IAEA Refutes Reactor 3 Cooling Problems, Provides Fukushima Status Update; Credibility Schism Developing In Japan

Tyler Durden's picture

Contrary to earlier reports that cooling at Reactor 3 at Fukushima has failed (as per CNN and Reuters) and there is now a state of emergency for three reactors at the site, the IAEA has released a report refuting these rumors. It appears that there is a split in news reporting in Japan: on one hand we have the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency which seems to present a downside case, while the government is obviously spinning news in a favorable direction. While the Japanese government is likely not to be trusted much with truthful data dissemination, jumping the shark on rumor spreading is probably not in anyone's favor either. That said, with the government losing credibility (see prior Stratfor post), the question is just whom can the public trust, if not the Japanese government and media? Furthermore, if there is another accident at Fukushima, and the government's credibility is completely destroyed, what happens next: after all the BoJ needs as much "market faith" as it can muster ahead of its decision on Monday to flood the money markets with JPY2 trillion (sound familiar). If the government eats up all the street cred of Shirakawa, the BOJ rush to action may end up doing far more bad than good.

From the IAEA:

Japanese authorities have
informed the IAEA that Units 1, 2, and 4 at the Fukushima Daini retain
off-site power but are experiencing increased pressure in each reactor.
Plant operators have vented the containment at each of the three units
and are considering further venting to alleviate the increase in

Daini Unit 3 is in a safe, cold shutdown, according to Japanese officials.

Japanese authorities have reported
some casualties to nuclear plant workers.  At Fukushima Daichi, four
workers were injured by the explosion at the Unit 1 reactor, and there
are three other reported injuries in other incidents. In addition, one
worker was exposed to higher-than-normal radiation levels that fall
below the IAEA guidance for emergency situations. At Fukushima Daini,
one worker has died in a crane operation accident and four others have
been injured.

In partnership with the World
Meteorological Organization, the IAEA is providing its member states
with weather forecasts for the affected areas in Japan.  The latest
predictions have indicated winds moving to the Northeast, away from
Japanese coast over the next three days.

The IAEA continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities and is monitoring the situation as it evolves.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
taraxias's picture

the "i" is missing


do you guys ever take a break


I'm glad you don't


EDIT: fixed

Spalding_Smailes's picture


(CNN) -- The powerful earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami Friday appears to have moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) and shifted the Earth on its axis.

"At this point, we know that one GPS station moved (8 feet), and we have seen a map from GSI (Geospatial Information Authority) in Japan showing the pattern of shift over a large area is consistent with about that much shift of the land mass," said Kenneth Hudnut, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).




AN0NYM0US's picture

from prior thread

CitizenPete , Kaiser Zose , New_Meat , Aristarchan  (and I am sure I am missing others)

better quality info and updates from you people than any other source that I have been able  to identify



Spalding_Smailes's picture

Thanks Bro - And....  Cognitive Dissonance

This is getting crazy now ..... 


Another reactor at Fukushima nuke plant loses cooling functions


Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday another reactor of its quake-hit Fukushima nuclear power plants had lost its cooling functions, while at least 15 people at a nearby hospital were found to have been exposed to radioactivity.

The utility supplier notified the government early Sunday morning that the No. 3 reactor at the No. 1 Fukushima plant had lost the ability to cool the reactor core. The reactor is now in the process of releasing radioactive steam, according to top government spokesman Yukio Edano.

It was the sixth reactor overall at the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants to undergo cooling failure since the massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck Japan on Friday.


Spalding_Smailes's picture

Press Conference Live NOW:  www.ustream.tv

Also .....

BREAKING NEWS: Radiation surpasses legal limit in Fukushima No. 1 plant premises: TEPCO

NEWS ADVISORY: Emergency aid team from China to arrive in Japan Sunday afternoon

URGENT: Radiation 1,000 times higher than normal detected at nuke plant
TOKYO, March 12, Kyodo

The amount of radiation reached around 1,000 times the normal level Saturday in the control room of the No. 1 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

The discovery suggests radioactive steam could spread around the facility operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Tortfeasor's picture

CNN's science/nuclear reactor special advisor - Bill fucking Nye, the science guy (not kidding)

Up next - the Cookie Monster answers questions on the global food chain disruptions


Cursive's picture


I LOL'd.  Good to have a laugh during this crazy shit.

