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聯合國秘書長潘基文周二 (26日) 表示，烏克蘭車諾比核災及日本福島核事故突顯出，全球必須「深刻反思」核能的安全性。
問題可能是: 組織不像個人 ，它可能是無法學習的…..
找找＜礦物質＞成分標示，如果是寫：Cupric Oxide 銅氧化物、
Manganese Sulfate硫酸錳、Potassium Chloride 氯化鉀、Sodium Selenate 硒化鈉、、等等型式的，都是化學合成的。
如果＜其他成分＞寫有：Lactose 乳糖、Talcum 滑石粉、Titanium Dioxide 二氧化鈦、Starch 澱粉、食用色素、Sodium Ben zoate 苯甲酸鈉、Potassium Sorbate己二烯酸鉀、 Benzoic acid 安息香酸、 Benzoin Sodium 安息香酸鈉 、、等等的，就是有一大堆添加物及防腐劑的化學合成營養品， 絕對不是天然蔬果原料。
2010 年5 月號138 期《康健雜誌》調查發現：不分男女老少全民瘋保健食品，
2010 年5 月號138 期《康健雜誌》
此外，如慢性病人也可適量補充維生素B群。 因為慢性病如同處於高壓力狀態中，很容易消耗維生素B群， 林杰樑 醫師提醒。
2010年11月初，我們一群朋友在台北舉辦Russell Ackoff的逝世紀念研討會。我說；「我2009年準備多介紹他的「理想系統設計」。又將他在 Bell Lab 當過顧問的故事（收入合著的《理想系統設計》前言）翻譯出來，詳本書「美國通信系統昨天被摧毀了」一文。
我讀過他寫的兩個個案（cases）-- 杜邦特殊化學事業部的 SHE（安全、健康和環保） （收入其《公司的再開創》（Re-Creating the Corporation: a design for 21th century）的附錄 B：An Application of Interactive Planning, pp.295-315）和 某企管學院之設計（收入 《民主型公司》 的 “An Idealized Design of a Business School”，pp.212-38）---原想比較後者與紐約 Fordham 大學的 「企業管理碩士」（戴明學者MBA）課程，不過因資料不夠而放棄。不過，他的商學院系統之設計，諸如「所有的老師都只用一職稱（title）：”Professor”：都沒有終生職（tenure），而聘期採用先為 1年，其次2年，再聘4年，8年，16年到退休。」的確很有創意，
取材: 鍾漢請等 系統與變異: 淵博知識與理想設計法 (2010)
An image photographed on April 18 by a remote-controlled robot in the No. 2 reactor building of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant (Tokyo Electric Power Co.)The interior of No. 3 reactor building of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant on April 17. The containment vessel is on the right and a carry-in entrance in the background was left open after the explosion that occurred on March 14. (Tokyo Electric Power Co.)
Editor's note: We will update our earthquake news as frequently as possible on AJW's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/AJW.Asahi. Please check the latest developments in this disaster. From Toshio Jo, managing editor, International Division, The Asahi Shimbun.
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High levels of radiation discovered at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant could disrupt Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s timeline for a cold shutdown of the crippled facility, TEPCO officials acknowledged.
On April 18 unexpectedly high levels of radiation were detected in water in the storage pool containing spent fuel rods in the No. 2 reactor, the officials said.
TEPCO officials believe the radiation may have been triggered by damage to the spent fuel rods. One possibility being looked at is the damage was caused by debris falling into the pool when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck on March 11.
An analysis of water samples taken from the storage pool on April 16 found cesium-134 at 160,000 becquerels per cubic centimeter, cesium-137 at 150,000 becquerels and iodine-131 at 4,100 becquerels.
Ordinarily, the level of radioactivity in the pools is much lower.
Another problem area is the building housing the No. 1 reactor. TEPCO officials used a U.S.-made robot on April 16 to measure radiation levels and detected radiation of 270 millisieverts per hour in the No. 1 reactor building.
That level of radiation means a worker could spend less than an hour in the area before exceeding the allowable dosage.
The exposure would be so high workers could not re-enter the area for several years, officials said. If radiation levels remain at high levels, TEPCO's experienced workforce would all quickly reach maximum radiation exposure levels, severely slowing the effort to stabilize the plant.
Radiation measurements were also taken at another entrance to the No. 1 reactor building and found levels of 49 millisieverts per hour. Radiation at an entrance to the No. 3 reactor building was also measured at 57 millisieverts per hour.
Those are still high levels and workers who remain in that environment for five hours will reach the maximum amount of radiation exposure allowed.
Huge volumes of water contaminated with radiation are also expected to slow work to bring the Fukushima reactors under control.
Officials of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said April 18 that a pool of water about five meters deep had been found in the basement of the building housing the No. 4 reactor.
Radiation levels as high as 100 millisieverts per hour were detected on the water's surface.
About 54,000 tons of radiation-contaminated water also sits in the basements of the turbine buildings for the No. 1 to No. 3 reactors.
The radiation level in the basement of the turbine building for the No. 2 reactor is especially high.
Finding storage space for the contaminated water is a pressing issue, as is what to do with the rubble on the plant grounds that is also contaminated with radiation.
