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Reactor Status Update And Fukushima Risk Q&A

Tyler Durden's picture


The following summarises what is happening at each unit, and the major risks:


Each reactor is surrounded by the primary containment vessel. This is
made of strengthened steel four to eight inches thick. It provides the
most critical line of defence against leaking radiation from the

Should there be a breach, there is a final line of
defence to prevent radiation leaks, a bigger containment building made
of steel and concrete. A breach of the containment building would
release radiation into the atmosphere.


REACTOR No 3: 784-MW

-- What is happening:

TEPCO said on Wednesday that resolving problems at this reactor was the
top priority because it had the highest radiation levels. This reactor
is the only one that includes plutonium in its fuel mix.

operator has been pumping sea water into the reactor to prevent
overheating. The building housing the reactor was hit by an explosion on

An attempt by a military helicopter to drop water on
the reactor failed on Wednesday probably because radiation levels were
too high, Kyodo news agency reported. The Japan nuclear agency had said
earlier in the day that the pumping of sea water was proceeding

TEPCO said the spent fuel pool may have heated up,
producing steam. The temperature has risen to around 60 degrees Celsius
from the usual 30-40 degrees, but the change was not critical, it said.

-- What are the risks:

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Tuesday that the
primary containment vessel, the first line of defence against a
radiation leak, appeared intact.

However, Chief Cabinet Minister
Yukio Edano said on Wednesday there is a "possibility" the vessel had
been damaged, Kyodo reported.

If that is the case, authorities
will be worried that radiation may leak through the first containment
wall into the secondary containment building.

The spent fuel
pools present a radiation risk if the spent fuel is exposed to the
atmosphere. When a rod is exposed to the air, zirconium metal on the
rods will catch fire, which could release radiation contained in the
fuel, said Arnie Gundersen, a 39-year veteran of the nuclear industry
who is now chief engineer at Fairwinds Associates Inc.

REACTOR No 4: 784-MW

-- What is happening:

TV on Wednesday showed smoke or steam rising from the facility after
flames were seen earlier. The reactor had been shut down for maintenance
when the earthquake and tsunami struck.

On Tuesday, a pool
where spent fuel is stored caught fire and caused an explosion. Japan's
nuclear safety agency says the blast punctured two holes around 8-metres
square in the wall of the outer building of the reactor.

has said it may pour water through the two holes within two or three
days to cool spent nuclear fuel that is inside. Workers cannot prepare
to pour water into the pool sooner because of high radiation levels,
Kyodo said.

Instead, TEPCO plans to bulldoze a road to the
reactor building so water-pump trucks can approach and hose water
inside, said Kazuya Aoki, a director of Japan's Nuclear and Industrial
Safety Agency.

-- What are the risks:

Exposure of spent
fuel to the atmosphere is serious because there is more radiation in the
spent fuel than in the reactor, said Gundersen. The spent fuel pool is
not inside a containment facility either.

"They need to keep
water in those pools because the roof over the building housing the
pools is already damaged and radiation will escape," he said.

The pools contain racks that hold spent fuel taken from the reactor.
Operators need to constantly add water to the pool to keep the fuel
submerged so that radiation cannot escape.

Exposing the spent fuel to the atmosphere will release radiation.

REACTOR No 2: 784-MW

-- What is happening:

An explosion rocked the plant on Tuesday, damaging a suppression pool,
into which steam is vented from the reactor to relieve pressure. The
roof of the reactor building is damaged, Jiji news agency reported.

TEPCO said on Tuesday the fuel rods were fully exposed. Kyodo reported
an estimated 33 percent of the nuclear fuel rods have been damaged at
the No 2 reactor.

However, on Wednesday, Japan's nuclear agency said the pumping of sea water into the reactor was proceeding smoothly.

-- What are the risks:

When fuel rods are no longer covered in coolant they can heat up and start to melt, raising the risk of a radiation leak.

The suppression pool is part of the primary containment vessel, which
is designed to prevent a leak, but the IAEA said the blast "may have
affected the integrity of its primary containment vessel."

Still, beyond the primary containment vessel is the containment
building, which is also designed to prevent radiation from escaping.

REACTOR No 1: 460-MW.

-- What is happening:

An explosion occurred at the reactor on Saturday. Kyodo reported on
Wednesday an estimated 70 percent of the nuclear fuel rods have been

Authorities are pumping sea water into the reactor to
prevent overheating, and pressure levels were stable, Edano said on

The Japan nuclear agency said on Wednesday the pumping was proceeding smoothly.

