Fisheries ‘shocked’ at silence over water leak at wrecked Fukushima No. 1 plant

Feb 25, 2015

Fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture slammed Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Wednesday after it emerged that water containing cesium and other radioactive isotopes has been draining into the Pacific near the Fukushima No. 1 plant and that Tepco did nothing to prevent it despite learning of the leak last May.

“I don’t understand why (Tepco) kept silent even though they knew about it. Fishery operators are absolutely shocked,” Masakazu Yabuki, chief of the Iwaki fisheries cooperative, said at a meeting with Tepco officials.

Local fishermen have already given Tepco approval to dump groundwater into the ocean before it becomes tainted, to reduce the volume of water stored in tanks at the site. The operator is now doing this, pumping water from wells, monitoring it and piping it into the ocean.

The latest incident threatens to delay a second round of approval that Tepco wants the fishermen to provide.

The utility admitted Tuesday it failed to disclose leaks of rainwater containing radioactive substances from a drainage ditch at the stricken plant even though it was aware of high radiation in the water last spring.

The ditch receives runoff from the roof of the No. 2 reactor building, which is highly contaminated with radioactive substances such as cesium.

Tepco has said it recorded 29,400 becquerels of radioactive cesium per liter in water pooled on the rooftop.

The water also contained 52,000 becquerels of beta-ray-emitting radioactive substances such as strontium-90. It also detected some 1,050 becquerels of radioactive cesium and 1,500 becquerels of beta ray-emitting radioactive materials per liter near an outlet leading to the sea.

Tepco said there is no major change in the concentration of radioactive substances in seawater it sampled about 1 km from the drainage outlet.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Tepco reported water contaminated with high levels of radiation was flowing into the ocean at the plant’s port through another drainage ditch.

Yuji Moriyama, a Tepco spokesman said the utility did not disclose the information because there is no evidence of environmental impact.

“We were aware that the levels of radioactive materials around the drainage ditch were higher than other places,” Moriyama said, adding that they have been investigating the sources of contamination since last spring.

Source: Japan Times

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/02/25/national/tepco-admits-failed-disclose-cesium-tainted-water-leaks-since-april/#.VO4-Cy4bKKG

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Fukushima cleanup fails to convince as just 10 to 20% of evacuees seek return

percentage of evacuees wanting to return feb 25 2015

February 25, 2015

Less than one-fifth of evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear disaster say they want to return to their homes, despite government efforts to speed up reconstruction in areas with lower radiation levels.

The finding came from a survey by the Reconstruction Agency conducted between August and October last year that covered about 7,100 evacuee households in Namie; 2,400 in Futaba; 4,000 in Okuma; and 5,600 in Tomioka.

Between 51 percent and 60 percent of the households responded to the poll, including those living outside Fukushima Prefecture.

The four towns, all situated near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, are divided into three zones based on annual radiation dosage levels: “difficult-to-return zones” with 50 millisieverts or more; “no-residence zones” between 20 and 50 millisieverts; and “zones being prepared for lifting of evacuation order,” with 20 millisieverts or less.

The central government has placed priority on decontaminating and reconstructing infrastructure in the latter zones to enable residents to return to their homes.

However, the survey showed that just 19.4 percent of evacuee households from “zones being prepared for lifting of evacuation order” in Namie wanted to return, while 14.7 percent of those in the zones in Tomioka felt the same.

Among evacuees from no-residence zones, 16.6 percent of households from Namie and 11.1 percent from Tomioka said they plan to return home when they are allowed.

Among those evacuated from difficult-to-return zones, 17.5 percent of households from Namie and 11.8 percent from Tomioka said they hope to resettle in their homes some day.

About 80 percent of all households in Namie and 70 percent of those in Tomioka are from no-residence zones and “zones being prepared for lifting of evacuation order.”

Still, even if the government lifts the evacuation order for these areas, only a handful of evacuees are likely to return, which would crimp revitalization plans for the towns.

