Wednesday, March 30, 2011

japan has lost race to save fukushima..,

Guardian | The radioactive core in a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor, experts say, raising fears of a major release of radiation at the site.

The warning follows an analysis by a leading US expert of radiation levels at the plant. Readings from reactor two at the site have been made public by the Japanese authorities and Tepco, the utility that operates it.

Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, told the Guardian workers at the site appeared to have "lost the race" to save the reactor, but said there was no danger of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe.

Workers have been pumping water into three reactors at the stricken plant in a desperate bid to keep the fuel rods from melting down, but the fuel is at least partially exposed in all the reactors.

At least part of the molten core, which includes melted fuel rods and zirconium alloy cladding, seemed to have sunk through the steel "lower head" of the pressure vessel around reactor two, Lahey said.

"The indications we have, from the reactor to radiation readings and the materials they are seeing, suggest that the core has melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel in unit two, and at least some of it is down on the floor of the drywell," Lahey said. "I hope I am wrong, but that is certainly what the evidence is pointing towards."

The major concern when molten fuel breaches a containment vessel is that it reacts with the concrete floor of the drywell underneath, releasing radioactive gases into the surrounding area. At Fukushima, the drywell has been flooded with seawater, which will cool any molten fuel that escapes from the reactor and reduce the amount of radioactive gas released.

9 comments:

Temple3 said...

Bill O'Reilly screams, "Don't believe the hype!!" as he sips saki from the comfort of his home far away from Japan. The first cats I heard reporting on this (some analysts from the UK) hollered "Chernobyl" weeks ago. The status quo and the demand for calm are a real B. If I was on that rock and had the means to bounce with the loved ones, I would have been out immediately. Earthquake, tsunamis, nuclear reactor...GTFOH! Really, GTFOH!! Damn.

CNu said...

Is what I'm talkin bout magne!!!

The status quo had everything to do with TEPCO not wanting to lose it's major capital investment in that facility, and NOTHING to do with trying to do the right thing by its constituents.

Nuclear power is absolutely and indisputably incompatible with private ownership.

It absolutely MUST be done in exclusively in the context of public ownership with maximum transparency and accountability.

Even my man Hypertiger coming out of hibernation to queue in on the narrative implications this has for the cull. http://hypertiger.blogspot.com/2011/03/scapegoat-roulette.html

nanakwame said...

30 March 2011 Last updated at 07:31

Japan is to decommission four stricken reactors at the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear plant, the operator says.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) made the announcement three weeks after failing to bring reactors 1 - 4 under control. Locals would be consulted on reactors 5 and 6, which were shut down safely.

Harmful levels of radioactivity have been detected in the area.

More than 11,000 people are known to have been killed by the devastating 11 March earthquake and tsunami.

nanakwame said...

btw - with the climate warming, we may see nasty viruses augmented by this radiation. There was a Syfy on this, hmmm

Temple3 said...

I told a colleague a few weeks ago that the very notion that this situation was close to resolution (with more earthquakes and possible tsunamis still in the equation) was patently absurd...and further, the idea that folks in Hawaii and Cali shouldn't be nervous is also a ruff cut. Today, they're saying that the amount of highly radioactive water that is in play is equivalent to 2 Olympic-size swimming pools. Really? Shiiiiiit. If I'm in Hawaii, it's storage time. Last night, they were talking about picking up trace amounts of radiation in New York...already. Who knows how this thing ends up.

Tom said...

People who think "the environment" is just a bunch of liberal nonsense should be flying in there and buying up the cheap real estate. But somehow you never see them doing that.

CNu said...

lol, that would be the perfect "money where your mouth is" litmus test, now wouldn't it!!!

Wizznilliam said...

Are there any solutions to this?.. I think I glanced at a headline earlier today about someone saying they are thinking about putting a giant dome over the plants... Really?.. If the rods have melted through the floor then they are pretty much screwed right? How can they recover from that? Won't they have radiation emanating from the ground and seriously poising they're ground water and what not? So far all I am hearing is bad news after bad with no kind of light at the end of the tunnel..

CNu said...

There are no solutions and when it hits the water table, the level of manmade ecological devastation will have crossed a whole new threshold potentially greater than what BP has done to the Gulf of Mexico.

Fukushima is going to dwarf Chenobyl . The Japanese government has had a level 7 nuclear disaster going for almost a week but won't admit it.

The disaster is occurring the opposite way than Chernobyl, which exploded and stopped the reaction. At Fukushima, the reactions are getting worse. I suspect three nuclear piles are in meltdown.

If reactor 3 is in meltdown, the concrete under the containment looks like lava. But Fukushima is not far off the water table. When that molten mass of self-sustaining nuclear material gets to the water table it won't simply cool down. It will explode, not a nuclear explosion, but probably enough to involve the rest of the reactors and fuel rods at the facility.

Pouring concrete on a critical reactor makes no sense -- it will simply explode and release more radioactive particulate matter. The concrete will melt and the problem will get worse. Chernobyl was different -- a critical reactor exploded and stopped the reaction. At Fukushima, the reactor cores are still melting down. The ONLY way to stop that is to detonate a ~10 kiloton fission
device inside each reactor containment vessel and hope to vaporize the cores. That's probably a bad solution.

A nuclear meltdown is a self-sustaining reaction. Nothing can stop it except stopping the reaction. And that would require a nuclear weapon. In fact, it would require one in each containment vessel to merely stop what is going on now.

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