Fukushima

The meeja are still at it, trying to parley the Fukushima crisis into a disaster and, in the process, handing the bedwetters and neo-luddites large wodges of convenient headlines with which to frighten the masses into the abandonment of the only clean, safe and reliable power generation source which will stop the lights going out as the current generation of power plants comes to the end of its working life. The latest scare tactic is the trumpeting of the fact that the Fukushima crisis has been up-graded to level 7, the highest level on the international scale used to measure these events. ‘It’s another Chernobyl,’ they whinny hysterically, running around in ever decreasing circles and waving their hands frantically in the air. Well, it’s not, nor can it be. It is a serious situation, and I’m not trying to downplay it, but it is contained and the omens, at the moment, are all good for it’s continuing containment. The hype and spin around Fukushima downplays the devastation caused by the actual disaster, a 1,000 year earthquake followed by a 1,000 year tsunami.

The incident at Fukushima Daiichi remains far and away the most minor of the consequences of the quake and tsunami. The nuclear reactors in the stricken provinces came through mostly unscathed (even at the Daiichi site two are expected to return to service, and at other nuclear powerplants in the region no significant damage at all was seen – indeed, survivors of the earthquake and tsunami are being housed in buildings at nuclear facilities which survived the disaster better than most other buildings). One nuclear worker, in a crane cab at the time, was killed by the quake strike at the Daini plant: two were killed by the tsunami at Daiichi. A handful have been injured by the quake and following hydrogen explosions. No-one has been directly, or indirectly, so far, harmed by radiation other than three of the 50 Samurai who were TAKEN TO HOSPITAL WITH RADIATION BURNS, as the headlines screamed. Radiation burns which turned out to be nothing more serious than a mild case of sunburn, (Some UV is ionising radiation, you know, and so is some of the radiation from tanning booth lamps.) Tens of thousands of people were killed by the earthquake, and tsunami and their after-effects as almost all other infrastructure hit by the natural disaster failed catastrophically. Housing, transport and industry across the region collapsed with deadly consequences while oil plants, chemical factories, storage facilities and tanks of every type ruptured and burned, spilling megatonnes of pollution and carcinogens into the environment. But almost nothing is heard of all this, except as a footnote to the supposed radiological hazards resulting from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors.

Consider this. When we idiots were still testing nuclear weapons in our atmosphere, global fallout radiation peaked around 1963 at 0.15 millisieverts a year.

And this. At one point at Daiichi, a radiation plume of 400 millisieverts an hour was reported and confirmed.

Remember, that 0,15 millisieverts per year was global fallout radiation for the entire world, or about 500 million square kilometers. The radiation plume of 400 milliseiverts was from a small area of certainly no more than 100 square meters. If we assume that the Fukushima Daiichi reactors collectively manage a plume the size of say, a square kilometer, (because anything smaller won’t generate anything like a ‘reasonable’ number to work with,) then to get comparable numbers we need to multiply the 400/hour by (24 x 365) to get a year’s worth of radiation. Assume uniform distribution and divide by 500 million. That comes out to .007 milliseiverts / year. ( A chest X-ray is a dosage of about 0.1 mSv.) There is no reasonable scenario in which the Japanese reactors could sustain an emission rate of 400 milliseiverts per hour for a week, much less for a year. (Nor could they generate radioactive fallout uniformly over a square kilometer.) In the real world, gamma dose rates are measured daily in all of Japan’s 47 prefectures. The values have tended to decrease over time. For Fukushima, on 14 April a dose rate of 2.0 µSv/h was reported. In the Ibaraki prefecture, a gamma dose rate of 0.14 µSv/h was reported. The gamma dose rates in all other prefectures were below 0.1 µSv/h. Note that, apart from Ibaraki, the rates are all below the fallout radiation count of 1963.

And for those who are going to say, ‘But what about the contamination of veggies and such…’ Well, in a few prefectures, I-131 or Cs-137 is detectable in drinking water at very low levels. As of 12 April, one restriction for infants related to I-131 (100 Bq/l) is in place in a smallscale water supply in a village of the Fukushima prefecture. The latest results, in a total of 50 samples of various vegetables, (mushrooms, fruits (strawberries), various meats, seafood and unprocessed raw milk) in ten prefectures (Chiba, Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama, Tochigi and Yamagata) taken from 11th to 14 April show that I-131, Cs-134 and/or Cs-137 were either not detected or were below the regulation values set by the Japanese authorities.

So, there you have it. Good, sober and factual reporting on the situation can be found here and here .And there is a ‘Primer,’ about the new ‘7’ rating and Chernobyl here .

