West Coast USA Danger IF Japan Nuclear Reactor Meltdown

March 11, 2011, by Ken Jorgustin

nuclear-meltdown-alert

Nuclear Meltdown Alert – follow updates here – scroll down



“If they can’t restore power to the plant (and cool the reactor), then there’s the possibility of some sort of core meltdown”.

An alarming statement made by James Acton, a physicist who examined Japan’s Kashiwazaki nuclear plant after a 2007 earthquake, who told CNN that Japanese authorities are in race to cool down the Fukushima reactor.

Following the fifth largest earthquake in recorded world history, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, has resulted in the closure of all Japan’s nuclear power reactors, one of which, the Fukushima reactor, is overheating and in danger of a meltdown if coolant is not restored soon. It’s like a pressure cooker… when you have something generating heat and you don’t cool it off or release the steam…

Reported from abc NEWS, Scientists said that even though the reactor had stopped producing energy, its fuel continues to generate heat and needs steady levels of coolant to prevent it from overheating and triggering a dangerous cascade of events.

They go on to say, “Up to 100 percent of the volatile radioactive Cesium-137 content of the pools could go up in flames and smoke, to blow downwind over large distances,”

“Given the large quantity of irradiated nuclear fuel in the pool, the radioactivity release could be worse than the Chernobyl nuclear reactor catastrophe of 25 years ago.” said Kevin Kamps, a nuclear waste specialist.

Fukushima I (there are two plant locations) is one of the 25 largest nuclear power stations in the world.

How would a nuclear plant meltdown unfold?

  • Control rods are driven back down into the core upon emergency (if rods don’t make it all the way… trouble)
  • The coolant (water) could cease if backup systems fail (electricity, pumps, generators, batteries)
  • Reactor continues to produce heat
  • Numerous venting valve systems would release pressure above ~1,000 psi into containment vessel
  • Eventually the uranium fuel encasement metal will melt (2,200 deg F)
  • Radioactive contamination then released into the reactor vessel
  • Radiation escapes into an outer, concrete containment building
  • Radiation escapes into the environment as radioactive Fallout.


Not only would such a disaster be horrible for the local region and Japan, but other countries, namely the U.S. could be effected next by airborne fallout of  radiation particles, the magnitude of which is yet to be determined.

Why would the west coast USA be in danger  of Fallout?

The prevailing jet stream winds are blowing from Japan directly across the Pacific ocean to the west coast of the United States. Any airborne radioactive Fallout would make its way across with the jet stream, reaching the U.S. in approximately 36 hours, depending on the actual speed of the jet and how quickly the particles mixed in with the jetstream.

Image of the Jet Stream from Japan to the U.S.

jet-stream-japan-to-usa

(THIS MAP IS NOW OUTDATED)

fukushima-fallout-wind-to-west-coast-usa-accuweather

AccuWeather.com


Update,

BBC News Asia-Pacific is now reporting that radiation levels inside the nuclear reactor are 1,000 times of normal, and there are now high levels (unspecified) ‘outside’ of the nuclear reactor plant. They report that people are being evacuated in an approximate 6-mile perimeter.

Map of Nuclear Power Plant Reactors in Japan

japan-nuclear-reactor-map

Fukushima Power Plant, Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) diagram

fukushima-boiling-water-reactor-bwr-basic-diagram

Update,

The Washington Post reports that a second nuclear reactor in the Fukushima power plant is also affected. The plant has a total of six reactors. Reports only a few hours left on battery power for cooling systems.

Update,

Clarification from NHK Wolrd News Japan… a second location, Fukushima II, not far from the Fukushima I nuclear power plant, is also experiencing cooling problems. The government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said equipment failures have made it impossible to cool 3 of the plant’s 4 reactors. (Translation: ‘impossible’ is not a good word).

Update,

Reuters is now reporting that Tokyo Electric Power Company has lost ability to control pressure at some of the reactors at its Fukushima II (Daini) plant nearby the Daiichi power plant (Fukushima I), both suffering from core cooling problems. If battery power at Fukushima II is depleted before AC power is restored, the plant will stop supplying water to the core and the cooling water level in the reactor core will drop.

Update,

Kyodo news reports that the cooling system has now failed at three nuclear reactors at Fukushima II, and the coolant water temperature has reached boiling level.

Update,

Kyodo news reports, “the operator of the two plants in Fukushima Prefecture is set to release pressure in containers housing their reactors under an unprecedented government order, so as to avoid the plants sustaining damage and losing their critical containment function.” …”the action would involve the release of steam that would likely include radioactive materials”

Update,

From Kyodo news, Japan, URGENT: Concerns of core partially melting at Fukushima nuke plant. The core at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant’s No. 1 reactor may be partially melting, the nuclear safety agency said Saturday.

Reuters, Japan authorities: TEPCO plant fuel rods may have melted -Jiji, …could develop into a breach of the nuclear reactor vessel and the question then becomes one of how strong the containment structure around the vessel is and whether it has been undermined by the earthquake

Update,

Reuters, An explosion was heard and smoke was seen at the Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant, Jiji news agency quoted the police as saying on Saturday.

Outer structure of building that houses reactor at Fukushima plant appears to have blown off – NHK by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/12/2011 8:12:43 AM12:12 AM

Tepco says explosion may have been hydrogen used to cool Fukushima plant – Kyodo; Tepco says 4 people taken to hospital after reported explosion, no word on condition – Jiji

Update,

From The Associated Press, An explosion at a nuclear power station Saturday destroyed a building housing the reactor…the explosion destroyed the exterior walls of the building where the reactor is placed, but not the actual metal housing enveloping the reactor.

In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded and caught fire, sending a cloud of radiation and Fallout over much of Europe. That reactor – unlike the Fukushima one – was not housed in a sealed container, so there was no way to contain the radiation once the reactor exploded.

Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Explosion VIDEO

Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Explosion VIDEO

credit: abc NEWS

Fukushima Nuclear Reactor image, before – after Explosion

fukushima-nuclear-reactor-before-after-explosion

credit: NHK Sōgō channel news, sourced from Wikipedia

fukushima-daiichi-reactor-1-after-explosion

Things to know about Cesium-137, “IF” there is a complete meltdown and radioactive Fallout released into the environment

(also spelled, Caesium)

Where does cesium-137 come from?

Radioactive cesium-137 is produced when uranium and plutonium absorb neutrons and undergo fission. Examples of the uses of this process are nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons.

What is the half life of cesium-137 ?

The half-life of cesium-137 is 30 years. Because of the chemical nature of cesium, it moves easily through the environment. This makes the cleanup of cesium-137 difficult.

How do people come in contact with cesium-137?

Walking on contaminated soil could result in external exposure to gamma radiation. People may ingest cesium-137 with food and water, or may inhale it as dust. It is distributed fairly uniformly throughout the body’s soft tissues. Exposure may also be external (that is, exposure to its gamma radiation from outside the body).

How can cesium-137 affect people’s health?

Exposure to radiation from cesium-137 results in increased risk of cancer. If exposures are very high, serious burns, and even death, can result. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says everyone is exposed to minute amounts of cesium-137. The average annual dose in the Northern Hemisphere is less than 1 millirem annually. That falls below the 100 millirem exposure limit the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommends.

(information sourced from the U.S. EPA)


Update,

There have been maps circulating around the blogosphere showing the would-be radiation Fallout pattern from Japan across the Pacific Ocean. In fact, one map indicates a long 7-day time frame to reach the west coast U.S…

One must use common sense when considering this possibility. It’s all really quite straight forward. Any particles would flow with the wind. Period. All one needs to do is know the wind pattern from the day of release, namely, the Jet stream. Currently the Jet Stream is moving over Japan and streaming across the ocean towards the U.S. (as it pretty much always does). The average speed of the jet is about 100 – 120 knots, or about 110 – 140 mph. Simple math, 4,500 miles divided by 120 mph equals about 37 hours (plus or minus). A day and a half. End of story.

Note, it’s all about the wind pattern. There are weather sites that illustrate this and update regularly. The first image of this post shows the current jet stream as of post time, which will wiggle waggle throughout time.

Also note, “IF” and whatever amount of radioactive Fallout is released, will disperse rapidly from the site. It’s not like there will be millions of glowing people on the west coast U.S. 36 hours later, but there would certainly be some amount of exposure given the current jet. Not qualified to surmise how much that would be… Those in the immediate vicinity of Fukushima would obviously be tragically affected.

“IF” Fukushima suffers a catastrophic reactor meltdown, given the present state of red alerts there, it would likely happen fairly soon, within 24 hours I would think. They will either get things cooled down now, or it’s going to melt. Having said that, “IF” Fukushima melts down completely, the following image shows the position of the jet stream on March 14 and 15, which would probably be the approximate time frame for whatever radioactive Fallout particles to make it across.

It appears then, that central California (San Francisco) to north to the Oregon border would be in the bulls-eye for the most part. Although none of the west really will escape the wind pattern as forecast from WeatherBank. The darker colors indicate the higher jet-stream wind speeds, which one might surmise to bear the greater majority of particles, or at least the first arrival.

jet-stream-west-coast


Potassium Iodide (Potassium Iodate) for Radioactive Fallout

(similar, with the same purpose)

There are several suppliers of Potassium Iodide, an over-the-counter drug which itself is a preventative measure that all preppers really should keep in their inventory. Be aware of the FDA Guidelines for Potassium Iodide usage and dosage during a radiation emergency (generally 130 mg per 24 hours for adults).

Update, 12-Mar-2011, 2100 UTC

TOKYO (Nikkei), The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said Saturday afternoon the explosion at the Fukushima I nuclear plant could only have been caused by a meltdown of the reactor core. Tokyo Electric Power Co. 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.

Translation: last ditch effort to cool it down… hopefully it works.

Update, 12-Mar-2011, 2115 UTC

Reuters, A third nuclear reactor is now in trouble and has lost its emergency cooling system. “The emergency cooling system is no longer functioning at the No. 3 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility.

