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Fukushima: Horrendous

by Crazy Horse Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 05:22:19 AM EST

Recent stories coming out of Fukushima have been horrible, especially if one "believes" that the oceans have something to do with our quality of life, if not life itself.

I ran across even more recent stories which leave horrible in the cesium dust.

Fukushima: From Horrible to Horrendous


The chairman of the NRA also says (via the New York Times):

"Considering the state of the plant, it's difficult to find a solution today or tomorrow... That's probably not satisfactory to many of you. But that's the reality we face after an accident like this... We don't truly know whether that will work...."

Indeed, technology doesn't currently even exist to stabilize and clean up Fukushima, and Tepco - with no financial incentive to actually fix things - has only been pretending to clean it up.


How much of this article can be vetted? (I'm quite busy at the moment, but felt this article needed a diary, so the claims can be verified or not.)


And the problems which have been detected at ground-level are only the tip of the iceberg.  Japan Times points out:

Cesium levels in water under Fukushima No. 1 plant soar the deeper it gets, Tepco reveals

*

Tepco found 950 million becquerels of cesium and 520 million becquerels of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances, including strontium, in the water from 13 meters [~43 feet] underground.

Water from 1 meter down contained 340 million becquerels, and a sample from 7 meters down contained 350 million becquerels.

*

Cesium, a metallic element, is subject to gravity.

If half of this article is true, we'll also have a great time watching those championing the next golden age of nuclear power make the arguments on why none of this info matters, that radioactivity is a minor inconvenience, like x-rays and airplane flights, and that if this had occurred in Sweden, it would already have been cleaned up, stored in magic bottles and cast into the secure depths.

This is truly a disaster of which we know very little, but it's also an indictment of our current governance, our current economics, our current civilization.

Since it's warm enough in Yurp to imagine loss of coolant, let's renew the Fukushima discussion series, to see where we stand.

Update [2013-8-7 6:59:27 by Migeru]:
Japan disaster threads:

Display:
European Tribune - Fukushima: Horrendous
Since it's warm enough in Yurp to imagine loss of coolant

Oh shit that hadn't occurred to me before: another Murphy's nightmare to worry about.

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

by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 08:17:09 AM EST
Hasn't this already been happening?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 08:43:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a fixed limit to the temperature of the water the plants are allowed to send back into the water, which the plants were breaching. Only thing is that the water the plants were sending back was actually cooler than the water in the river, which was itself above the formal limit. This was a case of formal limits having become meaningless because of very unusual circumstances.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 03:42:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The plant takes in river water at a given temperature, cools the reactor with it, and restores it to the river at a lower temperature than it came in at?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 03:58:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By breaching the second law of thermodynamics, clearly.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 04:40:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Presumably by permitting some of it to evaporate somewhere along the line.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 04:47:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would require the river temperature to be substantially higher than the temperature of the air.

If the ground between the river and the plant is cool enough, the water could be cooled in the intake and outflow piping.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 05:07:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In which case we can take it that the outflow will always be no warmer than the inflow, and there would be no need for regulation.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 05:38:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see how that follows, in general. But in the summer it is quite likely that the ground at some depth is indeed cooler than both river water and atmospheric air.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 06:49:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True. But it would be interesting to see the year-round relation between ground at say, 5 or 6 metres depth, and river water.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 07:30:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cooling towers carry out that function.

But if they were efficient enough, the station would not need to take in and pump out water. A cooling liquid could function in a closed circuit.

The problem with rivers is not just temperature in the absolute, it's relative to the volume of flow. Overheating of the river occurs when there is little volume in the river, while the station still inputs and outputs the same volume. The proportion of warm water to total volume is higher, and the overall temperature of the river increases faster, downstream of the station. This is why regulation concerns low-water periods, typically late summer or during prolonged drought.

The theory then is that the station reduces production or even closes down. In practice, EDF may request and obtain a derogation.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 06:00:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have a source on that? What I remember is the relaxing of limits:

France faces nuclear power crisis | World news | The Guardian

In some regions, river water levels have dropped so low that the vital cooling process has become impossible, while elsewhere the water temperatures after the cooling process have exceeded environmental safety levels.

An exceptional exemption from the legal requirements was granted to six nuclear reactors and a number of conventional power stations, allowing them to discharge water one degree hotter than normal.

...The precise consequences of the increase in river temperature are not clear. Many varieties of fish are threatened once temperatures reach 28C (82F) because the heat makes the oxygen concentrations in the river drop, which can asphyxiate the fish.

Three years later, the following was reported:

European Heat Wave Shows Limits of Nuclear Energy

According to the minutes of the National Surveillance Committee on water drained from reactors August 21 and September 3, 2003, "hot water temperatures might have led to high concentrations of ammoniac, which is potentially toxic for the rivers' fauna."

The minutes point to a European norm on the concentration of ammoniac in rivers, which France did not respect.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 05:40:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tepco - with no financial incentive to actually fix things - has only been pretending to clean it up
WTF!?

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 09:46:59 AM EST
You are seeing market forces at work.
by Katrin on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 12:05:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought TEPCO had lot so much money on Fukushima it was effectively nationalised...

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 12:55:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tokyo Electric Power Company - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In July 2012 TEPCO received ¥1 trillion from the Japanese government.[9] TEPCO's management subsequently made a proposal to its shareholders for the company to be part-nationalized.[10] The total cost of the disaster was estimated at $100bn in May 2012.[9]

Tokyo Electric Power Company - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Owner(s)

But that does not mean the management may not be cutting corners anyway.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 02:36:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Followed the links on that one until I got to this article:

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Is Still Unstable, Japanese Official Says - NYTimes.com

But Muneo Morokuzu, a nuclear safety expert at the Tokyo University Graduate School of Public Policy, said that the plant required a more permanent solution that would reduce the flood of contaminated water into the plant in the first place, and that Tepco was simply unable to manage the situation. "It's become obvious that Tepco is not at all capable of leading the cleanup," he said. "It just doesn't have the expertise, and because Fukushima Daiichi is never going to generate electricity again, every yen it spends on the decommissioning is thrown away."

"That creates an incentive to cut corners, which is very dangerous," he said. "The government needs to step in, take charge and assemble experts and technology from around the world to handle the decommissioning instead."

Tepco, which was essentially nationalized after the disaster, is strapped and has made painful cutbacks, forcing subcontractors to slash jobs, wages and benefits, according to doctors, lawyers and labor union workers who have assisted or represented former plant workers.



Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 02:37:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Fukushima: From Horrible to Horrendous link is broken and my attempts with google are futile, sadly.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 11:16:29 AM EST
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but I've had it not work and later come back again.

The link is filled with further links, mostly to mainstream media.

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 03:22:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course it can't be cleaned-up.

Where the hell can a gazillion liters of radioactive water be safely stored in Japan?  Even if they have the stainless steel containers to put it in.  Which they don't.

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

by ATinNM on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 01:07:32 PM EST
The sea. The pacific already has a billions of tonnes of natural radioactives in it, so diluting the cooling water into the ocean slowly would be safe.

Uhm. done correctly, anyway. One needs to avoid local concentrations at any point.

by Thomas on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 02:32:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It doesn't just dilute in a general fashion. Local concentrations depend on natural factors like wind and currents. "Doing it correctly" would be likely to turn out complicated and expensive.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 03:05:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Several of the links point to TEPCO trying to do it correctly, and finding that none of the efforts, repeat, none, have stopped the leaks to the ocean or the groundwater. Leaks at ridiculously high levels not seen before.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 03:38:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are links in the article which claim the ocean does not dilute as expected, including a recently declassified study from early Pacific bomb testing.

Even if there is a dilution effect, the levels currently being seen are so far over the border that the high levels will now continue to flow for several lifetimes of the various elements.

and Thomas, if you want to argue "The pacific already has a billions of tonnes of natural radioactives in it," then you have to source what the natural elements are, and how they compare in radioactive effect to the highest concentrations of non-natural radiation that have ever been leaked into salt water.

We're not comparing radon in Denver cellars to several core melts leaking into the seas. One study in the link predicts higher measurements already in California, though of course I can't vet that.

Also, given the fledgeling science of radiation bio-effects, you need to define the word safe. Noting that nuclear power advocates have different standards for safe than a significant portion of the medical community.

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 03:36:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Noting that nuclear power advocates have different standards for safe than a significant portion of the medical community

Crazy Horse where did you learn understatement? ;-)

The reality is that a broad fraction of the pro-nuclear establishment is in denial about the validity of the consensus LNT (linear, non-treshold) model of radiation medicine accepted by the evidence-based community. It's why I never took them seriously, and still don't. Why buy power-generation technology from folks that you wouldn't trust to sell you a used car?
 

by mustakissa on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 04:05:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LNT is the best available theory. Problem is, the predicted effects are so weak that it is completely impossible to actually know if it is correct, overly pessimistic, or overly optimistic. the statistical significance of available data is complete crap.

I would really like to see someone actually test it, but I have no idea how to construct a viable protocol for that. Raise a couple million fruitflies in a ultra-low radiation enviorment like a salt mine and use automated scanning on them, then step up exposure to various types of radiation? Getting useful sample sizes would be expensive. And insect models might still not be valid.

by Thomas on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 04:23:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh, no. Dumping it into the ocean is the preferred way to get it into every fish-eating nation's food chain.

The "billions of tonnes" is mostly weakly radiating actinides with lifetimes of billions of years like U238 and Th232, which it is just silly to compare short-lived fission products like Cs137 or Sr90 to.

Quite apart from the fact that natural radioactivity isn't harmless either... chronic ionizing radiation effects on tissue are cumulative.

 

by mustakissa on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 03:59:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It might be possible to form a salt that either would precipitate or that could be evaporated from solution. Then they could build a chemical plant of a scale sufficient to chemically react 99% of the cesium and store the dry chemical in suitable containers. Cesium is nasty stuff. From wiki:
Chemical properties

Caesium metal is highly reactive and very pyrophoric. In addition to igniting spontaneously in air, it reacts explosively with water even at low temperatures, more so than other members of the first group of the periodic table.[7] The reaction with solid water occurs at temperatures as low as −116 °C (−177 °F).[11] Because of its high reactivity, the metal is classified as a hazardous material. It is stored and shipped in dry saturated hydrocarbons such as mineral oil. Similarly, it must be handled under inert gas such as argon. However, a caesium-water explosion is often less powerful than a sodium-water explosion with a similar amount of sodium. This is because caesium explodes instantly upon contact with water, leaving little time for hydrogen to accumulate.[17] Caesium can be stored in vacuum-sealed borosilicate glass ampoules. In quantities of more than about 100 grams (3.5 oz), caesium is shipped in hermetically sealed, stainless steel containers.[7]

....

Compounds

The vast majority of caesium compounds contain the element as the cation Cs+, which binds ionically to a wide variety of anions. One noteworthy exception is provided by the caeside anion (Cs−).[21] Other exceptions include the several suboxides (see section on oxides below).

Returning to more normal compounds, salts of Cs+ are almost invariably colorless unless the anion itself is colored. Many of the simple salts are hygroscopic, but less so than the corresponding salts of the lighter alkali metals. The phosphate,[22] acetate, carbonate, halides, oxide, nitrate, and sulfate salts are water-soluble. Double salts are often less soluble, and the low solubility of caesium aluminium sulfate is exploited in the purification of Cs from its ores.


So storing radioactive cesium in its metallic form seems unfeasible at scale, but perhaps as caesium aluminium sulfate it could be stored as a solid. But there would still be the problem of keeping it cool.

A special purpose chemical plant capable of reacting the cesium in the wastewater at three times the scale it is currently being generated and storing it in a secure area, sufficiently seismically stable as to allow for a survivable facility design and above the highest level tsunami have ever reached, could well be technically feasible. But don't expect TEPCO to do it.

Such a facility may cost $50 million or more to build, but it would deal with an ongoing severe problem. The Japanese government should form a separate organization that would be funded directly by the government and charged with doing what is needed in a reasonably cost effective method but not constrained by 'how it is going to be paid for'. It is, after all, the viability of a large area just north of Tokyo and fishing industry for the Pacific shore that is at stake. And dealing with this issue aggressively would be a boon to the economy just now.  

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 04:07:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the people who want nuclear power in europe are the corporates which will make profit from it. Just like climate change deniers, they believe their wealth will make them immune to the consequence.

Politicians promote what they're paid to promote. Of course they also believe in science and technology; not in an informed way but as a comfort blanket to protect them from monsters under the bed the real world consequences of their ignorance

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 01:20:03 PM EST
European Tribune - Fukushima: Horrendous
if this had occurred in Sweden, it would already have been cleaned up, stored in magic bottles and cast into the secure depths.

Well, it wouldn't. But thanks to the practise of storing the waste away from the plant there would be much less radioactive material there in the first place.

Storing nuclear waste in a nuclear plant is stupidity on the highest level. What I want to know is if this is standard practise around the world.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 03:00:03 PM EST
That's a good question. As I understand the practical reason for storing the waste close to the reactor is that the fuel-rod assemblies are lifted by unmanned cranes from the reactor vessel to the pond, where they are allowed to "cool down" before further processing. The range of the cranes is limited.
by mustakissa on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 04:09:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Storing nuclear waste in a nuclear plant is stupidity on the highest level. What I want to know is if this is standard practise around the world.

Well, you don't need permits and public approvals to store locally as opposed to a separate facility...

But I also see the sense of storing waste in a place that's already subject to radioactivity surveillance, that has qualified personnel, and the relevant protocols. It can be done properly.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 03:47:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can see a good rationale for storing used reactor rods that are still very hot in the vicinity of the reactor(s). But it also seems that the cost of replicating the robotic rod handling system just once per facility would allow the rods to be transferred to a different facility, especially if only a few kilometers distant. Even the transport system could be automated/remotely supervised.

The cost of the additional rod handling system should be a small percentage, probably less than 1%, of the cost of the reactors served. The cost of the land for the secondary holding facility and the route between the two facilities might double the cost of land acquisition, but that is not likely a large fraction of the total cost of construction. A large part of the problem is just the mind set that rules out as 'excessive' far too many feasible mitigation features.  

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 12:58:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Sweden, spent fuel is stored at the plant for one year. After a year, heat and radiation output has fallen by 99% and the rods are moved to the storage facility CLAB.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Aug 6th, 2013 at 02:47:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But it put the eggs in the same basket. And all of the advantages can be achieved by having a higly regulated and professional organisation take care of the material.

Googling a bit. This is according to Mr. Robert Alvarez, former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy:
Fukushima Daiichi Site: Cesium-137 is 85 times greater than at Chernobyl Accident » FINDING THE MISSING LINK

In recent times, more information about the spent fuel situation at the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi site has become known.  It is my understanding that of the 1,532 spent fuel assemblies in reactor No. 304 assemblies are fresh and unirradiated. This then leaves 1,231 irradiated spent fuel rods in pool No. 4, which contain roughly 37 million curies (~1.4E+18 Becquerel) of long-lived radioactivity.  The No. 4 pool is about 100 feet above ground, is structurally damaged and is exposed to the open elements. If an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl accident.

The infrastructure to safely remove this material was destroyed as it was at the other three reactors.  Spent reactor fuel cannot be simply lifted into the air by a crane as if it were routine cargo.  In order to prevent severe radiation exposures, fires and possible explosions, it must be transferred at all times in water and heavily shielded structures into dry casks.. As this has never been done before, the removal of the spent fuel from the pools at the damaged Fukushima-Dai-Ichi reactors will require a major and time-consuming re-construction effort and will be charting in unknown waters. Despite the enormous destruction cased at the Da-Ichi site, dry casks holding a smaller amount of spent fuel  appear to be unscathed.

Checking the Swedish process, spent reactor fuel is stored locally for about 9 months and then transported to CLAB where it is to be stored about 40 years until moved to end storage. Choosing to store spent reactor fuel longer then absolutely necessary at the nuclear plant increases the amount of radioactive material at risk in case of accident for every year the plant is running.

Checking wikipedia, the Japanese practise is also used in at least the US:

Spent fuel pool - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission estimates that many of the nuclear power plants in the United States will be out of room in their spent fuel pools by 2015, most likely requiring the use of temporary storage of some kind.[1]

Back to Mr. Robert Alvarez:
Fukushima Daiichi Site: Cesium-137 is 85 times greater than at Chernobyl Accident » FINDING THE MISSING LINK

Based on U.S. Energy Department data, assuming a total of 11,138 spent fuel assemblies are being stored at the Dai-Ichi site, nearly all, which is in pools. They contain roughly 336 million curies (~1.2 E+19 Bq) of long-lived radioactivity. About 134 million curies is Cesium-137 -- roughly 85 times the amount of Cs-137 released at the Chernobyl accident as estimated by the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP). The total spent reactor fuel inventory at the Fukushima-Daichi site contains nearly half of  the total amount of Cs-137 estimated by the NCRP to have been released by all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, Chernobyl, and world-wide reprocessing plants (~270 million curies or ~9.9 E+18 Becquerel).

It is important for the public to understand that reactors that have been operating for decades, such as those at the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi site have generated some of the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet.



Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 03:05:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That the situation at Pool #4 remains unaddressed almost a year and a half after the meltdown is alarming. It is not as though no one has ever done anything similar. The designs for the destroyed equipment, and, possibly, some parts of that equipment remain and there should be an ongoing project to create a special purpose crane to deal with the rods at Pool #4. A new pool in a reasonably close secure location should at least be under construction.

Has TEPCO even been asked as to the plans and the progress to date? It looks more and more like those involved are suffering a severe case of anxiety attack and mental paralysis. My guess is that they have not even been able to agree on concrete steps to take or even a genuine estimate of the costs and the source of the funds.  

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 5th, 2013 at 01:47:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, TEPCO seems pretty useless. And the government isn't doing anything to deal with the situation. Japanese culture at work?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Aug 6th, 2013 at 02:49:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But it put the eggs in the same basket.

You are referring to the existing situation where ALL of the rods since construction were stored on site. What I had suggested would have had most of them stored off site and would have had substantially duplicate rod extraction and transport equipment surviving at the storage site. A decent plan requires two sets of rod handling equipment, one for extraction and one for remote storage, and I have no sense that acquisition of any of this is underway. I do have a foreboding that Japanese culture is resulting in paralysis rather than action.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 5th, 2013 at 01:55:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
You are referring to the existing situation where ALL of the rods since construction were stored on site. What I had suggested would have had most of them stored off site and would have had substantially duplicate rod extraction and transport equipment surviving at the storage site.

Yes, having most (but not all) off-site appears to be the best that can be reached.

My impression is that the packaging (into transport containers) and unpackaging rod handling equipments are a bit different from each other. Given the conditions at pool #4 with radiation and physical destruction, I don't know if any established ways would work. If they had any (established or innovative) way they thought would work, one would think they would be deployed by now.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Aug 5th, 2013 at 04:56:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The short term and longer term storage facilities could be of sufficiently similar design that similar equipment could service both. Then one spare would back up both - as if anyone cared about redundancy and backup. And yes, the extraction of rods from #4 pool would be different, as the pool is 100 feet above grade and surrounded by debris. But if they had intact extraction equipment it could be supplemented so as to address the more complicated situation. But it doesn't look as though they have ANY solution underway. It is not their Pacific Ocean to pollute.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 5th, 2013 at 11:10:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Part of it is also a practical issue. To refuel a top-loading reactor, what you do is construct a very large tub at the top of the reactor. It surrounds the top so that you can fill the tub up with water, covering the lid of the reactor. Then you can take off the lid and pull out the rods. They have to stay under water all of the time, so you need a place to put them that is under water and connected to the tub. The easiest way to do this is to build the spent fuel holding area at the same level as the top of the reactor, so you can just pull the rods, move them over to the holding area (under water al the way), put the new ones in, and put the top back on.

If you want the holding area to be at a different elevation, then the "always under water" handling gets a lot more complicated.

See page 158 of this document, "water level during refueling," to see how this works.
http://www4.ncsu.edu/~doster/NE405/Manuals/PWR_Manual.pdf

by asdf on Mon Aug 12th, 2013 at 04:39:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But how long after removal from the core does a fuel rod have to always be under water? And to what diameter is water required to surround the rod upon removal?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 12th, 2013 at 08:25:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Years and years in the least, I'd say. And you need a few metres of water on top of the rods.

Of course, you can move the rods to another storage site after about a year, using special transport flasks. But after that they go donw under water again. A few metres of waters is actually very efficient at blocking radiation. You can safely be in the same room as the room without any kind of danger as long as they are underwater.

Another option is dry cask storage. I know that is used in the US so as not to stack up to much old fuel rods inside the reactors.

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

by Starvid on Tue Aug 13th, 2013 at 07:25:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I should have put emphasis on 'always'. Were the rods at risk of spontaneous combustion out of water like, for instance, metallic sodium, that would be one thing. Were they at risk of overheating sufficiently in a week to cause damage to the rod's outer structure that would be another. The second question had to do with the burden of transporting such a rod while surrounded by water.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 13th, 2013 at 03:08:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Were the rods at risk of spontaneous combustion out of water like, for instance, metallic sodium, that would be one thing.
I though we had covered this ad nauseam when the Fukishima crisis stated. I'll look for relevant threads.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 13th, 2013 at 03:16:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That thread was discussing meltdown conditions. But from it, apparently, the concern with having fuel rods out of water would only involve spontaneous combustion were they to remain out of water long enough for the zirconium outer layer to approach its melting point, which would depend on the rate at which heat is still being generated by the rod. The other concern would be the degree and type of radioactive emissions an unshielded rod would generate. But given the givens it would probably be safest to transfer a rod either directly into a water lined cask or do so within a very short interval.

My question arose from viewing the picture of the #4 fuel pool with rods and debris and wondering what were the constraints on trying to get the debris and these rods out of that pool and into more secure storage. I recall that the elevated pool is unstable, so every day that they remain increases the opportunity for a failure that would expose the rods to the air and possibly break open some or all of them. But, in two and a half years has TEPCO put into operation any plan to provide a secure storage location for these and other rods at the site? Hope so, fear not.

Without a secure available storage pool, or casks, where appropriate, it is impossible to proceed with removal of rods from compromised structures. This, of course, is impossible unless you actually plan out such an operation and try.

     

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 13th, 2013 at 04:38:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The have already built a steel frame over the building of Reactor #4, with new cranes to replace the destroyed ones. My guess would be that they have given some thought to the need for a new storage location -- but with TEPCO, who knows.
by mustakissa on Wed Aug 14th, 2013 at 09:42:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't doubt they have given some thought to the problem. It is more the action part about which I am concerned.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Aug 14th, 2013 at 01:22:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I found this picture dated 'May 26' (2012?):

Do you have more recent images?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Aug 14th, 2013 at 01:45:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this looks like it

...on March 13, 2013.

by mustakissa on Thu Aug 15th, 2013 at 03:24:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The structure on the left looks like the structure shown in the first pic in the body of the diary, but that one shows side panels installed. The right pic shows a very clean floor surface. If it is a fairly recent pic of #4 they have made considerable progress. Any info on what they are doing with the debris they have removed and what the plans for rod storage are?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 15th, 2013 at 06:19:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, see this article what the diary-body pic is from. Though I don't trust RT, or Arnie Gundersen, much, so don't take the text too seriously.

From the inverted L shape of the steel frame one may infer that indeed there will be a location receiving stuff at ground level on the right side of the picture.

by mustakissa on Fri Aug 16th, 2013 at 02:10:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually the diary-body pic is later in time (this August), and shows the completed L-shape sticking out to the left over the reactor-building ruin. My picture's right side only shows the lower part (red dashed outline in the left side) completed last March, but yes, the floor of that part (where the receiving pool is going to be I assume) looks nice and clean.
by mustakissa on Fri Aug 16th, 2013 at 02:15:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Other than the general tone, which seems to imply that there will be a mistake, and that a broken rod would automatically generate criticality (which I question), what is not trustworthy in that article?

also interesting is the finance discussion at the end. How could TEPCO be returned to profitability in these circumstances? Did the Japanese Guv actually "order" them?  With the cleanup at the stage that it is, isn't it highly unlikely that TEPCO could ever fund the full cleanup, and even then, to what standard?

Notice also that the article claims researchers have found significant hot spots on land. Where is the necessary transparency?

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri Aug 16th, 2013 at 02:57:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I trust Arnie Gundersen not to sugar coat any problems and to have a solid background in the science and technology involved. Anyone's technical assessment should be open to criticism by knowledgeable people at any time and their economic interests in the issue should be disclosed.

From Wiki:

Arnold "Arnie" Gundersen is a nuclear power expert, nuclear power whistleblower and a former nuclear industry executive and engineer with over 30 years of experience.

Gundersen questioned the safety of the Westinghouse AP1000, a proposed third-generation nuclear reactor[1] and has expressed concerns about the operation of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. He served as an expert witness in the investigation of the Three Mile Island accident[2] and has provided commentary on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

....

Gundersen is chief engineer of Fairewinds Associates, an energy consulting company.[1] He previously worked for Nuclear Energy Services in Danbury, a consulting firm where he was a senior vice president. Gundersen holds a master's degree in nuclear engineering.[4] [links embedded in original]


 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 16th, 2013 at 09:36:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Arnie has a respectable ancient history, but a more recent reputation of exaggerating things, and I have tuned him out for just that reason. It's a bit the same with RT. You noticed two problems already with the article. What did you not notice? What did I not notice (I'm no nucular physicist, just a bit of physics background)? Why even read known-unreliable sources? Life's too short...

 

by mustakissa on Fri Aug 16th, 2013 at 10:00:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why even read known-unreliable sources?

