U.S. embassy to Americans in Japan: Evacuate if you’re within 50 miles of the nuclear plant; Update: Extra radiation detectors being sent to Hawaii

posted at 4:20 pm on March 16, 2011 by Allahpundit

Fifty miles is four times farther than the Japanese government’s evacuation radius and roughly one-third the distance between Fukushima and Tokyo. If you want to see what it looks like on a map, click here. A good question from Jake Tapper: Does this mean the White House thinks the threat from the leak is more dire than Japanese officials are letting on?

No answer.

White House press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged that “the advice is no longer in agreement,” but refused to make any judgment on the information and recommendations being made by the government of Japan, a close US ally.

Carney told reporters that while initially the U.S. agreed with the Japanese government’s 20 km recommendation, today, “based on our independent analysis of the deteriorating situation — we all have watched on television and read about the damage at the various reactors and the potential for emissions — based on that new information, the new data and the independent analysis, the NRC is now advising an evacuation beyond a 50-mile radius.”…

Does the US have higher standards?

“It’s not about high or low,” Carney said. “I’m just simply saying that this is our advice based on the information that we have.”

It’s less a question of different standards, I think, than different capacities. Evacuating Americans in Japan within a 50-mile radius is easy; evacuating the much greater number of Japanese is … not. It’s no different, really, from Japan’s decision to suddenly raise the legal limits of radiation to which workers can be exposed. There are new facts on the ground and so Japanese policy is flexing to accommodate them.

The good news, even as visitors scramble to leave the country, is that there may at last be light at the end of this black, radioactive tunnel. TEPCO says a new power line to the plant is almost finished and should be online soon. Assuming that the cooling systems are still structurally sound and that the damage to the containment vessels will still allow steam to be vented, that should finally, finally stop the heating inside the reactors and in the cooling ponds where the spent fuel rods are stored. The crisis would be over, even though months of clean-up would remain. Just one question: Is it too late?

Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the commission, said in Congressional testimony that the commission believed that all the water in the spent fuel pool at the No. 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station had boiled dry, leaving fuel rods stored there completely exposed. As a result, he said, “We believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures.”

If his analysis is accurate and Japanese workers have been unable to keep the spent fuel at that inoperative reactor properly cooled — covered with water at all times — radiation could make it difficult not only to fix the problem at reactor No. 4, but to keep workers at the Daiichi complex from servicing any of the other crippled reactors at the plant…

Earlier in the day, Japanese authorities announced another escalation of the crisis at Daiichi when they said that a second reactor unit at the plant may have suffered damage to its primary containment structure and appeared to be releasing radioactive steam.

I haven’t seen any stories lately on the current radiation levels at the plant, so I’m not sure what Jaczko means by “extremely high.” There are typically spikes whenever a containment building explodes or steam is released, but after the spike things drop back to elevated yet low-ish levels. What he’s talking about, it sounds like, is a steady dose of radiation in high levels pulsing off those spent fuel rods. Has anyone seen anything to confirm that? If so, please e-mail us at our tips address and I’ll update.

Since power hasn’t been restored yet, the next line of defense apparently involves sending police trucks to the plant to spray down the fuel rods with water cannons to try to keep them cool. Expect another update by 9 p.m. or so, after Japan wakes up and is briefed on the damage and the Times files its now-nightly report of the impending apocalypse at Fukushima. While we wait, here’s a nice factoid for you to chew on: Apparently, the single riskiest nuclear plant in the United States is located at Indian Point on the Hudson River, just 30 or so miles north of New York City. Quote: “At a 1 in 10,000 chance of core breach, that’s right on the verge of what the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] calls ‘immediate concern regarding adequate protection.’” And just to double your fun, bear in mind that Khaled Sheikh Mohammed admitted to an Al Jazeera reporter shortly after 9/11 that Al Qaeda had considered targeting U.S. nuclear facilities — which almost certainly means Indian Point — before settling on the World Trade Center. With the entire world watching Fukushima right now, how attractive a target do you think IP must be for jihadis looking to strike big?

