LA Times: Fukushima reactors to be encased in concrete — “Critics say that continuing harm is being caused by the plant”

Published: December 16th, 2011 at 12:26 pm ET
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Japan claims critical stage reached in shutdown of crippled nuclear plant, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 16, 2011:

[...] The reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant have reached a state of cold shutdown, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told Cabinet members in an announcement intended to reassure both Japan and the rest of the world that the nation is moving beyond its nuclear nightmare.

But critics say that continuing harm is being caused by the plant [...] and that it will still take decades to fully decommission it.

Officials had predicted they would reach the cold shutdown state by early 2012, and Tokyo’s support of the claim by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., that the reactors have reached a critical point is one more step toward finally encasing the plant in concrete as a precaution. [...]

What about those never-before-created robots they are going to design and build to remove the melted fuel?

Published: December 16th, 2011 at 12:26 pm ET
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54 comments

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54 comments to LA Times: Fukushima reactors to be encased in concrete — “Critics say that continuing harm is being caused by the plant”

  • Grampybone Grampybone

    The concrete case is not just a “precaution” it is an essential part of preventing China Syndrome. Without the concrete reinforcement the fuel will sink into the sand under the containment causing additional fission events to occur. No concrete shield = free fuel eating into whatever it touches.


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    • HoTaters

      Do you mean placing concrete UNDER the reactors, somehow? That information didn’t appear in the L.A. Times article.

      At Chernobyl, the entombment plan was developed, ostensibly, to keep the radiation from becoming airborne. The corium remains very hot, which is why a new sarcophagus is being built. The heat is causing the sarcophagus to degrade. The sarcophagus, unless I’m mistaken, was not designed to cool the corium. Even though the corium has hardened (corium by definition has a crust on it) it is still intensely hot and radioactive. That it has ceased to flow is at least keeping it from reaching the groundwater there.

      In the documentary movie, “The Battle of Chernobyl,” Gorbachev was interviewed and said the hot nuclear lava (melted core) came just short of reaching the grounwater, in its molten state. Had that happened, it would have contaminated the groundwater supplying much of the Ukraine and U.S.S.R. He the contaminated water would have reached the Black Sea. Further explosion could have rendered much of Europe uninhabitable.


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      • HoTaters

        BTW, the sarcophagus was built only over the reactor, correct? Or was something done underneath to contain the corium? If something was built underneath, then I didn’t catch that!


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        • crn

          Yes the sent for miners form Siberia to dig a tunnel underneath the plant. Then they used liquid nitrogen to frooze the ground underneath the reactor to prevent it from going further down
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chernobyl_lava_flow.jpg


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          • Actually, the movie says that they PLANNED to pour concrete and use liquid nitrogen inside concrete, but it never happened, because the corium stopped steaming and flowing.

            So they cancelled the rest of the operation.

            At least they tried to stop the corium from going and hitting groundwater.

            At FUKU, they are not even trying to do anything to keep it from going there, and they have little or no idea where the corium actually is.

            They sound so sure of things, in the middle of a disaster that they admit that no one can get within 100 feet of where these melted 65 ton blobs are.


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      • They were afraid of a life extinction event. That was just ONE reactor.

        At FUKU we have multiple reactors melting through. But who cares where the corium is? NO ONE

        Who cares how much radiation is coming out of FUKU? NO ONE

        Who cares if this hits groundwater and explodes, releasing 65 tons for each reactor of highly radioactive plutonium, uranium, etc… resulting in a potential global life extinction event? NO ONE.

        Is it strange how suicidal the human race is determined to be..


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  • aigeezer aigeezer

    “encasing the plant in concrete”

    Haven’t seen that one before. Some reporter/editor hasn’t been paying attention, I suspect. That would be the eighth wonder of the world if they could pull it off. THE PLANT!?

    “But critics say that continuing harm is being caused by the plant”

    (but of course it isn’t really – that’s just what the critics say and you know what critics are like – they’re just being critical).

    Amazing spin, but at least the msm are not silent today. All together now….


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Doesn’t concrete have to be dry to set..how is that going to happen with millions of gallons of contaminated water sloshing around the place.
    What about the weight and heat of the corium..what about the interaction of nuclear fuel and concrete…?


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    • HoTaters

      Yes, good point. And doesn’t concrete have to have framework built (a mold) into which the concrete is poured? How is that going to be built around the buildings or the entire plant. Sounds farcical.


