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Latest Q&A On Fukushima

Tyler Durden's picture




 

With so much changing in Fukushima on a daily basis, it is easy to lose track of what is happening on any given day. In fact, some like Zero Hedge are now weary of reporting Fukushima news due to expectations of a full detraction within half an hour or so, after someone is discovered to have no idea what a decimal comma is, or another is simply lying, in ongoing efforts to spread confusion. Which is why the following Q&A from Reuters on the latest situation in the radioactive power plant is a useful recap for virtually everyone, even though most likely the party line, not to mention "fact" will change shortly.

WHAT IS HAPPENING?

Workers are
struggling to restart the cooling pumps in four reactors damaged by the
9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami and later drenched from desperate
hosing operations to keep the reactors cool.

The immediate
challenge is to pump out radioactive water flooding the basements in
reactors No.1, No.2 and No.3 and hampering the restoration of
electricity to continuously power the cooling pumps.

The No.2
reactor has posed especially nasty risks, emitting high levels of
radiation at more than 1,000 millisieverts an hour in both the water and
air in the basement of the turbine building. That is the highest
reading seen in the crisis and compares with a national safety standard
of 250 millisieverts over a year. This most likely means that byproducts
from a partial meltdown in the reactor core are leaking out into the
water.

In the No.1 reactor, workers have been able to start
running a circulatory steam condensing system to begin to clear
contaminated water. But after five days of pumping, there is no clear
indication of significant progress.

The same systems in reactors
No.2 and No.3 are flooded and so need to be emptied before they can
handle the contaminated water. TEPCO has said it may need to think out
of the box to clear the dangerous waters, while preventing further flows
into the sea and soil.

HOW LONG MIGHT THIS TAKE?

Nobody knows. The most likely scenario is a long, drawn-out fight, with
incremental progress interrupted by emergency cooling measures and
spikes in radioactivity.

Once the pumps and the residual heat
removal systems are running, it would take only a couple days to bring
the reactors to a cold shutdown. But engineers are literally working in
the dark. Lights have only recently gone on in the control room, but
electrically powered monitors and gauges -- workers' eyes and ears
inside the reactor -- are still off. Radiation readings outside the
reactors are still taken via a moving car, because the monitoring posts
are not powered. Temperature and pressure readings from backup systems
are all that workers have to "see" what is going on in the reactors.

Workers remain hampered by broken pipes, debris, flooded equipment and a
scarcity of replacement pumps and water tanks. Work has also been
interrupted by hosing operations to lower rising temperatures in the
reactor cores and spent fuel pools, as well as by an occasional fire and
radiation injuries.

Because of the high levels of radiation in
the water, experts suspect damage to the containment structures around
the No.2 reactor core. They said it may take as long as a few months to
bring that reactor to a cold shutdown.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS?

The main risk comes from the radiation that will continue to seep, or
burst, out each time a pipe leaks or rising pressure forces workers to
vent steam. Leaking water from within the nuclear pressure vessels could
find their way into the soil and the ocean, while spikes in radiation
could contaminate crops over a wide area.

The risk that the
spent fuel pools could reach recriticality seems remote, as long as
there are workers and firefighters willing to douse the reactors with
water each time temperatures start to rise.

The same could be
said of a small, hypothetical risk of a corium steam explosion,
particularly in the No.1 reactor, which is the plant's oldest and which
is believed to have a weak spot. If workers are unable to continue
hosing operations, and if the nuclear fuel manages to melt through the
bottom of the reactor and fall into a water pool below, this would
result in a high temperature burst and a sudden release of a huge amount
of hydrogen that could, in an unlikely "perfect storm" scenario, breach
the containment vessel.

Should either worst-case scenarios
happen, it could disperse high levels of radiation up to 20 km (12
miles) around the site, making it impossible to bring the reactors to a
cold shutdown without great sacrifice.

WILL THE SITE BECOME A NO-MAN'S LAND?

Most likely, yes. Even after a cold shutdown there is the issue of
tonnes of nuclear waste sitting at the site of the nuclear reactors.
Enclosing the reactors by injecting lead and encasing them in concrete
would make it safe to work and live a few kilometres away from the site,
but is not a long-term solution for the disposal of spent fuel, which
will decay and emit fission fragments over several thousand years.

The spent nuclear fuel in Fukushima has been damaged by sea water, so
recycling it is probably not an option, while transporting it elsewhere
is unlikely given the opposition that proposal would bring.

WHAT RISK FROM PLUTONIUM?

Plutonium has been found in soil samples at the site, further evidence
that fuel rods in at least one reactor may have melted down considerably
before they were cooled, and that there is damage to the structures
containing the nuclear core.

Only trace amounts of the toxic
substance have been detected. The level of up to 0.54 becquerals per kg
of soil is not considered harmful. Most people have some plutonium in
their bodies from atmospheric and underwater nuclear tests and some
pacemakers are powered by plutonium.

But the presence of the
radioactive poison outside the reactors compounds worry for the workers
there as long as authorities are not sure how the heaviest of primordial
elements leaked out.

Plutonium-239, used most in reactors, has a
half-life of 24,200 years. It is not readily absorbed by the body but
what is absorbed, stays put, irradiates surrounding tissue and is
carcinogenic.

 

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Tue, 03/29/2011 - 07:29 | 1112006 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

it was all a dream....

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 07:39 | 1112024 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

dark pools of soros

The Bobby Ewing defense!

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 07:39 | 1112030 Highrev
Highrev's picture

TEPCO has said it may need to think out of the box . . .

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:34 | 1112136 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

juice box

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 07:43 | 1112032 Highrev
Highrev's picture

Double post due to "site difficulties".

(ZH must be getting hit pretty hard these days as I've seen this more than once recently.)

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 10:05 | 1112470 TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

Double posts are caused by random mutations of binary code possibly caused by excessive radiation levels or sympathetic reactions in electronic circuits as skynet becomes aware and aware of Fukushima.

