Test move of #4 spent fuel soon

SUBHEAD: As early as today an attempt by Tepco to move spent fuel from Reactor #4 cooling pond.

By Staff on 23 November 2013 for Kyodo News -

Image above: Still from video supplied by Tepco of some new fuel  from Reactor #4 spent fuel pool on 11/21/13. To see this and other videos follow this link (http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/news/library/movie-01e.html?bcpid=59368209002&bclid=347242463002&bctid=665354868002).

[IB Editor's note: Below are expressions of worry about a spent fuel criticality that could occur as a result of moving spent nuclear fuel in Fukushima Daiichi Reactor #4. If there is such a danger there is little time or many practical actions that can be taken this late before those efforts start. We hope you have made some preparations already for a possible nuclear plume emanating across the Pacific from the stricken plant. A particular worry is hyperthyroidism for babies in utero, infants and young children. One mitigating and preventative supplement is Potassium Iodide (KI) to block uptake of radioactive Iodine 131 (half-life 8 days) by thyroid tissue. See (http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/ki.asp). Do some research on other supplements for radioisotopes Strontium 90 (half-life 29 years) and Cesium 137 (half-life 30 years). Having access to a radiation monitor helps as well. Check (http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/ki.asp) if you don't have access to the hardware.]

Work to remove spent fuel from a storage pool inside a damaged reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex will begin on Tuesday the 26th November 2013, at the earliest, a source close to the operator of the Fukushima plant said Saturday.

Fuel removal work started last Monday the 18th, with workers first extracting 22 unused fuel assemblies that are relatively easier to handle than spent fuel.

The second batch of work involves removing 22 spent fuel rod assemblies as part of a yearlong mission to eventually remove over 1,000 assemblies from the spent fuel pool of the No. 4 unit of Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima plant to deal with one of the major hazards in the cleanup activities.

Spent Fuel Criticality Possible

SUBHEAD: Interview with Chis Harris, former senior reactor operator and engineer. He worries about spent fuel criticality.

 By Dr. Bill Deagle MD on 21 November 2013 for Nutrimedical Report -(http://podcast.gcnlive.com/podcast/nutri_med/1120133.mp3)

Chris Harris (at 30:15 in):

I spoke with some colleagues this week and they're] concerned about a criticality event. […] Of course I asked them about the boraflex, which is the boronated rubber — again a nervous laugh. They said that’s all gone, you’ve got to consider that gone also. That’s pretty much the consensus of everyone there, including one of the fellows that actually goes to Fukushima. So I got some inside information on that too.

Chris Harris  (at 45:30 in):
The corrosion that’s occurring because of the seawater, everyone is rather nervous about the corrosion that’s happening and how much material is being lost, mainly from the zircoloy tubing that houses the fuel pellets themselves. They don’t know the actual wastage, and of course the structural integrity — so when you go ahead and start pulling the fuel, is there going to be a loss of the pellets? […] You could get a criticality event.

By Chris Harris on 21 November 2013 for WBEZ Worldview -

Chris Harris (at 34:45 in):
You can have an occurance of a complete criticality in the spent fuel pool. If you imagine the whole spent fuel pool boiling away at one time, a dazzling display of light, […] involvement where the fuel itself gets damaged, liberating hydrogen, getting contained inside the new building that they have, and that exploding. I almost believe that would be close to, or indistinguishable from, a nuclear explosion from a practical standpoint.

Hyperthyroidism up 28%
SUBHEAD: 28% increase in thyroid problems in babies born after Fukushima in Alaska, Hawaii, and West Coast.


Is Fukushima Causing Health Problems In the United States?

Infants are much more vulnerable to radiation than adults. And see (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/04/french-nuclear-group-warns-that-children-and-pregnant-mothers-should-protect-themselves-from-radiation.html).

However, radiation safety standards are set based on the assumption that everyone in the world is a healthy man in his 20s.

Now, a medical doctor (Janette D. Sherman, M. D.) and epidemiologist (Joseph Mangano) have released a study showing a 28% increase in thyroid problems in babies born in Hawaii and America’s West Coast after the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Janette Sherman, M.D. worked for the Atomic Energy Commission (forerunner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission) at the University of California in Berkeley, and for the U.S. Navy Radiation Defense Laboratory in San Francisco. She served on the EPA’s advisory board for 6 years, and has been an advisor to the National Cancer Institute on breast cancer. Dr. Sherman specializes in internal medicine and toxicology with an emphasis on chemicals and nuclear radiation.

Joseph J. Mangano is a public health administrator and researcher who has studied the connection between low-dose radiation exposure and subsequent risk of diseases such as cancer and damage to newborns. He has published numerous articles and letters in medical and other journals in addition to books, including Low Level Radiation and Immune System Disorders: An Atomic Era Legacy.

Their new study – published in the Open Journal of Pediatrics – is entitled “Elevated airborne beta levels in Pacific/West Coast US States and trends in hypothyroidism among newborns after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown.”
Common Dreams notes:
[The study found that] children born in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington between one week and 16 weeks after the meltdown began are 28 percent more likely to suffer from congenital hypothyroidism (CH) than were kids born in those states during the same period one year earlier.

CH results from a build up of radioactive iodine in our thyroids and can result in stunted growth, lowered intelligence, deafness, and neurological abnormalities—though can be treated if detected early.

According to researchers from the Radiation and Public Health Project who performed the study, “Fukushima fallout appeared to affect all areas of the US, and was especially large in some, mostly in the western part of the nation.” They add that CH can provide an early measure to “assess any potential changes in US fetal and infant health status after Fukushima because official data was available relatively promptly.”

Health researcher Joe Mangano similarly cautioned, “Reports of rising numbers of West Coast infants with under-active thyroid glands after Fukushima suggest that Americans may have been harmed by Fukushima fallout. Studies, especially of the youngest, must proceed immediately.”

Earlier this year, the Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey found that more than 40 percent of the Japanese children studied showed evidence of thyroid abnormalities, which Wasserman says signifies a “horrifying plague.”
Sherman and Mangano published an essay in June 2011 claiming that  the 35% spike in infant mortality in Northwest cities since the Fukushima meltdown might have been caused by radiation.
And they published a study in December 2011 in the peer-reviewed journal International Journal of Health Services, alleging that 14,000 people had already died in the United States due to Fukushima.   A Scientific American blog post and Med Page Today slammed the study as being voodoo science. However, Scientific American does admit:
Certainly radiation from Fukushima is dangerous, and could very well lead to negative health effects—even across the Pacific.
See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Tepco pixilates parts of fuel casket 11/19/13
Ea O Ka Aina: The New Game 11/10/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Tepco delays #4 Fuel Removal 11/4/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Remove other Fukushima fuel 10/29/13
Ea O Ka AIna: Fuel Danger at Fukushima 9/27/13


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