Al Jazeera Explains What A Fukushima Meltdown Would Look Like

Tyler Durden's picture

Following explosions in at least two reactor cores at Japan's Fukushima
nuclear power plant - and as the developing crisis is rated at level 6
of seven levels on the International Nuclear Events Scale (previously being 3, or below 3 Mile Island status, to keep the panic level low)- attention is
turning to just what is happening inside the 40-year-old power plant in
north-east Japan. Al Jazeera's Dan Nolan explains how a meltdown would happen.

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Ident 7777 economy's picture

Looks like they should 'pull' (WTC7 style) the steel-paneled top of #4 to allow access from helicopter-lifted water dumpers ...



/sarc on the 'WTC7 style' part ...

AbandonShip's picture

I would hate to be that pilot!   "Man this job really sucks..."

Ident 7777 economy's picture

Maybe they can rig an old Sikorsky for remote pilotage (like the Airbus A/C that flew into the WTC and Pentagon buildings ...)



/sarc on the remote pilotage WTC part

Ident 7777 economy's picture

Drop in Mike Rowe? I'm game ...

Tail Dogging The Wag's picture

Get the GE engineers, the Kan's, the Obama's, the Clinton's, the Cheney's and the Bush's to visit Fukushima and enter the hot tub with used-up nuclear fuel. Then fly in CNN and FOX journalists for the interview from the hot tub. They will tell us that nuclear energy is safe and everything is under control. Let them bleed from their Pinocchio noses... and don't invite Charlie Sheen and his two girlfriends. I almost forgot: Make sure the Gaddafi's are all invited to the hot-tub party.

camaro68ss's picture

Dont mind us glowing green, its a small side affect, completely normal

Joe Davola's picture

It's unfortunate that GE (the parent company of NBC) has removed all free versions of the old SNL skit The Pepsi Syndrome.

Michael's picture

Let me oblige. See avatar.

Pegasus Muse's picture

I would hate to be that pilot!   "Man this job really sucks..."

I hear Ben is good at flying helicopters.  And he knows how to dump stuff out of it.

THE DORK OF CORK's picture

This may be completly off the wall so therefore anybody with expertise may question this but could all those stored rods in reactor 4 (20 years of use ) initiate a fission nuclear reaction if left to overheat ?

Misstrial's picture

Not off the wall at all; report from one of my financial newsletters (Chris Laird's Prudent Squirrel) stated the following this a.m.:

"Reports out that one of the pools which store used fuel rods is burning at Fukishima reactors. Each reactor uses something like 60 fuel rods and the pools are storing years of used rods which, get this, if they are exposed to air only, they catch fire. There are thousands of used fuel rods for each reactor, and can you believe this, they stored the rods OVER the reactors, so when the complexes blew, they were blown in the air and scattered. Authorities say unknown amount of radiation being released into atmosphere."


Oh regional Indian's picture

This is one of the best overall pictures of what is going on. I know, it's th edaily mail in the UK, but this is really well done from an overall situation perspective.


Ident 7777 economy's picture

 so when the complexes blew

- - - - - - - - - - - -

So - they blew? No ... I don't think so ... the bldgs still stand ... want pics?

Well, 3/4 of the structures are up, the concrete portion that holds the Fuel pool of the GE MArk I design. The steel panels surrounding the concrete top floor blew off #1, and #3, pus #3 seems to have lost a few brick wall 'windows' (nonstructural fill-in areas) between the structurally supporting pillars ..

Like this pic CD embedded in this thread:


THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Yes but I doubt there is enough heat to drive a uncontrolled fission reaction - I hope.

IQ 145's picture

 First I have to apologize for my too determined optimism; what I posted what correct as far as it went; but I didn't bother to look up a diagram of the reactor. The continued reportage about fuel rods stored in the building next to the top of the reactor sounded crazy; but when I found the construction diagram I was amazed to see that this was true. It is possible that this mass could become self-sustaining if it melts into a blob. The last time I looked at a reactor schematic the cool down pond was outside the building. Apparently this makes it cheaper and easier to handle fuel element changes. This design was protested by an industry group of engineers to the NRC, but they ignored the request for regulation. This is a design that absolutely ignores the possibilities inherent in partial failure scenarios; it is inherently un-safe; I don't see how all these cooling ponds which are integral parts of the concrete building can be water-tight and kept full of water after the building has essentially been demolished around them. It's usually the right thing to do to just say to people, who want to mention Chernobyl; "oh, don't be silly". Unfortunately this crazy structure they have here; or structures; can fail very badly. We just have to wait and see. I find it absolutely amazing that anyone got approval to build this disastrous structure; or that the customers bought it. It has no credibility to withstand the kinds of damage it has sustained and not produce serious radiological consequences. We need to be lucky, now. Thanks to GE and the NRC.

duckduckMOOSE's picture

Per MSNBC Japan Gov't is asking for just that.

