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Where's Birdman When You Need Him...Chernobyl Pt. 2 In Japan
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Where's Birdman When You Need Him...Chernobyl Pt. 2 In Japan - March 12, 2011, 02:57 AM



FF to 47 seconds for the blast & pressure wave.

We have a Nuclear Power Plant in Japan looking like it's going completely blow its stack unless the can find a way to safely release the pressure and cool the rods.

One building just blew itself all to hell and confirmed rad measured levels have approached the point being in the vicinity of the plant for an hour would give you radiation exposure equivalent of what you would naturally be exposed to in one year.

Anyone got any iodine pills?

I'd love to hear his views and breakdown on this since this is right in his wheelhouse.
C'mon Bird. Pop your head in here and give us a dose of big brain breakdown.



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Last edited by Heist; March 12, 2011 at 03:11 AM..
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March 12, 2011, 05:43 AM

Well there goes any chance of the USA building more plants.


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March 12, 2011, 07:53 AM

Waiting quietly for the meltdown so he can really use this opportunity to push that meltdown-proof design of his.


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March 12, 2011, 07:58 AM

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Waiting quietly for the meltdown so he can really use this opportunity to push that meltdown-proof design of his.
+1


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March 12, 2011, 08:13 AM

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Waiting quietly for the meltdown so he can really use this opportunity to push that meltdown-proof design of his.
He's sketched up plants for a meltdown proof reactor?

The kicker, the plant design is GE's. Not blaming them because there's no way to tell if the design knew to take into account quakes >8.0 or even if the contractors built the thing to spec - but given GE is a large nuclear plant contractor, something like this will set-back adoption of nuclear plants in America by a 10 years at least.

I'm sure all the nuclear trade associations and lobbyist are contacting their PR firms and telling them to start working on a PR campaign strategy have it in the can.



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March 12, 2011, 08:25 AM

Yes. It's a bit more than a sketch. It's something he works on when he's not trying to build Skynet.


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March 12, 2011, 08:36 AM

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Yes. It's a bit more than a sketch. It's something he works on when he's not trying to build Skynet.
I wish I was smart.


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March 12, 2011, 08:49 AM

For reference, the radiation that we each get in a year is very low. People around here are probably, on average, exposed to 300 to 400 milirem annually, mostly in the form of radon gas. Once you start talking about doses in the tens to hundreds of rems, then you're seeing acute effects and potential lethality. Here's some information about high doses from the US NRC:

High Radiation Doses

Because radiation from nuclear material is strictly regulated, humans seldom experience large doses (~50 rem) of radiation. Nonetheless, lower doses can still damage or alter the genetic code (DNA) of irradiated cells. Moreover, high radiation doses (particularly over a short period of time) have a tendency to kill cells. In fact, high doses can sometimes kill so many cells that tissues and organs are damaged immediately. This, in turn, may cause a rapid whole-body response, which is often called "acute radiation syndrome."


In general, the higher the radiation dose, the sooner the effects will appear, and the higher the probability of death. (The time between radiation exposure and cancer occurrence, for example, is known as the "latent period.") This syndrome was observed in many atomic bomb survivors in 1945, as well as emergency workers who responded to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986. Approximately 134 plant workers and firefighters battling the fire at the Chernobyl power plant received high radiation doses of 70,000 to 1,340,000 mrem (700 to 13,400 mSv) and suffered acute radiation sickness. Of those 134, 28 died from the radiation injuries that they sustained.


Although radiation affects different people in different ways, it is generally believed that humans exposed to about 500 rem of radiation all at once will likely die without medical treatment. Similarly, a single dose of 100 rem may cause a person to experience nausea or skin reddening (although recovery is likely), and about 25 rem can cause temporary sterility in men. However, if these doses are spread out over time, instead of being delivered all at once, their effects tend to be less severe.


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March 12, 2011, 08:51 AM

We were talking about this at work yesterday. The 5 plants are currently without any power to run their coolant pumps, which means there is a TON of heat buildup which is not good for nuke reactors. If they do not have adequate emergency cooling (LARGE amounts of water in a natural circulation loop and HUGE heat transfer surfaces) they'll be looking at some major problems.

What I had heard was that their generator backup was good for 4-8 hours. That isn't enough to get things back online. They'll have heat buildup from secondary reactions for 2 weeks, even with the rods lowered completely in to the core. There are HUGE potential issues here.


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March 12, 2011, 10:17 AM

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For reference, the radiation that we each get in a year is very low. People around here are probably, on average, exposed to 300 to 400 milirem annually, mostly in the form of radon gas. Once you start talking about doses in the tens to hundreds of rems, then you're seeing acute effects and potential lethality. Here's some information about high doses from the US NRC:
Unfortunately, NHK is talking about readings in the area around the plant currently being in the 600+ millirem range when in the area for an hour. It's why they keep expanding the evacuation zone and 3 out of 90 people randomly sampled from the evac zone tested for elevated levels of radiation.



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March 12, 2011, 10:51 AM

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We were talking about this at work yesterday. The 5 plants are currently without any power to run their coolant pumps, which means there is a TON of heat buildup which is not good for nuke reactors. If they do not have adequate emergency cooling (LARGE amounts of water in a natural circulation loop and HUGE heat transfer surfaces) they'll be looking at some major problems.

What I had heard was that their generator backup was good for 4-8 hours. That isn't enough to get things back online. They'll have heat buildup from secondary reactions for 2 weeks, even with the rods lowered completely in to the core. There are HUGE potential issues here.
I heard what they're doing now to stem the tide is opening some inlet valves and letting sea water flood in - however, how controlled this is and what do you do with the now contaminated salt water and how that effects systems that aren't design for a salt water environment, god only knows.

Sadly, there is no "off" button for a nuclear reactor. I wonder if anyone know if this a pebble or rod type fuel that they're using? Just curious.



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March 12, 2011, 11:10 AM

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Unfortunately, NHK is talking about readings in the area around the plant currently being in the 600+ millirem range when in the area for an hour. It's why they keep expanding the evacuation zone and 3 out of 90 people randomly sampled from the evac zone tested for elevated levels of radiation.
Some training for work told me that smokers absorb about 1500 mrem annually on average (~4.1 mrem per day).

In comparison, you'll get about 1 mrem every 2 days in Denver, 3 days in Atlanta, or 7 hours in parts of Brazil with high radioactive metal deposits.

All very small, of course, but interesting.

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March 12, 2011, 11:21 AM

According to the news, it was a pump, not a meltdown


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March 12, 2011, 11:50 AM

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According to the news, it was a pump, not a meltdown
A pump blew, but that leads to the meltdown.
Meltdowns don't blow anyway, they lead to other things blowing - like hydrogen, pumps, etc. etc.



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March 12, 2011, 12:00 PM

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I heard what they're doing now to stem the tide is opening some inlet valves and letting sea water flood in - however, how controlled this is and what do you do with the now contaminated salt water and how that effects systems that aren't design for a salt water environment, god only knows.

Sadly, there is no "off" button for a nuclear reactor. I wonder if anyone know if this a pebble or rod type fuel that they're using? Just curious.
Salt water would leave salt deposits on the heat transfer surfaces which would prevent further heat from transferring from the primary coolant. It happens with naval nuclear power plants on the secondary coolant side as it uses the sea water to cool the secondary loop coolant.

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According to the news, it was a pump, not a meltdown
Per CNN.

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(CNN) -- People across Japan and the world watched nervously Saturday as crews at a nuclear plant struck by an earthquake, a tsunami and then an explosion in the span of 36 hours resorted to drowning a feverish nuclear reactor in sea water in hopes of preventing a meltdown with potentially catastrophic implications.

An explosion that sent white smoke rising above the Fukushima Daiichi plant Saturday afternoon buckled the walls of a concrete building that surrounded one of the plant's nuclear reactors, but did not damage the reactor itself, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters.

The explosion was caused, he said, by a failure in a pumping system as workers tried to prevent the reactor's temperature from racing out of control.

While Edano said radiation levels appeared to be falling after the explosion, the government nevertheless ordered an expanded evacuation of the area around the Daiichi plant, as well as a second facility where the cooling system had failed -- the Fukushima Daini plant.

Although government officials painted a hopeful picture, saying crews had begun implementing a backup plan to flood the reactor containment structure with sea water, a nuclear expert said the situation is dire even if it is already under control.

"If this accident stops right now it will already be one of the three worst accidents we have ever had at a nuclear power plant in the history of nuclear power," said Joseph Cirincione, an expert on nuclear materials and president of the U.S.-based Ploughshares Fund, a firm involved in security and peace funding.


If the effort to cool the nuclear fuel inside the reactor fails completely -- a scenario experts who have spoken to CNN say is unlikely -- the resulting release of radiation could cause enormous damage to the plant or release radiation into the atmosphere or water. That could lead to widespread cancer and other health problems, experts say.

Tens of thousands of people live within the evacuation zone around the Daiichi plant, which authorities expanded to 20 kilometers (12.6 miles) from the earlier 10 kilometer radius following the explosion. More than 51,000 of those live within 10 kilometers, according to Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

A total of more than 83,000 live within 10 kilometers of the two plants under evacuation orders, the agency said.

Precise figures for the 20-kilometer zone were not immediately available.

Japanese authorities appeared to be preparing for the possibility of a nuclear release. Japan public broadcaster NHK reported the country's defense ministry had sent a unit that specializes in dealing with radioactive contamination to a command post near the stricken plant.

The government was also preparing to distribute iodine tablets to residents, the IAEA said. Iodine is commonly prescribed to help prevent the thyroid gland from taking in too much radioactivity, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website.

In all, the earthquake prompted the automatic shutdown of 10 reactors at three nuclear plants near the quake site, Japan's nuclear agency said. Problems have been reported at all three plants, although the fire reported Friday at the Onagawa nuclear plant was quickly extinguished and it has not been a focus of concern since.

At the Fukushima Daini plant, problems had been detected with the pressure and cooling systems at three of the four reactors that shut down, but plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Company reported all of the reactors were stable on Saturday.

Japan's nuclear agency said there is a strong possibility that the radioactive cesium the monitors detected was from the melting of a fuel rod at the plant, adding that engineers were continuing to cool the fuel rods by pumping water around them. Cesium is a byproduct of the nuclear fission process that occurs in nuclear plants.

A spokesman for the agency said atomic material had seeped out of one of the five nuclear reactors at the Daiichi plant, located about 160 miles (260 kilometers) north of Tokyo.

The problems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant began with the 8.9-magnitude quake that struck Friday off the eastern shore of Miyagi Prefecture. The quake forced the automatic shutdown of the plant's nuclear reactors and knocked out the main cooling system, according to the country's nuclear agency.

A tsunami wave resulting from the quake then washed over the site, knocking out backup generators that pumped water into the reactor containment unit to keep the nuclear fuel cool, according to the agency.

As pressure and temperatures rose inside the reactors at the Daiichi and Daini plants, authorities ordered the release of valves at the plants -- a move that experts said was likely done to release growing pressure inside as high temperatures caused water to boil and produce excess steam.


As crews were working to pump additional water into the reactor containment unit to bring the temperature down, the pumping system failed, Edano said, causing an explosion that injured four workers and brought down the walls of the building containing the reactor.

The team then reverted to a plan to flood the reactor with sea water, which Edano said would bring the temperature down to acceptable levels. That work began Saturday night and was expected to take two days, Edano said.

Before Edano's announcement, Malcolm Grimston, associate fellow for energy, environment and development at London's Chatham House, said the explosion indicated that "it's clearly a serious situation, but that in itself does not necessarily mean major (nuclear) contamination."

"This is a situation that has the potential for a nuclear catastrophe. It's basically a race against time, because what has happened is that plant operators have not been able to cool down the core of at least two reactors," said Robert Alvarez, a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington.

The situation ranks as the third most serious nuclear accident on record, Cirincione said. He said only the 1971 partial meltdown of a reactor core at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania and the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union were worse.

If damage from the explosions or continued aftershocks hitting Japan have compromised the structural integrity of the reactor complex, it could make efforts to cool the reactors more difficult, Cirincione said.

"The big unanswered question here is whether there's structural damage to this facility now," he said.

Janie Eudy told CNN that her 52-year-old husband, Joe, was working at the Fukushima Daini plant and was injured by falling and shattering glass when the quake struck. As he and others were planning to evacuate, at their managers' orders, the tsunami waves struck and washed buildings from the nearby town past the plant.

"To me, it sounded like hell on earth," she said, adding her husband -- a native of Pineville, Louisiana -- ultimately escaped.

Utility officials reported Saturday that more than 3 million households were without power, NHK reported, and that power shortages may occur due to damage at the company's facilities.

"We kindly ask our customers to cooperate with us in reducing usage of power," Tokyo Electric Power Company said.
Important stuff in bold. They had things on track until the tsunami knocked out backup power effectively stopping all cooling operations. That was a steam burst that likely did contain some radioactive contaminants, but nothing compared to what Chernobyl brought forth.

I only hope flooding the core will help keep things under control.


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