• To correct a previous update…when it was announced that water injection into #3 RPV was lowered to 5 tons per hour, we stated this was total cooling flow. It is not. As it turns out, there are about 3 tons/hr being injected through its feedwater spray piping and 5 tons/hr through the main feedwater piping. The announced reduction in flow was through the main feedwater piping only. The combined flow has dropped RPV temperatures and kept the bottom head at below 100 oC.
  • JAIF and NHK World report that the total volume of contaminated waters in the Fukushima building basements had dropped to ~80,000 tons. Meanwhile, the volume of decontaminated waters is now 85,000 tons. This shows that the two waste water clean-up systems have been working very well since SARRY (the newer system) was started. Some Japanese Press add the 20,000 tons currently stored in various tanks and storage facilities at Fukushima to the total remaining to be deconned. But, it’s the radioactive waters in the building’s basements that are hampering restoration efforts, not the waters stored elsewhere. Regardless, at the current RPV water injection rates of ~360 tons per day, there is now more than 7 months supply of decontaminated injection water in storage.
  • TEPCO has finished the steel framework for the heavy-duty plastic enclosure around reactor building #1. Completion of the structure to seal off the atmosphere from any possible unit #1 airborne releases, is scheduled for the end of October. Once unit #1 is “wrapped up”, work will begin work providing units #3&4 with the same sort of enclosure. Kyodo News has posted a picture of the unit #1 framework, and we are impressed with it’s robust construction.

    F Daiichi unit 1 enclosure frame

  • NHK World reports a prestigious world nuclear conference has begun in Fukushima Prefecture. Representatives from many reputable expert groups are in attendance, including the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and International Council on Radiation Protection (ICRP). World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan sent a video which was shown at the opening of the conference, calling for creating effective methods to educate the world’s public on the risks of radiation exposure. ICRP Vice Chair Abel Julio Gonzalez supported Chan’s point saying misinformation, such as internal exposure being more hazardous than external exposure, must be countered and corrected. The conference will also address the misleading notion that the risks of exposures below 100 msv are unknown, which seems to be the main concept behind radiation fears in Japan.
  • Another case of the misleading headline…Japan Times’ “Cesium absorption through roots may have long-term effect on farming”. The first half of the article focuses on rumors voiced by local citizen’s because Cesium in the soil can be absorbed by plant roots and enter the vegetation. Later in the article, Japan Times says as time passes the Cesium becomes organically “fixed” in the soil and is no longer available for root absorption. The peak period of root absorption is six months after the Cesium is deposited, with the absorption rate diminishing thereafter. This phenomena was “discovered” in the soils surrounding Chernobyl in 1987. While the peak period of absorption should be right now, vegetation samples show that Cesium levels have been dropping the past two months. Since Cesium binds well with clay, and much of northern Japan’s topsoil is rich in clay, the rate of binding seems faster than the soils around Chernobyl. At this rate, nearly all Cesium will be “bound” early next year. Near the end of the report we find, “Whether absorption by plant roots can affect human health remains to be seen.” Now, compare it to the headline (above).
  • Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) Minister Yoshio Hachiro has resigned due to a grossly insensitive statement and a “bad joke” made on Friday. METI is the home of NISA, Japan’s troubled nuclear regulatory agency. During a press conference in Fukushima, Hachiro called the area around the power complex a ghost town…the term in Japanese means “town of death”. As for the bad joke…Hachiro rubbed against a reporter after a tour of the area and quipped, “I’m infecting you with radiation”. All Japanese news services and papers have set on this like a pack of hungry dogs. And for good reason. Unbelievably clueless…
  • JAIF reports Gakushuin University Professor Yasuyuki Muramatsu says Cesium in forest soils and fallen leaves is easily absorbed by mushrooms and other edible plants. He says wild animals like boars amass high levels of radiation by eating the contaminated foods. The professor adds that detailed studies should be carried out because wild boars across Europe have been affected by the Chernobyl accident.Muramatsu fails to mention that European boars are thriving even though they have detectable Chernobyl Cesium levels in them. Their numbers are actually increasing because fewer people hunt them due to fear of radiation.
  • In the two weeks after Naoto Kan resigned as Prime Minister, it seems national opinion is swinging away from Kan’s nuclear policies. Japan Today reports a slight majority has emerged that believes nuclear powered-electricity is necessary for Japan to recover from the earthquake/tsunami disaster, and to recuperate Japan’s economy. Many survey respondents conceded that while nuclear energy might represent risks far into the future, electrical shortages are a real and present issue. Some industrial leaders voiced an even more provocative reason for the shift…over-reaction concerning Fukushima is dissipating. Yoshito Hori, chief executive of management training company Globis Corp, says “The panic is starting to calm down.” He predicts all of Japan’s reactors will eventually return to service, with the exception of Fukushima and possibly Hamaoka.
  • Japan Today also reports only 4 of the 31 municipalities hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami have created disaster recovery plans. “The scale of the disaster, the national government’s slow response and quarrels among residents have delayed the rebuilding process”, the paper says. The Red Cross says, at this rate disaster recovery along the northeast coast of Honshu will take more than five years. There was no mention of blaming the Fukushima accident in the article, and there should not have been.