power – strom und macht

10300 Millisievert per Hour in Fukushima Reactor No.1


Susanne Gerber

The highest level of radiation to date has been detected inside the No.1 reactor vessel at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Tokyo Electric Power Company said it used endoscopes and dosimeters to examine the interior of the reactor on Tuesday. Internal measurements were made for the first time since the accident in March last year. The utility detected a record level of 10,300 millisieverts per hour. The measurement was taken 20 centimeters above the surface of a contaminated water puddle in the reactor’s suppression chamber. This high level of radiation would be fatal for humans within 50 minutes. No broken parts were identified in the containment vessel during the survey. 1,000 millisieverts per hour was detected about 4 meters above the water surface. The figure is 10 times higher than measured in the No.2 and No.3 reactors. Workers are expected to engage in clean-up and other tasks mostly at the 4-meter level, which is raising health concerns. TEPCO official Junichi Matsumoto said he suspects that a higher radiation level in the No. 1 reactor is caused by more fuel rods melting down than in other reactors. He said robots will be used for damage assessment because it is unsafe for humans to work on site.


Filed under: Consequences, Fukushima, Meltdown, Radiation

Latest News About Reactor No 4


Susanne Gerber


Filed under: Danger, Fukushima

Mizumoto park in Tokyo needs radiation decontamination


Susanne Gerber

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has rejected a local politician’s call to decontaminate a park where high concentrations of radioactive cesium have been detected, saying radiation levels are not high enough to warrant a cleanup. The high concentrations in Katsushika Ward’s Mizumoto Park were found earlier by Japanese Communist Party (JCP) members of the metropolitan assembly, and JCP assemblyman Tamio Tazoe called for the decontamination of the site in a recent session. The metropolitan government, which detected a radiation dose of 0.99 microsieverts per hour in tests at the park on June 11, rejected Tazoe’s request, stating the emissions did not reach the national limit. According to the Tokyo Bureau of Environment, it conducted the June 11 measurements at the request of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), which had been contacted by the JCP. It says bureau workers took the 0.99 microsieverts per hour reading a meter above the ground where the JCP members had earlier found the high cesium concentrations. About 60 meters away in the middle of the park’s parking lot, however, the bureau says it measured a dose of just 0.18 microsieverts per hour. In October last year, the national government established standards whereby MEXT could be contacted if localized radiation levels were on average one microsievert per hour higher than surrounding areas. Bureau chief Teruyuki Ono stated that the measurements taken this time were below the national limit and that he thought an overall radiation survey of Tokyo government facilities was “basically unnecessary.”

Filed under: Fukushima, Politics, Radiation

Fukushima prefecture requested Hirosaki university to stop internal exposure test


Susanne Gerber

Fukushima prefectural government requested Hirosaki University to stop internal exposure test “because it causes fear of Fukushima people”.

Researching team of Hirosaki university conducted radiation test for Iodine 131 taken in the thyroid for 17 people in Namiemachi, where is in planned evacuation area and 45 people who evacuated from MInamisoma to Fukushima (62 in total). The researching team obtained the permission of the citizens and local government.
To make the reliable data, they needed over 100 testees but the local medical department of Fukushima prefecture stopped them conducting further research. They commented, “The researching team is allowed to measure environmental radiation level but internal exposure test causes fear, it shall be stopped.”

The medical department states, they don’t remember that comment but they actually requested other universities to “understand the feelings of local citizens.” as well.
As the result, almost none of the internal exposure data of Iodine 131 remained.

The radiation data of those 62 people are already published. On the assumption that they took Iodine 131 to their thyroid on 3/12,the total dosage of internal exposure of the 5 people exceed 50 mSv, which they had to take iodine preparation from the regulation of IAEA. However now it’s considered to be more possible that they took iodine 131 on 3/15, they are analyzing the data again.

Around the end of March 2011, Nuclear disaster headquarters of the government actually conducted thyroid internal exposure test for 1080 of 0 ~ 15 years old people living in Iidate mura but because they used the simple equipment, they couldn’t measure iodine 131 directly.

