Check out our new channel!

Home News Articles News Releases Classified Ads Techpapers Links Contact US Media Kit


March 21, 2011

The nuclear power plants in Japan after the March 11 , 2011 earthquakes could become a major nuclear disaster.
Keep watching this page for updates and insights by Raymond Rouse on the issues from a nuke scientist's point of view.

Continuing Updates:

IAEA Status of Fukushima

INES Leaflet on Nuclear Accidents

Continuing Updates on Earthquakes around the world

April 26, 2011 - Day 47 of Disaster
Most reactors in Japan yet to have enough backups for stable cooling
Death Toll Reaches 14,435 From Great Quake-Tsunami in Japan

April 25, 2011 - Day 46 of Disaster
Due to the crises in Japan, some companies are no longer taking orders for geiger counters.
Radiation and Health: The Aftershocks of Japan's Nuclear Disaster
Chernobyl can provide lessons for Japan, Russian activist says
Evacuees to start brief hometown visits from May
Hot debris hampers reactor repairs

April 21, 2011 - Day 42 of Disaster
Japan Bans Residents from Staying Within 20-km Zone Around Nuclear Plant
Japan Nuclear Workers at Their Limit, Doctors Warn
Inside Japan's Nuclear "Hot Zone"
Magnitude 6.3 Earthquake Rattles Tokyo
JAIF Update (PDF)
Japanese Nuke Evacuees Now Forbidden From Entering Danger Zone

April 20, 2011 - Day 41 of Disaster
Tepco starts to pump out turbine 2 unit
Removal of toxic water key to restoration of cooling system

Asia nuclear reactors face deadly tsunami risk

IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Nuclear Accident (19 April 2011, 18.00 UTC)

Summary of Reactor Status
Fukushima Radiological Monitoring and Consequences
Fukushima Marine Environment Monitoring

On Tuesday, 19 April 2011, the IAEA provided the following information on the current status of nuclear safety in Japan:

1. Current Situation

Overall, the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant remains very serious but there are early signs of recovery in some functions, such as electrical power and instrumentation.

On 17 April, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced that TEPCO had issued a "Roadmap towards Restoration from the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station". The roadmap outlines 63 measures to be taken in two steps over a period of six to nine months.

Changes to Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Status

The IAEA receives information from a variety of official Japanese sources through the nation's national competent authority, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. Additional detail is provided in the IEC status summary with information received by 07:00 UTC on 19 April 2011.

TEPCO has provided a plan to NISA for the transfer of highly contaminated water from the basement floor of the turbine building of Unit 2 to the Main Building of the Radioactive Waste Treatment Facilities in order to reduce the risk of this stagnant waste water being discharged to the environment.

On 17 and 18 April, an unmanned robot was used to conduct inspections of the Reactor Buildings in Units 1, 2 and 3.

As of 18 April, white "smoke" was still observed coming from Units 2, 3 and 4.

In Unit 1, fresh water is being continuously injected into the RPV through the feed-water line at an indicated flow rate of 6 m3/h using a temporary electric pump with off-site power. In Units 2 and 3, fresh water is being continuously injected through the fire extinguisher lines at an indicated rate of 7 m3/h using temporary electric pumps with off-site power.

RPV temperatures remain above cold shutdown conditions in all Units. In Unit 1 the temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV is 170 °C and at the bottom of the RPV is 115 °C. In Unit 2, the temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV is 142 °C. In Unit 3 the temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV is 100 °C and at the bottom of the RPV is 114 °C.

In Unit 1 Nitrogen gas is being injected into the containment vessel to reduce the possibility of hydrogen combustion within the containment vessel. The pressure in this containment vessel has stabilised. The pressure in the RPV is increasing. In Units 2 and 3 Reactor Pressure Vessel and Drywell pressures remain at atmospheric pressure.

On 18 April the concrete pump truck sprayed water into the Unit 3 spent fuel pool. On 17 April, approximately 140 tonnes of fresh water was pumped into the Unit 4 spent fuel pool.

There has been no change in the status in Units 5 and 6 or in Common Spent Fuel Storage Facility.

On 17 and 18 April, anti-scattering agent was sprayed over an additional 3100 m2 area near the Centralized Waste Treatment Facility.

2. Radiation Monitoring

On 18 April, deposition of I-131 was detected in 6 prefectures ranging from 2.3 to 65 Bq/m2. Deposition of Cs-137 was detected in 2 prefectures; the values reported were 4.7 and 14.8 Bq/m2.

