Nuclear power plant explodes

Holy crap!!!!!!!!
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8377506/Japan-earthquake-nuclear-disaster-feared-after-power-plant-explosion.html
Best Regards Tom.
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Thread should read an explosion at a Nuclear Power Plant.
If the plant exploded, not much would be left.
1. It was likely a Hydrogen gas explosion in the outer containment building. It has two domes.
The unit is in serious condition - The rods are dropped, but loss of power and the emergency backup failed the pool let off steam. The outer dome was damaged in the quake. That is one issue.
2. the scary issue is they still don't have coolant water and reverted to pumping sea water. That is a last level response as the salt does nothing good.
My understanding that with the salt water pumping the internal temperature has dropped.
3. There isn't enough fuel to have a nuke explosion or implosion.
I expect detectors will pick up radiation of one sort or another sometime this week on the west coast.
Martin
On 3/12/2011 2:49 AM, azotic wrote:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8377506/Japan-earthquake-nuclear-disaster-feared-after-power-plant-explosion.html
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The anti-nuke people are celebrating!
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I disagree with those who say that "it was just a hydrogen explosion".
1) That explosion made the outer building crash, so, there is little access to the reactor and likely all pipes are damaged too.
The reactor is likely impossible to control and even to access, in fact if the containment vessel is undamaged but access to it is prevented, I am not sure how they can pump seawater into it.
Perhaps they can find a way to just hook up the reactor to a huge steel cable and use an aircraft carrier to drag it to the ocean.
2) The hydrogen could only be produced inside the reactor, by exposure of water to superheated rod cladding. If so, this means that the reactor was, well, superheated even at that time, so I would surmise it has gone worse since then.
For some reason, I find myself very skeptical about what will happen to the reactor in the future.
3) Even if it explodes like the Chernobyl reactor, the damage to mankind will be limited due to prevailing western winds, which will carry most of the fallout into the Pacific.
Myself, I had a benign thyroid tumor in 1993, 7 years after Chernobyl. I was in the Ukraine at the moment when it exploded. I was lucky that the tumor was found during a routine medical check.
i
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Ignoramus25538 wrote:

Chernobyl isn't really a good comparison to a commercial power reactor. Chernobyl was a very old reactor design, with limited safety systems, in a state of pretty poor maintenance, and it still performed safely up until some idiots decided to play with it. Chernobyl is a great example of how safe nuclear power actually is since it took real effort to get it to fail.
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I agree with you, but the Japanese plant is also a very old design.
Instead of idiots, they had an earthquake and a tsunami.
i
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One more thing.
The building that was blown up IS the containment building.
The reactor is inside a containment vessel -- a steel pressure vessel. The vessel is inside the building, which by now is collapsed.
I hope that I am mistaken about it.
Here's a good read.
http://allthingsnuclear.org/post/3824043948/update-on-fukushima-reactor
i

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On Sat, 12 Mar 2011 23:37:24 -0600, Ignoramus25538

I saw lots of speculation there (the Union of Concerned Scientists is anything BUT neutral) but not much meat. Where's the beef?
http://tinyurl.com/4uqqyot Check their other headlines. Who's leading whom on? Libby AGWK anti-nuke "environmental campaign group" bastids.
I'll wait for Japan and the Fukishima crew to tell us the real deal there.
-- Whomsoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce and when you realize that the entire system is very easily controlled, one way or another, by a few powerful men at the top, you will not have to be told how periods of inflation and depression originate. --James Garfield
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Both have done so. First, they pumped boric acid into the core to kill neutron production. They were also pumping coolant into the core to keep the rods covered using steam powered pumps. Then they began with sea water, which is the end of the reactor as far as anything useful is concerned. Cooling the core from the temp. it was at - aprox. 1000F takes five to ten hours. As the water enters the core it doesn't just boil, it dissociates and they vent the hyfogen to the containment. It exploded and the containment came down on the core. What they are now hoping is that the floor of the containment isn't degraded to the point where material from the melted portion of the core will enter the water table through the ground. That's what happened at Chernoble.
In the end, this thing isn't going to be turned into a glass anything. It won't be something that can be handled. They will pump properly formulated concrete as a casement and that will be that. Well, that and monitoring the site for the next 10,000 years.
--
John R. Carroll




