Fukushima Reactor 2 Has Melted Through Containment Vessel

Discussion in 'The Water Cooler' started by whoosh, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. whoosh

    whoosh Cooler King
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    The Guardian reports that Japanese engineers have "lost the race" to prevent a nuclear meltdown. Apparently reactor number 2 has melted through its containment vessel, onto the concrete floor underneath. According to the expert quoted in the piece, the fuel will now run out like lava, "and that is good".
    Yep, radioactive nuclear lava such is great news.
    And the price of real estate on the moon just skyrocketed.

    The Guardian

    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."
    The major concern when molten fuel breaches a containment vessel is that it reacts with the concrete floor of the drywell underneath, releasing radioactive gases into the surrounding area. At Fukushima, the drywell has been flooded with seawater, which will cool any molten fuel that escapes from the reactor and reduce the amount of radioactive gas released.
    Lahey said: "It won't come out as one big glob; it'll come out like lava, and that is good because it's easier to cool."
    SilverDoctors: Fukushima Reactor 2 Has Melted Through Containment Vessel
     

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