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Rogerdodger
6 mins ago
#Tokyo Electric Power Co. reporting they have lost control of pressure in No. 1 & 2 nuclear reactors with temps rising - Reuters
http://www.breakingnews.com/
Rogerdodger
1 hour ago

Discovery suggests radioactive steam could spread around plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. - kyodo news


URGENT: Radiation 1,000 times higher than normal detected at nuke plant

TOKYO, March 12, Kyodo

The amount of radiation reached around 1,000 times the normal level Saturday in the control room of the No. 1 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

The discovery suggests radioactive steam could spread around the facility operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Rogerdodger
URGENT: Cooling system fails at Fukushima No. 2 plant
Rogerdodger
The China Syndrome.
The title refers to the concept that, if an American nuclear plant melts down, the core will melt through the Earth until it reaches China (see China Syndrome). China is simply a popular metaphor, as the opposite side of the globe from the USA is actually the Indian Ocean.
Rogerdodger
Japan's prime minister says there are no reports of radioactive material leaks after quake, tsunami - Msnbc less than 5 seconds ago via breakingnews.com

turn55
It seems that the fuel is slowly uncovering. No power to run emergency cooling injection pumps, coupled with an earthquake induced leak perhaps creating a loss of coolant accident. With radiation levels that high there must already be some fuel damage. This is a Boiling Water Reactor, so they have more time to figure out how to get some power to some pumps, and valves than if it were a Pressurized Water Reactor. I am hearing comparisons already to Chernobyl, but this is no way like that cluster, plus that Russian design was a graphite cooled reactor and it exploded and caught fire. The Japan reactors can't explode and are cooled with water.
Rogerdodger
I guess this is close to the worst case for reactors.
The potential is horrible.
Our worst fears seldom come true. Usually. dry.gif
dcengr
I have a degree in nuclear engineering. But not a practicing nuclear engineer.. but let me chime in.

This is a serious accident, no doubt. But the reactor is a boiling water reactor and as such it is inherantly more safe than say Chernobyl which was a graphite moderating reactor. Graphite burns at high temperature and the russian containment system blew.

In a boiling water reactor, the water is used to moderate the neutrons which is what causes the nuclear reaction. With the water gone, it can't generate any more nuclear fission but there's latent heat in there which is sufficient to melt the primary containment vessel.

If that happened, then it will melt it, pressure would relieve itself into the secondary containment, which is a concrete structure. The core may still be very hot and melt into the floor, but I'd say vast majority of the nuclear material would be contained.

The second containment vessel is large enough to expand any pressure generated by the breach of the primary containment.

Now the caveat is they can design all this stuff but they never put this sort of emergency into practice.. so this is real life case of whether human engineering did the right stuff or they didn't design it for some fallacy somewhere (ie something they never thought about how it would behave). I see more problems in real world engineering from the fact people can't think up everything...

It would be a shame for the japanese to have been nuked twice in WW2 then nuked again mad.gif
Rogerdodger
Did BP or Halliburton have anything to do with the safety designs?
ohmy.gif
Rogerdodger
Live TV Link.
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/foxtokimekitonight
dcengr
QUOTE (Rogerdodger @ Mar 11 2011, 03:25 PM) *
Did BP or Halliburton have anything to do with the safety designs?
ohmy.gif

Exactly... they let pressure build to 2x design ability...something they didn't want to burst may...

I hope no one shorted expecting a meltdown.. very low odds... and very low impact even if it did.
dcengr
Latest is they are venting the primary containment into the air.. that is the right thing to do. No uncontrolled bursts..let the system do what its intended. I can't believe they allowed 2x pressure to build up...
Rogerdodger
jdjimenez
O.K. it is now official you guys are WAY to smart, I don't belong here!
orange
QUOTE (jdjimenez @ Mar 11 2011, 08:08 PM) *
O.K. it is now official you guys are WAY to smart, I don't belong here!


dcengr is not a nuclear engineer, but he did stay in a Holiday Inn last night.
arbman
QUOTE
Now the caveat is they can design all this stuff but they never put this sort of emergency into practice.. so this is real life case of whether human engineering did the right stuff or they didn't design it for some fallacy somewhere (ie something they never thought about how it would behave). I see more problems in real world engineering from the fact people can't think up everything...


