NHK Reports Fukushima Reactor 1 Is Melting Down

Tyler Durden's picture

Following up on earlier reports that the fuel rods in reactor 1 were truly exposed, NHK now reports another speculation from long ago, finally confirmed by official sources, namely that the reactor is now melting down. NHK reports that "Tokyo Electric Power Company says the No.1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is believed to be in a state of "meltdown". The utility company said on Thursday that most of the fuel rods are likely to have melted and fallen to the bottom of the reactor. Earlier in the day, it found that the coolant water in the reactor is at a level which would completely expose nuclear fuel rods if they were in their normal position." And from Reuters: "The finding makes it likely that at one point in the immediate wake of the disaster the 4-meter-high stack of uranium-rich rods at the core of the reactor had been entirely exposed to the air." Had been, or are? At this rate of admissions (we claimed precisely this happened in March) the next thing we might get a confirmation of from official sources is that there is actual recriticality going on. Which, of course, will be used by the market as another excuse to BTFD, as under central planning everyone lives happily ever after. Oh, and in the meantime, if we recall correctly, the cores of reactors 2 and 3 have also melted down. But Bernanke will just kiss them and make them better.

And more:

The company believes the melted fuel has cooled down, judging from the reactor's surface temperature.

But it suspects the meltdown created a hole or holes in the bottom of the reactor causing water to leak into the containment vessel.

It also suspects the water is leaking into the reactor building.

The company is planning to fully fill the containment vessel with water by increasing the amount injected.

The company says, however, it must review the plan in light of the latest finding.

And this from Reuters:

One of the reactors at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has a hole in its main vessel following a meltdown of fuel rods, leading to a leakage of radioactive water, its operator said on Thursday.

The disclosure by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) is the latest indication that the disaster was worse than previously disclosed, making it more difficult to stabilize the plant.

Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been pumping water into at least three of the six reactors on the site to bring their nuclear fuel rods to a "cold shutdown" state by January.

But after repairing a gauge in the No. 1 reactor earlier this week, TEPCO discovered that the water level in the pressure vessel that contains its uranium fuel rods had dropped about 5 meters (16 ft) below the targeted level to cover the fuel under normal operating conditions.

"There must be a large leak," Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at the utility told a news conference.

"The fuel pellets likely melted and fell, and in the process may have damaged...the pressure vessel itself and created a hole," he added.

The finding makes it likely that at one point in the immediate wake of the disaster the 4-meter-high stack of uranium-rich rods at the core of the reactor had been entirely exposed to the air, he said. Boiling water reactors like those at Fukushima rely on water as both a coolant and a barrier to radiation.

U.S. nuclear experts said that the company may have to build a concrete wall around the unit because of the breach, and that this could now take years.

"If it is assumed the fuel did melt through the reactor, then the most likely solution is to encapsulate the entire unit. This may include constructing a concrete wall around the unit and building a protective cover over it," W. Gene Corley, senior vice president of CTL Group in Skokie, Illinois, said on Thursday.

"Because of the high radiation that would be present if this has happened, the construction will take many months and may stretch into years," Corley said.

Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Associate, who many have called an insane crackpot, has gotten the recognition he deserves:

TEPCO should consider digging a trench around reactors 1-3 all the way down to the bedrock, which is about 50 feet below the surface, said Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Associates Inc of Burlington, Vermont, who once worked on reactors of similar design to the Fukushima plant.

He said this should be filled with zeolite, which can absorb radioactive cesium to stop more poisons from leaking into the groundwater around the plant.

The truth is that the situation is getting worse, not better, with each passing day:

"TEPCO seems to be going backwards in getting the situation under control and things may well be slowly eroding with all the units having problems," said Tom Clements with Friends of the Earth, a U.S.-based environmental group.

"At this point, TEPCO still finds itself in unchartered waters and is not able to carry out any plan to get the situation under control," he said.

Matsumoto said the utility would study whether to increase the amount of water it was injecting to overcome the leak and raise the level of water covering the fuel, at the risk of allowing more radioactive water to leak out of the facility.

Nearly 10,400 tonnes of water has been pumped into the reactor so far, but it is unclear where the leaked water has been going. The high radiation levels makes it difficult for workers to check the site, Matsumoto said.

Brilliant: and all the newly pumped water is about to seep either into the groundwater or the ocean.

As usual, we urge any Japanese readers who live in proximity to the reactor to study the immediate plume dispersion forecast:

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Robslob's picture

For every degree it melts down over the next week the Dow will melt up in accordance with the Divine Doctrine of Bernanke and Co.

Rainman's picture

Agree. An uncontrollable nuclear meltdown in the third largest developed economy is priced in.

Maniac Researcher's picture

The real question is: how does this story help anyone?

A) Cynical people will use it to profit. Fine - but rest assured, you're a scumbag.

B) The crowd that already sees what it wants to see will use it to prop up their worldview.