Update: Another disagreement between Japan and the U.S.: Contrary to Jaczko’s claim, Japanese officials say that not all the water in the cooling pool for the spent fuel rods at reactor four has boiled off. Presumably Jaczko’s getting his info from American observers at the scene, so what this amounts to is an accusation that the Japanese government is lying about how bad things are.

Update: Those “extremely high” levels of radiation must be pretty extreme if they’re now taking this step:

The United States is deploying additional radiation monitors on Hawaii and other U.S. islands even though it does not expect harmful levels of radiation from damaged Japanese nuclear power plants to reach U.S. soil, environmental regulators said.

The Environmental Protection Agency without fanfare posted a notice on its website on Tuesday of plans to “work with its federal partners to deploy additional monitoring capabilities to parts of the western U.S. and U.S. territories.”


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No answer.

that means Duke by 2….

ted c on March 16, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Let me guess,Hopey will contract out a ferry from Hawaii,
as US Naval ships,are off Japans coast!!!

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 4:22 PM

I keep thinking of Spock’s demise at the end of Wrath of Kahn. Those poor, brave heroes in that plant.

John the Libertarian on March 16, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Drudge!
===========

US NUKE AGENCY: NOTHING TO STOP MELTDOWN

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 4:24 PM

With the entire world watching Fukushima right now, how attractive a target do you think IP must be for jihadis looking to strike big?

Exit answer: Not very, IMO. If I were a jihadi, I would have to overengineer any attack to ensure that I could overcome the damage inflicted by a 9.1 EQ followed by a horrific tsunami. Any common sense jihadi might think twice about his ability to do that, but…..I might be overestimating the average ‘common sense’ of a jihadi. *shrug*

ted c on March 16, 2011 at 4:25 PM

based on our independent analysis of the deteriorating situation — we all have watched on television and read about the damage at the various reactors and the potential for emissions

We watched TV and read the newspapers, and thought about what the TV and newspapers said.

misterpeasea on March 16, 2011 at 4:26 PM

TEPCO says a new power line to the plant is almost finished and should be online soon.

Bullsh*t. Run for the hills.

Mike Honcho on March 16, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Drudge!
===========

US NUKE AGENCY: NOTHING TO STOP MELTDOWN

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 4:24 PM

You have been posting some good links over the past few days, but please don’t refer to Drudge. He has been grossly negligent in his reporting. I’m going to bet that’s his summary of the article Allah linked above.

Seriously, Drudge can eff off regardless of the outcome of this.

fiatboomer on March 16, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Japan Radiation Maximum Prefecture(MAP-Interactive)
****************************************************

Updated on March 17, 2011 03:00 (JST)(Japan Standard Time)Not surprisingly, Miyagi and Fukushima are completely N/A,
as every single reading is Under Survey, also known as censored.nGy/h (nano- Grays per hour)Updated

http://www.targetmap.com/viewer.aspx?reportId=4870

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Will Obama be sending a Ferry?

portlandon on March 16, 2011 at 4:29 PM

evacuating the much greater number of Japanese is … not.

And please don’t forget the number of non-American, non-Japanese, AP!

Christien on March 16, 2011 at 4:31 PM

of course Obama will cause more panic.

More panic = less likelihood of nuclear plants ever getting built. This is a big wet kiss to the enviros. And part of his bigger goal of destroying the economy.

angryed on March 16, 2011 at 4:31 PM

Do they have a choice? Can you imagine the lawsuits if they didn’t evacuate and somebody caught cancer in 30 years?

WitchDoctor on March 16, 2011 at 4:32 PM

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 4:24 PM
You have been posting some good links over the past few days, but please don’t refer to Drudge. He has been grossly negligent in his reporting. I’m going to bet that’s his summary of the article Allah linked above.

