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Japan nuclear plant: Just 48 hours to avoid 'another Chernobyl'



March 16, 2011 – Comments (16) | RELATED TICKERS: SHAW.DL , UEC , NRG

This Is a follow up post to a blog that I started when this nuclear accident was In It's Infancy. I believe the basic premise of the following article Is correct,and the "markets " are acting as If they believe the same thing. We are at a very crucial juncture In this very grave situation,and I pray to god that they get this under control. Gods speed.... :(     TS         Japan has 48 hours to bring its rapidly escalating nuclear crisis under control before it faces a catastrophe “worse than Chernobyl”, it was claimed last night. Gordon Rayner and Martin Evans 10:52PM GMT 16 Mar 2011

Nuclear safety officials in France said they were “pessimistic” about whether engineers could prevent a meltdown at the Fukushima power plant after a pool containing spent fuel rods overheated and boiled dry.

Last night radiation levels were “extremely high” in the stricken building, which was breached by an earlier explosion, meaning that radiation could now escape into the atmosphere. Tokyo Electric, the owners of the plant, said five workers had been killed at the site, two were missing and 21 had been injured.

Last night a US nuclear safety chief said that the Japanese government had failed to acknowledge the full seriousness of the situation at the Fukushima plant and that warnings to citizens had been insufficient and understated.

Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, warned that if “extremely high” radiation levels increased it would become impossible for workers to continue to take “corrective measures” at the plant as they would be forced to flee.

As Japan resorted to increasingly desperate measures — including dumping water on the site from helicopters — there were accusations that the situation was now “out of control”.

The Foreign Office responded to the latest developments by advising all British citizens to leave Tokyo – which is 140 miles south of the plant – and the whole of northern Japan. The EU has even urged member states to check Japanese food imports for radioactivity. Emperor Akihito made a rare address to the nation, urging the Japanese to pull together, but hinted at his own fears for the nuclear crisis saying: “I hope things will not get worse.”

In London, the FTSE-100 share index slumped as news of the latest emergency emerged, closing 1.7 per cent down.

The official death toll from last Friday’s earthquake and tsunami stood at 4,314 last night, with another 8,606 listed as missing.

Thousands of people still waiting for food aid in the most remote areas of the disaster zone endured fresh misery yesterday as heavy snow began to fall across northern Japan. But all eyes were on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant as Japanese authorities admitted concerns over rising temperatures in three pools containing spent fuel rods.

A failure of the cooling system that has crippled the entire plant led to water boiling in the No 4 pool. Last night the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) said there was no water left in the pool, resulting in “extremely high” radiation levels. An earlier fire and explosion in the No 4 reactor building is thought to have breached the protective walls around the pool. A statement from the USNRC said: “We believe that secondary containment has been destroyed and there is no water in the spent fuel pool and we believe that radiation levels are extremely high which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures.”

If the water has gone, a US nuclear safety official warned, there is nothing to stop the fuel rods from getting hotter and ultimately melting down. The outer shell of the rods could also ignite with enough force to propel the radioactive fuel inside over a wide area, .

Jeremy Browne, the Foreign Office minister, said: “There is clearly an evolving situation and things are clearly getting worse at the Fukushima nuclear plant.”

Attempts to cool the site by dumping sea water from helicopters had to be aborted at one stage because of dangerous radiation levels in the air above the plant. A police water cannon was brought in to help blast water into the overheating reactors and pools, but there were warnings that it may be too late to prevent a disaster. Thierry Charles, a safety official at France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), said: “The next 48 hours will be decisive. I am pessimistic because, since Sunday, I have seen that almost none of the solutions has worked.” He described the situation as “a major risk”, but added: “All is not lost.”

Asked about the maximum possible amount of radioactive release, he said “it would be in the same range as Chernobyl”.

16 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 16, 2011 at 8:23 PM, topsecret10 (< 20) wrote:

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#2) On March 16, 2011 at 8:33 PM, kdakota630 (29.15) wrote:

Nikkei down 384 at the moment.

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#3) On March 16, 2011 at 8:43 PM, topsecret10 (< 20) wrote:

Japan's nuclear accident 'out of control'     Published: 16/03/2011 at 11:20 PM Online news:

The situation at Japan's disaster-hit nuclear power plant has spun out of control, threatening a deeper catastrophe that could cost more lives, the European Union's energy chief said Wednesday.

``The site is effectively out of control,'' energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger told a European Parliament committee, one day after he said Japan was facing ``apocalypse.''

``In the coming hours there could be further catastrophic events which could pose a threat to the lives of people on the island,'' he said.

Scrambling to prevent a nuclear meltdown, Japanese crews have been dumping water on the stricken Fukushima No.1 power plant, which has been hit by a series of explosions after Friday's quake knocked out reactor cooling systems.

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#4) On March 16, 2011 at 8:52 PM, topsecret10 (< 20) wrote:

US fears worsening Japan crisis   

Published: March 16 2011 06:15 | Last updated: March 17 2011 00:21

A top US nuclear safety official said late on Wednesday that the situation in Japan was worse than officials there had suggested.

Gregory Jaczko, head of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission said his organisation believed one of the damaged reactors at the Fukushima plant – number four – had run dry and was emitting “extremely high” radiation levels.  

The damage, he said, “could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures”. The Associated Press reported that Japanese officials were disputing the US assessment.

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#5) On March 16, 2011 at 9:03 PM, topsecret10 (< 20) wrote:


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#6) On March 16, 2011 at 9:16 PM, topsecret10 (< 20) wrote:

Eleven water-cannon trucks are on the way to the disaster site...  helicopters are dumping water directly on reactors #3 and #4    :(

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#7) On March 16, 2011 at 10:09 PM, topsecret10 (< 20) wrote:

Number 5 reactor ... water level Is getting low and pressure Is rising !....    This Is getting very bad  ...  :(

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#8) On March 16, 2011 at 10:22 PM, topsecret10 (< 20) wrote:

1000 cars In line at ONE gas station !   It Is now SNOWING there !  I pray that GOD Intervenes....   :(

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#9) On March 16, 2011 at 10:39 PM, topsecret10 (< 20) wrote:

  They measured 87.7  Millisieverts(unit of radiation measurement) at an elevation of 1000 ft when using helicopters to drop water on the reactors. To put that Into perspective the annual dose allowed to a nuclear plant worker Is (50)  millisieverts. The radiation Is VERY HIGH at the present time,and It Is getting worse.... :(

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#10) On March 17, 2011 at 12:00 AM, topsecret10 (< 20) wrote:

Elite Japan nuclear workers race to stop meltdown  

FUKUSHIMA, Japan (AP) — They risk explosions, fire and an invisible enemy – radiation that could kill quickly or decades later – as they race to avert disaster inside a dark, overheated nuclear plant.

The 180 emergency workers at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi complex are emerging as public heroes in the wake of a disaster spawned by an earthquake and a tsunami.

Dubbed by some as modern-day samurai, the technicians were ordered back to work late Wednesday after a surge of radiation forced them to leave their posts for hours.

“I don’t know any other way to say it, but this is like suicide fighters in a war,” said Keiichi Nakagawa, associate professor of the Department of Radiology at the University of Tokyo Hospital.

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#11) On March 17, 2011 at 10:00 AM, topsecret10 (< 20) wrote:

These reports show that the efforts to stop this disaster from getting worse are failing so far.....   they are trying to get temporary power connected to the site so that they can get the circulation pumps re-started for the nuclear-rod "pools". However,the pumps themselves still have to be repaired In the Interim...  :(

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#12) On March 17, 2011 at 10:01 AM, topsecret10 (< 20) wrote:


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#13) On March 17, 2011 at 10:07 AM, Gemini846 (34.60) wrote:

They actually raised the annual dose of radiation to 125 or 150 msv to allow more workers to rotate into the plant. Report this morning said that they were getting about 10 msv per hour so a worker can only work for 12-15 hours before they have to stop.

The question is, if keeping these guys working prevents a meltdown shouldn't they keep them working and Japan just pick up thier medical bills and call them national heros?

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#14) On March 17, 2011 at 10:47 AM, topsecret10 (< 20) wrote:

UN: Radiation to Hit U.S. By Friday    The Pacific jetstream is currently flowing due east directly toward the United States. In the event of a major meltdown and continuous large-volume radioactive release, airborne particles will be carried across the ocean in bands that will cross over the southern halves of Oregon, Montana and Idaho, all of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, the Dakotas, northern Nebraska and Iowa and ending in Wisconsin and Illinois, with possible further eastward drift depending on surface wind direction.

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#15) On March 17, 2011 at 10:54 AM, Deepfryer (27.22) wrote:

Dropping water from helicopters just seems so futile. The reactors are right at the side of the ocean... I don't understand why they aren't using fireboats.

"Modern fireboats are capable of pumping tens of thousands of gallons of water per minute. An example is Fire Boat #2 of the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Warner Lawrence, with the capability to pump up to 38,000 US gallons per minute (2.4 m3/s; 32,000 imp gal/min) and up to 400 feet (122 m) in the air."

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#16) On March 17, 2011 at 11:00 AM, topsecret10 (< 20) wrote:

Deepfryer   I agree...  they could also be using high volume pumps (that run on gas) and can suction sea water. They could run hoses for miles If they had to... :(

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