Tag Archives: Meltdown

Why Fort Calhoun & Los Alamos Should Frighten Us

If there’s one thing we should have learnt from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, it is that governments and nuclear plant owners don’t tell the truth lie.

In Japan’s case, the authorities waited until nearly 3 months after the post-quake tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, to finally tell the truth. Not one (as previously said), but all three of the plant’s damaged reactors had experienced a meltdown.

Here in the United States, we are being told by the authorities that, despite the flooding of the Missouri River and the raging Las Conchas wildfire, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant in Nebraska and the Los Alamos Nuclear Lab in New Mexico are both okay. But we have good reasons to be concerned.

Let’s look at Los Alamos first.

The Las Conchas wildfire in the Santa Fe National Forest began last Sunday only THREE MILES from Los Alamos, where one of America’s two nuclear-weapons producing lab is located.

As of 10 a.m. today, only 3% of the wildfire has been contained, according to the New Mexico Fire Information website. We are assured that no wildfire has reached the Los Alamos Laboratory property, and that 7 high-volume air monitors placed along the lab’s boundaries all come in “clean.”

But physicist Michio Kaku tells ABC News why he’s concerned  about the fire at Los Alamos. That’s because around 20,000 to 30,000 barrels of plutonium contaminated waste (everything from gloves to fuel rods) is stored at the lab. Kaku explains: “Plutonium is one of the most toxic particles known to science. A particle you can’t even see lodged in your lungs could cause lung cancer. What we’re worried about is what happens when the fires go right into these buildings and perhaps pop open some of these 55-gallon drums.”

Although Los Alamos National Lab officials said dangerous materials in the lab are secure and do not pose a threat, Kaku warns that no one has ever fully tested the lab under real fire conditions. “What happens if the fire spreads to the very heart of the laboratory? At that point, we have to cross our fingers hoping that ‘secure sites’ remain secure.” [See the video of Kaku by clicking HERE]

On Monday, most of the 12,000 residents of the city of Los Alamos were evacuated. By this evening, June 29, 2011, the wildfire has grown to at least 61,000 acres and flames are 50 ft. from the nuclear lab. [Source]

Then there is the situation at Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant.

Dr. Tom Burnett writes for Rense.com, June 27, 2011:

The REASON there is a problem and why they aren’t telling the truth is because, while Fukishima is equivalent to about twenty Chernobyls, Ft. Calhoun is equivalent to about twenty Fukushimas. Not because it has a lot of reactors – or even a very big one. But because it is holding an immense amount of nuclear fuel in its cooling pool.

This isn’t some elevated bathtub like the cooling pools at Fukushima. Oh, no. This cooling pool is forty feet UNDER GROUND AND forty feet ABOVE GROUND. It’s EIGHTY FEET DEEP IN TOTAL. If they can’t cool it, the corn belt is in trouble.

I’m guessing that it’s the big rectangular building behind-left (actually touching) the round nuclear reactor containment building. Why do I think that? Because it has no windows or ventilation and it’s about the only building on-site large enough to hold the amount of spent nuclear fuel it has to hold – and, by the way, it was filled up to capacity in 2006 – which is why they had to start storing the excess spent fuel rods in those concrete dry casks outside of the pool.

The dry casks are visible near the top of the picture. They are grey concrete blocks set together on the large, grey square area. The casks have white doors facing a little to the left in the photo. The NRC says there is ‘no problem’ should the casks become partially submerged by Missouri flood waters. The back-up generators are probably flooded as well. They were ALSO what the [busted] rubber dam [or berm] was in place to protect. Even if they aren’t, there is water in the electrical system. That’s what the yellow cards from the NRC were about last year – and those cards were never signed off as safe.

There are at least six and probably dozens of NRC and government people there ‘closely monitoring’ the plant. All they can do is watch. The ’emergency’ plans were only thought up when the water started rising and were only implemented beginning on June 6. Before then, the plant owners were still pissing back and forth with the NRC that a flood that bad couldn’t happen.

