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  1. I will certainly pass this on to people. As a computer scientist working in journalism, I marvel at the questions I get asked about the Fukushima accident by other journalists and how under-informed they often are on even basic concepts germane to nuclear power.

  2. I’ve been reading Les’ page religiously since the first days of the accident (actually before if I remember right). Rod is correct…best source on the web. Les is a great guy too.

  3. It’s a great source, but it’s a bit unfortunate there’s no way to do a permanent link to the update of a specific day of the Fukushima accident update page.

    There’s one thing that many may have missed and that’s almost unique to his site, it’s the updates about the situation of people who are tsunami refugees outside of the area affected by radiation. While there’s a lot of concern about the nuclear refugees, it’s amazing how much those who lost their home, jobs, and family members to the tsunami are ignored in comparison. Corrice is the only one to inform us about how dire their financial situation is compared to the nuclear refugee, as they don’t qualify for the most of the compensations those received, insurances don’t want to pay for their home in many case or will pay no more than half it’s value, and in practice their situation is just as bad given the huge expense of having to relocate elsewhere as their home still has not been reconstructed for many of them, some are giving up and reconstructing a new home at their own expense in a new area.

    1. Very true and valid point. Les wrote a new book about it too. I plan to read it after I read the first 5 days book.

    2. jmdesp,

      I do post what becomes available through the Japanese Press in mu updates, but there’s very little coverage. Few and far between, if you will. I might suggest my E-book on it, “Kimin: Japan’s Forgotten People”.

      Les

  4. There seems to be steam coming anew from Reactor 3. There have been multiple stories in various online media outlets in the past few days, although little or nothing in the mainstream media outlets so far. But TEPCO itself has confirmed the presence of steam, and that it is unable to explain it.

    Is this likely to be serious? Is it something that has been ongoing since March 2011 but only picked up on recently? If not, then what are the possible causes and should we be concerned?

    I also wonder if anyone could offer a view on the actual (likely) states of the cores of units 1, 2 and 3. All that ever generally gets said is that they all melted down, but I remember reading a while ago analysis speculating that they melted to significantly differing extents, and that at least one of the meltdowns may have been relatively small.

    And more generally, are the worst-case scenarios that the cores have melted through most or all of the structures beneath them, and are now underground/in contact with ground water, likely to be correct? Is there any solid way to theorise on where they physically are?

    I am a layman, not anti-nuclear power per se but extremely concerned about Fukushima.

      1. Thank you for your answer. I read this blog and others when I can for information but do not have time to read everything so I may have missed previous discussions of the same issue.

        I am indeed trying to avoid jumping on any bandwagon or to any conclusions – I hoped that was clear from my post but if it wasn’t then I apologise.

        I am trying to understand the situation better, and hoping that it is not as dire as it is painted in some quarters.

    1. @RViner

      On December 13, 2013, Tepco released a report titled “Evaluation of the situation of cores and containment vessels of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Units-1 to 3 and examination into unsolved issues in the accident progression”.

      http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/betu13_e/images/131213e0102.pdf

      Unfortunately, it is densely written and not very accessible for non specialists. Digging through all of the technical jargon, I would summarize it as saying that the cores of units 1-3 remain either inside the pressure vessel where they are located during normal operation – but in a significantly damaged state – or possibly, in the case of unit 3, within the first meter or so of concrete containment that is directly under the pressure vessel.

      PS – Please forgive the tone from some of the responders. We are still learning our manners and trying to provide reasoned information. Some nuclear advocates have developed a rather hard, sarcastic shell during the past 40 years or so of antinuclear activity.

      1. Thank you Rod for the link. I will see if I can make sense of it.

        There is no need to apologise with regard to hiddencamper’s post – he wasn’t rude, just curt, I understand that anti-nuclear posters are often confrontational and that this can breed a defensive mindset.

        Between the apocalypse-sayers and the soothing voices of the pro-nuclear bodies, it is hard for the man in the street to know what to believe, and what to make of Fukushima. I tend to err on the side of seeing it as more rather than less serious, but would be happy to be convinced otherwise.

      2. Digging through all of the technical jargon, I would summarize it as saying that the cores of units 1-3 remain either inside the pressure vessel where they are located during normal operation – but in a significantly damaged state – or possibly, in the case of unit 3, within the first meter or so of concrete containment that is directly under the pressure vessel.

        @Rod Adams

        So you disagree with the analysis provided in the report?

        Section 6 summarizes “present situation of core and PCV of Unit-1 to Unit-3” (pg. 48 – 53).

        http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/betu13_e/images/131213e0102.pdf

        Their analysis does not support the summary as you have provided.

        Unit 1:

        The status of Unit-1 core was estimated based on the above facts and aforementioned examination results, and is illustrated in Figure. 6.1.1. As can be seen in the figure, most of the molten fuel generated at the accident fell down to the lower plenum below the reactor pressure vessel and only a little fuel remains in the original core location. Most debris, which had fallen to the lower plenum, is believed to have reached the PCV pedestal. It is estimated that, after causing core-concrete interactions, the debris was cooled by injected water, its decay heat decreased terminating the core-concrete interactions and it now remains in the PCV.

  5. “In general, there is no reason for excitement or alarm relative to what is occurring at Fukushima Daiichi”

    Actually there is certainly reason for alarm, The US government is silent on the greatest national security threat in history, there has been unprecedented die offs of sea and land creatures around the pacific since the accident, and the “accident recovery and clean-up effort” is failing miserably.

    Instead of a concerted international effort by the worlds G8 countries to contain the worlds worst ever nuclear, industrial and environmental disaster Tepco is employing homeless people and paying them less than minimum wage.

    The Japanese Prime minister is actively selling nuclear reactors to the middle east while nuclear contamination is ever increasing back at home. You would think that might be a hard sell but no its not because the people involved stand to make a lot of money.

