- Elevated Cesium was discovered in the near-shore groundwater of F. Daiichi on Tuesday, July 9. One of the sampling wells 25-30 meters from the station’s port had Cesium increase by a factor of 100 over four days. Cs-134 was at 11,000 Becquerels per liter, Cs-137 at 22,000 Bq/liter and Tritium at 360,000 Bq/liter. Total Beta radiation was at 890,000 Bq/liter. On July 5, the levels in this well were 99 Bq/liter for Cs-134, 210 Bq/liter for Cs-137, 900,000 Bq/liter total Beta activities and 380,000 Bq/liter of Tritium. The more than 20 other wells used for sampling at the station showed no parallel increases in any of the isotopic concentrations. Tepco believes the source of the increased activity it is residual from a cable-trench leak in April of 2011, but they cannot rule out that small leaks may be adding to the concentration but feel it is unlikely. The 2011 trench-leak was very near the well in question. No cesium or beta-emitting isotopes have been detected in the station’s port…only an elevated level of Tritium, an isotope of hydrogen many times more mobile in ground water than particulates like Cesium. The Tritium level in the port sample has been dropping for a week. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2013/1228835_5130.html — http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20130709_12.html comment – the above links are the tip of the Press’ iceberg on this. Tepco was chosen because they are the ones running the tests on and regularly reporting on the station’s groundwater. NHK is selected because its reports have the least amount of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) when compared to all other news media in Japan.
- The NRA “strongly suspects” the contaminated groundwater at F. Daiichi is seeping into the sea. NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka doubts that residuals from the trench leak of April, 2011 is the only source of increased radiation levels found over the past week, “It is strongly suspected that highly concentrated contaminated waste water has leaked to the ground and has spread to the sea. We must find the cause of the contamination . . . and put the highest priority on implementing countermeasures.” It seems the NRA is basing their claim on the Tritium levels detected in May at a point inside the sea-barricaded quay, located well-within the outer break-wall surrounding the plant’s port. All news reports say Tepco is not providing a definitive reason for the sudden increase in contamination found in a solitary sampling well and cannot explain why none of the other wells show similar increases. However, Tepco continued to say that the likely source is, in fact, the 2011 leak, but they stop short of ruling out other possibilities. This spurred Tanaka to add, “I see [TEPCO] has not been able to find the cause of these spikes in readings.” Subsequent to Tanaka’s statement, the NRA announced they will form a working group to devise ways of making absolutely sure that contaminated groundwater will not reach the sea. http://japandailypress.com/nuclear-watchdog-says-radioactive-water-from-fukushima-plant-contaminating-sea-1032091 — http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/07/10/national/toxic-groundwater-reaching-sea-nra/#.Ud1aN-vD8dU — http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20130710_28.html
- This morning (July 11), Tepco said that the elevated radioactivity may be due to dirt in the samples. After filtering the suspended solids out of the sample water, the readings for Cesium dropped to the levels detected 5 days earlier. The filtered reading for Cs-134 is 99 Bq/liter and Cs-137 is 210 Bq/liter. Tepco points out that the sampling well is one of the most recently drilled and the dirt may not have settled completely. When plant chemists pumped up the sample water, the small, visually imperceptible solids came with it. Regardless, the NRA has reiterated that they cannot rule out on-going leaks contributing to the groundwater contamination so Tepco must continue with increased monitoring of all other sample wells and make greater efforts to stop potential groundwater flow to the sea. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20130711_02.html
- Tepco has been leak-proofing the sea-side embankments at F. Daiichi. The plant staff has been drilling holes deep in the ground, at 80 centimeter intervals, along the 90 meter-long embankment since Monday. They are inserting chemicals into the holes to harden and waterproof the surrounding soil. Tepco feels this will prevent contaminated groundwater from reaching the seaport. The port was completely enclosed with underwater “silt-dams” and “paved” with impervious material in 2011 to prevent contamination from getting into open water. While it is unlikely that any of the newly-detected Cesium and Beta-emitting isotopes have reached the port’s waters, Tepco correctly refrains from giving the press an absolute guarantee. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20130709_33.html comment – It seems the NRA is giving Tepco no credit for this operation. Why? Maybe the next update suggests a clue…
- The Japan News has leveled a strong criticism of the NRA’s public behaviors since its creation. In an editorial calling for the NRA to be fair and efficient in its restart decisions, Japan’s largest newspaper openly blasts the government watchdog, “The NRA has taken a blatantly biased approach in hastily concluding that topographic strains under some facilities are active faults. Its checks must be based on scientific facts… The NRA must shed its self-righteous mind-set and hold constructive and repeated dialogue with the utilities.” http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0000367823
- The owner of the Tsuruga nuke station says new data shows the geology is not seismic. Japan Atomic Power Company will file an administrative complaint over the NRA’s judgment of the underlying geology being seismic. The complaint procedure must be pursued before any lawsuit can be filed. In May, the NRA said the geologic seam under Tsuruga unit #2’s spent fuel pool has moved in the last 120,000-130,000 years, thus it fulfilled the government’s “seismic” criterion. Japco says the compressed ash above the seam is 127,000 years old and shows no signs of having moved since it was deposited, thus the geology could not have moved since. Japco president Yasuo Hamada told the Press, “We strongly urge the NRA to hold discussions and sufficiently examine our new findings to reach a new conclusion.” Tsuruga #2 may have to be decommissioned unless the utility submits data convincing enough to overturn the regulators’ decision. Regardless, President Hamada says he is confident that the unit will eventually be restarted. http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2013/07/235367.html — http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20130711_27.html
- The NRA announced that some reactors might be allowed to restart next year, but not before. This contradicts the prevailing Press’ speculations that as many as ten nukes might resume operations as early as this Fall. Commissioner Kenzo Oshima said, “Some units are projected (to restart) one year from now, though I don’t know how many. It is hard to imagine that all the applications would be rejected, though we don’t know what the outcome will be at the moment.” He did not speculate as to which units might restart first. http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/japan-may-restart-reactors-in-a-year
The towns of Namie and Futaba can expect serious decontamination work to begin in September. The Environment Ministry plans to use the high radiation exposure areas to test whether or not they can be brought to within Japan’s unwieldy limit of 1 millisievert per year. Currently, the selected locations are believed to have exposure levels in excess of 50 mSv/year. The highest confirmed exposure level at one location is 50 mSv/year. 8 hectares in Namie and seven hectares in Futaba will be used for the tests, including roads, buildings and open fields. The methods will include high-pressure water washing and stripping of the upper layers of topsoil. Removed topsoil and other debris will be stored as radioactive waste within the community’s borders. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=208