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Disappeared Fukushima Thread

by Crazy Horse Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 10:03:44 AM EST

Coupla weeks since we turned to the disaster in Japan. Being good media children.

Spin's in overdrive. CEO of Germany's biggest energy "whatever" calls Frau Merkel an "eco-dictator." Nuclear Plants are virtually carbon free. And economically viable.

"Melt through" sounds so much more benign than your average "meltdown," though experts tell us its worse. the scarcity of facts scares me the most.

Perhaps this is the place to begin another debate on nuclear power?

frontpaged - Nomad


You'll notice i haven't included any photos. They're really horrible, especially when you realize they're invisibly moving.

The Union of Sub-Surface Water Tables has lodged a complaint with the Japanese Ministry of Sub-Surface Water Management, who responded, we're busy, we'll get back to you.

The Association of Ocean Creatures has so far been unable to organize a response, as they're still in shock.

The Society of Farmers of Northern Japan has remained meek and subservient, as they should, not wishing to bring dishonor to anyone.

The Rational Students of a Golden Fission Energy Future have begun their offensive operations, and i do mean offensive.

(Ok, i can't go on with such personal drivel. I would like to see some debate and perspective on the upshot from Fukushima, along with a space for news and science updates. So ET can not be accused of letting the story drop.)

[editor's note, by Migeru] Japan disaster threads:

Display:
I'd like this to be a place for serious discussion of nuclear power, especially as Germany's actions have made it an international issue (as if Fukushima didn't). I'd also like to see the latest science, news, and even speculation, find free reign hier.

And i'd like to see if diametrically opposed positions can find a way to discuss without dissing. And i'd especially like to see whether and how pro-nuclear people now view their industry, and how they adjust to this, should i say?, unmitigated disaster?

methinks Japan is fucked. are there other views? methinks the damage might have wider effects than Japan.

Thinking it through, i wanted to have a discussion about the technology, the economics, the social policy... without resorting to a discussion of the biological effects of low-level radiation.

But that's wishful thinking, you can't separate the two.

So on with it, please.

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 03:55:27 PM EST
No, seriously, i miss the threads where we parsed the latest data, and they've been missing the past two weeks or more. I mean, so iodine's got a short half-life, does that mean the news dries up?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 04:05:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's been missing for 4 weeks, actually...

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 02:42:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan Earthquake Registered Only 6.67 - Nuclear Induced Tsunami - Japan Offers Iran Enriched Uranium - An Act of War? - Japan: Knife At Its Throat : Abel Danger

2. Reactor 4 is building 7, demolished by explosives. [爆発物によって破壊された] Reactor 4 had been defueled and was undergoing replacement of it's internal stainless steel shroud, yet blew it's containment anyway. That is the FINAL smoking gun, an empty reactor is inert, and cannot produce an explosion, yet one happened at 4 that was so powerful it destroyed the structure leaving it in danger of falling over. Overheated open fuel pools cannot produce hydrogen because in an open fuel pool the water boils off at 100 Celsius, and won't be present in pressurized form at 2,000 degrees Celsius to liberate it's hydrogen by losing it's oxygen to the zircon cladding in the fuel rods. The rods will prefer the free oxygen in the air and burn long before attempting to claim the oxygen in whatever humidity there might be. The fact that the rods can catch fire only enforces the fact that they cannot release hydrogen in open air the way they can in a reactor. If you entertain the fantasy that they could, another problem against buildup presents itself - the hydrogen would be safely burned the moment it was created on the surface of the superheated rods. There would be no buildup. Fuel rods are many orders of magnitude below incapable of going supercritical also, even if totally melted down. The explosion at #4 was flatly impossible.

Reactor 4's dome was removed for defueling. Drone photos prove it. This dispels the rumors surrounding unit 4's explosion. Some people have said that this reactor was secretly in operation to enrich plutonium. This photo proves it was disassembled for shroud replacement as stated. Tepco is going out of it's way trying to explain the explosions, especially at reactor 4, because they did indeed occur, so an explanation is needed. As a result, they are giving reasons that cannot happen, just to say something.

have fun debunking, science wonks!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 08:52:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just the title is hilarious... regarding the No. 4 hydrogen explosion, see upthread.

Overheated open fuel pools cannot produce hydrogen because in an open fuel pool the water boils off at 100 Celsius, and won't be present in pressurized form at 2,000 degrees Celsius to liberate it's hydrogen by losing it's oxygen to the zircon cladding in the fuel rods.The rods will prefer the free oxygen in the air and burn long before attempting to claim the oxygen in whatever humidity there might be.

Just to piece together all that has been mixed up above:

  • 2,000°C was the estimated maximum temperature of exposed fuel rods in the core of some of the reactors, not the reaction temperature of steam;
  • the zircalloy cladding starts reacting with water below 800°C,
  • unlike zirconium powder, zircalloy cladding will not burn (it will oxidise alright, but will not ignite even at melting temperature),
  • pressure is less relevant to reaction rate than density, and less density doesn't mean no reaction just slower reaction,
  • water evaporating from the pool and rising up in it is very well present to react with the fuel rods,
  • however, the current theory abiout the origin of the exploded hydrogen is no more the spent fuel pool (its evaporation wasn't as dramatic by the time of the explosion), but hydrogen from No. 3: the venting pipes of both No. 3 and No. 4 unite and exit into the same exhaust stack, thus part of the hydrogen exiting No. 3 could  flow 'in reverse' into No. 4.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 09:31:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What latest data are we going to parse if, as you say in the diary, there's "scarcity of news"?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 02:43:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's gone off the media radar. What sources do we have to, (bad pun alert), keep it on the boil?

This is a call for sources - who knows where we can continue to put together the Fukushima picture?

Otherwise, I was thinking of a post on the consequences for the nuclear industry in terms of risk assessment and costs. I'm not sure what can yet be said with any certainty, but I've posted and reposted this recent piece by Paul Gipe:

Nuclear power is expensive and uninsurable | Grist

The detailed study considered three forms of ownership: merchant plant, investor-owned utility, and publicly owned utility. Merchant plants are built to serve deregulated markets and assume a high degree of market risk. They may not be able to sell all their electricity at any one time if their price is too high. Investor-owned utilities are the traditional private companies serving a regulated market. In California, Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison are investor-owned. Publicly owned utilities are municipal utilities, like SMUD. Publicly owned utilities pay fewer taxes and have access to lower cost financing than either investor-owned utilities or merchant plants.

The CEC's 186-page report, "Comparative Costs of California Central Station Electricity Generation" [PDF], found that a 1,000-megawatt pressurized water reactor would generate electricity in 2018 from as little as $0.17 per kilowatt-hour to as much as $0.34 per kilowatt-hour. These results are startling: Most renewable technologies today, even solar photovoltaics (PV), generate electricity for less than that. Only a municipal utility could generate nuclear electricity for less than the cost of solar PV.

Currently, Germany pays between $0.31 and $0.41 per kilowatt-hour for electricity from solar PV, which means that the cost of solar-generated electricity today is equivalent to the cost estimated by the CEC for a nuclear plant beginning operation in 2018. And all observers, even critics, expect the cost of solar PV to continue declining during the next decade.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 08:36:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paul called me a few weeks ago, and we discussed Germany. Glad he's staying on the case.

California under Brown (again!) will try to lead the way in amurka, and they're paying attention to what goes on here in 'Schland.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 10:38:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK World is still carrying Fukushima stories.

Obviously as the official news source there's some filtering.

But there does still seem to be real news about events at the plant.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 10:59:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well theres still the odd piece coming out of NHK World

and physics forums has a long running thread which has most of the links, if you can cope with the arguments about wobbly walls or whether a reactor floor equipment piece is here or there on individual photos.

and there's also a  couple of other threads in the same place on politics and business effects of the earthquake and reactor 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 Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 11:12:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well at one point the Japanese government took over all press dealings from TEPCO, and they stopped a) giving out press releases in anything other than Japanese and b) inviting any non Japanese media to press conferences, since when people have been  trying to work out what is happening mainly from raw data in the Japanese releases, which appears to be too hard work for many journalists.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 11:17:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]

methinks Japan is fucked. are there other views?

Not from me.  Japan, as a people and a nation, is destroyed.  It will take a while to play out, but their fate is sealed.  

methinks the damage might have wider effects than Japan.  
 
The end of western Pacific fishing is an obvious concern.  From there, the spreading destruction of fisheries throughout the world.  More immediately, Japan's industrial system will enter decline/collapse, and the supply of key high-tech components for the world economy will be disrupted.  Globalization is already coming apart, and Japan is now accelerating the process.  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 08:43:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dude, whatever you do, don't go easy on those superlatives. Fukushima is worse than TMI and far less bad than Chernobyl. Maybe on par with Windscale? And still, the Ukrainians, Americans and Brits are all still there. So will the Japanese. Seriously.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 01:46:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dude, whenever someone states an opinion that begins with dude...

how about trying to make a real argument. on whose scale is Fukushima less than Chernobyl?  As the international body has already declared them equal, you might be on shaky footing, even if i don't give much credibility to the international agency myself.

And how about first discovering whether there's been any damage to the Ukrainians still there? (PS, Belorussia got it worse.) With so much statistic and science currently in dispute, and enough evidence about official lack of desire for real data, you might need to tone down your arguments... Dude.

Let's try to shelve the arrogance and technical hubris for the sake of this discussion.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 01:58:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The lastest numbers I saw, Fukushima was 10 % of the release of Chernobyl. Furthermore, most of it went out so sea where it is eventually diluted so much it disappears in the background radiation. There seem to be some ground contamination and hot spots in areas around the plants, but calling it the end of Japan as a country or people is just ludicrous.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 02:42:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can we see the last numbers you saw? If, according to you, you have better information, share it.

And yes, drop the dude stuff.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 03:02:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry for the snappishness guys. No insult intended. It's just that catastrophism on that scale leaves me entirely exasperated. If I truly believed in the destruction of the people and nation of Japan, I'd be going to the bank, maxing out my mortage and shorting Japanese government bonds. I hope none of you are doing that, because Japan as a nation and a people will be fine, and I wouldn't like you to lose your savings.

I'm sorry to say I can't recall exactly where I saw the data on the total radioactive emissions. It was somewhere in the mainstream media and was probably linked to here on the ET. That's the best I can do right now.

And the sea is big. It's already full of molten down submarine reactors, and no harm done that anyone can even detect. If we wanted to we could grind all the nuclear waste in the world to microscopic dust and slowly disperse it in the oceans, without even noticing any uptick in the background radioation as it over time would spread evenly. Not that I argue for such a measure, for a number of reasons, but still.

Make no mistake: the Fukushima accident is the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. But it's not the end of Japan, nor is it likely to be dangerous outside the exclusion zone (60 km, right?). Indeed, excepting unlucky hotspots and the plant site itself, the area inside the zone will be safe in not too long a time, if it not already is that. The vast majority of the emissions happened during the first few days of the accident, and most of the activity naturally comes from the elements with the shortest half-lifes, which have already decayed or are in the process of decaying. Soil contamination from radioactive iodine and strontium will be the lasting damage to hot spots and the plant sites, as they have a half-life short enough to be dangerous and long enough to hang around for considerable time spans.

This is bad, but Goodzilla aint in Tokyo.

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

by Starvid on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 04:45:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I truly believed in the destruction of the people and nation of Japan, I'd be going to the bank, maxing out my mortage and shorting Japanese government bonds.

Has it ever occurred to you that it might be morally questionable to profit from the death of a country and its inhabitants?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 05:33:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't be uneconomic.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 05:43:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be making the Market (tm) more Efficient (tm). Joking aside, if you are dead certain that the price of a security will move in a certain way which isn't discounted by the market, it'd be foolish not to exploit that as long you're not breaking any laws. You could always donate the profit to those 120 million Japanese refugees we supposedly should be expecting.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 05:50:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I truly believed in the destruction of the people and nation of Japan, I'd be going to the bank, maxing out my mortage and shorting Japanese government bonds.

Has it ever occurred to you that it might be morally questionable to profit from the death of a country and its inhabitants?

He would not be.

He would be separating some sucker in the bond market from his money. That transaction hasn't a hill of beans to do with the situation in Japan. They might as well be two croupiers in Vegas for all anybody in the real world would care.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 05:58:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ps. I meant cesium and strontium, not iodine.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 05:52:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the area inside the zone will be safe

By "safe", do you mean below radiation level limits? The problem with this is the probabilistic nature of damage from low-level radiation, combined with large populations. If, say, the Fukushima fallout over northern Japan beyond the exclusion zone causes an excess cancer death rate of one in a thousand over an area inhabited by 10 million people, that's still 10,000 victims. This is a certain effect of uncertain magnitude, unfortunately with uncertainties in the orders of magnitudes. (This didn't keep the authors of the Russian Academy of Sciences study on Chernobyl to also estimate the dead from Chernobyl fallout across Western Europe and North America in the hundreds of thousands.)

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

by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 10:44:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And 10,000 victims will not bring down the nation of Japan.

It is, for example, a smaller total impact than the cancer epidemic from the chemical industry, which has failed to taken down any national economies to date. Indeed, it could be fewer than the lives Japan saves relative to the US by its less intensive reliance on driving private vehicles.

The set of "bad things, but not an existential threat to the continued existence of a national economy" is one with a quite wide range.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 11:53:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(This is where macro-economics fails to capture the phenomena.)

Depends on who the 10,000 is ... doesn't it?  Only (about) 3% of a nation's population is Creative Class where the rubber-meets-the-future.  In some industrial areas we're talking tens of people who have the knowledge and ability to drive the R&D to successful products.  

Example:

Fukushima was the leading global center for digital camera research and development.  With these people dead, missing, or running away from radioactivity the entire digital camera industry is falling from the grasp of the Japanese.  If it get away from them, they won't get it back; they will always be behind the curve.  

Same basic process happened to Motorola and is happening to Nokia in the mobile telephony business.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 12:11:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And there you have in a nutshell the difference between what hit Fukushima itself and what would happen as a result of 10,000 distributed fairly randomly across 10million.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 04:18:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since the numbers for both disasters remain in dispute, particularly Fukushima, and this one remains ongoing, a bit of caution in any assertion might be in order.

in fact, since the levels reported by TEPCO/Ministry have continued to change over time, and we also know they didn't report the melt throughout until months after they knew, how much should we trust any figures?

do we have any idea of what's happening to the water table?

but assume you're correct, and it's only 10% poisonous, is that then a safe level?

diluted in the sea? right, the oceans are a neutral absorber, particularly in sushi land.

And what if the statistics from the Pacific Northwest turn out to be viable, that infant mortality has already increased?

PS. There's nothing wrong with modern usage of Dude, just that what works in conversation doesn't work in print.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 03:55:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The lastest numbers I saw, Fukushima was 10 % of the release of Chernobyl.

Nuclear fuel has melted through base of Fukushima plant - Telegraph

In early April, the agency said some 370,000 terabecquerels escaped from the facility. It now believes that figure was 770,000 terabecquerels.

That's now 15% (and the origial figure was more like 7%). Interestingly, another government agency got out a number closer to the current NISA figure based on the emissions:

Fukushima nuke crisis upgraded to '7'

According to the agency, the total amount of iodine-131 and cesium-137 emitted between March 11 and at 11am Tuesday reached 370,000 terabecquerels according to the reactors' estimated condition. Within this assessment, cesium levels were converted to their equivalent in iodine-131 levels.

The Cabinet office's nuclear safety commission, meanwhile, announced Tuesday that the total amount of iodine and cesium emitted between March 11 and April 5 was 630,000 terabecquerels (again, with cesium levels converted to the iodine equivalent), calculated according to the amount of radiation observed around the facility.

...In the Chernobyl crisis, about 5.2 million terabecquerels of radioactive material was emitted into the air in the space of 10 days.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 10:29:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What the Fukushima is going on? | Energy Bulletin
While the internet appears to be ephemeral it can in reality provide a trace, and we can use this trace to assess exactly what we were being told by the BBC. On 14 March BBC churnalists were reporting the view of 'international nuclear watchdogs' (presumably the IAEA) that there was no sign of a meltdown, balanced by the comment of an unnamed minister that the 'melting of rods' was 'highly likely'. On 27 March the BBC reported that workers were 'trying to cool the reactor core to avoid a meltdown' at a time when we now know that three meltdowns had already occurred. Perhaps strangest of all was the constant repetition of the bizarre phrase 'partial meltdown', as though nuclear fuel could somehow resemble a chocolate fondant pudding.


