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TEPCO announces it will take 6-9 months to end nuclear crisis

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"TEPCO Vice President Sakae Muto said that in addition to covering the reactor buildings, the company will also work with authorities to decontaminate areas affected by the radiation."

Best of luck, although I don't know how you're going to decontaminate all the cesium and other radioactive chemicals in the ground. TEPCO does love to try and cover things, but I doubt these glorified blankets will help people get home or restore their livelihoods. The 10,000,000 yen they're offering to people who have been displaced will do nothing for them. It's a sad situation. In the end the amount of radiation given off will make this the worst nuclear plant accident in history, and yet another measure of why the stuff is so dangerous. Effects from this will be seen for generations.

Good luck in containing the mess -- I mean that -- but please don't lie to us about the effects.

Moderator: How dare you accuse another poster of lying. You can have 48 hours off from posting. When we allow you back on the discussion board, please leave your arrogance out of your comments.

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6-9 months more of radiation releases...

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6-9 months more of radiation releases...

It's not exactly surprising in terms of time. The levels will gradually decrease as they get closer to the end due to the methods being employed so it can only get better from what we have now (although people will still moan about build ups too low to harm anyone)

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This sounds very "top-down". A schedule is nice, but I wonder if there is any specific plan beyond what we've heard already. I thought they were stuck with the water. They can't stop pouring it, but can't do anything until they get rid of it. Has this suddenly changed, or is there a Plan B?

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@badmigraine

Check out an item titled "Tepco finalizes a plan to cool down reactors" on the NHK World web site.... This idea was suggested here on March 28th by PepinGalarga ....Well done PepinGalarga....

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I can't help but value the fresh idea to put new, twice as efficient cooling systems as the old ones outside Fukushima reactor buildings, which is the most important part of stabilization.

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By the way TEPCO is going, 6 to 9 months from now the place will not be livable at all and the radiation levels at the plant will probably cause a lot more damage then what it is doing now. This is so sad to hear. TEPCO should stop playing games with this silent devil and just sandbag the whole reactor once and for all.

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It will take TEPCO at least 30 years to decommission these reactors and at least 1 trillion yen in costs. For those who cannot grasp what a trillion is, 1 trillion seconds is about 32,000 years.

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@alladin !

"the radiation levels at the plant will probably cause a lot more damage then what it is doing now"

I'd love to ask you to read again a MAINICHI webpage, headlined "Researchers develop technique to remove radioactive cesium from contaminated water".

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I think what is meant is that after six months, it will not be at crisis level. It will be downgraded to an emergency or even a problem.

Later they will follow the British example and rename the plant so that they will be no more news a the Fukushima plant.

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hrs0601 >>>> And you believe what the researchers are saying??? They may have developed a technique to remove radioactive cesium from contaminated water, but I think that their technique will not do much in controlling the Daiichi reactors. In my opinion, I think the reactors will soon blow due to uncontrollable heat that is rising on a daily basis. With the hot weather coming to Japan along with the many typhoons, the Daiichi power plant will start to have even more trouble than it is presently having.

Moderator: Please do not post scaremongering comments like this.

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It will take TEPCO at least 30 years to decommission these reactors and at least 1 trillion yen in costs. For those who cannot grasp what a trillion is, 1 trillion seconds is about 32,000 years.

To put in in less esoteric terms, 1 trillion yen is roughly the GDP of Tokyo.

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@alladin !

a. I've never read a hyperbole about Japanese technology developments on the internet.

b. As we are all aware, the nitrogen injection is most likely to keep the hydrogen explosion away. And there might be some options available, just in case of hot weather condition, I guess.

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@alladin

You do know that they publish the reactor temperatures daily on the JAIF website, right? The core temperatures have been steadily falling every day, not increasing. Where are you getting your "facts"?

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Got to love the headline.

I would say the "crisis" was over more than two weeks ago. What is going to take 6-9 months is basically watching and waiting and getting ready to handle problems if they develop. Not much of a crisis there. Probably like watching paint dry.

What this means in terms of fukushima people is that they can get back to their homes probably very soon. Not all, but I would say most. We will see what the scientists say in a month.

The gov wants to be very cautious about it because we as taxpayers might have to pay their medical bills otherwise... oh wait... we already DO... then I guess the government just wants people to be safe. What a surprise.

Prudence. Since 3.11 we have gotten good decisions on Fukushima.

@5 cents I also heard there was a spike. Was not concerned, but there is bound to be fluctuation.