Because there remains to little to have much to read? How else are we to keep up the calibration of our BS detectors?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 17th, 2013 at 10:10:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How else are we to keep up the calibration of our BS detectors

Okay, okay... I know when I've lost the argument ;-)

by mustakissa on Sat Aug 17th, 2013 at 12:36:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen: What is actually burning?
Spent fuel rods immersed in water : what is inflammable?
afew: Zirconium
I don't think this has been posted, but, to add to contributions from Gaianne this morning, also from nb41 and from Alvarez, there's a comment from Oil Drum contributor donshan cited by Euan Mearns in his latest article


Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 13th, 2013 at 03:22:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that none of you here understand that Fukushima demonstrates that nuclear power even by the current generation of reactors is uniquely passively safe: you can place the whole nuclear generation capacity of a nation under the control of incompetent underachievers like TEPCO, and still no human beings will die in ways that cannot be effectively explained away by state-of-the-art propaganda techniques...
by mustakissa on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 04:12:25 PM EST
I do not like watercooled reactors much. Depending on active systems for cooling is not clever, and much like the problem with LNT, the math that is used to calculate probability of accident per reactor year is laughable - the claimed precision is orders of magnitude higher than the evidence supports. It is much better to design the reactor to fail safely than to attempt to make it infallible. Worst bit is, doing so is not even that difficult - there are many reactor types that default to a stable thermal equilibrium with the air on loss of power, and a couple of them ought not to release much even in the event of actively being blown to pieces with high explosives
by Thomas on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 04:50:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It takes a special kind of nerve to expound strong opinions on matters nuclear so soon after being shown so ignorant on radiation physics / medicine.
by mustakissa on Sat Aug 3rd, 2013 at 02:14:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Useless discussion, just typical scare tactics and outright lies.

Maybe Japan should shift to coal...

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 11:56:40 PM EST
Bold accusations from someone who isn't in the habit of substantiating his... we shall call them "points" for lack of a more appropriate phrase still usable in polite company.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Aug 3rd, 2013 at 12:47:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always wondered about your sig: what, according to you, is "our nature"?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Aug 3rd, 2013 at 04:08:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, at this point I am just getting cranky.

Natural radioactivity of the pacific ocean: > 8 zetta becqs, mostly from biologically active isotopes. Dilution is probably not the best solution, but that is because turning the crap into salts and dumping it into a hole in the ground would probably be cheaper than the needed piping to avoid turning one beach into a hotspot, not because I somehow do not understand the dangers of ionising radiation.

Look - just because a level of radiation is detectable does not mean it is dangerous, because we have quite insanely sensitive detectors for radiation.

You believe LNT to be correct, yes? That is a reasonable assumption. Now, what I would like you to do, every once in a while, is to plug the actual numbers for a given radioactive "disaster" into LNT, and convert it into "odds of health effects". Then compare those numbers to five random dangers you pay absolutely no attention to whatsoever. Like slipping in the show and cracking your skull.

by Thomas on Sat Aug 3rd, 2013 at 04:45:23 AM EST
Uhm. Doing it right would involve pumping it into the deep ocean current, where the water would not surface for > 800 years, at which point it would have almost all decayed. But that would take.. s lot of pipe.
by Thomas on Sat Aug 3rd, 2013 at 05:05:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would work... and with the money spent, all the water could have been filtered instead.

This is not a technology problem, it's a political will problem.

by mustakissa on Sat Aug 3rd, 2013 at 11:27:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Worse, it appears than almost nothing other than palliative care is being provided. I have seen nothing proposed that seems adequate to the problems posed.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 5th, 2013 at 01:57:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You believe LNT to be correct, yes? That is a reasonable assumption

Thanks Thomas. You're the second proponent of nuclear power I've come across who is not in denial on LNT. The world is not a completely crazy place :-)

because we have quite insanely sensitive detectors for radiation

Yep. And they are so sensitive because they are based on the very phenomenon, massive ionization (millions of events per particle)  along the particle track, that makes their damage to cells so dangerous.

So, yes, because a level of radiation is detectable, does mean that it is dangerous. The two are directly connected.

And BTW there is a big difference between risks that one knowingly consents to, and risks that others expose you to without asking. Like there is a big difference between a risk that you as an individual would find acceptable, and an even much smaller risk that populations are exposed to and should affect policy. E.g., natural radon should not make anyone change domicile -- it's not worth it. But it should change the building code. As it did in Finland.

 

by mustakissa on Sat Aug 3rd, 2013 at 09:34:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]

And BTW there is a big difference between risks that one knowingly consents to, and risks that others expose you to without asking.

People massively mis-estimate risks, and underestimate them even more when they think they are in control. That's why plane and train crashes seems so much worse than car crashes - you think 'that could have happened to me' for trains, but nor for a car accident, when the reverse is actually true in practice.

Same with terrorism - it scares people even more because of the intent, but the likelihood of being harmed is even less (and the harm done is not materially different to what happens to you in a car crash or other similar accident - mangled bodies are mangled bodies).

I think people fear radiation because they don't understand how it could kill them and how they could protect themselves. They should worry more about the death toll from coal, but that seems somehow more acceptable - after all, we all produce smoke in our lives and understand coughing, it's just part of "normal" civilization, whereas nuclear can obviously be understood only by a select few. It's a form of death completely and obviously controlled by an elite, so people worry about it more (the others are also fully controlled by an elite, but it looks less obvious)


Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 03:58:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
I think people fear radiation because they don't understand how it could kill them and how they could protect themselves.

people fear radiation because they have seen pics pf the deformed children, the ruins of chernobyl, the health costs of hiroshima and nagasaki, the delusions of dr strangelove grandeur of the MAD years and the equally delusional promises of 'too cheap to meter', coupled with the downwind testing effects in nevada and bikini atoll.
they also fear how entwined the worlds of nuclear weaponry and energy production are, and how corporations with massive money to ply the public with soothing pablum PR, together with their cousins in the fossil fuels industries have conspired for years too keep energy in the rentier monopoly distribution model that favour bleeding the public with monthly bills for eternity.

they fear companies who have routinely and systematically propagandised the public for decades about how alternative energy doesn't work, or overwhelms the grid, or kills mosquitos, or... or... or... the same lying liars that brought the financial world to its knees through addiction to risky bets and control freakery of every stripe including capturing governments and spying on citizens.

be anti-nukes and you will be branded as a dissident or worse, be anti solar/wind and you will be invited to join the tink-tonks and create ever more polished gold-plated turds.

and so on...

i fear nukes because people are non-mechanical organic beings and expecting them to attain and maintain the levels of responsibility to control the power inherent on nuclear energy and channel it safely. no other industry has got it wrong so many times and deceived the public so shamelessly. TEPCO is no better than Bechtel or Westinghouse, and the public went along with the lies because we trusted the lies, like we trusted G. Sachs when we lost our money in lehman brothers, like we trusted the ECB to do a proper job of being a central bank, etc etc.

we have learned to judge companies on their track record for veracity, because if these criminals really had something beneficial to sell us telling us the truth would have been fine!

and lastly people choose not to believe nuclear power is inherently unsafe (and astronomically expensive to clean up after the 'oopsies' that occur whenever we expect squishy organic beings to master mechanical heights of perfect reliability) for one very understandable reason.

we are surrounded by these rusting behemoths we were stupid enough to trust, and the safety of europeans depends on these things being safe, and that if things go pearshaped these entities can be depended on to lie like rugs while radiation leaks.

acknowledging the risk honestly is just too damn terrifying, it's like admitting your kid has been playing in traffic for years and you only just realised the appalling lack of responsibility you have shown.

the nuke industry is very clever at harvesting talent to shill for them. i have a cousin who is one. his dad made propaganda for the tobacco companies.

so it goes...

thanks CH for being a strong voice for sanity and speaking out so often for humanity. there is so much vested interest in keeping the status quo in its destructive greed, and far too few people willing to try and change it for good. :)

birds of a feather flock together, the easiest way to ascertain nuclear power is not our friend is to see whose company it keeps...

'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 Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 05:52:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They should worry more about the death toll from coal, but that seems somehow more acceptable - after all, we all produce smoke in our lives and understand coughing, it's just part of "normal" civilization,

Yep. That hits the nail on the head. Coal, its dirt and dangers, and its vested interests have been with us forever. Familiarity breeds contempt, also for risks. Sometimes I'd wish humans weren't so damn adaptable.

by mustakissa on Mon Aug 5th, 2013 at 11:58:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[Column] Summary of Fukushima situation July~August - The latest problems and the impending crisis | Fukushima Diary
Tepco is recognizing the steam of reactor3 and the spreading sea contamination to be the primary problems and keeps their eyes on them. The steam was observed coming up from the top of reactor3 in mid July. It's been continuously found since then with some blanks. Tepco stopped the work on the top of reactor3 due to the "steam", which is very rare for them. They seem to take this seriously. In the beginning, they stated it was rain water but they are starting to insist it's from the inside of the vessel. However, the steam's radioactive density is higher than the gas inside of the vessel. They don't know what it is.

The groundwater is flowing into the sea. Now that they officially admitted it's real, Tepco has to try to stop it. The compensation money that Tepco needs to pay will be significantly increased due to the sea contamination. Currently they assume the source is in the underground tunnel. Tepco is building the wall to separate the plant area from 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 Sun Aug 4th, 2013 at 03:16:33 PM EST
Washington's blog: Tepco actions might cause reactor building to topple.  And there is a massive aquifer beneth.
by das monde on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 04:35:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And TEPCO has a new fantastic plan.
by das monde on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 04:38:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The links in das monde's two comments above are informative. It seems the reaction of TEPCO and the Japanese has been typical of bureaucracies everywhere: if you have an embarrassing problem - HIDE IT! They are pouring 400 metric tons/day of water on the reactors and pools to keep them cool. This produces highly radioactive water. It is disgraceful to dump it into the Pacific Ocean. So they pretend that they are not and they try to keep it on site, but don't have proper storage. This, and quite possibly the effects of at least one core melting its way through the foundation, is starting to destabilize the earth beneath the reactors. They could well be making the situation much worse - a geyser of highly radioactive water is not inconceivable.

Something needs to be done with the water that is being poured onto the reactors and pools. In perspective, a Suezmax oil tanker carries about 200,000 deadweight tons. One such tanker could hold 500 days worth of contaminated water. Put pumps in place at the low points of the four reactors and any exterior area, pump the water to one or more transfer barges and then to a tanker. Had this plan been put in place within months of the accident they would have about one full tanker full of contaminated water be starting on a second. I suggested such an approach over a year ago, not that this would have come to the attention of any decision maker. But how can anyone plausibly deny that the Government of Japan cannot afford to buy two or three Suezmax tankers to deal with a national emergency?

Had that been done we would have one full tanker and one filling instead of a site destabilizing and the prospect of a calamity four time that of Chernobyl. But that would raise the question of what to do with the contaminated water. There is an ~ 3,000 meter deep trench off the shore of Japan. Following Helen's suggestion pipe could be dropped to within a few hundred meters of the floor and the contaminated water could be pumped down the pipe. That should be only an interim solution, but it would be better than nothing, which is what they are doing now with their fantasy solutions of freezing the soil around nuclear reactors in meltdown.  

   

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 12:40:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You could even rent an ultra-deep drilling rig, find an aquifier deep under the abyssal plain, and pump the waste water into it. Even better if it's subsalt.

Not totally neat, but 100 times better than the current non-solution.

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

by Starvid on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 10:35:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The abyssal plain nearest Fukushima is the subducting Pacific Plate. I don't know if it has any aquifers.  And there is the thermohaline circulation to consider, but it could be a few hundred miles further out in the Pacific. The bad news is that, as it approaches  Alaska there is an upwelling. We wouldn't want this stuff upwelling for a millenia or two.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 09:33:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And I dropped a year in my calcs, so we would now have about two full tankers. On the other hand there does seem to be a glut of Suezmax tankers just now and the rental rates are low. That might affect sale price if no one would rent a tanker for storage of radioactive water. I have no idea of the extent to which this water would create radioactive isotopes in the ship's cargo tanks.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 09:37:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The radioactive isotopes wouldn't in themselves be a problem. The problem is that you would be doing things to the ship that go beyond specifications. Which means that you would need to go over the whole thing very nearly down to the smallest rivet to make sure nothing got screwed up.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 03:32:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, what a fun game to play, this is cool. Giant spare radioactive supertankers out on the calm, high seas. Hopefully the newer double-hull ones, rather than from the single-hull mothball fleet. They've proven to be failure free.

I could imagine the Somalis training the North Koreans on the efficacy of piracy, or the breakaway Native nation of Kamchatka.

Given the state of the Japanese Navy, they would likely turn protection over to a non-rogue state like the US (insert smiley here), who would then divert the tanker through the Panama Canal and anchor it outside Caracas.

PS. and then where would we drop the run-off from the next accident?

Could we make a board game out of this? Or out of the entire Fukushima "situation"?

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 05:34:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look! I'm not saying that putting the radioactive water on tankers is, in and of itself, a good thing. But we should be beyond simply being in high dudgeon over this situation or being paralyzed by shame and fear. Would you prefer that the leaks continue so that outrage can continue?

My preferred solution would be to use the tankers to store the water while a treatment system is built. It seems to my morally compromised mentality that it would be better to release 1 - 10% of the radioactive elements into the environment than to release 100% - AS IS NOW THE CASE. Call me a moral cretin.

