Japan Times: It is now a “grave situation” at Fukushima — “Plutonium fission” mentioned for first time — “Criticality is very likely to have occurred”

Published: November 3rd, 2011 at 10:43 pm ET
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Nov. 3, 8:30 pm ET (Emphasis Added) — A report published at 8:30 pm ET by the Japan Times calls on Tepco and the Japan gov’t to “find out true reactor conditions” at Fukushima.

Tepco announced Wednesday that, according to the Times, “There is the possibility that criticality, a sustained nuclear chain reaction, had occurred ‘temporarily’ and ‘locally’ in the No. 2 reactor.”

During it’s testing, Tepco has detected xenon-133 and -135, “Products of uranium or plutonium fission.”

The half life of xenon-135 is about 9 hours, therefore, “Criticality is very likely to have occurred just before the gases were analyzed,” reports the Times.

“Clearly the reactor has not yet been stabilized,” and, according to the Times, “The fact that Tepco cannot deny the possibility of criticality irrespective of its scale is a grave situation.”

And the article notes, “Conditions are similar in the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 reactors.”

Now is the time to get “serious” writes The Times:

  • “Tepco should make serious efforts to accurately grasp the conditions of nuclear fuel inside the reactors.”
  • “Tepco and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency should take a serious view of the fact that radioactive xenon pointing to criticality was detected from the No. 2 reactor. What happened in it can happen in the Nos. 1 and 3 reactors.”

 

Published: November 3rd, 2011 at 10:43 pm ET
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68 comments

Related Posts

  1. NYTimes: For first time Tepco admits “fuel deep inside 3 stricken plants probably continuing to experience bursts of fission” — Fission at Reactors 1 and 3 also? November 2, 2011
  2. Press Conference: Nuclear fission may also be happening in Reactors No. 1 and 3 — Curium mentioned… MORE November 1, 2011
  3. Top Japan Nuke Expert: Sustained “re-criticality” of melted fuel may have occurred in Reactor No. 2 — TEPCO claims no sustained criticality November 2, 2011
  4. L.A. Times: Speculation that “supercritical fission event” occurred at Fukushima reactor irradiating plutonium, says nuclear expert — Explosion so massive investigators found fuel rod fragments a mile away March 9, 2012
  5. Busby: On-going fission is occurring at Fukushima — Either a recent “enriched uranium fission” or an “explosive criticality” November 6, 2011

68 comments to Japan Times: It is now a “grave situation” at Fukushima — “Plutonium fission” mentioned for first time — “Criticality is very likely to have occurred”

  • kintaman kintaman

    But do not panic. There is no immediate “impact” to human health. All is well.


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    • Human0815

      Tha Japanese Newspaper change/
      their Tone since a few Days,
      as well as the Terebi!

      A good development, a little bit late but we know the Japanese are not the Master of open talking and writing!

      238 days are needed!


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      • arclight arclight

        “we know the Japanese are not the Master of open talking and writing!”

        i am inpressed that the japan times is starting to focus on the problem at hand….when apportioning blame though, like kazahkstan and like belarus and like japan there needs to be quite alot of blame aimed at the IAEA and its slave the WHO….

        SURELY THESE JOURNALISTS COULD SEE THE CONNECTION?

        IAEA ……international nuclear cabal that supports nuclear with lies and coverup…releasing spurious press releases for the media machine…full of top “specialists” in the field, equiped for mass contamination events, who hold all the real information about effects of mass releaese….. nuclear share holders are lucky to have this organisation backing them up…

        any article that proports blame should be looking at the IAEA who always says that everything is alright, but who disapears into the night when something is proven to be wrong!! no critism of the IAEA is allowed, but it is the central powerhouse behind nuclear…. the latest nuke report posted yesterday shows us the format for these reports…vague! incomplete! biased!…the IAEA is calling the shots in japan…it always has…
        the high normal releases from these plants is allowed by the IAEA in all countries with nuclear…only independant testing shows us the level of these “releases” and recent events at mercoule france show us plainly the level of coverup…

        no not just tepco in fact hardly tepco at all… they are only the arm of the beast…its emplyees will be blamed if things get out of the IAEAS hands and nuclear censorship/buisness will go on

        i repeat again

        SURELY THESE JOURNALISTS COULD SEE THE CONNECTION?

        anyway im just going through a bit of a suspicious media analysis phase, so sorry media if im a bit hard on you!! (not)


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  • Anthony Anthony

    Hmmmm. And that’s a *worried* hmmmm.


