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Fukushima Reactor 3 Emitting Steam at an Increasing Rate

9:02 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Fukushima’s wrecked Reactor 3 is the most worrisome, as its spent fuel pools contain 89 tons of MOX fuel, which contains plutonium. The reactor began steaming intermittently over a month ago, but the steam events are increasing and lengthening:

The steam was first spotted on December 19 for a short period of time, then again on December 24, 25, 27, according to a report TEPCO published on its website.

The company, responsible for the cleanup of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, has not explained the source of the steam or the reason it is rising from the reactor building. High levels of radiation have complicated entry into the building and further inspection of the situation.

There are three likely scenarios:

  1. A meltdown is taking place.
  2. The molten fuel, the “corium,” has reached ground water.
  3. Stray fuel pellets inside the reactor building are reacting to rain water.

Some are more concerned than others:

Turner Radio Network (TRN) has issued a report regarding Fukushima Diachi Nuclear Plant that is expected to affect the entire Northern Hemisphere.

According to the report: ‘Persons residing on the west coast of North America should IMMEDIATELY begin preparing for another possible onslaught of dangerous atmospheric radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster site in Japan.’

Through ENENews reports, TEPCO has confirmed  via camera surveillance, that steam has begun to pour from Reactor 3, although they have ‘not been identified abnormal plant conditions.’

TEPCO are reporting that ‘radioactive steam has suddenly begun emanating from previously exploded nuclear reactor building #3 at the Fukuishima disaster site in Japan.’

The corporation is not clear on the details of the sudden change at Reactor 3 because of ‘lethal radiation levels in that building.’

I’ve long felt that we are in store for the worst of what this disaster will dish out. However, I think that Fairewinds may have a better handle on this than the Turner Radio Network. Fairewinds posted this yesterday:

Beginning on Monday December 30, 2013, the Internet has been flooded with conjecture claiming that Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 is ready to explode. Fairewinds Energy Education has been inundated with questions about the very visible steam emanating from Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3. Our research, and discussions with other scientists, confirms that what we are seeing is a phenomenon that has been occurring at the Daiichi site since the March 2011 accident.

It is winter and it is cold through out much of the northern hemisphere. Hot water vapor has been released daily by each of the four Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants since the accident. We believe that is one of the reasons TEPCO placed covers over Daiichi 4 and 1. Sometimes the steam [hot water vapor] is visible and sometimes it is not. If you have been outside on a cold winter day, you have personally experienced that phenomenon when you see the breath you exhale form a cloud in the cold air. The technical explanation is that hot water vapor becomes visible when it comes in contact with cold air and condenses. During the winter months in the Fukushima Prefecture, the sea air is cold and moist, thus forming the ideal conditions to see the released steam.

Why is there still steam coming from the plants especially since TEPCO says that they are in cold shutdown? As we at Fairewinds have discussed in our many videos, podcasts, and reports, radioactive rubble (fission products) was left in each unit following the triple meltdowns. While the plants are shutdown in nuke speak, there is no method of achieving cold shut down in any nuclear reactor. While the reactor can stop generating the actual nuclear chain reaction, the atoms left over from the original nuclear chain reaction continue to give off heat that is called the decay of the radioactive rubble (fission products). The heat from this ongoing decay of radioactive rubble is constantly releasing moisture (steam) and radioactive products into the environment. The radioactive decay is gradually slowing down, as fission products decay away. The cold moist winter air at this time of year is making steam from the ongoing decay easily visible.

How much radiation is escaping? When Unit 3 was operating, it was producing more than 2,000 megawatts of heat from the nuclear fission process (chain reaction in the reactor). Immediately after the earthquake and tsunami, it shut down and the chain reaction stopped, but Unit 3 was still producing about 160 megawatts of decay heat. Now, 30 months later, it is still producing slightly less than 1 megawatt (one million watts) of decay heat.

What does that figure mean; is it an inconsequential amount? 1 megawatt of decay heat is a lot of heat even today, and it is creating radioactive steam, but it is not a new phenomenon. These hot radioactive releases [not physically hot, but radioactive hot – meaning they contain radioactive fission products] have occurring for the entire 33 months following the triple meltdown. The difference now is that the only time we visibly notice these ongoing releases is on the cold days with atmospheric conditions cold enough to condense hot vapor into steam.

