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Nyt om atomkraftulykken i Japan
den 30. september 99.

E-mail afsendt fra Japan 4. oktober (de nyeste mails ligger først i rækkefølgen)




Sun Oct 3 19:45:31 1999
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 1999 01:54:34 (lokal tid) +0900
From: hosokawk@cc.saga-u.ac.jp (Hosokawk)
Subject: MagpieNews #991003 (accident-12th report)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Magpie Country Nukes Headliner
nuclear issues news brief from Japan
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Criticality accident at Tokai uranium processing plant

12th REPORT

DOSE OF THE EXPOSED WORKERS WAS AS MUCH AS 17 SIEVERT!!
ACCIDENT POSSIBLY LEVEL 5;
JCO HAD AN ILLEGAL OPERATION MANUAL TOTALLY IGNORING THE ESSENTIAL NEED OF CRITICALITY PREVENTION


3 October 1999

Sorry for the interval. I have been to Kyoto on an inevitable business trip.

Dr Jin Takagi of CNIC (Citizens' Nuclear Information Center, Tokyo) has been doing calculations to assess the level of accident. He says Level 5 on INES (international nuclear event scale) is likely, rather than Level 4 as provisionally assessed by STA (Science and Technology Agency of the Japanese Government). For more information, visit CNIC website below:
http://www0.jca.apc.org/cnic/english/index.html

At 6:30pm yesterday (Saturday, 2 October), the 350m-radius evacuation was lifted. Before this decision, all the houses and buildings in the zone had been surveyed with radiation counters. Most people returned home. Before they are allowed to go into their houses, radiation measuring staff checked all the rooms inside and laundries that had been left outside when the residents took refuge. (I just wonder where did those measuring staff come from. STA or JCO? --- I will try to find out.)

Mycle Schneider of WISE-Paris has compiled a useful chronology of the Tokai accident at the following website:
http://www.wise-paris.org/intro.html (click into "News" section)

Exposure doses of those hospitalized JCO workers have been reassessed by the medical team at NIRS hospital, Chiba, mainly based on the blood examination results. The following astonishing figures were disclosed:

17 Sv (= 17,000 mSv) --- most grave patient, age 35, male
10 Sv (= 10,000 mSv) --- another grave patient, age 39, male
3 Sv (= 3,000 mSv) --- less grave patient, age 54, male

The lives of the three are definitely at horrible risk.

The 35-year male was transferred to the Tokyo University Hospital, arriving there at 4:30pm Saturday. Doctors are preparing for either umbilical cord blood transplantation or haematogenous tissues transplantation, rather than bone marrow transplantation.

In a press conference at STA, JCO revealed that the operational manual of the uranium processing in question had been altered, telling workers to handle uranium nitrate manually in stainless steel buckets, which they did and caused the irreversible criticality to occur. Such operation is of course unacceptable at all under the Law for the Regulations of Nuclear Source Material, Nuclear Fuel Material and Reactors.

In other words, the cause of this very serious accident is not a careless mistake on the part of the inexperienced operators so much as the Sumitomo JCO's corporate crime of preferring easy and quick work, for the sake of "costperformance", to essential safety requirements.

The incredible "bucket operation" had been started on 10 September, according to a JCO engineer (press conf. on 3 October). The operators (= the three hospitalized) used 7 buckets, each filled up with a maximum amount of uranium solution for criticality prevention, and put the content at once into the sedimentation tank (50cm diameter, 70cm height) in which the chain reaction was triggered.

STA executives declared that JCO's violation of the law would be rigorously investigated into and severely sanctioned. But isn't it also STA's serious fault that such a floppy operation, with illegal rewriting of the manual, has been carried out unchecked despite routine supervision by STA?

Tokyo Central Market (wholesale food market) removed the temporary ban on Ibaraki products. Government task force (ERHQ) had radiation checked them, with "all negative" results according to the press release of the Chief Cabinet Secretary, Mr Nonaka.

What the Government ERHQ has been doing, it seems to me, is little more than a hasty safety declaration, only vaguely substantiated and "everything back to normal" moods emphasized.

Mainichi Newspaper conducted a nationwide opinion poll today and yesterday (2-3 Oct), one of the results being that three quarters of those polled by phone answered they were either against or cautious of the nuclear development policy in the country. Only one fifth replied that Japan should go on promoting nuclear energy.

For those who can read Japanese on your computer, the following website is also informative.
http://www.geocities.co.jp/WallStreet/1795/datugenpatu/990930rinkaijiko.htm


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Sidst opdateret 12. oktober 1999