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 06:05:24 PM EST

We were, throughout the early days of the disaster, when people were still listening to the stories, being reassured that this was an old plant whose design is no longer used. This is, as made clear in a film made for the BBC by Adam Curtis back in 1992, when it still had a degree of independence, to entirely miss the point. The real question is why these plants were still running if they were not safe: and that is a question about politics not science.

Nice catch. Telling that, as in war, truth seems to be the first casualty. I know it's true in the US, in Germany, i think in Sweden. Wonder about France, and hope for some comment.

Iran.

Can't wait 'til there's nukes in Romania, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, North Korea.

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 06:49:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A belated comment on the widespread interpretation that TEPCO and/or the Japanese government must have known about the total meltdown and kept it secret. The details deep in the government report don't seem to support that. TEPCO and NISA announced their new timelines for meltdown and the likelihood of pressure vessel melt-through on the basis of running a simulation program. This program was fed with information that included various instrumental readings, guesstimates, and – crucially – information recovered weeks after the earthquake from the abandoned control centres within the reactor buildings (including stuff written with chalk on boards). On the other hand, a meltdown (though with less certain timeline) might have been analysed much earlier on the basis of fallout isotopes, as done by the Americans.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 09:40:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
TEPCO fires up the seawater treatment equipment

Tokyo Electric Power Co. on June 9 began testing cleaning equipment designed to remove radioactive materials from contaminated seawater around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

A full trial of the equipment was expected to be conducted on June 10, and unless major problems are detected, TEPCO will then begin treating the hundreds of tons of radioactive seawater around the stricken plant. The tests were initially scheduled to start on June 1 but were postponed because of problems with the power supply.

Radioactive seawater will first be pumped into a container and passed through a filter to clear it of algae and other materials. Two tons of zeolite, which absorb cesium, will be placed in the container. The designers of the equipment say the zeolite will absorb 60 to 70 percent of the radioactive cesium in the water. The treated seawater will then be pumped back into the sea.

TEPCO will install two of the cleaning machines, each capable of purifying a maximum of 30 tons of radioactive water per hour.


Even if they hooked two of the machines in series they would not be reducing the cesium levels they would not be reducing the levels by even one order of magnitude. A robot recently recorded 4 Sievert levels at one location at the plant. The reductions afforded by using one such machine would be comparable to reducing those levels to 1.2 Sieverts. Running the water through four such machines in series would be equivalent to reducing 4 Sievert levels to 50 mili-Sieverts. That might count as a real effort. Using one machine is just PR.

Talk about a low bar!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:27:13 PM EST
Cesium 137 has a 30 yr half life. During that time the 30% not removed from the "seawater" that is returned to the ocean will travel to every part of the world ocean. It will still have many half lives to go before it is rendered harmless. Keep in mind that this is seawater that has been injected into cores that have experience meltdowns and has subsequently leaked into other parts of the reactor-turbine facility. It is not slightly contaminated. It is severely contaminated. A 70% reduction is not adequate, IMO. It is (just) better than doing nothing. And how many days can the filter operate before the two tons of zeolite have to be replaced?

Four months to come up with this. How hard would it have been and how expensive to build eight of these? The (cosmetic) beat goes on.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:55:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A 70% reduction is not adequate, IMO. It is (just) better than doing nothing.

I beg to disagree... A 75% reduction would be equivalent to two half-lives of radioactive decay, and in the case of Cs137 with its 30-year halflife that's eliminating the first (and most intense) 60 years of the contamination.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 02:33:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But given the amount already dumped unfiltered and the toxicity of this water is it really too much to ask that they put a few of these filters in series? Subsequent ones should be quicker and cheaper to build and it is not really high tech stuff. Even with effectiveness declining over the useful life of the zeolite, four filters in series would reduce the concentration of cesium to around 5%. Of course, the power to run the pumps could be a problem for TEPCO. They might have to set up fossil fuel based generators on site instead of drawing power from an already starved grid. Better just to poison the oceans.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 10:15:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It might be more effective to run multiple in parallel ~ there'll be quite a bit of water that could do with processing.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 11:59:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they need to get ahead of the rate at which they are generating new contaminated water, at a minimum. I am just astounded that it has taken three months to come up with one such filter, possibly two. But they can thoroughly test this one and the next and possibly, by the time the testing is complete the issue will be moot.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 12:18:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
TEPCO is still pretending to deal with What-Is instead of dealing with it.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 12:06:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan is now entering typhoon season.  They've already dodged one bullet.

What happens if a typhoon hits?  How much of the contaminated water will be picked-up and distributed as rainfall?  How much of the water already in the typhoon will be contaminated? How far inland will the storm-surge be expected to reach?  

And on and on.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 12:21:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At the time us eco-terrorists where being told to sit down & shut up ... TEPCO had a handle on the situation:

We Nearly Lost Northern Japan  (an Orange diary):

The Japanese government forced the utility company to flood the reactors; the company wanted to save its investment. But if they hadn't flooded the reactors with seawater, there would have been three giant explosions -- he calls it "three Chernobyls" and northern Japan would have been lost. Radiation is still coming from two breaches in the contaiment vessels. The professor flat out states that "we came this close to losing all of Northern Japan."


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 01:56:23 AM EST
Was it established why TEPCO waited with the flooding, or is this about saving its investment just conjecture by Dr. Dr. Michio Kaku of the City College of New York? See here for the earlier discussion on the government-TEPCO conflict on the flooding, with indications that TEPCO might have been upheld by technical problems rather than economic considerations.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 11:38:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Above I conflated the issues of venting and seawater flooding (though I suspect Dr. Kaku did, too), both of which came with delay after government orders. However, technical problems still apply in both cases, and at least for No. 1, the TEPCO-government conflict seems to have been over a suspension of seawater injection (which never actually happened) rather than starting it in the first place (see upthread). Here I will note the timeline on the seawater flooding at the No. 1 reactor:

  • end of freshwater injection (tanks run out): 12 March, 14:53
  • hydrogen explosion blows off the top: 12 March, 15:36
  • start of seawater injection: 12 March, 19:04

Considering the environment they had to work in to lay firehoses from the sea to an entry valve, with the explosion blowing stuff on top of them, those four hours (three and a half after the explosion) don't even seem that much of a delay.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 05:42:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On a broader note: since it was deduced later that water level gauges were malfunctioning, every decision taken at the time or what could have been taken at the time was based on mistaken assumptions.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 05:48:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is back up--and has been for some time.  

On 22 May 2011 Bernard re-posted a comment from Malooga, which struck me as eye-opening.  


Where b Was Wrong On Fukushima

by Malooga
lifted from a comment

Before I say what I am going to say, let me explain a little about my background. I spent a number of years as one of the head trainers in what at the time was the second largest oil refinery in the western hemisphere. In that capacity, I trained operators, and wrote training manuals of the type that b has linked too.  . .  I played a key role in dealing with accidents at our plant -- and there were many -- though obviously none even approaching this in magnitude. . . .

I consider that I know a lot about industrial accidents from a number of different angles,  . . .

 

Having described his background (in a different industry) he considers accidents as a phenomenon:  

One thing I know for sure, all accidents are political events and financial events involving gargantuan corporations. The larger the event, the truer this is. The safety of workers and the public is subordinate to those facts. That is simply how things work on the planet at this point in time. Workers lives may be insured for $250k and it may be cheaper to "expend" a number of workers, rather then use an intermediary device. It is simple cost-benefit analysis, made simpler if the tax payers are now picking up the tab.
 

Well, actually we knew this, but it gets grimmer:  


Lest anyone think otherwise after saying this, I am against nuclear power categorically. The fact that a "cold shutdown" requires "hot powered" circulation pumps is Orwellian. An entire oil refinery can be rapidly shut down. Everything is designed with a failsafe mode. In other words, I reject nuclear power from a design point of view even before I consider radiation contamination such as we are seeing, or the geologically long-term unsolved issues of waste storage.
 

In other words, a nuclear plant has no off switch.  Shutting a plant down requires a large, long-term, exterior source of power.  If exterior power is not available, the plant burns and melts down.  

Now some of us were suspecting that the plants were melting down--especially after the first two explosions, but we didn't know.  People with more technical knowledge did know within fifteen hours of the earthquake that all three operating reactors were melting down, and could "understand" all of the (seemingly bizarre) actions taken by TEPCO in the ensuing days and months.  


Now let's examine what the implications of this awakening means in retrospect.

A. If you have finally figured this out -- when the reactors began melting, you must presume that everyone who knows anything about Nuclear Power knew this immediately. (Unless you think that you are smarter than them; see above) Therefore, they (the plant operators and the government) knew the unprecedented magnititude and danger they were facing within several hours of the earthquake. Therefore, all news, accusations, finger pointing, disclosures, intentional contradictions of story, official lies, etc. have been managed from the start as political events of the highest import by the highest levels of power. For example, say you want to evacuate people from a radius of twenty kilometers around the plant. If you said that initially, you would create general panic leading to many deaths. So you start with two k, bump it up once the core has evacuated, and then repeat as necessary. That is exactly what they did.

Repeat: All news is political. As in the Bin Laden assasination, and all disinformation campaigns, creating contradictions and ambiguities encourages people to accept the basic assumptions: In the former case, that Bin Ladin was actually alive; in the later, that events were unfolding incrementally, rather than that the entire scenario was envisaged from the start and therefore had to be managed.

B. This is what I tried to explain from the start. You can go back to the official timeline, and the Japanese legal regulations (which I did before posting my second criticism) and see that --  -- all communications with the government were timely. The legal regulations REQUIRE the plant operator to seek permission from the government in the case of severe emergency. The granted permission has many implications, liabilty, etc., but specifically empowers the plant operators to take whatever measures are necessary. This makes sense as they are the ones who know what is happening in real-time at the site. Once granted authority, plant actions were taken in a timely manner. I don't have the government regulations in front of me to quote from (dead computer), but if someone wants me to reconstruct and quote regulations and timeline, I certainly can, I believe it was paragraph 64 or around there.

You misunderstood events, seizing upon a planted disinformation story of the government criticizing TEPCO, which as I pointed out contained no hard evidence and was a political document. Knowing, as you do now, that everyone knew an unprecedented series of meltdowns was underway and that therefore all information and ongoing narratives had to be managed, and that the government had ceded control to TEPCO, the story makes no sense, as I said. Yeah, the minister was once a big honcho at TEPCO, but that doesn't mean that he understands the intricacies of emergency procedures and vessel stress tolerances. Tom Kean, of 9-11 comission infamy, was a big honcho where I worked, but he didn't know a pump from a dump, much less metal fatigue tolerance catastrophic failure probabilities. (My boss at the oil refinery made a big name for himself in the industry by increasing throughput a mere 15% beyond design. Don't think that that small amount did not increase injuries and accidents, it did, but it still made money.)

 

Everything we have seen and read since the earthquake and tsunami is fed by a disinformation campaign designed to manage public attitudes toward nuclear power:  


When narratives are designed to manipulate public opinion we see:
  1. Rosy scenarios: Someone here posted an industry article painting the fairytale that reactors were designed to completely safely melt down. Similar to: Iraq, Libya cakewalk. They know its not true, in fact they NEED a quagmire to permanently position troops there, but they can't say that, so the public is manipulated by rosy scenarios.

  2. Blame game stories. As above, also as above on this thread. We will see more. Similar to the Bush being blamed for not knowing that there were no WMD false narrative, as oppossed to the real "US knew there were no WMD and that was why they felt safe to invade at that time" narrative. It is easier to find a fall guy then to have the public accurately assess the dangers and imperil the industry.

  3. Contradictions in stories. Self - explanitory. Confuses public about details, while reinforcing general narrative.

  4. Complete lies, with the truth leaking out much later after the mass of the public has moved on, and when a mass change of belief would simply be too threatening for most people.

This is why there have been so many actions that do not appear to make sense.... based upon the information they have told us. In situations like this one is better off trying to figure out what is really going on based upon what they are actually doing, rather than thinking you are smarter than them and that you know what they should be doing, an approach you take far too often.  . . .

This is why so many of the things that you didn't understand why they were doing were actually easily explained. For instance, burying with concrete from above vs. groundwater contamination from below. The real problem was waiting until you were ready to make a paradigm shift in how you framed the accident.

C. You spent a lot of energy criticizing the sea water injection operations. But as you now know, by the time power was restored to cooling systems, the damage had already been done. This is proved by the fact that there is no correlation between when sea water injection (lagtime) was started and the later explosion times for the three units. The cooling would not have prevented the explosions. When you assumed they were incompetently managing for cooling, they were actually managing for vessel integrity against further explosions, knowing that there were three different meltdown scenarios underway. Again, someone even posted some pro-industry propaganda here early on which said that the reactors were designed to "safely" melt-down.

 

Thus is the public disinformed.  But now, finally, we in the blogosphere, know that three plants have melted down.  That's bad, but how bad?  Current stories about radioactive water in the basements mean that not only have the reactor vessels been breached, but the reactor containments and the containment buildings have also been breached.  Okay, fine, but where is the corium?  Is it melting through the concrete floor?  Is it about to contact the groundwater?  Ignore what they say, and watch what they do, and eventually we will know.  Meanwhile:  


Finally, there are a minimum a 5 potentially fatal design flaws in these reactors that others who know more than me have detected, notably nitrogen blanketing systems, off gas systems, and fuel pool gate seals. But an examination of those issues is beyond the scope of this post and any free time I have available.
 

The takeaway:  Despite all industry propaganda, now is a good time to start working on shutting down all nuclear plants, worldwide.  

But! What will we do without the energy?  And where will the energy to shut them down come from?  

Well, it is like this:  We will never have more energy than we have right now.  If we fail to shut these plants, the most habitable regions of North America, Europe, and Asia will become--this century--nuclear exclusion zones.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 02:22:26 AM EST
is he posting again, or is b bernard, or someone else?
by wu ming on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 03:59:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When Billmon closed the Whiskey Bar Bernard created Moon of Alabama as an open thread, for the regulars, and then added his own posts of analyses of events.  That continued for several years, until just over a year ago (roughly).  Moon has been back up for the better part of a year now.  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 07:58:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to nitpick for the hell of it - b or Bernhard of MoA is ET member Bernhard, while Bernard is an ET member from France.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 08:27:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]


The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 08:45:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No ummm... ;)

There's an h in Bernhard.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 02:37:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can indeed confirm that there's no 'h' in my name (just checked not two minutes ago :)

Bernhard with a 'h' is indeed the German spelling and it's not the first time there's been some confusion I think.

Although I've been there and I speak (ein wenig) the language, I am actually from France (SW of Paris these days), not Germany, and unlike my (almost) namesake from Alabama, I have absolutely no patience for conspiracy theories.

by Bernard on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 04:46:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that is because it is.  Bernard quit posting for over a year, because his real life was intruding.  He's now back some months.  Visit the site for details.  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 08:27:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But! What will we do without the energy? And where will the energy to shut them down come from?

Well, it is like this: We will never have more energy than we have right now. If we fail to shut these plants, the most habitable regions of North America, Europe, and Asia will become--this century--nuclear exclusion zones.

That's the real risk I see. Not that we'll have heavy quakes and tsunamis in Europe but the long-term risk of societies having to handle very complex technologies for a very long time.

Barring natural catastrophes or intentional aviation accidents (the Terror-Terror scenario) nukes seem manageable on these shores from an operational safety perspective (Japan faces a starker dilemma). Because of the very probable energy descent scenario I'm of two minds about nuclear. On the one hand we'll probably need everything we can get to have a tolerable energy decline and transition. But on the other hand that decline gives me pause about how for instance the nuclear fuel cycle will be managed under possibly very unstable circumstances. Spent fuel needs decades to cool off before it can be buried (where?). The house still needs to be standing to make the complex technologies work. Who is to say that by the end of the century we will have the technical, economic or political capacity to deal with nuclear? And this will play itself out over the course of at least a century.

Since this is going to be a long-term affair one can speculate about the right cutoff point for a phaseout. Is the German way of skipping nuke town within ten years realistic - regarding either security/safety or energy access? When will there be a place for final storage? How much do the years gained by shutting down now make a difference? What happens when the assumptions about fossil fuels filling the temporary gap have the rug pulled out from under them by sudden FF depletion starting with oil.

I think that Merkel's double-180 turn is stupid insofar that she again (after pushing a nuclear extension) failed to achieve a consensus or at least a discussion about the tough questions. Instead, she outsourced that discussion in her usual teflon manner ("I'm not involved in politics!") to some 'ethics committee'. Which is why the fight is not over: on the one side there is talk of blackouts, price spikes, etc. and on the other side the anti-nuke movement is suspicious of another 180.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 11:31:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation TechnologyÖ]

For an unknown reason, this comment was "toggled" or put out of public view.

I have untoggled it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 02:32:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you. I was wondering what had happened to it.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 02:32:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A. If you have finally figured this out -- when the reactors began melting, you must presume that everyone who knows anything about Nuclear Power knew this immediately. (Unless you think that you are smarter than them;

Or unless I understand a little of the power of wishful thinking. Humans do not like to admit that they have been ruined, that they have fucked up or that they are not in control of something they feel they should be in control of. They really do not like it.

Never underestimate the extent to which people will lie to themselves to avoid facing uncomfortable truths.

Therefore, they (the plant operators and the government) knew the unprecedented magnititude and danger they were facing within several hours of the earthquake. Therefore, all news, accusations, finger pointing, disclosures, intentional contradictions of story, official lies, etc. have been managed from the start as political events of the highest import by the highest levels of power.

This assumes that TEPCO executives, the Japanese government and their respective bureaucracies have if not coterminous then at least substantially overlapping objectives in their propaganda.

It further assumes that this shared objective involved TEPCO falling on its proverbial sword. The TEPCO propaganda makes them look completely clueless and out of touch at several key junctures. Now, when an entity's own propaganda makes it look incompetent and confused, then the most parsimonious explanation is usually that said entity actually is incompetent and confused.

Repeat: All news is political. As in the Bin Laden assasination, and all disinformation campaigns, creating contradictions and ambiguities encourages people to accept the basic assumptions: In the former case, that Bin Ladin was actually alive;

Uh-huh. Y'know, I'd love to explore the alternate reality in which the bin Laden conspiracy theories make even the dimmest sort of sense, but my doctor has told me to cut down on my tinfoil exposure.

Tom Kean, of 9-11 comission infamy,

Woo-hoo. Two down, one to go. Now all we need is the "the Bushies planned for Iraq to go to shit from the start" to have the Trr Tinfoil Trifecta.

Similar to: Iraq, Libya cakewalk. They know its not true, in fact they NEED a quagmire to permanently position troops there,

Aaand, bingo.

(No, they really don't need a quagmire. Most of their bases are in perfectly non-quagmired countries. In fact, a pliable client state is infinitely preferable to a quagmire when it comes to keeping bases around.)

Well, it is like this: We will never have more energy than we have right now.

I would quarrel with that assumption. Simply counting kWh, it is perfectly possible to power all of contemporary human civilisation by carpeting less than ten per cent of the Sahara in off-the-shelf PV cells.

Now, it's a bit more complicated than that, because you need to get those kWh to the places where we want to use them, and at the time when we want to use them. But there's at least a full order of magnitude to play with, from the Sahara alone, so compensating for the decline and eventual loss of fossil fuels is not prima facie impossible, should we turn the full attention of modern industrial society to the task. Which we will, if we want to keep being a modern industrial society.

If we fail to shut these plants, the most habitable regions of North America, Europe, and Asia will become--this century--nuclear exclusion zones.

Perhaps.

But going by historical experience, a lot more reactors are safely decommissioned than blow up.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 05:54:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Or unless I understand a little of the power of wishful thinking.
 
Well, I personally know quite a few people in denial about matters of daily life, so I can see where you are coming from with this.  Nonetheless, wishful thinking tends to apply more at the level of upper management.  The technicians on the spot usually have a pretty good idea of how things actually work.  Malooga claims this from his experience in the oil refining industry.  I claim it too, for other reasons.  I have never worked in the nuclear industry but I know the main modes of failure--it is just not credible that the folk whose job it is to know these things and are trained in them are unaware.  Just from knowing the operating conditions before the earthquake the technicians on site would have known how much time they had to restore cooling.  We didn't know that because we didn't know the conditions.  But they did.  

Malooga's main point here is that the meltdowns were already known, but the decision was made for reasons of public relations to pretend that they were not known, but that a trend toward meltdown was evolving over days and weeks, rather than already past.  

Well, this is one familiar pattern!  Look at last April's BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Or the entire history of peak oil.  This is simply how management manages.  

 
I'd love to explore the alternate reality  
 
Congratulations on buying the media narrative.  I hope it gives you good service.  To say more would be off-topic.  
 
more reactors are safely decommissioned than blow up.
 

That is because they had exterior power that made decommissioning possible.  and that is exactly what I am recommending--that we decommission these plants while we have the power to do so.  

If the Sahara Desert plan works out, I will quit worrying--for Europe--as you will have all the power you need for decommissioning.  I admit I think the scheme is vaporware, but to explain why would be a whole new thread.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 12:10:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nonetheless, wishful thinking tends to apply more at the level of upper management.  The technicians on the spot usually have a pretty good idea of how things actually work.

Absolutely. But upper management are the ones who veto the agit-prop. So the more likely explanation for the observed discrepancy between the agit-prop and the facts (and actions) on the ground is that upper management was in denial and the technicians were not. (And that, thank God, upper management did not impede the technicians too greatly.)

Malooga's main point here is that the meltdowns were already known, but the decision was made for reasons of public relations to pretend that they were not known

And my point is that there was no single "the decision" made. Information does not flow instantly and flawlessly through an organisation, particularly when upper management is clueless and out of touch. So it is entirely possible (plausible, even) that one hand did not know what the other was doing.

Congratulations on buying the media narrative. I hope it gives you good service. To say more would be off-topic.

I'd say "make a diary where it is on topic." But honestly, I fail to see how devoting another diary to silly conspiracy theories would improve the signal-to-noise ratio of this place...

more reactors are safely decommissioned than blow up.

That is because they had exterior power that made decommissioning possible.

We can lose a lot of power before we are unable to safely decommission the existing nuclear fleet.

Even if we pump every remaining oil reservoir at rates that damage ultimately recoverable reserves, and strip-mine every coal deposit and tar sand pit, there is an upper limit on how fast you can get fossil fuels out of the ground. So even pretending that sustainable energy sources cannot take up the slack from fossil fuels (something which is less than perfectly obvious), we will still have enough power to decommission these plants, if that is what we decide to use that power for.

Of course, it is always within our power to make the political decision not to safely decommission the plants. But that would be a political decision, not an unavoidable fact of life.

If the Sahara Desert plan works out, I will quit worrying--for Europe--as you will have all the power you need for decommissioning.  I admit I think the scheme is vaporware,

Of course it is. There are no silver bullets, and it is not intended as "a plan" in the sense of being a silver bullet. There is no silver bullet. And even if there were, monocropping your energy supply like that would be criminally insane. The actual solution, if it is implemented, would be a patchwork of more or less independent solutions - harvest North Sea wind, improve energy efficiency, harvest solar power, run-of-river hydro, dams, and so on and so forth.

But the Sahara example does illustrate that the energy is there, and we have the technology and resources to harvest it. Whether we will be politically able to do so or not is a different question, but one that is not well served by assuming a priori that we will not.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 06:51:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is my issue with nukes - the technology can be made manageably safe, and in a psychologically stable world spent fuel would be nasty but not impossible to contain.

But nukes aren't politically and managerially viable. Too many politicians and managers respond emotionally rather than rationally, they have almost non-existent modelling skills, and their primary aim is always increased personal economic and political power rather than social responsibility.

So nuke technology is a bad match for this psychological profile. There will always be management pressure to cut corners on costs and safety and to maximise profit.

You can pretty much guarantee that in these circumstances, stuff will go boom when stressed.

As for energy needs - I'm finding it difficult to believe that renewables can't completely replace dirty carbon sources within a decade or two. Between wind, tidal, hydro and both kinds of solar - and combined with smarter grids and better efficiency - the only reason for continuing to build nukes is political inertia.

I'd consider allowing some nuke development as a stop-gap providing the design is absolutely fail-safe and impressively over-specced for safety.

But any technology which isn't absolutely fail-safe with any obvious safety issues of any kind really needs to be scrapped almost immediately.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 03:51:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How are renewable energy sources not subject to the same political and managerial emotion? Isn't that exactly the source of typical opposition to wind and solar power?
by asdf on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 05:25:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They are. But they don't make nearly as spectacular a kaboom when you fuck them up.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 05:30:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They're either inherently fail-safe, or fail-safe is easy to build in.

But this is the big value of renewables done right - compared to dirty carbon, they're massively low-maintenance. Once they're in place they mostly "just work" for the duration of their design life.

Dirty carbon fuels all need active high-maintenance permanent effort. You have to run them 24/7. They don't just sit there producing energy for you.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 06:16:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Although we're just as guilty of management failure, our meltdowns only affect one-horned goats.

Unlike the Gas People.


Three years before the deadly San Bruno disaster, PG&E received an ominous warning: Its natural gas system, an internal review found, posed a "catastrophic risk." But the utility's management and board of directors failed to take critical steps to reduce the danger.

That telling lapse was one of many disturbing signs that the company's culture had turned "dysfunctional," according to a five-member expert panel picked by the California Public Utilities Commission to look into the explosion. The panel's report, released Thursday, drew headlines for its suggestion that improperly monitored work on a nearby sewer pipe may have led the San Bruno pipe to rupture.

But what may be more important in the long run are the report's insights into how the company operates internally.
While PG&E's stated goal was to be "the leading utility in the United States," the panel faulted the company for being too bureaucratic, lacking management expertise, giving mere lip service to public safety and failing to take measures that might have averted the San Bruno tragedy.

OK, the gas explosion only killed 8 people, and it only calls into question the condition of the gas network, so no big deal.

Except these are the same people who decide our energy future.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 06:24:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To be fair, one of the nascent renewables, HDR geothermal, can cause spills and subsidence; and if big hydro is to be counted as renewable, it can cause floods and earthquakes and downstream droughts. Though none of these are really management-related.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 04:21:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Back in March, Dimitry Orlov offered the collapsitarian point of view. Wicked humor:
...
Paging Mickey Mouse!
Ultimately, the problem is with the people who designed and built these things, not with the people who have to suffer horribly and die when they explode. You see, you have to be a certain sort of person to say “Sure, using a precariously controlled subcritical nuclear pile to boil water to run steam turbines to generate electricity is a great idea!” That sort of person is called a sociopath. Having worked with quite a few of them, I know a thing or two about sociopaths. They are always around to make ridiculous things happen and take credit for them while they can, but when these ridiculous things go horribly wrong, as they inevitably do, they are nowhere to be found. They have this knack for promoting the knuckle-draggers just in time for them to take the fall for what appears to be their own mistakes.

Three years ago I wrote this into the Collapse Party Platform:

I am particularly concerned about all the radioactive and toxic installations, stockpiles and dumps. Future generations are unlikely to be able to control them, especially if global warming puts them underwater. There is enough of this muck sitting around to kill off most of us. There are abandoned mine sites at which, soon after the bulldozers and the excavators stop running, toxic tailings and the contents of settling ponds will flow into and poison the waters of major rivers, making their flood plains and estuaries uninhabitable for many centuries. Many nuclear power plants have been built near coastlines, for access to ocean water for cooling. These will be at risk of inundation due to extreme weather events and rising sea levels caused by global warming. At many nuclear power stations, spent fuel rods are stored in a pool right at the reactor site, because the search for a more permanent storage place has been mired in politics. There are surely better places to store them than next to population centers and bodies of water. ...
And now I will say it again: Shut it all down. All of it. Now. Please.


Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 03:25:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's a (partial) list of the ongoing media stories that were successively but are no longer top of the news...

Fukushima nuclear disaster
Libyan uprising
DSK's arrest

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 02:26:07 AM EST
None of them are "news."  They are now "olds" and the News Media® has no interest in "olds."

The fact these reactors are going to cause cancers and other forms of radiation caused deaths, world-wide, is an externality, not worthy of continued attention.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 03:01:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly, radioactive contamination from Fukushima is now a fact of life, not "news"...

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 03:12:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"naturally occurring radiation levels."
by wu ming on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 04:00:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
they have to bury.  

Contamination has already forced the ban of green tea exports from Chiba Prefecture.  Someone more familiar with Japanese geography can tell us just how close to Tokyo that is.  

Tokyo will be abandoned/evacuated.  This is a very big deal.  It will take a long time to get the VIPs out and resettled before they break the story to the peons.  In the mean time, this all has to be covered up--a very big project!  

And people are already getting restless.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 08:24:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What makes you think Tokio will be evacuated? (Sources?)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 10:18:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Roaming the web at random I come across a guy in Tokyo taking radiation measurements with a personal dosimeter.  The air is fine.  But the ground is not fine.  Tokyo is getting repeated dustings and the radiation is accumulating.  Meanwhile, the reactors are out of control, and there is no end in sight.  So, yes, I expect things to get worse.  

I am not sure Tokyo will be evacuated.  It may instead be abandoned.  The Japanese Government may never admit a thing, ever.  It's a possibility.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 12:24:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to a point where the health problems it causes become seen as a public health problem, is a gradual shift in population towards the kansai, precipitated by government and corporate relocations.

moving a 30 million megalopolis is not going to be quick. building the housing, infrastructure, and commercial networks necessary to sustain that number of people cannot be built overnight, even were everyone to try to flee west. the roads, train lines, etc. alone would prove to be a bottleneck.

by wu ming on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 04:20:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chiba is situated on the north-east most portion of Tokyo Bay. On the south-west side it touches on Tokyo.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 10:23:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How close to Tokyo is Chiba? Tokyo Prefecture or Greater Tokyo?

Chiba is as close to Greater Tokyo as the Bronx is to New York City. That is, Greater Tokyo consists of all of Tokyo Prefecture and most of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 12:15:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And, with that "Greater Tokyo" construction, Chiba is the part of Tokyo closest to Fukushima.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 02:13:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greenpeace warns of radiation risk to Japan children

Greenpeace called on Japan on Thursday to evacuate children and pregnant women from a town about 60 kilometres (40 miles) from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant because of high radiation.

The environmental and anti-nuclear group said its own data from Fukushima town roughly matched that of the government, but that it drew radically different conclusions, especially on the health threat for children.

It demanded Japan's government "provide full financial and logistical support for the prompt evacuation of pregnant women and children living in high-radiation areas and conduct a full clean-up of contaminated areas."

Greenpeace chief Kumi Naidoo, after a visit to a kindergarten in the town where parents have been removing contaminated topsoil, said that Fukushima's people now face both a "radiation catastrophe" and an "information limbo".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 11:56:15 AM EST
Have to rush to dinner, but someone posted on my facecrack that a doctor's study of infant mortality in the Pacific Northwest (usa) has risen since the week after the melt throughout.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 02:05:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks for this diary, CH.

what lump? under where? rug, you say?

the japanese fascination with death... blowfish dinners, hara kiri, suicide internet clubs, kamikaze pilots.

i really wonder how this is going to pan out, maybe they'll return to fine craftmanship.

they are the nation that has taken point position in the surge into hyper-modernity since ww2, a bellwether of things to come.

as if radiation respected national boundaries anyway, we are all japanese now, to a growing degree of becquerels. the emperor wants you to take the radiation like men must, with a quiet, phlegmatic dignity, uncomplainingly patriotic and civic-minded subjects under the god of fission.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 04:39:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NUCLEAR CRISIS: HOW IT HAPPENED / Government, TEPCO brushed off warnings from all sides : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

Three months have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake triggered a nuclear crisis that shows little sign of ending anytime soon.

This is the fourth installment in a series that examines what caused the unprecedented crisis, which has dealt a fatal blow to the myth of the safety of nuclear power plants in this country.

"The lands of Mutsunokuni were severely jolted. The sea covered dozens, hundreds of blocks of land. About 1,000 people drowned."

