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See The Long View, a thread initiated by eurogreen in ceebs' Japanese earthquake diary
Not good for the nuclear industry globally....
  • Immediate halt to new construction, for a start.
  • Next step : abandonment of all reactor designs that rely on any form of active cooling.
  • Meanwhile : China continues apace with their Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. If I have understood correctly, they are inherently safe from the point of view of passive cooling and the possibility of meltdown.
  • In twenty years, when the rest of the world starts looking at nuclear again, China will have a complete lock on the technology.
To which I replied with a cynical
Alternative Long View:
  • We need fiscal consolidation and budget austeriry, we can't afford to retrofit the existing plants to higher standards
  • Japan cannot do without 30% of its electric power
  • Nothing to see here, move along.
  • Less cynically
    Everyone can crack jokes about Soviet technology, but if this happens to the Japanese we can stop feeling all smug about French and Swedish reactors.

    Not unlike the way the 1997/8 Asian/Russian financial crisis couldn't happen to the "sophisticated" WestTM, and look at the ongoing Global Financial Clusterfuck.



    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 05:11:14 PM EST
    I'm reading that of the nuclear plants along the Rhine fault zone, Fessenheim in France remains the only one not reinforced for earthquakes of the current standard, which is worst historical quake in a 200 km radius. Where I note that that standard may be weak (the quake in Japan was worse than the worst historical one, for example).

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 05:32:04 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Re-quoting something ceebs posted in the first Japan earthquake thread:

    Nuclear safety lessons from Japan's summer earthquake | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

    On July 16, 2007, an earthquake with a magnitude of somewhere between 6.6 and 6.8 struck Japan. Its epicenter was about 16 kilometers north of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP), the biggest such plant in the world. The known results of the earthquake include a fire and leaks of radioactivity. However, news of damage to the reactors continues to emerge, the most recent being the discovery of a jammed control rod in Unit-7. Though there was no major release of radioactivity, the many failures and unanticipated events that occurred at the reactor after the earthquake have important implications for nuclear safety worldwide.

    To start, the Japanese nuclear establishment never anticipated the magnitude of the earthquake. Under Japan's old guidelines, which formed the basis of the KKNPP design, the seismic hazard for each nuclear site is defined in terms of two intensities, termed S1 and S2. (See "Status Report on Seismic Re-Evaluation" PDF.) The S1 earthquake, referred to as the "maximum design earthquake," is less intense and determined by historical events and current and past fault activity. The S2 earthquake, called the "extreme design earthquake" and supposedly an impossibility, is derived from seismo-tectonic structures and active faults. These requirements were believed to provide a "sufficient range of earthquakes to assure reactor safety for any potential earthquake shaking." (See "A Developing Risk-Informed Design Basis Earthquake Ground Motion Methodology" PDF.) But clearly the S2 design earthquake wasn't extreme enough: The peak ground acceleration of the July 16 earthquake was two-and-a-half times greater than what was assumed for the S2 earthquake.



    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Sun Mar 13th, 2011 at 05:36:03 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Fessenheim is also the oldest plant in France, built before the massive nuclear program was launched.

    Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
    by Starvid on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 12:25:39 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    They need new sources of electrical generation to replace the nuclear plants destroyed.

    In the short term, they can probably compensate with fossil fuels. But they are consciencious about the Kyoto protocol, and will need renewables.

    They have hardly touched wind : about 2 GW of capacity, well under 1% of total capacity. They can't just apply off-the-shelf solutions : the windy places (far north, far south) are far from electricity consumers. The south is cyclonic. There are plenty of mountains with strong winds, but they are hard to access, and the winds are turbulent.

    Surely they are ripe for some major offshore wind?

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

    by eurogreen on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 12:55:46 PM EST
    [ Parent ]

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