Thursday, May 12, 2011

Update on the ongoing nuclear disaster in Japan

TEPCO (the Japanese power company) finally was able to enter Reacter No. 1, and they found that a complete meltdown had happened there.  For weeks they had been dumping sea water into the container that holds the rods, but they now know that it was to no avail, and none of the water stayed in the container.  When they entered the area they found that the water gague was not working, so all of their readings had been false.  They also found that there was no water in the pressure vessel (critical container) or in the container vessel (shell of the pressure vessel), although they had already poured 10,000 tons of water in to keep the rods cool.  TEPCO finally admits that the rods are exposed, and probably melted down to the bottom of the pressure vessel.

One surprise was that the temperature of the pressure vessel is very low, which implies that the hot rods are not at the bottom of the pressure vessel.  The rods may have melted the bottom of the pressure vessel and piled up at the bottom of the container vessel.  Or, even worse, they may have reached the concrete ground of the building, or even lower.  Nobody knows.

TEPCO planned to fill the vessels with water and cool down the rods, but, since they now know that the pressure vessel is broken, they must change their plan.  However, the only thing they are able to do is keep pouring on the water, even though they don't know where it is going.  Nobody knows where the 10,000 tons of radioactive water have gone.

Many experts including those in the U.S. say that a meltdown has happened in three reactors to a certain degree, but they can't say to what extent.  Now, a 100% meltdown has been confirmed at Reactor No. 1.
Presumably the situation at Reactor 3 continues to be dire, and is especially dangerous because Reactor 3 contains the more dangerous MOX plutonium fuel.  The situation at No. 4 is also obviously not good, because recently the No. 4 building has been visibly leaning. A video about the leaning No. 4 building and the fact that information is being controlled in order to avoid panic is here:

The nuclear disaster hasn't gotten any better, but life continues on in Japan.  I summarized this update from news that Itsumi, who is in Tokyo, has sent me.  She is tweeting regular updates about the disaster situation in Japan.  You can read them yourself at!/search/ikrockhopper, or go to and search for ikrockhopper.

No comments: