Fukushima scientists confirm meltdown in 3rd reactor
By Jeremy Bloom
The Wall Street Journal reports that scientists investigating the Fukushima power plant have confirmed a third of its reactors had a serious meltdown when the 2011 earthquake and tsunami destroyed the plant.
Part of the problem: The plant is such a disaster that the only way they can tell what the hell happened, and what the hell is STILL happening, is by indirect means – in this case, by firing atomic particles known as muons through the wreckage and measuring the results.
What they’ve learned:
Researchers at Nagoya University and Toshiba Corp said they have confirmed that at least 70% of nuclear fuel inside one of the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant melted down following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami… Further study confirmed that 70% to 100% of the fuel inside the reactor has melted, a Toshiba spokeswoman said.
…The conclusion was largely expected, as nearly all the nuclear fuel in reactors 1 and 3 was also found to have melted
In the meantime, the plant continues to be socked by disasters. A 50-year flood earlier this month caused Fukushima’s pumps to fail once again and radioactive water gushed into the ocean. And Fukushima Update notes that the flooding also likely washed more radioactivity inland, spreading the contamination around to new villages.
Don’t expect anything much to happen soon, either. While Cleantechnica has reported that cleanup efforts on the undamaged Fukushima reactor have been going well, Tepco, the plant’s owner, doesn’t expect to be able to get to the hard part – removing debris from the trashed reactors – until 2021, TEN YEARS after the meltdowns…