NISA official Hidehiko Nishiyama said, "The situation is very serious. It is desirable to lower the level of radiation workers are exposed to by using anything that will shield the radiation as well as by decontaminating the workers. We will have to think of ways to carry that out from now."
TEPCO officials have plans to fill the core containment vessels at the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors with water to submerge the pressure containers that hold the fuel rods.
To achieve TEPCO's road map objective of a cold shutdown of the reactors after six to nine months, officials are seeking to restore the cooling system rather than depend on pumping in water to the reactor cores.
However, the main equipment and piping used in the continuous cooling system are all located within the reactor buildings. Workers will have to work in those buildings to inspect and repair the equipment and piping.
As a contingency plan in the event the cooling system cannot be restored, preparations are being made to install heat exchangers that use cool air rather than water. That installation work will also require workers to enter the reactor buildings.
At the No. 2 reactor, holes have opened in the suppression pool connected to the containment vessel so repairs will be needed before the No. 2 reactor can be submerged. However, there is the possibility that radiation levels of several dozens of sieverts are present near the suppression pool. Such levels would lead to immediate health problems for workers.
Plans are being considered to use robots for inspection and simple tasks to reduce radiation exposure among workers.
Another factor that has slowed work at the Fukushima plant is the frequent aftershocks. Some have led to tsunami watches that have meant workers have had to be evacuated.
An aftershock measuring an intensity of lower 6 on the Japanese scale of 7 hit Fukushima Prefecture on April 11. That caused a power outage that stopped the pumping in of water for about 50 minutes.
Another tsunami triggered by an aftershock could also flood the plant site, damage equipment and lead to the leaking of highly contaminated water.
Meanwhile, NISA officials on April 18 for the first time publicly admitted that some of the fuel rods in the No. 1 to No. 3 reactor cores had melted in the wake of the March 11 quake and tsunami.
NISA officials gave a report to the government's Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan.
NISA officials had alluded to the possibility of a melting of the fuel rods, especially after hydrogen explosions rocked the No. 1 to No. 3 reactors. However, no NISA official had actually stated that some of the fuel rods had melted until April 18.
NISA officials said that based on an analysis of the radioactive material collected and their radiation concentration, there has likely occurred a melting of the fuel pellets contained within the fuel rods.
加強臨終倫理教育 家屬害怕不孝的罪名及良心壓力；醫師擔 憂遭家屬控告和醫療糾紛，明知救不活，也全力卯上，於是健保損失很重，家屬經濟耗盡，身心俱疲，病人插管硬治，生不如死，形成3輸的後果。趙可式博士提倡 安寧病房的臨終醫學觀念，仍沒受到民間和醫師的重視。希望醫院對社會多做這類文宣，醫學院也加強臨終倫理的教育，讓病人在安詳、舒適、自然的情況下，在自己家中度完人生最後的時刻。死在家中是人類上百萬年來最自然舒適的結束方式，而不是渾身插管死在陌生的醫院裡。
「葉克膜」並不是醫師名字，而是一套冷冰冰的醫療儀器，全名是Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenator，中文翻譯為「體外膜氧合」，又名「體外維生系統」，英文縮寫「ECMO」，直接音譯就是「葉克膜」。
葉 克膜是一種體外循環的醫療輔助器，也就是人工心臟和人工肺臟的組合體。適合用於心臟手術後心衰竭、急性心肌炎、急性肺栓塞、急性心肌梗塞、心因性休克、呼 吸窘迫症等急重症病患為主。但癌症末期、惡性腫瘤、後天免疫缺乏症，或合併多器官衰竭的病人並不適用。因為葉克膜裝機後，關鍵在於讓心、肺臟可以部分或完 全休息，降低心臟負荷，靜待心肺功能自行修復，或器官移植的機會。換言之，「葉克膜」只能維持住病患生命跡象，等病情有起色時，不需依賴「葉克膜」維持， 即可予以拔除，但無法治癒疾病。
