More On "Chernobyl Solution" At Fukushima As Prime Minister Says Japan Releasing All Information It Has

Tyler Durden's picture

Following now pervaseive allegations of a massive Fukushima accident cover up by the Japanese government including non-disclosure of real radioactive levels, the Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said on Friday that the government has been dislosing all the information it has on the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant according to Reuters. "We have been honestly saying that the situation with the nuclear plant accident remains very serious," he said in a televised address to the Japanese people marking one week since a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck northeast Japan. At this point we are willing to believe him: judging by the increasingly improvised Japanese response to the catastrophe nobody has any idea what is really going on or how to handle it properly. Which is why very expect to hear increasingly more about the "Chernobyl solution" - or the shotgun "resolution" of the problem by literally burying it in sand. From Reuters: "A "Chernobyl solution" may be the last resort for dealing with Japan's stricken nuclear plant, but burying it in sand and concrete is a messy fix that might leave part of the country as an off-limits radioactive sore for decades. Japanese authorities say it is still too early to talk about long-term measures while cooling the plant's six reactors and associated fuel-storage pools, comes first. "It is not impossible to encase the reactors in
concrete, but our priority right now is to try and cool them down
first," a Tokyo Electric Power official told a briefing on Friday.
" Alas if and when the plan to restore power to blown up cooling plants (has anyone actually seen the before and after pics of the reactor) fails, this will be the only option.

From Reuters:

"It's just not that easy," Murray Jennex, a professor at San Diego State University in California, said when asked about the so-called Chernobyl option for dealing with damaged reactors, named after the Ukrainian nuclear plant that exploded in 1986.

"They (reactors) are kind of like a coffee maker. If you leave it on the heat, they boil dry and then they crack," he said.

"Putting concrete on that wouldn't help keep your coffee maker safe. But eventually, yes, you could build a concrete shield and be done with it."

Experts say the cores at the six battered reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, are likely to be safely contained, but worry about the cooling pools for spent fuel, one of which contains plutonium.

So far, authorities have failed to cool the pools, where normally water circulates continuously, keeping racks of spent nuclear fuel rods at a benign temperature.

Helicopters and water cannon trucks have dumped tonnes of water on the reactors, but still the water in the pools is evaporating and the rods are heating up. It is also feared that the quake has smashed the rods into each other, which could cause a nuclear reaction.

"It is not impossible to encase the reactors in concrete, but our priority right now is to try and cool them down first," a Tokyo Electric Power official told a briefing on Friday.

The only problem with the Chernobyl Solution is that it doesn't really ever work out quite as planned.

 At Chernobyl, an army of workers conscripted by the then Soviet government buried the reactor in tonnes of sand, then threw together a concrete container known as the "sarcophagus" within months of the fire and explosion there.

It failed to set properly and it cracked, leaking radiation into the atmosphere and water. Partly supported by the damaged walls of the reactor building, it has had to be reinforced.

Under a new plan for Chernobyl, a massive structure will be assembled away from the reactor at a cost of billions of dollars, then slid into place over the existing sarcophagus.

Chernobyl-style methods would be even more difficult at Fukushima Daiichi, given the number of reactors involved.

As Japanese officials have said, cooling is still the top priority. Pouring sand onto hot fuel could theoretically produce glass, and that same heat would prevent working on a durable concrete shell.

That means the stricken complex is likely to become an open sore, leaking radioactive particles into the atmosphere, for weeks and possibly months before the Chernobyl solution could even be implemented.

Authorities say radiation outside the Japanese plant is not high enough to cause harm. Still, the 20 km (12 mile) exclusion zone around the plant may end up as a permanent no-man's land, a major problem for small, populous country.

A 30 km (19 mile) exclusion zone remains around Chernobyl.

There is supposedly good news though...

Tokyo, though, is likely to remain largely unscathed no matter what happens because of its distance from the reactors, no matter how nervous its citizens may be.

It is not accidental that the nuclear plant was built so far away from Japan's biggest city, said Yuki Karakawa, international coordinator at the International Association of Emergency Managers, an extension of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"Those reactors in Fukushima are there for Tokyo's power and Tokyo's benefit, not for Fukushima's," he added. "After all, Tokyo is more than 200 kilometres away."

We wonder which expert was consulted on the "Tokyo is safe" determination considering the prime minister of the crisis stricken country still has no idea what is going on. But yes, massive media propaganda certainly was another side effect of the Chernobyl Solution, and unfortunately so were up to a million deaths.

