Japan’s Fukushima Meltdowns (New Video): Much Still Unknown 10 Years Later via Fairewinds Energy Education

Maggie Gundersen, Editor

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As Fukushima Daichi Units One, Two, and Three were melting down, Nippon TV, the largest and flagship station of the Nippon Television Network System, dispatched television film crews to monitor the events as they unfolded. No one in the world has ever captured the core melting down, but Nippon TV captured two meltdown-induced explosions on film.

Now, Nippon TV has just released a new digital copy of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Unit One and Unit Three explosions (see video below).

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At Fairewinds, we congratulate Nippon for the excellent work they did to create the original initial explosion footage in 2011 and on this essential remastered copy just completed in 2021. Nippon’s newly released digital footage is important historically and technically.

That said, the new video footage and Nippon’s ensuing interview with Tokyo Electric Company (TEPCO), the atomic power corporation that owns all six Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plants, contain three glaring technical errors.  

  • First, Fairewinds continues to have significant concerns about TEPCO’s technical interpretations of these explosions’ cause. 
  • Second, TEPCO is blaming newly uncovered lethal radioactivity sitting at the top of the containment structure on the supersonic shockwave.
  • Third, TEPCO does not discuss that there likely was a second explosion that occurred 3 seconds after the first.

Understanding the mechanics behind explosions is critical to understanding what happened at Fukushima and what such a danger means to nuclear power anywhere in the world.

  1. There are two explosion methods: a deflagration shock wave, which happened at Fukushima Unit One and Three Mile Island in Middletown, Pennsylvania, in the United States. While still destructive, a deflagration shockwave travels at subsonic speeds (less than 760 miles an hour, the speed of sound). 
  2. The second type of explosion is called a detonation shockwave. It is much more destructive because it travels at supersonic speeds.In 2011, with Geoff Sutton’s assistance from the United Kingdom, Fairewinds clearly showed that the Unit Three explosion was the more destructive detonation shockwave while Unit One’s was a deflagration.
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Does it matter whether or not an explosion at Fukushima was a detonation or a deflagration? Absolutely! Hydrogen gas at room (atmospheric) pressure cannot create a supersonic shockwave. Fairewinds’s 2011 findings that a detonation shockwave occurred should have changed the scientific and nuclear engineering analyses of such events worldwide.

No nuclear power radioactive release containment system built anywhere in the world will withstand a detonation shockwave!

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