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Video Of Tsunami Smashing Into Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant; Reactor 1 Radiation Counter "Breaks" After Reporting 100 Sieverts/Hour

Tyler Durden's picture


Better late then never. Almost a full month after the March 11 earthquake generated a tsunami strong enough to cripple the Fukushima nuclear power plant, TEPCO has finally released a video of the 45 foot waves coming to land and resulting in the biggest nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl. As CNN explains what is patently obvious, the video shows the giant wave generated by the historic March 11
earthquake crashing over the plant's seawall and engulfing the facility,
with one sheet of spray rising higher than the buildings that house the
plant's six reactors. Tokyo Electric Power, the plant's owner, told
reporters the wall of water was likely 14 to 15 meters (45 to 48 feet)
higher than normal sea levels -- easily overwhelming the plant's 5-meter

This, of course, is in the past. What is far more disturbing is that the official Fukushima data from the Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry, which has so far provided the most comprehensive daily data dump on Fukushima, has stopped reporting the dry well radiation reading in Reactor 1. This is the same reactor where following Thursday's Earthquake, METI represented a mindblowing reading of 100 Sieverts/hour in the dry wall: a number on par with the worst data out of Chernobyl. Did the earthquake terminally break something in Reactor 1, or will the excuse be that another radiation counter turned up faulty after it was Made In Taiwan.

h/t Crazy Cooter


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Sat, 04/09/2011 - 18:47 | 1153967 malikai
malikai's picture

Some math(data from crowdsourced japan geiger map/using 100mSv limit):

Current onsite reading at plant: 620µSv.

Current onsite reading at nearest outer stations: 87µSv/38µSv.

Total allowed exposure time at plant: 161 hrs.

Total allowed exposure at outside station (avg 62.5µSv): 1,600 hrs.

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 19:13 | 1153969 malikai
malikai's picture


Sat, 04/09/2011 - 20:40 | 1154090 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

Those blasted contractors! (that's what I always was). Just a note, every nuclear related site I have ever worked at has emergency limit increases as a part of regulatory-approved procedural methods. The limits vary, but at nuclear plants, I think most countries follow the NRC guidelines.

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 22:27 | 1154286 franzpick
franzpick's picture

The limit was lifted from 100 millisieverts to 250 millisieverts in an announcement made March 15 by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare at the request of the Ministry of Economy...

Just like "Mark-to-Market" was suspended in the U.S. so as to reduce default danger, so is the cumulative nuclear danger in Japan being reduced by ongoing suspensions of the equivalent longstanding "Mark-To-Meter" limits.

Or something like that.

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 10:19 | 1154784 bugs_
bugs_'s picture

"Mark to Meter"!!  (writes down in ZH phraseology) LOL

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 18:12 | 1153915 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

Nuclear reactor question:  what is the difference between the drywell and suppresion chamber locations inside the nuclear reactors themselves?  

100 Sv/ hour in a DW would almost be understandable if that is inside the reactor containment vessel.  Or is the dry well outside the steel containment?  

This isn't explaining enough :

This is a little bit better :

But hat are the odds that the explosions breached a 50psi resistant concrete containment structure?


Sat, 04/09/2011 - 18:34 | 1153953 fuu
fuu's picture

I think there were at least 51 psi involved in this explosion:

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 19:44 | 1154026 malikai
malikai's picture

Its all in that second diagram.

The drywell measurements are taken inside the drywell, while the suppression chamber numbers come from within the suppression chamber. The drywell can be considered part of the containment system for the MK1.

The 100sV/hr reading implies that some fuel elements or corium have migrated outside the core and wetwell and into the drywell area.

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 20:28 | 1154068 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

Anything migrating from the core would likely go through the drywell and then into the torus, especially in a core vessel compromise scenario. Of course, the vacuum breakers - which have been know to have issues on this design - would send contamination directly into the suppression pool first, in the event they locked open.

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 22:58 | 1154322 davepowers
davepowers's picture

thanks for all your comments

all things being equal (:)), would it be better for any escaped material to stay at the bottom of the drywell or go to the suppression pool? would it make any difference if both were still basically intact?

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 23:15 | 1154344 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

It would be better staying in the drywell, since it, and the thick concrete pad underneath are more-or-less designed to capture this material - I am speaking of material from rod melting or fuel pin ejection. The suppression pool is a round steel torus with no real underpinning to make it resistant to any kind of Corium reaction. It makes a huge difference if both are would want them intact in any scenario that means contaminated material going into them.

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 18:51 | 1153973 wkwillis
wkwillis's picture

Japan has tons of plutonium from it's uranium fuel recycling program for it's fast breeder reactor program. That's about 100 nuclear bombs per ton. There is nothing secret about it.

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 21:16 | 1154156 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

It is certainly possible to make a nuclear weapon from the separation of plutonium from spent fuel rods, but due to the laws of physics, it is not very desirable. From the typical power reactor cycle, spent fuel rods have a lot of Plutonium-240 and Americium-241 in them, which makes for inefficient weapons, and increases the problems involved in manufacturing the weapon. Bomb grade plutonium has, to my knowledge, always been produced by reactors designed for that putpose, since to achieve this in a power reactor the rods would have to be pulled out very quickly (low burnup). Japan has the technology to produce weapons from spent fuel, but I doubt they would lower the efficiency and dramatically increase the power production costs of their civilian nuclear program to achieve this, although it is possible.

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 19:52 | 1154031 Lapri
Lapri's picture

Anime video that's circulating in Japan. It was made in 1993 to promote plutonium. If you somehow get the idea that plutonium is so good for you and safe on top of it, you get the right idea.

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 07:33 | 1154659 geekgrrl
geekgrrl's picture

Wow. I don't speak Japanese, but the meaning of this story was obvious. Looks like nuke propaganda to me, especially since there is video footage from inside nuclear plants detailing the assembly of the fuel rods, of workers in control rooms, etc. They have video of at least 4 different plants (as far as I can tell) and none of them would be capable of handling a tsunami like we've just seen.

I would love to see a translation of what was said. Does Plutonium Boy say all is well, no need to worry, like Trav7777? What about ingestion? It seems like it touches on this since there is a scene of a man drinking some apparently radioactive material.

P.S. Thanks for all your posts and your blog. :-)

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 20:32 | 1154073 thames222
thames222's picture

sooo, no one really knows now how much and exactly where the toxic waste is going?  The Japanese are acting shady, the worst might be yet come.

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 21:17 | 1154167 espirit
espirit's picture

Alot of it goes to the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant on the north end (Aomori).  As I understand, they have "a leetel" 3,258 Tons of spent fuel on site.

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 21:50 | 1154222 butsurigakusha
butsurigakusha's picture

Real time radiation monitor in Hino, Tokyo:

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 22:05 | 1154248 butsurigakusha
Sat, 04/09/2011 - 22:59 | 1154320 butsurigakusha
butsurigakusha's picture

The radiation zombie situation is becoming more serious by the hour:

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 22:21 | 1154283 intric8
intric8's picture

RIU simulation shows west coast about to get 1 to 10 Bq/m3 of Cs-137.

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 23:00 | 1154321 Abby Normal
Abby Normal's picture

From Japan Today:

"One of the world’s largest concrete pumps was driven into the belly of a Russian Antonov AN-24 cargo jet at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Friday. The pump is one of two being sent to Japan to assist with radiation containment at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The pump comes mounted on a 26-wheel truck. Its extendable boom can reach more than 60 meters, and can be operated up to 3 kms away by remote control, making it possible to shoot water into hard-to-reach places. If necessary, the pump could also entomb a damaged nuclear reactor in concrete. After a 1986 disaster, Putzmeister sent 11 pumps to pour concrete over parts of the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine."

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 23:43 | 1154372 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

Radiation readings in a drywell - not drywall - at Fukushima , have little to do with a Chernobyl situation, as long as the drywell is intact or is just leaking. Chernobyl was an explosive ejection event of the core materials.

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 01:02 | 1154477 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Yeah.  I am starting to wonder why all these gieger readings are so stable in the nearby areas.  Is there no plume in the air at all?  Was there a burst release during the first three days or so and then the fission product release slowed down?  Or do the Japanese not have something to measure the air releases properly?  It seems kind of bizarre to have other countries reading isotopes, products and ships and people showing up irradiated (a little), and plenty of food and soil contamination measured around the region but these gieger counters just sit there.  No wind or rain-related changes, no nothing.

Are they all in little wood boxes like weather stations and only reading ambient/spacial radiation falling off in proximity to the damaged site?  How can they miss a presumably widespread, splotchy fallout pattern?  What the hell is going on with this data? 

More questions....

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 01:32 | 1154500 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

Data is how it is taken in context of the situation. When something bad happens with airplanes, all of a sudden the news starts reporting all kinds of problems with airplanes, and you think suddenly, their is a rash of crashes. Not statistically true. When you have a nuc plant issue, then suddenly, every stat in the world is published, and true, some are higher than they would be in the normal, static emissions from plants worldwide, but suddenly everyone discovers rems, sieberts, neutron beams and all the other stuff that people who have worked in the industry have known for years, and it gets blown into something way out of proportion to its actual impact. The data being read abroad from Japan is completely different from the data they are recording locally, and the two  have absolutely nothing to do with each other. It is imposible to take local data from the plant site, and calculate it as distant fallout. There are too many factors that have to be considered. Wind patterns are only one  factor, type of material, pressure behind the release, humidity locally, type of release...and many more things come into play. A lot of people are reporting radiation data that is no higher than before this event started....but their are a lot more people interested in it now, and a lot of folks can get some publicity by reporting it. In my mind, baring another damaging earthquake, Fukushima is going off the publicity map soon. It will take them years to contain it, but like Chernobyl, once the drama is over, everyone will move on to something else. ZH keeps it going by comparing a drywell rad reading to readings at Chernobyl, which is absurd. ZH's posts on this are getting less numerous, and more far reaching as far a credibility is concerned. If anyone wants to junk me on this, then maybe they should consider I am taking the infantile "fight club" ethos of this site right back at it.

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 03:25 | 1154571 Stormdancer
Stormdancer's picture


I personally have found your commentary on this invaluable.  And I agree that comparing drywell flux readings to Chernobyl isn't productive. 

But that doesn't change the fact that radiation readings jumping from 44 Sieverts to 100 Sieverts in a short time indicates something pretty hot fell into the drywell after the 7.1 aftershock.  Something changed...and not for the better.

It doesn't change the fact that this thing is going to impact thousands of lives for a very long time, and still has the potential to affect Japan's economy for much longer.  And the global economy for that matter.

It doesn't change the fact that there are still many, many things that could still go wrong and make this situation an order of magnitude worse than it is now.  I pray those things don't happen.

I'll take that bet on whether or not this falls out of the public eye any time soon.

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 08:04 | 1154678 geekgrrl
geekgrrl's picture

I agree with everything you said, even the part about Aristarchan's invaluable commentary.

And I couldn't agree more that the concerns are not going to go away. It seems to me that this event represents a historical discontinuity that will (IMHO) mark the beginning of the end of the nuclear era. Either we will do away with this technology or it will destroy us.

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 10:45 | 1154811 gall batter
gall batter's picture

The nuclear power industry is hugely powerful.  Multinational corporations lack consciences. Remove the word 'person' from personhood.  And i'm not talking about the neighborhood.  

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 19:22 | 1155917 MSimon
MSimon's picture

In my mind, baring another damaging earthquake, Fukushima is going off the publicity map soon.

Well lemme see. TEPCO is pumping nitrogen to prevent a hydrogen explosion. A LOT of hydrogen means a zirc / water reaction and very high temperatures. This is not good.