1972年美國密西根州立大學教授勞勃巴列(Robert H.Bartlett)是全球第一個使用葉克膜的醫師。台灣雖遲至1994年才跟進，至今也迅速累積上千名案例，高居全球第二。由於台灣的操作技術自成體 系，研發出不少臨床專業的療法，勞勃巴列也曾特地來台交換心得。
葉克膜一炮而紅後，更多家屬要求醫院裝置葉克膜為親人救命，而技術已超越國 際水準的台灣，成功存活率也只占三、四成。由此可見葉克膜並非萬能，儘管其「任勞任怨」，仍有其侷限性。雖有裝機長達半年的案例，但不可否認，裝機時間愈 長，出現併發症機率愈高，癒後也愈不利；甚至有併發氣胸、血栓等風險，不少急重症病患裝機後宣告不治，仍占多數比例。
葉克膜常使用在急救、搶救生命這種時間限制下，往往醫療團隊在一瞬間得決定裝機與否，葉克膜就像在「扮演上帝的角色」，而醫療團隊就像是「向上帝買時間」 、 「與死神拔河」，為醫療團隊爭取更多時間，作進一步診斷和治療。
台 大醫院外科醫師柯文哲表示：「該不該裝葉克膜？目前仍很兩難。」因此，台灣健保制度定義出葉克膜裝機原則，就是評估個案心肺功能需為可恢復者，或是「急性 心肺衰竭」的急重症病患，暫時取代其心、肺功能而爭取搶救時間者，優先裝機；反之，若已確立病情屬不可恢復、即使裝機後仍無法存活，或將來不適合接受心肺 移植者，即不適予裝機。
國軍桃園總醫院心臟外科主任劉光益表示:「葉克膜裝機後，心肺功能什麼時候會恢復？如同爬山，要爬上去才看得到！能 否完全恢復？任誰也不敢保證。」所以，與其說葉克膜是「高科技」，還不如說是「高經濟」，健保承擔了費用支出，才使台灣人民有機會使用這種昂貴的醫療儀 器。本院心臟血管外科成立發展已屆三年，開心手術已達百台以上，心臟輔助裝置如葉克膜，治療水準亦相對進步。未來可能要再做科學性探討與分析，評估哪些病 人有用或沒用，進而予ECMO知識標準化、明文化，以造福更多急性心肺衰竭的病人，重獲生命。
ＪＲ西日本の佐々木隆之社長（６４）は、ＪＲ宝塚線（福知山線）脱線事故から２５日で６年を迎えるのを前に朝日新聞のインタビューに応じた。後を絶たな い事故、不祥事について「お客様の命を預かるＪＲ西の一員という意識が低い」と謝罪。安全意識の徹底に向け、現場の声を経営に反映させる「下意上達」の組 織編成に取り組む姿勢を見せた。
要使用原产物丰富的热带雨林的木材，就需要时刻考虑对环境的影响。朝日WOODTEC从2007年开始销售使用热带木材并考虑生物多样性的地板材料 “生态地板”。目前供货量占所有地板材料的4成左右。该公司商品部长大野智史称：“注重环保的住宅公司和高级公寓开发商等都很感兴趣，计划2011年度内 将所有供货地板材料变为生态地板。”
Stewardship / Forest Stewardship Certification
It is generally agreed that voluntary carbon offset projects must also prove additionality in order to ensure the legitimacy of the environmental stewardship claims resulting from the retirement of the carbon credit (offset). According the World Resources Institute/World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WRI/WBCSD) additionality
Forest Stewardship Certification
在 林業領域，FSC的標準對社會和環境的要求是最高的，它的可行性在各大洲、不同森林類型、面積和產權制度下已經得到證實。遵循了FSC原則與標準 的要求獲得認證的產品能夠貼FSC的商標，貼有FSC標籤的產品向消費者保證了它們來自於能夠滿足當代人和後代人的社會、經濟和生態需求的森林。森林管理 委員會的認證是由獨立的第三方認證機構來開展的，這就保證了認證的透明度和可信性。
FSC要求森林經營者制訂適合的經營方案並定期對其 更新，這個方案必須與FSC的森林管理原則相符合。FSC認證標準要求森林經營者在追求經濟效益 的同時也要考慮到對環境的影響和對林區周邊社區利益的顧及。FSC對於將天然林轉化為人工林的規定非常嚴格，為了保護天然林不被採伐，1994年11月以 後在天然林地上營造的人工林一般不具備認證條件。FSC對林區作業中工人使用的個人防護用品也有嚴格的規定。
隨著國際上對FSC認證產 品的需求增加，2007年，貼有FSC標籤的產品銷售額超過了200億美元。FSC也成為了世界上增長最快的森林認證體 系，全球超過7%的用材林是由FSC認證的。FSC已被納入到許多國家的綠色採購政策中，這就提高了國際上對來自於中國的FSC認證木質品的出口需求。
但上帝在创造小小的地球时，大概没想到会出现这么多的“美国人”吧。如果地球上的人全都成了“美国人”，地球将会烧光一切、呼吸困难、吃 光一切、到处充满烟雾，要比阿尔·戈尔先生（环境活动家、原美国副总统）的预测严重得多。《绿色革命》原来题目所讲的“炎热、平坦、拥挤”的世界里，这才 是问题的关键所在。
东京公寓的确很狭小，但是却非常实用。日本生产的电器产品在日式房间里发挥出了最好的效果。以这样的居住环境为前提，日本形成了高效而准 时的公共交通系统。日本应当把这样的城市居住环境模式原封不动地打包出口到全世界。全世界的人都应当像“东京人”那样选择紧凑的居住空间，而不是像“美国 人”那样铺张浪费。
这项竞争的胜者将会是谁呢？答案是永远生活在这个星球上的子孙后代们。（《日经商务》记者：泷本大辅、山根小雪、北爪匡、纽约支局 水野博泰、伦敦支局 大竹刚）
From Safe Distance, U.S.-Japanese Team Draws Up Plan to Demolish Reactors
By KEN BELSON
Published: April 7, 2011
TOKYO — Hydrogen explosions. High levels of radiation. Thousands of gallons of contaminated water dumped into the sea. With the drumbeat of bad news, including another powerful aftershock on Thursday, it will take months, if not years, to stabilize the reactors and spent fuel pools that were damaged in last month’s earthquake and tsunami at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Powerful Aftershock Complicates Japan’s Nuclear Efforts (April 8, 2011)
Japanese City’s Cry Resonates Around the World (April 7, 2011)
Bank of Japan Pledges Aid for Rebuilding From Quake (April 8, 2011)
Yet it is not too soon for a team of engineers from Japan and the United States to begin working on the thorny task of how to dismantle the reactors, four of which are so badly damaged that the plant’s operator has said they will be scrapped.
