Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Japan Earth

Further Updates On Post-Tsumami Japan 369

DarkStarZumaBeach points out a frequently updated page from the International Atomic Energy Agency with updates on the situation at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, which reports in terse but readable form details of the dangers and progress there. The most recent update says that the plant's Unit 2 has been re-wired for power, and engineers 'plan to reconnect power to unit 2 once the spraying of water on the unit 3 reactor building is completed.' Read on for more on the tsunami aftermath.
Reader srwellman writes "A large plume of radioactive smoke is heading from Japan to the West Coast of the US. Officials claim the plume is not dangerous."

dooms13 suggests (by way of The Register) that the disaster in Fukushima is nonetheless a demonstrated triumph for nuclear safety: "If nuclear powerplants were merely as safe as they are advertised to be, there should have been a major failure right then. As the hot cores ceased to be cooled by the water which is used to extract power from them, control rods would have remained withdrawn and a runaway chain reaction could have ensued – probably resulting in the worst thing that can happen to a properly designed nuclear reactor: a core meltdown in which the superhot fuel rods actually melt and slag down the whole core into a blob of molten metal. In this case the only thing to do is seal up the containment and wait: no radiation disaster will take place, but the reactor is a total writeoff and cooling the core off will be difficult and take a long time. Eventual cleanup will be protracted and expensive."

Something to contemplate while the rescue effort continues: imscarr writes "The coastline of Japan has drastically changed since the earthquake & tsunami. New bays have formed and many areas are completely flooded. These interactive before-and-after images show you the magnitude of devastation. Other photos here."

Adds reader madcarrots: "The Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics (LAB), a unit of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), directed by Professor Michel Andre, has recorded the sound of the earthquake that shook Japan on Friday, March 11. The recording, now available online, was provided by a network of underwater observatories belonging to the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and located on either side of the earthquake epicenter, close to the Japanese island of Hatsushima."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Further Updates On Post-Tsumami Japan

Comments Filter:
  • astroturf in action (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0WaitState ( 231806 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:20PM (#35521666)
    This link:

    Bad Oehmen: Confirmation Bias, Sources & Astroturfing []

    Describes the curious case of how a reassuring first time web post ("Why I am not worried about Japans nuclear reactors") from a guy working on a liason project at MIT in a non-nuclear engineering or physicist role somehow got reposted 30,000 times in one day.

    Just something to keep in mind when you see crap like "If nuclear powerplants were merely as safe as they are advertised to be, there should have been a major failure right then". Hey clueless, the cores haven't melted. Yet. They are losing their heat removal capacity over time as less and less water surrounds them. When they do get hot enough, they will melt their containers, and we will have a chernobyl-style release. Not exactly the same as chernobyl, because there's no graphite to burn. Instead the particulate radioactive isotopes and actinides (and plutonium, yay!) will be propelled into the atmosphere via hydrogren explosions. There's also a hell of a lot more uranium and plutonium on site since some clever laddie beancounter got the used fuel rods containment pools located above the reactors.

    Fukushima hasn't completely melted down, yet. If it doesn't it will because we (the planet) threw everything we have at it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:36PM (#35521940)

    The most impressive thing to me is the creation of new inlets, and the loss of sand. I wonder how long (if ever) before the sand bars will reform.

    BTW, they landed a plane [] at Sendai Airport. I imagine it will be a long time before normal operations are established there though. AFAIK, those military transports can take off and land on anything that's flat and not too muddy.

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:49PM (#35522142) Homepage

    1/1000 chance per year = .999 annualized chance of normal operation .999^(~436 reactors) = 1 in 3 annualized chance of meltdown somewhere in the world.

    Clearly your numbers are off, but still, the point remains the same: when it comes to things with great potential for harm, you need a far higher standard than just 1:1000 chance of disaster. What's an acceptable rate of time for a 50% probability for an INES Cat. 6 event? 1:500 years? Each reactor would need to have an annualized INES Cat. 6 failure probability of 0.000317% (a 1 in 315,000 chance).

    Great risk requires great caution.

  • by ObsessiveMathsFreak ( 773371 ) <obsessivemathsfreak&eircom,net> on Thursday March 17, 2011 @05:00PM (#35522326) Homepage Journal

    Coupled with the ongoing debacle with the plant in Japan, stories like this really make me wonder if I ever should have changed my position on nuclear power.

    A few years ago [], my views on nuclear energy began to shift. Part of this was due to "self-education" on nuclear power, and finding out from many online sources that nuclear energy was "totally safe", and that the dangers were "overblown", and that the public was simply being irrational and hysterical.

    But over the last few days, watching the reactors in Fukushima explode one by one, seeing hundreds of thousands of residents forced to evacuate, and witnessing engineers from one of the most technological and disciplined countries in the world fail to simply keep something cool, I begin to wonder if my faith in the nuclear industry was misplaced all along. I'm beginning to think I was simply conned by a kind of passive nuclear industry PR campaign, and that nuclear energy is simply too dangerous to justify the benefits.

    Nuclear power has lost a lot of credibility with me over the last few days. Now, I'm not sure if I should ever have given it any.

  • by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @05:05PM (#35522414)
    The spent rods are only "spent" in the sense that they are not useful for producing large amounts of electricity. They are still very radioactive and still generating a lot of heat. So they leave then in the pools for a few years with active cooling until they are easier and safer to transport to whatever processing place they go to. You question still seem valid though since one would presume a "fresh" rod would be even hotter. Or are they not hot until subjected to neutrons in large quantity? What's the mechanism there if they don't start out super hot?
  • by stjobe ( 78285 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @05:24PM (#35522660) Homepage

    They tried it at Chernobyl, the radioactivity fries the electronics very fast, making it impractical at best and impossible at worst to use robots.

  • by tetrahedrassface ( 675645 ) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @05:25PM (#35522676) Journal

    Port Royal, Jamaica had a huge earthquake in 1692 pretty much dropping a fair portion of that city under the ocean. It is still there, flooded and under water. Protected as a historical site, divers frequently dive on it. In some places entire buildings are still there, intact as if they were built under the water.. The reason I'm asking is, has the land that is flooded in Japan actually subsided to below sea level due to the earthquake, or is it simply still flooded? It looks to me as if most of the land in Japan that was affected is still at the same height above sea level as pre-quake, however there may be areas that are now below the ocean... in any event Port Royal was pretty much destroyed again in 1909, and has been hit and hit hard by Hurricanes and probably is due for another temblor in 200 odd years.... I sure hope they don't build a nuke plant there, and I hope that Japan and every other country planning a new nuclear plant try their hardest to site them in areas that

    (A): Don't have a history of earthquakes.


    (B) don't have a history of storm surges from Hurricanes/Cyclones/Tsunami's...

  • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <> on Thursday March 17, 2011 @07:26PM (#35524056) Homepage

    Actually I'd say anti-nuke, is much closer to = pro stone age humans.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.