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Japan Finally Admits TOTAL Meltdown at 3 Nuclear Reactors Within Hours of Earthquake ... And More Than DOUBLES Estimate of Radiation Released After Accident

George Washington's picture




 

Washington’s Blog

For months, Tepco and Japanese officials refused to admit that there had been any meltdowns at Fukushima.

Then they said there were meltdowns at reactors 1, 2 and 3 ... but they might have only been partial meltdowns.

Finally, today, they admitted the obvious: there were total meltdowns at all 3 reactors. As CNN reports:

Japan's
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant experienced full meltdowns at
three reactors in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami in March, the
country's Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters said Monday.

 

The
nuclear group's new evaluation, released Monday, goes further than
previous statements in describing the extent of the damage caused by an
earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

 

***

 

Reactors 1, 2 and 3 experienced a full meltdown, it said.

 

***

 

But
Tokyo Electric [on May 24th] released a second possible scenario for
reactors 2 and 3, one that estimated a full meltdown did not occur. In
that scenario, the company estimated the fuel rods may have broken but
may not have completely melted.

 

***

 

Temperature data showed
the two reactors had cooled substantially in the more than two months
since the incident, Tokyo Electric said in May.

 

***

 

Tokyo
Electric avoided using the term "meltdown," and says it was keeping
the remnants of the core cool. But U.S. experts interviewed by CNN
after the company's announcement in May said that while it may have
been containing the situation, the damage had already been done.

 

"On
the basis of what they showed, if there's not fuel left in the core, I
don't know what it is other than a complete meltdown," said Gary Was, a
University of Michigan nuclear engineering professor and CNN
consultant. And given the damage reported at the other units, "It's
hard to imagine the scenarios can differ that much for those reactors."

As the Japan Times reports today, the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has "more than doubled its estimate of the radioactive material ejected into
the air in the early days of the Fukushima nuclear crisis".

Japan Times also notes
that plutonium has been found in soil outside of the nuclear complex -
about 1.7 kilometers from the front gate of Fukushima. However, the
plutonium probably came from the so-called "hydrogen explosions", which
hopefully won't happen again. (However, nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen believes that at least some of the explosions were caused by nuclear reactions in the fuel pools.)

While it is tempting to believe that the worst of the crisis is over, some of the reactors are more radioactive than ever, and nuclear chain reactions may still be occurring.

And it's not just the reactors themselves.

Remember that - when the spent fuel rods stored onsite within the reactor buildings are included - the amount of radioactive fuel at Fukushima dwarfs Chernobyl.

For background, see this.

 

 

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Mon, 06/06/2011 - 19:21 | 1345108 Buck Johnson
Buck Johnson's picture

The Japanese govt. and the MSM is getting caught up with what most of the alternative media knew 5 days after the tsunami.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 19:16 | 1345073 PulauHantu29
PulauHantu29's picture

So are we supposed to believe that all that radiated fish, rice, etc is suddenly safe?

Plus, why don't they just feed their own people with their rice instead of trying to ship it all to the EU? Sounds fishy...so to speak.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 19:06 | 1345028 Arch Duke Ferdinand
Arch Duke Ferdinand's picture

You gonna believe Japan MSM about Fukushima?
(March 20th)...

http://seenoevilspeaknoevilhearnoevil.blogspot.com/2011/03/you-gonna-bel...

Maple syrup joins the ranks of broccoli and blueberries as new 'one-stop shop' superfood

http://goodthoughtsgoodwordsgooddeeds.blogspot.com/2011/04/maple-syrup-j...

The Crunchy Snacks That Fights Cancer...

http://goodthoughtsgoodwordsgooddeeds.blogspot.com/2011/02/crunchy-snack...

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 18:40 | 1344945 Clowns on Acid
Clowns on Acid's picture

Interesting that the Japanese rice planting season has just begun. How many tons of this rice would you like?

There has been little (honest) discussion regarding the Japanese food chain since the Fuku disaster. 

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 18:08 | 1344818 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

If any of you northern hemishpere people have a garden (or farm), you really need to protect your soil against further cesium contamination. I just finished an 18' x 30' hoop house over the weekend for about $350 in materials.

