Channel WORM’s field reporters have been busy. Let’s get some stuff up for the general audience.
crosspatch: aerial footage of the site. The text sounds fascinating, but the video’s not loading for me. And in the interests of fresh water cooling, the U.S. Navy is barging in. Ha ha, get it? Bar..ahhh, forget it.
The media has Fukushima over a barrel. If containment pressure goes up…”OMG pressure is rising!”. If they vent to relieve that pressure…”ZOMG radiation is leaking!!” jrman notes,
I’m pretty sure asserting pressure control and leak in primary containment are mutually exclusive things . . .
You do have a little suppression pool window for reducing pressure without venting from containment. But otherwise, yep. Pick your poison if you can’t cycle coolant through…
jaed had some somber news and excellent commentary here. Worth reading in full. jaed notes an admission that my Japanese counterparts (rad techs) are thin on the ground. Or non-existent. This comes as no surprise to any of us here.
In one sense I’m relieved.
“Joes” and Charlie Martin both found a pdf of the water analysis here. It’s close to 4 MBq/cc, or about 240,000,000 disintegrations per minute per milliliter. We’ll come back to this, obviously.
Charlie’s also got a Tatler post putting the beta burns in perspective.
Look…it’s freakin’ sunburn! Sure, beta burn is deeper than UV burn (at least, I think). And so what? “Oh,” you say, “but beta radiation can cause cancer!” Yes, we believe it can.
Good thing UV radiation can’t.
Right? Right, Drudge? Right, “media that can’t tell radiation and contamination apart?”
What happened to them is incredibly painful and can be a hideous ruination…of a holiday. But this wasn’t a holiday.
It was an utterly stupid and avoidable industrial accident in which ignorant and untrained workers did everything wrong they could possibly think of.
The result? A deep sunburn.
Try that sequence of events with a workshop bandsaw and get back to me. “Lefty”.
Gotta run, will pick back up later. Thanks for all these comments and links!
“What happened to them is incredibly painful and can be a hideous ruination…of a holiday… The result? A deep sunburn.”
are you sure it’s correct analogy? and not, say, “lying all day unconscious, naked, in a desert” sunburn?
I’m still not clear … they were certainly contaminated, right? But so far it seems they “feel” next to nothing, if I remember correctly. So the initial “burn” is not so bad, and the extremity contamination could mean a higher (or lower) chance of some form of cancer in their lower extremities. After scouring of the afflicted skin, that might be the end of it?
Mainly I have to wonder how seriously this was treated. While the rest of the world thought they might be facing Armageddon in Anaheim … these guys looked in the yellow pages and brought in some subs in sneakers that walked right by all security and wormme types?
I can only imagine that perhaps all the tsunami afflicted locals were in some sort of shock. They carried on in denial of the enormity of what had just taken place, like car accident victims that wander from the scene. Throw a couple meters on them, it’ll be OK … Git r dun.
if there was beta, there also was gamma. how much of gamma they got, we don’t know. when (or if) will gamma affect them, there is no telling, there are only probabilities from now on.
But we still know the dosimeter dose was 173-180 mSv. This isn’t magic, Poul, they’ve got measurements.
Charlie, I do have to wonder, given the competence we’ve seen so far…if that dose isn’t just gamma and they failed to capture beta at all. I haven’t seen gamma-only TLDs in years, but they exist.
And if the TLDs did have beta windows but were turned inward rather than out, they’d still miss it. Somewhere between most and all of it.
OTOH, for all we know they could be assigning up to 6 Gy beta solely on symptoms of red skin and itching. There’s a number of ways to achieve those effects.
So even despite the massive water activity, we just don’t know. 600 rad is a lot of dose, even for billions of dpm. But I guess we must assume that if you let that stuff cling to you for hours, beta burns are what you get.
Actually, I’m not even sure it’s a “deep” sunburn. The doses given, 2-6 Gy (Gray, equivalent to Sv for skin) are believed to either not produce acute effect or, in the most conservative estimates, this:
2–6 Gy transient erythema 2–24 h (slight reddening of the skin–ed.)
3–5 Gy dry desquamation in 3–6 weeks (dry and peeling like post-sunburn)
3–4 Gy temporary epilation in 3 weeks (possible hair loss)
Beta does penetrate a bit deeper than UV, thus the potential last symptom.
Given what they’ve told us, this is more “mild” to “deep” sunburn thant “life-threatening eradication of most of your largest organ”.
here’s the map:
Click to access 1303997_2519.pdf
note points 83, 81, 32.