Olympia, I got the impression from the article that the incinerator was various municipal waste, but I could be wrong--it might be medical waste.
What escapes from the incinerator would depend first on what is being burned, and second what level of scrubbers and filters are installed on it. This can vary widely.
Here's what the EPA says can be emitted by such facilities:
EPA requires municipal waste combusters to control the following emissions:
Cesium is not particularly filtered or scrubbed for, so I would assume that the trapped cesium in the filters was particulate cesium. Elemental cesium probably just escaped back into the air.In 1995 and 2000, respectively, EPA issued final guidelines and standards for large and small municipal waste combustors. The guidelines are to be used by states to develop State Plans to reduce air pollution from existing large Municipal Waste Combustors (MWCs) (built on or before December 19, 1995) and small MWCs (built on or before August 30, 1999). The standards create stringent air emissions limits that will be applied to new large MWCs (built after December 19, 1995), new small MWCs (built after August 30, 1999), and, most recently, new very small MWCs built after December 9, 2005. EPA issued a final Federal Plan for large MWCs on November 12, 1998. This plan will affect large existing MWCs in states that do not have an approved State Plan. The regulations require control of the following criteria and toxic air emissions: mercury; particulate matter; cadmium; lead; carbon monoxide; dioxins/furans; nitrogen oxides; sulfur dioxide; and hydrogen chloride. EPA issued a final Federal Plan for small MWCs on January 31, 2003. This plan will affect small existing MWCs in states that do not have an approved State Plan.
This by the way, is great news, from NHK:
Part of this optimism is due to this report:Hosono wants to shrink evacuation zone in July
Japan's newly appointed minister in charge of the nuclear disaster says he hopes to shrink the evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant by mid-July.
Goshi Hosono said in Tokyo on Tuesday that control over the facility has been improving little by little.
The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, has said it aims to complete by July 17th the first stage of its plan to put the facility under control.Hosono said that by then he hopes the reactor cooling system will have been stabilized and there will no longer be a risk of a hydrogen explosion. He said if that is confirmed, he wants to have some evacuees return home.Tuesday, June 28, 2011 16:13 +0900 (JST)
and this good news:TEPCO injects nitrogen into No.2 reactor
The Tokyo Electric Power Company began injecting nitrogen into the containment vessel of the No.2 reactor at the Fukushima nuclear plant on Tuesday night to prevent hydrogen explosions.
Hydrogen is generated when water in the reactor comes in contact with radiation. It's believed that hydrogen is building up inside the containment vessel.
As the reactor continues to be cooled, reaction between hydrogen and oxygen can result in an explosion, in the worst case scenario.
The utility firm has been pumping nitrogen into the No.1 reactor. But there's no knowing yet when it can start doing so at the No.3 reactor, because the plumbing work for nitrogen injections cannot be undertaken due to high-level radiation inside the reactor.
According to a roadmap to contain the crisis at the plant, the work of injecting nitrogen into the 3 reactors is scheduled to be complete by July 17th.
The spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, Hidehiko Nishiyama, says the current situation is severe but workers at the plant will do their best to achieve the target on the roadmap.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 20:39 +0900 (JST)
And work on erecting the cover for unit 1 has begun:TEPCO restarts water-circulation cooling
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has restarted its new water-recycling cooling system after repairing leaky pipes.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, activated a pump for the water injection system on Tuesday afternoon, after checking pipe connections and taking measures to prevent a sharp rise in water pressure.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says the system is working steadily.
TEPCO was forced to halt the system on Monday after only about 90 minutes of operation due to a water leak. The firm said the leak lasted for 2 minutes at most, and that about one ton of water seeped out. TEPCO said water burst from a weak connection, and that the firm had not taken originally planned measures to prevent a sharp rise in water pressure.
The system is designed to pump highly radioactive water out of reactor buildings, decontaminate it and circulate it back into the reactors as coolant.
TEPCO says the system is the key to cooling the reactors while decreasing the amount of contaminated water threatening to overflow.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 19:15 +0900 (JST)
A photo of the work:TEPCO starts covering No.1 reactor building
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has begun building a giant polyester shield over the damaged Number 1 reactor building to contain the spread of radiation.
One of the largest cranes in Japan has been brought to the site for the construction. It has a 140 meter-long arm that can lift up to 750 tons.
The crane will be used to install a fabric cover around the reactor building. Before that, it will be used to remove debris from the top of the building, which was shattered by a hydrogen explosion one day after the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says that when the shield is installed, the entire structure will be about 54 meters high.
