Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nuclear disaster could aggravate tsunami destruction in Japan

Fukushima I NPP 1975
Aerial view of the plant before the accident
According to Kyodo News, the level of radiation at the control station of Fukushima no. 1 power plant is a thousand times the normal levels. At the moment however the radiation levels outside is "only" 8 times the normal levels, what means that most of the radioactivity is yet being contained in the plant.

Fukushima I nuclear power plant has six reactors, three of which were working when the earthquake and tsunami hit the area. Reactor no. 1 suffered from major malfunction in the cooling system so the government declared a nuclear emergency (per law but also because it is a very real emergency). Official reports have admitted that the reactor has pressures of more than 2.5 times the capacity of the system and a "solution" being considered is to release the excess gases to the atmosphere, what will surely result in catastrophic radiation emissions. Not doing it however may be even worse (a meltdown very possibly).

The plant was built in 1966, almost half a century ago being older than Chernobyl plant, which collapsed in that fated year of 1986. 

Naturally, I am, like everyone, shocked by the destruction and deaths caused by the forces of Nature but I am even more concerned on the aggravating effects of humankind's technology, very specially the risk of a nuclear disaster, which I understand is a fact right now, only that we do not understand yet its dimension.

Update (Mar 12): nuclear meltdown ongoing?

Right now the situation is very confuse but a meltdown was announced by some news sources c. 5:20 am (GMT). Later at 6:36 it was reported that pressure was released successfully from the damaged reactor, however at 7:56 a massive explosion is recorded to have happened. Some experts say meltdown is not possible because of the characteristics of the reactor (light water: no cooling = no reaction) while others think it is instead.

Sources: Al Jazeera, The Guardian, BBC (includes video of the explosion).

PS- No further details have emerged other than it is now obvious that the building of the reactor is now nothing else than an empty structure and that a column black smoke is heading towards the sea (by the moment, left). The meltdown "Chernobyl" scenario is probably very much real at this point but, as usual, authorities are minimizing the threat in order not to cause panic, specially in the context this accident has happened (amidst massive destruction).

There is an information at Florida Oil Spill Law, taken from an expert, Mark Hibbs, on CNN live, who said:

Detection of Caesium indicates we have gotten to the point of meltdown.

And then the broadcasting company changed theme. 

So yes, basically that is it. Just that authorities and media are too scared to admit openly but that seems to be the case.

Let's recap what happened with Chernobyl: the radioactive cloud circled Earth many times although the worst affected areas were in a large radius from the accident. For many years milk from many parts of Europe could not be exported and whole cities had to be evacuated  for good near the destroyed plant. It is estimated that 200,000 people died directly from the accident or the radiation released by it, many of them children.

Furthermore, in order to contain the meltdown, many heroic people, notably pilots, had to sacrifice their lives, a giant sarcophagus was built around the core and is now in need of being replaced by another larger one (nothing is forever except radioactivity). The meltdown continues and will continue for what we usually call "always". 

We can expect a similar scenario in Japan.

PS(2)- Russia Today has confirmed the cesium traces detected. Tokyo, hundreds of kilometers south of the nuclear plant, is a ghost town for fear of radiation and whoever goes out uses masks apparently.

One can only wonder how will this affect the rescue efforts in the cities affected by the tsunami, where there were reports of many people being trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings and masses of refugees stranded here and there.

Also radiation by the exploded reactor has climbed to maybe 8000 times the normal levels. The situation is dire and other plants and reactors in the same plant are also affected by similar circumstances.

Ivan Blokov of Greenpeace mentioned that the risk of earthquake was well known when these reactors were built, because a similar catastrophe happened in 1926. All Japan is part of an earthquake zone but because of reasons of economic independence, it has relied heavily on nuclear energy, with the consequences we can see today.

PS(3)- The Japanese authorities have announced that the reactor's container did not break ("only" the outside concrete building did), however the plant experienced an aftershock 6.4 force earthquake which may have damaged it further. Japanese authorities have decided to fill the reactor with seawater and boric acid in order to cool it down.

Several workers injured in the explosion appear to have suffered lethal radiation doses, however the authorities claim that there is no increase in the radiation levels outside the damaged reactor.

Sources: Al Jazeera and Sky News, via Florida Oil Spill Law.

March 13: will continue in a new post as the situation is clearly out of control by now.


  1. Slightly off-topic: The Russian Dimitri Khalezov, a former intelligence officer, claim the Twin Towers of New York were demolished with underground nuclear explosions.

    Although his theory has some intrinsical flaws so it can't be accepted as a whole, doing an Internet research I've found an independent version which attributes the towers' collapse to the meltdown of an undegrpund nuclear reactor. In either scenarios there was a deliberate act and not an accident.

  2. Very much off topic: that should fit in any post of the 9/11 category.

    Care to make a search next time, ok?


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