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The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami



 
 
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  #141  
Old March 18th, 2011, 5:04 pm
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

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Originally Posted by Redhart View Post
Well, I do sort of have to disagree. The nuclear reactor issues of Japan do qualify in my book as a bonefide disaster, one of a package of disasters that has hit the noble country of Japan right now. Locally, to those in that area, it's a terrible and frightening thing I'm sure. There are some very real concerns and burdens for them, along with decisions that may have to be made to abandon homes and lives to keep their families safe and healthy.
The Disaster for the Nuclear reactors will be if there are several meltdowns and explosions of steam occur that release massive amounts of Radioactive particles into the Environment. Along with the spent fuel rods releasing their radioactive material. Only then will it be worse than Chernobyl. Cesium (forget which isotope) is the radioactive particle to worry about, as that gets into the food chain very easily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gertiekeddle View Post
That's true - that's what Japanese workers risk their lives for currently, to avoid a level 7 accident. We're still at 5. As much as I believe the situation is already a catastrophe, the worst case still able to happen in Fukushima is, despite all modernizing, an accident worse than Chernobyl, so let's hope this weekend will see us the most urgent damages fixed so that cooling finally works again.
They designed the reactors for everything but a Tsunami, I believe a Japanese Nuclear expert was warning about the danger for quite sometime.
Hopefully they can get the cooling systems working again, if they can't then It's all bets are off time. I suspect the workers at the Fukushima plant are well aware of the risks and dangers, in fact I believe one worker said he was willing to die to prevent the looming disaster.

Quote:
This was renewed shortly ago, so that it holds for another fifteen years. I wish we had a more efficient method of dealing with catastrophes yet.
They were worried about the containtment structures starting to crack, so they had no choice but to renew the containment. Chernboyl still presents dangers. I did watch a documentary about the disaster zone and it is slowly recovering in terms of the wildlife (lots of pet cats went feral and have started breeding). It's not safe for human habitation, but it's remarkable at how well the ecology adapts to having nuclear particles in the system.


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  #142  
Old March 18th, 2011, 5:23 pm
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

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Originally Posted by gertiekeddle View Post
That's true - that's what Japanese workers risk their lives for currently, to avoid a level 7 accident. We're still at 5.
Anyone know why it is not rated a 6 yet?

The Japanese are ordering huge quantities of Boric Acid from many countries around the world, so this means they are preparing for worst case scenarios.


The French Foreign Ministry say Paris will send 100 tons of boric acid to Japan to dampen radiation and help the country fight a nuclear crisis following a devastating quake.

"[France's nuclear manufacturer] Areva and Electricite de France (EDF) are flying a plane with almost 100 tons of boric acid and protective equipment, including 10,000 suits, 20,000 pairs of gloves and 3,000 masks," the foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

South Korea also plans to send 56.2 tons of boric acid to Japan to help Tokyo cope with the situation.

The massive C-17 military plane arrived and Vandenberg was ready to load the critical cargo. Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant says its sending a total of 17 tons or 34,000 pounds of boric acid.

Boric acid is a key material containing boron that could be added to sand & cement mixtures to lower the dangerous nuclear reactions & temperatures. It might be applied with water directly into the water containment pools, but no one is able to get near the dangerous spent fuel pool at reactor 3.


  #143  
Old March 18th, 2011, 5:29 pm
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

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Originally Posted by Redhart View Post
I've read that a pack of iodine pills (as included in some emergency kits just a month ago) that went for $10 now are selling out at $289/pack.
In the US? Or in Japan.

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The greatest thing to fear, indeed, appear to be fear itself.
Very well said. Hysteria and paranoia are the last thing people need in a crisis situation. But it looks like the Japanese are following orders from the government very well. I admire their calm in the face of such a great crisis, a "triple disaster" as it is. I admire their community spirit even more.

