WTF is happening at Fukushima?

By on January 6, 2014 7:32:35 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Timmaigh

Join Date 05/2009
+37

Seriously, does anyone have a clue? The media over here were not reporting about it recently, or maybe i was just not paying attention, its almost 2 years since the quake after all....anyway i was under impression it is sort of a "solved" issue, i mean all the dangerous stuff removed, etc... until i read recently quite an alarming article, how in fact it is not? And a massive catastrophe can still happen there, many times more serious than Chernobyl, with actual global consequences?

If you have any insight into it, please enlighten me.

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January 6, 2014 7:43:17 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

"The clean-up of the disaster is expected to take at least a decade.

More than 400 litres of contaminated water is being created daily, and the clean-up team are rapidly running out of space to put it.

It has concerned the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) so much that it is considering releasing treated water into the pacific".

 

http://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/20233284/fukushima-radiation-can-kill-in-20-minutes/

 

yeah... a tad concerning.... thank goodness they still have time for whale hunting....  

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January 6, 2014 7:54:31 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

We don't hear about any of that here. Apparently it doesn't seem to be newsworthy...or they want to try and keep people in the dark. 

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January 6, 2014 7:59:16 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting teddybearcholla,
...or they want to try and keep people in the dark.
Conspiracy theories are always on the Top of my lists

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January 6, 2014 8:10:25 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting teddybearcholla,
they want to try and keep people in the dark. 

Won't succeed...we'll all be glowing in the dark. 

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January 6, 2014 8:11:02 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

http://fukushimaupdate.com/

A great resource by James Corbette

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January 6, 2014 8:16:55 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting sydneysiders,
thank goodness they still have time for whale hunting....

Yes, that IS fortunate.

Quite noble of them...not wanting the whales to suffer from their radiation cock-up...good thing they have plenty of harpoons.

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January 6, 2014 9:06:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I remember reading that the Yakuza were paying homeless people 60$ a day for working with the clean-up around the power plant.

As for the actual impact of the disaster, who can say? Some tell me it's being handled, and then a week later I hear Japan asking the world for technical assistance, and some other guy tells me this could be worse than Chernobyl. At the end of the day I'm just glad it's on the other side of the world, and they at least brought this on themselves.

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January 6, 2014 9:08:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums
The sad 'underside' of this disaster is it was preventable. There are a number of alternative approaches to harness usable energy from nuclear fission that are much safer. Some, like the salt model, can't produce a chain reaction, even if you do really stupid things to the reactor. Oak Ridge explored a number of these approaches just after WW2. The USA decided to use the hot (current) model because the 'cold war' required more nuclear weapons grade materials, and the current nuclear generating plants produce it as 'waste.' Now they are worldwide. Hope? China and a few other countries are developing these alternate nuclear generating technologies that the USA ditched. BTW, Jafo, how do you know the Japanese have plenty of harpoons? Its dark isn't it... oh, no, the harpoons are glowing, too!
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January 6, 2014 9:11:59 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Heavenfall,
At the end of the day I'm just glad it's on the other side of the world,

I grew up a little too close for comfort from Maralinga...close enough that my old man had a part time job besides running the Mildura airport....of taking air samples for fallout.

Ah...the good old Americans and British ....lovely bunch of blokes....

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January 6, 2014 10:12:42 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Add that to the list of nonsense going on over there. We'll either get blown to bits or blown to bits or grow two heads and a arm or three. What a world we live in.

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January 6, 2014 10:24:23 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Heavenfall,
At the end of the day I'm just glad it's on the other side of the world

Unfortunately, Heavenfall, the earth is a closed ecosystem. Therefore, it'll arrive in your food, air, etc. 

Read this...they actually used duct tape and chicken wire to repair this mess. At least optimism isn't dead. Yet. 

But hey...they're only copying us: Link.

 

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January 6, 2014 10:30:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,
Unfortunately, Heavenfall, the earth is a closed ecosystem.

And if I got to choose where to live, it'd be on the other side of the world.

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January 6, 2014 3:13:07 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

What's wrong with duct tape? It's magical! And where are the tie-wraps??

 

But seriously, one nuclear spill doesn't make the whole ocean radiactive...

 

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January 6, 2014 3:23:28 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

When I went to buy a car, the model I wanted came in several colors, one of which was dark blue...that was the color I absolutely wanted, but alas, it was not meant to be....apparently the only global manufacturer of that particular shade of blue was in Japan -- right by the fukushima incident....and apparently their production stopped because of the incident...

Not that the color of a car is a big deal when compared to say, glowing whale meat, but nevertheless I think it goes to show that these things affect us...

