The reactors can NEVER be placed in ‘cold shutdown‘ because the cores are partially melted together. We are talking about hundreds of tons of fissile material inside reinforced concrete containment vessels. The containment vessels are cracked. They are releasing radiation. Fission excursions are still occurring and no one can go inside those containments for hundreds of years – even if they could get to the fuel.
They continue to pour water on them and drain it off into the ocean because there is nothing else they can do. If they stop pumping water, the genie comes out. If they keep pumping water, it has to go somewhere and that somewhere is the ocean. It is still a stop gap. Those reactor cores cannot be put into ‘cold shutdown’ or dismantled or entombed. Ever.
They cannot treat as much radioactive water as they have to keep pumping in. No one can. So the radiation is going to come across the Pacific and impact the US and, certainly, Hawaii. Yes, I read that they are going to start treating it or storing it, but the task is impossible. Reactor cores have to be maintained in a ‘clean room’ environment or the water picks up particles – which then become radioactive – which then irradiate the reactor plumbing – and, eventually, become fuel. That’s why they have to keep pumping fresh water in and dumping it out. They cannot recirculate it, even if they manage to get new plumbing installed. The next major earthquake there will begin an extinction event.
I am not going to say ‘told you so’. I am going to suggest that people who have the opportunity should consider growing their own food for a variety of reasons. I like aquaponics.
Growing food in enclosed greenhouses protects from fallout and the organic uptake of radionuclides. For my system, I have developed an ion-exchange filter to remove radioactive isotopes from rainwater. I can still use catchment. The water inside the greenhouses; water we need to drink, will be clean.
Consider this. When the economy collapses, as it must, the money people have invested almost anywhere except under their mattresses will be gone. If, instead, you chose to develop an aquaponics farm, in two years you would probably have a continuous supply of non-radioactive food.
We are now at the crossroads. The economic collapse IS coming. The radiation IS coming. I am going to have a radiation-free food source. If you believe you have your money and food supply secured into the future and that we will not devolve into a greenhouse economy, you don’t need to worry about it. If you guess wrong, you will have lost both your money and your chance.
It is true that I am a doomsayer and actively prepare for the worst situation I can imagine. If I don’t, that’s what will happen. If I do, and it doesn’t happen, I will still have an active, organic aquaponics enterprise. It is win-win for me when I get it built on whatever scale I can do.
I am going to make fresh food and clean water no matter what anyone else does. It’s merely the practical matter of how many people I can feed. In one greenhouse I can produce enough food for myself and the people who help me. With two, I can produce a surplus and feed other people. I envisioned three, but I may have to convert the third one to a water treatment/storage facility. I presently don’t have enough land for more than three and I don’t have access to more than three greenhouses in any case. I still have to buy them, prep the ground, do the plumbing, dismantle them. move them, re-erect them and build the two-tier infrastructure inside them. Then I have to make them produce. It is happening.
I have friends – maybe a lot of friends – who are investing in silver and gold. You can’t eat it. I’m just saying – the markets are going back up today after what looked like a downward spiral on 3 May. They are fluctuating and confused. That is not a foundation for stability.
One of these days you will look at the clock and it will say “too late”.
The live camera link is here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FptmoVcgpqg The sound is on. You can listen to the waves gently breaking on the shoreline. You can watch birds fly around the ruins – they don’t understand what is happening to them. When earthquakes hit you can watch the camera shake. It all appears very peaceful and tranquil. It’s a view of Hell.
EDITED 13 MAY, 2011: For anyone who doesn’t quite ‘get it’ yet. http://vimeo.com/23680177