So what’s the haps with Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant? The one that was unable to shut down or SCRAMM its core? Well, when the mega earthquake hit it damaged the diesel generators that would provide back up power to the plant if a loss of regular power occurred. So the plant was forced to go onto battery power, which only lasts about 8 hours.
Now when a nuclear site shuts down it needs at times a full 48 hours to cool the radioactive materials that power the plant. This cooling process is very precise and involves large quantities of radioactive materials being moved about. Anyway, the immediate concern was that the reactor would not cool enough and a radiation leak could occur, creating a higher than safe level radioactive contamination to a nearby area. To protect against even a minimal leak of a small scale the three kilometers around the plant were cleared. The U.S. Naval presence in the area also began to send coolant by plane into the plant to aid in efforts to stave off a major nuclear event.
At around this time anti-nuclear activists begin trolling American news stations with doomsday prophecies of the plants ultimate fate. I am on the fence with nuclear power, I have issue with it’s ability to eliminate waste materials, I’ve read of super contaminated dead zones around French reactors, but again I don’t know enough. Now of course I am immediately irritated by the doom prophets of the anti camp. Their belief is that due to the fact that the diesel generators are out that there will be no means to circulate fresh coolant and water over the radioactive rods, leading to a massive nuclear event as the plant goes into full meltdown.
Now then, the problem I see with this is that the Japanese have higher energy and safety standards than we do, and most certainly higher than Russia does. They like to build redundancies and with the U.S. basically sitting off the coast there is no limit to outside assistance. They admittedly are having difficulty keeping the temperature down, and have requested that residents within 10km evacuate in case the worst should happen. However they decided against venting super hot gasses from the core to help with cooling. Should it be critical to avoid meltdown to do so they would have, as it would be the only solution and the small scale contamination would be preferable to the overall devastation otherwise.
Now currently the plant is at two times (a magnitude of 1,000 times technically speaking) it’s regular radiation level, plus a concern has been voiced that radioactive steam could circulate in the facility. Still, outside there has been no measured increase in radiation levels.
The most important thing however is that these events are slow moving in most cases, many of the worst case scenarios are days off, if no other measures can be achieved to stop them from happening. Frankly I trust in Japan to successfully shut down the plant with a minimum of damage. Already the region has been evacuated, so loss of life is nearly a moot point.