It is with great sadness and disappointment that I bring you the first item of today’s update. TEPCO reports to Asahi Shimbun that Friday’s “campaigner” invasion of Fukushima Daini was but one of a number of instances of harassment of TEPCO employees and defacement of TEPCO property. These phobia-based acts began the day of the quake/tsunami, March 11, and have occurred since. Perhaps the most frightening of all has been the wide-spread posting of the names, addresses, and alma maters of the TEPCO president and other senior executives on the internet for nuclear-phobes to know who the “culprits” are. I have prayed for twenty five years that phobic fears caused by the Hiroshima Syndrome would not lead to senseless violence. I’m afraid these prayers are not being answered. Rather than summarize the Asahi report, please go to…
Everyone who has read this site can understand that the fundamental problem is the Hiroshima Syndrome itself. Mass remediation can resolve the damage, but not in the short term. I pray that the Syndrome’s damaging tendrils will not lead to mortal consequences for anyone. Those who foment and/or indulge in violent acts ought to be punished to the full extent of the law, regardless. My greatest fears are becoming reality…a reality I wished would never happen.
It is possible that some, if not most of these acts could have been avoided if TEPCO’s information flow had been considerably less inept from the outset. Yes…inept. This writer has lambasted TEPCO for informationally-thin reports from the beginning. Now, the Japanese news media is doing the same. In psychologically explosive situations, appearance means everything. TEPCO appears to be coldly indifferent and sinister to the nuclear-phobic segment of the Japanese public. Intense anger and free-floating phobic fear are a combustible mixture. Whether or not it is true, it looks as if TEPCO is covering something up. I pray they are not. I pray their problem is naïve ineptitude, and not something intentional. Right or wrong, when a nuclear emergency occurs, the whole world is watching. It is anything but business as usual. Full disclosure is essential.
- Kyodo News reports Japanese government officials believe that radioactive releases from Fukushima Daiichi will continue for several months. What they are basing this estimate on is unclear. Is it an exaggeration or something realistic? The answer will come as time passes.
- Asahi Shimbun reports that public concerns are rising over the other Boiling Water Reactor power plants in Japan. Fukushima Daini and Hamaoka power plants have already experienced demonstrations of public anger. The safety of BWRs has been a source of pride to the nuclear community for decades. It’s not the type of nuclear plant that precipitated the emergency at Daiichi…it began with the tsunami and became a complete loss of AC power emergency. Any industrial facility, no matter what type, would have experienced an emergency condition. Aerial photos taken before and after the tsunami (prior to the first hydrogen explosion) reveal little or no damage to the power complex structures at Daiichi. Nuclear plants are very, very tough. Unfortunately, nuclear-phobes in Japan are thirsting for scapegoats. TEPCO and BWRs currently slake that thirst.
- TEPCO reports that the earthquake preceding the tsunami was 10 times greater than the design criteria for the Daiichi and Daini nuclear power complexes. However, there was no mention of what the actual “as-built” integrity of the power plants is, which GE has always said is right about the earthquake level experienced March 11. Another glaring omission from TEPCO is that the earthquake is/was not the culprit. Without the tsunami, it is probable that Daiichi and Daini plants would be operating (or at least in near-operation) and providing power for disaster recovery.
- NHK reports that the contamination levels of drinking waters in all Fukushima-area municipalities are below safety standards, and consumption is no longer restricted. This includes the town of Ii-tate, which is closest to the Fukushima Daiichi power complex. This information comes from the Japanese Health Ministry.
- The Japanese government continues to politically over-react to Fukushima. Now, Yukio Edano (Chief Cabinet Secretary) is calling for an independent body to investigate the Fukushima Accident. He added (groan), “An objective investigation should be carried out as soon as possible to prevent a recurrence.” Geologists in Japan have reported that a quake and tsunami of this magnitude has a probability of once every 10,000 years. Thus, no matter what this independent body’s findings are, regulations will be re-written. Because a seismic event like this won’t happen in the foreseeable future, the politicians will take credit for preventing another Fukushima….just like TMI thirty years ago.
- A second US Navy barge has arrived full of fresh water. It has been connected to the first barge to replenish the water already used. When the fresh water from barge number 1 began to supply the power complex does not seem to be available.
- TEPCO has poured uncontaminated fresh concrete into the cracked cable “pit” of Unit #2, hoping to stop the contamination getting into the sea. They say this has resulted in no change to the levels of contamination going into the sea. TEPCO is bringing polymer experts from Tokyo to help in stopping the leak from the pit. TEPCO believes the pit’s contamination comes from a “puddle” in the #2 turbine basement.
- IAEA reports that TEPCO has admitted that seawater contamination has come via, “…a series of trenches/tunnels used to provide water to the sea water intake pumps and supply service water to the reactor and turbine buildings.” (no comment)
- Reactor Vessel and Primary Containment temperatures for Units 1, 2 & 3 continue to decrease. Pressures continue to remain stable, as well. One Emailer asked an important question. Since enough electric power has been restored, and/or portable generators have been available, a continuous flow of water has been flowing through all three reactor vessels, removing decay heat. Where is this removed heat going? There are several possibilities concerning heat exchangers and/or cooling equipment connected to the pressure vessel’s piping, but there has been no explanation as to “which, what, or whatever”. Glaring omission, here. Thanks Tim.
- IAEA states that there has been no increase in radiation levels, airborne activity, or contamination off-site since yesterday. Not trying to be overly optimistic, but, does this indicate that radioactive material releases will continue for several months?
- TEPCO says freshwater injections to all three distressed reactors is now being provided by portable pumps powered by the “off-site transmission line”.
- It seems the pumps being used to replenish the four spent fuel pools are not yet connected to the off-site transmission line. Let’s hope this happens soon.
- Some of the Turbine Building lights for Units 1, 2 & 3 have been turned on. It’s been dark in there for three weeks. This is a good thing. I wonder…will TEPCO blame the personnel contaminations and over-exposures on a lack of adequate lighting? I hope not. Portable lights and hand-held illumination would make this excuse vacuous. Bad HP is bad HP.
- Now, for another niggling question. We can understand the contamination of the waters in the Turbine basements cam from the reactors and spent fuel pools. But, the considerable volume of the waters hasn’t been addressed. It seems way too much for spent fuel pool water sprays and reactor vessel pressure relief transients. Could it have come from the tsunami? The Turbine Buildings were never claimed to be water-proof. Just wondering…