Saturday, May 7, 2011

#Fukushima Prefectural Government Didn't Tell Residents About SPEEDI Radioactive Fallout Forecast After Reactor 1 Explosion

Just a headline now at Kyodo News Japanese (5/8/2011):

【ニュース速報…福島第1原発事故】福島県、爆発翌日公表せず 国の拡散予測図

This just in... Fukushima I Nuke Plant Accident: Fukushima Prefectural Government didn't make the SPEEDI forecast of the spread of radioactive materials public the day after the explosion.

We know that SPEEDI forecasts were done even before anything blew up at Fukushima I Nuke Plant. Now we are going to find that Fukushima Prefectural Government may have sat on the forecast even if it could have made it public and alert the residents of the danger.

Governments of all levels kill.

Robot Expo at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Now Sweden's Brokk Is Coming

The CEO of the company says his machine is the best and the toughest, having been tested in decommissioning and cleanup at the Chernobyl nuke plant.

From Robotland blog (5/5/2011):

"Swedish Brokk, the world´s leading manufacturer of remote controlled demolition machines, is delivering two Brokk 330 Diesel robots and a brand new larger robot to Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

"The first task for the machines is to provide access to highly contaminated areas and clean up contamination. “One key difference between Brokk’s demolition robots and other robots currently on site is that our machines are capable of carrying out multiple different and tougher tasks, such as tearing down concrete structures and take care of heavier contaminated materials” says Martin Krupicka CEO of Brokk.

"The first contact with Brokk and its Japanese partner BGE Company Ltd was taken soon after the accident at Fukushima, as Brokk demolition robots are known globally for decommissioning and material handling in radioactive environments.

"Brokk has successfully delivered robots for demolition, decommissioning and disposal of radioactive material to the nuclear industry for over twenty years, including to the USA, France, Great Britain, Russia and Japan. Brokk machines have for example been used for decommissioning and cleanup at Chernobyl in Urkraine. Brokk was chosen for this extremely challenging work by Taisei Corp, which works for TEPCO at Fukushima, because of our extensive experience in the nuclear industry. Brokk has over two hundred machines at various nuclear sites worldwide. "

TEPCO: "Release of Radioactive Materials from Reactor 1 Building Will Be Small"

and the famous last word, I'm sure. "No ill effect on human health".

The latest from Yomiuri Shinbun (10:26PM JST 5/7/2011):


TEPCO announced on May 7 that there is a possibility that radioactive materials may be released in the afternoon of May 8 from the reactor building of the Reactor 1 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.


TEPCO is going to open the double door to the reactor building [for the first time since the accident] so that the workers can work inside the reactor building for longer periods. TEPCO will monitor the radiation level in and around the plant.

 東電によると、タービン建屋との間にあるこの二重扉を利用して敷設した配管で、原子炉建屋内の空気をタービン建屋側に設置した浄化装置に引き込 み、浮遊する放射性物質を除去している。二重扉はタービン建屋側に作った小部屋で覆っているため、両方の建屋は事実上は仕切られていた。

The air inside the reactor building is being fed through the ducts that go through the double door between the reactor building and the turbine building, and to the air filtering system set up inside the turbine building that removes radioactive materials in the air. TEPCO built a compartment to separate the area where the double door is; so far the turbine building and the reactor building have been separated by this compartment.


However, [TEPCO says] the level of radioactive materials inside the reactor building has been reduced enough for further works to be carried out inside the building, thanks to the air filtering system that's been in operation since May 5. TEPCO will remove the compartment [between the reactor building and the turbine building] in the afternoon of May 8 and open the double door.

That's diametrically opposite of what the government officials were apparently saying on May 1, when the PM's assistant was on record saying "there will be a large amount of radioactive materials released on May 8".

No estimate or simulation of how low (or high) the level may be of the radioactive materials coming out of the Reactor 1 reactor building. No official (government) word.

For the rest of us, we are supposed to take TEPCO's word and feel secure and comforted that radiation will be low.

This is the company that somehow forgot (didn't bother, I might say) to inform the plant workers of the "dry vent" (the link is in Japanese) that it did on Reactor 1 on March 12, exposing the workers on the ground to high radiation without them knowing. Only a handful operators who did the vent, and some in the operation headquarters at the plant knew about it, and not all workers had dosimeters with them at that time (dosimeters were swept away and lost in the tsunami).

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: May 8 Release of Large Amount of Radioactive Materials?

That's what Taro Kono, Representative of Japan's Lower House, says on his May 5 blog post. Referring to an email he received from a bureaucrat at Japan's Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, he quotes from one of the email attachment - minutes of the general meeting on May 1 of the government-TEPCO consolidated headquarters to deal with Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident.

From his May 5 blog post :


Minutes of the general meeting on May 1 of the government-TEPCO consolidated headquarters [to deal with Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident]


"At the rate things are going, a large amount [of radioactive materials] will be released on May 8."


"This [not clear what "this" is, without context] is a very important step to install the heat exchanger, said the PM assistant Hosono. He also said (regarding the possibility of radioactive materials released [outside the reactor building] from now on) that the people involved should share information with each other thoroughly, and be sensitive so as not to repeat the mistakes when the contaminated water was released into the ocean."

Well, who do you think are the "people involved"?

My guess? The government people - chiefs and deputy chiefs at ministries and agencies, and maybe the governor of Fukushima, and TEPCO. When the contaminated water was dumped into the ocean, the Minister of Agriculture and Fishery was upset not because he thought dumping radioactive water was bad but because no one had told him beforehand.