Filed under: Consequences, Fukushima, Politics, Radiation

TEPCO again fails to find leaks at Fukushima plant


Susanne Gerber

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says a new method has failed to locate radioactive water leaking from one of the reactors. Identifying the leaks is a key step towards decommissioning the plant. Tokyo Electric Power Company said workers used an infrared camera on Tuesday to search for the leaks in the suppression chamber at the No.2 reactor. It was hoped that the infrared images would reveal the leakage spots by showing the temperature difference between the water and the air. But the images failed to show a big gap in temperatures. TEPCO says it will devise other ways to find the locations. The utility has been injecting water into the reactor to cool melted fuel rods to prepare for their removal. But some of the radioactive water is leaking from unidentified places.

Filed under: Accident, Consequences, Fukushima, Radiation

If this global catastrophe occurs, what will the world history books say?


Susanne Gerber

By Akio Matsumura

I was amazed when I heard that one million Japanese had read our article that introduces Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata’s courageous appeal at the public hearing of the House of Councilors of Japan and Robert Alvarez’s famous figure that there is 85 times greater Cesium-137 at Fukushima than at Chernobyl accident. People from 176 nations have visited our blog and Ambassador Murata and Robert Alvarez have been quoted in online and print media in many of them. Despite this global attention, the Japanese government seems to be further from taking action to deal with the growing dangers of Fukushima Dai-ichi. In April I flew to Japan to meet with government and opposition party leaders to convey how dangerous the situation is. Ambassador Murata and I met with Mr. Fujimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary, who assured us he would convey our message to Prime Minister Noda before his departure for Washington to meet with President Obama on April 30. It was to our great disappointment that the idea of an independent assessment team and international technical support for the disaster were not mentioned publicly. I was also astonished to hear that many Japanese political leaders were not aware of the potential global catastrophe because they were not told anything about it by TEPCO. I find it difficult to understand their mindset. Why would the Japanese political leaders think it appropriate to depend on one source (with an obvious and inherent conflict of interest) to judge what issues have resulted from the Fukushima accident and who is most appropriate to handle it? As a result of this myopia, Japan’s leadership lacks a clear picture of the situation and has little idea where it is steering its country and people.

Let me clarify briefly why Fukushima Dai-ichi remains an enormous danger for which no scientists can recommend a solution at the moment.

Any one of the following accidents could seriously endanger the entire Fukushima Dai-ichi area.

1.      In reactors 1, 2 and 3, complete core meltdowns have occurred.  Japanese authorities have admitted the possibility that the fuel may have melted through the bottom of the reactor core vessels. It is speculated that this might lead to unintended criticality (resumption of the chain reaction) or a powerful steam explosion – either event could lead to major new releases of radioactivity into the environment.

2.      Reactors 1 and 3 are sites of particularly intense penetrating radiation, making those areas unapproachable.  As a result, reinforcement repairs have not yet been done since the Fukushima accident.  The ability of these structures to withstand a strong aftershock earthquake is uncertain.

3.      The temporary cooling pipes installed in each of the crippled reactors pass through rubble and debris.

They are unprotected and highly vulnerable to damage. This could lead to a failure of some cooling systems, causing overheating of the fuel, further fuel damage with radioactive releases, additional hydrogen gas explosions, possibly even a zirconium fire and fuel melting within the spent fuel pools.

4.      Reactor No. 4 building and its frame are serious damaged. The spent fuel pool in Unit 4, with a total weight of 1,670 tons, is suspended 100 feet (30 meters) above ground, beside a wall which is bulging outward.

If this pool collapses or drains, the resulting blast of penetrating radiation will shut down the entire area. At the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, the spent fuel pools alone contain an amount of cesium-137 that is 85 times greater than at Chernobyl.

Any of these occurrences could have major consequences for the entire Fukushima Dai-ichi area.

Due to the pressure by the public and media, the government of Japan sent Mr. Goshi Hosono, Minister of the Environment and Nuclear Power Policy, to Reactor 4 on May 26. He spent half an hour on a temporary staircase at the site. Surprisingly, he said the structure supporting the pool appeared sound. (So our constant request for an Independent Assessment team was accomplished within 30 minutes, just like that. Thanks, Japan.) Minister Hosono also said at the press meeting that Reactor 4 could stand a Magnitude-6 earthquake. I don’t understand why he said this. We are warning that Japanese geologists predict that a 90% probability M-7 earthquake will be hitting Japan within three years.

Is he preparing his excuse that a M-7 earthquake was beyond his assumption?

