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

Fukushima, No End In Sight

by afew Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:44:06 AM EST

From the Japanese government :

Japan says no choice but to flood reactors - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The Japanese government says it has no choice but to keep pouring water into reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant to limit a huge meltdown, despite fears it could cause highly radioactive leaks.

Firefighters and soldiers have been hosing sea and fresh water into four of the six plant reactors since the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11 knocked out their cooling systems.

As a consequence of this emergency measure, since last week radioactive water has been found in the basements of all four of the reactors' turbine buildings and in underground tunnels linked to them.

Adding to concerns, plutonium has now been detected in soil at five spots around the plant.

But chief government spokesman Yukio Edano says his country has no choice but to keep pouring water into the reactors.

That seems likely, then, ultimately, to be pouring water that will become highly radioactive, into the sea.

Never mind, there are positive aspects, says the IAEA:


IAEA: Fukushima plant still serious

BEIJING, March 29 (Xinhuanet) -- The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency says the situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant remains serious.

Yukiya Amano, IAEA Director General, said, "The difficult situation has not been overcome and takes some time to stabilize the reactors. Radioactivities in the environment, food stuff and water is a matter of concern in the vicinity of Fukushima plant and beyond. Some positive notes are: electrical power has been restored to unit number one, two and three, and fresh water is now available on the site."

Words fail.

Use this as an open thread for slow-motion disaster news.

[editor's note, by Migeru] Japan threads:

Display:
France Wants EU Nuclear Checks to Exclude Plane Crashes, Terror - Bloomberg.com

March 29 (Bloomberg) -- France, which gets 80 percent of its energy from atomic power, wants threats from airplane crashes and terrorists excluded from safety checks planned on European reactors following the Fukushima nuclear accident

"If they are included then this can't be called `lessons learned from Japan,'" Andre-Claude Lacoste, head of the Autorite de Surete Nucleaire, said today in an interview after a briefing in Paris. "I will do what I can to keep risks from planes and terrorism out of the audits."

The Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire was set up as an independent monitoring agency, but I don't see how we can avoid noting its utter dependency on the French nuclear industry.

See, it's time to decide that nuclear in Europe is safe and has little to learn from Fukushima. As for plane crashes and terrorist attacks, we'll wait for them to happen before running stress tests and learning "lessons from plane crashes and terrorist attacks".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:49:34 AM EST
Just like Germany wanted the banking stress tests to include sovereign defaults.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:52:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
let the market take care of it! (none / 1) Let's see. How about this : the IAEA gifts radiation emission permits to all nuclear utilities, and these can be freely traded.
Couple that with the bogus stress tests and we're set. The radiation risk has been managed.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:16:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean exclude, not include.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 06:38:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France Wants EU Nuclear Checks to Exclude Plane Crashes, Terrorist Attacks - Bloomberg
"If they are included then this can't be called `lessons learned from Japan,'" Andre-Claude Lacoste, head of the Autorite de Surete Nucleaire, said today in an interview after a briefing in Paris. "I will do what I can to keep risks from planes and terrorism out of the audits."
Really, WTF!?

So call the exercise something else.

The lesson learned from Japan is not that nukes are vulnerable to tsunamis, but that active cooling is a huge vulnerability.

So, let's see... If saboteurs cur external power and disable the water pumps and emergency generators, it's not the same failure mode as Fukushima?

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:59:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Before we consider other predictable threats, we'll wait until they happen. That works.

However, if we are foolish enough to be on record arguing against the consideration of the case that occurred, we may not get away with saying

Who Could Have Predicted?

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

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:16:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the other lesson they might learn is that storing the semi-spent rods right next to the fusion reactor is a bad move.

natch the alternatives of shipping them crosscountry to some central repository, or having lots of local mini-dumps aren't too groovy either.

'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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 07:39:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:

So, let's see... If saboteurs cur external power and disable the water pumps and emergency generators, it's not the same failure mode as Fukushima?

Or if a suicide-crow flies into a switchgear. Like what apparently happened at Forsmark in 2007. Oh, and recent leaks have shown that security analysis after the incident showed risk at a level of one meltdown per 52 reactor-years, instead of the supposed one per 10 000.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 07:59:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah so as we're having four here, we'll be safe for another 200 years obviously.

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 29th, 2011 at 08:05:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who Could Have Predicted?
There it is : the admission that his job is not ensuring nuclear safety, but ensuring the continued viability of nuclear power in France.

We're going to have fun with this. I hope he's got a nice industry job to go to if he should be forced to resign.

(well actually, I'm confident he has...)

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

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:33:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think ceebs in another thread had linked to a typewritten memo from the 1970's in which a US regulator said he agreed with the assessment that "wet containment" was flawed but that so much effort had been expended on convincing everyone that it was safe that reopening the issue would be the death of commercial nuclear power.

But I can't find the comment - it's like googling a needle in a haystack.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 06:14:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't remember it, but in looking on google I've come across a pdf on the effects of wet chloride insulation on the pipework of nuclear merchant ships. In notes it appears that one reason for purity of water is to prevent electrochemical reactions on inside of pipework between different materials, rather than just to avoid irradiation of dissolved minerals.

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 29th, 2011 at 06:52:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
May have been ARG or asdf...

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 06:54:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not me, I think...
by asdf on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:41:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that comment was in one of the first two threads and was by a (former?) GE engineer or a regulator. I think it was in the discussion of why he resigned. I did not post it though I may have commented on it. But you are correct in stating that we have created quite a haystack.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:03:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Still looking for the needle, though:

ceebs:

in 1971 the Atomic Energy Commission did a series of tests of Emergency Core Cooling systems. Accidents were simulated. In each case the emergency systems worked - but the water failed to fill the core. Often being forced out under pressure.

As one of the AEC scientists says in the film:

"We discovered that our theoretical calculations didn't have a strong correlation with reality. But we just couldn't admit to the public that all these safety systems we told you about might not do any good"

And again the warnings were ignored by senior members of the Agency and the industry.

ceebs:
Dale Bridenbaugh said the "Mark 1" design had "not yet been designed to withstand the loads" that could be experienced in a large-scale accident.

"At the time, I didn't think the utilities were taking things seriously enough," Bridenbaugh, now retired, said in a phone interview. "I felt some of the plants should have been shut down while the analysis was completed, and GE and the utilities didn't want to do that, so I left."

Bridenbaugh said that to the best of his knowledge, the design flaws he had identified were addressed at the Daiichi plant, requiring "a fairly significant expense."



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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:36:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah now I remember

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 29th, 2011 at 10:58:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here, it was ceebs. But this via das monde is also relevant.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:30:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the one
September 25, 1972: memo from Joseph Hendrie (top safety official at AEC) agrees with recommendation but rejects it saying it "could well mean the end of nuclear power..."


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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:38:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
!? That's the same I link to.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 12:12:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not saying it isn't, just bringing the link to this thread.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 01:01:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
"If they are included then this can't be called `lessons learned from Japan,'" Andre-Claude Lacoste, head of the Autorite de Surete Nucleaire, said today in an interview after a briefing in Paris.
So call them "safety review on the occasion of Fukushima I's 40th birthday".

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 06:34:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. the ASN actually has a decent record (all things considered and relative) of being independent from EDF

  2. the EPR has been designed to withstand a major plane crash accident (but then again, maybe the existing reactors haven't - why would they, plane terrorism was not yet a big thing in the 60s and 70s, ...)


Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:07:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EDF went after "Sortir du nucléaire" when they leaked documents about this vulnerability a couple of years ago.

Clearly it's a show-stopper if it were made to be a requirement, because none (0) of the the French reactors are up to it [personal knowledge]. I have no idea of the cost of retro-fitting some sort of massive exclusion dome over the existing reactors, but I guess it's non-trivial.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:13:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PWR's should not be that damaged by air crashes as they have their spent fuel pools inside the containment dome. Test have been made with fighter jets on rocket sleds. It's worse with BWR's (except Mark III containments) where the spent fuel pools are outside the containment. But all the French plants are PWR's, which make these comments from the ASN somewhat puzzling.  

An airliner is essentially a long thin tube of aluminum, with the only solid part being the jet engines, but even they should not do more than marginal damage to the containment dome.

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

by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:37:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The containment dome doesn't have to be penetrated to cause damage to the equipment inside.  See wikipedia discussion on spall.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:57:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm previously only aware of spalling issues when discussing armored vehicles. :)

But I can't see how spalling would damage the reactor, if we're not talking about huge chunks of concrete falling down into the water, crushing the reactor "top shield", and then continuing down, entering the reactor tank itself and crushing the core. I find that very, very hard to believe.

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

by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:07:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm neither an Mechanical, Materials, or Nuclear Engineer.

All I know is spalling happens on impact.  What spall damage would result from a 747 weighing 377,842 kg, carrying 199,158 liters of aviation fuel, traveling at ~900 km/h would to the equipment & etc. inside the containment dome is outside my competence.  I think it is safe to say, despite my ignorance, the exterior and interior damage to the dome would be greater than caused by a Cessna 207 weighing 1,500 kg, flying at  280 km/h.

But don't quote me!  :-)

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

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:52:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The leaked German study on vulnerability to airplane crashes names release of radioactivity due to falling concrete as the smaller risk, and an airplane fuel fire inside the containment as the bigger one. Then you can get to a zirconium fire.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:01:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see how jet fuel could enter the containment without breaching the containment dome, which I find it hard to believe would happen.

Spent fuel problems in a BWR is another much greater problem in this scenario. As a matter of fact, I remember how I asked about that very thing on a field-trip to the nuclear plant Forsmark when I was like 17. The guide/expert answered that there was no risk to the reactor if a jet-liner would crash in it, but the spent fuel pools were something else. Then he looked a bit troubled.

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

by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:17:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
breaching the containment dome, which I find it hard to believe would happen.

This is not a question of faith...

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

by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:21:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it is not. I would love to see a study done on this issue.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:23:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Should I translate relevant parts of the leaked German study I referred to?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:40:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The leaked memo is here, however, it is more conclusions than details of the simulations, so I rather do a summary.

  • Two independent institutions did simulations, both on Konvoi-type reactors with 180 cm thick protection. One simulation tested three types of passenger jets (B-747, A-320, A-340-600) with various speeds and directions of impact, no such details for the other.
  • Both simulations showed that the Konvoi-type containment would crack but would not allow kerosene in, but the second simulation made an exception for an impact at the rim of the top and sides. Only impacts on the valve compartment would knock out the cooling system, and the control systems would be knocked out, especially of the emergency control room would be hit.
  • Both research groups said that based on these results, the containment of the plants older than the three of the Konvoi class can be assumed unfit to resist an impact even without detailed studies. (These reactors have no protection hull or concrete hulls of 40 to 120 cm thickness.)

The document makes the explicit conclusion that 'the retrofitting of the older reactor buildings is not possible resp. doesn't make sense from technical resp. economic considerations'. Instead they recommend counter-measures in the airplane cabins, and obstacles in the line of flight (concrete pillars).

Meanwhile, I also found a page on another study, the safety of spent fuel storage rooms. It found that one type, which has 1.2 m thick walls, would resist impact, but that of another type, with 70 or 85 cm thick walls and 55 cm thick roof, would not resist impact, however kerosene would supposedly flow out via channels.

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

by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 04:35:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Duplicate deleted.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:08:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An airliner is essentially a long thin tube of aluminum, with the only solid part

Meh. It's not the solidness, it's the kinetic energy. After the WTC and Pentagon crashes, this should be common knowledge.

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

by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:52:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the WTC had been 50 metres tall and surrounded by a metre thick wall of reinforced concrete, I believe the result might have been quite different.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:19:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you'd have only have received a hole similar to that in the Pentagon?

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 29th, 2011 at 05:37:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the Pentagon had been sorrounded by a metre thick wall of reinforced concrete, I believe that outcome would also have been somewhat different.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 12:59:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know about the WC, but in the Pentagon crash, several 14-inch (35.56 cm) concrete columns were destroyed by the impact deep into the building.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:39:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah, but that was by an alien deathray, not an aeroplane.
by njh on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 07:29:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I get 0.5*400tonne*(900km/hour)^2 = 2.7 tonne tnt

Not tiny, but not huge either.  Fully laden, the fuel tanks contain pretty much exactly 2 kilotonnes tnt, but it's not clear how that energy would couple to a building.

by njh on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 07:26:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
the ASN actually has a decent record

Then it's a pity Lacoste has said that he will fight over this issue, when his job is to fight in favour of the general public interest.

That goes on the "not decent record" side of the balance, surely?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:53:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a rather silly comment for the regulator to make at this juncture.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:29:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I recall reading that a US reactor design was designed to be safe against the crash of a Cessna light aircraft but not a jumbo-jet. Of course they tout its safety against airplane crashes, without discussing the size. I suppose the GE BWR design at Fukushima is safe against the crash of a radio-controlled model aircraft, but what if it were carrying a stick of dynamite?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:09:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fukushima was safe against a 5m tsunami, too.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:28:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Airplane crashes first became a concern when there was a series of fighter jet crashes. The oldest plants in Europe are still unsafe against even a small plane.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:35:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
are safe against a Cessna or a Mirage.

My guess is that they looked at the statistics of air crashes, found that these two classes were by far the most frequent in France (and not too expensive to protect against), and ignored other classes, too rare to bother with.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:34:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Especially if that was prior to 9/11/01 but it is equally conceivable that they just decided "that won't happen here."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 02:49:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One chapter in a book I'm never going to write will discuss the epistemic and Decision Making failures of relying on the combination of statistical mechanics and Excluded Middle Logics for analyzing dynamic systems.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:29:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Make that 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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:14:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It occurs I could write a significant part of the book as a series of diaries.  

Need to think on it.


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

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:34:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The journalist who wrote this, Tara Patel, has told me by e-mail that André-Claude Lacoste spoke to her exclusively when she asked him some questions after a briefing. So these remarks were on the record, but have not gone the French media rounds.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 01:54:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No confirmation of radioactive water overflowing into sea: agency | Kyodo News

Radioactive water has not been confirmed to have overflowed into the Pacific from seaside underground trenches at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Tuesday.

The levels of water in the trenches, some 55 to 70 meters away from the shore, have been stable and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., has taken measures to stop the water from flowing out, such as putting up sandbags and concrete blocks around the shaft, the nuclear regulatory body said.

Among the trenches connected to the Nos. 1-3 reactor buildings, water in the gutter linked to the No. 1 unit is just 10 centimeters below its ground-level hole.

TEPCO said water in the trenches is believed to have come both from the reactor's buildings and tsunami waves, which followed a magnitude 9.0 earthquake that hit northeastern and eastern Japan, including Fukushima Prefecture, on March 11.

(My Bold)

So this intensely radioactive water in the trenches is the result of both Tsunami and leaks, doesnt that make it worse if its that radioactive, and its already diluted? secondly, if the trench filled with the Tsunami, and then has had furter radioactive fluids leak into it, where has the top metre or two gone? surely trench 1 that is only 10cm below the surface has actually lost the least?

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 29th, 2011 at 05:37:41 AM EST
and of course whatever is leaking into the trench is far more concentrated than was assumed if it was just leak products.

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 29th, 2011 at 05:56:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
where has the top metre or two gone?

Indeed! In a better world the workers might have pumped it out to prevent or minimize damage to the cabling, etc. But wait! I read that they were planing to run the cabling through the tunnels and couldn't because they were full of radioactive water. Are they getting caught up in their own misrepresentations?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:06:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rule 1 of falsehoods. if you have to lie, use as much of the truth as possible, so you dont have to remember too many contradictory things....

