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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Beau Tox's picture

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.

alter ego's picture


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


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. 

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.

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!


snowball777's picture

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

jimijon's picture

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

Deepskyy's picture

Revelation.  No "s"

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



cranky-old-geezer's picture

Or more correctly "The Revelation of John"

Forget the Catholic BS.

RichardP's picture

The Revelation to John??

Or - as some would say: The Big Reveal.

papaswamp's picture

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

Misean's picture

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

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.

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 ?

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.


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.

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.

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

ZackAttack's picture

I look at building 3 and I see a slagheap.

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


dearth vader's picture

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

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.

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.

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. 

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!

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.

johnQpublic's picture

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

i  would expect same.....

dark pools of soros's picture

does she play with lead based china toys???

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.

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!

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.


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.

John Law Lives's picture

Well spoken.

100% FUBAR Ponzi economy.

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!

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.

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

nonclaim's picture

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

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.

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.


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.

Wynn's picture

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

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

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. :>)

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?

trav7777's picture


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

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"You're" or "you are"

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

mdwagner's picture

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

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

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?

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.


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.