Spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO, confirm that the No.2 reactor at the Fukishima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan has had a core meltdown that has leaked through the containment vessel. Water from the reactor used in efforts to cool the core′s fuel rods is highly radioactive, some 3,300 times more than legal limits. Also, more evidence of plutonium released from the No.3 reactor was also confirmed. TEPCO officials have finally admitted that they see no alternative but to shutdown and seal the four damaged reactors.
Other news from the site of the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl is of the appalling working conditions at the facility. The brave staff and volunteers risking their lives to battle the troubled reactors have been facing shortages of food, water and protective clothing. Several workers have been hospitalized due to a lack of proper boots. So short, contaminated water was able to seep above the tops of the boots, exposing the men to dangerous doses of Beta-rays. There has also been a lack of freshwater for showering, an essential part of decontamination procedures.
Now, some 19 days after the crisis began with the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, a U.S.-built robot, designed for measuring radiation and assessing damage, is being flown to Japan. Hallelujah! Will wonders never cease? One might consider sending them a case of tall boots, too. Maybe some MREs and other items the plant workers need as well? I can understand that Japan has its pride and may have some cultural issues when it comes to requesting help. But given that they were hot with not one, but three major disasters all at once, their government should have been more open to outside help.
TEPCO officials have finally admitted that the four damaged reactors at the Fukishima Daiichi nuclear power plant cannot be salvaged and must be entombed. They also finally confirmed that the core of the No.2 reactor did meltdown so badly that the radioactive fuel burned through the containment vessel. The radiation levels of the water from that reactor are now some 3,300 times above legal limits. The leakage of plutonium from No.3 reactor also appears to be more serious than previously reported. Tokyo Electric Power Company officials are now also facing the issue of what to do with all of the water that had been used to efforts to cool the fuel rods? As I have written in previous articles, this is going to be a lengthy process of entombing and dealing with the damaged reactors. Chernobyl took nearly 3 months. I suspect Japan will need to plan on six months to a year, if not longer, before their plant is properly sealed. Only after which, can an accurate, methodical survey of the surrounding area, if not the whole nation, reveal just how badly water and soil contamination is.