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Posts Tagged ‘fukushima radiation leak’

UPDATE: Japan Nuclear Disaster

Posted by feww on April 5, 2011

UPDATE 12:00UTC

TEPCO has revealed that it had found radioactive iodine-131 at 7.5 million times the legal limit in seawater samples taken on Saturday near the stricken Fukushima NPP.

Samples taken on Monday showed the radioactive level at 5 million times the legal limit. The new samples also  contained radioactive cesium-137  at 1.1 million times the legal limit, the company said.

Why have oceans if you couldn’t…

Japan to dump 11,500 tons of “low-contaminated water” into the Pacific ocean

Workers at Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP have begun dumping “low-radioactive” water  into the ocean allegedly to free up  storage room for  more highly radioactive water.

TEPCO says they are dumping 11,500 tons of radioactive-water, currently held at the crippled Fukushima NPP storage facilities, into the Pacific ocean so that the more radioactive-water that is leaking from Reactor 2 can be stored in its place.

Does that mean when even more highly radioactive water is found at the site they can dump the second load into the ocean?

Meanwhile in Germany…

“A decision has been taken to shut down eight plants before the end of this year and they definitely won’t be reactivated. And the remaining nine will be shut down by the end of the decade,” a German deputy environment minister, told Reuters on Monday.

“Japan has shown that even if there is a miniscule occurrence, the residual risk is too high to justify the continuation of nuclear power […] It is better to go for other energy services in a civilized country,” Juergen Becker said.

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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Posted in Chernobyl, Chernobyl nuclear disaster, chernobyl victims, environment, Half-life | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Fukushima Radiation Leak NOT Fixed

Posted by feww on April 3, 2011

Japan Nuclear Disaster Update – April 3

Radioactive contaminated water still leaking into the ocean at a rate of about 2 liters per second: TEPCO

More than7 tons  of radioactive water is leaking into the ocean every hour, Tokyo Electric Company said, NHK reported.


A 20-cm crack at the bottom of a concrete duct near Reactor 2 at Fukushima NPP is releasing more than 7 tons or radioactive water into the ocean. Photo released by TEPCO.


An inlet to the damaged maintenance duct near Reactor 2.
Photo released by TEPCO.


Cement mix poured to block crack in the duct
.
Photo released by TEPCO.

Summary of Latest Developments:

  • Contaminated water in the duct is emitting more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour (100,000  millirems per hour)* of radiation into the surrounding environment.
  • Seawater samples taken 330 m south of the plants on March 31 contained both radioactive iodine-131 at 4,385 times and cesium-137 at 527 times above the legal limits. Cesium-137 has a half life of 30 years and persists much longer than iodine (half-life = 8 days, see also list below).
  • Workers made an unsuccessful attempt to plug the crack using concrete.
  • A second attempt made earlier today to fix the crack using a mixture of a chemical polymer, sawdust and shredded newspaper also failed.
  • TEPCO is preparing for a third attempt to plug the leak, using an absorbent gel which expands to contain water and is usually included in baby diapers and litter trays for pets.
  • About  164,000 people are currently living in shelters
  • At least 70,000 people have been evacuated from a 20 km exclusion zone of Fukushima NPP.
  • Up to  140,000 people live inside the next 10 km zone, who have been urged to leave or stay indoors.
  • “The impact of the nuclear crisis is expected to go on for a long time,”  Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said earlier today.

*Note:  Single radiation dose of 2,000 millisieverts (200,000 millirems) and above causes serious illness. See also exposure list below.

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.]

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.

Related Links

Posted in Chernobyl, Chernobyl nuclear disaster, fukushima nuclear disaster, Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, Fukushima Nuclear reactor, Japan Nuclear alert | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Japan Nuclear Emergency – Update 28 March

Posted by feww on March 28, 2011

Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Japan’s nuclear watchdog has reported that the level of radiation detected  near reactor 2 was 1,000 millisieverts an hour (100,000 millirems per hour).

Japan’s nuclear safety officials have since confirmed that the radiation inside Reactor 2 was caused by a partial meltdown of fuel rods.

TEPCO says the radiation in Reactor 2, which was earlier reported at 10 million times the normal, was actually 100,000 the operating level.