-- What are the risks:

The IAEA said on Tuesday the primary containment vessel appeared
intact. If the fuel rods in the reactor are not covered by coolant, they
can heat up and start to melt.

REACTOR No 5: 784-MW

-- What is happening:

The reactor had been shut down for maintenance at the time of the quake and tsunami.

TEPCO said on Wednesday water was being poured into the reactor and
that temperatures in the spent fuel pool were rising slightly.

-- What is the risk.

Reactor 5 and reactor 6 are seen less at risk than reactors 1 to 4.

REACTOR No 6: 1,100-MW

-- What is happening:

TEPCO said on Wednesday water was being poured into the reactor and
that temperatures in the spent fuel pool were rising slightly.

-- What is the risk.

Reactor 5 and reactor 6 are seen less at risk than reactors 1 to 4.

And a visual summary:

Source: Reuters


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Wed, 03/16/2011 - 08:59 | 1060094 Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

I just woke up, when did Unit 4 blow up? looks worse than Unit 1 and Unit 3.


Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:04 | 1060110 Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

Looks like Unit 2 is next judging from these images.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:08 | 1060124 bingaling
bingaling's picture

Well they cant get to it due to high radiation levels . What does that mean ?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:19 | 1060162 Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

Tyler reported that there were 2 - 8x8 meter holes blown out of the exterior walls of Unit 4 ... the images in my attachment shows that there are no walls left now. So, my question was/is, when did this happen?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:28 | 1060210 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I asked myself the same question. It appears it blew up just before Japan imposed a news blackout. Unfortunately the Digital-Globe satellite was uncooperative.

Remember when we were being told that the roof of unit 4 had been damaged by unit three's explosion. That was a lie. Then they said the roof of unit 4 was damaged by an unknown-at-the-time fire. That was a lie. It is crystal clear there was an explosion at unit 4 and it is now clear that the containment buildings for units 3 and 4 were breached. They claim the reactor vessels themselves are still sound. We shall see. But look at this devastation.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:30 | 1060221 Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

Thanks CD

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:40 | 1060242 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

You're welcome.

BTW notice the hole in the side of the unit 2 building, the only building of the original 4 that remains intact, where "white smoke", presumably steam, is escaping. What a neat little square. Either it was penetrated by an explosion within the building or the "operators" blew it out to allow steam to escape. I vote number one unless someone on the ground had access to explosives and the knowledge to use them. Who knows though what's going on. It is a very clean hole for an uncontrolled explosion without damage to the sections on either side.

I can't remember which reactor had a stuck relief value, but I believe it was 2. Correct me if I'm wrong. Either way it now looks like the containment buildings (notice I am not saying the reactor vessels) of 3 of the 4 reactors have been breached.

Now......what about units 5 and 6?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:45 | 1060268 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Thanks CD. Can't believe the government would lie about disasters and energy :/ Does anyone know the relative strengths of the primary containment vessel vs the secondary?  

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:00 | 1060331 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I found this marked up cutaway of unit one. I would expect the primary to be several orders of magnitude stronger than the building itself simply because it must contain the actual heat and pressure of the reaction. Remember that it is both metal and concrete. The little person down inside the torus can be used for scale. The concrete surrounding the reactors is several meters thick. The metal must be a foot or more, but I am completely out of my pay grade here.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:34 | 1060447 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

thanks. So when they say the containment vessel may be "breached," what do they mean, a puncture, a fissure, an actual hole in the primary vessel? If that's the case, yikes. I'm sure this was discussed yesterday, but this "discount" design was criticized from day one and I thought I read that experts indicated that it would have an extremely high chance of inability to contain the contamination as the result of injuries..  

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:59 | 1060518 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

One must always be careful to say never.......but short of damage inflicted (explosion etc) from outside of the primary containment vessel, the primary containment vessel will most likely not be breached from heat and pressure building up inside the vessel. However, vessel penetrations for vents, valves, pumps and pipes will most likely let go before the actual vessel breaks, cracks etc from heat/pressure buildup.

That said, if there is a fuel meltdown, where the fuel becomes so hot that it litteraly melts and flows or falls down to the bottom of the vessel, it is feared that the concentration of the 5,000F heat coming from the fuel that will pool at the bottom of the vessel might.........might.........melt it's way through the bottom of the vessel and the dozens of feet of concrete below the vessel.

