TV: Gov’t concerned that ‘unexpected source’ of contamination is exiting Fukushima — Official: Radiation levels in ocean are rising — Record amount of radioactive substance found in groundwater at plant

Published: October 16th, 2013 at 2:36 am ET
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JIJI PRESS, Oct. 16, 2013: NRA Sees TEPCO Steps to Combat Water Leaks Ineffective [...] “Our conclusion is that little effect has been seen” in the TEPCO measures, NRA Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa said at Tuesday’s meeting of an NRA panel, citing an increase in the levels of radioactive materials in some seawater samples [...] levels of cesium-137 in seawater samples collected between the water intakes for the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors inside the port rose to around 100 becquerels per liter this month from around 10 becquerels between late June and early July, according to TEPCO. “It is reasonable to assume that the total amount of radioactive materials flowing into the sea has risen,” said Masaya Yasui, an emergency response official at the NRA [...]

NHK WORLD, Oct. 15, 2013: TEPCO instructed to look for other possible leaks [...] Japan’s nuclear regulators have instructed the operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to look into the possibility of contaminated water leaking from an unexpected source. [...] data showed hardly any change in radioactive cesium levels in seawater samples taken from the port at the plant in the past 2 months. [...] NRA Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa said the data raises doubts about TEPCO’s assumptions. [...] Another expert also pointed out that drainage ditches should be inspected for possible water leaks.

Asahi, Oct. 13, 2013: TEPCO measured 320,000 becquerels of tritium [...] per liter from water sampled from an observation well on Oct. 10 located near a storage tank, from which the leakage of 300 tons of highly contaminated water was discovered in August. [...] highly toxic water left after being used to cool the reactors. It marked the first time that water containing 300,000 or more becquerels of tritium per liter was detected from groundwater sampled from the compound of the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

See also: Fukushima Mystery? TV: Japan expert says radiation levels in ocean too high to be explained by groundwater flow alone -- Must be coming from "other contamination routes" entering Pacific -- "Devastating impact" to come? (VIDEO)

Published: October 16th, 2013 at 2:36 am ET
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52 comments to TV: Gov’t concerned that ‘unexpected source’ of contamination is exiting Fukushima — Official: Radiation levels in ocean are rising — Record amount of radioactive substance found in groundwater at plant

  • We Not They Finally

    One more step in the sick pointless game of finding out where the contaminated water is "leaking" from, and send in a plumber to plug the leak. The question is where is the source of astronomically escalating CONTAMINATION coming from, and how are they planning on plugging up "forever"? Well, they're not, and by now they likely CAN'T. So the sick pointless game goes on, with the most dire of consequences.


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    • Wooster

      True. They can't bring themselves to nention the possibility of one or more China Syndromes, despite that being the most likely source of this contamination.

      By the time they admit it those nuclear torpedos will have long sunk the ship.


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    • NoPrevarication NoPrevarication

      @WTNF

      ".. where is the source of astronomically escalating CONTAMINATION…"

      Your post implies that it is escalating. Consider the possibility that it has been that high all along and TEPCO has lied and continues to lie.


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    The coriums will release radiation for decades and decades.


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    • Actually, the coriums will be releasing radioactive contamination forever unless it is thoroughly entombed. Any water coming into contact with it will be contaminated, so the solution is to isolate it in such a way as to prevent water (from any source) from coming into contact with it.

      This could be done either by diverting the groundwater 'river' from uphill so it no longer flows through the basements and comes into contact with the corium. That may never get done, there are no indications at present that anyone is working on such a plan. Or the basements can be completely filled with a neutron absorbing concrete/resin substance that will entomb the corium and prevent groundwater (or any other water) from getting into them.

      I haven't seen that anyone is working on that either. Meanwhile TEPCO keeps right on pouring water down the blowholes and pumping it back out along with its load of gross contamination picked up by coming in contact with the corium. Go figure…


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  • zardoz2012 zardoz2012

    Nuke the site. It's the only way to fix this.


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    • Go Flying

      Turn the site into a prison camp.

      Sentence all the Tepco senior management, nuclear shills, debris burning mayors, and most of the govt to hard labour in perpetuity at the site.


