And Back To Fukushima, Where Fresh Steam Is Rising From Debris, Which "May Be An Explosion" Or It May Not

Tyler Durden's picture

This is just getting way too deja vu'ish. From Reuters: "White smoke or steam was rising from three reactors, Nos. 2, 3 and 4, at a quake-damaged nuclear plant in northeaster Japan, the nuclear safety agency said on Friday. It said it believed there was still water in the spent fuel pool at reactor No.3." But isn't the whole point of this exercise to get bloody water in the spent fuel pool? And then this: "Smoke or steam rising from the crippled No.2 reactor in northeastern Japan could be coming from the spent fuel pool or from an explosion in the suppression chamber, the nuclear safety agency said on Friday. It said it hoped to fix a power cable to two reactors on Friday and to two others by Sunday." Oh, it could be an explosion. Well, that's ok. It might not be... At least someone somewhere knows something. It sure as hell ain't the nuclear safety agency. But at least the Nikkei couldn't care less about its troubles as it wakes up with a St Paddy's day hangover: a few days of breathing room have been bought. As to how the can is kicked next week, that's a bridge Bernanke's glass house can worry about crossing on Monday.

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AN0NYM0US's picture

I was suffering withdrawl symptoms - with the absence of GW this evening we need at least one post an hour on the Japan nuke situation

Thomas's picture

Cooling the Nukes reminds me of the circus act in which the guy spins a bunch of plates on long polls. Very impressive, but you know those plates are not gonna stay up there forever. What do they do? Simply dump water on debris for 100 years?

I think I need to buy a gun's picture

they can sump cement on it......encase the whole thing forever that probably coming via military

Mr. Mandelbrot's picture

The BBC just reported the Japanese are building a fleet of cement trucks out of diamonds . . .

chumbawamba's picture

Perhaps Japan has actually fallen victim once again to a brawl between Mothra and Godzilla.  These historical documents that I tracked down at a research institute are eerily familiar to the recent scenes of chaos and destruction emanating from Japan.  Perhaps this is why the government there is being so obfuscatory and tight-lipped:

I am Chumbawamba.

herewego...'s picture

Just checking, is this how to hijack a thread?

Actual chap who actually does this sort of thing for a living:

Let me now talk about what would be a reasonable worst case scenario.  If the Japanese fail to keep the reactors cool and fail to keep the pressure in the containment vessels at an appropriate level, you can get this, you know, the dramatic word “meltdown”.  But what does that actually mean?  What a meltdown involves is the basic reactor core melts, and as it melts, nuclear material will fall through to the floor of the container. There it will react with concrete and other materials … that is likely… remember this is the reasonable worst case, we don’t think anything worse is going to happen.  In this reasonable worst case you get an explosion.  You get some radioactive material going up to about 500 metres up into the air.  Now, that’s really serious, but it’s serious again for the local area.  It’s not serious for elsewhere even if you get a combination of that explosion it would only have nuclear material going in to the air up to about 500 metres.  If you then couple that with the worst possible weather situation i.e. prevailing weather taking radioactive material in the direction of  Greater Tokyo and you had maybe rainfall which would bring the radioactive material down do we have a problem?  The answer is unequivocally no.   Absolutely no issue.  The problems are within 30 km of the reactor.  And to give you a flavour for that, when Chernobyl had a massive fire at the graphite core, material was going up not just 500 metres but to 30,000 feet.  It was lasting not for the odd hour or so but lasted months, and that was putting nuclear radioactive material up into the upper atmosphere for a very long period of time.  But even in the case of Chernobyl, the exclusion zone that they had was about 30 kilometres.   And in that exclusion zone, outside that, there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate people had problems from the radiation.  The problems with Chernobyl were people were continuing to drink the water, continuing to eat vegetables and so on and that was where the problems came from.  That’s not going to be the case here.  So what I would really re-emphasise is that this is very problematic for the area and the immediate vicinity and one has to have concerns for the people working there. Beyond that 20 or 30 kilometres, it’s really not an issue for health.

bingaling's picture

You are full of shit . This map shows the radiation effects 100s of kilometers away from chernobyl YEARS after the accident .


And sir john bedwetter is just another gov't hack - he knows about as much as me when it comes to nuclear science .


From the map above we can conclude the worst case scenario is Tokyo is uninhabitable for the next 10 years


herewego...'s picture

Dude, I'm quoting someone. Perhaps they are full of shit but your own link quotes him as Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government since 2008. 

Your map also shows the 30 km radius he talks about. And, I hate to repeat him, this is not Chernobyl - not a huge fire, you would've noticed.

Do you have any other actual evidence?

Next post is solid though.

Reptil's picture


There's a huge problem with nuclear power plants, and there's a coverup of the negative impact.

