Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fukushima Daiichi operator should not handle shutdown, says governing party

TEPCO is about to begin moving nuclear rods from one of the damaged reactor units into dry cask storage.  However, Japan's governing Party suggests that TEPCO should be stripped of responsibility for decommissioning the Fukushima power plant complex.  

Instead a proposal by the Liberal Democratic party (LDP) would move decommissioning responsibilities to a unit that is financially independent of TEPCO.

TEPCO is expected to begin removing 1,300 spent fuel assemblies from the remains of the reactor No 4 building towards the middle of November 2013.
Some nuclear experts have warned that even a slight mishap involving the fuel rods could result in huge releases of radiation into the air and sea.
Shunichi Tanaka, the head of Japan's nuclear regulation authority, warned that the work would be more hazardous than usual because of debris that fell into the reactors storage pool during hydrogen explosions in March 2011.

"It's a totally different operation than removing normal fuel rods from a spent fuel pool," Tanaka said. "They need to be handled extremely carefully and closely monitored. You should never rush or force them out, or they may break. I'm much more worried about this than I am about contaminated water."
They'll be using a remote controlled crane to move damaged fuel assemblies one-by-one, putting them in dry casks, before putting them into a pool for long term storage and cool-down.

TEPCO claims it'll be fine with no exposure to workers.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ten Years of Fukushima Radiation Crossing the Pacific Ocean

Looks at what the Pacific Ocean will be like after 10 years of radioactive water releases into the Ocean.  In the conclusion the person writes that their personal decision to stop eating fish from the ocean may be unfounded, because it looks like the relative amount of toxicity will be small.  But we don't know enough about the effects of bio-accumulation will be and whether that will result in ocean-caught fish that's too radioactive to eat.  What we do know is that every inch of the Pacific Ocean will become contaminated over time.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Report raises fresh concerns about radiation levels in Japanese fish

The Japanese Fisheries Agency has been testing the radiation in fish caught in its waters since March 2011. On average, fish in the 33,000 tests had 18 becquerels per kilo of radioactive cesium – well below Health Canada’s ceiling of 1,000 becquerels per kilo for cesium and even Japan's ceiling of 100 becquerels.
Some fish samples tested to date have had very high levels of radiation: one sea bass sample collected in July, for example, had 1,000 becquerels per kilogram of cesium.

While Canadians are exposed to radiation every day from the sun and the environment, Edwards notes that radioactive cesium doesn't exist in nature at all and it's not known if there is any safe level.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant operator says another tank leaked toxic water

(Reuters) - The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said on Thursday another tank holding highly contaminated water overflowed, probably sending the liquid into the Pacific Ocean, in the second such breach in less than two months.

Tepco said the water that leaked contained 200,000 becquerels per liter of beta-emitting radioactive isotopes, including strontium 90. The legal limit for strontium 90 is 30 becquerels per liter.

About 430 liters (113 gallons) of water spilled over a period of as much as 12 hours after a worker misjudged how much could be held by the tank, which is tilting because of an uneven location, Tepco spokesman Masayuki Ono told reporters.