I didn't study and I am just using my engineering intuition, but who will be able to go in there to repair anything once inside the concrete dome is contaminated with the radioactive material? Is the reactor pretty much to be sealed and considered dead? Or you can wait some 500 years and it will be operable again?!? Or perhaps they have enough Chinese labor they can bring in there to go in and clean it? Where does the contaminated water go? I suppose the pressured water released also contains radioactive particles at this point or somehow magically they can cool the reactor, but not have the water contact them? A lot of questions, but when you find the pros who offer their knowledge, you gotta ask! smile.gif
dcengr
QUOTE (arbman @ Mar 11 2011, 04:19 PM) *
QUOTE
Now the caveat is they can design all this stuff but they never put this sort of emergency into practice.. so this is real life case of whether human engineering did the right stuff or they didn't design it for some fallacy somewhere (ie something they never thought about how it would behave). I see more problems in real world engineering from the fact people can't think up everything...


I didn't study and I am just using my engineering intuition, but who will be able to go in there to repair anything once inside the concrete dome is contaminated with the radioactive material? Is the reactor pretty much to be sealed and considered dead? Or you can wait some 500 years and it will be operable again?!? Or perhaps they have enough Chinese labor they can bring in there to go in and clean it? Where does the contaminated water go? I suppose the pressured water released also contains radioactive particles at this point or somehow magically they can cool the reactor, but not have the water contact them? A lot of questions, but when you find the pros who offer their knowledge, you gotta ask! smile.gif


I don't know the full situation, but I gather they vented the primary containment into the atmosphere (ie outside the secondary containment) just for the purpose that they can get people in there to work on the reactor and salvage it. At worst case, they would vent into the secondary containment then would have to vent the secondary containment into something else and get people in suits or robots in there etc. It may make that reactor unusable.

Because it's a boiling water reactor, the water comes in direct contact with nuclear material and when they vent pressure, it is this radioactive water that's put into the atmosphere. They're only venting part of the pressure, not the entire vessel, so water will remain where they can cool the reactor and replace it with new water that's colder I assume.

The radioactive release is hazardous, but news makes it sound like people will drop dead on contact.. no, it will cause cancer and people will die slowly over decades.. remember, Japan had Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombed and they built cities back on it. Ofcourse that was maybe 100 lbs of uranium and 30 lbs of plutonium vs maybe thousands of pounds of the stuff.. but it's only water that came into contact with it..

In Chernobyl, the actual core caught fire and released all that stuff.. that was pretty nasty.

I am surprised they didn't release pressure and let it build up to 2x design capacity.. that is negligent. Much better to risk some folks developing cancer over decades with release into atmosphere rather than risk catastrophic primary containment collapse by preventing the pressure valve to work as intended..

Btw, part of 3 mile island problem was related to the pressure valve not working.. intentionally NOT using it is very stupid.
jdjimenez
QUOTE (orange @ Mar 11 2011, 05:13 PM) *
QUOTE (jdjimenez @ Mar 11 2011, 08:08 PM) *
O.K. it is now official you guys are WAY to smart, I don't belong here!


dcengr is not a nuclear engineer, but he did stay in a Holiday Inn last night.



lol!!! laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif
selecto
Wait, wait... They rely on the electricity they generate to regulate their nuclear generation of electricity? unsure.gif
totterdell91
One of the interesting outcomes of this, is that along with china; Japan will now accelerate development of liquid flouride thorium reactors. They already have a design ready to go, http://thoriummsr.wordpress.com/2010/09/12...ck-again-again/

Given the rapid deployment timescale of smaller LFTRs, compared to their bigger more dangerous water cooled cousins, and Japans dependence on nuclear, it is reasonable to suspect that earthquake, explosion, and weapons resistant LFTRs will almost certainly get a run there in the near future.
http://www.itheo.org/articles/thorium-hold...ustrial-future/

and if you are interested, LFTR physics just shuts down the reaction if they somehow get too hot. They simply will not operate above their design threshold, and if you breach containment, the reaction shuts down and the fuel turns to a glass like substance.
selecto
PS to my post above. Apparently the failure of the back-up generators
is what has caused the problem. Reuters.

And this from the land of Honda. (I've got two to keep things going here in Paradise when the wind blows.
Maybe I should get a backup for my backups.)

We have some critical communications junctions here in St. Croix. Most everything between the US and Latin
America goes through here. The building is hugemongous, and everything is run off batteries, which are
kept charged with local power. But they also have backup generators the size of greyhound busses, and
enough stored fuel to keep the batteries charged for months.
turn55
QUOTE (dcengr @ Mar 11 2011, 07:33 PM) *
QUOTE (arbman @ Mar 11 2011, 04:19 PM) *
QUOTE
Now the caveat is they can design all this stuff but they never put this sort of emergency into practice.. so this is real life case of whether human engineering did the right stuff or they didn't design it for some fallacy somewhere (ie something they never thought about how it would behave). I see more problems in real world engineering from the fact people can't think up everything...


I didn't study and I am just using my engineering intuition, but who will be able to go in there to repair anything once inside the concrete dome is contaminated with the radioactive material? Is the reactor pretty much to be sealed and considered dead? Or you can wait some 500 years and it will be operable again?!? Or perhaps they have enough Chinese labor they can bring in there to go in and clean it? Where does the contaminated water go? I suppose the pressured water released also contains radioactive particles at this point or somehow magically they can cool the reactor, but not have the water contact them? A lot of questions, but when you find the pros who offer their knowledge, you gotta ask! smile.gif


I don't know the full situation, but I gather they vented the primary containment into the atmosphere (ie outside the secondary containment) just for the purpose that they can get people in there to work on the reactor and salvage it. At worst case, they would vent into the secondary containment then would have to vent the secondary containment into something else and get people in suits or robots in there etc. It may make that reactor unusable.

Because it's a boiling water reactor, the water comes in direct contact with nuclear material and when they vent pressure, it is this radioactive water that's put into the atmosphere. They're only venting part of the pressure, not the entire vessel, so water will remain where they can cool the reactor and replace it with new water that's colder I assume.

The radioactive release is hazardous, but news makes it sound like people will drop dead on contact.. no, it will cause cancer and people will die slowly over decades.. remember, Japan had Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombed and they built cities back on it. Ofcourse that was maybe 100 lbs of uranium and 30 lbs of plutonium vs maybe thousands of pounds of the stuff.. but it's only water that came into contact with it..

In Chernobyl, the actual core caught fire and released all that stuff.. that was pretty nasty.

I am surprised they didn't release pressure and let it build up to 2x design capacity.. that is negligent. Much better to risk some folks developing cancer over decades with release into atmosphere rather than risk catastrophic primary containment collapse by preventing the pressure valve to work as intended..

Btw, part of 3 mile island problem was related to the pressure valve not working.. intentionally NOT using it is very stupid.



Actually, one of the big problems at TMI was a relief valve opened on high pressure and stuck open.

In Japan, not releasing pressure was probably based on the loss of power. May not have had power to the valves, or access for manual operation. Also the loss of power may have disabled the normal monitoring instrumentation. No operator is going to open a valve and initiate an unmonitored release to John Q Public without getiing as many nuts in the vise first. That takes time.
dcengr
QUOTE (turn55 @ Mar 11 2011, 05:52 PM) *
Actually, one of the big problems at TMI was a relief valve opened on high pressure and stuck open.

In Japan, not releasing pressure was probably based on the loss of power. May not have had power to the valves, or access for manual operation. Also the loss of power may have disabled the normal monitoring instrumentation. No operator is going to open a valve and initiate an unmonitored release to John Q Public without getiing as many nuts in the vise first. That takes time.


When your pressure exceeds 2x design limit, either they're lying about the design limit or they had some other reason it wasn't being released. Or they're using a Safety Factor of 4, which wouldn't be out of hand considering criticality..

But apparently, they waited for direction from the government to release it and the government told them to do it, and they're doing it, so it doesn't seem like it's faulty equipment.

The big problem appears to have been the tsunami, not the quake as it's likely no one thought about placing the emergency generators high enough where it wouldn't get flooded. Simple stuff like that being overlooked is how things go to hell.
SemiBizz
It ain't over yet...

6.1 Quake just hit Tonga

a few minutes ago.
CLK
Is it a good idea to stay indoors a few days, or is this radiation release something that will just fall to the ocean
with the night time dew fall ? Right now the wind is out of the N at 8mph in Japan.
dcengr
QUOTE (CLK @ Mar 11 2011, 06:21 PM) *
Is it a good idea to stay indoors a few days, or is this radiation release something that will just fall to the ocean
with the night time dew fall ? Right now the wind is out of the N at 8mph in Japan.


Not a concern to us. Highly likely not even a concern to them.
SemiBizz
USGS Another 6.8 Quake hits off East Coast of Honschu, Japan
arbman
QUOTE (SemiBizz @ Mar 11 2011, 10:28 PM) *
USGS Another 6.8 Quake hits off East Coast of Honschu, Japan


One of the 6+ earthquake actually happened at the other side of the island, the whole island is like moving to a new location;

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/rec...s/10/140_40.php
Rogerdodger
Oklahoma City even had one today just over a 3.
Rogerdodger
'HOURS' TO PREVENT NUKE MELTDOWN

Officials are now considering releasing some radiation to relieve pressure in the containment at the Daiichi plant and are also considering releasing pressure at Daini, signs that difficulties are mounting. Such a release has only occurred once in U.S. history, at Three Mile Island.

