30 March 2011

good-ish news at last

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Somewhat internally inconsistent, but I will take it.
The Japanese government has decided to decommission all six reactors at the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant. TEPCO is also considering the construction of a containment shell at some of its reactors.

Earlier on Wednesday, Tsunehisa Katsumata, a chairman of TEPCO, said the company saw scrapping its four most troubled reactors as inevitable, Kyodo News reports.

However, Yukio Edano, the chief cabinet secretary and top spokesman in the Kan government, went further and suggested that all of the reactors at the Fukushima plant should be scrapped.

"It is very clear looking at the social circumstances. That is my perception," Edano said to a news conference, as quoted by Kyodo News.

In addition, TEPCO is planning to cover the damaged units with a special containment shell made of a high-tech fabric. This cover is aimed at preventing radioactive particles from escaping into the atmosphere, Asahi Shimbun newspaper reports.

Specialists will first apply a unique compound onto all four reactors, to prevent radioactive particles from escaping into the atmosphere, and then will cover units 1, 3 and 4 with the fabric, to enforce the protection.

This decision echoes the steps that Soviet specialists had to undertake in the case of the Chernobyl reactor. It was eventually sealed off within a massive concrete tomb called the sarcophagus. The catastrophe provided valuable lessons in how to deal with a reactor disaster, but also stern warnings about the dangers of nuclear energy.

Japanese workers have been unsuccessfully trying to restore the cooling system at the Fukushima facility, in what is now the worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl. The level of radiation measured in seawater near the site, is now said to be around 3,500 times higher than normal.
I had to double check this, and finally found China chiming in with Russia, so I think things are looking uppish.

Here's a more conservative report, but generally flowing in the same direction, from Japan.


More from Japan.
The government plans to spray a water-soluble resin over debris at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to prevent radiation leaks from spreading further, officials said Wednesday.

An unmanned, remote-controlled vehicle will spray the solution in order to affix radioactive substances onto the debris, the officials said.


Spraying resin over the debris at the plant is a temporary measure before fundamental measures are taken to contain radioactive substances, the officials added.
I'm going to guess that the arrival of the French experts is beginning to have an impact.
Anne Lauvergeon, president of Areva SA, has arrived in Japan to offer help in resolving the crisis at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, officials at the French nuclear fuel company said Wednesday.

Accompanied by five French nuclear experts, Lauvergeon's visit appears to underline France's full-fledged commitment to assist Japan, which has sought French help in tackling the crisis.


Areva is commissioned by Japanese power companies to process uranium-plutonium mixed-oxide fuel, so-called MOX fuel. MOX fuel used at the No. 3 reactor unit at the Fukushima Daiichi plant was manufactured by Areva and was shipped from France.
I don't know if the French will be arguing against burying it all, or for it. The company announced scrapping the four units, and the Japanese government added the other two, and then the French arrived... and the resin spraying shot into the headlines... but at least it's out there on the table for real.

love, 99


  1. Oh Boy, Anti-nuke diapers!

  2. What no one from ge wanted the job?

  3. My mind was actually working on the "steam" problem around the same time as I heard they're going to roll out fabric covers. After all, if the only thing carrying the worst of the particles up into the atmosphere is that steam, why not put a dome shaped fabric over it all. Note I said "DOME SHAPED" that's where my idea was different. From the drawings I saw last night, it looks to be cube shaped. Kind of like

    The idea comes from the STOVE. Who hasn't boiled something on the stove and covered it with a cloth to absorb the water, as opposed to the steel lid which drips everything back in and all over the place when removed. I always hated day two of hamburger helper.

    I actually think they're onto something here, if the melt down is semi limited to exposed fuel dropping lava/slag into a pools of water (which will need to be shored up eh?!), and the steam is being caught from a filter, the destruction could be greatly reduced to the rest of the planet. And they ought be concerned about that since there's some 30 more nuke plants in Japan which need to be maintained.

    Still that end game problem with accessing from the TOP of the building though, somehow they have to cut that crap and roof debris out of the way, if they're ever going to get those fuel rods out.

    I predict, somehow the same way or technology they mine and put that crap in the fuel rods in the first place, is going to have to be the way they get the fuel out. Seems to me separating the rest of the un-compromised fuel from the meltdown fuel ought to be top priority. If that could be done, then it's a dirty mining operation after that.

    But then again, with no knowledge of how they actually get pellets in the first place, I may just be blowing wind.


  4. b - If it'll lower the radiation long enough to get a couple things done, I'm all for it.

    j - I'm not sure anyone could live through the job... by now....

    p - What you propose is impossible, short of some really fancy and huge robots, which would end up having to be entombed as well. When they mine uranium to begin with, it is not as dangerous to your health by some really big factor. They refine it to the point where it is so deadly. Plutonium is manmade this way. Proximity to plutonium is extremely hazardous to your health... dead kind of hazardous. The conditions under which it is produced are highly controlled and done with robotic arms in containment. The people around it are wearing radiation suits in which movement is severely inhibited by weight and thickness. The workers at Daiichi are not wearing better suits, ones that would be better for their survival time, because they are soooo heavy that they can't get anything done.

    The only hope is to get some kind enclosure going, dumping in massive amounts of fission inhibitors and cementing the entire mess... "The Chernobyl Option"....


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