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Summary Update Of Japan's Nuclear Crisis - Operation Extension Cord Begins Friday At Earliest

Tyler Durden's picture


The latest summary update of all the latest development in and around the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant (bold is recent).

  • Power plant operator says it started work on
    Thursday to connect outside power cables to the plant. It later says the
    earliest time electricity could be re-connected is Friday.
  • Japan's nuclear agency said the No.2 reactor will be the first to
    receive electricity because it has a roof and will try to use power for
    internal mechanisms.
  • Japanese military helicopters drop tons
    of water on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex to try to cool
    reactors and fuel rods after a failed attempt the previous day because
    of high radiation levels. Helicopters to be used again on Friday.
    Engineers try to restore power to the water cooling systems.
  • A water cannon later douses No. 3 reactor, the top priority for
    authorities with plutonium fuel inside. Smoke and steam had been
    escaping from the unit, indicating water evaporating from the cooling
    pool. Pressure had been rising.
  • United States sends aircraft
    to fly out nationals from Japan, authorises voluntary departure of
    family members of diplomatic staff.
  • An official at the
    Nuclear and Industrial Safety Administration says three of the plant's
    six reactors - Nos. 1, 5 and 6 - are relatively stable. The official
    could not confirm whether water was covering spent fuel rods in reactor
    No. 4. - Top U.S. nuclear regulator earlier said no water was left in
    No. 4 reactor cooling pool, radiation levels extremely high.
  • The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, says core damage at
    reactors 1, 2 and 3 of the plant is confirmed, but reactor vessels seem
  • Eighteen months before the crisis, U.S. diplomats had
    lambasted the IAEA's safety chief for incompetence, especially when it
    came to the nuclear power industry in his native Japan, according to
    cables sent by the U.S. embassy in Vienna to Washington. The cables,
    obtained by WikiLeaks and reviewed by Reuters, singled out Tomihiro
    Taniuchi, until last year the IAEA's head of safety and security.
  • The government said large-scale power cuts in Tokyo were unlikely
    after demand for electricity had hit its peak. Tokyo residents further
    unnerved by a mass malfunction of Mizuho Bank cash machines.
  • Japan PM Kan briefs Obama on efforts to contain emergency. U.S. to fly a
    drone over the complex to assess the situation. Australia again urges
    nationals in Tokyo and eight prefectures to consider leaving Japan. That
    warning was because of infrastructural problems, not the fear of
  • Tokyo is safe for international travellers, the Japanese Red Cross says.
  • Japan nuclear agency says radioactivity levels continue to fall at the plant. Eight staff members take readings in shifts.
  • Economics Minister Kaoru Yosanu tells Reuters Japanese markets are
    not sufficiently destabilised to warrant joint G7 currency intervention
    or government purchases of shares.
  • Yen jumps 4 percent against
    the dollar, the Nikkei down 1.4 percent. Officials blames yen spike on
    speculators. Bank of Japan offers to inject a further 6 trillion yen
    ($74 billion) into the banking system.
  • Estimates of losses to
    Japanese output from damage to buildings, production and consumer
    activity range from 10 to 16 trillion yen ($125-$200 billion), up to 1
    1/2 times the economic losses from the 1995 Kobe earthquake.
  • Nuclear crisis diverts attention from the tens of thousands affected by
    last week's earthquake and tsunami. About 850,000 households in the
    north without electricity in near-freezing weather. Death toll is
    expected to exceed 10,000.

Source: Reuters


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Thu, 03/17/2011 - 08:59 | 1066086 Beau Tox
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8Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

 9And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,

 10Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.

 11And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:05 | 1066112 alter ego
alter ego's picture


I think this is more related to New York (The Great Babylon).


Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:18 | 1066168 Beau Tox
Beau Tox's picture

Well, just another 'Babylon', but I thought that the Apocalypse verses kind of fit with the day's headlines.  0ff this thread, but where are all these mini-UAVs and other tiny robots that the US military has been funding for 'peaceful' purposes such as this?  The little mechanical dragonflies with cameras should be able to go into reactor buildings and capture visual status. 

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 11:05 | 1066599 asteroids
asteroids's picture

Too late. All the reactors are wrecked and will never be restarted. After the piles are cooled the only thing that'll happen is that they'll have to encase everything in concrete just like the Russians did. I bet it'll happen quick too. Withing two years the place will be sealed up.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:06 | 1066115 oh_bama
oh_bama's picture

The BOJ is just stupid! BOJ, PLEASE, do another QE! Only 1 quadrillion yen would be more than ENOUGH!!

In this situation, it requires heroic measures. BOJ must come up with decisive, civilization scale QE to stop the panic and fight the disaster!


Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:09 | 1066132 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Revelations: proof positive that some people just should not use hallucinogens.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:26 | 1066206 jimijon
jimijon's picture

Quite the opposite! That was some excellent stuff, inspired.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:18 | 1066420 Deepskyy
Deepskyy's picture

Revelation.  No "s"

Or more correctly "The Revelation of St. John the Divine"



Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:52 | 1066547 cranky-old-geezer
cranky-old-geezer's picture

Or more correctly "The Revelation of John"

Forget the Catholic BS.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 12:50 | 1067069 RichardP
RichardP's picture

The Revelation to John??

Or - as some would say: The Big Reveal.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:01 | 1066090 papaswamp
papaswamp's picture

So the assumption is everything will work correctly when power is restored? wowza hope they are right.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:12 | 1066136 Misean
Misean's picture

Who's making that assumption? Certainly not the engineers. You have a source?

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:20 | 1066177 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Japan's nuclear agency said the No.2 reactor will be the first to receive electricity because it has a roof and will try to use power for internal mechanisms.

To me this appears to be an admission that the three units that suffered explosions suffered enough damage to at least some parts of their cooling systems as to render them inoperable. I said yesterday that they would need to rig up external cooling systems for each unit because of the damage. This appears to be confirmation. Unit 2, which still contains it's roof and presumably an intact cooling system, would be the logical place to start experimenting. Time is not on their side.

BTW I love Tyler's snarky Operation Extension Cord diss. Again, it's more than just running a line in. They must set up an emergency switching station and possibly some transformers depending upon what voltage is coming in. Exactly how this is done when radiation is high hasn't been explained. But they are desperately spraying and dropping water to lower the radiation. They understand that if they can't get the radiation down, nothing else will happen.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:36 | 1066251 franzpick
franzpick's picture

"They understand that if they can't get the radiation down, nothing else will happen."

The world would be lucky if nothing else will happen. If they can't get the radiation down, won't something cataclysmic be happening ?

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:43 | 1066279 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

While I agree the sentence could have been phrased better one would think the context would have helped you with your interpretation. How about this?

If they can't get the radiation down to acceptable levels, no other disaster remediation efforts can be implemented on the ground.


Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:12 | 1066390 franzpick
franzpick's picture

Yes, got the context, and appreciate all your comments.  Just thought you took us immediately to what will be the next headline - what happens when the reactors are abandoned.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:29 | 1066460 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

My apologies. I completely missed the double meaning in your message. Very nice and so fitting.

Isn't it interesting that the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 preceded the fall of the Berlin Wall and eventual Soviet collapse by only a few years.

I see similar signs of collapse in the fractional reserve world, preceded by the crumbling of social, political and infrastructure systems.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 11:29 | 1066731 Fractured Space
Fractured Space's picture

Cog D, it has been a wihle since I have posted anything meaningful. Speaking of crumbling infrastructure, I am working on a social model which works wonders whithout a central leviathan. I would like to share the basics with you over a voice based connection

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:37 | 1066208 ZackAttack
ZackAttack's picture

I look at building 3 and I see a slagheap.

Hi-res image from Reuters, posted at 7:29 AM EST.


Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:38 | 1066506 dearth vader
dearth vader's picture

Can you imagine, they'll have to cool this slag heap till Kingdom come!

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:29 | 1066222 franzpick
franzpick's picture

These nuclear experts and gov't authorities have clearly reached their levels of incapacity; each new ill-conceived proposal reaches comic proportion.    I keep seeing Chevy Chase powering up his illuminated house in Xmas Vacation.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:56 | 1066328 HardwoodAg
HardwoodAg's picture

With Homer Simpson photoshopped at his side.


4 helo bags of water= 1(approx) OTR tanker load...Less than the output from a small Irish  pub after closing time.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:22 | 1066432 Commander Cody
Commander Cody's picture

Plant personnel are trying to provide power to Unit 2 because that unit appears to not have experienced extensive damage to equipment inside the reactor building.  The equipment (pumps, valves, electrical cables, instrumentation, heat exchangers) inside Units 1, 3 and 4 are not likely to be operable if and when power is restored.  Out-of-the-box measures will continue to be needed for Units 1, 3 and 4.

