SA7700
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:25 pm

This is a continuation thread of part 1, which can be found here: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Please feel free to continue your discussion, but please abide to the forum rules. In Part 1 there are instances of members who are in violation of forum rules. Unfortunately those posts cannot be removed without causing a portion of the thread to collapse. Any reoccurrence of forum rule violations in part 2 will result in this thread being locked.

Thank you for your co-operation.


Rgds

SA7700
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:22 pm

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 251):
Nuclear hysteria seems to be in full swing....

Germany: Geiger Counter Suppliers Run Out After Nuclear Fear

German Geiger counter suppliers including Conrad Electronic SE have sold out of the devices after demand from private and industrial customers rose because earthquakes in Japan damaged nuclear power stations.

Conrad Electronic, a German consumer and office electronics retailer, has sold out of Geiger counters, spokeswoman Christina Bauroth said by telephone from the company’s Hirschau headquarters. The retailer, which has an online business and operates 26 stores in Germany, is trying to get new devices by the middle of April, she said.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-0....html

People are going bonkers! I know those Geiger counters sold that this electronics department store are not particularly sensitive and essentially only good for the detection of gamma rays. In any case, most people probably don´t have a clue how to make a valid radiological measurement and what to look for.
Newpapers over here are really falling into the "We are all going to die horribly of radiation disease!" pattern.

Jan
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baroque
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:34 pm

From the previous thread as I lodged this after the bell had gone as it were:

Quoting GST (Reply 248):
http://www.geothermalengineering.co.uk/page/in-the-news/item/26.html This facility will both provide heat and power, as the wells will be much deeper to access the hotter rocks.


Hmm Redruth. Probably fairly tough drilling, but the proximity of red granites is always a positive sign. Not sure what a heat flow map looks like down there. If it were me, I would try some of the blanketed granites similar to those in Durham. There you get the benefit of the high heat flow from the granites, and the blanketing sediments are easier to drill through compared with the metasediments and granites of the SW.
 
aloges
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:37 pm

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 251):
Nuclear hysteria seems to be in full swing....

Germany: Geiger Counter Suppliers Run Out After Nuclear Fear

Hysteria? You're being generous.

As serious as the accident at Fukushima is, buying consumer-grade geiger counters in Germany becuse of it is retarded. Not only are radioactive particles from the plant extremely unlikely to make it here, but if they do they'll be so few that only sophisticated equipment will detect them.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 1):
Newpapers over here are really falling into the "We are all going to die horribly of radiation disease!" pattern.

I trust that you've seen some of the comments in the SPON forums?   

The most annoying thing that's happening in Germany due to this disaster is the bandwagon-jumping. All of a sudden, and of course nothing to do with the upcoming elections    , the federal government is backtracking on its we'll-give-you-anything-you-want "compromise" with the nuclear industry. Oodles of people are now coming off like they've always worked against it - even if they've only just signed a contract with Yello Strom.
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Revelation
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:39 pm

I have been watching NHK over the Internet a lot since they have an English-language stream.

It seems just now we're starting to get complaining from the very brave and stoic Japanese citizens.

And it's justified, after all, they can't get food or water, they can't gas up their cars and get away, and of course they have the threat of radiation disease hanging over their heads, depending on what happens with the damaged reactors.

Contrast this to New Orleans, where the wails were loud and clear from day one....

But I suppose I'd be a wailer too. I guess we're pretty spoiled here in the US.

Am I the only one who finds those uniforms the Japanese businessmen and lead politicians wear to be quite strange? What's up with that?

From the last thread:

Quoting EDICHC (Reply 76):
Quoting GQfluffy (Reply 72):

Nuclear power is the cleanest, most efficient, safest power source currently feasible.

Cleanest - yes, most efficient - yes, safest NO.

Cleanest, presuming you find a way to get rid of the waste.

One aspect of the current crisis is due to the fact that nuclear power plants have spent fuel rods sitting around because there's no easy way to get rid of them.

And I support ideas like Yucca Mountain, but the people of NV clearly don't.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 217):

That assumes that the generator is at sea level. The plant itself is higher than sea level (albeit not much above). Two things could be engineered into later plants that would mitigate this threat: build the facility outside the tsunami inundation zone and locate the generators in an area that is safe from flooding.

