epic failure

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday another reactor of its quake-hit Fukushima nuclear power plants had lost its cooling functions, while at least 15 people at a nearby hospital were found to have been exposed to radioactivity.

The utility supplier notified the government early Sunday morning that the No. 3 reactor at the No. 1 Fukushima plant had lost the ability to cool the reactor core. The reactor is now in the process of releasing radioactive steam, according to top government spokesman Yukio Edano.

It was the sixth reactor overall at the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants to undergo cooling failure since the massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck Japan on Friday…




  1. Melissa In Texas
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 7:41 pm |

    Six reactors now…
    I hope that sea water works.

  2. DoubleU
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 7:48 pm |

    I posted that map early without confirming its accuracy. (Shame on me) Instead of posting it on my server where I had more control I took it from a picture hosting site giving up any sort of control. Those RADS levels are very high and would kill anything exposed to it. I don’t believe the amount released was anywhere near those dangerous levels. I would not rely on that graphic.

  3. Posted March 12, 2011 at 7:48 pm |

    They had thirteen redundant diesel generators to power the emergency cooling system to prevent meltdown on the first reactor.

    All thirteen were killed by the earthquake. Lord knows how many other things had to fail to start the cooling problems on the other reactors.

    I support nuclear power, but I have to admit this has shaken my faith in the failsafe designs.

  4. Posted March 12, 2011 at 7:49 pm |

    I’ve also been unable to verify that map, and hope that someone is either pranking the Internet or at least waaaaaaay wrong on the risks.

  5. mojo
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm |

    That’s for a runaway, a meltdown that burns thru both containments and hits the water table. Big steam cloud.

    Not the case here, I think. Largest dose reported is around 600 mili-rads.

  6. Spin
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 8:13 pm |

    Those Fukushima nuclear power plants are older than the Three Mile Island reactor that went critical 35 years ago. Nuclear reactors of that type aren’t built anymore and the existing ones are being converted to a much more, dare I say, fail-safe design.

    My eldest son works for the US company that does these conversions here. Plus a commenter at C&S left a link that explains the differences in types quite well in layman terms.

  7. dick not quite dead white guy
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 8:17 pm |

    All thirteen were killed
    Or fuel supply contaminated or torn out by tsunami?
    Those generators have a few hours short term supply close by, but longer term fuel has to be pumped from usually underground tanks to top up short term tanks. These tanks may have had their pumping power or feeds ripped out or even had fuel contaminated by water over their vents. Ten meters is a hell of a high water wall, and is probably a thousand year event.
    But having to deal with 50,000 year half life materials if it fails makes planning for a thousand year event mandatory, IMHO.

  8. dick not quite dead white guy
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 8:18 pm |

    Headmissie, make a bugout plan, get lots of drinking water, just in case.

  9. MCPO
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 8:32 pm |

    We have a spare room and the Corgis are welcome.

  10. Melissa In Texas
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 8:34 pm |

    You could always head to Texas, provided you are not allergic to cats :)


  11. Mike W
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 8:44 pm |

    Interesting map but only if the wind currents carry it East. Too bad wind currents are highly variable and the radiation could be carried West,South or North, but then that would make this map look like someone was trying to instill fear.Wonder why anyone would want to to do that? Could it be to kill nuclear power as a real and reliable source of energy then oh say a wind turbine or solar panel?

  12. Melissa In Texas
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 8:45 pm |

    If we used wind power… we could turn all those damned fans around and blow the radiation right back at them ;)

  13. Melissa In Texas
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 8:47 pm |

    Sorry… the need for some levity is great tonight

  14. geezerette
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 8:49 pm |

    I have a suspicious mind –

  15. blindshooter
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 9:04 pm |

    I doubt anything that makes the us coast line will be measured in rads. Maybe mrems, but not rads. And not belittling the trouble they have at all. They are in serious trouble with no grid and no or little backup power for cooling pumps. I am no expert but I do contract work in a BWR plant (nothing even near the reactors, but they force you to learn how they work and what to do in emergencies) and so far it looks like they could not scrub the hydrogen from the turbine halls or they had to vent it into the turbine hall and that resulted in the explosion. God willing it was not in the containment building itself. From what I understand a complete failure wont result in contamination like the Chernobyl disaster or anything close. Pray for the people working in the plants, I’ll bet some have already died trying to stop the disaster that’s unfolding now.

    Again, I don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground compared to any nuclear engineer but I just can’t see this event affecting the west coast of the us in any meaningful way.

  16. Fat Baxter
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 9:09 pm |

    Look at the bright side, headmissy — soon you’ll be able to find and pick your tomatoes at night!

    (I read somewhere that the amount of radiation released was equivalent to what one absorbs in a year. You’d just get it all at once. Someone might be scaremongering with that map.)

  17. iD
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 9:19 pm |

    I looked up Australian Radiation Services. They have a website, but I can’t confirm that the map was made by them. The map also has no data on what type or magnitude of radiation release they refer to. I assume it’s a worst-case scenario, but you should take it all with a grain of salt.

    Here’s what I do know:

    100 Rads = 1 Gray
    1 Gray ~ 1 Sv (Sievert unit)

    Grays are an absolute measure of radiation. Sv’s are a measure of tissue damage. They’re Grays multiplied by Q (type of radiation) and N (type of tissue). Just as a ballpark figure, you can use a 1/1 conversion.

    That said, 750 Rads = 7.5 Grays ~ 7.5 Sv’s = very severe radiation exposure, causing death in 50% or more of cases. More info here.

    Scary stuff, but remember it’s likely a worst-case scenario. Even so, be ready to evacuate fast. Be ahead of the crowd. Start figuring what to bring and where to go now, and hope it doesn’t come to that. I don’t recommend sheltering in place. You might start discreetly transferring items to your bugout vehicle now to save time.

  18. SondraK, Lympian Slayer
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 9:24 pm |

    Ok. Here’s me:

    I don’t ever trust ANY of what ANY of the people involved with these things say when it comes to any of this shit…

    We’re already getting all this “conflicting” information coming from those who are supposed to know from all sides.

    And no, I don’t get the fucking flu shot either.

  19. blindshooter
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm |

    I live downwind from several plants including Oak Ridge TN. They are a lot closer to me than the west coast is to Japan, if I worried about being harmed by radiation leaks it would drive me crazy. I know doctors that have had lifetime exposures that make most radiation worker numbers look small in comparison. I have more fear of being poisoned by the funk left over from burning coal to make power than radiation leaks from nuclear power plants. If you need something to worry over, look to the east and Obammy on his throne in DC. That’s scary.

  20. Mike W
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 9:50 pm |

    One thing I do know for sure is that when all is said and done Pres**ent obama will blame American greed on Japans need for nuclear power plants to build the things Americans demanded. Otherwise the Japanese would all be living in paper huts happily committing Hari Kari.

  21. rickn8or
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 9:59 pm |

    You’d be welcome in the Memphis ay-rea-a HeadMissy, but like apothesis, I’ve got the New Madrid Fault to deal with…

  22. Kristopher
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 10:02 pm |

    The map is a hoax.

    No Australian agency has issued this.

    750 rads is a +50% lethal dose.

    One light water reactor had it’s concrete outer containment building collapse due to earthquake damage + and aftershock, and some other reactors were forced to release steam to prevent meltdown.

  23. rickn8or
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 10:12 pm |

    Uh, make that “apotheosis”.

    My apologies to you apo.

    Why oh why didn’t the spell check catch that??

  24. SondraK, Lympian Slayer
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 11:05 pm |

    Spell-check has trouble with “rickn8or” too :)

  25. Colonel Jerry USMC
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 11:23 pm |

    After I got out of the horsepistol fm crashing an F-18, out of curiosity I weighed all my x-rays. The stack weighed 30 POUNDS! That was in 1988. Have no idea what that computes to in radiation exposure. I am fine & actually find it of some advantage not to have need for a flashlight on the darkest night!

    The Bad News: The nuke plant issues in Japan will give the Greenies here a perfect alibi to fucking kill use of nuclear plants in the USA for fucking ever!!!

    Not good………………

  26. Posted March 12, 2011 at 11:23 pm |

    Aw fer chrissakes! Suck it up, you sissies! Try to look on the good side: Now if you want to warm-up yon MacNuggets, you just stick them out the kitchen window for a couple of minutes!

    Sheesh! Don’t everybody go all “Jane Fonda” on me, OK?

  27. accipiter NW
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 11:32 pm |

    One plus in all this would have to be Japan’s investment in car manufacturing here in the States. The Abandoner In Chief and Government Motors hasn’t taken them down, nor has the quake fully done them in.

    I never knew what value to place on the “rads” on UU’s map, but the time lapse could be helpful if things take a nastier turn. I don’t think it is as bad as many in the media are making it out to be either.

    It seems to be the consensus that this won’t get near as bad as Chernobyl was . So on that, and Melissa’s note:


  28. Merovign
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 1:21 am |

    That map is bullpuckey.

    If China NUKED Japan, maybe, maybe that much would reach the US mainland.

    From day one, the MBM has been playing the nuke fear fiddle, for politics.

  29. Snuffy Smith
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 4:55 am |

    The left has no truth, so they rely on fear mongering, and worst case scenario propaganda. As usual.

    I’d agree that this will be used to generate public sentiment against nuclear power.

  30. MitchM
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 6:10 am |

    From what I’ve read those numbers can’t be right. The radiation goes down by a factor of 10 every 12 hours or so. Or was it 18 hours? Anyway it would be really low by the time it got here.

  31. MitchM
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 6:18 am |

    Ah Ha! Here it is!

    A useful rule-of-thumb is the rule of sevens. This rule states that for every seven-fold increase in time following a fission detonation (starting at or after 1 hour), the radiation intensity decreases by a factor of 10. Thus after 7 hours, the residual fission radioactivity declines 90%, to one-tenth its level of 1 hour. After 7*7 hours (49 hours, approx. 2 days), the level drops again by 90%. After 7*2 days (2 weeks) it drops a further 90%; and so on for 14 weeks. The rule is accurate to 25% for the first two weeks, and is accurate to a factor of two for the first six months. After 6 months, the rate of decline becomes much more rapid. The rule of sevens corresponds to an approximate t^-1.2 scaling relationship.

    So, if starting at 4500 rads, after 8 hours it would only be 450 rads and 49 hours later only 45 rads and 2 weeks in it would be at 4.5 rads, etc.

  32. apotheosis
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 8:33 am |

    Note how it stops right at the Kansas border?

    Obviously it knows what’s good for it.

  33. Tom Weaver
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 11:11 am |

    map is bull shit of great stink.
    the TEPCO officials have been very honest but of course they are not nuclear engineers so everything has to be dumbed down. The people who are dealing with this are very busy dealing with it. They make 15 min updates to japans NRC equivalent. That gets misunderstood and misreported by the news media as they get versions of it Ever played telephone?

  34. Clinically Insane
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm |

    All the other insane issues aside, we really need someone to start arranging for the anti-nuclear envirofuckwitz to have “accidents at home”.
    Tired of all the anti-nuclear bullshit. Tired of all the terrorizing by the media. That is the *fact* of what they are. The media are terrorists. They will do anything to keep people in a state of fear, and if they can cause panic, resulting in death, they will charge forward.

    This country needs a cleansing like no other on earth.

  35. Justin Credible
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm |

    I don’t know if this comforts me or not:


    It is the Obama administration, after all.

  36. rammer
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm |

    Here is a more reliable source.


  37. RTW
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm |

    1 rad = how many bananas?

  38. Posted March 13, 2011 at 8:38 pm |


    Let’s not be too hasty.

    1. Did the near-back to back detonation of a couple of nukes in 1945 cause any appreciable radiation in the US Mainland?

    2. See that tiny Island chain south of the big, scary radioactive holocaust teardrop? It’s Hawaii. Weather here is far better than anywhere else in the US, and it’s not wanting for lympians, either, so there’s plenty of blogfodder here, too.

    3. If the scary radioactive teardrop of holocaust is accurate, start lining the basement with tinfoil and get a milsurp mopp suit. should keep you safe till after the big die-off.

    4. Isn’t this all, somehow, because of either Sarah Palin or Glowball Warmening?