Friday, June 22, 2012

Not Fukushima again! Now it's tornados?

First there was Typhoon Guchol threatening the Fukushima nuclear plant and there will likely be a next typhoon this season, but tornados?

I know, I know. Not Fukushina again!

You're probably asking yourself right about now whether there isn't enough elsewhere to think about, focus on and worry about in terms of national and international security than an unstable nuclear reactor on a major fault line and that's in the path of typhoons and potentially tornados?

Of course there is including the US economy, EU financial crisis, Egyptian election, Iran, Syria and even the potential resurgence of the Russian bear.

But nuclear fallout from Fukushima that could potentially circle the globe is certainly on that list as well.

This is an excerpt from a Bloomberg article on the subject titled "Fukushima Plant Faces Typhoon Summer With Added Tornado Threat" that is worth reading.

“...Typhoons rake through Japan’s islands most summers. The difference this year is Guchol arrived just a month after one of the most powerful tornadoes ever recorded in the nation hit Tsukuba, about 170 kilometers (106 miles) southwest of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi facility. The tornado, one of four to make landfall on May 6, ripped through an area 17 kilometers long and 500 meters wide, the weather agency said in a May 16 report.

The twisters killed a teenage boy, injured 50, wrecked nearly 300 houses and raised concern among scientists about tornado risk at the Fukushima plant, where explosions last year blew roofs off pools holding spent uranium fuel rods.

‘Naked’ Pools

“Uranium spent fuel pools of No. 3 and No. 4 reactors are currently naked,” Kazuhiko Kudo, a research professor of nuclear engineering at Kyushu University, said on June 5. “A tornado with winds of 100 meters per second like the one that hit Tsukuba could suck up the pool water,” exposing the fuel rods. He raised the concern during a meeting assessing safety measures at the crippled plant in May, he said.

As dismantling and decommissioning the reactors will take decades, Tepco should review the plant’s safety measures against not only aftershocks and tsunamis but also tornadoes and huge typhoons, even if the possibility of extreme phenomena are very low, said Kudo, one of 12 members of the advisory panel to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, or NISA.

Hydrogen explosions blew off the roofs and walls of reactor buildings at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi station after the March 11 quake and tsunami disrupted power and cooling systems. There are 1,535 spent fuel rods in the cooling pool of reactor building four. Without cooling water the rods would heat up and start releasing radioactive material into the atmosphere…”

Read the entire article at Bloomberg here.

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