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      • Ken31ONCA

        Good points they would encase the reactors and spent feul pools first I would hope and then encase the whole damn thing, they can make a big ugly blob of concrete to remind the world what nuclear power does.


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      • stock stock@hawaii.rr.com

        well it has to go down to bedrock, and they would use steel beams and steel sheets, working in the contaminated groundwater would really suck though.


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    • Ken31ONCA

      Concrete comes in different grades from regular to high grade, all depends on factors like temp, and how fast they want it to dry etc. They may use men or may use machines, I think they used helicoptors in chernobyl, I’m not sure if they are gonna just do the most troubled reactors or all of them. But there won’t be any farming or hunting or anything for a very long time hopfully for a good safe distance around the pant. They need to make safe boundrarys now is most important


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      • Bob Hardin Bob Hardin

        “But there won’t be any farming or hunting or anything for a very long time….”

        About 4.5 billion years.


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      • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

        They had better get the super duper kind…cuz the kind they have there now is degrading due to exposure to radiation.


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        • Ken31ONCA

          Yeah they should reinforce in too with some steel and then some lead and then some more concrete because the chances of an earthquake cracking the concrete and it just leaking out again like a faucet.


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          • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

            Exactly. And in Chernobyl, they need a new sarcophagus because the concrete becomes brittle much faster than usual because of the constant “neutron bombing”.
            zerohedge posted an impressive picture here a while ago showing the four units would fit under two Egyptian pyramides.
            I think we all underestimate the scale of the buildings. And, as you said, it won’t work anyway because of the constant earthquakes.
            It’s just to calm the sheeple. What sense does a dome make while the mess is leaking in and out underneath? It’s impossible to fix.


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    • Pensacola Tiger Pensacola Tiger

      HotR

      You asked, “Doesn’t concrete have to be dry to set..”

      No, it doesn’t.


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    • gerryhiles

      Concrete needs to be wet, in order to set. But that is rather beside the point, in this case


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  • girlygrrll

    I just love these happy endings! Now we can all go visit, take in the sights and eat some seafood…


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  • or-well

    Greenpeace always used as the opposing voice, so handy for shallow reporting.


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  • concrete always contains water. remove the water by heat and it is just dust. and the water (even if it is a little amount) transposts salts very efficiently. so the diaper has to be changed very often.


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  • Ken31ONCA

    It will still take a while to do they sound like they are still in planning stage but atleast once it is done they can focus on measuring radiation all over japan and getting everyone evacuated, and measuring food and water and not taking anymore needless chances with peoples lives.


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    The intensity of the blasts..the amount of and condition of the fuel..add MOX..make this a different scenario..than Chernobyl.


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  • Just looking at the phytoplankton connection to ELEs, to get an idea of how it might play out. Looks like a slow – but *sure* – kill to me:

    What is the basis of all life on the planet? Answer: Phytoplankton.

    (watch first few seconds only – explains how phytoplankton is the basis of all life)
    NASA Discovering dead zones in the oceans and lakes
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEZpo9uLIc0&feature=related

    [from enenews ---]
    What the Japanese scientists omitted from their simplistic “bury the problem 1500 ft below the ocean surface for at least one half-life” model is that cesium is water soluble like potassium, and enters the food chain, so basically will bioconcentrate in phytoplankton in the TOP 50 METRES of the ocean where the light is, and get concentrated by jellyfish, molluscs, squid, fishes, dolphins and whales. When sea birds poop on land the cesium will be returned to the land, where it is still constantly leaking from anyway (as others have mentioned).


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    • HoTaters

      http://marinebio.org/oceans/ocean-resources.asp

      “Phytoplankton account for possibly 90% of the world’s oxygen production because water covers about 70% of the Earth and phytoplankton are abundant in the photic zone of the surface layers. Some of the oxygen produced by phytoplankton is absorbed by the ocean, but most flows into the atmosphere where it becomes available for oxygen dependent life forms.”

      The world’s forests account for most of the rest of world oxygen carrying capacity.

      The implications of destroying life at the bottom of the oceanic food chain are obvious when one understands where atmospheric oxygen comes from.


