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Arthur_Parker
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Reply #875 on: March 28, 2011, 07:50:56 am

High-level radiation in trench water may have come from reactor core

Quote
High levels of radiation exceeding 1,000 millisieverts per hour have been detected in water in a trench outside the No. 2 reactor's building at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, with the contaminated water suspected to have come from the reactor's core, where fuel rods have partially melted, authorities said Monday.
...
Although it remains unknown whether the contaminated water has flowed into the sea from the trenches that are 55 to 70 meters away from the shore, TEPCO suspects the high concentration of radioactive substances found in seawater near the plant reactors' drainage outlets may be linked to the trench water.
...
Nishiyama said it is now necessary to strike a balance between two missions -- injecting coolant water into the reactor cores and spent nuclear fuel pools to prevent them from overheating, and removing radioactive water in the turbine buildings and trenches.

He said the water contamination may have been caused by operations to pour massive amounts of coolant water into the reactors and pools.

They now think what couldn't happen has now happened.  At the minute, apart from attempting to find somewhere to store the ever increasing volume of water, I haven't seen anything about what they intend to do.
Fabricated
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Reply #876 on: March 28, 2011, 10:06:45 am

If you're looking for a fun read I suggest checking out this blog of a former military nuclear technician as he plays Nuclear Power Apologist. Basically don't look at his newer entries and go back a couple weeks to the earthquake.

http://www.atomicinsights.blogspot.com/

He goes from trolling the fuck out of the WSJ/Forbes/NYT comment sections where he attacked everyone suggesting that nuclear power is dangerous and maybe we should take a second look at it, to basically finally having to admit (with much grumbling and handwaving) that wow this is a really bad situation.

"The world is populated in the main by people who should not exist." - George Bernard Shaw
ghost
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Reply #877 on: March 28, 2011, 10:57:15 am

If you're looking for a fun read I suggest checking out this blog of a former military nuclear technician as he plays Nuclear Power Apologist. Basically don't look at his newer entries and go back a couple weeks to the earthquake.

http://www.atomicinsights.blogspot.com/

He goes from trolling the fuck out of the WSJ/Forbes/NYT comment sections where he attacked everyone suggesting that nuclear power is dangerous and maybe we should take a second look at it, to basically finally having to admit (with much grumbling and handwaving) that wow this is a really bad situation.

Nuclear power should, by all rights, be a great technology.  If things are run well and all of the backup mechanisms work, great.  I lost my taste for it though when a friend of mine died of esophageal cancer at age 32 after being on a nuclear submarine as a tech for about 5 years.  Then I read about the nuclear sub that was leaking radiation in one of the bays off of Japan and put two and two together........ and came to the conclusion that there will always be human error with this technology.  If nothing has happened for a few years that is bad, people will get lax and then bam.  You have what's happening in Japan. 

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Arthur_Parker
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Reply #878 on: March 28, 2011, 12:04:11 pm

Plutonium detected in soil at Fukushima nuke plant

Quote
Plutonium is more toxic than other radioactive substances such as iodine and cesium, but the levels confirmed from soil samples taken at the plant on March 21 and 22 were almost the same as those from the fallout detected in Japan following past nuclear tests by the United States and Russia, said the utility known as TEPCO.
...
Nishiyama denied the possibility that the No. 2 reactor's vessel has cracks or holes, saying there is no data to suggest this. It is rather likely that radioactive water has leaked from pipes or valves, he said.

On the 2nd part, I'm seeing this mentioned a lot, but if water is leaking from the core vessel, does it really matter if it's leaking via a crack/hole or via a pipe/value?  They have no data to suggest it's a pipe or value either, they just know the water is getting out and from the readings, the core is the only place it could come from.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 12:24:08 pm by Arthur_Parker »
Khaldun
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Reply #879 on: March 28, 2011, 02:50:58 pm

If you're looking for a fun read I suggest checking out this blog of a former military nuclear technician as he plays Nuclear Power Apologist. Basically don't look at his newer entries and go back a couple weeks to the earthquake.

http://www.atomicinsights.blogspot.com/

He goes from trolling the fuck out of the WSJ/Forbes/NYT comment sections where he attacked everyone suggesting that nuclear power is dangerous and maybe we should take a second look at it, to basically finally having to admit (with much grumbling and handwaving) that wow this is a really bad situation.

