# Another update on “highly radioactive” water leaks at Fukushima

The media frenzy about the detection of water leaks from the vast tank farm that Tokyo Electric Power Company has been forced to build to store water used to cool the three damaged cores at their Fukushima Daiichi power station continues to sizzle, even in the face of the potential for US attack on Syria. (A more rational solution to building an ever-increasing number of water tanks is to use a tanker to move the treated water a few miles out into the Pacific Ocean for safe disposal.)

The latest media discovery was that the reading that was initially reported as 100 mSv/hour was really 1,800 mSv/hour because the detector that produced the 100 mSv/hour reading had a range that maxed out at 100 mSv/hour. What few, if any, media reports include is an explanation that the measured dose rate is nearly 100% beta radiation and that it was measured at a distance of just 70 micrometers from the radioactive material. Beta radiation can be shielded by a single sheet of paper and will only travel about 1-2 meters in dry air.

Someone needs to help journalists understand that there is no way that a beta-emitting radiation source can cause a deadly dose to a human being unless it is ingested in a concentrated form. Even if it is in direct contact, about the worst it can do is cause a skin burn; I would also not recommend using water contaminated with a beta emitter for eye wash. I suppose I have volunteered for that educational task.

As some of the more informative initial reports stated, the gamma radiation from the leaked water measured 1.5 mSv/hour. That number is still valid; it was well within the accurate measuring range of the instrument used. In one of my previous updates on this topic, I postulated that the measurement was an outlier that might have used an unrepresentative sample of water.

According to an anonymous comment I received this morning that has the ring of truth from someone who knows what he is talking about, that postulate was wrong. Apparently, the concentrated waste water used for core cooling before going through the treatment facility generally has a high beta dose rate when measured at a distance of a 70 micrometers.

After treatment, the concentration of beta emitters that are not tritium gets reduced by a factor of 4,000. (All Beta radiations entry in column 7 versus column 8 in “Nuclide Analysis Results of Water at Water Treatment Facility”.)

Since tritium is an integral part of water — H2O where the H-3 is inseparable from the normal H-1 and H-2 — it makes it through all water treatment. It is the isotope that causes any water used to cool a nuclear reactor to be called “controlled pure water” (CPW). The amount of tritium in this water is not a health concern, especially if diluted into the ocean.

Here is the comment provided by the commenter who self identified as “no name no country”.

The numbers for “leaked water” in TEPCO’s August 19, 2013 document are consistent with the numbers for the water stored in these tanks.

These tanks store waste water after the reverse osmosis treatment (desalination). The treated water goes back into the reactors for cooling, and the waste water is stored in these tanks. Since the water also goes through cesium absorption treatment (by SARRY) before it goes through reverse osmosis, it is low in cesium and other gamma nuclides.

The beta radiation from this water is about 2,000 mSv/hr at 70 micrometer dose equivalent.

The “leaked water” in August 19 document is this waste water itself. Measurements in August 23 documents are about water in the drains nearby, diluted with running water there.

For your info, the most recent nuclide analysis by TEPCO of water at various stages of treatment. The concentrated, post-RO waste water inside these tanks are No.8:

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/2013/images/water_130809-e.pdf

That this water is somehow leaking is a fact, but to say that this water is uncontrollably leaking into the Pacific Ocean is, as you say, worst fear-mongering. There is no evidence so far that this water is even reaching the ocean.

What is worse is this global frenzy on “1,800 (or 2,200) mSv/hr radiation that kill people in 4 hours” detected at Fukushima. It is not just people like Chris Busby but all mainstream media (including NYTimes, BBC, etc) and many alternative media who thrive on wrong information and fear repeat this completely erroneous information.

From the beginning, TEPCO has said this is dose equivalent at 70 micrometer to show the effect on skin and eye lens – i.e. beta radiation, not gamma. It is completely consistent with the radiation measurement of this waste water, whose leaks happened before (no one paid any attention to those). But the media, through amazing ignorance after more than 2 years or willful ignorance to get eyeballs, has glossed over this important detail.

Japanese people who fear radiation are shell-shocked, and people outside Japan who do not have access to the primary information (in this case, information provided by TEPCO in Japanese) fear (some cheer) the end of the world or something catastrophic as such. I am thoroughly disgusted with this, and frankly I don’t know what to do to educate people. I’m at the point of giving up.

Needless to say, I responded to this comment. After putting in the effort to compose that response, I figured I would use it as part of today’s post.

@No name no country

Don’t give up. Get mad and engage your questioning attitude. Do you really believe that “the media” makes much money by inflating this particular story to attract eyeballs as opposed to any one of dozens of other ways to get the attention of viewers and readers. Heck, we are at the edge of a new war; surely people would tune in for more updates on that topic.

If the media does not have a very strong direct motive in terms of gaining viewer/reader attention for spreading this particular story, it is time to look for people, organizations and perhaps even countries with stronger motives.

As John Tucker pointed out in an earlier comment (http://atomicinsights.com/update-fukushima-water-leaks-unrepresentative-sample-used-support-fear-mongering/#comment-61989) RT — aka Russia Today — has been particularly creative in making up additional fear mongering stories and inviting people like Chris Busby to spin tales that increase the shell-shocked attitude of the Japanese people. Russia has been hugely dependent on exporting oil and gas for a major portion of its national income for many years; it is making billions more every year that Japan keeps its functional nuclear plants shut down.

There are plenty of other actors with influence in the media that are engaged in the business of finding, extracting, processing, financing, and transporting oil and natural gas that are also benefiting hugely from the fear that people have about harmless “leaks” of “radioactive” water at Fukushima.

Aside: I used quotes around radioactive not because I believe it is NOT radioactive, but because fear stories never put the word into any context or tell anyone any useful information about how radioactive the water is. Without any quantification, it would not be a lie to say that ALL sea water is “radioactive”. End Aside.

Teaching the public to fear “leaks” of water containing minuscule quantities of radioactive material (measured in grams) also distracts them from the enormous DUMPS called smokestacks that push many billions of tons of combustion waste products — some of which are carcinogenic or toxic in concentrated form — into our shared atmosphere.

Some worry that we are doomed to fail when I point out that the real opposition to the vastly increased use of nuclear energy instead of fossil fuel wherever it makes sense is the global fossil fuel industry and its courtiers. It is an extremely wealthy, savvy and politically powerful foe. However, I like to remind people that there are far more energy consumers in the world than energy producers; many of them are also rich and powerful. Few fossil fuel consumers bear any love for Big Oil. Its booms and busts have had a large negative effect on their ability to prosper and live secure, comfortable lives.

I came of age during the 1970s. Because I like to use gasoline powered machines (cars, boats, planes, etc) Big Oil became one of my lifelong foes during the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo. I turned 14 during the period when my dad had to get up at “oh dark thirty” in order to get in line to fill up his gas tank so he could commute to his job 40 miles from our suburban home.

I hated the thought that I would get my driver’s license at a time when everyone was worried that the price of oil and its availability would continue to be a major issue. It is hard to explain how depressing that thought was to a guy who had dearly loved the experience of being able to freely travel a great country like the United States in large, comfortable station wagons and campers.

