Nuclear situation - do your own research

scandiman

Warming-Up
Aug 12, 2010
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#1
Hi guys

I am involved in the monitoring of this very fluid and serious situation and just wanted to stress the importance of not relying solely on the info from Japanese authorities and TEPCO. They have a poor information record from previous incidents:
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/features/earthquake-fire-and-nuclear-l/

So please please - and this goes for you well south of Fukushima also - do your own research and uss your common sense, in addition to taking into account what the authorities are saying.

I am no fan of conspiracy theories, the authorities are probably trying to strike a balance in between information and no panic. But it just is a fact there are many question marks (situation is as you know fluid so read below like that ):

- The status of all six units with disabled cooling systems is unclear.
- The release pathway of cesium and iodine detected around the plant is unclear. Is there more damage to containment than the Japanese authorities are willing to admit?
- Extent of core damage in unit 1 is unclear.
- Extent of core damage in unit 3 is unclear.
- No new information is available on the reported leak in unit 2.
- No information about possible core damage in unit 2 available.
- No information about status of the blocks 1,2 and 4 of Fukushima Daini, although information is given that venting is happening there.
- The total amount of radioactivity released in the explosion and as a result of
venting radioactive gases is unclear.
- The explosion in unit 1 exposed the upper irradiated fuel pool completely. Is the pool damaged? Is it being cooled or is there a risk of another meltdown? Is the main spent fuel pool at ground level damaged?
- A number of people are reported to have been exposed to harmful levels of
radiation. Save for one of them, the magnitude of the doses is not known. It is not clear whether some of them received the high doses outside of the plant
perimeter, which would indicate substantial radioactive releases. It is not clear
whether these were officially radiation workers or members of the public.
- No information about source and interpretation of the elevated radiation levels at the Oganawa NPP
- Intransparency around reasons for the labelling of the incident on INES 4 (a
conservative approach) instead of 5.

Take care

Frode
 
#2

Sikochi

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Sep 13, 2010
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Kochi
#3
Just to add to this thread, after the Chernobyl disaster, due to the weather patterns/atmospheric conditions at the time, radioactive rain was recorded as falling in Cumbria (NW England), Scotland and Wales which were over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from Ukraine, presumably in a similar way to occasional reports of people in the UK waking up to find a slight dusting of Saharana sand on their cars. So any release of radioactive material could potentially threaten any area of Japan or mainland asia.

Just to confirm my memory is correct, this links to a page from New Scientist.
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=_35Z2EMyzAkC&pg=PA46&lpg=PA46&dq=radioactive+rain+cumbria&source=bl&ots=WFC-AXVD9s&sig=3v_bQWOXw7oA1cXHieL357iZOGs&hl=en&ei=OYx9TZeUOYa8vgPRvIjtBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CEkQ6AEwCA
 

Sikochi

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Sep 13, 2010
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#4
From the New York Times:-
`The Pentagon was expected to announce that the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, which is sailing in the Pacific, passed through a radioactive cloud from stricken nuclear reactors in Japan, causing crew members on deck to receive a month’s worth of radiation in about an hour, government officials said Sunday. The officials added that American helicopters flying missions about 60 miles north of the damaged reactors became coated with particulate radiation that had to be washed off. The particles are still being analyzed, but presumed to include cesium-137 and iodine-121 — suggesting widening environmental contamination`
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/14/world/asia/14plume.html?_r=2

Today`s article reckons the problem could persist for months, possibly a year:-
`Japanese reactor operators now have little choice but to periodically release radioactive steam as part of an emergency cooling process for the fuel of the stricken reactors that may continue for a year or more even after fission has stopped. The plant’s operator must constantly try to flood the reactors with seawater, then release the resulting radioactive steam into the atmosphere, several experts familiar with the design of the Daiichi facility said.`
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/14/world/asia/japan-fukushima-nuclear-reactor.html?ref=internationalatomicenergyagency
 

StuInTokyo

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Dec 3, 2010
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#5
1) I used to work with radioactivity and know that things to the public always sound scary. Just like there are bad earthquakes and earthquakes you never even notice, radioactive exposure is the same.

2) I you want to know about what's happening from a scientists perspective, read this;
http://morgsatlarge.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/why-i-am-not-worried-about-japans-nuclear-reactors/

Stay safe everyone
That was a very good read, thanks!

The one line I very much agree with......

“Nuclear meltdown” sells papers.
..... is so very true.
 

StuInTokyo

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Dec 3, 2010
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#6
The original article has now been translated into Japanese, German and Spanish.

Pass the Japanese version along to Japanese friends and family members who are interested in some facts, not just the media hype.
 

robsta

Cruising
Oct 5, 2008
24
2
13
Atami and Gold Coast
#7
1) I used to work with radioactivity and know that things to the public always sound scary. Just like there are bad earthquakes and earthquakes you never even notice, radioactive exposure is the same.

2) I you want to know about what's happening from a scientists perspective, read this;
http://morgsatlarge.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/why-i-am-not-worried-about-japans-nuclear-reactors/

Stay safe everyone
For a little balance make sure you read the comments after the article. The author is outed as somebody working for the nuclear industry. It is fair enough he should write the article but one should still seek further info.
Rob
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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www.roadfixie.com
#8
I think the best approach is just have 100% transparent reporting of ALL the FACTS and DATA as they pertain to REAL RISK and PREPARATION. All the bullshit flying around is insane and a complete waste of bandwidth. TEPCO is completely overdoing this by having some engineering wank attempt to explain technical details to laypeople. This generally just confuses the issue and causes further misunderstanding. Then they try to simplify , which again misses the requirement of communication fully.

The ONLY good news right now is that these reactors do have contingency cooling systems and though they've burned through a couple of options, they still have several up their sleeve. And, they do have containment vessels designed to withstand melt-down especially in the case of a reactor that had ALREADY gone into shut down mode.

Of course there is ALWAYS the risk of DAMAGE to the container which WILL RESULT in radioactive contamination. AND - they DO NEED to VENT which also releases radioactive effluents. Plus - they'll eventually need to flush the system back out to sea and further contaminate the ocean - though its highly diluted, and in 30yrs or so - hey, you won't even notice. I-131 has short half-life. If <something> does happen - stay inside, take some KI for 10 days and chill out. And don't hang you're friggin laundry out to dry or eat veggies without washing thoroughly. CS137 is mainly dust-airborne and will dissapate rapidly. My main concern is just that the Japanese Govt will manage any catastrophic release of radioactive material in a prompt and transparent manner. And then provide ACCURATE ONGOING information of the EXACT location(s) and intensity of such contamination(s) so we can make RATIONAL INFORMED decisions.
 

StuInTokyo

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Dec 3, 2010
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#9
For a little balance make sure you read the comments after the article. The author is outed as somebody working for the nuclear industry. It is fair enough he should write the article but one should still seek further info.
Rob
Rob, this is not an attack on you, in any way shape or form, you bring up a valid point.

While it it true he works for the nuke industry, who do you expect to have knowledge about said industry, a taxi driver? :eek:

No seriously, if you want the experts in an industry, who do you go to? Some professor at a university that has never worked in the industry, yes he may know the theory etc, but he has never built or maintained or run anything in the the real world. I always find it funny that people are so quick to say "Well he works in aviation, so we can't trust his take on why the plane crashed" well who should we trust, the local kid at the 7-11 :rolleyes: :D

Of course all of the information is not out there, I doubt it ever will be, there are reasons for that, for example the company that makes the reactors, may have some trade secrets they don't want to share with the Chinese, or that the people trying to get a handle on this are just a little bit busy, I'd rather they tell us all the minutia about it afterward and spend their time and efforts now on fixing the problem.
 

StuInTokyo

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Dec 3, 2010
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#10
......I-131 has short half-life. If <something> does happen - stay inside, take some KI for 10 days and chill out. And don't hang you're friggin laundry out to dry or eat veggies without washing thoroughly. CS137 is mainly dust-airborne and will dissapate rapidly. My main concern is just that the Japanese Govt will manage any catastrophic release of radioactive material in a prompt and transparent manner. And then provide ACCURATE ONGOING information of the EXACT location(s) and intensity of such contamination(s) so we can make RATIONAL INFORMED decisions.
Yep, that is what must happen, I sure hope it does.

Sorry, but what do you mean by "KI" what is that short for?

Oh I found it, Potassium Iodine

From the CDC.......

