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  • Welcome to the new site. Here's a thread about the update where you can post your feedback, ask questions or spot those nasty bugs!

Nature and Man: Hazards, Earthquake & Nuclear energy!

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Some basic ideas on radiation measurements and the consequences of whole body exposur

Doug,

In simpler terms, we know what radiation will do based on absorbed dose. That was traditionally expressed as ergs of energy deposited in tissue subjected to radiation. The basic unit used until the new international units of the Gray was accepted, has been the rad or Radiation Absorbed Dose. The singular and plural are the same. 1 rad = 100 ergs of energy absorbed per gm of tissue. With the accepted use of the Gray, the practical unit, the centiGray, of cGy corresponds to 1 rad. We know that a limited portion of body can receive 70-600 cGy as a single dose and this can be repeated for therapeutic purposes to kill a tumor. When the 200 cGy are given to a limited volume, excluding the eyes and intestine, to a maximum of 4600 cGy, the body is able to repopulate normal tissues from cells that were in reserve while tumor cells, more limited in repair capability, cannot and so die off or get induced to a programmed cell death or suicide pathway. When all this happens under the best circumstances, the body heals and dead tissue is removed. For further attack on cancer cells, careful radiation planning reduces the attack target volume, reaches this through carefully marked fiduciary guides and with experience to avoid acute and longterm complications, one might reach final small accurately shaped volumes ( 2-20 cc of tumor) to final doses of 8000 cGy for a tiny brain tumor to 6600-7400 for a chest tumor or head and neck cancer. In therapeutic exposure, we know exactly the level of penetration ability of the rays we use. Physics planning is very sophisticated, taking into account the different rates of energy deposition each specific form of radiation beam used. Low energy may be absorbed almost totally in the skin or the bone. High energy will actually mostly skip the first tissue it encounters and be deposited at deeper levels.

Mild redness on the skin may hide severe doses at depth in the intestine for subjects exposed in radiation accidents to high energy, >1 Mev gamma rays, for example from Cesium 137.

If a large part of the intestine or bone marrow or brain is given a higher dose, then the consequences can be very severe to fatal. Thus, for example, at 400-500 cGY whole body, 50% of folk will die.

In radiation protection, we may not know exactly what each individuals exposure was. But we should know what the risks are before they go into an area. For this the exposure rate is determined, looking at the various kinds of energy in the area at sufficient positions to characterize a worker's likely risk. Here the sievert is used. I sievert = 1 Gray.

Single Dose Whole body Exposure in a period of up to approx one day

  • 100 cSv would give deposit 100 cGy of a radiation absorbed dose of 100 (x100 ergs)/gm tissue and cause obvious but small blood changes.
  • 200 cSv results in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss and hemorrhages
  • 500 cSv will kill 50% of humans exposed
  • 700 cSv may kill 99% of folk and above that no therapies are likely to save them
Caveats: Each radionuclide found in the zone of a radiation disaster has it's own specific spectra of energy levels and so can penetrate only so much tissue depending on that. Strontium 90 dust, while it would burn the skin and lungs is not likely to reach more than superficial parts of the body from the skin surface. Particle size is important for inhaled dust to be kept in the airways. Metal containing dusts collect on the skin, in the skin folds and by shirt collars and the belt areas. It can be sufficient to cause extreme "sunburn" and subsequently many many skin cancers to survivors decades later. Radiation dust in the belt line can be sufficient to cause overdose to a localized segment of bowel and this may require emergency surgery. we don't really fully understand the long term effects on organs such as the kidney. for example, can radiation exposure increase the chances of diabetes? Can radiation around the collar, albeit of radionuclides with low energy, reach the spine and predispose to cervical spinal fusion?

We only know clearly about limited targets such as cesium replacing potassium or radioiodine targeting the thyroid gland. There's much more we have no idea about especially to rare outcomes or effects in racial groups.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Theoretically, one should be able to use quadricopters equipped with detectors to fully characterize the risks in all the areas needed. I have no doubt that many companies have offered their expertise but the wall of "privacy" around companies in Japan makes this not an easy proposition. Doubtless, there's more going on in this regard than we know.

well I did some checking and it seems that Japan is asking for these vehicles right now. Read more here. Share pictures if you can find them!

Here's the first



Credit: Japanese Fukushima UAV identified

"Perhaps the translation does not do its name justice. The platform sports an 86cc petrol motor and 3.2 meter wing span. Its made by the Fuji IMVAC company."

Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
The Becquerel measures a quantity of radioactive matter (the curie corresponded to about 1g uranium). The measuring instrument is analogous to a weighting scale (although, in practice the quantity of matter is deducted from the radiation).

Becquerel per square meter is thus analogous to how many grams of radioactive material per unity of surface there is and represent land contamination. Becquerel per liter represent contamination for liquids.

The Gray (ex rad or röntgen) measures a quantity of radiation received at the measuring instrument. The instrument is analogous to a light meter in photography.

The Sievert (ex rem) measures a quantity of radiation received at the measuring instrument, and corrects it for the effect on the human body (some radiation is more harmful than other). The instrument is analogous to a light meter filtered for a special kind of non-panchromatic film, for example.

On plural: s.i. units derived from people's names do not take an s. Others do.


I said that reporting errors in the units abound. There is one online right now.

If you click here:
http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html
you will read: " On 30 March in the prefectures where deposition of iodine-131 was reported, the range was from 2.5 to 240 becquerel per square metre. For caesium-137, the range was from 3 to 57 becquerel per square metre. In the Shinjyuku district of Tokyo, the daily deposition of both iodine-131 and cesium-137 on 30 March was below 30 becquerel per square metre." (daily deposition rate) and "At the same locations, results of beta-gamma contamination measurements ranged from 0.04 to 0.34 Megabecquerel per square metre." (total deposit, the figure in bold was 3.4 yesterday morning and has been corrected in the mean time)

But if you click here:
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS_Further_evacuations_a_possibility_3103111.html
you will read: "Levels ranged from 0.2 to 25 megabecquerels per square metre for iodine-131, and from 0.02 to 3.7 megabecquerels per square metre for caesium-137."
(The figures in bold are incredibly high -higher than Chernobyl-, not consistent with anything which has been reported and seem to be a confusion with the daily deposit rate cited above and a factor of 100000).
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
The Gray (ex rad or röntgen) measures a quantity of radiation received at the measuring instrument. The instrument is analogous to a light meter in photography.
Not quite true.

I have provided physical definitions that are rather more accurate in my post immediately above yours. The Gray is an absorbed dose. The meter does not measure that, but rather exposure at that point to radiated energy of a certain energy. The Gray and rad are reserved for absorbed dose. The actual absorbed dose depends on a lot more factors, some of which I have introduced above. It's better to think of exposure measurements as the reflection of relative danger in an particular location. Without knowing the source distribution energy of the radiation and the type of radiation, alpha, beta, or gamma or even neutrons, we cannot work out what the absorbed dose is going to be.

A bunch of high readings could be due to suspended particulates or getting close to a radioactively "hot" surface or settled contaminating radioactive dust on the meter! Given all these difficulties, measurements of the environment have to be meticulously mapped in 3D space with different channels for different energies.

Personnel wear badges or monitors to determine their accumulated dose of radiations of various energies. Then health physicists can correlate 3D maps with the dosage records and hopefully determine the whole body and localized radiation dose that other workers would be subjected to for that work area.

Asher
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

Not quite true.

I have provided physical definitions that are rather more accurate in my post immediately above yours. The Gray is an absorbed dose.
Indeed, my error. I had said "absorbed" in an earlier "draft" and I don't know why I changed it.

The meter does not measure that, but rather exposure at that point to radiated energy of a certain energy.
Yes, and I did not mention that quantity, as I am unsure as to the unit to be used.

Thanks for the correction and elaboration.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Looking for the missing 17,000!

Some folks might be still alive in pockets of space with food just enough for survival. Others may be washed ashore on some desolate beach. At last, there's a massive search underway to attempt to account for the missing.



Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press: Members of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force prepare to search for tsunami and earthquake victims off Iwate Prefecture on Friday.


In the largest rescue mission ever carried out in this country, 18,000 Japanese searchers have been joined by 7,000 American military personnel in an operation using 120 helicopters and reconnaissance aircraft and 65 ships to scour a coastal area from the northern tip of Iwate Prefecture to the southern end of Fukushima Prefecture. Source
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
The missing piece of my earlier discussion of ionizing radiometric quantities and units was exposure rate. This in effect describes the "potency" of the ionizing radiation arriving at a certain point.