As a career officer in the US Navy who attended the Navy War College’s course of for national strategy and policy, I spent a lot of time learning the vital nature of reliable petroleum supplies and the way that single group of products has influenced our history as a nation — including numerous wars and lesser conflicts, some of which resulted in millions of casualties.

When I announced to my colleagues that I was resigning my commission in the US Navy in 1993 to found Adams Atomic Engines, Inc. to design and build small, simple, economical nuclear-heated gas turbines, one colleague make a prescient comment. He said, “Good luck Rod, but the oil companies will never let you succeed.”

I’ve spent the last 20 years figuring out how to make a liar out of him. It has been quite a struggle, but I think I am getting closer to a successful strategy.

I hope you agree that it is time to fight FUD with information and to fight concentrated power and wealth with the distributed power and wealth of information-enabled, free-thinking people who have nothing to fear.

On a separate topic, I am looking forward to the House Oversight Committee hearing that is scheduled for September 10. It will be interesting to find out how the NRC is going to respond to the mandamus ruling directing them to finish their evaluation of the DOE’s Yucca Mountain licensing evaluation.

### 115 Responses to “Another update on “highly radioactive” water leaks at Fukushima”

1. Daniel says:

The NRC is looking for ways to restart the process following the mandamus ruling.

They could get the Yucca Safety Evsluation reports out. Find out that Dr J has been tampering with the content And sue him.

Or they Will find the bureaucratic way to spend the money left by having audiences telling them how to restart their own internal processes.

It Will drag. MacFarlane has no intention to résume Yucca or to issue COL.

Yucca however is a Nice way to shove non nécessary Costs. Where are the other commissionners ?

• Daniel says:

I repeat, The Yucca Safety Evaluation reports are ready.

Mark my words we will not get them.

2. Daniel says:

Rod,

As for Russia they are selling And building more nukes than anyone else right now.

Honesty regarding the Water leaks radiation lèvels is a sign of intellectual bankripcy And lazzyness.

@Daniel

As for Russia they are selling And building more nukes than anyone else right now.

How does that conflict with my assertion that they want the media to scare people in developed countries that use a lot of energy? Do you think any “western” country will buy a Russian nuclear power plant?

No. We have no problem buying their oil and gas. If they build more domestic nukes or nukes for former members of the Soviet Union, they will have more gas to sell at world prices.

• Daniel says:

Ok. I think Areva has a presence in Japan and should speak up on the water issue.

3. Rainer Klute says:

Beta radiation can be shielded by a sheet of paper? No! That’s alpha radiation. But for beta rays a thin aluminum sheet will do.

• Daniel says:

Wrong. Alpha needs no shield.

• Daniel says:

Alpha does not cut thru water nor skin … We are 99% water…

• Cal Abel says:

There are four cookies, each contain a radioactive source: alpha, beta, gamma, and neutron. You only have four things that you can do to each cookie: eat one, put one in your pocket and throw one as far away as possible. Only one method can be applied to each cookie.

What do you do?
Throw the neutron cookie as far away as possible.

Why?
Neutrons are relatively heavy and can penetrate deep inside you increasing total dose/energy deposited in your body.
Alpha particles are stopped by the layer of dead skin cells in your hand. Your hand may be warm, which would be pleasant in the winter time.
Beta particles are stopped by a layer of clothing. This is what anti contamination clothing protects you against.
Gamma, because your body is made up of light elements it is not very likely to stop a gamma particle. It would give you an equivalent dose if you held it in your hand ate it or put it in your pocket.

• gallopingcamel says:

Rainer Kluke,
Beta radiation from nuclear decay has very limited energy which seldom exceeds 0.5 keV so it cannot penetrate more than a fraction of a millimeter into solids.

Beta radiation from relativistic accelerators is completely different. Beta radiation from the Duke University Free Electron Laser can trigger area radiation alarms after penetrating four feet of lead and ten feet of concrete.

• jmdesp says:

That’s not true for beta from Strontium/Yttrium at equilibrium, where the Yttrium Beta are 2,3 MeV. Due to Yttrium’s short half life, a near equilibrium (at 90%) is reached within one week.

And it’s very likely the contaminated water leaks at Fukushima are mostly contaminated with that, it would also explain the 1mSv of Gamma which is likely to be strong Beta misidentified as Gamma because it went through the Beta shielding.

4. Daniel says:

Dale Klein former NRC chairman is a Tepco adviser

He is competent. He is pro nuclear. Why the silence ?

5. Mitch says:

So much bad news about nuclear anything! Too much to be real. What’s the ratio of accurate nuclear news reports vs. purposefully misleading ones?

• mjd says:

• Atomikrabbit says:

Which, not coincidentally, is approximately equal to the percentage of reporters who know what that magical number means.

• James Greenidge says:

Mitch: “So much bad news about nuclear anything! Too much to be real.”

The media struts itself as shining knights of public conscious slaying corporate dragons and bogeymen of Hiroshima guilt and altruistic banishers of the main means to “avert” the next big war — ridding anything nuclear. Sounds tripe but that simplistic social champion mindset has more truth in it than than most take for. The biggest crime here is that the media has run amok virtually unchallenged and uncorrected in nuclear related stories and so has allowed FUD and hysteria to fester and cast most anything nuclear as an almost supernatural menace. I just can’t think of any other issue that the media so willfully “strays” off target in accuracy and perspective. The clueless nuclear hysteria and misinformation and outrageous exaggerations of peril out there is absolutely astonishing and dismaying to behold and perhaps a sad testimony to science education and the corruption of fair critical thinking of both sides of an issue. Last weekend the cable show “Modern Marvels” was cheerfully reporting on paving over deserts with solar farms — Zero mention on environmental or scenic drawbacks, and ditto in spades such for windmills. Suddenly the alarm over climate change has gone mute and TV commercialism are gong-ho featuring products around windmills and hydro plants and solar farms with the pariah-hinting omission of nuclear. What truly floors me is that nuclear has all it takes to be an all star winner; low footprint, efficient, reliable, impossibly nil mortality score, yet those merits are skewered by unfounded and proof-less fearful assumptions and Doomsday speculations and morbid megadeath hopes. What’s worst, like crying fire in a theater, an anti’s rant _doesn’t_ have to be factual or proven. Just the effect itself accomplishes their goal. I read many times that most all nukes, especially here, are very “overbuilt” mostly to accommodate these fretful public qualms. Why would a nuke deep in Florida need to be overly earthquake-resistant or one in the Mid-west tsunami proof? It’s fear-balming gone wild. What would a nuke look and cost like if it didn’t have to take such hyper-protections and preventions into account? More than cheap enough to compete with gas or oil or coal I wonder — of which we never demand to totally confine and contain whose wastes and pollutions despite the real-life unspeculated health and environmental havoc they’ve inflicted millions for generations. Then, to cherry-pick what most proven dangerous monster is to public health and safety is always the ultimate green hypocrisy.

IMHO

James Greenidge
Queens NY

6. John Tucker says:

As if on cue – CNN front page now – Its even worse Madge, we are all going to die ! :

Radiation level spikes further near toxic water tanks at Japan’s Fukushima plant

Tokyo Electric Power Company, which has been struggling to deal with a series of leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, said it detected a radiation level of 2,200 millisieverts near the tanks on Tuesday. That’s up from a previous high of 1,800 millisieverts on Saturday. ( http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/04/world/asia/japan-fukushima-crisis/index.html?hpt=hp_t3 )

7. Brendan McNamara says:

Good job.