Meanwhile, Japan’s nuclear safety agency has dismissed as unreliable a report by Greenpeace that radiation levels of up to 10 microsieverts per hour had been detected 40 km (25 miles) NW of the nuclear plant.


Fukushima NPP. Workers are seen outside the heavily damaged Reactor 4 on March 22, 2011. Photo by TEPCO, via Reuters.

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 just over 11,000, with about 17,400 people still listed as missing.

Related Links

Posted in Japan Atomic Energy Agency, japan earthquake, Japan Earthquakes 2011, lethal radiation dose | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tokyo Water Radiation “TOO HIGH” for Infants

Posted by feww on March 23, 2011

updated at 12:00UTC

CONTAMINATED WATER TOO HOT FOR BABIES

High radiation levels in Tokyo’s tap water makes it unfit for infants to drink: Officials

Up to 210 becquerels per liter of radioactive iodine-131 have been detected in some of Tokyo’s tap water;  the safe level for infants is under 100 becquerels per liter.

Note: One becquerel (Bq) represents one nucleus decay per second in a given quantity of radioactive material. 1 GBq = 0.0270 Curie (Ci). Curie is an older unit of radioactivity equal to the decay of 1 gram of radium-226 ~ 1 Ci = 3.7 x 10^10 decays per second.

Tokyo residents have been warned not to give tap water to infants, but told the radiation poses no short-term health threat to adults.

Japan’s Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, has imposed a ban on a comprehensive range of agriculture produce from Fukushima and neighboring Ibaraki prefectures.

Much higher than normal radiation contamination has been detected on spinach and other green leaf vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, parsley, edible flowers and milk, some as far 30 miles from the stricken nuclear plant, Japanese authorities say.

Meanwhile, the US FDA has announced that farm produce and agriculture produce including milk and milk products, and vegetables and fresh fruits from Fukushima and three other Japanese prefectures—Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma—won’t be allowed to enter the United States.

Fukushima Reactors 1, 2 and 3

Work at Reactor 2 was suddenly halted earlier today, but no explanation was given by the authorities, as of posting.

Rising temperature at Reactor 1 is causing mounting concern. The temperature had risen to about 400ºC, some 100 degrees higher than the design permits.

At 4:20pm JST, black smoke was seen rising above Reactor 3, forcing the authorities to evacuate technicians from the area. The cause of the smoke is not known/has not been revealed, as of posting, but the authorities said very high level of radiation was detected before the smoke was released.

Death Toll

About 23,000 people are dead or missing as a result of the March 11 Tohoku Megaquake and the ensuing deadly tsunami.

Japan Forced to Break with Tradition

The overwhelming number of victims and a shortage of kerosene required to cremate their bodies have forced Japan’s local authorities in the stricken prefectures to bury the dead.


Members of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force carry the coffin of a victim of the earthquake and tsunami at a temporary mass grave site in Higashi Matsushima, northern Japan March 23, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao. Image may be subject to copyright. More images …

Aftershocks/New Earthquakes

Japan’s Tohoku region has been hit by at least 2 dozens significant aftershocks in the past 24 hours, with the 3 largest measuring 6.6, 6.4 and 6.6Mw.

Related Links

Posted in japan earthquake, Japan Earthquakes 2011 | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Japan’s Triple Disaster Update Mar 20

Posted by feww on March 20, 2011

UPDATED 12:00UTC

TEPCO FALSIFIED SAFETY RECORDS

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) the operator of Fukushima Daiichi NPP has admitted faking repair reports.

TEPCO submitted a report to the Japan’s nuclear watchdog on 28 February, 11 days before the Tohoku Megaquake, admitting it had not  inspected 33 pieces of equipment in the plant’s six reactors.

‘Long-term inspection plans and maintenance management were inadequate,’ the nuclear safety agency concluded in its follow-up report two days later.

The company also admitted that the voluntary inspections didn’t cover substantial section of the cooling systems, including water pumps and diesel generators.

In 2002, TEPCO again admitted to falsifying safety reports, prompting the nuclear safety authorities to shut down all 17 of its boiling-water reactors for  inspection, including Fukushima.

In 2007,  after an earthquake struck the Kashiwazaki Kariwa NPP, the world’s largest, TEPCO submitted false reports concerning the amount of radioactive leak.