It does not directly tell us the "dose" that would absorbed per second per kilogram by a subject at that distance, nor the resulting dose equivalent (although it of course influences both).​

The SI unit is the coulomb per second-kilogram (C• s^-1•kg^-1) (this is sometimes read as coulombs per second per kilogram).

The non-SI unit is the roentgen per second (which had a quasi-SI status until recently; the units however are of different size).

Survey instruments such as Geiger-Müller counters in general essentially read the quantity exposure rate.

The quantity exposure is the time integral of exposure rate over some explicit period of time.

The SI unit is the coulomb per kilogram (C•kg^-1).

The non-SI unit is the roentgen (which had a quasi-SI status until recently; the units however are of different size).

Dosimeters, in the strict sense, usually measure exposure but, as the name suggests, are often arranged to read in projected dose equivalent (in the SI unit Sievert or the non-SI unit rem)

Best regards,

Doug
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Dosimeters, in the strict sense, usually measure exposure but, as the name suggests, are often arranged to read in projected dose equivalent (in the SI unit Sievert or the non-SI unit rem)
In practice, you are a worker and want to know your practices are safe for you. So you can wear a radiation badge. This is designed to change as it gets bombarded to different energies of radiation. Now for that set of badges, there are also reference badges held by the manufacturer and also in the drawer at the front desk in the facility where you work. These are all tested every month and then they can say how much radiation of different energy you were exposed to during that period. From that they can estimate what your likely absorbed dose is.

This film type device is efficient but too slow for emergency work. So electronic dosimeters have not only the ability to add up exposure over your work period, but also also to set off an alarm if certain lmts are breached. So this is the type of device one should wear in addition to the standard film badge.

In testing H bombs, the US Navy gave badges to only scattered numbers of servicemen and not each diver or person on deck had ether safety goggles nor a badge of any sort. Estimates were made regionally. In general folk who measure are not generous in releasing data for all sorts of reasons. This creates a difficulty for decades later claims of association between illnesses and claimed radiation exposure.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Occasionally, I put to work my love of the French language and respect for the newspaper, Le Monde to obtain an often independent point of view.

Today was such a time. Read the comments in French in the original Le Monde page here or my translation..... with the help of online engines.

Friday, April 1, 2011
Nuclear Energy Responsibility: "The IAEA is impotent by nature"

The International Atomic Energy Authority has made itself notable for it's essential absence in any meaningful way from the nuclear crisis that has shaken Japan! The way it was set up, it is supposed coordinate technical assistance and information about the nuclear accident, the Agency International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has never been able, since 11 March, influence events, to inform in time the states on the progress of operations cooled reactors, or to actually estimate the severity of the disaster on the scale of nuclear events. Yesterday, another blow was dealt to foundation of its existence. Traveling to Tokyo Express, the French president called for the adoption by the end of the year, new international standards of nuclear plant safety. Norms intended to have been enacted and enforced by Agency in Vienna. Stephane Lhomme, president of the Observatory and a former nuclear spokesman for the Nuclear Exit Network, an effective enforcement of these safety standards is impossible since the IAEA is "intimately linked to the nuclear industry. "

What is the mission of the IAEA?

Stéphane Lhomme: The International Atomic Energy Agency was founded in 1957 with a dual mission: to monitor the development of nuclear energy and promote its industry. Under the pretext of ensuring that member states develop only civilian nuclear and non-military with research on atomic weapons, the agency provides also assist in construction of reactors.

It should enforce safety standards for nuclear ...

Stéphane Lhomme: Since its inception, it has enacted a body of safety standards. But it is minimum standards, which are based on countries and manufacturers to achieve their own rules. The energy policy of each country is thus completely independent. If signatory countries of the Non-Proliferation Treaty allowing the agency to visit their facilities, they are nevertheless not obliged in any way to enforce its recommendations. The IAEA has had no binding power. For reasons of cost, its member states do not want to be told what investments made in improving the safety of their
reactors.

The IAEA, so why did it not demonstrate any will for enforcement?

Stéphane Lhomme: It is inherently impotent since it was created by the nuclear industry for the nuclear industry. It is composed of experts seconded from the nuclear industry of its various member states. It's a small world, friends who try to arrange them. When a delegation carries out inspections in a country abroad, it does not look too critically for fear that he makes his own facilities vulnerable to like criticism. Everyone is trying to protect its interests by ensuring that industry continues. For example, in 2007, an IAEA mission, led by an expert Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) French, considered the central Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, damaged by an earthquake of magnitude 6.8 Richter. [The report was given] but that has not led to heightened security measures regarding
earthquakes in Japan.