Already, dozens of engineers from Toshiba, which helped build four of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors, have been joined by experts from the United States to prepare for the decommissioning work, a job so big that the planning needs to start even now, in parallel with the efforts to contain the crisis.
The team includes experts from Westinghouse, whose majority owner is Toshiba; the Shaw Power Group, a civil engineering firm; and the Babcock & Wilcox Company, an energy technology and services company, one of whose specialties is the disposal of hazardous materials.
The plans to take apart the reactors are complicated not only by the volatility of the situation but also by the uncertainty about the reactors’ condition once they finally cool. No one has ever decommissioned four damaged reactors at one power plant, let alone reactors rocked by a powerful earthquake and swamped by a tsunami.
In fact, no Japanese nuclear power plant has ever been entirely decommissioned, which is one reason Westinghouse and Babcock & Wilcox — companies that helped shut down the damaged reactor at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania after the accident there in 1979 — have joined the effort.
Among myriad problems, the engineers must find ways to dispose of the fuel, remove reactors, demolish buildings, and clean up nearby land and water.
“Each of these problems is solvable and have been solved before,” said Hiroshi Sakamoto, a senior vice president at Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corporation, who returned to Japan to lead the team. (It has dubbed itself “Mt. Fuji,” short for Management Support for Fukushima U.S. and Japan Initiative.)
“The situation is really the complexity and combination of factors,” he said.
While the team makes plans, 800 of Toshiba’s engineers are helping the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the Fukushima Daiichi plant, with the more pressing problem of cooling the reactors and reducing the radioactivity there. About 250 engineers are stationed in Fukushima, and an additional 500 are working at Toshiba’s nuclear engineering center in Yokohama, Japan.
They are helping to re-establish electrical power to pumps and motors and to install power panels; draining contaminated water; and acquiring desalination equipment, underwater pumps and air purifiers to filter radioactive dust. Westinghouse has provided Tokyo Electric with boron, fuel, spare pumps and other supplies.
“We are taking a two-tier approach for Fukushima,” said Kiyoshi Okamura, chief of Toshiba’s nuclear business. “These efforts are mutually complementary.”
Because of the emergency, Toshiba’s engineers — those who are helping Tokyo Electric and those planning the decommissioning — are working without a formal contract. But the Japanese-American team submitted a proposal to Tokyo Electric on April 4 that lays out a long-term plan to remove and transfer spent fuel as part of a larger project.
Toshiba has not been told when a decision will be made on the proposal, which might ultimately be worth billions of dollars.
Westinghouse, Shaw and Babcock & Wilcox were eager to help when it became apparent early on that the Fukushima reactors might have to be scrapped. But the crisis made it difficult for Tokyo Electric to respond. By joining hands with Toshiba, the American companies won instant credibility and found a conduit to reach the utility.
“It was chaos at the beginning, so it helps to have Toshiba” as a partner, said Jack Allen, the president of Westinghouse in Asia.
Two weeks ago, engineers from the American companies started arriving in Japan, where they were briefed about the situation. They moved into a war room at Toshiba’s headquarters that includes offices in a secure part of the building. The rooms are stuffed with desks, computers, whiteboards and dozens of engineers slumped over laptops.
One door is covered with business cards and a sheet that includes photographs of the engineers so that names can be more easily matched to faces. On the walls are aerial photographs and schematics of the Fukushima reactors, as well as charts and photographs from decommissioned reactors at Three Mile Island and the Maine Yankee nuclear power plant in Wiscasset, Me., which took eight years to shut down. Graphic illustrations of cranes and other equipment are taped to the walls.
A well-used coffee cart sits in the hallway. Soda cans and snacks share desk space with laptops. A mixture of Japanese and English fills the air.
Though it is still in its early days, the “Mt. Fuji” team has proposed installing devices around the Fukushima Daiichi plant to monitor radioactivity. It is weighing what machinery is needed, based on various scenarios, and will soon open an office in New York so that engineers there can take over when the team in Tokyo is asleep.
Most of all, the team is waiting for the engineers at Fukushima Daiichi to cool the reactors so it can begin work. “All things hinge,” said David J. Richardson, a president at Babcock & Wilcox, “on having safe access.”
Fukushima No. 1 plant designed on 'trial-and-error' basis
An aerial view of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant taken Tuesday from a helicopter flying at about 7,300 meters and about 38 kilometers to the west. (Eiji Hori)
While changes improved safety at the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant, overconfidence, complacency and high costs stymied such action at the now-crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant, according to people familiar with the situation.
The difference in the safety designs was the main reason why the crisis continues to unfold at the Fukushima No. 1 plant--one of the oldest in Japan--while the No. 2 plant a few kilometers south remains relatively unscathed by the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
Officials at another Tokyo Electric Power Co. nuclear plant in Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, Niigata Prefecture, analyzed the differences in safety designs at the two Fukushima plants.
According to their analysis and TEPCO sources, there are clear differences in safety levels between the two plants concerning power source equipment, such as emergency diesel generators and transformers at the reactor cores, and pumps used to bring in seawater to remove residual heat from the cores.
