Category: Nuclear Plant Incidents


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‘Fukushima Fingerprint’: Highest-Yet Radiation Levels Found Off US Coast

‘The changing values underscore the need to more closely monitor contamination levels across the Pacific.’

Scientists test seawater samples off the coast of Japan near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. (Photo: IAEA Imagebank/flickr/cc)

Radiation from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan has been detected at an increased number of sites off U.S. shores, including the highest level in the area detected to date, scientists announced Thursday.

While the levels are still too low to be considered a threat to human or marine life by the government’s standards, tests of hundreds of samples of Pacific Ocean water reveal that the Fukushima Daiichi plant has continued to leak radioactive isotopes more than four years after the meltdown—and must not be dismissed, according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) marine radiochemist Ken Buesseler.

“Despite the fact that the levels of contamination off our shores remain well below government-established safety limits for human health or to marine life, the changing values underscore the need to more closely monitor contamination levels across the Pacific,” Buesseler said Thursday. “[F]inding values that are still elevated off Fukushima confirms that there is continued release from the plant.”

Scientists from the WHOI and Buesseler’s citizen-science project Our Radioactive Ocean discovered trace amounts of cesium-134, the “fingerprint” of Fukushima, in 110 new Pacific samples off U.S. shores in 2015 alone.

The isotope is unique to Fukushima and has a relatively short two-year half life, which means “the only source of this cesium-134 in the Pacific today is from Fukushima,” Buesseler said.

Map shows the location of seawater samples taken by scientists and citizen scientists that were analyzed at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for radioactive cesium as part of Our Radioactive Ocean. Cesium-137 is found throughout the Pacific Ocean and was detectable in all samples collected, while cesium-134 (yellow/orange dots), an indicator of contamination from Fukushima, has been observed offshore and in select coastal areas. (Figure by Jessica Drysdale, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)Map shows the location of seawater samples taken by scientists and citizen scientists that were analyzed at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for radioactive cesium as part of Our Radioactive Ocean. Cesium-137 is found throughout the Pacific Ocean and was detectable in all samples collected, while cesium-134 (yellow/orange dots), an indicator of contamination from Fukushima, has been observed offshore and in select coastal areas. (Figure by Jessica Drysdale, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

One sample collected roughly 1,600 miles west of San Francisco revealed the highest radiation level detected to date off the West Coast, the researchers said in a post on the project’s website. “[In] one cubic meter of seawater (about 264 gallons), 11 radioactive decay events per second can be attributed to cesium atoms of both isotopes. That is 50 percent higher than we’ve seen before.”

“[T]hese long-lived radioisotopes will serve as markers for years to come for scientists studying ocean currents and mixing in coastal and offshore waters,” Buesseler continued.

The 2011 accident, prompted by an earthquake and tsunami off Japan’s east coast, was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 and resulted in the near-total meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant and a mass evacuation of the prefecture. Despite ongoing warnings about long-term health and environmental impacts and widespread opposition to nuclear power in the wake of the meltdown, Japan in August restarted a reactor at the Sendai power plant, about 620 miles southwest of Tokyo.

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‘Million Cancer Deaths From Fukushima Expected in Japan,’ New Report Reveals

'Million Cancer Deaths From Fukushima Expected in Japan,' New Report Reveals

A shocking new report defies the chronically underestimated impacts of the Fukushima’s triple meltdown on the risk of cancer in exposed populations, which does not just include Japan, but arguably the entire world. 

A new report from Fairewinds Energy Education (FEE), “Cancer on the Rise in Post-Fukushima Japan,” reveals that the ongoing multi-core nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant that started in March 2011 has produced approximately 230 times higher than normal thyroid cancers in Fukushima Prefecture, and could result in as many as one million more cancers in Japan’s future as a result of the meltdown.

