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Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Hi-Res Photos
April 4, 2011 7:28 AM   Subscribe

The long running "eyeball" series from noted cryptography and information freedom site Cryptome [many previously] hosts hi-res photos of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear site taken from a UAV and inside the stricken plant. Also eyeball shots of other Japanese nuclear reactors.
posted by T.D. Strange (51 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Stunning photography.
posted by Fizz at 7:31 AM on April 4, 2011


Someone had a good point that the thing that's missing from the shots is people. There's no sense that there's an operating or staging area and there are almost no people on-site. Where is the massive mobilization?

For Chernobyl they mobilized 50,000+ people and huge amounts of machinery to deal with the disaster. This feels more lacadaisical to me..

This is not meant to diminish the importance of what people on the ground are doing, just to question the scale of the response.
posted by Lord_Pall at 7:49 AM on April 4, 2011


...aerial photo taken by small unmanned drone...

Unmanned drone?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:50 AM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


For Chernobyl they mobilized 50,000+ people and huge amounts of machinery to deal with the disaster.

This isn't Chernobyl, and Japan has other shit to deal with right now.
posted by empath at 7:52 AM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Fizz: "Stunning photography."

Seconding this. Thanks for posting.
posted by zarq at 7:53 AM on April 4, 2011


It's interesting (but not very instructive) to compare these shots with Chernobyl. Here there are multiple buildings blown apart, and it just looks worse. But the design of the reactors has made a big difference is how/how much radiation has escaped. The other thing I've noticed is just how long ago 1986 feels now. Without looking at the pictures, it still seems pretty recent. Guess that means I'm old...
posted by rikschell at 7:54 AM on April 4, 2011


Lord_Pall: For Chernobyl they mobilized 50,000+ people and huge amounts of machinery to deal with the disaster. This feels more lacadaisical to me..

The authorities at Chernobyl weren't interested in the safety of their workers.
See Battle of Chernobyl, or almost any other documentary or book on Chernobyl for details on how the reponse endangered workers.

TEPCO's repsonse may have been incompetent in many ways, but I would hardly describe the actions of a Japanese company as lackadaisical.
posted by theyexpectresults at 8:11 AM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


This isn't Chernobyl, and Japan has other shit to deal with right now.

Given the fact that they're seeing moments of criticality in the reactors and still haven't gotten the situation under control, it's still disconcerting.

Check out the JAIF reports on the reactor status. You can watch the downward slide in situational control over the past week or 2.

Internationally speaking, everyone should be helping out. I can't tell if the perception of lax focus is Tepco dragging or something else.
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:13 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Addendum - note the word perception. I'm looking at the situation from 5,000 miles away in a chair.

I'm painfully aware of the fact that given the nature of the accident, there might not be anything they can do beyond current plans.

Given the nature of the pictures, and problems at hand, is the mobilization and reaction of Tepco the correct course of action?

I'm genuinely curious. I simply don't have the background to know.
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:16 AM on April 4, 2011


For Chernobyl they mobilized 50,000+ people and huge amounts of machinery to deal with the disaster. This feels more lacadaisical to me..

You don't want people milling about a site like this. The dangers here don't really 'look' like anything, but sending out people on (essentially) suicide missions is the last, final, ultimate resort.

When you do see workers running around those plants, it's time to head for the hills.
posted by unixrat at 8:16 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, melodramatic.

Yes there will be some people out and about, but 50k worth of workers is a Last Resort sort of thing.
posted by unixrat at 8:19 AM on April 4, 2011


I had seen these photos earlier. I go to that site daily. But though they are great shots etc I am very interested in just what the companies that put up these plants did that was wrong and which they managed to get away with and what sort of over sight the govt had that allowed what clearly was very wrong. WikiLeaks had a number of pages of what was wrong about these plants some two years ago (in American files of course), and yet nothing was done about it.
posted by Postroad at 8:36 AM on April 4, 2011


what the companies that put up these plants did that was wrong

The earthquake they got was about 10 times stronger than the max the planned for. Ditto for the tsunami.

There's of course plenty of details that went wrong on top of that, but it starts there.
posted by DreamerFi at 9:14 AM on April 4, 2011


Where is the massive mobilization?

There is very high amounts of radiation in the area.

On Mixi (via 2chan) there is someone blogging from Namie-cho, less than 10km from the plant, well within in the mandatory evacuation zone (the pieces of paper taped to various signs and posts are supposed to prove the person's identity and location).