Why pick on anti-nukes when TEPCO issues data in ridiculous Bq and without statements of context or meaning. TEPCO is its own worst source of confusion.

My own Tritium sample is in my pocket as a fluorescent key fob. Harmless. No radn escapes.

TEPCO and Japnese gov need help in presenting stories sensibly.

Brendan. @EfNnuc

8. Bill Hannahan says:

How do you get within 70 micrometers of anything without touching it using a handheld device?

Is that the window thickness? If so, is the detector in contact or submerged in the water?

9. Daniel says:

Oups. Forgot to keep score.

After Fukushima deux still no death to report.

BORING.

• Daniel says:

When is Filushima III due out ?

Probably when they fire back the Oi nukes after inspection.

10. JMS says:

Does anyone know what the major nuclide contributors to beta dose rate in the “All Beta radiations” in column 8 of the chart that Rod posted?

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/2013/images/water_130809-e.pdf

The value of 75,000 Bq/cm^3 is hundreds of times greater than the concentration of the gamma nuclides listed in the table.

The major beta dose rate is certainly not coming from tritium which is only 750 Bq and a very soft beta and typically not detected with a field instrument.

How are they measuring this 75,000 Bq/cm^3. Is it just a gross beta measurement with a frisker using some default conversion factor?

Something’s not right here. Why would they leave out the nuclide details of that “All Beta radiations” measurement?

• JMS says:

I suspect the major beta radiation nuclides here are Sr/Y-90 which is consistent with failed fuel. If so, I wonder why they were not indicated on the table. Seems too important to be left out.

11. KitemanSA says:

Rod, I like your “tanker” idea, since I proposed it myself several months ago. But the water stored in the tanks is too contaminated to dump, for political reasons if nothing else. But a decent reflux distillation unit would remove everything but the tritium from the water. That distilled, mildly tritiated water could than be dumped if it meets the limits, or could be froze into a stable glacier in Antarctica for a few hundred years. All gone.

I’d also like to see if someone has tried a triple point distillation to separate the tritiated water from the H2O. Might be a good way to limit the amount of THO and T2O that needs freezing.

• KitemanSA says:

“frozen” not “froze”. Sheesh. Why do I always see the typos AFTER I submit?

• Engineer-Poet says:

Why do I always see the typos AFTER I submit?

What makes you think they were there before you submitted?  The Embarrassing Typo Worm is very successful because it is also very subtle.

The idea of putting the water in a glacier is slick, but I prefer saturating it with salt, bagging it and dumping it in deep ocean trenches.  By the time it got out again, it would be harmless… as if it wasn’t mostly harmless already.

• Bill Hannahan says:

Or just drop it all in the global conveyor.

1,000 years later it comes back, tritium, cesium, strontium all fully decayed.

12. Dogmug says:

I spent about an hour and a half this past evening looking for articles on nuclear energy on the Russia Today site to get an idea whether they had an agenda.

Yep, they do. No surprise there.

They’re actually not anti-nuclear. There were many, many pro-nuclear reports. But almost all of them were about Russian nuclear energy technology.

Non-Russian nuke stories were overwhelmingly pessimistic, negative, and at times tabloid-level. Fukushima, for example, “will kill billions”. But Bushehr? It’s the cat’s meow!

The same pattern held for categories of articles not related to nuclear energy — Russia Good, World Bad. Okay, maybe they got it right about Miley Cyrus (Chto eto *tverking*?), but in general, it was an all-Russia love-in. Very little seems to have changed from the days when it was plain old Novosti

Earlier today, a spokesman for the Russian government sternly warned us that an attack on Syria might vaporize a small (Gunderson-sized) educational nuclear reactor, filling the atmosphere with hot radioactive death.

Does that Pooty-Poot know how to play us, or what?

• Atomikrabbit says:

@Dogmug

I’ve come to the same conclusion regarding RT.

It seems the post-Soviet Russian media is just Pravda-lite, and with prettier reporters.

• Brian Mays says:

It seems the post-Soviet Russian media is just Pravda-lite

There’s nothing “lite” about it. It’s just Pravda for the twenty-first century.

13. Bas says:

I’m getting tired of these leakage stories that continue now for more than 2 years.
Seems the Japanese cannot get it under control.

So assume they really cannot get it under control and all radio-activity flows into the ocean.
Can anybody show a calculation about the extra background radiation (e.g. in nano Sv) that delivers in the world oceans?

E.g. next year, after 10, 20, 50, 100 years.

• Daniel says:

@ Bas,

You know the ocean is radio active. It has been such forever.

And we have proven that Fukushima water belongs in the ocean as inoffensive as it is.

Some US and Russian submarines lay at the bottom of oceans around the world. It is the best place for them to be and the safest.

• Bas says:

@Daniel
…we have proven that Fukushima water belongs in the ocean as inoffensive..
So, can you show the proof?

I saw only a lot of statements, like yours.
Which resembles those of the authorities in the starting phase of the accident:
“no release of radio-activity, everything under control, everything save, only minor release, etc”
You remember those 2.5 years ago?

• Daniel says:

The article has been offered by Mr Tucker on this board on Sept 4 1:59 :

It is a scientific article. It made sense to me. Beta releases are chump change. Don’t have time to discuss this any further. Sorry.

Rather way for Fukushima III …

• Daniel says:

@ Bas

Fukushima I and II … Zero death due to radiation and still counting …

Wow. even a 5 year old can count that high !

• Jeff Walther says:

“I saw only a lot of statements, like yours.
Which resembles those of the authorities in the starting phase”

Ah, I see. The reason you keep spouting the same disproved nonsense is that whenever someone carefully explains things to you you ignore the explanation, because it resembles statements your paranoid mind has already discounted.

I was right earlier. You are insane.

• John Chatelle says:

Bas needs to show offense. To require showing non-offense is a null hypothesis.

Its scientifically hats-backwards, as is Bas’s whole line of thinking.

• gallopingcamel says:

Bas,
If you are scared of Tritated water you need to attend some basic radiation safety classes. Please let me know if you want to gain a better understanding of this issue.

I served on the Duke University Radiation Safety Committee for many years and would be honored to assist you.

• Bas says:

@gallopingcamel
Yes! That would be nice!

• Brian Mays says:

Can anybody show a calculation about the extra background radiation (e.g. in nano Sv) that delivers in the world oceans?

Not much at all. Even if the entire inventory or radionuclides in the entire plant (cores and spent fuel pools) at the time of the accident were dumped in the ocean, its activity at the time (it’s much, much less now, over two years later) would still be less than half of the activity that is already in the Pacific Ocean from naturally occurring radioactive materials.

Of course, most of the activity in the plant came from very short-lived isotopes, almost all of which have decayed away by now. Almost all of the radioactive material that remains still sits within the containment structures or spent fuel pools.

• Bas says:

@Brian,
You make some estimation:
…would still be less than half of the activity that is already in the Pacific Ocean from naturally occurring radioactive materials…“.
Can you show the basis / calculation?