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    • larry-andrew-nils

      thermite the site.


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    • dharmasyd dharmasyd

      I recommend this site to people as the most comprehensive compilation of information of what is happening in the energy/nuclear world. But I also tell people to beware of the comments, they too often contain uninformed, incorrect information which show no real understanding of nulcear reality. On this particular issue of "nuking" the site, we've been through it many times, since the beginning. We get into this over and over as new folks come aboard who don't have enough background to understand.
      So, I stick to recommending the site while cautioning folks to be skeptical about the comments. I don't want to offend you, but I wish we could have a little more informed dialogue here. I've been here long enough to know how to recognize the responsible posters. In ignoring the rest, I could be selecting out some good ones, but I can't wade through all the ___________! Thanks!


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  • razzz razzz

    Yeah zardoz2012, just nuke the place and all the radiation will magically disappear and life will become normal again…

    If the melts had made their way into the earth early on then the radiation readings would have been going off the charts back then. Only now are readings getting worse and worse. My guess is the concrete that the building are made of are deteriorating faster and faster with soaking waters, assisted by earthquake tremors, constant bombardment by radiation and poor judgement calls on how to deal with the entire mess. The melts were never really contained to begin with but now foundations are opening up further and further to release their poisons.

    Some fleeting ice wall might be the answer but that is a year away and the entire site, to me, is becoming a mid-level radioactive dump site where no one wants to be or work at. Then what? Full moon-suits? When drunks and hobos don't want to show up for work then what will the smart people do? Gonna send in the military with no possible plan of fixing it?

    More leaking of radiation in our future, that is for sure. The only time anyone has ever survived being in direct contact with a reactor core was in the movies.


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    • zardoz2012 zardoz2012

      razz, I understand what you mean, but a nuclear bomb is the only reasonable solution I can think of now. Let's be honest. The ice wall idea is not happening. And other than the hands of God coming down and taking the corium out of the earth, a tactical nuke is the only way to blow the corium out of the ground, which I agree, has already melted through the barriers of the reactor.

      And if a detonating a nuke on the site is the only way out, then yes, we have officially failed as a species.

      So what I am saying is that we failed. It's a Kobayashi Maru. There is no way out of this without failing.


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      • nohobear nohobear

        Stop for a moment and review high school physics. Nuking the site does not magically make the thousands repeat thousands of tons of nuclear fuel onsite disappear into an alternate universe. It would vaporize, pulverize, and aerosolize all those radioactive fuel rods. They would still go into the atmosphere, ocean, and land, same as they are doing now, but not in a drip drip fashion. It would also help to further disperse the hundreds of tons of plutonium onsite. There is a reason that element was named after the god of death. Fukushima has already released into the environment, something like 6000 lethal doses per every human on the planet if uniformly dispersed over the globe.

        No my friend, dilution is not the solution. They need to focus on containment, and something better than an "ice wall".


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        • Johnny Blade

          My sentiments exactly nohobear, If I recall the only scenario where nukes WERE an option was early on in the 311 ELE when the option to use nukes to "push" the remnants of the FUKuD-up NPP into a trench of sorts & cover it up(?)-(the simplified description of the optional plan)but the time has long since passed and while nuking it and then just dealing with the short-term fallout event that some mistakenly believe radiation levels would then dissipate to levels that would allow life to continue downwind after "clean" rainfall & decay of radiation some optimistic,well-meaning radiation victims assume would be the case. Even without the skills at math & physics necessary to gauge the effectiveness of such drastic measures my logic finds the approach coming up short since in addition to the radioactivity added by the nuclear weapon,the material unleashed would be equal to hundreds if not thousands of atom bombs combined and IMO there would even be the possibility of some unknown reaction taking place during the detonation that could somehow utilize the nuclear fuel that could possibly increase the yield of the explosion by many magnitudes beyond the weapons design & intentions(?)!! Instead of spending mountains of cash on the Olympic facility-perhaps they should use the resources to build the biggest,most labor-intense project EVER imagined?="Entomb" the site including the harbor for 5+ miles in every direction with concrete & a sarcophagus over the NPP itself?


