1. Apparently there was a fire at the spent fuel pool of no.4 reactor, which is now extinguished. The Kyodo news agency was told by TEPCO that the reason for the fire was because water “may” be boiling in the pool.
    Care to comment? It looks like they would need something bigger than garden hoses.

    1. Iain – good question. I do not have enough information to answer it yet. I will say that if the spent fuel pools were not monitored or refilled for several days, you would probably need more than a garden hose to catch back up. My friend’s statement does carry with it the assumption that you do put that several hours worth of water into the pool every day.

    2. “fire was because water “may” be boiling in the pool.”
      WOW. Sounds like somebody needs a chemistry lesson. How does boiling water start fires???
      Speaking of chemistry, how am I supposed to study for my chem final with all this going on? I wish it spring break could have come a week earlier.

      1. Boiling water reduces the water level in the pool and leaves the spent fuel tubes exposed to the air, which combined with the decay heat of the fuel and steam will cause the zirconium cladding to rapidly oxidize and create hydrogen, which then either explodes, start a fire, or both.
        I’m definitely not an expert on this, but there’s plenty of information on the internet.

        1. there seem to be conflicting reports on what caused the fire, some were saying it was related to the pool, some saying it was related to the 3rd hydrogen explosion. they don’t seem to have clarified since then, and there was even inconsistencies in the reporting of when the fire was put out, with many sources still reporting that the fire was still burning hours after it had been put out. it seems quite probable to me, though this is based on incomplete information, that the limited, but substantial, increased local levels of radiation were caused by this fire, and once it was put out they started to go back down again, if that was the case, and as long as there are no further hydrogen explosions, it would appear that the worst has passed (without any significant impact to the outside world).

        2. It takes a long time to boil off 20 feet of water. It’s easy to detect. And easy to rectify with a hose.

    3. Also, those assemblies in the unit 4 SFP have been cooling off for at least months (whenever the last refueling was), and some of them perhaps twenty years or more, so it would take a much longer time for them to overheat than those in the reactors of units 1-3 which were online.
      After a few years ambient cooling by natural circulation of air is adequate

      1. “There has been some speculation that, if the used fuel pool were completely drained, the zirconium cladding might ignite and a

  2. Rod, just wanted to say thanks for providing a rational reference point to send people to for a dose of reality in the midst of this situation. We’ve got friends in Japan who were starting to get worried given all of the reports. Being able to tell them things were ‘in hand’ and to see this site for a grounded has been great.

  3. Hey Rod, I wonder if you could comment on the meaning of 3 different reactors experiencing the same sorts of problems all at once? I mean… we could say that this shows the disaster was well above the design strengths of a certain component(S), or it means they were old, and various system in the complex operation all failed more or less randomly, causing unique problems for each reactor.
    I also think this experience is teaching us the value of putting a lot of reactors in giant energy parks. If a disaster is big enough to break em all, then you have to deal with them all at the SAME TIME. It was one thing to deal with TMI, but another to have to divide your attention by 4 like at Fukushima. This could be causing things to be worse than they would have if we had only a single reactor to deal with.

    1. Alan – I disagree. Having multiple units on the same site has numerous advantages as well as having some disadvantages. The crew on the site is much larger than it would be if there were just one reactor, so it is not a matter of dividing one’s attention.
      There is no doubt that provisions have to be made to reduce the probability of common cause failures. Please remember that the reactors involved here are several decades old and that designers have learned many things since they were built, just as automobile manufacturers have learned some things about building cars since the 1970s.
      New systems will not be built to the standards and designs in effect back then, but that does not mean that there is any need to impose even newer regulations to take into account lessons that have already been learned and incorporated in newer systems.
      Besides, if there were not a series of cascading issues, what would the talking heads have to talk about? They might actually have to send their camera crews out to film village sites that no longer have villages and they might have to talk to people who are on their fourth day without a roof over their heads or fresh water to drink. Egads, that would be an awful lot more work that showing endless reruns of a hydrogen explosion that was over in a matter of a few seconds. End sad and wry attempt at sarcasm

    2. I have to agree with Rod. Can you imagine the additional confusion and chaos that would ensue if all of this was happening at three or four separate sites?

  4. Thanks for posting all of this Rod – I’m a fan of nuclear power and it’s tough to even figure out what the facts are listening to the mainstream media.

  5. “I have not found any cause for alarm associated with the effects at the nuclear power plants.”
    You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination

  6. Hey Rod,
    If it’s truly the case that Reactor 2’s containment structure has been breached by an explosion, what would be the next course of action?

    1. I’m no expert, but I would suggest doing what they did at Chernobyl, dropping lead and/or boron on it, applying the lessons learned with Chernobyl. Some substances that were dropped helped, others didn’t, and the weight of them has to be considered. Would it be possible to drop the reactor into the ocean?

    2. It’s interesting to look at the differences between Chernobyl and Fukushima:
      Chernobyl – Fukushima
      4 reactors – 6 reactors
      fission energy – decay heat
      huge steam explosion – minor hydrogen explosions
      no containment – good containment
      graphite fire – smaller local fires

    3. The explosion damaged the suppression chamber, not the containment. The containment is “suspected to be damaged” but this is not confirmed.

    4. Keep water in the vessel and the pool. Let the pool keep scrubbing the effluents from the vessel. Stand far away from the hole (or spray the escaping effluent plume with a firehose fog nozzle). Dosewont be zero, but will be attenuated significantly.

      1. @Cpragman thanks that’s all I was looking for.
        I’ve heard the word “entombment” a lot, and IIRC that’s what was ultimately done at Chernobyl. If it comes to that at any one of the reactors at Fukushima does anyone have a ballpark on how quickly that could be completed.

  7. Rod,
    When I saw the news this morning on the spent fuel pool fire it reminded me of a small project that I worked on at one of the BWR-4’s a couple of years ago. The official title of the project was “Extreme Disaster Mitigation” but was commonly referred to in the industry as the B.5.b Project. The project was a result NRC’s response to the 9/11 attacks with an Interim Compensatory Measure ICM Order EA-02-026 Section B.5.b. The industry responded by devising procedures, purchasing portable equipment and training operators to respond to a “beyond design basis loss of a larger area of a reactor plant due to fires or explosions by a terrorist threat…”. We purchased a portable diesel fire pump, thousands of feet of fire hoses, valves, splitters, sprinklers, spray nozzles, piping connectors, etc. and basically had a backup firewater ring header that we could use to fight fires, put water in the reactor and/or add water to the spent fuel pool. We even had a backup power supply It was one of the more interesting projects that I’ve been on. We actually had to devise ways to get into the plant assuming no power available, security card readers down, no installed plant equipment working, no instrumentation available and an unknown plant status. I don’t know if the Japanese had a similar project for their plants but looking at what they are experiencing the extra equipment and training would have come in real handy.

    1. Oh, so that’s what B.5.b is… security accidentally sent out a page with that to everyone at my site last year. That’s mildly amusing :).
      (Thankfully, security isn’t involved in any operations or maintenance. We’re a great plant, I promise :P.)

  8. In this case it indeed was a disadvantage to have several reactors close by since the cooling of nr 2 was apperently reported to be disrupted by the explosion of number 3. So the following breach of the suppression pool is likely due to the proximity to the nr 3 explosion. Perhaps one should reconsider how closely spaced the plants are to each other in regions prone to earthquakes etc.
    I am saying this as a staunch pro nuclear advocate btw and one of the people behind nuclearpoweryesplease.org
    I share the general sentiment you are expressing Rod, keep up the great blog posts!

  9. Reuters and AFP are reporting that the French nuclear safety agency ASN just upgraded the Fukushima situation to lvl 6, on par with Kyshtym. The head of that agency is now saying the primary containment vessel of the no. 2 reactor is “no longer sealed” after 2 separate explosions.

  10. @atomicrod, I hope the mPower reactors are passively safe against station blackouts, because I don’t think anybody outside of China is going to build an LWR that isn’t.

