APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fukushima Daiichi 1: High Rad Levels

Kyodo News in Japan has picked up and run a brief by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency indicating that the radiation levels in the control room at Plant 1 at the Fukushima Daiichi site have reached 1000 times the normal levels. "1000 times normal" is not clear, but is troubling; it is not known if this is airborne from steam or a field from the reactor plant.

The first estimate upon reading this fact, if verified, is that the situation at Plant 1 is deteriorating and that core damage may have resulted. Airborne contamination might include fission product gases released from damaged fuel elements when the primary relief valves lifted to relieve plant pressure, or may have been released to the containment during hurried attempts to feed and bleed the primary plant for cooling.

Situation developing... this report is dated March 12 with no time given. It is presently 6:00 PM Eastern in the United States, and it is presently 8:00 AM in Tokyo.

UPDATE, 6:20 PM Eastern: This report may have been a short term peak. Other news outlets are beginning to run this story but with no further details. IAEA website is not accessible due to overload at this time. We will have to rely essentially on wire feeds of IAEA reports. A sure indication of a deteriorating situation, absent any IAEA or (better than that) N&ISA reports would be the commencement of the second zone evacuations, which at this time have NOT.. repeat NOT occurred.

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