Fukushima Could Be Worse — And It Will Be

Damaged Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant

UPDATED – 30 APRIL with the confirmation of the senior Japanese advisor that all three reactors have melted down: Crossposted from ex-skf’s blog  with a H/T to Francisco Gonzalez.

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/04/fukushima-i-nuke-plant-japan-nuclear.html

F-Daiichi is releasing 154 teraBecquerels of radionuclide particulate matter a day.  Almost all of the reports repeat the statement that Fukushima has (so-far) released only about 10% of the radiation Chernobyl released.  No problem.  Well, they say, “It COULD have been worse.”

IT WILL BE!

I stated that Chernobyl was over.  It isn’t.  Over a thousand of the wild boar hunted in Germany in 2010 contained more than the legal limit of 600 becquerels of radiation and the direct effects will be with us for at least a hundred more years.   I also stated that  Fukushima hasn’t really begun… and it hasn’t.   Chernobyl released a huge radioactive cloud when it blew up.  Fukushima will exceed the Chernobyl release in a year no matter what else happens. It will easily exceed the fallout created by all 2000+ nuclear tests – which were stopped because enough tests make a nuclear war unnecessary.  Once you irradiate all the plants and all the animals and all the fish and all the people, dropping bombs is superfluous.

Those melting nuclear cores aren’t going away.  There are additional differences.  Chernobyl didn’t dump radioactive water into the world’s primary fishing waters.  Fukushima will have to dump highly radioactive water into the oceans for many years just to PREVENT a Chernobyl-type accident – Fukushima will be many times worse than Chernobyl and will continue for, possibly, hundreds of years.

I was also a bit cavalier with this comment: “I was asked yesterday how soon someone could go back to the area of Fukushima Daiichi, buy land, build a house and do a little farming and fishing.  “20,000 years”.  “No, really.”  Well…three hundred years after the last fission reaction stops.  And then another 15,000 to allow all the isotopes it cooked up to decay.  Yep.  20,000.” I want to keep this readable – so sometimes I take a bit of license in order to do that.  In fact, the used USED fuel rods that have been blowing out of Fukushima and the fuel core that blew out of Chernobyl are very dangerous and stay that way for a long time.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Activityofuranium233.jpg They aren’t being stored safely anywhere on earth and they probably never will be.  That can has been kicked down the road for fifty years.

However, The 20,000 year estimate came from the fact that there is a biological in addition to a nuclear half-life of radionuclides. That means that at Chernobyl, particles which were deposited may  stay radioactive for a million years, but through the passage of time, they are eventually buried or separated enough so that the immediate danger of encountering them decreases. For everyone who gonged me about that number, you are literally correct.  But the point I was trying to make was that it would be a longer time than recorded history  – not that it would be that exact number.  What would you rather read…something we can all understand, or something that only a very few people can?

‘Nuff said about that.

I have information from Yoichi ‘boots on the ground’ that smoke was emitting from Kashiwazaki last week after the MAG 7,1 EQ. which occurred off Honshu on 7 APR 2011.  I have further information that in addition to Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear plants at Onagawa, Fukushima Daini, Tokai and now Kashiwazaki, were ALL damaged by the MAG 9.0 EQ of March 11 and are in shut-down status.

I saw something really interesting today.  I went to Google Earth ™ and flew over Onagawa.  The inlets north and south of the reactor and everywhere else I looked suffered enormous damage from the tsunami.  Everywhere.  But not even a stone was out of place at the Onagawa nuclear plant.  The date on the map was 11 March, 2011.  The pictures of the plant probably came from Digital Globe one minute before the tidal wave hit – but they may be from last year.  I’ll wager it doesn’t look like that today.  The ‘after’ pictures show the disaster everywhere except at the reactor.  The pictures of Fukushima are now accurate at first  glance. I looked at Fukushima Daini, only 11km south of Fukushima Daiichi.  The tsunami destroyed the entire coastline but somehow didn’t hit the reactor at all.  Which is impossible.  I ran out of time before I got to Tokai, but now you know where to look.  The attached report (below) is interesting.

TEPCO wanted to re-start the three reactors at Kashiwazaki (which were damaged in a 2007 earthquake and have been off ever since).  That is not an example of forward thinking – it is pure, naked desperation.