C) It does not. Read another source that doesn't include a thread full of hypocrites.



That Peak Oil Guy's picture

It serves to remind us that nuclear power is a dead-end for the human race.


jomama's picture

there are definitely more less devastating prospects for boiling water to power turbines...

Zero Govt's picture


...the news just gets better by the day from Fukingshambles . . .

. . . is the Jap Govt still insisting on its micro-management (meddling) white gloves for their taxi drivers while they move the health limit goalposts for the clueless and useless at Tepco!

Oh regional Indian's picture

Good observation ZeroG. Japan is/was a classic case of beuraucratic freeze. What they do manage and what they don't... mad-making when you are there.


But regardless, very hard to see any humor in this situation, hmmm?

Some of us had seen the ominous nuclear accident waiting to happen a long time ago! 

And now, Sellafield is back in the news.


THE DORK OF CORK's picture

It serves to remind us that the human race is a dead-end for nuclear power.

Hephasteus's picture

It serves to remind us that everyone in charge is an egotistical fuck up who won't take any responsibility for being a fuck up.

Abitdodgie's picture

Think of the money they will make treating the sick , bullish big pharma

Widowmaker's picture

Responsibility and incorporation do not mix.  It is one or the other.

Only corporate fags believe otherwise.

thegr8whorebabylon's picture

It serves to remind us that, "The fruit of abortion is nuclear war."  Mother Theresa

(sub 'fallout')

Hephasteus's picture

Why use quote marks. She never said that.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

What she did actually say was, “…The greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself… the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

still kicking's picture

She was a good lady, agree with her or not on her beliefs. 

Hephasteus's picture

Googles got nothing. Twice in a row.

Hard1's picture

This story should help readers understand the state of the world as should other informative sources.  What do you mean "helping anyone"? do you mean that only news with a "good" twist of the truth should be reported????  go back to watching FOX news pleeeeez!  All is well over there.

writingsonthewall's picture

Fukushima follows a standard universal Government policy.

Nuclear meltdown occuring - lie about it

Economic meltdown and depression - lie about it

Terrorist who cannot be caught - lie about it

Leaks about your foreign policy creating the thing that you claim you want to solve - lie about it

Sovereign defaults - lie about it

PM market manipulation - lie about it

Printing money causing rampant inflation - lie about it

Peak oil forcing you to invade oil nations - lie about it

etc. etc.


As the crises get worse - the lies get more unbelievable...until everyone loses faith in what they're told and we have to go back to basics - trust what you know and who you know - everyone else is assumed to be a liar.

Of course commerce does not do well in such an environment - and there is no lie which can cover that up.

Aulieude's picture

The real question is: how does your comment help anyone?

Your Username would imply you do some actual "research"

Your comment however is a vacuum...and both nature and I abhor a vacuum.

The story helps by giving information and encouraging people to "do some research" to find further information from diverse sources that will allow them to make informed decisions - decisions that may effect their long term health and survival. 

Your comment simply allows people to marvel at your stupidity and/or duplicity. 

I wish your Father had used a Scumbag - we would have all been spared your pathetic input.


panem et circenses

Worker Bee's picture

"both nature and I abhor a vacuum."

Thats what my ex-wife said!


DaveyJones's picture

as soon as you can point us to any source or debate that does not contain hypocrisy (including your own) we're there

EnglishMajor's picture

Are next quarter's earnings reports priced in?


Why isn't anyone afraid of radiation?  You should watch this:


You won't hear this on any mainstream news!!! (Nuclear Fallout)


Math Man's picture

In other news, the commodities market has also entered meltdown phase.



adeptish's picture

You are such a....


ColonelCooper's picture

Tyler PLEEEAASE.  It really is time for an ignore button. 

TheMerryPrankster's picture

Latest report from Arnie Gunderson, 5/13


Unit 4 is leaning

Dan The Man's picture

yeah...but we got Bin Laden!

sabra1's picture

they dumped him into the Sea of Japan, where he will be spawned into Bin Laden 2! boy, is he gonna be pissed off! will be impossible to kill him again to increase oBLAHmas' ratings!

AldoHux_IV's picture

oBlahma-- now that's classic right there.

Dan The Man's picture

Can't wait for BinLaden...the Series.  About a man who sells his identity to a CIA agent and must then go into hiding as that agent uses it to blame him for ...ah who cares?

DaveyJones's picture

saw an article yesterday "the life of a wife of Bin Laden" and all I could think was "it made you a little paranoid...but the gosssip was to die for"  

sabra1's picture

if it keeps melting, won't the rods end up in Washington?

Robslob's picture

Only if God loves U.S.

gkm's picture

As the morrow is Friday the 13th, BTFD regardless.

Dan The Man's picture

oh...pretty please!

Bam_Man's picture

This is good for stocks, right?

augie's picture

The only danger to this market would be if dancing with the stars is taken off the air.