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Satellite Photo Of Reactor 1 and 3 Explosions At Fukushima

Tyler Durden's picture


This is what the recent explosions look like when looked at from space, per the BBC:

DigitalGlobe satellite photograph shows the earthquake and tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on 14 March 2011

And yet another update, this time from across the Atlantic:

Technicians are battling to stabilise a third reactor at a quake-stricken Japanese nuclear plant, which has been rocked by a second blast in three days.

The fuel rods inside reactor 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi plant have been fully exposed on two separate occasions, raising fears of a meltdown.

Seawater is being pumped into reactor to try to stop the rods overheating.

A cooling system breakdown preceded explosions at the plant's reactor 3 on Monday and reactor 1 on Saturday.

The latest hydrogen blast injured 11 people, one of them seriously. It was felt 40km (25 miles) away and sent a huge column of smoke into the air.

The outer building around the reactor was largely destroyed.

But as with the first explosion, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said the thick containment walls shielding the reactor cores remained intact. It also said radiation levels outside were still within legal limits.

Not optimistic'

Shortly after the blast, Tepco warned that it had lost the ability to cool Fukushima Daiichi's reactor 2.

Hours later, the company revealed that the fuel rods inside had been exposed fully at one point, reportedly for about two-and-a-half hours. It said a fire pump that had been used to pump seawater into the reactor had run out of fuel.

The company is now trying to inject sea water into the reactor to cover the fuel rods, cool them down and prevent another explosion.

Initially, water levels continued to fall despite the efforts, as only one of the five fire pumps was working, officials said. The other four were believed to have been damaged by the blast at reactor 3.

By Monday evening, the water level inside the reactor had risen to 2m. But later, Tepco officials said the fuel rods had again been fully exposed.

Air pressure inside reactor 2 rose suddenly when the air flow gauge was accidentally turned off. That blocked the flow of water into the reactor, leading to the water level dropping and the rods being exposed at about 2300 local time (1400 GMT).

"We are not optimistic but I think we can inject water once we can reopen the valve and lower the air pressure," a Tepco official told reporters.

Exposure for too long a period of time can damage the fuel rods and raise the risk of overheating and possible meltdown.


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Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:26 | 1050573 FunkyMonkeyBoy
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Nice screen shot of SimCity, used to love that game (but not with Acts of God switched on).

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:54 | 1050734 FunkyMonkeyBoy
FunkyMonkeyBoy's picture

Yay! Good days... prefer it to the reality of now.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:08 | 1050821 Cindy_Dies_In_T...
Cindy_Dies_In_The_End's picture

Very interesting article on Automatic Earth with technical details.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:42 | 1051309 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

+++++++++++++++ ********************* +++++++++++

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:29 | 1050594 THE DORK OF CORK
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Jesus, you have to admire any technicians and foot soldiers operating down there - it must be psychologically hellish.

I heard the water pump to No 2 was damaged by the second explosion - they are claiming they got it back online - must have taken a good dose during any repairs.



Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:59 | 1050765 jus_lite_reading
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CNBC's Kudlow on Japan Quake - """ Be Grateful Human Toll Much Worse than Economic Toll."


IF HE DID THEN YOU KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:16 | 1050857 goldfish1
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Air pressure inside reactor 2 rose suddenly when the air flow gauge was accidentally turned off. That blocked the flow of water into the reactor, leading to the water level dropping and the rods being exposed at about 2300 local time (1400 GMT).


Homer? Homer Simpson, is that you?

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:29 | 1050595 Snidley Whipsnae
Snidley Whipsnae's picture

An excellent vantage point under the circumstances...

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:30 | 1050596 InconvenientCou...
InconvenientCounterParty's picture

My thoughts are with the heros willing to get anywhere close to this.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:33 | 1050612 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Ever notice there are more dead heros than live ones?

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:51 | 1050718 Reese Bobby
Reese Bobby's picture

The Japanese have historically demonstrated a high tolerance for their own death...

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:51 | 1051041 hbjork1
hbjork1's picture

"On a long enough timeline......."

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:40 | 1050657 Me XMan
Me XMan's picture

May God bless all heroes there.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:56 | 1050754 Greater Fool
Greater Fool's picture

As are mine. The fact that Japanese culture emphasizes the group over the individual and deeply values self-sacrifice does not lessen the nobility of what they are doing.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:11 | 1050830 Reese Bobby
Reese Bobby's picture

I never said it did, Mom.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:17 | 1050852 Greater Fool
Greater Fool's picture

It always has to be about you, doesn't it, son?

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:24 | 1051217 Reese Bobby
Reese Bobby's picture

Apparently.  Your comment was funnier than Unit 731...much funnier.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:03 | 1050885 AZSovreign
AZSovreign's picture

Anyone have a link or info to/of a legit donation group for Japan? Besides the American Red Cross etc..



EDIT: NM found what I was looking for

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 15:35 | 1051573 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

The BOJ needs your help?  Don't send money, send ink cartridges. 

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 17:08 | 1052065 ATG
Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:30 | 1050599 umop episdn
umop episdn's picture

One hundred tons of a toxic, radioactive metal from hell are purified and confined to a metal box. This metal releases heat constantly, and must be cooled constantly no matter what happens. Sure, this can be done. No problem. We have the technology.

