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Friday, December 6, 2013

Fukushima Inspectors Say Beginning Of Clean-Up Going Well So Far

In this photo released Nov. 27, 2013, by International Atomic Energy Agency, a team of IAEA experts check out water storage tanks at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Japan. (Greg Webb/IAEA)

In this photo released Nov. 27, 2013, by International Atomic Energy Agency, a team of IAEA experts check out water storage tanks at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Japan. (Greg Webb/IAEA)

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are praising Japan for making progress to stabilize the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, which was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami nearly three years ago.

This week, the IAEA inspectors wrapped up a 10-day inspection of the plant, where the decommissioning process started a few weeks ago.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson gets the latest from BBC Tokyo correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes.

Recent Reports By Rupert Wingfield-Hayes





RUPERT WINGFIELD-HAYES: This week, a team of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency completed a 10-day inspection of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. They described the process as extremely complicated but also praised the progress so far. It's been more than two years since an earthquake and tsunami destroyed the plant, but the long process of stabilizing and decommissioning in it is just beginning.

HOBSON: The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes has been following the story and he's with us now from Tokyo. Rupert, welcome back.

WINGFIELD-HAYES: Thank you, Jeremy.

HOBSON: Well, when the IAEA officials say that it's a very complicated process but things are progressing, what do they mean? Parse that for us.

WINGFIELD-HAYES: I think what they mean - there's a couple of things that have happened in the last few months that have helped to stabilize the situation of Fukushima. The first is they have started to get on top more effectively of managing this waste water problem. There were all sorts of problems with it a few months back. Lots of leaks going on. Clearly, not a very competent process. They were making mistakes. Leaks were happening. They seem to have been managing that better than they were, and they seem to be preventing some of the groundwater that was causing this problem from getting into the plant.

The other thing is, they've started to remove fuel from reactor building number four. There was a very large amount of spent fuel in the reactor's cooling pool - not in the reactor itself but in the cooling pool - when the disaster happened back in 2011. That has been very precarious because that building was very badly damaged by the disaster.

Now, they have finally started to remove that fuel from that building, and that operation seems to be going quite well so far. And, obviously, the more of that fuel can be removed, the better the situation is. But at the same time, this is really just the start of the process. It's also the easy bit.

HOBSON: And you went into reactor four. That was the reactor that you went inside of the last time we spoke. What was that like?

WINGFIELD-HAYES: Yes. I mean, that was very interesting. We - a lot of work has been done. I've been to this - I've been to Fukushima three times this year, inside the compound. This was the first time we were allowed inside any of the reactor buildings, and a vast amount of work has been done to stabilize the building. They've constructed a huge steel skeleton around the building to support it and also to support the cranes that are used to pull this nuclear fuel out of this very deep pool that it's been sitting in. So, you know, really, huge progress since I went first, back in spring of this year. But they're doing this work because that's the easy bit.

Reactor four was not badly damaged compared to the other reactors. There was no core meltdown. So that's the one that they can sort of get to grips with first and get the material out, get all the radioactive, you know, material out and then start to dismantle the building. The radiation levels - we checked when we were in there - are pretty low.

That is not the case with the other reactor buildings, one, two and three, where there were core meltdowns. The radiation levels there are still way too high for anybody to go inside those buildings. So, I think one, two and three, the reactors that have had core meltdowns are the real long-term problem and a very, very difficult problem to deal with. Reactor four is a little bit of a distraction. It's obviously important that they get the fuel out, but it is the easy bit.

HOBSON: Rupert, there's a big question about what to do with all the water. There's a lot of contaminated water, 400,000 metric tons, I read, and another 400 tons of it being produced every day. The IAEA did have some recommendations about that. Tell us what's happening on the water front.

WINGFIELD-HAYES: Yeah, you're absolutely right. This is the really big headache. To keep those melted reactors cool, which they have to do for many years to come, they have to pump water into the damaged reactor cores. Every day they do that, that water becomes contaminated. And then because it's contaminated, they have to store it somewhere.

And they've been building these - what they call the tank farms. It's an enormous, ever growing sight of these huge tanks that contained a thousand tons of water each. And dealing with that is a real problem because they leak. They rust. They've lots of pipes connecting them together. It's a real nightmare to manage this ever growing amount of water. So what the IAEA is saying is you've got to do something about this. Ultimately, you've got to decontaminate this water. And in the end, it's going to have to be released into the sea.

Now, they have built a decontamination plant. It's being built by American engineers and an American company. No one has ever built a plant like this before ever in the world. I've spoken to engineers there. They say it does work, but it's very temperamental. It's still not up and running fully, and they need to build another two of these plants to deal with the amount of water that's being produced.

HOBSON: And there are a lot of concerns about dumping the water, even if it's been decontaminated into the sea, right?

WINGFIELD-HAYES: Yes, there are. I mean, there's very, very little trust in the government or in Tokyo Electric Power, the company that is dealing with the aftermath of the disaster. And so when local people, local fisherman, local farmers are told, look, we're going to clean this water, and the levels of radiation will be so low that they are really untraceable and it's safe to release it into the sea, people simply don't believe what they're being told.

And, you know, I have spoken to American engineers who are working at that plant and British specialists who are advising at the plant, and they say, look, this really is good technology. This water will be safe to be released into the sea. But unfortunately, the local population is still unmoved by that. They say we don't trust you.

HOBSON: Well, that is the note that I want to end on. We talk about this every time we discuss Fukushima, the question of trust and how much the Japanese people are trusting not just TEPCO, Tokyo Electric Power, but also the Japanese government in what they're saying about what's going on in Fukushima.

WINGFIELD-HAYES: You know, it's quite difficult to get a grip on exactly where public sentiment is. After the disaster, there was - overwhelming majority of Japanese public became anti-nuclear. And opinion polls have shown that that is gradually dropping and is now probably below 50 percent for the first time since the disaster. And so either through apathy or through the government's own propaganda campaign, people are starting to accept nuclear power probably is going to be switched back on here.