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    • HoTaters

      O/T World Fisheries, phytoplankton blooms & radiation effects

      The collapse of zooplankton and krill populations in world oceans (primarily near Antartica and the Arctic Circle regions) was linked to decreases in ocean phytoplankton as early as the 1980′s; possibly even before. Here’s a 2005 article on this subject:

      http://news.eoportal.org/didyouknow/050425_fishbloom.html

      Marine scientists warned at this time the collapse of major world fisheries was being caused by phytoplankton destruction. At that time it was postulated CFC’s had damaged the ozone and caused diminished phytoplankton blooms. Now we know the environmental picture to be much more complex, as there are a host of contaminants in the oceans, in addition to damage to the earth’s atmosphere.

      ‘Wonder what effect HAARP has in all of this, since it burns holes in the ionosphere? The radiation? There was a video someone linked to (from here?) awhile back, which discussed how nuclear atmospheric testing was being done, in part, to see what effects it would have on the ionosphere. The scientists wanted to burn holes in the atmosphere to see what effect it would have on the earth.

      The bottom of the food chain is said to have collapsed, already, in some offshore areas in Japan. This is attributed to radioactive contamination.

      The massive radioactive releases in March and April had very obvious effects on weather. It POURED rain here for three straight weeks, beginning March 18, the day the radiation was supposed to have reached the West Coast. I’m inland from San Francisco, and there was an endless deluge of rain for over 20 days. We had a massive thunderstorm mid-April, which covered a 15 – 20 mile radius. It stretched from near Davis, CA, to the east, to Napa, CA, in the West, to Lake County, in the north, and close to Walnut Creek, in the south. The old timers here said they never saw anything like it.

      If I post further, I’ll try and start a new thread so this isn’t O/T


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  • or-well

    Is this boost Japanese cement company shareprice day or something ?

    Or keeping it reassuringly lo-tech simple for the folks, in keeping with the “cold shutdown” theme ?


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    • Ken31ONCA

      I’m sure too the government would probably buy some shares in concrete companys having inside information, its definately how the western governments have been working the past few presidencys. It would definately be nice to hear Arnies take on the idea and what the pros and cons are.


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  • ZombiePlanet ZombiePlanet

    [...] Fukushima Daiichi plant have reached a state of cold shutdown [...]
    If I apply slick willy Clinton logic to this statement I come up with this “I did not have sex with that woman”… “depends on your definition of “sex.”

    It depends on your definition of “cold shutdown.”

    HOW can you have cold shutdown when you have no containment vessel, no plumbing, no electrical infrastructure, no control room, no employee monitoring, no building, no concrete and you don’t even know where the fuel is located!?

    Someone over there is consuming way too much seafood and tea.


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    • Cold shutdown..SUCCESS!

      They did successfully shut down any dissenting viewpoints, COLD. (99.999% Media blackout)

      They did heartlessly and COLDLY prevent anyone from evacuating from highly contaminated zones of radiation. (US recommended 50km evacuation, Japan said NO)

      They did shutdown any attempts at international monitoring by any interested nations, (maybe WHO) impartial and apart from the nuclear lobby and marketing arms, such as IAEA and NRC, etc.

      The artificially and overnight coldly raised the amount of radiation ‘allowed’ in food, water, air, etc… without any review, scientific debates, etc. Also, little or no monitoring or testing of populations, (internal/external radiation exposure/reporting) food, air, water, in REAL ways that are transparent, and open to the public, done by neutral or civilian controlled parties.

      So they are telling the truth about these parts. Cold shutdown like this takes quite a bit to accomplish.


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  • Ken31ONCA

    I’m not sure if anything is definate or not I’m not sure how an LA newspaper would break the story but I hope they do it


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    In the center ring..the “Greatest Show on Earth”..
    Watch hundreds..thousands of TEPCO employees..lose their lives in a foolhardy attempt to do the impossible…add…lots of the military…theirs and ours….


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  • zaner8 zaner8

    Can you please leave a comment at newser.com
    “Fukushima plant is stable: Japan”
    I’m on a kilobite system and can’t log in


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  • dosdos dosdos

    As far as I’ve heard, no one in Japan is talking about entombment. Some reporter is talking out his rear on the concrete casing. The pad under the reactor is about all that I’ve seen, and that is going to be so much more difficult than anyone is discussing, because of radioactive flooding of any digging they might do. They are totally SOL on containing the leaks. Nothing they can do will contain the radiation until there is a total cleanup. Daiichi will be spewing radiation for decades.


