Big Media Fukushima roundup, American edition.

Just checked a few websites from Hotsheet. (Hotsheet’s an ancient website…and still one of the best.)

From ABC:

On Monday, workers continued to pump out radioactive water inside the plant…Officials said the contaminated water must be taken out before workers can restart and restore the plant’s cooling system.

Is this need due to actual engineering problems, or worries about personnel exposure? Because in the latter, if only we knew separate beta and gamma rates, we might could get workers in there anyway. They’d pick up gamma, of course, but we can guarantee no more beta burns if they’ll obey instructions.

Radioactive water has been found in all four of the reactors at the plant.

Yes…just like every reactor that’s ever been fired up. God, I hate journalism.

Nishiyama acknowledged the challenges that are facing the relief effort but insisted is stabilizing.

Whut? English may be Nishi’s second language, but should it be an ABC journalist’s?

“The problem is that right now nobody can reach the turbine houses where key electrical work must be done. There is a possibility that we may have to give up on that plan,” he said.

So apparently personnel exposure is the bottleneck. Gee, if only we knew how much of that radiation is beta, and how much is gamma.


Physicist Michio Kaku said if radiation levels get too high, that’s the point of no return.

KaaaaaKUUU! We meet again.

Onward, to CBS’s balanced coverage:

The frantic effort to get temperatures down and avert a widening disaster has been slowed and complicated by fires, explosions, leaks and dangerous spikes in radiation. Two workers were burned after wading into highly radioactive water, officials said.

In related news, THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE were burned this week by an uncontrolled nuclear process.

The Perfect Storm of Stupidity rages unabated:

…with the airborne radiation levels…exceeding 1,000 millisieverts per hour — more than four times the amount that the government considers safe for workers…

PRO TIP–Use the word “airborne” only when discussing “contamination”. What, “radiation” is passing through the air? OMG! Actually, that’s not really news to us.

I really, really hate journalism.

It could take weeks to clear out the radioactive water, said Gary Was, a nuclear engineering professor at the University of Michigan.
“Battling the contamination so workers can work there is going to be an ongoing problem,” he said.

Really? It’s the contamination? Let’s see…set up supplied air systems, stat. Get bubble suits, stat. Get some freakin’ experienced rad techs, stat. Guys (and gals) who’ve covered “generator jumping” or “hot cell” work will do nicely.

They’ll cut airborne exposure by a 1,000 or more, prevent further beta burns, and ensure that personnel contaminations are both infrequent and non-dangerous.

We “nuke pukes” aren’t professors, but we damn sure could make the limiting condition gamma exposure, not contamination. Gee, if only we could know difference between beta and gamma…

Remember the “10,000,000x reactor water” scare? And it turned out to be “only” 100,000x?

“This sort of mistake is not something that can be forgiven,” Edano said sternly Monday.

Really? As ye sew, Mr. Edano…

And if a “two orders of magnitude” mistake is unforgivable, how about when a journalist confuses “milli” for “micro”? Death, yea, unto the third generation?

CBS again, chucking stones from the safety of a transparent silica stronghold:

The obviously harried officials…have repeatedly announced botched radiation readings, corrected themselves over and over and indulged in seemingly endless rounds of apologies.

Thus making themselves morally superior to judgemental journalists who never, ever say they’re sorry..

…the energy company was forced to apologize again…It had gotten their isotopes wrong not just once, but twice. If such errors seem dizzyingly technical to most of the world, they are basics for the nuclear power industry, where mistaking two isotopes is a major error.

…wait. “Gamma spectroscopy” is dizzyingly technical to non-nuke types? Then why don’t you journalists zip your lips?! Don’t speak, listen. Just pass our words along, puny journos, and seek not to interpret them!

Mitsuhiko Tanaka, a Fukushima nuclear plant designer turned anti-nuclear activist…

Oh joy.

…urges more involvement of designers and other experts. “When a jet begins to crash, you don’t ask the pilots for answers to what’s gone wrong,”

Hmm. All these problems and mistakes and disasters we’re seeing…they’d never have happened if the nuclear plant design had been adequate. So Mitsu Tanaka…former nuclear plant designer…is anti-nuke today? Can’t blame him, if he assumes he’s normal.

For the record, I’m a current radiation protection technician who isn’t “pro-nuke”. I am pro-“free energy from perpetual-motion machines!”. I’m just willing to put up with nukes until something better comes along.

The litany of TEPCO’s sins continues. Then there’s this:

But in Japan, responsibility tends to be spread out, imperiling crisis management.

Really? It appears the opposite from way over here. Rigid lines of authority, not individual initiative, are the rule. Aren’t they?

And the final article is from CNN.

It’s worse than everything that’s occurred at Fukushima, combined.


About wormme

I've accepted that all of you are socially superior to me. But no pretending that any of you are rational.
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43 Responses to Big Media Fukushima roundup, American edition.

  1. waytoomanydaves says:


    I strongly suspect that if you were to confront a journalist with this, you might get a blank look, and a question:

    “What does any of this have to do with frat houses?”

  2. And don’t forget, the more recent information that the three guys with wet socks have been released from the hospital without even having any burns:

  3. poul says:

    hey, any insights during the weekend about where the Cl-38 in unit 1 is coming from? i don’t think anyone retracted this yet:

    • wormme says:

      Apparently they’ve admitted to misidentifying isotopes twice. Which would almost certainly be the Cl-38 and I-134 alarms. If they’d kept finding it, we’d have kept hearing about it.

      But if there’s been a specific retraction of the claim, haven’t seen it. Anyone?

    • crosspatch says:

      It was reported in earlier data but missing from the analysis of subsequent samples. If the water is leaking from the reactor coolant, there would pretty much have to be some Cl-38 in there from the sea salt activation but as it is such a short half-life and it decays to argon which is pretty harmless, I (my speculation) don’t think it is at the top of their risk list.

      • poul says:

        not sure if i’m buying it…

      • crosspatch says:

        Well, since cl-38 is not a decay product of anything, it is an activation product. It is caused by activation of cl-37 by absorbing neutrons.

        We have fuel rods that are emitting neutrons. We have cl-37 from sea water.

        Besides, it has a half-life of like 30 minutes or something. It doesn’t hang around long.

        What aren’t you “buying”? We *know* there is a leak of water and they have admitted that. The leak is in the turbine building, we also know that because we can see it. The trenches outside of the building aren’t steaming so we know it isn’t leaking at a prodigious rate and it has probably been leaking for two weeks or maybe a little more.

        If I were forced to make a guess, I would say a water hammer from the suppression pool explosion in unit 2 very early in the incident has caused something to spring a leak in the turbine building but it could be a mechanical failure from the EQ or one of the aftershocks.

  4. oldHP says:

    Proud member of i phelta thi.

  5. Hmm. Shorter Wormme:

    Dear MSM, please go Fukushima yourself.

    PS I stole that from The Grey Lady

    Cheers techies!

  6. crosspatch says:

    Morning News Tokyo

    Plutonium found on the grounds not any threat. Taken from five locations. Two locations showed “traces” of plutonium. Plutonium 238 is isotope found. 0.12uS if you ate 50kg/year of this soil over 50 years. Radiation level is at about the ambient background level. No elevated radiation level from the plutonium.

    Reactor 2: “Trench” is a barrier designed to catch any water leakage from the turbine buildings and water is 10cm from the top of the trench.

  7. crosspatch says:

    More information:

    500 meters west of reactor number 1 is one of the two locations where a trace of plutonium was located. They can not be certain of the source.

    Concentration: highest 0.54 Bq/kilo

    This contamination is at about that found globally from contamination from cold war atmospheric bomb testing or at standard background ambient contamination levels.

  8. crosspatch says:

    Source of the above two postings was NHK Tokyo

  9. Total Pu activity is about 0.004 banana equivalent activity.

  10. oldHP says:

    I say, you wouldn’t have had much fun in Stalingrad, would you?

    Nein, no… not much fun in Stalingrad.

  11. wormme says:

    Dear Lord, what have I done…?

    A more experienced blogger would have seen this coming.

    But props to oldHP for seeing the intersection first. His reference can’t be topped, so what say we let this meme…pine for the fjords?


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