"It has become increasingly apparent during the past week that my view from afar was not as clear as I would have hoped".

Now, if that possibility had even occurred to him for a moment earlier on, maybe he'd have been able to leverage his knowledge more effectively from the get-go. As it is, serious advocates of nuclear power shot themselves in the foot with all the "no, no, none of that is even POSSIBLE" and "I would be glad to stand on top of the reactor and breath in the escaping steam" defensiveness.

Any situation where there has been a major unplanned, unanticipated event should be a caution to every expert who is not directly onsite at the event. Even with all the information we can pull down via the Internet, there are always crucial things missing from the picture that can only be filled in with direct, immediate contact.
Ghambit
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Reply #880 on: March 28, 2011, 05:13:54 pm

Plutonium detected in soil at Fukushima nuke plant

Quote
Plutonium is more toxic than other radioactive substances such as iodine and cesium, but the levels confirmed from soil samples taken at the plant on March 21 and 22 were almost the same as those from the fallout detected in Japan following past nuclear tests by the United States and Russia, said the utility known as TEPCO.
...
Nishiyama denied the possibility that the No. 2 reactor's vessel has cracks or holes, saying there is no data to suggest this. It is rather likely that radioactive water has leaked from pipes or valves, he said.

On the 2nd part, I'm seeing this mentioned a lot, but if water is leaking from the core vessel, does it really matter if it's leaking via a crack/hole or via a pipe/value?  They have no data to suggest it's a pipe or value either, they just know the water is getting out and from the readings, the core is the only place it could come from.

The only real difference between the vessel itself and the entire closed turbine loop is that they SHOULD be able to isolate the vessel with valves.  Meaning yah, your closed loop can be frakked and leaking (which means the entire pressurized system is compromised) but you should still be able to simply shut a valve and maintain pressures in the vessel holding the fuel, keeping the contaminants inside.  Then again, they may not even want to do this since cooling isnt really restored and the BWR isnt designed to be able to shut down like that (especially w/o a working suppression system)... they'd have to vent one way or another, either they let the pressure out through the broken pipe - flooding the basements with radiative water, or they valve everything off and just vent to atmosphere normally, which would give a nice show and perhaps some more 'splosions.  It's a helluva quandary.

The more I've been studying this stuff the more I'm like  ACK!.  There's a reason why they dont make these old-style reactors anymore.

Insider info.:  I anticipate some big-time private contracting starting up to deal with the cleanup of this mess; this is some very specialized shit.  That's all I can say about that for now.  If you're curious you can PM me.

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Reply #881 on: March 28, 2011, 09:12:34 pm

Allegedly Japan has asked for some assistance from two French companies, for whatever that is worth.

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Reply #882 on: March 29, 2011, 12:27:18 am

The more I've been studying this stuff the more I'm like  ACK!.  There's a reason why they dont make these old-style reactors anymore..

Warning Captain Hindsight incoming.

It seems like this sequence of events was actually a reasonably likely outcome given hindsight of the events. Within what was it..24 hours? We were seeing the first explosion. The question to be answered is was the battle to contain this better than it was after the 24 hour mark (given lack of experience with this type of reactor and situation, etc.)? Basically the situation is you have access to no backup power for the first 24 hours, things starting exploding shortly thereafter, and from there on you're basically stuck behind the curve and continue to fall further behind the longer power is off.