This is a description of the massive Jogan Earthquake and tsunami that hit the Tohoku region about 1,150 years ago. It is contained in "Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku" (The official history of three reigns of Japan), which was compiled during the early Heian Period (794-1192).

Mutsunokuni is the name of the region that covered most of the present-day prefectures in the Tohoku region.

It is now clear the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. did not learn from history.

Since 1990, Tohoku Electric Power Co., Tohoku University and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have researched the traces left by the Jogan Earthquake. Their studies have shown that the ancient tsunami was on the same scale as that caused by the March 11 earthquake.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 03:08:47 PM EST

One report said if a breakwater that extended up to 13 meters above sea level was hit by a 15-meter-high tsunami, all power sources would be knocked out--including outside electricity and emergency power generators. In such a situation, the report said, cooling functions would be lost and the reactor's core would be 100 percent damaged--a meltdown, in other words.

The breakwater at the Fukushima No. 1 plant was about 5.5 meters high, less than half the assumed height in the JNES report.

TEPCO assumed the tsunami hitting the plant would be 5.4 meters to 5.7 meters high. But the wave that struck on March 11 was 14 meters to 15 meters high.

Another report by the organization released last year predicted that if all power sources were lost due to an earthquake, fuel rods will begin melting after only 100 minutes. This report said a reactor's containment vessel would be damaged after about seven hours and a large amount of radioactive material would be released into the air.

According to an analysis by the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, damage to the core of the Fukushima plant's No. 1 reactor started about two hours after the tsunami and its pressure vessel was damaged in about four hours--very close to what JNES had predicted.



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 04:01:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARgeezer quoted a report about the 869 tsunami and its dismissal by TEPCO in March already.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 10:05:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is always good to see another report on that subject.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 01:12:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English

No.2 reactor air filter starts running

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has begun running air-filtering equipment at the Number 2 reactor building on Saturday to remove airborne radioactive material.

Intense radioactivity and high humidity inside the building have been hampering work to restore the reactor's cooling system.

Humidity inside the reactor building is as high as 99.9 percent due to moisture that is believed to have come from a spent nuclear fuel storage pool and the basement. Workers cannot remain in the building for a long time even with protective gear and masks.

Tokyo Electric Power Company had set up 2 air-filtering units at a building adjacent to the reactor building.
The devices will filter radioactive materials out of air pumped from the reactor building through a duct. The cleaned air will be fed back into the reactor building.

TEPCO says it plans to run the devices for about 3 days and check internal radiation levels before opening up the doors of the reactor building.

Saturday, June 11, 2011 12:59 +0900 (JST)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 03:10:40 PM EST
Murakami criticises Japan's nuclear policy

Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami criticised his country's pursuit of nuclear power in an acceptance speech for Spain's 2011 International Catalunya Prize, a news report said Friday.

Murakami said that Japan's people, having suffered the world's only atomic bomb attacks at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, should have rejected nuclear power in the post-war era, the Kyodo News agency reported.

The author made the comments at a ceremony in Barcelona three months after the March 11 quake and tsunami disaster sparked the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

"The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is the second major nuclear detriment that the Japanese people have experienced," he was quoted as saying, speaking in Japanese, by Kyodo.

"However, this time it was not a bomb being dropped upon us, but a mistake committed by our very own hands."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 03:32:36 PM EST
Plants made it for billions of years (billions?) on solar, a proven reliable energy source. Of course the advent of photosynthesis didn't happen overnight ... a lot of creatures had to die until the bacteria wised up. Will we ever wise up ... probably not in my lifetime.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 04:07:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"but a mistake committed by our very own hands."

Technically, all of our hands. Because we allow all manner of rape of the planet which nurtures us, and call it progress.

when technocrats understand what NDNs mean by saying every decision must include 7 generations in the past to 7 generations in the future, i might begin, just begin, to trust further technological hubris.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 04:09:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuclear fuel has melted through base of Fukushima plant

The findings of the report, which has been given to the International Atomic Energy Agency, were revealed by the Yomiuri newspaper, which described a "melt-through" as being "far worse than a core meltdown" and "the worst possibility in a nuclear accident."

If I'm understanding this correctly, there is a sustained nuclear reaction heading for the water table.  So ... we're looking at a high probability of a steam explosion?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 11:00:03 PM EST
It may be possible that it turns into a large, continuous steam vent, as from a geyser, either after or instead of an explosion. But this steam will contain serious levels of radioactivity, and this possibly at a time when the winds will be blowing from the north east.
One down through the concrete and two more to go?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 12:32:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If a steam explosion were to happen--but it may not happen--much more fallout would be spewed and scattered than has been already.  

The entire northern hemisphere would begin seeing elevated health problems.  

We would quit worrying about Japan.  We would be worrying about ourselves.  

It is really important that they avoid this.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 12:36:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If a steam explosion were to happen--but it may not happen--much more fallout would be spewed and scattered than has been already.

The entire northern hemisphere would begin seeing elevated health problems.

Sanity check:
A cubic meter of Uranium weighs 20 tons. 20 tons of Uranium scattered evenly across the Northern Hemisphere would amount to 0.3 g per square km, or 300 nanogram per square meter.

Conclusion:
You need a lot of cubic meters of corium to get blown into the stratosphere to get beyond a rounding error in either the gamma background or total heavy metal exposure. (Any corium that remains in the troposphere will precipitate out within the first thousand km. Sucks to be downwind of that plume, but not something that will directly affect the entire Northern Hemisphere.)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 07:11:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is already fated to see a statistically measurable increase in cancer.  

Multiply by ten or hundred or whatever, and our health concerns will extend to the east coast and even Europe.  

Don't get me wrong:  This is not how humans will go extinct.  

But a cancer epidemic, yes.  Also birth defects.  

And, yes, I think it matters.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 07:23:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 08:25:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jake, why the focus on uranium? What am i missing?


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 10:33:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're not missing anything, but I wanted a ballpark figure. You can get a better ballpark figure by taking account of the composition of corium, but when you're looking at corium levels in fractions of microgram per square meter, I'm not sure that's the most productive use of your time.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 12:46:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least 97% of the corium would be Uranium, except in the case of MOX fuel which can be 7% Plutonium.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 06:27:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh?

Potentially there's quite a bit more than one cubic meter of active corium and spent fuel at Fukushima. There are around 1000 rods at each reactor - either active or in the SF pool - and each rod holds around 200kg of uranium.

So that's around 200 tonnes. Per reactor.

If one goes, the chances of the others surviving without maintenance are not high.

And the corium includes active fission products that are both lighter and more immediately problematic than uranium.

If just one reactor goes boom, that's immensely bad news for the immediate area. But if the spike in infant mortality in the North West is confirmed, there are already obvious health effects from the current slow burn.

But I think an explosive encounter with the water table would immediately become more of a political and military problem than a scientific one.

Effectively you'd have a cloud of death, which would either rain on the US west coast or would drift east over China and Russia.

The US would shrug and let its people fry.

Russia and China, not so much.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 09:51:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for the link.

After reading Crazy Horse's reference to the study I assumed the increase was two or three - or maybe five - percent increase.  A thirty-five percent increase is shocking.  

Granted it's a first study.  Granted the findings need to be verified.  It's still (barely) possible the increase is just one of those things that happens.  However, the math is as straight-forward as it can be and the findings are consistent with previous episodes.  I rather pride myself on my skepticism and I have a general unwillingness to theorize ahead of data but this is altogether too much like the early studies of the Navaho uranium mine tailings for me not to think the authors have got something.

Gawd, what a mess.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 11:24:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So Potentially there's quite a bit more than one cubic meter of active corium and spent fuel at Fukushima. There are around 1000 rods at each reactor - either active or in the SF pool - and each rod holds around 200kg of uranium.

So that's around 200 tonnes. Per reactor.

OK, that'd give you 3 microgram per square meter per reactor that goes boom, if spread evenly across the planet. The potassium background would still be a much bigger problem for anybody not immediately downwind of the plume.

For the people who are downwind of the plume... well, that's a different story, and one where I'm not qualified to come up with even ballpark figures.

Though personally I'd be a lot more worried about Japan having to filter its drinking water for radioactive heavy metals essentially forever.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 12:55:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How much of the caesium is still in the reactor?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 01:57:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It won't spread evenly across the planet. It will collect in clusters and hotspots which will never be mapped accurately, and it will make its way into the food chain, where it will be concentrated and eventually eaten, and where the Cesium and other long-lived decay products elements will eventually cause cancers, infant mortality and birth defects.

It won't kill everyone, but how many birth defects do you need before an area becomes marginally habitable?

People could move back to Chernobyl tomorrow. Most of them wouldn't die for years or decades.

That doesn't mean the Hot Zone is safe, or an ignorable thing.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 03:39:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would uranium be our primary concern?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 10:13:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd wonder whether plutonium would be ~ the mixed uranium/plutonium fuel rods are just the start of that, since plutonium is a reasonably common reactor product for LWR ~ indeed, that is part of the argument for the thorium fuel cycle, that if its seeded by uranium, plutonium is several additional steps as a reactor product so far less common.

A major blow up now of the kind speculated above would be very bad news for those in the plume, but in a world where we are playing around with possible 5°C global warming, probably 2°C global warming, and genetically engineering crops so that we can pump fields with so much poison that it kills off honeybees ~ its seems like the stratospheric fallout would be in the "lets kill of thousands and make life miserable for thousands more" level of bad that we have permitted consistently over the past half century.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 12:17:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the report linked by ceebs downthread, on the No. 1 reactor, results of the analysis run by TEPCO:

...almost all the
noble gases were vented out into the environment. The ratio of released radioactive iodine to the total iodine contained (hereinafter referred to as release ratio) was IV-44 approximately 1% from the analysis result, and the release of other nuclides was less than 1%.

Results of the re-run by NISA (which found that the pressure vessel was damaged 5 hours rather than 17 hours after the accident, though the timeline of the fuel rod meltdown was the same):

As for release ratio of radioactive nuclides, the analytical results show about 1% of tellurium, about 0.7% of iodine and about 0.3% of cesium.

So further away from Fukushima, I wouldn't worry about the heavy metals, but would worry about the lots of Iodine (even ater decay) and caesium still there.

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

by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 03:54:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They're saying
The nuclear fuel in three of the reactors at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant has melted through the base of the pressure vessels and is pooling in the outer containment vessels, according to a report by the Japanese government.

...

Melt-downs of the fuel in the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors followed over the following days with the molten fuel collecting at the bottom of the pressure vessels before burning through and into the external steel containment vessels.

The fuel appears to be stable at present as it is being cooled by water pumped into the vessels, although it will complicate the emergency recovery plan put forward by the government.

The problem with this is that concrete decays at a lower temperature than that at which the steel of the containment vessel melts. So "the fuel is pooling in the outer vessels but appears to be stable" seems reassiring until it doesn't.

If one believes that the people in charge know more than they are letting on and are "managing the information flow" this might mean that they know the corium will also breach the outer containment vessel, or that it has already done so.

If the melt is able to burn through the concrete containment it must be above 1000C - what are the odds that the melt will cool down enough before reaching the water table?

And, just a hundred meters or so from the sea, how deep is the water table?

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 08:01:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The one point I don't get is "the external steel containment vessels". Aren't the pressure vessels steel and the containment vessel concrete? Or does the containment vessel have a steel layer?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 10:10:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe they mean "steel containment" external to the "zirconium casing" of the fuel rods which we were being told was melting or burning back in March...

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 10:53:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I'm understanding this correctly, there is a sustained nuclear reaction heading for the water table.

Is it? There aren't many useful details in what I read so far, I'm missing clarity on issues such as: what exactly (what kinds of physical evidence and/or simulation) is the basis of the new meltdown timeline estimate, what is the amount (even just the order of magnitude) of fuel that melted down and collected at the bottom of the pressure vessel, what is the amount of corium that escaped the pressure vessel after melting it through, what is the current estimated temperature of both pools? For your worse-of-the-worst scenario, material equivalent of that in multiple fuel rods would have had to collect in a single pool. If it is in smaller amounts, then just decay heat will have kept it hot until the flooding of the core, but there was no chain reaction.

Either way, if the bottoms of the cores got dry and there was lots of corium on it, they might have been lucky not to produce a major team explosion during the flooding.

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

by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 11:18:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The on-going back story to this is lying-by-omission of TEPCO and the Japanese and, perhaps, other governments.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 11:39:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is so much spin and speculation overdrive about Fukushima that I'm having trouble separating on-going back stories and on-going framings. What lie by omission are you suspecting here?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 02:01:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thinking of what we learned this week: TEPCO was pissing around trying to save their nukes when the things were about to go ker-blooey and rain radioactive material all over northern Japan.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 03:18:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What have we learned this week?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 03:55:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What I wrote.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 04:58:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Could you be more specific? I don't see it in what you wrote in this thread, duh.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 05:04:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See this comment

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 05:37:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I replied to that one there (though I confounded the issues of venting and flooding), and found more contrary detail in the report ceebs linked to downthread. I think putting the blame on TEPCO's financial approach is more in place in connection with the issues of earthquake & tsunami resistance and employment policy.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 04:44:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading the cited article it seems that they are confirming that three steel reactor containment vessels have been breached and that reactor fuel is pooling on the concrete floors of the concrete containment vessels. Absent a floor geometry specifically designed to disperse the corium into sub-critical packages it is likely to all be in one fairly small area under the hole melted through the steel. If this is the case could there be enough corium and it could be thick enough that criticality continues? If so, could not the top of the corium pool be cooled by water, which is boiling, while the bottom continues to react with the concrete?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 12:53:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And would not the immanence of corium exiting the entire containment structure be the time to admit that corium has exited the reactor pressure vessel? That seems to be the pattern.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 12:55:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do I correctly recall that there were reports of having flooded the concrete containment structure around RPV #1? I recall some expressing concern that the added water could compromise the seismic integrity of the structure, (which may already be compromised, resulting in some of the leaks of radioactive sea water.) If that is so, would it not be likely that they have flooded all three concrete containment structures at least up to the level of the bottom of the RPV? And if they kept injecting water into the RPV until corium melted through the bottom, would there be a dramatic steam signature to signal that event?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 01:25:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was much discussion about earthquake damage, added to the weight of water of water packed inside. TEPCO appeared worried that the weight of water was causing damage to the structure of reactors 1 and 3, so decreased the amount of cooling water at one point

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 02:17:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me: there is no info on the size and number of the hole or holes, either.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 02:03:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English
Treatment of highly radioactive water at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is likely to be delayed by a problem with the flow of water.

The system being installed at the plant includes a device to remove cesium using zeolite, as well as equipment that settles out radioactive substances using specialized chemicals.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, said on Sunday that it has found that water does not flow in one of the 4 units as expected.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 10:38:30 AM EST
NHK WORLD English
The number of people who died or are listed as missing from the March disaster now stands at 23,482.

Police say 87 percent of the 15,413 people who died have been identified.

8,069 people, who were reported to the police, remain missing.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 10:39:06 AM EST
Perhaps the largest single cause of unpredicted failures in complex systems is that multiple components, supposedly independent and redundant, can all fail at the same time for unforeseeable reasons. These can be "commonmode" failures--multiple failures of identical, redundant components in the same manner--or "common-cause" failures--multiple failures, caused by a single initiating event, of components that are different from each other but are supposed to do the same task. For example, identical valves can fail at the same time if they are all exposed to conditions for which they were not designed, or if they were designed or built wrongly: a common-mode failure. Different energy systems that are supposed to back each other up independently-- for example, programs for mining coal, making oil from shale, and generating electricity from coal and uranium--could all fail to be built because Wall Street will not pay for them or because Westerners do not want them: a common-cause failure. Common-mode and common-cause failures cannot be identified simply by cataloguing individual failure modes and their probabilities.

http://www.natcapsolutions.org/publications_files/BrittlePower/BrittlePower_Parts123.pdf
by rootless2 on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 10:50:58 AM EST
AMY GOODMAN: And you say Japan is equal to or worse than Chernobyl, the Fukushima Daiichi plant?

ROBERT ALVAREZ: That's correct, because if--the Soviet Union and Russia basically have claimed that about 50 million curies of radioactivity were released to the environment--this is roughly comparable to what the Japanese government has currently admitted--and that this site continues to release significant amount of radiation in the atmosphere, nowhere near as large as it did during the first week or two, but it's still quite significant.

