UPDATE March 31 – It appears that the earthquake, which was one of the strongest in recorded in history, did place a small crack the containment bottle in one of the reactors which has resulted in water leaking from it. A cement pump is being moved on the site to bury that reactor. If the containment bottle leaks water and they cannot perfectly contain the water leaking out I am unaware of another choice.
Remember that in general journalists are not very well-educated. What they say about things like science, economics or other complicated issues is usually suspect at best. They also like to hype and create a stir for ratings. The truth is often tertiary if considered at all. Many of the “experts” they are putting on the air are nutty “no-nukes” activists. Do an internet search on every talking head you see.
I was ready to come home and write something similar to the article linked below and I have had to explain to about a dozen friends today why this is no Chernobyl and how most of the radioactive exposure has been so small that it is not near enough to get you sick. There was one burst of radiation for a few moments in one place near the reactor that was almost enough to get you sick with some prolonged exposure to that spot, but when the detectors discovered it the people were evacuated.
Our nuclear reactors, along with the Japanese reactors are a completely superior design in every way compared to Chernobyl. In fact if the troubled Japanese reactors had back up coolant generators/batteries on high ground so the tsunami couldn’t get to it there would have never even been a hitch with the exception of some sea water contamination of the coolant which is minor.
Go to the following link right HERE and get educated.
Why take my word for anything? I graduated at the top of my class at the Advanced Airborne Armament Systems School in the Air Force and that includes training in nuclear weapons and protocols. I am quite familiar with first, third and 4th generation (PBR) reactors through self study.
UPDATE I – I am watching the big networks and the NYT’s coverage and it is just irresponsible.
This story from the NYT -
Tells how plant designers had safety concerns since 1972 that could result in disaster, then they tell you all of the horrible things that can happen. Oh so scary… Then many paragraphs down at the bottom they tell you that all of these plants were retrofitted with new devices to address those concerns years ago. ABC has an online article that pulled the same stunt and they did a video piece that left the retrofitting information out.
The elite media knows that most people rarely read beyond the fifth or sixth paragraph.
UPDATE II – Fox News gets the story right – LINK and watch the video.
The “explosions” were merely hydrogen getting released and/or the steam pressure being released. That explosion blew off the outer building over the three stage containment vassal. Looks bad on TV, but predictable under the circumstances. I would be quite surprised if the reactor melted through the first stage of the containment bottle and will eat my hat if it got passed the second, which is incredibly unlikely. There is still a third stage as explained in the article that will keep the worst of it bottled up quite well.
UPDATE III – ABC News and much of the other elite media are being completely irresponsible as of Wednesday. They are getting the numbers all wrong and ABC News has updates with radically different numbers.
For Example one ABC News report said that workers at the plant were exposed to .10 millisieverts which is about 1 CT scan per hour. This number is likely correct and/or close to it. It is not a level of radiation you want to stand in for a month, but is not particularly dangerous. If managed properly and certain steps are taken such as rotating people in for shifts to reduce exposure.
Then shortly after on the ABC News web site they said that radiation can get you sick and start to become deadly at 1000 millisieverts. [This is true. At 1 sievert (1000 millisieverts) if untreated there will be a 15% mortality rate. At 4.5 sieverts (4500 millisieverts) there is a 50% mortality rate within 30 days.] Then ABC said that workers are being exposed to as much as 8 times that much which is fantastically preposterous. That much radiation would be 100% lethal in a short amount of time. If radiation were passed half that the military would be pouring sandbags mixed with cement and boric acid to bury them and lower the radiation risk.
Some of these elite media reporters are paid big money and cannot seem to take the time to do a half hour of research online. Of course they have no incentive to report responsibly anyways.
UPDATE IV – The American NRC goes off the deep end…
Gregory B. Jaczko is the head of the NRC. He used to work for Senator Harry Reid, went to the University of Wisconsin at Madison and is a long time critic of nuclear energy.