The longer they can keep this from happening the better off they are because the decay heat will be dissipated over time. They are battling to prevent this from spiraling even further out of control. They need time and heat dissipation to save this disaster from increasing several orders of magnitude worse.

I repeat that this is above my pay grade and my comments are based upon extensive reading over the last 5 days.

edit. Remember also that anything directly connected and open to the vessel must share the vessel's strength. Meaning think about the weakest link in a chain. The torus is connected to the vessel via values, 81 inch values if I remember correctly. If the valve is open, then the pressure in the vessel is equal to the pressure in the torus. Thus if the torus has a leak, the vessel has a leak unless they shut the valve.....which removes some of the cooling ability. Pandora's box is open.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 13:56 | 1061793 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

CD, thanks for the research and information.

Not to defend anyone, I just want to point out that these reactors have been in service for about 40 years now, and in that time Japan has been rocked by numerous high magnitude earthquakes and not once (to my knowledge) was there ever a serious problem until this time.

Without a doubt, this was (literally) an Earth changing event.  I'm not sure how one can really fault the designers or the government for a design that held out for four decades through thick and thin, only to succumb to a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and numerous follow-on tsunamis.  I'd say it's a miracle something like this didn't happen sooner.

Just trying to offer perspective.  The actions of the Japanese government and the plant operators, to the extent that they're not giving the public--the People--valid and accurate information is reprehensible.  But I think it goes without saying that finding someone to blame at this juncture serves no one.

Who cares who is responsible at this point?  Japan seems to be majorly fucked , and recovery will be long and slow.  We won't know until the play ends.  More importantly for the rest of us around the world, we potentially have a global radiation plume to deal with, so I'd much rather see people comparing notes about what materials to stockpile and what kind of actions we should be taking rather than expressing their fear, shock and loathing.  What good does that do?

I picked up 500g of USP (pharmaceutical grade) potassium iodide yesterday from a local chemical supply house.  I paid $78 after tax.  You can find similar (even better) deals on eBay--or at least one could when I checked over the weekend.  I now have ~3,800 adult doses of KI that I can distribute if the need arises.  Good luck finding any commercial product right now as it is all sold out, and there is word coming out now that the government is commandeering whatever commercial supplies of KI are out there.

I put together a custom first aid kit last night from supplies I bought at the local Target.  I had a nice multi-niche portable gearbox that I stuffed with bandages, ointments, medical tape, etc., all very organized and ready to grab and go at a moments notice.  I'm making a second one that will go in my "ready" bag (a.k.a. bug out bag).

Speaking of which, I'm finishing up my ready bag.  I put together a huge list of stuff I'd want if I had to bug out of town on a moment's notice.  I suggest everyone get going on their own and commit to yourself to have it ready by the end of this week.  Just do it and get it over with.  A good bag can be assembled with what you have on hand and supplies you can find at the local dollar store or whatever for under $100.  Multiple lists of items to place in your BOB (Bug Out Bag) are available online.  Everyone has a different idea of what they'd need in an emergency, so I suggest you review the various lists and write-ups that various people have put out to get ideas, then create your own list based on what YOU think will be necessary for YOUR situation.  If you will be bugging out with family members in tow, make sure you stock enough extras for everyone, or have multiple ready bags for each family member.  I'm going to have at least two major bags in two locations, and a few smaller bags for the little Chumbas.

I realize all of this may be unwarranted, as the radiation may never rise high enough in the atmosphere to enter the jet stream and get distributed around the planet, but what's happening in Japan is just a chapter in a long story still being unwound.  It behooves you to heed my call and get prepared for anything and everything (with emphasis on the latter).

I am Chumbawamba.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 14:22 | 1062020 J.B. Books
J.B. Books's picture

Just to add, see the two tanks next to the top of the reactor - that is where they store spent fuel rods.  - NO CONTAINMENT....  if they melt I would think they will burn right to the bottom, past the reactor.


J.B. Books

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:45 | 1060271 cossack55
cossack55's picture

I think that was the door marked "Watercloset" for the newbie initiation.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:46 | 1060276 Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

Looks like Unit 2 is next.