It's not impossible for me to imagine plenty of possible, even likely serious disaster situations where the entire grid is offline for a number of days and your backup generators are also fucked. Problem being that these two circumstances both increase in probability for the same conditions. As far as I understand, it's pretty much a given that these things go supercritical with no cooling, even after they're forced into emergency shutdown mode.

Cooling provided in conditions with no power...I have to wonder what that contingency looks like. Did they really design a plant under the assumption that no remotely likely disaster could shut off the power for a few days? In a place that sees similar sized tsunamis and earthquakes like once or twice a century.


Funny side note. Was reading an article from some Euro news site where the fact that it was an American design was prominently mentioned. Seriously, you guys should know by now. Made in America baby, partially melting down nuke plants since 1978!
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Reply #883 on: March 29, 2011, 12:50:38 am

As if an Euro design would have made a difference. That's not Euro nationalism btw., that's basically the rehash of the Chernobyl argument by Euro nuclear companies. In 86 it was "stupid russian designed plant with stupid ukrainian techs". Now it's "stupid yank designed plant with stupid japanese techs". Of course this couldn't happen in Europe with our lack of tsunamis and earthquakes and our perfectly designed french nuclear plants, silly for you to even ask kthxbye.
Arthur_Parker
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Reply #884 on: March 29, 2011, 02:26:11 am

Q&A: How dangerous is the plutonium found at Fukushima power plant?

Quote
Q: How does plutonium differ from other radioactive materials traced to the nuclear power plant such as radioactive iodine and cesium?

A: Unlike iodine and cesium, which have been released in gaseous form, the plutonium appears to have leaked before having evaporated. Its boiling point is around 3,232 C. This could mean that the condition at the power plant has become even more serious because a mixture of damaged nuclear fuel and water might have found its way outside.

Edano: Detection of plutonium a serious concern
Quote
But he said 2 of the samples appeared to contain the type of plutonium used in nuclear fuel, making it most likely that reactor fuel rods were the source.

Edano said that the traces of plutonium, combined with the detection of highly radioactive water, back up the view that nuclear fuel rods have partially melted.

He said the government is doing all it can to control the impact of the contamination and contain the situation.

Edano called for closer monitoring of data, saying that if higher levels of plutonium are found, the government will have to respond.

Not sure what "the government will have to respond" means, but according to a report in the Mainichi Daily News on March 18, 2011.

TEPCO wanted to withdraw all nuclear plant workers 3 days after quake
Quote
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) told the government on March 14 that it wanted to withdraw all of its workers from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, it has been learned.

TEPCO's suggestion came two days after a cooling system failure caused by the March 11 quake and tsunami triggered a hydrogen blast at the plant's No. 1 reactor. Though Prime Minister Naoto Kan rejected the proposal, the finding suggests that the power company was aware from an early stage that damage at the plant could develop into a nuclear disaster exposing workers to high levels of radiation. It is believed that TEPCO was prepared to let Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military handle the situation.

There's also this.

No confirmation of radioactive water overflowing into sea: agency

Quote
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.
...
On Tuesday, TEPCO continued to pump out radiation-emitting water that has been soaking the basement of the turbine building near the No. 1 reactor to a tank. But such work has yet to start at the Nos. 2-3 reactors' turbine buildings due to difficulties in securing enough space at tanks to move similarly contaminated water.

Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the agency, said the temperature of the No. 1 reactor's vessel has been rising to more than 320 C, prompting TEPCO to increase the amount of freshwater injected into the reactor to cool it down.

This is all kinds of fucked up.  Wonder if this is related, France's Sarkozy to visit Japan on Thursday - Kyodo
Ubvman
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Reply #885 on: March 29, 2011, 02:57:45 am

Heard of a bunch of Chinese students at the University of Washington actively cheering while watching 9-11 in progress from the student union. Grain of salt, since its a second hand tale, but I have seen many of them mobilize to protest a visit from the Dalai Lama. Banners, chanting, the whole 9 yards. Deeply ingrained nationalism.