Remember what I said about eco-activists? Well Jaczo is running around telling people that there is no water cooling the rods (false as reported by people on the ground) and that people there are exposed to nuclear radiation at deadly levels and that people should get 80 KM away because May, IF , Could, and people on the ground are like, umm no the reality is X Y and Z.
USA – Get 80 KM away – LINK
People on scene: Passed 20 KM no possible health risk as it stands now - LINK
Has there been any word that even the first layer of the containment bottle has been breached yet? No. As long as nothing gets passed stage two of the containment bottle the radiation risks are low. The biggest risks are the waste storage rods that were housed near by and the steam coming out of the plant. Water does not hold nuclear radiation but the minerals and other containments in the water can carry it. Since sea water had to be used the radiation from the steam is higher, but still not enough to get one sick unless one stayed in the brunt of it for an extended period of time.
Here is Jaczo in the NYT:
Wednesday night, Mr. Jaczko reiterated his earlier statement and added that commission representatives in Tokyo have confirmed that the pool is empty. He said Tokyo Electric and other officials in Japan have confirmed that, and also stressed that high radiation fields are going to make it very difficult to continue having people work at the plant…
While radiation levels at the plant have varied tremendously, Mr. Jaczko said that the peak levels reported there “would be lethal within a fairly short period of time.” He added that another spent fuel pool, at Reactor No. 3, may also be losing water and could soon be in the same condition. Japanese efforts to pour in water by dumping it from helicopters were suspended, for fear that the helicopter crews would receive too large a dose of radiation.
This is pure nonsense folks, lies are another word for it. Now the facts from the TOKYO office of Reuters:
TOKYO (Reuters) – The level of radiation detected at the Tokyo Electric Power Co Fukushima plant has fallen steadily over the past 12 hours, an official at Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said on Thursday.
A level of 752 microsieverts per hour was recorded at the plant’s main gate at 5 p.m. (0800 GMT) on Wednesday, said the official, Tetsuo Ohmura. The monitoring point was then changed to the plant’s west gate and readings were taken every 30 minutes, he said. At 5 a.m. the reading was 338 microsieverts per hour.
That level was still much higher then it should be, but was not dangerous, and that by comparison absorption of a level of 400 was normal from being outside over the course of a year, Ohmura said.
(Reporting by Terril Jones)
Notice that is MICROsieverts not millisieverts. So the radiation right there is less than 1 millisievert. A Cat Scan exposes you to 5-15 millisieverts. Jaczo needs to resign.
Jaczo is whipping up the press and the government with his comments. Is he just a pinhead activist who cannot help himself? Or is the govt deliberately whipping this up as a bigger crisis than it is with these reckless statements? We all know what this administration likes to do in a crisis.
UPDATE V - Of course conspiracy wacko Alex Jones is getting in on the stupidity and mindless fear mongering….. http://www.infowars.com/fukushima-nuclear-power-plant-in-japan-a-dirty-bomb-waiting-to-go-off/
UPDATE VI – Dr. Jay Lehr, of the Heartland Institute, vs. Dr. Arjun Makhijani, of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
The Heartland Institute is a think tank that focus’ on issues on the Midwest. The political arm of the think tank is traditional free market in philosophy, although they do have a science wing and an agricultural wing.
The Institute for Energy and Environmental Research is a radical environmental pressure group.
Right on their web site, “Where science and democracy come together”. Funny, when I took science they didn’t tell me it has a political ideology. Democracy sounds so nice doesn’t it? When radicals talk about “democracy” they literally mean the rule of man (them) over the rule of law. IEER pushes the radical environmental agenda from no nukes to the “sustainable development” movement which according to its founder Maurice Strong, seeks to deindustrialize the free world. Their newsletter is called “Science for Democratic Action”.
A quick look at their donor list says it all which includes: Colombe Foundation, Livingry Foundation, New-Land Foundation, Stewart R. Mott Charitable Trust, and the Town Creek Foundation. This is a who’s who of the radical left advocating planned societies, global redistribution of wealth, radical environmentalism, no-nukes, unilateral disarmament (the USA and Israel disarms – bad guys don’t) and so forth. Of course some of these organizations are connected with the Tides Foundation, George Soros and the usual suspects. Click the links to see the data.
