Fukushima may release more radiation than Chernobyl: TEPCO

Published: May 19th, 2011 at 7:12 pm ET
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Japan’s Fukushima Reactor May Have Leaked Radiation Before Tsunami Struck, Bloomberg by Yuji Okada, Tsuyoshi Inajima and Shunichi Ozasa, May 19, 2011 6:21 am EDT:

[...] Japan’s government in April raised the severity rating of the Fukushima crisis to the highest on an international scale, the same level as the Chernobyl disaster. The station, which has experienced hundreds of aftershocks since March 11, may release more radiation than Chernobyl before the crisis is contained, Tepco officials have said.

h/t LatestNews

Published: May 19th, 2011 at 7:12 pm ET
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40 comments

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40 comments to Fukushima may release more radiation than Chernobyl: TEPCO

  • 1111

    physicist,

    the corium – if it doesn’t move further – will sit there boiling off the water that is applied in the attempts to keep it cool – this scenario would go on for some years, correct ? – as there is nothing to prevent the steam escape, what would you surmise to be the intensity / levels of contamination spread as this situation continues? Is there a way to contain the vapors ?
    Contain and cool for years ???

    Question, Any chance this or similar idea may work (4 times the following for four blobs) :

    1. Remove all the interfering structures using precision demolition / laser cutters / plasma cutting / cutting charges / precision explosive charges etc. (Using robots to maximum degree) Hopefully clearance can be realized without demolishing the structural support of the spent fuel pools. Otherwise – spent fuel would need to be moved to grade level cooling ponds – not likely to be do-able – then new plan :-/

    2. Clear debris from around corium blobs as quickly as possible with remote dozers, excavators robots etc.

    3. Have prefabricated (off site) steel containment bell shaped covers trucked in suitable to cover each corium blob, brought to the site timed to coincide with the debris being cleared away.

    4. Each containment bell is built to incorporate plumbing fittings to circulate cooling water or similar liquids and or gasses in a closed loop system that is attached to pre-plumbed trailer mounted heat exchangers – all hook-up piping should be pre-fabricated off site for rapid efficient connection when brought to the site with the trailer mounted heat exchanger systems.

    5. Using a big donut seal of appropriate material under each mini-containment bell – place the containment bells over each bad blob by crane – plumb each bell to as many heat exchange systems (trailer mounted – pre-assembled and trucked to site) as necessary to achieve sufficient closed loop heat exchange cooling. This could create sealed systems – stops discharges – cooling is in new closed loop. All items must be prefab off site and trucked in – made ready and quickly placed in operation after demo complete. Timing of the implementation of all above elements is critical to minimize worker exposures.

    6. do it all as fast as possible !

    I don’t know the magnitude of the heat – I know it’s a lot! – but perhaps this could be run past some nuclear engineers and calculations made to determine if it can be done in manner outlined or with considerable massage. Seems to me its a matter of “how big” the parts need to be to make it work.


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    • fred

      you a freaking idiot.period


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    • ocifferdave

      Extremely thoughtful of you, 1111. I like fellow commentors that try and think of solutions! NICE


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    • SteveMT

      We already have sufficient doomsday scenarios, so I appreciate your bringing your idea to this forum.

      The scale of this project is my concern, with specific regard to the steel containment structures. How thick, how heavy, how to move these objects, placing them safely, and positioning them correctly? How long would it take to build them is another concern, with the clock ticking.


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      • 1111

        SteveMT, I was mistaken – I thought that perhaps by some chance “physicist” and “bonz” were professionals that could weigh in on the engineering concept here.

        I followed “physicist” suggestion to do a google search of “corium concrete” – the search results didn’t particularly relate to the corium in view here – but as luck would have it the particular “Fukushima corium” search result that I clicked on did get me a nice virus that I had to spend some time eradicating. Seems like there are more stupid virus mallware crap things than ever.

        Steel roll formed cylinders with welded tops are not a big deal and would have to be extremely large before their weight would surpass the capability of a big crane. I know about such fabrication and in view of the peril here building the 4 cylinder shells and configuring heat exchangers – which are basically a big circulating pump / radiator type device again is not rocket science. The difficult part would be demolition – that aspect is the big challenge. Perhaps the radiation levels are just to wicked now to work on the site I don’t know – Had what is known now been known shortly after the melt down(s) perhaps something like this would already be in place.