    “The tasks going on at Fukushima Daiichi should not impede other important tasks in the nuclear community”

    No they certainly should not. Has anything been learned? For a start what about the 28 GE mark 1 reactors in the US with their fully laden spent fuel pools? what about the 700,000 tons of nuclear waste on this planet?

    If humanity has a hope in hell of surviving the next few decades it better get on this quickely.

    1. @Matthew L

      With reservations, I have approved your comments and hope that you stick around long enough to listen to people who have a different perspective on the events at Fukushima and the rest of the nuclear enterprise. There is a lot of information that we can share if you thoughtfully engage.

  6. Fukushima Accident Updates on Hiroshima Syndrome.

    The intro text reads: “The Fukushima accident is the worst since Chernobyl.”

    Really? 23 words in and you lost me.

            1. @Matthew L

              Fukushima was an accident precipitated by a natural disaster. It was bad. There were not other accidents as bad as that in the 26 years since Chernobyl. Chernobyl, which burned for more than a week, releasing core materials and killed 31 people as a direct result plus another 15 within a decade or so, was FAR more consequential.

          1. … there’s no danger outside the gates.

            @Rod Adams

            I still don’t know what this means.

            MEXT ground level surveys after accident showed estimated dose rates in excess of 200 mSv/year inside 20 km exclusion zone. IRSN labelled return of evacuees to these areas as “unthinkable” on this basis (p. 156).

            2 years later, there is still an area 320 sq km (outside gates of power plant) identified as a “difficult-to return zone.” Average dose rates are stabilizing at 8.5 μSv/h. 6% of area has dose rate of greater than 19 μSv/h, 29% between 9.5 and 19 μSv/h, and 40% between 3.8 and 9.5 μSv/h (with an additional 90 sq km of habitation restricted areas identified with same dose level).

            Unless these dose rates drop below established regulatory limits for general public (various recommended levels) or power plant workers in the industry (50 mSv/year for one year, 20 mSv/year average over 5 years), I don’t see what is gained by creating uncertainty about evacuation standard and dose estimates as you have done here and elsewhere. You’ve provided no numbers for your claims, and only guesswork that contradicts detailed environmental sampling results and summaries by NRA, MEXT, IRSN, and others.

            1. @EL

              There is no evidence of any harm for doses below about 100 mSv (10 rem). That statement is partially supported by the following portion of the Health Physics Society position statement titled Radiation Risk in Perspective:

              There is substantial and convincing scientific evidence for health risks following high-dose exposures. However, below 50–100 mSv (which includes occupational and environmental exposures), risks of health effects are either too small to be observed or are nonexistent.

              Based on the physical evidence provided by numerous biologists and dose response professionals, radiation doses are not cumulative, even though regulators make the assumption that they are. Fractionated or chronic doses allow time for adaptive responses and repair mechanisms to work well enough to make the measured risk undetectable. It may be zero or slightly above zero, but it is most likely to be less than zero. In other words, there is some health benefit from moderate radiation dose.

              In the case of choosing between permanent loss of home and community and exposure to radiation doses that are below the levels that have any measurable harm, I would most certainly choose the radiation exposure. Since that is the choice I would make, that is the choice I recommend to the residents of Fukushima. As long as the monthly dose rate is below 100 mSv, it is safer to live in a radiation area than to live in an evacuation shelter.

              The gain created by calling into question the evacuation standard is to expose it as a ill considered standard that is not based on protecting human health and safety.

          2. There is no evidence of any harm for doses below about 100 mSv (10 rem).

            @Rod Adams

            Why are you deliberately conflating lifetime dose with dose rate?

            There is plenty of evidence for elevated relative risk of mortality and cancer incidence at a dose rate of “100 mSv/month” (some 137 μSv/h). Suggesting otherwise is not particularly serious, and could be considered entirely unsupported and irresponsible.

            1. @EL

              There is plenty of evidence for elevated relative risk of mortality and cancer incidence at a dose rate of “100 mSv/month” (some 137 μSv/h). Suggesting otherwise is not particularly serious, and could be considered entirely unsupported and irresponsible.

              Where? Did you review Dr. Mitchel’s presentation or the materials on his web site? What about Wade Allison’s work or that of Dr. Ed Calabrese?

              There is no evidence that radiation doses are cumulative. It is a biologically unsupportable assumption made by epidemiologists whose “gold standard” population is a group of people who received their doses in a flash as the result of an atomic bomb explosion.

              Not only was the dose administered to the atomic bomb survivors acute, versus chronic, but the doses were not measured. Believe it or not, we did not stop the war to provide the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with dosimeters before we bombed them.

              Instead, the doses were estimated based on reconstructions completed several years after the explosions, so their accuracy leaves a little to be desired.

              As I stated, the relative risk I am concerned about is relative to being displaced and living in an evacuation shelter. No one who reads the Chernobyl Forum reports can fail to understand that the stress of being a victim is more risky than the debatable negative health effect of slightly elevated chronic radiation levels.

          3. Did you review Dr. Mitchel’s presentation or the materials on his web site?

            I went to his publication list, and the first article I looked up told me all I needed to know.

            CT Scans May Reduce Rather than Increase the Risk of Cancer Bobby R. Scott, Charles L. Sanders, Ron E. J. Mitchel and Douglas R. Boreham. . Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 13(1) 8-11, 2008.

            If you think this is serious work, there’s nothing more I can say to help you.

            We’ve discussed plenty of serious and quality work on this site. If you want to discount all of it (for no apparent rational or substantive reason), I really don’t know where we are supposed to begin the conversation. All I can say is there are plenty of people here who know this research, and have a serious interest in credible and verifiable science on radiation and health risks. And you are not doing them a service by striking out on your own, and closing all the doors to legitimate science and skeptical reason behind you. You’ve entered the rabbit hole of the “true believer” (and it appears there is no reaching you, and there is no turning back).

