Home » Posts tagged 'nuclear meltdown'

Tag Archives: nuclear meltdown

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

America’s Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Set To Finally Close Its Doors

America’s Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Set To Finally Close Its Doors

Few people know that sitting across from the reactor that suffered a partial meltdown on Three Mile Island in 1979 – is another unit that still remains one of the region’s largest power sources. In fact, the second unit has provided power for 45 years without incident. Now, according to Bloomberg, that unit is finally slated to shut down. 

Plant owner Exelon says that it will shutter the entire Three Mile Island facility 15 years before its license expires. While the first reactor was brought down by human error, the second is being brought down by the economics of the utility industry.

The original meltdown that occurred in 1979 was a result of steam generators that were unable to draw heat out of a reactor and a stuck valve that let coolant escape from the reactor core. 

The unit that melted down originally has stood dormant and quiet since the incident. 

Compared to Chernobyl, which resulted in 4,000 deaths, Three Mile Island is considered minor. It was determined that about 2 million people in the surrounding area “were exposed to less radiation than they would have received from a chest X-ray.”

But naturally, the immediate reaction to the event was fear and confusion. Schools closed, people stayed indoors and officials told children and pregnant women to evacuate the area. Public support for nuclear power predictably waned after the incident. 

The U.S. is now the world’s largest producer of natural gas, thanks to the “shale revolution”. This has caused a glut of the fossil fuel, dragging down its price and making it the largest source of the country’s electricity. Wind and solar have also been contributing to the nation’s energy glut. As a result, seven U.S. nuclear plants have shut down since 2013, with additional plants slated to close, despite states like New York and Pennsylvania offering subsidies for nuclear power. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fukushima: A Human-Made Disaster Brought on by Bad Faith

Fukushima: A Human-Made Disaster Brought on by Bad Faith

“Nearly seven years after the triple reactor meltdowns, this unique nuclear crisis is still underway,” Greenpeace International’s Shaun Burnie wrote in a blogpost last December. The word “unique” is an understatement but true. The March 11, 2011meltdowns are the world’s first combined earthquake-tsunami-reactor catastrophe. Moreover, while other power reactors have run out-of-control, melted down and contaminated large areas, never before have three simultaneously suffered mass earthquake damage, station black-outs, loss-of-coolant and complete meltdowns.

The consequences of its meltdowns-cubed are uniquely over three times deeper, broader and more expensive than anyone was prepared to handle. In the days following the initial quake, tsunami(s), and explosions, the head of the emergency response said, “There is no manual for this disaster.” Managers have had to invent, design, develop and implement the recovery whole cloth. Evacuation was so haphazard that on August 9, 2011, one local mayor accused the government of murder.

The crisis is ongoing in many ways: radioactively contaminated water is still pouring into the Pacific Ocean (permanently contaminating and altering sea life which bio-accumulates and bio-concentrates the radioactivity); radioactive gases and perhaps even “hot particles” are still wafting out of destroyed reactor structures and waste fuel pools; the constant threat of earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan puts millions of gallons of radioactive waste water now stored near the shore in tanks at risk of spilling; and the dangerous work of collecting radioactive soils, leaves and tree trimmings from farmlands, school yards, parks and gardens continuously adds to vast collections of 1-ton radioactive waste bags.

The government estimates that 30 million cubic meters of this collected rad waste — a nearly unimaginable 29 million tons — will eventually require burial, incineration or re-use in road-building. The disaster is ongoing because the dangerous radiation exposures endured by the workers in these disaster response jobs is cumulative and irreversible — and the work will continue for 3 centuries or so.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fukushima Darkness

Fukushima Darkness

Photo by thierry ehrmann | CC BY 2.0

The radiation effects of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant triple meltdowns are felt worldwide, whether lodged in sea life or in humans, it cumulates over time. The impact is now slowly grinding away only to show its true colors at some unpredictable date in the future. That’s how radiation works, slow but assuredly destructive, which serves to identify its risks, meaning, one nuke meltdown has the impact, over decades, of 1,000 regular industrial accidents, maybe more.

