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Japan: New Open Thread

by afew Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:49:08 AM EST

Some fresh space for ongoing news and discussion of the earthquake and its consequences.


Display:
News at 7:00 GMT:

Japan quake: live report

0602 GMT: Asahi newspaper reports that according to TEPCO, the operator of the troubled nuclear power plants in Japan, US military personnel were involved in fighting the fire in Reactor Number 4 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

0600 GMT: The farm ministry says Japan has plenty of food, tells people there is no need for food hoarding, according to the Daily Yomiuri on twitter.

0546 GMT: Kyodo news agency reports that a no-fly zone has been set for 30km-radius over the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Radiation leaps after Japan plant blasts | Reuters

(Reuters) - Japan warned radiation levels had become "significantly" higher around a quake-stricken nuclear power plant on Tuesday after explosions at two reactors, and the French embassy said a low-level radioactive wind could reach Tokyo within hours.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan urged people within 30 km (18 miles) of the facility north of Tokyo to remain indoors and conserve power, underscoring the dramatic escalation of Japan's nuclear crisis, the world's most serious since the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 03:04:00 AM EST
according to TEPCO, the operator of the troubled nuclear power plants in Japan, US military personnel were involved in fighting the fire in Reactor Number 4 of the Fukushima Daiichi

Is it possible that when they reported contamination of American sailors on a ship miles out to sea, they were hiding the fact that those sailors were working at the reactor?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 03:15:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The latest:

  • The fire at No.4 reactor naturally died down by 4 pm Tokyo time without any effort. Americans took no part.

  • U.S.Ronald Reagan, the aircraft carrier assigned to the earthquake disaster relief quickly sailed away from the area when they detected contamination on their chopper and crew, who helped deliver supplies to tsunami survivors (with a photo op).

  • TEPCO are pumping water to No. 1, 2 and 3, with mixed results. 800 of their staff have been evacuated and 50 remain at the site.

  • Judging from the past few days, I expect they report bad news about this time of the day.

  • Premier Kan told TEPCO, "You are the last man out. There is no such thing as retreat from here. Don't you want to die a man?" (paraphrasing a bit).

  • Japanese army supporting TEPCO at the site complains that the place is not "safe". WTF

  • A miniscule fallout from Reactor 4 detected in Tokyo as well. It reminds me of the early 60s when Soviets nuclear blasts routinely sent contaminated ashes over to us.


I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:34:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No one is better at nuclear safety than the US Navy, and the USS Ronald Reagan is a nuclear-powered ship. The carrier task force very likely includes a nuclear submarine or two as well. Just saying...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 02:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]


So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 03:43:00 AM EST
Naoto Kan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
He gained national wide popularity in 1996, when serving as the Minister of Health and Welfare, admitting government's responsibility for the spread of HIV-tainted blood in 1980s and directly apologized to victims. At that time, he was a member of a small party forming the ruling coalition with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). His frank action was completely unprecedented and was applauded by the media and the public.

...

However, in 2004, Kan was accused of unpaid annuities and forced to again resign the position of leader. On May 10, 2004, he officially announced his resignation and made the Shikoku Pilgrimage. Later, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare spokesman apologized, saying the unpaid record was due to an administrative error.

Shikoku Pilgrimage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Shikoku Pilgrimage (四国遍路, Shikoku Henro?) or Shikoku Junrei (四国巡礼?) is a pilgrimage of 88 temples on the island of Shikoku, Japan. It is believed all 88 temples were visited by the Buddhist monk Kūkai, founder of the Shingon school, who was born in Zentsūji, Shikoku in 774 AD. However, Kūkai only mentions visiting two of them in his own extant writings.
The article says nothing about the public significance of this pilgrimage, if there is any.Naoto Kan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Kan government intervened in mid-September to weaken the surging yen by buying U.S. dollars, a move which temporarily relieved Japan's exporters.[27] The move proved popular with stock brokers, Japanese exporters, and the Japanese public.[27] It was the first such move by a Japanese government since 2004.[27] Later, in October, after the yen had offset the intervention and had reached a 15-year high, the Kan cabinet approved a stimulus package worth about 5.1 trillion yen ($62 billion) in order to weaken the yen and fight deflation.[28] Kan also announced that further interventions are likely if the yen continues to rise.[29]
Now for some amusing stuff: BBC News - Japan PM Naoto Kan's wife 'would not marry him again'
"I've already lived this life once. It would not be interesting to do the same thing again.

"I would rather live a totally different life," she said.

...

Mrs Kan has turned the Japanese tradition of publicly downplaying the achievements of loved ones into something of an art form.

Last year she wrote a book called What on Earth will change in Japan now you are Prime Minister, describing him as a hopeless cook who lacked dress sense and leadership skills.

But, most importantly, he's BBC News - Profile: Naoto Kan
[a] physics graduate from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, he ran a patent firm and then became a civic activist, focusing on environmental issues.
and
he enjoys playing Go, a complicated chess-like board game.


So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:31:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IAEA: Japan Earthquake Update (15 March 2011, 06:15 CET)
Japanese authorities informed the IAEA that there has been an explosion at the Unit 2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The explosion occurred at around 06:20 on 15 March local Japan time.

Japanese authorities also today informed the IAEA at 04:50 CET that the spent fuel storage pond at the Unit 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is on fire and radioactivity is being released directly into the atmosphere.

Dose rates of up to 400 millisievert per hour have been reported at the site. The Japanese authorities are saying that there is a possibility that the fire was caused by a hydrogen explosion.



So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 03:49:09 AM EST
NHK WORLD English
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says the level of radiation around the quake-damaged Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant is high enough to affect human health.

Edano told reporters on Tuesday morning that 400 millisieverts of radiation per hour had been detected around the plant's No.3 reactor building at 10:22 AM.

He cited reports claiming that it is highly likely the containment vessel at the No.2 reactor building had been damaged. He added that the No.1, No.2 and No.3 reactors are all releasing hazardous radioactive material.

I go to bed when levels were at record highs, and wake to news that they increased 50-fold again... FUBAR. 400 mSv/hr for 7 minutes 30 seconds is the maximum allowed for plant workers in any year, and for 15 minutes, the maximum allowed in five consecutive years. How can the cooling of the reactors be ensured under such working conditions?


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:42:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Potentially an incident in a spent fuel pool is as serious as an unprotected graphite core fire.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:15:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The reports seem to be saying that this 400 mSv reading is indeed connected to the fire at No. 4. All the 9:38 am local time readings:

  • at No. 4 itself: 100 mSv
  • at No. 3: 400 mSv
  • between No. 2 and No. 3: 30 mSv


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:36:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spent fuel rods immersed in water : what is inflammable?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:36:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The water may have partially evaporated and exposed the Zirconium casing?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:27:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There, too, the rods were reportedly partially out of water, and after all the hydrogen must have been generated due to overheating. As for what burned, after the explosion, it didn't have to be something inside the cooling pond, just inside the reactor building.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:49:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Depending on how "spent" the fuel rods are : they surely represent all the potential of a reactor meltdown, without the reactor casing to keep it in?

Surely they must have non-trivial passive safety features at the spent fuel pools, but I'm not impressed yet.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:58:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
Surely they must have non-trivial passive safety features at the spent fuel pools, but I'm not impressed yet.
Possibly not.

I presume that normally the reactor is shut down, cooled down, some time passes until the hotter fission products in the canisters decay, and then they are moved to the storage pools where they remain for a longer time until the remaining fission products are not too hot for handling by humans and then they're moved off-site.

But, throughout, the fuel rods are keept under active cooling, which has failed in this case.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:26:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For a description of a state-of-the-art spent fuel management programme, see Starvid's How Sweden deals with nuclear waste
Sweden is rather famous for being a country interested in environmental issues. It's rather less famous for being the world's biggest per capita consumer of nuclear power. These two things taken together results in the Swedish nuclear waste program, which has been called "the rolls-royce of nuclear waste programs".


So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:35:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, about the stage relevant here, we don't learn any details from Starvid:

European Tribune - ***How Sweden deals with nuclear waste

The fuel spends 5 years inside the reactor core until it is spent. It is now intensely radioactive and also gives off lots of heat. To make it easier to deal with it, the spent fuel is stored at the nuclear power plant for one year in cooling ponds filled with water. After one year 90 % of the radioactivity has diminished and the fuel is put in special transportation casks, loaded onto m/s Sigyn and shipped to Clab.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:39:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that is an important detail: under normal operation, spent fuel is stored at the reactor for a year, presumably because it is too radioactive to handle to take off-site. I believe units 4-6 of DaiIchi were only recently shut down for maintenance and unit 3 had recently had its fuel replaced. So there may be a lot of very active spent fuel on site, in need of constant cooling.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:44:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe one of the NYT articles wrote that "fortunately" the number of spent fuel in the storage pools was small. Will try to find the quote.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:48:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I failed to find the source; but downthread, ceebs is quoting another saying that while the spent fuel pool of the No. 5 and 6 reactors is only one third full, that of the No. 4 reactor is 100% full...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:29:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was a a comment on the Reuters site, but with no link to the actual source

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:54:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Zirconium is what surrounds the fuel.  It is used because it is strong at operating temperatures (the fuel, though formed into a ceramic, is not strong) and has low neutron absorption and therefore does not effect or interfere with the fission reactions.  The fuel rods are hollow tubes of zirconium alloy with pellets of fuel inside.  

Zirconium oxidizes spontaneously.  Normally this is good, as the oxide sticks to the zirconium as a tough protecting layer, much as aluminum instantly oxidizes to form the tough layer which is actually what you are looking at when you look at aluminum.  

But.  At high temperature the oxide of zirconium flakes away and the zirconium keeps burning.  Also, the affinity of zirconium for oxygen is so fierce at high temperatures that zirconium will pull the oxygen out of steam (vaporized water) leaving hydrogen which will burn as soon as it meets more oxygen--which is presumably what fueled the several large explosions of reactor buildings.  

At the "low" temperatures of normal operation (above the boiling point of water but well below the melting point of zirconium) ziconium is benign and stable, but at the high temperatures of a meltdown it is malign and burns uncontrollably.  

Both zirconium and hydrogen release large amounts of heat when they burn.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Thu Mar 17th, 2011 at 02:18:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So Zirconium cooled with water is a fantastically stupid choice for spent fuel storage. Definitely not "passively safe storage".

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 17th, 2011 at 03:43:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mig:
Potentially an incident in a spent fuel pool is as serious as an unprotected graphite core fire.

For radiation release the spent fuel poses a significantly larger risk due to sheer volume, but this would be mitigated by some portion of the rods having cooled to the point that the casing may not break after prolonged exposure to the air.

Does anyone know how long these rods are stored in the spent fuel pool?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:58:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I see that question is answered up-thread.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:02:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japanese Fuel-Cooling Pools Pose Nuclear Threat - NYTimes.com

Experts now fear that the pool containing those rods from the fourth reactor has run dry, allowing the rods to overheat and catch fire. That could spread radioactive materials far and wide in dangerous clouds.

The pools are a worry at the stricken reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant because at least two of the three have lost their roofs in explosions, exposing the spent fuel pools to the atmosphere. By contrast, reactors have strong containment vessels that stand a better chance of bottling up radiation from a meltdown of the fuel in the reactor core.

...

"It's worse than a meltdown," said David A. Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists who worked as an instructor on the kinds of General Electric reactors used in Japan. "The reactor is inside thick walls, and the spent fuel of Reactors 1 and 3 is out in the open.



So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:02:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The article I quoted from in the previous thread. :-)

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:37:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English
A University of Tokyo facility in Ibaraki Prefecture, north of Tokyo, has reported radiation levels higher than legal standards.

The facility alerted the central government on Tuesday after it registered 5 microsieverts per hour before 8:00 AM and the radiation level continued to exceed the yardstick figure designated by a law for 10 straight minutes.

The facility is located in Tokai village, about 110 kilometers south of the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant.

The facility says the radiation level later fell to 3 microsieverts per hour. It says normally the reading is at around 0.05 microsieverts per hour.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:43:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Values measured in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo:

  • 3:00 am local time: 0.038 μSv/h
  • 4:00 am local time: 0.147 μSv/h
  • 7:00 am local time: 0.051 μSv/h
  • 9:00 am local time: 0.465 μSv/h
  • 10:00 am local time: 0.809 μSv/h


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:22:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English

The Japanese government has instructed all 47 prefectures to report the results of their environmental radiation observations every day.

