Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fukushima: Water Leaks, Nitrogen Injections & a cold shutdown?

Here is some of the latest-

Massive Water leaks from the still crippled Japanese Nuclear Plants-

— Japan's crippled nuclear power plant leaked about 45 tons of highly radioactive water from a purification device over the weekend, its operator said, and some may have drained into the ocean.

Ok, leaked about 45 tons? I guess this means that it is not known how many tons of water have leaked into the ocean. Given the propensity to downplay the Fukushima disaster, it could have been more water. I like the "may have drained" into the ocean.
Where the hell else would it go?
If we read on, it is clear it went straight into the ocean via a gutter-

A pool of radioactive water was discovered midday Sunday around a decontamination device, TEPCO said in a statement on its website. After the equipment was turned off, the leak appeared to stop. Later, workers found a crack in a concrete barrier leaking the contaminated water into a gutter that leads to the ocean.

Does that sound intentional to you?

Clearly the gutter was built to direct water to the ocean.
Either before the Fukushima disaster or right after it? If not, why was the gutter there?

The pooled water around the purification device was measured Sunday at 16,000 bequerels per liter of cesium-134, and 29,000 bequerels per liter of cesium-137, TEPCO said. That's 270 times and 322 times higher, respectively, than government safety limits, according to the Citizens' Nuclear Information Center in Tokyo.

Cesium-137 is dangerous because it can last for decades in the environment, releasing cancer-causing radiation.

The half-life of cesium-134 is about two years, while the half-life of cesium-137 is about 30 years.

Three of the plant's reactor cores mostly melted down when the March 11 tsunami struck

Does anyone recall myself and others on line pointing out the fact that meltdown had almost certainly occurred in multiple reactors. Most likely immediately after the tsunami/earthquake.
Refresh on an older post here from March 22/2011
Or hit the Japan label at the bottom to read 'em all

This recount from one of the Fukushima 50 makes it clear, in my opinion anyway, that all was not well at Fukushima immediately after the earthquake/tsunami.

He realized that the tsunami had caused a disaster when the lights on the plant's control panels flickered, and then went out. "I came to realize that a tsunami had hit the site when one of the workers came rushing into the control room, shouting 'Sea water is gushing in!'" he said. "I felt at a complete loss after the power went down."

"We put on full protective gear, but we couldn't possibly let younger workers do that job as we were entering an area with high levels of radiation," he said.

"When I got there, I heard a strange, loud popping sound from below, and when I tried to start work, my black rubber boots melted [due to the heat]."
My black rubber boots melted due to the heat.....

I found this interesting, a report from December 4/2011

In late October, Tokyo Electric Power Company began extracting gases from the containment vessel of the No.2 reactor to remove radioactive substances. During the work, TEPCO found hydrogen accumulating in parts of the reactor at a density of up to 2.9 percent.

TEPCO started pumping nitrogen into the pressure vessels of the No.1, 2, 3 reactors on Thursday to lessen the concentration of hydrogen.

The density of hydrogen accumulating in the containment and pressure vessels is thought to be below 4 percent, the level where an explosion could occur.

TEPCO says the nitrogen injection will push out hydrogen and reduce its concentration.

In late October TEPCO discovers hydrogen is building up and begins injecting nitrogen into the Number 2 reactor. Is hydrogen still building up at this time? Is TEPCO still injecting nitrogen into reactor number 2? Unknown.

The article continues on...

Keeping hydrogen density low is an indispensible condition in the second step of the process decided upon by the government and TEPCO to resolve the nuclear accident. They are aiming to achieve a state of cold shutdown for the reactors by the end of the year.

TEPCO aiming to achieve cold shutdown by year's end

The date of December 16 was reported by the Japanese press as an important milestone in the efforts to bring the ongoing nuclear crisis one step closer to a resolution.

A cold shutdown is reached when the water used to cool down nuclear fuel rods remains under its boiling point, preventing the fuel from heating again. Internal data from Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the Fukushima plant, showed at the end of November that the temperatures of the nuclear fuel lying at the bottom of the containment vessel have been stabilized.

If the prime minister Yoshihiko Noda declares a cold shutdown at the plant, it would be an important step towards the end of the nuclear crisis. For example, it may allow the government to end the evacuation period for about 80,000 residents on a 20 kilometer area around the plant who have been forced to leave their homes.

Is the attempt to achieve cold shutdown linked to massive radioactive water spill that was directed into the ocean via the gutter?
Would the Japanese government declare a cold shutdown successful and move people back into a deadly radioactive zone?

Additional Reading- Radiation found in Japanese baby formula

Traces of radiation spilled from Japan's hobbled nuclear plant were detected in baby formula Tuesday in the latest in a string of contaminated food turning up in the nation.

Major food and candy maker Meiji Co. said that it was recalling canned powdered milk for infants, with expiration dates of October 2012, as a precaution.

The levels of radioactive cesium were well below government-set safety limits, and the company said the amounts were low enough not to have any affect on babies' health even if they drank the formula every day.

Yah, sure.


  1. Actual Fukushima worker talks: water purifying system has never worked - http://fukushima-diary.com/2011/12/actual-fukushima-worker-talks-water-purifying-system-has-never-worked/

    If that's not bad enough we can look forward to hydrovolcanic explosions - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-H7LjPIBfkU&feature=g-all

    Not good.

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