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If my limited understanding is correct, the flooding with seawater as emergency coolant has effectively killed the two reactors in which it was used.  They are now both inoperable and will never be back in electricity production again.

That's a mighty big loss for TEPCO to swallow.

Compounding that loss will be the necessity for ongoing cleanup and all the costs that entails.

Such losses are peculiar to nuclear power and will be part of the continuing discussions about its future.  Along with what may be the millions of doses of precautionary potassium iodide pills distributed to the surrounding population during and after evacuation.

Kinda gives one pause.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 05:40:52 PM EST
According to the German nuclear industry guy:

Why I am not worried about Japan's nuclear reactors. | Morgsatlarge - blogorific.

  • The seawater will then be replaced over time with the "normal" cooling water
  • The reactor core will then be dismantled and transported to a processing facility, just like during a regular fuel change.
  • Fuel rods and the entire plant will be checked for potential damage. This will take about 4-5 years.
  • The safety systems on all Japanese plants will be upgraded to withstand a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami (or worse)

Well, 4-5 years check; but I wonder if corrosion from seawater and damage from overpressure might not call for the replacement of main parts.

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

by DoDo on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 06:03:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's talking about unit 1. If it wasn't about to be decommissioned for being 40 years old, it's probably completely out of commission now. It's probably cheaper and safer to put in a new reactor than to fix the damage in this one. I would not send the reactor core to a fuel reprocessing facility, but to a waste disposal facility.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 06:22:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unit 3 is experiencing the same.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 06:59:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And already being killed dead with seawater and boric acid.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 07:04:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 03:37:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also presumably permanently out of commission, contrary to what the "why I am not worried" writeup implied.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 03:39:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A relevant bit from your link downthread:

Stop the radiation!: ~ REAL INFORMATION FROM EXPERTS on meldown: Metafilter ~

The big problem isn't the boric acid -- though it is an acid, and it can increase corrosion. The big problem is the chlorides in seawater. They'll need to be cleaned out before the reactor is safe to use again, and given the age of the Fukushima #1 reactors, it probably won't be worth doing so


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 04:41:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the '80s I worked for ESCO in Portland, and we made various large austenitic stainless steel castings for the nuclear energy industry and for nuclear-powered submarines. The problem then was rapid deterioration and replacement of pipes, valves, etc. due to stress corrosion cracking, where the 'stress' was largely due to accumulation of slight local displacements due to radiation. Eventually, microcracks (many) formed, and, if there was a chloride present, it found its way within. Beginning of the end.

I have little doubt that everything made of steel in those facilities will sit around for some years to 'cool'; then will be cut up for scrap - although the 'hottest' material may be buried.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 03:15:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, great, but what about the possibility of something even bigger than a 9.0 earthquake, like a really big typhoon, or one of them Airbus 380s crashing into the plant, or a terrist attack, or a Godzilla attack? What will you do THEN, Mr. Nuclear Power Booster, what will you do THEN???

I can hardly wait to read the articles about how Honda is going to send their walking robot into the plant to dismantle the reactor core, "just like during a regular fuel change." As if during regular fuel changes you have to deal with melted fuel rods...

by asdf on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 06:23:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That continues to be the problem with nukes. Nuke can only ever be as good as the worst instantiation - politically, financially, and technically.

Uniquely in engineering, it's a technology that wilfully ignores Murphy, while pretending to itself and everyone that it has Murphy covered.

This isn't a problem for renewables. The worst that can happen is that a mega-storm takes out your entire windfarm. You lose capacity, but you don't get millions of casualties.

With nukes, the worst that can happen is that hundreds of square miles of prime territory become uninhabitable. Is it even possible to put a number on that risk?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 06:44:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean like this?:

"History has show again and again,
How Nature points out the folly of men
Godzilla!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiHRm2DioMA

And this is pretty much shear luck:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoreham_Nuclear_Power_Plant

If a pro nuke whore had been governor, things would be different. But, maybe there would have been a different target for the 9-11 air-jackings:

Nb41

by nb41 on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 11:19:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the other hand, humans have a very large tolerance for stupidity, particularly when it comes to environmental hazards. Here in Colorado Springs, there is a huge, gigantic, mind-boggling pile of waste "dirt" from the gold processing that went on here in the early part of the 20th century. The pile of dirt has sat there for 100 years, right in the middle of town (well, technically, it's about five blocks away from downtown). Nothing grows on it because of the cyanide, heavy metals, and other junk in it. It just sits there, except when the wind blows dust from it all over the place--or when it rains and washes more of the dirt into Fountain Creek.

Recently a developer has bought some of it and is putting up high-end housing. Potential owners are advised that they will have to comply with covenants limiting their garden plantings, because the layer of topsoil spread over the toxic waste is so thin.

The advertisement: http://www.goldhillmesa.com/location.html

The reality: http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/355826/the_305_million_pile_history_will_be_buried_homes_born/

Moral: Don't get your hopes up for the end of nukes just because of one or two "smallish" "incidents."

by asdf on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 06:12:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh... Is this even legal? Where is EPA? Where are zoning laws and such?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 06:21:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hello, this is 'merica. The magic invisible guiding hand of the free market will take care of it.
by asdf on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 06:24:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My boss in FC told me about the similar story near Boulder and the rock ridge nuclear site.
by njh on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 08:10:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rocky Flats, maybe you mean. Where they machined the plutonium cores for the H bombs. And let the pollution just waft over Denver... Now the site of three smallish wind turbines--and ongoing lawsuits and investigations even though the site is officially cleaned up.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Flats_Plant

Or maybe you mean the Rocky Mountain arsenal, a few miles away on the east side of Denver, where they stored tons of nerve gas in rusting 55 gallon drums, and then when it was time to build a new airport, conveniently found that they could just spread a bit of dirt on the toxic waste and presto-change-o, there's a new park!
http://www.fws.gov/rockymountainarsenal/

by asdf on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 08:42:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't remember.  But I remember the 4 and 5 storey houses that needed a 20 minute drive just to pick up some milk.
by njh on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 08:36:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by asdf on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 06:32:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's that word again?  I think it's five letters long and starts with a 'g'?
by Jace on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 06:34:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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