Unit 3 looks really bad, it's obvious that the storage area for the spent fuel rods is gone.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:51 | 1060302 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Beyea, J., E.Lyman, and F.von Hippel. 2004. Damages from a Major Release of 137Cs into the Atmosphere of the U.S. (addendum to “Reducing the Hazards from Stored Spent Power-Reactor Fuel in the United States” by R.Alvarez, J.Beyea, K.Janberg. E. Lyman, A.Macfarlane, G.Thompson, and F.von Hippel, 2003. Science and Global Security, Vol. 11, pp. 1–51). Science and Global Security, Vol. 12, pp. 125–136.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:51 | 1060521 bugs_
bugs_'s picture

hey guys its getting hot in here - can someone open a window?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 12:56 | 1061447 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture my view that 'neat little square' may just be the weakest panel/link which blew out under growing pressure and in doing so vented rather than blew off the roof. If you note the steel framing on 3 & 4(I'm counting right-left) it's a square grid of steel and likely panels are installed over that. Also, if you look at some of the side view pics of #3(I think), while the finish on the outside is a circular or octagon pattern, some of the panels sticking to the frame of the building are roughly square/rectangular in nature. Quite a bit of concrete construction these days is panelized. My .02 or .0112 after taxes... 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 13:33 | 1061650 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I like your thinking but......

The concrete is massively reinforced with a maze of re-bar which is also welded at spots to the vertical steel columns as well as poured into the "U" of the column. Plus there are additional vertical columns and horizontal beams laced between the primary vertical columns. What I'm saying is that this isn't a "panel" if you meant a drop in panel.

But I do agree that the weakest point would be at the vertical steel columns. Just pointing out an outlier anomaly in the photo.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:38 | 1060247 trillion_dollar...
trillion_dollar_deficit's picture

There's basically nothing left of the one billowing smoke/steam. Did each reactor have a spent fuel rod pool at the top?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:44 | 1060263 Miss Expectations
Miss Expectations's picture

The Fukushima Daiichi plant has seven pools dedicated to spent fuel rods. These are located at the top of six reactor buildings – or were until explosions and fires ravaged the plant. On the ground level there is a common pool in a separate building that was critical damaged by the tsunami. Each reactor building pool holds 3,450 fuel rod assemblies and the common pool holds 6,291 fuel rod assemblies. Each assembly holds sixty-three fuel rods. In short, the Fukushima Daiichi plant contains over 600,000 spent fuel rods – a massive amount of radiation that will soon be released into the atmosphere.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:44 | 1060264 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Yup. And something not getting any press is the face that there is a 7th "common" spent fuel pool located on ground level that was flooded by the tsunami and damaged. Each of the reactors has a spent fuel pool near the top plus there is a much larger (supposedly twice the size of any of the other 6 pools) common pool on the ground. No news on it's condition.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:54 | 1060305 trillion_dollar...
trillion_dollar_deficit's picture

CD, anyway you can label each reactor number in that pic? Would be helpful. Thx.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:04 | 1060338 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I don't have that capability. But number 4 is all the way to the left and 1 is all the way to the right.

The 2 wide buildings in front I assume are the turbine buildings. I assume this because of their location and the large pipes feeding into them in the back. I don't know this for a fact.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:26 | 1060419 trillion_dollar...
trillion_dollar_deficit's picture

Very helpful. Thx.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:53 | 1060307 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Good stuff CogDiss.

Whose lyin' eyes do we trust eh?


Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:10 | 1060359 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The propagandist and apologist would have you believe that you can't trust your own eyes.

This is the root of my anger. The truth in many cases is out there to be easily found. But the average Joe has been conditioned to climb into the back of the bus and leave the driving to the powers. Always a bad idea if you want to arrive in one piece and with all your limbs attached.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:43 | 1060483 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

There comes that point in history when the average joe, enslaved and overworked by the corrupt system, spends some time to learn it then fight it. Most still seem to be in the chasing mode, trying to make ends meet. Hopefully, that will end soon  

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 14:22 | 1062030 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture


I am Chumbawamba.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:00 | 1060097 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

Thank you. It was Effernesent.NOW lets get down to business!

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:02 | 1060099 DoctoRx
DoctoRx's picture

Amazing how ZH proves its worth.  Tx

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:12 | 1060134 umop episdn
umop episdn's picture

Time and time again, ZH does a stellar job of reporting. My thanks to all the Tylers involved. Show those faux journalists how it is supposed to be done, Tyler!

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 12:24 | 1061201 JoeSexPack
JoeSexPack's picture

You got that right! ZH is my first stop for news.

& the comments, like CG's reactor explanation, really help to explain what the MSM can't, or won't.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 12:25 | 1061205 JoeSexPack
JoeSexPack's picture

Make that CD's explanation, thanx much!

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:02 | 1060104 westboundnup
westboundnup's picture

Where there's smoke, there's radiation.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:04 | 1060105 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

A breach of the containment building would release radiation into the atmosphere.