Seriously, Drudge can eff off regardless of the outcome of this.

fiatboomer on March 16, 2011 at 4:29 PM

flatboomer:Only the headline,and ya,its great to get the
scoop,before he gets the news source!:)
===================================================

Unless I google for goodies,most of the links are from
Reuters Live site!!

http://live.reuters.com/Event/Japan_earthquake2

NHK Live Streaming(English).

http://live.nicovideo.jp/watch/lv43386411

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Since power hasn’t been restored yet, the next line of defense apparently involves sending police trucks to the plant to spray down the fuel rods with water cannons to try to keep them cool.

Sounds like trying to cool off a bonfire with a squirt gun.

JetBoy on March 16, 2011 at 4:33 PM

With the entire world watching Fukushima right now, how attractive a target do you think IP must be for jihadis looking to strike big?

Jack Bauer already thwarted that attack(mostly) in Season 4 of 24.

Doughboy on March 16, 2011 at 4:33 PM

You have been posting some good links over the past few days, but please don’t refer to Drudge. He has been grossly negligent in his reporting. I’m going to bet that’s his summary of the article Allah linked above.

Seriously, Drudge can eff off regardless of the outcome of this.

fiatboomer on March 16, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Seriously true. And when did Drudge start linking to Prison Planet on some of his “news” stories? Anyone know of a reliable alternative to Drudge?

BakerAllie on March 16, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Will Obama be sending a Ferry?

portlandon on March 16, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Kevin Jennings is going?

ted c on March 16, 2011 at 4:34 PM

A good question from Jake Tapper: Does this mean the White House thinks the threat from the leak is more dire than Japanese officials are letting on?

Jake Tapper, for some reason, is trying to get the WH to criticize the Japanese government. It’s a ridiculous line of questioning.

The French and Germans have already recommended their citizens leave. Each country tells its citizens what it believes is best.
The Japanese, in the end, will be the people left there to deal with it. Everyone else can leave if they want regardless of what their governments say.

MayBee on March 16, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Doughboy on March 16, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Good thing because Obama sure as sh** wouldn’t do anything.

ORconservative on March 16, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Oh yeah, if you go to that NRC link I posted be sure to follow the computer model link and then pay particular attention to the first paragraph…especially the bolded type.

Oldnuke on March 16, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Kevin Jennings is going?

ted c on March 16, 2011 at 4:34 PM

Captain Jennings.

The Love Boat Ferry.

portlandon on March 16, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Update: Those “extremely high” levels of radiation must be pretty extreme if they’re now taking this step:

The United States is deploying additional radiation monitors on Hawaii and other U.S. islands even though it does not expect harmful levels of radiation from damaged Japanese nuclear power plants to reach U.S. soil, environmental regulators said.

The Environmental Protection Agency without fanfare posted a notice on its website on Tuesday of plans to “work with its federal partners to deploy additional monitoring capabilities to parts of the western U.S. and U.S. territories.”

This is BS. All it’s going to do is pour fuel on the media fire.

fiatboomer on March 16, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Good thing because Obama sure as sh** wouldn’t do anything.

ORconservative on March 16, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Funny you mention that because the President that season was eerily similar to Obama. He didn’t wanna make any key decisions because of the potential political fallout and he delegated authority to others so he’d bear no responsibility for what happened. And of course at the end of the season, he eagerly accepted credit for any success that occurred that day.

Doughboy on March 16, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Drudge!
===========

US NUKE AGENCY: NOTHING TO STOP MELTDOWN

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 4:24 PM

Game over man! Get the space shuttle ready. We got to get our president off this planet..STAT!.
/

Electrongod on March 16, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Update: Those “extremely high” levels of radiation must be pretty extreme if they’re now taking this step:

Maybe, allah, but you are speculating.

Americans are getting themselves into a panic here. In typical fashion, we’ve taken someone else’s tragedy and turned it into worrying about *us*.
The radiation detectors could very well be to assuage the fears of Americans, founded or not.

