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

Continuing Japanese Disaster Open Thread

by ceebs Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:28:03 PM EST

After the last diary reached 300 comments, time for a new diary

Migeru came upon a an interesting report that discussed similar problems to that which are being experienced in the storage pools at the Fukushima plant. Specifically with BWR reactors.

More interestingly he found the US regulators response, which appears to say that doing anything about this was too expensive as it was far too unlikely to happen.

Post repeated below.


Migeru:

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Fact Sheet on NRC Review of Paper on Reducing Hazards from Stored Spent Nuclear Fuel
The NRC staff has reviewed the paper, "Reducing the Hazards from Stored Spent Power-Reactor Fuel in the United States," April 21, 2003, Robert Alvarez, et al., (published in Science and Global Security, spring 2003) and concludes that it fails to make the case for its central recommendation.

...

The paper suffers from excessive conservatisms throughout its cost benefit evaluation. Therefore, the recommendation for an accelerated program of complex and costly measures does not have a sound technical basis. In the United States, spent fuel, in both wet and dry configurations, is safe and measures are in place to adequately protect the public.

...

... For example, the authors' analysis of societal costs is based on a 1997 Brookhaven National Laboratory study which was performed for a reactor site location that represents an extremely high surrounding population density and is not representative of an industry average.

But, anyway, that was an unexpected bonus from my google search for the title of the Brookhaven paper:
In estimating fuel damage, the paper again makes reference to past NRC studies which conservatively assumed bounding pool configurations for cooling analysis and conservatively assumed the extent of radiation release. In the 1997 Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) study, "Severe Accidents in Spent Fuel Pools in Support of Generic Safety Issue 82," (NUREG/CR-4982), it was assumed that 10-100% of the cesium-137 was released to the atmosphere. Similarly in NUREG-1738 the base case assumed the release of 75% of the total cesium-137 inventory. The assumption of such a large release in NUREG-1738 was a large conservatism which was tolerable for the purposes of that study. However, it is neither a realistic estimate nor an appropriate assumption for a risk assessment of security issues where realism is needed. Ongoing research to address these issues includes more detailed realistic analyses of the thermal response of fuel to loss of water scenarios and more detailed, realistic analyses of the radionuclide releases for those scenarios where adequate cooling is not maintained. Based on preliminary analyses, we conclude that spent fuel in pools is more easily cooled even in the event of a complete loss of water. Further, preliminary analysis indicates that previous NRC estimates of the quantities of fission products released were high by likely an order of magnitude. Earlier NRC studies used large conservatisms, in generic calculations, with simplified modeling.
It's remarkable to see a regulator report arguing that the purpose of risk assessment is to convince yourself that the risks are as small as you can get away with.
[editor's note, by Migeru] The reason I was looking for the Brookhaven 1997 paper is that it was mentioned by the New Yortk Times: In Fuel-Cooling Pools, a Danger for the Longer Term
A 1997 study by the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island described a worst-case disaster from uncovered spent fuel in a reactor cooling pool. It estimated 100 quick deaths would occur within a range of 500 miles and 138,000 eventual deaths.

The study also found that land over 2,170 miles would be contaminated and damages would hit $546 billion.

That section of the Brookhaven study focused on boiling water reactors -- the kind at the heart of the Japanese crisis.

Previous Diaries

European Tribune - Japan: New Open Thread

European Tribune - Japan disasters open thread

European Tribune - Japanese Earthquake Diary

Display:
Japan earthquake | Page 85 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
White smoke is now seen from Daiichi No. 4 reactor: report


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:29:40 PM EST
Japan earthquake | Page 85 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
NHK is showing live footage of the smoke

Japan earthquake | Page 85 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com

Japan trade minister says plant operator cannot confirm if fire at Daiichi No. 4 reactor


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:30:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looking at it it's very hard to tell whether it's smoke or steam

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:41:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 85 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
Fuji TV is reporting white smoke is from Daiichi reactor No. 3


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:44:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Daily Yomiuri (DailyYomiuri) on Twitter
Pic of the latest smoke coming from the Fukushima No1 nuclear power plant. http://bit.ly/hWKWNy


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:47:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 85 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
Nuclear operator says one possibility is steam coming from reactor No. 3

Well I appreciate that sending someone out to sniff it probably isn't the best plan, but you'd think they'd have an idea.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:55:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Tepco says the reactor 3 at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been emitting white smoke for about 45 minutes, Kyodo News reports. The plant's reactor 4 was the one where a fire broke out earlier this morning, Tepco said.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:03:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK live helo reports visible smoke at #4 reactor from 30 Kms away

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:09:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
   * [KYODO] NEWS ADVISORY: TEPCO can't check smoke at Fukushima plant as radiation is too high (11:16)
   * NEWS ADVISORY: TEPCO unable to confirm temperature at No.3 reactor's spent fuel pool (11:02)
   * NEWS ADVISORY: Pool stores 514 spent fuel rods at Fukushima No.3 reactor: TEPCO (11:00)
   * NEWS ADVISORY: Smoke may be coming from No. 3 reactor's fuel pool: TEPCO (10:53)
by das monde on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:22:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I was going to say that it might be steam.  TEPCO doesn't seem to have a clue on anything.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:46:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 01:40:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This looks like a refinery burning rather than a nuke plant?

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:59:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I found this today with a reference to Fukushima, currently No 5 here.
by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:04:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Im sure its the refinery, for one thing its up a river, where the reactors are actually on the coast

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:11:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:39:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the long term cooling pool building is the one in the top left corner, piles of what look like aircon heat exchangers on the roof. but not certain if thats it.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:46:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just seen part of a US news program repeated on the BBC, Had to turn it off, couldnt cope, only thing missing from the shouty presenter and over loud graphics were the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:49:53 PM EST
Still probably not as bad as HuffPo, in fairness.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:53:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is National Review for a change:

At such a time, nothing could be more scandalous than the current campaign by much of the international press to spread panic over trivial emissions of radiological material from several disabled nuclear power stations.

Let us be clear. Compared to the real disaster at hand, the hypothetical threat from the nuclear stations is zero. The reactors in question were all shut down four days ago. The control rods have been inserted, and the cores have been salted with boron. It is physically impossible for them to sustain a fission reaction of any kind at this point, let alone cause another Chernobyl. Only the fission-byproduct decay heat remains, and it is fading fast as the short half-life material (which accounts for most of the radioactivity) performs its decay reactions and ceases to exist. At this point, the total heating power in the reactors is only about 0.3 percent of what it was when the reactors were operating. That means that a system previously capable of generating 1,300 megawatts of heat would now yield 4 megawatts thermal -- about the same as that emitted by a dozen 100-horsepower automobile engines. The Japanese engineers can certainly deal with that with water cooling. And even if they were to stop, there just isn't enough heating power in the system anymore to generate a dangerous plume of radioactive materials, which is doubly impossible at this point since all the more active short half-life stuff is already gone.

On the frontpage, they have a "Nuclear Hysteria: A Pop Cultural History" slide show.

by das monde on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:54:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll ignore the occasional explosions, steam and smoke then shall I ?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 09:57:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they do a credible job of destroying their straw-man of fresh fission reactions. Far better to talk about the highly improbable than to discuss the problem of open spent fuel pools that are evaporating and possibly burning, of cores that have lost cooling and the uncertainty of full containment of meltdown products.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:31:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To clarify, was this written before or after the explosions/meltdowns?
by njh on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:22:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The reactors in question were all shut down four days ago.

So this was written on Tuesday.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:25:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My opinion of Dr Zubrin has dropped somewhat.
by njh on Thu Mar 17th, 2011 at 02:19:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you hope that this disaster could be turned around? If not - and I personally haven't seen any single sign of hope that anybody would gain control of the situation - how do you justify your optimistic (non-apocalyptic) outlook? - The explosion of these four (or six or more) reactors is delayed and events are slowed down at best but they are taking their course. Contamination won't remain limited to Japan or just one cloud.

And is it really useful to blame it all on bad engineering?

I listened to reports by German engineers/technicians who were at the site when the earthquake occurred. There were no cracks. The control room was operating normally. The 10 m Tsunami destroyed the electricity needed for cooling the reactors. Nobody's prepared for such an event.

The wave could have destroyed everything AT ONCE. Everything's going 'pouf!' now anyway - but we have time to follow the events in slow motion and "prepare"(?!) - No one can "prepare"! There's no real protection.

And these are signs of the nearing 'end'. Apocalypse - yes. "...there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again." - Knowing/trusting that it's part of a higher plan makes it more bearable though, nonetheless, it remains horribly dreadful.

Where there's destruction, you can rebuild. Against contagious diseases relief or cures can be found but there is just no protection against and no cure for widespread radioactive contamination.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 04:46:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And these are signs of the nearing 'end'. Apocalypse - yes. "...there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again." - Knowing/trusting that it's part of a higher plan makes it more bearable though, nonetheless, it remains horribly dreadful.

I don't mean to be rude - really, I don't - but this is not the fucking biblical apocalypse.

This is a combination of unrealistic planning and bad management. The tsunami wasn't avoidable, but the reactor failures certainly were.

The IAEA was warning Japan that a major earthquake could cause "a serious problem" for the nukes a couple of years ago.

Nothing was done. And this is the result.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:04:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not nothing, but not enough.

Japan earthquake: Japan warned over nuclear plants, WikiLeaks cables show - Telegraph

An official from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in December 2008 that safety rules were out of date and strong earthquakes would pose a "serious problem" for nuclear power stations.

The Japanese government pledged to upgrade safety at all of its nuclear plants, but will now face inevitable questions over whether it did enough.

While it responded to the warnings by building an emergency response centre at the Fukushima plant, it was only designed to withstand magnitude 7.0 tremors. Friday's devastating earthquake was a magnitude 9.0 shock.

Methinks the real issue here is the way maximum risks are calculated. Was the likely maximum earthquake underestimated for lack of data? Or due to bad methods of estimating uncertainty? Or wilfull suppression of science to avoid the extra costs of retrofitting? We still have to find out.

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

by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:32:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that you and I are both right.

There is a man-made, human and technical side to these events, and I'm definitely among the more ignorant with regards to that than anyone contributing to these threads.

As to the biblical apocalypse, there are several prophecies, often cryptic describing what it will be like, and this right now is no 'full-blown' apocalypse but events are blending in with descriptions of how we will know that we're nearing an 'end'.

'Man-made' doesn't exclude God, if He exists. For those who have faith, there's a mystery of God's preconceived program and our own free will. This is a subject in itself.

The line I quoted above continues, "If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive..."

"Cut short": The deplenishing of natural resources along with natural catastrophes and wars/revolutions have increased in frequency. It's hard to keep pace with all the bad news. This is what is meant by 'days cut short'. Time is moving faster so that the hard-to-bear part will be over rather sooner than later.

----

Can you think of a "best case scenario" - a way to contain the catastrophe.

NB [my question mark/comma key doesn't work; I copy-paste them when they're on my page; otherwise write 'question mark']  

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:34:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, we can say that the nuclear plant failure is the result of bad design/engineering by the humans, and the earthquake/tsunami is the result of bad design/engineering of Earth by an incompetent god... ;-)

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:46:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't attribute the earthquake/tsunami to bad design by an incompetent god because - it has been said

"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains."

What feels "bad" to me can be (and I maintain: is) full of purpose in the eyes of 'the Creator'. Labour before the birth of a child is bad, too, yet so many still think it's all worth it.

We know it because others around us or we ourselves have experienced it. In the case of apocalyptic birth pains we just haven't seen and do not know yet.

And I have doubts that engineering really was that bad given the sheer magnitude of this failed stress test but that I don't know.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:08:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The best case scenario would be to take this as a signal that adamant beliefs about unlimited growth, "automatic" solutions by free markets (and even the "greatest" buy-elections-break-unions democracy) perhaps are illusions, even perilous ones.

The eighties may have started the "government is the problem fables, but now we see (not just from TEPCO but BP last year) that corporate management is no more efficient and is even more narrowly focused. (Who could have predicted that!) We may even start to question robustness of the "nonnegotiable" modern lifestyle, as Japan is going to struggle to restore its technologically savvy image with costly energy limitations.

by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:52:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The fables were always PR for the "more money for billionaires" party.

Really, in practice it turns out there's very little difference in the planning ability of a Soviet-style one-party nomenklatura, and a freewheeling corporate economy. There's slightly more openness in the latter, but stupid things still happen regularly.

In fact I'd suggest that corporate mismanagement is currently the most destructive force on earth.

Not only does it destroy prosperity, innovation and the natural environment, it also destroys key infrastructure and growth opportunities when left unregulated.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:00:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, "blind" faith in corporate management and ingenuity is the grand designer of escalating plights around the globe.
by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:08:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The profit motive is the problem.

It's not even true that profit spurs creativity and invention. Truly creative and innovative advances are made by people motivated by their love of their work.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:01:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The best case scenario -
with regards to Fukushima I!

What best possible direct end of this do you expect?

At what point do you expect humans to be in control of the site again?

The accident's analysis as it is evolving and what brought us there contains lessons for nuclear power plant engineering - or directs us towards alternative options but the disaster is still underway.

How will it end?

What best possible outcome can anybody hope for?