Oh regional Indian's picture

That is really funny. Bill Nye...

American TV in a scrotum (nutshell for the uninitiated).

Here is something to think about. Earthquakes are a-comin'. Everywhere. 

Dislocation/disruption on a massive scale. No one who is Nuke Energy dependent (like France) can shut down in anticipation. All powergrids are susceptible to such damage.

Get ready to be power in-dependent.




dark pools of soros's picture

was he selling bobble head meltdown reactors??

Michael's picture

Bow Tie and all. Shakes head in disbelief. The US MSM thinks we are all 10 years old. No wonder Al Jazeera is becoming the new station of choice.

Cindy_Dies_In_The_End's picture

Hi everyone


Perhaps this will be useful--from a nuclear guy:



’m not an expert on nuclear reactors. I taught in the nuclear power program of the US Navy some years ago, meaning I was competent to discuss some aspects of reactors, and specifically the type the navy uses. So I’m also not some random guy in the street. With that disclaimer in mind, there are a few items to mention with regard to the reactor issues in Japan following the earthquake.

This is not another Chernobyl. The reactor design is very different, and the circumstances are different. The Chernobyl accident (link for the more technically inclined) involved an operating reactor that went prompt critical as the result of operational errors, deliberate disabling of certain safeguards as part of a test, and design flaws. This caused a steam explosion and chemical fires as the carbon moderator caught fire.

A closer analogy would be Three Mile Island.

There have been reports of an explosion, but it must be stressed that this was not a nuclear explosion. The reactors have been shut down. It’s not so easy to cause a nuclear explosion in the first place (bombs require a level of expertise), and a shutdown reactor does not have the capability of sustaining the fission reaction. This leaves us with steam pressure buildup or hydrogen as the most likely culprits, i.e. it’s thermodynamics or chemistry, not nuclear physics, which explains the explosion.

The reactor is shut down, so what’s the danger? The products of a fission reaction are typically radioactive, and subsequent decays also release energy. Shutting down the reactor reduces the fission rate by many orders of magnitude, so it’s effectively zero in terms of heat output, but the radioactive fission products still release up to 6-7% of the plant’s power output. The actual value depends on the operating history; the fission products with long half-lives take longer to build up to steady-state values. This value will drop fairly quickly as the short-lived isotopes decay, but it’s still significant — a reactor rated at 1000 MW will still be producing tens of MW of decay heat. The reactors in question at Fukushima Daiichi are rated at 460 or 784 MW

So shutting down does not mean it’s Miller Time? Right. You need to run pumps and do something with the energy, which usually means piping water to a cooling tower, which means you need to run pumps, and those require electricity. It seems silly, at first glance, that a reactor would need a source of power to run it, but the turbines are probably designed to run at the high power output of the reactor and not off of decay heat. So you have an external power line (lost in the quake), local generators (apparently also damaged) and battery backup. Redundant systems. However, it seems that the damage was severe, so the primary and first backup systems are still offline, and if cooling was lost (batteries have a finite lifetime), the water in the core can boil away.

That sounds bad. Yes. As long as the core stays covered with water, things should be fine. But uncovered, the temperature can rise and fuel elements can begin to melt. Hydrogen is produced, which can explode, and boiling water becomes steam, which raises the pressure in the containment vessel. The latter is why the containment vessel would be vented. You would need to replace that water into the system, which also requires pumps. (This what had happened at TMI, though in that case, the cooling pumps were shut off deliberately owing to a flawed procedure)

So this is serious. Nothing here is meant to imply otherwise. But the term “meltdown” (or worse, if preceded by “Chernobyl-like”) raises all sorts of imagery, most of which is inaccurate.

Here are some links from what look to be credible sources. This is a dynamic situation, so there is a shelf-life to the details.

FreedomGuy's picture

Excellent post. This kind of post is what keeps me reading ZH.

snowball777's picture

Am I the only person who thinks it is silly that they can't run the turbines (and therefore pumps) off the decay heat? I understand that it may not even be applicable in a likely badly damaged reactor, but it's not even in the design?


