Japanese Nuclear Crisis Could Last for YEARS → Washingtons Blog
Japanese Nuclear Crisis Could Last for YEARS - Washingtons Blog

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Japanese Nuclear Crisis Could Last for YEARS

As I've previously noted, many experts say that the Fukushima plants will keep on leaking for months. See this and this.

But Reuters reported yesterday:

"I think maybe the situation is much more serious than we were led to believe," said one expert, Najmedin Meshkati, of the University of Southern California, adding it may take weeks to stabilise the situation and the United Nations should step in.

"This is far beyond what one nation can handle - it needs to be bumped up to the U.N. Security Council. In my humble opinion, this is more important than the Libya no fly zone."

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. has conceded it faces a protracted and uncertain operation to contain overheating fuel rods and avert a meltdown.

"Regrettably, we don't have a concrete schedule at the moment to enable us to say in how many months or years (the crisis will be over)," TEPCO vice-president Sakae Muto said in the latest of round-the-clock briefings the company holds.
And the New York Times points out today:

In an admission of how long the cooling process may take, Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director general of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, Japan’s nuclear regulator, said late Tuesday: “We will have to continue cooling for quite a long period. We should be thinking years.”

Kuni Yogo, a former atomic energy policy planner in the Japan Science and Technology Agency, said: “There is some trial and error, but this is the beginning of a three- to five-year effort.”

Of course, if all goes well, the reactor cores and spent fuel rods should cool down considerably over the next couple of months. But the fact that the Japanese might need to sustain the cooling effort for years on end is stunning.


  1. I was a little ambiguous on nuclear energy for a long time—leaning towards against. Now I'm thinking we need to have a serious global discussion of how to manage nuclear waste and stop making more of it. We already have an excellent fusion reactor 93 million miles away, we should take advantage of it.

  2. Yes, the cooling could take years....because it is an unknown to what degree the partial meltdown(s) have occurred, and unpredictable the resulting amount of ongoing fission clumps of melted fuel might produce (if any).

    Perhaps the best description of the situation is:

    The fog of war.

  3. I guess if it's radioactive for 80 million years, they'll need to keep it cooling for as much of those as they, and the rest of humanity, lasts.

  4. From what I understand, there are already multiple meltdowns, at least one of which appears to be out of control (whatever 'control' means in that context), and getting worse, so as far as I can tell, they are just trying to find new and creative ways to define 'hellish out of control disaster' as 'we got this!'. I see the Libya war as being motivated, in part, by a desire to get this out of the news. Remember, France is one of the leading nuclear power builders - that's a key 'industry' for them, a 'national interest' from their point of view.


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