If the hydrogen blows. Or the reactor vessel blows (steam explosion) well I'd say it would be wise to avoid being down wind.


Have you consulted with Murphy?


Sun, 04/10/2011 - 01:13 | 1154486 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Hmmm, Operation Hot Flush hitting some clogs (NHK)

Radioactive water disposal delayed

Work to dispose of highly radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is not proceeding smoothly as more time is needed for preparations.

Heavily contaminated water in turbine buildings and a concrete tunnel is hampering work to restore cooling functions in the troubled reactors. The total amount of water in question is estimated at more than 50,000 tons.

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, plans to transfer the highly radioactive water to a nuclear waste processing facility and turbine condensers.

The utility firm is now working to lay hoses between the turbine buildings and the facility.

Holes have already been bored in the walls of the buildings, but work to install the hoses has yet to begin.

In addition, the waste disposal facility needs to be closely checked before the procedure can begin.

Meanwhile, the level of highly radioactive water filling the concrete tunnel of the No.2 reactor had reached 92 centimeters below the ground's surface as of Sunday morning. That is a rise of 12 centimeters since the leakage of the water into the sea was stopped on Wednesday.

Tokyo Electric plans to start moving the water in the tunnel into the reactor's condenser as early as Sunday.

Sunday, April 10, 2011 07:30 +0900 (JST)

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 03:14 | 1154554 Stormdancer
Stormdancer's picture

I've been watching this in a sort of off hand way and though the numbers keep changing this is still obviously a mug's game.  And just another example of the obfuscation and misdirection we've seen to this point.

Every report I've read up 'til now has estimated that there's 60,000 tonnes of very radioactive water in the basements and tunnels of these reactor buildings...but lets take the 50,000 mentioned here.


50,000 tonnes of water to get out of the way.  They emptied the wastewater processing facility of 10,000 tonnes and some other unspecified tank was emptied of another 1500 tonnes.


They've mentioned pulling a massive "float"....previously used as a deep sea fishing barge up on site and filling that with this highly radioactive water as well.  Up 'til today all the reports I'd read indicated that barge would take another 10,000 tonnes ....but today's reports are saying 18,000.  So, erring on the side of caution let's assume the 18,000 tonne capacity for the barge is accurate.


11,500 + 18,000 = 29,500 tonnes out of 50,000 have found a home.  Any guesses what will be the fate of the remaining 20,500 tonnes of highly radioactive water? 

Oysters Kilpatrick anyone?

There's also been mention that Japan has requested that Russia loan them a floating wastewater processing ship:

From the article:


The Landysh has the capacity to process 7,000 cubic meters of liquid radioactive waste a year.  The water can then even be used to breed fish. The factory, however, can only rework waste of low and medium radioactivity.


One cubic meter of water = 1 tonne.... so....if they get this sucker on site quick, we'll have managed to handle an additional 7000 tonnes by this time next year.  We're doin' good now! This time next year we'll only have 13,500 tonnes of highly radioactive water to deal with....well...except for the 18,000 tonnes sitting in a barge somewhere waiting for the next tsunmi to bump it a few kilometers inland :).  Oh, and the 11,500 tonnes sitting in a wastewater processing building that's now too hot to work in....(sorry...I'll try to contain the derisive sarcasm).

Things that make you look twice...back to the article:


The factory is used in Russia to service Russian Pacific Fleet submarines and in 10 years of work it has processed over 5,000 tons of radioactive waste. It was constructed as part of a nuclear disarmament partnership program between Russia and Japan using Japanese budget money. 

Hmm....5000 tonnes in ten years.  Ya gotta wonder if that's just because the thing has never had to operate at full capacity, or if the 7000 tonnes per year is just a pie-in-the sky rating that's never been achieved because of whatever technical cock-ups prevented it...

And they're nowhere near done making new, highly radioactive water that's almost guarantee3d to continue to pool in the basements and tunnels they're struggling to dewater now.

Don't get me wrong...I'm glad they're getting resources marshalled and moving them to the plant.  I just wish they'd get proactive about discussing the real issues like what plans they might have for all this (and growing) excess water they don't have answers for yet.

I still maintain it's going to end up in the sea.  If there's no other option I wish they'd just get to it and get access to those reactors opened up so bio-robots can get in there and actually begin the work needed to PERMANENTLY stabilize this mess. 


So far, they're still playing with this.  And trying to play with our heads as well.




Edit:  I'm still waiting for post aftershock pictures that reveal the fate of that Putzmeister that was set up just south of reactor 4, and allow a bit of pre and post comparison.

I'm still betting that thing is a spaghetti bowl of scrap metal.


Edit II:  This cake needs some icing...from the article:


The Landysh has the capacity to process 7,000 cubic meters of liquid radioactive waste a year.  The water can then even be used to breed fish. The factory, however, can only rework waste of low and medium radioactivity.



Sun, 04/10/2011 - 03:41 | 1154575 I_Am_
I_Am_'s picture


I recall there was a huge oil tanker converted to process oily water which was lying idle in the gulf of mexico becoz BP made the oily water disappear. I suppose this ship is no on its way to Fukushima and by the time it reaches Tepco would have made the radiated water disappear......:

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 07:31 | 1154655 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

In think the boat in the Gulf of Mexico was a huge, mobile OWS.  In order to remove NBC contaminants an RO system is usually needed.  RO systems tend to be modular and scalable, but have huge relative electrical power requirements as 100psi/68atm pressure is the lower limit required for membrane permeation in industrial applications.  As more seawater is mixed with the usual clean/distilled reactor water, significantly higher pressures must be produced in order to achieve filtration. Time for operation extension cord 2.  

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 07:09 | 1154642 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

"The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, plans to transfer the highly radioactive water to a nuclear waste processing facility and turbine condensers."

Sorry, but I simply cannot believe that radioactive water is not being flushed straight into the pacific ocean.  And the "plans" to handle the "highly radioactive" water will not come to fruition in time to have any meaningful impact.  In short this is more bullshit happy talk to deflect one of the many major issues facing us all.