There is always this: Five dancing Israelis 9/11
(link is the first google hit off "dancing Israelis 9/11" search). From what I gather, they really did that, got caught, deported and did TV interviews back in Israel.

As to the whole "cheering Japan's troubles" thing, I think its a schadenfreude  reaction from afar to a country that is not shy about pushing "Japan #1 uber alles" into the face of the other countries in the region. I'm not saying its right, but the Japanese are not humble to people they consider "inferiors" - the other countries in the region (its a whole class, nationalism, race thing in the Pacific Rim).
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 03:05:23 am by Ubvman »
Jeff Kelly
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Reply #886 on: March 29, 2011, 03:39:20 am

France makes a lot of business with nuclear power. Arreva (a joint venture of Framatom and Siemens Power generation: nuclear) is a big global player that derives 10% of its revenue from Japan. They design and plan new sites, they manage construction and they offer all of the services necessary for the operation of such plants (from planning, coordinating and executing all of the maintenance work to consulting on new projects) and they were also involved in some processes at Fukujima Daiichi (a friend of mine is a project manager for Arreva and is regularly over there).

A lot of french business and jobs are directly or indirectly dependent on the nuclear industry. The french part of Arreva (and also Électricité de France, the once state-owned power company) is easily as corrupt as Tepco with the same history of shady deals and cutting corners. They for example are responsible for a lot of shoddy maintenance work in french plants getting covered up and they also squeezed out all of the old EdF workers (that actually knew stuff and wouldn't stand for shoddy work) and replaced them with cheap contractors.

Former EdF workers organized strikes and protests and petitioned the French nuclear safety commission and the EU to check into countless health and safety violations and the shady maintenance practices, there were countless suicides and a major hunger strike and they even tried to lock-out the contractors to protest.

None of this get's ever reported it's as if this didn't happen at all. Although we're talking cracked pressure valves that won't get replaced and other critical stuff here.

It's basically the same deal. Inspections find issues, plant management complains about down-time costing them lots and lots of money and they put the pressure on those employees to sign off on the report "or else". Some don't and get replaced by others with less of a conscience (or spine) that do sign off. If shit hits the fan upper management throws everyone else under the bus ("We couldn't have known, they signed off on it so we thought everything to be a-ok").

Since the french ecole system is as bad as the public school system in the UK (or the Ivy league colleges in the US) and french upper management and politicians are basically a privately educated aristocracy where everybody knows everybody else nothing much happens if something turns up.

The move away from nuclear power would severely impact France, so of course Sarkozy is visiting Japan.
Arthur_Parker
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Reply #887 on: March 29, 2011, 04:02:19 am

Well, I was focusing more on what potential he has to actively help bring the situation under control.  

The pro nuclear fallout seems include explaining away "expert" previous predictions that everything is fine, honest, while others have stopped updating altogether.  I'd normally get some enjoyment out of all that but I'd really like someone to have a plan on what to do next, because apart from turning the lights on in the reactor buildings, there's not been much progress towards controlling this.  TEPCO as a company is in deep trouble, their CEO is AWOL, so somebody needs to take over.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 05:31:11 am by Arthur_Parker »
Jeff Kelly
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Reply #888 on: March 29, 2011, 04:30:38 am

Apparently the Japanese administration is even considering to nationalize Tepco.
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Reply #889 on: March 29, 2011, 04:45:11 am

So how bad is it exactly, like, is it in the "nothing will ever live within 50 KM's of this site ever again?" or is it "There is a increased risk in cancer rates in X area?" or are we heading too "Fallout: Japan Edition!".

Or does no one actually know anymore?



and the gate is like I TOO AM CAPABLE OF SPEECH
Jeff Kelly
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Reply #890 on: March 29, 2011, 04:49:03 am

Or does no one actually know anymore?