It’s been six years since the triple 100% nuke meltdowns occurred at Fukushima Daiichi d/d March 11th, 2011, nowadays referred to as “311”. Over time, it’s easy for the world at large to lose track of the serious implications of the world’s largest-ever industrial disaster; out of sight out of mind works that way.

According to Japanese government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) estimates, decommissioning is a decade-by-decade work-in-progress, most likely four decades at a cost of up to ¥21 trillion ($189B). However, that’s the simple part to understanding the Fukushima nuclear disaster story. The difficult painful part is largely hidden from pubic view via a highly restrictive harsh national secrecy law (Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, Act No. 108/2013), political pressure galore, and fear of exposing the truth about the inherent dangers of nuclear reactor meltdowns. Powerful vested interests want it concealed.

Following passage of the 2013 government secrecy act, which says that civil servants or others who “leak secrets” will face up to 10 years in prison, and those who “instigate leaks,” especially journalists, will be subject to a prison term of up to 5 years, Japan fell below Serbia and Botswana in the Reporters Without Borders 2014 World Press Freedom Index. The secrecy act, sharply criticized by the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations, is a shameless act of buttoned-up totalitarianism at the very moment when citizens need and in fact require transparency.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fukushima Five Years After: Health Researchers Turn Blind Eye to Casualties

Fukushima Five Years After: Health Researchers Turn Blind Eye to Casualties

shutterstock_300628928 (2)

Last month made five years since the nuclear plant at Fukushima, Japan suffered meltdowns. The release of highly toxic radiation from the reactors was enormous, on the level of the Chernobyl disaster a generation earlier. But Fukushima is arguably worse than Chernobyl. There were four reactors that melted down, vs. just one at Chernobyl. And the Chernobyl reactor was buried in a matter of weeks, while Fukushima is still not controlled, and radioactive contaminants continue to leak into the Pacific. In time, this may prove to be the worst environmental catastrophe ever.

Japan, which had 54 reactors in operation, closed them all to improve safety features. But the nation’s people, who had suffered from the two atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are adamantly against nuclear power. As a result, despite strong efforts of government and industry, only three (3) reactors have been brought back on line.

While the people struggle against leaders to determine the nuclear future of Japan, many questions remain. The most crucial question is, without doubt, how many casualties occurred from the 2011 disaster?

Public health leaders have addressed the topic with ignorance and deception. A search of the medical literature shows only two studies in Japan that review actual changes in disease and death rates. One showed that 127 Fukushima-area children have developed thyroid cancer since the meltdown; a typical number of cases for a similar sized population of children would be about 5-10. The other study showed a number of ectopic intrathyroidal problems in local children – a disorder that is extremely rare. No other studies looking at changes in infant deaths, premature births, child cancers, or other radiation-sensitive diseases are available.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fukushima – Deep Trouble

Fukushima – Deep Trouble

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster may go down as one of history’s boundless tragedies and not just because of a nuclear meltdown, but rather the tragic loss of a nation’s soul.

Imagine the following scenario: 207 million cardboard book boxes, end-to-end, circumnavigating Earth, like railroad tracks, going all the way around the planet. That’s a lot of book boxes. Now, fill the boxes with radioactive waste. Forthwith, that’s the amount of radioactive waste stored unsheltered in one-tonne black bags throughout Fukushima Prefecture, amounting to 9,000,000 cubic metres

But wait, there’s more to come, another 13,000,000 cubic metres of radioactive soil is yet to be collected. (Source: Voice of America News, Problems Keep Piling Up in Fukushima, Feb. 17, 2016).

And, there’s still more, the cleanup operations only go 50-100 feet beyond roadways. Plus, a 100-mile mountain range along the coast and hillsides around Fukushima are contaminated but not cleansed at all. As a consequence, the decontaminated land will likely be re-contaminated by radioactive runoff from the hills and mountains.

Indubitably, how and where to store millions of cubic metres of one-tonne black bags filled with radioactive waste is no small problem. It is a super-colossal problem. What if bags deteriorate? What if a tsunami hits? The “what-ifs” are endless, endless, and beyond.

“The black bags of radioactive soil, now scattered at 115,000 locations in Fukushima, are eventually to be moved to yet-to-be built interim facilities, encompassing 16 square kilometers, in two towns close to the crippled nuclear power plant,” Ibid.