            1. @EL

              Why are you dismissing Dr. Mitchel’s work because of a possible association with a group that you have apparently decided is so dishonest that nothing they say is valid?

              When it comes to radiation health effects, a number of very credible and honest scientists have found that the only people who would publish their work, no matter how carefully they took their measurements and documented their results were publications like the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons or 21st Century Science. In both cases, there are links to widely discredited organizations, but it is worth trying to figure out why those organizations are so soundly criticized.

              Lyndon LaRouche (associated with 21st Century Science), for example, despite being kind of kooky on certain topics, has published some exceptionally accurate material about nuclear energy, a topic that I know in great depth. That indicates to me that some of the work that his organization sponsors is correct and should not be dismissed merely because of his kooky notions about imperialist British bankers. (Actually, after the events of 2007-2010 in the banking industry, I wonder if he was so wrong after all.)

              Dr. Mitchel may have published his work in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, but he has been employed by AECL’s Chalk River Laboratories for 35 years. Do you really think that could be true if he was a dishonest researcher?

              Heck, let’s go back to the publication decisions widely discussed on Atomic Insights that resulted in an editor at the New York Academy of Sciences deciding to print Yablokov’s Chernobyl: Consequences for the People.

              https://atomicinsights.com/why-is-the-new-york-academy-of-sciences-allowing-its-name-to-be-used-in-an-anti-science-fud-campaign/

              It is also important to recall the devastating review of that work.

              https://atomicinsights.com/devastating-review-of-yablokovs-chernobyl-consequences-of-the-catastrophe-for-people-and-the-environment/

            2. @EL

              I went to his publication list, and the first article I looked up told me all I needed to know.

              That is a statement that can only be made by a man with a closed mind.

              You’ve entered the rabbit hole of the “true believer” (and it appears there is no reaching you, and there is no turning back).

              I’ve told you before; I AM a true believer in the benefits of nuclear energy and in the evidence based science that indicates there is a threshold below which radiation does not cause a negative health effect. I have seen the benefits of nuclear energy first hand; nothing you or anyone else can say will change my mind about capabilities I have witnessed.

              People I know personally and trust implicitly, like Jim Muckerheide, Jerry Cuttler, Alan Watar, Dave Rossin and Ted Rockwell, have taught me about radiation health effects. I’ve interviewed people like Ray Haroldsen who were hands-on technicians during the days when the tolerance dose of .2 R/day was the radiation limit. You can listen to a couple of those interviews on the Atomic Show.

              By the way, Ray is still living today and has no ill effects from his early 1950s experiences. I’ve taken note of the obits in Nuclear News and recognized that many times the subject is well into their 90s, even when they were hands on nuclear energy pioneers like Glenn Seaborg.

              What makes you, an anonymous political science student, think you have a right to come to my site and accuse me of dishonesty and illegitimate research. Go away!

          4. Why are you dismissing Dr. Mitchel’s work because of a possible association with a group that you have apparently decided is so dishonest that nothing they say is valid?

            @Rod Adams

            Real scientists don’t publish credible work in faux publications. Beyond that, I can’t speak for other fringe scientists who are unable to obtain recognition or have their work seriously considered by their peers. If your aim is to counter the zealous fanaticism of some of the opponents of nuclear power with more of the same, congratulations. You have hit that mark, and are building a community of likeminded zealous and fanatical ideologues who don’t question your observations, and don’t engage in serious or substantive (open minded and evidence based) critique. Your personal relationship with a coterie of high priests (and, as you describe, your universal and unquestioning blind faith in the personal mana they possess) notwithstanding.

            You’ve made entirely unsupported and imaginative statements about health impacts for chronic doses on the order of 1.2 Sv/y. Since most of us don’t trade in personal mana or esoteric imagination, but instead in evidence based matters that can be independently verified, it is a surprise to me that nobody here or in your close veteran circle (who has a serious and professional interest in these things) hasn’t questioned you more carefully and closely on these matters. I guess close personal contact with someone else’s mana is a powerful thing, innit?

            1. @EL

              You are getting quite insulting and treading on thin ice. Who are you to talk about the publication choices of a scientist? Where do you get off implying that Ted Rockwell, a man so respected by his peers that his professional society named its lifetime achievement award after him, a zealot?

              Final warning. One more comment similar to the above and you will go onto the block list.

            2. @EL

              I am not standing alone in my recommendation for allowing chronic doses on the order of 100 mSv/month. That is essentially the same number that Wade Allision recommends in Radiation and Reason as a dose that is as high as is relative safe. http://www.radiationandreason.com/

              It is about twice as high as radiation tolerance dose of .2 Gy/day (700 mGy/yr) that was the standard set in 1934 and which was replaced based on pressure from a eugenicist named Muller who suppressed contrary data measured in his own lab by his own student.

              http://www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/pdfs/Presentations/Guest-Speakers/2013/20130625-Cuttler-CNSC-Fukushima-and-beneficial-effects-low-radiation.pdf

              However, that tolerance dose included a safety factor, so it is still relatively safe compared to the stresses of lifelong victimization and irrational fear.

          5. I went to his publication list, and the first article I looked up told me all I needed to know.

            EL – Oh please! You cite gray literature all the time in support of your unyielding quest to promote renewables and all that other garbage you push here. It’s rather hypocritical of you to have developed, all of the sudden, some sort of “sensitivity” to what you are willing even to discuss.

            By your standards, I should have dismissed everything you have ever written here since you first posted a comment supporting solar panels or wind turbines based on something that was published by the manufacturers or political proponents of such products.

