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Old 08-20-2011, 10:05 AM
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Default Fukushima updates

Just because it really seems to have disappeared largely from the news - Fukushima is not done yet.
Last week, TV news reported briefly (the internet media were more detailled) that several spots on the site outside the buildings have 10 Sv/h. This would kill anyone being there for about 30 minutes by radiation poisoning (and probably kill you by cancer in the future even at way less time of exposure).

It seems, that it is even worse than that because the detection devices do not go beyond 10 Sv/h, so they essentially maxed out.

Also some of the >3000 workers there seem to "cheat" and not use their dosimeters correctly, so they may get more radiation than it seems. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ml5gKbStfY - UK television)

And here is a news bit from Russian Television from 2 days ago :
Hartmann - Fukushima...is this the China Syndrome? - YouTube
It describes that there is possibly radiactive steam coming from cracks in the ground on site (which has not been confirmed yet) and that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (in the US) determined that there are broken fuel rods that had to come from the inside of the reactors found over a mile from the plant. Its television, so no linked references for these, but unless the interviewed person is blatantly lying this is very concerning.


So its not over till its over....
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Last edited by auroraglacialis; 08-20-2011 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
"china syndrome"
Stopped reading here - real life fiction?
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:29 AM
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The newest attempt to try and keep radioactive particles from spreading out from the destroyed block 1 of Fukushima-Daiichi is to cover the ruins with plastic foil. Of course, this is by no means an effective protection against the radiation emitting from the ruins.
(source: Fukushima: Folienzelt für Reaktorruine | Telepolis )

This disaster marks the necessity for Japan to undergo major social changes, too, since the quake and tsunami has destroyed large parts of the infrastructure, energy production facilities and has had powerful effects on the Japanese economy, which has been in a constant crisis for two decades now.

Different from the Chernobyle disaster, Japan will suffer from long-term exposure, since radioactive elements will continue being released over a longer period of time, rather than in one big blast. Effects, such as rising cancer rates and malformation of children will become apparent only in decades to come. With the constant release of radioactive elements around Fukushima, there will be long-lasting highly irradiated zones 300 to 500 kms around the reactor site. Current official estimates tell us about a possible containment not before 2014. The consequences of this accident on Japan will have to be born by generations to come.

Japan has been victim of two nuclear disasters with effects on the whole world as well as its society: the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, marking the beginning of the nuclear arms race and the Fukushima reactor catastrophe in 2011, marking a reevaluation of the "peaceful" use of nuclear power.

(Source: Japan vor dem Umbau seiner Gesellschaft | Telepolis )

"After years, even a disaster may be good for something" - Japanese proverb

The people there are bearing one hell of a heavy load, for sure.

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Old 08-21-2011, 09:49 AM
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10Sv/h, that's an awful lot of radiation.

I've been reading a little about this, to sum it up:
-Radiation measurements of 10Sv/h near broken cooling tower of unit 1 and 2 (Far right, top in this picture http://cryptome.org/eyeball/daiichi-npp/pict9.jpg)
-The workers taking these measurements recieved a 400mSv dose, at 100mSv risk of cancer proven to be elevated
-Japanese citizens with geiger counters are finding hotspots all over Japan, some were found in the Chiba Prefcture, 120 miles from Fukushima Daiichi.
-Typhoon Ma-On is due to hit Japan soon, further inreasing the risk of contamination, as building 3 has no roof and a basement full of radioactive coolant, Tepco has put a structure over the #3 turbine building, but the reactor building itself, the main potential source of contamination, still has no roof.
-The fuel in all three affected reactors is still above 100C
-Sale of beef from the Fukushima Prefecture has been suspended due to Cesium-137 contamination, 578 contaminated steer are believed to have been eaten already
-Iodine-131 levels still high. Iodine-131 has an 8-day half life, any initial release would have decayed by now, indicating ongoing release of radiation
-34000 students in Fukushima will be given dosimeters to wear constantly, they wont be handed out until September and will only be read once a month..
-The "safe" level of readiation has been raised by the Japanese government from 100 to 250mSv/yr for nuclear workers and 1 to 20 mSv/yr for everyone else.
-99.9% RH in reactor building #2 due to parts of the melted core boiling water from the supression pool, which also means the supression pool is exposed to the outside, and the fuel has melted through a layer of steel and two layers of concrete. (#18 in this diagram: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...eaktor.svg.png)

