AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

The Fukushima power plant

Posted by ampontan on Saturday, March 12, 2011

STRATFOR Global Intelligence provides a useful overview of what happens during a nuclear reactor meltdown, which may be happening at Fukushima Plant #1.

They write:

(T)he earthquake in Japan, in addition to damaging the ability of the control rods to regulate the fuel — and the reactor’s coolant system — appears to have damaged the containment facility, and the explosion almost certainly did. There have been reports of “white smoke,” perhaps burning concrete, coming from the scene of the explosion, indicating a containment breach and the almost certain escape of significant amounts of radiation.

To be more precise, the tsunami temporarily knocked out both the main power supply and the backup generator, and that’s what caused the problem with the coolant system. The principle is simple–the idea is to keep adding water. At one point they were using a fire truck. It’s even possible to use the nearby sea water, and the latest report says that’s exactly what they’ve decided to do.

It is also not just an issue of “white smoke”; the exterior walls and roof of one of the buildings at the plant no longer exist, and the superstructure is exposed.

This does not mean that the worst case scenario as described by Stratfor has come to pass, but authorities have decided to expand the area of evacuation from a radius of 10 kilometers (six miles) to 20 kilometers.

Quick update: Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano Yukio just spoke at a news conference and said that as of now, the containment vessel at the plant has not been damaged, and that the radiation emissions have declined since this afternoon’s explosion.

2 Responses to “The Fukushima power plant”

  1. Marellus said

    … please keep us posted …

  2. Aoumigamera said

    Hello. I also listened to Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano’s explanation on TV . Before his press conference I suspected a hydrogen explosion after watching the video of the explosion. So, his explanation is appropriate and beliecable to me. I’m not an expert, of course, but I thought that the possibility of a nuclear reactor’s full-scale meltdown was not so high at this stage yet. Anyway this is not the end of the crisis. Rather it’s a temporary lull, so to speak.

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