News Stories

UPDATE: US Official Says 'Extremely High' Radiation Levels at Japanese Power Plant due to Exposed Rods

The spent fuel rods that have been exposed to the air at reactor 4 at the Fukushima power plant have begun emitting "extremely high" levels of radiation according to US officials. This means that they have almost certainly gone critical.

A Tokyo Electric Power representative has said that "the possibility of recriticality is not zero" because of an unexpected fall in water levels in the pool storing the rods. Because the material is now apparently critical, it could explode. If so, this would be the third nuclear explosion on Japanese soil, after the US dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945.

The New Scientist says, "This is a real surprise. These ponds are a standard feature of nuclear reactors, and are typically designed to ensure that nuclear reactions cannot restart in the fuel rods. Among other things, the rods should be widely spaced in the pond." If the rods go critical, even if there is no explosion, there will be a very dangerous release of radioactivity, and a wide area of Japan will be contaminated. Because nuclear fallout is heavy, however, only trace amounts are likely to reach the western hemisphere, but experts concede that even this is now an unknown. Tokyo Electric is attempting to drop boric acid into the pools in order to stave off the restart of a nuclear reaction.

People are attempting to leave Tokyo at this time, with the wealthy paying as much as $140,000 to charter private jets to fly them out. Narita Airport is jammed, and two airlines, KLM and Lufthansa, have just announced that they are no longer flying in.

Wow! Where else are you going find all this important information IN ONE PLACE--and with links so you can know FOR CERTAIN that this is REAL SCIENCE. You can trust unknowncountry.com to tell you the truth, so if you want this kind of reporting to be there the next time you fire up your computer, be sure to subscribe today!

  • Image Credit:
  • Video clip.


I need to correct something in this article: None of the stored nuclear fuel involved in this is in danger of exploding at all. What these officials mean by "criticality" is the danger that self-sustaining nuclear reactions have the possibility of restarting in the fuel. However, even in the worst case scenario, all this means is that the fuel would heat up substantially, and possibly melting. Nuclear (fission) explosions only happen because of the particular arrangement of the material within nuclear bombs, in a deliberate process meant to bring about an extremely rapid chain reaction.
_
The actual danger here is that the fuel may heat up enough for it and it's zirconium casing to catch fire, of which could spread radioactive material through the air. If there is a substantial increase in radioactivity coming from the stored fuel, this may already be the case. The only potential explosions that could occur here are the more mundane type, such as the hydrogen explosions already witnessed, or the violent rupture of one of the pressure vessels, like what happened at Chernobyl.

Subscribe to Unknowncountry sign up now