US, UK Pull Search Teams Out Of Japan As TEPCO Admits Situation Is "Severe"

Tyler Durden's picture

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.

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oh_bama's picture

ONLY ONE WAY TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM!!

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!

JUST DO IT!!

Missing_Link's picture

Don't worry.  Helicopter Ben will soon fly over and bury the Fukushima plant in a mountain of freshly-minted US currency.  Then we just put some concrete over that and we're good to go.

financeguru500's picture

The U.S. has drones and I know for a fact that Japan is one of the leading nations of robotics engineering. Why aren't we trying to use drones or robots to get in close and do the work we need to get these reactors taken care of. Why aren't we flying in drones to drop whatever water/chemicals are needed to help the situation?

 

Canucklehead's picture

I don't think a drone has the carrying capacity to have much effect.  Once it lands to be refilled, who wants to get close to it.  I assume radiation levels won't affect the wireless communication with the drone, but ....

With regards to robots, I suspect they may have problems navigating the destruction surrounding those reactors.  Also, they may not be able to manhandle a fire hose (et al.) under pressure.

ibjamming's picture

I doubt there's any water pressure in those water hoses...I doubt there's anything out there that runs/works.

Triggernometry's picture

What kind of a self-respecting robot can't man-handle a hose?

10kby2k's picture

A few helicopters, water cannons, power cords............where is the high tech and robotics?     Seems like cement drops might work better---entomb as much as possible.

avonaltendorf's picture

Use your noodle. Robots work on flat surfaces. Drones can't carry a big enough payload.

depression's picture

here is a novel idea... lets pick up the Federal Reserve building with ben's B-52 money drop squadron and drop the building on top of Fuk-U-Shima, all that Tungsten and paper should make for a very nice radiation shield.

Misstrial's picture

Can anyone explain why they can't drop ice cubes or block ice on the rods.

~Misstrial

B9K9's picture

We are now entering the zone of diminishing marginal returns, where effectiveness drops precipitously while the chance of error(s) increases dramatically.

It's that last exhausting run down the ski slope before dark, or the late midnight session finishing an important meeting presentation, that gets you in the end. Just when everything absolutely must go right, only the slightest mistake, perhaps one previously easily rectified, ends up taking you out.

That's why Ben's game was so dangerous - it was predicated on everything going right, like some new fuel discovery or technological breakthrough arriving just in the nick of time. Even the slightest hiccup was gonna get us. Instead, we get the mother of all swans that would have staggered a dynamic, resilient & thriving economy.

 

Ruffcut's picture

Cheap options. Merely lotto tickets, but great stocking stuffers.

centerline's picture

I don't recall ever seeing Tyler cover something as relentlessly as this.  I know this falls in the "Captain Obvious" category, but it seems to me TD is thinking along the same lines.  If this swan spreads its wings just a little more, the butterfly effect is on... and could really cause the house of hards to fall.

 

RichardENixon's picture

heh heh he said "house of hards" heh heh heh

MachoMan's picture

I'd say the coverage of the MENA unravelings was every bit as diligent...  the issue simply that the doomers have been waiting on the end for some time and we can get a little impatient...  although, realistically speaking, these things DO have the ability to finally start the spinning plates to breaking.  All of these things had been previously juggled by our monetary policy, but as we all know, they eventually cannot be suppressed via the mere desire to suppress them...  as we have found in the education realm, money is no substitute for diligence, hard work, intelligent work, and real production.  In other words, simply throwing money at the problem will not make it go away.  The world is too dynamic for that.  [and ultimately why command economies always fail].

jus_lite_reading's picture

HOLY MOSES! Radiation in DFW and Chicago from Tokyo planes, pasengers and luggage!

http://fiatsfire.blogspot.com/2011/03/radioactive-japan-geiger-counter-4...

Who could have known? The radiation levels are low but still since it is cumulative then little by little you get more and more dosage over time and then BOOM! Your thyroid turns you into Rosie O'Donnle! Or worse! BEnron Von Frankenstein!

 

flattrader's picture

If the reactor 3 with MOX spews plutonium and it drifts to airports there may be a situation where those attempting to evacuate by air may be prohibited from landing or kept on the tarmac...indefinitely.

This could turn ugly very quickly for those Japanese with the foresight and wherewithall to leave early.

 

mt paul's picture

plutonium is very heavy 

usually falls out of atmosphere quickly 

close to the source ...

AnAnonymous's picture

You fell for it. That is all a story by greenies and big nuclear energy. Nothing sizeable is happening in Japan. Just stories invented like global climate change, or peak oil.

Get in tune with the US citizens...

cougar_w's picture

I guess you were joking. Since when does the US citizen know anything outside celebrity gossip?

gina distrusts gov's picture

Are you being paid by the fed? or the Gestapo (TSA)

Fenlander's picture

What people have not yet focussed on is the increasing exposure of the "Fukushima 50" to radiation.  Per "The Guardian" (UK newspaper, live blog here...  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/mar/17/japan-nuclear-crisis-ts... in their 1.25pm GMT entry), radiation levels at Fukushima NPP today reached 3.75 millisieverts per hour.  Not microsieverts, millisieverts.  So in any 8 hour shift, these guys are getting 12 times the normal human annual exposure.  Looked at differently, after 6.67 eight hour shifts, these guys are getting the maximum 250,000 millisievert exposure that the Jap Govt raised the limit to only a couple of days ago.  OK, some of the time the guys will be sheltering in a lead lined room, but even so, there's a pretty short timeline until TEPCO need to be calling for some more "volunteers".