Meanwhile, 32.4 percent of households evacuated from no-residence zones in Okuma, which cohosts the crippled plant with Futaba, said they want to return home.

The higher figure reflects preferential construction by the central government and town office of key facilities to promote the town’s reconstruction, spurring hope among residents to return. Decontamination work and restoration of a local highway route are also nearing an end in Okuma.

However, just 3 percent of Okuma residents are from no-residence zones, while the rest are from difficult-to-return zones.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201502250050

Tepco covered-up an ongoing leak into the sea since last year April 2014

daiichi_drainage_canals leak since april 2014  admission 24 feb 2015

February 24, 2015

Tepco admits that it failed to disclose a leak since last year April 2014.

Unit 2′s roof and downspouts have been draining directly out to sea since the disaster. Water found on unit 2′s roofs was highly radioactive with 52,000 bq/liter on one roof

TEPCO did attempt to manage this by throwing down bags of zeolite at the downspout entrance and again at the drainage canal exits. Plans submitted to IRID for a drainage canal filter system called for a much more sophisticated system that would have forced any water leaving these drainage canals through a series of filters.

Zeolite bags were also placed around the entrance to the downspouts on the building roofs. Radiation readings in the downspout water was significantly lower than the water on the roof. A filter that forces all outgoing water through the filter media would have at least worked to more effectively filter water.

Source: Tepco
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2015/images/handouts_150224_01-e.pdf

7,230,000 Bq/m3 of all β nuclide leaked from drain to the sea / “Contamination level suddenly jumped up”

7230000-Bqm3-of-all-β-nuclide-leaked-from-drain-to-the-sea-Contamination-level-suddenly-jumped-up-800x500_c

On 2/22/2015, Tepco announced the radiation level suddenly jumped up in the plant area drain to let it flow to the sea.

According to Tepco, 2 radiation monitors detected the rapid increase of all β nuclide density (to include Strontium-90) around 10:00AM.

The indicated radiation level was 5,050,000 〜 5,630,000 Bq/m3.

It made Tepco check the potential leakage of the contaminated water tanks upstream and contaminated water transferring system, but they did not shut down the drain outlet for nearly 3 hours for some reason.

Extremely high level of all β nuclide was detected from seawater near the outlet, which was 3,000,000 Bq/m3. The contaminated water flowed to the sea.

The highest density detected by the monitor was 7,230,000 Bq/m3, which was 10 〜 100 times much as usual.

After all, Tepco found no leakage from contaminated water related facility upstream. There is a possibility that highly contaminated groundwater moved and flowed to the drain.

Currently they are collecting the water from drain by vacuum truck.

http://www.tepco.co.jp/cc/press/2015/1248294_6818.html

http://www.tepco.co.jp/cc/press/2015/1248296_6818.html

http://www.tepco.co.jp/cc/press/2015/1248297_6818.html

http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/fukushima-np/roadmap/images/l140616_04-j.pdf

Source: Fukushima Diary

http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/02/7230000-bqm3-%CE%B2-nuclide-leaked-drain-sea-contamination-level-suddenly-jumped/

Strontium-90 levels spike alarmingly at Fukushima No. 1 plant

Feb 22, 2015 

The Nuclear Regulation Authority said Sunday that an alarm went off at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant signaling high radioactivity levels in drainage ditches.

According to the NRA and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., the first alarm sounded at around 10 a.m., and another alarm 10 minutes later indicated much higher levels. Officials said contaminated water may have been discharged into the ditches.

The levels of beta ray-emitting substances, such as strontium-90, measured 5,050 to 7,230 becquerels per liter of water between 10:20 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. Tepco requires radioactivity levels of groundwater at the plant discharged into the sea to remain below 5 becquerels.

Since the drainage ditches are connected to the port of the No. 1 plant, the NRA has instructed Tepco to shut the gates there, officials said.