According to the new report, data provided by a group of esteemed Japanese medical professionals and TEPCO, confirm a direct link of numerous cancers in Japan to the triple meltdown. As transcribed by Enenews.com, Arnie Gundersen, chief engineer at Fairewinds stated, Nov. 4, 2015:

“It’s been almost 5 years from the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns, and the news from Japan is still not good. Two reports recently released in Japan, one by Japanese medical professionals and the second from Tokyo Power Corporation – TEPCO – acknowledged that there will be numerous cancers in Japan, much greater than normal, due to the radioactive discharges from the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi… I believe, as do many of my colleagues, that there will be at least 100,000 and as many as one million more cancers in Japan’s future as a result of this meltdown… [T]he second report received from Japan proves that the incidence of thyroid cancer is approximately 230 times higher than normal in Fukushima Prefecture… So what’s the bottom line? The cancers already occurring in Japan are just the tip of the iceberg. I’m sorry to say that the worst is yet to come.”

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Nuclear Event Belgium Province of East-Flanders, Doel [Doel Nuclear Power Station] Damage level Details

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Nuclear Event in Belgium on Sunday, 01 November, 2015 at 10:32 (10:32 AM) UTC.

Description
The spokesperson said that there was no threat of radioactive contamination following the explosion, while also adding that no one was injured in the blast. An explosion hit the Doel nuclear power station in northern Belgium on Sunday, a spokesperson of Electrabel energy corporation that operates Doel said.

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Nuclear Event in Belgium on Sunday, 01 November, 2015 at 10:32 (10:32 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Sunday, 01 November, 2015 at 10:44 UTC
Description
An explosion occurred overnight at a nuclear power plant in Doel, northern Belgium, local media reported, adding that the blast caused a fire. The exact damage from the incident remains unknown. The blast happened around 11pm local time on Saturday. The fire started in Reactor 1 of the plant, but was soon extinguished by personnel. The explosion didn’t cause any threat to nature, Els De Clercq, spokeswoman from Belgian energy corporation Electrabel that runs the plant, told Het Laatste Nieuws. There was no fuel present at the time of the incident as the reactor had been shut due to its expired operational license. Doel Nuclear Power Station, one of the two nuclear power plants in the country, is located near the town of Doel in east Flanders. The plant employs about 800 people. According to the Nature journal and Columbia University in New York, the plant is in the most densely populated area of all nuclear power stations in the EU. About 9 million people live within a radius of 75km of the station.

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Nuclear Event in Belgium on Sunday, 01 November, 2015 at 10:32 (10:32 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Monday, 02 November, 2015 at 03:24 UTC
Description
An explosion hit the Doel nuclear power station in northern Belgium on Sunday, a spokesperson of Electrabel energy corporation that operates Doel said. The blast happened after fire started in Reactor 1 of the plant, which was soon extinguished by personnel. The exact damage from the incident remains unknown. The explosion didn’t cause any threat to nature, Els De Clercq, spokeswoman from Belgian energy corporation Electrabel that runs the plant, told Het Laatste Nieuws, Russia Today reported. There was no fuel present at the time of the incident as the reactor had been shut due to its expired operational license. Doel Nuclear Power Station, one of the two nuclear power plants in the country, is located near the town of Doel in east Flanders. The plant employs about 800 people. According to the Nature journal and Columbia University in New York, the plant is in the most densely populated area of all nuclear power stations in the EU. About 9 million people live within a radius of 75km of the station.

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Sputnik

Doel , nuclear power-station

Explosion Hits Belgian Nuclear Power Station

© Flickr/ Remco van der Hoogt
Europe
11:42 01.11.2015(updated 14:23 01.11.2015) 

The source said there was no threat of radioactive contamination following the explosion.

An explosion hit the Doel nuclear power station in northern Belgium on Sunday, a spokesperson of Electrabel energy corporation that operates Doel said, adding the personnel were not injured.

Fire and explosion at power station. Reported under control no theat to nuclear materials http://www.lalibre.be/s/art/5635b92d35700fb9302a75e7 

 

 

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Will the ‘stricter regulations’ serve as protection?
nuclear-power-plant-exlarge-735-350
by Julie Fidler
Posted on October 21, 2015
Just days after 1,800 people from around Kyushu gathered to protest the planned restart of another reactor at the Sendai nuclear plant, the second reactor has been brought online. The Sendai Nuclear Power Plant is the only one working in Japan since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. [1]

There are currently 20 reactors at 13 Japanese nuclear power plants undergoing audits to confirm that their safety standards are in compliance with new regulations adopted since the Fukushima meltdown. The new regulations are significantly stricter than those that existed prior to the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that crashed into Fukushima and make provisions for the highest level of earthquake and tsunami risk. Nuclear power plants in Japan must now have several backup power sources available, as well as other comprehensive emergency measures. [2]

Opinion polls have consistently shown that residents were against bringing the second Sendai reactor online. On October 12, nearly 2,000 people protested the restart, waving placards reading “Nuclear plant, no more” and shouting slogans. The plant’s No. 1 reactor was brought back on line in August. [3]

Protesters called the decision to bring No. 2 online a “suicidal” decision, as a steam generator in the reactor building has not been replaced with a more durable one. Kyushu Electric Power Co. had said it would replace the generator in 2009.

