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BS: Japan Nuclear plant disaster, 2011

Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Mar 11 - 04:30 PM
Charley Noble 26 Mar 11 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,mg 26 Mar 11 - 02:54 PM
gnu 26 Mar 11 - 02:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Mar 11 - 01:44 PM
Charley Noble 26 Mar 11 - 01:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Mar 11 - 01:31 PM
Donuel 26 Mar 11 - 11:41 AM
gnu 26 Mar 11 - 11:27 AM
Charley Noble 26 Mar 11 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 26 Mar 11 - 07:58 AM
gnu 26 Mar 11 - 07:22 AM
Charley Noble 25 Mar 11 - 09:46 PM
gnu 25 Mar 11 - 07:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Mar 11 - 05:51 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Mar 11 - 05:17 PM
Charley Noble 25 Mar 11 - 03:37 PM
GUEST,mg 25 Mar 11 - 03:31 PM
gnu 25 Mar 11 - 03:19 PM
Charley Noble 25 Mar 11 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,mg 25 Mar 11 - 02:15 PM
JHW 25 Mar 11 - 02:14 PM
gnu 25 Mar 11 - 01:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Mar 11 - 01:33 PM
gnu 25 Mar 11 - 01:10 PM
Charley Noble 25 Mar 11 - 08:37 AM
Charley Noble 25 Mar 11 - 08:11 AM
gnu 25 Mar 11 - 06:47 AM
gnu 25 Mar 11 - 06:33 AM
Charley Noble 24 Mar 11 - 08:40 PM
GUEST,mg 24 Mar 11 - 06:27 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Mar 11 - 05:58 PM
GUEST,mg 24 Mar 11 - 04:47 PM
gnu 24 Mar 11 - 04:10 PM
gnu 24 Mar 11 - 03:27 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Mar 11 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,mg 24 Mar 11 - 02:28 PM
gnu 24 Mar 11 - 02:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Mar 11 - 01:29 PM
Charley Noble 24 Mar 11 - 11:56 AM
gnu 24 Mar 11 - 11:47 AM
gnu 24 Mar 11 - 11:28 AM
Donuel 24 Mar 11 - 11:19 AM
gnu 24 Mar 11 - 11:19 AM
Donuel 24 Mar 11 - 11:18 AM
SINSULL 24 Mar 11 - 11:11 AM
Donuel 24 Mar 11 - 10:18 AM
SINSULL 24 Mar 11 - 09:13 AM
Charley Noble 24 Mar 11 - 07:59 AM
Charley Noble 24 Mar 11 - 07:42 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 04:30 PM

Bad point.
Why use specifications for areas not on the tectonic plate boundaries involved?
That doesn't make sense. Very little would be constructed anywhere if that were done.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 03:46 PM

mg-

Good point. The earthquake record worldwide was there to consider, but they evidently went with the more regional record.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 02:54 PM

The modern engineers only had to look at recent quakes, like the 9.2 in Alaska in 1964, and other pretty darn big ones in the ring of fire...mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: gnu
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 02:28 PM

Very interesting Q.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 01:44 PM

Although literary culture in Japan was at a high level over 1000 years ago (the first novel was written there in the 11th century, writers, poets and artists were held in high regard and historical and genealogic records have been preserved), some modern Japanese may regard parts of the histories as myth, much as we are skeptical of much of our more fragmentary western writings of that period.

I wonder that this may have contributed to historical data from that period being dismissed by modern engineers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 01:38 PM

Donuel-

I certainly join you in grieving for the Japanese who will have to live with the evil legacy of these heavily damaged reactors and the radioactive waste that has gone up into the air and out into the bay.

And there will come a time for the praises and the blame, for those who acted heroically to contain the contain the damage and for those who made major mistakes in judgment and actions.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 01:31 PM

Historical data ignored.
The government ignored the history of previous quakes and tsunamis in the Tohoku region (including Fukushima Prefecture) and approved the construction of the plants.

In 869, July 13, the Jogan earthquake caused extensive damage in the region, and generated waves that left sand deposits as much as 2 kilometers (1,2 miles) inland. Descriptions in history texts suggest seismic thrust of magnitude c. 8.6.

Eastern and western Japan sit on different tectonic plates, with the Tohoku region sitting near the edge of a third. Experts calculated that an event the size of the one that hit in 869 were prone to take place every 800 to 1000 years.

Prof. Y. Suzuki, Research Center for Seismology, Volcanology and Disaster Mitigation, Nagoya Univ., told the Japan Times that safety measures were not sufficient. In 2005, extensive research determined that large tsunami could be generated of the tohuku coast; the government was in a position to take immediate action and ensure the safety of the nuclear power plants in Fukushima Prefesture. Warnings were based on historic fact as well as scientific date, Suzuki said.