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 29th, 2011 at 09:22:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A little high-level summary of knowns, unknowns and speculation from someone who hasn't been following all that closely, please complete/correct :

  • They have been pumping seawater into the reactors (and, I presume, the spent fuel storage pools) and need to continue to do so in order to prevent overheating
  • Is the topping-up required because of evaporation (boiling?) or because of leaks? Or both? In what proportion?
  • Are they still hosing the reactors and/or reactor buildings externally too? Is this necessary for heat dissipation too?
  • One of the reactors is cracked, therefore leaking
  • Others may be leaking from cracked pipes or burnt-out gaskets
  • Fuel rods are partially melted in some (all?) of the reactors, therefore the entire generation/cooling circuit contains fission products which would normally be confined inside the fuel rods themselves, and are now able to reach the outside world insofar as these circuits are leaking
  • I have no idea if there are any pumps currently working on any of the cooling systems : if they were, then surely they would not need to continue adding water, as circulation would be sufficient to dissipate the heat (unless the topping up is required because of leaks...
  • Perhaps they are afraid to run the pumps for fear of exacerbating leaks, or causing new ones?
  • They need to evacuate the contaminated water somehow, they have been sandbagging figuratively, and now literally
  • Prediction : they will announce barges within the next 12 hours (since this was first suggested on ET, what, 12 hours ago?)


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:53:32 AM EST
Well we're not certain about the one of the reactors actually being leaking, it could be just broken pipework.

and your predicyion is optimistic, it usually appears to take 48 hours to announce an idea then a day or two more to implement 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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 06:00:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
has been mentioned on ET, I find references on the net to a NYT article from Friday, but this article has since been redacted and no longer contains the paragraph in question. However, a syndicated version exists here which still has this :

Concerns about Reactor No. 3 have surfaced before. Japanese officials said nine days ago that the reactor vessel may have been damaged.

A senior nuclear executive who insisted on anonymity but has broad contacts in Japan said that there was a long vertical crack running down the side of the reactor vessel itself. The crack runs down below the water level in the reactor and has been leaking fluids and gases, he said.

The severity of the radiation burns to the injured workers is consistent with contamination by water that had been in contact with damaged fuel rods, the executive said.

"There is a definite, definite crack in the vessel -- it's up and down and it's large," he said. "The problem with cracks is they do not get smaller."

The contamination of the water in the basement of the turbine building where the workers were injured -- a separate building adjacent to the one that houses the reactor -- poses a real challenge for efforts to bring crucial cooling pumps and other equipment back online.

"They can't even figure out how to get that out, it's so hot" in terms of radioactivity, he said. A big worry about reactor No. 3 is the mox fuel. The nuclear industry has no experience with mox leaks, and it is possible that unusual patterns in the dispersal of radioactivity from the plant partly result from the mox, he said.

It's hard to imagine how anyone could make this stuff up and get quoted in the NYT. (Making stuff up and getting quoted in the NYT is not hard to imagine, but requires powerful interests to be at work.)

Officially, of course, no reactor crack exists. They don't tell us anything unless they absolutely have to.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 07:33:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We need to add to this the problem with the spent fuel pools, especially the one at #4, which has a working core also in storage. The problem with water that has +1 Sievert surface radioactivity is that it makes access to everything more problematic. Plus, there is an excellent chance that the spent fuel pool at #3 boiled dry or almost dry at one point.

I still do not know if they have applied boron powder or boric acid to the spent fuel pools or the cores. Of course boric acid is soluble and will leak out if there are leaks but will crystallize and remain if pools or reactor cores boil dry.

Metalic boron melts at 4000K, is insoluble in most acids and forms an oxide when heated in air. I don't know if it forms a surface, oxide-like, anodization that prevents further oxidation, but it seems to be a good substance to turn into small granules and drop into spent fuel pools with water. It is a good conductor of heat at higher temperatures also.  

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:31:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Boron oxide is a glass.  (Think pyrex)

I would go with borax (sodium borate decahydrate) personally.  It's readily available, non-toxic, and at higher temperatures it releases lots of steam and turns into glass.  It is also anty-toxin.

by njh on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 07:36:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
They have been pumping seawater into the reactors (and, I presume, the spent fuel storage pools) and need to continue to do so in order to prevent overheating
They have reduced the throughput and have said they need to switch to fresh water ASAP.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:05:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They have been pumping seawater into the reactors

Actually they switched to sweetwater a few days ago.

and, I presume, the spent fuel storage pools

No, only the reactors. They used special fire trucks to pump water into the spent fuel pools.

One of the reactors is cracked, therefore leaking

Tow of the containments are cracked, but that doesn't necessarily mean that there is a leak, because some reactors had water only in the pressure vessel (which is another level inside the containment).

Fuel rods are partially melted in some (all?) of the reactors

Meltdown in reactor cores happened when the reactor's last backup cooling system failed and before the improvised seawater pumping started up, so meltdown can presumably be put in past tense. But the rest of the conclusion is true in all cases.

circulation would be sufficient to dissipate the heat

Dissipate where?

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

by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:13:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
They have been pumping seawater into the reactors

Actually they switched to sweetwater a few days ago.

TEPCO : Press Release | Plant Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (as of 4:00 PM Mar 29th)
-At approximately 2:30 am on March 23rd, seawater injection to the nuclear reactor through the feed water system was initiated.
-At approximately 10:50 am on March 24th, white fog-like steam arising from the roof part of the reactor building was observed.
-At approximately 11:30 am on March 24th, lights in the main control room was restored.
-We had been injecting seawater into the reactor, but from 3:37 pm on March 25th, we started injecting freshwater.
-At 8:20 am on March 29th, we switched injection of fresh water from using fire engine to temporary electrical pump.


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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:16:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Freshwater into No. 1, start of pump:

TEPCO : Press Release | Status of TEPCO's Facilities and its services after the Tohoku-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake (as of 4:00PM)

-At approximately 2:30 am, March 23rd, we started the injection of sea
 water into the reactor from feed water system. After that, the injection
 of freshwater was started from 3:37 pm on March 25th (switched from the
 seawater injection). At 8:32 am, Mar 29th, transfer from the fire
 fighting pump to a temporary motor driven pump was made.

No. 2:

-From 10:10 am on March 26th, freshwater (with boric acid) injection was
 initiated. (switched from the seawater injection) At 06:31pm, Mar 27th,
 transfer from the fire fighting pump to a temporary motor driven pump was
 made.

No. 3:

-From 6:02 pm on March 25th, the injection of freshwater to the reactor
 was started (switched from the seawater injection). At 8:30 pm on March
 28th, the injection of fresh water is switched to temporary electricity
 pumps from the fire engine pumps.
-At approximately 12:34pm March 27th , the injection of water by the
 concrete pump truck was started. At approximately 2:36 pm, March 27th,
 the operation was finished.
-At approximately 2:17pm March 29th, the injection of fresh water by the
 concrete pump truck was started. (Sea water had been injected so far and
 transfer from seawater to freshwater was made)

(They don't say but the concrete pump truck relates to the spent fuel pool)

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

by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:22:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meltdown (my emphasis):

Radioactive water at No. 2 reactor due to partial meltdown: Edano | Kyodo News

He said the government has been informed by the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan that ''water in a containment vessel that came into contact with fuel rods that partially melted at one point is believed to have been leaked,'' referring to the high levels of radioactive water found at the basement of the reactor's turbine building.

Edano told a news conference that the government believes the meltdown is not continuing.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:49:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the meltdown could easily resume if they cannot continue present emergency measures. How do we calculate the time to cold shutdown in a reactor where there has been a partial meltdown. Seems we need better definitions of "partial". It matters whether the rods have cracked and the pellets have been exposed to sea water or whether the pellets have fallen out and collected on the bottom where recriticality is conceivable, especially in #3, with MOX fuel.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:00:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well we'd need to draw a graph of the temperature results, Im sure I saw in an Oildrum thread that  its cooling approximately 20% slower than the reference cooling curve.

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 29th, 2011 at 03:22:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly. Active cooling will be needed for years.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:10:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This Facebook page is a valuable information hub on the Fukushima situation. I will not bother to list links and secondary references.

For what I heard, the prevailing winds the next two months are towards the ocean, as Siberia warms up slowly so far. Then the winds will turn more chaotic, and will blow mainly towards the continent later in  the summer. If the reactors are ot buried under concrete in two months, Japan will never be the same as we now it. On the other hand, the bottom has to be protected as well as the ground watertable is low.

by das monde on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 12:06:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Traces of radioactive iodine, cesium detected in S. Korea | Kyodo News

Trace amounts of radioactive iodine and cesium believed to have come from Japan's quake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been detected in South Korea, the Education, Science and Technology Ministry said Tuesday.

The radiation level poses no risk to public safety and the environment, the ministry said.

Radioactive iodine has been detected in 12 radiation stations nationwide, including Seoul, while cesium was found only in Chuncheon, 85 kilometers west of Seoul, Yonhap News Agency reported Tuesday, citing the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety.

''Most of the readings taken from captured nuclides were so minute they were barely detectable by existing instruments, and it took 24 hours to get precise readings,'' president of the nuclear safety agency Yun Choul Ho was quoted as saying.



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 29th, 2011 at 06:05:23 AM EST
by das monde on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 03:59:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note the units: becquerels per square metre (or, one radioactive decay per second per square metre). For comparison, the natural content of Potassium 40 in a human body gives 5000 becquerels.

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 30th, 2011 at 05:45:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Becquerels per cubic metre. Your comparison should make it obvious that there is no danger from radiation from the air at any significant distance from the source.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 06:34:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I need a cubic metre of coffee...

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 30th, 2011 at 06:36:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sky Sources: Traces of radioactive iodine from Japan's Fukushima 1 nuclear plant found in Glasgow.

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 29th, 2011 at 07:04:40 AM EST
U.S. experts: significant water contamination in Japan | Reuters

(Reuters) - Groundwater, reservoirs and sea water around Japan's earthquake damaged nuclear plant face "significant contamination" from the high levels of radiation leaking from the plant, a worrying development that heightens potential health risks in the region.

Nuclear and environmental scientists in the United States darkened their assessment of the risks markedly on Monday after operators at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant said that highly radioactive water has entered underground concrete tunnels extending beyond the reactor.

Sea water and fresh water used to cool the reactors, critically damaged by Japan's March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and spent fuel pools at the plant have been put in storage tanks there. But reports indicate these tanks are full or over-flowing with tainted water, experts said.

"It's just hard to see how this won't result in significant contamination of, certainly, sea water," said Edwin Lyman, a physicist and expert on nuclear plant design at the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists.



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 29th, 2011 at 07:17:47 AM EST
The Radioactive Ocean | Mother Jones
The compass of news the past few days has swung to a new North--to the rising measurements of radioactivity in the waters off Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant.   The transmission of radionuclides through the physical and biological webs of ocean and atmosphere is dynamic and far-reaching, since the contamination is carried by waves and winds and life itself. You can see an illustration of how this works that at my blog Deep Blue Home.   Radioactive pollution in the ocean is nothing new. We've been loosing the stuff offshore since 1944. Here's how.


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 29th, 2011 at 07:21:25 AM EST
The Radioactive Ocean | Mother Jones
Britain's Sellafield (aka Windscale) is a nuclear storage site, an erstwhile nuclear weapons production plant, nuclear reprocessing center, and nuclear power plant, currently in the process of decommissioning. Due to accidents, chronic emissions, and overflows at Sellafield, the nearby Irish Sea is deemed the most radioactive sea on Earth.

not to get too game theory about such a terrible tragedy, but how much bigger does this clusterfuck have to get before the very idea of doing anything but closing down all nuclear plants and studying harder what to do with all the ageless poison we have created to run out electric toenail clippers and such, becomes so screamingly obvious that it becomes unthinkable?

and then we can fully focus on coal...


'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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 07:45:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]

15:20 in

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 29th, 2011 at 08:07:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
what does "the most radioactive sea on Earth" actually mean, in practice?

Why are we more scared of a few random deaths from nuclear (because, as far as I can see, is the only real danger from Fukushima, at this stage) than of all the certain, documented and counted deaths from other power sources, or from automobile driving, for that matter?

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:11:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
Why are we more scared of a few random deaths from nuclear ... than of all the certain, documented and counted deaths from other power sources ...?
Let's see...
Lowering Deaths per Terawatt Hour for Civilization
Energy SourceDeath Rate (deaths per TWh)
Coal - China278
Coal - world average161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
Oil36 (36% of world energy)
Coal - USA15
Biofuel/Biomass12
Peat12
Natural Gas4 (21% of world energy)
Hydro - world including Banqiao)1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
Solar (rooftop)0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
Wind0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
Hydro0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
Nuclear0.04 (5.9% of world energy)
(reordered)
There are a number of problems with this analysis, though. The first one is the treatment of hydroelectric power, where the single most deadly accident is classed as an outlier and the distintion is made between "hydro without chinese disaster" and "hydro with chinese disaster". Although it's not said, the same has been done with nuclear.
ceebs tells me it appears they assumed 100 deaths for the nuclear industry. That means they're working on 2500 TWh.
It also means that
the 100 deaths are for "normal operations", considering Chernobyl "an outlier".

After all, look at how they treat the Banqiao Dam accident separately.

The number of Chernobyl deaths is disputed, so
Let's assume that the estimate excludes Chernobyl entirely. Then, you get

 
Chernobyl Deaths  Total nuclear power deaths per TWh 
	      50				0.06 
	    4000				1.6 
	  300000			      120 
	 1000000			      400
DoDo:
at the end of my onetime diary Chernobyl's Downplayed Victims, numbers range from 60,000 to 212,000.
That's between 24 and 85 deaths per kWh for nuclear, enough to make it the deadliest form of energy generation after coal, and maybe the third after Oil. It's really unfortunate that the best way to address your cavalier
a few random deaths from nuclear (because, as far as I can see, is the only real danger from Fukushima, at this stage)
is too close for comfort to getting personal.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:25:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, you have to ask exactly how they're attributing deaths to oil and coal as well.

But yeah, I wouldn't take those numbers on faith.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:32:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the treatment of major catastrophes as outliers is really irksome.

For one thing, it highlights that average quantities are not really meaningful here.

For something like wind, they might, because it's hard to imagine a single accident involving wind power with a large number of casualties. So the rate of deaths per TWh is meaningful.

But for something like hydro or nuclear, where a single accident killing tens of thousands of people is obviously a possibility, a number of "deaths per TWh" can well be close to zero before the accident and worse than coal after the accident. The outlier defence is less than convincing.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:42:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But it's a defence with an impeccable pedigree. Except that in nuclear power, it's the Boom that's an outlier.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:02:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole deaths per watt discussion may very well be meaningless, given that we're deep in the land of statistics as propaganda.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:23:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It may well be meaningless, but if we are in the land of statistics as propaganda, and this is the most positive thing they can present then it behooves us to poke the argument with a sharp stick and point out that it either is meaningless, or doesn't mean what it is claimed to mean.

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 29th, 2011 at 10:56:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but let's acknowledge what we're dealing with.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:00:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
unlike some demons, just naming it as propaganda unfortunately doesn't make it go away.

ceebs is right, you have to keep poking away at it till enough people realise.

hard work...

'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 30th, 2011 at 02:46:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, even with Chernobyl and Fukushima worst-case scenarios, Coal still kills more people than nuclear. So Monbiot wins.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:02:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Monbiot only wins if you accept the premise that nuclear is needed to get rid of coal.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:11:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuclear isn't needed to get rid of coal. You could always use gas instead. Until it runs out a generation later.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:53:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The outlier defence is less than convincing.

because it's intellectual codswallop?

easy not to see no inflation if you exclude food and energy.

tissue of lies, in every direction, cog diss rulz.

'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 30th, 2011 at 02:41:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have said on occasion that teaching people about outlier removal techniques is one of the biggest mistakes in the teaching of statistics.

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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 02:50:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there are no outliers, only incorrect priors.
by njh on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 05:54:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
between 24 and 85 deaths per TWh for nuclear


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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:49:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
for providing hard numbers, to help the discussion.

I fully agree that large accidents should definitely be included in these statistics, otherwise they make no sense.

I see legitimate arguments to have a separate number of "nukes, worlwide" and "nukes, Western countries" because the Soviet system was really not very good at caring for  the environment or safety in general (but both numbers should be provided), but I see no way to exclude Fukushima from such statistics. However, the number of deaths at Fukushima is not significant yet.

