Fukushima Radiation Highest Ever, Exceeding Capacity of Measuring Device ... Fuel Likely Leaking Out Of Containment Vessel

George Washington's picture

By Washington’s Blog


Things are - literally - heating up again at Fukushima:

In related news from Japan:

But Reuters notes that the world's most hazardous nuclear plant in terms of worker radiation exposure is in the U.S., not Japan. This Reuters graphic ranks the world's 5 most hazardous plants (Fukushima is only the 5th most hazardous):

(click for better image).

Other U.S. nuclear updates include:

One piece of good news. The river level outside the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant has dropped to 1006 feet, well below the critical 1014 foot danger level:

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Element's picture

I felt ill when I heard about this yesterday ... I paced about for half an hour thinking God, I hope that spike is not coming up from under the ground ... because if it is ... pretty soon they won't be able to go near those reactors ... and when that happens, the maintaining of SFP water levels stops ... and the possibility of getting the fuel out ENDS  ... permanently.

Then it starts to get bad ... really bad ... REALLY REALLY BAD ... for years and decades.


Thanks for the excellent coverage GW

theprofromdover's picture

I think most people forget that one of the key things in evolution (of any species), is the capacity to ENDURE. Too many bad people are taking advantage of that fact.

We are all built to cope with just about anything, and find a way to carry on. Especially if all the facts are not on display and dissent is smothered. If the Japanese Govt. just told their people that 40% of them would be gone within 20 years, they would just deal with it. So long as western media remains castrato, we would roll over to get our bellies tickled too, confused enough not to see the 'boil-a-frog slowly' scenario unfolding.

I have no solution other than to destroy the corporations and their bankers; re-build from the rubble I say.


Divine Wind's picture

One of the more apparent reasons why this story dropped off the MSM radar is due to GE.

GE designed these reactors.

Now, Google the phrase 'GE media holdings' and explore all of the media properties owned by this company.

Logic would dictate that a rocket was sent from the GE executive suite to the VPs of each of the subsidiaries telling them to STFU and drop coverage.

Just a thought....

Arch Duke Ferdinand's picture

Zeolites For Radiation Prevention...


OT: Hilarious 2 min video

Radiated person goes upside down...


mt paul's picture

who will die first


the consumer 

or the economy...

caerus's picture

this is bullish for lead


edit...unless $1.00-$1.10/lb fails

DarthVaderMentor's picture

Just like the European debt crisis, the radiation contamination will continue until they contain it. There was enough radioactive material at Fukushima to spread until containment that would make most of Japan and East Asia uninhabitable for centuries.


That doesn't include the contamination from other tsunami affected radioactive sites that the Japanese press has avoided mentioning............

Plumplechook's picture

Meanwhile, construction of the circus tent over reactor 1 continues apace.  But don’t rush for tickets – this circus ain’t leaving town for a few thousand years. Enews reports point to more and more evidence of ongoing fission activity in melted-through cores.

tempo's picture

Yet the mainstream media will not cover this story. Like the three monkeys...we see nothing, we hear nothing, we think nothing. Do as you are told or you will sent to work in the fields.

mess nonster's picture

Now just say, "Fukushima X432". There are about 432 operational Nuclear power plants worldwide, maybe more, since this is a mid 90's stat.

Just think of it, all those rusty pipes, faulty servos, rat-gnawed wires, oxidized relay connectors, cracking concrete, underpaid, bored, incompetent workers, out-of-touch management underfunded watchdog agencies...all maintained and serviced by low-bid contractors, who have to buy parts from undercapitalized, struggling industrial firms that are barely able to stay afloat in today's depressed economy...

I suspect there are five or ten dedicated employees at each power plant worldwide, who put in the extra time every day to make sure the whole sodding mess doesn't turn into a flaming blob of radioactive goo.

Times 432....

Saying nuclear is clean compared to coal is like saying, as fas as bad habits go, that Russian roulette is clean, compared to smoking.

Prometheus418's picture

There's likely some truth to what you're saying- but it never had to be that way.  Your sentiments are part of what caused the situation in the first place.

Before you go and over-react to this, consider that a modern economy runs on energy.  For now, that means oil- but it could have, and still could mean nuclear.  Right now, the nuclear industry is constantly under the gun, unable to build new plants in the US due to a combination of overbearing government interference and political activists.  What could have a hugely profitable boom for our society is now the hated boogeyman of the energy world, and it's no wonder that the existing facilities are outdated.  I certainly wouldn't try to invest in it in this country.

