An Emailer tells us our Wednesday report of not being able to find “melt-through” evidence coming out of Japan is incorrect, and references an article in Yomiuri Shimbun. The headline says, “Melt-through at Fukushima? / Govt (sic) report to IAEA suggests situation worse then meltdown”. The article speaks of melt-through as if it is a firm fact, but a deeper look at the IAEA report gives a very different view. First, Yomiuri Shimbun is affiliated with the Associated Press, which has a track record of spinning nuclear information in the most terrifying direction possible. Second, the major news media or “official” sites from Japan say nothing about melt-through. Third, and most importantly, is the actual Japanese government report submitted to the IAEA. The report itself is available to anyone at…

Please be advised…this is an exhaustive document, nearly 300 pages in length. It is not light reading. We suggest using the links from the table of contents in order to find the portions of the report of greatest reader interest, at least at first. We have skimmed the entire report and find some interesting information contained in each chapter. For our current purposes, we focus on chapter IV, “Occurrence and Progress of Accidents in Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations”, which details the separate TEPCO and NISA analyses of the sequence of events leading up to and after core melt for all three units. The serious possibility of RPV leaks developing through instrument penetrations, piping gaskets, and/or control rod drive penetration seals is in each unit’s report. It is stated that units 1 & 2 may have had some of it’s molten core material (corium) seep through these possible points of leakage and drop (drip?) to the floor below the RPV, on top of the many-feet-thick base mat. But there is no use of the term “melt-through”, and no implication as such. It should be noted, Unit 3’s report speaks of the possibility of steam and water leaks from the RPV, but there appears to be is no mention of corium leaks.

Melt-through is a theoretical, massive failure of the solid, thick, cast-steel bottom head, allowing the main body of the molten core to drop onto the base mat en-mass (all at once). This would be like the bottom falling out of a paper cup filled with water, dropping all of the water on your feet. From the report made to the IAEA, there seems to be nothing approaching melt-through given the remotest mention. It appears that Yomiuri Shimbun has embraced the western news media’s affection for fear-oriented spin-doctoring.

Now, for today’s updates…

  • IAEA has received the above-mentioned report on Fukushima, but has asked for another, “more transparent” document by June 20. The submitted report, although of considerable length, leaves a lot to be desired. Specifically, many key points in the report are “estimated” or “presumed”, but should be evidentially supported at this point in time. What is conspicuously lacking are the control room records from all three Fukushima units of concern.More and more, it seems the Japanese government is trying to avoid release of some information, hoping no-one will notice. Do they think the rest of the world is ignorant?
  • NHK World reports Prime Minister Kan has revised his schedule for resigning. He now says he wants to stay in office until the end of August. His opponents are understandably livid.
  • NHK also reports the governor of Saga Prefecture is attempting to block the start-up of the two undamaged, totally functional Genkai reactor plants, which were shut down for maintenance when the tsunami hit. Industry Minister Barri Kaieda said actions such as this will cause summer power shortages and a large negative impact on quake and tsunami restoration. Kansai Electric Company and TEPCO have already told their customers to cut usage in July by 15% or face rolling blackouts. Undaunted, the Saga governor says the concern for nuclear safety takes precedence over the national need for electricity.Since when should nuclear fears take precedence over recovery from the worst natural disaster to hit Japan in recorded history? The Saga governor’s move is absolutely irresponsible!
  • Temperatures for RPVs #1 & 2 remain stable. RPV #3 temperatures continue to slowly increase. TEPCO says the increase is because they have reduced the amount of water being injected.
  • TEPCO has built a sea-water decontamination system to remove the above-limits level of Cesium from the waters inside the silt dams surrounding the water intake structures at Fukushima. The system is now being tested. It is designed to decontaminate up to 30 tons of water per hour. In addition, TEPCO has beefed up the barriers between the slowly rising waste waters in and around the four stricken turbine buildings, to reduce the possibility of leaks to the sea.
  • TEPCO is also busily preparing to flush humid, high-airborne-activity air through filtration units, in order to make it feasible for workers to enter unit #2. The filtration system will use scrubbing material which will remove both radioactive particulates and reduce humidity.
  • JAIF reports radioactive Strontium has been confirmed to be widespread beyond the 20km “no-go” zone. The concentrations are detectable, but well below limits for Strontium exposure. Kyodo News calls the detected levels “trivial”. “Detectable” does not mean “dangerous”.
  • JAIF reports, just as TEPCO’s new system for cleaning up turbine building waters is being completed, critics in Japan (un-named) say the equipment should not be used until it is protected from earthquakes. TEPCO and NISA respond that the urgency of the situation takes priority over making the system earthquake-proof.
  • Greenpeace’s fear-mongering director Kumi Naidoo has told the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Japan the 20km evacuation zone is way too small. He says it should be at least 70km, like Chernobyl. He announced his team has discovered radiation levels outside the “no-go” zone are much higher than the government reports, and he admonished them for allegedly downplaying the risks of exposure. References to Chernobyl were numerous. He concluded with a warning (death threat?), “Enough lives have been lost already due to the earthquake and tsunami!”
  • Finally, Japan Times reports Japanese novelist Hariki Murikami has received an international prize for literature in Barcelona, Spain. In his acceptance speech, he attacked the Japanese government for ever allowing nuclear power plants in his homeland. Why? He said one nuclear disaster should have been enough, (Hiroshima) but now they have two, counting Fukushima. The Hiroshima Syndrome strikes again…