And we should stop building these damn reactors. As a species we are socially, not technically, incompetent to handle the dangers involved. But I do not think it is acceptable to just 'let it bleed' at Fukushima because some nuclear proponents will, inevitably, then claim it showed we could 'handle' the situation.  

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 11:40:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to use the tankers to store the water while a treatment system is built

Eh, building a treatment system shouldn't have to take any time. The technology -- e.g., reverse osmosis -- already exists and just needs to be assembled in large arrays. All it takes is money and muscle.

Tankers would just move the problem around without even partly solving it, and could become another excuse for not giving the issue proper priority.

by mustakissa on Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 02:57:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tankers would create an identifiable problem that they would have to deal with as opposed to the current situation. They obviously could not anchor them off shore in the Pacific. No one else is likely to take them. Ideally, they would be anchored in Tokyo Bay. That would create pressure to do something about the contaminated water.

Reverse osmosis could possibly concentrate the liquid. A better solution would be to chemically react it into something that could be extracted as a solid and stored with some level of safety. Right now the contaminated water is going into the Pacific apparently in large volume. But the response to any suggestion seems likely to be foot dragging - or, more likely, the response of a cat to being put into a crate into which the cat does not wish to go.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 03:41:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh, renting the tankers is something you can forget. You contaminate them, you own them.

And there is this. Looks almost too good to be true: can be scaled up in weeks to months. According to this the ISM technique can extract a wide range of nuclides.

by mustakissa on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 03:15:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh, building a treatment system shouldn't have to take any time.

A year would be an incredibly short time from decision to build to operation. For starters there would be design time, even if price were no object. Even IF contractors were selected/appointed with alacrity there would first have to be site prep then concrete laid. Meanwhile perhaps all of the components for the system could be procured and delivered to the site, but most of this stuff would have to be custom built, much of it on site. It would have to be scaled such that it could handle three to four times the existing flow just so that it could catch up with stored backlog in a reasonable time, but also because the problem could easily get three to four times worse by the time the plant comes on line.

If the plant were to chemically react the cesium in the water it would be vital to insure an adequate feed stock supply chain for all chemicals going in and adequate storage for all outputs. Perhaps someone has some real expertise in chemical plant construction. Can't we just pretend that dumping it in the ocean isn't a problem?

The real question is who or what organization has the clout/moral authority to tell the Japanese that massively polluting the ocean system we all share is unacceptable? Who would even try?  

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 02:29:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A year would be an incredibly short time from decision to build to operation

See my comment above. More here. I was myself surprised at finding this had been done already... "the most successful greentech startup you haven't heard of" indeed.

by mustakissa on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 03:20:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent! But the statement "Kurion's cesium removal system was responsible for 70% of the radioactivity removed from the wastewater" is confusing in that it addresses the amount removed while remaining silent on the total amount. The equipment is capable of removing 99%+ of the contaminants. So the problem must be that of scale of application. What effective portion of the water is getting treatment?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 11:54:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This link to Kurion provides the most detailed information on them I have seen. It describes three Antonov shipments from Irvine to Japan. Searching the Kurion site shows that they have grown and are now working at Hanford, Washington, having 'solved' the problem at Fukushima by removing 99%+ of the contaminants from the water they treated. It also appears  that the other 30% removed was with equipment provided by AREVA, but only Kurion equipment remains in use. The vitrification capability was acquired a year later. The circumspect language from Kurion and absence of announcements or news about subsequent  purchases leads me to suspect that the initial purchase might have been the only purchase of this equipment.  


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 12:37:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking about that too, and I am pretty sure the explanation is simply that the system only removes one ion species from the water, in this case cesium. Which was responsible for 70% of the radiation (gamma radiation; penetrates pipes and thus complicates handling). But it did so with 99%-plus performance.

Removing all radioactivity then simply requires cascading the equipment, one unit for every ion species to be removed (of course also the price tag cascades then). And tritium is unremovable by chemistry anyway.

by mustakissa on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 12:41:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the system only removes one ion species from the water, in this case cesium.

Kurion does state that the system specifically targets cesium, greatly reduced the volume required to be stored and made the treated water available for reuse as cooling water. My question as to scale remains unanswered as yet.
From the Kurion site:

An article in the  Orange County Register notes that Kurion would be happy to sell vitrification equipment to Japan to deal with concentrated residues.
Hundreds of spent canisters, packed with deadly cesium, are arrayed like monuments to the catastrophe, says Kurion CEO Ralph DiSibio.

FIELDS OF WASTE

"There are literally football fields full of those used containers," says DiSibio, who hopes Japanese officials eventually will employ another of the firm's cutting-edge technologies, a method for processing the special media under intense heat to turn it into glass.

In glass form, the radioactive waste cannot leach out or migrate into the water table. Kurion has already built a demonstration plant in Richland, Wash., where the company is trying to gain a stake in the troubled, multibillion-dollar effort to clean up radioactive sludge created during the Manhattan Project. Glass is considered a possible solution to the millions of gallons of waste now stored in corroding underground tanks.


Somewhere in my reading today I saw a comment on dealing with Strontium and other actinides and other problematic elements such as iron and nickle, but I can't find it now and won't further characterize what I recall.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 01:23:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My question as to scale remains unanswered as yet

I interpret that to mean: does the Kurion technology process only the water intended to be re-used as cooling water, and what happens with the ground water that comes in to the foundations all the time, and is added to the contaminated pool? Nothing? Or something? What?

Good questions...

by mustakissa on Sun Aug 11th, 2013 at 05:44:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect that they process that portion of the cooling water and other water that accumulated in sumps that can be processed by the equipment that would fit into the available space shown in one of the pictures. That the site is cluttered with leaking storage canisters of contaminated water indicates that they have not provided capability nearly adequate to deal with an ongoing backlog. Why they haven't built a new treatment facility with substantial excess capability is probably the result of institutional and political limitations. It seems that the first essential step is that denial has to fail massively. Unfortunately that alone is not sufficient.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 11th, 2013 at 10:48:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The implications of this is that >99% of all radioactive water sprayed onto reactors in the last year and a half could have been treated or stored for later treatment had sufficient storage been acquired and had Japan expanded the proven, successful treatment capability of Kurion to an adequate scale.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 12:47:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Technically, yes. I understand that the problem is partly political: even if all this water had been treated, it is custom that the consent of the local fishermen is required before the clean water can be dumped into the ocean. If the water is not 100% clean (and of course it isn't; e.g., tritium) the consent will be not forthcoming, and the cleaned-up water will continue to have to be stored.

But, that would anyway still be a much better situation than the present one: almost-clean water is easier to handle, and if some of the containers were to start leaking, that's less of an issue.

by mustakissa on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 01:09:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously the tritium could be extracted in a separate process. If nothing else, it has a 12 year half life.

Perhaps The Market can help:

The emitted electrons from the radioactive decay of small amounts of tritium cause phosphors to glow so as to make self-powered lighting devices called betalights, which are now used in firearm night sights, watches (see Luminox for example), exit signs, map lights, and a variety of other devices. This takes the place of radium, which can cause bone cancer and has been banned in most countries for decades. Commercial demand for tritium is 400 grams per year and the cost is approximately US $30,000 per gram.

<hides>

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 03:35:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan would be self sufficient in tritium for centuries.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 03:36:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not with a half-life of 12 years, unless you're suggesting deliberately irradiating water by making in go through Fukushima in order to manufacture Tritium...

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 13th, 2013 at 10:27:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly they would be self-sufficient for as long as they continue to have to spray water on the reactors, etc.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 13th, 2013 at 11:03:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Could you use it instead of radium in radioactive toothpaste?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 03:40:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For teeth that are not just white, but positively glowing!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 04:58:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously the tritium could be extracted in a separate process

Not a chemical one. It's not dissolved in the water, it is part of the water. You would need ultracentrifuges at least. And it's not worth the effort as living organisms cannot concentrate it either, like they do with iodine or strontium.

by mustakissa on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 05:29:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most likely it could be separated by breaking down the water into hydrogen and oxygen, ionizing the hydrogen and then accelerating the ions in a small cyclotron. The tritium would be taken off easily as it has more mass and is harder to bend in the magnetic field. It shouldn't have to be a big machine. Were the breakdown of the water to be accomplished by an efficient, low energy process most of the energy could be recaptured by recombination of the hydrogen and deturium with oxygen.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 11:57:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem isn't separating the oxygen and hydrogen (it also wouldn't be necessary - a good mass spectrometer will let you find a 1/20th mass difference with no sweat at all). The problem is that the energy cost of ionizing a cubic meter of water and accelerating it to the sort of velocities you usually associate with charged particles is, how do you say, oh yes "prohibitive."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 11th, 2013 at 03:28:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My guess would be that currently ultracentrifuges would be the energetically cheapest way. They are for uranium, beating gas diffusion, thermophoresis and the calutron (mass spectrometer).

But, why even bother?

by mustakissa on Sun Aug 11th, 2013 at 05:36:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
almost-clean water is easier to handle

But for a few tens of millions $US more the cesium can be vitrified.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 05:02:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rereading your earlier post I found the missing link. Kurion has Ion Specific Media for each radioactive contaminant. So a complete treatment plant would need to have a series of steps, one for each element involved. It might not be cheap, but complete treatment seems possible - except, perhaps, for the tritium. But 4,000 metric tons per day of partially decontaminated water could be re-used for cooling - with an adequately sized treatment plant.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 12th, 2013 at 08:47:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
Who would even try?  

our pollution is less awful than yours, neener neener.

lotsa glass houses here.

'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 Aug 10th, 2013 at 07:31:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you let the water evaporate, will the isotopes stay in the ship mostly?
by das monde on Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 03:38:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My guess is that most of the radioactive water would leak out before it evaporated - how ever long that took. Perhaps having tankers full of radioactive water sitting in Tokyo Bay would concentrate the minds of the Japanese Government.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 11:44:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One could actually use vacuum evaporation / condensation, which would hold back the salt-ion isotopes. But given the volumes involved, I don't want to think about the energy budget for this...

Perhaps set up a small nuclear plant for this?

/me ducks

by mustakissa on Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 03:06:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't want to think about the energy budget for this...

This might be the perfect application for a solar thermal plant. What would otherwise be waste heat could be used to evaporate the water and the electricity produced could power the rest - for the whole Fukushima plant - and any surplus could be sold.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 05:06:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually it would be a great application for an OTEC plant, of the same vacuum design as in Abidjan. But Fukushima is probably too far North for that.
by mustakissa on Sun Aug 11th, 2013 at 05:58:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And probably too cloudy. But that could be dealt with by sizing.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 12th, 2013 at 08:50:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The economics of nuclear electricity generation are skewed because the costs of doing something acceptably safe with spent fuel simply aren't taken into account.

On-site storage in the US is practically saturated; no long-term storage is in place. In France, fuel is reprocessed, which is expensive, but enables rational handling; but again, no long-term storage for the residues is in place.

Spent fuel management in Japan was a disaster waiting to happen; and presumably still is, with respect to all the other plants.

One shudders to think how the Russians handle the question. By tossing it down deep holes, one imagines. A cost/benefit analysis of this approach ought to be interesting, but will never be allowed.

How is it possible to build new nuclear plants without budgeting the fuel-cycle costs? How does the UK approach this question for their projected new build?

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

by eurogreen on Mon Aug 5th, 2013 at 04:58:41 AM EST
Well we've just had a consultation on "Waste transfer pricing" there may be something useful in there.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/42622/984-consultation-was te-transfer-pricing-method.pdf

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 Aug 5th, 2013 at 05:49:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
''This attachment is being virus checked.

We are currently holding this attachment in quarantine until it has been virus checked. The attachment will be available at the original location shortly.''

WTF, a PDF virus?

Nice to see the general technical competence of the UK government...

by mustakissa on Mon Aug 5th, 2013 at 11:50:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The costs of handling the waste are taken into account. There are wast funds collected during power generation and set aside for this purpose. More than sufficient funds.
 The problem is that most plans to actually implement a solution get sabotaged at the political stage, either by so called greens that consider being a thorn in the side of the nuclear industry a higher priority than dealing with the waste or by bog-standard Nimby politics.
by Thomas on Mon Aug 5th, 2013 at 02:11:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Fins and Swedes are actually building depositories. The US military also managed to get an actual depository built. So it is possible. It just requires actual political will.
by Thomas on Mon Aug 5th, 2013 at 02:14:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
or by bog-standard Nimby politics

Yeah one wonders how stupid folks can be to oppose something in their back yard that the very same authorities that vouched for all those power plants call perfectly safe... not even the threat of Wind Turbine Syndrome :-)

But on one point, Thomas, your diagnosis is spot-on: nuclear power and democratic principles, like transparency, do not sit well together.

by mustakissa on Tue Aug 6th, 2013 at 10:56:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Facilities multiple orders of magnitude more dangerous to their neighbors than a geological depository shielded by 600 meters of rock get approved and built with no  political obstacles nearly as difficult as those facing nuclear facilities. Heck, even nuclear facilities go up with absolutely no problems whatsoever as long as the nuclear facility in question is not related to power generation. If you are a hospital, the the sewer system is a perfectly legal and acceptable way to dispose of high-activity isotopes!
But hook it up to the grid, and suddenly all things nuclear get treated like they were the sword Stormbringer, and having any contact with radiation whatsoever will destroy your eternal soul.
by Thomas on Tue Aug 6th, 2013 at 12:35:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is the small matter of volume and concentration in hospital runoff.

