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Tepco engineers use concrete to seal leaks  (Source: TEPCO)
The top five feet of the core's 13 ft-long fuel rods had melted down after being exposed to the air

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has announced that the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has suffered a nuclear meltdown.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was first commissioned in 1971 and is located in the Futaba District of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck Japan, resulting in the disabling of reactor cooling systems, radiation leaks and an evacuation zone. 

Engineers from Tepco entered the No. 1 reactor for the first time at the end of last week and found that the top five feet of the core's 13 ft-long fuel rods had melted down after being exposed to the air. 

Engineers originally thought only 55 percent of the core was damaged since it was submerged in enough water to keep cool and stable, but after discovering a pool of molten fuel at the bottom of the containment vessel, they now worry that this molten fuel burned a hole at the bottom of the vessel prompting water to leak. 

Tepco recently sealed a leak at the No. 3 reactor after radioactive water had seeped into the ocean. Also, the No. 2 reactor had radioactive water flowing into the ocean in April. According to Greenpeace, "significant amounts" of radioactive material had slipped into the sea. In fact, illegal amounts of iodine and caesium were found in seaweed as far as 40 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. 

In 22 samples of seaweed, ten contained five times the legal limit of iodine 131 and 20 times of caesium 137. This is an issue for several reasons, including the fact that the Japanese household consumes almost 7 lbs of seaweed annually, and fisherman are preparing to harvest this seaweed on May 20. 

Engineers have decided to quit flooding the entire reactor core with water because it might make the leak worse. Currently, there is plenty of water at the bottom of the containment vessel to keep the remaining fuel rods and the melted fuel cool. 

"We will have to revise our plans," said Junichi Matsumoto, Tepco spokesman. "We cannot deny the possibility that a hole in the pressure vessel caused water to leak."


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RE: Yay!!
By Angstromm on 5/15/2011 2:21:52 PM , Rating: 2
I do tend to agree with you--as I said, context plays a part. If you know someone well, jokes, for instance, about my wife smelling like a barbeque could very well have their place (and there were jokes of a similar nature, so yr wrong on that account).

For me, I wouldn't be inclined to put a limit or cap on the sorts of jokes that my close friends say to me or that I might say to them under terrible circumstances. But then we love and understand one another well. Telling such jokes to a stranger could have disastrous effects. Depends. Again, circumstances and context. Sometimes going there--telling that "sick" joke--is exactly the right things to do. Sometimes one blows it and steps over the line. I never experienced that w/ my friends/family after my wife died.

As a side note, I work as a therapist/counselor with cancer patients and their families. Sometimes the joking gets pretty intense, but in my years of doing this work, I've never had a client tell me that we/I went over the line. Most express relief and appreciation for having room to "go there." Mind you, I'm not saying that I joke w/ all my clients or that they all joke w/ me. Some don't go there at all and I wouldn't dream of joking w/ some clients. Again, context.

Bottom line for me is: humor can be a very powerful tool for helping each other process the unimaginable. It sometimes allows us to say the unsayable. Sometimes it helps us to re-see the situation or experience it from a different perspective. Sometimes it allows us to say what we all know everyone is thinking but are afraid to say. Humor can be a way into the most tender, vulnerable and painful parts of human experience and therefor profoundly cathartic.

I'm not saying it's always right/apropos or always effective. But for me, in my life, there's always room for humor, having friends poke at my faults, stupidity, arrogance, whatever. I utterly delight in this sort of thing and am grateful I have those around me that care enough and are perceptive enough to call me on my shit in ways that also help me laugh at myself. Pretty powerful. But I don't assume that others are like me and want the same from me (theme of context, again).


RE: Yay!!
By tng on 5/16/2011 7:58:41 AM , Rating: 2
Well to be truthful, the first thing I thought of when they said that the reactor was leaking radioactive water into the Pacific was "Oh Crap", followed closely by "Isn't that how the lizard that became Godzilla was mutated?".

It is funny when something like this syncs up to a 50 year old cartoon, even in the face of profound tragedy. Not sure if I could really like or even get along with someone who could not laugh at the humor in a situation like this. Life it to short....


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