FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fukushima Gets A Lot Uglier

by

As time passes, a bona fide message emerges from within the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster scenario, and that message is that once a nuclear power plant loses it, the unraveling only gets worse and worse until it’s at its worst, and still, there’s no stopping it. Similar to opening Pandora’s box, there’s no stopping a ferocious atom-splitting insanity that knows no end.

Four years of experience with Fukushima provides considerable evidence that splitting atoms to boil water is outright unmitigated madness. After all, nuclear power plants are built to boil water; yes, to boil water; it’s as simple as that, but yet at the same time it’s also extraordinarily complex. Conversely, solar and wind do not boil water and are not complex and never deadly (Germany knows).

As it unfolds, the Fukushima story grows more convoluted and way more chilling. For example, according to The Japan Times, October 30th Edition: “Extremely high radiation levels and the inability to grasp the details about melted nuclear fuel make it impossible for the utility to chart the course of its planned decommissioning of the reactors at the plant.”

Thereby, the bitter truth behind a major nuclear meltdown shows its true colors: “Impossible for the utility to chart the course of its planned decommissioning…” is very definitive, divulging the weak underbelly of the fission-to-heat process; only one slip-up, and it’s deadly dangerous and likely out of control!

Not only that, but the entire Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex is subject to recurring mishaps and setbacks, as well as various technical tribulations, something different going wrong on any given day. And, it’s always big, never small.

For example, according to The Japan Times, October 30thEdition: “Deadly 9.4 Sieverts Detected Outside Fukushima Reactor 2 Containment Vessel; Checks Stop.”

TEPCO also detected deadly radiation levels outside of reactor No. 1. According to a direct quote from the article: “People exposed to the maximum radiation dose for some 45 minutes will die.” Death in 45 minutes!

The potency contained within 9.4 Sieverts (Sv) is enormous. One Sievert, which is a measure of the health effect of radiation on the human body, is normally considered a massive dose, causing immediate radiation sickness. But, since levels beyond one Sievert are rarely, if ever, encountered in the normal course of everyday life, the industry standard uses millisieverts (mSv = 1/1000th) or microsieverts (uSv = one millionth of a Sievert) when measuring radiation.

Miserably, eight (8) Sieverts causes severe vomiting, severe headache, severe fever, incapacitation, and a 100% death rate over a period of time greater than 10 minutes within 48 hours (Radiation Survival Guide).

Chernobyl is a prime example of the potency of radiation. Immediately after the explosion (1986), radiation levels in the control room reached 300 Sv/hr, resulting in the deaths of the operators of the plant. Thirty years later, radiation levels in the same control room run approximately 8-10 mSv/hr.

It’s little wonder TEPCO finds it impossible to plan decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which begs the question of if, and when, decommissioning will be possible. Who knows, if ever?

Furthermore, according to The Japan Times’ article: TEPCO planned to start checking inside the containment vessel in August by use of a remote-controlled robot but “high radiation levels have stalled the examination.”

Unfortunately, not only is radiation sizzling outside of reactor No. 1, but a pipe connection at reactor No. 2 also shows extremely high radiation levels. Reactor No. 2 is where the hot melted radioactive core (corium) still has not been located. But, then again, with so much hot stuff sizzling throughout the entire Fukushima complex, how are workers expected to locate a melted nuclear core that may have already penetrated the steel-reinforced concrete containment vessel, entering the earth?

If total meltdown occurred/occurs, nobody has any idea of what to do next. There is no playbook. It’s likely impossible to do anything remedial once a melted nuclear core has burrowed into the ground because deadly isotopes uncontrollably spread erratically, ubiquitously into the surrounding underground soil and water. Then what?

In the final analysis, there is a distinct probability that Fukushima has no final analysis. Reports out of Japan indicate that Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant cleanup and decommissioning is severely restricted by extremely high radiation levels and the inability to grasp the details about melted nuclear fuel. What could be worse? Keep reading.

Footnote: China plans on building 400 nuclear plants “fast and cheap” over the next few decades. (Source: Oliver Tickell, Does China’s Nuclear Boom Threaten Global Catastrophe? CounterPunch, Oct. 30th.) Answer: YES!

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
Dave Lindorff
Right a Terrible Wrong: Why Obama Should Reverse Himself and Pardon Leonard Peltier
Laura Carlsen
Bringing Mexico to Its Knees Will Not “Make America Great Again”
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey: the Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
Josh Hoxie
Why Health Care Repeal is a Stealth Tax Break for Millionaires
Kim C. Domenico
It’s High Time for a Politics of Desire
Shamus Cooke
Inauguration Day and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
More and More Lousy
David Swanson
Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell
Kevin Carson
Right to Work and the Apartheid State
Malaika H. Kambon
Resisting the Lynching of Haitian Liberty!
January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail