Update – The risks persist.
“In reactor No. 2, which is now the most damaged of the three at the Daiichi plant, at least parts of the fuel rods have been exposed for several hours, which also suggests that some of the fuel has begun to melt. If more of the fuel melts before water can be injected in the vessel, the fuel pellets could burn through the bottom of the containment vessel and radioactive material could pour out that way — often referred to as a full meltdown.”
Today’s New York Times
A further update from the new Scientist (links below)
But even if the rods do melt and sink to the base of the reactor
vessel, this shouldn't be a problem unless the vessel itself breaks open.
"The big question is whether the containment holds," says Wakeford. "There was a meltdown at
The repeated coolant failures have made the situation much worse, because temperatures and pressures will have risen much more. The pressure vessel that contains the fuel rods will have some threshold beyond which it cannot cope, and will break open.
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The Nuclear incident in
Where to go for reliable additional information –
The fault movement
A 9.0 earthquake (it has been upgraded from 8.9) exceeds any natural disaster affecting a modern urban population in the last three generations. An event that triggers a vertical jump in the North American plate that in turn generates a tsunami that wrecks a major nation is a once in a century event – and more accurately it is a one-off event because in 1911 there was no nation state comparable to Japan.
The peaceful use of nuclear power that began in the
Generation 3 nuclear plants (which have passive shutdown
capabilities) were first installed in
As this writing [But see the latest bad news above], I’m
willing to predict that no full core meltdown will take place, but that further
steam venting will be necessary for many days before these reactors can be
stabilized. The act of flooding a
water-cooled reactor with sea water (in these cases doped with boric acid –
boron slows the nuclear reaction*) amounts to reactor euthanasia.
Nuclear phobia has been reignited. This is a tragedy because modern nuclear generation technology is far safer and more environmentally friendly than the BP to refinery flow path. ...And far more practical than reliance on windmills and solar panels. This fact was realized years ago by Greenpeace co-founder, Dr. Patrick Moore, now a supporter of nuclear energy. See http://www.wired.com/science/planetearth/news/2007/11/moore_qa.
Our elites have done us a grave disservice by failing to bring public opinion and knowledge in line with the realities of energy production technology. The most dangerous thing we face as a country is energy policy paralysis and catastrophic ignorance.
“Nuclear Reactor maintains continuous nuclear reaction in safe, and is equipped in
many nuke plants as well as in air craft carriers and submarines.
Boron is an atomic element numbered 5 with chemical symbol B, one of group 13
elements. The 10B isotope of Boron possesses a very large neutron absorption cross
section and is used to control nuclear reaction, and its compound Boric acid is
dissolved in primary coolant to control excessive reaction in pressurized water reactor.”
The author, Jay B Gaskill, a