Update, 13-Mar-2011, 0200 UTC

There are lots of reports swirling on the internet regarding the condition of the nuclear reactors at two locations (near each other – see map above), many reports conflicting and interchanging facts between Fukushima I and II (Daiichi and Daini) as well as ‘reactor numbers’, e.g. 1, 2, 3, … interchanging with location numbers. Sloppy reporting I suppose.

In any event, what we do know is basically this…

Evacuation of 210,000 people within 12 miles of the Fukushima I (Daiichi) nuclear power plant.

Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant (Daiichi), has 6 nuclear reactors.

Reactor 1, loss of cooling, explosion of outer containment shell, radioactive iodine and cesium detected ‘outside’, admitting ‘partial’ core meltdown – but contained within reactor enclosure, flooding the reactor with seawater as a ‘last resort’ to attempt to avert a full meltdown, internal pressure is reported as high while temperatures are ‘officially’ reported as dropping, unknown regarding ongoing meltdown situation

Reactor 3, cooling system has reportedly failed, releasing excess radioactive steam, reportedly considering or attempting seawater flooding to avert a meltdown

Fukushima II Nuclear Power Plant (Daini), has 4 nuclear reactors.

Reports point towards 3 reactors in trouble (or were in trouble) there with cooling systems. Details sketchy on Fukushima II.

Update, 13-Mar-2011, 1130 UTC
(TOKYO) JapanToday.com, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano warned that a hydrogen explosion similar to one that blew away part of a building housing of another reactor (No. 1 at Daiichi) at the same facility on Saturday could occur at the reactor (No. 3 at Daiichi).

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), began injecting fresh water into the No. 3 reactor’s core vessel on Sunday to deal with the problem that the tops of MOX fuel rods were 3 meters above the water inside.



Why did the Fukushima nuclear power plant reactor fail in Japan?
Following the magnitude 8.9 earthquake, the ensuing tsunami washed over the area and knocked out the backup power diesel generators. All that was left was battery power, which was not sufficient to keep the nuclear rods cool enough.

What is the local health danger from the nuclear accident?
People who are outside the immediate area could inhale radioactive particles. A nuclear reactor accident could release radioactive iodine and radioactive cesium. Breathing in or eating food contaminated with radioactive iodine can cause thyroid cancer. Potassium Iodide (or Iodate) tablets can help prevent this.

Contamination of food and water can result from radioactive dust that settles on water supplies, crops or grass. Cows or other animals eat, and it works up the food chain. Any suspected foods should be washed.

Radioactive cesium with its long half-life (30 years), can cause more long-term damage, including cancer.

How far might the radioactivity spread?
This depends of course upon how much radioactivity is released into the environment. Weather conditions, wind and rain, will mostly affect the spread.

Is there any danger to those outside of Japan at this time?
Currently there is no known danger, no. There is no evidence of a reactor core breach of containment vessel.



A General Electric Boiling Water Reactor assembly (BWR)
Typical operating temperature of the reactor is approximately 570 F

bwr-reactor-assembly



Update, 13-Mar-2011, 2200 UTC
There is now a virtual blackout on the situation around Fukushima Japan due to the 20 km (13 miles) evacuation zone, which I’ve determined to mean a 10 km radius (20 mile diameter) zone. The only new information will come from government filtered statements, or someone working on the disaster who leaks out information.

The only new real information that has come out lately, and it’s not good news, is that the Reactor No. 3 at Fukushima is different from Reactor No. 1 in that it uses some amount of ‘MOX‘ fuel, also known as Mixed Oxide – meaning uranium mixed with plutonium. The plutonium itself evidently comes from decommissioned or surplus weapons-grade material, which would otherwise have been disposed of as nuclear waste.

“IF” Reactor No. 3 were to meltdown completely and release into the environment by either an explosion or otherwise, the fact that there is plutonium in the mix would make the disaster even worse. Much worse.  (working on more facts about this)



General Electric BWR Fuel Assemblies and Control Rod Module
Fuel Rod Cladding Material, ‘Zircaloy’, melting temperature of 2200 F
Fuel Assembly ‘Active Length’ 3.6 m

bwr-fuel-and-rod-module

A BWR system

bwr-reactor-system



Update, 14-Mar-2011, 0100 UTC
Here are some facts about Plutonium-239, an ingredient in MOX fuel, as in Reactor No. 3
Half-life = 24,000 years
Pu-239 emits ‘Alpha’ radiation particles

The Alpha particles have a very short range of effectiveness, that is ‘bad’ effectiveness – just several centimeters. However, the ‘bad’ is very bad in that they are considered 20 times more dangerous than an equivalent energy of beta or gamma emitting radioisotopes.

Translation: Pu-239 particles are not particularly dangerous until they are inhaled or ingested, at which time they become extremely dangerous when they become lodged internally and immediately bombard and irradiate surrounding body tissue (up to several cm). Very highly toxic. Given the 24,000 year half-life, any released Pu-239 particles will contaminate the area for a very long time.

Cesium-137 is different in that it emits high energy gamma radiation which can travel great distances and penetrate right through many materials. It must be remotely handled or adequately shielded to provide protection. Thick layers of concrete, lead, steel and other comparable shielding materials are necessary to stop the penetration of gamma rays.

Summary conclusion of this update: The addition of Pu-239 to the potential Fallout mix, should it occur, will definitely make matters worse. The scenario for mixing into the lower levels of the atmosphere and drifting to other areas remain the same – except in this case, there would be longer lasting particles that would be distributed and dispersed.

Update, 14-Mar-2011, 0300 UTC
Evidently, Fukushima Daiichi, Reactor No. 3, the one with the MOX fuel, with Plutonium, has just exploded, according to reports on FOX, Drudge, Breitbart, and other outlets. No information regarding if this was just the outer shell (as in Reactor No. 1), or worse.

Official: “Damaged Japan Nuclear Fuel Rods Were Fully Exposed

Video: Explosion of Fukushima Daiichi Reactor No. 3
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIZKlaEZMLY[/youtube]



Update, 14-Mar-2011, 153000 UTC

FOX news just reported that Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yukio Edano said “…although we cannot check it, it is highly likely it is happening”, a meltdown is underway. The fuel rods are melting in all three troubled reactors.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. says the exposure happened at Reactor No. 2 of the Fukushima Daiichi plant because a steam vent wouldn’t open Monday, causing a sudden drop of water.

“It’s impossible to say whether there has or has not been damage” to the vessels (reactor vessel, 6-inch stainless steel), nuclear agency official Naoki Kumagai said.

The Nuclear Information Resource Service reports “Air dose rate on site (outside the reactor building) was 3,130 at around 9:30pm.” We believe the 3,130 figure means 3130 MicroSievert/hour, which would be highest reading yet recorded—about 310 millirems/hour. For comparison, the U.S. EPA allowable dose to a member of the public from a single reactor is 25 millirems/year.

From NIRS, “According to our colleagues in Japan, Tokyo Electric Power states that Fukushima Daiichi-2 “has again lost its coolant (sea water was pumped in but is dropping). They cannot ease the reactor pressure because the relief valve is stuck closed.

Current Summary: Situation looking dire, however, no apparent complete meltdown is evidenced at this time.

Nuclear Security Expert, Joe Cirincione, says in the following video interview,
“Absolutely” the radiation Fallout particles could reach the west coast United States.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F70jpw_LT-Q[/youtube]



Update, 14-Mar-2011, 2310 UTC
NHK World, reporting an explosion at Reactor No. 2
Translated statements from live NHK World TV via FOX news translator:

Explosion Heard at Fukushima Daiichi Plant in Japan
Could be worse case scenario
Containment vessel may have been blown or cracked
Radiation outside is 10,000 times normal
Fuel rods remain exposed
Radiation readings may be picking up actual particulate matter from the fuel itself (radioactive iodine and cesium)

The current thinking is that this explosion has damaged the reactor vessel which itself is surrounded by a concrete containment building. Evacuation of ‘nonessential’ personnel is underway. Approximately 2 meters of the core is exposed and not covered by water. There is hardly a doubt that it is melting.



Update, 15-Mar-2011, 0400 UTC
450,000 people have been evacuate to a 30 km radius (almost 40 mile diameter) from the Fukushima location.

Local news in Japan are saying for those nearby to seal yourself indoors and to not become exposed to the outside atmosphere.

Update, 15-Mar-2011, 1600 UTC
Fire in a fuel pool at Reactor No. 4 (storage pool for spent fuel rods). Pool may be boiling. Considering helicopter water dumps. Officials told the International Atomic Energy Agency that “radioactivity is being released directly into the atmosphere.” (from the fuel storage pond)

Tokyo Electric Power Company has evacuated nearly every worker from the entire Fukushima site, according to NIRS, and has only left a few workers behind. Given this apparent fact, it is a sign that they may have given up and cannot stop a full meltdown.

Some radiation has been detected in Tokyo, but apparently very low.

measuring-radiation-levels-fukushima-japanmeasuring-radiation-levels-in-tokyo
credit: Kyodo

Panicked residents start to flee Tokyo as radiation levels rise after THIRD blast at stricken nuclear power plant

food-supply-shortage-japan
credit: Kyodo

Overhead view of Fukushima Nuclear Plant after explosions

fukushima-daiichi-overhead-view-of-exploded-reactors
credit: AP

During much of the reporting on this subject, you may have heard lots of usage of the term, ‘prefecture’. What is a prefecture? The prefectures of Japan are the country’s 47 sub-national jurisdictions. The chief executive of each prefecture is a directly elected governor. There… now you know.



Update, 15-Mar-2011, 2130 UTC

U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin is in the Bay Area touring a peninsula hospital. NBC Bay Area reporter Damian Trujillo asked her about the run on tablets and Dr. Benjamin said although she wasn’t aware of people stocking up, she did not think that would be an overreaction. She said it was right to be prepared. (Makes sense… why not be prepared, yes?)

On the other side of the issue is Kelly Huston of the California Emergency Management Agency. Hoston said state officials, along with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the California Energy Commission, were monitoring the situation and said people don’t need to buy the pills. (Maybe a bit irresponsible statement, especially coming from an emergency management agency)



Update, 15-Mar-2011, 2300 UTC
New fire at Fukushima Daiichi No. 4. This time at the outer containment building. TEPCO says it is impossible to go near the fire since the radiation is so high. The earlier fire was reported at the fuel rod pool where they store ‘spent’ fuel rods.

Institute for Science and International Security said, the situation has “worsened considerably”. “This accident can no longer be viewed as a level 4 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Events scale that ranks events from 1 to 7.” “…now closer to a level 6, and it may unfortunately reach a level 7″ (a worst case scenario)

Additional sources are confirming that it is too dangerous for workers to approach and attempt to put out this new fire. Earlier reports indicated that TEPCO had removed all except a few personnel from the entire area. The apparent fact that they are not attempting to douse this new fire, may mean that truly, the area is far too radioactive. Note that there are the usual conflicting reports. Updates to follow…



Update, 16-Mar-2011, 0400 UTC

Multiple news outlets are reporting that TEPCO has now withdrawn everyone, yes, everyone, from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. This seems unimaginable, but perhaps it is imaginable if the situation is entirely lost.

If radiation levels at the plant are too high to avoid radiation sickness, then at least one reactor vessel may truly be breached.

Good news for Japan for the time being, regarding winds, they are blowing from the northwest and forecast to continue out into the Pacific Ocean.

A new report that was fed-through from CNBC said that Reactor No. 5 and 6 (which have been out of the news until now), ‘spent’ fuel pools are higher temperature than normal – no further details at the moment as to what that means specifically.



Update, 16-Mar-2011, 1530 UTC

A small crew is reported to have returned to the plant. (brave souls)

Dr. Michio Kaku, physicist, “It’s gotten worse…suicide mission…we may have to abandon ship.”
“We have cracks now, cracks in the containment vessels…and if those cracks grow or if there’s an explosion, we’re talking a full blown Chernobyl, something beyond Chernobyl.”(The last step in a nuclear meltdown is a breached containment vessel)

Radiation levels are higher over northern Japan.
The U.S. says it will conduct its own measurements of radioactivity in Japan.

Probable ongoing multiple meltdowns.

The Pentagon reports that all crew of U.S. ships near Japan are being given Iodide pills.



Update, 16-Mar-2011, 1940 UTC

The U.S. Nuclear Agency Chief Gregory Jaczko has just reported that there is NO WATER in the fuel rod pools of Fukushima No. 4.

How would the U.S. know this? Speculation on my part would be High-Resolution govt. satellite imagery or drone imagery.

What does this mean? If the report is accurate, then there is nothing to stop the fuel rods from getting hotter and ultimately melting down. The outer shell of the rods could also ignite with enough force to propel the radioactive fuel over a wide area.



Update, 17-Mar-2011, 0600 UTC

New solid information is hard to come by. Helicopters have flown over while dumping water, but having seen the video footage, this action does not appear to be effective while considering the big picture.

The UN made a forecast that shows the possible movement of the radioactive plume coming from Japan as it is churning across the Pacific, while they also emphasize that radiation in the plume will be diluted as it travels.

Attempts are being made to bring in a line of electricity to the plant. There are questions as to the effectiveness given the present damage and apparent radiation levels at the facility.

Ongoing conflicting information between the Japanese government, TEPCO, and the U.S. government.



Update, 17-Mar-2011, 1830 UTC

Fuel pool No.4 still apparently empty or nearly empty of water where there are anywhere between 2 and 8 reactor cores present.

Radioactive steam spews into atmosphere from reactor No. 3.

Frantic efforts continue to douse with water are not effective – helicopters – water cannons.

Each Diaichi reactor contains between 60 and 80 tons of fuel rod assemblies.

Evacuation zone expanded to 50 miles has been recommended.

U. S. has authorized the first evacuations and chartered planes for Americans including military families out of Japan.

Radiation plume to hit U.S. on Friday, ‘officials’ say extremely minor health consequences.

Radiation being found at airports across the U.S. from passengers arriving from Tokyo (Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare).



Update, 18-Mar-2011, 0200 UTC

Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Greg Jazcko: Reactor No. 4 fuel pool has no water and is releasing radiation levels that are lethal in a short period of time, based on NRC fact-finding rather than TEPCO statements.

A shift in the wind could have severe consequences for those in Japan, although they are currently blowing out into the Pacific.

TEPCO: Closer to installing a power line to at least one reactor at the site, possibly enabling use of cooling systems again, depending on damage.

Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, Screening passengers and cargo entering the U.S. from Japan for radiation.

New York Times: “What you are seeing are desperate efforts — just throwing everything at it in hopes something will work,” said one American official with long nuclear experience who would not speak for attribution. “Right now this is more prayer than plan.”

Current Satellite Image of Fukushima on 17-Mar-2011
fukushima-satellite-17-mar-2011



Update, 18-Mar-2011, 1430 UTC

Japan’s nuclear safety agency: Raised the rating of the nuclear accident from 4 to 5 on a 7-level international scale.

Level 5 definition: Severe damage to a reactor core, release of large quantities of radiation with a high probability of “significant” public exposure or several deaths from radiation.

Tokyo Electric Power Company: Possibility of “recriticality,” in which fission would resume if fuel rods melted and the uranium pellets slumped into a jumble together on the floor of a storage pool or reactor core. (Spraying pure water on the uranium under these conditions can actually accelerate fission)

Los Angeles Times: Damage to the floor or sides of the spent fuel pool at Reactor No. 4, making it extremely hard to refill the pool with water. Rip in the stainless steel lining of the pool at Reactor No. 4 and the concrete base underneath.

NKH World: Outside power source is unlikely to be available at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for some time. It will take some time to confirm the safety of the damaged facilities.

AP: from ‘diplomat official’, Radioactive fallout has reached California but the first readings are far below levels that could pose a health hazard.

A Los Angeles Geiger counter, privately owned, is presently fluctuating around between 40 – 50 CPM, peaking at 70 CPM



Update, 19-Mar-2011, 0030 UTC

TEPCO has connected an external power line with the receiving point of the plant and confirmed that electricity can be supplied. Another 5,000 feet of cable are being laid inside the complex before engineers try to crank up the coolers at reactor No.2, followed by numbers 1, 3 and 4 this weekend. Outside of TEPCO, high skepticism remains whether or not the plants cooling apparatus will still function after the disaster. If not, there is an option of last resort under consideration to bury the Fukushima plant in sand and concrete to prevent a catastrophic radiation release.

No additional facts regarding radiation levels or the current state of meltdown. The various media have not reported anything new on this during today except for the electrical line that is underway.



Update, 19-Mar-2011, 1800 UTC

Tap water from Tokyo has been found to contain a small level of radioactive iodine-131, fortunately well below the tolerable limit for food and drink at this time.

Radiation levels in spinach and milk from farms as far as 75 miles from Fukushima exceeded government safety limits. The Japanese government is considering whether to order a halt to the sale of such products from the area.

After getting two generators running, their is now enough power to maintain the cooling functions of the No.5 and No.6 reactors.

TEPCO also said it made holes in the roofs of the No.5 and No.6 reactors to remove hydrogen to prevent the explosions that occurred at the No.1 and No. 3 reactors.

TEPCO plans to restore an outside power source for the Number 2 reactor on Saturday, and for the Number 4 reactor on Sunday.

Winds at this time are still blowing off-shore and sparing many regions from radiation. The wind direction is forecast to shift.



Update, 20-Mar-2011, 0100 UTC

The surface winds in the Fukushima region are shifting and beginning to blow from the north in some areas. As a result, radiation levels are currently high in ‘lbaraki’, which is located about 100 miles SSW of Fukushima and is registering 8 times above normal.

Firefighters ended their 13-hour water spraying operation to cool the No.3 reactor and its fuel pool using an unmanned vehicle spraying seawater being pumped through a half-mile of hose.

10 Firetrucks and Japan’s Defense Forces have begun new spraying on No. 4 fuel rod pool.

Work ongoing to reconnect power, beginning with No. 2, which they hope to use as a distribution point to the others. Questions remain as to the damage of the cooling systems.

Radiation levels on the west coast U.S. remain negligible as measured by the EPA and their RadNet Air Monitoring stations.



Update, 20-Mar-2011, 2300 UTC

The Japanese government said: Power was returned to Reactor No. 2 on Sunday, other reactors are also expected to gain power early in the week.

No indication whether the damaged pumping systems can be restored.

Pressure buildup at Reactor No. 3 threatened the possibility of more radioactive venting, however it appears that this has not occurred yet.

Apparent restored water pumps to Reactor No. 5 and 6, although they were not of central concern, having been shut down prior to the disaster, in a state known as “cold shutdown.”

Shipment ban of milk from Fukushima, spinach from Ibaraki, high levels found in spinach from Tochigi and Gunma to the west, canola from Gunma, and chrysanthemum greens from Chiba, south of Ibaraki, according to a report from the New York Times.

Based on vegetable contamination, radiation has spread south and west.

The Radiation Network and EPA Network are all ‘clear’ on the west coast U.S., meaning, nothing out of the normal is apparently taking place.



Update, 22-Mar-2011, 0200 UTC

New bursts of radioactive steam from Reactors 2 and 3 and a wind direction shift prompted TEPCO to halt operations of electrical power restoration and water spraying activities due to high radiation levels, nearly 2,000 microsieverts per hour.

Radiation levels in seawater near the Fukushima plant were more than 120 times the ‘legal’ level today. It is presently unknown regarding sea life effects in the area.

Viewing the surface level wind maps from the Japan Meteorological Agency and Weather Underground, confirms that winds are trending from the north, meaning, they are trending to blow from Fukushima generally southward. Yes, Tokyo is south.

High radiation levels are reported in Ibaraki Prefecture, the border of which is just 35 miles from downtown Tokyo.

West Coast U.S. EPA RadNet and the Radiation Network are indicating ‘normal’ readings (Gross CPM).

Update, 22-Mar-2011, 1500 UTC

Soil measurements, 5 cm below surface, 40 miles from Fukushima, 400 times higher than ‘normal’, iodine-131 and cesium-137.