But having said that, in the area of northeast Japan, which was affected, attitudes are very anti-nuclear power now. And very interestingly, one thing that's happened recently, Jeremy, is that former Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi, who was very much an advocate of nuclear power when he was prime minister back in the early 2000s, has in the last couple of months come out publicly against Japan having nuclear power in the future. And I think that's really, you know, significant, that a very, very senior member of the ruling party is now anti-nuclear and is saying so publicly. So maybe the debate is here starting to change.

HOBSON: Rupert Wingfield-Hayes of the BBC, joining us from Tokyo. Rupert, thanks as always.

WINGFIELD-HAYES: Thank you, Jeremy.

HOBSON: You're listening to HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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  • Tecolote2010

    So Far So Good? What a misleading, fluffy headline. With Fukushima things are either bad or out of control. Good is not a word I would apply to this situation or the report filed here by the BBC correspondent. Less leakage, less groundwater contamination, are not “good.” IAEA says dump “decontaminated” toxic water, into the sea? My impression of TEPCO is that once you give them the green light they will dump contaminated water as well.
    Question, would those engineers who say the technology is effective, take a bath in that water, every day? The fish will.

    • honey8784

      good thoughts Owl 2010
      Not many know how catastrophic this really is. I feel real uneasy,,
      I just bought 2 geiger counters. I live in oklahoma , an wish i had the funds and ability to move to the southern hemisphere, there really is nowhere to hide. we are facing our mortality, ken

      • Rhotel1

        You have been mislead by too many professional anti-nuclear liars who make Fukushima out to be the end of the world as we know it. Suggest that you go get some unbiased information by going to school and talking to a professor who has some real knowledge of the subject. Then you might begin to realize that Fukushima was badly managed but is not trending towards catastrophe, now or in the future. You will also learn that internet sirens like Arnold Gundersen are preying on you and others who might donate them money so that they can continue preying other people like you.

        • radioactive1

          Wow you must work for the government. Tell you what lets see how much you believe yourself, why dont you go swimming in the pacific for a bit. Matter of fact, make it a family vacation. You either need to have your head examined or do as you preach and go talk to that professor to learn the truth yourself.

          • Rhotel1

            I don’t work for anyone, but you think like the typical ant-nuke fanatic lemming – you start writing before engaging brain and immediately attack anyone who presents a single fact that disagrees with you. Unlike you, I know a bit about the underlying science. Suggest you do the same, but I am quite sure you will not want to bother since your mind is made up and closed.

    • srelf

      The so-called “decontaminated” water will not be totally clean of radionuclides. the systems apparently cannot remove tritium. Tritium is one of the less dangerous radionuclides, but still dangerous, and there seems to be no end to the volume of water they are producing. Dumping it may be ramrodded through by the powers that be, but it could very well be a curse for our descendants.

      • greenthinker2012

        Tritium has a half life of 12 years. If all the water at Fukushima was dumped in the ocean, it would not raise the level of radiation by a significant amount. In 12 years half the tritium will be gone and the insignificant amount will be even less and then even less.
        The curse our descendants need to worry about is the CO2, mercury and cadmium we are dumping into the atmosphere and oceans because of fossil fuels.

  • Tecolote2010

    Fukushima is a monumental and ongoing disaster.

    Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers get it right in CounterPunch:

    ‘There are three major problems at Fukushima: (1) Three reactor
    cores are missing; (2) radiated water has been leaking from the plant
    in mass quantities for 2.5 years; and (3) 11,000 spent nuclear fuel
    rods, perhaps the most dangerous things ever created by humans, are
    stored at the plant and need to be removed, 1,533 of those in a very
    precarious and dangerous position. Each of these three could result in
    dramatic radiation events, unlike any radiation exposure humans have
    ever experienced.‘

    • MikeB

      1) The cores are not missing; they are badly damaged, at least partially melted (though that is a more complex phenomena than melted wax). They are not melting their way to the center of the Earth: they are in and around the bottoms of the reactor vessels.
      2) Irradiated is not the issue; contaminated is. Some of the water is very contaminated, some of it is much less so. It is a problem, but the water is decreasing in contamination as time goes on, because the contamination is radioactive, and it is decaying.
      3) Spent fuel requires special handling, but it is NOTHING like the most dangerous things ever created by humans. Not by any reasonable measure. Cars, nerve gas, and religion all have killed far more people than spent fuel ever will. Exaggerating the danger does not help the situation.
      The spent fuel in the #4 spent fuel pool is a challenge, no doubt. But it is not possible to produce the kind of events the activists claim. If you wish to be informed, there are sources that teach the physics and engineering.

      • edwardrynearson

        If they melted they are being pulled down by gravity. I’ve read they each weigh 100 tons. Post a link to information indicating their current location. I am interested and my mind is open. Your use of “Activists” is a strawman by the way.

      • Ratpuppy

        I am amazed that you know where the melted cores in Reactor 1-3 are, when no one else in the world does. Still in the outer containment shell? Can you PROVE it MikeB?

        Also the boric acid based baffles designed to prevent criticality between the spent fuel rods in Reactor #4 seem to be gone for the most part. So what we seem to have at this point resembles a crushed pack of cigarettes, that we are supposed to individually remove one by one without touching the others and causing a criticality.

        Have you looked at any of the videos available on the internet of the inside of the #4 spent fuel pool that easily proves my point? And doesn’t it also have fresh MOX fuel in there as well. That stuff that is laced with Plutonium? Who’s bright idea was that? Look at the real facts and see if you can prove this concerned citizen (or are we still “exaggerating activists,”) wrong.

        • Rhotel1

          Ratpuppy, you glibbly pretend to be some sort of expert and then put down anyone who intervenes with facts that dispute your fiction. Too bad that your intellectual development peaked at about kindergarten just as your bullying has not progressed beyond that playground level.
          Plutonium is created in any uranium reactor because enriched uranium still contains Uranium-238 and if U-238 absorbs a neutron, it becomes Plutonium-239. It is not going anywhere. It is quite safely entrapped within the Uranium. There is not going to be some kind of fire in the spent fuel rods. They simply no longer are hot enough to catch fire. Tokyo has never been in danger, but the anti-nukes intend to destroy the Japanese economy in order to prove to the world that nuclear power has to go. Anyone who is not a fanatic who has a modicum of scientific education would be able to learn that Fukushima is a mess that will take a long time to clean up, but as the reporters who have been there have found it is not a catastrophe in the making.

