NE Japan Earthquake Day 2: Minamisanriku-cho Village Annihilated and Fukushima I Reactor in Danger

Miyagi Prefecture Declares Over 10,000 People, More Than Half the Local Population, Missing from Minamisanriku-cho
Yomiuri Shimbun: 宮城・南三陸町で1万人行方不明…県が発表
On the 12th, Miyagi Prefecture announced that in Minamisanriku-cho, which was annihilated by the tsunami, about 10,000 of the 17,300 residents are missing.

According to the prefecture, the other 7500 are taking refuge in 25 places, including Shizugawa Elementary School [whose name, incidentally includes the character for “tsunami”] and Tokura Junior High School.

Secretary Edano Says Hydrogen Explosion Outside Container of Nuclear Reactor
Yomiuri Shimbun: 原子炉格納容器外で水素が爆発…官房長官
On the night of the 12th, in a press conference at the Prime Minister’s official residence, Secretary General Edano calmly said of the explosion at Fukushima I Nuclear Reactor No. 1, “the explosion was not inside the reactor container but outside it.” “There has not been large-scale radiation leakage. The radiation level is no higher than it was before the explosion.”

Though Tokyo Eletric Power Company has been inspecting, concentration levels have not risen.

An outer wall of the complex was destroyed by the hydrogen explosion.

Seawater Will Be Poured into Fukushima I Nuclear Reactor No. 1, and Plant May Be Demolished
Yomiuri Shimbun: 原子炉に海水注入決断、廃炉も…福島第一1号機
After the earthquake caused Fukushima I Nuclear Reactor No. 1 to automatically shut down, followed by rising pressure and overheating inside, Tokyo Electric Power Company decided to pour seawater into the plant. Secretary General Edano announced this at a press conference at the Prime Minister’s official residence.

Since a large amount of water can be delivered quickly from the ocean, it will be a highly effective coolant. There is already an emergency seawater line to the plant, and it is being used to cool hot steam. This is the reason the reactor was built on the coast, in fact.

For this particular cooling, barium is being added to the water. While acting as a cooling agent at the time of the accident, the reactor water’s neutron levels dropped, which accelerated nuclear fission itself.

Barium, which represses chemical reactions, is being added in order to hold down this fission when it is pumped in. Barium works as an emergency coolant and is a normal part of the systems in light water reactors.

The big question is what will happen to Reactor No. 1 after this. Seawater will make the facility equipment difficult to reuse. That’s especially true this time, since some radiation is already leaking outside, and though there is little uranium fuel, the exposed melted metallic plating could cause a meltdown.

After seawater is poured on top of such profound contamination, the cost of returning everything to normal will rise even higher, if it is possible at all.

If the reactor is scrapped, besides undergoing national inspection, highly radioactive fuel will be cooled, and radioactive contamination will have to be removed. Also, when the neutron line of the 40-year old reactor is exposed, it will turn radioactive, and steps must be taken to guard against the effects and dismantle the equipment.




(2011年3月12日22時16分 読売新聞)




(2011年3月12日20時53分 読売新聞)








(2011年3月12日23時16分 読売新聞)

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