..it’s much, much less now, over two years later … most of the activity in the plant came from very short-lived isotopes, almost all of which have decayed away by now…
Then I do not quite understand why so much cool water is still needed.

In W-Europe the main issue with Chernobyl was/is*) the Cs-137 (half-life ~30years) fall-out. Why not in Fukushima?

*) In some areas (UK, Lapland) still no food (meat, milk) production as produced food surpasses the safety limits. In areas in Germany a.o. fungus still surpass the max. food radio-activity level.
Despite still using the 10 times less strict obsolete safety levels (the UN Codex commission defined new radiation standards in ~2010).

• Wayne SW says:

Hey, Bas, you have finally asked a good question. Maybe there is hope after all. I have wondered myself why they are sending such a volume of water through those cores after all this time. If you use the Way-Wigner formulas it would seem to indicate that fairly low flow rates (assuming a reasonable delta-T) would be indicated at this time.

My guess, and it is only speculation, is that, like everything associated with this nature-induced damage event (NIDE is a better descriptor than “accident”, because it wasn’t that, it was a nature-caused event), they are going overboard on the conservative side, and flooding much more coolant than actually needed through those cores, just to “be sure” they get enough heat removal. If that is the case, you of all people should be praising their extra-cautious approach, rather than hammering them for having problems with handling of such large volumes of material.

• Agris says:

IMHO there are no cores to flood water through – because the plants suffered meltdown in course of NIDE. Yes they are probably ‘going overboard on the conservative side’, but frankly, if we were them we would be, too. Just because no-one really knows much about these ‘coriums’ somewhere inside the cracked ex-containment buildings. But that’s another topic altogether.

• Engineer-Poet says:

There is the (former) core material, which ultimately needs to be removed in some form and packaged for disposal.  The only way to get rid of the leaching of radionuclides into cooling water is to eliminate the cooling water, which means chiseling this stuff out and putting it into containers suitable for dry-cask storage.

• Jeff Walther says:

“Can you show the basis / calculation?”

It was already shown to you, but you ignored it because it “resembles those of authorities…”

Why bother to explain anything to you when you will simply ignore the explanation and continue spewing nonsense and lies?

• Joris van Dorp says:

Jeff, I noticed this almost 2 years ago after extensive discussion with Bas Gresnigt on my facebook page. In those days, Bas was still happy to spout Caldicott-type nonsense such as “UNSCEAR and WHO are corrupt”, and – incredibly – he even tried to convince me that the USNRC was a front *for* the nuclear industry! I discussed a lot of things with Bas …

But when I noticed that Bas was ignoring scientific evidence and calculations, and seemed to somehow ‘forget’ when his arguments had been clearly shown to be bunkum, I warned him to stop doing it or get his postings on my facebook page removed. Ultimately, that’s what happened. Since that time, Bas has been overactive in spreading his nonsense and mistakes around the internet, most of which has been refuted multiple times. Perhaps that is why Bas is not using his full name anymore. It would be too easy for people to track his steps and discover his tactics, methinks!

• Brian Mays says:

Can you show the basis / calculation?

An estimate of the inventory of radionuclides in the four damaged Fukushima-1 reactors can be found in a short paper (PDF) published by EUROSAFE, which used the KENO/ORIGEN computer codes to calculate the inventory based on the condition, burnup, and age of the nuclear fuel. This paper estimates that the total inventory of radionuclides with radiological relevance on March 11, 2011, to be 2.6 × 1021 Bq or about 70 billion curies.

Seawater contains, on average, about 300 pCi/l of activity just from 40K alone (source: Radioactivity in the Marine Environment, National Academy of Sciences, 1971). Since the volume of the Pacific Ocean about 700 million cubic kilometers, that means that the Pacific Ocean already has over 210 billion curies in it, and that’s just from the potassium. I haven’t even considered radiation from the uranium, tritium, 14C, etc., all naturally radioactive and naturally present in the Pacific Ocean.

Then I do not quite understand why so much cool water is still needed.

When irradiated nuclear fuel is removed from a reactor core, the heat from the decay of fission products in the fuel requires active cooling for several years. This why used fuel normally is moved from the core to a big pool of water.

A spent fuel pool is a controlled environment, however. The operators know where the fuel is and in what state it is. The situation at the damaged Fukushima plant is much less than ideal. TEPCO is undoubtedly using far more water than would be necessary under better conditions, just to be on the safe side.

• Brian Mays says:

Oh … and by the way, can I express how disappointed I am that this WordPress platform doesn’t support superscripts?

• John Englert says:

Math and superscript test:

This text contains subscript text.
This text contains superscript text.

• John Englert says:

…you’re right, it doesn’t.

• Cal Abel says:

LaTeX test

$latex T\mathrm{d}S$

• Brian Mays says:

Cal – Yes, I wish this blog had something like MathJax too.

But then again, Rod was an English major, so he’s forcing us to communicate in English, without relying on any other languages, such as mathematics, as a crutch — no matter how cumbersome it becomes.

At least the emoticons still work.

@Brian

That is correct. I like English and find it to be a better way to communication with most people. If you want to use powers of ten, a good way to do that is with notation like 1E+12 or 1 x 10^-22.

This is a test of a rather inconvenient HTML way to add superscript – B&W mPowerTM Reactor.

Looks like the test worked. I used the “sup” and “small” tags.

• Bas says:

@Brian
Thank you for this informative post.

Is an estimation of 90 billion curies for the other nuclide’s (14c, tritium, etc) in the Pacific Ocean roughly right?

PS
understand your frustration regarding the 10 to power 21 number.

• Atomikrabbit says:

@Brian

Good work. Po-210 and Pb-210 are also significant radionuclides in seawater:

As for the Fukushima cores, about 97% of the material should still be insoluble heavy metal oxides that aren’t going to leave the reactor vessels or sumps via dissolution in cooling water. I’m not aware that they have found significant evidence in the environment of any species other than volatile or water soluble fission products. Of course the noble gases were dispersed long ago, and the radioiodines are also long-gone.

The Japanese PM needs to hold a sushi party on the nearby beach, with a photo op of himself enjoying the first delicious slab of locally-caught tuna. Invite the mainstream media – with the latest Paciic Plume scare they’ve clearly demonstrated some of them will swallow anything.

• Brian Mays says:

Is an estimation of 90 billion curies for the other nuclide’s (14c, tritium, etc) in the Pacific Ocean roughly right?

I haven’t done the calculation, so I can’t say. I suspect that it might be an overestimate, however.

As for the Fukushima cores, about 97% of the material should still be insoluble heavy metal oxides that aren’t going to leave the reactor

Yes. I probably should have emphasized this point. My calculation was intended to be a vast overestimation of what could be expected to reach the ocean, even in the worst case scenario.

a good way to do that is with notation like 1E+12 or 1 x 10^-22.

Rod – I agree, and I have no problem with using “E” notation, but it’s often difficult to remember which websites allow superscripts (and subscripts for things like CO2) and which do not. A feature that allows the user to preview how the site will display his or her comment — so that mistakes can be caught and corrected — is far more valuable than any kind of support for unusual notation when it comes to ensuring that fumbled formatting doesn’t interfere with getting the message across clearly.

• Engineer-Poet says:

A feature that allows the user to preview how the site will display his or her comment — so that mistakes can be caught and corrected — is far more valuable than any kind of support for unusual notation

Hear, hear!  Preview dates back to the 1990′s, what’s the excuse for not having it?

• Bas says:

@Brian & Atomikrabbit,

With that we can calculate:
~300billion Ci in the Pacific Ocean
~70billion Ci in each reactor core.
~3% can flow into the ocean. So let’s estimate roughly 3billion Ci.

So worst case the radioactivity of the Pacific Ocean water will be raised by ~1%.

Now few question remain to be solved:
1 – Will the radioactivity of the fish also be raised by ~1%? Or will it be more/less?
I remember stories that these materials accumulate in the fish (same as mercury, etc).

2- What will be the effect for people eating fish?
I believe the Codex fact sheet may help to solve that:
http://www.fao.org/crisis/27242-0bfef658358a6ed53980a5eb5c80685ef.pdf

But may be you know a better base to calculate that?

Sorry I didn’t do it myself yet. But I have a time problem, and this is not stuff I handle routinely.

• JMS says:

@Bas

There’s a very informative article on this very complex subject on Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s web site:

“Of particular concern for top-level consumers is the potential that these radioisotopes will be concentrated as they make their way up the food chain—what ecologists call biomagnification. Fortunately, cesium shows only modest biomagnification in marine food chains—much less than mercury, a toxic metal, or many other harmful organic compounds such the insecticide DDT and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Fisher said.”

http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=167709

• Brian Mays says:

So worst case the radioactivity of the Pacific Ocean water will be raised by ~1%.

Bas- A factor of 1% is meaningless. First of all, the numbers that you cite, including the ones that I gave you, have huge uncertainties. They are back-of-the-envelope estimates that provide only information about the order of magnitude of the quantities examined. It simply doesn’t make sense to discuss a change in the third significant digit, since even the first significant digit is somewhat uncertain.

More importantly, however, my calculation was an estimate of the total amount based on average concentrations. Just like salinity and pH, the concentration of the various radioisotopes in seawater is not uniform; it varies substantially from place to place, far more than a mere 1% of the average. Furthermore, it is extremely naive to assume that the releases from the Fukushima-1 plant will be uniformly distributed across the Pacific. The concentrations will obviously be higher near the plant, with the concentrations in other parts being highly dependent on ocean currents.

Even if we go with the naive assumptions, however, nobody credible believes that the naturally occurring radioactive materials in the ocean are a problem (in fact, the uranium in seawater could ultimately be a useful resource). A 1% increase, or even a 100% increase, in something that is trivial, is still trivial.

• Bas says:

@Brian
I agree that there is / will be huge variation in the amount of radio-activity in the Pacific Ocean due to Fukushima, just as you see now. Only Japanese fishermen have the problem that part of the fish they catch is declared unfit for consumption due to radiation.

I also agree that the numbers are rough estimates. So the 1% may be 0.2% or 2%.
So may be someone can find calculate more accurate numbers.

I just want to have an impression what this radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean actually implies roughly in numbers.
Now nuclear people (e.g. IAEA) say it is nothing, while ‘greens’ say it will kill hundreds of thousands up to millions…

Both are not credible.
IAEA/WHO, etc. lost all credibility due to their statements about Chernobyl, and declaring before anything was know about the size of Fukushima that it’s radiation would kill nobody.
And we know the greens…
So where is the truth??

The fact that I have to ask this question is a bad thing for nuclear.
How can we entrust management of a potential dangerous NPP to untrusted/lying nuclear people?

So may be you can help with finding the right numbers?

• Brian Mays says:

Both are not credible.

Bas – Says who? Says you? That doesn’t say much.

How can we entrust management of a potential dangerous NPP to untrusted/lying nuclear people?

Considering the countless times that it has been demonstrated here in the comments of this blog (and on other blogs) that you have been lying, been repeating nonsense that you simply don’t understand, and been just plain wrong, I’m really not worried about your opinion on anything. I don’t give credit to fools and liars.

The “right” numbers are trivially insignificant. Just because you are too stubborn and stupid to realize this — because you let your Green-inspired paranoia get in the way of common sense — that doesn’t change what the numbers are.

• Bas says:

@JMS
They explain quite well!

• Mitch says:

Bias, just a thought exercise. If there was a button that could instantly change to your way the minds of third world nations who decided to use nuclear for clean power and water would you hit that button?

• Bas says:

@Mitch
Ridiculous. Of course not.
It would affect their freedom.

I highly admire Switzerland because they have a real democratic system:
– If a decision can be taken at a lower level, than the vote is at that level.
This rule implies that things that can be decided at the village level, will never be decided at region level, etc.

This system made them the most stable country in the world despite having 4 quite different languages / natives.
Their life expectancy is highest Europe (worldwide second after Japan), also because the quality of their hospitals is excellent.
They are the richest country in Europe (not due to their famous bank secret. That is eroding and far less than that of e.g. Austria).
The world economic forum proclaimed Switzerland this year again as the most competitive country..

• Smilin Joe Fission says:

Goes to show how small government usually works better than large centralized governments. If only the US had a binding document that directly explained (and supporting essays to further explain it) that a large centralized government was to be avoided and localized government was to be pushed for…

However, comparisons between a small country like Switzerland and a large country like the United States are difficult simply because of the difference in population and geographical size. City’s in the US approach the population of Switzerland.

• Mitch says:

Bas
September 5, 2013 at 2:10 PM

@Mitch
Ridiculous. Of course not.
It would affect their freedom.

Sorry, but I believe that far as I can throw an elephant, mate. Arrogant do-gooder Greenpeace would have no problem at all throwing that switch, and you’ve shown such rabid intolerance toward nuclear power even if it could save lives and stop starvation and thirst and Global Warming that you’re in the same church.

14. Wayne SW says:

Not many people know it, but this country purposefully “dumped” several times the amount of activity Fukushima has released into the ocean 500 miles SW of San Diego. This was the Wigwam test for ASW purposes, and it used a 30 KT fission device. You can see pictures of it on Google and YouTube. All sorts of fission products pumped directly into the ocean. Last I checked, Sand Diego was still there. We haven’t been overrun by mutant zombies from San Diego. So, at first glance, all that activity, amounts much greater than anything Fukushima has released, haven’t caused any harm, except perhaps for making the political landscape in California somewhat mutated.

15. John T Tucker says:

Not to forget a real and serious pollution event is still occurring pacific wide :

Mercury fingerprint of Pacific fish points to Asia coal power plants

Mercury found in high levels in deep Pacific Ocean fish such as swordfish has a chemical fingerprint, and it implicates coal-burning power plants in Asia, according to a new study. ( http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-mercury-fingerprint-fish-20130827,0,4685274.story )

• John T Tucker says:

Here is that study :

Methylmercury production below the mixed layer
in the North Pacific Ocean ( http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/PFRP/reprints/Blum_et_al_2013_methylmercury.pdf )

• donb says:

It might be interesting to compare the radioactive releases from the Fukushima site for (say) a day to that of a normally operating coal plant of equal generating capacity running for a day. I suppose a comparison on the basis of becquerels would be the easiest. If I understand the unit of measure correctly, it is disintegrations per second of a quantity of material, with no normalization for mass. This would be the proper comparison.

