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Earth Japan News

Fukushima Ocean Radiation Won't Quit 210

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the fish-can't-catch-a-break dept.
mdsolar writes with an update on how the oceans around Fukishima are doing. From the article: " The Fukushima disaster caused by far the largest discharge of radioactivity into the ocean ever seen. A new model presented by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts estimates that 16.2 petabecquerels (1015 becquerels) of radioactive caesium leaked from the plant — roughly the same amount that went into the atmosphere. Most of that radioactivity dispersed across the Pacific Ocean, where it became diluted to extremely low levels. But in the region of the ocean near the plant, levels of caesium-137 have remained fixed at around 1,000 becquerels, a relatively high level compared to the natural background. Similarly, levels of radioactive caesium in bottom-dwelling fish remain pretty much unchanged more than 18 months after the accident." The article suggests run-off from contaminated land and possibly a leak in the plant itself are to blame for the levels not dropping as expected.
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Fukushima Ocean Radiation Won't Quit

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  • mdsolar writes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:41PM (#41981897)

    mdsolar writes

    Stopped reading right there. It's the Slashdot equivalent of "An article on Fox news..."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:55PM (#41982095)

    I have a hard time believing the first sentence given all the nuclear weapon testing we've done in the Pacific.

  • Re:chernobyl - II (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <.ten.3dlrow. .ta. .ojom.> on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @02:02PM (#41982185) Homepage

    Fukushima was more or less EOL right??? (and the designers drank to much saki when setting the tolerances)

    Problem is Fukushima is not untypical of nuclear plants in Japan. It was thought to be fine when designed, based on the available knowledge and understanding at the time. It turns out that the earthquake did a fair bit of critical damage even before the tsunami arrived, and you just can't build a plant capable of surviving beyond a certain amount of lateral force/acceleration.

    And yeah, the Navy didn't have any major accidents, just a few minor ones. The US military as a whole though is a catalogue of fuck-ups. No civilian nuclear programme in the entire world is free of serious accidents.

  • Re:Petabecquerels (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Muad'Dave (255648) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @02:14PM (#41982347) Homepage

    My source [wikipedia.org] says it's more like 5400 Bq:

    "... exposure due to the normal potassium content of the human body, 2.5 g per kg, or 175 grams in a 70 kg adult. This potassium will naturally generate 175 g × 31 Bq/g 5400 Bq of radioactive decays, constantly through the person's adult lifetime."

    1000 Bq is about 67 BED (Banana-Equivalent Dose).

  • Re:chernobyl - II (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tp1024 (2409684) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @02:16PM (#41982397)

    It was thought to be fine exactly until 1972, when the first studies revealed that the BWR Mark I was insufficient in case of a meltdown. That was before reactor #2 was even finished. It was definitely included in the 1975 WASH-1400 report. This report also said that floods and tsunamis are a major danger to a nuclear power plant and must be protected against.

    The Japanese did nothing about either of those points, they didn't train their staff to handle emergency situations in a station blackout. They didn't do anything remotely compatible with European or American standards to ensure availablitity of emergency power. They didn't equip their containments with filtered vents, which have been implemented in Europe since 1988. They didn't equip the containment buildings with hydrogen recombiners - those were only required by law in 2012 in Japan. In Germany (and probably other countries as well) those are required since 1993.

    Tokai and Onagawa were perpared for and hit by the tsunami without major damage. The problem was known, countermeasures were known, non were required by law.

    How do you say "It's your own damn fault!" in Japanese?

  • Re:chernobyl - II (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @02:46PM (#41982791)

    For the Navy, money and personell in not a factor. Maybe that has changed or slowly changing now but the engineering was already done and the operating procedures and safety measures are already in place. I used to be in the Navy as a reactor operator back in the mid 90's on an older sub. There was not much automation and technology in use back then. The only thing that had a microporessor was the reactor protection and alarm system and it was an 8088. All controls, sensors, and gauges were mechanical and/or discrete electronic and electric. All procedures, actions, limits, and methods of operation were in print form in the reactor plant manuals and scaled down copies of those were embedded in your brain through training. It is my understanding that the nuclear training pipeline has got "easier" for folks going through now. Much less demanding and a much higher percentage of people that start actually make it to the end. The Navy now relies less on the operators and more on the supervisors and technology than they did before. Maybe that is good in that it minimizes the human error part of it or maybe that is bad as the human error factor gets shouldered or concentrated onto less people instead of spread across everyone as a collaborative effort. Having an exceptional DEEP understanding of everything coupled with technology and strong supervision would be the most ideal but I guess there aren't enough people that can make it to meet that demand.

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