A second explosion occurred at the Japanese power plant, this time at Block 3. (Youtube)
It’s very unclear what the actual situation is, but I would find it surprising if a reactor survived this kind of explosion undamaged.
Here is the best look at the situation I could find so far (quite scientific). Includes discussion about generator failure, batteries, construction faults, building nuke plants in earthquake zones, being (un)prepared, commercial interests and the information policy, and the nuclear question at large. Very interesting read.
One could argue that this is Japan’s Hurricane Katrina moment, in that a predictable scenario was not adequately prepared for in advance despite the potential for very severe consequences.
(…) A hydrogen release is very much part of a meltdown scenario, and difficult to imagine hydrogen explosion scenarios on the scale of what was seen at Fukushima 1 that would not involve compromising the reactor pressure vessel (…)
The Japanese government and especially the company, Tepco, are apparently not prepared to tell us what is actually happening. Even if the accident itself can’t be compared to Chernobyl (yet), the information policy can.
There are more reactors with cooling problems 😦 Let’s wait and see.
Edit: Satellite picture of Fukushima 1 core 3 post explosion:
Nuclear fanboys are saying that everything is fine. Somehow I doubt that.
Pic from here (more images as well):
Edit: It looks like #2 has a containment failure.
Edit: There are piles of spent fuel elements on the refuelling decks (top) of several reactors. In #4, a pile of ~750 rods (in steel racks/some sort of container?) caught fire after the water in the surrounding pool evaporated, but was extinguished a good two hours later. There is no word of the spent fuel stores in #1 and #3 (whose top decks have been destroyed by hydrogen explosions – see image above…) and it’s reported the stores of #5 and #6 are now heating up.
There is a dedicated storage building for spent fuel on the plant site, so it is unclear why this number of spent fuel rods was stored so close to the reactors (edit: probably because #4/5/6 were undergoing maintenance). There is no dedicated containment around these spent fuel pools.
There is now talk of using helicopters to drop in water…
Update Wednesday 16/3. Situation largely unchanged, apparently plan to drop water/boric acid via helicopter onto #4 spent fuel pool hasn’t worked so far but they might still be trying. Workers returned to the site since the radiation went down a bit. It seems radiation/smoke/steam leaks are hindering the work at the plant, though. Tepco themselves don’t 100% know what’s going on inside the reactors.
Fire trucks/police water cannon to cool #1 – #3 cores apparently, it is however unclear what and how is actually being cooled (core, containment, spent fuel pools).
#3 containment might be compromised (as #2 before), but no reliable information.
Little information about the spent fuel in #3 and #4 (5oo-something and 700-something rods respectively afaik) and little information about how much of the #1 – #3 cores has actually melted.
Pic of #3 (front) and #4 (back) from Tuesday:
Japanese news hosts seem relatively calm atm, but acknowledge the issue of how trustworthy or accurate the government / Tepco information is.
English translation (by Japanese news host) of latest Japanese news on Yokoso News:
Best source I found.
Japanese people seem to laregly follow the government’s instructions, no mass panic or anything (this implies that they basically trust the government and Tepco).
News host joking about curry rice protecting from radiation… I don’t know what to make of that. It’s pretty clear that Japanese people don’t like to show concern. This makes it harder to determine what’s actually going on.
US wanting to use unmanned plane to gather intel over plant?