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Radioactive water leaks at Fukushima

Posted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:10 pm
by HowardE
Hundreds of tonnes of radioactive water has leaked at Fukushima. Apparently, it's enough to prompt the event's re-classification to a serious incident. ... e/2680349/

This is something very new (a couple of days), but also reminds me of what they've been discussing for the past few weeks, i.e., freezing the ground around the plant to stop radioactive water from leaching into the ocean. Has anyone tried anything similar before, at that scale? Has it worked?

I have this sinking feeling that before everything is said and done, Fukushima may turn out to be much worse than Chernobyl :-(

Re: Radioactive water leaks at Fukushima

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:12 pm
by jillrosen
Howard, I have been trying to follow this, but the information is not as readily available as it was during the accident. I found a couple of documents (see below), but I am looking for measurements, actual contamination levels, etc. Do you know of any sources for such detail?

Re: Radioactive water leaks at Fukushima

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:43 pm
by HowardE
Finally, someone else is really interested in what is going on here, the worst nuclear disaster yet! After I posted the original message and saw no response, I had pretty much given up on this group. Anyway back to the "serious" situation at Fukushima. I don't know of any "official" sites with information, but in this article: ... er-ranking they say:

"Puddles near the faulty tank are so contaminated that a person standing 50 centimetres away would in one hour receive five times the annual dose limit for Japanese nuclear workers. Initial readings showed that radiation levels in one puddle were 100 millisieverts an hour.

The leak underlined the risks being taken by workers at the site; after 10 hours anyone in proximity to the contaminated water would develop radiation sickness, with symptoms including nausea and a drop in white blood cells."

And that is really worse that during the accident, as far as I remember. This is a serious situation and what makes it even worse is that apparently TEPCO know about the leakage for a while but had not reported it. Now, do people here understand why people don't trust the nuclear industry?

Re: Radioactive water leaks at Fukushima

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:50 pm
by John HG
Howard, it was almost a year ago, when I said to you (in this forum),

"If you want to have a real discussion, let's do it with facts, not an accumulation of opinions!"

So, I will give it another shot. I saw the numbers you posted (from the Guardian article) and I haven't seen anything else, official, so I take them with a grain of salt (BTW, I take officially released numbers that way, as well). However, over the last week or so, I have read a dozen different articles on the subject, and they are all the same, fluff, numbers totally out of context for the sake of "shocking" the reader, etc. I've seen the "300 tons of water a day leaking...". It sounds huge, right? Let's see, Olympic sized swimming pool contains 660,253 gallons of water, and water is 8.345 lbs/gal, so (hopefully I didn't drop some zeroes, somewhere...)

660,253 gal * (8.345 lbs/gal) * (1 ton/2000 lbs) = 2,755 tons of water in an Olympic sized pool. Even at a leakage of 300 tons/day, that's one swimming pool every 9 days. To put it in perspective, that's like a drop of lake Erie,

Lake Erie: 115.2 mi^3 * (1.10111715E+12 gal/mi^3) = 1.2685E+14 gal ~ 5.2928E+11 tons, that' 529,281,625,000 tons, so 300 tons per day is 0.000000057 % of Lake Erie,

And an even smaller drop of Lake Superior,

Lake Superior: 2,903 mi^3 * (1.10111715E+12 gal/mi^3) = 3.1965E+15 gal ~ 1.3337E+13 tons, 13,337,000,000,000 tons (so 300 tons a day is 0.0000000022 % of Lake Superior)

Should I also try and get the equivalent numbers for the Pacific Ocean?

Also, none of the articles that I read had the radiation levels in the water! How come they are not published by all these big news outlets? The numbers are out there (as posted in your referenced link). But even at that, the way all the articles I've read are written for shock value and fear-mongering.

And, before everyone jumps all over me, I'll be the first to admit that the situation in Fukushima is a mess, nobody is denying it. However, instead of the media proclaiming the end of the world, and sea life as we know it, please do your homework. Get the facts. Put the situation and radiation numbers in perspective and let us know what they are, so we better gauge the situation. Don't treat us like sheep!

Re: Radioactive water leaks at Fukushima

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:34 pm
by HowardE

The radiation levels you are seeking were part of my previous post. 10 hours of working in the area and the doses are high enough for radiation sickness. You want more than that?

I am not in the nuclear industry and don't know that much about the details, etc. but they said 100 millisieverts per hour 50 cm away, so that's like 10 rem per hour, right? If that's the case, in half-an-hour, a worker would reach the annual limit for workers in the US, which is 5 rem - in half an hour! Unless I have totally messed up my numbers, that's pretty bad, isn't it? When such levels are present, how it that war-mongering?

As for your drop in the ocean diatribe, remember that whatever radioactive material is released to the ocean may be diluted, but it's ALL still there, it doesn't go away. And playing around with numbers and percentages doesn't change that fact.

Re: Radioactive water leaks at Fukushima

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:43 pm
by Helen22
Howard, do you have a source for those numbers, other than the Guardian? It would be nice to have a more reliable source and I haven't seen any similar numbers out there.


Re: Radioactive water leaks at Fukushima

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:15 am
by HowardE
No, I don't, but I am not the one doubting the numbers in the guardian, you are so you need to track down the "better" sources you are speaking of.

Re: Radioactive water leaks at Fukushima

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:32 pm
by OscarG
HowardE wrote:No, I don't, but I am not the one doubting the numbers in the guardian, you are so you need to track down the "better" sources you are speaking of.
Howard, take a look here viewtopic.php?f=7&t=208 You are also a participant in that thread, right? :-)