This, basically.
Khaldun
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Reply #891 on: March 29, 2011, 04:54:34 am

This is interesting: two Japanese tourists in Shanghai have been hospitalized with radiation poisoning. The AP story just says they weren't from close to the plant; another story has them being from 350km away. http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/china-reports-radiation-on-2-japanese-tourists

My physicist colleagues say that the zirconium-95 in the seawater story is really bad news as far as the magnitude of the damage to the facility and the possible problems to follow.
Arthur_Parker
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Reply #892 on: March 29, 2011, 05:17:06 am

Or does no one actually know anymore?

This, basically.

No clue.

I will bet there's a strong chance of criminal charges in the future if they don't widen the evacuation zone.  They have the information on dust sample readings from outside the forced evacuation zone, not panicking people is one thing but letting people stay in highly contaminated areas is another.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 05:51:04 am by Arthur_Parker »
Jeff Kelly
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Reply #893 on: March 29, 2011, 05:32:35 am

In Chernobyl it was essentially the same. The Ukrainians tried to keep it under wraps both from the West and the Soviet Administration, Gorbachev and the KP didn't get any reliable info for weeks until they basically took over the whole operation. Gorbachev was basically informed by the IAEA and the US intelligence services about the accident after they investigated the radiation spikes all over europe and found the wrecked reactor with spy satellites.

Even when confronted with high res pictures of the burning ruin the Ukraine tried to deny that it had happened.

I suppose that Tepco doesn't really want the Japanese government to know the extend of the damage and contamination, a lot of heads are on the line there.

The confusion will only stop if and when the Japanese administration takes over.
Arthur_Parker
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Reply #894 on: March 29, 2011, 06:13:43 am

No confirmation of radioactive water overflowing into sea: agency
Quote
For the No. 2 reactor, TEPCO has decreased the amount of fresh water being injected into its core, allowing the reactor vessel's temperature to gradually rise -- to 160.5 C as of 1 p.m. Tuesday.

''While we don't know exactly the relationship between the need to inject water to cool (the reactor core) and the outflow of water, we have reduced the amount of injected water to a minimum given the reactor No. 2's tendency to spew highly radioactive water,'' said Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the agency, at a news conference.

The thing that needs to be cooled for years is leaking, so the current plan is to put less water in.
jakonovski
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Reply #895 on: March 29, 2011, 06:50:55 am

Areva is building one of those new EPR designs in Finland. It should've been online by now but thanks to numerous irregularities (such as reactor welds being done by people who don't have appropriate training) it's been delayed for many years. Areva is several billions in the hole because of it, so more corner cutting is IMO inevitable.

edit: the latest brouhaha is workers not getting paid, and the Finnish unions threatening with a strike. 
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 06:59:19 am by jakonovski »
Ghambit
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Reply #896 on: March 29, 2011, 06:55:19 am

Hindsight my ass btw.
I remember at the beginning of this thread a lot of us in here were all like "uhhh, where's all this water gonna go since these reactors are likely broken?"
It did exactly what we thought, it went to ground, and now they've got an even bigger disposal problem.

Here's another thought though.  Three of the 6 reactor buildings are blown apart and exposed to the environment.  Any time it rains/snows all that water works its way down around the reactor, fuel pools, etc. An area which has been said to be highly radioactive.  Logic dictates said water in any form from any source (rain, firetruck, etc.) would be highly toxic and go to ground or at least be a problem they have to dispose of later.  The best they can hope for is exactly what is happening... let the water pool up in common areas (trench, turbine room, etc.) so its easier to deal with.   The next best thing is hoping that drainage just dumps it to sea (which seems already to be happening).  They dont want it dumping to sea (so they're sandbagging) so now they've got to keep up with pumping off those common places, or else they'll just overflow someplace and likely dump to sea anyways if not just puddle up around the plant or soak into the ground, which'll likely send it to sea regardless or into groundwater supply.