But had we gone another route, there was never any reason that this could not be a safe and viable option.  If nuclear technology would have been embraced as the savior of mankind, I see no reason why it could not have been sensibly used, with maintainance and care applied not because of regulation, but due to the profit motive.  It never helps an energy company when it has an industrial accident, and when it is booming, they're more likely to keep up with things to maximize profits.

That is, of course, if we had a free market.  It's been quite clear for a while that we do not. 

Spastica Rex's picture

The non-believers have endagered the salvation of us all. We must all get down on our knees and praise The Invisible Hand. Halleluja! Salvation and bliss can only be found in HIM!

TheMerryPrankster's picture

@Spastica Rex, can you check with Bob in re current status of slack? May need to resend as slack has not arrived here yet.

penisouraus erecti's picture

we are screwed, except for Keynsians - bullish to them

Buck Johnson's picture

Japan hasn't seen anything yet, wait until they start measuring increasing levels of radiation in the water tables.  Then you know your Fubar.

Stares straight ahead's picture

Didn't some of the fuku 50 suffer terrible illnesses and death?  I saw a video online about this some time ago, but have not been able to find it again or anything else like it.

DeadFred's picture

The Chinese caught all sorts of hell for covering up their train wreck. Strange how the Japanese can get away with it. Do not investigate. Print stories about blood drives and fuzzy puppies instead...

KowPie's picture

Fuzzy three headed puppies. They're 3 times as cute.

Suppressor's picture

Does anyone have any estimates of actual deaths due to this ongoing disaster?

TheMerryPrankster's picture

So far 3 on site deaths, 2 from earthquake and 1 cause not yet determined. Most deaths will be from cancers which will take years to develop, expect to see a drop in fertility in the next few years.

The aging population will mask the true nature of their demise, many of the cancers will be blamed on other circumstances, ie industrial pollution, smoking, 2nd hand smoke, 3rd hand smoke and other things that will strain credulity.

The radiation is in the food supply, in the water and in the sea, it will eventually be inside the Japanese people.

Final death toll will be decades away and likely in the thousands.

sgorem's picture

Kilitron Kiri Beer? no?

penisouraus erecti's picture

but it's pre-cooked - think it over

Prometheus418's picture

Yes- and irradiated beef is said to be safe to eat rare...  

Joseph Jones's picture

Is radio-activity bad?  Should I not listen to the radio?

penisouraus erecti's picture

Yes, and probably not........and only NPR if you do since they give the straight dope......

Transformer's picture

Yeah, that NPR has all the latest when something big happens.  I remember when first one reactor blew and then the next day another one.  A day later, NPR was still reporting that everything was fine at Fukushima, everything was under control and there was no risk of radiation leakage.

NPR, feel good radio for liberals with severe normalcy bias!!!!

sgorem's picture

how 'bout "cooked on the hoof Kobi Beef? irradiated from birth. Could be classified as "Organic" since you wouldn't have to add chemicals to preserve it? Huh? 

penisouraus erecti's picture

awesome, kinda like gettin 2 birds stoned at once

sgorem's picture

do you guys think there could be a market for "glow in the dark sushi"? I'm talkin ground floor level shit here?

TheMerryPrankster's picture

BEIJING, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Waters in the Western Pacific region east and southeast of Japan's Fukushima are "clearly affected" by the radioactive materials leaked from the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima, according to a statement from China's State Oceanic Administration on Sunday.

Initial tests of samples collected from these areas show that radioactive cesium-137 and -134, as well as strontium-90 can be found in all water samples, the statement said.

The statement said that under normal conditions, cesium-134 cannot be detected in sea waters, and that the maximum amounts of cesium-137 and strontium-90 detected in the samples are 300 times and 10 times, respectively, of the amounts of natural background radiation in China's territorial waters, the statement said.

The statement said that the administration has sent professional personnel to these waters to monitor the impact of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, as well as to China's territorial waters.

The 18-day voyage, which ended on July 4, monitored waters of 25.2 square kilometers, and the monitoring team collected air, water and biological samples from the spot areas, the statement said.

