Don't think that just because Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant isn't spawning the same number of headlines it was two weeks ago that things are getting any better. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and those seems to be exactly the kinds of measures Tokyo Electric is taking at its stricken facility. Kyodo News reports that starting tomorrow, a remotely controlled robot will begin hosing debris at the site with a water-soluble resin in an untested effort to keep radioactive particles in place.
In other words, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is going to shellac its nuclear facility grounds in an effort to make it safer for workers and ensure radioactive particles don't catch a ride on the wind.
To quote Kyodo: Within the compound, masses of debris are strewn about the plant as a result of explosions, and this is making it very difficult for plant workers to bring the crisis under control. While frantic efforts are under way to cool reactors and remove water contaminated with high levels of radiation from facilities in the plant, the government hopes to facilitate the task by making it safe for workers to perform. The resin is designed to prevent dirt containing radioactive substances being scattered in the wind, the officials said.
On its face, it sounds like a logical enough idea if you've got enough resin (and it doesn't start pouring rain). But it also sounds like a page from the very back of the playbook, suggesting TEPCO may be getting desperate to assert any kind of control over the unraveling situation at Fukushima (to be fair, the company acknowledges the shellacking is a temporary measure to contain radioactive substances).
Yesterday a former GE safety expert who was employed when the reactors were installed in the '70s said he believes Japan has "lost the race" to prevent meltdown and that it appears at least one reactor core had melted through it's containment vessel and hit the concrete floor below. That's extremely not good. Though we're not facing a Chernobyl-esque explosion and plume, rest assured (if you weren't already) the environmental situation in Japan is going to get worse before it gets better.
Thats what you get from slaughtering all those helpless whales and dolphins.... the world is round after all, you get what you deserve. Let that be a lesson to you Japan, nature is "bi-winning".
@ SisaR: That's the most bigoted thing I've read in some time, even for the internet. I do hope that in the future your home be utterly destroyed, your family members lost and possibly killed, and radiation be seeping into your bones, so that others may bring up the negative things you do (because you do them, like every other human being does) and smile over your wasting body and make it seem as though your circumstances are fair punishment.
In response to the article, I think it's telling that there is no news any more on it, at least in America. Our media is too finicky. I certainly hope that this gives the workers time to curtail this problem long enough to seal it off permanently.
SisaR, I'm not sure that you correctly understand the issue here ... When something like this happens, it doesn't just happen in Japan. You said it yourself the world is round, radiation travels via the air and water, now its in both and your worried about talking crap to people that are going through the worst disaster in history, so stfu quit being an ignorant child about this and maybe you could help.
We are american's we only care for a little while, most of us have forgotten this already. Honestly I think we should "entomb" it like chernobyl, sure its crazy dangerous but at least we don't have 10000x the normal limits of radiation spewing into the air and water around the plant.
SisaR. That is really stupid coming from a Narutard. You do realize that there wont be any new Naruto manga/ anime for a long long time right?
Now go cry.
I wouldn't flood the structure with whatever material they want to cover it with though so that in a decade or two, it will be easily accessible for robots to go extract all radioactive fuel left in there.
extremely not good. perhaps even double-plus ungood!
I guess some don't get the south park reference.
Japan and other countries are pretty much equal in their damage to the earth.
I am worried that this problem will harm other animals and humans.
Shame SisaR isn't willing to produce a solution or volunteer to repair the reactors.
I feel so bad for the Japanese people, but I am really glad that popsci is continuing to report on the situation, despite loss of public interest. I don't think many people realize the magnitude of the situation. As for the science aspect, I am hoping that the situation will able to be maintained for the most part with robots that will not be affected by the radiation. I think that the robots are a huge advantage that we have now, when in Chernobyl only people could be used to try and contain the radiation.
SisaR , I loved you comment.. but you forgot a few other things teh Jap's like to eat SCALLOPED HAMMERHEAD, SHARK FIN SOUP AND ABOUT 1000 OTHER ZIP' WAYS TO EAT SHARKS BY THE THOUSANDS, ENDANGERED BLUE FIN TUNA, PROTECTED SEA TURTLES, ENDANGERED ASIAN BEARS, ENDANGERED FIN WHALES ... in addition to crap that goes on like the dolphin killing and rediculous whale meat crap...
xenophobes won't liten tocrap, they're arrogent and set in their ways, it's why it took a PAIR of nukes to make 'em quit.
The zips deserve everything, it's a shame it'll hit the pacific north west if it goes pop. would be alright if there was something like a concave radiation mirror in place just off there coast, focused about a mile inland of the tokyo shoreline :) let 'em fry like ants under a mgnifying glassand watch as their faces melt and their eyes HISS & POP!
put a frigate off shore with loud speakers repeating over and over "tell me how your blue fin tastes when your face melts and your tongue drips down into your stomach!"
@ anyone who bashes anyone who's in some pretty deep @#$%^& right now:
wow. remind me to shoot you in the stomach, then say "ooh, looks like you wont be exacerbating the global food crisis anymore like you've been doing simply by existing."
@ anyone who wants to talk about the subject at hand:
it is quite possible that meltdown has already occurred, but i believe that the "core catcher" that GE built in these things to catch a molten core would probably hold, given that it's not actually concrete but a graphite crucible looking thing.
Sure as heck hope they dont turn all Chernobyl on us. I live in the pacific northwest.
I think SisaR was making an allusion to a joke that South Park made. Perhaps I'm wrong.
I hope American reactors have better failsafes. Better yet I hope the whole world is able to learn from whats happening in Japan and improve upon nuclear containment technology
This sensationalist headline is false and mis-leading. It does not agree with the body of the article. There is no mention that the situation is getting worse, only that there are on-going steps to contain and clean up. The shellac is being used to keep dust down NOT to seal the reactor.
Sensationalist headlines like this are expected in a low-caliber rag, but I thought Pop Sci would be more responsible.
@Roy_H maybe you missed the part where the article says:
"Yesterday a former GE safety expert who was employed when the reactors were installed in the ‘70s said he believes Japan has "lost the race" to prevent meltdown and that it appears at least one reactor core had melted through it’s containment vessel and hit the concrete floor below. That’s extremely not good. "
Sounds an awful lot like things are getting worse and clean up is still a secondary concern. In fact it the article quotes Kyodo saying: "Within the compound, masses of debris are strewn about the plant as a result of explosions, and this is making it very difficult for plant workers to bring the crisis under control." They don't have the situation under control, and it seems you don't understand that containment is the crisis. The only change the title needs is to add "grounds" after reactor to properly reflect the effect the shellac will have, otherwise yeah I think the situation is getting worse by the day and this is a move to gain control.
@Sisar & Ptv83
the japanese do some incredibly shamefull things, the rest of us are not innocent, please keep things in perspective
@Roy_H I agree that the headline is misleading. They aren't sealing the reactor at all, but are going to spray varnish around the rubble outside to stop radioactive dust.
Good idea, bad headline.
I'm guessing SisaR is from the EPA >.> Get real dude. Japan may not of made the best choices but no country deserves something like this that can destroy their families. They are THE most organized country in the world...if this is hurting them this much, imagine what it would be like if this happened in the U.S. or any other country. I mean come on, we could barely keep order during huricane katrina.
*D Ace Lee*
Sorry about that mistake. We couldn't keep order in Katrina AT ALL.
*D Ace Lee*
what people fail to mention is that this situation at the Fukoshima Dichii plant is a great excuse to open a new alternative energy source for the world. Germany's got it right: solar power is the way to go. Come on, hook up some international soalr power plants in Antarctica, put a high-voltage transoceanic cable under the ice and... voila! You've got a permanent international power plant (assuming that china doesn't hog all the power for charging their electric vehicles).
Seems to me that at some point it gets declared "Talking's Done, Time To Respond". It's going to have to be poured over with something substantial that's not going to just immediately cook off. They used boron, sand, lead, and concrete on Chernobyl. Has anyone heard of any specific materials we are offering to send them? I'm going to go dig around and see what I can find. Anything to be sent will take time to get there, and I haven't heard of anything yet, but I'll come back and post if I find anything.
Ooo thats not good at all, meltdown material is pretty much unstoppable, its so hot it just keeps on melting the surface underneath it, so if it keeps on melting, its going to come out here in USA, i wonder if the little kid is going to peak out of the hole and say "letgo my eggo"! But no, all jokes aside, that sucks. For everyone, not just poor Japanese people, God Bless them.