Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Large and Strong Typhoon No.26 Approaching Kanto and Tohoku, #Fukushima I NPP Prepares by Releasing Low Contamination Water to Make Room in Tanks

(UPDATE) The amount of water released from the notch tanks (2) is 40 tonnes so far, according to Jiji. Cesium-137 in the water was 21Bq/L, within the provisional standard at Fukushima I NPP of 25Bq/L.


From Japan Meteorological Agency's English Site:

It looks like Fukushima will be in the north-west quadrant of the area with 50 knots or more wind.

As for TEPCO's preparation, the company finally has a standard (after more than two and a half years) for the release of rainwater inside the dam (or low barrier) that surrounds the water storage tanks (both contaminated and treated). The standard has been approved by Nuclear Regulation Authority. According to Jiji Tsushin (10/16/2013):


If the density of cesium-137 is less than 25Bq/L, [the rainwater inside the dam] will be released.

TEPCO Nuclear has just tweeted:


Due to rainfall as the typhoon approaches, as of 5:40AM this morning we started discharging the water from the notch tanks [short, square tanks] in the East-C and West-C areas, as the water meets the standard for discharge. We plan to pump water from the dams surrounding the tanks into this notch tanks. http://www.tepco.co.jp/cc/press/2013/1231442_5117.html

The link in TEPCO's tweet has more details of this standard:

  • Cesium-134: 15Bq/L

  • Cesium-137: 25Bq/L

  • No additional gamma nuclides

  • Strontium-90: 10Bq/L

They are 1/3 to 1/4 of legal limits for the discharge from a functioning nuclear power plant.

(OT) Saturday's Food Stamp System Outage May Have Been a "Dry Run"?

I sensed something was afoot on Saturday when I read the food stamp system (formally "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) was down due to power outage in the backup system (backup system?? causing shutdown of the main system??) and that the system was being administered by, of all companies, an inept company like Xerox.

Well, how this for "conspiracy", that the federal government is notifying the States to shut down the food stamp system as of November 1st and stay shut for the month (or worse, until further notice)?

From Zero Hedge (10/15/2013; links, emphasis original):

Foodstamp Program Shutdown Imminent?

When over the weekend, a Xerox "glitch" shut down the EBT system, better known as foodstamps, for nearly the entire day across 17 states leaving millions without "funding" to pay for food leading to dramatic examples of the basest human behavior possible, some of the more conspiratorial elements saw this merely as a dress rehearsal for what may be coming in the immediate future. While there was no basis to believe that is the case, a USDA (the currently shuttered agency that administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) memo obtained by the Crossroads Urban Center in Utah carries in it a very disturbing warning for the 46+ million Americans currently on foodstamps.

To wit: "understanding the operational issues and constraints that States face, and in the interest of preserving maximum flexibility, we are directing States to hold their November issuance files and delay transmission to State electronic benefit transfer (EBT) vendors until further notice." In other words, as Fox13News summarizes, "States across the country are being told to stop the supplemental nutrition assistance program for the month of November, pending further notice."

(Full article at the link)

If true, the Obama administration seems to be looking for absolute chaos (like the ones that descended on Walmart stores in Louisiana on Saturday) so that President Obama can shove his "absolute surrender to his position on government shutdown and debt limit or else" up the Republicans' collective behinds.

If true, so much for the absolute myth that this president is for struggling working-class people in America, simply because of his skin color.

If true, this is evil itself.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Nuclear Disaster Drill in Nagaoka City, Niigata Made Residents Evacuate in the Direction of Wind


Relying on government officials in an emergency may be hazardous to your health and well-being.

Nagaoka City, where the drill was carried out, is located in Niigata Prefecture, close to Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP. Good luck residents, because the governor of Niigata has declared he won't allow venting in a severe nuclear accident, even if it's the filtered vent, unless the municipalities and supposedly he himself approve.

NHK World (10/13/2013; emphasis is mine):

Nuclear disaster drill uses wind direction data

The Japanese city of Nagaoka has held a rather unusual evacuation drill for a nuclear disaster. The participants used data on wind direction to avoid exposure to radiation.

About 6,400 residents living close to the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power plant in Nagaoka City took part in Sunday's drill.