        Look at the picture of the corium flow out of chernoybl – the so called “elephants foot” – the engineering challenge is not so much the heat as containing the emissions. All that work the tunnelers did to put a cooling system under the blob and the cooling was never installed because the blob became to cool to do the anticipated melt through on its own. – I know – Chernoybl is different – but still a corium blob deal.

        World is teetering on the abyss – been high time to get serious.

        I feel sorry for the innocent people suffering. I am moved by ever deepening sadness as this nightmare progresses. . Its getting to were I can hardly stand to think about what is unfolding.

        Be nice if people could be civil – but that’s the internet – freedom of ignorance – I’m pretty old now – looking back I can say in my youth I did a lot of things I’m not proud of now. Todays youth can spare themselves the future embarrassment – by circumspect and decorous behavior now – I they live long enough to enjoy that future. Young folks should look up the words they don’t understand before posting negative comments.


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        • Bonz

          So sorry to be late on this. I read your ideas carefully and am impressed from the point of view that at least you are thinking about this. I gave it some serious thought over night.

          I could not get past the robots though. The gamma/beta is so powerful that so far all the robots have “died” electronically speaking. IRONIC ISN’T IT?

          No chance for humans.

          Then the temps. Remember my friend we are talking three or more “suns” now open to the environmental envelope. How do you get near this type of energy?

          I’m am currently at a loss myself, but please keep thinking (I know I AM), that’s what we are here for. Sometimes the best ideas appear from our ramblings.

          Peace.


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          • 1111

            Bonz, Well, that is telling – if the sites are to hot for robots – certainly the site environment doesn’t bode well for human efforts needed to baby sit nuker 5 and 6 – cooling circulation in the spent fuel pools must be maintained for coming years to prevent fevers in in those sick babies. I have seen some casual human activity in some site videos – I suppose I got the mistaken impression from the site videos that humans and robots could work the site – and perhaps a plan or similar as I outlined could be pursued.
            Blessings.


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    • FJN

      I find quite a few problems with your suggestions but I do appreciate that there are people such as yourself that are trying to see what can be done because you realize that the cost of failure is immense. However I see a major problem with trying to cool any of these systems if criticality does begin. We are talking about trying to pull 3 Giga-joules per second out of the chamber. That is a tall order with four inch pipes. Even if we can get the circulation rate up to where it needs to be massive heat exchangers would have to be assembled to cool the circulant. The plants originally used the ocean as their heat sink. They would have to do the same. However this is a real risky action since the temperature differential between the exhaust water and the ocean would have to be considerable in order to transfer such energy quickly enough. Thus the return temperature of the water will have to be fairly high since returning cold water would fracture the container. I really think that the only solution to this problem is as Michio Kaku said, “Bury the sucker, it is dead.” Continuously flowing water over this mess will seep into the ground and the next earthquake is going to cause liquefaction and probably bring the buildings down.

      Unexamined convenience is the road to extinction.

      FJN


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      • 1111

        FJN – yes – that is the crux – “if criticality does begin” is criticality the certain forecast? suggested fix doesn’t have a mass at criticality in view – way too much heat – the question becomes is there any way to mitigate criticality so something on these lines could be implemented???

        Do you have expertise in nuclear? How did you arrive at the 3 Giga-joules per second figure ?
        You are pretty sure it is valid then? Someone needs to figure out a way here.


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  • Man-O-Man! Thank God for those of you who’s brains work on that side!!!! I sure like your spirit of NIKE!


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  • Noah

    “Fukushima may release more radiation than Chernobyl” – TEPCO

    What’s with the use of the word “may”?


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  • mark V

    I am not very scientific, but I am certain this is about how it works. Say the dose to grant you cancer within 10 years is fictious number 100. A London-SanFrancisco flight exposes you to radiation at said 0.0001 level, so you get 0.0008. Hello SF, stop the timer. 99.9992 remaining, doesn’t sound very worrying.

    Now, when measurable amounts of 0.0001 start to show in atmosphere, soil, food and water, you can only dream about the time machine. There will be no way back, as the amounts will be only incresing. And by the way, there is a solution. There is, very very optimistically thinking, a little chance, that the monster can still be contained, be the world powers have to stop all daily activities and concentrate on what is going on in Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

    And yes, uranium shares and nuclear industry will suffer even more, and maybe this could even trigger something more impressive at the stock exchanges,
    hence maybe we just go with our lifes and focus on today. Who knows, maybe my Ponzi scheme will collapse at 55.5789 cancer-meter, and I had been enjoying beaches and maids(appears DSK also was Manhattan Madam regular client). No hate, I feel some strange admiration towards bankers for ingenuinety getting entire planet under control, but they did not learn how melted nuclear reactors behave, why should they anyway?

    OK, something is missing here. Why that radiation is going to increase forever? The answer is very important, so make your own decisions. Try to learn from different sources and believe only your own senses. Remember, very establishements of all big and small world economies are at stake.

    1. What exactly is going on at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

    2. What isotopes are being, or about to be released (some of them have half-life periods of 10,000s of years and more)

    3. Just as useful would be some reading about Cesium slowly replacing Calcium in the bones, and there are many more Americiums, Plutoniums, Strontiums and ask-the-scientist-not-paid-by-nuclear-industry-directly-or-indirectly, how difficult you will realize the mission is.

    And by the way, kids suffer first, DNA mutations may not show for 10-20-30-50 years, but there is no reverse.

    You decide.


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    • Dbug

      Things don’t work that way. Risk gradually rises as exposure does. So that trace exposure added on when near 100 in reality wouldn’t have more than a trace of a statistical impact.
      Our bodies don’t have a counter that resets every year either. But the passage of time still matters. A give does all at once is more apt to be harmful than the same amount spread out over time. You’re right about not being very scientific, you analysis is wrong.

      We sometimes over react based on emotions. Because of the association with weapons, and the very long half life, there is a tendency to do that with plutonium. However the body is not particularly sensitive to plutonium. Realistically if you’re wondering which of the less prevalent isotopes released we should care about, I’d pick strontium 90. The body tends to absorb it in the bones and teeth as if it were calcium. It increases risks of bone marrow and leukemia.

      Another area where lack of understanding distorts fear is over the issue of half-life. Yes, we all like the idea of the radiation from sources going away. But realize that it is the very process of decay that releases radiation. So the faster decaying Iodine 131 gives more exposure than the same amount of other substances. (and its is made worse being it being well absorbed, and focused in one area)
      That same faster decay is also what causes decay heat in fuel after fission is stopped.

      Cesium is not well absorbed by the body, but decaying faster than something like plutonium it gives off more radiation and particular when stuck in one spot, like inhaled and in the lungs, can lead to lung cancer.

      It’s easy to try and make this all sound scarier by giving a longer list of isotopes, but it really is the ones discussed most that have the most potential to do harm.

      Must negative effects of ionizing radiation are seen as either cell death or cancer. Mutations made during life generally result in the affected cells dying or becoming cancerous. DNA is very complex, most random changes simply kill a cell. In any event, the DNA in a cell that is damaged isn’t in your whole body so it isn’t passed on from generation to generation. Increases in birth defects are possible, but those generally are apparent early on or cause death. Over the eons, some of the variations in man and other species have come from the additive effect of tiny mutations or DNA changes over time combined with natural selection. Research has showing some interesting things. Our genetic ancestors had extremely powerful jaws good for tearing flesh and other things we ate. Somewhere along the line we picked up a genetic defect that resulted in changes in the skull and those muscles being weaker. But that defect allowed our brains to grow larger over time. So some added genetic variation and survival of the fitted actually helps us as a species even though there are also genetic failures along the way. It is probably best that we don’t reproduce when we have genetic defects that cause serious problems.


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  • Steven

    This Japanese propensity for understatement might be admirable in a fighter pilot or astronaut, but in this case I think it has not served them, or the rest of mankind, very well.

    An apparently small (perhaps very small) percentage of those even properly aware of the unfolding crisis have been convinced from the very beginning of the potential severity of the situation. Only now as TEPCO realises it has been watching impotent temperature gauges – for two months – and the real action is taking place below the damaged pressure vessels, do we see the dawning of comprehension.