We will see whether or not this is cold weather steam over the next few weeks. Read the rest of this entry →

Obama’s Israeli Statement on Syrian Chemical Weapon Use Makes Me Want to Puke

6:51 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

I don’t watch much television and don’t trust any TV news outlet on the subjects of war, peace, economic justice or the environment.  But I turned the TV on early this morning, to watch how the media dealt with Obama’s visit to Israel.

I grazed NBC, CBS and ABC early news.  I was annoyed by FOX News coverage, which continues to portray Obama as not nearly loyal enough to Israel to qualify as an American president.  I turned to CNN, where live reports were coming in to the American News Desk from their senior reporter and former key employee of the Israel America Public Affairs Committee, Wolf Blitzer, who is traveling with the presidential entourage.

I watched, during the joint press conference held by Obama and Netanyahu in Jerusalem (not the seat of the Israeli government recognized by the government of the USA), as Obama was asked about reported use by the Syrian government, or by the rebels, of chemical weapons, within the past few days.  Obama addressed the reports:

With respect to chemical weapons, we intend to investigate thoroughly exactly what happened.

So I’ve instructed my teams to work closely with all other countries in the region and international organizations and institutions to find out precisely whether this red line was crossed.

The broader point is that once we establish the facts, I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game changer and I won’t make an announcement today about next steps because I think we have to gather the facts. But I do think that when you start seeing weapons that can cause potential devastation and mass causalities and you let that genie out of the bottle, then you are looking potentially at even more horrific scenes than we’ve already seen in Syria, and the international community has to act on that additional information.

I wanted to puke.  Especially as it was being despicably uttered on the tenth anniversary of the beginning of our huge war crime in Iraq – shoved down the throats of Americans by the post-9/11 GWOT cabal, so directly related to the Project for the New American Century and A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, and by a media and political establishment stock full of people who intensely believed our criminal Iraqi expedition would help Israel, no matter what it did to America, let alone Iraq.

Iraq is where we’ve been shown more horrific scenes than in Syria, time and time again, in spite of the firings, censorship and threats of retribution that have kept the media acquiescent, right up to the present.  Dahr Jamail, on Democracy Now this morning, described our use of what have to be regarded as “red-line”-crossing chemical weapons – depleted uranium and white phosphorus – in Iraq, particularly in the battles of Fallujah (emphasis added):

And going on to Fallujah, because I wrote about this a year ago, and then I returned to the city again this trip, we are seeing an absolute crisis of congenital malformations of newborn. There is one doctor, a pediatrician named Dr. Samira Alani, working on this crisis in the city. She’s the only person there registering cases. And she’s seeing horrific birth defects. I mean, these are extremely hard to look at. They’re extremely hard to bear witness to. But it’s something that we all need to pay attention to, because of the amount of depleted uranium used by the U.S. military during both of their brutal attacks on the city of 2004, as well as other toxic munitions like white phosphorus, among other things.

And so, what this has generated is, from 2004 up to this day, we are seeing a rate of congenital malformations in the city of Fallujah that has surpassed even that in the aftermath of—in the wake of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that were—that nuclear bombs were dropped on at the end of World War II. So, Dr. Samira Alani actually visited with doctors in Japan, comparing statistics, and found that the amount of congenital malformations in Fallujah is 14 times greater than the same rate measured in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in the aftermath of the nuclear bombings.

These types of birth defects, she said—there are types of congenital malformations that she said they don’t even have medical terms for, that some of the things they’re seeing, they’ve never seen before. They’re not in any of the books or any of the scientific literature that they have access to. She said it’s common now in Fallujah for newborns to come out with massive multiple systemic defects, immune problems, massive central nervous system problems, massive heart problems, skeletal disorders, baby’s being born with two heads, babies being born with half of their internal organs outside of their bodies, cyclops babies literally with one eye—really, really, really horrific nightmarish types of birth defects.

And it is ongoing.

It is ongoing.  14 times greater malformation rate than experienced by the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

Israel’s illegal use of chemical weapons against its neighbors is longstanding. Its recent use of coerced sterilizations against its own citizens who don’t look white enough – Ethiopian Jews – has finally been brought to light.

And the same scoundrels who prepped us to go into an insane and criminal war against Iraq, are going to force us into what will end up being a nuclear war against Iran.  In the same press conference Wednesday where Obama threatened some warlike response against Syria, he refused to confront Netanyahu about Iran’s nuclear intentions.  Instead, he asked to be brought to the nearest donkey that needed servicing.

Here’s Obama on the Syrian chemical weapon report:

Here’s Dahr Jamail on our use of  illegal chemical weapons in Iraq:

 

Personal note:  The combination of the second anniversary of the Fukushima reactor explosions and subsequent meltdowns, the tenth anniversary of the murder of Rachel Corrie and the tenth anniversary of the beginning of our Iraq War depressed me so much, I found it hard to write about politics, public affairs or the environment for almost a week.  Maybe I’ll bounce back.

I’m Disillusioned by the People Who Are Disillusioned by the People Who Are Disillusioned With Obama

9:11 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

George Clooney in ad by Anti-Republican Crusaders

The above ad, by Anti-Republican Crusaders, which they are encouraging people to distribute openly and widely, featuring actor George Clooney, is aimed at progressives who feel betrayed by Obama’s policies.  As in other pushes to draw people who had once supported Obama back into the fold, it is – to borrow the term Obama has been using on the stump this past week – Sketchy.

Has anyone yet caught Clooney openly and ardently defending the NDAA and its onerous indefinite detention provisions, that Obama is now defending to the hilt?

Or the secret kill list?

The secret kill list article:

kill list

Or the position of his Justice Department that the banksters are unprosecutable?

Or Obama’s stepped up program against medical marijuana clinics and users of medical marijuana, many of whom are Veterans and extremely ill?

Or his full-speed-ahead support of Shell Oil’s Arctic offshore drilling?

Or his rubber stamping of Department of Energy policy regarding nuclear power in the post-Fukushima world?

Or his scuttling of the Copenhagen climate conference?

Or his intentional torture of Bradley Manning?

Or his unprecedented war on whistleblowers?

Of course they haven’t

Clooney and his ilk cannot defend those policies, so he and the others avoid them or plead ignorance, like Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz did above.

They are wearing blinders.

And –  yes, Romney is the worse of two evils.

Unfortunately, my spiritual beliefs preclude me from voting for war criminals, so nothing Clooney says will influence me.  Perhaps others.

Meanwhile, I’m content working hard to convince people NOT to vote for Mitt Romney.

And getting ready to vote for some progressive ballot initiatives (local Alaska ones).

And some Democrats.

Just not the war criminal one.

Saturday Art: On the Drawings of James L. Acord

9:47 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Scanned Image-35

Over the generations, the Pacific Northwest has produced a number of iconoclastic visual artists.  Perhaps the first to become notable nationally was painter Mark Tobey. He became known as the founder of the Northwest School, initially based mostly out of Skagit County, between Seattle and Vancouver, BC.  The big four of the first generation, Tobey, Guy AndersonKenneth Callahan, and Morris Graves, came to prominence between the two world wars.  They taught or influenced a number of artists who became a second generation, such as Richard Kirsten (influenced by Morris Graves), Philip McCracken and Dale Chihuly.

McCracken’s most important student was sculptor James L. Acord, Jr.  Acord studied and lived with McCracken and his family on Guemes Island in the early to mid-60s.  Among the influences from McCracken Acord brought into his art was an appreciation of how to match dissimilar materials in three dimensional objects of art, and an understanding that drawings can be produced while working on long-term sculptures, so as to pay one’s bills.

Over the 40-plus years of Acord’s serious work as an artist, he created thousands of drawings.  Many are not more than refined sketches, with coffee, beer or whisky stains around their edges.  Others were minor masterpieces of intricacy, virtuosic pen and ink hatchwork and shadow play.

Here are two sheets from Acord’s 1981 notebook related to a hero, taken down by nuclear radioactivity that he copied and mailed to me then:

Acord Sleeping Hero study 1981

Acord Sleeping Hero study 1981

Zipper detail: Read the rest of this entry →

My New Geiger Counter Arrived

11:50 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

My iRad

My iRad

My new iRad Geiger counter arrived today via FedEx.  It plugs into the output jack of my iPhone 4.  I downloaded the free software from the Apple application store and checked it out.

I pulled out my old copy of Introduction to Radiological Monitoring, published by the Staff College of the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency in 1974.  I got the book in 1978, when I was the Civil Defense coordinator for Whittier, Alaska, while serving as volunteer fire chief and harbormaster.

