Lack of data from Japan distresses nuclear experts

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Lack of data from Japan distresses nuclear experts

Post by ziggy on Sat Mar 26, 2011 12:55 pm

How did Japanese workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant jury-rig fire hoses to cool damaged reactors? Is contaminated water from waste pools overflowing into the Pacific Ocean? Exactly who is the national incident commander?

The answers to these and many other questions are unclear to U.S. nuclear scientists and policy experts, who say the quality and quantity of information coming out of Japan has left gaping holes in their understanding of the disaster nearly two weeks after it began.

At the same time, they say, the depth of the crisis has clearly been growing, judging by releases of radioactivity that by some measures have reached half the level of those released in the Chernobyl accident of 1986, according to new analysis by European and American scientists.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-sci-japan-quake-secrecy-20110325,0,3610246.story
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Re: Lack of data from Japan distresses nuclear experts

Post by Aaron on Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:55 pm

According to most of what I've read online, radiation in the ocean is nothing new and once it is dissipated, which it apparently does fairly quickly and as iodine 31 has a half-life of about 8 days, it poses no real threat to aquatic life or to our food supply from the ocean.

"Generally speaking, radioactive material released into the sea will spread due to tides, so you need much more for seaweed and sea life to absorb it," Mr Nishiyama said.

He added that because iodine-131 has a half-life - the time in which half of it decays - of eight days, "by the time people eat the sea products, its amount is likely to have diminished significantly".

Tepco also reported levels of caesium-137 - which has a longer half life of about 30 years - almost 80 times the legal maximum. Scientists say both radioactive substances can cause cancer if absorbed by humans.

Officials said they would check the seawater about 20 miles (30km) off the coast for radiation and expect it to show there is no need to be concerned about any possible effect to fish.

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Re: Lack of data from Japan distresses nuclear experts

Post by Aaron on Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:27 am

It seems to be getting worse with plutonium now leaking from the damaged plant and no where to store the water that is used in cooling the reactors.

The plant has been leaking radiation that has made its way into vegetables, raw milk and tap water as far away as Tokyo. Residents within 12 miles (20 kilometers) of the plant were ordered to leave and some nations banned the imports of food products from the Fukushima region.

Highly toxic plutonium was the latest contaminant found seeping into the soil outside the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

Safety officials said the amounts did not pose a risk to humans, but they said the finding supports suspicions that dangerously radioactive water is leaking from damaged nuclear fuel rods.

"The situation is very grave," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters Tuesday. "We are doing our utmost to contain the damage."

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Re: Lack of data from Japan distresses nuclear experts

Post by Stephanie on Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:01 am

I'm more worried about the Fukushima nuclear plant than I have ever been of any disaster in my lifetime. I see nothing I can do about it so I try not to think about it. Too many unknowns and not enough reliable information coming out of Japan. The government has changed their story more times in the past two weeks than Obama has gone golfing in the past two years. pale

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Re: Lack of data from Japan distresses nuclear experts

Post by SamCogar on Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:18 pm

Stephanie wrote:I'm more worried about the Fukushima nuclear plant than I have ever been of any disaster in my lifetime.

Steph, I see no point in getting worried about the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster until after the Japanese really get worried about it.

One shouldn't be forgetting that they have been through this before only it was worse the 1st time they had to contend with it.

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Re: Lack of data from Japan distresses nuclear experts

Post by Aaron on Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:42 am

Experts: Ocean life can handle radioactive leaks

AP NEW YORK Releases of radioactive water into the ocean near Japan's stricken nuclear complex shouldn't pose a widespread danger to sea animals or people who might eat them, experts say.

That's basically because of dilution.

"It's a very large ocean," noted William Burnett of Florida State University.

Very close to the nuclear plant less than half a mile or so sea creatures might be in danger of problems like genetic mutations if the dumping goes on a long time, he said. But there shouldn't be any serious hazard farther away "unless this escalates into something much, much larger than it has so far," he said.

Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., said readings for radioactive iodine and cesium show a thousand-fold drop from the shore to monitors about 19 miles offshore.

He said radioactive doses in seafood may turn out to be detectable but probably won't be a significant health hazard. They'd probably be less of a concern than what people could get from land-based sources like drinking water or eating produce, he said.

No fishing is allowed in the vicinity of the complex.

Radioactive water has been seeping into the Pacific Ocean from the nuclear plant, and on Monday plant operators began releasing more than 3 million gallons of tainted water to make room at a storage site for water that's even more radioactive.

Igor Linkov, an adjunct professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, also said he did not expect any major impact on ocean wildlife or people who eat seafood.

He agreed that animals near the plant may be affected. It's not clear in what way, because the level of radiation isn't well known, he said. In any case, fish would probably escape such an effect because unlike immobile species such as oysters, they move around and so would not get a continuous exposure, he said.


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