Fukushima Diary (1) has a table from Tepco showing alpha radiation measurements of HEPA filters in unit 3 of Fukushima Daiichi of 190,000 Bq/m3, on May 14-15. These are alpha-emitting particles, not gases, so they are likely to be mostly uranium and plutonium. No explanation was given as to why it took almost 3 months to release this data.
A previous post (2) showed high levels of radioactive silver (Ag-110m) and cobalt-60 in unit 3 at the same time. Units 1 and 2 did not have the same activities. Radioactive silver comes from melted control rods. Cobalt-60 arises from the interaction of neutron emitters (like plutonium) with building materials (like walls, fuel pool structures, etc.)
A post on this blog (3) showed high levels of iodine-131 in sewage sludge in two geographically separated Japanese prefectures in June and July.
And radioactive xenon (4) was detected in the air by South Korea in June.
And also my thyroid swelled up for the period approximately June 1-July 15. (I have autoimmune disease and a TSH-secreting pituitary adenoma, which has caused secondary hyperthyroidism.)
So this adds up to a criticality which began in early and middle May, and released isotopes of iodine, xenon, cesium, strontium, tritium, uranium, and plutonium into the air, and is especially continuing into the sea. This means that the nuclear fuel that went critical has gotten hotter… whether the fuel is underground corium, or aboveground spent fuel pools. I suspect the latter.
This chain reaction has transferred nuclear energy into the creation of new radioactive isotopes, on top of what is already at the plant. I had previously thought unit 5 was responsible, but it appears that unit 3, the MOX reactor, is responsible. Both the reactor and spent fuel pool in this unit have high amounts of plutonium in the fuel.
Sharp increases in cesium, strontium, tritium, and all-beta radiation in pools and trenches had been reported by Tepco after this criticality. The increases in all-beta are consistent with radioactive daughter products of uranium. Finally the Japanese nuclear regulatory agency had enough, and stated that these isotopes were leaking into the sea, and Tepco admitted to it, after lying about sea releases for two years.
This has led to a slew of news stories and op-ed pieces in the mainstream mass media. In a commentary in the Jerusalem Post (5),
If you haven’t read about Fukushima recently, or for a long time, you should – but only if you are ready to be shocked and frightened and confused. In any event, it looks like we are going to be hearing a great deal more about it. But however it turns out, the clearest conclusion to be drawn from the sad saga is that governments and their agencies simply cannot be believed, especially in matters of life and death.
And a story today in Reuters quotes Arnie Gundersen about the dangers of removing rods from spent fuel pool #4:
“There is a risk of an inadvertent criticality if the bundles are distorted and get too close to each other,” Gundersen said.
He was referring to an atomic chain reaction that left unchecked could result in a large release of radiation and heat that the fuel pool cooling system isn’t designed to absorb.
“The problem with a fuel pool criticality is that you can’t stop it. There are no control rods to control it,” Gundersen said. “The spent fuel pool cooling system is designed only to remove decay heat, not heat from an ongoing nuclear reaction.”
The rods are also vulnerable to fire should they be exposed to air, Gundersen said.
Hey Arnie, we just had a criticality.
This should indicate that the recent revelations have the form of a limited hangout (6). From Wikipedia:
A limited hangout, or partial hangout, is a public relations or propaganda technique that involves the release of previously hidden information in order to prevent a greater exposure of more important details.
It takes the form of deception, misdirection, or coverup often associated with intelligence agencies involving a release or “mea culpa” type of confession of only part of a set of previously hidden sensitive information, that establishes credibility for the one releasing the information who by the very act of confession appears to be “coming clean” and acting with integrity; but in actuality, by withholding key facts, is protecting a deeper operation and those who could be exposed if the whole truth came out. In effect, if an array of offenses or misdeeds is suspected, this confession admits to a lesser offense while covering up the greater ones.
The “mea culpa” confession is the admission of radioactive leaks into the Pacific. The greater offense is the cover-up of criticalities, especially iodine-131 measurements. Look at the huge rate of thyroid cysts and nodules, and thyroid cancer, among Japanese children. They’re lying about iodine.
Tepco has built an impervious wall between the plant and the sea, in an effort to stop the leaks. It failed and was overtopped even before they finished it. All it does is back the leaking water up into the plant, and weaken the reactor building foundations and the soil underneath, which may cause a huge catastrophe in a collapse.
Now they are talking about building a mile-long “ice wall” around the reactors. Even if this works, it will not stop the criticalities. The radionuclides will be released into the air, and much of them will be deposited as rainfall over the Pacific anyway.
And if that wasn’t enough, a nuclear plant in Taiwan (7) has been leaking contaminated water since 2009. And the linear accelerator laboratory at Tokai released (8) 20 billion becquerels of radioactivity. This is not much compared to Fukushima, but it consists of many exotic and little-known radioisotopes.