By itself, 115,000 locations each containing many, many, mucho one-tonne bags of radioactive waste is a logistical nightmare, just the trucking alone is forever a humongous task, decades to come.

According to Japanese government and industry sources, cleaning up everything and decommissioning the broken down reactors will take at least 40 years at a cost of $250 billion, assuming nothing goes wrong.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Huge Fukushima Cover-Up Exposed, Government Scientists In Meltdown

Huge Fukushima Cover-Up Exposed, Government Scientists In Meltdown

The great government cover-up of Fukishima

Fukushima radiation just off the North American coast is higher now than it has ever been, and government scientists and mainstream press are scrambling to cover-up and downplay the ever-increasing deadly threat that looms for millions of Americans. 

Following the March 2011 meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, reactors have sprayed immeasurable amounts of radioactive material into the air, most of which settled into the Pacific Ocean. A study by the American Geophysical Union has found that radiation levels from Alaska to California have increased and continue to increase since they were last taken.

Naturalnews.com reports:

The highest levels yet of radiation from the disaster were found in a sample taken 2,500 kilometers (approx. 1,550 miles) west of San Francisco.

“Safe” according to whom?

Lead researcher Ken Buesseler of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was one of the first people to begin monitoring Fukushima radiation in the Pacific Ocean, with his first samples taken three months after the disaster started. In 2014, he launched a citizen monitoring effort – Our Radioactive Ocean – to help collect more data on ocean-borne radioactivity.

The researchers track Fukushima radiation by focusing on the isotope Cesium-134, which has a half-life of only two years. All Cesium-134 in the ocean likely comes from the Fukushima disaster. In contrast, Cesium-137 – also released in huge quantities from Fukushima – has a half-life of 30 years, and persists in the ocean, not just from Fukushima, but also from nuclear tests conducted as far back as the 1950s.

The most recent study added 110 new Cesium-134 samples to the ongoing studies. These samples were an average of 11 Becquerels per cubic meter of sea water, a level 50 percent higher than other samples taken so far.

Instead of presenting the findings as an alarming sign of growing radiation, however, Buesseler emphasizes that the Cesium-134 levels detected are still 500 times lower than the drinking water limits set by the U.S. government.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fukushima protective groundwater wall ‘slightly leaning’

Fukushima protective groundwater wall ‘slightly leaning’

© The Japan Times
Completed only last month and designed to prevent contaminated groundwater from seeping into the sea, a 780-meter protective wall built alongside the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power station is already “slightly leaning,” plant operator TEPCO has announced.

Tokyo Electric Power Company inspection discovered that pressure from the flow of groundwater has tilted the wall some 20cm towards the sea, Japan’s largest broadcasting organization NHK World reported.

TEPCO however remains optimistic and has said that the slight lean does not affect the wall’s ability to block radioactive water. The operator is now reinforcing the wall with steel pillars.

Inspection into the construction was completed in late October and also discovered cracks along the perimeter of the wall in the embankment’s pavement. Officials have blamed rising groundwater levels for the cracks – and keep repairing them to make sure that rain does not increase the groundwater levels even further.

The 780-meter coastal wall along the damaged reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was built to stifle the flow of tainted water into the sea from 400 tons to 10 tons a day.

The “impermeable” barrier has an underground section that reaches 30 meters deep. TEPCO officials have claimed that such a structure should reduce the amount of radioactive cesium and strontium flowing into the sea to one fortieth of previous levels, while the tritium levels should be reduced to one-fifteenth.

A magnitude 9 earthquake triggered a tsunami that struck Fukushima on March 11, 2011. The disaster caused a triple meltdown at the nuclear plant, where so far almost 45,000 workers have been involved in a clean-up and decommissioning effort that is expected to cost billions of dollars and take at least 40 years.

Fukushima Radiation in Pacific Reaches West Coast

Fukushima Radiation in Pacific Reaches West Coast

“[W]e should be carefully monitoring the oceans after what is certainly the largest accidental release of radioactive contaminants to the oceans in history,” marine chemist Ken Buesseler said last spring.

Instead, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency halted its emergency radiation monitoring of Fukushima’s radioactive plume in May 2011, three months after the disaster began. Japan isn’t even monitoring seawater near Fukushima, according to a Sept. 28 story in “The Ecologist.”