Education and science minister Yoshiaki Takaki said on Tuesday that this follows the detection of unusually high-level radiation at nuclear power plants in Fukushima prefecture after Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami.

The prefectures are now asked to report their radiation data from monitoring posts at least twice a day and swiftly inform the central government if higher-than-usual readings are recorded.

Takaki said his ministry is to release the nationwide data at least twice a day, starting possibly on Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 14:32 +0900 (JST)



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:47:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In numbers in newspapers, Fukushima (the actual city is some 30 km inland to the east from the reactors) 'leads' with 23.18 μGy/h. Next is Kitaibaraki, which is about halfway between the nuclear plant and Tokyo on the coast, at 5.575 μGy/h. (In the pdf-s, column triplets are maximum-minimum-average.)

In numbers released on a webpage, on Sunday until 17h, all values were below 0.1 μGy/h. In the next period until 9 am Monday morning, the maximum jumped to 0.864 μGy/h in Tochigi Prefecture (inland, halfway between Fukushima and Tokyo).

(Note: Grays [Gy] are similar to Sieverts [Sv], but Grays measure total energy deposited, while Sieverts are scaled by biological sensitivity to damage.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:59:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An update was posted, with the data from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • The max in Tochigi rose further to 1.314 μGy/h. Even the average for the period is 0,701 μGy/h.
  • The max in Saitama (NW of Tokyo) jumped almost as high, 1.228 μGy/h.
  • The max values in four other prefectures rose strongly. There is the value I reported upthread for Tokyo, 0.809 μGy/h.

There are no values reported from Miyagi, Ibaraki and Fukushima (the regions worst hit by quake and tsunami, and now the fallout). Hoever, based on the readings at Fukushima Daini, they shouldn't be greater than in Tochigi by more than a magnitude.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:41:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Radiation levels at the main gate of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, via Asahi Shimbun:

  • 8:30 am local time: 8,217 μSv/h
  • 9:00 am local time: 11,930 μSv/h
  • 12:30 pm local time: 1,362 μSv/h
  • 3:30 pm local time: 596.4 μSv/h


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:59:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looking of bright linings... DO we know the proportion of alpha, beta and gamma radiation?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:17:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not in the reports. But another thing of interest: at the time of the 8:30 reading, the wind blew at 1.5 m/s from the northeast to the southwest (that's roughly towards Tokyo).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:40:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(Under 4mph.)

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:07:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some good news:

NHK WORLD English

The operation of all 4 reactors at the quake-stricken Fukushima No.2 nuclear power plant has been brought to a halt.

Tokyo Electric Power Company says the 4th reactor at the No.2 plant was safely brought to a stop at around 7:00 AM on Tuesday. It also says the reactor's temperature dropped below 100 degrees Celsius after its cooling function was restored. The reactor's cooling system was damaged in Friday's massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami.

The operation of the other 3 reactors at the Fukushima No.2 plant was earlier suspended. Two of the reactors were unable to cool down for some time due to tsunami damage.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 11:58 +0900 (JST)



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:46:58 AM EST
Any news about Onagawa?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:19:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No news from Onagawa. Fortunately, Onagawa is not run by TEPCO.

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:39:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So Tohaku EPCO is more trustworthy/reliable than T(okyo)EPCO?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:27:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, so far Tohoku failed to stage a disaster.

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:29:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing like the TEPCO safety coverups exposed about 10 years ago?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:32:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English
In the first meeting held at the power company, Kan strongly condemned the company for the way it has been addressing the problem. He said that when an explosion occurred at its No.1 reactor on Saturday, he watched the reports on television, and that the prime minister's office was not notified for about one hour.
Kan told the company officials to resolve to make an all out effort because they are the only ones who can deal with this problem.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:48:45 AM EST
  • The explosion at the No 1 reactor (12 March, 3:36 pm local time) was a hydrogen explosion after the loss of cooling water level: hydrogen generated by breaking up water escaped during the venting of the containment vessel, but got trapped in the building. It was assumed that the containment vessel was unharmed.
  • The bigger, triple explosion at the No. 3 reactor (14 March, 11:01 am local time) was also a hydrogen explosion. It was also assumed that the containment vessel was unharmed, but not any longer.
  • In the No. 2 reactor, following the failure of pumps either due to the debris of the No. 3 explosion or bad operation or both, there was an explosion and pressure loss (15 March, 6:10 am) at the suppression pool (in which steam from the containment vessel is 'drowned' in water, this is the torus around and beneath the core). The reports still don't say (and the technicians probably still don't know) what caused the explosion.
  • The No. 4 reactor was down for maintenance, but it still had a spent fuel rod pool in need of active cooling. When that failed, there was a smaller hydrogen explosion (15 march, 9:38 am) that caused a fire that was put out.
  • Just in: the spent fuel rod cooling failed at the No. 5 and 6 reactors (which are a little distance to the north of No. 1), which were down for maintenance too.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:17:03 AM EST
Possibly the cooling of the spent fuel pools was a blind spot.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:18:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Two 8 m² holes confirmed at the No. 2 plant.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:29:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Holes in what? The suppression pool?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:32:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a wall of the outer building of the number 4 reactor

says the BBC.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:37:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph
Reuters also reports that the wto eight-metre holes at reactor four are in a wall of the outer building.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:39:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gah, I wrote a mess. I mean No. 4, and reactor.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:38:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The square reactor building?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:46:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
? All six reactor buildings are square. No. 4 is the one where the explosion was in the spent fuel rod pool.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:51:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Square, as opposed to the lightbulb-shaped reactor containment.

We know the reactor building is just to keep the weather out.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:53:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Possibly the cooling of the spent fuel pools was a blind spot.

You don't say?

The cooling ponds have always been the weakness of BWR's. Crash an airplane into the facility and the reactor core will likely be okay. But the fuel pools... The only thing between the spent fuel and the (exploded) reactor hall is maybe 5 metres of water. If I recall correctly.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 02:11:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding the No. 2 explosion: to be precise, what I read in Japanese news is that both a hydrogen and a steam explosion is seen as possibility, but they discuss the steam one in more words.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:26:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm writing a piece on the possible fallout of this disaster - can a company like Tepco survive this as a company?
by Nomad on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:33:11 AM EST
TEPCO will be either taken over or bailed out by the state.

TEPCO probably cannot afford to pay for the liability from widespread radioactive contamination. We're not at the point where a spent fuel pool becomes a dirty bomb, but that cannot be ruled out any longer. In any case, that's probably not insured by private insurers, and who knowsthe extent to which insurance covers the damage so far. It might be that TEPCO has a waiver of liability or an explicit state guarantee. The implicit state guarantee always exists - decommissioning and decontamination must happen it technically possible and so the state will do it as a last resort.

In addition, TEPCO is going to have two write off at least 3 reactor cores due to seawater injections. The entire DaiIchi plant may be out of operation for years. It may never reopen or be expanded to add two new reactors as currently planned. In any case, this is a huge operating loss for TEPCO over and above the cleanup for the current disaster.

Either TEPCO will be bailed out with free money, or it will be split into a good firm and a bad firm with the government taking over the bad firm, or the government will take over the entirety of TEPCO.

A "Tokyo Electric Power Company" must exist as long as Tokyo exists. What needs to die is the idea that an electric utility can be run "for profit" with primary accountability to its shareholders as opposed to "in the public interest".

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:50:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
needs to take on overall planning for strategic energy planning, something that seems to be delegated piecemeal at the moment.

In particular, the eight (?) regional power monopolies seem to operate on a feudal basis, with limited co-operation.

Financially, Tepco is a write-off. The investment to replace lost generation is going to be hard (impossible?) to find through the market. (lost decade/lost generation?)

The government deficit is already so colossal that they are going to need to be innovative... not sure the Japanese government is up to it.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:43:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is an enormous bureaucracy/organizational/communications disaster. METI and TEPCO are spending way too much time and resources to polish up the "message" while their primary duty is to run a complex system in an emergency. They don't seem to know much other than what the emergency manual says. There must be genuinely innovative hands at work, but too much of their time must be being taken up by producing and revising reports and create a consistent narrative, as opposed to devise and experiment solutions.

Can anyone imagine 4 nuclear reactor structures would be blown off for exactly the same cause one after another? WTF have they been doing in between?

If the disaster is somehow contained, it will be the result of sheer luck and the worksmanship of Toshiba who built the plant.

I will become a patissier, God willing.

by tuasfait on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:54:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can anyone imagine 4 nuclear reactor structures would be blown off for exactly the same cause one after another?

Well, No. 2 could have been a steam explosion (pouring water on superheated exposed metal). What's also striking is that damage cascaded: first too much attention paid to cool the spent fuel rods in No. 2 (this is what TEPCO didn't inform the public about and we only heard about via NYT), so problems emerge in the reactor cores themselves; then the second hydrogen explosion at the No. 3 reactor knocks out the water pumps at No. 2 and damages the building of No. 4, then the fallout from the explosion and fire at No. 4 hinders continued work at the seawater-flooded reactors...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:29:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... interruption of cooling, when the batteries ran out (8 hours after the tsunami, according to the official narrative). They completely dropped the ball at that stage. Criminal incompetence.

Since then, they've been playing catch-up.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:02:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They completely dropped the ball at that stage. Criminal incompetence.

How do you know what their options were and what they could have done which they didn't? I say the jury is out on incompetence vs. design deficiency.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:23:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the reactor design, continuity of active cooling is an obligation.

  1. The backup generators' electrical system was vulnerable to a tsunami. Criminal incompetence.

  2. Necessarily, they had a plan for what to do when the backup generators failed. If they didn't have a plan : criminal incompetence.

3)If the plan was to truck in generators in case the on-site generators failed, but the plan didn't specify to check that they had the right connectors : criminal incompetence.

4) If the trucking in of generators was completely improvised, but by bad luck, the connectors were incompatible, then... see 2.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:24:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
was vulnerable to a tsunami. Criminal incompetence.

Or, more likely, design fault. The plant was tsunami-protected, but not against a tsunami of this magnitude.

they had a plan for what to do when the backup generators failed.

The plan was to attach mobile trucks, and it was tried. Sources differ on why that failed (some say a 60/50 Hz issue, others say that the sockets were tsunami-damaged, too). Again, it could be both design fault and incompetence. Do you know what failure modes were taken into account in the design? I don't think so.

I note that design deficiencies don't necessarily result from incompetence. They can also result from failure to foresee certain failure scenarios (which I'd argue is more or less natural for something as complicated and with as many critical parts as a nuclear plant: there are just too many and human fantasy is limited) and both criminal and not criminal risk/benefit calculations.

TEPCO can be accused of a lot, but I don't think we know enough to know what exactly happened. We only know that the plant wasn't safe.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:03:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
TEPCO probably cannot afford to pay for the liability from widespread radioactive contamination

I just tried to look up TEPCO's liability situation using "tepco" and "liability" as my search terms. This comment was the 5th hit.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:05:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ET has a high google page rank.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:24:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aha.

Japan revises nuclear liability laws

The Japanese Diet has unanimously approved a bill to revise the country's nuclear damage compensation laws. Under the revised law, the nuclear liability of plant operators will be doubled by 2010.

Japan is not party to any international liability convention, but its law generally conforms to them. Two laws governing them are revised about every ten years: the Law on Compensation for Nuclear Damage and Law on Contract for Liability Insurance for Nuclear Damage.

On 10 April, the upper house of the Diet unanimously approved a bill to revise the two laws. The bill will come into force on 1 January 2010.

Plant operator liability is exclusive and absolute, and power plant operators must provide a 'financial security amount' of ¥60 billion ($600 million). From 2010, this doubles to ¥120 billion ($1.2 billion). Beyond that, the government provides coverage, and liability is unlimited. The revision to the law also increases penalties, including fines, for nuclear companies operating plants without financial security, from the current maximum of ¥500,000 ($5040) up to ¥1 million ($10,090).


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:14:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That goes into the publication!
by Nomad on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:42:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wouldn't such an increase just go directly to the rate-payer's electric bill?
by asdf on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:59:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As if that were the biggest of our problems right now.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 17th, 2011 at 03:53:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably, but it also makes renewable power more competitive.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Mar 17th, 2011 at 04:29:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When trading openened, TEPCO shares did not fall. Because there was not a single buyer available. The day after, the stock fell 25 %.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 02:45:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh. Who was the buyer on the second day? Maybe the BoJ?

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 03:22:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Of all the mysteries of the stock exchange there is none so impenetrable as why there should be a buyer for everyone who seeks to sell. October 24, 1929 showed that what is mysterious is not inevitable."

- J.K. Galbraith, The Great Crash of 1929

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:23:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nomad:
the possible fallout of this disaster
Human, economic, or nuclear fallout?

Don't forget to include a jab at Larry Kudlow's

The human toll here looks to be much worse than the economic toll and we can be grateful for that.


So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:17:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah yes, the metaphor has become the reality once more.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:15:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Official figures at 3:30 pm local time via Asahi Shimbun: 2,722 confirmed dead, 3,742 registered as missing, 1,892 confirmed injured. 3,345 houses are confirmed destroyed by the natural disasters, another 125 due to fire.

I still don't get the discrepancy in the number of missing persons. Now we have at least three separate cities that were destroyed completely by the tsunami reporting missing persons between 5,000 and 10,000.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:47:30 AM EST
Lists of registered missing people will generally be compiled primarily in survivor reception centres and rely on relatives reporting the people as missing. In areas that have suffered such complete devastation, it can be expected that entire families have been lost. In addition, reports indicate that many areas have not yet been reached by rescuers so there will be many survivors who have not yet been processed at reception centres.
by ectoraige on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:40:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is a peculiarity of the Japanese system.

A couple of months ago, it was reported that pensions were being paid for thousands of deceased people, sometimes for decades, because their families had not reported the deaths to social security.

If they are relying on this system now, they may never get accurate numbers.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:52:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apologies, I'd meant to have "and friends" in there, I'm not aware of any actual restriction that only family members may report people as missing. The suggestion I was making is in the face of such devastation there will be a disconnect between the official list of missing and the estimated casualties because many of the dead will not be immediately missed by anybody.
by ectoraige on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:53:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK's latest tally (7:00 pm local time) is 3,091 confirmed dead, about 15,000 missing. That includes the missing of Minamisanriku (number of missing reduced to 8,000 with 2,000 more found evacuated), Onagawa (5,000 still unaccounted for), Rikuzentakata and Ootsuchi (Iwate prefecture missing total: 3,318). Note that all four cities are at the end of bays which apparently focused the waves.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:20:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Asahi Shimbun's 8:00 pm local time update: 3,373 confirmed dead, official tally of missing persons climbs to 6,746, confirmed injured 1,897. The big missing persons discrepancy is for Miyagi prefecture (includes Minamisanriku), where the official number is 1,219 only. Confirmed building damage rose to 3,499.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:36:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Asahi Shimbun's midnight update: 3,373 confirmed dead (unchanged), official tally of missing persons climbs to 7,558 (of this Miyagi 2,011), confirmed injured 1,990. Confirmed damaged buildings 3,500.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:21:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JR East's Tohoku Shinkansen runs from Tokyo 674.9 km to the north. JR East now reports

  • overhead line cut at 200 locations,
  • catenary masts cracked at 250 locations,
  • viaduct pillars damaged at 90 locations,
  • track damage at 20 locations,
  • station ceiling damage at 5 locations,
  • bridge girder displacement at 2 locations.

No tunnel damage reported so far, but maybe that wasn't even checked so far.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:56:01 AM EST
Wow. And that line doesn't get too close to the coast.

The Senseki Line and the Kesennuma Line are much more exposed. The Senseki Line is electrified too, the Kesennnuma is not.

by Jace (jace6315 at yahoo etc.) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:40:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Tohoku Shinkansen damage is obviously earthquake only. And, unless significant tunnel damage remains to be reported, the only part of the damage that is more rather than less than what I'd expect is the catenary ruptures (200, that must be one every few kilometres in the Sendai region). There must be at least 20,000 catenary masts along the line, so just about 1% cracked in a 9.0 is not that bad.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:46:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JR East:

Mar 15, 2011
Tohoku Shinkansen line starts its operation between Tokyo and Nasushiobara with the special schedule.

Nasushiobara is not quite halfway to Sendai.

News from the Senseki Line:

contact was lost to two Senseki Line trains traveling along the Pacific coast[2]. One 4-car train was found derailed the next morning, and all its passengers rescued by helicopter. The second was discovered later in the day and shown by an NHK helicopter camera, derailed with its 4 cars bent in an L-shape near Higashi-Yamoto station. (Wiki)

On the Kesennuma Line:

All but the platform of Minami-Kesennuma Station on the JR Kesennuma Line was swept away by tsunami as if it had never existed.

One train is/was missing but so far I haven't been able to find out much about it. Kesennuma is (was?) Japan's Shark Fin City.

The north end of the Joban Line also has major damage with one passenger train hit by the tsunami:

an NHK helicopter discovered a 4-car train on the line that was picked up off the tracks by the tsunami surge and overturned at Shinchi Station. Later reports indicated that all passengers from the train were evacuated before the tsunami came ashore. (Wiki)

The JR Ofunato Line and the private Senriku Railway are also heavily damaged with all lines currently shut down. Not sure about the JR Ishinomaki Line.

I've read that two Ofunato Line trains are still missing but that the passengers and crews got out before the tsunami hit. There may also be a train missing on the Sanriku Railway (lots of unconfirmed reports out there).

by Jace (jace6315 at yahoo etc.) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:54:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some more digging: While parts of the Senseki Line are right on the coast, Higashi-Yamoto station is 3 km inland.
by Jace (jace6315 at yahoo etc.) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:36:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And they had just deployed a new line of Shinkansen on the Tohoku line, the faster Hayabusa shinkansen, and had just finished the northern extension of that line to Aomori.  Now it's all gotta be checked and repaired again.
by Zwackus on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:01:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Modified version of original post written by Josef Oehmen | MIT NSE Nuclear Information Hub (http://web.mit.edu/nse/)
**Note that the title of the original blog does not reflect the views of the authors of the site.  The authors have been monitoring the situation, and are presenting facts on the situation as they develop.  The original article was adopted as the authors believed it provided a good starting point to provide a summary background on the events at the Fukushima plant.**

The original post written by Dr Josef Oehmen "Why I am not worried about Japan'snuclear reactors."



So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:13:30 AM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
A Japanese nuclear safety official has confirmed reports that the water inside the waste fuel storage pool for the number 4 Fukushima reactor may be boiling, AP reports. Hidehiko Nishiyama refused to comment on the potential risks from the rising temperatures caused by a failure of cooling systems and said the plant's operator was considering what to do about theproblem.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:30:33 AM EST
Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami - live updates | World news | guardian.co.uk
While the fire has now been extinguished, Kyodo news has since reported at around 6pm (9am GMT) that the pool containing the spent fuel rods was subsequently boiling, with the water level in the pool falling. The New York Times wrote yesterday that the spent fuel lies at the bottom of the pool, normally covered by 30ft of water, however it said if the water does boil off then the fuel could catch fire.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:32:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami - live updates | World news | guardian.co.uk

We should always think about the worst case [scenario] but if the water is simply boiling, and there is access to it, there is no danger to anybody - certainly outside the plant," Hinde said.

As long as the water level can be maintained, that shouldn't be a serious problem. The fact it is unit number 4, which was not operating at the time of the earthquake, means there should be no problems gaining access ... I would worry more about the pool of reactor number 2.

If the water did boil away, there might be a problem.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:02:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami - live updates | World news | guardian.co.uk

In a reactor pool, the time it takes uncooled fuel to begin boiling the surrounding water depends on how much fuel is present and how old it is. Fresh fuel is hotter in terms of radiation than old fuel is.

Lochbaum, who formerly taught reactor operation for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said the pools measured about 40 feet long, 40 feet wide and 45 feet deep. The spent fuel, he added, rested at the pool's bottom and rose no higher than 15 feet from the bottom. That means that in normal operations, the spent fuel is covered by about 30 feet of cooling water.

Depending on the freshness of the spent fuel, Lochbaum said, the water in an uncooled pool would start to boil in anywhere from days to a week. The water would boil off to a dangerous level in another week or two. Once most of the fuel is exposed, he said, it can catch fire.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:05:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The fact it is unit number 4, which was not operating at the time of the earthquake, means there should be no problems gaining access ...

Except for the structural damage from the falling debris of the No. 3 explosion and damage from the No. 4 explosion and fire, idiot.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:54:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph
TEPCO says its blackout for Tuesday is expected to affect 5 million households - a marked rise from the 113,000 households affected on Monday. This is at least partly attributed to the great number of trains that have resumed operating.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:37:34 AM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Some readers have been emailing the BBC about an "urgent" news flash purportedly from the BBC advising people in "Asian countries" to take certain steps in light of the radiation leak at the Fukushima plant in Japan, particularly if it is raining. Please be advised this is fraudulent and this advice has NOT been issued by the BBC.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:51:19 AM EST
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph

The Red Cross has attacked fraudsters who it claimed tried to "profit from human suffering" through a fake online appeal for victims of the disaster in Japan.

E-mails claiming to be from the Red Cross asked for donations to an account at online payment company Moneybookers, but the Red Cross group said the account was "totally unrelated" to its appeal and had now been closed down.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:36:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in case you were wondering how the 'markets' (casinos) were responding, here's a secondhand link to a WSJ article:    http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/112345/hedge-funds-had-bets-against-japan?mod=bb- budgeting&sec=topStories&pos=7&asset=&ccode=  

paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 01:11:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To everyone commenting in these threads. I have virtually no access to TV or news, and limited net periods, so this is absolutely an important compendium for me to parse.

Vielen Dank.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:59:55 AM EST
Seconded.  Pretty busy at work, and I'm sort of popping in and out trying to keep up.  Much thanks.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:17:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I should have written that there were likely many people who rely on these threads for4 the real balance of technical and strategic news. As the amount of info and disinfo mounts, these threads are even more important.

So thanks for keeping it high-level, technically competent and focused on the immediate events rather than trying to editorialize.

I can't imagine what they're saying at the Yurpeen wind conf in Brussels i just blew off. Heard little from those there.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:42:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Due to all the highly technically competent people here (myself not included), I feel that the analysis and reporting that is collected here is at least as good as that of the best newspaper in the world, the Financial Times.

You guys are awesome!

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:45:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Geiger Counter Tokyo USTREAM has just come online, and it's showing 39cpm - the usual background is 12cpm.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:01:08 AM EST
Flickr: U.S. Pacific Fleet's Photostream
U.S. Pacific Fleet's photostream


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:10:42 AM EST
On the FP of the NYT there's a there's a Flash slideshow outlining the sequence of explosions on the basis of the latest overhead/sat photos of the facility.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:22:35 AM EST
Fukushima nuclear incident now upgraded to level 6 on the INES Scale - http://bit.ly/9uLpD - Three Mile Island was a 5, Chernobyl was a 7.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:08:57 AM EST
I'm really anxious to see if Russia's people are able to clarify anything.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:18:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
International Nuclear Event Scale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Level 6: Serious accident
Impact on People and Environment
Significant release of radioactive material likely to require implementation of planned countermeasures.

Example

  • Kyshtym disaster at Mayak, Soviet Union, 29 September 1957. A failed cooling system at a military nuclear waste reprocessing facility caused a steam explosion that released 70-80 tons of highly radioactive material into the environment. Impact on local population is not fully known
Note how the example of level 6 involves failed cooling of spent fuel, too.

Containment of spent fuel appears to have been designed with less care, since as the fuel in that setting it is not intended to go critical, what can possibly go wrong?.

As I argued yesterday

It appears that, once you start injecting boric acid and untreated seawater into the reactor core, you destroy it. That probably counts as a 5.

If the NY Times is correct and the emergency cooling and venting of steam contaminated with fission products from disintegrating fuel canisters may go on for months, the amount of released radiation could possibly exceed the ranges for a level 5 incident.

I had already commented that the Japanese nuclear safety agency's claims this was a level 4 were PR:
I think we're well past unlikely to result in implementation of planned countermeasures other than local food controls and into Limited release of radioactive material likely to require i mplementation of some planned  countermeasures and Severe damage to reactor core; release of large quantities of radioactive material within an installation with a high probability of significant public exposure. This could arise from a major criticality accident or fire.

So the guy is probably full of shit about the level 4.



So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:31:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not PR. In the meantime, we went from a 1 mSv maximum event (the venting with subsequent hydrogen explosion) to a 400 mSv maximum event (the spent fuel pool explosion and fire).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:37:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know this is not PR, but for the first 24h it was, both from TEPCO and from Japan's nuclear safety agency.

The adults may now be in charge. Can we hope PM Kan might prove to be better at handling the emergency than TEPCO's management?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:41:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Loomking at the examples of INES-4 and INES-5 events, I think we overestimated the damage from the first hydrogen explosion, and it really was at the limit of INES-4 and 5 at that stage. Some of the INES-4 included deaths, after all.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:54:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only source for the INES-6 upgrade I can find, BTW, sources it to the French nuclear authority.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:24:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only INES-6 was the infamous 1957 Mayak plutonium factory incident in the Soviet Union.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:32:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the past 45 years, about half a million people in the region have been irradiated in one or more of the incidents, exposing some of them to more than 20 times the radiation suffered by the Chernobyl disaster victims.[1]

Which is not an encouraging precedent.

At the moment, in spite of press conferences and TV appearances, it's obvious that TEPCO either don't know what's happening at the plant, or if they do know they're not saying - or possibly both.

Or neither.

Is it asking too much to have a summary of exactly what's happening at each reactor, what has/hasn't been damaged, what is/isn't on fire, what is/isn't heating up or cooling down, which parts are/aren't spreading radioactivity into the air, and what the prognosis is for the next 24 hours?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:46:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you asking me, the BBC, or TEPCO's English translators, or what?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:51:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Is it asking too much to have a summary of exactly what's happening at each reactor, what has/hasn't been damaged, what is/isn't on fire, what is/isn't heating up or cooling down, which parts are/aren't spreading radioactivity into the air, and what the prognosis is for the next 24 hours?
You're probably not the only one asking...

DoDo:

In the first meeting held at the power company, Kan strongly condemned the company for the way it has been addressing the problem. He said that when an explosion occurred at its No.1 reactor on Saturday, he watched the reports on television, and that the prime minister's office was not notified for about one hour.
tuasfait:
Premier Kan told TEPCO, "You are the last man out. There is no such thing as retreat from here. Don't you want to die a man?" (paraphrasing a bit).


So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:53:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point isn't just that radiation is a bad thing, but that large-scale contamination will kill an economy.

If passengers have to be screened before flying, if food can't be sold abroad, if electronics and cars have to be junked because they're all mildly radioactive, you might as well evacuate the entire population and move them to a different part of the world.

And if you have a pool full of spent fuel rods burning out of control, or a major reactor leak, that kind of contamination isn't unlikely.

The area around Chernobyl was relatively lightly populated, and the industry could be recreated elsewhere.

Japan's population and industry are both packed far more densely. Even without a dead zone, you can dirty-bomb one of the world's major economies into oblivion with barely any effort at all.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:16:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And if you have a pool full of spent fuel rods burning out of control, or a major reactor leak, that kind of contamination isn't unlikely.

And those condiderations are exactly why detailed, authorative information on the design and construction of each of the affected reactors is important. It would show IF there is containment that feasibly could catch a melted core and allow it to cool. The evaporating and/or leaking water in the "spent fuel" pools are an even greater concern as they are quite likely exposed to the air in at least units 1 and 3. If they cannot keep these pools above the level of the stored rods I cannot see how major releases of very nasty radioactive substances can be avoided. Keeping water over the rods must be assured at any cost, as the consequences for failure COULD be the loss of habitability of large parts of Japan.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:22:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And an uncontained meltdown of a core to below the reactor would, given the location, likely contaminate the adjacent ocean for centuries, leaving it unfit for fishing, among other things, while the Japanese diet relies heavily on fish from the ocean.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:25:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan's nuclear emergency: Live blog  Al Jazeera

12:18am Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of quake-hit Japan's nuclear power plants at Fukushima, says it may use a helicopter to pour water on the rooftop fuel rod pool - to immerse the 20-years-worth of used fuel that also needs to be kept cool to avert meltdown.

I can only hope this is in error in some ways. It implies that there is no other storage facility for spent fuel rods. 20 years! Half the fuel rods ever used are stored in a pool above the reactors.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:55:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
783 fuel rods in the pool, held in secure steel racks,unlikely to have collapsed, criticality reaction unlikely to happen just heard on Japanese TV

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 01:20:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was just a live blogging Q&A on ElPais.com with a nuclear engineer. All questions were about meltdown or chernobyl, nobody asked about spent fuel pools. So he was able to truthfully answer that nothing was likely to happen. (Although Japan has admitted that one of the reactor vesselsmay be compromised)

He did say the reactor cores will be scrapped.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 01:33:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
criticality reaction unlikely

STRAW MAN ARGUMENT! The real danger is release of significant amounts of fission particles into the air. Fortunately, Uranium oxide "ceramic" won't burn, as in oxidize. Whether it can be reduced or is likely to melt is another question.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 01:48:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was a little surprised that Zirconium canisters can "burn" when heated, given that

Zirconium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An important use of zirconium is for nuclear reactor fuel cladding (in the form of zircaloys) because of its low neutron-capture cross-section and resistance to corrosion.
However,
In powder form, zirconium is highly flammable, but the solid form is far less prone to ignition. Zirconium is highly resistant to corrosion by alkalies, acids, salt water, and other agents.


So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 01:57:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess things change in the presence of +75 atmospheres of superheated steam. What I read is that the water dissociates, hydrogen is released and zirconium burns. Perhaps under extreme conditions zirconium is a catalyst also. But this is well beyond anything I know about.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:54:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If powdered Zirconium is flammable, it is quite likely molten zirconium is, too.


So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:05:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can only hope this is in error in some ways.

Based on what I am just reading (in German), it likely is. The experts asked day that the plant has a larger central spent fuel storage facility, the 20 years worth of stuff must be here. What's atop the reactors is temporary storage facilities.

However, the problem is not just what's atop No. 4, but No. 1 to No. 3, too. The amount in these is 50, 81 and 88 tons, "relatively low". Satellite photos show that at least one was damaged by the hydrogen explosions atop No. 1 and No. 3.

As for cooling the one atop No. 4, the problem is supposedly that the heat is too much to get to the pools with the fire hoses with seawater, hence the helicopter idea.

The experts also focus their blame on the General Electric design.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 02:18:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
As for cooling the one atop No. 4, the problem is supposedly that the heat is too much to get to the pools with the fire hoses with seawater, hence the helicopter idea.
Doesn't that pretty much guarantee a steam explosion? Unfortunately #4 is reported to have lost all the water.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 03:06:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we can agree that the information/media work by TEPCO and the Japanese government has been awful.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 02:22:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently the first the the Prime Minister did when taking over was to shout at the corporates for their poor information passing abilities

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 02:41:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm always doubly suspect; andin this case I wonder if this news isn't just meant to give the appearance of resolute action and greater credibility to the PM.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 02:44:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not the case: Naoto Kan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kan has earned the nicknames 'Ira-Kan' or 'Fretful-Kan' due to his reputed short temper.


So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 03:03:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
reuters - Radiation too high for normal work at control room of No.4 reactor of Fukushima Daiichi plant - Kyodo

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:18:53 AM EST
Seems to have deteriorated substantially since I went to bed last night.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:19:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding previous Kyodo news, levels too high for people to stay in control room, but they are cycling people in and out, not abandoning

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:55:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They're down to 50 people (NYT):

According to government statements, most of the 800 workers at the plant had been withdrawn, leaving 50 or so workers in a desperate effort to keep the cores of three stricken reactors cooled with seawater pumped by firefighting equipment
by Jace (jace6315 at yahoo etc.) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:56:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Jace (jace6315 at yahoo etc.) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:58:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in the 90s (working on software). Never visited the parts which would have required me to wear a radiation badge, despite invitations : I had no business there.

I remember one time an engineer I worked with told me : tomorrow I've got three bolts to check on the reactor that is undergoing decennial revision. I've got 20 minutes to do it, and that'll be my radiation allowance for the year.

If they've only got fifty people on site, and they can't stay in the control room more than X minutes without going over the dose... they can't do much useful work there.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:04:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They have only 50 people on site because they have to rotate people not just in and out of the control room, but in and out of the site itself.

They've evacuated the 800 staff, presumably to give themselves 16 extra teams of 50. If we're lucky.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:08:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Uhhh... the METI just implemented a rule change: the limit was raised to 250 μSv for emergency work. (They say though that the 1990 ICRP agreement allows for even 500 μSv in this situation.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 01:21:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hopefully they have off-site backup control rooms, like we  do, IIRC.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 02:25:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well i dont read japanese but frrom twitter

TEPCO tries to end presser. Journalists fight back "だめ!だめ!" and the questions continue...

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:24:31 AM EST
"だめ" (dame) means "wrong, don't do it".
by das monde on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:52:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:03:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 68 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
TEPCO expects power demand of 38 million kW tomorrow, against a supply of 33 million kW. It says it may implement rollover blackouts for the upcoming three-day weekend, as well as weekdays.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:54:08 AM EST
Japan earthquake | Page 68 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
TEPCO says the holes in the wall of the outer building at reactor 4 have left the spent nuclear fuel pool exposed to the outside air.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:55:18 AM EST
Japan earthquake | Page 68 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
The problems at No. 4 are more acute because all of its fuel rods are in the pool while 5-6 have only 1/3 as many fuel rods. But temps slowly rising at 5-6 also.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:04:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 68 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
Spend Fuel Pools at reactor 5 and 6 are at around 84° celisus, according to TEPCO and NHK. Normal temperature is 40°. They are monitored closely, but at the moment temperature is not rising any further


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:05:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
watchdog IAEA says radiation levels at main gate of #Fukushima Daiichi site fell between midnight and 0600 GMT on Tuesday

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:56:50 AM EST
Japan earthquake | Page 22 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
The IAEA say a radiation does level of 0.6 mSv per hour was observed at the main gate of the Fukushima plant at 0600 GMT, down from 11.9 mSv per hour six hours earlier.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:07:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See upthread.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:26:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Levels of radiation in Tokyo spiked on Wednesday morning to around 20 times normal levels, according a spokesman for Tokyo's Metropolitan Government, quoted by the Japan Times. Shintaro Ishihara, said though raised they would not cause health problems.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:45:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Experts warn not to drink iodine-based gargles amid radiation fear | Kyodo News

Experts warned on Tuesday that consumers should not swallow disinfectants and gargles containing iodine as an alternative to stable iodine that eases health damage caused by radiation exposure.

The warning was issued amid a sharp increase in demand for the disinfectants and gargles after the detection in Tokyo of small amounts of radioactive substances, including iodine and cesium, apparently due to the trouble at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in northeast Japan following last Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

The disinfectants and gargles contain various substances that become harmful to health if taken orally, the National Institute of Radiological Sciences said.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:09:42 AM EST
AFP: Police say at least 3,373 people have been killed in the Japan quake-tsunami

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:10:29 AM EST
Tokyo Japan Times (localjapantimes) on Twitter
Reports coming in that Shinkasen's out of Tokyo are filled with women, children and gaijin.

Tokyo Japan Times (localjapantimes) on Twitter

Re Tokyo Station exodus. RT @tonymcnicol: @localjapantimes lots of families with young children. Quite a few NJ too. Fairly busy.