And the brilliant rubber condom around the plant didn’t just burst by itself. The dumbasses were piddling around and managed to pop it themselves! So, when they tell me there is no danger at all, I know otherwise because the rubber dam was the last resort…and that ANY water higher than that is too much – and the water was clearly VERY high up on it when it burst. I’m thinking that if I call another disaster, and it happens, it will start getting dicey in about sixty-four hours. From now.

As if that isn’t bad enough, now we discover that a 10-mile evacuation around the Fort Calhoun plant has been ordered, but all references of the evacuation have been scrubbed from online news sites.

Alexander Higgins reports on June 28, 2011 that a video, saved by The Daily Paul, was originally aired on ABC8 (KLKN, Lincoln, Nebraska), which clearly states the nuclear power plant is under water and a 10-mile evacuation has been ordered around the plant [0:45 mark]. It is discussed in detail in the video why the evacuation has been issued.

But a Google news search for “10 mile fort calhoun evacuation” shows no results about the evacuation, only articles talking about how hard it would be to evacuate a 10-mile radius around many of the US nuclear plants.

There also has been a Fort Calhoun evacuation map posted on the (NEMA) Nebraska Emergency Management Website. However, Google shows that it has been there since at least the 17th of June and that indicates officials saw this coming.

Fort Calhoun Station EPZ Evacuation Route Map

Radiological Emergency Preparedness | Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Power Station
Fort Calhoun Nuclear Evacuation Map

Salt TV reports that the water is now up to 2 feet high around the sides of the building, but the NRC says there is no danger — the same NRC that once said this:

Japan’s Nuclear Fallout Unlikely to Reach the U.S., NRC Official Says

The head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission expressed confidence on Monday that there’s little chance of radioactivity from Japan’s badly damaged nuclear power plants reaching the United States. [Source: The National Journal]

Alas, the Mainichi Daily News reports, June 23, 2011, that radioactive materials spewed out from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant reached North America soon after the meltdown and were carried all the way to Europe, according to a simulation by university researchers.

Oh, by the way, radiation has been detected in the urine of residents near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

~Eowyn

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Most Transparent Administration Ever? Not Even Close!

US Orders News Blackout Over Crippled Nebraska Nuclear Plant

A shocking report prepared by Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAAE) on information provided to them by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) states that the Obama regime has ordered a “total and complete” news blackout relating to any information regarding the near catastrophic meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant [photo top left] located in Nebraska

Entire Story is Here

H/T to Kelleigh

~LTG

 

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Nebraska Nuclear Plant Emergency

Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station surrounded by flood waters from the Missouri River, June 14, 2011.

The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station is located on the west bank of the Missouri River, 20 miles north of Omaha, in Nebraska. The power plant is owned and operated by the Omaha Public Power District.

A flood assessment performed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2010 indicated that the Station “did not have adequate procedures to protect the intake structure and auxiliary building against external flooding events.”The assessment also indicated that the facility was not adequately prepared for a “worst-case” flooding scenario.

Reportedly, 9 days ago, on June 6, 2011, a Level-1 Emergency was declared at the Station because of the imminence of flooding from the Missouri River. The Missouri River is above flood stage and is expected to rise further and remain above flood stage for several weeks to a month.

A day later, on June 7, an electrical component in a switcher room in the nuclear power station caused a small fire with poisonous gases and Halon extinguisher activation, which forced a partial evacuation. The fire was no longer active when the fire brigade arrived and according to officials, the public was never in any danger, however in response, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission declared an alert, which is a level 2 incident.

On June 8,  it was reported that the fire resulted in the loss of cooling for the reactor’s spent fuel pool. Any of loss of coolant in a nuclear plant risks a meltdown — a serious event because of the potential for release of radioactive material into the environment.

That day, at the Fort Calhoun plant, a pump used to recirculate coolant water through the spent fuel pool was offline for an hour. But we are told that backup equipment wasn’t needed because the pump was restored long before the estimated time to boiling temperature of 88,3 hours. [Source: Wikipedia]

Despite that, the plant’s been shut down.