The amount of cesium in seawater that Buesseler’s researchers found off Vancouver Island is nearly six times the concentration recorded since cesium was first introduced into the oceans by nuclear bomb tests (halted in 1963). This stunning increase in Pacific cesium shows an ongoing increase. The International Business Times (IBT) reported last Nov. 12 that Dr. Buesseler found the amount of cesium-134 in the same waters was then about twice the concentration left in long-standing bomb test remains.

Dr. Buesseler, at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, announced his assessment after his team found that cesium drift from Fukushima’s three reactor meltdowns had reached North America. Attempting to reassure the public, Buesseler said, “[E]ven if they were twice as high and I was to swim there every day for an entire year, the dose I would be exposed to is a thousand times less than a single dental X-ray.”

This comparison conflates the important difference between external radiation exposure (from X-rays or swimming in radioactively contaminated seawater), and internal contamination from ingesting radioactive isotopes, say with seafood.

Dr. Chris Busby of the Low Level Radiation Campaign in the UK explains the distinction this way: Think of the difference between merely sitting before a warm wood fire on one hand, and popping a burning hot coal into your mouth on the other. Internal contamination can be 1,000 times more likely to cause cancer than the same exposure if it were external, especially for women and children.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Inspired By Game Of Thrones, TEPCO Resumes Building “Ice Wall” Around Fukushima

Inspired By Game Of Thrones, TEPCO Resumes Building “Ice Wall” Around Fukushima

14 Months after abandoning the “Game of Thrones”-esque frozen-water-wall containment plan for FukushimaBloomberg reports that TEPCO expects to begin freezing a soil barrier by the end of the year to stop a torrent of water entering the wrecked Fukushima nuclear facility, moving a step closer to fulfilling a promise the Japanese government made to the international community more than two years ago. Officials noted, rather uninspiringly, the frozen wall, along with other measures, “should be able to resolve the contaminated water issues before the Olympic games.”

When they unveiled this “Pacific-Rim-like’ 1.4km long ice-wall a year ago, we snarkily wished them luck, questioning their sanity. Of course, we got a hint when TEPCO admitted that we have yet to form an ice plug because we can’t get the temperature low enough to freeze the water.” 

At the time, there was no Plan B – though we noted that ‘wasting’ JPY 32 billion on the project so far was likely helping GDP.

But now Plan B appears to be the same as failed Plan A… (as Bloomberg reports)

“In the last half-year we have made significant progress in water treatment,” Akira Ono, chief of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, said Friday during a tour of the facility north of Tokyo. The frozen wall, along with other measures, “should be able to resolve the contaminated water issues before the Olympic games.”

Solving the water management problems would be a major milestone, but Tokyo Electric is still faced with a number of challenges at the site. The company must still remove highly radioactive debris from inside three wrecked reactors, a task for which no applicable technology exists. The entire facility must eventually be dismantled.

Currently, about 300 metric tons of water flow into the reactor building daily from the nearby hills. Tepco, as the nation’s biggest utility is called, has struggled to decommission the reactors while also grappling with the buildup of contaminated water.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fukushima Kids Suffer Thyroid Cancer Up To 50x Normal Rate, New Study Finds

Fukushima Kids Suffer Thyroid Cancer Up To 50x Normal Rate, New Study Finds

Children living near the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer at a rate 20 to 50 times that of children elsewhere, according to a new study. As AP reports, most of the 370,000 children in Fukushima prefecture have been given ultrasound checkups since the meltdown and thyroid cancer is suspected or confirmed in 137 of those children. “This is more than expected and emerging faster than expected,” according to the lead author of the study, and raises doubts about the government’s less fearful view.

Right after the disaster, the lead doctor brought in to Fukushima, Shunichi Yamashita, repeatedly ruled out the possibility of radiation-induced illnesses. The thyroid checks were being ordered just to play it safe, according to the government. But, as AP reports, a new study says children living near the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer at a rate 20 to 50 times that of children elsewhere, a difference the authors contend undermines the government’s position that more cases have been discovered in the area only because of stringent monitoring

Most of the 370,000 children in Fukushima prefecture (state) have been given ultrasound checkups since the March 2011 meltdowns at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. The most recent statistics, released in August, show that thyroid cancer is suspected or confirmed in 137 of those children, a number that rose by 25 from a year earlier. Elsewhere, the disease occurs in only about one or two of every million children per year by some estimates.

