## Fukushima Management and Government Performance

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/04_20.html

 A reading on March 12th, one day after the massive earthquake and tsunami hit the plant, shows that radioactive tellurium was detected 7 kilometers away. Tellurium is produced during the melting of nuclear fuel. Three hours before the data was collected, the government expanded the radius of the evacuation area around the plant from 3 kilometers to 10 kilometers. But the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported at a news conference several hours later that the nuclear fuel was intact. The government also failed to disclose the high radiation levels in weeds 30 to 50 kilometers from the plant. On March 15th, 123 million becquerels of radioactive iodine-131 per kilogram were detected 38 kilometers northeast of the plant. The nuclear safety agency says it deeply regrets not releasing the data.
So it is not only Tepco, it is bad if governments hide facts from the people!

 Blog Entries: 1 Lies about nuclear issues? What a surprise.

 Quote by AntonL http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/04_20.html Now Japan Government (NISA) admits to withholding vital radiation data So it is not only Tepco, it is bad if governments hide facts from the people!
I wonder if this is another case of them withholding information to prevent panic? It is now hard for me to imagine a scenario where I should trust the J government to provide us with accurate and timely information.

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 Quote by zapperzero Let's face it, the regulatory agencies are captured to a large extent by the industry, on a global level. I can't see anything that could help, except maybe to set a good example, a la Germany (I mean their increasing use of renewables).
The NRC on site in Japan disagreed with the slow and inconsistent evacuations. Although pretty tame the summary report from IAEA was clear that Fukushima preparation and design were inadequate. The stories above were sourced in Japanese news media and indicate that some people are willing to resign in protest of inadequate protection of children. As bleak as things may be right now there are signs that people are aware of the lies and misinformation. So I choose to believe that all is not hopeless.

This forum has found many inconsistencies and countered misinformation on a number of topics. So truth is getting out there despite the worst efforts of the Japanese government and TEPCO.

You may choose to believe that the exception proves the rule. My experience in the nuclear industry tells me that the exceptions are exceptions. I have been astounded by the number of opportunities there were for this event to have been avoided. The country that named tsunamis, ignored tsunamis. The country that experienced two cities destroyed by nuclear weapons was slow to protect their own population. Regulators made "suggestions" not regulations. Decisions and designs made 40 years ago were treated as if they were carved on stone tablets by the hand of God.

That hands off approach is completely inconsistent with what I have seen. Our participation in this forum is part of the solution.

 Blog Entries: 1 When the top person assigned by the Prime Minister resigned in protest over the way the government was handling things, that could be a clue something was being covered up. In fact he actually said that was why he was resigning.

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 Quote by robinson When the top person assigned by the Prime Minister resigned in protest over the way the government was handling things, that could be a clue something was being covered up. In fact he actually said that was why he was resigning.
Fight lies with truth. Probably the dumbest mistake of all is trying to hide truth in the era of the internet.

 Quote by NUCENG The NRC on site in Japan disagreed with the slow and inconsistent evacuations. Although pretty tame the summary report from IAEA was clear that Fukushima preparation and design were inadequate. The stories above were sourced in Japanese news media and indicate that some people are willing to resign in protest of inadequate protection of children. As bleak as things may be right now there are signs that people are aware of the lies and misinformation. So I choose to believe that all is not hopeless. This forum has found many inconsistencies and countered misinformation on a number of topics. So truth is getting out there despite the worst efforts of the Japanese government and TEPCO. You may choose to believe that the exception proves the rule. My experience in the nuclear industry tells me that the exceptions are exceptions. I have been astounded by the number of opportunities there were for this event to have been avoided. The country that named tsunamis, ignored tsunamis. The country that experienced two cities destroyed by nuclear weapons was slow to protect their own population. Regulators made "suggestions" not regulations. Decisions and designs made 40 years ago were treated as if they were carved on stone tablets by the hand of God. That hands off approach is completely inconsistent with what I have seen. Our participation in this forum is part of the solution.
Speaking of children, do you see now why i was especially riled up by the argument as of how everyone likes children and so on?
It was back before the 20msv/year playground exposure limits and that resignation IIRC. I was expecting this stuff to happen, based on Chernobyl.
For you the soviet union is something that was an enemy or what ever; for me it is a place i was born in, and i can see that a lot of things are fairly universal between governments. Before Fukushima you would never have thought that Japan was this similar to Soviet Union when it comes to nuclear accidents - whereas I would think so because I don't see the way SU handled Chernobyl as anything exceptionally bad or good - I was spared the cold war propaganda either way. We have two data points of how government handles severe nuclear disaster - one in communist country, another in capitalist country - and they are fairly similar, so it is not the economical system that matters (though I would say that socialist government could use larger amount of resources and could relocate people easier).

