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Updated: 5/18

This is another clearinghouse diary for the posting of additional news (with links to their source) and intelligent commentary about the ongoing nuclear disaster(s) in Japan.  

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PUT THE KEYBOARD DOWN and let your finger guide the scroll wheel while you are forcibly asked to lurk.

Credible news stories with hyperlinks to them, along with factual, (reasonably) well presented discussion by you, the reader, community member and Brother or Sister Kossack. . . You knowingly wouldn't put a defenseless Pootie in a Woozle diary would you? And hey, this isn't a Bakers Square, so leave the pie at home (French Silk exception stated).   Now is that asking too much???

And now back to our regularly scheduled conversation

For older information on news and a timeline of the events following the March 11 Japanese Earthquake, visit the Mothership .  provides a more extensive list of news and data sources, social media, crisis mapping and other relevant information.

If you would like to recommend this diary feel free to do so. All previous liveblogs published to the Japan Nuclear Incident group can be found here.

(For ongoing 24/7 breaking news use this is a resource by reading below the fold, community member posts and adding newsworthy posts yourself)

LEAD STORY
Doubt over meltdown dispelled by Jonathan Soble in Tokyo
Financial Time or FT.com

Published: May 18 2011 17:18 | Last updated: May 18 2011 17:18
Doubt over meltdown dispelled

Now, a little over two months later, new information on the state of Fukushima Daiichi’s three overheated reactors is making the m-word impossible to avoid. Fuel inside the cores, it is now understood, melted far more quickly and extensively than was initially believed – disintegrating just a few hours after the tsunami knocked out the plants electricity and cooling systems.  

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On board with our very own, with recent Coverage@kos:

 5/16 by Fish out of Water
Radioactivity way up in Seawater from Fukushima 1, 2 & 3 Meltdowns

5/14 by Joieau
Fukushima Roundup

5/13 by Meteor Blades
Confirmed: Fuel rods at Fukushima reactor have mostly melted. Taxpayer-funded bailout announced

5/12 by Adept2uFollow
Fukushima Dai Ichi Unit 1 is officially in a state of Meltdown

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Updates

A massive update for CatDat Situation Report (Part 15)

                                                       * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

PDF's
Toshiba
http://www.iaea.org Fukushima #3 shroud replacement document for your reading enjoyment] Very good document on BWR core internals replacement, stresses etc.. with great break away drawings...
Shhh one of Boatsie's sources
Reindeerflotilla
This is going to be pinned up
Very cute little link that will be used with Boatsie's presentation
Oak Ridge National Lab

                                                       * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Other Stuff

Latest videos from 200Watts.org (France: Understanding the Nuclear Industry)

Latest WHO Status report 11 May (downloadable report)

   5280 injured and 9853 missing. There are now 115 098 evacuees.
    Health situation monitoring, needs and risk assessments and response in the earthquake and tsunami affected areas are ongoing.

                                                       * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
ACTION:

JNI Team analysis (from previous ROV and Diaries)

Story Here:,Japanese Times

High radiation readings taken in the No. 1 reactor building the night of March 11 suggest it was the quake rather than the loss of cooling that critically damaged the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, a utility source said Saturday.

The belated disclosure could trigger a review of quake-preparedness at nuclear facilities across the country. Many have been focusing on increasing defenses against tsunami, which knocked out the plant's poorly placed emergency power generators.

(snip)

Based on the dosimeter readings [when workers entered the building in the middle of the night], the radiation level was about 300 millisieverts per hour, the source said, suggesting that a large amount of radioactive material had already been released from the core.

The source of the steam was believed to be the No. 1 reactor's overheated pressure vessel.

But for that scenario to hold, the pressure in the reactor would have to have reached enormous levels --- damaging the piping and other connected facilities. It should have taken much more time to fill the entire building with steam.

A source at Tepco admitted it was possible that key facilities were compromised before the tsunami.

It sound like TEPCO is inching toward a disclosure that unit 1 did not scram properly after the earthquake.

がんばれ日本!

by procrastinator john
on Sun May 15, 2011 at 04:58:43 PM PDT

FOLLOWED BY A POST:
by mahakali overdrive

I remember reading some earlier ( conjecture too that it could have been quake damaged. I can't recall now who said it. But it did strike me as a serious point of important information. That's a huge revelation indeed. Also, given how much more common earthquakes are -- not only in Japan but worldwide -- rather than giant tidal waves, it is extremely important to know that this sort of damage could result from earthquake damage.

It would make a huge case for closing many, many reactors.

If I recall, there is an earthquake of the same magnitude as the one near Fukushima about every year or two somewhere in the world (this could be the wrong amount of time, I can't recall now, but it was close enough in years to strike me as worrisome).

                                                       * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Regularly Updated Data Sources
@Kos: A database of temperature, pressure, radiation levels, etc readings over time can be found in:

The Daiichi Database: This is an evolved diary has stopped being updated regularly.

Japanese Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF)
RSOS Emergency & Disaster information Services - Japan
EPA RadNet Map View &
EPA's Radiation Air Monitoring
 Scribble Live
 Japan Municipal Water Charts  in Japanese  Needed???

                                                       * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Best News Sources
   


Kyodo Nuclear News Feed
NHK Japan Live
OilDrum
  &
Asahi on Facebook
Fukushima Wikispaces
WHO situation reports
METI Twitter Feed


Rules of the Road
Given the seriousness of this situation, please use this diary for posting information DIRECTLY Related to coverage of the developing news!

The"ROV" (a Remote Operating Vehicle) is a 'child diary' for liveblog coverage of major breaking news stories. (The term was borrowed from the Gulf Watchers coverage of the Deep Water Horizon crisis.)

To continue following and participating in the breaking coverage in Japan Nuclear Incidents series, click here and then click the heart icon underneath the profile picture to the Right. This will bring these diaries directly into your personal "stream."

Due to slowing news coverage, Coverage@KOS is including diaries covering a few day periods. All coverage is then archived to the group page.

You can assist us in including relevant diaries by providing links to any postings we may have missed to insure they are included in this coverage. Also, note below if diaries are being reposted to other groups so we can direct readers there as well.

Please be kind to kossacks with bandwidth issues. Please do not post images or videos. Again, many thanks for this.

Remember when posting to the thread:  STICK TO THE FACTS. Source and link all new information.  (This includes insuring authenticity of twitter sources.) Both the Mothership and the ROVs are for reporting and discussing the developing news. Neither space is for opinions or for editorializing on the subject of nuclear energy. The JNI team has decided that diaries which are not factual or which sensationalize this event are not included in Coverage@Kos.

Originally posted to Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs on Wed May 18, 2011 at 10:21 AM PDT.

Also republished by Nuclear Free DK.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Was there a #56 (8+ / 0-)

    If so I missed it.

    And, why after such a cover-up induced lull in information is stuff coming out now?  Any one leak or independent disclosure that sent TEPCO into info-dump mode?

    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

    by Magster on Wed May 18, 2011 at 10:28:15 AM PDT

  •  google headline to read full Financial Times story (9+ / 0-)

    The link in the diary (thanks, Gilmore) brings up a "register FREE now to increase access" window.

    If you google "Doubt over meltdown dispelled," then click one of the google results, you should be able to open and read the full article, without registering. Not that you might not want to register at FT, for 10 free articles a month; it's a good source of news, but FYI.

  •  bad link in Lead story (5+ / 0-)

    Netroots Nation: Burning Man for Progressives

    by Gilmore on Wed May 18, 2011 at 10:35:30 AM PDT

  •  High Radiation Levels found in Tokyo Soil (15+ / 0-)

    Reposting from end of last ROV.

    Very big development, I feel...

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

  •  I see above (10+ / 0-)


    "it's possible that Unit 1 failed to scram properly."  Would this imply that they didn't get control rods in place to shut down the fission?  Do they use the 'control rod' function in these BWR's?  That might explain the 3-hours-to-boiloff if the reactor wasn't actually cooling down but running hot with a leak in the reactor.  Or am I reading that info wrong?

