Nuke Industry’s toxic Fukushima Unknowns – Reuters

Maybe the experts should ask a few of the millions of people who watch the TEPCO live cam and scan the TEPCO photo data base or write Fukushima blogs from Japan, or maybe ask the nuclear scientists who have dissented for decades with the industry norms and who, therefore, have been denied tenure and rightful advancement within Japanese instituitions of higher learning. After decades of nuclear “we know it all, the public shouldnt have a say on this”, it turns out the industry is full of used food in these matters. The nuker’s social engineering has failed, time for a technical fix. As was stated by a Chair of the AEC in 1985. As predicted by Lapp in 1971.

Maybe ordinary people dont know enough, but neither, despite its pompous denials, does the industry.

Would you buy a used NPP from these people?

In 2011 Ray in Canada and Fukushima Diary reported the quake had changed the course of a major underground stream. Post quake it ran under the reactors. At the time such observations from the layity were labelled as extreme by the industry gurus. Ditto for Ray’s views based on TEPCO photographs, that contaminated water was flowing out to sea. Actually being pumped.
Again, extreme according to the industry. Now suddenly the industry is doing a Sgt Schultz with the cause and effects for a myriad of issues the apparently ignorant layity plainly saw. As for the steam emissions, this issue is not new, its been regularly seen by ordinary people, millions of us, via the TEPCO live cam. Why broadcast the video 24/7 globally and have the media ignore and TEPCO not comment on the issues depicted until now? To create some sort dissonance for some reason? I don’t know. TEPCO knows way more than me, but way not enough to run a reactor complex. Say no to bus drivers who can’t drive and who claim plutonium is safe to eat and that exploding reactors are normal and perfectly safe. Classic crap from the nuclear experts I will never ever forget.

If nuclear was non polluting and safe as claims, it would not be the Fukushima NPP, it would be the Tokyo NPP wouldn’t it? As for the water storage problem, just read the New York Times, 1971, “The Problem of Nuclear Plumbing, by Ralph Lapp, nuclear engineer, AEC, formerly Manhattan Project. One does not have to be an ignorant extremist to see the issues.

I’m sick and tired of the decades old global social engineering by nuclear powers which plainly does not work and which is NOT the TECHNICAL FIX called for decades ago and which plainly has not arrived. At ANY stage of the nuclear fuel and power cycle. The lunacy of a design that can hit the temperature of molten steel when all it needs to do is boil water, the nuttiness of a design that can power a nation but which cannot intrinsically power itself when the grid it powers goes down – this is truly arrogant design. Staggering in it’s extreme blind faith in a status quo and hierarchy which would not know if a tram was up its bum.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/30/us-japan-fukushima-nuclear-idUSBRE96T1BC20130730

Fukushima clean-up turns toxic for Japan’s Tepco

By Antoni Slodkowski and Mari Saito

TOKYO | Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:12pm EDT

(Reuters) – Two and a half years after the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, the operator of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima plant faces a daunting array of unknowns.

Why the plant intermittently emits steam; how groundwater seeps into its basement; whether fixes to the cooling system will hold; how nearby groundwater is contaminated by radioactive matter; how toxic water ends up in the sea and how to contain water that could overwhelm the facility’s storage tanks.

What is clear, say critics, is that Tokyo Electric Power Co is keeping a nervous Japanese public in the dark about what it does know.

The inability of the utility, known as Tepco, to get to grips with the situation raises questions over whether it can successfully decommission the Fukushima Daiichi plant, say industry experts and analysts.

“They let people know about the good things and hide the bad things. This culture of cover up hasn’t changed since the disaster,” said Atsushi Kasai, a former researcher at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute.

Tepco’s handling of the clean-up has complicated Japan’s efforts to restart its 50 nuclear power plants, almost all of which have been idled since the disaster over local community concerns about safety.

That has made Japan dependent on expensive imported fuels for virtually all its energy.

RADIATION COMPLICATES THE JOB

A 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami off Japan’s eastern coast killed nearly 20,000 people on March 11, 2011. It also destroyed the Fukushima plant, causing meltdowns at some of its reactors and hydrogen explosions. Radiation leaked into the air and sea.

Tepco was heavily criticized by nuclear experts and the government at the time for what was seen as an inept response to the disaster. It has won few supporters since.

The company says it is doing its best with the clean-up at the plant, 200 km (125 miles) northeast of Tokyo, adding so much is unknown because workers cannot get to every corner of the facility because of high radiation.

But the missteps continue.

Reversing months of denials, Tepco said on July 22 that radioactive water from the plant was reaching the ocean.

That was the latest, and according to experts and anti-nuclear activists, the most glaring in a string of belated admissions that have undermined public trust in Japan’s largest utility.