            By the way, the term “True Believer” (usually all caps are used to indicate that you are referring to the term, by the way) was coined in 1951 to describe ardent supporters of Communism, Socialism (including “National Socialism”), various religions (whether real or “quasi”), and other a-holes who fanatically insist on telling others what they should do, think, or believe.

            If there was ever a True Believer on this site, it is you, EL.

            Merely discussing the validity of a dubious, but popular, dose-response model is so far from being a True Believer, that I can only laugh hysterically that you were enough of an a-hole to suggest it.

          6. You are getting quite insulting and treading on thin ice.

            @Rod Adams

            You describe your non-questioning confidence and “implicit trust” in individuals and not scientific research methods and results (which by their nature require re-examination and persistent questioning and testing). Why do you consider it insulting when I highlight statements on this basis, and suggest you are arguing on the basis of personal considerations (power and influence) rather than scientific merit and adequate review and consideration of available and and extensive scientific literature and research in this area.

            And yes, you are mostly alone in recommending that “chronic doses on the order of 100 mSv/month” be allowed (for general public, or for anyone else for that matter). If you wish to proffer an exotic extreme as a litmus test for your site (that is unsupported by a majority of available and substantive research in this area), and ban people accordingly when they don’t subscribe to your personal and self-declared pro-industry views, please be my guest. There is no reason to take offense from any of this. You’ve stated your position clearly. Others (who appear to have greater standing as you describe in professional societies and peer settings) should be a part of the debate as well (and not excluded out of hand for whatever subjective reason you envision doing so). In the past, you have implied this is because you wish to put forward an “advocacy” position on nuclear power (and you imply this again above). I’m confused about your principles Rod (and your handling of prevailing and available credible science as a means to achieve them). I sense a real shift in the tone, merit, and scope of your blog.

            1. @EL

              Why do you consider it insulting when I highlight statements on this basis, and suggest you are arguing on the basis of personal considerations (power and influence) rather than scientific merit and adequate review and consideration of available and and extensive scientific literature and research in this area.

              Beyond that, I can’t speak for other fringe scientists who are unable to obtain recognition or have their work seriously considered by their peers. If your aim is to counter the zealous fanaticism of some of the opponents of nuclear power with more of the same, congratulations. You have hit that mark, and are building a community of likeminded zealous and fanatical ideologues who don’t question your observations, and don’t engage in serious or substantive (open minded and evidence based) critique.

              Please do not try to enter a battle of words unarmed. The bolded phrases from your comment are absolutely intended to insult; why are you surprised that I took them in the way that they were intended?

              In the comment section of a blog, I do not adhere to the same kinds of protocols one would use in documenting a research paper. I mentioned my trust in the individuals who have published substantive work that I have quoted and referenced on a number of occasions. On the other hand, I have good reasons for NOT trusting the people who have been hand picked to be a part of the BEIR because I know exactly who controlled the purse strings — by name — and I know from a very good source that he openly claimed to his colleagues that the LNT would never be questioned as long as he had influence on the funding line that supports the LSS.

              I could not care less what you think about the merit of my blog. Once again, the exit door is wide open. Don’t let it hit you in the posterior on the way out.

          7. @EL : It may seem to you blatant and obvious that 1,2Sv/year is highly dangerous, and if we apply LNT yes it is, but I concur with Rod that in practice not a single situation or experiment I know of demonstrates it’s really the case.
            Also Rod in support of his views *is* able to refer to the writings of several scientists that have also published on much more serious journals than JAPS, their theories might be wrong and rely on a biased evaluation of evidences, but they are certainly not unscientific.

            So from what I know, they are elements that suggests that if it may be unsafe, and that if it’s safe, it’s not so far from the dose that isn’t safe anymore. I would therefore consider that the risk ratio is way too large to call it safe, but still there’s no clear and convincing evidence it’s dangerous.

            1,2Sv/year is only 3.3 mSv/d and we know actually that after one day of this exposure, damage to the ADN is to small to be measured with our current instruments, and may not exist at all. There’s one MIT study in which mouses were exposed to 1Sv/year of radiations and after 5 weeks they were still not able to detect any DNA damage. They are experiments by S. Tanaka from Rokkasho that show a clear effect on mortality at a dose of 21mSv/day, so 7.5 Sv/year, but do not show a lifespan reduction anymore, only weight effects, at 1mSv/day, so 365 mSv/year. Unfortunately he didn’t test between the two. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17388697

            On the other hand, they are people in Taiwan who have been exposed to several hundreds mSv for several years and no increase at all in cancer was found. There one case where the inhabitant of a building have been exposed to a high dose of cesium radiation for years, but on further investigation most or all of the 6 that died of leukemia because of it are likely to have slept on a couch a few tens of centimeters from the at least 18 Sv/years source. So while the circumstance of that incident are not fully clear, it’s not unlikely that all of those who died from it were exposed to an average dose quite stronger than 1 Sv/Year.

            So while I agree that Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons is a dubious publication, you have just *dodged* the question which was, were is your plenty of evidence of elevated mortality and cancer *at* this dose ?

            In the case of mouse, it’s suspicious but not really unambiguous, and mouse are not humans. The most commonly used mouse strains massively die of cancer after around 2 years, radiation or not.

          8. EL – Oh please! You cite gray literature all the time in support of your unyielding quest to promote renewables and all that other garbage you push here.

            @Brian Mays

            Could you please cite a single example? My links are almost always regular news (NYT, Bloomberg, …), government studies and energy labs (DOE/NREL), scientific journals (credible and peer reviewed), and from time to time trade or development literature (but not very often). Your description “all the time” isn’t even close to correct.

            The bolded phrases from your comment are absolutely intended to insult

            Rod … you must be aware your individual perspective and reference to a handful of studies (most of them in the fringe literature as you have described) are not in the mainstream. There are hundreds if not thousands of people who have done this kind of work (and take a relatively straightforward and conventional path to communicate their results and share their research with their peers and communicate to a trained and informed audience to have a maximum importance and relevance). Blogs included. Communicating in JAPS is simply not one of them, and it’s relatively hard (in my experience) to be excluded from mainstream science to such an extent when your work is done in a substantive and credible way (and you have the institutional recognition, funding, and training that sometimes goes along with it). You certainly aren’t helping yourself by publishing in fringe and fake journals (no matter how much you think the world is after you, and doesn’t want to hear the truth). Fanatics and charlatans do such things, not scientists doing careful and meaningful research.

            In the comment section of a blog, I do not adhere to the same kinds of protocols one would use in documenting a research paper.

            It’s not about that. You know there is research out there that shows in a comprehensive, credible, and independently verifiable fashion elevated mortality and incidence risk from lifetime doses above 100 mSv (and lower than this, but not without some uncertainty). So you can’t say available science suggests there is no problem with an allowable dose rate of 100 mSv/month for the general public (or anyone else for that matter). To say so, as you have done, would be to exclude almost everything that has been researched in this area (and I don’t understand the reason or basis for doing so). To me, it is reflective of someone who doesn’t want to engage with the substantive issues. It is certainly not someone who understands this literature and research in any comprehensive or informative fashion.

            I concur with Rod that in practice not a single situation or experiment I know of demonstrates it’s really the case.

            @jmdesp

            Then you haven’t really looked very closely.

            You summarize two studies below (the MIT 5 week study with mice, and the Cobalt 60 study of apartment dwellers in Taiwan). Your summaries of these studies is pretty flawed and imperfect, and the conclusions you draw from them are not well founded (in any substantive or meaningful way).

            There’s one MIT study in which mouses were exposed to 1Sv/year of radiations and after 5 weeks they were still not able to detect any DNA damage.

            @jmdesp

            You don’t get 1Sv/year dose rate from 5 weeks of exposure.

            On the other hand, they are people in Taiwan who have been exposed to several hundreds mSv for several years and no increase at all in cancer was found.

            Yes … some folks received very high doses in this cohort, but not the 10,000 or so who occupied these buildings. Mean annual dose for study cohort was about 13 mSv/year, adjusted mean dose for full residency 49 mSv.

            I’m not sure how you understand the relevance of this study to legitimating annual doses 9230% higher than those reported in this study. Anything is possible, but in this case (I think not)!

            People are going to have to start learning what these studies mean, and what conclusions to draw from them. If the discussion here leads to such faulty and inaccurate statements presented as fact, I have to wonder why we are discussing these studies in the first place. Presumably, we should be learning something from them (should we not). Don’t you think that is a pretty good place to start?

            1. @EL

              You know there is research out there that shows in a comprehensive, credible, and independently verifiable fashion elevated mortality and incidence risk from lifetime doses above 100 mSv (and lower than this, but not without some uncertainty). So you can’t say available science suggests there is no problem with an allowable dose rate of 100 mSv/month for the general public (or anyone else for that matter).

              Actually, I really don’t know of research that shows an elevated risk from chronic exposure where doses are administered that slowly. In defense of the consensus, there is no study population on which to conduct that research.

              There are numerous studies from Calabrese, Kondo, Pollycove, Cuttler, Cohen, Luckey, and others that show a biphasic dose response and show that doses are not cumulative. The consensus that you keep citing is all based on an ASSUMPTION that there is a linear response that predicts that each Gy adds exactly the same amount of risk, whether administered all at once or spread out over days, months and years. That consensus model so poorly predicts results in actual populations that the authoritative group decided to try to force fit the data by adding in a constant fudge factor they call the DDREF http://www.dsls.usra.edu/science/posters/chappell.pdf

              I also want you to go back to my comments and read my recommendations carefully. I have not claimed certainty that the doses are absolutely safe. I have written that relative to the alternative course of action of losing ones home, sense of place, livelihood, community, etc. by a permanent evacuation it is not dangerous to live in areas with moderate chronic doses as high as 100 mSv/month which implies a rate of 3.3 mSv/day or 0.14 mSv/hr.

          9. EL – News articles, DOE/NREL reports, and trade literature are all gray literature.

            Note that I am not saying and do not intend to imply that gray literature is necessarily bad. Caveat lector. I merely find it hypocritical for someone to dismiss the entire body of work of a researcher simply because of one article that was published in a manner that was not deemed good enough, while at the same time frequently relying on sources that do not meet the stricter standards of scientific journal publication, and in some cases are little more than marketing or advocacy tools.

            By the way, “all the time” in this context is intended to mean “frequently.” Perhaps you mistakenly read this as “every time”?

            it’s relatively hard (in my experience) to be excluded from mainstream science to such an extent when your work is done in a substantive and credible way …

            In your experience? When have you been included in mainstream science? Is there a publication history that we’re not aware of?

          10. @EL : In your response here, I sense a strategy of diminishing and outraging others so that they get out their nerve, and start shouting at you instead of continuing to debate based on a constructed reasoning. Once we are there, you have won, you have escaped the weak position where you needed a strong response to exactly what you had been asked, and you can instead just accuse them of resorting to verbal abuse because they have no arguments.

            After 5 week, the mouse did not receive 1 Sv, but they did receive 5 weeks of 1Sv/year dose rate, and if one day you care to read the text of this freely available study, you will see that this duration was chosen because it would amount to a dose of 0,1 Sv which is enough to significantly affect the DNA when received through an acute exposure.
            Actually the measurement made in the study show that at a rate of 71 mSv/min, there’s a strong effect out of a 100mSv exposure, but with the rate of 0.0002 mSv/min, nothing is measurable after 5 weeks, when the dose reaches 100mSv.

