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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 9, 2011 - Day 30 of Disaster
apan's Reactor Operator Apologies for Radiation


April 8, 2011 - Day 29 of Disaster

Magnitude 7.4 Aftershock Causes Tsunami Warning


April 7, 2011 - Day 28 of Disaster

Inside a Nuclear Ghost Town

Uncertain Data Led to Call for US citizens within 50 Miles of Japanese Plant to Leave


April 6, 2011 - Day 27 of Disaster

JAIF Update (PDF)



April 5, 2011 - Day 26 of Disaster

Press Release (Apr 05, 2011)
Out flow of fluid containing radioactive materials to the ocean from areas near intake channel of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 2 (continued report)

Today at around 9:30 am, we detected water containing radiation dose over

1,000 mSv/h in the pit* where supply cables are stored near the intake

channel of Unit 2. Furthermore, there was a crack about 20 cm on the

concrete lateral of the pit, from where the water in the pit was out

flowing. At around 12:20 pm, we reaffirmed the event at the scene.

We have implemented sampling of the water in the pit, together with the

seawater in front of the bar screen near the pit. These samples were sent

to Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station for analysis. (We already

informed on April 2nd, 2011)

Afterward, we implemented sea water sampling at the inside of the pit and

in front of the bar screen near the pit. We made radionuclide analysis

and found radioactive materials (For details to Appendix). Therefore, we

reported to Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), Ministry of

Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and Fukushima prefecture respectively.

We considered announcing 3 type of nucleus (iodine- 131, cesium-131, and

cesium-137) as definite value at the result of the analysis. In addition,

we will re-evaluate other type of nucleus based on the preventive measures

under a strong warning of NISA on April 1st,

We will implement the countermeasure continuously in order to prevent

radioactive materials influx to the sea from near the pit.


A email from a friend in Japan

The nuclear power station accident is getting worse or at least not improving !
Finally, last night they began discharging less polluted water out to the ocean as they cannot accommodate highly polluted water from the building floors. So they are vacating a holding pool of polluted waste liquid which contains less radioactive material than the water on the building floor.

Their strategy is that it is better to discharge less polluted water than the highly polluted water ! The government is saying that the discharging radioactive material is within the standard quantity as if it got into fish and we eat the fish for one year.

The same discussion has been said on vegetable, water, and air individually. So what would be the total digestion of the radioactive material on us when we have the standard-level water, vegetable, fish and air combined !!

Since the current level of the radioactive issue is still the concern of the long-term effect, I do not worry this myself as I only have 10-20 years to go before the END but I somehow worry for the younger people. However, we cannot do anything at this moment with this situation. People have to keep working to eat, to raise family etc.

Hazen-san, I copy Neal-san's memo which I have received this morning for your reference as he did not copy on you. To my eyes, Yokoyama-san is not aggressive enough to do this conversion. He may be looking for a big business. He said that his customers in the northern Japan suffered a lot because of the earthquake and he is expecting his business will be down significantly for this year.


April 4, 2011 - Day 25 of Disaster

Fukushima Update April 4, 2011

Tokyo Electric Power planned Sunday to inject water-absorbing polymer into a cracked concrete enclosure near the reactor 2 water intake at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in an effort to stop radioactive water from leaking into the ocean. Yesterday, pouring concrete into the concrete enclosure, which carries electric cables, failed to seal the crack.

TEPCO said it had not found water leaking from the concrete enclosures at other reactors, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum reported.

Following detection of the reactor 2 leak, the power company began testing radiation levels in sea water 15 kilometers (about 9.5 miles) from the facility.

A U.S. Navy barge has begun supplying fresh water as injection continues to cool reactors 1, 2, and 3. TEPCO is using a motor-driven pump powered by an off-site transmission line. A second barge with more fresh water has arrived at the site. Electric power has been restored to lighting in the turbine buildings of reactors 1, 2, and 3.


Radiation Measurements
After consultations with nuclear experts from the United States, TEPCO has begun to measure radiation levels inside the nuclear power plantís 20-kilometer (12.5 mile) evacuation zone. Measurements have been taken routinely outside the zone, but TEPCO has been reluctant to conduct tests closer to the plant because of anticipated radiation exposure to workers taking those measurements.

Radiation levels off site and at the site boundary are generally decreasing, although localized areas with elevated levels are being identified for further analysis. Protective action recommendations for food and water are gradually being lifted in many locations, but some remain pending further analysis.

The government is looking carefully at how and when to allow evacuees to return to their homes. The situation remains difficult for evacuees, especially the elderly and ill among them, but the government is escalating efforts to accommodate those who have evacuated.

The government is monitoring children up to 15 years old in some prefectures for possible iodine-131 exposure. Based on preliminary results, iodine-131 has not been found at levels that exceed action levels, and in many areas there has been no exposure.

Missing Workers Found
Tokyo Electric Power Co. has confirmed that two company employees who had been missing since the tsunami occurred on March 11 were found dead March 30 in the basement of the turbine building of reactor 4.


