Darkly-overcast with a chilly wind this afternoon on California’s north coast, but more compelling is what’s happening way-west, to the Far East and Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant — more trouble apparently right now, maybe serious trouble.
And having nothing but open ocean between the us and…that, does breath concern.
In this radioactive horror mix is the total-lack of competent integrity.
(Illustration found here).
Another crisis with Reactor Building 3, which exploded in March 2011 and belched-out a big plume of radiation — it seems smoke has been observed coming out it, but nobody knows why, or at least won’t say why. Smoke is important (today from The Ecologist):
The Reactor 3 fuel storage pond still houses an estimated 89 tonnes of the plutonium-based MOX nuclear fuel employed by the reactor, composed of 514 fuel rods.
Ever since the explosion Tepco has been concerned that if the spent fuel storage pond dries out, the intensely radioactive spent fuel rods would melt down and produce further significant radioactive emissions.
One possibility is that this process may now be taking place.
In the event of water loss from the pond, the water would begin to overheat and produce clouds of steam, prior to a complete meltdown.
If this is the case then a second major nuclear disaster at Fukushima is in the making.
A mega-major problem is the closed-mouth, way-incompetent people-in-charge of Fukushima, TEPCO. These assholes have made a disaster even worse, and are shy with any information. From NSNBC International on Monday:
TEPCO has confirmed via camera surveillance, that steam has begun to pour from Reactor 3, although they have “not been identified abnormal plant conditions.”
TEPCO is reporting that “radioactive steam has suddenly begun emanating from the previously exploded nuclear reactor building #3 at the Fukuishima disaster site in Japan.”
The corporation is not clear on the details of the sudden change at Reactor 3 because of “lethal radiation levels in that building.”
TEPCO has admitted that “they do not know why this steam is being generated, but matter-of-factly revealed on December 28 that the steam was first spotted on December 19 for a short period of time, then again on December 24 and again on December 25.”
The accord is that “pellets of radioactive fuel, ejected when the reactor exploded, went into the spent fuel pool located above the reactor and have begun melting down so seriously that they are boiling off the water in the spent fuel pool.”
Should this be the case “the situation could escalate rapidly out of control.”
The piece at The Ecologist also suggests a meltdown is just one of three possible causes/reason for the smoke — beyond ‘meltdown,’ there’s a chance the ‘corium‘ (which burned its way into the earth) has contacted groundwater to produce the steam, or rainwater is hitting stray fuel pellets and reactor rod fragments, making steam. That last one: Of the three choices this is probably the least serious.
That’s good to know.
None of the major news outlets have produced anything on the latest Fukushima fuck-up. A major h/t to Crooks and Liars, where Susie Madrak has a good post on the subject, including the aspect of Japan’s state-secrets law on keeping the lid on any bad shit — until it’s too late, of course.
In the sights of all that radiation is us crazies out here on the Left Coast — what could the effect be from such a distance, and do we really know? — from the Washington Post earlier in December:
It is very difficult to obtain accurate information on the dangers from Fukushima radiation to residents of the West Coast of North America and Hawaii.
On the one hand, there is fear-mongering and “we’re all going to die” type hysteria.
On the one hand, there is a tendency for governments to cover up the truth to avoid panic and deflect blame for bad policy. Japan is poised to pass a bill which would outlaw most reporting on Fukushima.
And the U.S. government is not even monitoring radiation levels in the waters off the U.S. coast.
A pretty-detailed article — way-shitty if it happens.