via RT.com  /  by Prof. Christopher Busby / August 9, 2013 / Fukushima is a nightmare disaster area, and no one has the slightest idea what to do. The game is to prevent the crippled nuclear plant from turning into an “open-air super reactor spectacular” which would result in a hazardous, melted catastrophe.

On April 25, 2011 – one month after the explosions at the Fukushima nuclear plant and the anniversary of Chernobyl – I was interviewed by RT and asked to compare Chernobyl and Fukushima. The clip, which you can find on YouTube, was entitled, “Can’t seal Fukushima like Chernobyl – it all goes into the sea.” Since then, huge amounts of radioactivity have flowed from the wrecked reactors directly into the Pacific Ocean. Attempts to stop the flow of contaminated water from Fukushima into the sea were always unlikely to succeed. It is like trying to push water uphill. Now they all seem to have woken up to the issue and have begun to panic.

The problem is this: the fission process in a reactor creates huge amounts of heat. Of course, that is the whole point of the machine – the heat makes steam which runs turbines. Water is pumped through channels between the fuel rods and this cools them and heats the water. If there is no water, or the channels are blocked, the heat actually melts the fuel into a big blob which falls to the bottom of the steel vessel in which all this occurs – the pressure vessel – and then melts its way through the steel, into the ground, and down in the direction of China. Well, not China in this case, but actually Buenos Aires, Argentina (I figured out).

I have been keeping an eye on developments, and it is quite clear that the reactors are no longer containing the molten fuel – some proportion of which is now in the ground underneath them. Both this material and the remaining material in what was the containment are very hot and are fissioning. Tepco is quite aware – and so is everyone else in the know – that the only hope of preventing what could become an open-air super reactor spectacular is to cool the fuel, the lumps of fuel distributed throughout the system, mainly in the holed pressure vessels, and also in the spent fuel tanks and in the ground under the reactors.

That all this is fissioning away merrily (though at a low level) is clear from the occasional reports of short half life nuclides like the radioXenons. The game is to prevent it all turning into the open air super reactor located somewhere under the ground.  To do this, they have to pump vast amounts of water into the reactors, the fuel pond and generally all over the area where they think the stuff is or might be. This means seawater since luckily they are near the sea. But they are also unluckily near the sea – since you cannot pump the sea onto the land without it wanting to flow back into the sea.

Now a good proportion of the radioactive elements, the radionuclides, are soluble in water. The Caesiums 137 and 134, Strontiums 89 and 90, Barium 140, Radium 226, Lead 210, Rutheniums and Rhodiums, Silvers and Mercuries, Carbons and Tritiums, Iodines and noble gases Kryptons and Xenons merrily dissolve in the hot seawater. There is also a likelihood that the normally insoluble Uraniums, Plutoniums and Neptuniums will dissolve in seawater to some extent, because of the chloride ions. And if they don’t, the micron and nano-particles of these materials will disperse in the water as colloidal suspensions. So a lot of this stuff gets into the sea. Of course, most of the fuss is being made by the Americans who are on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. How unfair that the USA should suffer from the Japanese affair, they think. And also feel a level of fear, underneath all this. As perhaps they should since it is their crappy reactors that blew up.

We hear that 400 tons of highly radioactive water is now escaping the barriers that Tepco erected and is reaching the sea. Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said on August 7 that “stabilizing Fukushima is our challenge.” Tepco said, “This is extremely serious — we are unable to control radioactive water seeping out of the Fukushima plant.” CNN quoted “industry experts” saying that “Tepco has failed to address the problem…[the experts] question Tepco’s ability to safely decommission the plant.

There are some things I want to say about all this. First is the inevitable discourse manipulation – something that we have seen in the media ever since this disaster occurred.  “Decommission the plant” suggests some calm and ordered scientific process akin to shutting down and defueling an old reactor which has reached the end of its design life. It sparks images of a wise nuclear engineer in a lab coat consulting a document, discussing some issue with a worker in brilliant white overalls with a Tepco logo, wearing a white hard-hat.  The reality is that this is a nightmare disaster area where no one has the slightest idea what to do and which has always been out of control.  All that they can do is continue to pump in the seawater to hope that the various lumps of molten fuel will not increase their rate of fissioning. And pray. The water will then pick up the radionuclides and flow downhill back to the sea. Of course, they can put up a barrier; surround the plant with a wall. But eventually the water will fill up the pond and flow over the wall. All that water will create a soggy marsh and destabilize the foundations of the reactor buildings which will then collapse and prevent further cooling. Then the Spectacular. All this is predictable enough.

Let us look at some numbers. Four hundred tons of seawater a day are flowing into the sea. That is 400 cubic meters. In one year, that is 146,000 cubic meters. That is a pond 10 meters deep and 120 meters square. This will have to go on forever, a new pond every year, unless they can get the radioactive material out. But here is the other problem. They can’t get close enough because the radiation levels are too high.  The water itself is lethally radioactive. Gamma radiation levels tens of meters from the water are enormously high. No one can approach without being fried.

