Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Lie Of Safe, Secure, Vital-Tokaimura Criticality Accident

When Is The Next Chernobyl?
You have heard the lies from the NRC, Entergy, the nuclear industry as they try to tell us that Nuclear Energy is safe, secure and vital, as they try to sell us on re licensing aging, ever more dangerous reactors, and pitching citizen funding of up to 200 more reactors. They would have you believe that there are NO DEATHS associated with the industry, no major accidents since Chernobyl, which they blame on a shoddy antiquated reactor, and worker error.
It's a nice white lie told by nice well meaning Corporate Executives concerned with their corporate bottom lines. Problem is, a cursory glance through Internet links shows you the MAGNITUDE of their lies and deceit. Tonight, we give you information on the Tokaimura Criticality Accident, and call on Congressman John Hall, Congressman Maurice Hinchey, Congresswoman Nita Lowey, and on all the Representatives in Congress of communities hosting these aging reactors to pass legislation that will order the NRC to conduct a comprehensive Independent Safety and Security Assessment of every single nuclear reactor in America.
Further, we call on these Congressmen and women to include as a part of this CO-SPONSORED legislation a moratorium on all re licensing activities until such time as every one of these Independent Safety and Security Assessments have been completed.

Tokaimura Criticality Accident
Nuclear Issues Briefing Paper # 52

June 2000
On 30 September 1999 three workers received high doses of radiation in a Japanese plant preparing fuel for an experimental reactor. Two of the doses proved fatal.

The accident was caused by bringing together too much uranium enriched to a relatively high level, causing a "criticality" (a limited uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction), which continued intermittently for 20 hours.

A total of 119 people received a radiation dose over 1 mSv from the accident, but only the three operators' doses were above permissible limits, and two of these have since died.

The cause of the accident appears to be "human error and serious breaches of safety principles", according to IAEA.

A Part of The Critical Time Line: For Full Time Line

SEPTEMBER 30, 1999
note: all times reported in Japanese Standard Time, or 13 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time, except where noted

10:35 AM
Various media sources report that a radiation leak was detected, its cause not immediately known. Police denied reports that a fire had broken out.

11:15 AM
A Kyodo News Chronology (released on October 1) reports that the Japanese Science and Technology Agency received the first report on the accident from JCO.

11:33 AM
The Kyodo News Chronology reports that the accident was reported to the Ibaraki Prefecture.

11:35 AM
Asahi Shimbun.
Monitoring for Gamma Rays begins.

12:41 PM
The Kyodo News Chronology reports that police blocked roads near the plant and banned entry within a radius of 200 meters around the plant.

3:18 PM
The Kyodo News Chronology reports that Tokaimura village authorities issued an evacuation advisory to 50 families living within a 350 meter radius of the plant.

3:35 PM
Asahi Shimbun"Poor Preparation Delays Neutron Testing"
The Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute begins monitoring neutron levels at 14 locations around the facility, six hours after the accident.

4:00 PM
IAEA Press Release. "Accident at the Tokaimura Fuel Conversion Plant."

IAEA learned of the accident. The IAEA Emergency Response Unit immediately made contact with Japanese authorities in order to closely follow the situation.

Japan Times. "Tokai Nuclear Accident Goes Critical; Remains out of Control."

Prefectural authorities in the adjacent town of Naka said the radiation level was rapidly increasing, based on observations of monitoring posts inside the town.

5:00 PM
The Associated Press, "Radiation levels remain high after nuclear accident."
According to the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, 2-4 millisievert of radiation per hour or 10,000 to 20,000 times the normal level-was detected inside the processing facility as of 5 pm. The government's Nuclear Safety Commission said there might have been a continuing "criticality," as there continued to be high levels of radiation seven hours after the accident.

Sodium 24, a radioactive substance, was detected in the vomit of three of the victims.

The government decided to set up a task force headed by Science and Technology Agency chief Akito Arima to deal with the accident.

5:37 PM
Citizen's Nuclear Information Center, a Japanese nongovernmental organization, reports that initially, an atmospheric radiation count of 0.84 mSv/hour (10,000 times of the annual dose limit) was monitored, but the local government has announced that the radiation count is back to normal. The Science and Technology Agency announced that it was a criticality accident.

6:00 PM
Citizen's Nuclear Information Center reports that the head of Tokai villages stressed the following at a press conference: the atmospheric radiation count has not decreased around the site; there is a possibility that nuclear fission is still occurring at the moment; and the plant's structure is intact.

7:00 PM
Citizen's Nuclear Information Center reports that the Tokaimura municipal officials said up to 4.5 millisievert of neutrons per hour was detected near the circumference of the plant shortly after 7:00 pm. Village officials also said Cesium-138 was detected near the plant.

The Kyodo News Chronology reports that the central government set up a crisis management task force headed by Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi.

IAEA Press Release.
"Radiation Accident in Japan."
While the cause of the accident remains under investigation, it is known that it occurred when workers were transporting a mixture of liquid nitric acid containing 19 percent enriched uranium to a precipitation container. A "flash criticality" occurred.

At its highest point, the dose rate at the facility boundary was measured to be around 4 millisievert/hour.

The three seriously irradiated workers received a dose of more than 8 Sv.

8:00 PM
Citizen's Nuclear Information Center reports that the facility where the accident occurred is a commercial plant where enriched UF6 gas is converted to UO2 powder for further processing. The pellet fabrication is done in another plant nearby.

8:30 PM
The Kyodo News Chronology reports that Ibaraki Governor Masaru Hashimoto issued an evacuation advisory to about 200,000 residents living within a 10 kilometer radius of the plant.

9:00 PM
Citizen's Nuclear Information Center reports that:

The radiation count is still high and not even JCO workers can enter the site. No one is aware of the situation inside the plant and nothing is being done. It is very likely that criticality is ongoing.
Two of three workers hospitalized are suspected to have been seriously exposed due to a sudden increase of white blood corpuscle experienced by both of them. 160 people have evacuated to a community center. The evacuees will have to spend the night at the center. Atmospheric radiation count was 0.7 milisievert per hour (mSv/h) at 3 pm. Normal count is 1 mSv/year.

11:00 PM
The Associated Press, "Nuke Accident serious, may be continuing, Nonaka says."
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said, "There are concerns that the situation is continuing and is affecting a larger area than was believed earlier in the day."

No comments: