– A is For Atom Foretold Fukushima Core Melt (AsianWeek, May 21, 2011):
A full length BBC film (view at link) reviews history of nuclear power development up to Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Scientists say that something the size of a submarine could actually reliably hold in the worst possible disaster, but once scaled up to the size of Fukushima, if they could not be kept full of water, the fuel would melt, and eat through the container resulting in the original “China Syndrome”. Of course people neglect that the real bad thing that happens when it melts down is that it produces all sorts of nasty fission products that contaminate rainwater, fish, seaweek, milk and vegetables all over the local region and detectable all over the freaking planet. Nobody had seen buildings reduced to skeletons of rubble by mere hydrogen explosions, or figured on the possibility of prompt critical explosion which seem a better explanation of the unit 3 wreckage. Scientists work off a blackboard, but these BWRs were designed long before computers allowed detailed simulations, and even they can’t predict things like somebody using a candle that burned up all of the electrical connections at one plant.
Drive-By Tour of Ruined Fukushima Crisis Site
from this photo site
A friend of talisker’s was kind enough to translate this for the @all list. This is the context of the video, not a direct word for word translation:
“The guy visiting the plant is Aoyama Shigeharu from the Nuclear Safety Commission in Japan and he is allowed to enter at this stage, as several other specialists. At first he goes to the emergency control center, at the entrance is the decontamination facility and only specifically authorized staff are allowed to open the doors and allow people in and out.
The people working are mostly the staff of the NPP and range from 20 yrs old to pensioners, some of which have just decided to volunteer, devoted to end the disaster.
He talks to Mr. Yoshida who is the Tepco chief engineer and as far as I can tell, he is the one running the show from the tech point of view. They walk upstairs in the control room, in this entire building the air is filtered and radiation is blocked fully (no details given). It was initially used for workers to sleep at the beginning of the disaster but because they were too many, they then did another center at the Daini NPP. They have around 600 people working in total. During the night there are approximately 240~250 people working at the control room.
They take him for a tour, initially between #2 and #3. The Tepco employees with him are not allowed to step out of the vehicle, because they will max their radiation exposure limit. He is ok to step out as he only stays there for a short time. Also they are not stopping near #3 because the radiation is obviously too high. They move around #4 and further out where it shows the special resin prepared and sprayed on the ground (is that guy’s face uncovered? foo…). They then move to the side facing the sea -turbines- showing all the wreck from the massive tsunami (nothing important mentioned that cannot be seen). The place they stop for a little is one of the trenches full of super radioactive water and is covered by massive metal slabs, while they say they are trying to remove it.
The vid moves back to Mr. Yoshida, the chief engineer, where he says 1-2-3 are getting stable and his main concern is #2 because of the large volume of contaminated water that needs to be removed. The water is mainly concentrated from the tsunami that has leaked into the plant and then got contaminated, but the process has already started and they are storing it in special tanks. He makes a strong point that if there is another earthquake followed by a tsunami, that would mean “the end”. He says that Tepco is highly bureaucratic and he had to make a serious argument in order to convince them to focus on building a new “wall” to prevent this in case it happens. This process has now been approved and progressing rapidly. As a chief engineer his abilities are limited to a certain extend and therefore he would have not been able to do all this without receiving a lot of help from all over Japan, but also people from all over the world, participating in containing the disaster.
The vid moves back in the studio showing Aoyama Shigeharu. He says that specialists are now allowed to enter the site and this means the situation is relatively stable. Then he just explains where he went and where he walked out of the car on the plant miniature. He could also see inside the buildings and while looking at the ramble he felt that steel structures were damaged so badly by the tsunami as if they were candies. His impression is clearly that the entire disaster is happening due to human error and bad handling, since the reactor structures were intact after the tsunami.
He points at the emergency control center and emphasizes that people come in and out following very strict instruction to the letter and they make no mistakes. He greatly admires the incredible morale and strength of the people working there, while he says their “eyes look different” than an ordinary person. Also, he admires chief Yoshida who appears to understand the criticality of the situation very well and is doing everything humanly possible to contain the disaster.
Japan’s Energy Crisis: Turn Off Your Toilets
Those gonzo japanese toilets with sprays and driers showing up now in US asian stores use 4% of all household energy use according to Japan’s trade ministry. 4,000 pachinko pinball machines use 840 megawatts during peak hours, more than twice the city subway system.
Big Reactor 3 Page
This guy has all the interpretation of the Unit 3 pictures here I don’t agree with everything he says, but he has some good insights, and certainly more information than TEPCO who just said the roof was blown off. Hell, nearly half the service floor was freakingly blown away and collapsed and guts spilled out of the northwest corner. He’s sure that some sort of explosion has blown away not only the concrete manhole covers, but also the yellow cap, and the metal pressure cooker cap, which means the whole dang melted pot of fuel is OPEN TO THE !$#@% AIR. Somebody just sent me a comment that he thinks he can recogize the big yellow doorknob shape of the cap against the rubble on the nw side, I can see something yellow from a closer shot, but somebody on site could certainly take a closer look. My god, they need the same people who figured out airliner crashes and the wtc collapse to take a real good look at this damage. It’s not random at all, the key is in the analysis, and it deserves better than crowd sourcing it’s getting now since tepco has said zip, nada, nothing on the exact nature of the damage or even released a decent floor plan of what the heck is on those floors.