The Great Sendai Quake: Radiation surged from Fukushima Dai-ichi and now decreasing

1100 CET: UN’s weather agency says Japanese winds are dispersing radioactive material over the ocean, and there is no danger for Japan or the region for now.

Tohoku Electric will introduce electricity “rationing” with rotating blackouts starting from Wednesday.

TEPCO has come in for strong criticism from the PM’s office for being slow with information.

Kan strongly ordered the company not to withdraw its employees from the power plant, which has been facing a series of problems since Friday’s massive quake, ranging from explosions to radiation leaks.

”In the event of withdrawal from there, I’m 100 percent certain that the company will collapse,” Kan said. ”I want you all to be determined.”

The government, as well as the public, has been dissatisfied with the company’s way of releasing information regarding the crippled nuclear plant.

A man in his twenties and a 74 year old woman were rescued from under debris today – 4 days after the quake.

0930: Kyodo News – Water at spent fuel pools (which reactor? #4, #5 or #6?) may be boiling reducing the water in the pool. Cooling water is to be pumped in.

Is this also what happened at reactor#4? Reactors #4, 5 and 6 were not in operation when the quake and tsunami hit. There seem to be two categories of problems –

  1. at the operating reactors #1, 2 and 3 which all shut down automatically but where lack of cooling caused by a blackout of emergency power by the tsunami wave then led to uncovering of fuel rods and which in turn led to hydrogen explosions, and
  2. at the non-operating reactors #4, 5 and 6 where cooling to the spent fuel pools were compromised also due to loss of emergency power after the tsunami wave. At reactor #4, this somehow led to a fire during which a surge of  radiation leakage occurred. Temperatures are also rising in the spent fuel pools of reactors #5 and 6.

0830 CET: Nuclear designer states that the problem was a station blackout due to the high tsunami and loss of power to the cooling systems.

Press Conference by Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano.

Radiation at the plant perimeter was down to 595 μS at 3.30pm local time which is much higher than normal but not dangerous. For a period in the morning at around 0930 local time it was at the 11,000μS level which in one hour is equivalent to a lifetime dose. Radiation levels are worrying but they are decreasing and we are hopeful. The PM’s instructions to evacuate from the 20 km zone and to stay stay indoors for people in the 30 km zero was a matter of law. The fire at reactor #4 started at 0930 and is now out. This may have caused the radiation surge. Reactor #4 was not in operation but being refuelled(?). Reactor #2 is still being cooled and the rods are thought to be under water now so that the cooling seems to be functioning. Cooling for #1 and #3 continues stable. Temperatures have also risen at #5 and #6 gradually because after the tsunami the power to the cooling is not functioning properly and this is being watched closely and additional measures are being taken. Reactors #4, 5 and 6 were not in operation but some cooling is still necessary for the spent fuel pool. The radiation release after the fire at reactor #4 was probably from the spent fuel pool(?).

Small temperature rise has been observed at spent fuel pool at Fukushima reactors #5 and #6 which were not in operation and is being watched but no cooling has been needed to be applied so far.

0730 CET: The crisis around the Fukushima nuclear plant is diverting attention from the over 300,000 evacuees and the search and rescue efforts. Wintry weather is making things worse for all those displaced.

0700 CET Status:

Reactor No.2 at Fukushima Dai-ichi  has also suffered an explosion, the third reactor to do so. The containment vessel may be damaged. Some of the fuel rods are still exposed.

A fire at reactor no.4 broke out at 0938 local time and has now been put out. The roof of the building of reactor no.4 was damaged. A surge  of radiation leakage may have coincided with the fire.

Radiation levels dangerous to health were measured at the plant perimeter for short times.

Raised levels are measurable in the wind path which is towards Tokyo currently.

People within  the 20 – 30 km radius  are told to stay indoors. All within the 20 km zone are subject to an evacuation order.

A no-fly zone has been established in a 30 km radius zone around the plant.

NHK is broadcasting advice on precautionary measures for individuals when they are being advised to stay indoors.

Cooling efforts for reactors #1 to 3 are continuing.

IAEA believes the reactor containment vessels themselves are undamaged.

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