Work suspended at Reactor No. 3 — Radiation too high

Published: June 10th, 2011 at 9:30 am ET
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74 comments


Radiation in No. 3 reactor too high for work, NHK, June 10, 2011:

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says radiation levels in one of the reactor buildings remain too high for workers to do their jobs. […]

The workers withdrew after measuring radiation of 100 millisieverts per hour near the reactor’s containment vessel.

TEPCO says it intended to limit the workers’ exposure to below 5 millisieverts per hour. But as all 9 received higher doses, it has suspended work while considering a course of action.

Published: June 10th, 2011 at 9:30 am ET
By

74 comments

Related Posts

  1. AFP: ‘Fukushima reactor site engulfed by steam’ — Kyodo: ‘Something like steam’ coming from unknown source at Unit No. 3 — Tepco: ‘Continuously wafting through the air’ — Work to remove rubble suspended July 23, 2013
  2. TEPCO concealed radiation data before explosion at No. 3 reactor — Workers not informed of extremely high levels May 14, 2011
  3. Official: Container of No.3 reactor feared damaged and leaking “high-level” radiation March 16, 2011
  4. NHK: Radiation levels too high for humans to continue at Reactors No. 2 and 3 — Workers must repair damage to suppression chambers (VIDEO) March 15, 2012
  5. High levels of radioactive material has started to leak at No. 3 reactor — Gov’t says reactor may be damaged… MOX (VIDEO) March 24, 2011

74 comments to Work suspended at Reactor No. 3 — Radiation too high

  • milk and cheese milk and cheese

    There’s that word ‘considering’ again. I think that translates as ‘head for the hills.’

    • Fukushima workers’ exposure tops 650mSV
      After analyzing the men’s work shifts since the March 11th disaster, the Institute concluded that the man in his 30s was exposed to 678 millisieverts, and the man in his 40s, 643 millisieverts. Internal exposure accounted for more than 80 percent of the figures…
      http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/10_33.html

  • SteveMT

    High radiation levels out of MOX #3 does not bode well at T+3 months into this disaster. Plutonium makes few long-term friends.

    • SteveMT

      Notice the omission of the words “MOX” and “plutonium” from the NHK story.

      Let’s get real Japan.

  • StillJill StillJill

    “Plutonium makes few long-term friends.”
    SteveMT said a mouthful there! I have felt for weeks now that the plutonium, and the uranium, the MOX, was going to be the final nail in our collective coffins,…but that’s just me.

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      Reactor #4 and building beyond. I see activity at both places:
      http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/f1-np/camera/index-j.html
      What is the building beyond Reactor #4?

      • Whoopie Whoopie

        I don’t know. LOTS OF LIGHT DOWN AT THAT END. THE OTHER WEB CAM THEY HAVE IT TURNED DOWN SO YOU CANT SEE.

        • Erin

          That’s what I was thinking, too, but my son told me it could also be camera damage from the radiation. He showed me some NASA pics online that show “peppering,” similar to the sparks of light on the tepco cam (still photos, though — couldn’t find any video), and he also showed me how cameras “gray out” as the radiation gets to be too much for them to handle. We’ve theorized that the tepco cam is likely shielded somewhat, and the news cam isn’t — hence greater damage to the news cam. HOWEVER, this is all guesswork. We’re NOT experts, so please take this with a grain of salt! 😉

          Erin

          • Whoopie Whoopie

            Wow! That’s interesting. I didn’t know that. ty

          • farawayfan farawayfan

            Hi,

            Could be, but using the other buildings as internal controls on the camera view (and they are clear as a bell) I think it’s more likely steam/smoke.

            IMHO, as always.