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LowProfile's picture

Mish reporting a 'news flash' that pumps restarted at one reactor, B-berg reporting power attempting to be restored to a pump at Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant.

Anybody want to give odds at this point?

Judge Judy Scheinlok's picture

I'll give you odds. Odds are that concrete will crack during major earthquakes.

Confucius say: pools with cracks will wikileak.

johnQpublic's picture

Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory. Sun Tzu

imapopulistnow's picture

Man who fly upside down have crack up (anon)

I think I need to buy a gun's picture

i'm not saying your wrong but its concrete and sand so the sand won't crack

Judge Judy Scheinlok's picture

I'm not saying that you're wrong either because I do not have the capacity to argue in this arena but the coolant went somewhere else, no?

And depending on your answer, why did the coolant leak?

morph's picture

Well evidently the photos of the nuclear site say other wise. Even the exterior of the plant, which is no where near as ruggedised as the containment is in okay shape. It is the explosions that blew things apart. The containment is at least a few feet thick.

whatsinaname's picture

The Chernobyl solution ? Well, sorry to say but the sarcophagus at Chernobyl seems to be falling apart. And Belarus & Ukraine have neither the will nor money to fix that problem. Guess what ? Cherny monster is still alive !!

trav7777's picture

Mish reporting a 'news flash' that pumps restarted at one reactor, B-berg reporting power attempting to be restored to a pump at Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant.

Absolutely huge if true...don't have any information upon which to assess the veracity of the claim.

If it is true, I will be absolutely furious that they let a simple matter of loss of power cause a catastrophe of this magnitude.  Watch this be a bureaucractic failure, not a technology one.

JW n FL's picture

Tsunami / Eart Quake Area..

Where did they build the pumps? that run on electric power? Sea Level.

What happens when sea water touches electricity?

What happens when diesel is mixxed with sea water?

What happened to the idiot who signed off on this design? the reactors and building (for the most part) are high and dry.

and then the costs to fix this? after they figured out they were in an EarthQuake / Tsunami area? even with the 2 decades of 0% money from BoJ they could not afford a fix? on a 20 + year old plant? built in late 1980's - 1990's monies?


The plant was built wrong to begin with.. and then it stayed wrong for decades and decades..


It is everyone's fault.. it is what is wrong with the World as a whole.


Common Sense, does NOT apply anywhere.. where it could / maybe / possibly affect the bottom line.

Judge Judy Scheinlok's picture

Spin baby! Fukushima Spin.

orca's picture

Market rumor out there that Goldman Sachs may bid for Japan

whatsinaname's picture

They very well might bid for Japan at this rate.

Meanwhile, a Chernobyl solution may also mean Chernobyl consequnces especially for children. The PTB through out the world should look at Cherny children's videos before they gung ho on new "nukulear" projects.

ArgentDawn's picture

All energy production involves destruction and death except solar and that doesn't cut it.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

except solar

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

On top of that, what about the production of the solar devices ... esp. solar cells, doesn't this process use processes similar to those used in semiconductor fabrication? Clean rooms for processing, acid baths for etching ...  and all?

Byte Me's picture

Extra extra annual bonus on posting to Tokyo??

sabra1's picture

for all these corps. licking their chops, at the fortune to be made in rebuilding, forget about it! these people will have to be relocated, no rebuilding will ever take place within 100 miles!

jbc77's picture

Even if they manage to plug in their extension cord, who's to say those pumps even work anymore and if they do will they work properly. From the pictures I've seen doesn't look like anything works in that twisted pile of metal and debris.

cossack55's picture

Is anyone asking why they have 30 years worth of spent rods just sitting around in hot tubs. WTF?

Bob's picture

My WAG: Could it be the cheapest solution by any chance? 

velobabe's picture

obvious solution to any problem now a days, self storage.

Scisco's picture

Only the cheapest if you know that if something goes wrong, you would not be held accountable and the government will bail you out.

Blankman's picture

The rods worked real hard and now need an extended vacation.  Lazy ass rods.

ElvisDog's picture

I read it was partly a matter of security. They could keep them all in one place and use the same security measures that are used for the plant itself. A better question is why weren't the spent rods reprocessed into additional fuel that would help use up more of the plutonium content of the rods?

trav7777's picture

where were the rods supposed to go?