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January 6, 2014 4:37:14 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

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January 6, 2014 4:50:55 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting GeomanNL,
But seriously, one nuclear spill doesn't make the whole ocean radiactive...

 

Just personalize it: It doesn't worry you. Fine. Me? It worries...but what do I know?

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January 6, 2014 4:54:05 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

But their is a solution:

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January 6, 2014 7:29:14 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting GeomanNL,
But seriously, one nuclear spill doesn't make the whole ocean radiactive...

Spill? LOL Clean up in aisle 4! This is way past spill...300 to 450 tons a day of radioactive waste water being dumped into the ocean...on purpose!

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January 7, 2014 12:59:09 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

For those of us that have NHK World on our local TV, they feature regular stories/updates on Fukishima.  The big problem these days is all of the radioactive water that is produced in the cooling process, that they are attempting to store onsite.  In recent months, several tanks have failed, releasing radioactive water into the soil/water table/ocean.

Essentially they are playing a 'waiting game' of sorts, for the reactors to cool sufficiently where they can get close to them and be able to dismantle them.  That may take years/decades...

As for the 'good thing it's over there versus over here' sentiment expressed above, keep in mind that we have several older reactors here in the U.S. of the same design as Fukishima.  Fukishima's problem was coolant failure, as they couldn't keep the pumps running.  No 'gravity backup' system was in place.  We have reactors here that have the same design flaw.

Earthquakes tend to be rather non-discriminate where they strike, and some of these reactors are located near water bodies, so to say 'will never happen here' is just not realistic.  It's a matter of when, not if.

But, like Japan, regulators keep 're-approving' use of these older reactors, that realistically should have been retired long ago.  Japan is now taking a harder stance, and has taken it one step further - no new reactor construction.

Which is too bad, because the latest reactor designs on the drawing boards address many of the flaws of the older designs, and are considerably more efficient to boot.  Myself, I like the 'nuclear waste recycling' technology designed to re-use the old/spent fuel, to reduce the radioactive footprint at the back end.  Of course, then comes the question of 'What do we do with the old reactors?  I don't want them hauling that thing through my neighborhood' problem...

The U.S. has a few of the newer reactors (not the next gen ones though) going online soon, primarily in the Southeast.  Citizens really should push for the decommissioning of the older generation reactors (60s-70s era reactors), and sooner rather than later.  Nuclear solves a lot of energy independence issues, but it needs to be done right, and modernized.

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January 7, 2014 1:45:47 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

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January 7, 2014 2:20:03 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I've read in the links posted above that the problems at Fukushima were not due to the design, that was fine. It was due to cost-cutting measures: a water barrier that was lower than "recommended", cost-cutting on materials.

I wouldn't put too much trust in the words of the thorium-plant advocates. They want to build those things and make a lot of money from them, so of course they downplay any of the problems.

http://www.independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/dont-believe-thorium-nuclear-reactor-hype,4919

And it's easier to make nuclear bombs from the fuel from a thorium plant than it is from the fuel of a conventional nuclear power plant:

http://www.pressenza.com/2013/08/thorium-reactors-and-nuclear-weapons-proliferation-the-promise-and-peril-of-thorium/

 

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January 7, 2014 1:51:56 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting GeomanNL,


I wouldn't put too much trust in the words of the thorium-plant advocates. They want to build those things and make a lot of money from them, so of course they downplay any of the problems.

http://www.independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/dont-believe-thorium-nuclear-reactor-hype,4919

Your falling into the propaganda of those that do not want thorium plants to become a reality because they would longer be able to profit from it. A Thorium reactor no longer a fuel pellet production center which is were the nuclear energy companies make all of their money from, so their would oppose and lie their way out as much as possible to avoid that. The mining industry will not see any increased profits of significance from thorium since thorium is so abundant and use for nothing that currently all mining installation just throw thorium away as waste. IF you would create over night thorium rectors to replace all of of the planets energy needs a lot of rare earth mines would be able to provide all of the earth thorium supply. In our economic system we make money from created shortage, thorium energy is anything but rare, it's extremely common, so common that is only 3-4 mines would dedicate them selves to only thorium mining in thorium hot spots we would have more thorium supplies then we would know what to do with it, more then we could possibly use up for the foreseeable future not to mention that it would make the thorium prices crash down to virtually nothing making all those mine go bankrupt. The truth is that unless rare earth mines extract thorium on the side and sell it at almost no profit because it is so common, thorium mining/extraction will most likely be a nationalized state society along with the reactors because the possibility for profits is to limited. The fuel is dirt cheap, their is no fuel production industry, all that remains is infrastructure such and the power grid, power plants, and cost of personnel. The bottom line is that their is less opportunity and smaller margins to make money form thorium that any other energy source. That link you have up there pretty much admits everything I just said. They have vested interest in preventing this technology from happening since they would stand to lose from it.