 

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:24:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's more sensible to use "nukes by type of reactor". Sellafield had more in common with Chernobyl than with Three Mile Island, the latter being more like Fukushima.

But then you get into the question of what to do with large, rare events when the number of historical events in the category is zero. The more you slice and dice the categories the more categories have zero events in them.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:25:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, obviously, if there have never been any accidents in a category we can take the probability of one as zero.

On the other hand, since we can't reliably work out how many people have been killed in warfare for control of oil and coal resources we can just ignore this cost.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:39:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:
obviously, if there have never been any accidents in a category we can take the probability of one as zero
Except that that's wrong. Even if Laplace's calculation of the probability that the sun will rise tomorrow haw been laughed at, it's still the best method for estimating the probability of an event that has never happened yet.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:47:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now stop it with that science stuff. It's confusing.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:48:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i thought the uncertainty principle makes everything provisional!

so if there has never been a 12 richter scale earthquake in living memory, all nuke plants must be safe.

black swan or black hole, dark art or dark matter.

'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 30th, 2011 at 02:50:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, that's why we can't calibrate atomic clocks to one part in 10,000,000,000,000

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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 02:47:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not in living memory, we're talking about using the historical, archaeological or geological record.

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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 02:48:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:

On the other hand, since we can't reliably work out how many people have been killed in warfare for control of oil and coal resources we can just ignore this cost.

Should not also Hiroshima and Nagasaki be counted as part of nuclear powers development costs?

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

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:43:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, just like the battle of Jutland should be counted in the development cost of oil? This is getting silly.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:57:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And don't forget the Second Schleswig War as part of the cost of Germany's development of wind energy.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:08:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Breaking down wars to death by energy components gets silly, yes.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:37:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
don't forget winnie gassing marsh arabs. gotta protect capital investment, bring 'growth' to the sambos.

'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 30th, 2011 at 02:52:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the Soviet system was really not very good at caring for  the environment or safety in general

Neither is the Western one.

Worker safety has a higher profile. But the environment? Over the longer term, I think it's going to be difficult to see any substantial differences.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:58:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the Soviets were even more cavalier about environmental degradation, especially in Siberia and central Asia. Not that the USA or UK are so great, but I have the distinct impression that large areas of contamination, such as Hanford, WA are much more common in the former Soviet Union.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:16:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IIRC, those numbers do not include deaths related to mining of uranium and storage/disposal of nuclear waste.

For example, in the Wismut mining corporation (Soviet/East German Inc. located in East germany and one of the prime sources for Uranium for the USSR), accidents alone cost 772 lives between 1946 and 1990. More than 5000 cases (more than 3000 deaths) of cancer have been determined by the Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz (BfS) as being caused by radioactive substances set free by the mining (see here: http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-69629003.html ).

And that is ONE mining area (several mines).


_______________________________________________

"Those who fight might lose, those who don't fight have already lost." - Berthold Brecht

by RavenTS on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:09:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One extremely badly managed mining area operated without any consideration for the environment. It wouldn't surprise me at all if more miners have been killed mining the iron ore needed to make the steel to build the plant, than were killed mining the uranium needed to fuel it.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:22:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought we weren't disallowing Banqiao or Chernobyl either as outliers.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:27:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No one has claimed that badly managed mines are not dangerous.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:31:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But that isn't a reason to remove those numbers is 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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:39:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If it is, then we have to remove the coal mining deaths, too, since those are mining deaths, not energy deaths.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:45:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Niger better? Australia?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:41:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It wouldn't surprise me at all if more miners have been killed mining the iron ore needed to make the steel to build the plant, than were killed mining the uranium needed to fuel it.

We are talking about comparative death rates for ENERGY sources, not basic minerals such as iron, but we could include the iron mining deaths in the totals for all energy sources.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:22:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
thats not going to be good for many of your older power sources, with asbestos based insulation.

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 29th, 2011 at 09:24:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but it is as valid as the number of deaths in Chinese coal mines... You have to count both or none.

_______________________________________________

"Those who fight might lose, those who don't fight have already lost." - Berthold Brecht

by RavenTS on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 02:42:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
welcome to ET ravenTS!

'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 30th, 2011 at 02:54:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More like welcome back :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 04:19:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well there has consistently over the last 30 years been claims that there is being a cover-up of Increases in Leukaemia deaths around the Irish sea.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:37:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not very good claims, as far as I can work out.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:39:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the "safe level of radioactive iodine in water for infants" well-established?

Radioactive iodine exceeding limit for infants found in Tokyo water | Kyodo News

According to the metropolitan government, 210 becquerels of radioactive iodine were detected per 1 kilogram of water against the limit of 100 becquerels in a survey Tuesday at a water purification plant in the Kanamachi district of Katsushika Ward.

But the amount of the radioactive substance detected at the purification plant is lower than the 300-becquerel limit for people other than infants.

''The standards are set by considering damage to human health from intake over a long period of time. It is all right to drink the water if there is no substitute drinking water,'' a metropolitan government official said.

Are we going to write off the increased risk of thyroid cancer from radioactive water?

If substantial drinking water supplies in Japan become off-limits and nobody drinks them (substituting bottled water), does it mean the accident had no effects because nobody got cancer from drinking the water?

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:48:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:37:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cue in from 1:56 (or directly from 2:24) in this video.
by das monde on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:25:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
see? adaptive radiation works!

mutants of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your dna.

'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 30th, 2011 at 02:56:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scientist quells Sellafield disaster fear | Manchester Evening News - menmedia.co.uk
AN accident at the Sellafield nuclear complex would contaminate Ireland's environment, but the country would not suffer deaths and devastation on the scale of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, says Ireland's top nuclear expert.

Dr Ann McGarry, chief of the Radiological Protection Institute, reassured members of a Dail parliament committee that the island would not be "wiped out" if dangerous radioactive material escaped from the Cumbrian plant.

TDs said they feared a "doomsday scenario" in the event of explosions or a terrorist attack on Sellafield, which the Irish Government wants to be shut down.

Chernobyl

But Dr McGarry told the committee in Dublin: "It's certainly not the case that we would have the devastation that's within the 30km exclusion zone around Chernobyl.

"Even if there was a worst-case scenario, there is no doubt that our environment would become contaminated and that it would have very serious economic consequences for us.


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 29th, 2011 at 08:34:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC ON THIS DAY | 23 | 1984: Sellafield 'not linked' to cancer cluster
A government report into cancer levels near the controversial nuclear plant at Sellafield in Cumbria has confirmed suspicions of higher-than-normal levels of leukaemia in the area.

However, it says, too little research has been done to definitely link the high levels of the disease to the nuclear plant itself.

The report was commissioned to address concerns following a television documentary last year which suggested there was a cluster of cancer cases in the area around Sellafield.



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 29th, 2011 at 08:39:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He said the theory that the plant was a factor in the high rate of leukaemia could not be categorically dismissed, but nor was it easy to prove.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:21:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, though it's dishonest as headlines normally are.

"has not been definitely linked to " vs "is definitely linked to".

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:25:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Link not proved" would be honest. "not linked" is a lie.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:27:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, because "link not proved" suggests that evidence is strong that the link is there, which isn't true either.  Epidemiology is hard.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:31:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
make the lie even worse; they imply that someone asserted the absence of a link.

If I were the expert quoted, I would be mightily offended.

Epidemiology is hard, epistemology is even harder.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:45:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lake Karachay (Russian: Карача́й), sometimes spelled Karachai, is a small lake in the southern Ural mountains in western Russia. Starting in 1951[1] the Soviet Union used Karachay as a dumping site for radioactive waste from Mayak, the nearby nuclear waste storage and reprocessing facility, located near the town of Ozyorsk (then called Chelyabinsk-40) ....

According to a report by the Washington, D.C.-based Worldwatch Institute on nuclear waste, Karachay is the most polluted spot on Earth. The lake accumulated some 4.44 exabecquerels (EBq) of radioactivity, including 3.6 EBq of Caesium-137 and 0.74 EBq of Strontium-90. For comparison, the Chernobyl disaster released from 5 to 12 EBq of radioactivity, but this radiation is not concentrated in one location.

The radiation level in the region near where radioactive effluent is discharged into the lake was 600 röntgens per hour in 1990, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Natural Resources Defense Council, more than sufficient to give a lethal dose to a human within an hour ....

Starting in the 1960s, the lake began to dry out; its area dropped from 0.5 km2 in 1951 to 0.15 km² by the end of 1993. In 1968, following a drought in the region, the wind carried radioactive dust away from the dried area of the lake, irradiating half a million people with 185 petabecquerels (5 MCi) of radiation.

Between 1978 and 1986 the lake was filled with almost 10,000 hollow concrete blocks to prevent sediments from shifting.

by das monde on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 04:07:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Container ship with "abnormal radiation" is back in Japan (Reuters).
by Jace on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:03:46 AM EST
Japan nuclear plant in slow recovery: DOE | Reuters

(Reuters) - Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant seems to be in "slow recovery" from damage incurred this month from an earthquake and tsunami, the head of the U.S. Energy Department's nuclear program said on Tuesday.

"However, long-term cooling of the reactors and the pools is essential during this period, and has not been adequately restored to date, to the best of my knowledge,



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 29th, 2011 at 11:01:45 AM EST
Maybe I'm reading too much into a journo text, but something about the wording

European Tribune - Comments - Fukushima, No End In Sight

it has no choice but to keep pouring water into reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant to limit a huge meltdown

strikes me as a greater disclosure than actually intended.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:14:17 AM EST
That's definitely stupid journo syndrome. BTW, the link is broken, what's the correct link?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:24:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The text is in the body of this diary: European Tribune - Fukushima, No End In Sight
The Japanese government says it has no choice but to keep pouring water into reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant to limit a huge meltdown, despite fears it could cause highly radioactive leaks.


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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:31:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, Australian Broadcasting Corporation then.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:43:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Oil Drum | Fukushima Open Thread - Tue 3/29

Seems the spreading radioactivity is severely disrupting supply chains.
Looming Loss of Billions - Automobile industry is Setting up Contingency Plans (German)

A summary of the most important points:
The global automotive industry is bracing for the impacts of supply disruptions. Could lead to losses of billions. Shipping companies are avoiding the ports of Tokyo and Yokohama which handle 40% of Japan's container freight. Hongkong's OOCL announced on Friday they will reroute their ships to Osaka. If radiation is detected on one of their ships, they will face month of delays due to inspections. A Japanese ship showed radiation in the Chinese port of Xiamen although it had kept at least 120km away from Fukushima at all times.

The infarction for supply chains is just a few days or weeks ahead. The first test will be a ship with 2,500 containers landing in Long Beach, CA on Friday. It's the first that set sails from Japan after the quake. It's arrival is a sign that the automobile factories in North America and Europe only have two weeks before the supply pipeline (from before the quake) is empty.

Japan is a premier source for car (consumer) electronics - 35% of the global market, chips are $7.3b annually. Top management in car companies is fearful since the lack of highly specialized parts from Japan could stop production. 20,000 individual parts are needed for a compact car alone. E.g. Hitachi Automotive produces 60% of the global supply of a part that measures air flow in motors. The factory north of Tokyo is now closed.

Merck produces the glossy pigment Xirallic 40km away from Fukushima. Production has been halted. Consequences: Chrysler has limited its retailers to ten colors. Ford eliminated some black and red tones.

Mayhem is brewing in the auto parts pipeline from Japan to the rest of the world. 40 suppliers of the three largest Japanese car companies have halted production due to quake damage, rolling blackouts, or radiation danger. Japan produces 13% of the world's cars. Toyota has closed 11 factories, Honda has 110 suppliers in the quake area, ten of them can't say when they will restart production.

According to iSuppli, if the affected suppliers can't restart production within six weeks then a third of production could be cut in the worst case. "It would be very difficult for every big manufacturer to escape this disaster." says Michael Robinet of IHS. IHS has marked the calender at the beginning of the third week in April. It could be the start of serious production delays.



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 29th, 2011 at 12:02:03 PM EST
That this is a very powerful argument against globalization, pales beside the human cost.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 12:14:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, that's an argument against excessive efficiency at the cost of redundancy, except who gives a fuck if we can't get our new toys for a few weeks or months?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 12:37:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it not the same thing?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 12:55:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just In Time logistics = Globalization !!!???

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 01:02:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Globalization is a PR-term that tends to shift meaning, but one of the meanings at least contains the system of global just in time logistics, in particular in multinational corporations.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:51:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Happy-Happy Neo-Classical EconoLand, where the Invisible Hand of the Market spreads Magic Pixie-Fairy Dust where 'ere it is needed, the Supply of Goods (and transportation infrastructures) always meets the Demand for Goods (and transportation infrastructures.)

And we know this because the Soviet Union collapsed.

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

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:40:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Best comment evar.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 03:56:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
globalisation as we know it is dependent on cheapish oil, so much of this nonsense of it being 'efficient' to make necessary parts the other side of the planet will go away as the real price emerges from consequences, just as we see with nukes at fukushima.
there's no-one more blind that he who doesn't want -or care- to see.
we were seduced by it's tacky charm, didn't eschew it enough for moral reasons, now we get to find out how morality is ultimately the most pragmatic of virtues.

and for such baubles do we toss away our heritage...

'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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 01:04:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Duplicate deleted.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 01:23:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
globalisation as we know it is dependent on cheapish oil

I must disagree with this. Globalization is dependent not on cheapish oil, but on the popular support for free trade, and governments removing import quotas, tarifss or outright trade bans. We had (and currently have) globalization when trade was free but oil dear (or irrelevant, as ships ran on wind or coal). We did not have globalization when trade was unfree but oil cheap. Globalization is to a much greater degree about politics and policy, than it is about energy costs.

It is about energy and technology too, but not the way most people might think. The invention of the container is a much greater force for globalization than $150 oil will ever be against it. This is because globalization is about free trade on the high seas, and oil prices or not, it's still dead cheap to transport containers on these huge ships. Local markets served by trucks might make some products very dear indeed, while transoceanic trade is still abundant.

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

by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:09:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
We had (and currently have) globalization when trade was free but oil dear (or irrelevant, as ships ran on wind or coal).

yes, that's why i said 'as we know it'.

until the spice trade, globalisation was rational. even spices served to relieve culinary boredom and preserve foods longer.

today's globalisation is different, 2000 mile lettuces are irrational, though there are still some who'd disagree, pointing to text and numbers to back them up.

it's the old problem of trusting the rational intellect too much. here be dragons.

the japanese are wizards at added value, more cunning craftsmen are impossible to find, but if you base your global wealth capture on other countries' raw materials and your IP, sooner or later that tower's going to fall, as resources are finite, and technology jumps borders. it's amazing, ~and a testament to their amazing creativity~ that their economy is 3rd on earth, considering their size and physical resource deficiency.

globalisation used to be about meeting real needs intelligently, entirely rational. my valley grows better spuds, yours grows better rutabagas, we trade, win-win.

pretty much all down hill from there...

;)

'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 30th, 2011 at 02:31:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The first test will be a ship with 2,500 containers landing in Long Beach, CA on Friday. It's the first that set sails from Japan after the quake.

That ship already arrived last Friday and went through a Coast Guard inspection with no problems. Not counting the fishing boats and small coastal craft that got caught up in the tsunami, the only ship that I know with any problems is the MOL Presence (see my earlier comment). The shipping line may have to buy the load on that one - a pretty strong incentive to stay away from Tokyo/Yokohama.

OOCL and Hapag-Lloyd have rerouted to Osaka. Otherwise it's business as usual for Maersk, Hamburg-Süd and a host of others (K-Line, MSC, China Shipping, APL, Yang Ming) serving Tokyo. For a summary, see also this NYT report from a few days ago.

For the the Tokyo traffic rerouted to Osaka, I imagine most of the containers will be trucked north since JR Freight is not set up to handle a lot of ISO boxes in that they have very few overhead cranes and instead use forklifts at their terminals (the vast majority of containers that move on JR are the railroad's own non-ISO 12' boxes).

