Nuclear Reactors Hit By Earthquake In Japan

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Post by ladajo »

Yes, it was not radiation related. He was only realted by being a plant worker.

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Post by Giorgio »

Fresh reactions from Europe:

EU Government:
The problems at Japanese nuclear power stations are reopening the debate about nuclear safety worldwide. European Energy Commissioner, Günther Ottinger, called for a meeting of experts on nuclear safety of the EU on Tuesday to discuss the consequences of the earthquake in Japan. "Everything that was considered unthinkable, occurred in a few days, " Ottinger said the German national radio. He added that the safety of older nuclear plants should be checked strictly and refused to rule out plant closures if necessary. "If we take it seriously we must realize that the incident has changed the world; we should question the way in which we, as the industrial society, have looked to the security and manageability of Nuclear power plants" said Ottinger, "we can not exclude anything, including stopping them. "

Switzerland has suspended the program for renewal of its power plants.

Austrian Minister of Environment, Nikolaus Berlakovich, returned to Brussels to strongly oppose to atomic energy and has called for the closure of plants in Slovenia and Slovakia.

In France, the Greens have proposed to the Government for a referendum on nuclear power. MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit said that France "must ask the question of the necessity of nuclear energy.

The Green organization "Legambiente" has launched a campaign to bring to the referendum on Nuclear Power (next June 12 to 13) at least 25 million people to oppose the Government plans on Nuclear Energy.
The Labour Party Organizations "do not share the government's plan on the nuclear program", said the secretary general, Susanna Camusso.

The German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, said that the decision taken last September to prolong the life of the old nuclear power stations an average of 12 years, could be revised after the current nuclear crisis in Japan.
Last Saturday 60 000 people formed a human chain of 45 km from Stuttgart to a nuclear power plant that will remain open due to the new German policy.

Stock exchange:
Paris - AREVA minus 9,5%, Edf (Energie de France) minus 5,1%.
Frankfourt - E-on and Rwe (who control most of German nuclear plants) are loosing more than 6% each.

You can use logic with a single person, but you cannot use logic with the masses. This is the sad reality of the world we live in.

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Post by Betruger »

An acquaintance in Tokyo says reactor 2's entire core is now exposed and in meltdown.

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Post by Giorgio »

There was a statement from TEPCO about 1 hour ago confirming this.
They are trying to prevent meltdown by pumping water over the bars in an attempt to cool them down.

TEPCO is the company that manages the Fukushima power plant.

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Post by Skipjack »

Of course all the green party nutbags are having a field day.
Our Austrian nutbag too...
I cant even begin to describe the amount of deliberate disinformation spread by the media here.
The Kurier, e.g. talked about a "potential super MCA in 3 reactors!" What the frack? This is nowhere near an MCA!
This is deliberate disinformation of the public to promote a certain political agenda. The agenda of the ultra leftist green party and the socialist parties, who are both against nuclear power (for some odd reason, being a leftist and against nuclear power always goes together in Europe).
I am so angry with all this, I cant find words to describe it.

It is just amazing how stupid and gullibe the general public is. They are like sheep that are willingly going to get sloughtered, if the media and certain politicians tell them to do so.
It really just strikes me every time, I witness it.
It is also worth noting that central Europe is not known for having particularily strong earth quakes. I think the strongest we have ever had in Austria was a 4 or so.

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Post by Torulf2 »

Its not only the "politicians" how tell the people.
The politicians fears the people are being scared and they adapt to the opinion.
They are only afraid for loosing votes.

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Post by Maui »

Skipjack wrote:Of course all the green party nutbags are having a field day.
Err, FoxNews has been running neck-and-neck with MSNBC regarding the sensationalist reporting of the nuke story, so its not really fair to focus hatred just at the greens here.

For all the good capitalism does, sometimes companies trying to match their product to the market produces a crummy product. (it might be worth noting that NPR has been far less sensationalist with the nuke story that most of the media organizations?)

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Post by Skipjack »

Maui, I have never said that Fox news is doing a better story than MSNBC...
In contrary pretty much all the news stations are picking up on this.
I am currently reading the live feed of the BBC and they are also guilty of blowing the situation out of proportion. The left media here in Europe is the worst though. They are clearly and I really mean clearly having a political agenda. They want the green party in office again in Germany and it is of course hurting Merkels party who has been very pro nuclear.
In a sense the earthquake in Japan is going to harm the future of Europe in a big way.