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 19:56 | 1156038 Stormdancer
Stormdancer's picture

I suspect you are correct and MsCreant's post lends the idea even more credibility.

A few days ago there were terse, uninformative reports indicating that highly radioactive water was infiltrating the lower levels of reactors 5 and 6, threating to severly complicate the operational environment even in those relatively stable reactors.

What happened to that story?  No further mention that I've seen....

If the foundations of the whole facility are cracked and leaking badly enough for highly radioactive water to migrate underground all the way over to reactors 5 and 6, it's inevitable that water is and has been leaking into the sea.  And that's not a flow they can stop any time soon.

They have not been honest with this from day one and there is no sign that has changed. We won't know the severity of any of the problems they're facing until the next radioactive smoke column blooms from a hydrogen explosion or a burning spent fuel pool.

One thing I saw on NHK today was pictures (video) of significant amounts of steam emanating from reactor 1.  I don't recall seeing a lot of that before now, but since NHK didn't give any indication of when the video was shot it's impossible to know if it was recent or not.


TerraHertz has pointed out how impossible it must be to get access to reactor 1's spent fuel pool or the reactor itself with the roof collapsed onto the fuel floor.

Anyway...I'm rambling so I'll stop.  This ain't over.

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 07:44 | 1154666 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

What the hell does this headline even mean?

Japan ready to stop pumping radioactive water into sea

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 08:14 | 1154688 geekgrrl
geekgrrl's picture

It means everything so far has been dumped into the ocean :-(

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 10:01 | 1154763 avonaltendorf
avonaltendorf's picture

One last plug for my seawall/cofferdam/cesspool idea:

I mailed diagrams and notes to USN Japan, SDF, State Dept and the US Ambassador in Tokyo. No point in pitching TEPCO. Told my wife that I'm senile, sending crank letters. Uncontrolled contamination of the ocean must stop.

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 11:46 | 1154908 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

+100000000000000000000000 (est.)

Never give up.  You should have seen me sticking the boot in for subsea monitoring during the Gulf spill.

Thank you!

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 09:34 | 1154753 Drag Racer
Drag Racer's picture

Video showing the cleanup operation at Three Mile Island. This will give a good idea of what the workers at Fukushima will be in for. Cleanup operations took 3 years around the reactor and an additional 10 years to remove the core. A 13 year effort with relatively minor damage compared to Fukushima, it is almost impossible to speculate how long and what steps will be needed to clean up the facility and surrounding area in Japan. The trouble is they can't even start to clean up anything until they cool these things down which could be months and maybe years in itself.

Part 1

Part 2

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 10:31 | 1154793 Drag Racer
Drag Racer's picture

I don't even know how to comment on this one.

human nuclear experiment

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 10:48 | 1154813 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

 Too insane for words!  Reminds one of the Nazi concentration camp experiments. Can humans be this evil? Apparently they can. Those poor villagers.

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 12:44 | 1155031 Felix-be
Felix-be's picture


Am brandnew here - writing you from Belgium and following the EXCELLENT Fukushima-topics on Zero Hedge with great interest. My native tongue is Dutch, not English and I also know French (and a few other languages but less fluently). Am not going to post much, but if laprima should require a (small) translation from French, I am very willing to help him out.

Keep up the terrific work!



Sun, 04/10/2011 - 15:27 | 1155491 Tom Terrific
Tom Terrific's picture

Well that video was pretty damn unimpressive.

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 17:42 | 1155749 Overflow-admin
Overflow-admin's picture

I'm just waiting for the next European Comitee on Radiation Risk (ECRR). They have the most qualified risk assessment method, even if the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) doesn't recognize it (well, off the record it was...).

In just few words, damage will just be between 10 and 1000 times greater than acknowledged by authorities.

How efficient can be radiation protection for the robots? Let's start with this. To be continued...

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 19:30 | 1155934 MSimon
MSimon's picture

I have written about radiation and robots here:

Sun, 04/10/2011 - 21:32 | 1156320 Lapri
Mon, 04/11/2011 - 00:23 | 1156758 Herbert_guthrie
Herbert_guthrie's picture

CHIKYU HAKKEN EXPEDITION - Operation NanTroSEIZE - if you follow the money trail, it could bring up some very nasty conspiracy theories.

Not that I would believe any of it....

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 01:24 | 1156825 Element
Element's picture

The longer implications of No.3's state, today;

Quick recap;

Just after 11PM on Monday, March 14th 2011, water suddenly flooded out of the primary containment pressure vessel of No.3. At that time radiation also went up sharply and the plant was evacuated for a time. We can deduce the sequence that occurred, the main steam pipe from the top of the reactor and broke and sprayed highly radioactive steam within the turbine building. Plus it seems the lower re-circulation outflow pipe at the bottom of the containment vessel also failed, which quickly drained the MOX core and 100% uncovered it and made it not possible to re-fill (and much too radioactive to attempt to plug it).

It was reported that when workers returned they attempted to resume water injection at No.3, to try and cover the core again, during the early hours of Mar 15, but the water would not rise, which implied a large plumbing leak lower down, and that meant recirculation pipe failure, and/or a hole in the bottom.

Shortly after this emergency of No.3's MOX core, at 5:45AM, No.4 just meters away, suddenly exploded violently like a bomb, and was reported to still be burning at 11:30AM.

In this utter chaos after the dust was settling from No.4's demise, No.2 started making loud "strange sounds", which workers could hear and about 30mins after No.4 blew, No.2 also blew internally, with a "very strong impulse or explosion".

