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Emergency Workers Back At Fukushima

From a disappointed Associated Press:

Japan prepares to restart work at nuclear plant

By Eric Talmadge And Shino Yuasa, Associated Press
March 16, 2011

FUKUSHIMA, Japan – Surging radiation levels forced Japan to order emergency workers to temporarily withdraw from its crippled nuclear plant Wednesday, losing time in a desperate operation to cool the overheating reactors — the most urgent crisis from last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The technicians were dousing the nuclear reactors with seawater in a frantic effort to cool them when they had to retreat in the late morning. The plant’s operator ordered the technicians back to the site in the evening after radiation levels subsided.

In the hours in between, it was not clear what if any operations continued. Officials gave only sparse information about reactors.

But conditions at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant appeared to be worsening. White steam-like clouds drifted up from one reactor which, the government said, likely emitted the burst of radiation that led to the workers’ withdrawal. The plant’s operator reported a fire at another reactor for the second time in two days…

Wednesday’s radiation spike was believed to have come from Unit 3, where workers are struggling with a fuel storage pond believed to be leaking radiation, as well as possible damage to the containment vessel — the thick concrete armor built around the reactor — that would allow radiation to escape.

"The workers cannot carry out even minimal work at the plant now," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Wednesday morning at briefing aired on television, as smoke billowed above the complex. "Because of the radiation risk we are on standby."

Apparently, these were the comments that, after being mistranslated, caused last night’s media meltdown.

You would think that our news media would have known better than to think that the Japanese authorities would just throw in the towel and go home in the face of such a terrible problem. But you would be wrong.

With no workers on site, efforts to cool the reactors likely ceased altogether, said Michael Friedlander, a former nuclear power plant operator who worked at a General Electric boiling water reactor in the United States similar to the stricken ones in Japan.

"They’re in right now is what’s called a feed-and-bleed mode. In order to keep the core covered and keep the reactor cool they have to feed in water," said Friedlander, who is currently based in Hong Kong. "It’s something that they physically have to be present to do."

Elevated levels of radiation were detected well outside the 20-mile (30-kilometer) emergency area around the plants. In Ibaraki prefecture, just south of Fukushima, officials said radiation levels were about 300 times normal levels by late morning.

A little radiation was also detected in Tokyo, triggering panic buying of food and water.

We suspect the people of Tokyo were buying food and water even before these latest radiation scares. Given the recent tsunami and earthquakes.

Given the reported radiation levels, John Price, an Australian-based nuclear safety expert, said he saw few health risks for the general public so far. He was concerned for the workers, who he said were almost certainly working in full body suits and breathing through respirators. The workers at the forefront of the fight — a core team of about 180 — had been regularly rotated in and out of the danger zone to minimize their radiation exposure.

Price said he was surprised by how little information the Japanese were sharing.

"We don’t know even the fundamentals of what’s happening, what’s wrong, what isn’t working. We’re all guessing," he said. "I would have thought they would put on a panel of experts every two hours."

Actually there are constant around the clock reports from government, TEPCO and other ‘experts’ on the aforementioned NHK and elsewhere. But that doesn’t stop our news media from going off half cocked when they finally hear what they want.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, March 16th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Emergency Workers Back At Fukushima”

  1. River0 says:

    DRUDGE reports this morning that the GE engineers in charge of constructing those Fukushima plants thirty-five years ago resigned over the design flaws which were being built into them. Human beings are their own worst enemies, and deliberate acts of stupidity and incompetence are never easily disposed of.

    These guys going back in there are heroic, and they’ll probably not survive their exposure.

  2. proreason says:

    150,000 people were killed when a single damn burst last year in China. Every year, tens of thousands die in similar accidents.

    How long can we let the intolerable crisis with deadly water continue?

  3. tranquil.night says:

    There just aren’t enough political opportunities in natural crises unless there’s a Republican President, but man-caused disasters are like hitting the lotto for the Left. We’re still too effective at providing aid and relief (dammit!) But don’t worry, that too must change. I mean the USS Ronald Reagan is simply a juggernaut, it’s downright unfair of what that carrier is capable (not to mention whom it appriopriately emblemizes).

    The envirofascists are predictably making their coordinated push for complete social and economic squalor.

    But this is about more than that. The level of media malpractice now is approaching psychological terrorism. Fearmongering just for the hope for more chaos. Anything to help the chances of our warlock Destroyer President scam his way through the polls. By any means necessary.

    I hear ya Sarah; 2012 can’t come soon enough (you won’t be alone in getting there should you choose!). Yes, the imminent Apocalypse of the Liberal’s Universe.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      You didn’t mention that Japan does not allow any of “OUR” nuclear powered warships into their harbors or docks?

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