Japan: Third blast at Fukushima nuclear plant, fire at reactor 4, workers leave plant, crisis worsens (UPDATED)

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Image (Reuters): Tokyo Electric Power officials hold an illustration of a nuclear plant as they answer reporters' questions at the disaster center in Fukushima, northern Japan March 15, 2011. A fresh explosion rocked a damaged Japanese nuclear power plant on Tuesday where engineers have been pumping sea water into a reactor to prevent a catastrophic meltdown in the wake of a devastating earthquake and tsunami. Some plant workers were ordered to leave the site, a sign that the situation may be getting more serious at the complex that was damaged by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

A third explosion has struck Japan's beleaguered Fukushima nuclear power plant in as many days, after Friday's 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. This time, the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) says radiation levels reached 8,217 microsieverts per hour near the plant's front gate, roughly two and a half hours after the blast.

NHK News:

Anyone in this kind of environment would be exposed to more than 3 years' worth of naturally occurring radiation within a single hour.

At the time of this blog post, Japan's Prime Minister is expected to address the nation on national TV shortly (NHK live stream here).

[ UPDATE, 710pm PT: Prime Minister Kan is on now, and saying that the possibility of nuclear leaks is increasing [corrected from earlier, erroneous Reuters item]. Residents within 20 km of the site are asked to evacuate ASAP; those between 20 km and 30 km are requested to stay inside. The blast damaged an essential steel containment structure, and larger leaks of radioactive material are now believed to be immiment.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano followed the Prime Minister, and said a fourth reactor at the damaged nuclear plant is now on fire, with even more radiation released. Reactor No. 4 was not in operation at the time of the earthquake. The reactor contains spent fuel, not fuel rods. As was the case with the explosions at the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors, a Hydrogen explosion seems to have taken place with No. 4. Some foreign objects fell into reactor No. 4, which caused problems.

We're seeing radioactive substances being released, says Edano, and reactor No. 4 is now exposed. The blast at No. 2 reactor came 30 minutes after the incident at No. 4. A hole has been observed in the No. 2 reactor; there is a high possibility of container vessel damage for this reactor.

The monitoring levels they are dealing with are now in millisieverts, not microsieverts as previously discussed. The radiation levels being released now can impact human health, Edano says, but the danger should decrease with distance from the site. 800 plant workers were evacuated at Fukushima Plant 1. Fifty workers are still working on emergency cooling efforts. Water injection operations are continuing at reactors No. 1, 2, and 3 at Fukushima Plant 1. These operations are going smoothly, Edano says, and they beleive the cooling process is effective, but the problem is how to maintain the cooling. "At the site right now, workers are trying to take corrective action to put out the fire. We will continue injecting seawater."

Edano urged the public to stay calm, and go about their daily lives. He was asked whether there is a possibility of radiation danger spreading to Tokyo. He replied that "minimal" amounts of radioactive material could spread to far locations, but the levels should not be harmful to human health. ]

[UPDATE, 8:26PM PT: Kyodo News reports that the fire at Reactor No. 4 has been extinguished.]


[Video Link]

Earlier version of this blog post pre-press conference follows below.


Kyodo News:

Radiation is feared to have leaked after the container vessel suffered damage at the No. 2 reactor of the quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant Tuesday morning, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. The utility also admitted that a critical situation called ''meltdown'' in which fuel rods melt and are destroyed is possible at the plant where three reactor cores are believed to have partially melted following Friday's magnitude 9.0 earthquake that hit northeastern and eastern Japan.

An explosion was heard early Tuesday morning at the reactor and the radiation level temporarily shot up later, the firm said as it continued efforts to prevent overheating of exposed fuel rods.

From the updated story at New York Times:

It was not immediately clear if the blast was caused by the buildup of hydrogen, as occurred at the two other reactors at Daiichi -- one on Saturday and the most recent one on Monday, when there was also a large explosion at the No. 3 reactor. Some early reports in the Japanese press suggested the latest explosion amounted to a different and more critical problem than the previous two.

This explosion, reported to have occurred at 6:14 a.m., happened in the "pressure suppression room" in the cooling area of the reactor and inflicted some degree of damage on the pool of water used to cool the reactor, officials of Tokyo Electric Power said. But they did not say whether or not the incident had impacted the integrity of the steel containment structure that shields the nuclear fuel.