Anyway, the person claims to suffer from massive headaches and nosebleeds. Jobless and unmarried at 35, the person claims they have nothing to live for, so they are staying put.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:14 AM on April 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


There's of course plenty of details that went wrong on top of that, but it starts there.

As well as locating backup diesel generators at sea level, and mission-critical switches in a sub-basement below sea level.

Whatever, say what you want about acts of god, etc., but if nothing else this accident has pointed out the ticking time bomb of spent-fuel (ie, radioactive waste) storage and disposal, not just in Japan but all over the world.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:17 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Starts with earthquake and tsunami, true.

But any reactor of this design, with spent fuel rods on site, will behave the same way if deprived of electricity.

That's the engineering story from this reactor accident.
posted by dglynn at 9:19 AM on April 4, 2011


TEPCO's repsonse may have been incompetent in many ways, but I would hardly describe the actions of a Japanese company as lackadaisical.

Well, TEPCO was planning on pulling all its workers out on March 14th, just three days after the quake and tsunami. This was before the Prime Minister shouted at them. Furthermore, TEPCO was too slow to acknowledge the severity of the problems and to call for external help, too slow to realize the plants were unsalvageable and begin pumping salt water, too slow to take action to prevent hydrogen explosions before they happened, too slow to establish adequate radiation monitoring and report the results publicly, too slow to start cooling down the spent fuel pools, too slow to request resources like generators and pumps, too slow to even start construction on new external power lines, too slow to realize that salt buildup was probably making things worse and to request freshwater, too slow to realize the turbine building basements were flooded with highly radioactive water, too slow to begin shifting water in tanks to make room to pump out the flooded basements, and too slow to adequately monitor discharges of radioactive substances into the ocean and determine their cause, just to name a few offhand. Certainly TEPCO isn't the Soviet Union, and they aren't sending workers on blatant suicide missions, but I'd say lackadaisical is actually an appropriate adjective to apply to many of their actions over the past month.

Remember, this is a company that was rocked by scandal recently for falsifying safety records and has historically been incredibly slow to respond to problems. Their own report on "lessons learned" from the 2002 scandal essentially admitted to having a lackadaisical attitude:
In a document entitled Lessons Learned from the TEPCO Nuclear Power Scandal, released by the company and seen by The Times, TEPCO blamed its “misconduct” in 2002 on its “engineers' overconfidence of their nuclear knowledge”. Their “conservative mentality” had led them to fail to report problems, the company said, resulting in an “inadequate safety culture”.
posted by zachlipton at 10:08 AM on April 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


When Tepco started talking about pulling out, the assumption was that the central government would step in and take control with Self Defense Forces etc. However, there was no protocol to make this happen (although the central government did enact a law to set up a crisis center in Tepco headquarters), which is why the government pushed back. This lack of disaster planning is what has really lead to this cascading failure of events. It's just a series of ad hoc responses in reaction to whatever the nuclear demon throws at them. How can it take a week for specialized firefighting equipment to be sent in from Tokyo of all place?

Man it has got to suck being the prime minister of Japan right about now. He has to fight with Tepco and with different government bureaucracies, just to do the right thing.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:17 AM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


How can it take a week for specialized firefighting equipment to be sent in from Tokyo of all place?

Most of the world sat and wondered that about bottled water and New Orleans not too many years ago.

If there's one thing we're learning humans suck at in the 21st century, it's timely responses to large disasters in first world countries.
posted by hippybear at 10:24 AM on April 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


The earthquake they got was about 10 times stronger than the max the planned for.

It was also ten times weaker than the recent earthquake in Christchurch, which was only a 6.3 but hit much closer. Good thing Christchurch doesn't use nuclear I guess. The reactors would have to be 100 times stronger just to survive a 6.3

(I'm comparing g-force at ground level, but beyond that it's apples and oranges - Christchurch did not shake for as long, but had constant aftershocks, and no tsunami, and the tsunami was obviously a big factor)
posted by -harlequin- at 10:43 AM on April 4, 2011


Most of the world sat and wondered that about bottled water and New Orleans not too many years ago.

