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Mass die-offs from human impact and planetary response to the assault could occur by early 2016

Posts Tagged ‘Core Meltdown’

Chernobyl Disaster: Ukraine Marks 27th Anniversary

Posted by feww on April 26, 2013

Radioactive cloud from Chernobyl explosion traveled half way around the world

The explosion at Chernobyl nuclear power plant 27 years ago has so far claimed at least a million lives, and counting. The core meltdown, which occurred on Saturday, April 26, 1986 at reactor No. 4 of the V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Station, as it was then called, left entire regions in three countries—Ukraine, Russia and Belarus—unlivable.

The radionuclide levels still exceed the normal background in 60 Ukrainian towns and villages.

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Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant underwent a core meltdown [center] in 1986 with disastrous consequences. The radionuclide levels still exceed the normal background in 60 Ukrainian towns and villages. This image was taken by authorities in the former Soviet Union.

Ongoing Health Issues

“The nation’s health is deteriorating,” Mykhailo Kurik, director of the Ukrainian Institute of Ecology, told Xinhua, asserting that the damage to nature and environment was severe and long-lasting.

“Just after the accident, a huge quantity of radionuclides, including the burning particles, which are extremely dangerous for the environment, were released. These isotopes have very long half-lives, so Ukraine will feel the devastating effects of the catastrophe for decades,” Kurik said.

Radioactive emissions from Chernobyl explosion were more than 100 times higher than the combined contamination caused by the atomic bombs dropped on Japan’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki, experts have said.

Remembering Chernobyl Victims


The sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is seen behind a building decorated with a graffiti in the abandoned city of Prypiat April 4, 2011. Belarus, Ukraine and Russia will mark the 25th anniversary of the nuclear reactor explosion in Chernobyl, the place where the world’s worst civil nuclear accident took place, on April 26. Engineers are still struggling to regain control of damaged reactors at the Fuskushima plant after last month’s earthquake and tsunami, in the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986, with the government urging the operator of the plant to act faster to stop radiation spreading. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich. Image may be subject to copyright. Reuters images …

Never Ending Nightmare at

“In mid-February, a 600-square-meter section of the roof at the Chernobyl site collapsed, sparking fears of another disaster. The collapse occurred 70 meters above the sarcophagus that contains the radiation from the damaged No. 4 reactor.” Said a report.

Experts estimate that 190 tons of reactor fuel remain under the existing sarcophagus that covers the disaster stricken power plant.


Birth defects and cancer were the norm for many years following the Chernobyl disaster.  By the time  residents of Pripyat, a town located near the plant, were ordered to evacuate, about two days after the Chernobyl core meltdown had occurred, many had already been exposed to varying doses of radiation poisoning.

1 Million Killed in Chernobyl Disaster

“A report by Alexey Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko which appeared in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science showed that by 2004, there were 985,000 additional deaths worldwide caused by the nuclear disaster, including 212,000 of them within Western Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.”

Chernobyl fallout covers the entire Northern Hemisphere

Consequences of the Catastrophe. Authors  Alexey Yablokov (Center for Russian Environmental Policy in Moscow), Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko ( Institute of Radiation Safety, Minsk, Belarus) studies about 5,000 reports and scientific  papers mostly published in Slavic languages and compiled their finding in the  book “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment,” which was published last year on the 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl reactor core meltdown.

“For the past 23 years, it has been clear that there is a danger greater than nuclear weapons concealed within nuclear power. Emissions from this one reactor exceeded a hundred-fold the radioactive contamination of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” They wrote.

“No citizen of any country can be assured that he or she can be protected from radioactive contamination. One nuclear reactor can pollute half the globe,” the authors said. “Chernobyl fallout covers the entire Northern Hemisphere.”

According to the book, a total of about 830,000 people, referred to as the “liquidators,” were responsible for various emergency works at the Chernobyl site including fire extinguishing, decontamination and cleanup.

The authors say between 112,000 and 125,000 of the  liquidators had died by 2005.  The authors also estimate that between 1986 and 2004 some 985,000 people died as a result of Chernobyl fallout {2011 estimates are well over a million deaths.]