• James Greenidge says:

DONB:

You’ve hit the silent monkey lynchpin of institutionalized hypocrisy here, when government declines to apply nuclear’s safety and emissions standards and regulations to other power generation sources. _Technically_ it’s possible for fossil to achieve this IF they literally bottle EVERY puff of smoke and Co2 and ash on up and apply extensive automation from the supply rail cars on up, but then such noble and eco-green friendly measures would economically run them out of town like how all the excessive $$“what-if”-proofing procedures demanded of nuclear plants are bleeding them — how ironic! Talk about nuclear competing with fossil with two hands tied behind its back from the get-go! Fairness, huh? What’s fairness? I’m green! Yea, I’d LOVE for law students to do this as a test case and see the greens and government squirm! James Greenidge Queens NY • Daniel says: @Don, Coal is out. Let’s welcome the new kid on the block: Gas. Let’s see how clean you are buddy ? • John T Tucker says: Im still so concerned with leakage rates I don’t even really complain about the carbon contribution of NG yet : Methane emissions estimates from airborne measurements over a western United States natural gas field Aug. 2013 ( ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/hats/papers/montzka/2012_pubs/in%20review_Karion%20et%20al%202012.pdf ) Here we determined gas emissions to be 8.8±2.6% of natural gas production in the Uintah County, Utah (UT) natural gas field from atmospheric measurements made during aircraft research flights in February 2012. This emissions estimate is 1.8 to 38 times inventory-based estimates from thi s region and five times the US EPA nationwide average estimate of leakage from the production and processing of natural gas. Not to mention the geologic scale issues with fracking and extraction. • John Chatelle says: We’re blundering toward war in the Levant. They say it’s because Bashar al-Assad’s forces used Sarin on his own people. Another cited reason is that the Persians are working on nuclear technologies. Maybe to develop Nuclear weapons but more dynamically probably to save their Natural Gas production for export and hard currency. Really. I wonder. What part does the fact that much of the Eastern Mediterranean sea bed is underlain with Natural Gas play? I don’t hear anything about it from the news sources. • Bas says: @John …What part does the fact that much of the Eastern Mediterranean sea bed is underlain with Natural Gas play?.. Of course that plays an important role. Just look into the fate of Iran. In ~1952 Iran had his first real democratic chosen government. That government wanted 50% of the oil profits that a.o. Exxon made by exporting Iranian oil. Exxon (and I assume the other oil companies) turned for help to US government. The CIA unit at US embassy in Tehran (Iran’s capital) was reinforced with some very smart guy’s. They organized a coup d’etat in 1953, which brought the generals into power (the shah was insignificant). That started a 25year reign of real terror (secret police torturing and killing many). That period ended with the Islamic revolution. As it implied that US lost its influence in Iran with its big oil reserves, US immediately became an enemy of the new government. Installing boycotts, creating wrong publications about Iran, etc. And US supported the invasion of Iraq (Saddam Hussein) into Iran shortly after the Islamic revolution. That invasion did cost >1 million Iranian deaths. Btw. This 1953 coup by US embassy was the reason that US embassy was besieged after the Islamic revolution. People were afraid of a new coup by the embassy. US also created the strong impression that Iran turned into dictatorship of the ayatollahs. While reality is more the other way around. It’s a democracy with representatives of all minorities (incl. Jews) in parliament. As they want to prevent a new coup d’etat, there is screening of all candidates and ayatollahs have special power (like the president of France). Now Iran sees itself surrounded by US military bases and the US Gulf fleet (which shot down a regular Iranian airliner killing few hundred Iranians). In addition US partner Israel that killed Iranian scientists and started several wars already… Taken into account this history with US, it is not strange that Iran spends lots of money to arm itself against a possible attack by US. Hence they have a NPP, do enrichment, etc. About 15years ago, I traveled around in Iran during some weeks. There is a huge difference between the well educated minorities (in cities) and the majority, but nobody wants the Shah back. They had standard GSM mobile networks (identical to the EU), but it was impossible to phone to the EU, etc. because of the boycott. Same with credit and debit cards, money transfer, etc. And that was before the real row about enrichment… • Rod Adams says: @Bas Get your history right. The instigator of the US-UK overthrow of Mohammad Mossadegh was the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, later known as British Petroleum and now calling itself simply BP. Exxon had no interest in Iranian oil. In fact, with its interest in Saudi Arabia, Exxon’s real interest was in seeing Iranian oil kept out of the market as much as possible. One of the many reasons that I strongly favor the use of uranium and thorium based energy is that it is they are they only fuel sources that are powerful and abundant enough to replace the need or desire to burn oil and gas in many applications. By adding enormous supplies of reliable heat to the energy market, using more nuclear energy will reduce the value of the fuels that the oil and gas companies like to keep “scarce”. It will also reduce the influence of the hydrocarbon industry on world politics. • Bas says: @Rod, Sorry for the mistake. Then who (and why) did stimulate / propose / consent that the CIA organized that coup d’etat against that recent chosen Iranian democratic government? Had BP so much influence on US government (direct or via UK government)? • John T Tucker says: For reasonable people showing comparative levels of natural radiation/coal residue radiation might work to calm unreasonable bias – for the muggle fear goblin anti nukes it seems to just send them further off the rails. Im sure TEPCO could help out with a new piece of equipment and never before used readings standards/weird particle emphasis and obscure perspective configurations to better incite them. • John T Tucker says: That was in reply to donb. (we all have tried that I think don) 16. John T Tucker says: Measurement results of environmental radiation levels in Tokyo ( http://monitoring.tokyo-eiken.go.jp/en/index.html ) Its kinda funny they put up readings from other cities around the world. 17. John T Tucker says: BTW as for the actual radiation in the water – I took this from TEPCOs chart: Process Main Building 5.5E+04 Bq/cm 3 (Sampled on Jul. 9 ) Exit of cesium adsorption apparatus 5.2E+00 Bq/cm 3 (Sampled on Jul. 9) High Temperature Incinerator Building 2.9E+04 Bq/cm 3 (Sampled on Aug. 13) Exit of second cesium adsorption apparatus 3.4E-01 Bq/cm 3 (Sampled on Aug. 13) One cesium removal unit is under maintenance. The second is operational. Which all sounds rather boring and a lot less worrisome than even I believed. Am I getting it wrong??? 18. Daniel says: OK … So Fukushima II may be over (that is the leaking water bit) The Japanese NRA just woke up and said it was nothing to worry about and that TEPCO has done a bad job at the PR level. Here it is: http://japandailypress.com/nra-chief-says-situation-at-fukushima-exaggerated-0535399/ Let’s move on ! • Daniel says: There is a woman named Lady Barbara Judge who has been hired, along as Dale Klein, as advisors to TEPCO. Nice jobs at the ‘panic’ levels to both of you. I hope the pay check is not linked to performance. You both suck. • Atomikrabbit says: In fairness, we don’t know what these advisors have been recommending, or how much of that is being applied or ignored. I’m no expert on Japanese culture, but I suspect that the suits at TEPCO are far more inclined to jump through hoops being set by their own regulators, government, and media than comply with the recommendations of a few western hired hands. When this whole story is finally told, we may find that Klein and Judge were providing sage advice, but it was being ignored. If I were in that position, I would resign before accusations such as those above could gain traction. • Andrea Jennetta says: Japan’s NRA got publicly called out by World Nuclear Association for contributing to the media frenzy. Maybe that’s why NRA decided to blame TEPCO, which is a convenient scapegoat. Personally and professionally, I think the entire Japanese nuclear industry–both the regulators and the licensees–need to get a grip. And ask for help. Because they are f&cking up all over the place, wrecking the global industry in the process. I say this as someone who doesn’t trust any media reports about anything nuclear in Japan. I think we all know that things are bad over there, due to extreme nuclear politics. And Daniel, what you said below, that both Lady Judge and Dale Klein suck…I totally agree. • Rick Maltese says: Have you noticed that the word “Authority” in NRA is a pretty big misnomer? • Rod Adams says: @Andrea Jennetta I think we all know that things are bad over there, due to extreme nuclear politics. I think you mean that it is tough to be a nuke in Japan, not that there is any real issue at Fukushima. They are building a mess because they are trying to keep water from doing what it does naturally – flow from mountains to oceans, but it is not a dangerous mess. It is a mess that has “detectable” levels of radioactive material, but no person or fish is going to get harmed by it. In fact, if I was a fish, I would move to the coast of Fukushima. I hear the water is fine and the fishermen no longer bother you. • Daniel says: Ask for international help from Russia and France. Ok From the anti nuclear NRC. Never As for Klein, the no bozo rule should apply to you as well. Talk the talk. Walk the walk. • Daniel says: Dale Klein. Pro nuclear. Former NRC chairman. Knowledgable and father of the no bozos allowed mantra in the nuclear industry. Advisor to Tepco Japan. What a disappointment. Really. Dr J and Reid could not ask for a better silent partner in crime. • Daniel says: About calling out the journalist and scientific community? • James Greenidge says: You know Andrea Jennetta has it nailed in that Fukushima really ceased being just a “local” Japanese PR disaster from day one because EVERY nuclear incident is viewed as an inherent and intrinsic flaw or failing of ALL, as unreasonable as it sounds. Note that every U.S. nuke is now also regarded a “potential Fukushima” in most the press and such is the pick-up mantra of the antis. For the worldwide nuclear community to just stand-by and watch TEPCO and NRA twist in the wind mismanaging PR and assume the flap way over there wouldn’t burn them here was inane. Can you spell$$ “Fukushima proofing” required of plants here regardless their own adequate condition and only making nukes less attractive to companies? Being interested in other’s nuclear misfortunes IS in your own best interest! Like some here hinted, the nuclear honchos of other nations should’ve been either hightailing it to Japan to teach them PR damage control or vigorously educating their own citizenry as to the differences of their own nuclear systems and circumstances from Fukushima. That we’re two years in and the Japanese can be still scared witless by another round of monster-of-the-week Fukushima perils, again totally unchallenged or rebutted or enlightened with persecutive and fact in their media is truly insane to me. (God help and bless any pro-nuke blogs over there!). If their pride doesn’t want international PR education advice or recommendations in this, TEPCO/NRC should at least take a cue from their own auto makers when a recall situation due deadly mishaps raises its head. Their swift action and public information campaigns heads the monster of wild speculations and rumor off at the pass, never to fester to poison trust or their image for long.

