The troubles at the Fukishima nuclear facility have all but disappeared from the US media and I believe it’s intentional. Public opinion in the US is already turning against nuclear power and the corporate media doesn’t want to do anything to encourage that trend. I’m sure that the situation in Japan is much worse than the Japanese are saying but even what they are saying is dire.
There is new evidence that the area around the plant will remain uninhabitable for decades.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says computer forecasts show that radiation leaking from a nuclear plant could pose a hazard to people outside its 30-kilometer zone.
Edano said at a news conference on Wednesday that a computer forecast system has shown that radiation levels in some areas outside the 30-kilometer zone would exceed 100 millisieverts, which is the level that could affect the human thyroid if a person is exposed to it outdoors for 24 hours.
Edano cited a lack of data and the need for more precise calculations, and said there is no need for immediate evacuation or to seek shelter indoors.
At the same time, he urged people living downwind from the plant to stay indoors as much as possible and keep the windows shut as a precaution.
Radioactive iodine has been detected in Tokyo tap water in levels above the safe limit for infants.
The Tokyo Metropolitan government says 210 becquerels of iodine-131 were detected on Tuesday in one liter of water at one of its purification plants in northern Tokyo.
A sampling on Wednesday also showed roughly 190 becquerels per liter.
These levels are below the 300-becquerel per liter safe limit for adults, but far above the 100-becquerel limit for infants.
Tokyo says infants in the central 23 wards, plus 5 adjacent cities, should refrain from drinking tap water.
It is also urging beverage makers in these areas not to use tap water in infants’ drinks.
There was another fire at reactor 3, the second in as many days.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says black smoke was seen rising from the No.3 reactor building at the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant at around 4:20 PM on Wednesday. TEPCO told reporters that it received a report 1 hour later that the smoke had gradually cleared. The company said that the level of radiation near the main gate of the plant, 1 kilometer west of the No.3 reactor, was 265.1-microsieverts-per-hour at 5 PM. They added there had been no major change in the levels after the smoke was observed. On Monday afternoon, gray smoke was seen rising from the same reactor building. TEPCO said that the plumes turned white before disappearing. The power company evacuated workers from the control room of the No. 3 reactor, as well as firefighters from Tokyo and Yokohama preparing for a water-spraying operation. The firefighters had to abandon their planned water spraying operation for the day.
Per the Japan Nuclear Agency: the Radiation level at Fukushima reactor No. 2 at its highest level recorded so far. From Reuters: “Radiation at the crippled Fukushima No.2 nuclear reactor was recorded at the highest level since the start of the crisis, Japan’s nuclear safety agency said on Wednesday. An agency spokesman said 500 millisieverts per hour of radiation was measured at the No.2 unit on Wednesday. Engineers have been trying to fix the plant’s cooling system after restoring lighting on Tuesday.
Shepard Smith of FOX had a good segment on all the problems at Fukishma. As much as it pains me to say so Smith’s newscast is the best on TV which is probably why the wingnuts think he should be fired.
Not an hour passes without something material developing in Fukushima. Just out from NHK: all four broken reactors are now smoking. While 2, 3 and 4 have all issued smoke or steam at some point in the past, it is now Reactor 1’s turn. From NHK: “An NHK helicopter crew has confirmed what appears to be steam rising from No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 reactor buildings at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. This is the first time that steam has been seen coming out of the No.1 reactor. The helicopter crew was filming from a location more than 30 kilometers from the plant shortly before 7:00 AM on Thursday.” It was not all bad news: “The Tokyo Electric Power Company says that black smoke seen rising from the No.3 reactor building on Wednesday was no longer visible as of 6:00 AM Thursday.” It is unclear if the radiation level had dropped enough to where workers could resume their attempt to reactive the cooling stations at Fukushima.
This is personal for me. When I worked for a Japanese multinational I spent a lot of time in Fukishama and still have friends there.