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March 13, 2011

Quick rundown: What happened at Fukushima’s Unit 1 reactor?

  • 1st Normal cooling measures failed at Fukushima’s Unit 1 reactor, so officials resorted to using seawater to cool the reactor vessel.
  • 2nd Pressure rose within the vessel, so operators released steam from the reactor in order to prevent an explosion.
  • 3rd Due to rising temperatures, the fuel rod casings reacted with the seawater, creating zirconium oxide and hydrogen.
  • 4th The hydrogen-rich steam then reacted with oxygen in the environment, which then caused a hydrogen explosion. source

» So, where are we at now? First of all, it’s important to note that this is only one of six reactors in Japan currently placed under states of emergency. That being said: operators at Fukushima’s unit 1 reactor are still frantically trying to cool the unit. The fuel rod casings and the seawater reacted with one another when the temperature reached around 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit; things could get really bad if and when the temperature hits 4,000 degrees. This would cause the uranium fuel pellets to melt, at which point they’d eat through the floor of the reactor vessel, then that of the building, and begin to escape into the environment. At the same time, the walls of the reactor vessel would melt into a “lava-like pile,” react with the remaining seawater, and cause an explosion bigger than the one that already occurred. This explosion would spread the radiation around the environment, and…well, yeah. That would be very bad. We’ll keep you posted as more developments come out.

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18:37 // 3 years ago
March 12, 2011

Fukushima meltdown: Low level radiation leaks, iodine distributed to locals

All right, everyone, here’s where we’re at. Radiation has leaked from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. This is bad. However, it’s apparently not as bad as it could be, because the reactor core container itself wasn’t damaged. Furthermore, the mist hovering above the plant implies that radiation levels are low-ish. Officials are ranking it as less serious than both the Three Mile Island meltdown and the Chernobyl disaster. Nuclear meltdowns are ranked on a scale of 1-7; Three Mile Island was a 5, Chernobyl was a 7, and this one is currently being pegged as a 4. However, they’re nevertheless distributing iodine to the locals, which helps prevent the thyroid cancer that can result from radiation exposure. We’ll keep you posted as more news comes. source

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22:19 // 3 years ago
18:35 // 3 years ago
pantslessprogressive:

Japan nuclear authorities say high possibility of meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi No. 1 reactor - Jiji — @REUTERSFLASH

Crap.

pantslessprogressive:

Japan nuclear authorities say high possibility of meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi No. 1 reactor - Jiji — @REUTERSFLASH

Crap.

(via pantslessprogressive)

0:22 // 3 years ago