        • greenthinker2012

          Ha Ha..you try to be civil. I have never seen you be civil.
          You exaggerate and make crazy statements and then attack people who disagree with you.

          • Ratpuppy

            Rhotel1 said; ” Too bad that your intellectual development peaked at about kindergarten just as your bullying has not progressed beyond that playground level.”

            Tell me about it Green… Taking him to task as well?

            Looking forward to seeing what you shall be contributing to the discussion of the tradgedy at Fukushima in the future.

          • greenthinker2012

            I support fact based discussion. Name calling is the sign of a weak argument.
            My opinion is that Fukushima will not cause any death or significant illness in the present or future.
            I believe that fossil fuel use is killing the planet and that properly designed and managed nuclear power can help solve this problem.

          • Ratpuppy

            I am very much in agreement that fossil fuel use is killing the planet. But in my opinion nuclear power has been badly mismanaged from the beginning. Even without taking into account the many accidents from the 3 deaths at test reactor SL-1 in Idaho back in 1961, through to Fukushima, there has always been the problem and risk from every step from the radiological hazard of mining to refinement and transporting nuclear fuel in addition the as yet unsolved problem of permanently storing nuclear waste.

            The fact that Fukushima has already caused significant and measurable illness in dramatically increased rates of childhood and adult thyroid cancer, and the fact that now 70 sailors who were in perfect health less than three years ago, are signing to a lawsuit seeking damages for illnesses ranging to various cancers, to blindness and brain tumors, cannot be dismissed.



            That is my opinion, based upon fact, and you are certainly entitled to yours, and will be looking forward for you to present your case based upon the facts as well.

            TEPCO and the Japanese government have been shown to be lying about Fukushima from the beginning, so I would think that would be the LAST place anyone would be looking to as a credible source.

            Nuclear pollution is just as bad if not worse than the pollution from green-house gasses. Power from water, wind and solar should be where the federal money goes moving forward.

            I live in the SW Minnesota prairie, and there are huge wind farms all around me here, where there weren’t any five short years ago. They are already on the grid and powering huge metropolitan areas.

            Don’t let anyone tell you that renewable power is not the solution. And they can be shut down without a trace of pollution lost to the region within an hour.

            Fukushima could take centuries to clean up, (If the three melted cores can be found and removed, and that’s a BIG if.) An average reactor plant could take 20-40 years before the waste is stored permanently, and the site is returned to the level of background radiation.


            When you have genuinely safe forms of power, why would anyone want radiation-leaking (and potential dirty-bomb) nuclear plants?

          • greenthinker2012

            The increase in detection of nodules in children can be accounted for by the increased screening and by the use of the most sensitive imaging techniques. The usual method of screening against which these results are compared is a physical exam where the doctor feels for lumps and cases where the child is examined due to feeling ill. In both of these situations the doctors detect the small fraction of nodules that have progressed to a more serious stage.
            The sailors who are attributing all sorts of ailments to Fukushima radiation are really not above what is statistically expected. On average every year a person has approximately 1/3 of a percent chance of getting cancer and a higher chance of many other illnesses. Over 3 years we should expect 1% of the 5000 sailors associated with that ship getting cancer and other illnesses and that is what we are seeing.
            Here are some reputable people saying that renewables can’t replace fossil fuels and some more reputable people saying we need more nuclear.
            I ask you to point to a single coal plant that has been shut down by being replaced by solar or wind. Germany is building coal plants as fast as they can and their CO2 output is rising while the German people pay some of the highest energy costs in the EU.

          • Ratpuppy

            You can claim better cancer detection techniques are available today than existed less than three years ago.

            The Japanese government is already blaming unclean living, or “neurological disorders,” as it’s citizens seek answers to the medical health horrors they are experiencing.

            I see your 1/3rd of 1 percent as average figure to explain the cancers in the sailors who recorded radiation 300 times that of background as they were travelling through the plume off the coast of Fukushima.

            75 cases to be listed in January so far, with another 150 undergoing medical testing to determine the case of their strange new symptoms…

            If half or more of the investigated cases show radiation induced cancer as well, that would increase the class-action to 150-225 plaintiffs!

            Still think you will prove nuclear safe in the end, as we bury all of those sailors who enlisted to serve their country, instead of it’s corporate masters?

            Think time is on your side in any of this?

            There are 5,680 filled billets (souls,) on the U.S.S. Reagan. New cases of cancer among this group taking age and counting 80% of men and 20% of women (the correct age and gender ratio on the Reagan,) who develop cancer each year should normally be expected to be are 247 out of 100,000 persons OR 0.247%

            75 persons is within the Reagan population is 1.3%… 150 persons is 2.6%… 225 persons is 3.9% and the number is getting higher with each new tally. It won’t be long before many times more Reagan sailors develop tragic symptoms than can possibly be accounted for in average rates of occurrence.

            I strongly believe that time is not on the side of those who deny this.

            The Japanese are also trying to claim that it is impossible for the dramatic increase in thyroid cancer in Fukushima’s young since the tragedy to be caused by radiation from the plant because thyroidism didn’t show up post-Chernobyl for five years.

            Time is not on their side either…

            I just don’t get people who believe that all of this is just going to go away. The news is getting worse and the honest reports of radiation and disease are increasing daily.

            But there is good news about your interest in the coal plants.

            According to the Sierra Club, in the U.S. there were 532 of them in 2010. Today there are only 375 of the dinosaurs left, and public pressure in getting the rest of them shuttered is really forcing the EPA to finish the job.

            So now that we have closed 150 old coal plants without replacing them since 2010, where’s the new power coming from? 65,072 megawatts of coal power has been retired for good and it is not likely Americans will ever allow any more deadly nuke plants to befoul the environment…

            There is still a ways to go before clean renewable becomes our sole source of electricity, but solar and wind power in the U.S. is generating enough electricity today to replace each and every coal powered plant we have closed so far, with over 1,000 megawatts left to spare!