The "people involved" don't seem to include the residents of Fukushima or Japan. Maybe not even the plant workers.

Aside from Mr. Kono's blog post, there is no announcement from any government ministry or agency warning the residents of the potential danger of release of radioactive materials on May 8, when TEPCO is planning to open the double door to the Reactor 1's reactor building to start the work of installing a cooling system that uses a heat exchanger inside the reactor building.

That TEPCO will start the work on May 8 is in the mainstream news, but no word on a large amount of release of radioactive materials possibly as part of the work. Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says the amount will be very small. (Uh huh.)

There are some who speculates that the cooling of the Reactor 1 by the "water entombment" is not what it seems. This journalist (link is in Japanese) says one of his friends who used to work at Fukushima I Nuke Plant as an engineer thinks the main purpose of filling the Containment Vessel with water is "wet vent". If the release of radioactive materials in large amount is expected on May 8, the reason why TEPCO is pouring more water into the Containment Vessel is to do the "wet vent" that will reduce the amount of radioactive materials coming out of the Pressure Vessel by having them go through water.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Political Theater in Japan over Hamaoka Nuke Plant, over Wrong Reason: Tsunami

Hamaoka Nuke Plant, which sits on a soft rock right by the beach, wouldn't need a big tsunami from a big earthquake to get knocked out. All it would take is an earthquake the size that's anticipated in the region (Tokai) for a long time and which is said to be overdue.

Even the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident was not caused by the tsunami. It was the earthquake that knocked down the only power transmission tower that supplied electricity to the plant, and that was the beginning of the crisis at the plant that has affected wide areas in the entire northern hemisphere. Of all the TEPCO's power transmission towers, that was the only tower that fell down.

But never mind the details like that. The embattled PM Naoto Kan would do anything and everything to show to people in Japan that he's in charge, and he "requested" Hamaoka Nuke Plant be stopped because "it does not have adequate measures against the tsunami that may be generated after a big Tokai earthquake.

By the time the tsunami from the big quake hits Hamaoka, there may be not much left to sweep away.

Yomiuri reports (5/7/2011) that:


Prime Minister Kan held a press conference at the Prime Minister's Official Residence and announced that he had requested Chubu Electric Power Company to halt all the reactors at its Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant (Omaezaki City, Shizuoka Prefecture). The request was conveyed to Chubu Electric by Minister of Economy and Industry Kaieda.

 理由として、静岡県を中心とする東海地震の発生確率が高いとされる中、防波壁の設置など津波対策強化の必要性を指摘した上で、「国民の安全と安心 を考えた。重大な事故が発生した場合の日本社会全体の甚大な影響もあわせて考慮した」と説明した。中部電力も首相の要請を受け入れる方向だ。

As to the reason for the request, Kan pointed out the necessity for stronger measures against tsunami such as breakwater because of the high likelihood of a Tokai earthquake centered in Shizuoka Prefecture, and said "It is for the safety and security for the citizens. I also considered the grave effect on the Japanese society if a serious accident were to happen [at Hamaoka Plant]. Chubu Electric is likely to obey the Prime Minister's request.

The Prime Minster's "request" has no legal basis nor power of enforcement.

Goshi Hosono, the PM's assistant who had said they "didn't feel like announcing" that there was probably a core meltdown at Fukushima, said of his boss' decision that "it was a political decision because of very high probability (84% probability within the next 30 years) of the Tokai earthquake". Right. And natural disasters like earthquake and tsunami will be prevented by that political decision.

Haven't they learned anything in the past 7 weeks or so? Betting on a high probability wouldn't have stopped the earthquake of March 11 (which had been assigned a very, very low probability) and tsunami (also assigned a very, very low probability), or the complete shut down of the power of any source (assigned a very, very, very low probability close to zero).

The opposition groups against Hamaoka Nuke Plant are some of the most vocal, visible, and the most organized of all the groups in Japan that oppose nuclear power plants. Kan must have figured it would be very easy to score some points with these groups.

As for Hamaoka, as this blog has pointed out in the past (here and here), the plant sits on an active fault or two, practically on the beach. The Tokai earthquake itself and the resulting liquefaction would knock the plant out before tsunami would come. (And Godzilla will come...)

Tsuruga Nuke Plant to Stop the Reactor No.2 on May 7

After the highly elevated levels of radioactive xenon-133 and iodine-133 were detected in the cooling water from the Reactor Pressure Vessel of the Reactor 2 on May 2 (see my post on May 2), Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC) has decided to shut down the Reactor 2 at Tsuruga Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture in order to identify which fuel rods are leaking the radioactive materials.

JAPC's latest press release on May 6 shows that the level of xenon-133 has gone up further since May 2. Though the level of iodine-133 dropped to the pre-May 2 level, the level of iodine-131 has since gone up. The level of iodine-131 didn't show any increase on May 2.

JAPC will shut down the Reactor 2 on May 7 by first reducing the power output at 9:00AM, stopping the power generation at 5:00PM, bringing the reactor to a complete stop at 7:ooPM.

Tsuruga Nuke Plant's Reactor 1 is shut down for maintenance (link in Japanese) since January 26, 2011, and won't be back online until March 2012.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reactor 3 Getting Hotter Than Reactor 1

Atmosphere temperature of the Dry Welll, from

Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) temperature:

The latest plant parameters in English from Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) is here.

