World Nuclear News Forensic Analysis Of Events At Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Tyler Durden's picture

With much conflicting and biased news coming out of the mainstream media in its perfectly explainable attempt to prevent panic among the population, the World Nuclear News has released the best and most objective analysis of the events that have transpired and that have yet to transpire at Fukushima we have read to date.

Reactor overview:

Fukushima Daiichi

Unit 1
- 439 MWe BWR, 1971
- Automatically shut down
- Water level decreasing
- Pressure release implemented
- Explosion observed 

- Containment believed intact
- Seawater injection has started
- Radiation levels unchanged after

Unit 2
- 760 MWe BWR, 1974
- Automatically shut down
- Water level lower but steady
- Preparations for pressure release

Unit 3
- 760 MWe BWR, 1976
- Automatically shut down
- Preparations for pressure release

Unit 4
- 760 MWe BWR, 1978
- Shut for periodic inspection

Unit 5
- 760 MWe BWR, 1978
- Shut for periodic inspection

Unit 6
- 1067 MWe BWR, 1979
- Shut for periodic inspection
Fukushima Daini 

Unit 1

- 1067 MWe BWR, 1982
- Automatically shut down
- Offsite power available
- Water level stable
- Preparations for pressure release

Unit 2
- 1067 MWe BWR, 1984
- Automatically shut down
- Offsite power available
- Water level stable
- Preparations for pressure release

Unit 3
- 1067 MWe BWR, 1985
- Automatically shut down
- Offsite power available
- Water level stable
- Preparations for pressure release

Unit 4
- 1067 MWe BWR, 1987
- Automatically shut down
- Offsite power available
- Water level stable
- Preparations for pressure release

From World Nuclear News.

Attention is focused on the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini
nuclear power plants as Japan struggles to cope in the aftermath of its
worst earthquake in recorded history. An explosion has been seen at the
site and seawater is now being injected to the plant.

Three of Fukushima Daiichi's six reactors were in operation when
yesterday's quake hit, at which point they shut down automatically and
commenced removal of residual heat with the help of emergency diesel
generators. These suddenly stopped about an hour later, and this has
been put down to tsunami flooding by the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA).

The loss of the diesels led the plant owners Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) to immediately notify the government of a technical emergency situation, which allows officials to take additional precautionary measures.

For many hours the primary focus of work at the site was to connect enough portable power modules to fully replace the diesels and enable the full operation of cooling systems.

Pressure and releases

Without enough power for cooling systems, decay heat from the reactor cores of units 1, 2 and 3 has gradually reduced coolant water levels through evaporation. The consequent increase in pressure in the coolant circuit can be managed via pressure release valves. However, this leads to an increase in pressure within the reactor building containment. Tepco has said that the pressure within the containment of Fukushima Daiichi 1 has reached around 840 kPa, compared to reference levels of 400 kPa.

The company has decided to manage this "for those units that cannot confirm certain levels of water injection" by means of a controlled release of air and water vapour to the atmosphere. Because this water has been through the reactor core, this would inevitably mean a certain release of radiation. The IAEA said this would be filtered to retain radiation within the containment. Tepco has confirmed it was in the process of relieving pressure at unit 1 while preparing to do the same for units 2 and 3


Television cameras trained on the plant captured a dramatic explosion surrounding unit 1 at around 6pm. Amid a visible pressure release and a cloud of dust it was not possible to know the extent of the damage. The external building structure does not act as the containment, which is an airtight engineered boundary within. Chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano appeared on television to clarify that the explosion had damaged the walls and roof of the reactor building but had not compromised the containment. 

Monitoring of Fukushima Daiichi 1 had previously shown an increase in radiation levels detected emerging from the plant via routes such as the exhaust stack and the discharge canal. Tepco have said that the amount of radioactive material such as iodine it is detecting have been increasing. The amount of radiation at the site boundary now exceeds a regulatory limit triggering another set of emergency precautions.

To protect the public from potential health effects of radioactive isotopes of iodine that could potentially be released, authorities are preparing to distribute tablets of non-radioactive potassium-iodide. This is quickly taken up by the body and its presence prevents the take-up of iodine should people be exposed to it.

