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TEPCO has updated their Press releases page. The latest is: White smoke around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 1
Today at approximately 3:36PM, a big quake occurred and there was a big
sound around the Unit 1 and white smoke.
Our two employees and two subcontract workers working for the safety of
the plant were injured and transported to the hospital.

We are presently checking on the site situation of each plant and effect
of discharged radioactive materials.

This was probably written no less than an hour after the explosion. I wonder whether quake means they're blaming the explosion on an aftershock, or it's an ambiguous translation of "explosion" as in the reactor was shaken. See also: Impact to TEPCO's Facilities due to Miyagiken-Oki Earthquake (as of 5PM) (8 hours ago)
The value of radioactive material (iodine, etc) is increasing according
to the monitoring car at the site (outside of the site). One of the
monitoring posts is also indicating higher than normal level.
* Since the amount of radiation at the boundary of the site exceeds the
limits, we decide at 4:17PM and we have reported and/or noticed the
government agencies concerned to apply the clause 1 of the Article 15 of
the Radiation Disaster Measure at 5PM.
* In addition, a vertical earthquake hit the site and big explosion has
happened near the Unit 1 and smoke breaks out around 3:36PM.
Our two employees and two cooperation workers who had been working for
the foundation of safety are suffered and they are all sent to the
hospital.
Yep, there are blaming the explosion on an earthquake.
[Blackout in TEPCO's Service Area]
Total of about 0.54 million households are out of power.
Tokyo: 0
Kanagawa Pref.: 0
Tochigi Pref.: 12,204
Chiba Pref.: 18,080
Saitama Pref: 534
Gunma Pref.: 0
Ibaraki Pref: 505,072


So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 12th, 2011 at 10:42:38 AM EST
Maybe they are talking about this event.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 12th, 2011 at 10:51:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At Fukushima Daiichi (the plant with the explosion):

TEPCO : Press Release | Plant Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (as of 8PM March 12th )

Currently, we are implementing a measure to reduce the pressure of the reactor containment vessels of Unit 1. We have confirmed that the radiation exposure of 1 TEPCO employee, who was working inside the reactor building, exceeded 100mSv (106.3mSv). Because of the absence of industrial physician, we were scheduling diagnosis later. However, we have transported him to the hospital because of the deconditioning.

At Fukushima Daini:

TEPCO : Press Release | Impact to TEPCO's Facilities due to Miyagiken-Oki Earthquake (as of 7PM)

* The operator seriously injured in the operating room of tower crane of exhaust stack was transferred to the ground at 5:13PM and confirmed the death at 5:17PM.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 12th, 2011 at 03:35:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
100 mSv is a lot. It is twice what a nuclear worker is allowed to recieve every year, and 20 times annual background. But it is only a tenth of what you need to be exposed to suffer mild radiation poisoning.

Given that the annual dosage limits are conservative, I wouldn't worry too much about increased risk of cancer either, though I'm not sure I'd be that cavalier if I were the one who'd received the exposure.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Mar 12th, 2011 at 04:19:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
twice what a nuclear worker is allowed to recieve every year

Twice what they are allowed to receive any year. There is a second rule that they should not receive more than 100 mSv every five years.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 12th, 2011 at 04:31:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, you're right. I stand corrected.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Mar 12th, 2011 at 04:42:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been looking a bit more at radiation sickness. Seems you need to be exposed to 500-1000 mSv to develop acute mild radiation poisoning. Stuff like nausea and fatigue.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Mar 12th, 2011 at 05:46:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English

The government of quake-stricken Fukushima Prefecture says it has confirmed that an additional 19 people have been exposed to radiation from a nuclear power plant.

The 19 are among evacuees from Futaba Town located near the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant.

The government says 133 people have had checkups.

The 19 will need to undergo decontamination to remove the radioactivity.

Sunday, March 13, 2011 11:58 +0900 (JST)

Such 'selective' contamination, IMHO, implies contamination by particles flying in the air, rather than gas. How did it get out?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 03:39:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Futaba is the town the power plant is in. It's alightly south of Minamisoma, a town reported destroyed by the tsunami (tens of thousands of people missing).

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 04:57:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe fuel particles escaped during the venting, due to core damage. Anyway, I feel that this is not a big problem at the moment. Let's recall that a standard x-ray gives you a 600 microSv exposure, and that the worst we've heard from the plant is 1000 microSv per hour.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 07:05:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Was reading somewhere that one of the isotopes detected can only be the result of damaged fuel rods.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 07:25:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, cesium and iodine.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 07:31:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It does make a difference whether the same level of radioactivity is concentrated or dispersed: radon gas in a cubic metre of inhaled gas is less likely to lead to cancer than one radioactive particle of similar radioactivity getting stuck in the lungs. That 1015 μSv reading was by a standard meter, which I imagine is not very useful to determine the localised radioactivity level of single particles. (This is something I read of in the literature on Chernobyl's damage.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 09:05:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English

The Japanese government rates the accident at the Fukushima Number One nuclear power plant at level 4 on an international scale of 0 to 7.

Two radioactive substances, cesium and radioactive iodine, were detected near the Number One reactor at the plant on Saturday. Their presence indicates nuclear fission of uranium.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said that fuel in the reactor partially melted. It's the first such accident in Japan.

A level 4 on the International Nuclear and Radiologocal Event Scale includes damage to fuel and release of significant quantities of radioactive material within an installation.
It's the same level as a criticality accident at a nuclear fuel processing plant in Tokai Village in Ibaraki Prefecture, south of Fukushima, in 1999.

The agency called the accident very regrettable even though it was triggered by an earthquake.

Sunday, March 13, 2011 07:08 +0900 (JST)



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 03:48:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So now we know: "Its OK if its the fault of an earthquake. Then there are no regrets."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 10:07:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those kind expressions may be hard to translate, or to understand their personal or cultural meaning. That may be called non-apology apology, but on other hand, the word "regret" may be appreciated already. What is clear now is that the plants were not ready for this earthquake and tsunami even by design. How do you ensure that backup generators would not be knocked out by the same calamity that endangers the plant?
by das monde on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 10:25:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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