As reported yesterday, it has increased considerably due to the typhoon rains and the faltering treatment system which is not working at the rates anticipated to decontaminate the stored water.
The utility uses a wastewater system that decontaminates radioactive water and recycles it as coolant for reactors. But since a June 17th test run of the system, it has been plagued with glitches and its operating rate has remained below the target of 70 percent.
TEPCO says, however, that the radioactive water in the basements is very unlikely to overflow since the system is working, and that the transfer can resume in 2 days. TEPCO also reported that one of the system's pumps in a device for removing radioactive cesium has stopped working, but that the failure has not affected the system's operating rate.
Friday, July 29, 2011 16:03 +0900 (JST)
Despite the fact both the government and TEPCO have claimed success in Step 1 of their plan for "reducing" radiation from Fukushima, you can see from this article that the so-called reduction is a semantic construction. It was based on comparing the amounts from the explosions with the on-going radiation now. So of course their was a reduction.
Twenty-four billion BQs per day is the current emission rate from reactors 1,2, and 3 as calculated (NOT measured) by TEPCO. Actually
testing the air in the reactors will prove very interesting as it will help determine what KINDS of radioactivity are being released as well as the amount.
TEPCO to extract air from troubled reactors: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/29_13.html
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it will extract air from troubled reactors at the plant to measure the amount of radioactive substances. The work is part of efforts to curb the amount of radioactivity released into the atmosphere.
Up to around one billion becquerels of radioactive substances are believed to be released every hour from reactors No.1, 2 and 3. It is not known how accurate this figure is because it was worked out by taking readings of the air on the plant's premises.
Tokyo Electric Power Company plans to extract air inside the containment vessels of the reactors through pipes. The extracted air will be analyzed by a device set up on the first floor of the reactor buildings.
The operation is intended to obtain accurate data on what kind of radioactive substances are being released and in what quantity.
The air extraction is expected to begin later on Friday for the No.1 reactor and in early August for the No.2 unit. No plans have been
decided for the No.3 reactor due to high radiation levels in part of its building.
TEPCO hopes the findings may also help the company grasp the extent of leakage of nuclear fuels into the containment vessels.
Under the second phase of its plan to stabilize the plant, TEPCO aims to minimize the release of nuclear materials and bring the reactors to a stable state called a [redefined] cold shutdown over the next 6 months.
Friday, July 29, 2011 09:43 +0900 (JST)
Radioactive sludge at water treatment plants (sewer treatment) is a mounting problem as this story discusses. Note that the total amount of radioactive sludge may be over 100,000 tons when both tested and yet-to-be-tested sludge amounts are considered. Sludge continues to be produced every day. No one knows what to do with it.
1,500 tons of radioactive sludge cannot be buried: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/29_05.html
Nearly 50,000 tons of sludge at water treatment facilities has been found to contain radioactive cesium as the result of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Over 1,500 tons is so contaminated that it cannot be buried for disposal. Water treatment facilities in eastern and northeastern Japan have been discovering sludge containing cesium.
The health ministry says there is 49,250 tons of such sludge in 14 prefectures in eastern and northeastern Japan.
A total of 1,557 tons in 5 prefectures, including Fukushima and Miyagi, was found to contain 8,000 or more becquerels per kilogram. This sludge is too radioactive to be buried for disposal. The most contaminated sludge, with 89,697 becquerels per kilogram, was discovered at a water treatment facility in Koriyama City, Fukushima.
The ministry says 76 percent of the roughly 50,000 tons of radioactive sludge is being stored at water treatment plants and they have no ways to dispose of most of it.
It says more than 54,000 tons of additional sludge has not been checked for radioactive materials.
The ministry plans to study how to dispose of the radioactive sludge.
Friday, July 29, 2011 04:35 +0900 (JST)
It is easy to see that Japan has no means to deal with all the contamination from the Fukushima disaster. Sludge from sewage treatment is just one of the problems There is also all the contaminated soil, contaminated rubble, contaminated food products and so on. Not to mention the contaminated water and sludge at the plant itself.
If you have any doubts of the severity of the contamination problem, SKF has a 3-part series on the testimony Professor Kodama before the Committee on Welfare and Labour in Japan' Lower House of the Diet this week titled "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?", which I suggest you take the time to read and watch. It is chilling and heart rending.
As explained in in part 1:
"Remember Professor Kosako, also from the University of Tokyo, who resigned in protest as special advisor to the prime minister over the 20 millisievert/year radiation limit for school children? …Professor Kodama literally shouted at the politicians in the committee, "What the hell are you doing? He was of course referring to the pathetic response by the national government in dealing with the nuclear crisis, particularly when it comes to protecting children."
PART 1: http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/07/professor-tatsuhiko-kodama-of-tokyo.html
Were Dr. Kodama explains the type and extent of the radiation contamination in Japan
PART 2: http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/07/part-2-professor-tatsuhiko-kodama-of.html
Where Dr. Kodama discusses internal radiation research he has been involved in. As little as 6 Bq of radiation can produce cancer
depending on where it lodges in the body he says.