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:16:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Best case scenario is preventing the spent fuel pools from catching fire, possibly by managing to drop powdered boric acid on them. Also managing to keep the reactors cooled.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:28:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now there's an attempt at emergency cooling. How long will these emergency efforts have to remain in place in order to get to a point of control of the situation?

With radiation levels already very high will it be possible ensure cooling of the other 5 reactors should one blast?

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:37:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Speculating here as I'm definitely not an engineer.

Once you have stable emergency cooling and have killed the possibility of meltdown with boron, you need to bring emergency crews to replace the pumps and generators that malfunctioned so you can be on ordinary cooling.

Then you need to start the cleanup process. This may have to wait. For instance, one of the documents we've seen described how spent fuel is "too hot" for a year, during which it's stored on site. So presumably the spent fuel pool at #4 will have to stay put for a year, and you need to have rebuilt non-emergency cooling and containment for it to last you a year.

Then there's the problem that hydrogen explosions are indications that the fuel rods may have lost their structural integrity. So, in the case of the fuel pool at #4, you might find that it's not as simple as coming in after a year and removing the fuel rods to a reprocessing facility. If a fuel rod is broken, you're talking about decontamination, not fuel reprocessing.

Once you've removed all the fuel from the fuel pools and cleaned up the outside of the reactors you could go in and empty the reactors (which you have been cooling all this time, too).

And so on.

This will take years and the point is to keep the radiation level low (no fusion reaction, only radioactive decay of fuel and waste) and keep any radioactive materials in place. Some wort of weatherproof structure might be built to ensure that wind and rain don't take stuff all over the place during the years this will go on.

And, of course, earthquake and tsunami proofing the relief operations.

It will be painstaking but if you can keep the nuclear fuel from heating up, having a chain reaction or spilling, it can be done. With care.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:04:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We would wish to wake up tomorrow and have all the rods reliably in cool water, reactors being cooled as well. The scale of progress and relief is measured how close are we to this situation.

But otherwise: 2microSv/h means a chest X-ray photo dose per day; Tokyo life is terribly disrupted; people have no homes and means; fisheries and rice fields are probably at radiation risk. People will accept a lot of anything given, more than lottery winners.

by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:33:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm seeing these images and always get to a point that I find them so sickening that I need to switch off. I keep thinking that the residents of North-Eastern Japan would also like to change the channel and wake up on a different program. ---  
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:43:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A chest X-ray is not 2 microSieverts, it's more like 600 microSieverts. So we're talking an extra x-ray per year for people in Tokyo, at the current rates. This is obviously not dangerous. What's dangerous is the radiation levels at the power station.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:20:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the Japanese government info graphics, chest x-ray is only 50 μSv. Abdominal X-ray is 600 μSv. A CT scan is 6.9 mSv.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:25:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So 2 mikroSv/h in 24 hours is 48, or about 50.
by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:00:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
natural catastrophes and wars/revolutions have increased in frequency.

Have they? We've always had earthquakes, though without modern communications we didn't always learn about them. As for wars, can you honestly say that today (apart maybe from some parts of Africa) is worse than the first half of the 20th century?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:17:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
as we've built over increasing chunks of land (and sea, at times), it stands to reason that there is more to destroy each time there is a new catastrophe...

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:03:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to apologize for sending you to read Josef Oehmen's Why I am Not Worried a couple of days ago, but at the time it was written it was a relatively accurate description of what was known. It quickly became outdated, though, so it is rather jarring seeing it picked up by the right wing media and not disowned by the writer.

The jury's still out on whether it was astroturf or genuine "MBA professional deformation" about risk management. I'm inclined to think the second. The guy has, after all, twitted compliments to Jim Cramer of MSNBC for bringing sanity to the discussion of Fukushima. He also now tweets about the "holy warriors" attacking him.

But, really,

Lily:

Knowing/trusting that it's part of a higher plan makes it more bearable though, nonetheless, it remains horribly dreadful.
Maybe you'd like to blame it on your favourite Higher Intelligence? Lily:
And is it really useful to blame it all on bad engineering?
But go ahead and distract yourself pondering The Problem of Evil and other theological aspects of the Japanese disaster while others try to understand the physical, technical, managerial and political dimensions of it

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:40:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, at the time it looked valuable.
by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:01:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's interesting to follow your ideas on the "physical, technical, managerial and political dimensions of it". If it weren't I wouldn't be here. This is one side of reality.

And I don't "blame" anything on anybody. I'm just also interested in the other side of reality, its unseen dimension and even more so because of this disaster's magnitude and global impact.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:30:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as US reporting, I'm down to Rachel Maddow, who does research beforehand, gets experts on air with almost no "pundits", and does not shout about it.

IOW, clearly an accident that she is on a US cable news network.

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

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:55:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hakuho to lend a hand : Sports : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

Yokozuna Hakuho said Tuesday that he plans to lead efforts to provide aid to the area hit by the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The mother of one of Hakuho's stablemates has been reported missing in the disaster and the Mongolian was reported as saying he wanted to do whatever he could to help.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:05:31 PM EST
A golden opportunity to restore sumo's tattered reputation, if I want to be cynical. A way to use prominence to lead by example, if I want to be optimistic.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:40:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
South Korea says it will send some 50 tonnes of its boron reserves to Japan after a request from Tokyo, Reuters reports. The metalloid is vital for stopping fission nuclear reactions in nuclear reactors.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:12:20 PM EST
Sounds like a certain place in the USSR, dumping big piles of boron on top of something...no more of this fooling around with boric acid in seawater...
by asdf on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:14:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
government requesting people in other areas reduce fuel usage so they can prioritise the disaster area

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:17:59 PM EST
asking international community to supply more fuel

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
readings fluctuating from 800 to 1000 milisieverts overnight, but have dropped, all staff withdrawn to a safe distance, even minimum ones

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:21:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no need to expand evacuation area at this time

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:25:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Edano admits pouring large amount of water in short time from helos is "risky."

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:27:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 85 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano: A part of the containment vessel, just like what happened with No. 2 reactor, there's a probability that vapor is coming out from the broken part of the containment vessel. We have no detailed information.but, a part of the containment vessel is broken, and it appears that vapor is coming out. I am saying this as an assumption. ..


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:28:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Might need the help of the US military in fighting the accident

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:34:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't want a steam explosion after a hydrogen explosion, nor contaminated pilots.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:13:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Andy Carvin (acarvin) on Twitter
Anderson Cooper: If these are the last 50 workers leaving the reactor, it's extraordinarily disturbing news


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:42:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The gap between what Tokyo Electric is saying and what we're reading elsewhere is unsurprising but still mind blowing.

"It might just be steam."

Jesus...

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:55:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan suspended operations to prevent a stricken nuclear plant from melting down Wednesday after a surge in radiation made it too dangerous for workers to remain at the facility. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said work on dousing reactors with water was disrupted by the need to withdraw.

If they've pulled out everybody, it's bad.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hr2sPhUE6ja0EMclJeUeGSQAON-g?docId=7e3dd7128b804f5 d965554ff69375e76

by asdf on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:01:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well at the rate they're talking about its the entire absolute maximum, never work in a nuke facility ever again, this is an absolute crisis rate in around 15 minutes. (that's assuming you have no dose previous to that)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:06:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This morning TV heads were still discussing, whether it's level 4. Things won't get better if abandoned. Hard to believe TEPCO could not do better.
by das monde on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:08:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Closer to a level 7 than a level 4, by far.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:28:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On Wednesday, Japanese Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said at a news briefing that workers at Fukushima had been withdrawn following the rise in radiation levels. It is believed that about 50 employees had been working at the plant to try to stabilise its four reactors.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12755739

by asdf on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:15:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tepco briefing

cabinet secretary got numbers wrong, said mili, should have been micro. They think now that the rise in radiation came from number 2.

think the leak in 2 and the smoke are separate.

central control room unsafe, employees cannot come close enough to work for any time. radiation going up,  current reading 6.4 milisievert

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:18:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
reactor workers sent home, radiation there 10,000 times higher than normal, but not a disaster.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:21:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sorry sent somewhere safe, not home

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:22:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cut away for a strong earthquake warning

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:25:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They are on their way back in as levels have dropped according to TEPCO press conference
by ectoraige on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:42:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If those levels are what people get per hour at the plant, staying an entire night will kill you, even if the effect will be delayed by a few weeks for most of the victims. They'll be what people in the radiation protection community refer to as the "living dead". Good thing I'll be getting that pump-action shotgun... :p

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:25:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Photo of reactors 3 and 4 via Reuters (too large for here)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:37:04 PM EST
Cue "The End" by The Doors, "Apocalypse Now" style?
by das monde on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:43:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:54:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is the full view.



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

by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:56:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
CNN: TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Co) has proven itself inept in the past and many think it could be acting that way now.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:37:26 PM EST
The Daily Yomiuri (DailyYomiuri) on Twitter
A Kagoshima town sent a public warning of an imprending "guerilla attack" Monday. It later blamed it on a worker who pushed the wrong button


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:46:39 PM EST
See? SEE??? Godzilla, coming back to take advantage of the disaster! You simply can't plan for this sort of thing!
by asdf on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:54:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan's nuclear emergency: Live blog

5:25am After several Japanese carmarkers suspended production following the disasters, Toyota and Subaru are halting some production at North American factories - to assess availability of parts.

Subaru of America says it has suspended overtime at its plant in Lafayette, Indiana. The plant, Subaru's only North American factory, employs 3,500 workers and built 150,000 vehicles last year, including the Outback and Tribeca wagons and the Legacy sedan.

Toyota is suspending overtime and production on Saturdays at all of its North American plants to assess the availability of car parts.

Both are trying to conserve parts after the huge earthquake and tsunami, which is disrupting shipments from Japan to the US.

Japanese automakers Nissan and Honda say their North American plants have not been affected so far.


Next Kudlow will be saying that the double dip is due to Japan's disaster.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:54:53 PM EST
Toyota to Reopen Seven Parts Factories in Japan Tomorrow; Shares Rebound - Bloomberg
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) gained the most in more than two years in Tokyo trading as carmakers and suppliers began to reopen factories closed after the nation's strongest earthquake on record.


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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:19:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with Just In Time global-scale manufacturing is exposed...
by asdf on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:55:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More detailed discussion of this issue from Yves Smith today.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:58:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan Earthquake Shows Business Reengineering Relies on Bogus Thinking Similar to Financial Engineering « naked capitalism

Gillan Tett's latest offering in the Financial Times discusses the woes that have befallen various major companies that find themselves exposed as a result of having extended supply chains that have Japan-based manufacturing as an important part. She correctly depicts this as a symptom of a much larger problem, of having pushed the idea of wringing out production costs too far. But perhaps due to space constraints, she fails to draw out the most important conclusion: just as with financial engineering, management incentives favored ignoring risk, and the resulting blow ups were predictable.

Tett tells us the Japan-related disruptions are merely the most visible symptom of a widespread pathology:

Last year, the Business Continuity Institute published a survey of companies which suggested that three-quarters had experienced production hiccups in their supply chain in the previous 12 months, due to unexpected surprises (ranging from weather to health issues to earthquakes). A quarter said that problems were getting worse. "In the highly competitive, global market of recent years, many businesses implemented cost-saving strategies to maintain profit margins, including just-in-time deliveries of critical resources and components," says Nick Wildgoose, supply chain product manager at Zurich. "[But] some of those earlier savings are becoming operational weak links, especially in extended supply chains."

It isn't all that hard to understand that stressing efficiency at all cost comes at the expense of safety. Engineers will tell you that efforts that are pro-safety involve various forms of buffers and redundancy and are thus costly. During the early days of the crisis, commentators often discussed the implications of Richard Bookstaber's book A Demon of Our Own Design, in which he argued that systems that lacked breaks between various processes were tightly coupled, which meant that a failure at one point in the process would propagate through the entire system, as if one transformer failing would bring down an entire electrical grid.

Gillian Tett is a treasure.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:04:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hedge Funds Had Bets Against Japan

The price for insuring $10 million of Japanese sovereign debt for five years in the credit-default-swap market soared to $103,000 on Monday, from $79,000 on Friday, according to data provider Markit.

Reflecting the skepticism about Japan's outlook, even before the disaster, the net notional amount of Japanese debt being insured in the swaps market had surged to $7.4 billion from $4.1 billion a year ago, according to data from the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. through March 4. The number of contracts outstanding has more than doubled ....

Credit-default swaps of many corporate bonds have become even more valuable, rewarding those that bet on them. Among the biggest moves was in Tokyo Electric Power Co., owner of the nuclear-power plants crippled by the earthquake.

Commonwealth Opportunity Capital, a $90 million hedge fund in Los Angeles, made a profit of several million dollars on Tokyo Electric on Monday, from an investment of less than $200,000. The annual cost of protecting $10 million of Tokyo Electric's debt jumped to $240,000 on Monday from $40,700 on Friday.

by das monde on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:57:58 PM EST
Parasites, all those profits should be confiscated and handed staright over to the red cross.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:07:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... being conned by the widespread bullshit about fictitious fiscal limitations in addressing the crisis ~ IOW, a bet on a political risk.

The reality, of course, is difference, as Bill Mitchell at UNewcastle goes into at depth (after apologizing for the brevity of his post due to lack of time).