TEPCO ready to restore power in control rooms 3 and 4, as soon as spraying operations are finished today.

Surface winds in Japan still blowing from north to south.

RadNet and Radiation Network measurements remain low.



Update, 23-Mar-2011, 0400 UTC

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will halt imports of dairy products and produce from the area of Japan where a nuclear reactor is leaking radiation. Other foods imported from Japan, including seafood, still will be sold to the public but screened first for radiation.

Although seemingly common-sense, the Japanese government is calling on consumers to refrain from eating leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage produced in Fukushima Prefecture.

Given that electrical power lines have been brought into Fukushima, and based on the lack of information or press-release that electrical cooling systems have been restored at any of the Fukushima reactors, we can logically assume that systems are damaged to sufficient degree, while they are likely attempting repairs.

Infrared temperature readings of Reactor 2 are reportedly around 260 F, well above boiling, indicating that there is no water inside.

Localities around Tokyo are now registering radiation levels of 100 – 300 nGy/h (not panic levels, but high), targetmap.com.

Surface winds are now southeast and southwest, from Fukushima partially towards Tokyo.

Main-Stream-Media is nearly entirely off the subject of the disaster in Japan, while fully engrossed in Libya. The short attention span is a sad thing.



Update, 23-Mar-2011, 1500 UTC

Rain water is believed to have caused radiation levels (iodinge-131) in Tokyo drinking water to have risen well above ‘safe’ levels for infants today in all 23 neighborhoods of Tokyo and 5 surrounding cities, a region of 30 Million people. Huge demand now for bottled water.

New smoke rising from Reactor 3 resulted in worker evacuation from No. 3 reactor, as well as firefighters preparing for a water-spraying operation, which was then abandoned for the day.

Reactor 1 is designed for temperatures up to 575 F. Reactor 1 is now registering 750F.

Workers are now receiving 1 year of maximum radiation in just 30 minutes, and are being constantly rotated.



Update, 24-Mar-2011, 0100 UTC

A NHK helicopter crew has confirmed what appears to be steam rising from No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 reactor buildings.

GE’s Chief of safety research for Boiling Water Reactors (the design used at Fukushima) said there are likely nearly 30 tons of salt in Reactor 1, and 50 tons of salt in each of the remaining reactors. The seawater used to cool the reactors has boiled to steam and has left salt behind, some of which is feared to be ‘sticking’ to the fuel rods – which would further impede the ability to cool.

Power lines are connected to all Reactors, but there are fears of water-cooling-pipes being burst into pieces if the massive cooling pumps ingest air-pockets within the pipes of the system. The process of bleeding the air out of the existing piping is involved and dangerous.

U.S. west coast EPA radiation monitoring stations have identified trace amounts of radioactive iodine, cesium, and tellurium, although the levels are “hundreds of thousands to millions of times below levels of concern”, according to their latest summary report.



Update, 24-Mar-2011, 0100 UTC

3 workers suffered radiation burns on their legs while dragging a cable through contaminated water. (I find it amazing that we have not heard of other ‘accidents’ given what has happened)

Following a work stoppage at Reactor 3 due to black smoke billowing from the building, work has resumed at the most dangerous situation of the six reactors.

Tokyo: Shortages of ‘staple’ supplies including bottled water, rice, instant noodles and milk. Some shops are imposing limits and rationing.



Update, 25-Mar-2011, 0000 UTC

Tokyo: First time that radioactive cesium exceeding the legal limit has been found in a Tokyo vegetable. Radioactive water has been detected at water purification facilities in Tokyo and 5 other prefectures.

Evidently power is ON (lights on) at the control rooms of No. 1 and No.3.

Ongoing pump inspections prior to attempted activation. Particular concerns about pumps causing further damage depending on the state of the plumbing, water level, salt, and air pockets.



Update, 25-Mar-2011, 1600 UTC

A very serious condition now is being reported at Fukushima, from Japanese ‘officials’ including Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who have now said that apparently there has been a reactor core breach, reportedly Reactor No. 3. The belief by some nuclear experts is that ‘Corium’ may be leaking out the bottom of the reactor.

Corium is the ‘melt’ in ‘meltdown’, a lava-like substance formed in the intense heat of a runaway reactor, composed of molten nuclear core fuel.

Reactor No. 3 would be the worst of them all to suffer a direct breach, as it contains MOX fuel including Plutonium.

All work has apparently stopped due to this development, but reports are mixed on this…


The following video is a new perspective look as to what is happening at Fukushima Daiichi regarding radiation in the area. Arnie Gundersen, a Chief Nuclear Engineer.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kgwd_9HyME[/youtube]



Update, 26-Mar-2011, 0130 UTC

Highly radioactive water was found leaking possibly from both reactor No.1 and No. 2.

They have switched to fresh water injection at No. 3, in the hope of preventing crystallized salt (from previous seawater injection cooling) from forming a crust on the fuel rods and hampering smooth water circulation, thus diminishing the cooling effect. It is believed by some that the damage is already done.



Update, 26-Mar-2011, 1600 UTC

Reactor No. 3:
A large vertical crack runs up and down the side of the reactor vessel and is leaking fluids and gases. The problem with cracks is they don’t get smaller.

Food Supply:
Very high levels of radioactive iodine-131 in local seawater threatens seafood supply and fishing.

Fresh Cooling Water injection:
Fresh water (instead of seawater) is apparently coming from U.S. naval barges after the U.S. urgently requested to switch from using the corrosive seawater.



Update, 27-Mar-2011, 2000 UTC

Radiation levels in the basement of Reactor 2 was said to measure 1,000 mSv/h, enough to bring on radiation sickness. For potency relevance, if exposed at this level for 4 hours, it kill half those exposed within 30 days of exposure. TEPCO later retracted the radiation level statement (1,000 mSv/h).

Two weeks after the disaster, still no cooling pumps have come online, leading one to believe that the damage is severe, the apparent meltdown continues, and the situation there may drag on for some time with little ‘effective’ work being reported.



Update, 28-Mar-2011,0130 UTC

Najmedin Meshkati, Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California said, “I think maybe the situation is much more serious than we were led to believe,” adding it may take weeks to stabilize the situation and the United Nations should step in. “This is far beyond what one nation can handle – it needs to be bumped up to the U.N. Security Council. In my humble opinion, this is more important than the Libya no fly zone.”

Ken Replies: I wish the main stream media would follow this advice

Earthquakes continue to rock the region, with a magnitude 6.1 today (USGS revised), just 70 miles from the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Japanese government is considering raising the level of ‘acceptable’ radiation per year from the current level of 1mSV (milliesieverts) per year to a new but ‘temporary’ level of 20 to 100 mSv per year. In the U.S., it is 6 mSv per year.

Fukushima Nuclear Webcam
latest image:
TEPCO, webcam, Fukushima nuclear power plant



Update, 28-Mar-2011, 1700 UTC

Plutonium has been detected in soil at five locations around the Fukushima power plant.

TEPCO continued to remove highly radioactive water from inside reactor buildings, in an effort to enable engineers to restore the power station’s crippled cooling functions.

It is currently requiring 7 tons of water per hour at building / reactor 2, to stay even with the water that is evaporating / steam.

It has been revealed that a crane had fallen on to the fuel pool at Reactor 3 and is thought to have damaged the fuel rods there.

An incredible video of the Fukushima power plant from helicopter, taken 27-Mar-2011

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKFGavZ_rf4[/youtube]



Update, 29-Mar-2011, 1630 UTC

Balancing act: Workers are facing the need to balance two urgent but difficult tasks — the coolant water injection and the removal of leaked radioactive water. “We have reduced the amount of injected water to a minimum given the reactor No. 2′s tendency to spew highly radioactive water,” said Hidehiko Nishiyama, a TEPCO spokesman. TEPCO has decreased the amount of fresh water being injected into its core, allowing the reactor vessel’s temperature to gradually rise — to 160.5 C as of 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The most serious problem is puddles of highly radioactive water found in the basements of turbine buildings of the number 1, 2 and 3 reactors. The source of leaks into the basements of the units is unknown, TEPCO says.

Workers are also trying to pump water out of the turbine houses of the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors.

“TEPCO is in an awful dilemma right now,” said Jim Walsh, an international security expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “One the one hand, they want to cool the reactor and keep the reactor cool, so they have to pour water in. If there is a leak in one of the containment vessels, that water keeps leaking out. So they have a problem where the more they try to cool it down, the greater the radiation hazard as that water leaks out from the plant.”

Update, 30-Mar-2011, 1500 UTC

”We have to find a way out of the contradictory missions” of the incoming water (attempt to cool the fuel) and the removal of contaminated water (leaking out, filling the basements and interconnecting trenches).

The statement above, sums it up. It’s like dumping water into a sieve, except what comes out is extremely radioactive and they are rapidly running out of places to put it. Excess is now running into the ocean where levels of more than 3,000 times the limit are being measured near the drainage outlets of the plant.

The Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan has suggested digging a pool outside the turbine buildings in case the pumped contaminated water exceeds the capacity of the tanks (drainage tanks – which are apparently nearly full).

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano also indicated that all six reactors at the plant should be scrapped. Nishiyama (spokesman for the governmental nuclear regulatory body) said it is expected to take at least 20 years to finish the procedures to decommission the six-reactors. Katsumata (chairman of TEPCO) said TEPCO considers it as an option to cover the troubled reactors with ”stone coffins” made of concrete and iron.



Update, 31-Mar-2011, 1600 UTC

The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that radiation levels beyond the Fukushima evacuation perimeter are currently double that of threshold levels that were established for Chernobyl evacuation.

Officials Say Radioactivity at Crippled Japan Nuke Plant Is 10,000 Times Above Gov’t Standard

Workers at the Fukushima nuclear plant say they expect to die from radiation sickness as a result of their efforts to bring the reactors under control, the mother of one of the men said.

“They have concluded between themselves that it is inevitable some of them may die within weeks or months. They know it is impossible for them not to have been exposed to lethal doses of radiation.”