Other possible causes:

fat fingers (once crashed entire stock market -also problem at ZH)

Excessive drinking (say no more)

salacious icons that cause computer to become distracted

 

and the number one reason for double posts,

Zero Hedge just supersized you.

 

 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 11:10 | 1112801 Thomas
Thomas's picture

Very good. 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 11:10 | 1112802 Thomas
Thomas's picture

Very good.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 07:45 | 1112037 westboundnup
westboundnup's picture

Good morning!

/turning around in de-contamination shower

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 07:52 | 1112051 jus_lite_reading
jus_lite_reading's picture

Can someone tell me why TD provides better coverage of Fukushima than any multibillion dollar MSM outlet? (its a rhetorical question)

Thanks again TD!

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 12:11 | 1113073 Reptil
Reptil's picture

+ 131

It's not over but so far.. ahead of the MSM curve.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 12:30 | 1113159 flattrader
flattrader's picture

This guy does a decent job--

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/

And if we are to believe the entry for today, that situation in more fucked up from a remediation standpoint than we know.

Keep reading beyond these initial paragraphs.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Case of Disappearing Articles: #Fukushima I Nuke Plant Workers' Harsh Conditions

Something strange is going on in some of the Japanese news media. The Kyodo News English article about the harsh work conditions for the workers at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant which I link below was reported in other papers in Japanese, but in some papers the article got shorter and shorter as they updated.

I first read the article in Japanese at Yomiuri. It was a two-webpage article. But then, it was trimmed down to only a few sentences, and that's how it is now. But I have located part of the original long article cut and pasted by people who post on the Japanese message boards.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 07:31 | 1112010 hugovanderbubble
hugovanderbubble's picture

Thanks for keeping us informed.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 07:45 | 1112014 What does it al...
What does it all mean's picture

Did anybody ever saw the footage for reactor #4 blow up, caught on fire, or was it just given that it is demolished.  I have been following this since March 11th and never seen a footage on reactor #4...

Yes, I know that it was actually in cold shutdown, prior to the accident because it was under scheduled maintainance.  But the building looks so beat up.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:12 | 1112094 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture

I think the Japanese Ministry of Truth found that remote camera just in time to turn it off before reactor 4 blew up. It would have been interesting footage, since that was a spent fuel pool blowing up, not the reactor itself, which was shut down and emptied for maintenance.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:58 | 1112446 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Not only did they fail to provide video of unit 4 blowing, but they lied about it for almost 36 hours. If you remember, the only indication we had that unit 4 had a problem was a sudden mention of a fire that was seen through a 8 meter by 4 meter hole in the roof by one of the workers. I remember saying to myself "What hole in unit 4's roof"? We were then told the fire went out on it's own.

We heard other mentions of fire and steam releases from unit 4 over the next 24 hours, then suddenly Digital Globe had satellite images of the complex and it was obvious unit 4 had blown. Suddenly TEPCO and the government were saying there had been an explosion in unit 4. It was a deliberate cover up. I suspect it blew on the same day as unit 3 and they simply didn't want to admit two units blew up on the same day. That was the same day Tyler was referring to some Article number, meaning an official news blackout.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 12:15 | 1113092 Reptil
Reptil's picture

correct

which is a mutation of rule of fightclub

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 12:18 | 1113107 davepowers
davepowers's picture

that's largely my recollection too.

After #3 blew, they reported the fire (later amended to fire and explosion) at #4 which (as I recall) produced two 8 x 8 holes on one or two sides of #4. Then they reported a 2nd fire (or continuation of fire 1) which went out on its own. 

The two 8 x 8 holes stories stayed in the news for a long time, including late last week in mty local newspaper. This was well after photos showed #4 blown to hell. So the media was just picking up on the original damage version without bothering to update for reality.

One day we'll probably see video of the big explosion of #4, probably somewhere between #1 and #3 in intensity. For now, they've had enough of people seeing more explosions.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 07:40 | 1112018 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

For worse or much much worse, this even is done. All the talk only delays the in-evitable realization that not only is it done, it will do most of us to. In that is.

The US, with it's own pile upon pile of spent (but hardly actually) fuel should, in this time of earthquakes, be scrambling to get them away.

But all we see is jawboning and safety tours.

Our blinders will not need to come off, it seems they have now afflicted us too deeply.

ORI

http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/for-dis-believers/

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:07 | 1112232 downrodeo
downrodeo's picture

Agreed. Well said.

Our blinders have practically grafted themselves to our faces at this stage. 

 

http://halfpasthuman.com/power.html

 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 07:43 | 1112020 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

It would be nice if someone had a links to all the recent Radiation detections in the US and the world. A lits that keeps articles archived and is updated. Before they disappear.

So far we have Radioactive Iodine in Ma, SC,NC, Fla,Ca, and Pa. We have Cesium in Wa, elevated readings in Nevada and Wa and something in Colorado.

Iceland and China have detected radiation.

It strikes me that the US has been blanketed and probably Europe. That whatever levels exist right now are rising daily.

And NOBODY is talking about it except to downplay the severity.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:55 | 1112194 Cthonic
Cthonic's picture

Aye, looks like the Ministry of Truth has taken over RadNet.  Lot of sites that were showing elevated readings are now zeroed out or unavailable.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:35 | 1112346 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

No need to concern people...until it's time to panic them.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 07:39 | 1112023 malikai
malikai's picture

Finally a sensible report on the situation which addresses facts. I wonder how many people will actually read it before opening their pie-holes and spreading FUD?

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 12:58 | 1113261 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture
  • a sensible report on the situation

Depends if one believes the information coming from Reuters and their sources.

The Nuclear Safety Commission, a nuclear experts panel set up by the government, on Monday issued a statement that leakage of radioactive water into the soil or the sea is the biggest concern.

http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20110329D29JF313.htm

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 16:22 | 1114135 malikai
malikai's picture

Yea that sounds about right. Iodine and caesium both love water. Caesium also has an affinity to plants. Strontium also loves plants, but luckily not water. Unfortinately, caesium is the #2 fission product by volume, and it has a nasty habit of making its way to the water table.

