Congressman: Reactor Number 2 Has Melted Down → Washingtons Blog
Congressman: Reactor Number 2 Has Melted Down - Washingtons Blog

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Congressman: Reactor Number 2 Has Melted Down

In an interesting "he said, she said" situation, Reuters noted:

The core at Japan's Fukushima nuclear reactor has melted through the reactor pressure vessel, Democratic Congressman Edward Markey told a hearing on the nuclear disaster on Wednesday.

"I have been informed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the core of Unit Two has gotten so hot that part of it has probably melted through the reactor pressure vessel," said Markey, a prominent nuclear critic in the House of Representatives.

However, the NRC is denying this. Reuters subsequently reported:

A top official from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Wednesday it was not clear that Japan's Fukushima No. 2 nuclear reactor has melted through the reactor pressure vessel.

Earlier, Democratic lawmaker Edward Markey told a House of Representatives hearing on the nuclear disaster that the NRC had told him the core had melted through the vessel.

"That's not clear to us, nor is it clear to us that the reactor has penetrated the vessel," said Martin Virgilio, deputy executive director for reactor and preparedness programs at the NRC.

Did Markey misunderstand what the NRC was telling him? Or is the NRC covering up the situation by publicly denying what it told Markey in a private briefing?


  1. Now, with more radiation leaking and being deposited through the air by rainfall, they should know:
    How to protect your garden patch or field against radioactive fall-out

  2. Generally "it is unclear" is doublespeak for "we haven't been caught on that one yet".

  3. In Physics they humorously call it the “China Syndrome”.

    In this case we would have to call it the “North American Syndrome” where the nuclear reaction is so hot that it burns threw the Earth to the other side!

    It is only a matter of time before the containment vessel is consumed by the intense heat from the nuclear reaction. The sea water will rush in and we will have a nuclear steam cloud from Hell.

    They need to separate the fuel rods and scatter them into the sea to keep them cool.

  4. It appears that the first link to the Reuters story citing the meltdown has been taken down. Wouldn't want to scare the public...

    My bet is we will hear less and less as the ongoing events get more and more out of control...

    What makes me absolutely furious is that the cover-up makes it impossible for people to make informed choices about protecting vulnerable individuals--mostly pregnant women and small children--from increased radiation exposure in the air, water, milk, etc.

  5. And now the link to the Reuters story is dead. "Oops an error has occurred."

    Sure sounds like it.

  6. He is speaking on what is likely to have occurred, electron beaming = fission = melt down. They are saying they do not "know" in the same way I do not "know" who my father is without DNA testing.

  7. I find it worrying that the information available about this crisis seems to be coming from one source and one source alone. The same company that has been in violation of safety protocols. Some news I have been reading is saying that the radiation leaked from the the Fukushima plant is already greater than that of Chernobyl(from a nuclear expert on the green peace website) yet the disaster rating it has been given is on par with the three mile island incident. I find it worrying that we don't have more independently verified sources of information on which to base the severity of this situation.

  8. everyone needs to understand that like FOX and MSNBC (both OWNED by General Electric) that REUTERS is owned by the same group that owns REUTERS SCIENTIFIC - this division obove the media group known as Reuters services the steam nuclear power industry to the tune of 75% of Reuters Scientific's earnings - DO NOT TRUST REUTERS...lets hope that humanity will win out over profit.....Adam

  9. IMHO, It's very hard to believe that molten material from fuel rods could penetrate 5-inches of (stainless?)steel containment vessel.

    Molten fuel and fuel rod assemblies pooled at bottom of steel vessel and generate very high temperature. But 5-inch thick steel containment vessel is massive and will function as a heat-sink conduct heat away depending on alloy..

    Question is whether molten fuel rod assemblies can transfer more heat into the steel in contact with molten material than is conducted away by sheer mass of steel containment vessel.

    Containment vessel that massive should have been fabricated according to design engineers calculations for an event just like this that has occurred at Fukushima. Correct engineering practices are to design for worst case conditions.

    But a 9.0 earthquake and the following tsunami that destroyed and/or washed away critical backup equipment was a worst worse case condition outside of the operational design envelope.

    Containment vessel also embedded in very thick concrete casement, though it won't conduct away heat. Not sure how thick concrete containment is around reactor vessel or whether it offer much protection in a "melt through" scenario.

    But, TEPCO isn't exactly sharing information in "open kimono" fashion. Release of technical information re: real conditions of reactors is practically non-exististant to public. I've heard a lot of wild speculation from talking head news channels. Only credible interview I've heard was with Michio Kaku.

    After shutting down a reactor according to proper procedures it may take a month or more to cool down the reactor core. The fuel will still continue to generate heat even after the cool down process. And that's with the reactor receiving proper flow rate of coolant per operational specifications.

    (BTW, FOX is owned by Rupert Murdock's NewsCorp.)

    (At Three-Mile Island Steel I think that the containment vessel, 5-inches (?) thick was only penetrated by something like 5/8ths of an inch.)


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