 

My sense is that even if nothing worse happens for the next 48 hours, the issue is going to shift to abandoning containment efforts, because TEPCO is going to run out of people.  These are some of the most brave and selfless people on this planet.

cougar_w's picture

Funny how that works, isn't it?

"Human resources". Pay em like shit, us em like toilet paper.

VisualCSharp's picture

The scoops are on their way. I repeat, the scoops are on their way.

asdasmos's picture

"More workers were drafted for the frontline of Japan’s biggest nuclear disaster as radiation limits forced Tokyo Electric Power Co. to replace members of its original team trying to avert a nuclear meltdown"

 

 - http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-17/japan-churns-through-heroic-wor...

depression's picture

Hero's my ass... Ann Coulter said : "There is, however, burgeoning evidence that excess radiation operates as a sort of cancer vaccine."

Fuk-U-Shima is a venerable day spa by her measure, prolly explains her deformed pteradactyl hands.

 

 

Fenlander's picture

Sorry, my bad.  Should have been "250,000 microsievert exposure", not millisievert.  God damn these micros and millis!  I'll be getting as good with numbers as the Bernank next.

nonclaim's picture

You know, reading about this sievert and how it is a somewhat subjective measure then it's clear they could scale it any way they want. I'm almost sure they chose this micro/milli range to deceive the average (if not most) population.

How often do you hear the talking heads confused and correcting themselves: "Is it 40µ or 40m that's bad for you?"

After a long while people learn and again I'm almost sure after this disaster they will choose yet another name and range so the next time things go bad people won't know what's really going on...

LFMayor's picture

Well, we had to be rid of "Roentgen, Equivalent Man" because it was sexist and mysoginistic and demeaning and apt to start more bra and high heel fires.

Chump's picture

Bare boobies and bare feet are risks we'll just have to take then.

Matte_Black's picture

 

1. Edano said yesterday that the powerline would be used to drive makeshift pumps when they finally get it up and functional.

2. It seems clear from the video that the coolant delivery and dispersal systems are hopelessly damaged. Apparently, the plan is to also set up makeshift coolant delivery systems to effectively deliver the coolant.

3. Even using materials designed for this kind of ad hoc installation, it will require focused labor and time for the men on-site to make effective connections.

Time. How much time do we have before this goes from apocolyptic to eschatological?

Containment is now being mentioned more and more often in interviews I have seen.

When I watched that video I tried to imagine how many men, how much equipment and material it would take to accomplish either of these tasks - and how much time.

The only conclusion I can come to is that many people are going to die before this thing is brought to an end.

I hope I am wrong.

OpenEyes's picture

This is what qualifies as 'truth' from the Japanese Government and the TEPCO private company.... new headline from Kyodo:

 

"Operation to pour water at Fukushima nuke plant said effective"

TOKYO, March 18, Kyodo

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/03/79057.html

YEAH, it sure seemed 'effective'..  Yup.. no worries... That worked...

What fucks!!  

 

 

Citxmech's picture

They should force the board of TEPCO to sit on-site if things are going so well...

Henry Chinaski's picture

Fucking squids...

Nuclear Crisis Won't Stop the Marines

CAMP SENDAI—The local U.S. military commander of the joint mission with Japan to supply aid to those displaced by the earthquake and tsunami said Thursday that the nuclear crisis won't stop the effort.

"My marching orders are that the mission continues," said Col. Greg Timberlake, the III MEF Forward Commander at Camp Sendai in northern Japan. "It started out as, and still is, a humanitarian mission. That's what we came here to do."

Supply flights have been routed around a 50-kilometer (30-mile) radius of the damaged nuclear plants, he said, and the U.S. is monitoring levels of radiation at Camp ...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870381820457620607425401589...

LFMayor's picture

Those are jarheads, not squids.

sushi's picture

 

They have 9 fire boats down in Tokyo just a hop skip and a jump away.

If these are decent craft and not converted sampans they should have multiple monitors onboard able to project multiple streams more than 400 ft with a delivery rate of around 100,000 gpm.

Don't know why they are attempting to use police riot trucks which are really truly inferior appliances for this application.

 

I suspect the reasons are:

1) Japanese are linear thinkers and highly compartmented. They do not think well, are not good at lateral thinking and tend to follow a severe top-down model and spend 90% of the time trying to save face and not embarrass anyone by making suggesstions that imply the top dog is a fool.

2) Once they get these fire boats to the site they don't know where they will obtain a water supply to permit 100,000 gpm delivery.

If someone knows how to pass this idea on - please do.

sushi's picture

 

The USN has an LSD in the area. This could easily lift all 9 boats and place them inside the breakwater.

Go Navy!

Weaseldog's picture

The prevailing winds are blowing seaward right now. Anyone who comes in by boat will die.

trav7777's picture

man, I offered that idea 2 days ago and I still see none there.

400' isn't enough...radiation is unacceptably high even at 1km.  However, someone should be able to nigger-rig a nozzle that can direct a smaller stream further.  I mean, where the fuck is BA Baracus?  Fire up the torch and weld some shit, bitchez.

I agree that probably people further down the chain are not offering suggestions due to the aversion to appearing to know more than the boss.  But at the same time, the boss may not exactly be going around the table and asking for ideas.

VisualCSharp's picture

"Nigger-rig." I do get a good chuckle out of how brazen you are at times, trav. :)

Misstrial's picture

Being a native Californian who has lived in Cali most of my life along with Guam and Oahu and Kawaii, I can assure you are spot-on re reason #1.

~Misstrial

asdasmos's picture

The same will be said during next sunday, monday and on (in evertything) if this goes critical.......

alien-IQ's picture

Send them the Ann Coulter article. Radiation is good for you...it's a vaccine against cancer. And really...who doesn't want a vaccine against cancer?