You jump, jump, here
You jump, jump, there
You jump, jump, jump

Then you mellow down, eee-easy
Mellow down, eee-easy
You mellow down, easy
When you really wanna blow your top

Kaiser Zose's picture

They can do exactly that - which is what the RCIC system is - Reactor Core Isolation Cooling.  It's a single "terry turbine" or steam driven pump that shouldn't require much in the way of controls to open steam admission valves and water injection valves to intiate cooling water flow to the Rx vessel.  I don't know the specifics of their RCIC design so I can't say why its not working at some units.  It could be that dc control power failed...or air operated valves didn't actuate properly, or physical damage to piping, loss of cooling water source, or some other explanation.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

RCIC is useful presuming the facilties are intact, and there are personnel capable of invoking that mode ... and, the control lines from the control building to the reactor are intact, so, they have control of the valving that has to be open/closed as required ..


Were I to hazard a guess, that is.



rocker's picture

Nice Job Cindy. I am not as well informed as you, and I had only one comment on this so far. So here goes two. As I said previous. This is not Russia. They will and did get help from those in the know, unlike Russia. They are smarter, unlike Russia at the time. And they do understand what they need to do, unlike Russia. I personally live within 50 miles of TMI, so I did educate myself on what I did not know at the time of that pooper. And I must say, I left immediately for a month when it the shit hit the fan. As long as Japan does not get another shocker they may fare well. Japan does have honor for the citizens and will caution on the safe side, no use being foolish. Let's all hope for the best and give them some credit for doing what they can under these trying times. TSHTF for sure.

Cindy_Dies_In_The_End's picture

Hey folks read carefully, this is from a blog of a nuclear guy that I thought would be helpful to us. I'm just a stupid fucking lawyer who took the blue pill and is terminally ill.

Weaseldog's picture

You say that the core isn't producing heat but it needs constant cooling, and that it runs so hot that it can dissociate the water.


I sense an intellectual disconnect in your post.

CrazyCooter's picture

What I think I read was that the core produces "ambient heat" which is maybe 5% or 10%  of the operating output (5 to 10 MW for a 500 MW design - not sure what that translates to temperature wise). That ambient heat never truly goes away, thus the core must be cooled constantly.

Should the core lack water/cooling, eventually the core will heat up, getting hotter and hotter until it melts (i.e. melt down).

They didn't address this specifically, but hydrogen is a byproduct of the core being hot enough to "crack" a water molecule and oxidize the O and release the H2.



SWRichmond's picture

As the lunacy is flying fast and furious here, and as Tyler is blowing up his hit stats with blown up badder news, I thank you for your above post.  I'd like to add a few things.

First and foremost, I am pissed off at the lack of good technical info about what is really happening.  This clears the way for end of th world speculation, which isn't yet warranted at all.

It seems to me that the Fukushima Daiichi sites have experienced an event that exceeds their design basis: an earthquake that can be credibly expected only every several hundred years, coupled with a 33 foot-high tsunami.  In spite of this, no one offsite has been injured by anything going on at the plant. 

The worker who was taken to the hospital for high rad exposure reportedly received a dose of about 100mSv.  All of you nuclear death fear morons need to understand that you can get almost a third of that amount from a single CT scan.  You didn't know that, did you?


AT an operating nuclear plant there is abundance of installed caution.  What I mean is, there are procedures for creating alert statuses and there are required notifications that the units must do when certain thresholds are crossed.   These have the perhaps unfortunate side affect of constantly keeping the plants in the news.  I'm guessing, but it would appear that when the torus reaches boiling that is one threshold: "failure of the emergency cooling system."  That does not mean meltdown is imminent.  It does mean that someplace else to put decay heat must be found.  As long as they can pump enough water in, and vent steam, the core will not melt. 

When a reactor is shut down, the radioactive decay of fission products continues to produce heat; about 5% of rated power at first, then decreasing roughly exponentially.  That, however, does not mean there won't be "core damage."  Core damage occurs when the zirc cladding / tubes begin to chemically react with water at very high temperatures.  This is the source of any free hydrogen in the system; it wouldn't be there otherwise.  If this free hydrogen is vented from the vessel into the containment, this could (AND PROBABLY DOES) explain the explosion at Fukushima Daiichi 1.

When the zirc cladding begins to disintegrate the core becomes a truly awful mess.  The fuel pellets are ceramic in nature, so they "melt" at a much higher temperature.  This explains why they are injeting borated water into the cores; boron absorbs neutrons and prevents any nuclear reactions.

