News Broadcasting in Tokyo, As of 16:00, 16/May

Japan Update: As of 16:00, 16/May, TOKYO

 

Core of reactor 1 melted 16 hours after quake

New analysis shows damage to fuel rods was surprisingly quick

The meltdown at reactor No. 1 in F**ushima happened more quickly than feared, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday in a new analysis.

The core of the heavily damaged reactor at the F**ushima No. 1 power plant is believed to have melted 16 hours after the March 11 mega-quake and tsunami rocked the complex in northeastern Japan.

Preliminary analysis shows that No. 1 had already entered a critical state by 6:50 a.m. on March 12, with most of its fuel having melted and fallen to the bottom of the pressure vessel, the plant operator said. Tepco released data Thursday showing some of the fuel rods had melted.

The reactor automatically halted operations immediately after the 2:46 p.m. quake, but the water level in the reactor dropped and the temperature began rising at around 6 p.m. The damage to the fuel rods had begun by 7:30 p.m., with most of them having melted by 6:50 a.m. the following day, the utility said.

While the utility had planned to bring the nation's worst nuclear accident under control in around six to nine months from mid-April, it now has no choice but to abandon a plan to flood the containment vessel of reactor 1 because holes have been created by the melted fuel, an adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan said earlier Sunday.

Nevertheless, Goshi Hosono, the top official tasked with handling the nuclear crisis, told TV programs the government had yet to revise the timetable for bringing the crisis to an end.

Asked about initial plans to completely submerge the 4-meter-tall fuel rods by entombing the vessel in water, Hosono said, "We should not cause the (radioactive) water to flow into the sea by taking such a measure."

Hosono said the government will instead consider ways to decontaminate the water being used to cool the fuel so that it can be recirculated instead of letting it flood the facility.

Hosono made the remarks after Tepco discovered a pool of water more than 4 meters deep and exceeding 3,000 tons in the basement of reactor No. 1. This suggests that the water, which is likely highly radioactive, is seeping through the holes after being injected into the reactor core.

From there, it is probably leaking from either the containment vessel or the suppression pool, which enclose the pressure vessel, and into the piping.

In a related revelation concerning a major mixup after the six-reactor complex lost power, Tepco and other sources said the same day that the utility had assembled 69 power supply vehicles at the plant by March 12 but that these proved virtually useless.

The inability to use the vehicles delayed the damage control work at the plant, significantly worsening the emergency.

Tepco earlier said it had tried to connect the vehicles to power-receiving equipment needed to operate the water pumps intended to cool down the reactors. But this failed because the equipment was submerged in seawater from the tsunami, which posed the risk that the equipment would short out.

Tepco's account conflicts with the one detailed by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which mentioned the first arrival of such a vehicle on the evening of March 11 but stopped mentioning it the following day, as the focus of attention had shifted to the need to release radioactive steam to relieve pressure that had built up inside the containment vessel of reactor 1.

The different versions of the story given by Tepco and the agency might come to a head as investigations progress to determine why efforts to immediately contain the crisis failed.

News Source: Japan Times

 

 

10-year-old 'bus department chief' an inspiration to fellow disaster refugees

Ten-year-old disaster refugee and self-appointed bus manager Yuki Nozaki
salutes to a bus driver at an evacuee shelter in Yamada, Iwate Prefecture, on
May 1. (Mainichi)

YAMADA, Iwate -- A fifth-grade boy at an elementary school-turned-evacuation shelter here is lending inspiration to his fellow disaster refugees by taking charge of getting everyone on buses to the closest temporary bathhouse.

Ten-year-old Yuki Nozaki -- who is staying at Yamada Kita Elementary School with his mother, grandmother and younger sister after their home was washed away in the March 11 tsunami -- even calls himself the "bus department chief."

"The bus to the bath house is here," Nozaki calls out to the 150 or so evacuees in the school gym. "Everyone who would like to go, come right this way, please." After a number of people with their bath towels in hand board the bus, Nozaki gives the driver a smart salute, saying, "They're in your charge," before watching the bus pull away.

A big fan of buses and trains, Nozaki anointed himself head of the bath bus operation and set up his own spot at a desk in the evacuation shelter, complete with a paper sign reading "Iwate Kenpoku Bus," the name of the company that runs the buses. He also keeps a business diary. The entry for April 25 states: "Future business plan: Work hard," and "Areas for improvement: Responding to customer inquiries."

"Life in the shelter is tough, but everyone is doing their best. That's why I want to help so much," says Nozaki, who also helps distribute boxed meals and carry relief supplies.

When the quake struck, Nozaki was in his classroom at the very school that has become his temporary home. After the school had evacuated to high ground behind the building, a black wave came roaring in, raising plumes of dust and devouring house after house in the town below. The water hit the school and destroyed the playground equipment, before finally receding. Two days later, he went with his 44-year-old mother to the seaside site of his home to find the wave had left nothing but the foundation.

At first, Nozaki said nothing, but as he poked through the debris, finding dishes here, a microwave there, he would remark, "Hey Mom, this is ours." However, his study desk and many other belongings were nowhere to be found.

In mid-April, Nozaki came down with gastroenteritis that had been going around the shelter and was rushed to a hospital, spending two days there. Even after his hospital stay, though, the 10-year-old was determined to keep pitching in. The shelter's manager commented, "When Nozaki is helping out, everyone calls out to him with a smile. A child's effort can give adults courage, too."

 

News Source: Daily Mainichi

Views: 14

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Comment by Nana on May 17, 2011 at 7:05am

Thank you so much, my dearest Ashana!

It is hard to find stories that we find hope and the warmth of humanity.  Stil, I will keep on tracking them.

 

Arigato always,

Nana

Comment by Ashana on May 16, 2011 at 10:32am

Marvelous Young Man! Greod at example to people... 

Thank you for good post, dear Nana!

 

Love, Ashana

 

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