I lived in a nuclear town in Japan (Tsuruga) for ten years. I assumed there would be some sort of heavy-duty emergency response vehicles available on standby close to respond in a nuclear accident. However, it seems like I was wrong.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:49 AM on April 4, 2011


Apparently they are trying to plug leaks with newspaper and sawdust, and the radiation leaking downstream of the reactors is above the 1 Sv/hr maximum that their detectors can measure.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:49 AM on April 4, 2011


This lack of disaster planning is what has really lead to this cascading failure of events. It's just a series of ad hoc responses in reaction to whatever the nuclear demon throws at them. How can it take a week for specialized firefighting equipment to be sent in from Tokyo of all place?

Well, TEPCO's disaster plan was woefully inadequate, calling for just "one stretcher, one satellite phone and 50 protective suits," so it's not exactly a surprise that no one knew what they were doing. The plan apparently had no mention of working with Tokyo firefighters, SDF troops, and the US military, all actions that were needed from the get-go in this emergency. It's one thing to argue that the plant was never designed for a earthquake and tsunami this large, but losing power for days is not such an unforeseeable event that it's not worthy of inclusion in the disaster plan. Heck, large portions of their disaster communications plan called for the use of a fax machine at the plant, with no consideration given to the possibility that many many disasters tend to cause fax machines not to work.

So when people say that these were old plants and the new ones are far safer, I still say that these folks were sitting around with this facility for 40 years and never considered the possibility of an emergency anywhere near this serious. I'm not even saying they necessarily needed to retrofit the plant with new safety equipment, but they didn't even include anything in their own disaster plan. That's not a failure of the plant's engineering, it's a basic failure of plant operations, and I don't see how a new plant would fix that problem.
posted by zachlipton at 10:50 AM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was also ten times weaker than the recent earthquake in Christchurch

Christchurch quake - 6.3
Japan earthquake - 9.0

The Richter scale is logarithmic. So the Japan earthquake is nearly, what? 30 times stronger? 100 times stronger?

I'm confused on what you're saying here, I guess is my point.
posted by hippybear at 10:50 AM on April 4, 2011


Hippybear:

The force experienced by buildings decreases with distance from the quake. For example, people the USA didn't feel the Japan quake, while people in Japan most assuredly did. The difference was distance from the quake.

The Japan quake - which was thousands of times stronger than the Christchurch quake, struck at a greater distance from the power plant than the Christchurch quake struck from Christchurch.

Buildings in Christchurch were hit with g-forces ten times greater than the powerplant, even though the quake was much weaker.

My point is that people seem to be thinking it take a magnitudes 9 quake to do this, but it doesn't. This was a rare massive quake a long way away from the plant. The power plant could have been hit with greater force by a (much more common) weaker quake striking closer nearby.

Therefore, designing it for such low quake forces seems like optimistically under-engineering.
tl;dr It doesn't take anything even remotely approaching the Japan quake to exceed the power plant's earthquake specs.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:19 AM on April 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


(Also, some US pundit was crowing saying that their reactors are built to withstand THREE TIMES more ground force than the Japanese ones, so reactors in the USA are safe. It can't happen here. But three times is still far below the forces that buildings can be subject to from a much smaller quake, if it strikes nearer to the site.)
posted by -harlequin- at 11:32 AM on April 4, 2011


tl;dr It doesn't take anything even remotely approaching the Japan quake to exceed the power plant's earthquake specs.

Indeed, it doesn't even take an earthquake at all. As dglynn points out, the fundamental problem here is that the plant was without electricity; they lost external power and the generators didn't work. Given that situation, the batteries died and the first hydrogen explosion occurred, both within a day of the quake. There are a whole host of disasters that could cause a loss of power for 24 hours or more, and it's clear no one ever considered the possibility of such an event. They certainly didn't have any plans made to restore power, bring in other generators, or mitigate the damage in the meantime. The problem isn't that they didn't plan for a large enough earthquake; they didn't even plan for a power outage.
posted by zachlipton at 11:38 AM on April 4, 2011


Well, I think they DID plan for a power outage, only they planned for the wrong kind. If I'm remembering what I read correctly, they had located the generators and such out of way of harm of an event like a major sea storm (hurricane or typhoon or whatever they call the ones which hit Japan), but this also meant they were located in the wrong place for tsunami flooding.

Ultimately, it's been a cascade of failure of imagination up and down the line, coupled with fraudulent safety non-inspections and other negligent factors originating with TEPCO across the decades.