Officials of the city's taskforce studied forecasts that said winds would blow to the southeast. They ordered the residents to escape to one of 3 evacuation centers not located on the downwind side.

But winds were observed blowing northward at an observation point in the middle of the city for about 30 minutes while the residents were on their way to the center in a bus.

This means the residents evacuated to a place relatively close to the direction in which radioactive materials were presumed to be spreading from the plant.

A city official in charge of nuclear safety, Yoichi Kojima, says he hopes to find ways to quickly determine escape routes while gauging the wind direction.

Tokyo Electric Power Company applied in September for safety screening of 2 of the idle reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.

At present, all of Japan's 50 nuclear reactors have been taken offline, mostly for inspections.

(H/T Enformable)

(UPDATED) #Fukushima I NPP Accident WAS a Nuclear Disaster Even If No One Died of Acute Radiation Sickness

(UPDATE 2) Further pondering on Dr. Allison's reply, I think Dr. Allison may be confusing the "science" with "natural phenomenon" such as radiation.

Science is a systematic organization of knowledge gained from hypothesizing, speculating, observing, testing. Science is not free of non-scientific intrusion or intervention, and is limited by available technologies to observe and test at any given time in history. The earth going around the sun was a natural phenomenon from the beginning of time, but it was not part of the accepted science, and the proponent was put under house arrest for the rest of his life. That the earth's crust is made up of plates is a fact, but it was not at all part of the accepted Earth science until mid 1960s.


(UPDATED with Dr. Allison's reply, at the bottom. 10/15/2013)


That's in my humble opinion, but yet another nuclear expert tells me I'm mistaken.

Probably after seeing the post about the South African nuclear physicist, Dr. Wade Allison, Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Oxford, kindly sent me links to support their position, which I thought I might share with you readers:

...not even a significant casualty from radiation. This was expected as soon as figures for the scale of the radiation released became apparent, www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12860842 Much suffering and death would have been avoided if the evacuees had gone home within two weeks. http://www.radiationandreason.com/uploads//enc_RadiationScienceandSocietyOct2013.pdf 

an international scientific view http://www.radiationandreason.com/uploads//enc_SPUR-1.pdf  with unfiltered public comment  overwhelmingly supportive http://www.radiationandreason.com/index.php?SPUR-RnR 
See also other links at www.radiationandreason.com 
Wade Allison

Wade Allison, MA DPhil
Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Oxford, UK OX1 3PG
"Radiation and Reason http://www.radiationandreason.com (Oct 09) ISBN 9780956275615
In Japanese http://goo.gl/9lL5u (July 2011) ISBN 978-4198632182
"Fundamental Physics for Probing and Imaginghttp://www.oup.co.uk/isbn/0-19-920389-X (Oct 06)

Here's my quick email back to Dr. Allison, though it is highly likely we simply talk past each other:

Dr. Allison, I do not think nuclear technology exists in vacuum. In case of Japan, as in other countries, building nuclear power plants has been the national government's policy. It's been heavily subsidized by the government, with plant builders, operators, and municipalities showered with enormous amount of money and preferential treatment. Regulatory agencies collaborated and colluded with the plant operators to mask technical problems, for decades. Nuclear scientists have been enlisted to "educate" the populace how safe the nuclear power plants are. The populace have been encouraged to use more and more electricity even where cheaper alternatives exist, which in turn has justified more nuclear power plants. Particularly in Japan, nuclear power plants have been made possible only by cheap, subcontracted labor force who operates and maintains the plants, with hardly any medical supervision and with faked cumulative dose. Most people turned the blind eye to that fact, until this accident.

When the shit hit the fan in Fukushima, it was not just the matter of whether anyone died of acute radiation sickness that defined the accident as "nuclear". It was the failure of the national and local government on responding to a rapidly unfolding nuclear accident at Fukushima I NPP. It was the failure of the plant operator TEPCO who couldn't do what it took to contain the accident, as they were more concerned with pleasing the national government and the nuclear regulator. It was the failure of the nuclear regulatory and safety agencies (the latter staffed with nuclear scientists from top universities) to even adequately assess the progress of core melt and the release (intended and unintended) of radioactive materials from the plant that contaminated the wide areas in Tohoku and Kanto and inform the populace intelligently. It was the failure of academia who not only failed to give actionable information to the citizens but ended up exposing the citizens to totally unnecessary, avoidable radiation; Dr. Yamashita gathered Fukushima residents to tell them not to worry, while a fresh batch of dense radioactive plume was descending in Fukushima between March 20 and 23, 2011.

The jury is still out on the long-term effect of low-dose radiation exposure. The plant workers have been exposed to moderate to high dose of radiation over the past two and a half years, and you cannot compare this exposure to a targeted, medically supervised high-radiation treatment.

It was, and is a nuclear disaster politically, socially, academically, psychologically, and for many, personally. To claim Fukushima was not a nuclear disaster just because no one died of acute radiation exposure is nothing but sophistry.


10/15/2013 Dr. Wade Allison's reply, saying I have a nuclear fear from Cold War (I doubt it, but) and the science is impervious to any political, social, and other types of consideration. In other words, we do talk past each other:

As the story of King Canute demonstrated many years ago, the forces of science (physics/biology/medicine) are uninfluenced by man's intrigues which you describe. These are irrelevant when radiation meets living tissue -- about which almost all is now known. Radiation as a danger is irrelevant to the survival of man, but population, food, water, economic and political stability, and climate stability are not. Of course if nobody can trust anybody else, as you suggest, the population that the world can support would be tiny. That would be destructive for no reason and would result in widespread conflict.

You are still in the grip of the nuclear fear that was Cold War propaganda for which there is no scientific basis. I agree that you are not alone, but scientific reality is not settled by a vote. Science is impervious to questions of shit and fan.


Well Dr. Allison, the lesson, if any, from Fukushima nuclear accident is that "the forces of science (physics/biology/medicine)" were and are indeed influenced by man's intrigues. Declaring they are uninfluenced doesn't make it true. So many scientists in nuclear physics, engineering, biology, and medicine have rushed to speak words designed specifically to tell the populace that everything was OK, and their words had nothing to do with hard science. The government scientists conducted the medical survey of the residents in the affected areas in Fukushima, not because they wanted to collect scientific information but because they wanted to calm down the residents.

Instead of scientifically and rationally explain what's been going on, nuclear scientists and their followers on the side of Dr. Allison, label people, like me who raises questions on both sides, as being gripped with irrational nuclear fear. And of course those experts and their followers on the other side label people like me as "nuclear shill". Can't win either way.

Mainichi: "40% of Japan nuclear tech exported over past decade failed to go through safety check"

Well, not really. The manufacturers weren't required to go through safety checks because they didn't use government loans.

Besides, even though the Mainichi English's article below inadvertently (I hope) omits, safety checks for nuclear exports amount to quick checks of the paper documents.

As the Abe administration continues to make nuclear tech exports as the new national policy, all I can say is caveat emptor.

From Mainichi Shinbun English version (10/14/2013; emphasis is mine):

40% of Japan nuclear tech exported over past decade failed to go through safety check

About 40 percent of Japanese nuclear plant equipment exported over the past decade -- worth some 51.1 billion yen -- failed to go through national government safety inspections, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

The government conducts safety inspections on nuclear plant equipment that is to be exported only if manufacturers receive loans from the government-affiliated Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), or take out insurance policies from Nippon Export and Investment Insurance, an independent administrative agency. This is in sharp contrast to the requirement that all devices for domestic nuclear power stations be subject to strict government safety inspections.

An expert involved in the Japan Atomic Energy Commission's compilation of a new nuclear power policy outline said the finding highlights insufficiencies in the government's system to examine nuclear plant equipment for export.

"It came as a surprise to me that many exported nuclear plant-related devices failed to undergo safety inspections," said Keio University professor Masaru Kaneko. "Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claimed in a speech overseas that Japan can provide the world's safest atomic power technology, but how can Japan guarantee the safety of nuclear plant equipment Japanese firms export without a proper system to examine it?"

Japanese manufacturers exported some 124.8 billion yen worth of nuclear plant equipment to 23 countries and territories from 2003 to 2012, according to the Finance Ministry's trade statistics.

Of that, some 73.7 billion yen worth sold to five countries -- China, the United States, France, Belgium and Finland -- received prior government safety inspections, according to documents that the Mainichi has obtained from the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy under the freedom of information system. The remainder, worth approximately 51.1 billion yen, failed to go through such checks.

