Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fukushima updates, March 24@2:30pm

  • Control room instruments are now powered at all units except reactor Number 3

  • For the first time, reactor 1 is smoking

  • White and gray plumes of smoke are still spewing out of reactors 2, 3 and 4, presenting the possibility that the spent-fuel have overheated to the point where water has boiled away and exposed fuel assemblies, causing them to overheat and release particulate matter into the atmosphere

  • According to the NYT, a problem has now surfaced with reactor 5:
"The cooling system at Reactor No. 5, which was shut down at the time of the earthquake and has shown few problems since, also abruptly stopped working on Wednesday afternoon, said Hiro Hasegawa, a spokesman for Tokyo Electric....“When we switched from the temporary pump, it automatically switched off,” he said. “We’ll try again with a new pump in the morning.”

  • Readings of 125 µSv per hour (12.5 millirem/hr) have been logged 25 miles northwest of Japan due to variable wind conditions. That is over 1 Sv/year assuming constant levels - extremely high and unlivable

  • Readings at the Fukushima complex are at present reading 300 µSv/hour, allowing shifts of 1-3 hours at a time
  • Neutron beams have been observed 13 times at the plant over a 3 day period, presenting a risk of escaped uranium and plutonium from the spent fuel pools and/or the reactors themselves.  This development will make calculating exposures for the staff at Fukushima difficult.

  • Wind predictions for Friday are westbound, and are expected to send any discharge from the plant toward the interior of the country.  Korea and China may see increased exposures

  • Latest Readings from the PNRI:

DOST-PNRI RADIATION LEVEL CHECK at PNRI grounds as of 3:00 PM, March 21, 2011: 95-122 nSv/hr (nanosieverts per hour) status normal

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