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: May 5 Photos Inside Reactor 1 Building

TEPCO just released the photos inside the Reactor 1 reactor building on May 5, when 13 workers entered the building to install the ducts for the air-filtering system, braving the radiation level of anything from 10 millisieverts to 1,120 millisieverts per hour.

You can view other photos and videos also at this link:

A worker is measuring the radiation level:

Ducts (pipes) for the air-filtering system, taken from inside the reactor building:

By the way, TEPCO is again increasing the amount of water injected into the Pressure Vessel of the Reactor 1 from 6 tons per hour to 8 tons per hour in the continuing effort to do the "water entombment" of the reactor by injecting the water into the Pressure Vessel and let it leak into the Containment Vessel.

10 tons per hour didn't work the last time, as the pressure dropped too low for TEPCO's comfort. So let's pick 8 and see what happens. Whatever. As Nuclear Safety Commission Chief Haruki Madarame said 6 years ago, "If it gets really dangerous, we will stop doing it." (More of his comments 6 years ago in another post.)

As if the whole accident is little more than a middle-school science project gone bad.

(Don't they have a simulation software or something by now?)

IAEA: "Contaminated Water from #Fukushima to Reach US West Coast Next Year"

Oh that's lovely.

But no need to worry, the IAEA tells us, the level of radioactive materials will be so low there will be no effect on human health. Sorry, fish. I guess they are nuclear scientists and not biologists who know the term "bioconcentration".

Also, the IAEA fully endorses TEPCO's "roadmap" as "well-thought, good plan". No kidding. I guess they do not have a certificate in project management either, if they can praise the roadmap without any detailed timeline, budgeting, man-power allocations, task dependency, etc.

From NHK World (5/6/2011):

The International Atomic Energy Agency says radioactive water leaked from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan may reach the West Coast of North America in one or 2 years.

The nuclear watchdog held a briefing for member countries in Vienna on Thursday on the current situation at the plant, which has not been brought under control since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.

The IAEA said that, based on an analysis of data provided by Japan and other sources, the contaminated water may spread across the Pacific on the Kuroshio current, and reach the coast of North America by next year at the earliest.

It also said traces of Cesium 134 and Cesium 137 leaking from the plant may be measured around the Pacific in 2 or 3 years, but at levels so low as to be of no threat to human health.

IAEA Deputy Director General Denis Flory referred to a roadmap to bring the plant under control, released last month by Tokyo Electric Power Company. He favorably assessed the plan and said the IAEA will closely monitor how it is implemented.

Friday, May 06, 2011 10:51 +0900 (JST)

Now, with the egregious mistake that NHK WORLD made (and still hasn't corrected) in mind, I checked the NHK Japanese. This time, English is slightly understating the original Japanese news (I do believe the original news was in Japanese, considering the awkward English). For bold-letter parts in the English text above, here's the Japanese equivalent translated into English by me:

reach the west coast of the United States as early as next year.

TEPCO came up with the plan after long deliberation and much consideration. It is a good plan.

Did Mr. Flory actually say that?

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Human Workers Entered Reactor 1 Building, Installed Air Filter Pipes

(UPDATE: The maximum radiation that the workers received by braving the Reactor 1 reactor building exceeded 3 millisieverts. It was 3.16 millisieverts, as announced by TEPCO in the morning press conference on May 6.)

For the first time since the Reactor 1 blew up on March 12, human workers entered the reactor building to install pipes for the air filtering system that they are building outside the reactor building. TEPCO hopes to lower the radiation level using this system to the level low enough for more human workers to work in the reactor building long enough to set up an external cooling system for the reactor.

Points from Asahi Shinbun (in Japanese; 5/5/2011):

2 TEPCO employees entered the reactor building at 11:32AM on May 5 to measure the radiation level.

13 workers installed pipes for the air-filtering system by 3:08PM.

The workers were equipped with air tanks so that they wouldn't breathe in radioactive materials. The work was scheduled so that each worker would not receive more than 3 millisieverts. The maximum radiation exposure was 2.8 millisieverts (provisional number).

TEPCO will run the air-filtering system for 24 hours. The air inside the reactor building goes through the pipes, through the air filters to reduce the amount of radioactive materials and circulate back into the reactor building.

If the radiation level is lowered according to the plan, they will start assembling the external cooling system in the reactor building on May 8.

The article is a bit puzzling because it talks about the cooling system using water. But the talk was to build an external cooling system with air, as Yomiuri reported (in Japanese).

That aside, if the max exposure limit was 3 millisieverts per worker and the radiation level inside the Reactor 1 reactor building was between 10 and 1,120 millisieverts per hour, the time a worker could have spent inside the reactor building was anything from 9.6 seconds (1,120 millisieverts/hr location) to 18 minutes (10 millisievert/hr location).

How can the air-filtering system filter out radioactive materials from the air inside the reactor building, when there is practically unlimited source of radioactive materials - i.e. reactor core which has been melted, at least partially if you believe TEPCO and the Japanese government, completely if you believe Mr. Ishikawa of the Japan Nuclear Technology Institute?

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: High Level of Cesium-137 from Ocean Floor Near Reactor 1

From Yomiuri Shinbun (10:28PM JST 5/5/2011):


TEPCO announced on May 5 that 87,000 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium-137 was detected from the ocean soil [on the ocean floor] near Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.


The amount was 38,000 times the amount that had been detected in a survey before the plant accident.