I have much more, but I might start to rant, so we’ll see how this goes 🙂

35 thoughts on “Fukushima”

  1. Good stuff bravo but you will never be employed in the media, since when did the truth get in the way of a good story?

  2. It is even worse in the German meeja where a decades-long quest to bring Germany back to the middle ages is well on its way is starting to bear fruit. The new Greens-lead government in Baden-Wuerttemberg wants to close all nuclear power plants in the Bundesland, forcing people to pay high rates to France for its spare electricity which is… Generated by nuclear power plants in Alsace-Lorraine within a few minutes at times from the national border. You probably wrote something about this before, but my poor brain does not work properly, but what do you think about Thorium power, Bravo?

  3. Thanks OMG.

    I don’t really know enough about it Christopher. It sounds as if it might be a good way to go and a good indicator is that China is putting some serious money into it.

    I keep hoping that the Mittelstand will make their voices heard in Germany; trash the euro and kick out the greens…

  4. I personally couldn’t care less.

    I suppose that its fair to assume that you don’t live within 30km of Fukushima or is it now 50Km?

    Can you imagine having to leave you’re possessions and other personal items behind in your own house?

    Not allowed to go in.

    My goodness, this is a disaster of an unimaginable scale, for you to consider opponents to this as complaints by ."bedwetters and neo-luddites" is to me simplistic and unbecoming.

    We already have one at Koeberg. Our lot want to build another one not 100km from where I live, sorry Bravo, not in my lifetime. As you may know, I’m good at ’causes’ but if our lot insist on a reactor close to my home then you ‘aint seen nothing yet!

    Down here in the S. Hemisphere there’s nothing wrong with coal, we’ve got tons of it and they should use it.

  5. Soutie: In the quiet of the creek here I am completely surrounded by nuclear generating stations, there are seven within a fifty miles radius. They have all been operating for longer than forty years and have caused no deaths or injuries, including the infamous Three Mile Island station on the Susquehanna river.
    A small word of caution regarding coal, most sources of coal contain about 5 parts per million of Uranium, a large coal fired station burns a million tons of coal a year and releases about five TONS of Uranium as a result (that’s more radioactive waste than a nuclear plant produces annually). Most of the waste goes up the stack into the atmosphere but some goes to the local landfill, not nice stuff. Here’s a wee link.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste

  6. Soutie. You make the same mistake. Fukishima itself is not a disaster of ‘unimaginable scale’ at all and if you go look a the links I gave you will see why. The disaster is the earthquake and tsunami. There is now way for anything that happens at Fukushima – and I repeat, I am not trying to play down the seriousness of what has happened there, there is a long way to go before there is any sign to be had othings getting back to normal – but no-one has been hurt, no-one, because of anything that happened at Fukushima beyond the direct effects of the earthquake and tsunami. If your coal is cheap and easy to get to, lucky you and there is no reason at all why you shouldn’t make use of it.

    Given the hype and spin that has been put into coverage of the crisis at Fukushima by the media, the hysterical reaction of the neo-luddites who oppose nuclear power ‘because it’s nuclear,’ I stand by my description.

  7. B22, you say nobody has been hurt, how about the kids that should be at school, how about the young couple who were planning to get married, how about the other xxthousands whose day to day lives have been ruined, no devastated not by the earthquake nor the tsunami, they survived that but now………….?

    I don’t know what else to say.

    I’m afraid that I think that you are being simplistic here, those poor people that lived in the vicinity have no life left, that’s my concern. I’m afraid that the consequences of nuclear power stations failing are too great for us (and I’m including all mankind here) to take.

    LW, our power stations are all up on the East Rand, (where the coal seams are) over a thousand kilometers away and generally in completely uninhabited areas (except for the workforce of course) it’s all sent down to the coast via those unsightly pylons which I spoke about yesterday on B22’s other post.

  8. B22

    I’ve just pulled up a map of Cyprus, do you realize that if there was a similar incident at lets say Zyyl (on the south coast) due to an earthquake, technical error or whatever that 50km exclusion zone would mean that the whole population of Cyprus would have to evacuate!

    I’m all for nuclear power, don’t get me wrong, perhaps it’s time to consider building them offshore, far far away, where we can enjoy the benefits but reduce the risk, a bit like tuna 😉

  9. Soutie, I understand what you’re saying, but do the numbers…how many have been affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Count the cost. We’re not going to agree on this one, but my view is that your fears are misplaced, simple as that. Deal, in the UK, where I used to live, is not far from Dungeness…

  10. PS. A bet. I bet agricultural land in the Fukushima exclusion zone is back in production before agricultural land that was wiped out by the tsunami, (not, of course, all, in either place.)

