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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fukushima Daiichi Reactor 2

The good news - I must start with that - is that TEPCO says it has got its decontamination rig working, and it is now planning to add the desalinization step. The water, according to TEPCO, has had its radioactivity levels reduced to 1/100,000th of original levels.

The bad news is pretty darned bad. TEPCO installed a new temperature gauge on Reactor 2, but says it isn't working because the temperature around the reactor is so high that all the water has evaporated from the pipes it is attempting to measure. Remember that TEPCO recently lowered water injection rates to all the reactors to try to prevent the flooding of the highly contaminated water. There may be just about no water in Reactor 2.

That may induce a thoughtful pause, and after that thoughtful pause, the news that the chopper drone TEPCO has been using to inspect areas over the reactors failed while flying over Reactor 2 may assume more significance to you. It was crashlanded on a portion of the Reactor 2 roof. The chopper was sent on a mission to test radioactivity above Reactor 2. This is a small device, and they are going to try to use one of the cranes to hook it off the roof.

In the link above, there is also information about modeling the ocean radioactivity dispersion from this incident.

In a way, it is a great relief that they came out and told us about the problems - the pause in the flow of news about the Reactor 2 project has been worrying me.

TEPCO is beyond bankrupt. It has no money to throw at the situation. It has asked the banks to roll over its loans for about 1% interest rate, and it needs more money from somewhere to try to deal with the Fukushima Daiichi incident. It should be a global priority to fund the recovery effort; Japan is going to have trouble finding the funds to rebuild the quake/tsunami damage; TEPCO theoretically has to pay compensation, and it has paid a little, but it doesn't have the money to do that either. So the Japanese government is going to have to assume the tab. I have been trying to glean facts about larger quake/rebuilding effort; it appears that the government quake fund is going to be exhausted by this event.

It's time to ante up. The workers at the site are in danger, and all the criticism (much warranted) about TEPCO's efforts kind of ignores the fact that they don't have the money to fund what is needed to do this.

PS: You can find more info on what they have done and are doing at each reactor at this link. After each reactor diagram page there is a summary of the major initiatives.

Sorry to be off topic but I've been working hard to outdo the Sears sarcasm challenge, lol. Sigh.

Missing Jobs vs. Trade Deficit

My word verification is kerser.

I'm likely to turn to kersin' if someone in charge keeps bein' puzzled in public.
I'm glad free trade hasn't been responsible for
Job losses. A few more free trade pacts should
Have us sitting pretty.


On the plane Friday, I sat near a guy from L.A. who was going to Fukushima to test a new proprietary technique for filtering radioactive particles from water (if I understood correctly). He seemed to think that a)I should know the name of the company he works for and b)it was going to be big bucks and a career-altering gig for him if it worked.

This is to say, I gather that somebody in Japan is throwing money around, and is still trying new stuff. I hope something works, because it sounds to me as though something self-sustaining might be happening at Fukushima.
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