            So the exact fact this study unambiguously *proves* is that the DNA effect of radiation on mammals is rate dependent, and is lowered enough to be hard to measure when 100 mSv are delivered at a so-called low rate of around 88 mSv/Month (which is more than 1Sv/year).

            This, by and of itself, doesn’t make it technically impossible to create a sophisticated theory according to which this reduction in DNA damage doesn’t translate in a proportional reduction in cancer risks.

            However the explicit theoretical basis of LNT is that DNA damage is proportional to dose, independent of rate, and that because of this, the cancer risk also is proportional to dose. Here to salvage LNT we need to keep it alive after it’s theoretical ground have been removed from under it’s feet, this quite a feat.

            Let’s get to the Taiwan study. A first point is that once again just like for the air crews, you are ignoring that LNT means that those inside the cohort who have been exposed to a much higher dose than the median carry most of the total risk, so that a much smaller number of them should be needed to prove or disprove LNT (I’m still shocked that for air crews you defended LNT while doing the directly in denial of LNT thing of pretending median was more significant than average exposure !).

            But you are right maybe there wasn’t enough people exposed to 400 mSv or more yearly in Taiwan to conclusively disprove LNT. The trouble is that it’s not what we were talking about. The question was “where can we find people who have been exposed to significantly more than 100 mSv/year at low rate”, the highest exposure in the Taiwan study was 2,3 Sv, and so who possibly could be used to materially disprove Rod’s hypothesis that 100 mSv/month does not actually increase risks. And the conclusion is that Taiwan case is compatible with LNT, but it’s also compatible with Rod’s hypothesis, it can’t used to disprove either one of the two.

            At the end, we are again still at our starting point, opposite to what you claimed initially about Rod’s thesis being obviously and patently false, none of the more or less similar cases existing can be used to materially prove it wrong, and what’s more you yourself have **not made any attempt to provide one such case**, just denigrated what I (and others) provided (“flawed, imperfect, non substantive, non meaningful, faulty and inaccurate”).

          11. Actually, I really don’t know of research that shows an elevated risk from chronic exposure where doses are administered that slowly. In defense of the consensus, there is no study population on which to conduct that research.

            Of course there is. We discuss these often on the site. I’m not sure why you are pretending we don’t.

            The consensus that you keep citing is all based on an ASSUMPTION that there is a linear response …

            No it is not. Relative risk assessments in epidemiology have nothing to do with LNT (unless they can be used to confirm or disconfirm model assumptions).

            There are numerous studies from Calabrese, Kondo, Pollycove, Cuttler, Cohen, Luckey, and others that show a biphasic dose response and show that doses are not cumulative.

            And there are legion of others who raise important questions about this research: as it relates to collective risk assessment (not individual risk), relevance of in vivo studies at cell level of animal or human immune system response to biological and ecological context, at what dose levels (typically far below your 1.2 Sv permissible level), etc. and etc.

            Calabrese is responsibly cautious about his research: “This assessment should be reserved for a subsequent evaluation of the biological and ecological context of the response” (here). This seems pretty straightforward to me. Do you know what he means by this (because it is unclear to me based on your response)?

            I have not claimed certainty that the doses are absolutely safe. I have written that relative to the alternative course of action of losing ones home, sense of place, livelihood, community, etc. by a permanent evacuation it is not dangerous to live in areas with moderate chronic doses as high as 100 mSv/month which implies a rate of 3.3 mSv/day or 0.14 mSv/hr.

            Again … on what basis? In vivo experiments on the immune system of specific cells that even the scientists doing them (e.g., Calabrese) say need to be confirmed at biological or ecological basis … and explicitly advise that concepts of “beneficial” and harmful” “should not be a part of the definition of hormesis.” You’ve taken a relatively ordinary and broadly accepted concept, hormesis, and loaded it down with a bunch of extra unsubstantiated conjectures and beliefs that nobody who is doing this work thinks is reasonable or merited by the research. Basically, in the uncertainty range of very low doses (100 mSv lifetime) we still have a lot of uncertainty. “Relative to the alternative course,” as you suggest, we have some very interesting studies to explore further (on very low doses) and a great deal of uncertainty. If you wish to say more than this … it sounds to me like you are on your own (and outside of the boundaries of ordinary and reasonable science).

          12. @EL : In your response here, I sense a strategy of diminishing and outraging others so that they get out their nerve, and start shouting at you instead of continuing to debate based on a constructed reasoning.

            @jmdesp

            That is not my intention. I am trying to be relatively clear in my statements (and am not seeking to outrage others). But I do understand how directness can sometimes be interpreted this way in an online forum. And I also get a little exasperated when misleading statements get repeated over and over again (despite better evidence being presented to the contrary). I’m sure we both feel this way often (from our respective vantage points). Not sure what to do about this, other than to keep trying and try to communicate more effectively.

            Let’s get to the Taiwan study.

            I’ve discussed the Taiwan study elsewhere. You may want to read the entire discussion. There are more than a few problems with this study (beyond the one’s I have already noted for the position or conclusion you would like to claim for it).

            After 5 week, the mouse did not receive 1 Sv, but they did receive 5 weeks of 1Sv/year dose rate, and if one day you care to read the text of this freely available study, you will see that this duration was chosen because it would amount to a dose of 0,1 Sv

            To be clear, I don’t put nearly as much stock in this study as you do. It really doesn’t seem to me like anything to build a case around. It’s very early and preliminary research (steps along the way to a larger project). If they have a fully developed research program (and I would expect they do) then I would anticipate we will see some fuller and more detailed results that could be very informative on these questions. But this isn’t the study. 5 weeks, at a dose rate provided, is only that. You can’t magically make it do or “unambiguously” prove more. And if you’re going to talk about mortality or cancer incidence, your’e going to run into another problem (mice only live 2 to 3 years). The results are not comparable to human populations (with average lifespans of some 75 to 80 years … at least in US).

