Minutes from SAGE update meeting 28 March 2011
Held in 35 Great Smith Street at 09:00
Professor John Beddington (GCSA)
Hillary Walker (DH)
Nick Gent (HPA)
Lesley Prosser (HPA)
Robin Grimes (Imperial College)
Richard Wakeford (Manchester)
George Sallit (TRANSEC)
Vic Evans (UKBA)
Barry Warren (AWE)
Mike Griffiths (RIMNET)
Simon Walker (OSCT)
George Etherington (HPA)
Andy Hall, (HSE)
Paul Howarth, (National Nuclear Laboratory)
Matt Hort (Met Office)
Pat Boyle (Met Office)
Jordan Giddens (DfT – CSA’s Office)
Dick Lacey (Home Office)
1. The Office for Nuclear Regulation told SAGE of developments over the weekend. Rectors 1-4 now had an electrical connection, however the number of systems connected / functional in the buildings was variable – for instance very little has been connected within building 4.
2. Reactors 1-3 are now switched to freshwater but the group was informed that it was uncertain if or how much salt was being flushed out as a result. There was also the concern over water from reactors 1-3 being contaminated with radiation.
3. The Met Office told SAGE that apart from a 12 hour period overnight on Wednesday this week, where the wind will come from the North East (ie towards Tokyo), the prevailing wind pattern would take any potential plume out to sea.
4. The CHAIR reported that there were similar outcomes to the modelling being done by US counterparts.
5. The HPA presented a paper which recommended the implementation of a monitoring regime at UK ports of entry when there was direct evidence or modelling that exposure to 6mSv or above may have been reached at or beyond the 80km zone.
6. The CHAIR pointed out that nothing near these levels had been seen so far in the incident.
7. Following a question from the CAA, HPA told SAGE that advice to air passengers and staff was to follow Japanese advice on the situation. It was noted that the dose from being in close proximity to a contaminated person over the period of a long journey would be in the order of 1/1000th of the dose received by the contaminated person.
Action SAGE Secretariat to pass HPA guidance on radioactive contamination to CAA
8. UKBA reported that they were in a position to scale up screening on incoming freight from Japan should the need require. SAGE however agreed that there was no scientific need to do so and that it would keep the matter under review.
9. The technical question of the current screening regime being able to provide sufficient capability for contaminated people would be explored by a subgroup. HPA were actioned to pass source terms to AWE.
Action HPA, AWE, Home Office
10. The operational point of false alarms providing a logistical issue at ports of entry was raised. It was agreed that DfT would look at this issue, informed by false alarm rates as modelled in the technical subgroup.
Action DfT / TRANSEC
11. It was noted that shipping freight would start to arrive in the UK in mid April, this may cause an issue with alarms on radio active monitoring being activated at low levels.
12. The Office for Nuclear Regulation told SAGE that alongside the potential issue of steel corrosion, there was also a potential problem with cracking of the steel. The group was asked to look further into the science behind this and it was also agreed that international colleagues would be asked to comment.
13. SAGE requested more information about the potential worst case scenario for the radiation levels of any run-off water and the implications of this.