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"They may have developed a technique to remove radioactive cesium from contaminated water, "

This is very likely to be so. Cesium acts chemically like calcium. People are saying that cesium will concentrate in the food chain, but I seriously doubt that. If calcium did that, we would be walking sticks of chalk. We could write on blackboards with our bare hands. Just think about it.

I would bet that, with Japan's rains, particularly acid rain, the cesium will bind to other minerals and be "sequestered" soon, or it will be leached down from topsoil soon. Or lets say half will this year, then half of that next year, etc. That is what happens to calcium, anyway.

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Just as a big "in your face" to all of the worriers who said "bury it in concrete", let me just provide this:

After some period of time, workers were actually able to enter the CORE of Three Mile Island. That is how cold and inactive it all got. In contrast, nobody will be getting closer to Chernobyl's reactor for thousands of years, and it will be leaking before that. It is unlikely that the core is even in one place. What a mess.

People are going to regret forcing Japan to call this a 7. The IAEA is going to have to find a new system, or maybe just admit that ranking does not mean very much. The "consequences over a wide area" will have less of a health effect on people than US a-bomb tests had on Steve McQueen.

This problem was handled in excellent fashion in very dire circumstances. Can you imagine? ZERO deaths from a problem like this. Crisis indeed.

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Alladin:

" I think the reactors will soon blow due to uncontrollable heat that is rising on a daily basis. With the hot weather coming to Japan along with the many typhoons, the Daiichi power plant will start to have even more trouble than it is presently having. "

And I think you are wrong. Is there a place where we can put bets on predictions like this? I´d love to see you put your money where your mouth is.

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You know, everybody has the right to be wrong, but what happened to you man? First of all, the money they offered the other day was understood to be the first tranche of compensation. These people need money to keep going. If anything, it will help them bargain from a position where they will not be entirely desperate for any payout.

And yeah it is a sad situation. But just to put it in perspective, I would say that NO ILL EFFECTS is quite a bit better than being dead from a tsunami, like a bunch of people are up north. My perspective of SAD has changed a lot in the last month. I won't say "things are tough all over" but they are if you go north of Ueno eki. On a sad spectrum, Fukushima is no Ishinomaki.

Third, I very much doubt that the radiation will approach that of Chernobyl, but if it did, so what? Most of it is low level, short-half-life stuff released into or over the Pacific Ocean, where it is basically GONE for all purposes other than measurement. Cesium is more likely to wind up in a snail shell than a fish bone. Chernobyl sent its spew over Amsterdam, Stockholm, etc. And it was nasty stuff mixed with coal smoke. I remember Chernobyl, and this is no Chernobyl.

Fourth, someday, somebody will do a study, and they will find that people in Fukushima were more likely to commit suicide, more likely to die younger, more likely to have heart attacks, more likely to kill their spouses, and abuse their children, but I don't think they will find a higher incidence of thyroid or other cancers, within statistical error. You know cancer is a terrible thing, but, and I don't want to sound flip, eventually we will all die of cancer, if you live long enough, you will die of cancer. And thyroid cancer just happens to be one of the most treatable cancers there is.

This is not the end of the world, and this is not the worst thing a government has ever done to its people. Put it in perspective. Is it a BP? A Katrina? A Bhopal? A Chernobyl? Not even.

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"69 months?" (Madagascar 2) :D

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"You know, everybody has the right to be wrong, but what happened to you man? First of all, the money they offered the other day was understood to be the first tranche of compensation."

Anything future from TEPCO is tied up in the courts - which means a decade or two. Although sadly enough, Fukushima "victims" by simple geographic coincidence are at least able to prove their identity and thus much more likely to see a portion of the disaster relief donated funds than those who are truly starting from a minus situation.

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Cesium acts chemically like calcium.

Not it doesn't. Get your facts straight.

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Ignoring all the hyperbole from both sides for the moment, I think this stattement from TEPCO is the best thing they've done since 3.11. This is the first time they've sounded like adults speaking to adults.

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What this means in terms of fukushima people is that they can get back to their homes probably very soon. Not all, but I would say most.

What kind of fantasy world are you living in?

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"Cesium acts chemically like calcium.

Not it doesn't. Get your facts straight."

Uh. Yes it does.

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"Anything future from TEPCO is tied up in the courts - which means a decade or two. Although "

Not true, Lizz. TEPCO offered them the money last week. NOW. They can have it now. It does not release TEPCO from anything. They are just concerned that people have to deal with hardships, so here is some money.