            In addition, this isn’t the only mice study out there. Have you looked at the research of Tanaka, et. al (2009, and 2013). They do a similar study for a longer time period, up to 600 days, and do not confirm the Olipitz, et. al., result. A lot more work is needed here.

          13. Rod: The consensus that you keep citing is all based on an ASSUMPTION that there is a linear response …

            EL: No it is not.

            EL – I assume that you would agree that the opinion of the National Academy of Sciences’s BEIR VII Committee represents a recent scientific “consensus” on this matter?

            Here is what they have to say (emphasis mine):

            At doses less than 40 times the average yearly background exposure (100 mSv), statistical limitations make it difficult to evaluate cancer risk in humans. A comprehensive review of the biology data led the committee to conclude that the risk would continue in a linear fashion at lower doses with- out a threshold and that the smallest dose has the potential to cause a small increase in risk to humans. This assumption is termed the “linear no-threshold model” …

            BEIR VII – Phase 2, Page 7 , National Academies Press (2006).

            EL: Relative risk assessments in epidemiology have nothing to do with LNT (unless they can be used to confirm or disconfirm model assumptions).

            Huh? Non Sequitur much?

            Unless they can be used to confirm model assumptions? If they’re not used for that, then what are they supposed to be used for? Some form of mental masturbation? Some sort of make-work program for underemployed epidemiologists?

            Here is what relative risk estimates are used for:

            As an illustration, Figure ES-1 shows estimated excess relative risks of solid cancer versus dose (averaged over sex and standardized to represent individuals exposed at age 30 who have attained age 60) for atomic bomb survivors, with doses in each of 10 dose intervals less than 2.0 Sv. The figure in the insert represents the ERR versus dose for leukemia. This plot conveys the overall dose-response relationship for the LSS cohort and its role in low-dose risk estimation. It is important to note that the difference between the linear and linear-quadratic models in the low-dose ranges is small relative to the error bars; therefore, the difference between these models is small relative to the uncertainty in the risk estimates produced from them. For solid cancer incidence the linear-quadratic model did not offer a statistically significant improvement in fit, so the linear model was used. For leukemia, a linear-quadratic model (insert in Figure ES-1) was used since it fitted the data significantly better than the linear model.

            BEIR VII – Phase 2, Page 15 , National Academies Press (2006).

          14. I assume that you would agree that the opinion of the National Academy of Sciences’s BEIR VII Committee represents a recent scientific “consensus” on this matter?

            @Brian Mays

            I think I’ve clearly stated there is uncertainty in risk assessment, as has BEIR VII, at doses below 100 mSv.

            It is unclear to me why you are bringing this up, when I have not suggested the contrary, and in the context of doses on the order of 1.2 Sv/year?

            Unless they can be used to confirm model assumptions? If they’re not used for that, then what are they supposed to be used for?

            If you followed the discussion more closely, you would clearly have your answer. Please explain how you get a different result from a population based study on relative risk when you don’t compare your result to LNT. Rod said the result from such studies are “all based on an ASSUMPTION that there is a linear response.” I thought these studies measured excess relative risk of exposed populations to non-exposed control populations. I don’t see where LNT assumptions have anything to do with it?

          15. EL – See, this is why I hate arguing with you: your debating tactics are so brazenly dishonest.

            First, you stick in a non sequitur, hoping to distract with a silly, irrelevant red herring about relative risk. Now, you’ve completely misrepresented what Rod has said.

            Rod said the result from such studies are “all based on an ASSUMPTION that there is a linear response.”

            That’s a lie. If you look above, you will see that Rod actually wrote (emphasis on the part that you left out), “The consensus that you keep citing is all based on an ASSUMPTION that there is a linear response that predicts that each Gy adds exactly the same amount of risk, whether administered all at once or spread out over days, months and years.”

            Rod was not talking about the results of a study or any collection of studies. He was talking about the assumptions that went into the consensus view, and the excerpts that I pulled from BEIR VII support what he said.

          16. The consensus that you keep citing

            @Brian Mays

            I’m not using a red herring or misrepresenting anybody (so far as I know). Perhaps you aren’t reading the debate closely enough (as I have already suggested).

            I understand “this consensus” (which is not my term by the way) to mean supported by objective and independently verifiable scientific evidence of elevated excess risk at levels below 1.2 Sv/year. This risk is quantified (comparing exposed populations to non-exposed control populations) regardless of LNT assumptions. Rod seem to wish to qualify this mortality and cancer incidence risk assessment (scientifically supported) as “relative to” something else (such as losing one’s home). He seems to be relatively clear and honest in making this statement (apparently based on his unqualified support of nuclear power and belief that the scientific research we are talking about is somehow biased, or is overblown by such things as anti-nuclear interests). And he has not provided any evidence for low risk pertaining to doses in the range of 1.2 Sv/year (except in prospective cell based studies on the human immune system, and in contrast to much of available research).

            His statement about such studies being based on LNT assumptions is not accurate and is incorrect. I see this as relatively straightforward issue (and odd to challenge this statement). For some reason, you wish to continue to do so (and incorrectly). These objective studies on mortality and cancer risk (whatever their result) have the power to meaningfully inform debates about LNT and model projections (and not the other way around). If they indicate that the dose response is not linear, or if some other no-linear trend line pertains, then so be it. That is what they show. There is a great deal of evidence, and we debate it on the site from time to time, that suggest the trend line is linear (with some uncertainty at very small doses … far below 1.2 Sv/year).

