As Pressure In Reactor 3 Builds Again, Here Are The Downstream Effects From The Fukushima Catastrophe

Sunday, March 20, 2011
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden

As the world awakes, Japan discloses another round of good news/bad news about the Fukushima crisis. The good news: Reactors 5 and 6 went into stable condition on Sunday, after a successful cold shutdown, authorities said. The reactors at the power plant went into cold shutdown following restoration of cooling functions late Saturday. Alas, 5 and 6 were never the issue to begin with. The same came not be said about reactors 1 through 4, where the bad news comes from this morning. According to the Japan Times, a risky venting of Reactor 3, which saw its pressure rising yet again, was being considered, which would see another release of radioactive gas into the environment. “Pressure within the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant was rising at one point and Tepco considered releasing more radioactive gas into the environment to avert serious damage to the containment vessel, the nuclear safety agency said Sunday afternoon. Tokyo Electric Power Co. had considered releasing the contaminated steam directly into the environment, not through a “suppression pool” as it did earlier in the crisis. The pressure needs to be lowered to protect the structural integrity of the reactor, and the first step is to open the valve on a pipe connected to the suppression pool. By going through the suppression pool, the reactor’s gas would liquefy and thus lower the pressure.” And here is where the recent Operation Irrigation is now backfiring: “But if the pool is already filled with water, a valve on the reactor itself would need to be opened and the radiation level of the released gas would be higher than with the first method, explained Hidehiko Nishiyama of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. “Without water, there would be more radioactive substances in the gas released into the environment.”” In other words, the attempt (which some say is futile) to fill the containment pool with water is about to lead to another round of irradiation of the environment. And while all that is going on, here is what the already certain chain of downstream events is going to look like for the region, for Japan, and for the world.

From Reuters, the following is a roundup of the effect on the energy and commodities sector of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the northeast coast of Japan.

The Rest…Here

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