— ‘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.”

https://sputniknews.com/environment/201802041061337934-global-consequences-fukushima-leak/

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The great Fukushima nuclear cover-up

From the Ecologist

No bliss in this ignorance: the great Fukushima nuclear cover-up
Linda Pentz Gunther
February 20, 2016

The Japanese were kept in the dark from the start of the Fukushima disaster about high radiation levels and their dangers to health, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. In order to proclaim the Fukushima area ‘safe’, the Government increased exposure limits to twenty times the international norm. Soon, many Fukushima refugees will be forced to return home to endure damaging levels of radiation.

Once you enter a radiation controlled area, you aren’t supposed to drink water, let alone eat anything. The idea that somebody is living in a place like that is unimaginable.

Dr. Tetsunari Iida is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP) in Japan.

As such, one might have expected a recent presentation he gave in the UK within the hallowed halls of the House of Commons, to have focused on Japan’s capacity to replace the electricity once generated by its now mainly shuttered nuclear power plants, with renewable energy.

But Dr lida’s passionate polemic was not about the power of the sun, but the power of propaganda. March 11, 2011 might have been the day the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. But it was also the beginning of the Great Japan Cover-Up.

On the ISEP website, Iida extols the coming of the Fourth Revolution, following on from those in agriculture, industry and IT. “This fourth revolution will be an energy revolution, a green industrial revolution, and a decentralized network revolution”, he writes.

But in person, Iida was most interested in conveying the extent to which the Japanese people were lied to before, during and after the devastating nuclear disaster at Fukushima-Daiichi, precipitated on that same fateful day and by the deadly duo of earthquake and tsunami.

“Shinzo Abe says ‘everything is under control'”, said Iida, speaking at an event hosted by Nuclear Free Local Authorities, Green Cross, and Nuclear Consulting Group in late January. It was headlined by the former Japan Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, who was at the helm when the triple disasters struck. “Yes – under the control of the media!”

A trial for Tepco like post-war Tokyo Trials

The media may have played the willing government handmaiden in reassuring the public with falsehoods, but in July 2012, the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission concluded that the disaster was really no accident but man-made. It came about, the researchers said, as a result of “collusion” between the government, regulators and the nuclear industry, in this case, Tepco.

“There should be a Tepco trial like the post-war Tokyo Trials”, Iida said, referring to the post World War II war crimes trial in which 28 Japanese were tried, seven of whom were subsequently executed by hanging.

Hope for such accountability – without advocating hanging – is fleeting at best. In 2011, while addressing a conference in Berlin hosted by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, I suggested the Tepco officials should be sent to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, (a body the US still conveniently refuses to recognize) to answer for what clearly amounts to crimes against humanity.

The remark caused a bit of a stir and earnest questions about the mechanism by which Tepco could be brought there. Needless to say, nothing of the kind ever happened, or is likely to.

Instead, the Abe’s government’s preferred tactic is to go full out to restart reactors and move everybody back home as soon as possible, as if nothing serious had happened. Just scoop off a little topsoil, cart it away somewhere else and, Abracadabra! Everything is clean and safe again!

Normalizing radiation, a policy and now a practice

Of course radiological decontamination is not that easy. Nor is it reliable. It is more likepushing contamination from one spot to the next”, as independent nuclear expert, Mycle Schneider describes it. And radiation does not remain obediently in one place, either.

“The mountains and forests that cannot even be vaguely decontaminated, will serve as a permanent source of new contamination, each rainfall washing out radiation and bringing it down from the mountains to the flat lands”, Schneider explained. Birds move around. Animals eat and excrete radioactive plant life. Radiation gets swept out to sea. It is a cycle with no end.

Next in the ‘normalization’ process came the decision to raise allowable radiation exposure standards to 20 millisieverts of radiation a year, up from the prior level of 2 mSv a year. The globally-accepted limit for radiation absorption is 1 mSv a year.

This meant that children were potentially being exposed to the same levels of radiation that are permitted for adult nuclear power plant workers in Europe. Some officials even argued that zones where rates were as high as 100 mSv a year should be considered ‘safe’. Writing on his blog, anti-pollution New Orleans-based attorney, Stuart Smith,observed wryly:

“Instead of taking corrective measures to protect its people, Japan has simply increased internationally recognized exposure limits. It seems that the priority – as we’ve seen in so many other industrial disasters in so many other countries – is to protect industry and limit its liability rather than to ensure the long-term health and well being of the masses. Go figure.”