Now, where do I send the bill? Hello? TEPCO?

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 18:14 | 1344841 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

n/a, here's what i wonder about hoop houses, wouldn't the molecules just run down the sides of the house and still contaminate the soil?

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 17:53 | 1344761 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

503 Guru meditation duplicate post, sorry.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 17:53 | 1344754 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Reminds me of BLS employment statistics and the CPI calculation.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 17:51 | 1344743 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

i am so shocked that the japanese plutocrats and politicians were lying...lying is a tool of governance so you should expect to be lied to and respect the liars because as a piece of shit, you are expected to accept it....

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 17:48 | 1344719 Reptil
Reptil's picture

The radioactive plume DID reach Tokyo just after Fukushima blew up. However, as mr. Gundersen explained the contamination is very localised. The japanese government seems to have put a stop to these "speculative rumours" back then.

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/06/fukushima-nuke-accident-wspeedi-shows...

What I'm curious about is that the reaction towards TEPCO and the government is that of (seemingly) quiet acceptance.  Save for a few protest marches like this one:

http://nonukes.jp/wordpress/?page_id=137

Normalcy bias is very strong.

About CNN; they're finding out all kinds of things: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rRTn-dDBTI

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 17:29 | 1344654 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

Wow, just wow.

Billionares bolted immediately, and the poor were misled for national security.

Fascism is alive and well in Japan - home to the expendible.  Sick.

 

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:57 | 1344502 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

Good work GW and...CNN ;-)

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:32 | 1344373 ILikeBoats
ILikeBoats's picture

The USA has radiation monitor capability over the entire Earth except possiby the poles... that  this happened meant the US govt KNEW, totally and completely, what happened within the first 48 hours. 

That they said nothing and went along with the charade, speaks volumes as to their estimate of your and my worth to them...

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 17:02 | 1344526 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Just look for the links between TEPCO and the TBTFs.  Also, I don't think the swine in DC would want the Japs from dumping $900 billion in treasuries plus the rumor of the complete collapse of the worlds 3rd largest economy.  The battle lines are drawn and clear. Pick your side.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:29 | 1344354 ddtuttle
ddtuttle's picture

@Zetetic
Hello!? This is TEPCO admitting that all three reactors melted down completely. Just last week Arnie Gunderson was cutting them some slack on #3. TEPCO is criminal organization that lies more than KGB at the height of the cold war. What they have not admitted (yet) is that the spent fuel pool at unit #3 exploded in a "moderated prompt criticality" that blew tons of spent fuel into the atmosphere for you and me to breathe.

BTW: a meltdown means the all the Uranium fuel rods melted and formed a puddle at the bottom of the stainless steel containment vessel. The temperature then went as high 5000C, and melted right through the stainless steel vessel and poured onto the concrete floor below. The question is did the concrete floor crack during the 9.0 earthquake? And as you dump water on that pile of Uranium fuel in a hopeless attempt to cool it, it dissolves some of the Uranium, Plutonium, Strontium and Cesium and carries it away to wherever the water goes: through the crack into the ground water? into the ocean?

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:26 | 1344346 apberusdisvet
apberusdisvet's picture

Is this a solution for the medicare/SS mess, or what?  If the next 2 generations of North Americans are 50% decimated by cancer before they reach 65, then problem solved.

No wonder the gubmint took down the tracking sites, and have "raised" the permissable fallout levels.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:21 | 1344331 the not so migh...
the not so mighty maximiza's picture

good work GW

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:19 | 1344326 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

So. Are our utilities learning from the Japanese experience?  For $1K they can add a hydrogen popoff valve and vent pipe to the outside to avert huge explosions.  For $50M they can add a large elevated cooling pool to passively cool the reactor in the case of a blackout.  For $50K they can add a water filtration system for the dome in case of a breach.  For $1M they can add better monitoring equipment.  What will they do?  Send $1M to Washington to prevent anyone from requiring the above expenditures.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:02 | 1344287 SirIssacNewton
SirIssacNewton's picture

I posted this several weeks ago and nothing has changed...worth a re-post.