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      • dharmasyd dharmasyd

        Nope! Wrong! Just add the radiation from the bombing to the radiation escaping == ++ exponential increases!


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  • End of the Road

    I think it is likely that the cheap storage tanks with their plastic piping are leaking like sieves. I'll vote for that as the "unexpected" source, though it is hardly unexpected.


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  • unobtanium unobtanium

    Because radiation leaks from the biggest nuke disaster in history are completely "unexpected."


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  • End of the Road

    razzz and zardos: Arnie doesn't think the corium is in the ground. I found his explanation scientifically clear and logical, but I'm not a scientist. Can you tell me why you disagree with him? (I'm not trying to start an argument here — I just want to look at both sides of the coin before I place my bet)


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    • kimyo

      i've never heard mr. gunderson state that the corium is not in the ground. can you provide a link?


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      • End of the Road

        http://fairewinds.org/media/fairewinds-videos/fukushima-could-it-have-a-china-syndrome

        The transcript is below the video.

        He's clear that this doesn't make the situation any better, though.


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        • That video is from mid-December of 2011. When Arnie was describing "pancakes" in the drywells, though he does hint that things could be worse if there were drywell "craters" into which the corium would collect. Which, if he is correct that it escaped through holes instead of melting through the vessel bottom itself, is likely to have begun melting the concrete in such a way as to establish a "crater" to concentrate the material.

          Note also he says the coolant water is leaking "sideways" out of the buildings, yet at the very same time admits groundwater flooding the basements is being contaminated by the coolant water. Which is it? Is the coolant leaking sideways or down into the basements? And if it's leaking into the flooded and cracked basements (so it can get to the ocean), then the corium is likely to have gone through the drywell pad at least partially.

          Caveat: This scenario was known – even at the time of this video – not to apply to unit-2 because its corium went from the drywell through vent conduit(s) to the torus. And down from there, through much less concrete and steel. Unit-2's corium is entirely likely to be in the basement/sub-basement of the plant.


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          • End of the Road

            Arnie repeated his assertion that there was not a China Syndrome on Coast to Coast in June 2012.

            http://enenews.com/fukushima-special-arnie-gundersen


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            • I don't know why he'd say such a thing, unless he was trying to dispell someone's misconceptions of what this nickname is and represents. "China Syndrome" is melt-through of vessel into or through containment. Daiichi experienced three of those type events.

              Even the people who gave the concept the nickname of "China Syndrome" knew it wouldn't really melt straight down through the crust, mantle and core, then melt its way back up to the surface in China. That's now how our planetary gravity well operates, and last I checked gravity still works. If a mass of corium didn't dilute itself appreciably on its way into the earth (it will), and did go straight down instead of following the pathways of least resistance (just like all other liquids), it would become "one with" the mantle as soon as it reached the mantle, and dispurse there with the local currents. The magma is plenty hot, and quite molten.

              Arnie has to deal with a lot of misconceptions in his public spokesperson role. I think he does a pretty darned good job of it, while maintaining at least a modicum of credibility with the people who know precisely what he's talking about. Nobody's right 100% of the time, and nobody's really sure what the hell is actually happening moment-to-moment at Daiichi. Exercise in extrapolations drawn from scant and ever-changing 'facts' TEPCO may or may not be accurately reporting.


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        • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

          Here is where Arnie Gundersen is mistaken, EndOfTheRoad:
          "But that does not make a China Syndrome. The reason it is not working it’s way down any further, is because the radioactive daughter products are no longer generating anywhere near as much heat as they did on the very first day of the accident."
          This is a matter of physics, not a difference of opinion.
          Arnie claims that a nuclear chain reaction is no longer possible after fuel assemblies have melted down, and lost their fuel-in-a-tube configuration. In a nuclear reactor, neutrons are moderated-slowed down-by the water and steam between fuel tubes in a fuel assembly. The slow neutrons cause a chain reaction in the fuel pellets of adjacent fuel rods, generating heat. After a meltdown, Arnie claims that criticalities are no longer possible, since fast neutrons cannot sustain a criticality.
          Here is the mistake: Continuous emissions from the area around Units1-3 prove that criticalities are ongoing. The corium temperature stays at, or about, 5,000C until all Uranium and Plutonium fuel is consumed.
          Nor does groundwater cool the reaction, as Arnie claims. Water merely causes corium to crust over, effectively blocking the cooling effect of the water from reaching the corium inside the crust. Eventually, corium exits the aquifer, leaving behind a corium lava tube, filled with nuclear debris and glass-like rock.
          Where is the corium, eh, TEPCO?