          • Erin

            Here’s some of the info my son found online about the possible effects of radiation on camera images. I think the “graying out” I mentioned might be better phrased “fading out,” but I’m not sure. Anyway, fyi …

            http://www.quora.com/Science/Is-the-fog-in-pictures-taken-from-inside-the-Fukushima-nuclear-plant-due-to-radioactivity

            http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20070022613_2007020718.pdf

            http://radhome.gsfc.nasa.gov/radhome/papers/CCD_Lessons_Learned.pdf

            (p. 15 shows the “peppering”)

            http://www.jlab.org/accel/beam_diag/viewer/REDW2002RadiationTolerantVideoCamera.pdf

          • http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=480200&page=596

            I would have to agree that it seems quite possible. now most of the site is shrouded in a fog, but it was definitly coming from just the buildings to begin with, maybe the temperature change brought the dew point down enough, water evaporated etc.

            also, am I the only one that notices the bright flecks now and then on the image sensor? leads me to believe that radioactive particles are still being released. if it starts to look like snow on an analog broadcast they are pretty much done with any work there.

          • 1984

            erin,
            lucky isn’t the term i want to use here, however your lucky in a way that your son is aware to whats going on and probably taking great interest in this debacle. i’m the lone wolf in my family of 6 thats even watching these events occur. they think i’m crazy when i mention what i see to them. its frustrating to say the least and it makes me sad. individually they said “hey theres nothing i can do about it, i don’t really want to hear about it.” and then they go on about their lives. i’ve put myself in the role of the watchdog so to speak. i’m trying to see if theres anything i can do to prepare or warn them if need be. my time on earth is limited due to an illness emphysema maybe ten years. i’m not being a watchdog for me necessarily, but for them if they would heed the info.
            best wishes to all.
            sorry i rambled on.

          • Erin

            @PU239 — the “bright flecks” are what I described as “peppering,” as that’s the term NASA used. Not sure if I’m correct, but the NASA pics sure looked similar to what I’ve been seeing on the tepco vid. Check out the links above that I posted to see for yourself.

            @1984 — “Lucky,” “fortunate,” “blessed,” … any and all are true. 🙂 My hubby and kids have been activists on other issues right alongside me for a decade, and I’m deeply grateful they’re helping me learn more about this issue, too!

            Warm regards,
            Erin

      • James2

        The building beyond #4 is the shared spent fuel pool

        The largest concentration of nuclear fuel onsite – and one of the largest in the world

        If it is burning that’s as bad as it gets..

        • It’s the Centralized Radiation Waste Treatment Facility. That’s the next bldg you get to if you walk from #1 down to #4.

          The common spent fuel storage is directly inland from #4 reactor, as the crow flies.

          MAP OF FUKUSHIMA COMPOUND
          http://bravenewclimate.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/fukushima_daiichi_map_plan.jpg

          • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

            Thanks, Pu239, for your map. I had trouble finding a map with this building included or labelled.
            What I saw was smoke coming from reactor #4 and a doubling expansion in every direction of the lights surrounding the Centralized Radiation Waste Treatment Facility. It looked like an explosion to me, but no smoke arose after.
            Several days ago when I reported a dagger like bright flash more than the height of this building, I thought it was over reactor #4, but it was over this waste treatment facility.

            Why aren’t we hearing about inconstant criticallity at this building?

          • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

            I probably should have said, smoke or steam coming from reactor #4.

          • lokay5 lokay5

            That’s a great map. Thanks, Pu239!

      • It’s the Centralized Radiation Waste Treatment facility.

        The #4 spent fuel pool is directly inland from #4 reactor – not beyond it as you walk from #1 along to #4.

        VERY GOOD MAP OF FUKUSHIMA COMPOUND
        http://bravenewclimate.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/fukushima_daiichi_map_plan.jpg

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          Pu239. Actually, the #4 spent fuel pool is inside the building of Reactor #4. It is the Common Spent Fuel Storage Facility that is inland from #4 reactor.
          “Spent fuel pool is kept in Reactor No. 4. Fuel rods from three to four reactors are stored in No. 4, and ‘this part of the building is beginning to lean.’”
          http://newsmedicalworld.blogspot.com/2011/05/medicalconspiracies-fukushima-no-4.html

          I never mentioned the building which is the Common Spent Fuel Storage Facility.
          I do really appreciate the map you provided a link to and your explanation that the light is shining on the Centralized Radiation Waste Treatment Facility in the TEPCO live cam.

    • SteveMT

      Nighttime is the best time to see this heat/smoke production. #4 still looks the worse, but that maybe due to the camera angle.

    • SteveMT

      Tons of smoke now from both #3 & #4 at 02:48 Japan time. This is bad, bad, news and worse to watch.

      • Holy Cow the steam/smoke is amazingly large. I’m becoming scared. What is going on???????????

        • I think when they’re refilling the #4 spent fuel pool [SFP 4] some of it is dropping onto the supposedly nonexistent core [corium actually] of the reactor causing steam.

          I would assume that it is also highly radioactive steam – going out into the environment.

  • StillJill StillJill

    But FIRST,…..Enter stage LEFT,….comes Pretty Boy Floyd,….he’s gonna FIX the bad booboo,..”The deadly wound”, with signs, wonders, light-shows,…the whole world will think he’s the big kahoona,…but alas he is just a snake!

  • StillJill StillJill

    Oh CRAP—are you guys seeing that bright white flash zooming around?

  • StillJill StillJill

    now, they appear to be gone. Whatever time it is,…it was just about three minutes ago.

    • fromtokyo

      there was an earthquake again, 20mins ago..
      fukushima magnitude 4.7
      maybe this has sth to do?
      any actions now?

      • I expect if the earthquake happened at night, they would have to head outside the reactor buildings with flashlights to check for structural damage.

        You would likely see this around Unit 4 reactor since that is the one most likely to tumble. Also the one that can kill the world several times over [check me on that info].

    • SteveMT

      This live cam shot might as well be my computer desktop. The others say that we shouldn’t look at this feed too much, but it is very mesmerizing, knowing what is at stake…..like the fate of the world!

      • Whoopie Whoopie

        I agree. Somedays I find myself watching for WAY TOO LONG. I guess we should just rely on peeps like Lucas to ALERT us to stuff. He’s great at reviewing the cams. Does he ever rest? Excellent source, eh?

      • Erin

        LOL Me, too! 🙂

        Asked this yesterday (and thanks very much to Tacomagroove for the explanation about what could happen if #4 collapses), but I’m still not clear … would we have any visible or audible warning by watching the cams if some new big event were about to happen like a collapse or an explosion? Would there be shaking (like the “tremor” in the movie The China Syndrome), or would the steam?/smoke? increase or decrease, or would there be no warning at all?

        Thanks for any thoughts on the subject!

        Erin

        • Whoopie Whoopie

          Boy, you just asked what I’ve been wondering forever. I look forward to seeing replies to your question.

        • I expect you’d see huge explosions with lots of smoke, not steam, going high into the atmosphere, but also outwards on all sides.

          The camera would likely shake somewhat as the explosions are occurring. The massive releases of radiation might even take the camera out.

          Might get further camera shakes due to seismic activity from 35 million pairs of feet all trying to run out of Tokyo at the same time.

          If the camera is still running, you may as well stop watching it – your death is approaching.

          Go out into the yard and start constructing a sweatlodge.

          Light up the pipe.

          Thank God for your life here on earth. Say a little prayer to everyone you’ve ever loved or hated and make peace with yourself and all of creation.

          • Erin

            Thanks a bunch!

            How can we tell whether we’re seeing steam or smoke rising? Will smoke appear black or gray, or can it appear white like the steam sometimes?

            And oh, the cruel irony! re: “Light up the pipe.” That’s right, folks … according to the US govt., we should fear the demon spectre that is cannabis!!! We MUST prohibit that DANGEROUS herb at ALL costs!!!

            But nuclear radiation … heck, it’s so safe we can sprinkle it on our corn flakes and it’ll be no worse than flying cross country!

            Maybe we should start rethinking our policies? Nah … that’d just be silly. ;-P

            Erin (stepping down from soapbox …)

          • Smoke should be a darker color – almost brownish (I would think) and would block out visibility of objects behind it to a greater extent.