Radiation levels will complicate any effort to stabilize and clean up the mess.  With lack of access to the ultimate heat sink due to damage to intake structure and equipment, Units 5 and 6 are not out of the woods.  Maintaining those units stable will be complicated if radiation levels from the damaged Units 1-4 limit access to Units 5 and 6. 

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 12:02 | 1066873 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

buyers of this f'ing dip are unconcerned with logic and proportion, alice.  the doorknob sez look in the box on the table.  there's a big "pill" labelled EAT ME.  one for alice, you, me, and belushi, too.

risk on! 

he fuking PPT was drunk b4 breakfast, this morning!  whee!

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:02 | 1066098 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

This insanity, not just Japan's nuclear nightmare and tsunami, but every part of our modern day social, economic and political insanity, is rapidly turning into a dog endlessly chasing it's tail. No one has ever explained to me what happens when the dog actually does catch it's tail. I suspect we are soon to find out.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:05 | 1066108 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

when my dog catches her tail, she chews on it until it hurts her, then runs away

i  would expect same.....

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:23 | 1066199 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

does she play with lead based china toys???

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:09 | 1066131 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

Look at a few of the issues of the past 12 months:

How many millions of gallons of oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico...

Who knows how much radiation will escape from these reactors...

Ongoing military and civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan...

Raging drug wars in Mexico that threaten to spill across our borders...

Recklessly running up massive federal deficits and constant money printing whilst the very elements that directed us into this financial mess get record bonuses and zero criminal convictions (so far)...

Surging food and energy costs whilst The Fed argues that inflation does not exist...

Plenty of other issues belong on the list.

It sure feels like chaos.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:18 | 1066172 The Profit Prophet
The Profit Prophet's picture

Um....I believe you should also mention Libya and Bahrain as well....and lest we forget a small European peripheral debt issue.....

T.E.I.N. everyone!

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:04 | 1066363 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

Can you read:

<<<  Plenty of other issues belong on the list. >>>

I didn't want to fill up the entire page.


Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:55 | 1066325 franzpick
franzpick's picture

It feels to me like the ongoing effects of the collapse of a multi-decade, fed-sponsored credit binge, which binge has lured individuals, corporations, state, federal and international agencies to mis-allocation of resources now resulting in unmanageable debt, balance sheet and currency structures in general, as well as under-designed, power-generating structures in particular - all now threatening the world with radioactive financial or physical poisoning.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:03 | 1066365 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

Well spoken.

100% FUBAR Ponzi economy.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:15 | 1066153 Ancona
Ancona's picture

These people are throwing one hail mary after another here. It astounds me that they think any of the pumps or equipment will be workable after a sustained salt water bath twenty feet deep.

When this dog catches it's tail, the game will be over.

In addition, when the radiation plumes start to despoil our land here in the states, there will be mass wailing and gnashing of teeth. Our farmlands in the midwest and southern California produce much of what we eat and feed to our livestock. When that earth becomes unuseable, we're completely and irretrievably screwed. If these reactors actually melt down and spew toxins and radiation in the air ala Chernobyl, there WILL be a mass die off of every type of life form on Earth.

Thank's GE. Heck-of-a-job!

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:19 | 1066175 Misean
Misean's picture

"These people are throwing one hail mary after another here."

Sorry, no. To keep the metaphor, restoring external power to the still operational equipment is a solid running attack up the middle.

And, there apparently are functional pumps at the site.

Seems they're doing what is technically feasible.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:36 | 1066254 Josh Randall
Josh Randall's picture

Technically feasible - LOL !!! These people should work for Ringling Brothers with all of their clownish face saving manuvers. They are incompetent and each desperate attempt causes more people to die not save anyone

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:30 | 1066462 nonclaim
nonclaim's picture

They need you there, cowboy, to show'm how it's done.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:21 | 1066191 A Texan
A Texan's picture

Get a grip!  I wouldn't want to be eating any food grown or fed in Northern Japan, but no matter how bad this gets it will spread only minimal amounts of radioactivity to the US - and by the time it gets here, a lot of the radioactivity will have dissipated.  Please, this isn't a 1950s anti-nuke film masquerading as a cheesy monster flick, it is reality...try to stay attached.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:28 | 1066218 ZackAttack
ZackAttack's picture

They've spent a week running a power cord?