>> LINK <<

(I posted the whole thing below, because it took a few minutes for the page to come up, I guess lots of people are looking for info)

Potassium Iodide (KI)
What is Potassium Iodide (KI)?

Potassium iodide (also called KI) is a salt of stable (not radioactive) iodine. Stable iodine is an important chemical needed by the body to make thyroid hormones. Most of the stable iodine in our bodies comes from the food we eat. KI is stable iodine in a medicine form. This fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives you some basic information about KI. It explains what you should think about before you or a family member takes KI.
What does KI do?

Following a radiological or nuclear event, radioactive iodine may be released into the air and then be breathed into the lungs. Radioactive iodine may also contaminate the local food supply and get into the body through food or through drink. When radioactive materials get into the body through breathing, eating, or drinking, we say that “internal contamination” has occurred. In the case of internal contamination with radioactive iodine, the thyroid gland quickly absorbs this chemical. Radioactive iodine absorbed by the thyroid can then injure the gland. Because non-radioactive KI acts to block radioactive iodine from being taken into the thyroid gland, it can help protect this gland from injury.
What KI cannot do

Knowing what KI cannot do is also important. KI cannot prevent radioactive iodine from entering the body. KI canprotect only the thyroid from radioactive iodine, not other parts of the body. KI cannot reverse the health effects caused by radioactive iodine once damage to the thyroid has occurred. KI cannotprotect the body from radioactive elements other than radioactive iodine—if radioactive iodine is not present, taking KI is not protective.
How does KI work?

The thyroid gland cannot tell the difference between stable and radioactive iodine and will absorb both. KI works by blocking radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid. When a person takes KI, the stable iodine in the medicine gets absorbed by the thyroid. Because KI contains so much stable iodine, the thyroid gland becomes “full” and cannot absorb any more iodine—either stable or radioactive—for the next 24 hours.

Iodized table salt also contains iodine; iodized table salt contains enough iodine to keep most people healthy under normal conditions. However, table salt does not contain enough iodine to block radioactive iodine from getting into your thyroid gland. You should not use table salt as a substitute for KI.
How well does KI work?

Knowing that KI may not give a person 100% protection against radioactive iodine is important. How well KI blocks radioactive iodine depends on

* how much time passes between contamination with radioactive iodine and the taking of KI (the sooner a person takes KI, the better),
* how fast KI is absorbed into the blood, and
* the total amount of radioactive iodine to which a person is exposed.

Who should take KI?

The thyroid glands of a fetus and of an infant are most at risk of injury from radioactive iodine. Young children and people with low stores of iodine in their thyroid are also at risk of thyroid injury.

Infants (including breast-fed infants): Infants need to be given the recommended dosage of KI for babies (see How much KI should I take?). The amount of KI that gets into breast milk is not enough to protect breast-fed infants from exposure to radioactive iodine. The proper dose of KI given to a nursing infant will help protect it from radioactive iodine that it breathes in or drinks in breast milk.

Children: The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that all children internally contaminated with (or likely to be internally contaminated with) radioactive iodine take KI, unless they have known allergies to iodine. Children from newborn to 18 years of age are the most sensitive to the potentially harmful effects of radioactive iodine.

Young Adults: The FDA recommends that young adults (between the ages of 18 and 40 years) internally contaminated with (or likely to be internally contaminated with) radioactive iodine take the recommended dose of KI. Young adults are less sensitive to the effects of radioactive iodine than are children.

Pregnant Women: Because all forms of iodine cross the placenta, pregnant women should take KI to protect the growing fetus. However, pregnant women should take only one dose of KI following internal contamination with (or likely internal contamination with) radioactive iodine.

Breastfeeding Women: Women who are breastfeeding should take only one dose of KI if they have been internally contaminated with (or are likely to be internally contaminated with) radioactive iodine. Because radioactive iodine quickly gets into breast milk, CDC recommends that women internally contaminated with (or are likely to be internally contaminated with) radioactive iodine stop breastfeeding and feed their child baby formula or other food if it is available. If breast milk is the only food available for an infant, nursing should continue.

Adults: Adults older than 40 years should not take KI unless public health or emergency management officials say that contamination with a very large dose of radioactive iodine is expected. Adults older than 40 years have the lowest chance of developing thyroid cancer or thyroid injury after contamination with radioactive iodine. They also have a greater chance of having allergic reactions to KI.

