• All TEPCO seawater sampling points, at 30 meters, 3 kilometers, 5 km. and 10 km. from the Nuclear Power Station, reveal I-131 and Cs-134/137 concentrations below health standards. All of them. The seas around Fukushima are now “clean”. I have not seen this wonderful news reported by any western or Japanese news media…at least not yet.
  • NISA reports reactor (RPV) temperatures and pressures for Units 1 & 2 continue to slowly decrease. However, Unit #3 temperatures have shown a significant rise over the past 4 days, with the feedwater nozzle now at 157oC and the bottom vessel head at 144oC. Previously, the vessel head was reported as being hotter than the feed nozzle, but that had now reversed. Also, the indicated pressure in the RPV has dropped to a rather significant vacuum. This makes no sense. The reason(s) for these changes ought to be revealed.
  • TEPCO has increased the water “injection” flow to RPV #1 from 6 to 8 tons per hour.
  • Kyodo News and NHK Japan report that workers entered the #1 reactor building at Daiichi for the first time since the initial refueling deck explosion. They each stayed inside ~10 minutes to “install” a “ventilating device” located in the Turbine Building. It sounds like the portable air filtering system reported earlier this week. Air will be “pulled” through the device, “purified”, then returned to the reactor building. This is the first step in reducing worker radiological risk before the work of inspecting and eventually recovering the reactor’s designed cooling system piping. It is hoped the building’s air will be cleansed sufficiently by Sunday. This morning, TEPCO reports they have six “exhausters” operating.
  • NHK Japan reports the water cooling system planned for Unit #1 reactor will use a new heat exchanger to be installed outside one of the Reactor Building entrances. The reactor’s heated water will flow through internal “tubes” which will be cooled by water outside the tubes from a cooling tower. The cooled reactor water will then return to the reactor vessel (NHK says it’s the “containment vessel”, but they seem confused). It is currently estimated that the reactor fuel is producing 1.5 megawatts of decay heat, which seems to be a reasonable number. Regardless, it sounds like a lot of construction and installation must be performed, especially the “cooling tower”, which does not currently exist. TEPCO told NHK they hope this will bring the reactor to less than 100oC in no more than a few days after the system begins operating.
  • KYODO News reports TEPCO has begun a slow process of filling the primary containment around RPV #1 with water. They will continue until the water level is above the top of the fuel inside the RPV. Once again, it seems they are doing this to provide additional shielding from the radiation field generated from the fuel cell, in the effort to make the work environment safe.
  • Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT) has put together a world-wide map of nuclear power stations versus earthquakes that have exceeded 7 on the Richter scale (1973-2010). MIT points out that most nuclear plants are far away from any of the earthquake epicenters, except for Japan, eastern Asia, and southwest USA. Other than those three locations, nuclear plants are an average of 785 miles from the epicenters. MIT has posted the map because many people have gotten the idea that all nuclear plants have been cavalierly built on top of severe earthquake faults. Hopefully MIT’s effort will be the beginning of the end for that myth. (http://web.mit.edu/nse/)
  • Prime Minister Nan has ordered the two operating power plants at Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station shut down. One other operational plant was already shut down prior to the earthquake of March 11. Nan says he has ordered this out of concerns of an 8.0 Richter scale quake deemed “likely” for the region (87% probability??). It seems to make no difference that 2 of the BWRs are more than a decade newer than Fukushima Daiichi, with unit number 5 an advanced system rated to be the safest design on the market. It also doesn’t seem Kan cares that he’s keeping 3,400 Mwe of recovery-needed electricity off the grid. All he cares about is votes (he has a 20% popularity rating) by catering to Hiroshima Syndrome-inspired public fears.
  • Asahi Shimbun reports that TEPCO is having difficulty in finding nuclear-experienced workers for Fukushima Daiichi. The newspaper makes it sound alarming, but the number of workers has gone up from ~1,000 to more than 1,300 in the past week. It seems a few people have denied jobs at Daiichi, and Asahi is taking the western news media tactic of making a relatively minor situation sound significant.

Birds of a feather…

Now, the prophets of nuclear doom have found a way to “validate” each other. The European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR), has rejected their previously reported estimate of a few hundred thousand Chernobyl cancer deaths. It seems that number isn’t frightening enough. They have adopted two relatively new, unproven “tools” of assessment…the “Tondel” method and their own, internally-generated concept called the “ECRR Absolute” method. The Tondel method alleges that cancer incidence rises 11% for every kilo-becquerel of Chernobyl fallout per square mile of land surface in Sweden. On the other hand, ECRR Absolute supposedly corrects for ICRP (International Council on Radiation Protection) methods which have “absorbed dose inadequacies”, by assigning arbitrary biological pathway and internal deposition considerations for each radionuclide released into the atmosphere. The two methods each predict ~500,000 Chernobyl cancer deaths happened in the first 10 years after the accident, and ~1 million will occur by 2016. They conclude that after 50 years (2036) there will be 1,400,000 Chernobyl cancer deaths. (http://www.llrc.org/) This number “agrees” with the previously reported cancer death threat by Alexey Yoblokav.

Paradoxically, there is a recent report that cancer death rates have dropped considerably across Europe since 2000. Between 2000 and 2004, the rate dropped ~9% compared to the 5 year period of 1900-04. Further, since 2007, the cancer death rate has dropped another ~7%. What’s more, the country with the most significant drop has been Germany! http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110208202356.htm

Just to place the percentages in perspective, the estimate for 2011 is 1.3 million. One would think, if the above Chernobyl cancer death threats were correct, decreases of this magnitude would not have happened. Further, the country which claims the worst Chernobyl soil contamination (outside Belarus and the Ukraine), Germany, ought to have the worst statistics rather than the best.

Besides being irresponsibly misleading, aren’t death threats supposed to be something criminal?