• Between 70 and 80% of the radioactive Cesium released in March from Fukushima Daiichi was swept out to sea by the winds blowing across the power complex. Somewhere between 20 and 30% was blown across land areas. “Only small amounts ended up falling on land because [such materials] get carried by the westerlies between March and April,” said Yasumichi Tanaka, a senior researcher at the Japan Meteorological Agency. The simulation model used in the study was developed by the agency in order to analyze the situation. Since it takes roughly 10 days for prevailing winds to circle the globe at Japan’s latitude, some of the airborne Cesium was deposited on land around the world in barely detectable concentrations, and a tiny bit returned to Japan after its 10 days of meteorological travel. Regardless, the study concludes that 65% of Fukushima’s expunged Cesium fell into the seas of the world. (Mainichi Shimbun)
  • The nuclear accident manuals for Fukushima units #2 and #3 have been given to the Tokyo government by TEPCO, with none of the information blacked out. As with the unit #1 accident manual released in
    October, these manuals were virtually worthless to the plant’s operating staff during first critical week of the accident because a prolonged station blackout was considered impossible. Thus, there is nothing new to report resulting from the release of the two documents. (NHK World)
  • The Japanese Disaster Minister Goshi Hosono is the latest Tokyo official to go off the deep end. Last month, a Fukushima City resident gripped by fear of radiation sent a cardboard box of topsoil to the Ministry with a note that the Ministry should store and clean it. One of the Ministry’s officials measured the activity level of the soil and found it to be less than the minimum limit for disposal. He also found the level to be less than readings taken in and around Tokyo, so he had it spread on his garden. Hosono and the Press found out and it has become the newest “scandal” story currently plaguing all news media outlets. Never mind that putting the soil in the garden posed no risk to any living soul, or in any way violated existing Japanese law. Hosono says the soil contained detectable amounts of Fukushima’s Cesium, therefore it had to be handled as radioactive waste! Further, he said the official’s action showed a lack of concern for the sender’s fear of radiation. As a result of the loud news media outcry, Hosono has promised to punish the guilty official, as well as the entire Ministry staff, for what he calls a systemic error. In addition, he has fined himself one year’s salary for what he says is a lack of adequate organizational control on his part. Hosono has graduated from the ridiculous and matriculated into the realm of absurdity.
  • TEPCO has released their loose surface contamination results for the no-go zone. What is “loose surface” contamination? It’s what gets deposited out of the atmosphere and collects on the surface structures, sidewalks, roads and etc., which does not seep into the soil or concentrate in drainage sludge. It literally stays “loose” on the surface. Wetting the loose surface material may hold it in place for a while, but once it dries out it again becomes “loose” and potentially re-airborne from blowing wind. Loose surface and airborne particulates are the reason for the full face masks seen in nearly all news media pictures of workers and no-go-zone visitors. The loose stuff is what is has been washed off the roofs of buildings, sidewalks, and roads from power spraying. Since no decontamination has taken place inside the no-go zone, TEPCO’s survey gives us a good idea of the degree of decontamination needed, and the numbers are surprisingly positive. The highest concentrations of loose surface Cesium (combined Cs-134 and Cs-137) on the power complex’ property is the roof of the Environmental Management Building, at 12,800 bq/m2. The side of the building reads 3,400 bq/m2. At 5km from the accident site, the levels drop considerably, with the lowest concentrations to the north (580 bq/m2) and northwest (790 bq/m2), where conversely area radiation exposures are highest. The readings south and southwest at 5 km are 1100 bq/m2 and 1300 bq/m2, respectively. 5km due west of Fukushima the levels jump to 4700 bq/m2. At 10km distance, the numbers are roughly 10% lower in each direction. While all these relatively big numbers may sound scary, they actually vary between 20 and 750 times below the de-facto Japanese standards for loose surface Cesium contamination, which are the same as the values used in Belarus after Chernobyl to determine the necessity of continued monitoring (37,000 bq/m2). What’s more, the highest level at 5km distance (due west, above) is nearly 40 times below the Belarusian threshold for “right to migration” (185,000 bq/m2), which is essentially the equivalent to the Japanese evacuation zones. In other words, existing surface contamination levels in all areas of the Fukushima evacuation zones are in no way prohibitive to re-population of the zone.
  • In addition, TEPCO’s most recent survey of Plutonium concentrations on the Fukushima Daiichi plant property is “indistinguishable” from residual Plutonium levels due to fallout from atomic weapon’s tests in the South Pacific more than 50 years ago. The problem is TEPCO again shooting themselves in the foot by saying, “…there are possibilities that they originate from the {Fukushima} accident.” Why didn’t they just leave the statement at “indistinguishable” and add nothing more?
  • Ryugo Hayano, chairman of the physics department at the University of Tokyo has reported that before the Fukushima accident happened, the typical Cesium content of Japanese soils was 100 bq/kg. He also added that most of the verified Cesium contamination levels recently reported in the Press (see our Nov. 16 update), “Are not something that should raise concerns over agricultural production or human health.” (Japan Times)
  • The Tokyo government will finally do something reasonable and necessary inside the no-go zone. In December, the Self Defense Force will begin no-go zone decontamination. After they finish each location,
    the cleansed area will be re-surveyed before private companies continue the effort, probably in January. The SDF will focus on those strategic locations from which wide-spread decontamination efforts will be coordinated. Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa will make the formal announcement at the next cabinet
    meeting. (Asahi Shimbun)
  • The American Institute of Nuclear Power Operations has made a comprehensive statistical comparison between Fukushima radiological releases and Chernobyl. Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission says the total radioactive inventory released from Fukushima Daiichi was 6.3×1017 becquerels. That’s Iodine, Cesium, Tellurium, and all other released fission-produced elements combined. The IAEA says Chernobyl’s total radiological release inventory was 1.4×1019 becquerels. In other words, Fukushima releases were not 30% or 40% of Chernobyl, they were actually less than 5 %! (Atomic Insights)