Today brings once again conflicting reports on the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan. First, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in spite of what's going on in Japan, has proclaimed the United States does not need to make any changes to our own nuclear reactor safety, from methods to structure.
A top official with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday that the nuclear crisis in Japan did not warrant any immediate changes in American nuclear plants. The commission’s inspectors at each nuclear site have been told to double-check that emergency precautions mandated years ago were still in place, including temporary hoses and fittings and other last-ditch backup equipment, said the official, William Borchardt, the executive director for operations. They are also to verify that plant operators know where the equipment and materials are, he said, “to make sure they haven’t fallen into disuse because they haven’t been used.”
Below are International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) slides showing radioactive levels from three days ago. One can see the sharp radiation increase and corresponding declines.
Today we have two new disturbing readings on radioactivity and reports of more smoke and evacuations coming from #1 through #3 nuclear reactors.
- Radioactive cesium 24.8 times higher detected in seawater near nuke plant
- Radioactive iodine 126.7 times higher detected in seawater near nuke plant
We have some good news in that Japan has run the power lines to the reactor site. The bad news is they expect it to be several more days before power is restored to the reactors.
Japan says it may be several more days before power is restored to the reactor for which a core containment vessel may have been damaged. It is one of three reactors at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant with cores that, officials say, may have partially melted. Seawater has been pumped into them to prevent the fuel from being exposed.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company says external lines have been re-connected to the crippled facility. That will allow plant operators to again properly monitor radiation levels, illuminate control rooms and stabilize the cooling process.
They also say stabilizing reactor #2 will take some time.
Hidehiko Nishiyama, the deputy director general of Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, says stabilizing the Number-2 reactor is going to take some time.
Radioactive contamination has already been found in the food supply with Japan now stopping shipments as radiation is discovered.
The IAEA is now giving regular updates on the Japan Fukushima nuclear disaster. They are giving plant status, recovery status and some radiation readings.
Some results on the monitoring of foodstuffs have been made available by Japan to the IAEA and FAO. Results provided recently by the Japanese authorities range up to 55 000 Bq per kg of I-131 in samples of Spinach taken in in the Ibaraki Prefecture. These high values are significantly above Japanese limits for restricting food consumption (i.e. 2 000 Bq/kg). I understand that the Japanese Government is actively considering relevant precautionary measures and has instructed four Prefectures (Ibaraki, Totigi, Gunma, Fukushima) to refrain, for the time being, from distributing two types of vegetables (spinach and kakina) from these Prefectures and milk from Fukshima.