Every now and them I feel like, “Sure, that could be worth sharing”. Nothing new really, but I came across this NHK Report from several weeks ago:
Saw it first on ENERGY NEWS (http://enenews.com/): “NHK Special: Extremely toxic water 4,000,000 times gov’t limit in trenches between Fukushima reactors and ocean — Experts: “Source of contamination for Pacific” — “Levels too high for them to get more precise look at situation” — Reporter: Plutonium leaked out after fuel rods damaged (VIDEO)”
I wondered how the current levels compare to those in July-August 2013, which prompted me to write the blogpost (July 31, 2013): “Red Alert – Fukushima-Daiichi NPP Crisis: EXTREME Radioactive Water Leaking into Ground; Unprecedented Radioactive Contamination of Pacific Ocean.”
The quote (from the VIDEO at 18:15 in) is: “… A network of trenches runs between the reactor buildings and the shore. They are flooded with extremely radioactive water that’s been trapped** there since the triple meltdown. Tepco data shows concentrations of cesium up to 4 million times above the government safety limit. Engineers estimate that the trenches hold about 15,000 tons of toxic water but radiation levels are too high for them to get a more precise look at the situation. …”
LIMITS: The combined radioCesium (Cs-134 + Cs-137) Japanese limit for drinking water is 200Bq/L (See here). And, as per Ex-SKF, here, the maximum amount of Cesium in discharge water is 60 Bq/L Cs-134 and 90 Bq/L Cs-137, thus is 150 Bq/L combined radioCesiums. Since the trench water is not intended as drinking water and is most likely leaking into the Pacific Ocean, I’ll use the 150 Bq/liter as the max limit.
4 million times the max limit means 4,000,000 x 150 Bq/L = 600,000,000 Bq/L of Cs-134 + Cs-137 (or one of the other, they don’t specify in the video), as per end of March 2014 reporting.
That compares to July 2013’s (See the Alert blogpost, above):
That’s per liter. Now the trench used to be described as containing 5,000 cubic meters, now it’s said to contain 15,000 cubic meters.
So, per cubic meter that is (x1000) = 600,000,000,000 Bq/m^3 Okay… that’s remains pretty freaking insanely high… And there’s… 15,000 TONS of such water in the trenches, that’s some 15,000 cubic meters (See converter)… So: 15,000 m^3 x 600,000,000,000 Bq/m^3 Cs-134/137 = 9,000,000,000,000,000 Bq radioCesium in the trenches next to the beach.
9,000,000,000,000,000 Bq Cs-134/137 is 9 PBq (petabecquerrel – See Radiation Units & Conversions for more). In my Red Alert post from the end of July, the concentrations were given for Cs-134 and Cs-137 seperately, and their combination total activity, for an estimated 5,000 cubic meters added up to 11 PBq. So, without digging for additional data sources, what to make of this?
In short: it seems not particularly different from last Summer, but…
The 4 millions times the limit could be times the drinking water limit? That would bring the current amount at 800,000,000 Bq/L of “Cesium”. If that were NOT the combined amount, but one or the other, then the total amount would have risen to 12 or more PBq. Also, did trench water amounts triple in 8-9 months? How much of it was pumped out and stored in tanks? Is this all “fresh” contamination and the contamination reported last year was mostly pumped out and stored in temporary containers?
Or, if this “4 million times the max” was in reference to Cs-137 only, and we take the discharge max of 90 Bq/L Cs-137, then 360,000,000 Bq/L Cs-137 i still 4.6 times more diluted, and, even with 3 times as much water in the trenches, a large amount must be elsewhere.
Reminds me of… Aug 12, 2013: (ENEnews) “AP: ‘Time bomb’ in leaking Fukushima trenches — If Tepco removes extremely contaminated water as planned, it will only make more flow in since reactor buildings connect to trenches”
The difference in radioCesium amounts – from 11 Pbq in Summer 2013 to perhaps 9 PBq now (Spring 2014) – could just reflect how much margin of error there is on these estimates. Or it could suggest that at least 2 PBq has left the trenches and may have joined the Pacific? A rate of 2 PBq/8 months = 3PBq/year (Cesium), or to put it in terabecquerel: 3,000 TBq/yr leaking Cesium. Now, bad enough as that is, that’s “just Cesium”, not counting the Cobalt-60, Strontium-90, Americium-241, etc.
According to this Feb 20, 2014 NY Times article, “Worst Spill in 6 Months Is Reported at Fukushima”, a recent spill contained about 115,000,000 Bq/L of Sr-90 (230,000,000 Bq/Liter; “half is Sr-90”, thus about 115,000,000 Bq/L Sr-90 (similarly, this is 3.8 million TIMES the max for drinking water (limit is 30 Bq/L for Sr-90). If you consider all of that, then 3,000 TBq of Cesium leaking every year could mean literaly over 10,000 TBq of all manmade radioisotopes is escaping somehow… annually.
The INES scale system defines a level 7 major accident (such as Chernobyl and the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disasters) as, among some other factors, one in which radiation of more than several tens of thousands of terabecquerels is released. (See also my blogpost, “Fukuchima reaches Level 7 on INES scale“, announced 2 weeks before that was official in 2011.)
Although what was said in the video and reported on ENEnews isn’t enough information to draw any conclusions from, I suppose it does suggest that it is quite likely that we might be witnessing this Fukushima mess slowly but surely turning into some kind of “one or several additional INES-7 level disasters per decade” type of (unprecedented) disaster. I’d call that an “INES-8 level” nuclear accident.
But whatever… bottom line: it’s still ‘a mess’, the so-called “numbers game” isn’t all that important. But basic math and logic DOES, every now and then, truly come in handy to debunk nonsense. (See, for instance, my April 12, 2014 blogpost, “Reality Check: Debunking The Wall Street Journal’s “Radiation Reality Check”” in which I shred Craig Nelson’s nuclear propaganda to smithereens with various facts and some very easy straightforward calculations.
That’s all for tonite.