            The steam we’re seeing is white and semi-transparent – you can see the mast through the steam.

            I think also smoke would travel faster – given what might be causing it and because it would consist of heavier particulate matter.

            Just a guess.

        • radegan

          It would just be a puff of smoke from debris as the pool gave way, nothing would explode or catch fire right away. All the stored rods would drop willy-nilly onto the rubble beneath. Some would bounce here and some there. How the rods come down has a lot to do with what would come next. Do they shatter and lots of the pellets pool together and start heating up? Bad, really bad. Or do they remain in their rods and bounce into a thin layer, like playing the Devil’s “pick up sticks”. Of course it ain’t all spent fuel, there’s one fresh load in there too. They know that. Japan knows that. The US knows that. If it fails, we’re in a Great Unknown.

    • Sometimes they are flashlights or truck headlights.

      I think you can get a TEPCO replay video off YouTube.

      The aerial anomaly seen yesterday by [?] Tacomgroove was none other than Corvus brachyrhynchos (a crow) in my opinion. I saw him fluttering around earlier across from Reactor 1, on that light pole.

      Also, different flight behaviour than any UFO video I’ve seen.

      • Dory

        I was watching that part about twelve times wondering what everybody saw that I didn’t. Then thought “they couldn’t mean the crow flying around?” 😉

        There really are a few birds flying around the site, sometimes landing and sitting on top of that lamp in the middle of the Tepco cam.

        I AM worried about the steam/smoke at the moment though…

  • pg

    1 r/hr? With 400 r/hr coming from unit one, how can anyone even be near unit 3?

    thier lies show no end.

  • EARTHQUAKE DATA FOR YESTERDAY, TODAY

    MAG UTC DATE-TIME
    y/m/d h:m:s LAT
    deg LON
    deg DEPTH
    km Region
    MAP 5.2 2011/06/10 00:58:58 -6.700 150.490 24.9 NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
    MAP 5.2 2011/06/10 00:11:22 -6.665 147.907 38.6 EASTERN NEW GUINEA REG, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
    MAP 5.4 2011/06/09 20:16:31 -30.361 -177.924 46.5 KERMADEC ISLANDS, NEW ZEALAND
    MAP 5.4 2011/06/09 10:38:34 36.408 140.842 11.3 NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
    MAP 5.1 2011/06/09 10:26:06 37.266 142.143 20.8 OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
    MAP 5.0 2011/06/09 09:51:04 14.148 92.893 38.6 ANDAMAN ISLANDS, INDIA REGION

  • Ruffcut

    Suspend work, due to high rad.
    Well, we now know that it’s not getting better.
    The spin doctors say there is downside risk. I think camparable to falling off a cliff.

    • Whoopie Whoopie

      Wow…it sure does look impossible. What would have happened if Japan would have been upfront and truthful way back in March? If they would have asked for help? I often wonder if it’d be any diff today. Or maybe NO ONE KNOWS WHAT TO DO.

      • SteveMT

        Whoopie, Japan should have asked for help is right…help with the evacuation that should have occurred back then, or one month later, or two months, later, or even three months later, like TODAY!

        Instead of a mass evacuation, the Japanese are issuing dosimeters to their kids! Doesn’t that make you feel warm and fussy inside?

        http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/10_08.html

      • gerryhiles

        Nothing could have been done, nor can be done.

        I think it was Arnie who said that we are in uncharted territory.

        I have only general knowledge, but sufficient to have known – from when I saw the first images of the ruined reactor buildings – that this is a terminal, global event in the making.

        Taco gets accused of scare mongering, but that’s not fair. It is virtually impossible to over-state the situation, though it is probably not a good idea to be obsessed with it, because no one can do anything about it.

        It is really meaningless to write about evacuating Tokyo – let alone the whole of Japan. That is logistically impossible and irrational.

