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Meltdown Likely Under Way At Japan Nuclear Reactor


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AlJazeera 2011-03-18

4:35am

Barack Obama is now speaking on the US response to the nuclear crisis.

He says they "do not believe harmful levels of radiation to reach the US west coast, Hawaii, Alaska or US territories in the Pacific".

The president also sought to reassure the public that US nuclear reactors are safe, and said a review would be undertaken in relation to events in Japan.

Source: http://blogs.aljazeera.net/live/asia/disaster-japan-live-blog-march-18

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Correct, they said last night the Tokyo police water cannon unit had to fall back, without hitting the No. 3 reactor with water, because of high radiation levels... I didn't see it reported, but presumably, the police truck had a shorter water throw distance than the fire units, and thus needed to be closer to the reactors...

Throughout this whole process, at least to us English speakers/readers, there have been a ton of seemingly unanswered questions. They also said last night that the spraying had little or no impact on plant radiation areas... So if the police water cannon unit couldn't stay close enough, then how are they going to be able to go in to do the equipment repairs needed to get cooling things working again.

I read today, probably in this topic, that radiation levels were too high for the water cannons to get close enough to spray on the reactors. Will they be able to get close enough to wherever they need to go to connect the new power cable?

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Accurately or not accurately, the Japanese media reports I saw said the electrical work needed to wait until after the water spraying... and the water spraying was delayed until late in the day Thursday. So TEPCO was saying then they wouldn't be able to finish the electrical work until Friday at the earliest... There was no mention I saw in the Japanese media that the electrical work was unsuccessful. But I'd be surprised if they actually can restore the regular cooling systems as of today... I'd be happy, though, to be wrong.

AlJazeera blog 2011-03-17:

According to news reports in Japan, Thursday's attempt to set up power cables were unsuccessful, delaying the move until Friday. The reasons why are not clear.

Source: http://blogs.aljazee...ch-17-live-blog

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Good morning, Fukushima...

Unlike some here... I actually try to read everything that others posted overnight before beginning to post for the day...so hopefully I'm not repeating what's already been chipped in. :D

Wake up John, elcent, and the others. Things are happenin!

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NHK

Radiation levels lowered [a little] after water injection

Radiation levels dropped a little on Thursday at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after a water injection by pump trucks.

In a news conference early Friday, Tokyo Electric Power Company says the radiation levels at the west gate of the power plant was down by nearly 20 points to 292 microsieverts [0.292 milli-sieverts] per hour at 8.40 PM on Thursday.

The figures follow an hour-long operation by police and Self-Defense Forces to inject water from pump trucks into the No. 3 reactor building. It's possible the level of pool water used for cooling nuclear fuel was reduced.

At 11 PM the radiation level dropped again to 289 microsieverts [0.289 milli-sieverts] per hour.

The company says it saw steam billowing from the building after the water injection, which suggests the operation had some success.

Friday, March 18, 2011 02:54 +0900 (JST)

http://www3.nhk.or.j...lish/18_05.html

And 0.279 millisieverts at 5 am today.

Edited by jfchandler
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NHK reporting TEPCO this morning said they hope to restore the cooling system to one of the reactors by Friday evening. TEPCO says the electrical system of reactor No.2 appears to be less damaged than the other units. But company officials said that effort also will depend on the local radiation levels and whether they hamper workers' efforts.

Also reporting Tokyo Fire Department early Friday dispatched a contingent of 140 firefighters along with rescue squads and fire trucks to the Fukushima site. No mention of what their role will be, although apparently to support the water spraying efforts that are scheduled to resume today.

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NHK:

Over 280,000 taking refuge at 2,200 shelters

More than 285,000 people are taking refuge in quake-ravaged northern and eastern Japan as of Thursday evening.

NHK asked prefectural governments the numbers of evacuees they are hosting.

The evacuees are wide-spread in more than 2,000 shelters in 15 quake-hit prefectures.

In the northeastern region, which includes the 3 hardest-hit prefectures, 265,000 people are taking refuge at 1,900 shelters.

