Indeed, for those of us reading reliable reports, we get the sense that they are slowly gaining the upper hand over the problems.
On the other hand, listening to the media report on the Fukushima sitiuation is a bit like listening to a hysterical child who is convinced that he has just seen the boogey man under his bed. Here’s an example of media stupidity and sensationalism:
You just can”t rely on this kind of low level media for accurate, factual and cool-headed information. Not surprisingly, some Germans, who are 9000 km away from the reactors, are actually out buying iodine pills and Geiger counters. Some are probably even digging bomb-shelters by now.
So get the latest news from experts, instead. Here’s the latest update (reality):
From World Nuclear News here (emphasis added): ================================================================
Problems for units 3 and 4
16 March 2011
Earlier, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said that a blaze was spotted in the reactor building of Fukushima Daiichi 4 at 5.45am local time this morning. Attempts to extinguish it were reportedly delayed due to high levels of radiation in the area. A spokesperson for TEPCO said that by around 6:15am there were no flames to be seen. The incident at unit 4 is believed to be in the region of a used fuel pond in the upper portion of the reactor building.
FIRST PUBLISHED 0.25am GMT
UPDATE 1:14am GMT
Information from TEPCO spokesman and video feed
UPDATE 2: 4:10am GMT
Update title from ‘Second fire reported at unit 4’ and information on Unit 3 and 4 from Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano has described problems that occurred on the morning of 16 March with Fukushima Daiichi 3 and 4. He also outlined plans to pump water into unit 4.
At 8:34am local time white smoke was seen billowing out of Fukushima Daiichi 3. Efforts to determine the cause of this development were interrupted as all workers had evacuated to a safe area due to rising radiation readings. Readings from a sensor near the front gate had fluctuated for some time, although Edano said that on the whole there was no health hazard. Earlier in the morning readings had ranged between 600-800 microsieverts per hour, but at 10am readings rose to 1000 microsieverts per hour. Readings began to fall again from around 10:54.
Edano said that one possibility being considered was that the unit 3 reactor had suffered a similar failure to that suffered by unit 2 yesterday, although there had been no reported blast or loud sound, which had been the case for unit 2. The immediate focus, said Edano was on monitoring of levels and checking pumping operations.
It was not clear whether the increase in radiation readings were due to the problems today with unit 3 or the ongoing problems resulting from the damage suffered by unit 2, yesterday.
Edano also outlined plans for units 4. Preparations were being made to inject water into unit 4, however the high levels of radiation from unit 3 were impairing those preparations. When possible, the water injection would be done gradually as there were safety concerns over pouring a large amount of water at once. The water will be pumped into the reactor building from the ground, plans to drop water from a helicopter having been abandoned. Although he said that “all things were possible” Edano did not believe that recriticality at unit 4 was a realistic risk.
Second fire at unit 4
Tokyo Electric Power Company issued a notice of an explosion at unit 4 at 6am on 15 March. This was followed by the company’s confirmation of damage around the fifth floor rooftop area of the reactor building. On that day, a fire was discovered but investigations concluded it had died down by around 11am. At present it is not clear whether today’s fire was a completely new blaze, or if the fire reported yesterday had flared up again.”
Here it is in a nutshell:
Reactors 1 and 2: There no news mentioned here about them. And there is a saying about “no news”. Let’s hope it stays that way.
Reactor 3: White smoke was seen, radiation levels went up, but have since come back down. They are monitoring levels and checking pumping operations. I can’t discern a disaster there.
Reactor 4: Here we see that a fire was spotted this morning at 5:45. By 6:15 there were no more flames to be seen.
Overall there are no reports that any of the reactors and containment facilities having melted down, let alone exploded like Chernobyl.
And if the World Nuclear News is not good enough, here’s the latest status report from:
IAEA (emphasis added):
Japan Earthquake Update (16 March 2011, 03:55 UTC)
Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that a fire in the reactor building of Unit 4 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was visually observed at 20:45 UTC of 15 March. As of 21:15 UTC of the same day, the fire could no longer be observed.
Fire of 14 March
As previously reported, at 23:54 UTC of 14 March a fire had occurred at Unit 4. The fire lasted around two hours and was confirmed to be extinguished at 02:00 UTC of 15 March.
