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Indefinite Water Cooling may Backfire in Fukushima Nuclear Reactors,Nitrogen Injection to prevent Hydrogen Explosion,Countries ban Japanese Food,TEPCO Meager Compensation Refused

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The ongoing problems at the stricken Japanese Nuclear Plant at Fukushima may  see new problems given the prolonged cooling by water.Note it has already manifested itself as 11,500 tons of radiated water was dumped into the Pacific leading to protests from South Korea and dangerously contaminated fish.Further problems may arise as NY Times reports from a nuclear assessment report on each of the 6 reactors at the Dai-ichi plant.The tons of seawater being used to cool the temperature could result in a dangerous structural damage to the containment vessels of the reactors.Note this unconventional cooling of the Nuclear Plant may give rise to unthought of problems and complications.The spent fuel rods where hydrogen is being generated may react violently with oxygen in the air leading to violent explosion as was seen in Reactor 2 in the early part of the crisis.Salt has also been accumulating in the reactor from the seawater which may prevent circulation of newly added water.

U.S. Sees Array of New Threats at Japan’s Nuclear Plant

The assessment provides graphic new detail on the conditions of the damaged cores in reactors 1, 2 and 3. Because slumping fuel and salt from seawater that had been used as a coolant is probably blocking circulation pathways, the water flow in No. 1 “is severely restricted and likely blocked.” Inside the core itself, “there is likely no water level,” the assessment says, adding that as a result, “it is difficult to determine how much cooling is getting to the fuel.” Similar problems exist in No. 2 and No. 3, although the blockage is probably less severe, the assessment says.Nuclear experts say that radiation from the core of a reactor can split water molecules in two, releasing hydrogen. Mr. Wilmshurst said that since the March 26 document, engineers had calculated that the amount of hydrogen produced would be small. But Jay A. LaVerne, a physicist at Notre Dame, said that at least near the fuel rods, some hydrogen would in fact be produced, and could react with oxygen. “If so,” Mr. LaVerne said in an interview, “you have an explosive mixture being formed near the fuel rods.”

WSJ reports that Japan may inject nitrogen into the reactors which may prevent future hydrogen explosions.Nitrogen is an intert gas and would prevent the reaction between H2 and O2 as low pressure within the containment vessel allow outside oxygen to flow in through damaged vents and pipes.The volume of steam shrinks as it condenses into water, reducing the pressure inside the containment vessel and allowing outside air to flow into the vessel. If this happens, oxygen contained in the air could react with hydrogen in the vessel and touch off an explosion, the engineer said.The injection of nitrogen would keep the pressure inside the containment vessel from falling and therefore forestall an explosion.

Nitrogen Injection Planned at Reactor

“We are thinking of putting in nitrogen gas to prevent a hydrogen explosion, to reduce such a risk,” a Tepco spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires, adding that there was a possibility hydrogen gas may be accumulating in the No.1 reactor.

The move, which a nuclear-safety-agency official downplayed as precautionary, could take place as early as Wednesday evening, the Tepco spokesman said. He added that it would be the first time the measure has been taken during the crisis at the plant.

The risk of a hydrogen explosion within the reactor has been flagged by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as among a “wide array of fresh threats” at the plant, according to a report on the New York Times website. Such an explosion could damage the containment vessel, causing the leakage of a large quantity of radioactive material.

Most countries Ban Food Imports from Japan

Given the global concern regarding radiation spewing out from the nuclear reactors,food imports from Japan has been banned by most countries like EU etc.Anyway people would anyway stay away from food labelled with Japan origin given the lack of information about radiation coming out from the damaged nuclear reactors and its effects on marine life and soil.Fishes caught off the coast of Japan have found to have dangerous levels of cesium and iodine.

India Bans All Food Imports from Japan. EU to Tighten Limits

With workers in Japan pumping contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean for a second straight day fears about radiation are increasing around the world.
On Tuesday, India became the first country to ban all food imports from Japan. A government statement said that all food imports from Japan would be suspended with immediate effect for a period of three months, or until credible information shows the radiation hazard has subsided to acceptable limits.”
The European Union is also limiting Japanese food imports.

TEPCO Paltry Compensation Rejected

TEPCO has offered a paltry initial compensation to towns and villages around the Fukushima reactors where life has been totally been disrupted.The payments come to extremely low amounts per citizen and have been rejected by the towns and villages who deem it more expensive to distribute such small payments.Total damages may total billions of dollars and TEPCO’s shares have been on a perpetual slide given its incomptence and managment failure.

Town near nuclear plant rejects Japanese utility’s ‘token’ offer

An official with Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, said Tuesday that the utility made a “token” offer to residents in 10 communities near the plant.Starting March 31, money began going out to those in nine of them. But the town of Namie rejected Tokyo Electric’s offer, with a local official calling it too meager an attempt to make up for a drastically reduced quality of life and income.


Abhishek Shah

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