            Have there been public statements declaring that wind or solar power caused the closure of a certain coal plant? Got me, but I would be amazed that any person of reason would think one has nothing to do with the other when 65,072 coal megawatts have been shuttered, as 66,400 megawatts of wind and solar have come on line. (BTW… That is enough to power over 68 MILLION homes!) The technology has been ready for many years, it is now only a matter of getting them built, installed and hooked up to the grid for us to finally be able to tell every other form of electric power generation to take a hike for good!

            Here in SW Minnesota, many of the farms lease to the wind power companies, and they keep doing their farming without much loss of usable acreage. 40 miles from here the Suzlon plant makes hundreds of jobs as they try to meet the insatiable demand for wind turbines and blades.

            Still think nuclear is a responsible choice? The only pollution wind power makes is in the rare case of a really dumb crow playing “chicken” with the blades.

            And the last time I checked, I believe crows break down faster in the environment than Cesium-137, Strontium-90, Uranium-235 and 233, as well as Plutonium-239 and 240.

            We know what to do with ‘spent’ crows, but in over 70 years, we still haven’t the slightest idea what to do with all of the waste from a single spent fuel rod. U-233 has a half life of 160,000 years, and isn’t even considered remotely safe until after 1 million years!

            So please tell me; How do you store something that will not be disturbed for almost 200 times longer than man has had a written language?

            Anyway you look at it, in defense of nuclear power, time is not on your side. Not today, not tomorrow, not even a million years from now!

          • greenthinker2012

            To clarify, I am not saying the cancer detection techniques were invented in the last 3 years. I am saying that since Fukushima the level of screening has dramatically increased and the techniques employed are also more thorough.
            Also note that there is an increase in anomalies and not necessarily cancers. Thyroid anomalies are not uncommon.
            Of the more than 38,000 children tested, 13,646 were found to have thyroid lumps or some other irregularities by the prefectural medical community. However, the existence of these thyroid anomalies has not been compared to children who live far away from Fukushima to see if the large number of positive tests is actually due to the Fukushima accident. Medical experts will conduct ultrasonic thyroid examinations on roughly 4,500 children aged 18 or younger far away from Fukushima Prefecture to make a statistical comparison. Benign thyroid lumps are rather common in children everywhere. But, the government has no epidemiological data base to make a valid appraisal of the impact of a nuclear accident on child thyroids.

            The medical effects from Fukushima are expected to be so low as to be statistically undetectable according to the WHO and UNSCEAR. Many other health problems ARE easily detectable such as eating red meat, drinking beer, BBQing food, eating too much fat etc. So it is not unreasonable to look at all the factors that may be contributing to poor heath. It is common to ascribe all negative health effects to radiation but it is not logical.

            The rest of your comment has many “IFS” so let’s address some of them and also add some more IFS of own.
            You are assuming that all the ailments can be attributed to radiation. However IF it turns out that there are more ailments among these people it may be from other causes. Remember that many Gulf War veterans suffer from Gulf War Syndrome. The cause of this has been posited as caused by nerve agents, toxins, immunizations, stress, etc.
            Joining a lawsuit is not proof that radiation is the cause.

            As for coal plants in the USA, they are being replaced by natural gas not solar or wind. The figure you cite for solar and wind is the total theoretical capacity and not the average steady amount of power produced.
            There is a big difference between steady base load power and unpredictable variable power from renewables. The variability is often covered by natural gas turbines. Renewables cannot provide 100% of the base load power required by society. To do so we would need to massively overbuild capacity so that the lowest output would be enough to cover the base load needs, or we will need to have fossil fuel back up generation on standby to cover the times that renewables are not producing power.
            Imagine the cost and complexity of having two complete power systems in place. The sad thing is if we did this, we would be burning fossil fuels in power plants designed to ramp up and down quickly to follow the variability of the renewables. These variable plants are less efficient than steady base load plants and the result is that our CO2 emissions will be higher with renewables than if we had just burned the fossil fuels in more efficient steady base load power plants.

            The nuclear waste issue has been solved for many years. It is no longer a technical problem but is a political problem.
            The short to medium half life fission products can be encapsulated into glass bricks and buried in stable bedrock formations for the 500-1000 years it takes for them to decay away.
            The long lived waste can be recycled and burned in fast reactors or also buried.
            This long lived waste is mostly Uranium. It is no more dangerous than when it was dug from the ground. Returning it underground will not increase risk.
            Long half life isotopes are not dangerous because they are not very radioactive.

            You state that wind power produces no waste but are conveniently forgetting the CO2 released from making the concrete for the massive footings, the mining for the steel, the mining for the rare earth metals for the generator magnets, the road building. the power lines to collect all this diffuse power, and the fossil rules burned to smooth out the variable power output.

          • Alex. L.

            wow, what a nice discution! First i would say that Ratpuppy is telling true facts since the beginning… i do accept the fact that actually, Fukushima is now on a ”Stable course” for a clean up… but still the fact that 11,500 fuel rods are still on the site is some kind of significant amount of radioactive material… we are not talking about grams or kilos, but metric tons of uranium, mixted with plutonium… ok ok, plutonium is present in almost every NPP , but not in a proportion of +/- 8% and plutonium as a half-life of 24,000 years, some kind of long term toxicity!
            Rhotel –> « It is not going anywhere. It is quite safely entrapped within the Uranium»
            yeah unless the core has totaly meltdown and createrd Corium that could reach the ground water.
            The cores are not missing… we just can’t find them! means about the same thing, but still not the same to some person…
            but seriously guys, the real question with fukushima is, was the 9.0 earthquake really a 9.0???? have you ever found a crack in a building about to be hit by the tsunami?? Sandei that was only what, 70 km from the epicenter suffered virtualy no damage from the quake!?! the biggest quake that day was 6.67 and yet us tell about and minutes later ”no, it’s a 8.9” , and than ”maybe more a 9.0 or 9.1” what a shame…

    • atomikrabbit

      The most dangerous thing in the world is probably the spread of misinformation by people who spout numbers without any real knowledge or context of what they are talking about.