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          • There can be no sustained chain reaction in the corium, for the reasons Arnie explains. An instantaneous fast-fission event (i.e., a fission bomb) can't happen because the coriums don't contain the necessary isotopic concentration to reach critical mass. It can maintain a high temperature for eons, though, through the fission decay of fuel isotopes in the masses (isotopes that decay through spontaneous fission).

            All fission events produce fission products, and their decay chains also release energy[heat]. It's just not enough at this point to be actively melting whatever it's in contact with – nowhere near 5000C. It is not "consuming" fuel, as there is no chain reaction ongoing. There are just decay events. Only decays on the exposed surfaces of the masses are releasing fission products. Those products in the interior remain in the interior, only neutrons and high-energy gamma rays from their decay are getting out, alpha and beta particles don't even travel a centimeter beyond their release point.

            The 'flaky crust' we know about from Chernobyl's flows forms in air, not in water. Water picks up whatever's on the surface and carries it wherever the water goes. Yes, it serves to keep the outer surface of the flows 'solid' even if the interiors are still molten. If sustained and/or 'flash' criticalities are happening at Daiichi, they're happening in the SFPs.


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            • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

              JoyB, do you by any chance have any way to determine the total "heat out put" of all current and past Nuclear activity worldwide on the surface of the planet, since the beginning and its inception and use in all its varied forms? Also that would include projected heat release from all future radioactive isotope decay in our future worldwide based on past, current and future releases etc.

              None of the heat that has been generated/released via Nuclear Technology was suppose to be here..


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              • LOL!!! I wouldn't even try to calculate total heat output of all things terrestrial, which would include every forest fire, hearth fire, volcanic eruption, blast furnace and heat engine ever. You could try it if you really want to know. You may wish to include both pressure and radioactive heat sources/activity in the core and mantle as well. We're a regular hot-box, without even counting the amount of energy we pick up from our nearest star on a constant basis.

                All physical forms are bound energy, and energy unbound produces heat. Heat may be released by any number of processes, and transferred to bound energies nearby quite naturally. Such is the nature of matter/energy in our universe.

                BTW, all the heat energy released via nuclear technology on this planet came from what was already here or was input from the 'open system' that is our particular region of space-time. What was already here was originally produced by an earlier generation of stars that went supernova. It coalesced out of ripples in the planar debris field that accompanied the gravitational collapse and initiated fusion furnace still ongoing in our star-parent. It's all energy, bound in differentiated forms. We have invented a few bound forms in our atom-smashers that weren't part of the stardust debris. They too will succumb to entropy and decay into more familiar elements over time.


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                • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

                  Well, I was just interested in Nuclear and not all energy. I believe when the term sequestered was used it meant it was not actively producing heat and when we released it then it created massive amounts of heat all over the world demonstrated first by the nuclear bomb blasts.

                  Yep, I knew it would be a tough nut to calculate.. :(


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                  • Ah, so. Even if willing to try to work with all those exponentials, we have no real idea how much fission has been unleashed because the true figures have been so 'secret' from the very beginning that nobody's talking. Or probably even knows. They keep secrets from their secrets!

                    The fissile elements in the crust of this planet were in 'sequestered' matrices until we pried it out and concentrated it. The very act of concentrating fissile elements means the decay rate by fission increases due to the presence of increased neutron radiation from nearby decay-by-fission events. When we set off fast fission events (bombs) and controlled fission events (reactors) energy release is way exponentially speeded up. Worse, it turns non-radioactive elements nearby into radioactive isotopes by messing around with neutron numbers. So increases the planetary allotment of radioactive isotopes.

