The Unsuitablog

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International Atomic Energy Agency Spinning Like Crazy!

Posted by keith on March 13th, 2011

Courtesy of BBC News website

In the light of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsumani, government and internation agencies are working like crazy to ensure no news remains good news regarding the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Yet from the BBC we hear the following:

There are now problems at the number three reactor – the concern is that it is overheating. They’re trying to pump sea water through it at the moment. That’s an unusual, somewhat innovative solution to the problem. But the fact that they’re prepared to consider unusual solutions like that gives you a hint of just how serious the problem is.

This is a very difficult issue for the Japanese government. There has always been concern here about the safety of nuclear power stations, about the wisdom of building nuclear power stations, on which Japan relies hugely for its energy needs, in a country which is so prone to earthquakes.

They’re also aware that they don’t want to cause panic. On Saturday we saw the exclusion zone around this plant gradually increase. First of all it was just a few kilometres, now it’s much wider. But obviously once that exclusion zone is extended, you’ve then got to get the people out. So it’s important, they would say, not to cause unnecessary panic. And that’s why they’re trying to play this down as much as they can.

The World Nuclear Association are being fairly up-front with the facts, albeit holding back on speculation about possible outcomes; thus we read from them:

Operations to relieve pressure in the containment of Fukushima Daiichi 3 have taken place after the failure of a core coolant system.

The news comes one day after the plant’s first reactor was effectively written off as a result of a hydrogen explosion and the move to inject seawater to make certain of cooling the reactor core. Two days ago were the earthquake and tsunami that have proven Japan’s worst ever natural disaster.

Reactors 1, 2 and 3 were in operation at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (Tepco’s) east coast power station when the earthquake struck. Three other reactors were already shut for inspection and all three operating units underwent automatic shutdown as expected. Because plant power and grid power were unavailable during the earthquake, diesel generators started automatically to supply power for decay heat removal.

This situation continued for one hour until the plant was hit by the tsunami wave, which stopped the generators and left the plant in black-out conditions. The loss of power meant inevitable rises in temperature within the reactor system as well increases in pressure. Engineers fought for many hours to install mobile power units to replace the diesels and managed to stabilise conditions at units 2 and 3.

However, there was not enough power to provide sufficient coolant to unit 1, which came under greater and greater strain from falling water levels and steady pressure rises. Tepco found it necessary yesterday to vent steam from the reactor containment. Next, the world saw a sharp hydrogen explosion destroy a portion of the reactor building roof. Prime minister Naoto Kan ordered the situation brought under control by the injection of seawater to the reactor vessel.

Now Tepco has reported it has not been able to restart unit 3′s high pressure injection system after an automatic stop. This has left the reactor without sufficient coolant and obligated Tepco to notify government of an emergency situation.

Yet what do we hear from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which purports to speak for the entire nuclear industry and all governments that have nuclear capability:

Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that Units 1, 2, and 4 at the Fukushima Daini retain off-site power. Daini Unit 3 is in a safe, cold shutdown, according to Japanese officials.

Even the WNA are incredulous at this statement; their Twitter feed states:

#IAEA quashes reports of problems at #Fukushima Daiichi 3 #nuclear #japan #earthquake

Which leads us to the obvious conclusion that there is a huge cover-up taking place, but failing in part because there is too much obvious contradiction of information. In this situation the best approach is to listen to your nearest equivalent to a trusted news source and not listen to a word emanating from government (Japanese or otherwise) or the IAEA.

11 Responses to “International Atomic Energy Agency Spinning Like Crazy!”

  1. LS Says:

    About the only good thing that could come out of this earth quake would be the last nail in the coffin of the nuclear energy industry.

    Therefore it’s no surprise that the vested interests are trying to downplay the situation. Their future is on the line.

    Nuclear power is unlikely to ever get a start here in Australia (thankfully) since no one wants a nuclear power station in their back yard (other people’s back yards might be fine, just not theirs!)

    But I dare say that the nuclear industry is panicking that all of its recent hard work in convincing people that new reactor designs are “inherently safe” is about to be lost.

    Good riddance is all I can say. A global nuclear renaissance would only delay the inevitable by encouraging continued economic and population growth, and lead to a much bigger mess in the long term (that there won’t be energy available to clean it up with).