      Here is a more rational perspective: http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-accident-updates.html

      • Ratpuppy

        Here we go again…

        The homepage of the above linked website states: “”Nuclear” and “environmentalist” should be correctly understood to be mutually agreeable terms.” Really?

        In addition, although this site updated their “Fukushima Accident Updates” section yesterday with the latest TEPCO party line, they also sport a section called “Fukushima’s ‘Radiation Leaks’” that hasn’t been updated since August of 2011!!!

        Not a peep about the 25 SEVERT reading outside of the exhaust of reactors #1 and #2 that TEPCO reported yesterday.

        BTW: 25 Severts is fatal within 20 minutes of exposure, and this level was found OUTSIDE of any structure!

        But please tell us all again about that “rational perspective…”

        • atomikrabbit

          Yes, 25 Sieverts (with an “i”) would be fatal – if one were stupid enough to stand there unshielded for that long. I have personally been within 12 feet of sources 10 times that while moving fuel assemblies – a sufficient amount of water makes an excellent sheild.

          The high activity in the vent is probably Cs-137 and Sr-90 that, while volatile at high temperatures, tends to plate out on cooler surfaces as it passes through the ventwork. At this point it’s not going anywhere, and now that the hotspot is identified, they will eventually put lead shielding around it.
          Leslie Corrice, the author of Hiroshima Syndrome, will probably address it in a subsequent blog, since the finding has now entered the world of hysterical media radiophobia.

          I agree with you on one thing – TEPCO does a piss-poor job at public communications. Typically the technical people who know what’s going on are not the same as the PR people dealing withe press. Pity.

    • Rhotel1

      The spent nuclear fuel rods are NOT the most dangerous things ever created by humans. They are radioactive, but they have been in the decay cycle for over three years since they were removed from Reactor #4 on Novermber 30, 2010!, over three months before the earthquake and tsunami. Arnold Gundersen and his disciples like Harvey Wasserman have been lying about this alleged danger for years. The lies keep the money flowing in so that they can better spread the lies to even more people around the world. In reality, the spent fuel rods had their decay heat so reduced by the time of the earthquake that they were not at significant risk and Gundersen claimed in 2012 that they would be at risk of catastrophe for three more years. He made a number of other deliberately false statements on the KGO Radio Pat Thurston program then and his pal Wasserman repeated them in 2013. They do not care about facts, just keeping their own name out there so that the donations will continue to flow in. If you really want to trip them up, ask them how much they have received and what it has actually been spent for. That would make them think twice. Want some facts, write to me – DUStory dash owner at yahoo groups dot com. Along with my own personal research, I can put you in touch with some genuine experts. You have a lot to learn.

      • srelf

        So, it is a lie that if Unit 4 collapses in a very possible major aftershock and the area is so highly radioactive that maintenance of the pools is impossible, the fires that then occur if those pools go dry, does not represent the potential for the worst nuclear accident the world has seen? I don’t see how.

        • Rhotel1

          Absolutely. Why do you believe Gundersen and his cronies? Are you one of them, yourself? If so, how much is your cut of the non-profit, profits. Gundersen should be seriously looked at for tax evasion. Al Capone got put away for that, maybe Gundersen should too. If the pools go dry at this time, they will make the area itself more difficult to work in because water itself acts as radiation shielding, but there will be no fire and no widespread catastrophe.

          • theblues77

            To downplay the seriousness of this situation is just plain
            irresponsible. When you start comparing this situation to cars,
            religion, etc. the proverbial straws are being grasped. I would tend to believe some of the academics about the seriousness of this.

          • Rhotel1

            Suggest that you learn the facts and stop just Googling the lies. The situation has never been as serious as the doom and gloomers who have their begging bowls out for donations. Want to get serious, ask Arnold Gundersen to open his books and report all donations and expenditures. Bet he won’t.

          • Ratpuppy

            And what is YOUR cut of my tax subsidies? Getting them from the energy/defense contractors, or from Uncle Sam directly? Give me a break!

          • greenthinker2012

            I thought you believed in “civil” discussion?

          • Ratpuppy


            Because Rhotel1 dishonestly tried to infer that srelf is one of the “cronies” of nuclear expert and DOE author Arne Gundersen. (An individual who’s Fairewinds Associates also legally receives donations only from it’s supporters.)

            Rhotel1 stated; “Why do you believe Gundersen and his cronies? Are you one of them, yourself? If so, how much is your cut of the non-profit, profits. Gundersen should be seriously looked at for tax evasion.”

            I will continue to remind EVERYONE who hides behind this defense that there is a big difference between donations to a legal organization by it’s supporters, and the $Hundreds of BILLIONS that have been stolen to date straight out of the back pockets of hard working tax payers by the nuclear power industry in tax subsidies!

            Rhotel1 tried to manufacture wild financial speculations to refute the undeniable evidence of a man that the Department of Energy had author their first manual outlining the procedures for decommissioning a nuclear power plant, as well as the foremost expert called when the U.S. Congress needed to get to the bottom of what really happened at Three Mile Island.

            But I guess it must be easier to discredit Arne Gundersen when you can’t begin to discredit the facts coming out of Fukushima.

            So I called him on it.

            In light of his desperate and unwarranted attack against the truth, my reply was very civil.

          • greenthinker2012

            Gundersen is a fear-mongering quack. He regularly states things that defy the laws of physics. I no longer trust him to tell the truth. How many times does someone need to tell a distortion or untruth before you stop believing them?

          • Ratpuppy

            Are you referring to Arne Gundersen? The man that the Department of Energy turned to when they needed an honest authority to co-author the first DOE manual on the decommissioning of nuclear power plants? The same Arne Gundersen that the U.S. Congress turned to when they wanted testimony from authoritative source when we needed to get to the bottom of what happened at Three Mile Island in 1979?

            Is that who you are so uncivilly referring to as a “fear-mongering quack?”

