Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant

If you have any concerns about nuclear radiation, I suggest that you read the
Online FAQ on Japan nuclear concerns by the World Health Organization.

Also, take a look at the latest data from the Ministry of Education. Research results of environmental radioactivity levels (by prefecture) is available for download in English.

And here’s a nice and simple lesson about radiation in daily life from the Ministry of Education.


Here are some of the latest information I have on the about the nuclear power plant situation.


March 31, 2011:

IAEA Update

IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, Denis Flory, and other senior IAEA officials, today briefed the media on the latest developments at the nuclear facilities in Japan.


March 30, 2011:

Foreign Press Video Report
Briefing at Prime Minister’s Office (March 30, 2011): The Situation after the Tohoku-Pacific Earthquake


March 29, 2011:

From the Japanese Government Internet TV:
Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary at 16:06 (English)

IAEA Update
IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano, today briefed the Agency’s Member States on the nuclear emergency in Japan and announced plans for a high-level IAEA conference on Nuclear Safety.

The IAEA Special Adviser on Scientific and Technical Affairs, Graham Andrew, and other senior IAEA officials, today briefed the media in Vienna, Austria on the latest developments at the nuclear facilities in Japan.

Foreign Press Video Report
Press Briefing at Prime Minister’s Office: The Situation after the Tohoku-Pacific Earthquake (March 29)


March 28, 2011:

IAEA Update

In the Shinjyuku district of Tokyo, the daily deposition of iodine-131 on 27 March was 220 becquerel per square metre, while for caesium-137 it was 12 becquerel per square metre.

No significant changes were reported in the 45 prefectures in gamma dose rates compared to yesterday. In general, gamma dose-rates tend to decrease due to the decay of short-lived radionuclides such as iodine-131.

Two IAEA teams are currently monitoring in Japan. One team made gamma dose-rate measurements in the Tokyo region at 8 locations. Gamma dose-rates measured ranged from 0.08 to 0.15 microsievert per hour, which is within or slightly above the normal background. The second team made additional measurements at distances of 30 to 41 km from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. At these locations, the dose-rates ranged from 0.9 to 17 microsievert per hour. At the same locations, results of beta-gamma contamination measurements ranged from 0.03 to 3.1 Megabecquerel per square metre.

Foreign Press Video Report
Press Briefing at Prime Minister’s Office: The Situation after the Tohoku-Pacific Earthquake (March 29)


March 27, 2011:

IAEA Update

Monitoring of drinking water is on-going: iodine-131 in drinking water was detected on 24 March in 12 prefectures, whereas caesium-137 was detected in 6 of the 47 prefectures. In Tochigi, a value of 110 becquerel per litre was observed, which is above the recommended value for drinking water to be consumed by infants (i.e. 100 becquerel per litre). All other measurements were far below 100 becquerel per litre. All caesium-137 concentrations measured were lower than 10 becquerel per litre, which is significantly below the limit set by Japan of 200 becquerel per litre.

Foreign Press Video Report


March 26, 2011:

IAEA Update

Monitoring of drinking water is on-going, iodine-131 in drinking water was detected in 13 prefectures, caesium-137 was detected in 6 of the 47 prefectures. During the period of 19 to 23 March, all results remained below the limits set by the Japanese government. However, permissible levels of iodine-131 were exceeded in drinking water samples taken in the Fukushima and Ibaraki Prefectures and in Tokyo from 17 to 23 March. More positively, the iodine-131 levels in drinking water for Tokyo are now below limits for consumption for infants recommended by the Japanese authorities and restrictions have been lifted.

Foreign Press Video Report


March 25, 2011:

IAEA Update

In summary, radioactivity in the environment, foodstuffs and water is moving more to the forefront, as some technical concerns related to the status of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi site appear to be slightly less acute in some respects. However, the overall situation on the Fukishima site remains very serious.

Foreign Press Video Report


March 24, 2011:

IAEA Update

So, in summary: there are some positive indications on the site; precautionary restrictions around the site on certain foodstuffs; and monitoring of the environment is continuing beyond the evacuation zone and at sea. No significant risk to human health has been identified.

Foreign Press Video Report:


March 23, 2011:

Graham Andrew, Special Adviser to the IAEA Director General on Scientific and Technical Affairs, today briefed the Agency’s Member States on the nuclear emergency in Japan following last week’s devastating earthquake.


March 22, 2011:

IAEA Chief Briefs Board on Outcome of Trip to Japan

IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano, today reported to the Agency’s Board of Governors, following his trip to Tokyo, where he met with Prime Minister Naoto Kan, and other senior officials, to discuss the current nuclear safety emergency.
The Director General also held meetings with senior executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the stricken nuclear power plant at Fukushima Daiichi.
A team of IAEA radiation monitoring experts travelled to Japan with Director General Amano.


March 21, 2011:

Radioactive materials detected in water

Japan’s health ministry is urging the people of a village in Fukushima Prefecture not to drink the tap water, in which higher levels of radioactive materials were detected on Sunday. The Ministry says, however, that drinking it does not pose any immediate health risk.

Tap water tested at Iitate Village in Fukushima Prefecture showed more than triple the level of radiation allowed by the government.

The health ministry says 965 becquerels of iodine-131 were detected in the water, which is 3.2 times the standard. The legal standard is 300 becquerels per kilogram.

It says residents can use the water for washing and bathing, and that drinking it has no immediate effect on human health.

But as a precaution, the ministry has urged about 3700 residents of the village to avoid drinking the tap water.

On the matter of higher levels of radiation than the legal standard detected in vegetables produced in Gunma, Tochigi, and Chiba prefectures, the health ministry said these are not of levels that could affect one’s health immediately.


Updates from IAEA:

Radionuclides in Foodstuffs and Water

The IAEA has received information from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare regarding the presence of Iodine-131 in three milk samples tested in the town of Kawamata. The concentration is reported to be above allowed levels. Cesium-137 was detected in one sample, though in concentration below allowed levels.

In the Ibaraki prefecture, Iodine-131 and Cesium-137 have been detected in leaf vegetables such as spring onions and spinach. Some of the samples have been reported to be above the levels allowed by the Japanese food hygiene law for emergency monitoring criteria for intake of vegetables.

According to the Nuclear Safety Division, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) analysis for Iodine-131 and Cesium-137 in tap water from 46 locations yielded the majority of samples as non-detects. Only six out of 46 exhibited any iodine-131, though the concentration was reported to be below levels allowed by the Japanese food hygiene law for emergency monitoring criteria for drinking water.


March 20, 2011:
Video Report (Press Briefing): The Situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant


IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Nuclear Emergency (01:00 JST)

Radiation Monitoring

Radiation levels in major Japanese cities have not changed significantly since yesterday.

The IAEA radiation monitoring team took measurements at seven different locations in Tokyo and in the Kanagawa and Chiba Prefectures. Dose rates were well below those which are dangerous to human health.

Here’s something about radiation levels in milk and vegetables:

Measurements made by Japan in a number of locations have shown the presence of radionuclides – ie isotopes such as Iodine-131 and Caesium-137 – on the ground.

This has implications for food and agriculture in affected areas. The IAEA and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are consulting with the Japanese authorities on measures being taken in these areas related to food and agriculture.

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has announced that radiation levels that exceeded legal limits had been detected in milk produced in the Fukushima area and in certain vegetables in Ibaraki. They have requested the Bureau of Sanitation at the Fukishima Prefectural Office, after conducting an investigation of the relevant information, to take necessary measures, such as identifying the provider of these samples and places where the same lots were distributed and banning sales based on the Food Hygiene Law. (Note: The text originally read out at the briefing was: “The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare informed the Agency that radiation levels exceeding legal limits had been detected in milk produced in the Fukushima area and in certain vegetables in Ibaraki. The Ministry ordered protective measures including a ban on sales of these products.” An oral correction was made during the media briefing.)


March 19, 2011:
Video Report (Press Briefing): The Situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant


Japan nuclear concerns

WHO is not advising general restrictions on travel to Japan. However, travellers should avoid travel to the areas most affected by the earthquake and tsunami because of disruptions to essential services, such as transport and electric power, and the ongoing disaster relief activities. WHO is providing answers like this to the general public’s frequently asked questions concerning exposure, food, shelter and individual protective measures on the radiation incident in Japan.

Source: http://www.who.int/hac/crises/jpn/en/


Cooling function operable at 2 reactors

The government says parts of the cooling systems at 2 of the 6 reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been confirmed to be operable.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told a news conference on Saturday that an emergency diesel generator at the No. 6 reactor has resumed operation.

The agency also said that a cooling pump, at the No. 5 reactor, has been confirmed to be usable, and that workers started cooling the spent fuel storage pool there at 5 AM on Saturday.

The agency said the radiation level at the west gate of the plant, located about 1.1 kilometers west of the No. 3 reactor, was relatively high at 830.8 microsieverts per hour at 8:10 AM. But it said the figure fell to 364.5 microsieverts at 9:00 AM.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 14:07 +0900 (JST)

Source: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/19_15.html


March 18, 2011:

Press Briefing: Briefing on the Situation at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant
FPCJ invited three high-level government officials to give a press briefing related to the 2011 Tohoku Pacific Earthquake, focusing on the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The briefers were Mr. Hidehiko Nishiyama, Deputy Director-General, Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Mr. Shigeharu Kato, Deputy Director-General, Higher Education Bureau, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and Mr. Noriyuki Shikata, Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Public Relations.