So far, TEPCO has refused to admit that its precautions fell short. Fukushima plants 1 (Daiichi) and 2 (Daini) were designed to resist a 5.5 meter wave based on standards set by Japan Society for Civil Engineers. The utility said it simply didn't anticipate the 10-meter-plus tsunami. It claimed historical data were considered.

Other utilities-
Hokkaido Electric Power Co. announced that it will beef up tsunami measures at its Tomari nuclear plant, where current provisions are for a 9.8 meter wave. They had considerated that the 10 meter above sea level position would protect Tomari.

Experts point to the Hamaoka nuclear plant as being at the greatest risk, since it sits atop an area where a fourth plate meets Honshu's two main plates. A quake likely to exceed magnitude 8.0 is expected there. A major quake is expected every 150 years thers, the last, magnitude 8.4, hit in 1854.

CHIBU Electric Power revealed plans for a 12-meter wall around rhe Hamaoka complex. Damage there would be a "fatal blow" to Japan, said Kobe Univ. Prof. Ishibashi.

Experts point out that all plants need overhaul.

Above extracted from Japan Times, March 27, 2011, "Signs of Disaster Were There to See," Jun Hongo, staff writer.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Donuel
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 11:41 AM

Once I saw reactor 3 explode 4 or 5 thousand feet into the air I needed no guesswork as to the viability of reactor containment vessel #3. I wrote at the time it looked like a core breach is either certain or imminent.

Let me relate what happened at a similar reactor here in the US that is known as Yankee.

The NRC told the owners of the Mark 4 boiling water reactor that it was time to inspect the head/top of reactor fitting and that a shut down should be scheduled. The company decided that the cost of going offline for the weeks it would take to inspect the reactor head was prohibitive. They kept it online.

After another year had passed and it reached the time new fuel had to be loaded anyway the reactor was shut down and an inspection of the head was done.

The steel of the reactor is about 22cm thick but when they finally took a look, they found a hole the size of a pinapple and corrosion that had reduced the thickness of the containment vessel at the juncture to the head to be LESS THAN 1 cm.

btw theweight and number of spent fuel rods in water tanks exceeds all the fuel at Fukushima reactors and fuel ponds.


Back to Fukushima: corrosion of the vessel and head assembly is probably extensive, then they put corrosive sea water in them.

What do you think happened? I think that whatever was hanging on to thread finally broke. Since reactor 3 has between 5% to 10% plutonium in the containment vessel, this most deadly substance on Earth is now leaking into the sea, air and every living thing it touches or enters.


Al that is different this week is that they have admitted how "Grave and Serious" this disaster has become. It is no longer looming, it is here and it is here forever.
If there was ever a place they could safely store spent fuel it would have been done. There isn't. Whereever you throw this stuff away,, it is not away. Short of dropping it down a hole 25 niles deep into the mantle of the earth and pluggin the hole with 5 miles of boron and lead, there is no such thing as throwing it away.

and that is a fact.


----------------------------------------------------------------------
below is opinion only.

I weep not merely for the people who live in Japan for for all living things that are downwind or in the Japanese current.
Japanese people with a deep eviormental conscience feel that Earth has expressed its revenge.
The earth casting revenge upon Japan for a myriad of enviormental poisonings, wholesale murder of porpoise and whales and the evils of imperial war crimes, is a theme that is mentioned 8 times in the 1992 Godzilla vs. Mothra monster movie.
Adults in Japan grew up with a national legend of radioactivity accidents casting acts of revenge upon Japan by Earth itself.

Right or wrong the national psychological guilt over enviormetal poisoning with mecury and radiation in Japan is undeserved. I believe the United Sates of America bears more than half the respondsibility for crippling Japan with Mark 4 reactors.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: gnu
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 11:27 AM

Thanks Charley... here's a snip from Lochbaum...

"But the real question you asked was how do you anticipate the next disaster and take steps to prevent it. And that's a challenge. It's easy to do, the difficult part, if it's done, and the harder challenge is then to get somebody to pay for the fixes for a problem that hasn't occurred.

It would be relatively easy now to get owners to pay for fixes for batteries and spent fuel maintenance and so on, that were known in advance, but nobody wanted to pay for them. This country is very good at closing the barn door, once it's opened, but not until then.

So, it's very difficult when you're dealing with low probability, high consequence events to pay for things except after the fact. I think that's true not only for the nuclear industry, but the airlines and space travel and so on. It's just a byproduct of high technology."


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 10:30 AM

Here's what I can harvest this morning focused on volatile releases from melted nuclear fuel at the Fukushima 1 nuclear complex. The prognosis looks dreadful for the plant site itself but not a dire as Chernobyl for the downwind areas:

Union of Concerned Scientists teleconference transcript Friday, March 25

"REPORTER:

I'm seeing these sort of ominous reports from the Japanese Prime Minister, you know, warning of a breach in the reactor vessel of Unit 3, can you give us some kind of context to understand why, you know, how risky that is and just give me some sense of, you know, we've been hearing about this for weeks now and I actually, I mean, just give me a sense of what you guys know about this breach and what it could mean.

