Damaged containment vessels are present in reactor #1, #2 and #3 (MOX fuel)
I have covered the three crippled plants and the MOX fuel in several previous posts.
So if your new or haven't been paying attention I will relink them all at the bottom.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. acknowledged for the first time possible damage to core pressure containers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant--the last line of defense in preventing radioactive materials from spewing out.
TEPCO officials told reporters Monday morning that despite the continuous pumping in of water to cool down the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactor cores, water levels were not rising as expected, meaning the pressure containers may not be completely sealed off.
The water, which is believed to be mixing with radioactive materials from the fuel rods within, is likely leaking from the pressure containers, they said.
TEPCO officials said a possible reason the water levels were not rising sufficiently were breaches in the lower part of the pressure containers. They said they did not know what caused the possible damage.
TEPCO claims they are speculating with this scenario. That is doubtful. I would take it more as this is what has happened.
Fuel rods are damaged and crumble, the melted fuel could fall and accumulate into a lump at the bottom of the pressure container. In that scenario, it would be more difficult to cool because of the fuel's larger surface area. The experts also said damaged fuel rods could have reached high temperatures that melted the walls of the pressure container.
To understand how this is possible one has to realize that the Mark 1 plants were built with cost cutting in mind , so they stored the spent fuel rods atop the reactors. I know, I know a brilliant show of ingenuity....
Let's think for a minute. The water that has been dumped on these crippled reactors since the crisis began. I have touched briefly on this in other posts. Let's look a little more in depth at the water. Can it be contained? Has it been contained? Where is it going?
Japan resumes pumping radioactive water -
On Monday, workers resumed the laborious yet urgent task of pumping out the hundreds of tons of radioactive water inside several buildings at the six-unit plant. The water must be removed and safely stored before work can continue to power up the plant's regular cooling system, nuclear safety officials said.
Contaminated water inside Unit 2 has tested at radiation levels some 100,000 times normal amounts.
Workers also discovered radioactive water in the deep trenches outside three units, with the airborne radiation levels outside Unit 2 exceeding 1,000 millisieverts per hour.
So we have radioactive water in the reactors and radioactive water in the "deep trenches" outside of three units ( 1, 2 & 3) Could workers really have "discovered" radioactive water outside of the power plants in deep trenches. You know a discovery: "Something previously not known or unexpected" Or do you think this was an expected outcome of the water dumping, therefore NOT a discovery. I do take exception to the use of that word in this reporting. Anyone with a firing brain cell would have realized there is no surprise in the discovery of radioactive water outside of the containment vessels, in the plants themselves and all the way outside of the buildings!
But it get's worse, way worse-
New readings show contamination in the ocean has spread about a mile farther north of the nuclear site than before. Radioactive iodine-131 was discovered just offshore from Unit 5 and Unit 6 at a level 1,150 times higher than normal, Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, told reporters.
So to answer the three original questions
Can it be contained? NO
Has it been contained? NO
Where is it going? To the ocean and onto the rest of the globe
What about Reactor # 4?
Not to much news on the condition of that plant. But I had come across this last week, and now seems the right time to post it. Fukushima Engineer Says He Helped Cover Up Flaw at Dai-Ichi Reactor No. 4
Mitsuhiko Tanaka says he helped conceal a manufacturing defect in the $250 million steel vessel installed at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi No. 4 reactor. Tanaka’s allegations, which he says he brought to the attention of Japan’s Trade Ministry in 1988 and chronicled in a book two years later called “Why Nuclear Power is Dangerous,” have resurfaced.
Tanaka says the reactor pressure vessel inside Fukushima’s unit No. 4 was damaged at a Babcock-Hitachi foundry in Kure City, in Hiroshima prefecture, during the last step of a manufacturing process that took 2 1/2 years and cost tens of millions of dollars. If the mistake had been discovered, the company might have been bankrupted, he said.
Inside a blast furnace the size of a small airplane hanger the reactor pressure vessel was being treated one last time to remove welding stress. The cylinder, 20 meters tall and 6 meters in diameter, was heated to more than 600 degrees Celsius (1,112 degrees Fahrenheit), a temperature that softens metal.
Braces that were supposed to have been placed inside during the blasting were either forgotten or fell over when the cylinder was wheeled into the furnace. After the vessel cooled, workers found that its walls had warped, Tanaka said. The vessel had sagged so that its height and width differed by more than 34 millimeters, meaning it should have been scrapped, according to nuclear regulations. Rather than sacrifice years of work and risk the company’s survival, Tanaka’s boss asked him to reshape the vessel so that no-one would know it had ever been damaged.
If everything this man claims is accurate, Reactor # 4 could be in a great deal of trouble, if it is not already.
One more story for today- Plutonium has been found in the ground outside of the nuclear complex- Plutonium found in soil at Fukushima complex- The deadliest substance on the planet.
Plutonium found in soil at the crippled Fukushima nuclear complex heightened alarm on Tuesday over Japan's lengthy battle to contain the world's worst atomic crisis in 25 years.
The radioactive material, was traced in soil at five locations at the complex.
"Plutonium found this time is at a similar level seen in soil in a regular environment and it's not at the level that's harmful to human health.
But, have no fear it is harmless, or so TEPCO claims
TEPCO said it was unclear where the plutonium was from, though it appeared two of the five finds were related to damage from the plant rather than from the atmosphere.
If two of the five finds can definitely be linked to Fukushima, how can TEPCO be unclear on where it came from?
Experts believe that as well as from the atmosphere, plutonium may have come from spent fuel rods at Fukushima or damage to reactor No. 3, the only one to use plutonium fuel.
The plutonium is from No 3. Let's stop playing fast and loose with the truth.
I realize this is what the nuclear industry is used to doing.
Distraction, obfuscation and out and out fabrication.
As I promised at the beginning, for the new readers or those that have not paid attention until only recently. Previous posts on Fukushima can be found here, here, here, here, or here and then - this and that.