I wonder if generators can't be made "fault tolerant". With the tsunami coming, you switch over to battery power, and turn off the generators, and let them get soaked, and then rinse them off and restart? Of course they would also have to be housed in an enclosure that could take the beating of the tsunami.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 219):
How about putting a generator on top of the reactor, instead of the spent fuel rod pool?

Yes, in retrospect, one wonders about the wisdom of the elevated fuel rod pool as well. This is what is requiring the helicopters and the riot trucks.

[Edited 2011-03-17 07:37:01]
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northstardc4m
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:24 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 1):
People are going bonkers! I know those Geiger counters sold that this electronics department store are not particularly sensitive and essentially only good for the detection of gamma rays. In any case, most people probably don´t have a clue how to make a valid radiological measurement and what to look for.
Newpapers over here are really falling into the "We are all going to die horribly of radiation disease!" pattern.

Oh yes, people are going bonkers, stores here in Ontario are selling out of potassium Iodine pills! Fukushima is literally on the other side of the planet from us. And a big worry is that in 2-3 days the hospitals will be full of people with Iodine poisoning from taking the tablets incorrectly. News last night was reporting on a water leak at one of our nuclear plants like it was the end of the world until they mentioned it was unlikely to be radioactive in the least.

Hysteria is more dangerous than any melt down at Fukushima now.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
ALTF4
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:28 pm

Quoting NorthStarDC4M (Reply 5):
News last night was reporting on a water leak at one of our nuclear plants like it was the end of the world until they mentioned it was unlikely to be radioactive in the least.

*facepalm*

Yay hysteria.
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canoecarrier
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:01 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 4):
I wonder if generators can't be made "fault tolerant". With the tsunami coming, you switch over to battery power, and turn off the generators, and let them get soaked, and then rinse them off and restart? Of course they would also have to be housed in an enclosure that could take the beating of the tsunami.

I think that's how the plant was designed in the first place. Except when the diesel generators went off line it switched to battery power that was only good for 24ish hours. I don't honestly know where the generators were/are located at this plant but it appears that wherever it was got swamped by the tsunami.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 4):

It seems just now we're starting to get complaining from the very brave and stoic Japanese citizens.

If I've taken anything away from this disaster its that I need to be much better prepared for an emergency. I live in an earthquake prone area, a similar event (minus the reactor) could happen here. I don't want to be one of those people waiting in line for 12 hours for a gallon of water and two cups of rice. I'll probably make it a point over the next 6 months to a year to make sure I have at least a weeks worth of food, water, fuel and heat if something like this happens in W. Washington.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
KPHXFlyer
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:54 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 4):
And I support ideas like Yucca Mountain, but the people of NV clearly don't.

It's not the whole of NV residents that disliked Yucca Mountain, it was mostly the very vocal Southern NV majority that didn't like Yucca Mountain primarily for the reason that should anything catastrophic happen, it's only 90 or so miles from Las Vegas.

I grew up in Las Vegas and saw several TV ads advertising how safe transportation of the nuclear waste was going to be as it wound it's way through Las Vegas on I-15 / US-95 up to Yucca Mountain. They showed a concrete cask with a simulated waste element being dropped from 15' onto a 3" diameter steel spike. It didn't puncture but that didn't stop NIMBY's from having their way with it.

Cheers,
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:47 pm

I don't think this is the end of nuclear power nor should it but people are going to have to take a closer look at how to improve the safety in and around nuclear power plants, their structural stability integrity and its backup abilities.
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:27 pm

I consider myself quite a staunch environmentalist, and I've been called a tree hugger right here on a.net. But I actually stopped giving to Greenpeace years ago because of the amount of their resources they waste on anti-nuclear campaigns that are ridiculous and counter-productive.

Right now, it is one of the best options we have. The primary downside of nuclear is when it diverts too much money from R + D on even safer, more sustainable solutions.

Anywho, I'm off to Germany in a few days, I'll be sure to pack my lead BVD's, to quote Tom Lehrer, and stock up on giger counters   
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:16 pm

One problem is that people in general view nuclear power as "magical." They don't understand that it is subject to the same ordinary laws of physics that everything else is.

*They don't understand that background radiation varies and that many of us live in environments with higher background radiation than that which has been found in the city of Fukushima.
*They don't understand that radioactive waste becomes less radioactive as it is dispersed.
*They don't understand that even if the whole plant went "Chernobyl" the radiation to reach the North American continent would be less than one extra chest X-ray per American.
*They don't understand that nuclear fuel cannot ever, no matter what you do to it, make a nuclear explosion.

I still think that this plant is going to wind up under a sarcophagus.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 7):

I think that's how the plant was designed in the first place. Except when the diesel generators went off line it switched to battery power that was only good for 24ish hours. I don't honestly know where the generators were/are located at this plant but it appears that wherever it was got swamped by the tsunami.

I believe that the generators were housed in large trailers. The plant was designed for an earthquake. It was not designed to suddenly be under ten meters of rushing water.
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canoecarrier
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:41 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 11):
I believe that the generators were housed in large trailers. The plant was designed for an earthquake. It was not designed to suddenly be under ten meters of rushing water.

Maybe so. I'm curious why they haven't brought in large, containerized portable generators to replace the ones knocked out by the tsunami. I'm sure there's more to it than that, but you would think that military forces all over the world have these.

I watched some of the Japanese news coverage online today. The video footage of a helicopter dropping water on the plant and fire trucks taking turns spraying water doesn't exactly build confidence in their ability to handle the situation.
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Okie
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:40 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 12):
Maybe so. I'm curious why they haven't brought in large, containerized portable generators to replace the ones knocked out by the tsunami


The 2 major issues are that:
One, the electric motors for the pumps, motor control centers, breakers, starters, controls etc went under water and are most likely shorted with salt water (an excellent conductor) irregardless whether they have a generator or not.
Two, from the damage that I saw in the pictures from the explosions I would not be sure that there is any piping from point a to point b still usable.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 11):
*They don't understand that even if the whole plant went "Chernobyl" the radiation to reach the North American continent would be less than one extra chest X-ray per American


The hysteria over people trying to purchase potassium iodide is amazing.
Most people are probably 5 million times more likely develop a brain tumor due to radiation emitted from a cell phone or proximity to wireless devices. Quite frankly they would be better off spending there efforts for a tin foil hat.

Okie
 
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RayChuang
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:29 am

In my opinion, I think we should start to look for alternatives to using uranium as nuclear reactor fuel--not only for safety and radioactive waste disposal reasons, but also the fact uranium is also increasingly hard to find.

Hence my suggestion for the liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR). Thorium-232 is widely available (it's found anywhere where rare earth minerals are also found), and the LFTR reactor design--unlike the uranium reactor designs--are vastly safer, since the reactor can "naturally" shut down pretty quickly in case of any emergency. Best of all, LFTR's generate a tiny fraction of the radioactive waste that a uranium reactor generates, and the radioactive half-life of the waste from an LFTR is under 300 years, which means far less expensive means of waste storage (just dump it into any disused salt mine or salt dome).
 
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:28 am

Am still watching NHK coverage, and am wondering why there isn't a larger effort to get food, water and fuel to the tsunami survivors?

Seems the future of nuclear power can be debated at a later time....
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baroque
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:52 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 11):
*They don't understand that background radiation varies and that many of us live in environments with higher background radiation than that which has been found in the city of Fukushima.

   Such as working in an number of buildings in central Washington, the Library of Congress being one and the Senate another IIRC.

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GST
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:49 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 15):

Seems the future of nuclear power can be debated at a later time....

I disagree, in places such as Germany, the nuclear aspect of the disaster in particular has had an immediate adverse effect on the industry's prospects. It is a bit impotent to be debating the "future" of nuclear power when much of the points being debated are already decided in the halls of power. There is another topic for the earthquake / tsunami disaster as a whole, this one merely tackles the potentially worldwide ramifications of a small part of the overall disaster.
 
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:52 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 1):
People are going bonkers! I know those Geiger counters sold that this electronics department store are not particularly sensitive and essentially only good for the detection of gamma rays. In any case, most people probably don´t have a clue how to make a valid radiological measurement and what to look for.