The politicos and the idiot public have gridlocked any attempt at more permanent solution.

The better question is to ask how many plants worldwide feature colocation of permanent SFPs and reactors

SDRII's picture

meanwhile slaughter in yemen, pakistan wants an apology from US for drone strikes, iraqis protests actions in Bahrain

ColonelCooper's picture

We don't care about that anymore.  That was yesterday's bullish news.  Sheesh.

ElvisDog's picture

You know what I think is funny? The spoiled babies in Wisconsin have been totally knocked off the news cycle. It looks like their 15 minutes is over.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Extension cord failure? Chinooks took it on the....chin?

I think tomorrow's supertidal forces are going to shake things a little. Possibly a lot. 

Perhaps in the aftermath is when any real decisions are going to be made.

Anyone who thinks that is un-scientific needs to scroogle supermoon and see it's historical asskicke sto hum-unkind.


cossack55's picture

Damn it, ORI. Stop trying to confuse people with historical facts. If it doesn't fit their MIT computer model it won't happen.  Shheeesh.  Who the hell ever heard of Georges Santayana anyway?

Oh regional Indian's picture

Heh! Funny thing is, when you say Santayana, I'm sure a lot of people will think "Oye Como Va and Black Magic Woman".



Bob's picture

Yeah, my idle research found that mainstream geologists acknowledge "only" a 1% increase in the continental tidal response.  It doesn't sound like much . . . when everything is stable. 

Problem is that stable doesn't seem to describe our situation.  I'm wondering if that slight shift of the planet on its axis as a result of the Japan quake might introduce an additional wild card.  Previous balance was attained over thousands of years at a slightly different attitude wrt the axis. 

I guess we'll soon find out. 

ColonelCooper's picture

Yes.  Jim Berkland was basically drummed out of the USGS for not being completely "scientific" about his predictions.  Maybe it was because "science" didn't fully explain why he was right.  He is calling for earthquake window to open tomorrow for West Coast. 

He was censured by USGS for making that same call in 1989.  Funny, he was right.  Nail on the head right.

ColonelCooper's picture

ORI - In addition to the moon: Jupiter and Saturn are nearing solar opposition. (Maybe this was referenced by CA, I don't understand much of the astrological meaning...)  This is in effect two large gravitational forces pulling on the sun from opposite sides, in what is already a very active solar cycle.  We are going to be hit by the peak of solar energy from an M class flare tonight/tomorrow.  Equinox tides, supermoon, solar flares, whales beaching themselves in places they aren't even supposed to be, an already disturbed Pacific plate....  The tinfoil on my head is giving off sparks.


Byte Me's picture

And with Uranus entering Aries recently things are unpredictable...


(Gotta have a getout clause..)

Oh regional Indian's picture

ColonelC, you are absolutely right and no, planetary body oppositions and placements (as in the jupiter and Saturn ones) are not the stuff of astrology, not literally at any rate.

I was walking on my terrace, looking at the almost full moon (it's early evening here in india) and thinking the same thing, CME is due. Everything seems "charged" up. Liek a giant Super-capacitor.

I'm keeping my tinfoil grounded to avoid said sparkiness. Just sitting back and watching.


NumberNone's picture

Japan apparently has a pretty poor track record of being honest about nucular power.  I'm sure they are being 100% honest this time.

Bob's picture

While its tempting to focus upon this issue as a Japanese question, has there ever been an incident in world history where corporate interests haven't minimized actual risk of externalities--anywhere at any time under any conditions whatsoever? 

The corporate person is a flaming sociopath.  He's like the molestor up the street who always brings toys and candy for the kids at the block parties. 

Strangely enough, some experts are saying that the widely accepted belief that the SOTUS addressed and resolved the question of corporations having status as "persons" is absolutely untrue:

Unequal Protection, Part I: Corporations Take Over

It's a long article that begs for attention from the lawyers. 

MachoMan's picture

It's pretty simple in most regards...  you just have to understand that: (a) objectivity is an impossibility within the human condition; (b) despite our best efforts, humans, even historical scholars aren't that great at history [bias]; and (c) these lead to a "results oriented" judiciary.  You want to see how a divergence in the law is created?  Look no further than the pathetic resolve of the judiciary to find and apply pre-existing law.  Obviously some courts are better than others...

