Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Weekly Review

An order to cut worker doses at Fukushima Daiichi unit 4 and a request to release plant groundwater into the sea highlighted the news from Japan this week.

Developments related to the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant severely damaged following Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami include:

Fuel removal at Fukushima unit 4. Source: TEPCONRA to TEPCO: Cut Dose at Unit 4

Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority ordered TEPCO to reduce doses among workers removing fuel from the spent fuel pool at unit 4, the Asahi Shimbun reported. Surveys of the work site showed areas of high radiation that the NRA attributed to cobalt-60 disturbed during cutting inside the pool. The NRA did not suggest that fuel removal should stop, though, and it noted that placing lead plates on the floor reduced the dose by about two-thirds.

Government Seeks Fishermen's OK to Release Fukushima Groundwater

Japan's industry ministry on Monday sought approval from an organization representing commercial fishermen to release groundwater from Fukushima into the sea. TEPCO has installed a dozen wells at the plant to pump up groundwater before it reaches damaged reactor buildings but has not put them to use because of a shortage of storage space and local resistance to discharging into the sea. Kyodo reported that the National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations is considering a government proposal to release groundwater with less than 5 becquerels per liter of beta-ray emitting contaminants and less than 1,500 becquerels per liter of tritium – well below legal limits.

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  • What are the workers getting to remove the higher then allowed doses of radiation? Is TEPCO just going to allow them to get radiation sickness and cancer? I bet that they are not doing much to help them just like they didn't help the radiated population living in the Fukushima area! TEPCO should be supplying their employees and anyone else that has been radiated with the detox mineral Zeolite in medical grade powdered for to help remove the radiation from these peoples bodies!

  • Ecoguy: Thanks for your comment. Individual worker doses are closely tracked to ensure a given individual does not exceed limits set by the government. Those limits are set below the known doses at which the risk of illnesses like cancer is shown to increase. If a worker approaches his dose limit for the year, he's taken off the job. Lower radiation levels in the work area means it's a safer environment overall and workers can stay there longer while accumulating lower doses, which aligns with the NRA's priorities for worker safety.


    Nuclear Street News Team

  • Anonymous

    Ecoguy:  The NRA is asking TEPCO to reduce doses to workers from external radiation sources (i.e. fuel in the pool).  Yes zeolites, chelants, and other agents are effective at removing internal deposition of radioactive isotopes but there is no indication that internal deposition has occurred.  Radiation workers routinely utilize personal protective equipment (PPE) such as HEPA filtered respirators to prevent internal deposition.  They also undergo routine bioassay that would detect trace amounts of internally deposited radionuclides.  Internal deposition, if it occurs, is also highly regulated and affected workers are not allowed to exceed safe levels.