Japan’s Damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor Falling into Ocean-Mostly Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Scientists in Japan have declared a state of emergency as a badly damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor began falling into the ocean.
There’s no truth to reports that Japan has declared a state of emergency as the badly damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor began sliding into the ocean.
But those false rumors were sparked by factual news reports about high radiation levels detected at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor in February 2017. Still, there weren’t any credible reports about Fukushima reactors falling into the ocean, or Japanese scientists on the verge of declaring a state of emergency.
First, some background. An international nuclear incident unfolded in 2011 when an earthquake and subsequent tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling capabilities of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors, leading to high levels of radioactive discharge into the ocean over a six-day period. Recent research suggests Fukushima radiation continued to seep into the Pacific Ocean over the five years that followed the nuclear incident.
Then, in February 2017, the Japanese publication Sankei News reported that the highest radiation levels since the 2011 nuclear incident had been detected at the Fukushima reactor, and that scientists believed that it was the result of a two-meter whole in metal grating beneath a pressure vessel in the reactor’s primary containment vessel.
That report was picked up by RT, which accurately reported the story under the headline, “Record High Fatal Radiation Levels, Hole in Reactor Detected at Crippled Fukushima Nuclear Facility.”
And from there, untrustworthy news sites combined those credible reports with claims that the Fukushima nuclear reactor was falling into the ocean — which aren’t true. One such story appeared at the website YourNewsWire.com, which filed a report under the headline, “Japan Declare Crisis As Fukushima Reactor Begins Falling Into Ocean.”
A quick read of that report, however, reveals that the copy does not match the headline. There’s nothing in the story to support claims that the Fukushima nuclear was, in fact, falling into the ocean, or that Japanese officials were on the verge of declaring a state of emergency.
And, while the situation at the Fukushima nuclear reactor has been alarming since 2011 — the Japanese Times outlined a far more measured response to the elevated radiation levels there involving use of a robot to better assess damage to the grate — and making no mention of the reactor sliding into the ocean or an imminent state of emergency:
The discovery spells difficulty of removing the fuel debris to decommission at the plant. The government and Tepco hope to locate the fuel and start removing it in 2021.
In the coming weeks, the utility plans to deploy a remote-controlled robot to check conditions inside the containment vessel, but the utility is likely to have to change its plan.
For one thing, it will have to reconsider the route the robot takes into the interior because of the hole in the grating.
Also, given the extraordinary level of radiation, the robot would only be able to operate for less than two hours before it is destroyed.
That is because it is designed to withstand exposure of up to 1,000 sieverts. Based on the calculation of 73 sieverts per hour, the robot could run for more than 10 hours, but 530 sieverts per hour means it would be rendered inoperable in less than two hours.
Tepco has been probing reactor 2’s containment vessel since last week.
On Monday, it found a black mass deposited on the grating directly under the pressure vessel. The images, captured using a camera attached to a telescopic arm the same day, showed part of the grating was missing. Further analysis found the 2-meter hole in an area beyond the missing section on the structure.
If the deposits are confirmed to be melted fuel, it would be the first time the utility has found any of it at the three reactors that suffered core meltdowns.
So, while it’s true that the highest radiation levels were detected at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor in February 2017, reports that the Fukushima reactor is sliding into the ocean are false. That’s why we’re calling this one “mostly fiction.”