BBC: “Melted floor” at Reactor No. 1 — Damage “far more severe than initially thought”

Published: May 17th, 2011 at 1:01 pm ET


Japan nuclear crisis: Fukushima shutdown for January, BBC, May 17, 2011:


Melted floor

In recent days the plant’s operator has revealed that the damage sustained by the reactors immediately after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami was far more severe than initially thought. […]

Within 16 hours most of the fuel in reactor 1 had melted to the floor of the pressurised chamber housing the reactor, creating a hole that allowed 3,000 tonnes of contaminated water to leak into the basement of the building.

Officials said the fuel in reactors number 2 and 3 was also exposed to the air and might have largely melted too. […]

Published: May 17th, 2011 at 1:01 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. NHK: “This is a very severe accident” — Nuclear fuel at Reactor No. 1 may have melted through 65 cm of concrete… Only 37 cm at thinnest point (PHOTOS) November 30, 2011
  2. Report: If fuel melted through reactor, it would react with concrete floor of primary containment — Could add significantly to total radiation release May 23, 2011
  3. *NEW Dec. 1 Yomiuri* Gov’t Study: Reactor pressure vessel may be “tilted” after corium melted through concrete floor up to 200 cm deep November 30, 2011
  4. Quake, not tsunami, may have caused damage that led to meltdown — Within 16 hours, No. 1 reactor core melted and made a hole in pressure vessel May 15, 2011
  5. Units No. 1, 2, and 3 “have nuclear waste on the floor” from melted cores June 16, 2011

61 comments to BBC: “Melted floor” at Reactor No. 1 — Damage “far more severe than initially thought”

  • Jack

    Does the BBC or their Writers think they ought to get paid for this
    journalistic brilliance?

    • anne

      There are also problems with 3 reactors at Fukushima Daini and other plants as well. When these reactors explode there will probably be more earthquakes and then more damage to other reactors.
      Thanks for this comment.

    • tony wilson

      the bbc is a fucking disgrace all of the crap they have been saying for years about the power of rupert murdoch.
      they are all the same a bunch of liars spouting government propaganda.
      gadaffi of libya and the royal wedding are really life or death issues.
      again they have none for a month,the friends of the beeb have know had plenty of time to liquidate sell off stock market positions just in time to drip feed us the shit..
      ohh it is much worse than we thought are gauges were giving us false info.we have now recalculated and it is bad.
      the bbc is supposed to be unique,they have a duty to inform to investigate by withholding information they are an accessory to murder.

      • extra knight

        close enough. the big box mass media outlets have outdone themselves here and have only proved that they don’t repprt the truth or anything even closely resembling the truth, only a complete distortion of facts and causes and effects. this is their stock in trade. this shamwowocracy needs to be re-evaluated a wee bit.

  • I am pasting a Comment posted at Time

    THIS IS A DIRECT QUOTE OF THE COMMENT MADE BY Tacomagroove. I have no idea if it is true or not but it certainly raises many questions and concerns:

    “what this means: There is a tremendous amount of nuclear fuel and no way to control the temperature of it. Even if the fission process is totally arrested, the rods will continue to produce heat by decay.

    “They can’t keep pouring water on damaged fuel rods, every time they do the rods become more and more brittle and damaged, by a process know as annealing.

    “As the rods become more and more damaged, the water being pour in and leaking out is becoming more and more contaminated.

    “Eventually the integrity of the rods will be totally destroyed , the pellets will pool together and melt and a tremendous amount of heat will be produced in an uncontrollable fission reaction. it may already be to this point.

    “At this point NOTHING will stop it, it will get so hot it will melt through concrete and steel as if it were warm butter.

    “There have been many false alarms raised on the internet when it comes to ‘doom’ predictions. Do not be fooled. this is not one of them. This is the worst disaster ever, of any kind, in human history.

    “If a consolidation of a large amount of molten fissionable material in the bottom of the fuel pools or reactor vessels, because at that point there is nothing that can be done to stop it and an explosion is inevitable. The water table is only a meter or so below ground level.

    “The fuel in reactors one and three are making matters beyond approachable. I fear the worst is to come within a matter of weeks… (for japan). This situation is currently a level 28.

    “Please keep in mind: Tepco has been very private about reactors 5 and 6’s official status. They are in fact leaking amounts of ceasium and iodide, Iodide only has a (8day half life) meaning they are too reaching fission.

