Breach of Containment? Rads 10 million Xs higher than normal? Updated!

Two articles tonight point to the exponentially growing catastrophe in Japan.  The first is an NHK report of radiation levels 10 million times greater than normal.  In the second, Michio Kaku discusses the increasing evidence for a possible [probable?-dsyd] breach of containment.  Even if it is still only “possible,” it seems to be becoming more and more “probable.”  This is a tragic catastrophe.  

The only possible positive result would be for the people of the world to now rise up and say “NO” to all things nuclear — at least until such time, perhaps 1K years from now, when humans might have learned how to handle it in a respectful, humble manner.  

UPDATE, 11:30 AM PST, 3/27/11:  I found the correction upon arising this morning.  TMC and Mishima both pointed out that Tepco officials had retracted the 10 million report, calling it a math error.  Instead of 10 million, the specified radioctivity was 100,000 times normal.  See the discussion and link to AP article in the comments below.

The article“Extreme radiation detected at No.2 reactor” is below the fold:

The link vid & print here

Tokyo Electric Power Company says it has detected radioactive materials 10-million-times normal levels in water at the No.2 reactor complex of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The plant operator, known as TEPCO, says it measured 2.9-billion becquerels of radiation per one cubic centimeter of water from the basement of the turbine building attached to the Number 2 reactor.

The level of contamination is about 1,000 times that of the leaked water already found in the basements of the Number 1 and 3 reactor turbine buildings.

The company says the latest reading is 10-million times the usual radioactivity of water circulating within a normally operating reactor.

TEPCO says the radioactive materials include 2.9-billion becquerels of iodine-134, 13-million becquerels of iodine-131, and 2.3-million becquerels each for cesium 134 and 137.

These substances are emitted during nuclear fission inside a reactor core.

The company says the extremely contaminated water may stem from a damaged reactor core, and are trying to determine how the leakage occurred.

University of Tokyo graduate school professor Naoto Sekimura says the leak may come from the suppression chamber of the Number 2 reactor, which is known to be damaged. The chamber is designed to contain overflows of radioactive substances from the reactor.

Sunday, March 27, 2011 13:44 +0900 (JST)

Just an hour or so before this news broke, Michio Kaku gave his thoughts on the recent reports of cracks in core containment:

“Breach of Containment” in Japan? (The Three Most Feared Words in the Lexicon of a Nuclear Scientist)

The three most feared words in the lexicon of a nuclear scientist is “breach of containment,” i.e. an uncontrolled release of radiation into the environment. It appears that we may be seeing this dreaded event unfolding in Japan.

Two workers got radiation burns when exposed to radioactive water 10,000 times the normal level. The only way in which water could have been so contaminated is via exposure to uranium fuel, either in the core or in the spent fuel pond. A source told the NY Times that there is a huge vertical crack in the vessel of Unit 3. It is below the water level, so radiation is spreading directly into the water.

This represents a dangerous escalation of the crisis.


[although Michio states that measures being taken to get control may work–this writer thinks that to be only a hat-tip to scientific possibility and politeness]


If radiation levels continue to rise, then at some point the workers may have to evacuate…[this] means that cooling water (which is being shot into the reactors by fire hose) will begin to fall, exposing the rods, and eventually creating 3 simultaneous meltdowns. Then perhaps a steam or hydrogen gas explosion will completely rupture the containment. This will create a nightmare beyond Chernobyl.

Read more of Michio right here

OMG—As I said above:

The only possible positive result would be for the people of the world to now rise up and say “NO” to all things nuclear — at least until such time, perhaps 1K years from now, when humans might have learned how to handle it in a respectful, humble manner.



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  1. …for stopping our addiction to nuclearism until we can overcome our hubris and attain humility and respect for Ma Nature.

  2. Japan nuclear: Workers evacuated as radiation soars

    BBC — Mar 27, 2011 — 2:33 ET

    • TMC on March 27, 2011 at 10:09
    • on March 27, 2011 at 15:52

    Japan: Huge radiation spike at plant was a mistake

    Measurement of at 10 million times higher than normal ‘not credible,’ plant official says

  3. …A comment on Michio Kaku’s blog questions the retraction:

    Eric Shidler on March 27, 2011, 4:04 PM

    The readings being retracted are not due to miscalculation. If you will check the tides for the last 24hrs you will see that the initial VERY HIGH reading was @ high tide. The second re-reading was taken @ low tide. This style reactor uses a single cooling loop and appears to have a leak in the turbine room. The tides coming in puts positive pressure in this loop and radiation collects. When the tide goes out it places a vaccume on the system pulling vast amounts out to sea.

    Tepco will publish samples taken @ low tide from now on it seems.

    See time referenced comments here.

    Who knew?   Or knows???

  4. …on the 10 mil broohaha is

    Blunder and Confusion.

    I can’t discuss, rushing off to an appointment!

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