April 3, 2011 - Day 24 of Disaster

IAEA rushes team to Japan
Status report: Reactor-by-reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant
First clear pictures show the true devastation at the Fukushima nuclear plant as Japan flies unmanned drone over stricken reactor

Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log
IAEA: Radiation Eases Near Japan's Nuclear Evacuation Zone
Japan Nuclear Watch, April 2: Leaks to the Sea and Comments on AREVA Presentation
Source Of Toxic Leaks Found At Japan Nuclear Plant

IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Nuclear Accident (3 April 2011, 12:00 UTC)

Summary of Reactor Status, 3 April 2011, 12.00 UTC

On Sunday, 3 April 2011, the IAEA provided the following information on the current status of nuclear safety in Japan:

1.Current Situation at the plant

Overall at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the situation remains very serious.

On 2nd April, transferring of water from the Unit 1 condenser storage tank to the surge tank of the suppression pool was completed in preparation for transferring water in the basement of the Unit 1 turbine building to the condenser. Also on the 2nd April Transferring of water from the Unit 2 condenser storage tank to the surge tank of the suppression pool was started in preparation for transferring water in the basement of the Unit 1 turbine building to the condenser.

A second US Navy barge arrived on 2nd April carrying fresh water to be transferred to the 'filtered water tank'.

TEPCO has identified a possible leakage path from the Turbine building of Unit 2 to the sea via a series of trenches/tunnels used to provide power to the sea water intake pumps and supply of service water to the reactor and turbine buildings. As of 2nd April 07:25 UTC the pouring of concrete was started in an attempt to stop the water leakage. As of 2nd April 10:15 UTC, pouring of concrete had ceased and no significant decrease in the rate of leakage was observed. There is a plan to inject polymer to attempt to stop the leakage. TEPCO announced on 2nd April that, following the detection of highly contaminated water leaking through a crack found in a pit near Unit 2, they had added 3 additional sampling points at 15km from Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daiini.

Fresh water has been continuously injected into the Reactor Pressure Vessel of Unit 1 through the feed-water line at an indicated flow rate of 8 m3/h using a temporary electric pump with diesel backup. Fresh water is being injected continuously into the RPVs in Units 2 and 3 at indicated rates of 9 m3/h and 7 m3/h respectively through the fire extinguisher lines using temporary electric pumps with diesel backup.

In Unit 1 the indicated temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV is relatively stable at 259°C and at the bottom of RPV at 117°C. The RPV pressure indications are fluctuating and Drywell pressure is slightly decreasing. In Unit 2 the indicated temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV has decreased slightly from 161°C to 153°C. The temperature at the bottom of RPV was not reported. Indicated Drywell pressure remains at atmospheric pressure. The indicated temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV in Unit 3 is stable at 118°C and at the bottom of the RPV is about 92°C. The validity of the RPV temperature measurement at the feed water nozzle is still under investigation.

Injection of water into the spent fuel pool in Unit 2 using the temporary pump was restarted on 1st April.

Units 5 and 6

Both units remain in cold shutdown with plant systems operating on off-site AC power.

Common Spent Fuel Storage Facility

The Common Spent Fuel Pool temperature is stable. TEPCO tested an 'anti-scattering' agent (2000 l) on 500 m2 area around the Common Spent Fuel Storage facility on 1st April. The purpose of spraying is to prevent radioactive particles from being dispersed from the plant by winds and rain.

2. Radiation Monitoring

On 2nd April, deposition of iodine-131 was detected in 7 prefectures ranging from 4 to 95 becquerel per square metre. Deposition of cesium-137 in 6 prefectures was reported on 2nd April ranging from 15 to 47 becquerel per square metre. Reported gamma dose rates in the 45 prefectures showed no significant changes compared to yesterday.

Most of the previously imposed recommendations for restrictions on drinking water have been lifted. As of 2nd April, one recommendation for the restriction based on iodine-131 concentration was in place in one village in the Fukushima prefecture, which applied for infants only. Meanwhile, also in this village, the iodine-131 level in drinking water has dropped below 100 becquerel per litre, which is the recommended restriction level for intake by infants. The restriction is still in place as a precautionary measure of the local authority.

Currently, one IAEA monitoring team is working in the Fukushima region. On 2 April, measurements were made at 7 locations at distances of 32 to 62 km, North and Northwest to the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The dose rates ranged from 0.6 to 4.5 microsievert per hour. At the same locations, results of beta-gamma contamination measurements ranged from 0.09 to 0.46 megabecquerel per square metre.

3. BWR experts

The two agency experts in BWR technology have arrived in Japan. The objective of this expert visit is to have a direct exchange of views with the Japanese counterparts.

4. TEPCO Employees

TEPCO had been investigating two employees who had been missing since the earthquake of 11th March. On 2nd April NISA reported that on the afternoon of 30th March the two employees were found dead in the -1 Level of the Turbine Building of Unit 4.

April 2, 2011 - Day 23 of Disaster