Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Hero of Fukushima

A chilling account of what we now know, three months after the tragic nuclear accident, in a BigThink post, by Michio Kaku. Excerpts: 

“1. After months of stonewalling and low balling figures, the utility finally admitted what many US physicists already suspected, that there was most likely a 100% core melt at all three reactors. Physicists in the West, given the meager data fed to the media by the utility, have run independent programs on their computers and have concluded that the accident was much, much worse than the government has been reporting. The new figures, although shocking, now agrees with assessments made in the US.

2. If 3 reactor cores suffered 100% core melts, then why didn't we have three China Syndrome type accidents? Why didn't we see three Chernobyl accidents happening simultaneously? The answer is that, at the very last minute, sea water was flushed into the three cores, stopping the melted uranium from melting through the entire containment structure and releasing vast amounts of radiation into the environment. The utility, however, resisted flooding the reactors with sea water, since it would reduce the reactors to junk, while the utility wanted to salvage the reactors for future use. Apparently, the reactor operator disobeyed direct orders. He was ordered to delay any plans to flush the cores with sea water. Instead, he did it anyway, going against his superiors. He should be considered a hero. Any delay back then might have led to an unimaginable tragedy.”

The punch line:

“Estimates for the clean up vary. Toshiba corporation estimated it would take 10 years. The Hitachi Corp estimated, however, that it would take 30 years. One nuclear engineer estimated that it might actually take 100 years. Remember that it took 14 years to clean up Three Mile Island, where there was no breech of containment. It has been 25 years since Chernobyl, and that accident still has not ended. So 30 to 100 years are not unreasonable guesses for the amount of time the cleanup will take.”

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