The other issue here is the workers on the site. I was astounded to learn that some 5,000 workers have positive evidence of internal exposure to radioactive materials. This is a huge number of people to be exposed over such a short period of time. In the U.S. nuclear weapons program, which operated at a sort of a brisk pace for nearly 50 years, this is roughly comparable to what all workers at nuclear weapons sites during that period were recorded to have received from internal exposures.

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/6/10/as_japan_nuclear_crisis_worsens_citizen

by asdf on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 11:31:34 AM EST
http://www.monbiot.com/2011/03/21/going-critical/

You will not be surprised to hear that the events in Japan have changed my view of nuclear power. You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.
A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting(1). Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.
by rootless2 on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 12:55:58 PM EST
The correct phrasing is that no immediate deaths due to radiation exposure to members of the public have been announced yet by the government. Long term impact to the public, deaths of workers not yet attributed to radiation exposure, and upcoming premature deaths of workers exposed to fatal doses but not dead yet--those sorts of things are to be excluded...
by asdf on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 01:21:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain needs nukes to power its textile mills and blast furnaces!
by asdf on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 01:23:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
not to mention pin factories.
by rootless2 on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 03:53:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sludge from contaminated water would be packed with radioactive substances: TEPCO - The Mainichi Daily News

Sludge that will be generated in the process of treating radioactive water at the tsunami-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is estimated to contain 100 million becquerels of radioactive substances per cubic centimeter, the plant operator said.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) made the estimation in a report on the water treatment system submitted to the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA).

While trying to begin treating the increasing volumes of radioactive water at an early date, TEPCO has failed to indicate how it will store the toxic sludge or a final disposal site in its road map to bring the crippled plant under control.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 01:27:25 PM EST
Report of Japanese Government to the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety
Report of Japanese Government
to the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety
- The Accident
at TEPCO's Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations -


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 02:10:20 PM EST
That's a massive report. Even just the chapter on the accident itself. But so far, regarding No. 1, I found:
  • they think the earthquake did not break reactor circuit pipes, based on pressure/steam flow readings before the tsunami hit;
  • at last there is a confirmation that the electric switchboxes of the rectors were submerged by the tsunami, too (thus making initial attempts to restore AC power futile);
  • in addition to the generators and the switchboxes, the seawater pumps of the cooling system were damaged, too;
  • elevated radiation levels inside the building were first detected at 23:00 local time on 11 March, that is seven and a half hours after the tsunami hit;
  • TEPCO's difficulty in following up on the government's order to vent was also because of elevated radiation levels, which forced workers to use improvised methods to open the valves;
  • they mention some confusion in the line of communication between TEPCO's higher and lower echelons and the government regarding a supposed suspension of seawater injection after starting it on the second day, but TEPCO's current position is that at the order of the plant director, there never was an actual suspension.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 03:44:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the next section I'm reading, it appears that basically none of the gauges installed inside the reactor pressure vessel are to be trusted, making estimates about the conditions inside guesswork. Take this last one for example:

In the present state, it is thought that steam continues to escape from the gas phase part of the RPV, but the RPV pressure is higher than the D/W pressure, so it is assumed that the opening is not large. However, the pressure changes after March 23 are changing in parallel with the changes in PCV pressure, so the possibility cannot be denied that there is a problem with the measurements.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 04:12:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why do they think (most of?) the fuel still in the pressure vessel? Temperature readings:

...after the injection water amount was dropped, temperatures in some areas increased, so it is thought that the fuel is inside the RPV.

Apparently not all the fuel at the bottom of the vessel is under water (have you read this before?):

The temperature of part of the RPV (the feed water nozzles, etc.) is higher than the saturation temperature for the PRV pressure, so at the present stage it is estimated that part of the fuel is not submerged in water, but is being cooled by steam.

What is the rate of aerial loss to the environment?

The inclusion of nitrogen, which started on April 7, was measured to increase the pressure by approx. 0.05 MPa, so at that stage it was estimated that the leakage rate from the D/W was approx. 4%/h.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 04:22:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading on, I found the following interesting details regarding the No. 2 reactor's accident:

  • Apparently, they think hat the problems started with a water leak from the reactor pressure vessel, which shut down the steam-powered cooling system at 13:25 on 14 March (this system needs battery electricity only to operate valves). However, they say they won't know for certain that the cooling system worked properly even before the shutdown until they don't dismantle it to check its parts.
  • Here we have a data on how long it took to install and activate seawater injection: from 16:34 to 19:54 on 14 March (that's exactly three and a half hours). However, they are still not certain whether seaweater injection worked at all, against the high pressure.
  • In TEPCO's simulation, the fuel was uncovered five hours after the loss of cooling, with core damage from the second hour.
  • I can't make sense of what they say about NISA's cross-check simulation (possibly bad translation): they agree on the fuel uncovering and meltdown timeline, however, conclude that the pressure vessel was damaged five hours after the earthquake (that's 70 hours before the fuel was uncovered!). Regarding material release, NISA estimates gives a wide range: 0.4-7% for iodine, 0.4-3% for tellurium, and 0.3-6% for caesium.
  • There was one venting on 13 March (before the loss of cooling and the now assumed meltdown) and one at the start of 15 March (after the meltdown), both without achieving a reduction of dry well pressure.
  • The fuel conditions are the same as at No. 1: temperature changes indicate that (most of?) it is cooled at the bottom of the pressure vessel with part of it above water, and some may be in the containment vessel.
  • Regarding the suppression chamber explosion, without being able to get there, they still don't know the cause. However, there was associated external damage: to the neighbouring waste processing building.

As for a final conclusion:

At this point, we cannot indentify to what extent each component functioned, and therefore, cannot determine how the events of the accident have developed.

Still in the dark, three months on.

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

by DoDo on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 07:20:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding No. 3:
  • It suffered less tsunami damage, for example the DC switchbox remained intact, and multiple cooling systems were operational.
  • The first cooling system failed probably due to batteries running out, the second because the water level gauge stopped and thus there was no reference value. The water level gauge was restored, but the cooling system probably didn't start again due to low pressure.
  • Again, the rate of water injection was low. According to TEPCO simulations, the fuel got uncovered about four hours after the stoppage, and core damage another two hours later, and another 20 hours later (66 hours after the earthquake), the corium damaged the pressure vessel.
  • According to NISA, the above events progressed slower (pressure vessel damage 79 hours after the earthquake).
  • The iodine and caesium that escaped was less than one percent.

Regarding No. 4:
  • Taking evaporation of the spent fuel pool into account only, the hydrogen explosion cannot be explained. Lack of significant damage to the fuel rods (as indicated by the water sample) and lack of visible cracks on photos also point against this possibility.
  • So they don't say explicitly but imply that the other theory now looks more likely: hydrogen from No. 3 entering No. 4 via the piping to the joint exhaust stack (there is a diagram showing the route of hydrogen from No. 3 to different exit points in No. 4).


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 08:16:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan Earthquake: nuclear plants - Page 595
But I had the hell of a time getting accurate estimates of the isotopic contents of the trench water and their energy profile. The only number I got and I quoted was 5.4 Megabecquerels/cm^3. That is 54,000 TeraBecquerels in 10,000 Tons of water, not 720k Terabecquerels in 10k Tons. Can you give me a reference for your data point?

Here it is: http://www.tepco.co.jp/cc/press/betu...es/110603a.pdf (page 8)

Out of the 720k TBq, 140 TBq account for C137. A little comparison: The Chernobyl core had a total C137 inventory of 280 TBq (of which only 40% escaped).


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 02:29:20 PM EST
Japanese unite against nuclear power

Tens of thousands of people marched through central Tokyo on Saturday to press the government to ditch nuclear power in light of the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster.

Protesters marched in orderly rows banging drums and shouting anti-nuclear slogans while walking toward the Economy Ministry and the head offices of Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), the privateer which owns and operates the stricken atomic facility.

Demonstrations were also staged in Osaka, Hiroshima and Fukushima, where Tepco bosses have failed to stem radiation leaks from their reactors since the March 11 magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami that knocked out power and cooling systems.

Tokyo grows green curtains

The odd looking goya has long been a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine, but Tokyoites are now growing the courgette-shaped bitter melon for reasons of energy conservation, not food.

Skylark, a restaurant chain, is cultivating the goya to create "green curtains" outside the windows of several hundred of its Tokyo eateries. The plants, it says, should form a natural shade to cool the interiors, reducing its reliance on air conditioners.

/snip

Some are taking more extreme steps in the hot muggy summer. Famista, a small website developer, has vowed to keep its air conditioners switched off and is paying employees Y2,000 ($25) a month to buy vest tops to wear.

Along with other companies, Skylark intends to set its air conditioners two degrees higher than normal - to 27C at the restaurant operator - this summer. The chain hopes the goya green curtains, combined with a special film it will apply to windows, will lower the temperature of a 330 square metre restaurant by two degrees.

Skylark favours goya because it is robust, has broad leaves, does not attract bugs, is easy to look after and fast growing. By the middle of the summer, each plant should be 2.5 metres high.

Japanese told to beat the heat with Hawaiian shirts"

At Japan's Environment Ministry, the atmosphere is almost preppy; it's full of fresh-faced young people in polo shirts, Crocs and even the odd Hawaiian shirt. This is the birthplace of Super Cool Biz, an energy-saving dress code designed to help ease power shortages following Japan's nuclear crisis, which could just lead to a revolution in Japanese office wear.

Elsewhere in the building, only half of the elevators are working. The corridors are murkily dark, with overhead lights switched off to save electricity. The air conditioning is off and the windows are open -- both unusual in Japanese offices.

Japan is struggling with power shortages following the nuclear crisis that has crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant and led to another nuclear plant also being closed down. To save electricity, several measures are being put in place, including making government employees in Tokyo start work an hour earlier.

Masahiro Sato, the father of Super Cool Biz, goes through the rules of this sartorial revolution intended to lighten up traditional office wear for the summer months: no neckties, no jackets, yes to polo shirts, yes to Hawaiian shirts, yes to sandals -- but no flip-flops. This, it's hoped, will be the new summer dress code of Japan's salarymen, designed to help the country through this year's power crunch.

"We're limiting air conditioners to 82 degrees to save energy," Sato says. "So we have to loosen up clothing guidelines, so people can be more comfy. As a target, we're looking at saving 10 percent of office electricity expenditure."

And from my own anecdotal evidence, my school is removing a third of the lights from classrooms (already well-enough lit by windows, anyway) changed the teacher dress code a bit, and mandated that A/C be set to no lower than 28.  Many stores have permenantly dimmed their main signs, and have also removed banks of lighting.  Lots of escalators have been de-activated as well, especially down escalators.  

by Zwackus on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 07:27:33 PM EST
NHK WORLD English
Radioactive strontium that exceeds the government-set safety level was detected for the first time in sea water in the inlet next to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, reported that strontinum-90, at a level 53 times higher than the safety standard was detected in samples taken from inside an inlet used exclusively by the nuclear plant, on May 16.

TEPCO also said that strontinum-90 was detected at a level 170 times higher than the standard in samples also taken on May 16, near the water intakes outside reactor number 2. At the reactor number 3 water intakes, the level was 240 times higher than the legal safety limit.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 08:58:59 PM EST
Japan Times: Radioactive strontium detected 62 km from Fukushima No. 1 plant
Strontium tends to accumulate in bones and is believed to cause bone cancer and leukemia.

...

The highest amount, 1,500 becquerels of strontium per kg, was detected in soil collected May 6 in the town of Namie, 24 km northwest of the nuclear plant.

The ministry also detected 1,000 becquerels of strontium per kg in the village of Iitate, 220 becquerels in the town of Kawamata and 30 becquerels in the town of Hirono.



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 09:19:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English
An NHK survey of municipalities affected by the March 11th disasters has found more than 60 percent of them see little or no prospect of reconstruction.

The mayors of 42 cities, towns and villages in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima responded to the survey.

6 mayors, including those of Otsuchi Town in Iwate Prefecture and Fukushima's Namie Town said there is no prospect of reconstruction.

Another 20 municipal heads said there is little prospect of reconstruction.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 08:59:43 PM EST
Japan considers evacuating more towns: WSJ - MarketWatch
SYDNEY(MarketWatch) -- Japan's government is considering evacuating more towns affected by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster as data showed new areas of elevated contamination levels, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website Friday. The areas under review, which could affect more than 180 families, are outside Japan's existing 30 kilometer (18.6 mile) evacuation zone,


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 07:33:21 AM EST
Japan Today: Radiation levels to be checked at 100 places in Tokyo
The Tokyo metropolitan government announced Wednesday it will gauge radiation levels in the air at 100 locations in the metropolis, in response to requests from cities, towns and villages for more expanded coverage than the current measurement conducted at the metropolitan government building in Shinjuku Ward.


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 09:19:49 AM EST
After three months?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 10:22:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The article doesn't mention what I saw in TV news just two days earlier: the city government actually turned down earlier requests, and even those conducting the measurements weren't pleased.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 10:31:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why not? This is going to be a chronic problem.

The acute exposure was not that high.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 10:50:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Was thinking from the other direction, why did it take so long to have multiple monitoring sites. Realizing also that acute exposure is not yet high, though as the season progresses i believe the prevailing winds shift some, though from the south-east.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 11:33:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The French nuclear industry seems to be the measuring rod for how to manage the technology. (Perhaps some nations with just a few plants have better track records, but the scale of nuclear power in France makes it the gold standard.)

Having no technical expertise in the industry, i wondered what's happened there, discovering a Level 2 Incident at the Blayais plant on the Atlantic coast.

With some eerie similarities to Fukushima.


Prior to the flooding, units 1, 2 and 4 were at full power, while unit 3 was shut down for refuelling.[1] Starting from 7:30 pm all four units lost their 225 kV power supplies, while units 2 and 4 also lost their 400 kV power supplies.[1][6] The isolator circuits that should have allowed units 2 and 4 to supply themselves with electricity also failed, causing these two reactors to automatically shut down, and diesel backup generators started up, maintaining power to plants 2 and 4 until the 400 kV supply was restored at around 10:20 pm.[1][6] In the pumping room for unit 1, one set of the two pairs of pumps in the Essential Service Water System failed due to flooding; had both sets failed then the safety of plant would have been endangered.[1][6] In both units 1 and 2, flooding in the fuel rooms put the low-head safety injection pumps and the containment spray pumps, part of the Emergency Core Cooling System (a back-up system in case of coolant loss) out of use.[1][6] Over the following days, an estimated 90,000 m3 (3,200,000 cu ft) of water would be pumped out of the flooded buildings.[1]
....
Around two and a half hours after the flooding began, a high-tide alarm for the estuary was triggered in the observation room of plant 4, although those in the other plants failed to activate. This should have caused the control room operators to launch a 'Level 2 Internal Emergency Plan', however this was not done as the requirement had been omitted from the operation room manual;[1] instead they continued to follow the procedure for the loss of the off-site power supply, so failing to shut down the operating reactors at the earliest opportunity to allow the residual heat to start to dissipate.[6]
....
During the morning of December 28, the Institute for Nuclear Protection and Safety estimated that, if the emergency cooling water supply failed, there would have been over 10 hours in which to act before core meltdown started.[6]

The emergency response seems to have been highly competent and effective. Further to their credit, there was "no quantifiable effect on radiation." After a few years of procrastination, the sea walls were raised and sealed.

So the incident confirms there was enough redundancy in the design to cope with this particular event. Still, makes one wonder. How much higher is the extreme event probability in a climate warmed world?


The adequacy of the sea walls has, however, been disputed by Professor Jean-Noël Salomon, head of the Laboratory of Applied Physical Geography at Michel de Montaigne University Bordeaux 3, who believes that, due to the potential harm and economic cost that would result from a future flood-related disaster, the sea walls should be designed to withstand simultaneous extreme events, rather than simultaneous major events.[4]


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 11:15:07 AM EST
In Fukushima Nuclear Plant Crisis, Crippling Mistrust - NYTimes.com
On the evening of March 12, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant's oldest reactor had suffered a hydrogen explosion and risked a complete meltdown. Prime Minister Naoto Kan asked aides to weigh the risks of injecting seawater into the reactor to cool it down.