Here’s Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer talking about what happened at Ft. Calhoun. Gundersen is chief engineer of energy consulting company Fairewinds Associates and a former nuclear power industry executive who had served as an expert witness in the investigation of the Three Mile Island accident.

H/t beloved fellow Joseph.

For an Update of this, go here.

~Eowyn

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Massive Radiation Cloud Coming to North America?


The mainstream news media have lost interest in Japan’s ongoing nuclear disaster, but that doesn’t mean things are better. On the contrary, matters are getting worse. The situation at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Daiichi actually is worse than what Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) and the Japanese government have disclosed.
The latest news from Reuters is that Fukushima’s reactor No. 1 had a meltdown of its fuel rods and now has a hole several centimeters in diameter in its main vessel, leading to a leakage of radioactive water.
Experts now believe that at one point in the immediate wake of the disaster, the 4-metre-high stack of uranium-rich rods at the core of the reactor had been entirely exposed to the air and thus, had been spewing invisible odorless radiation. Radiation has also be seeping into the Pacific Ocean and nearby ground water from the hundreds of gallons of water that have been pumped — and are still being pumped — to cool at least 3 of the 6 reactors to bring their nuclear fuel rods to a “cold shutdown” state. Boiling water reactors like those at Fukushima rely on water as both a coolant and a barrier to radiation.
U.S. nuclear experts said that the company may have to build a concrete wall around reactor no. 1 because of the breach, and that this could now take years.
According to this alarming video, a large cloud of radiation mass is making its way across the Pacific Ocean and will hit North America in the next several days. You can also read about this in “Secret Map Shows Massive Radiation Cloud Heading Toward U.S. and Canada.”

The video refers to high levels of Caesium-137 and Xenon- 133 drifting our way.
Caesium-137 is a radioactive isotope of caesium which is formed as a fission product by nuclear fission. This is what Wikipedia says about the health risks of Caesium-137:

Caesium-137 reacts with water producing a water-soluble compound (caesium hydroxide), and the biological behavior of caesium is similar to that of potassium and rubidium. After entering the body, caesium gets more or less uniformly distributed throughout the body, with higher concentration in muscle tissues and lower in bones. The biological half-life of caesium is rather short at about 70 days. Experiments with dogs showed that a single dose of 3800 μCi/kg (approx. 44 μg/kg of caesium-137) is lethal within three weeks.

Xenon-133 (or Xe-133) is also a nuclear fission product, but via the decay of Iodine-135. As explained in Wikipedia, Iodine-135 is a fission product of uranium with a yield of about 6%. Iodine-135 has a 6.7 hour half-life and decays to Xe. Thus, in an operating nuclear reactor, Xe is being continuously produced.
I am not a medical expert and so cannot dispense advice about potassium iodide tablets, which the FDA has approved (since 1982) to protect thyroid glands from radioactive iodine emitted in nuclear accidents or fission emergencies. I suggest you read this Wikipedia article on potassium iodide or this other article for yourself. Alas, to my knowledge, potassium iodide does little, if anything, against Caesium-137 or Xenon-133.
~Eowyn

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The End of Japan as We Knew It

Heroic rescue workers march into damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant


The End of Japan as We Knew It
by Joseph E Fasciani, a regular commenter on Fellowship of the Minds
We must understand what’s about to happen in Japan. I’ve searched the Internet, and as best I can tell, no one has brought this ultimate reality to light.
And no, it’s not the looming nuclear explosions that I’m writing about, not at all. Let’s set aside the radiation issue per se, as a planetary fear-monger. We need to focus on what this event means to the people of Nippon, and, by extension, to the rest of the herd here on planet Earth.
Folks, look at a map: Japan’s the size of California, but with a population of 127,360,000, nearly half that of the USA, and four times that of Canada, my home. Its rugged landscape means that agricultural opportunities are limited. Japan exports very little food; it must import a great deal of what it wants or needs. Which it could do and did, until now.