  11. I note that Barry Brook’s tolerance has reached his limit, and he has put fifty or so of the worse trolls on moderation over at BNC. However, the open-door policy he kept for the last few days has provided a telling contrast between those that support nuclear energy, and are looking for facts, and those that are against nuclear and have become total unreasonable in their posting when they find that they are being challenged to prove their contentions, or have their breathless reports of impending disaster shown false. This behavior, from so many antinuclear posters, not just there, but here, and elsewhere, clearly demonstrates that this is not the position of thinking, rational people.
    When this settles, the pro/antinuclear debate will have changed, and our opponents may well find that they themselves have done the most damage to their cause by their attempts to incite panic on nothing more than rumors, and by their transparent glee while doing it.

    1. I think the debate between green energy and nuclear will become intense after this. Green energy people will demand zero nukes, but their energy has been discredited now and in many cases the taxpayers have had enough of it (in the UK). Nuclear will appear more dangerous, but there is no question that it works and can offset fossil fuels. Oil and gas can’t be relied on in the future with all the trouble in the Middle East. The gloves will come off!

      1. I wonder how several debates will go.
        If anyone thinks the nuclear debate will be fundamentally different after the dust settles on this event, even if the harm to the public adds up to about what happened at TMI, i.e. nothing, its worth considering that after TMI, what happened was a loss of nerve in the US about the wisdom of continuing on building new nukes. And for those pro nuclear types who just can’t understand how their anti nuclear opponents can possibly keep up their opposition, let’s assume just about nothing happens to the general public in Japan over this, take a look at your own people who in the face of the evidence that is available today actually seriously believe there is nothing to be concerned about over the issue of climate change.
        There are people who frequent this blog who are adamant about this.
        As a pro nuclear advocate I have faced open contempt and ridicule here for doing such preposterous things as, during the height of Climategate, where these people were pretending that the IPCC stood completely discredited as a source for any information or assessment of that information, to mention that the President of the National Academy of Sciences was putting his reputation on the line at that time backing the IPCC saying “our understanding is undiminished”. I was told anyone who believed climate science remained solid on such flimsy evidence was like a Moonie, some kind of religious zealot. I found it incomprehensible that I would be accused of mindless irrationality because I deferred to the assessment of the most respected representative of the scientific establishment in the United States by regulars on this blog, where everyone pretends they are thinking, rational people.
        And so I wonder what will change in the pro vrs anti nuclear debate after this event. The argument is already being made, no one will want to go through this kind of panic again, therefore, [assuming no one is harmed] the Japanese and perhaps the world will now turn away from nuclear power with justification. The same people who are trumpeting now that 1 million died because of Chernobyl [reported by MSNBC by their supposedly most senior science reporter ] will have no trouble establishing [ to their satisfaction ] that whatever, trillions of Japanese will die [count all possible descendants over a few billion years of some statistical calculation of possibly elevated cancer death due to what’s been released already] . Such argument will be preposterous, absolutely.
        But what is the difference between the arguments of those pro nuclear advocates who deny climate science and those climate activists who are anti nuclear? Both types seem equally ignorant to me.

        1. The real political battle is about being pro energy or contra energy. If nothing is done to maintain and expand nuclear power, we will remain dependent on increasingly expensive fossil fuels, and government will implement “conservation” as the solution to all energy needs. This will mean the end of our current living standards, living in stack em and pack em houses, cutting back on transportation, cutting back on food, and eventually on population. Anybody who doesn’t believe this could happen, needs only to look at Denmark: since their wind mill craze caused sky high power prices (they have a high gas tax to prevent people from using generators), their living standard has gone down and surprise – their population is shrinking. It will be made to look like we have ourselves to blame since we burned fossil fuel resources.

          1. The change will be that the public will have become more inured to this type of event. I wrote elsewhere that the media frenzy that would attend every major commercial aircraft accident with a significant loss of life in the early days was very much what we have seen to date for nuclear accidents. This would precipitate a huge drop in traffic for every airline, that would cause an economic spasm through every sector of the industry.
            Abruptly, in the early Seventies, despite at least two attempts by the media to turn an air disaster into a circus, the public had had enough. Booking did not drop, and interest was not anywhere near what it had been in the past. Now a crash barely makes it to the front page.
            Somehow, a point was reached in the collective mind where risk is calculated to be very near what it really was, and people start to govern themselves accordingly. I believe this event will be that watershed incident for nuclear energy, and the public will not go off the deep end in the aftermath. I am convinced of this from the tenor of the antinuclear hysterics we are seeing in the blogs – thinking people are not taking an antinuclear stand, only the nuts, and this I see as evidence of a sea change in public opinion.

            1. What I noticed from the reports from Japanese officials: they are not apologizing for using nuclear power! other reactors are kept running to power Tokyo. Perhaps this will change and Japan might become an anti-nuclear country, but there is a chance they won’t, and instead will say “lesson learned” and move on without regrets.

            2. Sadly I have to agree with you here. If there had been a reactor meltdown every single year from 1950 to now, then people would be used to the news. Even if each event caused 1,000 deaths people would get used to it, just like we are used to coal mining accidnets (which averaged 1,000 per year in China during hte 90’s and 2000’s. I can only hope that this situation can come under control without significant public injury.
              After each accident more would be known about the failure mechanics thus better containment would be added to each new plant. The fact that there have only been 2 meltdowns of commercial plants since they began building them half a century ago means there is very little hard evidence to failure mechanics. Engineers are forced to use modeling with very few data points and many assumptions.
              If anything needs to be taken from this is that in disasters like tsunamis time is the critical factor. Entire towns washed away in mere minutes killing any who did not move fast enough. This plant complex even though it got hit by the same tsunami held together long enough for people to evacuate.
              Natural gas pipelines did not afford such luxuries. 5 seconds after this quake there were already houses on fire because of gas leaks and explosions. Bridges fail without giving people time to get off. Buildings fail before people can get outside.
              Some people do not appreciated the luxury of being able to evacuate. They are not afforded the time to respond to radiation measurements 100km away that give them many minutes, hours, or days to take action.
              Media coverage of this tragedy, in America, has been dishonest to those who have already lost there lives. Where are the experts debating tsunami evacuation plants for the many destroyed villages? What about determining how and entire city can burn to the ground in a day. How do you prevent that from happening with the next earthquake? I am tired of reading headlines about the reactors which show pictures of flooded cities and talk about the deaths from non-reactor causes.

              1. I’ll be sure to be grateful for the chance to leave everything behind when the next scandal-plagued utility’s badly designed nuclear reactor fails because some genius didn’t bother to remember that the backup equipment was sited too low to keep dry in a tidal wave. Oh, how happy I will be.

  12. How do you convert used fuel rods in pools of water into a cloud of airborne radioactive contamination? It seems to be a mystery to Rod, but not to me.
    You burn them when the water has gone.

    1. Experts say it was caused by lubrication oil in recirculation system and not hydrogen. The fire has been put out. Source: nei.org

      1. Experts say it was caused by lubrication oil in recirculation system and not hydrogen. The fire has been put out.
        TEPCO confirmed that the fire was in the spent fuel area, and that the rods were at least partially uncovered for six hours. And now a second fire has broken out there. The Japanese government has advised 140,000 people in the region to stay indoors and seal their homes.

    2. Except uranium oxides do not burn, and there isn’t enough heat to evaporate all the water. But I think a wizard could do this. Wizards are a big danger for nuclear power.

    3. It’s actually a “runaway oxidation reaction”. The uranium fuel is encased in metal alloy tubes called Zircaloy. One of the chief components is a metal called Zirconium. Once the “used fuel” in the pool is uncovered the fuel begins to heat up due to the decay of fission products. Once it reaches a temperature about 10x’s the boiling point of water the zirconium oxidation process takes over and the “fuel fire” becomes self sustaining. Think of a metal fireworks sparkler burning and then picture a whole bunch of them in close proximity to each other. The hard part is putting it out once it starts. Prevention is the best way to go by making sure that the fuel pool does not boil dry. See http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11263&page=39 .

      1. From the BBC:
        Japanese news agency Kyodo reports that the storage pool in reactor four – where the spent fuel rods are kept – may be boiling. Tepco says readings are showing high levels of radiation in the building, so it is inaccessible.