Trucking this freight north will definitely add time and cost to these moves. My guess is that the shipping companies that move to Osaka will lose this freight to those that stay in Tokyo. The ones that hold out longest will benefit with both higher volumes and higher rates.

by Jace on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:51:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To follow up and to clear up some misreporting due to complexity of the liner business, the only shipping company that is explicitly avoiding Tokyo, Yokohama and until tomorrow, Nagoya is Hapag-Lloyd.

Hapag-Lloyd operates transpacific routes in a pooling arrangement known as the Grand Alliance along with OOCL, NYK and MISC. As a result, those companies have also had impacts on some of their Japan trade. NYK and OOCL continue to serve Tokyo and Yokohama on their other, non-alliance routes.

Hapag-Lloyd's move has been driven in part by ship owner Claus-Peter Offen who has stated that if his ships are 'affected' by radiation, they are not insured. At least one of the Hapag-Lloyd ships serving Japan, the Vancouver Express, is owned directly by Offen.

by Jace on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 10:47:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Letters From Fukushima: Tepco Worker Emails - Japan Real Time - WSJ

As you know, most of the workers at 1F and 2F (Note -- possible reference to Fukushima Plant No. 2, or Daini) are local residents and victims of the quake. There are many workers whose houses were washed away.

I myself have had to stay in the disaster measurement headquarters the entire time ever since the earthquake occurred, and have been fighting alongside my colleagues without any sleep or rest. Personally, my entire hometown, Namie-machi, which is located along the coast, was washed away by the tsunami. My parents were washed away by the tsunami and I still don't know where they are. Normally I would rush to their house as soon as I could. But I can't even enter the area because it is under an evacuation order. The Self-Defense Forces are not conducting a search there. I'm engaged in extremely tough work under this kind of mental condition...I can't take this any more!

The quake is a natural disaster. But Tepco should be blamed for contamination caused by the radioactive materials released from the nuclear plants.

It seems to me local residents' feelings are heightened so much that the unspoken sentiment is that the quake occurred because of Tepco.



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 29th, 2011 at 12:08:36 PM EST
These bits are weird:

Letters From Fukushima: Tepco Worker Emails - Japan Real Time - WSJ

Please watch out for the hidden strength of nuclear power. I'll make sure we will make a recovery.

...

The company may get rid of nuclear power to save the company, but we will fight until the end. I beg you to give us continuous support from the headquarters.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 12:18:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That second line, it looks like someone is saying "This is costing the shareholders too much, its time  to just dump the plants out of the company and do a runner from the problem" and the staff onsite are horrified

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 29th, 2011 at 12:35:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the "split the company" scenario for TEPCO's bailout/nationalization
Either TEPCO will be bailed out with free money, or it will be split into a good firm and a bad firm with the government taking over the bad firm, or the government will take over the entirety of TEPCO.


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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 01:05:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Fukushima Daini plant can in theory be re-started, so they are fearing for their jobs, but it is worded strangely.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:14:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The accident makes a case for a management structure where workers are more involved rather than anonymous investors. One of these do not risk any radiation exposure. The workers are the party most concerned with the safety.
by das monde on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:25:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't wait for the Clint Eastwood film.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 04:24:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chemistry isn't my gig so I can't bring much intelligence to a discussion but it occurs to an ignorant pumping relatively unfiltered sea water into the nuclear reactors means everything from trace minerals to hydro-carbons (from pollution) to amino-acids have come in contact with the fuel rods, meaning the potential they have undergone nuclear transmutation.

Am I off-base here?

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

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 01:49:56 PM EST
Well Chemistry is long in my past, and not above 1980's high school level, but from admittedly shaky memory you're right I think. other things are inflow water is meant to be kept with low oxygen in the parts per billion dissolved to stop internal piping layers of the inflow pipes from rusting.You also have an aim to keep the ph in a very limited range to keep electochemistry to a minimum between different metals inside the reactor All of this is going to strip the inside and drop flaked rubbish in through the heart 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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 02:15:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Visit any seaport to see how machinery deals with seawater...
by asdf on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:00:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima
At least part of the molten core, which includes melted fuel rods and zirconium alloy cladding, seemed to have sunk through the steel "lower head" of the pressure vessel around reactor two, Lahey said.

"The indications we have, from the reactor to radiation readings and the materials they are seeing, suggest that the core has melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel in unit two, and at least some of it is down on the floor of the drywell," Lahey said. "I hope I am wrong, but that is certainly what the evidence is pointing towards."

The major concern when molten fuel breaches a containment vessel is that it reacts with the concrete floor of the drywell underneath, releasing radioactive gases into the surrounding area. At Fukushima, the drywell has been flooded with seawater, which will cool any molten fuel that escapes from the reactor and reduce the amount of radioactive gas released.

Lahey said: "It won't come out as one big glob; it'll come out like lava, and that is good because it's easier to cool."



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 02:02:19 PM EST
we've heard any step away from nuclear from the UK in there

Japan may have lost race to save nuclear reactor | World news | The Guardian

His warning came as Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, signalled that Britain could take a step back from nuclear power in the wake of the disater.

Speaking on a trip to Mexico, Clegg said the resulting uncertainty for the nuclear industry could make it more likely the industry would need a public subsidy, which the coalition would be unable to provide.

"We have always said there are two conditions for the future of nuclear power [the next generation of power stations] have to be safe and can not let the taxpayer be ripped off," 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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 02:18:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought the recommended strategy was "run!" not "take a step back..."
by asdf on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:01:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What the article actually says is that reactor 2 may have been in a meltdown more serious one than previously assumed.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:08:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The IAEA's latest update has this:
http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html
The indicated temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV of Unit 1 has decreased from 323°C to 281°C and at the bottom of RPV remained stable at 134°C. There is a corresponding decrease in Drywell pressure.
At Unit 2 the indicated temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV has increased from 154°C to 177°C and at the bottom of RPV has increased from 78°C to 88°C. Indicated Drywell pressure remains at atmospheric pressure.

So Unit 2 drywell pressure is at atmospheric pressure (whereas Unit 1 is not).

What's that all about then? Does that mean reactor 2 isn't airtight now?

by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 04:56:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reactor 2 isn't airtight since the wetwell explosion two weeks ago.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 06:46:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ta for this. I'm trying to understand how the loss of containment / protection differs between reactor 1 and reactor 2.  There was an explosion at reactor 1 too, wasn't there? So did that explosion not breach the drywell, whereas reactor 2's drywell is breached? Do the differences in pressure readings tell us anything about the intactness of the innermost reactor vessels?
by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 02:57:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a hydrogen explosion in the building of reactor 1, but outside the reactor. The explosion was from hydrogen released form the containment vessel when venting steam to reduce the pressure. The explosion blew off the top of the building only. The similar explosion around reactor 3 looks like the building is reduced to rubble. The explosion around reactor 4 which also affecter the entire building took place because of hydrogen released from the spent fuel pool, not from the reactor which had had all its fuel moved to the pool for scheduled maintenance.

The explosion in reactor 2 was in the "torus" wetwell below the reactor. But the outer shell of the building is relatively intact.

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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 03:06:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Migeru. So reactor 2 has had an explosion below it, and breached the wetwell. The drywell at reactor 2 is depressurised, and so at atmospheric pressure.

And Richard Lahey thinks that the core may have "melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel in unit two, and at least some of it is down on the floor of the drywell"

Have I got all those bits right?
And we have a Mark 1:
and this: (click each to enlarge)

So are the contents of both the wetwell and drywell now exposed to the air inside the outermost reactor building, and there may be corium in the drywell - is that right? (or have I completely misunderstood?)

by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 04:09:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The drywell is flooded with water.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 04:59:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, if Corium formed it would solidify on contact with the water, with a possible steam explosion.

There's plenty of reason to believe meltdowns did occur, but are in the past.

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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 06:19:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Drops in temperature and pressure indicated an end to meltdown. However, the latest analyses of info readily released from over a week ago and discussed in the newer Fukushima threads indicate that limited meltdown probably still goes on: the tops of the rods are still out of the water, and radioactivity in the containment occasionally rises.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 08:07:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I fear that flooding the dry well with water might not solve the problem. It will certainly produce copious amounts of steam, but if the corium retains critical mass it can either re-melt or simply not be melted in the first place.

 A week ago, when I first heard the term "core catcher" I thought of a surface divided into diverging channels so that, should corium fall on it, the coruim would be divided by gravity into smaller and smaller portions down to a level at which re-criticality would be impossible. Perhaps I should say that I dreamed this was the case. Doing this would have involved only design time and the construction of a form to shape the surface of the dry well. But it turned out that the term "core catcher" was post hoc from attempts to stabilize Chernobyl.

Tom Burnett responding in comments noted that corium could not be diluted, but could be broken into smaller packets. I would note that this would only be a stable solution were it to be performed on a stable surface that had adequate heat capacity or heat removal capacity. If the corium melts through the (apparently flat) floor of the drywell and onto grade the next development would depend on the moisture content of the grade into which it melts and on whether geologic conditions happen to further disperse the corium or to re-concentrate it.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 08:17:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
Tom Burnett responding in comments noted that corium could not be diluted, but could be broken into smaller packets.
Corium also loses structural integrity as it decays radioactively.

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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 10:16:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Core catchers are pretty new inventions, and I don't know if any nuclear plants have reactors with them yet. The EPR has a core catcher, which works by spreading the corium out over a large concrete surface which cools the corium. The concrete is itself cooled by waterpipes inside the concrete.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 03:40:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For me, at least, this combined with the financial crisis has turned into a myth-killer on par with 9-11. Intellectually it's nothing new, but emotionally I can no longer deny how modern civilization is chained to narratives that completely exclude the future or the health of the planet in decision making.

I think we're going to have to experience a lot of decomplexification before new narratives can grow.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:14:49 PM EST
But you must admit that documentation of proper new narratives have been proposed and evolved for some time. that they've been given short shrift is part of the disease, but you can't deny the solutions have already been placed before the ill civilization.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 06:50:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree - there are a lot of people that are on board narrative-wise and emotionally, and there are even some living cultures around as well.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 07:23:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was just today having a conversation with one of my bosses at work, about the complete failure of financial regulation and the fact that the ongoing Global Clusterfuck has exposed the extent to which big business had accumulated political power. At one point he observed that issues of importance have become so technically complex that one cannot expect more than a handful of people to understand their implications, at which point democracy is pretty helpless. Also that much of this complexification is unnecessary obfuscation good only to hide fraud in plain sight.

So, decomplexification is a must. However, that doesn't take place smoothly. What's to be expected is catastrophic decomplexification followed by adaptive radiation.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 07:03:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think one of the most damaging narratives is the one that suggests the most important failures are caused by poor academic modelling and prediction - and not political and psychological failures created by a belief system that is inherently disconnected from modelling and prediction.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 07:46:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the dominance and continuation of that belief system has been and continues to be bought by self interested elites.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:30:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That and the fact that this belief system is masquerading as academic modelling and prediction.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 02:41:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You have scientist who arrive at theories, and do modelling and prediction based on these theories, in all good faith. They may be pretty sure of the validity of their theories, and obviously find great gratification, not to speak of career prospects, when these theories are widely adhered to. If these theories tend to reinforce the prejudices of the deciders and the opinion-makers, a vulgarized, simplified, dumbed-down version will become part of the belief system of these people.

The fact that, in the general case the deciders and opinion makers don't actually understand what underlies the modelling and prediction, is what makes the whole thing religious.

In the case of the nuclear industry, it's not the nuclear scientists who are at fault. The industrials and the politicians are at fault, because of wilfully poor risk assessment. The modelling and prediction can only be as good as the politically-determined parameters permit.

In the case of economics... the theories are bunk anyway, and the deciders and opinion makers have been taken for a ride. They are slowly discovering that there is no Santa Claus, but they are trying to hide that from the kids.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 04:39:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been watching what lawyers do recently. And it's obvious that it's a key principle of law is that truth is whatever you can get away with.

If you have a court case where your client is responsible for an event that harms people, you use FUD to confuse the jury, you spread the blame around, you use legal precedent to limit the evidence that's presented in court, you find expert witnesses who agree with you, and so on. If you can lie without being caught for perjury, you'll do it.

Truth is irrelevant. Persuading the jury is all that matters.

Many politicians are lawyers. This is how their minds work. The scientific ideal of impartial research and peer reviewed discussion is completely alien to them.

And the financial elites are even less sophisticated. They care about the end of quarter balance sheet.

Meanwhile CEOs and other board level bobble heads care more about their income and personal status than they do the businesses they "lead." Any event, organisation, movement or principle which interferes with their aims is bad.

So you have different groups playing by completely different rules, and they all assume their own rules are the only ones that matter.

No wonder it's a mess.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 05:12:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have been thinking that CEOs and other board level bobble heads in companies that own nuclear reactors should be mandated to report for clean-up duties if a serious incident occurs at one of the plants the company owns. Regardless of if the accident happens during or after their term in office.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 02:18:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as theyre only allowed to push brooms and shovels. Last thing you want is them interfering in the actual clearup

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 30th, 2011 at 03:42:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They can get to hold the dosimeter.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 03:50:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
from experience you'd not want them to read the readings off them

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 30th, 2011 at 04:17:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...the deciders and opinion makers have been taken for a ride.

Charitably, perhaps for the most of them. But there have been and are people who understand what is at stake and pay well to insure that favorable views prevail.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 10:19:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
a belief system that is inherently disconnected from modelling and prediction reality.

fify

'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 30th, 2011 at 03:01:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. Nuclear Power Plants: How Safe Are They? - ABC News
Among the litany of violations at U.S. nuclear power plants are missing or mishandled nuclear material, inadequate emergency plans, faulty backup power generators, corroded cooling pipes and even marijuana use inside a nuclear plant, according to an ABC News review of four years of Nuclear Regulatory Commission safety records.

And perhaps most troubling of all, critics say, the commission has failed to correct the violations in a timely fashion.

"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has very good safety regulations but they have very bad enforcement of those regulations," said David Lochbaum, a nuclear scientist with the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists.



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 29th, 2011 at 04:37:42 PM EST
Safe as houses, clearly.

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 Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:40:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Oil Drum | Fukushima Open Thread - Tue 3/29

Here is a fun one:
The image is too big, so here is the link:
http://www.npl.washington.edu/monitoring/webfm_send/15

Some kids wanted to see the arrival of the radioactive debris.
So they made a collector of the physics building air inlet!
The green line is the lead shielding all by itself: nothing.
The red line is the day before: March 16 2011: nothing.
Blue line is March 17 2011: Very nice, clear signal for Iodine 131.
This is a spectrogram of particle energies:
The vertical axis is how dense the signal was.
The horizontal axis is how energetic the particle was.
Different materials have different sets and amplitudes of peaks.

This is an exquisitely sensitive instrument.
It demonstrates the fact of the arrival of the debris.
The amount of debris is vanishingly small.

The experiment:
http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1103/1103.4853v2.pdf
http://www.npl.washington.edu/monitoring/

All things that radiate radiation radioactively:
http://www.nndc.bnl.gov/



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 29th, 2011 at 07:41:45 PM EST
The Oil Drum | Fukushima Open Thread - Tue 3/29
Nuclear power in the US is largely an eastern phenomenon. In the West (by which I mean west of the Great Plains 

<snip>

If you assume that no new nukes will be built, and existing nuclear licenses will not be renewed, the East is looking at (in really round numbers) 25% of their current power output disappearing in the the next 20 years or less. That's an enormously bigger problem to handle than the West will have if its eight reactors are decommissioned on schedule. I suspect that the eastern states will face either very sharp price increases or relatively draconian conservation programs (two ways of achieving the goal) in order to meet that decrease in power output. I expect to see some painful regional frictions when eastern politicians attempt to impose the conservation and/or price pain uniformly across the entire country.


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 29th, 2011 at 07:45:13 PM EST
However, in an astounding case of bad timing, a proposal for a 3,000 MW plant (largish but not gigantic) is being floated this week in south-central Colorado.

