Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Problems accumulate at Fukushima - no end in sight

Plutonium scattered around the plant by the explosions, tons of radioactive water sitting on buildings whose structural integrity is unclear, spent fuel pools destroyed or with their cooling systems severely damaged, radioactive water leaking to the Sea or vaporizing into the atmosphere, impossibility of totally suppressing dangerous hydrogen generation near the fuel rods, at least one reactor without water at all... these are the outlines of a US Department of Energy document, according to The New York Times.

Meanwhile Energy News calls our attention to the suspicious circumstance of a radiation measuring unit that detected a sudden increase of three to ten times the usual radiation (very high in any case, as it's a Manhattan Project site) and then went inoperative (disconnected obviously). The site is Richland, Washington state (USA), which is near the Hanford Site. It is not clear why the sudden increase in radioactivity in that area but a commenter suggested that it's common in the nuclear industry to use accidents as cover up circumstances to release their junk to the environment. The date of that spike is roughly when trace amounts of radioactive iodine was found in tap water of nearby Boise, Idaho (and also of Richland itself).

Follows video of anti-nuclear protests in Italy, Germany and Japan (from

Update (from Washington's Blog): US congressman Edward Markey confirmed today that reactor no. 2 is in full meltdown and has penetrated the core vessel into the soil (just as in Chernobyl). This information he attributes to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), however this one denies it (or rather performs the "we are not sure" ritual dance of denial). 

There has been previous such evidence from meltdown: 
  • On March 31, several incidents (neutron beams) spoke criticality (meltdown) while radiation levels became extreme. Reactor no. 1 was blamed. 
  • On March 16, it was known that the meltdown core of reactor no. 2 had penetrated the ground (so this confirmation is actually "old news" from 21 days ago).
  • On March 14, official fears of meltdown in three reactors were aired.
  • As early of March 13, just a few days after the tsunami, partial meltdowns were officially acknowledged in reactors no. 1 and no. 3 (the two that exploded)
Besides the fear of meltdowns in reactors 1, 2 and 3, danger also looms from the spent fuel at all the six reactors. Spent fuel (nuclear residues) is in fact much more radioactive than unused fuel and has always been one of the main concerns around the nuclear hell industry because nobody knows what to do with it other than dumping it in more or less hazardous forms (weapons, nuclear waste cemeteries) or keeping it indefinitely under intensive care in pools, as the Japanese did. When the intensive care unit collapsed, problems, big killing problems, began.

Update (Apr 7) :
  • Creep rupture at reactor no. 2 (meltdown reaching the floor's concrete what can cause a new hydrogen explosion, what explains the hurry to inject nitrogen) - NYT.
  • Prof. Akira Hiroshi changes his mind: meltdown is  indeed going on (iodine-131 keeps growing even if its half life is only of 8 days, chlorine-38 in water is also unmistakable sign of criticality) - ENews.
  • Plutonium was scattered several miles around the plant (and other video-insights by A. Gunderssen) - Fairewinds Associates.

Update (Apr 7-8 night):

South Koreans scared by radioactive wind sweeping right now clockwise through the region. Also sweeping most of Japan but not Taiwan, North Korea nor Russia (in China it  touches Shanghai Bay) - Washington's Blog.

    Also from Washington's Blog, news of a very strong aftershock (7.4) that has caused the damaged plant of Onagawa (Sendai prefecture, just North of Fukushima) to lose power but apparently all emergency stops worked properly.

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