MR. LOCHBAUM: This is Dave Lochbaum, I'll start and then Ed can supplement. First of all, we're hearing reports of a reactor vessel breach on Unit 3, but the data is inconclusive as to whether that's actually what's going on. There could be other factors that could cause the reactor vessel integrity to be lost, for example, one of the relief valves could have stuck open. If it is, indeed, a reactor vessel breach, the consequences, or the most likely reason for that would be that the core has been damaged to the point of melting. Some of the molten mass fell down to the bottom of the reactor vessel and caused a hole, burned a hole or created a hole in the bottom of the reactor vessel, which became the breach. If that's the case, it's bad, because first of all, it indicates that the level of fuel damage went beyond blistering and cracking of the fuel rods, to the point of melting of fuel, which is a more severe form of fuel damage. And it was followed by a loss of integrity of the reactor vessel. If the reactor vessel remains intact, you always have the option or the ability to put water back into it to cool the fuel, even if it's damaged. If the reactor vessel has been breached, you face challenges in putting enough water in it and keeping the water in it rather than having it just drain back out through a hole in the bottom.

In the emergency procedures world, if you do lose the integrity of the reactor vessel, the option is to fill up the entire containment above the point where the breach has occurred so that you try to still cover up the fuel, even if the fuel has been relocated, part of the fuel may have relocated, and the reactor vessel integrity has been lost. So, you still have methods to deal with that, if that were to occur, but they're obviously much more severe than if you keep the reactor vessel intact and allow the fuel to remain where it was placed originally. Ed, is there anything to add to that?

DR. LYMAN: Just that, you know, until the core starts to degrade, as I mentioned at the beginning, a relatively small amount of radioactivity is actually released to the atmosphere, or to the reactor vessel and the coolant, and as the core starts to degrade, much higher quantities can be released. So, it's already been reported that the core has been exposed up to halfway for many days, I think that the expectation is that at least the part that was above the water line experienced extensive damage, and so the reactor vessel itself now probably might have up to, I don't know, 30 or 40 percent of some of the more volatile radionuclides like iodine and cesium in the vessel, then if the core melts through the bottom of the reactor vessel, and falls on the floor of the containment, it then can react to the concrete basement and that can generate additional gasses which will help sweep some of that material up and potentially out through a breach.

So, when all's said and done, something like 70 or 80 percent of the iodine, cesium and the fuel could actually be released to the containment atmosphere, and if the containment is breached, that's available for release. So, as bad as the releases have been so far, they could increase by several fold, ultimately, if this proceeds any further.

(SNIP)

REPORTER: What would be the worst case scenario if we have a reactor breach, and, you know, all this plutonium should just go to the sea of the ocean because it affects the sea life and the atmosphere. So, what can we impose -- what can we see as the worst?

DR. LYMAN: This is Ed Lyman.
I mean, worst case meaning that there's a breach of the reactor vessel, the core falls into the containment, it spreads out across the floor, and this would require the containment floor to be completely dry, which I'm not sure that would be the case, but if it were completely dry, it would spread out to the corners of the containment, or it could actually contact the containment liner and melt through the liner, and then you have a pathway directly from the core material to the environment.

So, then it depends on essentially how much of the radioactive isotopes that were contained in the core enter the atmosphere of the containment and then how much leak out from the containment.

There are numerous modeling and simulations over the years show that a high fraction of the isotopes like cesium and iodine would be released from the core material in this situation, and enter the atmosphere in the containment. There are a range of other isotopes, radioactive barium, tellurium, and strontium, all that have varying properties, and would be released to varying extents less than 100 percent. It could be on the order of five, ten, 20 percent, it depends.

Then there are the lowest volatile elements that include plutonium and certain lanthanides, and certain other actinides, like americium and uranium. Uranium actually under certain conditions could be released on the order of one to 10 percent, that was demonstrated in experiments over the last ten years, plutonium and the lowest volatile isotopes would be less than one percent, probably.

The ultimate consequences could exceed those at Chernobyl, because of the total inventory of radioactive material in the three reactors and potentially three spent fuel pools is many times what was in the core at Chernobyl. But the key is how much, what are the released fractions, and that's still highly uncertain.

But in this case, which is essentially a late containment failure, very late, weeks after the reactors originally scrammed, analyses typically show that there would be some -- well, first of all there's radioactive decay, like I said at the beginning, iodine, some other short list isotopes, significantly reduced, and to the extent that other parts of the reactor cooler, you might have played out, but it really has to do with when the timing of the containment failure in relation to the vessel breach.

So, if the vessel breaches and the containment failure is still delayed significantly, then you have more played out and less environmental release."