Source: Foreign Press Japan – Video Report for March 18, 2011


Graham Andrew, Special Adviser to the IAEA Director General on Scientific and Technical Affairs, today briefed the Agency’s Member States on the nuclear emergency in Japan following last week’s devastating earthquake

Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that new INES ratings have been issued for some of the events relating to the nuclear emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants.

Japanese authorities have assessed that the core damage at the Fukushima Daiichi 2 and 3 reactor Units caused by loss of all cooling function has been rated as 5 on the INES scale.

Japanese authorities have assessed that the loss of cooling and water supplying functions in the spent fuel pool of the Unit 4 reactor has been rated as 3.

Japanese authorities have assessed that the loss of cooling functions in the reactor Units 1, 2 and 4 of the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant has also been rated as 3. All reactor Units at Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant are now in a cold shut down condition.

2:38

Dose rates in Tokyo and other cities remain far from levels which would require action. In other words, they are not dangerous to human health. First measurements in Tokyo by the agency’s newly arrived radiation monitoring team today showed no indication of Iodine 131 or Cesium 137. A second sampling will be carried overnight.


March 17, 2011:
IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Nuclear Emergency

Radiation Monitoring

We are now receiving dose rate information from 47 Japanese cities regularly. This is a positive development. In Tokyo, there has been no significant change in radiation levels since yesterday. They remain well below levels which are dangerous to human health.

As far as on-site radiation levels at the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants are concerned, we have received no new information since the last report.

Source: IAEA News Center


March 16, 2011:

US Embassy Press Release: A Message to American Citizens from Ambassador John V. Roos

“After a careful analysis of data, radiation levels, and damage assessments of all units at Fukushima, our experts are in agreement with the response and measures taken by Japanese technicians, including their recommended 20 km radius for evacuation and additional shelter-in-place recommendations out to 30 km.

Let me also address reports of very low levels of radiation outside the evacuation area detected by U.S. and Japanese sensitive instrumentation. This bears very careful monitoring, which we are doing. If we assess that the radiation poses a threat to public health, we will share that information and provide relevant guidance immediately.”

The complete transcript is here:
http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/p/tp-20110316-01.html


March 15, 2011

From the British Embassy:

The Chief Scientific Adviser said this morning that the Japanese Government’s advice is entirely proportionate and appropriate to the risk.

He stressed that it is wholly wrong to compare the situation to Chernobyl, which emitted a radioactive cloud 30,000 feet into the air for a long period of time. In the reasonable worst case scenario at Fukushima, a plume would only be emitted to a maximum height of 500m, so any radioactive cloud would land very close to the reactor. He said a 20km exclusion zone and a further 10km zone where residents are advised to stay indoors would be entirely appropriate for minimising health effects from direct radiation exposure.

Source:
http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/news/2011/march/japan-cso150311


March 14, 2011

US Embassy: Press Conference with Ambassador Roos

We would like to reiterate that U.S. experts have been in close consultation with Japanese experts regarding the evolving situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Our experts have included senior representatives of the White House, the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, the President’s Chief Senior Science Advisor, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and I think it’s important to say that the NRC members who are on the ground here include experts in boiling water nuclear reactors and they have come to Japan to make themselves available to assist their Japanese counterparts.

Our position that was set forth yesterday has not changed: we are encouraging U.S. citizens to heed the instructions of the Japanese civil defense authorities.

Japan’s Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency has recommended that people who live within 20 kilometers of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant evacuate the area immediately. No other evacuations have been recommended.

Now, as the Government of Japan announced earlier today, a hydrogen explosion occurred at the 3rd reactor at Fukushima. I wish I had more information for you, but all I can tell you right now is that we are currently in consultations with Japanese officials about the situation, as well as reviewing the situation with our own experts. We are confident that the government of Japan is doing all it can to respond to this serious situation.

Again, I just want to re-emphasize we are available to assist Japan in its efforts responding to this current development and we will of course provide further updates.

Complete transcript is available here:
http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/p/tp-20110314-75.html

One Response to “Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant”

  1. Maroc zik April 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    They continue to pump millions of gallons of water over the reactor cores and over the spent fuel rods in these various power plants. They have no way of capturing and holding this water that is contaminated and cleaning it before it is going to flow back into the ocean or seep down into the fresh water table there in Japan.

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