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The current state of Fukushima nuclear plant / Hiroaki KOIDE

Dear all,

I am a little relieved after listening to the press conference by Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano, in which he explained that the explosion this afternoon had occurred between nuclear reactor containment vessel and the containment building, and the containment vessel had not exploded.

If that was the case, the explosion was a hydrogen explosion.

I think that the hydrogen was produced by the reaction between zirconium (which is a material for the covering tube of the fuel rod) and water.

I guess that because the valve of the containment vessel was opened, the hydrogen leaked into the containment building and exploded.

At least it is a relief that the containment vessel, which is the last fortress that prevents the emission of radioactivity, remains in place.

The Chief Cabinet Secretary explained that they will inject sea water into the containment vessel. How can they do that?

In order to do that, the pump needs to work; and that requires electricity.

But the situation became worse precisely because the electric supply stopped.

Why did it suddenly become possible to pump sea water into the plant?

A certain level of pump pressure capacity is necessary.

The pressure is very high inside the pressure vessel of the nuclear reactor, and the pressure of the pump of fire engines is not high enough to directly pump the water into the pressure vessel, but it would be enough to pump the water into the containment vessel.

Still, it seems to me that they could pump water into the nuclear vessel at an earlier stage.

However, I cannot make an exact judgment due to the lack of information.

If they can fill the containment vessel with sea water, I think we would be able to avoid the worst disaster, though the plant cannot be used again.

It is necessary to add boron to the sea water.

The dangers we face are (a) the meltdown of the nuclear reactor and (b) the resumption of nuclear fission of uranium which had been successfully stopped.

In order to avoid the meltdown of the nuclear reactor, it is necessary to supply water and to supply some material that can absorb neutron.

Boron can absorb neutron.

So it is effective to inject sea water with boron into the containment vessel.

I wish and pray for success.

The information provided by the government is insufficient.

That the amount of radiation decreased after the explosion cannot prove that the containment vessel was not broken.

It is more probable that the wind direction changed.

Please keep informed of information from a variety of sources.

I send this e-mail to multiple people at once.

Forgive me, as I'm occupied with dealing with the situation.

March 12, 2011, Hiroaki KOIDE,
Research Reactor Institute, Kyoto University

[Note: According to the newest news, three people were confirmed to be exposed to radiation]

[Note: This is a rush translation. So if you want to republish this, please confirm the content with the original author, Dr. Koide. You can find his contact on the Web.]

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Date of last update:2011-03-12 23:33:03 transfem 1thumbs up   del.icio.usに追加   はてなブックマークに追加   twitterに投稿   facebookでshare
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