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

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:59:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan's nuclear emergency: Live blog  Al Jazeera

6:35am Japan's nuclear safety committee say radiation levels of 400 millisieverts an hour had been recorded near Fukushima's No.4 reactor earlier today.

Exposure to over 100 millisieverts a year is a level which can lead to cancer, says to the World Nuclear Association.

Radiation levels in Tokyo, 250km south of the crippled plant, remain normal.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:58:08 PM EST
Last Defense at Troubled Reactors: 50 Japanese Workers  NYT

A small crew of technicians, braving radiation and fire, became the only people remaining at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on Tuesday -- and perhaps Japan's last chance of preventing a broader nuclear catastrophe.

....

They breathe through uncomfortable respirators or carry heavy oxygen tanks on their backs. They wear white, full-body jumpsuits with snug-fitting hoods that provide scant protection from the invisible radiation sleeting through their bodies.

They are the faceless 50, the unnamed operators who stayed behind. They have volunteered, or been assigned, to pump seawater on dangerously exposed nuclear fuel, already thought to be partly melting and spewing radioactive material, to prevent full meltdowns that could throw thousands of tons of radioactive dust high into the air and imperil millions of their compatriots.

They struggled on Tuesday and Wednesday to keep hundreds of gallons of seawater a minute flowing through temporary fire pumps into the three stricken reactors, Nos. 1, 2 and 3. Among the many problems they faced was what appeared to be yet another fire at the plant.

The workers are being asked to make escalating -- and perhaps existential -- sacrifices that so far are being only implicitly acknowledged: Japan's Health Ministry said Tuesday it was raising the legal limit on the amount of radiation to which each worker could be exposed, to 250 millisieverts from 100 millisieverts, five times the maximum exposure permitted for American nuclear plant workers.

They will not remain anonymous, I confidently predict. But they will have to be replaced unless they are expecting the site to go so hot no one can enter. I will bet that their badges have been maxes out for days now.

I would suggest that the NRC officials who pissed all over the Alvarez proposal (cited by ceebs above the fold) to reduce the risks of just such developments as we are seeing be among those sent in to replace them.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:19:30 PM EST
Sounds like they have been pulled out...
by asdf on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:42:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan nuclear agency: Evacuation order of plant workers lifted at 0230 GMT after radiation falls
by Reuters_david.lalmalsawma at 3:40 AM
by ectoraige on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:44:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan suspends work at stricken nuclear plant  AP  Yahoo News

"It's more of a surrender," said David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer who now heads the nuclear safety program for the Union of Concerned Scientists, an activist group. "It's not like you wait 10 days and the radiation goes away. In that 10 days things are going to get worse."

"It's basically a sign that there's nothing left to do but throw in the towel," Lochbaum said.

The government has ordered some 140,000 people in the vicinity to stay indoors. A little radiation was also detected in Tokyo, triggering panic buying of food and water.

There are six reactors at the plant, and the three that were operating at the time have been rocked by explosions. The one still on fire was offline at the time of the magnitude 9.0 quake, Japan's most powerful on record.

Japan's nuclear safety agency estimated that 70 percent of the rods have been damaged at the No. 1 reactor.

The pull-out seems to have been tactical.

Japan's nuclear emergency: Live blog  Al Jazeera

12:00am Yukio Edano, the chief cabinet secretary, held a brief conference about the nuclear situation, these are the key points.

  • An appeal not to panic buy fuel especially in areas not affected by the quake, they think the containment vessel on Reactor No3 has been damaged

  • Radioaction levels have fluctuated throughout the day, at one point all staff were evacuated for safety due to a dramtic increase in radiation at the front gate.

  • Tempratures are rising in reactors number 5/6 and in the spent fuel rod tank in reactor no 4.

  • They are considering the option of spraying water onto the heating reactors from the air.There are issues getting water into Reactor numbe 4 containment pool.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 01:05:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
6.0 aftershock about 100km east of Tokyo.

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/usc00023zp.php

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:25:44 AM EST
Other earthquake this morning, more central Japan:

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck close to Japan's Mount Fuji late yesterday, triggering blackouts less than a week after the nation's worst temblor on record killed at least 2,734 people.

The quake occurred at 10:31 p.m. local time, 42 kilometers (26 miles) north-northeast of Shizuoka, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. There was no tsunami threat, an official at the Japan Meteorological Agency said at a midnight briefing televised by public broadcaster NHK.

A Tokyo friend said, if Fuji san does not activate he feels ok.

by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:43:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]

 ANNE THOMAS  3/14/2011

            published online @ Ode magazine
            Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal. But I am very blessed to have wonderful friends who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is even more worthy of that name, I am now staying at a friend's home. We share supplies like water, food and a kerosene heater. We sleep lined up in one room, eat by candlelight, share stories. It is warm, friendly, and beautiful.
            During the day we help each other clean up the mess in our homes. People sit in their cars, looking at news on their navigation screens, or line up to get drinking water when a source is open. If someone has water running in their home, they put out a sign so people can come to fill up their jugs and buckets.
            It's utterly amazingly that where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in lines. People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an earthquake strikes. People keep saying, "Oh, this is how it used to be in the old days when everyone helped one another."
            Quakes keep coming. Last night they struck about every 15 minutes. Sirens are constant and helicopters pass overhead often.
            We got water for a few hours in our homes last night, and now it is for half a day. Electricity came on this afternoon. Gas has not yet come on. But all of this is by area. Some people have these things, others do not. No one has washed for several days. We feel grubby, but there are so much more important concerns than that for us now. I love this peeling away of non-essentials. Living fully on the level of instinct, of intuition, of caring, of what is needed for survival, not just of me, but of the entire group.
            There are strange parallel universes happening. Houses a mess in some places, yet then a house with futons or laundry out drying in the sun. People lining up for water and food, and yet a few people out walking their dogs. All happening at the same time.
            Other unexpected touches of beauty are first, the silence at night. No cars. No one out on the streets. And the heavens at night are scattered with stars. I usually can see about two, but now the whole sky is filled. The mountains are Sendai are solid and with the crisp air we can see them silhouetted against the sky magnificently.
            And the Japanese themselves are so wonderful. I come back to my shack to check on it each day, now to send this e-mail since the electricity is on, and I find food and water left in my entrance way. I have no idea from whom, but it is there. Old men in green hats go from door to door checking to see if everyone is OK. People talk to complete strangers asking if they need help. I see no signs of fear. Resignation, yes, but fear or panic, no.
            They tell us we can expect aftershocks, and even other major quakes, for another month or more. And we are getting constant tremors, rolls, shaking, rumbling. I am blessed in that I live in a part of Sendai that is a bit elevated, a bit more solid than other parts. So, so far this area is better off than others. Last night my friend's husband came in from the country, bringing food and water. Blessed again.
            Somehow at this time I realize from direct experience that there is indeed an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world right at this moment. And somehow as I experience the events happening now in Japan, I can feel my heart opening very wide. My brother asked me if I felt so small because of all that is happening. I don't. Rather, I feel as part of something happening that much larger than myself. This wave of birthing (worldwide) is hard, and yet magnificent.
            Thank you again for your care and Love of me,
            With Love in return, to you all,
            Anne

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:27:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan's Wind-Power Problem  greentechmedia

In the country that hosted the Kyoto Protocol, wind power has ground to a stunning halt. According to the last assessment by the Brussels-based Global Wind Energy Council, Japan ranked a dismal 14th in terms of yearly growth in wind capacity, with newly installed wind power totaling only 139 megawatts in 2007. That compares with 5.2 gigawatts - 38 times the capacity - installed the same year in the United States, and lags even further behind other wind-power giants such as Denmark, Germany and Spain.

Toshio Hori, president of the Tokyo-based Green Power Investment Corp., has been affiliated with the wind-power industry in Japan for 20 years. He blames Japan's renewable-energy policy for the slow growth.

"Japan's windpower industry is not growing," he said. "The renewable targets the government has set for wind power are tiny in comparison to other countries. There are no incentives for companies to grow."

....

The case of wind in Japan is instructive, as it shows how renewable energy can stumble without proper government intervention. It's especially significant given that Japan previously had been a green policy leader.


Perhaps Japan should give wind a chance.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 01:13:09 AM EST
I had gathered comments about Japan's wind problems here.
by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 01:28:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, dm. I had missed that in my obsession with the nuclear power crisis. I had read that diary before you posted. Good information.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:21:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The electricity networks of Japan's 10 utilities aren't connected like those in Europe. That's the reason why it's difficult to install windmills in Japan."

Should we understand that the 10 feodalities are not connected to each other?

That would explain a lot.

And is "fairly easy" to fix, as long as the government steps up to do energy planning.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:02:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But of course private enterprise is always more efficient than government action

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:05:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greg Palast: Tokyo Electric to Build US Nuclear Plants
The no-BS info on Japan's disastrous nuclear operators
I don't know the law in Japan, so I can't tell you if Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) can plead insanity to the homicides about to happen.

But what will Obama plead?  The Administration, just months ago, asked Congress to provide a $4 billion loan guarantee for two new nuclear reactors to be built and operated on the Gulf Coast of Texas -- by Tokyo Electric Power and local partners.  As if the Gulf hasn't suffered enough.

by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 01:23:15 AM EST
NY Times: Experts Had Long Criticized Potential Weakness in Design of Stricken Reactor

The warnings were stark and issued repeatedly as far back as 1972: If the cooling systems ever failed at a "Mark 1" nuclear reactor, the primary containment vessel surrounding the reactor would probably burst as the fuel rods inside overheated. Dangerous radiation would spew into the environment.

Now, with one Mark 1 containment vessel damaged at the embattled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and other vessels there under severe strain, the weaknesses of the design -- developed in the 1960s by General Electric -- could be contributing to the unfolding catastrophe.

by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 04:09:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]

110313-N-SB672-164 PACIFIC OCEAN (March 13, 2011) A Japanese home is seen adrift in the Pacific Ocean. Ships and aircraft from the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group are searching for survivors in the coastal waters near Sendai, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord/Released)

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 01:59:54 AM EST
This Russian news video is very critical of the Fukushima chain of events.

From the 1:24 mark they cite (with a good visualisation) the 1982 accident in the Armenian plant, with a failure of back-up generators as well - but they managed to keep the coolant flowing then.

Googling up gave the following links:

Nuclear Energy in Armenia (PDF)

Accidents, leaks, failures and other incidents in the nuclear industry and military (PDF)
(1054 items until 1991; the Armenian is No 568; note Chernobyl at 566 the same year)

Nuclear Files.org: Accidents Page

by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 02:19:39 AM EST
Fission Criticality In Cooling Ponds Threaten Explosion At Fukushima

Just how much danger the spent fuel pool raises is made clear in a November 2010 powerpoint presentation from the Tokyo Electric Company detailing how fuel storage works at the huge complex.

The fuel inventory in the pool is detailed on page 9. According to TEPCO, each reactor generates 700 "waste" fuel assemblies a year, and there are 3450 assemblies in each pool at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, plus another 6,291 in a common pool in a separate building.
As shown in slide 10, the common pool building sits at ground level, with the pool itself above ground.  The building also has windows on at least one side, and experts fear these were broken out by the tsunami which would have flooded the building.

According to Albert Donnay, a former nuclear engineer, "This means the common pool is now full of radioactive and corrosive seawater that will cause the fuel assemblies to fail and burst open, as they are doing inside the reactor cores that have been deliberately flooded with seawater. If the pool drains or boils away, the fuel will melt, burn and even possibly explode if the fuel collapses into a sufficiently critical mass."

This may explain why the Japanese government began adding boric acid to the reactor spent fuel pools at the facility shortly after the earthquake and tidal wave.

by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:13:38 AM EST
So the common pool is in danger, too? Can we trust the source? There was no word about this yet, yet there was word about action regarding the temporary storage facilities atop No. 5 and 6.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:27:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The author Joseph Trent is an experienced investigative journalist. His next article:

MOX fuel rods used in Japanese Nuclear Reactor present multiple dangers

A few snippets fro other sources:

In addition to the fuel pools at each Fukushima reactor, a larger common fuel pool sits at ground level between two reactors in a building with windows. The damage the tsunami caused to this independent fuel pool has not been discussed by the media.

For boiling water reactors (BWR) such as the Fukushima reactors, the time required for spent fuel rod pool water levels to drop to dangerouslyy low levels is about 140 hours.

by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:48:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was reading somewhere yesterday that number 33 reactor only recieved MOX fuel in the current fuel change in, so theres not any in the storage pools.

dont know how reliable that is though.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:26:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reactors change only a fifth of their fuel every year, so only 1/5 of the core load should be MOX.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:35:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can we trust the source?

From the "About PEC" link on their home pagelink on the PEC site:

About PEC

The Public Education Center (PEC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) charitable organization staffed by award-winning investigative reporters whose mission is to investigate previously overlooked news stories about significant issues--chief among them the environment and national security--and bring them to the attention of national and international audiences. Our goal is great journalism that produces definitive stories that result in public awareness through all media platforms.

For almost 20 years, PEC's two news services have worked with journalists around the world to identify, research, and disseminate important investigative stories, which have won every major award in journalism, including the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for David Barstow's New York Times story on the Pentagon's use of retired officers to sell the Iraq and Afghan wars.

