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Nuke Fatigue & the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

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Sheetal.Pandey
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nuke fatigue
Sheetal.Pandey   9/5/2013 2:41:44 PM
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Yes old age is tough and so is life. You enjoy when you are between 30-45afterthat its tough and when you cross 70 its really gets difficult. Japan has come a long way after hiroshima and nagasaki bombings. The nuclear leakage is so destructive for the coming.g generation. This is a sensitive situation and not sure if government can ever do enough. Its the people who have to rise fof their rights to live.:

Susan Rambo
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Freezing contamination
Susan Rambo   9/5/2013 3:16:24 PM
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Thanks, Junko for this blog. Here in the states I sometimes watch the NHK World in English and am interested in the continuing coverage of Fukushima and the tsunami cleanup efforts. Some of the stories are heartwrenching and inspiring...like the farmer from the Fukushima area who was trying to find homes for his cows and trying to convince people the cows were OK. The latest thing I heard was a plan to freeze the contamination under the nuke plant. Wow. I certainly don't blame the Japanese for wanting a distraction. Speaking of denial, the US west coast is supposed to get more radiation. Check out U of Hawaii's graphic on the plume.And a report that says the radiation will be harmless but on our shores  in Science Daily.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Freezing contamination
junko.yoshida   9/6/2013 7:07:21 PM
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@rich.pell, thanks for sharing a list of interesting URLs. They will surely come handy for anyone with an agenda to promote nuclear power. Just to be clear, I am neutral about nuclear power plants, and i don't consider my writing about Fukushima 'fear mongering.' There are so many unknowns about what's going on in and around Fukushima right now. To declare the safety of anything in fukushima in such a derministic way ( as shown in your links) strikes me premature. A reporter in me tells me to probe further than take sides.

rich.pell
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Re: Freezing contamination
rich.pell   9/7/2013 10:10:55 AM
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Hi Junko.  The articles (and video) in the above links are specifically addressing scientific and technical issues at Fukushima and - most importantly - attempting to put them in perspective, which should be of interest to anyone interested in better understanding the actual risks associated with the ongoing situation.  Most reporting on this simply repeats technical data and relative levels (e.g., "10 times higher") or shows images of projected radiation plumes in the ocean without actually putting this data into any context.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Freezing contamination
junko.yoshida   9/7/2013 5:27:57 PM
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@rich.pell, I respectfully disagree.

Here's what the author says in theengineer.co.uk site:

Over 18,500 people lost their lives as a result of the tsunami. Of those, the number attributable to Fukushima is zero, despite the meltdowns continually being described as 'deadly' and radiation levels as 'lethal'. It all adds to the continuing demonisation of nuclear power, which is — to say the least — unhelpful.

Read more: http://www.theengineer.co.uk/opinion/comment/fukushima-alarmism-is-a-bigger-risk-than-radiation/1017047.article#ixzz2eFDNIL88

 

I don't see any science in this statement, while I see a good argument for pro nuclear power. It ignores any long-term impact of nuclear accidents. Further it ignors the very fact that the contaminated areas are most likely uninhabitable.

rich.pell
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Re: Freezing contamination
rich.pell   9/8/2013 10:15:15 AM
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The particular article that you cite was mostly addressing the proposed Fukushima "ice wall."  For a discussion of long-term effects of nuclear accidents in general, there is much material available.  The video link I listed - Fukushima and Chernobyl: Myth versus Reality - does discuss this aspect as it specifically relates to Chernobyl and Fukushima.  The World Health Organization has also issued a report stating that "for the general population inside and outside of Japan, the predicted risks are low and no observable increases in cancer rates above baseline rates are anticipated," so there is plenty of science supporting this view.

Yes, there are some areas within a 20-mile-wide "exclusion zone" that have been designated "uninhabitable" - at least for now.  Some of these areas are gradually being redesignated.  And the radiation levels being used to establish the various zone designations - 20 and 50 mSv of radiation per year - appear to be very conservative (i.e., the effects from exposure to such levels are likely to be unmeasurable).

mohov0
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Re: Freezing contamination
mohov0   9/9/2013 2:58:00 PM
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Well at least it keeps the conversation going, all this back and forth about issues that one can only surmise,--something EE Times has become very proficient at. Where is the electronics angle in all this? Just wondering.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Freezing contamination
junko.yoshida   9/9/2013 4:06:12 PM
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@mohov0, certainly, if you want to pigeonhole EE Times as a trade pub focused on chips, any stories related to the nuke accident does not belong here. I agree.

That said, I would like to think EE Times and its readers take a broader view of electronics, and the global world we live in. 

No electronics devices can work without power. Power is the fundamental common deonominator of all things EE Times covers.

For that reason, we reported on the topic:

http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1259065

and created a special digital edition:

http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cmp/eetimes032811_japan/#/1/OnePage

This is an ongoing coverage of the Fukushima disaster, which is hardly over.

 

 

mohov0
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Re: Freezing contamination
mohov0   9/9/2013 5:26:51 PM
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Junko:

I don't demean EE Times coverage of an important power issue, well-documented in your reply. And the award-winning special issue on this horrible event and its consequences on the industry, as well as the population as a whole, certainly deserved all the appropriate accolades.

I'm just wondering whether anybody is working on any preventive maintenance electronics technology that could ensure the Olympics in Tokyo will be conducted in a safe environment. Aside from cleaning up after the disaster, what technologies could the Japan government exploit to make Tokyo Olympics visitors feel safe from the fallout in Tohoku? And I get your point that Abe should be held accountable for the cleanup.

Kudos to you and the EE Times crew for exploring the issues that matter to the community.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Freezing contamination
junko.yoshida   9/9/2013 7:56:16 PM
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mohov0, thank you for your kind words. 

All those questions you raised in your comment -- in regards to preventive maintenance electronics technology that could ensure the Tokyo Olympics -- are good ones. We will be surely following them up. Thanks, again.

patrick.mannion
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Fukushima design lesson
patrick.mannion   9/11/2013 8:45:49 AM
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hey mohovO, maybe one design lesson from the disaster is: Don't put critical backup-generators in the basement if you're building a nuclear power station near an ocean. No matter how high you build those water barriers, you're asking for trouble.
 


junko.yoshida
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Re: Freezing contamination
junko.yoshida   9/10/2013 12:01:36 PM
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Hi, Rich. I don't think I disagree with you on the basic science. But where we disagree is our interpretation of the science.

For example, I did take a look at the WHO's report. I take a particular note that this was issued in May 2012 based on data made available in 2011.

Indeed, it says that there is no big health risks outside Japan, but the report does point out an increased lifetime risk for thyroid cancers in certain age & sex groups in the areas most affected.

Now, I also want to point out that this  was all reported before the radioactive water leaks were discovered.You may say that this is also no big deal because the ice wall will stop it. But first, the ice wall is not even built yet. Second, how this will actually work on a massive scale and a long duration Fukushima is planning on remains unproven.

I don't want to be the one to do so-called fear mongering, but for those who work at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima and for those who live in the affected area, there is not much comfort in knowing "only 50 died out of 6,000 affected in Chernobyl" as told by one of the scientists in the video clip: Fukushima and Chernobyl: Myth versus Reality

rich.pell
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Re: Freezing contamination
rich.pell   9/10/2013 9:40:12 PM
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Hi Junko,

I believe the WHO health risk assessment report was released early this year, and was based on data from a 2012 report. (It is true that this is before the latest radiation leaks, but there is no indication that anyone has seen increased exposure as a result of the latest leaks.)  The increased risks for those living in the most affected area are statistical over a lifetime, and mostly apply to those exposed as infants. 

The accident at Chernobyl was far worse, and, unlike at Fukushima, some of the workers at the plant did die as a result of radiation exposure.  And of the 6,000 cases of thyroid cancers in the population living in affected areas - a result of mothers unknowingly feeding their children milk contaminated with high levels of radioactive iodine - there were "perhaps 15" people who had died.  



junko.yoshida
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Re: Freezing contamination
junko.yoshida   9/11/2013 1:11:45 AM
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Rich, thanks for the corrections. Much appreciated. I misheard the number of those who died among 6,000 who got thyroid cancer in Chernobyl (i was watching the video clip in a noisy place). I apologize.

rich.pell
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Re: Freezing contamination
rich.pell   9/11/2013 8:09:26 AM
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Hi Junko,

No apologies necessary - it was difficult to distinguish the stated number even with headphones.  And in either case - "15" or "50" - it was not a significant difference.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Freezing contamination
junko.yoshida   9/10/2013 12:09:49 PM
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And one more thing. What we know and what we don't know, so far, is pretty much dependent on what information Tepco and the Japanese government have released -- especially when it comes to the latest contaminated water leakage.