As for my personal opinion on the possibility of a "China Syndrome" type accident, I think this may indeed be a reliable source, and not just media hype. Like I said, the core of one reactor made it all the way to the supression pool, just one layer away from the ground. No one really knows how far the meltdown has progressed in the other units, there's no reason why 6 inches of concrete would stop the core if it was hot enough to melt through twice as much concrete and steel to get to that point. All I can say is either way, there are a lot of people that are going to be affected by this no matter what the finer details are. And they have a fair point on the media "blackout". If the nuclear industry was to advertise these findings, the media would grab on and hype it up even worse, making it a "double whammy" against the nuclear industry. We went from having nothing but Fukushima on the news and a week later, nothing but Charlie Sheen and people ranting about gas prices. The only people that do get news on this are extremely behind.

Last edited by Sight Unseen; 08-21-2011 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Sight Unseen View Post
We went from having nothing but Fukushima on the news and a week later, nothing but Charlie Sheen and people ranting about gas prices. The only people that do get news on this are extremely behind.
That's the sad truth, really. There has been the "Fukushima effect" in people thinking about changing their electricity suppliers to those providing so-called "green power" (non-nuclear, non-fossile). I'm putting this in quotes, since we know that not all renewable power is truly "green" (Belo Monte Dam, for instance, isn't green at all...). In Germany, about 4.5 million people have changed to different power suppliers in the first half of 2011, 80 per cent of those choosing green power directly after the reactor disaster.

However, the percentage of people asking for green power especially when wanting to change their electricity supplier, has begun to shrink as early as May to 62 per cent, shrinking further to 55 per cent in June and has reached about 33 per ecnt currently... with the catastrophe out of the headline news, people are seemingly getting lethargic.

(Source: Wer definiert was Ökostrom ist? | Telepolis )

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Old 08-21-2011, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by txim_asawl View Post
There has been the "Fukushima effect" in people thinking about changing their electricity suppliers to those providing so-called "green power" (non-nuclear, non-fossile).
Heh, switching electricity suppliers really does nothing. You're connected to the same grid, and the grid is connected to the same generating facilities on the other end. The same amount of your bill goes to paying for the grid and the plants, the only difference is which company gets the profits and how much they charge you over the real cost of the power.
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Old 08-21-2011, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Sight Unseen View Post
Heh, switching electricity suppliers really does nothing. You're connected to the same grid, and the grid is connected to the same generating facilities on the other end. The same amount of your bill goes to paying for the grid and the plants, the only difference is which company gets the profits and how much they charge you over the real cost of the power.
That's the weirdness of a deregulated system of electricity supply, as we have it here in Germany. There are different market roles, such as energy producers (owning and running the plants), grid suppliers and the energy providers (handling the sales and contracts stuff). Technically, all producers, be they nuclear, fossile-fuel-based, water power, solar power, wind, etc., pour their electricity into one big pond (known in German as "Stromsee"), out of which the providers ladle their share - which is done via an electricity stock exchange ("Strombörse", in case of Germany located in Leipzig).

Providers offering true "green electricity" will only buy from energy producers who use solar, wind or water power plants. Of course, the grid used is the same as the so-called "grey power" (fossile and nuclear) is distributed on. But a customer can decide to choose a product, which is produced without using that grey power share. Any grid usage charges will appear on the customer's electricity bill regardless of the fact which kind of power he bought, that's true. To be truly independent from that system, one would have to build his own plant (photovoltaic cells on the roof, a wind turbine in the garden, buffering accumulators in the cellar) and produce one's own juice.


The future of safe renewable energy production lies in small, decentralized production facilities, together with small individual grids, e.g. producing electricity for a few blocks or a suburb, without having to transport it over hundreds of miles, using high-voltage nets, where a lot of it is lost on the way.

But let's not stray too far off-topic.

Wiggling bare toes,

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Old 08-21-2011, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sight Unseen View Post
Heh, switching electricity suppliers really does nothing. You're connected to the same grid, and the grid is connected to the same generating facilities on the other end. The same amount of your bill goes to paying for the grid and the plants, the only difference is which company gets the profits and how much they charge you over the real cost of the power.
Exactly. Particularly since most windmills actually have zero input into the grid, and only profit off subsidies, or else sell their energy to the rid at a loss compared to operation costs, because actually putting their power to use would be too costly for the operator, so they are actually worse than useless as they ruin landscapes and consume resources while wasting money and not providing any actual energy. If the subsidies were abolished, 99% of windmill operators would shut down.
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:40 PM
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Thank you, Sight and Txim for adding to the updates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by txim_asawl View Post
Japan has been victim of two nuclear disasters with effects on the whole world as well as its society: the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, marking the beginning of the nuclear arms race and the Fukushima reactor catastrophe in 2011,
And interestingly the amount of radiation released by Fukushima is almost 30 times (according to japanese radiation safety researchers) as high as with Hiroshima. However the radiation in Fukushima comes from nuclear fuel that is long lasting, not from something that is intended to go up in a short blast. So that effect will stay much longer than Hiroshima

