Saturday March 12 2011
1. 10:09: TEPCO confirms that a small amount of vapor has been released into the air to release pressure in reactor unit 1 at Fukushima I
2. 10:58: Pressure still remains too high inside reactor unit 2 at Fukushima I. In order to alleviate some of this pressure, a consensus is reached to once more vent radioactive vapor into the air.
15:30: Evacuation of residents within 3 km of Fukushima II and within 10 km of Fukushima I are underway.
3. 15:36: There is a massive explosion in the outer structure of unit 1. The concrete building surrounding the steel reactor vessel collapses as a result of the explosion; however no damage is believed to have been sustained to the reactor itself. Four workers are injured.
21:40: The evacuation zone around Fukushima I is extended to 20 km, while the evacuation zone around Fukushima II is extended to 10 km
4. To release pressure within reactor unit 1 at Fukushima I, steam is released out of the unit into the air. This steam contains water vapor, hydrogen, oxygen and some radioactive material, mostly tritium and nitrogen-16.
Sunday 13 March 2011
5. At 13:00 JST reactors 1 and 3 are vented to release overpressure and then re-filled with water and boric acid for cooling, and to inhibit further nuclear reactions.
Monday 14 March 2011
6. 11:01: The unit 3 reactor building explodes, injuring six workers. According to TEPCO there was no release of radioactive material (No one I know believes this)
Tuesday 15 March 2011
7. approx. 06:00 An explosion damaged the floor rooftop area of the Unit 4 reactor as well as part of the adjacent Unit 3.
8. 11:00: A second explosion of reactor 3 (according to The World Meteorological Organization report
9. An explosion in the “pressure suppression room” causes some damage to unit 2’s containment system
10. A fire breaks out at unit 4. (more than one fire is resulted at Unit 4 – more on that shortly)
Wednesday 16 March 2011
At approximately 14:30 TEPCO announces its belief that the fuel rod storage pool of unit 4 – which is located outside the containment area — may have begun boiling, raising the possibility that exposed rods could reach criticality. By midday NHK TV is reporting white smoke rising from the Fukushima I plant, which officials suggest is likely coming from reactor 3.
From Thursday 17 March 2011 on, the struggle to maintain water level in the spent fuel pools and reactors continues.
Friday March 18 2011
For the second consecutive day, high radiation levels are detected in an area 30 kilometres (19 mi) northwest of the damaged Fukushima I nuclear plant at 150 μSv/h
The loss of fuel pool cooling water at unit 4 is classified as a level 3.
Saturday 19 March 2011
A second group of 100 Tokyo and 53 Osaka firefighters replaces the previous team. They use a vehicle that projects water from a height of 22 meters to cool spent nuclear fuel in the storage pool inside the reactor of unit 3. Water is sprayed into the reactor for a total of 7 hours during the day. TEPCO reports that the water was effective in lowering the temperature around the spent fuel rods to below 100 °C.
Monday 21 March 2011
11 Ongoing repair work is interrupted by a recurrence of grey smoke from the south-east side of unit 3 (the general area of the spent fuel pool) seen at 15:55 and is dying down by 17:55. Employees are evacuated from unit 3, but no changes in radiation measurements or reactor status are seen. No work was going on at the time (such as restoring power) which might have accounted for the fire. White smoke, probably steam, is also seen coming from unit 2 at 18:22 JST, accompanied by a temporary rise in radiation levels.
Officials learn that the crisis will not end with power recovery as the cooling pumps are damaged beyond repair and must be replaced. An emergency order was placed for new pumps for unit 2 which had suffered less damage than units 1 and 3.
Tuesday 22 March 2011
12. Smoke is still rising from units 2 and 3, but is less visible, and is theorized to be steam following operations to spray water onto the buildings.
Wednesday 23 March 2011
13 Smoke again starts belching from reactor 3 in the late afternoon, this time black and grey smoke, causing another evacuation of workers from around the area. Aerial video from the plant shows what appears to be a small fire at the base of the smoke plumes in the heavily damaged reactor building. Feed water systems in unit 1 are restored allowing an increase in the rate water that can be added to the reactor. The Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary also advises that high levels of radioactivity have been found in Tokyo’s drinking water and that it should not be used to reconstitute baby formula as it is around twice the legal limit for children.
(In contrast Dr Robert Gale, an American bone specialist and adviser to the USSR post Chrnobyl, with no authority to make announcements counter-manding government warnings, states that the water is safe to drink.)
