… to put it mildly.

I’ve posted a few things about the Fukushima nuclear disaster:

Past Legalectric posts about Fukushima

And it’s just so depressing to read about this, but here we go again, finally some admission that yes, it is really that bad.  From the Washington Post:

Japanese scientist: Fukushima meltdown occurred within hours of quake

Well, DUH!  A choice paragraph from that article:

About 11 hours later, all of the uranium fuel in the facility’s unit 1 reactor had slumped to the bottom of its inner containment vessel, boring a hole through a thick steel lining, the University of Tokyo’s Naoto Sekimura told a committee of the National Academy of Sciences.

From the Mainichi Daily News:

Study says fuel at Fukushima reactor possibly melted twice

And from the Voice of America:

Japanese Nuclear Crisis Leaves Fukushima Town Broken

The International Atomic Agency’s most recent post was as of June 2:

Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log


I’ve gotten a few emails questioning raising issues about our own GE nuclear reactors, like at Monticello, and they always note, “it can’t happen here.”  Anyone who knows anything about nuclear knows better… and as one living in a “nuclear” community, two reactors here in Red Wing, and three in Salem, NJ, right across the river from Port Penn, I know too well the risks.  Floods happen.  Hurricanes happen.  Salem and Hope Creek are built on a manufactured sand “island” on the Delaware River just up a tad from the Atlantic Ocean, up just enough to suck in the fresh water (and lots of fish), and close enough to be history as the sea continues to rise:


Well, folks we have a situation… the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing a lot of water from dams along the Missouri River backed up with too much rainfall, and they’ve started to evacuate parts of North Dakota, and it’ll affect South Dakota and Nebraska too.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a site:  Flood Resources

Here are the Inundation Maps”

On the Sioux City, IA to Omaha, NE link, check out map Z17 and look way over in the right side for the Ft. Calhoun nuclear plant (yes, there is something in Ft. Calhoun in addition to the legendary “Ft. Calhoun Interface.”), and compare with the maps below that focus on the plants — it’s hard to miss the placement of these “critical” plants in hard to find places:


From Roger Herried today:

As a result of one of the wettest winters in over 100 years the Missouri River is threatening 6 dams that were put in place over the last 60 years to reduce annual flooding on the Missouri’s floodplain which averages between 10-20 miles across.  When the area of concern was first settled by Europeans, they built their towns and farms in the fertile plain because it contained the best soil to grow food.  In 1889, there was a wet year that filled the entire floodplain with a torrent that lasted for weeks.  All towns and farms on the plain were washed away.  The only thing left of my home town of Vermillion SD. were a few big concrete blocks of the local church.  The next time they rebuilt was not on the flood plain but on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri.

Starting in the 1960’s the US Corps of Engineers constructed 6 dams on the Missouri River, the last of the six being located near Yankton SD called Gavins Point Dam. With the dams in place, everybody went back to putting farms and guess what, two nuclear power plants on the flood plain. Due to the extreme winter including major rains in May the Corp of Engineers has announced that it will be forced to release 150,000 cubic feet of water per second throughout much of June.  This is five times more water than the Corp has ever had to release before, and the rainy season has not ended yet.  They are suggesting that these levels will continue for much of June.

The Corps of Engineers has just released a set of projected flood maps for the area from Yankton SD throughout Nebraska showing what they think will happen in terms of controlled flood levels in the region.  Based on these maps both of Nebraska’s nuclear facilities are in severe danger with the Fort Calhoun unit located 19 miles north of Omaha Nebraska and projected to be under water from 4 to over 10 feet of water (see map below). Note that in May of this year, the NRC hit Ft. Calhoun for poor flood control problems from flooding that took place last year.  The facility is a 500 MegaWatt Combustion Engineering PWR reactor that is currently shut down.

The other reactor the Cooper nuclear station is located 23 miles south of Omaha and is an 830 MWe GE Mark 4 reactor and is currently at full operation.  It is predicted to be under water from 4-8 feet. Behind the reactor and to the Northwest are located levees that are meant to keep at least reduce flooding by 2 feet.

Here are two maps sent by Roger Herried that identify and focus on the Ft. Calhoon and Cooper Nuclear Station nuclear generating plants:



Here’s a flyover that says it all…

Fukushima: ‘much bigger than Chernobyl:’ expert

Although I’d argue that it’s certainly a lot worse than that:
Fukushima is now the radioactive Deepwater Horizon of the Pacific


The nuclear mess in Japan is just slowly getting worse, with radiation leaking out at higher levels, more radioactive water from the plant leaking out, nowhere to store what they are able to pump out, and efforts to pump water in aren’t sufficient to provide cooling.  The good news is that they are finally openly admitting that the plants will have to be “scrapped.”

Here are some updates from around the world:

Japan may have lost race to save nuclear reactor

Japan nuclear crisis: evacuees turned away from shelters

Link to photos from plant

Japan to scrap stricken nuclear reactors


Here’s a view of our own Monticello reactor, the same GE as some of the Fukushima plants:


For some technical info and photos of this type of GE reactor, check this “Virtual Nuclear Tourist” site, put together by Joseph Gunyeau (here’s some background on him) who I think is based in nearby Cannon Falls, he has been a contractor at many nuclear plants — and he says that a Fukushima page is in the works:

Monticello Page from Virtual Nuclear Tourist

Fukushima Daiichi update

March 26th, 2011


The saga at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear site continues, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better, officials continue to report the situation as “grave.”

Radiation doses spread unequally – Daily Yomiuri Online

TEPCO workers not warned of radiation risk- Daily Yomiuri Online

Iodine 1,250times over limit – Daily Yomiuri Online

Radiation spikes in sea off Fukushima plant – Market Watch

Radioactivity rises in seawater near Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant – Washington Post

Japan PM calls situation at nuclear plant “grave” – Business Week