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Japan

Fukushima Radiation Levels High, But Leak Plugged 322

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the this-really-sucks dept.
jmcvetta wrote in with a story about Fukushima radiation levels so high that monitoring devices have been rendered useless. Levels outside the buildings exceed 100 millisieverts in some places. But the good news is that the leak is patched using 1500 liters of sodium silicate.
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Fukushima Radiation Levels High, But Leak Plugged

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @11:05AM (#35734100)

    Helpful radiation chart [xkcd.com] for those of us who don't have a clue whether 100 millisieverts is a tiny dose or enough to create a Godzilla monster.

    In short, it's definitely into the "You might want to step-up your planned schedule on those cancer screenings" territory.

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @11:26AM (#35734378) Homepage

    The leak that was stopped was from a drain pit to the ocean. The reactor itself is still leaking highly radioactive water. They're running out of places to put it.and are frantically building tanks and ponds.

  • by TopSpin (753) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @11:32AM (#35734468) Journal

    There is an estimated 50,000 tons of water still on site that will need to be disposed of one way or the other. About 500 tons are pumped into reactor pressure vessels for cooling every day. Some recent information on this is reported here by NHK: Workers face challenge of water storage [nhk.or.jp]

    To put 50,000 tons of water in perspective, a super tanker will carry about 172,000,000 gallons of oil. 50,000 tons of water is ~12,000,000 gallons. One super tanker could carry all the water on site plus and also receive all new water pumped into the reactors for the next 1332 days. No, I don't need the plausibility of this explained to me; this is an attempt to provide some scale to the problem.

  • by maxume (22995) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @11:48AM (#35734680)

    It isn't a comic though, it is a chart prepared in the style of a particular web comic.

    (Your entire context is sort of strange to me, very few laypeople are going to have enough understanding of the sources and dynamics of the contaminants to "judge" the situation, and the very limited surveys and information available would make it very difficult for them to be precise, not to mention the fact that the situation is not stable (they do seem to be gaining more control though, which is at least better than the alternative)).

  • Re:100 mS is no joke (Score:4, Informative)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @12:02PM (#35734966)

    So according to the chart, if you hang around an area with 100 mS per hour for an hour, you'll receive a dose likely to cause cancer.

    No. To use the inevitable car analogy:

    A scientist says: "Car accidents can happen to anyone who is in an automobile. However, studies have shown that car crashes are an insignificant cause of death for those who drive less than 1000 miles per year.

    An editor summarizes: "Minimum one-year driving linked to increased car crash risk: 1000 miles".

    You read: "If you drive 1000 miles you'll probably die".

  • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @01:16PM (#35735966)

    Good, because saying the reactor is fixed and there is no concern would be absolutely fucking ludicrous, wouldn't it? I wonder how much plane tickets to Japan are right now? I'd love to get the Pollyanna nuclear cheerleaders here a ticket to Japan, so they can check out the damage for themselves and report back to us, if they survive. It's no problem, right? Perfectly safe.

    Nothing is perfectly safe.

    Measuring across the entire lifetime, nuclear is still the safest form of power generation we have. The only other one that comes close is Hydro.

  • by Dasher42 (514179) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @02:14PM (#35736696)

    What I don't see enough discussion about is the bioaccumulative effect.

    For catch-up: fat-soluble toxins can accumulate in the bodies of organisms such that at every step of the food chain, the concentration is multiplied. It's not just a single species accreting the toxin, but what happens when its predators are eating from this concentrated source. Any links up the food chain up to the apex predator are going to have a multiplied effect, which is why a seemingly insignificant amount of mercury pollution versus the ocean's volume has made tuna consumption a point of caution.

    We are seeing radiation levels that could be a bit of a concern and the Fukushima situation is still not under control. And are some of the compounds it's emitting bioaccumulative? Yes, Cesium 137 for example, and that has a half-life of 30 years. And the first thing you should do is move your consumption as far down the food chain as possible. Even if you don't plan to go vegan, learn Indian cooking or a low-meat cuisine, because the less animal product you're consuming, the better.

    Sources:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11482657 [nih.gov]
    http://www.marietta.edu/~biol/102/2bioma95.html [marietta.edu]
    http://science.jrank.org/pages/854/Bioaccumulation.html [jrank.org]
    http://www.businessinsider.com/san-francisco-rainwater-radiation-181-times-above-us-drinking-water-standard-2011-4 [businessinsider.com]

  • by rickb928 (945187) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @04:49PM (#35738532) Homepage Journal

    First, the cesium issue is that it is longer-lived than iodine isotopes. It also tends to accumulate in bones. While iodine is fairly well defended against, cesium is more difficult...

    The plutonium issue is precisely what everyone else seems to be glossing over. The #3 reactor is the only source of plutonium at Daiichi, and there is some minimal contamination detected immediately next to the reactor. The fear of some experts is that they may yet lose containment of #3, that the fuel may pool and eat through the floor of secondary containment, and then it's in the ground and groundwater. Clearly, they expect to be able to keep this fuel cool enough that it won't truly melt, but we've been assured more than few times that that isn't a problem, and it is now assumed by several experienced engineers to have already happened to a small extent. TEPCO is not your reliable source for info on this either. Most of this is under the heading of 'prepare for the worst'.

    But #1 is again building pressure, and hydrogen. This is good, because containment is working well enough to build pressure. this is bad because an explosion will cause a lot of problems... They are trying to displace the hydrogen with nitrogen last I heard, though where the hydrogen goes I haven't looked into.

    If #3 containment fails due to explosion or fuel fire, that would release plutonium, and likely as a cloud. The current expectation is that a #3 containment failure would be a meltdown, down through the floor, and plutonium would be a ground contaminant. I am not encouraged by that.

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