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But NOT at Three Mile Island where the molten core didn't even damage the finish where it pooled up at the bottom of the pressure vessel.
jsw
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On Sun, 13 Mar 2011 07:22:23 -0700 (PDT), Jim Wilkins

Nunya is mistaken (or the Liberal lied. Imagine that.) He also can't spell Chernobyl and didn't take the time to find out. Hmm...
"Groundwater
Groundwater was not badly affected by the Chernobyl accident since radionuclides with short half-lives decayed away long before they could affect groundwater supplies, and longer-lived radionuclides such as radiocaesium and radiostrontium were adsorbed to surface soils before they could transfer to groundwater.[68] However, significant transfers of radionuclides to groundwater have occurred from waste disposal sites in the 30 km (19 mi) exclusion zone around Chernobyl. Although there is a potential for transfer of radionuclides from these disposal sites off-site (i.e. out of the 30 km (19 mi) exclusion zone), the IAEA Chernobyl Report[68] argues that this is not significant in comparison to current levels of washout of surface-deposited radioactivity."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster
-- You create your opportunities by asking for them. -- Patty Hansen
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Your own cite contradicts you Larry.
"Recent tests (ca. 1997) have shown that caesium-137 levels in trees of the area are continuing to rise. There is some evidence that contamination is migrating into underground aquifers and closed bodies of water such as lakes and ponds (2001, Germenchuk). "
--
John R. Carroll



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Jim Wilkins wrote:

TMI was a PR disaster. An expensive one but the real failure was in it's operation. What put the kybosh on construction wasn't "the Greenies", it was that nobody wanted to make the huge investment required only to end up with a large concrete monument. These plants can't be put back into operation at all beyond a certain point and that's too big an investment to write off even once - especially in today's deregulated market. Dynergy is facing bankruptcy over smaller losses.
The chance of this sort of failure in a new GE reactor design are effectively ( and I think actualy) zero.
--
John R. Carroll




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"John R. Carroll" wrote:

The new Duke/Progress Energy nuclear plant in Florida is to be a Westinghouse design.
--
You can't fix stupid. You can't even put a Band-Aid on it, because it's
Teflon coated.
  Click to see the full signature.
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Michael A. Terrell wrote:

The AP1000 is a very good design by all accounts. China is going full bore with these things but they bought hardware and the technology. The emergency cooling is sort of a self licking ice cream cone.
I don't know how many reactors the Japanese are going to lose but it's at least two so far. Both are old but still, that's a lot of money to waste on a concrete land mark. I just read that they will be venting to the atmosphere for a considerable period of time. Possibly as long as a year - which seems a bit overstated - but people are going to be unable to go home until the mess is buttoned up. This is going to be an ongoing saga.
The Bank of Japan dumped more than eighty billion dollars into the Japanese economy this morning. That's real money.
--
John R. Carroll




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John R. Carroll wrote:

By WILLIAM TUCKER
Even while thousands of people are reported dead or missing, whole neighborhoods lie in ruins, and gas and oil fires rage out of control, press coverage of the Japanese earthquake has quickly settled on the troubles at two nuclear reactors as the center of the catastrophe.
Rep. Ed Markey (D., Mass.), a longtime opponent of nuclear power, has warned of "another Chernobyl" and predicted "the same thing could happen here." In response, he has called for an immediate suspension of licensing procedures for the Westinghouse AP1000, a "Generation III" reactor that has been laboring through design review at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for seven years.
Before we respond with such panic, though, it would be useful to review exactly what is happening in Japan and what we have to fear from it.
The core of a nuclear reactor operates at about 550 degrees Fahrenheit, well below the temperature of a coal furnace and only slightly hotter than a kitchen oven. If anything unusual occurs, the control rods immediately drop, shutting off the nuclear reaction. You can't have a "runaway reactor," nor can a reactor explode like a nuclear bomb. A commercial reactor is to a bomb what Vaseline is to napalm. Although both are made from petroleum jelly, only one of them has potentially explosive material.
Once the reactor has shut down, there remains "decay heat" from traces of other radioactive isotopes. This can take more than a week to cool down, and the rods must be continually bathed in cooling waters to keep them from overheating.
On all Generation II reactorsthe ones currently in operationthe cooling water is circulated by electric pumps. The new Generation III reactors such as the AP1000 have a simplified "passive" cooling system where the water circulates by natural convection with no pumping required.
If the pumps are knocked out in a Generation II reactoras they were at Fukushima Daiichi by the tsunamithe water in the cooling system can overheat and evaporate. The resulting steam increases internal pressure that must be vented. There was a small release of radioactive steam at Three Mile Island in 1979, and there have also been a few releases at Fukushima Daiichi. These produce radiation at about the level of one dental X-ray in the immediate vicinity and quickly dissipate.
If the coolant continues to evaporate, the water level can fall below the level of the fuel rods, exposing them. This will cause a meltdown, meaning the fuel rods melt to the bottom of the steel pressure vessel.
Early speculation was that in a case like this the fuel might continue melting right through the steel and perhaps even through the concrete containment structurethe so-called China syndrome, where the fuel would melt all the way to China. But Three Mile Island proved this doesn't happen. The melted fuel rods simply aren't hot enough to melt steel or concrete.
The decay heat must still be absorbed, however, and as a last-ditch effort the emergency core cooling system can be activated to flood the entire containment structure with water. This will do considerable damage to the reactor but will prevent any further steam releases. The Japanese have now reportedly done this using seawater in at least two of the troubled reactors. These reactors will never be restarted.
None of this amounts to "another Chernobyl." The Chernobyl reactor had two crucial design flaws. First, it used graphite (carbon) instead of water to "moderate" the neutrons, which makes possible the nuclear reaction. The graphite caught fire in April 1986 and burned for four days. Water does not catch fire.
Second, Chernobyl had no containment structure. When the graphite caught fire, it spouted a plume of radioactive smoke that spread across the globe. A containment structure would have both smothered the fire and contained the radioactivity.
If a meltdown does occur in Japan, it will be a disaster for the Tokyo Electric Power Company but not for the general public. Whatever steam releases occur will have a negligible impact. Researchers have spent 30 years trying to find health effects from the steam releases at Three Mile Island and have come up with nothing. With all the death, devastation and disease now threatening tens of thousands in Japan, it is trivializing and almost obscene to spend so much time worrying about damage to a nuclear reactor.
What the Japanese earthquake has proved is that even the oldest containment structures can withstand the impact of one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history. The problem has been with the electrical pumps required to operate the cooling system. It would be tragic if the result of the Japanese accident were to prevent development of Generation III reactors, which eliminate this design flaw.
Mr. Tucker is author of "Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Power Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America's Energy Odyssey" (Bartleby Press, 2010).
--
Steve W.

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Steve W. wrote:

Mr. Markey is a little behind the times. The AP1000 design has been certified and approved. At least I remember reading recently that it had been.
--
John R. Carroll




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John R. Carroll wrote:

Since when do FACTS matter to the anti-nuke, anti-wind, anti-oil drilling, anti-gun bunch...
Much better to come out screaming and get those sound bites about the doom and gloom and determine what happened from a couple pictures instead of actually asking about what actually happened. Note just how many anti-nuke people on this group jumped up and started saying "see what did WE tell you, look how bad those nukes are" Instead of actually READING and listening to the facts about what is happening and what is likely to occur, you have people screaming "MELTDOWN, MELTDOWN the world is going to end." "It's going to be a Chernobyl sized disaster." Of course these same people only real education about nuclear power comes from the TV or "news stories".
I have quite a few friend in the industry, one of whom was one of the designers on the AP1000. A few more are high level operations and containment designers. For the most part they are ALL saying that there has NOT been enough information given yet for people who are not actually on site to determine the level of damage.
--
Steve W.

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Steve W. wrote:

How many? Where?
All I see are pro-nuke people repeatedly jumping up to tell us what anti-nuke people must be saying.
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It is difficult to ignore the journalists, though. They are positively squealing and touching themselves over this.
"WHAT? They did not design something for a 9.0 earthquake, followed by a 30 foot tsunami??"
"That's why we need WIND and SOLAR! And HYDROGEN!" It's all free, you know.
Every dump-picker on EBay is selling every treadmill motor they find as a "wind generator", so it must be true.
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