Friday, May 13, 2011

Two months to the day after initial meltdown warnings, media renews panic over "ongoing meltdown"

The following excerpts indicate that our buddies, the British oligarchy (which gives itself a fresh coat of whitewash with a periodic wedding-bash) is still milking the "nuclear catastrophe" in Japan for all they can, although the consequences to humans are negligible, and the radioactive water discharged into the ocean will eventually become so diluted that it will have no long-term effect.
Engineers from the Tokyo Electric Power company (Tepco) entered the No.1 reactor at the end of last week for the first time and saw the top five feet or so of the core's 13ft-long fuel rods had been exposed to the air and melted down.
Previously, Tepco believed that the core of the reactor was submerged in enough water to keep it stable and that only 55 per cent of the core had been damaged.

Now the company is worried that the molten pool of radioactive fuel may have burned a hole through the bottom of the containment vessel, causing water to leak.
TEPCO on Thursday said new measurements taken this week, after workers in protective suits fixed gauges in the badly-hit reactor one building, indicated that water pumped into the pressure vessel had quickly leaked out.

The water level inside had fallen below the bottom of the four-metre long fuel rods, suggesting they had been exposed to the air, increasing the risk of a dangerous full meltdown.

However, the vessel’s relatively low outside temperature of 100-120°C indicated that the rods had dropped to the bottom of the vessel and were under water, TEPCO said.

“The temperature of the pressure vessel was 100-120°C, which is considered to be the level where the fuel rods are being cooled down in a relatively stable manner,” a TEPCO official said.
from Fresh leaks at Japan nuke plant [Note: the leaks aren't fresh - this has been suspected since days after the tsunami hit.]
Japan's Kyodo News reported on Saturday afternoon, Japan time, in an article entitled "URGENT: Concerns of core partially melting at Fukushima nuke plant," that there are indications that a reactor core at Fukushima No. 1 is, indeed, beginning to melt down.
from Japanese nuke meltdown may be underway (MARCH 12th, 2011) [See?]
China's Academy of Sciences said it had chosen a "thorium-based molten salt reactor system". Chinese scientists claim hazardous waste will be a thousand times less than with uranium. Meanwhile a Russian expert who worked on the clean-up of Chernobyl told the Wall Street Journal the Japanese at Fukushima did the right thing by releasing radioactive water into the ocean.

Vladimir Uiba, head of Russia's Federal Medical-Biological Agency, compared the Japanese seawater contamination with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and said the spill had caused a far more serious impact on the environment than the Fukushima accident.
from Nuclear future can be viable [This article in particular is a good antidote to all the anti-nuclear hysteria running rampant in the media in general.]
Although elevated levels of radiation have been found in milk and vegetables in the regions surrounding the plant, and experts advise not eating any seafood caught within 30 kilometers offshore, the effects on wildlife in the sea, according to Bill Camplin, of England’s Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, are unlikely to be severe. That’s because ocean currents and natural dilution by the sea water are likely to spare marine life and underwater ecosystems

The ocean can absorb significant amounts of radioactive materials such as iodine-131 and cesium-137, the two most common radioactive isotopes coming from the plant, before it becomes unsafe for marine animals or humans, although health authorities must still monitor seafood, seaweed and other ocean products. Ken Buessler, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts notes that iodine and cesium are soluble; they would be diluted in waters 100 to 300 feet down then carried off by the current. Authorities will be monitoring the Pacific waters and any fish caught in it to be sold for consumption for some time to ensure safety.
The government's special task force dealing with the ongoing nuclear crisis said it plans to introduce a cleanup and recycling system for the highly radioactive water piling up at the disaster-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant by the end of June.
[...]
To date, a total of around 87,500 metric tons of radioactive water has been found piling up at the accident site as a result of pouring water into the buildings accommodating the nuclear reactors and spent fuel pools in a bid to avoid overheating. With the cooling operations continuing at the facility, contaminated water will continue to increase.