People really are just dumb and hysterical. My brother works for an importer of a major Japanese car brand and he told me that they already had phone calls from potential buyers asking if their cars shipped from Japan are "radioactive" (it takes 2 months for the shipment to make to Europe) and if they can guarantee the car they will buy was made prior to the "explosion".  
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:11 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 15):

Seems the future of nuclear power can be debated at a later time....

Our debate here has no effect on their plight.
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Revelation
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:58 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 19):
Our debate here has no effect on their plight.

Nor on the future of nuclear power.

Still I have to wonder why the skies are not full of C-5s / C-17s doing parachute drops of bottled water and K-rations / MREs.
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northstardc4m
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:47 am

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 14):
In my opinion, I think we should start to look for alternatives to using uranium as nuclear reactor fuel--not only for safety and radioactive waste disposal reasons, but also the fact uranium is also increasingly hard to find.

There are safer ways of using uranium (and other sources) to generate power than high temperature steam/pressurized water reactors. Pebble bed reactors can use almost any radioactive (from raw uranium ore, thorium, Cesium and other low grade sources to weapons grade plutonium, U238 and other high gamma sources) in the pebbles. Manufacture of the pebbles is the biggest deterent to this technology. China is playing with it, South Africa, Germany and others have experimented with it and one advantage is you CAN just shut off the plant and nothing really happens. Plus there is no waste fuel, the pebbles can be remanufactured over and over again. No need for cooling water, pools, etc.

Thorium isn't an unviable option, but it needs to be concentrated for most existing reactor designs which is an expensive process. Honestly we need to start reprocessing spent fuel instead of storing it. There are risks but Fukushima is showing that the worse option is letting it sit around.

Molten salt reactors, FliBe and other molten/heavy coolant/moderator and hybrid moderator/fuel designs are also an option, but they still have a meltdown risk, and waste fuel to deal with, though less so than with PWR, BWR and other pile or fuel rod designs.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:55 am

Quoting NorthStarDC4M (Reply 21):

Molten salt reactors, FliBe and other molten/heavy coolant/moderator and hybrid moderator/fuel designs are also an option, but they still have a meltdown risk, and waste fuel to deal with, though less so than with PWR, BWR and other pile or fuel rod designs.

Wait, how does a molten core melt down? That's like falling off the floor.
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Aesma
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:19 am

From the previous thread :

aloges said

Quote:
Quoting Aesma (Reply 156):
And I'm guessing Germany must have asked for more of our electricity (which, of course, is mainly nuclear).

Why would we? Germany is a net exporter of electricity.

After some digging, you're right. We sometimes hear about how the French electrical capacity is strained because of exports and heat (or cold), including exports to Germany. But as I found out, if anything we import more from Germany than the other way around. It would be interesting to have details, I suspect we import some "green" electricity when there is over capacity (good winds) to make it appear as if we have more green electricity than in reality and maybe also because there is no practical way to stock it, while our nuclear plants can be slowed down (I think we're the only country to do that). The big net importer from our electricity seems to be Italy. By the way, hydroelectricity is also big here, 62TWh, but there is no way to expand the capacity.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 4):
Am I the only one who finds those uniforms the Japanese businessmen and lead politicians wear to be quite strange? What's up with that?

You mean the jumpsuits or strange vests ? I wonder if it's inspired by the Americans ? To show they're action men and all, like when the US president is flying over this or that zone that suffered a natural disaster, wearing a pilot's blazer, or fireman or military or whatever uniform.

Quoting NorthStarDC4M (Reply 5):
Oh yes, people are going bonkers, stores here in Ontario are selling out of potassium Iodine pills! Fukushima is literally on the other side of the planet from us. And a big worry is that in 2-3 days the hospitals will be full of people with Iodine poisoning from taking the tablets incorrectly.

Fortunately, those are not over the counter around here, only with a doctor's prescription.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 11):
*They don't understand that nuclear fuel cannot ever, no matter what you do to it, make a nuclear explosion.

I saw yesterday on the telegraph website a video titled : "Amazing pictures of nuclear blasts"...
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
northstardc4m
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:06 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 22):

Wait, how does a molten core melt down? That's like falling off the floor.

