So this post is in answer to my own question (in my previous post) as to what was being done to use current technologies to map the status of the three melted nuclear reactor cores at the Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan. Los Alamos National Lab is set to conduct scans of the cores using muon tomography which they believe will produce 3D images, intended to help Japan answer pressing questions about how to manage them. A type of muon tomography was first used in the 1960s to chart the interior of the Pyramid at Giza but work at Fukushima is hoped to provide more detailed data.
LANL is partnering with Toshiba on this important effort and until now no such imaging has been attempted. We know that radiation levels at the reactors remains too high, creating fatal conditions for humans, thus keeping evaluation of the nuclear cores at the three reactors at a complete standstill. We’ll have to see if the results come to light in the public domain. Propaganda is pretty rife, so we’ll have to keep an ear to the wall and see what some experts conclude in the coming months.
A article describing the work Los Alamos is doing at Fukushima >
It seems deeply odd to me that no one talks about the status of the three melted nuclear reactor cores at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility, but everyone seems very concerned about the radioactive water being dumped into the ocean recently. Radioactive water has been dumped into the ocean since the Fukushima nuclear crisis began. It’s been a fairly regular activity. Why is this recent round any different? It’s as if people are addicted to the emotional toxicity of how the news is being delivered, instead of being concerned with reality. Maybe the fluoride in our water has made us all somewhat attention deficit.
Personally I don’t write much about Fukushima. I’m not desperate to draw out some torrid tale about how radiation is affecting our planet or people for that matter. In this respect, the internet has become its own beast in the measure of how the news is delivered. What’s the best headline, the most shocking, the most unbelievable or titillating story. The hundredth monkey idea works for the worse too. But that’s another matter and not what I wanted to talk about.
Hey did you know they’re building solar farms in Fukushima Prefecture as well, that seems like a revitalization idea on the surface. Well we know for a certainty that the way Fukushima is being dealt with is not much better than the way the nuclear industry deals with it’s nuclear waste. They just ship it around the planet to other countries, in an effort to make money off it, passing the buck essentially.
Truly, for me Fukushima has been a rubicon in terms of defining with precision the breaking of truth from fiction in how humanity is conducting itself on the planet right now. Like a litmus test, Fukushima has revealed our trajectory into the psychosphere of the 21st Century. I find that both telling and deeply scary. But again that wasn’t what I wanted to talk about either.
What needs to be, not only discussed but questioned in a ‘screaming from the rooftops’ kind of way, is what has happened, is happening, and may happen to the three melted reactor cores that the Japanese now want to build an ice wall around, with hopes of mitigating the issue of radioactive ground water. The ice wall idea seems slightly desperate and certainly points to the problem rather obviously. Yet not much word on those melted cores. Sigh.
It’s difficult to find continued dialogue in news form or from officials on this topic, although one would think that three nuclear reactor cores melting down at the same location over three years ago would remain a hot topic. At the time of the explosions at the Fukushima nuclear plant back in March 2011 there was concern that the hot melted cores had breached containment, referred to as a melt-through, and that possibly the cores had sunk into the ground. But none of this is for sure, just a best guess, based on what we witnessed and how hot a melted nuclear core could become without adequate cooling. But we’ve not had substantial news since then really. Lots of charades, lots of silence and lots of questions remain.
This is what I’ve found searching the web, on the topic of the three melted reactor cores at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility as of June 4 in the year 2014. Meager pickings.
Given the ability we have to develop technologies on the planet perhaps after three years someone might have done this already. They can map the terrain of Mars, or chart the Marianas Trench 7 miles under water, but they don’t know what’s happened to the cores. They can x-ray us as we go through airport security but they can’t figure out how to get an image even a hundred feet under ground at Fukushima. Kinda like how they can’t find flight MH370. Degrees of importance if you ask me. Now some guy has a project, wow. Wonder if he had to petition his government for funding.
Thank you Al Jazeera. Someone else needs to talk about the obvious. Yes, melted nuclear cores are a nagging concept, like hives when the calamine lotion starts to wear off. Like the truth obscured by just enough martinis, the haze of distraction has become effective at pretty much nothing. The cores are still melted down.