Sure, settlement MIGHT take some time, but this is not part of a settlement. That is what MOST readers of the announcement never bothered to understand. This cash is NOT the settlement. It is money people can use NOW...even to hire lawyers if they want.

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"This is the first time they've sounded like adults speaking to adults."

Could not disagree more. TEPCO and the J government have been pressured at every turn to make predictions and estimates based on knowledge they did not have. When they refused, well, the US NRC went storming off and called them liars, the world press started making things up, and China and Korea started spouting off. I stopped listening to the foreign press and made excellent decisions. People who listened to the foreign press and governments look like fools now. They are.

I think the J government and Tepco have done an excellent job. Excellent. NHK and local news covered their conferences carefully and reported accurately. I suspect that you were reading foreign news, where the reporters either knew Japanese OR science (a little) but certainly never both. The NY Times bylines were from Hong Kong, for instance. Novosti had a good reporter. The Guardian had the best science coverage from a junior reporter. They made the BBC look like boobs. The French news agency.. FPA? FRP? ... top reporter actually said on a news show today, "The Japanese government never told us what to tell people." Well. DUH! All they did was gave her the facts, they did not write her story for her. BOO HOO.

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The plan is good news. Hope they are able to accomplish control sooner than 6 months. My worries: 1) The escape of highly radioactive water -- some must be entering the fresh water supply as well. 2) The need to keep workers safe, while working to stop the release of contamination into water and air. 3) The availability of raw numbers on the levels of the different isotopes at set locations. The comparisons to x-ray or background radiation is not helpful when dealing with particulate elements as being released. A huge thank you to the workers, your efforts are greatly appreciated and we wish you health and strength in this battle.

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"Cesium acts chemically like calcium.

Not it doesn't. Get your facts straight."

Uh. Yes it does.

No it does not. Cesium-137 acts like potassium and is distributed mainly in soft tissues, muscle and fat tissue. It's strontium-90 who acts like calcium, it is deposited in bones.

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"What kind of fantasy world are you living in?"

Thepro. What kind of hell are you living in? 5 weeks ago, all of the reactors shut down. They have been cooling ever since. That means less chance of fire and steam every day. No explosions. Fewer leaks. No radionuclide release. No melting.

So your 30 km people can come out and not worry, and your 20 km people can go back to their homes as soon as it is confirmed that levels are low enough. Not long at all, I think. Even at high outdoor levels, indoor levels are a fourth or less. People will not believe TEPCO, of course, so independent people are on it. That will take time.

But that is it. We are basically back to where we were on 3.14 or so, with a little bit of stuff sprinkled on the ground. Probably not much. The iodine is now 1/50 as radioactive as it was when it was spewed. The cesium is not going to jump up and bite people, after all. The hotspots will be removed. Leaching and chelation will do the rest.

The Japanese press reported that 3 of 5 hot samples of radionuclides close to the plants that they found were from a-bomb tests done in the 50s. Things like that will be looked at.

And my fantasy world? Hey. I planted my garden today. I am in Sendai, where Piglet says I should not eat the food, and others say I should not drink the milk. I am going to have some great potatoes this year. I have a fantasy world, and Fukushima is not that far away. Enjoy your fear.

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Klein2:

You keep talking like some kind of authority, but as I and LHommeQuiMent said above, you didn't even realise the difference between caesium and strontium. You have no credibility. You're entitled to your opinion, but you shouldn't tell people 'everything is fine!' or whatever, when you obviously have no real knowledge about radiation or its effects on the human body.

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Clearly Klein2 was confusing cesium with strontium. As to what kind of fantasy world he is living in? The phenomenon is called positive illusion. Whatever gets you through, I guess.

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I am not saying that somebody in Fukushima will not get cancer next year. Definitely someone will! But it is meaningless to say that people should alter their behavior in any way for hazards that don't exist.

I know for a fact what rad levels are in my neighborhood because my neighbor, who has a PhD in nuclear physics and actually teaches and researches in the subject, has shown me raw data that he collected himself with his own instruments every day. The levels have been ludicrously low since about 3.14, and we stayed inside before that, so I am unconcerned. There is no reason to believe that a heavy radionuclide like 137C would be up here, so... I eat my chard. Plus, I pay attention to the way the wind is blowing, and knowing that this is Kosa season, I thank my Chinese friends for the special present this year, -COUGH-.