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"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:48:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They claim to be "the new face of bulldog journalism" on their home page. Apparently, they have been providing background information to MSM outlets.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:53:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This may explain why the Japanese government began adding boric acid to the reactor spent fuel pools at the facility shortly after the earthquake and tidal wave.

We've been knocking TEPCO six ways to Sunday, but in the end it's possible the plant operators and emergency staff did what they could possibly do to control this.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:31:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can't blame emergency staff for design faults; although it's still a question to which extent TEPCO, GE and unforeseen circumstances can be blamed for design faults.

  1. We do know that the plants had earthquake and tsunami protection, but both were scaled for an insufficient magnitude event. Lack of geologic knowledge? Bad risk calculation? Willful suppression of science to avoid higher costs?
  2. Generator rooms were flooded in the basement. However, if youplace generators atop buildings, they may be toppled or damaged by higher accelerations in earthquakes even if the building doesn't collapse. Maybe watertight rooms designed to protect the generators during a temporary submersion of the entire building would be the solution, maybe there is no safe solution.
  3. We have contradictory information about why mobile generators couldn't be connected: 50/60 Hz incompatibility (this would be a serious mistake in disaster planning) or tsunami damage to the room with the connectors (this would again be a design fault).
  4. We don't know much about why the steam-powered cooling systems failed and seawater injection had to start, and TEPCO's press releases indicate they don't know yet either. We'll know after the accident investigation only, I guess.
  5. From the report that to prevent further hydrogen explosions, they planned to remove tiles on No. 2, 5 and 6, it appears that GE's reactor design lacked vents in the external structure, that is GE did not anticipate the accumulation of hydrogen in the building after venting from the containment.
  6. The placement of the spent fuel rod pool outside the primary containment is a fundamental flaw of GE's Mark I design. Migeru showed that the risk was dismissed. On the other hand, it appears no one imagined that electricity to these cooling ponds would not be restored for days.
  7. Regarding the old design issues, in case the risks have been recognised, TEPCO and the government can be blamed for chosing to continue operation.

At a more fundamental level:
  • The assumption of defense in depth was shown to be unrealistic. Not only were multiple levels of defense knocked out by the same natural event, but the failure at one level of defense sometimes impacteed the next levels of defense.
  • The most important 'design flaw' I see affects a lot of nuclear plants: building multiple reactors in a single plant. We saw examples of cascading failures: the explosion at No. 3 knocked out four of the five the emergency pumps at No. 2 and damaged the No. 4 building, and the radiation leaks at No. 2 and No. 4 impacted work on cooling all of the plants. Based on this, we were just lucky that Chernobyl didn't turn into an even greater disaster: had the reactor exploded in the direction of the other blocks.
  • We are discussing one set of failure modes here. Can we be certain that we can think of all relevant high-likelihood failure modes? Or even just most of those?

In addition, regarding TEPCO's information policy: on one hand, it's hard to give information you don't have yourself. On the other hand, we are trying to piece things together based on diverse news reports in English, not first-hand information. And a lot of the secondary sources add to the confusion by not including relevant details or posting dated news without precise time information.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:21:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With regard to the emergency staff, the shorter version is: they're probably doing the best they can under the circumstances but the multitude of upstream errors, omissions and failures is forcing them to sacrifice themselves.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:28:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Generator rooms were flooded in the basement. However, if youplace generators atop buildings, they may be toppled or damaged by higher accelerations in earthquakes even if the building doesn't collapse. Maybe watertight rooms designed to protect the generators during a temporary submersion of the entire building would be the solution, maybe there is no safe solution.

This is the kind of thing Japan has plenty of experience of. None of the buildings around the reactors collapsed. So I think putting generators in the basement when they could have been kept safe and dry was a basic design error.

The most important 'design flaw' I see affects a lot of nuclear plants: building multiple reactors in a single plant. We saw examples of cascading failures: the explosion at No. 3 knocked out four of the five the emergency pumps at No. 2 and damaged the No. 4 building, and the radiation leaks at No. 2 and No. 4 impacted work on cooling all of the plants. Based on this, we were just lucky that Chernobyl didn't turn into an even greater disaster: had the reactor exploded in the direction of the other blocks.

If you spread the reactors out you end up with a neutron coast where there's a reactor every five miles or so. The running and maintenance costs become very much higher, because you have to duplicate control features. And if there's a complete meltdown at one reactor you could still have problems with radioactivity at other sites.

It makes more sense to spread them out slightly more on a single site, but make each unit far more robust, so that it can handle hydrogen explosions and other disasters.

We are discussing one set of failure modes here. Can we be certain that we can think of all relevant high-likelihood failure modes? Or even just most of those?

Probably not. But it's clear that these reactors were underdesigned and possibly undermaintained for their situation.

However - consider what would have happened if the quake had been further south. Tokyo is on a bay. Imagine the results if the quake had happened somewhere near the mouth of the bay. The tsunami would have been focussed onto Tokyo, and the waves would have been more than four storeys high. It's debatable how many skyscrapers could survive with a mass of fast-moving water pushing at their lower storeys.

Effectively, most of Tokyo would have been sterilised.

That might not be a likely event, but it is a possible one - and there may not be a practical way to prepare for it. You could put a 100ft sea wall around the bay, but that makes life very difficult in other ways. And you still have to allow for some losses.

So there's a difference between manageable events and unmanageable ones. Nukes should be manageable, and within a reasonable envelope of risk. Obviously, Fukushima wasn't designed that way.

But it could have been. And I suspect if it the risk was managed intelligently, the difference and expense between containment and disaster probably wasn't all that great.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:53:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
None of the buildings around the reactors collapsed.

Nor was the epicenter of the quake below the plant. But the building doesn't have to collapse for the generator to get damaged atop the swaying building.

you have to duplicate control features

Methinks the one part that really needs dublication is the grid connection part.

It makes more sense to spread them out slightly more on a single site, but make each unit far more robust, so that it can handle hydrogen explosions and other disasters.

Robustness won't protect emergency generators and workers from fallout and falling back debris.

Obviously, Fukushima wasn't designed that way. But it could have been.

Well, I am not so sure. We are talking about a 50 year old design.

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

by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:31:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
The placement of the spent fuel rod pool outside the primary containment is a fundamental flaw of GE's Mark I design.
I can't really tell from the diagram, but it appears that the Mark III containment also contains the spent fuel pool storage:


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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:11:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The same diagram is used in a Union of Concerned Scientists document.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:12:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the French PWR nuclear power plants, the spent fuel pool is located within the containment building.

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:56:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
The most important 'design flaw' I see affects a lot of nuclear plants: building multiple reactors in a single plant.

This has always been seen as  something positive as it makes facility security easier, it really needs to be re-examined though

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:37:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding the location of the emergency generators, if you look carefully at the satellite pictures and at the picture you posted above, you can see there is a small hill (maybe artificial just behind the reactors buildings, and it looks like it is above ten meters high. Locating the emergency generators rooms on the top of it might have saved them.

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:36:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
50/60 Hz incompatibility??? Does Japan use a mix?

Also, I wonder whether the failure calculations are different in a country where earthquakes are common. Obviously if there are more of them, and they're more severe, then the chance of a system failure is increased. However, since earthquakes have such geographically wide consequences, the cost part of the calculation might be skewed from what you expect. After all, it would probably cost more to rebuild all of Tokyo than it's going to cost to clean up this mess (assuming they maintain some minimal degree of control, which appears questionable)--and yet there are realistic scenarios where Tokyo gets wiped off the map. So maybe the calculations actually do make sense in this environment...

by asdf on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:04:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems the most serious safety problem was cultural and was shared: Lack of tolerance, let alone encouragement, for thoroughgoing worst case failure mode analysis and solutions. This was rather clear with GE from people who resigned because they were uncomfortable with the decisions made regarding safety and it seems to be a problem with TEPCO as well.

Imagine being the engineer who kept objecting to the design of the backup power system. A tsunami could drown the generators. A tsunami could over top the sea wall. We have to insure compatibility with portable generators that could be available in case of failure of the existing back-up generators. Etc. Would any predict a long career with GE or TEPCO for such an engineer? This is probably the most intractable problem.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:14:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is the latest TEPCO release with the time series of radiation level measurements. These are only the measurements at the main gate, not at the damaged plants; but they are probably more relevant to large-scale contamination.

The latest peak was 10.85 mSv/h at 12:30 pm local time. By 1:10 pm, the value dropped back to 2,538 μSv/h. The level was continuously in the multiple milli-Sieverts range from 11:00 pm yesterday.

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

by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:24:18 AM EST
Regarding radiation further away, here are hourly observations in all the prefectures. The unit is μGy/h, which only differs from the same Sievert unit by a factor for impact on the human body. There were noticeable increases in several prefectures, fortunately falling back in most. The exception is Ibaraki prefecture (south of the plant), where the value suddenly jumped above 1 μGy/h after 7 am local time, and Tochigi prefecture (east from Ibaraki) where the value is stable around a relatively high 0.33 μGy/h. Fukushima prefecture is still not reporting.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:37:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The MIT has set up a specific website about Fukushima :

MIT NSE Nuclear Information Hub

Reactor decay heat vs. time.  The curves begin after the SCRAM of the reactors (complete and rapid control rod insertion) that occurred immediately after the earthquake.



"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 04:05:23 AM EST
Do they host "Why I am not worried about Japan's nuclear reactors" as well? It is now easy to disrepute it.
by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 04:22:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We have already done that debunking

Debunking a viral blog post on the nuke threat - War Room - Salon.com

... Identified as an "MIT research scientist," Dr. Josef Oehmen wrote the post over the weekend with the title, "Why I am not worried about Japan's nuclear reactors." It was a modified version of an e-mail he sent to family and friends in Japan on Saturday evening, according to the blog where it was originally posted.

Oehmen, it turns out, does work at MIT but has no special expertise in nuclear power.

...

Part of the weight of the blog post comes from the fact that Oehmen was identified as an "MIT research scientist."

So does Oehmen actually work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology? Yes. But not in the nuclear engineering department. He works at an entity called the Lean Advancement Initiative, which focuses on business management issues. Is he a "research scientist"? Yes. But, again, not in any nuclear field. Oehmen's research focuses on "risk management" with an eye to helping companies "take entrepreneurial risks." He writes papers on things like "Human Resource Management in China."

similarly on ET

Migeru:

Groklaw - Digging for Truth
I did not want to do this, because it is laborious, but here goes:
He is a PhD Scientist, whose father has extensive experience in Germany's nuclear industry.
No mention of HIS field of expertise, so we should immediately be suspicious.
I should have though of this, and, Who Could Have Predicted?

Oehmen, Josef - Lean Advancement Initiative

The main research interest of Dr. Josef Oehmen is risk management in the value chain, with a special focus on lean product development. Risk management allows companies to design and achieve the optimal risk-return balance in their portfolio of activities, successfully take entrepreneurial risks, increase their performance, and focus their attention on where it is needed most.

...

Josef worked as Assistant to the CTO of SIG Holding AG and in parallel pursued an international MBA at the Collège des Ingénieurs in Paris. He was intensely involved in corporate-wide Technology and Innovation Management and was responsible for technology projects. He studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Munich, majoring in Product Development and Production Management. He wrote his diploma thesis at LAI on Risk Management in Product Development. Josef's list of publications can be found here.

The original blog post, by an English teacher in Japan, described Oehmen as being the son of a nuclear scientist. ceebs:

This post is by Dr Josef Oehmen, a research scientist at MIT, in Boston.

He is a PhD Scientist, whose father has extensive experience in Germany's nuclear industry. I asked him to write this information to my family in Australia, who were being made sick with worry by the media reports coming from Japan. I am republishing it with his permission.



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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:19:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
described Oehmen as being the son of a nuclear scientist

Has anybody confirmed even this? I can't even find his father's name anywhere (I checked his thesis in case he acknowledges him. He doesn't - but I did like him citing David Ricardo's "On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation" with a 1988 date. Is that when it was published in Germany?)

Some of the accounts merely say that his father "has extensive experience in Germany's nuclear industry" which could mean that he was a security guard....

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:39:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or another manager.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:41:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would have immediately been suspicious had I seen that he specialized in "lean" management and "entreprenurial" risk taking. He would be the guy brought in to shout down the objections of the engineers.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:19:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They do: Modified version of original post written by Josef Oehmen
**Note that the title of the original blog does not reflect the views of the authors of the site.  The authors have been monitoring the situation, and are presenting facts on the situation as they develop.  The original article was adopted as the authors believed it provided a good starting point to provide a summary background on the events at the Fukushima plant.**



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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:27:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oehmen has written an afterword.

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

Background to the original post here on Jason's Blog and the current version at mitnse.com by Josef Oehmen, who really was the author

I am a mechanical engineer and research scientist at MIT. I am not a nuclear engineer or scientist, or affiliated with Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT, so please feel free to question my competence. The text is based on an email that I send to family and friends in Japan the night of March 12. It was posted on this blog by my cousin Jason, went viral and has been equally popular with people who hate it and love it ever since. It aimed at explaining the events surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi-1 reactor. Great lengths of the text are dedicated to explaining how the reactor works, what the different types of radiation sources are, and what safety features have been implemented. I then continue to describe how these safety features were operated to secure the reactor. To the extent that I could, I have verified this information with experts in the field, while the responsibility for any errors remains with me. The version on mitnse.com is the most accurate, and as you can tell in many parts different to the version that appeared here on Jason's blog. This post is not keeping track of or explaining events after Mar 12. Events kept developing, and many people keep sharing their discovery with me that one is always smarter after the fact.

