The Fukushima Reactor Suffered a Partial Meltdown

The Japanese government has announced that the Fukushima Reactor suffered a partial meltdown.

The Japanese government has announced that the high levels of radiation in the water near the Fukushima power plant was due to a partial meltdown:

The government believes highly radioactive water detected at the No. 2 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is due to a partial meltdown of fuel rods there, its top spokesman said Monday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference that the government believes that the meltdown was only temporary.

Let’s hope it was only temporary. Because this adds to the news that radiation in the water around the plant is higher than previously stated.

Yomiuri Daily Online reports that “many types of radioactive substances” have also been detected in seawater near the plant, including iodine-131, barium-140, lanthanum-140 and tellurium-132.

According to Yomiuri, based on the type of radioactive substances found in the seawater, the culprit is most likely to be damaged pipes connected to nuclear reactors that are discharging into the sea.

This would indicate the plant is leaking radiation from at least two sources: pipes and its core. Kyodo reports that radiation exceeding 1000 millisieverts per hour was detected in water in a trench outside the no. 2 reactor’s turbine building yesterday afternoon.

Keep the brave souls who have been working tirelessly on the reactor in your thoughts. They are braving quite a bit of personal danger to get things under control. Here’s hoping they finish soon.

FILED UNDER: Asia, Environment, Science & Technology
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. superdestroyer says:

    That iodine has been detected around the world should have let everyone know that the fuel rods were damaged.

    Now the world is going to have to decide how to have modern technology without coal fired, nuclear, or hydro-electric sources of electricity and while not putting any wind mills or solar farms in any place where they will harm the environment.

  2. john personna says:

    Now the world is going to have to decide how to have modern technology without coal fired, nuclear, or hydro-electric sources of electricity and while not putting any wind mills or solar farms in any place where they will harm the environment

    You can step back and not look at the personalities, the free marketeers versus the environmentalists, and just look at the societal trajectory. I’m pretty sure we are on the slow road to what I call “China Everywhere.”

    It is a much thinner environment, less healthy, less productive. But it’s what you get when you incrementally add a bit more pollution load each year, while taking away space, trees, fish, …

    Maybe you can look at a grassy hillside and say “everything’s fine” but it isn’t what it was, and you really don’t want to test that drinking water.

  3. steve says:

    They have been pumping salt water for weeks, which is pretty corrosive. Anyone seen any info on how those pumps are holding up?

    I agree that these workers are incredibly brave. I expect most of them to die from radiation related illnesses. I keep thinking that they are headed towards a Chernobyl/concrete solution since failure to control this early has put them on a bad spiral.

    Steve

  4. michael reynolds says:

    I’m glad to see some acknowledgment for the crew at the reactor. I believe they may be working a bit harder than we are.

  5. Alex Knapp says:

    Michael,

    If I had the talent, I’d write an epic poem about those workers. To walk into danger with your eyes wide open like that is nothing short of incredible. I’d say they’re braver than even combat soldiers or firefighters. They’re not just facing death — they’re facing the prospect of a long, agonzing, painful, unstoppable death. And doing their duty anyway. I admire them intensely.

  6. michael reynolds says:

    I absolutely agree. Heroic, selfless, and whatever the Japanese may (rightly) think about TEPCO, I hope they honor these men.

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  8. Tlaloc says:

    I absolutely agree. Heroic, selfless, and whatever the Japanese may (rightly) think about TEPCO, I hope they honor these men.

    WHile it’s certainly a good thing they walked back into the reactors to try and contain the damage you should also never forget that the world is in this position because of the work these men and women did every day before the quake. They aided and abetted placing nuclear power plants among a civilian population. Everything they’ve done since the earthquake is making up for the damage they caused. It’s good that some at least have been willing to do so but never forget they’re working off a big big debt. How much would you thank a firefighter who responded to a fire they themselves set, no matter how bravely they worked to extinguish the blaze?

  9. matt says:

    Yeah Tlaloc those workers shouldn’t of designed the plant in such a horrible way back in the 1950s It’s ALL THEIR FAULT!!!

    You’re a completely worthless moron..

  10. matt says:

    How much would you thank a firefighter who responded to a fire they themselves set, no matter how bravely they worked to extinguish the blaze?

    Yeah how dare those plant workers create an earthquake and Tsunami in such a delicate area!!!

    Seriously it’s like you just shut off your brain for this post. Is it just the subject of nuclear power that results in you becoming mindless or are there mitigating factors we’re unaware of?

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