The half-measures here are astonishing kabuki by TEPCO. They may as well have lined up boy scouts to piss on the reactor as those helicopter drops and water cannon.

A microcosm of privatization.


Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:53 | 1066318 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I looked into this a bit further after watching a NHK news conference last night. I can't say what the real reason for the delay in running this new line is, but this little factoid was briefly mentioned in one news conference and I haven't seen it in print anywhere.

PETCO is not tapping into their own power lines but into a competitors line and a competitors generated power with Tyler's so called Operation Extension Cord. So one has to ask oneself how much of the delay can be attributed to shame, saving face and the strong desire not to have to accept help from a competitor. It appears all the power generated from the two Fukushima nuclear plants are not used locally, but are transported south into the area PETCO services.

I'm sure this will eventually come out, but sometimes what is not said is more important than what is.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:32 | 1066441 Wynn
Wynn's picture

since you're in proof reading mode today ...

TEPCO is a Japanese power company, PETCO is a US pet store   :-)

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:40 | 1066502 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Proof read? Who has time to proof read. And Trav7777 is the ZH grammar and spelling Nazi, not me. I just returned his serve to me.

Considering how well TEPCO is performing I suggest we give the clerks at the local PETCO a shot at fixing the plant. :>)

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:43 | 1066285 trav7777
trav7777's picture


The reactors HAVE MELTED DOWN.

A MELTDOWN is not a BIG DEAL despite the ABSURD association with the word and the PARANOIA and HYSTERIA over TMI.

Mass die off?  WTF are you smoking?

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:41 | 1066276 trav7777
trav7777's picture


ur too smart to make that mistake...c'mon

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:54 | 1066327 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"You're" or "you are"

You're too smart to make that mistake....c'mon.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:04 | 1066100 mdwagner
mdwagner's picture

I shouldn't be laughing at anything to do with Japan but Operation Extension Cord is hilarious.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:15 | 1066161 Miss Expectations
Miss Expectations's picture

If not for Zero Hedge's brilliant word play, I'd fear for my sanity.  Because the alternative is this:

Bernanke in Testimony Can Show Paul How QE2 Works

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:02 | 1066101 johnQpublic
Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:17 | 1066159 snowball777
snowball777's picture

a) Austrians (.at <--)

b) That's an I-131 (Iodine) animation 

c) That's a simulation, not measurements

d) 'Seizing' and stockpiling are not equivalent (especially supplies stockpiled last year)

e) Even if they were, would it be so they can be sent to Japan?

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:02 | 1066103 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Not sure that this is consistent--latest from Kyodo news

Radiation level rises after water shot at troubled reactor

TOKYO, March 17, Kyodo

The radiation level rose at the troubled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant Thursday evening after the Self-Defense Forces' fire trucks began shooting high-pressure streams of water at its crisis-hit No. 3 reactor, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

The level around the plant's administration building rose to 4,000 microsievert per hour from 3,700 after the trucks joined an unprecedented attempt to cool down the reactor's apparently overheating fuel pool, after SDF helicopters dropped tons of water earlier in the day.

It was unchanged after the choppers dumped seawater onto the reactor shortly before 10 a.m., the utility said earlier in the day.

The level around the plant's quake-proof building at which workers are standing by had risen to about 3,000 microsievert per hour, it said in the morning. The level compares to 1,000 microsievert, or 1 millisievert, to which people can be safely exposed in one year.

Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said he had given the go-ahead for the helicopters to drop water as the radiation level was 4.13 millisievert per hour at an altitude of 1,000 feet and 87.7 millisievert at 300 feet.

The choppers actually did so at a height of less than 300 feet, but their 10 crew members suffered no health problems with less than 60 millisievert of radiation measured from them after decontamination, against 100 millisievert to which they can be exposed in an emergency mission, SDF generals said.


Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:03 | 1066104 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Is it a 3-pronger. Has anyone actually verified the male end will engage with the female end. I know they have a problem with thinking ahead over there.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:10 | 1066110 i-dog
i-dog's picture

"United States sends aircraft to fly out nationals from Japan, authorises voluntary departure of family members of diplomatic staff. "

Nice to see the sole US contribution to the stabilisation effort (apart from Hilary's "bottled water" last week)!

