Thursday, December 14, 2017

End of Net Neutrality



U.S. regulators ditch net neutrality rules as legal battles loom https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/federal-communications-commission-set-reverse-111440509.html

Welcome to the Brave New World wherein every virtual and material space must be transformed into a profit center!

And if you don't generate "value added" you are expendable!

The great neoliberal calculus of exploitation merges with authoritarian repressive apparatuses in the new societies of control 2.0.



 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Very Strange Contradiction Concerning Unit 2 in Story of Fukushima Daiichi Radiation Levels


I was reading the article below in The Asahi Shimbun and was startled by the claim made that there was no hydrogen explosion in Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 in 2011:
Chikako Kewahara (2017, December 4). Fukushima dome roof takes shape, but radiation remains high. The Asahi Shimbun, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201712040041.html
To the south of the No. 3 reactor building stands the No. 4 reactor building, from where all the spent nuclear fuel has been removed.  To the north is the No. 2 reactor building, which avoided a hydrogen explosion.  Beyond the building, cranes and other large equipment are working in preparation for the removal of debris from the No. 1 reactor building.

I am completely perplexed. The No. 2 reactor building did NOT avoid a hydrogen explosion according to every report I've read. For example, consider this news report from 2011:
H. Tabuchi and A. Pollack (7 April 2011) ‘Japan is Struck by Powerful Aftershock’, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/08/world/asia/08japan.html?_r=1&, date accessed 8 April 2011.
...Broken pieces of fuel rods have been found outside of Reactor No. 2, and are now being covered with bulldozers... The pieces may be from rods in the spent-fuel pools that were flung out by hydrogen explosions....

Is the recent statement by Kewahara that unit 2 was spared an explosion an accidental error? Or is this "novel fact" a deliberate bit of misinformation?


I have no way of knowing, but if the latter case is true, then the propagandists better edit the Wikipedia page on Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2, which states that reactor had a hydrogen explosion:
Fukushima Nuclear Disaster (unit 2 reactor) (last updated October 8, 2017), Wikipedia, available https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster_(Unit_2_Reactor)#Explosion, accessed December 12, 2017.
An explosion was heard after 06:14 JST[59] on 15 March in Unit 2, possibly damaging the pressure-suppression system, which is at the bottom part of the containment vessel.[60][61] 
What makes me suspicious that there is an effort to trivialize unit 2 is the recent attention afforded that unit by critical observers and the extent of emissions visible on the TEPCO webcam from unit 2, which I've documented here at my blog (e.g., see here).

Last February, Akio Matsumura described a potential catastrophe at Unit 2:
Akio Matsumura (2017, February 11). The Potential Catastrophe of Reactor 2 at Fukushima Daiichi: What Effect for the Pacific and the US? Finding the Missing Link, http://akiomatsumura.com/2017/02/the-potential-catastrophe-of-reactor-2-at-fukushima-daiichi.html, accessed November 20, 2017

It can hardly be said that the Fukushima accident is heading toward a solution. The problem of Unit 2, where a large volume of nuclear fuels remain, is particularly crucial. Reactor Unit 2 started its commercial operation in July 1974. It held out severe circumstances of high temperature and high pressure emanating from the March 11, 2011, accident without being destroyed. However, years long use of the pressure vessel must have brought about its weakening due to irradiation. If it should encounter a big earth tremor, it will be destroyed and scatter the remaining nuclear fuel and its debris, making the Tokyo metropolitan area uninhabitable.
Unit 2 has been in the news because of persistent high radiation levels. In Feb 2017, TEPCO reported measuring radiation levels of 530 SIEVERTS AN HOUR (10 will kill you) and described a 2-meter hole in the grating beneath unit 2's reactor pressure vessel (1 meter-square hole found in grating):
Radiation level at Fukushima reactor highest since 2011 disaster; grating hole found. The Mainichi, February 2, 2017, http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170202/p2g/00m/0dm/087000c

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The radiation level inside the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex stood at 530 sieverts per hour at a maximum, the highest since the 2011 disaster, the plant operator said Thursday.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. also announced that based on image analysis, a hole measuring 2 meters in diameter has been found on a metal grating beneath the pressure vessel inside the containment vessel and a portion of the grating was distorted.

...The hole could have been caused by nuclear fuel that penetrated the reactor vessel as it overheated and melted due to the loss of reactor cooling functions in the days after a powerful earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 hit northeastern Japan.

According to the image analysis, about 1 square meter of the grating was missing. 
This extraordinarily high radiation in unit 2 was reported by the Japanese media in January 2017 as presenting a barrier to the decommissioning timeline:
MASANOBU HIGASHIYAMA (January 31, 2017) Images indicate bigger challenge for TEPCO at Fukushima plant. The Asahi Shimbun, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201701310073.html

If confirmed, the first images of melted nuclear fuel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant show that Tokyo Electric Power Co. will have a much more difficult time decommissioning the battered facility.

The condition of what is believed to be melted fuel inside the No. 2 reactor at the plant appears far worse than previously thought.

...High radiation levels have prevented workers from entering the No. 2 reactor, as well as the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors at the plant.
Is the narrative of unit 2 being deliberately or accidentally re-written?

UNIT 2 HISTORY

Looking back at testimony by Masao Yoshida, Fukushima's plant manager, and media coverage of that testimony, I see that unit 2 was identified as posing the greatest immediate risk, although the explosion at unit 3 was clearly larger (this discrepancy is perplexing).  Here is an excerpt of the testimony published by the Asahi Shimbun:

Yoshida feared nuclear 'annihilation' of eastern Japan, testimony shows. (September 12, 2014) THE ASAHI SHIMBUN http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201409120034

Plant manager Masao Yoshida envisioned catastrophe for eastern Japan in the days following the outbreak of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, according to his testimony, one of 19 released by the government on Sept. 11. . . .

. . . In his testimony, Yoshida described the condition of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima plant between the evening of March 14, 2011, and the next morning: “Despite the nuclear fuel being completely exposed, we’re unable to reduce pressure. Water can’t get in either.”

Yoshida recalled the severity of the situation. “If we continue to be unable to get water in, all of the nuclear fuel will melt and escape from the containment vessel, and radioactive substances from the fuel will spread to the outside,” he said.

Fearing a worst-case scenario at the time, Yoshida said, “What we envisioned was that the entire eastern part of Japan would be annihilated.”

You can read more excerpts from the 400-pages of testimony published by the Asahi Shimbun, which both applauds and critiques the panel investigation of the disaster that produced the testimonies:
The Yoshida Testimony: The Fukushima Nuclear Accident as Told by Plant Manager Masao Yoshida The Asahi Shimbun http://www.asahi.com/special/yoshida_report/en/

Although the panel interviewed as many as 772 individuals involved, it failed to dig deep into essential aspects of the disaster because it made it a stated policy that it would not pursue the responsibility of individuals.
What is true about unit 2? Yoshida provides this account from the article cited immediately above:
At around 6:15 a.m. on March 15, 2011, four days after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, a round table presided by Yoshida in an emergency response room on the second floor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant’s quake-proof control center building heard two important reports, almost simultaneously, from front-line workers.

One said that pressure in the suppression chamber, or the lower part of the containment vessel for the No. 2 reactor, had vanished. The other said an explosive sound had been heard.

Question: Well, this is not necessarily in the No. 2 reactor, but sometime around 6 a.m. or 6:10 a.m. on March 15, pressure in the No. 2 reactor’s suppression chamber, for one thing, fell suddenly to zero. And around the same time, something ...

Yoshida: An explosive sound.

Q: A sound. Did you hear it or sense it in the quake-proof control center building? I mean, the shocks, or the sound.

Yoshida: They didn’t come to the quake-proof control center building... We had planned to stay in the quake-proof control center building to watch the teleconference, but the central operation--I don’t know if I just happened to be in the central operation at the time... I don’t remember--but anyway, reports arrived that the parameter had fallen to zero and that there had been this popping sound. 
(The reports arrived) at the headquarters’ seats in the quake-proof control center building. I first thought--well, pressure remained in the dry well at the time. The dry well pressure remained, and it would normally be improbable that pressure remains in the dry well but vanishes in the suppression chamber. But in the worst case, if the dry well pressure was totally unreliable, the zero pressure in the suppression chamber indicated the containment vessel could have been destroyed. 
So conservatively thinking, the containment vessel could have been damaged, and the popping sound could have represented a certain rupture, so, although confirmation was insufficient, I stood on that premise and decided that was an emergency, and I ordered workers to take shelter. I ordered that everybody except operation staff and main repair staff should take temporary shelter.http://www.asahi.com/special/yoshida_report/en/
This is, of course, Yoshida's account of events and doesn't reflect an independent investigation. That said, the point is that excerpts cited above demonstrate that Unit 2 wasn't spared an explosion, nor was it spared a loss of containment, as details further in the published testimony reveal about detection of high radiation readings.

WHAT IS TRUE? LOSS OF CONTAINMENT OF MELTED REACTOR FUEL


I don't know what is true precisely, but the resulting lack of underground containment at one or several reactors at Daiichi was evidenced by the considerable financial investment in the ice wall and by the effort to spread concrete on the ocean floor in the Daiichi port:
TEPCO coating seafloor at Fukushima port with special cement mixture. (2014, September 3). The Asahi Shimbun, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/aj201409030043

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has begun using a special cement mixture to coat the seafloor of the port at its stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to contain radioactive substances released in the 2011 disaster.
We can conclude from these sources of evidence that reactor 2 was badly damaged and may be one of the reactors whose water-borne effluents threaten the ocean.

We can conclude that there is a possibility that should be investigated further that public perceptions of unit 2 have been targeted for strategic manipulation. Further research is needed.





 
 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Fukushima Daiichi Looks Terrible


Fukushima Daiichi's atmospheric emissions visible on the TEPCO webcams wax and wane. When the emissions become too thick, TEPCO lowers a crane-held device into Unit 1 and sprays some substance, which may be water or perhaps something else entirely.

I saw TEPCO spray about a week ago. Since that time, the emissions have risen quite notedly, as you can see in the screenshots below taken this morning (weather conditions are free of precipitation but cool at 32F):





In the image below, taken from Webcam 4, there are splotchy purple and red patches that appear behind the crane in the vicinity of reactor 3:


If you search for news on Fukushima Daiichi you will find many accounts that suggest the disaster is in the lessons learned stage with few articles describing the ongoing challenges of keeping hot melted fuel cool and of preventing ocean contamination.

Instead, what you will find are articles claiming the reactor fuel from unit 3 was found, although there was never any evidence presented that the majority of fuel was located, and you will see statements such as the one below from various pro-nuclear authorities ready to resume and even escalate nuclear power in Japan, although the island nation has experienced unusual earthquake clusters recently.

For example,

HIROTAKA YAMAGUCHI December 8, 2017) Japan needs more nuclear plants, says Keidanren chair. The Asahi Shimbun, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201712080051.html

Japan may need to expand existing nuclear power plants or build new ones as it will rely on nuclear power generation in the future, according to Sadayuki Sakakibara, chair of Keidanren (Japan Business Federation).

The US has also played an important role in pushing Japan back towards nuclear, including encouraging Japan to resume completion of the Rokkasho fuel processing center that has a significant fault running under it (see my post here).

Nuclearity, as defined by Gabrielle Hecht, is a homicidal and suicidal psychosis.