Hubris, bitchez.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:50 | 1050708 Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture


Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:32 | 1050604 monopoly
monopoly's picture


Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:31 | 1050605 Zero Debt
Zero Debt's picture

OK...They have enough seawater, and they have enough diesel.

But do they have enough boric acid?

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:36 | 1050640 samsara
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That's what we air lifted to them.  When early on our gov. said we were airlifting "Coolant". 

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:56 | 1050752 dearth vader
dearth vader's picture

Kool Aid, that's what the navy's providing.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:24 | 1050889 The Disappointed
The Disappointed's picture

I'm almost suprised that they're not dumping CoreExit on it to 'disperse' the radiation.

Betcha someone's making a ton of money off this.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:08 | 1051146 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

The US navy uses sodium polyborate as an emergency fission should be readily available in Japan, since it is basically flea powder.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 18:51 | 1052450 BigJim
BigJim's picture

I suspect most of the fleas around the reactor have already scarpered.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:33 | 1050609 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Thee seems to be a range of opinion as to what the worst case scenario is here:

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:09 | 1051141 Matte_Black
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Talking his book.

Mr. Tucker is author of "Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Power Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America's Energy Odyssey" (Bartleby Press, 2010).

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:33 | 1050618 Gert_B_Frobe
Gert_B_Frobe's picture

"Air pressure inside reactor 2 rose suddenly when the air flow gauge was accidentally turned off. That blocked the flow of water into the reactor, leading to the water level dropping and the rods being exposed at about 2300 local time"

How about a sign saying, "Don't touch this MF air flow gauge!" Like they don't have enough problems.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:46 | 1050621 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

MSNBC reporting U.S. Navy rescue crews picked up radiation doing helicopter rescue operations, and 7th fleet moving farther out to sea after detecting radiation 100 miles out.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:55 | 1050736 Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture

Since it's MSNBC, I need confirmation ... I think could rely on them to tell me if the sun had suddenly extinguished ... but they might have mistaken sudden overcast for doing the same thing ...

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:36 | 1050623 Zina
Zina's picture

The problems in the nuclear plants are likely to cause power shortages in all of Japan during the next weeks, maybe months.

The problems in the electricity supply will have major effects on the economy nationwide. Is this being taken in account by the "experts" when analyzing the impact of the tragedy on the economy?

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:34 | 1050630 Gert_B_Frobe
Gert_B_Frobe's picture

Boric Acid futures?

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:36 | 1050633 yabyum
yabyum's picture

Heroes one and all.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:36 | 1050639 davepowers
davepowers's picture

accidentally turned off?!?


Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:04 | 1050798 dearth vader
dearth vader's picture

Hey, it's dark in there. There's no power. Someone, accidentally, flung his safety helmet over a switch.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:38 | 1050649 Lord Welligton
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"Hours later, the company revealed that the fuel rods inside had been exposed fully at one point, reportedly for about two-and-a-half hours. It said a fire pump that had been used to pump seawater into the reactor had run out of fuel."

You kid me not!!!!!!!

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:49 | 1050687 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

If 4 of the 5 fire pumps being used to cool unit two were damaged by the explosion of number three, I imagine no one wanted to go outside to service/fuel the fifth fire pump because of the fear of radiation. They know there is plutonium in unit three.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:50 | 1050707 Lord Welligton
Lord Welligton's picture

Yeah. Possible and understandable.


Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:02 | 1050777 Phlash
Phlash's picture

I read today that the reactor is running on a Uranium/Plutonium mix called MOX.  It sounds like its virtually weapons grade and not what the reactor was designed for.  The plutonium is 2 million times more dangerous than the possible uranium danger.  If it goes up then Japan will be uninhabitable and the direction of the wind is going to be very bad news for somebody...  Iodine does not protect against plutonium either.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:06 | 1050805 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

No nuclear reactor fuel is weapons grade. Just correcting your statement. That's not to say it isn't very dangerous, just not weapons grade. Weapons grade is several degrees of magnitude more concentrated than the fuel used in nuclear plants.

I do agree that if the MOX plutonium/uranium mixture in unit three gets out in the open, the emergency also goes up by several orders of magnitude.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:05 | 1051125 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

The main exception to that is nuclear powered subs, which typically use weapons grade - or near weapons grade Uranium, in the case of US subs, 97.3%. I know you are talking about civilian power plants, CD...just wanted to through this in for info.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:22 | 1051209 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Thanks. I was talking about civilian nuclear power plants.

I decided to completely stay away from the nuclear powered subs discussion since I'm already being accused of hysteria. I did not know the concentration was that high though I was aware it was significantly higher than civilian.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:36 | 1051285 spanish inquisition
spanish inquisition's picture

I am not a hysteria type and have a question. If rods have dropped into the block and seawater is being used to cool. The area for water to traverse is narrower and cooling with seawater will be leaving behind particulates eventually blocking the flow. I am guessing water will be converted to steam and blowing off.

Questions: Will it eventually fuse the rods to the block and how long before it reduces cooling efficiency as water is blocked from the buildup of hardwater scale (for lack of a better word). 1 week, 1 month?

