This blog is a continuation from the first one, uhohjapan. I inadvertently forgot the password and email I was using. If you care to see the original posts, the link is at:
With that out of the way…
Today is the last day of July. The 142nd day of the unfolding catastrophe at TEPCO’s Daiichi Nuclear Power Pant in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.
Three of the reactors melted through their containment vessels early on after the quake and tsunami hit the Tohoku area. The water they keep pouring into the fuel pools and reactors becomes radioactive and leaks out daily. The water “cleaning” system which ultimately should reduce the amount of radioactivity in the water is supplied by Areva (French company) and has broken down more times than I can count.
The radiation continues to spew out of the reactors at a rate of around one BILLION becquerels EVERY HOUR (according to an NHK report [http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/29_13.html] . People within 20 kms have still not been evacuated.
I heard a new word today, “melt out”. It is not a melt down, nor it is a melt though. A melt out occurs when the molten mass of melted nuclear fuel rods actually melt down through the concrete floor on which the reactor building sits. As of this writing, an even such as this has never occurred in the history of mankind.
And we have three reactors headed in that direction.
And what happens then? According to Professor Koide of Kyoto University, the molten fuel will stop boring through the earth at around 5 or 10 meters, and will continue to spread radioactivity through the water table. Prof. Koide’s suggestion is to build a trench lower than 10 meters and fill it with concrete, effectively building a barrier around the plant to prevent the radioactivity from escaping. (If I remember correctly, somewhere I read that TEPCO was not willing to do that – correct me if I’m wrong.)
Listen to the interview with Prof. Koide on Kyoto Community Broadcasting http://radiocafe.jp