Does the government of Japan think that the public is stupid enough to believe in such a performance? If they are so brazen, it’s probably because they know the Japanese media will cover what they wish to be covered. If we were talking about business as usual, I could ignore this as political theater, but we are talking about a global catastrophe that mankind has never experienced. “Frustration” and “disappointment” take on new meaning with each passing day.

I decided to visit Washington, D.C., to meet with a retired Army Lieutenant General, an old friend who I first met at the United Nations, to explain how Fukushima should be considered an urgent international security priority, and how it requires immediate U.S. action.

He agreed. He saw very clearly why Fukushima needs action now and he was puzzled why all possible actors have been so slow to move. One year and two months have now passed and it is a mystery what the United States government is waiting for. Investigating Reactor 4 should be a prioritized national security issue. We think we have been lucky for 14 months but it was a litmus test to see if opinion leaders from all walks of life would stand up to face the challenge. They haven’t thus far. And I don’t think we can count on luck for 14 more months.

I also met with Bob Alvarez in Washington and we talked for several hours. I thanked him for his calculation of Cs-137 at Fukushima Daiichi site; the simple figure has helped draw the public’s attention to the issue. Mr. Alvarez said that the figure of a ten times Cs-137 at Reactor 4 compared to Chernobyl is low, but is useful to avoid scientific arguments; a higher figure might be 50 times, which means that 85 times greater than Chernobyl might be an underestimate as well.

But it doesn’t matter, Alvarez said, whether the magnitude is 10 or 20 times greater at Reactor 4. The Cesium-137 in Reactor 4 would cause all of Japan’s land  to become an evacuation zone, the strong radiation would affect East Asia and North America, and the radioactive material fall out would remain there for several hundred years.  He asked me if Japanese leaders understand this. My answer is, yes, they understand it in theory but not in a practical sense. Prime Minister Noda, the sixth premier in the past five years, does not have the political power to make a decision to request the Independent Assessment team and the international technical support teams outside of TEPCO.

I told him that I came to Washington to explain that Japan will not take the first step; its leadership does not have the power to act first and survive politically, and does not have the courage to take the first step without thinking of the second.

Our guest speaker at the Moscow Global Forum in 1990, Dr. Robert Socolow, a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University wrote his essay to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists dated March 21, 2011.

We must explain, over and over, the concept of ‘afterheat,’ the fire that you can’t put out, the generation of heat from fission fragments now and weeks from now and months from now, heat that must be removed. Journalists are having such a hard time communicating this concept because it is so unfamiliar to them and nearly everyone they are writing for. Every layman feels that every fire can be put out.

It is so difficult, as Dr. Socolow says, to convince political leaders to take action in the face of an unknown – in this case an unprecedented catastrophe that they cannot conceive of in terms of an election cycle.

In the same way, I must explain to foreign leaders over and over again that Japan’s Prime Minister is a consensus builder, not a risk taker. He won’t face up to this challenge.

The United States government is the only other logical actor, and I find it very difficult to understand why they remain silent.

If this global catastrophe occurs, what will the world history books say?

Filed under: Consequences, Danger, Fukushima, Politics

Tepco Corporate Information


Susanne Gerber


I would like to express my sincerest condolences to those who have suffered from the Tohoku-Chihou-Taiheiyo-Oki Earthquake that struck our nation on March 11.

The TEPCO Group is currently in the process of mobilizing all of its available resources towards the stabilization of „Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station“ and to „care for the afflicted“, „ensure stable power supply during the summer“ and „implement extreme business efficiency and streamlining measures.“

We are especially concerned with the speedy expedition of multiple measures in accordance with the „Roadmap“ so that those who were forced to evacuate due to the accident will be allowed to return to their homes as soon as possible.

I sincerely request your continued support and cooperation.

June 2011
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, Incorporated
Toshio Nishizawa

Filed under: Fukushima, Politics

Rising Temperature in Fukushima No. 4 Spent Fuel Pool. Problems with Water Pumps.