There is Cesium/Iodine detected in the atmosphere and drinking water can we assume this step has been reached?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:11 | 1060129 sushi
sushi's picture



Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:07 | 1060116 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

TEPCO said. IAEA said.

I put that in the same league as GIvernment Spokesman said.

And Military Spokeswoman said.

Oil is well. Oil is well.

Till it ain't.


Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:08 | 1060122 strannick
strannick's picture

So much more helpful than, 'fire at #3 reactor. Reactor #2 roof's blown off'

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:12 | 1060136 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

Operation "kill all rats and traitors" is now in progress.

The Germans refused to go along with the no fly zone and Italy is refusing to take in refugees. Hmmm, the Europeans see the writing on the wall because they want to make nice with the old man. He is pissed and when this is over there will be shuffling of the deck about the things that Europe needs that he has. Ha ha ha . Number 1 fuckee will be France and Rothschild puppet and former Mossad operative, Sarkozy....

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:22 | 1060177 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Not to worry, the Colonel will lose his leverage when all the oil infrastructure is sabotaged into the Stone Age.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:31 | 1060218 Shylockracy
Shylockracy's picture

There is no such a thing as a "former Mossad operative".

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:15 | 1060145 eigenvalue
eigenvalue's picture

Plutonium is extremely poisonous. If remember correctly, 5 grammes of plutonium can kill the entire human race. 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:20 | 1060160 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

They were extreme idiots allowing whoever, to talk them into using mox. 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:27 | 1060199 eigenvalue
eigenvalue's picture

I think the Japanese wanted plutonium to be the fuel because plutonium can also be used to develop nuclear weapons.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:36 | 1060233 BurningFuld
BurningFuld's picture

The plutonium is coming from the dismantaling of the USSR and USA nukes.  Might as well get some use out of it plus storage is expensive...also it may fall into the wrong hands and end up in a dirty bomb. Oh wait it did.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:10 | 1060365 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Part of the From Megatons to Megawatts to Megadeath Program.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:15 | 1060147 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Time to take those Potassium iodide pills. 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:20 | 1060156 Cdad
Cdad's picture

Worry not my ZH brothers,

The always effervescent E. Burnett on the Ministry of Truth [CNBC] has just announced that all is well.  The good news...reactors number 5 & 6 should be fine, or so the Japanese government told her so.  In addition, Ms. E. Burnett is now injecting reactors 1-4, which are in various states of ruin and on again off again in flames,  with copious amounts of her adorableness.

All is fine.  All of us just need to get more comfortable putting our fate in the hands of foreign governments and Ms. E. Burnett.

I love Big Brother...and so do you.


Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:22 | 1060176 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

One day soon, GE will be only a faint memory. What happens to them then?  NO company, no retirements, no nothing. Mark will have to sell his boat and live off of social security benefits.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:28 | 1060178 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

double post

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:22 | 1060181 eigenvalue
eigenvalue's picture

The Turd calls Erin Burnett "A-Cup". I don't know how the Turd know Erin Burnett is "A-Cup" unless he had some hands-on or maybe mouth-on experience in the past.;)

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:50 | 1060294 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Methinks the Turd's standards are a a lot higher than that.  A-cup would be OK for a friday night 3 AMer in you throw in some bags.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:20 | 1060158 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

They need to release the radiation measurements from the 'down' SPEEDI system that seemed to work fine with some missing data points before last night.

There's no other way to know what is happening from a public health standpoint. 

Complete confusion--signs and signals: 

--The Ministry of Sports, Watercolors and Well Science N Stuff (rough translation) was given the responsibility to collect radiation data from all the prefectures and release it twice a day.  Last night they said they had the data but refused to release it, directing reporters to the Prime Minister's office.

--The Self-Defense Forces were asked to help with helicopters but were unable to get into action due to bureaucratic snafus.

--The government ordered TEPCO to get water on unit 4 immediately to "avert an imminent nuclear catastrophe" and were that they weren't "able to prepare" on Tuesday.  Maybe Wednesday.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:26 | 1060197 Cdad
Cdad's picture


I think what you meant to say was that you love Big Brother.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:38 | 1060244 ColonelCooper
ColonelCooper's picture

I love big brother.  Kind of like a woman in a battered women's shelter loves her husband.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:45 | 1060272 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

mmmmmmffff (mouth full of soma).....drrooooolllll....

yeah, love, right on

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:21 | 1060165 Miss Expectations
Miss Expectations's picture

I am FReaKiNG out.  At 7:20 am I got home from dropping my son off at school, got out of my car and saw no less than 10 jets and chem trails criss crossing the sky above (way above) my neighborhood.  They were at it for 1 1/2 hours.  I'm afraid to go outside. (I'm in SE North Carolina)

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:23 | 1060191 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

Is there one place in the United States or Canada that this is not going on?  The days here can start off crystal clear with a blue sky and by the time they get through it is hazy.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:26 | 1060201 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

I will never forget the multiple sonic booms and concentric circles of contrails filling the blue sky over our ranch at the Cali-NV border, after they lost a stealth fighter back when they were sooooo super-secret that they made the pilots do low level flying in the pitch dark.  Sometimes they got disoriented and crashed.

Just about the time the Revell Corp. plastic model was advertised in the back of a comic book.  D'oh!

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:35 | 1060234 ZackAttack
ZackAttack's picture

I see jets from Douglas, Cherry Point and Raleigh crossing over all day long, sometimes no more than 30 seconds apart, for hours on end.

I asked one of my aviator friends about it. He should me the routes they are required to take to avoid overflying cities and noted that many routes hug the coastline.

I would frankly not worry. This is a very high-traffic area for airliners and military planes.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:47 | 1060284 Miss Expectations
Miss Expectations's picture

This is a very high-traffic area for airliners and military planes.

I know...I've been here for 6 years, but I've NEVER seen anything like this before.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:47 | 1060283 falak pema
falak pema's picture

It's just a male, macho, testosterone spree in the air. Top guns letting off popping steam. Too juiced up to keep it in. Must have had a bad night without puss in be out in the air so early, their flying dicks streaming white plumes..

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:04 | 1060339 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Huuuuh! That is good imagery Falak and very accurate too.
Was at an air show recently.
The fighters look like rather large...ummmm.....what's the word....compensation devices...if you know what I mean.


Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:20 | 1060172 gordengeko
gordengeko's picture

Some mighty brave souls here to sacrifice themselves for other people.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:27 | 1060200 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

Yep suits or no suits. They are dead men walking. They are giving their lives for their country. Many of them lost their families in the earthquake. So I guess they figure why not. There is nothing to live for anyway.  Would I do it? Hell no........

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:32 | 1060227 gordengeko
gordengeko's picture

It's actually a good feeling to know there are still humans on this planet left that have a cause worth dying for, protecting other humans.  No offense

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:45 | 1060273 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

Well Geko. all good patriots will get their chance soon enough. When I spoke about this situation, I was being specific and not meaning I am that way about everything. Soon, we might have to earn our TCB (taking care of business) patches here in this country. Are you ready to party?......

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:51 | 1060295 falak pema
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t'es plus con que ton avatar...povre tache.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:01 | 1060328 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

Fous le camp......

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:01 | 1060335 gordengeko
gordengeko's picture

I agree, but I think this is a more of a species type of thing rather than a demographical survival issue.  There are a lot of souless people(?) that care only about corporate profits and seem to have hidden agendas, is more of what I was referring to.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:04 | 1060344 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

Did you know that Tyler Durden is a Colonel in the Manhattan Militia. He is in charge of propaganda. They don't allow too many guns over there, so all militia members are taught to effectively use rolled up new york times newspapers as weapons......

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:07 | 1060361 gordengeko
gordengeko's picture

of which I'm a proud card carrying member.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:11 | 1060374 gordengeko
gordengeko's picture

of which I'm a proud card carrying member.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:27 | 1060198 Neutron_Boy
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You all need a basic lesson in nuclear physics.

There is a basic difference between radiation and radioactive material.  Radiation being emitted from the nuclear fuel is a local concern, because it dissipates very quickly with distance.  The concern most people have is that radioactive material will be carried in the prevailing wind to wherever "they" are.  The radioactive material will also dissipate over distance, especially since the metals are heavy.  The radioactive gases are light.  Therefore, a problem for the Japanese, maybe, not so much for the USA.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:32 | 1060223 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Oyay, another one.  Here, let me:

1. folks here are more concerned about Japan losing its largest area of arable, buildable land than long distance or global fallout.

2. although there are scenarios that could affect the US, however improbable; you are most likely too book-dumb to have any experience with practical assessment of risk or long range transport of heavy metals.