“Official discussions from the International Atomic Energy Agency and associated United Nations’ agencies (e.g. the Chernobyl Forum reports) have largely downplayed or ignored many of the findings reported in the Eastern European scientific literature and consequently have erred by not including these assessments.” The authors said last year.

Chernobyl and Other Nuclear Stats

  • More than 95% of the radioactive material (180 metric tons with a radioactivity of about 18 million curies) still remains inside the Chernobyl reactor.
  • The  core meltdown at Chernobyl was said to have released radiation estimated at 50 million curies. Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations said in 1995 that the meltdown had released about 140 million curies. [Researchers Alexey Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko say the radiation released from Chernobyl may have been up to 10 billion curies. In comparison, the Hiroshima bomb released about 3 million curies.]
  • Immediately after the accident, 237 people suffered from acute radiation sickness, and 31 died within the first 90 days of the disaster.
  • About 135,000 people were evacuated from the area surrounding the plant, including 50,000 from the town of Pripyat.
  • The Academy’s  estimate for the number of casualties  are more than 90,000 deaths and more than a quarter of a million cancer cases.
  • The Ukrainian National Commission for Radiation Protection calculates the number of radiation casualties at half a million  deaths so far.
  • In a book published by the New York Academy of Sciences last year on the 24th anniversary of the reactor core meltdown, the researchers maintain that about one million people have died from exposure to radiation released by the Chernobyl reactor so far [as of 2010.]
  • “In the former Soviet Union at least 9 million people have been effected by the accident; 2.5 million in Belarus; 3.5 million in Ukraine; and 3 million in Russia. In total over 160 000 Km2 are contaminated in the three republics.” source
  • Some 441 commercial nuclear power reactors are  operating in 31 countries ( total capacity of 376 gigawatts) each of which is potentially as lethal as Chernobyl, if not worse. [This item, updated here, was written before the Fukushima nuclear disaster began unfolding.]
  • An estimated 56 countries operate more than 250 research reactors.
  • At least 220 nuclear reactors power military ships and submarines.

Legacy: More than 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer were diagnosed among children and adolescents between 1992 to 2002 in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Victims under 14 years were most severely affected by the elevated concentrations of radioiodine found in milk.

  • Incidents of skin lesions, respiratory ailments, infertility and birth defects were readily found among the more than five million people who inhabit the affected areas of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine for many years following the accident.

The Poisoned land. Up to 5 million people continue to live on radioactive contaminated land. About 85% of the children who live in contaminated areas of Belarus today are ill, a near 6-fold increase compared to the time before the explosion (15%), according to The Belarusian National Academy of Sciences.

Fukushima NPP

Fukushima NPP is said to contain about 4,277 tons of nuclear fuel, about 24 times as much as Chernobyl (~ 180 tons).

“The Fukushima Dai-ichi site has a considerable number of fuel rods on hand, according to information provided Thursday by Toyko Electric Power Co., which owns the atomic complex: There are 3,400 tons of fuel in seven spent fuel pools within the six-reactor plant, including one joint pool storing very old fuel from units 3 and 4. There are 877 tons in five of the reactor cores. Officials have said that the fuel in Unit 4′s reactor vessel was transferred to its spent fuel pool when the unit was temporarily shut in November.” AP reported.

On April 12, Japanese authorities raised the measure of severity of the Fukushima NPP disaster to the maximum level of 7 on INES. (See below for details.)

The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES)

The INES, a logarithmic scale, which was introduced in 1990 by the IAEA to enable prompt communication, classifies the intensity of nuclear incidents as follows:

7 – Major Accident [Chernobyl disaster, criticality accident, April 1986]

6 – Serious Accident [e.g., Kyshtym incident, Mayak, former Soviet Union, steam explosion released up to 80 tons of highly radioactive material into the atmosphere, September 1957. ]

5 – Accident With Wider Consequences [e.g., Three Mile Island accident  Pen State, U.S., partial meltdown release radioactive gases  into the environment, March 1979.]

