I've beeen reading the posts on this subject and I am curious. It has been said that exposure to the public was low and exposure to the workers was low. Are you saying that the pictures of workers with burns and loss hair is a fabrication?
Yes, there were no direct casualties from this event, but to say the plant "passed the ultimate test" is an extreme exaggeration. This was a disaster, plain and simple. I have a cynical bent due to growing up in the 3MI / Love Canal era that doesn't let me trust "them" and their ability to truly understand (or even measure) the scope of the biological consequences. The fact it doesn't look like Hiroshima or Nagasaki, and that there is no visible crater, doesn't mean it "passed" anything. There continues to exist an exclusion zone for a reason.
Here in the states, New Orleans was an example of "passing the test" for many years (they were pretty lucky for longer than they should've been for planting a city in a bowl that was below sea level, next to the sea). The fail was local government not taking the threat seriously and evacuating their people when they could (like they were supposed to).
The fact that the Japanese were able to evacuate people from the disaster area as well and as quickly as they did (even during and immediately after multiple causative events), is what "passed" the test.
Fukushima will be remembered as a monumental Engineering and management fail. Rather than glossing it over or doing the opposite and over-reacting, hopefully we can learn the lessons and prevent future catastrophes.
Dave, good point! Wow, I wonder what a fail would look like to researchers?
I am not a green environmentalist by any stretch, but this accident should make everyone worldwide evaluate their nuclear installations, present and future. Saying it is a rare occurance does not seem like a good excuse to wave the hand of statistics over an installation and pronounce it 'safe'. Can we account for every risk, probably not. But we should be learning from demonstrated failures (or in this case passing a test?) such as Fukushima!
The assumption that the plant "passed ultimate test" blew my mind. It was only shear luck that more devastaion did not happen. The fact that it did not blow up the world means it passed the ultimate test?
Let me see, lets put a nuclear power plant on a shoreline, in maybe the most active earthquake region in the world, and put the backup power in harms way. How could a designer, and the regulation agency in charge of protecting the populace, do that??
I suppose that if you say something often enough, people will belive it. "Passed"??? Obviously NOT. The original author expects people to follow stupid logic like sheep.
Thankfully, no one died as a result of radiation poisoning, but, as the article notes, thousands of people lost their homes and livelihoods. And, as the article also notes, it will be many years before we can assess the full impact of this disaster. If that's considered a "pass," it's only because the effects of a "fail" would have been so much worse.
@Charles Murray--regarding the coal vs. nuclear debate, my physics teacher in college said he would rather live in a tent next to the Three Mile Island containment vessel rather than live a mile from a coal burning facility
@Charles, thanks for the post. Luckily not much damage was done because of Fukushima Nuclear disaster. But I am curious to know if this recent study will be used by the Nuclear supporters as an argument to build more Nuclear power stations. For example this argument will help Indian government to start Kudankulam nuclear power plant which was halted after locals protested against building of Nuclear power plant.
"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. "
Close: the vent valves were electrically controlled with mechanical attach points in inconvenient places with very poor access. When the plant lost power, the ability to command the valves was lost and workers needed to be sent into radiation zones
with small wrenches to attempt to hand crank these valves open. While theoretically possible, in the dark, with the ground still shaking from aftershocks and with radioactive steam around, the workers couldn't do it.
the burst disks were set at 60 PSI which was also the failure level for the containment vessels. With the containments damaged from the quakes, the containments exploded before the vent disks went.
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