Title: A Lasting Legacy of the Fukushima Rescue Mission, Part 3: Cat and Mouse with a Nuclear Ghost
Source: Huffington Post
Author: Roger Witherspoon
Date: 03/05/2013 10:34 am
[...] Fukushma Unit 1 began to meltdown as a result of the earthquake, before the tsunami hit and destroyed all backup power. The molten core of the reactor would melt through the reactor vessel and containment, crashing into the water below the reactor and sending radioactive steam surging out of the damaged building. Monitoring stations, which were not analyzed till January, 2013, found radiation rose more than 700 times the background levels at least an hour before the venting. Officials assumed the Reagan detected a controlled plume which, in fact, had not yet been created. Instead, the ships were in a radioactive cloud which had not been anticipated.
What TEPCO did not say — and what American officials overlooked in that hectic period — was the fact that the venting did not work.
“The difference between Chernobyl and Fukushima,” said nuclear safety engineer Arnie Gundersen, “was that the fire at Chernobyl sent the radiation high into the atmosphere and it was widely dispersed. There was no fire at Fukushima. You had those beautiful venting towers, but the vents were inoperable because there was no power to activate the industrial fans.
“So the radioactive steam just rolled out and over the countryside like ground smog. About 80 percent of it blew out to sea.”
And the discrete plume was a myth. The [USS Ronald] Reagan and its attendant warships constantly attempted to dodge a mythical plume when, in reality, there was a spreading cloud continually overhead and increasing amounts of contaminated currents all around them. [...]
See also: NRC says Reactor No. 2 "burned continuously for several days" after meltdown -- Hydrogen "ignited" (VIDEO)
Published: March 5th, 2013 at 5:09 pm ET