RT @jinki1: Halfway to Osaka. At Tokyo station, the platform was full of salaryman dads waving goodbye to their kids thru Shinkansen windows

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:11:57 AM EST
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph
Long, long queues for trains in Tokyo. Commuters lined up side by side in double queues to get into subway stations. One line stretched around several city blocks. Trains in the usually hyper-efficient Japanese capital were still facing disruptions but commuters seemed to bear the delays patiently.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:10:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nikei index fallen by 17% in the last two days - BBC

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:12:34 AM EST
Japan in crisis: Live blog | Al Jazeera Blogs

Steff Gaulter, Al Jazeera's senior meteorologist, gives us the latest forecast:

Currently there's drizzle in Sendai, Japan - but this will turn to snow in the next few hours. It's going to get colder and colder in the next few days.

For Fukushima, obviously the winds are important for determining where the radiation travels: Currently they are from the south-east at 10kph, but are forecast to change in around an hour, becoming 20kph from the north or north-west.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:14:34 AM EST
Japan in crisis: Live blog | Al Jazeera Blogs

The US military says that it has moved several Navy ships including the carrier USS Ronald Reagan closer to the Japanese coast after initially pulling them back due to radiation concerns.

A spokesman for US forces in Japan said favorable weather conditions allowed the ships to move closer to Japan's northeast coast to support Japanese relief and search and rescue operations.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:14:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 22 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
TEPCO says it is likely to pour water into the no.4 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi within two to three days. It may pour water in through the holes in the outer building.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:16:14 AM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
The International Atomic Energy Agency says Japan has monitored 150 people for radiation levels and carried out decontamination measures on 23, Reuters reports.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:20:30 AM EST
Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami - live updates | World news | guardian.co.uk

The UK government's chief scientific advisor, John Beddington, says it is wholly wrong to compare the situation at the Fukushima plant with Chernobyl (thanks to anymorepie in the comments section, who has more details of what Beddington apparently said today).

The point about the Chernobyl thing was, it went up to 30,000ft or so and it continued for months on end. The sort of thing that would happen with an explosion in Fukushima would actually be relative duration, hours at the absolute most. What happened with Chernobyl was that the graphite core caught fire and you got radioactive material being putting out to a very great height over a very long period and pretty much went round the world. That radioactive material then went in to the food chain, sheep ate it and concentrated it. That was the problem. It's totally different here in Japan.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:25:08 AM EST
The Oil Drum | Fukushima Thread: March 15, 2011
And for a "chief scientist" he switched units for the hight the plume reached in Chernobyl (feet) to the expected hight in Japan (metre). He definitely sounded like a man with an agenda - Plenty more Nukes for UK.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:52:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami - live updates | World news | guardian.co.uk
Laura Oliver points out that Marian Steinbach, based in Germany, is collating all the real-time radiation data, collected via the System for Prediction of Environment Emergency Dose Information(SPEEDI), for the various prefectures in Japan in this Google Doc.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:25:37 AM EST
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph

a reporter for Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail, tweets:

In Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate prefecture, I was told up to 40 per cent of pre-tsunami population of 24,000 may be dead.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:31:12 AM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Austria will relocate its Japanese embassy from Tokyo to Osaka given the unpredictable situation of the quake-hit nuclear power plants, the Austrian foreign ministry has said, according to Agence France Presse.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:32:34 AM EST
The Oil Drum | Fukushima Thread: March 15, 2011

The truth is always stranger than fiction, if Hollywood had dreamt up the current sequence of events and comedy of errors that this is turning into, nobody would ever bother to watch it, as it is just too far fetched.

Placing the spent fuel pools directly over the reactor core, is just further evidence that the whole nuclear industry just does not have a clue about real safety and the potential for cascading problems of the power in atomic forces.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:57:50 AM EST
And there are >30 such plants in the USA. Previously, had I seen such a diagram as we have seen here of the GE reactor, I would have assumed that they were only for very temporary storage. I do not know how long a rod can be left exposed to the air immediately after removal from the core or prior to insertion into the core and I can see that this might justify a temporary pool adjacent to the reactor. But leaving the rods in this pool for a year seems to produce a very long window of vulnerability.

The alternative would be to have a separate series of spent fuel pools in a secure structure separate from the reactor, on separate footings and with an enclosed pathway for automated transit of the rods between facilities. Doubtless, this was considered to have been ludicrous overkill and a waste of money at design time.

My own expectations were probably informed by articles from Scientific American, etc. decades ago which showed storage pools separate from the reactors for spent fuel rods.  

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:07:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami - live updates | World news | guardian.co.uk
Russian nuclear accident specialist Iouli Andreev said a fire today, which released radiation, involving spent fuel rods stored close to reactors, looked like an example of putting profit before safety. Andreev said:
The Japanese were very greedy and they used every square inch of the space. But when you have a dense placing of spent fuel in the basin you have a high possibility of fire if the water is removed from the basin.


"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:23:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Possibly true, but, also, land is much more abundant in Russia than in Japan on any metric you could choose. That fact has undoubtedly been incorporated into the way almost all Japanese frame any consideration involving land use. But that still does not justify potentially dangerous design.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:30:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And even with much more abundant land available, this seems like a case of the pot calling the kettle black, given the previous nuclear safety history of the two countries. Same for China's statements about the Japanese government being very secretive about problems in their nuclear industry.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:32:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How would you get them from the reactor to the external pool? They're very radioactive and require cooling. It's easier to pull them from the pressure vessel and then move them into an adjacent pool...

Here's some text about the refueling process at the Oconee Nuclear Station in South Carolina. It's a pressurized water reactor, not a boiling water reactor, but it suggests some of the fuel handling issues...

During a refueling outage, the 177 fuel assemblies in the reactor vessel are moved to the spent fuel pool for storage and inspection while maintenance is performed on the reactor vessel and other systems. To accomplish this task, a fuel-handling crane securely grapples to and transfers each fuel assembly, located under 40 feet of water, from the reactor vessel to an underwater transfer system which moves the fuel assembly to the spent fuel pool. Once in the pool, and while still underwater, another fuel-handling crane grapples to and transfers the fuel assembly into the correct location in the pool. Care is taken to protect the fuel assembly during this operation and to prevent damage, which would possibly require repair underwater with long-reach tools.

The same process is then performed in reverse order to refuel the reactor vessel. During this refueling process, 60 new fuel assemblies which have been prestaged in the spent fuel pool prior to the start of the outage, are installed to replace the 60 oldest fuel assemblies, creating a new cycle of 177 fuel assemblies to refuel the reactor vessel.

http://www.profsurv.com/magazine/article.aspx?i=714

by asdf on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:47:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More detail about how BWR nukes work than you would ever want to know... http://www4.ncsu.edu/~doster/NE405/Manuals/BWR6GeneralDescription.pdf
by asdf on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:10:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ReutersBreakingNews (REUTERSFLASH) on Twitter
U.S says detects low-level radioactivity at Yokosuka U.S. military base in Japan


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:58:19 AM EST
Japan earthquake | Page 22 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
Some more on that U.S. military story: "These measures are strictly precautionary in nature. We do not expect that any United States federal radiation exposure limits will be exceeded even if no precautionary measures are taken," the Seventh Fleet said in a statement.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:10:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph
The latest news from the US Navy is that 17 helicopter crew members had to be decontaminated after flying search and rescue missions.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:39:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 22 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
Magnitude 6.2 quake hits eastern Japan - TV


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:59:04 AM EST
Preliminary magnitude for earthquake that hit eastern Japan revised to 6.0 - TV

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:59:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 22 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
Chubu Electric Hamaoka nuclear power plant operating normally after quake that hit eastern Japan - NHK


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:59:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 22 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
No worry of tsunami after latest quake - Kyodo


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:00:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Press conf via NHK placing new quake at 6.4....Shizuoka area.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:08:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
reports of landslides and possible building collapse(s)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:08:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
upgraded to 6.4, unless this is a different one

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:10:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
deapth 15 km

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:10:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
no connection to Mag 9 earhquake

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:11:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greg Mitchell (GregMitch) on Twitter
Latest 6.4 quake via NHK: some injuries, some poles down, train service halted. Unclear if much damage.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:17:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greg Mitchell (GregMitch) on Twitter
I'm sure not likely, but Japanese reporters at press conf ask if new quake near Mt. Fuji could set off volcanic activity.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:17:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph
The tremor which had its epicentre at Shizuoka was the first with a magnitute higher than six ever to strike that area, but no emergency committee was called as the location of the quake was relatively far from Friday's quake.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:34:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph
The magnitude of the Shizuoka quake has been upgraded to 6.4, according to Kyodo news.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:35:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 22 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
Kyodo is reporting Japan's defense minister Toshimi Kitazawa as saying the government is considering using SDF helicopters to pour water on the spent fuel pool - akin to the method often used on forest fires - but the measure is on hold due to difficulty assessing the potential impact on the submerged fuel rods and the personnel involved.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:38:52 AM EST
Japan's nuclear emergency: Live blog | Al Jazeera Blogs
Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of quake-hit Japan's nuclear power plants at Fukushima, says it may use a helicopter to pour water on the rooftop fuel rod pool - to immerse the 20-years-worth of used fuel that also needs to be kept cool to avert meltdown.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:40:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain has the right helicopter pilot for them...

St. Petersburg Times

Once a test pilot, Melnik lives in Spain, where he has received a royal award for his efforts in aerial firefighting. His most dangerous mission, however, came in 1986, when he was sent to help measure radiation at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after one of its reactors exploded.

...

For the past decade, Melnik, 51, has been living comfortably with his wife and son in a house in Alicante, Spain, fighting fires and helping out in emergency situations.

Living what he calls a calm and stable life in Spain, Melnik said he would trade it back for the years when he did "real man's work."

"If I was given what I had back in the Soviet times, I would not have gone to Spain," he said. "What I do in Spain now is a game for kids. I used to do serious risk-related work."



So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:45:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But forest fires is about choking the fire (or so I guess, since that is the general rule in fire fighting) while this is about cooling. How much would the choppers have to deliver per hour?

Sounds desperate to me. If they can not pump enough water there, I doubt they can fly it.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:39:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 22 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
The IAEA is now saying that yesterday's explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi plant may have affected integrity of main containment vessel.

It says there is a 30km no-fly zone in place around the plant.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:40:21 AM EST
IAEA says all units at Japan's Fukushima, Onagawa and Tokai nuclear plants are in a "safe & stable" condition

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:49:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Without specifying the reactor affected, this news is meaningless.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:07:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IAEA Update on Japan Earthquake
After explosions at both Units 1 and 3, the primary containment vessels of both Units are reported to be intact. However, the explosion that occurred at 04:25 UTC on 14 March at the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 may have affected the integrity of its primary containment vessel. All three explosions were due to an accumulation of hydrogen gas.

Interesting – that rules out steam explosion, Japanese sources didn't.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:21:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 22 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
U.S. energy secretary Steven Chu says U.S. radiation monitoring equipment will arrive in Japan in two hours.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:12:01 AM EST
Kevin Rose - blogg - Apple's Role in Japan during the Tohoku Earthquake

Wow, this email is from a friend of mine that works for Apple in Japan... makes me happy Apple went the extra mile here, check out his story below:

---

Dear Alex L, David, & Kevin, Hi this is XXXXX in Japan.  As you all must have heard, the 5th largest earthquake in recorded history hit us on Friday, 2:30pm Japan Time.  As Alex often says on TWiM, stories on the ground are often quite different from the stories in the news, and there is a tech story that I'd really like to tell: the story of Apple Inc in Japan.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:25:05 AM EST
Japan's nuclear emergency: Live blog | Al Jazeera Blogs

Japan's nuclear crisis has sparked panic buying of iodine pills in the United States, with online bids exceeding $500 for one packet, reports AFP news agency.

But health experts have warned the pills are of limited use.

Potassium iodide, a preventative for radiation sickness, completely ran out of stock at pharmacies across the country's West Coast, who had a rush on the over-the-counter pills.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:26:48 AM EST
Japan in crisis: Live blog | Al Jazeera Blogs

It's important to remember that these are winds at the surface, and winds at different heights go at different speeds and different directions. At an altitude of around 10km, the height that aeroplanes fly, the prevailing wind is towards the west coast of the USA.

This means that what happens to the radiation depends on what was released - and how high in the atmosphere it travels.