Much of this is still guesswork but at least it's guesswork by professionally trained nuclear engineers and scientists.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 07:58 AM

BBC's latest:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12869184


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: gnu
Date: 26 Mar 11 - 07:22 AM

NHK... didn't quite catch the story... 1.5m deep water in a turbine building (I am not be positive) laced with high levels of iodine. This may be where the iodine found in the ocean 330m south of the plant is coming from. Electrical cables have to be laid to the turbine buildings.

Sketchy, but there it is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 09:46 PM

Getting back to my worst case scenario of Unit 3 exploding and triggering Units 1, 2, and 4 in a grander conflagration, everyone should know I'm going well beyond my zone of confidence. I fully expect that Units 1, 2, and 3 are already partially melted down and may complete the process to full meltdown. That will be messy enough locally. But what might happen next is not that clear. Sure, I can envision the melted fuel rods eating their way through the reactor vessel as they did at Three Mile Island and pooling in the bottom on the reactor, mixed with whatever they came in contact with. And, yes, they could eventually get into the ground water and the nearby cove and decimate anything living there. But I'm uncertain if the melted fuel would actually burn and create a deadly plume that would threaten large areas of Japan. Something like that happened at Chernobyl but it was a byproduct of a Hydrogen explosion igniting the graphite surrounding the fuel rods. We don't have the graphite at Fukushima.

Anyone else have any clues what might happen next?

I've already sent a message to the Union of Concerned Scientists. I don't know if they take weekends off.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: gnu
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 07:34 PM

MOX... isn't that what the French are pushing for sale these days?


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 05:51 PM

30 percent of companies listed on the stock exchanges reported damage from the quake and tsunami.
Of these, 33% reported building damage, 30% are unable to do business and 13% reported damage to utilities and/or infrastructure.
Limited production (Lexus and Prius) restarted at Toyota.
Partial restart on lithium batteries.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 05:17 PM

NY Times, March 25-
Chinese engineers are building pebble-bed reactors that use fuel spheres ('pebbles'). Amassing these pebbles inside the reactor creates nuclear fission, which heats a gas. The gas in turn heats water into steam, driving a turbine. The reactor core consists of 420,000 of these fuel spheres, and every 15 seconds one is removed and replaced by another one. Experts say these reactors offer a safer nuclear alternative.
Each fuel sphere contains c. 12,000 uranium-laden 'microspheres'.
A schematic diagram of the reactor is shown in the NY Times article.
Graphite bricks around the core act as a reflector to enhance the reaction. Helium gas passes between the spheres, absorbing their heat.
Heat exchanger- Helium exiting the reactor goes into a cylinder with pipes of hot gas and pipes of water. The gas heats the water into steam that is sent to a turbine, producing electricity. The helium is cooled by the water and recirculated.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/25/business/energyy-environment/20110325-chinanuke.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 03:37 PM

gnu-

It would be a combination of a hydrogen explosion and burning of the radioactive fuel. The fuel rod cladding burns first but I believe the fuel itself will burn if it reaches a high enough temperature.

Here's what CNN says about Unit 3:

"That reactor is of particular concern, experts have said, because it is the only one at the plant to use a combination of uranium and plutonium fuel, called MOX, that is considered to be more dangerous than the pure uranium fuel used in other reactors."

Fortunately, unlike Chernobyl, there is no graphite (moderators) to further fuel an ensuing fire.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 03:31 PM

What about the sand and cement option? Do you want to bet they haven't started gathering either? Anyway, some people say it is way past time to do this and others say that the cement will force the rods into the earth and there will be a bigger or longer problem. What is the thinking on this? mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: gnu
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 03:19 PM

Charley... "If there is a breach in Unit 3, there is still danger of a fuel core explosion and fire, and in the extreme case Units 1, 2, and 4, all going up in succession."

How so? H generation in turn ignited by the buring of the rod casings?


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 03:12 PM

Josepp-

Good point but I believe you are missing the big picture.

It's unclear to me and others how many reactors or spent fuel pools at the Fukushima-1 nuclear complex have been breached. The immediate suspect is the reactor in Unit 3. Here's an update from NIRS (Nuclear Information Resource Service):

"UPDATE, 11:00 am, Friday, March 25, 2011. Greenpeace Germany has released a statement that, according to an analysis of radiation releases by consultant Dr. Helmut Hirsch, Fukushima is now a Level 7 accident on the international scale (currently it is officially ranked as a Level 5, comparable to the Three Mile Island accident of 1979; Level 7 would make it comparable to Chernobyl).

UPDATE, 10:00 am, Friday, March 25, 2011. Three workers were treated yesterday for contamination after walking in highly radioactive water in Unit 3 that is said to have had a dose rate of 20 rems/hour—about 10,000 times above normal. However, even that rate wouldn't be high enough to cause the burns that were reported on the workers, so there is suspicion that the rates were even higher. Radioactive elements were found in the water that are not normally found in reactor cooling water.(emphasis added)

This has led to new open speculation among government and utility officials that the core of Unit 3 has been breached and primary containment has failed (most observers have suggested this for several days). The Japanese Prime Minister has called the situation "very grave and serious." Radiation can be expected to be released from at least Unit-3 for some time. Steam is continuing to be released from multiple reactors at the site—steam releases at this point are certainly radioactive."

If there is a breach in Unit 3, there is still danger of a fuel core explosion and fire, and in the extreme case Units 1, 2, and 4, all going up in succession. The resulting radioactive plume will rival that of Chernobyl and devastate much of Japan for generations. The best case scenario will be a very messy clean-up in and around Unit 3.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 02:15 PM

This was quite predicted. It was not out of the realm of possibility. It was going to happen. It is going to happen where I live and there will be no escape, but at least we don't have a nuclear catastrophe on our little spit of sand. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: JHW
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 02:14 PM

Perhaps this should be a new thread but my thoughts are also with the plot to drop more Nuclear Power Stations on the UK.
I'm hoping this disaster has frightened off the would be private investors in any new round. (They never yet picked up the tab for the old ones or the clean-up and waste disposal)
My proper lifetime job has been a field engineer in electricity power distribution. Outside the industry you might hardly believe the massive effort to make every aspect of our systems and their operation safe. Nothing is left to chance. Everything is considered to the far end of a farad and catered for.
But things will always go wrong.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: gnu
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 01:58 PM

Hmmmm... Now that they have stated they believe the reactor containments have been breached, which was evident days ago from the detection of iodine according to a professor who said said today on NHK that the iodine could NOT have come from the pools, the big question is, from that professor, core or pipes and valves? I haven't heard evidence to demonstrate core breach and since the core steel containment is 200mm thick, I would think the pipe, valve (and flange o-ring gasket) scenarios are more likely.

In any case, if any of these components are breached, pumping cooling water could increase leakage. Now, how the hell can you change out valves? or seal cracked pipes if the pressure is high?

I have a terrible feeling that the fresh water and concrete pumper may have to be put to another use before this is over.

As for mg's comments on designing for the indeterminable, if engineers did that, nothing would get built. Only God can make a rock he can't lift.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 01:33 PM

A principal story today in NY Times and on CNN is the announcement that the core in reactor 3 is breached. As posted in threads above, two additional reactors are under suspicion, and Charley had noted the probability, based on the escaping radioactive elements, that a core was breached.

The serious exposure of workers who stepped in highly contaminated water brought the comment from Nishiyama of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
Two workers not wearing high boots received beta burns. The surface of the water was measured at 400 millisieverts. NISA reprimanded TEPCO for not taking better care of its workers.

No. 1 and no. 3 reactors now are receiving fresh water, no. 1 and no. 2 still receiving seawater.

The Government will set up a 'drastic' plan this summer to cope with electrical power shortages as a result of the loss of two power plants in Fukushima province.

Above from Japan Times.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: gnu
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 01:10 PM

Chopper video... hopw the likn works... I downloaded IE9 and it does not like the link maker.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/25_30.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 08:37 AM

Here's two excerpts from yesterday's tele-conference of the Union of Concerned Scients. The first addresses the "salt-water question":

"Can you please comment on the New York Times story about the risk of salt build-up on the inside the reactors and what that might mean?

MR. LOCHBAUM: Yes, this is David Lochbaum, I'll take a first shot at. The salt water that's being used for both the spent fuel pools and the reactor cores will as that water evaporates leave the salt behind. If there's complete or near total evacuation of the water, then you have a lot of salt skewing left behind, and it could insulate the fuel and impede the heat transfer from the pellets inside the fuel through the cladding, through the salt layer, to the water, once water is restored.

So, they're, as quickly as they can, they're likely to want to stop injecting sea water, start injecting fresh water to dilute the salt concentration that's already in the spent fuel pools and in the reactors.

They were basically down to only the option of using sea water, so they were pretty much forced into using that for as long as they only had the one option.

It is complicating what they do, not only because of the effect that the salt could impede heat transfer and potentially block some of the cooling water flow paths, but it's also very corrosive and it will do damage to components in the plant. So that they need to, as quickly as they can, get out of using sea water, get it back out of the plant as quickly as they can. And again, they had no option, they had to use the only water they had available, given the baggage, even the baggage that it carried."

The second excerpt goes back to venting and the likely cause of the hydrogen explosions:

"REPORTER: Were they also venting, though, from the primary containment into the secondary containment? Were there relief valves that would have allowed the hydrogen to get out of the primary into the secondary?

MR. LOCHBAUM: You know, our understanding because of the periodic venting of the reactor vessel, they also had in turn to periodically vent the primary containment, because it would pressurize also. The normal way for venting the containment is through the reactor building inside piping that would discharge it through a stack outside of primary or secondary containment as well.

You've probably seen pictures where they have those stacks that are surrounded by scaffolding or supports to hold them. That should have been where the vented atmosphere from the primary containment went, was up through those stacks. For some reason, the hydrogen ended up in the reactor building itself.

We've posted something on our blog, allthingsnuclear.org, that suggests one pathway that it may have been that they waited to vent the containment too long, and the pressure built up, actually lifted the reactor vessel head off the flange enough to leak hydrogen into the reactor building.

Since they were following the same procedure, that would explain why it happened on Units 1, 2 and 3. They waited to the same pressure point, it was high enough to lift the reactor vessel head, not blow it off the top, but just enough to provide a small pathway for hydrogen to leak out.

The reason we provide that pathway, possible pathway, is that that did happen at the Brunswick Nuclear Plant, during its initial start-up testing, they pressurized the containment, the head lifted off of the flange and it wasn't hydrogen in those days, it was air that leaked out into the reactor building. So, we're saying since that happened once, it's possible that that same scenario explained what happened on Units 1, 2 and 3. The one difference between Unit 2 and the other two units is that the hydrogen seems to have exploded either in the torus or in the reactor building area just outside of the torus. We're not sure why there's a difference between that unit and the other two units in that regard. "

The current puzzle in my mind is why it is not Unit 2 which is in major trouble this morning. It's explosion was more internal and was thought to have breached the "torus" underlying the primary containment. But now officials are suggesting that there is a breach of primary containment in Unit 3.

All will be clear five years from now! The film release scheduled for next month may not get it quite right, except for the personal drama.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 08:11 AM

It seems to be Reactor Unit 3 which now is having the most trouble as identified above:

TOKYO – A suspected breach in the core at one reactor at a stricken Fukushima nuclear plant could mean more serious radioactive contamination, Japanese officials revealed Friday — a situation the prime minister called "very grave and serious."

A somber Prime Minister Naoto Kan sounded a pessimistic note at a briefing hours after nuclear safety officials said they suspected a breach at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant that would be a major setback in the urgent mission to stop the facility from leaking radiation.
"The situation today at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant is still very grave and serious. We must remain vigilant," Kan said. "We are not in a position where we can be optimistic. We must treat every development with the utmost care."

Evidently I left out a crucial "not" in my last posting:

"There should NOT be such spikes of temperature if this reactor is really back under control."

This sucks big time!

The other reason for shifting from salt water to fresh water is that the salt deposits around the reactor fuel rods interfere with the cooling process from circulating water. Fresh water was not an option evidently when the emergency back-up pumps failed.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: gnu
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 06:47 AM

Iodine in tap water spreading... 229.6 Bq/l in Hitachi.
Voluntary evacuation in 20-30km zoned urged.

Japan's defense minister says the government plans to switch from seawater to fresh water to cool the crippled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, with the support of US forces.

Toshimi Kitazawa told reporters on Friday that the United States urged Japan to quickly switch to fresh water, and offered to help do so.

Seawater has been used at the plant as an emergency measure, but salt in the water could lead to corrosion of the reactors' interiors.

The US forces and Japan's Self-Defense Forces have drawn up plans to anchor off the Fukushima coast US Navy barges capable of carrying large amounts of water, and send water via pipelines to the plant.
The US military is also to provide a high-powered pump to send water through the pipelines, and Japanese SDF vessels are to be mobilized to refill the barges with water.

The US vessels have already left their base in Yokosuka, near Tokyo. The US forces and SDF hope to set up the pipelines and other systems for the operation as soon as next week.

Friday, March 25, 2011 15:22 +0900 (JST)


Japan's nuclear safety agency says it is highly likely that the Number 3 reactor of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been damaged, leading to the leak of high levels of radiation.

The agency was speaking to reporters about Thursday's accident in which 3 workers were exposed to radiation from water on the floor inside the turbine building of the No.3 reactor. The level of radioactivity was about 10,000 times higher than the water inside a normally operating nuclear reactor.

The agency said while the reactor appears to have partially retained its function to contain radiation leaks, there's a strong possibility that some part of the reactor is now damaged and the containment function is weakening.

Friday, March 25, 2011 12:48 +0900 (JST)


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: gnu
Date: 25 Mar 11 - 06:33 AM

NHK cycles between twenty and thirty minutes usually so it's a quick source of the latest news. I am 12 hours behind Japan so I get the most recent reports between 5 and 8AM. Not much changes after that unless something major happens.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 08:40 PM

Q-

"Unless temperatures are recorded by the sensors connected to the spent fuel pools, they are suspect."

Thanks for pointing this out.

I tend to agree with you that this event was beyond the reasonable assumptions of the designers, who did add a safety margin.

I do believe that when the design assumptions were greatly exceeded by the earthquake and tsunami, the fact that there were four reactors overwhelmed at once compounded the job of the on-site workers. I'm also convinced that mistakes were made in the initial attempts to mitigate the conditions in the runaway reactors and spent fuel pools. But we'll only learn the details 5 or so years from now, and by that time the public will only remember Fukushima and maybe a date. If you told people in general that half the fuel at Three Mile Island had melted down and escaped the reactor vessel, how many people would already know that; the report came out 5 years later.