In my email, preserved through various copies of Jason's first post around the internet, I expressed my strong believe that my family and friends are safe. This keeps both annoying and reassuring a great many people. Whether my unwavering trust in my fellow engineers of 50 years ago who designed and build the plant, or my complete trust and admiration of my fellow engineers who are currently operating the reactors makes me a level-headed guy or right-out stupid is also hotly debated. Most people hope for the former, but some opt for the latter.

As far as I am concerned, I was just doing my job. Fixing things. In this case, a complete lack of understandable context information that would have allowed my family and friends in Japan to make an informed assessment of their situation.



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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:48:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't worry. Be happy. :)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:47:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Misdirection - the problem is not the reactors (where, after all, the Mark I containment seems to have held up) but the spent fuel pools which are basically exposed.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:25:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Though they do have another post: What are Spent Fuel Pools? | MIT NSE Nuclear Information Hub (http://web.mit.edu/nse/)
If there is a leak in the pool or the heat exchanger fails, the pool temperature will increase.  If this happens for long enough, the water may start to boil.  If the boiling persists, the water level in the pool may fall below the top of the SNF, exposing the rods.  This can be a problem as the air is not capable of removing enough heat from the SNF so the rods will begin to heat up.  If the rods get hot enough, the zirconium-based cladding will oxidize with the steam and air, releasing hydrogen which can then ignite.  These events would likely cause the clad to fail, releasing radioactive fission products like iodine, cesium, and strontium.  It is important to note that each of these occurrences (cooling system failure, pool water boiling, fuel rod overheating in air, zirconium oxidation reaction) would each have to last sufficiently long in order to cause an accident, making the total likelihood of a serious situation very low.

The most significant danger if such an event were to occur is that there is no robust containment structure (like the one housing the reactor,) surrounding the SNF pool.  While SNF pools themselves are very robust structures, the roof above each pool is not as strong and may have been damaged, meaning the surface of the pool may be open to the environment.  As long as the water covers the fuel, this does not pose a direct threat to the environment, however it does allow for a possible dispersion of these fission products if a fire were to occur.  But if the water level stays above the fuel, the threat of a large dispersion event is low.

(my emphasis)

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:28:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope, more recent news say that the containment vessels of both No. 2 and No. 3 might have been damaged. And the latest radiation release (the one for which the government official confused micro and milli-Sieverts) apparently came from No. 2.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:36:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes - unfortunately it's looking like both/and. Or rather:

Continuing heat from the four reactors, at least a few of which are likely to be containing melted fuel.
Fuel rods in a pool on top of each reactor - or what's left of each pool after the explosions.
Fuel rods in a separate pool at ground level which was likely inundated during the tsunami and may also be heating up.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:42:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Fuel rods in a pool on top of each reactor - or what's left of each pool after the explosions.
What sucks about that is that the pools are possibly at least cracked and unable to hold cooling water. That picture of buildings 3 and 4 posted by Melanchthon upthread is scary.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:53:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Could they possibly have taken those rods out (at least a portion of them) on short notice after the quake?
by das monde on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:03:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They can't do that.

Spent fuel recently taken out of the reactor is too hot to handle for maybe a year, until some of the most radioactive, shorter halflife products have decayed.

In addition, water acts as a coolant - exposing the rods by losing the water has been the problem in this case. Where are you going to move them to?

As you quoted

the Japanese government began adding boric acid to the reactor spent fuel pools at the facility shortly after the earthquake and tidal wave
which seems like the sensible thing to do, expecially when your power supply, water pumps, and surrounding transport infrastructure has likely been damaged.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:15:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You could throw them in the sea. If you'd like three-eyed glowing fish in the future. Actually, if you could dump them in the Marianas trench, that would work. Problem is you can't get them there.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:49:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is likely vital to keep the spent fuel rods in a liquid medium for at least a year and equally vital to be able to control the temperature of the pool for at least five years after the last rod was removed from a reactor. Alvarez suggested removing them from the rooftop pools after five years and moving them to dry storage but the NRC considered that grotesquely over conservative. It does not appear than the dangers of loss of cooling at the spent fuel pools was ever seriously thought through. Perhaps they, (GE, TEPCO, NRC, etc.) thought: "It will take a week to boil off water down to the rods. Surely we can come up with something in a week." But it doesn't seem that they have.

This is not so much a lack of rigor in safety analysis as a refusal to require rigor. I have been guilty of such an approach, but not, fortunately, with a life safety issue. My failure was worse - it had to do with the economic consequences of failing to meet schedules. :-)

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:32:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well as long as it was something important

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:38:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But it tells us that, regarding the  cooling of reactors, time will not help, because the temperature decrease rate is very low. The most urgent problem is probably the spent fuel, but reactors' cores meltdown is still a possibility.

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:38:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:15:52 AM EST
What on earth happened with No. 4!? The roof is still there, but that lower floor sidewall damage looks even more serious than on No. 3. Or, maybe the walls aren't missing just blackened? Could this be the fire, or debris falling from the No. 3 explosion?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:39:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Click to enlarge

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:11:14 AM EST
Do I read that correctly? There are two other nuke facilities plus a fuel reprocessing center that are in "difficulties" as well?

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:23:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Onagawa we knew about. I hadn't heard about Tokaimura or Rokkasho Mura.

Onagawa and Fukushima II are supposedly out of danger now.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:31:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to PETCO?

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:31:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Onagawa is managed by Tohaku, a different utility.

Let's hope that when TEPCO has been claiming all 4 reactors at Fukushima II (Dai-Ni) are stable, after having reported trouble all weekend long, the information has been independently verified.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:42:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC - Following reports that several governments plan to reconsider their nuclear strategy after the events in Japan, science journalist Angela Saini tells the BBC World Service that this makes sense in seismically active zones. "But it would would just be reckless to throw energy policy up in the air because of an incident that affected one country, [it's] almost freakishly rare for there to be an earthquake and a tsunami and for emergency services to be overwhelmed like that," she says.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:37:42 AM EST
No, it would be reckless not to throw energy policy up in the air.

Let the chips fall where they may, at the very least you would hope for:

  1. reconsidering plant life extensions beyond designed lifetimes (Fukushima DaiIchi 1 was about to be decommissioned this month after operating for 40 years)
  2. stress-testing all reactor containments
  3. redisigning the fuel cycle from the point of view of safe fuel handling and especially temporary storage
  4. retrofitting all reactor containments and all fuel handling facilities which fail the reviews in 2) and 3)
  5. redesigning energy generation and fuel handling to make it passively safe in as many aspects as possible.
  6. forgetting about the profit motive - if we have certain energy needs we also have a need for health and safety and both power and safety cost a lot of money.
  7. realising that the more safety systems you build into a complex operation to cover more and more failure modes, when there actually is a failure you have both an unimaginably bizarre scenario and massive damage. Think of electric grids - is it better to have relatively frequent small-scale outages or one massive system-wide blackout? In the case of Nuclear we won't want frequent low-level incidents. Also, expected loss is a bad metric for risk management, especially when the loss is large and the probability is small.

And then you can have the usual political football about new plant construction.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:52:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems that Spanish ministers, serious (non-green-left) politicians and newspaper editorials are all busy telling the public that this is not the time for a debate. Idiots.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:33:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would seem that Angela Saini is mis-described as a "science journalist". A better description might be an "entrepreneurial risk" journalist.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:40:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters - Kyodo is reporting that the defence minister says it has not been possible to drop water from helicopter onto the reactor. It says this appears to be due to high radiation levels.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:43:23 AM EST
NHK World  

Japan's science ministry has observed radiation levels of up to 0.33 millisieverts per hour in areas about 20 kilometers northwest of the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Experts say exposure to such radiation for 3 hours would result in absorption of 1 millisievert, or the maximum considered safe for 1 year.

The ministry gauged radiation levels for 10 minutes from 8:40 PM local time on Tuesday at 3 places in Fukushima Prefecture, whose residents are being instructed to stay indoors. The measurements produced readings as low as 0.22 millisieverts per hour.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:50:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The measurements produced readings as low as 0.22 millisieverts per hour.

.22 millisieverts per hour is not low. That means one gets 1 millisievert within 5 hours an 10 millisieverts within 50 hours.

I hope they meant microsieverts.

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet

by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:03:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep. I posted a link to the readings upthread.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:38:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Based on ceeb's link downthread, trhese are readings near the plant, and maybe it is mSv after all.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:42:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think so:

The ministry gauged radiation levels for 10 minutes from 8:40 PM local time on Tuesday at 3 places in Fukushima Prefecture, whose residents are being instructed to stay indoors.
bold mine

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:52:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The link downthread says:

Japan's science ministry has observed radiation levels of up to 0.33 millisieverts per hour in areas about 20 kilometers northwest of the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:54:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Same link:

NHK WORLD English

The ministry said it also observed maximum radiation levels of 0.0253 millisieverts in areas 30 to 60 kilometers from the plant on Wednesday morning. The levels are slightly higher than normal.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:55:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which means people staying in this area (30 to 60 km) would get 10 millisieverts within 400 hours (around 15 days)...

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:08:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I wouldn't say 20 km is near the plant, but you may differ.

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:59:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's on the edge of the exclusion zone.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:00:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the map you posted upthread shows the scales rather nicely (exclusion zones as well as 50, 100 km radiuses around nuclear plants, and also the borders of the prefectures).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:03:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems we should include the SI in the journalist curriculum.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:54:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:42:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK reports that a riot police water cannon vehicler has been dispatched to spray water at No. 4. The operators have been given protective clothing by the SDF.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:01:22 AM EST
BBC News - Japan earthquake: UK rescue team 'foiled by red tape'

UK rescue workers say they had to leave quake-hit Japan because they could not secure the necessary paperwork from the British embassy in Tokyo.

The International Rescue Corps said they were not given permission to work in Japan because it would have made the embassy legally responsible for them.

A spokesman for the team said it was "gut-wrenching" to be stopped from helping by "your own country".

The British ambassador to Japan said they helped them as much as they could.

<snip>

"This was the 32nd world disaster we have been to and we've only had problems twice before with host governments in China and Afghanistan.

"We have never encountered the position where the British embassy, our own country, came up with a show-stopper."

Mr McMartin said the team had permission from the Japanese embassy in London but they could not get a letter of authorisation from British officials in Japan stating that they were a bona fide organisation. They needed this so they could move around the country and buy fuel.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:28:17 AM EST
BBC News - Japan earthquake: Emperor Akihito 'deeply worried'

Japan's Emperor Akihito has said he is "deeply worried" about the crisis his country is facing following last Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

In an extremely rare appearance, Akihito went on live TV to make his first public comments on the disaster, and said he was praying for the people.

He spoke after technicians were forced to temporarily abandon a quake-crippled nuclear plant as radiation surged.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:34:40 AM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Sato Takero from Sendai has given his reaction to the Japanese emperor's address: "I was born after World War Two," he says. "This is the first time for me to see him on TV or through the internet. It's something beyond imagination. If you understand the culture of the Japanese it is very, very rare for him to come out."


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:49:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Asahi Shimbun's 6:00 pm local time update, confirmed dead rose to 4,164, but registered missing also rose, to 7,843 (with most additions apparently in Fukushima, while the numbers for other worst-hit prefectures didn't change). 2,218 injured. 3,561 houses found destroyed and 135 houses burnt down.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:51:42 AM EST
HK TV: Japanese police agency says 4,340 people confirmed dead and 9,083 missing following earthquake and tsunami.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:17:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the previous thread, Migeru posted the photo of PM Kan in overall. Now taz writes that both Kan and his speaker Edano enjoy rising popularity, with sleepless Edano eclypsing his boss. There was even a #edano_nero twitter movement calling on him to get some sleep, which he did yesterday after 105 hours in service.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:22:06 AM EST
As the London gossip press would say about celebrities pictures from late night parties, "they look worse for wear":

Edano

Kan


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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:41:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While looking at claims that reactor 3's explosion must have scattered fuel rods all over the site, I came across a pdf  talking about TEPCOs plan for future nuclear waste processing.

it says theyve increased the capacity of the spent fuel pools by "reracking" and have also installed a common spent fuel pool (page 5)

as of march 2010 there were 1,760 tons of spent fuel on site

then page 9 details storage at one plant and it's Fukashimi-daiichi it says that in total there are 3,450 fuel assemblies in the reactor storage pools, and 6,291 in the common pool (plus 408 in dry cask storage)for a total of 10,149) the plant has a capacity of 15,558 which is described as 450%of the total core capacity of 6 reactors. it also says that 700 fuel assemblies are generated every year

it also says the off site storage facility for long term is due to start building next year so we can assume that its all still there on site.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:27:51 AM EST
so how many fuel rods are there in a fuel rod assembly? 2? 4? 9? 16?...

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:34:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All the claims that the fuel rods must be scattered seemed to lead to David Icke and similar sites.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:41:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
About 100.

