Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Humanity at the Mercy of "Backup," "Makeshift" Systems

Power, cooling restored at Fukushima nuclear plant AP (March 20, 2013)

 Tepco's spokesman, [excerpted] Ono acknowledged the plant was vulnerable.“The Fukushima plant still runs on makeshift equipment, and we are trying to switch to something more permanent and dependable, which is more desirable,” he said. “Considering the equipment situation, we may be pushing a little too hard.”

Ono said the utility did not immediately try to switch to a backup cooling system because doing so without finding and fixing the cause could lead to a repeat of the problem.There is a backup cooling system but no backup outside power source. TEPCO has backup cooling systems with separate power sources for reactor cooling, but fuel storage pools only have emergency diesel generators as a backup. TEPCO said it will consider installing backup outside power for the pools.

The No. 3 and No. 4 reactors share a makeshift switchboard that sits on the back of a truck, but an upgrade to a permanent, safer location is being planned later this month. Reactor cooling water pumps also sit on the back of a truck, with hoses traveling several kilometers to reach the reactors....

Majia here: Millions of lives depend upon this makeshift, backup system Tepco is using to hold the plant together.

I just have to wonder whether Tepco is merely the front man now? Surely there are vast networks of international experts working on the Fukushima problem?

At the Fukushima Symposium, Hiroaki Koide, Master of Nuclear Engineering, Kyoto Univ Reactor Research Institute told the world that there were 10,000 Hiroshimas of C137 at the bottom of spent fuel pool 4 and he said there was uncertainty about whether or not they can actually be removed.

They probably cannot be removed because of the fire(s) that are now acknowledged to have occurred in March 2011.  I believe fires also occurred in the winter of 2012.

Humanity's fate depends upon stopping the nuclear dominoes of the Fukushima Daiichi, Daini, Tokai, etc. nuclear plants from all melting down and destroying human life in unknowable quantities.

And we learn that our fate is in the hands of backup, makeshift systems?

Truly, the situation is insane. Is this the best we can do to fight against potential extinction?

Where are our instincts for self-preservation?

Freud was so right that we are driven by Thanatos. 

Doomsday scenarios spread about No. 4 reactor at Fukushima plant (May 10, 2012 ) By HIDEO SATO/ Shukan Asahi Weekly Magazine,

[excerpted] Mitsuhei Murata, 74, a professor emeritus at Tokaigakuen University who once served as Japan's ambassador to Switzerland, said, "The existence of the No. 4 reactor has become a major national security issue for the entire world that does not take a back seat even to North Korea's missile issue."

He had called for a halt to operations at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant even before the Great East Japan Earthquake struck last year, leading to the nuclear crisis.
"If an accident should occur at the No. 4 reactor, it could be called the start of the ultimate catastrophe for the world," Murata said as a witness at an Upper House Budget Committee hearing in March. [end]

Majia here: Yep. We are driven by some terrible desire for species self-destruction. 

It is fortunate that some of humanity, such as Koide and Murata, struggle against extinction.
Well, is the extinction event unfolding at a greater than expected rate?

The webcam images suggest that they may have reduced the amount of radiation being emitted from the plant.  

The plant emissions appear the same in volume today, but the color of the emissions appears to be less yellow-green tinged. However, it is hard to tell with any certainty because of the presence of the new bright light.

Look at these two screen shots. They were taken two hours apart and the emissions appear less tinged in the second image. 

Hopefully that means Tepco has gotten control of the cooling after all.

Note that the second screenshot, taken at 9:42 AM Pacific Time, is moving in the wind


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