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Posted by on Aug 5, 2011 in Energy, Science & Technology, Society | 11 comments

Remembering Fukishima

Here in the US of A we have all but forgotten the nuclear disaster in Fukishima because our own political kabuki dance is less threatening and more entertaining.  But it’s not forgotten in Japan and it shouldn’t be here either.  The reality is the situation at Fukushima Daiichi is still out of control and no one knows what’s going on or what to do about it.

August 3, 2011:

Highest indoor radiation level detected at Fukushima Daiichi plant

Radiation dosages of 5 sieverts per hour were detected indoors on the second floor of the No. 1 reactor at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Tuesday, the highest figure yet indoors, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

The figure was detected in front of a pipe in an air-conditioning machine room, the utility said, adding the dosage may be larger than the measured amount as it exceeds the capacity of measuring equipment.

August 4, 2011:

Tepco Reports Second Deadly Radiation Reading at Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co. reported its second deadly radiation reading in as many days at its wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant north of Tokyo.

The utility known as Tepco said yesterday it detected 5 sieverts of radiation per hour in the No. 1 reactor building. On Aug. 1 in another area it recorded radiation of 10 sieverts per hour, enough to kill a person “within a few weeks” after a single exposure, according to the World Nuclear Association.

This comes as no surprise to Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama.

Fukushima radiation equals 20 nuclear bombs but will stay dangerous much longer

Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama, head of the Radioisotope Center at the University of Tokyo, testifies before the Committee on Welfare and Labor in the Lower House of the Japanese Diet. Very emotional — yet clear and rational —testimony.

“Based on the thermal output, it is 29.6 times the amount released by the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima. In uranium equivalent, it is 20 Hiroshima bombs.

“What is more frightening is that whereas the radiation from a nuclear bomb will decrease to one-thousandth in one year, the radiation from a nuclear power plant will only decrease to one-tenth.

“In other words, we should recognize from the start that just like Chernobyl, Fukushima I Nuke Plant has released radioactive materials equivalent in the amount to tens of nuclear bombs, and the resulting contamination is far worse than the contamination by a nuclear bomb.”

Several months after the earthquake no one knows what damage occured, how bad it is or what to do about it.  Japan is a small island that has lost some of it’s most productive agricultural land for generations.  We can’t even estimate how the fisheries in the Pacific Ocean have been impacted.  The economy of Japan was damaged by the earthquake but may not be able to recover from the nuclear incident.

But it can’t happen here!  There had been an active government and industry program to convince the people of Japan that nuclear power was safe – it couldn’t happen there but it did.  We have had the same propaganda effort here in the US.  Just a couple of months ago we were one dam failure away from a Nuclear disaster at Fort Calhoun on the Missouri River in Nebraska.  However unlikely a nuclear accident is the long lasting impact of that accident  make the risk unacceptable.  If nuclear power is the only solution there is no solution.

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Copyright 2011 The Moderate Voice
  • DLS

    It’s not our disaster, Ron, in this country it should eventually “rule” the lives of only the very few actually affected by a disaster like that, and in no way does it characterize nuclear power, which is the only serious substitute for, and superior to, coal for electricity generation.

  • DLS

    Ron, if you can’t help but indulge in left-activism, this is of interest.


    Ron’s report about the Fort Calhoun plant in Nebraska is factually wrong. While the water did flood the plant, the water level never rose anywhere near the level that would have threatened the operation of the plant because the plant was designed to operate even if flooded with up to 8 feet of water. Also, the plant was already shut down for refueling at the time, so even if the water had risen the extra distance, it would not have resulted in a disaster. And even if the plant had been operating and it flooded in excess of its design capacity, the fact that Nebraska would have been unlikely to be hit by an earthquake and a tsunami first would have prevented anything similar to the Fukushima problems.

    Also, Fort Calhoun is a fundamentally different and safer design.

    Details, details.

  • DLS

    Well, at least we’ve been free of stupid Chernobyl references lately.