            Can you actually prove with statements that Mr. Gundersen has made that he ignores the laws of physics as well by citing the exact quotes of claims he has made that counter what can be easily found in physics textbooks?

            Can you DO that? I ask because I am starting to see a pattern from you that states not a single fact, yet makes sweeping generalizations about those of us who hold beliefs that we DO defend with cited proof. Including Arne Gundersen.

            I don’t really want to believe that you are just sitting there with your hands in your pockets and expecting those of us who are willing to PROVE our case to suddenly jump to your opinion simply because YOU said it.

            Gundersen’s a quack? Fine. Please provide the exact quote he made that stands against the facts that can be shown in textbooks. Generalizations and paraphrased (made-up,) quotes are not proof of anything.

            So please. I am very interested in learning the full truth about all of the claims you just made.

            Based upon your “Fear-mongering quack,” statement. I shall have to consider the source the next time you choose to refer to me as being “uncivil.”

      • Ratpuppy

        I understood that the fuel rods were removed from the “Reactor” in unit #4, but aren’t they stored above in the #4 spent fuel pool, along with new plutonium-laced MOX fuel? Aren’t there about 1,500 new and spent fuel rods stored in the pool in #4 that was heavily damaged in a hydrogen explosion? Don’t they have video evidence of bent fuel rods in this pool that is still structurally unsound in the face of the next large typhoon or earthquake? No risk of catastrophe from the new MOX fuel stored there? In my opinion if you really wanted to trip up the liars in power, ask the energy/defense industry how many $Billions of tax dollars they are making from the sweat of hard-working Americans. How much do we all pay for them to spread their lies? Everyone has much to learn, except for TEPCO and the Japanese government – They don’t need any help… They know it all!

        • Rhotel1

          Rat is pretty good word for you Rats don’t use their brain, just follow the scent to the cheese. You really should change modes and start thinking instead of repeating talking points. Where, specifically do you get this crap anyway? Far as your casting aspersions on my name. I would challenge you to have the guts to appear in court and make them subject to the penalty of perjury. Rather doubt that you will have the courage to send me your full name and address so that you can be properly served. Should you have the guts, write me at DUStory dash owner at yahoo groups dot com.

          • srelf

            STILL name-calling. Pathetic un-civil behavior.

          • Ratpuppy

            Rhotel1 to Ratpuppy • 13 hours ago

            Rat is pretty good word for you Rats don’t use their brain, just follow the scent to the cheese. You really should change modes and start thinking instead of repeating talking points. Where, specifically do you get this crap anyway? Far as your casting aspersions on my name. I would challenge you to have the guts to appear in court and make them subject to the penalty of perjury. Rather doubt that you will have the courage to send me your full name and address so that you can be properly served. Should you have the guts, write me at DUStory dash owner at yahoo groups dot com.


            Whatever Rhote… I wanted to quote back your last reply to me here as you must have forgotten to edit the less than civil comments out of the previous post as you normally do after I get the e-mail showing what you actually wrote before you sobered up. But I have had enough of this, and of YOU!

            It doesn’t matter one little bit what you say, or think or dream. Like it or not THE TRUTH IS COMING TO THE WEST COAST, then across America! And soon, not even YOU will be able to deny it. I therefore see absolutely NO reason to defend myself to you any further! You have to know that time is not on your side in light of the undeniable truth.

            I handled nuclear weaponry in the military during the late 70′s and early 80′s. Also went to a naval school on nuclear safety standards. DID YOU? Oh I forget, according to you, anyone who knows anything regarding the TRUTH about the real hazards of radioactivity, MUST be raking in gobs of cash in donations like the original Co-Author of the Department of Energy’s “Decommissioning Handbook,” Nuclear Engineer Arne Gunderson.

            Now you can call me a brainless, gutless, lying coward as you did above, until you are blue in the face. If you really think that school-yard name-calling will magically make your bizarre beliefs palatable, then good luck with that.

            Even with my limited, professional training on learning how a nuclear bomb is constructed, as well as the federal safety precautions regarding the handling of dangerous radioactive substances, I still know how to defer to the knowledge of professionals like Arne Gundersen today who have spent their lives researching the subject, (even if he is receiving VOLUNTARY donations through Fairewinds Associates like every other 501 c3 non-profit does,) I would certainly do so before I would listen to those who get their BILLIONS by stealing hard-earned tax dollars directly out of my back pocket in the form of federal tax subsidies, like your masters in the nuclear/defense contractor industry do. Why don’t they ask for donations instead? Then just you and your buddies could give them all the cash they would ever need to spread their agenda… Right?

            So tell me Rhote… You would “challenge me to have the guts to testify in court”? You must know that if asked, I would do so in a heartbeat. Did you think I wouldn’t? Care to testify to that in court??? HA!

            Guess who DID testify under oath? Nuclear Engineer and DOE author Arne Gundersen did, as an expert witness when he was called in during the investigation into Three Mile Island. The government wanted the most qualified individuals available to testify to the facts… And that WASN’T me, or YOU or any of the false prophets you follow on the lie-and-deny websites you cite.

            Since you are so keen on the importance of testifying under oath, then you would have to see Arne Gundersen as an unimpeachable source… Right? OR… Can you prove he lied? If so, have you taken steps to prosecute him, or are you an accomplice?

            Perhaps you should keep your little carnival tricks to yourself. The rest of us are trying to engage in a serious discussion here, and as those of us who served our country in the U.S. Navy used to say, you are merely sitting in an inner-tube throwing spit wads at battleships!

            TEPCO was caught LYING about their original 100 mSv claims of radiation levels that were later found to be 1.8 SEVERTS because TEPCO would only report readings from meters that wouldn’t read higher than 100 mSV, and instead of getting a meter with a higher scale, they would only report the “maxed-out” number. Did you know that 1,800 mSv kills in four hours of exposure, and that TEPCO LIED about these readings for MONTHS? Do you care? (www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23918882)

            My 55 year old Victoreen CDV-700 geiger counter only goes up to about 50 mSv. But I would know to reach for my CDV-717 high radiation survey meter if the former reached the end of it’s scale. Using TEPCO’s logic, nothing is longer than a foot if you don’t use a yardstick.

