Uncontrolled Experiment Continues

And what is the nature of an uncontrolled experiment? They are commonly referred to as accidents. Things are heating up at the Fukushima Experimental Station. Here is the latest status of the experiment.

Despite hopes of progress in the world's worst nuclear crisis in a quarter of a century, triggered by an earthquake and tsunami that left at least 21,000 people dead or missing, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said it needed more time before it could say the reactors were stabilized.
Translation: "We got no fookin control. All we can do for now is stir the rubble."

Now how about the good stuff?

Earlier smoke and steam were seen rising from two of the most threatening reactors, No.2 and No.3, stoking new fears of radiation. Officials later said smoke at reactor No.3 had stopped and there was only a small amount at No.2.

There have been several blasts of steam from the reactors during the crisis, which experts say probably released a small amount of radioactive particles.

Concern has also grown over the core of reactor No. 1 after its temperature rose to 380-390 Celsius (715-735 Fahrenheit), TEPCO executive vice president Sakae Muto said. The reactor was built to run at a temperature of 302 C (575 F).

Reuters earlier reported that the Fukushima plant was storing more uranium than it was originally designed to hold, and that it had repeatedly missed mandatory safety checks over the past decade, according to company documents and outside experts.

It is getting so that it is difficult to even guess at why this is happening. A reactor restart? Total Loss Of Coolant Accident (TLOCA)? Just plain lack of cooling? If the vessels are pressurized how are/were they maintaining the pressure and level without power?

I have a very bad feeling about this.

Zero Hedge has some thermal image pictures.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 03.23.11 at 12:24 AM


Pressure going up proves you have fairly good structural integrity of whatever is holding the gas -- otherwise it will just dissipate. Now, there are many structures, some known busted and some known good.

Pressure going up and staying up implies a power source. There is a known power source -- the decay products still produce many megawatts of heat. There is a feared power source -- the rods may have melted down into a heap, and that heap may be going critical. That would be *very* bad news. Add boron to prevent that...

A partial meltdown is enough to account for the symptoms seen. And there has certainly been a partial meltdown of some of the rods -- the water sometimes didn't cover all of the rods in all of the reactors and spent fuel pools, and the temperature went extreme enough to get steam/air/zirconium reaction yielding hydrogen yielding explosions. In multiple different buildings. And some probably went even hotter, allowing some of the zirconium to crumble.

I agree that the operators don't have good observation or control over the high energy systems. Not good.

I disagree on the consequences.

Despite multiple deaths of operators (two swept away by Tsunami, one killed in crane accident) and multiple serious injuries, there have been no reported cases of radiation sickness outside of the plant boundary. I think they should erect a statue to the operators working on site when this event settles down.

TEPCO management -- not so much.

Engineer Bob   ·  March 23, 2011 2:54 AM

I'm thinking that if the safeguards shutting down the plants in the event of an earthquake hadn't been in place, it would have been fine.

It seems to me that's where they lost the power that finally cost them their cooling when the backup generators failed.

rhhardin   ·  March 23, 2011 4:26 AM


Do you suspect that this is going critical? They are reporting high temps in reactor 1, neutron beams, spiking radiation at 1600% 12 miles out, and contaminated drinking water in Tokyo. How much worse can this get?

Frank   ·  March 23, 2011 11:00 AM
M. Simon   ·  March 23, 2011 7:57 PM
M. Simon   ·  March 23, 2011 8:00 PM

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