                    Just a matter of fast or slow for the most part, since our entire allotment of radioactive isotopes has always been bound to decay when its time came. All at once it would probably liquify the planet. But our gravity well would keep the mass local (and spherical). It would eventually cool off another flakey crust over the liquified interior. If pressure were decay heat, we'd be a really big blob of corium, wouldn't we? §;o)


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                    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

                      So, I can shut down my car and/or turn off a flame, but with Nuclear what ever was released in our recent past and today and the future will continue to just cook us/the planet and all that it encounters for many thousands of years…bottom line?

                      Had to laugh when some stated we had natural Nuclear Fission naturally 4.5 billion years ago on Planet Earth..yummy!

                      Looks like we will be turning back the clock of time in the near future..looks like we will necessarily continue to heat up.


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                    • Heh. There's a reason life forms are mortal. We, like the other elements/sub-elements of bound energy in our universe are essentially unstable. In fact, life could not exist in a stable universe. W hich is why we don't see any 'strangelets' in any of the particles we've blown to Kingdom Come (or Quark-Gluon Plasma) in our atom-smashers. Instability is dynamic. Our universe is dynamic, as of course it must be in order for us to be hanging around here wondering about it all… §;o)


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                    • As for global warming, there are several limitations built-into the system, and we could definitely be mitigating our contributions to it. Regardless of how much or how little we in fact contribute through our filthy habits (and technologies), and we should be cleaning up our act just because it's the right thing to do (not to foul our nest).

                      A Pinatubo or two or three could give us serious chills, and those are known by evidence to occasionally occur over geological time. The sun could do something fun and different that we've never seen before, for no reason we can fathom. We haven't been around all that long, haven't seen everything. We could try our hands at geo-engineering, but I'm about as trusting of that as I am of nukes. We're just babes in the woods. If it gets too hot we can always move underground, eat Soylent Green…


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                • hbjon hbjon

                  It's a gargantuan amount of fuel that was brought together at FDNPP and mankind will suffer and pay the price of such a pathetic failure.

                  As far as the uranium atom is concerned, it will naturally decay and produce heat, but with all the alpha particles hitting other uranium atoms, there will be a greater amount of SF within the mass.

                  The plutonium will continue to be produced within the mass because U238+H4=P242. Within natural uranium ore this kind of thing doesn't happen because the temperature is cooler and the atoms are further apart.


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                  • Just so you (and others here insisting that the coriums are capable of critical mass in an explosive (bomb) sense, here's all you need to know…

                    The uranium reactor fuel at Daiichi was, when it was brand new, enriched to right about 3% U235 – which is the primary isotope involved in the moderated chain reaction. What is lost to fission is made up for after the core's been running awhile by plutonium [P239] fission after some of the ~95+% U238 atoms have been transmuted by neutron capture.

                    There's a few other fissiles in the stew, but not in appreciable amounts (decimals followed by some zeros). Even MOX fuel doesn't have more than 5% fissiles.

                    The load for a fission bomb, on the other hand, is enriched to at least 90% U235. There is a very significant difference in the concentration of fissile isotopes between < 5% and > 90%, whether it's in pellets, ball or molten mass. This too is physics.

                    Fission in the corium is isotope decay-by-fission, it is not experiencing nuclear chain reaction (instantaneous via critical mass or sustained via moderation). A vast amount of non-fission decay is also going on from the products and daughters.


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                    • VanneV anne

                      Why are they still injecting nitrogen if there is no danger of an explosion?


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                    • Jebus Jebus

                      Although I think it is a very remote possibility that Fuku could erupt in an island dissapearing explosion, the best way to allay fears is to get facts straight without underplaying them.

                      Mox fuel…

                      The plutonium content of commercial MOX fuel varies up to 10.8% depending on the design of the fuel, and averages about 9.5%

                      http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Fuel-Recycling/Mixed-Oxide-Fuel-MOX/

                      Even that pro nuke site has many contradictions comparing MOX fuel to UOX in load percentage.

                      The issue that has already presented itself about MOX fuel is, that it was MOX fuel in #3 reactor that blew up…


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                    • VanneV anne

                      Some people believe that there was MOX fuel stored in the $4 SFP and fresh fuel in assembles with much higher amounts of plutonium, and that there were building nuclear weapons on the site.