    Now, hopefully whatever committee of highly educated physicists decided to store tons of spent fuel rods in the reactor buildings themselves will begin to further appreciate what they have done, and the full extent of our unfortunately common dilema.

    To those who have been prepared to take the risk of expressing their concerns here; those brave souls who have hosted sites such as these in particular, and the few very brave souls who have spoken out loudly against an overwhelmingly arrogant and contemptuous opposition, bravo. You give us hope.


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    • Cassie

      Steve, it is just dawning on me that the spent fuel rods were stored on site? That is why there are so many? They were never disposed of properly? When they having been saying “spent” I assumed recently spent, did not realize it was a storage facility as well.

      I also thank all those with courage who are speaking out.
      Who are trying to do the right thing, answer questions, and give direction. I cannot adequately express my appreciation.

      Cassie


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      • Steven

        Spent fuel rods = dirty, hot nuke fuel no longer useful for generating power but still radioactive and therefore needs to be immersed in recirculated water to keep cool, for several years. Spent fuel pools in each reactor building plus one common pool on-site, this is the aspect of the technology on these reactor types which caught the physicists off guard. The pools generally hold many more times the amount of fuel than the reactor itself.

        They never considered the possibility that these spent fuel monsters could cause a problem. Thus their location, in the actual reactor buildings, but outside obviously the containment vessel.

        Gunderson suggests that some (most?) of the contents of the spent fuel pool in reactor building 3 were blown out into the surrounding area when that building exploded, in fact he claims the explosion itself was caused by a criticality in the spent fuel pool, not a hydrogen explosion as claimed by TEPCO, who’s site status report still indicates that a ‘white smoke’ explosion indicated a hydrogen event. The video clearly shows a dirty black smoke event with a small mushroom cloud, with large lumps in it.

        If you study the live feed of the site you can sometimes see a crane moving about in the heavily treed area some distance from the reactor buildings. Picking stuff up is my guess, although I suppose they may be laying pipes or something. Certainly there were bits of radioactive material found up to 2km from the plant.

        Bear in mind also, R3 was using MOX fuel.


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  • Tammy

    @ 1111: Your insight is appreciated. Whether it will be utilized is another story in itself. (hee hee, can’t help myself here… “ask not for whom the bell shaped containment tolls, Japan… It tolls for thee”)

    @ Physicist and Bonz (in no particular order): Your input here is much appreciated. It is though Arnie Gunderson himself stepped into the room and offered some insight to those concerned.

    @ Cassie: I read in an earlier comment from you that you were asking about supplements to take. I’d like to respond as my choices have in fact been encouraged by others such as Mike Adams at Natural News. I’m not posting this to advertise, so I will not state any names or sellers as such. You can find them on your own.

    Personally, for me, these are the best choices:::

    #1 – Iodine. (natural from kelp, etc.) or KI, which is still easily available.

    #2 – Zeolite. A mineral (clay) that is available in both liquid and powder forms. [expensive for the average buyer] To describe it in the simplest form; it acts as a magnet to heavy metals and radioactive particles, which are then naturally passed from your body. (pee-pee, poo-poo)

    #3 Bentonite clay. (see #2 above) Pretty much the same thing although it is used mostly externally (think mud bath) but a teaspoon or so in a glass of water can be consumed with no harm. The main difference between the two is that zeolite is more soluable. I guess that is why it can be found in many liquid forms.

    #4 Chlorella. This is a fresh water algae that is either provided as a powder or “stamped into tablet” form. It is highly nutritious on its own, but I found it interesting that it also is helpful in ridding heavy metals and radioactive particles (was distributed after Chernobyl incident).

    I am neither a doctor nor a physicist. Pretty much, I’m just a person in another boat riding the same wave as a lot of people here. With each crest, hoping for some more information.

    Cheers, and be well.


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    • Cassie

      Many thanks Tammy.
      Printing off your advice.
      Cassie


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    • radegan

      Another great source of iodine is cranberries, likely among the top three food sources – 100 micrograms per oz. And sea salt has 2/3rd the iodine in iodized salt which I avoid due to the anti-caking agents.


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      • Cassie

        RADEGAN:
        Would cranberry juice work as well as fresh cranberries?
        How much sea salt per day?