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Wed May 18, 2011 at 10:42:59 AM PDT

  •  i'm really wondering (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andhakari, mahakali overdrive, KJG52

    about this:

    Remember when posting to the thread:  STICK TO THE FACTS. Source and link all new information.  (This includes insuring authenticity of twitter sources.) Both the Mothership and the ROVs are for reporting and discussing the developing news. Neither space is for opinions or for editorializing on the subject of nuclear energy. The JNI team has decided that diaries which are not factual or which sensationalize this event are not included in Coverage@Kos

    no one can really know what the facts are, especially in this situation, so what is the point of these ROV's?

    who is the arbiter of facts herein???

    when a newspaper, cough, cough, publishes something it is a fact?

    not.

    i'm just wondering what good any of this is if a group of people here are trying to control what gets posted in this way.

    does this mean there are certain people not welcome herein as i have seen claimed?

    i've seen another diary in another group actively telling someone to get out a couple of days ago.  

    while i didn't necessarily disagree with that position, what exactly is going on here that any group of editors in any subgroup tries to control other posters in this way?

    i repeat: who gets to determine what are the facts?

    in fact, that is a futile exercise.  when will we all realize that?

    i got slammed for saying that fukushima seemed like it would be worse than chernobyl in the first week or so of the disaster.  but plenty of experts have said stuff like that in the intervening weeks.  as to what is really going on there, who the hell knows?

    my instinct is to believe we are looking at a nuclear stew that is going to be deadly for a long, long time.  that's my instinct.  it ain't fact.

    everyone now admits meltdown + has happened, but no one is at all clear about what that means.

    a blog is not a peer reviewed source, it isn't even a professionally edited source.  

    at least in a peer reviewed journal somebody on the masthead is responsible for what gets published.  

    i'm very discouraged by the 'cautions' above.  they simply don't make sense to me.

    I am awaiting delivery of my new DK4 signature

    by BlueDragon on Wed May 18, 2011 at 11:01:35 AM PDT

    •  I think its just to keep people from pulling (6+ / 0-)

      facts from their ass.... like the birthers.  

      No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

      by Magster on Wed May 18, 2011 at 11:14:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  BlueDragon (7+ / 0-)

      NOBODY has asked you to leave. Nobody wants you to leave.

      Wild eyed unfounded speculation and screaming like your hair is on fire is what I (as author of this ROV) is trying to avoid.

      You may be very discouraged by the 'cautions' above.  I'm sorry they simply don't make sense to you.

      Netroots Nation: Burning Man for Progressives

      by Gilmore on Wed May 18, 2011 at 11:25:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My rule of thumb (10+ / 0-)

      here is to stick to details that have been released, link those whenever offering for the first time, and avoid too much hyperbole. Because these diaries are shared with people in Japan trying very, very hard to understand what's going on even while under a heavy hand of censorship (with reason, but it's still heavy). So they can make decisions that will affect their lives and the lives of their families.

      Promoting panic doesn't help anybody, even though none of us thinks the Japanese are overly prone to panic. They need calm analysis and reasonable discussion, not wild speculation.

      That said, I am someone with real-life experience in nuclear meltdowns and radiological monitoring of those. So what I think is entirely reasonable to propose and discuss, based on technical factoids that get out here and there, have often seemed like hyperbolic panic-mongering to people for whom all this high dudgeon sci-fi stuff is relatively new. I was one who wondered aloud just hours into our awareness of the event whether or not the scrams could have failed due to the earthquake, before station blackout. There was a 100% scram failure event at a (thankfully not at full power) reactor in Germany in 2002 (? could be later), when the entire core somehow got shifted in its seating so that none of the control rods could fall. That was a PWR, so was TMI where just the rod group ringing core central failed due to rod warpage. At Fukushima the rods are below the reactor, must be powered UP into the core. An earthquake could easily wreak havoc on that plan.

      I also wondered that first day about the amount of hydrogen they were venting, and was immediately lit upon by those who swore even as the buildings exploded one by one that hydrogen was impossible. Came to the conclusion that newbies to these sort of things really do get panic attacks if you say too much...

      The truth usually comes out in the end, after people have had a little time to get used to the ideas.

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Wed May 18, 2011 at 03:04:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Being clear seems like the first necessity (6+ / 0-)

      Are you stating a fact, a speculation based on available data, a speculation based on the absence of data or a speculation based on the poltical/human behavior factors?

      Are there other sources reporting what you are reporting and are they characterizing it in the same way?

      What is the knowledge or experience base you bring to the issue?

      While this is not a scientific or academic publication, this kind of diary and series of diaries (as with the BP Oil Spill series)  leans a bit in that direction given the nature of the event, the ongoing status of the event and the impact our comments can have beyond the keyboards.

      The "group-speak" issue is one that will work its way in or out over time, probably based on folks voting with their fingers if they think a group's restrictions or "management" are not appropriate.  

      One purpose I see in such "warnings" (though their enforcement is administered with a pretty light touch from what I've seen) is to minimize the number of useless painful marches to the right  through which we all must be dragged as we tread down that awful stairway while people throw spitballs at each other, devolve into idiocy and pull everyone off the topic - even if it is just long enough for us to scroll on by.

      I would encourage you to stay and see how it works and how it fits.  

      If it doesn't suit you, it doesn't suit you.  

      We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

      by Into The Woods on Wed May 18, 2011 at 03:46:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No one has ever been asked to leave from here (8+ / 0-)

      I have no idea why that disclaimer is up there. The group is a community effort. I want to go on record, putting my entire reputation on the line here, stating that NO ONE has been asked to not participate here ever (although we might have implied this by HR'ing a few people with obvious, cough, agendas... which probably lead to the disclaimer in the first place. Early on, we WERE badly trolled in early ROV's and MS's by some virulent pro-nuke folks and that probably was written then; I don't think I was an admin yet though).

      I've never seen anyone enforce it. The first time I ever lead an ROV, I thought I was supposed to and asked someone (a long-time friend) to keep on track. This was very funny, IMHO, and I quickly realized how out of line it was!

      Other posters have, at times, expressed discomfort with what someone or another was saying and if these conversations get heated, generally someone will ask it to be taken to p/m. I think that's happened like 3 or 4 times. Again, usually between pro and anti-nuke posters engaging in arguments about the benefits or drawbacks of nuclear power. That might also be what the disclaimer is about. Not sure.

      The rest, we try to make sense of the huge amounts of data that is all shuffled around the media, aggregating an amazing team of people from a huge variety of backgrounds. Anyone who wants to join in is totally welcome and encouraged to providing that they are interested in liveblogging Fukushima. No one would, or is, excluded from here.

      We have around 15 admins, 15 editors, and about as many contributors. Then we have a few hundred more regular posting participants here. We've had very, very little trouble in 56 ROVs. I am aware of having been told we are somehow preventing some postings here, since I saw these comments. I provided extensive information there as well as requests for links which showed that the poster was misinformed about who "JNI" was -- citing people who don't post here.

      I would personally get totally pissed off if I felt folks were excluded from freely posting here.

      My personal reason for posting here is to 1. bear witness to this tragedy 2. to share my compassion for other, future thyroid cancer victims 3. to document 4. to help piece through the media static and provide information 5. with the hopes that these things will eventually improve the situation, worldwide, with nuclear power in any way possible.

      I'm sure everyone else has their own reasons! :)

    •  We're all the arbiter of facts here (7+ / 0-)

      and kind of peer-review one another. If I post something bogus, for example, and you notice that it's bogus (say I screw up my math or provide a link to a source that's a RW source or something), you would politely correct me and there would really be no "argument," since those reading on would see that something was in dispute and was trying to be resolved. We disagree quite a bit here but are extremely civil about it when we do; some might not even notice if we disagree if they're just looking on since it really doesn't involve much name-calling. I think we all understand the intense collaborative nature of a project that is more important than our individual egos.

      I have strong knowledge about assessing research sources as well as media rhetoric; I'm also good at finding information online. These are my own particular University-level skills which I teach. In addition, I had thyroid cancer and know a lot about it. Others have other really excellent knowledge of other factors that are much more exceptional, moreover. Understanding of temperature and pressure gauges, mechanics, biological systems, meteorology, reproductive health, epidemiology, Japanese politics, etc...

      And some just care.

      I think we're a pretty awesome team and proud to get an Independent news source available; hopefully it can help Japan which is under heavy media censorship.

  •  Please listen. As the meltdown is official (12+ / 0-)

    (never thought I would be saying those words,) it is MANDATORY that we address some of the sequelae of this meltdown.  Please don't consider this off topic as the technical aspects are discussed.

    The reason I say mandatory is because every aspect of political power will be aimed at controlling the narrative of "the meltdown" and squelching information on this and as a last resort spinning it into a benign event.  This is the time to make a stand against that.

    I suggest that these diary series be expanded to include the questions on whether we are being protected from radioactive foodstuffs from Japan?  The lack of transparency of the position (or lack thereof,) that the US govt and other govts (Canada, e.g.) have taken on Japanese imports, esp. foodstuffs is breathtaking in its suggestion of collusion with the nuke industry and coverup.  We must not allow this to happen and we must protect ourselves.

    As I commented earlier in another diary:

    do we think that it is about time to INSIST that our government stop protecting the lying of the Japanese govt and the powerful nuclear industry, AND INSTALL A TRANSPARENT AND CONSISTENT SCREENING OF ALL FOODSTUFFS FROM JAPAN?

    do we think that that time has come?  OR SHALL WE WAIT FOR MASSES OF PEOPLE TO GET THYROID CANCER, ETC?

    And what the hell can we do about it?  The public information is inconsistent (see links below,) "these are not the droids you have been looking for."  And there doesn't seem to be sufficient public awareness about this to engender public pressure.  (Thanks to the handlers from the nuke industry.)

    The article in the NYT (tx, for the link, btw,) focused on the plant and safety.  Which of course is imp.  

    Focusing on this issue would, of course, raise the bar on awareness in the public about nuclear power.  However, I believe that that battle is an important one to fight.

    Do others think so?  Is that something we can do on this site?

    Some people are focusing on this and we should too.


    CT Dem asks FDA to screen food"
    Canada not testing milk from Japan.  Say What?

    According to this article, US refuses to test fish for radiation

    What is the US doing?  Will they protect us or not?

    If one of us is denied civil rights, all of us are denied civil rights.

    by SeaTurtle on Wed May 18, 2011 at 11:02:14 AM PDT

    •  Meltdown isn't even a technical term (0+ / 0-)

      It's just a common word to describe partial/full melting of the fuel rods.

      No one doubts that some sort of "partial meltdown" occurred. The reason that a "meltdown," in the actual term, would be bad is that the superhot fuel rods could melt through containment and sink into the ground, which would be catastrophic. This clearly didn't happen in any of those reactors, or we'd know about it.

      And honestly, the "OH MY GOD TEST THE FISH, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE" panic is really annoying.

      We used to test nukes above ground IN THE CONTINENTAL US all the time. Sure, there were probably bad effects. Did it lead to massive death on a catastrophic scale? No.

      You're much more likely to die from driving to the supermarket than you are from some kind of Fukushima related cancer.

      You're much more likely to get cancer from your local car emissions/smog belching coal fired plant than you are from some kind of Fukushima related cancer.

      When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

      by PhillyJeff on Wed May 18, 2011 at 11:23:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hmmmm (11+ / 0-)

        Would your comment "You're much more likely to die from driving to the supermarket than you are from some kind of Fukushima related cancer" be true for someone living within a 20 mile radius of the plant.

        No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

        by Magster on Wed May 18, 2011 at 11:26:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, the high levels of strontium (10+ / 0-)

        in studies of baby teeth led President Kennedy to sign the test ban treaty. Cancer mortality is about 6 times greater than it was 100 years ago, no doubt from a myriad of causes, but there is no basis to suggest that radionuclides aren't dangerous and part of that toxic soup. They are. They cause birth defects, cancer, immune system dysfunction, and developmental abnormalities.
        But maybe you think Kennedy was panicking.

        "I almost died for the international monetary system; what the hell is that?" ~ The In-laws

        by Andhakari on Wed May 18, 2011 at 01:21:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  PhillyJeff thanks for the nuke lobby pov (10+ / 0-)

        You actually have made my point.  The very way in which you reacted to my post is how the nuke industry is going to react to any of these concerns.

        Anyone with legitimate concern will be ridiculed.  Thank you for demonstrating that as well.

        And honestly, the "OH MY GOD TEST THE FISH, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE" panic is really annoying.

        The nuke industry would love to know you.  You've got the messaging down perfect.

        Thanks for demonstrating my point more clearly than I could have.

        Instead, as I asked for, we need to have an open discussion about the levels to which we could be exposed and what the possible threshhold for health consequences: with transparent facts.  THAT IS THE MAIN THING I AM ASKING FOR.  I am one of the people who was made very sick from mercury in fish and I had to detox from it, which was not a pretty process.  Now I will not go near fish , since it made me so sick.  

        However, I am not the only one with this concern.  As I understand it, one of the main concerns is the accumulation of exposure to radiation from various sources.:

        Japan Finds Toxic Fish, As Ocean Radiation Soars To 7.5 Million Times Legal Limit  

        A fish was caught on Friday midway between Fukushima and Tokyo that contained dangerously high levels of radioactive iodine and high levels of cesium.
        This catch has prompted Japan to announce its first legal limits for radiation in fish, according to the AP. Previously Japan had said it was enough to ban fishing in the near proximity of the nuclear plant.
        Japan also just announced a huge surge in ocean contamination, as radioactive iodine-131 at 7.5 million times the legal limit was found near the plant, according to Japan Times. Yesterday, levels were only 5 million times the legal limit.

        Mother Jones is also all over this: fish and birds

        and here is a Daily Kos dairy addressing this same issue and asking for transparency on this issue:
        One Fish, Two Fish, Radioactive Fish, New Fish by by Brian Ross.

        If one of us is denied civil rights, all of us are denied civil rights.

        by SeaTurtle on Wed May 18, 2011 at 04:01:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  dude, the fuel DID melt through the containment (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rja, KJG52, SeaTurtle, evergreen2

        at THREE FUCKING REACTORS SO FAR.

        “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” – Einstein (1946)

        by Earth Ling on Wed May 18, 2011 at 08:47:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  your honest opinion (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rja, KJG52, SeaTurtle

        Should we go about consuming seafood (and seaweed) as if nothing happened?  Or should we insist on some type of monitoring of seafood from the Pacific?

        The simple "trust us... it's not that bad" just doesn't cut it.  And throwing in the risk of other events (i.e. automobile accidents, coal-mining accidents) does not help one get a true grasp on the radiological risk of this nuclear accident.

        •  we need to monitor all foodstuffs in the future (4+ / 0-)

          and should put a lot of pressure on our govt to do so.  Salmonella, ecoli, hormones etc. are already in our attention.  What is the real continuing food and environmental risk with the BP oil spill?  That, too, has been minimized from public attention.  

          Will the coverup be like the conditions at the WTC site at 9/11 which the EPA said was safe?  And in the last decade, the brave heroes are dying and suffering with all sorts of illness which clearly demonstrate the lie?  

          The radiation threat is not new.  Unfortunately, in the US there was a possible link to radiation in fish discussed w/re to the Vermont nuclear plant:
          Vermont Nuclear plant and fish

          There are so many powerful industries who are determined to prevent the facts from seeing the light of day and are derailing any serious discussion of risk.  Profit$, profit$, profit$!

          As the Japanese disaster has shown, the mechanisms for coverup are already in place and THIS IS WHAT WE MUST FIGHT AGAINST.  We must demand the information about what is happening and we must secure a place to assess the risks.  Of course, the favorite tactic is to attack the messenger and demean the consideration.

          I certainly don't know the risks.  But we need to have an honest discussion and assessment as we go along with Japan's worsening nightmare to protect our people as much as possible.

          If one of us is denied civil rights, all of us are denied civil rights.

          by SeaTurtle on Thu May 19, 2011 at 07:38:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  No. EPA and FDA (9+ / 0-)

      are no longer screening on a daily basis (back to business as usual), NRC has stopped monitoring on an 'emergency' basis. NYTimes had the details yesterday or day before. Consensus is it ain't going away any time soon (probably not in my lifetime), nobody can stop it, we just have to live - or die - with it. Sort of like bomb fallout in the '50s and '60s.

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Wed May 18, 2011 at 03:07:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  we should be raising hell with the WH, the EPA (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stunster, SeaTurtle

        our Congress Critters and the ass clowns that pass for media these days.

        Question:  I haven't been watching Rachel Maddow for a few weeks now, but I have the sense she isn't covering Fukushima anymore.  Is that true?

        If so, what gives?  GE putting the kibosh on any news they don't want to see about their hellishly bad reactors?

        “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” – Einstein (1946)

        by Earth Ling on Wed May 18, 2011 at 08:44:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "The US" will protect the nuclear industry (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stunster, RWood, oldhippie, SeaTurtle

      at the expense of the People.

      "The US" will protect Wall Street at the expense of the People.

      "The US" will protect the warmongers and war criminals, at the expense of the People.

      "The US" will protect Big Ag and their frankenfoods, at the expense of the People.

      "The US" will protect Big Pharma and Big Insurance Cos, at the expense of the People.

      It's almost like a pattern...

      "The US" is run by corrupt elites and their functionaries, including the President, the Congress and much of the Legal system as well.

      And YES, we should be raising hell with these functionaries so that they get very uneasy about serving the corrupt elites and PERHAPS start to serve THE PEOPLE as they are supposed to do.

      “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” – Einstein (1946)

      by Earth Ling on Wed May 18, 2011 at 08:51:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent, excellent comment, Earth Ling (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mahakali overdrive, Earth Ling

        when will we have suffered enough so that we will no longer tolerate all the abuses you have listed?

        when will we collectively say "ENOUGH"

        the masses have power....that's why the industries spend so much money on propaganda, misinformation and the celebrity culture....to shut us up with 'bread and circus'"

        And YES, we should be raising hell with these functionaries so that they get very uneasy about serving the corrupt elites and PERHAPS start to serve THE PEOPLE as they are supposed to do.

        It all starts with bringing the facts to light and bringing awareness to the people.

        If one of us is denied civil rights, all of us are denied civil rights.

        by SeaTurtle on Thu May 19, 2011 at 07:44:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Seems the water-table (11+ / 0-)

    under/around/near Fukushima would be an important thing to be aware of at this point, now that it seems pretty clear that the fuel is out of all its containers for, at least, 3 reactors.

    And how that affects water to other communities from village to large city.


    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Wed May 18, 2011 at 11:18:50 AM PDT

  •  #3 acting up? (13+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately both data pages for the Fukushima plant have stopped updating. #3 was reported to have increasing temperatures since the start of the month and it's pretty well accepted now that all three reactors have melted their entire loads of fuel and have breached RPVs.

    From TEPCO latest update (PDF) they are injecting water through both the fire extinction system and the reactor feed water system. The way it's written is a little confusing but the injection rate may have been up to 14 m3/hr on the 14th. They also added boric acid for two and a half hours on the 15th and later that day upped the water injection rate to 9 m3/hr through each system, for a total of 18 m3/hr.

    According to JAIF the latest temperature for #3 is:

    RPV temperature (May 16 11:00)
    143.3℃*2 at feed water line nozzle

    This seems in line with the readings from the data page when they stopped updating on the 7th. There is no telling the accuracy of the readings though since they have had malfunctions with most gauges and the RPVs are full of crusted salt from the sea water injections. It's possible the fuel is insulated from the gauges and the water being injected. The actual readings are less important than the trend I'm thinking. #3 began generating more heat a couple weeks ago and they are dealing with it by injecting more water to hold the temps steady.

    So, more heat, more boric acid and more cooling water. Combining all that with the findings in FishOutofWater's diary linked above it all suggests #3 has some critical fuel somewhere.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Wed May 18, 2011 at 12:19:35 PM PDT

  •  the earthquake damage is especially unsettling (12+ / 0-)

    given that the actual shake intensity at fukushima daiichi was far lower than at the epicenter offshore. it was more like a 6.5-6.8 than 9.0.

    there are a whole lot of reactors near faults capable of a mid-6s quake, southern california's diablo canyon and san onofre in particular. we need to do like the germans and do some serious review of our reactors' ability to ride out quakes in the 6s and 7s ASAP.

    •  Do you have info on the Germany process? (4+ / 0-)

      Our NRC's GI-199 process to asses implications of the recent (relatively speaking) revision of the seismic risk for nuclear power plants is supposedly incorporating the better historic and ground-movement data into assessing the level and frequency of risk and comparing that to various elements of the NPP design, construction and operation.  

      But there's an awful lot of moving parts in such an analysis that can be shifted one way or another by either the agency or the operators that affects the outcome.

      With the money invested and potential cost of back-fitting for new requirements on one hand and the newly highlighted complex and potentially catastrophic risks as we see in Fukushima, the pressures on both sides of that assessment were already high and are now even higher.  

      I'v looked at some of Japan's documents on their relatively recent reassessment of seismic risk and as I remember it was surprised at the level of "voluntary" assessment and compliance with testing and review.

      There seemed to be great deference given to industry and operator perspectives.

      I'm still trying to track back where I saw it, but I think the initial review here within the GI-199 focussed on core damage, not spent fuel pools.  I believe that after Fukushima, that has been changed but want to find out how much it changed.  

      I'd be very interested in more info on the German review (unfortunately hoping it will be in English as well.)

       

      We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

      by Into The Woods on Wed May 18, 2011 at 03:59:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed 100% wu ming (7+ / 0-)

      This is definitely something that I've raised and, IMHO, warrants a shut down of the reactor at Diablo, as well as any other that might be on a fault line.

      Of course, I feel that all reactors should be shut down. But in this case, I can substantiate this claim based on solid evidence that a quake of a low magnitude can cause serious disaster to a plant.

      Also, there's the serious issue of U.S. reactor ventilation systems being inadequate that is just inescapable for justification of use.

  •  New video released (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mahakali overdrive, rja

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    There's no narration, but a list of the shots is here:
    http://www.tepco.co.jp/...

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Wed May 18, 2011 at 05:44:07 PM PDT

  •  Steam limited stay time in #2 (10+ / 0-)

    http://www3.nhk.or.jp/...

    Workers entered the Number 2 reactor building on Wednesday for the first time since a hydrogen explosion on March 15th. They tried to check radiation levels but left the building after 14 minutes because it was filled with steam, making further work impossible.

    The utility says the vapor appears to be coming from the damaged suppression chamber as well as from the fuel pool itself.

    Senior TEPCO official Junichi Matsumoto says he believes cooling the spent fuel pool will help reduce steam inside the reactor.

    TEPCO reports more than 90 percent humidity inside the Number 2 reactor building. Matsumoto says the building's roof is intact, making it more prone to filling with steam. Number 1 and 3 reactor buildings are exposed to the air because hydrogen explosions blew off their roofs and walls.


    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Wed May 18, 2011 at 05:56:06 PM PDT

    •  #2 was never successfully vented (10+ / 0-)

      http://www.japantoday.com/...

      But by failing to relieve the pressure inside the reactor’s containment vessel, TEPCO is most likely to have allowed damage to be done to a part called the suppression chamber, which is linked to the containment vessel.

      In a venting operation, two valves inside pipes that lead from the containment vessel to the outside are opened to let steam escape into the air.

      According to TEPCO, the valves were opened at 11 a.m. on March 13, two days after the natural disasters struck mostly in the northeast, including the plant’s home, Fukushima Prefecture. But the pressure inside the containment vessel did not drop, nor did radiation levels go up in the surrounding area.

      Two more valves in a separate system were opened at 12:02 a.m. on March 15, but the pressure did not fall then either, according to the utility.

      Documents disclosed by TEPCO on Monday also show that the pressure did not drop inside the containment vessel. While the utility stops short of concluding in the documents that the venting had failed, the TEPCO source said the maneuver is deemed to have failed on both occasions.

      I guess then that the pressure built in the containment until something failed structurally. They think it was the torus.

      According to the article, there was a much larger release of radiation from #2 than from the other reactors.

      Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

      by Just Bob on Wed May 18, 2011 at 06:10:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A question for people who know reactors (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stunster, rja, evergreen2, Just Bob, Wee Mama

    rja had a comment in the last ROV with a link to a TEPCO press release about what happened in reactor 1.

    Here's my question. Page 3 of the PDF has two graphs, one showing the level of water in the core of unit 1 and the other the temperature in the core. What happened? Or more precisely, what could explain the pattern shown in the two graphs.

    The water level started dropping rapidly right after the tsunami hit. The core temperature fell at scram right after the earthquake and did not start to rise until about 3 hours later, after the water level had dropped enough to expose about 20% of the fuel rods (by my reading of the graphs).

    Why did the water level drop so rapidly? If the core temperature did not rise significantly until the fuel rods were partially exposed, then was it possible for heat from the fuel to boil off roughly half the water in the RPV in about 2-1/2 hours? Or does the pattern suggest that there was a leak? And if half the water in fact boiled off, without steam being vented, would that not have caused the RPV (or suppression chamber) to explode?

    I would be grateful if anyone could provide an answer. Thanks.

  •  Meta (4+ / 0-)

    there is a discussion going on in the mail section right now. It would be great if all regular contributors could respond so we can have group concensus ...

    As I recalled, we had reached concensus but the issue has once again been brought up... And perhaps many of you did not check the internal email when this controvery started?

    thanks

    Reporting LIVE from Durban @COP17 ...

    by boatsie on Wed May 18, 2011 at 11:37:23 PM PDT

  •  Workers enter unit 3 (8+ / 0-)

    NHK World English reports that workers entered unit 3 today.

    Workers have entered the Number 3 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for the first time since a hydrogen explosion 3 days after the March 11th quake and tsunami.

    Tokyo Electric Power Company says 2 workers in protective suits and carrying air tanks went inside for about 10 minutes from 4:30 PM Wednesday to check radiation levels.