I’m re-reading the book, designed for self study.  I lost my old geiger counter, a CDV 720, to James Acord, and it is sealed with his personal property, after his death in January, 2011.

cdv715-new

After mounting the software and re-booting the iPhone, and reading the instructions, I did some tests.  It responded to the mildly radioactive materials in one of our smoke detectors, even clicking away.  I tested areas of the house, with the basement reading slightly higher background radiation.  The biggest readings I got were from the area around where a huge snow berm had been, and over the fire pit by the lake.

Nothing to freak out about.  It appears to work like it is supposed to: Read the rest of this entry →

Max Planck Institute: Expect a Fukushima or Chernobyl Every Decade or So

1:24 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

A roadside nuclear power plant.

Photo by Thomas Anderson

Imagine a situation within 100 years in which Japan, the northeastern USA and most of western Europe are all but uninhabitable because of one reactor disaster or meltdown after another, every 15 years.  Researchers at the Max Planck Institute have arrived at conclusions along those lines:

Catastrophic nuclear accidents such as the core meltdowns in Chernobyl and Fukushima are more likely to happen than previously assumed. Based on the operating hours of all civil nuclear reactors and the number of nuclear meltdowns that have occurred, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz have calculated that such events may occur once every 10 to 20 years (based on the current number of reactors) — some 200 times more often than estimated in the past. The researchers also determined that, in the event of such a major accident, half of the radioactive caesium-137 would be spread over an area of more than 1,000 kilometres away from the nuclear reactor. Their results show that Western Europe is likely to be contaminated about once in 50 years by more than 40 kilobecquerel of caesium-137 per square meter. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, an area is defined as being contaminated with radiation from this amount onwards. In view of their findings, the researchers call for an in-depth analysis and reassessment of the risks associated with nuclear power plants. [emphases added]

These findings are not surprising to me.  How ironic that this assessment comes in the same pack of headlines that has one read:

Why Jaczko Leaving The NRC Is Good for America

I doubt the American MSM will reflect much upon the findings of the Planck Institute, which conclude with this:

Read the rest of this entry →

Extremely High Ocean Radiation Detected 400 Miles From Japanese Coast

12:54 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

I posted this screenshot of predicted radiation from Fukushima irradiated water earlier in the month.  At the time, I wrote:

It isn’t clear from ASR’s published material whether or not this model is influenced by the continuing entry of radioactive water into the ocean.  It is fairly certain that Tepco and other monitoring agencies do not have anything that could be described as a clear idea as to how much radioactive water has gotten into circulation in the North Pacific, or how much water is continuing to make its way there.

The issues I raised then had to do with irradiated water from the meltdowns that is making its way into North Pacific circulation patterns.

The issue raised about the results of these measurements taken in the North Central Pacific last summer appears to be different:

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is far from over, as new reports explains that water samples taken nearly 400 miles off the coast of Japan in the Pacific Ocean are showing radiation levels of up to 1,000 times higher than previous readings. Presenting their findings at the recent Ocean Sciences Meeting in Salt Lake City, Ut., scientists continued to claim these severely elevated radiation levels are not a significant health or environmental threat.

Back in June 2011, a ship carrying scientists traveled off the eastern coast of Japan collecting water samples at distances of roughly 20 miles to 400 miles from the coast. Upon analysis, these samples were found to contain elevated levels of cesium-137 at ten to 1,000 times higher than levels detected before the Fukushima disaster, which is highly alarming.

Included in the detections was the presence of radioactive silver, which is an obvious product of melted control rods at the nuclear facility. The mainstream media is claiming that this silver is simply a result of nuclear fission, but the reality of the situation is that this silver is evidence of a complete core meltdown at the facility, which is obviously having widespread repercussions.

I’ll speculate that the “presence of radioactive silver” in the findings is the result of airborne debris from one of the hydrogen-induced reactor explosions last spring.

It is somewhat reassuring that there are indeed research ships containing scientists in the Northwest Pacific, “collecting water samples.”  It is distinctively less reassuring, that at the conference where these findings were announced, they were minimized:

Meanwhile, Hartmut Nies, an official from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), insists that all this radiation is not that big of a deal. He even went so far at the recent meeting to claim that “if it was not seawater, you could drink it without any problems,” a completely absurd position that has no grounding in science.