4 – Accident With Local Consequences [e.g., Sellafield, UK, at least 5 incidents reported between 1955 to 1979]

3 – Serious Incident [e.g., Vandellos NPP, Spain, fire destroyed control systems; the reactor was shut down, July1989]

2 – Incident [e.g., Forsmark NPP, Sweden, a backup generator failed, July 2006]

1 – Anomaly [e.g., TNPC, France, 1,600 gallons of water containing 75 kilograms (170 lb) of uranium leaked into the environment,  July 2008]

0 – Deviation (No Safety Significance) — [e.g., Atucha, Argentina - Reactor shutdown caused by tritium increase in reactor encasement, December 2006.]

What is a lethal dose of radiation from a single Exposure?

Studies of the 1945 atomic bombing at Hiroshima and Nagasaki show that 100 percent of victims whose bodies were exposed to 600,000 millirems (6,000 mSv) died from radiation. About 50 percent of victims who received  450,000 millirems (4,500 mSv) of radiation also died.

(Note: Rem is a unit of ionizing radiation equal to the amount that produces the same damage to humans as one roentgen of high-voltage x-rays.  Source: MIT)

1 rem = 10 mSv  (1 Sv = 100 rem)

Background Radiation in millirems per year (mrem/yr)

  • Average background radiation (US):  300
  • Higher altitudes (e.g, Denver): 400

“Safe Levels” of Radiation (U.S.)

Limits above natural background radiation levels (average 300 millirems per year) and medical radiation:

  • Occupation Limit: Maximum of 5,000  (the limit for a worker using radiation)
  • Average Natural Background: 300

[Note: Lifetime cumulative exposure should be limited to a person's age multiplied by 1,000 millirems, e.g., a 70-year-old person, 70,000 millirems.]

Adults

  • Max single dose for an adult: 3,000
  • Annual total dose: 5,000

Under 18

  • Max single dose for a person aged under 18 years: 300 millirems (whole body equivalent)
  • Annual total exposure: 500

Fetal Exposure

  • Maximum limit for fetal exposure during gestation period:  50 millirems per month above background levels

Medical

  • Single Chest X-ray (the whole body equivalent): 2 millirem

Air Travel

  • Coast-to-coast US round trip flight: 12 millirems

*Note:  Radiation dose of about 2,000 millisieverts (200,000 millirems) cause serious illness.

Half-life of some radioactive elements

[NOTE: Half-life is the time taken for a radioactive substance to decay by half.]

  • Cesium-134 ~ 2  years
  • Cesium-137 ~ 30 years
  • Iodine-131 ~ 8 days
  • Plutonium-239 ~ 24,200 years
  • Ruthenium-103 ~ 39 days [Ruthenium is a fission product of uranium-235.]
  • Ruthenium-106 ~ 374 days
  • Strontium-90 ~ 28.85 years  [Strontium-90 is a product of nuclear fission and is found in large amounts in spent nuclear fuel and in radioactive waste from nuclear reactors.]
  • Uranium-234 ~  246,000 years
  • Uranium-235 ~ 703.8  million years
  • Uranium-238  ~ 4.468 billion years

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US Nuke Plants Threatened by Extreme Heat

Posted by feww on July 20, 2011

WARNING!

Sustained Heat Could Overwhelm Cooling at Nuclear Power Plants

Extreme Heat Could Severely Impact Nuclear Power Plants in Central, Midwest and Eastern United States Leading to Potential Nuclear Disasters

Cooling at the U.S. Nuclear Power Plants


Map of the Licensed Nuclear Reactors in the U.S. Subdivided by Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Regions.

All but less than two dozen of a total of 104 nuclear reactors in the U.S. fall within the extreme heat zone as shown in the forecast map below.

Persistent heat could severely impact the ability of cooling systems in the reactors, causing overheating in one or more NPPs that could potentially lead to nuclear disasters at multiple locations.

Hazards Assessment Map


NWS has forecast that excessive heat will persist from today through July 29 in all the eastern half of the country except for the Northeast. Click image to enlarge.

