News Flash 28.3.11 Plutonium released in Fukushima. Evacuations?
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Plutonium was found in 5 samples taken from soil in Fukushima. It may originate from reactor no.3 which is fueled with MOX containing 3% to 6% plutonium, but plutonium is also generated as a by-product in the other reactors.
Fukushima contains 2.500 tons of uranium and plutonium including 3.450 burned out fuel rods. That´s about 20 times the quantity of Chernobyl. The damage that these 5% in Chernobyl have caused to the planet are detailed in my previous post.
Wild boars hunted in Bavaria (Germany) are always examined for radiation. One in five contains more than 1.000 Bq per kilogram. These animals are no longer fit for human consumption and get destroyed, below 500 Bq is supposed to be safe. This is the situation now, 25 years after Chernobyl. Humans roam the same woods.
Vegetables in Japan have readings of 82.000 Bq and 54.000 Bq. Reliable information from samples gathered throughout Japan is not available.
A 50 mile (80km) exclusion zone would require the evacuation of more than 2 million people. There is neither the administrative capacity nor the political will to do this. In any case it would be far too little too late.
Lessons learned from Chernobyl indicate that a 500 mile (800km) exclusion zone would be far more appropriate if health of population is the primary concern. This basically requires the evacuation of Japan.
The IRSN (Nuclear Safety Agency) in France is infamous for its willingness and ability to cover up accidents. Surprisingly they advocated a vastly expanded exclusion zone last Tuesday already. They felt the need to save the reputation of the nuclear industry. Their scientists predicted that 10% of Chernobyl outfall had happened by then already and that outfall will increase continuously. The fuel rods are uncovered and radiate into the open air, the pools are cracked and cannot be filled, they are located on upper floors.
Tons of salt make further cooling impossible. A meltdown in reactor 3 is progressing.
The IAEA argued against the IRSN and no further statements emerged from the IRSN.
The IAEA stated that pressure from reactors 1, 2 and 3 had been released via valves already when overheating threatened explosions.
It should be noted that these valves have filters for particles in US, France and some other countries, but not in Japan.
The US learned from Three Mile Island. It took them six years before they could open the reactor and see the state of the melted rods. Consequently they installed a system that measures radioactivity released during accidents and shows the condition of rods. Such a system does not exist in Japan.
This explains Japanese statements of “we don´t know yet and won´t know for a long time”.
In the meantime the lighting of a bulb and men with torches reassure the public and white and black smoke is interpreted in mysterious ways, reminiscent of a papal election at the Vatican without the certain result.
Stop – update 29.3.11 23:18h
The plutonium samples are dated 21./22.3.11. No explanation is given why it took them that long to disclose this finding.
Reactors 1, 2 and 3 have damaged fuel rods and are melting. To what extend and if an explosion can be predicted is not known.
Members of parliament have demanded an expansion of the exclusion zone to 30 kilometers.
A further 130.000 people will have to be evacuated bringing the total to 200.000. This is very likely to happen soon for practical reasons, companies refuse to enter the 30 kilometer zone and it has become impossible to supply people within.
The US embassy reiterates a safety zone of 80 kilometers for American citizens.
Stop – insert, quote from IAEA study about Bikini, note the amount of mSv stated as not safe.
“It was recommended that Bikini Island should not be permanently resettled under the present radiological conditions. This recommendation was based on the assumption that persons resettling on the island would consume a diet of entirely locally produced food. The radiological data support that if a diet of this type were permitted, it could lead to an annual effective dose of about 15 mSv.”