MayBee on March 16, 2011 at 4:41 PM

STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS RELEASE
===============================

Your on your own——Good Luck

-President Hopey/Changey

(snark).

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Stand down people. The No Spin Zone has deemed this a non-event.

Hening on March 16, 2011 at 4:42 PM

The official status report:

http://www.jaif.or.jp/english/news_images/pdf/ENGNEWS01_1300273535P.pdf

If I read it correctly, they’re reporting 1937 micro sievert.

According to a BraveNewClimate post from yesterday:

Radiation Levels

o At 10:22AM (JST) on March 15, a radiation level of 400 milli sievert per hour was recorded outside secondary containment building of the Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

o At 3:30PM on March 15, a radiation level of 596 micro sievert per hour was recorded at the main gate of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

o At 4:30PM on March 15, a radiation level of 489 micro sievert per hour was recorded on the site of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

o For comparison, a human receives 2400 micro sievert per year from natural radiation in the form of sunlight, radon, and other sources. One chest CT scan generates 6900 micro sievert per scan.

So the levels are elevated but not yet critical, still within a year’s worth of background radiation.

Common Sense on March 16, 2011 at 4:45 PM

High radiation doses, “away from” block of the primary fire fighting
Mar 16 2011
10:22
***********

I want to do something, away -. Eruption of steam explosion or fire and a series of troubles and somehow 収Meyou, Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 16 days from early morning, work was continued by land and air of desperation. However, the thick walls of the radiation.

5:45 am. Was confirmed that the fire is rising from the fourth floor Unit 4 reactor building. Four fire engines, 17 firefighters rushed.

On-site fire brigade showed exposure to power plant (nuked) dose is 400 mSv per hour at 6:20 am today. It was extremely dangerous levels.

The one conductor, and a meeting room for fire fighting measures in emergency power plant. While waiting outside the main gate of the remaining 16 members, the information that the white smoke rising from No. 3. Eventually the fire brigade without checking the site and could not withdraw at 11:30 AM.

“Because people are not coming, are not able to pinpoint”

16 Thursday night, held at the headquarters conference Electric Power Company. Staff complained that the strong radiation makes it difficult to work with. Can not even grasp the situation in the field. Also confirmed that the smoke disappears raised from Unit 4 reactor building, but far away from the hill.

According to TEPCO, gathered yesterday morning in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant more than 180 people, working with fire and water work. But 43 minutes at 10 am, was 100 mSv of radiation dose measured per hour. Hit the annual dose limit for workers. Had to issue instructions to evacuate.

After about an hour, the measurements turned out to be false, but was later evacuated.

On this day, even three planes headed to the scene of the GSDF helicopters. UH1 helicopters and two aircraft CH47 transport helicopter. The board members have all had to wear protective clothing. It is flying in very limited movement.
(More….)

http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0316/TKY201103160433.html?ref=rss
=================

From

◦ Asahi: Fire at Daiichi reactor #4 caused radiation readings to reach “extremely dangerous level” of 400 mSv/hr at 6:20 am today … goo.gl
comment by daiichi_crisis at 3/16/2011 2:15:18 PM10:15 AM

http://live.reuters.com/Event/Japan_earthquake2

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 4:46 PM

We must do all we can to escalate a non-crisis crisis (to Americans, anyway) to ensure that the nuclear energy boogeyman is never, ever permitted to set foot within the public discourse.

Jeddite on March 16, 2011 at 4:46 PM

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 4:24 PM

Game over man! Get the space shuttle ready. We got to get our president off this planet..STAT!.
/

Electrongod on March 16, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Electrongod:Don`t forget the golf clubs,hehe!:)

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 4:48 PM

I wonder if Mr. Matthews thinks this is the time to mention that the Obamas’ won’t be vacationing in his birth state this year.

Cindy Munford on March 16, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Jeddite on March 16, 2011 at 4:46 PM

This is a crisis for Americans.