                      Also there was fresh MOX fuel assemblies stored in the #3 SFP because it was soon time to change out fuel in the #3 reactor.


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                    • VanneV anne

                      Correction: They were building….


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                    • VanneV anne

                      Japan has been experimenting with MOX, etc., for a long time. The MOX in the #3 unit which was never built to use MOX fuel, and never had even received upgrades to this reactor which had been installed in the US to similarly design reactors, was an experiment only a few months old when it detonated. This reactor was also manufactured in Japan by a Japanese company.


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            • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

              You can be forgiven, JoyB, for being wrong. Your contributions here have been numerous, and for the most part, spot-on. Arnie's mistaken notions can be forgiven because he absorbed a lot of nuclear industry propaganda in college, and isn't paying proper attention to the fresh data on the significant releases of short-life fission products like Iodine-131, still being emitted by the melted nuclear fuel at FDNPP. The detection of significant quantities of Iodine-131 over the past 2 1/2 years is proof that criticalities are ongoing, adding significant heat to the corium stew.

              "Radioactive chain-reaction and corresponding increased heat-production may progress in parts of the corium if a critical mass occurs locally. This condition can be detected by presence of short-life fission products long after the meltdown, in amounts that are too high to be from the controlled reaction inside the pre-meltdown reactor. Because nuclear chain-reactions generate high amounts of heat and highly-radioactive fission products, this condition is highly undesirable from a reactor vessel structure and biological safety perspective.[1]"
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corium_(nuclear_reactor)


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              • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

                Continuous Iodine-131 deposition as measured in Chiba Sewage Sludge
                (see the graph):
                http://optimalprediction.com/wp/increasing-nuclear-chain-reactions-at-fukushima/

                "The nuclear chain reactions going on under Daiichi are not just emitting iodine, but a host of other radioactive substances. These reactions are also heating up the coriums, which means they are moving downward faster."

                There are a thousand other indicators out there that prove that "containment" of molten corium by Reactor Buildings1-3 did not occur. No evidence has been presented by TEPCO during the past 2 1/2 years to indicate that corium is still within Containment Vessels1-3.

                Where is the damn corium, eh, TEPCO? ;)


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              • You cannot sustain a chain reaction without moderation, apart from fast-fission critical mass, which is notably explosive. If the corium didn't reach critical mass when it first melted into a blob (was 'fresh' and at highest fuel concentration) – thereby providing much, much bigger fireworks than we saw – it's not going to be doing it now. ~3% U235 isn't enriched enough for that [MOX aside]. It's well less than that now.

                There's plenty of isotopes in there decaying by fission, thereby emitting neutrons and high energy gamma (that gets out of the mass) and producing daughters doing their decay thing. In a large mass of corium lava the alpha and beta produced by decay of isotopes in the interior don't get out of the mass. These are charged particles, not pure energy or neutral pass-throughs.

                The corium masses are below ground level, likely below sea level if they're on the basement floors, in mud and rock if they're below that. And in water, according to reports. They're contaminating the hell out of the water with all their nasties, but they aren't big-time belching vaporized fission products to the atmosphere by nuclear detonations. Some crap goes atmospheric in evaporation and sea-mist, not that much.

                If there are sustained moderated chain reactions going on at Daiichi releasing mass amounts of fission products to atmosphere, they're taking place in the SFPs. Where there are still the necessary conditions to accomplish that.


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                • razzz razzz

                  Why bother putting boron in the water to capture neutrons if any remaining amounts of uranium and plutonium are unaffected by fast or slow neutrons? Maybe TEPCO worries to much? The fact the two are heavy elements means they might settle out first and collect together. I don't know, never had three cores meltdown before. Chain reactions don't always lead to an explosion but there is a lot of heat involved besides the newly created decay elements. If neutrons slow in water then what happens if they are traveling through the consistency of lava?


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          • End of the Road

            So it is a matter of physics after all.