TEPCO documents show that the emergency diesel generators located in the turbine buildings at the Fukushima No. 1 plant were flooded by the tsunami and rendered inoperable, except for the one at the No. 6 reactor. This effectively disabled the cooling mechanisms.
After the No. 1 plant lost its power sources, the reactor cores became much more difficult to control, leading to serious problems, including hydrogen explosions that damaged the housing of the reactors.
Radioactive materials have also been emitted from the damaged reactors.
No such problems have been encountered at the No. 2 plant.
The emergency generators at the No. 2 plant were in buildings housing the reactor cores. Because the reactor buildings are much more airtight, the generators at the No. 2 plant continued to function after the tsunami struck.
Emergency generators are also located within the airtight reactor core buildings at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, which has similar design features to the Fukushima No. 2 plant.
When asked about the differences in the safety designs between the No. 1 and No. 2 plants, an official at TEPCO headquarters said: "This does not mean we have admitted that a problem exists. We will conduct further detailed studies to identify the problems."
The No. 1 plant was built in the 1960s and 1970s. Improvement work was conducted in the 1970s and 1980s to strengthen its resistance to earthquakes.
A nuclear engineer who used to work for TEPCO and was involved in those improvements said no consideration was paid to the location of the emergency diesel generators or the seawater pumps.
"First of all, there was the judgment that the reactor core buildings were in a safe location in relation to the expected height of any tsunami that might strike the plant," the engineer said. "However, even if they wanted to move the generators, there was no space within the reactor building, so that would have meant a major revision in design.
"At the time, no one considered making such changes," the engineer said.
Both the No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear plants were hit by waves more than 14 meters high, well above the expected limits of 5.7 to 5.2 meters estimated in safety designs.
The tsunami rendered inoperable all of the No. 1 plant's pumps, which were also not located within a sealed structure.
Although the pumps at the No. 2 plant were inside buildings, the tsunami crippled the ones to the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 reactors. But the pump at the No. 3 reactor continued to cool the reactor core.
Referring to the possibility of installing the seawater pumps inside buildings, the former TEPCO engineer said, "It would have been a major project because various pipes are laid out under the pumps, and so all of that would also have had to be moved."
A midlevel TEPCO official also said money was a big reason why repairs and changes to the No. 1 plant were not made.
"The blueprints for the reactor cores at the No. 1 plant were bought 'as is' by Toshiba Corp. from General Electric Co., so the priority at that time was on constructing the reactors according to those blueprints," the official said.
When the Fukushima No. 1 plant was being built, Japan was importing technology from the United States and learning from a more advanced nuclear power nation.
The No. 1 plant was considered a "learning experience."
A former TEPCO executive said, "The Fukushima No. 1 plant was a practice course for Toshiba and Hitachi Ltd. to learn about GE's design on a trial-and-error basis."
With the exception of the No. 6 reactor, the other five reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant are Mark I boiling-water reactors developed by GE.
According to sources, the locations of emergency generators and the seawater pump structure were also based on a GE design.
In contrast, the No. 6 reactor is a Mark II reactor. Moreover, the Fukushima No. 2 plant and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, which were constructed from the mid-1970s to the 1990s, used an improved and safer version of the Mark II reactor.
After Toshiba and Hitachi gained experience in constructing nuclear plants, they located emergency generators and seawater pumps within buildings.
Yet those safety improvements were never reflected in changes at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
Other TEPCO officials said that changing the anti-tsunami design or moving the location of the emergency generators would have been an acknowledgment that previous decisions were insufficient.
Kiyoshi Sakurai, a commentator on technology issues, said that relying on a GE design also put the Fukushima No. 1 plant at a disadvantage because U.S. designers were not as cautious about earthquakes and tsunami as those working in Japan.
Boeing Says It Didn’t Expect Cracks in 737s So Soon
By CHRISTOPHER DREW and JAD MOUAWAD
Published: April 5, 2011
Boeing said Tuesday that many of its older 737 jets were prone to metal fatigue much sooner than it had expected, an admission that largely exonerated Southwest Airlines for the five-foot hole that opened in the roof of one of its planes last Friday.
Larry W. Smith/European Pressphoto Agency
Paul Richter, a senior Boeing engineer, said that the company had thought the jets would not be vulnerable to serious cracks in their skin until “much, much later,” and that it was surprised that its safety projections were so far off the mark.
He said Boeing had expected the aluminum skin and the supporting joints on the planes to last through 60,000 cycles of takeoffs and landings before airlines need to be concerned about cracks. But the Southwest jet had nearly 40,000 cycles, according to federal regulators.
Boeing’s stark admissions underscored how regulators and industry officials were struggling to understand the broader ramifications of the accident.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it would require inspections of at least 175 of the older Boeing planes after every 500 flights until the problems are better understood. And analysts said the problems could eventually lead to more extensive inspections of a wider variety of aging planes. Southwest, meanwhile, said it had found minor subsurface cracks in a total of five other 737s since the accident on Friday forced that jet to make an emergency landing at a military base.
Southwest has been buffeted by questions about how intensely it operates its planes. But in describing how surprised Boeing was by the accident, Mr. Richter came to the defense of the airline, Boeing’s largest customer.
