Radioactive Mist

 There is a tremendous amount of news about the nuclear accidents in Japan.  And unless you are a news junkie or have an inside line, you cant hope to keep up.  Fortunately i can provide these services for you at our usual cut rate price of free.

One of the most significant is that the Association of German Power Utilities (BDEW) yesterday announced they wanted to phase out of nuclear power by 2020.  This represents the 1800 power generating organizations in Europe’s largest power producing country.  It is important that two of the largest nuclear utilities EON and RWE both said after the vote that they opposed the decision.  The linked WaPo article incorrectly identifies Germany as the first industrial nation to drop nuclear power.  Actually, in 1987 Italy closed three operating reactors after a referendum inspired by the Chernobyl accident.

The utility which operates the stricken reactors, TEPCO, is halting all new nuclear reactor construction in the country.   

Helicopters were one of several ineffective ways to cool the reactors

In a ruling which would have surprised many 2 months ago.  The US NRC decided that French owned Unistar can not go ahead alone with the construction of a new reactor at Calvert Cliffs.

While numerous industry executives are coming forward and saying nothing will change (typically because new designs are safer than old ones) turns out that the person on the street is not convinced and new nuclear power construction lost 10%  over 2 years ago in a recent AP poll (down to 39%).  The same poll shows at least 65% report fearing that a similar accident could occur in the US.

Radiation samples near the Fukushima plant are 7.5 million times the legal limit.

Huge concrete pumps are being rushed to Japan at great expense.  Once they get there they will not be used according to TEPCO the plant operator, which has ruled out a Chernobyl style sarcophagus:

“We will not bury the site while radioactive materials remain. We will definitely remove the fuel,” Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) adviser Toshiaki Enomoto told the Mainichi in an interview, stressing that the company would not bury the reactors in concrete in a “stone tomb” approach like the one adopted at Chernobyl.

While the mainstream press quickly reported that the new earthquakes had no effect on the Fukushima plant, there has been no other explaination for the sudden increase in temperature at Unit 1 .

 One Greenpeace author suggests: One possible explanation would seem to be that the earthquake changed the configuration of the damaged fuel, increasing the recriticalities that have been occurring. This increased heat output from the core and led to increasing pressure and temperature in the reactor, which caused some of the extremely radioactive gases in the reactor to leak or be vented into the drywell. Another possibility is that the water level readings are erroneous and the earthquake increased leakage from the bottom of the reactor, causing water levels to drop, temperature at the top of the reactor to rise and more radioactivity to leak into the containment.

The Utility TEPCO dumped 11,000 tons of radioactive water into the ocean.  In violation of the dumping treates they have signed they did not tell the local fisherman or the neighboring nations.  They did however tell the US.  We have been promised that this radiation posses no threat to human health.  Get used to this lie, you are going to hear it a lot.

The other thing you dont hear much about is the accidents and near accidents at other nuclear facilities in Japan, but this is for another post.