The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is reporting that one, or more, of the atomic reactors at Fukushima Daiichi which have suffered core meltdowns have actually experienced something even worse -- melt-through of multiple layers of steel (reactor pressure vessel and primary containment structure), so that molten nuclear fuel is now onto the "dry earth floor" beneath. ABC quotes senior adviser to the Japanese government Goshi Hosono (in translation): "At present there is damage to the bottom of the reactor container, we call this ‘core melting’ in English. Part of the nuclear fuel has fallen onto the dry earth floor and it's possible that it's still lodged there." The Random House Dictionary defines "China syndrome" as "a hypothetical nuclear-reactor accident in which the fuel would melt through the floor of the containment structure and burrow into the earth." If the above report is correct, the question becomes, are the desperate attempts to cool the molten nuclear fuel trying to prevent it from burrowing deeper into the ground, if it has already melted through reactor pressure vessel, primary containment, and presumably concrete foundations? Breaches of containment would create pathways for catastrophic radioactivity releases into the environment.
Amazing footage - but don't believe the "no danger to public" message. We've already seen what happens when nuclear plants are inundated (see Fukushima). A 1993 flood at Nebraska's Cooper atomic reactor (an identical twin to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 -- a GE BWR Mark 1), also on the Missouri River, caught plant operators flat-footed, and came precariously close to disabling safety significant systems, as well as spreading radioactive contamination. Severe weather, including floods, due to climate destabilization will make nuclear power ever more unsafe, unreliable, and untenable, as summarized in a Beyond Nuclear backgrounder.
A fire at Fort Calhoun, reported by John Sullivan at ProPublica, temporarily disrupted cooling in the plant's high-level radioactive waste storage pool. In just 88 hours without cooling water circulation, Fort Calhoun's storage pool would boil dry, and the high-level radioactive waste would catch on fire.
From the Coalition for Green Capital: "Thanks to the leadership of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and leaders in the state legislature, the Connecticut General Assembly passed new energy legislation that puts Connecticut at the forefront of state efforts to convert to a clean energy economy. Among other elements, this bill reconstitutes Connecticut’s existing Clean Energy Fund to form the nation’s first full-scale “Green Bank”, which will enable the state to leverage limited state resources as well as private capital to spur deployment of clean energy and energy efficiency projects."
Fresno County, CA officials have rejected plans for up to two new nuclear reactors. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on June 7 to withhold a letter of interest for the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group. The NEG was backed by French energy corporation, Areva which also just announced a retreat from new nuclear construction in the U.S. Almost all of Areva's nuclear expansion plans in the US have fallen apart over the last several years.
The Guardian reports that "molten nuclear fuel in three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant is likely to have burned through pressure vessels, not just the cores, Japan has said in a report in which it also acknowledges it was unprepared for an accident of the severity of Fukushima. It is the first time Japanese authorities have admitted the possibility that the fuel suffered "melt-through" – a more serious scenario than a core meltdown.