The administration will continue to publish results of further testing and evaluations of the samples, the statement said.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

you know they are still getting 6.2 aftershocks on a fairly regular basis, roughly every week to 10 days.

lucky a typhoon hasn't hit Fukushima, it seems to be down on its luck right now. I hope they get the reactors entombed before anything else leaks out, but my hopes are dimmed by the lack of effective action by Tepco management and the Japanese government so far.

depleted_bob's picture

Bullish for the JPY, right?

vato poco's picture

That's odd. Haven't sen a word about this on the news or in the papers in, like, months. Besides, JapGov says "ever'thang goan be awright now". Let's all go out for sake & fugu!

jse111's picture

Cesium 137 has been detected in Tokyo's ground water at least twice since 03/11/11.  Cesium 137 has a half life of 30-years.  Tokyo is 120 miles from Fukushima and 25% of the island's population lives in the Tokyo metropolitan area.  No science currently exists to remove ground water hot particles and is not expected to be available for at least 10-years.  Fukushima reactor #3 was running on MOX (Plutonium 239 and Uranium) when it exploded.  Many ultra reliable sources state that as little as one inhaled 239 molecule is a likely death sentence.

I will permit sentient others to project the future of Japan in context of the physics and physiology involved.



knukles's picture

As far as ths MSM goes, it never happened.
The big news of the day is that them Tea Partiers are fucking "terrorists because they wouldn't let us spend the money."  And that's a di-rect-al quote.

Get used to it.

Why can't we all just get along?

WebWeasel's picture

It is probably best to not get too attached to that whole "not dying of cancer" thing now.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

Cannabis has been shown to have high anti-tumor properties and provides appetite and a sense of well being to those in late term cancer.

Medical marijuana is now legal in 15 states and D.C. - but is still illegal in Japan.

Kind of ironic isn't it?

knukles's picture

So it's OK to leave that tumor lump thingglamiebob hangin' off my goiter for a bit longer? 

TheMerryPrankster's picture

Its only a clone, soon you'll have a twin.

ddtuttle's picture

We already know all three reactors meted down BEYOND anything that happened at Three Mile Island.

At each of the Fukushima reactors the fuel core was held inside a 8" thick stainless steel pressure vessel, also called the primary containment vessel.  The core conststs of fuel rods, with spaces between them for control rods, which are prodigious neutrons absorbers.  Normally the control rods are held above their position in the core, so the reaction can proceed.  When something bad happens, like an earthquake, the control rods are released and slide down in between the fuel rods.  The fuel rods can no longer exchange enough neutrons to keep the chain reaction going, and the reactor shuts off.  Apparently, this mecahnism worked fine when the earthquake hit. 

Eventhough the chain reaction was successully halted, A LOT of energy was still being generated  from radioactive decay, and sub-critical fission.  When the Tsunami hit, the cooling pumps failed and within a few hours all three reactors had gone dry, and begun to melt.  A fuel rod consists of a Zircalloy tube, or sheath, with pellets of enriched uranium neatly stacked inside.   As fuel rods got hotter and hotter, the zriconium, in the Zircalloy began to react with water vapor inside the contain vessel.  This created hydrogen gas, which was released to relieve the pressure.  But the tubes also began to disintegrate, and the fuel pellets began to fall out and pile up at the bottom of the steel containment vessel.  Here  they melt and turn into a blob of molten fuel.  

Things get dicey at this point, because nobody in his right mind would ever try this as an experiment, which means we have no idea what really happens during a meltdown.  We can guess, but we don't know.  If the fuel piles up at the bottom, but the control rods remain intact, the blob of molten fuel could go ciritical again. Regardless, the heat cannot escape and builds up until the blob melts right though the bottom of the primary 8" thick containment vessel.

The primary containment vessel is not the last line of defense.  The whole thing is built into huge concrete building that can be sealed off in this event.  So even though the molten bolb of highly radioactive fuel has spilled out on the floor,  the gases and smoke it puts off are contained by this bunker-like secondary containment structure.  Again we don't know but we guess (and hope) that this molten fuel mixes with the concrete and molten steel and is diluted enough to not go critical, and not melt through the bottom of the concrete base.  After enough time, or so the theory goes, as it gets progressively less radioactive and very slowly cools off, it solidifies.  After 20 years or so, you MIGHT be able to send a robot in and remove it.  Of course waiting until it cools just enough and encasing it in a huge mausoleum of sand & concrete is probably easier and safer.

Now the word radioactive doesn't really do justice to this blob.  If you were in the same room with it for even a few seconds it wouldl kill you, horribly but not quickly enough.  The good news is that all this hideous stuff is in one place inside a sealed concrete building.  That is, until the hydrogen emitted earrlier blows the building up releasing radioactive gases steam and smoke into the air. Oops.