Noting that Southwest operates more 737s than any other airline, Mr. Richter said he thought its involvement in the accident “was just a statistical event far more than anything to do with Southwest and how they operate the aircraft.”
But the new information about how soon the fatigue set in raised concerns among aviation safety experts about how much progress the industry had made on such issues, which burst into view when a large section of the roof of a 737 flown by Aloha Airlines ripped open in 1988 and a flight attendant was sucked out of the plane.
John J. Goglia a member of the National Transportation Safety Board from 1995 to 2004, said the Southwest incident once again highlighted a problem with older aircraft that endured tens of thousands of pressurization cycles.
“We’re talking about the same issues today, and we’re proposing the same fixes,” he said. “We need to take a few of these high-cycle airplanes and run them through a very vigorous inspection program and see where we can identify deficiencies, and see whether there is anything different than what the manufacturer thought there would be. But I don’t see that happening because it is expensive.”
Mr. Richter, the chief engineer for Boeing’s older 737 models, told reporters that Boeing had felt so confident about the joints that it had not planned to tell airlines to inspect that part of the plane until it reached 60,000 cycles.
He also said Boeing had redesigned the joints — where overlapping pieces of the outer skin are riveted together — in 1993 after weaknesses appeared in an earlier version.
After the Aloha accident in 1988, Boeing introduced hundreds of modifications to several of its 737 models. It also recommended that airlines replace joints after 50,000 cycles for the more than 2,000 737s it had already produced.
Mr. Richter said the changes in 1993 were expected to make a row of rivets that fasten the flaps of skin together — also known as lap joints — hold up better against the tensions caused by repeated pressurization and depressurization.
When the joints are stressed by that pressure, “you get a slight rotation of the material that causes a bending in the skin, right at or adjacent to where this row of fasteners is located,” he said. “And it’s a combination of the pressure loads in flight and the bending that promotes fatigue growth at a faster rate.”
Aviation experts said that Boeing might have been too confident about the durability of the new design. “When you model something you make assumptions,” Mr. Goglia said, “and if your assumptions are weak, your outcome is compromised.”
Mr. Richter said that the newest generations of 737s — starting with the 600 series that entered service in 1998 and known as the Next-Generation 737 — incorporated significant design changes intended to reduce the chance of lap joint cracking. These changes reduce the amount of bending.
Large cracks are rare, though they seem to be appearing with more frequency in recent years, including an incident involving a larger Boeing 757 last October in which a 1-foot by 2-foot hole opened up as the plane was flying at 31,000 feet. The F.A.A. issued an airworthiness directive in January mandating that airlines inspect their Boeing 757-200s and 300s, after it received several reports of cracking in the fuselage skin of roof panels.
In July 2009, another Southwest flight between Nashville and Baltimore, also a Boeing 737-300, experienced a rapid decompression when an 18-inch hole opened up while the plane was flying at 35,000 feet. The N.T.S.B., in its report on the incident, said the hole was caused by “continuous fatigue cracks initiated from multiple origins on the inner surface of the skin.” Those occurred near a step formed at the edge of aluminum panels that had been chemically milled.
Mr. Richter said this was fundamentally different from the latest incident on the Southwest flight. In the latest event, the cracks apparently formed inside the holes that fastened two pieces of metal together, he said.
Under an emergency directive issued by the Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday, all of the planes with more than 35,000 flight cycles must be inspected within five days. Those with 30,000 to 35,000 cycles must be examined within 20 days, and Mr. Richter said that a total of 570 planes, including 737-300s, 400s and 500s built from 1993 and 2000 — could eventually require the inspections as they reached those milestones.
Christine Hauser contributed reporting.
U.S. Sees Array of New Threats at Japan’s Nuclear Plant
By JAMES GLANZ and WILLIAM J. BROAD
Published: April 5, 2011
United States government engineers sent to help with the crisis in Japan are warning that the troubled nuclear plant there is facing a wide array of fresh threats that could persist indefinitely, and that in some cases are expected to increase as a result of the very measures being taken to keep the plant stable, according to a confidential assessment prepared by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
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Among the new threats that were cited in the assessment, dated March 26, are the mounting stresses placed on the containment structures as they fill with radioactive cooling water, making them more vulnerable to rupture in one of the aftershocks rattling the site after the earthquake and tsunami of March 11. The document also cites the possibility of explosions inside the containment structures due to the release of hydrogen and oxygen from seawater pumped into the reactors, and offers new details on how semimolten fuel rods and salt buildup are impeding the flow of fresh water meant to cool the nuclear cores.
In recent days, workers have grappled with several side effects of the emergency measures taken to keep nuclear fuel at the plant from overheating, including leaks of radioactive water at the site and radiation burns to workers who step into the water. The assessment, as well as interviews with officials familiar with it, points to a new panoply of complex challenges that water creates for the safety of workers and the recovery and long-term stability of the reactors.
While the assessment does not speculate on the likelihood of new explosions or damage from an aftershock, either could lead to a breach of the containment structures in one or more of the crippled reactors, the last barriers that prevent a much more serious release of radiation from the nuclear core. If the fuel continues to heat and melt because of ineffective cooling, some nuclear experts say, that could also leave a radioactive mass that could stay molten for an extended period.
