Japanese news reports an explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant near Okuma, Japan.
Yesterday, fire tankers were pumping water into the reactor attempting to cool down the overheating nuclear reactor. Officials were also releasing steam into the atmosphere to lower pressure and temperatures inside the reactor’s core.
Those efforts appear to have failed. After the explosion this morning, white smoke was pouring from the nuclear reactor building. It is suspected that the white smoke is from burning concrete.
As explained by Stratfor analysts, inside the reactor core is nuclear fuel and control rods. It is the control rods that move and out of the fuel absorbing neutrons that produce heat energy. This energy is then converted usable power. A melt down occurs when fuel rods cease absorbing neutrons resulting in the increase of heat to the point of melting the fuel. This situation is still no threat as long as the reactor core remains in tact. Reactor cores are made to withstand temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit (melting point for nuclear fuel) and high pressure. Once the core brakes down, the containment building remains the only thing preventing nuclear radiation from escaping into the surrounding environment. If it is breached, nuclear radiation escapes into the surrounding environment.
The white smoke indicated explosion punctured holes in the containment building walls and roof. If this is in fact the case, the officials probably have lost the ability to prevent a nuclear disaster on the scale of 1986 Chernobyl disaster, according to Stratfor analysts.
Let’s pray this is not the case.