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  • Kevin Kevin

    “Clearly the reactor has not yet been stabilized,”

    Gee really?

    Is it not time that TEPCO is pulled of the file?

    What is clear besides things are not stable, is that they havent a clue what to do.

    Maybe there is nothing we can do. And if so that is it for this ridiculous way of boiling water in order to centralize power and derive the ingredients of nuclear war.

    We must demand it ends.


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  • Sickputer

    Don’t worry…they parked the crane against the new blowout hole in Reactor 2 and that should hold off the massive explosion until at least Thanksgiving. >;->


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  • patb2009

    What is interesting, is this is the Japan Times, which is the official organ of the Japanese Government.

    Expect the Government to seize TEPCO soon.


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    • lokay5

      “… the Japan Times, which is the official organ of the Japanese Government.

      And I think we all know which “organ” of the Japanese Government that’d be, don’t we…


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    • fellfromthesun

      Utter bullsh_t. Care to provide a source for that claim?

      It was controlled by government censors during WW2, as were almost all media in Japan, but that hasn’t been true since. The Japan Times is independently owned and published and has no connection to the government whatsoever at present time. This is hardly the first article to be quoted here on EneNews, and while they report plenty of official press conference stuff (like any major media outlet), they have also certainly printed their share of nuclear-sceptic articles.

      But when have facts ever gotten in the way of expressing opinions based on ZERO here on EneNews…


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  • thelili

    The government and Tepco are now one I think. Ladies and gentlemen please put your trays in the upright position and prepare for liftoff.

    It’s going to be a bumpy ride.


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    • Jebus Jebus

      Nov. 3, 2011, 11:36 p.m. EDT
      Japan approves $11.5 billion in funds for Tepco

      HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Japan’s government approved Friday support funds for Tokyo Electric Power Co. JP:9501 -0.66% TKECF +3.45% , also known as Tepco, with the move coinciding with the release of updated figures showing a massive net loss for Tepco for the fiscal year ending in March. Tepco will receive about 900 billion yen ($11.5 billion) in funds via the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund to help compensate victims of radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Tepco said Friday it expects a net loss of ¥576.3 billion for the fiscal year. It also said it plans to reduce staff numbers through a hiring freze, to cut pension benefits and to maintain a 20% salary reduction as part of cost-cutting moves. The measures will help lower operating costs by ¥237.4 billion in the 2013 fiscal year, Tepco said….

      http://www.marketwatch.com/story/japan-approves-115-billion-in-funds-for-tepco-2011-11-03?link=MW_latest_news

      Bailout… Sound familiar?

      Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund?
      Wonder who paid for that… Taxpayers? Customers?


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      • jimbojamesiv

        WTF?

        Seriously, the Japanese government “gave” money to TEPCO?

        And, I don’t care if it’s a loan or whatever it is.

        If anyone should be given money it’s the Japanese people who should be evacuating Japan or at least moving as far south and east as possible.

        What a frickin’ disgrace.

        Japan go out into the streets and demand heads roll!


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    • lokay5

      More like,

      ATTENTION PASSENGERS!

      WE HAVE ENCOUNTERED AN EMERGENCY SITUATION.

      RETURN YOUR TRAYS TO THE UPRIGHT POSITION.

      BEND FORWARD, PLACING YOUR HEAD FIRMLY BETWEEN YOUR KNEES

      AND KISS YOUR ASS GOOD-BYE.


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  • lam335 lam335

    sustained . . . temporarily???


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  • VanneV anne

    The last paragraph of this article:

    Find out true reactor conditions

    “Tepco injected 10 tons of a solution containing 480 kg of boric acid into the No. 2 reactor shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday to restrain nuclear fission. This inversely shows that it has not been injecting a boric acid solution into the reactors in continuously cooling them by circulating water. Its laxness should be criticized. It wasn’t till after 7 a.m. Wednesday that NISA reported the criticality incident to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. NISA clearly lacked the ability to make a correct judgment in this matter.”
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/ed20111104a1.html


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  • Has anyone considered the effect of Boron on water purification efforts? If the efforts to reprocess water to use for coolant in the reactors suffers many more setbacks, ‘guessing’ about criticality might not be a problem.


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  • kintaman kintaman

    It has been a grave situation since day 1. Who are we kidding here?


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  • bmurr bmurr

    and north Anna is apparently going online as soon as next week. fingers crossed. sure hope that national emergency broadcast system is working by then


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  • Jebus Jebus

    Dr. Helen Caldicott on Oct 30

    Dr. Helen Caldicott on Fukushima and the Perils of Nuclear Power

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9RYCKrV59Y&feature=related


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  • lam335 lam335

    Ongoing fissioning is bad, as it releases all kinds of nasties into the air, but I think the REAL worst-case scenario is if it explodes. In that case, it may be potent enough to take the other reactors with it, or, perhaps even worse, the force may be enough to topple the extremely fragile spent-fuel pool #4, which Arnie Gundersen has suggested would be one of the most disastrous developments imaginable–and one that they would be even less capable of getting under any kind of control. It’s filled with an enormous amount of plutonian nastiness (I realize “plutonian” is not a word, but if plutonium is going to get spewed in even more massive quantities all over everything on the planet, then we really ought to develop an adjectival form of the word to describe things).

    So does anybody know what is the likelihood of this “temporarily sustained” fission leading to an explosion?


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    • Sickputer

      Let us also remember the Common Spent Fuel Pond which has 430,000 fuel rods and is in deep dookie already even without a nudge from the melt-out fuel.


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      • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

        Dear Sick: Isn’t it 670,000+ spent fuel rods in the CSFP at Fukushima Dai Ichi? Maybe I have the wrong information. Either way, I believe there have been at least four fires at the CSFP since April. I hope you are having a good day. Radioactive rain fell here today in Northern CA. Had a headache most of the day, which just, in my case, could have been the passage of a cold front. Many other people with throat and headache problems, which are not uncommon in this part of the country when we finally do start having rain, from the usual microbiological pathogen causes (common colds). I hope it’s not due to high ambient radionuclide contamination of the misty, humid air today.


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        • Sickputer

          The Tepco November 2010 PowerPoint (no need to lie too much before the Great Earthquake) says 6840 assemblies for CSFP and at 63 rods per assembly that is about 430,920.

          http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/accidents/6-1_powerpoint.pdf (see page 9)

          My day has been better than 2 days ago when my headache was intense. Also have some observations for birds I will post in anomalies later…weird migrating geese flock behavior in the sky.


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          • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

            Thank you. I don’t know, have forgotten, where I heard that there were ~600,000 fuel rods in the FDI common spent fuel pool. I’ll look into it. I’ve got the headache today; but am glad yours is better. I thought mine was from low blood sugar (not from coffee withdrawal) or a cold (in my case); but could be cold front related for me. It wasn’t from low blood sugar. I tend to get a headache or feel run-down when storm fronts come through sometimes. I look forward to hearing about the geese behavior. I’m taking an ecology class and love to hear about all animal behaviors obvserved by people.


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          • lam335 lam335

            Where exactly is the common SFP? Is it very close to reactors 1, 2, 3?

            It’s underground right? (i.e., it’s not elevated like the others, right?)


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        • lokay5

          The air here in S. Oregon is filled with smoke from burning leaves, a bummer in itself, but with the thoughts of all the particuluate contamination they’ve accumulated since March, well, the smell is now scary……


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    • Jebus Jebus

      Definition of PLUTONIAN: of, relating to, or characteristic of Pluto or the lower world : infernal
      Examples of PLUTONIAN

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plutonian

      Kind of describes the areas around the Fukushima plant..


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      • Jebus Jebus

        Somehow this part disappeared

        Examples of PLUTONIAN


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      • lam335 lam335

        So it IS a word after all! Well, now it has an additional meaning “of, relating to, or covered with plutonium”–though the hellish/infernal meaning definitely also applies to everything that relates to the stuff.

        The men who named plutonium knew what they were doing when they chose that name–sadly, they did NOT know what they were doing when they CREATED it.

        Let’s just hope “plutonian” doesn’t become a word that we need to use very often.


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      • NoPrevarication NoPrevarication

        @Jebus

        Plutonian (definition). An explosion so large it blows everything to Pluto.


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    • westcoastgirl westcoastgirl

      I am always wondering the same thing, and what the best emergency response would be…I would seriously consider a trip South in that case. I just hope the people I care about most would come with me.