Christien on March 16, 2011 at 4:49 PM

We must do all we can to escalate a non-crisis crisis (to Americans, anyway) to ensure that the nuclear energy boogeyman is never, ever permitted to set foot within the public discourse.

Jeddite on March 16, 2011 at 4:46 PM

If we can prove that more people get hit by lightning than die from power plant spills, can we get a federal ban on lightning?

John the Libertarian on March 16, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Where can I buy Iodide pills?

Walgreens?

portlandon on March 16, 2011 at 4:51 PM

The United States is deploying additional radiation monitors on Hawaii and other U.S. islands even though it does not expect harmful levels of radiation from damaged Japanese nuclear power plants to reach U.S. soil, environmental regulators said.

The Environmental Protection Agency without fanfare posted a notice on its website on Tuesday of plans to “work with its federal partners to deploy additional monitoring capabilities to parts of the western U.S. and U.S. territories.”

I wouldn’t get concerned about this just yet. Even a negligible amount of radiation is something the EPA is going to flip out about. Sounds more like minimal preparedness. Worry when they’re sending iodide supplies to Hawaii.

MadisonConservative on March 16, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Deal with this among yourselves. Scooter’s too busy.

kingsjester on March 16, 2011 at 4:53 PM

The United States is deploying additional radiation monitors on Hawaii

We can only hope one of Barry’s vacations coincides.

Alden Pyle on March 16, 2011 at 4:55 PM

Heres a better NHK Online TV(English)

Very,very nice picture!!
============================

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/r/movie/index.html

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 4:55 PM

Update: Those “extremely high” levels of radiation must be pretty extreme if they’re now taking this step:

Did you just draw a logical conclusion from something Barack Obama did?

I would advise against such things.

HondaV65 on March 16, 2011 at 4:57 PM

According to this explanation:

BraveNewClimate

these reactors are designed for a safe meltdown, even if that should happen. Unless all of the layers of containment are compromised, which they haven’t been, a Chernobyl-like event can’t happen. On top of that, all of the reactors were automatically shut-down when the earthquake struck.

What I understand from the article is that the radiation being released in the steam has a very short (seconds) half-life which means only the people in the immediate vicinity are at risk during the short time before the elements degrade.

Common Sense on March 16, 2011 at 4:57 PM

portlandon on March 16, 2011 at 4:51 PM

KGW or another local station mentioned New Seasons.

Christien on March 16, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Living in Asia, I saw the US media induce an absolutely unwarranted panic among Americans when it came to SARS.

It’s as if nobody can have their own catastrophe. We have to assume it means something terrible is about to happen to us.

MayBee on March 16, 2011 at 5:02 PM

KGW or another local station mentioned New Seasons.

Christien on March 16, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Thank you.

portlandon on March 16, 2011 at 5:02 PM

NEWS AT TEN:
IS YOUR CHILD SAFE?
CHANNEL SEVEN EXPOSES THE LINK BETWEEN NUCLEAR ENERGY AND THIRD NIPPLES

blatantblue on March 16, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Thanks for the chart canopfor. There was some discussion on the BraveNewClimate site about whether they were reporting in micro or milli sievert. The chart you link to is in milli sieverts.

From Wikipedia, here are the conversions:

1 Sv = 1000 mSv (millisieverts) = 1,000,000 μSv (microsieverts) = 100 rem = 100,000 mrem (millirem)
1 mSv = 100 mrem = 0.1 rem
1 μSv = 0.1 mrem
1 rem = 0.01 Sv = 10 mSv
1 mrem = 0.00001 Sv = 0.01 mSv = 10 μSv

My math isn’t up to comparing the official report amounts with the chart. I think the 1937 micro sieverts reported equates with what I get as background radiation in Denver in a year – I think. Officials seem to be worried about the levels, but not too worried – yet.

Common Sense on March 16, 2011 at 5:10 PM

blatantblue on March 16, 2011 at 5:04 PM

What about the under-served minority that has a thing for third nipples?

