Monday, May 16, 2011

Fukushima Fears and Possibilities

For days I've been wondering what it all means? What conclusions can we draw from the accumulating evidence on Fukushima's multiple meltdowns and loss of containment?

Arnie Gunderson at Fairewinds has generously provided the public incredible analysis, but has stopped short of speculating about what comes next (although he did recently say that unit #3 could still have a hydrogen explosion).

Chris Martenson now offers his full analysis and the discussion is very well reasoned and considered. I am posting a block from his commentary. Read the entire excellent analysis here (block quote)

"The Remaining Fears"

"The good news is that nothing has blown up lately at the Fukushima complex, indicating some sort of stability and the likelihood that the reactors, while a complete mess, are not going to do anything more dramatic than they've already done.

The bad news is that reactors #1, #2, and #3 are all really badly damaged and leaking contamination to the outside world. Pouring water on them only creates more radioactive water which will find its way into the groundwater and/or the ocean.

The fear is that the molten cores are still cooking along, slowly working their way out of first the primary containment vessels and that they might slowly eat their way out of the secondary containment vessels too. If that happens, then there is a very real chance of extremely large-scale release of radioactive contamination -possibly in a rather vigorous manner - should some sort of re-criticality be established or just a good-old-fashioned steam explosion occur if/when the molted cores encounter water.

Can we rule out another, possibly larger, 'prompt criticality' event? No, not at this stage.

Another fear centers on the fact that we've not yet been treated to full disclosure on the amount and types of radiation released. Is there still significant iodine-131 being released more than 60 days after the beginning of this event? If so, that will mean that criticality is still going on or has recently happened because by this stage more than 99% of the initial 1-131 has decayed away.

The difference between fighting the leftover decay heat and trying to deal with re-critical fuel is like night and day. The former is slowly cooling off naturally, the latter is generating heat.

So, yes, we need to and deserve to know exactly what the isotopes are that are being found, in what proportions, and whether there are pockets of criticality in any of the damaged reactors..."

Majia here: The message is that disaster is ONGOING. We need to continue monitoring it and we need our government and media to step up coverage and testing!!

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