Can we adopt more stringent standards in nuclear safety?

Stéphane Lhomme: Countries may accept new standards in the face of pressure world public opinion. But do not kid ourselves, if Nicolas Sarkozy promotes them is only to protect the nuclear industry and promote the EPR* developed by Areva, which claims to be more secure. In reality, these new standards will not be much high to the extent they involve closing a large number of reactors. And this, no country wants, since the cost is the dismantling of power stations.

* EPR is the European Pressure Reactor developed by France and Germany. It has a lot of safety systems but unfortunatly, the electronic of the backup emergency systems are integrated with the normal control systems. That means in the event of an emergency, while there's independent options for cooling, there's no redundancy or independence of the wiring to control the backup emergency systems! For more info go here.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Good news: Japan government reports that reactor #3 ,(the one that uses a mixture of Uranium and Plutonium oxides) is in safe cold shutdown! BRAVO Hope it is maintained.

So now reactors 1,2 and 4 have power and work on going in cooling them and so now 3 of the 6 Fukoshima boiling water reactors, (#'s 3, 5 and 6), are safely in a parked state! Of course, #2 appears to have some leak or else isotopes wouldn't be getting into ground water! But one thing at a time. It's a major achievement for reactor #3 to be shut down. The scale and hardship on the Japanese has been horrible. At last we are making substantial progress. However, the human losses in lives and society are unspeakable.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I hope that my ongoing reports help to keep the people of Japan in our minds. I try to bring facts as best can be discovered and put them into practical perspective without political recriminations just a sense of responsibility to humanity.

Asher
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

I hope that my ongoing reports help to keep the people of Japan in our minds. I try to bring facts as best can be discovered and put them into practical perspective without political recriminations just a sense of responsibility to humanity.
Your reports have been very enlightening. They make use of your keen awareness of and sensitivity to interactions between human activities and the environment in which we find ourselves, and are informed by your professional knowledge of the properties of ionizing radiation.

Thanks so much.

Best regards,

Doug
 

fahim mohammed

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,


Your reports have been very enlightening. They make use of your keen awareness of and sensitivity to interactions between human activities and the environment in which we find ourselves, and are informed by your professional knowledge of the properties of ionizing radiation.

Thanks so much.

Best regards,

Doug
+1 from me too.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
It turns out that labs thousands of miles away from the disaster have a far more accurate knowledge of what's going on in the reactors in Japan. From the gases and isotopes that escape, our satellites, UAV flybys and more, step by step sequence of reactor damage has been elucidated. Areva, the French company has had it's name removed from an important set of slides that one of the presenters made public.

The details are here. If you can find the German research groups slide show, then post a link!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Perfect! This is a great contribution to understanding. It's gratifying to know that nuclear accidents and goings on can't really be hidden that well from scientific scrutiny. This allows public response and hopefully better policy. We humans do wake up eventually!








It's a great thing that we are getting more presentations of overall estimations of risk at different times. The International Atomic Energy authority has produced a simplified chart that might give a quick reference to key points. Remember, it does not deal with rarer but longer acting isotopes in any detail in mapped areas.

Asher
 
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Jerome Marot

Well-known member
A few articles today on the situation in Japan:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/06/world/asia/06nuclear.html?_r=1&hp
http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS-Fukushima_leak_plugged_nitrogen_considered-0604117.html
http://www.irsn.fr/FR/Actualites_pr...406_seisme-japon-point-situation-6-avril.aspx

The situation is still very serious, cooling of the cores by injecting water cannot be sustained indefinitely and the spent fuel pools are still a cause for concern. Tough choices ahead.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
A few articles today on the situation in Japan:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/06/world/asia/06nuclear.html?_r=1&hp
http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS-Fukushima_leak_plugged_nitrogen_considered-0604117.html
http://www.irsn.fr/FR/Actualites_pr...406_seisme-japon-point-situation-6-avril.aspx

The situation is still very serious, cooling of the cores by injecting water cannot be sustained indefinitely and the spent fuel pools are still a cause for concern. Tough choices ahead.
Jerome,

In the second reference for them to say that the idea of a melt-through of the reactor of #2 is "quashed" is disingenuous. We just don't know enough! The secrecy of the company is at odds with independent analysis. Just looking at arrival of radioactive metal particles 1 mile from the reactor explosions of hydrogen in the first days of the disaster means that rods were broken and some parts were scattered! Neither the company not the Japanese government has explicitly told the folks there about this conclusion! This is a small example of the extent we cannot rely on "disclosure" up to now.

