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Robot photos appear to show melted fuel at Fukushima reactor

60 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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Horrifying!

Makes me scared to eat whatever fish may have swam through there.

-1 ( +16 / -17 )

Those are key to developing equipment and a strategy for the safe and efficient removal of the melted fuel

Removing the melted fuel rods will be difficult. However, storing them for the next 500 years will be even more difficult.

Tell me again how nuclear fuel is, safe, cheap and efficient.

13 ( +27 / -14 )

Getting pictures like this is a big, positive step. But, yeah, 900 tons! It won’t go anywhere quickly. How about some nice, radioactive-metal-eating termites?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Or maybe these would work:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23431211-300-radiation-eating-bacteria-could-make-nuclear-waste-safer/

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Caused by human negligence, not the tsunami.

21 ( +26 / -5 )

Useless jgov. Have no idea what they're doing. Seems the water is being contaminated continuously which I doubt is all pumped back to the tanks. And Jgov tries to force the world to eat fukushima products. Disgusting.

-2 ( +15 / -17 )

Nothing is as it appears !

What will they do with the supposed guesstimate of 900 tons of melted radioactive fuel ???

They cant even decide how to remove it safely or what to do with it afterwards , let alone agree on how long it would take.

These are experts ?

Experts of procrastination .

Oh well.. if all else fails they can always just dump it in the ocean !

Iam being sarcastic !

2 ( +10 / -8 )

They cant even decide how to remove it safely or what to do with it afterwards , let alone agree on how long it would take.

These are experts ?

So how then is it correctly and promptly accomplished? Oh wait, nobody has ever faced this problem before. No one really knows how to do this.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

TEPCO admitted years ago the disaster was man made

If the auxiliary generators necessary to power the cooling pumps had been placed on the bluff behind the plant instead of in the basement there would not have been meltdowns. That should be the lesson from this, not the wholesale abandonment of nuclear power. People let inchoate fear control their lives.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

It's possible that it will never be fully cleaned up because over time, rationalization replaces motivation.

eg. The formerly unthinkable dumping of radioactive water into the Pacific is reality.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

re: my comment above.... Macron said "We are going to need to produce a lot more electricity."

remember just after 'The Tsunami', all the energy-wasting things like wall-to-wall screens, neon, etc, in Tōkyō (and elsewhere I suppose) were shut down. I realize that income of all sorts is tied up with such profigate energy-wasters, but.... if anyone in governments or the Meeja was doing any more than pay lip service to 'saving the planet', they'd start to think about doing a re-set on the system, which thrives on, and in fact can't continue without: waste. profligate waste of everything. but then, maybe it's just an out-of-control machine we are all caught up in..... or, if someone is in control, how come we are in our current state? it's a conundrum.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Reality: The water will go into the Pacific. The solid waste, along with the entire site, will be enclosed in concrete on site and left for as long as eternity may as well be for we alive now. (It SEEMS that long since the disaster, at least.)

11 ( +12 / -1 )

It's a fiasco and it was avoidable.

Humans are so dumb.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

All the same was said about Chernobyl....

But that problem was solved fairly painlessly.

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

zichi...

The situation at Chernobyl was far from painless.

Financially painful, yes. But the doomsayers were predicting death and destruction and danger for years...

You can go to Chernobyl and stand next to the giant shelter. All perfectly safe.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

In 20 thousand years it will be fine.

In order for modern society to exist, everyone depends on energy - fuel, heat, appliances, communications, transportation...

I completely understand the desire to profit, but we are destroying ourselves and our planet in the process, we need to focus on and develop sources that are clean, renewable, and sustainable with minimal negative impact. We have technology available to better achieve these goals and we need to utilize now.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Melt throughs, not downs and corium masses in suspension. An absolute nightmare. Every time it evokes March 12 when everything changed at Dai Ichi compass in hand checking the prevailing winds...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Why remove it. Put it somewhere else? Like the contaminated soil that they mix with concrete and spread all over Japan?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This is the same LDP Government telling Japan it is safe and plans to release radioactive treated water into the Pacific Ocean. Anything goes wrong the LDP should be held fully responsible!

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Photos show melted fuel at Fukushima reactor?

Well, that's a surprise. I was expecting to find rainbows, pixie dust and the gateway to Narnia.

How much have TEPCO managed to bilk us all, profiteering from their own inadequacy?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

They have been sitting on photos like this for years. Japan released these details right after they announced that Taiwan will accept all that delicious and "safe" food products from good ole Fukushima!

Fukushima Radiation Made Japanese Fir Trees Go Haywire After Nuclear Disaster

https://www.newsweek.com/fukushima-radiation-japanese-fir-trees-haywire-nuclear-disaster-1673577

0 ( +6 / -6 )

The radiation from Chernobyl reached all the way to Ireland. It was only about five years ago Welsh sheep farmers were allowed to stop testing their animals before sending them to market.

More about French farmers protecting their market than any danger from Welsh sheep.

The pine forests at Chernobyl are highly contaminated and a worry if there were a large forest fire releasing the radiation into the atmosphere.