Related reading in today's Times: "As Japanese nuclear power officials face the prospect of struggling for months to control several crippled reactors, a basic question arises: will there be enough workers to keep doing the job? "

Image (Reuters): Workers at the disaster response headquarters speak on telephones in Fukushima, northern Japan March 15, 2011.

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      1. I’m pretty sure that’s just an internet meme…

        Either way I hope this all boils down to minimal loss of life (from the radiation exposure) and nothing more than a toxic hot zone that can be cleaned up. Not the worst case scenario of radioactive fall out over half of Japan….

  1. People have trouble with nuclear engineers because they are too smart for their own good “The walls of the outer building blew apart, as they are designed to do, rather than allow a buildup of pressure that could damage the reactor vessel.”

    They think everything through including include what the rates and types cancer will every x distance form the reactor.

    When you are a nuclear engineer all problems can be fixed with a better reactor.

  2. And now for something nice. Yesterday, as one of the many colleagues who couldn’t get in to work, gathered up some happy links for us. Here is one. It is my response to embassies saying “LEAVE NOW”. No thanks. I love this place!


    (Kyushu shinkansen had it’s inagural run just weeks ago, to launch full service on March 12th).

  3. I submitterator’d this a little while ago:

    A recent entry on the BBC live newsfeed for Japan coverage reads: “0052: Details are now emerging about radiation levels after the blast at Fukushima’s reactor 2 at 0610 local time (2110 GMT Monday). Tokyo Electric officials say that one hour of exposure at the nuclear plant would be equivalent to eight times at what a person might experience naturally during the year.”

    If those facts and my math are correct, that was a radiation level 70,000 times background. I sure hope it came down, a lot, from there.

  4. i’m not an expert, but i have a possible solution.
    interrupting the fission reaction will cause the rods to cool. since the reactors are already at temperatures well above the melting point of lead, could injecting liquid lead into the reactors mitigate the reactions enough to cool them? This might make a mess of the rest of the cooling system, but by time the lead hardens, would the cores be stable enough for other measures?
    Lead was just my first choice…there might be other substances that would work better.
    -reply to my email if you have any suggestions or issues with this idea.

    1. The nuclear chain reactions have already been stopped- that happens very quickly once they insert the control rods that absorb excess neutrons. For this, additional moderation isn’t needed. They’ve stopped the reaction of U-235. The heat that is being generated now comes from the byproducts of fission- unstable daughter nuclei, isotopes of elements produced as U decays. These decay spontaneously at a fixed half-life, completely independent of any known external conditions. The only solution is to apply coolant and wait for the short-lived decay products to all decay away.

    2. Why can you not use one of the coldest substance known to man??
      im just a philosipher,but gives a few really cold substances for example (Liquid Nitrogen).if cant be used why???

      1. Anonymous said:
        > i’m just a philosopher, but gives a few really
        > cold substances for example (Liquid Nitrogen).
        > if cant be used why???

        This doesn’t exactly answer your question, but it’s kinda related: Wikipedia says that at Chernobyl they tried liquid nitrogen to freeze the ground and stop the molten core from reaching the water table, but after realizing it took huge amounts (multiple hundreds of tons, IIRC) they gave it up.

    3. Lead, like many other metals and metalloids would likely vaporize at such high heat. I’m not an expert either but I know boron is used to moderate fission in pressurized water reactors. Boron absorbs neutrons as they are shed from the uranium molecules before they collide with adjacent uranium atoms and release heat, Reducing the atom splitting reduces the heat. Injecting boron, lots and lots of it, as much as possible, into the seawater being pumped onto the fuel bundles in the cooling effort might help slow the fission process thus reducing the heat of reaction and perhaps subduing the degrading fuel cores.

  5. Prime Minister is holding a press conference right now. Seems to be about Fukushima reactors.

  6. Please, nobody talk about how this is good news and the worst is over and this proves that the plants functioned the way they were designed to. Every time you do things get worse.

  7. The pressure suppression room worked like a charm. And why have a containment structure if we can’t use it once in a while? Even Three Mile Island didn’t get to take theirs for a spin. Perhaps now we’ll see how well they are engineered. Everything is going as planned. Safety First.

    1. Yes I am sure you are right, rising radiation levels that are now being reported mean that everything is working just as planned. Reports that the containment structure at Unit 2 may have been damaged are not to be believed even if they come from the PM himself.

  8. How sad this is all turning out to be.

    Of all the possible countries, the sad irony that Japan might once again experience widespread radiation poisoning is, to put it in layman’s terms, a goddamn bummer. Let’s hope the wind direction doesn’t change.