And it's easier to make nuclear bombs from the fuel from a thorium plant than it is from the fuel of a conventional nuclear power plant:

http://www.pressenza.com/2013/08/thorium-reactors-and-nuclear-weapons-proliferation-the-promise-and-peril-of-thorium/

 

Again totally wrong, the thorium was ignored and shut-down specifically because it wasn't suited for weapons manufacturing which is what the US wanted in those years. Producing fissile materials forma  thorium rector is both more difficult then other methods but also contaminates that material. Overtime it screws up your weapon potentially rendering inert and useless, in addition to that because of the properties of the materials produced in a thorium reactor any weapons you would produce from it would have the equivalent of a big NEON SING above it saying "I AM HERE". A weapons made from the materials of a thorium reactor would be the least secret weapon in the whole world, everyone would easily know exactly were it is from space just like we can map thorium deposits on the moon or Mars from space. That doesn't make for a good weapon. In addition unlike current solid fuel reactor sites, a thorium reactor would have the option to poison it's nuclear fuel at teh press of one button rendering the fuel incapable of being turned into a weapon, it would also waste the fuel as reactor fuel as well since it would screw up the reaction chain that the reactor needs to operate.

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January 7, 2014 2:29:32 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Uranium 233 as a weapon it's been tried, tested and abandoned.

Just a quick repost from wiki.

Weapon material[edit]

The first detonation of a nuclear bomb that included U-233, on 15 April 1955.

As a potential weapon material pure uranium-233 is more similar to plutonium-239 than uranium-235 in terms of source (bred vs natural), half-life and critical mass, though its critical mass is still about 50% larger than for plutonium-239. The main difference is the unavoidable co-presence of uranium-232[6] which can make uranium-233 very dangerous to work on and quite easy to detect.

While it is thus possible to use uranium-233 as the fissile material of a nuclear weapon, speculation[7] aside, there is little publicly available information on this isotope actually having been weaponized. The United States detonated an experimental device in the 1955 Operation Teapot "MET" test which used a plutonium/U-233 composite pit; this was based on the plutonium/U-235 pit from the TX-7E, a prototypeMark 7 nuclear bomb design used in the 1951 Operation Buster-Jangle "Easy" test. Although not an outright fizzle, MET's actual yield of 22 kilotons was significantly enough below the predicted 33 that the information gathered was of limited value.[8][9] In 1998, as part of its Pokhran-II tests, India detonated an experimental U-233 device of low-yield (0.2 kt) called Shakti V.[10][11]

The B Reactor and others at the Hanford Site optimized for the production of weapons-grade material have been used to manufacture U-233.[12][13][14][15]

U-232 impurity[edit]

Production of 233U (through the irradiation of thorium-232) invariably produces small amounts of uranium-232 as an impurity, because of parasitic (n,2n) reactions on uranium-233 itself, or on protactinium-233:

232Th (n,γ) 233Th (β−) 233Pa (β−) 233U (n,2n) 232U
232Th (n,γ) 233Th (β−) 233Pa (n,2n) 232Pa (β−) 232U

The decay chain of 232U quickly yields strong gamma radiation emitters:

232U (α, 72 years)
228Th (α, 1.9 year)
224Ra (α, 3.6 day, 0.24 MeV)
220Rn (α, 55 s, 0.54 MeV)
216Po (α, 0.15 s)
212Pb (β−, 10.64 h)
212Bi (α, 61 s, 0.78 MeV)
208Tl (β−, 3 m, 2.6 MeV)
208Pb (stable)

This makes manual handling in a glove box with only light shielding (as commonly done with plutonium) too hazardous, (except possibly in a short period immediately following chemical separation of the uranium from its decay products) and instead requiring complex remote manipulation for fuel fabrication.

The hazards are significant even at 5 parts per millionImplosion nuclear weapons require U-232 levels below 50 PPM (above which the U-233 is considered "low grade"; cf. "Standard weapon grade plutonium requires a Pu-240 content of no more than 6.5%." which is 65000 PPM, and the analogous Pu-238 was produced in levels of 0.5% (5000 PPM) or less). Gun-type fission weapons additionally need low levels (1 ppm range) of light impurities, to keep the neutron generation low.[16][6]

The Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) used U-233, bred in light water reactors such as Indian Point Energy Center, that was about 220 PPM U-232.[17]

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January 7, 2014 2:43:41 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

If you have the patience to sit trough this long video it should tell you everything you would need to know and all of the counter points and so on. Feel free to double check it afterwards if you wish.

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