Explosion at Japanese Nuclear Power Plant

Posted: March 12, 2011 by tallbloke in climate, Energy
Tags: , ,

More bad news…  Looks like a big explosion at the nuclear plant has stripped the outer cladding from one of the buildings.  Many people are trying to flee the area and the authorities have set up a 40 mile exclusion zone to prevent anyone going in.
Here’s hoping that they can prevent a breech of the containment vessel.  The Japanese have suffered more than enough from the quake and tsunami.

H/T Tenuc

This from The Register

After sustaining heavy damage to its cooling systems during Friday’s megaquake, and after problems were encountered when damage mitigators attempted to release pressure that was building up in its reactors, Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor may now be toying with emulating a 1970’s potboiler. Athough information is still spotty, the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant may be beginning to melt down.

Japan’s Kyodo News reported on Saturday afternoon, Japan time, in an article entitled “URGENT: Concerns of core partially melting at Fukushima nuke plant,” that there are indications that a reactor core at Fukushima No. 1 is, indeed, beginning to melt down.

“The core at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant’s No. 1 reactor may be partially melting, the nuclear safety agency said Saturday,” Kyodo News reports. “Radioactive substance cesium was detected around the reactor,” they quoted that agency as admitting.

The Fukushima No. 1’s reactor No. 1 is only one of five Japanese reactors reeling after the megaquake: three at Fukushima No. 1, two at Fukushima No. 2.

Update

Kyodo News has now reported that an “explosion was heard at 3:36 p.m. [Japan time] following large tremors and white smoke” at Fukushima No. 1’s reactor No. 1.

“Four people have been injured in an explosion that occurred at the No. 1 reactor of the quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant,” Kyodo News said they had been told by Tokyo Electric Power Company.

Comments
  1. tallbloke says:

    The WUWT crowdsource news machine is covering this more effectively than I can so head on over to:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/11/nuclear-meltdown-race-to-save-reactors-in-japan/

  2. Tenuc says:

    Another good source here – straight from the horses mouth…

    http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/index-e.html

  3. P.G. Sharrow says:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/japan-nuke-plant-explosion/

    another good blog for realistic post and comments. pg

  4. Tenuc says:

    Well R3 at Fukushima No. 1 plant has blown.

    Nice short, clear video below of reactor 3 explosion. Shows a bright orange fire-ball near the top of the building on right – 3 separate detonations – much brownish dust (concrete?) rising very high in the air.

    Unlike the previous explosion which was flat and to the left-hand side of RI, the R3 explosions resulted in a very high vertical debris plume and several large blocks of masonry (concrete?) falling down just to the right of the remains of the R1 building.

    I would have thought a hydrogen gas or steam explosion would only create one detonation, as per the first explosion. Makes me wonder WTF is going on?

  5. Tenuc says:

    Latest press release from TEPCO Japan – cooling failed and core overheating. Wonder if this one is also scheduled to blow???

    “Press Release (Mar 14,2011)
    Occurrence of a Specific Incident (Failure of reactor cooling function) Stipulated in Article 15, Clause 1 of the Act on Special Measures Concerning Nuclear Emergency Preparedness.

    At 2:46PM on March 11th 2011, the turbines and reactors of Fukushima
    Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 1 (Boiling Water Reactor, rated output
    460 Megawatts) and Units 2 and 3 (Boiling Water Reactor, Rated Output 784
    Megawatts) that had been operating at rated power automatically shutdown
    due to the Tohoku-Chihou-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake.
    (previously announced)

    In response, water injection into Unit 2’s reactor were being carried out
    by the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling System. However, as the Reactor Core
    Isolation Cooling System failed today, it was determined that a specific
    incident (failure of reactor cooling function) stipulated in article 15,
    clause 1 has occurred at 1:25 pm today.”

  6. Tenuc says:

    Lest we forget…

    Fifty years on, the deadly legacy of Britain’s worst nuclear accident
    A near-catastrophic fire at Windscale left the reactor core encased in concrete. Physicists are now preparing to tackle the remains…

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article2591605.ece

  7. R. de Haan says:

    Digitalglobes satellite imagery anaysis Fukushima
    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/digitalglobes-satellite-imagery-analysis-fukushima

    Reactor Design in Japan Has Long Been Questioned
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/16/world/asia/16contain.html?_r=2

    The Fukushima news roller coaster continues to make headlines.
    Most content reaches hysterical levels, only a few come in with a balanced and objective content.
    The latest news is a report about the possible presence of 600.000 used fuel rods that have been stored above the reactors and in separate storage facilities at the Fukushima plant location approximately 20 years of fuel use. This is an incredible amount of nuclear material. Material countries are reluctant to store because of the costs and public protests against the castor transports.

    These used fuel rods are still very radioactive and with the water cooling interrupted the heat results in combustion releasing a deadly vapor.
    You can read the entire story here:
    http://my.firedoglake.com/kirkmurphy/2011/03/14/nuke-engineer-fuel-rod-fire-at-stricken-reactor-would-be-like-chernobyl-on-steroids/

    The latest news is that the used rods stored at Fukushima 4 reactor (out of service) have caught fire for the second time.
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_JAPAN_EARTHQUAKE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-03-15-18-34-09

    As a last comment I think there is still no basis to compare the Japanese accident with Chernobyl which was an explosion of a working reactor.
    See: http://www.chernobylreport.org/summary-en.pdf

  8. R. de Haan says:

    Tomorrow, with a little luck Fukushima will have a grid connection again allowing the operators to activate the electrical pumps and systems.

    This will bring relief.

    This will remain a local event.

  9. Tenuc says:

    In the meantime Japan’s nuclear safety agency has raised the rating of the country’s nuclear accident from 4 to 5 on a 7-level international scale.

    As I understand it the scale being used defines a level 4 incident as having local consequences and a level 5 incident as having wider consequences (the same as Three Mile Island in USA).

  10. Jerry says:

    http://www.infowars.com/alert-fukushima-coverup-40-years-of-spent-nuclear-rods-blown-sky-high/

    http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/accidents/6-1_powerpoint.pdf

    Perhaps there was more then risky to store this number of rods in the reactor building … according this infos. (if its true) Otherwise they dont tell us true now!

  11. Tenuc says:

    Latest bad news from Fukushima Daiichi plant – ‘it’s worse than we thought’…

    “The Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) today issued a new provisional rating for the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on the IAEA International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES).

    The nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi is now rated as a level 7 “Major Accident” on INES. Level 7 is the most serious level on INES and is used to describe an event comprised of “A major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures.”