Saturday, March 19, 2011

For some perspective on Fukushima...

For some perspective, it would be nice for the many people who keep reiterating "Fukushima is no Chernobyl" to be affirmed. Indeed Fukushima is no Chernobyl in many respects. Lets examine fuel, based on a report from last year by Science Insider, Fukushima has nearly 10 times more nuclear fuel than Chernobyl:
The Daiichi complex in Fukushima, Japan ... had a total of 1760 metric tons of fresh and used nuclear fuel on site last year, according to a presentation by its owners, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco). The most damaged Daiichi reactor, number 3, contains about 90 tons of fuel, and the storage pool above reactor 4, which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC's) Gregory Jaczko reported yesterday had lost its cooling water, contains 135 tons of spent fuel. The amount of fuel lost in the core melt at Three Mile Island in 1979 was about 30 tons; the Chernobyl reactors had about 180 tons when the accident occurred in 1986. - from Science Insider
According to more recent reports, the spent fuel pool - at reactor 4 alone, which has lost all of its water and thus is risking complete release of its radioactive material - has 75% as much nuclear fuel as at all of Chernobyl. However, as if those numbers are not enough, others numbers are even worse because Tepco recently transferred many more radioactive spent fuel rods into the storage pools. According to Associated Press 3,400 tons of fuel were last recorded being stored in seven spent fuel pools and 877 tons of active fuel were recorded in the cores of the reactors.

The grand totals are grim: well over 4,200 tons of spent and live nuclear fuel at Fukushima - in round numbers that's 25 times more fuel than at Chernobyl.

There is another issue as well, all the plants are relatively close together and if reactor 4 goes critical, risk for the other reactors and storage pools also increases dramatically. Moreover, if reactor 4 melts down completely and/or has a catastrophic explosion worse than it already has had, then it will be impossible to get human attention to the other reactors in a timely manner or to keep the "mosquito attacking a dragon" type activities currently being employed as defensive tactics by Japanese overseers going.

There are indeed a lot of fabrications going on regarding the risks at Fukushima. This is a simple presentation of facts of the amount of fuel at the facility to help put them into perspective... 

(BTW  Denninger's is most likely going to be taken off my blog list for his absolutely irresponsible and arrogant and ridiculous reporting regarding Fukushima and blatant use of controversy and theatrics to generate traffic and attention. Perhaps theatrics have been the main objective underscoring the activity on that blog all along...)
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