Water Level in Unit 5
Japanese authorities have also informed the IAEA that at 12:00 UTC of 15 March the water level in Unit 5 had decreased to 201 cm above the top of the fuel. This was a 40 cm decrease since 07:00 UTC of 15 March. Officials at the plant were planning to use an operational diesel generator in Unit 6 to supply water to Unit 5.
The IAEA continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities and is monitoring the situation as it evolves.”
Or read here: http://www.shz.de/nachrichten/schleswig-holstein/artikeldetail/article/111/tschernobyl-wiederholt-sich-nicht.html
In a nutshell, no news about Reactors 1-3, the Reactor 4 fire appears to be extinguished, and Reactor 5 seems to be threatening something, but the means of controlling that are at hand.
This all doesn’t mean that we are out of the woods. The next hours will tells us more. In the meantime be careful with all the Hollywood-type of drama and hype you hear from the clueless media and Greenpeace “experts”.
Also you can get press releases from the reactor operator TEPCO. But the press releases are confusing:
22 responses to “Fukushima Status From Non-Hysterical Sources. No Reports Of Any Meltdown Or Chernobyl-Type Catastrophe”
Meanwhile, back at the ranch: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20110316-33753.html
(The Scintillating comment is mine.)
Haggling for Bananas with a Geiger Counter… Nice idea 🙂
It works best if you’re wearing some of those disposable white overalls, white gumboots and a disposable breathing mask.
Just collecting the rent due for them holding onto their gullibility.
[…] is an update: Fukushima Status From Non-Hysterical Sources. No Reports Of Any Meltdown Or Chernobyl-Type Catastrop… From what I understand a handful of people have been irradiated with levels comparable Aberdeen […]
I don’t know Pierre,
I have published a link yesterday where it was stated that under article 15 no other but official government was aloud to inform the public about the
disaster developments. Official information at best is confused and not complete.
I also published the link to an article about the incredible amount of 600.000 used fuel rods stored at the plant territory and burning!
This is a very big threat because these so called spent fuel rods are not encased and not sufficiently cooled. They produce huge amounts of radiation.
I also had an article linked about the background problems with the type one reactor scoring a 90% chance of failure in case of a pressure problems which were already known in the seventies of the past century.
The mixed plutonium reactor 3 is damaged and producing radio active steam and no body knows where it is coming from.
Reactor two is damaged as well.
Reactor one is in the best (visual) state.
Why the Japanese Government doesn’t come out with the true readings and the true data is a big question.
I think the time has come to retreat the people from the Fukushima plant and evacuate the people to at least 100 km from the plant and let it burn out which will take approx. two weeks and hope for good winds.
After that they can detonate the reactors and set the parameters for a no go zone.
They have to stop risking the lives of people at the plant location any longer.
Just watch the close ups.
There is also a lot of disinformation about the number of people killed.
I have read about an inventory talking about 86.000 people killed.
The Government now says 12.000 people probably have been killed.
I think the 86.000 is more near the truth than the 12.000 mentioned by the Government.
There’s likely lots of bad information on this. Probably the best indicator to watch is the size of the evacuation radius. If that grows suddenly, then you know things are getting worse fast. We’ll have to see how it unfolds. In the meantime we can’t get hysterical about things that might happen and have no factual basis.
A bit of humor; today we have Cem Özdemür, head of the Badem Württemberg Green Party: Germany only uses 80 Gig Byte [sic] of electricity at noon so we can easily switch off nuclear…
Just google Cem 80 Gigabyte.
Thanks Dirk- that deserves a post of its own.
A frightening thought: Imagine the “Fukushima Fifty” were members of the GDL (Gewerkschaft Der Lokomotivführer; Union of train drivers).
50 brave men…I wish them all the best and luck!
They got reinforcement!
Listen guy’s this will remain a local event, even if they let it burn out.
Depending on the amount of radiation they will expand the safety zone to 100 or 150 km and that’s it.
There haven’t been massive stratosphere penetrating explosion so no significant material will cross the ocean.
The biggest risk we face now is that the greens use the nuclear tragedy to push their green policies.
I agree. The Rise Of The Greens will only come to a halt when the blackouts reach the city population. There’s simply not enough space in the forests for all of us. 😉
Energy Commissioner Öttinger’s “apocalypse” comment shakes the markets.
“However, the relative calm gave way in mid-morning trading after investors learned that the European Union’s commissioner for energy told a European Parliament committee that one of Japan’s nuclear plants is “effectively out of control,” provoking what could be a “major disaster.” ”
He’s such a good fearmonger he could be the boss of Hansen. /sarc
The real scientific discussion about the Fukushima event and the radiation goes like this:
“The important lesson from Japan is that we took obsolete reactors with old designs and safety features, and subjected them to a 9.0 quake and a very large tsunami, and the damage to the planet is an unfortunate but hardly decisive event. It is now time to stop worrying about this mess until things settle and we can see precisely what we have learned, and factor that into the next generation designs. Note that almost everywhere in the world we are building reactors with much better design and far better safety features than those being destroyed now. Concentration on how awful is the nuclear mess takes our attention off the economic and human disasters from the earthquake and tsunami.”
That’s a better prospect than planting the entire coast of japan full with
useless wind mills.
As much as I would like these reactors to go back working, I hate to say the least, i feel reactor 1 & 2 will go into a complete meltdown, just a vision I had gotten earlier today… I think they need to be worried about the reactors that aren’t giving problems and make sure reactor 3 & 4 can’t set them off… This is foreseen and can be stopped, if they make the right choices in what they are doing, and let others know the state in which all reactors are in at the moment.
So, in your opinion the only source we have to trust is Tepco press releases? Wow! The same guys that have been caught cheating test reports, the same that are going to be liable for any damage. Do you really expect them to tell the truth?
It seems that the posters on this site are a little less hysterical about the current and serious problems the Japanese are having with their reactors at the moment.
I lot of what I see and hear on some media outlets reminds me of the nuclear bashing film of 35 years ago, “China Syndrome” remember Jane Fonda? which sent the message: giant corporate interests only care about making money and don’t care if they irradiate the world and kill everybody.
I am amused by the “greens” around the world. Their message: You can’t use coal. Using coal will destroy the planet! You can’t use nuclear, it is unsafe!
But you can supply your country’s needs if ONLY YOU WOULD USE windmills and solar cells. RIDICULOUS! Trying to supply each county’s electric needs from windmills and solar cells (as of today) is like saying we could do it with a lot of size “D” flashlight batteries.
The world is stuck with tough choices. I say keep building reactors, but make sure we are learning from our mistakes and building them better and better and better. There is a lot to be said for a careful 4 or 5 layer defense when designing nuclear.
Quick true story:
There was a certain US nuclear submarine that experienced a highly unlikely failure of the physical part that lifts the reactor rods from the reactor. The lifting part broke. The sub reactor scrammed automatically.
The crew did not correctly understand what had just happened and when they tried to manually activate or reactivate the rods, they advanced the rods too fast, which would have led to “critical disassembly.” another way of saying the pressure would have increased so fast that the reactor would have cracked open.
A carefully engineered circuit board automatically rescrammed the reactor, ignoring what the crew was doing, saving the ship from disastor. Thereafter the nuclear dept on that ship enstated a practice called “kissing” the circuit board. Careful engineering saved their lives.
Fukushima doesn’t happen every day. They may yet get it under control.
Thank you for the most intelligent commentary that I have read. Mostly intelligent responses, too. Way to go! Nuclear power is the answer to most of our energy needs. Of course, there are always windmills! I am laughing!
It is just too bad that these reactors were built so close to the coast of Japan.
I notice a peculiar coincidence: as the Fukushima situation has turned out to be much worse than expected, the comments on this forum have stopped. With all three reactors now known to have melted down, and definite melt-through of the Reactor 1 containment without serious doubts about the integrity of containment in reactors 2 and 3, it appears that the crisis is the worst nuclear accident to date. It’s difficult to be groundlessly optimistic about nuclear power or the accident in the face of the new facts. However, much as was found at Chernobyl, the true extent of the meltdown will not be known until the reactors cool sufficiently for manual or robotic inspection, which may take up to 20 years. And a final analysis won’t be complete until the reactors are fully decommissioned, which the latest estimates indicate could be close to 100 years. Given that we haven’t even had nuclear power or a high-energy economy for 100 years, it’s difficult to be sure that the site will ever be decontaminated.