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Japan Earth Technology

Mitigating Fukushima's Dangers, 42 Days In 245

Posted by timothy
from the aw-heck-let's-just-bury-it dept.
DrKnark writes "Tepco has released more information about their plan to stabilize the Fukushima reactors. They are basically facing 4 problems: ensure long term cooling of the cores; ensure cooling of the spent fuel pools; prevent release of radioactive material; and mitigate the consequences of the releases that will continue for a while."
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Mitigating Fukushima's Dangers, 42 Days In

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  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @03:32AM (#35913226) Homepage Journal

    Funny reading a post about people hacking up reactor cooling solutions with radioactive water pooling all over the place on a site called nuclearpoweryesplease.org

    • by rrohbeck (944847) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @04:57AM (#35913400)

      I just checked that site and you were right. No news there, just pages and pages on how reactors work. Wonders of technology. True, when they work and don't burn or explode.

    • Why should that be surprising? I presume with a name like NuclearPowerYesPlease that they would be pro-nuclear. Nothing would aid the pro-nuclear camp more than a speedy cleanup of the Fukushima site. Step one of that process would be cooling the fuel to the point where it can be handled. So, really... is it all that surprising that there would be people suggesting solutions as to how to hack together cooling solutions?
  • Send in the robots (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Interoperable (1651953) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @04:53AM (#35913392)

    I guess that the primary reason that such duct-tape-and-cardboard methods are necessary is that people simply can't go into the reactor building due to high radiation levels. All the hardware required to cool the reactor is in place, it just needs repairs. It would surely be easier to perform those repairs than build a new cooling system, provided that access to the systems was possible.

    I can't imagine that flooding the containment buildings was their first (or even second) choice but they must be restricted in terms of what systems they have access to from outside the most heavily contaminated areas.

    • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:43AM (#35913662)
      Yeah, you are probably right - but what does that tell us? They have no concept at all to handle a major failure mode in one of their reactors, none at all. All we are seeing is seat-of-the-pants level improvisation, because they have no plan. Why do we let those guys operate a reactor again?
      • by maztuhblastah (745586) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @12:56PM (#35915510) Journal

        Yeah, you are probably right - but what does that tell us? They have no concept at all to handle a major failure mode in one of their reactors, none at all. All we are seeing is seat-of-the-pants level improvisation, because they have no plan. Why do we let those guys operate a reactor again?

        Why do we let them? Because as much as we'd all love to see a form of electricity generation that uses only perfectly safe fuel, operates without any risk to its users, and emits no waste, the gods have not yet graced us with such an energy source yet.

        And why do they have no plan? Well... because we can't plan for everything. We *did* have a plan for an earthquake. Then nature fucked us with a bigger one. We did know the risks of tsunamis -- but nobody thought of the possibility of a big one following a record quake.

        For every disaster you plan for, there's always the chance of another one that makes the one you prepared for look like a tiny mishap. You plan for a quake at level X on the Richter scale, nature will throw an X+2 at you. You plan for tropical storms, nature will throw hurricanes at you. You plan for those, you'll get get a tornado. No matter what you plan for, there's always something that you didn't.

        And then, after it's all over, and your otherwise-well-designed $PROJECT is a pile of smoking rubble, some asshole will come out of the woodwork and snort "How could those guys not plan for __________?"

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      There is no reason such methods are necessary. They are hoping to get to a condition where they will be able to remove the thing rather than having it fester for ten thousand years and therefore they are spewing radioactive material into the air in the meanwhile. Fuel rods AND fuel pellets have been seen in the open in damaged condition. This is completely unacceptable.

  • by rrohbeck (944847) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @05:42AM (#35913488)

    From http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/2011/04/april-20-2011-fukushima-review-of-ines.html [blogspot.com]:

    On April 17th the same site had the following radiation levels recorded for units 1-3:

            Reactor 1
            Dry Well: 121.4 Sv/hr
            Suppression chamber: 97.5 Sv/hr

            Reactor 2
            Dry Well: N/A
            Suppression Chamber: 131 Sv/hr

            Reactor 3
            Dry Well: 253.2 Sv/hr
            Suppression Chamber: 103.9 Sv/hr
    So that's going to take a while to cool off.