That said, hospitals that dump even their septic systems into a municipal sewer need to be upgraded. Given the proliferation of extremely hard-to-kill bugs in hospital settings, you could easily argue that anything coming out of a modern hospital needs to be treated as a biohazard. Radioactivity would perhaps even improve upon the matter, by killing off some of the damn superbugs.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 6th, 2013 at 01:28:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
killing off some of the damn superbugs.

And causing an increase in the mutation rate of the rest, only one of which might convince us that this was a bad idea. I much prefer a procedure to steralize all hospital waste, probably thermally, before allowing it into waste treatment facilities. Otherwise we risk turning the waste treatment facility into a bio-hazard breeder - likely a low probability high impact danger.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 6th, 2013 at 01:44:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, dumping stuff is just unwise. Generally.
by mustakissa on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 11:55:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the town where I live, the local hospital has solved this problem by the introduction of Pharmafilter, a system which claims 100 % recycling, including hormones. The little movie clip of the concept explains the basic ideas.

Medical isotopes are a different waste stream in the Netherlands and, principally, should end up at the nuclear storage facility of Covra.

by Bjinse on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 07:56:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gas plasma incineration would seem to be indicated for hospital wastes, it is likely to be rolled out as a replacement for old-style polluting rubbish incineration over the next decade.

Gas plasma also has a role for nuclear waste management, it can be used to greatly reduce volumes and glassify all sorts of stuff for ultimate storage.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 09:24:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thomas, in what "civilized" lands are hospitals allowed to dispose of "high-activity isotopes" in the sewers? Even low-level waste? What are all those specialized containers (and procedures) for then?

(We're not speaking about Mafia or criminal owned hospitals, although with a vast proliferation of nuclear plants, given the current state of this civilization, that would identify another significant problem.)

Speaking of geological depositories shielded by 600 meters of rock... how much do you know about earthquakes and their effects, especially over the time frames you speak of.

What else have we posited here?


The costs of handling the waste are taken into account. There are wast funds collected during power generation and set aside for this purpose. More than sufficient funds.

How many lands where nukes are now proposed have the governance in place to completely sequester such funds, while at the same time there is nowhere near enough for social funding of basic civilization. Assuming there are no cost overruns, of course. And that's just the planned waste. Did you know that Ukraine is solely responsible for Chernobyl funding after the sarcophagus is built? How about waste costs in Bulgaria or Romania, to mention two.


plans to actually implement a solution get sabotaged at the political stage, either by so called greens that consider being a thorn in the side of the nuclear industry a higher priority than dealing with the waste or by bog-standard Nimby politics.

Yes Thomas, the problems with nuclear power are because of greens and nimbys. Who sometimes use ionizing radiation studies or financial cost overrun data to disprove your studies, or at the very least, underscore a very unsettled set of questions.

I can't address the issue of contact with radiation destroying an eternal soul, since most with an eternal soul wouldn't build the plants in the first place, but i do know why they put a lead codpiece over the family jewels when you get some other body part Roentgened.

Only in science fiction stories would a civilization 300 years in the future have a rebel component with sophisticated drilling rigs to go back down and get the stuff for weapons, and that also wouldn't happen to descendants of this incredibly intelligent and peaceful civilization we lovingly call our own.

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

by Crazy Horse on Tue Aug 6th, 2013 at 02:40:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd be more worried about grave robbers than sabotage, honestly. In every past civilization, "don't go in here, on pain of death" has meant "we buried this dude with loads of valuables."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 6th, 2013 at 03:12:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Our curses are better, they are based on science!

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Aug 6th, 2013 at 03:56:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can actually see someone saying this non-sarcastically.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 09:27:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
People get injected with specialized isotopes all the time for medical purposes. I have never heard of anyone collecting them after, and the isotopes in question get picked because the body is good at eliminating them once they have served their purpose. So they end up in the sever. That isnt that big a deal, since the decay chains are short, but the point is noone gives half a darn.

Re; depositories. I have read the design specs on the Finnish and Swedish proposals. They are overkill. They are also no going to run over, because.. well, Sweden. Rockworks is not exactly an unknown engineering discipline.
Also read the specs on yucca, which really, really fracking ought to be used. The critique points are along the lines of "If the yucca desert sees a 3 order increase in average rainfall, waste may escape in 500000 years"... at which point, it would have decayed to harmlessness. And because of that risk, currently, waste is getting left at reactors. Which is so much better. Arrgh. Harry Reid is a menace.

by Thomas on Tue Aug 6th, 2013 at 04:41:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's really not the main source of isotopes from hospitals. The by far larger source is the waste from the sources generating the medical isotopes. And those are disposed of as radioactive waste.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 02:59:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't be compared to corium or spent fuel rods either.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 04:15:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Particles moving at relativistic speeds are particles moving at relativistic speed. Doesn't matter where they come from. Subatomic particles do not come with return addresses.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 04:25:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What Migs said, is what i commented about.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 06:22:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, Jake's "sources generating the medical isotopes" would be at least medium-life radioactive materials whose decay products are the short-lived medical isotopes.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 06:27:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, but they are not disposed of in sewers, as i posted:


Thomas, in what "civilized" lands are hospitals allowed to dispose of "high-activity isotopes" in the sewers? Even low-level waste? What are all those specialized containers (and procedures) for then?

In fact, and i don't know if it's still the case, decades ago many sensitive stands to hold stuff which couldn't move had lead-shielded U-isotopes as heavy weight in their support frames, just as fighter-bombers used to have, and may still have, as trim weight.

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 10:05:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mostly because the medical isotopes have very short half-lives of the order of hours.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 04:38:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thomas:
the point is noone gives half a darn

How much of a point is that anyway? What major nuclear accidents show is that the risks are very considerable, insuring against them isn't possible, and even (as may be the case with Fukushima), the costs may rise to such a level no entity, private or public, is going to face them (ie things will be left to go to hell). Whether people's fears about radioactivity are ignorant or not is a red herring.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 06:36:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Three hundred years into the future, the fission products have gone (reduced to 0.1% of original). The actinides decay has only just started.

This is what the world looks like when you move 300 years along the time line in the opposite direction.

I don't doubt that the geology behind these repositories (the Finnish one at least) is OK. But, humanity is a geological force already today, and a lot less predictable than the natural ones. I have no problem with nuclear technologies as such -- they are impressive engineering feats. But, before basing our planet's energy economy on them, we should perhaps get ourselves a new humanity to go with it.

by mustakissa on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 12:20:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It will, indeed, be trivial for our descendants to dig the stuff back up if they decide to. This is a feature, not a bug. There are disposal methods that would take the stuff permanently out of the biosphere, but that would be unjust since once it is cooled off some, this stuff has lots of potential uses. The goal of a depository is not to get permanently rid of it, but to store it for an arbitrary length of time.
by Thomas on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 01:33:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 03:45:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and i'll disagree with Jake for giving that post a four.

  1. There is nothing "trivial" about a civilization which poisons its food, air and water digging up the effluent of a process it didn't understand in the first place. (One could argue that this civilization did understand the technology of splitting the atom, or at least some of it, without actually knowing where it would lead.)

  2. There are no demonstrable, cost-effective "disposal" methods which "would take the stuff permanently out of the biosphere," certainly not proven over even a small portion of the time scale of the danger. Everything else is speculation.

  3. The level of safe, sustainable alternatives makes this discussion ridiculous, at least until war and hatred and famine and injustice are ended. But technologists never put anything into context. (I'm addressing the nuclear elite, here, not Jake. Look at the success of the oil-based Green Revolution, for example, or read about the benefits of coal from two centuries ago.)

  4. thomas has already blamed the lack of demonstrable, cost effective "storage" solutions on greens and nimbys. coming from a Native mind-set, i'll want to be a Niaby... not in anyone's backyard.


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 04:49:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not going into wheter it would work as claimed, the Swedish nuclear fuel management company (SKB) has investigated a deep hole solution with 2000-4000 meters deep holes where encapsulated waste would be dropped and covered up without any known way of retrieving it. Which is presumably what Thomas refers to.

However, that is not the solution in the proposed end waste facility outside Forsmark, where instead the waste is to be stored in copper containers, wrapped in bensonit mud (which increases in volume when wet) and stored 500 meter down in rock. This is called the KBS-3 model, and the waste will be retrievable be design. The main point of debate in Sweden is at what speed the copper layer will corrode under the planned circumstances.

I do not know precisely why the KBS-3 was chosen over deep holes, which includes not knowing if deep holes were judged more expensive or unsafe. If guessing, I would say that an organisation running continuos improvements over the foreseeable future suits Swedish policy makers better then a final technical solution.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 05:22:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deep bore holes are not an option for two reasons.

One is retrievability, even if this isn't talked about much. The other is risks. What do you do if something goes wrong while you're lowering the canister into the borehole? What if it gets stuck, or the cable breaks, or something else happens? Basically, you're screwed then.

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

by Starvid on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 10:38:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.. Nuclear waste is not like chemical waste. Decay chains have predictable endpoints, and it becomes less dangerous over time. A fuel rod fresh from the reactor contains a witches brew. The same rod 400 years later contains uranium, plutonium, Technetium, stable platinum group  metals and odds and ends of other non-radioactive bits.  Odds that someone in 2503 is going to look at that composition list and have uses for 100% of it are pretty darn high.
Certainly, it is not a decision we want to take away from them, and if they do not want the stuff, they can leave it in the ground.
Where it will stay.
 As legacies of our current industrial civilizations go, this one is nearly infinitely kinder than the CO2 or dioxin, or hormone mimic chemicals, ect, ect, ect, ect.
by Thomas on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 08:44:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of geological depositories shielded by 600 meters of rock... how much do you know about earthquakes and their effects, especially over the time frames you speak of.

The Baltic Shield is as stable as you can seismically get on this planet - which does not mean it is free of earthquakes, but none severe.

Nevada is part of the Basin and Range province, which I've never studied in detail but as far as I know remains tectonically mystifying.

by Bjinse on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 08:18:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't have transparency or the terrorists win.

No, seriously:

According to Jan-Olov Liljenzin, professor in nuclear chemistry at Chalmers university of technology (second largest technical college in Sweden) this is probably an empty gesture, and IAEA knows it. After september 11th 2001 nuclear companies has been ordered (by the governments) to keep secret anything that could help terrorists.

Apparently after the accident in Forsmark last summer Liljenzin encouraged Vattenfall to publicly explain the specifics of the electric system. They explained that they were not allowed too by law.



Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Aug 6th, 2013 at 04:00:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is particularly ironic given the atrocious physical safety at the plants. At least it was atrocius (no walls, no barbed wire, unarmed guards and so on) when I visited Forsmark when I was in high school 10 years ago, even though it has supposedly improved since.

Hell, even though physical safety has increased, it's still so bad that Greenpeace guys managed to break in and stay hidden for more than 24 hours at the Ringhals plant site as late as last year. The French are much better at this than we are, probably due to what Pierre Trudeau would probably have called their lack of "a lot of bleeding hearts around who just don't like to see people with helmets and guns".

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

by Starvid on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 10:52:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am with Thomas and Starvid on the costs of taking care of the waste. Big as a one-off expense, but small if factored into the kWh price over time.

But to me, that makes it worse.

I don't think it is nimby-ism. The Swedish experience has shown that over time, the mood in the communities that has nuclear plants adopts to consider nuclear very, very safe (dissenters move away, new ones don't move there). After attempts at going after storage in communities that did not want it in the 90ies, the government got Östhammar (with Forsmark nuclear plant) and Oskarshamn (with Oskarshamn nuclear plant and CLAB middle term storage) fighting over the end storage and the jobs it would bring.

Actually, if resistance to nuclear had been so strong as to prevent waste management, it would have prevented the nuclear plants in the first place. Because the waste managment and its costs should have been planned at the same time as the first reactors was. Clearly, in many countries it wasn't, it was left to an unclear future.

So, solutions while costly are manageble and while creating local resistance are not worse then the plants themselves. Which means that the problem is organisational, there was never an intention at accepting the costs.

So the question that is sometimes posed as "but what is nuclear power depends on perfection" turns into "but what is nuclear power depends on at least a modicum of responsibility". And that is worse.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 05:48:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please explain how the costs can be separated from the risks, meaning the risks along the entire fuel cycle, as well as the risks in storage. Costs can not be considered in isolation, no?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 07:06:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fine, the costs of storage if it works as planned are not so big as to make nuclear power unprofitable. But I don't see how that would affect my point.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 03:01:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
How is it possible to build new nuclear plants without budgeting the fuel-cycle costs?

shhh, you'll disturb the gorilla

'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 Aug 10th, 2013 at 08:04:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any chance we could have this linked to the previous Fukushima series?
Danke.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 04:16:07 AM EST
Afaik we never did a Fuku series. Pulling all the bits together would be a major undertaking. Any volunteers?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 06:40:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan threads:



Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 06:45:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(you can copy the HTML code for that list from here)

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 06:47:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See also:

The following is copied from the HTML source of the first in the list

Japan disaster threads:



Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 06:55:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Together with Fukushima: Horrendous by Crazy Horse on August 2nd, 2013, that's about it.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 06:57:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All added to the diary body...