The problem is that the recent nuclear disaster occurred in what is Japan’s single largest agricultural area, now likely contaminated with radiation, perhaps for lifetimes to come. It’s difficult for this writer to see how Japan can increase its remaining productivity to replace such a large loss. In my original May 23, 2004 article at Axis of Logic, “It’s Time to Again Ask: Who Will Feed China?,” I wrote that:

“To feed its 1.3 billion people, China may soon have to import so much grain that this could trigger unprecedented rises in grain prices. When Japan, a nation of just 125 million, began to import food, world grain markets rejoiced. But China’s market s ten times greater, so there may not be enough easily available grain in the world to meet that market. And here’s where it gets really sticky.”

Today, seven years later, it’s a far stickier problem, as we will now have to feed both China and Japan. And just how will this happen? Shall “free markets” dictate that only the highest bidders will eat and live? How about lotteries, each draw good for ten million bushels of wheat or rice? Just how, and by whom, will these crucial, life-saving decisions be made?
Look at it this way: Do you trust your political leaders to make the right decision if it were you and your family who were to be fed? Would you accept your luck of the draw in the lottery of food for life? If you didn’t get a winning ticket, what do you do next? Is this when Johnny gets his gun? Ask yourself honestly, then tell me.
The world awaits your answer.

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STRATFOR RED ALERT-Radiation Rising and Heading South in Japan


The nuclear reactor situation in Japan has deteriorated significantly. Two more explosions occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 15.
The first occurred at 6:10 a.m. local time at reactor No. 2, which had seen nuclear fuel rods exposed for several hours after dropping water levels due to mishaps in the emergency cooling efforts. Within three hours the amount of radiation at the plant rose to 163 times the previously recorded level, according to Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.  
Elsewhere, radiation levels were said to have reached 400 times the “annual legal limit” at reactor No. 3. Authorities differed on whether the reactor pressure vessel at reactor No. 2 was damaged after the explosion, but said the reactor’s pressure-suppression system may have been damaged possibly allowing a radiation leak. After this, a fire erupted at reactor No. 4 and was subsequently extinguished, according to Kyodo. Kyodo also reported the government has ordered a no-fly zone 30 kilometers around the reactor, and Prime Minister Naoto Kan has expanded to 30 kilometers the range within which citizens should remain indoors and warned that further leaks are possible.

Red Alert: Radiation Rising and Heading South in Japan

(click here to enlarge image)

Reports from Japanese media currently tell of rising radiation levels in the areas south and southwest of the troubled plant due to a change in wind direction toward the southwest. Ibaraki prefecture, immediately south of Fukushima, was reported to have higher than normal levels. Chiba prefecture, to the east of Tokyo and connected to the metropolitan area, saw levels reportedly two to four times above the “normal” level. Utsunomiya, Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo, reported radiation at 33 times the normal level measured there. Kanagawa prefecture, south of Tokyo, reported radiation at up to nine times the normal level. Finally, a higher than normal amount was reported in Tokyo. The government says radiation levels have reached levels hazardous to human health. Wind direction, temperature, and topography all play a crucial factor in the spread of radioactive materials as well as their diffusion, and wind direction is not easily predictable and constantly shifting, with reports saying it could shift west and then back eastward to sea within the next day. It is impossible to know how reliable these preliminary readings are but they suggest a dramatic worsening as well as a wider spread than at any time since the emergency began.
The Japanese government has announced a 30-kilometer no-fly zone and is expanding evacuation zones and urging the public within a wider area to remain indoors. The situation at the nuclear facility is uncertain, but clearly deteriorating. Currently, the radiation levels do not appear immediately life-threatening outside the 20-kilometer evacuation zone. But if there is a steady northerly wind, the potential for larger-scale evacuations of more populated areas may become a reality. This would present major challenges to the Japanese government. Further, the potential for panic-induced individual evacuations could trigger even greater problems for the government to manage.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this piece incorrectly stated that the fire at the No. 4 reactor took place at a facility in Daini. It also incorrectly reported the range of the government’s no-fly zone as 20 kilometers. The piece has since been corrected.
Read more: Red Alert: Radiation Rising and Heading South in Japan | STRATFOR
~ltg

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