...the nuclear power plant is essential for the economic development of Pueblo County. He said along with more energy and tax revenue it would bring hundreds of construction jobs and permanent positions to Southern Colorado.

The locals are not very happy...

http://www.kktv.com/home/headlines/Pueblo_Nuclear_Plant_Debate_Continues_118060224.html

by asdf on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:07:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where would they get the water? The Arkansas River?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:27:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess so. The downstream folks (including suburbs of Denver that own water rights in the Arkansas basin, and would not be happy if those rights were messed up by an accident) have not been heard from yet...
by asdf on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 05:09:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]


The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 08:16:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why can't they increase their power output by 1% per year for 20 years by other means?

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 30th, 2011 at 01:45:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the economy has to GrowTM by 2 % each year in real terms. So it's not a 1 % per year increase, it's a 3 % per year increase.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 02:44:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
1% per year over baseline...

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 30th, 2011 at 02:50:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because The MarketTM will only increase the baseline rate of construction in response to "very sharp price increases." And you have to rely on The MarketTM, because the Soviet Union failed. So there.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 03:24:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And because the Global Financial Clusterfuck never happened. And if it happened if doesn't matter. And if it matters it was because of the government.

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 30th, 2011 at 05:14:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing."

- Migeru

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 05:18:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English
The latest research on the March 11 tsunami that slammed into Ofunato city in Iwate Prefecture, northern Japan shows that it was nearly 30 meters high.

A joint research team from Yokohama National University and University of Tokyo surveying the Ofunato city shoreline made the discovery.

They found fishing equipment scattered on the high cliff of the city's Ryori Bay and have determined the tsunami reached as high as 29.6 meters.


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 29th, 2011 at 07:59:26 PM EST
NHK WORLD English
France says it will send 3 more nuclear experts to Japan to help with efforts to remove highly radioactive water from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Two other French experts are already in Japan and holding talks with the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company. The 5 are from French-based AREVA, one of the world's biggest nuclear energy firms.

They will help eliminate the polluted water that is hampering efforts to restore the plant's cooling functions.


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 29th, 2011 at 08:00:28 PM EST
Networks Across Europe Are Pulling "Simpsons" Episodes With Nuclear Energy Gags

Viewers in Austria, Germany and Switzerland won't be hearing much about the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant for the foreseeable future.

Television stations in those countries are pulling or editing episodes of "The Simpsons" that contain jokes about nuclear disasters or radiation effects.

Executive producer Al Jean was supportive of the decision, but also added that Homer Simpson will continue to work at the plant.



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 29th, 2011 at 08:08:53 PM EST
If only it were as simple as having undertrained and mentally deficient technicians...

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 08:27:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, with mentally deficient politicians and regulators, anything goes...
by asdf on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:08:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English
Radioactive water found in and outside reactor buildings is delaying work to restore the cooling functions of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Lighting was switched on again in the control room of the No.4 reactor on Tuesday. Workers also connected an external power source to the display panel of the first reactor's control room, allowing it to show the status of some equipment.

The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, believes it is highly likely that the water in an underground tunnnel next to the No.2 reactor's turbine building has the same source as a puddle in the basement.

The firm says the radioactive levels on the surface of the tunnel water are almost as high as those for the water in the basement.


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 29th, 2011 at 08:18:34 PM EST
Remember the "puddle in the basement" is likely 2 metres deep.

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 30th, 2011 at 01:50:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
im getting more and more convinced that puddle is a mistranslation of 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 30th, 2011 at 06:44:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like that 12 hours prediction was pretty spot on.



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 29th, 2011 at 08:45:33 PM EST
Maybe they are reading ET.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:45:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gov't mulling new steps to bring Fukushima nuke plant under control    TOKYO, March 30, Kyodo

The government is considering applying new measures to prevent the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant from further spreading radioactive particles, its top spokesman said Wednesday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference that the government and nuclear experts are discussing ''every possibility'' to bring the plant under control and that some measures that have been reported by the media are included in their options.

Media reports said that the government and the experts have been studying the feasibility of new steps such as covering reactors of the plant with special cloth to reduce the amount of radioactive particles flying away from the facility and using a big tanker to collect the contaminated water. (My bold.)



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:31:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
People should be paying us for this. :)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 04:25:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 04:46:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Somewhere I saw a comment by, I believe, a TEPCO official to the effect that it might be difficult to get a tanker close enough to the plant to transfer contaminated water. Of course this is why I had suggested using one or more of the empty freshwater barges, which we know can get close enough, to shuttle between the plant and a tanker.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 01:21:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 http://lewis.armscontrolwonk.com/files/2011/03/Cause_of_the_high_Cl38_Radioactivity.pdf (PDF warning)

WHAT WAS THE CAUSE OF THE HIGH Cl-38 RADIOACTIVITY IN THE FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI REACTOR #11
F. Dalnoki-Veress
March 28 2011
I have been totally consumed the last few weeks by one thing, day and night, and those are the events unfolding in Japan. I keep on alternating between complete disbelief and acceptance of the gravity of the situation, but mostly disbelief. And I am not the only one. Most of the nuclear physicists and engineers with whom I have spoken since the incident cannot - will not - believe that it is possible that some of the fuel that is melting could somehow produce little pockets that could go critical. I believed them for the longest time until the following came on the Kyodo news website (relevant text italicized below for emphasis) and I did the following analysis.


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 29th, 2011 at 08:56:15 PM EST
It appears that F. Dalnoki-Veress may be the author of the "neutron beam" stories. I think that he is referring to energetic neutrons given off by fission processes resulting from re-criticality. He may be unaware that using the term "neutron beam" implies a somewhat coherent beam to many readers. I can see energetic neutrons but having them focused in a beam would be really scary.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:52:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jeffrey Lewis * FEPC Info Sheet 3/28
We had an oddly bloodless discussion this morning of the unfolding events at Fukushima.  One thing that struck me about the panel, with perhaps Mark Hibbs excepted, was the gap in perception between nuclear industry and the public at large.  The panel seemed to view this as an unfortunate inconveneince for the coming nuclear renaissance.  To me, at least, that seems like the captain of the Titanic wondering whether he's still going to make his dinner reservations.


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 29th, 2011 at 09:02:02 PM EST
Japan: The morning snapshot March 30 - EARTHQUAKE 11,168 are dead and 16,407 are missing after the March 11 earthqua... http://ow.ly/1bY6FY

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 29th, 2011 at 09:08:56 PM EST
TEPCO Shares Suspended After Nationalization Report; Billions Of Capital In Flux  Zero Hedge

As reported earlier on Zero Hedge, the next step for TEPCO is most likely nationalization. While this is likely great for bondholders (if an American bailout model is consumed where there is no creditor impairment), it is not that hot for shareholders, who may lose most/all of their investment. Not surprisingly, we have just heard from Reuters that TEPCO shares are now suspended following the earlier nationalization reports: "Tokyo Electric shares were untraded due to a glut of sell orders at 626 yen, down 10 percent from Monday's close. The stock has lost 70 percent since the earthquake and tsunami." And so, the rules change in the middle of the game once again. Only this time it was visible from a mile away.

Also reported in WSJ.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 09:59:33 PM EST
Also predicted on ET two weeks ago.

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 30th, 2011 at 02:08:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 02:47:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is this the same guy who was so shocked by the PM barging into his HQ asking 'WTF is going on here?' and setting up a crisis office there headed by himself two weeks ago  that he spent two days 'ill' in another wing of the building?

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 30th, 2011 at 02:52:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The same, Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Masataka Shimizu.
by das monde on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 03:56:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the guy whose whereabouts remain mysterious, and who is rumoured to have left the country and/or committed suicide.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 05:17:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Vanishing act by Japanese executive during nuclear crisis raises questions - The Washington Post
Amid rumors that Shimizu had fled the country, checked into a hospital or committed suicide, company officials said Monday that their boss had suffered an unspecified "small illness" because of overwork after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake sent a tsunami crashing onto his company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

...

Vanishing in times of crisis is something of a tradition among Japan's industrial and political elite. During Toyota's recall debacle last year, the carmaker's chief also went AWOL. "It is very, very sad, but this is normal in Japan," said Yasushi Hirai, the chief editor of Shyukan Kinyobi, a weekly news magazine.

...

Shimizu's vanishing act "is not so much extremely strange as inexcusable," said Takeo Nishioka, the chairman of the upper house of Japan's Diet, or parliament. Speaking to reporters, Nishioka described as "mysterious" Shimizu's refusal to join the head of the nuclear safety agency at a briefing on the crisis for parliament. "I cannot understand this," Nishioka fumed.



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 30th, 2011 at 05:36:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I keep imagining a possible conversation between PM Kan and TEPCO's management on march 15.

In it, the PM basically tells TEPCO "this is probably going to cost more to clean up than the legal cap on your liability, which I'm pretty confident you're not insured for. In addition, you're going to have to write off the reactors. Taken together, these losses mean you're probably bust. Since you're a strategic service provider, we'll have to bail you out or take you over when this is all said and done. I'll tell you what - we'll take you over right now, instead, and direct the emergency operations ourselves".

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 30th, 2011 at 05:29:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Me too, but I would have been shouting. :-)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 09:42:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I cannot even imagine how "WTF is going on here?" sounds in Japanese. I bet the Prime Minister didn't deliver the meaning with a polite 2-paragraph circumlocution.

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 30th, 2011 at 10:41:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
TEPCO: Rumors That CEO Masataka Shimizu May Have Fled Country
the odds grow that a nationalization will wipe out all the equity
No, no, no!!!111one

The odds grow that TEPCO will become insolvent, wiping out all the equity and requiring a nationalization.

Nationalization doesn't wipe out equity: an equity wipeout requires nationalization. Where do these narratives come from?

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 30th, 2011 at 05:48:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where do these narratives come from?

From people who want to externalize the blame? Aided and abetted by journalists and politicians who instinctively use the third person impersonal to avoid offense?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 09:46:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From Chicago?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 01:02:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Radioactive water obstructing Fukushima cooling operation  Asahi Shimbun  2011/03/30

The water has filled trenches extending from the turbine buildings at the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactors and is also lying in pools in the basements of the three reactors' turbine buildings. It is thought that the water in the trenches flowed from the basements.

Dealing effectively with the contaminated water is vital to containing the spread of radiation. It has to be removed to allow the operation to cool the fuel rods in the reactor cores to move forward. Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the plant's operator, said it was planning to pump the contaminated water into storage tanks on the grounds of the plant. That will involve shifting thousands of tons of radioactive water.

The trenches have a capacity of about 13,300 tons, but as much as 10,000 tons of contaminated water may already have poured into them. The trenches house electrical cables and pipes providing seawater to cooling pumps and are normally kept dry, allowing workers to inspect the equipment.

At least they are no longer referring to the radioactive water as "puddles", though I did not see any references to 1 Sievert radiation levels. The article does provide useful detail as to the existing facilities at the plant.

TEPCO officials are putting priority on removing the water from the turbine buildings.

....

TEPCO workers will first have to move that relatively uncontaminated water to condensate storage tanks outside of the buildings. Those tanks themselves already contain some water.

At the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors, temporary hoses are being used to move the water in the storage tanks to a storage tank for a suppression pool located further from the two turbine buildings. That work began Monday.

There are two suppression pool storage tanks south of the No. 4 reactor. Those tanks are used for all of the reactors at the Fukushima plant and their total capacity is 6,800 tons. There is currently only room for about 4,000 tons of water.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 12:13:32 AM EST
NHK WORLD English

Edano: Cover may be used to stop radiation

Japan's top government spokesman says the government and experts are considering whether to cover the reactor buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant with a special material, to stop the spread of radioactive substances.

...Edano said monitoring for plutonium contamination may be extended to areas outside the plant compound since trace amounts of the element were found in soil on the plant grounds.

Edano said consumption and shipping restrictions on farm products will be lifted once their safety is consistently confirmed.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:56 +0900 (JST)



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 01:41:27 AM EST
Uh - ground water?

Building a Not as Bad as Chernobyl-style concrete sarcophagus won't solve that problem.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 05:19:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English

High radiation levels in waters off Fukushima

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says radioactive iodine in excess of 3,300 times the national limit was found in seawater near the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Tuesday afternoon. This was the highest measured in waters off the plant.

The level of radioactive iodine-131 found 330 meters south of a water outlet of the plant was 3,355 times regulated standards at 1:55 PM on Tuesday.

The outlet is used to drain water from the plant's No. 1 to No. 4 reactors.

Radioactive iodine-131 measured 50 meters north of the water outlet of the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors was 1,262 times the regulated standards at 2:10 PM on Tuesday.

This was also the highest reading at this location.

An agency official told reporters on Wednesday morning that people in a 20-kilometer radius area from the troubled plant have been ordered to evacuate and the radioactive substance will be significantly diluted in the ocean by the time people consume marine products. The official added that efforts need to be made to prevent the contaminated water from flowing into the sea.

Airborne radiation levels continue to decline in most prefectures, including Fukushima and nearby Ibaraki.

Municipalities measured the radiation levels between 00:00 AM and 9:00 AM on Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:23 +0900 (JST)



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 01:43:10 AM EST
so a couple of hours after we  were told that the sea was improving we get figures twice as high as the previous 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 Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 06:54:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK yesterday  

The science ministry says levels of radiation in seawater near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are on the decline.

The ministry has been collecting seawater samples at 4 locations 30 kilometers off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture since March 23rd. The locations were at intervals of 20 kilometers from north to south.

The ministry started the research after waters near the plant's drain outlets were found to be contaminated with a high density of radioactive substances.
 



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 30th, 2011 at 06:58:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
of radioactive water, they are no longer letting it piss away into the sea?

Am I warm?

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

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 12:21:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<facepalm>

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 30th, 2011 at 12:23:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 04:40:07 AM EST
Tsunami Caught Japan's Nuclear Industry Off Guard - NYTimes.com
After an advisory group issued nonbinding recommendations in 2002, Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant owner and Japan's biggest utility, raised its maximum projected tsunami at Fukushima Daiichi to between 17.7 and 18.7 feet -- considerably higher than the 13-foot-high bluff. Yet the company appeared to respond only by raising the level of an electric pump near the coast by 8 inches, presumably to protect it from high water, regulators said.

Hm!? The Areva presentation quoted upthread speaks of 7 m high retaining walls designed to protect against 6.5 m tsunamis. That's no contradiction with the 5.7 m maximum expected tsunami above, but it is with the 4 m high bluffs, unless someone confused those with the retaining walls, or the Areva guy got erroneous information.

Regarding the article's main point, that earthquake and tsunami risk assessment was based on the largest even in the historical record rather than probability assessment, I note that the same is true for many European plants.

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

by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 04:56:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
risk assessment was based on the largest even in the historical record rather than probability assessment
That's a robust statistical method. No "probabilistic assessment" will provide a reliably better estimate than the "largest historical event" (which is also a statistical assessment).

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 30th, 2011 at 05:17:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When the largest possible quake at a rupture zone happens every few thousand years and the historical record reaches back a few centuries, I don't think the historical record suffices. (Which doesn't mean that one shouldn't call paleoseismology for help; the NYT article does mention new data about a tsunami in the 9th century that wasn't used for re-assessments.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 05:34:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does "the historical record" for Vesuvius include the Pompey eruption, or just the last 200 years?

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 30th, 2011 at 05:43:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you ask about the related earthquake, I don't know, if the volcano eruption, yes but what's the relevance.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 06:28:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That "historical data" includes presumably all known events at the time the study is made.

For Earthquakes there's the Gutenberg-Rischter probabililistic model, but for Tsunamis all there is is the historical, archaeological or paleogeological record.

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 30th, 2011 at 06:46:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
According to the researcher, Yukinobu Okamura, and the records of a government council where he made the warning, TEPCO asserted that there was flexibility in the quake resistance design of its plants and expressed reluctance to raise the assumption of possible quake damage citing a lack of sufficient information.

...

Okamura had warned in 2009 of massive tsunami based on his study since around 2004 of the traces of a major tsunami believed to have swept away about a thousand people in the year 869 after a magnitude 8.3 quake off northeastern Japan.

