Late Night Worries as Largest Concrete Pump Heads to Japan

This seems like it would be big news, could it be an early April Fools? I don’t know, but I thought it warranted a front page mention.

Concrete pump to help in Japan nuclear crisis (like the one used at Chernobyl) – Democratic Underground

Source: AP/ABC News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) – Authorities say the world’s largest concrete pump will be flown from Atlanta to Japan on the world’s largest cargo plane as part of a series of emergency steps to help stabilize damaged nuclear reactors.

The Augusta Chronicle reports that the 190,000-pound pump features a 70-meter boom which can be remotely controlled. Officials say that makes it suitable for use in the highly radioactive environment surrounding the nuclear plants.

The pump was manufactured by Germany-based Putzmeister, whose equipment was used at Chernobyl in the 1980s to entomb the melted core of the reactor in concrete.

The pump had been used at the Savannah River Site near the Georgia-South Carolina line.

Read more:

UPDATE 3-Japan to take control of Tokyo Electric – media | Reuters

TOKYO, April 1 (Reuters) – Japan will take control of Tokyo Electric Power Co , the operator of a stricken nuclear plant, in the face of mounting public concerns over the crisis and a huge potential compensation bill, a domestic newspaper reported on Friday.

Groundwater at nuclear plant ‘highly’ radiation-contaminated: TEPCO | Kyodo News

In Vienna on Wednesday, Denis Flory, IAEA deputy director general and head of the agency’s nuclear safety and security department, said readings from soil samples collected in Iitate between March 18 and March 26 ”indicate that one of the IAEA operational criteria for evacuation is exceeded (there).”

In response to the IAEA, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Thursday the government may implement measures, if necessary, such as urging people living in the area to evacuate, if it is found that the contaminated soil will have a long-term effect on human health.

Nishiyama said at a press conference in the afternoon that the agency’s rough estimates have shown there is no need for people in Iitate to evacuate immediately under criteria set by the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan.

”The radiation dose of a person who was indoors for 16 hours and outdoors for eight hours (and continued such a lifestyle) would be about 25 millisieverts, which is about half the level which requires evacuation based on the commission’s criteria,” he said.

The commission explained that domestic criteria are based on measurements at radiation in the air, and not the soil.

In another effort to prevent radioactive dust from being dispersed from the plant, where masses of debris are strewn as a result of explosions, Tokyo Electric initially planned to conduct a test spraying of a water-soluble resin on Thursday, but postponed the plan due to rain.

Exclusive: WANTED: U.S. workers for crippled Japan nuke plant | Reuters

– As foreign assignments go this must be just about the most dangerous going.

A U.S. recruiter is hiring nuclear power workers in the United States to help Japan gain control of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant, which has been spewing radiation.

The qualifications: Skills gained in the nuclear industry, a passport, a family willing to let you go, willingness to work in a radioactive zone.

The rewards: Higher than normal pay and the challenge of solving a major crisis.

“About two weeks ago we told our managers to put together a wish list of anyone interested in going to Japan,” said Joe Melanson, a recruiter at specialist nuclear industry staffing firm Bartlett Nuclear in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on Thursday.

So far, the firm has already signed up some workers who will be flying to Japan on Sunday.

Melanson said there will be less than 10 workers in the initial group. Others are expected to follow later, he added.

Plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has appealed to the nuclear industry outside of Japan for assistance as the crisis has spiraled beyond their control.

FRANCE 24 – Despite UN recommendation, Japan will not widen evacuation zone

Despite recommendations from the UN International Atomic Energy Agency to widen the evacuation zone, the Japanese government said it would not take further action as it continues to race to contain the leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

AFP – Japan said on Thursday that its crisis-hit nuclear plant must be scrapped, but currently had no plans to evacuate more people, despite calls for a larger exclusion zone around the crippled facility.

Grappling with the aftermath of a massive earthquake and tsunami, its biggest post-war disaster, Japan’s government hosted French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who called for clear international standards on nuclear safety.

Nuclear crisis puts evacuation zones under scrutiny –

The detection of excessive radiation in a village 25 miles northwest of the damaged Fukushima nuclear facility is raising questions about whether Japan’s recommended evacuation zone is adequate and whether standards for evacuations will be adequate in any future U.S. accident.

  • Fukushima Prefectural officers collect soil at a rice paddy in Koorimachi, Japan, to check if it is contaminated by radioactive materials.By APFukushima Prefectural officers collect soil at a rice paddy in Koorimachi, Japan, to check if it is contaminated by radioactive materials.


Fukushima Prefectural officers collect soil at a rice paddy in Koorimachi, Japan, to check if it is contaminated by radioactive materials.

At a hearing Thursday on Capitol Hill, Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., asked Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko whether his agency’s plan to evacuate people within 10 miles of a U.S. nuclear plant accident was adequate.

Jaczko said NRC’s emergency preparedness is “built on two thresholds.” One is a “preplanned” evacuation of those living within 10 miles of a plant. The second threshold is 50 miles from a plant. Within that zone, he said, the plan would be to ensure that contaminated food supplies could be dealt with.

