The emergency situation with Fukushima Units 1, 2 & 3, essentially remains as it was yesterday. Conditions inside reactors 1 & 3 have not changed. Reactor #2 has seen an increase in temperature and pressure, which seems to be in accordance with yesterday’s announcement of TEPCO letting this happen to stop or restrict reactor vessel leakage. (No further editorial comment is necessary) Pressure inside the primary containment around the Unit 2 reactor has not changed, indicating that the pressure vessel is not, nor has it ever been compromised.

Most of the new news with Fukushima is radiological –

  • Roughly half of the contaminated water from Unit #1 turbine basement has been pumped into the Unit #1 condenser, lowering the water level on the floor from roughly 16 inches down to about 8 inches depth. How this pumping operation has been preformed without an electrical supply has not been reported by IAEA. TEPCO’s most recent press release says the condenser has been filled, so some of the water needs to be transferred to the Condensate storage tank, which needs to be emptied of its uncontaminated contents first. This will be by pumping it to the suppression pool surge tanks. Once there is room for more water from the basement floor, pumping to the condenser will re-start. Asahi Shimbun adds that there will still not be enough storage room for all the water, so TEPCO is working on identifying other tanks as storage locations. (Big “puddle”, eh?)
  • The Unit #2 turbine basement contaminated waters cannot be pumped into the Unit #2 condenser until the condenser itself is drained of the water that has been in there since the plant automatically shut down, March 11. The existing water is mildly radioactive, at most, and should not be further contaminated with the highly contaminated water from the basement floor. The relatively clean condensate in the condenser is being pumped to two other tanks in the condensate system; the condensate storage tank (which is the main reservoir for system replenishment water during normal operation) and from there into the suppression surge tanks (not sure what this means). Once transfer of waters from the condenser is complete, the waters on the basement floor of Unit #2 can be pumped into the Unit #2 condenser. TEPCO reports the transfer of water from the condenser will be drained to the condensate storage tanks.
  • The same process of water transfers for Unit #2 is being performed for Unit #3, so that the waters now on the Unit #3 turbine basement floor can be pumped into its condenser.
  • The radioactive iodine levels in three of the four contaminated drinking water supplies in Fukushima Prefecture have dropped so significantly that the restrictions on their use have been lifted, even for infants. The fourth remains slightly above the restriction threshold.
  • IAEA monitoring teams have scanned several locations in Tokyo for radiation levels, and all report the readings are roughly natural background levels (which varies with location throughout the world).
  • One IAEA team northwest of the Fukushima Power Plant Complex, outside the 30 km evacuation zone, has found one soil sample that exceeds the IAEA threshold for evacuation. This is a localized situation, and not endemic of the entire area beyond the evacuation zone. IAEA does not recommend extending the zone further, but is currently working with the Japanese on possible local protective measures.
  • The most recent food analyses from nine Prefectures including Fukushima, are now devoid of contamination.
  • Singapore authorities report that all foods coming from Japan have been thoroughly tested and none have any contamination.
  • Asahi Shimbun reports the seawater samples taken 330 meters from the Fukushima Daiichi shoreline have risen to above the previously reported highest level of iodine. Where is it coming from? Hmmmmmm…
  • Asahi Shimbun also reports that TEPCO will be testing the use of a synthetic resin, to act as a dust suppressant on the exterior of the buildings at Fukushima Daiichi, and the ground surrounding the buildings. This is hoped to be a possible way of keeping the air free of radioactive contaminants, which might make outdoor work less stressful and theoretically safer (using the no-safe-level myth). They will also test the resin’s use in the Unit #4 turbine basement after it has dried out.
  • Asahi also reports that the trench water level from Unit #1 has been lowered by one meter. How this was done, and where the contaminated water has been stored is not in the report.

There is a little new physical/technological news-

  • The IAEA tells us that the temporary freshwater pump for Unit #1 is sending water into the reactor at a rate of 8 tonnes per hour (8 cubic meters per hour), through the feedwater piping to the reactor. Freshwater is also being injected into Reactors 2 & 3 using a temporary electric pump at a rate of seven tonnes per hour, but through the “fire extinguisher line”. How the fire extinguisher line feeds the reactor pressure vessel needs to be further explained.
  • NISA and JAIF both report that any changes to nuclear regulations in Japan should include a requirement for mobile, portable diesels to be stored at each plant, in a robustly-built building that is water-tight. This additional power source ought to avoid future complete loss of electricity emergencies from becoming severe.
  • The four unit nuclear power complex at Daini, 10 km south of Fukushima Daiichi, has off-site power available to all four units. What this means as far as the potential to restart them and relieve some of Japan’s national power shortage has not been reported.
  • Kyodo News reports Hidehiko Nishiyama, a NISA spokesperson, acknowledged there is a real possibility that “radiation” is continuing to leak into the sea, and that all possibilities will be checked. TEPCO continues to say the source of the seawater contamination is still unknown.

And finally, a new reporting category…the Hiroshima Syndrome –

  • The Prime Ministers of Japan and France have met and agreed to improve the safety of all nuclear plants. This is purely a political move, for votes and looking good to the world’s public. Nuclear energy is already the cleanest (no greenhouse gasses or pollutants during operation), and safest industrial undertaking the world has ever seen. By unwittingly appealing to the Hiroshima Syndrome, their statements make it sound as if nuclear plants are not safe, which is a confabulation at best. Do they know of the Hiroshima Syndrome? I seriously doubt it.
  • Kyodo news reports that there are 1000 tsunami-caused bodies laying around unattended in Fukushima Prefecture, because health workers refuse to take proper care of them or even attempt identification, for fear of radiation. They also fear burying the bodies because radiation may get into the soil, and will not cremate because radiation will get into the air. Phobic fear of radiation resulting from the no-safe-level myth strikes again.
  • The Telegraph, United Kingdom, reports that evacuees from Fukushima are being treated like the Hiroshima bomb survivors of 66 years ago. The Telegraph points out that Hiroshima survivors experienced being socially ostracized, and were denied (1) housing rental throughout Japan, (2) finding jobs, and (3) potential marriage partners. The Telegraph article is a prime example of the Hiroshima Syndrome at work, and how western press inadvertently exploits it.
  • The New York Times reports that Fukushima contamination has been found in milk near Spokane, Washington. The report says the levels are not anywhere near being hazardous, so why do they make the report at all? Why, the Hiroshima Syndrome, of course.