Thursday, 7 April 2011

Fukushima - Is the truth being diluted in sea water too?

"Arnie Gundersen discusses inconstancies between what the NRC, TEPCo, and the Nuclear Industry are saying privately and publicly. Documents from the French nuclear firm, Areva, and the NRC reveal what the industry knows about the Fukushima disaster."

The documents mentioned in this video can be downloaded from here if anyone is interested :

Gundersen is not the only one concerned about the level of transparency or accuracy of the information shared with the public, U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation chair Wolfgang Weiss, is quoted as saying "We don't always have the information we would like to have. Measurements are patchy and unclear."

The New York times report that  Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, told a House hearing yesterday, that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission told him the core in unit 2 had melted through the containment vessel. But the agency claim this was inaccurate and that what they actually said was “part of the Unit 2 core may be out of the reactor pressure vessel and may be in the lower space of the drywell.”

The agency reportedly made it clear that it did not mention the fuel was molten or solid. The presence of substantial quantities of molten fuel in the drywell, may increase the likelihood of a large-scale radioactive release. Another explanation offered by Scott Burnell an NRC spokesman was that a failed seal might be the source of the leak. "The vessel is penetrated by pipes, and a seal around one might have failed"

According to the NYT an e-mail sent to to Mr. Markey by the agency, gave radiation levels figure for the drywell, "high enough to cause death within minutes."

Linda L. Gunter, a spokeswoman for Tokyo Electric, said:  “We believe the containment for the reactor is still functioning at Unit 2; however, the damage to the suppression pool may be the source of the radiation.” However  spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of Japan agreed with NRC, that it was possible the core had leaked into the larger containment vessel.

The NYT article also mentions information outlined in a 2009 training manual developed by the companies that operate this type of reactor, discussing “creep rupture,” when molten core material begins seeping through a hole in the vessel and creates a bigger and bigger hole and burn through the steel at the bottom of the drywell, interact with concrete, producing carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which could react explosively.

They write: "But it seems Neither the commission’s response to Mr. Markey nor its public statement later in the day outlines such a serious turn of events." 

Is there any wonder the public does not trust anything they are being told by nuclear industry's chiefs, regulatory bodies, governments, or the main stream media and remain concerned over the safety of air, water and food and the possible impact on health? If UN and US Gov officials find it hard to get to the bottom of it, what chance does the public have?

A worker wearing a protective suit walks near the damaged pit at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant No. 2 reactor in Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan April 2, 2011 in this handout photo released by Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency on April 3, 2011.(Photo: REUTERS) 

Of course one can not discount or make light of the fact that this is a very difficult situation and it is hard to know for sure why radioactive material is leaking out. I take my hat off to those brave man who work in high uncertainty of the true risk to their health, in order to make sure we, all over the world are effected as little as possible...
I am surprised though that in such technologically advanced country like Japan, remotely operated robots are not deployed to boldly go where radiation may be to high for humans to bear. Or maybe they do and we just don't hear about it.