feet high, voila. Just have some flood gates that can work manually, in fact you could configure them to close under pressure of flooding water and you done, for as cheaper as it was to build miles of railways.

HungrySeagull's picture

Richmond Virginia has that plus gates for the containment of the complex south of the city.

Louisville had 50 foot walls deployed all around in the 93-94 flood.

Even so, some trainsets were swept away with the people inside probably.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

One would hope, but it would cost money that would reduce bottom line profits and as such could have a slight but noticeable impact on upper management bonuses. Therefore it wouldn't be prudent, nobody expects a tsunami, its kinda like the Inquistion of disasters. Beware the comfy chair.


My kingdom for a horse seems to be a distinct theme of recent disaster management. Save a couple of bucks up front and wind up paying a few hundred billion in remediation and  lawsuits. Didn't BP have some sort of oil disaster in the states awhile back, that hinged among other things on a faulty blowout preventer, that had dead batteries in it? Haven't seen it in the news anymore so I imagine it was either just a rumor or more of that scare-mongering that goes on in the internet tubes or pipes or whatever they use wherever they make the ether that goes into the ethernet.

HungrySeagull's picture

Bottom line profits be GODDAMNED!!!!


Build the fucking wall 200 feet high to withstand any but the most world destroying tusnami.

If they only shut it down when it was time to do it, the damn complex would be nice and cold by now and it matters not what the waves did.


Now they have lost ALL profits because they built a wall too short.

Element's picture

Beware the comfy chair.

Oh, you noticed that too. +1

Plumplechook's picture

Two UK nuclear experts on Australian national radio this morning (Friday) saying that conditions at the Fukushima plant are now relatively stable and there is no need to cover the reactors in concrete. Lawrence Williams, professor of Nuclear Safety at the University of Central Lancashire, and Dr John Price, former head of safety policy at the UK's National Nuclear Corporation said that the temperature and pressure readings from the core of reactors 1, 2 and 3 indicated the situation has been stable for the last two weeks, and that continued pumping of fresh water into the reactor cores will eventually bring the situation under control as the decay heat in the fuel rods diminishes.

Professor Williams said 'As there hasn't been any major catastrophic release of radioactivity, if they can continue now to get freshwater into the reactors and cool them, the decay heat is now stabilising, - it will take some time for it to disappear - but so far so good'.

Element's picture

This called denial.

The notion that their meal ticket just left on the last bullet train out of Dodge is too much for them to face.

Fuck them both. Seriously, I have had enough of these coopted handwringers.


sorry, just not in the mood for these people today

Herman Strandschnecke's picture

Thank heavens. I was hoping against hope someone would come along and say its alright. British experts, too! I bet they've got their own direct remote sensors plugged in to the facility, covertly installed by a secret SAS team dropped in under the guise of a Chinook carrying water buckets..