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March 11, 2011

Nuke Fears: 1000x Normal Radiation Level in Control Room; 45,000 Evacuated

The 1000x normal level might not threaten anyone right now, but it does indicate that this plant is far, far out of normal operating parameters.

If coolant isn't restored, extreme heat can melt through the reactor vessel and result in a radioactive release. Reactors have containment domes to catch any release. But there is always the chance that an earthquake could create cracks or other breaches in that containment system.

Attempts to cool the thing off are proceeding more slowly than expected.

The site has other nuclear reactors -- and cooling has now failed at a second reactor, too.

I think maybe there are four reactors:

Reuters Mexico tweets that the Tokyo Electric Power Company says it has secured outside power and has begun providing water to Fukushima reactors 1, 2 and 4.

Correction: I'm not able to keep my nuke plants straight. Apparently there are multiple plants experiencing failures, and each plant contains multiple reactors-- and in some cases multiple reactors are failing at the same plant.

I am getting "plant" and "reactor" confused. This story alludes to all the failed reactors.

Over FoxNews, Shep Smith just clarified that one plant has two three reactors, and another plant has two. There are two plants which are overheating; at one, at least two reactors are compromised.

I think that's it. I'm confused.

...

Although there's no immediate health hazard, everyone within 10km has been ordered away.

Commenters who seemed to know what they were talking about disputed the report I relayed that the US was rushing "coolant" to Japan. Turns out, you were sort of right, but such a plan does seem to have been contemplated:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier had said that U.S. Air Force "assets" had delivered "some really important coolant" to a Japanese nuclear power plant.

One U.S. official said he believed Clinton was told Japan had requested the material, that the United States had agreed to provide it, and that an operation to do so was under way.

But it's possible Hillary Clinton just totally misspoke and her flacks are covering up for her, pointlessly -- who cares if she got a minor bit of information wrong in a fast-moving story? -- by claiming he "believes" such a plan was in effect.



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posted by Ace at 07:47 PM

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