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sight Unseen View Post
Heh, switching electricity suppliers really does nothing. You're connected to the same grid, and the grid is connected to the same generating facilities on the other end.
i would agree if the choice is to get the energy from the same company just with the "green" label. But i can imagine that - if you really want to help along alternative energies - by paying your bills to providers that have only "green" energy supply, that money can then be invested into these forms of energy. Even though there may be some problems with subsidies, still this would do some change. In the end I think that it will be needed to regulate this by policy and not hope for enough people switching to alternative energy providers to shift the whole energy sector away from something that is harmful. Like it is done now in Germany where nuclear power is required by law to degrow and end its existence by 2022.

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Exactly. Particularly since most windmills actually have zero input into the grid, and only profit off subsidies..... If the subsidies were abolished, 99% of windmill operators would shut down.
Source needed...
And this is not the same by the way - Possibly at the moment wind power plants are in need of subsidies (as was the nuclear power industry for many many years in its early phases - and in many countries still are). That does not mean that they can actually live on these alone. Subsidies are normally designed to add to the revenue of the plants to create a profit overall.

On Fukushima and Japan: Here is a recent radiation soil map of Tokyo area: Nationwide Soil Testing Project - that PDF there does look quite scary... As I understand it , it is an alternative, unofficial project.
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by auroraglacialis View Post
Source needed...
Wind farms turn huge profit with help of subsidies - Times Online
Does money grow in wind farms? - Telegraph
£1bn wind farm subsidies pump up power firm profits | Mail Online

Also, if you're interested... In China, the true cost of Britain's clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale | Mail Online

Quote:
And this is not the same by the way - Possibly at the moment wind power plants are in need of subsidies (as was the nuclear power industry for many many years in its early phases - and in many countries still are). That does not mean that they can actually live on these alone. Subsidies are normally designed to add to the revenue of the plants to create a profit overall.
If subsidies were abolished, wind farms would be running at a substantial loss. Depending on the location, they generate around 27% of their claimed capacity, and in some instances less than 7%.
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:48 AM
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And now for something on topic:

Quote:
UPDATE, August 22, 2011. The New York Times reports that Japan is finally getting ready to acknowledge what we have been saying in this space for months: that the Fukushima evacuation zone is an uninhabitable Dead Zone, and no one will live there again for at least many decades. An official government announcement is expected later this week.

The news follows release of a new radiation survey conducted by the government, which shows contamination levels throughout the evacuation zone to be much higher than previously admitted—up to 500+ MilliSieverts/year (50 Rems/Year) in Okuma, two miles southwest of the reactor site. This is actually about twice as high as radiation levels NIRS measured in Pripyat, Ukraine—about two miles from Chernobyl—in 1996.

But high radiation levels also were measured outside the 20 kilometer (12-mile) exclusion zone. Levels in the town of Namie, for example, 22 kilometers to the northwest of Fukushima Daiichi, were reported at 229 MilliSieverts/year—far above inhabitable levels. It is our (unconfirmed) understanding that most, if not all, of Namie previously had been evacuated, as well as some other towns even further from the reactor site. Thus, the actual Dead Zone is expected to be larger than the 20 kilometer radius.

Contamination of food in Japan continues to be a concern, and a concern that only has grown with the first report of Cesium contamination of rice, some 100 miles from Fukushima Daiichi. The rice harvest—critical to Japan—is just beginning. While the contamination levels were below “allowable” amounts, to find any contamination in rice, especially that far from the reactor site, is foreboding.
Source

Hmm, not good.
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:44 PM
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That sounds not cool, Sight. I mean it not really news, because people have been thinking this for a long time, but now this is getting official. Japan will have its own large evacuation zone. Lets hope at least that some good comes from it. Chernobyl seems to be at least not the worst place in the world for a number of animals since humans moved out.

