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Old 03-20-2011, 10:28 AM
 
Location: state of enlightenment
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From my favorite egghead Michio Kaku on March 20, 2011, 12:03 PM:

Update on the Japanese Reactor Situation | Dr. Kaku's Universe | Big Think
[excerpt]
We are entering into a decisive turning point for the reactor crisis in Japan. This accident cannot go on forever, and we are entering a particularly decisive and important phase.

As of Sunday morning, Japanese workers are heroically laying electrical cables to Units 1,2,3,4, hoping to restore power to the backup pumps. If they are successful, then perhaps the pumps can once again maintain water above the cores of the reactors and the spent fuel ponds, and hence stabilize the accident. Then the dangerous phase of the accident would end, and the long, years-long process of clean up may begin.
[/excerpt]
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:51 PM
 
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The Russian firefighters, helicopter pilots and reactor technicians stepped up to the plate, the Chernobyl Liquidators as they are known and did what had to be done at the peril of their own lives.

We have seen footage of firefighters volunteering to go to the site to help stop this disaster. Japan apparently needs more hero's and need the play it safe leadership to get the hell out of their way. None of these men want to die, but it is inevitable, and like the Russians, I suspect that the Japanese have such men also.

Sadly, like the NYC firefighters that died and destroyed their health at the WTC site, the Chernobyl Liquidators are getting the shaft from their respective governments. Survivors of both are fighting for compensation.
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:27 PM
 
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Default Git R Done!

Japan: The Solution to the Blown Reactors : Veterans Today
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Out in the Badlands
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Hey, I have a good idea...let's build 6 nuke reactors next to one another.
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:51 AM
 
Location: state of enlightenment
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretzelogik View Post
Hey, I have a good idea...let's build 6 nuke reactors next to one another.
A perfect example of denial, "Oh, it can't happen here." The problem is nukes need a lot of water for cooling hence the location.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,346 posts, read 80,751,010 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretzelogik View Post
Hey, I have a good idea...let's build 6 nuke reactors next to one another.
Another way of looking at it is, building six reactors in one place only creates a risk if an earthquake hits near that one place (as it did in Japan).

On the other hand, if six reactors are built in six different places, then there is a six times increase in the probability that an earthquake will hit near any one of those places.

(This assumes an earthquake hitting a cluster of six reactors isn't more dangerous than an earthquake hitting one reactor.)
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:28 PM
 
26,886 posts, read 38,133,169 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles View Post
Another way of looking at it is, building six reactors in one place only creates a risk if an earthquake hits near that one place (as it did in Japan).

On the other hand, if six reactors are built in six different places, then there is a six times increase in the probability that an earthquake will hit near any one of those places.

(This assumes an earthquake hitting a cluster of six reactors isn't more dangerous than an earthquake hitting one reactor.)
The earthquake didn't cause the reactor failures, the tsunami did, or at least that's what I've read. So placing six reactors in separate locations for safety's sake depends on where they are in relation to the large faults. Of course, in Japan, that's anywhere....
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:17 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 9,687,600 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville Native View Post
The Russian firefighters, helicopter pilots and reactor technicians stepped up to the plate, the Chernobyl Liquidators as they are known and did what had to be done at the peril of their own lives.

We have seen footage of firefighters volunteering to go to the site to help stop this disaster. Japan apparently needs more hero's and need the play it safe leadership to get the hell out of their way. None of these men want to die, but it is inevitable, and like the Russians, I suspect that the Japanese have such men also.

Sadly, like the NYC firefighters that died and destroyed their health at the WTC site, the Chernobyl Liquidators are getting the shaft from their respective governments. Survivors of both are fighting for compensation.
Very different situations. Plant operators at Chernobyl unintentionally turned unit 2 into a "bomb" by inserting several dollars worth of reactivity into the core when they lowered the graphite-tipped control rods. They blew their reactor to hell and gone over the course of a few microseconds and then scattered burning radioactive graphite all over the place.

At least one of the Japanese reactors have probably melted down completely--judging by the very significant amounts of radiation on the grounds and the fact that the cores haven't had active cooling in days. Happily, reactor design--even the old Mark I--seems to "work" and melts down in a fairly benign fashion. The doses the workers are getting aren't lethal and probably won't even cause a significant statistical increase in the risk of radiation-related diseases.
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:47 PM
 
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I don't think there is any such thing as a "benign" meltdown. The levels of radiation being emitted are very dangerous and due in part to the more that 1400 tons of fuel rods stored in reactor 4's fuel pond. Standing by one of these will score you a lethal dose of radiation in a few minutes. They are desperately trying to spray water into this pool to keep it covered. Reactor 3 has plutonium in it, there are 3 destroyed reactor buildings, no cooling pumps and one of the reactors has reached 400C. All in all a big pile of "not good".

And yes, it's being reported in the press that at least one of the workers has received a dangerous dose of radiation.

It's way too soon to dismiss this as something benign.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yantosh22 View Post
I don't think there is any such thing as a "benign" meltdown.
No, and this is a big mess, but if we saw the reactor fuel melt through the core and recombine in a large supercritical mass, you'd sure see a "non-benign" one, consisting of a very significant explosion of vaporized actinides and good portion of the radioactive metals in the reactor being turned into a deadly (for a pretty significant distance) jet of vapor.

Quote:
The levels of radiation being emitted are very dangerous and due in part to the more that 1400 tons of fuel rods stored in reactor 4's fuel pond. Standing by one of these will score you a lethal dose of radiation in a few minutes. They are desperately trying to spray water into this pool to keep it covered. Reactor 3 has plutonium in it, there are 3 destroyed reactor buildings, no cooling pumps and one of the reactors has reached 400C. All in all a big pile of "not good".
Yes, but the really bad stuff is all contained within the general vicinity of the core, rather than being spread across the grounds of the plant (or across the countryside, or rising in a column of smoke into the upper reaches of the troposphere.)

I'm under the impression that the external spraying is going on from firefighters located outside of the wrecked weather shells, so ought to have a pretty good thickness of concrete between them and the neutron sources. The gammas are a different story, but the alphas and betas aren't a worry so long as they decontaminate and wear proper ppe.

Quote:
And yes, it's being reported in the press that at least one of the workers has received a dangerous dose of radiation.
The general press wouldn't know a dangerous dose of radiation from a daisy. Did they report a single-dose exposure of over 1 Sv?

Quote:
It's way too soon to dismiss this as something benign.
I'll agree with you there. If the core melt actually isn't finished yet, we could still see some of the really nasty stuff go down. Especially since I wouldn't count on any of the core coolant systems to work even if they get power back to the pumps. There's almost certainly been significant melting and the plumbing may be totally shot.

Then again, if the meltdown hasn't re-established core criticality yet--after this many days without any sort of core cooling--then it's probably not going to.

Is there really enough latent heat in the spent rods in the cooling pools to melt the cladding? That surprises me.
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