Currently it's raining in the area, which means that any radiation can't get particularly high in the atmosphere, so any problems should be confined to the immediate area to the west/northwest of the site - as the winds are coming from the east - south-east.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:28:40 AM EST
Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami - live updates | World news | guardian.co.uk
Japanese violin virtuoso Taro Hakase will be playing this evening, at 5pm at St Pancras International, to raise money for the British Red Cross Tsunami Appeal, with David Juritz and Maciej Janas. They are planning to play in the concourse, near the Eurostar terminal.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:48:03 AM EST
The Great Beyond: Fukushima Crisis: Radiation exposure, beyond the numbers

This morning, I awoke to a press conference by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano rattling out a string numbers on radiation exposure (dutifully recorded in my previous post). This post is intended to explain what these numbers actually mean.

Radiation

Radiation is the generic term given to whatever comes out of heavy atoms when they decay or split apart. It is actually confusing because there are three very different things that can be produced:

Alpha radiation, in which an atom releases a helium nucleus.

Beta radiation, in which an atom releases an electron.

Gamma radiation, in which the atom releases an energetic light particle like an x-ray or gamma-ray.

In the case of the Fukushima situation, there are two major isotopes to worry about. The first, caesium-137, is a gamma emitter. The second, Iodine-131, is a beta emitter.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:48:14 AM EST
1923 Kanto Earthquake: Echoes from Japan's Past - Alan Taylor - In Focus - The Atlantic
With the massive quake and tsunami that struck Japan last week, the specter of another devastating event has returned: The 1923 Kanto earthquake, which shook the region around Tokyo, was the country's last "big one." The 7.9-magnitude quake reduced much of Tokyo to rubble, and as refugees tried to leave, firestorms swept through the city. More than 100,000 people died during the Kanto quake and its aftermath. These archival images, drawn from the U.S. Geological Survey, AP, and Brown University's Dana and Vera Reynolds Collection, show the horrifying wreckage. They're a reminder that Japan has faced brutally difficult rebuilding efforts before, and succeeded in building back better. (Alexis Madrigal and Alan Taylor) [24 photos]


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:50:34 AM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has offered assistance to Japan's finance ministry and the Bank of Japan, Reuters reports.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:57:05 AM EST
Because the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear diasters weren't bad enough?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:16:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Timothy Geithner has offered assistance to Japan's finance ministry and the Bank of Japan

Now, on the top of an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear catastrophe,  they will have a financial crisis...

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet

by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:38:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph

15.46 The EU is considering whether to carry out "stress tests" on all of Europe's nuclear power plants as it attempts to learn from the crisis in Japan.

The developments came as Guenther Oettinger, the EU energy commissioner, raised the prospect of a nuclear-free future for Europe, telling Germany's ARD television: "We must raise the question if we in Europe, in the foreseeable future, can secure our energy needs without nuclear energy."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:00:59 PM EST
Why consider it? Just do it. Increased controls and vigiliance never hurts.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 02:35:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However, if  plant fails the stress test, the retrofit might cost a lot... especially seismic and aerial impact retrofits.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 02:43:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that's a good thing. Money spent on increased safety after weaknesses have been identified are never wasted, not even from an "private property enlightened self-interest point of view", as recent developments in Japan have shown. The people who own TEPCO probably feel that spending a bit more om safety might well have been profitable...

Furthermore, the nuclear industry cannot exist without the trust of the public. Total transparency, cooperation and an obsessive focus on safety is in the interest of the industry itself. What's happened in Japan is bound to concentrate a lot of minds in the nuclear industry, outside Japan as well.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 02:52:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, on one hand, at one point the costs may exceed that of replacement with renewables... on the other hand, the cost decisions are in the hand of managers.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:09:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
at one point the costs may exceed that of replacement with renewables

... that's why transparent auditing is important. But emotions run too high for rational decision-making...

I suspect that retro-fitting old sites to acceptable standards is likely to bee too expensive. New plants will have to justify high standards...

Note that France is currently planning to jack up electricity prices 20% per year several years running, in order to afford new-generation nuclear power stations. Coincidentally, the price of electricity from these new, "safe" plants aligns with the European norm.

Interesting debate : did France have the cheapest electricity because of hidden subsidies for nuclear, or because not-for-profit government monopolies can be more efficient?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:49:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
did France have the cheapest electricity because of hidden subsidies for nuclear, or because not-for-profit government monopolies can be more efficient?

Both.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:01:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Remember the banking stress tests, of which we're about to have a second round of rigged, useless tests with unrealistic assumptions by certain powerful central banks to protect the banks they're supposed to be regulating?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 03:04:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Edwin Lyman from UCS says TEPCO briefings  "getting less and less transparent."

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:22:48 PM EST
I wondered how much of this drawdown on information (e.g. all recent plant-level updates are for the Fukushima Daini plant only) is at the language barrier. Indeed checking the Japanese sites,I find a 6 pm update for Fukushima Daiichi and more stuff; will post what I find with Google translate.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:29:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here they posted a complete timeline of radiation level readings! Up to 6:00 pm local time, when it was 401.7 μSv at the main gate, after sinking continously from the 11.93 mSv maximum.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:34:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is another for the Fukushima Daini plant. At 3:10 am local time today, they measured a 912 μSv/h peak – based on the timeline, that doesn't look like fallout from the explosions at the other plant, and I don't think we saw that reported before. (It could be wind-blown venting from the other plant, though.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:43:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Radiation level updates:

  • There was another rapid increase at Fukushima Daiichi main gate, peaking at 8.08 mSv/h at 11:30 pm local time, dropping to 6.308 mSv/h by 11:35 pm.

  • Fukushima Daini remains at 8.99 μSv/h at midnight.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:16:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is the 4:00 pm local time status report for both plants. Bits of interest:

Fukushima Daiichi:

  • No. 2: core isolation cooling (this is the steam-powered cooling if I am not mistaken) failed on 14 March at 1:25 pm. By 5:15 pm, water level has reached the top of the fuel rods, and they began injecting water. Today 6:14 am: the explosion is heard, pressure drops, no reason is given. Evacuation of workers not working on the pumping is initiated.
  • No. 3: by 14 March at 6:50 am, pressure rose to 530 kPa, and the abnormal pressure event was declared at 7:44 am. By 9:05 am, pressure dropped to 490 kPa. Explosion at 11:01 am, white smoke rising, 4+3+3 injured.
  • No. 4: on 15 March at 6 am, explosion and 5th floor roof damage. 9:38 am: fire on 4th floor confirmed, fire dies by 11 am.

Fukushima Daini:
* Radiation levels exceeded limits on 14 March at 9:58, special situation declared at midnight.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 01:04:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Between the above release and the announcement of the No. 4 explosion/fire, there are only radiation level press releases in Japanese, too. So barely more info than in English.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 01:09:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 82 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
The IAEA chief says communication with Japan over the nuclear crisis needs to be strengthened. He says he would like to have more timely and detailed information from the country.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:37:43 PM EST
Shoot Tokyo - A friendly Photography Blog from Tokyo, Japan. Come and learn more about Photography and Japan!
Tokyo has a very strange vibe to it right now.   I have never experienced something like this before.   There is a lot of concern with people about what is going on with the nuclear reactors.  There is a lot of misinformation flying around and people are concerned if they are being told everything or which news reports to listen to.   A lot of the facts and figures being thrown around are difficult for people to digest and understand adding to the confusion and concern.   Trains continue to run at limited capacity.   Tokyo Electric Power is running rolling blackouts across Japan.  Start Tuesday...


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:41:51 PM EST
From the UN:
The Government of Japan has received offers for assistance from more than 102 countries and 14 international organizations. It has accepted assistance from about 15 countries based on assessed needs, which is mostly specialized international urban search and rescue (USAR) teams and medical teams. There are now more than 605 international specialists conducting assessments, search and rescue, and medical assistance in Japan accompanied by 50 dogs. A 12-member Mongolian team has also been deployed.

USAR Team Personnel Rescue Dogs Area of Action
Australia 72 2 Miyagi (Minami-Sanrikucho)
Germany 43 3 Miyagi (Minami-Sanrikucho)
France 134 - Miyagi (Sendai City)
Mexico 9 6 Miyagi
New Zealand 65 - Miyagi (Minami-Sanrikucho)
China (PRC) 15 - Iwate (Ofunato-cho)
China (Taiwan) 30 - Miyagi (Sendai City)
S. Korea 105 2 Miyagi (Sendai City)
Russia 54 3 vehicles Miyagi (Sendai City)
Singapore 5 5 Fukushima (Soma City)
Switzerland 27+2 9 Miyagi (Minami-Sanrikucho)
UK 64 2 Iwate (Ofunato-cho)
USA 148 12 Iwate (Ofunato-cho)
USA-Hungary Baptist Aid 4 - -
Int'l Rescue Dogs 12 9 -
Turkey 8 - -
Int'l Medical Corp 14 - -

The US Military is providing considerable support to the Government of Japan's response operations with military assets that include air, sea and ground capability. Two Seahawk helicopters have already delivered food to Shiroishi, one of the worst affected areas. In total nine ships will make up the US relief efforts. The US Government has allocated US $35 million to the operation `Tomodachi' which translates as `friendship' in Japanese.

by Jace (jace6315 at yahoo etc.) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:45:20 PM EST
According to television news, Sweden sent an expert the other day. Perhaps one person is to few to list, or he is part of another delegation. When asked if a larger team should not be sent, the answer was that decision time + transport time was in this case to long to be of any help. Which means that the recommendations after the 2004 tsunami about creating a structure for fast decisions has not been implemented.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:29:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph
A quirky offer of help from the Russian president Validmir Putin, according to the Wall Street Journal. The keen judo fan has apparently offered for the Japanese judo team to train in Russia along with their families.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 01:25:19 PM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Europe's Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger says Japan's nuclear disaster is an "apocalypse", adding that Tokyo had almost lost control of events at the Fukushima power plant, AFP report.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 01:31:34 PM EST
Well, it's certainly an apocalypse for his nuclear revival dreams.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 01:32:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beck Uses Kitchenware And M&Ms To Explain Japanese Nuclear Crisis | Media Matters for America
Beck Uses Kitchenware And M&Ms To Explain Japanese Nuclear Crisis


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 01:35:57 PM EST
In stressful situations, a little comic relief may be helpful.

But it is still Glenn Beck.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 01:59:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The analogy of a BWR as a pressure cooker has been used by every nuclear expert I've seen talking about this. It's not a bad analogy, hence the kitchenware.

If you listen to the clip, he starts by saying his presentation is based on Josef Oehmen's blog post Why I am not worried. Now, that post has been picked up by all kinds of conservative websites. If you google the title you'll find neither the current MIT hosting site not the original blog at the top, but rather free republic and other such sites.

I continue to be hesitant to call it astroturfing, but clearly it's become the right-wing's unofficial "position paper"...

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 02:03:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
India has ordered imported Japanese food products to be tested for radioactivity, food safety authorities said on Tuesday, according to Reuters. Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines have already ordered similar tests.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 01:40:20 PM EST
Remarkably good news from JR East (Railway Gazette):
East Japan Railway Vice-Chairman Yoshio Ishida and President & CEO Satoshi Seino gave an update on the effects of the disastrous March 11 earthquake and tsunami. JR East understands that no customers or employees were casualties of the disaster. Three regional trains were washed off the track, but the passengers had been successfully evacuated. However there are fears that off-duty staff and their families may not have survived.
No word yet on the Sanriku Railway, but judging from the tremendous damage along parts of the line (Kyodo News), I expect the news to be somewhat less positive.
by Jace (jace6315 at yahoo etc.) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 02:21:33 PM EST
TEPCO : Press Release | Damage to the Unit 4 Nuclear Reactor Building at Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station
At approximately 6:00am, a loud explosion was heard from within the power station. Afterwards, it was confirmed that the 4th floor rooftop area of the Unit 4 Nuclear Reactor Building had sustained damage.

After usage, fuel is stored in a pool designated for spent fuel.

Plant conditions as well as potential outside radiation effects are currently under investigation.