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:45 | 1051323 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I have no idea. But since everyone agrees that flooding with seawater is a last ditch Hail Mary effort for reasons that go beyond just junking the reactor, who knows what's going on inside the reactor. I suspect the people on the ground are making educated guesses at this point.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 19:35 | 1052607 spanish inquisition
spanish inquisition's picture

Conservatively speaking, there is 1lb salt left per 4 gallons of seawater evaporates. It isn't going to take long to clog the works. Just need to find out how much steam is coming out or water usage to get mass/ available space in reactor to get a countdown. Of course, I don't know if my assumptions are correct.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:57 | 1051389 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

Assuming the rod bundles dont completely melt, then actually, time is on their side, as the rods will cool over time.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:41 | 1051304 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

Refuelling them is hell, I can tell you. And, the main limitation on the life of a sub is the damage neutron bombardment causes in the reactor room to valves, pipes, bulkheads, etc. At one time I worked on the 688 class attack boats, and under full power, everyone would have to evacuate the reactor spaces, since the neutrons bouncing around in there were not conducive to healthy existence.

You are right that the MOX fuel has added danger over pure uranium, mainly one of toxicity and lower melting point. Older rods in reactors do convert some of the uranium-238 into plutonium-239, the amount depends on the enrichment level of the fuel, which in terms of the uranium-235, is typically 5%. This means as spent, they typically would have about 1% plutonium. Mox fuel, however, typically has 30 - 50% plutonium.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 20:09 | 1052726 sushi
sushi's picture

On these Japanese BWRs what is the liklihood of 40 years of operation causing degradation of the cement containment structures?

Question 2: If seawater evaporation deposits salts in the Rx does this salt residue function as a fission clamp similar to sodium polyborate?

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 21:25 | 1053017 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

Actually, not at all. Cement gains strength over the years, and is not susceptible to degradation by radiation. Sodium chloride has a small cross-section capture, so does not work as well as the metal salts such as boron.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:10 | 1050827 trav7777
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There is nothing whatsoever SPECIAL about the presence of Pu in these reactors.  Any reactor is going to contain U that has been transmuted to Pu in its fuel rods!

Additionally, as far as gamma emitters, Pu is one, and there are many others.  WTF is with your hysteria over PLUTONIUM?

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:19 | 1050863 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture


The chill pills are over there.

It is well documented that unit three is fueled with a MOX fuel which, again, is well documented to be more toxic than the fuel in the other three units if exposed.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:30 | 1050916 trav7777
trav7777's picture

take another one then man, because your hysteria is not useful.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:35 | 1050934 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Unlike the other five reactor units, reactor 3 runs on mixed uranium and plutonium oxide, or MOX fuel, making it potentially more dangerous in an incident due to the neutronic effects of plutonium on the reactor and the carcinogenic effects in the event of release to the environment.

And the guardian weights in on the subject.

The company notified the government on Sunday morning that the No 3 reactor had lost the ability to cool the reactor core, and that radioactive steam was being released. Kyodo News quoted Tepco as saying that up to three metres (10ft) of fuel rods were exposed above water at the plant.

Shaun Burnie, an independent nuclear energy consultant and former head of nuclear campaigns at Greenpeace, said the presence of a percentage of fuel core loaded with plutonium Mox fuel in the No 3 reactor posed a grave threat to the surrounding area.

"Plutonium Mox fuel increases the risk of nuclear accident due the neutronic effects of plutonium on the reactor," Burnie told the Guardian. "In the event of an accident - in particular loss of coolant - the reactor core is more difficult to control due to both neutronics and higher risk of fuel cladding failure. In the event of the fuel melting and the release of plutonium fuel into the environment, the health hazards are greater, including higher levels of latent cancer."

The Mox fuel was delivered in 1999 and was loaded into the reactor by Tepco only last year after sitting in Fukushima storage ponds amid opposition and delays from the prefecture's governor, Burnie said.

The No 3 reactor is the sixth facing risks because of loss of cooling water since Friday's devastating quake and tsunami.

Tepco last night filled the No 1 reactor with seawater and boric acid to prevent criticality - an uncontrolled nuclear reaction - hours after an explosion blew away the roof and walls of a building housing the reactor.

The blast is thought to have occurred when hydrogen being released from the reactor mixed with oxygen either in the air or in cooling water.


There are dozens of other citations if you care to educate yourself. Speaking openly about the special conditions in unit three is not hysteria.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:50 | 1051032 davepowers
davepowers's picture

thanks for posting.

question - could the difference in the explosion between #1 and #1 be accounted for, at least in part, by the difference in fuels being used?

Are there any issues because the reactor #3 is using fuel for which it was not originally designed? It's also an old plant and the MOX fuel, as your source notes, was only used there in the last year.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:26 | 1051229 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I honestly don't know how the MOX fuel would or would not react differently. Way above my pay grade. Besides, there are many other mitigating factors including unit 3 being a different reactor design by a different company running at a higher power level.  

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:18 | 1051198 The Profit Prophet
The Profit Prophet's picture

Excellent retort CD.  Trav is obviously starting to squirm over his numerous longs, and is seeking to quell concern by spinning the facts......typical!