Those are indeed correct. As far as seawater goes, dilution is the solution, until plankton begin the bioaccumulation process. Therein lies the real problem.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 07:47 | 1112038 aVian
aVian's picture

bullish

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 07:57 | 1112062 whoopsing
whoopsing's picture

I like the 'drive by' monitoring part-priceless,oh and by the way,when buying used,check your carfax

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:04 | 1112075 Thorlyx
Thorlyx's picture

Observing the medias and markets reaction to all of this, one must realize that this is a non-event. May be if one (or better two) reactor(s) breach and blow up, then we might see media coverage again and mild market corrections.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:11 | 1112090 A Man without Q...
A Man without Qualities's picture

Observing the media and markets you can see there is an incredibly powerful desire to make it seem like a non-event.  The importance of nuclear energy to advanced nations, especially given concerns about carbon emissions (whether right or wrong), the emergency of new economic powers and the fragility of energy supplies cannot be understated.  

The nuclear lobby and governments have argued nuclear is both cheap and safe and accidents such as this (and the massive costs to deal with it) raise the question as to whether either is true.

To assume the media and markets are a reflection of reality is just plain dumb.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:17 | 1112102 Thorlyx
Thorlyx's picture

Reality is what it is, not what you believe is (or might be) right. Without nuclear power we would live in caves.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:26 | 1112126 whoopsing
whoopsing's picture

Reality is a funny thing.Who know's,in a hundred year's,survivor's may be saying because of nuclear power,we are forced to live in cave's

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:36 | 1112349 downrodeo
downrodeo's picture

Reality is what it is

 

Jackass.

The reality is they did not build the plant to withstand an earthquake/tsunami, meaning they guessed it would probably never happen or it was well worth the risk. Miscalculation in the eyes of many now.

 

MSM does not reflect reality.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:42 | 1112375 A Man without Q...
A Man without Qualities's picture

In the US, the MSM reflects the needs of the corporate owners and sponsors...  

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 10:10 | 1112501 TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

Bingo, +100, move forward 5 squares.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 11:23 | 1112857 jomama
jomama's picture

thanks for the belly laugh!

Nuclear power is barely net positive in terms of energy in, energy out, when you take into consideration the building, maintenance, and decomissioning.  

Since we haven't learned to harness solar energy, showering the earth daily with over 1000x the energy humans use every day, we just might wind up living in caves.  Especially if one of these reactors hits ground water and blows sky high.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 13:22 | 1113342 trav7777
trav7777's picture

eh...nuclear power is heavily energy-positive, but the breakeven can be long, like 10+ years.  And it certainly doesn't compare to surface oil at 100:1, not even close.

This is why they run these plants for 40, 50, 60 years now.  It increases the EROI.

Solar is what is barely energy positive given that half the time it is dark.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 22:17 | 1115368 i-dog
i-dog's picture

"nuclear power is heavily energy-positive"

Do you have a source on that? 'Stoneleigh' claims otherwise and she was a research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHrpCEpvo0o)

For example, does your conclusion include the energy allowance for building the storage facilities for the spent fuel and continuously keeping it cool for decades/centuries?

I also wonder at the energy cost of decommissioning a nuclear plant. Have any actually been decommissioned yet, or do they just extend the operating life by another 10 years every 10 years (as they did at Fukushima) -- because there is no money set aside and no acceptable plan for effective decommissioning?!

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 21:19 | 1115210 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Is the surface of a planet the right place for an expanding technological civilization?

 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 13:01 | 1113274 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

Shill.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 14:47 | 1113698 gratefultraveller
gratefultraveller's picture

"Reality is what you can get away with"

 

Robert Anton Wilson

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 16:04 | 1114029 nkktwotwozero
nkktwotwozero's picture

>Without nuclear power we would live in caves.

What?

--

Brawndo, they've got what nuclear plants crave!

 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 13:07 | 1113288 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

"The detection of plutonium in soil samples from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suggests that the release of radioactive substances from the crippled facility has been far more extensive and serious than initially thought.

...Plutonium is far more toxic than uranium. Exposure to plutonium-238, which emits neutrons, is known to increase the risk of cancer."

http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20110328D28JFA24.htm

 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:07 | 1112081 Herman Strandsc...
Herman Strandschnecke's picture

Ummm, it all sounds a bit too clinical for me.

I'd be happier if they put a herd of sheep and cattle in a field nearby with cctv. Also; they should build a pool within the harbour (harbor) with fish in there on cctv. They could feed off the planktonium and whatnot.

At least we could then watch for signs of health and or side effects.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:26 | 1112117 i-dog
i-dog's picture

The two most important questions, for most of the planet, are:

  1. Will the 35 million people in the Tokyo area (and 90 million others in Japan outside of, say, an 80km exclusion zone) be able to continue their lives, and grow food, with a minimal increased risk of contracting cancer.
  2. Will the 7 billion others on the planet be able to continue their lives, and grow food, with a minimal increased risk of contracting cancer.

It is reasonable to assume that those currently residing less than 80km from the plant should GTF out of there, presto!

Well, IMO, the answers to both 1 and 2 above are probably "yes" as of right now ... but this could change to "no fucking way" IF/WHEN the next tsunami or storm or wind change or snafu occurs in the vicinity of the Fukushima plant.

In any event, placing animals or fish right next to the plant would not answer either of the above questions for me.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 10:53 | 1112715 flattrader
flattrader's picture

>>>...or wind change or snafu occurs in the vicinity of the Fukushima plant...<<<

IIRC from yesterday, the weather forecast for that region indicated an change in wind direction to the south and west.

We may find out the answer to your Q1 sooner rather than later.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 13:10 | 1113300 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

In a news conference Friday, Kan had stressed the NSC's role in the limiting of the evacuation zone to within a 20km radius of the plant.

http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20110328D28JFA05.htm

Govt May Ask Farmers To Delay Rice Planting Amid Radiation Scare

The delay would give the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries time to examine whether rice paddies are too contaminated with radioactive substances to allow cultivation, the officials said.

http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20110329D29JF371.htm


Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:13 | 1112091 Repran
Repran's picture

Zerohedge has declined at least 3 notches in my regard with all this nuclear panic making. Shame, shame, shame...

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:19 | 1112106 malikai
malikai's picture

Take it in stride. Everybody makes mistakes and the situation is not over yet. Also remember that the most vociferous fear spreading has only come from a few people.

The real lesson here is that one should always question their information source, especially when it is one's most favorite/trusted information source.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:22 | 1112111 Herman Strandsc...
Herman Strandschnecke's picture

'Zerohedge has declined at least 3 notches in my regard with all this nuclear panic making. Shame, shame, shame...'

 Since when did zerohedge own and operate Tepco?

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:23 | 1112120 Beam Me Up Scotty
Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

My son, when he was about a year and a half old, was very shy.  If someone he didn't know tried to interact with him, he would close his eyes---if you can't see the stranger they don't exist.

Maybe you should try that.  Close your eyes and there won't be any radioactivity or any other problems in the world for that matter.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:41 | 1112156 taraxias
taraxias's picture

++++

They see it, they know......but they won't profit if the truth comes out.

Their posts are nothing more than thinly disguised "move along, nothing to see here" disinformation statements.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:19 | 1112109 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

They need to bring a barge in and pump contaminated pools of water into the barge for later processing.  Where is the army of support for this cleanup? 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 08:21 | 1112110 whoopsing
whoopsing's picture

Repran-'panic making'? For my entire life,we have been told the story that nuclear mat'l is dangerous stuff,albeit useful for some application's.Is this story not correct?

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:11 | 1112249 MSimon
MSimon's picture

The risk that the spent fuel pools could reach recriticality seems remote, as long as there are workers and firefighters willing to douse the reactors with water each time temperatures start to rise.

 

Criticality has nothing to do with temperature. It has to do with neutron efficiency and moderation. Water is a good moderator and a neutron reflector. Pouring water on a potentially critical mass of uranium/plutonium is the wrong thing to do if you want to do everything possible to prevent recriticality. OTOH it may be a balancing act. i.e. conflicting requirements.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 13:22 | 1113351 trav7777
trav7777's picture

I know, every time I read this I go WTF.

But temperature is sort of passingly relevant in terms of as a parameter for neutron cross section of some of the fissile materials.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 15:40 | 1113924 malikai
malikai's picture

I speculate that if the fuel elements in one of the SFPs was allowed to melt sufficiently, it would be able to acheive criticality on its own, without moderation (via p240 because of the high burnup of the fuel rods).

I'm talking complete melting, pooling, and finally, criticality.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:19 | 1112281 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Quagmire time:

Radioactive water hampers restoration work

Work to remove highly radioactive water at buildings near 3 reactors of the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is making little progress, delaying efforts to restore the plant's cooling systems.

Shortly before noon on Tuesday, lighting was back on in the control room of the plant's Number 4 reactor. Lighting in all control rooms of reactors number 1 through 4 has now been restored, providing a better environment for the restoration work. But highly radioactive substances and strong radiation detected all over the plant are hampering the efforts.

The most serious problem is puddles of highly radioactive water found in the basements of turbine buildings of the number 1, 2 and 3 reactors.

Radiation levels at the surface of water in the Number 2 unit are more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour. Work at the site is currently suspended.

At the Number 1 reactor, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has been working to put contaminated water into a turbine condenser since Saturday. TEPCO says the water level has gone down slightly, but that it has received no information on the exact amount.

The utility says similar work started at the Number 3 unit on Monday and the Number 2 unit on Tuesday, but that the source of leaks into the basements of the units is unknown. TEPCO also says it is unclear when the water will be removed.

The firm says there has been no major change in levels of highly radioactive water found on Monday in a tunnel called a trench outside the Number 2 turbine building. TEPCO is continuing to monitor the trench to prevent radiation from leaking outside.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 20:52 +0900 (JST)

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 11:16 | 1112429 PhattyBuoy
PhattyBuoy's picture

"puddles"  ... ?

Since when are puddles deep enough to drown oneself in?!

Maximum depth of radioactive water (puddles) in each turbine building:
Reactor 1: 40 centimeters (1.3 feet)
Reactor 2: 1 meter (3.28 feet)
Reactor 3: 1.5 meters (4.92 feet)
Reactor 4: 80 centimeters (2.62 feet)
as of March 26 their time.

These numbers all make sense to me, except for #4.

We know that #3 is the hottest, so it should have the most condensation.

I do not understand why #4 has this much water.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 14:33 | 1113634 Matte_Black
Matte_Black's picture

One of the GE guys who orginally set up Fukushima has some comments to make:

 

At Fukushima, workers have been pumping water into three reactors in a desperate bid to keep the fuel rods from melting down. But Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at the plant, said his analysis of radiation levels suggested these attempts had failed at reactor two.

He said at least part of the molten core, which includes melted fuel rods and zirconium alloy cladding, seemed to have sunk through the steel "lower head" of the pressure vessel and on to the concrete floor below.

"The indications we have, from the reactor to radiation readings and the materials they are seeing, suggest that the core has melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel in unit two, and at least some of it is down on the floor of the drywell," Lahey said. "I hope I am wrong, but that is certainly what the evidence is pointing towards."

There's more, recommend clicking:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/29/japan-lost-race-save-nuclear...

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:20 | 1112289 Sweet Chicken
Sweet Chicken's picture

In my opinion this situation needs to be taken out of Tepco's hands and placed in the Japanese millitarys hands along with a crack team of international nuclear physicists to solve the problems. The fact that a private company with so much at stake financially should not be allowed to put the entire country and others for that matter at risk.

Set up an international team to solve the difficult problems and allow the flow of accurrate information to be told to the masses. Let the good people of Japan and elsewhere decide for themselves what is the best course of action for themselves.

 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:34 | 1112339 whoopsing
whoopsing's picture

Sweet chicken,I do not believe there is a crack team capable of cleaning this thing up,way too big,way too poisoned,way too unstable

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:39 | 1112365 Sweet Chicken
Sweet Chicken's picture

There is always a way. I don't believe this can continue to be controlled by only Tepco if for only the conflict of interests involved. Certainly the Japanese millitary along with enough brain power a solution could be made. There are plenty of honorable people willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 10:24 | 1112579 TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

They should dismantle entire plant and ship it to Chernobyl, where it could be entombed into a new larger structure. Might as well keep all the radioactive crap in one place. The cannon fodder required to sacrifice themselves for this task should come from Tepco upper management and should they be insufficient in number, any and all upper management from any TBTF corporations should be entered into a lottery pool to give them a chance to serve the common good of Fukushima clean up. All corporations or banks that accepted TARP funds are automatically entered. If any lottery winner refuses to work, they are stripped of all assets and sent to Siberia. We get to clean up a nuclear disaster and corporate governance and provide incentives for future behaviour. WIN, win, WIN!!! P.s. possible also to use personnel from government agencies tasked with oversight and regulation who failed to do their jobs and filled their days with porn and web surfing, ie SEC, FDIC etc.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 14:42 | 1113667 Matte_Black
Matte_Black's picture

How, generally, would one ship four molten reactor cores along with 4000 tons of  smoking nuclear fuel to Ukraine which is 5,000 miles from Japan?

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 10:44 | 1112669 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Michio Kaku suggested removing TEPCO from the equation and putting a team of international nuclear experts in charge backed up by the Japanese military very forcefully last week.

The fact of the matter is that this mess may never be cleaned-up in any way most of us would find acceptable.

Mitigation may be the best they can hope for (think Chernobyl) which is far, far from ideal, (and will need additional work going forward.)

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 13:19 | 1113338 dugorama
dugorama's picture

SC:

The reason it needs to be put in the hands of the military is that people will need to be ordered to their certain deaths.  No corporation will ever be able to do that (except perhaps Goldman Sachs - see article yesterday re: stay in Tokyo).  As far as I know, only the military can compel people to run in and die (or charge a machine gun, etc.).

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:23 | 1112295 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Does anyone have a handle on the cesium release rate when the units are emitting all this steam and/or vapor?  That seems to be the status quo now.

Cesium can be a real bitch for contamination.  Iodine, not good (concentrates in the food chain, esp. dairy) but not as long term.

More research...sigh...

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:39 | 1112352 PhattyBuoy
PhattyBuoy's picture

Please look at this relevant document in your leisure.
Browns-Ferry Failure Analysis - a year after TMI event
http://www.osti.gov/bridge/servlets/purl/6192378-Yf5q1o/6192378.pdf
Pdf pages: 18-23 most relevant.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 11:12 | 1112811 jomama
jomama's picture

that's a pretty old school process flow diagram.  would be nice to see a modern, more comprehensive model, as the step changes seem to outline roughly what we are seeing currently.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 17:26 | 1112894 PhattyBuoy
PhattyBuoy's picture

1980 doc. - best I could find.

.pdf page 20 ...

WATER LEVEL REACHES TAF is Top of Fuel (rods in core)

It goes downhill quickly from there ... especially page 21 & 22.

Page 21 bottom right - DOES H2 BURN? Sure did kaboom ! Except #2.

When H2 burns, 80% OF CORE MOLTEN

Remember this occurred 2 weeks ago now ...

Earthquake on the 11th -> power fails
#1 blows roof on 12th -> hydrogen explosion
#3 blows roof 14th -> hydrogen explosion
#2 internal explosion 15th -> Pressure Release Valve Fails -> blows into torus

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:54 | 1112428 majia
majia's picture

       Greenpeace: “The total amount of radionuclides iodine-131 and caesium-137 released since the start of the accident until March 23rd, as reported by the two institutes require the Fukushima accident to be reclassified to the same level as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster twenty five years ago in April 1986. In fact so high are the releases that they are amount to three INES 7 accidents. In contrast to the Chernobyl accident which involved one nuclear reactor, Fukushima has suffered major failures at four….

Dr Hirsch concludes, “Taking all the releases from the Fukushima-daiichi reactors together this even obviously an INES 7 with the possibility that it is three INES 7's, taking each reactor separately which results in a release of 100,000 Tbq each.”

       Report available here: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/news-and-blogs/campaign-blog/new-greenp...

       The releases of Fukushima are according to IRSN – http://www.irsn.fr/FR/Documents/home.htm

       The releases from Fukushima are according to Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG)

       http://www.zamg.ac.at/aktuell/index.php?seite=1&artikel=ZAMG_2011-03-21GMT10:22

ADDDITIONALLY

The Japanese reactors hold about 1,000 times more radiation than the bombs dropped over Hiroshima. Citation: Fukushima Daiichi reactors contain radiation equal to a thousand Hiroshima bombs," Vancouver Observer, March 14, 2011; Ira Helfand, Robert Alvarez, Ken Bergeron and Peter Bradford (former member of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission), on behalf of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

[old news]Tepco said the neutron beam measured about 1.5 km southwest of the plant's Nos. 1 and 2 reactors over three days from March 13 and is equivalent to 0.01 to 0.02 microsieverts per hour. This is not a dangerous level of radiation, it added.http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110324a6.html

[newer] “Greenpeace said its experts had confirmed radiation levels of up to 10 microsieverts per hour in the village of Iitate, 40 km (25 miles) northwest of the plant. It called for the extension of a 20-km (12-mile) evacuation zone. (Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/28/us-japan-quake-idUSTRE72A0SS20...)

 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 10:25 | 1112600 TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

Please remember it is in Tepco best interest to underestimate all radiation readings. Real numbers are probably greater than revealed. Wherever it is likely to have very high readings, measurements are most likely not taken so as any knowledge of high readiation is  to be deniable.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 10:42 | 1112672 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Yeah, the ZAMG stuff seems like the best we have at the moment.  Unfortunately there appears to be a transposition error in their discussion of iodine and cesium (have to call it caesium over there though). 