    “I would keep my eyes on the temperatures and radiation levels near and aside of these facilities… The lack of information on the status of these fuel pools is an indicator that the fuel is certain to be a site for concern. Call it a hint, on the next batch of information to be released…

    “This release is not localized. (meaning hot radioactive steam is sweeping the radiation deep into the planets jet stream and dispersing the plumes across the entire globe at a 13th the initial presence). Thus the radiation levels are very well indeed effecting national as well as international human health.

    “I’d expect that by next friday there will be roughly 1-3 more onsite deaths. (in the elderly and young). By the following week, with the data that I have secured: “I feel”, its very safe to say tepco will be forced to ask the japanese pm to abandon the site. I also feel they will be denied the option.

    “And in roughly 3-8 weeks. the entire tepco force will be highly contaminated, and healths will deteriorate so dramatically, the japanese government will be forced to extend a plea for international intervention. The situation is quite alarming indeed.

    “To make matters worse, a china syndrome is absolutely damaging to restoration efforts. Once the site is leaking radiation to the level of 5 sieverts. (which indeed it has the potential, and likely will). All BETS ARE OFF. that is instant death. gas mask or not… Jumpsuit ect. Game over…

    “Its also worth noting that the recent admission of tepco sealing these facilities in any way is a myth, and a fluke. By creating any kind of a containment on these reactors, the radiation presently being released would accumulate past the point of human lifes integrity… The situation is truly out of control. There is no viable solution at this time…


    • anne

      This was supposed to be a reply to this comment possted by Majia.
      There are also problems with 3 reactors at Fukushima Daini and other plants as well. When these reactors explode there will probably be more earthquakes and then more damage to other reactors.
      Thanks for this comment.

      • Deetu 3

        Yes Anna… only 5miles away. if,or when the above comes to pass that will make 10 reactors that will be abandoned =Game Over.

    • Buck-O

      majia, After 30 some odd years being around and personally involved with Nukes in the Midwest and from what I have researched about them I can assuredly say what you have posted is absolutely true.

      Personal experience: High release of radiation from Nuke
      1. metallic taste in mouth
      2. strange stinging sensation on bare arms and other exposed areas.
      3. strange odor in general area

      what I did:
      1. leave area and get out of wind flow from Nuke
      2. Used hand cleaner on bare arms 2x ,3x times. Water on face, 3x times.
      3. If strange feeling continues on arms rub with fine dirt, wipe off.
      4. wash mouth out at least 4 time with fresh water.
      5. shower at least 3x times with soap made for hard water.
      6. dispose of or wash clothes immediately.

      I love this website.

    • Anthony

      Seems hellishly correct. Thanks for posting it.

    • Mudge


      Yes. I totally agree. You have articulated my thoughts on this since the first week of the disaster.

      “The situation is truly out of control. There is no viable solution at this time”

      Very sad… Someone tell me I am wrong !

    • SteveMT

      Your post constitutes the real current situation as grim as it is, IMV.

      Your blog sight is also packed with info. Thanks.

    • As it all rages on and on, completely out of control, it becomes more and more clearly obvious that this is the only possible solution now!

    • Cassie

      If this is accurate, what kind of timeline are we talking about?
      How fast would things unfold?
      Days, weeks, months?

  • hawkeye

    just another rubbish hack story
    atoms for peace
    move along

  • hawkeye

    gives you a real empty feeling in the bottom of your gut,
    and the shills wanted school children to go back,,

    • SteveMT

      Just like the people on 9/11 who said go back to work after the first plane hit the WTC.

      Although they are different people, they have the same agenda.

  • hawkeye

    its only going to get worse

  • Franky

    The greedy corporations/politicians will admit nothing in order to protect themselves. Do not listen to the maine stream media, it is all lies and deception. We have all been had. Educate yourselves and do what you can to protect your family. If you have children make sure they are getting enough iodine to saturate their thyroid. This is where children get cancer first. Stay away from dairy. Also, make sure they are eating plenty of antioxidants. This shit storm is going to be around for a very long time. We have to adapt to this new shit environment.

    • Anthony

      The storm will be here for a long time but the question now is, will we?

      • mothra

        We can only surmise in aggregate population terms. Going forward there will be a rise in quality of life affecting epidemic ailments or deaths, and we may expect a shift in life expectancy to be less than our parent’s and grandparents generation. Also, a marked decline in personal wealth as assets are shifted toward safe food, water and shelter with increases in healthcare expenditure and amplified competition for these resources.

  • hawkeye


  • One more suggestion–xdrfox mentioned this about two weeks ago I think,…this is probably the last chance to buy (probably clean) bulk foods in bins etc,…he figured I believe, as I do, that these ‘grains’, if you will, have been harvested prior to 3/14, 18 say. I say, “Might be clean”. I am still buying, as of yesterday,….but I am not putting that ‘stuff’ with the other hundreds of pounds I was also LEAD to ‘put up’ since about the end of last year. Winco has great prices, no I don’t work for them,…just passin’ on a tip. The guy yesterday said that the bags he was using to re-fill bins, was milled BEFORE FUKU. I didn’t look at his bag, but I purchased just the same. If he’s right,…and I had even just an extra $100, one can put up months worth of grains if they are willing to become BASIC again!

  • 1111

    Quoting myself –
    “A daily disclosure of latent revelations indicate increasingly larger poisoned areas and ever greater contamination / radiation level severity” . . . my previous post stands un-assailed. (some may want to take a look again) Do we really want to know more at this point ?

    Question – Nuclear Engineers out there – people have a right to know – we need a GE Mark 1 BWR nuclear reactor heat exchange circulation failure mode analysis as per following scenario :

    The situation is – sudden lost cooling circulation in a Mark 1 BWR – (assuming the typical construction engineering as pertains to containment and basemat thicknesses)
    Please calculate fuel melt, slump and the time for the fuel mass to melt through PCV as a result of sudden loss of ANY circulation through heat exchange – assuming prior,
    normal operational parameters
    normal circulation / water level
    reactor is operating at near maximum heat output at the time of the event start
    and additionally – no successful back-up system circulation engagement is realized.
    Do scenarios for both full scram (control rods 100% re-inserted) and several stages of (partially successful) control rod % re-insertion. (as degree of success of hydraulic systems that are required for control rod positioning in scram is unknown – has never been discussed?GE Mark 1 control rods insert from bottom of the core by hydraulic pressure – did this system function or to what degree did this system work ??) Additionally – time line projections for melted fuel mass secondary containment breach, basemat penetration and entry to geologic substrata. Additional input and comments are also hereby solicited as pertain to expected effect of various substrata composition upon the radionuclide dispersions.

    And . . ultimately how does the fuel melt exit play out?? There is conflicting data. Peer reviewed verifiable data support by genuine physics is much appreciated. Thanking you in advance.

  • Uh Oh

    I asked yesterday, I’ll ask again: wouldn’t the best course of action be to separate “the blob” into small, manageable pieces then encase each separately in a coolant or something like liquid teflon.

    Ok, if kamikazis can’t do it send in robots.

    The problem is we are dealing with this thing as a whole. Divide And Conquer.

    Also, what is the chance of building some perimeter kind of wall deep underground around these plants then draining away the water table?

    • SteveMT

      “Likes treating likes” is the answer, just like a homeopathy remedy. Nuke it.

      The plant is on track to soon reach another criticality. The die has been cast. Nothing can stop this physics except more powerful physics.

    • mark V

      Too gigantic for TEPCO alone. Asking help is not permitted, the event would instantly become the world’s problem. Now it is tsunami hitting Japan and causing problems, nukes are safe. Ooops they now say it was actually earthquake, not tsunami to blame. Love reverse engineering the reverse engineering.

    • Anthony

      *The heat
      *Electronics are known to fail in radioactive environments
      *How can you actually handle the blobs?
      Normally optimistic I am having trouble seeing any solutions in play.

      • Uh Oh

        Look, it’s much easier to cool something if it is divided into small portions.

        Take a fire, as a whole it may rage but a small part on it’s own can not build on itself. You can try it in a fireplace. Separate a bit out, put it in the metal pail you use for ashes. It will immediately begin to cool. At the least separating pieces out will make the whole much easier to handle.

        All nuking it would do is spread the contamination far and wide.

        • Coot

          Divide it up could be difficult. It would be like trying to walk into a blast furnace wearing a bathing suit. As for cutting the blob up, like trying to cut molten lead with sticks of butter.

  • SteveMT

    After reading the posts here, I am now in the “NUKE IT’ camp. Incinerate it. What are the alternatives? Remember storage pools #5 and #6 just sitting there? This plant has got to be nuked while there is still time and reason for doing it. What else can be done? Alternatives, pplleeaassee!

    • Darth

      If there are steam explosions – it will propel fallout into the atmosphere.

      We then move towards a collapse of the economy in Japan which will have world wide negative effects – a possible depression.

      Health wise – look for a large spike in terminal cancers in adults in 20 years. Children cancers in 5 years.

      Entitlements like Social Security will become solvent as the number of recipients will die instead of collect benefits.

      Medicare will go broke unless they invoke ration care. Suicide kits will become the norm in order to solve the Medicare budget crisis.

