Monday, March 21, 2011

The Hindenburg in March 1936. The name of the ...Image via Wikipedia
The Zeppelin LZ 129 Hindenburg. It too blew up because it used an inherently dangerous technology. 

Monday Morning EDT/ Monday Evening Japan Time Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster Etc.

Over 21,000 persons are dead or missing after the earthquake and tsunami.

New Smoke at Fukushima Daiichi
CNN reported this morning that after 6PM today white smoke spewed from reactor 2 today two hours after gray smoke was seen  for a while coming from reactor 3.
Workers were evacuated at that time. Reactor 3 uses plutonium MOX fuel which potentially is the most harmful to human life. It is said that a very small amount (how small is a subject of vigorous and ridiculous debate, but it is safe to say the amount is vanishingly small) of plutonium lodged in one's lung could lead to death. The burning rods could emit aerosolized plutonium which is considered the most dangerous form of the heavy metal, even by defenders of the nuclear industry who have made claims that the metal is not so deadly as advertised. 
Japanese nuclear official Hidehiko Nishiyama said the cause of the smoke was unknown, but that there was no explosion and that there were no spikes in radiation.
Later authorities admitted radiation spiked one kilometer west of the facility from 494 microsieverts at 5:40 p.m. to 1,932 at 6:30 p.m. Monday evening Japan time. By 8:30 p.m. readings dropped to 442, reported the Washington Post.   If radiation spiked 400% one kilometer west of the plant away from the prevailing winds, one's thoughts are inevitably led to ponder how high the readings were at the plant or downwind.

Electrical Connections Made But No Power yet to Four Reactors
Today officials reported that electricity was connected to  reactors 3 & 4. All reactors now are connected. But reactors 1,2,3,& 4 do not have power because of the damage caused by the earthquake, the tsunami, and the explosions caused by hydrogen gas produced when water was used in an attempt to cool the reactors soon after the events of last week.
The heating of the water around the reactors caused by nuclear material actually separated the water molecules into their explosive component atoms. The Zeppelin LZ 129 Hindenburg explosion of May 6, 1937 was caused by the very same mix of elemental gases.

Concrete To Be Poured Into Cooling Ponds and Reactors?
Officials announced that they were working on tests for what they called a "concrete pump engine" for encasing the spent fuel pools in the material to prevent the emission of radioactive materials despite the burning fuel rods.

Food Contamination
Milk 100 km from the plant was found to exceed acceptable levels for radiation. That is halfway to Tokyo from Fukushima Daiichi. Authorities said that drinking the milk or the spinach would not be a threat to human health if it was limited to "a couple of times". Farmers in the area are now throwing away milk.

Wind direction has favored the Japanese since the accident. Most of the time it has been blowing towards the east out to sea but forecasts indicate that may change Wednesday.

Meanwhile Back At the Ranch
Meanwhile in the United States there has been a reassessment by many of the wisdom of embracing the blue glow of nuclear power. The New York Times quotes Purdue Professor of Political Science Daniel B. Aldrich as saying that nuclear evacuation plans are "fantasy documents". The Times tells us that evacuation of an area around the Indian Point reactor 35 miles from Manhattan with a population of 20 million in the metropolitan area is a problem that is gaining "renewed attention". The last report on the effectiveness of the current evacuation plan done in 2003 stated "that the plans were drafted to comply with regulations rather than to create an effective strategy to protect the population, and that they assumed people would comply with government directives rather than do what seemed to be in their own best interests." said the Times. The Times reports that a 50 mile evacuation plan for Indian Point "does not exist". 

Workers' Problems
Rubble from damage to the compound continues to interfere with the efforts of workers to combat the problems there. Workers at the site believe they have not been given sufficient information on the status of radiation there says NHK.
Plant 2 continues to spew steam reports NHK World English at 8:15 EDT Monday

Bad Water
Officials reported radioactive iodine at three times the allowable level in the village of Iidate in Fukushima district. Village leaders asked that tap water not be consumed unless there was no other water available.
Several areas around Fukushima prefect are reporting higher than normal levels of radiation but authorities are saying the levels are not dangerous.

 Bad Food
According  to Reuters, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that radiation in Japanese food is a lot worse than anyone thought.

Nuclear Sympathetic Links
Status Chart of Reactors can be found on this page as provided by JAIF (Japan Atomic Industrial Forum).

Disaster updates provided by Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 

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