It's time for much more transparency and explanation of what various readings mean. Then engineers and medical physicists world wide could then cooperate. We are likely to be able to use the great expertise of the French and US Army especially, universities and other agencies to model what's happened to date. We could perhaps, better estimate risk, devise probes, set up water filtration on a massive scale and the like. A worldwide effort, rather than TOPCO doing things privately and Japanese courtesy, respect for authority and so forth acting as a shield, is becoming the most important policy change we should demand right now.

The risks of us not putting our best brains to mitigating risk is likely far greater than the risk of would be nuclear terrorists from learning too much about the plants!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
A Page Translated from Le monde Today

This page is translated by Google online engine and is presented as is, perhaps like a poem as the poignance of the original still comes through like a screaming child reporting a horror.

A new earthquake has revived the nightmare of March 11 in Japan 2:19 p.m.


A 7.1 magnitude aftershock, the strongest quake since March 11, has struck again Japan, April 7. AFP / Jiji Press


OTSUCHI (JAPAN), SPECIAL ENVOY - "It's the return of the nightmare ..." In his pajamas, the innkeeper is stormed out of his room. It is a little before midnight and the wooden house began to shake all of its walls. First there was a thud - "the rumble of the earth", they say here. Then the vibration increased in intensity, reaching a magnitude of 7.1. This is the strongest aftershock since the earthquake of Friday, March 11. But this time no giant wave, no tsunami.

A Otsuchi (15 000 inhabitants), a town near the sea in Iwate Prefecture, the new earthquake has caused dismay among the victims. Otsuchi was one of the cities most devastated by the earthquake of 11 March.



Nothing remains, rubble and debris of the ruins. There are 600 dead and more than a thousand missing. And 9000 people were evacuated. "It was like March 11 and we rushed to evacuate," said this mother who lives in a disaster shelter Shiroyama on a hill overlooking the city.

The cemetery a little downwards but high enough to avoid being hit by waves offers a landscape of desolation. A young woman sitting on the stairs smoking a cigarette, weeping silently. "My family is somewhere out there," she said, pointing to the city that is no more.

After the reply, some have left in haste during the night. On the roads, we could see hundreds of car headlights shine. To go where? Somewhere higher up.

"NEVER WILL BE ON RESPITE"

Others remain stoic. As this busy old couple near a pipe in the ruins of which flows of fresh water continuously. They do their laundry. "We're used to earthquakes but this time she was very strong," said the man. "We thought once again. Never have respite ..." "The house? Caught March 11. She was there. "The immediate concern of all? The future, if one exists. "What will we become? We have nothing, no house, no boat for my husband who was a fisherman," said a weeping woman.

For strength, this new replica reminded that nothing is finished and the earth rumbles still, dropping one notch the hope that gradually built the victims. Most expect to rebuild their lives. "Here" for some, "far from the sea" for others. All efforts to find a balance. "Dying ultimately what is it? Me I survived, he is dead. Nobody can criticize fate. But why him and not me?" Asks the old man continuing to wring his clothes.

Frail and pale in his sweat too much, Kayo Iwama , aged 73, lost everything. From her house, there is only one concrete slab. On 11 March she was at home. "I felt that something terrible would happen," she says. She straddled his bike and pedaled with all his might: "It was like a horror movie, the tide was right behind me." And swallowed her. For three hours, she has survived and was rescued.

From a viewpoint overlooking the majestic bay at the end of which nestled a view that is no longer a solitary pair of lovers hugging each other. Life starts again, against all odds ...

Philippe Pons
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
An Industry using Hoards of Itinerant Laborers for Hazardous Work.

I suspected as much!

It seemed to me puzzling that workers got radiation burns to their feet. What sort of protection did they have? Hardly, s the answer.

There's an astonishingly primitive rank system of progressively less stringent safety, greater risk and lower pay. At the lowest level are the majority, itinerant with the least pay and the most hazardous work!

"..... thousands of untrained, itinerant, temporary laborers who handle the bulk of the dangerous work at nuclear power plants here and in other countries, lured by the higher wages offered for working with radiation. Collectively, these contractors were exposed to levels of radiation about 16 times as high as the levels faced by Tokyo Electric employees last year, according to Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which regulates the industry. These workers remain vital to efforts to contain the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plants.