  • Mitigating my ass. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by unity100 (970058)
    Hear Dr. Michiko Kaku (yes, famous physicist) speak about fukujima. and what you hear wont ease your mind.

    http://video.godlikeproductions.com/video/Japan_Nuclear_Crisis_Dr_Michio_Kaku_41311?id=5f6b79d071f3c70b40c [godlikeproductions.com]

    there are people STILL downplaying this, believing what industry shills are drumming like morons.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Sorry, but I ain't gonna pay much attention to a guy that can't count to 4: "There are 3 types of civilisation: Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3. We're Type 0."
    • I do not respect this Kaku guy. He spends more time on TV than doing actual physics. He is a an attention whore. He is on every channel BBC, Science, Discovery, History and he has 'expert opinion' on everything. Moreover, he uses sensationalist language, often implying more extreme consequences of whatever he is talking about than is actually the case.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mickwd (196449)

        Never heard of this guy before, but I did watch the interview.

        Not impressed at all. As you say, very sensationalist, and a complete attention whore.

        As someone still in favour of (new and existing) nuclear power, I hope the "anti-s" can come up with people better than this - they do have a a point of view worthy of serious consideration and debate. But guys like this aren't helping that. To be honest, I think the way this guy presents himself is damaging to the viewpoint he represents.

    • Hear Dr. Michiko Kaku (yes, famous physicist) speak about fukujima. and what you hear wont ease your mind.

      He's a physicist, so what? Just because he's a scientist (of sorts, his field of expertise is actually string theory) doesn't mean he's an expert on nuclear power or nuclear reactors or even that he knows more than the average Joe. (Worse yet, if you're familiar with his politics, you'll find he's quite anti-nuclear.)

      TV producers love him because he's always good for a sensationalist quote - r

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:11AM (#35913568) Homepage
    With a review after 42 days I was expecting to read "DON'T PANIC" in large, friendly letters ....
  • Coal vs. Nuclear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ferrisoxide.com (1935296) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:49AM (#35913690) Homepage
    Ignoring all the "coal kills more people" vs. "Pu is forever" arguments, the fact remains that all these fuels are essentially nasty, polluting "fossil" fuels (albeit one from dead suns).

    Maybe Fukushima and Deep Water Horizon will mark a recognition of the level of care we need to take when handling these very finite resources. I hope so.
    • Ignoring all the "coal kills more people" vs. "Pu is forever" arguments,

      Pu is NOT forever. It decays into something else after a while.

      Of course, the mercury in coal IS forever....

      • by gweihir (88907) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @09:09AM (#35914192)

        Mercury is safe to eat in comparison to Pu. And Pu has a half-life that the distinction does not make a whole lot of difference. Also keep in mind that its half-life (24,100 yrs) the problem is not gone, but _halved_ and some other nice radioactive stuff created from it. Calling this "a while" is highly stupid. Also, it is quite possible (and done) to remove the mercury from the smoke.

        Bottom line: Nuclear power is extremely expensive and deals with time-lines for containing its by-products that are far outside of what the human race can handle. The thing that really ticks me off is that by now it would have been cheaper to just shove all that money down the nuclear fanatic's throats and build up renewable energy source with what was left. And this stuff will continue to be expensive for > 100'000 years, a constant financial and ecological drain on humanity. Just so a few people without ethics could fill their coffers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by cnaumann (466328)

          Ingesting very small amounts of Pu will (probably) not hurt you. The toxicity of Pu is grossly exaggerated. It is chemically toxic like most heavy metals, but there is nothing really special about its toxicity as a chemically. All isotopes of Pu are radioactive, the longer lived isotopes are less radioactive than the shorter lived isotopes. There is nothing special about the radioactivity from Pu 239 (half life of 24K years) that makes it more hazardous than any other radioactive material. If you are concer

        • by sjames (1099)

          Pregnant women are warned to avoid seafood due to mercury contamination, mostly from coal power. That is not some sort of temporary precautionary measure, it applies for the foreseeable future. Now, name any food that any class of individual is warned away from due to nuclear contamination.

          Pu is not a waste product of nuclear energy, it is a valuable fuel that we should be processing back into useful form. IF we did that, the true waste from nuclear power would decay to safe levels within 200-500 years. How