And if there were 137C lying on the ground, I would wash my chard. If there were a real whole lot, I might go for some other veggies for a while, but it all leaches out and binds up after a while. With all the mercury in the environment, why aren't we all dying of mercury poisoning?

Moderator: Readers, please stop sniping at each other.

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A continual release of atoms with unstable nuclei into the environment is bad. Bad for living cells if they are inhaled or consumed. To have to witness a prescribed --so may well be more-- three months of this, on top of the month and a week already experienced, is not good. Every official, from the IAEA, the Japanese Government, TEPCO and beyond has stated that the situation is still very serious and not clear. Again, every one of those organizations have stated this. We are not even on the edge of the woods and some are still insisting we are clear and home free. This is simply not the case. To state otherwise is denial, plain and simple. If that is the best scenario they can give us... well, not good.

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Anybody else wonder why this report had to come out on a Sunday, when the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was in Japan?

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6-9 months sounds better than 6-9 years. Let's be grateful for that. This is a horrible accident, and I'm sad that my children have to be here to experience it. Regarding positive illusions == I was outside today and I didn't see, smell or taste anything odd -- I guess the nuclear crisis is over, right? A friend of mine looked up at the blue sky today and said, "Daijoubu mitai!" ("It seems fine, now!") It's funny how this particular contaminant seems to draw the biggest denial from people. We are so caught up in our senses - our superficial world, we quickly forget what science is telling us. Shame on the voters in this country to allow this to happen to the children. Shame on you - you brought this upon yourselves.

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a reader said............. " Is there a place where we can put bets on predictions like this? I´d love to see you put your money where your mouth is."

TEPCO share price is in the basement. For those who believe TEPCO is doing a great job and the situation is no big deal........... go long. What a buying opportunity !!

For those who are doubters, sell TEPCO short.

This is truly putting money where your mouth is.

Follow the trail of money and you get a clear picture and see who's right.

Cheers

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oberst, you are right on behalf of your shareholder. I am waiting for your echoes.

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Yong, not flawed logic. This is really putting money where your mouth is moment. Trust in TEPCO ? Buy low now and sell high later.

Think TEPCO messed up, going to be bankrupt and nationalized ? Then sell short , the shares will be worthless ( like Enron ).

So far we have readers in both camp, very passionate about their position, this is just one way to show just " how passionate they REALLY are " with TEPCO......................

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@ Klein, I do hope you will go buy some cheap TEPCO shares..................

:)

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@No, you're not going to buy shares in a dead horse. It won't race. You just wouldn't buy to sell short, you'll lose your money.

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It's pretty obvious that the government has decided that TEPCO will live, it really has nothing to do with whether TEPCO will 'mess up' or not, even other power companies will be asked to share the bill. Too many members of the political class have too much invested in this too big to fail monster. The equation has many more inputs than those you sketched earlier. Far more.

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@Yong, " You just wouldn't buy to sell short"................

sell naked short.............

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@Oberst, I think you'll find that not possible in Japan. Especially with the emergency status of the company.

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@yong,

From Reuters , " Analysis: Why smart investors made money on the BP oil spill "

.............TEPCO mentioned on page 2. It's not a dead horse YET

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6-9 months sounds better than 6-9 years.

horrified -- this is 6 to 9 months just to stabalize. The entire clean up is estimated to take well in excess of ten years.

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I'd be concerned for the under-empowered seasonal contract workers of companies like Kajima and Taisei who will have to do the actual work on the ground, and who will be pressurised to complete the work according to this dream schedule. Let's hope that they have enough dosimeters to monitor radiation, and that their supervisors' keep a close eye on their time on site.

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If everything goes well, 6 to 9 months for cooling down is a quite good schedule (some experts were saying up to 2 years). Let's hope everything will go well, and when things cool down it will be time to start investigating for possible criminal charges against TEPCO management. Meanwhile, TEPCO employees (and subcontractors) do a lot of good work in difficult conditions, they have all my greetings.

Right now, potential food and soil contamination is a bigger problem than atmospheric releases. As pointed out by some nuclear research agencies, there is a risk of accumulation of radioactive elements in some species (seaweed, some fish species, mushrooms...), which can accumulate these elements at levels up to thousand times the environmental levels. A careful and systematic study of radioactive contamination of food is needed (and probably under way).

In light of the potential soil contamination, it seems premature to imagine a relocation of many people in the 20 km area as early as in 6 months. It will most likely be many years for many households in the most contaminated area (north-west of the plant).

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We need to just keep moving on no mater what in the world happens.

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@Oberst. Sure.

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