   

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

by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:42:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please don't tell me we have 40 years' worth of spent fuel onsite.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:33:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That depends how many reactors they have had running for how long. but I was thinking the same (with the added possibility that it is the only one of three TEPCO plants that is marked as having a common pool, it might be the central repository of spent fuel till they have the long term storage site sorted out.)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:48:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The off-site facility (Mutsu) is only for dry casks. i.e. all the spent fuel has to be cycled through the reactors' pools, then the common pool (?) before being eligible for dry storage.
Example of Fukushima-Daishi : they have 450% of the fuel capacity of the 6 reactors in storage, of which only 20% is in dry casks. With a five-year cycle to go through a full charge, add a year for downtime (?) and that's more than 25 years' worth of spent fuel.

The rest must be in dry casks elsewhere, I suppose.

They operate on the fiction that one day they will build a reprocessing plant for all this gunk. "In the meantime", they stock it on site. Since they are near capacity, they are adding the off-site facility, designed to stock 50 years' worth.

Then what? Either build the reprocessing plant, or pay Areva to reprocess it. Either way, I hope they've provisioned the financial charge...

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

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:23:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From looking at photos in the PDF and comparing and contrasting with current and 1970's photos of the site, I assume that the building either immediately behind reactor 4 or just to the opposite side to the other reactors is the common pool.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:39:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope they've provisioned the financial charge...

I am sure they have a statement prepared. It should start with: "WHO COULD HAVE KNOWN..."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 01:00:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As reported, Merkel's government and the (also CDU/CSU) affected regional governments decided to void the nuclear power plant life extension law for three months on Monday. By yesterday, they also accepted the consequence that the seven oldest plants have to be turned down (resp. not turned on for those already down for maintenance).

The operators didn't protest so far. One of the plants was shut down by yesterday evening already, others are scheduled this week or next. However, the CDU's own federal parliament speaker announced that he wants to test the legality of the decision. Meanwhile, a leader of the Bavarian CSU opined that none of the seven plants, nor Krümmel (a newer but problem-plagued plant that is currently down) will ever go back in operation, because post-Fukushima security upgrades would cost too much.

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

by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:33:31 AM EST
I'm at the EWEC (the big annual European wind conference-exhibition). The expectation here is that Germany will increase the soon-to-be announced financing support for offshore wind (was due by end-March/early April for an amount of €5 billion, to be loaned to the first patch of offshore projects)

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:44:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
an amount of €5 billion

and what is that proportionally to what subsidies nuclear and coal get?

'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 Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:55:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Local party apparatchiks are unlikely to have a good grasp on what eventual nuclear safety upgrades might or might not cost.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:45:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oversight over nuclear plants is at state level in Germany, so regional officials can have knowledge. However, that's irrelevant for this guy, Josef Göppel, who is the joint CDU/CSU faction's chief delegate in the federal parliament's environment commission. That might still not indicate a good grasp on costs, but, might indicate what level of security upgrades would be demanded.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:55:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
Meanwhile, a leader of the Bavarian CSU opined that none of the seven plants, nor Krümmel (a newer but problem-plagued plant that is currently down) will ever go back in operation, because post-Fukushima security upgrades would cost too much.
Not unreasonable.

Or they could be nationalised to pay for the cost.

The point is not profit, the point is safe power generation in sufficient quantity.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:29:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There were pieces up noting that Germany is a net exporter on the level that these seven would not cause domestic supply problems.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:42:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Net exporter on average, or at any given point in time? If you're relying on them for the baseload you may still have problems in the first case.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:46:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The combined capacity of the German power plant portfolio is well agove peak load. The all-time record was slightly over 82 GW (at 11 am one day in 2008), the capacity of power plants including hydro but excluding other renewables added up to 102 GW at the end of 2009. (Renewables added up to 37.5 GW then, now it must be closer to 50 GW).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:57:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But it will cause problems in the neighbours that do the importing, and raise export prices thereby also raising prices in the domestic market. Plus, the nukes are baseload power and more expensive peak power will be used, on average.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:46:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would think that the benefactors will be other net exporters of baseload, chiefly France and the Czech Republic. On the short term. On the longer term, renewable generation is rising (the reason Germany became a net exporter).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:50:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Beneficiaries, not benefactors?

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:51:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, sorry.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:58:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph
Kyokuto Petroleum Industries, the Japanese subsidy of ExxonMobil, has reopened operations to produce 175,000 barrels per day at its Chiba refinery, east of Tokyo, Reuters reports. The refinery was shut on Friday after the quake.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:43:53 AM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
China is to donate 10,000 tonnes of diesel and 10,000 tonnes of gasoline to Japan to help counter shortages, China's Xinhua news agency reports.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:46:50 AM EST
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:47:38 AM EST
It appears that one major weakness of these reactor designs is the lack of a secondary suppression system to serve the area in which the storage pools are located. I do not know the feasibility of such a system if it is also required to deal with hydrogen explosions. It would have to be passive to be useful under existing circumstances. The only alternative that comes to mind is a system for adsorbing hydrogen from the atmosphere, if such a system exists.

The other major weakness is the lack of a passive system to replenish the fuel pools. This could have been from a storage tank on the adjacent hill with gravity pumping the water through pipes emptying into the pools. Failing a hill, a water tower at sufficient distance would work. In the overall scheme of costs such a provision would not have added much cost.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 01:31:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Making sure that vented radioactive vapour is not vented into the reactor hall but into a chimney is one idea...

The chimney is your friend. Sure, if there's a spark in the chimney, the chimney will blow up. But it's just a chimney.

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

by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:09:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Tepco, which runs the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, has apologised on its website for an earlier incident in which "an abnormal noise began emanating from [a] pressure suppression chamber". This led to a temporary evacuation of workers. "We are aware of and sincerely apologize for the great distress and inconvenience this incident has caused to not just those inhabitants residing in the immediate vicinity but also society at large," Tepco says.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:47:51 AM EST
huh? wtf? if you put in earplugs you won't hear the sirens? as if noise was what they had to apologise 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 Mar 16th, 2011 at 08:58:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They're apologizing for causing a general panic by evacuating the site.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:27:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan radiation leaks feared as nuclear experts point to possible cover-up | World news | The Guardian
The Japanese authorities and nuclear companies have been implicated in a series of cover-ups. In 1995, reports of a sodium leak and fire at Japan's Monju fast breeder reactor were suppressed and employees were gagged. In 2002, the chairman and four executives of Tepco, the company which owns the stricken Fukushima plant, resigned after reports that safety records were falsified.

a close friend, whose father worked as nuclear engineer, (until he died in his 30's with a rare form of thymus cancer), tells me her father said never to trust the radiation measurements.

apparently when the workers wanted time off they would expose themselves to more radiation, and when they wanted overtime, they'd minimise the exposure.

:(

'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 Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:51:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Tokyo riot police has been mobilized to pump water to spent water reservoir at No. 4. They will start working in the morning. The police was chosen when JSDF choppers abandoned the mission to drop water because radiation made the operation "unsafe."

I didn't realize that the JSDF would operate only under "safe" conditions. They are about as brave as U.S.S.Ronald Reagaon who quickly sailed away from the area when small radiation was detected.

I will become a patissier, God willing.

by tuasfait on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:12:20 AM EST
well its hard to say how severe the radiation is at places around the plant, if there's radioactive steam above the plant it may be that flying that way is very dangerous to the point where you wouldn't want helicopter pilots flying above it. last thing you want to add to the situation is an air crash it might be that that's the safety they're talking about.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:20:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.france24.com/fr/20110316-japon-crise-nucleaire-centrale-fukushima-catastrophe-seisme-seco urs-tsunami-sendai-tokyo

Les prochaines 48 heures seront cruciales pour rétablir le niveau d'eau dans la piscine de stockage du combustible usé du réacteur 4 de Fukushima, sous peine de rejets radioactifs "très importants", a estimé mercredi l'Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire (IRSN).

The next 48 hours will be crucial to restore the water level in Fukushima Unit 4 spent fuel storage pool, under penalty of "very important" radioactive releases, said Wednesday the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN).


"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:23:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tuasfait:
I didn't realize that the JSDF would operate only under "safe" conditions
Are they conscripted and how well are they trained?

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:26:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Non-conscripted and very well trained.

I imagine this is about the radiation levels being higher in the air above the plants due to steam and suspended fuel particles than down on the ground next to the plant.

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

by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:31:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They need a different kind of helicopter pilot :)

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:40:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like he would go if asked.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 01:50:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read in Google translates that the small amount a helicopter can carry was also seen as problem.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:30:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They carry big buckets, generally.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:32:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if water cannons don't bring the situation under control, they could try teargas and rubber bullets.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:29:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just sold all my Exelon shares for $41 each. Bought them for the same as well, so I'm not feeling too bad. Those BWR's with mark I containments kinda put me off. I'm going to look closer at the issue now. If it's not that bad I'll likely buy back in, as Exelon really is an excellent and cheap company.


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 09:40:58 AM EST
a couple of years ago (about 1000 euros worth). Then I worked out that the EPR was a bust, and sold them for a modest profit.

Now I'm pure renewables... and not seeing any reason to regret that at the moment.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:31:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you think are the big problems of the EPR? The cost overruns and delays seem to have mainly come about because of bad contractors (like Boygues etc) and a bad digital control interface. The lack of export orders has been blamed on bad French salemanship. What are your opinions? (No, I have no AREVA shares :) )

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:56:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but I note that their costing has gone through the roof. When they didn't get the tender for the UAE site (it went to the Koreans instead), I concluded that it's simply not competitive.

Although France's engineers have always been better than the sales people, I don't think the Koreans are much different. I conclude they have a better product. (or have underestimated the costs, being relatively new to the game... but we won't know that for a while)

Even within France, GDF Suez has teamed up with Mitsubishi to propose sub-GW reactors. Another nail in the coffin of Areva.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:12:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After some data collection it seems that a whooping 30 % of the nuclear capacity of Exelon is BWR's with Mark I containments.

Note to self: do better due dilligence next time you buy shares. Maybe companies that make reserve diesels, that should be in huge demande from the nuclear industry goind forward. :p

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

by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:34:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Kevin Maxwell from Namegata City, Ibaraki Prefecture writes: "We've been following the news and weather reports very closely. The official word is that radiation in my area is still far below dangerous levels. However, the headmaster at the school where my wife teaches received a phone call from a professor he knows at one of Japan's foremost science universities. He was told that radiation of potentially harmful levels had been detected as far away as Yokohama, which is twice as far from Fukushima as we are. Right now I'm not sure what to believe."


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:16:36 AM EST
Times News (TimesNewsdesk) on Twitter
Japan: spent nuclear fuel rods reportedly exposed as containment pool boils off http://thetim.es/ezR7o7 ^LM-C


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:18:40 AM EST
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph
The spent fuel pool at Fukushima's No 3 reactor has heated up and is emitting steam amid reports the fuel rods had become exposed, the Kyodo news agency has reported.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:49:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France says Japan lost control, French should leave | Reuters

(Reuters) - The French government said on Wednesday that Japan was losing control of the situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant and urged its nationals in Tokyo to leave the country or head to southern Japan.

The government has asked national carrier Air France (AIRF.PA) to increase capacity on its flights between Tokyo and Paris to accommodate any additional demand from French citizens wanting to leave the Japanese capital.

Industry Minister Eric Besson said the situation at the Fukushima plant, some 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, appeared to be getting out of control.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:41:00 AM EST
The German government is recommending something similar:

FAZ.NET-Ticker: Auswärtiges Amt: Tokio verlassen - Katastrophen - Gesellschaft - FAZ.NET
15.10 Uhr - Das Auswärtige Amt empfiehlt deutschen Staatsbürgern, sich aus dem Großraum Tokio-Yokohama zurückzuziehen und nach Osaka auszuweichen oder über Osaka auszureisen. Die Botschaft sei im Bahnhof in Tokio und in Osaka für Bundesbürger ansprechbar.1510 hrs - The Foreign Office is recommending that German citizens leave the Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan region and relocate to or leave the country via Osaka. German citizens can speak with embassy [sic!] officials at the railroad station in Tokyo and in Osaka.


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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:19:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 87 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
NY Times reporting at 10 AM EST that Japanese officials reported to US inspectors that fires yesterday were from burning lubricating oil: "The explosion on Tuesday was caused by hydrogen gas bubbling up from chemical reactions set off by the fuel rods in the pool, Japanese officials said. Inspectors from the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission said they had been told by Japanese authorities that what was burning was lubricating oil from machinery near the pool.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:42:21 AM EST
I wouldn't have thought that a few liters of lubricants catching fire would merit all that much attention in the current scenario.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:56:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well then I'd be asking what that machinery was, and be looking into whether that equipment was necessary to keep the pool cool.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:12:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed if I remember correctly from upthread, it was pumping equipment.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:28:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since "nothing can possibly go wrong with the spent fuel pool", I bet the pumps that cycle the cooling water in and out of the pool are sub-standard.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:48:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And possibly located adjacent to the pool in the upper section of the reactor, the part of which the roof and sides have blown off. But if it was oil it would add black or grey smoke to the stream.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 01:57:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing is supposed to be sub-standard in the nuclear industry, or even plain standard. To deliver stuff to the US nuclear industry you need the "N-stamp", which is a very hard quality standard. Here in Europe, standard work at the EPR's in Finland and France resulted in delays and rework, because the regulatory authorities wouldn't accept standard work - they required excellent work.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:14:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I used to test components for nuclear power plants, certifying them to be used in critical safety systems... : reddit.com

I just wanted to give people an idea what it's like. If a commercial nuclear plant in the U.S. called and said they needed a replacement for Breaker X sometime in the next 18 months, because it was reaching the end of it's engineering life. We would go to Westinghouse, GE or whoever made the breaker and we would order six identical breakers from the same manufacturing batch and lot number.

When I say we, I mean the company I worked for, a third party, unaffiliated with either the power plant or the manufacturer, because the manufacturer is not allowed to sell parts directly to the power plant, a third party certified by the NRC has to oversee every part that's to be used in a critical safety system.

When we got them, I would unpack them and photograph, photocopy and verify everything from the condition of the box they came in down to the serial numbers on each component.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:31:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 87 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
""Fukushima 50" actually a group of 180 workers, rotating shifts. All heroes" and all hopefully to receive huge compensation and absolute top care after the event. These people are working not for a nationalised institution but for a private firm, the firm owes them everything when this is finished and i hopethey are forced to compensate them accordingly. Heroes!


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:48:54 AM EST
I just called the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, telling them I was a journalist from the European Tribune (which is even true, I suppose), and asked them some stuff about the Swedish reactors. This is a bit tangential, but still somewhat relevant. They had lots of questions from journalists, so they asked if they could call back, which they then promptly did, in the form of a Mr. Lars Gunsell.

First, all Swedish reactors have filters, since the 80's. Back then only the French and the Swedish felt the need for such things. There are no filters at Fukushima, which is why relatively large amounts of radiation is released when they vent. Neither do they seem to have chimneys, so when they vent, the steam passes through the reactor hall, and tends to explode.

Further, unlike the Fukushima plants, no Swedish BWR's have Mark I containments. The oldest plants have Mark II containments, and the newer ones have improved Mark II containments.

BWR's usually don't have core catchers as they have water below the reactor which will help cool a molten core. PWR's are all dry within the containment and that's why core catchers are a good idea for them.

If the Fukushima plants with their Mark I containments suffer such extensive meltdowns that the corium leaves the reactor tank, it is a real possibility that the containment will be breached, especially if the molten corium enter the torus, which is made only of steel.

Finally, I asked what he thought of the Japanese view of the accident as an INES 4. He said that while it was the role of the country in question and the IAEA to set INES ratings and that the Swedish authority had not made their own analysis of the matter, currently it seemed that the French view of the accident as an INES 5 or 6 was probably closer to reality, even though he felt that it was correct to see it as an INES 4 when the Japanese made that claim. But as we know, the situation has since deteriorated.

I forgot to ask any questions about the spent fuel pools and I'm going to call back when I figure out some good questions to ask. If you have any, please write them down.

Oh, and Mr. Gunsell seemed quite pleased that for once the journalist was not entirely clueless about nuclear reactors. ;p

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

by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:51:55 AM EST
Don't be shy, make it a diary!

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:12:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Should I rewrite it first, or copy-paste?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:30:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're the journalist. :)

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:34:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
do the swedish reactors have similar cooling pools built into the top of the building? so a single event will place both immediately in danger from a single event?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:20:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I bet they do.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:26:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So do I, but confirmation would be nice, also is there a good reason why they are designed like this?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:34:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because you want to be able to move the spent fuel elements from the core into cooling ponds while keeping them under metres and metres of water to shield operators from radiation.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:40:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, but why not a water filled tank then move them off to a reasonable distance?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:55:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the diagrams of Mark I containment we have posted before here one can see a crane intended to access the lightbulb-shaped reactor containment from the top to transfer fuel rods from the reactor to the adjacent pool

Also, see the areas labelled "refueling cavity" and "refueling platform":



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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:52:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tie the fuel pools into the broader issue of the fuel cycle including reprocessing and final storage.

To what extent are the various facilities for temporary storage of nuclear fuel at various stages of the fuel/waste cycle depend on infrastructure that might be damaged? In the case of the Fukushima storage pools, we had vulnerable power generators and water pumps for cooling, as well as the pools themselves being structurally fragile and exposed.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:39:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just print out the ET logo with your name below as Swedish Correspondent, put it in a name tag holder and you are good to go.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:12:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hehe! Now I know hot to get into the restricted press zone at Almedalsveckan next summer! ;D

Though to do that I probably need Jerome or Migeru or someone to mail them and tell them that I am officially accredited by the ET. :)

   

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

by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:32:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely not me :)

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:27:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Disaster in Japan: March 16 Live Blog | Al Jazeera Blogs
10:05pm

Japanese rescue workers who may be exposed to high levels of radiation may be flown to Europe for treatment, if there is no room for them in Japanese hospitals, the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation has offered.

A spokesman said:

Japan is more competent than any European country when it comes to radiation treatment, but they are dealing with an awful lot right now and so we made this offer and are ready to help if they blow the whistle.

After a person has been radiated, you have three to four days before they're on the cusp of severe complications. At that point they could be put on a flight to Europe if Japanese facilities are overwhelmed.

 

As many as 500 bone marrow transplant centres across 27 European countries have been put on alert and could treat 200 to 300 patients if necessary.

The European plans were drawn up in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 10:58:31 AM EST
They likely would need Japanese marrow donors to get a good match, but marrow could be extracted in Japan and flown to Europe.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:16:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An impressive animated map showing the 499(!) earthquakes of the last few days:

http://www.japanquakemap.com

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet

by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:07:31 AM EST
China Slows Nuclear Power Plans - NYTimes.com

BEIJING -- China suspended approval on Wednesday of 28 planned nuclear power plants while it revised safety standards, making the surprise announcement after Premier Wen Jiabao met with top advisers to discuss Japan's nuclear crisis.

The government said it was also requiring safety checks at all existing plants.

"We must fully grasp the importance and urgency of nuclear safety, and development of nuclear power must make safety the top priority," the government said on its Web site.



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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:22:57 AM EST
apparently thats 40% of world production, and they were due to increase the number to 80 in the next plan.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:25:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Command/control economies DO have certain advantages if used appropriately.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:20:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
US Energy Secretary Steven Chu has just described events at the Fukushima plant as "appearing to be more serious than Three Mile Island". How much worse was not clear, he said, adding that it was very hard to tell how bad things were on the ground.

Mr Chu said there were conflicting reports coming from Japan. The US teams who have travelled there are not only assisting the Japanese, but also ensuring that the US can secure its own measurements of what is happening, he said.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:26:13 AM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
The IAEA says the Japanese authorities "have reported concerns about the condition of the spent nuclear fuel pool at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 and Unit 4". The pools are where the still-radioactive fuel rods are kept after they have completed their useful life in the reactor.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:26:39 AM EST
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph

Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant risks provoking a "major disaster" and was "effectively out of control", the European Union's energy chief has said.

Günther Oettinger, the EU Energy Commissioner, said there could be catastrophic events within only a matter of hours.

Dr Oettinger, who represents the European Commission, the 27- nation EU's executive arm, said a further deterioration in the situation could lead to the deaths of people in Japan.

He told a European Parliament committee in Brussels:

The site is effectively out of control. In the coming hours, there could be further catastrophic events.

We are somewhere between a disaster and a major disaster.

We are very much concerned and deeply distressed by the pictures we are seeing from Japan.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:28:05 AM EST
Just two years ago, he would be in a chorus shouting Panikmache (creating/spreading panic).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:31:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guess it must be that Brussels air.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:54:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think that's being helpful at all. The EU should be offering emergency technical assistance to Japan, if they have any. It is a disaster on the way to a major disaster, but we can't run around like headless chickens.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:45:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
A spokeswoman for EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has clarified his earlier remarks that "further catastrophic events" were expected. "He just wanted to share his concern and that he was really touched by all the images of people and the victims," said Marlene Holzner. "In this sense, he said that according to we have seen in the media, it seems that in the nuclear power plants at the moment we do not have technical control."


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:57:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Experts' say that the "Super GAU"/major disaster could occur within 48 hours making Tokyo inhabitable for the next 1000 years.
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:10:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
Experts
Link?

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:13:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Link: I've read it on the German n-tv newsticker. No link which is why I referred to 'experts'.
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:26:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm going with New Yortk Times: In Fuel-Cooling Pools, a Danger for the Longer Term
A 1997 study by the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island described a worst-case disaster from uncovered spent fuel in a reactor cooling pool. It estimated 100 quick deaths would occur within a range of 500 miles and 138,000 eventual deaths.

The study also found that land over 2,170 miles would be contaminated and damages would hit $546 billion.

That section of the Brookhaven study focused on boiling water reactors -- the kind at the heart of the Japanese crisis.

Tokyo is a couple hundred miles from Fukushima.

In case of fallout, the main contaminant is Cæsium 137 with a half-life of 30 years. in 1,000 years the radioactivity from Caesium decays by a factor of 10 billion. In 300 years by a factor of 1000.

Reactor 3 contains MOX fuel which includes plutonium. Pu-241 has a half life of 14y and is dangerous like Caesium. However, at Chernobyl

Because plutonium oxide is very involatile, most of the plutonium in the reactor was not released during the fire
(Wikipedia).

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:37:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In my summary on potential design faults upthread, I mentioned the failure of the emergency cooling system. It appears that it may have been due to faulty electrical equipment. For, the following happened at the other plant (Fukushima Daini):

TEPCO : Press Release | Impact to TEPCO's Facilities due to Tohoku-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake (as of 2:00PM)

* (Unit 1) As it is confirmed that the temperature of the Emergency Equipment Cooling Water System *1 has increased, at 3:20 pm, March 15th, we stopped the Residual Heat Removal System (B) for the inspection. Subsequently, failure was detected in the power supply facility associated with the pumps of the Emergency Equipment Cooling Water System. At 4:25 pm, March 15th, after replacing the power facility, the pumps and the Residual Heat Removal System (B) have been reactivated. * (Unit 4) As it is confirmed that the pressure at the outlet of the pumps of the Emergency Equipment Cooling Water System*1 has been decreased, at 8:05 pm, March 15th, we stopped the Residual Heat Removal System (B) for the inspection. Subsequently, failure was detected in the power supply facility associated with the pumps of the Emergency Equipment Cooling Water System. At 9:25 pm, March 15th, after replacing the relevant facility, the pumps and the Residual Heat Removal System (B) have been reactivated. *1:emergency water system in which cooling water (pure water) circulates which exchanged the heat with sea water in order to cool down bearing pumps and/or heat exchangers etc.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:29:50 AM EST
Disaster in Japan: March 16 Live Blog | Al Jazeera Blogs

After the devastation wrought on the north-east coast, Japanese citizens in areas which escaped the brunt of the earthquake and tsunami are scrambling to help their compatriots.

Residents of Niigata city have so far collected around 100,000kg of spare food supplies to donate to shelters on the east coast.

Tomohide Nozawa, a 25-year-old student, said:

I heard the news about donations from my friends. I am here to give away supplies that are not immediately necessary for me, to give away what I can.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:30:12 AM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
More from the IAEA. Its latest briefing says that officials are preparing to spray water onto reactor four and possibly three. "Some debris on the ground from the 14 March explosion at Unit 3 may need to be removed before the spraying can begin."


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:37:10 AM EST


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:40:31 AM EST
that people did get warning on the radio and those who ran away survived.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:31:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From Reuters - According to Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics in Austria (Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik) abbr. ZAMG, the CTBTO monitoring network has measured first radioactivity levels in Japan at their monitoring station at Gunma. The measurements were taken between Saturday, 12 March 2011, and Sunday, 13 March 2011. The preliminary results detected evidence of some nuclides present in the air.

ZAMG - Aktuelle Informationen

CTBTO Messnetz misst erste Radioaktivitätswerte über Japan

Seit 12. März 2011 wird im japanischen Kernkraftwerk Fukushima Radioaktivität freigesetzt. Heute gelangten die ersten CTBTO (Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization) -Radionuklid-Analysen an die ZAMG, in ihrer Funktion als Nationales Datenzentrum von Österreich für die Verifikation des Umfassenden Atomteststop-Abkommens (CTBT). Es zeigt sich, wie wichtig die Daten des Internationalen Überwachungssystem der CTBTO auch für zivile Anwendungen sein können. Die CTBTO Station in Gunma, Japan (JPP38; 139°; O, 36.3° N), hat vom Samstag 12.3.2011 06:55 Z bis Sonntag 13.3.2011 06:55Z folgende Radionuklide detektiert:



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:48:38 AM EST
BBC Global News (BBCWorld) on Twitter
Number of missing as result of #earthquake and #tsunami in Japanese town of Ishinomaki likely to hit 10,000: mayor -


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:54:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC Global News (BBCWorld) on Twitter
US forces in #Japan not allowed within 80 kilometres of Fukushima #nuclear plant without special authorisation, Pentagon says


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 11:50:29 AM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Kyodo is reporting new plumes of smoke coming from the building housing reactor three.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:01:31 PM EST
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Fukushima's operators, Tepco, have said they want the military to make another attempt at dumping water from a helicopter onto the damaged reactor on 17 March.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:01:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Japan earthquake: Anger over Fukushima evacuation plan

The governor of the region at the centre of Japan's nuclear crisis has criticised official handling of the evacuation of the area around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Fukushima prefecture governor Yuhei Sato said: "Anxiety and anger felt by people have reached boiling point."

