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Fukushima Management and Government Performance

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Jorge Stolfi
#199
Jun7-11, 10:47 AM
P: 279
According to Wikipedia, the potassium-40 in a banana generates about 15 becquerels (disintegrations per second). However since the body normally contains a fixed amount of potassium with the same isotopic composition, eating a banana does not increase one's exposure. (Any excess potassium one may acquire just after eating the banana should be eliminated in a matter of hours.)

That normal potassium contents of the body generates about 5,000 becquerels. Wikipedia says that the biological absorbed dose for potassium-40 is 5.02 nanosieverts/Bq over 50 years, that comes to ... 0.00005 microsieverts per hour.

Therefore, one microsievert per hour is the same absorbed radiadion rate you would get just after swallowing
0.000001/(5.02*10.0^(-9)*15/(50*365.25*24)) = 5,820,717 bananas, or 0.000001/(5.02*10.0^(-9)*5000/(50*365.25*24)) = 17,462 people and a guinea pig.

I this correct?

EDIT: Actually since potassium-40 emits beta or positron radiation, any disintegrations that occur inside a banana will hardly make it outside. So even if the stomach is filled with bananas (or human meat), the amount of potassium that matters for radiation exposure is only that which is lies within a few mm of the stomach wall. Right?
zapperzero
#200
Jun7-11, 11:23 AM
P: 1,044
Quote Quote by Jorge Stolfi View Post
EDIT: Actually since potassium-40 emits beta or positron radiation, any disintegrations that occur inside a banana will hardly make it outside. So even if the stomach is filled with bananas (or human meat), the amount of potassium that matters for radiation exposure is only that which is lies within a few mm of the stomach wall. Right?
Wrong, because virtually all of it (what doesn't decay right then and there) gets absorbed into the bloodstream via the intestine.

EDIT: what you are saying is probably correct if thinking about external doses - bananas would be self-shielding to a large extent, what with being mostly water and carbohydrates. Come to think of it, maybe you could moderate a nuclear reactor with banana smoothie.
NUCENG
#201
Jun7-11, 02:39 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 916
The MIT lessons learned document addresses things they would have wanted TEPCO and the Japanese government to do differently. That is topical for this thread. The differences between qualitative and quantitative measures in press releases is topical, too. But let's be careful about expanding too far into internal and external doses and bananas.

TEPCOs press releases have included lots of numbers, some wrong, but only a small fraction of the numbers (and isotopes) they were probably actually measuring. Japanese regulators withheld contamination and airborne dose readings. Whatever the type of numbers (quantitative or qualitative), would the results have been more believable or accurate?
rowmag
#202
Jun7-11, 05:56 PM
P: 209
Quote Quote by NUCENG View Post
Japanese regulators withheld contamination and airborne dose readings.
That was unconscionable, and the excuse that they didn't want to cause panic was wrong-headed.

In contrast, Edano laid out the worst case possible they knew of early on (the possibility of meltdown). That helped reduce panic, because at least he seemed trustworthy.

Sugarcoating backfires. Talking down to the public does also.
rowmag
#203
Jun7-11, 06:47 PM
P: 209
I might add that the public is composed of a wide range of people, and those who don't understand will look to those around them who they think do understand for clues. "How is the hospital x-ray tech down the street handling things?" I have seen instances of that sort of thing in the past 3 months. So it is important to keep the members of the public who can understand details fed with information.
robinson
#204
Jun7-11, 07:08 PM
P: 201
The history or radiation is chock full of ignorance, deception, outright lies, and massive pollution of the entire world with isotopes and increased cancer rates. This disaster is no different.
MiceAndMen
#205
Jun7-11, 09:18 PM
P: 276
Quote Quote by NUCENG View Post
TEPCOs press releases have included lots of numbers, some wrong, but only a small fraction of the numbers (and isotopes) they were probably actually measuring. Japanese regulators withheld contamination and airborne dose readings. Whatever the type of numbers (quantitative or qualitative), would the results have been more believable or accurate?
I remember when they changed their reporting of radioactive nucleides to I and Cs exclusively, down from a much larger set of fission products. At some point in the future I can see another accident where those responsible for cleaning it up will say, "We only have to report levels of I-131, Cs-134 and Cs-137. That's what they did at Fukushima and everybody was OK with that."