The whole thing has me remembering some Kernkraft? Nein Danke! rallies and info sheets I picked up in Germany 25 years ago. The basic premise behind the protests was that nuclear power will NEVER be a safe enough technology, because once things go tits up, there's no easy way to get people in place to work on solving the problems.

Sadly, 25 years of technological progress don't seem to have really made any difference to the doomsday scenarios the speakers from the stage were outlining back then.
posted by hippybear at 11:44 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The whole thing has me remembering some Kernkraft? Nein Danke! rallies and info sheets I picked up in Germany 25 years ago. The basic premise behind the protests was that nuclear power will NEVER be a safe enough technology, because once things go tits up, there's no easy way to get people in place to work on solving the problems.

Sadly, 25 years of technological progress don't seem to have really made any difference to the doomsday scenarios the speakers from the stage were outlining back then.


Though you still have a spent-fuel issue to deal with, Pebble bed reactors cannot physically overheat under any circumstances, even total removal of human control in all forms.
posted by odinsdream at 11:49 AM on April 4, 2011


Well, that's not entirely true. There are situations where the graphite might ignite, and over a certain power level pebble bed reactors are useless, so there'd have to be a fuckload more of them to generate the same amount of power as the Daiichi plants... But they do seem to be a bit less melt-down prone than light water reactors.
posted by hippybear at 11:57 AM on April 4, 2011


The graphite-catching-fire issue isn't a meltdown, though.
posted by odinsdream at 12:13 PM on April 4, 2011


It seemed to me that, wow, despite a giant earthquake and a giant tsunami, these reactors would have have been fine if they had simply located the generators someplace else. The real issue, though, is the waste.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:52 PM on April 4, 2011


It seemed to me that, wow, despite a giant earthquake and a giant tsunami, these reactors would have have been fine if they had simply located the generators someplace else. The real issue, though, is the waste.

It does seem like the cracks probably came from the earthquake, so I'm not entirely sure that everything would be swell if the generators worked as planned, but they would have been in a better state certainly. Clearly the earthquake itself did cause damage too. The tsunami also flooded the electrical switching rooms, which were located below grade, and that didn't help matters either.
posted by zachlipton at 12:59 PM on April 4, 2011


odinstream: The graphite-catching-fire issue isn't a meltdown, though.

When it comes to risk of radiation release, that's a distinction without a difference.
posted by Popular Ethics at 1:04 PM on April 4, 2011


Workers began pumping more than 3 million gallons of contaminated water from Japan's tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean on Monday, freeing storage space for even more highly radioactive water that has hampered efforts to stabilize the reactors.

From a German weather site, radiation plume forecast for Japan and surrounding area.

'No safe levels' of radiation in Japan This means that the sum of several very small exposures to radiation has the same effect as one large exposure, since the effects of radiation are cumulative.

In Japan, evacuees direct anger at nuclear-plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Japan’s nuclear regulator on Friday reprimanded Tepco for sending workers into danger without dosimeters, a device used to measure radiation exposure.

All this soothing - like a kindergarten teacher to little kids- that everything is not so bad, not so dangerous is as sinister, deceitful and misinforming as those old fallout propaganda ads of the 50's.

TEPCO is transparently way beyond merely incompetent but transparently sociopathic in their long and well documented history of callous, reckless and deliberate disregard for others' safety -even the planet's safety- for the sake of the execs' profiteering, egotism and convenience.

The world leaders need to respond immediately and be encouraged to respond to this inability of TEPCO execs and take over the catastrophe, by some decree of law, forcible stepping in. The health of those in metropolitan Tokyo, approximately 30 million people, the Pacific Ocean and the countries bordering the Pacific are in immediate danger but really, the entire planet will suffer, not just for a short while but a long, long time.
posted by nickyskye at 1:08 PM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


(That is to say, until I see a fire test of the fuel spheres, I won't trust the Pebble Bed Reactor premise of indestructible cladding, and I definitely won't trust the assertion that a containment structure is unnescessary. This is all hypothetical though. We're a long way from deploying PBRs)
posted by Popular Ethics at 1:12 PM on April 4, 2011


When it comes to risk of radiation release, that's a distinction without a difference.

From the wiki article:
PBRs are intentionally operated above the 250 °C annealing temperature of graphite...
Rather than lose ourselves in the details, my point is that there exist reactor designs whose safety does not rely on a bunch of systems working 100% all the time. The PBR is one such design which hasn't been pursued commercially due to political and regulatory hurdles.

It's not useful to discuss nuclear as if it's one monolithic technology when there are vast differences between system designs. Perfectly reasonable arguments against light-water systems aren't applicable to others, but this gets lost in the roar between both sides of the argument.
posted by odinsdream at 1:16 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most typhoons hit Japan between May and October

Increase of the risk of the submergence and flood during the spring tide associated with the ground sink caused by the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake
posted by nickyskye at 2:08 PM on April 4, 2011


What are the political and regulatory hurdles to PBR's?

The major hurdles I've seen to nuclear construction in the US are the inability of operators to get financing. No one seems to be itching to invest money in building and operating nuclear plants. It seems places that are doing new commercial plants are state financed, with maybe private operators contracted to run them.

The nuclear plant 40 miles away from me cost $2.6B to build and bring online in 1987, and ten years later was sold to Exelon for $40M, with Exelon taking responsibility for the spent fuel on site. Expensive investment.
posted by dglynn at 2:13 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someone had a good point that the thing that's missing from the shots is people. There's no sense that there's an operating or staging area and there are almost no people on-site. Where is the massive mobilization?

Any staging area that would be close enough to the facility to be visible in the same high-res photo would be unusably dangerous. I see people in those photos, and lots of equipment that will never be used again. Every firetruck you see in one of those pictures is probably a total loss to it's home fire department, contaminated beyond all hope of cleaning. How many people will die in Tokyo over the next year from fires that equipment could have helped with? There's a difference between throwing every effective resource at a problem, and throwing away your resources without effect.

The world leaders need to respond immediately and be encouraged to respond to this inability of TEPCO execs and take over the catastrophe, by some decree of law, forcible stepping in.

I hear this idea bandied about a lot, but don't see how it could possibly do anything but make the situation worse. You propose to remove all the people who actually know anything about this particular facility and it's current state and replace them with people who won't even be able to read simple signs, unless the signs are all bilingual and haven't been damaged at all. And it's certainly not like the U.S. government has been the ideal steward of it's own nuclear issues, nor a paragon of honesty and transparency during prior crisis. We can't agree on how to dispose of waste that we've been fighting over since the Cold War, you really think our politicians could suddenly pull it together for a problem thousands of miles away?

Even if all you are talking about is replacing key managers, it still assumes some magic transfer of knowledge from the people you are replacing. It might be more effective if we had our commandos kidnap the family members of TEPCO executives and imprison them at the facility until it's fixed. But that's probably off the table because we are 'civilized' people.
posted by nomisxid at 2:18 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


You propose to remove all the people who actually know anything about this particular facility and it's current state and replace them with people who won't even be able to read simple signs, unless the signs are all bilingual and haven't been damaged at all. And it's certainly not like the U.S. government has been the ideal steward of it's own nuclear issues, nor a paragon of honesty and transparency during prior crisis. We can't agree on how to dispose of waste that we've been fighting over since the Cold War, you really think our politicians could suddenly pull it together for a problem thousands of miles away?

Even if all you are talking about is replacing key managers, it still assumes some magic transfer of knowledge from the people you are replacing. It might be more effective if we had our commandos kidnap the family members of TEPCO executives and imprison them at the facility until it's fixed. But that's probably off the table because we are 'civilized' people.


No, I did not propose that.

Aren't all the signs that might have been written in Japanese all demolished now by the tsunami and various explosions already?

It seems that experts, like Arnie Gundersen, could be hired to help. It's not a pissing match about who is less or more corrupt, US or Japanese or any other nationality of nuclear corporations.

It's about an internationally critically dangerous situation that obviously is NOT being handled well, at all, by Tepco. And this seems to be universally recognized, by the Japanese people at large themselves.
posted by nickyskye at 2:43 PM on April 4, 2011


Aren't all the signs that might have been written in Japanese all demolished now by the tsunami and various explosions already?

What the hell?
posted by ripley_ at 3:33 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


The signs at the ravaged nuclear plant, you know, the one in the high def pics of this OP, which show the place devastated. I don't think any nuclear expert needs to read run of the mill printed signs to think about ways to remedy this catastrophe. Most of the main decisions about what to do practically, I would imagine, happen in a conference room, away from the plant itself. I don't think the Tepco execs are at the plant, only nuke workers there.

As far as I know Japanese-English translations are not impossible, even in such dire circumstances.

Now, thinking about this, curious, would a cellphone function near this radiation? Or any other electronic gadget?
posted by nickyskye at 5:49 PM on April 4, 2011


The situation at Fukushima is relatively stable now, in the same way that you are stable if you hang by your fingernails off a cliff, and your fingernails begin to break one by one....

Strong words by Debito Arudou: My point is that the public has been kept in the dark for generations about the risks of nuclear power, settling for cute cartoon characters that deliberately and persistently underinform us. Yet when the industry screws up, who takes the fallout?

Not Japan's nuclear firms. Tepco, remember, similarly botched things after radiation leaks at Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, in 1999 and the Kashiwazaki- Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture in 2007.

Encouraged by this:Japan Asks Russia for Help in Disposing Radioactive Water The top U.N. atomic energy official said Monday the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima plant has led to global concerns about the safety of nuclear energy. Yukiya Amano said maintaining robust safety standards and transparency are crucial to restoring confidence in the sector.

General Electric's Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt, whose company designed the Fukushima plant, said Monday that 1,000 engineers from GE and its partner, Hitachi, are working to help mitigate the disaster.

posted by nickyskye at 8:07 PM on April 4, 2011


Strong words from Debito?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:36 PM on April 4, 2011


Once again, here are radiation levels at different locations in Kanto and Tohoku.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:41 PM on April 4, 2011


Encouraged by this:Japan Asks Russia for Help in Disposing Radioactive Water

And this is being requested today why exactly? Surely they knew last week that they had a bunch of radioactive water sitting around and it might be nice to have special tools available to dispose of it, should it be necessary. It's not as though the Russian radioactive water disposal vessel is being used for another uncontrolled nuclear emergency right now. This is what I mean when I said lackadaisical above; almost nothing in this crisis has been requested or done until well after it's urgently necessary.
posted by zachlipton at 8:48 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The company uses a standard technique called gamma ray spectroscopy, which involves examining the energy levels of the gamma rays, a form of radiation, to determine types of isotopes and their levels.

Someone who knows what they are doing could be off by 5 or 15 percent and someone who doesn’t know what they are doing can be off by orders of magnitude,” said Sheldon Landsberger, a professor of nuclear radiation engineering at the University of Texas and co-author of the book “Measurement and Detection of Radiation.

posted by KokuRyu at 10:17 AM on April 5, 2011


The lack of an effective emergency crisis management has underscored how poorly prepared TEPCO and indeed the Japanese authorities were for a nuclear disaster. Engineers seem helpless in their efforts to cope with radioactive water and workers aren't even getting proper meals.

***
Today TEPCO revealed that radiation levels from iodine-131 in seawater next to an outlet for reactor unit 2 were 7.5 million times the legal limit. The previous day, levels in the water of caesium-137 – a relatively long-lived radioactive isotope with a 30-year half-life – were 1.1 million times the legal limit.

***

Radioactivity in sea up 7.5 million times
Marine life contamination well beyond Japan feared


"By the time radioactive iodine is taken in by plankton, which is eaten by smaller fish and then by bigger fish, it will be diluted by the sea and the amount will decrease because of its eight-day half-life," Yamamoto said. "But cesium is a bigger problem."

The half-life of cesium-137 is 30 years, while that for cesium-134 is two years. The longer half-life means it will probably concentrate in the upper food chain.

Yamamoto said such radioactive materials are likely to be detected in fish and other marine products in Japan and other nations in the short and long run, posing a serious threat to the seafood industry in other nations as well.

"All of Japan's sea products will probably be labeled unsafe and other nations will blame Japan if radiation is detected in their marine products," Yamamoto said.


Cleanup Questions as Radiation Spreads

NYTimes:Japan Sets Radiation Standards for Fish : NEWS: Too much radiation in fish? Japan adjusts standards. India bans imports.

Peace of mind, livelihood gone as Japanese city withers in shadow of nuclear plant

Maryland senior scientist: “Very surprised” over radioactive iodine-131 findings — “A fat red bar” on graph never seen before
posted by nickyskye at 10:19 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


*oops, the link now added
Peace of mind, livelihood gone as Japanese city withers in shadow of nuclear plant

and

Close-ups (reductions taken from) from the original high def pics in the OP.
posted by nickyskye at 10:48 AM on April 5, 2011


Some quite interesting ideas on helping Fukushima.
posted by nickyskye at 11:50 AM on April 5, 2011


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