“This is more than expected and emerging faster than expected,” lead author Toshihide Tsuda told The Associated Press during a visit to Tokyo. “This is 20 times to 50 times what would be normally expected.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The World’s Never Seen Anything Like This

The World’s Never Seen Anything Like This

fukushima2

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant No. 2 nuclear reactor fuel is missing from the core containment vessel. (Source: Up to 100% of No. 2 Reactor Fuel May Have Melted, NHK World News, Sept. 25, 2015.)

Where did it go? Nobody knows.

Not only that but the “learning curve” for a nuclear meltdown is as fresh as the event itself because “the world has never seen anything like this,” never.

Utilizing cosmic ray muon radiography with nuclear emulsion, researchers from Nagoya University peered inside the reactors at Fukushima. The nuclear fuel in reactor core No. 5 was clearly visible via the muon process. However, at No. 2 reactor, which released a very large amount of radioactive substances coincident with the 2011 explosion, little, if any, signs of nuclear fuel appear in the containment vessel. A serious meltdown is underway.

“The researchers say further analyses are needed to determine whether molten fuel penetrated the reactor and fell down,” Ibid. In short, researchers do not yet know if the molten hot stuff has penetrated the steel/concrete base beyond the containment vessel, thus entering Mother Earth.

The Nagoya University research team, in coordination with Toshiba Corporation, reported their findings at a meeting of the Physical Society of Japan on Sept. 26th.
Thus, therefore, and furthermore, it is advisable to review what’s at stake:
“High-level nuclear waste is almost unimaginably poisonous. Take for example cesium-137, with a half-life of 30 years, which makes up the largest fraction of long-lived radionuclides residing in spent nuclear fuel. One gram of radioactive cesium-137 (about half the size of a dime) contains 88 Curies of radioactivity. 104 Curies of radioactive cesium-137, spread evenly over one square mile of land, will make it uninhabitable for more than a century,” Comments on Draft of Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013, Physicians for Social Responsibility, May 23, 2013.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fukushima Reactor No.2 May Have Suffered Total Meltdown

Fukushima Reactor No.2 May Have Suffered Total Meltdown

To the extent the memory of Fukushima had faded over the last several years, the “fallout” (no pun intended) from the nuclear-like blast that tore through an industrial complex at the Chinese port of Tianjin last month served to remind the world of how far-reaching and unpredictable the consequences can be when disaster strikes at a site that houses potentially toxic materials.

For those unfamiliar, the explosion at Tianjin set the stage for an apocalyptic scenario whereby water soluble sodium cyanide could interact with incoming thunderstorms creating cyanide rain and while that doomsday-ish scenario didn’t play out in as dramatic a fashion as some feared, there was an eerie white foam covering the streets following the first rains that fell in the wake of the explosion.

In case Tianjin didn’t satisfy your thirst for potential cataclysms, just a few days after the explosion, Japan warned that Sakurajima (one of the country’s most active volcanos) was set to erupt. That was notable in and of itself, but what made the story especially amusing (if worrisome) was that just days earlier, Tokyo had greenlighted the reopening of the Sendai nuclear power plant which is located just 50 kilometers from Sakurajima. The reopening at Sendai marked the first nuclear reactor to be restarted in Japan since the Chernobyl redux at Fukushima in 2011.

As The Guardian noted at the time, some experts claim “the restarted reactor at Sendai [is] still at risk from natural disasters,” despite the fact that it was the first nuclear plant to pass new regulations put in place by the country’s Nuclear Regulation Authority on the heels of the disaster in 2011.