"(It's) a sign that the Japanese are pulling out all the stops they can to prevent this accident from developing into a core melt and also prevent it from causing a breach of the containment (system) from the pressure that is building up inside the core because of excess heat," said Mark Hibbs, a nuclear expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
spielchekr
Here's a mind-boggling list of all the current seismic activity in Japan:

http://www.iris.edu/seismon/last30.html

spielchekr
Yikes!
ysop
QUOTE (Rogerdodger @ Mar 11 2011, 06:08 PM) *
if an American nuclear plant melts down, the core will melt through the Earth until it reaches China

check out whats nuclear meltdown mean before speaking out!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_meltdown
Rogerdodger
QUOTE (ysop @ Mar 12 2011, 12:24 AM) *
QUOTE (Rogerdodger @ Mar 11 2011, 06:08 PM) *
if an American nuclear plant melts down, the core will melt through the Earth until it reaches China

check out whats nuclear meltdown mean before speaking out!!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_meltdown


You may have missed it in translation but that was an explanation for the 1979 movie title "The China Syndrome".
Obviously a meltdown to the earth's core would miss China just a bit, and Godzilla isn't real.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_China_Syndrome
"The title refers to the concept that, if an American nuclear plant melts down, the core will melt through the Earth until it reaches China (see China Syndrome). China is simply a popular metaphor, as the opposite side of the globe from the USA is actually the Indian Ocean."
dcengr
In modern reactors, all a meltdown is going to do is prevent the operator from using that reactor ever again.

That means the power generation is out, the company that owns it takes a big loss in revenue plus clean up costs.

And I've heard all kinds of idiots say how gas and oil prices will go up because the nuclear plants are out of service.

Think for 5 seconds.. those gas/oil burning plants are probably operating at 80% or more capacity. You can't make them work any harder by giving it more oil. DUH.

It takes years to build a plant. The loss in power for japan is pretty severe. They can't make it up by buying more oil. They can't even import power from overseas.

The country will need to build some new plants quickly because I'm willing to bet they don't have that kind of spare capacity.

Now if that happened in US, we'd be able to fall back on Canada or Mexico. And we had in the past when those greedy energy traders shut down the power plants for 'maintenance' in hopes of causing a shortage.. and california governor ended up buying electricity at extortion prices.. forgot the idiots name, but he was voted out or impeached out.. forget which.. grey davis?
arbman
What do you think the odds for the most outer containment to get breached?

It looks like to me they won't be able to get more enery quickly to cool down the reactor...
CLK

Explosion, partial meltdown, leak at another plant, not looking good.


http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/1...T1&iref=BN1
stocks
QUOTE (dcengr @ Mar 12 2011, 02:01 AM) *
In modern reactors, all a meltdown is going to do is prevent the operator from using that reactor ever again.

That means the power generation is out, the company that owns it takes a big loss in revenue plus clean up costs.

It takes years to build a plant. The loss in power for japan is pretty severe. They can't make it up by buying more oil. They can't even import power from overseas.

The country will need to build some new plants quickly because I'm willing to bet they don't have that kind of spare capacity.

I worked at a nuke plant for 24 years.
Ignore the hysteria listen to dcengr.

The probable outcome is a core melt & a destroyed reactor like TMI.

Nuclear power plants are not nuclear bombs.
Nuclear cores do not melt through the earth.
Global warming does not cause earthquakes.

"I am a better actor than Jane Fonda is a nuclear engineer"
Edward Teller





Rogerdodger
Nearly 5.1 million Japanese homes without power, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company - CNN http://bit.ly/hPdfcg I see reports of explosions and then denials, radiation, no radiation.
No doubt many rumors are floating about.
"Japanese authorities are making plans to distribute stable iodine, a treatment to prevent radiation poisoning, to residents near two damaged nuclear plants, the International Atomic Energy Agency says."

Here's one story which I can believe after watching the videos:

Officials: Nearly 9,500 people unaccounted for in the town of Minamisanriku -
CNN via Kyodo News Agency http://bit.ly/hPdfcg

Nearly 5.1 million Japanese homes without power, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company -
CNN http://bit.ly/hPdfcg

So very sad.
dcengr
It's a diaster and it's sad, but keeping things in context...

Many major disasters in the past.. the tsunami that killed 100k people.

Look at Libya, people getting killed by their own government.. not even a natural disaster.