This horrendous sequence of emergencies all released radiation, and no doubt, the terrified workers thought they were dead men;

1) an unresolvable MOX core exposure plus a radiation spike after at ~11:15PM

2) A blast (with some radiation) and a fire, with smoke, from No.4 about 6.5 hours later - at 5:45AM

3) freaky loud sounds coming from No.2 then an internal explosion and very sharp radiation spike shortly after 6:14AM

Who would want to rush back into No.3 and work on an already melted MOX core (takes as little as 30 mins when fully uncovered), when No.4's shattered wreckage was burning meters away, and No.2 was visibly spewing out lethal levels of radioactive steam, that were fortunately blowing offshore? No.3's core was beyond saving, and they would have realized this soon after midnight. They would have also realized that a plutonium release and contamination was quite likely once water injection resumed. And they would have been able to see the new vigorous vapor plume, venting out the top of the No.3 containment, which has not ceased or decreased since that day.

Those main steam and re-circulation pipe ruptures at No.3, around 11:15PM, probably prevented a much larger steam explosion as the remaining water apparently flashed off the rapidly heating MOX as it 'relocated'. These are thick substantial pipes and their failure would have been sudden and loud, followed by a deafening screech of plutonium-laced steam escaping, and radiation warnings going off all over the plant. Scary as hell.

What can be surmised is the extra heat impulse of the MOX fuel, for which this BWR reactor vessel and cooling system was never designed, caused the core's plumbing to rupture before the fuel burned through the vessel base. When know this because we now know some of the remaining extremely radioactive water was driven off into the turbine room first. And this is probably because the core fuel suddenly relocated to the bottom of the containment vessel. After the water was gone it burned-through into the suppression chamber of No.3 soon - presumably soon after the plant was evacuated after the radiation spike.

MOX generates far more heat than the containment system was designed to manage away. It heats more than twice as fast, and requires a lot more make-up water cooling in an actual emergency. i.e. at this point the fuel was so hot that pouring water on it would do almost nothing, but maybe 'annoy' it.

So rapidly rising heat resulted, as water was completely driven off in the minutes that followed and would have rapidly 100%-liquefied and vaporized any metal in direct contact with it. Then it would have quickly ablated through the lower containment vessel like a white-hot knife through ice. The thick steel would have heated fast and offered little resistance, once the core went fully molten against it. It probably lasted a few minutes as transient recriticality sent temperatures and pressure up.

My GUESS is the molten corium probably boiled and frothed furiously as containment ablation occurred and this helped reduce the fuel's density and its pooling at the bottom, so prevented a more explosive disassembly of the primary containment vessel, before the fuel had burned through into the dry-well floor, and relieved the pressure. (an acidic melt is extremely reactive and corrosive and therefore gets very frothy at boiling point ... but hot acidic melt, or water, destroys carbonates ... what that's what binds concrete together)

You can bet any frothing also ejected hot metallic fuel vapors through the destroyed pipes and into the environment. i.e. plutonium can escape.

This entire system was not intended to 'contain' a MOX fuel, that can make far more heat, far faster than a low-enriched uranium core, and is also more prone to recriticality due to the added plutonium fissile fraction, that increases with its burn-up. i.e. recriticality makes it slightly more fissile, not less fissile. This fuel won't behave like the uranium does. And it also won't just go to 5,000 degrees like some textbook case says, and stop there like a good puppy-dog, as the media and TEPCO/Govt portray. It will just get rapidly hotter and more agitated until boiling and mixing and recriticality excursion blows it apart, and thus separates it into a less self-reactive arrangement, in this case, no longer within the primary containment vessel.

It was well known a BWR containment could quickly fail even from standard low-enriched uranium fuel if the core emptied completely of water, and could not be refilled. But it was not certain to occur.

MOX makes BWR containment breach certain.

It's also more prone to large steam or hydrogen explosions, and complete reactor rupture, for these same reasons.

My GUESS is the entire inside of the secondary containment chamber was sprayed with a fine mist of incandescent fuel, because the dry-well wall was likewise not designed to deal with a super-hot MOX core dump and excursion. The dry-well was either instantly blown to bits or else it's walls were heated and melted within minutes, and or eaten by acidic reactions, once it was sprayed with super heated fuel from the core's ejection.

The whole base of No.3's building is going to start heating up strongly over coming months as thermal conduction finally penetrates, and fully heats the concrete. Concrete and rock heats very slowly, it stores a lot of heat, and it stays hot for a long time, once heated.

The remaining secondary containment vessel is likewise not designed to stop or stabilize or dilute and allow to cool-off a MOX fuelled core. Having MOX in there is like having two fully melted standard cores in there - at once.

It >may< survive one core's worth of heat - but two? The foundation base-mat was not expected to be exposed to such an intensity of heating and melting.

A BWR reactor should not use MOX, if it was not designed specifically for it.

Putting MOX in an aging BWR, is equivalent to re-tuning Sarah Pallin's soccer-mum SRV to run on nitro-methane funny-car fuel. If anything goes wrong (and heaven forbid it ever does!!!) with the tuning of Sarah's motor, it will lunch itself, faster than you can say, "lipstick on a pig".

You can see within any and ALL images or videos of the site since March 15th, that No.3 has far more steam or vapor coming out of it at any given moment.

It's much hotter, and much more dynamic, and pumping far more energy into its foundation and walls. This will have an effect, but we are not seeing it yet, because thermal conduction in rock and concrete is slow. Metal heats through very quickly, but aggregate and sand in concrete does not. That imparted thermal energy front is still propagating outward from the dry-well area, into the concrete. As the heat conduction proceeds, more and more of the inner floor will melt, and where it does not melt, the heat will weaken reinforcing rods, and crack the cement and allow the melt to infiltrate it. This will allow firstly gasses, then fluids, and then fuel to move. The containment is then failing. The cracks will widen, as they are intruded by super hot fuel and ablated, and chemically eroded and out-gassed. The gasses and fluids create pressure that opens cracks wider as they heat.

Officials at TEPCO/GOVT and NHK seem to keep pointing towards No.2, and No.1, as the PRIMARY sources of irradiation and ultra-irradiated water and recriticality.

