Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster is indeed worsening despite little reporting locally.

Interestingly the name ‘Fukushima Dai ichi’ translates to something akin to ‘No 1 Good Fortune Island’ !! Tragically the place is more like ‘No 1 Disastrous Fortune Island” and I don’t mean that in any derogatory sense for the unfortunate Japanese people caught up in this mess.

I just read another update report from the site ‘FUKUSHIMA UPDATE’ (Aug 9, 2013 by Prof Christopher Busby) and the picture is far from rosy. Below is an extract from the post. For the full story please visit –

The Squinting Artist

Pump and pray: Tepco might have to pour water on Fukushima wreckage forever

Fukushima ImageFukushima 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.

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 (though at a low level). 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.

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.

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.

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.