Harvey Wasserman posted this article at Truthdig.com stating, ‘Three years after the March 11, 2011, disaster, nobody knows exactly where the melted cores from Units 1, 2 and 3 might be.” He kinda sums up what I found when doing a Google search on this topic, not much of anything. Even a deep web search takes time to yield a small nugget of information.
It’s believed that radioactive black dirt found along Japan’s roads came from nuclear reactor cores. What does that tell us? That one or more cores burnt off when it hit the air and the particles drifted over Japan? Three melted cores would leave more than a trail of dirt. Perhaps the rest is sitting underground at Fukushima. Recently fragments of one of the Fukushima reactor cores was found in Europe, so it is clear that radioactive particles of one or more of the melted reactor cores became airbourne.
I’m happy to firmly assert that to me it’s clear that information is being suppressed and that they know what’s happened to the cores, but authorities aren’t talking to the public. The stone wall is so dense that the powers that be might as well be holding a sign that says – ‘We’re Not Telling’. The Nuclear Alchemists know exactly what’s happened as well, but that community is about as secretive as the Bilderbergs too.
What are we left with – the cold war of silence as usual.
Dr. Robert Jacobs has provided sound insights on the Fukushima nuclear accident as we’ve needed to understand the seriousness of what continues to unfold in Japan. As a historian he has been working on social and cultural aspects of nuclear technologies. He is on the faculty at the Hiroshima Peace Institute at the Hiroshima City University in Japan.
In this recent video series, filmed at Hiroshima International School, he gives a valuable talk on the impact nuclear testing and nuclear accidents have on families and communities. His insights are not only helpful, they resonate with respect for those that live through the affects of nuclear weapons testing and nuclear accidents. If you have the time, this is a thought provoking and educational watch.
Democracy Now provides an update on the story of U.S. naval personnel suing TEPCO. Three years after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant U.S. Marines and Sailors are suing the plant’s operator TEPCO believing they were misled about the level of radioactive contamination they may be exposed to from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Many of the service members who served aboard USS Reagan during the disaster have experienced devastating health problems since returning from Japan, ranging from leukemia to blindness to infertility to birth defects.
Sailors were aboard the USS Ronald Reagan on routine exercises of the coast of Korea when they were deployed to assist in emergency operations needed as a result of the great east earthquake and tsunami that struck the coast of Japan on March 11, 2011. The USS Reagan positioned off the coast at the city of Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture. Sendai, approximately 60 miles/96 km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility, was hit heavily as a result of the earthquake and tsunami. The USS Reagan served as a refueling station for Search and Rescue and Coast Guard operations but was relocated on March 14 due to airbourne radioactive plumes that began drifting from the damaged nuclear facility.
Video excerpt covering this story from Democracy Now’s March 19, 2014 news segment.
It’s been three years already since the great east earthquake and tsunami hit Japan’s east coast on March 11, 2011. I found this eloquent poem that captures a small sense of what was lost and remains unrecovered.
The Persimmon Tree In Winter
By TAKI Yuriko
The persimmon tree in every Japanese farmyard –
Even when untended,
Its branches all bear
Many ripe, sunset-colored fruits
It is a quintessential Japanese scene.
During a pause in the fall harvest, the persimmons are gathered,
And hung from the eaves to dry.
They make classic homemade sweets for the long winter.
As autumn closes,
The persimmon trees drop all their leaves.
Black and bare,
They enter into their time of sleep.
This winter is different.
In the enforced evacuation zone,
The unharvested persimmons remain on the branches.
Regulators overseeing the management of the Fukushima nuclear site have given the OK to begin removal of spent fuel rods from reactor unit 4s cooling pool commencing in November 2013.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility has 6 reactors in total and at the time of the earthquake and tsunami that damaged the plant on March 11, 2011, units 4, 5 and 6 where shutdown in maintenance mode. Reactor 4 experienced an explosion and fire within days of the natural disaster and the building and spent fuel pool suffered some integral damage.
Experts since have speculated on the precarious nature of how to remove the spent fuel from unit 4s spent fuel pool which is housed on the reactor’s roof. Should spent fuel catch fire during removal it would be impossible to extinguish it. Burning spent fuel rods would release large amounts of radioactive isotopes into the atmosphere unabated.
