They said the situation had been contained, but it turns out that all 3 reactors at Fukushima Daichi experienced total meltdown. The main reactor melted down within 16 hours of the initial disaster and the other two melted down sometime during the following week.
What does that mean? Michio Kaku gives a good explanation in the video above. Basically a "meltdown" occurs when the fuel rods (radioactive material) aren't properly cooled and melt into a gooey puddle of radioactive gunk. Gunk is worse than rods because gunk causes Hydrogen explosions and burns through what it touches to leak out into the environment. Both spread massive amounts of radiation into the surrounding area.
The reactors were saved from giant, vaporizing explosions by the sea water the government pumped in to cool the material (seawater that was contaminated and pumped back out into the ocean).
The video above is quite sobering in its description of what came very very close to happening at Fukushima Daichi. As it is, the devastation caused by the "contained" meltdown is disturbing enough:
"Akira Tashiro, one of Japan’s most respected investigative journalists on nuclear issues, recently returned from Fukushima and his testimony is sobering. Even Akira, who has visited Three Mile Island and Chernobyl and co-authored a book on radiation damage, was clearly shaken by the plight of the people in the no man’s land around the plant. He quotes a dairy farmer near the evacuation zone, describing the invisible radiation’s leakage as a tsunami that never seems to roll back.'"
Given the extent of the damage, one has to wonder if Fukushima will become a word as synonymous with nuclear disaster as Chernobyl.
Labels: Current Events