The injection of seawater into the building started at 8.20pm and this will be followed by addition of boric acid, which is used to inhibit nuclear reactions.

Over the last several hours evacuation orders for local residents have been incrementally increased and now cover people living within 20 kilometres of the power plant.

Raised temperatures  

Meanwhile at adjacent Fukushima Daini, where four reactors have been shut down safely since the earthquake hit, Tepco has notified government of another emergency status. 

Unit 1's reactor core isolation cooling system had been operating normally, and this was later supplemented by a separate make-up water condensate system. However, the latter was lost at 5.32am local time when its suppression chamber reached 100ºC. This led Tepco to notify government of another technical emergency situation. 

Tepco has announced it has decided to prepare for controlled releases to ease pressure in the containments of all four units at Fukushima Daini.  

A three kilometre evacuation is in progress, with residents in a zone out to ten kilometres given notice of potential expansion.


A seriously injured worker was trapped within Fukushima Daiichi unit 1 in the crane operating console of the exhaust stack and is now confirmed to have died. Four workers were injured by the explosion at the same reactor and have been taken to hospital. A contractor was found unconscious and taken to hospital.

Two workers of a 'cooperative firm' were injured, said Tepco; one with a broken bone.

At Fukushima Daiini unit 3 one worker received a radiation dose of 106 mSv. This is comparable to levels deemed acceptable in emergency situations by some national nuclear safety regulators.

The whereabout of two Tepco workers remains unkonwn.

h/t Themos Mitsos


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Muir's picture

Tis but a scratch.

sushi's picture

1130 EST News Release:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Meltdown Caused Nuke Plant Explosion: Safety Body

TOKYO (Nikkei)--The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said Saturday afternoon the explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant could only have been caused by a meltdown of the reactor core.

The same day, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), which runs the plant, began to flood the damaged reactor with seawater to cool it down, resorting to measures that could rust the reactor and force the utility to scrap it.

edit to correct release time

goldfish1's picture

"It is unclear if the quake has undermined the containment building, which might allow radioactivity to leak out."

DosZap's picture

Out if 5 reactors damaged,( and all at risk) the shift in the earths Axis concerns me more.

Talk about Climate change?.

Spalding_Smailes's picture

• Urgent: Cooling system fails at the Fukushima No. 2 plant •

TOKYO, March 12, Kyodo

The cooling system failed at three reactors of the quake-hit Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant Saturday, the operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

The company, which has already scrambled to deal with radiation leaks at its Fukushima No. 1 plant, notified the industry ministry that the failsafe system at the No. 2 plant stopped functioning as the temperature of coolant water has topped 100 C.

Yardfarmer's picture

i suppose this is redundant by now, but Japanese Government has confirmed a meltdown at Fukushima

zhandax's picture

No, an intelligence (cough) company in Austin, TX has reported that the Japanese government has confirmed a meltdown of the core.  Stratfor (a company founded in Austin, TX in 1996) apparently does not differentiate between melting of the core and meltdown of the core.  I just deleted the remainder of this post after realizing I had a bad case of acronym dyslexia.

Iam_Silverman's picture

The missing sheet metal that normally surrounds the upper part of the Reactor Building (Secondary Containment Structure are designed to "blow out" at about 8 - 15 psid.  That would be consistent with a hydrogen explosion in the exhaust ventilation plenum.

Hydrogen in the drywell (primary containment) is usually not a good sign.  As pointed out, the source could be from "zirc hydriding", or could be from the Hydrogen normally injected into the feedwater stream in order to scavenge free oxygen.  Either way, that is bad news.  I think that the DBA (Design Basis Accident) methodolgy has just be redefined.  There will be some interesting reading in the near future - I am sure that the lessons learned from this will change how nuclear plants are operated in future - not just in Japan, but around the world.  These incidents are usually disseminated by WANO ( )to INPO ( ) here in the states.


Maybe I can get a job in the finance sector?

Diogenes's picture

"Tis but a scratch."

Tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door but t'will serve, t'will answer.

johnQpublic's picture

its all fun and games 'til somebody grows an extra eye

kita27's picture

Amish dude-  'tis a fine barn but sure it is no pool, english'

Homer- Doh!

The Alarmist's picture

How is that reactor name pronounced?

Antipodeus's picture

Sigh! ... "F ... U ... K ... U ..."  Oh!?  I get it!  You were jaking the moke - no?  HAHAHA ... then FU2 & the 5-legged horse you came in ... err, 'on' ... err, 'over' ... um, 'got off'.  Aw, hell, you know what I mean.  ;=)


Caviar Emptor's picture

Right now, SkyNews nuclear consultant John Large states that he doubts the reassurances being given by Japanese government. Expanding evacuation zones and a 30 mile news "cordon" belie the reassurances. 

He agrees that the explosion pattern is highly suggestive of a blown reactor vessel. 

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

In cases such as this expect the public announcements and explanations from "authorities" to be two or three steps behind the actual events. In a strange dance played by people who wish to cover up or diminish bad news, as events progress what was previously considered to be too explosive to be admitted to is now considered acceptable because circumstances have become even worse.

Often the authorities are themselves in denial about the severity of the problem and they are bargaining with themselves as to what to tell the public. This is why we often find out after the fact that things were much worse much earlier than we were told. Some of it is cover up, some outright denial and bargaining.

RichardP's picture

And most of it is outright absence of factual information.  To expect "facts" to ever be correct in the midst of an emergency is foolish.

We admire science because of its careful process for sifting through information in order to figure out what the facts truely are.  No such careful sifting of information can ever be done until long after the emergency has played itself out.  Reporting during the middle of an emergency should always be suspect.  And not because the leaders are intentionally trying to mislead us.

THE DORK OF CORK's picture

This is not a good day for the French nuclear industry - even though they use a different light water reactor design (PWR)

The bad karma from this will travel far.

On top of that the Gauls have just lost against the Romans for the first time in 2000 years !!!!!!!!!

Antipodeus's picture

That's curious ... I could have sworn that the Gauls had been under the thumb of 'Rome' for most of the last 2000-odd years.


THE DORK OF CORK's picture

True true - it was a rugby union thingy.

Caviar Emptor's picture

I continue to be impressed by the superficial reporting about the effects of the tsunami itself. I'm watching 3 news sources simultaneously: No reporting about where rescue victims are being housed (and there are tens of thousands). No reports of disease containment (with open sewers pouring out and lack of available drinking water). No reports about security (anti-looting etc). No reports about Red Cross activity and the usual appeal for money. No reports about "our heroes" in the Japan or international rescue workers and armed forces. Letting a news op like this slip by is very uncharacteristic. 

This could be a tip off as to how massively they're covering something big. 

AN0NYM0US's picture

interesting observation, on the networks last night there was alomost more coverage of the marina in Crescent City, CA along with the Tsunami vid loop

Bay of Pigs's picture

It is a wasteland.

The ADD MSM crowd thinks you just dust yourself off and sweep the floor and it's all good.


TBT or not TBT's picture

Or it could be that this is a country and a people largely prepared and able to help themselves.     It ain't Haiti or Indonesia.

hbjork1's picture

It did take the Japanese a couple of decades to get their industry in full swing after being A-bombed twice.  And another decade to start beating the victors in automotive sales.  It didn't hurt that they are a relatively old culture and have had many millennia to work out their mutually accepted societial disiplinary rules.  

Nuclear accidents are, under the best of conditions, bad news.  The population will have to deal with reduced expectations for awhile.  But, IMO, they will do it as efficiently as any population on earth. 

moneymutt's picture

Our MSM is obsessed with coast towns, anything that happens on East Coast or Cali is given way more attention than anything that happens in flyover land or PAc NW...however, if we Minot ND had major flooding and half town taken out, even if it was completely inaccessible from land/roads, we would be getting flyover palne and copter pics within 4-8 hours all over CNN but in Japan, just a couple of shots when tsunami is bitting....Japan is blacking out things


Iam_Silverman's picture

"Our MSM is obsessed with coast towns, anything that happens on East Coast or Cali"

Yup, almost 6,500 acres burn just a few miles from me and all they want to cover is the NFL labor strife.