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    • razzz razzz

      zardoz2012 is desperate but dropping a bomb on an existing dirty bomb makes things worse.
      After 1&3 explosions those cores were fizzling (couldn't maintain a chain reaction), chopper pilots reported neutron beams. 4's pool boiled down but not dry because steam can still cool the rods and if dry the fire couldn't be put out with water. Boron/seawater/water prevented runaway melts.
      TMI was a meltdown, Daiichi is a melt through, through to where I do not know so I can speculate because no else knows either. U2 they are pretty sure the melt flowed out the blown access hatch onto the floor or at least most of it. China syndrome(s), I don't think so, explosions displaced the main melted fuel blobs and/or they spread out.
      Chernobyl was fought mainly with sand/boron but still managed to burn for 10 days and is air cooled ever since in a semi-glass state. Daiichi couldn't avoid groundwater so boron had to be used and is still water cooled, like it or not. Getting melts here to be ever air cooled seems like an impossibility.
      The melts are eroding away in every direction and some think the Pacific can contain the melts, may not have a choice. How much environmental damage can result is open to debate.
      Even contemplated barriers become saturated with radioactivity and need replacing i.e. filters, zeolite, etc.).

      Without containment (ice wall or otherwise), it will be the same headlines over again day after day for decades.


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  • hbjon hbjon

    Obviously the fuel is being contained to some degree within the earth. On occasion there are bursts of material that become exposed to the atmosphere and ocean.

    If large scale fission becomes apparent, small devices can be used to prevent criticality. I do not know if they have reached that point yet, but we do know that this is just the beginning to many years of unexpected and unprecedented releases of radiation.

    The only thing that matters is being able to keep the fuel materials from leaving their current locations, while cooling the material below the threshold of criticality.


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    • End of the Road

      hbjon: To me it's not obvious that some of the fuel is in the earth (on the earth – yes, but China Syndrome – no). The whole plant is an open-air mess of radioactive debris, the ground soaked with contaminated water from above, so how do we know that the contamination is originating from within the ground?


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      • hbjon hbjon

        Well, we saw the video clips of the explosions and pictures of the wreckage have been available online for almost 3 years. High pressure water hoses were used to wash everything that wasn't attached to a structure down the drain. How else do you think they have been able to work at the complex?

        There is no doubt that the pools went dry shortly before or after the explosions. The fuel continued to heat and melt through the basement floor and into the ground despite being fully covered with the basement water.

        The fuel fragments that weren't washed into the ocean or splattered all over the wreckage were covered with iron plates to protect equipment and people. Unit 2 has very serious problems and should be covered with a light weight pyramid structure that can collect the releases. Nobody will ever go in that structure and it is believed all the fuel is down the drain.

        So, yeah it's a dire situation. It would not surprise me if the china syndrome was a humongous sphere beneath the complex seeking to find temperature stability while the outer most parts of it get cooled by ground water. And that steam will be very contaminated as it helps to create a vector for toxic gases to escape the mass.

        Temperature is relative. People were foolish enough to bring this much matter together. Not just the cores, assemblies or rods, but to bring this much matter together within the same area code. We want to contain it but….we cannot.


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  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    Fukushima Reactors1-3 have released their full load of fuel into the environment. The total is 690PBq of caesium. Cooling water is still being injected into Containments1-3, and is allowed to exit the Reactor Buildings through large holes in the Containment and Containment Base. The highly contaminated cooling water mixes with groundwater flowing through nuclear fuel debris left in the corium lava tubes under Units1-3. An estimated 1,000 tonnes per day of groundwater pours into the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima Nuclear Ruins. This contamination is destroying the Pacific Ocean Ecosystem, bringing shame on the Japanese Nuclearists, and on Nukers everywhere. Shut down all nuclear power plants now. No Nukes!


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  • pkjn

    Tokyo Electric Steps to Combat Water Leaks Ineffective
    Tokyo, Oct. 16 (Jiji Press)–
    Nuclear Regulation Authority has said that Tokyo Electric measures to combat radioactive water leaks from Fukushima plant into the sea have been ineffective.
    It is reasonable to assume that the total amount of radioactive materials flowing into the sea has risen, said Nuclear Regulation Authority.
    http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2013101600128


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