    What a cruel twist of fate this is.

  9. The containment vessel has suffered damage, there is still a fire that appears to be very serious and potentially out of control for how much Chief Secretary just dodged questions about it, and the winds are blowing towards Tokyo. I can’t believe you are being so fucking flippant about this situation.

  10. Official in the press conference is giving detailed advice to anyone not evacuated within 30km of the reactor on how to take emergency measures (brush off hair and clothing before going inside, stay in door, etc). Fortunately, most people in the 20km zone have been evacuated already.

  11. Fantastic map being created, constantly updated, pinpointing disaster points, tweets, YouTube videos; excerpt from article (link below; also link to map):

    “Students in the United States are working with others in Japan to gather urgent information from social networking websites, such as Twitter and Facebook, to help create a map pinpointing crisis areas across the island nation.

    Just hours after a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated northeast Japan, students half-a-world away reacted. A group in Boston, in the northeastern U.S. state of Massachusetts, started going through thousands of Internet messages, trying to pull together a map of what was happening on the ground in Japan.

    Student Robert Berry at Tufts University in Boston says their goal is to help the relief effort. “So it’s basically ‘crisis mapping.’ Mapping out the crisis for people on the ground, either victims or agencies that are going to respond so they have a better picture,” he said.”

    http://www.voanews.com/english/news/science-technology/US-Japanese-Students-Use-Facebook-Twitter-to-Map-Crisis-Points-117965689.html
    http://tmappsevents.esri.com/EQJapan/index.html

  12. Thanks to BB for all the posts. I’m a regular reader, but have never looked at BB as a “news source.” I’m finding it hard to navigate all the competing/contradictory news out there, and appreciate the material here.

    1. BB ends up being my main news source, and I think I end up pretty well-informed.

      I’ve no desire to actually start a debate about this, but a tragedy of this magnitude makes it hard to think nuclear power is worth it. I know the same can be said of other resources… maybe it’s the scariness of radiation, its alien quality and how comparatively little we seem to know about it… oh, and maybe radioactive decay. Not that all the oil in the gulf is gone, but nature will be able to patch that up a bit faster than, well, what’s the half-life of what’s leaking?

  13. If you ask me the time has come to start moderating these discussions. People insisting there is no danger are themselves a danger to others.

    1. In fact, these comment threads are moderated, but our moderators are overwhelmed right now with the volume of crazytime in the many, many posts we have up on the Japan disaster, and specifically, the nuclear crisis.

      1. Indeed, this turns out to be such a useful forum because of the mods. Let’s give them a round of applause at sometime or another.

      2. I am well aware that these forums are moderated but as some point moderators must decide to start taking a harder line towards posts that could potentially put real people in danger.

        1. Kent Brockman: Professor, without knowing precisely what the danger is, would you say it’s time for our viewers to crack each other’s heads open and feast on the goo inside?

          Professor: Yes I would, Kent.

          —-

          And that’s the reality. We don’t know. Maggie put it well in the successive article: Reasonable people can look at this situation and come to very different conclusions. That said, “People insisting there is no danger are themselves a danger to others.” is a pretty silly statement, let alone the presumptive arrogance of asking moderators to weigh in on a public forum on the basis of your opinion. In fact, I think that people insisting on calm being labeled as insisting there is no danger is creating as much of a false dilemma as equating caution and abandon.

          Anywho, my turn… “People needlessly panicing are inducing needless panic in others!”

          1. Actually I said nothing about people who are asking others to remain calm. My argument is based solely on posts by others who keep telling us that there is nothing to worry about because these plants are so well designed there is no chance that dangerous levels of radiation will be released.

            As for facts they are clear as day and measurable.

            The latest news of radiation levels at Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station was announced by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano to be up to 400 MILLIsieverts, “levels that can impact human health”.

            400 Millisieverts is “160 times higher than the average dose of radiation a typical person receives from natural sources in a year” only of course you get that dose in an HOUR. Everything in quotes is from Edano btw.

            This morning the numbers released were 8000+ MICROsieverts, the amount one would get in three years time.

            So hey if you want to argue these numbers are my opinion and that they aren’t dangerous then take it up with Edano.

        2. If you ask me the time has come to start moderating these discussions. People insisting there is no danger are themselves a danger to others.

          Yes, that’s the solution, suppress any commentary that the “run the for f*cking hills” crowd deems insufficiently fatalistic.

          I don’t see anyone claiming there is no danger. It’s a total mess – one that is progressively turning into a worst case scenario for a scrammed nuclear reactor. A number of plant workers have received serious amounts of radiation, and elevated (though not dangerous) radiation levels have been detected away from the reactor site. But this is not nor likely to become a Chernobyl. And the media is generally being irresponsible when throwing around the loaded term “meltdown”.

          (I write this as someone with no ties to the nuclear industry. I’m a lapsed physicist by training. I also have in-laws sitting squarely in the countryside between Fukushima and Tokyo. I *do* have a personal stake in how this pans out.)

          1. “But this is not nor likely to become a Chernobyl.”

            At about 7 central I heard an expert say this was not yet as bad as TMI. Things are getting worse rather quickly. and if their ability to keep pumping water on this thing is stopped, and the wind shifts inland for a few hours….

            Well, I hope your hat tastes good.

          2. “At about 7 central I heard an expert say this was not yet as bad as TMI.”

            I’d opine this is going to be worse than TMI by any metric you want to choose other than “impact on the USA”. That said, TMI wasn’t that bad. Follow-up studies showed that there were no attributable deaths to the relatively small amount of radiation released. (The company responsible did, however, pay out sizeable settlements to those that sued or threatened to sue.) TMI’s legacy was a crystalization of US public sentiment against nuclear power, further consolidated by the Chernobyl debacle a few years later.

            In terms of eating my hat, really, that’s the very least of my concerns.

          3. Weirdly, “run for the F*cking hills” seems to be the sum total of their actual advice, too.

            i’ve come very close to losing my life because of people panicking…i’d try to literally beat down panic if it breaks out near me – because i know from personal experience that it is the panic itself which is always always always waaaay more immediately dangerous than whatever it is they are panicking about.

            At least, that has been my experience of it.

            People really ought to try to be a little less fearful.

        3. I am well aware that these forums are moderated but as some point moderators must decide to start taking a harder line towards posts that could potentially put real people in danger.

          I’m not qualified to assess, prevent or remedy radiation damage. If anyone is in imminent danger from lulz, I’m on it.

  14. Since no one else has bothered to put this into perspective.

    A cumulative dose on the order of 1,000,000 micro Sv or 1,000 milli Sv is the point when radiation sickness will be palpable. Death is unlikely but you’ll likely be throwing up.The highest reading I’ve seen so far is 8.3 milli Sv. That is at the reactor. As you move away the radiation will disperse and dilute.

    As bad as this is, keep in mind it is estimated that 10,000-30,000 people die each year due to coal plants.

  15. The numbers appear to be a measured output of ~8147 millisieverts of radiation. To put that into perspective, Chernobyl was over 300,000 mSv.

    (8147 was the total number released earlier… now they’re reporting 100 and 400 mSv at reactors #1 and #4, 30 mSv at the other two.)

  16. Previous post deleted; perhaps too impolite? Fair go.

    The prime minster never said that the risk of nuclear meltdown was increasing. He said that radiation levels were very high, and that, “There is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out.”

    I was also worried. Early reports had it that the main pressure vessel was cracked. Later, (from nytimes):

    This explosion, reported to have occurred at 6:14 a.m., happened in the “pressure suppression room” in the cooling area of the reactor and inflicted some degree of damage on the pool of water used to cool the reactor, officials of Tokyo Electric Power said. But they did not say whether or not the incident had impacted the integrity of the steel containment structure that shields the nuclear fuel.

    Still later, officials hypothesized that radiation fluctuations were due to the fire at the No. 4 plant, housing spent fuel.

    In any event, the PM never said, nor implied, that the risk of a meltdown was increased.

    1. This post previously referenced/linked to a Reuters item which stated that the PM specifically used the term “meltdown.” At the time, I did not have access to a live feed with live translation. The Reuters item was later corrected to reflect the fact that Reuters had erroneously reported the word “meltdown” being increasingly possible, when the PM instead warned of “radiation leaks” being increasingly possible. The Boing Boing post has been updated to reflect that; this all happened within the span of about 30 minutes.

      1. It really is a huge pain right now trying to make sure what you hear from the news services is accurate, isn’t it?

        Even the International Atomic Energy Agency has gotten a couple erroneous reports from Japan so far amid all this confusion.

        Respectable sources like Reuters, BBC, Al Jazeera et al. have all managed to give some confusing, conflicting, or false information, and all of them seem to have ended up getting at least some comments from unqualified or misinformed “experts”.