I wrote them a note to see if they'll notice and correct it.  It would lead to a couple of orders of magnitude error in assessing the transport and contamination from either radioisotope ;*)

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 14:50 | 1113719 Matte_Black
Matte_Black's picture

did you see these charts that were put up by Tyler yesterday, Jim?

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/complete-chronological-analysis-fukushi...

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:36 | 1112343 casey
casey's picture

I agree with Repran.  Lots of people running around with their hair on fire with no clue about reactors, decay chains, physics...I go to the Nuclear Enterprise Institute for updates.  There is no hysteria and I believe that most governments would not sit by if they had information that their countries were in grave danger from radiation exposure.  Considering all the nuclear testing that went on in the US and in the south pacific, it is a pretty fair certainty we all have received a fair dose of radiation over the years.  The real danger is how much the management of Tepco have sat on for too long.  This would have been a much easier problem to solve if they had asked for international help on day one.

 

The real question in the whole earthquake/tsunami tragedy is, are the Japanese as 'can do' ready as we all give them credit for?  Where was the regulation on this plant by the government?  Where was the back-up plan for accidents at the reactor?  Where was the plan for a significant tsunami?   I have to ask, can any government that has carried out a bad economic recovery plan over the last two decades, handle any disaster?  Is this all about saving face and not asking the world for help? The level of ineptness from the plant   managers and the government in this whole crisis must be questioned.  I am not sure the government is even up to the task of rebuilding and doing it right.

 

I've come to the conclusion that the people that have taken over the top jobs in all areas in the west:  government, corporations, banks, power plants...are morally corrupt and just totally bereft of the skills required to get any difficult job done properly.  From Bush to Blankfein there is just a sense of a group of people who have never had to work hard to achieve anything in their life and are not equipped to deal with challenges when they do arise.  The people that were shaped by the depression and WW1 and WW2 are gone and the coddled generation of the boomers taking over are proving to not have the right stuff.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:41 | 1112368 MSimon
MSimon's picture

Well the boomers gave us home computers and the Internet. Good to see you avoiding the boomer crap.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 10:02 | 1112456 flattrader
flattrader's picture

casey,

You wrote--

>>>Considering all the nuclear testing that went on in the US and in the south pacific, it is a pretty fair certainty we all have received a fair dose of radiation over the years.<<<

Some of us have received more than a "fair" dose.

Google: baby teeth Strontium 90 Florida

There are young children in the US dying of cancer with elevated levels of Strontium 90 radiation in their baby teeth, that they shouldn't have, given the were born more than 28.5 yrs. after the end of open air/undersea testing.

Gee, I wonder from where it has been coming?

Don't expect to find the answer at the Nuclear Enterprise Institute.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 11:05 | 1112773 jomama
jomama's picture

Lots of people running around with their hair on fire with no clue about reactors, decay chains, physics...I go to the Nuclear Enterprise Institute for updates.

 

 

 

Just like I go to the BP website to find updates on the Gulf Oil Spill... for shits and giggles.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 13:15 | 1113321 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

I believe that most governments would not sit by if they had information that their countries were in grave danger from radiation exposure.

 fter seeing the handling of Katrina and most recently the GOM disaster, do you not see the government has done its best to protect the corporations rather than the people?

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:43 | 1112372 FranSix
FranSix's picture

The fact that nobody wants to admit or say where the control rods are is a big indicator of what's happening.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:45 | 1112393 MSimon
MSimon's picture

They have been sent out for crome plating and polishing.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 09:59 | 1112452 casey
casey's picture

I am a boomer.  I'm just not impressed how we've taken charge of a lot of things. 

 

Sorry it wasn't the boomers that actually brought you computers and the internet.  There were some older folks who did the pioneer work.  I believe there would be room for debate too on how great Steve Jobs has been for growing America's economy.  He certainly has helped China's.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 10:04 | 1112463 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture
Hole Linking Fukushima N-Plant Turbine Bldg., Tunnel Not Sealed Up

   Fukushima, March 29 (Jiji Press)--At the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, holes that connect underground tunnels, where radioactive water has been found, and radiation controlled areas were not sealed up, the plant's operator said Tuesday.
   The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. <9501>, said Monday that radiation levels of over 1,000 millisieverts per hour were detected from the surface of water inside an underground tunnel that is connected to the turbine building of the No. 2 reactor.
   Radioactive water has also flown into such tunnels from the basements of the turbine buildings of the No. 1 and 3 reactors at the plant in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, that was damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
   Tokyo Electric Power said rubber sealant is applied to fill the holes where pipes and cables pass through, the holes are not completely sealed.
   The company suggested that water with radioactive substances possibly leaked from the reactor cores through a valve or pipe and piled up at the reactor turbine buildings' basements and flew into the underground tunnels.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 10:27 | 1112534 PhattyBuoy
PhattyBuoy's picture

Lost in translation ...

Water "leaked" from the reactors to the turbine basement.

Once there, it "flew" into the underground tunnels.

Neat trick without any power ...

Are these "tunnels" conduit for electrical cables, pipes, etc.?

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 10:45 | 1112681 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

I had a little bird

and her name was Enza

I opened up the window

and in flew Enza

--ditty from the great epidemic of 1918

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 10:50 | 1112702 3ringmike
3ringmike's picture

given that there are no further major problems, i.e. large explosions, what will the evacuation circles diameter be and for how long?

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 11:50 | 1112985 flattrader
flattrader's picture

I think you are assuming a lot...and the circles will be determined by the vagaries of the wind and what it carries.

The water supply treatment plants for Tokyo are located outside the metro area--in Chiba for example--so anything can happen and probably will.

It already has.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 10:58 | 1112732 mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

OK, so now it's my turn to make a Serious Suggestion.

 

I propose a concept that I will call Large Sarcophagus.

Instead of permanently entombing the reactors in a concrete-and-moderator rectangular solid that is just big enough to enclose the buildings, you instead temporarily enclose them in a very large hollow structure, such as a large geodesic dome.  Covered with mylar, or something thin and cheap.  And not-very-permeable.