Thursday March 24 2011
14 Three workers are exposed to high levels of radiation which cause two of them to require hospital treatment, after radioactive water seeps through their protective clothes. The workers are exposed to an estimated equivalent dose of 2–6 Sv to the skin below their ankles. They were not wearing protective boots, as their employing firm’s safety manuals “did not assume a scenario in which its employees would carry out work standing in water at a nuclear power plant”
(I consider this an environment emission because the basements of the reactors are located in the aquifer and are below sea level. These injuries and the presence of the tainted water are the first sign of the consistent leaking of contaminated water from the broken reactors into the aquifer and to the ocean, a situation which has not ceased since this time in March 24. Though warned by independent experts and ordinary people watching the Tepco live cam (ignored by the media but streamed world wide by Tepco via the internet, Japanese and world nuclear village people denied for over 2.5 years that leaks were occurring. This changed in August 2011 when the water leaks into the sea at the rate of 300 tons per day from March 2011 were admitted. By this stage Japanese people and the world population had lost faith in nuclear decrees and American Lake Barrett was appointed by Tepco to sell the needed remedies to the planet. Best of luck Lake. )
Friday 25 March 2011
NISA announces a possible breach in the containment vessel of the unit 3 reactor, though radioactive water in the basement might alternatively have come from the fuel storage pool. Highly radioactive water is also found in the turbine buildings of units 1 and 2
Japan announces transportation will be provided in a voluntary evacuation zone of 30 kilometres (19 mi). Tap water is reported to be safe for infants in Tokyo and Chiba by Japanese authorities, but still exceeds limits in Hitachi and Tokaimura. Iodine-131 in the ocean near the plant measures 50,000 Bq/L, a “relatively high” 1,250 times normal levels.
(as I131 is totally a synthetic fission isotope of Iodine which does not exist in nature, one wonders how a “normal level” of this substance could exist in sea water, apart from routine dumping by Japanese nuclear industry.)
Sunday 27 March 2011
Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency indicate that “The level of radiation is greater than 1,000 millisieverts. It is certain that it comes from atomic fission … But we are not sure how it came from the reactor.” The high radiation levels cause delays for technicians working to restore the water cooling systems for the troubled reactors. USAF technicians at Yokota AB complete the fabrication of compatibility valves to allow the connection of deployed pump systems to the existing infrastructure at Fukushima. An aerial video recorded by a Ground Self-Defense Force helicopter reveals, according to NHK, the clearest and most detailed view of the damaged plant to date. Significant observations include:
White vapour, possibly steam, emanating from the buildings of reactors 2, 3, and 4.
The roof of the reactor 2 building has been badly damaged but is still intact.
The reactor 3 building is largely uncovered, its roof blown off in a hydrogen explosion over two weeks previously.
The walls of the reactor 4 building have also collapsed.
Saturday April 2 2011
16. TEPCO observes for the first time that contaminated water from the unit 2 is flowing into the sea.
Sunday April 3 2011
17. Japanese government officials say the Daiichi plant may continue to release dangerous radiation into the air for several months.
Monday April 4 2011 TEPCO begins dumping water from storage tanks tainted with low levels of radioactivity into the Pacific Ocean on Monday night. Officials say this is needed to make room in a central waste facility to store water with a higher radioactive level. This more highly radioactive water is preventing workers from making progress on restoring the cooling and other systems to reactors 1–4. Samples of seawater near the plant reveal radioactive caesium at 1.1 million times the legal limit.
The company says it could release up to 11,500 tons of radioactive water into the sea. A spokeswoman for Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says the less-contaminated water must be disposed of so that workers can secure a place to store more highly contaminated water on the site.
Friday April 8
Before the crisis evaluation was elevated by Japanese authorities to level 7, the highest level, experts already recognized that Fukushima is the most complicated nuclear accident ever
Saturday 9 April 2011
Japan was still struggling to keep water on the reactors to cool them and prevent further meltdown.
A major reason for the litany of failures, ventings, emissions, explosions, leaks, floods, contaminations, evacuations, meltdowns, highly hazardous working conditions and general mayhem creating the “most complicated nuclear reactor accident in history” was a GE invention called the “The Energy Park”, where, GE designers proclaimed, massed ranks of reactors would 1. provide economies of scale and therefore more profit. 2. Enable the construction of many reactors while coping with the local protests of only one local community.
Among the controversies, the fires reported in reactor 4 building and the spent fuel pool 4 remain.
I will cover the GE reactor park idea, and the fore knowledge of its dangers next post.
Then I will show that fire did occur in spent fuel pool 4, quoting the Japan Nuclear Industry forum Inc.