Oldspeak: “The deafening silence continues with next to no coverage of this ongoing environmental catastrophe. More than 2 months later we learn that 3 of the 4 reactors have melted down. Crickets from corporate media. The Russians having gone through Chernobyl are rightfully concerned and are reporting on it. With recently raised ‘acceptable’ radiation limits at 1000 times that which is safe for the human body, and radiation detectors turned off, apparently there is nothing to be concerned about here. “Ignorance is Strength”.
By Kurt Nimmo @ Infowars:
Professor Christopher Busby, who sits on the European Committee on Radiation Risks, told RT yesterday that the reactors at Fukushima are a raging nuclear inferno and he believes at least one of the reactors is now outside its containment structure and emitting vast amounts of radiation into the atmosphere.
The Japanese newspaper Asahi reports today that data reveals meltdowns occurred at the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors. Goshi Hosono, special adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, acknowledged the likelihood of meltdowns. “We have to assume that meltdowns have taken place,” Hosono said at a news conference May 16.
Infowars.com and other alternative news sources reported the probability of a nuclear meltdown at the plant, but this was virtually ignored by the corporate media.
Soon after an earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant, nuclear experts said meltdowns occurred at all three reactors. TEPCO and the corporate media downplayed the possibility of nuclear meltdown. On April 17, TEPCO released a schedule to reach a cold shutdown at the Fukushima plant within six to nine months, but eventually had to revise the schedule.
Nuclear experts indicate more than a decade will be required to remove the melted fuel, eliminate the contamination, and dismantle the reactors.
Public release of data on the situation at the plant, which had been kept at the central control room, was delayed because it took time to restore power and remove radioactive materials attached to the papers, according to TEPCO. According to the data, the pressure in the pressure vessel of the No. 2 reactor dropped at 6:43 p.m. on March 15. A similar drop in pressure also took place at the No. 3 reactor at 11:50 p.m. on March 16.
“We have yet to be able to grasp the entire situation at the plant,” a TEPCO official said on May 16.
Radioactive technetium was discovered in water in the No. 3 reactor building. The discovery raised speculation that the melted nuclear fuel has breached the pressure vessel and landed in the containment vessel. Technetium is produced when nuclear fuel rods are damaged.
- TEPCO admits nuclear meltdown occurred at Fukushima reactor 16 hours after quake(tipggita32.wordpress.com)
- TEPCO now confirms nuclear meltdown in Fukushima reactor No. 1(theboldcorsicanflame.wordpress.com)
Fukushima Reactor 1 melted down, 2 and 3 may have too
By John Timmer @ Ars Technica:
Yesterday, TEPCO, the company responsible for running the Fukushima nuclear reactors, released a provisional analysis of the events that occurred in Unit 1, one of the reactors that was active when the tsunami struck. In five stark pages, the report lays out the impact of the tsunami on the facility: water levels that plunged below the bottom of the fuel, a complete meltdown of the nuclear fuel, and extensive damage to the reactor vessel.
The new analysis was enabled by the recent installation of air purifiers that let personnel reenter the reactor control room for the first time. Once inside, they were able to recalibrate some of the instruments that have been monitoring the reactor core; the revised numbers have enabled TEPCO to better understand what happened in the wake of the tsunami.
Things moved fairly quickly: by four hours after the tsunami hit, the levels of cooling water had dropped enough that the top of the fuel stack was exposed to the air. Shortly after that happened, the temperature in the core reached nearly 3,000°C, and the cooling water boiled off the bottom of the fuel stack. Melting of fuel rods started at 4.8 hours after the earthquake hit, and a partial meltdown had already occurred by 5.1 hours. According to TEPCO, any residual integrity in the fuel rods was gone by 15 hours after the quake, and the reactor core was emptied of fuel by 16 hours.
If there’s a bright side here, it’s that, by melting to the floor of the reactor, most of the fuel was resubmerged in cooling water. Temperatures there are now in the area of 100-120°C. The temperatures still fluctuate based on the rate of cooling water injection, suggesting the majority of the fuel is still inside the reactor vessel. The temperature and pressure readings indicate that the vessel is generally intact, as well. But the continued loss of cooling water indicates that it almost certainly has been leaking water that is heavily contaminated with radioactive isotopes (though not necessarily reactor fuel).
As Nature’s Geoff Brumfiel puts it, “Nobody really knows where all the water is going—but it can’t be anywhere good.” The best hope is that it largely leaked into the basement areas of the reactor building but we currently don’t know for certain where the water escaped to or how far it has spread. Complicating matters further arereports that TEPCO thinks that the two other reactors that were active at the time of the quake suffered similar damage. Confirmation will have to wait for access to their control rooms.
All of this will make the cleanup efforts extraordinarily complex, as the fuel can no longer be lifted out using the structure it was incorporated into, since all that supporting material has melted away. Workers will also have to contend with leaks of highly radioactive water during the process; that water will have to be removed or contained before it leaches into the surrounding soil. There are positives here—temperatures are relatively low now, and the fuel appears to have remained in the reactor vessel—but Fukushima is likely to be a long-term worry.
- The TEPCO report (tepco.co.jp)