Suck the air out from the top, filter it, throw the dirty filters inside the dome.  Pump clean air back in at the bottom.

Now you have a solution that greatly reduces airborne contamination, while still permitting physical access to the site, to permit implementation of a long-term solution.

I realize that this would be a very large structure indeed.  But that's the nice thing about geodesics.  They scale as far as you wish.

When you have the dome built, dig a trench around it to allow it to intercept most groundwater contamination, and filter that likewise.

 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 11:31 | 1112899 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Yes.  It's just an 'air interceptor' if you think about it.  A shield.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 11:57 | 1113011 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Submit here:

http://bigthink.com/blogs/dr-kakus-universe

Kaku may actually read the comments section...and he has a media platform for getting his message across.

Worth a shot.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 12:09 | 1113071 mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

done.  thanks!

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 15:18 | 1113828 whoopsing
whoopsing's picture

Better to push fresh air in because even a slight negative difference from atmospheric would collapse the thing,this is counter to a perfect solution which would be neg.pressure,thereby limiting potential leakage. No easy answer's for this one

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 11:46 | 1112906 moneymutt
moneymutt's picture

What is so frustrating about this is how easily this tragedy could have been avoided. Putting aside if it is possible to make nuke plants safe generally, this plant could have easily survived this predictable event. The earthquake tsunami that hit is was a one in 1000 year event, well-known for many years. The historic 8.6 earthquake and massive destructive tsunami in 800's in Japan was well known before plant built and risks and frequency of such events confirmed with increasing scientific evidence over the last 20 years.

The structure could have been retrofitted to survive better in a big quake. A higher, stronger sea wall could have been made. More redundant back-up power, such as more, better batteries could have provided. All costly measures, but not impractical not too costly to afford. They could have done this for the several of reactors on the eastern shore of Japan most vulnerable to historic tsunamis. Think of how nukes would have looked if Fukushima had survived this huge earthquake and tsunami intact. And they easily could have survived entirely predictable event, a sea wall to stop 1000 year tsunami, additional back up batteries, better protected diesel generators, seismic retro-fitting of structure/piping. Not that structure could have been retrofitted for 9.0 earthquake perfectly but structural damage and pipe breaks etc..would have been far less with some practical retrofits. 

http://enr.construction.com/yb/enr/article.aspx?story_id=157292856

 

Warnings by seismologists prior to March 11 were not only based on scientific data but on historic fact as well.

The area devastated by the tsunami was hit by similar or even bigger waves when what is known as the Jogan earthquake occurred on July 13, 869.

Details recorded in some history texts, including "Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku" compiled in 901, suggest the seismic thrust was in the neighborhood of magnitude 8.6. Geologists have found sand deposits caused by the tsunami a couple of kilometers inland, meaning the quake was accompanied by massive killer waves as well.

Eastern and western Japan lie on different tectonic plates, with the Tohoku region sitting near the edge of a third. Experts have calculated that an earthquake and tsunami the size of the one that hit the area in 869 were prone to take place every 800 to 1,000 years.

This wasn't groundbreaking news or a passing concern.

In fact, NHK aired a special program on March 14 of last year that touched on killer tsunami hitting the Sendai area.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 14:25 | 1113602 flattrader
flattrader's picture

The US did the same stupid-assed thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diablo_Canyon_Power_Plant

Built on/near fault lines and subject to tsunami directly off-shore and from the Cascadia subduction zone.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 11:35 | 1112912 majia
majia's picture

Can anyone offer an informed opinion on risk to children from the fallout here in the U.S.

I don't trust the EPA for obvious reasons but even their radnet data have shown very high beta counts recently as compared to typical ones.

For instance, Phoenix, which normally has a count below 30 had a count of 135 yesterday. Today Phoenix is not available because it is "under review." Tucson's today is 103 beta count.

My kids have recess, run track, and like to be outside. Should I be concerned about these levels for their long-term health?

Further, are these levels enough to bio-accumulate in dairy products?

As I understand it beta radiation is primarily a threat if ingested but I am ignorant about how it might be internalized other than through water and food...

 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 12:52 | 1113232 malikai
malikai's picture

The risk is effectively zero, provided there isn't a hydrothermal explosion at the plant. And even if there is one, the risk is then probably about .0001 per 10,000 for cancer caused by radionucleides. In fact, being in NM, your children have a greater risk from fallout due to the atmospheric testing which occurred in the 40s-60s. An even greater risk to your children is posed by rattlesnake or brown recluse bites. All these risks are of course dwarfed by the risk of being in an automobile.

Hope this helps.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 13:55 | 1113477 majia
majia's picture

Really? What is the basis of your expertise?

Your comments are inconsistent with the World Health Organization's analysis of the effects of radiation in northern Europe

http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/chernobyl/WHO%20Report%20on%20Chernobyl%20Health%20Effects%20July%2006.pdf

See also

http://www.jstor.org/pss/4314107

It is believed that the amount of radiation spewed by Fukushima is close to or at the amount spewed by Chernobyl (see my previous post for links).

Therefore, I would like to understand your reasoning.

By the way, I'm in AZ and ratttlesnakes pose no risk unless you step on them or try and pick them up....

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 15:51 | 1113960 malikai
malikai's picture

The reasoning is quite simple actually. You have the whole of the pacific ocean between you and Fukushima.

Your citations, while indeed valid for central and northern Europe post-Chernobyl, are of little relevance to Fukushima. Again, you have the whole of the pacific between you. The amounts of caesium and iodine being detected in the states are so low as to be dwarfed by your routine daily risks.

Have a look at the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Note the size of the exclusion zone. Compare it to the size of the pacific.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/23/Chernobyl_radiation_map_1996.svg

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 17:40 | 1114548 majia
majia's picture

I understand. However, the jet stream is an efficient conduit and routinely brings particulate pollution from China to the US west coast.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/11/business/worldbusiness/11chinacoal.html

at least 1/3 of the lead in California's air is believed to come from China via the jet stream...