What worries me a lot recently is that the NRC seems to have said that there were pieces of fuel rods found a mile from the Fukushima plant and that by the chemical composition they could only have come from the reactors, not fromt he fuel pools. As much as you twist it, if this is true then the only explanation is that at least one of the reactor vessels was breached by explosion from the inside, which means that it is open.

On the upside, at least the official numbers from measurements near the plant are constant, so at least no big leaks are occuring, though the emissions of the plant keep coming, its not that it is all contained now - there is still material coming out of that area and other material is redeposited after it was burned or eaten and ended up in sewage - or just by wind blowing the dust across Northern Japan.

By the way - is anyone else reminded of the timeline in the "Shadowrun" Sci-Fi - Roleplay - Universe recently? Spooky. Food riots, corporations taking over, Japan is about to start that space based power plant and of course in 2011 in that fiction story, Japan gets irradiated by nuclear meltdowns. O.O Sadly no magic powers or dragons are emerging XD

HNM: I know that Wind power is not a great thing. This is ultimately why I think that what is needed is a (radical) reduction in energy demand and not just more and more. But I'd probably still prefer to have windmills and solar panels over CO2-spewing coal plants or potential nuclear disasters. And if energy costs twice or 5 times as much, so be it. It WILL cost something to keep a planet that is worth living on. And if that means that there have to be subsidies for that, well so be it too. Of course the even better course would be for governments to run these wind parks themselves, then at least the subsidies would not go to some profit-hungry company but only into actually providing energy services... But I know that is "socialism" and thus cannot be talked about.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by auroraglacialis View Post
What worries me a lot recently is that the NRC seems to have said that there were pieces of fuel rods found a mile from the Fukushima plant and that by the chemical composition they could only have come from the reactors, not fromt he fuel pools. As much as you twist it, if this is true then the only explanation is that at least one of the reactor vessels was breached by explosion from the inside, which means that it is open.
Yes, in fact there are three breached reactor cores, if the sources and stats are to be believed.

They need to stop the d*mn politics and do something right now, it's already too late, at least some core material made it into the ground. The problem is that everyone is running around makin' noise, don't know what to do.

Last edited by Sight Unseen; 08-23-2011 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:54 AM
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There needs to be more effort than there is, really - if it is there, then the information is not sufficient.

Considering the fact that nobody has even died here, the problem is with organisation and information - compare this to the innumerable deaths related to oil in both wars and accidents, or even coal, while hydroelectric and wind energy completely destroy large areas of land and rivers' ecology and ruin landscapes and disrupt wildlife respectively. Saying 'well, stop producing energy' is a fantasy as it has to come form somewhere, and preserving areas as unchanged by humans is a tradeoff with increased usage of energy to more efficiently utilise existing areas. Nobody complains about the people displaced permanently by hydroelectric energy. Really, one of the most telling lessons of this is the critical sate of underinvestment, that such old reactors are still running - the design in terms of disaster resistance was sufficient for its projected operating life, which has been extended by decades in many cases because replacements have not come online in a timely manner.


(deaths from dam failures, production accidents and from deaths attributed to radiation and air pollution included)
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Old 08-25-2011, 06:35 PM
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So how do you know if someone dies now of cancer if it was from Chernobyl, the nuclear bomb tests, toxic pollution, diet, smoking or just random chance? Does the cancer have a sign on it that says "made in Chernobyl" or will future cancers have one that say "made in Japan"? I dont think so.

Also i have to say, I applaud the poor workers in Fukushima, I think it is over 3000 people working there, with a decent turnover because some have exceeded their legal limit. If it were not for them, the whole situation would be so much worse. And these people dont even get the credits or a decent pay for that. So sad. We should never forget that the way this runs is - despite all the bad events around this - still handled reasonably well. The workforce of these 3000 people prevents that the whole thing gets out of control. Some say it is a "worst case scenario", I say it could be much much worse, if for some reasons (social breakdown, multiple crisis, economic failures, technological failures) the crews there would not have been able to do what they did.

oh by the way - does the death count include people that dies in the aftermath of the tsumani and earthquake that could have helped if the government would not have had to divert a big chunk of resources to prevent an even bigger nuclear crisis? I didnt think so.

Oh by the way - what is that about a plant in Virginia having had some kind of emergency that they only could resolve by using a 2nd level backup system?
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"Humans are storytellers. These stories then can become our reality. Only when we loose ourselves in the stories they have the power to control us. Our culture got lost in the wrong story, a story of death and defeat, of opression and control, of separation and competition. We need a new story!"
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