Buck Johnson's picture

I'll tell you why they want to do it but aren't sure to do it (the removing of the panels).  Since they know that Hydrogen is being release (reason to remove the panels), they don't want to be up there when in the process of removing them a spark happens or more oxygen is introduced from the outside and a explosion happens anyway.  You have to remember Hydrogen is a ver very explosive gas, even where I work the fuel gas that we use is a mixture of other gases and a percentage of hydrogen.  And what they will be seeing in the building is pure hydrogen building up to an event.

AN0NYM0US's picture

medium is the message

all I see is a black screen

Escapeclaws's picture

The problem with nuclear reactors is not the science but the fact that they are so expensive. Where there is high cost, there is cutting corners and corruption. I wouldn't be half surprised to learn that that is the real issue with these Japanese reactors. Follow the money. Who got paid off when. I sure hope the Japanese pursue this aspect of the problem when the dust finally settles. I'm sure the shredders are overheating as I write this.

Simple Simon's picture

I agree cutting costs and public apathy - out of side out of mind let them do it and f course when companies are chasing the almighty dollar or Yen profit margins rule - stock holders rule - we all know that :(

Ident 7777 economy's picture

The problem with nuclear reactors is not the science but the fact that they are so expensive. Where there is high cost, there is cutting corners and corruption. 

- - - - - - -

Follow-on designs of the GE BWR designs moved on to passive protection systems and away from active systems like used here ... passive meaning NO pumps or electrical needed after a shut-down.

The technical stuff:


Ident 7777 economy's picture



Right;  Junk the technical posts you few narrow-minded b*st*rds!


I love it!



slewie the pi-rat's picture


lol!  what an interesting way to spell fuktards, too!

after trolling with tea and sympathy all day with only a sporadic mole whacking, they are now beside their shitheaded asswipe selves.  imagine! Goldie Lox being expected to get viable info from Al Jizz!!!

good thing you weren't sarking! {yes, i know! that's sark-o-banana-grama, BiCHeZ!}

Lord Koos's picture

Never underestimate the maturity and intelligence of ZH posters.

Eddie Stobart's picture

Of course there is corruption. Power corrupts - especially nuclear power and oil power!
The fact that the reactors are still safe and secure (according to the politicians and the IAEA - who are clearly all liars and part of "the conspiracy") is frustrating.
You would think that a Geiger counter would expose them but the engineers who built them are probably on the take as well. Grrr! One day we will expose all the lies.

Tail Dogging The Wag's picture

IAEA will say everything is safe. If they don't, they're out of a job.

Zero Govt's picture

All those 100's of health and safety Laws, regulations and micro-managing by Govts of private bsuinesses around the World... and who fucks up the most? ...yep, Government

The biggest safety issue was siting the bloody things in tsunami zones

but agree with posters above entirely on the expense leading to cost cutting and also the usual crony State regulators turning a blind eye 

Govt fails again. Regulation fails again. The biggest problem (again) in society is that toilet called "democratic Government"

That Peak Oil Guy's picture

I think you underestimate the problems with nuclear power.  As I see it the problems are:

1. The fuel must be cooled constantly, not only when in use but also after use.  Meaning for decades.  This substantially widens the risk window.

2. The unusable byproducts are toxic for millenia.

3. When something goes wrong the potential for damage to life and property is huge.  Millions of people can die and thousands of square miles of property may be rendered unusable for hundreds of years.

4. Only humans can fix problems when things go wrong, and humans make mistakes.

Think about what will happen to all the nuclear plants and nuclear waste when industrial civilization falls.  Who will maintain the toxic waste?  One thousand years from now will our descendants live around it, not knowing what it is?


Mesquite's picture

The green scaly ones that mutated...