Highest Heat Indexes

Tuesday’s highest recorded heat indexes in the U.S. were

    • Knoxville, Iowa: 131 (ºF)
    • Freeport, Illinois: 124
    • Madison, Minnesota: 124
    • Watertown, Wisconsin: 119
    • Tekamah, Nebraska: 117
    • Camberlain, South Dakota: 115

Heat Index Forecast:

  • Washington, DC: 116
  • Richmond, Virginia: 118


Maximum heat index forecast for July 22, 2011. Click image to enlarge.

Probability of a Nuclear Disaster by Country

The following probability figures are calculated by FIRE-EARTH on April 8, 2011 (Last UPDATED: July 20, 2011)

  • Japan (880)³
  • United States (870)
  • France (855)
  • Taiwan (850)
  • Belgium, China, Finland, India,  South Korea, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Russia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Armenia, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania,  Hungary, Bulgaria, Spain,  Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico,  South Africa, Canada (810)
  • Germany, Sweden, Netherlands (800)
  • Switzerland  (750)

Notes:

  1. The list represents a snapshot of events at the time of calculating the probabilities. Any forecast posted  here is subject to numerous variable factors.
  2. Figures in the bracket represent the probability of an incident occurring out of 1,000; the forecast duration is valid for the next 50  months.
  3. Probability includes a significant worsening of Fukushima nuclear disaster, and future quakes forecast for Japan.
  4. A nuclear incident is defined as a level 5 (Accident With Wider Consequences), or worse, on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). See below.
  5. Safety issues considered in compiling these lists include the age, number of units and capacity of nuclear reactors in each country/state, previous incidents, probability of damage from human-enhanced natural disasters, e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic activity, hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, wildfires, flooding… ]
  6. The Blog’s knowledge concerning the extent to which the factors described in (3) might worsen during the forecast period greatly influences the forecast. (Last UPDATED: July 20, 2011)

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Japan’s Fukushima Nuke Plant Still Leaking

Posted by feww on June 28, 2011

Radioactive water leaking from Fukushima NPP

Some 15 tons of radioactive water have leaked from a storage tank at the stricken Fukushima NPP, Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported.

The plant operators, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), continue to accumulate large volumes of radioactive contaminated water after being used to cool the melting reactors.

Meantime, TEPCO’s majority institutional shareholders have nixed a motion by a large number of individual shareholders to abandon nuclear energy in the wake of the Fukushima plant’s triple core meltdown.

Probability of a Nuclear Disaster by Country

The following probability figures are calculated by FIRE-EARTH on April 8, 2011

  • Japan (880)³
  • United States (865)
  • France (855)
  • Taiwan (850)
  • Belgium, China, Finland, India,  South Korea, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Russia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Armenia, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania,  Hungary, Bulgaria, Spain,  Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico,  South Africa, Canada (810)
  • Germany, Sweden, Netherlands (800)
  • Switzerland  (750)

Notes:

  1. The list represents a snapshot of events at the time of calculating the probabilities. Any forecast posted  here is subject to numerous variable factors.
  2. Figures in the bracket represent the probability of an incident occurring out of 1,000; the forecast duration is valid for the next 50  months.
  3. Probability includes a significant worsening of Fukushima nuclear disaster, and future quakes forecast for Japan.
  4. A nuclear incident is defined as a level 5 (Accident With Wider Consequences), or worse, on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). See below.
  5. Safety issues considered in compiling these lists include the age, number of units and capacity of nuclear reactors in each country/state, previous incidents, probability of damage from human-enhanced natural disasters, e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic activity, hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, wildfires, flooding… ]
  6. The  Blog’s knowledge concerning the extent to which the factors described in (3) might worsen during the forecast period greatly influences the forecast. (Last UPDATED: June 26, 2011)

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Japan’s Nuclear Industry: Mega Disaster in the Making

Posted by feww on June 11, 2011

FIRE-EARTH Editorial on the third month anniversary of Japan’s triple disaster and its triple nuclear reactor core meltdown

Today is the third month anniversary of the Tohoku Mega Quake [Great East Japan Earthquake] that shook the country off its rickety foundation.

In the past three months the world has learned that more than ever before Japan’s doomed Fukushima NPP and all of its other nuclear plants pose an existential threat to the entire region and beyond.