Quote:
I don't see a lot of the main media hyping it too much...but the fringe media certainly is. Those who wish to use recent events to support their apocolyptic agendas are rolling in and flinging it while spinning in their chairs. They see it as a vehicle to build readership/viewership/profits on their conspiratorial theories. They see it as a way to make a quick buck on the fear-driven and science-lite educated...bucks that could have been used to help feed someone in a shelter, provide heat, or help give medical aide to injured.

The tragedy here is some real good could be going on, aid collected and sent, goodwill and prayers said...but the opportunities are quickly being diluted by self-serving agents who revel in doomsaying and promote disaster-junki-ism.

This board is not one that seems prone to that...thank goodness. There seems to be some genuine concern, compassion and good information going out. Unfortunately, this board seems to be in a minority across the internet right now.

Glad you all are here...like an offramp amid the million-car-pileup of the internet highway.
Well said. The Japanese need our aid, support and prayers right now, not the media writing sensationalist stories and causing fear amongst people of other nations. My mum and I had a discussion about this at lunch-we talked about how certain media overexaggerated facts and blew things out of proportion. I remember there was this newsflash claiming to BBC (I don't think it is from BBC) that the radio waves from the exploded plant would reach the Phillipines or something like that. Actually, it was a hoax. Exploiting the situation like that is horrible, but then, they've done it so many times before. They must be having a field day right now.


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  #144  
Old March 18th, 2011, 6:53 pm
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

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Originally Posted by alwaysme View Post
We have no way of knowing how people would react simply based on where they live. I think it would most likely vary person to person.

While it's true that Japan has faced many disasters it wouldn't be a stretch to assume their are some who are panicked, while others may not be. The media cannot show us every single person.
Just to clarify, I agree with your points above.

However, my posts on this subject were always dealing on the 'macro scale' speaking in terms of national traits (history, etc.) and not on a 'micro scale' of the individual.

I'm categorizing on a national scale & speaking of generalization & percentages of whole populations. Of course, every individual will react in their own unique way that varies from person to person, but these individual reactions can be categorized & analyzed in the way I'm suggesting too. (Such as surveys and polling is done.)

I'm just offering my informed opinion, but I think I'm being accurate too. Hopefully.


  #145  
Old March 18th, 2011, 7:16 pm
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

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Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
The Disaster for the Nuclear reactors will be if there are several meltdowns and explosions of steam occur that release massive amounts of Radioactive particles into the Environment. Along with the spent fuel rods releasing their radioactive material. Only then will it be worse than Chernobyl. Cesium (forget which isotope) is the radioactive particle to worry about, as that gets into the food chain very easily.
I don't know why Chernobyl and Three Mile Island are the gold "standard" for nuclear disasters and that anything that doesn't meet or pass them somehow doesn't count as a bonafide disaster. We must remember that Japan would be suffering from a 8.9 magnitude earthquake (and it's very strong aftershocks) and a Tsunami regardless if the reactors blew or not. People are starving and freezing, without homes and medical attention. The citizens are already suffering in a way that makes any leakage or contamination from the nuclear plants that much more devastating. Serious problems with nuclear plants are few and far between so I think that any sort of reactor problems whether they be caused by human error or mother nature is indeed serious enough to qualify as a disaster in and of itself. JMHO.


  #146  
Old March 18th, 2011, 7:31 pm
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

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Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
They designed the reactors for everything but a Tsunami, I believe a Japanese Nuclear expert was warning about the danger for quite sometime.
Many experts all over the world warned for the potential risks, for quite every nuclear power plant in the world. Eg 20 years ago a accident plan for a potential fission in Krümel - that's one of Germany's oldest nuclear power plants, located only 30 miles from Hamburg - was made. From cooling problems, trying to cool with water from river Elbe over evacuating the 2 million city when the cloud would be gone to avoid the radiation from the ground, up to the city and a 200 miles area being restricted for a half century, the technical steps read a lot like Fukushima. Such accidents can theoretically happen everywhere and for many plants evacuation plans exists. Just as any other accidents not related to nuclear items can do too. That's the nature of accidents. The impact of nuclear accidents just is mostly bigger than by other catastrophes, lasts longer and is the same time harder to detect.

Quote:
I suspect the workers at the Fukushima plant are well aware of the risks and dangers, in fact I believe one worker said he was willing to die to prevent the looming disaster.
I heard this too, but I believe they were informed from first day on. They're engineers and got the best picture of the damages. They most likely knew way better than any citizen around what they were doing, how big the risk was, and how much it grew.

Quote:
They were worried about the containtment structures starting to crack, so they had no choice but to renew the containment. Chernboyl still presents dangers. I did watch a documentary about the disaster zone and it is slowly recovering in terms of the wildlife (lots of pet cats went feral and have started breeding).
Yup, that's what I hinted at. It's just no Russian problem only. Grit and concrete only led so far when it comes to radiation - we humans are not yet able to build storages which lead for eternity, or at least for more than a few decades.

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Originally Posted by wandrider View Post
Anyone know why it is not rated a 6 yet?
I think that's because we still only assume how things exactly are like. What we assume is very likely, and partly supported by reports like a slightly higher radiation 300 miles away, much higher radiation than usual 30 miles from Fukushima, and dangerously high radiation at Fukushima itself - from such things we know that eg radiation is leaking at all, and that there must be bigger damages than one week before. But as long as the next damage isn't confirmed as fact (even if there must be something), Japanese government won't raise the level to 6 or 7.

I believe that's actually logical since nobody would take the next step before knowing what's up. It's maybe like putting three people into one room, coming back next day and seeing that one was murdered. You know that something bad happened and that there's a murderer, but you won't instantly punish both other guys as long as the details of the case are unknown. The nuclear accident levels are a formal standard, but not telling us how things really are right now. We only know how they aren't anymore.
Quote:
The Japanese are ordering huge quantities of Boric Acid from many countries around the world, so this means they are preparing for worst case scenarios.
That's the worst bit at such events: they should have done so days ago, but if they had done so, people had screamed 'panic' even earlier. It's insane that the government can't take all useful measures as early as possible because it made things look worse.
What Tepco and the US military do at Fukushima is disaster-management, but ordering boric acid is prevention and I think as such fully reasonable. This kind of catastrophe isn't yet here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MC2456 View Post
I remember there was this newsflash claiming to BBC (I don't think it is from BBC) that the radio waves from the exploded plant would reach the Phillipines or something like that. Actually, it was a hoax. Exploiting the situation like that is horrible, but then, they've done it so many times before.
I think it's a really difficult line to differ between what is a hoax and shouldn't get reported because it creates a panic, and what is information which should be published so that people are actually warned. For reasons stated above the governments can't always take all reasonable measures instantly. That's rather our than their fault.

Such situations often only can get judged upon afterwards. Some media certainly need to check their information better. Internet is a mess in such situations: who reports last, doesn't earn money, so they post the news as soon as they come. But many people also fail in recognizing what really is written or that a news isn't yet confirmed. It's a problem on both sides I believe.
Some media surely also need to word information which actually are right more carefully. We already talked about this impression that some seem to want the next step further into apocalypse, what's simply ugly. But many also just do their job and report what's up - and this just is worrisome news these days, in the overall picture. Much of it, I think, looks like catastrophe hunting because it is a catastrophe.

That's said I don't care of I get wrong information while I sit in Western Europe. But I hope the people 0 to 500 miles around Fukushima get correct information and also - what's likely problematic due to the other damages after the earthquake - get them in time. It doesn't help when worried Europeans tell their traveling relatives to leave their save home, when evacuation time didn't yet come because the cloud is currently above the houses. There's an order of measure only the government can set, and hopefully they're able to do it right. As many pointed out already, there are many people to take care for after the earthquake, and the cold temperatures aren't helping either.


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  #147  
Old March 18th, 2011, 9:37 pm
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

The Japanese Nuclear Accidents are not IAEA "Level 5" accidents if Three Mile Island is also a "Level 5" too.

Why?


Victor Gilinsky former Chief Commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the 3 Mile Island accident said today:

In every way this is way way beyond Three Mile Island, and there is very little [if anything] in comparison between the two accidents 'now' both rated at Level 5. At 3 Mile Island he said the emergency cooling was accidentally cut off by human error for only 2 hours, which was found-out & turned back on. It worked, and no further damage was done.

In Japan he said there are already containment failures, none of the emergency systems are working, power is out, and [dangerous] far higher radiation releases continue. None of these issues occurred at 3 Mile Island.

I agree with Victor Gilinsky, and I say these accidents are very different in severity & in the amount of failures & damage & radiation leakage. I do not think the Japanese accidents should be rated a Level 5. In my firm opinion the Japanese accidents have been a Level 6 for many days already!

It seems at least one nuclear expert agrees with my opinion: A Nuclear Power Plant Engineer said this is a Level 6 IAEA Accident already (on MSNBC today, Friday).

These two disasters are totally different in scale & severity, so these are not equally compared or rated as an IAEA Level 5, not accurately, imo.


  #148  
Old March 19th, 2011, 2:08 am
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

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Originally Posted by mysterious View Post
Article in TOIJapan may build robots to play the violin, run marathons and preside over weddings , but it has not deployed any of the machines to help repair its crippled reactors.

I read this interesting article in today's newspaper that mocks Japanese way of doing things. Not exactly what they require at this hour, but this article highlights how sometimes we can err in judgement to save money.
This is why remotes and robots aren't being used.

NYTTraining to be a senior reactor operator takes up to two years and involves demonstrating one’s ability to process complex, sometimes contradictory information rapidly and under intense pressure. The training regimen also grinds into us the overwhelming importance of staying put in an emergency situation, even at great risk to our own safety. There are simply too many contingencies and too many functions that require close observation for an emergency to be handled remotely.

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Originally Posted by wandrider View Post
Anyone know why it is not rated a 6 yet?
As none of us here are nuclear technicians who are on the scene and privy to all the information, it's not for us to say.

Quote:
The Japanese are ordering huge quantities of Boric Acid from many countries around the world, so this means they are preparing for worst case scenarios.
Emergency services always set their contigencies for worst case; it's the best way to handle disasters.


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  #149  
Old March 19th, 2011, 9:15 am
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

In a press conference today (tonight here), Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that some milk and spinach samples from the area surrounding the Fukushima nuclear facility has tested positive for radiation, above acceptable levels.

Washington PostThe tainted milk was found 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the plant while the spinach came from a neighboring prefecture, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters.

While the radiation levels exceeded the limits allowed by the government, Edano said that the products “pose no immediate health risk” and that further monitoring was being conducted on other foods. If tests show further contamination, Edano said food shipments would be halted from the area.


This being said, and to keep things in proportion, the amount found was approximately 1/5th of the level one might find in a CT scan.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/busine...Its_story.html


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  #150  
Old March 19th, 2011, 9:43 am
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

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Originally Posted by Redhart View Post
In a press conference today (tonight here), Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that some milk and spinach samples from the area surrounding the Fukushima nuclear facility has tested positive for radiation, above acceptable levels.
It shows that the Japanese government is on top of things imo - one of the worst consequences of Chernobyl was Thyroid cancer in children - caused because the Soviet government was not checking radiation levels in milk.

I was interested to see that the maximum radiation level allowed for the rescue workers (250 ms) is one tenth of that allowed for astronauts


  #151  
Old March 19th, 2011, 10:00 am
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

I'd expect that the amount of radiation so far released would be negligable compared to the amounts which drifted over populated areas in the US and USSR when above ground nuclear weapons testing was all the rage.


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  #152  
Old March 19th, 2011, 1:38 pm
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redhart View Post
In a press conference today (tonight here), Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that some milk and spinach samples from the area surrounding the Fukushima nuclear facility has tested positive for radiation, above acceptable levels.

Washington PostThe tainted milk was found 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the plant while the spinach came from a neighboring prefecture, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters.

While the radiation levels exceeded the limits allowed by the government, Edano said that the products “pose no immediate health risk” and that further monitoring was being conducted on other foods. If tests show further contamination, Edano said food shipments would be halted from the area.


This being said, and to keep things in proportion, the amount found was approximately 1/5th of the level one might find in a CT scan.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/busine...Its_story.html
I'm all for keeping a level head but looking at this particular perspective doesn't really assuage my concerns. When you say the radiation levels found were 1/5th that of a CT scan I have to wonder what the ratio is. Is it 1/5th per 16oz glass of milk? With with consumables is that it's easy to eat or drink enough to surpass a CT scan within a day! Theoretically you could be consuming two or three CT scans within days or a week. That can't be healthy. Which is probably why the radiation levels have been deemed "above acceptable". Secondly, we have to remember that the radiation isn't just spreading through the food system. It's in the very air the people are breathing as well which contaminates them even further.


  #153  
Old March 19th, 2011, 1:51 pm
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

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Originally Posted by flimseycauldron View Post
I'm all for keeping a level head but looking at this particular perspective doesn't really assuage my concerns. When you say the radiation levels found were 1/5th that of a CT scan I have to wonder what the ratio is. Is it 1/5th per 16oz glass of milk? With with consumables is that it's easy to eat or drink enough to surpass a CT scan within a day! Theoretically you could be consuming two or three CT scans within days or a week. That can't be healthy. Which is probably why the radiation levels have been deemed "above acceptable". Secondly, we have to remember that the radiation isn't just spreading through the food system. It's in the very air the people are breathing as well which contaminates them even further.
I think I just read in the Guardian that if you drank a glass of the radioactive milk every day for a year it would be equivalent to one CT scan - I'll try to find a link.

ETA: here

Specifically:

Quote:
It's not like if you ate it right away you would be harmed," Edano said. "It would not be good to continue to eat it for some time."

Edano said the amount of radiation detected in the milk was the equivalent to one CT scan – the series of X-rays used for medical tests – if consumed continually for a year.



Last edited by Melaszka; March 19th, 2011 at 1:53 pm.
  #154  
Old March 19th, 2011, 2:33 pm
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Mel, worded that way it does make more sense. Still that's on top of the normal radiation that one is exposed to plus all the extra radiation from other sources. (not just milk) It's not like all the normal radiation ust goes away...


  #155  
Old March 19th, 2011, 3:57 pm
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

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Originally Posted by flimseycauldron View Post
Mel, worded that way it does make more sense. Still that's on top of the normal radiation that one is exposed to plus all the extra radiation from other sources. (not just milk) It's not like all the normal radiation ust goes away...
Absolutely - I wouldn't want to be drinking it, either (well, I don't actually drink milk at all, but you know what I mean...). But it could be a lot worse and they are trying to take steps to keep it out of the food chain, which is encouraging.


  #156  
Old March 19th, 2011, 6:14 pm
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

There are at least three "saving face" nuclear accident problems the Japanese government faces, and two of these have been in direct conflict with respected nuclear power experts outside Japan for several days now.

1) The Japanese leadership are in denial, imo, when they elevated the accident to a Level 5 (Three Mile Island). I pointed out in a previous post Click Here About Level 5 using two well respected nuclear expert opinions, and, also, that every nuclear expert interviewed I've seen so far state that none believe it to be a Level 5 accident. Every expert has said it is well beyond that point days ago. It is not a Level 5 Three Mile Island accident according to these experts. It is blatantly obvious to their rational analysis.

2) The USA government recommended days ago that the evacuation zone should be 50 miles, and this is in direct conflict with the Japanese government 12.5 mile zone. Every nuclear expert I've seen in the media outside Japan suggests the American zone is correct & safe.

3) Furthermore, there have been very high levels, very dangerous radiation levels, escaping from the some of the failed reactors or storage pools (Unit 3 & 4) for days now. This radiation is going to spread on the wind & fall on the rain/snow & particulates, and there will be pockets of dangerous levels of radiation such that people can not live there again for years or decades or more. It is not possible to clean-up some of these areas to make it safe again.