For the entire article:

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2987222/no_bliss_in_this_ignorance_the_great_fukushima_nuclear_coverup.html

— TEPCO: 5 Billion Bq of Strontium-90 flows to the sea every single day

From Fukushima Diary

5 Billion Bq of Strontium-90 flows to the Pacific on the daily basis in 2014. Tepco announced in the press conference of 8/25/2014.

This is due to the contaminated water overflowing from the seaside of Reactor 1 ~ 4 to Fukushima plant port.

They also announced 2 Billion Bq of Cesium-137 and 1 Billion Bq of Tritium flow to the sea every single day as well.

Fukushima plant port is not separated from the Pacific. Discharged nuclide naturally spreads to the sea.

http://www.tepco.co.jp/tepconews/library/archive-j.html

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http://fukushima-diary.com/2014/08/5-billion-bq-strontium-90-flows-sea-every-single-day/

— ‘It’s a lie’: former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi blasts Shinzo Abe’s government over Fukushima clean-up

“I think nuclear is an environmentally viable way to produce electricity.”
— Dale Klein, an adviser to TEPCO and a former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Dale Klein is a good example of the revolving door between government and private industry. Regulators don’t regulate because they don’t want to jeopardize their career options.

From South China Morning Post

Sept. 8, 2016

Former prime minister backed the use of nuclear power during his years in office but now says he regrets being ignorant about its risks

Former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi has blasted current premier Shinzo Abe’s stance that the situation at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant is under control.

“It’s a lie,” an impassioned Koizumi, 74, told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday. “They keep saying it’s going to be under control, but still it’s not effective. I really want to know how you can tell a lie like that.”

A spokesman for Abe’s office didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and e-mail requesting comment.

More than five years after the meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, the operator – Tokyo Electric Power Co. – continues to struggle to contain the radiation-contaminated water that inundates the plant. Tepco is using a frozen “ice wall” to stop water from entering the wrecked facility, but still about 300 metric tonnes of water flows into the reactor building daily, mixing with melted fuel and becoming tainted, according to the company’s website.

Company spokesman Tatsuhiro Yamagishi said by email that a process to bolster the ice wall is beginning to have an effect, adding that the company believes no underground water is flowing into the sea without being treated. All radioactive materials are under measurable limits, he said.

Koizumi was speaking at an event to publicise his campaign to raise money to help US servicemen who say they contracted radiation sickness while working on the clean-up after the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and meltdown.

The former prime minister backed the use of nuclear power during his years in office from 2001-06, but now says he regrets that he had been ignorant about its risks and is campaigning for its abolition.

“When I was prime minister, I believed what they told me. I believed it was a cheap, safe and clean form of energy,” Koizumi said. “I’m now ashamed of myself for believing those lies for so long.”

Koizumi also blasted Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, saying that its chief, Shunichi Tanaka, gave permission to restart the Sendai reactor in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu despite having reservations about its safety. The authority wasn’t immediately available to comment outside of business hours.

Local courts and governments have been one of the biggest roadblocks to restarting more reactors, crimping Abe’s goal of deriving as much as 22 per cent of the nation’s energy needs from nuclear by 2030. [it’s always at the local and grassroots level where action happens]

The Otsu District Court earlier this year made a surprise decision that restricted Kansai Electric Power Co. from operating two reactors in western Japan only weeks after they’d been turned back on.

On March 10, the eve of the fifth anniversary of the disaster, Abe said that Japan can’t do without nuclear power.

Just three of the nation’s 42 operable reactors are currently online. Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai No. 1 and No. 2 reactors, which restarted last year, are facing opposition from the region’s new governor, who has twice formally demanded that they be temporarily shut for inspection.

“There is no perfect source for electricity,” Dale Klein, an adviser to Tepco and a former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said in an interview in Tokyo last week. “If there were a perfect source, we wouldn’t be having our energy debates. Wind has its problems, solar has its problems, coal has its problems. But at the end of the day, we need electricity. And I think nuclear is an environmentally viable way to produce electricity.”

Koizumi contested claims by Abe’s administration that the nuclear watchdog is imposing the world’s most stringent safety standards in the earthquake-prone nation. “If you compare the Japanese regulations to those in America, you realise how much looser the Japanese regulations are,” he said.

“Abe knows the arguments on both sides, but he still believes the arguments for nuclear power generation,” Koizumi added.

http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/2017251/its-lie-former-japanese-prime-minister-junichiro-koizumi-blasts

— NASA’s system failure case study of Fukushima

From Mining Awareness

July 16, 2016

the NAIIC concluded that “the disaster was man-made and the result of collusion between government, the regulators and TEPCO, and a lack of governance by said parties,” citing that the organizational and regulatory systems supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions. Regulators served TEPCO’s business interests through tailored regulation and weak enforcement.“(NASA)
Nasa Fukushima failure

NASA Failure Studies [Comments added in brackets]:
October 2015 Volume 8 Issue 7

PROXIMATE CAUSE

• Loss of electricity and backup power left the Fukushima complex crippled and unable to adequately cool the reactors

UNDERLYING ISSUES

• Disregard of Regulations

• Poor Safety History

• Lack of Response to Natural Disaster Concerns

AFTERMATH

• Recommendation pertaining to the creation of a permanent committee to deal with issues regarding nuclear power in order to supervise regulators and provide security to the public.

The Great Wave of Reform The Prophetic Fallacy of the Fukushima Daiichi Meltdown

March 11, 2011, off the Pacific coast of Tohoku, Japan: At 14:46 (2:46 p.m.) Japan Standard Time (JST) a magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred 43 miles east of the Oshika Peninsula. The undersea megathrust earthquake shifted the mainland of Japan an estimated 8 feet east and deviated Earth’s axis by estimates between 4 to 10 inches. The Great East Japan Earthquake generated massive tsunami waves that peaked at heights of 133 feet and travelled up to 6 miles into areas of mainland Japan… The disaster also triggered the second Level 7 International Nuclear Event (after Chernobyl) in history — the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Background

The Fukushima Daiichi Catastrophe

Analysis of the safety history of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex reveals a catastrophic failure of prediction on behalf of the plant’s Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) management. How could planners overlook the tsunami?

Hazards of Predicting the Future

In 1958, Arthur C. Clarke, already recognized for major contributions to the fields of rocketry and space flight, began writing a series of magazine essays that were later combined and published in 1962 as Profiles of the Future; a lexicon of universal scientific possibilities.

The book’s introductory essay, “Hazards of Prophecy, ” concerned itself with the two traps of assumptions: “failures of nerve” and “failures of imagination. ”

Failure of the imagination manifests when presently known facts are respected but vital truths are still unknown, and the possibility of the unknown (the unknown unknowns) is not confessed.

Failure of nerve, the more common fallacy (noted by Clarke), “occurs when given all the relevant facts the would-be prophet cannot see that they point to an inescapable conclusion. ”
Figure 1. Debris from the upper levels of Unit 4 lies beside the building. Source: IAEA via NASA

What happened

The seismic activity of the Great East Japan Earthquake forced the emergency shut-down feature on reactors 1, 2 and 3. Off-site electricity to the power plant was also disrupted by the tremors and backup power was tapped from a 66kV transmission line from the Tohoku Electric Power Company Network. However, the back-up line failed to power reactor 1 due to a mismatched circuit connection.

Beginning at 15:37 (3:17 p.m.) JST, the peak tsunami waves broke upon Japan and flooded and destroyed the emergency diesel generators at the Fukushima complex. Seawater cooling pumps and electric wiring system for the DC power supply for reactors 1, 2 and 4 failed shortly after. All power was effectively lost except for emergency diesel generator power to reactor 6. The tsunami also destroyed vehicles, heavy equipment and many installations.

Without power, the operators at the complex worked tirelessly to monitor and cool the overheating reactors, at one point salvaging car batteries from destroyed vehicles to power necessary equipment. Hydrogen explosions from emptying coolant reservoirs led to interruptions in the recovery operations, which failed when the Unit 2 reactor suppression chamber failed and discharged radioactive material.