        1. TOKYO, March 15, Kyodo
          Water in a pool storing spent nuclear fuel at the No. 4 reactor that caught fire Tuesday morning at the quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant may be boiling, causing the water level to drop, an official of Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.
          The reactor was not in service when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake jolted Fukushima Prefecture and other areas in northeastern Japan on Friday, the official in charge of the facility said.

  13. One of the main concerns I have with the situation in Japan is that a high percentage of their energy grid production is down with nuclear plants being shut down. This makes me wonder about the wisdom of having such a high reliance on nuclear plants in a relatively small country. Japan is in a bind because they are resource-poor and in normal circumstances nuclear makes a lot of sense for them. But, how long should they expect their grid to be down now, and what is the best energy strategy for them to cope with an emergency like this?

  14. The Air Force Institute of Technology just forwarded an email from one of its alumni who is currently working in Japan. Here’s part of that email
    “Having access to both Japanese and American news sources, I can say that
    the American sources (Fox and CNN, especially) are sensationalizing the
    nuclear reactor news a lot more than the Japanese news sources are.
    Take what you are hearing with a grain of salt. The Japanese government
    seems to be tackling the situation from every possible angle. I’m
    confident that the problems, while serious, will be resolved without any
    further damage. Even in our area, we have blackouts scheduled through
    April to cut down on the power load and take the stress off of the
    remaining power plants. It’s inconvenient, but is a good step,
    especially considering the sheer size of the Tokyo area and its normal
    power demands.”
    This doesn’t offer any more insight into what is happening, but it should show that the Japanese government knows what its priorities are and inciting panic about the reactors isn’t one of them.

        1. Given that Fox reported that a Tokyo disco is a nuclear power plant, your friend might have a point.

  15. Good advice !
    Even though the situation is continously changing we do not know the outcome. Initial media-horror-scenarios was wrong at the time and did not help anyone a bit !
    The situation now seems to have worsened, and then become better again, and then not much more info…. we must see how this plays out.
    The after a better analysis we can se the impacts and what to learn from this, although I do not foresee that the impact would be to cancel all nuclear power generation or not build new ones…

  16. The overall risk to the genera public from Fukushima reactor appears to be minimal, but some of the radiation readings seem to indicate that the operators at Fukushima are taking significant risks. My attitude is that these men are doing their jobs and sometimes doing your job means running into a burning building. I’m sure when all is said and done, we are doing to find that many first responders all over Japan died doing their jobs putting out fires and dealing with other crises spawned by the earthquake and the tsunami. We don’t live in a risk free world and we will always need men and women that are willing to put themselves in harms way to protect the rest of us. We need to honor their sacrifices and not waste them and not pretend, like some fools, that there magic solutions that can eliminate risk in trying to run an industrial civilization.

    1. What I would be interested in seeing is how many of the plant personnel have lost loved ones and/or their homes and possessions in this catastrophe and continue to work tirelessly despite that loss. As a former reactor operator and radiation area worker, as well as a former firefighter, I would rather be going into a fire than a rad fire. All the casualty responders deserve our thanks and respect. I personally hold a special level of respect for the emergency responders at the Fukushima Daiichi facility. i am not saying I would not go into that situation. I am saying that I would be apprehensive the entire time.

      1. It would be reasonable to assume that the plant workers lived near the facility, so a lot of them may be homeless now and it is quite likely they have lost family members. A lot of the people who were off duty when the earthquake and tsunami struck may be dead, so they didn’t have the option to bring in off-duty people. I suspect we are going to find out that a lot of firefighters lost their lives. The Chiba Refinery fire looked very bad. I don’t know if they ever got it under control or if it burned itself out.
        As you say, it must be heartbreaking to try to do your job when you don’t know if you family is safe.

      2. I think I can sum up the mindset of the Japanese nuke workers for you. For one, Japanese culture is very focused on productivity. Part of this is because selfish behavior may be tolerated, but is severely frowned upon.
        That said, the workers are probably deeply concerned for their families… But they are most likely coping with it by thinking that if they do not do their jobs right, then their families have no tomorrow.
        The workers that have remained thus far… They probably got word that their families were lost, so they’re willing to give their lives if it comes to it.
        I think I’m going to light a candle for those workers tonight.

  17. Rod,
    You portray this Fukushima “incident” as just that, it is an issue, there is a small amount of “uncontrolled” radiation leaking from the facility but not to worry … the steel containment vessel will not fail …
    Why didn’t the industry test for a 9.0 magnitude quake? Because they “thought” they knew that 7.9 max test would be adequate just as they are assuming that things will go according to their design and analysis.
    The latest news coming across the wire is that in Dai Ni reactor the explosion has now damaged the steel containment vessel … the one that will not fail… clearing out workers in anticipation of a much larger emmission of radioactive material …
    If you had family in the area or in Tokyo … you would be comfortable telling them not to worry and to stay there as the area is safe???
    Managing a situation like this involves managing the facility as well as the response by the people … “staying calm” might help but not disclosing the potential danger to a people that trust “implicitly” the authorities is wrong/criminal.

    1. What if we found there was an explosion and fire at a refinery that killed 30 people – who cares, right? But when it comes to nuclear and radiation, every “risk”, even without a fatality, is being reported as dramatic as possible as often as possible. Perhaps if nuclear plants would just blow up and the body count be known by the evening news, it would make things more comfortable for some.

      1. Of course people care. But if a explosion killed 30, one thing we know is that it won’t be “exploding” for the next 100 years.

        1. I’m getting sick of this, guy, but I feel compelled to do it (its like shooting fish in a barrel.). How exactly is a nuclear accident ‘exploding’ for the next 100 years? The worst we had – Chernobyl – was over in two weeks, and it probably would have been feasible to move people back within 6 months, as witnessed by the wildlife there. If we wanted to, we could even cleanup the reactor site if we wanted to.
          But no, the life there is blooming because by far the most destructive thing to nature is, you guessed it, human beings.
          And as I may hasten to point out because of the containment domes this is not nearly going to be as bad as another Chernobyl, no matter what the pundits tell you.

        2. @ Guest,
          In Japan itself, we have evidence – from the two atomic bombs – that the explosion will not last for 100 years. It has not even lasted 50. The death toll even from actual weapons was much less than anticipated.

  18. Its being said here in this blog that ” Let me say it one more time. There is no need to worry about getting exposed to an unhealthy amount of radiation if you are outside of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station fence.” I know Rod is not a toxicologist but … toxicologist Lee Tin-lap at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said such a radiation level was not an immediate threat to people but the long-term consequences were unknown.
    You are still breathing this into your lungs, and there is passive absorption in the skin, eyes and mouth and we really do not know what long-term impact that would have,
    I guess since we don’t know … there is no worries ….

    1. Actually we DO know a lot about the long term effects, or the absence thereof, since Chernobyl was 25 year ago. The research Rod has pointed to in his article is this: https://atomicinsights.com/pdf_files/SciencePaper-9.02.pdf
      Quote: “even ejecting Chernobyl radioactivity directly to the environment, burning for 10 days, without evacuation or interdicting contaminated food, caused few, if any, deaths or injuries among the public.”
      Uncertainty is the mother of all fears, and fearmongers love to have “unknown” risks.

  19. Mr. Adams, I couldn’t agree with you more that panic is NEVER a good idea, and public figures who foment that panic are borderline criminal. I also believe that people who come to your blog gleefully posting about setbacks with the Fukushima efforts as if that was “good” news because it undermines (or they THINK it undermines) a pro-nuclear position are…I don’t even know what to say about people like that. That’s an insulting position for them to take; the people working onsite at Fukushima deserve our respect and it drives me nuts when people act like things are only happening on TV for their entertainment, or to prove the anti-nuclear position they’ve already decided they’re going to take.
    But while I TOTALLY agree with your comment:
    Though many of my colleagues will disagree, I am reserving judgement on the ultimate, long term fate of the affected plants. I spent way too many years working with people who honestly believe that they can ‘fix anything’ and having them prove it to me to feel comfortable in claiming any piece of machinery as being ‘beyond repair.’
    …I’m not clear what you mean, exactly. Are you talking about saving the Fukushima I reactors (or some of them) as operational entities? Or the efforts to stabilize the events?

    1. @Thomas – I was trying to say that filling a nuclear reactor with sea water to keep the rods relatively intact does not necessarily “kill” the reactor plant. It might, but I have seen far worse damage that has been repaired by talented, hard-working people backed by deep pockets.

    1. So what? High concern over the crisis in Japan has nothing to do with hydroelectric power.

        1. Rather than answer insult for insult (I’m confident that the owner of this blog approves of your insults), I’ll make a logical point. If Option A is problematical, the fact that Option B might also be problematical does not mean Option A isn’t problematical.

          1. guest, this is just silly.
            A dam in japan *collapsed* from the same tsunami, flooding 1800 homes. There are tangible deaths there. There are no tangible deaths here, and as much the media is fearmongering, there are likely to *be* no deaths.
            Hm.. Perhaps you didn’t hear about this because the FRICKING MEDIA NEVER MENTIONED IT.

      1. The point being made is twofold. One is a consistent measure of actual danger from actual deaths and injuries for all power sources. The other is the hypocrisy of being against Nuclear power, or the hypocrisy of emphasizing the “danger” of nuclear power in the face of the largest earthquake ever recorded. If you are the same person as above, you said we would trust nuclear power when we could build plants that could not explode. This measure is one that even Hydro power cannot attain. Much less any other industrial energy source. If it is right to write headline after headline using the word “meltdown” in a way that implies great danger, then it is right to do the same for every other energy source that has potential and actual danger.

  20. Rod, I appreciate your optimism that the “decay heat” in core of the three reactors is insufficient to cause a containment breach, but two sources I have found suggest that while this may be remote, it is by no means a certainty.
    The first looks at LOCA stages, and in particular lessons learned at TMI, and suggests heat from zirconium oxidation and relocation of the corium to the plenum in large enough quantities can lead to containment concerns. “If the relocated materials is much in excess of 20 metric tons, it may not be quenched by water in the lower plenum. The unquenched, relocated core materials may eventually cause failure of the vessel. The possible failure modes of the vessel are not discussed in this paper.”
    The second paper looks more closely at corium stratification in the lower plenum. “The objective has been to determine whether the imposed heat flux would not exceed the heat removal capability (critical heat flux) on the external surface of the vessel

    1. ‘But in my book, the phrase “a natural disaster beyond our expectations” should never be used by a nuclear industry professional …’
      They prepared for the worst historical earthquake in the area, which I read was an 8.2. They got a 9.0. I am having a hard time coming up with a more succinct way to describe the situation than the terms that they are using.
      That aside, you are asking some good questions, and many will likely be answered. As a coworker of mine said, the likely result for the nuclear industry in the US is that we will start taking a good hard look at flooding for plants near lakes and oceans. They are currently doing the same for fire protection and cyber security (multi-year projects that end up with lots of dialogue between the industry and regulations to determine the best way to handle problems, followed by implementing solutions).

  21. There have even been some “guests” who have entered the comment section here on Atomic Insights with almost gleeful reports of each challenge facing the plant operators and pointedly asking me if it is safe to panic yet.
    That’s a bald-faced lie. I’ve been following your blog during the crisis, and there hasn’t been a single comment asking you if it is “safe to panic.” Not a one. You know it, but make a false claim anyway.
    On almost every media site that I visit, I have to sift through reports about the explosions, fires, injuries and “many times above normal” radiation levels before I can find the reports about the lack of water, lack of food, lack of shelter, and the thousands of dead bodies.
    Also a lie. While it’s certainly true that the media have paid a lot of attention to the nuclear crisis, it is not true that the non-nuclear side of this has been obscured. You are telling this lie in a desperate attempt to obscure the nuclear crisis.
    Some of the people who have come to my site for a visit have been quite insulting and have accused me of being arrogant because I refuse to express doubts and uncertainty about the long term effects of the incidents at the nuclear plants on human health and because I continue to tell people that nuclear related worries should fall to the very bottom of their priority list.
    Your condescending arrogance has been, and continues to be, over the top. Your presentation has been deliberately provocative, and now you pretend to be wounded when people are provoked. Your peanut gallery and amen chorus will shout “Amen,” but if your approach is how the nuclear industry winds up talking about this, you can kiss any new projects goodbye.

    1. disdaniel – “ZOMG…containment breach…this sounds BAD BAD BAD….is it safe to panic yet?”
      Yesterday 8:39PM

      1. Okay, I take that back, then. I didn’t see it. And I’d agree that a comment like that was just as much over the top as what’s been spewed here by the blog owner and his amen chorus.
        By the way, there is this:
        The US-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) has said it agrees with the assessment of France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) that the incident at Fukushima should be classified as level 6 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), one below Chernobyl. Following a number of explosions and a fire at the plant which released dangerous levels of radiation, ISIS said the situation had “worsened considerably” and was now closer to a level 6 event. “It may unfortunately reach a level 7,” it added.
        I have known some of the ISIS people. Not exactly your Greenpeace crowd, to put it mildly.
        And this:
        The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, has said he wants more timely and detailed information about developments at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant from the Japanese authorities. “The problem is very complicated, we do not have all the details of the information so what we can do is limited,” he told a news conference in Vienna, according to Reuters. “I am trying to further improve the communication.” Mr Amano said the UN agency planned to send a team of experts to Japan, possibly to help with environmental monitoring.
        The point being that TEPCO and the Japanese government are not being forthcoming enough. Anyone who is reassured by TEPCO p.r. has a screw loose.
        And this, from Europe:
        Europe’s Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger says Japan’s nuclear disaster is an “apocalypse”, adding that Tokyo has almost lost control of events at the Fukushima power plant, AFP report.
        I am not telling anyone to “panic,” but I would suggest that it’s pretty stupid to tell people that things have gone so well that you feel a need to suppress an urge to gloat; to say that Japan’s success shows that nuclear power is overregulated; and to praise a children’s propagnada sheet about nuclear power.

          1. I’m not even against nuclear power. But I find this site to be just appalling for its extremist rhetoric, and its “If you’re not for us you’re against us” tone. If this is the pro-nuclear lobby, you folks are in big trouble.

            1. “If this is the pro-nuclear lobby, you folks are in big trouble.”
              Bingo. “Meltdowns…not as bad as you thought.” should go over like a uranium balloon.
              Here’s my message to the industry: Don’t build reactor that explode, even a little bit, when something goes wrong. Then you won’t have to worry about people “misunderstanding” the “science”.
              Oh, yeah, and don’t ask the taxpayers to subsidize the risk. If the industry is so damn safe, get rid of the Price-Anderson “Bailout the Nuke Industry” Act and go convince the re-insurers to cover the risk of worst-case scenarios.

              1. This is some people that have actual experience with nuclear power technology and know that much of what is being fed the public is untrue or exaggeration.
                The Japanese government and TEPCO are doing more than their share of withholding vital information. And the idea of telling people that there’s nothing to worry about is macabre. I’m critical of the Japanese government, but even they have managed to take it seriously.

        1. I think TEPCO and the Japanese government have more pressing issues to work on than making the rest of the world feel better. To me it would be as if my house is on fire, and my familly is still inside, then my neighbor down the street calls me up to ask if the paint thinner in my garage was in danger of spilling on the garage floor.

          1. I think TEPCO and the Japanese government have more pressing issues to work on than making the rest of the world feel better. To me it would be as if my house is on fire, and my familly is still inside
            At least you’ve acknowledged that the house is on fire. Try telling that to the owner of this blog, and his amen chorus.

            1. Amen chorus?
              No one denies there is a terrible tragedy going on, least of all Rod Adams. What is being denied is that the emphasis on radiation danger is appropriate. Yes, they are fighting fires and struggling with damage from an earthquake, but the greatest potential danger from radiation release is far less than the actual effect of the water flooding the towns.

  22. I, like poster EL, also appreciate the optimism from you and the efforts (heroic) of the individuals battling to get the facility under control. I, in no way, want to minimize this or to come across as” looking to find fault in your statements” or “beat you up”.
    I am not a nuclear scientist. I am not an engineer. I am a concerned citizen with very close friends and family in Tokyo.
    I just prefer that all the cards be laid out and the people given information so they can choose their course of action. I have heard interviews where Japanese put 100% of their trust in the agencies managing this crisis. They say, “Don’t panic, just stay in doors, it’s safe”. Very similar to your position. Yet I just read the following,
    ” The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), citing information it had received from Japanese authorities at 0350 GMT, said on Tuesday dose rates of up to 400 millisievert per hour have been reported at the Fukushima power plant site.
    It did not give details or comparisons on the radiation level but exposure to over 100 millisieverts a year is a level which can lead to cancer, according to the World Nuclear Association. The Vienna-based IAEA uses the unit to measure doses of radiation received by people ”
    I would be concerned about this. I would not be happy with having my friends and family stay in an area where exposure levels are know to cause cancer.
    I worked in Japan for 7 years and know that critical information, whether it be for customers or citizens, is not readily divulged. Must save face.
    The comments you make about saftey and low risk are made as if they are “absolutes” when we know that this isn’t the case. Again as EL posted, we really have no idea what is happening at the plants and can only assume that they are doing what is appropriate to control this mess.
    let’s not panic.. is fine but to downplay the risks here like you have is a bit too much….

    1. ” The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), citing information it had received from Japanese authorities at 0350 GMT, said on Tuesday dose rates of up to 400 millisievert per hour have been reported at the Fukushima power plant site.
      There is a critical piece of information that is missing from that news release – what is comprising that dose rate? The vast majority (>99%) of what is causing that level of radiation is short-lived radioactive elements that burn up VERY quickly (matter of seconds) that cause meters at the top of the building to spike, but 30 seconds later they are completely innocuous. Furthermore, that spike of 400 millisieverts only lasted for less than a minute.
      Now, there are still some elements that have a longer half-life and have the potential for being radioactive for a longer period of time. This is why the surrounding area has been evacuated – the longer it has to go to get to you, the less radioactive the nasty stuff is.

      1. Possibly a puff release out the plant ventialtion stack containing volatile gases Xenon, Krypton, and N-16? If so, these will rapidly disperse or decay. If the vent is carbon-filtered, it will take out most of the Iodine.

    2. There are several reasons for ongoing concern. One is that both the Japanese government and TEPCO have poor records when it comes to candid release of information. Yesterday, for example, the Japanese government’s website with radiation readings had blanks for areas near the plants. We cannot be confident that we’ve gotten fully accurate information.
      Secondly, the status of the spent fuel at all of the troubled reactors remains unclear. We do know that the third fire was in spent fuel, but we (and the IAEA) don’t know the whereabouts of all the spent fuel. Thirdly, in the days and weeks ahead, there will be more radiation releases. No one has had how much, what kind, or in what manner.
      The pro-nuclear crowd wants everyone to go back to sleep. I don’t think they should.

    3. What is the “risk” we are talking about? Anti-nuclear organizations such as Greenpeace, Sierra Club, UCS tell us the Japanese are trying to prevent a “meltdown” by cooling the reactor with seawater, and a meltdown is supposed to cause 10 thousand deaths, and render the surrounding area “uninhabitable” for centuries. Now that’s what I call fearmongering!!! Especially in the face of all the very real deaths from the quake and tsunami. A more realistic view of the risk is that the radiation someone near the buildings would be exposed to is about as dangerous as going through an airport scanner a couple of times, and a “meltdown” is simply a melting of the fuel rods inside the core, which is part of the design. Even if someone were to get cancer, it can be treated in many cases.

    4. “Although radiation may cause cancers at high doses and high dose rates, currently there are no data to establish unequivocally the occurrence of cancer following exposure to low doses and dose rates

        1. More members of the public have already been killed by media hype than will ever be by the nuke plants.

          1. Heart attacks from sensational reporting, using fearmongering and technical terms on people that don’t understand what they mean.

            1. Heart attacks from sensational reporting, using fearmongering and technical terms on people that don’t understand what they mean.
              Got any sources for these heart attacks, or are you just making stuff up?

              1. Guest,
                Sure – lets go to the granddaddy of all panics: Chernobyl. URL is at:
                I quote:
                It was concluded that the Chernobyl accident has had a significant long-term impact on psychological well-being, health-related quality of life, and illness in the affected populations. However, none of these findings could be directly associated with ionising radiation (Ha97, UN00).
                The general public was confused and cynical and responded in predictable but extreme ways such as seeking induced abortions, postponing travel and not buying food that might conceivably be contaminated
                In addition the report goes on to list the greater incidence of alcoholism and suicidd region wide, all of which had *nothing* to do with the radiation itself and *all* to do with the news reporting.
                Misinformation kills – the same way that shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater kills. I can only hope that it won’t be the same way here.
                We can only hope that

              2. Hi Guest,
                In 2000 when Philippine Terrorists captured people from the Dos Palmas resort on Palawan and took them to Basilan and southern Mindanao, news reporters managed to find and interview these terrorists, make money selling their newspapers and were unconcerned about the more than 30 soldiers of the Philippine Army, the captured nurse or the American Missionaries who were to die because their story was worth more than the life of those people. I will never forget. I will never forget that this was the 5th or 6th time that the reporter had interviewed these terrorists and that she said specifically she was not concerned at all about the captives.
                I could add page after page of the complicity of reporters and news organizations in the death of people.
                In this case, we are dealing with a tragedy of enormous size and you are determined that Rod Adams who states that fears of radiation causing significant harm are being overblown is a lier and those who agree and support his position are fools and deceived. In contradistinction, you are determined that we should all live in as much fear of radiation as possible. We should only consider that it moves up the food chain, that in 40 years some small percentage of people MIGHT die of cancer who otherwise would not, or that in the middle of death around we should beat our chests in fear of radiation. We should not measure the potential harm of radiation against the potential harm of H2O. We should not measure the potential harm of Radiation against the potential harm of methane, or any other hydrocarbon. Nor even against the potential harm of a field of Windmills which if planted among the houses in Tokoyo and falling during the earthquake, I dare say would have produced many fatalities.

                1. So you’re going to unload all of your pet peeves about every news story you’ve ever seen? Save it for someone who drinks your Kool-Aid.

  23. So you thought the hysteria in this country was bad? Here’s the current headline and byline at the site of the second largest German news magazine, “Focus.”
    A Super Meltdown is Imminent at Fukushima
    50 workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant are fighting a hopeless battle – it appears that a super-meltdown is now just a matter of time. The operators anticipate explosions in the last two intact blocks.

    1. If this type of attitude prevails the Germans are going to be facing an even more

      1. Let the Germans run off of windmills, my (wife’s) next car is going to be a Subaru anyway.

    2. A headline to make even Joseph Goebbels weep with pride.
      Hey, if you’re going to lie, tell a big lie.

      1. Hey, if you’re going to lie, tell a big lie.
        You mean like telling people that Japan’s “success” is reason to relax nuclear power plant regulations? That kind of Big Lie?

        1. “You mean like telling people that Japan’s ‘success’ is reason to relax nuclear power plant regulations?”
          If that is what you are implying that I said, then yes, you are telling a big lie.
          Keep it up, cowardly person who won’t reveal his name. You’re just making my point about how desperate your side is.

  24. Is there a way that we can send a pot of some very black coffee to Japan? My guess is the plant operators could use a good dose of caffiene right about now.

  25. Apparently there are now “experts” who are trying to get people up in a tizzy about used fuel pools. I have exchanged private email with some friends who have operation experience at similar types of plants as those at Fukushima Daiichi. In their opinion, it is possible to keep used fuel pools cool enough by simply refilling them with water every once in a while. We talked about using fire hoses and one more numerically inclined contributor to the discussion said that a typical garden hose would provide a sufficient quantity of water in just a couple of hours each day.
    If this was just a matter of throwing a garden house inside, we wouldn’t be hearing what we’re hearing. In the last day, there has been one explosion and two fires at #4. TEPCO ackowledges that they have been in the spent fuel area, and that the spent fuel has been partially uncovered for many hours, and that they have only a day or two to mitigate this.
    Even the most brain-dead propagandist knows that uncovered spent fuel is a potential disaster of large proportions. It could release isotopes with decay times measured in decades, and which migrate up the food chai. That’s why the Japanese government has told 140,000 people to stay indoors and seal their homes. Your cavalier approach is counter-productive, to put it ever so mildly.
    And this:
    Japanese news agency Kyodo reports that the storage pool in reactor four – where the spent fuel rods are kept – may be boiling. Tepco says readings are showing high levels of radiation in the building, so it is inaccessible.
    I do notice that you are no longer talking about “gloating,” so maybe that’s progress.