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:28 | 1051235 fuu
fuu's picture

And in the 12 weeks you have been registered on ZH you have everyone's ortfolio pegged. Trav may be blunt and bordering on obnoxious but he has been around for a while, makes many fine contributions to threads, and has some modicrum of respect from the regulars. You on the other hand are just noise at this point.


But thanks for sharing!

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 15:38 | 1051595 The Profit Prophet
The Profit Prophet's picture

I've been reading ZH for years, but I must say that I never realized that the well known perma-bull Trav777 has an attack dog.  There was no intent to offend, but I certainly have little patience for those on this site that tow the party line with what TPTB would support if they were the ones posting the comments....(Robo and Harry also come to mind).

I'm fine with long as it's a valid interpretation of "fact". Trav's comments insinuating there was no significant difference between the possible health risks of a reactor 1 vs. a reactor 3 meltdown are patently false and misleading based on CD's well-researched comments.  As a self described "regular" Hedger, I would presume that you would also have a problem with this type of disinformation.....but perhaps I'm wrong about you!!!

The only "noise" on this site comes from spinmasters and shills (and those who support them) which side are you on fuu?       

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 17:00 | 1052002 trav7777
trav7777's picture

I'm a perma bull?  wow.  I made $382,000 short in 08...go figure.

If you want to lick CD's jock, man, you don't need me interrupting, but you seem to be confused that anyone who doesn't say "ZOMG APOCALYPSE" is part of "TPTB."

And Guardian doesn't qualify as well-researched.  Look, it would behoove you if you could make the self-realization that simply because your misanthrope ass WANTS to hear a thing doesn't make that thing more likely to be true.  CD, for all his bullshit about being open minded actually ENCOURAGES herd mentality and selection bias in people like you.  And he knows it.  When this adulation is challenged, he gets pissy.  Yes, that makes him a bit of a demagogue and it makes you a sheeple.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 15:05 | 1051427 trav7777
trav7777's picture

ROTFL.  The head of Greenpeace weighs in for the Guardian.

JFC...I am going to repeat myself here:  there is nothing particularly special about the presence of plutonium in these reactors.

Higher levels of latent cancer?  How much higher?  The additional risk here is statistical noise in the event of core ejection, dude.

And your hysteria is still ridiculous.  You think you can shout "PLUTONIUM ZOMG" and your little lemmings will charge right off a cliff with you...

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 15:18 | 1051497 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Keep going trav. You have all the rope you need.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 17:01 | 1052016 trav7777
trav7777's picture

what are you gonna do, CD, talk me to death?

You going to write another diatribe about openmindedness or wtfever else it is while actively trying to encourage lemming behavior in your "followers," who provide you with that adulation that drives narcissistic gurus?

Why don't you just pass out the grape koolaid to all your followers and get it over with?

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:58 | 1050761 Threeggg
Threeggg's picture

As long as Benny has enough fuel to run the generator connected to his printing press everything will be ok.

Promise !

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:16 | 1050851 Mike2756
Mike2756's picture

He'll bury the reactor under a mountain of dollars, gives new meaning to dollar destruction.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:40 | 1050654 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Hell on Earth, Japan division.

Can you imagine what is going through the plant workers heads at this time? How does one resist the fight or flight instinct when huge explosions and radiation detectors are going off? 

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:43 | 1050668 Lord Welligton
Lord Welligton's picture

I imagine they have accepted death.


Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:49 | 1050703 kreso
kreso's picture

No. They have accepted life. They are sacrificing themselves for their loved ones.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:19 | 1050859 nonclaim
nonclaim's picture

They would also not shame themselves and their families by running away. A huge cultural difference compared to many other places (not any in particular).

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:01 | 1050771 serotonindumptruck
serotonindumptruck's picture

The Japanese undoubtedly have a greater appreciation WRT their sense of honor and duty. This catastrophe should transcend national loyalty; it is an obligation to humanity that this incident be remediated at the expense of all other considerations, even at the expense of several dozen human lives (or more).

Your "fight or flight" mentality would no doubt manifest itself in many parts of the West should a similar nuclear accident occur in this hemisphere. Nuclear engineers would be running away, no doubt about it.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:15 | 1050823 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

While I understand your point about Japanese sense of honor and duty and I agree to some extent, I can't say I agree with regard to nuclear plants. There are hundreds of stories of Russian engineers, technicians, firemen etc staying at their posts while Chernobyl was unfolding. Three Mile Island was at times considered by those inside to be very close to total meltdown yet I never read of anyone leaving their posts.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:21 | 1050874 serotonindumptruck
serotonindumptruck's picture

History reveals what became of virtually everyone who assisted with that clean-up effort. They all died horrible deaths within months. I wonder if ignorance of the danger played a significant factor.

Hopefully, my faith in my fellow man is never tested in this regard.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:30 | 1050918 malikai
malikai's picture

Its arguable whether the Russian firemen knew what they were getting into. The engineers displayed a total lack of regard for the risks (probably deliberately in overcompensation to the known risk).

