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Japanese officials have confirmed that the core which houses the reactor at Fukushima 3 is intact.   As if nuclear experts in Japan did not have enough problems to deal with;  now blast damage is mounting.

Japanese officials have just confirmed that an explosion has just occurred at the Fukushima number 3 reactor.

The answer to that question is being sought by the American people.  The troubled Fukushima reactors are GE Mark 1 BWR designs.  These reactor cores stay hot for days if not weeks following an emergency.  Their massive plumbing networks are their Achilles heel during a massive earthquake.  The reactors work by creating heat and superheating the surrounding water.  That water is then turned into steam and turns a massive turbine under high pressure.  It is then cooled and returned.  All of the plumbing is meant to contain these massive pressures and heat.  The huge external stresses caused by the earthquake and tsunami have severely damaged the system.  In a later post we will discuss the newer more inherently safer technologies.  Designs like the Traveling Wave Reactor, Pebble Bed Reactor, and a handful of new mini reactor designs.  For now all we can do is pray for Japan.

Seawater, with its high salt content is notoriously corrosive.  This Highlights the extent of the emergency at Fukushima 1, and 3.  This seriously calls in to question ever using these reactors again for power generation.  The combination of massive heat, corrosive saltwater, and high pressure in these highly radioactive enviroments will be an extreme challenge to the Japanese nuclear experts.  Repair and cleanup will take years.

The Japanese nuclear safety agency has declared the Onagawa nuclear site safe after reports of raised radiation levels.  Japanese experts state that the raised levels of radiation were caused by the radioactive steam released at the troubled neighboring Fukushima site.

The Fukushima nuclear site in Japan has 6 active BWR (Boiling Water Reactors).  The roots of this design date back to the 1950,s.  Tokyo Electric Power Co. has reported that all 6 have been experiencing cooling problems.  As the cooling problems mount authorities have to deal with damaged basic infrastructure, evacuations, radiation releases, and now blast damage.  New cooling operations are using sea water and boric acid to stave off a meltdown.  These are massive piping facilities.  A true evaluation and assessment of the total damage under the best circumstances would take months under good circumstances.   Tokyo Electric Power Co. actions have become steadily more desperate.

As the world continues to monitor the crisis in Japan;  NCNUKE is busy at work to provide our readers with the most topical information.  The Fukushima Daiichi 1 reactor is a GE Mark 1 BWR (Boiling Water Reactor).  It is the same reactor design used by the Brunswick Station in Southport NC.  Here is a list of all the GE Mark 1 reactors in the USA.

Browns Ferry Units 1,2, and 3

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We continue to monitor the explosion of the containment building in Japan.  The containment building is a steel reinforced concrete structure.  It is airtight and contains the reactor, its pressurizer, coolant pumps, steam generator, and basically all the equipment and piping.  It appears as if the entire structure has been compromised.   This crisis has become dramatically worse.  Experts are now doing all they can to avoid a meltdown.  Stay tuned to this site for frequent updates.

      As the most powerful earthquake in 140 years struck Japan, experts from across the globe are eagerly awaiting the data.  It is a once in lifetime oppurtunity to make nuclear generation safer throughout the world.  This disaster also highlights the robustness of the safety systems, even on the older reactor designs.  Japan has embraced nuclear power due to it’s lack of natural resources and strong contruction and engineering business culture.  53 reactors provide Japan with 35% of its electrical power.  Making it the third largest nuclear power generating country on earth.

     In the wake of a 8.9 magnitude earthquake,  the most powerful in 140 years in Japan:  Officials there have taken 12 reactors off line as a precaution.  The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is currently experiencing cooling problems and a state of emergency has been declared.  The design used at the Fukushima site is the older BWR (Boiling Water Reactor) Designed by GE with Idaho National Laboritories in the 1950’s.