As for the longer term effects of the Chernobyl disaster, there were no significant studies conducted, as the AIEA continues to downplay it, and scientific research, which would upset the population is not supported by the governments in Belarus, Russia and the Ukraïne. So it remains an unknown. There is research that indicates there are more than 500.000 directly related deaths:

We knew this, of course, as sweeping ANYTHING negative under the rug was usual modus operandi for the Soviet governments. After the fall of the Soviet Union that scientific research wasn't possible, because government structures broke down. That the AIEA is engaged in "damage control" by withholding information that could be damaging to their interests must be clear.

Here's another example about how they just don't give a damn:

As for anyone wondering why people put up with it? It's because this information never reaches the mainstream, and in these countries, the state is about covering up mistakes, not empowering citizens. Ordinairy people know about Chernobyl, moved away from the wider area if they could, but it's not included in any government descision making process. It's something that's endured by a people that never knew democracy as we know it.

In the USA, things weren't much different. The people without any political clout had to endure:

The BIG problem of the nuclear industry is spent fuel. European countries ship it to Russia, where it's stored in huge, mostly unprotected facillities. The USA is storing it in special facillities, but the plan to put it inside a mountian met resistance, and is flawed, since there's a faultline underneath the location.

As for Fukushima, we don't know what's going on. Wind in the lower atmosphere and currents in the sea may spread the contamination over a wide area. When at 60 km WEST of the plant radiation levels are soaring, anyone with a brain can figure out it's not just the 30 km containment zone that's contaminated, it's far, far worse. So the official estimate of 30 km is based on HOT AIR.

So, concluding; the problem is still nuclear waste, and the indifference of government to protect the environment, and the health of it's citizens. Since the business of dumping it into the ocean was not an option for the japanese (since they depend on the ocean for their food), and TEPCO was running deficits, so they decided to store the spent fuel right on top of their power plants. Which now proved a fatal descision.

herewego...'s picture

Fantastic reply with a helluvalota info.

Hard to disagree with: "spent fuel rods stored close to reactors at Fukushima looked like an example of putting profit before safety"

I also disagree with the notion that rain cannot be radioactive and dangerous to longevity.

However, I do think that simple precautions over a short time span (avoiding rain, staying indoors) mitigate many of the carcinogenic effects from radioactive dust.

Moreover, now we are getting into areas where little study has been made (e.g. for the reasons you outlined).

I'd appreciate any further readings avail.

Reptil's picture

Here's some information about how our world is corrupted:

Joe Sixpack's picture

BTFD and CTFN (cool the f-in nukes)

Gully Foyle's picture

Just the fun parts

Gundersen: For several reasons. One, you’ve got three reactors involved. Two, you’re already picking up radiation on aircraft carriers a hundred miles away at sea, on helicopters 60 miles to the north, and in town. So clearly, as these plants become more and more difficult to control, it becomes quite likely that a containment now will have a gross failure. And a gross failure will release enormous amounts of radiation quickly.

GlobalPost: The New York Times is reporting that radioactive releases could go on for weeks or months. How concerned should we be about that? At what point does a reactor like this becomes less menacing?

Gundersen: The chain reaction has stopped. That happened in two seconds. But the radioactive isotopes are still decaying away. They’ll decay for at least a year. So you have to release the pressure from that containment pretty much every day. With releasing the pressure will come releasing radioactive isotopes as well.

So yes, the Times is right that every plant — there are now three or four of them — will be opening up valves every day to make sure the pressure is down. And there will be releases from these plants for at least a year.

GlobalPost: How much of a health threat is that?

Gundersen: Within 90 days, the iodine health risks will disappear, because that will decay away. But the nasty isotopes — the cesium and strontium will remain for 30 years. And they’re volatile.

After Three Mile Island, strontium was detected 150 miles away from the reactor. That ends up in cow’s milk and doesn’t go away for 300 years. The releases from these plants will last for a year, and will contain elements that will remain in the environment for 300 years, even in the best case.

If we have a meltdown, it will be even worse than that.


Gundersen: We’re seeing iodine and cesium in the environment. That’s an indication that the containments are leaking. Exactly how much they’re leaking it’s hard to say.

I can’t understand how officials can say that the releases are low, when they don’t have any instruments that are working. Their batteries have failed, and when the batteries fail, all of the instruments stop working. So it’s hard to determine what the radiation levels are, and what the pressure levels are.

The Japanese and the nuclear industry are heavily, heavily financially invested in this. My experience is that, after Three Mile Island and after Chernobyl, everybody said there wasn’t a problem, until there was a problem. So I really don’t put much faith in official pronouncements the first week of an accident.

GlobalPost: So the people who have access to information have a self interest in making that information look as benign as possible?