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 07:04:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks so much for this effort, Migeru.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 01:10:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I added a few more diaries to the list, which were not directly about Fukushima but referenced it more than tangentially.

I think the next step is to take the chronological list and either tag it by theme or break down the list into sublists. I do like the chronological sorting.

Colman, is there a way to insert dynamically sorting tables (à la Wikipedia).

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 05:57:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fukushima leaking radioactive water for `2 years, 300 tons flowing into Pacific daily' -- RT News

Radiation-contaminated water has been pouring into the Pacific Ocean from the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for the past two years, an industry ministry official told reporters on Wednesday.

A Japanese government official said an estimated 300 tons of contaminated water is leaking into the Pacific Ocean per day from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant.

Japanese authorities are working in crisis mode, attempting to assure the public both at home and abroad that the situation will not further escalate into a widespread environmental catastrophe.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday promised to increase government efforts to stem the leakage of radioactive water.

Abe put the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry in charge of the situation, while demanding that the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) take the necessary steps to deal with the cleanup, which is anticipated to take more than 40 years at a cost of $11 billion.

pshaw... more mere externalities

'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 Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 07:11:22 AM EST
Until and unless they deal with the flow of newly contaminated cooling water Japan's effort will remain an expensive PR exercise.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 01:14:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
an expensive PR exercise.

that's one turbine that always keeps spinning, always enough fuel for that...

interesting watching the mayor of hiroshima giving a speech on the a-bomb anniversary in front of ole Abe, entreating his country to turn its back on nuclear definitively, for ever.

abe's face meanwhile giving new meaning to the term 'impassive'...

'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 Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 03:54:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least Abe didn't lose it - his face, that is.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 10:04:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Du cannabis pour décontaminer les terres de Fukushima ? | jeunecitoyen

Des expériences réalisées sur les sols de Tchernobyl démontreraient que la culture de Marijuana permet de purifier à 80 % les zones radioactives testées. Méthode préconisée: planter, récolter et brûler le tout.

les terres de Fukushima en plantant du cannabis. Si c'en était une, la plaisanterie ne serait pas du meilleur goût. Mais pour décontaminer la zone de sécurité établie dans un périmètre de 20 à 30 kilomètres autour de la centrale nucléaire japonaise, l'idée commence doucement à fleurir.

Le site Alchimiaweb rappelle qu'en 1998, Consolidated Growers and Processors (CGP), l'entreprise Phytotech et l'Institute of Bast Crop d' Ukraine commencèrent des expériences avec la plantation de diverses espèces végétales pour l'élimination des métaux contaminants les terres autour de Tchernobyl.

Les plants de cannabis, tout comme le tournesol (ou encore le roseau et le colza), présenteraient la faculté de restaurer les sols, leurs racines très filtrantes absorbant les déchets de toute sorte. Un procédé naturel nommé "phytoremédiation" (signifiant "action réparatrice d'une plante") permettant d'éliminer des sols, en les pompant, eaux stagnantes et métaux lourds.

is there anything this plant isn't good for?

'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 Wed Aug 7th, 2013 at 10:46:27 PM EST
Des expériences réalisées sur les sols de Tchernobyl démontreraient que la culture de Marijuana permet de purifier à 80 % les zones radioactives testées. Méthode préconisée: planter, récolter et brûler le tout.
So they are proposing to release the radioactive nuclides into the atmosphere by burning, and to accumulate the rest in the form of ash? I mean, really. It looks like a sensible way to get nasties out of the soil, sans the burning. The problem with not buring the lot is that it depletes the soil of all the organic matter that goes into making the plant, and it's not like you can compost the things either. They'd be radioactive.

Another problem with with using cannabis to extract heavy metals from the soil is that, well, people are going to want to smoke the stuff!

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 06:08:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
not if you provide them a chance to grow their own.

shades of 'don't take the brown acid' at woodstock.

'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 Aug 10th, 2013 at 08:32:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Additionally it seems like the critical quality of cannabis in this application is that it is a large grass, not that it can be smoked recreationally.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 01:13:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
agreed, in this situation it's pretty irrelevant.

funny though, in a cheech and chong sort of way!

'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 Aug 10th, 2013 at 02:06:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Luckily for modern "civilization," National Geographic, which of course is now International, has provided us with a summary of what we should know about the current radioactive water LEAK. (Yes, it's a leak.)

Nat Geo: Fukushima radioactive Water leak

Wish I had time to work a real deconstruct on this article and its links, but Eye've already screwed up my windpower morning by being Frackin' distracted. (Fracking Cracking???   Diary Here )

There's no question on balance it's a positive development that Nat Geo is attempting to put the issue on people's radar screens. The article indeed points to many dangerous aspects of the disaster. But it links to aother Nat Geo article over a year ago, which points out that Japan will be facing problems generating enough power w/o Nukes. Discusses Indonesian oil'n'gas, for example... but no mention of sustainable alternatives. That is not merely an oversight.

Year Old Anniversary Link

Back to the original, check out the paragraph on the scale of the cesium releases, where they compare the huge abnormality now with an atomic weapon (to minimize the horror?) Also check out the link to the "mixed" legacy at Chernobyl.)


 In a 2012 study, Jota Kanda, an oceanographer at Toyko University of Marine Science and Technology, calculated that the plant is leaking 0.3 terabecquerels (trillion becquerels) of cesium-137 per month and a similar amount of cesium-134. While that number sounds mind-boggling, it's actually thousands of times less than the level of radioactive contamination that the plant was spewing in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, estimated to be from 5,000 to 15,000 terabecquerels, according to Buesseler. For a comparison, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima released 89 terabecquerels of cesium-137 when it exploded. (See related: "Animals Inherit a Mixed Legacy at Chernobyl.")

You see the subtlety and sophistication? (No? Then comment.)

Then they up level a solution TEPCO is "betting on," while leaving the zinger at the end "under-reported."


That's why TEPCO seems to be betting heavily on another solution--an elaborate state-of-the art system for filtering the accumulated water and removing radioactive materials from it. According to New Scientist, the new system supposedly can filter out 62 different radioactive substances. However, the April IAEA report noted that the filtering system is still a work in progress, and that in tests so far, "it has not accomplished the expected result" in terms of removing radioactive material from the water. Additionally, the system doesn't remove tritium, which isn't as radioactive as other materials in the water, but which still is a health hazard if it is inhaled or ingested. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that TEPCO hopes eventually to be able to discharge the cleansed water into the ocean, though that plan would likely meet intense opposition from local fishermen. Sherman, who has a chemistry background, said she's skeptical that such a process could work on the enormous scale required. "You can precipitate these things out in the laboratory, but you're talking about millions of gallons here," she explained.

Got that, Thomas?

The rest of the article goes on to minimize the health risks, the length of time for the radioactive stream to reach California, and the "murkiness" of studies on health effects. No time now, Eye keep remembering i must be doing my part for the already existing sustainable solutions staring us in the blind face.

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 04:21:07 AM EST
tritium, which isn't as radioactive as other materials in the water

Actually not true. Tritium has a half-life of 12 years, making it every bit as radioactive as the other nuclides in the mix causing concern.

What makes tritium less of a concern is that it is chemically hydrogen, is thus diluted into the huge stable-hydrogen pool of the biosphere, and is not concentrated in any food chain.

Can you imagine a NatGeo article explaining this?

by mustakissa on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 10:45:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
> and the "murkiness" of studies on health effects

They are, somewhat. Only gambling addicts would find that comforting -- they feel lucky, you see?

by mustakissa on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 11:50:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia Today: Water leaks at Fukushima could contaminate entire Pacific Ocean (August 08, 2013)
HW: The Japanese authorities have been covering up the true depth of the disaster because they don't want to embarrass themselves and the global nuclear industry and they are trying to open up another nuclear plant in Japan. When the Japanese people now find out that the accident is worse than we thought and they have been leaking many tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean for almost two and a half years, this is a catastrophe. Tokyo Electric has no idea how to control this accident. This is absolutely terrifying after two and a half years. To find out that these reactors have been out of control, now that they can't control this they don't know what's going on. This is not a primitive backward country; this is Japan with advanced technology. It has very serious implications for nuclear power all over the world.

RT: Why the plant's operator failed to contain the leak?

HW: Because they don't know what to do. This has never happened before. You have three explosions; you have four nuclear reactors that are severely compromised. No one ever planned for this. This is an apocalyptic event. This is something that could contaminate the entire Pacific Ocean. It is extremely serious. The reality is that Tokyo Electric does not know what is happening and does not know how to control what is going on. Our entire planet is at risk here. This is two and a half years after these explosions and they are still in the dark. It's terrifying.



Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 8th, 2013 at 03:04:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]

'Anyone living within 1km of the coast near Fukushima should get out'

But I want to make two other points. The first is that the Pacific Ocean is big enough for this level of release not to represent the global catastrophe that some are predicting.  Let's get some scoping perspective on this. The volume of the North Pacific is 300 million cubic kilometers. The total inventory of the four Fukushima Daiichi reactors, including their spent fuel pools, is 732 tons of Uranium and Plutonium fuel which is largely insoluble in sea water. The inventory in terms of the medium half-life nuclides of radiological significance Cs-137, Cs-134 and Strontium-90, is 3 x 1018 becquerels (Bq) each. Adding these up gives about 1019 Bq. If we dissolve that entire amount into the Pacific, we get a mean concentration of 33 Bq per cubic meter - not great, but not lethal. Of course this is ridiculous since the catastrophe released less than 1017 Bq of these combined nuclides and even if all of this ends up in the sea (which it may do), the overall dilution will result in a concentration of 1 Bq per cubic meter. So the people in California can relax. In fact, the contamination of California and indeed the rest of the planet from the global weapons test fallout of 1959-1962 was far worse, and resulted in the cancer epidemic which began in 1980. The atmospheric megaton explosions drove the radioactivity into the stratosphere and the rain brought it back to earth to get into the milk, the food, the air, and our children's bones. Kennedy and Kruschev called a halt in 1963, saving millions.

From Prof Busby at RT



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

by Crazy Horse on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 10:54:45 AM EST
from the same source, again Prof Busby:


What we have here in Fukushima is more local, but still very deadly and certainly worse than Chernobyl since the populations are so large. And this brings me to my second point, and a warning to the Japanese people. The contamination of the sea results in adsorption of the radionuclides by the sand and silt on the coast and river estuaries. The east coast of Japan, the sediment and sand on the shores, will now be horribly radioactive. This material is re-suspended into the air through a process called sea-to-land transfer. The coastal air they inhale is laden with radioactive particles. I know about this since I was asked in 1998 by the Irish State to carry out a two-year study of the cancer effects of releases into the Irish Sea by the nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield. We looked at small area data leaked to us by the Welsh Cancer Registry covering the period of 1974-1989, when Sellafield was releasing significant amounts of radio-Caesium, radio-Strontium, and Plutonium. Results showed a remarkable and sharp 30 per cent increase in cancer rates in those living within 1km of the coast. The effect was very local and dropped away sharply at 2km. In trying to discover the cause, we came across measurements made by the UK Atomic Energy Research Establishment. Using special cloth filters, they had measured Plutonium in the air by distance from the contaminated coast. The trend was the same as the cancer trend, increasing sharply in the 1km strip near the coast. We later examined cancer rates in a higher resolution questionnaire study in Carlingford, Ireland. This clearly showed the effect increasing inside the 1km radius in the same way. The results were never published in scientific literature but were presented to the UK CERRIE committee and eventually made it into a book which I wrote in 2007 entitled, "Wolves of Water." Make no mistake, this is a deadly effect. By 2003, we had found 20-fold excess risk of leukemia and brain tumours in the population of children on the north Wales coast. The children were denied of course by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence Unit that supplanted the old Welsh Cancer Registry - which had been shut down immediately after the data was released to us. We did publish this in scientific literature.

Nevertheless, the sea-to-land effect is real. And anyone living within 1km of the coast to at least 200km north or south of Fukushima should get out. They should evacuate inland. It is not eating the fish and shellfish that gets you - it's breathing.