At TMI, they knew the score. They stayed because they knew it would be their homes and families affected, just like the Japanese know today. I couldn't imagine anybody in the business, despite normalcy bias, would not "know" the risks. I'd put my money on them risking their own lives because they know that it has to be done.

We'll probably hear the real story from some of the workers once they either recover from radiation sickness, or they enter the latent period.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:39 | 1050972 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The reckless decison to shut down safety procedures at Chernobyl wasn't made by "the engineers", but by a select few. "The engineers" however stayed at their posts despite having no say in the decision to put their lives in danger. Many died because they stayed at their posts.

I point this out because you are using a sweeping generalization when you use the term "the engineers". Many died because of decisions made by one or two of the engineers.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:54 | 1051047 malikai
malikai's picture

I should have been more clear. When I said engineers, I was not talking about the plant operators. Their mistakes and consequences are obvious and well known. Few if any were involved with the cleanup effort, from what I understand.

I was referring to the cleanup engineer team dispatched from Moscow. They camped close to the site themselves, wore very little protective gear, stalled the evacuation procedures, and made numerous hasty and counterproductive decisions. Some of their decisions, in hindsight, seem reckless.

I'm not saying this to highlight incompetence, because I'm certain they all knew what needed to be done. I point this out to highlight the potential for smart people to make terrible decisions when placed in a seemingly uncontrollable position.

I believe that if I were in that situation, I would make many bad choices. This would make me accept responsibility for those decisions, and the decisions of my teammates. I would then be further emboldened to make right of the situation. Then I would probably make further, riskier decisions, as seemingly necessary, doing things I know will cause me great harm.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:58 | 1051074 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Thank you for clarifying. I should also have been more specific. I'm referring to the initial hours and few days after the explosion. You are talking about the period when the initial emergency was over and they were trying to bury their mistakes.....literally.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:13 | 1050843 trav7777
trav7777's picture

No.  White people sacrifice for the greater good just like asians.

Stop acting like the "west" is typified by what you saw in Katrina or some muslim riots in Paris.

Russian liquidators and firefighters KNEW what they were getting into but they did it anyway. 

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:21 | 1051204 snowball777
snowball777's picture

You need therapy.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 15:10 | 1051444 trav7777
trav7777's picture

nah, do.  You're obviously inflicted with some kind of deep-seated self-hate.

The reality is that the West has not been typified by something different than Japan.  There are disasters all the time in the US, floods, hurricanes, tornados, wildfires.  In virtually none of them was the behavior typical that the other guy said was.

If you don't like facts or reality, then I cannot help you.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:33 | 1051272 Cleverbot
Cleverbot's picture

Then stop acting like that.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:41 | 1050658 99er
Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:40 | 1050661 FeralSerf
Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:48 | 1050678 Quixote2
Quixote2's picture

The explosion at reactor #3 took out 4 of 5 fire trucks at the site.  Later the 5th fire truck ran out of diesel fuel.  The nuclear fuel in reactor #2 became uncovered for a 2nd time before they got fuel and water flowing again.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:46 | 1050682 DNB-sore
DNB-sore's picture

It is going to pay for them in the form of a bronze plate and I hope it is going to pay out for a lot more of people. Heroes!

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:46 | 1050683 RmcAZ
RmcAZ's picture

Hi res version from Digital Globe's Flickr page:

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:47 | 1050691 davepowers
davepowers's picture

thanks, I think

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 19:39 | 1052616 tom a taxpayer
tom a taxpayer's picture

Thanks. Excellent photo resolution.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:46 | 1050684 davepowers
davepowers's picture

one wonders how well they can provide water to three reactors with one fire pump.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:50 | 1050700 SubjectivObject
SubjectivObject's picture

The satellite picture may be doctored; the detail inside No.1 appears muted/homogenized.  It would be telling to see the drone images of the current insides, especially No.3.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:03 | 1050785 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Not sure if you have been following the ZH discussion the last 3 days, but the explosion of number one was not the same as unit three. The unit three explosion was much more severe with much more debris thrown up and out.

Scroll back through the ZH posts over the past two days to see the images of one and three.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:20 | 1050866 SubjectivObject
SubjectivObject's picture

Consistent with Quixote2's observation below; cannot see the spent fule pools in the No.1.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:44 | 1050992 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Maybe because they weren't exposed? And you can't see them in unit three either.

I don't get your point. Doctored or not, this is a huge clusterfuck and I've been saying so for the last 3 days.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:50 | 1050705 Quixote2
Quixote2's picture

Reactor #3 is venting steam from at least 5 points.  Can not be good.  Appears to be more damage on reactor deck number 3 than reactor #1.  Can not see the fuel pools.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:50 | 1050710 Confuchius
Confuchius's picture

Someone once said that the only perceptable result of a college education is the ability to speculate endlessly regarding subjects of which you know absolutely nothing.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:58 | 1050757 Reese Bobby
Reese Bobby's picture

Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes, Sparky.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:06 | 1050806 Convolved Man
Convolved Man's picture

Famous last words -- it won't explode.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:06 | 1050737 Spalding_Smailes
Spalding_Smailes's picture

1:10:53 His attention is diverted to the computer again. He said that TEPCO announced that the meltdown of the reactor core has already begun and debris has begun to accumulate on the bottom of the containment unit. Previous to this statement he said that this happened at three mile island and the debris almost burned through the containment unit.

