Tag Archives | Nuclear Meltdown

Fukushima Radiation About to Reach U.S. West Coast

VOA Herman - April 13 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant-04When the mainstream media like USA Today is reporting on radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster reaching the Unites States’ West Coast, you can pretty much be sure that it’s no longer alarmist environmentalists and other activists sounding the alarm:

Very low levels of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster likely will reach ocean waters along the U.S. West Coast next month, scientists are reporting.

Current models predict that the radiation will be at extremely low levels that won’t harm humans or the environment, said Ken Buesseler, a chemical oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who presented research on the issue last week.

But Buesseler and other scientists are calling for more monitoring. No federal agency currently samples Pacific Coast seawater for radiation, he said.

“I’m not trying to be alarmist,” Buesseler said. “We can make predictions, we can do models. But unless you have results, how will we know it’s safe?”

The news comes three years after the devastating Japan tsunami and resulting nuclear accident.

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Radiation Leaking From Fukushima Site 18 Times Greater Than Previously Believed

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Radiation levels were being measured using devices with far-too-limited scales, the BBC reports:

Radiation levels around Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant are 18 times higher than previously thought, Japanese authorities have warned.

Last week the plant’s operator reported radioactive water had leaked from a storage tank into the ground. It now says readings taken near the leaking tank on Saturday showed radiation was high enough to prove lethal within four hours of exposure.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) had originally said the radiation emitted by the leaking water was around 100 millisieverts an hour. However, the company said the equipment used to make that recording could only read measurements of up to 100 millisieverts.

The new reading will have direct implications for radiation doses received by workers who spent several days trying to stop the leak last week. Experts have said the scale of water leakage may be worse than officials have admitted.

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Experts: The Technology Needed To Clean Up Fukushima Doesn’t Yet Exist

One and a half years later, the consensus seems to be that the site of the Fukushima nuclear accident cannot be cleaned up or contained until future generations invent the technology to do so, Washington’s Blog notes:

World-renowned physicist Michio Kaku said recently: “It will take years to invent a new generation of robots able to withstand the radiation.” The world leader in decommissioning nuclear reactors, and one of the main contractors hired to clean up Fukushima – EnergySolutions – made a similar point in May:

Concerning the extraction of fuel debris [at Fukushima], “There is no technology which may be directly applied,” said [top EnergySolutions executive] Morant.

A top American government nuclear expert – William D. Magwood – told the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works:

There will need to be new technologies and new methodologies created to be able to enable them to clean the site up and some of these technologies don’t exist yet, so there’s a long way to go with that…There’s a long, long way to go.

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Radioactive Beef Circulating In Japan

63970509Apparently, highly radioactive beef from cows that lived near the Fukushima accident site is unknowingly being served up as burgers at Tokyo eateries, AFP reports:

Radiation fears mounted in Japan on Wednesday after news that contaminated beef from a farm just outside the Fukushima nuclear no-go zone has been shipped across the country and probably eaten.

Meat from 11 cows at the farm was found at the weekend to be contaminated with up to six times the legal limit of caesium and the farmer has since admitted he fed the animals straw exposed to radioactive fallout.

Of the total amount, 3,165 pounds of beef were distributed to shops and restaurants in 12 prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, a Tokyo metropolitan government official said.

Food testing remains largely under the control of prefectural officials, who admit that they can only carry out spot checks for contamination. Fukushima prefecture officials said the farmer had stated in a questionnaire that the cows had not been fed contaminated straw, but tests later showed the straw contained caesium 56 times the legal limit, Kyodo News reported.

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Confessions Of A Nuclear Power Safety Expert

3464115270_3c602de1d8An expert on the safety of nuclear power plants comes to the conclusion that there is simply no such thing as an 100 percent safe nuclear reactor. Via Miller-McCune:

I soon came to the conclusion that neither international cooperation nor technological advancements would guarantee human societies to build and safely run nuclear reactors in all possible conditions on Earth (earthquakes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, wars, terrorism, climate change, tsunamis, pandemics, etc.). I am sadly reminded of this turning point in my life as I listen to the news about the earthquake, tsunami and extremely worrying nuclear crisis in Japan.

When Italy decided in the mid-’70s to add nuclear power to its power portfolio, young mechanical and nuclear engineer Cesare Silvi was among those attracted to the opportunities it presented. His work centered on nuclear safety issues — in particular, what might happen if something unexpected struck a power plant.

Corners he saw cut there eventually soured Silvi on that endeavor.

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Inside Report: Fukushima’s Nuclear Evacuation Zone

Fukushima, Japan - The Japanese government issued an evacuation order on March 12 for residents living within the 20 kilometer radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Since then, residents have left their homes, and the "no man land" has been out of touch with the rest of the world. A Japanese journalist, Tetsuo Jimbo, ventured through the evacuation zone last Sunday, and filed the following video report. He says that inside the evacuation zone, homes, buildings, roads and bridges, which were torn down by the tsunami, are left completely untouched, and the herd of cattle and pet dogs, left behind by the owners, wanders around the town while the radiation level remains far beyond legal limits.
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2 To 3 Minutes In Hell: Cleaning Chernobyl

A gripping, short documentary video of the horrifying challenge confronting the Soviet Union's "biorobots" -- soldiers, scientists, and civilians who were tasked with the emergency cleanup following the explosions at Chernobyl. Radio-controlled robotic machines were used at first, but their circuitry broke down from the radiation, leaving humans with shovels as the only option.
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America’s Most Vulnerable Nuclear Power Plants

3596889720_f52826d665_zIs this list a case of fear-mongering? Possibly, but I would want to be aware if I lived nearby one of these wildcards. The Daily Beast presents a ranking of our nation's most ripe-for-disaster nuclear reactors, as determined by a panel of experts, with Indian Point (Buchanan, NY), San Onofre ( San Clemente, CA), and Limerick, PA rounding out the top three:
1. Indian Point Location: Buchanan, NY (24 miles north of New York City) Reactors: 2 Electrical Output (megawatts): Unit 2: 1020; Unit 3: 1025 Year Operating License Issued: Unit 2: 1973; Unit 3: 1975 Population within 50 Miles: 17,452,585 Relative Safety Rating: bottom third
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Sales of Doomsday Bunkers Up 1,000%

Blake Ellis reports for CNN:
A devastating earthquake strikes Japan. A massive tsunami kills thousands. Fears of a nuclear meltdown run rampant. Bloodshed and violence escalate in Libya. And U.S. companies selling doomsday bunkers are seeing sales skyrocket anywhere from 20% to 1,000%...
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The ‘Nuclear Boy’ Viral Video Sensation From Japan

For those of you who haven't already seen this video, currently making the rounds of weirdness aggregation sites everywhere, here's the Japanese cartoon that explains the Fukushima nuclear reactor crisis to children. Apparently Kazuhiko Hachiya's “Nuclear Boy” is actually playing on national TV in Japan.
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