Thursday, March 17, 2011

Latest Developments at Fukushima Daiichi

  • There are now between 150 and 180 workers at the plant, as opposed to the only 50 that had been working at the plant. 
  • Military fire trucks have started spraying water onto reactor No.3. 
  • Tepco is working to forge a power connection into a different electricity company’s power grid in the hope of restarting the existing water pumps at the plant. 
  • Odd report from Italy. The Italian Embassy measured radiation levels from the Embassy roof in Tokyo on Wednesday. Levels were found to be one third that of typical radiation levels in Rome, the Embassy said. 
  • FT’s Jonathan Soble says that Thursday’s helicopter water drops appear not to have done anything to alter the radiation level:
    Jonathan Soble: Sensors reading the extreme radiation levels near the No 3 reactor showed little change after the helicopter drops, suggesting water had not reached the tank in any meaningful amount. Doses a little more than 100m northwest of the reactor were 3,782 microsieverts an hour before the drop, authorities said — around a million times higher than normal background doses of 1 microsievert a year. Afterward, readings showed doses of 3,754 microsieverts a year.
 Obviously, the entire plant is not yet contaminated with radiation levels beyond which workers can operate without immediate serious harm. But it is a race against time to cool reactors 3 and 4, before contamination levels get so high that all workers would have to be evacuated. Such evacuation appears likely only if radiation levels are so high that workers would be exposed to such immediate intense radiation that they would become ill within hours if not immediately, thus making further emergency efforts impossible. Reports seem to indicate that they have, perhaps, another 24 hours before things reach that intensity level. If they can get reactors 3 and 4 under control in this time frame, disaster will have been averted. If not, then full meltdown is likely.





  1. The water trucks have ceased as of several hours ago, they sprayed for 2 minutes each, for a total of about 30-40 minutes, and the helicopter drops stopped hours ago after 40 minutes. Just some numbers to show how sadly hopeless these plans were from the beginning, the spent fuel rod pools are roughly 1500 cubic meters in volume. The helicopters held 7.5 cubic meters of water each, and the trucks in total held 30 cubic meters. All that water, even if it reached the pool (looked like 90% did not) would not have done much to cool the rods down.

  2. So like, what happens when there is a full meltdown?

  3. RW wrote: “But it is a race against time to cool reactors 3 and 4, before contamination levels get so high that all workers would have to be evacuated.”

    Worker evacuation resulting in meltdown is not an option! It’s dark side of humanity time, folks

    Some people may have to sacrifice their lives in order to save northern Japan.

  4. Many people who are terminally ill, elderly, or depressed, or for whatever reason, might be willing to go in and work until the radiation kills them IF THEIR FAMILIES were paid a significant payment, similar to life insurance, for their efforts.

    I said that a few days ago. NOW the radiation levels may be so high that they could not get much done before becoming acutely ill.

    You'd have to provide a method of putting them out of their misery once they had done their work.