We reported in May 2011 that authorities knew – within days or weeks – that all 3 active Fukushima nuclear reactors had melted down, but covered up that fact for months.
The next month, we reported that Fukushima’s reactors had actually suffered something much worse: nuclear melt-throughs, where the nuclear fuel melted through the containment vessels and into the ground. At the time, this was described as:
The worst possibility in a nuclear accident.
But now, it turns out that some of the Fukushima reactors have suffered even a more extreme type of damage: melt-OUTS.
By way of background, we’ve noted periodically that scientists have no idea where the cores of the nuclear reactors are.
And that highly radioactive black “dirt” has been found all over Japan.
It turns out that the highly radioactive black substances are likely remnants of the core.
The Journals Environmental Science & Technology and Journal of Environmental Radioactivity both found (hat tip EneNews) that the highly radioactive black substances match fuel from the core of the Fukushima reactors.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission agrees.
Indeed, “hot particles” with extremely high levels of radiation – 7 billion, 40 billion , and even 40 billion billion Bq/kg – have been found all over the Fukushima region, and hundreds of miles away … in Tokyo.
Let’s put this in perspective. The Atlantic notes:
Japanese regulations required nuclear waste with 100 or more bq/kg of Cesium to be monitored and disposed of in specialized containers.
The new government limit for material headed for landfills is 8000 bq/kg, 80 times the pre-Fukushima limit.
So the hottest hot particle found so far is 5 million billion times greater than the current government limits of what can be put in a landfill.
In other words, the core of at least one of the Fukushima reactors has finally been found … scattered all over Japan.