After prior reports that radiation in and around Fukushima had breached the dreaded barrier of 1 sievert/hour were attributed to some PR apparatchik not knowing how to carry the decimal comma, we once again get confirmation that previous attempts to refute what some saw merely as scaremongering, were in fact more lies. According to Reuters, the soon to be nationalized TEPCO said it had found a crack in the pit at its No.2 reactor in Fukushima, generating readings 1,000 millisieverts (1 sievert) of radiation per hour in the air inside the pit. "With radiation levels rising in the seawater near the plant, we have been trying to confirm the reason why, and in that context, this could be one source," said Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), said on Saturday. He cautioned, however: "We can't really say for certain until we've studied the results." Since at this point nobody believes anything coming out of Japan and TEPCO, most are just expecting for the concrete to come: "TEPCO has begun pouring concrete into the pit to stop the leak, he said." Alas, as always happens when horrible plans go awry, this latest attempt to fix the problem with the nuclear (pardon the pan) "solution" is failing. "Public broadcaster NHK said late on Saturday that water was preventing the concrete from hardening and the pit was still leaking." In other words, recent horrendously planned attempts to cool the reactor by pumping water on it may well scuttle the Plan Z option of entombing the reactor. And if that doesn't work, then Japan is straight out of plans.
Nishiyama said that to cool the damaged reactor, NISA was looking at alternatives to pumping in water, including an improvised air conditioning system, spraying the reactor fuel rods with vaporized water or using the plant's cleaning system.
As the disaster that has left 28,000 dead or missing dragged into a fourth week, Prime Minister Naoto Kan toured devastated coastal towns in northern Japan on Saturday, offering refugees government support for rebuilding homes and livelihoods.
"It will be kind of a long battle, but the government will be working hard together with you until the end," Kyodo news agency quoted him as telling people in a shelter in Rikuzentakata, a fishing port flattened by the tsunami which struck on March 11 after a massive earthquake.
Unpopular and under pressure to quit or call a snap poll before the disaster, Kan has been criticised for his management of the humanitarian and nuclear crisis. Some tsunami survivors said he came to visit them too late.
Adding insult to injury, tax avoider extraordinaire (whose tax gimmicks apparently only made waves recently despite Zero Hedge writing about GE's tax code frivolity back in October 2010), Jeff Immelt, whose GE is the company that built the Fukushima reactors, is now going to meet with TEPCO for some pep talk. Which makes sense: it takes one partially nationalized company to know another partially nationalized company.
General Electric Co Chief Executive Jeff Immelt is headed to Japan to meet with officials including executives at Tokyo Electric Power Co which operates the Fukushima power plant that is the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
"He is going to Japan to meet with customers, partners and employees. He does have a meeting with Tepco," company spokeswoman Deirdre Latour said on Friday.
Engineers at GE, which designed the reactors used in the Fukushima plant, have been advising on response to the nuclear crisis, but not directly, instead working through Hitachi Ltd (6501.T), GE's joint venture partner in the nuclear business, GE spokesmen have said.
The chief executive of French reactor maker Areva (CEPFi.PA), Anne Lauvergeon, has already appeared in Japan, saying on Thursday that she wanted to send staff to help handle the crisis.
And while the world now refuses to care any more, confident that the concrete entombing of Fukushima will be the end of that particular nasty story, we wonder just how one can entomb all the affected areas as seen below via this unmanned drone overflight (via Cryptome).