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December 2012 Incidents


December 2012 Incidents

December, 27, 1 year "Cold Shutdown state", a lost year

On December 16th, 2011 the Japanese Government declared that a "Cold Shutdown State" had been achieved in Fukushima trying to fool the people into thinking the accident was oveDecember, 27, 1 year "Cold Shutdown state", a lost year

On December 16th, 2011 the Japanese Government declared that a "Cold Shutdown State" had been achieved in Fukushima trying to fool the people into thinking the accident was over.

In nuclear safety engineering the term "cold shutdown state" is used in connection with normal operation and accident analysis. It means that the nuclear reactor has been brought into a state which is characterized by the the total control of the chain reaction by control rods and boron poisoning, the primary circuit is cooled down and depressurized and the decay heat has gone down to such a low level that the low pressure residual heat removal pumps are sufficient to remove the heat production. This is necessary for weeks and months until the core is unloaded from the reactor. It also means that the radioactive material is safely confined in the fuel rods or - in case of some leakage - inside the containment.

None of these objectives has been achieved in Fukushima: the radioactive material has either escaped from the ruins or is still inside and leaking into the cooling water and filtered in the water precessing facilities. The radioactive material is not cooled by closed cooling loops and unit 3 and 4 doe not even have some kind of preliminary cover like the shelter tent of unit 1.

Basically nothing worth mentioning has changed in the last year on the Fukushima accident side as shown by the live cam pictures.


one year ago and ...today (the position of the livecam has changed)


There is no milestone on the way to Fukushima clean-up in 2012, only a "sub-milestone", when the debris on top of unit 4 was removed to allow the future construction of a light weight hermetic structure needed for the removal of  the fuel elements.

The admin has an ambiguous attitude towards this slow progress: On one hand any delay helps to reduce the radiation exposure of the workers but on the other hand it prolongs the dangerous situation of radioactive release in case of external hazards.

The most serious problem is the vast amount of radioactive waste water stored on site. TEPCO has not published pictures showing the tank farms recently hiding the full extent of the storage problem. This picture dating fom June 2012 shows the underground storage facility. Some tanks have to be installed undergound due to the high radiation level.


TEPCO has not yet started a serious attemp to stop the ground water from leaking into the basements of the four units. TEPCO has already installed a tank capacity of about 250.000 m3 and press reports say TEPCo is planning to install another 500.000m3 tank capacity in the next three years. 


Tank site plan in September 2012. the following picture from a Japanese TEPCO report dating from September 2012 shows that TEPCO is planning to use the complete site area up to the fence for storage, which is unacceptable as there should be some free area left between the fence and the installations to allow for onsite emergency measures!



December, 21, 2012 Experts from Japan and from IAEA visit Fukushima

Experts from Japan and from IAEA have recently visited the Fukushima site. The two pictures explain more than can be said by words.

Japanese experts are wearing adequate protective gear.


IAEA experts do not wear protective gear but these funny "flu" masks which are of no use.


The admin wrote it many times before and he is re-iterating it again:

These masks are medical masks which do not protect the wearer but the patient from being contaminated by the doctor or the nurse in case that the doctor or the nurse exhalate or eject infectious droplets! This type of masks (without a valve for exhalation) does not prevent inhalation of contaminted material! Measurement have shown that 80% of the inhalated air is bypassing this mask!

These pictures demonstrate that IAEA experts have no adequate knowledge about radiation protection. Hopefully they have some knowledge of severe accidents, but the admin doubts this since he does not recognize anybody in the bus and the admin knows all relevant experts in severe accidents. Maybe the relevant experts knew better than to visit the contaminated Fukushima site.

It is the admin's view that IAEA experts are more nuclear diplomats than nuclear safety experts, who have worked some time ago in the nuclear field, have merits but won't be missed by their former employers. Maybe it is not an expert mission but an annual works outing.

December, 7, 2012 Aftershock of the March 11, 2011 earthquake (Tohoku-Chihou-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake)

An earthquake occurred in Japan in the epicenter of the Fukushima disaster earthquake. German press panics, Japanese press stays cool. The earthquake is in no was comparable to the Fukushima disaster earthquake, as shown on the picture.


December, 6, 2012 Radioactive Nuclides in the water treatment

TEPCO has published new data on the radioactive nuclides in the various storage tanks of the water treatment system.


The admin does not understand why Mn-54, Co-60, Ru-106 and SB-125 are not found in the accumulated water in the basement of the central radioactive waste treatment facility. Maybe, these nuclides can only be measured, when there is a substantial reduction of Cesium. Tritium (H3) is produced by radiolysis.

The treated water injection into the reactor vessels of unit 1 - 3 and the removal of contaminated water from the basements works more or less like an open loop in which the reactor inventory is transported into the filters of the decontamination facility.

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