Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Worst Of Nuclear Crisis Is Over

So says America's very own Secratary of Energy.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the Obama administration believes the worst of the crisis is over. Unit 2, where Tepco connected a 1.5-kilometer (1 mile) power cable March 18 as it tried to revive cooling systems knocked out by the magnitude-9 temblor and tsunami, is the main source of concern, Chu said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.

“Because of the higher levels of radiation there, we take that as evidence that there might be a breach in that containment vessel,” he said. “But they’re not extraordinarily high, so it appears if there is a breach, it would be a limited breach. But, again, we don’t really know.”
Of course that was reported on the 21st of March. Since then there have been shall we say "developments".
Tokyo Electric Power workers began restoring power to the Fukushima Dai-chi nuclear plant even as radiation leaked into the sea and contaminated some food.

Engineers were unable to connect power to one of four damaged reactors. Electricity helps circulate cooling water to the units.

A level of 500 millisieverts per hour days ago at the No. 2 reactor turbine forced workers to suspend repairs and they have yet to restart, according to a spokesman for the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

Lights are on in the control room at the No. 3 reactor and there is some lighting working at No. 4, the company said today.

Temperatures at the No. 1 reactor pressure vessel exceeded 400 degrees Celsius (752 Fahrenheit) before water spraying brought it down to 390 degrees, Nishiyama said.
Just to give you some perspective: a 500 millisieverts per hour radiation field can give you a lifetime dose in about an hour. No matter what Ann Coulter says an hour in a field that strong will not improve your health.

More really good news. The power lines are installed.
The progress on the electrical lines at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant was a significant advance after days of setbacks.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. warned that workers still needed to check all gear for damage before switching the cooling system on to all the reactor units — a process that could take days or even weeks.

Emergency crews also dumped 18 tons of seawater into a nearly boiling storage pool holding spent nuclear fuel at Unit 2, cooling it to 122 degrees
[C or F? it makes a difference - ed.], Japan’s nuclear safety agency said. Steam, possibly carrying radioactive elements, had been rising for two days from the reactor building, and the move lessens the chances that more radiation will seep into the air.

Added up, the power lines and concerted dousing bring authorities closer to ending a crisis that has complicated the government’s response to the catastrophes that killed an estimated 18,000 people.
Days or weeks yet before things are under control. At that is optimistically.

And BTW how much water is 18 tons? Less than 5,000 gallons. With a mess this big that is not a lot of water.

And finally some "good news" from Tokyo.
Radiation exceeding health limits for infants has been found in a Tokyo city water purifier.

Authorities are now advising that the water not be given to babies, a Tokyo Metropolitan Government official has said.
Don't drink the water? I expect a renewed run on Saki. For various reasons.

This accident is so not over.

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