      Expect deflation as the demand for goods and services decline. Housing will become cheaper and abandoned.

      On and on like this…

    • J1

      Welcome to the “4th turning” of this modern age. Lots of people gonna die in this one. No doubt.

      Neil Howe & William Strauss

      Interesting how human nature never learns; never changes.

  • …..somehow I’m not feeling much like taking my clays to prolong this much anymore. Must-s-n-a-p-out of i–t! O.k. I’m back. Hummmmm, the Blue pill, or the Red one?????

  • I am tacomagroove.
    I also go by Tacomagroove84…

    I Posted the article on time magazines article last night. I wanted to mention that I have been participating in the nuclear crisis since march 11th. I have dedicated many hours to the Iaea site. (on facebook). I was known as mikey goldman, matthew neuman,and many many other aliases… I am jonathan clowers (as of current). feel free to friend request me:(

    The IAEA had banned those other accounts, do to my efforts in disproving their updates countless times and fighting with their advisories… As I made countless requests for the IAEA to pressure Japanese officials in covering reactors 5 and 6.

    The main reason tepco should cover these reactors is the spent fuel pools located inside their perimeters. The amount of fuel located inside these structures is enough to contaminate the planet beyond 30 sieverts. (the planet!)…

    If tepco does not struggle to create sarcophagus’s to these structures (as they did in chernobyl), before elevated radiation forces the evacuation of the site, within months the temporary cooling systems will fail and the fuel will again heat up and the spent fuel rods will decay, leading to atmospheric releases that will likely create extinction in japan if not globally…
    (that isn’t a joke either)…

    I have posted on with very informative posts… (after several very informative posts cnn required moderators to review what I have submitted before publishing my comments) (they then did not post anymore comments by my account…)

    I have been banned from the IAEA facebook page and started a new facebook page with very informative posts related to the fukushima disaster. It is a private facebook group: Banned by the iaea. If you request me on Faebook I will add you to this group. We are a great group of working minds, many of us were actually banned from participating in discussions due to our views…

    we share links of information as a worst case scenario. We are very real about this whole crisis. I very much respect the current members… I welcome anyone that cares to join to add me to their facebook page via the link I provided, and pm me for access to the group.

    Thankyou for sharing my post from “time”. I also took the time to start a forum @ To further help the anti & pro nuclear communities… If you have any suggestions please feel free to contact me. I am only trying to do what I can for my fellow man. Cheers and good day. πŸ™‚

  • SteveMT

    NHK: Human error for meltdown? Pumps were manually shutdown! WTF?

    Nuclear plant cooling system manually shut down
    Tuesday, May 17, 2011 13:18 +0900 (JST)

    The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says workers may have manually shut down the No.1 reactor’s emergency cooling system in order to prevent damage to the reactor. It says pressure inside the reactor had dropped sharply after the earthquake struck the plant on March 11th.

    Tokyo Electric Power Company on Monday disclosed records of its operations at the plant.

    • Dbug

      Steve, it’s hard to go by brief media summaries of reports that were thousands of pages. Are they even clear about which pumps were turned on and off? I believe there are more pumps involved that simple descriptions have gone into. There are the huge salt-water pumps moving ocean water through the condenser/heat-exchanger. I saw earlier reports saying those were swept away by the tsunami, so they wouldn’t have done anything for long. Then there are pumps for circulating reactor coolant. There may be pumps associated with ECCS (emergency core cooling system), there may also be a separate feed for a “poison” (boric acid) injection, and I’ve run into reports that mention pumps to cool the large bearings in the circulation pumps and the turbines. And that doesn’t even address the fuel ponds.

      We’re used to seeing the pretty little pictures as shown on NHK, but these systems are actually far more complicated than they could possibly explain to us, and if their manuals said something needed to be turned off, we really don’t have enough understanding to judge that. I’ve read a hell of a lot, and know enough to know I don’t know.

      It’ll take time and some people that deeply understand the details to figure out what if anything the guys did wrong, and what else they might have been able to try for something not in the manual (or training/drills)

      I’d always wondered why they couldn’t have the plant acting as if it was turned on, but with control rods in etc, and use some of that million Watts plus waste heat to run the circulation pumps etc without external power. I haven’t confirmed if it was for the GE Mark I design or not, but I later read that some reactor designs actual do something similar (not sure if it is the same turbine/generator or a smaller axillary unit) so that backup batteries run only the control room electronics.

      That kind of makes sense that the batteries don’t run the pumps. Reports said the huge portable generators running full load would only go 2 1/2 hours, making it very hard to believe that batteries could run everything for four.

