Category Archives: Fukushima

TEPCO fails to restart Fukushima water decontamination process

TEPCO fails to restart Fukushima water decontamination process TEPCO fails to restart Fukushima water decontamination process

The water decontamination process at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has once again been halted, only about six hours after the plant’s operator TEPCO announced it was resuming the purification process following a previous failure.
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Six days ago, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) detected a failure in what is known as the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS). The company said that up to 900 tons of water, which had not been sufficiently cleaned in the ALPS equipment, flowed into a network of 21 tanks that were holding 15,000 tons of treated water. Not only have the 21 tanks been rendered unusable, but all 15,000 tons of previously cleaned water has to be retreated.

TEPCO said it restarted two of three lines used to clean toxic water at around 04:00 GMT on Monday. A third line remained offline while crews examined a filter defect, AFP reported.

Yet shortly before 10:00 GMT, TEPCO suspended the ALPS of the two units after finding about a half liter of leaked water at a tank designed to measure levels of radioactive materials in the processed water, according to Jiji Press. TEPCO said in a press release that there were no new leaks outside the system, though.

The difficulties only mark the latest challenges TEPCO has faced since March 2011, when a 9.0 megathrust earthquake triggered a subsequent tsunami that resulted in a badly-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The ALPS system was developed to dramatically curb the radiation level of highly contaminated water that is accumulating at the plant. The ALPS consists of 14 steel cylinders through which the contaminated water is filtered. After the filtering, waste materials like the absorbent and remaining sludge are transferred to high-integrity containers (HICs) that are transported to a temporary storage facility.

The ALPS can remove 62 different types of radionuclides, including strontium and cobalt, from contaminated water. While the system cannot remove tritium – a radioactive isotope of hydrogen – the purification of water through the system is expected to reduce damage levels if water leaks from storage tanks.

The equipment, which is supposed to be able to treat up to 750 tons of contaminated water a day, has been undergoing trial runs since March 2013. The system, however, has been plagued with problems from the outset. The latest glitch and subsequent recontamination was caused when one of the three ALPS lines failed to remove radioactive substances to a sufficient level.

In mid-January, TEPCO warned that nuclear radiation at the boundaries of the damaged facility had jumped to eight times the government safety guidelines, while only a week into the new year, plant operators once again had to stop using its systems to decontaminate radioactive water. Compounding their problems at the time, a crane used to get rid of the container from the ALPS ceased functioning.

TEPCO has struggled to manage a growing volume of contaminated water at the plant. About 436,000 cubic meters of contaminated water is stored at the site in about 1,200 tanks.

Source: RT

Study claims USS Reagan crew exposed to extremely high levels of radiation near Fukushima

Study claims USS Reagan crew exposed to extremely high levels of radiation near Fukushima Study claims USS Reagan crew exposed to extremely high levels of radiation near Fukushima

A new report on the nuclear crisis that started to unfold in Fukushima, Japan almost three years ago suggests that American troops who assisted with disaster relief efforts were exposed to unheard of radiation levels while on assignment.
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Kyle Cleveland, a sociology professor at Temple University Japan, makes a case for that argument in an academic paper published in the Asia-Pacific Journal this week titled Mobilizing Nuclear Bias: The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis and the Politics of Uncertainty.

According to Cleveland, transcripts from a March 2011 conference call obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that United States servicemen on the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier experienced radiation levels 30-times above normal during relief operations that week.

During that March 13 phone call, Cleveland wrote, Troy Mueller — the deputy administrator for naval reactors at the US Department of Energy — said the radiation was the equivalent of “about 30 times what you would detect just on a normal air sample out at sea.”

“So it’s much greater than what we had thought,” Mueller reportedly warned other American officials after taking samples on the Reagan. “We didn’t think we would detect anything at 100 miles.”

After Mueller made that remark, according to Cleveland’s transcript, Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman asked him if those levels were “significantly higher than anything you would have expected.”He responded yes.

When Poneman later asked Mueller, “how do the levels detected compare with what is permissible,”Mueller said those on the scene could suffer irreversible harm from the radiation within hours.

“If it were a member of the general public, it would take — well, it would take about 10 hours to reach a limit,” he said. At that point, Mueller added, “it’s a thyroid dose issue.”

If people are exposed to levels beyond the Protective Action Guideline threshold released by the Energy Department, Cleveland acknowledged in his report, radiation could have ravaged their thyroid glands.

When approached for comment by reporters at the website NextGov, however, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Flaherty said in an email that the crewmembers aboard the USS Reagan were never at danger of such exposure.

