Fecking Fukushima

Why do I keep banging on about the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant..? It’s because Fukushima is no longer in the headlines, and it should be because it’s probably the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, and it has the potential to become much worse than Chernobyl.

Here’s the latest report on the reactors, issued today, from Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA)…

http://www.nisa.meti.go.jp/english/files/en20110323-2-2.pdf

Please note from the above link that the temperature of reactor No.1 reached 400 Celsius today, and reactor No.2 hit 279 Celsius. When the reactors are in operation they’re designed to run at a temperature of 302 Celsius (575 F); but remember, all the reactors were shut down 12 days ago, when the earthquake struck. After shut down the temperature in the reactors should have rapidly fallen to well below 100 C. This hasn’t happened. You may also notice from today’s NISA report that there is no temperature data for the spent fuel cooling pools of reactors 1, 3 and 4. The NISA report also says that there is “Possible damage of the suppression chamber” of reactor No.2.

It’s bloody horrifying stuff: one reactor in meltdown, one nearing meltdown, and one with a ‘possible’ cracked containment structure (the reason reactor No.2’s temperatures are ‘normal’ might be because it’s fuel has already melted and flowed out of the containment structure – if you recall, there was a lot of problems with reactor No.2 last week), and God knows what’s happening with the spent fuel pools, particularly the one at reactor No.4.

It’s all very depressing, particularly when you get on to the ramifications. This next report, also from today, from Reuters, says that in the first 4 days of the Fukushima crisis it’s estimated that radiation released into the environment was 20 to 50 percent of the radiation released at Chernobyl. That was the first 4 days of a crisis that has now been going on for 12 days…

Japan iodine release lower than Chernobyl

And it gets worse, with the Japan Broadcasting Corporation reporting today that at a village 40 km (about 28 miles) from the Fukushima Daiichi plant radiation levels in the soil have been found to be 1,600 times higher than normal…

Extremely high radiation found in soil

And also today reports of gamma radiation (it’s what they mean by a ‘neutron beam’) near the plant. Gamma is the worst kind of radiation when it comes to human health; the only thing that can stop it is a thick layer of lead…

Neutron beam observed 13 times at crippled Fukushima nuke plant

I’m no doubt depressing you dear reader, but this is a story that’s not being widely reported in the West at the moment, and it’s a story that needs to be told; why does it need to be told..? because even if you live on the other side of the world this will still effect you. Today the first wave of radiation from Fukushima reached Europe (minute levels; no threat to human health). It’s not airborne radiation that will be the problem worldwide, instead it’s the amount of radiation released into the ecosystem. Again today, I’ve seen the first official reports that sea water used to cool the reactors and cooling ponds is not being contained, but is going back to the land and ocean; and apparently, sea water is not being used for secondary cooling, but is being pumped directly into the reactor cores (be careful what seafood you eat over the next 30 years)…

Heightened discharges as pump truck arrives

To give some idea of just how much emergency water is being used to cool the reactors and cooling pools, just during March 20th and 21st the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) reported that workers poured “40 tons of seawater to the Unit 2 pool, 1137 tons of sea water to the Unit 3 pool, and 90 tons of fresh water to the Unit 4 pool”.

Here’s a video shot yesterday, showing the No.3 reactor building being sprayed with sea water. This building, and everything around it, is highly radioactive. You will notice in the video how much water is falling off the reactor building and returning to the land…

People in the Americas and Europe and Africa will not be in any great danger from airborne radiation, even if Fukushima gets as bad as it can get. The greatest danger for folks in these regions is if radiation gets into the food chain. For people in Japan and the rest of this part of Asia things will be much worse.

I don’t usually use AOL as a news source; however, I found this to be an interesting piece about someone who suffered as a result of the Chernobyl disaster…

Chernobyl Cleanup Survivor’s Message for Japan: ‘Run Away as Quickly as Possible’

Sleep tight and don’t have too many nightmares; yet I’m afraid that sometime soon you’ll see the Japan nuclear crisis at the top of the news bulletins again.

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