It's not just them. It's all over the place. Most of them are reporting three explosions at the Fukushima nuclear plant. There have been four. Four separate reactor containment structures have blown up. There are a total of six at the site, and the last two still intact are in danger of losing the coolant level needed to prevent explosions just like the first four. Thousands of spent, but nonetheless highly radioactive, fuel rods are also at risk of losing cooling water. There is no mention anywhere of any of the reactors actually melting down, only some mention of some rods being exposed and emitting exponentially more radiation than the original safe-ish-but-troubling releases. Don't ask me to give you any links because it changes back into something else the minute I try to go back to it.
Any of you left suffering under the delusion that information on the tubes is better than on the tube can only feel marginally more comfort if you are willing never to sleep and to catch EVERYTHING hot off the press. It goes away, I tell you. It goes away. Soon it will not get up there at all.
I am caving in, here, to link Dave Lindorff's hyperbolic post about the construction of these nuclear power units, because it contains some salient information, but I edited the living snot out of it because the bare facts are more than enough:
Few are mentioning the problem with the fallout being blown over the Pacific. The explosions, or fires, or meltdowns, or near meltdowns, whatever way you want to look at it, are spewing radioactive material directly in the path of the Jet Stream that is rolling right on over to bump into the California coast, all of Oregon and Washington, and even on up into western B.C. and Alaska over the next few days.
These plants feature huge pools of water up in the higher level of the containment building above the reactors, which hold the spent fuel rods from the reactor. These rods are still “hot” but besides the uranium fuel pellets, they also contain the highly radioactive and potentially biologically active decay products of the fission process — particularly radioactive Cesium 137, Iodine 131 and Strontium 90.
If these waste cooling ponds were to be damaged in an explosion and lose their cooling and radiation-shielding water, they could burst into flame from the resulting burning of the highly flammable zirconium cladding of the fuel rods, blasting perhaps three to nine times as much of these materials into the air as was released by the Chernobyl reactor disaster. Each pool generally contains five to ten times as much nuclear material as the reactors themselves. A 1997 Nuclear Regulatory Commission study predicted that a waste pool fire could render a 188-square-mile area uninhabitable.
The Fukushima Reactor 3 unit uses MOX fuel rods, which are a mix of uranium and plutonium. Plutonium is far more dangerous chemically and in terms of its radioactivity.
Would that we had a Julian Assange in the IAEA or some American outpost of matters nuclear. Anyone got a geiger counter?