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Posts Tagged ‘Japan Triple Disaster’

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.
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For additional information, please contact Stephanie Kutler, Director of Government and Public Affairs, at skutler@endo-society.org.

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