At this crucial moment, it became clear that a prime minister who had built his career on suspicion of the collusive ties between Japan's industry and bureaucracy was acting nearly in the dark. He had received a confusing risk analysis from the chief nuclear regulator, a fervently pro-nuclear academic whom aides said Mr. Kan did not trust. He was also wary of the company that operated the plant, given its history of trying to cover up troubles.

Mr. Kan did not know that the plant manager had already begun using seawater. Based on a guess of the mood at the prime minister's office, the company ordered the plant manager to stop.

But the manager did something unthinkable in corporate Japan: he disobeyed the order and secretly continued using seawater, a decision that experts say almost certainly prevented a more serious meltdown and has made him an unlikely hero.

by Nomad on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 04:57:59 PM EST
Wow. And the article only scratches the surface.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 05:37:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for unearthing this story, which was referred to without details in the government report discussed upthread.

A little detail on legality:

Mr. Yoshida had the authority as the plant manager to make the decision, said Junichi Matsumoto, a senior official at Tepco. And indeed, guidelines from the International Atomic Energy Agency specify that technical decisions should be left to plant managers because a timely response is critical, said Sung Key-yong, a nuclear accident expert who participated in the agency's recent fact-finding mission to Japan.

Considering the above, IMHO the real scandal is not the managers' idiocy in ordering a stop of seawater injection on the basis of a guess that the PM's "mood" is against it, but this:

Last week, Tepco gave Mr. Yoshida its lightest punishment of a verbal reprimand for defying the order.

A reprimand after his decision was clearly proven to have been correct?

The main thrust of the NYC article is something different, BTW: that Kan's justified distrust of the nuclear establishment prevented him from efficient disaster management, relying on advisors who didn't have the necessary information. For example:

This includes the existence of a nationwide system of radiation detectors known as the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information, or Speedi. Mr. Terada and other advisers said they did not learn of the system's existence until March 16, five days into the crisis.

If they had known earlier, they would have seen Speedi's early projections that radiation from the Fukushima plant would be blown northwest, said one critic, Hiroshi Kawauchi, a lawmaker in Mr. Kan's own party. Mr. Kawauchi said that many of the residents around the plant who evacuated went north, on the assumption that winds blew south during winter in that area. That took them directly into the radioactive plume, he said -- exposing them to the very radiation that they were fleeing.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 14th, 2011 at 09:16:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding the US-Japan tussle over sharing information, what about this use of men and equipment by both sides as a means of a dipomatic exchange? (We soon learnt about the theatrical nature of the Japanese reaction, but not the US action.)

The Americans also began voluntary evacuations of nonessential personnel at their bases, and hinted at more drastic steps, even pulling out some essential military personnel, if Tokyo did not share more information, said this American official and Japanese officials, including Mr. Terada.

To show Washington and an increasingly anxious Japanese public that utmost efforts were being made, Mr. Kan deployed military helicopters to drop water into the reactors, Mr. Terada and other Japanese advisers said, adding they knew this would have only a limited effect on cooling them. On March 17, on live television, the helicopters dropped water from the air, though strong winds clearly blew much of the water off course.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 14th, 2011 at 09:22:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but on the 16th of March the government announced that SPEEDI wasn't working in the area because monitoring posts around the plant were malfunctioning due to earthquake or Tsunami  the idea that they only found out that day that it existed seems somewhat unlikely, judging by the usual slow release of information.

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 Jun 14th, 2011 at 04:52:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have a link for that 16 March announcement? I only found this earlier reference to the effect of local blackouts:

NUCLEAR CRISIS: HOW IT HAPPENED / Government radiation data disclosure--too little, too late : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

However, the March 11 calamity severed power at the Fukushima plant, meaning SPEEDI data could not be transmitted. The government said it did not make forecasts from the system public because "accurate predictions could not be made."

Despite the information blackout on radiation levels, SPEEDI continued to churn out useful data about radiation emissions immediately after the earthquake and tsunami by inputting provisional readings.

The system's estimates on radiation pollution for the afternoon of March 12 show high contamination in areas eerily similar to those the government eventually designated as "planned evacuation areas" in April.

...Commenting on the matter, Hirotada Hirose, professor emeritus of Tokyo Women's Christian University and specialist in risk psychology, said, "In a fast-changing crisis situation, delays in releasing information to try to ensure accuracy often aggravates people's suspicions and unease."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 15th, 2011 at 03:12:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I found that yesterday, when i was looking. but of course can't see it now.  Various news agencies quoted speedi as being in existence the day before, a german academic was taking SPEEDI  data from a japanese government website the day before, but Fukushima prefecture data was blank. (here's a link from the the guardian posted on the 15th)

ceebs:

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.


Sadly the Police never think it's as funny as you do.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jun 15th, 2011 at 08:35:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Someone with some clout is going to break the stranglehold on energy policy by the Japanese utilities.

Japan's Richest Man Challenges Nuclear Future With Nationwide Solar Plans


Billionaire Masayoshi Son has a track record in taking on monopolies after building a business that opened up the nation's telecommunications industry. Now he aims to shake up Japan's power utilities after the worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

Son, the 53-year-old chief executive officer of Softbank Corp. (9984), plans to build solar farms to generate electricity with support from at least 33 of Japan's 47 prefectures. In return, he's asking for access to transmission networks owned by the 10 regional utilities and an agreement they buy his electricity.
....
One option would be to raise funds to invest about 80 billion yen into building 10 solar farms, each with about 20 megawatts of capacity, said Softbank spokeswoman Makiko Ariyama.

The combined 200 megawatts of power capacity will provide more than 10 times the 19 megawatts in total produced at eight photovoltaic power stations run in Japan by the regional utilities as of June 9. Japan produced 988 terawatt hours of electricity in the year ended March 31.
....
Solar plants using 20 percent of unused agricultural land in Japan can have the generation capacity of about 50 gigawatts, almost matching that of Tokyo Electric, Son said.

I suspect this push will add strength to the wind power efforts already underway by Mitsubishi, Harokasan and others. In that regard, i don't believe we'll see the opposition to ridgeline wind turbines that we see in other lands, such as France and the UK.


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

by Crazy Horse on Wed Jun 15th, 2011 at 08:23:21 AM EST
My general impression is that in all but the most obvious and extreme circumstances, popular opposition to "landscape destruction" is either non-existent in this country, or so well suppressed as to be invisible.  And the legal system is not terribly supportive to NIMBY challenges, either - and for once, this may be a good thing.
by Zwackus on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 07:02:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jun 15th, 2011 at 06:37:34 PM EST
According to the YouTube video title, this is radiation testing in reactor No. 3 on 9 June.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 16th, 2011 at 01:38:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK - Govt sets policy to handle radiation sludge

The government has announced guidelines on how to dispose of sludge that contains radioactive material.

Radioactive material has been detected in sludge from waste water treatment plants in many areas, mainly in eastern Japan, since the crisis began at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The guidelines released by the government's nuclear disaster taskforce on Thursday say disposal facilities with filters will be used to prevent radiation leaks from fumes that are created when sludge is burned or dissolved.

They say sludge containing radiation of more than 100,000 becquerels per kilogram will be stored at facilities tightly shielded by substances like concrete.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jun 16th, 2011 at 09:34:30 PM EST
NHK WORLD English
A system to decontaminate highly radioactive water has gone into service at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The system is considered key to dealing with the build-up of contaminated water that is hampering work to bring the reactors under control.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, activated the system on Friday evening after conducting final test-runs.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 17th, 2011 at 12:17:45 PM EST
BBC News - Japan nuclear: Radiation halts water clean-up

Operators of Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant have suspended an operation to clean contaminated water hours after it began due to a rapid rise in radiation.

Some 110,000 tonnes of water have built up during efforts to cool reactors hit by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.

The contaminated water, enough to fill 40 Olympic-sized swimming pools, has been at risk of spilling into the sea.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 04:14:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English
One component of the system uses the mineral zeolite to absorb radioactive cesium. A replacement part of the US-made device had been expected to last one month, but radiation exceeding the maximum 4 millisieverts per hour led to the dramatically shortened lifespan.

TEPCO suspended operation of the device early on Saturday to determine the cause.

The utility says it has so far found no abnormalities with the system or water leakage in the system. It adds that the device's dosimeter may have detected radiation from nearby pipes containing contaminated water or other radioactive materials.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 04:15:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK - IAEA report on Fukushima nuclear accident  

The International Atomic Energy Agency says the Japanese government's complicated organizational structure caused it to respond more slowly than it should have to the nuclear accident at Fukushima.

The agency advises Japan to streamline its regulatory structure so it can hand down decisions more quickly.

IAEA experts who visited Japan late last month said the country underestimated the size of the tsunami that hit the Fukushima plant, and that safety measures must be bolstered to deal with natural disasters.  




Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 17th, 2011 at 08:40:32 PM EST
An example of the social ills possible in the aftermath of a nuclear disaster?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 09:39:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Japan, Another Nuclear Reactor Tests Nation's Will - NYTimes.com
The commitment to Monju is rooted in the way Japan has sold its nuclear program to local communities, experts say. In persuading towns and villages to provide land for nuclear power stations, Japan has promised that the spent nuclear fuel -- which remains highly radioactive for years -- will not be stored permanently on site, but used as fresh fuel for the nuclear fuel cycle.

Giving up on any part of the fuel cycle would mean the government would have to find communities willing to become the final resting ground for the spent fuel.

"Of course, no community would accept that, and suddenly Japan's entire nuclear program would become unviable," said Keiji Kobayashi, a retired fast-breeder reactor expert formerly at the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 05:34:43 AM EST
Now I don't know how reliable the source is but having seen it I thought it should go here.

US Orders News Blackout Over Crippled Nebraska Nuclear Plant | Pakalert Press

A shocking report prepared by Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAAE) on information provided to them by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) states that the Obama regime has ordered a "total and complete" news blackout relating to any information regarding the near catastrophic meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant  located in Nebraska.

According to this report, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant suffered a "catastrophic loss of cooling" to one of its idle spent fuel rod pools on 7 June after this plant was deluged with water caused by the historic flooding of the Missouri River which resulted in a fire causing the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to issue a "no-fly ban" over the area.

Located about 20 minutes outside downtown Omaha, the largest city in Nebraska, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant is owned by Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) who on their website denies their plant is at a "Level 4" emergency by stating: "This terminology is not accurate, and is not how emergencies at nuclear power plants are classified."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 08:22:52 AM EST
Well if there is a total news blackout then there won't be a detailed denial, IMHO. For, on the linked page, OPPH claims much more than inaccurate terminology. The most essential:
  • They say the 'Level 4' was a Notification of Unusual Event (NOUE - this is the lowest level on a four-level scale), namely a warning of Missisippi floodwaters expected to reach a certain level, which was issued on 6 June, three days before the prediction came true and that level was actually reached.
  • Regarding the spent fuel pool, they admit that one cooling pump lost power due to a fire (on 7 June, two days before the waters reached the NOUE level), but claim the automatic fire extinguisher worked and power to the pump was re-gained after 90 minutes, until when the pool temperature increased only "a few degrees".
  • The above event was actually subject to a higher emergency level, an Alert (that is the second-lowest level of that four-level scale), which was called off three and a half hours later.

Based on this, it would appear someone is engaging in scaremongering.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 09:05:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A shocking report prepared by Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAAE)

Needless to say, I can't find such a report at the FAAE site, in English or Russian. In fact I can't find this news in any Russian source. Methinks someone in Pakistan made it up.

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

by DoDo on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 09:20:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shows how total the news blackout is :D

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 09:23:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
:-)

There are news reports in Russian about Fort Calhoun: about the no-fly zone declared above it.

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

by DoDo on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 09:28:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The purported FAA restriction is Seemingly Here.

Here's the plant.



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

by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 09:36:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The no-fly zone is not in question, its justification is. According to OPPD, it was "set up by the FAA as a result of Missouri river flooding" – implying that it had nothing to do with the plant. The articles in Russian refer back to a blog post; the blogger called the plant and got this more detailed info:

Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes

I spoke by phone with Mike Jones, a spokesman for the plant. He told me that due to the rising flood waters, a lot of planes and news helicopters were flying over the reactor and some were coming in quite low.

The plant manager told the FAA he was concerned they might collide with power lines or each other. This is the reason the FAA issued a Notice to Airmen banning over-flights of the reactor. The NRC says this isn't a an issue regarding the potential release of radiation.

Here's what the NRC's spokesman said about it

"After last week's Alert, and with all the interest in flooding on the Missouri, news helicopters began flying near the plant. We understand that the plant owner contacted the FAA and asked them to remind pilots of the basic NOTAM is still in effect. As far as we can tell that had zero to do with the plant operations and everything to do with assisting in flood relief."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 09:46:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If thats the expanded one what's the usual NFZ round a nuke 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 Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 09:49:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The article is sensational, yes, and for the moment we discount it.  

But take a look at the embeded video:  

Basics are, first, an electrical fire of unknown cause, successfully extinguished, that temporarily knocked out cooling to the spent-fuel pool, now restored.  They dodged a bullet, and have unknown damage to repair, but yes, cooling is working, according to the NRC reports.  

Second, the plant has about one foot of margin left.  A rise of one third meter or more puts the plant at risk of flooding and failing utterly (including melting down).  The flood right now is stable, but this could change if there is more bad weather, or if any of the upstream dams--already saturated--fail.  This danger will persist for months.  

This last would explain a news blackout, and the no fly zone.  It is also true they don't want anything knocking down power into the plant.  That too is "Game Over, Man.  Game Over!"  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 02:25:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now you assume that the American government is able and willing to organise a "news blackout."

Historical experience indicates otherwise. It tends to be possible to find the story in the Unserious but reality-based part of the press (hell, usually even by simply going to the US government's primary sources instead of the spin doctors), without going into tinfoil hat territory.

And the US government seems to like it that way. "See, we have a free press - look at Amy Wallace and Matt Taibbi. It's just Too Bad that their readership is counted in five figures on a good day."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 05:35:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]


The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 10:26:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US government doesn't have to arrange it.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 03:22:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Second, the plant has about one foot of margin left.

Source? The link provided by asdf downthread indicates a margin more like six feet, and preparedness for two feet more:

...missing from these reports (and from the original release) was the elevation of the plant itself, which turns out to be -- surprise! -- 1,004 feet. According to NRC Senior Public Affairs Officer Victor Dricks, the river yesterday was at 1,005.7 feet and is expected to crest at 1,006.4 feet. By then, the plant will be standing in more than two feet of water; luckily, the eight-foot-tall Aqua Dams should keep the water at bay. And the river is still well below the worst-imaginable scenario that OPPD is required to prepare for: a flood reaching 1,014 feet above sea level.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 08:55:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
as of Sunday 26 June, the berm is breached.  Lost power when the substation flooded, since restored.  No problem!  

We are looking forward to three more months of this!  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Mon Jun 27th, 2011 at 01:36:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They are running on back-up diesel generators.  

It will probably be impossible to restore power until the water recedes.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Mon Jun 27th, 2011 at 10:24:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your link:

Emergency generators powered the plant until an off-site power supply was connected Sunday afternoon, according to OPPD.

Details do count, even if I agree that the story is about underestimated risks. The latest is that the AquaDam berth was damaged not by the flood but human interference:

Added flood protection at Nebraska nuclear plant fails | Iowa Independent

Workers with Omaha Public Power District, owners and operators of Calhoun, had placed a massive AquaDam around the structure and its other flood protection systems. The AquaDam, a tube structure filled with water that was eight-feet tall and 16-feet wide, was punctured early Sunday morning during onsite work.

"Some mechanical equipment tore the side of the dam," Victor Dricks, Region 4 spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told The Iowa Independent Monday by phone. "As a result, the plant switched to emergency power for a period of a about 12 hours."

NRC inspectors were onsite when the incident occurred, and flood waters rushed auxiliary and other buildings at the site. The power supply was cut because water infiltrated the plant's main electrical transformers. Power has since been switched away from emergency generators and to an off-site power supply.