    (snip)

    The utility says it would be difficult to start work on injecting nitrogen gas needed to prevent a hydrogen blast into the containment vessel under such high radiation levels.

    (snip)

  •  Radiation level at No.3 reactor water intake rises (8+ / 0-)

    From NHK World English:

    The operator of the damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima has reported a sharp rise in the concentration of a radioactive material in samples of seawater near the Number 3 reactor.

    Tokyo Electric Power Company says it detected 110 becquerels of radioactive cesium-134 per cubic centimeters in seawater samples taken on Wednesday morning.

    The level is 1,800 times the national legal limit, compared to 550 times, which was reported the previous day.

    The utility also found 120 becquerels of cesium-137, 1,300 times higher than the limit.

    Last Wednesday at the same location near the water intake of the Number 3 reactor, water contaminated with highly radioactive substances was found flowing into the sea from a pit. TEPCO says it detected cesium-134 at 32,000 times the legal limit.

    •  "injected"water washing over open fuel into sea (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldhippie, Magster

      The specific path is unimportant; the result is obvious.  The have to keep cooling the fuel, but containment is breached.  Therefore, they are washing the melted nuclear fuel into the ocean.  JUST COME OUT AND SAY IT.  

      angry rant below:

      I'm sick of TEPCO's "admissions" that fail to connect the dots.  They would admit "your baby was contained under the water from 3AM to 5AM" in one press release, and "baby made many sounds from 2AM to 3AM, until workers made improvements" and then later "admit" that "baby vital sign monitoring equipment may be damaged" in another, but never openly say "we drowned your baby because it was crying."  But they would report none of this until Greenpeace posted a picture of the baby floating face down in the pacific.  

  •  TEPCO releases a few photos of tsunami (5+ / 0-)

    They are not on the TEPCO press page yet, but here are two reports on them.  I wonder how many other photos and videos they have but are not releasing.

    Some of them show a car washed against a building.  The car ends up with the front bumper pointing down and the rear bumper pointing up as it is wedged between the building and some pipes.  It appears to be near the stack that is by the Waste Treatment Facility.  My guess is that this is the spot on Google Maps.

    Google Maps - Waste Treatment Facility

    B.T. dk website has a slide show with images of the car in slides 7, 8, 10, 11. 13, and 14.  I cannot read the language of the captions, and google cannot translate the text in the flash images.

    Other photos (slides 1, 3, 6, 9, 15) shows a tank that had scaffolding on it get struck by the tsunami.  After the water recedes, the scaffolding is gone and the tank appears to end up twisted at the bottom as if it were an aluminum can (slide 6).

    Google Maps - tank between Unit 5 and ocean

    B.T. dk slide show of TEPCO photos

    NHK World has a video with some of the photos:

    TEPCO on Thursday showed 17 photographs that were taken from 2 locations within the plant.

    Eleven of them were taken from the 4th floor of a waste processing facility near the Number 4 reactor over a 15 minute period from 3:42 PM, when the first wave reached the plant roughly one hour after the massive earthquake struck.
    ...
    Other photos, taken from near the Number 5 reactor, capture the tsunami approaching 3 water and fuel tanks on the coast.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011 12:58 +0900 (JST)

    NHK World - TEPCO releases photos of tsunami hitting plant

  •  Landslides (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rja, Just Bob, evergreen2, Wee Mama

    “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

    by Terranova0 on Thu May 19, 2011 at 08:08:48 AM PDT

  •  Radiation tests lacking (6+ / 0-)

    Following thru the links PJ offered regarding the barrier for Reactor, I found this story from Daily Yomiuri Online:
    Radiation tests lacking / Nuclear plant workers unsure of internal exposure levels

    "Nearly two months after the start of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, only 10 percent of workers there had been tested for internal radiation exposure caused by inhalation or ingestion of radioactive substances, due to a shortage of testing equipment available for them.

    Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled nuclear compound, is finding it impossible to use testing apparatus set up inside the facility because of high radiation levels recorded near the equipment.

    A number of personnel working to overcome the nuclear crisis at the facility are increasingly alarmed by their lack of internal exposure testing. Some have said they may have to continue to work at the facility without knowing whether their radiation exposure levels have exceeded the upper limit set by the government..."

    Just another in the endless stream of totally infuriating stories.

  •  New TEPCO Press Release web page (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ricklewsive, stunster, Wee Mama, Just Bob

    It is titled

    Handouts at press conference

    Now, it only has the handouts for 5/19/2011.  I don't know if they will add more to it and keep a complete list, or if they will only have a single days handouts listed.

    The last handout is a PDF containing the photos from inside Unit 2 with locations of where they were taken and english text describing them.

    May 19, 2011 - Unit 2 of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station:The result of investigation of the inside the R/B (1st floor) and of radiation dose measurement. 216KB PDF

  •  TEPCO claims progress (6+ / 0-)

    One month after releasing the roadmap, TEPCO releases four PDF files.

    Progress status of the "Roadmap towards Restoration from the Accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station"(May 17,2011)

    We would like to deeply apologize again for the grave inconvenience and anxiety that the broad public has been suffering due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. We will continue to make every endeavor to bring the situation under control.

    •  TEPCO can make "progress" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rja

      Just so long as they're working around the outside of the reactor.  The problem will come when it's time to do something about the cores.  As long as they can do things that don't have an actual effect on the situation, I expect to keep hearing about progress.

      http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations/org/FDTD.pdf From Dictatorship to Democracy, Guide to Non Violent Protests.

      by sdelear on Thu May 19, 2011 at 06:35:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  TEPCO updates Survey Map (5+ / 0-)

    The latest Survey Map was released on 5/19 (previous was 5/7).

    The water transfer pipes that carry the water from the trenches and turbine buildings to the Waste Treatment Facility are the latest hot spots with the highest reading in mSv/h of:

    Water
    transfer
    pipe
    250(surface)
    18(airborne)

    just north of the Waste Treatment Facility.

    2011, May, 19 - Survey map of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station(on May,18) - 574KB PDF

  •  TEPCO president resigns - breaking, no url (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    procrastinator john, rja

    Just got a text from a friend...  no url yet

    This is the man who was AWOL for DAYS at the start of this disaster.  

  •  earthquake damage seems likely (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rja

    TEPCO likes to pretend that the plant's systems withstood the earthquake only to be wiped out by the tsunami.  This is because the nuclear industry as a whole is vulnerable to earthquakes, but only some plants are in danger of a tsunami.

    By selectively releasing information such as these readings, but not connecting the dots TEPCO and the japanese Nuclear agencies (i hesitate to use the word regulatory) show they are desperate to prolong the illusion that the industry is safe.   The truth is coming out bit by bit, in leaps and bounds on occasion and just like the fable of the Emperor's New Clothes, the illusion can only be maintained so long as the lie remains enormous and the people stay under mass hypnosis.  

  •  TEPCO prez resignation put in $ terms here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rja

    According to Reuters the timing of the resignation of TEPCO president Masataka Shimizu is all about the Benjamins, aka the profits and losses of the corporation.  

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co reported a $15 billion net loss on Friday to account for the disaster at its Fukushima nuclear plant, marking the biggest loss in Japan by a non-financial company and prompting the firm to warn its future was uncertain.

    The second paragraph reports the resignation:

    Much-criticized president, Masataka Shimizu, 66, resigned to take responsibility for the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986, making way for an insider, managing director Toshio Nishizawa, 60.

    And the rest of the article discusses the future viability of the utility company, including discussion of liability, government bailout, selling off assets, etc.  

    Clearly, the real cost of this disaster will never be known, and in human terms is beyond the ability of anyone to ever repay - but make no mistake: there will be a fee assessed and a monetary figure attached to each and every aspect of the damage.  And all of this in an effort to pretend that this is business as usual for mankind.  Capitalism insists that money is the answer to everything.  I wonder what price will be attached to the Pacific Ocean?  

  •  4956 workers with internal radiation exposure (5+ / 0-)

    The Mainichi Daily News
    (Mainichi Japan) May 21, 2011

    The government has discovered thousands of cases of workers at nuclear power plants outside Fukushima Prefecture suffering from internal exposure to radiation after they visited the prefecture, the head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.
    ...
    Nobuaki Terasaka, head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, told the House of Representatives Budget Committee on May 16 that there were a total of 4,956 cases of workers suffering from internal exposure to radiation at nuclear power plants in the country excluding the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, and 4,766 of them involved workers originally from Fukushima who had visited the prefecture after the nuclear crisis. Terasaka revealed the data in his response to a question from Mito Kakizawa, a lawmaker from Your Party.

