via ex-SKF / December 10, 2013 /

What’s more pressing at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant is not measuring radiation levels around the SGTS pipe where 25 sieverts/hour radiation source may be inside (to be sure, again, this 25 sieverts/hour was NOT measured but derived by calculation), nor removing the fuel assemblies from the Spent Fuel Pool on the top floor of Reactor 4 (again, not individual “fuel rods” that are inside a fuel assembly), which has the lowest radiation levels of all reactors (except for Reactors 5 and 6, which are in cold shutdown in the true sense of the word).

It is, as late-Masao Yoshida, Fukushima I NPP Plant Manager at the time of the accident, said, what to do with the contaminated water that keeps increasing. Of particular concern (supposedly) of the national government and TEPCO is whether the contaminated groundwater (albeit low contamination of gamma nuclides) is leaking into the plant harbor.

In the embankment between the plant harbor and the turbine buildings for Reactors 1 through 4, workers have been injecting waterglass into the artificial soil there to create impermeable walls in the soil to stop the flow of groundwater into the harbor. Never mind that their very work causes the groundwater to rise and go over the top of the underground impermeable wall, or go somewhere else and find its way to the ocean anyway.

From TEPCO, 12/8/2013 (red lines: silt fences, green lines: soil amendment by waterglass, yellow dots: groundwater monitoring locations):


TEPCO has been frequently monitoring radioactive materials (gamma nuclides such as cesium, all-beta including strontium, and tritium) in the water samples taken from these numerous observation holes in the embankment. However, samples from the seawater in the harbor are taken far less frequently. Nuclear Regulation Authority has been calling for continuous monitoring of seawater for some time, and the topic came up in the third meeting of NRA’s ocean monitoring group on December 9, 2013.

But the word that came out of NRA Commissioner Kayoko Nakamura was, “Continuous monitoring system is an expensive purchase…

From independent journalist Ryuichi Kino, and a togetter on the December 9 NRA meeting on ocean monitoring:

(Kino summarizes the relevant part of the meeting in a dignified way…)


TEPCO is considering three locations near the south discharge and the north discharge to install continuous monitoring system to detect the leak of contaminated water, and explains it is taking time to install because of the rough ocean. People questioning, why not install inside the open channel (inside the harbor near the embankment)?


The question is nothing new. When I asked TEPCO in January this year when they started digging the observation holes along the embankment and analyzed the groundwater samples, TEPCO answered that they were measuring in several locations inside the harbor, and they were measuring in the ocean, too. They could detect the change that way, no problem. That was the answer then, and that is the answer now.


What’s at issue now is whether the highly radioactive water from the trench [where extremely radioactive water from March/April 2011 from the reactors sits] or from the reactor buildings is leaking from the embankment or not. The purpose of continuous monitoring is to know immediately if highly radioactive water is leaking. To monitor the change, it’s better to monitor closer [to the embankment where the leak may be occurring]. But TEPCO insists on monitoring outside the harbor. I don’t understand the reason.


NRA’s Kayoko Nakamura says, “Continuous monitoring is an expensive purchase.” So it takes time to select [the equipment], she says. Well, what does that mean? It’s not the matter of how expensive or how cheap; the opinion of the members is to do it “soon”. It is not the thing to be done leisurely over six months or a year.


Ms. Nakamura also says accuracy [of measurement] is important. It is important, as the accuracy has been questioned before. But no information has been disclosed as to which manufacturer and/or experts TEPCO is consulting with and on what. We still don’t know the reason why the installation hasn’t been done.

(The same discussion, from the togetter; it reads almost like a farce, a comedy routine, where research experts are at a loss what to do with TEPCO…)

TEPCO says it wants to install continuous monitoring instruments OUTSIDE the plant harbor. From NRA’s reference document for the meeting (English labels and comment are mine):

Morita [from the Fisheries Agency]: As I said before, I don’t understand why you want to install [the continuous monitoring system] outside the harbor. The discharge for Reactors 5/6 pumps out the water from inside the harbor, so there is no point in installing it outside.

Morita: The water is leaking into the open channel, or so it is said. Doesn’t it make more sense to install the instrument there? Can you collect daily data outside the harbor?

[To this, TEPCO answers in non-answer by talking about detection limit…]

TEPCO: Detection limit is 0.1Bq/L. The problem is whether to exclude all-beta, but we are aiming at 20Bq/L.

Aoyama [chief researcher from Meteorological Research Institute]: Is it even technically and mechanically possible to continuously monitor all beta? (and Mr. Aoyama buries his head in his hands.)