Here is PART 3, today's installment: http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/07/part-3-professor-tatsuhiko-kodama-of.html
Imagine you are a parent in relatively low contamination area, putting your children on a school bus every day to go to a school in a highly contaminated area.
(Part 3) Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama of Tokyo University Tells the Politicians: "What Are You Doing?"
Testimony by Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama of Tokyo University continues. He goes back to Minami Soma City where his Radioisotope Center has been helping to decontaminate.
" We at the Radioisotope Center of Tokyo University have been helping to decontaminate Minami-Soma City, sending about 4 people at a time and doing decontamination work for the length of 700km per week.
Again, what's happening to Minami-Soma clearly shows that 20 or 30 kilometer radius [from the nuke plant] doesn't make any sense at all. You have to measure in more detail like measuring each nursery school.
Right now, from the 20 to 30 kilometer radius area, 1,700 school children are put on the buses to go to school. Actually in Minami-Soma, the center of the city is located near the ocean, and 70% of the schools have relatively low level of radiation. Yet, children are forced to get on the school buses to go all the way to schools near Iitate-mura [where radiation is higher], spending 1 million yen everyday for the busing.
I strongly demand that this situation be terminated as soon as possible.
What's most problematic is the government's policy that they will compensate the residents for the moving cost only if their areas are designated as official evacuation zones. In a recent committee held at the House of Councilors [Upper House], President Shimizu of TEPCO and Mr. Kaieda, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry answered that way. I ask you to separate the two immediately - compensation criteria issue and children's safety issue.
I strongly ask you to do whatever you can to protect the children.
Another thing is, what I strongly feel when I'm doing the decontamination work in Fukushima is that emergency decontamination and permanent decontamination should be dealt with separately.
We've been doing a lot of emergency decontamination work. For example, if you look at this diagram, you will notice that the bottom of this slide is where small children put their hands on. Every time the rain stream down the slide, more radioactive materials accumulate. There can be a difference in radiation level between the right side and the left side. If such difference occurs and if the average radiation of the slide is 1 microsievert, then one side can measure as high as 10 microsieverts. We should do more emergency decontamination work in such places.
The ground right under the roof gutter is also where children frequently put their hands on. If you use high pressure washer you can reduce the radiation level from 2 microsieverts to 0.5 microsievert.
However, it is extremely difficult to lower the level to less than 0.5 microsievert, because everything is contaminated. Buildings, trees, whole areas. You can lower radiation dose of one place, but very difficult to do that for the whole area.
Then, how much will it cost when you seriously do the decontamination work? In case of "Itai-Itai Disease" caused by cadmium
poisoning, to decontaminate half of cadmium-contaminated area of roughly 3,000 hectare, the government has spent 800 billion yen so far.
How much money will be needed if we have to decontaminate the area 1,000 times as big?
Finally, Professor Kodama has 4 demands, although probably due to the time constraint he was able to elaborate only three:
So, I'd like to make four urgent requests.
First, I request that the Japanese government, as a national policy, innovate the way to measure radiation of food, soil, and water, through using the Japan's state-of-the-art technology such as semiconductor imaging detectors. This is absolutely within Japan's current technological capability.
Second, I request that the government enact a new law as soon as possible in order to reduce children's radiation exposure. Right now, what I'm doing is all illegal. The current "Radiation Damage Prevention Law" specifies the amount of radiation and the types of radionuclides that each institution can handle. Now Tokyo University is mobilizing its workforce in its twenty-seven Radioisotope Centers to help decontaminate Minami-Soma City, but many of the centers don't have a permission to handle cesium.
It's illegal to transport it by cars. However, we cannot leave highly radioactive materials to mothers and teachers there, so we put them all in drums and bring them back to Tokyo. To receive them is illegal. Everything is illegal.
The Diet is to blame for leaving such situations as they are. There are many institutions in Japan, such as Radioisotope Centers at national universities, which have germanium detectors and other state-of-the-art detectors. But how can we, as the nation, protect our children if these institutions' hands are tied? This is the result of the gross negligence by the Diet.
Third, I request that the government as a national policy mobilize technological power of the private sector in order to decontaminate the soil. There are many companies with expertise of radiation decontamination; chemical companies such as Toray and Kurita, decontamination companies such as Chiyoda Technol and Atox, and construction companies such as Takenaka Corporation. Please mobilize their power to create a decontamination research center in Fukushima as soon as possible.
It will take tens of trillions of yen to do the decontamination work. I'm gravely concerned that it might become public works project involving concessions. [In other words, business as usual in Japan where only the businesses and politicians benefit.]
We don't have the luxury to spare a single second considering the financial condition of the Japanese government. We must figure out how we really do the decontamination work.
What on earth is the Diet doing, when 70,000 people are forced out of their homes and wandering?
That's all. Thank you."