Nuclear power is an important source of energy for the world and should not be abandoned as power source, (besides the problem was probably caused by a lack of electricity that shut down the water supply that cools the core), that having been said; there is a time when you fold your tents and admit this one is lost.
Let’s face it, the problem was not that the site was poorly conceived, it was built with the best specifications from information available at the time. The problem is once it is built and then broken, some things at a nuclear power plant cannot be repaired sufficiently in case of accidents, things like ruptures in the walls of the water containment vessel, (which is like a huge pressure cooker); imagine trying to fix a crack in that, would you trust the repair job?
As the steam continues to pollute the air and the leaking continues to poison the water both on and off shore we wait for Japan to make a decision on whether to seal the site or keep misleading the world by not outright lying but certainly not giving the whole truth.
The problem the people of Japan should be mostly concerned about now is the ground water leakage. The island nation has an extensive system of underground waterways that have been compromised and may be threatening the health of the people of both northern, southern Japan and its adjacent sea waters.
This for obvious reasons tends to effect children the most, for they do not only consume water but also play in it at beaches, fountains etc. The underground system also finds its way to the sea by various routes but this is insignificant to the pollution being done to the sea near the site.
Officials are not admitting it but it is my belief that the water containment system has been breached and there has been a meltdown. The site has been leaking highly radioactive material into the ocean and the underground water system since the beginning of the disaster.
If this is true (and I believe it is), the people have already ingested dosages of radiation high enough to cause serious illness, deformities in babies etc. This will stay in the water for years and in the land even longer but will have done all its initial damage in hours or days. This means the damage is done and the best thing is to stop the bleeding and do the right thing by coming clean with the people.
The best way to stop the pollution of the air is to wall it up and bury the site. The land is already lost 45 to 100 miles in all directions from the site, so kill the site and bury it. This will limit further damage to the air, ocean water and sea life.
This may seem like giving up but it is simply cutting your losses, doctors do it every day but it is called amputation. To save the whole, parts are discarded. This is what needs to be done in Japan, take the lessons you can learn from this disaster and keep it from getting worse. These are the facts as I see them;
1. There has been a meltdown of the fuel rods and the containment vessel has been breached.
2. The well water (underground water supply) is polluted.
3. The people who lived within twenty miles are most at risk and children.
4. The oceans and air will continue to suffer until the plant is killed.
5. Risk to air and sea on other shores is minimal at this time.
6. Minimizing damage would be to encase the site in concrete cement, entombing it forever or until knowledge is gained on how to safely proceed.
8.Hydrogen and steam explosions will rock the site until it is closed down.
Learning from this mistake is the important thing at this moment but the time to decide is now, the longer they wait the worse it could get.
Time to make this decision is running out for the rest of Japan, for the people unfortunate enough to be within 20 miles of the disaster and especially for most of the first responders time is just an extremely more limited commodity than it was a month ago.
My next article: “What makes nuclear cook” will explain in a simple way how these plants make energy.