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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another Fire in Fukushima Reactor Complex!

The Nuclear catastrophe continues to increase the apocalyptic nightmare situation of the poor people of Japan. 

As if a 9pt Earthquake with endless after shocks weren't enough, a Tsunami that wiped out 200 miles of coastline communities and three huge explosions at the Nuclear Complex weren't enough, now horrific fires have broken out in the spent fuel rod storage "ponds". 

NPR has the story on the latest episode.

A satellite image showing the Fukushima Dai-Ni nuclear power plant after the earthquake. Radiation near the nuclear plant reached levels harmful to health, officials said on March 15, advising thousands of people to stay indoors after two explosions and a fire at the facility.

The credibility of officials in Japan and elsewhere is becoming stretched to the breaking point. The Tokyo Electric Power Plant officials are admitting that there IS a danger of radiation exposure for people within the near range of the damaged plant. A No-Fly Zone has been declared over the site to prevent aircraft from bringing radiation contamination back to their destinations.

Fifty brave workers are staying on site while 800 others have left the site.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has been a clarion voice of reason in the midst on seemingly endless denial of all government officials. They have been speaking out in the last few days and
warning that this incident is a huge wake-up call, on the recent rush towards a "nuclear renaissance" that has been pushed in the last few years.

40 Years of Doubts About Mark I Containment

The New York Times ran a story today citing memos from September 1972 by officials in the Atomic Energy Commission, the forerunner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), showing longstanding concerns about the ability of reactors like those at Fukushima Dai-Ichi to contain a nuclear accident.
These documents and others that raise questions about the Mark I and similar pressure-suppression containment systems for reactors are likely to spur a discussion of its safety in the U.S. and elsewhere.
In the U.S., there are currently 35 operating boiling-water reactors, all of which use pressure-suppression containment. Of these, 23 reactors use the Mark I. In addition, there are 9 pressurized-water reactors operating in the U.S. that use ice-condenser containment, which has the same shortcomings.
The 1972 documents linked to by the NYT story were originally obtained by UCS through a FOIA request. UCS released them publicly with a press release in October 1972 - the month following the exchange of memos.

Union of Concerned Scientists graphic on
how the reactors are constructed

NPR is reporting that the temperatures in the "pools" with the spent fuel rods have now reached 
183 degrees (F). This is twice the safe level.

A new fire broke out Wednesday in an already fire-damaged reactor at a crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Hajimi Motujuku says the blaze erupted early Wednesday in the outer housing of the reactor's containment vessel. Fire fighters are trying to put out the flames. Japan's nuclear safety agency also confirmed the fire, whose cause was not immediately known.

It is the second fire to break out at the plant's reactor No. 4 in as many days. The first occurred Tuesday morning near a pool where spent fuel rods are left to cool. That fire and an apparent explosion damaged the reactor's roof, and there are concerns that the spent fuel rods are overheating.
Desperate plant operators are considering dramatic plans to stave off a meltdown in the reactor, including dumping water on it by helicopter. But plant operators are worried that the water wouldn't reach the fuel rods.
According to NHK television, officials at Tokyo Electric Power Co. decided a hole in the roof of the reactor was "dozens of meters" from the swimming-pool-like chamber where the spent fuel rods are overheating. So a helicopter dump, similar to putting out a forest fire, probably wouldn't reach the pool.
Moreover, officials say helicopters can't carry enough water to do the job. And Japanese defense ministry officials are worried about the safety of military personnel on the helicopters, according to Kyodo News.

TEPCO, which operates the Fukushima power plant, is still considering the use of high-pressure fire hoses to spray cooling water into the spent-fuel pool. 


  1. I think they have now admitted to four explosions.

    BTW, don't forget to vote before 9:00PM for Eric Nelson to the King Conservation supervisor Position #2.

  2. I think I would not criticize the Japanese government while they are trying to deal with the effects of the loss of power due to the earthquake AND the loss of backup power plant due to the tsunami -- they don't have a lot of time to spent holding press conferences when they are working on the plant or their workers have no food, water, heat, or light.

  3. I have nothing but sympathy for the people of Japan and all the workers and volunteers who are trying so hard to cope.

    But news reports today reflect the growing anger amongst the Japanese public with the statements and lack of information coming from their government.

    I am saying that the government statements of denial of the dangers posed by their nuclear plant, are not surprising, but they are disturbingly deceptive and overly optimistic.

    We certainly hope they can get a handle on the problems and begin the clean up and repair their country. I have no doubt that the Japanese people and their incredible industriousness and ability will triumph eventually over this disaster.

  4. Maybe the Japanese government is not providing more information because the situation is rapidly changing and communication lines are down, did that not occur to you? Plus, they pulled out the 50 workers that were in the plant for a while, who just re-entered. When all the monitoring systems are down and no one is in the plant, how does the government know what to tell the public or the media?

    Deceptive, I think not. Optimistic, I don't think they have been optimistic for the past few days when they are telling people a partial meltdown is underway.

    Let's see your unbiased source of how the Japanese people are growing angry, or did you go to the Huffington Post (which well know has an agenda)?

  5. A picture of Japanese political, bureaucratic & corporate leadership is related here:

    Prime Minister Kan was on his way out before the earthquake last week, he is not part of the ruling Liberal Democrats that control most of the bureaucracy, and everyone is reliant upon that TEPCO tells them.

    So where is the deception, or is it just a broken system?

  6. Well, a story on NPR this AM stated just that, "Growing Anger".

    I certainly agree with you that they have very difficult communications problems now, and it is understandable to a point that they don't have enough information.

    But, some of their officials have shown credibility problems. I'm also comparing what they said to a similar line we're hearing from US officials on the subject. It is eerily reminiscent of what was said back when Three Mile Island happened.

    "Not to worry" seems to be the constant refrain.

    But, since yesterday, I've sensed a more realistic tone from the Japanese officials.

    It's all very sad and scary.

    Thanks for commenting.