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 17:59 | 1114620 malikai
malikai's picture

The jetstream is extremely efficient at bringing things very long distances. However, in this case, we're referring to a sea level event, of which the concerned isotopes are cs-137 and (now) minimally i-131. Both of these are water soluable and will be heavily rained out during any precipitation on their way to your family (and mine). By the time you get your dose, it is very small indeed.

If you are very concerned, you can go to this site and see the fallout projections. If you have google chrome browser, use its translator feature if you do not read German.

http://www.zamg.ac.at/aktuell/index.php?seite=1&artikel=ZAMG_2011-03-29GMT13:21

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 21:00 | 1115177 majia
majia's picture

Thank you

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 11:44 | 1112950 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture
27 Residents Near Fukushima Nuke Plant Refuse to Evacuate

   Fukushima, March 29 (Jiji Press)--Despite the government's evacuation advisory, a total of 27 people in 19 households remain in a northeastern Japan city near the damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, it was learned Tuesday.
    Municipal officials have tried many times to persuade the residents in Minami Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, to follow the advisory, issued for people living in areas up to 20 kilometers from the nuclear plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. <9501>, which has been discharging radioactive substances since it was hit by the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
   But the 27 people eventually decided to stay, the officials said, quoting many of them as saying they should take care of domestic animals or they do not want to leave their hometown.
   The officials also said some evacuees have temporarily returned to their houses as they are tired of prolonged stay in shelters.
   Meanwhile, the city found there remain some 150 residents, mostly the bedridden elderly, who cannot take refuge on their own in "voluntary evacuation" areas 20 to 30 kilometers from the plant.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 13:19 | 1113340 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

Why should they? Where are they going to go? And to what life? More than likely, they and theirs are already contaminated. Stay at home, die at home. This catastrophe leaves very little choice for the people.

 

 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 12:05 | 1112976 PhattyBuoy
PhattyBuoy's picture

"If workers are unable to continue hosing operations, and if the nuclear fuel manages to melt through the bottom of the reactor and fall into a water pool below, this would result in a high temperature burst and a sudden release of a huge amount of hydrogen that could, in an unlikely "perfect storm" scenario, breach the containment vessel. "

With all the water dousing on site, water will pool in many locations. If these water pools come in contact with corium, or hydrogen collects in pockets, you have the source for an explosion & dirty bomb.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 12:05 | 1113053 john2011neb
john2011neb's picture

I'm just wondering about how TEPCO can now possibly have a cold shutdown at Fukushima at this point for reactors 1-4?  Don't they have to start the cooling systems and cool the fuel and then shut it down?  I don't think spraying water qualifies for a cold shutdown, but I'm no expert, maybe that's TEPCO talk for cold shutdown.

I can't imagine the cooling systems are operational in their current state after the damage from the earthquake, the tsunami, the explosions, fires, sea water, highly radioactive water, etc.  If they get the cooling systems working it would be like winning the lottery at this point.  I hope they win, but I'm going to have say the cooling systems will never be up again at Fukushima, therefore there will be no cold shutdown.  They may call it a cold shutdown, as they are calling spraying a hose on the plant "injecting water" and "pumping" water as if they have the cooling systems working, that's what I like to call a lie.

TEPCO should have asked the world to send cooling systems to the plant on March 12th.  It may have already been too late or impossible to reconstruct cooling for the plant at that point. I'll bet it takes years to install all that plumbing and equipment and to get it working just right, even without 1000 millisieverts an hour to hamper your progress.

I hope I'm wrong and someone can tell me how great all this radiation going to be for all of us. 

 

 

 

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 12:35 | 1113171 10kby2k
10kby2k's picture

The only cold shutdown will be a new encasement. Good post. +1

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 15:13 | 1113798 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

'Cold shutdown' is an overly reassuring term...it just means all the cooling systems are working and the reactor is SCRAM'd. 

If the cooling fails the decay heat takes over and once the in situ water boils off, an hour or two and you're off to the races. 

In other words a core in 'cold shutdown' is still producing 2-5 MW of heat!

This is the case for the other plants in the disaster zone. 

So you can call anything you want a 'cold shutdown' but if the cooling stops it ain't cold for long.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 12:21 | 1113121 davepowers
davepowers's picture

for Jim, Ari and other knowledgeable..

what do you make of the blown to hell building at the very top of this photo.

Could an explosion there be the source of the discovered PU, which was discovered to the west of the reactors?

http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/von%...

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 12:24 | 1113143 davepowers
davepowers's picture

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/29_05.html

The No.1 reactor's trench will overflow if the water rises by 10 centimeters. TEPCO has blocked the trench outlet with sandbags and concrete to prevent the water from reaching the ocean.

The water in the trenches of the No.2 and No.3 reactors is reportedly 1 meter from overflowing.

TEPCO said it hopes to swiftly find a way to remove the water from the trenches.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 12:28 | 1113150 davepowers
davepowers's picture

Here's the diagram on skf on the pu locations, which it notes is rather far away from the rectors.

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/03/fukushima-i-nuke-plant-plutonium-foun...

the blown to hell building to the west looks closer than the reactors on at least some of those locations.

What happened at the blown to hell building to the west?

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 12:46 | 1113212 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

"The indications we have, from the reactor to radiation readings and the materials they are seeing, suggest that the core has melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel in unit two, and at least some of it is down on the floor of the drywell," Lahey said. "I hope I am wrong, but that is certainly what the evidence is pointing towards."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/29/japan-lost-race-save-nuclear-reactor

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 13:06 | 1113284 john2011neb
john2011neb's picture

Did you all know TEPCO is in charge of educating the world about safe levels of radiation?  I didn't realize that was their job?  But I guess I learn new stuff everyday.  We are now ruled by a Japanese electric company that has 0 credibility.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 13:06 | 1113285 john2011neb
john2011neb's picture

Did you all know TEPCO is in charge of educating the world about safe levels of radiation?  I didn't realize that was their job?  But I guess I learn new stuff everyday.  We are now ruled by a Japanese electric company that has 0 credibility.

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