    1. http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/03/78213.html
      TOKYO, March 15, Kyodo
      Water in a pool storing spent nuclear fuel at the No. 4 reactor that caught fire Tuesday morning at the quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant may be boiling, causing the water level to drop, an official of Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.
      The reactor was not in service when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake jolted Fukushima Prefecture and other areas in northeastern Japan on Friday, the official in charge of the facility said.

    2. @Guest – there you go, believing the first media report you hear that matches your list of talking points. Lots of folks in the anti-nuclear industry have been talking about used fuel pool fires for so long that they just knew it was going to happen.
      I never did understand how 20 feet of water was supposed to disappear and how the used fuel was going to start burning if it did. That does not match my understanding of the physical rules that govern the real world in which we live.
      In case you have not heard:
      “Tokyo Electric Power Co. said that an oil leak in a cooling water pump at Unit 4 was the cause of a fire that burned for approximately 140 minutes. The fire was not in the spent fuel pool, as reported by several media outlets.”
      By way of gloating, please remember the full context of the question in which I used that word
      “Not that I want to gloat or anything, but can anyone tell me how the natural gas transmission and delivery infrastructure, the LNG reception infrastructure, and the oil refining infrastructure has weathered the natural disaster that occurred on March 11, 2011 in Japan?”
      I know it has not made the front pages, but it is not that hard to find out that Japan has lost about 9% of its oil refinery capabilities and it had at least one spectacular fire at a 220,000 barrel per day refinery that burned for at least three solid days, spewing thousands of tons of thick black smoke into the atmosphere. I wonder when the people on the west coast of the US are going to be told to worry about the health effects of all of the “stuff” that is in that smoke?
      The point is not to bash the oil and gas industry, but to wonder why their issues take such a back burner to the far less dramatic and consequential issues at the nuclear facilities.
      It really makes it hard to dissuade me of my wacky conspiracy theories that the advertiser supported media feels free to highly nuclear issues because nuclear companies tend not to spend much on advertising while fossil fuel companies have been buying lots of ads for more than a century.

      1. Maybe it’s because, as bad as they are, refinery fires burn for a while and then go out. There is no chance that a refinery fire will be an ongoing danger for many years, and even decades. When there are big events in the oil world, such as the BP disaster, they get lots of coverage, just like your pet projects do.
        As for my “wanting to believe” the media report, it’s backed up by what TEPCO has said. Not that the pool is boiling, but they had a news conference during which they said they’ve only got a day or two to mitigate this. That would tend to confirm that the water is boiling.
        If the water does in fact boil away, then the spent fuel will catch on fire and spew all kinds of nasty, long-lived stuff out there. I hope very much that this doesn’t happen, and deeply appreciate your and Atomik Rabbit’s offer to crawl in there with a garden hose. The world will long remember your heroic act.
        Beyond that, #4’s spent fuel isn’t the only issue. #1, #2, and #3 had explosions, and there are reports that temps in #5 and #6’s spent fuel pools are rising. By the way, the other day you wrote that spent fuel is stored at ground level. That was flat wrong. In fact, as much as one-third of it is stored near the roofs of each reactor building. After having been so dismissive of the spent fuel location, I see that you never bothered to correct your error.
        Finally, your conspiracy issues are your problem. Drugs can help.

  26. Actually, there are times when some “panic” is warranted. On Sept. 11, 2001, after the first plane hit the WTC, the internal p.a. system told people to stay in place and not move until further notice. The people who ignored that “prudent” advice got out alive. The people who followed it lost their lives.

  27. BBC: Two partial meltdowns now confirmed
    Meanwhile the Tokyo Electric Power Company has said an estimated 70% of the nuclear fuel rods inside reactor 1 at Fukushima Daiichi have been damaged, along with 33% of the rods inside reactor 2, the Kyodo news agency reports. The reactors’ cores are believed to have melted partially when their cooling systems malfunctioned.
    TEPCO says it might dump boric acid on #4 by helicopter. (Personally, I think they’ll wind up pouring concrete on it, just as with the reactor that shall not be named here, but we’ll have to see.)
    IAEA has raised this to a “6” on their 7-point severity scale, but that’s not yet confirmed.
    Anyone still suppressing the urge to gloat?

    1. Apparently TEPCO has decided the copters would be too risky, especially seeing as how the owner of this blog, and Atomik Rabbit, have volunteered to crawl inside with a garden hose. Let us know how that one works out for ya, okay, guys? And don’t worry, they’ll give you a set of lead-lined underwear. Your kids won’t have flippers, we promise!

    2. Is it one of those helis that has been used to combat the refinery fires? Or is it one of those that is used to do maintenance on wind turbine towers?

    3. What’s the significance of a damaged fuel rod? I’m curious.
      All three reactors are finished. That decision was made when they started pumping boron and seawater into them.
      Do you have any information available to you to conclude that there is enough remaining decay heat left in the reactors to melt concrete?
      How many gallons of water will it take to remove the remaining heat?
      How many gallons of water is currently being pumped in?
      I’m serious, I would like to know, the number of experts talking about a ‘meltdown’ that don’t know the answers to those questions is beyond belief.
      Just as a hint, Chernobyl cooked off at 3,000 MWt and didn’t have a containment building. The reactors in Japan should be somewhere around 20 MWt by now.

      1. You have to consider the reactors and the spent fuel pools separately. They each have their own unique issues. It looks like (for now) that they’ve got the reactors cooled off, although we’re not sure if one or more of them was cracked. TEPCO says that the big issue is the spent fuel, which is stored near the roof of each reactor building (one-third of it) and in a ground-level “common pool.”
        It’s enough to merely keep the spent fuel rods covered with water and apart from each other. Do that, and everything’s okay. But let them get uncovered, or jammed close together (say, in a unrelated explosion, four of which happened at Fukushima recently), and it changes. The spent fuel has all kinds of nasties, especially cesium-137, which has a half-life of 30 years and migrates up the food chain, and plutonium, which is very toxic if inhaled.
        If the reactor uses “MOX,” a cocktail that includes uranium and plutonium typically from decommissioned nuclear bombs, there will be more plutonium in the spent fuel. As long as it’s underwater and apart, no problemo. But if any part of the spent fuel rod is exposed to air, then heat builds fast. Same if you get a bunch of them smashed together, even underwater. The danger is that they get really hot, the water in the ponds boils off, the fuel catches on fire, and the smoke gets out into the air, and people breathe it in, or even if falls back to earth or water, where the cesium-137 gets ingested by animals and plants that pass it up the food chain.
        The cooling pond in Reactor #4 is very hot. TEPCO has ackowledged that the rods have been exposed for many hours. There have been two fires near the pond, both put out, but just recently the cameras have been catching white smoke coming from #4. Steam boiling off? It would be consistent with Japanese reports that the water in the spent fuel pools has been boiling, but we don’t know yet.
        Thankfully, according to the owner of this blog, all someone needs to do is crawl in there with a garden hose and refill the pools. Of course, this is the same blog owner who, only a day or so ago, ridiculed suggestions that there was any spent fuel stored near the individual reactors to begin with. So, I’d say we can take his reassurances with a grain of salt. Not to worry, though. He’s offered to eat crow if he’s wrong about any of it.

    1. At the point where he makes the blog owner realize that “Guest” has been right all along. That’s when the blog owner declares “Guest” a troll and blocks his I.P. address.

      1. Thus all the times I have had my comments moderated away on antinuclear forums, it was a tacit admission by the owner that I was right. I’ll keep that in mind

  28. Rod, Thanks for the update and information. Keep up the good work and don’t get discouraged. You are one of the few sources of actual knowledge out there during this whole surreal media blitz.

  29. Rod,
    Thanks for your efforts as well. I am with DV82XL regarding “Guest.” Less than helpful…

  30. May I ask how people have been killed so far by this so called radiation crisis? Not one.
    Maybe just Maybe this radiation crisis is just “least of Japan’s worries?”
    The nuke haters really do not want any real solutions to our energy needs, because they believe mankind needs to have a major die off to bring the earth back in to balance. So their concern for human life is just laughable.

  31. No offense, guest, but what makes you think that the stuff in refinery fires ‘go away’ any more quick than radiation exposure?
    There are hydrocarbons, PCBs, lead, asbestos, arsenic, and every other poison that we use for modern chemistry. Unlike radioactive isotopes, these are around *forever*, and also work their way up the food chain. They never decay – and are of much higher quantity than any radioactive material released at fukushima.
    I say it now, as I said since the beginning of this whole thing, that there would be *no* chernobyl style event here. Looking at the stock prices for various nuke firms right now, it looks like the market is beginning to agree with me.
    Anyways, I gotta say it. This site requires *intelligence* and a sense of proportion to be taken seriously, and so far, you have shown neither. Why should you be listened to?

    1. Two crew members on an Australian search and rescue helicopter showed low levels of radiation contamination after they were forced to make an emergency landing in Fukushima on Wednesday, AFP news agency reports. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was quoted as saying the radiation was detected on their boots. They landed about 12 miles (20km) outside the exclusion zone surrounding the plant.
      12 miles away, contaminated.

  32. I don’t oppose nuclear power. Can’t say it thrills me like it thrills the amen chorus here, but it’s probably a necessary evil. I just don’t think you should be lying about it, and minimizing the enormous risks involved. You really have to quit it with this “If you’re not with me you’re against me” kind of thinking. Out here in the real world, people have mixed feelings, and in any case would prefer (usually) not to be lied to by a pack of arrogant twits.

    1. Jack
      No one said nuclear power has no risk just less risk than no energy and certainly less risk than fossil fuel. We are tired of Nuke Alarmists not being alarmed about the greater risks of life.

      1. So Jack, have you been going to the antinuclear blogs and forums over the years telling them that they need to adjust their attitudes and stop treating anyone that doesn’t automatically agree with them as evil or stupid, or where you saving it to scold the pronuclear side when the time came?
        We might be arrogant twits in your eyes, but you are nothing but a puffed up little hypocrite in ours.

  33. Water level falls in Reactor #5,
    Thus blog’s owner thinks it’s a great idea to have a whole bunch of reactors in one spot. Of course, he also told us a day or so ago that spent fuel was not stored on the upper levels of the individual reactors, and still refuses to correct that little bit of misinformation, which turns out to be absolutely critical to understanding the current phase of the crisis. So, the question is: What, if anything, from Mr. Adams is worth trusting?
    Mr. Adams, are you still suppressing your urge to gloat over how well things are going in Japan?

  34. Most of the people on this blog, including the owner, are in early complete denial about the unfolding tragedy. Only yesterday, Mr. Adams arrogantly dismissed the fact that spent fuel is stored at the upper levels of each reactor. He has yet to retract that error, which is fundamental to understanding the latest phase of the crisis. And then he came here and dismissed concerns about the spent fuel pools, saying it was no more complicated than refilling with a garden hose.
    Are any of you people going to wake up and realize the costs of your industry’s complacency, arrogance, corruption, and foolishness?

  35. How exactly is a nuclear accident ‘exploding’ for the next 100 years?
    Please give me a list of the long term exclusion zones surrounding exploded refineries. Thank you.

    1. Which is the point, a long term exclusion zone will not be needed.
      On Mar 16, 2011, at 12:29 AM, Echo wrote:

      1. Which is the point, a long term exclusion zone will not be needed.
        Not for an exploded refinery, that is. For the nukes, we’ll see. There’s already one in force near Chernobyl, and another along the Columbia River in Washington State.

        1. and, guest, that is exactly my point. If we didn’t have such a duplicitous attitude towards nuclear power, we *wouldn’t* declare exclusion zones for nuclear accidents.
          Look at your back posts, guest, and just *see* the hysteria there. There are bogeymen out there, yes, but they AREN’T nuclear. The real bogeymen are climate change, environmental destruction, resource depletion, and ideological rigidity.
          Nuclear power can help all 4. Its a good chance that nuclear power is our *only* hope in avoiding a die-off in the coming century. This is the message that needs spreading, not fantastic hyped-up hysteria about milli and micro sieverts..

  36. yea!!! yet another downfall for the nuclear powered americans and europeans this is truly the asian century… the only reason the japanese are suffering now it’s because this is the last great plight of the asians… soon it will be the obese americans who will suffer look at the american diet burgers and cow lard or what they call
    delic’ beef its a meat based diet and no good karma ever comes out from killing so many living beings the whole of the west is planted with slaughterhouses and they are just redeeming their quote”sins” with the theory of jesus and i believe in karma and buddhism and by the way buddhism is not a religion like christainanity please there are so many loopholes in your belief system a god that hates gays and homosexuals how did you all even managed to carve yourselves into thinking that it’s a right thing to do? there is seriously something wrong with you jews and christians and islamist terrorists which i believe is a separate branch of christianity, islam? See,all this points to the fall of the west… Global warming dont even start with us asians, America. Look at yourselves first, you have managed to become a developed country only because of your burning of fossil fuels from what i know America is the biggest carbon emitter and it is still trying to put the blame on the Chinese which is still fairly undeveloped. You want yourselves to be developed and yet cant let other countries develop that is just plain self centred so that you can enjoy all the wealth by yourself huh? that is right i’ve said it you americans are the worse form of human evolution i dont know why i am so agitated by you but what could i have expected fromyou americans and europeans look at all the resorts and entertainment its all coming from YOU! Mcdonalds, the richest man in the world, bill gates ( dont tell me about the ranking forbes technically he is worth a 100 illion and its just that he transferred it to his foundation the bill and melinda gates foundation so in actual fact he is STILL THE RICHEST!) look at hollywood, justin bieber yeah right the “talented” young pre-puberty youtube superstar who is a young mj in the making bullshit its just a money-making scheme plotted by the music industry struggling to save theiir assets in the end all you americans ever talk about its money and the quote money makes the world go round is from YOU americans today i am going to condemn you american and be done with it or else it will be a further waste of my time in asia the asian society is refined while the american society is fcked up screwed up thats why you ave the likes justin bieber lady gaga the self proclaimed celeb of the 21st century the fame obssesed monster disguised as a weirdo who is seeking the embrace of public but actually she is not that pityful right? she enrolled in tisch school and still talking about the suffering of not being able to fit in i mean come on your suffering is MEAGRE compared to what people in asia and africa are facing lack of food and social infrastructure the only reason people support ppl like her its because it make them feel good about themselves that they are already suffering and deserves what they have in fact the dont!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. France (not exactly the antinuclear poster child) is pulling out
      France is now urging its nationals in Tokyo to leave Japan or head to the south of the country, Reuters reports. It says Paris has asked the Air France carrier to provide planes for the evacuation.

        1. Let’s hope this isn’t true
          it appears that reactor no 4 was badly damaged by the hydrogen explosions in nearby reactors, and it is possible that the unit’s water level has disappeared entirely.
          Tepco said that water in a pool storing the spent fuel rods may be boiling and that its level may have dropped, exposing the rods. The government ordered the firm to inject water into the pool ”as soon as possible to avert a major nuclear disaster.”
          Due to high radiation levels at the reactor, workers have been unable to pour water into the troubled pool.

          – UK Guardian

  37. i am a proud hater of the west and i know i have no paragraphing and loads of gramatical errs but that’s just because i can think of so many bad talking points to say and dont even know where to start…. no i am not trying to find reasons for myself either!!!!!

    1. @ donovan,
      So would you feel wonderful if we proclaimed ourselves proud haters
      of …. anyone? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
      On Mar 16, 2011, at 12:43 AM, Echo wrote:

      1. hello guest i have been looking at your comments and apparently everyone here think your kind of a plague and looking that you have been here from morning 7 pus till now would say you a crazed internet commentator who might be jobless ( that explains the large amount of free time you have) and could be browsing through beter ways of creating a resume as we speak so why dont you save your high and mighty quotes for your future bosses before we turn this into your anger management practice grounds okay?

