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Meltdown Likely Under Way At Japan Nuclear Reactor


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Well, I for one wouldn't volunteer to drill a hole in that particular wall, with a potential mixture of hydrogen and oxygen on the other side of it, and on top of a poorly cooled reactor vessel with fuel rods exposed....

In the words of Harry Enfield; "now I don't believe you wanted to be doing that....."

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Interestingly, I haven't seen one Japanese news report mentioning the TEPCO worker who died the other day at the Daini plant after being somehow stuck up in a reactor crane near one of the exhaust stacks...

Likewise, I haven't seen any explanation of just how they managed today to run out of fuel to power the pumps at Daiichi Reactor No. 2 this afternoon, allowing the fuel rods to go entirely exposed for more than two hours...

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AP report on the day's events:

Stricken Japan nuclear plant rocked by 2nd blast

By ERIC TALMADGE and SHINO YUASA

Associated Press

SOMA, Japan (AP) -- The second hydrogen explosion in three days rocked a Japanese nuclear plant Monday, devastating the structure housing one reactor and injuring 11 workers. Water levels dropped precipitously at another reactor, completely exposing the fuel rods and raising the threat of a meltdown.

The morning explosion in Unit 3 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant was felt 25 miles (40 kilometers) away, but the plant's operator said radiation levels at the reactor remained within legal limits. Hours later, officials reported that fuel rods at Unit 2 were fully exposed at some point and may have been damaged.

Authorities have been pouring sea water into three reactors at the plant after cooling system failures in the wake of Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami, which is estimated to have killed at least 10,000 people. The latest explosion triggered an order for hundreds of people to stay indoors, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano.

Authorities said late Monday that they were focusing mostly on Unit 2 because the other two reactors were relatively stabilized. Ryohei Shiomi, an official with the Nuclear and Industrial Agency, said officials were still trying to determine the condition of Unit 2's exposed fuel rods.

"It is very likely that they have been damaged by now," he said.

MORE: http://staging.hoste...-03-14-10-33-50

Edited by jfchandler
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Analyst: Japan insurance losses could hit $35 bln

LONDON (AP) -- Insurance companies are looking at billions in losses from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, with one early estimate placing the figure as high as $35 billion.

German reinsurer Munich Re said Monday, however, that private insurers do not face a significant bill from damage to Japan's nuclear power plants.

AIR Worldwide, a Boston-based specialist in catastrophe modeling, said over the weekend that insured property losses could range between $15 billion to $35 billion.

AIR added that its earthquake model for Japan doesn't include the effects of a tsunami. Friday's earthquake triggered a huge tidal wave which wiped out homes and businesses, with 2,800 deaths confirmed Monday.

The Lloyd's of London insurance market said it was too early to estimate its losses.

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On the subject of power supplies available at the Daiichi reactors, the IAEA had this update earlier Monday, a bit interesting:

Japan Earthquake Update (14 March 2011, 01:30 CET) - Clarified Based on information provided by Japanese authorities, the IAEA can confirm the following information about the status of Units 1, 2 and 3 at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Unit 1 is being powered by mobile power generators on site, and work continues to restore power to the plant. There is currently no power via off-site power supply or backup diesel generators being provided to the plant.

Unit 2 is being powered by mobile power generators on site, and work continues to restore power to the plant. There is currently neither off-site power supply nor backup diesel generators providing power to the plant. The reactor core is being cooled through reactor core isolation cooling, a procedure used to remove heat from the core.

Unit 3 does not have off-site power supply nor backup diesel generators providing power to the plant. As the high pressure injection system and other attempts to cool the reactor core have failed, injection of water and boron into the reactor vessel has commenced.

The IAEA is seeking information about the status of spent fuel at the Daiichi plant.

http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html

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Well, I for one wouldn't volunteer to drill a hole in that particular wall, with a potential mixture of hydrogen and oxygen on the other side of it, and on top of a poorly cooled reactor vessel with fuel rods exposed....

In the words of Harry Enfield; "now I don't believe you wanted to be doing that....."

A. Run up to the side of the containment building

B. drop a bundle of TNT

C. light the fuse

D. Run like the dickens - out to the sand dunes.

Analyst: Japan insurance losses could hit $35 bln

LONDON (AP) -- Insurance companies are looking at billions in losses from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, with one early estimate placing the figure as high as $35 billion.

German reinsurer Munich Re said Monday, however, that private insurers do not face a significant bill from damage to Japan's nuclear power plants.

AIR Worldwide, a Boston-based specialist in catastrophe modeling, said over the weekend that insured property losses could range between $15 billion to $35 billion.

AIR added that its earthquake model for Japan doesn't include the effects of a tsunami. Friday's earthquake triggered a huge tidal wave which wiped out homes and businesses, with 2,800 deaths confirmed Monday.

The Lloyd's of London insurance market said it was too early to estimate its losses.

In the booklet 'EGAT's Thaitanic' (talks about why Thailand should not go nuclear), there's a chapter dedicated to insurance concerns. You won't hear mention of insurance when EGAT make their flowery proposals articulating why Thailand should go nuclear.

Edited by brahmburgers
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NHK:

Intl nuclear watchdog to monitor Fukushima plants

An international body monitoring nuclear testing says it will closely watch the situation at a nuclear power plant in earthquake-hit Fukushima Prefecture.

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, or CTBTO, spoke to NHK on Monday, following hydrogen blasts at 2 of the reactor buildings at the quake-damaged Fukushima Number One [Daiichi] Plant.

The organization said no radioactive materials from the blasts have been detected so far at its facility in Takasaki City, about 200 kilometers southwest of the plant.

The watchdog added that it will continue its 24-hour monitoring.

The Vienna-based organization has about 330 facilities around the world to observe radioactive materials in the atmosphere and tremors caused by nuclear tests.

Monday, March 14, 2011 21:17 +0900 (JST)

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Japan Govt Denies Possibility of Chernobyl-Class Catastrophe

Tokyo, March 14 (Jiji Press)--Japanese government organizations categorically deny there is any possibility of a Chernobyl-class nuclear catastrophe at an earthquake-hit nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, a cabinet member said Monday.

The Nuclear Safety Commission and the industry ministry's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency say there is "absolutely no possibility of a Chernobyl," National Policy Minister Koichiro Genba told a ruling party meeting.

Genba, policy leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, was relaying the opinions of the two expert organizations following explosions at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 [Daiichi] nuclear plant.

The authorities say that Chernobyl plant had no containment vessels for its reactors, while all reactors at the plant are fully protected against hydrogen explosions, according to Genba.

Chernobyl is the site in Russia of the world's worst nuclear accident, which happened in 1986 during the Soviet era.

Edited by jfchandler
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Interestingly, I haven't seen one Japanese news report mentioning the TEPCO worker who died the other day at the Daini plant after being somehow stuck up in a reactor crane near one of the exhaust stacks...

Likewise, I haven't seen any explanation of just how they managed today to run out of fuel to power the pumps at Daiichi Reactor No. 2 this afternoon, allowing the fuel rods to go entirely exposed for more than two hours...

Full information seems lacking maybe a case of need to know, idk. From the bits and pieces posted I'd have to guess the crane operator was in the crane cab inside the building of reactor one when the first explosion occurred.

Would have thought there might be some way to burn off the vented gas through a flare stack but maybe not or because damage to the site has resulted in failure of a number of systems.

Still many unanswered questions but post #442 looked promising, lets hope they are finally making progress.

Some info http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS_Venting_at_Fukushima_Daiichi_3_1303111.html

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Partial Meltdown at Another Reactor Possible: Tokyo Electric

Tokyo, March 14 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday evening it cannot rule out the possibility that the No. 2 reactor of its quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant may have experienced a partial meltdown.

The fuel rods of the reactor, each of which is 4 meters long, became fully exposed to air because of a substantial drop in the amount of cooling water in the reactor, according to the firm's report to the prefectural government of Fukushima.

Tokyo Electric Power officials said it tried to pump sea water into the reactor in response to the falling water level inside. But the pumps ran out of fuel, they said.

The work became necessary because the cooling system for the No. 2 reactor ceased to function.

At the Fukushima No. 1 plant, the No. 1 reactor is likely to have experienced a partial meltdown on Saturday, the first time this has ever happened in Japan.

Edited by jfchandler
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Tokyo (CNN) -- A blast at a Japanese reactor injured 11 people and caused another reactor to malfunction on Monday, triggering new fears of a meltdown that could leak dangerous amounts of nuclear radiation into a country already devastated by an earthquake and tsunami.

The explosion at Fukushima Daiichi's reactor No. 3 blew the roof and walls off a building, the Kyodo news agency reported. It also damaged the cooling system at reactor No. 2, officials said.

Officials quickly worked to pump seawater into reactor No. 2, as they have been doing at reactors No. 1 and No. 3, officials said.

At one point, the fuel in the pump that was being used ran low when personnel left it unattended, officials said. Some of the water surrounding the fuel rods burned off, exposing them, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said.

MORE: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/14/japan.nuclear.reactors/index.html

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Excerpted from CNN:

Losses from the disaster will total at least $100 billion, including $20 billion in damage to residences and $40 billion in damage to infrastructure such as roads, rail and port facilities, catastrophe modeling firm Eqecat estimated, according to CNNMoney.

Another firm, AIR Worldwide, estimated that losses covered by insurance could reach between $15 billion and $35 billion from the earthquake alone, CNNMoney said. It did not estimate losses from the tsunami or the damage to the the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeastern Japan.

"If claims come in at the middle of that range, the cost of the disaster would surpass all other natural disasters besides 2005's Hurricane Katrina," according to a Barclay's Capital research note released Monday. "Katrina losses cost the insurance industry around US$45 billion."

AND

The Insurance Information Institute said it believes the losses from Friday's disaster will prove to be the most expensive earthquake in history, although it did not give any dollar estimate of the costs.

MORE: http://money.cnn.com..._cost/index.htm

Edited by jfchandler
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