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Thursday, December 1, 2011

While My Reactor Gently Weeps (Epitath)

Natalia Manzurova: 1988 in the Chernobyl "dead zone"
On March 29th of this year I described in this blog how I thought that in fact the Fukushima reactor No. 1 in Japan had melted down.

The evidence of plutonium in the soil, among other things, was very compelling.  Unless Tinkerbell transported it magically from inside the reactor vessel the only way for it to get outside was via a leak.

The only mistake I made was saying that they would never admit that in fact the core hand melted down.

I was wrong.

According to this recent WSJ article TEPCO now admits a meltdown is exactly what had happened.

(You can see my other articles via the post label "Fukushima".)

As I predicted.

So now, after melting some number of feet or meters into the 7.6 meter thick concrete bottom of the reactor vessel, a pool of molten corium now sits festering (corium is the molten contents of the reactor core).  Apparently the corium has now cooled to below 100 C so it no longer a "problem".  To me this means that they are probably pumping water over it to keep it cool - and will be for the next few thousand years - but when the power goes off - watch out!

Reactors No. 2 and No. 3 at Fukushima also had their cores melt - but they did no melt through the bottom of the reactor vessel.  GE wins two, loses one (GE can no longer claim their reactors have never had a meltdown).

So what's troubling to me is why the government still thinks nuclear power is "safe."

(While sitting in the car repair shop's office the other day I was thumbing through a Popular Mechanics magazine which was talking about the future of nuclear power.  In it was a picture of a new, modern nuclear reactor - and underneath the core was - surprise - the reactor control room.)

As I wrote in "Chernobyl to Fukushima - Its All Lies" Russia (then the Soviet Union) learned the hard way what happens when reactors melt.  And though the world watched the disaster no one did anything to fix the problem.

Now Fukushima is basically in the same boat as Chernobyl.  A molten pool of corium sitting in the bottom of a inhospitable pit of radiation and poison.  The rest of Japan stuck the with the Albatross of high tech misery strung around its neck.

Twenty five years from now there will be studies, as with Chernobyl, showing how the meltdown damaged the people, the children, the environment, and so forth.

And still no one will learn.

You really have to wonder why.

If its so obvious to me, who knows nothing about reactors, why isn't it obvious to our leaders?

The story of Natalia Manzurova (image above) will be repeated in Japan.

What's so interesting to me is how the various protest movements around the country seem to ignore the actual dangers of things like nuclear power.  No one protests nuclear power and in fact seem largely ignorant of it and its dangers.

The current "green" movement basically requires nuclear power for its long term success of terminating the use of fossil fuel.

Someone better tell all this to Natalia...

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