Before today’s update, I want to address something that’s becoming an issue with all those trying to present a rational alternative to the irresponsible reporting common to western news media. I call it informational fatigue. I spent more than 5 years involved with the dissemination of rational nuclear information, after TMI happened and throughout the Chernobyl accident period. The hours were long, it seemed like I never had a day off, and the results were disappointing. I wanted to straighten out the whole mess and make the world see the light. Didn’t happen, and it won’t happen now…at least not in the near future. Before the world sees the light and nuclear energy can become the single-most effective alternative to the burning of fossil fuels (as it ought to be), the Hiroshima Syndrome must be remediated. I’ve understood this for more than 25 years, and it has never been more obvious than now.

Ever since TMI, Hiroshima Syndrome-based nuclear safety issues and radiation fears have been a ready-made headline for the western Press. It’s right up there with war, national elections, and serial killers as an issue the news media can rely on for lead stories. If none of the “automatic headlines” are actually occurring, the fall-back is to cover “controversies” relative to any of the “headline” topics. Plus, the Press will bend over backwards to keep any headline-worthy controversy alive. With nuclear energy, the controversial possibilities are numerous, and all of them exploit the Hiroshima Syndrome.

The duration of news media exploitation of the Hiroshima Syndrome will last as long as the public finds it entertaining. Yes, I said entertaining. News broadcasting is always presented in the most entertaining way possible. In the entertainment world, you either make the audience laugh, or make them cry. Unfortunately, the “make them cry” approach has drawn the best video ratings and resulted in the highest newspaper circulations since the assassination of JFK. That’s why pain, suffering, and fear-mongering satiate the news media’s appetite for negativity. They blame it on us…the public…because that’s what sells best. Right or wrong, this is the way it is with western news dissemination. The duration of the news media’s focus on TMI and Chernobyl-based nuclear angst and ennui was years. The exploitation of nuclear phobia with Fukushima will similarly perpetuate. We can expect nothing less. Dig in. Hunker down. Take no prisoners. The siege will be long and tiring. War Against the Atom III : Battle of Fukushima, has been joined.

This does not mean our efforts are hopeless. The volume of rational voices today, far outnumbers the voices existent in the past. So many times in the mid 80s, I felt like I was a single voice crying out amidst an unending sea of mythic turmoil. I persevered. So can you. Your resolve will be tested, but you cannot allow it to make you turn your back. That’s what the news media wants. That’s what the prophets of nuclear energy doom want. The internet provides us with a weapon that didn’t exist in the 1980s; absolute freedom of speech to all peoples, everywhere, all around the world. This page (and website) was read by more than 10,000 people, in more than eighty countries, in March. I’m really not much different than you. The American Declaration of Independence teaches us that when an individual or group of individuals discovers something that is wrong, they are morally obligated to do whatever they can to correct it. Let this be our ongoing principle.


Today’s updates…

Physical/Technological –

  • TEPCO says a barge from the “United States’ Forces” was towed to the Fukushima site by Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force on Thursday afternoon, March 31. It was/is filled with fresh water and will be used as an additional source of freshwater for reactor replenishments, using the existing water replenishment supply tanks and piping inside the power plants.
  • The JAIF’s daily chart of status, used every day by Wiki, has some questionable information. It says Reactor Vessel pressures and temperatures for Units 2 & 3 are “Unknown/stable” and “unknown”, respectively. The data from IAEA points out that the temperature readings for Unit #3 are unusual and unexpected, making them unsure of their accuracy, However, all other Reactor 2 & 3 parameters are given without qualification. There needs to be a better level of collaboration, here. In addition, JAIF blames the Unit 4 hydrogen explosion on the #4 spent fuel pool. This is little more than a “best guess”. Until conditions allow for visual inspection of the fuel cells in the pool, JAIF’s conclusion cannot be confirmed. Has anyone considered investigating a possible hydrogen pathway from Unit #3 through common auxiliary spaces? Common control rooms usually mean common auxiliary spaces.
  • IAEA reports that temperatures and pressures in Reactor pressure vessels for Units 1 & 3 continue to decrease. It seems that feedwater is being fed continuously through the vessels. Outlet flow is cooled somewhere in the existing system and then pumped back into the reactor vessel. Some sort of closed loop. How this is being done should be explained fully.
  • Temperature inside the Unit 2 reactor vessel has risen 4 degrees C. However, primary containment pressure has remained at atmospheric. Thus, we have another day of data to indicate that there has been no compromise of Unit 2 reactor vessel integrity.
  • IAEA respectfully reports that they have received no updates on the replenishment of Unit No. 1 Spent Fuel Pool since march 29. (two days over there) Get on your horse, TEPCO. Alienating IAEA spells D-O-O-M!
  • The Unit 2 temporary pump for replenishing #2 Spent Fuel Pool malfunctioned. Until repairs are made, injection will be through a fire truck pump. (Gotta love those firemen!)
  • NHK News reports they have video given to them by TEPCO, taken from “a camera installed on the tip of a long arm of a special construction vehicle.” NHK says it shows Unit #4 spent Fuel Pool. While the (standard construction grade) walls and roof of the refueling deck were blown off by the hydrogen explosion, the internal crane used to move the fuel cells around in the pool “stayed in place without falling into a spent-fuel storage pool”. This seems to have surprised NHK. In addition, “the structure below the storage pool was hardly affected, as it was more strongly constructed (than the walls and roof).” So much for the earlier speculations of a cracked pool leaking water. Unfortunately, NHK does not post a link so that we can view the video.
  • Asahi Shimbun reports that a “host” of countries and expert organizations have come to Japan to support the resolution of the Fukushima emergency. This includes the US armed services and an American remote control robot. One group glaringly missing is the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC has offered to help, but the Japanese seem to have respectfully declined.
  • The Nuclear Energy Institute uses the term “concrete vaults” to describe the rooms and structures connecting the Turbine Buildings to their Reactor Buildings. Excellent descriptive term. I would suggest that the basements under the turbines are “vault-like”, too.

Radiological –

  • (correction from yesterday’s report) Four drinking water systems remain in “restriction” for use, in all of Fukushima Prefecture. Three of the restrictions are for infant consumption only.
  • (Not to the surprise of this writer) TEPCO reports they have found contamination in the ground waters (underground waters – NHK Japan) of the multi-plant complex. I can’t read the analytical results because I get a “bad encrypt” alert when I try to open the attachments. <sigh>
  • IAEA has submitted the results of 76 samples of vegetables, fruit, seafood, and milk from the 9 Prefectures surrounding Fukushima (Including Fukushima) to Japan’s Ministry of Health. 51 of the samples produced negative results relative to the legal limits of contamination levels, or were otherwise found to be devoid of contamination. The 25 samples that exceeded the legal contamination limits were all from Fukushima Prefecture.
  • For a full and complete breakdown of an important press conference between the IAEA and the news media on radiological status, please go to the IAEA link below…
  • Kyodo News reports that TEPCO may not have enough personal dosimeters (portable exposure-measuring devices) for all the workers now at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant complex. This concern comes from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency because there are fewer dosimeters on-site than there are workers. Currently some 800 individuals toil there, in shifts, around the clock. They are not working simultaneously, and those “off-shift” move to makeshift quarters in a building far away from the radiation fields. (The cafeteria, I think) If the off-shift location is known to not have a radiation field or contamination, then the dosimeters are technically only needed for those on-shift and working. Given TEPCO’s HP track record to date, the lack of possible exposure at the off-shift location ought to be verified multiple times.

Hiroshima Syndrome –

  • Early this morning (late afternoon – Japan), TEPCO reported that a “sound truck” of “campaigners” drove through the main security gate at the Fukushima Daini power plant complex, 10 km south of Fukushima Daiichi. They drove around the site for more than 10 minutes, broadcasting their verbal demands loudly, and then left. The Fukushima police were called, but the “campaigners” were gone before the police could arrive. TEPCO has since blocked the gate with vehicles. Who were the “campaigners”? TEPCO doesn’t say, but we can be sure it was a group of Japanese prophets of nuclear energy doom unwittingly exploiting the Hiroshima Syndrome.