TEPCO hopes to have spent fuel from unit 4s cooling pool removed by the end of 2014. The project involves a specially constructed steel structure with a crane that will be used to remove the fuel rods remotely. Once removed the spent fuel rods will be placed in a protective flask and transferred to what is considered a more secure cooling pool.
Cooling pools for spent fuel are interim solutions in the ongoing uncertain plans of how to effectively dispose of spent nuclear fuel in the long-term (millions of years). This is a global problem and only Finland has begun construction on a permanent disposal site for their spent nuclear fuel, called Onkalo.
Authors David McNeill and Miguel Quintana,”Mission Impossible. What Future Fukushima?,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 39, No. 1. September 30, 2013.
Across much of Fukushima’s rolling green countryside they descend on homes like antibodies around a virus, men wielding low-tech tools against a very modern enemy: radiation. Power hoses, shovels and mechanical diggers are used to scour toxins that rained down from the sky nearly 31 months ago. The job is exhausting, expensive and, say some, doomed to failure. A sweating four-man crew wearing surgical masks and boiler suits cleans the home of Saito Hiroshi (71) and his wife Terue (68). Their aim is to bring average radiation at this home down to 1.5 microsieverts an hour, still several times what it was before the accident but safe enough, perhaps, for Saito’s seven grandchildren to visit. “My youngest grandchild has never been here,” he says. Since 2011, the family reunites in Soma, around 20 km away.
Saito Hitoshi and Teruo
For a few days during March 2011, after a string of explosions at the Daiichi nuclear plant roughly 25 kilometers to the south, rain and snow laced with radiation fell across this area, contaminating thousands of acres of rich farming land and forests Over 160,000 people near the plant were ordered to evacuate. The Saito’s home fell a few miles outside the 20-km compulsory evacuation zone, but like thousands of others they left voluntarily. When they returned two weeks later their neat, two-story country house appeared undamaged but it was blanketed in an invisible poison only detectable with beeping Geiger counters. Nobody knows for certain how dangerous the radiation is. Japan’s central government refined its policy in December 2011, defining evacuation zones as “areas where cumulative dose levels might reach 20 millisieverts per year,” the typical worldwide limit for nuclear power plant engineers. The worst radiation is supposed to be confined to the 20-km exclusion zone, but it dispersed unevenly: less than 5km north of the Daiichi plant, our Geiger counter shows less than 5 millisieverts a year; 40km northwest, in parts of Iitate Village, it is well over 120 millisieverts. Those 160,000 people, most of whom left with nothing on a freezing cold night in March 2011, have not returned and are scattered throughout Japan, and as far away as Europe and North America. The nuclear diaspora is swelled by thousands of voluntary refugees. Local governments are spending millions of dollars to persuade them to come back, dividing the cleanup with the central government, which handles the most toxic areas. The price tag for cleaning a heavily mountainous and wooded area roughly half the size of Rhode Island (2000 sq. km) has government heads spinning. In August, experts from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology put the total cost of decontamination at $50 billion. Many experts believe that figure is too low.
Published in Open Journal of Pediatrics January 2013, published online March 2013
Title: Elevated airborne beta levels in Pacific/West Coast US States and trends in hypothyroidism among newborns after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown
Authors: Joseph J. Mangano, Janette D. Sherman
Radiation and Public Health Project, New York, USA
Various reports indicate that the incidence of congenital hypothyroidism is increasing in developed nations, and that improved detection and more inclusive criteria for the disease do not explain this trend entirely. One risk factor documented in numerous studies is exposure to radioactive iodine found in nuclear weapons test fallout and nuclear reactor emissions. Large amounts of fallout disseminated worldwide from the meltdowns in four reactors at the Fukushima-Dai-ichi plant in Japan beginning March 11, 2011 included radioiodine isotopes. Just days after the meltdowns, I-131 concentrations in US precipitation was measured up to 211 times above normal. Highest levels of I-131 and airborne gross beta were documented in the five US States on the Pacific Ocean. The number of congenital hypothyroid cases in these five states from March 17-December 31, 2011 was 16% greater than for the same period in 2010, compared to a 3% decline in 36 other US States (p < 0.03). The greatest divergence in these two groups (+28%) occurred in the period March 17-June 30 (p < 0.04). Further analysis, in the US and in other nations, is needed to better understand any association between iodine exposure from Fukushima-Dai-ichi and congenital hypothyroidism risk.