Very low levels of radiation.

There are still many hotspots at Chernobyl and other places in Europe.

See above, low levels. Most people hear radiation and imagine Hiroshima, Chernobyl is not a real danger at present. The smoke from coal power plants is far more deadly but ignored by most people.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Might be a good idea to buy Geiger counter and check everything you buy, especially from the ocean!

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

After over 10 years, they are only now seeing what's inside the reactors? And they said it's safe to dump the cooling water before knowing what the robots saw? Total incompetence.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

People let inchoate fear control their lives.

People have allowed huge corporations to control energy supplies and distribution. Where are the corporations providing products and services so individuals are not so dependent on the TEPCOs, Exxon Mobils, Saudi ARAMCOs and Russias of the world. To me a key aspect of 'freedom' would be to have the means to have greater control over my house, which solar panels are a start at.

But the wealthiest neo-liberals, neo-conservatives, and states controlling energy resources still have the power to determine where energy supplies come from and how they are distributed. Where are the new businesses providing products and services to free us from the control of the leviathan energy corporations.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Real bad news, tarnishing all the relatively good things said about nuclear reactors worldwide..

To build more supposedly safe nuclear reactors or not, that is the question, a very crucial question..

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Atoms For Peace: the imposition of nuclear power upon Japan by the Eisenhower administration, o the behest of Westinghouse and others. A long history. The result of which is evident.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You can go to Chernobyl and stand next to the giant shelter. All perfectly safe.

The problem is not about walking around Chernobyl for a few minutes and take a selfie with the sarcophagus. Large area around Chernobyl was contaminated on the first days of the disaster and its lost for centuries. You can’t live there or grow anything. Thousands of people were displaced and still can’t come back.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@DesertTortoise

are you trying to say that humans have no experience with handling radioactive material or nuclear disaster ?

And what about the other damaged reactors ?

How much dangerous material in them?

Is it wrong of me to be concerned or unhappy with the handling of radioactive materials from a man made disaster ?

I guess if you actually lived in Japan maybe you would care.

And no being a military stationed in Japan part-timer isnt living in Japan.

The USA military doesn't regret dropping nuclear bombs or continously contaminating any area it encounters.

So i sincerely doubt you are sympathetic or could care at all about Japan or its people and environment.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Looks like the elephant foot in Chernobyl. Will be there for a long time and hard to remove. But no danger except for humans who go near it.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@thepersoniamnow

Fish don't swim in reactors, so you are safe. If you are referring to fish from the ocean near the reactor, you're safe there too. All of the radioactive materials in the reactor originated in the environment. Humans did not create any of it. What humans did is concentrate the radioactive materials and build the reactor. Eventually, the material will have to be put back into the environment. That can be done by diluting it to levels that are safe. So, you shouldn't have to worry. We should all continue to monitor that they remove and dispose of this material in a safe way.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Rather than inchoate fear of nuclear energy what we have here is inchoate technology. What system should be implemented that doesn't have a solution for a worst case scenario, when worst case has such a high cost? As we have seen, it is not sufficient to write off a worst case scenario based on an estimate of low probability, as these estimates make many assumptions that can't hold up over the needed time spans. Leaving aside the unpredictability of a natural event, these probability estimates assume that the nuclear power plant is located in a stable society and not exposed to active threats. Radioactive sites remain dangerous longer than any modern government has been in existence. Even assuming no accidents, there are insufficient sites for long-term storage of radioactive waste from spent fuel and decommissioned plants. We should rightfully be suspicious of declarations by political authorities and hired technicians because they are invested in a system that had promised to be a solution to their fears of having to rely on a global supply chain of fossil fuels. This is top of mind with the situation in Ukraine. But the increasingly apparent problems with the fossil fuel system does not make the risks of nuclear go away. People in positions of influence are only going to be concerned with the current election cycle or the next big contract. There is no benefit to them of paying attention to long-term viability.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Damn, that looks like Mozzarella cheese.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It would be good if south Korea and Japan worked together on cleaning up Fukushima. Nuclear disasters endangers us all.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

are you trying to say that humans have no experience with handling radioactive material or nuclear disaster ?

Nobody has experience with the kind of problems we face at Fukushima. The situation at Fukushima is unique. It is a completely different problem than the Chernobyl melt down, two entirely different kinds of reactors one well inland and one at the waters edge. The combination of graphite moderator and water coolant used in the kind of reactors found at Chernobyl is found in no other power reactors in the world. Chernobyl also had no containment vessel like western reactors have. In the 3 Mile Island melt down, the containment vessel was never breached as workers detected the forming hydrogen bubble and reduced it before there could be an explosion. Workers were able to restore coolant circulation and cool the reactor vessel within hours of the mishap. There were no cooling system leaks, the system remained intact so there was none of the massive water disposal problem faced at Fukushima. It was a very different and less complex clean up than Fukushima is. The Russians had more violent and deadly reactor mishaps on a few of their submarines but those are laying on the bottom of the ocean. The sodium cooled reactor at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory experienced a partial melt down. 13 of the 43 fuel rods were damaged but the reactor was repaired and returned to service.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

"About 900 tons of melted nuclear fuel" I'm really having a hard time getting my head around that. WTF were they thinking, putting these things in a country prone to earthquakes?