Racist! Boobist!

turfmann on March 16, 2011 at 5:11 PM

OMG…I AM IN HAWAII!!!! Panic, tumolt, chaos, dogs and cats living together!! End of the world stuff…better go buy a gas mask or something…

Nevermind, I’ll go back to work now.

HawaiiLwyr on March 16, 2011 at 5:17 PM

Common Sense on March 16, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Some of what you said is incorrect. When the core is covered with water – then venting steam from the reactor results in only the radiation you’d find in the WATER – and that would be radioactive components of Nitrogen 16 and xenon – these things degrade quickly in the atmosphere.

But when the core is “uncovered” – not totally immersed in water – then you are going to vent some nasty radioactive components inherit to the core – like radioactive cesium and iodine. These things don’t quickly decay – BUT THEY CAN BE DISPERSED over a wide area in the gaseous form.

it sounds like they have an uncontrolled venting of at least two reactors – which means the containment vessels have ruptured in some manner. They will continue to vent until this is over – if VENTING steam and pressure is all they do (which is what I’m hoping for) – then everything will be okay I believe.

But if the cracks in the containment become bigger – and cannot contain the solid and liquid components of core meltdown – then there will be some lasting environmental damage – though not on the scale of Chernobyl.

I cannot even predict what may happen with the spent fuel pools – we had no such animal on the nuke subs I served on. That is beginning to scare me a bit.

Now – when I say “scare” – I mean a disaster that in someway has a lasting effect on the environment – no matter how small. I’m not scared that hundreds of Japanese will die from this – they won’t. And this isn’t going to impact the US in any way.

But any permanent environmental damage means we’ve lost this battle – the anti-nukes will make hay of that.

HondaV65 on March 16, 2011 at 5:19 PM

NUKE THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

Uh, what?

(Whatever happened to that Race Card dude who used to insult himself in his own posts?)

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on March 16, 2011 at 5:29 PM

i thought gibbsy was a bad act….this carney guy ain’t cuttin it…

cmsinaz on March 16, 2011 at 5:32 PM

ted c on March 16, 2011 at 4:22 PM

:)

cmsinaz on March 16, 2011 at 5:33 PM

My parents and my 2 youngest kids left this morning to spend spring break in Hawaii! Should I panic? Should I freak? Should I demand answers from our stellar administration? Maybe I should calm down and take a deep breath LIKE THE MSM NEEDS TO DO!! Inducing panic is not helpful.

hboulware on March 16, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Is this a correction to the story linked above about Hawaii?

(Reuters) – The United States is trying to deploy equipment in Japan that can detect radiation exposure at the ground level, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu told Congress on Wednesday.

Chu declined to tell lawmakers, when asked, whether he was satisfied with Japan’s response so far to its nuclear crisis.

“I can’t really say. I think we hear conflicting reports,” Chu said

fiatboomer on March 16, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Spiffy little link for calculating your annual dose from background.

Oldnuke on March 16, 2011 at 6:01 PM

(Whatever happened to that Race Card dude who used to insult himself in his own posts?)

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on March 16, 2011 at 5:29 PM

Hammer time. Banned a while ago.

Oldnuke on March 16, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Better question … Is this the one time the Obama regime isn’t lying?

I am going with the Japanese on this one.

tarpon on March 16, 2011 at 6:27 PM

HondaV65 on March 16, 2011 at 5:19 PM

I cannot even predict what may happen with the spent fuel pools – we had no such animal on the nuke subs I served on. That is beginning to scare me a bit.

It’s a problem, but not insurmountable. If they’re trying to use a standoff method like the fire trucks to arc water into the pool it may be because the water level had dropped enough that radiation levels on the floor of the operating deck make stay times too short to take effective actions from there. No danger of criticality, of course, MTC is still negative and as the water heats up Lth decreases. I’m just guessing here of course and things may be totally different from what I just said. There would have been something > 30 feet of water over the top of the assemblies at the start of this thing. IIRC 23′ is sufficient to mitigate a design basis fuel pool accident. It would take some time to boil away that much water but it would not last indefinitely without cooling and makeup. I am somewhat confused as to why they haven’t addressed this before now. It’s not like they didn’t know it was coming. Of course I’m not on the ground there and I don’t know what they’ve done or what they had available. I’ll leave the Monday morning quarterbacking to other folks.

But any permanent environmental damage means we’ve lost this battle – the anti-nukes will make hay of that.

I don’t think we’ll ever recover, so I guess it’s unicorns and fairy dust from now on. But hey I’m a pessimist.

Oldnuke on March 16, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Oldnuke on March 16, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Thanks for explaining that – what I’m gathering is that you think it would take a long time to boil off the water covering those spent fuel rods?

Well – some of the fuel pools in question weren’t in ground – at least one they’re having a problem with is on the fifth floor of one of the containment buildings I think – a Containment Building that suffered an explosion. If the watertight integrity of the pool was damaged from below – then the water would leak out wouldn’t it?

HondaV65 on March 16, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Thanks for explaining that – what I’m gathering is that you think it would take a long time to boil off the water covering those spent fuel rods?

Yes, but I’m guessing days and not weeks or months. We had specs on how long it would take but I can’t remember what they were. It’s not something that was at the forefront of our minds. I may be able to find out tomorrow. If I do I’ll let you know.

Well – some of the fuel pools in question weren’t in ground – at least one they’re having a problem with is on the fifth floor of one of the containment buildings I think – a Containment Building that suffered an explosion. If the watertight integrity of the pool was damaged from below – then the water would leak out wouldn’t it?

Think of it as an above ground olympic size swimming pool about 40 feet deep. Thick reinforced concrete walls with a thick stainless steel liner inside it. Here’s a picture. You see the assembly suspended below the crane. There’s a minimum of 23′ of water over the top of it by design. The fuel assembly is about 12′ tall. That honeycomb you see at the bottom of the pool are the fuel racks. They are the same height as the assemblies and sized so the the assembly fits down inside of it. That sidewalk the guy is standing on is the wall of the pool so you can see about how thick it is. It would have been seismically designed too. Able to withstand a design basis earthquake. Although they exceeded that I’m certain that the pool came through it Ok. It could be breached but it would take a pretty good whack. All the piping is designed so that if broken outside the pit you can’t have a siphon effect either.

HondaV65 on March 16, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Oldnuke on March 16, 2011 at 7:19 PM

I don’t think we’ll ever recover, so I guess it’s unicorns and fairy dust from now on. But hey I’m a pessimist.

Oldnuke on March 16, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Last nuclear plant to go online in the US: 1996

Last oil refinery built in the US: 1976

What’s there to recover from? The chicken-little environmentalists have been winning, haven’t they? However, I’ll only become seriously pessimistic about the future of nuclear power here when I start seeing a largescale movement which succeeds at preventing nuclear plants’ 40-year licences from being renewed.

Bizarro No. 1 on March 16, 2011 at 7:43 PM

“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.”

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2014506913_apasjapanearthquake.html

pedestrian on March 16, 2011 at 8:02 PM

To paraphrase John Ringo:
In chimpanzee society when faced with an overwhelming or previously unknown threat, such as the first time they heard a rifle shot, the tribe would act in a hysterical manner. Some would try to fight, some would run, some would bluff, others would hide or simply collapse. With no way to logically evaluate the threat, the very randomness ensured that some would survive and, presumably, reproduce. It is an evolutionary method to ensure survival.
It’s a pain in the ass in humans, though.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on March 16, 2011 at 8:06 PM

This is the kind of thing that is really pissing me off:

Update: Those “extremely high” levels of radiation must be pretty extreme if they’re now taking this step:

Really ? You don’t think its possible that a feckless government that could engender some amount of goodwill through the minimal effort of providing radiation detectors wouldn’t do so in only a CYA manner ? That taking this very minor action MUST be because the situation half a world away is catastrophic ?