I'm sorry...Just gallows humour..

Hard to laugh anymore..

Lots of prayers in order for all..

Tail Dogging The Wag's picture

I think TPOG meant the roaches and Keith Richards when he wrote of our "descendants".

Ident 7777 economy's picture

I think you underestimate the problems with nuclear power. As I see it the problems are:

- - - - - - - - - -

Can you now state the issues with coal - from pouring millions of pounds combustion products into the air to the mining ops? Or, is that my job?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Yes, some of us would like to know what your job is here on ZH considering you've only been here for about 3 weeks yet you seem to be a self proclaimed expert on a slew of subjects. We breathlessly wait.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

considering you've only been here for about 3 weeks 

- - - - - - - - -

Lurked for over a year ... duh!

(No disrespect intended)

Ppl *do* lurk you know ...


slewie the pi-rat's picture


cognitive diZ---i resemble that slew remark!  

another year of therapy and you'll have this Ident 7777 steaming turd realizing s/he's a fuking shitheaded asswipe troll!!! 

mom!  pass the fuking popcorn!

Ruffcut's picture

Why lurk, when you can troll?

As you pro nuke creatures profess spew of how great this adventure for energy is, please move as close to any of these plants as you can. Make us reassured. Otherwise shut the fuck up.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

As you pro nuke creatures profess spew 

- - - - - - - - - - -

Quick, look - a greenie (above)^

You guys make it so easy to abuse you when you begin that way, it's like an invitation to return in kind!

Ident 7777 economy's picture

dup. But, I'll take this opportunity to say 'no more an expert than many others', including you, CD.

Who do you think 'makes things work' outside your own 'domain'? Me, and thousands upon thouscands of others not too unlike me ... in industry ... I am but one more in that number ...

Crumbles's picture

Might have been your first junk ;-)

The UI for ZH does take a bit of practice.

disclaimer - live for 3 weeks, lurked for about a year.

Best site on the web, privileged to be able to post, IMHO.

BTW, CD - a personal attack for a low ZH lifetime seems beneath you in your self-appointed role.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

Hear hear - just wanted to be able to particapate too ...

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

It's one thing to come in and test the waters, express yourself clearly and without rancor and be respectful of others until you have built a reputation. It's another entirely to become a swinging dick. Everyone uses the excuse "this is fight club" yet no one takes it any further, that the purpose of fight club was to build community, not to destroy each other.

Maybe it's time for everyone to actually read (or re-read) "Fight Club" and only then watch the movie. There is so much more to it than just bad ass fist fights going on. Much more.

JW n FL's picture

all I got from fight club was brad pitts abs.. and hawt greasy man on man stuff!!! HAWT I SAY HAWT!!! not.


as for the new people sucker punching people, trying to get a feel for the place.. it is what it always has been..

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

A loud minority does not by default rule the majority. But it can abuse it into submission or silence. The mistake most people here in the comment section of ZH make is to assume the comment section is ZH. By my estimates the people who actually comment on ZH are less than 20% of the people who actually read ZH. We just think we rule the roost because we crap all over the place and then live in it.

But I guess saying that since it has always been this way, thus it should remain this way, is modern day thinking writ large.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

Give the line a rest, CD, and tell me why GM is up.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The opportunity to take market share from the Japanese car companies if their manufacturing and component plants are down more than a week. What the average GM investor isn't thinking about right now is how many components for GM cars come from northern Japan sub contractors that also feed Toyota/Nissan etc and are the main reason for their shutdown.

Radiation drifting around Northern Japan for months on end can kill your production schedule. 

cossack55's picture

thats cool. ZH has many stories about "channel stuffing". They already have about 2 years worth of usless shit sitting around. BUT, who is going to pay the union thugs?

takinthehighway's picture

CD, seems to me that the foreign auto makers were required to use 80% domestic content on vehicles made in the US...could there not be some opportunities for domestic parts suppliers to catch up the slack if the situation overseas becomes a long-term supply problem...or am I really just trying too hard to find something positive, since I make my living off of JIT?

Pseudo Anonym's picture

A loud minority does not by default rule the majority. But it can abuse it into submission.

isn't that the truth. I will go as far as to say, based on just my observation, if the loud minority is well connected - it's by default.

Confuchius's picture

One would have to say that all is proceeding according to plan...