# Japan earthquake - contamination & consequences outside Fukushima NPP

P: 610
 Quote by Borek Back in eighties during the cleaning up phase in some places they collected waste and covered it with the dirt/soil, and mounds are still radioactive.
There are particular well-known mounds. He might have heard about *those*.

After the first few hectic weeks Soviets finally had time/resources to deal with Red Forest, which by that time was dead. (Immediately after the disaster Red Forest had ambient levels approaching 50 R/h).

They cut down the trees, dug deep trenches, and put the trees there, then piled soil over them. Unfortunately, they did not perform any water isolation. Eyewitnesses say even as they were filled, some trenches had water in them. And that wood has SERIOUSLY NASTY levels of contamination.

Currently, water slowly washes contamination out of these mounds.
Young pine trees reach with their roots to the buried wood and accumulate on the order of 1MBq/kg of Cs-137.

Here is the location of these mounds:

More photos of these mounds, and description, can be found here:

http://www.nuclearflower.com/zone/zone08.html
P: 1,044
 Quote by nikkkom Uh oh. "Radwaste". You know, my poop is a "radwaste" too, it has 50 Bq/kg of K-40.
That's uncalled for and in any case it is irrelevant. Why bring it up?

 Where do you prefer Japanese to put 10 million tons of very slightly radioactive wood and leaves?
Eh? I am sure there is no space in the comment box to describe all that should be done. I would certainly like the Japanese to follow the decon guidelines they have set for themselves, which they don't seem to be doing.
P: 610
 Quote by zapperzero Eh? I am sure there is no space in the comment box to describe all that should be done. I would certainly like the Japanese to follow the decon guidelines they have set for themselves, which they don't seem to be doing.
Imagine a solid box of wood 1 by 1 kilometer in width and length, and 10 meters high.

Decontaminate that. Use of common sense is not allowed. Treat ALL OF IT as radwaste.
P: 1,044
 Quote by nikkkom Imagine a solid box of wood 1 by 1 kilometer in width and length, and 10 meters high. Decontaminate that. Use of common sense is not allowed. Treat ALL OF IT as radwaste.
What is your point, pray tell?

I shall try to interpret what you said as a question and answer it: Yes, there are big parts of Fukushima prefecture which should be off-limits to the public. Yes, this is because cleanup is too expensive. Yes, some of these areas should be fenced off to prevent excessive amounts of contaminated wildlife to exit, if possible.

Yes, every town and village which has been in the path of the plumes should be surveyed for hotspots. By hand. Inhabitants (especially members of civil response teams and emergency workers) should be taught how to do this themselves, provided with specialized support personnel, learning material, teaching material, counters and dosimeters. Public facilities should be set up for spot testing of food.

Yes, homes, roads and other public spaces such as parks(!) and schools(!) that have been contaminated should be decontaminated, even if this involves bulldozing them, loading them into dump trucks and dumping them in geofoil-lined trenches alongside the liquid radwaste tanks currently accumulating at the NPP.

Yes, the way radioactive substances move through the local environment should be studied, with a view to establishing where they are likely to re-concentrate after all this.

Repeat as needed, for about 250 years.

Sounds expensive? Well, the other sensible option is to just write it all off, like at Chernobyl.
P: 610
 Quote by zapperzero What is your point, pray tell?
My point is that "contamination" is not a boolean variable.

My point is before screaming bloody murder about leaves being dumped into a river in a location 40 kilometers away from Fukushima 1, away from the plume ground track, I want to know how many Bq/kg of Cs-137 was in those leaves.

My point is that if we demand unreasonable results, we should not be surprised when things aren't done as we want.

NASA was pressed to launch Space Shuttle more often, to make its price-per-kg go down. Result? They were cutting corners and lost Challenger. Ten years later, when the shock wore off, it was repeated again: NASA was pressed to launch Space Shuttle more and often, to make its price-per-kg go down - it lost Columbia. (No, I am not just dreaming it up - I read both reports from cover to cover. Twice.)

What NASA _should have done_ is it had to admit that Space Shuttle CANT launch as often as they originally wanted, CANT be cost-efficient. It should have phased it out and replaced with a better system 20 years ago.

 Yes, homes, roads and other public spaces such as parks(!) and schools(!) that have been contaminated should be decontaminated, even if this involves bulldozing them, loading them into dump trucks and dumping them in geofoil-lined trenches alongside the liquid radwaste tanks currently accumulating at the NPP.
Do you agree that it makes sense to sort the contaminated material by level of contamination and use less costly disposal methods for less contaminated material?
P: 1,044
 Quote by nikkkom My point is that "contamination" is not a boolean variable. My point is before screaming bloody murder about leaves being dumped into a river in a location 40 kilometers away from Fukushima 1, away from the plume ground track, I want to know how many Bq/kg of Cs-137 was in those leaves.
Enough that the decontamination procedure which had been decided upon was to collect them? But it was not followed, was it?

 Do you agree that it makes sense to sort the contaminated material by level of contamination and use less costly disposal methods for less contaminated material?
Yes. But, this is not what happened here. The less costly disposal method was not used, instead, a no-cost dispersal method was used, against specific instructions, which has unpredictable consequences.

EDIT: By dumping randomly into rivers, you might indeed flush the stuff right out into the ocean, immediately. But rivers don't really work like that... you might be adding to problems such as these, instead:
 P: 1,044 Report on a probe into reactor 1 torus room. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushi...30220_02-e.pdf
P: 1,044
It appears that the monitoring posts in Fukushima prefecture (you know, the ones that were not posting measurements online in the days after the accident?) were actually active.

http://mainichi.jp/english/english/n...na009000c.html

P: 610
 Quote by zapperzero Report on a probe into reactor 1 torus room. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushi...30220_02-e.pdf
Maximum is 100 R/h :(

This room will give tens of rems per hour for any visitor for the next 50 years.

That's why I feel trying to fully clean such things up is a waste of money. Pump it out, waterproof, and fill with concrete. 300 years from now when Cs and Sr will be gone, our grand-grandchildren can deal with it.
P: 1,044
 Quote by nikkkom Maximum is 100 R/h :( This room will give tens of rems per hour for any visitor for the next 50 years. That's why I feel trying to fully clean up such things up is a waste of money. Pump it out, waterproof, and fill with concrete. 300 years from now when Cs and Sr will be gone, our grand-grandchildren can deal with it.
Yes, Nikkom, let's keep kicking that can down the road, why don't we?
Oh, wait.
P: 610
 Quote by zapperzero Yes, Nikkom, let's keep kicking that can down the road, why don't we?
It will cost upwards of $50B to completely dismantle F1 units and ship all contaminated materials off-site, and it will take at least many tens of years anyway. TMI is still not dismantled, and that site is child's play compared to this mess. Do you realize what "ship contaminated materials off-site" means? It means this radioactive stuff will STILL EXIST, just moved somewhere else at humongous expense. Why can't it be stored where it is now? P: 1,044  Quote by nikkkom It will cost upwards of$50B to completely dismantle F1 units and ship all contaminated materials off-site, and it will take at least many tens of years anyway. TMI is still not dismantled, and that site is child's play compared to this mess. Do you realize what "ship contaminated materials off-site" means? It means this radioactive stuff will STILL EXIST, just moved somewhere else at humongous expense. Why can't it be stored where it is now?
Do you realize that I have exactly zero pity for poor TEPCO? Do you realize that I do not care if the company is bankrupted and has to sell all its assets to pay for this, and for off-site decon? It's their plant, it blew on their watch. The site needs to be returned to greenfield. Eventually.

Or would you rather that all NPPs be left to rot at the end of their useful lives? Shall we dot the earth with radioactive sarcophagi? Waste volume reduction is not just someone's lark, you know? It serves a real purpose.
P: 610
 Quote by zapperzero Do you realize that I have exactly zero pity for poor TEPCO?
TEPCO won't pay for it in either case. Japanese taxpayers will.
P: 1,044
 Quote by nikkkom TEPCO won't pay for it in either case. Japanese taxpayers will.
Well then they're stupid, I am sorry to say. The accident was not their fault, mostly.
 P: 610 On this page: http://www.epri.com/abstracts/Pages/...ductId=NP-6931 it is possible to download NP-6931.pdf - "The Cleanup of TMI-2 A Technical History: 1979 to 1990" I just now finished reading it from cover to cover. zapperzero, mind taking a look? Page 7-13 describes joys of decontaminating of some concrete impregnated with fission products with dose rates up to 1000 rem/hour. Fukushima is expected to be worse than that.
P: 1,044
 Quote by nikkkom zapperzero, mind taking a look? Page 7-13 describes joys of decontaminating of some concrete impregnated with fission products with dose rates up to 1000 rem/hour. Fukushima is expected to be worse than that.
No, I don't mind, but what is the relevance to our discussion? Of course it is hard and expensive and dangerous. Of that there is no doubt.
 P: 1,044 Confirmation that the "dumping radwaste into the river" incident was not isolated: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311dis...AJ201303010084
P: 610
 Quote by zapperzero No, I don't mind, but what is the relevance to our discussion? Of course it is hard and expensive and dangerous.
There are different degrees of "hard". The report will give you a good idea how hard it was at TMI-2.

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