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Fukushima 04/16/2011


This post is mainly to catch up on details that need covering.

That Slightly Radioactive Water

That was dumped into the sea to make room for the storage of much more highly radioactive water. We now have some figures on just how radioactive that water was. “Slightly” was an understatement. They discharged a total of 10,393 metric tonnes of water or 2.75 million gallons. How much activity did it contain? 150 billion Becquerel.

That sounds like a lot but a Bq is so uselessly small (one radioactive disintegration per second) that it helps to convert to familiar units. That works out to a whopping 4.1 Curies of activity. That’s 1.95E-3 microCuries/cc or 1.95E3 picoCuries. Detectable but just barely. Would I drink otherwise pure water that contained that much activity? You Betcha!

So when TEPCO stated that the level of activity was harmless, they were overstating the risk.

Fuel Melt

Per this article, the Atomic Energy Society of Japan has released a study that confirms what I predicted even before my first blog post – that the fuel in reactors 1-3 has partially melted and has settled to the bottom of each reactor as a rubble bed. This is exactly the same scenario as happened at Three Mile Island. More confirmation of the reactor design’s inherent safeness. No melted reactor vessel, no China syndrome, just partially agglomerated rubble beds.


Of course, we won’t know for sure until if and when they are able to get in there and remove the reactor lid. If I were a betting man, I know what I’d bet on.

That Silly Linear-No-Threshold Theory at Work Again

When the LNT theory is applied to large bodies of people who receive vanishingly small doses of radiation, silliness such as this article results. I just can’t believe that people still write stuff like this.

Ground Water Nothingness

The headlines scream that radioactivity detected in ground water near the reactors has increased 5 times what it was earlier. While technically true, five times nothing is still nothing. Fortunately this article provides the actual numbers after flailing the issues in the headlines. The concentration on April 5th was 1.95picoCuries per liter (notice how they have to use liters here instead of CCs to make the numbers larger) and today it was 10.8 pCi/L. Wow. That would be about normal background in many areas. More ado about nothing.

Follow-up to my Hormesis Article

A friend pointed me to this article by a British nuclear and medical physicist at the University of Oxford that echoes my thoughts on radiation Hormesis. It’s a very good read.

Posted by neonjohn on April 16th, 2011 under Energy, Nuclear

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