Devices exported without going through safety inspections include those for the installation at Taiwan's fourth atomic power station, and repair works in Sweden and Brazil, according to manufacturer officials and the Japan Electrical Manufacturers' Association's internal documents.

Three major manufacturers of nuclear plants -- Hitachi, Ltd., Toshiba Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. are among the manufacturers that exported relevant equipment without safety inspections. Among the items exported without inspection are key components such as nuclear reactor pressure vessels, their lids and control rod driving systems.

Since many sections of the documents released by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy had been redacted, it remains unclear whether all the 73.7 billion yen worth of devices underwent full government safety checks.

Japanese manufacturers must pay heavy compensation if nuclear plant devices they have exported fail.

And as often the case with Mainichi Shinbun, the English version omits one important piece of information: that the safety inspection by the Japanese government for the nuclear exports is nothing but on paper only.

From Mainichi Japanese:


[Government safety inspection for nuclear exports] is only a quick inspection of documents, "insufficient to begin with"

Either the translator and the editor for Mainichi English didn't read the Japanese article carefully, or they decided to cover for the Japanese government when wrote: "it remains unclear whether all the 73.7 billion yen worth of devices underwent full government safety checks".

Well they didn't, as there is no "full" government safety checks for nuclear exports to begin with.

(H/T Enformable)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

(OT) South African Nuclear Physicist Declares "There Was No #Fukushima Nuclear Disaster" Because No One Died from Radiation

I remember seeing the similar declaration in the first year of the disaster (which is not a disaster at all according to this physicist), because there was no death from acute radiation sickness. The Guardian's George Monbiot, for example, declared right after the start of the Fukushima nuclear accident that he was now an avid supporter of nuclear energy precisely because of the accident, where "no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation".

But to read, after more than two and a half years, the same, simplistic and narrowly defined, head-in-the-sand argument that there is no nuclear accident because no one died from radiation sickness is more than I can tolerate in my recovery. Please feel free to read and comment as you like.

The site that carries the article also has an article penned by a Greenpeace founder pushing for GMO rice.

From CFACT (10/12/2013; emphasis is mine):

Physicist: There was no Fukushima nuclear disaster

by Kelvin Kemm

....Let us now ponder the Fukushima nuclear incident which has been in the news again lately.

Firstly let us get something clear. There was no Fukushima nuclear disaster. Total number of people killed by nuclear radiation at Fukushima was zero. Total injured by radiation was zero. Total private property damaged by radiation….zero. There was no nuclear disaster. What there was, was a major media feeding frenzy fuelled by the rather remote possibility that there may have been a major radiation leak.

At the time, there was media frenzy that “reactors at Fukushima may suffer a core meltdown.” Dire warnings were issued. Well the reactors did suffer a core meltdown. What happened? Nothing.

Certainly from the ‘disaster’ perspective there was a financial disaster for the owners of the Fukushima planJapan Tsunami pushes carst. The plant overheated, suffered a core meltdown, and is now out of commission for ever. A financial disaster, but no nuclear disaster.

Amazingly the thousands of people killed by the tsunami in the neighbouring areas who were in shops, offices, schools, at the airport, in the harbour and elsewhere are essentially ignored while there is this strange continuing phobia about warning people of ‘the dangers of Fukushima.’ We need to ask the more general question: did anybody die because of Fukushima? Yes they did. Why? The Japanese governJapan tsunami boatment introduced a forced evacuation of thousands of people living up to a couple of dozen kilometres from the power station. The stress of moving to collection areas induced heart attacks and other medical problems in many people. So people died because of Fukushima hysteria not because of Fukushima radiation.

(Full article at the link)

Fukushima plant workers would be glad to know that all they have been dealing with since the day one of the accident is nothing but nuclear hysteria.

It seems the so-called foreign "experts" featured in the net media fall into two types. One is like this South African nuclear physicist or George Monbiot, who says there was no Fukushima nuclear disaster because no one died of radiation sickness. The other type includes people who continue to assert, without offering any data or evidence, that Reactor 4 is "tilting like Tower of Pisa", or "leaking from the bottom", or "a million people will die from illnesses caused by radiation from Fukushima".

I don't think the truth lies in either of them, but these two extremes continue to get most coverage.

(H/T @Tommi_M_Elo for the article)