    The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said it received the data from power companies across the country that measured the workers' internal exposure to radiation with "whole-body counters" and recorded levels of 1,500 counts per minute (cpm) or higher. In 1,193 cases, workers had internal exposure to radiation of more than 10,000 cpm. Those workers had apparently returned to their homes near the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant or had moved to other nuclear power plants from the Fukushima No. 1 and 2 nuclear power plants.


    Nuclear plant workers suffer internal radiation exposure after visiting Fukushima
  •  1,000 millisieverts per hour from debris by Unit 3 (6+ / 0-)

    XKCD lists 400 millisieverts per hour as a "Dose causing symptoms of radiation poisoning if received in a short time".

    Latest TEPCO Survey Map shows it between "Unit 3 R/B" and the Putzmeister (which they label as "Elephant 1"):

    Dropped rubbles
    airborne 40
    surface max 1000

    2011, May, 21 - Survey map of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station(on May,20) - 1.4MB PDF

    NHK WORLD

    Tokyo Electric Power Company on Friday found debris releasing 1,000 millisieverts per hour in an area south of the Number 3 reactor building. It is the highest level of radiation found in debris left outside.

    Materials emitting 900 millisieverts of radiation per hour have also been found in the plant's compound. These materials are believed to be part of the large amount of debris contaminated with radioactive substances that had been blown off in hydrogen explosions.
    ...
    Sunday, May 22, 2011 09:24 +0900 (JST)

    Radioactive debris hampers efforts to cool reactor

  •  nitrogen injection fails for 3 hours unnoticed @#1 (4+ / 0-)

    NHK reports briefly that

    On Saturday afternoon, a TEPCO worker found that the device to inject nitrogen, installed outside the reactor building, was not working. Injection later resumed using backup equipment.

    The injection was apparently not working for three hours.  

    It's likely the equipment can't be monitored except sporadically given the high level of radiation near the reactor.  

    It's somewhat encouraging to note that the utility company bothered to inform the press of this accident.  Not because I feel as though TEPCO is turning over a new leaf, but that incidents like this show that TEPCO doesn't trust the workers not to report directly to the press anymore.  

  •  Another Failure to Vent Timing story NHK (3+ / 0-)

    NHK has the manual and reports what we already have learned:  

    The manual NHK has obtained shows that the pressure inside the vessel was close to the level that requires a venting operation 13 hours before the explosion occurred.

    But the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, did not start the operation until 6 and a half hours before the explosion, and the operation was carried out just one and a half hours before the blast because it was hampered by high-level radioactivity.

    I'm not clear on the details, but the narrative has been emerging steadily now - the failure to vent was unorthodox and only partially explained by mechanical/electrical failures.  In the early days, TEPCO tried to blame Kan's photo op trip flying over the plant for the faulty timing, but that lie didn't hold.  Kan came back strong with clarification on that front.  

    speculation/rant:

    I'm sorry I can't provide all the links to earlier stories, but in general these are all clues to the bigger picture - the "event" began with the earthquake, TEPCO dithered, hoping to conceal the full nature of the disaster (earthquake, not tsunami ruined the plant therefor all plants were unsafe) , the pressure rose both inside the reactor AND from the president's administration to vent the radioactive steam until it was too late (and the vents failed to open, anyway in many if not all cases) and then the reactor buildings exploded (and the coverup began in earnest).  What's UNCLEAR is who ordered the dithering, just as it is unclear who is in charge of decision-making now.  I can tell you one thing, though: a fish rots from the head.  

    •  High-level radioactivity before venting? (7+ / 0-)

      If true then,

      the operation was carried out just one and a half hours before the blast because it was hampered by high-level radioactivity.

      shows that the release of radiation was before the hydrogen explosion.

      •  This is the crux of the whole matter! (5+ / 0-)

        The NYT has come closest so far into telling the whole story.  

        It's an important story that needs to read in full by all concerned, and raises myriad questions that are thus far unanswered by TEPCO and Kan's administration both.  In other words, it's a scandal and a half and likely will be the focus of whatever investigation, if any, ever occurs.  

        But this is only chapter one, regarding the #1 reactor unit.  

        here is one small excerpt, just to be nice...  MUST READ STORY

        Government officials have also suggested that one of the primary causes of the explosions was a several-hour delay in a decision to use the vents, as Tokyo Electric managers agonized over whether to resort to emergency measures that would allow a substantial amount of radioactive materials to escape into the air.

        But the release this week of company documents and interviews with experts provides the most comprehensive evidence yet that mechanical failures and design flaws in the venting system also contributed to delays. The documents paint a picture of increasing desperation at the plant in the early hours of the disaster, as workers who had finally gotten the go-ahead to vent realized that the system would not respond to their commands.

        All of this information is coming to light in the wake of a document dump, documents which have NOT been released to the public but are currently in the hands of various major media corporations like the gray lady herself.  It's unclear what the timing and motivation regarding the document release is.  There is a war going on about how to spin this.  I don't know who the players are or what the next move is.  

        But I can't stress this enough - it's quite possible the delay in venting was FIRST and FOREMOST, an attempt to cover up the damage from the EARTHQUAKE, the pre-tsumani damage that shows how unsafe ALL nuclear reactors are.  Yes, this is conspiracy theory territory here but a completely valid line of inquiry that needs independent investigation.  

        Another 64 dollar question regards why TEPCO officials were in such close operational discussions with government officials over the timing of venting in the first place.  Safety dictates that you vent when the pressure becomes too great not to vent, not when it's politically expedient.

        •  Wow. That is off the hook. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Magster, evergreen2

          Thank you so much for posting this, willisnewton. This issue of venting makes so much more sense in this context (I don't think it's conspiracy theory zone, as it seems to follow a plausible point of inquiry that has most certainly not been resolved, and frankly, barely even addressed).

        •  Conflicts over venting in US, also (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Just Bob, ricklewsive, rja

          Seems that conflict over how/when to vent is operative in the US.  From another of the articles linked to that one you have, there's this about the discussion in the US right now:

          "But a redesign of the venting system itself might also be necessary.

          The design is the result of conflicting schools of thought among United States nuclear officials, said Michael Friedlander, a former senior operator at several American nuclear power plants.

          Mr. Friedlander said, referring to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission: “You have the N.R.C. containment isolation guys who want containment closed, always, under every conceivable accident scenario, and then you’ve got the reactor safety guys who need containment to be vented under severe accident scenarios. It is a very controversial system.”

          Last paragraphs on the second page here:
          In Japan Reactor Failings, Danger Signs for the U.S.

      •  High radioactivity may have been caused by quake (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Just Bob, stunster, ricklewsive, rja

        Buried at the bottom of a Japan Times article is this explanation:

        The magnitude 9 earthquake on March 11 did not cause loss of cooling water at the Fukushima power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday, denying it played a role in the meltdown at reactor No. 1.

        "We have determined that water cooling the reactors was not lost between the time of the earthquake and tsunami," said Tepco official Junichi Matsumoto.

        Tokyo said it will submit a report to the government, attributing the meltdown to the tsunami and make it public Tuesday.

        The core of the No. 1 reactor melted within 16 hours of the quake, but high radiation levels inside on March 11 hinted the shaking damaged key facilities.

        TEPCO offers its standard denials, but the bolded section reports a "hint", almost certainly from an off-the-record TEPCO source, that probably comes closer to the truth: the high radiation that hampered venting operations probably was due to earthquake damage.
  •  To vent or not to vent (5+ / 0-)

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    The this story concerns a warning from an engineer at a US plant that comes close to the situation in Japan. He was ignored and left the nuclear field.

    The back story here, concerns the tension between different groups of design engineers. The reactor designers want to protect their reactor by venting. The containment  engineers never want to breach containment.

    The proposal is for passive venting by use of a rupture disk. No power is required. Once the disk is ruptured, you've lost containment. It's a one time good deal.

    The concept is tempting, but I don't like the idea of the weak point in the containment being nothing more than a rupture disk.

    Hmmm...

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Sun May 22, 2011 at 09:23:52 PM PDT

  •  TEPCO admits no plan or options re toxic H20 tanks (4+ / 0-)

    Kyodo News reports that TEPCO is announcing that in a few days they will be out of places to store the water they are running over the melted down, leaky reactors in an effort to cool the multiple puddles of un-contained nuclear fuel.

    They have no plan at present to mitigate this problem  

  •  Simulation says meltdown took only 4 hours (5+ / 0-)

    Mainichi Times reports the results of a computer simulaton here, thtat confirms what any nucler engineer will tell you - that without cooling, nuclear reactors melt down in a matter of hours.  

