In the seemingly never-ending saga of nuclear reactor troubles in Fukushima, the Dai-ichi #2 reactor has suffered a coolant system failure. This failure may very well lead to yet another of the apparent partial core meltdowns as experienced in the #1 and #3 reactors.
Having three, side-by-side reactors all experiencing partial core meltdowns is unprecedented in the history of nuclear power. There’s little question that this scenario simply wasn’t written up in the operating manuals at TEPCO. Sure, you can foresee a sequence of failures in one reactor, but three is, well, a little hard to imagine.
Earlier today, we got word that a 3-to-5-metre tsunami was on its way. Thankfully, that didn’t come to pass, but it just goes to show that the situation here is volatile and unpredictable. It’s bad and could get worse before it gets better.
As with reactor #1 and #3, they’re pumping in sea water and boric acid into the reactor core in the hope of keeping it from experiencing a complete meltdown. These reactors do not feature “core catcher” technology, so in the event of a complete meltdown, it’s possible for the melted fuel to pool in the bottom of the reactor chamber and, quite literally, melt its way through all the containment walls.
Frankly, as hopeful as I tend to be, there are just too many possibilities for further problems to keep me happy. I’m starting to feel as though it’s time to pack up my toys and drag the family off to a new life in Canada.