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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: http://www.abcnews4.com/Global/story.asp?S=14360068

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 – USATODAY.com

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.
By AP 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…

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