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Behind the Explosion at Fukushima Unit No. 3

March 15, 2011 ·

The photos from Fukushima illustrate a dire situation.

This is a satellite photo taken yesterday shortly after the hydrogen explosion occurred at the Fukushima Unit No. 3 nuclear power plant.

The photo indicates that the explosion caused severe damage to the entire reactor building and destroyed all of the the equipment at the top of the reactor, such as cranes. 

The spent fuel pool is several stories above ground. It is right next to the reactor and is exposed to the open sky. Steam may be billowing out from the spent fuel pool, which suggests boiling and evaporation. If the pool wall or support has been damaged by the earthquake or the explosion, then water drainage is a very serious concern. If the water drops exposing the spent fuel, radiation doses will be life-threatening on the reactor site. Moreover, if exposed to the air for several hours, the zirconium cladding encasing the spent uranium fuel will catch fire -- releasing potentially enormous amounts of long-lived radioactive materials.

The photo clearly illustrates that they do not have the situation under control.