        I was an evacuee child during WW2 in England – where and when it was possible to evacuate thousands of people from the most dangerous areas, but there was a hidden social cost that never got cured, e.g. I and many others lost all contact with most family members.

        I can easily understand why very few in Japan would want to evacuate … better to die amongst family, friends and in familiar surroundings. And, in any case, Fukushima involves millions (not thousands, as during WW2) and there is nowhere to go … not even to the Southern Hemisphere (where I am now in Australia). It is an “On The Beach” situation, with or without Fukushima.

        Before I never gave much thought to nuclear power stations and I did not know how many there are around the world, but now I do.

        No civilization has lasted for more than a few hundred years, so it was inevitable that nuclear waste would become “an extinction event”. Fukushima has merely brought the inevitable to a head.

        Perhaps “the gods” finally got impatient with Homo Stupidus. Maybe “they” have a more successful experiment with life-forms elsewhere in the Universe.

        A medieval heresy went someting like this: “God created humans in order to relieve its ignorance about why it had created anything.”

        Obviously I am a non-believer (in anything much) but that heresy always had a certain ring for me from when I first heard of it some thirty years ago.

  • The wastes remain hazardous for 100 million years because of Neptunium 237 in the waste stream from the reactors.For a very readable account for the citizen see AB Lovins and JH Price.1975.Non-Nuclear Futures.Harper Colophon Ed 1980. Chap 5: Waste Management p33ff.

    • SteveMT

      Thanks, Rama. Neptunium, another element to worry about.

      Neptunium is a silvery metal produced from uranium-238 in breeder reactors as a byproduct of plutonium production; about one part neptunium is produced for every 1,000 parts plutonium. A highly radioactive member of the actinide family of chemical elements, neptunium poses a formidable challenge to underground repositories for high-level radioactive waste, such as the one proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy underneath Yucca Mountain in Nevada. In addition to being difficult to remove from other waste products, neptunium is long-lived — neptunium-237 has a half-life of 2.14 million years — and is highly mobile in geological environments.
      http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/sabl/2005/November/05-neptunium.html

  • War Is Peace

    New NASA research points to possible HAARP connection in Japan earthquake, tsunami

    http://www.naturalnews.com/032670_Fukushima_HAARP.html

  • CaliMom

    ‘Neptunium’???!!! Dear Lord, I feel like I’m in a sci-fi horror flick…except it’s real, and we’re not gonna wake up! It makes me so sad to look at my little girls, and wonder what their future will hold. I could care less about me, but what will become of them and their world? This is all so awful. Just awful.

  • damn, things don’t sound good. Things seem to be getting worse each day. What will be the eventual outcome?

    I hope this put the US on the fast track to decommission nukes. We cannot afford another accident like Fukushima anywhere on earth.

  • 3:46 June 11 Tepco camera–cannot see anything but the bottom outline of building 1 because the steam or smoke is so thick!

    spent fuel pool????

    🙁

  • Sickputer

    Right at dusk an extraordinary event happened (understatement). Perhaps collapse of Unit 4, perhaps 3 did something. In any event huge vapor cloud obscured the entire plant for about an hour. I got a screen capture of the obscured view and the only thing visible was the light pole to right of the walkway, bushes and pipes and walkway were visible on the left…no lattice towers visible, no buildings viewable at all and then the cam went off for thirty minutes. By then it was dark and something terrible looks to be happened over at 4. I have capture of that view also. Japan may be toast. And ill winds are certainly headed west in the jetstream. Winds favor Tokyo…20 miles per hour from their south.

  • cwilkes

    If anyone has update news on what is happening to Unit 3 & $ PLEEEEEASE post here. I live on the West Coast with my two small children. We want to relocate but we don’t know where right now to go.
    We have our bags ready to go should anything happen that threatens the Seattle area. Any news at all, please post here. I’m checking here 10xs a day.

  • gonefission gonefission

    OK someone please correct me if I got this wrong.

    Basically #3 is in the process of melting through foundation because it was stated some\all has oozed out of containment?

    From videos of the Cherny.I recently watched they elected to dig a tunnel in the vacinity the lava was heading to drain the water before the fuel contacted it in the foundation or I dont remember how it accumulated.
    but they were succesful.

    I havnt heard of anybody tunneling or see a T.B.M. being assembled (Tunnel Boring Machine) & general electrik hitchin a ride with some kinda hot plate , kettle or some plan…to divert this molten blob of crap they conjured up
    from reaching water table.

    When the fuel hits water we will see first hand what the soviet scientists didnt want to see …..?

    But it will be roughly 2,000 times worse because of MOX fuel….?

    They just stated they are moving workers off site due to the large dose of radio\explosions. I see it as ‘its outta our control’ abandon ship… just my opinion.

    The calculations I read or heard a while back was the late middle \towards the end of june? Do most concur with this?

    Well I picture this will be something like flushing a couple m-80’s down the
    Toilet but on a much larger scale.

    I tried to keep it in a NUTSHELL but its difficult.

    I am looking at a NOT so TECHNICAL way to look at the situation, so when I attempt explain it to people I know without them looking to confused about the whole situation to care much…because they dont understand. ‘where you hearing all this stuff? Oh well last ditch effort to lead a horse to water… but it cant drink it anyhow….

    They should of got these damn reactors from A.C.M.E Industrial. Supply.

    • StPaulScout StPaulScout

      The plant sits on ‘made ground’. The entire plant subsided about a foot and a half (+/-) during the earth quake. Liquification occurs in this type of ground. I’m not sure digging in it would be a good idea.

      • With all the water that has saturated the grounds there, it would more likely be all mud and no way to shore up, as it would keep sliding to bottom and seeping even with sidewalls !

    • All these plants should be designed with a catch room built under the pit and the reactor between the ten feet of concrete floor in the pit just for the purpose of flooding with liquid nitrogen or to capture in some way, why it is not done is beyond me, guess they are thinking accidents can not happen !

  • Prof. Neutron

    First of all, let’s assume the corium blob fell to the concrete embedment and began drilling down. One thing to remember is that the top part of the blob is in contact with water – the water they’ve been pumping in to try to cool the damned thing.

    So if the bottom of the thing hits water beneath the reactor – the water table – it won’t necessarily mean a huge explosion, since after all the top part of the blob is in contact with water and its not exploding (any more).

    It is not good if the blob hits the water table, because then contamination can spread that way.

    As for the MOX, the big worry is that in the big explosion, tiny particles (micron sized, smaller than the thickness of a hair) became suspended in the air, if during the explosion the top of the reactor came off and part of the core was ejected. Inhaling any of that is bad news, as has been stated on this site repeatedly.

    The idea of boring under Unit 3 and collecting the stuff is interesting. But I think a better project might be to isolate Fukushima Daiichi from the rest of Japan, water-table-wise, by building a very deep concrete barrier around the perimeter
    of the four afflicted units. That may have to be part of the eventual entombment plan anyway.

  • James2

    the nuclear fuel has likely already bored well through the containment and is in the water table.

    That’s why they can’t control any of the releases of radioactivity.

    Prof. Neutron The powders that make up Mox are nanometer in size – not micron – 1000x smaller and probably 1000x more dangerous.

    I laughed when I read the article – they haven’t been able to do anything at all with #3 since the day it blew up – other than spray firehoses on the wreckage.

    • Erin

      Is there any chance that the large release of steam we saw yesterday could have been one of the cores reaching the ground water? I asked my oldest son a month or so ago what that would look like if it happened, and his guess was that it would be a huge explosive geyser-type event. Could it just be a ton of steam instead?

      Yesterday, it looked to me like there was steam coming from under that east tower — where there’s not supposed to be a reactor or SFP, far as I know. Could steam just start coming from every pavement crack if it hits the ground water? Any other possibilities? (I know we’re in uncharted territory — just looking for best guesses.)

      Thanks for any info,
      Erin