 

File:Shinzo Abe cropped.JPG

Shinzo Abe

 Author  :  U.S. federal government

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The Japan Times

Fukushima No. 1 boss admits plant doesn’t have complete control over water problems

by Yuka Obayashi

Reuters

The manager of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has admitted to embarrassment that repeated efforts have failed to bring under control the problem of radioactive water, eight months after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the world the matter had been resolved.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant’s operator, has been fighting a daily battle against contaminated water since Fukushima No. 1 was wrecked by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Abe’s government pledged half a billion dollars last year to tackle the issue, but progress has been limited.

“It’s embarrassing to admit, but there are certain parts of the site where we don’t have full control,” Akira Ono told reporters touring the plant last week.

He was referring to the latest blunder at the plant: channeling contaminated water into the wrong building.

Ono also acknowledged that many difficulties may have been rooted in Tepco’s focus on speed since the 2011 disaster.

“It may sound odd, but this is the bill we have to pay for what we have done in the past three years,” he said.

“But we were pressed to build tanks in a rush and may have not paid enough attention to quality. We need to improve quality from here.”

The Fukushima No. 1 plant, some 220 km northeast of Tokyo, suffered three reactor core meltdowns in the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

The issue of contaminated water is at the core of the clean-up. Japan’s nuclear regulator and the International Atomic Energy Agency say a new controlled release into the sea of contaminated water may be needed to ease stretched capacity as the plant runs out of storage space.

But this is predicated on the state-of-the-art ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) project, which removes the most dangerous nuclides, becoming fully operational. The system has functioned only during periodic tests.

As Ono spoke, workers in white protective suits and masks were building new giant tanks to contain the contaminated water — on land that was once covered in trees and grass.

A cluster of cherry trees is in bloom amid the bustle of trucks and tractors at work as the 1,000 tanks already in place approach capacity. Insulation-clad pipes lie on a hill pending installation for funneling water to the sea.

“We need to improve the quality of the tanks and other facilities so that they can survive for the next 30 to 40 years of our decommission period,” Ono said, a stark acknowledgement that the problem is long-term.

Last September, Abe told Olympic dignitaries in Buenos Aires in an address that helped Tokyo win the 2020 Games: “Let me assure you the situation is under control.”

Tepco had pledged to have treated all contaminated water by March 2015, but said this week that was a “tough goal.”

 

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The Japan Times

ALPS unit hit by toxic water overflow

Around 1.1 tons of highly radioactive water overflowed from a waste container at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex while the experimental ALPS radiation-filtering system was being cleaned, Tokyo Electric Power Co. has reported.

The overflow at the trouble-plagued water treatment system was noticed at about 12:20 p.m. Wednesday, and no one was contaminated, Tepco said. The water was retained by a barrier and inside the building where the Advanced Liquid Processing System is housed, it said.

The water was giving off around 3.8 million becquerels of beta-particle-emitting substances per liter, Tepco said.

 

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April 25th, 2014, 20:57 GMT · By

Report: Radioactive Leak at Nuclear Waste Site in the US Was Avoidable

 

Report says leak at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico could have been avoided Enlarge pictureReport says leak at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico could have been avoided

 

Earlier this year, on February 16, the Department of Energy in the United States announced that excessive levels of radiation had been documented at a nuclear waste site in New Mexico. The site in question is known as the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, and it presently accommodates for transuranic waste.

Recent news on the topic says that, according to a report shared with the public by the Department of Energy this past Thursday, this incident at said nuclear waste site in New Mexico could have been avoided.

As previously reported, traces of radiation were picked up by underground sensors at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant on Friday, February 14. This increase in radiation levels most likely occurred as a result of a leak inside one of the facility’s waste-storage vaults.