            I can find tons of proof that shows TEPCO has lied about the threat of this catastrophe from day one. A number of U.S. Naval personnel who were unfortunate enough to be working on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and providing humanitarian aid at the time of the disaster, are suing TEPCO for lying to them about the level of hazardous radiation from the Fukushima plant until they received cancer-causing amounts. “According to then-existing data uniquely known to the defendant at the time, the plaintiffs’ consequent exposure to radiation within their zone of operation, then indicated that radiation levels had already reached levels exceeding the levels of exposure to which those living the same distance from Chernobyl experienced who subsequently developed cancer,” the complaint states.

            There are now more than 50 crew members of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan who have developed thyroid or testicular cancer, leukemia, or blindness. Most of these patriots were young, healthy and physically fit just two short years ago. Navy pilots from the Reagan are now developing brain tumors! The list of the horribly injured keeps growing. They are asking for about $2 Billion from TEPCO so far… These injuries and resulting lawsuit are additional facts that you can’t deny.

            SO… What is your deal? Do you support those who work overseas for us, OR do you just hate the troops?

            The factual accounts of the extreme danger of the ongoing radiation leaks coming from Fukushima are piling up much faster that the lie-and-deny crowd will ever be able to squelch them. Radioactive debris spreads, and does so rapidly.

            The first thing the Navy taught me when I attended the nuclear weapons handling as well at the nuclear safety standards school is that: NO LEVEL OF RADIATION IS SAFE!

            No level… Not the mildly irradiated H-3 molecularly bonded in radioactive water, to the many times normal levels of Plutonium-239 and/or Uranium-234 and 238 that the EPA found in it’s test air canisters in Hawaii, Guam, Alaska and California at about the time air-borne particles would have arrived from the explosions at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant. And the plume is on it’s way… Then come the amounts found in food from the ocean and water-borne particles. The radiation figures keep going up, and the numbers don’t lie.

            The truth is coming… So no matter what you claim, or how desperately you feel the need to personally attack those of us who can stand very well with nothing but the truth on our side, please be advised:

            Your words or attacks alone will never be able to stop what is coming. The threat is growing rapidly. The evidence surrounds us, and time is not on the side of anyone who continues to live in denial!

        • Rhotel1

          There are no mixed oxide fuel rods stored in any of the spent fuel pools. There are 1331 spent fuel elements and were 204 new fuel elements stored in the Reactor #4 spent fuel pool. New fuel elements are much less radioactive than spent fuel elements because they contain no fission products. Some of the new elements have now been removed in the first transfer. The spent fuel elements have been in the pool since November 30, 2010. They no longer have sufficient decay heat to cause them to catch fire. All you need to do is do the research. I have no inside source, just public reports, one of which I found thanks to Arnold Gundersen’s citing it as the basis of what I found were his doom and gloom lies that have spread widely throughout the world.

  • GSOB

    All the focus on reactor plant 4……
    It’s alarming that reactor plants 1, 2, and 3 are unapproachable,… since March 2011.

  • siyousyanamae .

    Highest radiation levels measured outside reactor
    Dec. 6, 2013 NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

    Tokyo Electric says radiation levels are extremely high in an area near a ventilation pipe at the Fukushima plant.

    Tokyo Electric found radiation of 25 sieverts an hour on a duct, which connects reactor buildings and the 120-meter-tall ventilation pipe.

    The estimated radiation level is the highest ever detected outside reactor buildings. People exposed to this level of radiation would die within 20 minutes.


  • Stephen Anderle

    I think that the IAEA inspection and statement of praise says more than anything else about what and how well Japan is capable of.

  • edwardrynearson

    Melting nuclear fuel actually fertilizes the surrounding soil making it great for growing gigantic tomatoes.

    • ratpuppy

      Mmmmm! Gigantic tomatoes! I think I saw that episode of “Gilligan’s Island.” Maybe we should tell Monsanto about this…

  • simpleman56

    This man is very good at doing his part at pushing Propaganda & lies. Who signs his pay check & you will learn the truth.

    • Rhotel1

      and who signs yours since you claim to know the truth despite your ignorance – what do you have to gain out of pushing lies and innuendo?

  • Kent98

    What? Inspectors are “are praising Japan for making progress to stabilize the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant” when there are 3 core meltdowns and no one knows where they are? Are they nuts or biased? I guess you will know the answer if you knew that the head of the IAEA is Yukiya Amano, a Japanese.

    • Ratpuppy

      Well the Japanese passed a law last Friday night that you are subject to 10 years in prison if you release any information not approved by the government, or embarrassing to the same. He must just be another law-abiding citizen in the well saved-face of the new Japan.

      BTW, the 4,000 protesters outside of the DIET who stood against this law, should be referred to as “terrorists” said government officials.

      • Kent98

        Japan is also making no efforts to stop the flow daily of 400 tons of water, from Fukushima which is contaminated with cesium137 and strontium90, into the Pacific Ocean. Guess what? The current takes the plume of this contaminated water directly to Hawaii and then to the West coasts of the US and Canada, making seafoods a memory of the past.

        This is what Shinzo Abe wishes to keep a secret.

        • Rhotel1

          Suggest that you visit this extremely informative page at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?cid=94989&pid=83397&tid=3622 -

          • Kent98
          • srelf

            What for?

          • Rhotel1

            because you might actually learn something, but since you have your mind made up, that is highly doubtful. You are a coward – no real name, no way to contact you – just comments that you think are cute or something – no real input to the discussion and not a single fact to offer.

          • srelf

            I had a legitimate question that you have still failed to answer. This is a public forum. You are a public figure, not me.

          • Rhotel1

            I am not a public figure, just an extremely concerned citizen who has actually researched the subject after knowing some of the basics about radiation, radioactive isotopes and nuclear reactors. So, why do you think I am a “public figure”. I hold no office, I work for no one and I own no stock in any firm connected with the reactors.

            If you closely read the WHOI page, you will also note –

            Are fish such as tuna that might have been exposed to radiation from Fukushima safe to eat?

