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worst-case scenario realized reactor meltdown in fukushima

this is a global catastrophe of epic proportions. the core of at least one of the damaged reactors at the fukushima nuclear power facility has melted through its containment vessel. apparently, the only way to stop the reaction would be to hit the plant with a nuclear bomb.
The radioactive core in a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor, experts say, raising fears of a major release of radiation at the site.

The warning follows an analysis by a leading US expert of radiation levels at the plant. Readings from reactor two at the site have been made public by the Japanese authorities and Tepco, the utility that operates it.

Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, told the Guardian workers at the site appeared to have "lost the race" to save the reactor, but said there was no danger of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe.

Workers have been pumping water into three reactors at the stricken plant in a desperate bid to keep the fuel rods from melting down, but the fuel is at least partially exposed in all the reactors. At least part of the molten core, which includes melted fuel rods and zirconium alloy cladding, seemed to have sunk through the steel "lower head" of the pressure vessel around reactor two, Lahey said.

"The indications we have, from the reactor to radiation readings and the materials they are seeing, suggest that the core has melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel in unit two, and at least some of it is down on the floor of the drywell," Lahey said. "I hope I am wrong, but that is certainly what the evidence is pointing towards."

via Japan may have lost race to save nuclear reactor | World news | The Guardian.

reposted from endtimesnews

what's this? 30.Mar.2011 07:24

Shaker

You know, there were those who advocated nuking the BP well to 'stop' the spill. Whoever suggested that was a nut, and the suggestion here is no better. Nuking those plants would spread the radioactivity into the atmosphere. Wasn't that the basic problem with Chernobyl, that its explosion, the weather (rain), and the convection from the burning fuel dumped everything into the atmosphere? They are still checking reindeer in Sweden for radioactivity before they're approved for consumption because that radioactivity was absorbed by the lichens, which reindeer eat. That was magnified exponentially in their bodies. The amount of fuel at Fukushima is over ten times what it was at Chernobyl. Personally, I would rather see other alternatives entertained first.

We're stuck with this now. Nukes have never been a satisfactory choice for power. It was only a matter of time, anyway, before something like this happened. I'm actually worried that because this was a natural disaster that triggered this, there will be many who think that as long as we can avoid those normal abberrations in the earth's stability all will be OK and we can build more of these things. 60 years on, we still don't know what to do with the spent fuel, and that inventory, along with the military inventory, is staggering.