You would think that the multi-trillion$/year US military that is crawling all over Asia -- including bases in Japan, S.Korea and the Philippines -- could have come up with an extension cord, or a few helicopters with water buckets, to help the Japanese solve the problems of the american-designed reactors!!  Epic fail!!

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:06 | 1066111 theopco
theopco's picture

Ever notice that the JAEA guys are all of a certain ethnicity?



Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:20 | 1066180 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Trav's okay with's brown and black that make his neurons completely misfire.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:07 | 1066123 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

US has given Japan drone data--presumably the first time they can see some of the critical areas in the units.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:12 | 1066137 fuu
fuu's picture

I guess it's all contained now. That's good, I was starting to suffer from disaster fatique. My mouse hand hurts a bit.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:12 | 1066140 Kina
Kina's picture

Wow how stupid are the Chinese?! Somebody on the internet says salt can protect you from radiation and now the HK, Macau and mainland Chinese are going crazy buying salt...and when shops have run out they are buying chicken stock and soy sauce. Unbelievable. Just watching this on HK tv. They are paying up to $50 for a pack of salt.

Bwahahaaa Talk about sheeple.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:26 | 1066214 Advoc8tr
Advoc8tr's picture

A lot of table salt is Iodised is is not?  If nothing else available surely it is better than nothing.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:28 | 1066459 RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

Hasn't Mrs. Obama advised everyone to avoid salt?

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 22:13 | 1066977 FilthyLucre
FilthyLucre's picture

Its not better than nothing. To eat enough iodised salt to stop I131 collecting in your thyroid is impossible, the salt will make you sick long before you've ingested enough iodine. But please feel free to try. I also heard painting your throat with Betadine will protect you. Maybe they should try that.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 12:18 | 1066945 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

Time to start selling salt on taobao!

Salt....the new gold.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:11 | 1066141 dipdude
dipdude's picture

NEWS ADVISORY: Satellite photo shows smoke emitted also from No. 2 reactor: agency
NEWS ADVISORY: Water shots had no immediate effect on radiation levels: agency

Source :

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 11:02 | 1066583 cranky-old-geezer
cranky-old-geezer's picture

Water shots had no immediate effect on radiation levels


They have to IMMERSE the shit and keep it UNDERWATER.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:15 | 1066166 Sofa King
Sofa King's picture

Does anybody have any idea what happens when you apply power to salt water soaked equipment?

Remote operation of equipment might be a problem also, with the exposions and all, maybe damaging some equipment, including data and control wires.

I hope they have a few Mr. Spock types ready to go in.

It's worth a shot though, looks like options are running thin.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:20 | 1066181 sunbringer
sunbringer's picture

Here is the mapping of the spread of radiation from the university of cologne.



Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:03 | 1066359 CactusLand
CactusLand's picture

How accurate do you think this map is?  I ask because at 3/16 F 16, I am in yellow, and wife is pregnant.. would appreciate some more background on this.. thanks

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:47 | 1066300 pemdas
pemdas's picture

And just how hard is it to airlift in a couple of Caterpillar diesel generators?

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 11:49 | 1066804 Battleaxe
Battleaxe's picture

I wondered this same thing. Must be a difficult situation, but the response hasn't been very impressive. The officials making statements just keep repeating the obvious over and over. It looks like not even 20% of the water from the helicopter spraying is falling on the reactors. I probably woudn't want to hover above one of them long enough to do a good job either, and the winds appear to be pretty high along the coast there. Seems like they wasted a lot of time betting on that idea.

Also hard to believe that once they get power that the cooling systems will be up and running anywhere near usual.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:21 | 1066185 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Near-immediate walkback/spin/contradiction of prior statement on rad levels at plant--Information Clusterfuck Reading (tm) remains a solid 8.8 out of 10:

Water shots effective in cooling fuel pool as steam rose: TEPCO

TOKYO, March 17, Kyodo

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday that high-pressure streams of water shot earlier in the evening by the Self-Defense Forces' fire trucks were effective in cooling an apparently overheating spent fuel pool as steam rose from the partially destroyed building housing it.

The five trucks shot 30 tons of water at the No. 3 reactor building of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, in an attempt to cool the pool storing spent nuclear fuel rods outside the reactor containment.

The operation, part of an unprecedented cooling attempt that also involved SDF helicopters dropping tons of seawater earlier in the day, came later than expected because of a high level of radiation in the vicinity of the building, it said.