UPDATE VII – Radiation at 3.3 millisieverts at plant as of the morning of the 18th. This is a little higher than two days ago but still far from dangerous – LINK. New power lines are being ran to the cooling pumps and they are expected to be operational by Saturday (UPDATE – lines are now connected and expect final repairs to reactivate the pumps on Sunday).
UPDATE VIII – More irresponsible reporting and it is linked on Drudge.
UK Daily Mail: The moment nuclear plant chief WEPT as Japanese finally admit that radiation leak is serious enough to kill people
Officials admit they may have to bury reactors under concrete – as happened at Chernobyl [They would have said that from day one, if they cannot save the plant this is always an option...]
Japanese upgrade accident from level four to five – the same as Three Mile Island [No one died at 3 Mile Island, in fact no one even got sick form the radiation...]
Particles spewed from wrecked Fukushima power station arrive in California [At almost a billion times less than a level that can hurt anyone...]
Military trucks tackle reactors with tons of water for second day [If they are still at the plant spraying that means the high level of radiation is right above the containment bottle and to quote my teenage daughter, "No duh" if the radiation was that high anywhere else they would already be burying it...]
It sounds ominous doesn’t it? They even said that inside the plant radiation levels hit 4,000 millisieverts which is enough to kill. But……
This piece in the Daily Mail is a completely irresponsible. They have firefighters outside the plant spraying water again. If the radiation was at 4000 anywhere but just over the containment bottle they would already be using aircraft to bury it. The fact that they are not burying it now means that they are still trying to save the plant. A partial meltdown means that the situation it is in the same technical level as 3 Mile Island with the exception that it is not bad enough to abandon hope of saving the plant yet. No one died at 3 Mile Island and no one died as a result of the radiation that was leaked. NHK has a measurement at the plants front gate every day and this morning it was at 3.3 millisieverts which is half that of a CT scan.
By the way, the Japanese only expect the partial meltdown to be 3% of the core, which is not nearly as bad as 3 Mile Island, but any melting at all puts it in the same technical category.
Fox News just interviewed a man who worked at a nuclear plant for 30 years. Notice what he says at the end.
Note – There are lots of these guys around, yet only Fox News can seem to find one …
UPDATE IX - Radiation levels still falling – LINK. Heat at two reactors below the boiling point – LINK. Power about to be restored to coolant systems – LINK.
UPDATE X – Water has begun to leak at reactor three at Fukishima. Since they are using sea water some of the water leaking out of the containment bottle is pretty radioactive. 10,000 times more radioactive than the coolant water is normally. It sounds bad and the elite media once again is hyping the situation for ratings.
But here is the rub and what the press isn’t telling you. Highly filtered water is what is normally used for coolant in a plant of this type. Why? Because it is almost impossible to make water radioactive, but that is not so for mineral and chemical contaminants in the water. Since they have been using dirty sea water the steam and water leaking from a crack in the containment bottle due to the quake would be more radioactive, but even 10,000 times more radioactive than the filtered water would not be particularly dangerous as long as the exposure was limited. The real challenge will be to make sure that said water is contained and does not leak out and cause problems.
Fortunately the restoration of the filtered water cooling is well underway. The coolant system is already functioning at one reactor and it is expected to have them working at all of them by Sunday. If the contaminated sea water has been contained it can be filtered and the contaminated waste properly disposed.
If there is a tiny crack in the containment bottle in reactor three that is a problem, but not an insurmountable one by any means. They will have to keep cooling it with the clean water till such a time where the fuel can be removed and the containment bottle replaced, or perhaps that reactor can just be replaced with a third generation design.
Perhaps in the spirit of good will the Japanese Government can assist TEMPCO to replace all of the reactors with 4th generation PBR reactors which cannot overheat or meltdown. They also do not require water, have passive safety systems that are almost perfectly effective, do not require electricity to be made safe in the event of a catastrophe. They also generate more power.