Nuclear accident follows Japanese earthqauke

Is nuclear fission going to make a comeback and plug the gap in our energy needs? Will nuclear fusion ever become energetically viable?

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2 As and a B
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Post by 2 As and a B »

biffvernon wrote:Image
It looks like that report of an explosion at reactor 2 the other day was false. If there was an explosion (but not at reactor 2), where was it? Reactor 3 looks like a good bet.
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

So we have an interesting conundrum. Water is good for cooling but water is also a moderator, slowing neutrons and increasing chance of criticality is spent fuel rods are stacked too close together.
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Post by raspberry-blower »

Biff, you may be interested in this from New Scientist. It's ather scary - chain reaction could restart :shock: :shock: :shock: .
The situation at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has become extremely unnerving. The Tokyo Electric Power Company has now admitted that the spent fuel rods could go critical - that is, a nuclear chain reaction could restart.

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

Do you remember this one?

(According to Greenpeace )

"British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) originally shipped the plutonium, in the form of plutonium -uranium mixed oxide material (MOX) to Japan in 1999, deliberately falsified vital quality control data during its manufacture. Japan has demanded its return as a condition of signing further MOX contracts with BNFL -- which could result in up to a 100 more shipments taking place over the next decade!"

TEPCo also seem to have a similar history of falsifying safety critical documents etc etc. I wonder if they even actually have an accurate inventory of exactly what is in the spent fuel rod pond?

Frightening as incidents like this are what is really terrifying is the culture of lies, criminal negligence, fraud and dishonesty and probably incompetence that seems to pervade the entire nuclear industry from uranium mine to reprocessing plant.
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Post by Erik »

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said he planned to fly to Japan on Thursday for a one-day trip to get further information about the situation at a disaster-hit nuclear power plant. (Reuters)
Not hanging around too long then...
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Post by Potemkin Villager »

No doubt he will volunteer to check out the boiling fuel rod pond.....

:wink:
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Post by raspberry-blower »

Roger Adair wrote:No doubt he will volunteer to check out the boiling fuel rod pond.....

:wink:
Apparently the water has all drained away from one storage pond at least - according to US Nuclear Regulatory Chair, Gregory Jaczko, reported by Bloomberg:
All cooling water has drained from the spent-fuel pool at one of the crippled nuclear reactors in Japan, causing the release of high levels of radiation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko said.

“We believe that the secondary containment has been destroyed and there is no water in the spent-fuel pool,” he said today at a hearing of a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel in Washington. “We believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures.”
Continues..
Meanwhile the UN calls for emergency meeting - the UN have done a lot of emergency meetings with little in the way of action (i.e. sod all) recently :?
The United Nations’ nuclear agency will call an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in Japan as a breach at the stricken Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant increased the risk of a radioactive leak.

IAEA Chief Yukiya Amano is flying to Tokyo to talk with authorities today and will return for the meeting as soon as possible, he told reporters in Vienna yesterday. It will be the first extraordinary meeting of the agency’s 35-member board since his election to succeed Mohamed ElBaradei two years ago.
More from Bloomberg
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools - Douglas Adams.
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

Looking at the pictures, it not hard to see why "All cooling water has drained from the spent-fuel pool". The wreckage of mangled plumbing doesn't look much like a 'pool'.
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Post by Aurora »

The Guardian - 16/03/11

Lessons for Japan from the Chernobyl catastrophe

The Fukushima nuclear plant crisis appears less dangerous than the 1986 Chernobyl disaster – but the risk of radiation spreading wide remains.

Article continues ...
Latest:
BBC News - 17/03/11

Japan says it is stepping up efforts to cool reactors at the tsunami-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Army helicopters dumped tonnes of water to try to prevent a meltdown of fuel rods. Water cannon will join the operation shortly and it is hoped electricity will be restored soon.

Article continues ...
Los Angeles Times - 17/03/11

Japan tries desperate new measures at nuclear plant

Water is dropped by helicopter in an effort to avert full-scale meltdowns. U.S. expresses concern about 'very significant radiation levels' and tells Americans to stay 50 miles away.

Article continues ...
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Post by biffvernon »

If you want to have a pond it is normal practice to dig a hole, line it with something waterproof, then fill it up with water. In the event of a disaster, such as a sticking a fork through the liner or a hydrogen explosion occurring nearby, most of the water will stay in the pond rather than drop out with a whoosh. Repairs can be made at leisure.

Could somebody keen on nuclear power explain why nuclear engineers prefer to have their ponds upstairs?

Or are nuclear power station designers all stark raving bonkers?
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Post by DominicJ »

Could somebody keen on nuclear power explain why nuclear engineers prefer to have their ponds upstairs?
The best I can come up with is its so you can detect leaks.

I must admit, when I hear the cooling ponds were all on the roof, it sounded very strange.

But then, I'm not a nuclear power station designer.
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Post by 2 As and a B »

The word accident is derived from the Latin verb accidere, signifying "fall upon, befall, happen, chance."

In its most commonly accepted meaning, or in its ordinary or popular sense, the word may be defined as meaning: some sudden and unexpected event taking place without expectation, upon the instant, rather than something that continues, progresses or develops; something happening by chance; something unforeseen, unexpected, unusual, extraordinary, or phenomenal, taking place not according to the usual course of things or events, out of the range of ordinary calculations; that which exists or occurs abnormally, or an uncommon occurrence.

The word may be employed as denoting a calamity, casualty, catastrophe, disaster, an undesirable or unfortunate happening; any unexpected personal injury resulting from any unlooked for mishap or occurrence; any unpleasant or unfortunate occurrence that causes injury, loss, suffering, or death; some untoward occurrence aside from the usual course of events. An event that takes place without one's foresight or expectation; an undesigned, sudden, and unexpected event.
No doubt lessons will be learned and the same 'accident' will not happen again.

But accidents will continue to happen as fate, in the form of human actions or Nature, will continue to outwit the best designs of men.

Someone from the nuclear industry yesterday likened reactor design development to car development, saying that a car from the 1960s was very unsafe compared to today's modern cars. Yes, but...

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Post by Bandidoz »

Biff - it might be to avoid leaks contaminating groundwater.

In any case, storing them there *is* bonkers, reminds me very much of the Bhopal disaster (storing too much of a dangerous substance in one place).
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Post by biffvernon »

Bandidoz wrote:Biff - it might be to avoid leaks contaminating groundwater.
You may be right - in which case one needs a twin wall tank with an inspection gap between them and a drainage sump large enough to hold the lot and...oh, why bother? Let's just make do with less electricity and have a few solar panels and windmills.
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Post by Potemkin Villager »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb7smsrYVsI

Walt Patterson is the only nuclear expert I have seen so far who
is neither unempathatic or barking. This is actually informative rather than merely opinionated.
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