There was a report earlier this summer that says that radiation levels near one of the tanks were 1,800 millisieverts per hour. As Arjun Makhijani, a nucler scientist, points out, "This is an extremely high level of radiation. A few hours basically constitutes a lethal dose."

Why was this not reported sooner?

According to Tepco, they did the first measurement with an instrument that only went up to a hundred millisieverts and maxed.

Well, your science is only as good as your test and measurement tools, isn't it?

 

rich.pell
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Re: Freezing contamination
rich.pell   9/10/2013 10:17:42 PM
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It's certainly true that TEPCO has done a poor job (to say the least) at releasing information in a clear and useful manner.  For example, in the case of the reported radiation level of 1800mSv/hr, it appears it was a measurement taken from about 5 cm above a water puddle near one of the tanks.  The reading at a distance of 50 cm was only 15 mSv/h.  In addition, this radiation was almost entirely beta (as opposed to gamma) radiation, which can be easily blocked and/or safely avoided by maintaining a distance.  The reports that the radiation measured in this case constituted a "lethal dose" were erroneous.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Freezing contamination
junko.yoshida   9/11/2013 1:21:32 AM
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Thanks for the link to Tepco's press release. Although the figure of 1,800 mSv/h may not represent the radiation level of "the whole area", as Tepco says in its own release, it does indicate that the liquid stored in these tanks are highly radioactive. No?

rich.pell
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Re: Freezing contamination
rich.pell   9/11/2013 5:41:37 PM
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"... it does indicate that the liquid stored in these tanks are highly radioactive. No?"

Yes, it seems very likely that this measurement is representative of the radiation level of the water stored in the tanks, which would certainly make it highly radioactive in terms of beta radiation (but not - as would be assumed from most reporting on this topic - in terms of the more worrisome gamma radiation with its much higher potential for biologic damage). 

andrewdewit
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Japan's Nuke Fatigue
andrewdewit   9/5/2013 6:08:27 PM
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I'm sorry to disagree about the nuke fatigue. I follow the Japanese and international press, and send items to my colleagues here. One has over 90,000 followers on his twitter: https://twitter.com/masaru_kaneko Certainly, the Yomiuri, Sankei and other media would like to talk about anything except Fukushima Daiichi. But that is not true of the Mainichi, the Asahi, the Tokyo Shinbun, and the blogs and twitters. And I mean the stuff in Japanese, not the "gaijin" ghetto.

All the best to you and your Mom.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Japan's Nuke Fatigue
junko.yoshida   9/5/2013 6:38:49 PM
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@andrewdewit, thanks for your kind words and your observation of the Japanese press reporting the nuke issue. 

But once you are away from it all for a while and come back to Japan, it comes as a real shock, especially when you hear the drum beat of coverage and discussion on 2020 Olympics -- but not enough drum beat of questions and skepticism about cleanup mess in Fukushima. Maybe I am circling among the wrong friends and families!

junko.yoshida
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Re: Japan's Nuke Fatigue
junko.yoshida   9/5/2013 6:41:04 PM
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@andrewdewit, if I may add one more thing, it freaks me out every morning when I turn on NHK here, the newscaster starts the countdown to IOC voting, instead of the countdown to the ice wall.

andrewdewit
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Re: Japan's Nuke Fatigue
andrewdewit   9/5/2013 7:44:40 PM
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Agreed. Another scary item is the countdown to the spent-fuel removal, which gets almost zero attention:

http://ourworld.unu.edu/jp/government-must-take-over-fukushima-nuclear-cleanup/

http://www.japanfocus.org/-Christopher-Hobson/3991

But concern is there. I just went to buy wakame, which is where I get my salt and iodine, and it's all marked down by half (Miyagi produce). I passed on it, as I have been on cucumbers, tomatoes, etc from Fukushima and elsewhere in Tohoku. I hate having to do that. I don't want to make farmers and fishermen up there doubly damaged, but since even the NRA does not know (and Tanaka said this) what's going into the sea, I see no other choice. And I certainly do not trust the state sampling of produce. Too many lies.