Iodine tainted milk discovered in Washington state and California with extremely low levels of radiation. The I-131 isotope has a very short half-life of about eight days, so the level detected in milk and milk products is expected to drop relatively quickly.



Update, 01-Apr-2011, 0100 UTC

World’s largest concrete pump heading from South Carolina to Japan aboard the world’s largest cargo plane, a Russian Antonov 225.

Iodine-131 at a concentration of 4,385 times the maximum level permitted under law has been detected in a seawater sample collected about one-fifth mile South of the plant on Wednesday afternoon, exceeding the previous high recorded the day before.

Wednesday’s sampling also revealed cesium-137, which has a half-life of 30 years, at a level 527 times higher than the legal standard.

Dr John Price, a former member of the Safety Policy Unit at the UK’s National Nuclear Corporation has warned that it might be 100 years before melting fuel rods can be safely removed from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant.

antonov-225-with-worlds-largest-concrete-pump



Update, 01-Apr-2011, 1630 UTC

The EPA RadNet is indicating Beta-Gross-Count-Rate (CPM) numbers that appear somewhat higher than they have been in a few locations noted below, while the rest of the network location numbers appear similar to what they’ve been on average. Still though, it is interesting to note the slight changes.

Los Angeles: 81, 105
Sacramento: 69
Reno: 169
Las Vegas: 173
Tucson: 158

Nothing terribly new from Fukushima at the moment. Huge concrete pump en-route (reportedly to retrofit for water? – thought it would’ve been used to begin burying the mess).

TEPCO has apparently been ‘caught’ and scolded for under-reporting some of their previous radiation numbers – groundwater.

Not enough dosimeters to go around for all workers.



Update, 02-Apr-2011, 0000 UTC

Depth of radioactive water in trenches at No. 1, 2, 3 is approximately 3 to 5 feet deep (JAIF report).

Near the No.4 reactor, 400 liters of a synthetic resin solution were sprayed in an experiment intended to solidify contaminated dust and prevent radioactive materials from getting airborne.

At least 90 tons of water (more than 22,000 gallons) a day need to be pumped in to cool the 1,300 stored fuel rods in the pool at Number 4 which is generating an equivalent amount of heat as Reactors 1 and 2 combined.



Update, 02-Apr-2011, 1930 UTC

It has been discovered that radioactive water has been leaking from a crack (about 8 inches wide) in the wall of a maintenance pit between the No. 2 Reactor and the ocean, a pit that contains power cables near the reactor’s water intake used to power pumps.

The radiation level has been measured at over 1,000 milisieverts per hour at the water leak.

TEPCO says it is preparing to pour concrete into the cracked pit to stop the radioactive water leak.



Update, 03-Apr-2011, 1800 UTC

Saturday’s attempts to plug the crack with concrete failed. Preparations underway to inject a type of polymer into the pit in its latest effort to block the leaking water.

The Japanese government said Sunday it will be several months before the radiation stops and permanent cooling systems are restored.



Update, 04-Apr-2011, 1630 UTC

Dumped 11,500 tons of low-level radioactive water in the Pacific Ocean from near Reactor 5 and 6, to make room for disposal of highly radioactive water from No. 2.

Arnie Gundersen speculates that periodic fission is occurring in Reactor 1 based on Neutron detection, chlorine-38 detection and extra heat (95% of which comes from fission). As they flood it with water, the chain reaction begins – boils off the water – then stops. “They need to add boron to the water to stop the chain reaction.”

Reactor 1
Reactor Pressure Vessel temperature, 242 C (467 F) at feed water line nozzle.

Reactor 2
Reactor Pressure Vessel temperature, 139 C (282 F) at feed water line nozzle.

Poured a polymer absorbent as a measure for stopping the water leakage from the pit (no effect)

Reactor 3
Spent Fuel Pool Thermography temperature, 56 C (132 F)

Reactor 4
Spent Fuel Pool Thermography temperature, 32 C (90 F)



Update, 05-Apr-2011, 1600 UTC

TEPCO spotted a crack in the pit and started infusing liquid glass into gravel below the pit near the Number 2 reactor.

Of highest concern, water samples taken near the water intake of the No. 2 reactor contained 1.1 million times the legal limit of cesium 137, which has a half life of 30 years. You might want to take a Geiger counter with you to check the fish, next time you go out to eat… (In all seriousness though, this will obviously affect local fishing and distribution in the area for many years to come.)

Seems like the EPA summary page has the same same copy-and-paste sentence listed for each day:
“EPA’s RadNet radiation air monitors across the U.S. show typical fluctuations in background radiation levels. The levels detected are far below levels of concern.”



Update, 06-Apr-2011, 1600 UTC

U.S. Democratic lawmaker Edward Markey told a House of Representatives hearing on the nuclear disaster that the NRC had told him the reactor core in No. 2 had melted through the vessel. In apparent ‘damage control’ over the statement, NRC Martin Virgilio, deputy executive director for reactor and preparedness programs, said “That’s not clear to us, nor is it clear to us that the reactor has penetrated the vessel”.

Fears of another hydrogen explosion is prompting an effort to inject nitrogen gas into the Reactor No.1. Nuclear fuel can split water molecules and create a hydrogen byproduct. Nitrogen, an inert gas, can offset this effect.

It has been reported that the water leak at Reactor No. 2 (at ‘the pit’) has been successfully plugged with liquid glass, or sodium silicate. Statements have been made though that there may be other outlets now that this one has been plugged. Time will tell.

U.S. government engineers sent to help with the situation, are concerned that the containment vessels which are now filling with water in an attempt to keep what’s left of the fuel rods cool, are vulnerable to the stresses of the water weight, and may possibly break open – especially should a large earthquake aftershock occur.

They are also highly concerned that fragments or particles of nuclear fuel from spent fuel pools above the reactors were blown “up to one mile from the units” when several of the buildings exploded weeks ago.

They also said in their report that the water flow in No. 1 “is severely restricted and likely blocked.” Inside the core itself, “there is likely no water level”. Similar problems exist in No. 2 and No. 3, although the blockage is probably less severe, the assessment says.

“They’ve got a lot of nasty things to negotiate in the future, and one missed step could make the situation much, much worse.”



Update, 07-Apr-2011, 1600 UTC

The Japanese government is considering expanding the evacuation zone around the Fukushima plant an additional 10 km. Currently the zone is a 20 km radius.

A Very strong earthquake (aftershock) of magnitude 7.1, just 75 miles away from Fukushima, has caused power outages in parts of Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures. Buildings in Tokyo swayed for about 1 minute. Fukushima workers have been evacuated.

After injecting nitrogen in Reactor No.1 to avoid a hydrogen explosion, the pressure inside has increased (makes sense), although certainly adding to the stresses of the structure.

Now that the water leak at an exit tunnel at Reactor No. 2 has been successfully plugged, the water inside is now rising underneath the complex and is now apparently just 3 feet from ground level. An overflow will cause a serious slow down to progress there.

The Japanese government is criticizing foreign media for reporting what it says have been misleading statements and over-reacting.

More than 100 South Korean schools have cancelled or shortened classes over fears that rain falling across the country may include radiation from Japan’s stricken nuclear plant.



Interesting to note the strange but very bright blue light during the 7.1 earthquake as recorded from this camera. It may be a transformer explosion, but at that distance it seems awful bright…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71mb45Ol2Us[/youtube]



Update, 08-Apr-2011, 1800 UTC

Toshiba, one of two Japanese nuclear reactor makers, said that it will take 10 years to remove the fuel rods from the four Fukushima reactors and to demolish the facilities there.

China and Russia are ‘expressing concern’ over the Japanese discharge of radioactive water into the ocean. (Not surprising – it’s their backyard…)

The towns around Fukushima Daiichi (12 mile exclusion zone) are dead zones with packs of abandoned pets hunting for food and herds of cattle wandering through the streets.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp9iJ3pPuL8[/youtube]



Update, 09-Apr-2011, 1600 UTC

To stop the leakage of highly contaminate radioactive water into the sea, TEPCO is installing an enclosure mechanism at seawater intake for the No. 2 reactor with steel sheets,’ while planning similar curtains for the Nos. 1, 3 and 4 reactors. The installation will help prevent contaminated water from spreading outside the plant’s bay.

TEPCO will fly a small unmanned helicopter to survey the plant, starting on Sunday depending on the weather, expecting it to capture images of damaged installations at the Nos. 1 to 4 reactors that workers cannot approach due to elevated levels of radiation.

About 60,000 tons of contaminated water lies in basements and trenches outside reactors No. 1, 2 and 3.

The water level rose in a trench at the No. 2 reactor, adding to concern the utility may have to speed up transfer of the radioactive fluid to a waste- treatment facility and tanks. The increase may be happening as the company stopped a leak of radioactive water near the unit on April 6.

Video footage of the tsunami as it hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ3IgHQuCBM[/youtube]



Update, 10-Apr-2011, 1700 UTC

TEPCO still planning to move 60,000 tons of highly radioactive water to other storage tanks and holding areas, while they continue to dump other supposed ‘lesser’ radioactive water into the Pacific ocean.

They have begun using unmanned heavy equipment, remote-controlled power shovels and bulldozers to remove radioactive rubble to be stored in containers at the plant.



Update, 11-Apr-2011, 1800 UTC

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake located 60 miles to the SSE of the plant, temporarily halted all water injection cooling operations. The ongoing onslaught of earthquakes in the region highlight the vulnerability that remains, especially given that the structures are already in a weakened state and under stress from previous quakes.

Scientists are warning that the March 11 event not only will lead to years of aftershocks but might also have increased the risk of a major quake on an adjacent fault. A new calculation by American and Japanese scientists concluded that the March 11 event heightened the strain on a number of faults bracketing the ruptured segment of the Japan Trench.

Evacuation perimeter expanded: At present, those who live in the 20-km range must evacuate while those in the 20-30 km radius ring are asked to stay indoors. The government is expected to change evacuation status from voluntary to mandatory.

Japan may raise the level of the nuke crisis to the most severe, according to Kyodo.



