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Disaster Deepens at “Nuked” Fukushima Plant

Posted by feww on August 21, 2013

More tanks may be leaking contaminated water: NRA

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has raised the severity of the Fukushima crisis from a level 1 “anomaly” to a level 3 “serious incident” on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), an international scale for radiological releases.

[NOTE: Each step increase on INES represents a 10-fold jump in severity.]

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said on Tuesday that highly contaminated water was leaking from a storage tank; however, the NRA fears that more of the storage tanks may be leaking.

NRA Chairman has likened the nuked Fukushima plant to a house of horrors at an amusement park. “I don’t know if describing it this way is appropriate, but it’s like a haunted house and, as I’ve said, mishaps keep happening one after the other,” he told reporters. “We have to look into how we can reduce the risks and how to prevent it from becoming a fatal or serious incident.”

Meantime, the deadly farce continues…

JPNUKE facilities enJapan’s Nuclear Facilities. Copyright © Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA, Japan). All Rights Reserved.

TEPCO: Press Release (Aug 21,2013) Water Leak at a Tank in the H4 area in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (Follow-up Information 6)

This is follow-up information on the “water leak at a tank in the H4 area in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station” found on August 19.

We would like to announce analysis results on seawater near the exit of the side ditch of the south water outlet and water in the side ditch in front of the core warehouse, sampled yesterday (on August 20), as follows.

As a result of the analysis this time, the densities in seawater near the exit of the side ditch of the south water outlet were found to fall within the fluctuation ranges of the past densities measured on a regular basis in seawater near the exit of the side ditch of the south water outlet. The densities in water of the side ditch in front of the core warehouse were found almost unchanged from the results obtained yesterday.

<Seawater of the south water outlet (near the exit of the side ditch) (sampling performed at 2:20 PM on August 20)>
Cesium-134:Below the detection limit value [the detection limit value: 1.1Bq/L (1×10-3Bq/cm3)]
Cesium-137:1.8Bq/L (1.8×10-3Bq/cm3)
All β:Below the detection limit value [the detection limit value: 19Bq/L (1.9×10-2Bq/cm3)]

<Water of the side ditch in front of the core warehouse (sampling performed at 11:40 AM on August 20)>
Cesium-134:Below the detection limit value [the detection limit value: 19Bq/L (1.9×10-2Bq/cm3)]
Cesium-137:Below the detection limit value [the detection limit value: 27Bq/L (2.7×10-2Bq/cm3)]
All β:93Bq/L (9.3×10-2Bq/cm3)

We are to continuously conduct analysis today on seawater of the south water outlet (near the exit of the side ditch) and water of the side ditch in front of the core warehouse.

For the past sampling results, please refer to the following page on our website:  http:// www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/index-e.html

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:

[NOTE: Each step increase on INES represents a 10-fold jump in severity.]

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.]

Related Links

Also search the blog for dozens of additional entries on “Fukushima.”

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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