In the hand of the Japanese ruling elite who own, operate and invariably fail to safeguard the country’s nuclear industry, the atomic plants have turned into weapons of mass destruction.

Japan’s ruling elite are the remnants of the same diabolic regime that painted the entire region red with human blood in the last century.

Japan MUST now be disarmed and its nuclear “weapons” removed BEFORE the next Mega Quake strikes the country.

The world community must force Japanese authorities to decommission all of their nuclear power plants forthwith.

From 2011 Disaster Calendar – June Entry

  • [June 7, 2011]  Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.  SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,744 Days Left to the ‘Worst Day’ in Human History
    • Japan. The ever-conspiring Japanese nuke officials have doubled estimate for the radiation that escaped from the doomed Fukushima NPP soon after the March 11 mega quake and tsunami from 370,000 terabecquerels to 770,000 terabecquerels, a report said. More people will have to be evacuated.
      • As FIRE-EARTH had suspected, complete core meltdown occurred at all three working Reactors 1, 2 and 3 at Fukushima NPP, with massive amounts of radiation penetrating the earth below. (See links below).

Probability of a Nuclear Disaster by Country

The following probability figures are calculated by FIRE-EARTH on April 8, 2011

  • Japan (880)³
  • United States (865)
  • Taiwan (850)
  • Belgium, China, France, Finland, India,  South Korea, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Russia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Armenia, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania,  Hungary, Bulgaria, Spain,  Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico,  South Africa, Canada (810)
  • Germany, Sweden, Netherlands (800)
  • Switzerland  (750)

Notes:

  1. The list represents a snapshot of events at the time of calculating the probabilities. Any forecast posted  here is subject to numerous variable factors.
  2. Figures in the bracket represent the probability of an incident occurring out of 1,000; the forecast duration is valid for the next 50  months.
  3. Probability includes a significant worsening of Fukushima nuclear disaster, and future quakes forecast for Japan.
  4. A nuclear incident is defined as a level 5 (Accident With Wider Consequences), or worse, on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). See below.
  5. Safety issues considered in compiling these lists include the age, number of units and capacity of nuclear reactors in each country/state, previous incidents, probability of damage from human-enhanced natural disasters, e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic activity, hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, wildfires, flooding… ]
  6. The  Blog’s knowledge concerning the extent to which the factors described in (3) might worsen during the forecast period greatly influences the forecast.

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Posted in environment | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment

Posted by feww on May 6, 2011

Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment

The book is available online.  http://bit.ly/mo29TZ 

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Meltdown Confirmed at Fukushima Nuke Power Reactors

Posted by feww on March 12, 2011

NUKE PLANTS IN QUAKE ZONES: EXPLOSIVE MIX!

BREAKING NEWS

Massive Explosion at Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, Core Meltdown Occurring: Scientists

The explosion tore down the walls of a unit within the Fukushima power plant Saturday as a large plume of smoke poured out.  Several workers were reported injured, and Japanese officials said a reactor core meltdown was likely to occur.

Independent scientists have since confirmed that, based on the available evidence, reactor core meltdown must be occurring.

The pressure in the reactor had built up to more than twice the normal level, after the shutdown of cooling systems caused by the Sendai Mega Quake and its ensuing Tsunami. The Plant is now venting “radioactive vapors,”  Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said in a statement. Radioactive iodine and caesium has been detected outside the No. 1 one reactor of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi No. 1 plant, the agency said, adding that the uranium fuel rods inside the reactor may have begun melting.

Radioactive steam has been allowed to escape from a number of the reactors at the two Fukushima plants  in order to relieve the huge pressure that has built up inside the cores.

Tens of thousands of people living within the 20-km radius of the No. 1 plant and 10-km radius of No.2 plant  have now been evacuated.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Prime Minister has declared a state of emergency at the two Fukushima nuclear power plants.

As many as 300 people have received varying degrees of radiation, including 60 students at high school in Fukushima located about 3.5km from Plant No. 1, who were waiting to be evacuated.

The reactor core meltdown is feared to be “much worse” than the Three-Mile Island incident.

Background

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