  38. Corruption?
    mind listing the horrid details?
    Of all industries in the world the nuclear is the most watched and
    regulated and the most responsible. If in the face of a disaster 5
    times the anticipated (human anticipation) strength, we find that a
    reactor is lost and some radiation is released, how is that evidence
    of corruption?
    Perhaps it is the red stuff, but failure during a natural disaster is
    not always evidence of corruption.
    On Mar 16, 2011, at 12:31 AM, Echo wrote:

  39. “Contamination” does not mean “harm”. Radiation can be detected at extremely low levels – that’s why techniques such as radioimmunoassay are extremely accurate.

      1. I had a pair of contaminated boots once, tried cleaning them, didn’t work, so I bought new boots. I wonder if I should have gotten media coverage for that. Of course, I didn’t have to pay for the boots myself, the company did. Oh and because I know Jack is still dying of suspense, yes my feet are still attached and perfectly fine.

  40. I guess just one more,
    I neither work for the nuclear industry nor any other power utility.
    I have never worked for government other than being a janitor in a
    school while I was working my way through college. So, it is not
    my industry. However, after living for years in Asia, I came to
    deeply appreciate reliable electricity and the help it is to
    poverty. While working to provide clean water in villages as well as
    working to provide relief during natural disasters, I researched power
    production to try to help those around me.
    I have become convinced that Nuclear power is the very very best means
    of power production we have invented. A small amount of danger during
    a huge crisis does not dissuade me from that persuasion. You mocking
    does not either.
    On Mar 16, 2011, at 12:31 AM, Echo wrote:

    1. We can then agree that each others’ mocking is unpersuasive. Question: At what point, in terms of casualties, expense, or both, do you take this seriously?

  41. @Rod — Thanks much for clarifying that point. I agree, I’ve seen people fix some pretty amazing things over the years and engineers work miracles. Thanks so much for responding.

  42. Perhaps you didn’t hear about this because the FRICKING MEDIA NEVER MENTIONED IT.
    Well, if you hate dams so much, then you should protest them, don’t you think?

    1. yes, jack. If I had my choice, I’d decomission every dam to put in an equivalent nuclear plant. Much, much cleaner, and much, much safer.

  43. and forgive my spelling errors but i bet you didnt notice good bye for now and enjoy the anonymous status in the internet world because i bet you’re a real loser in the real world and karma doesnt work like that “do unto others as you would do unto you” that is called respect so familiarize yourself with your quotes before you splatter any of them out and i suggest you to this VERY useful website dictionary.com they have lots of quotes you can choose from to utilise in your spams that you quite seemed to enjoy dont be misunderstood im not judging you or anyone else i dont have that kind of time like you do so tata

  44. This mess just gets worse everyday–the nuclear industry has begun to turn on TEPCO.
    Please tell me if this changes! “I have not found any cause for alarm associated with the effects at the nuclear power plants.”

    1. I do not believe that Japan ever adopted anything like B.5.b, that would seem a sensible corrective measure going forward.

  45. And yet unlike natural gas that has killed many over the past 12 months, or the 2400 miners who died in coal mining accidents in China last year, or more recently the 14 people who died in a bus accident in NY, no one has died because of all the problems at Fukushima.
    Life comes with risk. Technical life carries its own risk. Is that risk greater now then 200 years ago when our ancestors were trying to cross the great wilderness to settle new lands or 60 years ago in WWII?

    1. How much expense and how many deaths (if they happen) will be acceptable to you? I asked this question a day ago, but no one had the courage to answer it. Do you, or are you a coward too?

      1. Now your true self comes thru Jack. You are that anti-nuke guy formerly know as

          1. Jack You are just too funny. And I did answer your question but it requires thought. Maybe thinking is just too hard for your Little Alarmist Anti-Nuke Mind. So I will spell it out; We are all for the safest form of energy as possible and that is why we back nuclear. See horos below.
            For the worlds energy needs at this time in our history the choice is coal or nuclear. Coal kills daily and nuclear rarely does ever. So which do you pick my Anti-Nuke Alarmist Minded Friend? Coal or Nuclear.
            Please tell do tell us.

      2. Jack,
        Deaths for each sort of energy source are measured (quite coldly but factually) in ‘deaths per terawatt hour’) – which takes all the emotion out of it, and *should* give energy policy makers a very important datapoint when considering fuel sources. So far, here’s the numbers, giving the number of people who died for each energy unit that was produced.
        Note that Nuclear, at .04 (which includes Chernobyl) is by FAR the lowest)
        Original source:
        Deaths/terawatt hour

  46. I note that the level of vitriol is going up with the frustration of the antinuclear posters as they find that they cannot mount an effective attack using FUD. Thus they flood the thread with unsubstantiated assertions in the hope that they can drown out any rational discussion. This is like the kid that sticks his fingers in his ears and shouts: “Na, na, I can’t hear you” when they are cornered in an argument, and haven’t the maturity to admit they are wrong.
    The future is slipping away from you idiots. This isn’t turning into the slam-dunk victory for the antinuclear position you all dreamed it would. You are yesterdays news, and that fact is just starting to sink in.

  47. @Guest – apparently you are unaware of the fact that the host of this forum is a retired Commander in the US Navy who has a son-in-law and a daughter serving on active duty. Most of my lifelong friends are also in the Navy. I can tell you that the ships were not moved because of fear of contamination, they were moved because any contamination that they get would interfere with their ability to do some of the routine monitoring that they do. Because contamination can be measured in such tiny quantities, nuclear power plants on land often get alarms on their detecting equipment when there is a temperature inversion and a tiny amount of radon builds up. There are procedures in place to allow the plants to verify that the source is not internal, but it takes time and is a bit of a distraction from their normal activities.
    If a nuclear powered ship at sea finds detectable amounts of contamination, they have to engage in some time consuming efforts to make sure that the source is not their own reactor. Our plants are so well sealed that ANY detectable contamination is a warning sign that requires investigation. You may not understand this, but ships at sea have plenty of other things to do that spend their time chasing tiny sources of radioactive material. It has nothing to do with a fear of the stuff, just the annoyance and the distraction.
    Here is another warning – before you condemn an organization full of hard working, admirable, courageous people, you had better check to see if any representatives of that organization are nearby. If you made your statement in a public place, you might find yourself with a bloody nose. That is not a threat, but a warning. Some of my sailor friends are a bit more physical than I am.

  48. @Jack – I am confused. The surface of the used fuel pool is, indeed somewhat below the floor level of the secondary containment structure. The actual used fuel is under about 27 feet of water. If you do a bit of figuring, you will realize that the top of the used fuel is at least 3-4 standard floors below the top of the reactor building. Look at the drawing to see where the fuel is.

  49. @Guest – even in that case, panic would have been fatal. The people who got out calmly made their way down the stairs. If they had panicked, they would have been stuck in the stairways in a pile of pushing and shoving humans. It is not always smart to follow instructions from the “authorities” who may not know what is happening, but it is never smart to panic, even if that is what your “fight or flight” instinct is telling you to do.
    Apparently, you have little to no military or leadership training.

  50. @everyone – there was a point at which Jack crossed the line and accused the entire nuclear industry of a lack of integrity. He has no idea how insulting that is to a nuclear professional.

  51. I see ‘Jack’ has been reduced to trying to flip firecrackers in everyone’s lap, exposing himself as utterly bankrupt of real arguments.
    See Jack rant. Rant, Jack rant.

  52. The author says that he wouldn’t be worried if his son-in-law was in the Fukushima plant. He is aware the Japanese gov’t had to evacuate the emergency workers because it was too dangerous in the plant? So maybe the author is delusional, or a liar. Or maybe he just hates his son-in-law.

    1. @Bec – I love my son in law. He is a terrific father for my granddaughter. I am not delusional, but I do understand radiation and damage control. The workers at the plant were moved out when the measured dose rate got high enough to cause concern and while there was no immediate need to have the people inside the plant. When the radiation dose – predictably – dropped after the “puff” the workers were sent back and and went back to work.
      This is not all that different from fighting a fire. Just as a fire chief takes pride in battling the blaze without losing his men, so will the people in charge at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
      I spent a decade as a leader on submarines. Except for the fact that I know that the Japanese have incredibly well trained nuclear operators and do not need my help, I would volunteer to go myself.

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