Aoyama: gamma rays, you mean cesium-137?

TEPCO: Cesium-134 and -137 will be monitored.

Aoyama: I don’t understand TEPCO’s explanation. If anyone understands, please explain.

Horiguchi [National Science Laboratories Environmental Risk Research Center]: Like Mr. Morita, I don’t understand either why the monitoring instruments are not going to be installed inside the harbor. Monitoring should be done at the locations where the leak is suspected. We’re getting our priorities wrong. The most important thing is not being done.

Commissioner Nakamura: When you purchase the instrument, make sure you consult radiation specialists. It’s an expensive purchase, you know…

Well the priority seems to be the cost.

After the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident, they still think of cost as outlay of money to purchase goods and services. They don’t consider the social cost of not starting monitoring the water inside the harbor as soon as possible, particularly inside the open channel right outside the embankment.

As it stands, TEPCO plans to start continuous monitoring OUTSIDE the harbor hopefully next spring, maybe fall.

For TEPCO and the national government, time is indeed money – i.e. money saving.

Reference documents (in Japanese) for the meeting:

Cheerful Commissioner Kayoko Makamura:

Source: ex-SKF
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By Corbett| 7 Comments | Featured, News


  1. This is so hilarious that laughter is radiating out of every part if my body! No mention of reactors 1-3 as usual just leave the cores eat into the Earth of whatever else they are doniing.

    The fate of all mankind appears to be in us in the hands of fools which a still denial. Where the Fukashima is the plan to deal with this issue after all you have a had 2,5 yeRs to come up with one? The reality is that left as it us the Japanese will continue to be in denial and the contamination will increase and spread with a high oribabilility of major nuculer event whic will be mega compared to what we have already seen followed by the destruction of Tokyo, Japan and then the World.

    The UN needs to take over here and get the best minds if the World to try And sort this mess out however I think it might prove impossible as the end of life on this planet is already written in the radioactive sands near the Fulashima plant!

  2. It’s like the saying “The Inmates are running the asylum” and that is clearly what TEPCO is while the Japanese Government sits back and puts the whole world at risk for their disgusting behavior.
    I cannot for the life of me understand why the World Powers aren’t insisting on real action when the risks to us all are so high and Japan like Romes Nero…just keeps fiddling around!

    The US has invaded countries for far less!

  3. Tepco is obviously not willing to accept the fact that they are making foolish decisions. Tepco is refusing to accept that they are soley responsible for the upcoming demise of our planet. Do they believe that they are appearing wise? They are behaving like a little child who has broken the cookie jar and is refusing to accept the responsibility.
    Why is the world sitting on their hands? Is this the final soulution to the global population problem? The apparent lack of concern and intervention certainly points to that possibility.

  4. I am ashamed for the Japanese government. This sounds like a bad nightmare; our world potentially being distroyed to save dollars. Horrifying!

  5. They don’t want to monitor the water in the harbor or in the channel because they know it’s highly radioactive and they can’t do anything about it. The talk of “expensive equipment” and pretending they don’t understand why it doesn’t make any sense to monitor outside of the harbor is smoke and mirrors.

  6. I own shares in TEPCO, and I am glad they aren;t being very honest with the community, otherwise the share price would go down.

  7. The absurdity of all this business about measuring the amount of radiation in the harbor
    and in the sea is amazing to me……………

    We have all this discussion about measuring radiation levels in the harbor or in the
    opening in the sea………….and in the mean time there appears to be a multitude of
    problems with sea life near the coasts of Alaska, Canada and the Northern Part of
    California. Yesterday China refuses to accept any further shipments of Shellfish
    from that part of the USA.

    What the discussion should be about is the building of a very large SEA WALL that
    totally encompasses the Sea side of the HARBOR on the sea side of the reactor
    buildings. This wall should go all the way down to bed rock and be a minium of about
    thirty feet above ocean level. The port area for loading and offloading should be relocated perhaps North or South of the existing plant site.

    LOGIC……….ZERO radation of any kind gets in to the Pacific, all of the sea life stops
    dying and no 1000 year TSUNAMI’s can inundate the work that is currently being
    done at the existing site.

    It is like the good folks of Japan are helpless to solve big problems in a BIG way.

    There is just ALL this discussion of “how much” radiation is GOING out into the
    sea……….and on to the rest of the world.

    ic in six
    We are somewhat clueless to what a little bit of radiation does to a tiny planketon
    and then what happens when that works its way up the food chain .

    Will there be any sea life left in the Pacific Ocean in six years???????


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