Wall Street Journal, 7/9/13, on Fukushima

In a recent post the Wall Street Journal  Japan reported that:

 Tepco found at one well that the level of cesium 134, a radioactive element with a half life of around 2 years commonly associated with nuclear accidents, was 9,000 becquerels per liter on July 8–90 times higher than it was just three days earlier. (A becquerel is a measure of how much radioactive energy is released per second.) That’s 150 times higher than Japan’s safety standard of 60 becquerels per liter for the element.

Similarly, the level of cesium 137, another radioactive form of cesium with a half life of 30 years, was 18,000 becquerels per liter, around 85 times higher than three days earlier, and 200 times higher than the safety standard.

These are dramatic spikes to develop over a few days.  This disaster is ongoing.

Another report  stated that the former head of the reactor at Fukushima died of esophageal cancer at the age of 59.

The former head of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has died from esophageal cancer, the plant’s operator said. He was 58.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Masao Yoshida, former chief of Tokyo Electric Power‘s 9501.TO +6.37% Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, died of cancer on July 9, the operator said.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced that Masao Yoshida passed away in a Tokyo hospital Tuesday morning. Mr. Yoshida had been known for serving as the on-site crisis manager after the plant was hit by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, triggering one of the biggest nuclear disasters in history.

He stepped down as head of the plant in December 2011 after being diagnosed with cancer, and had been under medical treatment after suffering a brain hemorrhage last July.

Mr. Yoshida assumed the manager’s post in June 2010 and was considered instrumental in preventing the disaster from worsening further when the plant was hit by a magnitude-9 earthquake and a giant tsunami, losing the capacity to cool its reactors and leading to severe damage to the reactor cores.

The Osaka native was known as a straight-talker unafraid of differences of opinion, and once ignored an order from Tepco headquarters to stop pumping seawater into a reactor. The decision was later praised as having prevented much more serious damage.

A Tepco spokesman said Mr. Yoshida had been exposed to approximately 70 millisieverts of radiation following the March 11 disaster, but cited his doctors as saying it would take at least five years for the effects of radiation to develop into a cancer.

“We believe that the possibility of radiation having had an effect on his illness was very low,” he said.

In a written statement posted on Tepco’s website, President Naomi Hirose said that as chief of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Mr. Yoshida “brought the workers together and was literally prepared to die to respond to the accident.”

Mr Yoshida had years of exposure to radioactive material while working at nuclear reactors.  His exposure did not start at the time of the accident.

In other news the share  price of TEPCO rose 6% today.

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