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Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Look Back At The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Of 2011 - Part 7

I am coming to the end of this look back at the Dai-ichi nuclear disaster at Fukushima in 2011.

Above is the water treatment facility located just outside of Reactor No. 4 - August of 2011. Hey, as long as it works, right? It doesn't.

We're on Part 7 today... so ya better read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this growing macro-series that delves into just how Japan was nearly irradiated in 2011 when the Dai-ichi (Big One) nuclear power generating station was swamped by a tsunami on March 11 of that year. You can read Part 1, HERE. Part 2 is HERE. Part 3 is HERE. Part 4 is HERE. Part 5 is HERE, and Part 6 is HERE.

After the 9.0 magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011, the Dai-ichi facility automatically shutdown Reactors No. 1, 2, and 3. Emergency generators were now being used on Reactors No. 1, 2, and 3 to control the cooling and electronics about it.

Reactor No. 4 had its fuel rods removed (de-fueled) prior to March 11, and Reactors No. 5 and No. 6 were already in cold shutdown for a planned maintenance prior to March 11.

We're at April 1... apparently the temperature within Reactor No. 1 and No. 2 are now stable.

April 2, 2011... apparently yesterday was April Fool's Day.

Scientists find a 20-centimeter (eight-inch) crack near the water intake area of Reactor No. 2, which is leaking radiation-contaminated water at a rate of 1,000 millisieverts/hour.

They immediately begin to try and fill the crack to stop the water from leaking Buddha-only knows where it's leaking to... but the patch job fails.

Seawater samples outside the Dai-ichi facility show that the seawater has a contamination of radiation of only 7,500,000x the legal limit... so I guess we (and Buddha) now know where the leaking irradiated water is going to.

Surprise, surprise, the government says that people who have evacuated their homes in the area will not be allowed back for... well... they don't know how bloody long.

To make the seawater contamination worse, on April 4, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power COmpany, owners of the Dai-ichi nuclear power generation facility and other similar plants) says it needs to dump 11,500 tons of low-level contaminated water into the sea to give itself more storage for the highly contaminated water. Damned if you do...

Their reasoning is, and it's actually good reasoning, is that the low-level water will be dispersed into the sea without causing major damage to the ecosystem. They hope.

On April 5, TEPCO manages to seal that crack at Reactor No. 2.

At the same time, TEPCO injects 6,000 cubic meters of nitrogen gas into Reactor No. 1 to try and prevent another hydrogen gas explosion.

Strangely, the United Nations says that the Dai-ichi nuclear accident should NOT have a serious impact on people's health. To me that sounds like they are kindda jumping the gun.

Still... it is obvious now that the entire Dai-ichi facility is a mess, and will have to be decommissioned, with Toshiba... the folks who built the reactor cores, saying that it's going to take about 10 years to decommission the entire plant... which is pretty optimistic, as we will find out later.

In fact, it's later, so I can tell you that it's going to be about 30+ years to decommission the site. Closer to 40 years, in fact.

It's not like people are able to know, right now, just how much damage there is to each reactor. Idiots.

And, just when you thought it was safe to go back into the heavy water around the reactors, on April 11, 2011... one month after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that spawned the tsunami that knocked out Dai-ichi, guess what happens?

Yup... another earthquake... this one was only a 7.0 magnitude. For reference, the earthquake that destroyed Christchurch, New Zealand on February 22, 2011, was a 6.3 Magnitude quake... I like my Kiwis and Aussies, and while I know this wasn't the largest quake in the past seven years, I know people in Christchurch.

At Dai-ichi, it loses power again, which stops water from being electronically injected into Reactors No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3... for about 50 minutes... meaning those three reactors heat up again, burning off the water inside for 50 minutes... but luckily, it doesn't burn off enough to re-expose the fuel rods, meaning that none of the reactors achieve a partial meltdown again.

To make matters worse, if that's possible, the entire Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident is now rated a Level 7 on the International Atomic Energy Agency scale - which is as high as it gets, now ranking alongside Chernobyl as the only other accident to be rated Level 7.

With Dai-ichi, as time went on, and more facts were actually made available, the worse the actual disaster came to actually be. In other words, people were in a rush to say things, even before all the facts were known.

On the plus side, the radioactivity released during THIS disaster is only about 10 per cent of what was released at Chernobyl. Which is still effing awful.