A few other news items that we have linked to in the comments:

Japan plant radioactivity 10,000 times standard – CBS News

Crews ‘facing 100-year battle’ at Fukushima – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Consider this an open thread…

25 Comments on “Late Night Worries as Largest Concrete Pump Heads to Japan”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    Here is a corrected report from Reuters, regarding the number of dead. The part that got my attention was the fact that Japan is now saying it looks like the evacuation is long term.

    CORRECTED-Japan govt says evacuation of residents near damaged nuclear plant to be long-term | Reuters

    • bostonboomer says:

      It just gets worse with each passing day.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I know. Now this new thing about the concrete, I am guessing that we will soon find out they are going to plug it up, like they did at Chernobyl.

        The article says that it will be next week before it flies out to Japan from ATL.

      • bostonboomer says:

        One of the physicists I was reading about yesterday said if they tried to bury it like Chernobyl, it could still explode. I hope they know what they’re doing.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      This from Fox, Japan’s Nuclear Rescuers: ‘Inevitable Some of Them May Die Within Weeks’ –

      Workers at the disaster-stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan say they expect to die from radiation sickness as a result of their efforts to bring the reactors under control, the mother of one of the men tells Fox News.

      The so-called Fukushima 50, the team of brave plant workers struggling to prevent a meltdown to four reactors critically damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, are being repeatedly exposed to dangerously high radioactive levels as they attempt to bring vital cooling systems back online.

      Speaking tearfully through an interpreter by phone, the mother of a 32-year-old worker said: “My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation.

    • Branjor says:

      Yes, every year we say “happy new year” and every new year brings fresh horrors.

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    Hong Kong Radiation Exceeds Tokyo Even After Japan Crisis – Bloomberg

    Typical radiation levels in Hong Kong exceed those in Tokyo even as workers struggle to contain a crippled nuclear plant in northern Japan, indicating concerns about spreading contamination may be overblown.

    The radiation level in central Tokyo reached a high of 0.109 microsieverts per hour in Shinjuku Ward yesterday, data from the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health show. That compares with 0.14 microsieverts in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Observatory said on its website. An x-ray typically has 50 microsieverts of radiation.
    “The situation in Japan looks set to follow the pattern of Chernobyl, where fear of radiation did far more damage than the radiation itself,” Bury said in an e-mail referring to the 1986 accident in the former Soviet Union, the world’s worst nuclear disaster. “Whatever the radiation in Tokyo at the moment, you can be fairly sure it is lower than natural background levels in many parts of the world.”

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      This is what I think about this link above.

    • paper doll says:

      where fear of radiation did far more damage than the radiation itself,”

      That’s because the people are lied to from the start and therefore can’t trust a damn thing said about it afterwards…

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Well, I think that all those with genetic problems due to the radiation at Chernobyl will think differently. This article from Bloomberg is spinning the “no human health threat.” I think that it is going to get worse, and years from now there will be cancer clusters and birth defects that can be traced to this Fukushima, and the fact that the evacuation zone was not made larger to protect the population.

        • dakinikat says:

          As a Hurricane Katrina and BP Oil spill survivor/fallout person, I’ll tell you that they cut every freaking corner they can to do right by the perpetrators and wrong by the wronged. They consider a huge number of people to be acceptable fall out when it comes to comparing that to any economics problems that could result. They protect economic interests at all costs.

      • paper doll says:

        …and the fact that the evacuation zone was not made larger to protect the population

        Indeed…all good points. Not making the the evacuation larger is part of the lying.

  3. bluelady says:

    Re: “Crews ‘facing 100-year battle’ at Fukushima”
    100 years??? Who the hell is going to oversee such a project? Can you even imagine the cost in money and lives?
    This is the reason nuclear power should be forbidden.
    It’s not the fear of radiation that is lethal- it’s the goddamn radiation itself. We may be clever monkeys, but we’re not smart enough to figure out 1) where to safely put nuclear waste and 2)how to deal with catastrophes like this one. Even with an adequate disaster plan, which it doesn’t appear they had, most of it is based on theories which may or may not work in a real life situation. For instance, I was reading recently how the industry thought robots could handle a crisis,but then in real life, the high radiation screwed up their electronics-so they didn’t work.

    • gregoryp says:

      You know what? I think the whole clever monkey thing is way overstated. We aren’t really that friggin’ clever. In reality, I’d say we were pretty darned stupid. Some of the things we do is just completely unbelievable.

    • paper doll says:

      To be honest bluelady it’s a marvel humans have made it this far.I don’t know if nuke power is safe or not…in theory…but I know humans: cutting corners for profit and F-ing up generally makes it totally unsafe and that’s all I gotta know .

      They stuck the old cores there to save money and have been lying about this from the start to save the company bottom line…that’s been their concern even after this happened ….how could they think they could spin a meltdown? But it seems they did.

      We really should not be around something that is catastrophic if it’s screwed up…because at some pont: we will screw it up. Nothing is as certain as that.

  4. Adrienne in CA says:

    Oh great, another “junk shot.” Those work so well.

  5. WomanVoter says:

    randyferrell Randy Ferrell
    Any #Radiation Can Be Harmful
    #health #wellness #news

    The reports are coming back to light…