They are emblematic of Japan’s two-tiered work force, with an elite class of highly paid employees at top companies and a subclass of laborers who work for less pay, have less job security and receive fewer benefits. Such labor practices have both endangered the health of these workers and undermined safety at Japan’s 55 nuclear reactors, critics charge.

“This is the hidden world of nuclear power,” said Yuko Fujita, a former physics professor at Keio University in Tokyo and a longtime campaigner for improved labor conditions in the nuclear industry. “Wherever there are hazardous conditions, these laborers are told to go. It is dangerous for them, and it is dangerous for nuclear safety.”"

Of roughly 83,000 workers at Japan’s 18 commercial nuclear power plants, 88 percent were contract workers in the year that ended in March 2010, the nuclear agency said. At the Fukushima Daiichi plant, 89 percent of the 10,303 workers during that period were contractors. In Japan’s nuclear industry, the elite are operators like Tokyo Electric and the manufacturers that build and help maintain the plants like Toshiba and Hitachi. But under those companies are contractors, subcontractors and sub-subcontractors — with wages, benefits and protection against radiation dwindling with each step down the ladder.

Interviews with about a half-dozen past and current workers at Fukushima Daiichi and other plants paint a bleak picture of workers on the nuclear circuit: battling intense heat as they clean off radiation from the reactors’ drywells and spent-fuel pools using mops and rags, clearing the way for inspectors, technicians and Tokyo Electric employees, and working in the cold to fill drums with contaminated waste.

Some workers are hired from construction sites, and some are local farmers looking for extra income. Yet others are hired by local gangsters, according to a number of workers who did not want to give their names.

They spoke of the constant fear of getting fired, trying to hide injuries to avoid trouble for their employers, carrying skin-colored adhesive bandages to cover up cuts and bruises.

In the most dangerous places, current and former workers said, radiation levels would be so high that workers would take turns approaching a valve just to open it, turning it for a few seconds before a supervisor with a stopwatch ordered the job to be handed off to the next person. Similar work would be required at the Fukushima Daiichi plant now, where the three reactors in operation at the time of the earthquake shut down automatically, workers say.

“Your first priority is to avoid pan-ku,” said one current worker at the Fukushima Daini plant, using a Japanese expression based on the English word puncture. Workers use the term to describe their dosimeter, which measures radiation exposure, from reaching the daily cumulative limit of 50 millisieverts. “Once you reach the limit, there is no more work,” said the worker, who did not want to give his name for fear of being fired by his employer."

Read more here.


"Most day workers were evacuated from Fukushima Daiichi after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which knocked out the plant’s power and pushed some of the reactors to the brink of a partial meltdown. Since then, those who have returned have been strictly shielded from the news media; many of them are housed at a staging ground for workers that is off limits to reporters. But there have been signs that such laborers continue to play a big role at the crippled power plant."

If you get to the end of the NY Times article, the idea that the plants are run by inhuman gangsters s not far-fteched.

This, if all true, seems like a story told from the times of World War II not modern Japan! Worse, it may not be limited Japan. How do other countries manage the hazardous operations? Before, nobody cared much. What about now? No other media outlets seem to have picked this up as yet!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief



I must say I'd have imagined that technologically advanced Japan used disposable Scoobah robots for scrubbing reactor vessels and dry wells, not ignorant day laborers who can have no idea of the risks to their health.


I guess they can use contracting supervisors and sub-supervsors and sub-sub supervisors to integrate the huge task of cleaning a complex area. With robots, one would need programming!

Asher
 
The risks of us not putting our best brains to mitigating risk is likely far greater than the risk of would be nuclear terrorists from learning too much about the plants!
Agreed, but unfortunately it's at odds with the (hono(u)r/guilt driven) Japanese culture. Do not underestimate the power of culture.

Cheers,
Bart
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Agreed, but unfortunately it's at odds with the (hono(u)r/guilt driven) Japanese culture. Do not underestimate the power of culture.

Cheers,
Bart
Japanese culture works well when everything works well. In time of rapid change, the consensus-seeking process and permission-seeking and secrecy makes response to disaster clumsy at best. Add to that an atomic agency where Topco is the retirement place for Nuclear inspectors and the use of mass, non-educated day labor for dangerous jobs leads to safety standards becoming elastic or circumvented.

