Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fukushima 8 months later

News from NHK, Japan's government broadcaster:

“Xenon has been detected in the Containment Vessel of Reactor 2 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Xenon is created when there is nuclear fission.” [...]

“The analysis done on November 1 found xenon-133 and xenon-135, which are created when uranium-235 undergoes nuclear fission.”

“Xenon-133′s half life is 5 days. TEPCO says it could not rule out the possibility of nuclear chain reaction happening again, so the company poured water with boric acid into the reactor to suppress the nuclear chain reaction for one hour starting 3AM [on November 2].” [...]

“[TEPCO says that] if the nuclear chain reaction is happening, it is small-scale.”

Reminder: news, rumors, scientific analysis and fear-mongering on Fukushima can be found at http://enenews.com/ and at http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/ while raw measurements are at http://atmc.jp/plant/rad/?n=1 (and the other graphs reachable from there by clicking on the links)

In the present case, the first US media to report this, amazingly, is Fox business news. http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2011/11/01/japan-government-possibility-xenon-133-135-release-at-tepco-fukushima-daiichi/


  1. During the main Fukushima events, I was trying to follow events and look up (radio)nucleides, along with their decay chains.

    I had a very bad feeling when, at the time when people were still publicly doubting that the reactor vessel had a leak, some very fresh reaction products were pouring out:

  2. I see. I can't decide if this latest incident is one more along an already long sequence, or if it signals a worrisome change.

  3. I don't understand your comment: if it is one more thing in an already long sequence, isn't that even more worrisome?

  4. Anonymous, I mean:
    - it could be that they did not notice it before, just because they didn't have instruments inside Reactor 2 to perform those measurements; but this low-level radioactive fission has been happening all along. Of course that would be worrisome, but it wouldn't change the fact that in spite of the frequent reports of various difficulties, they are slowly, ever so slowly, regaining control of the plant.
    - or it could be that something new is happening, and that there is an abrupt change that could rapidly develop into another major and sudden catastrophy; or at least, that would be a major setback and would set doubt on the possibility for TEPCO to eventually solve the problems.


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