CONTINUE READING…

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By Broc West| 10 Comments | Editorials, Featured

10 comments

  1. Concerning the Fukashima radiation leak,

    ~ It seems obvious that the situation is out of hand and the ideas provided and currently being exercised are impotent and futile attempts to contain the problem.

    “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein

    ~ Sometimes you must fight fire with fire, what ever it takes to completely obliterate the cores should be used. Before they can corrupt the waters and oceans of the world with a radiation leak that is obviously gaining speed.

    ~ In my opinion, it is far better to sacrifice a few lives to completely dismantle the reactor, than to sacrifice the world due to a lack of containment. If this situation can not be contained, then it must be removed.

    They should evacuate the area of impact, and completely destroying or obliterating the reactors and cores with either a large conventional, or small nuclear type of device.

    ~We just can’t wait 40 years, in hopes that one day it will be contained. By that time we will have lost everything. If this situation is not resolved soon, the entire world will pay for this companies incompetence or neglect to deal with it.

    ~ Have a great day and help create a better future with wisdom and mutually respectful choices.

    May all your paths and journey’s be filled with the beauty of understanding, the joy of knowing, and the compassion for sharing. ~<3~

  2. I’d be curious to know, “who installed this thing with back up power that could be flooded by sea water in any circumstance imaginable?” Your snarkiness about Americans that are concerned is not appropriate. I feel for the people of Japan, but crappy reactor’s didn’t cause this. Sorry it bugged me, I came here to get information as I was thinking about how it might be going there, and this does affect the rest of the world, so keep your idiotic pre pubescent rants about anyone being concerned and stick to the facts. Thanks.

    P.S. Didn’t rats just eat through the crappy wiring that wasn’t covered to those same power supplies, you are an idiot.

  3. Jeffery Banks, is the idiot, you dont speak for the people of the USA. I am concerned, you go set your ass on the reactor, then tell me how you feel.

  4. CURRENTLY IT IS BLUTANTLY OBVIOUS EVEN TO THE MOST STUPID THAT THE JAPANESE LIE CONTINUOUSLY AND THAT THEY UNDERESTIMATE THE SITUATION. INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE SHOULD BE GIVEN IMMEDIATELY

    • I completely agree! Shit isnt the rest of the world concerned about the entire world being affected? Someone else needs to get involved like maybe the UN!!! UNITED NATIONS, where the eff are you?!?!?

  5. The overall radiation in the Pacific may be diluted enough not to be a health hazard but won’t the radiation be concentrated in animals that are apex predators? Tuna? and other large fish?

  6. Jeffrey Banks wrote “but crappy reactor’s didn’t cause this.”
    That is precisely the cause crappy nuclear plant construction by General Electric
    The last 10 years before construction of reactor 1 there were two tsunamis with a hight over 12 meters.
    Still they lowered the ground near the water and built the sea wall 4 meters high, later raised to 7,5 !
    And even if the tsunami had been lower there would still have been loss of the ultimate heat sink because the cooling water pumps by the sea were not flood proof, the diesels were in the basement, the fuel were at the shoreline. It was an accident that was easy to foresee. The american engineers did not understand the destructive force of a tsunami. The blame falls heavily on the construction and the regulatory institution in Japan.
    For more info visit fairewinds.org.

  7. i know we cant expect the US government to fix all of the worlds ills, but considering the unmitigated disaster that is fukashima and taking into account that its irradiating the entire west coast as we speak, you’d think someone, anyone in that country’s administration would stand up and show some leadership.if ever we needed a statesman or woman in this world its now. I suggest that fukashima represents a clear and present danger to that country the likes of which it has never seen before, orders of magnitude greater than the petty squabbles of a few middle eastern despots. and hey japan has plenty of money for blackwater and their ilk to get involved, its about time they used their powers for good

  8. For what its worth, here’s my suggestion for dealing with the fukashima catastrophe, it may seem as hairbrained as as blowing it up and scattering all that radiation to the four winds or unleashing in to the world a genetically altered microbe to absorb all of radiation with who knows what horrendous consequences. Assuming the bedrock beneath the four reactors is suitable, using a giant tunneling machine similar to that used to create the channel tunnel, bore a series of tunnels each one deeper than the last, with each tunnel ending directly beneath the site. join those tunnels up vertically so that what you have is a shaft a thousand meters deep lined with concrete and lead shielding. The shaft would stop one hundred meters from the surface when everything was ready a series of small controlled explosions would drop the whole thing to the bottom of the shaft, a dust retardant foam would be dropped in to the shaft by a squadron of Aerial water bombers,after which alternating layers of concrete and lead. An engineering feat to rival the seven gorges dam perhaps, but nothing less than the fete of the world rests upon it. Japan may well be eating stones, but the rest of us are going to be eating Cesium 137 or worse for the rest of time.

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