- Thursday afternoon, RPV temperatures for Unit #1 had dropped to 93oC on the upper feedwater nozzle, and 88oC on the vessel bottom head. This morning, TEPCO decided to lower feedwater injection flow from 10 tons per hour to 6 tons per hour. Why? They don’t say. As a result, temperatures have risen to 102oC (feed nozzle) and 89oC (bottom head). Thus, the temperatures are no longer in the cold shutdown range. Temperatures inside RPVs 2&3 continue to decrease.
- Japan’s NHK News reports the radiation levels inside reactor building #2 are considerably lower than those in unit #1. Whole body exposure levels surveyed in unit #2 on Wednesday ranged from 10 msv/hr to 50 msv/hr. While these levels are relatively high, they are not nearly as limiting for individual worker “stay time” (length of time before an exposure limit is reached) when compared with unit #1. The survey suggests the core damage in #2 RPV may be less severe than unit #1. Earlier this week, TEPCO speculated that unit #2 core damage is equal to units #1 and #3, where complete fuel cell meltage is believed to be the case. While unit #2’s core has melted, it may be a severe (TMI level) rather than complete meltdown.
- One of the issues confronting work in Unit #2 reactor building is the extremely high humidity, which has many of the ceilings dripping water. It is assumed the humidity comes from evaporation of the large volume of ~65 oC water in the 5th floor spent fuel pool (SPF), combined with a lack of an operating ventilation system to remove the moisture from the air. A new SPF cooling system is now being planned to improve the situation.
- Regarding the Unit #2 accident sequence, TEPCO points out that reports of a hydrogen explosion in the pressure-suppressing torus area of the primary containment on March 15 are misleading. They have maintained all along that an “abnormal noise” came from the area followed by a sudden drop with the pressure inside the torus on March 15. TEPCO says they believe the event connected to the “abnormal noise” caused a leak from the torus.
- NHK News reports that two HP (Health Physics) workers entered unit #3 reactor building early Thursday. The surveyed radiation fields are at least as extreme as unit #1, if not higher. The general area exposure levels range between 160 msv/hr and 170 msv/hr, with some locations having localized “hot spots” of much higher exposure levels. The two HPs could stay in the building for only 10 minutes before they approached the planned exposure limits of their survey (stay time, again). These radiation levels add more evidence to the belief that unit #3 fuel core has melted at least as severely as unit #1, if not worse.
- Japan’s Atomic Industrial Forum reports TEPCO is making plans to start nitrogen injections into the primary containments of Units 2&3, similar to Unit #1. TEPCO says it is being done to avoid future hydrogen explosions. However, this new move poses the question as to where TEPCO thinks the feared hydrogen will come from, at this point? The cores are as melted as they can get, and further hydrogen production is highly unlikely. Is this something necessary, or merely window dressing to make it appear as if they are improving safety?
- Kyodo News reports that a report on potential radioactive dispersal patterns for a worst case release from Fukushima Daiichi was created by Japanese nuclear officials and sent to Prime Minister Kan’s staff on March 12. Kan’s people received it before he was helicoptered to the Fukushima Emergency Center, but the report never got to the Prime Minister. It seems “someone” in Kan’s staff kept the report and didn’t pass it on.This another instance of malfeasance within the Japanese government during the critical early days of the emergency.
- Although the soils of all schoolyards in Fukushima Prefecture outside the 20 km no-entry zone were tested last week and found to be below health standards for radioactive contamination, 90% of the schools are not allowing outdoor activities for the students. NHK News reports parents have demanded the schools to not allow outdoor activities because there is still a trace of “dangerous” contamination detectable, and they feel the health standards are not safe enough.Fear of radiation, no matter how trivial the level, is the root of the parent’s concerns. These fears are needless, but not irrational. Their fear is totally rational because the parents truly believe all radiation is terribly risky, no matter how tiny the level. They fear for their children. It makes all the sense in the world. They have no idea these fears are empty…vacuous…without substance. What is the root of this wide-spread phobia? Is it the Hiroshima Syndrome? Perhaps, but there are more recent culprits who have magnified the parent’s fears.
The world’s news media, including the Japanese, have routinely presented prophets of nuclear energy doom as credible “experts” with respect to the biological effects of radiation. Many such “experts” are holdovers from the days of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl who lost their moments in the sun because the news media lost interest in their fear-mongering for more than 20 years. Nuclear bigots are having a popularity renaissance because of Fukushima, and are now wrecking the lives of innocent parents and their children in Japan.
The two greatest culprits are Greenpeace and Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR). Last week, most Japanese news outlets reported Greenpeace and PSR condemnations of the Japanese government for setting schoolyard exposure limits at the “unconscionable” level of 20 millisieverts per year. Both groups of notorious nuclear nay-sayers pointed out that this is also the annual limit for nuclear workers, and proclaimed that children are more susceptible to radiation-induced cancer than adults. Further, PSR said the chances of a Fukushima child getting cancer from 20 msv/yr is 1 in 200! They added that two year’s exposure doubles the risk, at 1 in 100. Their numbers are based on unproven, unverifiable hypotheses, but the Press seems uninterested in “balancing” such irresponsible doomsday claims. The evidence against these claims is considerable.
For example, 1.5 million people who live in the Kerala region of India receive natural exposures of 20-35 msv/yr, yet have one of the lowest cancer rates on the sub-continent. In a most astonishing case, the village of Ramsar, Iran, has radiation exposures due to natural background between 132 and 260 millisieverts per year! By PSR modeling, all Ramsar residents have about a 1 in 4 chance of cancer per year. The village should be inundated with cancer suffering. But, it isn’t. Reputable research shows that Ramsar cancer rates are actually less than Iranians receiving 200 times less exposure. The lead researcher on this astounding phenomena, Biologist S.M. Javad Mortazavi, reports, “Based on results obtained in studies on high background radiation areas of Ramsar, high levels of natural radiation may have some bio-positive effects such as enhancing radiation-resistance. There are many other areas with high levels of background radiation around the world, and epidemiological studies have indicated that natural radiation in these areas is not harmful for the inhabitants. The risk from exposure to low-dose radiation has been highly politicized for a variety of reasons. This has led to a frequently exaggerated perception of the potential health effects, and to lasting public controversies.” In other words, actual radiation exposures considerably greater than the 20 millirem exposure limit for Fukushima school children show lower cancer rates…not greater! Yet, horrible exaggerations abound, frightening the parents of Fukushima over literally nothing-at-all.
Ethically-negligent fear-mongers like Greenpeace and PSR have but one goal in their incessant anti-nuclear crusade…amplify the public’s Hiroshima Syndrome-conditioned fear of radiation to a phobic level of paranoia. They are nothing more than street-corner prophets given tacit credibility by a willing Press.
Mortazavi, S.M. Javad; High Background Radiation Areas of Ramsar, Iran; Biology Division of Kyoto University; http://www.angelfire.com/mo/radioadaptive/ramsar.html