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Meltdown Likely Under Way At Japan Nuclear Reactor


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I didn't see this yesterday from Reuters, but it's a good report that explains the major parallels between Fukushima Daichi 1 and Three Mile Island...

Japan radiation leak evokes Three Mile Island

By Gerard Wynn

LONDON | Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:22pm EST

LONDON (Reuters) - The radiation leak in Japan immediately recalls memories of accidents at the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island power stations, and how it unfolds will be a critical test for international acceptance of nuclear energy.

The Fukushima incident, brought on by the biggest earthquake ever recorded in Japan, took a turn for the worse on Saturday after a blast blew the roof off the facility.

There are direct comparisons with the 1979 disaster at Three Mile Island in the United States -- in both cases a cooling fault led to a build up of pressure in the radioactive core and resulted in a relatively small radiation leak.

Both use water to control the temperature as uranium degrades in a nuclear chain reaction at the reactors' core, creating steam which drives a turbine to generate electricity.

MORE: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/12/us-japan-nuclear-disasters-idUSTRE72B2QH20110312

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The bigger question is: "Why build nuke reactors anywhere?"

Nuclear power has drawbacks for myriad reasons. Concentrated solar is cheaper and cleaner and safer.

Why? We are running out of oil and solar does not work except in a very limited way.

Google concentrated solar and see how it can apply to large scale projects. We already have the technology. The sun shines every day, though some days it's obscured by clouds - there are ways to store surplus energy (pump water up above dams, for example). There are also interesting developments with harnessing the jetstream as it applies to wind energy. The jet stream blows 24/7 and much stronger and steadier than ground winds.

Solar boosters are not saying the entire world should/could be powered by solar tomorrow. When the first cars came out, 110 years ago, car makers weren't saying we should kill all horses which draw carriages. Getting solar integrated will be a process - which has already started (there are municipal scale power generators online as we speak). EGAT, which is pushing full tilt for nuclear, will look back in 10 to 15 years (when their nuke plants start malfunctioning) and scratch their heads and say, "Why didn't we invest more on solar? Then we wouldn't have the manifold problems we're stuck with now."

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BTW, Elcent above posted some info about plant operator TEPCO's past problems with operations and integrity....

This Reuters report recounts the company's past problems:

Japan's nuclear power operator has checkered past SINGAPORE | Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:22am EST

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The company at the center of a nuclear reactor crisis following the biggest earthquake in Japan's recorded history has had a rocky past in an industry plagued by scandal.

The Japanese government said on Saturday that there had been radiation leakage at Tokyo Electric Power's (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi plant following an explosion there.

The blast came as TEPCO was working desperately to reduce pressures in the core of a reactor at the 40-year-old plant, which lies 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

In 2002, the president of the country's largest power utility was forced to resign along with four other senior executives, taking responsibility for suspected falsification of nuclear plant safety records.

The company was suspected of 29 cases involving falsified repair records at nuclear reactors. It had to stop operations at five reactors, including the two damaged in the latest tremor, for safety inspections.

MORE: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/12/us-japan-nuclear-operator-idUSTRE72B1B420110312

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Why does the densest seismic network in the world/such an earthquake prone area have Nuclear Reactors.

Of course they need the power it supplies...but still it makes one wonder.

The bigger question is: "Why build nuke reactors anywhere?"

Right now, everyone is fixated on Japanese reactors and the impacts of the earthquakes. Hello! Nuclear is much bigger than that. Any one or group of factors can imperil living things around a reactor. Earthquake is one of many.

In Thailand, the two biggest potential problems for reactors are.

>>>>> lax maintenance and/or lack of top-end technical skills - coupled with slowness to react and/or acting too rashly - to an emergency scenario.

>>>>> take-over or destruction by outside group. Could be southern insurgents (that's where at least one reactor is planned), or could be a future incarnation of the Reds or some similar hot-headed group.

Other problems could include: irresponsible dumping of radioactive trash, not decommissioning the plant when it should be decommissioned, peril to uranium while it makes its long trip from faraway, rising costs of yellowcake, inability or laxness toward doing proper maintenance, things getting stolen (the Thai army gets stuff stolen every month), the list goes on and on.

Nuclear power has drawbacks for myriad reasons. Concentrated solar is cheaper and cleaner and safer.

"Nuclear power has drawbacks for myriad reasons. Concentrated solar is cheaper and cleaner and safer."

One of nuclear powers big advantages is that, unlike solar, it works at night, and when it is most needed. Power generation is a "use it or lose game" as there are very limited means of storing generated power - and the 2 peak load periods are before and after when solar is capable of supplying energy.

Storage systems such as batteries and flywheels hold miniscule amounts of energy compared to that required - the only practical method is pumping water uphill and dropping it through a hydro-station when required as in the aussie Snowy Mountains scheme, which again is tiny in comparison to Japan's o/night and peak load requirements.

So, if you like solar, you have 3 problems to overcome:

Where to put the solar panels and dams in a densely populated country?

What happens to the dams in a major earthquake?

How long will your govt stay in office after the entire population sits around in the dark freezing their tits off when the next typhoon comes along?

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The latest assessments from the Japanese Govt Spokesman Edano.. via Kyodo News:

--No risk to evacuees' health even if No. 3 reactor in Fukushima explodes

--No need for new evacuation steps over nuke plant problems:

--Part of No. 3 reactor could be deformed, but not meltdown

--No effect on nearby residents even if explosive incident occurs

--No new serious problem at nuclear plant

--No. 3 reactor can resist possible explosion

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Get rid of nuclear plants.

I can only compare this comment to those of tree-huggers when they yell and cry to stop pumping oil and after their protest they would go and jump into their cars/uties/whatever_else_they're_driving and take of to go home. Lead by example! Solar/wind energy is not a substitute and coal power plants create a lot more pollution and have greatger effect on human health (at least those leaving nearby).

Right now you are probably sitting in the cold AC room, maybe drinking cold beer, have your TV on and writing here on TV. Scrap all that, move into the jungles and live on the trees, THEN you can say let's get rid of nuke plants!

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Japan is a "hi-tech" well organised country, that has spent a lot of time, thought and money on dealing with earthquakes....

Imagine if this happened in another country with nuclear power plants!

Yeah.. like the one they are building in THAILAND

... a Thai nuclear power palant.... mai pen rai.. run for the hills!

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I didn't see this yesterday from Reuters, but it's a good report that explains the major parallels between Fukushima Daichi 1 and Three Mile Island...

Japan radiation leak evokes Three Mile Island

By Gerard Wynn

LONDON | Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:22pm EST

LONDON (Reuters) - The radiation leak in Japan immediately recalls memories of accidents at the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island power stations, and how it unfolds will be a critical test for international acceptance of nuclear energy.

The Fukushima incident, brought on by the biggest earthquake ever recorded in Japan, took a turn for the worse on Saturday after a blast blew the roof off the facility.

There are direct comparisons with the 1979 disaster at Three Mile Island in the United States -- in both cases a cooling fault led to a build up of pressure in the radioactive core and resulted in a relatively small radiation leak.

Both use water to control the temperature as uranium degrades in a nuclear chain reaction at the reactors' core, creating steam which drives a turbine to generate electricity.

MORE: http://www.reuters.c...E72B2QH20110312

"The Fukushima incident, brought on by the biggest earthquake ever recorded in Japan, took a turn for the worse on Saturday after a blast blew the roof off the facility."

I'm only speculating here, but as it is known that hydrogen would be produced when problems occur, it would be normal/sensible for an external vent system to be used.

If the vent system has broken/collapsed asa result of the earthquake and the steam/hydrogen mix is vented in an enclosed space, it is only a matter of time before it explodes as the hydrogen flow will create its own static electricity spark. BUT the explosion is outside the reactor, and even a minor bang could blow the roof sheeting off.

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My comment earlier about the Fukushima Daichi 1 reactor being toast may now extend to reactor No. 3 as well... I don't know if they mean sea water due to tsunami waves, or injected seawater to assist with cooling...

Kyodo News: Restoration of reactors 1, 3 difficult due to sea water inflow: Edano

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Another Japanese nightmare... They always pretended that their nuclear power plants were earthquake-resistant and safe for any tremor that could shake the construction.

Now we have another Chernobyl coming up, despite all what they are pretending that there is no immediate threat for the people. Why then evacuate them 20 km away from the plant? Melting is underway and nobody can stop it. It will continue to burn as in Chernobyl, until all nuclear fuel has been burnt and blown in the sky, poisening thousands of sq.km. land and/or ocean. A nuclear powerplant is not like a Toyota car which has been recalled for failing breakes... Will they ever learn??? :bah:

This is NOT Chernobyl in any sense of the word. The reactor type is different and Chernobyl had major design flaws, not the least of which was that they had no containment vessel whatsoever. The Japanese are not known to cut corners when it comes to nuclear fission.

In other words, relax. :jap:

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Blog: Mar11-12

(All times are local in Japan GMT+9)

  • Timestamp: 4:05pm Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano warns of the risk of a second explosion at the Fukushima plant, but says reactor 3 could withstand it as reactor 1 did yesterday.
    "There is the possibility of an explosion in the third reactor, as in the case of the first reactor," he said, adding there would be no effect on the health of nearby residents.
  • Timestamp: 3:53pm
    The Japanese Meteorological Agency says that there is a 70 per cent chance of a major aftershock in the next three days of a magnitude of 7 or more.

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Japan is a "hi-tech" well organised country, that has spent a lot of time, thought and money on dealing with earthquakes....

Imagine if this happened in another country with nuclear power plants!

Yeah.. like the one they are building in THAILAND

... a Thai nuclear power palant.... mai pen rai.. run for the hills!

I don't want my Ba Mee to glow green, except when I go to MK of course. :sick:

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