Japan Nuclear Disaster Update 30: It was, is, and will be worse than you thought
July 9, 2011
Perhaps the most interesting single thing on the table in today’s update is the revelation that at least one of Fukushima’s reactors suffered sufficient damage from the earthquake that hit the region … prior to the tsunami … to have likely gone out of control or melted down. This is hard to assess because the tsunami caused so much additional damage as to obscure earlier damage, and because cleanup efforts are not proper forensic methods to reconstruct what happened there, and because we can assume at this point that the untrustworthy TEPCO will cover up whatever it can, and it is in their interest to ignore any evidence that the earthquake itself resulted in significant damage. The problem is that there are people who saw the damage happen during the earthquake and some of them are talking.
This is important because NPA’s (Nuclear Power Apologists) including TEPCO (and don’t get us wrong …. we love the promise of nuclear energy!) wants everyone to think that THE problem at Fukushima was the totally unexpected tsunami, not the more likely to occur and totally planned-for earthquake. It would turn out that not only was this tsunami not unexpected at all (this has been covered before) but that the earthquake did enough damage that whatever other expectations Japanese nuclear regulators have regarding earthquakes may have are in serious question.
There are about 120,000 tones of contaminated water at Fukushima. That is roughly equivalent to the volume of about 200 modest town homes or almost 50- Olympic size swimming pools. The plant is essentially full of water … injecting more water into the plant can only happen if some of it boils off, which releases radioactive steam into the air (which is, essentially, what has been happening for weeks). The current plan is to decontaminate the water and use the decontaminated water to cool the plant.