            You seem to think we’re having an abstract debate about LNT. We’re not. We’re having a debate about whether there is excess relative risk quantified at the population level (not the individual level) from doses in the range of 1.2 Sv/year (and for the general public residing in accident areas). I’m fully aware you understand what these studies show and know how to best answer these questions. It would be really terrific (and honest) if you would chose to do so (and not accuse others of being dishonest).

          17. EL – Whatever you say. I’ve made the point that I wanted to make, and it was never intended for your benefit.

            Now, I’ll leave you with what you crave more than anything else in the world … the last word.

  7. How long will the heightened level of radiation on the US west coast last and what are the long term repercussions?

    1. @Tom Lavin

      The “heightened level of radiation” on the US west coast is several orders of magnitude below the natural variations in background exposure. It is only “detectable” because radiation is such an easy phenomenon to measure and because each isotope has a distinctive signature that allows scientists to determine exactly which isotope it is. Since there are some isotopes that are short lived and only produced by a fission chain reaction, it is possible to trace some of the isotopes to the small material releases from Fukushima.

      The longest lived isotopes of concern are Cs-137 and Sr-90, both of which have half lives that are approximately 30 years.

      There are no health effects from the doses that are being measured or from the doses that are remotely possible, even a few yards away from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant shore line. There is absolutely no risk to anyone on the US west coast other than the risk of worrying themselves enough to cause a bellyache based on hyperbolic tales told by fools.

  8. TEPCO has released a new update on its defuelling of the unit 4 SFP – it hasn’t removed any additional rods since December 16th. Unless they broke for Christmas and/or cold weather – which seems unlikely – I wonder why the operation has stalled.

  9. I don’t know if this document is already widely known and commented on or not, but I had not seen it before today.

    http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2013/images/handouts_130509_07-e.pdf

    It lays out several possible plans for removing the spent fuel from reactor number 1 and settles on the best way being the removal of the protective cover that was installed a couple of years ago and doing it in much the same way as at reactor 4. This is the first time I have seen any reference to a plan for how to begin tackling any of the issues at reactors 1-3. Until now I’d assumed that radioactivity was too high in these units to even contemplate any meaningful intervention. Incorrectly? Or is this document probably wishful thinking on Tepco’s part?

    1. There’s also a comment by Cory Stansbury here https://atomicinsights.com/absurd-photo-linked-fukushima-fear-mongering-site/#comment-71567 that Tepco has also spent more than ten millions of dollars on a decommissioning study of reactor 3 based on the assumption that the structure of reactor and SFP are intact, so the plan you’ve found about unit 1 is not the only one.

      Unit 2 is the one that’s most radioactive inside, unit 1 and 3 are much more reasonable, and on page 4 of your document we see how the radioactive release is actually much smaller than it was just after the cover installation (divided by 4 at that time, but now by about 100). So there’s no reason to believe the plan is wishful thinking. On page 5, they say that after removing the cover, the releases will be very similar to the ones of Unit 3, and on page 12 we see that after doing that if needed they can do just like for unit 3, and not be physically on top of the building to remove the debris remotely using cranes.

      It’s interesting to see that they plan to install a cover on unit 3 for fuel removal just after they have removed all the debris.

  10. Rod, I hope you don’t ban EL.

    I find most of his comments wrong-headed, and sometimes misleading (as well as officious and liturgical.) But he is one of the more cogent anti-nuclear commentators I’ve come across. At the very least, his comments force pro-nukes to sharpen up their arguments, which is a good thing. His contributions make for a better debate and a livelier read. (And once in a blue moon he’s right.)

    EL’s remarks about “zealous and fanatical ideologues” may be wrong, but I don’t feel that kind of sharply-worded attack is out of bounds in a contentious policy debate. (Especially one that includes Brian Mays!) That rhetoric is par for the course in describing someone who has staked out a position that is, rightly or wrongly, markedly at variance with the consensus in a scientific field. And it’s tame stuff to my ears, since I’ve been called a paid shill, a secret agent, a sociopath, a whore and a Republican by anti-nukes.

    I don’t think people should be banned from blogs unless their comments are abusive or obscene or threatening. Censorship is un-American.

    Just my two cents.

  11. Its kinda comical seeing this talk about “banning” when the “pro” side of the argument here can accuse people like me of being “dissappointed that no one has died” due to the Fukushima event.

    Can there be a more demeaning and vicious insult cast at someone? Yet, I see that the individual thast spit that insult is still blathering forth, prolifically, here.

    The irony is that there is not one single statement I have ever made here that would qualify me as “anti nuclear energy”. Certainly, I am highly distrustful of the industry, just as I am of the fossil fuel industry. And my 62 years on the planet have taught me that whenever billions of dollars are at stake, “science” can be crafted to enhance the argument of any sort of advocate, no matter the focus of their advocacy. So, a visit to BOTH sides of the argument is not only prudent, but is essential if one is going to wade through the horseshit sufficiently enough to find a patch of solid ground to stand on.

    Frankly, I’m impressed by Rod’s efforts, although I think he has a couple of real jackasses in his Peanut Gallery. And his suggestions as to other sites I can visit and continue my investigation has been fruitful for me, as I have found understandable premises advanced that counter the sensational doom and gloom that seems to have the loudest internet voice.

    Has he convinced me that this Fukushima event is as harmless as he would have us believe?? No.

    But has he tempered my gut feeling that this is an epic environmental disaster, and that we should abandon nuke energy as a viable alternative to so-called “renewables”? Yes, absolutely.

    It will be interesting to see what the next decade reveals to us about this disaster. Because make no mistake, in human costs, it IS a disaster. You don’t have to be irradiated to be a victim of the industry.And you can natter on with sound technical science for an eternity, and still be completely bankrupt of common sense.

    Like, uh, maybe building these things on the beach in the Ring Of Fire ain’t such a smart idea, eh?

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