3. thanks anyway for your condescension. 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:42 | 1060259 ColonelCooper
ColonelCooper's picture

Thank you for addressing that comment in a much more tactful manner than I would have been able to.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:36 | 1060455 hardcleareye
hardcleareye's picture


Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:45 | 1060488 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Hey Kudlow, shut the fuck up.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 11:10 | 1060609 Crumbles
Crumbles's picture

And YOU need a basic grounding in Physics.  

1) The fuel inside the zirconium rods is self-heating and melts around 1135 degrees C, boiling at 4135 or so ...

2) Zirconium melts around 1850 degrees and the still-getting-hotter molten fuel spill out quickly thereafter.

3) All of the metal components react violently with water and produce metal oxides as particulate which is lethal.

From a HASMAT insert for zirconium ...

Unusual Fire & Explosion Hazard:  Do not spray water on burning zirconium.  Carbon dioxide is not effective in extinguishing burning zirconium.

If a fire starts in a mass of wet metal fines, the initial fire  may be followed by an explosion.  Therefore, when in doubt, personnel should retire and not attempt to extinguish the fire.  The explosive characteristic of such material is caused by the steam and hydrogen generated within the burning mass.

All that "steam" coming out of the buildings is likely mixed particles of water and radioactive metallic compounds near the size of water vapor.  They float.  And get on skin and in the lungs.  And you die.


Even in the USA.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:27 | 1060204 aztrader
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Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:26 | 1060205 aztrader
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Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:29 | 1060211 ptoemmes
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Would someone provide a summary of which buildings there are spent fuel pools?  Is it just 4?  I assume not in 1 or 3 which "blew up" or it would be BIGger NEWS.  Unsure about 5 or 6 and unsure in general.




Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:35 | 1060231 Jim in MN
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All 6, plus a whole building full besides.  Over 10,000 spent fuel assemblies on site.

On the plus side, they were almost out of room for any more, so they don't have to worry about that now.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:27 | 1060212 aztrader
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Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:30 | 1060217 Sweet Chicken
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Last I heard there weren't even workers on the site any longer. Has this changed? I hope.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:36 | 1060232 Cdad
Cdad's picture

Sweet Chicken,

What do you mean?  When workers abandoned a nuclear reactor in flames, that is bullish, man!  Why would you want the workers to return to the nuclear plant that is various stages of ruin, flames, and melting?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:38 | 1060245 Sweet Chicken
Sweet Chicken's picture

Wait please clarify. Do you mean leaving is bullish or staying is bullish?! ;)

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:45 | 1060267 ColonelCooper
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Both.  Staying is bullish for for the dollar.  Leaving is bullish for equities.

Now go buy a dip.  Any dip.  Just buy one.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:51 | 1060298 Sweet Chicken
Sweet Chicken's picture

Well played.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:56 | 1060316 Cdad
Cdad's picture

Well, I don't know...but I do know that apparently Apple does not have a concrete containment building, nor does it have a lead apron...this or the shares of Apple cannot be used to put out the flames at reactors 1, 2, 3, or 4.

...which by the way would make the usual BTFD move on equities quite hazardous...maybe like catching falling radioisotopes?

The 50 day sma has now failed.


Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:38 | 1060240 bob_dabolina
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In fact recently the situation has been described as "the point of no return" and "sending in workers at this point would basically be a suicide mission"

BTFD this is good for 1,000 DOW points

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:42 | 1060254 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

So now I guess the question is...

What happens if the Corium escapes the containment vessel(s) ?


Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:41 | 1060256 spanish inquisition
spanish inquisition's picture

Guess it time to start buying lead.


Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:56 | 1060318 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Been buying it in 230gr and 123gr pointy pieces for years. Always room for more.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:53 | 1060522 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

45 and 7.62 x 39???  The price of both are coming down...  thankfully...  Getting an AK, saiga, sks, or ~g3 clone to cycle the cheap 7.62 ammo is easy...  handguns are a little more picky in my experience. 

In the process of drafting the business plan/marketing/start-up plans for my pawn shop...  already have prospective worker(s) lined out...  and capital...  just need to do the homework for a successful launch.  I figure, worst case scenario, I'll get to look at some awesome gun porn and have a stash of cool stuff that doesn't depreciate much.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 12:18 | 1061153 spanish inquisition
spanish inquisition's picture

Not exactly sure how it's used in the aftermath or if it will be needed, but was also thinking Japan may need a few hundred thousand tons.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:55 | 1060311 Kina
Kina's picture

So we have to think of the next out of left field Black Swan event. since it is only March.


Earthquake SF?

Political Assasination in ME?

Large Meteorite?

Massive floods somewhere again


Iceland Volcanoes go critical

Terrurist attack on SA oil fields....




Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:50 | 1060510 justtotaketheedgeoff
justtotaketheedgeoff's picture

My brother-in-law picking up the check for dinner.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 11:39 | 1060834 nonclaim
nonclaim's picture

Political Assassination in ME?

The consequences could be devastating to the region, regardless of who did what to whom.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:38 | 1060321 honestann
honestann's picture

Thanks.  Excellent information summary, but it lacks important information.  For example:

#1:  Please state what are the mass and composition of the rods in the innermost vessel of each reactor (the rods that were supplying power before the shutdown).

#2:  Please state what were (and are) the mass and composition of the rods in the "cooling ponds" directly above each reactor.  Also state what percentage of each rod in these cooling ponds is now plutonium.  Note that some percentage of uranium is converted or "enriched" into plutonium even in those rods that did not initially contain any plutonium.

#3:  For each reactor, have any explosions or other events ejected any rods or pieces of rods from the "cooling ponds"?  This appeared to happen in the explosion of reactor #3, but what we saw ejected high into the air during the explosion may or may not have been what it appeared to be (some or all of the cooling pond assembly and its contents).

#4:  For each reactor, is it known for certain (by direct visual or remote video observation) whether its cooling ponds are still completely intact and no rods have been ejected out of those cooling ponds?  Or is this simply an assumption?

Adding the above information will make your excellent summary much more helpful in estimating future events and their likely consequences.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 09:59 | 1060325 DaveyJones
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 It looks like there is some confusion about the source of the fire, which the IAEA reported was “at the spent fuel storage pond.” Keith Bradsher and Hiroko Tabuchi in the New York Times quote an “American official” saying the “fire there may have been caused by machine oil in a nearby facility.”  This is good news, but it also means I am trying to doing too much.  I am taking the rest of the night off.

FEPC has released another statement that confirms the spent fuel at Reactor 4 burned for about three hours before they were able to put it out.

This is very bad news — yesterday, I noted this was the wildcard scenario. The radiation release was very large — detectors recorded a measurement of 400 millisieverts per hour. Milli, not micro.  People can stop with the comparisons to airline flights or X-rays, unless you get your X-rays performed at DARHT.

If you are scoring at home, most folks I know seem to think we are at INES 6 now, heading for 7 (and the Ch-word) unless TEPCO catches a break.


Update to Information Sheet Regarding the Tohoku Earthquake

The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC) Washington DC Office

As of 11:00AM (EST), March 15, 2011

  • Radiation Levels

o      At 10:22AM (JST) on March 15, a radiation level of 400 milli sievert per hour was recorded outside secondary containment building of the Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

o      At 3:30PM on March 15, a radiation level of 596 micro sievert per hour was recorded at the main gate of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

o      At 4:30PM on March 15, a radiation level of 489 micro sievert per hour was recorded on the site of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

o      For comparison, a human receives 2400 micro sievert per year from natural radiation in the form of sunlight, radon, and other sources. One chest CT scan generates 6900 micro sievert per scan.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:30 | 1060434 QEsucks
QEsucks's picture

400 millisievert= 40 rem roughly 40 rad/HR not quite tanning under a LINAC but definitely not healthy. As I131 is being blown out, I'd probably give the Iosat to the kids and as 137Cs is too,I'd book the crew on a holiday to Disney World. in Orlando. screw the lines.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:55 | 1060544 infinity8
infinity8's picture

Jesus Christ my head is going to explode! wtf with "we'll spray some water on it in 2-3 days"?!?! Is everyone in charge assuming that the plant gave off a couple radioactive farts that will dissipate into the atmosphere by then and radiation levels will be way down? Seriously, do we not have some bad-ass Hollywood-style technologically advanced suits and other equipment that should be getting dispatched STAT? Are the people in charge here and in Russia and in China, etc. talking on some big red phones and coming up with a plan? Inquiring minds want to know.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 12:51 | 1061331 Convolved Man
Convolved Man's picture

How about dropping ice cubes or water balloons from the International Space Station on its next pass over the nuclear facility.

What amazes me is the continuous drone of how this incident is not all that bad since we cannot conclusively prove any of the reactors melted down or ruptured.  I dare anyone to take the photograph posted above by Cog. Dis. to any technician at an operational nuclear facility and try to convince them that things are not as bad as they look.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 11:04 | 1060548 steve from virginia
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Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!