Radioactive contamination found in food products from Fukushima prefecture: Officials

Radioactive iodine has been found in milk samples and spinach produced in the Fukushima and could be harmful to human health if ingested, Japan’s science and technology ministry reported.

Minute amounts of radioactive iodine have also been detected in tap water in Tokyo and five other prefectures neighboring Fukushima: Gunma, Tochigi, Niigata, Chiba and Saitama.

In addition to the iodine, traces of radioactive cesium have also been found in tap water in Gunma and Tochigi prefectures, the ministry added.

The radioactive traces fall within the government safety limits, but tests don’t normally show iodine contamination, AP reported.

Radioactive iodine has a short half-life of eight days, but it can poses short-term risk to human health if ingested. It can also cause damage to the thyroid gland, IAEA health experts say.

“Progress”

“We are making progress … (however) we shouldn’t be too optimistic,” the deputy-general at Japan’s Nuclear Safety Agency has said.

Fukushima Reactor 3, which contains plutonium, a highly radioactive element, has bee stabilized after being doused for a day with large volumes of  seawater.

UPDATE: Shortly after announcing Reactor 3 had been stabilized, the authorities said pressure was again building up in the reactor’s containment vessel.

Aftershocks

A magnitude 6.1 aftershock struck Ibaraki prefecture south of Fukushima on Saturday at 06:57 PM local time. However, no significant aftershocks were reported Sunday (local time), as of posting. But the “fireworks” are by no means over, FIRE-EARTH believes.

UPDATE: Magnitude 6.1 Strikes Near the East Coast of Honshu

Magnitude: 6.1
Date-Time: Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 12:03:48 UTC
Location: 39.365°N, 142.105°E
Depth: 53.1 km (33.0 miles)
Region: NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Distances:

  • 90 km (55 miles) ESE of Morioka, Honshu, Japan
  • 139 km (86 miles) SSE of Hachinohe, Honshu, Japan
  • 162 km (100 miles) NE of Sendai, Honshu, Japan
  • 458 km (284 miles) NNE of TOKYO, Japan

Source: USGS

RADIATION RISKS TO HEALTH

A Joint Statement from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the American Thyroid Association, The Endocrine Society, and the Society of Nuclear Medicine

The recent nuclear reactor accident in Japan due to the earthquake and tsunami has raised fears of radiation exposure to populations in North America from the potential plume of radioactivity crossing the Pacific Ocean. The principal radiation source of concern is radioactive iodine including iodine-131, a radioactive isotope that presents a special risk to health because iodine is concentrated in the thyroid gland and exposure of the thyroid to high levels of radioactive iodine may lead to development of thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer years later. During the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident in 1986, people in the surrounding region were exposed to radioactive iodine principally from intake of food and milk from contaminated farmlands. As demonstrated by the Chernobyl experience, pregnant women, fetuses, infants and children are at the highest risk for developing thyroid cancer whereas adults over age 20 are at negligible risk.

Radioiodine uptake by the thyroid can be blocked by taking potassium iodide (KI) pills or solution, most importantly in these sensitive populations. However, KI should not be taken in the absence of a clear risk of exposure to a potentially dangerous level of radioactive iodine because potassium iodide can cause allergic reactions, skin rashes, salivary gland inflammation, hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism in a small percentage of people. Since radioactive iodine decays rapidly, current estimates indicate there will not be a hazardous level of radiation reaching the United States from this accident. When an exposure does warrant KI to be taken, it should be taken as directed by physicians or public health authorities until the risk for significant exposure to radioactive iodine dissipates, but probably for no more than 1-2 weeks. With radiation accidents, the greatest risk is to populations close to the radiation source. While some radiation may be detected in the United States and its territories in the Pacific as a result of this accident, current estimates indicate that radiation amounts will be little above baseline atmospheric levels and will not be harmful to the thyroid gland or general health.

We discourage individuals needlessly purchasing or hoarding of KI in the United States. Moreover, since there is not a radiation emergency in the United States or its territories, we do not support the ingestion of KI prophylaxis at this time. Our professional societies will continue to monitor potential risks to health from this accident and will issue amended advisories as warranted.
______________________________________________________________________
For additional information, please contact Stephanie Kutler, Director of Government and Public Affairs, at skutler@endo-society.org.

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