James Greenidge
Queens NY

• Daniel says:

Now that Japan’s NRA has done Tepco’s job maybe it can focus on its job and open perfectly safe reactors idled for too long.

19. gregory meyerson says:

can anyone help me on understanding the relation between the wastewater leaking from the containers and the water (79,000 gallons per day I just read) leaking into the pacific ocean?

I’m assuming there is no relation. how contaminated is the water going into the ocean? where is it coming from?

I’m assuming the wastewater contamination is far more contaminated than the water going into the ocean? Yes, no? Help.

20. gregory meyerson says:

on my own questions, I have been discussing them with Les Corrice, author of the excellent Hiroshima Syndrome blog.

He thinks the leak (the 79,000 gallons) is not confirmed, but merely assumed following a worst case scenario framework. that there’s no radiological evidence for this leak. as the new scientist article linked twice above shows, there is nothing worth worrying about (given other worries, mercury etc.) even if the assumption were true.

but it’s worth trying to find out what’s really going on with the groundwater. I don’t understand why this (existence of leak) is so hard to confirm (it may really be a challenge to confirm: am just wondering). If TEPCo has to bring in outside expertise, maybe that would include hydrologists and geologists specializing in water flows.

• James Greenidge says:

We’ve friends in upstate New York with a 15,000 gal Hendon pool and it’s a nice sized pool but hardly a industrial oil or gas storage tank, and when I imagine that pool by seven times which is this Fukushima leak we’re talking about a pitifully small amount. of liquid compared other stored sources. If such was entirely Mercury (pick your poison!) and dumped into the Hudson I wonder just how poisoned the river much less Atlantic might be, and unlike decaying Fukushima water, Mercury will remain forever potent — which makes interesting how effected groundwater is around the site of that Chinese tomb which is said to contain a virtual LAKE of Mercury inside!

James Greenidge
Queens NY

• John T Tucker says:

I kinda get irritated with the nuclear types on this kind of thing. They dont seem to understand that pure speculation is totally worthless and seem to be shy about addressing it.

Without any information AND a lack of any consideration of mitigating factors, along with consistently dropping radiation levels (if even detectable) in the water and in biological samples this is one of those things that get me kinda worked up that it has gotten so much press.

• gallopingcamel says:

gregory meyerson,
Great to hear from you, I may have another chance to meet with you in November at NCSU. Those TEPCO workers who were so badly trained that they did not wear waders when wandering about in tritiated water were in no real danger. They suffered less radiation damage than you or I reclining on the beach in Wilmington North Carolina for a couple of hours.

While significant radiation was released following the Fukushima accident it never had the potential to harm anyone. Too bad the Japanese government hurt so many people by over reacting.

21. John T Tucker says:

South Korea bans fish imports from Japan’s Fukushima region

Seoul blames ‘scientifically unacceptable’ information from Tepco over radiation levels in waters around nuclear plant

South Korea said it had impose/d a total ban on fish from Fukushima and seven other prefectures in response to growing public fears over the safety of produce from the region. The fisheries vice-minister, Son Jae-hak, told reporters that the ban would stay in place indefinitely, adding that Japanese authorities had failed to provide timely and detailed information about the water leaks.

The fish is tested and radiation levels (when they are delectable) are dropping.

• Brian Mays says:

John – Don’t pay too much attention to what the South Korean public thinks. These highly superstitious buggers still believe in “fan death,” for goodness sake! Google it if you don’t know what I mean.

• John T Tucker says:

No, wow. Didn’t know about that. I like that they go ahead and try to explain it scientifically. There are more believable religious and occult theories.

