March 2011

News on the Fukushima Nuclear Crisis

Hydrogen explosion at Unit 1 of Fukushima Daiichi March 12, 2011 (source: NTV)

For various reasons, the first days after March 11, most of the mainstream media was out almost completely clueless about the status of the Fukushima Daiichi crippled plant.
The media coverage of the Fukushima nuclear crisis started with sensationalist news, that often gave updates on the status of the reactors with images of a burning gas tank of a Chiba refinery in the background.
In the middle of the first week of the nuclear crisis, Google News listed over 35,000 news articles on the topic. Between these news were accurate facts, distorted reports and wild conspiracy theories.


  • Letters From Fukushima: Tepco Worker Emails
    An email exchange between a Tokyo Electric Power Co. employee working at the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant and a colleague located at Tokyo headquarters.
    Japan Real Time – WSJ, March 28, 2011.

  • How Dangerous Is Japan’s Creeping Nuclear Disaster?
    The destroyed reactors at Fukushima have been releasing radiation for weeks. According to model calculations, the stricken nuclear plant could already have released one-tenth of the amount of radiation unleashed in the Chernobyl disaster. How serious a risk does the disaster pose to humans?
    Veronika Hackenbroch, Takako Maruga and Cordula Meyer, Der Spiegel International, March 28, 2011.

  • Photographic evidence of damage at Fukushima nuclear plant
    Photographs released by the Defense Ministry offer graphic evidence of the damage to reactor buildings at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The walls of the No. 4 reactor building exhibit similar damage to the No. 1 and No. 3 reactor buildings where hydrogen explosions occurred, and steam rises from various parts of what is left of the structure.
    Asahi Japan Watch, March 28, 2011.


  • Radioactive pools block reactor repairs
    According to data released March 27, by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, radiation readings the March 26, surpassed 1,000 millisieverts per hour on the surface of a puddle in the basement of the turbine building in reactor No. 2. The 2.9 billion becquerels of iodine-134 per cu. cm in the puddle indicates a reaction is occurring because it is 10 million times what you would see at a normal nuclear reactor. Pools of highly radioactive water at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant hindered efforts to stop a toxic radiation leak.
    Kazuaki Nagata, The Japan Times, March 27, 2011.


  • Radiation survey – Fukushima
    A Greenpeace team of radiation experts is monitoring locations around the evacuation area that surrounds the crisis-stricken Fukushima/Daiichi nuclear plant. They’re there to independently assess the true extent of radiation risks that the local population may be facing.
    Greenpeace, March 24, 2011.


  • Sailors scrub the flight deck aboard USS Ronald Reagan

    Sailors scrub the flight deck aboard USS Ronald Reagan, Pacific Ocean. March 23, 2011. Kevin B. Gray, US Navy

    Sailors scrub the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) following a countermeasure wash down to decontaminate the flight deck while the ship is operating off the coast of Japan. Sailors scrubbed the external surfaces on the flight deck and island superstructure to remove potential radiation contamination. Ronald Reagan is operating off the coast of Japan providing humanitarian assistance as directed in support of Operation Tomodachi.
    US Navy, Flickr, March 23, 2011.

  • Black smoke halts progress at nuclear power plant
    Black smoke has risen from No. 3 reactor building at Fukushima Daiichi. According to TEPCO officials in 13 different occasions, between 13 and 15 March, was detected neutron rays near the main entrance of the plant.
    Asahi Japan Watch, March 23, 2011.

    Black smoke rise from the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
    Photo taken from a TEPCO webcam, March 23, 2011 at 05:00 pm (JST)


  • Radiation data from Japanese disaster starts to filter out
    Confidential data held by nuclear test ban organization emerging as key to monitoring Fukushima radiation.
    Declan Butler, Nature, March 17, 2011.

  • How Much Spent Nuclear Fuel Does the Fukushima Daiichi Facility Hold?
    As Japan attempts to cool overheating nuclear fuel with seawater, experts worry that the damaged spent-fuel pools pose the greatest threat.
    Katherine Harmon, Scientific American, March 17, 2011.

  • How Much Fuel Is at Risk at Fukushima?
    The Daiichi complex had a total of 1760 metric tons of fresh and used nuclear fuel on site last year, according to a presentation by its owners, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco). The most damaged Daiichi reactor, number 3, contains about 90 tons of fuel, and the storage pool above reactor 4, which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) Gregory Jaczko reported yesterday had lost its cooling water, contains 135 tons of spent fuel. The amount of fuel lost in the core melt at Three Mile Island in 1979 was about 30 tons; the Chernobyl reactors had about 180 tons when the accident occurred in 1986.
    Eliot Marshall and Sara Reardon, Science, March 17, 2011.

  • Areas for Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear stations

    Map of the evacuation areas around the Fukushima Daiichi and Daiini nuclear plants.
    Google Maps, March 16, 2011.

  • Statement by U.S. Ambassador John V. Roos on Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunamis

    “The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Department of Energy and other technical experts in the U.S. Government have reviewed the scientific and technical information they have collected from assets in country, as well as what the Government of Japan has disseminated, in response to the deteriorating situation at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Consistent with the NRC guidelines that apply to such a situation in the United States, we are recommending, as a precaution, that American citizens who live within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant evacuate the area or to take shelter indoors if safe evacuation is not practical.”

    U.S. Department of State, March 16, 2011.


