Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

AFT = About Fuckin Time!

The key acronym is LOCA (Loss of Cooling Accident), which is NEVER supposed to happen. If it does happen, for ANY reason, the nuke should have NEVER been constructed and/or operated (if constructed by not operated, like the Shoreham nuke (in Long Island next to NYC, then the owner usually goes bankrupt, as was the case with Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) - which actually did happen, and LILCO bacame LIPA). They (Tokyo Electric) might actually be able to avoid a Chernobyl event, for now, but only barely. That this LOCA event went on for more than an hour is an IMMENSE FUBAR.

We now have TWO confirmed LOCA's and subsequent H2 explosions at the Fukushima complex. To make a big H2 boom, you have to make a lot of H2, which evidently comes from this reaction:

Zr + 2 H2O  -->  ZrO2 + 2 H2

So this means that lots of Zr fuel cladding has turned into zirconia and lots of H2, and that the really hot UO2 fuel pellets (self heating due to daughter products radioactive (via beta emission) decay) are now exposed to hot steam and some nasty "daughters" are puking out of the system via the steam vents. Just to add spice to the gumbo, Unit 3 has about 5% Mixed Oxide Fuel (plutonium 239 based, but also some Pu240).

Supposedly the daughters can provide 5 to 7% of the thermal energy of a fissioning facility, but since the Unit 1 was evidently about to get changed out, this could be more like 15%. For a 480 MW unit, this would mean that 36 to 72 MW of heat had to be removed, assuming that all fission reactions were stopped by the control rod insertion.

Well, that's a lot of heat. Translated, 7.5% residual heat generation is 36 MW is 122.8 MBtu/hr (millions of Btu/hr), and that is close to 126,000 lbs/hr of steam generation at atmospheric or 15,136 gallons/hr = 252 gpm water evaporation). For the metrically inclined, the 7.5% decay heat removal corresponds to an evaporation rate of 57 tonnes/hr of water. At 15%, you can double that. That's a lot of water buckets...... On the other hand, a gasoline powered water pump with a 2" pipe outlet (50 mm) might be able to do the trick, if they have them handy, and if they have a way to pump this water into the system. Power wise, they need about 25 kw engines to pump this water, or about 35 hp ones.

And that is needed for EACH active reactor.

Oh, BTW, they also need lots of cooling for those swimming pools where all those spent fuel rods are "cooling" off. While no where nearly as hot, take those out of water and they will also start glowing cherry red after a few minutes to a few hours. And when those catch on fire, well, that's just another massive load of stuff to hit the fan.

Oh yes, totally safe, nothing for mere mortals to discuss, trust the big government - big corporate hybrid, they know all, they know what is best, just rest your weary head, they will surely pass this test that "no one could have foreseen". And BTW, quit watching that damn You-Tube video of the TWO explosions on the top of the reactor buildings in Japan... that might lead you to think "not correct" thoughts, and if you think incorrect thoughts, that will REALLY lead to bad problems.

What a nasty Black Swan this one is turning out to be. And one of the characteristics of kick-ass Black Swan Events is that they are game changing events. I would bet that this qualifies...


by nb41 on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 12:43:18 PM EST

Others have rated this comment as follows:


Top Diaries

Occasional Series