Core damage does not mean meltdown, you fucking ignorant morons (OP excepted).  GW, Yes, I mean you.

flapdoodle's picture

Notice what the IAEA said - Fukushima DaiNI 3 was in safe shutdown - the problem meethinks is with Fukushima DaiICHI 3...

Bob Sponge's picture

I hope we get some pictures of the reactor site.  That should show the containment vessel or the spot where it stood before it exploded.

Edit:  I see TD posted before and after pictures in the other thread.  Reactor 1 is no longer there or is part of it underground?

sushi's picture

Japanese Scramble to Avert Meltdowns as Nuclear Crisis Deepens After Quake

Published: March 12, 2011

TOKYO — Japanese officials struggled on Sunday to contain a widening nuclear crisis in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake and tsunami, saying they presumed that partial meltdowns had occurred at two crippled reactors and that they were facing serious cooling problems at three more.





Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Grabbing the top spot again, this time to post before and after images of Fukushima plant.

Plus other overhead before and after images of various disaster areas in Japan by clicking the link. Total devastation. May heart goes out to all the people of Japan.


Spalding_Smailes's picture
1456: Radiation levels at the Onagawa nuclear power plant in Miyagi prefecture are about 700 times higher than normal but are still low, the Tohoku Electric Power Company has said, according to the Maichi Shinbum website. Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency dismissed the possibility that the Onagawa plant was to blame, saying it was likely caused by the radioactive substances that scattered when a hydrogen explosion hit the troubled Fukushima plant on Saturday.



''VIENNA : Following the explosion at a quake-hit nuclear plant in Japan, a state of emergency has been declared at a second facility due to excessive radiation levels there, the UN atomic watchdog said on Sunday.

"Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that the first or lowest state of emergency at the Onagawa nuclear power plant has been reported by Tohoku Electric Power Company," the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.

The alert was declared "as a consequence of radioactivity readings exceeding allowed levels in the area surrounding the plant. Japanese authorities are investigating the source of radiation," the watchdog said.''

Spalding_Smailes's picture

1419: The governor of the Bank of Japan has said it will provide 2 trillion ($24bn) to 3 trillion ($37bn) yen of liquidity to the banking system on Monday to keep markets stable in the wake of the disaster and keep short-term borrowing costs down. "We will monitor market conditions and plan to provide markets with a lot of liquidity first thing tomorrow morning," Masaaki Shirakawa said. He added that the bank would also thoroughly consider the economic impact of the earthquake when the board meets for an interest rate review on Monday.

CrazyCooter's picture

Not to be paranoid here ... but compare the "whiteness" of the before/after pics across all the images provided. That nuke plant just doesn't look right. Its perspective seems ... off. From the angle, shouldn't the "perspective" of the shapes be ... going the other way?


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

You need to be familiar with how Google Earth renders images including their "elevation" feature, which has a tendency to distort images when there are elevation differences within the image itself.

The nuclear plant was carved out of the side of a hill leading down to the water's edge. So there are several elevation changes in the image your looking at. I always turn it off to eliminate the distortion, but whomever took the image grab had it running when they grabbed it.

duo's picture

A professor was on NHK live feed explaining that not only did Honshu move 8 feet, but the Iwate pref. coast moved down several feet, and most of the coastal areas are now below sea level, including many square miles of farmland.

tahoebumsmith's picture

You can only trust your instincts. My instincts tell me this is far more dangerous then they are leading us to believe. The impact from this in addition to the chaos in the rest of the world could easily cause a global meltdown.

Larry Darrell's picture

Well we know how they downplayed the effects of the GOM oil spill.

If this is worse, they will downplay it harder.

People who trust their governments leave me speechless.

Oh regional Indian's picture

I'd say your in-stincts are spot on. Givernments will avoid bad-press over dead citizens any day. Especially the Japanese. Grit it out in extremis.

Global meltdown, at the core, FTL.



TruthInSunshine's picture

Take whatever Japanese officials are stating publicly with an iodized grain of salt.

bugs_'s picture

credibility foreshock!

r101958's picture


I trust Stratfor.....not sure about above.


Yen Cross's picture

This comical limey on FOX is a real jerk. Iodine is target specific. Meltdown is confirmed on reactor 1.

rocker's picture

Somebody still watches FOX. Wow.  Have not turned the Boob tube on once today.

Much less noize this way, no circle jerk.  ZH, You Tube, and BCC did it for me.