Fukushima Blockbuster

No. No one has dropped a bomb on Fukushima. Not a Big One (nuclear). Not even a big Small One. What we have (and it is devastating) is an Information Bomb. And it is wrecking Japanese complacency about ongoing efforts at Fukushima. I'm going to quote excerpts from the report. But you should read the whole thing. Needless to say my regular Fukushima report will be delayed.

More on 77-year-old Michio Ishikawa of the Japan Nuclear Technology Institute on the situation at Fukushima I Nuke Plant, as he appeared on Asahi TV on April 29.

As I watched the video, I started to like Mr. Ishikawa, who continues to believe in the safety of nuclear power generation. He didn't mince his words, and said what they are doing at Fukushima I Nuke Plant is not working. That surprised some, including the host of the show, as Ishikawa is known as a strong proponent for the nuclear power generation and the nuclear industry.

I believe in nuclear power if done right and so far we do not have any plants in construction that meet the real safety requirements of nuclear power. And what is that requirement? No core loss caused by lack of electrical power. What I call Intrinsic Safety.

Mr. Ishikawa says:

"I believe what they are trying to achieve after 9 months is to cool the reactor cores and solidify them so that no radioactive materials can escape. But they are just doing peripheral tricks like water entombment and nitrogen gas injection. Nitrogen gas, it's dangerous, by the way.

"What they must do is to cool the reactor cores, and there's no way around it. It has to be done somehow."

Yes. But the plans are sketchy and are subject to reversals.

Mr. Ishikawa further states:

"I believe the fuel rods are completely melted. They may already have escaped the pressure vessel. Yes, they say 55% or 30%, but I believe they are all melted down. When the fuel rods melt, they melt from the middle part on down.

(Showing the diagram) "I think the temperature inside the melted core is 2000 degrees to 2000 and several hundred degrees Celsius. A crust has formed on the surface where the water hits

I have thought this the case for quite some time. I have alluded to it in my own subtle way. I don't call them reactor cores. I call them piles of junk.

He says this about current efforts.

"They (TEPCO) want to circulate this highly contaminated water to cool the reactor core. Even if they are able to set up the circulation system, it will be a very difficult task to shield the radiation. It will be a very difficult work to build the system, but it has to be done.

"It is imperative to know the current condition of the reactor cores. It is my assumption [that the cores have melted], but wait one day, and we have water more contaminated with radioactive materials. This is a war, and we need to build a "bridgehead" at the reactor itself instead of fooling around with the turbine buildings or transporting contaminated water."

The problem with highly contaminated water is that it will contaminate the cooling system and make repairs and modifications of that system difficult or impossible.

And he is right on one thing. Japan should be at war when it comes to cleaning up Fukushima. And here is where the report gets really good.

"Take the debris clean-up job for example. They are picking up the debris and putting them in containers, as if this is the peacetime normal operation. This is a war. They should dig a hole somewhere and bury the radioactive debris and clean up later. What's important is to clear the site, using the emergency measures. Build a bridgehead to the reactor.

"The line of command is not clear, whether it is the government, TEPCO, or Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

"Look squarely at the reactors and find out the true situation. [Trying to do something with] the turbine buildings is nothing but a caricature [a joke, a manga, a diversion]."

The show's host says "But wait a minute, Mr. Ishikawa, you are a proponent of nuclear power and we expected to hear from you that everything is going well at Fukushima..."

Mr. Ishikawa answers, "Well, if I'm allowed to tell a lie..."

Ah. So the authorities have been lying all along? It is what I have been saying from near the the beginning. And I got that mind set from available evidence published in newspapers and on the 'net. Mr. Ishikawa has much better sources than I do. So you can probably take that one to the bank. i.e. TEPCO is lying to you. I don't know what it is with reporters these days. They are such trusting creatures. In direct contravention to their job specs. "If your mother says she loves you, check it out."
Mr. Hasegawa of Chunichi Shinbun jumps in, and says "We took the numbers from the government like 30% core melt as true, and went from there. But then Mr. Ishikawa says it's a total melt."
Well of course at this time no one can say for sure. But it is best to err on the side of the worst case and plan accordingly.

From what I can tell no one has thought through what to do. You start with the worst case. The plan MUST cover that. Then you go on down to the not so worst case possibilities. The plan should cover those. The plan must have branches. And it must have alternative plans (possibly developed in parallel) in case the plan they have chosen leads to unexpected problems.

And first and foremost the Japanese in charge must start with a "we are at war" mindset rather than "business as usual with a few minor problems".

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 05.02.11 at 01:28 AM


If Mr. Ishikawa is correct that the cores have melted and the temperature is 2000 C+, then it's very likely they have melted through the stainless lined containment vessels. Stainless melts in the 1500 C range.

Another quote from Mr. Ishikawa:
"My old colleague contacted me and shared his calculation with me. At the decay heat of 2000 kilowatt... There's a substance called cobalt 60. Highly radioactive, needs 1 to 1.5 meter thick shields. It kills people at 1000 curies. He calculated that there are 10 million curies of cobalt-60 in the reactor core. If 10% of cobalt-60 in the core dissolve into water, it's 1 million curies."

The fuel rods have cobalt in them? Or is the cobalt from dissolved stainless? Also, this would mean the cooling water is extremely contaminated.

Frank   ·  May 2, 2011 7:06 AM


I haven't checked the decay chain but I believe most of the Co 60 is a product of neutron bombardment of Co 59.

M. Simon   ·  May 2, 2011 10:13 AM

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