Keeping power at the plant is critical since the reactor core has been refueled and spent fuel remains in a cooling pool. Dricks said the failure of the dam did not adversely impact either the core or the cooling pool. Dry cask storage of spent fuel has long been exposed to the flood waters and, as Dricks told The Iowa Independent last week, poses no risk.

Other, more solid berms were located inside the area also being protected by the AquaDam. Those protections are holding with minor seepage and, of course, additional rainfall being pumped away from the structure and back into the river.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 28th, 2011 at 01:27:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile, the maximum expected flood level was apparently raised, but the article is inconsistent on whether that's 1,008 or 1,011 feet. They also write about emergency measures useful until 1,036 feet, and also say:

Added flood protection at Nebraska nuclear plant fails | Iowa Independent

Much of the good fortune at the plant during this crisis has been the result of earlier inspections by regulatory officials that revealed several imperfections in relation to flood preparedness at the plant. Because of the inspections and subsequent work by OPPD officials, many of problems that could have spelled catastrophe during this flood have been mitigated. OPPD workers first began flood prevention activities during the weekend of May 21.

One year off and there would have been a second Fukushima.

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

by DoDo on Tue Jun 28th, 2011 at 01:37:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is a reputable and calm assessment of the Nebraska plant. The most sensational paragraph:

The plant began commercial operation in 1973, long after the construction of six huge dams -- from Fort Peck in Montana to Gavins Point in South Dakota -- that control the Missouri River flows and normally prevent major floods. But, this spring, heavy rains and high snowpack levels in Montana, northern Wyoming, and the western Dakotas have filled reservoirs to capacity, and unprecedented releases from the dams are now reaching Omaha and other cities in the Missouri River valley. Floodgates that haven't been opened in 50 years are spilling 150,000 cubic feet per second -- enough water to fill more than a hundred Olympic-size swimming pools in one minute. And Fort Calhoun isn't the only power plant affected by flooding on the Missouri: The much larger Cooper Nuclear Station in Brownville, Nebraska, sits below the Missouri's confluence with the Platte River -- which is also flooding. Workers at Cooper have constructed barriers and stockpiled fuel for the plant's three diesel generators while, like their colleagues at Fort Calhoun, they wait for the inevitable.

The main UCS gripe is the lousy reporting of what's going on...

http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/dawn-stover/rising-water-falling-journalism

by asdf on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 02:29:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English
Economy and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda has asked local governments to restart operations of nuclear power plants that were shut down for safety checks following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Kaieda told reporters on Saturday he had confirmed that all power companies have implemented measures to avert serious accidents, such as a hydrogen explosion, in line with the ministry's instructions earlier this month.

Kaieda said restricted power is a major problem for the Japanese economy. He sought understanding from local people and the general public about restarting operations of nuclear power plants if proven to be safe


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2011 at 08:53:29 AM EST
NHK WORLD English
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it has opened the doors and begun ventilation at the No. 2 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The restoration work inside the No. 2 reactor has been hampered by humidity of almost 100 percent due to steam from the containment vessel and spent-fuel storage pool.

TEPCO opened the doors halfway at 8:51 PM on Sunday. It plans to fully open them at 4 AM on Monday if there are no problems.

The utility has been using an air purification device for more than a week to reduce the radioactive concentration inside the 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 Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 11:41:56 AM EST
Nuclear lobby to challenge German exit plan: report | Reuters

(Reuters) - Germany's nuclear lobby is mulling plans to take the German government to constitutional court, to halt the country's nuclear exit and seek billions in damages, the online edition of Der Spiegel said on Sunday.

A legal opinion commissioned by utility E.On has concluded that the German government's plan to exit nuclear energy by 2022 is unconstitutional, Spiegel's Web site said.

The legal opinion, which was prepared for E.On by law firm Gleiss Lutz, says Germany's current energy strategy infringes on basic property rights enshrined in Germany's constitution, Der Spiegel said, citing a copy of the document.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 01:56:20 PM EST
The Associated Press: New report shows early chaos at Japan nuke plant

TOKYO (AP) -- A new report says Japan's tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant was so unprepared for the disaster that workers had to bring protective gear and an emergency manual from distant buildings and borrow equipment from a contractor.

The report, released Saturday by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., is based on interviews of workers and plant data. It portrays chaos amid the desperate and ultimately unsuccessful battle to protect the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant from meltdown, and shows that workers struggled with unfamiliar equipment and fear of radiation exposure.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami destroyed the plant's power and crucial cooling systems, causing three reactor cores to melt and causing several explosions.

TEPCO has been criticized for dragging its feet on venting and sea water cooling -- the two crucial steps that experts say could have mitigated the damage. Company officials have said the tsunami created obstacles that were impossible to anticipate. An investigation by an independent panel is pending.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 01:57:45 PM EST
Fukushima: It's much worse than you think - Features - Al Jazeera English

Japan's Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters finally admitted earlier this month that reactors 1, 2, and 3 at the Fukushima plant experienced full meltdowns.

TEPCO announced that the accident probably released more radioactive material into the environment than Chernobyl, making it the worst nuclear accident on record.

Meanwhile, a nuclear waste advisor to the Japanese government reported that about 966 square kilometres near the power station - an area roughly 17 times the size of Manhattan - is now likely uninhabitable.

Fukushima: It's much worse than you think - Features - Al Jazeera English

Gundersen points out that far more radiation has been released than has been reported.

"They recalculated the amount of radiation released, but the news is really not talking about this," he said. "The new calculations show that within the first week of the accident, they released 2.3 times as much radiation as they thought they released in the first 80 days."

According to Gundersen, the exposed reactors and fuel cores are continuing to release microns of caesium, strontium, and plutonium isotopes. These are referred to as "hot particles".

"We are discovering hot particles everywhere in Japan, even in Tokyo," he said. "Scientists are finding these everywhere. Over the last 90 days these hot particles have continued to fall and are being deposited in high concentrations. A lot of people are picking these up in car engine air filters."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 08:43:50 AM EST
NHK WORLD English
Concerns over radioactive contamination are growing among people living next to the new evacuation advisory zones near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The people live just outside an area in Date and Minami Soma cities that the government last week designated for voluntary evacuation.

On Monday evening, Minami Soma city officials visited the homes of 5 families in Jisabara district, next to the zones.

The officials checked the radiation levels around the houses at the request of the concerned residents.


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 Jun 21st, 2011 at 07:31:29 AM EST
I guess you would know if radioactive particles were sitting in your yard - but what will it tell you about wind born radiation from the crippled plant?

What will it tell you about future releases of radioactivity  as this is an ongoing crises?

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 07:48:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English
Tokyo Electric Power Company is continuing work to reinforce a spent fuel pool at the Number 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The walls supporting the pool were heavily damaged by a hydrogen blast on March 15th, following the earthquake and tsunami 4 days earlier.

The pool contains 1,535 spent fuel rods and its weakened structure makes it vulnerable to future earthquakes.

TEPCO on Monday completed one stage of the reinforcement that began late last month. 32 iron pillars, each 8 meters tall and weighing 40 tons, were installed beneath the pool on the 2nd floor 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 Jun 21st, 2011 at 07:32:14 AM EST
Atom industry body urges cost-effective safety | Reuters

(Reuters) - Steps to boost atomic safety after Japan's Fukushima accident must be "cost-effective," an industry body said on Tuesday, a day after the UN nuclear chief suggested power firms could help pay for expanded safety checks.

John Ritch, director general of the World Nuclear Association, said the industry had been struggling in the last decade to limit capital costs while building a new generation of reactors.

"In this context, it is crucially important that regulatory actions taken in response to Fukushima have demonstrable benefit arising from any increased costs," he told a major international safety conference, according to a copy of his speech.

"Focus solely on cost-effective measures," he 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 Jun 21st, 2011 at 11:02:46 AM EST
This open-ness is breathtaking...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 03:19:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Consider the cost to TEPCO of the Fukushima disaster. Determine a percentage probability of that occurring (in light of actual experience, rather than wishful thinking), probably between 1% and 10% for recent reactors, significantly higher for older ones.

Steps to boost atomic safety should be considered cost-effective up to that, exceedingly high, threshold.

Of course, your nuclear power is no longer cost-effective in that context.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 27th, 2011 at 09:08:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd hoped for more of a discussion of where nuclear power stands post-Fukushima, but that didn't happen. (Though of course i'm very pleased that this became a forum for more news and developments.)

We have seen some here remind us that Fukushima is not at all as bad as Chernobyl, which proved to be a false interpretation. (If TEPCO announced data can be trusted.) But we did not see a discussion of where nuclear power now stands in the scheme of energy futures, nor whether Fukushima has changed any equations.

For example, many state that Fukushima only shows us what might happen to older technologies, and that current technologies would never suffer such catastrophe. Which may be true, ignoring the existence of a fair number of older plants.

There was zero discussion of whether this civilization is technically capable of dealing with splitting the atom, or whether it has the understanding or the institutions to handle such technology.

I only know that a deputy PM in Japan told Green leader Trittin (on his visit last week) that Japan holds Germany as the goalpost for how to make energy sustainably. (Which i suppose is why i live here, Bundesbank be damned.)

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 03:47:04 PM EST
Please excuse me. i realize i wrote, post-Fukushima, as if it was over.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 03:48:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Every nuclear technology starts by promising electricity too cheap to meter, discounts out of hand known technical complexities that impinge on technical viability, not to mention health and safety, covers up (lies about) safety lapses in construction and early operations, and then when things finally go bad for real--Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima, but you could also throw in near-misses such as Browns Ferry--explains it away as an old and obsolete technology that can be discounted and ignored because everything is different now.  Until the next meltdown.  

As Malooga says, forget pollution, forget the ever unsolved and ever growing problem of waste storage, forget the known but unasignable deaths due to accidents and leaks--just look at the design issues:  These plants can not be turned "off" without copious, long-term external power for shutdown-mode cooling. These plants are the most insane machines ever constructed.  As Steve from Virginia over at Economic Undertow says, the one great difference of nuclear power over other forms of power generation has been its ability to push costs into the future.  That was done then and those costs are starting to arrive now.  

But does any of this matter?  Industrial civilization is committed to using as much power as possible from any and every sufficiently cheap source for as long as possible, regardless of externalities which typically mean the destruction of the inhabitability of land and the potability of water.  This is in turn a consequence of the demand for infinite growth.  There is no argument nuclear vs. coal, or vs. anything else.  The only question is how much dirty energy of all types Industrial Civilization will develop before the price becomes too high or underlying human life support is destroyed.  All sources of energy--no matter how dirty or destructive--will be used if they can be.  

The only way out--if it can be called a way out--is to use less energy, and that means giving up on growth altogether.  Industrial civilization has no way of not growing.  This is an absolute impasse.  That is, the way out implies the end of industrial civilization, which, it is true, will happen anyway--but the implication is to embrace necessity in the spirit of damage limitation.  

But where is the political will to come from?  If these plants are not shut down, the best parts of North America, Europe, and Asia will become exclusion zones before the 21st century is out.  But there is no money to be made by saving any of these continents:  Money can only be made by destroying them.  So there is no solution within the bounds of the current political economy.  

We need a revolution, sure, but here is the catch:  Unlike previous revolutions, there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  The revolution itself would be based on the recognition that nobody will be "better off" as the phrase is currently understood.  The West is currently completely nihilistic--no one believes that a future is possible, let alone likely, and no one has any interest in seeking it.  The short phrase for this is murder-suicide, and murder-suicide is the underlying psychology of the West.  Everyone has bought in to their own death by their own hand.  

Except for a few lone nuts, of course.  But they have no power and no influence.  How can this change?  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 11:58:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Make this a diary.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 04:45:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I strongly share at least some of your views. But i was hoping that people who are in favor of expanded nuclear power would share whether/how Fukushima has affected them.

I've stated here that nuclear power is the symbol of a civilization with zero understanding of humanity's place in the universe, a lethal technological hubris. especially when civilization could easily be powered by the various forms of solar.

But there remain lots of people who believe low-level radiation is not dangerous, that the waste problem is or will be solved, and everything is hunky dory. That technology always functions exactly as designed, doesn't fail, get brittle with age, and of course doesn't fail.

Even if there aren't near enough foundries to provide the nuclear plan.

Even if the need to completely decentralize energy isn't an immediate necessity for this sick civilization, instead of further centralization.

I'm always struck that my mentor, the founder of the wind industry in amurka, was previously the chief designer of the first class of nuclear submarines. He changed enough to establish the first PhD. engineering program in wind. Courageous, no?

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 05:27:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But there remain lots of people who believe low-level radiation is not dangerous

Dangerous compared to what?

Dangerous compared to coal mining? That depends on how much you weigh human suffering today (dead coal miners) over human suffering tomorrow (elevated risk of radiation effects).

Dangerous compared to global warming? I'd take a doubling of the gamma background any day of the week.

Dangerous compared to going without electricity? Well, no. Not in any reasonable estimation of the consequences of going without electricity.

Dangerous compared to harvesting wind or solar power? Obviously, yes.

Dangerous compared to basing your civilisation exclusively on harvesting sustainable energy sources? That remains to be seen, but I strongly suspect that the answer is yes.

What Fukushima has demonstrated is that current nuclear technology is not failsafe. And that is obviously not sustainable, given the disruptions and casualties from a serious failure. It may be acceptable for a bridging technology, though, depending on what the alternatives are.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 06:03:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't believe a bridging technology is necessary. We can build all the sustainable technologies right now.

Anything else is distraction, eye on the prize, a sustainable civilization.

not sure i get "taking a doubling of gamma background." using the technology at all risks dead zones.

not sure "going without electricity" is one of the options.

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 06:13:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't believe a bridging technology is necessary. We can build all the sustainable technologies right now.

Perhaps. But with what ramp-up time?

Bridging technologies are not useful for bridging the gap to some as-yet-uninvented magic bullet. That is excuse-making, not reality-based strategic planning. Bridging technologies are useful for bridging the gap between where you currently are and where you have good reason to believe you will be able to get using existing technology.

It may be that the ramp-up time for renewables is short enough compared to the design life of a nuclear plant, or the remaining design life of our coal-burning infrastructure, that it is undesirable to build new nuclear capacity. But that is an empirical question, and as such I reserve the right to suspend my judgement until and unless I have empirical data.

not sure "going without electricity" is one of the options.

Oh, it is certainly an option. It is my understanding that people did so for some millennia prior to Volta and Faraday came around.

Just not a very good option.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 01:30:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While solar technologies are not quite as advanced as wind, they are far down the learning curve... as are efficiency and insulation technologies.

The idea that they're not quite ready for prime time is a media concoction by the powers that be. They are ready to be ramped up globally on a huge scale right now.

In both wind and PV, the ability to ramp up hugely has already been proven. The build-up of the supply chain for wind turbines, a highly complex piece of equipment, is the example of how it would be achieved.

The industry has already installed 200 GW globally, 35.8 GW last year. China had 5.9 GW at the end of 2007, three years later had 42.3 GW installed. Global growth outside of China has slowed because of lack of political will, but there already have been periods of similar growth in the west.

At the end of 2007, the US had 16.8 GW, by the end of 2010 40.2 GW. That's 23.4 1,000 MW nuke plants in three years. Globally last year 35.8 plants.

Especially as new markets continue to come online, such as now in Brazil, it would be possible to double output in three years, and hit 100GW/yr in 5, continually increasing where needed.

If there's money to build conventional plants, there's money to build this level of renewable installation.

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 03:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, my comment didn't address capacity factors, but still, it shows the level of production available. And believe me, there are 100s of companies wishing to get into the wind supply chain, so the manufacturing capacity is there.

Would this help the world grow productive economies?

Solar and efficiency technologies would do the same. and all produced relatively locally.

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 03:19:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if we took all nuclear offline the result would not be without electricity as much as rationed electricity. A bit of american television form the Californian electicity scam comes to mind:

Journalist: What do you do to use less power?
Guy on the street: I turn off my television when I go to work. I mean, I like having it on when I come home, but we all have to pitch in.

Had to quote that, but actually the big savings are still in the industry and commercial properties. Wasting are often a form of conspicious consumtion and if it is on the company, then why not?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 03:03:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK - Plant decontamination not working
 The Tokyo Electric Power Company is looking into why a system for decontaminating radioactive water at the Fukushima Daiichi plant is not working as expected, delaying resumption of the system's full-scale operation.