Good luck (I don't mean that, of course) to Abe on his TPP and restart objectives. I read his "Towards a New Country" and found it packed with learning about pensions. He realized he screwed up last time, and I guess got the Coles Notes on pensiions. But there are only 4 mentions of energy and ICT in the entire book. The guy is always fighting the last, lost war, head turned back, walking into another minefield.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Japan's Nuke Fatigue
junko.yoshida   9/6/2013 3:34:04 AM
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@andrewdewit, or I should respectfully call you Prof. Dewit, thanks for sharing the links. They are very informative. For our English-speaking readers, pls use the link below:

http://www.japanfocus.org/-Christopher-Hobson/3991

You are absolutely right about the spent-fuel removal issue. That will be like opening another can of worms, which nobody wants to talk about right now. Sigh.

 

 

Sheetal.Pandey
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Re: Japan's Nuke Fatigue
Sheetal.Pandey   9/6/2013 7:26:33 AM
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Talking on olympics association, the news doing rounds here in india that indian olympics association has been banned because the corrupted and chargesheeted members of the association do not want to leave and want to fight elections again. Such is the irony that they cannot see that with their selfish behavior the whole sports morale for olympics is going bleak.

rick merritt
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Opening our eyes
rick merritt   9/5/2013 6:09:24 PM
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Thanks for your on-going efforts giving us a window into this horrible situation for your country -- and us all. You remind me we are still learning how to deal withy this nuclear Pandora, and you ngive me a great example of caring for parents.

_hm
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Complex problem and new opportunity
_hm   9/6/2013 8:39:51 PM
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@Junko: It is wrong to relate Nuke disaster with 2020 Tokyo Olympics. When you try to achieve high goals, it has attached string of risks. Nuke has more pronounced risk factors.

Olympics is a new opportunity for Japanese people and make sports more popular. Why there is need to replate to together?

We wish Governemet get novel idea to resolve this problem. If not, time is solution. We also wish your mother to celebrate 100th birthday.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Complex problem and new opportunity
junko.yoshida   9/7/2013 12:12:43 AM
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@_hm, logically speaking, Olympics and nuclear issues should be discussed separately. But if the government is using their ambition to host Olympics to deflect people's attention on nuke issues (worse, if they are willing to say anything like "the nuclear cleanup issues will be resolved by 2020"), well, we need to connect the two, and ask questions.

Charles.Desassure
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Today....
Charles.Desassure   9/7/2013 12:20:22 AM
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It's not you, it is just the way society (around the world) is today.  People are more interested in the headline news.  Best wishes to your mother.

 

 


Olaf Barheine
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Water tanks earthquake proof?
Olaf Barheine   9/7/2013 6:30:33 AM
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The pictures of these huge water tanks with all this contaminated water make me really nervous. I hope they will not collapse when the earth starts one day to move again. And the earth will move again!

WKetel
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Where's the proof?
WKetel   9/7/2013 7:40:07 PM
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Concerning the statement that "there is no effect", it does not take any proof to lie. That has been one of the things that we have seen for quite a while now, which is that anybody can make up a tale with no regard for it being even slightly true, and the apparent credibility is dependant solely on "how well they talk". The skilled orators with the great charismatic style are not burdened by having to be factual in their speech. We see this repeatedly, so why should we expect anything different.

Now with the Fukoshima nuclear plant disaster, since the news media is not able to do anything at all to help solve the problems, they have chosen to ignore them, since fixating on an oncoming disaster that is unavoidable is a good way to have a stress problem, or a mental meltdown. Shades of arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic once all the lifeboats have left.

junko.yoshida
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Tokyo gets 2020 Summer Olympics
junko.yoshida   9/8/2013 12:33:26 AM
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Now that it is decided Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics, it's up to us to hold the Japanese government accountable for nuke cleanup.

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