But the radiation level remained more or less unchanged at around 3,600 microsievert per hour after the trucks completed their work, just as there had been no appreciable change in the level after seawater was dropped from the air in the morning, it said.


Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:22 | 1066193 TWORIVER
TWORIVER's picture

I hope it works but I it's like trying to charge your cell phone after you drop it in the ocean.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:25 | 1066211 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

We're witnessing a "Tainter Collapse" of our old Western civilization.  Oversized governments, too many rules, too many bureaucrats, too much corruption, everyone powerless, enormous and complex social structures, fear of the system exceeding fear of nature, and weak and cowering people more interested in entertainment than advancing civilization.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:37 | 1066260 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Bah...a few scalpy haircuts plus some renewable energy and conservation and we'll be right as rain.

Agreed on the cowering peeps who would rather vote for cute Idols than sane Pols though.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:26 | 1066212 real
real's picture
perhaps they are trying to get the new electric lines hooked up to 5 and 6 in time so they can then run away as 1 thru 4 go boom
Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:27 | 1066217 Kina
Kina's picture

Hate to increase the doom anymore than it is but another good reason to flee dodge is the prediction by JPL that there  could be an 8 followed by 7s earthquake follow ups in the short and long term. So I guess we can expect something in the near term.


Japan faces at least one magnitude-eight earthquake and 10 magnitude-seven temblors as a result of last week's event, wrote Professor Donnellan, a geophysicist who models probable shifts in the Earth's crust.

''The model predicts that while a few large earthquakes will occur soon after the last one, most will occur at much longer times, typically years, after the last one,'' she said.





Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:32 | 1066476 franzpick
franzpick's picture

More specifically, some upcoming events possibly affecting further Pacific plate subduction, which the media also will never discuss, are the full moon and the closest-in-18-years perigee next Sat. 3-19, the accompanying equinoctial high tides, and the effect of recent and ongoing solar CMEs and X-flares (for those believers in the Electric Universe).

The Pacific plate is what, 4500 miles long (?) and can move another miniscule 8 to 10 feet anytime conditions are right, or maybe 18 to 20 feet next time.

Geologist Jim Berkland's warning before the 1989 world-serious Loma Prieta quake got him temporarily suspended from his USGS job and he remained silenced, as are today's network broadcasters.

An approximation for an EQ event 'window' for this Saturday's full moon/perigee would be from 4 days before to 7 days after: IE, from 3-15 thru 3-26, but if you're watching TV and not looking for it, you won't see it coming.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:29 | 1066226 machineh
machineh's picture

"Japan's nuclear agency said the No.2 reactor will be the first to receive electricity because it has a roof and will try to use power for internal mechanisms."

This sounds like obscuro-speak for "we'll power up the one intact unit (no. 2) because the other three are exploded to tatters."

Inside each unit, the wiring to sensors and valve controllers runs inside metal raceways and conduits, and terminates in explosion-proof junction boxes. The term 'explosion proof' means that a stray spark from (say) a loose connection inside the box won't initiate an explosion of flammable vapor outside the box -- it's sealed and gasketed. But it doesn't mean that the wiring and controllers can necessarily survive a shock wave from a hydrogen explosion, or the impact of falling debris.

This is where one unavoidably gets out of the realm of engineering and into the realm of speculation. Without power, Tepco workers probably have little idea how much damage has been done to the control systems. High radiation in the buildings means they haven't done much physical inspection, either.

But the photos indicate heavy debris in the exploded buildings, especially units 3 and 4. So my assumption is that Unit 2 is the only one of Units 1-4 which is thought to be capable of powering up via 'Operation Extension Cord.' In the other three, most likely, the control rooms will power up, but the gauges won't register, the valve actuators won't do anything, and the lights in the reactor buildings won't come on (since they've all been blown out). Work in these crippled units will still have to proceed laboriously, manually and dangerously until radiation levels decrease.

The only hopeful aspect of 'Operation Extension Cord' for these damaged units is that maybe some of the pumps were shielded from blast damage. However, if the piping was damaged in the explosion, the pumps would be useless. Replacing damaged piping is not likely to feasible, in terms of crew risk, while radiation levels remain high.

Sure, they have to get power back to end the station blackout. But it's nowhere near being a solution to problems which have cascaded far beyond a mere power shortage, because of the explosions and fires which have done severe physical damage to the plant.






Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:40 | 1066265 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Need to get the computers on to erase the hard drives--high priority

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:33 | 1066237 Mentalic
Mentalic's picture

Around a few hours back, I had seen some footage on NHK (or BBC, dont remember) about bird flu / H1N1 in Chiba prefecture, and something about killing all the 25000+ poultry there.

Now, I don't see that news anywhere. Anyone heard anything about this?

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:44 | 1066284 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Remember what I've been saying about the pattern of letting the truth be known during non-U.S. market close, and fantastical bullshit being spewn during U.S. market open.

Well, media outlets are reporting that, and I paraphrase (but it's essentially the accurate essence), they have reconnected power and will be able to run cooling, so all is well.

If this isn't the most transparent propaganda/bullshit I've ever seen, I'm not sure what is.

In the meantime:

Japan continues to air drop water on stricken reactor

News1130 - 8 minutes ago
JAPAN (NEWS1130) - It's a race against time at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, as officials struggle to prevent a meltdown by keeping the...

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 11:22 | 1066680 franzpick
franzpick's picture

Japan has been an eclectic nationality, and they didn't miss learning the British and American sporting tradition, "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you look playing the game", and applying it to engineering, financial and corporate activity.

Think of vacuous speech by BenHubris and Embama, or the Gulf of Toxico BP gusher "situation commander", or NASA trying vainly to interpret 'anomalous' comet behavior with their obsolete gravity-only, non-electrical cosmology.

The BS is so thick you need wings to stay above it.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:55 | 1066326 curbyourrisk
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How soon before we see S&P companies warn on earnings and blame it on the disaster in Japan???????


The earthquake will be the new SNOW related poor earnings.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 09:58 | 1066338 Mentalic
Mentalic's picture

A pretty good closeup video of the reactors after the explosions:

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:48 | 1066540 cranky-old-geezer
cranky-old-geezer's picture

Worthless - way too jerky.

But man what a mess over there.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:20 | 1066424 Good To Great
Good To Great's picture

All the gaskets and seals that make the electrical control system components explosionproof and waterproof are forty years old, and some of those components with old, brittle seals have been under tens of feet of salt water for almost a week. Shizzle is not going to work even if they do get power restored.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:48 | 1066535 machineh
machineh's picture

In a non-radioactive environment, after an explosion they would isolate the unit, clear the debris, visually inspect and replace damaged equipment, then perform pressure and electrical testing on all remaining equipment.

At Fukushima, none of this is possible due to the radiation. They are just going to power up and see what works, if anything. There's even a slight chance that exposed wiring could torch off another hydrogen explosion when it's energized.

No doubt Tepco will succeed in bringing in power to end the station blackout. But to the extent that Units 1, 3 and 4 have suffered physical damage, there's very little they can do about it now, or for months ahead.

At best, they can hope that one of the multiple core cooling systems is intact and functional. If not, it's back to helos and water cannons. Probably a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon will be pasted in the control room, showing Calvin pissing in the spent fuel pool with a snarky grin on his face. Errrr, maybe not ...



Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:43 | 1066517 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Maybe they should be powering up cement mixers, anything else looks like a waste of time...

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 10:44 | 1066526 cranky-old-geezer
cranky-old-geezer's picture

Holy shit, sustained sub-79 USDJPY.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 11:26 | 1066709 GoldbugVariation
GoldbugVariation's picture

Here is a video of four helicopter drops of water on Reactor 3 - this is from Thursday daytime in Japan.

(1)  You can see how the later helicopters fly at a higher altitude, so that it's harder for them to hit the target

(2)  Watching the second and third drops, part does seem to hit the target - and a few seconds later there is increased white steam production from the target, which suggests that the water is hitting something very hot and immediately boiling rapidly.  (Like letting a pan boil dry on the electric stove, then putting some water in it.)

(3)  If we assume full loads of 7.5 tonnes, and that 20% of the water dropped reaches the spent fuel pools which are only a small part of the reactor target area (and this is probably generous), then it would take approximately 500 loads to fill a pool to 1/3 capacity which is enough to put the spent fuel rods underwater.

Some marks for trying, plenty of marks to the helicopter crews for bravery.

But the only thing which will work properly here is ground based pumps with hoses leading directly into the spent fuel pools.  Fire engines could do this job - so long as someone keeps them topped up with diesel 24/7.


Thu, 03/17/2011 - 11:31 | 1066740 ihaveabalancedc...
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