When should I take KI?

After a radiologic or nuclear event, local public health or emergency management officials will tell the public if KI or other protective actions are needed. For example, public health officials may advise you to remain in your home, school, or place of work (this is known as “shelter-in-place”) or to evacuate. You may also be told not to eat some foods and not to drink some beverages until a safe supply can be brought in from outside the affected area. Following the instructions given to you by these authorities can lower the amount of radioactive iodine that enters your body and lower the risk of serious injury to your thyroid gland.
How much KI should I take?

The FDA has approved two different forms of KI—tablets and liquid—that people can take by mouth after a nuclear radiation emergency. Tablets come in two strengths, 130 milligram (mg) and 65 mg. The tablets are scored so they may be cut into smaller pieces for lower doses. Each milliliter (mL) of the oral liquid solution contains 65 mg of KI.
According to the FDA, the following doses are appropriate to take after internal contamination with (or likely internal contamination with) radioactive iodine:

* Adults should take 130 mg (one 130 mg tablet OR two 65 mg tablets OR two mL of solution).
* Women who are breastfeeding should take the adult dose of 130 mg.
* Children between 3 and 18 years of age should take 65 mg (one 65 mg tablet OR 1 mL of solution). Children who are adult size (greater than or equal to 150 pounds) should take the full adult dose, regardless of their age.
* Infants and children between 1 month and 3 years of age should take 32 mg (½ of a 65 mg tablet OR ½ mL of solution). This dose is for both nursing and non-nursing infants and children.
* Newborns from birth to 1 month of age should be given 16 mg (¼ of a 65 mg tablet or ¼ mL of solution). This dose is for both nursing and non-nursing newborn infants.

How often should I take KI?

A single dose of KI protects the thyroid gland for 24 hours. A one-time dose at the levels recommended in this fact sheet is usually all that is needed to protect the thyroid gland. In some cases, radioactive iodine might be in the environment for more than 24 hours. If that happens, local emergency management or public health officials may tell you to take one dose of KI every 24 hours for a few days. You should do this only on the advice of emergency management officials, public health officials, or your doctor. Avoid repeat dosing with KI for pregnant and breastfeeding women and newborn infants. Those individuals may need to be evacuated until levels of radioactive iodine in the environment fall.

Taking a higher dose of KI, or taking KI more often than recommended, does not offer more protection and can cause severe illness or death.
Medical conditions that may make it harmful to take KI

Taking KI may be harmful for some people because of the high levels of iodine in this medicine. You should not take KI if
• you know you are allergic to iodine (If you are unsure about this, consult your doctor. A seafood or shellfish allergy does not necessarily mean that you are allergic to iodine.) or
• you have certain skin disorders (such as dermatitis herpetiformis or urticaria vasculitis).
.... cont
 

StuInTokyo

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Dec 3, 2010
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#11
.......

People with thyroid disease (for example, multinodular goiter, Graves’ disease, or autoimmune thyroiditis) may be treated with KI. This should happen under careful supervision of a doctor, especially if dosing lasts for more than a few days.

In all cases, talk to your doctor if you are not sure whether to take KI.
What are the possible risks and side effects of KI?

When public health or emergency management officials tell the public to take KI following a radiologic or nuclear event, the benefits of taking this drug outweigh the risks. This is true for all age groups. Some general side effects caused by KI may include intestinal upset, allergic reactions (possibly severe), rashes, and inflammation of the salivary glands.

When taken as recommended, KI causes only rare adverse health effects that specifically involve the thyroid gland. In general, you are more likely to have an adverse health effect involving the thyroid gland if you

* take a higher than recommended dose of KI,
* take the drug for several days, or
* have pre-existing thyroid disease.

Newborn infants (less than 1 month old) who receive more than one dose of KI are at particular risk for developing a condition known as hypothyroidism (thyroid hormone levels that are too low). If not treated, hypothyroidism can cause brain damage. Infants who receive KI should have their thyroid hormone levels checked and monitored by a doctor. Avoid repeat dosing of KI to newborns.
Where can I get KI?

KI is available without a prescription. You should talk to your pharmacist to get KI and for directions about how to take it correctly. Your pharmacist can sell you KI brands that have been approved by the FDA.
From what I can read there it sounds like most of us should NOT take it unless we are told to take it. Looks like the kids and young adults are the most at risk.
 

Sikochi

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Sep 13, 2010
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#12
For a little balance make sure you read the comments after the article. The author is outed as somebody working for the nuclear industry. It is fair enough he should write the article but one should still seek further info.
Rob
The article has now been `corrected`. It`s a shame they didn`t keep a copy of the original post so we could compare the before and after version.
http://mitnse.com/

While it it true he works for the nuke industry, who do you expect to have knowledge about said industry, a taxi driver? :eek:

No seriously, if you want the experts in an industry, who do you go to? Some professor at a university that has never worked in the industry, yes he may know the theory etc, but he has never built or maintained or run anything in the the real world. I always find it funny that people are so quick to say "Well he works in aviation, so we can't trust his take on why the plane crashed" well who should we trust, the local kid at the 7-11 :rolleyes: :D
The other thing you have to take into account is that even experts in a field only have theoretical knowledge unless they actually worked on and oversaw the construction of the facility, or have spent a long time working there. Structures are man-made and are hence prone to fallibilities due to that fact. Even more so in Japan, where there is widespread corruption and no guarantee that the structure was built according to the specifications and that the safety data hasn`t been falsified. Also, experts don`t know if the plant is being operated in accordance with the correct procedures and correct maintenance procedure is being carried out. I shall stick to following UK and US press for details of what is actually happening.
 

Yamabushi

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Jun 1, 2010
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fudoushin.com
#13
Cooler heads and such...

This is not aimed at anyone in this thread, but I feel compelled to say that I understand the panic and distress that many are feeling, but it helps nothing and only serves to breed more of the same. Let's be vigilant and cautious, but remain logical and informed.

Here is a logical and scientifically valid summary of the dangers, or more importantly the lack thereof: http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/03/13/fukushima-simple-explanation/
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#14
Pete, couldn't agree more. Some people need a bit of a reality check. You have the option to get on a plane and go home..... millions don't.

Lead, follow or....... well you know the rest.
 

andy_w

Warming-Up
Feb 4, 2009
143
4
0
Tokyo
tri-japan.blogspot.com
#15
Radiation dosage readings from the radiation monitoring posts at RIKEN Wako Institu

I feel I must report the measurements taken today from RIKEN, Wako campus (Saitama)

The levels are still too low to be a health concern here. But worryingly it is likely the above normal levels are due to the Fukushima power plant.

.....

Higher than normal radiation levels have been measured today (March 15th) at a
number of radiation monitoring posts (devices for continuously measuring background
radiation) located at the Wako campus.


Normal background radiation level: 0.04 μSv/h

March 15
3:00 0.04 μSv/h
6:00 0.12 μSv/h
9:00 0.17 μSv/h
10:37 1.62 μSv/h (highest reading for this period)
12:00 0.31 μSv/h

While this level of radiation is high compared to the normal level of background radiation,
it is not of a level which has any immediate effects on the body. We will continue
monitoring levels and inform everyone regularly of their results on the internal
homepage.


Note that these radiation levels are thought to be caused by radioactive material
released from the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

As a precaution, please avoid going outside.
When you must go outside, wear a mask (the same one as for preventing colds)
Take care to wash your hands.
By taking precautions similar to those of pollen allergies, you can prevent exposure to
radiation and prevent the ingestion of radioactive materials into the body.


For reference:
The level of exposure to radiation, such as from the normal industrial activity of nuclear
power plants, sustained by an average person in a year is about 1000 μSv.

The level of radiation from the natural environment: 2,400 μSv/year (amount averaged
across the world)

Amount of radiation exposure from a CT scan: 6,900 μSv per scan
 

StuInTokyo

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Dec 3, 2010
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#20
Great info, many thanks!

I guess I'll have to dig out my Respo City Mask
proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Ft2.gstatic.com%2Fimages%3Fq%3Dtbn%3AANd9GcRsYU9FVvp-GIAGbPxMN4E3X-UbpsDAgf_tIeVFvH0Fhq31rTxd&hash=9cddcead36441fa6aa59927ae26b8da7
and see if I can get the darn thing to fit me right. I got the Large but it fits so tight it is impossible to wear for even a few minutes...... I guess I have a fat head...?:rolleyes: