US, UK Pull Search Teams Out Of Japan As TEPCO Admits Situation Is "Severe"
Earlier today we received an email from one of our readers aboard the aircraft carrier group off Japan performing evacuation efforts for US citizens in Japan, that it had turned around and is now going back. While we are trying to validate this, we have just noticed breaking news from Sky News that US and UK search teams are pulling out of Japan tomorrow. We were wondering what may have brought about this (so far unconfirmed) evacuation of the evacuators until we saw the next breaking news from Sky News: "Japan Admits Nuclear Problem Is 'Severe'" - "This is a severe incident that is occurring right now," the spokesman said at a news conference. "We have vented and used seawater as cooling, followed the accident management plan but this is a very severe operation." The admission comes as plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) continues attempts to stop the six-reactor Fukushima 1 complex from going into nuclear meltdown. "We have to keep cooling the fuel so it doesn't reach criticality," the Tepco spokesman said, adding that radiation levels have barely fallen at the site." Translation: if operation "Irrigation" fails, TEPCO itself confirms the chance of a critical reaction in the nuclear fuel is very high. Which of course would explain why everyone who knows more than the average peasant who just watches manipulated media, is getting the hell out of dodge.
More from Sky News:
The UK's chief scientific officer John Beddington explained that spent nuclear rods were stored in 'ponds', which kept them cool.
"The situation has changed," he said.
"The pond in rector four is the cause of very considerable concern. What has happened is that this has been damaged by explosions and is leaking very fast.
"We've had reports that it has gone dry."
Low concentrations of radioactive particles from the power plant have been heading eastwards and are expected to reach North America in days, a Swedish official said.
Lars-Erik De Geer, research director at the government-run Swedish Defence Research Agency, cited data gathered from a network of international monitoring stations used to detect nuclear weapons tests.
Meanwhile, international energy authorities and other nations voiced concerns over the situation at the Fukushima plant north-east of Tokyo.
Japanese Chinook helicopters - reportedly fitted with lead radiation shields - attempted to dump tons of seawater into cooling pools to prevent spent fuel overheating while operator working in short shifts pumped water into the reactor cores.
The International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) said that four water drops were also made after midnight in an attempt to prevent the reactor overheating.
A police riot control water cannon attempted to replenish the cooling pools but was withdrawn, while two military airport fire trucks continued afterwards.
Sebastian Pflugbeil, president of the private German-based Society for Radiation Protection, said Japan's efforts to pull the Fukushima 1 plant back from the brink signalled "the beginning of the catastrophic phase".
"Maybe we have to pray," he said.
The head of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko, said he believes the situation is more serious than the Japanese government is letting on.
Mr Jaczko warned water in reactor 4's cooling pool may have run dry and a second reactor could be leaking - something experts say could accelerate the release of radiation.
"We believe that around the reactor site there are high levels of radiation," he said.
For those who missed our in depth overview of the (now supposedly water-free) spent fuel rod cooling pools can do so at the following link.