The soil was taken on April 29 from the ocean floor 30 meters off the wharf north of the Reactor 1. In addition to cesium-137, radioactive iodine-131 was detected at 52,000 becquerels [per kilogram] and cesium 134 was detected at 90,000 becquerels [per kilogram]. They had not been detected before the accident.


TEPCO thinks either the highly contaminated water had leaked into the ocean, or the airborne radioactive materials had fell into the ocean and settled on the ocean floor.

TEPCO does not have the press release on this on their site, yet.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission Chief: "I Have No Idea Why Professor Kosako Is So Upset!"

And this hilarity from the head of Nuclear Safety Agency, who says he is "genuinely puzzled as to what Professor Kosako is upset about", from Sankei Shinbun (5/2/2011; my translation, emphasis is mine):

 福島第1原発の事故を受け、文部科学省が定めた校庭の利用基準「年間被曝(ひばく)線量20ミリシーベルト以下」をめぐって与党内からも見直し論が出る 中、政府の原子力安全委員会(班目春樹委員長)は2日、定例会議を開いたが、同問題はまったく議題とならなかった。また、政府の対応を批判した小佐古敏荘 (こさこ・としそう)東大大学院教授の内閣官房参与辞任について、班目委員長は会議終了後、「新聞報道しか知らないが、正直に言って小佐古氏が何に憤慨し ているのかわからない」と述べた。

Even as the members of the ruling party have started to call for the revision of the annual allowable radiation exposure limit of 20 millisieverts for children for using school yards, the number set by the Ministry of Education and Science, the government's Nuclear Safety Commission chaired by Haruki Madarame held its regular meeting on May 2. There was no discussion whatsoever about the issue in the meeting. Referring to the resignation of Professor Toshiso Kosako of Tokyo University as the Prime Minister's special advisor over the government response to the nuclear crisis at Fukushima [and in particular about the radiation exposure for children], Madarame said, "I only know what's reported in the newspapers, but honestly, I haven't a clue as to why Professor Kosako is so upset."

 同委員会は先月19日、福島県の小学校などでの屋外活動における積算放射線量の基準について文部科学省から助言要請を受け、「年間20ミリシーベルトま で」と回答。小佐古教授は先月29日の辞表提出時、「(この数値を)基礎に毎時3・8マイクロシーベルトと決まったが間違いだ」と指摘した。

On April 19, the Ministry of Education and Science requested advice from Madarame's Nuclear Safety Commission on the [new] standard for the cumulative radiation level for outdoor activities in schools in Fukushima Prefecture, and the Commission told the Ministry "up to 20 millisieverts per year" was acceptable. When he tendered his resignation on April 29, Professor Kosako pointed out that "3.8 microsieverts per hour limit was decided, based on (this number of 20 millisieverts per year), but that is a mistake."

 会見した班目委員長は「子供たちが年間20ミリシーベルトを浴びても良いと言ったことはない。(被曝量を)可能な限り低くしていくのが原則だ」とし、文 科省が同委員会に報告した同県内の小学校などでのモニタリング結果についても「われわれは満足していない。『毎時3・8マイクロシーベルトを下回ったから 校庭を使わせる』との非常に安易な報告と受け止めた」と述べ、文科省側への不満を示した。

In the press conference [after the meeting], Madarame said "We never said it was OK for children to be exposed to 20 millisieverts radiation per year. The basic rule is to minimize the radiation level." Regarding the monitoring data of the schools in Fukushima that the Ministry of Education and Science reported to the Commission, Makurame said, "We are not happy. We took it to mean the Ministry would allow the use of school yards as long as the radiation was below 3.8 microsieverts/hour."


In advising the Ministry of Education and Science, the Commission didn't call a formal meeting, and gave the advice that "it was appropriate [to set the annual exposure limit for children at 20 millisieverts]" 2 hours after the advice was first sought. There was no minutes of the Commission's deliberation.


The Commission's procedure was one of the things that Professor Kosako pointed out as shortfalls when he said "I thought it lacked in the judgment following the proper procedure based on law". The Commission says its advice is not based on law, and there is no problem in the procedure.


Madarame defended his Commission's advice, saying "We decided it would be better to give advice as soon as possible instead of holding a meeting in an emergency situation." But he added, "Since it's been more than a month since the accident, it cannot be an emergency situation much longer. As to the advice we give, we are thinking of creating a minutes [of the deliberation]."

Apparently, 4 Commissioners quickly exchanged ideas and decided on the 20 millisieverts per year limit for children, and that was promptly adopted by the Ministry of Education and Science. But the Commission denies that it ever said 20 millisieverts were acceptable. Something doesn't add up here, does it?

But aside from who really "advised" the Ministry of Education and Science on the final number, Commissioner Madarame comes across as another "space alien" just like the former Prime Minister Hatoyama, who doesn't seem to share the same common sense with the rest of us. He genuinely doesn't understand why Professor Kosako was in tears over the 20 millisieverts for children.

Madarame told [link is Japanese] the grandstanding Prime Minister Kan on their way to Fukushima I Nuke Plant on March 12, "But Prime Minister, the nuclear reactors won't blow! It is structurally impossible." It was possible, and they did blow. (Or at least Spent Fuel Pools did.)

And his Commission sat on the SPEEDI simulation data of the nuclear fallout from Fukushima, dutifully following the government order.

UK's Guardian's Blooper: "38 Microsieverts" Somehow Turned Into "38 Millisieverts" for Fukushima School Yard

Let's see if (and how fast) the thought police from Japan descends on Guardian.. The Japanese government and the MSM press already dissed UK's Daily Mail as "sensational", but the paper has actually been covering the earthquake/tsunami/nuke plant accident in a very factual yet compassionate way with excellent photos.

From Guardian's article on May 2, 2011 titled "Fukushima parents dish the dirt in protest over radiation levels" by Jonathan Watts:


A group claiming to represent 250 parents in Fukushima visited the upper house of parliament and presented government officials with a bag of radioactive dirt from the playground of one of the affected schools. A geiger counter clicked over it with a reading of 38 millisieverts.

That's an astonishing number, 38 millisieverts.

Except in this case it's not what the reading was. It was 38 MICROSIEVERTS. It's still awfully higher than what the national and prefectural governments have been telling the residents in Fukushima, but not to the extent of 38 MILLISIEVERTS.

For those of you who understand Japanese (including the writer at Guardian, perhaps?), here's the video of the event. About 9 minutes into the video, they put the dirt in front of the bureaucrat and put the geiger counter on it, and read off the number, "38 microsieverts":

As of today (May 4), it is still "millisievert" at Guardian. Guardian is not alone in insisting on the story that it has published, though. As I've posted before (4/24/11 post), Japan's NHK WORLD (English) reported that "300 millisieverts per hour of radiation was detected in debris on a nearby mountainside", where in reality "From debris found on the side of the Reactor 3 building facing the mountain, 300 millisieverts/hour radiation was detected" (as in the original NHK Japanese news).

After 10 days, the radioactive debris is still "on a nearby mountainside" at NHK WORLD, and no sign of the Japanese thought police even aware of the NHK's blooper.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Japanese Government Finally Divulges What It Has Been Hiding: SPEEDI Radiation Simulations from March 12

(UPDATE) The earliest simulation was done at 4:00PM on March 11, assuming the leak of radioactive materials started at 4:00PM. (To see the simulation, go to the bottom of the post.)


Now, after more than 50 days and after so much contamination of soil, water, air and ocean with radioactive iodine, cesium, strontium, plutonium, americium, curium, among other yet to be disclosed nuclides that have exposed the residents in Japan to heightened internal and external radiations, the Japanese government simply dumps the SPEEDI simulation data on the Ministry of Education's website.

What is, really, the point of telling us now? To say... what? They're sorry that they didn't tell you about the simulation when the radioactive materials were coming at 10,000 terabecquerels/hour and they knew it but were afraid people would freak out? I suppose the people in the administration and in the government would rather have a significant increase in cancer and other illnesses several decades down the line, because by that time they may be no longer in the government or no longer in this world.

The SPEEDI simulation data is here (in Japanese only):

The earliest simulation that has been disclosed at the site is the simulation done on March 12 for the period from 3:00AM March 12 to 3:00AM March 13. The simulation assumed the accident of the Reactor 1. At 2:48AM on March 12, the pressure inside the Pressure Vessel of the Reactor 1 rose significantly, so whoever was in charge of SPEEDI did conduct a simulation assuming the Reactor 1 would blow. Looking at the simulation, it is clear that they assumed the wind direction to be offshore (west by northwest), and most of the radioactive materials would blow over the Pacific Ocean.

However, by the next simulation for 10:00AM to 8:00PM on March 12, the prevailing wind direction forecast shifted over time from northwest to east by southeast to south, resulting in the simulation that forecasts wide dispersion of radioactive iodine inland. The simulation chart below is the internal radiation exposure at the thyroid gland of a 1-year old by inhaling radioactive iodine:

After the Reactor 1 blew up, they even created the simulation for wider area, which shows they predicted the rapid expansion of the radioactive materials well north of Minami-Soma City and reaching Soma City (0ver 40 kilometers away from Fukushima I Nuke Plant), on a prevailing strong wind from the south. This is the simulation chart for the air radiation level, from 6:00PM to 8:00PM on March 12:

Prompt disclosure of such simulations could have made a huge difference. If the initial simulation when the pressure got high in the Reactor 1 of Fukushima I Nuke Plant had been disclosed, then the people in the immediate vicinity of the plant could have evacuated in a more orderly way instead of in a panic after the Reactor 1 blew up.

Professor Toshiso Kosako, who quit the job as the PM's special advisor in protest of the government response to the Fukushima I accident, said in his resignation statement that there was another program called WSPEEDI, which can cover much wider area ("several thousand kilometers", according to Professor Kosako). WSPEEDI can probably cover the entire Japan (except for outlying islands).

The Japanese government is still sitting on WSPEEDI simulations, if any exists as Professor Kosako says.


THE EARLIEST SIMULATION DONE WAS AT 4:00PM ON MARCH 11, and that simulation is posted at the Nuclear Safety Agency's site, not at Ministry of Education site. It assumes a minor accident (because they only forecast noble gas to spread) at the Reactor 1. The simulation chart is the air radiation level from 4:00 PM to 5:00PM on March 11:

Sumitomo Osaka Cement Shipped Radioactive Cement Made From Koriyama Sewage Sludge in Tochigi, Ibaraki, Gunma Prefectures

It was Sumitomo Osaka Cement Company, the 3rd largest cement manufacturer in Japan after Taiheiyo Cement and Ube-Mitsubishi Cement, who unknowingly bought the radioactive sewage sludge from Koriyama City's treatment center.

