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TEPCO's venting of radioactive steam from a reactor at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant came too late, but even after the utility acted, a series of hydrogen explosions at the plant's reactor buildings quickly turned the situation into a nightmare the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency had never anticipated.

Under ordinary circumstances, reactor containment vessels that cover pressure vessels contain nearly no oxygen, making it almost impossible for the substance to chemically react with hydrogen and set off a blast. Even if hydrogen is generated in a reactor, it should not leak from the containment vessel. But after the disaster damaged pipe joints in the reactor building, hydrogen from inside the reactor leaked into the outer structure.


So this would be steam that had escaped from the steel reactor pressure vessel via pipe joints and gaskets pressurizing the dry well concrete vessel sufficiently to stretch the bolts holding down the service plug whose removal allows access to the steel reactor vessel from the service floor above. Hydrogen from the thermal decomposition of the zirconium tubes around the fuel pellets in the core gets first into the concrete containment vessel from the steel pressure vessel and then into the service floor. Explosions have variously occurred in the steel vessel, at least in the torus, in the concrete containment vessel, helping to stretch the bolts, perhaps, and in the service area, blowing off the tops of buildings.

In addition, conditions have been such that inspections have not been performed in the reactor buildings to determine if the earthquakes have caused any cracks in the containment vessels. But we are getting statements to the effect that the situation is stabilizing.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 15th, 2011 at 08:15:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile, back in Tokyo:

Pressure grows on Kan to quit / Alleged remark on Fukushima draws fire from both sides Yomiuri

Calls are growing louder in both the ruling and opposition camps for Prime Minister Naoto Kan to step down over his alleged remark that evacuees from around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant "will not be able to return for 10 to 20 years." Kenichi Matsumoto, an advisor to the Kan administration, said Wednesday the prime minister made the remark during talks the two had that day. Kan has strongly denied Matsumoto's claim.

....

A longtime friend of Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, Matsumoto is known as part of Kan's brain trust, and recently made a series of proposals to the prime minister regarding restoration work in the disaster-stricken areas. Just after his talks with Kan on Wednesday, Matsumoto quoted the prime minister as having said evacuees near the plant would be unable to return to their hometowns for 10 to 20 years....Later the same day, however, Matsumoto said he had misquoted the prime minister. What was reported as a statement by Kan was actually something said by Matsumoto, he said.

One of the DPJ lawmakers critical of Kan is Shinji Tarutoko, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Fundamental National Policies. In a Thursday meeting of DPJ Diet members he heads, Tarutoko said, "I strongly believe such circumstances are not beneficial to the interests of the nation." He was apparently referring to the alleged remark. A senior DPJ lawmaker close to party heavyweight and Kan rival Ichiro Ozawa said: "The prime minister just doesn't understand how disaster victims feel, and I want him to quit after the first supplementary budget for fiscal 2011 [for disaster relief programs] becomes law."

....

The opposition camp has been more aggressive, with Liberal Democratic Party President Sadakazu Tanigaki calling on Thursday for Kan to resign as prime minister as soon as possible. LDP legislator Bunmei Ibuki, a former finance minister, said at a meeting of his group the same day: "The existence itself of the Kan Cabinet is a massive disaster [for this country]." Ibuki also said some DPJ legislators have asked the LDP "to help topple the Kan administration."

So, replace a Prime Minister with a physics background who is handling nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima because an advisor spoke an unpalatable truth to the public. Is there anyone with leadership experience that has close to a similar technical background? Is it the public or the power companies with whom they are concerned? The power companies surely would not want the people to realize that many evacuees may never be able to go home, regardless of the truth of the matter.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 15th, 2011 at 08:39:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the physics background for if the man was a nuclear advocate, and still is?

The following is sick evil if so true:

So what will happen is, for example, they'll take a farm's vegetables that are known to be highly irradiated, and mix them with vegetables from other farms that were not so badly hit, until the average level of radiation in the larger batch is low enough to pass inspection. Because inspections will be looking for averages: "Becquerels per kilogram."

The Japanese people are being encouraged -- made to feel its their patriotic duty -- to slip as much of the hot stuff through as possible! Based on Kan's remarks, and on what happened (and still happens) throughout Ukraine after Chernobyl, and what happened after Three Mile Island to milk supplies (including for chocolate bars sold all around the world from nearby Hershey, Pennsylvania), that's what they will be doing -- are already doing -- in Japan.

And you can be sure of another rule of thumb, thank's to Kan's pronouncements: Sell the "hot" produce to foreigners, especially! Why? Because after all, the more you spread it around, the safer it is, right? If it's below legal limits, it's safe, right? So spread it around! Especially to countries that don't have a good inspection program in place. Or that just don't care.

by das monde on Sun Apr 24th, 2011 at 06:42:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
das monde:
Because inspections will be looking for averages: "Becquerels per kilogram."

How are inspections done? Methinks with samples smaller than a kilogram, so dilution has its limits.

My other problem with the article is that I couldn't find the actual quote from Kan, only paraphrases. The only relevant news I can find is:

Fukushima no seisanbutsu wo tabete kudasai! | Nippon Sekai - Japan via Videos, Photos, Webcams

In an attempt to calm growing fears regarding radiation contaminated produce from Fukushima Prefecture, the Japanese government has also gotten involved in a public campaign which says it is safe to purchase and consume food from the area which have undergone extensive monitoring for cesium and iodine contamination.

The governments message is simple and clear, "only safe food is being distributed, please eat it."  Both Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano have undertaken individual public "photo/video opportunity" appearances which show them consuming produce from Fukushima that has been declared safe.

...Farmers from Fukushima and surrounding prefectures now fit into two categories. Some cannot be helped by promotion of any kind, because they have products that truly are unfit for sale or consumption. The rest have products that pass inspection, but they are finding that wholesalers are reluctant to buy them, figuring shoppers will still resist.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 25th, 2011 at 12:28:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
asahi.com(朝日新聞社):Radiation fears heap fresh calamity on quake survivors - English

Fear of radioactive contamination from the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is driving down prices of food products from areas near the plant, piling on the misery for producers struggling to recover from the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Representatives from Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, told Michihiko Kano, the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, on Friday that fear among consumers was the latest in the series of disasters to hit them.

"We have been hit four times: the earthquake, tsunami, nuclear accidents and now these harmful rumors," one representative said.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 25th, 2011 at 12:32:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JA Ibaraki to seek 1.8 bil yen in damages for farm products from TEPCO | Kyodo News
An agricultural cooperative in Ibaraki Prefecture is considering seeking some 1.85 billion yen ($22 million) from the operator of a stricken nuclear plant for hurting the image of the prefecture's farm products, its officials said Monday.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 25th, 2011 at 12:48:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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