      My point? I’m not really sure… just maybe we shouldn’t assume that we always know enough to understand and evaluate what they’re telling us. (and even that is sometimes messed up in translation)

      No doubt the US NRC and many others will have a chance to study these complex details to see if they shed some light on what happened, how it might affect evaluating the condition of and choices for the other units there, and what changes might improve safety worldwide.

  • Dr.Stranglelove

    Having run out of Potassium Iodide and Prussian Blue, the govt. announced it’s new plan to:” Hand out Valium by the handfull…”

  • California Dreaming

    TO TACOMAGROOVE and enenews community:
    COULD YOU READ AND REPLY TO MY QUESTIONS — I HAVE A BABY AND AM TRYING TO MAKE A DECISION. First A BIG thank you to everyone for all the info + jokes that put a smile to my face. From what Tacomagroove wrote, and from what I heard from Berkeley free speech radio’s Flashpoints ( — the worst case scenario would occur (1) if/when the hot bubbly radioactive blob from either #1 2 or 3 hits the underground water and creates a huge explosion that will send thousands of tons of shit into the jet stream, then (2) as a result the entire plant will be so radioactive that no one can stay to keep the standing plants cooled, which (3) would result in re-critical fission or nuclear explosions in other plants, which then throw even more plutonium etc up to the jet stream and (4) probably topple the leaning #4 tower and blowing up the spent pools in # 4. Plant # 5 and 6 will probably go too.
    My questions are —
    1) how likely is this scenario given the comment that the water table is only 1 meter below ground level?
    2) If I am in CA, will taking kelp/dulse, zeolites, clay, apple pectin etc help detox all the yummy nuclear particles from my system (assuming I survive the initial set of explosions / fall-outs)?
    3) Should I just take my baby to the south hemisphere to avoid worst case? Or will moving to east coast be sufficient for survival? How many days/ weeks do I have to plan an escape? I don’t really want to leave CA but this is an endless bad dream.

    • dan

      1) Only 1 meter? Oh crap. Noone really knows for sure what will happen. But there have been a lot of theories floating around. So take your pick. Or just wait a while longer, and you’ll know exactly what will happen.

      2) It will probably help. But to be absolutely safe, I think you’d need to stop breathing. I think the worst problem is going to be breathing in airborne particles.

      3) I’d go south. I’m already planning a trip, so we might be neighbors. And my aunt and uncle from California might end up moving there too.

      Good luck. I really hope you can find a safe place for you and your baby. Or maybe we’ll get lucky, and a volcano will cover the whole thing with molten lava, and send it back to the depths where it came from. And where it should have been left forever.

      • dan

        sorry about the sarcasm

        • wonders never cease

          It’s sad that I actually know people who live in SoCal and they won’t leave because they actually think that nowhere is as “”cool”” as California….!!!
          Getting nuked in The Ring of Fire is NOT cool.
          It’s like when they said “everything changed” after 9/11. Now everything really has changed after 3/11….

    • wonders never cease

      ‘mam, please don’t take this the wrong way, but I would get the hell out of there. And thanks for being a responsible parent. Please spread the word among mothers, day cares, & La Leche Leagues…Moms need to care and sound the word!!
      We just have I-131 confirmed per tests here on S. East Coast-regular milk is off limits. But, there is no Cesium or Strontium reported here. I doubt we have much Plutonium or Uranium yet either. We haven’t even had much plume per forecasts for about 4 days, so you can almost put your guard down vs. where you are. It all depends on your means and comfort level. You also could touch down in relatively nearby S. TX (Austin?), which doesn’t even get I-131 until you figure out plans.
      As you probably know, a fetus in utero is 1000X (AMAZING FACT!!) more vulnerable to radiation than an adult human…And a baby is only a little more durable than an unborn child. πŸ™
      Good luck and don’t forget the others in the dark there! πŸ™

      • wonders never cease

        I’m surprised more people haven’t made arrangements by now…for a loooong summer break?
        Make a move before the TSA cracks down even harder with mandatory additional radiation scanners or they declare martial law… There seems to be no limit as to what could happen next.

    • stockdude

      I do not think this is EOD, and really, for the long term bad stuff that cannot be simply controlled with Potassium Iodide, your location in the earth will not matter much over 30 years, it will get spread pretty evenly.

      • wonders never cease

        Some populations are more vulnerable and need to get off to a safer start! It’s buying time & peace of mind when time (just a second of direct Plutonium is deadly) is most valuable!…
        But, it’s good to keep up the rationalizations–I know! πŸ˜‰

  • hawkeye