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Post by Maui »

Skipjack wrote:Maui, I have never said that Fox news is doing a better story than MSNBC...
I understood your complaint to be that the leftist media is running wild with this, and MSNBC vs FoxNews seems very relevant to that that assertion. As does DrudgeReport vs Huffington Post if you take it to further extremes.

Maybe its not being treated equally by left/right-wing news organizations over there, but I really don't see that pattern in U.S media.

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Post by AcesHigh »

the nuclear fear is like fear of airplanes... most people feel much more infortable in airplanes than in cars, although cars clearly kill hundreds of times more people, worldwide.

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Post by TheRadicalModerate »

Now they've had an LOC at reactor unit 2 as well: ... 03113.html
Serious damage to the reactor core of Fukushima Daiichi 2 seems likely after coolant was apparently lost for a period.

Tokyo Electric Power Company announced earlier today that unit 2's reactor core isolation cooling system had failed after an increase in pressure in the containment vessel to some 700 kPa.

The Japan Atomic Industry Forum reported back statements from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) that describe Tepco's efforts from that point.

The company prepared to pump seawater into the reactor system, but this was only started "after the water level reached the top of the fuel." The water level continued to drop and Tepco then began preparations to open a valve to vent the containment vessel.

At 8.50pm Tepco told NISA that it presumed some of the fuel rods were broken, based on radiation detected in the environment.
I haven't heard a good systemic explanation for what the hell is going on here. They've clearly got mobile power online by now, so why are all of the primary cooling loops failing one after another?

Shock damage? That seems unlikely on all 3 online reactors.

Loss of water supply or fouling of the heat exchanger loop? That's certainly possible, given that the tsunami seems to have swamped the plant.

The only other thing that I've heard was in the (surprisingly coherent and plausible) New York Times article, where they mention that the basements of the reactor buildings are flooded and therefore denying access to electrical hookups that they need to wire in the mobile power supplies. If this is true, somebody's gonna have some 'splanin' to do--that'd be a real live design flaw.

Here's the link to that NYT article: ... actor.html

BTW, somebody wondered up-thread why they hadn't planned for a tsunami. Apparently they did, but the assumed largest tsunami was something like 7 meters, and they got a 10-meter wave.

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Post by ANTIcarrot »

Just to play devil's advocate here...

It's all very well saying, "Oh, but the house collapsed so well!" but the client paid for a house that is supposed to stand upright. Ultimately BWRs are supposed to produce electricity. Four cores in fewer days have fallen over, and are not producing electricity, and probably won't ever again. Even if we scrub out the N word, that is still a very bad thing in and of itself.

The problem is that the nuclear industry has a nasty tendency to act like NASA (making it up as you go along) when we want them to behave like Airbus or Boeing. We want nuclear power to be reliable and safe by OUR standards, not yours. When claims like, "Of course Nuclear Power is safe!" we don't want to find out after an accident like this that you meant *active* safety, not passive. If something is only safe for as long as conditions are perfect, then it isn't safe.

It's difficult to trust an industry that complains about greenpeace when two of its buildings explode[/]. If the third one goes as well (as some are now saying it might) are these still well designed? Oh yes, and $2 billion plus of kit has just slagged itself; and not in a terrible eligent fashion.

When exactly does it become the industry's fault?
Some light reading material: Half Way To Anywhere, The Rocket Company, Space Technology, The High Fronter, Of Wolves And Men, Light On Shattered Water, The Ultimate Weapon, any Janes Guide, GURPS Bio-Tech, ALIENS Technical Manual, The God Delusion.

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Post by Betruger »

A 9.0 quake and tsunami aren't perfect conditions. How many dead and injured at that Japanese chemical plant? Or at that refinery that burned?

I think you pushed that devil's advocate a bit too far.
Four cores in fewer days have fallen over, and are not producing electricity, and probably won't ever again. Even if we scrub out the N word, that is still a very bad thing in and of itself.
If I read right, at least one of these was to be retired next month.[/quote]

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Post by Skipjack »

Ultimately BWRs are supposed to produce electricity. Four cores in fewer days have fallen over, and are not producing electricity, and probably won't ever again. Even if we scrub out the N word, that is still a very bad thing in and of itself.
You are completely failing to understand the situation. The powerplant was probably among the savest and least damaged buildings in the area. In fact, it was probably saver to be in the plant than anywhere else at the time the quake and then the Tsunami struck. Considering that thousands of people died in the area surrounding the plants and entire cities were leveled as if in a nuclear blast, I think it is amazing that the plants were in the good condition that they were in. After all the quake was 8 times as strong as the strongest earthquake anyone could ever imagine to hit Japan and almost 10 times as strong as the strongest earth quake that ever hit Japan since records began.
I think that given this situation your playing devils advocate is highly inappropriate.
I also find it quite telling that over the fear of the nuclear power, which has not killed a single person in Japan yet, people and mass media are completely ignoring the burning oil refineries and chemical plants in the country, that have IIRC actually cost human lives.
But of course this is not as interesting for the sensationalist, leftist, greenist, media as the nuclear boogie man.

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Description of what happened - Fukushima

Post by nextbigfuture » ... planation/ ... r-updates/ ... ical-info/

[i][quote]At some stage during this venting, the explosion occurred. The
explosion took place outside of the third containment (our “last line
of defense”), and the reactor building. Remember that the reactor
building has no function in keeping the radioactivity contained. It is
not entirely clear yet what has happened, but this is the likely
scenario: The operators decided to vent the steam from the pressure
vessel not directly into the environment, but into the space between
the third containment and the reactor building (to give the
radioactivity in the steam more time to subside). The problem is that
at the high temperatures that the core had reached at this stage,
water molecules can “disassociate” into oxygen and hydrogen – an
explosive mixture. And it did explode, outside the third containment,
damaging the reactor building around. It was that sort of explosion,
but inside the pressure vessel (because it was badly designed and not
managed properly by the operators) that lead to the explosion of
Chernobyl. This was never a risk at Fukushima. The problem of
hydrogen-oxygen formation is one of the biggies when you design a
power plant (if you are not Soviet, that is), so the reactor is build
and operated in a way it cannot happen inside the containment. It
happened outside, which was not intended but a possible scenario and
OK, because it did not pose a risk for the containment.

The earthquake that hit Japan was 7 times more powerful than the worst
earthquake the nuclear power plant was built for (the Richter scale
works logarithmically; the difference between the 8.2 that the plants
were built for and the 8.9 that happened is 7 times, not 0.7). So the
first hooray for Japanese engineering, everything held up.

When the earthquake hit with 8.9, the nuclear reactors all went into
automatic shutdown. Within seconds after the earthquake started, the
control rods had been inserted into the core and nuclear chain
reaction of the uranium stopped. Now, the cooling system has to carry
away the residual heat. The residual heat load is about 3% of the heat
load under normal operating conditions.

The earthquake destroyed the external power supply of the nuclear
reactor. That is one of the most serious accidents for a nuclear power
plant, and accordingly, a “plant black out” receives a lot of
attention when designing backup systems. The power is needed to keep
the coolant pumps working. Since the power plant had been shut down,
it cannot produce any electricity by itself any more.

Things were going well for an hour. One set of multiple sets of
emergency Diesel power generators kicked in and provided the
electricity that was needed. Then the Tsunami came, much bigger than
people had expected when building the power plant (see above, factor
7). The tsunami took out all multiple sets of backup Diesel

When designing a nuclear power plant, engineers follow a philosophy
called “Defense of Depth”. That means that you first build everything
to withstand the worst catastrophe you can imagine, and then design
the plant in such a way that it can still handle one system failure
(that you thought could never happen) after the other. A tsunami
taking out all backup power in one swift strike is such a scenario.
The last line of defense is putting everything into the third
containment (see above), that will keep everything, whatever the mess,
control rods in our out, core molten or not, inside the reactor.

When the diesel generators were gone, the reactor operators switched
to emergency battery power. The batteries were designed as one of the
backups to the backups, to provide power for cooling the core for 8
hours. And they did.

Within the 8 hours, another power source had to be found and connected
to the power plant. The power grid was down due to the earthquake. The
diesel generators were destroyed by the tsunami. So mobile diesel
generators were trucked in.

This is where things started to go seriously wrong. The external power
generators could not be connected to the power plant (the plugs did
not fit). So after the batteries ran out, the residual heat could not
be carried away any more.[/quote][/i]

more details at the links.

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