On a scale of Three Mile Island to Chernobyl, where are we now?

A very good stab at addressing the question by Rachel Maddow:

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A:We're well past TMI and rapidly headed toward Chernobyl.

Quite frankly, at this point I think we're screwed. If there is now too much radiation around the facilities at Daichi to allow workers to operate the equipment then there's no way they'll be able to get the spent fuel pools stabilized. Dropping water from helicopters is simply not going to cut it. The fire hose idea was a joke.

Without a huge amount of cooling water circulating in the spent fuel pool the fuel rods are going to continue to heat up and burn and melt. And every minute that passes without stabilization makes the situation more difficult to handle as the area around the pools becomes more and more contaminated.

So we are looking at a situation that is likely to continue to spew out radioactive particulates for *weeks*, if not *months*.

Mike.

One mistake in Rachel's video: at 7m she talks about the containment buildings being 'busted open'. What you can see in the pictures are not containment buildings.

By cairne.morane (not verified) on 17 Mar 2011 #permalink

Use warships and tugs or dozens of industrial helicopters and drop a chunk of a floating iceberg onto it. Screw it if it's crushed underneath.

The unfunny thing about this is that all I can think of are the tons of 50's-60's Japanese nuclear disaster monster movies coming true with stock photos of millions running away in terror.

one nitpick. Rachel says hydrogen isn't radioactive. not true. tritium is radioactive with a half life of about 12 years. score one for the pedant!

otherwise very nice description! Rachel rocks.