In terms of radiation fallout Fukushima is said to be approaching Chernobyl by at least certain measures, and the potential for Fukushima to be worse in terms of total radioactive material released is very real. However, the two disasters really can’t be compared sensibly because the circumstances of release, and the potential effects, are very different. It has become increasingly clear that the authorities involved in the initial construction of the plant should have considered the Tsunami risk as a serious factor, and this is not just because the Tsunami actually happened. The consequence of having one’s multi-reactor nuclear power plant swallowed up by the ocean are sufficiently dire that one would want to avoid even a small chance of it happening. Or so they are beginning to realize.
Now, not only is it clear that three of the four reactors suffered full-on melt-downs, it may also be the case that one of the reactors suffered a sort of “China Syndrome” wherein melted nuclear fuel burned itself through all of the containment vessels and through the floor of the reactor plant, to China. China is, in this case, an unknown distance below the surface of the reactor building, where the radioactive material sits now boiling off whatever water seeps down there and makes contact. That may not be exactly what happens, but steam pouring out of the floor underneath a reactor vessel full of holes seems to be a clue…
The level of highly radioactive water in the reactor plants is rising, except in association with reactor number 1. perhaps the “China Syndrome” effect there causes the water to boil off. Or, perhaps the water there is leaking out to the sea. Or, perhaps, no one has a clue.
It is now known that several people have indeed suffered internal radiation exposure, and the number of such individuals known is going up, as medical personnel are examining people. The tea is tainted. The government survived a no-confidence vote but Kan’s resignation is being called for. Questions are also being raised regarding the Independence of the International Atomics Energy Agency.
There are still concerns that the Number 4 reactor spent storage pool will collapse.
In short, since our last update, nothing good has happened by way of progress to contain or mitigate the situation, but quite a bit has been revealed about how bad the accident was at the time it first occurred, and the severity of damage to the reactors, especially 1 and 2, has become more apparent. And, the Japanese people are in the streets demanding action and answers. It has been a long time since Japanese were openly and vigorously protesting something. Which was, if memory serves, the construction of nuclear power plants.
Continue reading Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 27: They should have seen the tsunami coming.