Update 17th March 07:41 Tokyo
So we have potentially damaged containment vessels and significant fuel melt that will lead to radiological discharges are likely.
In Tokyo, the risk from radiation remains low. Beyond Japan, it remains unbelievably low!
If you are not near the plant, you are still OK.
It is really sad though that this post turned out to be prescient. Some of the information is obviously now out of date.
The current situation according to the info I have is still the same: it’s basically under control but there will be at least a some small discharges that will blow out to sea.
The super high radiation spikes measured appear to have been anomalies and even at the plant levels are high but basically safe.
1 and 3 are definitely fine. The fire at 4 is out and was not fuelled so there was unlikely to be any big radiological release from it.
Everything I have written so far is still the best available advice, unless TEPCO have been covering up how bad the situation really is.
What is concerning me is the info we are NOT getting:
- rate of water loss from #2
- any info about the state of the containment vessel
- current temperature of the remaining two reactors, which is now also increasing
Last night, I was expecting to hear this morning that everything was flooded and under control, instead the news of damage to the torus and containment vessel and exposed rods in #2 was out of left field.
I am therefore having to re-evaluate on the assumption that TEPCO have been withholding the true scale of the problems at the site and I am therefore now nervous.
Reports that this will turn into Chernobyl are still ridiculous, but the probability of a significant radiological release that could be harmful to a wider area has, in my estimation, gone up.
At the moment the wind is blowing North and East – out to sea (and fingers crossed it stays that way) so if the situation does deteriorate, Tokyo will not fall into any kind of immediate danger.
I am on tender hooks for more, better, verifiable info but the last news conference has made me lose a bit of faith. As the journalists at the site said to Edano – please TEPCO – tell us more and more regularly! If I, a staunch nay-sayer against the (still far too high doom-saying) am wavering, then it should really tell you that this is not good enough.
If units 5 and 6 also get into any kind of serious trouble it will definitely be time to worry. It would, for me, be proof that what I and others have been saying was true – but the foundation on which the advice was based was false.
I reiterate that there is still absolutely no cause to panic. The current releases and radiation levels are not hugely dangerous and should not get significantly worse. The current exclusion zones are plenty. If nothing else goes wrong.
My faith in further things not going wrong has been shaken, admittedly mostly by the lack of clear information available rather than any hard facts that the situation is genuinely bad.
Further recommended reading (all of which I agree with completely subject to the above caveats) are
- Gakuaranman’s Great Tohoku Earthquake (Latest) is regularly updated including notes from Japanese press conferences
- AltJapan’s Should I Stay or Should I Go is an excellent “current status” snap shot
- Mutant Frog’s Radiation safety update for all your radiation fears.