Unbelievable. It means NOTHING other than the government is more than willing to spend someone else’s money (and not very much of it, either) to look good while actually accomplishing not a goddamned thing.

deadrody on March 16, 2011 at 8:10 PM

Here is the real story that should be headlined.

For Japan Tsunami Survivors, Woes Keep Mounting(Reuters) – Nearly a week after their home town was annihilated in a catastrophic tsunami, the 1,000-plus survivors of the small Japanese fishing town of Otsuchi are hanging by a thread.

With no water or electricity, and scant food, survivors keep each other company at one of three emergency shelters on the outskirts of what remains of the town. “You can’t wash your hands or face,” says 72-year-old Katsu Sawayama, seated in the middle of the high school gymnasium, the biggest of the shelters in a town where more than half the 17,000 residents are still missing.

Adding to their woes, an unseasonal snowstorm sent temperatures plunging to below zero and blanketed acres of tsunami debris in white…
Like tens of thousands of people along Japan’s northeast coast, the Otsuchi survivors have nowhere else to go. Meals are barely enough to sustain them — half a rice ball and a small bowl of miso soup is a luxury; a slice of bread might have to feed a family of three.

“Whatever they give us, we just gratefully receive. At least they’re feeding us three times a day,” said Sayawama.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/16/us-japan-quake-town-idUSTRE72FA1520110316

Deanna on March 16, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Oldnuke, the unit with the spent fuel problem is unit 4 that just did a full core offload of recently irradiated fuel. Their time to boil would be in hours, not days, especially with no cooling.

That fuel pool is in a bad, bad way.

deadrody on March 16, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Will Obama be sending a Ferry?

portlandon on March 16, 2011 at 4:29 PM

If they do the locals will protest it.

Hawaii Superferry fiasco

alohapundit on March 16, 2011 at 8:37 PM

Oldnuke, the unit with the spent fuel problem is unit 4 that just did a full core offload of recently irradiated fuel. Their time to boil would be in hours, not days, especially with no cooling.

That fuel pool is in a bad, bad way.

deadrody on March 16, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Yeah I know it had a hot core in it but what’s the capacity of the pool and how many other assemblies are in it. I’m not sure how many fuels assemblies that a reactor of that generation and size holds either or what the actual capacity of the spent fuel pool is. What I said was a guess and unless someone is familiar with that type plant that’s all they can do. Our pool was pretty much maxed out all the time with us making room by moving assemblies to an above ground storage facility. The Japanese though have a centralized reprocessing and storage facility that they can transfer to. I’ve also heard some talk that they have an above ground storage facility in addition, but haven’t had time to confirm that. Are you speaking from actual experience with a GE BWR? If so in what capacity, and how did you arrive at that hours comment. If you’ve got experience on these things feed us some details.

Oldnuke on March 16, 2011 at 8:49 PM

I’m sure there’s a logical reason for it – but it just seems to me that storing the spent fuel in the same building with the reactor invites problems.

I mean – a serious reactor casualty also buys you the complication of dealing with the possibility of experiencing issues with the spent fuel.

It just seems to me – that to minimize problems you should move the spent stuff off site.

Then again – perhaps there is no practical way to do that – it’s still hot and moving it would be difficult I suppose – but why not to another building on site then?

HondaV65 on March 16, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Move along, nothing to see here….

BallisticBob on March 16, 2011 at 9:06 PM

Mmm. Allah, haven’t seen anyone post this here as of yet (although I may have missed it in one thread or another)….but here is a link to a site that seems to be posting full reactor status updates every few hours. If it’s correct, then the radiation levels at the plant boundary are currently pretty high at 1472 micro sieverts/hr.

taboo on March 17, 2011 at 12:44 AM

impending apocalypse

Allahpundit, this is not for you. No need to click this link.

apacalyps on March 17, 2011 at 2:04 AM