In January, Tepco found fish contaminated with high levels of radiation inside a port at the plant. Local fishermen and independent researchers had already suspected a leak of radioactive water, but Tepco denied the claims.

It investigated only after Japan’s new nuclear watchdog expressed alarm earlier this month at Tepco’s own reports of huge spikes in radioactive cesium, tritium and strontium in groundwater near the shore.

Tepco apologized while President Naomi Hirose took a pay cut as a result.

“They had said it wouldn’t reach the ocean, that they didn’t have the data to show that it was going into the ocean,” said Masashi Goto, a former nuclear engineer for Toshiba Corp who has worked at plants run by Tepco and other utilities.

FRUSTRATED AT COMMUNICATION

A Tepco spokesman said the company was trying to communicate with the public.

“We do our best to present our explanations behind the possible causes of what’s happening,” he said.

Tepco was incompetent rather than intentionally withholding information, said Dale Klein, who chairs a third-party panel commissioned by Tepco to oversee the reform of its nuclear division and a decommissioning process that could cost at least $11 billion and take up to 40 years.

“The plant is in a difficult physical configuration. I have some sympathy,” Klein, a former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told Reuters.

“It’s not the fact that we’re having surprises – it’s the way they’re handling them. That’s where my frustrations are.”

Tepco says it is dealing with the clean-up hand-in-hand with the government. It has also relied on expertise from the U.S. Department of Energy and General Electric.

But a Reuters investigation in December found that foreign companies had won few, if any, contracts to develop technologies for scrapping the reactors.

Tepco, accused by experts of lacking transparency even before the disaster, was heavily criticized in the days after the calamity for not providing timely information to the public.

It was more than two months before it said three of the six reactors at the plant had suffered nuclear meltdowns. Industry experts had suspected meltdowns long before that.

Since the beginning of this year, the plant has been plagued by problems.

A worker on the site spotted steam rising from the No. 3 reactor building, but Tepco has only been able to speculate on its cause. In March, a rat shorted a temporary switchboard and cut power for 29 hours that was used to cool spent uranium fuel rods in pools.

WATER STORAGE NIGHTMARE

Experts say Tepco is attempting the most ambitious nuclear clean-up in history, even greater than the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

One of its biggest headaches is trying to contain radioactive water that cools the reactors as it mixes with some 400 metric tons (441 tons) of fresh groundwater pouring into the plant daily.

Workers have built more than 1,000 tanks to store the mixed water, which accumulates at the rate of an Olympic swimming pool each week.

With more than 85 percent of the 380,000 metric tons of storage capacity filled, Tepco has said it could run out of space.

The tanks are built from parts of disassembled old containers brought from defunct factories and put together with new parts, workers from the plant told Reuters. They say steel bolts in the tanks will corrode in a few years.

Tepco says it does not know how long the tanks will hold. It reckons it would need to more than double the current capacity over the next three years to contain all the water. It has no plan for after that.

Instead, the utility wants to stem the flow of groundwater before it reaches the reactors by channeling it around the plant and into the sea through a “bypass”.

The groundwater would be captured at the elevated end of the plant into a system of wells and channeled into pipes that would carry it to the sea.

Local fishermen oppose the idea, dismissing Tepco’s claims that radiation levels in the water would be negligible.

Meanwhile, Tepco’s improvised efforts to stop radioactive water leaking into the sea include sinking an 800-meter-long steel barrier along the coastline, injecting the ground with solidifying chemicals and possibly even freezing the ground with technology used in subway-tunnel construction.

Industry experts are not impressed.

“You can’t do temporary fixes in nuclear power,” said Goto. “They say everything’s fine until bad data comes out.”

(Editing by William Mallard and Dean Yates)

Back to the Future IV:

NEW YORK TIMES 12 DECEMBER 1971

THOUGHTS ON NUCLEAR PLUMBING

LAPP

LAPP

LAPP

LAPP

Thing is, for the last 2 1/2 years people like Ray M, Fukushima Diary and Nelson Surjon and heaps of others have written the lay equivalent on a raft of related consequences and have had the priviledge of being labelled extremist rat bags by the industry and its advocates for their trouble.

Next: More on the nuclear veterans and the seemingly endless quest for justice, for the myth is nuclear is perfectly safe. We all gotta die of something, may as well be nuclear powers who deny valid evidence in court and who spend decades suppressing evidence. Fact. Proven. Beyond reasonable doubt.

Don’t overlook the official documents. Fire their own ammo back at em.

What genius at GE Hitachi is going to say Lapp and the AEC were wrong even as that bastard of an org licenced the designs ? Point is they knew very well what the failure modes and consequences were. They went ahead and did it anyway. What was known and when. Critical information in crime scene investigation.

As for former ANSTO head Ziggy and his 2011 “no potential for radioactive build up” – he should stick to selling mobile phones. The statement at the time had the life expectancy of a flock of dead sheep.


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