Despite the fact that these waste-storage vaults sit at a depth of about 2,000 feet (nearly 610 meters), some radioactive contamination somehow worked its way above ground. There is evidence to indicate that this happened due to the fact that the emergency filtration system failed to contain it.

NPR
informs that, in its report, the Department of Energy argues that the waste storage vault leaked partly due to improper maintenance, poor management, and unsuitable training and oversight.

 

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Management, Safety Cited for Radiation Release

 

 

A radiation release from the federal government’s underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico was the result of a slow erosion of the safety culture at the 15-year-old site, which was evident in the bungled response to the emergency, federal investigators said in a report released Thursday.

The report from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Accident Investigation Board cited poor management, ineffective maintenance and a lack of proper training and oversight at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad. The report also found that much of the operation failed to meet standards for a nuclear facility.

The series of shortcomings are similar to those found in a probe of the truck fire in the half-mile-deep mine just nine days before the Feb. 14 radiation release that shuttered the plant indefinitely.

Given the latest findings, watchdog Don Hancock said the leak that contaminated 21 workers with low doses of radiation in mid-February was a “best-case scenario.”

“Everything conspired for the least bad event to occur, based on what we know — and there is a still a lot we don’t know,” he said.

Last month, the head of the Defense Nuclear Safety Board, which has staff monitoring the Waste Isolation Pilot Project, called the accidents “near misses.”

Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board Chairman Peter Winokur said that for six days after the fire, no underground air monitors were operational, meaning that if that system had failed when the leak occurred Feb. 14, “or if the release event had occurred three days earlier, the release of radioactive material from the aboveground mine exhaust would have been orders of magnitude larger.”

DOE Accident Investigation Board Chairman Ted Wyka previewed the findings of the latest report at a community meeting Wednesday night, identifying the root cause as a “degradation of key safety management and safety culture.”

 

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Crews locate area of radiation leak at New Mexico nuclear waste site

Published time: April 18, 2014 19:25

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), New Mexico. (Image from wikipedia.org user@Leaflet)

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), New Mexico. (Image from wikipedia.org user@Leaflet)

While the cause of a radiation leak at the United States’ first nuclear waste repository remains unknown, officials have reportedly pinpointed the facility’s contaminated area.

According to the Associated Press, the Department of Energy’s Tammy Reynolds told residents in Carlsbad, New Mexico, that no definitive conclusions can be made regarding the latest discovery, but that further investigation into the area should produce some information next week.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) has been shut down since February 14, when increased radiation levels were detected inside and outside the plant.

On Wednesday, crews investigating the leak made their way into the WIPP and inspected the facility’s various panels, or the large underground salt beds where nuclear waste is stored. These panels are located about a half-mile below the Earth’s surface, and after five hours of inspection they found that Panel 7 was the source of the leaked contamination.

 

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Search crew finds location but not source of leak at New Mexico nuclear waste storage site

By D. Lencho
21 April 2014

On April 16, more than two months after an underground air monitor detected airborne radiation underground at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) nuclear waste burial site in Carlsbad, New Mexico (see “Thirteen workers exposed to radiation in New Mexico nuclear waste site” ), a search team clad in heavy protective gear discovered the location of the contamination.

Since moving in the heavy-duty suits is slow and laborious, and the team’s respiratory equipment was running low, the team turned back before pinpointing the exact source of the leak, determining only that it is in a storage unit known as panel seven. This means that more trips to the 2,150-feet-deep panel will be required to find the source and to deal with it.

On the night of February 14, the monitor set off an alert, causing evacuation of the area and a halt to deliveries. Since then, the number of WIPP workers found to be contaminated with radiation has risen from 13 to 21. In addition, increased radiation has been detected in surrounding areas above ground.

The leak followed on the heels of an incident on February 5 in which a salt-hauling truck caught fire underground. 86 workers had to be evacuated. Six were hospitalized for smoke inhalation and seven others were treated on site.

A March 14 DOE (Department of Energy) Office of Environment Management report on the fire “identifies shortcomings in the preventive maintenance program, emergency management, and emergency response training and drills by the Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC managing and operating DOE Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, N.M., and it also faults the oversight provided by DOE’s Carlsbad Field Office,” according to an ohsonline.com article.