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      • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

        Dear West:

        Probably, for a while, who knows how long, a year or several years, the contamination from Fukushima emissions may not reach the southern hemisphere in the same significant concentrations as we have here in CA being directly on the other side of the ocean, in the path of prevailing winds and currents, particularly in the winter, from Tohoku. There seems to be more of a spirit of keeping billionaire greed and literally poisonous crimes in check, in Argentina, at least. I’m not certain about Chile, which strikes me as a bit more fascist and less of the people than Argentina. Perhaps the drier areas of southern Argentina, Patagonia, would be safest. Maybe the same is true for drier parts of Australia. However, Australia is difficult to immigrate compared to Argentina and they don’t tolerate a speck of drug use, whatsoever by foreigners, particularly at their airports and they will blood test for the least provocation in Australia. In any case, flight won’t work forever. We will all be forced to eventually join the inevitable and necessary movement to destroy the billionaire, corporate, military NO-transparency control over the status quo. Confrontation and non-pacificist ACTION is required by all who know better. There is no escape increasingly.


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        • westcoastgirl westcoastgirl

          I have ever desired to live in South America, but if it would buy us a few more years I would consider it…again, only if some kind of major new development occcurs with the reactors or the spent fuel pool. It’s cheaper there, right? So maybe my money would go farther there, at least.

          I agree that destroying the billionaire, corporate, etc. etc…I’m all for that. It gets a little discouraging though, to hear that George Soros might be making money off of Occupy Wall Street..what do you do when people with money and power are even manipulating the revolution?

          I believe in non-pacifist action, but sometimes wonder if a V For Vendetta scenario would be more effective…


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      • Misitu

        wcg, if you stayed nobody would follow you to safety; if you left, maybe someone would follow.. and that is about all you can guarantee.

        better than nothing?


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    • fellfromthesun

      >So does anybody know what is the likelihood of this “temporarily sustained” fission leading to an explosion?

      That is a very good question since people have been talking about this possibility for several months now. The basic problem is that it’s all informed guess-work as to where the fuel is currently located and in what state… it’s clear it’s not on the path to “cold shutdown” in 2 months, as TEPCO insists…


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      • arclight arclight

        the chernobyl scientists were afraid of such an explosion till they realised the sand had mixed with the corium and rendered it waterproof (temporarily unfortunately)
        we have no data that the us overflights, the chinese expedition in the china seas to look for contamination, the usgs mobs results on marine life, and no westwern scientific group is attending to the developing situation at chernobyl…in fact the opposite (nearly, thanks to enenews and the handful of sister websites covering this disaster)

        so, no, the information is held in secret!! the rest of us have to pick at the bones and in that we are useful..
        just my tuppence worth there mate!!


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  • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

    Of course fissioning is occurring and plutonium is a by-product, which is one of the big reasons why these fissioning coriums continue to become MORE radioactive for 250,000 years. “partial” fissioning is double speak or misrepresentation of the reality.


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    • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

      What would prevent neutrons from cascading through a hot, wet (oxygen in the H20) blob of corium? Nothing. The sediments underneath the plants are not Magnesium sands!


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      • SnorkY2K

        Would there be interest if I did a special hour discussion of issues that people are having with Fukushima and some of the misconceptions that I have been seeing such as plutonium being the largest concern. (look up curium) Also, although the rods are called spent they are not burnt up. Actually, the rods are called spent when they are filled with enough byproducts that control cannot be guaranteed. The radiation occurs in many forms creating many byproducts not only in the fuel but also in the containment vessel or anything else that the radiation hits.


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        • SnorkY2K

          I could probably ask for someone to host a Ustream talk if anyone would like to submit some questions. I may not be able to answer all, but I may be able to explain the material parts. My expertise is in the methods and material not operation of a nuclear plant. We did not use our stuff for making power.


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    • lokay5

      “Partial fissioning” = “Partial pregnancy”? “semi-dead”?


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  • westcoastgirl westcoastgirl

    Typo: never desired to livein S. Am…


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  • I watched a NOVA special on the fabric of the universe tonight. Last night I read the comments made at Ex-SKF about what is going on with the coriums.

