Radiation Update


As of 11 pm Thursday (10 am EDT), radiation in Tochigi City near my office was down even farther since Wednesday’s report to only 0.183 microsieverts per hour (μSv/hr). Recent history of this measurement:

  • 0.224 μSv/hr Mar 16 at 12 pm
  • 0.216 μSv/hr Mar 16 at 4 pm
  • 0.195 μSv/hr Mar 17 at 10 am
  • 0.189 μSv/hr Mar 17 at 4 pm
  • 0.183 μSv/hr Mar 17 at 11 pm

Wind across Fukushima is heading southeast at 1-10 meters per second, still blowing emissions over the Pacific.

The situation at the plant looks worse, however, and the concern is that the containment vessel will be breached and that the spent-fuel pool is without water and emitting radiation.

“Right now we have indications at the site of radiation levels that … would be lethal within a fairly short period of time,” Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko told the House Energy Committee Wednesday. “So they are very significant radiation levels. It is certainly a more recent development that we have seen these very, very high readings. … We believe at this point that Unit 4 may have lost a significant inventory, if not lost all, of its water. … There is no water in the spent-fuel pool and we believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures.”

Thus, while radiation levels are low now, they may not stay that way. I’ll keep monitoring and update as I can, and include other measurement station data.

The US military began voluntary evacuations at four military bases in Japan. See the article in Stars and Stripes and consult the map below:

US bases in Japan

Going to bed. Tempted to stay there. More this evening, US time.


Both conditions continue boding well for the Tokyo area. At the stricken Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station, conditions are more worrisome.

Helicopters are dumping water on a pool storing spent fuel at the No. 3 reactor in an attempt to cool uranium and plutonium rods that foreign nuclear regulators said were exposed and might be emitting radiation.

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says there may be no water in the No. 4 reactor spent fuel cooling pool. They see no smoke or steam rising from the reactor, however.

The US Embassy in Tokyo is advising Americans to stay at least 50 miles from the plant. America is becoming more involved and one of its immediate goals is to better ascertain what’s going on and share status more quickly and completely than the Japanese government has done. That would be excellent.

I’ll update throughout the day here, night in America.

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  1. Bill
    Posted March 18, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Jason you need to get out as soon as you can. Everyone appreciates your reporting but you need to get out. Is there anything you need? I hear from my sister-in-law that people are hoarding and there is no food in the stores. Do you need us to send anything? Our prayers are with you and the Japanese. I will even pray to Jizo for your safe travel.


    • Posted March 18, 2011 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Bill. I have options in front of me, constantly updated. I can evacuate to a second work location in Kyushu, probably more quickly than I can get a military airlift — but not sure yet. I don’t want to leave but will do so if necessary. So far, radiation levels are remaining low and the worst has not come to pass at the plant.

  2. Naif Baidoon
    Posted March 18, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I trust your reports more than I do watching CNN. Thanks for doing this.

  3. Jack D.
    Posted March 18, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink


    You are reaching more people than you can possibly know with your updates and messages of hope. Dont get discouraged, hang tough and Soldier On! You are a brave and courageous man…you should have been in the military! Keep up the excellent reporting!

    With prayers and highest regards,

    Jack Dona
    MSG, U.S. Army (Ret)

  4. Conrad
    Posted March 18, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Saying a prayer for you, Jason.

  5. Bob
    Posted March 18, 2011 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Here is a good source of information…

    It is from the Nuclear Energy Institute.

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