But is it really OK? I distinctly remember when they started reporting on only those 3 nucleides and there was more than a little protest in the main thread.
MiceAndMen
#206
Jun7-11, 09:27 PM
P: 276
Quote Quote by Dmytry View Post
How can you be sure that your government could handle nuclear disaster (plus tsunami) better? For me the only reason to think so is that EU (and US) are more powerful entities than Japan and each can conceivably throw more resources at problem. Well, I do think that you have less complacent population and people would be REALLY pissed off; but i'd think government would try nonetheless; government does not deserve the credit for the love of freedom that people it governs have; people deserve credit for what government they elect.
That's a very thoughtful post, Dmytry.

I hate to admit it, but I found this link at Nancy Foust's website:
http://www.aolnews.com/2011/03/22/ch...n-away-as-qui/
What message do you have for Japan?
Run away as quickly as possible. Don't wait. Save yourself and don't rely on the government because the government lies. They don't want you to know the truth because the nuclear industry is so powerful.
That is a quote from a nuclear engineer, Natalia Manzurova, who spent 4 years cleaning up Pripyat after the Chernobyl disaster. She is the only one of her team still alive.

I don't necessarily agree with her that the reason governments lie about these things is because the nuclear industry is so powerful. That is a part of the reason IMO, but not the only part. Nevertheless, her advice given in that article on 22 March is perhaps better advice than the residents of Fukushima got in the first couple of weeks from either TEPCO or the authorities.
MiceAndMen
#207
Jun7-11, 09:40 PM
P: 276
I was outraged recently when I read that the IAEA had rated Japan's handling of the Fukushima crisis as "exemplary". It looks like I was not the only one.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...googlenews_wsj

The WSJ has a funky firewall setup, so if that link does not work for you, please go to Google News and search for "IAEA draws fire".

Apparently there are 3 members of the G-8 countries who want to sideline the IAEA in the wake of their recent "exemplary performance" evaluation of Japan. Several conferences and meetings regarding nuclear safety have recently been scheduled so that IAEA head Yukiya Amano will not be able to attend. They knew his schedule, and they arranged these meetings with the intention that he should be unable to attend.

It doesn't get much more political than that
zapperzero
#208
Jun8-11, 05:43 AM
P: 1,044
Quote Quote by MiceAndMen View Post
They knew his schedule, and they arranged these meetings with the intention that he should be unable to attend.

It doesn't get much more political than that
Yeah looks like someone's heading to consultant work sooner rather than later.
etudiant
#209
Jun8-11, 07:38 AM
PF Gold
P: 866
An excellent article today in Asahi Shimbun beginning a 4 part series on the 'Nuclear Village' at TEPCO.
http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201106070161.html
It appears as an almost self contained and self supervised entity if the article is to be believed.
Management clearly did not have real insight into that segment of the business, but it was so successful that no one rocked the boat despite some very clear warning signs.
TEPCOs nuclear management will provide case studies for a long time.
Hopefully the lessons will be learned.
zapperzero
#210
Jun8-11, 10:30 AM
P: 1,044
Quote Quote by MiceAndMen View Post
I remember when they changed their reporting of radioactive nucleides to I and Cs exclusively, down from a much larger set of fission products. At some point in the future I can see another accident where those responsible for cleaning it up will say, "We only have to report levels of I-131, Cs-134 and Cs-137. That's what they did at Fukushima and everybody was OK with that."

But is it really OK? I distinctly remember when they started reporting on only those 3 nucleides and there was more than a little protest in the main thread.

