It is exceptionally difficult to keep up with news that changes by the minute.
No sooner than I do a post regarding 50 Brave Heroes are the Only Remaining Defense at the Daiichi Nuclear Power Station than comes the grim news of surrender.
Please consider Japan suspends work at stricken nuclear plant
Japan suspended operations to keep its stricken nuclear plant from melting down Wednesday after surging radiation made it too dangerous to stay.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the workers dousing the reactors in a frantic effort to cool them needed to withdraw.
“The workers cannot carry out even minimal work at the plant now,” Edano said. “Because of the radiation risk we are on standby,” he said.
Edano said the government expects to ask the U.S. military for help. He did not elaborate. He said the government is still considering whether and how to take up the various offers of help from other countries.
The surge in radiation was apparently the result of a Tuesday explosion in the complex’s Unit 4 reactor, according to officials with Japan’s nuclear safety agency. That blast is thought to have damaged the reactor’s suppression chamber, a water-filled pipe outside the nuclear core that is part of the emergency cooling system.
Japan reactor design caused GE engineer to quit
Let’s backtrack a bit an fill in some missing pieces. Please consider Japan reactor design caused GE engineer to quit
A General Electric Co engineer said he resigned 35 years ago over concern about the safety of a nuclear reactor design used in the now crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan.
Dale Bridenbaugh said the “Mark 1” design had “not yet been designed to withstand the loads” that could be experienced in a large-scale accident.
“At the time, I didn’t think the utilities were taking things seriously enough,” Bridenbaugh, now retired, said in a phone interview. “I felt some of the plants should have been shut down while the analysis was completed, and GE and the utilities didn’t want to do that, so I left.”
Bridenbaugh said that to the best of his knowledge, the design flaws he had identified were addressed at the Daiichi plant, requiring “a fairly significant expense.”
Bridenbaugh said that after leaving GE he started a firm to advise state governments on safety issues. Like many, he said he is watching closely as events unfold in Japan.
“I feel sorry for the guys over there trying to handle that thing,” he said. “On the other hand you can’t say the Fukushima situation is a direct result of the Mark 1 containment. It is a direct result of the earthquake, tsunami and the fact the Mark 1 containment is less forgiving than some of the other reactor versions.”
So far the Nikkei is shrugging off this latest bit of bad news. The Nikkei is up 4% now but was up as much as 6% earlier. Hopefully the worst is behind us even though I fail to see how. Does the market sense something that no one else understands at the moment?
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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