He had found in his research that tsunami from the ancient quake had hit a wide range of the coastal regions of northeastern Japan, at least as far north as Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture and as far south as the town of Namie in Fukushima Prefecture -- close to the Fukushima Daiichi plant -- penetrating as much as 3 to 4 kilometers inland.



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 30th, 2011 at 06:55:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'Worse Than Chernobyl': When the Fukushima Meltdown Hits Groundwater | Common Dreams

Fukushima is going to dwarf Chenobyl. The Japanese government has had a level 7 nuclear disaster going for almost a week but won't admit it.

The disaster is occurring the opposite way than Chernobyl, which exploded and stopped the reaction. At Fukushima, the reactions are getting worse. I suspect three nuclear piles are in meltdown and we will probably get some of it.

It is not clear that meltdown is ongoing.

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 30th, 2011 at 05:24:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kyodo - Edano suggests scrapping all reactors at Fukushima Daiichi plant  

Top government spokesman Yukio Edano suggested Wednesday that all of the reactors at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant should be scrapped.

Asked if all six reactors must be decommissioned, Edano said in a news conference, ''I believe it is very clear from the viewpoint of society. That is my perception.''

His remarks came after Tsunehisa Katsumata, chairman of plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., told a separate news conference, ''We have no choice but to scrap reactors 1 to 4 if we look at their conditions objectively.''

Following the devastating March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that hit northeastern and eastern Japan, four of the six reactors at the nuclear power plant northeast of Tokyo have lost their cooling functions and leaked radioactive materials into the air and sea.

The No. 5 and 6 reactors, which have been relatively less problematic than the other four, are already in a state of cold shutdown.  



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 30th, 2011 at 07:03:35 AM EST
So all this time - after three hydrogen explosions, an indeterminate number of meltdowns, and dousing with salt water - they've been considering a restart?

How do you restart a reactor after a meltdown? Because if the core is radioactive slag, fuel and control rod management must be - interesting.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 07:24:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i think its more theyre scrapping 5 and 6 as well as the others

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 30th, 2011 at 07:29:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
although the BBC is only saying 4

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 30th, 2011 at 08:15:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC:

Locals would be consulted on reactors 5 and 6, which were shut down safely.

What locals? They're all at least 30km away.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 08:39:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe they're referring to the emergency workers at Fukushima, most of whom are locals.

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 30th, 2011 at 08:41:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See also:

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 08:58:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
asahi.com(朝日新聞社):Stricken nuclear plant faces staffing difficulties - English

The prolonged crisis at the quake-stricken nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture is increasingly wearing down front-line workers, as the exhausting and dangerous work shows no signs of letting up.

Companies supplying the workers say safety fears have grown, particularly since three workers were exposed to high levels of radiation last Thursday from leaked water at the No. 3 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Although some workers continue to return to the plant to avert a catastrophe, others willing to help cool down the reactors acknowledge they are more concerned about their next paycheck.

"We have become very nervous," said a senior official of a company with business ties to Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), operator of the plant.

The official said the company is checking to ensure that TEPCO was not forcing workers to engage in too difficult a task.



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 30th, 2011 at 09:19:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ceebs:
Companies supplying the workers say
So, the emergency workers are contractors?

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 30th, 2011 at 09:23:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I keep seeing hints that a lot of this work is subcontracted, also hints that quite a few workers were allowed home after the initial quake, and they along with backup crews are missing after the Tsunami, so people in there working have been bought in from other plants. but nothing solid.

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 30th, 2011 at 09:41:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stricken nuclear plant faces staffing difficulties  Asahi Shimbun

The prolonged crisis at the quake-stricken nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture is increasingly wearing down front-line workers, as the exhausting and dangerous work shows no signs of letting up.

Companies supplying the workers say safety fears have grown, particularly since three workers were exposed to high levels of radiation last Thursday from leaked water at the No. 3 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Although some workers continue to return to the plant to avert a catastrophe, others willing to help cool down the reactors acknowledge they are more concerned about their next paycheck.

"We have become very nervous," said a senior official of a company with business ties to Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), operator of the plant.


An extended, if rambling, discussion follows.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 12:31:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan govt slams TEPCO for 'unacceptable' data error | India Reloaded.TV

The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), was criticised by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edono for describing the radiation levels as 10 million times higher than normal in water leaking from the No.2 reactor's turbine building, before correcting the figure to 100,000 times.

"Considering the fact that the monitoring of radioactivity is a major condition to ensure safety, this kind of mistake is absolutely unacceptable," Edano said, more than two weeks after the monster magnitude-9 quake and tsunami struck Japan's northeast leaving nearly 30,000 people dead or unaccounted for.

...

So far, 19 workers have been exposed to radiation exceeding 100 millisieverts at the plant, TEPCO said.

(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 30th, 2011 at 12:40:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
TEPCO officials are thinking through the prism of their balance sheet and potential corporate survivability. To accept that even units 1-4 are lost except for liability is hard for them to get their minds around. They are not samurai and would not find seppuku an acceptable out.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 01:00:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Their balance sheet is bust and we have foreseen it would be from the first week of the disaster.

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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 02:55:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tokyo Electric's Damaged Reactors May Take 30 Years, $12 Billion to Scrap - Bloomberg

Damaged reactors at the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant may take three decades to decommission and cost operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. more than 1 trillion yen ($12 billion), engineers and analysts said.

Four of the plant's six reactors became useless when sea water was used to cool them after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out generators running its cooling systems. The reactors need to be decommissioned, Tepco Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata said today. He couldn't give a timeframe.

All the reactors, including Units 5 and 6, will be shut down, and the government hasn't ruled out sealing the plant in concrete, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters today in Tokyo.



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 30th, 2011 at 11:08:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
12 billion dollars in cleanup costs? Good thing the Japanese government had recently doubled the operators' maximum liability to 1.2 billion. Oh, wait!

dvx:

Plant operator liability is exclusive and absolute, and power plant operators must provide a 'financial security amount' of ¥60 billion ($600 million). From 2010, this doubles to ¥120 billion ($1.2 billion). Beyond that, the government provides coverage, and liability is unlimited. The revision to the law also increases penalties, including fines, for nuclear companies operating plants without financial security, from the current maximum of ¥500,000 ($5040) up to ¥1 million ($10,090).
Oh, and, on the 30-year time span: Windscale fire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The reactor was unsalvageable; where possible, the fuel rods were removed, and the reactor bioshield was sealed and left intact. Approximately 6,700 fire-damaged fuel elements and 1,700 fire-damaged isotope canisters remain in the pile. The damaged reactor core was still slightly warm as a result of continuing nuclear reactions.[11] Windscale Pile 2, though undamaged by the fire, was considered too unsafe for continued use. It was shut down shortly afterward. No air-cooled reactors have been built since. The final removal of fuel from the damaged reactor was scheduled to begin in 2008 and continue for a further four years.
That's over 50 years after the accident.

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 30th, 2011 at 11:14:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Units 1-4 at Fukushima, That is seven nuclear disasters -- and counting. How many more?

The financing of new reactors should be required to take into account the cost of cleanup by paying into a fund to provide that cleanup with the cost being based on the historical failure rate with some, but not more than 50% downward modification for presumed design improvements. Those responsible for the solvency of that fund should have a voice in the setting or safety regulations.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 12:40:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're missing
one [INES level 6] incident to date:
  • Kyshtym disaster at Mayak, Soviet Union, 29 September 1957. A failed cooling system at a military nuclear waste reprocessing facility caused a steam explosion that released 70-80 tons of highly radioactive material into the environment. Impact on local population is not fully known. This is the only accident to go over 5 on scale besides Chernobyl.
and a number of INES level 5 incidents


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 30th, 2011 at 12:46:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I did have three of these listed. Quibble, quibble.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 12:53:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And two more were military accidents, two more (Chalk River, Lucens) were research reactors, one more a radioactive material in wrong hands incident. Only the ones you name were commercial reactors in need of such insurance you wrote about.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 01:05:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Windscale had a graphite core, which always complicates cleanup. A better comparison is TMI, where decontamination started after 5 years and was completed 7 years after that.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 01:13:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The cleanup cost was $1 billion.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 01:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English
Japan's agriculture ministry is to check soil around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for radiation, before the start of rice planting next month.

Levels of radioactive cesium-137 as high as 2,200 times the normal figure have been detected in soil about 40 kilometers northwest of the plant.

Cesium-137 stays in the environment for a long time, as it has a half-life of 30 years.

The agriculture ministry is preparing to check soil of 150 paddies located more than 30 kilometers from the plant.
Inspectors are to examine samples of soil 15 centimeters underground for radioactive cesium.


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 30th, 2011 at 08:21:32 AM EST
NHK WORLD English
The chief of the Tokyo Electric Power Company says he cannot now present a road map for resolving the serious accident at the firm's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, as many factors remain unclear.

TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata made the remark at a news conference on Wednesday.

He said a large volume of underground water with a high concentration of radioactive substances beneath the facility is hampering his firm's all-out efforts to cool reactors of the plant. He stressed the need to quickly restore the plant's cooling system.


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 30th, 2011 at 08:35:12 AM EST
Reuters - IAEA plans to host high-level nuclear safety meeting from June 20-24 in Vienna.

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 30th, 2011 at 09:41:47 AM EST
The Oil Drum | Fukushima Open Thread - Tue 3/29
NHK-World just announced that smoke could be seen rising from the Fukushima Daini (yes Daini) plant as of 6pm Japan time (about 1hr ago). No further info given. Edit: Reactor 1 turbine building said to be source of smoke at Daini.

Can't see anything on their site myself

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 30th, 2011 at 09:45:51 AM EST
Radioactive water removal hits snag, high iodine detected in sea | Kyodo News

On Wednesday evening, smoke was temporarily seen rising from a power distribution panel at the No. 1 reactor of the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant, some 10 kilometers south of the Daiichi power station, but it soon disappeared.

No radiation leak was confirmed from the site and nobody was injured in the incident, the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 10:20:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
TEPCO : Press Release | Smoke generation from the turbine building at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 2 (2nd Release)
On approximately 5:56 pm, March 30th 2011, TEPCO employee discovered smoke
generation from power panel (* )at the turbine building Unit 1 (Reactor cold
shoutdown). On 5:57 pm, March 30th 2011, TEPCO immediately reported this
incident to the fire department.

Subsequently the fire department consisting of TEPCO employee inspected the
area. On approximately 6:13 pm, March 30th 2011,we confirmed the smoke
generation stopped after interrupt electrical supply to the power panel.

From now, the fire department will conduct inspection around the area.

TEPCO will also conduct an investigation into a cause in detail.
This incident will not cause any effect of radiation externally.
(Previously announced on March 30th, 2011)

On 7:15 pm, March 30th 2011, the fire department made a judgmental decision
that this incident was caused fault of the power panel, they found no signs
of fire.

(* ) power panel: power supply board to supply electricity to the motor of
    a drawing water pump to the outdoor duct.<!-- press body -->



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 11:21:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Radioactive water removal hits snag, high iodine detected in sea | Kyodo News

Workers rushed to pump out radiation-polluted water that has been filling up the basement of the No. 1 reactor's turbine building and the tunnel-like trench connected to it, but they found out Tuesday a tank accommodating the water from the building had become full, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

The engineers also newly spotted water polluted with low-level radiation at a building designed for radioactive waste disposal at the plant, where the trench water is meant to be transferred. They nonetheless finished laying hoses to discharge the trench water, according to the agency.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 10:19:37 AM EST
At least they're not consciously just dumping the waste out to sea.

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 30th, 2011 at 10:40:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It will soon come to that if they don't get some high volume interim storage capability that is accessible from the site.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 12:43:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English
The Japanese and US governments are working together to tackle trouble at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The Japanese government has set up 4 working groups led by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama and prime ministerial advisor Goshi Hosono.

The groups include members of Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and related ministries; US military forces stationed in Japan; and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The groups are discussing measures to prevent radiation from leaking outside the plant and ways to handle damaged fuel rods.


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 30th, 2011 at 10:24:14 AM EST
Gov't orders utilities to prepare for tsunami with more backups | Kyodo News

The industry ministry ordered utility companies Wednesday to act within a month to prepare for a possible loss of power at their nuclear reactors when hit by unexpectedly large tsunami waves, as concerns are growing over the safety of nuclear power plants following the March 11 quake that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi complex.

They are instructed to secure vehicle-mounted power sources, deploy fire trucks that would supply water to the reactors, work out a procedure on how to deal with an emergency situation by using such vehicles, and carry out drills.

The measures are part of efforts to prevent a recurrence of the ongoing nuclear crisis at the plant in northeastern Japan, where the power grid and most of the emergency diesel generators were knocked out by the magnitude-9.0 quake and ensuing tsunami, resulting in the loss of the reactors' key cooling functions.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda said that the emergency measures are the ''first step'' to enhance safety at the country's nuclear reactors after the quake and that the government is also working to compile a set of drastic 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 30th, 2011 at 10:38:20 AM EST
Construction of nearby large scale storage capacity on high ground for freshwater and contaminated water storage, standby generators and fuel storage for same, along with pipes and power cables and supports sufficient to reach the reactors would seem in order.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 12:50:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters - IAEA says radiation levels at Iitate, 40km from Japan's Fukushima plant, exceed one of its 'operational criteria for evacuation'

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 30th, 2011 at 12:57:39 PM EST
Kan looks at separating nuclear safety agency from industry ministry | Kyodo News

Prime Minister Naoto Kan is looking into the feasibility of separating the country's nuclear safety agency from the industry ministry, government sources said Wednesday, as his government reviews the way it handles nuclear energy in the wake of Japan's worst nuclear accident.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which is responsible for the administration of nuclear safety issues, is currently under the wing of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The ministry has been actively promoting nuclear power, a point which critics say compromises the agency's role to ensure nuclear safety.



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 30th, 2011 at 01:10:23 PM EST
I found the English press releases of NISA (Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency). They bring quite detailed information. In the latest release, there is the
  • status report, which is more detailed than TEPCO's
  • overview per plant, with graphics, current water level, pressure etc. readings, and the detailed history for each plants
  • major parameters table, which brings some data we haven't seen before. For example, the radiation level in the dry well of the reactors: it ranges from 28.6 Sv/h (No. 3; on 24 March, it was 57.9 Sv/h!) to 40.5 Sv/h (No. 2).

The previous release also included
* radiation levels at several measuring points around the Daiichi and Daini plants, with map. There is one location with readings persistently around 1,250 μSv/h.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 02:00:10 PM EST
The Major Plant Parameters Table of the Status Report indicated that 1.5m to 2.25m of rods are exposed in each of reactors 1-3 and that the containment vessel of reactors 2 and 3 are at or near atmospheric pressure. This would be consistent with loss of containment vessel pressure. Unit 1 still has about 5 atmospheres of pressure while the readings for units 2 and 3 are confusing, as three of four readings show fractional atmospheric pressures, (with 100kPA being ~ 1 atmosphere.) Only reactor pressure vessel 1 has significant pressure above atmospheric or a reactor temperature close to design limit.

The supression pool in the torus appears to be intact on units 1 and 3 but there is no data on unit 2 where there were earlier reports of an explosion in the supression pool. The 46C reading for the temperature of the spent fuel pool in Unit 2 is consistent with other, earlier readings which are likely IR readings taken from helicopters or UAVs. The report only shows "indicator failure" for Units 1 & 3.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 04:57:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Helicopter readings were taken of the pools uncovered by hydrogen explosions, which also knocked out the installed measuring equipment.

Seeing the water levels, if there is no mistake in it, then meltdown can very well go on at the top of the rods...

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

by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 07:00:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps it is leak issues that prevents them from keeping the water at least over the top of the rods? Surely they cannot believe that leaving a meter or two exposed is acceptable.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 10:54:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US Government Responds to Nuclear Accident by Trying to Raise Acceptable Radiation Levels and Pretending that Radiation is Good For Us Guest Post by George Washington in naked capitalism Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The EPA is closing ranks with the nuclear power industry:

       EPA officials, however, refused to answer questions or make staff members available to explain the exact location and number of monitors, or the levels of radiation, if any, being recorded at existing monitors in California. Margot Perez-Sullivan, a spokeswoman at the EPA's regional headquarters in San Francisco, said the agency's written statement would stand on its own.

