Pressure at reactor 3 stable, concerns over radioactive food rising

by Jess Miller

March 21, 2011

Fukushima nuclear disaster

Recently, we told you about a build up in pressure at reactor #3 that could result in the venting of radioactive air and steam into the atmosphere.

According to reports from NISA, that release was not necessary and didn’t happen. NISA states that the increase in pressure was caused by increased pumping of seawater into the reactor pressure vessel, which caused steam generation and the pressure increase.

To solve the problem, the steam was released into the suppression pool where it condensed and pressure decreased. Pumping into the reactor pressure vessel was decreased, which stabilized the situation.The situation remains a grave concern.

Food safety

Spinach with radioactive iodine 27 times higher than the government limit was found in the city of Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture, more than 100k south of Fukushima.

In the Kitaibaraki city just 75 kilometers south of the nuclear plant, spinach was found to be registering 12 times more than the limit. While the government claims there is no risk to human health, they have asked that the areas stop shipping the spinach. Radiation levels considered unacceptable were also found in spinach and other vegetables grown in Tochigi and the Chiba Prefecture.

Iodine contaminated milk was found in four municipalities, prompting the Fukushima government to call on all dairy farmers from the area to voluntarily stop shipping the milk and not consume it themselves.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said radioactive materials were found in sample water taken Saturday in prefectures of Tokyo, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and Niigata – levels were below the official limit of 300 becquerel per kilogram set by the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan. However, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare found additional results detecting 308 becquerel per kilogram of iodine in tap water taken on Thursday.


Showers are expected through late Monday near Fukushima. NISA said there would be no effect to human health if they are exposed to small amounts of the rain, but that people should still avoid getting wet by the rain.


Power cannot be switched on in #1&2 before tomorrow, despite some confused media reports. First priority will be to get lights and meters operational in the control room. Inspection of machinery will only start tomorrow.

Fuel Pools

NISA refused to answer questions about measurement results on spent nuclear fuel pool water temperature. NISA confirmed that getting electricity into fuel pool #3 & 4 would be very challenging because of the severity of damage on the equipment.

A seawater pumping line is being built to #2 to get water into the fuel pool, in the event that internal pumps do not work. SDF sprayed another 80 tones to reactor #4. The Fire Department sprayed over 60 tones of water on reactor #3.

Armored tanks will begin efforts to clean up debris at the site of the crisis.

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.