Posts tagged meltdown
With no solution in sight for Europe and new fears of a global recession, investors dumped stocks and commodities and ran to the safety of U.S. Treasurys.
The dollar was also a beneficiary of a massive fear trade that sent U.S. stocks sharply lower, on the heels of steep sell-offs in equities markets around the globe. The worst performing stock market sectors mirrored the sell-off in global commodities markets, with materials down 4.6 percent and energy stocks down 4.1 percent. source – CNBC
Is a total meltdown inevitable
The chief of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday that all the water is gone from one of the spent fuel pools at Japan’s most troubled nuclear plant, but Japanese officials denied it.
If NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko is correct, this would mean there’s nothing to stop the fuel rods from getting hotter and ultimately melting down. The outer shell of the rods could also ignite with enough force to propel the radioactive fuel inside over a wide area. Jaczko did not say Wednesday how the information was obtained, but the NRC and U.S. Department of Energy both have experts on site at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex of six reactors. He said the spent fuel pool of the complex’s Unit 4 reactor has lost water.
Jaczko said officials believe radiation levels are extremely high, and that could affect workers’ ability to stop temperatures from escalating.
Japan’s nuclear safety agency and Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the complex, deny water is gone from the pool. Utility spokesman Hajime Motojuku said the “condition is stable” at Unit 4.” source – NPR
The bad news just got much worse
TOKYO (Nikkei)–The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said Saturday afternoon the explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant could only have been caused by a meltdown of the reactor core. The same day, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), which runs the plant, began to flood the damaged reactor with seawater to cool it down, resorting to measures that could rust the reactor and force the utility to scrap it.
Cesium and iodine, by-products of nuclear fission, were detected around the plant, which would make the explosion the worst accident in the roughly 50-year history of Japanese nuclear power generation. An explosion was heard near the plant’s No. 1 reactor about 3:30 p.m. and plumes of white smoke went up 10 minutes later. The ceiling of the building housing the reactor collapsed, according to information obtained by Fukushima prefectural authorities.
At a news conference Saturday night, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano discounted the possibility of a significant leak of radioactive material from the accident. “The walls of the building containing the reactor were destroyed, meaning that the metal container encasing the reactor did not explode,” Edano said. The amount of radiation detected inside the plant after 4:00 p.m. slightly exceeded the dose people can safely receive in a year, according to information obtained by the Fukushima prefectural government. The No. 1 reactor shut down automatically soon after a massive earthquake hit the area Friday, but its emergency core cooling system failed to cool the reactor’s core sufficiently.” source – Nikkei