15 March 2011

you'll be wanting to bookmark this page — or not

[click images]


It is slow to load but it has a ticker running across the top that pretty much spells it out.***

Containment in Reactors #1 and #3, the one with the plutonium, are feared damaged.

They can't check the smoke from #3 because the radiation is too high.

They can't use a helicopter over #4 to dump water on the spent fuel rods because it is too risky.

Water injection to #4 has yet to begin.

U.S. forces may be called in to help.


No workers left on site.


In even plainer English: There is no doubt #3 is in meltdown. But they're saying its pressure is stable. Yes, yes, the pressure would be stable. It would hold steadily at zero.


I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone today is the Ides of March.


Man, trying to follow this mess in ernest is a hard slog. Godlike Productions is mortifying to wade through, but there are some hot doggers trying to outdo each other there and so some helpful links to something approximating actual can be dug from that compost mountain. I even looked at Twitter, but that is worse than the other. Age and toothache bid me hang back with the Guardian's live blog for a while. Click the ghastly image of reactors 3 and 4 to go there.

But, honestly, we don't have to hover over this. That image of Number Three should tell you all you need to know. The building is all but GONE and there is white smoke/steam wafting up out of it. That means that some portion of the core containment is breached. It might be tiny right now and in a spot where it will take longer to burst the whole thing wide open, but the suddenly very high radiation levels at Daiichi are due to Number Three in its first stages of meltdown. Again, that's the one with the MOX fuel, the mixture of uranium and plutonium.
The rods, made by blending small amounts of plutonium with traditional uranium, were loaded into Unit 3 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant last September.

Makhijani said the unit contains 32 MOX assemblies, about 5 percent of the fuel now in the reactor, where an explosion this week kindled fears of a radiation release.

“With this fuel, the risks of accidental criticality are different,” Makhijani said. “You have the same kinds of problems; they are just more intense with plutonium.”
Oh, but that's not the best part.... It's
designed to use weapons-grade plutonium from dismantled nuclear warheads to make fuels usable in commercial nuclear reactors.

The plant’s mission is to dispose of the weapons-grade material to
Wait for it!
prevent exploitation by terrorists.
Don't wet your pants.
The search for utilities willing to use the fuel when production starts in 2018 has moved slowly.

Currently, the Tennessee Valley Authority is evaluating the use of MOX fuel in as many as five of its reactors, and a Richland, Wash., utility is mulling its use in one unit, but no formal user agreements have been signed.

Safety officials have pointed out that the problems in Japan were caused by the combined effects of the earthquake and tsunami — not by the type of fuel in the reactors.

In an e-mailed statement Tuesday, a National Nuclear Security Administration spokesman said U.S. officials remain confident about the safety of existing programs.

“The American people should have full confidence that the U.S. has rigorous safety regulations in place to ensure that our nuclear power is generated safely and responsibly,” the spokesman said. “Information is still coming in about the events unfolding in Japan, but the administration is committed to learning from Japan’s experience as we work to continue to strengthen America’s nuclear industry.”
You realize, of course, this means we've nuked Japan again. Does your dog hear that high-pitched whine that's about to break your windows? It's just me.

Anonymous Coward #1286022, an Aussie, says:
No.1 melted down 3 1/2 days ago
No.3 melted down about a day later
No.2 melted down (and even Tepco admitted this one) the next day
No.4 may have melted down yesterday but if not yesterday it's melting down today.

Cursory glances at videos will confirm this timeline OP.

Anyway stop worrying about a few pissant little subcritical meltdowns that are still largely contained by remnant reactor structure WHEN THERE ARE NOW raging spent fuel fires burning dozens of times the amount of radioactive fuel that is present in the reactors - in the open air!
Somebody else says the workers are back... with better suits on....


I am resolved to take refuge in Out There now, and I don't expect to endure it long, though may be surprised, but here is a nice bite-sized hunk of Michael Tsarion telling us something supremely appropriate to the moment, and I really hope you'll listen to it.


*** I was unhappy to find that this vaunted-by-me ticker reverted quickly to much less pointed bulletins... so... it too gets sat on by the PTB and turned useless quickly enough. Soon it will be like in 1984, where ALL news gets filtered before it goes out to the public. Chocolate rations have been cut! More chocolate for all!

love, 99


  1. From the ticker - all workers told to evacuate!

  2. Another Kyodo link with back links to various reactor reports:


    (Also has the ticker)

  3. Those threads at the GLP boards give me a headache... or... maybe it's the plutonium.

  4. Helicopters:

    Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it is considering spraying boracic acid by helicopter to prevent spent Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it is considering spraying boracic acid by helicopter to prevent spent nuclear fuel rods from reaching criticality again, restarting a chain reaction, at the troubled No. 4 reactor of its quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

    ''The possibility of recriticality is not zero,'' TEPCO said as it announced the envisaged step against a possible fall in water levels in a pool storing the rods that would leave them exposed.

    From Kyodo News

  5. Those threads at the GLP boards give me a headache

    Me too - everybody just keeps repeating each other!

    There was a real good one there today by one of the moderators regarding what is going on at the reactors. A very long and seemingly accurate account. When I went back to find it I couldn't.

    Probably just as well - there was a huge banner halfway done the page flashing blue and yellow telling me I was the one millionth visitor and I had won a prize... ("Offer participation required" in small print!)

    The banner was the reason I didn't link it earlier today when I was visiting you at lunch.

  6. They have nixed the helicopter idea as too risky.

    They have evacuated all workers from the site.

    #3 is in meltdown. Click the links I added to the post. They're not saying it, but there's no other explanation for it.

  7. Your "Reactors" link only brings up Godlike's banner - was that your intent?

    You need to add the CATASTROPHE label to your Monkey/Stooges post to tie in the comments there...

  8. Thank you. I'll have to go back and download the image from the thread and upload it to link here... and the monkey Stooges thing too... thank you.

  9. Look on the positive side. Some are saying it's time for the next step in human evolution. Maybe the radiation will cause the mutation that allows homo superior to emerge.

  10. Homos already think they're darn superior....

  11. BB2, the guy who did the Fukushima reactor image got the numbers backwards, so he yanked it down and replaced it with the right numbers. That's why the banner came up instead of the image. But anyway, I got the right image up there now.

    That place is REALLY painful. A bunch of nitwits heaped over a few fairly intelligent people. Yikes.

  12. Gaia seems to be twitchier lately. Of the 12 largest earthquakes since 1900, five have hit in the past seven years.

  13. I'm trying hard not to wish one would hit my tooth.

    Last night I dreamed it fell out. I am also trying hard not to wish for that.

    Forgot this afternoon's amoxicillin and, fuuuuuck, it huuuuurts again already. Will have to get the dentist to re-up my scrip before the weekend for sure.

  14. Unless... of course... the plutonium fixes it....


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