    Lies about "partial meltdowns" were just spin, and a blatant attempt by TEPCO to keep the real news off the front pages for as long as possible.  

  •  New Gunderson video... (4+ / 0-)

    http://vimeo.com/...

    discussing containments that don't contain at boiling water reactors and US containment breached, vents that don't vent, earthquake and tidal zones, and multi unit facilities.

    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

    by Magster on Mon May 23, 2011 at 08:12:26 AM PDT

  •  Is anybody home? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rja, Magster, Just Bob, mahakali overdrive

    New SPEEDI data posted by METI. Iodine 131 deposition and modeled infant organ doses going back to March 24-25. I picked it up a ex-skf, METI site is glacial.

    Modeled or not I am going to think that an infant organ dose of 500mSv, I-131, is something significant.

    I don't want to comment. Just floored. Will makhali overdrive pls offer some guidance on these #'s?

    •  Related (5+ / 0-)

      From NHK World:

      A group of parents of school children is calling for lowering the government-set radiation limit for children.

      The group is from Fukushima Prefecture, where a crippled nuclear power plant is posing the danger of nuclear contamination.

      On Monday, members of the group visited the education ministry and submitted a petition bearing more than 15,000 signatures.
      ...

      A ministry official admitted that the 20-millisievert yearly level is not necessarily an appropriate limit for children. The official told the group that the ministry wants to consider all possible measures to reduce radiation risk.

      Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

      by ricklewsive on Mon May 23, 2011 at 10:25:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The METI map shows 20mSv exceeded March 25 (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ricklewsive, rja, mahakali overdrive

        up and down the coast from Chiba to Sendai.
        That would be 20 mSv of infant organ dose which I know is different than an overall environmental 20 mSv.  Exactly how it is different and what this may mean I'd like to know.

        The data was collected in realtime and concealed until now which sounds a lot to me like a government waging war on its own people.

        Apparently someone is home. Thank you.

        •  So for short term radiation exposure (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rja, Just Bob, evergreen2

          the issue is a slightly increased cancer rate (arguably... it depends on the rate...) and more notably possible radiation sickness if the rate is high. 20 mSv isn't so bad for a one-time exposure... a chest x-ray is around 50 mSv and a one-time exposure.

          But for constant exposure, well, you can see cellular mutations that result in cancers. For I-131, it would most likely be thyroid, but this easily metastasizes to the brain, the lungs, the lymphatic system, and the stomach (I think I'm forgetting a place; I know this from being checked for metastasis). It can also cause some neurological damage if this kind of exposure happens in utero. Cesium has its own set of separate cancers that it might cause. So too do other nuclides. However, they all cause "genetic mutation" potentially.

          If the rates have been that high or higher for two and a half months, I'd worry in particular about children around 8-11, whose thyroids are most rapidly expanding as the go through pre-puberty (if I recall) and also, newborns. I'd probably be generally concerned, however. Particularly since this doesn't seem to be clearing up. If it continues, I do believe we'll see a steep rise in cancer there.

    •  Sorry, I'm here! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rja, Just Bob

      Well, yes, it's significant. The highest dose for infants (and a very high dose indeed) is under 100 mSv; in Tokyo, they didn't clear infants from drinking the water until it was under that level.

      I'm trying to find the SPEEDI link.

      If the exposure is continuous, and has been at around that rate since the incident, I believe there would be an increased risk of thyroid cancer or other thyroid-associated problems, like nodules which can cause permanent mental dysfunction in some children.

      If it's minimal, it still represents some risk to infants because their thyroids are rapidly undergoing cellular division and are more prone to anomaly's here. In utero can be especially bad as the fetus/embryo is vulnerable, although the mother's stomach provides some small barrier from the radiation.

      That rate is as high as the "raised rate" that Japan is letting some workers at the plant be exposed to. It's half as high as what can cause radiation sickness (1000 mSv) in some cases. If someone is half the body weight of an adult worker, presumably they would also be prone to potential radiation sickness at a dose of half this? I cannot recall if it goes by body weight or not, although I would think so.

      Do you have a link, oldhippie?

      Can anyone else comment? Mahw? Others?

      •  I'm the old guy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        evergreen2

        I don't do links. Don't feed me the primer. Been there, tried that.
        The maps are at the ex-skf blog. One of the maps is at nathguys's new diary.
        I spent a bunch of time yesterday googling "organ dose" in combination with "radiation" "iodine" and "thyroid". All I could get was it's a term of art for high priests of nuclear medicine, who all need editors and don't care if the riff-raff are left in darkness.
        Iodine 131 deposition over 100,00Bq/sq meter over an area larger than I can imagine being evac'ed, over 1,000,000Bq/sq meter in an area far bigger than was evac'ed
        The maps are back to March 24-25 when action might have done some good.

  •  Work to reinforce No.4 reactor building begins (5+ / 0-)

    From NHK World:

    Work began on Monday at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to reinforce the structure supporting the No.4 reactor's spent fuel pool.
    ...

    TEPCO's plan calls for building a new concrete structure under the pool to prevent its bottom from falling out. 30 steel columns will be set up on the second floor of the building to support the new structure.

    Workers entered the building on Monday. They shielded the heat exchanger to prevent high levels of radiation from affecting workers. They also removed walls that might hinder their activity, and erected a scaffold.

    TEPCO says it hopes to erect the columns next month and complete the reinforcement by the end of July.
    ...

    The water inside the pool remains hot, at around 80 degrees Celsius.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Mon May 23, 2011 at 10:06:57 AM PDT

    •  Seismic reinforcement or leak-proofing? (3+ / 0-)

      I hate to always be the sceptic or CT person here, but I do wonder if this concrete under-layer is actually an attempt to build a thicker bottom to the pool to prevent further leaking that is already taking  place?  Or perhaps to add more concrete for the melted down fuel to burrow itself into so that it does not melt through the bottom of the pool and fall into the basement.  

      We've learned previously that the basement is filled with five meters of toxic water.  No one has said if it is from the tsunami or the water they are dumping onto the building.  Nor have they adequately explained why the entire building went kablooey given that the reactor was off line at the time.  They floated a theory that hydrogen gas came through a pipe from #3 reactor building but that seems specious to me.  From the start, they have been cagey about the state of the spent fuel ponds.  

  •  SDP wants nuclear power plants scrapped by 2020 (5+ / 0-)

    I'm not sure where the SDP appears in the pecking order but this is encouraging. I'm sure the Old Boys Club is not happy to hear such heresy. From NHK World:

    The opposition Social Democratic Party is proposing that Japan should scrap all nuclear power plants by 2020.
    It says domestic electricity needs can be fully covered by natural energy sources by 2050.
    ...

    The party says some of the 54 reactors in Japan are at risk of being damaged by earthquakes and tsunami or have already exceeded their lifespan of 40 years. It says they will all have to be shut down by 2020.

    The SDP says the government should promote solar power, hydropower and other natural sources of energy through deregulation.

    The opposition party suggests that utility firms should separate generation and distribution as part of the deregulation measures.
    ...

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Mon May 23, 2011 at 10:30:49 AM PDT

  •  Toshiba rethinking the business outlook? (5+ / 0-)

    It's small, but it's a start. From NHK World:

    Toshiba Corporation will enter the wind-power generation business through the acquisition of a major South Korean wind turbine maker.
    ...

    The company has positioned the nuclear power generation business as one of the main pillars of its growth strategy, and is aiming for sales of 12 billion dollars in fiscal 2015.

    But the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is expected to cause countries around the world to review their nuclear-power policies, and Toshiba will likely have no choice but to review its business goals.

    Toshiba is also negotiating with a US maker of geothermal power generators, aiming at a technology alliance.

    Improvement is change. Not all change is improvement.

    by ricklewsive on Mon May 23, 2011 at 10:34:22 AM PDT

  •  TEPCO:Quake caused no major damage to reactors (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ricklewsive, mahakali overdrive, rja

    From NHK WORLD English:

    'Tokyo Electric Power Company has found from its data that the March 11th earthquake caused no safety abnormalities at the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant until the tsunami came."

    "TEPCO's data was intact from the time the quake hit until the tsunami arrived and destroyed all power sources. But afterward, data was only gathered at times when batteries and other power sources were used."

    The plant operator concluded the quake caused no major damage to the main piping and other parts of the reactors. TEPCO found no safety abnormalities at any of the reactors until the tsunami hit."

    TEPCO:Quake caused no major damage to reactors

    I am getting more confused by the day.