Gnu-

I also find the report from NHK on reactor Unit 1 perplexing:

"Temp went up to 400... seawater injection doubled... pressure went up and temp went to 330... pressure down somewhat... 'steady' now... "

There should be such spikes of temperature if this reactor is really back under control.

mg-

I'm not sure how they "clean house" in Japan but the job needs to be done and most likely will be done. They probably have to depend on nuclear power for the seeable future and they can't afford to make this kind of dreadful mistake.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 06:27 PM

Of course you can base specifications on something that has not happened before. And this earthquake was predictable as was the tsunami. I am referring to the electric company engineers. Certainly you build and design to anything way worse than anything that has ever happened.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-crisis-japans-government-struggles-to-deliver/2011/03/20/ABJJGg0_story.html

And they will "resign". mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 05:58 PM

Specifications used in the future will, of course, include data on the 9.0 quake and tsunami- that is now historical data which will be used in designing and engineering constructions of all kinds in the Prefecture in question.

Having been registered as a professional geologist and working with licensed professional engineers for my working life, I resent the implication that anyone owns me or my associates. We are not omnipotent, however, and cannot base specifications on something that has not happened before or is not predictable for the project in question.
I see no evidence of malfeasance in the design or operation of Fukushima, only a disaster that was beyond reasonable parameters for that location.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 04:47 PM

People in the electric company already had to resign years ago over their corruption and/or ineptitude. I can not imagine that this would be different. And in a way this is a blow for freedom, because the people are way less free than I would have thought, but I think that will be somewhat corrected. And various truths will be forced out of them or will just be found by others. This is the time (or once any emergencies are truly over) for them to lose face, because it is perhaps all that will force change.

And I am not interested in talk of engineering for historical data. Not when the consequences are that high and the predictions for such catastrophe are given to the general public all the time. It is not hidden in obscure engineering journals that there will be 9.0 earthquakes. I do not blame the engineers as they were owned by someone or prevented from doing their work somehow.

Who are the inspectors? Who are the falsifiers of information? mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: gnu
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 04:10 PM

The crete pumper being used on the pools is from Vietnam. It was in Japan and was to be shipped out elsewhere when Vietnam offered it to help. She's a big bugger... 50m of arm. Good show Vietnam!


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: gnu
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 03:27 PM

Q... "Japan will rebuild, not recriminate and stagnate."

As they should... well said.

And that goes for whatever the outcome is and however it influences future endeavours. Humans will survive. Naysayers underestimate their abilities a tad too much.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 03:12 PM

Anxiety, yes. Investigations, yes. Resignations, doubtful.
The response will be to rebuild, based on lessons learned.

Historical data was used in the reactor specifications.
Attention is focused on the reactors at Fukushima, but the other 50 centers are continuing operation.

Historical data was used in development of the Sendai urban centers; some 20,000 perished. Planning for rebuilding and relocation is underway, based on the 2011 experience.

Historical data was used in specifications for power grids and distribution systems, but some critical industries slowed or stopped, affecting production and jobs not only in Japan but in the U. S. and other countries with dependence on Japanese components. Re-location of power distribution lines from grid systems is underway.

Japan will rebuild, not recriminate and stagnate.

Nuclear power will continue to increase in importance, adding to the 50-odd reactors in use. The world's first full MOX plant was begun in 2008-09 in Aomori Prefecture, power generation expected in 2014. Kyushu Electric Power Co. began commercial operation Dec. 2009 after loading MOX from France. Shikoku Electric Power has loaded MOX at its Ikata 3 reactor (MOX also from France).


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 02:28 PM

When the terror declines, and it might not be terror but lower, like anxiety..there is going to be fury, perhaps subtly expressed. There are going to be demands for resignations, if they are not immediately forthcoming, and there are going to be investigations, probably from outside Japan, about who the government is, who the electrical company is, why they seem to run the government, and who runs the electrical company, and it is going to be a warning to us all. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: gnu
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 02:02 PM

#1 reactor... NHK...

Temp went up to 400... seawater injection doubled... pressure went up and temp went to 330... pressure down somewhat... "steady" now... whatever the hell that means.

Of course, if they can avoid "meltdown", that's what counts.

Sketchy stuff listening to the experts talk (interpretation clouds it further) but one lad today indicated that even if they got everything running with all the reactors there is still a fine line to walk during cooling everything down... "tricky" would be my interpretation.

All fine for me to watch and to try to understand and report it here but I just can't get out of my head the terror millions of Japanese must be feeling.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 01:29 PM

IAEA reported No. 2 temps for spent fuel pool as received from Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Agency for March 20-24, ranging from 47-53 C.

Unit 1- no precise data available since the explosion on March 12, but today NISA said temperature and pressure "somewhat stabilized."

Unit 3- only general data, this reactor continues to be the primary concern.

Unit 4- since all assemblies were in the spent fuel pool (down for maintenance when the quake hit) the pool had a larger heat load than the others. No reports of temperature concerns today.

Units 5 and 6- Since temp. diesel generators put on line, temps have been "significantly lower" after rising for several days.

Work in underway to test-run cooling pumps at no. 3 and 4, and testing on pumps for 1 and 2 to be tried soon. These pumps use fresh water.
Outside power sources now connected to all six reactors.

From various online reports- IAEA, Japan Times, etc.

Note- Unless temperatures are recorded by the sensors connected to the spent fuel pools, they are suspect. This accounts for the sparse reports, since NAIA will not release suspect temps and/pressures.

Reticence by both TEPCO and the government is frustrating to those seeking data.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 11:56 AM

gnu-

If those temperature reading are accurate, it's very good news. I'm not averse to that, and I doubt if anyone else who has been contributing or following this thread would be either.

I note that there is no temperature reading reported for the spent fuel pool at Unit 4 (or for the pools in Unit 1 and Unit 2), where the freshest spent fuel was present at the beginning of this saga.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: gnu
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 11:47 AM

Thursday, March 24, 2011 21:48 +0900 (JST) NHK...

The Defense Ministry says temperatures at 4 nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant have fallen below 20 degrees Celsius.

The ministry has been using helicopters to take infrared surveys of the surface temperatures of facilities at the stricken plant since Saturday.

The 30-minute survey, which was done from around 7 AM on Thursday, also found that the storage pool for spent fuel at the No. 3 reactor has cooled to about 30 degrees.

The ministry says the surface temperature of the No. 1 reactor was 13 degrees Celsius, that of No. 2 stood at 13 degrees, No. 3 at 11 degrees, and No. 4 at 17 degrees.
All readings were down from a day earlier.

The ministry says the surface temperature of the storage pool at the No. 3 unit was 31 degrees Celsius, down 26 degrees from the day before. Self-Defense Force troops and firefighters have been spraying water onto the Number 3 reactor building.

Thursday, March 24, 2011 21:48 +0900 (JST)


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: gnu
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 11:28 AM

oops.... and rain.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Donuel
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 11:19 AM

I tried googling "pro nuke demonstration"   lol not much there


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: gnu
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 11:19 AM

Re up to one year old... levels have fallen from 300 to below 100 (the safety limit) for most of Tokyo and five other cities nearby but has risen in several cities to the north and northwest. All depends on the wind I assume.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Donuel
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 11:18 AM

Nukes are the only answer website. mmmm Thorium delicious


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: SINSULL
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 11:11 AM

Higher radiation levels have been found - high enough to endanger an infant- outside the evacuated zone. Bottled water is in short supply.
A frightening time for families with young children or babies on the way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Donuel
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 10:18 AM

The reporting of Plutonium release is sparse and guarded.

Cable news networks seem succesfully muzzled. People who express any concern about nuclear danger are shouted down by bleached blondes, proclaimed experts and shock joke yellers and are told they have fallen prey to media conspiracy hype and that "NO ONE EVER DIED AT TMI" and that only 32 people died at Chernobyl.
This whole thing is blown out of proportion like swine flu or anthrax scares. etc.

The repitition of the nuclear lie is in full swing. Naturally I look at the public relation, brain washing aspect of this disaster since that was my field of study.

The big lie needs to be crushed. Pictures are the best way to do this.


Any suggestions?


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: SINSULL
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 09:13 AM

Two workers have been hospitalized with radiation poisoning. They were standing in a pool of contaminated water while doing repairs. Radio news reports said they have "serious" burns. I am trying to image the commitment it took to be burned in radioactive crap and continue to work.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 07:59 AM

Here's what I find most interesting from yesterday's teleconference at the Union of Concerned Scientists:

"I would also like to mention there are reports of black smoke being emitted from reactor number 3 today. Authorities don't know what the origin is, but they say they don't think it's a serious problem if this is originating from the spent fuel pool; however, it could be an indication that there has been severe damage to the fuel itself in that there's larger particulate matter that's now being carried into the air in the form of smoke. That would be fuel particles that would include less volatile isotopes, including plutonium.

So, if the levels of a type of radiation known as alpha radiation start increasing, that could be an indication that the fuel itself is starting to degrade and being released, which might be additional cause for concern."

There's lots more discussion and perhaps someone else would like to harvest and discuss a paragraph of two, or not.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Nuclear plant disaster looming
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Mar 11 - 07:42 AM

My thought for today is the misunderstanding and misuse of the concept of radioactive "half-life." I just heard someone this morning on NPR describe Cesium-137 as "harmless" in 30 years. No, 30 years is when it has lost half of its radioactivity, leaving it still danger to living things (including us) for at least another 270 years. The rule of thumb is to multiply the half-life by a factor of ten. NIRS above is even more conservative, suggesting 10 to 20.

Have a nice "half-life"!

Charley Noble


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