# people killed by tobacco every year.. but we still sell 'em.

# people killed by drunk drivers every year.. but we still sell 'em.

Lee48
My turn to share. First I'm not a nuclear engineer or even a rocket scientist.

I got a GED in 1974 while stationed in Okinawa Japan..



But it seems to me you don't locate your elect back-up generators in the basement or bottom floor if you need to run them in an emergency, like to run your control room and cooling pumps to prevent a meltdown.....duh



The hospital in New Orleans had the same problem during hurricane Katrina. Their emergency generators were useless because they were flooded in the basement.
And if you have a flood, don't have an elevator that goes down to a basement that is flooded and drowns everyone inside. That happened during a flood in Houston.


So a note to future engineers, locate your emergency generators on the roof or a floor near the roof.



One more tip. Don't locate you nuclear power plants on or near major earthquake fault lines. Like Japan and Southern California have done. And build them on the east coast, so when one melts down the prevailing winds will blow the radiation out to sea or Europe.


dcengr
QUOTE (Lee48 @ Mar 12 2011, 10:25 AM) *
So a note to future engineers, locate your emergency generators on the roof or a floor near the roof.


Hindsight is wonderful isn't it? Just like the markets. laugh.gif

And what makes you think putting the generators on the roof won't cause some other problem? DUH.

spielchekr
I'm also not a nuclear scientist. But I'm willing to bet that structural engineer could have designed a water tower that would withstand and force of nature. Maybe even just some guy with a dump truck and a bulldozer. Pile up some dirt really high, call it a tower, and pre-pump some water into a vessel that sits on that tower. I've noticed that for some reason, when water is elevated above a pipe with a closed spigot, pressure builds up. No pumps are required during times when pumps are bound to fail.

And I'll also bet that all of the diesel engines failed due to maintenance neglect (like not replacing stale fuel). They all ran for about an hour, then they all failed. Betcha, betcha, betcha.
Lee48
QUOTE (dcengr @ Mar 12 2011, 02:35 PM) *
QUOTE (Lee48 @ Mar 12 2011, 10:25 AM) *
So a note to future engineers, locate your emergency generators on the roof or a floor near the roof.


Hindsight is wonderful isn't it? Just like the markets. laugh.gif

And what makes you think putting the generators on the roof won't cause some other problem? DUH.


You call it hindsight, I call it common sense. You put in a "emergency generator" for use in case of an emergency. I include flooding as an emergency.
Common sense also includes not building a nuclear plant on a faut line or "rim of fire"....duh
PS a generator on the roof should be sheltered from the elements.

splelchecker also makes a good point. Maint has to be done and the generators run at least twice a year to make sure they do what they're supposed to do.
I was in heavy equipment repair and Maint in the service and had yearly inspections on our equipment to make sure they were in working order.
Anyone of our generators were expected to run in short order when the Major stopped and wanted to see that one run. If it didn't, well there was helll to pay... laugh.gif
arbman
I am sure they have everything inspected annually and they were functional until a 8.9 scale earthquake hit, this is a nuclear reactor. But there seems to be not enough and well thought emergency measures. But then all of them could still fail after some 200 major earthquakes in a day. Each of the aftershocks were 5-6 scale, these are pretty big earthquakes, not just an aftershock...
Rogerdodger
Why don't they just use windmills in Japan?
There are few if any negatives with windfarms, at least according to Google news!
http://www.traders-talk.com/mb2/index.php?...st&p=567106
relax
windfarms = very expensive energy
spielchekr
QUOTE (Rogerdodger @ Mar 12 2011, 04:27 PM) *
Why don't they just use windmills in Japan?
There are few if any negatives with windfarms, at least according to Google news!
http://www.traders-talk.com/mb2/index.php?...st&p=567106


Better yet, underwater tsunamimills. Enough energy in your standard tsunami to charge batteries for 100 years.
SemiBizz
New State of Emergency Declared at 2nd Nuclear Plant in Japan.



arbman
QUOTE
[5:48 p.m. ET, 7:48 a.m. Tokyo] A meltdown may be under way at one of Fukushima Daiichiís nuclear power reactors, an official with Japanís nuclear and industrial safety agency told CNN Sunday.

A meltdown is a catastrophic failure of the reactor core, with a potential for widespread radiation release. However, Toshiro Bannai, director of the agencyís international affairs office, expressed confidence that efforts to control the crisis would prove successful.

Meanwhile, a second reactor at the same facility failed shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said, according to TV Asahi. The power company said it was having difficulty cooling the reactor and may need to release radioactive steam in order to relieve pressure.


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