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.

also speaking of 20mSv/year limit for playgrounds. That is the EU limit for nuclear workers, but a lot more lax, because the nuclear workers are carrying dosimeters and are not getting any internal exposure of note (plus with ALARA principle vast majority of workers stay below 1mSv/year), whereas children are getting internal exposure and are in a messy non-uniform field and theres no ALARA, quite the opposite (don't do anything when below limit). I would guess that the distribution of actual children doses would be non-gaussian with many children going well above this limit.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-b...0110607a3.html

 An investigation that will draw world attention gets under way Tuesday to find answers to the critical question: Was there any way to avoid the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, and were any people to blame? The 10-member panel, headed by Yotaro Hatamura, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, will investigate the cause of the nuclear crisis and possible crisis management errors by the government and Tepco. The panel will compile an interim report in December. ..... During a June 2009 expert meeting to review the Fukushima No. 1 plant's quake defenses, Yukinobu Okamura, head of the Active Fault and Earthquake Research Center of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, specifically pointed out that a massive earthquake on the scale of one that hit Tohoku in 869 could strike in the future and devastate nuclear reactors. The 869 temblor was believed to be 8.3-magnitude, with tsunami that went up to 4 km inland.

 Quote by Jorge Stolfi Seen on twitter: MIT Faculty Report on Fukushima: Fukushima Lessons Learned (MIT-NSP-025) http://mitnse.com/2011/06/03/mit-fac...t-on-fukushima Seems a bit dated already, right? AFAIK release estimates are now 20% of Chernobyl not 10%, and the containment of #1 and #3 seem to be leaking too.
Quote by rowmag
I am going to disagree with the following bit of advice from that report:
The most frustrating reports have been when instead of absolute numbers, we were told only so many times the legal limit, or so many times above background. Much more preferable to have actual absolute numbers to work with.

When the accident first happened, we were treated to endless variations on the exposure chart: how many Sieverts from one chest x-ray, from one trans-Pacific flight, etc. The public quickly learned the new unit, and later about units such as Bq/kg. This was a good thing, I think.

Also, background varies by location, so using "world average background" as the standard unit adds a layer of confusion. If I live in an area with a normal background rate of 0.1 uSv/h, and it goes up to 0.2 uSv/h, then my background has doubled, even if it is still below the world average of 0.27. How would one express this in a non-confusing way using the proposed units?

Give me numbers, and teach me parenthetically what the numbers mean, if necessary. But don't remove the absolute scale from reports, please.

(And yeah, I understand that the Sievert is a problematic unit, with all kinds of assumptions built in, but it is still better than "N times the legal limit," which tells me nothing. Was the legal limit conservative or aggressive? What was it in numerical terms?)
 Quote by Borek This is off topic - and tricky. Most of PF users will be able to learn these numbers and to deal with them. Joe Public needs calculator to check how much change he will get from paying $3 for three$0.99 hamburgers. It won't work for him.
I disagree. If it is a one-off event, sure, it may not be worth the bother of teaching, but this is something on the news everyday for months now. I see evidence in people around me that Joe Public is quite educable when it matters, as it does in this case. Let the kid eat locally-grown spinach? Ok, how many Bq/kg in that batch? Joe is a quick learner when it comes to his kids. I have seen this. I am sure the same effect was observed in the USSR and Europe after Chernobyl.

 Blog Entries: 1 One advantage to comparing radioactivity from a nuclear disaster to "background" radiation is it makes it seem like breathing or eating Cesium is as harmless as getting a low skin dose from naturally radioactive materials. Or that radioactive iodine in your thyroid gland is as harmless as eating a banana.
 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?

 Quote by Jorge Stolfi 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.

 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor 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?

 Quote by NUCENG 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.

 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.
 Blog Entries: 1 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.

 Tags fukushima, government, management, politics, tepco