From Yomiuri Shinbun (11:06PM JST 5/3/2011):


Regarding the high level of radioactive materials detected in the sewage sludge at a sewage treatment center in Koriyama City in Fukushima Prefecture, tt was revealed on May 3 that the cement made from the sludge had been shipped to Tochigi Prefecture and other places.


According to Sumitomo Osaka Cement (headquartered in Tokyo), the sewage sludge was recycled as cement material at its plant in Sano City in Tochigi Prefecture. The company has stopped production and shipment of the cement from the plant.


928 tons of the sewage sludge [from Koriyama facility?] have been used since the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident, and the cement has been shipped to Tochigi, Gunma, and Ibaraki Prefectures and other locations. [The article doesn't say where.]


Radioactive cesium of 26,400 becquerels per 1 kilogram has been detected from the sewage sludge.
928 tons? So it is almost double of what was initially reported (500 tons).

Additional info from the cement company's press release on May 2:
  • The company received sewage sludge from the treatment center in Koriyama since the Fukushima accident from March 12 to April 30. [So, total of 50 days.]

  • The total amount of the sewage sludge received: 928 tons. [18.56 tons per day, NOT 10 TONS per day as initially reported.]

Sumitomo Osaka Cement is understandably upset. In the press release, the company will try to trace the cement already shipped and measure the radiation while demanding the explanation from Fukushima Prefecture.

Understate everything by half. At this point, nothing surprises anyone, does it?

There are 22 other treatment centers in Fukushima that sell sewage sludge. No news on them yet.

More than 1,000 Times the Normal Level of Radioactive Cesium on the Ocean Floor Off the Coast of #Fukushima I Nuke Plant

Radioactive iodine is also 100 times the normal level.

Kyodo News Japanese (5/3/2011):

 福島第1原発事故で東京電力は3日、原発近郊の深さ20~30メートルの海底の土から、通常の100~千倍の濃 度の放射性物質を検出したと発表した。東電が海底の土を分析したのは事故後初めてで「高い濃度だ。環境への影響は、魚介類を採取して分析、評価したい」と している。

TEPCO announced on May 3 that the radioactive materials were found in high concentration from the ocean soil [on the ocean floor] at 20 to 30 meters deep near Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. The concentration was 100 to 1000 times the normal level. It was the first time since the accident that TEPCO collected the soil samples from the ocean floor. TEPCO said the numbers were high, and it would conduct further environmental impact analysis by catching fish [and other seafood] and test them.

 土を採取したのは、第1原発の北約15キロの福島県南相馬市と、南約20キロの同県楢葉町の沖合3キロで、4月 29日に実施。放射性ヨウ素が1キログラム当たり98~190ベクレル、セシウムは1キログラム当たり1200~1400ベクレルだった。通常はいずれも 1キログラム当たり数ベクレルか、検出限界以下。

The locations where the ocean soil was taken are 3 kilometers off the coast of Minami-Soma City, 15 kilometers north of Fukushima I Nuke Plant, and Naraha-machi, 20 kilometers south of the Plant. The sample collection was done on April 29. Radioactive iodine was 98 to 190 becquerels/kilogram, and radioactive cesium was 1200 to 1400 becquerels/kilogram. Normally, they are detected at only a few becquerels/kilogram or ND (below detectable level).


TEPCO thinks the radioactive materials fell from the air into the ocean, or they settled on the ocean floor after they were released in the contaminated water from the Plant. TEPCO will monitor to see if the levels go up.


Ministry of Education and Science announced its sampling data of the ocean soil taken on April 29 at 117 meter deep, 10 kilometers off the coast of a location 50 kilometers south of Fukushima I Nuke Plant; no radioactive materials were detected, according to the Ministry.

TEPCO's press release says it is still analyzing for other nuclides. Hopefully they are looking for strontium, plutonium, uranium, and a host of other nuclides we've become familiar with in the past month and a half. Don't hold your breath that the result will be announced anytime soon, though. TEPCO is disorganized, and the government wants to censor.

Here's the actual numbers from TEPCO's press release on May 3:

Location 1 (3 km off the coast of Odaka Ward, Minami-Soma)
  • Iodine-131 (half life 8 days): 190 becquerels/kilogram

  • Cesium-134 (half life 2 years): 1,300 becquerels/kilogram

  • Cesium-137 (half life 30 years): 1,400 becquerels/kilogram

Location 2 (3 km off the coast of Iwasawa Beach, Naraha-machi)

  • Iodine-131 (half life 8 days): 98 becquerels/kilogram

  • Cesium-134 (half life 2 years): 1,200 becquerels/kilogram

  • Cesium-137 (half life 30 years): 1,200 becquerels/kilogram

Monday, May 2, 2011

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Live Video Feed by TBS

My find of this evening.

TBS TV in Japan has a 24/7 live-feed video of Fukushima I Nuke Plant viewed from the mountain-side. It's HD, and it zooms in and moves.

Since it's a live-feed, it could be cut off unexpectedly. If the embedded video below stops working, go to the TBS/JNN channel at Youtube, here.

Kan Administration Silences Prof. Toshiso Kosako with "Kindly" Advice on Confidentiality

Professor Toshiso Kosako of Tokyo University, who resigned on April 30 in protest over the 20 milli-sieverts per year allowable radiation exposure to children, was threatened with a "kindly advice" from the Prime Minister's Office not to hold a press conference on May 2 to explain his opposition.