Tepco confirmed that no leaks from tanks containing radioactive water were found, but said it was investing further.

Source: Japan Times

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/02/22/national/strontium-90-levels-spike-alarmingly-at-fukushima-no-1-plant/#.VOoTGy4bKKG

Fukushima radioactive contamination sets off alarm

Feb. 22, 2015

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it has detected high levels of radioactive substances in a drainage channel on the plant’s premises on Sunday. The Tokyo Electric Power Company is investigating the cause.

TEPCO says the plant’s alarm system went off around 10 AM. It showed a rise in radioactivity in the channel that leads to a nearby port.

Measurements showed that levels of beta-ray emitting substances, which are not detected under normal circumstances, had risen to up to 7,230 Becquerels per liter.

The figure is 10 times higher than when rain causes the level to rise temporarily.

The utility suspects that contaminated water in the channel may have leaked into the port.

It has suspended all operations to transfer contaminated water and closed a gate of the channel by the port.

The drainage channel used to be connected to a section of coast beyond the port. TEPCO rerouted it after a series of leaks in 2013.

The company says the water level in a tank that contains contaminated water remains unchanged, showing no signs of leakage, and drain valves that keep water from leaking near the tanks remain closed.

The utility is investigating the cause of the rise of radioactivity in the channel.

Source: NHK

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150222_18.html

A Troubling Spike, Infant Deaths in Alaska: a Fukushima Effect?

February 19, 2015
by JANETTE D. SHERMAN, MD and JOSEPH MANGANO, MPH

A recent article from the Anchorage Alaska Dispatch News on 02-14-15, “Rash of sleep-related infant deaths troubles health officials” bears consideration.

Many of the infant deaths are attributed to babies sleeping with parents, alcohol abuse, poor parenting, etc. Notably, the article stated: “Almost of the families who suffered a recent baby death were low income.” But, has infant care and poverty varied that much in the past decade?

Infant mortality in Alaska has been falling for years, however 122 infants died in 2012-2013, compared to 85 deaths two years before.

Research of causes of this highly unexpected increase is needed, and consideration should be given to the arrival of radioactive fallout from Fukushima after the 2011 meltdown. Radiation levels were highest in Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific west coast .

Since we know the un-born and young are at greater risk from exposure to nuclear radiation, effects that have been documented since the Marshall Islands nuclear tests, x-rays of pregnant women, and the Chernobyl catastrophe of 1986.

According to the CDC, infant (<1 year) deaths in Alaska have been falling steadily, but increaseds after 2011:

2010-2011    390.82 per 100,000 births(86 deaths)

2012-2013    533.66 per 100,000 births (122 deaths)

This is a 37% increase in the rate per 100,000

Few data exist, but CDC did collect gross beta in air (picocuries per cubic meter).  The period March 15 to April 30 in 2011 was the peak period when Fukushima fallout entered the environment.

For Anchorage AK, the levels are:

March 15 to April 30, 2010 (14 measurements) .0029 pCi/m3

March 15 to April 30, 2011 (13 measurements) .0113 pCi/m3

Dividing .0113 / .0029 and you get a ratio 3.86 times higher in 2011.

The 2011/2010 ratio for the rest of the year was 0.79 (2010 was actually higher than 2011).

Gross beta isn’t the most precise measure, but it is indicative of other isotopes that are documented from Fukushima.

After Chernobyl, and significantly, in Belarus, data confirmed elevated Cs-137 levels and adverse effects upon the blood, blood vessels and hearts of children.  This research, by Bandashevsky demonstrated the link between Cs-137 and heart damage in Belarus’ children and in laboratory animals, and earned him a prison sentence.

We know that high and continuing levels of isotopes, including Cs-137 are being released from the damaged Fukushima plants.  Cs-137, like potassium becomes deposited in soft tissue.

As for the infant deaths in Alaska, we hope that careful and complete autopsies were performed on the dead children, and that levels of radioisotopes be measured in humans and wildlife.