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-- Environment & Climate --
Reactor #2: Mother of all problems.
Two years ago, and pretty much up to the present, those of us
who know nothing about the Fukushima catastrophe other than what we read were
focused pretty much on the precarious spent fuel rod pool of Reactor #4.
One good earthquake was going to multiply the catastrophe by 10-fold, some
experts, like self-proclaimed nucler-know-all, Arnie Gundersen told us.
But on May27.13 a wee voice from Japan was heard crying "Forget #4, itís
Reactor #2 that is the mother of all problems." And thatís the
term he used. This voice came from an unnamed TEPCO worker and was
amplified by an unnamed Japanese professor. These comments have been related by Oshidori
Here are some excerpts:
Worker: Yes, the problem of the underground water storage tank is trivial,
because the mother of all problems is neither the radioactive pollution nor
the cooling system, but the nuclear reactor buildings and reactors themselves.
How are reactors #1 to #4 going to be demolished and disposed of? The current
situation is that nobody can even get inside. Comparing to that, workers
on-site feel that, problems outside the building such as the metal-clad
distribution switchboard or the underground water storage tank are trivial,
though they are serious, too.
Mako: Then, what is the most serious problem?
Worker: That is undoubtedly reactor #2.
Professor of Tokyo University: As I thought! Even among researchers, the
situation of reactor #2 is beyond imagination.
Workers: About reactor #2, nobody knows exactly what is going on inside or
what happened just after the earthquake. The explosion of reactors #1 and #3
could be simulated to a certain degree. From various parameters, we could
predict the initial response and what was going to happen next. [I do not know
why she refers to "workers". That is in the original.]
But we are clueless about reactor #2. Why was such large amount of
radioactive substances emitted without explosion? What is happening with the
fuel rods? From various parameters, it is said that there is no melt-through
of fuel rods.
Professor of Tokyo University: I agree. It seems like fuel rods did not go
through the Reactor Pressure Vessel.
Worker: Then why were such large amounts of radioactive substances emitted
outside the building? Nobody knows the answer!
(The amount of radioactive substances emitted from reactor #2 is way larger
than from reactors #1 and #3!)
By the way, the increasing contaminated water will eventually be discharged
into the ocean after radioactive substances have being gotten rid of as much
as possible with the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), a multinuclear
Mako goes on to say:
At the end of 2011, I also received a phone call from another on-site
worker announcing that the "Test operation of ALPS has started! I heard
the contaminated water will be discharged into the ocean after the removal of
radioactive substances as much as possible using ALPS."
I soon asked a question about it at a joint press conference, but Mr.
Matsumoto, the TEPCO spokesman said "There is no such a plan." I had
the impression that TEPCO just didnít have the courage to say that they were
going to discharge water treated with ALPS into the sea. Since then the issue
of the test operation remained untouched and time goes on.
Worker: In fact, the system was only partly operated and abandoned for an
entire year. I think that it is because concerns rose over the eventual
practical use of ALPS. It was certainly feared that something could go wrong
with the system.
However, the "multi" nuclear removal system canít remove
All the above is a story counted by a worker at the Fukushima Daiichi
nuclear power plant. His message is that the nuclear power plant accident is
not over yet, and that it is most likely to get worse. He invites you to be
proactive in the efforts carried out for change all over the country and in
Get worse? How could it get any worse? Well . . .
On Jul08.13 a blogger at the
Wall St. Journal told us how. TEPCO has seen a sudden spike in tritium
at a monitoring well adjacent to #2, but not to worry, itís "only"
tritium -- what's a little beta-decay? At least according to TEPCO.
Worse still . . . today [Jul09.2103], we get the news from Japanese news
that itís not "just" tritium after all. Huge amounts of cesium 134
and 137 are leaking into the ground out of #2. Hereís the whole short,
Cesium levels soar in Fukushima plant groundwater
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says radioactive
cesium levels at one of the plant's observation wells have soared over the past
Tokyo Electric Power Company regularly monitors groundwater around the
reactor buildings to check for radioactive substances and analyze the accident's
affect on the environment.
On Monday, TEPCO recorded 9,000 becquerels of cesium 134 and 18,000
becquerels of cesium 137 per liter of water at a well between the No. 2 reactor
building and the sea.
Both radioactive substances were up about 90 times from the level logged 3
The same well also showed high levels of beta rays on Friday. The rays would
have been emitted from strontium and other radioactive materials.
TEPCO officials say they do not know why cesium levels have risen suddenly,
or what effect the spike is having on the nearby ocean.
Seawater in the port next to the Fukushima Daiichi plant has been showing
increasing levels of radioactive tritium since May. A water sample taken
Wednesday last week contained 2,300 becquerels of tritium per liter, the highest
reading since June 2011.
Whoever the unnamed worker is who was interviewed by Mako in April, he needs
to be flown to Geneva where he can consult with the IAEA. He seems to be
the only one with any brains in this entire cluster-fuck. Maybe that will
get them to wake up and take some action in this mess Ė like forcing TEPCO and
the Japanese government to get out of the way and getting an international team
with all the resources they need to get in there and do what can be done.
There is a point at which a nuclear disaster becomes and international
disaster and the home country, while liable for the damage, has to be preempted
and removed from control. Bold, naked logic tells us that if they were too
stupid to prevent a catastrophe like this, they are surely too stupid to fix