Still no reason for panic over nuclear meltdownMarch 18, 2011
I’ve found a site maintained by the students of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT that seems to give good information about the Fukushima Nuclear Plant situation in Japan. it’s at mitnse.com. Besides explanations about terms used in the nuclear industry, it maintains updates about the situation in Japan free of purple prose.
As of this morning the spent fuel rod pools were being sprayed using army firetrucks. A power line had been laid from a main power line a kilometer and a half from the facility so there will be power soon to the emergency cooling systems. Backup diesel generators are running to cool the spent fuel rod pools at Units 5 and 6, and the temperatures are down to the mid 60s Celsius.
I’ve not seen anything that says any of the steel primary pressure vessels have been breached on any of the reactors, or that any have reached a high enough temperature to melt the intermal machinery. Most of the problems seem to be focused on the pools where the spent fuel rods are stored, not on the reactors themselves.
There will be a high price to cleanup of the site, and perhaps none of the reactors can be saved; I doubt that, though. I’ll bet that at least some of them will eventually be running again. What is really unfortunate is that this is taking center stage while so many thousands are still missing, presumed dead. The iPad newspaper The Daily had some before and after photos of areas that were destroyed by the tsunami, and it was horrible. Entire towns were just scoured off the map like they never existed.