The on-going nuclear disaster in Japan is worse than even I thought. One reactor has already melted down and they fear two more might. See three short news articles below for details.
Several other articles I’ve read say this can go on for at least another year or longer.
Oh, by the way, Health Canada and the U.S. EPA have raised allowable limits for radiation exposure. Gee, I feel safer already. (Sarcasm off, now.)
Nuclear meltdown at Fukushima plant
One of the reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant did suffer a nuclear meltdown, Japanese officials admitted for the first time today, describing a pool of molten fuel at the bottom of the reactor’s containment vessel.
By Julian Ryall in Tokyo 2:01PM BST 12 May 2011
Engineers from the Tokyo Electric Power company (Tepco) entered the No.1 reactor at the end of last week for the first time and saw the top five feet or so of the core’s 13ft-long fuel rods had been exposed to the air and melted down.
Previously, Tepco believed that the core of the reactor was submerged in enough water to keep it stable and that only 55 per cent of the core had been damaged.
Now the company is worried that the molten pool of radioactive fuel may have burned a hole through the bottom of the containment vessel, causing water to leak.
“We will have to revise our plans,” said Junichi Matsumoto, a spokesman for Tepco. “We cannot deny the possibility that a hole in the pressure vessel caused water to leak”.
Tepco has not clarified what other barriers there are to stop radioactive fuel leaking if the steel containment vessel has been breached. Greenpeace said the situation could escalate rapidly if “the lava melts through the vessel”.
However, an initial plan to flood the entire reactor core with water to keep its temperature from rising has now been abandoned because it might exacerbate the leak. Tepco said there was enough water at the bottom of the vessel to keep both the puddle of melted fuel and the remaining fuel rods cool.
Meanwhile, Tepco said on Wednesday that it had sealed a leak of radioactive water from the No.3 reactor after water was reportedly discovered to be flowing into the ocean. A similar leak had discharged radioactive water into the sea in April from the No.2 reactor.
Greenpeace said significant amounts of radioactive material had been released into the sea and that samples of seaweed taken from as far as 40 miles of the Fukushima plant had been found to contain radiation well above legal limits. Of the 22 samples tested, ten were contaminated with five times the legal limit of iodine 131 and 20 times of caesium 137.
Japan: meltdown feared at two more Fukushima reactors
Two further reactors at Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant may have suffered meltdown, according to its operators
By Danielle Demetriou in Tokyo 7:00AM BST 17 May 2011
The fuel in reactors No 2 and 3 is suspected to have melted amid reports that the operators Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) failed to cool the plant in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The news came only days after it was confirmed for the first time that a meltdown had taken place in the No 1 reactor only 16 hours after the earthquake and tsunami hit the plant.
“The findings at the No. 1 reactor indicate the likelihood that the water level readings in the other reactors aren’t accurate,” said Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at Tepco. “It could be that a meltdown similar to that in the No 1 reactor has occurred.”
Tepco has faced wide criticism for its apparent failure to fully comprehend or reveal the extent of the damage inflicted in the plant after crucial cooling systems were knocked out by the March 11 disaster.
Despite the admission, Tepco has insisted that it will stick to its initial plan to regain control of the plant within nine months, although the government is today expected to release its own recovery roadmap.
TEPCO: Fukushima nuclear meltdown actually occurred just 16 hours after earthquake, more meltdowns on the way
May 19, 2011
Source: NaturalNews – Ethan A. Huff
The truth has finally come out, as officials from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) now admit that fuel in Reactor 1 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex melted just 16 hours after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the area on March 11, 2011. When asked why it took more than two months to reveal this critical information, TEPCO officials claim that a lack of data left the company unaware of the core’s true condition until only recently — and new reports indicate that other meltdowns could soon follow.
According to a recent report from The Mainichi Daily News (MDN) in Japan, TEPCO officials recently announced that, based on new data, water levels in the pressure vessel at Reactor 1 began to drop rapidly within just a few hours after losing power at 3:30 pm on March 11. By 7:30 pm, fuel was fully exposed, and by 9 pm, reactor core temperatures reached an astounding 2,800 degrees Celsius, or 5,072 degrees Fahrenheit. And by 6:50 am the next morning, a full meltdown occurred (http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news…).
So for all the time that electric power was out in multiple reactors, causing the cooling systems to fail, and during the months after it was widely known that water levels were consistently dropping in Reactor 4 due to leaks, TEPCO played the ignorance card, acting as though it had no idea how serious the situation at the plant actually was. Surely the company must know, even without access to a detailed analysis, that when cooling systems fail and fuel rods become fully exposed, a meltdown is sure to follow — even regular folks with no background in nuclear technology can put two-and-two together to figure that one out.
But apparently TEPCO thinks it can keep playing dumb, and that the world will simply believe whatever it says. This new revelation, however, proves that the company is greatly underestimating the fallout from the situation at best, and deliberately hiding the truth at worst. Either way, the situation is far more dire than we have all been led to believe.
“[TEPCO] could have assumed that when the loss of power made it impossible to cool down the reactor, it would soon lead to a meltdown of the core,” said Hiroaki Koide, professor of nuclear safety engineering at Kyoto University, to MDN. “TEPCO’s persistent explanation that the damage to the fuel had been limited turned out to be wrong.”
And shortly after the announcement about Reactor 1, The Telegraph reported that two more Fukushima reactors may soon suffer a meltdown as well. Efforts to cool fuel in Reactors 2 and 3 have failed, and experts say that if the reactors cores have not already melted, they soon will (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wor…).
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