None of us really want to know the answer to "how to solve the Fukushima".....because the answer is there is no answer.  As desperate as we are to have an answer, there really isn't one.  Everything Japan & Tepco have been doing is merely very minimal stop gap measures.  The fuel has been exposed since very shortly after the disaster 2 months ago and, still, nothing has been done to stop the reactions because they can't.  The fuel is no longer encased in rod form.....there are no control rods at the bottom of the secondary concrete containment slab (that's assuming it hasn't already burned through the concrete into the ground below) so the fission reaction continues unabated.

We all know this is much worse than Chernobyl.  Chernobyl's core was complete exposed so sand and boron could be applied in very close proximity to the fission material.  Fukushima's nuclear material is almost inaccessible because the containment structures, although high damaged, are in the way.  It's great they're sending robots in to see what's what, but, in the mean time, the ocean, the air and our planet are getting blasted with highly radioactive materials that many of us will internally ingest during our lifetimes.

If Japan was serious about getting this job done, it would have a staging area the size of a mini-city with hundreds of thousands of lead bricks being delivered as we speak, hundreds of heavy pieces of equipment ready to go to work, supplies for concrete and rebar in mountain piles and, most importantly, Tens of Thousands of Workers ready to die.  The conundrum in the next more significant stop gap measure is realizing that its either 10,000 die now or millions die later.  The terrible situation has already happened and this solution can't be about worker safety..... its weighing how many lives will be lost with each day nothing is done.  This nuclear disaster is a war and the nuclear meltdown is winning.  This situation can't be about analysis paralysis like the Japanese can be known to do.....its about running with the best plan that time allows and moving as fast as humanly possible sending people in harms way...into the breach.  Thats it.  There is no situation in this nuclear disaster where large amounts of people aren't going to die and the sooner we face this fact the more people we will save for the future.  If we wait until every worker that walks into the site is absolutely safe, most of the northern hemisphere will be screwed with high fatality rates for decades.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 19:22 | 1345118 hardcleareye
hardcleareye's picture

With the nuclear fuel, at some 4% enrichment, once it has melted and is in the bottom of (the dry well?) can it still become critical?

It didn't at TMI.....

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 17:02 | 1344542 andybev01
andybev01's picture

There are at least 270 volunteers ready to go in.

http://www.torontosun.com/2011/06/06/japanese-retirees-ready-to-risk-fuk...

 

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 17:01 | 1344519 Ruffcut
Ruffcut's picture

The inept behavior now looks either intention or criminal.

It is as stupid as drivng a 120 miles an hour, on a curve, in the rain, with bald tires.

How could I ever believe that anyone in power could be this reckless.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:58 | 1344518 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

thanks for the repost...sad as it is...

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:02 | 1344286 Reptile Master
Reptile Master's picture

They finally tell truth just to cover up lies.

How long till we hear "it was the cell phones that killed us all." 

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:01 | 1344268 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

i guess they felt it was long enough in the past that they could release the truth and it will no longer be bad news

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 15:54 | 1344260 sundown333
sundown333's picture

Think about this. We use nuclear energy to boil water to turn turbines to generate electricty. We can't use the power of the sun ( on sunny days) to heat water to do the same and then use natural gas or coal on cloudy days? I have a solar cooker I have used to cook with on camping trips that will easily burn meat if not careful. Seems to me we could concentrate sunlight on pipes or some metal surface to boil water to generate steam and turn turbines. Just a thought.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 17:42 | 1344717 Mitzibitzi
Mitzibitzi's picture

Google 'Stirling Engine'.

You can use solar energy, if sufficiently concentrated (curved sun-tracking mirrors, basically) to directly heat the 'hot' cylinder. Removes that whole steam cycle complication, though you can do that as well in time-honoured compound steam engine fashion to get greater efficiency. 1900s technology, at best.

Only works well somewhere hot with a good water source for cooling the 'cold' cylinder, of course, but that's a big chunk of the world. The surplus heat that will inevitably end up in the runoff from the cold side can be used to increase the yield of ichthyoculture farms downstream - fish grow bigger in slightly warmer water, if it's managed properly. Don't let government get involved in that, obviously, or it wouldn't be.

Geothermal works good elsewhere. As does wave power, ocean geo-thermal, wind, photovoltaic solar, biodigestion gas, etc.