Proximate cause

The loss of electric power after flooding made it difficult to effectively cool down the reactors in a timely manner. Cooling operations and observing reactor temperatures were heavily dependent on electricity for coolant injection and depressurization of the reactor and reactor containers, and removal of decay heat at the final heat sink. Lack of access due to the disaster obstructed the delivery of necessities like alternative seawater injection via fire trucks“.
[Note: Loss of cooling made it impossible to cool the reactors, not difficult.]

Underlying issues

The Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC), formed on Oct. 30, 2011 to investigate the direct and indirect causes of the Fukushima accident, was the first independent commission created in the history of Japan’s constitutional government. In its legal investigation, the NAIIC concluded that “the disaster was man-made and the result of collusion between government, the regulators and TEPCO, and a lack of governance by said parties,” citing that the organizational and regulatory systems supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions. Regulators served TEPCO’s business interests through tailored regulation and weak enforcement.

Continue reading

Group to monitor trial of former TEPCO executives to clarify truth about Fukushima disaster

From Asahi Shimbun

By MASAKAZU HONDA/ Staff Writer

January 27, 2016

Lawyers, journalists and scientists will form a group to help expose the truth and spread details about the Fukushima nuclear disaster during the criminal trial of three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co.

“We will encourage the court to hold a fair trial while transmitting information regarding the trial across the nation,” said an official of the planned organization, whose name is translated as “support group for the criminal procedure on the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.”

Tsunehisa Katsumata, former chairman of TEPCO, the operator of the crippled plant, and two former vice presidents, Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro, face mandatory charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury.

Although the trial is still months away, 33 people are now setting up the group, including Ruiko Muto, who heads an organization pursuing the criminal responsibility of TEPCO and government officials for the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Tetsuji Imanaka, an assistant professor of nuclear engineering at the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, and Norma Field, a professor emeritus of East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago, have also joined.

Three reactors melted down at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11, 2011. A number of hospital patients died in the chaotic evacuation.

About 14,000 residents of Fukushima Prefecture filed a criminal complaint against TEPCO executives, government officials and scientists in 2012, saying they were aware of the dangers to the Fukushima nuclear plant from a tsunami, but they failed in their responsibility to take proper countermeasures.

Tokyo prosecutors twice decided not to indict the three former TEPCO executives. However, the Tokyo No. 5 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution, a panel of citizens, decided to forcibly indict the three in July last year.

“It has been almost five years since the disaster, but many details, including their foreseeability of the tsunami, remain unclear,” said science writer Takashi Soeda, one of the group’s co-founders. “As TEPCO has not unveiled a sufficient amount of information even in inquiries conducted by the Diet and the government or in civil lawsuits, the truth must be uncovered through the legal force of a criminal trial.”

Five lawyers appointed by the Tokyo District Court will act as prosecutors in the trial.

Legal experts expect the lawyers will indict the former TEPCO executives and release a statement naming the victims around March 11, the fifth anniversary of the triple disaster that still haunts the Tohoku region.

Charges near for former TEPCO executives over Fukushima nuclear disaster

From Asahi Shimbun

February 26, 2016

Lawyers on Feb. 29 are expected to indict three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. on charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury in connection with the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The indictment mandated by a citizens panel will be filed at the Tokyo District Court by lawyers serving as prosecutors.

Tsunehisa Katsumata, a 75-year-old former TEPCO chairman, and two former vice presidents, Sakae Muto, 65, and Ichiro Takekuro, 69, led the utility when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, triggered the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The indictment will say the three former executives were aware that such a large tsunami could strike the coast of the Tohoku region, but they did not take measures to protect the nuclear plant.

The indictment will also argue that their failure to carry out their professional duties led to the deaths of patients at hospitals in mandatory evacuation zones as well as injuries to other residents during the evacuation.

A criminal complaint was filed against the three former executives by residents and citizens groups.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office in September 2013 decided not to indict the former executives, saying it was difficult for TEPCO to forecast such a large-scale natural disaster hitting the nuclear plant.

However, the Tokyo No. 5 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution in July 2014 overrode the prosecutors’ decision, and sent the case back to them for a further look.

But the prosecutors again decided not to indict the three.

The citizens panel in July 2015 again overrode the decision, saying the three former executives should face mandatory indictment and be tried in court.

Court-appointed lawyers will serve as the prosecutors in the trial.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201602260087

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