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

Posts Tagged ‘nuclear industry’

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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Disaster Calendar – 16 June 2012

Posted by feww on June 16, 2012

DISASTER CALENDAR SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,369 Days Left

[June 16, 2012] Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.  SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,369 Days Left to the ‘Worst Day’ in Human History…

  • Japan. No one is quite capable of taking pride in ignorance than the wanting in self-esteem, self-serving and ultimately corrupt Japanese politicians.
    • The Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihiko Noda, and the country’s Industry Minister, Yukio Edano, have announced the resumption of nuclear power operations at two reactors operated by Kansai Electric Power Co at Ohi Nuclear Power Plant (Ōi NPP), in Fukui Prefecture, western Japan.
    • The reactors are the first to resume operation after they were shut down following the Fukushima meltdown, world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
    • More reactors elsewhere in the country are expected to follow suit.
    • There are uncorroborated reports that the incidents of birth defects in Fukui Prefecture are higher than in most of the rest of Japan.
    • It’s believed that a number of nuclear incidents have occurred at Oi NPP, but the reports were not made public.
    • It can be argued that the Japanese deserve their government. Unfortunately, nuclear disasters have global repercussions.
    • See also:

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

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Unreported News: Motion to Dump Japan’s Nuclear Power Plants

Posted by feww on May 4, 2011

Posted by FIRE-EARTH  on May 3, 2011

Shut Nuclear Plants: Electric Power Co Stockholders

As of posting, NONE of the news agencies or major media in the U.S. has carried news of Japan’s electric power companies stockholders calling for closures of nuclear plants in  that country.

Shareholders of five electric power companies in Japan are demanding the utilities to decommission their nuclear power plants following the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi power plant, NHK reported.

Some 400 shareholders of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which operates the Fukushima NPP, have submitted an official petition calling for the abolition of the company’s nuclear power plants.

“Shareholders of at least four other power companies—Kansai Electric, Chugoku Electric, Kyushu Electric and Tohoku Electric—have made similar proposals.” Said the report.

The move follows a similar action by a group of 232 shareholders of Tohoku Electric company who submitted a motion on Monday calling for the company to abolish its nuclear power plants, Japan’s JiJi press reported.

The group argued that the risks of operating nuclear power plants far outweigh the full extent of liabilities that any single company could afford, and urged the company to decommission its nuclear power plants and to withdraw its investment in the spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plants, the report said.

“The power companies are expected to examine the proposals and submit them to a vote at their annual shareholders’ meeting. The meetings are typically held by the end of June.” NHK reported.

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Shut Nuclear Plants: Electric Power Co Stockholders

Posted by feww on May 3, 2011

Japan’s Electric Power Companies Shareholders Call for Nuclear Plant Closures

Shareholders of five electric power companies in Japan are demanding the utilities to decommission their nuclear power plants following the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi power plant, NHK reported.


Reactor 3 at TEPCO’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi NPP is seen in this frame grab  from a video clip shot by an unmanned helicopter on April 10, 2011. Image by TEPCO/Handout

Some 400 shareholders of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which operates the Fukushima NPP, have submitted an official petition calling for the abolition of the company’s nuclear power plants.

“Shareholders of at least four other power companies—Kansai Electric, Chugoku Electric, Kyushu Electric and Tohoku Electric—have made similar proposals.” Said the report.

The move follows a similar action by a group of 232 shareholders of Tohoku Electric company who submitted a motion on Monday calling for the company to abolish its nuclear power plants, Japan’s JiJi press reported.

The group argued that the risks of operating nuclear power plants far outweigh the full extent of liabilities that any single company could afford, and urged the company to decommission its nuclear power plants and to withdraw its investment in the spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plants, the report said.

“The power companies are expected to examine the proposals and submit them to a vote at their annual shareholders’ meeting. The meetings are typically held by the end of June.” NHK reported.

Death Toll from the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 

Meanwhile, Japanese authorities released that following data for the numbers dead or missing in the March 11 Mega quake that struck Tohoku region in northeastern Japan:

  • Total number of people dead or missing:  25,536
  • Confirmed dead in 12 prefectures:  14,728*
  • Number of victims identified so far: 12,509 (Source: NHK)

*The figure includes victims of two deadly aftershocks on April 7th and 11th.

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Radiation Leak Found at Fukushima

Posted by feww on April 2, 2011

Japan Nuclear Disaster Update – Apr 2

Radiation near Reactor 2 in Fukushima NPP measures 1,000 millisieverts per hour

TEPCO, operator of the crippled Fukushima NPP, has found radioactive water leaking into the sea from a cracked concrete duct near Reactor 2, NHK said.


A TEPCO employee points to the inlet of a cracked concrete duct containing power cables near Reactor 2 at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant where contaminated water,  emitting radiation at 1,000 millisieverts per hour, is  leaking into the sea, April 2, 2011. Source: TEPCO

“With radiation levels rising in the seawater near the plant, we have been trying to confirm the reason why, and in that context, this could be one source,” said deputy head of Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA).

“There could be other similar cracks in the area, and we must find them as quickly as possible.”  Mr Nishiyama added.

TEPCO  is planning to pour concrete into the duct in an attempt to stop the leak, a company spokesman was quoted as saying.

The US Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, estimated on Friday that about 70% of one reactor core and 30% of another were severely damaged. However, these figures have not been confirmed by TEPCO.

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 (eg. 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

Megaquake and Tsunami Death Toll

The latest figures released by the authorities put the number of dead at about  12,000 with 16,000 people still listed as missing.

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Another Hole in Areva’s Nuclear Cheese

Posted by feww on July 18, 2008

Radioactive leaks from a broken pipe at a nuclear fuel plant in southeast France was discovered Friday, the country’s nuclear safety authorities (ASN) announced.

The leaks at Romans-sur-Isere’s FBFC plant in the Drome region, which were caused by cracks in an underground pipe carrying liquid uranium, were “several years old,” Areva said.

“The defective pipe was shut by our teams,” Areva said. [Well, thanks!]

“Results from initial tests show there has been no impact at all on the environment, because the quantity of uranium was very small, in the order of a few hundred grammes,” said ASN spokeswoman Evangelia Petit.

The FBFC plant processes fuel for some of France’s nuclear fleet of 58 reactors, the world’s second largest network, after the United States.

Meanwhile, France’s Energy and Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo frenetically attempted to reassure the nation about the incident.

“We mustn’t over-exaggerate,” he said, about 115 such “little anomalies” occur in France’s nuclear industry each year. “This is something which poses no environmental or health risk.” [That's really reassuring, M. Borloo!]

Following an earlier incident on July 7 in which 360 kg of liquid uranium was discharge into the local rivers at Tricastin nuclear plant, the government had ordered safety tests in the country’s 19 nuclear plants Thursday, just a day before the discovery of latest leak.

It’s not known whether France’s 115 nuclear leaks each year is related to young French oysters abnormal mortality rates!

[Note: Areva has since replaced the manager for the Tricastin plant; however, the position of its Chairman of the Executive Board, Anne Lauvergeon, remains sacrosanct.]

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