Monday 4 AM — Sad State of Affairs

March 14, 2011

From Aljazeera English: A second explosion rocked Japan’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex, sending a plume of smoke into the air and touching off fresh concerns of radioactive leak in the quake and tsunami-hit country. The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Monday the reactor has not been damaged.

In the same report, more reassuring words: Japan’s nuclear safety agency said there is “absolutely no possibility of a Chernobyl” style accident at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, Koichiro Genba, the national strategy minister said, as quoted by Jiji Press.
We hope the guy’s right.

The explosion early Monday was at the same site as Saturday’s similar event, this time instead of the No. 1 reactor, it was the No. 3 one — meanwhile the cooling system at reactor No. 2 has also failed, behaving just like the previous two.
And work continues to cool the reactors with a mixture of seawater and boric acid  — an untested method, underscoring the desperate nature of the situation.
As if…

Worse case scenario — Fox News Via Raw Story:

“One reactor has had half the core exposed already,” he (nuclear expert, Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund) explained.
“This is the one they’re flooding with sea water in a desperate effort to prevent it from a complete meltdown. They lost control of a second reactor next to it, a partial meltdown, and there is actually a third reactor at a related site 20-kilometers away they have also lost control over.
We have never had a situation like this before.
“The worst case scenario is that the fuel rods fuse together, the temperatures get so hot that they melt together in a radioactive molten mass that bursts through the containment mechmisms and is exposed to the outside.
So they spew radioactivity in the ground, into the air, into the water.
Some of the radioactivity could carry in the atmosphere to the West Coast of the United States.”
“Really?” a surprised Wallace asked. “I mean, thousands of miles across the Pacific?”
“Oh, abosolutely. Chernobyl, which happened about 25 years ago, the radioactivity spread around the entire northern hemisphere.
It depends how many of these cores melt down and how successful they are on containing it once this disaster happens,” Cirincione replied.

Chris Wallace is a complete one-sided nit-twit — sorry, just had to put that out there.

Here in California, the people in charge are watching, or so they say: “At present there is no danger to California. However we are monitoring the situation closely in conjunction with our federal partners,” Michael Sicilia, spokesman for California Department of Public Health, told AFP.
Hopefully, a major global crisis can be averted.

A couple of most-excellent technical views of the situation on the ground in Japan can be found at The Oil Drum, an expert analysis here and an open thread discussion here.

And the situation in the air in Japan is serious as 17 US Navy service personnel have been found with low-levels of radiation during disaster relief missions in the area — reportedly, ships with the U.S. Seventh Fleet have been moved to avoid any further contamination.

As this event unfolds, here in the East we hope there’s no Godzilla moment.
In most-likely the most-turbulent era in human history, however, there might a shitload of Godzilla moments, and wee-early in the morning, the air still smells fresh and clean.
Monday morning coming way down — have a good kick-off for the week ahead with more nature news coming down the pike for sure infected with mankind’s own brand of horror.

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