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Slideshow: Profs Say Fukushima Plant Passed Ultimate Test

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Thatmonk
User Rank
Iron
Re: Good news for nuclear
Thatmonk   4/26/2013 6:45:34 PM
patb2009

 

You raise good points. I recently learned that the gas and wire lines that control the valving system for the primary containment vents had no earthquake rating at all. This is perhaps why they could not vent #2. There are a large number of systems that had limited or no earthquake or fire rating. So it is not a suprise they had a terrible time managing the reactors. 

 

These days they don't even have a "rat" rating as rats are taking out cooling systems.

 

Thatmonk
User Rank
Iron
Re: Good news for nuclear
Thatmonk   4/26/2013 6:34:04 PM
Charles,

 

Silly me. I see them now! Thanks for pointing that out. I was apparently focusing on other details of the article. It appears they do have significant ties to the nuclear industry and given the type of work they do, would present pro-nuclear views enabling them to resist the negative aspects. Publically stating negative views of nuclear would likely result in negative financial and professional consequences for them in my opinion. Hence my strong suspicion of these professors reports.

 

In the article "Panic Over Fukushima" by Dr. Muller, as is the case in most articles arguing for the limited harm of radioactivity in Fukushima, he is only accounting for external exposure to gamma radiation based on looking at only one radioactive isotope. In Fukushima we also must account for internal exposure which is being ignored; especially the alpha and beta emitters which are very hard to measure internally. It is in the food, water, meat, milk, fish, rice and air. Cesium 137 is a potassium analogue and goes into muscle while Strontium 90 is a calcium analogue going into bone. It readily concentrates in the food chain. There are many other radionuclides as well that are not featured in these discussions. With Fukushima, we see a huge number of radionuclides and their isotopes as well as many variants due to chemical reactions in the reactors and within nature itself. To compare all of this internal exposure to levels of external exposure in Denver is like comparing apples, to say a Chevrolet or an alder tree. There is no fair comparison. Just a rough and convenient estimate that is good for pro-nuclear opinions.

 

I wonder if you might respond to the issues I raised in my previous posts?

 

patb2009
User Rank
Gold
Re: World Trade Center
patb2009   4/26/2013 5:59:35 PM
the WTC was designed to take the hit from a 737 lost on approach to LaGuardia, not a 757 fully fueled.

 

Now should the WTC been designed to take the punch from a 747 and not immediately collapse?  I'm not sure. It was awful that the core stairs and sprinklers didn't function long enough to get most people out.

 

 I would hope the new WTC going up is designed to take a hit from a 747 and give people time to escape.

 

I look at what happened in Japan, and the outcome is socially unacceptable. I do know no new nuclear reactors are being designed to withstand this kind of disaster or others. The industry is not adjusting to the lessons learned

patb2009
User Rank
Gold
Re: Good news for nuclear
patb2009   4/26/2013 5:51:20 PM
NO RATINGS
Charles

http://www.pref.fukushima.jp/imu/kenkoukanri/250213siryou2.pdf

this was a health survey done by the prefectural govt, you need to read

japanese  but go to page 2 or page 4.

if you look at page 4,  out of 94,000 children surveyed, some 50,000 had

measurable cysts.  in a normal population, you would expect that to be

closer to 1,000 children.  

 

 

patb2009
User Rank
Gold
Re: Good news for nuclear
patb2009   4/26/2013 5:46:40 PM
NO RATINGS
charles

 

" can you afford to build a plant that will stand up more effectively to a 9.0 earthquake?"

now here is the truly ugly question, and thank you for mentioning it.


Nuclear reactors must be protected against a broad variety of natural and human disasters.

There are 2 primary scenarios that come about from catastrophic damage to the plant systems: 1) Loss of Coolant 2) Station Black out.

Loss of coolant can occur from Tsunami, Earthquake, storm damage to coolant towers, flood,drought, aircraft crash, human error, fire

Station black outs can occur from Solar Flare, lightning strike, grid failure, EMP, human damage to switchyards, tornados, hurricanes, Earthquake, tsunami, aircraft crash, terrorism, Human error, fire.

The cost of designing robustness into these systems makes nuclear power unattractive.

between 1977 and 2005, less then a dozen plants were commissioned, this was in large part due to the length of time to license and the staggering capital investments. The largest municipal bond failure in the 1980s was the Washington Public Power System nuclear bonds.

 

The reality is with ever cheaper wind power and solar PV, nuclear is facing a growing set of challengers.  Cheap Nat Gas and distributed power make further investments in nuclear appear to be unwise.

 

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Good news for nuclear
Charles Murray   4/26/2013 5:38:54 PM
The professors and institutions you asked about were named in the article, Thatmonk. You didn't notice them? 

patb2009
User Rank
Gold
Re: Good news for nuclear
patb2009   4/26/2013 5:37:34 PM
charles

 

it's unclear how you determined the 2011 quake to be the worst quake to hit japan.

From an energy POV it was quite large, however it was also 300 KM offshore, the

groundmovement at Fukushima was only marginally outside the design envelope, given the rac was designed for a 7.0 quake in close.

The other issue was the tsunami.  Tsunami can travel across the entire pacific so protection must be determined based upon all possible events.  

failing to protect against known wave heights including tide forces and wind action was

folly.

 

 

patb2009
User Rank
Gold
Re: Good news for nuclear
patb2009   4/26/2013 5:33:44 PM
The Plants had key critical failures of design, would those if improved help?

Lets see

 

1) Tsunami protection was only to 22 feet, it was necessary to protect the primary plant to 40 Meters because the tsunami wave was added to local high tide and wave height.

2) Internal critical plumbing needed to be protected against Ground motion consistent with a 9.2 quake.  Failure of plumbing on the primary coolant loop limited effectiveness of the backup coolant condensers, both the RCIC and IC devices.