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 10:58:45 AM EST
Busby is hardly a reliable source. He is a crank and a conspiracy theorist who has tried to enrich himself by selling fake "anti-radiation pills" to panicked people.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 12:12:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I wouldn't lend too much credence to Busby either. I read some of his epidemiology papers, and while they are in peer reviewed journals even I (a non-expert but with some background in statistics) could see the problems with them. Some of his claims are incompatible with the rest of the radiation epidemiology literature which found LNT to be valid down to pretty low doses (though obviously not zero).
by mustakissa on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 12:59:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks, Starvid, now i do recall hearing about Busby last year, leaving him in "crank" column. And one always has to filter anything from RT.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Aug 11th, 2013 at 04:33:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And finally, this gem, from the same source:


And what about the future? The future is bleak. I see no way of resolving the catastrophe. They will either have to pour water on the wreckage forever, and thus continue to contaminate the local sea, or find some more drastic immediate solution. I was told that US experts had the idea at the beginning of bombing the reactors into the harbour. Not so stupid in my opinion. That at least may enable them to get sufficiently close to the pieces to pick them up, and should also solve the cooling problem. Apparently (my contact said) the French argued them out of it because of the negative effect on nuclear energy (and Uranium shares).

Hearsay, but wow.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 11:01:16 AM EST
It would be wonderful to be able to say: Impossible. They never would.
by Katrin on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 03:25:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where is Jerome when we need him?

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 03:33:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Those things make no sense what so ever. Neither the mad bombing plot (if you think the contamination is bad now...), nor the crazy financial conspiracy theories. The source understands neither nuclear energy, bombs, or financial markets.

If Busby is the source, I'm not surprised at all however.

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

by Starvid on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 07:53:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have some pretty basic questions, and I'm wondering if we have any definite answers to them.

  1. For how long has TEPCO known the groundwater was leaking into the Pacific?

  2. If they have known about this for a longer time than just recently, why hasn't TEPCO done or said anything about it?

  3. For how long has the Japanese government known the groundwater was leaking into the Pacific?

  4. If they have known about this for a longer time than just recently, why hasn't the Japanese government done or said anything about it?

  5. Why are they both so damn opaque? Is this a result of language issues, that they can't be bothered to tell things to the international media, or is the domestic Japanese media kept in the dark as well? Is it some kind of weird cultural issue where mistakes are rather swept under the rug than faced and dealt with?

  6. What is the reaction from the Japanese people to all this bungling and wholly unnecessary secrecy?


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Aug 10th, 2013 at 07:49:20 PM EST
Well, at some point the water must end up in the Pacific, so I went for a more generalised answer to 1&3 by way of google.

This is the first mention of contaminated water reaching the Pacific I found:

Japan dumps thousands of tons of radioactive water into sea - CNN.com

Japan began dumping thousands of tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean on Monday, an emergency move officials said was needed to curtail a worse leak from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

In all, about 11,500 tons of radioactive water that has collected at the nuclear facility will be dumped into the sea, officials said Monday, as workers also try to deal with a crack that has been a conduit for contamination.

That was to give room for more contaminated water.

4th of April 2011, so less then a month after the accident.

That the water was seeping into the groundwater was reported about two weeks after the accident.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Aug 11th, 2013 at 06:15:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, but that wasn't the groundwater, it was the cooling water they collected and initially didn't have any treatment facility in place for. Now (and since late 2011) the cooling water is decontaminated, desalinated and recycled, fairly efficiently it seems.

Obviously they must have known specifically about the separate groundwater issue from the beginning, but were able to get away with ignoring it (since they had no easy solution) until ... recently. Now they have announced various plans, notably diverting the groundwater by pumping it into the sea before it enters the contaminated zone (which could only reduce the flow, not eliminate it), and building an ice wall.

Tepco's estimate is 600 M3 per day of contaminated groundwater flowing to the sea. I haven't seen any figures on the level of the contamination.

Before the explosions, they controlled the groundwater by pumping it from sump pits. These wells ought now to be useable to collect and treat the contaminated groundwater, but :
 [Column] Kamikaze and contaminated water | Fukushima Diary

However, about half of the pits are not available. The remaining pits require decontamination.
They plan to make new ones too but it's up to only 13. At this moment, only 2 pits are completed.

 Reviving the sub-drain would require significant number of the workers.
Tepco plans to start the decontamination of sub-drain from September of next year. They hope to get it in operation from the second half of 2015.

 

Reviving sub-drain may need the human-wave tactics.
Soon Japan is going to be forced to choose one from these - contaminate the sea or contaminate human.

 

If Japan decides to remember "Kamikaze", it would be around the end of 2014.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Aug 12th, 2013 at 08:45:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the question seems to be more about press picking up and forgetting news than the Japanese hiding the leak.
by Jute on Mon Aug 12th, 2013 at 05:16:30 AM EST
video released by TEPCO from vessel 4, where they claim pieces of the roof are in the RPV itself

There's worse news, go to Fukushima Diary if you must know.

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

by Crazy Horse on Mon Aug 12th, 2013 at 10:10:09 AM EST
Writing this diary and discussion has been truly depressing for me. Just contemplating the scope of the disaster would be enough. But to realize there is a huge industrial cartel willing to obfuscate and/or lie, with the complicity of a national government, is a bit much for such a simple mind as eye.

That there remains debate and diversity of opinion on the effects of various types of radiation among various isotopes is understandable, though of course existing knowledge would argue far more on the side of caution. but even there we have all manner of ignored statistics, reports buried and studies not funded.

When some posit that the costs of decommissioning are accurate, and already accounted for in rates... that may perhaps be true for a few selected, evolved technological lands... but certainly not the majority.

That the costs are estimated for when everything works as planned, and not for when the inevitable accident occurs, is also likely to be true.

It's a sad state of affairs, quite depressing, that even with Fukushima occurring in a technologically advanced (albeit corrupt) land, it will likely take a serious "event" in France or Amurka before the insanity is laid to rest.

That some still see the continuing use of nuclear power as a CO2 free transition into a time of sustainable technologies is just as frustrating. The amount of financial/industrial/construction activity necessary to rebuild nuclear power to necessary levels of global development would be far better spent on the same effort for renewables.

Which despite the propaganda, have already proven they can get the job done.

I, and the technology which I helped develop, have become an anachronistic pawn in a very evil game.

What an uncivil world we have created, where the scientific basis for interconnectedness and sustainability is completely mocked and shredded.



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

by Crazy Horse on Tue Aug 13th, 2013 at 11:10:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What an uncivil world we have created, where the scientific basis for interconnectedness and sustainability is completely mocked and shredded.

We are a world of John Gaults! Even the heroes fighting against this evil are portrayed as lone heroic individuals too much of the time. There is not enough money behind alternative views for them even to be seen as viable alternatives in public discourse.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 13th, 2013 at 11:39:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Last but not least...



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

by Crazy Horse on Tue Aug 13th, 2013 at 02:01:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there is a huge industrial cartel willing to obfuscate and/or lie

I am mildly depressed to learn that for you this is only a recent realization. Surely you've heard of the tobacco industry?

They were the pioneers.

by mustakissa on Wed Aug 14th, 2013 at 09:38:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're correct, i've known this since the mid 70's. It's just painful to keep realizing the extent of the deception, how it changes over time and gets stronger.

Imagine if photovoltaics had been allowed to become commercial in the same time span as wind power, the cost and technological advances we see today would have happened 25 years ago, amurka would have been an export leader, and we wouldn't be having arguments about using poison as fuel.

What Florida Power and Light did to solar (thermal, passive and PV) in the late 70's is criminal.

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Aug 15th, 2013 at 04:23:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What Florida Power and Light did to solar (thermal, passive and PV) in the late 70's is criminal.

Care to expound? Never heard about this.

by Bjinse on Thu Aug 15th, 2013 at 06:20:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Several books and many articles written about this, perhaps most before the internet days.

One book title I remember was Ray Reece's "The Sun Betrayed."

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Aug 15th, 2013 at 10:52:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Understand How the Past 30 Years Have Been Wasted  July 25, 2010  Robert D. Bernstein  Paperback
I read this book when it came out in 1979. The past 30 years have been agonizing, watching all of its predictions and observations come true.

This is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand why we are in the energy mess that we are in today.

And, understanding this history is crucial to moving forward to a sustainable future.


Sounds like my reaction to the public response to The Limits to Growth


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 15th, 2013 at 11:05:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another book was Daniel Berman's "Who Owns the Sun?"

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Aug 16th, 2013 at 03:48:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Sun Betrayed in Google selection, though a search of the available sections finds no mention of FPL or Florida Power and Light.
by Bjinse on Fri Aug 16th, 2013 at 07:40:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who Owns The Sun in Google selection. It mentions and agrees with the conclusions drawn in The Sun Betrayed that 'corporate seizure' and the capture of the Energy Research and Development Administration by the Electric Power Research Institute played damaging roles in sidelining solar projects.

Chapter 2 uses Florida as an example "how private utilities sabotage solar where they dominate energy policy". And makes for interesting reading.

by Bjinse on Fri Aug 16th, 2013 at 03:44:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Had been allowed". No one has been stopping them. They have just been very, very unprofitable. It's just in the last few years that technological development has pushed the price down to something like twice or thrice the cost of conventional power.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Aug 15th, 2013 at 09:50:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. On this issue you might better not comment, as you don't know what FP&L (and others) did back then.

  2. solar was indeed stopped in the US, and prevented from going down the cost curve. As far as costs, you once again ignore externalities. Which though they are not included in conventional economics, society does indeed bear them.


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Aug 15th, 2013 at 10:50:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and it wasn't just in solar.

As i've stated here before, my mentor in windpower was the former CHIEF designer for the first class of nuclear submarines, Nautilus. After retiring from the Navy, he was commissioned by the Atomic Energy Commission, predecessor to today's Dept of Energy, to study the safest method for commercial nuclear power. After a three year investigation, his report stated that commercial nuclear power "couldn't be built to Navy standards."

This was not what the AEC wanted to hear (heh). He went on to establish the first (and only) Ph.D program in wind engineering, UMass Amherst, which has trained many of the top execs in the industry. He was the pioneer in offshore wind, designing floating structures to turn the wind and sea into hydrogen.

The US Gov wouldn't fund his offshore work, except funding a small 25kw water heating windmill. To piss him off, they gave half a million bugs, then a reasonable sum, to Westinghouse to design offshore wind.

Westinghouse "designed" an offshore oil platform, upon which a 2 MW turbine was placed.  At such a high cost, no further work was ever done. The exercise was a joke, as the US was never able to build a successful multi-MW turbine, ever.

Meanwhile, the industry itself graduated from 55 kW 15 meter turbines to today's 130+ meter industrial 7 MW. Though Prof. Heronemus had the last laugh, through his engineering program, the nuclear industry effectively shut him down. And that's only one story, of the many which Eye personally experienced.

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri Aug 16th, 2013 at 03:43:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Heronemus Project.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 16th, 2013 at 03:56:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not getting government funding from a certain government at a certain time doesn't qualify as not being allowed. Lots of countries and companies have spent billions and billions on solar research. It's still pretty expensive. No one disallowed it.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Aug 16th, 2013 at 09:00:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that's too simple a view on what happened. In order to convert an idea into an operating industry, you need not just research (fundamental and applied), you need development work, and then you need actual deployment, to scale up to where the learning curve and the economies of scale give you a real product on a real market.

I'm sure CH can put numbers to this, but nuclear got all of these phases well financed. Solar and wind research was, back in the 1970s, limited to research and small-scale development. Billions perhaps, but peanuts compared to nuclear.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if already back then someone would have tried what Germany is trying now. Honest question.

by mustakissa on Fri Aug 16th, 2013 at 09:43:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes it does, Starvid, and it was disallowed.

Until you read the books i mentioned, which are filled with concrete examples, and more importantly, some of the journalism from those days, you can't begin to put the puzzle together. When you've also spoken directly with the CEOs and chief researchers of companies involved, over years, you might begin to have a valid opinion.

Not to mention that i have direct experience, which i will not expound in this forum.

You seem not to be aware that during those days, i've given testimony before the House Energy Committee, and twice had private meetings with the energy tsar in the west wing.

In any case, you should be aware that A) your opinion is completely wrong, and B), you don't have the necessary data background to even have an opinion.

But fire away, let the digital world know your view, be an expert. After all, you toured the manufacturing facilities back then, you attended the government meetings, you drank with the CEOs and pioneers and utility execs, not counting you weren't born yet.

I'd be willing to go to the mat with you on this issue, except i don't give a shit what you think (on this issue).

Why am i so direct in calling your naiveté out? Because it's even more relevant today, then it was when modern energy politics first reared its ugly head. You are welcome to wake up at any time.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sat Aug 17th, 2013 at 05:02:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Not to mention that i have direct experience, which i will not expound in this forum.

 You seem not to be aware that during those days, i've given testimony before the House Energy Committee, and twice had private meetings with the energy tsar in the west wing."

That seems like expounding to me.

"Because it's even more relevant today, then it was when modern energy politics first reared its ugly head."

I am probably naive, but isn't the situation a lot better now?

by IM on Sat Aug 17th, 2013 at 05:05:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I will not discuss (here) the direct experience of renewables funding and support issues. That i've testified in congress, back when it was still a congress, and been invited to the white house to smoke illegal cuban cigars, is not expounding on those experiences... though perhaps a bit of textural context.

and no, the situation is worse now. Partly because full weapons are being used against mature or maturing industries. Solar and wind are stopped in Spain. After 13.1 wind gigawatts installed in the US last year, there was one 1.6 mW turbine installed this year to date. One turbine.