In the USA, we also have a cozy relationship between NRC inspectors and the industry. There needs to be an international set of expectations and standards with separation of the inspectorates and authorities overseeing the public's interest from the managers and management of the plants. As much as I'm a diehard advocate of nuclear energy I have become bitterly disappointed with the revelations of the poor organizational structure to run and control the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Frankly, I see a need for standardization at every level and complete transparency. Everyone should know what's gong on. Every valve, circuit, transmission line etc should be subject to the same scrutiny and reporting. We need "separation of powers" and means of turning valves, replacing parts and clean up by robots, not uninformed, unprotected humans.

There's no way any uneducated day laborer can give informed consent to working in the hazardous conditions found in these devastated plants. So for want of other names, we call them "heros"!

I hope that the coloring of the story here with Japanese cultural descriptors, doesn't give the impression that Fukishma is a particularly Japanese problem. The famous French-German high pressure reactors have 4 water cooling systems in at least one iteration of the design. Unfortunately, the extra 3 redundant cooling systems could never be used where the primary electronic control system was knocked out by some accident. Unfortunately, this also is needed to bring on line the redundant emergency cooling systems!!!!

The details where the Japanese human and technical organization add inherent weaknesses are best taken as merely examples of analogous system-wide risky set ups, globally found in all reactors. The secrecy with which we protect the plants, merely blindfolds the voting public. It deprives our scientists with the means to be our advocates make this abundant energy safe for us.

The error here would be to think of this as a Japanese problem! The Japanese problem is just the terrible unmeasurable pain of the loss of so many families and livelihoods.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
A benefit of disaster: A New Robot can climb stairs and assess radiation at a distance of over a mile from base! It's yet to be deployed, but the plan is to get to try it out in Fukushima.




"In order to protect workers from radiation exposure at the Fukishima Daichi Plant, Japan has now developed another rescue robot, called “Quince,” so assist in the cleanup. Authorities have already deployed the Monirobo robot, to monitor radiation levels and collect samples. But developers say Quince may be more beneficial, as it is controllable by remote control from the safe, and very far, distance of a mile and a half."


Read more here
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
The level of the accident for reactors 1 to 3 has been raised to 7 by the Japanese authorities, the same as the Chernobyl accident. Apparently, the amount of radionucleids is a tenth of what escaped from the Chernobyl reactor.

More interesting: there is a map of the contamination in this French document, page 6:

http://www.irsn.fr/FR/Actualites_presse/Actualites/Documents/IRSN_Residents-Japon_Bulletin2_08042011.pdf

4 mSv/year is about what one gets from natural radioactivity and X-rays checks, so the dark green zone corresponds to a doubling of the average base dosis.

The map is drawn from data measured by http://blog.energy.gov/content/situation-japan
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
The level of the accident for reactors 1 to 3 has been raised to 7 by the Japanese authorities, the same as the Chernobyl accident. Apparently, the amount of radionucleids is a tenth of what escaped from the Chernobyl reactor.

More interesting: there is a map of the contamination in this French document, page 6:

http://www.irsn.fr/FR/Actualites_presse/Actualites/Documents/IRSN_Residents-Japon_Bulletin2_08042011.pdf

4 mSv/year is about what one gets from natural radioactivity and X-rays checks, so the dark green zone corresponds to a doubling of the average base dosis.

The map is drawn from data measured by http://blog.energy.gov/content/situation-japan
Well, the US wanted folk out of the 50 Km area and that's what it seems it should be!

There's another worry. Right now there is a 22 km chunk of earth crust under Tokyo. This is the 3rd of 3 layers pushing under Japan. There's the plate from the pacific and another from the Philippines. Seismologists reckon that this last quake of 9.0 increase the chance of another one slightly giving a 30% chance of an event equal or greater than 7 magnitude in the Tokyo area.

One consideration for the new planners, (politicians hopefully are being excluded) is to distribute government and hence infrastructure investment towards widely scattered areas of the countryside. This not only is safer, but also will distribute wealth more evenly. Furthermore, they have their eyes on the hills rather than the easy valleys for rebuilding. Smart idea!

Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Even if Fukushima has left the front page of the news, the situation is still very serious.

Here you will find an estimate of land contamination around the plant (in French). A 20 Km zone and a 30-40 Km north-west extension will have to be evacuated for some time.

Here and here (English) you will find assessment of the situation in reactors cores. Apparently, core 1 has undergone almost total fusion.
 
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