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Khaldun
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Reply #897 on: March 29, 2011, 07:40:02 am

What happens if they seal the whole thing with concrete and sand as with Chernobyl if the rods are still generating serious residual heat? Wouldn't that just increase the likelihood of further melting and breaching of the bottom of any kind of containment? Also, *can* they seal it if the concrete pan underneath is cracked? This is looking like a situation with no good options. If they keep cooling through adding massive amounts of water but the water keeps overflowing or leaking, they're going to have months and months of environmental contamination, but at the same time, there isn't any way they can actually make the containment completely secure again if it's as damaged as people now suspect.
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Reply #898 on: March 29, 2011, 07:59:55 am

From what I've read, they can't seal it with concrete & and they can't continue letting contaminated water leak into the sea.  All the pro nuclear "experts" have suddenly gone all quiet.  I posted about the melted Tin idea but that's all I've seen, I'd guess that's why they have called the French in, they don't know what to do.
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Reply #899 on: March 29, 2011, 08:10:03 am

Kaku wouldnt push such a solution publicly like that (over and over and over) if it wasnt a viable option.
But I still wonder what's exactly involved in such a solution.  They may have to break up the reactor fuel before they attempt it to get the heat to disperse more, rather than being a concentrated mass of molten hell that'll just burn through whatever it touches.   In this case, it'd be more work and trouble than most any other solution.

Plus, water is just so much easier to hide.   Ohhhhh, I see.

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Reply #900 on: March 29, 2011, 08:17:31 am

I seriously don't know, I suppose nobody does. The general assumptions in that case seem to be.

1. A meltdown can't happen
2. If it does nevertheless happen it won't take long until the situation is under control again. This assumes that the material stays inside one of the containment structures until cooling starts up again and the shit get's cleaned up.

I think the current situation was never envisioned and so no provisions and plans were made for that.

The main reasons for the supposed 30 year life expectancy of the Chernobyl sarcophagus were that it was a rushed job and a makeshift solution and that the red hot molten core will eventually burn through the concrete foundation.

Unfortunately we might never find out if this is true. Only a few people actually went inside the sarcophagus, no western scientists (except one) did and the one scientist that was in there more than 1,500 times - a man named Konstatntin Tschetscherow - claims that there is nearly no nuclear material left, that more than 90% of the fuel was ejected from the core after the initial blast instead of the official numbers of only 3% - 5%
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Reply #901 on: March 29, 2011, 08:29:50 am

Unfortunately we might never find out if this is true. Only a few people actually went inside the sarcophagus, no western scientists (except one) did and the one scientist that was in there more than 1,500 times - a man named Konstatntin Tschetscherow - claims that there is nearly no nuclear material left, that more than 90% of the fuel was ejected from the core after the initial blast instead of the official numbers of only 3% - 5%

Wouldn't this mean that the Chernobyl incident was much, much worse than even we estimated? 

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Reply #902 on: March 29, 2011, 10:18:24 am

At Chernobyl they dumped large quantities of lead from a helicopter. Supposedly it helped a lot, although it wasn't very healthy for the air crews.
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Reply #903 on: March 29, 2011, 10:26:17 am

Hmm, so throwing all this water into the condenser is tech-speak for they're essentially putting the water back into the system, which makes sense... rather than dispose of it.  One could surmise they have SOME semblance of control over the pressure vessel, since putting that water back into the high-pressure loop would be impossible w/o isolating it with valves.  Then of course, all the water leaks back and they start the process all over again.   why so serious?

So the turbine room is now effectively an accumulation tank.

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Reply #904 on: March 29, 2011, 10:39:11 am

I seriously doubt there was any contingency at these plants for storage of radioactive water in the volumes they are facing. I am sure they would like to just dump it into the ocean and probably would if the whole world wasn't watching.

