ENENews: Officials now say Fukushima reactor with MOX fuel “leaked directly from containment”


Officials now say Fukushima reactor with MOX fuel “leaked directly from containment” — TV: Contamination of environment was due to “failure of vessel” — Experts: This has caused additional worries because MOX is more “radioactively aggressive” due to plutonium content (VIDEO)

Published: December 18th, 2015 at 7:03 pm ET
By ENENews
http://enenews.com/officials-fukushima-reactor-mox-fuel-leaked-directly-containment-vessel-tv-radioactive-contamination-environment-caused-failure-vessel-experts-caused-additional-worries-tepco-govt-because-mox-ra

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20151217_27.html
NHK, Dec 17, 2015 (emphasis added): [TEPCO] says radioactive fallout that polluted the environment in mid-March of 2011 was likely caused by a leak directly from a containment vessel of the facility’s No.3 reactor. Officials… on Thursday reported their latest findings on what happened at the plant… They concluded that radioactive contamination of the environment between the night of March 14th and the 16th was likely caused not by the vent operations but failure of the vessel. They said the vessel likely lost airtightness due to heat from nuclear fuel, leading to the direct release of radioactive substances into the environment.

NHK transcript, Dec 17, 2015: [TEPCO] said the substances in one of the reactors probably leaked directly from the containment vessel… They suspect the heat of fuel caused the containment vessel to lose airtightness.

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2015/1264512_6844.html
TEPCO, Dec 17, 2015: A significant release of steam from the night of March 14 to March 16, 2011 is believed to have been responsible for contamination to the surrounding environment of Fukushima Daiichi. The investigation reports that the primary containment vessels in Units 2 and 3 did likely lose leakage resistant properties by March 15 and had been in a condition where radioactive materials could leak directly from them. It is therefore presumed the environmental contamination outside Fukushima Daiichi during that period was caused by steam leakage directly from the primary containment vessels and not from the vent.

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/betu15_e/images/151217e0101.pdf
TEPCO, Dec 17, 2015: Leakage and release of a large amount of steam from the Unit 3 Reactor Building — The PCVs of Units 2 & 3 lost the airtightness in the end, which is confirmed by the fact that steam escaped from the Reactor Buildings. Analysis of the behavior of the pressure in the PCVs and the situation at the time of the accident has revealed that the environmental contamination from the night of March 14 to March 16 occurred by steam leakage together with radioactive materials directly from the PCVs not from the vent.

https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/attach/118/118095_Q%20Series%20-%20Nuclear%20Power.pdf
UBS Investment Research (via WikiLeaks), Apr 2011: Of particular concern was Unit 3, because, since September 2010, the plant had been fueled with mixed oxide, or MOx… Use of MOx heightened fuel risk — Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 was fuelled with mixed oxide (MOx), which is about 93% uranium and 7% plutonium. This has caused additional worries for TEPCO and the government, because MOx is more radioactively aggressive. We think national nuclear safety reviews might consider restrictions on its use.

Watch NHK’s broadcast here

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These News People Kill Me, They Be Damned If They Will Tell the Truth, It Is Radiation!!!

NEWS

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/sea-649197-marine-pups.html

‘Prepare for the worst’: Struggling to save starving sea lions on California shores
Jan. 25, 2015 Updated Jan. 27, 2015 1:07 p.m.

VIEW SLIDESHOW
Sea lion pups recently brought to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach rest in their pen while being treated at the center. The number of sea lions rescued on the coast is above average for the season.


NICK AGRO, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
By ERIKA I. RITCHIE / STAFF WRITER

How to help

1. Do not approach an ailing animal; keep a distance of at least 50 yards.
2. Call Pacific Marine Mammal Center at 949-494-3050 and supply a description and location.
3. Keep others, including dogs, from approaching the animal.
4. Do not attempt to push the animal back into the ocean, pour water over it or feed it.
5. Make a donation. Pacific Marine Mammal Center is a nonprofit organization that depends on public support.
For more information: pacificmmc.org

Officials puzzled by rash of distressed sea lions
Sea lion rescues on the rise; could El Nino be a factor?
Low weights among sea lion pups on remote Channel Island breeding grounds and effects of a warmer ocean on adult females and yearlings could bring record-high strandings to Southern California beaches.

Marine mammal experts say the numbers could hit even higher levels than in 2013, which federal officials called an unusual mortality event.

