Some progress at Fukushima, but no coolant at reactors 3 and 4

Mike Adams – Natural News March 20, 2011

CORRECTION: The radiation leak we reported in the opening paragraph of this story did not happen today, as we initially reported. It was several days ago that reactor No. 2 suffered containment damage and leaked radiation. The rest of the story (below) is current. We apologize for the error.http://www.smh.com.au/world/headway…).

There is some good news emerging in this nuclear catastrophe: TEPCO has been able to restore grid power to buildings 5 and 6, which also house enormous quantities of stored fuel. Neither of these buildings was considered the primary threat in the first place, but it is at least a hopeful sign that TEPCO might have a chance at preventing a meltdown (

Japanese crews are now working on an attempt to restore the functionality of the pumps that circulate water to cool the fuel rods. Those pumps are reportedly working in buildings 5 and 6, but no one even knows if the pumps are functional in buildings 2, 3 or 4. (They may have been damaged in the explosions that rocked the site.)

To make matters even worse, it appears that the cooling pool in reactor No. 4 has a leak and won’t hold water. As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, “The pool at reactor No.4 has the hottest spent fuel and is thought to have either holes in the pool or another leak that is allowing water to run out. It is thus imperative to cool those heat sources first.”

Japan’s government raises “safe” limit of radiation exposure

Japanese workers who have been at the forefront of all these efforts are dwindling in numbers as they’re pulled off the front lines due to excessive radiation exposure. In order to cope with this, the Japanese government simply increased the allowable dose of radiation it now considers “safe” for workers. It used to be that 100 millisieverts was considered the maximum allowable level, but Japan has now arbitrarily raised that number to 250 millisieverts for no justifiable reason. (Radiation didn’t suddenly become less dangerous overnight, unless the laws of physics suddenly changed and nobody told us about it…)http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/201…)

About the overall status of the situation, Hidehiko Nishiyama, the deputy-general at Japan’s Nuclear Safety Agency, said “We are making progress … [but] we shouldn’t be too optimistic.” (

Today Japanese officials also announced that the Fukushima nuclear power plant would have to be “scrapped” and could never be restarted. The official plan now is to eventually bury the entire plant in sand and concrete — a plan that will of course be laughed at by the next tsunami to strike the northeast coast of Japan.

On the food side of the issue, Taiwan has now confirmed that it is importing radioactive fava beans from Japan, but says the radiation level is too low to cause concern. Other Asian nations that import food from Japan are all scanning those imports for radiation.

Where do we stand with Fukushima?

The bottom line in all this? The Fukushima catastrophe is nowhere near resolved, but there are hopeful signs that progress may yet be made. The restoration of grid electricity to reactors 5 and 6 is a step in the right direction, but the real question is whether it can be restored to reactor No. 3, where the extremely dangerous “MOX” fuel resides (http://www.naturalnews.com/031736_p…). That’s the nuclear fuel known to be 2,000,000 times more deadly than enriched uranium. Even a miniscule release of material from that facility (just a few grams) would pollute the region for literally tens of thousands of years.

Reactor No. 3 is still in an extremely dangerous emergency situation. TEPCO officials have said they may have to vent radioactive steam from it in order to relieve the mounting pressure. This action was narrowly averted today but could be invoked at any time.

Also today: The Japanese government openly admitted it should have distributed potassium iodide earlier to protect people from the cancers caused by radiation exposure. But instead of handing out the KI pills, Japan’s government did nothing for three days following the initial explosion and tried to downplay the situation.

That’s what governments do these days, it seems: Instead of helping their people cope with disaster, they pretend there’s no problem and leave people to die. The Ostrich Syndrome appears to be an international problem, as the U.S. government suffers from it, too.

Stay tuned to NaturalNews for more updates as the Fukushima situation unfolds. We remain hopeful that a fuel rod meltdown can be avoided, but right now there is no evidence-based reason to conclude that will be achieved. It’s still a desperate, hour-by-hour effort that is nowhere close to being under control.

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