Gamma dose rates are measured daily in all 47 prefectures. The values tend to decrease over time. For Fukushima, on 18 April a dose rate of 1.9 µSv/h was reported. In the Ibaraki prefecture, a gamma dose rate of 0.13 µSv/h was reported; in all other prefectures, reported gamma dose rates were below 0.1 µSv/h.

Dose rates are also reported specifically for the Eastern part of the Fukushima prefecture, for distances beyond 30 km from Fukushima-Daiichi. On 17 April, the values in this area ranged from 0.1 to 23 µSv/h.

MEXT has set up an additional monitoring programme in cooperation with local universities. For 18 April, measurements of the gamma dose rates were reported for 53 cities in 40 prefectures. In Fukushima City, a value of 0.38 µSv/h was observed; in 9 cities, gamma dose rates ranged from 0.13 to 0.17 µSv/h. For the other cities, gamma dose rates of less than 0.1 µSv/h were reported.

In drinking water, I-131 or Cs-137 is detectable at very low levels only in a few prefectures. As of 17 April, one restriction for infants related to I-131 (100 Bq/l) is in place in a small scale water supply in a village of the Fukushima prefecture.

On 18 April, the IAEA Team made measurements at 12 different locations in the Fukushima area at distances ranging from 13 to 43 km, South and Southwest from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. At these locations, the dose rates ranged from 0.25 to 6.8 µSv/h. At the same locations, results of beta-gamma contamination measurements ranged from 0.01 to 0.15 Megabecquerel/m2.

Analytical results related to food contamination were reported by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare on 18 April, and covered a total of 23 samples taken on 8, 15, 17 and 18 April. Analytical results for all of the samples of various vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, leafy vegetables, fruit (strawberries), fish and unprocessed raw milk in eight prefectures (Chiba, Fukushima, Gunma, Hokkaido, Ibaraki, Niigata, Saitama and Yamagata) indicated that I-131, Cs-134 and/or Cs-137 were either not detected or were below the regulation values set by the Japanese authorities.

April 19, 2011 - Day 40 of Disaster
JAIF Update (PDF)
TEPCO Roadmap Towards Recovery (WORD)
Tepco starts to pump out turbine unit
Powder to remove radiation developed
Capturing the eerie beauty of Chernobyl
Who pays for nuclear nightmare?
TEPCO starts moving highly radioactive water to storage facility
Gov't to establish reconstruction task force, nuclear crisis panel
Health Physicist Explains the Differences in Health Impacts From Fukushima Versus Chernobyl
Health Physicist Says Fukushima Poses No Health Risk to Americans

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) estimates it will take up to nine months to stabilize the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. A plan released Sunday breaks the project into two steps, the first taking up to three months, the second up to six months more.

According to the company’s “Roadmap Towards Restoration,” TEPCO plans to:

Fill the containment vessels of reactors 1 and 3 with enough water to cover the fuel in the reactors while it decides the best course of action to repair the damaged containment vessel of reactor 2. The goal is to lower the temperature of the water inside the reactors to below boiling.
Install heat exchangers to help cool the reactors. TEPCO continues to inject water into the reactors to prevent overheating. TEPCO also continues to spray water onto the used fuel storage pools as needed.
Use giant covers with filters to enclose the reactor buildings and control the release of radioactivity.
Install additional water storage tanks and purification facilities to process the highly radioactive water that has accumulated in the plant buildings and nearby concrete enclosures. The decontaminated water then will be used to cool the reactors. Radioactive water that has accumulated in turbine room basements is hampering work to restore cooling operations.
Expand monitoring of radiation in the 12.5-mile evacuation area and later decontaminate houses and soil.

TEPCO continues injection of nitrogen gas into the containment vessel of reactor 1 to stabilize the environment inside the reactor.

New Videos Posted
NEI has uploaded two new videos to its YouTube channel: "Health Physicist Explains the Differences in Health Impacts From Fukushima Versus Chernobyl" and "Health Physicist Says Fukushima Poses No Health Risk to Americans." Both videos feature Barbara Hamrick, radiation safety officer and certified health physicist at the University of California's Irvine Medical Center.

April 18 , 2011 - Day 39 of Disaster
JAIF Update (PDF)
Japan reactor shutdown to take months
How to minimize consequences of nuclear catastrophe
Robots detect dangerous spike in reactor 3 radiation
Success not given in TEPCO road map
Pyongyang TV giving 'getting more serious' nuclear crisis big coverage
Ikata nuke plant holds drill
Health Effects of Radiation from Japanese Reactor Leaks
AREVA Power Point on the Japanese Plants

April 10 - 17, 2011 Updates

April 2 - 9, 2011 Updates

March 27 - April 1, 2011 Updates

March 11 - 26, 2011 Updates