22. John T Tucker says:

Germany is the “renewable” case study This was from July, if nothing else, it cant be said “the Greens are not making history”:

Merkel’s Green Shift Backfires as German Pollution Jumps

Germany’s air pollution is set to worsen for a second year, the first back-to-back increase since at least the 1980s,

Germany emitted the equivalent of 931 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents last year, which was up from 917 million tons the year before, the Environment Ministry said in February. ( http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-28/merkel-s-green-shift-backfires-as-german-pollution-jumps.html )

• John T Tucker says:

06/2012

How good is air quality in Germany? Ceiling for nitrogen dioxide exceeded at many locations / Repeated episodes of excessive levels of particulate matter

The air in Germany in 2011 once again had excessive levels of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide pollution. Mean particulate matter levels were above those of the previous four years, and nitrogen dioxide pollution remained high. These are the results of an initial evaluation by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) of preliminary measurement data submitted by the Länder and UBA. Limit values for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide are often exceeded in the immediate vicinity of urban roads. Daily averages for particulate matter were above the allowable limit at 42 per cent of stations near roads. The limit allows for daily averages of more than 50 micrograms of fine particles (PM10) per cubic metre air (µg/m3) on no more than 35 days. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels were above the allowable yearly average of 40 µg/m3 at 57 per cent of urban stations located near traffic. ( http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/uba-info-presse-e/2012/pe12-006_how_good_is_air_quality_in_germany.htm )

This was last year. Newer air quality assessments are curiously missing . The EU has even stepped in this year and told Germany to clean up its air. The US has much much cleaner air than Germany.

You wouldn’t know it form the greenwashed press.

• John T Tucker says:

These two posts were meant for the next topic. sorry.

23. John T Tucker says:

There is something really bothering me about this. The emerging narrative seems to center on the technology and almost non existent hazard, from both sides. Even the nukers, after all the TEPCO radiation twerking, are quick to grab at a “PR failure” narrative, as I was.

What if its not a failure. What is this was, if not planed, a desirable outcome exploited by the real perps in this mess?.

TEPCO is now run by the japanese government; that has no working reactors now(?). Electric rates for consumers have increased drastically and a huge deregulation *(privatization scam) is bing pushed through as well as long term gas contracts being negotiated. Here are some stories that are making me incredibly uneasy about the direction Japan is headed and the media narratives that are emerging as fact. I need to do a big rethink here and I suggest the rest of you consider it as well, the facts dont fit the current narratives very well:

Japanese Government Finds New Chairman for Tepco ( http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304331204577353302409041804.html )

TEPCO Rate Calculation – note fuel and renewables surcharge ( http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/customer/guide/ratecalc-e.html )

Japan Power Industry Bill Gets First Nod to Break Up Monopolies ( http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-12/japan-power-industry-bill-gets-first-nod-to-break-up-monopolies.html )

3 regional utilities to raise household electricity rates ( http://ajw.asahi.com/article/economy/business/AJ201308020054 )

Japan’s Utilities Likely to Seek Higher Rates ( http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323826704578355642606368924.html )

Japan’s Toshiba signs tolling deal for U.S. natural gas from 2018 ( http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/10/lng-toshiba-freeport-idUSL2N0H50ZG20130910 )

Then just four hours ago:

Possible conclusions:

I don’t think, even with the new conservative government, there is going to be any attempt to restart many reactors. It looks as if climate change and carbon reduction is being thrown under the bus in favor of new investments and the cheap gas mirage. I wonder if too the “blame TEPCO” narrative isn’t being floated like the Russians did with the technology in general after Chernobyl to absolve public officials of horrific incompetence.

If its playing out this way it is a HUGE loss for environmentalism. clean energy and consumers as well.

• John Tucker says:

Japan’s Shinzo Abe calls on TEPCO to decommission 2 Fukushima reactors ( http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/19/world/asia/japan-fukushima-reactors/ )

5 and 6 were not damaged. I feel more strongly japan is culling a large portion of its nuclear fleet to facilitate gas and other energy schemes. I think its the plan.

@John

Will Davis at Atomic Power Review has published a post about Abe’s suggestion to decommission Fukushima Daiichi 5 & 6 and also included Tepco’s initial reaction.

http://atomicpowerreview.blogspot.com/2013/09/fukushima-daiichi-5-and-6-finally-solid.html

People should be aware of the fact that units 5 and 6 are somewhat separated from the damaged units 1-4. They were not damaged by the earthquake and only slightly damaged by the tsunami. They are 10 years younger than the oldest units on site. They have a lot of emission free electricity and revenue generating life left in them and should not be taken away from Tepco’s customers and stockholders.

• John T Tucker says:

Thanks I read his post. I hope I am bing too much of a conspiracy theorist and it is mostly just a matter of renovating these plants. It seems absurd to shutter two good reactors without some reason.

24. John T Tucker says:

Two reactors at Takahama nuclear power plant replace 280,000 barrels of OIL A DAY according to the link below!

So it looks like Japan doesn’t have reactors running now but plans to have around two to four after the beginning of next year.

Its interesting they already had so much thermal capacity in place. (they are utilizing about 70 percent of it.)

Nuclear-Free Japan Signals Sweet Crude Boost ( http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/business/nuclear-free-japan-signals-sweet-crude-boost/ )

25. John T Tucker says:

India, Japan join forces to control costs of liquefied natural gas imports

Asian LNG importers such as Japan and China paid as much as $15.75 per million British thermal unit this month, compared to$2.97 paid by LNG buyers in U.S. Gulf Coast and $9.79 by British consumers, according to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Japan, the world’s biggest importer of LNG, raised imports of the chilled gas by 12 per cent in 2011 and another 11per cent in 2012 in the aftermath of the Fukishima nuclear disaster. The country spent US$60-billion on LNG imports in 2012, a figure that’s expected to balloon to US\$72.1-billion this year. ( http://atomicinsights.com/john-dudley-miller-nuclear-engineering-officer-us-navy/#comments )

With Russia increasing capacity to the far east, Europe is probably about to see even higher gas prices. So is the US with two shipping agreements with Japan just going through. The NG Vehicle market is expanding as well in all venues.

26. John T Tucker says:

Odds and ends – I see we are also exporting incompetence to Japan now:

Ex-top U.S. nuclear regulator counsels end to atomic power ( http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/09/24/national/ex-top-u-s-nuclear-regulator-counsels-end-to-atomic-power/#.UkLCC7xlc4I )

Canada agrees to begin exporting shale gas to Japan ( http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/09/25/national/canada-agrees-to-begin-exporting-shale-gas-to-japan/#.UkLBuLxlc4I )

Fukushima fisheries to resume trial fishing after samples prove safe ( http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/09/24/national/fukushima-fisheries-to-resume-trial-fishing-after-samples-prove-safe/#.UkLBTLxlc4I )

27. Brian Hanley says:

Commenting on radionuclides released. In my book, I calculate how much uranium and thorium is released from coal burning into the air each year. It’s at least 5800 curies, assuming roughly 50% of coal smokestacks are scrubbed. Not that this is a significant problem, but those radionuclides are more likely to get into lungs than anything else.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D7KLQYY -Radiation – Exposure and its treatment: A modern handbook

I wrote the book because there is no lay resource that lays out what radiation is, exactly what the physiological effects are, why and how radiation harms people, and how to treat it. The book has been well received by physicians. At this point, the treatment schedule is better than any other – Merck, DOD, etc.