Fukushima Nuclear Plant Status
"The reactors in question were all shut down four days ago. The control rods have been inserted, and the cores have been salted with boron. It is physically impossible for them to sustain a fission reaction of any kind at this point, let alone cause another Chernobyl. Only the fission-byproduct decay heat remains, and it is fading fast as the short half-life material (which accounts for most of the radioactivity) performs its decay reactions and ceases to exist. At this point, the total heating power in the reactors is only about 0.3 percent of what it was when the reactors were operating... The Japanese engineers can certainly deal with that with water cooling. And even if they were to stop, there just isn’t enough heating power in the system anymore to generate a dangerous plume of radioactive materials, which is doubly impossible at this point since all the more active short half-life stuff is already gone."
-- Robert Zubrin
It has been appalling that the only people the press talks to are nuclear experts in the green movement who are paid to oppose nuclear power. They thus allude to vague chances of disaster that might have happened which have already been rendered impossible - and no one calls them on it. That is disgusting. This has been an invented crisis that did not ever come close to a serious consequence. Which is an amazing testament to the safety of nuclear power.
These plants were 40 year old Generation I plants that were already past their planned shutdown dates. They were hit with an earthquake 50 times more powerful than the design parameters were expected to withstand. Immediately thereafter, with no offsite electrical power, they were hit with a tsunami 30% taller than they were designed to withstand - wiping out all the backup diesel generator capacity. And still the cooling process was handled professionally and calmly. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the ranting hysteria driven press who reported the entire process as if the plants were about to become a nuclear bomb at any moment, something that was never a threat. An idiot's fear.
The modern Generation IV plants that are currently being built would have performed with even less residual physical damage from the earthquake and tsunami, which is the only real consequence of this so-called crisis.