Meanwhile, offsite at Onahama Port about 50 kilometers from the nuclear plant, the utility is preassembling 62 steel components that will be joined to create a rigid frame. The frame will support one millimeter-thick polyester fiber panels.
The components will start arriving at the plant in July. Work to assemble them will be done by the crane. The utility says the process will minimize the number of workers who must spend time at the site and lessen their radioactive exposure. TEPCO hopes to complete the cover by late September.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 20:07 +0900 (JST)
And some strontium was found in the seabed
44 becquerels per kg is not a huge amount. And that was the most they found. But based on the land findings, I would not have expected a huge amount.Radioactive strontium detected in seabed
Radioactive strontium has been detected for the first time on the seabed near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it found strontium-89 and -90 in the seabed soil. The company conducted a survey on June 2nd about 3 kilometers off the coast at 2 locations, some 20 kilometers north and south of the nuclear complex.
The substances pose a serious health risk because they can accumulate in the bones if inhaled, which could cause cancer.
Up to 44 becquerels per kilogram of strontium-90 were detected, which has a half-life of 29 years.
The substances had been detected before in soil on land and in seawater following the nuclear accident in March.
A member of the government's Nuclear Safety Commission, Shigeharu Kato, says more examination should be carried out to find out if or how the substances can accumulate in marine life.
The fishery ministry conducted separate surveys. It did not find radioactive strontium in fish and seafood samples taken off the coast of Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures. Both are located south of the Fukushima plant.Tuesday, June 28, 2011 08:54 +0900 (JST)
And TEPCO has a new president.
Apparently the fates of Unit 5 & Unit 6 and the four reactors at Daini are still not permanently decided.New TEPCO president interviewed
The new president of the Tokyo Electric Power Company has told NHK that he will do everything he can to control the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Toshio Nishizawa assumed the post of TEPCO president on Tuesday.
Nishizawa said the victims of the nuclear disaster will be appropriately compensated, but that to make this happen, government support will be indispensable.
Commenting on 6 other nuclear reactors in Fukushima Prefecture whose fate remains in limbo, Nishizawa said the reactors wouldn't exist without consent of the local people. The 4 crippled reactors at the plant are to be decommissioned.He also said cost-cutting, sales of the firm's assets and other drastic streamlining measures will proceed before utility charges are raised.
Nishizawa was apparently addressing concerns that fuel costs may rise as a result of increased thermal power generation and massive compensation payments.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 21:09 +0900 (JST)
Meanwhile, France is going to spend one billion euros to build a better reactor
It is not quite correct to characterize Germany's and Italy's energy policy as shifting from nuclear to renewable sources, as they will be burning more coal and gas, since renewables are not appropriate for baseload power, which is what nuclear provides. Also you can't say Italy is shifting, since, it has no nuclear reactors now. It does however, buy significant amounts of power from nuclear Fran ce.France to invest in developing new reactor
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to invest 1 billion euros or 1.4 billion dollars to develop a next-generation nuclear reactor.
Sarkozy said at a news conference in Paris on Monday that France remains committed to nuclear power to ensure stable and competitive energy supplies.
France is currently constructing advanced European Pressurized Water Reactors, but is already looking to develop a 4th-generation reactor, which is expected to have enhanced energy efficiency and reduced nuclear waste.
Japan's research has been focused on an experimental fast-breeder reactor. But the prototype reactor has been plagued by glitches and there is no prospect of it being operational in the near future.
Sarkozy is bucking the trend away from nuclear energy since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Germany and Italy are shifting their energy policy from nuclear power to renewable sources.
Observers say France is hoping to take a global lead in nuclear energy and win contracts to build new power plants for other countries.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 06:37 +0900 (JST)
Lady Gaga sued over charity wristband sales
Pop star Lady Gaga has been sued over sales of charity wristbands for relief efforts following the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
A group of consumer advocacy lawyers in the US alleges that the singer took some proceeds from wristbands she sold on her website by inflating shipping costs, despite having promised to donate all sales to the disaster areas.
The class-action lawsuit was filed in the state of Michigan. The amount of damages claimed was not immediately disclosed.
The wristbands, inscribed with the message "Pray for Japan," were sold for 5 dollars each.
The lawyers said that while they commend Lady Gaga for her philanthropic efforts, they want to ensure that claims about donating all proceeds to Japan are true.
The singer has been in Japan since last week for a charity concert, and has not issued any comment on the suit to US media.
Lady Gaga's distributor in Japan, Universal Music, says it will issue a statement after confirming the facts.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 20:07 +0900 (JST)