Now all bets are off.  Are there cracks in the concrete? Is radiation leaking out into the ground water?  Of course, if you're even asking these questions means you've lost control and kind of deserve whatever you get. Of course the millions of innocent people living near the plant deserve something totally different.

This sounds pretty bad, and it is.  However, there is one unsubstantiated scenario: Arnie Gunderson's "promt criticaility in fuel pool three".  Oddly, the reactor has multiple very HUGE containment vessels, but the spent fuel rods are stacked  in a pond open to the world.  The spent fuel is more-or-less safe as long as it remains underwater.  When its radioactivity drops to an acceptable level, it can be trasnported off-site to a reprocessing plant or storage facility.  This takes 18 months or more.

However, if the pool drains (because of a crack from an earthquake?), there are no control rods, and they are stacked cloel enough together that it could actually go critical.  A promt ciricality happens very suddenly when fuel rods get too close together without neutron abosrption, a fancy way of saying no water.  According to Mr Gunderson a promt criticality blew a substantial number of the fuel rods out of the pool #3 turned them into a dust and debris cloud hundrds of feet high.  This HIGHLY radioactive cloud then drifted away in the prevailing wind.  If this cloud had gone straight to Tokyo, thousands (or more) people would have died.  Fortuantely, it dirfted out over the sea.

This is actually MUCH WORSE than the three melt downs.  I don't know if it happened, although NRC inspectors reported finding a chunk of fuel rod nearly a mile from the plant.  Hard to explain that anyother way.  TEPCO certainly won't tell us if the fuel pool exploded. They probably don't even know.  

It would probably mean the end of the nuclear industry altogether.  It's becoming apparent they simply can't be trusted to design or operate nuclear plants that are even close to safe enough.

From all this, its no surprise to see  10+ sieverts in the area around the fuel blobs.  However, because of the damage to the buildings, things are much worse than they've let on. 


TaxSlave's picture

When the Tsunami hit, the cooling pumps failed and within a few hours all three reactors had gone dry, and begun to melt.

I think they've pretty well admitted by now that it was the EARTHQUAKE that broke off the cooling pipes to the reactors, and that the operators knew it and the meltdowns were already well underway before the tsunami hit.  The tsunami story was a pretty good cover for the revelation that any of these reactors is prone to the same kind of accident in an earthquake.  Or any time the coolant pipes are broken off.  Or any time power is lost for any reason for long enough.  Which means the design is obsolete, and there are still a bunch of them in operation, all over.

The generators that got taken out by the tsunami would have at least powered the fans to those exhaust stack towers.  Those are there to vent hydrogen, pulling in enough air to keep the concentration low enough to prevent an explosion from providing a real nice exclamation point to a meltdown scenario.  It looks like the hydrogen explosion on #3 disintegrated enough of the fuel rods in the half-empty pool to cause that prompt criticality, which then REALLY exploded.  You can watch the video and distinctly see a two-phase explosion there.  I am convinced Gunderson called that one right.

Political control guarantees that some asshole is going to be in charge, backed by a committee of assholes.  It means that if anything gets done right it will be despite the determined efforts of those in charge.  It means that if something happens that needs a competent man to make life-saving decisions quickly, he will have been driven off the site decades ago.  It means there will not be one man within 20 miles with the backbone to defy authority when he knows he's right and lives are at stake.  I've never been anti-nuke.  I still believe better designs could be operated safely, indefinitely, with the risks contained.  But as I have aged, I have lost the faith I used to have in 'experts', and learned what I just stated about any large organization, with their perversion of motivation and rewards.  The unbelievable stonewalling, the outright absurd idiotic incompetence of sending electricians into the buildings to stand in pools of water without BOOTS, the pretense that you can spray firehoses on the mess continuously for months and all that water won't go anywhere, the silence of what used to be a rabid anti-nuclear mainstream media, the deliberate policy of keeping the general populace ignorant of radiation (except to keep them all afraid), the blackout of dispersion data, the knowing failure to evacuate a large enough area, the sale of contaminated foodstuffs from the hot areas, all of it have come together to the point where I must completely agree: They simply can't be trusted with the technology.  And now, nobody can disagree with that assessment at all - it is a given, a fact, indisputable.

This victory will be handed to the enviropsychotics willingly, because the underlying scheme all along has been to control you and your standard of living by cutting off your access to energy.  Just one more source gone, the better to stampede the herd into tax-and-stock swindle 'green' energy.

I was not surprised that they admitted there are hot spots.  I think the corium piles are still sputtering with periodic (aperiodic, actually) prompt criticalities, like those trick birthday candles.  I am sure they know it.  I am equally sure they are utterly helpless to do anything about it, except wait.  A long time.  And try to contain as best they can until it simmers down.  It cannot simmer down until it gets dispersed.  Which will take a long time.  And the mess will not be very well contained in the meantime.  They will have to tent over the site, and cool and recirculate the water they spray at the mess using heat exchangers with ocean water to provide the cooling while the hot water continually increases in contamination and makes everything it touches more and more radioactive.  The attempts to remove the radioactive isotopes from the water will be less than effective, the plant they are installing can't keep up and can't completely purify the water.  Groundwater contamination, if it gets bad enough, could be permanent depending on the type of aquifer (not as bad if it's flowing eventually to the sea underground).  Seawater contamination will be bad but it will disperse if the stream of pollutants can ever be stopped.  It will be a long time before they can ever dream of encasing the site in concrete - and don't forget, you want most of the concrete under the mess.  Which will still need to be cooled, pretty much forever, unless it is separated into little chunks and spread out.  I think it is highly unlikely that they will ever dismantle the cores, unless a special robot-destruction machine were built for the job.  That approach is unlikely because the government idiots in charge would not be willing to give the job to a competent private-sector team that could build one in about a year.  And their committee experts would interfere and screw up the design so bad and hold things up so bad that it would take triple the time and probably not work when complete.  (And the private-sector teams that could do it won't sell anything to them anyway.)

But hey.  I'm not a nuclear engineer.  I didn't even stay at Holiday Inn Express.  So maybe I'm all wrong.  Maybe there will be some cheap apartments available in Tokyo soon.

jse111's picture

Thank you for the excellent, informative post. 

Here is what we do know.  Cesium 137 has been detected in Tokyo's ground water at least twice (admittedly) since 03/11/11.  Tokyo is 120 miles from Fukushima in a southerly direction.  The first report was dated 04/22/11 meaning that ground water contamination (admittedly) occurred over 120 miles from ground zero in approximately 6-weeks.   

Cesium 137 has a half life of 30-years.  The general Tokyo metropolitan area holds 25% of the island's population.  According to Arnie Gundersen, no science currently exists to remove ground water hot particles and is not expected to be available for at least 10-years and more likely far longer.

Until proven otherwise, virtually no amount of long half life Alpha emitting hot particles are safely administered to human beings despite the nonsense tossed about.  All long half life Alpha emitting molecules have a distinct potential to alter human DNA coding.  Altering DNA configuration is universally accepted as a cancer precursor in humans albeit on an undefined time line.

The potential of terminating existence on significant areas of Japan are more than idol thought.  In fact and again until proven incorrect, the term “significant areas” may well be egregiously understated.  I am not expert enough to propose using the word, ALL!    

stev3e's picture

Actually, the population number is worse than you stated.  Yes - the Tokyo metropolitan area hods 25% of the Japanese population but the area between Tokyo and Fukushima, inclusive, holds 35-40% of the population of Japan.  If there is population-redistribution contamination from Fukushima to Tokyo, it will affect this entire area.

What do you do with 40,000,000 people?

jse111's picture

Let us hope that ONLY 40,000,000 million people are ultimately involved.  Peripheral to atmospheric and ground water contamination, all 47 prefectures reportedly have received highly contaminated beef et al as a bonus.  Unfortunately and most assuredly, of the discussed 40,000,000 souls that reasonably should have been evacuated, a significant number will tragically now have no need for displacement.

No, saying that one is sorry for the creation and mismanagement of this horrible adventure is simply not good enough.  Lastly, with virtually no MSM coverage of likely the most catastrophic disaster in any of our lifetimes ever evolving, I thank GW for his work here.  For those that “get it,” post anywhere including off topic as information seeps through “containment vessels.”    

jo6pac's picture

Yep went and bought a 100lbs of salmon for the freezer so I don't eat fish that glow. I watched them unloaded off the boat into my ice chest here in Calif.

Thank GW I can't comment on your site for some reason

TheMerryPrankster's picture

you do know that salmon eat other fish and that radiation has been spewing into the ocean off the coast of Japan for 5 months. That is long enough to get into the food chain. Radioactive fish don't glow.

Your best bet is a varied diet so as to minimize single source pollution, of course when everything is radioactive all bets are off.

Canned Spam is still radiation free, but lots of salt...

KowPie's picture

mmmm. Spam. The (not too distant) future meal of kings!