    It seems clear to me after watching and reading that physicists do not understand fully what is going on at Fukushima because this is, in fact, unprecedented (Chernobyl was “contained” in days) and every time physicists have an opportunity to study matter in new environments (e.g., particle accelerators) they learn new and surprising things about how matter and energy behave.

    Worse, in addition to not understanding what surprises await us, it seems from the comments at Ex-SKF and here that even the most technologically inclined among us (not me) really know how to contain this MONSTER on earth.

    We have truly opened Pandora’s box.

    I think the Japanese government and Tepco are together truly frightened now.

    We are humbled by our misguided arrogance.


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  • thelili

    Majia you are exactly correct. We truly are experiencing this as one now. Pandora’s Box is open and things are about to start flying around the room.

    Let’s hope something surprising and helpful comes from all of this.

    I expect our Liar-n-thief Obama will plaster a concerned frown onto his face and pretend to care. Perhaps he will look at his own two daughters and think carefully before saying something ridiculous or trite.

    Any Cali folk have a headache today? Ugh.


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  • westcoastgirl westcoastgirl

    Yes, but I can blame on last night’s debauchery; not really fair to blame it on Fukushima…


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  • thelili

    @Westcoastgirl I meant a headache due to the nonsense :) It was just directed at Cali folk. I’m random that way.

    Have a good night all.


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  • stock stock@hawaii.rr.com

    Show me the corium. They don’t even know where the corium is


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  • batista

    Some of the spent fuel rods assembles are stored in Dry Casks not in a water pool.


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  • watcher watcher

    It’s gonna take a suicide mission of large magnitude, to even attempt to stop this. I have been a tradesman for 31 years, and have found that engineers can only get us in proximity to our goal. The people in the field are the final piece of the solution. Why I am saying this, I have no idea, but I would be willing to go in there if I had considerable input on how it went down. We have to go underneath in grand fashion. Anything else is not going to work. The people of this planet are so involved in their own drama, that they don’t see the beauty around them. But this is part of our evolution. I see potential in this misguided society and want to do whatever I can to give it another chance. Its not over till its over. I have dealt with many superiors that had too much ego invested to reach quality outcomes. I would jump in, but there better be some people that are objective or the deal is off. Oh yeah, and I would want to live the way I wanted when the job was finished. , Not that extravagant, 50 ft. of boat, a Jag. And two chicks that are open minded. My kid gets carte blanche too. Let me know, I can be found through here. There’s not much time, let’s get our shit together here.


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    • ottawa_dave

      Thanks for volunteering, but no one knows what the heck is going on. I think there is actually no solution possible to this disaster. If a rod in a functioning nuclear reactor so much as gets stuck, one has a major problem that takes a year to fix. This is, well, a lot worse. Where are the cores? On the floor, in the ground, spread over the building?

      Every country that plays with nuclear tech will have to fund the greatest containment structure the world has ever seen. It will bankrupt everyone but at least there will be a future. It will be granite, aluminum, titanium, and for sealing layers probably gold gaskets. Everything has to last for thousands of years – so no steel or concrete. Nothing can rust. For earthquakes, it will have to be squat, and the ground around it prepared with the right materials to stop oscillations. This will be our legacy to the far future.


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      • SnorkY2K

        don’t forget during decay, not only will payload change chemistry and form, but the radiation will also eventually change form and chemistry of containment vessels. That stuff must be maintained for hundreds of millenia.

        Radiation even results in something resembling chemically active helium for brief periods. Not easy to contain over a long time


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      • watcher watcher

        Well, I think that it is safe to assume that we need to get under this stuff, so I would be mobilizing a team to start tunneling or drilling or whatever. While that is being coordinated, some math guys can determine how deep we need to go to be certain that we get underneath this stuff. Meantime, another team is determining the best way to address the molten crap, be it a large scale cooling system or a pit made of cement filled with whatever, boric acid, beer, piss, whatever. Remembering that time is all important here. when it is determined what type of defense is to be used, then someone should be getting the necessary equipment and supplies together and have it at the ready. At this point we would need to impress upon our personell that a sloppy job would be pointless, and that we need them to be fully present. This would be a good start.


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  • Alaskan Alaskan

    Not so sure i would want to visit Fukushima, this is a great Video on Chernobyl, sorry if its a repost

    Alaskan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8r_lUKcM9A


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  • thelili

    @ottawa_dave Yep and there can’t be any more large, unmanageable earthquakes.

    Hey Watcher!


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