Engineers are racing to avert a nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima Daiichi, badly damaged by Friday's quake and tsunami.

The government has declared a 20km (12-mile) evacuation zone around it.

Another 140,000 people living between 20-30km of the facility were told on Tuesday not to leave their homes.

Mr Sato said centres already housing people who had been moved from their homes near the plant did not have enough hot meals and basic necessities such as fuel and medical supplies. "We're lacking everything," he said.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:08:45 PM EST
Fukushima prefecture governor Yuhei Sato said: "Anxiety and anger felt by people have reached boiling point."
Interesting phrase to use here, I wonder if that was a direct translation.
by Jace on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 01:52:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
The IAEA's Secretary General Yukiya Amano says he plans to go to Japan as early as Thursday, AP reports.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:22:21 PM EST
mentioning very serious developments at the reactor, but not seen the actual speech, so not sure whether he's talking about the overall event or anything new that we havent heard about yet, BBC only showing brief clip from speech, but not the offending quote section that they have on the bottom of the screen.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:24:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Try http://www.youtube.com/user/IAEAvideo

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:27:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
saying only 5% damage to core in reactor 2, but it dos seem he feels he isn't properly informed, but i might be reading something into it that isn't there.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:40:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano told the press conference earlier on Wednesday it was "not the time to say things are out of control". He said the Fukushima operators were "doing the maximum to restore the safety of the reactor".


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:58:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
saw a talking head quot6ing him as saying there was some core damage in each of the four reactors, but surely the fourth wasn't loaded.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 01:37:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The spend fuel pool at number 4 has almost become a core.

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:13:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's reassuring.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 01:55:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. Its fuel is, instead, likely contained in one of the pools above the reactor containment structure and is likely experiencing serious lack of cooling and loss of coolant to evaporation.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:41:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly what is needed: a VIP wafts in so people have to stop doing what they are doing and play tour guide.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:35:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A friends message on facebook.

Facebook

Had an email from our friends in Japan, their village, amazingly, is still standing as the tsunami did not reach them, short of fuel and food and very concerned about the nuclear reactor, but alive and ok. Many more friends are unaccounted for, he is very worried about his former students and their families. Thank you all for supporting me and is supporting Japan in general!


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:31:10 PM EST
Japan live blog: the battle to avoid nuclear meltdown - Channel 4 News
Map released by using information from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reveals how the volatile earthquake zone is located near a number of nuclear power plants. Red spots indicate increased magnitude of quakes and the map displays areas of seismic shocks with 4.5+ magnitude since 1973.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 01:49:33 PM EST
Not the same map, but three others from the USGS showing recent historical seismicity in the region. The first is since 1990, the second 2011 only and the last +7.0 since 1900.

And here's a seismic cross-section (also from USGS).

by Jace on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 02:17:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sky News Newsdesk (SkyNewsBreak) on Twitter
Americans living within 50 miles of Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant have been told to evacuate


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 02:05:29 PM EST
Sky News Newsdesk (SkyNewsBreak) on Twitter
Foreign Office advises British Nationals in Tokyo & north of Tokyo to consider leaving the area


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 02:06:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
UK Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne has said the advice to British nationals is "not an order" but that given the situation "British nationals should consider leaving Tokyo and northern Japan and that the capacity exists for them to do so".


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 02:56:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Mr Browne said trains and planes were available at the moment for people wishing to leave, but that "if the capacity needs to be increased by the British government we will do that".

BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake

He told the BBC: "We are informed by the science, and the science says that outside the 30km exclusion zone there should not be a threat to human health. If we thought there was a threat to human health of a severe level in Tokyo we would have much stronger advice at this stage, saying that people should leave with immediate effect. What we are saying is that people should consider leaving Tokyo and northern Japan."


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 02:57:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Intelligent.

Anybody who can should get out.  This is an on-going emergency, nobody knows what is going to happen, and if it does become necessary to evacuate a major population center the fewer the number of people the transportation system has to handle at 'crunch time,' the better.

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

by ATinNM on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:39:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 98 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
The U.S. NRC chairman tells Congress the NRC would recommend an evacuation area much larger than has taken place around Japan's reactors

Japan earthquake | Page 98 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com

More comments from the NRC chair, says spent fuel pool at Reactor 4 has no water, radiation levels are "extremely high"


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 02:22:40 PM EST
Disaster in Japan: March 17 Live Blog | Al Jazeera Blogs

The US military has delivered high-pressure water pumps to Japan to help cool Fukushima's crisis-hit nuclear power plant.

The pumps were ferried to Yokota Air Force Base for use at the crippled Fukushima plant, with four additional pumps delivered from Sasebo, in Japan's southwest, the US Pacific Fleet said in a statement.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 02:29:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 98 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
More from the NRC Chairman, who says high radiation levels around the nuclear plant may reach "lethal doses" for emergency workers to get near


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 02:45:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake | Page 98 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
More comments from the NRC Chairman, who says high radiation levels at reactor 4 may affect the ability to "take corrective measures"


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 02:45:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
More from NRC chair Gregory Jaczko. He told Congress: "We believe that secondary containment has been destroyed and there is no water in the spent fuel pool and we believe that radiation levels are extremely high which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:45:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Disaster in Japan: March 17 Live Blog | Al Jazeera Blogs

The outer shell of the rods could also ignite, with enough force to propel the radioactive fuel inside over a wide area, he says.

Gregory Jaczko did not say how the information was obtained, but the NRC and US Department of Energy both have staff on site at the Fukushima complex of six reactors.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 04:22:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has said it is also concerned about the spent fuel storage pool inside the building housing reactor 3 at Fukushima Daiichi. The pools at both reactors 3 and 4 are reportedly boiling - there may not even be any water left in reactor 4's pool - and unless the spent fuel rods are cooled down, they could emit large quantities radiation. Radioactive steam was earlier said to be coming from reactor 3's pool. If cooling operations did not proceed well, the situation would "reach a critical stage in a couple of days", an agency official told the Kyodo news agency


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 04:32:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Disaster in Japan: March 17 Live Blog | Al Jazeera Blogs

The debate over the future of nuclear power has just stepped up a notch - with US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton saying the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima plant "raises questions" about the use of nuclear energy in the country. She said:


What's happening in Japan raises questions about the costs and the risks associated with nuclear power, but we have to answer those. We get 20 per cent of our energy right now in the United States from nuclear power.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 02:24:25 PM EST
We get 20 per cent of our energy right now in the United States from nuclear power.

No you don't. You get 20 percent of your electricity from nuclear power. Is it really so hard to understand the difference between energy and electricty?

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

by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:50:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Disaster in Japan: March 17 Live Blog | Al Jazeera Blogs

A French parliamentary hearing called to discuss the worsening nuclear crisis in Japan has been suspended in uproar - in a spat over a parked car.

As ministers outlined France's response to the explosions, part-meltdowns and radiation leaks at Fukushima nuclear plant, independent member of parliament Maxime Gremetz stormed into the committee room to complain his car was blocked.

"That's enough! This is unworthy!" science committee chairman Claude Birraux protested, amid shouts from MPs, enraged by the timing of the interruption.

After disrupting the hearing - screened on live television - for a second time, Gremetz was ordered to get the car registration number. Committee chairman Birraux told him:

With Japanese people risking their lives today, don't come here and be a pain in the neck with your story about badly parked cars.

Energy minister Eric Besson said he was sure the offending vehicle did not belong either to him, or Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, telling the committee:

If it was either of our cars, I am sure the chauffeurs would be sitting in the front.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 02:25:18 PM EST
>Maxime Gremetz, a former communist, is a well-known moron.

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 02:39:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And if she wasn't, now she is :)

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:08:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Disaster in Japan: March 17 Live Blog | Al Jazeera Blogs
The Tokyo Electric Power company says "a new power line that could solve the nuclear crisis is almost ready".


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 02:53:13 PM EST
Thank god for that. I'm been wondering all this time why they didn't plug in external power from somewhere.

Isn't it ironic by the by, that if the plants hadn't been designed to scram during an earthquake, none of this might have happened? Or if the scram had failed at one plant, and it had remained online supplying the other reactors with the power needed for cooling?

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

by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:53:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are not able to predict whether it's better or worse not to design scram during an earthquake into the system. Or to speculate how it might have been better if one scram didn't work.

It's somewhat possible that the next event might have exceedingly different conditions.

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:08:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, of course you're right. If a reactor hadn't scrammed, none of this would have happened and there would have been a huge scandal over the non-scramming reactor. But it's still ironic how a supposed safety feature made the situation worse.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:15:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
an extension cord, an extension cord, my kingdom for an extension cord.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:11:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jeffrey Lewis * Most Recent FEPC Statement

A German reactor safety organization has been attempting to plot and correlate the publicly released radiation measurements against timed reports of various explosions and venting events.

Comparisons between earlier days and the situation today is being hindered by unability to get measurements from the closest measurement posts (or locations for the mobile measurement vehicle to stop at), because the dose rates are too high to keep up continued manual dose rate counting.

If the graph is accurate, it does show a very disturbing trend indeed.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:27:47 PM EST
The more recent large spikes seem correlated with explosions that could involve spent fuel rod pools, or what is left of them.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:48:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan's Reactor Risk Foretold 20 Years Ago in U.S. Agency Report - Bloomberg.com

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- The earthquake disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant north of Tokyo was foretold in a report published two decades ago by a U.S. regulatory agency.

In a 1990 report, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, an independent agency responsible for ensuring the safety of the country's power plants, identified earthquake-induced diesel generator failure and power outage leading to failure of cooling systems as one of the "most likely causes" of nuclear accidents from an external event.

While the report was cited in a 2004 statement by Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, adequate measures to address the risk were not taken by Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the plant in Fukushima prefecture, said Jun Tateno, a former researcher at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and professor at Chuo University.

"It's questionable whether Tokyo Electric really studied the risks outlined in the report," Tateno said in an interview. "That they weren't prepared for a once in a thousand year occurrence will not go over as an acceptable excuse."

(may have been posted here already but I haven't seen it)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:44:36 PM EST
Short Sharp Science: Nuclear crisis: 'Chain reaction could restart'

The situation at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has become extremely unnerving. The Tokyo Electric Power Company has now admitted that the spent fuel rods could go critical - that is, a nuclear chain reaction could restart.

We have known since yesterday that the reactors themselves were coming under control, and that the biggest threat came from the spent fuel ponds, where the water level has fallen and temperatures have risen. That could lead to the stored fuel rods breaking open, releasing their radioactive contents.

Kyodo News reports:

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it is considering spraying boric acid by helicopter to prevent spent nuclear fuel rods from reaching criticality again, restarting a chain reaction, at the troubled No. 4 reactor of its quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. "The possibility of recriticality is not zero," TEPCO said as it announced the envisaged step against a possible fall in water levels in a pool storing the rods that would leave them exposed.

This is a real surprise. These ponds are a standard feature of nuclear reactors, and are typically designed to ensure that nuclear reactions cannot restart in the fuel rods. Among other things, the rods should be widely spaced in the pond.

(my bold)

I dont know about you, but maybe a Magnitude 9 earthquake might  have loosened the odd rod in its seating?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 03:59:32 PM EST
There's supposed to be water between the rods, and it's all leaked out or boiled off.
by asdf on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 04:21:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the reported re-racking to increase the number of rods in the pool cant have helped either.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 04:26:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This would be "The Straw-man's Revenge"!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan earthquake: live - Telegraph
The United States is deploying additional radiation monitors on Hawaii and other U.S. islands even though it does not expect harmful levels of radiation from damaged Japanese nuclear power plants to reach U.S. soil, environmental regulators said.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 04:14:38 PM EST
Judging by governments' actions, it sounds like they're anticipating this getting a lot worse.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 04:29:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say yes, If I was there I'd be taking the hint

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 04:37:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see them attempting to help at all.

Has Japan refused help? Have they asked for help? Can no help be given?

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 Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 05:04:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LIVE: Japan earthquake
The US military will also fly one of its Global Hawk unmanned high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft over the site, possibly later on Thursday, to take photographs of the inside the building which houses reactor 4, Japanese government sources have told the Kyodo news agency. Global Hawks are already being used to survey the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 04:35:41 PM EST
Japan earthquake | Page 99 | Liveblog live blogging | Reuters.com
Experts at the Harvard School of Public Health are urging people to pay less attention to current low levels of radiation measured away from the plant itself and worry more/prepare for the potential that a large radiation release could occur. "At far distances radiation from this event has led to quite small increases in naturally occurring exposures," said Gordon Thompson, a plasma physicist and executive director of the Institute for Resource and Security Studies. "We really should be focused on very large and potentially fatal doses that could occur if there is a significant release."


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 04:45:48 PM EST
Fucking aye.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 06:55:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since short term effects of high doses are relatively agreed upon, and the informed and expert debate about long-term effects of various doses remain "hotly" debated, it's a bit cavalier to just toss off further intelligent debate. As if such disagreement means there's no effects.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 07:15:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the head of the US NRC has basically declared Bear Cavalry.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 16th, 2011 at 04:58:29 PM EST


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