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  • aigeezer aigeezer

    “Officials had predicted they would reach the cold shutdown state by early 2012, and Tokyo’s support of the claim by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., that the reactors have reached a critical point is one more step toward finally encasing the plant in concrete as a precaution”

    I keep breaking up as I parse this in various ways. It’s not the slightest bit funny. Maybe I’m laughing in the way Jazcko seemed to be laughing at Fukushima victims those many long days ago. Anyway, some examples…

    “Officials had predicted they would reach the cold shutdown state”. What’s the referent for the pronoun “they”? The way things have worked out it seems that the reactors are not in cold shutdown (more like hot meltdown), but the officials seem to be in cold shutdown mode. Maybe that’s what they meant all along. No lies, we just misunderstood. They’ve found a way to spin this as good news – they beat their prediction (as though the officials had anything to do with the progress or lack of progress).

    “Tokyo’s support of the claim by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., that the reactors have reached a critical point” – reached a CRITICAL point? What do you mean, “critical”? Does “critical” now mean “cold shutdown”?

    “the plant’s operator” – it’s operating? Who knew? How about “the former plant’s former operator who has inexplicably been in charge of recovery efforts (or not depending on whether the government is taking credit or assigning blame today)”?

    “encasing the plant” is what it says, not building a concrete diaper, not encasing the reactors. What does it actually mean? Who knows?

    “encasing the plant in concrete as a precaution” Precaution against what – melt-ups? Yes, I know about the Chernobyl sarcophagus, but this scenario seems vastly different to me.

    “one more step toward finally encasing the plant” What does “finally” mean? Encase it and walk away? Encase it until they can think of something…


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  • dosdos dosdos

    As I stated before, honesty by the Japanese government and TEPCO would bankrupt the country. Of course they are going to lie like dogs and paint a rosy picture.


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    • aigeezer aigeezer

      Both entities are bankrupt already, in a literal bean-counting sense (as are the EU and the USA), so I don’t see that as the best explanation for their actions. You may well be right in terms of perceptions though.


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    • aigeezer aigeezer

      Oops – I’d better say I’m not trying to provoke anyone with talk of bankruptcy. I mean it in a literal sense: negative cash flows, liabilities exceed assets, that kind of thing.

      Gotta add re “lie like dogs” – I know the phrase, but in my experience dogs don’t lie. Only people lie.


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    melt-ups…lol


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  • HamburgGeiger

    Is it just me or do you also think this whole “concrete under the blob” is complete bullshit?

    As we all know, Chernobyl was a different situation. They were lucky that the melted fuel broke up in several smaller blobs that cooled down enough to not melt through everything it touches any longer. That is not the situation in Fukushima. The Fuku-Blobs eat concrete for breakfast…

    Furthermore they acted much faster and much more resolutely in Chernobyl, and still they needed thousands of workers that died in the course of building this concrete shield under the reactor. That was only possible because they had no democracy and simply forced those workers.

    In Fukushima we have several melted cores that very likely left their buildings long ago. If there ever was a chance to build such a concrete shield, it is long gone. We saw several evidence that the cores hit the ground long ago (steam from cracks in the earth, smaller earthquakes generated directly under the plant, etc.) and nobody knows how deep they are right now. Besides the japanese don`t have thousands of experienced volunteers to do the job(!), but they have the groundwater directly under the buildings, everything based on loose and wobbly ground, more earthquakes in the future, an increasingly ill or dying population, and they want to get away with a cheap solution. Maybe they knew from the beginning, that nothing more could be done.

    So this news is just one more effort of sedation and distraction, imo. We here at enenews should know better.


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    • Ken31ONCA

      Yeah I don’t know about the concrete under it but they should encase it concrete with lead and steel to reinforce it and then get the hell out of there for indefinately, they are too close to groundwater to do anything from underneath but it just spews radiation everyday if they encase it and get out of there, then it seems like they would be better off to me


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    • stock stock@hawaii.rr.com

      Yes, they need separation of the blob, and then neutron absorbtion (boron), i thought it was 200 tons per reactor, but I hear now it is “only” around 80 tons per reactor.


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  • Ron

    The so-called “New Safe Sarcophagus” going to cover Chernobyl (and the construction costs for which Russia had to beg for aid from other countries) is supposedly good for only 100 years. Question is, what happens after that?

    What happens if, for some reason civilization fails in the next century, even if just temporarily? Then the sarcophagus fails, what happens to life on this planet? Just the kind of questions which the nuke industry should be asking but which they ignore.


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  • Ron

    Excuse me, New Safe Confinement.


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