Page 1 of 1

Japan nuclear crisis deepens ...

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:40 am
by HVPA_research
-
This article in The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/17/japan-nuclear-crisis-deepens-radiation is one of the thousands new items circling the media every day since this major earthquake hit the coast of Japan. Everyone of us feels with the Japanese in the disaster zone and wishes that the nightmare ended somehow soon.

There was a lot of Comments related to this article. Most of them were just the usual internet buzz but two Comments seem to stand out, because they to say something about the big picture. This can be summarized as:
I was strongly pro-nuclear but am starting to realise it is not the science you have to worry about but the politicians and administrators and corporate owners willing to risk ANYTHING for a quick profit. We scientifically COULD make safe nuclear, but we CANT trust the powers that be to KEEP IT SAFE.


No doubt, we have reached a critical stage in our fight for the sustainable planet. Can we prevent catastrophic climate change and keep "business as usual" without the nuclear energy? Nuclear power seem to be now politically dead even in China. For some countries living without nuclear power would represent a a cut in electricity supply exceeding twenty percent! Can the economies take it? Short term, there is only one viable alternative - "coal and gas and who cares about climate change" . Can we stop the fossil fuel industry from taking over the energy scene regardless of the consequences? Can we be sure that the environmental "safeguards" advertised by CSG and coal industries and by our governments are any better then those given by the proprietors of the crippled Fukushima power station in Japan?


QUOTES:
*
Bigwigandfiver

17 March 2011 8:39PM

I thought this was just the media panicking and also being obtuse/ strange prioritied when they first started going on about this. Why are they going on about this after such a huge Tsunami and devastation I thought. Surely that is the main story?

However after 5 days, by now it should be cooling down. Just naturally cooling down as energy gets used up. OK a few hydrogen explosions(chemical reactions NOT nuclear explosions) and a horrible mess from seawater and stuff getting in the delicate parts. But essentially containable. Most certainly not Chernobyl.

But what do I now find from the internet? The used fuel rods are dumped in some kind of swimming pool attic! There could even be thousands of them!
Who came up with that idea? Homer Simpson? In UK we re-process them at Thorp. In USA they bury them many miles under a huge mountain. But in Fukushima they just leave them lying around IN THE PLANT! This is too insane to believe. This is like if you have a coal fire and go to bed and leave the fireguard off. Probably OK. But NOT OK if you clean out the grate and bung all the still hot ashes on the sofa instead of putting it in the metal bin!

So they are stored in this attic thing and the tsunami dumps al oad of crap on the station and what should be minor CHEMICAL (not nuclear) explosions blow the roof off. So far so good. First containment breached bad BUT 2 containments still, to go. No prob. EXCEPT SOME MORON TO SAVE MONEY HAS BEEN DUMPING ALL THE SPENT FUEL RODS IN THE ATTIC _ NEAR THE ROOF!!!!!!!!

So now we have god knows how many spent fuel rods scattered about. These fuckers stay hot for 8 years! They still have energy. That is the whole point of Thorpe recycling - to get electricity for 'free' from the 'spent' rods.

So now the spent rods are not in secure environment and heating up randomly and unpredictably. So now the recovery phase of the other 2 containments that are still OK is knackered coz it is too hot because all this stuff is lying around and heating up. Not even robots can go in as they will melt.

This is insane???????

Do General Electic and Tokyo Electricity OWN the nuclear inspectors or what.
This accident could have been OK if correct procedures had been followed. What is the point of the nuclear inspectors if they dont FORCE big companies to have sensible procedures?

I daren't even think about that some of the stuff they have fed in is not normal uranium but former soviet crap from decommissioned missiles and such like.

I would welcome someone who knows more about this than me explaining everything I have just said is a-level science level bullshit. I WOULD WELCOME IT. We all would especially the poor people of Japan.

I was strongly pro-nuclear but am starting to realise it is not the science you have to worry about but the politicians and administrators and corporate owners willing to risk ANYTHING for a quick profit. We scientifically COULD make safe nuclear, but we CANT trust the powers that be to KEEP IT SAFE.



*
ikesolem

17 March 2011 9:40PM

@Bigwigandfiver

1) "I daren't even think about that some of the stuff they have fed in is not normal uranium but former soviet crap from decommissioned missiles and such like."

2) "So now we have god knows how many spent fuel rods scattered about. These fuckers stay hot for 8 years! They still have energy. That is the whole point of Thorpe recycling - to get electricity for 'free' from the 'spent' rods."

Well, you're talking about the same thing here, more or less. Here's an attempt at explaining:

Reactor #3 at Fukushima is fuel with MOX, mixed oxide fuel, meaning a blend of 6% plutonium (from Thorpe or from the Soviets, makes little difference) and 94% uranium. This MOX fuel also melts at a lower temperature than normal low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel. The airborne hazard is what, ten times as great?

"Spent" fuel rods should be called "too hot to handle" fuel rods - they've accumulated enough fission products and plutonium isotopes to make them unstable within the reactor core and have to be removed. The plutonium in such fuel rods is not actually very suitable for anything because it has things like americanum-241. Hence, I think they end up using more of the weapons-grade plutonium in MOX fuel. A 'spent' MOX fuel rod is thus a more dangerous creature than a 'spent' LEU fuel rod. How much of this stuff is in reactor #3? Not sure - 100 tons plus?

So, at the end of one fuel 'burn' cycle, they pull all the rods out and dump them in a pool of water, otherwise they'd melt. "Natural cooling" takes decades, anyway. Unbelievably, at Fukushima this pool was not just adjacent to the reactor, but above it. That seems like an insane design, but these Mark 1 reactors seem to have plenty of similar flaws. At least Chernobyl stored the spent fuel elsewhere. At least Chernobyl wasn't using MOX fuel. Yes, it did have a graphite moderator that ignited into a hundreds-of-meters tall pillar of white fire. Either way, you're in deep trouble.




What many physicists and engineers are now saying is that a full-scale Chernobyl-style response using inert material to smother the cores and fuel rods is really the only option. This will require a mindboggling labor-intensive effort, since there is not just one reactor as at Chernobyl.

Here's something from an outfit called Perpetual Investments:

"The worst-case scenario doesn’t bear mentioning and the best-case scenario keeps getting worse."

Okay - so the 'unmentionable' worst case scenario is that each molten core and spent fuel rod assembly, like so many molten masses of boiling radioactive lava, burns through the plant and into the water table underneath it (which we can assume is shallow). There, it will encounter water, setting off a series of steam explosions which eject mass amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere and surrounding area, which will lead to an uninhabitable zone bigger than that associated with Chernobyl. How far downwind will contamination stretch? A long ways, depending on winds, rainfall, etc. Nothing to worry about, they say? That's speculation, I'd guess.

Stopping that from happening should be the priority. This is cause for massive alarm and a coordinated immediate international response - and anyone complaining about alarmist fear-mongering is not thinking clearly.