Saturday, March 12, 2011

Earthquake Caused Nuclear Reactor Explosion, Meltdown

Japanese authorities evacuated all within 30-mile radius – disaster is the first since the 1986 meltdown at Chernobyl

BULLETIN: Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said that the explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi No. 1 nuclear plant could only have been caused by a meltdown of the reactor core, Japanese daily "Nikkei" reported. This statement seemed somewhat at odds with Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano’s comments earlier today, in which he said "the walls of the building containing the reactor were destroyed, meaning that the metal container encasing the reactor did not explode."The earthquake that sent Tsunami waves crashing into California and Oregon damaged a the containment vessel and metal container enclosing a nuclear reactor at Okuma, Japan, about 140 miles from Tokyo.

The world watches and waits to see if the floor of the damaged reactor core is cracked, if radiation is escaping into the ground.

An explosion rocked the nuclear reactor damaged in an 8.9 magnitude earthquake early today, causing plumes of white smoke to emerge from the damaged building.

The white smoke is believed to be caused by burning concrete.

Control rods that slide in and out of the fuel pile regulate the heat of the nuclear reaction. These rods were damaged and the rupture exposed about five feet of the nuclear fuel to the air, which caused the explosion. Officials of the Tokyo Electric Power Company said they do not have enough electricity to pump water through the shattered ruins of the massive concrete containment vessel and are thus unable to control the heat.

Experts fear that the meltdown will cause a much higher exposure radiation exposure rate than the 620 millirems the average person absorbs each year.

Officials estimated a 620 millirem per hour exposure rate for those in the vicinity of the meltdown. It is not clear if this rate was estimated before or after the explosion.

Firefighters who worked the disaster at Chernobyl were exposed to between 80,000 to 1.6 million millirems. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission estimates that exposure to 375,000 to 500,000 millirems would be sufficient to cause death within three months for half of those exposed.

To this day following the 1986 disaster in the former Soviet Union, a
30 kilometer radius no go zone is maintained around the ruined nuclear power plant.

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