Their idea of restarting Fukushima Daiichi reactors #5 and #6 further supports desperation.  There are so many problems at SEVERAL of their nuclear plants that rolling blackouts are now the norm.  Every functional nuclear plant is being pushed to the limit and beyond in order to maintain a semblance of normality – but they are ALL in bad repair and are sitting ducks for the next mega-quake….or for ONE overworked plant manager to make a bad decision. Or simply overuse.  Not only in Japan.  In the US  as well.

As of March 23, neutron beams have been reported at least thirteen times at Fukushima Daiichi. The Japanese government states that these are not the result of criticality accidents and then go right on to state that limited fission may be occurring.

Do tell!  If a neutron beam is observed at Fukushima (or anywhere else on earth), it is from a fission excursion.  You can call it  ‘limited fission’, ‘not a criticality accident’, ‘bubbles in the bathtub’ or any other name you like but nuclear criticality is the only thing that produces a neutron beam.

They are almost certainly leaving the isle of denial by now and coming to the belated realization that they can’t stop it. Remember that 6 to 9 month plan for ‘repair’?  You won’t hear that anymore.  Do you remember the idea of constructing a huge, steel tank to hold radioactive water?  That probably won’t happen. They would simply fill it up and wait for the next earthquake to breach it. Huge, steel water tanks do not survive MAG 6.9 earthquakes.  But the water must keep flowing.  20 cubic meters of it an hour, or the genie wakes up.

Furthermore, it is now becoming more likely that a small Chernobyl-type explosion DID occur at Fukushima Daiichi reactor #3.  I have to write the name out instead of abbreviating because there also seem to be problems at :

Onagawa reactor #3
Fukushima Daini reactor #3
Tokai Reactor #3
Kashiwazaki reactor #3

The evacuation zones are not going to be reduced at all –  On April 23, while a school doctor was telling the kids that the radiation danger is over, the Japanese government was EXPANDING the evacuation zones.  I didn’t read the wording of that announcement yet but Jeff Rense’ source in Japan said “The wording on the upcoming evacuation sounds eerily like expectation of another larger blast/meltdown.”

Which is it?  We already know.  On March 12 when the fuel tubes ruptured and the fuel pellets began to fission and melt together, it no longer mattered whether ALL of them did or not. The ones which are fissioning will continue. The ones which haven’t YET are merely waiting for the water to be turned off.

Again: SOME amount of fissile material is fissioning and continues to fission.  It is in a steel can which is partially full of boiling water.  There is not enough water to cover the fuel rods and too much to risk putting more water in – the container was not designed to hold water and it may rupture from the weight. It is, in effect, a nuclear cauldron.  If they pump the boiling water out (and into the ocean), the core will probably explode.  If they don’t pump it out, the next earthquake will breach the can and spill boiling radioactive water all over… and THEN the core will explode.

They don’t know the status of the fuel core. They cannot get near it.  The heat and radioactivity melts robots and cameras.  The core is protected by a hardened concrete caisson (called a containment vessel) which surrounds the reactor itself and is designed to protect them from bombs and airplane strikes AND TO KEEP THIS VERY THING FROM HAPPENING – but it is now cracked – so the bad stuff can get out and nothing can get in except some water through secondary lines. And the core is generating deadly radiation.

MULTIPLY THAT FOUR OR FIVE OR SIX TIMES.  Welcome to Honshu.

About the only viable plan left is to run away, but there is nowhere to run.  Or invent a scenario in which all of the remaining fuel is vaporized at once. Nuke all the cores at once and burn off all the fissile material.  THEN you can compare it to Chernobyl.  Or just wait and hope the extinction event doesn’t happen in your lifetime – but it will.  People will start dying in a big way by 2020.  The ones still alive in 2034 won’t necessarily be the lucky ones.  [EDIT] The 2020-2034 extinction is going to be a result solely of this incident – I realize it looked like that was what I was saying.   This is what I was saying:  http://drtom.posterous.com/the-perfect-storm-updated-and-reposted-from-2 . I apologize for not having made that clear.

This appeared on the Jeff Rense website.