As part of their misinformation campaign, IAEA officials and others compared the radioactive cesium and silver to the naturally-occurring, elemental potassium-40 found in seawater. This natural potassium, of course, is much different than the radioactive elements being emitted from Fukushima, as sea creatures have developed a natural tolerance for potassium-40.

Even those falsely claiming that all this radiation is completely harmless to humans are at least admitting that the findings are indicative that the Fukushima nuclear facility is still leaking radiation into the environment.

Fukushima’s North Pacific Radioactive Seawater Plume Approaches Alaska

5:52 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

ASR Limited is a small team of environmental scientists, engineers and consultants, working out of New Zealand, Jakarta and Venice, California:

ASR’s core philosophy is to understand, innovate, and sustain. Our first step is to understand the natural processes governing a specific project site. After spending time developing an understanding of a system’s natural design and function, we implement an innovative and sustainable solution for the project. This approach is always the same whether the challenge is coastal management, fluid transport, fisheries, engineering, or environmental impacts. We work with the world’s top governments, corporations, and organizations to develop innovative solutions for complex issues around the globe.

ASR’s thorough understanding of marine systems, science, and technology enables us to consider environmental and human health in everything we do. We are one of the few companies in the world developing innovative solutions that work in concert with the natural world, rather than against it. By developing technology inspired by nature, we strive to implement solutions that will satisfy the needs of all stakeholders, including our planet.

One of their recent projects has been to hypothetically model the expanding plume of radioactive seawater that has resulted from the escape of water used to mitigate the meltdowns at the four Fukushima power plants:

We use a Lagrangian particles dispersal method to track where free floating material (fish larvae, algae, phytoplankton, zooplankton…) present in the sea water near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station plant could have gone since the earthquake on March 11th. THIS IS NOT A REPRESENTATION OF THE RADIOACTIVE PLUME CONCENTRATION.

Since we do not know how much contaminated water and at what concentration was released into the ocean, it is impossible to estimate the extent and dilution of the plume. However, field monitoring by TEPCO and modeling by the Sirrocco group in University of Toulouse, France both show high concentration in the surrounding water (highest rate at 80 Bq/L and 24 Bq/L for respectively I-131 and C-137) . Assuming that a part of the passive biomass could have been contaminated in the area, we are trying to track where the radionuclides are spreading as it will eventually climb up the food chain. Read the rest of this entry →

Fukushima Radiation Spreads Worldwide and Into Japanese Ground Water – Canada to Begin Intensive Testing of Salmon & Caribou – When Will Alaska and the U.S. Do the Same?

12:33 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

 

"Welding Fishheads in AK - Redo" 2003

"Welding Fishheads in AK - Redo" 2003 by linleystorm on flickr

[cross-posted from Progressive Alaska - hence the Alaska-centric viewpoint of some parts]

 

I. CBC reports:

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency plans to start testing fish off the coast of British Columbia for the presence of radiation stemming from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan earlier this year.

The agency has not yet released any specific details on the testing program, but did say it expects the test results to be well below Health Canada’s actionable levels for radiation.

Fisheries activist Alexandra Morton with the Raincoast Research Society says she supports the testing, but calls the announcement a political move. Morton says millions of sockeye have started returning to the Fraser River and the fishing season is already well underway.

Salmon are a particular concern to Morton and others because their wide-ranging migration patterns can take them right across the Pacific Ocean to the coast of Japan.

British Columbia fisheries activists are concerned that the timing of the announcment is a political ploy to draw attention away from the beginning of hearings into the cause of the Fraser River Sockeye salmon run crash:

“If they were actually concerned about the health of people and the fish, they would have started this actually at the beginning of the commercial openings. But to release this two days before the disease hearings at the Cohen inquiry, to me it’s a political statement, it’s a political effort to appear responsible,” [Morton] said.

The Cohen Commission hearings into the collapse of the 2009 Fraser River sockeye salmon run resumed in Vancouver earlier this week.

Morton also wants the CFIA to test farmed salmon, because she says trace amounts of radiation were detected in seaweed on the B.C. coast.

The Cohen Inquiry may be of interest to Alaskans. It is investigating more than one hypothesis about why the Fraser River Sockeye run collapsed rapidly, beginning in 1993, through 2009.  Alexandra Morton writes: Read the rest of this entry →