    •  Quake 'hurt reactors before tsunami' (4+ / 0-)

      Because, on the other hand, on May 16, Tepco said Quake 'hurt reactors before tsunami'

      The gist of that story was that, for the extremely high radiation readings discovered in the reactor building that night to have been generated simply by steam pressure causing pipe damage, it would have taken longer than the the seven hours that had passed since the tsunami.

      So, if anybody else gets confused by this contradictory jumble of announcements, this is the source of the cognitive dissonance.

      BTW that link is to the story Gilmore has at the top of this diary.

  •  Facility for tainted water almost full (5+ / 0-)

    And the other piece of great news today is (from Japan Times)
    Facility for tainted water almost full

    "A nuclear waste disposal facility being filled with radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant will soon be full, Tokyo Electric Power Co. officials said Monday.

    The operator, known as Tepco, plans to suspend the extraction operation until the middle of June once the facility becomes filled and until a new water treatment facility begins operating."

    I'm a little brain-dead at the moment, but the article goes on to describe the various things they plan to do with all the water they're having to move in and out of the reactors.

    "Meanwhile, the amount of contaminated water is expected to increase as the crippled reactors continue to leak and the rainy season sets in, possibly posing another challenge to stabilization work at the plant."

  •  Nuclear policy was once sold by Japan's media (6+ / 0-)

    The title doesn't really reflect the story accurately, but this is a really interesting read (from Japan Times):

    Nuclear policy was once sold by Japan's media

    This story tells how, after WWII, Japan was pretty nuclear-phobic, understandably. And then,

    "This sentiment reached boiling point on June 1, 1954, when the United States conducted an atomic test in the South Pacific and a Japanese fishing boat was irradiated. The news sparked the strongest anti-American anger since the war. The U.S. wanted to dispel this resentment and — according to declassified U.S. intelligence documents cited by TV Asahi — found an ally in Matsutaro Shoriki, the powerful head of the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper. Working with the CIA, Shoriki promoted the peaceful use of atomic energy as a means of "fighting fire with fire": Make the Japanese people tolerate America's nuclear deterrence policy by selling them on nuclear energy."

    The story goes on to tell how, via various industry-friendly tax structures and intertwining institutional alliances, things evolved until:

    "For the last 30 years, Japan has built an average of 1.5 nuclear reactors a year, the highest rate in the world, even though nuclear energy accounts for only 28 percent of the country's electricity needs. Though the government insists nuclear is central to Japan's economic well-being, what's important is the building of plants, not the production of energy. Construction benefits politicians and bureaucrats, while energy production mainly benefits power companies."

  •  Whitewash- VOA story touts safety while kids glow (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob, ovals49, mahakali overdrive, rja

    The headline reads Quick Action Prevented Serious Impact From Fukushima Accident and goes downhill from there.  (This at a time when these same authorities are raising the ceiling on allowable doses of fallout for schoolchildren...)

    Under the new guidelines, Japanese children can now be exposed to 20 times more radiation than was previously permissible.

    But nevermind that... the Voice of America story tells us the following:

    Director of Public Health and Environment at the World Health Organization (WHO), Maria Neira, says the decision by the Japanese authorities to evacuate people living outside a 20-kilometer radius of the stricken Fukushima Dalichi power plant prevented a catastrophic impact on public health.

    “That was a decision taken in the first 24 hours, which is exactly when you need to take it and from that day we were avoiding the worst scenario," said Neira.  "So, that was a very important decision and the one that is protecting the human health from those that had been evacuated.”  

    So this "news organization" want us to believe that people outside - yes - OUTSIDE - of the 20 km radius were evacuated in the first 24 hours?  This is a ridiculous attempt at a whitewash of the true facts.  Even if that is a typo - the rest of the story is just as full of false statements and assumptions...  read it if you need a good laugh before you cry.  

  •  Meltdown at all three (5+ / 0-)

    Bloomberg is reporting TEPCO confirming a meltdown at all three reactors, though without much in the way of useful details.

    http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations/org/FDTD.pdf From Dictatorship to Democracy, Guide to Non Violent Protests.

    by sdelear on Mon May 23, 2011 at 09:56:59 PM PDT

  •  France's IRSN says 70,000 should be evacuated (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ricklewsive, rja, Just Bob, boatsie, evergreen2

    http://www.news24.com/...

    Paris - Seventy thousand people living beyond the 20km no-go zone around Fukushima should be evacuated because of radioactivity deposited by the crippled nuclear plant, a watchdog said.

    Updating its assessment of the March 11 disaster, France's Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) highlighted an area northwest of the plant that lies beyond the 20km zone whose inhabitants have already been evacuated.

    Radioactivity levels in this area range from several hundred becquerels per square metre to thousands or even several million bequerels per square metre, the IRSN report, issued late on Monday, said.

    Around 70 000 people, including 9 500 children aged up to 14, live in the area, "the most contaminated territory outside the evacuation zone", the agency said.

    cont...

    The dose under discussion is low, however, and I don't know about the IRSN. Still, they are concerned. So worth reporting.

  •  Partial meltdowns confirmed in units 2 and 3 (7+ / 0-)

    http://www.seattlepi.com/...

    excerpted only..

    Meanwhile, the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., released a new analysis suggesting that fuel rods in the plant's Units 2 and 3 mostly melted during the early days of the crisis, which had been suspected but not confirmed.

    In addition, some chunks of the fuel appeared to have entered the outer containment chambers, causing some damage.

    That suggests that the severity of the accident was greater than officials have acknowledged. TEPCO announced similar findings last week about Unit 1.

    This was previously strongly suspected. Apparently it has now been confirmed.

    Fuel chunks in the outer containment chamber? I hadn't heard about this.

  •  Cesium found in breast milk (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ricklewsive, rja, Just Bob

    http://www.dnaindia.com/...

    Small amounts of radioactive substances have reportedly been detected in the breast milk of five women in Japan.

    Online newspaper Japan Today said that in samples taken from 41 women across five prefectures, the tests found cesium in the breast milk of four women in Tokyo, Fukushima and Ibaraki, and radioactive iodine in the breast milk of a woman in Fukushima.

    -cut-

    Safety levels of radioactive substances in breast milk have not been set by the Japanese government but readings -- 5.5 becquerels of iodine and up to 10.5 becquerels of cesium -- in all five cases were well below the safe levels -- 100 becquerels of radioactive iodine and 200 becquerels of cesium -- for tap water consumption by infants.

    cont...

  •  14 terabecq's of iodine/cesium found in ocean (6+ / 0-)

    http://www.arirang.co.kr/...

    Japan has belatedly admitted that reactors No. 2 and 3 at the Fukushima nuclear plant actually did have meltdowns following the earthquake in March.
    The statement on Tuesday by TEPCO, the operator of the power plant, means that all three active reactors at the plant suffered meltdowns.
    Some nuclear experts have long believed that was the case.
    In the meantime, 14 terabecquerels of radioactive cesium and iodine have been found in the sea near the plant, stoking fears that radiation could spread further in the Pacific Ocean.
    As the situation deteriorates, a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency that arrived in Japan on Monday has begun a 10-day investigation into the plant.

  •  Earthquake may have damaged unit 3 cooling system (6+ / 0-)

    According to the Asahi Shinbun (Japanese) the pipes in the cooling system of unit 3 may have been damaged by the earthquake, before the tsunami struck. From the article:

    According to TEPCO, after external power was lost due to the tsunami on March 11, at unit 3 another system [other than the Emergency Core Cooling System] cooled the reactor, but around noon on the 12th it stopped functioning. When they switched to using the high-pressure system after a drop in water level was detected the water level [in the reactor] rose for a time. Later, when battery power was used up, a valve needed to operate the system no longer could be opened or closed. The water level began dropping again and a major meltdown occurred.

    During the operation of the high-pressure system, the pressure had been around 75 bars inside the reactor pressure vessel but dropped to 10 bars in about 6 hours. Normally it would be difficult to explain such a rapid loss of pressure and TEPCO hypothesized that the pressure may have dropped because of damage somewhere in the pipes that circulate steam. The outcome was that the change in pressure roughly matched the level that was actually measured, so it is believed that steam may have leaked from the pipes.

    •  Anything to deny a meltdown... sigh (0+ / 0-)

      The timing of a pressure change at six hours also coincides with the timing of the meltdown, according to simulations.  Yes, a pipe could have burst letting steam out if the primary containment vessel but a molten fuel core could also have cAused the same drop in pressure if it burned a hole in the containment.  Given their track record of forthright communication (zero per cent) I don't think TEPCO's theories are the operative possibilities.

  •  new ROV up (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob, rja

    Reporting LIVE from Durban @COP17 ...

    by boatsie on Wed May 25, 2011 at 09:29:25 AM PDT

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