- By Mark Robinowitz
OilEmpire.us, April 4, 2011
Straight to the Source
For updates on the Fukushima Disaster see: http://www.beyondnuclear.org and http://www.nirs.org
In the interview linked below, a former nuclear engineer explains that Reactor 2’s fuel has probably partially eaten its way out of the reactor and molten fuel is likely eating its way through the concrete floor of the reactor building. This interview is the clearest explanation that I have read of what has happened at Fukushima. This interview is from April 1, I wish it was an April Fool’s joke.
April 1st, 2011
SPECIAL FUKUSHIMA UPDATE: Arnold Gundersen and Dr. Helen Caldicott
“In this special program about the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant, we present two interviews recorded this week followed by a speech about nuclear radiation given by Dr. Caldicott in 2009. In the first 20-minute segment, If You Love This Planet’s Australian producer Jasmin Williams chats with Arnold Gundersen, energy advisor with Fairewinds Associates Inc., and former nuclear engineer. Gundersen explains the events that have crippled the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan following the March 11th, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.” ———————-
Has Fukushima’s Reactor No. 1 Gone Critical? – Ecocentric – TIME.com
Japan may have lost race to save nuclear reactor – The Guardian
Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, told the Guardian workers at the site appeared to have “lost the race” to save the reactor, but said there was no danger of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe.
Workers have been pumping water into three reactors at the stricken plant in a desperate bid to keep the fuel rods from melting down, but the fuel is at least partially exposed in all the reactors.
At least part of the molten core, which includes melted fuel rods and zirconium alloy cladding, seemed to have sunk through the steel “lower head” of the pressure vessel around reactor two, Lahey said.
“The indications we have, from the reactor to radiation readings and the materials they are seeing, suggest that the core has melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel in unit two, and at least some of it is down on the floor of the drywell,” Lahey said. “I hope I am wrong, but that is certainly what the evidence is pointing towards.” ___________________________________________________________
high resolution aerial images of the exploded reactors
photos of “cleanup” operations
youtube also has videos of reactors 1 and 3 blowing up (not at the same time, but close), a search on youtube will find many copies of this important video documentation.
satellite images of all U.S. nuclear power “spent” nuclear fuel storage sites
Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear engineer, discusses the implications of photos of reactor 4’s irradiated “spent” fuel – which is now completely exposed to the outside air, an unprecedented emergency in the history of using nuclear fission to boil water. The Fukushima reactor complex has more radioactivity in it than Chernobyl, so the potential releases from the meltdowns could be much greater.
2011-04-03 Newly Released TEPCO Data Provides Evidence of Periodic Chain Reaction at Fukushima Unit 1
2011-04-01 Radiation Experts Determine 200,000 Cancers Likely from Fukushima
2011-03-31 Original Ustream Video from Crane Camera at Reactor Building 4
Right Livelihood Award recipients “we demand global nuclear phase out”
from Dmitry Orlov
If we give up on nuclear energy, what will replace it? Nothing, probably. Let me try an example: if your lucrative murder-for-hire business suddenly runs afoul of a few silly laws (even though it has so far killed many fewer people than planes, trains or automobiles) that doesn’t mean that you should keep killing people until you find another source of income. Same thing with electricity: if it turns out that the way you’ve been generating it happens to be criminally negligent, then you shut it all down. If you have less electricity, you will use less electricity. If this implies that economic growth is over and that all of your financial institutions are insolvent and your country bankrupt, then–I am sorry, but at this point in time that’s not even newsworthy. Don’t worry about that; just keep the nuclear accidents to a bare minimum, or you won’t have anything else left to worry about.
EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Latest Satellite Imagery From Fukushima Tells Sobering Tale Friday, April 1, 2011 Chris Martenson
. . .
The efforts at Fukushima are probably weeks away from even basic stabilization and we are years away from any sort of a final resolution. This crisis is going to be with all of us for a very long time. Radioactive material will continue to escape from the complex into the environment for weeks at best, months or years at worst.
The chief concern here is that things might still take a turn for the worse whereby radiation spikes to levels that prevent humans from getting close enough to perform meaningful operations and work on the site. If the radiation spikes high enough it will force an evacuation from the vicinity complicating every part of what has to happen next from monitoring to remediation.
The general lack of staged materials anywhere in the vicinity indicates that authorities have not yet decided on a plan of action, feeding our assessment that they are still in ‘react mode’ and that we are weeks away from nominal stabilization.
On Thursday we learned from the Wall Street Journal that TEPCO only had one stretcher, a satellite phone, 50 protective suits, and only enough dosimeters to give a single one to each worker group. Given this woeful level of preparation it is not surprising to see that regular fire trucks, cement trucks, and a lack of staged materials comprise much of the current damage control mix.
We don’t yet know enough to conclude how much fission has spontaneously re-occurred, but we have strong suspicions that the number is higher than zero. Here we make our call for the release of more complete and timely radiation readouts and sampling results by TEPCO and Japan so that we can assess what the true risks are. The situation remains fluid and quite a lot depends now on chance and which way the wind blows.
And as I detailed in the Alert report I issued soon after the tragic events of the Japan earthquake and tsunami on March 11th, the impact of Japan’s tribulations on the global economy will be large and vast. World markets are simply unpreapared for the third-largest economy to suddenly and violently downshift. The persisting crisis at Fukushima simply worsens the picture.