TEPCO, along with other involved organizations, is doing its best to contain the situation. Simultaneously, the surrounding environment is being kept under constant surveillance.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 03:03:08 PM EST
Factbox: Travel warnings after Japan's earthquake | Reuters
(Reuters) - Following are travel warnings from several countries following Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant, causing explosions and sending radiation into the air.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 03:13:10 PM EST
AJELive (AJELive) on Twitter
Subaru suspends overtime at US plants to assess availability of car parts from #Japan after #tsunami. #AlJazeera: http://aje.me/gor4Fv


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:37:27 PM EST
Reuters Top News (Reuters) on Twitter
FLASH: Japan nuclear safety agency says Fukushima No. 4 reactor roof is cracked

Reuters Top News (Reuters) on Twitter

FLASH: Japan nuclear safety agency says 2 workers are missing after the explosion at Fukushima No. 4 reactor


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:40:09 PM EST
NHK WORLD English
Japan's Foreign Ministry has briefed foreign embassies about the nuclear power plant's crisis in Fukushima, after higher-than-normal radiation levels were observed near the plant.

Diplomats from about 60 embassies in Japan gathered for the briefing at the ministry on Tuesday.

Officials at the ministry and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency described measures, including evacuation orders for residents near the power plant, announced by Prime Minister Naoto Kan.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:46:16 PM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
The US-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) has said it agrees with the assessment of France's Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) that the incident at Fukushima should be classified as level 6 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), one below Chernobyl. Following a number of explosions and a fire at the plant which released dangerous levels of radiation, ISIS said the situation had "worsened considerably" and was now closer to a level 6 event. "It may unfortunately reach a level 7," it added.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 04:51:27 PM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
The BBC's Aidan Lewis adds: "The operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), has given no information about their employees. But one expert suggested that workers who have retired or are based in other parts of the country are likely to be called in as the crisis drags on. Those already on duty are being hailed as heroes."


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:01:18 PM EST
reports that two workers are missing after the explosion in number 4

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:09:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan safety agency: roof cracked at Fukushima No 4 reactor | Reuters

(Reuters) - Two workers are missing after Tuesday's explosion at one of the reactors at a crippled Japanese nuclear plant, the country's nuclear safety agency said.

The agency did not identify the missing workers, but said they were in the turbine area of the No.4 reactor at the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was damaged by last Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

Agency official also told a news conference there was a crack in the roof of the reactor building.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:10:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph
Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) has denied that two missing plant workers from reactor four went missing after Tuesday's explosion and insisted that they have been lost since the earthquake and tsunami struck Fukushima.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:05:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed they have been mentioned in the English-language TEPCO reports.

TEPCO : Press Release | Plant Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (as of 9am March 13th)

- Presence of 2 TEPCO employees at the site are not confirmed


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:08:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's true TEPCO reported two employees unaccounted for on Friday already: Plant Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (as of 0AM March 12th )
Two subcontract workers were injured in the nuclear power station premise.  
One with a broken bone was transported to the hospital by an ambulance and
the other by a company car.
Further, there are 2 TEPCO employees whose presence has not been confirmed.
(my emphasis)

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:09:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm afraid some Bushido spirit will be needed to see this through.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:49:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
The BBC's Roland Buerk in Tokyo says that as well as dropping water from helicopters onto the fourth Fukushima reactor - in an attempt to cool it down - officials are considering removing the outer panels, to reduce the build up of hydrogen which caused the previous explosions.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:30:53 PM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) has just announced it is abandoning the plan to use helicopters to drop water as it would be too impractical, AP reports. It said other options were being considered, including using fire engines. Our correspondent said there had been concerns over the proposal, not least because of the possible health impact for the helicopter pilots.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:31:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 83 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
Breaking news from NHK, quoting Tokyo Electric Power: Fire breaks out at Fukushima Daiichi No.4 reactor


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:52:59 PM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Flames are rising from the reactor, AP reports.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:56:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Noooooo...

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 05:57:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 83 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
NHK is reporting that the fire is inaccessible because of radiation levels.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:23:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami - live updates | World news | guardian.co.uk

9.15pm: A fire in the spent atomic fuel pool at Japan's stricken nuclear reactors would dramatically raise the dangers of a radiation leak, the Guardian's US environment correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg reports.

Nuclear engineers warn there is more radioactive material stored in those pools than in the reactor cores. There is also a bigger chance of radiation spreading due to fire.

"If the spent fuel pool is on fire, the chances of radioactivity getting to the public are very much higher," said David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

He said the unit 4's reactor core was emptied out into the spent fuel pool last year following a shutdown. "There is much more material there because there is at least one reactor core plus what there was to start with, and it is in a building that has a big hole in the side of it," he said.

Scientists began raising concern about the possibilities of fire and radiation leak from the waste sites on Monday.

Robert Alvarez, a senior policy expert at the Institute of Policy Studies, told a conference call with journalists that satellite pictures of the Fukushima plant showed evidence of damage.

"There is clear evidence that the fuel cask cranes that haul spent fuels to and from the reactor to the pool both fell. They are gone," he said. "There appears to be copious amounts of steam pouring of the area where the pools is located."

The damage confronts technicians with the tasks of cooling both the reactor and the fuel pools, where temperatures also began rising dangerously once the nuclear plants lost power.

"The spent fuel pool in unit 4 is boiling, and once that starts you can't stop it," said Jim Riccio, a nuclear expert at Greenpeace. "The threat is that if you boil off the water, the metal cladding on the fuel rods that is exposed to the air and is volatile will catch fire. That will propel the radiation even further."

A report by the National Academies of Science in 2005 warned of just such a danger.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:27:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
2210 Tepco has confirmed that a fire broke out at reactor four in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Smoke is pouring from the reactor, a spokesman told reporters.

2216 The BBC's Matt Frei in Tokyo says spent fuel rods in reactors five and six are also now believed to be heating up.

(...)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:23:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is it. I really want to cry now.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:29:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fire in NW corner of building on 4th floor, thought to be a motor(pump)? that circulates water in the storage pool.

Yesterdays fire extinguished naturally,  but they still say that three hours after the fire was noticed, they cant get anyone on site to to extinguish it. several ways have been suggested, extinguishing by helicopter or by fire engine outside through the holes in the wall. but no decision as yet has been made.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:53:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph
As of the evening of Mar. 15, some 448,000 quake survivors have evacuated to around 2450 shelters, says NHK.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:06:14 PM EST
Aggregate radiation monitor

A mini-app that scrapes data from the main Japanese monitoring site for each prefecture and creates a graph.

Monitoring is down in Fukushima and Miyagi, which is to the north.

Ibaraki is the next prefecture to the south, and there's been quite a spike of activity today.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:06:47 PM EST
Im seeing reports that radiation has drifted up the coast in the NY post, but its not sure whether that's current or from this morning

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:24:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also available in jpg.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:30:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only heard a bit, so I may not have understood properly and gotten it totally wrong, but BBC World Service radio just said the coolant had been restored???

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:36:48 PM EST
2235 Tepco spokesman Hajimi Motujuku says the fire at reactor four is in the outer housing of the containment vessel. Its cause is not yet known, AP reports.

Your guess is as good as anyone's.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:38:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reactor 4 was stopped for inspection at the time of the earthquake. This is entirely an accident of the spent fuel pool.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:43:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
2246 Japanese news agency Kyodo reports that the storage pool in reactor four - where the spent fuel rods are kept - may be boiling. Tepco says readings are showing high levels of radiation in the building, so it is inaccessible. Radiation levels had fallen late on Tuesday but remained abnormal.

So is it boiling, or burning?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:50:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 85 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
NHK is reporting the flames at the No. 4 reactor are no longer visible


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:10:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami - live updates | World news | guardian.co.uk
A spokesman for the Fukushima plant's operator has said: "At around 0545 today, our employee carrying batteries to the control room discovered smoke billowing from the building of reactor 4 [at Fukushima Daiichi]."


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:52:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami - live updates | World news | guardian.co.uk

The fire in reactor 4 has now been brought under control, the Japanese government is now saying, according to the AFP news agency.

It reportedly took hold because the fire on Tuesday morning (JST) was never properly extinguished.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:53:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank God! We can now cancel the panic. Until next time. Because as things look, I am sure more shit will go wrong tomorrow, somehow.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:04:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Im waiting for the next major government announcement which if it follows previous pattern will be in around an hour or two

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:49:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And I'm going to bed. I hope the reactors are still standing in 6 hours' time.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:59:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tokyo Electric Power says the building of the No.4 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is on fire again. Nobody was injured.

The company said at a press conference that the fire was confirmed at 5:45 AM on Wednesday. It says the northwestern corner of the 4th floor, which was on fire on Tuesday, has caught fire again. This is where the pump used to put water into the reactor is located.

TEPCO has requested firefighters. It said workers cannot reach the fire due to the high level of radioactivity at the site.

The No.4 reactor caught fire at 9 AM on Tuesday. TEPCO said the first fire extinguished itself.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 07:46 +0900 (JST)

I'm going to bed too - I'm not going to wait up to see if the core melts down, Godzilla or Cthulhu surface, or an asteroid obliterates the entire Pacific rim.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:25:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tepco says readings are showing high levels of radiation in the building, so it is inaccessible. Radiation levels had fallen late on Tuesday but remained abnormal.

One of the research areas that the Japanese have touted is robotics. This would seem an ideal application for a pair of robots, one a large crane with cameras and lift capability for a flexible pipe and the other a small, self powered robot that could be inserted into the structure from the first robot. If the small robot could get the end of the pipe over the storage pool water could be added until it stopped turning into steam and started to fill the pool. A panel might need to be removed from the top so that large volumes of steam could escape without blowing up the structure.

In the US robotics teams in jr. high and high school compete annually in designing from scratch robots to new specifications each year. Surely there are numerous industrial robotics experts in Japan. Failing that, is there a sea monster that spews water?    

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:43:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was a problem at Chernobyl that the radiation was too intense for robots.

It stripped the paint from them, their brains fried, and they fell over.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:45:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And it's specialised paint that they use on anything in these situations, designed to avoid damage from radiation.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:55:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They would need to be built with radiation hardened electronics. I know such things exist. I have a relative who worked on the meson facility at Los Alamos which was specifically built as a test facility for such purposes as the energies available matched those in the vicinity of nuclear events. That is not to say that I have any idea what level of hardness has been acheived.

Had they been required to upgrade their control systems in the last ten years they probably could be run over a LAN or WAN from a safe distance. But local capability would still be required to deal with failures of sensors and failures to respond to commands and that would be best done with robots. Of course then there would be the danger of computer worms, etc. such as we were crowing about having used on Iran's nuclear industry recently.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:29:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LEGOs melt in the dishwasher, though, so your NXT wouldn't be very helpful...
by asdf on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:20:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A stopped reactor still needs active cooling, as long as the fuel is still in place, no?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:14:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And so does a pool of spent fuel, as long as there are fuel canisters in the water.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:18:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. While cooling needs fall exponentially over time, we still cool our 40 year old spent fuel. But for old fuel the needs are so small that you can use passive air cooling (ie plonk the cask down out in the parking lot) which is what is done when you use dry cask storage.

On topic, while I think panic is usually not a rational choice, soon it might be. This is becoming an INES 7 awfully quick. I never thought we'd see that in a non-RBMK reactor.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:58:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And to see you, who normally has a positive view of Nuke saying that in many ways more worrying than lots of other comments.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:04:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In spite of this accident the energy logic of the future has not changed. I deeply believe that in the coming decades we will to a great degree lose that old luxury of the 20th century, being able to choose between different energy sources, and discard some of them because we dislike them. In the future we wll use anything and everything we can get our hands on, and this includes nuclear energy. We will have to use nuclear energy to a greater degree in the future than we do now. No matter how much this accident has shaken me - and it certainly has! - the logic is iron hard. We can only burn those fossil fuels that we have already discovered, and we cannot discover what doesn't exist.

Still. I didn't think this could happen. I knew meltdowns were not theoretically impossible in western reactors, but I had the impression that they could be contained, like at TMI. Hopefully and likely this accident can still be contained. But there is a non-insignificant chance that such efforts will fail.

Afterwards, the weaknesses in plant security will seem obvious: tsunami is even a Japanese word! And I bet that all those plants with GE Mark I containments will face very hard scrutiny.

Oh shit. In all this disaster it seems I might face a small pecuniary accident myself: how many of the US utility Exelon's reactors are GE Mark I's? Uh-oh... Somehow this paradoxically feels good: a small problem to distract me from the big ones.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:23:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still. I didn't think this could happen. I knew meltdowns were not theoretically impossible in western reactors, but I had the impression that they could be contained, like at TMI. Hopefully and likely this accident can still be contained. But there is a non-insignificant chance that such efforts will fail.

I don't think many people were expecting a meltdown in the spent fuel pool of a reactor that was down for maintenance. But experts did:

A 1997 study by the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island described a worst-case disaster from uncovered spent fuel in a reactor cooling pool. It estimated 100 quick deaths would occur within a range of 500 miles and 138,000 eventual deaths.

The study also found that land over 2,170 miles would be contaminated and damages would hit $546 billion.

That section of the Brookhaven study focused on boiling water reactors -- the kind at the heart of the Japanese crisis.

One of the things that will need to be revised in light of this is the global standard of nuclear fuel handling and nuclear waste management. Not so much - perhaps surprisingly - the design of the reactors, which even if they undergo meltdown will likely be contained.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:39:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is just awesome.

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Fact Sheet on NRC Review of Paper on Reducing Hazards from Stored Spent Nuclear Fuel

The NRC staff has reviewed the paper, "Reducing the Hazards from Stored Spent Power-Reactor Fuel in the United States," April 21, 2003, Robert Alvarez, et al., (published in Science and Global Security, spring 2003) and concludes that it fails to make the case for its central recommendation.

...

The paper suffers from excessive conservatisms throughout its cost benefit evaluation. Therefore, the recommendation for an accelerated program of complex and costly measures does not have a sound technical basis. In the United States, spent fuel, in both wet and dry configurations, is safe and measures are in place to adequately protect the public.

...

... For example, the authors' analysis of societal costs is based on a 1997 Brookhaven National Laboratory study which was performed for a reactor site location that represents an extremely high surrounding population density and is not representative of an industry average.

But, anyway, that was an unexpected bonus from my google search for the title of the Brookhaven paper:
In estimating fuel damage, the paper again makes reference to past NRC studies which conservatively assumed bounding pool configurations for cooling analysis and conservatively assumed the extent of radiation release. In the 1997 Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) study, "Severe Accidents in Spent Fuel Pools in Support of Generic Safety Issue 82," (NUREG/CR-4982), it was assumed that 10-100% of the cesium-137 was released to the atmosphere. Similarly in NUREG-1738 the base case assumed the release of 75% of the total cesium-137 inventory. The assumption of such a large release in NUREG-1738 was a large conservatism which was tolerable for the purposes of that study. However, it is neither a realistic estimate nor an appropriate assumption for a risk assessment of security issues where realism is needed. Ongoing research to address these issues includes more detailed realistic analyses of the thermal response of fuel to loss of water scenarios and more detailed, realistic analyses of the radionuclide releases for those scenarios where adequate cooling is not maintained. Based on preliminary analyses, we conclude that spent fuel in pools is more easily cooled even in the event of a complete loss of water. Further, preliminary analysis indicates that previous NRC estimates of the quantities of fission products released were high by likely an order of magnitude. Earlier NRC studies used large conservatisms, in generic calculations, with simplified modeling.
It's remarkable to see a regulator report arguing that the purpose of risk assessment is to convince yourself that the risks are as small as you can get away with.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:51:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The use of the BNL study's site characteristics, instead of a mean value considering all sites, biases the economic impacts and societal costs of the postulated worst-case fuel damage event by a factor of 5 - 10.
Yeah, because 10,000 deaths is acceptable from the point of view of a nuclear safety regulator, whereas 100,000 wouldn't be. Or you can cope with 50bn in damage but not with half a trillion. Or you can deal a 500 mile radius of contaminated land but not 2000 miles.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:56:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That "review" is an interesting example of framing. Because the original paper was supposed to assess the threat of a terrorist attack, there seems to have been some semantic bleed and involuntary misdirection away from the basic science of storage pools, and what's likely to happen in a pool if cooling is lost.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:16:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thats amazing, im surprised no one from the traditional media has run across it yet

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:57:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why don't you frontpage it?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:00:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's getting near a new diary time,

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:01:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
300+ comments, congrats everyone!

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:02:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently at DaiNi it had.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:41:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I keep forgetting the potential disaster is happening at more than one plant.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:46:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just found one of the El Pais journalists following the story on ElPais.com twitter-like live feed still hasn't figured out that there are two separate nuclear plants in Fukushima.

<facepalm>

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 06:49:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anchor on BBC "How quickly do you think they need to bring the fire under control?"

<facepalm>

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:00:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A New Threat in Japan: Radioactive Spent Fuel - Ecocentric - TIME.com
Would a spent fuel fire be worse than a meltdown of the reactor core?

Pick your poison. Fresh fuel is hotter and more radioactive, but is only one fuel assembly.  A pool of spent fuel will have dozens of assemblies.  One report from Sankei News said that there are over 700 fuel assemblies stored in one pool at Fukushima. If they all caught fire, radioactive particles--including those lasting for as long as a decade--would be released into the air and eventually contaminate the land or, worse, be inhaled by people. "To me, the spent fuel is scarier. All those spent fuel assemblies are still extremely radioactive," Dalnoki-Veress says.



"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:03:43 PM EST


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:12:25 PM EST
Japan reactor design caused GE engineer to quit | Reuters

(Reuters) - A General Electric Co engineer said he resigned 35 years ago over concern about the safety of a nuclear reactor design used in the now crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan.

Dale Bridenbaugh said the "Mark 1" design had "not yet been designed to withstand the loads" that could be experienced in a large-scale accident.

"At the time, I didn't think the utilities were taking things seriously enough," Bridenbaugh, now retired, said in a phone interview. "I felt some of the plants should have been shut down while the analysis was completed, and GE and the utilities didn't want to do that, so I left."

Bridenbaugh said that to the best of his knowledge, the design flaws he had identified were addressed at the Daiichi plant, requiring "a fairly significant expense."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:30:02 PM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Meanwhile the Tokyo Electric Power Company has said an estimated 70% of the nuclear fuel rods inside reactor 1 at Fukushima Daiichi have been damaged, along with 33% of the rods inside reactor 2, the Kyodo news agency reports. The reactors' cores are believed to have melted partially when their cooling systems malfunctioned


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:38:52 PM EST
Swedish authorities and power companies had been running a previously scheduled nuclear emergency exercise, depicting an accident much like that in Japan. As people involved felt somewhat busy covering and analysing the real accident, they ended the exercise prematurely.

I also read that unlike Swedish reactors, the reactors in Japan lack radiation filters. We had them installed after Three Mile Island. If the Japanese had had those, far less radiation would escape during steam venting. Not that the majority of the radiation seems to come from the venting anymore, but still. It says something about the safety culture.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:42:53 PM EST
Kyodo News Agency: Spent nuke fuel pool may be boiling, further radiation leak feared (15 March)
Agency officials said the fuel rods will not reach criticality again as they have been stored in racks containing boron to prevent the phenomenon.

Edano said water temperature in the pools at the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors in the Fukushima plant has been rising as well.

The three reactors were not in service when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake jolted Fukushima Prefecture and other areas in northeastern Japan on Friday.

The agency said among the three, the situation is the severest for the No. 4 reactor because all the fuel rods are stored in the pool due to the change of the reactor's shroud. At the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors, up to one-third of the rods are kept in the pools.

The new development followed a critical situation at the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima plant earlier in the day, in which part of the reactor's container vessel was damaged following an apparent hydrogen explosion at 6:10 a.m.

So because they were repairing reactor number 4, the spent fuel pool there was the most heavily loaded of the whole plant, and therefore the first one to boil off the water when cooling failed.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:55:44 PM EST
Is George W Bush the CEO of TEPCO?  This has all the markings of a ginormous Bush fuck-up.

Just wondering aloud.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:58:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe the CEO's name is Murphy.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:02:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought it was Homer.
by Jace (jace6315 at yahoo etc.) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:36:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
D'oh!

Can we cool the fuel pools with doughnuts?

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:25:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This all feels like an never-ending nightmare. I can't imagine how it feels to the Fukushima locals.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:02:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chernobyl hero Iouli Andreev accuses Japan of putting profits before nuclear safety | News.com.au
Mr Andreev, who now teaches and advises on nuclear safety, also accused the IEAA of being too close to corporations building and running plants and dismissed the emergency incident team set up by the watchdog as "only a think-tank not a working force".

"This is only a fake organisation because every organisation which depends on the nuclear industry - and the IAEA depends on the nuclear industry - cannot perform properly. It always will try to hide the reality," he said.



"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:00:36 PM EST
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph
Reuters is reporting that Tepco says its is considering dispersing boric acid over reactor four from a helicopter.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:08:09 PM EST
So they are admitting they fear a meltdown of the spent fuel canisters.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:11:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well Personally unless theres electrics in there that might be effected I'd have been doing it as soon as the hole was open, if the radioactivity was copeable with.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) says it will be extremely difficult to spray water from a helicopter to cool down a storage pool for spent nuclear fuel in the No.4 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Earlier Japanese news agency Kyodo reported that the storage pool could be boiling, while Tepco said readings showed high levels of radiation, making the building inaccessible.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:35:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Google can routinely drive cars through populated cities by remote control, one would think that it would be possible to rig remote control for heavy equipment that could then operate in highly radioactive environments. I strongly suspect brain freeze due to panic has long ago set in and outside help is really desperately needed.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:55:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rig remote control for heavy equipment that could then operate in highly radioactive environments
 

Ionizing radiation fries the electronics--fouls solid-state devices hopelessly.  Lead shielding ends up being too thick and heavy for mobility.  The Soviet Union tried making electronics more robust by using vacuum tubes, but who does that nowadays?  

And in any case, when the Soviets tried robots at Chernobyl, they failed.  They had to go back to using teams of humans acquiring debilitating (and often fatal) doses in one-minute shifts.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Thu Mar 17th, 2011 at 02:35:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami - live updates | World news | guardian.co.uk

The central government has dispatched troops and pledged to send extra volunteers and food supplies. In Ishinomaki, the food has to be transported by helicopter to a nearby football stadium. But the relief operation does not appear to match the scale of a disaster still not properly understood.

"What we have been given so far is not enough," said Kitamura. "Our needs are enormous. People have lost their homes. They will be here a long time."

Getting supplies to the area is difficult. The regional refinery at Shioyama has burned down so oil will have to come from further afield.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:13:04 PM EST
NHK news reports are showing show over ruined towns, not settling, but not good for people in shelters

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:17:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC reporting problems with petrol supplies, local refinerys out of use, so fuel having to be brought in from outside (and I assume a large part of Japanese fuel transport is by Rail, so that maybe difficult too) The organisers of the rescue efforts are saying they have trouble getting enough fuel for rescue teams, let alone to bring in enough food and water for people in shelters. People in Tokyo are also reporting insufficient fuel in Tokyo to go and pick up relatives from further north.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:47:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ninth Meeting of the Headquarters for Emergency Disaster Response for the 2011 Tohoku - Pacific Ocean Earthquake / Seventh Meeting of the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters
I like a Prime Minister who goes to meetings in work overalls.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:13:43 PM EST
On this view of the reactor's building, one cansee the spent fuel pool at the top, to the right of the reactor vessel (under th gantry crane)



"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet

by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:17:24 PM EST
I wish that the illustration did not show three of the torus supports on grade. I hate to make error correcting assumptions on this subject.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:59:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters Top News (Reuters) on Twitter
FLASH: Nikkei share average extends gains, up 6.05 percent


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 08:18:30 PM EST
This is a very interesting document, do check it out:

https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/mragheb/www/NPRE%20457%20CSE%20462%20Safety%20Analysis%20of%20Nuclear%20Re actor%20Systems/Containment%20Structures.pdf

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:09:39 PM EST
getting a failure

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:33:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Google "A misconception about nuclear power plants containment structures" and you'll get it.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 04:34:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
0117: Live Japanese television pictures appear to show white smoke still billowing in the area of the building housing the No.4 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, despite reports that a new fire there was under control.


Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:37:10 PM EST


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