The article adds that the report “finds the NWP/Carlsbad Field Office emergency management program is not fully compliant with DOE’s requirements for a comprehensive emergency management system. While the report identified the direct cause of the incident…the investigative board identified 21 error precursors on the date of the fire. The truck operator’s training and qualification were inadequate to ensure proper response to a vehicle fire, and he did not initially notify the Central Monitoring Room that there was a fire or describe the fire’s location.”

Joe Franco, DOE’s Carlsbad Field Office manager, claimed, “We take these findings seriously and, in fact, we are already implementing many of the corrective actions in the report.”

However, criticism of WIPP from outside the DOE—from scientific, community and environmental organizations—has been constant since planning for the project began decades ago.

WIPP’s history traces its roots to the emergence of the US as a nuclear power during and after World War II. As the development of nuclear weapons picked up its pace, the problem of the accumulation of so-called transuranic waste, or TRU, developed along with it. TRU contains the elements americium and plutonium—which has a half-life in the tens of thousands of years—and contact with or ingestion of it, although it is categorized as “low-level,” is carcinogenic in minute amounts.

The Department of Energy began a search for a location to dispose of TRU, and after other proposed sites were rejected, decided in the early 1970s to begin testing on an area known as the Delaware Basin in southeastern New Mexico, about 26 miles east of the town of Carlsbad. A salt basin formed about 250 million years ago, and below some 300 meters (1,000 feet) of soil and rock, it was promoted by government officials and some scientists as an ideal waste disposal spot.

 

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Earth Watch Report  –  Nuclear Event

Dresden Generating Station

Exelon Corporation  :  Dresden Generating Plant

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Nuclear Event USA State of Illinois, [Dresden Nuclear Power Plant] Damage level Details

 

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RSOE EDIS

Nuclear Event in USA on Monday, 14 April, 2014 at 04:45 (04:45 AM) UTC.

Description
Damage to an electrical transformer caused one reactor to shut down automatically at a northern Illinois nuclear power plant over the weekend. Unit 2 at the Dresden Nuclear Station shut down Saturday morning, and it remained offline on Sunday as crews worked to fix the damage. Dresden spokesman Robert Osgood says the problem is on the non-nuclear side of the plant. He says the plant responded as expected, and there was no safety threat. He says a second reactor is operating normally, and electrical customers will not be affected. The plant is in Morris, about 60 miles southwest of Chicago,

 

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NuclearPowerDanger

 

 Dresden 25 Mile Radius Fallout Map

Radiation Plume RatingThe center of this Toxic Plume is located approximately 60 miles southwest of Chicago, Illinois. This plume is produced by 2 reactors located at the Dresden Nuclear Power Plant site. The reactors that produce this plume have 1,734 Mega Watts of radiation generating power. There is a total of 1,050 tons of Highly Toxic Radioactive spent fuel stored at this Nuclear Power Plant. The Dresden Nuclear 1 reactor has been forced into permanent shut down, leaving the plant in a virtually unattended state. During one winter, this unit experienced containment flooding to the service water system, due to freeze damage. It was determined that a similar threat to Spent Fuel Pool integrity. Tritium leaks at the other units in this plant are treated with the same lack of concern that Nuclear Power corporations give all leaking radiation.

Dresden 25 Mile Radius Fallout Plume Map

 

 

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TEPCO accidentally floods wrong building with 200 tons of radioactive water at Fukushima plant


TEPCO accidentally floods wrong building with 200 tons of radioactive water at Fukushima plant

Approximately 200 tons of highly radioactive water were redirected to the wrong building at the disaster stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant on April 14 when pumps that were not supposed to be used were incorrectly turned on, this according to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). The plant’s officials assured that there were no other channels the contaminated water could leak out of from the building, but the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) ordered the utility to monitor for leakage just the same.

TEPCO said that the highly contaminated water – used for cooling the molten down reactors – has been wrongly directed to a group of buildings that house the central waste processing facilities. The embattled operator said that the basements of these buildings were supposed to function as emergency storage for contaminated water anyway, but the water was not supposed to be directed to the buildings at this point. Fukushima workers noticed something was wrong on April 10, as the water levels in buildings that should have been pumping out water were noticed to be going up instead of down.

 

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