Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nuclear Meltdown at Japanese Power Plant - Updated

Continuing my on-going debate with those who still want to claim nuclear energy is "clean" and/or somehow "worth the risk" as commenter Mule Breath alleges in comments to my earlier post, we can only hope this worst case scenario isn't coming true before our eyes:

A March 12 explosion at the earthquake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Japan, appears to have caused a reactor meltdown. [...]

And so now the question is simple: Did the floor of the containment vessel crack? If not, the situation can still be salvaged by somehow re-containing the nuclear core. But if the floor has cracked, it is highly likely that the melting fuel will burn through the floor of the containment system and enter the ground. This has never happened before but has always been the nightmare scenario for a nuclear power event — in this scenario, containment goes from being merely dangerous, time consuming and expensive to nearly impossible.
Hoping this early report is overstating the problem, because if it's not, the long term implications are likely to be really horrible for Japan and probably the whole earth.

Update: NYT reporting the explosion, but downplaying the damage to the containment system. So maybe, it's not as bad as it sounded in the first piece. Let's hope...

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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