I seriously doubt No.1 and No.2 are the major sources of re-criticality and radiation flashing, being reported as a growing serious problem onsite. We're being distracted away from No.3's role, and its higher reactivity and more intense interior heating and venting.

Which is why I wrote this comment, because there's a potentially very serious problem with No.3, as I will explain;

There will right now be a large pool of 'lava' that was once the dry-well foundation, under No.3 core. You can drop water on it, but you can not, and will not cool it down much, via that, you will just make steam and annoy it and make it more dynamic.

All 'corium' research papers I've looked at recently deal with standard fuel melt falling on the dry-well foundation of a BWR. None discussed what would occur if a much hotter MOX was involved. Fukushima No.3 is a dip-of-the-toe into rolling-out MOX more generally. And now the first one is kaput. But this is more dangerous than people think.

I would allow that its conceivable that No.2 and No.1's corium >may< remain contained completely within their foundation (though seawater adds some serious issues here, as I will explain below) and they may cool down, over several years, still within their leaking and steaming outer pressure containment vessels. Best case is this occurs at No.1 and No.2.

(assuming we pretend their now inaccessible fuel-filled SFP pools don't exist, and don't ...)

But as for No.3, I suspect it's likely to burn through the full depth of its foundation and become a real problem-child in our 'nuclear-family'.

In a close-up video, recorded on March 27th, of No.3, we can see very clearly that the top of the No.3 reactor vessel's access-service port was continuously venting vapor vertically, under mild pressure. This is probably because the same over-pressure that ruptured the turbine room steam pipe, also damaged the automatic-decompression-system valves, at the top of the reactor's pressure vessel, right under this service port. The uncontrolled core vapor release at No.3 has probably prevented a larger explosion since then, but it also let out a lot of radioactive volatiles, and gas from destroyed melted concrete, and it, and No.2's steam release is most likely the primary sources of the airborne plutonium and caesium-137 spread.

No.4 side note: I'm not convinced No.4 SFP has cracked and drained, by the original quake, and I'm not convinced its core didn't still have fuel sitting in it. It could have been removed, yes, it could have been, but everything I'm SEEING indicates to me it's most likely it was still in the core and then melted down, as well. If No.4 SFP were almost dry, AND it contained the fresh hot fuel-rods bundles in their, and no air circulation, because it's covered in debris, I would expect a LOT more action there, than we are seeing. And I would expect it to be getting progressively worse. But it isn't, so I think that story is not the case. It the fuel was still in the reactor core, then fuel in the SFP has been cooling for several years, hence its stabilization. I would welcome anyone who can explain why I've gotten this arse-about, to please do. I'm not just taking this view to be a different or contrary, I'm trying to figure out why the story of No.4 does not jive at all with the observations, and the condition of it. And each time I go over it as new info and images come out, I keep coming up with, the fuel must have still been in the reactor vessel.

Arnie Gundersen said in one of his videos that the refueling gantry at No.4 had fallen over onto the SFP pool. But it's clear from the video that it DID NOT FALL OVER, it's standing upright, the stanchion railings are still vertical in the video! With the greatest of respect to him, his visual interpretation was wrong in that respect, the gantry is in its proper position and orientation. Also, within the concrete pump-head video, the vapor is coming from BEHIND this still upright gantry, and billowing forward (to the south) from under and around it (from the north). And the reactor service port on the top of the containment vessel is what sits right behind this gantry, where this vapor is apparently coming from. There is very little vapor visibly rising from the SFP itself, (which is closer to the camera and in FRONT of the refueling gantry). The 'dip' in the debris right in front of the gantry (south of it), is the location of the center of the SFP pool. Now have a look at where the vapor is issuing out from. Watch it for a bit. It looks more like No.4 is venting vapor, from the same location as No.3 - the reactor service port area. Everything indicates to me that No.4 still had fuel in its core. We are not getting a straight story from anyone. The French theory about a cracked SFP pool is based on what? Conjecture? The concrete around that spent fuel pool is as thick and reinforced as it is around the actual reactor containment vessel for krist's sake!

I assure you, this concrete DID NOT 'crack' and the pool drain out! It this French supposition were correct we could expect reactor containment vessel concrete to be cracked, all up and down the Japanese east coast. I don't think the people positing this idea, to explain the condition of No.4, and how it came to be filled with hydrogen, really thought it through. At the end of the day, that roof and structure is still there, and yet this is where the highest concentration of hydrogen should have been.

However, what if the core relocated to the suppression chamber and damaged the secondary containment, and the hydrogen from this event leaked into the outer building, and blew the walls off it, and also destroyed the thinner floors in the process, and this allowed it to propagate up to the roof level, at the north and south ends (have a look at the images), and this ignited the hydrogen that was also dumped into the roof cavity, by the simultaneous venting of the Automatic Decompression System. And this blew the cladding off the roof, but left most of its structure still there. And the vapor coming from behind the gantry now, is the Automatic Decompression System. This also better explains how a secondary fire started inside the building, after the initial blast.



The steam and vapor venting will go on at No.3, for as long as water is pumped in there, and for as long as molten material is exolving gasses from melting the concrete, as the lower foundation becomes progressively incandescent over the coming months. The lower part of the building will get hotter and hotter, through slow conduction, until the paint burns off, and combustibles inside maybe ignite. Once it's heated like this it'll start to conduct heat into the rocks below, and moisture under the foundation. This is what the wet-well torus is there for, to serve as a replaceable heat sink to slow the heating. I hope it is enough.

The MOX fuel is making more heat than the building was ever expected to bottle up and slow-release, and it will be too hot for too long to be optimistic that it can remain contained within the lower foundation, because this building is also acting as an insulator. This causes it to get hotter and hotter for months, because the heat can not be radiated away or vented as fast as it's being created, and pumped out into the structure. If you resort to dirty water, in volume, via injection, you will just get water-soluble plutonium and caesium mobilization - MASSIVE AMOUNTS!

Read that paragraph again.


1) The thermal steam/vapor situation at No.3 will be very precarious for six months at the very least, probably much longer.