Also see background study done in Japan on thyroid health in children post Fukushima at Fukushima Voices, a public blog for Fukushima Radioactive Contamination Symptoms Research located in the US. Their main website FRCSR.
It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since the nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear facility began. Radiation cleanup persists and lawsuits are filed. To date 15, 881 deaths were attributed to the natural disaster that struck the east coast of Japan, while 2668 people are still unaccounted for as the search for victims continues, according to the National Police Agency of Japan. Thousands still live in temporary housing and may never go home and it’s estimated that close to 300,000 people still can’t return home to radiation affected areas in coastal towns.
Here’s the news roundup from around the web marking the 2 year anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster in history.
VIDEO Moxnews/BBC News – They still don’t know the condition of some of the reactors! Hard to believe but true.
GEOMAR is an Ocean Research Centre in Germany. This is a video based on their research into the dispersal of Cesium 137 from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear facility into the Pacific Ocean, and the reach it will have in ten year’s time.
The “nuclear village” is the term commonly used in Japan to refer to the institutional and individual pro-nuclear advocates who comprise the utilities, nuclear vendors, bureaucracy, Diet (Japan’s parliament), financial sector, media and academia. This is a village without boundaries or residence cards, an imagined collective bound by solidarity over promoting nuclear energy. If it had a coat of arms the motto would be “Safe, Cheap and Reliable”. There is considerable overlap with the so-called ‘Iron Triangle’ of big business, the bureaucracy and Liberal Democratic Party that called the shots in Japan from the mid-1950s, and the evocative moniker ‘Japan, Inc.’, a reference to cooperative ties between the government and private sector. The nuclear village is convenient shorthand to describe a powerful interest group with a specific agenda, one that it has effectively and profitably promoted since the 1950s.
From “Black Rain” to “Fukushima”: The Urgency of Internal Exposure Studies,” Masuda Yoshinobu, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 10, Issue 39, No. 3, September 24, 2012
This article appeared in Japanese in the June 15, 2012 edition of Hiroshima Journalist. This is part one of a March 16, 2012 lecture at the Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations on “The Twin Devils of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Power – From Black Rain to Fukushima.” Part two, “The Fukushima Nuclear Accident and the Threat of Radiation”, is not included here.
Translated by Sakai Yasuyuki and Steve Leeper
Internal exposure has become a major public concern as a result of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster. Hiroshima’s “black rain” was the first event that revealed the significance of internal exposure. I began working on the black rain problem in 1985 after meeting Mr. Murakami Tsuneyuki, then Director General of Hiroshima “Black Rain” A-Bomb Sufferers Organization. But let me tell the story from the beginning.
I was born on September 11, 1923 ten days before the Great Kanto Earthquake that devastated Tokyo. I am now 88 years old. I studied at the Meteorological Technical Officials Training School (predecessor of the Meteorological College) for two years before joining the Navy. I was commissioned a second lieutenant in June 1945. On the day of the defeat, I was in Taisha Air Base near Izumo-Taisha Grand Shrine, Shimane, which sent attack aircraft to Okinawa. I worked there as a meteorological officer forecasting the weather. Although I did not know about the dropping of the Hiroshima A-bomb on August 6, I heard rumors that huge numbers of people, mainly soldiers, were brought to the Army Hospital near Izumo-Taisha, bandaged from head to foot. I knew something very serious had happened.
In 1946, I entered the newly opened post-graduate course at the Meteorological Technical Officials Training School. After three years of study, I started working for the Meteorological Laboratory in 1949.
Over 3 years after 3-11, numbers of missing or deceased persons continues to be updated by the National Police Agency of Japan. As of June 10, 2014 total persons still missing is at 2615 and total persons confirmed deceased is at 15 887, as a result of the 9.0 Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011 that struck the east coast of central Japan.These stats continue to be updated regularly.