Not much has changed since yesterday with respect to the work going on at Fukushima. The transfer of water from turbine condensers to other tanks inside the four power plants continues. This would be a much faster operation if the installed pumps on each unit could be operated, but the loss of normal electric supplies makes this problematic. Temporary pumps have been installed to send water to reactors 1, 2 & 3, powered from the cable strung into the plant more than 10 days ago. How TEPCO is transferring waters out of the turbine condensers and to the other locations has not been explained. Temporary or installed pumps? But, we can be sure it is happening because of another topic of interest we will address later, in some detail.
- TEPCO’s efforts to stop the flow of highly contaminated water out of the notorious power cable “pit” and into the sea have been unsuccessful. It seems the attempt to plug the cracks in the pit with concrete have failed, but did restrict flow a bit for a time long enough to see if the reduced flow from the pit lowered the sea contamination levels close to the shore. There was no change. Now TEPCO will use a “tracer” injected into the pit as see if any shows up in the sea near the shore. The term “tracer” is more than a bit open to exaggeration and speculation, because it is the same term used to describe radioactive isotopes for medical diagnostics (like some CAT scans). It seems the TEPCO “tracer” is common industrial dye, and nothing radioactive. At least this is how TEPCO reported their plans late yesterday. Regardless, we have yet another example of informational naivety from TEPCO. They should avoid using needless descriptive terminology that can be misinterpreted, if possible.
- IAEA reports that the the temperatures and pressures inside reactors 1, 2 & 3 have either slightly decreased since yesterday, or remained essentially the same. This has been the case for a few days, so I will now use a term we find continually being used in IAEA and JAIF reports…reactor conditions appear to be “stable”. I did not use notions of reactor pressure and temperature stability while things were in parameterical flux. Now that the pressure and temperature levels have not increased for several days, and all of the subtle changes have been in the downward direction, I feel the use of the term “stable” can be utilized with confidence.
- IAEA continues to identify the water levels inside all three reactors as “Around half the fuel is uncovered (stable)”. If half the fuel is actually uncovered, the situation is far from stable. As explained in a previous update, the IAEA status statement either needs to be explained or modified according to what must surely be the case. By all logic and water level readings, the three fuel cells are certainly covered with water.
Returning to the water transfer issue (form above)…
TEPCO has announced they will be discharging 11,500 tonnes of low-level contaminated water to the sea, in order to make room for all of the remaining waters in the turbine basements to be stored. They are running out of space. They need to use storage tanks in the Central Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility common to all units at the power plant complex, with a combined capacity of 10,000 tonnes. The contaminated waters are described as “low level radioactive waste water” inside these tanks and discharging their waters to the ocean will result in sea contamination levels well below the legal standards. These levels are technically barely detectable relative to the naturally radioactive levels found in the ocean, lakes, and streams around the world. The remaining 1500 tonnes will be discharged from the cable pits and drainage network connected to Units 5 & 6, which also have barely detectable contamination levels.
Just saying these radioactive levels are “low level” leaves the door open for exaggerated speculations based on the no-safe-level myth. These waters come from the processing of low level waste produced inside the plant during routine work done by plant employees. To be technically correct, the contamination levels in the waters to be discharged are detectable, but not in any way hazardous. The levels reported in the waters are actually many times less than the levels commonly found in natural springs and outdoor “hot pools” at resorts and health spas around the world. In fact, the legal limit for contamination levels in waters to be discharged to natural bodies of water are many times lower than the levels people routinely bathe in (and drink) at these spas. The legal limit is entirely based on the mythic no-safe-level-of-radiation model used by governmental standard-setting bodies around the world. Using the radiation hormesis model, such legal limits are ridiculous exaggerations. Their use only exacerbates the existing phobic anxieties caused by the Hiroshima Syndrome.
In addition, while these harmless radioactive waters are being described in technically correct terminology, the use of such terminology can only add to the hopeless confusion now prevalent in the public mind. Radioactive waste?? Hiroshima Syndrome site readers understand that the gross, overly exaggerated phobias associated with nuclear waste issues ought to be associated with spent fuel from reactors, and not applied the low level trash often too low level to be detectable with even the most sensitive equipment in the world. However, the world’s billions who are not correctly informed have no idea of the necessary distinction between the two. To the world at-large, nuclear waste is nuclear waste, and TEPCO is dumping raw nuclear waste into the Pacific. The radioactive waste connotation is another example of TEPCO’s informational naivety. ALL of the contaminated waters at Fukushima are technically radioactive waste. Pointing this out relative to perhaps the least radioactive waters at Fukushima is logically deplorable.
To continue, NHK Japan and KYODO News have broadcast TEPCO’s plans to discharge these waters into the sea. While the Japanese Press is doing the responsible thing and just reporting the factual situation, the typically irresponsible American news media is blowing it way out of proportion and “spinning” their reports to make it sound like the 11,500 tonnes of water to be discharged are part of the highly contaminated waters found in and around the four turbine buildings. CNN projects the distinct impression that this is a desperate move to get rid of the radioactive water at Fukushima. Absolute rubbish! However, it provides excellent fodder for nuclear-phobes around the world to scream bloody murder, and gives the American Press even more future headlines and lead stories that will increase phobic fears and increase ratings.
TEPCO has done the entirely correct thing in letting the world know about the impending discharge. Japanese news media has done the responsible thing by reporting without fear-inspiring spins and the subtle but significant open-ended what-if scenarios common to western news media. Undeterred, the western news media has performed as expected with reports on anything nuclear…spinning wildly out of control….aiding and abetting nuclear phobias…becoming tacit accomplices of any violence or mayhem resulting from their odious mode of informational dissemination.
Today’s Hiroshima Syndrome update-
Perhaps the first salvo in the War Against The Atom III : Battle Fukushima, has been fired. A notoriously irresponsible anti-nuclear international organization, European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR), has made an estimate of cancer deaths from Fukushima. It purports that 200,000 will die from Fukushima-induced cancers, at least. The reasoning drips with numerous scientifically unethical assumptions, but it all can be summed up as follows…ECRR believes the Liner, No Threshold (no-safe-level) model for cancer death estimates grossly underestimates the ability of low level radiation to cause cancer. I would call the author and staff at ECRR crack-pots, but that would be unprofessional. Regardless, there should be no doubt that so-called “expert” estimates of Fukushima-induced cancers, of this sort, will become factual paradigms of nuclear-phobes around the world. Before going to the below link, if you haven’t done it already, read the “Radiation : The No Safe Level Myth” page of this website in order to gain an objective perspective on the absolute repugnancy of ECRR’s claims.
Busby, Chris; “The health outcome of the Fukushima catastrophe : Initial Analysis from the risk model of the European Committee on Radiation Risk ECRR”; http://www.fairewinds.com/content/health-outcome-fukushima-catastrophe-initial-analysis-risk-model-european-committee-radiatio