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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Meltdown ooze dripping lower at Fukushima

As of this morning, the radiation levels outside the reactor vessel at Fukushima unit 1 -- in the "drywell" that surrounds the vessel -- have hit 215 sieverts an hour (2.15E+02 means 215). That's an outrageous amount of radiation -- enough to kill a person standing next to it in just minutes. It's been that way for 16 hours straight, after readings at about that level started being picked up on Sunday.

And so corium, the radioactive lava from the meltdown, has presumably penetrated the reactor vessel wall and is now in the drywell. Below the drywell is a concrete pad, and below that are earth and groundwater.

They're still dousing the heck out of the reactor to stop the deadly glop from eating through the concrete, hitting groundwater, and possibly causing a major explosion. Let's hope they succeed, but the radioactive water they're creating will have to go somewhere, and that somewhere is going to have to be the Pacific Ocean. They're out of places to store the runoff, and despite announced plans, they're many months away from decontaminating it. Better eat your fill of seafood this year. Meanwhile, a bunch of the water is being turned into radioactive steam, which you definitely wouldn't want to breathe.

Comments (4)

Do you have a guide to the headers, Jack?

If there is all this radiation that can "kill a person in minutes" then how come so far there has only been one nuclear reactor related death at Fukushima...and that's a guy who was drowned during the tsunami?

Actually, four workers have died so far at Fukushima Daiichi. Even if it gets no worse, many more will get cancer and die from radiation exposure before it's over.

No one's gone near the drywells, and no one will. If they did, they wouldn't walk out of the building.

The reason why, is because they have detection equipment. When they see the dosimeter turn black, they get the hell out as fast as possible.

Billions of dollars has been spent on radiation detection equipment research, and making it work reliably. It's one of the products of the cold war.

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