Just like coal pollution concentrates its mercury poisoning into rivers & lakes eliminating the possibility of eating fish with these high levels of mercury, so it will be for poisonous radiation that will be concentrated into the food chain by these same environmental processes.

4) Many nuclear experts believe that at least 2-4 reactors are so damaged that restoring power will make no difference & could actually cause further damage or accidents. Already there is too much radiation damage, salt water damage, explosion damage, and other heat & nuclear fuel damage that it's just too dangerous to restore power & do extensive repairs.

All 6 reactors are a clean-up operations anyway. This is a total loss for probably all 6 reactors, as none are going to provide electric power ever again.

The remaining question is whether or not the clean-up can be done safely without further major releases of dangerous levels of radiation. (Every day so far there have been dangerous levels released.) The wind currents & weather will play the biggest role in local radiation poisoning for the Japanese until they can stop these releases of dangerous radiation directly into the atmosphere.

I think it will be another 1-2 weeks before we will really know if this is getting under control or not. Some good news already is that there are no further major radiation accidents, and that is a positive sign.



Last edited by wandrider; March 19th, 2011 at 6:36 pm. Reason: spelling
  #157  
Old March 19th, 2011, 7:58 pm
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

The reports I've seen, as well as interviews with experts give the impression that the sole purpose of restoring power is to get the cooling water pumps running, not to do extensive repairs whatever that may mean. But there are serious dangers involved and nobody knows if those pumps are still in working order. I'm not an expert but I believe that the reason why they are trying is that restoring the cooling water system is the only way to eliminate the risk of further really serious emissions.

I can still understand that the Japanese authorities may want to tone it down a bit to avoid panic. In the current situation with most of the infrastructure destroyed it's probably not even possible to evacuate everyone living within 50 miles from the site.


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  #158  
Old March 20th, 2011, 12:12 am
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

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Originally Posted by Alastor View Post
I'm not an expert but I believe that the reason why they are trying is that restoring the cooling water system is the only way to eliminate the risk of further really serious emissions.
Unfortunately, it has the potential to do just the opposite if the temperatures and/or pressures are already too high. Pumping water into the superheated vessels or near empty pools has the potential to cause fires or skyrocket pressures & steam releases causing even higher releases of dangerous radiation.

Even burying the radiation damage under sand & cement could cause too much heat to build-up restarting fission reactions that would be uncontrolled.

Restoring cooling to areas that are not superheated yet is a very good idea, but it's not certain this will work & not do even greater damage where the radiation fuel is in a superheated state. I hope this is not a guessing game, and they can safely make the calculations based on accurate measurements.

I honestly don't understand why some remote robots have not been used to at least take temperature & radiation readings plus video/pictures of the damage inside the buildings, and, especially, of the containment pools of spent fuel?



Last edited by wandrider; March 20th, 2011 at 12:16 am. Reason: add detail
  #159  
Old March 20th, 2011, 12:46 am
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

I have been wondering that, too. Observation, reconnaissance and important information gathering seems like a robot-made-to-order-job in this instance.


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  #160  
Old March 20th, 2011, 4:02 am
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Re: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redhart View Post
I have been wondering that, too. Observation, reconnaissance and important information gathering seems like a robot-made-to-order-job in this instance.
I read an article that stated there are many robots in use at Nuclear Power Plants outside Japan. Some specialize in video observation & various monitoring purposes & others can go around closing & opening valves or switching things on & off or turning. It's all in the realm of reality, now.

The radiation is so bad at Units 3 & 4 that they are using unmanned water spraying. As soon as the firefighters position the vehicles & spray, the humans leave the area...

On Saturday the firefighters had set up an unmanned vehicle in front of the reactor building. The vehicle can spray seawater from a height of 22 meters directly into a pool containing spent fuel rods. A pump vehicle supplied seawater through an 800-meter hose.

After adjusting the position of the unmanned vehicle and the direction of its spray, the firefighters left.

The unmanned operation was originally planned to continue for 7 hours. But the fire department extended it by more than 6 hours after a government taskforce asked that water be sprayed for as long as possible.


 
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