And, hell, we could even stop preventing the fusion crowd from achieving anything of short term value by say... NOT cutting the research grants every time there's actually a step forward breakthrough made.

That might be going a little far, however. After all, building a (more than likely, as the amount of energy in play at any given time is only on the order of a couple of kilos of conventional explosives. And containment for that is almost trivial) totally SAFE nuclear plant that can deliver reasonably cheap energy once its probably horrendous start up costs are swallowed... can't see anyone with a vested interest in keeping shit expensive going for that!

 

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:55 | 1344507 Gunther
Gunther's picture

Look for concentrated solar power; the system got tested already.

Investment would be expensive but it does not run uncalculable risks like nuclear.

 

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:09 | 1344308 shortus cynicus
shortus cynicus's picture

"natural gas" sounds really romantic...

but seriously: geothermal energy will be probably the future

 

 

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:03 | 1344278 Ruffcut
Ruffcut's picture

For the southwest, it is geothermal and without this little side effect.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 15:51 | 1344245 Ruffcut
Ruffcut's picture

The 64 cent question is:

We knew the system was fucked up and was, and still is, spewing.

So how much spew is coming out?????

The rest of the info, or in some spaces disinfo, are no longer material.

Sales are simpler and effective with a simple "features and benefits" presentation.

These are occurrences, without known outcomes or honest judgments of what the fuck is going on.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 15:46 | 1344236 majia
majia's picture

This entire situation is beyond outrageous. Gunderson's disclosure that Seattle residents, on average, were exposed to 10 "hot" particles a day in April (based on their sampling) makes me ill (http://www.chrismartenson.com/martensonreport/part-2-arnie-gundersen-interview-protecting-yourself-if-situation-worsens ). Does anyone know how these levels compare with people in Eastern Europe during Chernobyl?

The lies and deception continue unabated. As noted above, the radiation levels in the groundwater and sea are not being measured. And yet, today's news reports are deliberately silent about what forms of radiation releases (figured at 1/10 of Chernobyl) are being discussed.

I am confused, however, about Gunderson's statement that reactors 1 and 2 cannot get worse because they are unlikely to burn through the concrete floors quickly and are incapable of further fission (because of the geometry of the globs I assume). I thought the danger is that the melted cores will continue down through the concrete????

Also, why are radiation levels rising in reactors 1 and 2? Is it simply from the accumulation of radioactive water in the basements?

On a separate note, albeit related in the PR area, Adam Curtis (who produced Century of the Self and the Power of Nightmares) has a new documentary

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2011/05/all_watched_over_by_machines_o.html

 

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 19:33 | 1345154 hardcleareye
hardcleareye's picture

GW....  I have some of these questions myself...  still looking for the answers, if you know them, or have a source, could you comment or write about it in a future article?

Thanks

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 15:38 | 1344208 Gunther
Gunther's picture

The reactors melted down following the earthquake:
That leaves basically two possibilities; the design was too weak to withstand the strong quake or - the steel got brittle over time.
For material scientists it is well known that bombardment with neutrons from radioactive decay makes steel brittle over time. Then a shock brakes the steel somewhere, the pressure vessel or piping leaks and the cooling fails.
This effect applies to all nuclear power plants and limits the time they can be used safely. 
Ignoring this is asking for big time trouble.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 17:41 | 1344705 Derpin USA
Derpin USA's picture

The meltdown occurred because of a station blackout and loss of cooling functionality. The steel in the reactor had nothing to do with it.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 19:53 | 1345229 hardcleareye
hardcleareye's picture

What lead to the melt down was the earthquake damage to the facitily structure.  The recordings of the radation levels at the plant supports the conclustion that the reactor structure was breached by the earthquake and was starting to melt down prior to the tsunami (and the failure of the cooling system)... (radation reading were high prior to the tsunami)  see Arnie's video at Fairewinds for further detailed information.

For clarification the reactor is not steel, but 304 stainless steel.  Add heat and chlorine, as in NaCl (salt.... you know the stuff in sea water) and you get sever oxidation (corrosion, kinda like "steel rust" but not the red kind........)  this leads to extreme brittleness of the metal, loss of strength and fatigue cracks....  you look at it and the metal crumbles (that is before you start adding thermal cycles, heating and cooling)...... "fixing the leaks" and getting a closed loop cooling system established, ain't gonna happen...

