Posts tagged Japan
June 15, 2011
An international research team led by Japan and including the University of Colorado Boulder may have taken a significant step in discovering why matter trumped antimatter at the time of the Big Bang, helping to create virtually all of the galaxies and stars in the universe.
The experiment, known as the Tokai to Kamioka experiment, or T2K, included shooting a beam of neutrinos underground from the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex, or J-PARC, on the country’s east coast to a detector near Japan’s west coast, a distance of about 185 miles. Elementary particles that are fundamental building blocks of nature, neutrinos generally travel at the speed of light and can pass through ordinary matter, like Earth’s crust, with ease. Neutrinos come in three types: muon, electron and tau.
The T2K team discovered that muon neutrinos can spontaneously change their “flavor” to electron neutrinos, a finding that may help explain why the universe is made up mostly of matter rather than antimatter, said CU-Boulder Assistant Professor Alysia Marino of the physics department, who is part of a university contingent that participated in the experiment. Scientists had previously measured the change of muon neutrinos to tau neutrinos and electron neutrinos to muon neutrinos or tau neutrinos, she said.
The shift of muon neutrinos to electron neutrinos detected in the new experiment is a new type of neutron oscillation that opens the way for new studies of a matter-antimatter symmetry called charge-parity, or CP violation, said Marino. “This CP violation phenomenon has not yet been observed in a neutrino, but may be the reason that our universe today is made up mostly of matter and not antimatter,” she said.
Scientists believe matter and antimatter were present in nearly equal proportions at the onset of the Big Bang. Since matter and antimatter particles cancel each other out, it has been proposed that there must have been CP violation in the early universe that produced slightly more matter than antimatter, which accounts for all the stars, galaxies, planets and life present today.
The T2K project is a collaboration of roughly 500 scientists from 12 nations. Other participating U.S. institutions include Boston University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University of California-Irvine, Colorado State University, Duke University, Louisiana State University, Stony Brook University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Rochester and the University of Washington. The United States contingent is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The CU-Boulder group includes Marino, physics Associate Professor Eric D. Zimmerman, postdoctoral researchers Stephen Coleman and Robert Johnson, graduate students Andrew Missert and Tianlu Yuan, and former undergraduates Christopher Vanek, Bryan Kaufman, Eric Hansen, Zhon Butcher and Joshua Spitz.
The CU-Boulder team designed and built one of three magnetic horns used to generate neutrino beams. The horns are large aluminum conductors that use very high electrical currents to produce a magnetic field. The magnetic field focuses on short-lived neutrino-producing particles called pions and kaons, enhancing the intensity of the neutrino beam, said Zimmerman.
The CU-Boulder researchers also developed a device to monitor the position of the proton beam that creates the neutrinos. In addition, they contributed to the installation and operation of a T2K detector at the J-PARC site 60 miles northeast of Tokyo that measures the neutrinos right after they are produced, Marino said.
Zimmerman said more data will be required to confirm the new results. The J-PARC accelerator is being repaired following damage from the earthquake that hit Japan on March 11. The accelerator and experiment are expected to be operational again by the end of the year, said Zimmerman.
Earth Day Network Aims for Billion Acts of Green
WASHINGTON, DC, April 21, 2011 (ENS) – Earth Day Network and
Facebook are collaborating to motivate people to participate in the
Billion Acts of Green campaign with a new application for publicizing
environmental actions. The Facebook app is part of Earth Day Network’s
campaign to reach “a billion….
BP to Pay $1 Billion for Early Gulf Coast Restoration
WASHINGTON, DC, April 21, 2011 (ENS) – BP has agreed to provide $1
billion toward early restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico to
address injuries to natural resources caused by latest year’s oil
spill, the largest in U.S. history. …
Japan Enforces No-Go Zone Around Crippled Nuclear Plant
TOKYO, Japan, April 21, 2011 (ENS) – The Japanese government will
enforce a no-entry zone within 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) of the
battered Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant from midnight
Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said today…..
Bolivia Celebrates Law Granting Rights to Mother Earth
LA PAZ, Bolivia, April 20, 2011 (ENS) – Bolivia today marked the
International Day of Mother Earth with a ceremony in the Plaza
Murillo, the center of political power. An ancient ritual shared
center stage with speeches in which authorities in this Andean nation
extolled the Law of Mother Earth – the world’s first legislation …
BP Sues Transocean for $40 Billion Over Gulf Oil Spill
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, April 20, 2011 (ENS) – On the first
anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blowout in the Gulf of
Mexico, BP today filed a $40 billion lawsuit against the rig’s owner,
UN Chief Charts Five-Step Path to Global Nuclear Safety
KIEV, Ukraine, April 19, 2011 (ENS) – As he prepared to visit
Chernobyl 25 years after the world’s worst nuclear disaster, UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon outlined a five-step plan to strengthen
global nuclear safety…..
Entire Gulf of Mexico Reopened to Fishing a Year After BP Spill
WASHINGTON, DC, April 19, 2011 (ENS) – Federal regulators today
reopened commercial and recreational fishing in all federal waters of
the Gulf of Mexico that were closed to fishing due to the BP Deepwater
Horizon oil spill……
BP Blowout One Year Later: Drilling Safety an Explosive Issue
WASHINGTON, DC, April 18, 2011 (ENS) – Hundreds of activists
protesting fossil fuels marched to the Department of the Interior’s
headquarters today and swarmed inside, calling for the abolition of
offshore oil drilling, coal mining and tar sands extraction……
Georgia Court Rejects Air Permit for New Coal-Fired Power Plant
ATLANTA, Georgia, April 20, 2011 (ENS) – A Georgia administrative
law court has sided with two citizen groups opposed to the proposed
Longleaf coal-fired power plant in Blakely, Georgia, designed to be
the largest coal plant in the nation…..
Huge Texas Wildfires Scorch 1.5 Million Acres
AUSTIN, Texas, April 19, 2011 (ENS) – A unprecedented wildfire
situation in Texas has set more than 1.5 million acres ablaze, forced
hundreds of people to flee their homes and destroyed hundreds of homes
U.S. Offers $5 Million to Advance Electric Vehicles
WASHINGTON, DC, April 19, 2011 (ENS) – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven
Chu Tuesday announced $5 million in new funding for community efforts
to deploy electric vehicle infrastructure and charging stations. ..
Shell Eco-Marathon Winner Gets Over 2,500 Miles Per Gallon
HOUSTON, Texas, April 19, 2011 (ENS) – A prototype car that achieved
an amazing 2,564.8 miles per gallon won first place in the Shell
Eco-marathon 2011 in Houston this past weekend. …
EPA Considers Ban on Dangerous Chemicals in Spray Foam Insulation
WASHINGTON, DC, April 16, 2011 (ENS) – The U.S. EPA is considering a
ban or restriction on consumer insulation and sealant products
containing a family of chemicals known as diisocyantes….
U.S. Alliance Debunks Myths Surrounding Fuel Efficent Cars
NEW YORK, New York, April 14, 2011 (ENS) – Go60MPG, a new alliance
of American environmental groups, is rallying support to raise
federal fuel efficiency standards for new cars to 60 miles per gallon
by the year 2025…..
Congress Pulls Wolves Off Endangered Species List
WASHINGTON, DC, April 14, 2011 (ENS) – Congress today approved a
budget bill that includes a rider removing wolves in Montana, Idaho,
Washington, Oregon and Utah from the federal endangered species list
and sets the stage for near-term delisting in Wyoming. The measure
returns control of wolf management to the states….
Press Releases From the Environmental Marketplace
Hospitals Around the Country Hold Earth Day Events to
Highlight Importance of “Going Green”
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 21, 2010 –/WORLD-WIRE/– Hospitals and
other members of the health care sector will be marking Earth Day
2011 with a wide variety of events showcasing their efforts to
develop sustainable operations and reduce their environmental
footprint. From making a rap video to staging water tasting and other
educational games, those engaged in sustainable health care are
finding fun and creative ways to educate their peers and their
communities about their successes in lessening their impact on the
Toyota Financial Services Celebrates Earth Day and Boys & Girls
Clubs of East Los Angeles with $500,000 Investment and “BE GREEN
American Standard Inspires Solutions in Earth Day Video, ‘Water
Wake-Up Call’ <http://www.world-wire.com/news/1104180001.html>
PISCATAWAY, N.J., April 18, 2011 –/WORLD-WIRE/– – Water usage
and costs affect all Americans and are becoming newsier topics every
day. As Earth Day on April 22 nears, environmental news will get a
Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud Retains Power in Scandalous
Malaysian Polls <http://www.world-wire.com/news/1104190002.html>
KUCHING, SARAWAK, MALAYSIA, April 19, 2011, –/WORLD-WIRE/–377,000
votes from a population of 2.4 million have been sufficient to enable
Abdul Taib Mahmud (“Taib”), the controversial Chief Minister of the
Malaysian state of Sarawak, to be returned to office for his seventh
term in power. Despite heavy criticism over graft and abuse of power,
the Taib-led Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition has won the Sarawak state
polls, which were held last Saturday, with a majority of 54.5% of the
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The Boulder-Yamagata City Friendship Committee is seeking financial support for Japanese
refugees. It is working with the UN Habitat and Japan Habitat Association to raise funds for
victims of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan earlier this month.
The largest earthquake in recorded history to hit Japan triggered a tsunami with 23-foot waves
and more than 50 aftershocks that devastated cities and villages along a 1,300-mile coastline.
Victims are taking refuge in Boulder’s Sister City of Yamagata, which is dealing with the fallout
of two natural disasters and currently facing the potential meltdown of nuclear power plants
about 200 miles outside of Yamagata.
Refugees need daily living essentials such as food, water, diapers, powdered milk and clothing.
The Friendship Committee is working with friends in Yamagata to coordinate delivery of
supplies and offer comfort to those people who have been displaced by earthquake, tsunami and now from nuclear crisis.
Boulder-Yamagata City Friendship Committee is soliciting financial contributions and is
working with Yamagata Bank, Yamagata, Japan, to distribute funds to the UN Habitat and Japan
Habitat Association. Questions and donations may be directed to Yoko Tamaki Brandt, Boulder-
Yamagata City Friendship Committee, 901 Utica Ave., Boulder, CO 80304. For more
information on how to make a donation, please call 303-447-3117 or
Yamagata, Japan has been a sister city of Boulder since 1994.
In an effort to offset the inputs from the media talking heads I am forwarding comments from a friend that worked at several US nuclear plants and whose views I respect. The real tragedy of the Japanese earthquake and tsunaimi have been completely overshadowed by the events at the reactors. The current loss of life due to radiation is zero. Contrast that with the current death toll of over 10,000 that will likely run up closer to 25,000 when all are accounted for! Bill
Yes, media coverage is particularly bad on this one. I happened to have
spent a couple of years working in the bowels of Browns Ferry NP which
are identical units to those in Japan. GE Mk I BWRs.
To sum it up in a few sentences, this is essentially identical to TMI.
A Loss of Coolant Accident followed by failed fuel and probably
substantial fuel melt (there was at TMI). The huge hydrogen production
is from the zircalloy fuel cladding actually burning in the steam
environment, stripping the oxygen atom from water and releasing the
hydrogen. Same thing happened at TMI and there was a hydrogen
explosion, though since with a PWR, the entire reactor building is the
containment, the explosion was contained within the reactor building.
At TMI the core remained uncovered for about 24 hours, long enough for
the fuel to reach its maximum temperature and equilibrate with its
surroundings. The fuel that did melt simply flowed out of the core and
quenched in the water that remained below the fuel. It did not melt
through the reactor vessel. In fact it didn’t even scar the inside
surface of the vessel.
This is what I see happening in Japan. There has been partial or
complete fuel failure in both units. That is indicated both by the huge
hydrogen production and by the trace of Cs-137 and I-131 detected on the
There is a very large inventory of both isotopes in an operating
reactor. The plant design assumes that both are released as gases
during an accident and plan accordingly. That didn’t happen at TMI.
Once things cooled off enough that we could enter the containment, what
we found was that the Cs and I had reacted chemically to form cesium
iodide, a solid material. Most of it stayed in the reactor. Some came
out into the containment building and settled out on surfaces. A very
tiny amount escaped during the initial containment venting at TMI.
Again, the same thing is happening in Japan. The trace of Cs and I that
has been detected on the outside, if chemically analyzed, will be found
to be the compound cesium iodide. This compounding is why there is but
a tiny bit of material released despite practically constant containment
I don’t quite understand the pumping of sea water. That’s kind of a
last ditch decision because the salt in the seawater destroys the
stainless steel in the plant. Normally there are a few million gallons
of demineralized water on-site for emergency cooling. Maybe it got
contaminated by the tsunami. Maybe the piping from the storage tank(s)
got broken in the shake. I certainly can’t second-guess the on-site people.
I did see mention in one news report that they were using large diesel
construction pumps to pump the water. That indicates to me that the
plant is still completely blacked out. It’s possible that this is the
reason for using seawater – that none of the electric pumps in the plant
When all the dust has settled, I predict this to be identical to TMI.
An unmitigated disaster for the utility. No significant off-site
radiation exposure and no off-site contamination. In other words, a
non-event as far as the public is concerned. The massive evacuation
will prove to have been precipitous and un-necessary.
Thank God they’re using good old fashioned traditional units
of dose (the Roentgen) instead of the execrable Sievert. (1 Sievert is
100 R) The only advantage that I have is my experience at Browns Ferry
I don’t quite understand why they’re trying to fill the #3 reactor
building with water unless they’re assuming a failed reactor vessel and
primary containment. Otherwise water from the reactor building could
not get through the primary containment boundary. Bombing the spent
fuel pit with water I can understand but not the reactor building.
The radiation readings at the plant boundary and that one value quoted
at a distance from the plant are from the noble gases, primarily at this
point Xe-133. It’s a rich gamma emitter with a high specific activity.
Fortunately it only has a 5.25 day half-life and so will decay quickly.
The other, at this point minor, contributor is Kr-85. It’s mostly a
beta emitter with a rare gamma. With about a 10.5 year half life it
will be the principle source of radiation around and inside the
containment vessels in the days to come.
Fortunately its low probability gamma means that it can be vented with
little consequence. At TMI we vented a few million curies prior to the
first reactor building entry and there was no change in the background
radiation level at the plant site boundary.
I’d give anything to be at the plant site boundary with a gamma
spectrometer. With that I could tell you want was going on in the core
and what was being emitted and how much. I’ll guarantee you that there
are people there from some agency doing just that. I don’t know why
that information isn’t filtering out.
Thursday, March 17 BOULDER
Talk on “Plutonium in Breathable Dust at Rocky Flats”,
by Marco Kaltofen of Boston Chemical Data Corp., a specialist in this field, with local scientists, Harvey Nichols, PhD, & W. Gale Biggs, PhD.
7:30 PM, Naropa University’s Nalanda Campus, 6287 Arapahoe at 63rd St.
Continuing the Nuclear Guardianship at Rocky Flats series.