But, make no mistake about it...  even if we resolve ourselves to being result oriented, we still must have a reasonable basis for making each and every decision.  Similarly to the legislature, the judiciary can also utilize small building blocks (individual cases) to eventually lead to establishing a rule that is completely contrary to the purpose of anything reasonable.  I think this concept is admittedly prevalent in the dormant commerce clause expansion and more recent backtrack.  [see united haulers].

In the end, I speculate that a similar backtrack will be had for corporate status and privilege.  [but then again, I can't fathom how it's gotten this far already].  Can't see the forrest for the trees.

Bob's picture

Apparently, from the article I linked, the original citation that other courts have subsequently relied upon, effectively does not exist as claimed.  Weird stuff.

Your lawyerly feedback appreciated, MachoMan!

proLiberty's picture

This shows there is ongoing risk when spent fuel is kept at the reactor site when it could be moved to buried storage in some distant desert mountain. Yet, thanks to the opposition in Nevada, we have stopped work on the Yucca Mountain storage facility and every nuclear power plant in the US keeps all of its spent fuel onsite. That's one more issue for a new Congress to examine.

FilthyLucre's picture

Why the f would Congress look at that issue? Its way too hard. Then again the lobbyists would most probably be willing to pay a whole lot for the right outcome. More bread and circuses?

buzzsaw99's picture

The vast majority of waste all over the world is stored on site. Do you blame Nevada for not wanting the entire world's nuclear waste? That is like a metric buttload of toxic chit yah. nimby my ass, what's in it for me mofo?

Byte Me's picture

what's in it for me mofo?

An extra sibling for your bril avatar perhaps?? ;-)

Die Weiße Rose's picture

The Japanese Volcano ShinmoeDake on the southern tip Island of Kyushu just Erupted,maybe they could have buried their spent fuel Rods there ?

Some of that Fuel is funky Moxo Fuel, a Mix of Plutonium and Uranium...

Plutonium,with a half life of 80 million years would make a great fireworks display during a volcanic eruption. Who was the genius building Nuke reactors in the deadliest Earth-Quake Zone ?

GE  designed the reactors and with a little PR from the ever more greedy and corrupt Nuclear Industry,who have a history of putting profits before safety,the deal was in the bag

at a bargain price,with a few storage short-cuts of course for the 115 tons of spent unstable Fuel Rods right on top of Nuke Reactor 4. Brilliant, pure Genius,Einstein would be proud !

Uranium shares went up by 10% today in Australia, so I guess things must be

"better than expected" in Japan ?

if you invested in Uranium, that is.If not, tough luck - you are fucked !

We all have to die one day,some just more slowly and painfully than others.

as long as the recovery is on track,never mind that your ground water is toxic and

your cows give green Milk.

The Elite Casino and the post GFC Economic Recovery is all that counts.

Fuck all the rest,including you and your families -

Why do I have this constant feeling that I am living on a planet

of greedy, ignorant and stupid fools ?

Ident 7777 economy's picture

GE designed the reactors and with a little PR from the ever more greedy and corrupt Nuclear Industry,who have a history of putting profits before safety,the deal was in the bag

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Forty years of electricity production and one Tsunami later and this is the conclusion?

Oooo-kaaaaay ...

Die Weiße Rose's picture

So what are you saying ? Chernobyl never happened ? 3 Mile Island never happened ?

Hiroshima and Nagasaki never happened ?

There is some shit that humans are better off without,no matter what

cost or Profit. Where is Japans profit now, from going Nuclear ?

If you want to control carbon dioxide,plant some trees,stop ripping down Rain forrests and go solar or wind or Hydro...but don't go for greedy shit that poisons the food we eat and the water we drink.Fuck that arrogant greedy attitude,Nuclear power was and will never be safe! It is the most unsave and toxic of all Industries.So fuck you with your 40 years of electricity,I'd rather go back to candle-light in a cave,than put up with your vision of progress ! To fuck up the world and nature is not progress,it is criminal terrorism and murder by the Nuclear Industry,who tell everyone it is safe,just to make more profit.

If it is safe,then why are they taking 6 days to even take a look at the explosions ?

I have to stop now,before I get mad! Fuck you !

Japan's nuclear accident evokes Chernobyl memory

Tom Servo's picture

So, what kind of vehicle do you drive?  Or are you a low-footprint "steward of the earth"?  I don't think you'd much like the life of a subsistence farmer.