  • CTBTO Messnetz misst erste Radioaktivitätswerte über Japan/ Korrektur.
    CTBTO monitoring network measures first levels of radioactivity over Japan. The 16 March 2011 the first CTBTO radionuclide analysis arrived at the ZAMG, in her capacity as National Data Center of Austria for the verification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). It turns out to be important as the data of the CTBTO International Monitoring System for civilian applications.
    Institute for Meteorology of Austria (ZAMG), March 16, 2011.

  • Fukushima Daiichi dispersion of radioactivity from 12 to 18 March 2011.
    Article in German with two animated maps on the potential spread of the Iodine-131, from 12 to 18 March 2011: local scale (Japan, Pacific) and global.
    Institute for Meteorology of Austria (ZAMG), March 15, 2011.

    Fukushima plume: potential spread of the Iodine-131, 12 to 18 March 2011.
    The plume is in a 5 colors scale. The purple color (Area A) defines a region with a maximum load of 0.3 microSievert per hour (μSv/h). This value corresponds to the dose average of global background exposure. The blue marks until at 3 μSv/h. With orange are identified areas with the dose of about 3 milliSievert per hour (mSv/h).
    Institute for Meteorology of Austria (ZAMG)


  • Fukushima’s Spent Fuel Rods Pose Grave Danger
    “I’ve been studying overhead photographs of Fukushima. It is very disturbing,” said Robert Alvarez, formerly a senior policy adviser at the Energy Department under Clinton and now a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies. “The steel wall of the pool seems to show damage. All the surrounding equipment, including the two cranes, has been destroyed. There is smoke coming from reactor No. 3, and steam coming from the spent fuel pool next to it. That indicates that the water in the pool is boiling. And that means the spent fuel rods are getting hot and could start burning.”
    Christian Parenti, The Nation, March 15, 2011.

  • Nuclear test ban agency has valuable radiation monitoring data from Japan nuclear accident, but can’t share them
    An international agency set up to monitor for nuclear tests is collecting extensive data on the levels of radionuclides in the air in and around Japan and the Asia-Pacific and transmitting this daily to its member states. The data would be of enormous public interest as it would provide a far fuller picture of the extent and spread of any current or future radioactive release from the major Japanese nuclear accident now under way. But none of these data are being released to the public, Nature has learned.
    Declan Butler, Nature, March 14, 2011.

  • Status of Spent Nuclear Fuel in Question at Crippled Japanese Power Plant
    At Fukushima Daiichi the highly radioactive spent fuel is stored in pools outside the protective containment structure that surrounds the reactors.
    John Sullivan, ProPublica, March 14, 2011.

  • Nuclear test ban agency has valuable radiation monitoring data from Japan nuclear accident, but can’t share them
    An international agency set up to monitor for nuclear tests is collecting extensive data on the levels of radionuclides in the air in and around Japan and the Asia-Pacific and transmitting this daily to its member states. The data would be of enormous public interest as it would provide a far fuller picture of the extent and spread of any current or future radioactive release from the major Japanese nuclear accident now under way. But none of these data are being released to the public, Nature has learned.
    Declan Butler, Nature, March 14, 2011.

  • Fukushima Marks the End of the Nuclear Era
    Japan was still reeling from its largest recorded earthquake when an explosion struck the Fukushima nuclear plant on Saturday, followed by a second blast on Monday. Despite government assurances, there are fears of another Chernobyl. The incident has sparked a heated political debate in Germany and looks likely to end the dream of cheap and safe nuclear power.
    Der Spiegel International, March 14, 2011.

  • Explosion hits another reactor; cooling functions fail
    An explosion rocked the building housing the No. 3 reactor at the quake-damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on March 14, while cooling functions failed at the No. 2 reactor, officials said. There is a strong likelihood that all three reactors at the troubled No. 1 Fukushima nuclear power plant have had core meltdowns, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on March 14.
    Asahi Japan Watch, March 14, 2011.

  • Train services snarled amid power outages
    Tokyo Electric Power Co. went ahead with planned blackouts in some municipalities scattered across the Kanto region and adjacent areas March 13 evening.
    The power outages, part of rolling blackouts meant to deal with a shortage of electricity after Friday’s magnitude-9.0 earthquake knocked out power generation capabilities serving the nation’s capital and surrounding areas.
    Asahi Japan Watch, March 14, 2011.

  • US embassy cables: MP criticises Japanese nuclear strategy
    Lower House Diet Member Taro Kono voiced his strong opposition to the nuclear industry in Japan, especially nuclear reprocessing, based on issues of cost, safety, and security during a dinner with a visiting staffdel, Energy Attache and Economic Officer October 21. Kono also criticized the Japanese bureaucracy and power companies for continuing an outdated nuclear energy strategy, suppressing development of alternative energy, and keeping information from Diet members and the public. He also expressed dissatisfaction with the current election campaign law.
    The Guardian, March 14, 2011.

  • Government Speaks of ‘Unprecedented’ Catastrophe
    An explosion at the Fukushima 1 atomic power plant raised fears of a nuclear catastrophe in Japan on Saturday following a massive earthquake and tsunami a day earlier. Japanese government officials urged calm, saying the plant’s core was not affected by the powerful explosion.
    Der Spiegel International, March 12, 2011.

  • After tsunami

    Fukushima Daiichi few minutes after the arrival of the tsunami. March 11, 2011 at 16.00 JST (Source: TEPCO)


  • Before the earthquake

    Fukushima Daiichi few minutes before the earthquake. March 11, 2011, at 14.00 JST (Source: TEPCO)


  • News for April 2011


  • This material is Open Content

    Creative Commons License
    Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

    Advertisements

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s