A Fukushima reactor may have been much more dangerous than previously known PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rick Blake   
Monday, 09 May 2011 07:49

-Updated 5/12/11:  News reports claiming that the damage to #1 is much worse than previously disclosed (or feared), and fuel rods melted. Since it appears that primary containment failed (reports of water loss, 'cracks' which were 'sealed'), it is safe to assume secondary containment is badly contaminated.  #1 may be entombed rather than cleaned up, which makes operating #5 & 6 rather dicey...

-Original Post-

There is some analysis being made available today that the #2 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi may have been experiencing chain reactions for as long as 10-15 days after the tsunami stuck the complex on March 11.

The report from Tetsuo Matsui at the University of Tokyo considered the ratios of isotopes found in seawater and near the facility were consistent with chain reactions.  The gist of is that Iodine-131, with a half-life of 8 days, is normally expected to become much less prevalent as fission ceases, while various Cesium isotopes should actually become more prevalent since they persist longer.  The more Iodine-131, the more recent the fission.

This isn't good for several reasons;

- A chain reaction continuing for that period of time probably means extensive damage to the core, and primary containment. this complicates cleanup and greatly increases the cost. 

- TEPCO had no idea what was going on inside the reactor.  If they did, and just kept it to themselves, well, they are losing what face they had left.  Not good.

I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that this mess is worse than TEPCO or the Japanese government was willing to admit, and will have permanent effects worldwide.  It wasn't long ago that experts warned us that every radioactivity release had consequences, from increasing the background level to being blown around and imacting populations far away from the site.  Now they assure us this is no big thing, it's not a significant amount globally, and well, don't worry too much.

Sorry, but I don't buy that.  We will face consequences of this for a very, very long time.  The experts are wrong on this, at least the experts that aren't paid by the industry and governments.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 May 2011 19:04
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