2) Radioactive vapor venting at No.3 can not be prevented - too much heat - it will get out.

3) However, water injection can be stopped, in order to reduce and delay the steam and contamination. There are some very serious issues with further water injection (see below).

Thus to the SPECULATION of what to expect at No.3 (that's is different to No.1 and No.2);

Given the thermal output of MOX is much higher, the potential for an energetic 'lava' to burn right through the full depth of the foundation, is reasonable. We should not expect linear behavior or expectations here. We must presume soil and seawater contamination levels twill become far higher than anything yet seen, as three slowly and gradually exits the containment. It is likely to take months. Don't expect it to be fast. The real contamination pulse from MOX may not occur for 18 months, or more, as I will explain.

If a melt into the surrounding material under the foundation occurs;

(1)  I doubt powerful explosions will result, smaller ones may due to out-gassing though. The pressure can't rise much once the foundation is breached and dilution effects will start sapping excess energy as it melts more and more material.

(2)  A 'lava' (a magma really, as lava is a surface flow from underground magma) will not propagate NET downward. In fact, it almost certainly will not go down. Sorry, lava does not go NET down into the earth folks, instead, it tends to NET rise, towards the surface, as gasses and fluids ahead of it flow towards a lower pressure gradient (their path of least resistance). This is not going to project into ever more resistant rock.

Lavas are generally driven (upwards) via thermal buoyancy, and pressure differences (especially water ... causing extrusion and gas explosions) compared to the relative lower buoyancy and static pressure of the surrounding rock. The 'China syndrome' is complete nonsense, fantasy, Hollywood ultra-drivel and urban mythos. I'm not going to debate in detail why. You'll just have to trust me, because you're not equipped to understand what I could explain to you anyway. Take it or leave it.

What the magma will do is move toward the area of least pressure and resistance to its flow. This is what a magma does within rock. It uses existing small 'joints', and cracks and faults, to firstly heat and pressure intrude, and then open up 'dykes', and 'sills', through and between rock units, so the melt behind can move in, and NET upwards. It moves under very high pressures, and tends to intrude slowly, and force things apart, like a tree roots do, but faster. In this case, the primary rock-unit 'seam', or crack, or boundary, or 'fault', is the interface of the foundation and the bed-rock underneath.

It will be fresh rock down there, as you don't build stuff like this on unconsolidated sediment (at least I hope they didn't). But looking at the slope shaping of the 'rock' right behind these plant buildings, it appears to be soft-ish young marine sediments (uplifted by earlier quakes, such rock sequences are very typical in 'island-arcs'), and therefore probably quite porous still - which is not good.

In this case, sideways movement of the melt, and pancaking under the foundation (thus progressively also eating it) is almost certainly what will happen. It probably won't move much, at least at first, because the pressure in the containment is near atmospheric, already. No pressure = no movement. There is nothing to drive or pressure-inject it ... other than its own weight, which will tend to flatten it out into a lens-shaped pool.

BUT! ... as I'll explain, water is a critical factor, in many ways, at this stage.

(3)  Any igneous petrologist (magmatic derived rock specialist) will tell you, that water dramatically reduces the viscosity of magma 'melts' (i.e. makes it more runny). We know the chemical effects of this in extreme experimental detail as it is a major mechanism of hydrothermal ore formation. This stuff is factual, not BS.

Water has further MAJOR effect on the magma, it reduces the re-crystallization temperature, which is the point at which the melt differentiates chemically, and begins to solidify and precipitate mineral crystals. i.e. the water reduces the resulting melting-point AND the solidification point of the rocks - or concrete. Again, this is an extremely well understood effect, and there are libraries of technical info about various compositions of 'melts', and how their variable percentage of water content alters the behavior and mobility of melts.

And we're not talking about small effects here, a couple of hundred degrees lower solidification point (i.e. it remains liquid for much longer), plus orders of magnitude lower viscosity than normal,
are to be expected for high brine content magmas. But it also helps rocks to melt, in fact, high water content is considered a vital ingredient to create a volume of melt in the solid crystalline mantle, that then propagates into the crust, as magma, that erupts up top, as lava.

i.e. it melts easier and faster, it makes it extremely runny for much longer at lower temperature, and remains liquid at a far lower temperature, than a 'dry' magma would have. And get this, high salt content exacerbates it significantly. That's right, salt.

See the problem with dropping seawater on a very hot MOX core in No.3?

Good for early stage cooling, but bad for later stage runny 'melt' of the foundation.

If it becomes large and very runny it will move under its own weight toward the margins of the foundation ... and perhaps ... down slope.

And no I do NOT think it will be expressed as a puddle of lava popping up beside the building - unlikely - but it could.

But what I can envision, which is perhaps worse, is it stays just below the foundation and heats everything around it for years.

At some point heavy rain will allow water to intrude the porous young marine sedimentary rocks, and we may get a pall of steam rising from the ground surrounding the reactor building, as a torus-shaped ground water convection tries to circulate. A water 'conveyor belt' that intermittently transports dissolved isotopes from the melt, and moves them to the air, in vapor, each time it rains.

This can go on for years, because the water will keep the solidification point low, and the melt dynamic. There is a fair chance any big gas buildups released are going to still funnel up through the reactor containment though.

If this occurred the plutonium and caesium contamination would be transported and preclude working in the area, with lethal doses possible in minutes, or seconds. You think not?

'Truth In Sunshine' posted this last Friday;
"... But some of the radiation readings taken at Reactors Nos. 1 and 3 over the last week were nearly as high as or higher than the 3,300 rems per hour that the commission said it was trying to explain, so it would appear that the speculation would apply to them as well. ..."