The document, which was obtained by The New York Times, provides a more detailed technical assessment than Japanese officials have provided of the conundrum facing the Japanese as they struggle to prevent more fuel from melting at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. But it appears to rely largely on data shared with American experts by the Japanese.
Among other problems, the document raises new questions about whether pouring water on nuclear fuel in the absence of functioning cooling systems can be sustained indefinitely. Experts have said the Japanese need to continue to keep the fuel cool for many months until the plant can be stabilized, but there is growing awareness that the risks of pumping water on the fuel present a whole new category of challenges that the nuclear industry is only beginning to comprehend.
The document also suggests that fragments or particles of nuclear fuel from spent fuel pools above the reactors were blown “up to one mile from the units,” and that pieces of highly radioactive material fell between two units and had to be “bulldozed over,” presumably to protect workers at the site. The ejection of nuclear material, which may have occurred during one of the earlier hydrogen explosions, may indicate more extensive damage to the extremely radioactive pools than previously disclosed.
David A. Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer who worked on the kinds of General Electric reactors used in Japan and now directs the nuclear safety project at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that the welter of problems revealed in the document at three separate reactors made a successful outcome even more uncertain.
“I thought they were, not out of the woods, but at least at the edge of the woods,” said Mr. Lochbaum, who was not involved in preparing the document. “This paints a very different picture, and suggests that things are a lot worse. They could still have more damage in a big way if some of these things don’t work out for them.”
The steps recommended by the nuclear commission include injecting nitrogen, an inert gas, into the containment structures in an attempt to purge them of hydrogen and oxygen, which could combine to produce explosions. The document also recommends that engineers continue adding boron to cooling water to help prevent the cores from restarting the nuclear reaction, a process known as criticality.
Even so, the engineers who prepared the document do not believe that a resumption of criticality is an immediate likelihood, Neil Wilmshurst, vice president of the nuclear sector at the Electric Power Research Institute, said when contacted about the document. “I have seen no data to suggest that there is criticality ongoing,” said Mr. Wilmshurst, who was involved in the assessment.
The document was prepared for the commission’s Reactor Safety Team, which is assisting the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which owns the plant. It says it is based on the “most recent available data” from numerous Japanese and American organizations, including the electric power company, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, the United States Department of Energy, General Electric and the Electric Power Research Institute, an independent, nonprofit group.
The document contains detailed assessments of each of the plant’s six reactors along with recommendations for action. Nuclear experts familiar with the assessment said that it was regularly updated but that over all, the March 26 version closely reflected current thinking.
The assessment provides graphic new detail on the conditions of the damaged cores in reactors 1, 2 and 3. Because slumping fuel and salt from seawater that had been used as a coolant is probably blocking circulation pathways, the water flow in No. 1 “is severely restricted and likely blocked.” Inside the core itself, “there is likely no water level,” the assessment says, adding that as a result, “it is difficult to determine how much cooling is getting to the fuel.” Similar problems exist in No. 2 and No. 3, although the blockage is probably less severe, the assessment says.
Some of the salt may have been washed away in the past week with the switch from seawater to fresh water cooling, nuclear experts said.
A rise in the water level of the containment structures has often been depicted as a possible way to immerse and cool the fuel. The assessment, however, warns that “when flooding containment, consider the implications of water weight on seismic capability of containment.”
Experts in nuclear plant design say that this warning refers to the enormous stress put on the containment structures by the rising water. The more water in the structures, the more easily a large aftershock could rupture one of them.
Margaret Harding, a former reactor designer for General Electric, warned of aftershocks and said, “If I were in the Japanese’s shoes, I’d be very reluctant to have tons and tons of water sitting in a containment whose structural integrity hasn’t been checked since the earthquake.”
The N.R.C. document also expressed concern about the potential for a “hazardous atmosphere” in the concrete-and-steel containment structures because of the release of hydrogen and oxygen from the seawater in a highly radioactive environment.
Hydrogen explosions in the first few days of the disaster heavily damaged several reactor buildings and in one case may have damaged a containment structure. That hydrogen was produced by a mechanism involving the metal cladding of the nuclear fuel. The document urged that Japanese operators restore the ability to purge the structures of these gases and fill them with stable nitrogen gas, a capability lost after the quake and tsunami.
Nuclear experts say that radiation from the core of a reactor can split water molecules in two, releasing hydrogen. Mr. Wilmshurst said that since the March 26 document, engineers had calculated that the amount of hydrogen produced would be small. But Jay A. LaVerne, a physicist at Notre Dame, said that at least near the fuel rods, some hydrogen would in fact be produced, and could react with oxygen. “If so,” Mr. LaVerne said in an interview, “you have an explosive mixture being formed near the fuel rods.”
Nuclear engineers have warned in recent days that the pools outside the containment buildings that hold spent fuel rods could pose an even greater danger than the melted reactor cores. The pools, which sit atop the reactor buildings and are meant to keep spent fuel submerged in water, have lost their cooling systems.
The N.R.C. report suggests that the fuel pool of the No. 4 reactor suffered a hydrogen explosion early in the Japanese crisis and could have shed much radioactive material into the environment, what it calls “a major source term release.”