    I still like this anti-Diablo-Canyon graphic — it’s a classic:

  • JSpencer

    “There is no reason whatsoever to second-guess Truman, much less feel guilt about Hiroshima or Nagasaki, or have any kind of mentally ill problems about any and all things nuclear.” – DLS (quoted from Shaun’s thread of today)

    Clearly you are mentally ill Ron. Also I would have to assume Logan is either in tacit agreement with this assessment or hasn’t read the post yet, since according to his own oft repeated standard, if one doesn’t take issue with a comment it can only be because they are in agreement with it. (apologies for the high expectations)

  • Quelcrist Falconer

    Fukushima’s nuclear cauldron: Retirees who want to go in

    Nothing makes Nobuhiro Shiotani angrier than to be called a “kamikaze.”

    Certainly, the sober and precisely spoken retired scientist does not look like a World War II suicide pilot. And he is insistent that his plan to lead 300 elderly pensioners in a bid to stabilize the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is motivated not by some mad death wish but by pure rationality.

    “Older people taking the risk is much less damaging to our society than asking the younger generation following us to take it,” Dr. Shiotani says, adding bluntly, because we are nearer the end of our lives anyway.

    Shiotani and an old friend, former plant engineer Yasuteru Yamada, founded the Skilled Veterans Corps (SVC) in April, less than a month after a tsunami overwhelmed the cooling system at Fukushima, causing the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

    By writing letters and e-mails, using Twitter, and sending out a call to action at various blogs, the two men have drawn more than 300 retired engineers and scientists, ranging in age from 60 to 78, into their group. All are offering to use their skills and experience to help cool the reactors following the partial meltdown at the heavily contaminated site. “To my surprise we’ve received quite a large number of favorable responses,” says Shiotani. “They all say they think it’s their duty not to leave this negative heritage to younger generations.”

    Seven members of the veterans group worked at Fukushima during their active careers, he adds. “They feel like mothers who have lost their children.”

    With their backgrounds as nuclear plant designers, electrical engineers, radiation regulators, and physicists, the retirees “could if they wish get a decent job at Fukushima, but they have chosen us,” says Shiotani. “They want to work not for money, but for something fundamental and essential for society.”

    Obviously haven’t read any Rand, and are not Tea Baggers.

  • DLS

    Ron is not mentally ill, but so many obviously are about any and all things nuclear. It’s also strange to have a negative reaction to having that fact pointed out, particularly when and where it’s relevant.

  • JSpencer

    So are those countries which have either postponed or scrapped their plans to build new nuclear power plants in the wake of the Japan disaster the victims of mental illness too? Maybe you’d like to revisit your choice of words.

  • DLS

    I don’t have to revisit what doesn’t need revision.

    As to cancellations of nuclear power reactor plans, it could be for many reasons, including stupid political ones. Among the reasons are the high start-up costs; as I’ve told Ron before, solar power is not in a place to replace coal or nuclear for power plants, but for small sites, which is more costly and more trouble to set up for a small application? Not that solar always works, but it can work for many such small applications now, particularly when there’s no great power demand and any storage is easily and cheaply met by plain lead-acid batteries. For homes, power is taken at night off the existing distribution system, of course.

    But this has all been covered before, even if some have missed it.

  • roro80

    I’m fairly certain comparing the amount of thermal output and uranium content between a power station and a bomb doesn’t…mean anything. The uranium content hasn’t changed since before the disaster**. The thermal output of a bomb is really large over a very short period of time, but then it’s not hot anymore…obviously the thermal output is Fukushima at any given time isn’t anywhere near what a nuclear bomb puts out during the few moments it’s exploding, or the entire surrounding area would be literally vaporized. But that’s what a bomb does — it explodes — it’s not supposed to put out energy for a sustained period of time like a reactor is.

    That said, the area is still very much a dire situation.

    And, um, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are two things it’s pretty much impossible to “over-react” to. DLS, I know you think that hundreds of thousands of deaths of innocent people is just silly nonsense (I recall you talking about how awful the “overreaction” to the AIDS epidemic was in the late 80s among the gay community), but that’s actually a very very weird thing about you — not something wrong with other people. Hundreds of thousands of deaths is actually a big deal. I feel like you don’t actually believe that’s true, but you’re going to have to trust me on this one.

    **ETA: well, technically, it’s gone down. Of course.

  • JSpencer

    “DLS, I know you think that hundreds of thousands of deaths of innocent people is just silly nonsense” – roro

    Really, how can you even deal with a mindset so disconnected from empathy??

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