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den 30. september 99.

E-mail afsendt fra Japan 6. oktober (de nyeste mails ligger først i rækkefølgen)

Wed Oct 6 17:52:46 1999
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 23:20:59 (lokal tid) +0900
From: hosokawk@cc.saga-u.ac.jp (Hosokawk)
Subject: MagpieNews #991006b (accident-15th report)

Magpie Country Nukes Headliner
nuclear issues news brief from Japan

Criticality accident at Tokai uranium processing plant



6 October 1999

Is the Tokai accident over?

No way!

First of all, nobody knows what is the physical condition inside the building in which the criticality took place. The radiation (now mainly gamma) level is too high so that there is no access for the time being.

At least we are 100% certain that there is a good lot of fission products (i.e. radioactive materials) in that building, namely what JCO calls the Re-conversion Test Building.

This means at least two things:

* We do not know whether there is physical destruction of the building structure through which the fission products can escape into atmosphere.
* A large number of workers prepared for radiation exposure is needed for liquidation of the site.

There is an alternative, of course, of doing no liquidation work and just shield the entire building with concrete and/or some other material, i.e. construction of a Chernobyl-type sacrophagus although the size is much smaller.

At the moment, the site has been walled with a make-shift shield of piled sandbags actuallyu containing alminium powder that absorbs neutrons and dry concrete that blocks gamma.

The following is an inventory of fission products detected within 3km of the accident site. The figures were taken from newspapers and TV reports, and has been compiled by CNIC.

* strontium-91 --- 0.021Bq/m*3 in air, 900m southeast of the site
* strontium-91 (krypton-91) --- unknown amount, location not specified
* iodine-131 --- 54.7Bq/kg from mugwort leaves, 100m from the site
* iodine-133 (krypton-91) --- unreported amount, 100m from the site
* cesium-137 --- unreported amount, 7 locations
* sodium-24 --- 64Bq/kg, 300m west from the site
* sodium-24 --- 1.7Bq/kg, 3km west from the site
* xenon-139 --- from the vomit of the exposed workers
* krypton-91 --- from the vomit of the exposed workers

Wed Oct 6 11:56:33 1999
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 17:35:18 (lokal tid)+0900
From: hosokawk@cc.saga-u.ac.jp (Hosokawk)
Subject: MagpieNews #991006 (accident-14th report)

Magpie Country Nukes Headliner
nuclear issues news brief from Japan

Criticality accident at Tokai uranium processing plant



6 October 1999

Mayor of Tokai Village (= Tokai-mura) and the Governor of Ibaraki Prefecture jointly met the Prime Minister Obuchi on Monday (4 Oct). They firmly requested suspension of the JCO's operations, and also stated that new legislation to secure safety in nuclear plants should be introduced.

Then the Tokai Village Mayor issued an order of total suspension of the operation of JCO Tokai plant (all the work inside its Tokai facility) on the basis of the Safety Agreement between the company and the village administration. This is the first time in Japan in which a local government excersized this sanction power prescribed in nuclear safety agreement with a plant operator.

It should be also pointed out, however, that Tokai local government did not conduct a nuclear emergency drill in the last 8 years. The adminsitration is very much responsible, too.

Yesterday (5 Oct), the Obuch cabinet was reshuffled and the LDP/LP/CGP coalition cabinet took office. The newly appointed Science & Education Minister (in charge of nuclear develoment) is Mr H. Nakasone, son-in-law of the former rightwing PM, Y. Nakasone, who introduced the nuclear budget to Japan for the first time some 40 years ago. An ironical appointment, indeed.

The Government's emergency responce headquarter has been resolved, and now a Nuclear Accident Investigation Committee is to be set up. The PM's office ordered a snap inspection in all the nuclear facilities, including power plants, all over Japan.

STA is now searching the JCO plant. It is expected that JCO's license will be revoked. Ibaraki Prefecture Police has also set up a criminal investigation task force into the accident, since it is now become clear that the executives of the JCO company were aware of the operation based on unlawful manuals.

It was also decided that the Tokai nuclear fuel reprocessing plant, of which the operation has been suspended since the March 1997 explosion and fire, would not restart for the time being. The reporcessing plant was about to restart. Its operator is Japan Nuclear Fuel Cycle Development Institute (JNC), former PNC.

It has been revealed that the three JCO workers, who were hospitalized by mass radiation exposure, had not been wearing their film badge to measure radiation dose. It is a wild violation of the safety regulation, although badges would have been burned out by the neutron bombard they suffered.

Two of the hospitalized are still in critical conditions. Now they have no l ymphocyte in the blood, i.e. their blood-forming cells died out. Doctors are transfusing blood-forming cells from the patient's brother in one case, and transfusing umbirical blood in the other. A chance of their survival is minimal.

A number of public meetings and protest actions are being organized all over the country by NGOs, trade unions and spontaneous citizens.

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Sidst opdateret 12. oktober 1999