By April 17, steel plates have been installed along with silt fences to prevent or at least minimize the amount of contaminated water leaking into the sea - they were placed on sides of Reactors No. 1, 2, 3, and 4, facing the water.

While inspection and recovery work continues at the site, on April 21, 2011, Government of Japan tells TEPCO they must make a payout equal to US$12,052 per household to the 50,000 or so homes in the area as reparations for the evacuation they had to undergo.

Now... that's not all they are giving them... it's just a payment... a sort of sorry for the inconvenience kind of payment.

Meanwhile, there's still the whole loss of home, school/education, job, livelihood thing going on, which must be worth more than $12,052/household. That amount doesn't seem to matter regardless of how many people were in the household, or had jobs... or had farms where the crops are lost, or animals are lost. Seriously... who was feeding the head of cattle over the past month? Stubborn farmers who wouldn't leave? And, what about the dangers to radiation they and the animals may have suffered.

To lessen the burden on TEPCO and the Government of Japan, Japan announces a new "acceptable level of annual radiation exposure"for elementary school students in Fukushima... wanting everyone to believe that 20 millisieverts is the new limit, just up a bit from 1 millisieverts.

Really, how naive do they think the sheeple are?

By May 28, 2011, Japan's education minister bows to pressure and says it has a new non-binding target to reduce radiation exposure of students in Fukushima Prefecture schools to one millisievert or less per year.

While that sounds great,it's just a pledge to try and reduce student exposure enough so that it is under 1 millisieverts/year... but since the radiation may still be around and airborne or in the ground, we're just going to try... because Buddha knows, in a non-binding agreement, you can't hold us to what we just said.

Oh, and "good news" (not), on May 27, approximately 50 metric tons of highly radioactive contaminated water leaks from a storage facility on site at Dai-ichi. It goes down, and into the ground, and probably escapes through cracks and enters the nearby sea.

By June 13, NISA (Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency) of Japan has upped it estimates of the amount of radioactive Iodine 131 that was released during the debacle... previously guessing only 370,000 tera-becquerels, to more than double that - 770,000 tera-becquerels.

By June 11, there are reports that there are burglars ransacking the evacuated homes within the 30-kilometer evacuation zone, proving that there are a$$holes in every country. Police, look for the guys who are glowing in the dark, or, hopefully dying of radiation sickness.

June 15... the Fukushima city government announces it will give dosimeters to 34,000 preschool, elementary and junior high school students. I assume this means just for those within Fukushima-shi, the capital city of Fukushima-ken (Fukushima Prefecture). Fukushima-shi, is a fair distance away from Dai-ichi, and outside the evacuation zone... so I guess that's a good thing to give the students.

And here's my favorite news clip from June 19, 2011: 300 seniors with Japan's Skilled Veterans' Corps offer to give their lives in the battle to bring Fukushima Dai-ichi under control.

Gee thanks, fellas... where the fug were you back in March and April when things were going to sh!t, and your willingness to sacrifice might have actually been considered noble?! You know that the battle to bring Dai-ichi under control is done, right?

Now it's just making sure the leaks are taken care off, and stuff like that. There's no need for 300 people to die on behalf of a nuclear disaster that didn't take any lives.

Uh... no one died right?

Weeeeeelllll... sort of.

It is true that no one "officially"died during the "release of radiation"...

... but people did die...

We still don't know who the 180 members of the Fukushima 50 were... but we do know that two years after this, at east two members came forth, having been diagnosed with bad cancers...

As well, there were a whole lot of suicides from people depressed over the whole radiation, tsunami-sweeping, and evacuation crap... one Fukushima cattle farmer hanged himself leaving a note that simply said "I wish there wasn't a nuclear plant".

Three years after the disaster first began, in March 2014, I previously wrote that "according to some official sources - and again, I doubt you'll ever get an exact number here, but some 1,656 people have died in Fukushima-ken from stress and other illnesses related to the disaster back on March 11, 2011."

It's the butterfly effect, where one thing can influence thousands of things even years down the line.

Okay... I'm getting down... Time to end this.

On the plus side, on July 24, 2011, some two thirds of people polled by the media, claim they want an end to all nuclear power in Japan.

I still take these things with a grain of salt... how many people were asked... and where were they asked.

Still... a giant wave of support (too soon?) soon begins to gather for the shutdown of all Japanese nuclear power generation plants.

Next, the last such article on Fukushima for a while, as I branch off into a different direction and try and clean up my "draft" folder.

Andrew Joseph

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