“Potentially contaminated personnel were surveyed with sensitive instruments and, if necessary, decontaminated. The low levels of radioactivity from the Fukushima nuclear power plant identified on US Navy ships, their aircraft, and their personnel were easily within the capability of ship’s force to remedy,”Flaherty said

The latest report, NextGov’s Bob Brewin wrote, comes only days after the attorneys representing 79 USS Reagan crewmember filed an amended lawsuit in California against Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO., which has been accused of negligent with regards to maintain the Fukushima nuclear facility ahead of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that started the emergency.Attorneys for those servicemen are asking TEPCO for $1 billion in damages, and say that the infant child born of one of the crewmembers since the incident has a rare genetic disorder likely brought on by radiation exposure.

Attorneys in that suit say that “up to 70,000 US citizens [were] potentially affected by the radiation,” and might be able to join in their suit.

Source: RT

TEPCO reveals record cesium level in Fukushima No. 1 well

fukushima1 TEPCO reveals record cesium level in Fukushima No. 1 well

A record high level of radioactive cesium has been found in groundwater beneath the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, it operator TEPCO revealed.
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On February 13, Tokyo Electric Power Co. reported 37,000 becquerels of cesium-134 and 93,000 becquerels of cesium-137 were detected per liter of groundwater sampled from a monitoring well earlier that day.

Water samples were taken from the technical well, located next to the second power unit, some 50 meters from the coast. These figures (the total reading) are the highest of all the cesium measurements taken previously.

Experts do not rule out that radioactive water is leaking from an underground tunnel, which is located close to the second power unit on the seashore.

However, no exact reason for such a significant increase of radioactive cesium content in the groundwater has been given so far.

Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun reported that the amount of radioactive chemicals seems to be increasing. On Feb. 12, the same sampling well had produced a combined cesium reading of 76,000 becquerels per liter.

Earlier Japan’s nuclear regulator slammed the stricken Fukushima plant operator for incorrectly measuring radiation levels in contaminated groundwater at the site.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) accused TEPCO of lacking basic understanding of measuring and handling radiation almost three years since the reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

On Thursday, fears of new leaks surfaced in Japanese media, as the same newspaper reported two cracks in a concrete floor of the No. 1 facility near radioactive water storage tanks.

TEPCO suggested some contaminated water from the melting snow may have seeped into the ground through the cracks, stretching for 12 and 8 meters.

The leakage of radiation-contaminated water is posing a major threat to Japan’s population and environment and to the international community since the March 2011 disaster.

Source: RT

Fukushima radiation levels underestimated by five times – TEPCO

fukushima Fukushima radiation levels underestimated by five times   TEPCO

TEPCO has revised the readings on the radioactivity levels at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant well to 5 million becquerels of strontium per liter – both a record, and nearly five times higher than the original reading of 900,000 becquerels per liter.
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Strontium-90 is a radioactive isotope of strontium produced by nuclear fission with a half-life of 28.8 years. The legal standard for strontium emissions is 30 becquerels per liter. Exposure to strontium-90 can cause bone cancer, cancer of nearby tissues, and leukemia.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. originally said that the said 900,000 becquerels of beta-ray sources per liter, including strontium – were measured in the water sampled on July 5 last year.

However, the company noted on Friday that the previous radioactivity levels had been wrong, meaning that it was also likely reading taken from the other wells at the disaster-struck plant prior to September were also likely to have been inaccurate, the Asahi Shimbum newspaper reported.

The Japanese company has already apologized for the failures, which they said were a result of the malfunctioning of measuring equipment.

TEPCO did not mention the radioactivity levels of other samples of both groundwater and seawater taken from between June and November last year – which totaled some 140.

However, the erroneous readings only pertain to the radiation levels measured in water – readings taken to measure the radiation levels in air or soil are likely to have been accurate.

In the basement of the station, the drainage system and special tanks have accumulated more than 360,000 tons of radioactive water. The leakage of radioactive water has been an ongoing problem in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant.

TEPCO also said on Thursday that 600 liters of contaminated water – which had 2,800 becquerels of beta-ray sources per liter in it, leaked from piping leading to a tank at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

A record high level of beta rays released from radioactive strontium-90 was detected at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant beneath the No. 2 reactor’s well facing the ocean, according to the facility’s operator who released news of the measurements mid-January.

TEPCO measured the amount of beta ray-emitting radioactivity at more than 2.7 million becquerels per liter, Fukushima’s operator said as reported in the Japanese media.

In March 2011, an earthquake triggered a tsunami that hit Japan’s coast, damaging the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The catastrophe caused the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the facility, leading to the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

The water used to cool the reactors has been leaking into the soil and contaminating the ground water ever since. Some of the radioactive water has been escaping into the Pacific Ocean.

Source: RT

Media ignores Fukushima as probable cause of declining West Coast marine populations

bluefin tuna radiation poisoning 6001 462x264 Media ignores Fukushima as probable cause of declining West Coast marine populations
 
Scientists are warning about an alarming decline of marine life along the western coast of North America, with bizarre episodes of malnourished sea lions, starving brown pelicans, whales and dolphins migrating out of season – and a rapidly and drastically declining sardine population.
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The disappearance of the sardines, a major food source for mammals and seabirds, as well as farmed fish and humans, has become a major topic of discussion – as fishery operations for this small, oily and important forage fish faces sudden collapse.

A collapse of sardine populations

Commercial fishing for sardines off of Canada’s West Coast is worth an estimated $32 million – but now they are suddenly gone. Back in October, fisherman reported that they came back empty-handed without a single fish after 12 hours of trolling and some $1000 spent on fuel.

Sandy Mazza, for the Daily Breeze, reported a similar phenomenon in central California: “[T]he fickle sardines have been so abundant for so many years – sometimes holding court as the most plentiful fish in coastal waters – that it was a shock when he couldn’t find one of the shiny silver-blue coastal fish all summer, even though this isn’t the first time they’ve vanished.” [emphasis added]

It is not only the commercial value of sardines but their importance as a high-energy staple for whales, dolphins, sea lions, bluefin tuna, pelicans and other sea birds that makes this so significant. Steve Marx, a policy analyst for the Pew Charitable Trust, commented that the shortage “does not bode well for everything in the ocean that relies on sardines to get big and fat and healthy.”

Contaminated water from Fukushima has arrived on the West Coast

While the reasons for these changes may be as complex as the ecological food web that connects them, no one is discussing the elephant in the room - Fukushima.

Admittedly, the contaminated radioactive water being dumped into the Pacific Ocean from the Japanese Fukushima plant has been circulating towards the West since the March 2011 nuclear accident.

The research community knew months before the public was told that high concentrations of cesium-137 had reached the shores of Alaska, British Columbia and California, and will soon reach Mexico. This bombardment of contaminated radioactive water will continue for years to come, with the best estimates showing that the levels will not peak for several years.

Cold-water sardines shifting with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation cycle

The likely impact of Fukushima on marine life throughout the Pacific is compounded by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation – which science only discovered as of 1997 but now believes is a major factor in shifting sardine populations and replacing them with anchovies. This cycle shifts the temperature of Pacific water over the course of decades, replacing warmer water with colder and vice versa, according to the North Pacific gyre’s circular clockwise motion.

Only now, the cycling Pacific waters are also carrying with these shifting temperatures the contaminated radioactive waters flowing from Fukushima toward the West Coast - along with the cool water phase that makes high sardine populations less likely.

Earlier last century, the sardine fishery created a huge boom in Monterey, California’s “Cannery Row,” where enormous amounts of the fish were canned, before the population declined sharply to base levels in the late 50s, where they remained until they began rebounding in the mid-1980s, again driving a boom industry and peaking in about 1999. The sardines recovered again starting about 2003 but have since headed straight for the bottom again after peak numbers at nearly the same time as the Fukushima disaster.

How it is impacting whales and other marine life

The shortage of sardines and other prey is being blamed for some 1,600 sea lion pups that have been diagnosed as “malnourished” by marine biologists working along the West Coast. It is believed that the mother seals didn’t produce enough milk to sustain their young. The same was found with brown pelicans, who’ve demonstrated tell-tale signs of starvation and produced fewer babies.

The quota for the sardine catch was lowered back in November by the Pacific Fishery Management Council after confirmation of severely dwindling population numbers; environmental groups like Oceana have demanded a complete halt to sardine fishing to prevent collapse.

“Is it El Nino? Pacific Decadal Oscillation? [La] Nina? Long-term climate change? More marine mammals eating sardines? Did they all go to Mexico or farther offshore? We don’t know. We’re pretty sure the overall population has declined. We manage them pretty conservatively because we don’t want to end up with another Cannery Row so, as the population declines, we curb fishing.” said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) official Kerry Griffin.

The Monterey County Weekly, a regional publication, highlighted some of the majesty of humpback whale watching ahead of its feature article on the decline of sardines, in part due to over-fishing.

Author David Schmalz wrote, “There’s so much poetry in motion that it’s hard to resist the idea that you are witnessing something historic, that these humpback whales – nearly all of whom normally migrate to Mexico some time in the fall – are trying to tell us something. And they are, if we listen.”

The message is that anchovies have replaced much of the missing sardines as a major marine food source, which may explain the early migration of huge populations of whales.

Yet some fisherman have also turned up a zero-catch on anchovies, just after pulling in giant hauls that many have been relying upon to replace their usual sardine catch. Others have increasingly turned to market squid.

There are other signs, too, of things out of the ordinary: the first ever documented, photographed case of conjoined twin Gray whales washed up on shores in Baja California, Mexico – underdeveloped and apparently miscarried. There is no immediate explanation for the abnormal occurrence.

-Source: http://covertreport.com