Among them, Miyagi Prefecture is worst hit and 166,000 people are taking refuge in 1,000 shelters. That is about 60 % of the total evacuee number.

Fukushima Prefecture and Iwate Prefecture each has around 47,000 to 48,000 evacuees.

The quake did not spare the Kanto region, Tokyo and its surrounding areas. More than 20,000 people are taking shelter at around 300 places.

One week has passed since the devastating earthquake and tsunami last Friday. But it remains unclear when the victims will be able to start rebuilding their lives, raising fears that their temporary stay at shelters may be prolonged.

Friday, March 18, 2011 05:53 +0900 (JST)

http://www3.nhk.or.j...lish/18_03.html

Edited by jfchandler
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Screen capture of NHK video of the Fukushima plant on Friday morning, with the broadcaster reporting it shows steam and/or smoke rising from Reactors No. 2 and 3. The steam from No. 3 is interpretted as being a sign of water remaining in that reactor's spent fuel cooling pool.

post-53787-0-54867200-1300407187_thumb.j

Japanese police report death toll reaches 5,600.NHK reporting at least 25 people have died thus far in the evacuation shelters.

Edited by jfchandler
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More detail on the TEPCO electrical work from NHK:

The firm began to set up power lines from the high-voltage cables near the plant on Thursday, saying a large amount of electricity is needed to recover the reactor cooling systems.

The company says the new power lines will be connected to a makeshift transformer, and then to the cooling system of the No.2 reactor. They say the system seems to have less damage than the other reactors.

The company originally planned to work on the power line on Thursday, but the high radiation levels and lengthy water-injecting operations forced a delay.

Friday, March 18, 2011 02:56 +0900 (JST)

http://www3.nhk.or.j...lish/18_01.html

Edited by jfchandler
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NHK:

Tokyo Electric releases new image of reactors [explains why it is prioritizing Reactor No. 3]

Tokyo Electric Power released on Thursday an image of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant taken the previous day.

It says the image convinced them to prioritize the No.3 reactor, where the spent fuel pool appeared to be in greater trouble.

The utility firm says the aerial image was taken at 4 PM on Wednesday.

The image shows the exposed iron framework of the No. 4 reactor. It also shows part of a light-green crane designed to handle nuclear fuel.

The firm says it believes that the shining white object below the crane is the surface of the spent fuel cooling pool.

They concluded that the No.4 reactor's pool still contains water to cool down the nuclear material.

But the image shows white smoke billowing from the No. 3 reactor, and shows a serious damage to the roof and walls.

They could not confirm whether the No.3 reactor's cooling pool still contains water. This convinced them to make it a priority for water injection.

The outcome of the operations by Self-Defense Forces and the police is not yet clear.

Friday, March 18, 2011 02:56 +0900 (JST)

http://www3.nhk.or.j...lish/18_02.html

Edited by jfchandler
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NISA live news conference on NHK... says government still deciding on whether to continue water spraying operations today.

Says white smoke spotted again this morning from Reactor No. 2. Believed coming from damaged panel at reactor from prior explosion at Reactor No. 3.

Rising concern about spent fuel storage pool in Reactor No. 4. But recent video seems to show there still is water in storage pool.

No change in status for Reactors No. 5 and 6.

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NISA - hope restored electrical system will provide power to Reactors No. 1 and 2 on Friday. Want to provide power to spent fuel storage pool in Reactor No. 2.

Edited by jfchandler
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NHK:

More than 5,600 people confirmed dead

Japanese police have so far confirmed 5,692 deaths in Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunamis that hit northeastern Japan. 9,506 people are still missing.

But the current number of missing people reflects only the number actually registered with the police. Police say the number may be in the tens of thousands.

In Miyagi Prefecture, 3,158 people have been confirmed dead and 2,157 are missing. Iwate Prefecture has confirmed 1,905 deaths, and says 3,853 people are missing.

Fukushima has 574 confirmed deaths and more than 3,491 missing. In the Kanto region, dozens of people died in the disaster, including 19 in Ibaraki and 7 in Tokyo.

More than 305,000 people have sought refuge in about 2,260 shelters.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 13:57 +0900 (JST)

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/17_27.html

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