Experts worry about the fuel pools because explosions have torn away their roofs and exposed their radioactive contents. By contrast, reactors have strong containment vessels that stand a better chance of bottling up radiation from a meltdown of the fuel in the reactor core.
“Even the best juggler in the world can get too many balls up in the air,” Mr. Lochbaum said of the multiplicity of problems at the plant. “They’ve got a lot of nasty things to negotiate in the future, and one missed step could make the situation much, much worse.”
Henry Fountain contributed reporting from New York, and Matthew L. Wald from Washington.
The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant (Provided by Air Photo Service)
Editor's note: We will update our earthquake news as frequently as possible on AJW's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/AJW.Asahi. Please check the latest developments in this disaster. From Toshio Jo, managing editor, International Division, The Asahi Shimbun.
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With an apology to the public, Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Monday night began discharging water with low levels of radiation into the ocean from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
"Because the volume of contaminated water is huge and due to time constraints, we chose the option of discharging the water," a TEPCO official told a news conference.
TEPCO officials explained the decision was made to free up storage space within the plant grounds for water contaminated with much higher levels of radiation.
This is the first time TEPCO has knowingly discharged contaminated water into the ocean.
A total of 11,500 tons of contaminated water will be dumped into the ocean over the next few days.
Under the reactor regulation law, contaminated water can be discharged as an "emergency measure." TEPCO officials submitted the water discharge plan to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and received its approval.
An NISA official said the TEPCO decision was "unavoidable."
According to TEPCO officials who calculated the effects from the water discharged, even if an individual ate fish and seaweed taken at least 1 kilometer from the Fukushima plant on a daily basis for a year, the amount of radiation ingested would only be one-fourth of the natural radiation exposure over the course of a year of 2.4 millisieverts.
TEPCO officials said 10,000 tons of water would be discharged from the central waste processing facility.
Once the water has been discharged, highly contaminated water at the basement of the turbine building for the No. 2 reactor would be moved to the waste processing facility.
In addition, 1,500 tons of groundwater stored around the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors will also be released into the ocean to prevent the water seeping from the ground from flooding important equipment in those reactors, such as emergency generators.
The contaminated water at the No. 2 reactor turbine building contains radioactive iodine at levels of several million becquerels per cubic centimeter.
In contrast, the water in the central waste processing facility has a radioactivity level of 6.3 becquerels while the water from the No. 5 reactor has a radioactivity level of 1.6 becquerels and the water from the No. 6 reactor 20 becquerels.
While the radiation levels of the water to be discharged into the ocean are similar to contaminated rainfall around the Fukushima plant, they are still 100 times the standard for radiation levels in seawater as defined by the reactor regulation law.
The total amount of radioactivity that will be discharged into the ocean will be 170 billion becquerels.
While that may seem like a lot, the radioactivity level in 10,000 tons of the discharged water is equivalent to about 10 liters of contaminated water accumulated at the basement of the No. 2 reactor.
The highly contaminated water in the No. 2 reactor turbine building is slowing work to restore a cooling mechanism that would be necessary to eventually achieve a cold shutdown of the reactor core.
One idea initially considered was moving the contaminated water into the central waste processing facility, but the facility was flooded by the tsunami following the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake.
An attempt to move the water in the waste processing facility to another location failed.
The water is believed to have been contaminated from radioactive materials that spread from the Fukushima plant.
The reactor buildings and turbine buildings were also flooded by the tsunami because the buildings were located near the coastline.
Although the contamination levels of the water to be discharged are low, there will inevitably be effects on the environment.
The Hirakata fishing cooperative in Kita-Ibaraki announced Monday that Japanese sand lance caught off the coast contained radioactive iodine at levels of 4,080 becquerels per kilogram.
Because the Food Sanitation Law does not currently contain standards for radioactive iodine in fish and meat, health ministry officials are considering establishing such standards.
Cesium at radioactivity levels of 447 becquerels was also found in the sand lance. The legal standard for cesium is 500 becquerels.
The fishing cooperative caught five types of fish as an experiment before the resumption of fishing.
Health ministry officials advised against eating the sand lance because the radioactive levels were double the standards set for some vegetables.
Ibaraki prefectural government officials said the sand lance would not be available on the market because there was no fishing of it off the coast of Ibaraki.
Masashi Kusakabe of the Marine Ecology Research Institute said: "Although the half-life of iodine is short at eight days, fish that swim in waters that are constantly contaminated with radiation will accumulate a certain level of radiation. A thorough check of the fish is necessary because fish tend to be eaten while fresh."
TEPCO workers are still a long way from stable cooling of three reactors. And water contaminated by high levels of radiation continues to leak from the No. 2 reactor, where its containment vessel is believed to have been damaged.
The No. 1 reactor still requires careful calibration of the water pumped into the core because the relative airtightness of the core has led to fluctuations in core pressure.
The temperature in the No. 1 reactor core reached about 400 degrees on March 23. While the temperature has since fallen, it was still 234 degrees as of 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Pipes to the pressure container of the No. 2 reactor have been damaged, so there is the possibility that core pressure is dropping as a result. That has, in turn, made it easier for water to be pumped in, which likely led to a decrease in the temperature, some experts said.
However, the water that overflows from the reactor is believed to have leaked onto the plant grounds.