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A Fukushima Update

The incident is both worse and better than feared / reported.

How can that be?

Now that the plant operators have power and can get to the remote sensor data they could not during the height of the crises, they have modeled the incident for Fukushima 1 based on that information.

The bad?  It looks as if Fukushima 1 lost all cooling immediately after the tsunami, and that within about 16 hours the core was completed uncovered with water and a full on meltdown occured.  It's also likely that primary (fuel pellet containment), secondary (fuel rod containment) and tertiary (reactor pressure vessel containment) were all breached.

The good? Quartiary containment (the dry well beneath the reactor) did NOT fail, and the release of radioactive material appears to be a fraction of what it was at Chernobyl, with most of the material from Fukushima finding its way to the Sea, which has diluted it such that its not really an issue.

The better news remains that while several drowned at the plant due to the tsunami, and one other died of a heart attack, no one has taken a life threatening (or even health averse) dosage of radiation to date, and the odds are that will continue to hold true. 

What remains now is a nasty and prolonged cleanup.

Article:TEPCO admits nuclear meltdown occurred at Fukushima reactor 16 hours after quake

Update: Continuous radiation exposure measurements of a businessman traveling to the Fukushima area and returning home.  Hat Tip: Instapundit.

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Comments (5)

That won't stop the anti-nu... (Below threshold)

That won't stop the anti-nuke crowd. Our future is in rainbow-colored unicorn farts.

FukuBarry too!... (Below threshold)
Ignorance is No exscuse:

FukuBarry too!

commenter @ 2,This... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

commenter @ 2,

This is one where 0bama played no meaningful part.

Point being that a 40 year old reactor design survived an earthquake which exceeded its design criteria, was crippled by a tsunami that was way beyond the design criteria and which deprived the plant of all external and internal power, thus making it nearly impossible to monitor and control the plant.

Despite all of this, and the severity of the damage to the reactor core, the loss of the generator power is having more effect in Japan than the radiation and radiological wastes which escaped the plant,

Score one for the engineers.

"Score one for the engineer... (Below threshold)

"Score one for the engineers"


My first thought after hearing that this incident had been raised to the level of Chernobyl (a "7" on a severity scale of 1 - 7) was that the IAEA needs a new severity scale. Because if this was a 7, then Chernobyl should be somewhere around 1000.

As with Three Mile Island, the small amount of radioactive material that leaked from these reactors is manageable and poses virtually no threat to residents living nearby.

It's a shame that the press, which is both ignorant and eager to cash in on any kind of controversy, is incapable of reporting these kind of incidents in an honest and informed fashion.

Jedi hand wave: "This is n... (Below threshold)

Jedi hand wave: "This is not the disaster you're looking for..."

Journalist: "Um, yes, actually, this is GREAT! I can string this out for months!"

Jedi hand wave, with geiger counter: "This is not the disaster you're looking for - there isn't any problem you can milk..."

Journalist: "Who are you kidding! Hokey handwaving and ancient technology are no match for Facebook and Twitter!"

Jedi hand motion, with heavy geiger counter contacting Journalist's head, stunning him. "Your attention do I have, yes? Tsunami problems and deaths and rebuilding all around, and this you concentrate on?"

Journalist: "Uh, ow. Maybe... maybe my priorities are wrong? After all, the technology DID pretty much do the job..."

"You have learned much wisdom today. Go, and seek out more." Jedi hand motion - a hard shove out the door.






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