Fukushima Update

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.