— ‘Global consequences’ of lethal radiation leak at Fukushima; TEPCO botches recent measurement inside reactor; “insane” levels detected last year, exceed Chernobyl

From Sputnik News

February 4, 2018

Lethal levels of radiation have been observed inside Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant. And they are arguably way higher than you suspect.

According to Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), radiation levels of eight Sieverts per hour (Sv/h) have been discovered within the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was destroyed after a massive earthquake and a tsunami in March 2011.

Japanese Regulator Advocates Releasing Toxic Water Into Sea at Fukushima

Tepco, the company that operated the plant and is now tasked with decommissioning it, reported the discovery after making observations in a reactor containment vessel last month.

Eight Sv/h of radiation, if absorbed at once, mean certain death, even with quick treatment. One Sv/h is likely to cause sickness and 5.5 Sv/h will result in a high chance of developing cancer.

While 8 Sv/h is deadly, outside of Fukushima’s Reactor Number 2 foundations of a much higher level of 42 Sv/h was detected.

A strange occurrence, and experts are still arguing what caused the discrepancy. One possible explanation is that cooling water washed radioactive material off debris, taking it somewhere else.

But here’s a truly terrifying catch: according to the report, Tepco highly doubts the new readings, because, as was discovered later, a cover was not removed from the robot-mounted measurement device at the time of the inspection, NHK World reports.

Exactly one year ago, Sputnik reported that Tepco engineers discovered absolutely insane levels of radiation of about 530 Sv/h within the reactor. Such levels of radiation would kill a human within seconds. By comparison, the Chernobyl reactor reads 34 Sv/h radiation level, enough to kill a human after 20 minutes of exposure.

Japan Begins Disposal of Radioactive Waste From Fukushima Disaster

The levels of radiation within Fukushima reactor number 2 were so high that Tepco’s toughest robot, designed to withstand 1000 Sv/h of radiation, had to be pulled out, as it started glitching due to high radiation levels. Nuclear experts called the radiation levels “unimaginable” at the time.

On November 2017, the New York Times and other news outlets reported a much smaller figure of 70 Sv/h of radiation, more or less on par with a 74 Sv/h reading gathered before an anomalous 530 Sv/h spike.

While that radiation dosimeter cover negligence prevents precise calculations, the actual picture inside Unit 2 is thought to be much worse.

Japanese state broadcaster NHK World quoted experts saying that if the cleaning of the stricken power plant is not properly addressed, it will result in major leak of radioactivity with “global” consequences.

Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, says that while the readings are not reliable, they still “demonstrate that, seven years after the disaster, cleaning up the Fukushima site remains a massive challenge — and one that we’re going to be reading about for decades, never mind years.”

Mycle Schneider, independent energy consultant and lead author of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, criticized Tepco, saying the power company has “no clue” what it is doing.

“I find it symptomatic of the past seven years, in that they don’t know what they’re doing, Tepco, these energy companies, haven’t a clue what they’re doing, so to me it’s been going wrong from the beginning. It’s a disaster of unseen proportions.”

In observing the poor maintenance of plant radiation leaks, Schneider also pointed out that the company stores nuclear waste at the site in an inappropriate way.

“This is an area of the planet that gets hit by tornadoes and all kinds of heavy weather patterns, which is a problem. When you have waste stored above ground in inappropriate ways, it can get washed out and you can get contamination all over the place.”


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— Lethal radiation outside Fukushima reactor foundations- 42 sieverts/hour; expert says contaminated water going into ocean would cause global disaster, TEPCO “hasn’t a clue what it’s doing”

“It needs to be clear that this problem is not gone, this is not just a local problem. It’s a very major thing.” — Mycle Schneider

From ENE News:

February 6, 2018

The Independent, Feb 2, 2018 (emphasis added): Fukushima nuclear disaster: Lethal levels of radiation detected in leak… Expert warns of ‘global’ consequences unless the plant is treated properly… [Tepco] found eight sieverts per hour of radiation, while 42 [sieverts] were also detected outside its foundations… It came as Tepco said the problem of contaminated water pooled around the plants three reactors that is seeping into the ground has caused a major headache in its efforts to decommission the plant… Mycle Schneider, an independent energy consultant and lead author of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, said that Tepco “hasn’t a clue what it is doing” in its job to decommission the plant. He added that the contaminated water that is leaking at the site could end up in the ocean if the ongoing treatment project fails and cause a “global” disaster, he told The Independent… “I find it symptomatic of the past seven years, in that they don’t know what they’re doing, Tepco, these energy companies haven’t a clue what they’re doing, so to me it’s been going wrong from the beginning. It’s a disaster of unseen proportions.” Mr Schneider added that the radiation leaks coupled with the waste from the plant stored in an “inappropriate” way in tanks could have global consequences… “This can get problematic anytime, if it contaminates the ocean there is no local contamination, the ocean is global, so anything that goes into the ocean goes to everyone.” He added: “It needs to be clear that this problem is not gone, this is not just a local problem. It’s a very major thing.”

NHK, Feb 1, 2018: High radiation detected at Fukushima plant… A remote-controlled inspection of the Unit 2 reactor containment vessel last month detected a maximum of 8 sieverts per hour of radiation… [Tepco] said the radiation reading was taken near what appeared to be fuel debris, the term used to describe a mixture of molten fuel and broken interior parts… radiation levels remain so high that they present a major challenge to decommissioning work. During the probe, 42 sieverts per hour of radiation was also detected outside the foundations of the reactor. But officials said they have doubts about the accuracy of the reading because a cover had not been removed from the measuring instrument at the time. They added that they don’t know why radiation levels were lower near the suspected fuel debris than around the foundations. They gave a number of possible reasons, such as that cooling water may have washed radioactive materials off the debris…

RT, Feb 2, 2018: An inspection of the Fukushima nuclear plant has detected extremely highamounts of radiation, says operator TEPCO… Experts can’t explain why radiation levels in fuel debris were lower than outside the reactor’s foundations

Sputnik, Feb 4, 2018: ‘Global Consequences’ of Lethal Radiation Leak at Destroyed Japan Nuclear Plant… While 8 Sv/h is deadly, outside of Fukushima’s Reactor Number 2 foundations… a much higher level of 42 Sv/h was detected. A strange occurrence, and experts are still arguing what caused the discrepancy. One possible explanation is that cooling water washed radioactive material off debris, taking it somewhere else. But here’s a truly terrifying catch: according to the report, Tepco highly doubts the new readings, because, as was discovered later, a cover was not removed from the robot-mounted measurement device at the time of the inspection, NHK World reports… While that radiation dosimeter cover negligence prevents precise calculations, the actual picture inside Unit 2 is thought to be much worse

Watch NHK’s broadcast here

Leak worsens in massive Hanford tank holding nuclear waste

From  King5 TV

VIDEO on website

A leak in a massive nuclear waste storage tank at the Hanford Site has expanded significantly, KING 5 learned this weekend.

After leak detector alarms sounded early Sunday morning, crews at Hanford lowered a camera into the two-foot-wide space between the tank’s inner and outer walls. They discovered 8.4 inches of radioactive and chemically toxic waste has seeped into the annulus.

The U.S. Department of Energy released a statement Monday calling the leak an “anticipated” outcome of an ongoing effort to empty the tank in question. The Washington state Department of Ecology said, “There is no indication of waste leaking into the environment or risk to the public at this time.”

But one former tank farm worker said the leak should be considered a major problem.

“This is catastrophic. This is probably the biggest event to ever happen in tank farm history. The double shell tanks were supposed to be the saviors of all saviors (to hold waste safely from people and the environment),” said former Hanford worker Mike Geffre.

Geffre is the worker who first discovered that the tank, known as AY-102, was failing in 2011. In a 2013 series, “Hanford’s Dirty Secrets,” the KING 5 Investigators exposed that the government contractor in charge of the tanks, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), ignored Geffre’s findings for nearly a year. The company finally admitted the problem in 2012.

Until now, the leak found by Geffre was very slow. The liquid would almost immediately dry up, leaving a salt-like substance on the floor of the two-foot space between the tank’s walls, called the annulus.

Approximately three weeks ago, work began to pump out the contents of AY-102, which has the capacity to hold one million gallons of the deadly waste. The state of Washington has been pressuring the federal government, which owns Hanford, to pump out AY-102 for three-and-a-half years because of the cracking and slow leaking discovered by Geffre in 2011. Sources told KING the disturbance caused by the pumping must have exacerbated the leak: essentially blowing a hole in the aging tank allowing the material to leak more quickly into the outer shell.

Tank AY-102 is one of 28 double-shell tanks at Hanford (there are 177 underground tanks total) holding nuclear byproducts from nearly four decades of plutonium production on the Hanford Nuclear Site, located near Richland. Initially the plutonium was used to fuel the bombed dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in World War II.

Plutonium production continued throughout the Cold War. Since 1989 the work at Hanford has focused solely on cleanup – the most difficult being getting rid of the liquid waste left behind that threatens the health of people, wildlife and the environment, including the nearby Columbia River.

The new leak poses problems on several fronts. The outer shell of AY-102 does not have the exhaust or filtration system needed to keep the dangerous gases created by the waste in check. Workers have been ordered to wear full respiratory safety gear in the area, but the risk remains.

“The hazards to workers just went up by a factor of 10,” said Geffre.

In addition, the breakdown calls into question the viability of three other double-shell tanks at Hanford that have the exact design of AY-102.

“The primary tanks weren’t designed to stage waste like this for so many years,” said a current worker. “There’s always the question, ‘Are the outer shells compromised’”?

The accumulation of waste in the outer shell also means the deadliest substance on earth is that much closer to the ground surrounding the tank. And currently there is no viable plan in place to take care of it.

“It makes me sad that they didn’t believe me that there was a problem in 2011,” said Geffre. “I wish they would have listened to me and reacted faster. Maybe none of this would be happening now. It’s an example of a culture at Hanford of ‘We don’t have problems here. We’re doing just fine.’ Which is a total lie,” said Geffre.

Full statement from Dept. of Energy:

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Hanford tank farms contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) are evaluating recently identified, anticipated changes in the amount of waste between the inner and outer shells (the annulus) of Hanford double-shell tank AY-102.

Since March 3, DOE and WRPS have been retrieving waste from Tank AY-102, and to date approximately 95 percent of the material has been retrieved.  Early on the morning of April 17, crews identified an increase in the waste level in the tank’s annulus. Early on the morning of April 18, a slight decrease in the height of the waste in the annulus was detected. Out of an abundance of caution, DOE and WRPS are in the process of evaluating the tank’s condition.

DOE and WRPS are committed to ensuring the safety of the Hanford workforce, the public and the environment.

WA Dept. of Ecology statement:

RICHLAND – An alarm was activated on Sunday, April 17, at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation while crews working for the U.S. Department of Energy were pumping waste out of the double-shell tank AY-102.
There is no indication of waste leaking into the environment or risk to the public at this time.
The Department of Energy notified the Washington Department of Ecology that the leak detector alarm went off.
The alarm indicates an increase in waste seeping from the primary tank into the space between the primary and secondary tank, known as the annulus.
Crews have been actively removing waste from AY-102 since March because mixed radioactive and chemical waste had previously leaked into the secondary containment area. Approximately 20,000 gallons of waste remains from the original 800,000 gallons in the tank.
According to the Department of Energy, the removal work is currently on hold while engineers evaluate the situation and prepare a plan to recover the material that leaked between the two walls of the tank.
This morning, an Ecology Nuclear Waste Program engineer assessed the situation with the Department of Energy waste retrieval engineers to assure that contingency response plans are being followed.
Additional leaking into the annulus was a known possibility during pumping and is addressed in the Department of Energy’s contingency plan that was submitted to Ecology as part of a Settlement Agreement. That plan delineates actions for Energy to take.
Ecology continues to monitor the situation as spelled out in the settlement agreement that directs waste retrieval.
There are 28 double-shell tanks at the Hanford site.

Copyright 2016 KING

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Leaking beachfront nuclear reactor near Miami threatening Florida everglades

Posted on Zero Hedge

Submitted by Claire Bernish via TheAntiMedia.org,

According to a study released by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Monday, the waters of Biscayne Bay measured 215 times the level of radioactive tritium as is found in normal ocean water.

Tritium is a radioactive isotope traceable to nuclear plant cooling tower operations. In this case, the leak appears to be emanating from the aging canals in the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station located nearby.

“This is one of several things we were very worried about,” said South Miami Mayor and biological sciences professor, Philip Stoddard, as the Miami New Times reported. “You would have to work hard to find a worse place to put a nuclear plant, right between two national parks and subject to hurricanes and storm surge.”

Biscayne Bay harbors one of the largest coral reefs on the planet and is situated near the Everglades. Hot, salty water from the canals appears to be flowing back into both national parks, which has caused concern among environmentalists and others from the time Turkey Point planned to expand its reactors in 2013.