In Germany, Repower knifed 700 jobs last week, bringing the total to 2,100 in in the north of Germany in the past few months. and the lies from Merkel's designated airbag flow farther, as the election season phases in.

So yes, especially given the success of the various renewable technologies, the thrashing death throes of dying energy dinosaurs are worse now than i've ever seen.

strange to know that we will prevail anyway, but yes, it's scheisse now.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sat Aug 17th, 2013 at 05:21:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Solar and wind are stopped in Spain

They even put a tax on own consumption from solar, after the post-FIT success of off-grid schemes.

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

by DoDo on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 07:31:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am probably naive, but isn't the situation a lot better now?

That's like saying, after three more victims, we have loads more forensics now to finally bring this serial killer to justice.

Look, we've moved forward four decades, 100 ppmv CO2 and half a degree, and we're still only just arguing. Isn't it about time we nail that son of a bitch?

by mustakissa on Sat Aug 17th, 2013 at 05:35:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps a consortium of eco-venture capitalists backed by billionaire philanthropists could just buy up a major oil company, pull it apart and sell the parts so as to pay for the acquisition, make good eco-friendly use of some of the intellectual property they have had safely stashed away, transition their ongoing operations to renewable energy and put their drilling rights into an environmental trust. Rinse and repeat.

At the worst they might lose a few $billion, but by so doing they could gain the world. Start with Exxon. Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, etc. do you really care about the world your grandchildren will inhabit? This would be the most impactful use of their wealth of which I can conceive.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 17th, 2013 at 07:41:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Buffet can't afford Exxon.

And there are companies you don't get to make a leveraged buyout of. Companies like Exxon. Or McDonnell-Douglass.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 08:45:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exxon's market capitalization is currently ~$386 billion. I don't deny that this is a big nut to crack. Nor do I know the distribution of the holdings. As of May, 2013 Bill Gates' net worth was estimated at $72 billion, most of it in MS stock, while Warren Buffet's net worth was estimated at $53.5 billion and that is half of the top four. Worse, to buy out Exxon that worth would have to be liquid. So that does look improbable at present. The comment was a scheme and a dream.

But things can happen. Just now BP has a market cap of $130.17 billion. Before Deepwater Horizon it was larger. TPTB operate in an opportunistic manner and it would be necessary to do the same to take one or more of them out. Should Exxon again experience a disaster comparable to Valdez and should a group of players be prepared to exacerbate that vulnerability by stock market intervention an opportunity might present itself.

I start with Exxon as, if you don't start with the largest player in an industry such actions as I have suggested are likely to redound to the benefit of that largest player. Also, capture of Exxon would enable a significant alteration of the political landscape in the USA. A goal does not have to be immediately obtainable in order to be desirable.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 12:07:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Total might make an interesting target -- a large minority stake might be enough to do remarkable things.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 04:34:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"and we're still only just arguing."

As far as regenerative energies are concerned, that is no longer true.

by IM on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 11:58:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, there is a small beginning. None too soon.
by mustakissa on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 02:23:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Globally, there has been a rather strong beginning, over some two decades. But right now the strongest attacks i've seen in several decades are being unleashed in various markets, with an absolutely chilling effect on the industries.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 05:28:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Opportunistically, in accord with Shock Doctrine.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 19th, 2013 at 11:00:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Part of the problem is the effort that TPTB has expended ridiculing conspiracies and labeling any use of such an explanation in academia as 'conspiracy theory'. 'Conspiracy' means 'breathing together. The problem is that almost the entirety of history consists of things done by people working closely together, more often than not keeping what they are doing secret until it is accomplished or well on the way to accomplishment. I recall Bill Black citing statistics about the number of convictions involving conspiracies in business fraud.

Just as economics, as currently constituted, stays as far as possible away from money in its theorizing, considering money to be a veil over economic activity rather than a way to accurately track what actually happens, so conspiracy, the most effective way to accomplish anything involving multiple people, provided they can keep secrets, is stigmatized, I have to assume, because the powerful do not want their activities exposed. Governments classify as secret anything they do not want the people to know and label 'conspiracy' anything the common people try to do secretly amongst themselves.  

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 17th, 2013 at 10:51:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But with your broad definition of "conspiracy", TPTB can justify using the word to label "anything the common people try to do secretly amongst themselves".

What you're really complaining about is power. The power to classify as secret, and the power to control public narratives through the media.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 07:59:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I am complaining about is the highly selective, self-serving abuse of government power.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 11:48:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But it will always be like that... until you separate the power from the rewards of its abuse.
by mustakissa on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 02:26:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't be so touchy.

It's not helpful to claim certain things and then refuse to bring up examples. Nor does it help to be so 110% America-centric.

And still you know, no one banned the research. If there existed a magic solar tech decades ago, which was banned in the US, how come it wasn't picked up by the Russians? The Germans? The Japanese?

It still doesn't seem to exist. Even those super-cheap Chinese panels don't seem to compete without subsidies.

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

by Starvid on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 12:28:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You must have missed my comment to that. Research alone is not enough; you need deployment.

All from the 1980s until rather recently, fossil fuels have been ridiculously cheap again. Everybody just gave up on renewables -- and on nuclear, in fact.

Even those super-cheap Chinese panels don't seem to compete without subsidies.

Not quite yet... but some realities are not worth betting against...

by mustakissa on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 02:47:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
If there existed a magic solar tech decades ago,

There was no magic anything. Choices were made as to what technology would get the R&D support.

Stop pretending there is really a free market in a level-playing-field world.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 04:59:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Touchy? About people whose lack of understanding regarding the nature and effect of externalities contributes to the poisoning of the biosphere?

Me not touchy, me on the warpath. There's a difference.

Giving you two books to read, both filled with examples, constitutes "refusing to bring up examples?" Please let me know when you've read them both, as well as searched the journalism written between the two oil embargoes, then we'll discuss the definition of refusing.

110% Amurka centric?  You mean, the place where i lived as a key renewables advocate and project developer? in a land which sets the world's energy policy tone and technology? Where we didn't have much understanding of Yurpeen advancement of solar technologies, since comparatively, there it was minimal?

You're calling a person who left his home, life, friends and colleagues, not in that order, to now live 12 years in Yurp, to fight at the center of the battle for renewables against people like you, who writes every day of Amurka, not America... me centric?  You laughable.

My well-earned arrow-sharp arrogance is built on a strong foundation, a real track record, of how i've invested my whole life to better this pathetic civilization. You've invested what... in some energy companies?

You should write about what you know, which is how safe nuclear tech is, especially in this Fukushima disaster diary.

After you've walked a few decades in my footprints, then you can try to step on my feet.

Guten Morgen, the sun is shining, the weather is sweet, time to move your dancing feet.
         --  Finley Quaye

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

by Crazy Horse on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 03:07:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's rather like saying that the poor are allowed to sleep under bridges and starve.

If the weight of government commitment and investment goes elsewhere, and renewables are deprived of R&D support, the practical effect is to freeze renewables in a high-cost bracket.

An example is the French solar programme of the 1970s, which was an international reference. Once the weight of the state had been definitively placed behind the nuclear programme, the solar programme was deprived of funding and came to a halt.

Thémis Solaire Innovation dans les Pyrénées-Orientales - Conseil général des Pyrénées-Orientales Themis Solar Innovation in Pyrénées-Orientales - General Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales
  • 1973-1974 et 1979 : A la suite des chocs pétroliers, l'énergie solaire est apparue comme l'une des solutions énergétiques alternatives pouvant participer à une plus grande indépendance de la France et de son économie aux importations de pétrole.
  •  1979 : Le Conseil Général des Pyrénées-Orientales acquiert des terrains sur la commune de Targasonne et conclut un bail emphytéotique avec Electricité De France (EDF) pour la construction de la centrale électro-solaire Thémis.
  • 1981 : La construction de la centrale débute.
  • 1983 : Thémis est opérationnelle et emploie 48 personnes. Elle constitue alors une véritable référence internationale en matière de conversion de l'énergie solaire en électricité. Les technologies et leurs applications développées à Thémis seront d'ailleurs reprises avec succès à l'étranger, notamment en Espagne et aux Etats-Unis.
  • 1986 : Après trois années de fonctionnement seulement, l'Etat décide de mettre fin au programme de recherche expérimentale sur Thémis, argumentant d'un coût de revient du kWh produit trop élevé.
  • 1973-1974 and 1979: Following the oil shocks, solar power emerged as one of the alternative energy solutions that could participate in greater independence on oil imports for France and its economy.
  • 1979 : The General Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales acquired land in the municipality of Targasonne and concluded a long lease with Electricité de France (EDF) for the construction of the solar powered Themis generating station.
  • 1981: The construction of the plant began.
  • 1983: Themis is operational and employs 48 people. At this point it is a truly international standard for converting solar energy into electricity. Technologies and their applications developed at Themis will also be replicated with success abroad, especially in Spain and the United States.
  • 1986: After only three years of operation, the state decides to terminate the experimental research program on Themis, arguing that the cost per kWh produced was too high.

The research programme at the world's largest solar furnace at Odeillo was also frozen.

The result has been two or three decades of hold on French solar energy research, while nuclear continues to enjoy the full backing of the French state, including on such "low-cost" projects as Flamanville.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 02:37:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the 1870ies, following the loss of Alsace-Lorraine and its coal fields, the French government financed ground-breaking solar power research (thermal of course). Projects were cancelled after France and England had become closer aligned, relieving the fears of not havign access to coal.

Coal was of course in that day both an energy source for industry and the fuel the superweapons of the day, the mighty ironclad. Hard to compete with that mil-ind complex.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 05:38:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I missed this story last month:

TEPCO now says 2,000 Fukushima workers exposed to high radiation doses - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun

TEPCO, the nuclear plant's operator, said in December that radiation doses topped 100 millisieverts--the widely accepted threshold for an increase in the risk of cancer--in 178 people, with a maximum reading of 11,800 millisieverts.

But that figure covered only a fraction of those who have braved the high radiation levels to try to bring the nuclear crisis under control.

...The new figure is based on a review of an expanded number of study subjects.

TEPCO and its partner companies not only re-evaluated the readings from thyroid gland dose tests, but they also estimated doses when the amount of radioactive iodine that entered the body was unavailable. These estimates were based on cesium intake amounts, the airborne iodine-to-cesium ratio on the days they worked, and other data.

The latest study showed that doses topped the 100-millisievert mark in 1,973 workers. In one worker, the estimated thyroid gland dose increased by more than 1,000 millisieverts during the review.

And the bigger scandal (detailed in the rest of the article) is withholding this information from the affected workers themselves.

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

by DoDo on Sun Aug 18th, 2013 at 05:18:43 PM EST
Over the past weeks of the diaries inactivity, we've been treated to a series of bad news regarding current efforts to stabilize the reactors. The Japanese "government" has even decided to take over management of the disaster, though many commentators believe this is in an effort to save Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Olympics.

But there's one bit of analysis that we shouldn't miss, as it's a strong enough reminder, especially for nuclear power advocates, of what's truly at stake here.

From NPR (Nat Pub Radio in US)


Per Peterson, chair of the department of nuclear engineering at UC Berkeley:The primary containment vessel, it's being left submerged in salty water and is corroding. So by not making prudent decisions today about what water must be discharged and what water can be safely discharged and instead just storing it all, the risk is it will make it in the longer term much less likely that it will be possible to get the damaged fuel out. And so by misdirecting a lot of the effort to do things that don't reduce risk significantly, they're creating in Japan a much larger probability that in the end it will not be possible to get the damaged fuel out, and they will have to manage those plants at that site for millennia going into the future.

Tom Ashbrook, Host: Millennia, that means thousands of years.  [...]

Peterson: You want to be trying to flush out all of that salt that was injected into these reactors, which right now is contributing to the corrosion of these primary containment vessels, that if they don't survive it will become challenging or impossible to get the damaged fuel out.

Radioactivity making a region uninhabitable for Millennia, with who knows what other "collateral damage." For those who advocate nuclear power, imagine the spread of reactors around the globe to the level needed to supply this so-called civilization (the same level needed for windpower). Do you really think there won't be other "errors" in a Chinese reactor, or in Pakistand, or Iran, or in Armenia... or even in France?

Millennia.

When the renewable technology needed to power what we need has already been demonstrated around the globe for decades. And we have to argue with technocrats blindly reading out of textbooks and wish lists, while reality is ignored.

the entire radio interview available at a link
Here

or direct Here

Notice in the program there is a marine chemist from Woods Hole who studies the ocean radiation.

Sigh.
(h/t Migeru)

PS. I should have included the US in the danger list previous, as we already have documentation of serious lies and corruption by the nuclear industry and the captured regulators.

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed Sep 4th, 2013 at 01:44:40 AM EST
But it will be going into the future. Cheer up!

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 4th, 2013 at 02:23:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And we have to argue with technocrats blindly reading out of textbooks and wish lists (and listening to beguiling inducements whispered into their ears and the threats shouted at their faces by the minions of wealth), while reality is ignored.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 13th, 2013 at 12:31:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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