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At no time has TEPCO ever reported a temperature higher than ~750 degrees F (400C), and it has more typically reported primary containment temperatures barely one third that high.
With steel being an excellent conductor of heat, it is just simply not possible for melting to occur and for the reported temperatures to have been that low. Either something as basic as temperature monitoring is out of the realm of the possible for TEPCO's engineers (with troubling implications for where we really are in this unfolding disaster), or TEPCO has been falsifying the temperature data that it has been releasing.
This, too, has troubling implications, for it means that the rest of the data - including the radiation readings and isotopes discovered - are all suspect, too. Neither bodes well, so pick your poison.
TOKYO, May 13 (Xinhua) -- A radioactive substance of up to 170,000 becquerels per kilogram was detected in incinerator ashes at a sewage plant in Koto Ward, east Tokyo, in late March, the Kyodo News Agency quoted government sources as saying Friday.
The highly-contaminated ashes were discovered following the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant which escalated through March as a hydrogen explosion exacerbated the disaster and highly radioactive water was both discharged and found to be freely flowing into the Pacific Ocean.
The ashes have since been recycled into materials used for construction, such as cement, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
In addition, the sources revealed that also in late March a radioactive substance, which may or may not have been cesium, measuring 100,000-140,000 becquerels per kg, was found in two other separate sewage facilities in the Itabashi and Ota areas of Tokyo.
Separately on Friday, the local government of Maebashi, the capital city of Gunma Prefecture, said radioactive cesium of 41,000 becquerels per kg was detected in incinerator ashes collected Monday at a water sanitation facility.
This is outrageous and shocking news. First, because of the levels, and second, because these things were detected in "late March" and then hidden from the public to such an extent that the screaming hot ashes were allowed to be recycled into and used for construction materials. Now that's a cover-up.
A becquerel is one decay per second. So if you had a Geiger counter up against a radiation source that was emitting just two becquerels, you'd hear a reasonably steady tick-tick-tick-tick sound. By one hundred becquerels, you would be hard-pressed to hear the ticks as separate events - the sound would be a blurred staccato. By one thousand becquerels, it's just a squeal, and there's no point in listening anymore, as your ears are not helpful in trying to gauge the level of radiation.
Now look back at those radiation readings in the hundreds of thousands per kg. They are incredibly hot. An average brick is in the vicinity of a kilogram, so think of holding one in your hands while it emits 170,000 radioactive decays per second.
Okay, so this is a very, very hot reading.
And here's where those readings were detected: