Atmospheric modelers are still warily watching the spread of radionuclides from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant as workers there struggle to bring the situation under control. “The wind is blowing everything out to sea, so they’ve been lucky so far,” says Andreas Stohl of the Norwegian Institute for Air Research. Modelers’ biggest problem at the moment is scant knowledge of how much radioactive material is actually escaping from Fukushima.
“The data flow is very incoherent,” Stohl says. The weather is also causing concern as the forecasts currently show a change in wind direction on Sunday night and Monday that could blow contamination toward Tokyo. “Things may change in the meanwhile,” says Gerhard Wotawa of Austria’s Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics in Vienna. “But if the worst happens [at the plant], then that could cause problems there [in Tokyo].”
Modelers have to first estimate how much material is coming from the Fukushima plant, known as the “source term,” and then take current wind field data provided by, for example, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. Then they plug all this into an atmospheric model to predict how the material will spread over the coming days. Stohl says information on the source term is so scarce that his model has had to rely in part on media information. Wotawa, on the other hand, has access to data from radionuclide sensors belonging to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization for his model.
via Radiation Plume Modelers Chafe at Scarcity of Data – ScienceInsider.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Wholesale prices jumped last month by the most in nearly two years due to higher energy costs and the steepest rise in food prices in 36 years. Excluding those volatile categories, inflation was tame.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that the Producer Price Index rose a seasonally adjusted 1.6 percent in February — double the 0.8 percent rise in the previous month. Outside of food and energy costs, the core index ticked up 0.2 percent, less than January’s 0.5 percent rise.Food prices soared 3.9 percent last month, the biggest gain since November 1974. Most of that increase was due to a sharp rise in vegetable costs, which increased nearly 50 percent. That was the most in almost a year. Meat and dairy products also rose.
Energy prices rose 3.3 percent last month, led by a 3.7 percent increase in gasoline costs.Separately, the Commerce Department said home construction plunged to a seasonally adjusted 479,000 homes last month, down 22.5 percent from the previous month. It was lowes
via Wholesale prices up 1.6 pct. on steep rise in food – Yahoo! Finance.
Andrew Nichols of CBC News reported about the leak on Wednesday afternoon and said he spoke to an Ontario Power Generation spokesperson who told him the risk is minimal but that such leaks are not supposed to occur.
Nichols also spoke to Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition of Nuclear Responsibility.
“In his words, ‘What the hell is considered negligible?’” Nichols reported. “[Edwards] is concerned that it’s the nuclear industry that is telling you and I and telling the public what is considered to be negligible but he’s concerned that we don’t have a proper sense of what negligible is,” reported Nichols.
Nichols also reported that the leak could be a concern because Lake Ontario is the main source of drinking water for millions of people who live along the lake.
The leak comes as the world is watching Japan’s unfolding nuclear crisis, as multiple reactors face cooling system failures and possible meltdowns in the wake of Friday’s earthquake and tsunami.
via Pickering nuclear plant reports water leak – Toronto – CBC News.