Saturday, August 03, 2013

Fukushima Updates

Aug 3, 2013

Dr. Robert Jacobs Explains The Meltdowns At Fukushima member, Dr. Robert Jacobs of the Hiroshima Peace Institute addressed an audience in Kazakhstan to explain the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi and the damage known to have happened before the tsunami. (text transcript below)
Version of this video with French subtitles available here
French transcript below after the English transcript.
He says (along with others) that the earthquake alone caused the coolant to fail, and started the meltdown even before power loss with the tsunami, and that means every power plant is unsafe in an earthquake area
On March 11, 2011 at 2:46 in the afternoon, a 9.0 earthquake struck about 70 km offshore of Northern Japan. The earthquake shook violently for over five minutes. Buildings in Tokyo, 373 km away rocked badly, and oil refineries in the Tokyo suburbs caught fire. It was the largest recorded earthquake in Japanese history, and one of the five largest earthquakes since the beginning of earthquake record keeping began.
At 3:35, 49 minutes later, a 14 meter tsunami wave hit the Fukushima nuclear complex, flooding over the seawalls and inundating nuclear plant units 1, 2, 3, & 4.
These two events, the earthquake and the tsunami, substantially exceeded safety design assumptions for the nuclear power plants. They had been designed to withstand an earthquake of 8.2, and had a seawall built to withstand a tsunami of 5.7 meters. The earthquake that struck on 3/11 was eight times larger than design assumptions, and the tsunami was more than twice as high as the design assumptions. The plant designers had assumed that they built the plant to withstand any earthquake and tsunami that was likely for over a thousand years. These assumptions were wrong.
Fukushima units 1, 2, & 3 were operating at the time of the earthquake. Unit #4 was shut down for routine maintenance and refueling. The three operating plants all experienced total meltdown of their nuclear fuel. Unit 4 lost cooling to its large pool of spent fuel rods, and this fuel experienced significant melting as well. All four plants experienced explosions that dispersed radioactive material into the ocean, but also across large areas of Northern Japan, including many parts of Tokyo...

David McNeil and Jake Adelstein interviewed several TEPCO workers who were at the plants when the earthquake and tsunami both hit. They spoke on conditions of anonymity since they still worked for TEPCO at the time. One worker told them: “I personally saw pipes that came apart and I assume that there were many more that had been broken throughout the plant. There’s no doubt that the earthquake did a lot of damage inside the plant.There were definitely leaking pipes…I also saw that part of the wall of the turbine building for Unit 1 had come away. That crack might have affected the
Another worker told them: “the first impact (of the earthquake) was so intense you could see the building shaking, the pipes buckling, and within minutes I saw pipes bursting. Some fell off the wall. Others snapped.” The workers were ordered to evacuate the plant, but, says this second worker, “I was severely alarmed because as I was leaving…I could see that several pipes had cracked open, including what I believed were cold water supply pipes. That would mean that the coolant couldn’t get to the reactor core. If you can’t sufficiently get the coolant to the core, it melts down.” He told them that as he was headed to his car he could see the walls of the unit 1 building had already started to collapse. He said, “There were holes in them. In the first few minutes.”
Another worker reported that, quote: “I was in a building nearby when the earthquake shook. After the second shockwave hit, I heard a loud explosion that was almost deafening. I looked out the window and I could see white smoke coming from reactor one. I thought to myself, ‘this is the end.’”