I remember reading many years ago that in the cold-war nuclear fallout era, the rule-of-thumb was;

400 rems in 1 year = 50% chance of survival
600 rems in 1 year = 99% chance of death
3,300 rems in an hour is 5.5 times the annual death level in an hour

So the current level from No.1 and No.3 is ~48,000 times the annual lethal dose! And this is probably through shielding, if it is even accurate, which there seems to be some doubt.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of Japan can't make sense this current very high radiation level because they don't realize that the super-salty water made a very runny and now high-homogenized and still slow-fissioning melted mass, that is now creating NET more heat, and is more dynamic than expected, and it is growing.

Were going to need a bigger foundation.

This is still acting as a slow-reactor, with NET energy rise, and it may soon become an unconfined slow-reactor.

This is not what the 'textbook' said should happen.

And regular rain water convection in porous rock will serve to keep the melt dynamic, and potentially explosive, for longer than anyone probably expects. Water will become the primary means for transporting away the building heat and isotopes thus entrained.

In other words, even eventual fissile dilution to a NET energy decrease, won't necessarily make it cool faster, if it is both insulated by hot rock below it and a hot pressure vessel above it. Decay heat will become quasi-trapped so the ground will get hotter, and rain will keep moving more isotopes, and make for outgassing.

Big heat + big size + insulation + water + time = big plutonium/caesium dead-zone

And you can't cap it and isolate it with concrete.

It gets 'interesting';
it's possible in this sub-foundation pancake configuration for the entire foundation to become extremely hot (even if it does not all melt away) and for the building to collapse, piece by piece, as the walls and floors lose structural support... and/or for the SFP pool fuel cladding to oxidize, fuel melts, burns through its concrete base, and ends up where the concrete foundation ... used to be.

Now you actually could get a heaving 'lava' pool poke out from under rubble.

As you can imagine, the NET energy release from fission will rise, as it melted and homogenizes.

Global MSM "holy crap" moment, as term "inherently unsafe reactor design", so often flung at the Soviets is horrifically redefined before our eyes.

Now it gets real 'interesting'.

At this point BWR reactors and 'other' reactors with spent fuel pools, immediately near the reactor (and I think that's all of them) are required to shutdown by Joe and Jane six-pack and the spent fuel gotten rid of, ASAP!

Which is far from technically viable, at short notice, nor economic, short, medium or long-term. But you can bet that's what they'll insist occurs.

And at the same time, that peak-cheap oil production is punching us in the kidneys, and the globe is in a financial and economic and demand collapse swamp, whilst oil, coal and LNG just became the only game in town, and a very good reason to secure a supply, by hook or by crook, and as we know there's a lot of the latter.

(and just when you thought it could get no worse Leo will be all "solars bitchez")

So there's a LOT riding on what happens to the foundation of No.3.

I entertain a faint and desperate hope GE and TEPCO got the foundation design and build spectacularly 'right'. I would welcome the input of anyone who knows about the foundation specifics for BWRs. Plus exactly what's immediately under the plant in terms of lithology and observed rock jointing and mineralogy character, plus water occurrence, and the nearby presence of any liquid-filled tanks, sumps, trenches, or basement filled with seawater.

You don't want liquid nearby if this goes into the ground and starts to propagate in rock joints and foundation seams, else you may get a steam cloud you don't want. You could also get a conventional fire within nearby ancillary buildings from hot gasses and glassy radioactive incandescent 'slag' blown out from under the foundation, by degassing.

As I see it, if it gets through the foundation, it's likely that over a period of weeks to months it will thermally couple with surrounding rock and heat it as fingers of melt move through small joints and cracks and mobilize water in them which will (eventually) draw up into a convection cell torus. It will take time for a standing cell to develop but it probably will with time. It could take two years, but as I pointed out above, this thing can and will remain hot and fluid for a long time.

Nitrogen could help while its still in its foundation, but I doubt it can make much final difference. Once it's out and under the foundation the exolved gasses and vapors rising from it will make work near it impossible.

The trap of this outcome is it may look fine for many months, like nothing is going wrong, but when it does finally convect water, what appeared to be 'stabilized', and cooling insitu, can suddenly release extreme radioactivity levels and steam after a day of rain. This is going to go on for a looonngg time!

It will be at least 5-years before we can say the worst is probably over. The danger is thinking it's over early. There are hundreds of tons of fuel involved. The media and Govt will not expect a multiyear timeframe, in which this can turn uglier, and they will not have the patience to pay attention to seemingly small and slow changes, that lead to big consequences.

Bottom-line, if No.3 MOX gets through the reactor base-mat, to rock, we can expect plutonium and caesium-137 releases to wax and wane with rainfall and wind and it will poison a large area. It is also unclear that anyone would be able to work on entombing the plant if this progresses.


And just as I am finishing this a Japanese Govt official has said the risk of a significant radiation release is fading (... they got everything so right, so far...)

That is what I mean ... we're looking good .... looking good ... looking g ... er, oh wait ... OH FUUUCCKK!!!!

Expect this sort of progression.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 02:45 | 1156916 MSimon
MSimon's picture

When I was going to nuke power school in the US Navy we described the type of event you are positing as "China syndrome". It may be fanciful and not in accord with fact but that was the technical term.

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 03:22 | 1156935 parangwarrior
parangwarrior's picture

11:08 11 April
NEWS ADVISORY: Current 20-km evacuation zone near plant appropriate now: EdanoNote
then this:-
BREAKING NEWS: Japan to expand evacuation areas

im confused..


Mon, 04/11/2011 - 10:52 | 1157723 MSimon
MSimon's picture

If you are trying to make a point using the actual urls instead of a general link is the thing to do:

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 05:29 | 1156974 Stormdancer
Stormdancer's picture we go again.  Another 7.1 aftershock and this one appears to be right under the distressed nuclear reactors.


More to come shortly I'm certain......


Edit:  Using directional data from the USGS web page I did some triangulation using Google earth.

USGS is saying the epicenter of this new quake is about 60km SSW of the power plant.  A few  kilometers SW of Iwaki.

Edit II:  As of 9:24am GMT the USGS has downgraded the quake to 6.6 magnitude. 

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