Gundersen: Yes. On top of that, the officials don’t want to provoke a panic. So there’s a financial long term interest to try to minimize the impact. The flip side of that is that in the process you lose transparency. There is no transparency right now. We’re dealing with second hand information.

I understand from one source that the second unit cannot be vented, because the vent is jammed. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I have one source, and I like to have two. But this accident hasn’t played out yet. It could clearly get worse before it gets better.

GlobalPost: When you say the venting system is jammed, does that mean that pressure will keep building up until something catastrophic happens?

Gundersen: Yes.

GlobalPost: That sounds bad. There have been explosions at two of the buildings where the reactors are housed. You used to operate nuclear reactors. Would the control rooms be affected by these explosions? And how do they continue controlling the reactors under these circumstances?


Gundersen: Yes. The control rooms have become almost uninhabitable. The operators would have to be in Scott air packs, because the ventilation failed. Otherwise they would be breathing contaminated air. The control room is very close to these reactors. Probably 200 feet away. I doubt there’s much being done in the control rooms. They’re contaminated, and the air is unfit to breathe. It’s very difficult to get anything done if you’re wearing an air pack and a bubble suit.

GlobalPost: So how do they release the pressure? Are they sending people to the reactor to manually do these things?

Gundersen: They’ll send someone out to manually open a valve. And then that person will go back out to manually close a valve. In a high radiation field, there are only so many trips you can make before you’ve exceeded what they call emergency limits. So these people are picking up very large doses in very short periods of time. For their personal health, you can’t send them out again.

So they’re running through the available number of operators to do these high risk maneuvers.

GlobalPost: Is it highly skilled work?

Gundersen: Yes.



johnQpublic's picture

GlobalPost: so is now the time to crack skulls and eat the goo inside?

Gundersen: Yes.

Wakanda's picture


Tastes like chicken?

I need a(nother) green beer.

Gully Foyle's picture


Well the interesting thing is Operation Extension Cord was directed at the reactor with the faulty vent. The one Gundersen says will explode if not vented.

Oh and the fact that all need venting daily for at least a year.

Fuck that is scary.

johnQpublic's picture

Operation Extension Cord



you just cant make this shit up

knukles's picture

Ah hah!  But unfortunately somebody did make it up.
Along with all the foreshadow and aplomb of giving to be troublesome nukes names such as Diablo Canyon, Millstone and Turkey Point.

Hedge Jobs's picture

Please dont mock the "operation extension cord" it is just as serious and well thought out as the "operation drop water into strong winds form helicopters" which spawned the brilliant "operation spray water from fire truck".





cranky-old-geezer's picture

Oh god, that is so apropos here, witty.

Well done.

johnQpublic's picture

or the oh so effective 'junk shot'


or is that the same as bukake?

Matte_Black's picture

So they’re running through the available number of operators to do these high risk maneuvers.

GlobalPost: Is it highly skilled work?

Gundersen: Yes.

This is obviously a paid shill!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How could anyone say a thing like that about our fine nuclear power industry?????????????????????????///

Gully Foyle's picture


I remember when there was a big Womens Lib brouhaha about females doing the dangerous nuke work. Radiation, pregnancy, Cancer chicks wanted the whole shebang.

Today that seems pretty fucking silly.

Matte_Black's picture

No, I think cancer chicks are hot. Oh, you meant... sorrry. Nevermind.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

Talk to a woman who was in college circa 1968-1976.  To some of them it is a current event.

goldfish1's picture

GlobalPost: Is it highly skilled work?

Gundersen: Yes.

Obviously a union guy trying to justify his position.

Matte_Black's picture

Obviously. Unions... so 90s

goldfish1's picture

Sorry, I thought the sarcasm was obvious.

buzzsaw99's picture

But the nasty isotopes — the cesium and strontium will remain for 30 years. And they’re volatile...


30 years is the half-life, not the whole life. Either the interviewee or the typist is an idiot.

Alienated Serf's picture

who the fuck cares, the yen is back above 81.


whatsinaname's picture

Clearly time to pile into the yen everyday and on every dip.

Mean reversion in process. The deviation started in 1971 - definitely one of the cheapest assets available in the global marketplace !!

Greater Fool's picture

The whole life is infinite. If you have a big enough sample, that is.

knukles's picture

Government scientist in charge.  Not a typo, just fucking incompetence, which in and of it self has a half life half of the expected career life which is about equal to his remaining life which has been cut in half by the terminal radiation exposure which was not by half what they thought they'd get all of their life. 


SparkyvonBellagio's picture

It's Time to Panic,,,,,, when any GOVT says it isn't-





What a Friggin ROUSE/PONZI press release by these idiots hour after hour.

They have NO CLUE how to handle this.

Be prepared.

Are all Japanese Goods Tainted / RADIOACTIVE NOW?

Your thoughts appreciated.