        Critics said the public needs more information.

        "It's disappointing," said Bill Magavern, director of Sierra Club California. "I have a strong suspicion that EPA is being silenced by those in the federal government who don't want anything to stand in the way of a nuclear power expansion in this country, heavily subsidized by taxpayer money."


The EPA has considered, off and on since 1992, significantly raising allowable radiation exposures. Since 2010 it has been on again, if hue and cry over Fukushima fall out doesn't derail their plans.

And now, the EPA is considering drastically raising the amount of allowable radiation in food, water and the environment.

As Michael Kane writes:

   In the wake of the continuing nuclear tragedy in Japan, the United States government is still moving quickly to increase the amounts of radiation the population can "safely" absorb by raising the safe zone for exposure to levels designed to protect the government and nuclear industry more than human life. It's all about cutting costs now as the infinite-growth paradigm sputters and moves towards extinction. As has been demonstrated by government conduct in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of Deepwater Horizon and in Japan, life has taken a back seat to cost-cutting and public relations posturing.The game plan now appears to be to protect government and the nuclear industry from "excessive costs"... at any cost.

    *

    In 1992, the EPA produced a PAGs manual that answers many of these questions. But now an update to the 1992 manual is being planned, and if the "Dr. Strangelove" wing of the EPA has its way, here is what it means (brace yourself for these ludicrous increases):

        * A nearly 1000-fold increase for exposure to strontium-90;
        * A 3000 to 100,000-fold hike for exposure to iodine-131; and
        * An almost 25,000 rise for exposure to radioactive nickel-63.

    The new radiation guidelines would also allow long-term cleanup thresholds thousands of times more lax than anything EPA has ever judged safe in the past.


While the tone may be a bit shrill it appears that Shadow Stats may soon have other than economic factors to track for comparison between old and revised definitions, limits and values. Changing the measuring stick appears to have helped The Masters of the Universe provide cover for their financial looting...

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 03:08:50 PM EST
NHK WORLD English
A Russian airline has partially suspended flights between Japan and the Russian Far East to cope with a sharp drop in passengers after the powerful earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan on March 11th.

Vladivostok Air has stopped its weekly flights between the Japanese city of Niigata on the Sea of Japan and Khabarovsk for the time being. It also plans to suspend weekly flights between Niigata and Vladivostok starting Saturday.


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 30th, 2011 at 06:26:46 PM EST
American Airlines to suspend 2 daily flights between U.S., Japan | Kyodo News

American Airlines said Wednesday it will suspend a total of two daily flights between the United States and Japan from April 7 through 25 due to reduced demand following the massive earthquake and tsunami disaster in northeastern Japan.

American will suspend a service between New York and Tokyo's Haneda airport launched in February, and one of the two daily flights between Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas and Narita airport near Tokyo. The two services are scheduled to be suspended after flights from Japan on April 6 and to resume with flights departing the United States on April 26.

Another major carrier, Delta Air Lines, has already decided to cut capacity on routes to Japan by a maximum of 20 percent, and it is possible that more carriers will follow suit.



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 30th, 2011 at 09:09:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When the Fukushima Meltdown Hits Groundwater | Hawai`i News Daily

Fukushima is going to dwarf Chenobyl. The Japanese government has had a level 7 nuclear disaster going for almost a week but won't admit it.

The disaster is occurring the opposite way than Chernobyl, which exploded and stopped the reaction. At Fukushima, the reactions are getting worse. I suspect three nuclear piles are in meltdown and we will probably get some of it.

If reactor 3 is in meltdown,  the concrete under the containment looks like lava. But Fukushima is not far off the water table. When that molten mass of self-sustaining nuclear material gets to the water table it won't simply cool down. It will explode - not a nuclear explosion, but probably enough to involve the rest of the reactors and fuel rods at the facility.

Pouring concrete on a critical reactor makes no sense - it will simply explode and release more radioactive particulate matter. The concrete will melt and the problem will get worse. Chernobyl was different - a critical reactor exploded and stopped the reaction. At Fukushima, the reactor cores are still melting down. The ONLY way to stop that is to detonate a ~10 kiloton fission device inside each reactor containment vessel and hope to vaporize the cores. That's probably a bad solution.



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 30th, 2011 at 06:48:25 PM EST
See upthread.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 07:02:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
missed 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 30th, 2011 at 07:06:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the comment thread:
Dr. Tom on March 30, 2011 at 9:48 am

Environmental activist group Greenpeace said it had confirmed radiation levels of up to 10 microsieverts per hour in Iitate village, 40 kilometres northwest of the plant, and urged the government to evacuate the area. "It is clearly not safe for people to remain in Iitate, especially children and pregnant women, when it could mean receiving the maximum allowed annual dose of radiation in only a few days," said its radiation safety expert Jan van de Putte. "The authorities must stop choosing politics over science and determine evacuation zones around the Fukushima nuclear plant that reflect the radiation levels being found in the environment."


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 07:40:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuclear Power Plant Explosion | Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant | Nuclear Accident
TEPCO reports three workers checking the condition of a seawater pipe got wet, soaking themselves through to their underwear. The seawater in the pipe was tested and found to not have any contamination. The report also says they were wearing anti-contamination suits (anti-Cs), just to be safe. Anyone working on a water system should be wearing water-proof anti-Cs, so their clothing underneath cannot get wet. I see a problem here with worker radiological safety...do you?


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 30th, 2011 at 09:15:14 PM EST
workers checking the condition of a seawater pipe got wet, soaking themselves through to their underwear

How were they checking it, by swimming intot the pipe?

Or did the check reveal the pipe was in a condition to spray water in all directions?

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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 02:52:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English
Workers are still struggling to resolve the problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant where the disposal of radioactive water is hindering cooling efforts.

The chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company, Tsunehisa Katsumata told reporters on Wednesday that it is uncertain when cooling functions can be restored to stabilize the situation at the plant.

He also said he doesn't think residents who have had to evacuate their homes near the plant will be able to return for several weeks.

Radioactive iodine and cesium have been found in
water coming from a tunnel outside the turbine building of the No.1 reactor and in the basement of the turbine buildings of reactors No.1 to 4.


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 30th, 2011 at 09:45:00 PM EST
NHK WORLD English
The UN nuclear watchdog has decided to dispatch a marine environment expert to Fukushima to analyze seawater surrounding the troubled nuclear power plant.

Participants at an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting in Vienna on Wednesday agreed to send an additional staff member from the Marine Environment Laboratory in Monaco to Japan this week.

The decision is in response to a request by the Japanese government. It comes as seawater near the Fukushima Daiichi power plant has been found to contain high levels of radiation.

The specialist will join Japanese experts on board a survey ship on Saturday to assess the radiation levels in waters surrounding the power plant.


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 30th, 2011 at 09:46:02 PM EST
NHK - Test to contain radioactive dust  

  Teams working on the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are going to use a synthetic resin to try and prevent radioactive dust from becoming airborne or being washed into the sea.

The hydrogen explosions earlier this month at the Number One and Three reactors spread contaminated dust and debris over a wide area.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company will begin sprinkling synthetic resin in certain places from Thursday. The resin is water-soluble and it is hoped that it will contain the contaminated dust.

TEPCO will use 9000 liters of synthetic resin to produce a 60000 liter solution. It will be sprinkled around the Number four and six reactors using water trucks.




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 30th, 2011 at 10:50:22 PM EST
So why does in need spraying round number six?

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 30th, 2011 at 10:51:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect mis-translation. No. 4 is the southernmost and No. 6 the northernmost.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 01:40:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
State considers options to deal with radioactivity at plant  Asahi Shimbun

Government officials are scrambling to devise emergency measures--including covering damaged reactor buildings and using robots--to deal with radioactive materials that have hindered work at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

....

One measure under discussion is spraying a special paint over radioactive materials attached inside the No. 1 to No. 4 reactor buildings and then using a special canvass structure to cover the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 reactor buildings, which have been damaged by hydrogen explosions. That plan could prevent radioactive materials from spreading through the air. A ventilation system with filters would be attached because of the danger of another explosion of hydrogen accumulating under the air-tight canvass structure.

Another measure under discussion would involve filling an empty tanker anchored at the harbor adjacent to the Fukushima No. 1 plant with highly contaminated water leaking into the basement of the turbine buildings of the No. 2 and other reactors. Pumps would be used to remove the radioactive water from the buildings.

Removal of the hazardous liquid would allow work to continue to restore power and the pumps needed to cool the reactor core and reduce the risk of radioactive water overflowing into the ocean. However, officials of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism have raised concerns about the lack of docking facilities in the area for a large tanker. Other officials opposed the plan due to concerns about the safety of workers who would be asked to pump the water from the plant.

Also under discussion is the use of robots and remote-control operating equipment because of the limits to what the workers can do amid the high radiation levels. Sources said the Japanese government has asked the business sector and the U.S. government for cooperation in the use of robotics.


I take little pleasure in comparing the alacrity with which the Japanese Government and TEPCO have responded to this catastrophe with that displayed by the Bush Administration in New Orleans after Katrina. Perhaps time was required to move the Government into the lead on this, but I cannot but believe that a good incident commander would have had independent teams of experts moving on everything that has been discussed by March 21 and would have been pumping contaminated water into a barge or tanker by the 23rd. They should already be working on the next generation of robotic devices.  At least they appear to be starting. I just hope that we don't get full-scale meltdowns while waiting to allow sufficient saving of face.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 11:17:55 PM EST
(I can't stand it any longer. Here is a sketch of a solution.)

They need to design a rolling crane like device that can first clear away debris, then remove existing structure on the top level of the reactor buildings and then start plucking out fuel rod assemblies, placing them in water in a container of sufficient volume and heat capacity for brief transport. It would probably be a good idea to build two sets of cranes and four transit vehicles so they could start from each end.

Given the uncertain state of the rods, they need an assesment pool into which newly removed rods could be placed. Adequate heat extraction capability would obviously have to be built into the assessment pool. Intact rods could then be moved to the existing long term storage. That could be facilitated by removing rod assemblies that have been in long term spent fuel storage for a couple of years into dry casks. Last, a hot pool will be needed for dealing with pellets that have come out of their rods. It should be provided with a rack that will automatically separate pellets into non-critical masses by the surface structure of the rack while allowing water to circulate vertically.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 11:44:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And they need to have at least part of this working by April 14 or sooner. Even that might not be soon enough. They need this now. Break down dockside loading equipment into pieces that can be transported by helicopter, unless they can get a floating dock adjacent to the Fukushima plant in three or four days. Convert this equipment into what is required on site. Have redundant teams on each project. After all, they are only trying to save their country.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 11:53:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After all, they are only trying to save their country
 
I swear to god!  They are acting like preserving the northern third of their main island is optional!  

But this is the proof, if it weren't obvious:  Industrial civilization is coming apart.  Crises that in the past would have been dealt with with speedy determination are now responded to with indifference and bungling.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 03:48:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we can believe reports and public statements, there is nothing but indifference on the part of the Japanese government, and rather a sense of urgency.

ceebs:

Prime Minister Naoto Kan turned down the request, telling TEPCO: "Withdrawal is impossible. It's not a matter of whether TEPCO collapses. It's a matter of whether Japan goes wrong," according to Mainichi.
However, the technical know-how is within TEPCO and the Japanese nuclear safety agency, so there can be a lot of bungling without indifference.

In any case, it is telling that the government has set up the crisis management committee in TEPCO's headquarters, with the PM and minister of industry heading the committee, while the president of TEPCO ha variously been reported AWOL or "sick" since that happened.

It does happen that a culture becomes unable to replicate the artifacts it was itself able to make in the past, and this may be happening to industrial civilization now: we're losing the ability to adequately handle technologies we ourselves created 40 years ago. For at least 30 years we've been busy at replacing technocracy/meritocracy with cleptocracy. The problem is that this was the result of ideological/cultural shifts which seem hard to reverse and may take another 30 years even if we started now, which we're not.

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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 04:11:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One important observation. When I say
we're losing the ability to adequately handle technologies we ourselves created 40 years ago. For at least 30 years we've been busy at replacing technocracy/meritocracy with cleptocracy. The problem is that this was the result of ideological/cultural shifts which seem hard to reverse and may take another 30 years even if we started now, which we're not.
I don't have any primary memory of how any ot this was done before 1990 (optimistically) so, for instance, I don't remember much about Chernobyl that I haven't read from secondary sources much later.

So it is entirely possible that my view of Western Industrial Civilization pre-1980 is a complete fairytale or wishful thinking. The older among us may be able to clarify 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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 04:42:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My impression - from understanding gathered along the way, not from deliberate study, and that's an important disclaimer - is that nuclear technology was often in the past attempting to move ahead faster than its ability to provide full security. It began (and continues) as a military technology, and testing in the postwar decades showed little or no regard for the environment and human life and health (see American testing in the US SW and the Pacific, French in the Pacific, USSR in Kazakh SSR). Civil nuclear came into being in the context of that arms race, with military researchers and engineers providing the know-how. This isn't to say they were slipshod or had no security concerns, but I don't think they were, 40 years ago, better able to get on top of an out-of-control accident than now.

TEPCO has certainly shown ineptitude, and this may be linked to its being a private company concerned with profit. It may also be linked with sheer force of habit over the decades producing a culture in which the thought of major risk has gone out of currency. All the same, if the quake and tsunami had happened early in the life of Fukushima Dai-ichi, the outcome would have been probably similarly catastrophic, because the station just wasn't planned for so much havoc.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 05:35:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
@afew

Feral Scholar » Blog Archive » Nuclear Power - A Really Bad Idea

Then Reagan started the sabre-rattling and eventually invaded Grenada. When he was reëlected in 1984, I'd had enough. I fought for and won an honorable discharge as a conscientious objector -- not an easy task for someone who'd volunteered (and reënlisted). Of course, after I got out -- owing the government a large amount of money -- the only real marketable skill I had involved nuclear reactors. But many of my shipmates had gone on to work in civilian facilities and the horror stories I'd heard were frightening. Besides, I'd already concluded that nuclear power was a very bad idea, even when cost was no object. To try to make a profit off it? Insane. I was having none of it.

One of the things that not many people know is that the Navy's reactors are designed in a fail-safe (sort of) manner such that if the coolant temperature rises, the rate of fission decreases. This provides a negative feedback that helps to maintain temperatures and power levels. It's self-regulating. Civilian power plants, which are much, much larger than the Navy's small reactors, are designed such that higher coolant temperatures mean higher rates of fission, which heats the coolant further, creating a feed-forward loop with a tendency to run away. How stupid can you get? I mean, really... how utterly imbecilic can you get?

I have long maintained that nuclear power is the stupidest idea humans have ever had. Frankly, it's not even arguable, and anyone who says otherwise is either selling something, or a seriously-deluded "true believer." I think the real function of nuclear "power" is to allow nuclear weapons lovers to pretend that there are "peaceful" benefits to splitting the atom.



'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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 07:14:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
melo:
I have long maintained that nuclear power is the stupidest idea humans have ever had. Frankly, it's not even arguable, and anyone who says otherwise is either selling something, or a seriously-deluded "true believer." I think the real function of nuclear "power" is to allow nuclear weapons lovers to pretend that there are "peaceful" benefits to splitting the atom.
Straw men are nice.

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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 08:33:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
melo:
One of the things that not many people know is that the Navy's reactors are designed in a fail-safe (sort of) manner such that if the coolant temperature rises, the rate of fission decreases.