 

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:06 | 1344300 Herman Strandsc...
Herman Strandschnecke's picture

Good point about metal fatigue/decay. Thanks.

plus the salty environment suspended dry or moist depending on climate over the years?

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 15:36 | 1344203 InconvenientCou...
InconvenientCounterParty's picture

sux to be an organism sometimes.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:38 | 1344400 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

at least that neocortex part

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 15:38 | 1344190 PulauHantu29
PulauHantu29's picture

When I read two days after the quake that ALL the Ebassies in Tokyo ordered their people out of the country of Japan I knew the someone was not telling the truth when they said,"it's only a tiny leak."

Looks like some people were screwed over pretty roughly.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 15:28 | 1344156 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

Busloads of earless bunnies. 

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 15:23 | 1344151 earnulf
earnulf's picture

It's part of the "dis"information campaign waged by governments.   If something is bad, really, really bad, downplay it initially, question anything that contradicts that "reality" and say "alls well!"    Then, over the course of weeks and months, release "updated" information that is "newly discovered" or a "reinterpretation" of the "initial" information that has now been "confirmed by experts" so that eventually the story gets out, but the 30 minute attention span of most people is already on the next soap story or tradgedy or whatever.

Those of us with a few more active brain cells however like to ask the question "WTF!"    Too bad Obama thinks it means winning the future

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 15:23 | 1344149 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

And in other news, NHK Japan has this heart warming report:

 

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/06_24.html

 

Fukushima students enjoy indoor swimming

While concerns remain over the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, students from elementary schools in the region enjoyed swimming at an indoor pool to avoid possible radiation.

Two elementary schools in Tamura City started swimming classes on Monday using a city-run indoor pool located 20 kilometers from the school.

More than 50 students were taken by bus. They first sprayed water on each other, and then practiced swimming for about 30 minutes.

The city is located within the expanded 30-kilometer zone where residents have been asked to prepare for an emergency evacuation.

After the nuclear accident, 29 local municipalities have banned outdoor swimming classes at elementary and junior high schools to minimize the effects of radiation on children.

Monday, June 06, 2011 16:30 +0900 (JST)

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:16 | 1344320 SirIssacNewton
SirIssacNewton's picture

I can't believe the government thinks its safe to have them swim indoors either.  Where did they get the water for the indoor pools?  The lovely water that comes with radioactive Iodine and Cesium.  Where do they think the water is coming from?  Do they think all the people coming to the pool aren't dragging in radioactive particles?  The U.S. government has told all Americans living in Japan to stay at least 80 km away from the plant.  Japan seems willing to play roulette with their children and the rest of the world all for the sake of keeping up appearances.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:01 | 1344283 Herman Strandsc...
Herman Strandschnecke's picture

The poor little offspring. Btw where did this indoor water come from? 

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 18:07 | 1344811 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

Is it a heated pool?

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 15:24 | 1344141 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

We should spend a little time estimating the amount of radiation in the 100,000 tons of water hanging around the site.  Time to put the 'only a tenth of Chernobyl' BS to bed once and for all.....

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:49 | 1344474 Raynja
Raynja's picture

I've been bitching about the "worst since chernobyl" tag since this catastrophe started. Lately the new ridiculous one is "joplin was worst tornado since 1947 " yet they have never once mentioned where this tornado occurred or how many people were killed. While I'm at it, "food supplies will be at their lowest point since" ...... 1994, 1970something, 1937( ever).

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 15:22 | 1344135 sundown333
sundown333's picture

That's exactly it! When people from Japan and the US and anywhere the cloud of radiation has settled develops cancer in 2-20 years the Gov. and Doctors will just say that you got it from smoking, being around smokers, eating too much red meat, etc. When you try to argue that it came from radiation in the environment they will say "prove it". Lets face it, we are on our own. Protect your health and that of your family because nobody else will protect you or be honest with you. Also, we know most of society is asleep so they will be of no help. WE ARE ON OUR OWN!

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