        • by rubycodez (864176)
          utter bullshit, many tinfoil hat sites make that claim but for the truth you'll find arsenic, mercury, lead are more toxic (CDC list of ranked toxic substances, for example, pu is WAY down the list after #1, #2, #3 which I've just mentioned). There are no known deaths for plutonium ingestion, but plenty for other substances.
      • by dbIII (701233) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @09:29AM (#35914274)
        Except for in places where it isn't in the coal, which is just about everywhere outside of the USA because mercury really isn't all that common. Even when it is in the coal how is it going to get into your system when the flue gasses are scrubbed with water to remove the NOx and SOx which as a side effect very easily condenses the mercury removing it into ash dams or other pollution controls?
        If you are going to say stuff like you do above in a public forum you really have a responsibility to say something tied to reality and know just a little bit about what you are talking about instead of just making shit up. When you are talking about a mercury threat a few orders of magnitude less than domestic light bulbs it really doesn't justify comparison with plutonium.
        I'm aware that the plutonium is also usually very well contained so is usually also ignorable. We just happen to be discussing a situation where a significant amount of it may have escaped.
        The "coal is dangerous" shit whenever nuclear is mentioned is getting very old. We all know it kills people, in fact there is almost a weekly death toll in direct mining accidents alone. However usually the comparison is brought up as a frankly very childish distraction along the lines of "little jimmy is being bad, why can't I be bad too". It's depressing and each time it is used I have to tell myself that the person who used it is a real human being and not just a juvenile lying weasel that thinks everyone else is stupid.
        • Since we have to produce power somehow, why is it unreasonable to compare the hazards of different major power sources?

          Flue gas scrubbers, while pretty good, aren't 100% effective - so some pollutants are still released. Not to mention CO2.

          • You have missed that it is a distraction that comes up frequently whenever there is an attempt to discuss civilian nuclear power is discussed on it's own merits. What results is a childish sandpit fight instead of a discussion of the advantages or disadvantages of the many different civilian nuclear technologies. It's frequently pushed by those that really know very little (as in not even to a high school general knowledge level) about nuclear power anyway. Last time I attempted to do so some idiot inste
            • People coming out with untrue statements (coal CO2 is actually depleted in C-14 compared with natural levels) is a different matter of course. As is deflecting legitimate criticism with a "he does it too" argument.

              However I don't think you can assess a technology in isolation. Nuclear opponents like to point out the bad sides of nuclear as a direct argument as to why it shouldn't be used. If you look at it that way, why would you want something that has even a small risk of severe accidents? Seems obvious.

          • by fritsd (924429)
            It's a good idea to compare the hazards of *all* different major power sources, but for some reason in all the Fukushima discussions on Slashdot I've only heard rehashings of the same argument:

            "You're against nuclear, therefore you must be in favour of coal, which is even worse".

            as if there are only two choices.
            Obviously both coal and nuclear should therefore be phased out in favour of sustainable energy sources such as hydro, solar power, wind and solar photovoltaic.
        • by Xyrus (755017)

          Plutonium and Uranium are non-volatile nuclear fuels. The only way they escape a nuclear reactor is a raging inferno capable of over 6000 F, a massive explosion that shatters the fuel rods and disperses the particles, or (to a much lesser extent) damaged fuel rods with exposed surfaces flacking the material into reactor water. Neither of these two fuels have escaped in any significant quantity.

          The biggest concern with nuclear accidents isn't even the fuel, it's the fission by-products. Nuclear fuel is not v

          • Fly ash is treated as serious pollutant like, well, what do we do with it again? Yes, we use it as filler in concrete and blacktop. The heavy metal content is pretty much sequestered into clay minerals and glass-like compounds, and the radioactivity of coal ash is in the same order of magnitude like soil or fertilizer. How about you develop a spine and stop telling the lies your masters fed you?
    • by JSBiff (87824)

      ""fossil" fuels (albeit one from dead suns)."

      Most of the atoms in your body came from dead stars. Without stars, the vast majority of the universe would be hydrogen (and I think, maybe, trace amounts of a few other 'light' elements were formed during the big bang) If you want to go down that ridiculous rhetorical route, we should kill you and bury you deep under ground so your 'dirty "fossil" fuel (albeit from dead suns)' body constituents can't pollute our environment. Except. . . oh wait, most of our envi

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:56AM (#35913712)

    From the roadmap document:

    "Current Status [2] (Units 1 to 3) High likelihood of
    small leakage of steam containing radioactive
    materials through the gap of PCV caused by
    high temperature."

    The only way the pressure containment vessel could have a hole all the way through it 'caused by high temperature', which is leaking to the atmosphere, is if some of the fuel has melted and pooled. Units two and three show atmospheric pressure in the reactor primary containment.
    See: http://atmc.jp/plant/vessel/?n=3 and http://atmc.jp/plant/vessel/?n=2

    • by mdsolar (1045926)
      Or it has warped or cracked in some way from thermal stress. Reactors are not designed to lose coolant so high temperature tolerance may not have been included in the specs.
  • real info (Score:2, Informative)

    by anonieuweling (536832)
    Please see the videos at http://fairewinds.com/updates [fairewinds.com] for some truth.

"In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -- Carl Sagan, Cosmos

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