Sunday, March 13, 2011

Further Problems at Fukushima Reactors

There has been an explosion at the Fukushima #1 reactor site. This is believed to have been caused by a hydrogen build-up due to a partial meltdown of the reactor core. This is likely to have only destroyed the outer building that surrounds the reactor core containment shell. Four people have been reported as injured - and whilst there have been nuclear fissile contaminants detected around the plant, the government are saying that no major radioactive leak has occurred.

Reports indicate that they have already started pumping seawater into the core to reduce the temperature. This action will almost certainly mean these reactors will not be re-started. This should however avert the risk of further meltdown. Whilst there will inevitably be lessons learned from this disaster, it raises some serious questions about both the design and the inherent vulnerability to power infrastructure in Japan. That is a discussion for another day however.

To make things worse, Fukushima prefecture has also just been hit by a magnitude 6 earthquake as an aftershock - in itself a serious earthquake. It is speculated that due to the extreme severity of this earthquake, the earth's crust has been highly activated and that many other large earthquakes are now likely, even well beyond the normal aftershocks.

The nuclear power plant problems are to some extent hiding the much larger problem of the extreme inundation of the miyagi and surrounding prefectures.

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