Asahi: Tepco ‘failure’ may have increased Fukushima radiation release — Concern over ‘lethal levels’ escaping from ruptured containment vessel

Published: June 5th, 2013 at 5:19 pm ET
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Title: TEPCO’s failure at math may have increased radiation release at Fukushima plant
Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Author: TOSHIHIRO OKUYAMA
Date: June 05, 2013

Workers miscalculated pressure levels inside a reactor during the early stages of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, leading to a reduction in cooling water and a possible increase in the volume of radioactive materials released.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. estimated the pressure inside the No. 2 reactor containment vessel at 400 kilopascals [...]

The actual pressure was 40 kilopascals, far below the 101 kilopascals of the surrounding atmosphere, suggesting that a large amount of radioactive materials escaped from the reactor.

TEPCO later discovered the mistake but did not announce it. [...]

“I think the airtightness (of the containment vessel) has not been maintained,” [Tadayuki Yokomura] said, according to a video footage of a TEPCO teleconference. [...]

The difficulty in venting fueled concerns that mounting pressure could rupture the containment vessel and release lethal levels of radioactive materials.

Early on March 15, TEPCO temporarily evacuated all but the minimum required 70 or so workers from the plant compound. [...]

See also: NHK: "The unimaginable was happening" -- Workers say part of Reactor 2 containment vessel destroyed -- After alarming pressure readings, "we heard a loud bang... pressure is now zero" (VIDEO)

Published: June 5th, 2013 at 5:19 pm ET
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46 comments

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46 comments to Asahi: Tepco ‘failure’ may have increased Fukushima radiation release — Concern over ‘lethal levels’ escaping from ruptured containment vessel

  • We Not They Finally

    Oh, the WORKERS miscalculated? They were risking their lives in there, barely getting anything to work, and two died outright and quickly! I want to know, why are the TEPCO people still allowed to walk free in the street? If their apologies were anything but phony and pathetic as they spew out their lies, they would "do the right thing." Honorable tradition in Japan.

    Yet they sill need be pressed, because the lies keep falling apart and at some point there may be a "break" in the public consciousness. One can only hope. So so sad for everyone.


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    • Jay

      … i.e. since the architecture/volumes of the Plant did not changed , there is no 'miscalculation' : the only Variable was provided by the instruments , hence only the instruments failure due to extreme radiation was to blame , not human error , this time .

      U know , as long as PROFIT is the measuring stick there is no Other , including your/mine/our silly lives …


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    • Zombie_Planet

      The ultimate resolution to this heinous, disgusting, calculated assault of the global corporate mind control barf bag sickos has already been set fourth, by the Japanese Government.

      Spread the contamination equally amongst the populace, in order to minimize the impact upon each individual.

      The final stage of resolving this swill is therefore set. Everyone should promptly by stock shares in TEPCO to provide funds for the advancement in such activity.

      That is, to insure that we all continue to promote the existence of the current activities of a Zombie_Planet


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  • jec jec

    TEPCO is starting to do the press releases to slowly explain the higher radiation levels. Of course, its the workers who made the 'mistake'. TEPCO must be getting nervous about the newly discovered thyroid cancer cases in the 27 children of Fukushima. Since its papillary cancer, its likely caused by high levels of radiation exposure (no kidding!).And the 60% rate of DIABETES in the Fukushima children, again could be due to high radiation exposure. TEPCO is reading the tea leaves and looking for scapegoats; the workers fit THAT bill.


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    • We Not They Finally

      Yes, the diabetes rate is terribly alarming. And UNTREATED diabetes is a killer. But if there is any mass distribution of sugar testing devices and insulin and training how to use it, we certainly haven't heard about it and probably the population there hasn't either!


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  • Jebus

    “I think the airtightness (of the containment vessel) has not been maintained,” [Tadayuki Yokomura] said, according to a video footage of a TEPCO teleconference. [...]

    Now we know the status under shell #2…

    Currently leaking radionuclides into the environment.

    Already knew the status of #1 and #3

    Status of #1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psAuFr8Xeqs

    Status of #3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haUawwm7l4k

    From what I see now, that makes three uncontrolled and uncontained reactor explosions/meltdowns/meltouts confirmed.
    They must have melted out, beacuse if the coriums were contained, the industry would be crowing about it…

    The bottom line people, this piece is just like the, "not hot tuna" focused stories, this article is intended to focus your view down a tunnel, to pick one item out of many, and minimise that, to give the false impression of everythings fine…

    Look, the Tuna is safe, the rest of the ocean must be too…

    :|


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Nuclear reactors melt. And nobody can stop the radiation. It's a messed up technology that shouldn't have been developed.


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  • I agree with Jebus. The article is talking about mis-calculated pressure values. An understatement considering #3 with the MOX fuel blew up scattering radiated fuel pellets everywhere. What about knowing it was a triple melt through a day after the earthquake/tsunami but not admitting it till months after and still calling it a cold shutdown while not admitting/knowing where the coriums are. 400 tons of groundwater irradiated every day and drained into the Pacific is a conservative number and nothing being done at the present time. Its such a mess there but the real danger is the spent fuel pools. In 1997, the Brookhaven National Laboratory estimated that a "massive calamity at one spent-fuel pool could ultimately lead to 138,000 deaths and contaminate 2,000 sq. mi. (5,200 sq km) of land".see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spent_fuel_pool

    Coolant to spent fuel pools at Fuku was interupted more then once and no in depth reporting of that near disaster. Blame the rats. Just a spin fest party with the "official" media.
    The sicknesses, youtube personal radiation detection shots etc etc will continue and get harder to hide. Tepco is now a liability for the Japanese tax payer. Japans economy will tank because of this, no way to hide that. Spin won't cut it.


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  • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

    So, a previously certified safe nuclear power plant, being operated by the best and brightest, the industry has to offer, has trouble with basic math? sounds to me as if someone dropped a zero or wrote it down wrong. Shouldn't this very simple understanding of the failure of man, he makes stupid mistakes, be reason enough to shut them all down? Not one is safe. It goes without saying that nuke for power was a stupid idea to begin with.


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  • razzz razzz

    Of course it's the workers' fault for not being double checked on simple math.

    Workers were not worried about explosions but high radiation readings as the the reactors were self venting. Overpressure or under pressure the units were melting down and leaking so whatever the readings were are meaningless since TEPCO didn't know what to do about it at the time anyway.

    Didn't Unit 2 go without water for 24 to 48 hours? Seems better in retrospect to starve the reactor of water rather than try and cool it off with water to avoid the fuel rod cladding reactions. Of course Unit 2 blew out a panel so it avoided any large build up of gasses, they just vented all over the site and countryside.


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  • moonshellblue moonshellblue

    I recall reading or someone stating the earthquake on March 11th 2011 us what cracked the containment vessel.


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  • CB CB

    There is literally an army of fuktards working day and night to downplay the devastating result of Fukushima Diachi, Diani, and Takoi. The same is true for UFO's. IF you can not see the relationship, you might be blind. Some way I think the MSM has no real reporters. They must be actors, all MSM. All trained in PR.
    COX cable sucks BTW. If the CIA or Gooberment has a roll in this ELE, than one would expect the pawns have been put in place. The MSM being one. 45 year old reactors with a 30 year shelf life been given the go ahead to continue to contaminate the environment we live,eat, and breath in. Please, no more experiments of dropping plutonium on your citizens is necessary. Experiment with picking flowers, catching butter flies, or picking strawberries with family.


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  • weeman

    I am confused they state the containment vessel was at 40 kilo pascals and the outside was 101 kilo pascals, we all know high to low, so if we have a leak then the air should be going into the containment vessel, I must be missing something, help. Don't sound right.
    It was a cascading accident no one thing caused the failure, but precipitated by the earthquake.


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    • hbjon hbjon

      The nuclear fuel within the reactor containment vessel didn't have nice cool water passing by it to remove the heat. When this happens, energized atoms begin to move really fast. When materials that take up a lot of space are created with no play to go the pressure increases. For a split second, the pressure was that of deep within our suns core. Scientist have been able to get atoms close together in a laboratory, but this mishap infinitely exceeds any mess previous science projects have produced.


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      • weeman

        The way I read it is the reactor was operating at the time of accident, therefore once the containment was breeched, the pressure drop inside containment to 40 kilo pascals, because the reactor is hot the heat crated causes low pressure compared to outside air, that is positive proof that the containment was lost and radioactive substances were released, but tepco continued to deny containment loss and did not inform the authorities of this, as they were in denial of facts and failed to protect inhabitants.
        Now they are trying to cover their tracks and blame some unnamed or non existent engineer for providing them with corrupt data, they knew the minute they seen containment pressure but did not act on it and continued to deny, why I can not comprehend, that is a crime against society and these people must pay the price and will.
        To the Hauge with the executive officers and chief engineers of tepco, no less will be acceptable or we run the risk of this pattern of denial continuing in other accidents, they need to understand that there is consequences for there action or non action, fear is our best chance of keeping them in line.
        Please elaborate and enhance, am I right about containment failure, this is important and will prove pivotal in any court action, prove they knew and they will hang.


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  • The article is confusing, prolly intentionally.
    "Tokyo Electric Power Co. estimated the pressure inside the No. 2 reactor containment vessel at 400 kilopascals on March 16, 2011, five days after the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant was crippled by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami."

    Five days! And three or four days after the dang thing went boom. And since when do cracked reactors double as vacuum tanks? How could it be LESS than normal atmospheric pressure?

    Presstitute bafflegab for those dumb enuff to believe it.


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  • CB CB

    Don't catch the moths or butterflies in Fukushima, please. Look at my wings. The spots in my wings are radioactive particles from Fukushima. This is true for all life there. This radio active contamination has spread through out the Pacific Ocean. Educate yourself with radio active bio accumulation. The mutations, retard, and devastating effects are well public to ones self and offspring. Cancers, AIDS, and other health affects are well documented. The nuclear industry is a military accomplice to the murder of millions. Soon to be Billions.

    ~CB


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  • weeman

    I see what they are saying now to know the containment is at 40 kilo pascals is a admission of complete containment failure and they are saying because some engineer made a miscalculation we did not realize the magnitude of the situation, you knew the minute the containment was at 40 kilo pascals and failed to inform the authorities so they could protect the inhabitants, guilty as charged, have you ever told the truth, not right and some day you will pay the price.


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  • papacares papacares

    sadly the lies and misinformation must be working – everyday
    I try to get the word out about this on-going disaster and folks
    get that funny look in their eyes and say, but that has all been
    over for 2 years now. we need a compilation of data to present to the unwary – the publication "important information for mums and dads" is a start but too hard for the average person to read and comprehend – for sure, soon we all will be "Japan"


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    • weeman

      You are not alone the majority of the people are to wrapped up in there own pathetic lives to care and untill it bites them the response will be dismal to say the least and by then it will be to late.
      Mankind is not the center of the universe and never will be.


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  • razzz razzz

    Remember a transmission tower next to the plant site fell over during the initial quake and workers were reporting seeing pipes fall and crack inside the units, from there it was all downhill.

    When units SCRAM, you expect to have water available to cool the cores and spent fuel. What? They needed battery power to the gauges to know their cores were melting down. They needed power to operate pumps as the valves scram into position as if water is available.

    From there, with no water, you have to start venting to the big stacks to relieve pressure so water can flow into the cores, in this case water boiled off not to be replaced and pressure kept building up and self venting esp. thru the lid seals. The stacks were never used for without power they couldn't operate the valves for them. They were do as close as possible direct manual venting i.e. primary shell containment venting into the secondary containment (into the unit building building itself).

    Tokyo fire department finally used saltwater for cooling but pressure inside the cores kept little if any water from going inside the core vessel. At that point the cores were in full meltdown heating up the bottom of the vessels to explode downward. Any additional water would make things worse (more steam). Fire department was on was onsite during some explosions.

    The dilemmas of a station blackout leading to loss of containment x3. Looks like they will never have containment in our lifetimes.


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    • farawayfan farawayfan

      I agree with all of that except I suspect they couldn't even SCRAM the reactors. I think some/most/all ofthe moderating rods probably were no longer aligned enough once the earthquake hit for a successful emergent shutdown, which most likely led to even more heat generated for the melt-out.


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  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    Three Rogue Nuclear Reactors, melted their way into the mudrock under Fuku Units1,2,&3. They have followed the mudrock layers, downward and eastward, and are by now well out to sea, and far below the seafloor. There is no control room, and no human operators. There is no reactor vessel, no primary containment vessel, and no secondary containment. There are no control rods, no boron, and no boiling water to moderate the nuclear reactions, or to carry away the heat. Other then some slight venting back through nuclear lava tubes to Fukushima Plant No. 1, or through faults in the sea floor, Rogue Nuclear Reactors1,2,&3 are out of human contact forever, encased in the sandstone of the Pacific Ocean seafloor. All that is left is corium splatter inside the ruins of Units1,2,&3, contaminating the water that is pumped into the reactor ruins. Underneath Reactor Buildings1,2,&3, corium lava tubes contaminate hundreds of tons of groundwater flowing into the Pacific Ocean every day. After 26 months, the contaminated water that floods Torus Basements1,2,&3, along with their respective Generator Buildings, has still not been pumped out and decontaminated. Leaking pipes, leaking tanks, and leaking ponds barely hold thousands of tons of reactor cooling water. The best the plants' former human operators can do is to use traffic cones, diapers, and duct tape to try and patch leaks that seem to spring up everywhere. "So it goes."


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    • weeman

      Do you have formal prove of this or is this the logical outcome of your theories, with respect, please clarify.
      At Chernobyl it solidified as it was dispersed and cooled, I need some hope with your theory we are doomed to extinction.


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      • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

        The key element in the above description is the location of Corium1,2,&3, weeman.
        TEP.gov has debated the location of the corium, if you think you can believe them, seen on slide 6 in this slide show presentation:
        http://www.aec.go.jp/jicst/NC/sitemap/pdf/P-4.pdf
        From ENEnews September 27, 2011, reported from Fukushima Diary:
        http://enenews.com/japan-nuke-expert-fuel-rods-estimated-be-12-meters-underground-reactors-1-3-be-100-feet-deep-year
        "Koide [Hiroaki Koide, assistant professor at Kyoto University's Research Reactor Institute] estimates nuclear fuel rods may be now 12m deep under ground at reactor 1-3…One piece of the fuel rods is estimated to sink into the ground at a rate of 17m per year. Therefore, 2 years from now, they may be 34m underground."
        Melt-through has been exhaustively discussed here. Read this discussion:
        http://enenews.com/analysis-corium-penetrated-fukushima-reactor-images
        And, I recommend that you read the ENEnews Webcam Forum, which reports smoke and steam rising from the ground around the Reactor Buildings nearly every day.
        The following site showed very high sea surface temperatures off Fukushima over the January through March time period this year.
        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/sst/ani-weekly.html
        There is much more that could be added to the proof.


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        • Trawling4Trolls

          "Therefore, 2 years from now, they may be 34m underground."

          And does Phil from the North think that 34m constitutes "well out to sea"?

          I can see you are one of those types, Phil, where we must hash out definitions for words and concepts. So be it.

          :)


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      • weeman

        Thanks PUN no disrespect intended only trying to educate myself and good discussion is what is required to change a nation and you can not make all the people agree with you all the time.
        It took me awhile to digest the information you provided and as per information you supplied until we know how much molten fuel fell into the containment, we can only speculate on the actual outcome. Ie how much was vaporized, there is always variables to account for.
        I hope you are wrong about china syndrome, but no doubt containment is breeched.
        I must agree that the updated charts provided are far more accurate and will continue to be enhanced as more information becomes evident and will require further investigation.
        As for the steam coming up from the ground, I would expect that, if it takes 5 years to cool fuel rods in SFP and the corium will be red hot for years, in my humble position we do not know with absolute certainty.


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    • Trawling4Trolls

      "Three Rogue Nuclear Reactors, melted their way into the mudrock .. They have followed the mudrock layers, downward and eastward, and are by now well out to sea .."

      Eastward, really? This is interesting reasoning, that a blob of material, more dense than anything around it, would begin to slide in a lateral direction, "eastward", rather than quite simply Downward. Vertically.

      And to add to Phil's heartwrenching moment, the operators of the dreaded HAARP device so lack empathy and compassion that they won't even 'cause' an earthquake precisely under Reactors 1,2, and 3 to drop those blobiums straight to the infernal depths. They are allowing them to slide EASTWARD!, outrage of outrages.

      :)


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      • Trawling4Trolls

        "that a blob of material, more dense than anything around it, would begin to slide in a lateral direction"

        What is that effect, Phil, centrifugal force or something negating gravity?

        I hereby call upon the Jim Stone Necromancer-device to conjure from the aether a more-than-plausible explanation. And let's be quick about it, Big Jim!

        :)


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        • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

          whether the melted fuel is at 3 meters, 30 meters or 300 meters, the result is nearly the same; we cant touch it, and radioactivity contaminates the ocean. Livermore labs have the worlds largest super computer. Is there any question that mind boggling, complex modelling has been done, in coordination with IR and microwave and whatever analysis tools? Corrupt people and policy and an unwillingness to embrace truth and consequences is the greater story, not exact locations of corium. Animals sicken and die from this, and we cant contain it, as shown by Chernobyl, Hanford and Chernobyl. Meanwhile we either complain amongst ourselves in agreement, or call each other fools


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          • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

            Of course I meant chernobyl, hanford and FUKUSHIMA, and all the other examples.

            What is the value of a forum like this? Entertainment for the retired? Every two or three days, the subject and input of bloggers is lost as a new headline comes up. Meanwhile people that come looking for solid information cant find it. Why isnt there a SMALL, CONCISE COMPENDIUM of reliable data PERMANENTLY displayed that everyone can digest?

            Maybe a few headings, like status of buildings and location and containment of nuclear fuel, estimates of release, predictions and consequences of financial and life impact


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            • combomelt combomelt

              I agree CS. Its very difficult to stay abreast of the many astute comments written on so many different threads that address where some situation stands it qould be excellent to have some type of non-comment assessment pages under your suggested headlines and such. Good idea i think tons get lost


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      • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

        couple things T4T: geological strata will be a determining factor in what direction the coreums move.

        Next (and possibly more significant), is there any chance you can lighten-up on the incessant HAARPing on Phillip?


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    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      Spot on Philip… although I wish you were wrong, no offense. (small smile)


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  • Japan and the whole world has made a huge mistake allowing TEPCO to handle this situation. From the beginning, they have lied and deceived. Ultimately, they were the cause the disaster was as bad as it was. This OUTLAW company needs to be set aside and punished. Then, the world has to come to Japan's aide and put a stop to this ongoing nightmare. This needs to be done for the sake of mankind.


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