Update, 12-Apr-2011, 0300 UTC
nuclear-meltdown-alert

Fukushima now at Chernobyl level disaster (Level 7)

(NHK) The Japanese government’s nuclear safety agency has decided to raise the crisis level of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant accident from 5 to 7, the worst on the international scale.

Each of the seven steps of the crisis scale represents a ten times increase in the severity of the incident. In other words, the disaster is now officialy 100 times worse than it was (previously at level 5, now at level 7). Many suspected this all along, but now it is official.

(KYODO) The release of a preliminary calculation Monday by the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, said the nuclear plant was releasing up to 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials per hour.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency made the decision on Monday. It says the damaged facilities have been releasing a massive amount of radioactive substances, which are posing a threat to human health and the environment over a wide area.

A fire broke out Tuesday morning, but was soon extinguished, the plant operator said. (no further details on the fire at this time)



Update, 12-Apr-2011, 1400 UTC

Earthquakes continue to pound the region.
Magnitude 5.4, 5.2, 6.2, 6.0, on and on… just during the past 24 hours. Structural integrity remains a concern.

earthquakes-shake-near-fukushima-daiichi-nuclear-plant



Update, 13-Apr-2011, 1600 UTC

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told TEPCO to immediately examine the buildings and consider reinforcement work if they are judged as not sufficiently quake-proof. ”As strong aftershocks occur almost daily, we have to consider what will happen to buildings already damaged by blasts”

Radioactive cesium 25 times above the legal limit for consumption was detected in fish caught off Fukushima Prefecture (sand lance).

One of the sample fish had a level of cesium of 12,500 becquerels per kilogram about 500 meters off the city of Iwaki, and 35 kilometers from the Daiichi nuclear power station, it said. The limit is 500 becquerels under the Food Sanitation Law.

Cesium-137 has a half-lifer of 30 years.

TEPCO says the water temperature in the spent fuel storage pool at the No. 4 reactor has risen to about 90 degrees Celsius. It fears the spent fuel rods may be damaged. (ya think?) TEPCO sprayed 195 tons of water for 6 hours on Wednesday morning.

fukushima-wind-direction-13-apr-2011



Update, 14-Apr-2011, 0400 UTC

An Arnie Gundersen update, an expert that I feel is one of the lone voices of practical realism in the wilderness on this matter
[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/22352930[/vimeo]



Update, 14-Apr-2011, 1700 UTC

After transferring 660 tons of highly radioactive water from ‘the trench’ at Reactor No. 2 to a ‘condenser’ inside the Turbine building of No. 2, the water level noted in the trench has risen again to just 1.5 cm below the level at which they started the transfer. (here’s a thought – do ya think there might be a reactor leak somewhere? time for plan-B?)

An agency spokesman said, “the rise in the water level is likely linked to the continued injection of water into the No. 2 reactor core, which is necessary to prevent the nuclear fuel inside from overheating” “we’re feeling the difficulty of lowering the level of the water in a stable manner”

Concern grew over the state of the No. 3 reactor at one point, as the agency said in the afternoon that the temperature of part of its reactor pressure vessel was found to be rising suddenly. (this is likely due to what is called ‘spontaneous criticality, or recriticality’ of the nuclear fuel – according to Arnie Gundersen)



Update, 15-Apr-2011, 1700 UTC

Nuclear fuel inside the reactors has partially melted and settled in granular form at the bottom of pressure vessels, according to an analysis by the Atomic Energy Society of Japan made public by Friday.

Kyodo reports, “A large buildup of melted nuclear fuel could transform into a molten mass so hot that it could damage the critical containers and eventually leak huge amounts of radioactive materials.”

Plutonium has been detected for the third time in soil samples taken at the complex. (They say, ‘small’ amounts – whatever that means)

TEPCO said it will throw sandbags containing zeolite, a mineral that absorbs radioactive materials, into the sea near the plant, possibly on Friday, to reduce the levels of contamination in the Pacific Ocean.

The U.S. Department of Energy is shipping five large stainless steel tanks for storing water contaminated with radioactive materials.

The levels of radioactive iodine and cesium in groundwater near the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors have increased up to several dozen times in one week, suggesting that toxic water has seeped from nearby reactor turbine buildings or elsewhere.

From the University of Maryland, using the NOAA HYSPLIT model.

fukushima-japan-radioactive-fallout-trajectory-map-15-apr-2011



Update, 16-Apr-2011, 1500 UTC

Radioactive sea water near Reactor No. 2 inside ‘the fence’ that was installed to help reduce water escaping into the ocean, has suddenly risen six times higher than yesterday (radioactive iodine, 6,500 times higher than the legal limit) and and the level of cesium increased four times higher than yesterday.

According to ‘official’ numbers, the accumulated radiation level 30 kilometers away (in Namie) in the three weeks through Friday stood at 17,010 microsieverts. (This is about 3 years worth of typical annual radiation in just 3 weeks, 30 km away)

In an effort to convince the Japanese public that some vegetables grown near Fukushima are OK to eat,  a Japanese government restaurant is now offering Fukushima vegetables, fresh from the nuclear emergency zone. When the restaurant opened for business Friday, politicians rushed in, filling a table of 12. The officials hope that their promotion of Fukushima food can end the growing confusion about what is safe and what is dangerous. (Read the Washington Post story here) …don’t know about you, but this seems a bit crazy – especially having proven that Plutonium has been found in the soil there…



Update, 17-Apr-2011, 2000 UTC

TEPCO says, 6 to 9 months to get Reactor temperatures below 100 C, ‘cold shutdown’ – stable.

Plans are drafted to cover the reactor buildings with concrete walls and roofs.

Reactor No. 2
Plans to seal with sticky cement a part in the Reactor vessel that is believed to have been breached. TEPCO hopes to begin cooling the reactor within roughly three months in the same manner as the No. 1 and 3 reactors.

U.S. made ‘iRobots’ have just entered the Reactor No.3 building to perform measurements (radiation and temperature).
irobot-entering-fukushima-reactor-building



Update, 18-Apr-2011, 2000 UTC

Radiation levels inside No. 1 and No. 3 is apparently 57 millisieverts per hour, slowing down efforts. (odd how they report the same reading for two different locations)

Japanese auto makers are now measuring radiation levels of new cars for export. The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said, “…did not detect levels that could pose a threat to human health” (With their recent increases in ‘safe’ levels, who’s to say… Maybe take a Geiger counter to the auto dealership if you’re thinking of buying a car made in Japan?)

From South Korea television, ”What is most serious is that even a month after the accident, we see no prospects of getting radioactive leakages under control”

From Korean Central News Agency, “The crisis at the Fukushima plant ”is getting more serious”

Spraying a chemical hardening agent around the damaged plant to prevent the migration of radioactive dust and soil. It is an emulsion widely used in construction sites to settle dust. TEPCO says it hopes to finish spraying the agent around the reactor buildings by the end of May, and in the rest of the compound by the end of June. After that stage, the company plans to cover the reactor buildings with huge filter curtains to prevent any further spread of radioactive materials into the environment.



Update, 19-Apr-2011, 1800 UTC

A plan is apparently in place and the process begun to move an estimated 10,000 tons of water exceeding 1,000 millisieverts per hour of radiation (enough to bring on quick radiation poisoning), from the location around Reactor No.2 into a storage tank to be processed in order to remove some of the radiation.

Robots have measured the air temperature inside of Reactor building No. 2, 106 degrees F (41 C) and 95 percent humidity. (Sauna)

Robots are finding high levels of radiation inside Buildings No. 1 and 3, as high as 50 to 60 millisieverts per hour, which is shedding doubt on whether humans will be able to effectively enter and carry out plans of the recently announced road map.

About 1,800 gallons of water are being pumped into each reactor per hour.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/22586794[/vimeo]



Update, 20-Apr-2011, 1700 UTC

After yesterday’s efforts to drain and move some of the highly radioactive water, the level after one day has dropped by only 1 cm. That’s less than half an inch. (as they dump more water in, it just keeps coming out – except what comes out is highly radioactive)

Another report claims the level has dropped 2 cm (less than an inch). (suppose that any drop is better than a rise in this instance)

A Bloomberg report title sums it up well, “Tepco Must End ‘Whack-a-Mole,’ Cover Fukushima Reactors as Typhoons Loom”. Evidently the Typhoon season is only a few months away, and while they highlight seemingly futile efforts that are dropping water supplies by fractions of an inch, and while little Robots dart in and out of doorways taking measurements – others are questioning why aren’t they building containment around the premises.

The Japanese government has downplayed the disaster so much, that their disinformation campaign has led people who are beginning to return to the Fukushima region – thinking that it’s safe enough to do so. Due to the reality that the region actually is highly contaminated with radiation, the government is now considering a ‘legal’ ban on entering within 12 miles of the Fukushima plant. Oops. (brilliant)

From UC Santa Cruz, Daniel Hirsch ‘a renowned expert on nuclear policy often quoted by major media outlets’, said among other things, “Every amount of radiation exposure increases your risk of cancer” “There is no safe level of radiation”. As far as radiation released from Fukushima, Hirsch said experts “do not have a good handle on the amount”.



Update, 21-Apr-2011, 1700 UTC

The Japanese did officially enact a ‘no-entry’ zone of 12 miles (20 km) of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Apparently until now, the evacuation perimeter had not been readily enforced.

Radiation levels of over 100 microsieverts per hour were measured at four locations 2 to 3 kilometers from the Daiichi nuclear plant from late last month, the science ministry said Thursday as it released such data for the first time. Although affected by local wind patterns, if we plug-in the inverse-square-law for dispersion and work the numbers backwards, this translates to approximately 62 millisieverts per hour of radiation just 0.1 miles from the plant during that time period. This is more than 9,000 times higher than the ‘typical’ levels in a ‘normal’ environment. (In the U.S. we typically receive 6 millisieverts per year.