The reactors survived the quake. It was the tsunami that did them in.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The USA military doesn't regret dropping nuclear bombs or continously contaminating any area it encounters.

The modern US military devotes a lot of resources to not polluting or contaminating the sites it operates. It also spends lot of money remediating old contamination. Fifty or a hundred yeas ago nobody understood how pollution works. I grew up with a father who thought nothing of cleaning a paint brush in paint thinner and then dumping the thinner in the dirt behind our garage. Same with cleaning auto parts in thinner. We dumps a lot of stuff in that dirt patch. It should probably be a superfund site. We'd strip paint from something in the driveway and wash the stripper with flakes of paint down the gutter. Nobody gave a thought to where it would end up. Everyone did this sort of thing. Businesses too. Lots of bad chemicals were dumped in pits around the US and other countries because nobody knew any better. Now we do and that sort of thing is no longer permitted. We used to dump our bags of trash off the stern of our ships at sea. Poke some holes in the bag so it would sink and over the stern it went. Not today. Trash is compacted and kept on board to be disposed of at the next port call and recyclable materials are segregated. Waste water that was formerly just pumped overboard now has to go through a little treatment plant on board. That is space, weight and power margin on a warship not devoted to its combat capability but to not polluting. When I was active duty that would have never happened. So the US military at least does change and learn.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Tortoise: "The reactors survived the quake. It was the tsunami that did them in."

Not true, the radiation meters on the fences 1km from the plant were going off before the tsunami hit.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

"The use of chemical agents to reduce radioactive substances from the contaminated water in the sedimentation process produces a muddy material resembling shampoo. Strontium readings of the generated slurry sometimes reach tens of millions of becquerels per cubic centimeter."

Sr 90 is particularly nasty, the body "thinks" it is calcium so absorbs it deep within bone marrow where it can cause cancers of the bone, bone marrow, and soft tissues around the bone. This disaster hasn't even started.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Tortoise: "The reactors survived the quake. It was the tsunami that did them in."

Not true, the radiation meters on the fences 1km from the plant were going off before the tsunami hit.

There were 11 operating reactors at 4 nuclear power plants in the region affected by the Tohoku Earthquake. All were able shut down safely. Only the power plant at Fukushima was affected by the tidal wave and was the only one to suffer a meltdown and that is traceable to the lack of cooling water flow. There very likely was some damage to the plant but that was not the cause of the melt down. The reactors at Fukushima did indeed survive the quake and the three operating reactors safely shut down after quake and before the tsunami hit.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have suggested many times to Japanese seismologists - let's launch an accurate earthquake prediction system. In response, they are silent - they do not want to lose their awards, conferences and preferences. https://un-simulator.blogspot.com/2022/01/earthquake-forecast-2022-crimea.html

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

UK9393

Tortoise: "The reactors survived the quake. It was the tsunami that did them in."

Not true, the radiation meters on the fences 1km from the plant were going off before the tsunami hit.

That does not sound plausible at all. Do you have a reference for that claim?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@WilliB, a very quick Google landed this, it has been confirmed:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-05-19/fukushima-may-have-leaked-radiation-before-quake

4 ( +4 / -0 )

UK9393

@WilliB, a very quick Google landed this, it has been confirmed:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-05-19/fukushima-may-have-leaked-radiation-before-quake

Your article says "may", and it was one alarm, not several. The article is speculation. Do you have something substantial?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Desert Tortoise

If the auxiliary generators necessary to power the cooling pumps had been placed on the bluff behind the plant instead of in the basement there would not have been meltdowns. That should be the lesson from this, not the wholesale abandonment of nuclear power. People let inchoate fear control their lives.

Agree with the last part, but the lesson should be to phase out Gen 2 reactors like Fukushima and move to Gen 3 and Gen 4 designs that use passive cooling and do not need external power supply at all. They are walk-away safe. Yes, expensive, but necessary.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Don't use uranium as a fuel. The only reason to do that is to create plutonium... i.e. bombs. Thorium is the way to go.

Mining thorium is safer and more efficient than mining uranium. Thorium's ore, monazite, generally contains higher concentrations of thorium than the percentage of uranium found in its respective ore. This makes thorium a more cost efficient and less environmentally damaging fuel source.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect , even nuclear physicists and engineers.

A lot of people suffer from media hysteria over coverage of this event, but things are not as dire as it would seem.

While the Fukushima site may be hazardous, it amounts to but a tiny fraction of Japan's total area, and is but an insignificant portion of Earth's total area. While the contamination will be radioactive for thousands of years, that is also a small amount of time compared to the billions of years our planet has existed.

We simply need to ignore this as a problem, keep a reasonable distance, and it will eventually resolve itself.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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