UPDATE 3-17-11 FROM THE NUCLEAR ENERGY INSTITUTE HERE. The news is certainly not good, but it does come from people who actually understand nuclear power reactors. It is remarkably less bombastic than what you’ll get from the MSM. This is to-date the most reliable source I’ve located. I will post updates as I can, but you can get the most recent from the link above.
UPDATE AS OF 10:20 P.M. EDT, THURSDAY, MARCH 17:
TEPCO continues to install cables, transformers and distribution equipment to restore offsite grid power to Fukushima Daiichi reactors 1 and 2. Reactor 1 has now been included in the power restoration plan.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano said in a recent conference that plans are in place to use 30 water cannon trucks and fire engines to spray water into the reactor 3 spent fuel pool, and TEPCO is discussing whether to do the same for the reactor 1 spent fuel pool. The spraying work is to be done in the next few hours, after the cable work is completed.
UPDATE AS OF 5:45 P.M. EDT, THURSDAY, MARCH 17
Status of Fukushima plants
In Japan, engineers have laid a power line that can connect reactor 2 of the Daiichi facility to the off-site power grid, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported. Workers are working to reconnect the power to reactor 2 after they complete spraying water into the reactor 3 complex to provide additional cooling to the used fuel pool. Reconnecting to the power grid is expected to enhance efforts to prevent further damage at the plant.
Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported on Thursday that the backup diesel generator for reactor 6 is working and supplying electricity to reactors 5 and 6. TEPCO is preparing to add water to the storage pools that house used nuclear fuel rods at those two reactors.
UPDATE AS OF 1:30 P.M. EDT, THURSDAY, MARCH 17:
Radiation readings at the Fukushima Daiichi site boundary were measured today at a lower level, between 2 and 3 millirem per hour
“Access problems at the site have delayed connection of a temporary cable to restore off-site electricity.” Most likely due to figuring out how to install the line without exposing people to dangerous levels of radioactivity. As I said, not pretty, but still, not apocalyptic.
UPDATE: WSJ reports a slightly improved situation. Officials say they’ve regained some control of northeast Japan's troubled nuclear power plant as of Tuesday afternoon, Tokyo time.
If you’re concerned about the situation at the Fukushima nuclear site – and who isn’t, with the type of uninformed coverage it’s getting in the media – here is an excellent and, I believe, accurate information source.
It includes Dr Josef Oehmen’s, a research scientist at MIT, immanently understandable summary of the situation. It’s long, but easy to follow.
The site also provides updates as they become available. As always, better to light a candle than curse the darkness.