In the aftermath of the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, another crisis is erupting. The Wall Street Journal has reported that a “Japan Nuclear Reactor May Be in Meltdown”.
Japanese nuclear authorities said Saturday afternoon that a nuclear reactor about 150 miles north of Tokyo may be experiencing a meltdown after Friday’s massive earthquake damaged its cooling systems.
Radiation levels aren’t supposed to rise in a control room, which is designed to allow operators to continue working during emergencies and is equipped with filtration systems and other design features to protect workers from radiation exposure.
Reactors have containment domes to catch any release. But there is always the chance that an earthquake could create cracks or other breaches in that containment system.
Japanese Nuclear Crisis Status Summary
We’ll be pulling the most relevant and verified information from the timeline to keep a single updated status on on the Nuclear emergency in Japan:
Fukushima Daiichi Facility
3 reactors at the Fukushima no. 1 facility are experiencing serious cooling issues and may be melting down (nos. 1, 2, & 3). None of the reactor pressure vessels have been compromised, despite several explosions.
- Saturday (U.S.)
- The six nuclear reactors at Fukushima are experiencing cooling issues, but it is the Fukushima Daiichi No. 1 and No. 3 reactors that have or are experiencing probable fuel rod meltdown.
- The first explosion at a non-reactor building at Fukushima was likely caused by the make-shift cooling attempt. Water was pushed into the reactor chamber where it became superheated. The water separated into Hydrogen and Oxygen gas and when it was vented, the highly volatile Hydrogen gas ignited and exploded
- Unit #3 has experienced a Hydrogen explosion (similar to what happened at reactor #1)
- Both reactors are being flooded with a sea water and boron mixture to hopefully cool them
- Up to 160 people have shown outward signs of radiation exposure resulting from the Fukushima plant crisis
- Monday (U.S.)
- The #2 reactor at the same plant now reportedly has fuel rods completely exposed (not to the atmosphere, just no water covering any part of them) – steam pressure likely winning the battle *see Feed and Bleed: Fukushima Reactor Cooling Still Dicey
- Fukushima No. 2 reactor’s fuel rods fully exposed, melting feared
- sea water pumping has resumed at #2 – fuel rods partially covered now
- Massive explosion may have ruptured pressure vessel at #2 reactor. Report of radiation 10,000 times normal levels
- Japanese officials stating that the reactor container appears damaged, suspicion is that damage is in the suppression pool
- Sunday (U.S.)
- A state of emergency has been declared at a nuclear power plant in Onagawa, Japan, where excessive radiation levels have been recorded following Friday’s massive earthquake, the United Nations’ atomic watchdog agency said Sunday
Tokai No. 2 Facility
- Sunday (U.S.)
- The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said a cooling system pump stopped operating at Tokai No. 2 Power Statio
As we did with the quake and Tsunami, we will continue to follow this with an up-to-the-minute Timeline.
Japan Nuclear Crisis Timeline all times in U.S. EST (Japan is +13hrs)
Due to incredible web traffic, the timeline has been temporarily suspended. We are working to restore this functionality by adding more server capacity. Content to be manually updated until servers brought online.
TEPCO detected zirconium 95 at 0.23 Bq 330m south of Fukushima-1 drainage outlet on Wednesday which indicates that the the cladding around the fuel is melting into a drainage outlet. Read this to understand melt down and cladding.
TEPCO detects radiation of 8,217 micro sievert per hour, 8 times annual limit (09:03 Japan time) – that’s 8 years worth of radiation in one hour
TEPCO: All workers being evacuated except those critical for trying to cool the reactor.
Higher radiation levels measured in Ibaraki — south of Fukushima
A check of weather in the Fukushima prefecture shows wind coming from the North and blowing south. Ibaraki radiation levels would most-likely be from the Fukushima plant
Kyodo and Japanese officials state that a massive explosion has occurred at Fukushima plant no. 1 reactor #2. Radiation levels are reported to be 10,000 times normal (unconfirmed) and there is growing concern that the pressure vessel may be compromised.
Japanese government officials state:
“Part of the container of a troubled nuclear reactor appears to be damaged, the Japanese government said early Tuesday, indicating possible serious radiation leaks.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that “damage appears on the suppression pool” — the bottom part of the container, which contains water used to cool down the reactor and control air pressure inside.
But we have not recorded any sudden jump in radiation indicators” – theage.com
Hydrogen blast occurs at Fukushima nuke plant’s No. 3 reactor – residents near nuke plants ordered inside.
Gray smoke spotted at stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi reactor
Also: Kyodo breaking news ticker: “Tsunami observed off Fukushima Pref.” – that’s where this reactor is
U.S. Helicopters detect radiation 60 miles from Fukushima plant that experienced a partial meltdown. Concern over a wider problem growing.
Radiation level again tops legal limit at Fukushima No. 1 nuke plant
The radiation level at a quake-hit nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture has again exceeded the legal limit, Tokyo Electric Power Co. reported to the government Monday.
The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has been shut down since a magnitude 9.0 quake struck northeastern and eastern Japan on Friday, but some of its reactors have lost their cooling functions, leading to brief rises in the radiation level on Saturday and Sunday
From – Kyodo
Official death toll in Japan is 1,597 although unofficial projections say more than 10,000 people may have perished in the disaster.
The death toll from the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan late last week rose to 1,597, with hundreds more missing, authorities said early Monday.
The death toll from Friday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern and eastern Japan will likely surpass 10,000, the Miyagi police chief said Sunday as Japan grapples with widespread damage and a crisis at one of two affected nuclear plants.
A third nuclear power facility, Tokai no. 2, is experiencing cooling problems ..
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said a cooling system pump stopped operating at Tokai No. 2 Power Station, a nuclear power plant, in the village of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture. – Kyodo
Tokai is just east of Osaka, Japan just off of Ise Bay
Around 200,000 people have been evacuated from near two Japanese nuclear power stations as fear spreads of radiation exposure.
Nine people had already shown possible exposure to radiation at the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear power plants.
But the figure may reach as high as 160, an official from the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told a news conference.
Dept of Energy educational material on nuclear reactors – Fukushima’s two troubled units are:
Unit 1: Generation I, uranium fueled light water reactor
Unit 3: Generation I, plutonium-MOX (mixed-oxide) fueled light water reactor
The plutonium MOX-fueled reactor would be more potentially hazardous to the environment and people should a catastrophic failure occur. Both reactors currently have failed cooling systems.
Japanese government handing out Iodine near nuclear plant that exploded. http://bit.ly/ekG2jl
Iodine can be used to help protect the body from radioactive exposure.
In Japan on Saturday, radiation leaked from a damaged nuclear reactor after an explosion blew the roof off in the wake of the massive earthquake, but the government insisted that radiation levels were low.
Japan’s Jiji news agency later said three workers suffered radiation exposure near the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Video of japan plant explosion
Evacuation status near probably site of Japanese reactor meltdown:
(translation from Japan’s nuclear emergency site):
Evacuation situations ○ (now 13:20 on March 12)
Ookuma people to know the town (about 4,000), completion of approximately 3,500
Futabachō people to know (about 2,000), completion of approximately 1,800 people
Tomiokachō people to know (about 16 000 people) completed approximately 15 500 people out of
Namie people to know the city (about 17 000 people) is almost complete
Naraha people to know the town (about 7800 people) finished 9-8 percent of
• Completion of the evacuation, not yet.
- Once the shelter is full, will be evacuated to different evacuation centers.