Heh. That's (sort of) true for BWR as well.

by generic on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 01:04:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Both PWR's and BWR's are like that, and it's called negative void coefficent. Having a positive one is very bad, as in an exponentially accelerating nuclear reaction when the core heats up. That's what happened at Chernobyl. The core went from 1000 MW to 1000 GW in a fraction of a second, blowing everything to hell.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 03:43:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the things that not many people know is that the Navy's reactors are designed in a fail-safe (sort of) manner such that if the coolant temperature rises, the rate of fission decreases. This provides a negative feedback that helps to maintain temperatures and power levels. It's self-regulating. Civilian power plants, which are much, much larger than the Navy's small reactors, are designed such that higher coolant temperatures mean higher rates of fission, which heats the coolant further, creating a feed-forward loop with a tendency to run away. How stupid can you get? I mean, really... how utterly imbecilic can you get?

That's not true... It was true of Chernobyl, but BWRs such as those in Fukushima have a negative void coefficient.

Part of the reason for this is that water acts as a moderator, slowing down neutrons and thus aiding the reaction. If water becomes so hot to turn to steam, the moderation is lost and the reaction slows down because the neutrons are too fast and leave the core before reacting.

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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 04:27:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say the opposite. Many technologies have always been too dangerous to use, starting from coal onwards.

In the past they were used regardless and the health risks and environmental consequences were simply ignored. Victorian England was a prime example of this, with non-existent sanitation, slave-like worker conditions and a permanent smoggy haze that must have killed millions. But politically very little changed until after WWII. And even then some industries - nuke especially - have been in a permanent reactionary cover-up mode to pretend that the risks don't exist.

Now it's slowly seeping into public awareness that technology has its costs. The difference between then and now is that then it was possible to pretend that the costs were irrelevant.

Now it's becoming obvious how untrue that is.

Awareness is still patchy and it may be 25-50 years before it becomes the consensus. But Fukushima and the rest are helping make sure that change becomes possible.  

What's missing are similar changes in politics, finance and economics. Those worlds remain steadfastly Victorian in outlook - to everyone's detriment

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 05:52:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not a million miles away from your
I think there's a growing awareness that the old ways of doing things no longer work. Even if it's a minority interest, this is the first time in history there's any serious interest in thinking strategically on a planetary scale.

Psychological sophistication is much higher than it used to be. There's the beginning of an understanding that old assumptions about decision making and rationality are wrong.

...

Morality and awareness of human rights are more developed than ever. Politicians continue to ignore the developments, and there are still substantial elements of the population who are happy with the old ways. But there was barely any concept of humanitarian aid or human rights a century ago, and now these concepts are common currency.

Genocide used to be business as usual. What made Hitler and Stalin remarkable wasn't the scale of the genocide - except for mechanising death, they were hardly unusual in history - but that their actions were considered insane and unacceptable. Five hundred years ago they'd have been generic princelings, and nothing out of the ordinary.



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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 06:08:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps what has happened is that the engineers have wised up, but the MBAs are still fat, dumb and happy.

Whether this has something to do with the fact that the MBAs are now doing the jobs that the engineers used to do back when the engineers were still fat, dumb and happy is left as an exercise for the reader.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 07:05:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What it does do is insure that the decision makers are primarily trained in matters economic and administrative rather than technical. That does make a difference. I would like to see the backgrounds of the senior management at TEPCO.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 08:36:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd disagree here, certainly. If people 300 years ago had decided that coal mining was too dangerous we'd be a lot worse off now. Sure, coal mining is dangerous. But not compared to living in a primitive pre-industrial society.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 06:14:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly, action was much more co-ordinated, determined, and thorough. That is facilitated by an authoritarian state and a command economy, of course.

On a technical level, it seems like they did everything possibe as quickly as possible, unlike the Fukushima clusterfuc. A couple of provisos :

  • Not having to respect human rights makes things a lot easier, in particular you can expose your workers to much higher levels of radiation (then abandon them. Though, to be fair, it was largely the post-Soviet regime that abandoned them.)
  • Not being subject to close scrutiny by the media of the entire world makes it easier to come out looking relatively good.

Would Japan have reacted more effectively to such a crisis if it had happened in the 1980s? That doesn't seem obvious to me. I think there are cultural issues about crisis management involved.

On balance, if I had to live through a major nuclear crisis, I would prefer to do so in the USA or France. Not only because they know the tech best, but because I have a feeling they are generically better at crisis management.

[duck and cover]

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

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 09:43:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
March 25
Because of the Soviet lack of transparency it was possible for them to send in firefighters without telling them what they were working on. It was also possible for the authorities to start evacuating Pripyat within 48 hours, before Forsmark in Sweden raised the alert due to the radiation levels. It was also possible for the Soviets to deploy thousands of "liquidators" to do the cleanup after the fire was out.

Here we have a situation where safety of emergency workers is taken seriously and information flows relatively openly, which probably results in slower crisis response and contamination over longer times.

Compare the incident of the Japanese workers wading ankle-deep in radioactive water with the Chernobyl firefighters.



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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 09:46:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
if I had to live through a major nuclear crisis, I would prefer to do so in the USA or France. Not only because they know the tech best, but because I have a feeling they are generically better at crisis management
I don't know about France, but the Katrina disaster in New Orleans completely dispelled any notion that the US can do crisis management.

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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 09:48:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know about France, but the USA!? At crisis management!?

in particular you can expose your workers

Most of the active-duty victims were the more than two hundred thousand liquidators, who were hired volunteers and "volunteers":

(then abandon them. Though, to be fair, it was largely the post-Soviet regime that abandoned them.)

The diseases would have come whether they are abandoned or not. It is a myth spun by the nuclear industry that diseases among liquidators and evacuees could be down to the general drop of healthcare after the collapse of the Soviet union, whereas multiple control group studies showed that disease rates are way above that in the general populations.

I think if I had to choose between Japanese and Soviet disaster management, I would have chosen the Japanese: rather be safely evacuated while meltdown containment is unwinding than stave off a technically greater disaster at the price of much greater human disaster.

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

by DoDo on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 09:56:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plus, despite the criticism, I would say the Japanese have been more transparent than the Soviets and maybe that the Americans at TMI.

Though that may be a function of not being able to hide the fact that a nuclear plant had been affected by the tsunami and was on battery power on the first day.

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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 10:13:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do get a sense that much of the outcry against hiding information in Japan is due to failure to find or correctly interpret relevant information. This morning I watched a news channel where an 'expert' admonished the Japanese government for not setting up monitoring stations in the 100 km zone around the plant and publish the results regularly – not knowing they do so for two weeks already, on multiple sites.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 10:31:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is your take on why they seem to be approaching this in such a hesitant, fumbling manner?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 04:36:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First of all, they do care about the safety of the emergency workers. Several times they have pulled the workers out because of high levels of radiation. If they could just throw bodies at the problem it would be much easier to solve. That explains the hesitant part.

There  was a more criminal kind of hesitance at the beginning, when tepco hesitated to aggressively cool the reactors for fear of losing them as assets. But the first hydrogen explosion was 24 hours into the incident. After that there was no excuse and it still took 3 days before the government apparently took over the operations.

It appears that they have been surprised by various developments over the past 3 weeks, most of which were predictable with hindsight. So I'm not sure what to think about that. Is it the case that the damage to the support systems of the reactors was so extensive that they had no way to know for sure what the state of the various facilities really was? The fact that the plant was without power for over a week did not help.

The question is whether we get a sense that they're now getting a grip on the situation. The plant needs to be taken under control before it can be effectively cooled down. Who's actually in charge of strategizing about that, from an engineering point of view? It is evident that the upper levels (how deep?) of TEPCO's management structure are clueless.

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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 05:00:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is evident that the upper levels (how deep?) of TEPCO's management structure are clueless.

That is my sense, and I have trouble understanding how, in a company that has relied on nuclear for so much of its baseload for forty years can have an upper management that is so clueless. It leads me to think that decapitation of TEPCO and assumption of the whole utility by the Japanese Government might be a good idea. Don't there have to be some competent individuals down at the plant level?

And it is obvious that Japan will have to continue to rely on nuclear for the next decade, at a minimum. So they must learn how better to respond to possible  future emergencies and to make appropriate preparations to harden their other facilities. Since so many facilities are near the sea, they need to be able to assure prompt resumption of back-up power after another "once in a century" earthquake/tsunami. Having generators and fuel on secure high ground and having pads, pylons, cables, fresh water, contaminated water storage capability, pipes, pumps, etc. available on or near the site should enable them to resume power within a day or two even with a tsunami such as they experienced.

Part of the problem may reside in the federal/provincial  structure of Japan. It seems that power provisions have been made on the provincial level, some having 50 Hz and others 60Hz power. This might be complicating a take-over by the central government. Japan had, essentially, a feudal political organization until the Meiji Reformation. While the feudal structure was replaced with a central state I do not know how the divisions between central and local government were carried out. I suppose, in some ways, the early zaibatsu could be seen as a modernization of feudal structures. How that played into federal/regional divisions I have no idea.


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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 07:56:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
Since so many facilities are near the sea, they need to be able to assure prompt resumption of back-up power after another "once in a century" earthquake/tsunami. Having generators and fuel on secure high ground and having pads, pylons, cables, fresh water, contaminated water storage capability, pipes, pumps, etc. available on or near the site should enable them to resume power within a day or two even with a tsunami such as they experienced.
It seems they're working on that already

ceebs:

Gov't orders utilities to prepare for tsunami with more backups | Kyodo News
The industry ministry ordered utility companies Wednesday to act within a month to prepare for a possible loss of power at their nuclear reactors when hit by unexpectedly large tsunami waves, as concerns are growing over the safety of nuclear power plants following the March 11 quake that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi complex.

They are instructed to secure vehicle-mounted power sources, deploy fire trucks that would supply water to the reactors, work out a procedure on how to deal with an emergency situation by using such vehicles, and carry out drills.

The measures are part of efforts to prevent a recurrence of the ongoing nuclear crisis at the plant in northeastern Japan, where the power grid and most of the emergency diesel generators were knocked out by the magnitude-9.0 quake and ensuing tsunami, resulting in the loss of the reactors' key cooling functions.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda said that the emergency measures are the ''first step''

We've become so used to craven governments that I can't help feeling that, when I see the Japanese government doing the right things, I'm just responding to PR or engaging in wishful thinking.

For the future, it is important to restore the credibility of governments' claims to be acting in the public interest. One of the most toxic legacies of the Reagan/Thatcher revolution will be the erosio of the idea of the common interest or that collective institutions can exist that effectively work for the common interest. Enlisting and empowering competent people into government and civil service positions is a necessity.

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 Fri Apr 1st, 2011 at 04:48:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 10:23:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is commendable, but they are needed alive since they are the ones who know how to do this stuff.

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 Fri Apr 1st, 2011 at 04:53:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We have to remember that the Japanese did not develop this technology. That was done by the USA, in their case, by G.E. TEPCO may, effectively, have been riding on the technical prowess and prestige of the USA and G.E. ever since and have had a very false sense of security. Not only did G.E. provide the initial design, it was G.E. technology that formed the intital basis for the entire Japanese nuclear industry, to my knowledge. It was likely as a result of Japanese political considerations that G.E. formed subsidiaries with Hitachi, etc. to build nuclear power plants.

The relationship is likely as archetypal as Godzilla: we were the first to develop the technology; they were the first ones on whom we used it; we then massively intervened in their culture to re-order and realign loyalties; then, twenty years later, we encouraged G.E. to form a mutually profitable relationship with Japanese companies to apply that technology to power generation. That they would see the USA as the guarantors of the beneficence of that technology is somewhat natural. And have the Japanese been any more lax about nuclear safety than has the USA?

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 08:58:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
We have to remember that the Japanese did not develop this technology. That was done by the USA, in their case, by G.E. TEPCO may, effectively, have been riding on the technical prowess and prestige of the USA and G.E. ever since and have had a very false sense of security.
However, there has been technology transfer to Japan: Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The reactors for Units 1, 2, and 6 were supplied by General Electric, those for Units 3 and 5 by Toshiba, and Unit 4 by Hitachi. All six reactors were designed by General Electric.
The result of that technology transfer is that Hitachi now designs reactors: Advanced boiling water reactor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The advanced boiling water reactor (ABWR) is a Generation III boiling water reactor. The ABWR is currently offered by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy. The ABWR generates electrical power by using steam to power a turbine connected to a generator; the steam is boiled from water using heat generated by fission reactions within nuclear fuel.
But how japanese is it? Is it just a financial joint venture?

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) is a provider of advanced reactors and nuclear services. It is located in Wilmington, N.C.. Established in June 2007, GEH is a global nuclear alliance created by General Electric and Hitachi.[


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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 11:52:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tuasfait:
If the disaster is somehow contained, it will be the result of sheer luck and the worksmanship of Toshiba who built the 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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 11:53:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well hopefully theyre better made than number 4, which had a worker report how he'd helped cover up flaws in the reactor vessel.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 12:09:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Japanese know nuclear power. They are very good at it. With the exception of AREVA and Atomstroiexport, the big reactor makers are all Japanese, like GE-Hitachi, Toshiba-Westinghouse and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Then you have that Korean company that got the big UAE order.

Basically everyone got their original know-how from the US. The Japanese did it, the Koreans did it, even the French did it. The Russian obviously didn't do it, not did the Brits, the Canadians or the Indians. But then the Indians, Brits and Russians didn't became very succesful at it either. The first commercial power reactor not built with US technology supposedly was Oskarhamn 1 in Sweden which used wholly indigenous technology developed by ASEA-ATOM.

(Even though we did get plenty of basic LWR know-how from the US through Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace program).

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

by Starvid on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 03:55:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I bet you're an engineer, aren't you...? ;)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 06:34:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not by formal training, which was undergrad physics, but I worked as one and have designed and built "from scratch" complex structures, such as a 1970s analog audio console and the internal structure of the studio into which it went, which included 6" thick poured in place concrete walls on separate footings to acoustically separate adjacent studios. Perhaps that is better than having played one on TV.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 08:32:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan Daily news - A US military barge carrying 1,140 tons of freshwater to be used at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has docked near the power station.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 05:38:11 AM EST
Let's recall that the size of a spent fuel pool was about 40x40x30ft, or 1300 tons of water...

And that the reactor vessels are rather larger than that.

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 Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 06:22:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ignoring spent fuel ponds, if 7 t/h is enough for all three meltdown-threatened reactors, it's enough for 54 hours. (Current flowrate: 8 t/h for No. 1 and 2, 7 t/h for No. 3.) If 18 t/h is ideal, then 21 hours.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 10:05:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They need a freshwater tanker and a contaminated water tanker anchored nearby so they can shuttle barges back and forth.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 04:40:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC - IAEA apparently reccomendong an expansion of the exclusion zone. radioactivity in sea still rising.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 07:20:06 AM EST
 Kyodo   Radiation level in seawater hits new high near Fukushima plant

In a sign that radiation is continuing to leak from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, radioactive iodine-131 at a concentration of 4,385 times the maximum level permitted under law has been detected in seawater near the plant, according to the latest data made available Thursday morning.

Japanese authorities were also urged to consider taking action over radioactive contamination outside the 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the plant, as the International Atomic Energy Agency said readings from soil samples collected in the village of Iitate, about 40 km from the plant, exceeded its criteria for evacuation.

The authorities denied that either situation posed an immediate threat to human health, but the government said it plans to enhance radiation data monitoring around the plant on the Pacific coast, about 220 kilometers northeast of Tokyo.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 08:56:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Kyodo - Up to 1,000 bodies left untouched near troubled nuke plant  

Radiation fears have prevented authorities from collecting as many as 1,000 bodies of victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami from within the 20-kilometer-radius evacuation zone around the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, police sources said Thursday.

One of the sources said bodies had been ''exposed to high levels of radiation after death.'' The view was supported by the detection Sunday of elevated levels of radiation on a body found in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, about 5 km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

The authorities are now considering how to collect the bodies, given fears that police officers, doctors and bereaved families may be exposed to radiation in retrieving the radiation-exposed bodies or at morgues, according to the sources.




Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 08:54:10 AM EST
And some of these untouched, unfound victims are the relatives of the TEPCO personnel fighting to keep the reactors under control 24/7...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 09:59:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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