Wednesday, March 16, 2011


                                         A satellite view of the Fukushima Dai-ichi's reactors.

From the Yahoo News.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko said at a congressional hearing in Washington that all the water is gone from the spent fuel storage pond of Fukushima Dai-ichi's Unit 4 reactor, but Japanese officials denied it. Hajime Motojuku, a spokesman for plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., said the "condition is stable" at Unit 4.
Earlier, however, another utility spokesman said officials' greatest concerns were the spent fuel pools, which lack the protective shells that reactors have.
"We haven't been able to get any of the latest data at any spent fuel pools. We don't have the latest water levels, temperatures, none of the latest information for any of the four reactors," Masahisa Otsuki said.
If Jaczko is correct, it would mean there's nothing to stop the used fuel rods from getting hotter and ultimately melting down. The outer shells of the rods could also ignite with enough force to propel the radioactive fuel inside over a wide area.

"My understanding is there is no water in the spent fuel pool," Jaczko told reporters after the hearing. "I hope my information is wrong. It's a terrible tragedy for Japan."
He said the information was coming from NRC staff in Tokyo who are working with the utility in Japan. He said the staffers continue to believe the spent fuel pool is dry.
Other countries have complained that Japan has been too slow and vague in releasing details about its rapidly evolving crisis at complex of six reactors along Japan's northeastern coast, which was ravaged by Friday's magnitude-9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
The chief of the U.N. nuclear agency, Yukiya Amano, said he would go to Japan to assess what he called a "very serious" situation and urged Tokyo to provide better information to his organization.
Several countries have advised their citizens to consider leaving Tokyo and earthquake-affected areas. The White House recommended Wednesday that U.S. citizens stay 50 miles (80 kilometers) away from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, not the 20-mile (32-kilometer) radius recommended by the Japanese government.
It's not like you can go up to the reactor and stick your head over the side to see whats going on. Well you can, but you wouldn't be alive to tell anyone of what you saw.

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