"老婆心": literal meaning of the word that I translate into "kindly" is "granny's heart". The advice is for the benefit of Professor Kosako, out of the kindly granny's heart. "It is none of my business really, but just to remind you, for your own good" is the gist of it.

The "kindly advice" told Professor Kosako that he still has a confidentiality obligation not to disclose any information that he was privy to during his days as a special advisor to the Prime Minister.

From Yomiuri Shinbun (5/2/2011):


The press conference that Professor Toshiso Kosako of Tokyo University had planned to give in the evening of May 2 was canceled. Professor Kosako had resigned from his post as special advisor to the Prime Minister on April 30 over the government's dealings with TEPCO's Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident.


According to Representative Seiki Soramoto (Democratic Party of Japan), Professor Kosako was notified by the Prime Minister's Office of the confidentiality agreement [between him and the PM's office] and that led to the cancellation.


Professor Kosako announced his resignation on April 29 saying he couldn't accept the government response to the Fukushima I accident. According to Mr. Soramoto, Professor Kosako was going to give a detailed explanation as to why the radiation exposure limit for use of school yards set by Ministry of Education and Science was problematic.


However, Professor Kosako phoned Mr. Soramoto on May 1 and told him that he couldn't not attend the press conference because he "had been kindly informed (by the source in the Prime Minister's Office)" that he still had a confidentiality obligation."


Ministry of Education and Science has set the annual radiation exposure limit of 20 milli-sieverts for children to use school yards. According to Mr. Soramoto, "Professor Kosako thinks the radiation level that children could be exposed to is 5 milli-sieverts per year at most. It is regrettable that Professor Kosako's point of view cannot be aired."

Cumulative Radiation Level in Namie-machi in Fukushima Exceeds 20 Milli-Sieverts in 40 Days

24.14 milli-sieverts, to be exact, in 40 days. But no one bats an eye over the number any more. Japan is busy doing the "Golden Week holidays".

There are still people remaining in Namie-machi.

Yomiuri Shinbun (5/2/2011) reports:


On May 2, Ministry of Education and Science announced the cumulative radiation levels at 6 locations 29 to 33 kilometers from TEPCO's Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.


The cumulative radiation level from March 23 to May 1 in Akogi in Namie-machi, Fukushima Prefecture, 31 kilometers northwest of the plant, was 24,140 micro-sieverts, or 24.14 milli-sieverts.

Note the number is not counting the radiation from March 11 to March 22, when the release of radioactive materials from the reactors was the worst. The government DOES HAVE THE DATA that could be used to estimate the radiation levels in many places in Japan during that initial period.

Checking back at the past data disclosed by Ministry of Education, the radiation level in Akogi in Namie-machi (survey area No.32):

(5/2/2011: 24.14 milli-sieverts (3/23 - 5/1); +2.99 milli-sieverts from previous week)

4/25/2011: 21.15 milli-sieverts (3/23 - 4/24; +3.17 milli-sieverts from previous week)

4/18/2011: 17.98 milli-sieverts (3/23 - 4/17; +3.5 milli-sieverts from previous week)

4/11/2011: 14.48 milli-sieverts (3/23 - 4/10; +4.14 milli-sieverts from previoius week)

4/4/2011: 10.34 milli-sieverts (3/23 - 4/3; +5.527 milli-sieverts from previous week)

3/28/2011: 4.813 milli-sieverts (3/23 - 3/27; +3.276 milli-sieverts in 3 days)

3/25/2011: 1.537 milli-sieverts (3/23 - 3/24)

Radioactive Materials Leak in Cooling Water in RPV at Tsuruga Nuclear Power Plant

High concentration of radioactive materials with very short half-life, iodine-133 (half-life 21 hours) and xenon-133 (half-life 5.2475 days), was detected in the cooling water inside the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) of the Reactor 2 at Tsuruga Nuclear Power Plant run by Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC).

The amount of iodine-133 doubled from a week ago, and the amount of xenon-133 was 750 times as much as a week ago.

JAPC suspects there are minute holes in the cladding, through which the radioactive materials are leaking.

Tsuruga Nuclear Power Plant is part of what is dubbed as "Nuke Power Ginza" in Fukui Prefecture. There are 5 nuclear power plants in the region with total 14 reactors.

From the company's press release on May 2:

"The Reactor No.2 at Tsuruga Nuclear Power Plant (PWR, 1,160,000 kilowatt) was tested for iodine and noble gas during the regular operation on May 2, 2011 in the cooling water that circulates around the fuel rod clusters; xenon-133 and iodine-133 were found to be exceeding the previous test result of April 26 as follows:

5.2 Bq/cm3 (cubic centimeter) (April 26) to 3,900 Bq/cm3 (May 2)

2.1 Bq/cm3 (April 26) to 4.2 Bq/cm3 (May 2)

"Based on this result, we have determined that there is a possibility of a leak of radioactive materials from the fuel rod clusters, and we have decided to monitor the radiation level of the cooling water [by monitoring it every day, instead of once a week - the footnote No. 2 in the original document].

"Further, in order to identify the leaking fuel rods, we may shut down the reactor.

"There is no leak of radiation in the environment as the result of this event."


Looking at the chart attached to the company's press release, the amount of iodine-131 remained constant, while xenon-133 and iodine-133 spiked.

The Reactor 2 at Tsuruga Plant is in its 18th Cycle (of power generation) that started on July 12, 2010.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama Bin Laden Killed: Stratfor's First Take "We know little beyond what we have been told, but we know it matters."

From Stratfor's Red Alert (5/2/2011 0249GMT):

The United States has killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and recovered his body, according to numerous media reports May 1 citing U.S. officials. U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to make an announcement on the subject. It is not clear precisely how bin Laden was killed or how his body was recovered, but the assertion that he is dead is significant.

Bin Laden had become the symbol of al Qaeda, even though the degree to which he commanded the organization was questionable. The symbolic value of his death is obvious. The United States can claim a great victory. Al Qaeda can proclaim his martyrdom.

It is difficult to understand what this means at this moment, but it permits the Obama administration to claim victory, at least partially, over al Qaeda. It also opens the door for the beginning of a withdrawal from Afghanistan, regardless of the practical impact of bin Laden’s death. The mission in Afghanistan was to defeat al Qaeda, and with his death, a plausible claim can be made that the mission is complete. Again speculatively, it will be interesting to see how this affects U.S. strategy there.

Equally possible is that this will trigger action by al Qaeda in bin Laden’s name. We do not know how viable al Qaeda is or how deeply compromised it was. It is clear that bin Laden’s cover had been sufficiently penetrated to kill him. If bin Laden’s cover was penetrated, then the question becomes how much of the rest of the organization’s cover was penetrated. It is unlikely, however, that al Qaeda is so compromised that it cannot take further action.

At this early hour, the only thing possible is speculation on the consequences of bin Laden’s death, and that speculation is inherently flawed. Still, the importance of his death has its consequences. Certainly one consequence will be a sense of triumph in the United States. To others, this will be another false claim by the United States. For others it will be a call to war. We know little beyond what we have been told, but we know it matters.

Claim victory and get out of Afghanistan and Pakistan (and Kazakhstan and a host of other -stans).

A Handy Map that Calculates Distance from Nuke Plants for Any Given Location In Japan

My find of the evening.

This is from a Japanese site that compares "juku" (private tutoring schools to supplement the regular school work and/or to prepare students for entrance examinations to prestigious schools) in locations throughout Japan), but it has this interesting page that shows the distance of any given location in Japan from all the nuclear power plants in Japan.

This "Let's Find the Distance from Nuke Plants" page is available in English and Japanese. You can drag and drop the green arrow to anywhere in Japan, and the table above will calculate the distance in kilometers from Japan's 18 nuclear power plants. Click on the screen shot to go to the site and try!

Highly #Radioactive Sewage Sludge in Koriyama City, 3,500 Tons Already Burned, 500 Tons Already Sold to Cement Company


Price to pay, I suppose, for slowly forming a "consensus" on how to deal with the reactors at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. While the political heads gather to discuss what's safe to tell the general public, the radioactive materials have been doing what they are supposed to do under the circumstance: to spread.

Mr. Ishikawa is right. This is a war against the melted cores and radiation, not a time for a political powwow.

From Jiji Press (10:12PM JST 5/1/2011):

Fukushima, May 1 (Jiji Press)--High levels of radioactive cesium have been found in sewage sludge in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, the prefectural government said Sunday.

The sludge at a treatment center in Koriyama had 26,400 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram. Slag made by reducing the volume of sewage sludge had 334,000 becquerels per kilogram.

Massive amounts of radioactive substances released by the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant may have flowed into sewage when rain fell, prefectural officials said.

The treatment center produces 80 tons of sludge per day, of which 10 tons are transported to a cement company outside the prefecture for recycling. The prefecture suspended sludge recycling Sunday.

An estimated 500 tons of sludge have been provided to the cement company since the nuclear plant was stricken by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the officials said. Whether they were actually recycled remain to be seen, they said.

What's not clearly stated in the Jiji article is HOW they reduce sludge into slag. They BURN it. Talk about environmental hazard. So, not just dioxin but now the radioactive cesium may be spewed into the air.

Additional information from Asahi Shinbun (in Japanese, my summary translation; 3:01AM JST 5/2/2011):

  • Fukushima Prefectural government is said to be "investigating" whether the radioactive materials spread in the air when the sludge is burned.

  • There is no manual or guideline as to how to treat the radioactive sludge [according to Asahi, but it is hard to believe there is no guideline].

  • The cesium amount in the slag, measured on April 30, was 1,400 times as much as the amount prior to the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident.

  • There are 80 tons of sewage sludge per day, of which 70 tons are burned in the incinerator and reduced to 2 tons of slag. The remaining 10 tons of the sludge are sent to a cement company.

  • The Prefectural government will provide the workers at this plant with dosimeters, and will test the other 22 facilities in Fukushima Prefecture.

  • On May 1, the Prefectural government measured the [air] radiation level at the facility at 1.8 to 3.4 micro-sieverts/hour, which was higher than 1.6 micro-sieverts/hour measured at the Koriyama City Hall Complex 10 kilometers away.

  • Under the current law on sewage, recycling the sludge is encouraged. 80 percent of the sewage sludge is recycled as building materials [like cement], and the remaining 20 percent is buried in landfills.

From Fukushima Minpo (Japanese, my translation; 6:50PM JST 5/1/2011):

The slag, made by burning down the sewage sludge, is used as part of substrate under the road pavement, but the plant hasn't sold the slag since the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident.

Radioactive cement, here we come. And depending on whether the reprocessing center is telling the truth, radioactive roads, maybe.

(h/t Robbie001)