I have half a mind to buy a plane ticket to Tokyo and start picketing TEPCO headquarters with a sign saying "release contamination data" on one side and something really insulting about their mothers on the other. That's how angry I am. I know it's not even my country, but...
NUCENG
#211
Jun8-11, 02:30 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 916
Quote Quote by zapperzero View Post
I have half a mind to buy a plane ticket to Tokyo and start picketing TEPCO headquarters with a sign saying "release contamination data" on one side and something really insulting about their mothers on the other. That's how angry I am. I know it's not even my country, but...
Also, be aware that their definition of freedom of speech - especially for gaijin (foreigners) - is not the same as you may expect.
NUCENG
#212
Jun8-11, 02:34 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 916
Quote Quote by etudiant View Post
An excellent article today in Asahi Shimbun beginning a 4 part series on the 'Nuclear Village' at TEPCO.
http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201106070161.html
It appears as an almost self contained and self supervised entity if the article is to be believed.
Management clearly did not have real insight into that segment of the business, but it was so successful that no one rocked the boat despite some very clear warning signs.
TEPCOs nuclear management will provide case studies for a long time.
Hopefully the lessons will be learned.

This looks like an extremely good insight into "TEPCO THINK." Hope you will post links to the remainder of the series.
NUCENG
#213
Jun8-11, 03:15 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 916
Quote Quote by MiceAndMen View Post
I was outraged recently when I read that the IAEA had rated Japan's handling of the Fukushima crisis as "exemplary". It looks like I was not the only one.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...googlenews_wsj

The WSJ has a funky firewall setup, so if that link does not work for you, please go to Google News and search for "IAEA draws fire".

Apparently there are 3 members of the G-8 countries who want to sideline the IAEA in the wake of their recent "exemplary performance" evaluation of Japan. Several conferences and meetings regarding nuclear safety have recently been scheduled so that IAEA head Yukiya Amano will not be able to attend. They knew his schedule, and they arranged these meetings with the intention that he should be unable to attend.

It doesn't get much more political than that
IAEA is an international organization and filled with diplomats. They probably want more informatiion out of TEPCO and Japan government before their final report is ready.
When I read:

"The response on the site by dedicated, determined and expert staff, under
extremely arduous conditions has been exemplary and resulted in the best
approach to securing safety given the exceptional circumstances."

I think they were talking about the on-site operators and emergency responders (fire, police and SDF), not management, and certainly not regulators, that may have delayed important actions.

IAEA has the distinction of being the only international body that has any chance of helping direct the investigation by virtue of technical expertise and association with the UN. In fact, they have no direct authority to order any action, but they would lose even their persuasion ability if they get too hostile. There were some pretty clear nuances in the summary report that indicated that designs, regulation, enforcement, and readiness to adapt to new information were lacking. I suggest patience and see what the final report says.
NUCENG
#214
Jun8-11, 03:32 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 916
Quote Quote by robinson View Post
The history or radiation is chock full of ignorance, deception, outright lies, and massive pollution of the entire world with isotopes and increased cancer rates. This disaster is no different.
So we should throw up our hands, sit in a corner and wait to die? This thread does not require technical information and cites like the main thread, but we would all like to see more than helpless resignation. If that is what the "tyrants and tycoons" see from the "people" doesn't it encourage them to do more of what you don't like? The interim and this forum and this thread (and yeah the "OTHER political thread" are full of complaints and things that could have been done better. I have worked in the industry for many years and I don't feel helpless. I am confident that lessons have been, are being, and will be learned.

If you could turn back the clock to some time before nuclear science, when would it be? When was ignorance deception, lies less than today?
robinson
#215
Jun8-11, 03:33 PM
P: 201
You may have missed my point.
MiceAndMen
#216
Jun8-11, 04:32 PM
P: 276
Quote Quote by NUCENG View Post
I think they were talking about the on-site operators and emergency responders (fire, police and SDF), not management, and certainly not regulators, that may have delayed important actions.

IAEA has the distinction of being the only international body that has any chance of helping direct the investigation by virtue of technical expertise and association with the UN. In fact, they have no direct authority to order any action, but they would lose even their persuasion ability if they get too hostile. There were some pretty clear nuances in the summary report that indicated that designs, regulation, enforcement, and readiness to adapt to new information were lacking. I suggest patience and see what the final report says.
As to the first part there, as regards the emergency resonders, I think they did a very good job. As for the second part, I'm not so sure. The latest report from Japan to the IAEA seems to own up to a lot more in the way of shortcomings than the IAEA themselves had touched on. The final report from the IAEA will be interesting, that's for sure.


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