        (my favorite was the expert who confused the cesium isotopes released as decay products with cesium control rods that date back to the Chicago Pile and aren’t used at the plants in question)

        1. It really is a huge pain right now trying to make sure what you hear from the news services is accurate, isn’t it?

          Last night PRI’s The World (http://www.theworld.org/ , carried on my local NPR affiliate) reported, in almost these exact words, that the tops had been blown off two containment vessels at Fukushima. That’s absolutely wrong and a giant error.

        2. I agree, it is becoming incredibly hard to get reliable information. I would advise people to pick the most boring, factual explanations and avoid things that sounds hysteric. Not to quash criticism, but just to avoid people with loaded opinions.

          The BBC have already had a ‘nuclear expert’ on their flagship radio show with a) no actual qualifications towards this and b) an established history as an anti-nuclear campaigner. As valid as his points may be, he is a poor choice for _news_

          Luckily there seem to be plenty of people popping up in these threads, myself included, who feel the need to correct or counter-argue the anti nuclear grumblings. Not out of some defence of a messy nuclear company and industry, but simply in the name of balancing out people’s perspectives. If you have a scientific understanding and see an inaccuracy, please correct it. If you have an opinion though, consider if it really adds perspective and positively contributes to debate, or whether it merely contributes to the general fear.

          1. Absolutely. One of the major news networks had a physicist on last night, talking about the reactors, and my roommate, an engineer who took graduate-level nuclear engineering classes, was constantly muttering corrections under his breath.

            Hell, I could tell the statements were wrong, and I’m just an informed civilian.

            We are living in the era of opinion substituting for hard news, and “get it out now” trumping calming the f**k down and getting information from people who are experts in the field. Right now, it’s the same as if they got heart surgeons and endocrinologists to talk about traumatic brain injury. And then portraying them as experts in all areas of medicine. When the last time they likely dealt with that was during residency.

  17. Is anyone else experiencing a crisis of confidence and trust in what the authorities say?

    I like nuclear power. I want it to work, safely.

    But when happy-talk reassurances turn out to be flat wrong wishful thinking within 24 hours – over and over again – credibility is at zero.

    Tell me the truth. Tell me what can happen. Do not lie to me. I am not a child that needs to be protected. If it’s going to happen anyway, tell me now.

    Truly, this is the real cause of the “needless panic” that MooseDesign is speaking of: the insecurity caused by people in charge lying.

    1. Yes, I got this bad feeling early on when they announced they were relieving pressure from the reactor but sidestepping the fact that there was sure to be short-lived (and perhaps minimal) radionuclides in the released steam. And then reassuring the public that the wind was blowing out to sea.

      1. “sidestepping the fact that there was sure to be short-lived (and perhaps minimal) radionuclides in the released steam.”

        There was no side-stepping. That was made very clear from day one. In Japanese. On every channel and station.

        1. Perhaps my mistake. I was going from the TEPCO web page public release which was an english translation.

          1. Here are two examples from March 12, well after they had begun releasing gases from the reactor pressure vessels. Their very well could be ambiguous translation errors. (The “wind direction” remark was a public official, also through a translator):

            http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/index-e.html
            http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/11031209-e.html
            http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/11031206-e.html

            “We will continue to monitor in detail the possibility of radioactive material being discharged from exhaust stack or discharge canal.”

            “We have decided to implement measures to reduce the pressure of the reactor containment vessel for those units that cannot confirm certain level of water injection by the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling System, in order to fully secure safety.”

  18. If the Japanese are admitting there’s ANY radiation release, things are much worse than imagined. The new concern, and actually much worse than any reactor going critical is the chance of pools of radioactive waste stored on top of the reactors catching fire and spewing deadly clouds of smoke.

    “The pools “contain very large concentrations of radioactivity, can catch fire, and are in much more vulnerable buildings,” he warns. If the pools lose their inflow of circulating cooling water, the water in the pools will evaporate. If the level of water drops to five or six feet above the spent fuel, Alvarez calculates, the release of radioactivity “could be life-threatening near the reactor building.” Since the total amount of long-lived radioactivity in the pool is at least five times that in the reactor core, a catastrophic release would mean “all bets are off,” he says.”

    Extremely scary.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-03-14/japan-nuclear-meltdown-fears-spent-fuel-could-pose-new-danger/

  19. Poet, I don’t know how far downwind you are, but as someone in Tokyo, I do NOT appreciate the constant barrage of worst case scenerios and comparisons to Chernobyl that are causing families overseas to panic, blocking up the phone lines of the people who need them.