    LS

  2. Karl Tejsner Says:

    Im actualy a bit disapointet. With a little effort you would find that its 3 different powerplants with problems (officialy..). With who-knows how many reactors. In the Fukushima it was first one, then two then all tree reactors that had no cooling, meaning a meltdown in process. They are now using seawater to cool the core. I have read that they use seawater to flow past the core, which is unusual. What becomes of the highly contaminated water? Just wondering.

    But no-one realy knows what can happen. Meltdowns are so rare. If the radiation get up high in the atmosphere, there are extremely fast winds that can carry that radiation anywere. Maybe even everywere. So dangerous, yet so little information?

    By the way. The second powerplant in trouble is 120 km. from Tokyos 8 mio. people.

    — Update
    While I was checking some facts I came across news reporting of a forth powerplant in trouble.
    Powerplants in trouble are:
    1. Fukushima 1
    2. Fukushima 2
    3. Onagawa in Miyaga district
    4. Tokai 2 in Ibaraki

    I think I will stop here.. Have a great day. /Karl T.

  3. Wikileaks / Unsuitablog: Cover-Ups Over Nuclear Reality in Japan « EnviroLeaks Says:

    [...] coming together of contradictory information from different bodies that represent the nuclear industry and a confidential cable from the [...]

  4. JB Says:

    And meanwhile George Monbiot has finally and completely lost the plot. I found his take on this nothing short of startling:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2011/mar/16/japan-nuclear-crisis-atomic-energy

  5. keith Says:

    Ah, but don’t forget that George has the luxury of a worldview where there is only a choice between Industrial Civilization and Industrial Civilization; therefore it is a choice between nuclear, coal and death. I’m not sure where indigenous tribes fit into this worldview (or, as he likes to call it, “purview”) but I guess he would say, “Oh, they do things differently.”

    But apparently we can’t.

  6. JB Says:

    Maybe he believes tribal people to be inferior to him. What’s the word for it again? Oh, yes.

    Your argument above is incontrovertible, Keith. Absolutely spot on. Only wish more of us could get it before the Earth becomes uninhabitable for most species.

    Like children (in Industrial Civilization), we’re terrified of the dark. The argument for nuclear power being that if we don’t build more stations quickly, we’ll be all be lost in a deep dark night (stopped counting how many times I’ve read this on the internet). So where will the Sun, Moon and stars have gone off to then?

    What’s so scary about the dark? I love nothing more than a clear dark night far away from any cities. We won’t be able to see what our fellow human beings are up to, that’s what. Creeping through the night, trying to take away our precious “stuff” that we “worked” so hard for.

  7. JB Says:

    Years ago, a few of us went kayaking down the Orange river for a few glorious (and scorching) days. Every night we would share meals next to the river and fall asleep under that very big sky – right there on the bank without need for tents – happily spent.

    Something happened one night that I shall cherish for all time. I woke up in those very dark hours of the night. My mind was clear and everything was in perfect focus. There was a bright star shining on the scooping side of a thin slice of the Moon. In the distance, deep in the forest on the Namibian side of the river, I became aware of the sound of beating drums – pounding like heartbeats.

    From inside myself I heard an ancient song that I didn’t know but knew very well.

    I still wonder at who those drummers were and how their drumming touched my soul.

  8. Aqmal Says:

    Your quote from World Nuclear Association mentions Daiichi 3, while quote from IAEA mentions Daiini 3. Two reactors at different plant. I hope this is not a source of confusion. Correct me if i’m wrong.

  9. keith Says:

    I am not sure if the IAEA got it wrong, they may have; but even if not, the general point still stands – IAEA are covering up like crazy, and still attempt to, largely because of Japanese commercial and political influence upon the organisation.

  10. JB Says:

    Hi Keith

    This is getting really bizarre. Do you think someone’s threatening him with his family’s safety or something sinister.

    Not one for conspiracy, but this reeks. His ridiculous responses are just not beleivable.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/mar/26/conversation-monbiot-caroline-lucas-nuclear-power

    What’s going on?

  11. keith Says:

    It seems to mirror the conversation George had with Paul Kingsnorth, only George seems to be edging even more towards the mainstream side (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/aug/17/environment-climate-change). To be more conservative than Caroline Lucas is really going something when you consider the inevitable outcome of the industrial system. No one is threatening George except for his own mind.

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