The worst part is when the man says, "If one melts down, people working to save the others, will have to cease their work."

" All 3 plants / rods in meltdown " (Tepco)

Live Conference ( english ) - 3rd & 4th screen ...

BREAKING NEWS: Fukushima's 3 reactors highly likely facing melting: Edano (21:41)


Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:54 | 1050743 TWORIVER
TWORIVER's picture

Japanese government asks for assistance with reactor events; U.S. government and NRC preparing response

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:58 | 1050760 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

All the fireman called out to the Chernobyl fire died. They had not been told of radiation risks (and dared not ask)

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:19 | 1050867 trav7777
trav7777's picture

that is simply untrue.

Some firemen lived to tell the tale and one of the tales they told was that they all realized the severe levels of radiation.  Read the wiki on the disaster and you can see what one of them said.

They knew what they were getting into but they did their duty.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 12:59 | 1050768 Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture

Any word on power plant units 5 and 6?


They sit in the buildings off to one side (not behind what I presume are the steam turbine and generator buildings) ...


The old GE Mark I's are the ones they are presently having issues with ...



Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:11 | 1050834 davepowers
davepowers's picture

Based on Tepco's press releases over the past few days, I think that #4-6 were all shut down for inspection and or work at the time of the quake.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:26 | 1050892 Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture



Was/were the fuel rods removed? If not,  they still require cooling ... 'shut down' can be a misnomer, 'not actively generating steam' would be a better description *if* they still have fuel rods in place ...



Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:57 | 1051068 davepowers
davepowers's picture

I'm probably the last one to try an answer on that tech question, but I'd assume if they weren't active at the time then the residual heat issue plaguing #1-3 would be less. Inserting the control rods for an inspection shutdown well before the quake would have given the reactor time to cool down.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:24 | 1051213 Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture

Very good point, and one I've had in mind here too, but, I understand that like 5% of the nominal 'heat output' is still present even in the SCRAM (control rods in) state  ...

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 15:31 | 1051557 QQQBall
QQQBall's picture

A suggestion to anyone starting a post off with the following:

"I'm probably the last one to try an answer on that tech question"


Then why is it so hard to STFU if you do not know what you are talking about.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:02 | 1050783 PY-129-20
PY-129-20's picture

Notice the one building on the site - it contains thousands of used rods - it is currently used as an intermediate storage facility for radioactive disposal.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 16:51 | 1051938 ATG
ATG's picture

With half-lives from 24,200 years for Plutonium 239 to 4.468 B years for U 238 DU

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:01 | 1050784 Alex Lionson
Alex Lionson's picture

From WWW.RBC.RU (Translated by Google)

At worst, Japan would be a small atomic explosion
On the causes of the incident at nuclear power plants in Japan, told RBC renowned environmental scientist, Corresponding Member of RAS, president of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy Alexei Yablokov.

"Based on the data that we see clearly that stopped the circulation of coolant in the reactors - not one but many, now has 11 reactors at four nuclear power plants. This was because the earthquake - only the earthquake, not a tsunami - was damaged by a system output that connects the reactor to a pipeline. These pipelines were damaged. What does this mean? This means that the coolant had to follow. In the reactor, when there is a nuclear reaction that releases massive heat. The reactor was immediately shut down, then there are additional hog rods, which absorb radiation have been introduced, the chain reaction stopped. There's tens of tons of uranium fuel, heated to hundreds of degrees, and once it can not be left without water. Even if you eat a couple stops, ie stops working turbine, power plant, you need to force cool shutdown reactors. So it everywhere forced cooling was not able to "- explains Yablokov.

On "Fukushima-1" was an attempt to run the backup diesel generators, but none of the three diesel engines failed. Such generators are available at any nuclear power plant in the event of an emergency stop instantly deliver the water and remove heat. The reason for the refusal of three diesel engines is unknown.

"The Japanese brought the then nine other electric generators, to revive the pumps. The generators were working, and pumps are not revived. For me, it means that the violation was a link between the circulating pump, which worked on electricity and reactor - pipelines have been violated. This is confirmed by the fact that began to rise the pressure in the sealed envelope that surrounds the reactor. Any modern hermetic envelope around the reactor. And in this shell has been a growing pressure. When the reactor operates, the water becomes either steam or under some circumstances it may even decompose and turn into a hydrogen . In general, it was necessary to lower the pressure. They have released the pressure, the radioactivity at the station increased a thousand times, then she fell because reverberated gaseous and particulate radionuclides, and the pressure began to increase again. And then the building exploded, "- said the scientist.

The expert outlined the options for the possible development of the situation. "What could be the worst? Fuel will melt from the heat, who was there. If it were to melt, it will sink to the bottom of the reactor, and there is no saturation of rods, and could start an uncontrolled chain reaction. Then followed a small atomic explosion, which detonate all to hell, and will be a big release of radionuclides, "- says Yablokov.

