07:50 JST April 4: Engineers pinned their hopes on chemicals, sawdust and shredded newspaper to stop highly radioactive water pouring into the ocean from Japan’s tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant Sunday as officials said it will take several months to bring the crisis under control, the first time they have provided a timetable.
Concrete already failed to stop the tainted water spewing from a crack in a maintenance pit, and the new mixture did not appear to be working either, but engineers said they were not abandoning it.
The government said Sunday it will be several months before the radiation stops and permanent cooling systems are restored. Even after that happens, there will be years of work ahead to clean up the area around the complex and figure out what to do with it.
On Saturday, workers discovered an 8-inch (20-centimeter) crack in a maintenance pit at the plant and said they believe water from it may be the source of some of the high levels of radioactive iodine that have been found in the ocean for more than a week.
Read the rest of the story: Engineers pin hopes on polymer to stop nuke leak.
Tests of milk samples taken last week in Spokane, Wash., indicate the presence of radioactive iodine from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, but at levels far below those at which action would have to be taken, the Environmental Protection Agency said on Wednesday.
Radioactive materials in liquids are measured in pico-curies per liter, and the sample, taken March 25, showed a reading of 0.8 pico-curies, the agency said. Those numbers, it said, would have to be 5,000 times higher to reach the “intervention level” set by the Food and Drug Administration.
“These types of findings are to be expected in the coming days and are far below levels of public health concern, including for infants and children,” the environmental agency said
Read the rest of the story: Low Levels of Radiation Found in American Milk.
The government will likely go ahead with a plan to spray resin inside the troubled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which it hopes will contain the spread of radioactive substances, sources said Wednesday.
The government has begun full-fledged discussions on different plans to stop the spread of radioactive substances that have been leaking continuously from damaged reactors at the plant run by Tokyo Electric Power Co.
It is believed spraying resin would minimize the spread of radioactive substances, which would allow repair work at the plant to proceed more smoothly, the sources said. Efforts to restore the reactors’ cooling functions have seesawed repeatedly, with the detection Wednesday of radioactive iodine-131 at levels 3,355 times the legal limit in seawater near the plant being the latest wrench in the works.
Spraying resin on debris inside the plant could begin as early as Thursday, the government sources said. The operation would last for about two weeks, they said.
The plan involves using a remote-controlled robot to spray resin over about 80,000 square meters inside the 120,000-square-meter facility. The areas to be sprayed were contaminated by radiation from debris scattered by several hydrogen gas explosions in the days after the March 11 earthquake.
Synthetic resin would likely be used, possibly Kurita Water Industries Ltd.’s Kuricoat C-720 Green. The product is usually used to prevent dust and sand from being blown off reclaimed and developed land. Coating the debris with resin is expected to prevent the radioactive materials from spreading into the air.
Seawater outside the hobbled nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan was found to contain 3,335 times the usual amount of radioactive iodine – the highest rate yet and a sign that more contaminated water was making its way into the ocean, officials said Wednesday.
The amount of iodine-131 found offshore some 300 yards (meters) south of the coastal Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant does not pose an immediate threat to human health but was a "concern," said Hidehiko Nishiyama, a Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency official. He said there was no fishing in the area.
"We will nail down the cause, and will do our utmost to prevent it from rising further," Nishiyama said.
Read the rest of the story: Biggest spike in radiation at Japan power plant.
For an assessment of the Nuclear Crisis affecting Japan and the radiation levels measured go to http://blog.energy.gov/content/situation-japan.