    This is still a potential disaster. PLEASE. Let us get deal with the shit that’s already in play in the calmest, most non-panicky manner possible.

    Thank you.

  20. It staggers me to think of the workers who have stayed on at the plant. And the fifty people who have stayed behind to try and keep the rest of the shit from hitting the fan, so to speak…wow. Such an incredibly altruistic act. They surely must know the risks they face. I’m sure it’s a calculated risk on their part, but I’m not sure I’d be able to take that kind of a risk, myself. I’d be too scared.

    I hope they’re okay.

  21. in reply to lectio:

    Good moment to recall something often quoted, from Fred McFeely* Rogers, better known as Mr. Rogers:

    “When I was a child and would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”
    –Mr. Rogers

    Please do share with those you know who have, or have charge of, young children. But I don’t know who wouldn’t benefit from remembering this

    *Yes, his middle name was really “McFeely” . . .

    1. Wow, I was practically raised by him but of course all I remember now was a little puppet king and a train.

      In that vein here is a little advice for the kiddies.

      Prepare for the worst, hope for the best and don’t listen to the guy who says not to worry about that dark cloud on the horizon because by the time it gets here it might just be too late to reach high ground.

  22. Sitting Caliornia the last few days I’ve been watching the weather.
    http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=npac_250
    http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/
    Not sure if I want my kids playing out in the rain. What about a visit to the snow? No scientific evidence it’s harmful or even detectable. I’m simply concerned and indoor games seem reasonable. I’d like for a reputable talking head to discuss real numbers and how that might realte to my relatively un-troubled situation. Keep up the good reporting.

  23. Whoa, Boing Boing is much faster then IAEA on information relay.

    “Japanese Earthquake Update (15 March 07:35 UTC)
    Japanese authorities have confirmed that the fire at the spent fuel storage pond at the Unit 4 reactor of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was extinguished on 15 March at 02:00 UTC.”

    Also hours before:

    “Japan Earthquake Update (15 March 2011, 03:35 CET)
    Japanese authorities yesterday reported to the IAEA at 21:05 CET that the reactors Units 1, 2 and 3 of the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant are in cold shutdown status. This means that the pressure of the water coolant is at around atmospheric level and the temperature is below 100 degrees Celsius. Under these conditions, the reactors are considered to be safely under control.

    Japanese authorities have also informed the IAEA that teams of experts from Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plant´s operator, are working to restore cooling in the reactor Unit 4 and bring it to cold shutdown.”

    So to MY understanding. Units 1,2 and 3 is either under control or very close to under control (under 100C). Unit 4 is the one causing problems now?

    1. Wait, are you confounding Daiichi Units 1,2 &3 and Daini 1, 2, & 3?

      I had thought Daiichi No 2 still had a problem…

      1. Wait, are you confounding Daiichi and Daini

        Sounds like it to me.

        My understanding:

        Daiichi Unit 1: First big explosion, possible partial melt
        Daiichi Unit 2: Probable source of third explosion, possible damage to primary containment vessel
        Daiichi Unit 3: Second big explosion, possible partial melt
        Daiichi Unit 4: Previous fire, now extinguished, in spent fuel storage
        Daiichi Unit 5: Unknown
        Daiichi Unit 6: Unknown

        Daini Units 1-4: Cold shutdown

        http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/11031507-e.htmla

  24. @poet

    Don’t be silly, people are not taking their security cues from BoinfBoing postings.

    Having said that, people joyously claiming that everything is working as designed and planned are irritating fools.

    The Japanese government declares a 10 km exclusion zone, asks people 20km around to stay indoors and the US navy moves away from the area, and we should believe that everything is working as expected? Please….

  25. Not the first time, but BoingBoing is really showing its worth!

    Xeni and crew, Please keep reporting.
    Antinous and other mods, please keep it up!

    Getting balanced information about all the Japanese situation is good, and should remind us that we’re all in this together. Getting fact based reporting on the nuclear problem (as opposed to the huge amounts of hogwash being put forward by the popular press) is a huge boon.

    Thanks

  26. I really hope that things begin to get better over in Japan. They are going through way to much right now.
    Best of luck on getting everything back to the way it is meant to be

  27. He did not say “go about your daily lives.” He said “listen to what I have to say calmly,” and then delivered the bad news and gave instructions to those within 20 and 30 km.

Comments are closed.