It may happen that builds up so much steam that no valves will not help him later, and the reactor exploded. It happened at Chernobyl, when the lid of the reactor, weighing 20,000 tons of steam rose to the top of the tens of meters. If the script again in Japan, due to depressurization of the reactor will also release of radionuclides.

According to the president of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy, there are two related dangers. "On one of these stations, I think," Fukushima-3 ", MOX-fuel - a uranium plus plutonium. And it's scary poisonous mixture, much more dangerous than if it was just uranium fuel" - warns Yablokov .

The second danger - cooling pools where spent fuel is stored. "Every nuclear power plant is a pool-cooler, where is placed the spent nuclear fuel, which pulled out from the reactor. It must be kept in the pool under water for two to four years before he was taken away. During this time, it must be cool. The total radioactivity In each of these pools, than in the reactor, and if something happens with pools ...

And about the pools, we do not know. If the pipes were broken at the plant, it is likely that the leak was broken pools. But in these basins should also circulate water to cool them. Obtained a "compote" which makes the whole world to tremble, from what might happen "- summed up the Academy.

But this is the worst-case scenarios. "A lot will depend on two factors. On what will power the explosion of the reactor will depend on how radionuclides will rise. In Chernobyl, they have risen to the height of a mile, there was burning graphite and the pillar of fire in the air lift radionuclides, and persistent wind break them in the area. In all the forecasts that should not happen in Japan. Even if the worst happens and the option reactor explodes, the release will be at the height of 100-200 meters, and then it will only depend on the wind, in what direction it will blow '- the expert said.

However, most of the radionuclides will settle around the station, at a distance of a few tens of kilometers. And for the Russian Far East and the Korean risk will be small. However, Japan's explosions at nuclear power plants can have very dire consequences.

Read more:

Read more:

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:28 | 1050908 Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture

"Translated by Google"

I need a translation from Google to English ... there appear to be a number of contradictions in that text to make it worthless at points ...



Mon, 03/14/2011 - 16:44 | 1051930 ATG
ATG's picture

Not everyone realizes nuclear plant meltdowns are dirtier than nuclear bombs designed to consume all the fuel

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 17:05 | 1052043 trav7777
trav7777's picture

nuclear physics packages do not consume all the fuel.  Coulombic expansion drives the atoms apart before full fission can occur.

Take a look at the data on 1945; the majority of fissile material was ejected and scattered.  In the case of Fatman, that was pure Pu239.

A nukeyaler core ejection would spread more radioactivity due to the sheer amount of radionuclides.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:07 | 1050811 davepowers
davepowers's picture

sorry if this has been posted,

Anderson Cooper's 'Should I get outta here?' moment.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:02 | 1051105 jerry_theking_lawler
jerry_theking_lawler's picture

I thought it was classic MSM....AC's producers throw him in the middle of a nuclear meltdown, and he then realizes that he too is expendable in the network's eyes....

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:22 | 1051203 davepowers
davepowers's picture


And he shows up and starts talking apparently knowledgeable, then we find out he doesn't know how far he is from the Fukushima or which direction.

And he doesn't ask if 'we' (including his crew) should bug out, just 'I.'

Still and all, it's been a rough couple of months for Anderson and 'his crews.'

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:07 | 1050812 VFR
VFR's picture

There's bold nuclear reactor workers and there are bald nuclear reactor workers, but there are no old, bold, bald nuclear reactor workers. 

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:08 | 1050816 DrStrangelove
DrStrangelove's picture
Buy When There is Fear in the Streets

Junior Resource Stocks on Sale Today!


As I got up this morning, I figured I had better go check to see how the situation in Japan is turning out.  As my trading platform and news feed got up and running around the same time, I saw the three picks in Junior Resource Rebound were cheaper than I thought they would be after Saturday's article.  The unexpected turn in the partial meltdown of two reactors in the the Fukushima nuclear complex has provided a big discount in the price of most junior resource sector stocks (while others are rallying like IBC Advanced Alloys, otc: IAALF.)  Strathmore, Denison and the three on watch for their near oversold levels have become obvious buys at an additional 25% discount today.  Positions in the following companies have been added to, and a 100% share increase in PMNHF, MLLOF, and SSEBF...


"You may be wrong, but you may be right, I may be crazy, but it just may be a lunatic you're looking for..."

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:16 | 1051183 QQQBall
QQQBall's picture

I think strathmore is going lower. They have that earn in deal with I think its Mitsui, so that may be in jeopardy. LT, I Starthmore has the goods, plus you get some exposure to other Ute jrs companies that they have sold properties to.  Its gonna take time anyway. I hit SSEBF also this morning.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 19:22 | 1052559 BigJim
BigJim's picture

I hear TERPCO is pretty cheap at the moment

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:22 | 1050881 DNB-sore
DNB-sore's picture


you maybe have sold your soul

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:35 | 1050952 DNB-sore
DNB-sore's picture

I just kicked a leg of my dining table and it went down and I have to mention it was strong. Paid obout 300 bucks for it 15 years ago, how does depreciating work out for you right now when people are killed or going to be killed.

Please give your profits on this disaster to the people who are hit by it, I did it. Unless you have the proof to be a better human then the victims

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:38 | 1050969 Franken_Stein
Franken_Stein's picture


A dosimeter, based on the simpler Geiger-Müller method, for all three main types of radiation:


1. alpha = He nuclei

2. beta = electrons / positrons

3. gamma = UHF EM waves


costs about 250 € here in Germany.


Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:44 | 1050996 Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture

3. gamma = UHF EM waves

- - - - - - - - - -

300 to 3000 MHz EM Waves?

Wanna extend or amend?


Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:12 | 1051159 Franken_Stein
Franken_Stein's picture


To be precise it's petahertz or even exahertz EM waves.


I was using ultra high frequency, because I don't know how this is expressed in English, since I'm not a native speaker.


Petahertz, is this "super duper high frequency (SDHF)" ?





Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:25 | 1051227 Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture

Petahertz, is this "super duper high frequency (SDHF)" ?

- - - - - - - -

Close enough.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:44 | 1050999 Dental Floss Tycoon
Dental Floss Tycoon's picture

Saturday Night Live Season 4 Episode 16 - Pepsie Syndrome

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:13 | 1051167 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

I know its not really funny ,but i had to laugh my ass off when i saw that one...It was one of their best skits........especially garret morris who played some black woman who was supposedly a maid and they told her that there was some water in that room in there and would she go and clean it up.........ha ha ha ha

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:01 | 1051088 glenlloyd
glenlloyd's picture

I wonder who did their catastrophe planning?

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:17 | 1051186 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

This scenario goes somewhat beyond what has always been considered reasonable + safety factor design planning. The real problem here - and I have seen it in many industries and circumstances, is the calculation basis for worst case design. You see it in dams, bridges, buildings levies, all kind of mechanical systems risk planning. Typically a design criteria calls for worst case to assume some time period - typically 100, 500 or 1000 years, factor in local historical conditions and events, and sometimes add a safety factor. It is amazing how many times these calculations are catastrophically incorrect.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:28 | 1051237 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Focusing on the probability of events, but not the expected outcome (in this case, measured in megadeaths) is hubris masquerading as science. That being said, perhaps some wonk really did do a yen/GWh/casualty analysis and decided it was 'worth it'.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 15:12 | 1051459 trav7777
trav7777's picture


WTF, man, where do you GET this kind of hysteria?  Is your PMS kicking in or something?  JFC

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 15:35 | 1051581 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

Actually, consequences are a required part of the design process. In the US, the NRC requires and environmental impact study that is very extensive, and includes loss of life predictions based on location, prevailing winds, fault zones, population areas and so on. But, what I was trying to point out is that the probability calculations themselves tend to fall short of what ultimately proves to be reality.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:11 | 1051161 DNB-sore
DNB-sore's picture

try the French

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:18 | 1051192 QQQBall
QQQBall's picture

If things get bad on the West Coast, I still have my anthrax visqueen/plastic

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:24 | 1051210 DNB-sore
DNB-sore's picture

Hope you also have a car or private jet to get out, do not want to panic but nobody should come into contact with divine winds

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:59 | 1051381 Randall Cabot
Randall Cabot's picture

I was just listening to Alex Jones-he doesn't have a clue-just making shit up to scare people into buying gold and food that his sponsers sell-him and his guest, that other goofball Gerald Celente, sounded like a couple of ranting WWF wrestlers-pathetic!

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 15:44 | 1051621 Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture

I was just listening to Alex Jones-he doesn't have a clue-just making shit up to scare people into buying gold and food that his sponsers sell-him 

- - - - - - - - -- -

SOP in the conspiracy industry ...

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 14:57 | 1051401 Fearganainm
Fearganainm's picture

Greg Palast has some interesting views on this.

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 15:27 | 1051532 devnickle
devnickle's picture

Is it just me, or does building #1 look empty?

Are they playing "Hide the core", or was it vaporized?

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 16:35 | 1051874 ATG
ATG's picture

Did Homer Simpson transfer from Springfield?

Mon, 03/14/2011 - 16:42 | 1051909 ThreeTrees
Mon, 03/14/2011 - 16:57 | 1051977 jmc8888
jmc8888's picture

So why aren't there other ones being flown in via helicopter?

I mean they have to either a) make them there in japan, or b) have some in stock somewhere on the island or c) have the name of the manufacturer elsewhere.


D) cannibalize one or 5 or 10 from other reactors temporarily (until the a, b, c are done) from reactors not effected, or furthest away from the dangers just experienced.

Fuel not being able to be directed there is a breakdown in logistics (understandable on the macro level, but for the couple of drastically known and important situations to is unacceptable.  Do any of the aircraft carriers have diesel on board? (compatible deisel or other fuel?)

The air valve was shut off which cut off the water flow? How could anyone make that mistake? Why am I getting this sickening feeling we are all supposed to watch helplessly as 'another plane strikes'.  This whole situation is starting to border on a completely asinine level.  Apologize if I'm reaching, but man are we going through another period of complete stupidity on a human level like during that time. 



Mon, 03/14/2011 - 17:00 | 1052003 ATG
ATG's picture

Nuclear powered USS Ronald Reagan moved further North after exposure to low radiation, duh

All ionizing radiation is dangerous to DNA. No level of radiation is perfectly safe

It's all about immunity

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