Nuclear Energy Institute – Information on the Japan Earthquake and Reactors in That Region

Hello folks. I have been wondering what the state of the Fukushima reactors is, and since the ADD afflicted American media has completely forgotten that there is even an island State named Japan I thought I’d try to find an update. I have noticed though that the concern for our safety due to release of radioactive contamination from the Fukushima reactors has lapsed a bit since American Idol is/has wound up. I am trying to find a source of information relating to the estimated total amount of contamination released from the reactors, and how that compares to both natural, and commercial radioactive contamination in the environment. I will also try to relate the estimated cancer rates, and death to other poisons and accidents such as cigarette smoking, and car wrecks. I’ll post this as soon as I can find a source.

Having served in the US Navy on a nuclear submarine I do have my opinion of nuclear power, and my opinion is that nuclear power can be operated in a safe manner. (Notice I didn’t say that it is being operated in a safe manner, just that it can be.) And since as a nation we are, and you must admit it, energy gluttons, I don’t see that we have much of a choice! There are only so many ways to generate energy at the level that we want require. NIMBY, and Dis/Mis-information are the greatest enemies of all new energy sources; as evidenced by the fight to put a wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts.

Below are two links to, and some choice comments from, two distinct sources; the IAEA, and the Department of Nuclear Energy at UC Berkeley. Enjoy, and make up your own minds.

As you were.

Nuclear Energy Institute – Information on the Japan Earthquake and Reactors in That Region.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said today that fuel damage likely occurred in reactors 2 and 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility in the first few days after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Both reactors are now reported to be stable and at relatively low temperatures. The extent of the fuel damage is unknown. If the water gauges inside the two reactors are accurate, there was sufficient water in the reactors to prevent damage to all the fuel, the company said.

Most of the fuel damage that occurred in reactor 2 is believed to have taken place within 100 hours of the earthquake. TEPCO believes fuel was damaged in reactor 3 within 60 hours. The company previously confirmed that fuel was damaged in reactor 1.

TEPCO plans to install two heat exchangers today to lower the temperature of the used reactor fuel at reactor 2.

Gamma Dose Rates in 47 Prefectures

Gamma dose rates are measured daily in all 47 prefectures. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan reports values on the basis of data collected from each prefecture. On 18 May the value of gamma dose rate reported for Fukushima prefecture was 1.6 µSv/h. In all other prefectures, reported gamma dose rates were below 0.1 µSv/h, with a general decreasing trend.

Air Concentrations of Radionuclides On-site at Fukushima Daiichi Plant

On-site measurements at the west gate of the Fukushima Daiichi plant indicate the presence of I-131 and Cs-137 in the air in the close vicinity of the plant (within approximately 1 km). The values observed in the previous days show daily fluctuations with an overall decreasing tendency.

Concentrations of Radionuclides in Drinking Water

As of 10 May, the restriction on the consumption of drinking water relating to I-131 – which had been applied since 1 April as a precautionary measure for one remaining location (the village of Iitate in Fukushima prefecture), and only for infants – was lifted.

Data Showing Releases of Radioisotopes into the Environment from Nuclear Reactors in the US

I have been searching for data regarding radioisotopes in the environment prior to Fukushima and have come across very interesting data found on the U.S.NRC. website (U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission).

This data shows that there are regular releases of multiple radioisotopes For example: Iodine-131, Cesium-137, Xenon, Strontium 90 etc. into the environment in the US. The documents are really long but you can search for key words such as Iodine and Cesium etc.

Here are the results from 2009 for Diablo Canyon Reactors 1&2

Click to access ML101270126.pdf

Scroll down to page 24 and beyond to see what radioisotopes were being released into the environment and at what amounts.

Here are the results from 2009 for San Onofre Reactors 2&3

Click to access ML101240921.pdf

Here are the results for Oyster Creek Reactor

This reactor had 3 accidental releases on top of the regular releases for 2009.

Here is the website listing all of the nuclear plants in the US. You can look at the annual report for each reactor. Mid-way down the page you can read the Radioactive Effluent Summary Report by Calendar Year: 2008 which gives us a report of all the releases by radioisotopes for all of the reactors in a comparitive graph. The data is for 2008 and they have not released the data for 2009 and 2010 yet but looking at the data for previous years you can tell this is a ongoing thing.

If you do a search of the ADAMS system and type “radioactive” as a search term and then scroll to the end of the documents to get to the most current documents (2009 to present) you will see many effluent release reports for numerous nuclear reactors in the US for 2009.

I can’t believe that they have been releasing all this radiation for years and we haven’t known about it because they haven’t publicly given us the information. Or they have and we just didn’t know where to look for it. Now they are saying that all of the radioisotopes that we are finding lately are solely due to Fukushima releases and have nothing to due with the nuclear reactors in the US, previous nuclear accidents and explosions in the US and releases into the water systems from hospitals and medical facilites. I am not so sure now!

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