“They argued the canals were a closed system, but that’s not how water works in South Florida,” Stoddard remarked.

“How much damage is that cooling canal system causing the bay is a question to be answered,” Everglades Law Center Attorney Julie Dick told the Miami Herald prior to reviewing the report. “There are a lot more unknowns than knowns and it just shows how much more attention we need to be paying to that cooling canal system.”

Tritium, a hydrogen isotope, is considered a precursor indication of leaks from nuclear plants, as it ‘travels’ or spreads faster than, and often precedes, other radioactive agents.

“While the tritium levels far fall below levels experts consider dangerous, the telltale tracer provided the critical link that high levels of ammonia and phosphorus in sections of bay bottom — pollution that is more damaging to marine life — likely came from the canals,” the Herald explained. Samples for the county monitoring study were gathered during December and January — and the tritium levels seem to show Florida Power & Light in violation of both local water laws and federal operating permits.

FPL, which operates Turkey Point, will likely receive another violation due to the leak — the county issued a citation in October for tainted groundwater — to force FPL to bring the plant into compliance, the Herald reported Tuesday.

After news of the report made headlines, critics, including environmentalists, nearby rock miners, and Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, came forward in full force calling for the Environmental Protection Agency to intervene in the matter.

“For years our state regulators have failed to take seriously the threat to our public safety, to our drinking water, and to our environment posed by FP&L’s actions at Turkey Point,” Rodriguez asserted, according to the New Times.“Evidence revealed this week of radioactive material in Biscayne Bay is the last straw and I join those calling on the U.S. EPA to step in and do what our state regulators have so far refused to do — protect the public.”

The leak also serves as possible confirmation for environmentalists who have suspected radioactive leaks from Turkey Point as the cause of algae blooms appearing in the bay for years.

“Biscayne Bay has not traditionally had algae blooms,” explained executive director for Miami Waterkeeper Rachel Silverstein, reported the Herald. “That’s from pollution. From sewers, septic tanks and now we know, cooling canals.”

Indeed, though FPL claims it continues to protect the health of the bay, as the Herald noted, Turkey Point has created issues for the waterways since the facility began producing more energy three years ago. “When you look at the big picture,” FPL environmental director, Matt Raffenberg, insisted, the canals “are not impacting Biscayne Bay.”

At a meeting on Tuesday, county commissioners discussed the imperative need to bring FPL and Turkey point into compliance with the law.

“We’ve had stop gap measures we’ve approved,” Gimenez said. “So far they’ve not proved to be the solution.”

Referencing the last time FPL was forced to implement changes following a lawsuit in the 1970s, he added, “It’s time we enter the 21st century.”

FPL’s continued problems with Turkey Point might have finally crossed the legal line by violating the federal Clean Water Act.

“There’s a certain validation to critics in seeing this result in the study,” Stoddard said. “But more important, it’s now crossed the threshold of federal law here.”


Posted under Fair Use Rules.

“Leak First, Fix Later: Uncontrolled and Unmonitored Radioactive Releases at Nuclear Power Plants” — report

Uncontrolled and Unmonitored Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants

A Beyond Nuclear Report
By Paul Gunter, Director, Reactor Oversight Project
Revised Edition: March 2015

“Leak First, Fix Later” was first published in April 2010. Now nearly five years later, Beyond  Nuclear takes another look at the problem of aging and deteriorating piping systems carrying
radioactive liquids that still run under every nuclear power plant.

Nuclear power plants have an extensive network of piping systems dozens of which transport liquids that contain radioactive isotopes including tritium — a radioactive form of hydrogen — and long-lived strontium-90. These piping systems are not adequately inspected or maintained due to their inaccessibility.

U.S. reactors continue to experience leaks and spills of radioactive material into groundwater the unmonitored pathways from unknown and unanticipated sources.

Now, five years after our initial 2010 report, Beyond Nuclear has determined that the NRC has failed to mandate any corrective action programs that focus on inspection and maintenance programs aimed at groundwater protection by preventing ongoing radioactive leaks and contamination of water resources.

Full report at: http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/356082/26211376/1431107993237/LeakFirst_ReportLater_BeyondNuclear_March2015.pdf?token=z1pOj4O3mtw9GUIJX27aU%2FNIDIU%3D