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Reply #905 on: March 29, 2011, 10:46:34 am

Unfortunately we might never find out if this is true. Only a few people actually went inside the sarcophagus, no western scientists (except one) did and the one scientist that was in there more than 1,500 times - a man named Konstatntin Tschetscherow - claims that there is nearly no nuclear material left, that more than 90% of the fuel was ejected from the core after the initial blast instead of the official numbers of only 3% - 5%

Wouldn't this mean that the Chernobyl incident was much, much worse than even we estimated? 

It depends how you define bad, most people will be concerned about the distance that the radioactive material travels, not exactly how bad it is close to the site.  Here's how the soviets managed the stuff near the plant.
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Reply #906 on: March 29, 2011, 10:55:32 am

I did not know that they actually dug a tunnel under the reactor. That's... ACK!
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Reply #907 on: March 29, 2011, 11:25:46 am

No confirmation of radioactive water overflowing into sea: agency
Quote
For the No. 2 reactor, TEPCO has decreased the amount of fresh water being injected into its core, allowing the reactor vessel's temperature to gradually rise -- to 160.5 C as of 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Pardon my ignorance but isn't that well above the boiling point of water? Are they literally putting water in in order to have it blast off  int the atmosphere as steam? Of course putting it into a sealed area will raise the Waters boiling point due to pressure, but then you have a chance of a superheated steam explosion...

Q&A: How dangerous is the plutonium found at Fukushima power plant?

Quote
Q: How does plutonium differ from other radioactive materials traced to the nuclear power plant such as radioactive iodine and cesium?

A: Unlike iodine and cesium, which have been released in gaseous form, the plutonium appears to have leaked before having evaporated. Its boiling point is around 3,232 C. This could mean that the condition at the power plant has become even more serious because a mixture of damaged nuclear fuel and water might have found its way outside.

The liquid does not have to boil to evaporate, for example water is evaporating all the time as long as its in a liquid form. The boiling point is simply the point the whole lot turns to vapour. So you could get plutonium evaporation into the atmosphere even at far lower temperatures, as far as a know.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 11:30:49 am by Sir T »

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Arthur_Parker
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Reply #908 on: March 29, 2011, 12:35:35 pm

I did not know that they actually dug a tunnel under the reactor. That's... ACK!

Yeah, but what got me was later on in those videos they spray a tar like liquid from helicopters to stick the dust down, then turned all the earth over and buried everything, anything they really didn't like, they buried and then poured concrete over, all done by hand.

Pardon my ignorance but isn't that well above the boiling point of water? Are they literally putting water in in order to have it blast off  int the atmosphere as steam? Of course putting it into a sealed area will raise the Waters boiling point due to pressure, but then you have a chance of a superheated steam explosion...

That's just a temperature reading from outside the vessel, normal procedure is to vent if pressure builds too much, I think at least one of the reactors is at one atmosphere anyway, not sure how accurate the plots here are.
Arthur_Parker
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Reply #909 on: March 29, 2011, 12:57:11 pm

Before anyone gives me any crap, I'm just copying/pasting this from the Guardian.

Japan may have lost race to save nuclear reactor

Quote
The radioactive core in a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor below, experts say, raising fears of a major release of radiation at the site.

Richard Lahey, who has worked on the plant at Fukushima, told the Guardian officials seemed to have "lost the race" to save the reactor, but added that there was no danger of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe.
...
At Fukushima, workers have been pumping water into three reactors in a desperate bid to keep the fuel rods from melting down. But Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at the plant, said his analysis of radiation levels suggested these attempts had failed at reactor two.

He said 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 and on to the concrete floor below.

"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 will react with the concrete floor of the drywell, 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."

The drywell is surrounded by a secondary steel-and-concrete structure designed to keep radioactive material from escaping into the environment. But an earlier hydrogen explosion at the reactor may have damaged this.

"The reason we are concerned is that they are detecting water outside the containment area that is highly radioactive and it can only have come from the reactor core," Lahey added. "It's not going to be anything like Chernobyl, where it went up with a big fire and steam explosion, but it's not going to be good news for the environment."
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