Japan and the International Atomic Energy Agency have agreed to boost their information sharing on the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, State Foreign Secretary Chiaki Takahashi said Thursday. (OK, we’ll see. Too bad this didn’t happen sooner)

TEPCO reports that 520 tons of highly radioactive water has drained into the ocean since April 1. They site measurements of radioactive-iodine-131 (which has a half life of 8 days, considered gone after 80 days), but alarmingly they have not released measurements of Cesium, which has a half life of 30 years, considered gone after 300 years).

RoboCam from inside a Reactor building

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQig6SAddZ0[/youtube]



Update, 22-Apr-2011, 0100 UTC

Arnie Gundersen video update
[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/22706805[/vimeo]



Update, 22-Apr-2011, 1600 UTC

Political Posturing: “Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato said Friday he will never allow Tokyo Electric Power Co. to resume operations at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.” (I can’t imagine how they would resume operations – the place is now essentially a pile of nuclear rubble)

Finding new ‘friendly’ ways to describe the situation: The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission says conditions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are “static but fragile.”

Reactor No. 1 Pressure Vessel Temperature (153 C)
Reactor No. 2 Pressure Vessel Temperature (136 C)
Reactor No. 3 Pressure Vessel Temperature (101 C)

A magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck 130 miles to the south
A magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck 14 miles to the south (that was close)

Google Earth (18-mar-2011)
fukushima-daiichi-18-mar-2011



Update, 23-Apr-2011, 1800 UTC

30 Fukushima workers have now received radiation dosage exceeding 100 millisieverts.

A small piece of concrete, about 1 foot x 1 foot x 2 inches, has been found that is emitting 900 millisieverts per hour of radiation (that level is extremely dangerous to one’s health). It was found during cleanup operations of the exploded debris from Building No. 3. (no doubt there are more…)

140 tons of water was injected into the fuel rod storage pool of No.4 on Saturday as the water temperature remained above 90 degrees Celsius, much higher than normal. (10 more degrees and we have highly radioactive steam entering the world once again)

There are fears that the weight of the water might be further damaging the No. 4 reactor building. The company (TEPCO) says it will be more cautious about the volume of cooling water it injects. It promised to monitor the level and temperature of the water in the pool. (insert sarcasm: that’s reassuring…)

The Japanese government has expressed concern about the structural strength of the No. 1 reactor, saying water injections to cool fuel rods may be making the vessel less earthquake-resistant. (there has been more and more talk of this – sounds like the ‘officials’ are posturing themselves prior to a possible structural collapse in the future)

‘Experts’ have pointed out that since reactors weren’t designed to be filled up with water, the process could put strain on structures and possibly cause cracks, especially if the area were hit by another major tremor as aftershocks continue to rumble around Japan. (makes sense to me…)



Update, 24-Apr-2011, 1700 UTC

TEPCO has created a map of radiation levels at and around the plant as part of its removal of radioactive debris. It indicates the number of millisieverts per hour at each location.

The company says it will try to complete the clean-up work by July, but hasn’t decided on places and methods of disposing of removed debris yet.

They have decided to construct temporary storage tanks for highly radioactive waste-water that has accumulated. The radioactive water will be sorted into 3 levels of contamination – low, medium and high – and will be stored accordingly.

At the Number 4 reactor, they injected 200 tons of water on Friday and 140 tons of water on Saturday into the reactor’s storage pool for spent fuel rods as the water temperature remained above 90 degrees Celsius, much higher than normal. But there are fears that the weight of the water might be further damaging the No. 4 reactor building.



Update, 25-Apr-2011, 1600 UTC

There are 1,535 fuel rods stored in the No. 4 fuel pool, the most in the entire facility. The temperature has risen precariously close to boiling while a balancing act of water injection versus weight and structural integrity continues. They had backed off on new daily water to 70 tons (17,500 gallons) but the temperature quickly rose to within several degrees of boiling. 210 tons (52,500 gallons) will be injected Monday in an attempt to cool it down.

The no-go evacuation zone (20 km) according to NHK has more than 370 livestock farms containing 4,000 cattle, 30,000 pigs, 630,000 chickens and 100 horses. Many of these animals have died or are facing starvation since their owners evacuated. Fukushima Prefecture has launched an operation to euthanize the weakened animals, return those grazing outside to barns, and disinfect the carcasses of the dead ones.

Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said it would halve the total compensation of its president, chairman and other top executives as it grapples with the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years at its Fukushima Daiichi plant. (Too bad this type of reprimand doesn’t happen in the U.S. where the execs and banksters compensation continues to soar amid the enormous taxpayer bailouts and government protections)



Update, 26-Apr-2011, 1700 UTC

Robots checking for suspected leaks in No.1 before attempts are made to further flood Reactor No. 1 with more water than before, in an attempt to cool it further.

News regarding this event is becoming very scarce – nothing new.



Update, 27-Apr-2011, 1700 UTC

(JAIF) Radiation monitors were given to 55 educational facilities from kindergartens to high schools of Fukushima Prefecture.

(JAIF) Workers are removing radiation-tainted topsoil from school grounds in the northeastern Japanese city of Koriyama.

Tests have begun on No. 1 and No.3, injecting more water into the reactors than in the past. Then, 18 hours later they will send in the Robots to check for leaks.

Japan’s science ministry has for the first time released a map projecting estimated cumulative radiation exposure near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The science ministry says it will update its data twice a month on its website. It also says it plans to release a map of radiation levels in the soil.

Link to Japan Ministry of Science and Technology ‘Reading of environmental radioactivity level’

Ongoing concerns about a leak at No.4 fuel pool (This has pretty much been proven and documented since early on… why they keep mentioning it as though it’s a new thing is beyond me… I suppose this is simply a slow process of admitting that the issue exists.)



Update, 28-Apr-2011, 1600 UTC

The Japan health ministry plans to scrap the annual radiation dose limit for nuclear power plant workers… to secure enough workers for maintenance and checkups of nuclear power plants other than the Fukushima power station.

The ‘test’ injection of more water helped to cool the No. 1 reactor core faster and there appeared to be no major leakage from the No. 4 unit’s spent fuel storage pool. However…

…From the Wall Street Journal, Tepco said Thursday they would postpone their plan to cool reactors via the injection of massive amounts of water that would flood the containment vessels that house each unit. The plan to fill the containment vessels is a departure from the current system of continuously injecting water on to the fuel rods. They didn’t say when it might resume.

The trial run saw a more-than-anticipated drop in the temperature and the pressure inside the plant’s No. 1 reactor, raising the possibility that air from outside could enter and spark an explosion when oxygen hits the hydrogen inside the reactor. Similar explosions in the first week of the crisis exacerbated damage and radiation at the plant.



Update, 29-Apr-2011, 1700 UTC

Arnie Gunderson’s latest video hypothesizes about the explosion that occurred in Building No. 3, likely a ‘prompt criticality nuclear reaction’ from the 50′x50′x50′ fuel pool (located above the reactor itself) which was likely empty of cooling water leading to a detonation which shot pieces of fuel rods up to 2 miles away from the building.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/22865967[/vimeo]



Update, 30-Apr-2011, 1700 UTC

Japanese Radiation Adviser Quits in Rebuke to Government
Kosako criticized the government for what he said is its “impromptu” handling of the crisis and slow pace of bringing the nuclear facility’s radiation leaks under control.



Nuclear dirty-bomb explosion of No.3, which Gundersen describes in his video

fukushima-3-nuclear-dirty-bomb-explosion



Update, 2-May-2011, 1700 UTC

Japanese government’s safety standards on radiation levels at elementary and junior high schools in Fukushima Prefecture apparently states that it is safe for schoolchildren to use school playgrounds as long as the dose they are exposed to does not exceed 20 millisieverts over a year (5 times the average for adults in the U.S.).

U.S. doctors of the group, Physicians for Social Responsibility, said “Any exposure, including exposure to naturally occurring background radiation, creates an increased risk of cancer.” “Children are much more vulnerable than adults to the effects of radiation, and fetuses are even more vulnerable.”

“(Twenty millisieverts) for children exposes them to a 1 in 200 risk of getting cancer. And if they are exposed to this dose for two years, the risk is 1 in 100. There is no way that this level of exposure can be considered ‘safe’ for children,” the statement said.



Update, 3-May-2011, 1600 UTC

Reactor Temperatures (still above boiling)

Reactor No. 1 (142 C, 287 F)
Reactor No. 2 (117 C, 242 F)
Reactor No. 3 (111 C, 231 F)
Fuel Pool No. 4 (90 C, 194 F)

Once again, sea water radiation levels are spiking. Radiation readings have risen to 100-1,000 times the normal level on the Pacific seabed at points 20-30 meters deep.

Marco Kaltofen, Professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute
[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/23186557[/vimeo]



Update, 5-May-2011, 1700 UTC

For the first time since the hydrogen explosion, workers entered Building No. 1 with a plan to install a ventilation filtration system to reduce the level of radioactivity inside, which in turn will allow more effective work towards establishing more realistic cooling to the reactor itself.

Two workers, wearing air tanks similar to those used by scuba divers, were the first inside and spent about 25 minutes there, officials said. Eleven more soon followed to install air filtration ducts. Officials hope to install similar systems at the plant’s Unit 2 and Unit 3 reactors, but say greater obstacles there have slowed progress.

Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director-general of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said sea sediment with radioactivity 1,000 times higher than usual was found near the plant.



Update, 7-May-2011

On Thursday, the company switched on a new filtering system that removes radioactive substances from the air drawn from the Number 1 reactor building.

Meanwhile, the temperature of the bottom of the Number 3 reactor’s pressure vessel reached 150.3 degrees Celsius at 11 AM on Saturday, or about 40 degrees higher than 10 days ago.

TEPCO believes this is being caused by a decrease in the amount of water being injected to cool the reactor. It says it plans to switch to a different pipe neby.

Workers will be sent into the Number 1 reactor building as early as Sunday afternoon to step up efforts to restore the cooling system.

Arnie Gundersen Update:
Airborne Releases
Unit 3 Explosion
Liquid Releases

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/23393101[/vimeo]



Update, 9-May-2011

Questions regarding the effectiveness of the No. 1 filtration system. 10 to 70 millisieverts per hour were detected in areas where workers would be expected to spend prolonged periods of time inside. Some levels were as high as 700 millisieverts per hour at ‘hot spots’ at the building.

xinhuanet news:
Workers opened the main access points to the reactor and in doing so freely released 500 million becquerels of radioactive substances into the atmosphere, where it had gathered in the upper part of the reactor.

A Swedish company that provided robots to clean up waste at Chernobyl after the 1986 nuclear disaster will provide machinery to remove rubble at reactor buildings at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

JAIF:
They have detected high levels of radioactive strontium in soil inside the compound. Strontium can cause cancer and like calcium it tends to collect in bones once
humans inhale it. Up to 570 becquerels of strontium 90 per kilogram of dry soil were detected in samples taken from 3 locations.

Reactor No. 3 temperature: 208 Celsius (that doesn’t seem good)

There have been some blog reports, photos, and a video floating around the internet regarding a supposed mystery fire, some say occurred at or near Reactor No. 3. have no exacting information, but felt it worthy to post a photo mosaic of the incident captured from video frames of a webcam pointing at the plant. There has evidently been zero main-stream-media coverage of what this may have been.
mystery-fire-at-fukushima-daiichi



Update, 10-May-2011

Concerns about Reactor No. 3 temperature increase has prompted a change in the location of water injection and an increase in the amount of water injected per hour (now 9 tons per hour).

We’ve heard it before, but again, high levels of radiation (this time in No. 1) has slowed down work in the immediate vicinity. 700 millisieverts per hour is the current measurement (that’s extremely high by the way…)

The Japanese Science Ministry and the US Energy Department conducted a joint aerial survey from April 6th to the 29th of the area within an 80-kilometer radius of the plant. The map shows the density of radioactive cesium in red or yellow, depending on the concentration in the soil. The high density area lies northwest of the plant, coinciding with data collected on the ground.
japan-science-ministry-radiation-map



Update, 13-May-2011

New TEPCO statements reveal the following:

After 2 months of sunny news reporting of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster from the main-stream-media, government and nuclear agencies, it seems that, well… the Reactor pressure vessel of No.1 has holes in the bottom… what’s left of the nuclear rods are completely exposed to air within the vessel… and there is a blob of molten nuclear goo at the bottom from the mostly melted nuclear rods – melting its way into the containment chamber – which itself is leaking to the outside. Surprise, surprise (not surprising for most of us following this disaster).

Image of the likely situation, Reactor No. 1
fukushima-daiichi-water-level-nuclear-reactor-1
Credit: Daily Yomiuri Online

There are new concerns that very large amounts of cold water hitting the melted fuel could cause an explosion, trigger substantial damage to the reactor and create a “high risk of atmospheric release running for days, if not weeks.” “I think [the flooding option] will now be scrapped.” said Shaun Burnie, nuclear adviser to Greenpeace Germany.

TEPCO says the melted fuel has apparently cooled, even though much of the injected water is leaking through holes at the bottom of the vessel.

An ‘official’ from Japan’s nuclear safety agency says TEPCO will only inject water to a height that would allow the system to work (just enough for cooling). He said TEPCO will likely change its strategy and inject water to the minimum necessary level.

There are concerns that No. 2 may be in a similar state as No.1, that is, melted rods at the bottom of the reactor, leaking through into the containment chamber.

Unit No. 3 apparently has no water. Arnie Gundersen indicates the remaining possibility of hydrogen explosion.

Unit No. 4, the top section of the building is leaning (the fuel pool is up there). Concerns that an earthquake aftershock of sufficient magnitude could topple it.

Radioactive cesium exceeding the state limit has been detected in tea leaves harvested in 5 municipalities neighboring Tokyo.

A radioactive cesium exceeding the state limit has been detected in pasture grass and vegetables in Tochigi and Ibaraki prefectures, neighboring Fukushima Prefecture. The local government instructed wholesale distributors to stop selling parsley.

Update: Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Associates
Highly Recommended viewing…
[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/23680177[/vimeo]



Update, 15-May-2011

NHK World reports on Friday, a robot at Unit No. 1 detected a maximum of 2,000 millisieverts of radiation per hour on the first floor of the reactor building. This is the equivalent of 333 years of radiation that is typically received by Americans in their environment. In other words, your dead if exposed to this much. Why isn’t this widely reported? Astonishing.. The radiation level is the highest since the disaster began.

It is quite apparent that the melted-down fuel rods have to some degree melted and dropped through the bottom of the reactor vessel and are now in the containment structure (concrete) which is leaking openly to the environment.

TEPCO says it may take a number of years to remove damaged nuclear fuel rods from the Number 1 reactor. The question is… during that time period, will the radiation be contained or still leaking into the environment

Wall Street Journal: The pressure vessel, a cylindrical steel container that holds nuclear fuel, “is likely to be damaged and leaking water at Units Nos. 2-3,” said Junichi Matsumoto, Tepco spokesman on nuclear issues, in a news briefing Sunday.

He also said there could be far less cooling water in the pressure vessels of Unit Nos. 2-3, indicating that there are holes at the bottom of these vessels, with thousands of tons of water that was pumped into these reactors mostly leaking out.

Tepco separately released its analysis on the timeline of the meltdown at Unit No. 1. According to the analysis, the reactor core, or the nuclear fuel, was exposed to the air within five hours after the plant was struck by the earthquake. The temperature inside the core reached 2,800 degrees Celsius in six hours, causing the fuel pellets to melt away rapidly.

Within 16 hours, the reactor core melted, dropped to the bottom of the pressure vessel and created a hole there.

I have noticed now that news of the this disaster is mostly entirely vanished from the main-stream-media, TEPCO is now trickling out news such as what is reported in today’s update, news which is quite serious, news which has been mostly denied by officials up until this time.



Update, 17-May-2011

Sources: NHK, KYODO, and other media outlets

More than two months after the nuclear meltdown, the Japanese government says a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency will arrive in Japan next week to investigate the Fukushima accident.

They have begun to pump an estimated 22,000 tons of highly contaminated radioactive water from the No. 3 reactor to a temporary storage facility at the plant, where radioactive water from the No.2 reactor is already being transferred. The ‘megafloat’ water storage barge has arrived at port near the plant. It will be moved over to the plant where it will be used to store up to 10,000 tons of radioactive water. The apparent plan is to eventually filter the water to remove contamination.

Municipalities neighboring Tokyo where harvested tea leaves were discovered to be highly contaminated with radioactive cesium (half life: 30 years, gone after 300 years), are debating where to put them and how to dispose of them.

Businesses in Iwaki City (about 30 km away) are demanding that Fukushima Daiichi be permanently shut down as radiation leaks are harming their business. Manufacturers are demanding radiation checks for products and sales of farm produce has fallen. um…. really?

TEPCO plans to set up a facility in the plant’s compound probably, next month, to deal with contaminated water accumulated in the course of water injection into the reactors. Such water is estimated to total 200,000 tons within the year. TEPCO says the facility is designed to lower the radioactive density of contaminated water so it can be reused to cool the reactors, or be stored as relatively low-level radioactive water.

Fukushima Daiichi Cam



Update, 19-May-2011

Apparently, according to a Bloomberg report, A radiation alarm went off at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima nuclear power plant before the tsunami hit on March 11, suggesting that contrary to earlier assumptions the reactors were damaged by the earthquake that spawned the wall of water. Fukushima Reactor May Have Leaked Radiation Before Tsunami Struck

“When it comes to the oceans, however,” says Ken Buesseler, a chemical oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, “the impact of Fukushima exceeds Chernobyl.” “Levels of some radionuclides are at least an order of magnitude higher than the highest levels in 1986 in the Baltic and Black Seas, the two ocean water bodies closest to Chernobyl.” Radioactivity In The Oceans After Fukushima Disaster


Devastation Inside Fukushima Nuclear Plant
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqLuxJNNcjE[/youtube]


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was warned years ago regarding the dangers of the existing vent valves which led to the hydrogen explosions at Fukushima Daiichi.

New York Times:
Mr. Sarrack said that the vents, which are supposed to relieve pressure at crippled plants and keep containment structures intact, should not be dependent on electric power and workers’ ability to operate critical valves because power might be cut in an emergency and workers might be incapacitated. Part of the reason the venting system in Japan failed — allowing disastrous hydrogen explosions — is that power to the plant was knocked out by a tsunami that followed a major earthquake. U.S. Was Warned on Vents Before Failure at Japan’s Plant


TEPCO releases photos of tsunami hitting plant



Update, 22-May-2011

TEPCO: Half a Million pounds of radioactive water leaked into the sea during early May. 20 terabecquerels of radioactive materials flowed out to sea.

(AFP) TEPCO and official regulators avoided direct reference to the term “meltdown” to “lead the public into underestimating what was really happening.” Public anger and confusion have intensified, and critics say the latest revisions underline the slowness of moves to ensure the safety of nearby residents.

Wall Street Journal: …vapor is still seen sometimes from the spent fuel pools at reactors No. 2, 3 and 4, depending on the weather and wind direction of the day.



Update, 29-May-2011
13 degrees away from boiling… The water cooling ceased to function in No.5 during Saturday and reached 87 degrees C before getting it back under control. Oops.

Here we go… next problem – Typhoons (a.k.a. Hurricanes). Talk about spreading radioactivity, how about typhoon winds and rain…
“…we have not completed covering the damaged reactor buildings,” a Tepco official said on Saturday. “We apologize for the lack of significant measures against wind and rain,” the official added. [Insert Sarcasm] Well, since you apologized, it’s all good

100,000 tons of radioactive water. That’s enough to fill roughly 40 Olympic-size swimming pools. That’s what’s flooded the 6 reactor buildings. This is going to (is) work it’s way into the water supply and become an increasing threat to the longevity of life itself. At least to those who drink the water.

Shocking, I know… “Radiation up to several hundred times normal levels has been detected on the seabed off the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, Japan’s Science Ministry has said.”

Why do all of the media outlets copy and paste the exact same thing, that is, ” the crippled Fukushima…”? Crippled? Really?

 

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