  11. I watched a very interesting documentary about Chernobyl today – a real eye opener as to the effects on the land in the 25 years since the disaster. Nature has amde a wonderful job of adapting at the molecular level, and now it is a beautiful nature reserve that is all the better for very little human presence

    If I get a chance later I’ll expand on what it said, but for now I say I’m with you Bravo.

    Fukushima is clearly not even remotely in the same league as Chernobyl and the disasters were the tsunami and quake. I think the Jap engineers should take a pat on the back in their designs!

  12. Let’s be quite clear.

    The coal industry and every other such established industry who will stand to lose by nuclear power will do whatever they can to put a stop on going down the nuclear energy path.

    The Greenie mob, who want everyone to go back to living in caves and living on a diet of roots and veggies, will also do all they can to stop nuclear energy.

    While I’m sure that the Fukushima problems could perhaps have been avoided with more care, one does need to put the thing in perspective – and remember that, normally, humanity learns from these incidents.

    Chernobyl made the world aware of what can happen, Fukishima reminds us that we need to ensure there is better supervision of such places.

    Don’t forget to put in the equation of coal fuelled power stations, the damage to the lives and health of those who get the stuff out of the ground..

  13. Boadicea: I did not want to pile onto Soutie regarding coal mining deaths, as a reconditioned Welshman to me they are all too familiar. China admitted to over 6,000 last year so their total is probably significantly higher, the US had about 40, mostly in the deep mines. Australia must be the world’s leader in coal exports but most of yours seem to come from surface mines, which are much safer in general. But it is a factor that should be considered in the social/economic equation.

  14. Bravo: the Greens actually have to prove that they can do something either than simply propose ideas and be against something. Baden-Wuerttemberg is also a very conservative, affluent area and special local problems (including a minister president who made Gordon Brown look positively charming) all factored into their win and do not promise to be relevant when the government either collapses or comes due for re-election.

  15. I am with you on this Bravo, yes there is a problem but nuclear power is cleaner and more efficient than any other power to date.

    What will all these greenies do when the lights go out? oil lamps which burn fossil or plant s and create more pollution.

    I am always amazed at the greenies that DRIVE to protest marches in cars, greenies that use electricity to watch telly, power their phones and pc’s and cook with. They seem to be living in another world.

    And as for the Germans trying to ban nuclear power stations and use French ones form a few miles across the border it is laughable, so if one of the French ones went up the radiation and fallout would stop at the border would it?

    A bit like our life under Ken the Newt Livingstone, he had many of the London labour councils (Lewisham, Newham and others)declare themselves nuclear free zones to protect the inmates, yet the trains that remove nuclear waste go through the boroughs at night and the people use electricity generated in nuclear power plants.

    Talk about heads and the inside of anal cavities.

  16. I approved this long comment from Mikkai – make of it what you will, chaps. Personally I find the poor English tedious – perhaps some of you will have more patience than me. 😕

  17. Question – What does “Mikkai” have to do with Jan Hemmer and where does ‘Open Secret’ come from, please?
    Or am I being incredibly thick this evening? 😕

  18. Thanks Bravo.
    If you click on Mikkai’s name under his gravatar, you will be taken to the blog that he has associated with his registration. That blog is authored by Jan Hemmer, a German. There is no reference to Mikkai on that blog.

  19. Not my subject but I would have thought that they need all types of energy generation. Either that or enforce cuts in the world population.

    I fail to comprehend why no one is spending serious money on cleaner ways of using coal considering how much there is of it all over the world.

  20. 密会 (Mikkai) means secret or closed meeting. The meaning of characters in Japanese is often somewhat different, either in nuance of in complete meaning, from the Chinese equivalent.

  21. Christopher. I stand corrected. The second character is ‘hui’ in Mandarin, or ‘wooi’ in Cantonese. It does mean ‘meeting,’ of course. Sloppy work, Bravo.

    My apologies, Bearsy.

  22. Bravo: in Japanese it is somewhat more convoluted, as most things are. The verb form is 会う, pronounced “a-u”, the noun is 会, pronounced “kai”. The first word, 密 is usually pronounced “mitsu” but in this combination drops the “tsu” and extends the “k” into a long sound.

  23. btw, a question has just struck me – I didn’t know kanji used simplified forms? I would have thought that ‘ 會 ‘ would be correct in Japanese rather than ‘ 会 ‘ ?

  24. Bravo: Roughly one third of commonly used Kanji have been simplified, many simplified characters used in mainland China were originally developed in Japan after the end of WWII were the writing system was reformed. One of my favourite combinations is “Korea”, 韓国, as it uses one traditional and one simplified character.

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