Well, don’t look now but experts now say the No. 2 reactor at Fukushima may have suffered a complete meltdown. Here’s RT with more:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Fukushima Fix

The Fukushima Fix

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was briefed on the situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant as he toured the facility back on Sept. 19, 2013.  chief Akira Ono (4th L) in front of two tanks (back) which are being dismantled after leaking contaminated water, during his tour to the tsunami-crippled plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan on September 19, 2013. Abe told Fukushima's operator to fix radioactive water leaks as he toured the crippled nuclear plant on September 19, less than two weeks after assuring the world the situation was under control. AFP PHOTO / Japan Pool  JAPAN OUT        (Photo credit should read JAPAN POOL/AFP/Getty Images)

Japan’s Abe government claims portions of Fukushima Prefecture (original population 2 million) are safe for habitation, radioactivity is acceptable; whereas scientific data by third-party NGOs indicates otherwise, stay away!

PM Abe’s specific maneuvers towards rehabilitation give the appearance that the Fukushima full-blown nuclear meltdown is relatively minimal in comparison to Chernobyl’s disastrous explosion of 1986. After all, to this day, Chernobyl after 30 years is still a 30km “exclusion zone” where nobody is allowed due to excessive levels of radiation.

Meanwhile, back in Japan, PM Abe is moving people back into former restricted zones four years after the fact.

It remains an open question as to whether the Fukushima aftermath will be worse than Chernobyl. After all, the China Syndrome may be actively at work at Fukushima and as such could last over many lifetimes.

Still, the immediate direct exposure of radiation over population centers at Chernobyl was significantly more than Fukushima of which 80% drifted out into the Pacific Ocean.

But, that may be slight solace because, horrifyingly, nobody knows where the Fukushima melted cores are located, nobody knows; it’s absolutely true, nobody knows whether the molten cores are within the containment vessels, outside of the vessels, deep in the ground, or cataclysmically traversing towards the water table.

Regardless, PM Abe’s directive appears to be: “No problem, we’ve cleaned up a whole lot of the mess outside of the immediate meltdown… so, move back into former restricted areas.”

Still, it’s nearly impossible to give an all-clear signal at this stage, especially with the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station containment vessels completely out of control with wild atom-splitting rogue radionuclides spewing into the Pacific Ocean, and who knows where else (Einstein must be spinning in his grave).

 

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Fukushima disaster: Radiation levels posing cancer risks on fourth anniversary of earthquake

Fukushima disaster: Radiation levels posing cancer risks on fourth anniversary of earthquake

Four years ago today Japan was hit with a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami that caused widespread destruction, leaving almost 22,000 people dead or missing and triggering a crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The triple nuclear meltdown was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

About 120,000 people still cannot return their homes because of high radiation levels, but the issue of long-term health implications like cancer are causing the greatest concern and controversy in Japan.

Before the disaster, there was just one to two cases of thyroid cancers in a million Japanese children but now Fukushima has more than 100 confirmed or suspected cases, having tested about 300,000 children.

Megumi Muto’s daughter Nana has undergone scans to determine if the lumps in her thyroid glands have grown. In a small number of cases, these lumps can develop into cancer.

Ms Muto is convinced the growths were caused by exposure to high radiation levels after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in March 2011.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

 

Shape Shifting Robot To Inspect Damaged Fukushima Reactor

Shape Shifting Robot To Inspect Damaged Fukushima Reactor

Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which suffered three reactor meltdowns from an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, can’t be decommissioned until its ruined reactors are inspected. But because of deadly radiation, no human can get close to the facility to survey the damage.

So the Japanese electronics giant Hitachi and an affiliate, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, have designed a snaky-looking, remotely controlled robot to do the job, perhaps as soon as April, to gather information about the state of the No. 1 reactor building to prepare for the removal of its radioactive rubble.

The utility that operates the power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), intends to repair and seal off all damaged chambers in the facility, then fill them with water as a step toward eventually removing the melted remains. That is expected to take place in about 10 years.

Hitachi and Hitachi-GE demonstrated the shape-shifting robot on Feb. 5 at a plant owned by Hitachi-GE. It showed that the slinky, 2-foot-long robot can morph a bit depending on the space it needs to occupy and the work it needs to do.

In the demonstration, the robot, equipped with a camera and a lamp on its “nose,” snaked its way through a pipe with a diameter of only 4 inches. When it emerged from the other end of the pipe, it expanded to a U shape, then crawled around, taking live images of the immediate area and capturing temperature and radiation levels.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase