Monday, April 4, 2011

Toxic Dumping

A few days ago I commented that I was surprised to hear the media report that "dumping radioactive water into he ocean is not an option", given how "benign", (according to TEPCO) the effects of radioactive leakings to date had been.  Well, be careful what you blog about.   This scenario has now come to pass:

TEPCO has begun deliberately dumping  radioactive water in the Pacific.  In an almost Orwellian slight-of-hand, a spokesman said proudly that the water being dumped was radioactive at a low level only.  (by the way in this context 40,000% over the legal limit is considered "low level"!!).  Ok, so that means that no highly radioactive water is entering the ocean, right?  Think again.  
TEPCO is also stepping up efforts to stop highly radioactive water from leaking into the sea, and the company poured 13 kilograms of white bath agent.... ..
The high level stuff is going in accidentally, but it is going in.  Ok, raise your hand if you would be surprised to hear in few weeks that...ooops some of the "low level" dumping was a little higher level than we thought.   With dosimeters that max out a 1000 mSv, I'm not sure how anyone would know. Characteristically the story contains no actual measurements of water leaking or dumped nor does it state what the legal limit is (maybe we should know by now)

Here's a story that might portend how the installation of new nuclear power plants might be affected in the future.   Imagine if your town was considering getting a new nuclear plant.  Fill in the blanks with local names.
[   xxx  ]   and other town council members championed a plan to build two new reactors at the [] Nuclear Power Plant, a welcome addition of jobs and capital to the otherwise sleepy town of [ xxx ].  " We had no industry here. To flourish, our town needed the plant.”  he said.
In this article, the missing words are: "Fubata" town, Fukushima Daiichi power plant and  city councilman Shiro Izawa.   Instead of flourishing,  Fubata is now a nuclear ghost town and Mr. Izawa is now living in an emergency shelter (because of the meltdown, not quake).   His is new job is to figure out where all 6,900 of the town's residents should now live.

“The plant was supposed to be safe,” Mr. Izawa said at the shelter just outside Tokyo, 150 miles from Fukushima. “That was the promise...."

Related Kyodo headline:  "TEPCO to drop plan to add 2 reactors at Fukushima I nuclear plant". Ya think? Can you imagine if there were 8 reactors (5-6 in service) at the time of the quake?  

There's been extensive news on the rad. fallout in California...I'll try to write on that tomorrow


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