The firm on Wednesday published data showing the amount of radioactive materials that had been removed from contaminated water during a test run of the US-made system.

The data show that density of Cesium-13 and Cesium-137 dropped to only one-100th of initial levels.

An earlier test run using water with a lower density of radioactivity showed a drop to about one-1000th.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 09:56:46 PM EST
Japan Earthquake: nuclear plants - Page 637
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/na...302000200.html : There was a mistake on a command panel. One or more bypass valves marked "closed" on the command panel were actually open, so one or more absorption towers were being bypassed.

http://www.asahi.com/national/jiji/JJT201106230039.html : As a result of the mistake, only 1 out of 4 cesium absorption towers was actually being used. After checking the valves and correcting the mistake, the test has been started again with a 50 ton/hour flow.

If my understanding is correct, what this Asahi/Jiji article is saying is that in a normal operation, one cesium tower is bypassed for maintenance, while the other 3 are active. As a result of the mistake, they were doing just the opposite. Yet only one valve was wrong.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 07:01:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UK government planning in response to Fukushima obtained by the Guardian under FOIA legislation Planned worse case scenario prediction is for double the ammount at Chernobyl to be released.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 10:14:47 PM EST

Is the head of AREVA being replaced?

regardless, i didn't know reactor construction was so easy.

Areva's Workers Prepare For Shake-Up as CEO Exits


The last decade has seen a tug-of-war between Ms. Lauvergeon, the government and the heads of several French utilities over how to finance and organize the country's nuclear industry. Under pressure from increased competition to create a simplified French nuclear offering, the government recently decided EDF should oversee the export of France's atomic know-how abroad, a decision Ms. Lauvergeon resisted.

Nevertheless, now that Ms. Lauvergeon is leaving "it is very likely that a shake-up will happen at Areva," said Pierre-Louis Brenac, an energy consultant at SIA Conseil in France. "EDF will increasingly take a leading role in promoting the French nuclear industry."

A person close to the French Industry Ministry said that while nothing would likely happen in the short term as Mr. Oursel settles into his new job, "Areva's business model will have to change; its core business could also change."

Following the crisis in Japan, Areva is under pressure to convince utilities and governments its reactors are safer and more efficient than those of competitors. How this plays out could help determine the success of the engineering company in the long run.




"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 10:48:52 AM EST
NHK WORLD English
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is striving to prevent highly radioactive water from overflowing the facility amid delays in restarting a key water decontamination system.

Tokyo Electric Power Company has been reducing the volume of water injected into the first 3 reactors since Tuesday to curb a further build-up of highly radioactive water at the plant.

On Friday, it further reduced the volume of water injected into the No.3 reactor by 0.5 tons to 9 tons per hour.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 24th, 2011 at 07:31:36 AM EST
NHK WORLD English
Fukushima Prefecture has decided to distribute dosimeters to about 280 thousand children to monitor their radiation exposure caused by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Voices of parents expressing concern about their children's health have been growing louder.

The prefecture said on Thursday it will give dosimeters to children ranging from infants to junior high school students.

The prefecture will also subsidize cities and villages to replace top soil in the school yards or set up air conditioners in schools.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 24th, 2011 at 07:32:01 AM EST
NHK WORLD English
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it lost control of an unmanned helicopter during a flight near the No. 2 reactor building, forcing the controller to make an emergency landing on a roof there.

Tokyo Electric Power Company says the remote-controlled light helicopter took off from an observatory south of the Fukushima plant just past 6:30 AM on Friday. Its mission was to collect airborne radioactive substances around the No. 2 reactor building.

The utility says its engine failed about 30 minutes later, making it impossible for the aircraft to ascend.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 24th, 2011 at 07:33:29 AM EST
NHK WORLD English
The operator of Japan's experimental fast-breeder nuclear reactor Monju has successfully retrieved a 3-ton device that fell inside the reactor vessel 10 months ago.

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency says it completed work to recover the fuel-exchange equipment at around 5 AM on Friday. The work took about 8 hours.

In May last year, the Monju reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, resumed operations after a 14-year shutdown. It was closed in 1995 after a sodium leak started a fire.

But 3 months after restarting, operations had to be suspended again after the device fell into the reactor during an inspection.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 24th, 2011 at 07:34:39 AM EST
NHK WORLD English
Responding to residents' demands for more information, Fukushima City released on Friday the results of radiation checks conducted on June 17th and 20th at more than 1,000 sites, including public facilities and roads in residential areas.

Six locations, including a park in a municipal housing complex, registered radiation levels of over 3.4 microsieverts per hour when measured one meter above ground. This exceeds the prefecture's threshold for re-checking.

Radiation of over two microsieverts per hour was recorded at 182 sites.
The city said that it re-checked the six sites on Friday, and all locations registered lower radiation.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 24th, 2011 at 01:50:07 PM EST


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 24th, 2011 at 07:44:14 PM EST
What does this mean, that the radiation above the reactor fried the electronics?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 25th, 2011 at 02:44:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AFP via Google: 'Lady Gaga-san' says Japan safe for tourists (23 June 2011)
An emotional Lady Gaga pledged to use her star power to "remind the world that Japan is safe" following the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.

...

"I believe it's time to look forward now," a teal-haired Lady Gaga -- or Lady Gaga-san as she is referred to in Japan -- told reporters at a press event in Tokyo on Thursday as she sipped tea on stage in front of photographers.

"It is so important that we continue to raise money. But it is also important that we remind the world that Japan is now safe and that the doors are wide open for tourists from all over the world to come in and enjoy the beautiful country."



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 25th, 2011 at 02:54:00 AM EST
And we hope the whole world listens to the adorable Lady Gaga-san, who not only plays keyboards, but with her multiple degrees in nuclear medicine, epidemiology and nuclear engineering, after gathering data for the past 3 months while walking all over northern Japan, sure knows what she's talking about.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 25th, 2011 at 04:28:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Her hair was fluorescent green in the pictures...

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 25th, 2011 at 05:05:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]

At the press event, US ambassador John Roos also stressed that "Japan is open for business" after exchanging hugs and kisses with the performer.

"I had breakfast with some US-Japan think-tank experts who said to me, Mr Ambassador, what can we do in order to strengthen the strategic, economic and people-to-people relations between Japan and the United States?", he said.

"And I had one answer. Lady Gaga."



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 25th, 2011 at 01:33:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm still squicked out by those post 9-11 ads featured in airports and on TV with president bush saying "go spend money in malls and as a tourist." Just fucking disgusting.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sat Jun 25th, 2011 at 10:56:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bush' crass Keynesianism...

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 26th, 2011 at 04:49:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japanese parents fume over Fukushima radiation impact | Reuters

(Reuters) - Angry parents of children in Japan's Fukushima city marched along with hundreds of people on Sunday to demand protection for their children from radiation more than three months after a massive quake and tsunami triggered the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

"We want our lives back, we want to live like before the quake in happy families," said Hiroko Sato who marched in heavy rain with her nephews, age 3 and 7, next to banners saying "No Nukes" and "One Fukushima is Enough." "My baby was born two weeks before the nuclear accident and I don't feed her with my milk as I'm afraid I was exposed to too much radiation," said Sato.

Three reactors went into meltdown after the earthquake hit the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in northeastern Japan on March 11, forcing 80,000 residents to evacuate from its vicinity as engineers battled radiation leaks, hydrogen explosions and overheating fuel rods.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 26th, 2011 at 08:42:26 AM EST
Here's a very disturbing report on radiation outside of my expertise. With scary implications.

Millions Fewer Girls Born Due to Nuclear Radiation?


Female Chromosomes Especially Vulnerable?

The biological mechanism behind the skewed sex ratio wasn't investigated in the study. But previous radiation experiments on animals suggest the boost in males may be due to damage to X chromosomes in sperm, Scherb said.

In humans, a sperm cell contains either an X or Y chromosome, while an egg contains no Y chromosome. If an embryo has an XY combination, it will become a boy. An XX combination results in a girl. (Get a genetics overview.)

It's not known exactly why X chromosomes in sperm would be more likely to sustain radiation damage than Y chromosomes or in X chromosomes in eggs, Scherb said. Perhaps it's because X chromosomes are simply bigger targets or because eggs insulate their chromosomes better than sperm cells do, he speculated.

It could also be that, because X chromosomes--being larger than Y chromosomes--carry more genes, X chromosome damage is more likely to result in a fatally deformed embryo, he said.

Information on the study's co-author and institution:    Institute of Biomathematics and Biometry

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

by Crazy Horse on Mon Jun 27th, 2011 at 04:37:55 AM EST
Chernobyl has had a completely negligeable effect on the health of surrounding populations. The proof of this is that the effect on the health of the surrounding populations has been completely neglected.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Jun 27th, 2011 at 06:19:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Missing /snark tag fixed.  

{ET Moderation Technology]  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Mon Jun 27th, 2011 at 01:46:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only comment i can make, shows how little is known (especially at the genetic level) regarding radiation.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Jun 27th, 2011 at 04:31:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nicolas Sarkozy makes €1bn commitment to nuclear power | World news | The Guardian
The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has bucked the anti-nuclear trend following Japan's Fukushima disaster by pledging €1bn of investment in atomic power.

Despite growing worldwide concern about the safety of nuclear plants, Sarkozy said the moratorium on new nuclear reactors adopted by certain countries since the Japanese nuclear crisis in March "makes no sense".

"There is no alternative to nuclear energy today," he told journalists on Monday. [...]

Sarkozy said France was known to be "considerably ahead" of other countries in terms of atomic power technology and safety.

"Our power stations are more expensive because they are safer," he said.

Yeah right. And I thought it was because the fkuced up the specs...

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

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 27th, 2011 at 11:00:19 AM EST
NHK WORLD English
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has suspended using decontaminated water as a coolant because of leaky pipes.

Tokyo Electric Power Company began circulating recycled water through the No.1, 2 and 3 reactors at 4:20 PM on Monday.

But it halted the operation one and a half hours later after discovering water leaking from the pipes.

TEPCO has been attempting to run the decontamination system since June 14th. It has so far treated about 1,850 tons of the water.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 27th, 2011 at 02:17:45 PM EST
NHK WORLD English
An operator of waste incineration plants in Tokyo says it has found a high density of radioactive materials in ash at one of its plants.

An Edogawa ward plant, which handles general household garbage, detected 9,740 becquerels of radioactive materials per kilogram of ash.

The ash was collected from a device to filter exhaust fumes.

The plant's operator, an organization jointly set up by Tokyo's 23 wards, believes that radioactive cesium built up through the incinerating process.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 27th, 2011 at 02:18:24 PM EST
NHK WORLD English
The Japanese government held a meeting in Saga Prefecture, western Japan, on Sunday to explain to local residents about safety measures being taken to resume operations of a nuclear power plant in the area. But most of the people were strongly dissatisfied with the government report.

The meeting was the first of its kind since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March.

Seven residents chosen by the government, including a housewife and a senior official of the local chamber of commerce, attended the meeting at a cable TV station.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 27th, 2011 at 02:19:20 PM EST
NHK WORLD English
Workers at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have started moving low level contaminated water to a giant steel barge for storage.

The transfer from the plant's make-shift tanks started on Thursday afternoon to the barge called the "mega float." The barge is attached to a quay on the plant's premises.

The make-shift tanks have been almost full since Wednesday with low-level radioactive water pumped from the basement of the reactor Number 6 turbine building. The water is threatening to damage equipment and gauges and thus hamper cooling efforts.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jun 30th, 2011 at 04:18:00 PM EST
NHK WORLD English
The newly installed reactor cooling system at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has resumed working after a 5-hour suspension due to mechanical trouble.

The operator of the crippled plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO, says a French-made water-decontamination device, which is part of the cooling system, stopped automatically on Thursday afternoon. An alarm system was set off within 10 minutes.

TEPCO says after repairing the device and doing test runs, it resumed operating on Thursday evening.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jun 30th, 2011 at 04:18:16 PM EST
NHK WORLD English
Tokyo Electric Power Company says debris scattered inside the No. 4 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is posing an obstacle to work to bring the crippled reactor under control.

Workers entered the fifth floor of the building on Wednesday for the first time since an explosion on March 15th.

Photos taken by the workers show that most of the ceiling, except for a small part of the framework, has collapsed. Debris, steel frames, and other various things blown by the force of the explosion are scattered all over the floor.

The radiation level inside the building was less than one millisievert per hour, which TEPCO says is permissible for workers to carry out operations there.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jun 30th, 2011 at 04:18:49 PM EST
NHK WORLD English
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says a hose has been leaking seawater used to cool the No.5 reactor, which is currently in a state of cold shutdown.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, is set to replace the hose, but will have to suspend the reactor's cooling function to do so. It says this will raise the water temperature, but the reactor will still remain in a state of cold shutdown.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jul 3rd, 2011 at 08:00:34 PM EST
NHK WORLD English
Preparations are underway to start injecting nitrogen into the Number 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant by July 17th.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the plant, had planned to start injecting nitrogen into the first 3 reactors by that date to prevent hydrogen explosions.

But high levels of radiation on the floor of the Number 3 reactor building, caused by contaminated dust spread by the previous explosion, have delayed the start of the work.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jul 3rd, 2011 at 08:02:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Water leak at Fukushima Daiichi No.5 reactor - Martyn Williams' posterous

This pretty dramatic picture from TEPCO shows a water leak in the temporary residual seat removal system (RHRS) cooling system of reactor number 5 at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The leak was discovered in a pipe carrying seawater on the morning of July 3 during a patrol. The cooling system was turned off while the hose was replaced.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jul 4th, 2011 at 08:03:05 PM EST
Martyn Williams (martyn_williams) on Twitter
Well, that didn't take long. Kyodo reports reconstruction minister Matsumoto will resign.

Martyn Williams (martyn_williams) on Twitter

@mr_ceebs He was appointed on June 28.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jul 4th, 2011 at 08:10:01 PM EST
The Guardian [UK]: French nuclear power plant explosion heightens safety fears (4 July 2011)
An explosion sparked a fire at a French nuclear power station on Saturday, just two days after the authorities found 32 safety concerns at the plant.

The blaze at the Tricastin plant in Drôme in the Rhône valley sent a thick cloud of black smoke into the sky. A mistral wind sent it south over a nearby motorway on one of the busiest travel days of the year as the French left for their summer holidays.

EDF, which runs the power station, said the incident took place in an electric transformer situated in the non-nuclear part of the plant and had not resulted in any radiation leak or any other contamination. A statement issued by the energy giant raised further concerns as it omitted to mention the explosion - only a fire - and did not give the cause of the blaze.



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 5th, 2011 at 11:55:04 AM EST
Ah, Tricastin again... looks like a French version of Sellafield.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 5th, 2011 at 05:08:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Almost half the children in Fukushima test positive for radiation -- RT

Some 45 per cent of 1,080 children under 15 from the Japanese Fukushima Prefecture have tested positive for thyroid exposure to radiation, a nuclear watchdog report says.

The screening was performed by Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission between March 26 and March 30 in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the independent body said on Tuesday.

Among those who tested positive, the degree of exposure was measured at 0.04 microsieverts per hour or less in the majority of cases. The maximum measured was 0.1 microsieverts per hour in a one-year-old. The government-established threshold for further investigation is 0.2 microsieverts per hour, so no emergency probe will be undertaken, officials 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 Jul 5th, 2011 at 01:46:30 PM EST
Thus begins the Great Japanese Low Radiation Exposure Epidemiological Study.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 5th, 2011 at 02:10:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reactor stabilization is near. Evacuation zone to be reviewed. Back to missing blondes, hacked phones, non-reporting regarding both central and zombie banks, und Gott Sei Dank, Frauen Fussball WM.

and a silent death in the seas.

Troubled Nuclear Plant On Way To Stable Cooling This Month

Move along, the earthquake today was only 5.6.

And the Emperor's new clothes are being readied.

Fukushima cover takes shape

In other news, there are zero news items concerning the idle windpower manufacturing lines over the past 18 months.

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri Jul 8th, 2011 at 03:53:16 PM EST
so three days later it's a 7.0 (USGS) or 7.3 (Spiegel) and the plant was at least temporarily evacuated. small tsunami.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Jul 10th, 2011 at 02:58:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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