nsnbc , - Radiation levels at the boundary of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have risen to the eightfold of the government set standards of 1 millisievert per year, reports TEPCO. Additional monitoring devices have been installed in towns and villages in the affected region. Water decontamination shall reduce the amount of stored, X-ray emitting water. Should any of the tanks burst during an earthquake, TEPCO would have to evacuate the workers and it is uncertain if they could return, said a German nuclear engineer.
On 10 January, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) held a meeting to discuss possible countermeasures for a southern area which long has been a source of problems, reports the Japanese dailyAsahi Shimbun.
The newspaper quotes TEPCO officials as saying that a level of eight millisieverts per year was estimated as of December, near an area with many storage tanks containing highly radioactive water.
TEPCO reports that the main factor behind the increase in radiation levels was X-rays from the storage tanks. Beta rays, released from radioactive strontium and other substances in the water reacted with iron and other elements in the storage tank containers to generate the X-rays, said TEPCO officials.
Highly contaminated water on the surface and permeating the underground has beenrunning into the Pacific Ocean since the disaster struck the nuclear facility in 2011.
Contamination of the Pacific Ocean water has according to statements by independent observers and scientists already led to a catastrophic collapse of Pacific Ocean ecosystems and private individuals reported localized, highly elevated radiation levels in the United States, Canadian and Mexican West Coast. It was only in 2013, two years after the disaster struck, that TEPCO reported that some 300 tons of contaminated water are running into the Pacific ocean per day.
Immediately after the disaster in 2011, TEPCO ordered flange storage tanks as an emergency solution, because the production of welded tanks would have taken longer time. The flange tanks, which are constructed of metal elements which are bolted together and sealed with rubber fittings are not fit for the corrosive ocean environment and risk bursting in the event of an earthquake. TEPCO continues, until today, to store water in ever more of the (cheaper) flange tanks and never ordered double hull, welded tanks which would be a much safer option.
TEPCO is attempting to neutralize the stored water, using a system known as Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS). The ALPS consists of 14 steel cylinders with filter systems of varying permeability. The end product is meant to be a slurry containing radioactive particles and “relatively” low radioactive water, which TEPCO ultimately plans to pump into the Pacific Ocean.
With regards to the final storage of the highly radioactive slurry, which is stored in steel containers, the reality is that there is none. So far, there has not been found any final disposal solution for any of the radioactive waste that has been produced over the last 60 + years, anywhere,although some of it is being disposed of in the form of depleted uranium munitions and with disastrous humanitarian consequences.
The Japanese government’s decommissioning plan for the Fukushima Daiichi power plant outlines that radiation levels at the boundaries of the crippled nuclear facility should not exceed one millisievert per year to minimize the impact of radiation outside the plant.
In response to the recent reports of radiation levels of eight millisieverts, the NRA has decided to set up an additional 400 monitoring devices in 12 cities, towns and villages around the power plant, including the evacuation zone.
The results of a study on the accumulation of radioactivity in Japanese forests, published in December, showed that the levels of the radioactive isotope cesium in forests, in a radius of 120 km around the power plant have almost doubled within one year.
The monitoring results from the previously installed and the newly added monitoring stations in the region around the power plant are available via the NRA’s website at http://radioactivity.nsr.go.jp/en/ .
The reliability of the published results, however, is questioned by many, referring to the fact that both TEPCO and the Japanese government have been withholding and censoring information to the public since 2011.
nsnbc international has spoken with a German nuclear engineer who has been working at nuclear research reactors for the better part of two decades. On condition of anonymity, fearing professional repercussions, the expert said that TEPCO is in a race against time.
Earthquakes of a magnitude of five on the Richter scale are a common, if not daily then a weekly occurrence in the region around Japan, and the likelihood of an earthquake above the magnitude of seven on the Richter scale in Japan within a one year period is estimated to be above seventy percent, said the German nuclear engineer who has been monitoring the situation in Fukushima closely since 2011.
The engineer stressed, that most of the flange tanks, containing the highly contaminated water, are located uphill from the reactors where the spent fuel rod removal and cleanup operation proceeds, adding, let alone the fact that building four could collapse; If any, of the storage tanks undergoes a catastrophic failure during an earthquake, TEPCO would have to evacuate the facility and it is unlikely that the fuel rod removal operation, or for that sake the controlling of the water levels in the spent fuel pool could continue.
Ch/L - nsnbc 11.01.2014