New_Meat's picture

mutt:  was reminded of the red-blue county election maps, e.g.:

otoh, having the Boston Globe drooling over an illegal who scammed her way into a house, well, u don't need that kind of attention.

- Ned

{four legs good}

Id fight Gandhi's picture

Japanese are disciplined, honorable people. Looting shouldnt be an issue.
It isn't Haiti or L.A.

DeeDeeTwo's picture

The Japanese lack the "crime gene"... unlike the Blacks or the Jews, baby. Expect a new genre of adult video... Tsunami Porn.

granolageek's picture

Then what is the "Yakuza"?

johnQpublic's picture

Tsunami Porn


thats not like mega bukake is it?

thefedisscam's picture

Apparently, you know Little about Japanese culture. One thing you will NOT see in Japan under this kind of huge natural disaster is looting or robbery or any other human crime. Loot what? food and water and whatever service  are all FREE of Charge in hard hit areas. Rob money or jewelry? What is the point? when people are fighting for their own lives, Wealth will be the LAST thing on their mind!

One reason you do not hear much report perhaps has a lot to do with the large scale Blackout in Toyko. Looks like a lot of Toyko's electricity is supplied by those nuclear plant. So when they are shut down, Toyko has no much power left.

Mentaliusanything's picture

One reason you do not hear much report perhaps has a lot to do with the large scale Blackout in Toyko. Looks like a lot of Toyko's electricity is supplied by those nuclear plant. So when they are shut down, Toyko has no much power left.

Then that means fresh food will spoil and food / fresh water will generally be hard to find for such a large population.

3 days from now we shall see if the Japanese will be the same gentle people.

These 'after shocks' are not always what you imagine. It is not a good idea to stay in a city at times like these.

The Alarmist's picture

3 days from now we shall see if the Japanese will be the same gentle people.

Uh, the same "gentle people" who only a generation or so ago led the Bataan Death March?

Orly's picture

Manchuria was an anomly as well, I believe.  But if any people have learned their lessons about the cruelty of war, it would be the Japanese.

NewThor's picture

I was watching the coverage about 5 minutes after the Tsunami hit. 

I ended up on FOX NEWS and their coverage was obscene.

We're seeing an entire city being swept away like a horror film in black tides of flaming 

debris and the talking heads were doing an up to the minute Death count.

"We've got 1 confirmed death!"

"We've got 3 confirmed deaths!

"We've got 14 confirmed deaths!"

"We've got 18 confirmed deaths!"

"We've got 23 confirmed deaths!"

"We've got 27 confirmed deaths!"


goldfish1's picture

Obscene about sums it up.

The Alarmist's picture

Yeah, they did this the last time there was a big tsunami.  800 dead, 4000 dead, 20000, etc.  Almost exponential after a couple days.

Antipodeus's picture

Yeah, I think FauxNoose stopped counting after about 250,000.


trav7777's picture

why the fuck would there be looting?  This is Japan...they are not blacks.

As for the rest, the Japs pull together in disasters and help each other...again, this isn't an african population

h3m1ngw4y's picture

you may not realize it but you prove his point

vas deferens's picture

Time to call BP and smash open the sea floor to get at some oil. 

SignsAndWonders's picture

Setting aside cynicism and arm chair excitement over events accross the sea, I hope that all goes well.

Caviar Emptor's picture

Japan nuclear agency rates Fukushima plant accident at 4 on the international scale of 1 to 7. (7 was Chernobyl)

fuu's picture

1 core is being supressed with sea water and boric acid.

6 others are being vented to release pressure. I know the quote is speaking directly to Daiichi 1-3 but does it apply for the venting of Daini 1-4 as well?

"Without enough power for cooling systems, decay heat from the reactor cores of units 1, 2 and 3 has gradually reduced coolant water levels through evaporation. The consequent increase in pressure in the coolant circuit can be managed via pressure release valves. However, this leads to an increase in pressure within the reactor building containment."