            Seawater everywhere contains many naturally occurring radionuclides, the most common being polonium-210. As a result, fish caught in the Pacific and elsewhere already have measurable quantities of these substances. Most fish do not migrate far from home, which is why fisheries off Fukushima remain closed. But some species, such as the Pacific bluefin tuna, can swim long distances and could pick up cesium in their feeding grounds off Japan. However, cesium is a salt taken up by the flesh that will begin to flush out of an exposed fish soon after they enter waters less affected by Fukushima. By the time tuna are caught in the eastern Pacific, cesium levels in their flesh are 10-20 times lower than when they were off Fukushima. Moreover, the dose from Fukushima cesium is considered insignificant relative to the dose from naturally occurring polonium-210, which was 1000 times higher in fish samples studied, and both of these are much lower relative to other, more common sources, such as dental x-rays.

            More about the dose and associated risk (pdf) of radiation from Fukushima to marine life and humans.

            Click on the link on the referenced page and learn more. The basic point is that Fukushima’s pollution of the Pacific is not particularly significant. Your questions really have nothing to do with Woods Hole’s research. You still are coming on more like an activist who wants to hide in the shadows not like someone who actually has a thirst for knowledge and is willing to be known as a person vice just four letters of indeterminate significance.

          • srelf

            You have a strange concept of what constitutes a public figure, Mr. “Tokyo Correspondent for the BBC”! You are part of a public institution.

          • Rhotel1

            I am not Rupert and am not the correspondent for the BBC. You seem to have gotten a bit confused along with being a bully without any real facts. You write to me directly and I will tell you what I know and maybe we could even civily correspond. DUStory dash owner at yahoo groups dot com You can also make a public apology here.

          • srelf

            OK, I apologize for being confused about who you are.
            You are mistaken that you have any right to my private information. Those are the rules here. I don’t make them. I see you are still name-calling. Goodbye.

          • Rhotel1

            Apology accepted. Your hiding your identity and refusing to discuss face-to-face still makes you a coward. Real men have the courage of their convictions. Remember that John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence in large enough script that the King of England could read it without spectacles. You also started talking down and lecturing everyone who disagreed with you. You presented no facts, just assertions and you did so in a bullying fashion. Suggest that you go back to school since you do not really want to engage in discussion.

          • srelf

            Still name-calling! Pathetic.

          • Ratpuppy

            Certainly not your fault srelf… This man knows that he has very little chance of getting people to ignore a truth that is getting harder for him to hide from. He knows he is running out of time, as the facts surround him. This gives him no choice but to lash out with ridiculous and craven personal attacks.

            We should just remember that his sort are the last of a dying breed of dinosaurs thrashing wildly in the tar pits of history. Life is too short for me to be responding to him again, but he probably does deserve our pity…

            It isn’t as if there are those who can defend what they believe based solely upon the strength of the truth should we disagree. He has asked us both to e-mail him directly… Buy why? When there are voices who don’t resort to such tricks to make their case, why should we waste another second on him?

          • srelf

            Well put.

          • srelf

            I’m sorry I didn’t explain what I meant by “What for?” Let’s not get into name-calling.

          • srelf

            I meant, Rupert, how about describing what the link is.

          • srelf

            I read the WHOI page, and I don’t think Dr. Buessler addressed the issues of ongoing discharging from Fukushima or the issue of how clean they can make the water they plan on dumping into the Pacific.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/stuntmanmike stuntman mike

    Oh yeah, happy days are here again and the shills are here to put our minds at ease.
    What a beautiful day in La La Land where everything is just fine and there is nothing to be concerned with. Remember, nothing but the truth is coming out of Japan. They just past a new law to ensure that nothing but The Truth is allowed to be officially released. Ah, I feel so good about it all!

    “The truth is dead. Long Live The Truth.”

    • Rhotel1

      And you alone know the truth without a single fact to support it. You seem like you made up your mind before actually engaging the thinking process. Try again!

  • srelf

    So Rupert, the engineers that are building the units for water decontamination actually told you that their devices produce clean and safe water for ocean dumping? Amazing! You wouldn’t expect them to say that! How about getting an objective source for such monumentally important information!

    • Rhotel1

      If you remove the radioactive salts from the water, it is pure water and more than safe for dumping. The water is not radioactive, the cesium and other radioactive fission product salts in the water are radioactive. Remove them and the radioactivity is gone. I wonder what a solar still would do. Got that idea from watching Robert Redford movie about being wrecked at sea on a solo sailboat.

      • srelf

        My understanding is that tritium cannot be scrubbed from the contaminated water, and an objective source is STILL needed on this monumentally important matter.

        • Rhotel1

          If you actually delve into factual reports, I am quite sure that you will find that Tritium release is inconsequential and it is also naturally occuring – one of the biggest problems that Woods Hole scientists had was filtering out the naturally occuring so that they could determine the amount due to Fukushima. I have not researched the Tritium release. Tritium is not a fission product.

          From EPA on Tritium http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/tritium.html#environment

          Tritium occurs naturally in the environment in very low concentrations. Most tritium in the environment is in the form of tritiated water, which easily disburses in the atmosphere, water bodies, soil, and rock.

          In the mid-1950s and early 1960s, tritium was widely dispersed during the above-ground testing of nuclear weapons. The quantity of tritium in the atmosphere from weapons testing peaked in 1963 and has been decreasing ever since.

          Today, sources of tritium include commercial nuclear reactors and research reactors, and government weapons production plants. Tritium may be released as steam from these facilities or may leak into the underlying soil and ground water. However, such releases are usually small and are required not to exceed federal environmental limits.

          A recently documented source of tritium in the environment is tritium exit signs that have been illegally disposed of in municipal landfills. Water, which seeps through the landfill, is contaminated with tritium from broken signs and can pass into water ways, carrying the tritium with it
          I wonder how many Turitiated Exit Signs were swept out to sea during the tsunamis and then smashed up by the waves.
          Rather doubt that tritium release from Fukushima rises to level of concern, let alone being MONUMENTALLY important.

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