3) Insufficient emergency batteries.  UPS battery packs were sized for 8 hours running the computers and sensors, not valves, secondary cooling pumps, water polishers, etc. Without battery plant sufficient to keep the Iso Condensers or RCICs running efficiently, they were useless.

4) Insufficient UPS and no cross strapping between the 750 V DC and 440V AC busses in the reactors.  Every reactor should have been able to cross-feed between any UPS Genny and any system.  Fuku5 and 6 were able to crossfeed, so one surviving Genny fed the 2 units allowing some critical cooling to be maintained.

5) Insufficient on site water:  Onsite water was sized for 24 hours with no leaks and they had enough water for 8 hours with leaks.  72 hours of water would have allowed them more time to manage the crisis, before desperately pumping seawater into the units.

6) storage of used fuel rods inside the reactor buildings. Storage of used fuel rods meant there was another critical element to manage. had these been offloaded, there would be one less item to worry about, and the SFP water would be available for emergency cooling.  

7) lack of on-site emergency gear:  Bulldozers, fire trucks, Portable generators meant they had to go begging to Tokyo FD, Japan SDF, US Navy, for getting their roads open and supplies streaming in.

8) lack of off board plug ins for emergency power. Every reactor needed stock attachment points where portable generators could come in and reboot reactor power systems.

9) lack of emergency suits, masks, rad shielded clothing.  Most units had supplies for 8 men, when they needed to be able to send hundreds in right away. 

10) shortage of chem lights, flashlights, portajohns, stored food, sleeping bags, cots, stored potable water.  They got emergency crews up and they had no place for them to rest, eat, sleep, defecate...

11) Lack of emergency plumbing: The tsunami trashed all the secondary cooling supply feeds, they needed to be able to set up seawater feeds into emergency coolant heat exchangers so they could keep coolant up instead of feeding water open loop and spilling radiated water into the basements.  

now that's probably a billion dollars in gear and planning but, that's the price you pay. the US Navy has far fewer accidents because they have no requirement to be profitable. It's a lot harder to be safe when the Board of Directors is screaming for profits.

Now as for modern plants, i will note the Westinghouse APS2000 was licensed by NRC with NO design changes based upon lessons learned from Fukushima.  If that isn't madness, I don't know what is.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Good news for nuclear
Charles Murray   4/26/2013 5:30:04 PM
NO RATINGS
Patb2009, the same source you quote -- wikipedia -- describes the 2011 quake: "It was the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan." (The reason for the difference may be that "reliable and precise magnitude data is scarce for earthquakes that occurred prior to modern measuring instruments.")

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=262579&itc=dn_analysis_element&

Also, I really am curious (respectfully so) about your source for the statement that there are tens of thousands of chlidren in Fukushima with thyroid cysts and anomalies. Does this come from a scientific study? The Huyano study would seem to indicate otherwise.

Thatmonk
User Rank
Iron
Re: Good news for nuclear
Thatmonk   4/26/2013 5:29:17 PM
Thanks for your reply Charles, I appologize for making the assuption of connections to the nuclear industry. What is appropriate is a question. I wonder if you would be willing to reveal the names and institutions of the professiors you interviewed? I am especially interested their connection to the nuclear industry and who funds their work.

Indeed, it can be said things today are far better than worst case projections two years ago. This came to pass not at all due to the design of the plants or the management of the disaster by TEPCO and the Japanese beurocracy and crippling culture preventing initiave, but fortunate weatjher patterns. Had the weather been different, Japan would have been radiologically divided with many deaths and illnesses.

However, death is only one indicator, and a poor one to use soley to come to the conclusion and inference than nuclear is a good idea. What about high instances of: suicide directly related to the nuclear disasters, depression and mental illness directly related to fears of radiation based on a government and company who have presented a consistent pattern of lying about the accident. What about the large number of chilrden who have cysts on their thyroid that statistically should not have them. What about the significant number of babies who were aborted due to their parents valid fear of fetal damage due to radiological poisoning and genetic damage? What about the premature deaths of the elderly who were forced to leave villages they have lived in dozens of generations due to a loss of hope, life meaning and communities ties? What about the heavy social stigma people are now experiencing because they come from Fukushima, where partners refuse to marry them due to the risk of genetic damage in their sexual organs where radionuclides concentrate? What about the radiological concentrations that are only just beginning in the food chain? What about the fact that if Japan followed Soviet Russia's exclusion zone limits for the Chernobyl disaster, Fukushima City and parts of Tokyo would have to be evacuated and abandoned?

 

Using radiological death as the sole measure does not work as it fails to account for the many other areas where vast harm has been done.

 

When we discuss the Fukushima nuclear disaster, seperating it from the other related disasters is appropriate. The scale of the earthquake and tsunami are huge. The scale of the tsunami and earthquake however in no way minimizes the scale of ongoing damage caused by these meltdowns that are decades from being resolved, if they ever are... as they continue to leak large amount of radioactivity into the ground water, oceans and atmosphere. 

 

Stating things are good today based on old projections is disengenuous to the many people who have been hurt today and who will experience cancer and other health and financial problems over their lifetime due to the exposure they received and loss of property from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors.

 

Rather then rely on the reports of a few people I suggest you investigate the facts of this disaster for yourself, as I have done. I've logged over a 1,000 hours researching and following this nuclear disaster. It is incredibly complex and the science behind it is daunting for the mayman. It is far, far worse than is being reported and the costs and harm it is causing are so far from being accounted for only the most neophite could find a way to compare it to being "good;" especially when that "good" estimation is based on mere projection dependent on a huge number of variables.

 

I shall not appologize for my honest bluntness here. It is deserved for a poorly researched article and a terrible headline. Please do your own homework befor reporting on the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

 

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