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Archive for August 9th, 2013

Taiwan Nuke Plant Leaking Radioactive Water

Posted by feww on August 9, 2013

Taiwan’s oldest nuclear plant leaking radioactive water for 3 years: Watchdog

The 35-yo Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in Shimen, New Taipei City, has been leaking radioactive water since 2010, according to the government’s nuclear watchdog.

Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), which operates the island’s 3 nuclear plants, has denied the leak coming from the storage pools, alleging instead that the water comes from condensation, or external cleaning.

The watchdog, Control Yuan, doesn’t buy the operator’s explanation.

“Taiwan has also had problems on what to do with its nuclear waste, which for many years was dumped on a small island off its southeast coast, to the anger of its aboriginal inhabitants,” said a report.

Taiwan has three nuke plants which include a total of 6 reactors. Nuclear power accounts for about a fifth of the island’s electricity production.

  • Typhoon SOULIK, which struck Taiwan on July 13, caused a generator and turbine trip, leaving a seawater inlet blocked and damaging three fine filters as well as a traveling filter rake, said a report.

Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant
The Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in Shihmen District, New Taipei City, is pictured on March 15 during a media visit organized by Taiwan Power Co, which operates the nation’s nuclear power stations. Photo credit: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Summary of the report issued by Control Yuan: The plant’s reactors No. 1 and No. 2 reactors have leaked a total of 15,369.61 milliliters and 4,829.66ml of water respectively since 2010

Atomic Energy Council have repeatedly found radioactive substances, such as cesium-137, cobalt-60, manganese-54 and sodium chromate, in the leakage.

Taipower has given inconsistent explanations for the leaks and has claimed that the water was not from the spent fuel pools, which is inconsistent with the Atomic Energy Council’s findings.

The Control Yuan report also reprimanded Taipower for two other problems regarding spent fuel storage:

First: Taipower delaying for more than 10 years the construction of interim nuclear waste storage facilities, which could result in the spent fuel in the No. 1 reactor exceeding the pool’s maximum capacity in its next maintenance overhaul, which is set for November next year.

Second:  was that since Taipower says it lost a report on spent nuclear fuel storage and management that it commissioned from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of the US in 1987, the evaluation process the plant’s storage technology was subjected to at the time is unknown, the report said.

Probability of a Nuclear Disaster by Country

Nuclear power is harmful to the planet and all lifeforms. Any nuclear disaster striking anywhere on the planet has global implications.

The following probability figures  calculated by FIRE-EARTH on April 8, 2011 still hold!

  • 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)


  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)

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

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.]


  • 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


  • 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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Extreme Rain Events Destroy Thousands More Homes in NE China

Posted by feww on August 9, 2013

Extreme Rain Events Destroy Homes, Ruin Crops, Affecting hundreds of thousands in NE China

Since early July, Extreme Rain Events in Daqing City in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province have destroyed or damaged more than 2,100 homes in 68 towns and villages, local authorities said.

Widespread flooding triggered by the torrential rains have “ruined 133,000 hectares of crops or plants, resulting in direct economic losses of 480 million yuan (78.4 million U.S.dollars),” said the report.

“In the worst-hit Lindian County, 115,000 people have been affected, and 1,152 houses have collapsed.”

flooding in NE China 8Aug2013Original caption: The water level of the Songhua River rises in Jilin City, northeast China’s Jilin Province, Aug. 8, 2013. Jilin City has suffered continuous rainfall since Wednesday night, which caused the water level of the Songhua River rises to 188.67 meters in the city. Yellow alert on thunder and blue alert on torrential rain have been released by Jilin provincial meteorological observatory. (Xinhua). More images…

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Silver Fire Burns 14,000 Acres, Destroys 26 Homes

Posted by feww on August 9, 2013

Silver Fire: 14,000 Acres Burned; Additional Evacuations Ordered

The Silver fire started at about 2:00pm PDT on Wednesday (UTC -7 hrs.) near Highway 243, south of Banning, and quickly spread, consuming at least 5,000 acres in less than 4 hours.

  • As of 9:30 pm PDT on August 8, 2013 , the fire had grown to 14,000 acres (20% contained), destroying at least 26 residences and one commercial building in Twin Pines, and nearby Poppet Flats.
  • At least 1,500 people were evacuated as of posting.
  • Some 1,450 fire crews have been deployed to contain the fire.



Evacuation Orders remain in effect for the communities of Vista Grande, Mt. Edna, Poppet Flats, Twin Pines, Silent Valley as well as portions of Cabazon – Peach Street, Plum Street, Eucalyptus Street, and Riza Avenue, Ida Avenue, Helen Avenue East to Elm Street. Black Mountain and Boulder Basin Campgrounds as well as Black Mountain Fire lookout have been closed by the Forest Service. Evacuation order in effect in lower Cabazon and Snow Creek Village. [Cal Fire]

UPDATE 3:07 P.M. (August 8, 2013) –  The fire is now estimated at 11,000 acres, still 10% contained.  The fire is actively burning in the San Jacinto wilderness.
here have been a total of four firefighters injured (unknown extent) and one civilian. [Riverside County Fire Department]

  • There have been a total of four firefighters injured (unknown extent) and one civilian.


Incident Statistics (Riverside County Fire Department News)
Statistics for the week of 7/29/2013 to 8/4/2013

  • Fire: 271
  • Medical Emergency: 1,937
  • Haz Mats/FMS: 38
  • Misc: 151
  • 2013 YTD Total: 78,900
  • 2012 YTD Total: 76,511
  • As of August 4, 2013, Riverside County incidents have increased 3.12% from last year.

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Temperature Records Broken in Austria, Hungary

Posted by feww on August 9, 2013

All-time High Temperature Records Broken in Austria, Hungary (possibly

Temperatures have climbed to all-time highs in Austria and neighboring Hungary amid a persistent heat wave that has plagued the region for nearly two weeks.

Temperature in Vienna, the Austrian capital, climbed to all-time high of 40.5ºC (105 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday, shattering the previous record of 39.9ºC (104ºF) set just five days earlier.

Previously, the highest recorded temperature in Vienna was 38.9C set on July 8, 1957 at Mariabrunn station in Hadersdorf, said a report.

In Hungary, Serbia and Poland temperatures climbed to record or near-record highs of 40ºC on Thursday,

Officials in Budapest warned temperatures on paved roads could climb to as high as 60ºC.

“Croatia sent two water-dropping planes to Bosnia earlier in the week to help battle wildfires set off by drought and sweltering heat that threatened several villages. A Russian aircraft was dispatched to fight blazes in Serbia,” reported AP.

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U.S. Drought Expands Slightly

Posted by feww on August 9, 2013

Extreme Drought, Abnormally Dry Levels in Lower 48 Expand Marginally

Areas covered by various drought levels in contiguous United States expanded marginally in the week ending August 6, 2013. D0 – D4 Drought levels covered 57.40 percent of the lower 48, up from 57.23 percent previous period.

The region worst affected by the drought was the South, where Exceptional Drought expanded to 3.75 percent, up from 3.04 percent earlier. The region’s D0 – D4 drought levels also expanded to 74.44 percent, up from 73.81 percent a week earlier.

us drought map
US Drought Map as of August 6, 2013, released by US Drought Monitor on  August 8, 2013.

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