        I want to use things that have few side effects.

        It is a real dilemma for the moms out here. I don’t care about myself, I have lived a long life, I am just trying to be a responsible parent.

        If the happy talk people are correct in the end, and there never was any threat to us, I don’t want to kick myself for giving my child things that hurt her. On the other hand if there is a real threat, I don’t want to have my head in the sand and do nothing.

        And the other thought is that if worst case scenario is true, and it is an ELE, then why bother at all? Let my child eat what she wants, swim in the pool, go to the ocean for vacation etc….

        Trying to navigate the waters and steer a prudent course of action, that is all.

        Cassie


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        • radegan

          Just use the sea salt like you would regular iodized salt and you still get 2/3rd’s of the iodine without the caking agents. Whatever it says on your iodized salt box (x) .66.

          I don’t know what the difference is between dried and fresh cranberries or juice, generally it concentrates. Other foods rich in iodine : milk 1 cup = 56 mcg; yogurt 1 cup = 87 mcg; baked potato w/peel = 60 mcg; navy beans 1 cup = 64 mcg; and cranberries at 100 mcg/oz. In ppm, turkey is twice chicken at 132ppm; asparagus is 169 ppm; broccoli is 90ppm and white onion is 82ppm. Tortilla chips with sea salt are 80 ppm but potato chips with sea salt are only 40 ppm. Hope this helps.


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  • beachbum

    “Weird that she (Madame Marie Curie) didn’t know about radium poisoning, but nobody did back then. She’d carry radioactive test tubes in her pockets, stick them in desk drawers, admire the blue-green light they gave off in the dark. To this day, her lab notes from the 1890s, even her cookbook, are stored in lead-lined boxes. They are still too dangerous to handle. Yes, her research killed her, but not because she was a saint; she just didn’t know.” – Robert Krulwich.
    I don’t want to draw attention to the radiation in the atmosphere over America. A little goes a long way. It will be around with devastating effects for generations, and we still want to keep defining the problems as they come up. Give us solutions. I got a shovel and I’m gonna dig a hole and stick my head in it, just like most everybody else. Cause I don’t want to draw attention to the radiation in the atmosphere over America. No wonder George Bush bought a large tract of property in South America. World leaders would like to go to the southern island of Australia. Oh yeah! By the way, you’re not invited!
    Peace out!


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  • beachbum

    For three weeks now I have used Bentonite clay, Sea weed and kelp, and zeolite. Two days ago, I got Rosemary extract. This site will list these things and foods to eat that really help. You will find that you already have these foods in your diet. It not, start now.
    http://members.beforeitsnews.com/story/647/402/Things_You_Can_Do_To_Mitigate_Radiation_Poisoning.html
    May The Great Spirit Be With Us.
    Peace out!


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  • Cassie

    Many thanks Beachbum


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  • Yes, BIG thanks Beachbum,…that is a REAL help to us and I sure appreciate it friend! :-)


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  • Anthony

    New photos of tsunami as it strikes Japan nuke plant

    http://www.klewtv.com/news/national/122258044.html#img7


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  • Anthony

    Thursday, May 19, 2011
    Japan, China To Convene Fukushima Nuclear Crisis Mtg

    TOKYO (Kyodo)–Japan and China agreed Thursday to convene a meeting of their nuclear experts the following day in Tokyo to discuss for the first time the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japanese government officials said.

    http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20110519D19JF194.htm


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  • Anthony

    “Situation at Fukushima out of control”

    Published: 17 May, 2011, 22:08
    Edited: 18 May, 2011, 11:49

    http://rt.com/news/situation-fukushima-no-control/


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  • Wouldn’t it be SOMETHING if they were raptured??? :-) Not! Where is everybody? Yes, you trolls too—all my friends! :-)


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    • Poor Daddy

      This is better. I’m not crazy about huge crowds anyway. Big troll attack yesterday took its toll and looks like its starting again on first headline today. Guess we’ll all have to jump from dimension to dimension on enenews grid. Space is limited.
      Very concerned no new headlines posted here. Anybody any idea whats up?


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  • Anthony

    Steps to avoid exposure to fallout

    Very good information on this page:
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110319f1.html


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