Already this year, staff at marine centers from Sea World in San Diego to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito are doing nearly daily rescues.

The difference this year: Starving pups showed up as early as December. Sick females and juveniles are also being found.

In the first three weeks of the year, sea lion rescues were up almost 20 percent over 2013 at some of the marine rescue centers.

The National Marine Fisheries stranding coordinator has asked centers to provide their intakes. So far this month, Sea World in San Diego has 48 and Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach has 28. Fort MacArthur in San Pedro has 73, the Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute has 10, and the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito has 35.

Dr. Hendrik Nollens, a veterinarian at Sea World and a member of a task force assembled by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to study 2013 mass strandings, is not surprised.

Where there was no advance warning for the 2013 strandings, experts had already predicted El Niño impacts on lactating mothers and yearlings for 2015. Centers were told to gear up.

El Niño brings warm ocean waters that push down nutrient-dense upwellings that fuel ecosystem richness, forcing sea lions to hunt longer distances and do deeper dives for their prey.

“This year could be a perfect storm,” Nollens said. “An El Niño climate event affecting the females and yearlings and something still unexplained affecting the skinny pups.”

Peter Wallerstein, who owns a nonprofit organization that helps rescue sea lions for Fort MacArthur, has been out on the beaches between Pacific Palisades and Long Beach nearly every day. When schoolchildren on a beach cleanup surrounded a skinny pup, Wallerstein wrangled him in.

“Usually, a healthy sea lion will run into the water away from people,” Wallerstein said. “People do silly things. They want to get close, but sea lions have 10 times greater bite than a pit bull and they’re very quick on land, unlike a seal, which drags its body.”

The pup was one of more than 30 he’s taken to Marine Mammal Center at Fort MacArthur. The center is already 20 percent ahead of January 2013 numbers, and there’s still a week to go.

“The difference is we’re not just seeing little pups,” said Lauren Palmer, a veterinarian there. “Females and yearlings are coming in with respiratory issues and elevated abnormalities in their blood work. It’s really hard to wrap our head around the story of what’s happening.”

Sharon Melin, a wildlife biologist with the National Marine Mammal Laboratory working with National Marine Fisheries, has studied sea lion populations on San Miguel Island for more than two decades, looking for factors influencing trends in populations including El Niño, disease and competition for food.

She works with National Marine Fisheries Service as part of a research program established on San Miguel Island in 1968 bolstered with funds from the Marine Mammal Protection Act, enacted in 1972.

Melin travels to the island twice a year – once in September and once in February – to study behavior, check for disease and weigh sample newborns. She’s watched the sea lion population rise 5 percent each year until 2000. Researchers estimate there are now more than 300,000 sea lions colonizing the Channel Island rookeries.

Each June 100,000 sea lions come to the Navy-owned island. The breeding colony about 60 miles from Ventura Harbor is one of the largest in the world.

When sea lions converged on the island in 2012, there was no sign of a problem. A year later, nearly 70 percent of the newborns had died.

Many were left for days waiting on the beaches starving and losing weight. Marine mammal centers in 2013 took in more than 1,500 sea lion pups – five times higher than in a normal year.

The mothers – to nourish themselves and provide milk – swam as far as 120 miles north toward Monterrey in search of sardines and anchovies.

In the El Niño climate, some of these are scarce and they feed on less fatty fish producing less nutrient-rich milk. The mothers generally spend three to four days hunting. Diminished prey can make them stay out for six days.

In their struggle to survive, pups followed other, older sea lions out into the ocean too early. Those that made it littered Southern California beaches. Thousands more died on the islands along the way. Melin that year recorded pups at only half their previous weights.

Last year, sea lions produced just half the number of pups following the high death rate. But their weights were closer to the ideal – 37 pounds. Stranding numbers were normal.

When Melin traveled to San Miguel last September, the weights were down again. But sometimes the pups rebound. She noticed that not all of them were skinny. In some cases it seemed the mothers had figured it out and still had plump pups. She reported her findings to National Marine Fisheries, who funded another research trip out last month.

But the skinny pups had only gained 4 pounds. Melin put GPS tags on a dozen females to track their foraging habits. The tags will likely stay attached until April. Melin will compare that data with GPS tags put on sea lions after the 2013 strandings.

Later this month, she will go out again.

“We’ve told the centers to prepare for the worst,” she said.

Contact the writer: 714-796-2254 or eritchie@ocregister.com or twitter:@lagunaini