Susanne Gerber

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant said Wednesday that the temperature of water inside the No. 4 unit’s spent fuel pool rose to 42 C as of 5 p.m. following problems with the water circulation system pumps. One of two pumps which stopped was later reactivated, and the water temperature is expected to start falling, said Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Junichi Matsumoto. On Tuesday morning, the water was 34 C. There are two pumps to cool water which is used to remove heat emitted from the spent nuclear fuel stored inside the No. 4 reactor’s pool. But the main pump stopped working on Tuesday, and the backup pump stopped on Wednesday.


Filed under: Consequences, Danger, Fukushima

Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis


Susanne Gerber

ay 15, 2012 post by Dr. Shunichi Ono, a medical doctor in Kyushu, translated by Dissensus Japan:

I got contacted by a woman in her early 30s who evacuated from Fukushima (Kôriyama) to the west Japan. She was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer and is going to have an operation. She gave me a permission to introduce her note on this blog. We can’t determine that her cancer is caused by the accident, but we should certainly take it as a warning sign…

Third time to the clinic again. She had an uneasy feeling when she received a phone call from the clinic 4 days after the diagnosis, giving her an appointment to discuss her results, which was supposed to take 2 weeks. She was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. The 6 mm tumor appears on the right side of thyroid. The doctor told her about the diagnosis while showing the image of cytological diagnosis. Doctors with less experiences could have determined the tumor as benign, but her doctor was the one who specialized in treating persons affected by radiation, and did some study in Chernobyl as well. He also understood that she was from Fukushima, and radiation could give a health damage.

However, as it was written, she had 10ml of Isodine after the accident, left Ko-riyama quite quickly and also no abnormality in her thyroglobulin level is found. Considering all those facts, I should not prejudge but I can’t help expecting that we are going to have a catastrophic health hazard caused by the accident.

Filed under: Consequences, Danger, Fukushima, Radiation

MIT awarded $1.65 million in Department of Energy Nuclear Energy University Programs grants and $450,000 in graduate student fellowships.


Susanne Gerber
Two of 47 newly funded Department of Energy (DOE) research projects are led by professors in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) at MIT. Under its Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP) umbrella, the DOE has awarded $36.2 million in support of projects in four fields: fuel cycle research and development; reactor concepts research, development and demonstration; nuclear energy advanced modeling and simulation; and transformative research. Both the MIT projects fall into the fuel cycle research & development category.

“Optimization of Deep Borehole Systems for HLW Disposal,” led by Professor emeritus Michael Driscoll and Assistant Professor Emilio Baglietto, received an $850,000 grant; and “Scholarship for Nuclear Communications and Methods for Evaluation of Nuclear Project Acceptability,” led by Professor Michael Golay, received $800,000.

NEUP research award winners

From left to right: Michael Driscoll, Emilio Baglietto, Michael Golay.

The objective of the “Optimization of Deep Borehole Systems for HLW Disposal” project is to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the deep borehole option for disposal of high level nuclear waste. This project builds upon a long history of prior work carried out in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT and more recently at Sandia National Labs. It is designed in part to respond to the recent report to the Secretary of Energy by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, which — drawing in part on earlier MIT research — identified deep boreholes as a possible alternative to shallower mined repositories.

Collaborators on this project are Associate Professor Jacopo Buongiorno and Professor and Department Head Richard Lester, and Dr. Patrick Brady at Sandia National Labs.

“Scholarship for Nuclear Communications and Methods for Evaluation of Nuclear Project Acceptability“ will develop a model to characterize the factors affecting social acceptance of nuclear projects by potential stakeholders. The nuclear enterprise has long faced difficulties in gaining the broad social acceptance needed for success. The base of scholarship relevant to this problem is relatively small, and not much used within the nuclear enterprise. Reliance upon public education efforts continues to be the main, and largely unsuccessful, tactic to achieve acceptance. This project will develop a model for the social acceptability of nuclear projects, for use in assessment and refinement of their probabilities of success among essential stakeholders. The researchers expect that it will strengthen the ability to design and implement large projects more efficiently, leading to higher rates of success for future nuclear projects.

In addition to the two research grants, three NSE graduate students, Sam Shaner, William Boyd and Bradley Black, have been awarded 2012 NEUP fellowships. Each student will receive $150,000 over three years to support their studies at MIT.

These grants and fellowships are part of a larger effort by the DOE to build on President Obama’s commitment to promote education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. The awards announced under the NEUP programs will support nuclear energy research and development and student education at 46 colleges and universities around the country.

Filed under: Politics