Saturday, March 12, 2011

Still No Japanese Nuclear Armageddon Today

According to the BBC, the Japanese Nuclear Regulatory Agency has rated this accident as a level 4 on the IAEA INES scale and seems to mention that the containment has not been breached which is consistent with the previous interpretation of TEPCO's press release. Let me be specific, this containment is one of the key difference between a Chernobyl type of reactor and the light water reactors being used in Japan.

If this is a level 4 accident, then a similar incident occurred in France at the nuclear power plant in Saint Laurent des Eaux in 1980 as a cooling incident led to the melting of one channel of fuel in the reactor. There was no release outside the site. The fuel rods were eventually removed. Nobody was hurt. If things have been done properly, I would not be surprised if this accident at Fukushima is eventually de-rated when we discover the real physical interior of the core. By the way, that French power plant is was still producing power to the electric grid for 23 years after this accident.

There is no Japanese Nuclear Armagedon today.

More technical information from can be found here.

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