Archive for Saturday, April 2, 2011

Radioactive water from Japan’s destabilized nuclear power plant leaks into sea

April 2, 2011


— Highly radioactive water was leaking into the sea Saturday from a crack discovered at a nuclear power plant destabilized by last month’s earthquake and tsunami, a new setback as frustrated survivors of the disasters complained that Japan’s government was paying too much attention to the nuclear crisis.

The contaminated water will quickly dissipate into the sea and is not expected to cause any health hazard. Nevertheless, the disturbing discovery points at the unexpected problems that can crop up and continue to hamper technicians trying to control the crisis.

Word of the leak came as Prime Minister Naoto Kan toured the town of Rikuzentakata, his first trip to survey damage in one of the dozens of villages, towns and cities slammed by the March 11 tsunami that followed a magnitude 9.0 earthquake.

“The government has been too focused on the Fukushima power plant rather than the tsunami victims. Both deserve attention,” said 35-year-old Megumi Shimanuki, who was visiting her family at a community center converted into a shelter in hard-hit Natori, about 100 miles from Rikuzentakata.

The double disaster is believed to have left nearly 25,000 dead — 11,800 confirmed. More than 165,000 are still living in shelters, and tens of thousands more still do not have electricity or running water.

Although the government had rushed to provide relief, its attention has been divided by the efforts to stabilize the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which suffered heavy damage and has dragged the country to its worst nuclear crisis since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.


Ken Lassman 4 years, 6 months ago

Check out the following slide show presentation from Stanford University on March 21

Besides being an excellent presentation on the most probable unfolding of the Fukushima nuclear debacle, the last slide has a disturbing footnote: reactor 4 had all of the fuel core rods stored outside of the containment chamber, tranferred over to the spent fuel rod pool, for maintenance at the time of the earthquake/tsunami. I presume this is standard protocol for all US nukes as well, a process I believe that is occurring at Wolf Creek right now or very soon.

The problem is: if a disaster occurs during this maintenance phase, and the spent fuel pool drains/evaporates, there is nothing to prevent meltdown and uncontrolled release of radioactive materials across the land (and at Fukushima, the sea), is there? There is no heavy duty steel and concrete containment chamber around the spent fuel pool, meaning that it would release hydrogen like reactor #4 did, blow off the concrete shell, and start spewing radioactivity. That seems to be the main concern right now at Fukushima, and it seems to me to be a possible major vulnerability for every nuke in the US. Upgrading the spent fuel pools would be a huge upgrade expense if it were possible at all, so not sure what to do about existing reactors, but it seems to me that this will have to be addressed in any new nuke, meaning hundreds of millions of dollars added to the already stratospheric costs of a new nuke.

Am I right on this, and if not, why?

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