Response to Geraldine Thomas and the BBC on Fukushima.
Goddards Journal 11th March 2016 read more »
Chris Busby on Geraldine Thomas. On the 5th Anniversary of the catastrophe, Prof Geraldine Thomas, the nuclear industry’s new public relations star, walked through the abandoned town of Ohkuma inside the Fukushima exclusion zone with BBC reporter Rupert Wingfield-Hayes. Thomas was described as “one of Britain’s leading experts on the health effects of radiation”. She is of the opinion that there is no danger and the Japanese refugees can come back and live there in the “zone”. Her main concern seemed to be how untidy it all was: “Left to rack and ruin,” she complained, sadly. At one point, Rupert pulled out his Geiger counter and read the dose: 3 microSieverts per hour. “How much radiation would it give in a year to people who came back here,” he asked. Thomas replied: “About an extra milliSievert a year, which is not much considering you get 2mSv a year from natural background”. “The long term impact on your health would be absolutely nothing.” Now anyone with a calculator can easily multiply 3 microSieverts (3 x 10-6 Sv) by 24 hours and 365 days. The answer comes out to be 26 mSv (0.026Sv), not “about 1mSv” as the “leading expert on the health effects of radiation” reported.
Russia Today 12th March 2016 read more »
Five years ago, an epic tsunami off the coast of Japan triggered a triple-reactor nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Ever since then, 7,000 workers have been laboring round-the-clock on a massive, and unprecedented, cleanup effort. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien takes an exclusive look at ground zero of the greatest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
PBS 11th March 2016 read more »
Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, site of the world’s second worst nuclear disaster, is an unexpectedly relaxed place these days – or at least, that is the impression everyone who works there is at pains to give. Until recently all who came here were sealed in astronaut-like face masks. Today the 8,200 workers wear simple overalls inside the plant’s offices, and even outside there are zones where nothing more than a white suit and a dust mask are required. Unlike Chernobyl, which was sealed inside a concrete “sarcophagus”, the aim is to dismantle Fukushima Dai-ichi piece by piece, and remove the deadly molten gunk. Nothing like it has ev er been attempted before, Tepco has only the dimmest idea of how it will be achieved, and each faltering step towards the goal seems inevitably to be followed by a stumble back. The most immediate problem is underground water, which flows from the hills above the seaside plant, where it becomes irradiated by the ruined reactors before ending up in the Pacific. Tepco slurps up the contaminated water and stores it on site – 815,000 tons so far, with 300 tons added every day. Processing can remove most of the radioactive elements, but not all. Experts insist that the only way to deal with it is to pour it into the sea – not surprisingly, this is bitterly resisted by local fishermen. In an effort to stem the flow, Tepco has built an underground “ice wall” of frozen earth to keep out the groundwater – but after spending Y34.5 billion (Â£210 million) on the plan, it has been blocked by the nuclear regulator because it could make the problem worse. Meanwhile the company is trying to ascertain the state of the broken reactors using purpose built robots, and a kind of X-ray machine employing cosmic rays. Once they have mapped out the interior, further robots will be used, capable of removing the radioactive material and placing it inside suitable storage vessels. None of this technology is close to being invented. Officially, the company says that it will take 30 to 40 years. In an interview last year Mr Ono conceded that it could take two centuries. And all of this is assuming that there is no repeat of the earthquake and tsunami. “If a major earthquake and a tsunami hit again,” says Mr Ono, “that would cause a lot of tension among us.”
Times 11th March 2016 read more »
Five years ago an earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered a tsunami and a series of meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Kaori Suzuki’s home is nearby – determined to stay, but worried about her children’s health, she and some other mothers set up a laboratory to measure radiation.
BBC 13th March 2016 read more »