Simple, the cooling phase or salt circulation stops and the fuel melts through the containment systems... or theoretically anways enough fuel particles could meet up and cause criticality. The 1st option would take weeks to months though and in some designs can be negated with passive cooling, and the second should be impossible as long as the fuel density is kept in check during the circulation cycle, assuming it is a dissolved fuel design and not just a molten salt cooled pile design.

The Molten Salt Reactor Experiment in the US did have serious problems discovered after shutdown, and in that design should circulation fail the salt in the secondary loop could cool enough to form fluorine gas and xenon, which if then sucked back into the heated cycle could cause an explosion. Additionally should circulation of the primary reactor loop fail, the fuel could solidify in the cooling portion of the cycle and block the entire system into a forced shutdown.

The other problem with molten salt dissolved fuel is that the salt must be reprocessed frequently, therefore a reprocessing plant is required on site, adding additional costs and more risk. And with a pile type molten salt cooled design the risks are the same as with any water cooled design.

Also the salt/fuel mixture itself is something that dispossal of has never been attempted on a large scale, the MSRE salt was left to solidify in the reactor before removal and caused serious radiation contamination.

Also MSRs are breeder reactors and can be used to make weapons grade fuel, so proliferation risks would be a serious concern to widespread adoption.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:37 pm

I read up on the early MSR's and a big problem was the fact they were using expensive uranium hexafluoride as the liquid material to hold the dissolved thorium 232. While it worked it still was not a cheap solution. That's why modern test LFTR's use far less expensive sodium fluoride molten salt mixed with thorium-232.

Also, they've redesigned the LFTR so that in case of any emergency they can "dump" the fuel into a lower holding tank, which will immediately stop the nuclear reaction and prevent any chance of a meltdown.
 
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:44 pm

I got this from my dad, who is classmates with this guy, an MIT-grad Nuke engineer.

Quote:

It sounds like 2 boiling water reactors have had reduced or lost coolant flow, and have suffered partial fuel melting. In addition, the very high fuel temperatures produce a reaction with the zirconium fuel rods to release hydrogen gas. This increases the pressure in the primary loop. To ease that pressure, they vent the gas, but at its high temperature, the H is exploding, blowing the roof and siding off the outer reactor building on unit 1. So far, the primary containment is intact, keeping down any major release of radiation. I also suspect that prevailing winds in northern Japan are from the west, thereby blowing any radiation out to sea. Better than blowing it toward Tokyo.

You will hear reports of even greater danger from unit 3 at Fukishima, since it is being refueled with mixed oxide fuel - a combination of uranium oxide and plutonium oxide. Hence the media proposes added risk from release of plutonium. Frankly, I don't think this is much of a concern. Uranium oxide fueled plants quickly buildup plutonium from neutron absorption of U-238, and its decay to Pu-238, which then captures further neutrons to become Pu-239, then 240, then 241. Both 239 and 241 fission with thermal neutrons, ie. that is the plutonium part of mixed oxide fuel. So there may be a little more Pu in unit 3, but both have plutonium in the old fuel rods.

There are 4 other reactors in the quake and tsunami impacted area. None apparently have off-site power, which is used to run the cooling systems when the plant itself is not generating electricity. There are multiple backup, first on-site diesel generators and then a bank of charged batteries. In the now damaged Units 1 & 3, the diesel generators either did not start or quit shortly after starting. They were presumably damaged be either the quake or tidal wave. I don't think the plants were designed for a 9.0 earthquake, 30' tsunami and total loss of electricity in the area.

Recent stories are that they are pumping seawater into the damaged unit #1 and possibly #3 to keep the fuel rods from overheating. You may recall that even after the nuclear chain reaction is shut down, the fuel continues to generate heat due to the decay of the fission products. Hence, coolant circulation remains essential, and coolant will be needed at least for a week, maybe longer. I forget how long it is before the heat released by the decay of fission products diminishes sufficiently to just have the fuel immersed in water. However, introducing seawater to the primary coolant loop will introduce contaminants such that the plant will never be operated again, even if they did not have fuel melt. So very bad news for Tokyo Electric, the plant owners, and their insurers.

Even if this does not get worse, which it could, I suspect this will cause the current nuclear rebirth in the USA to be still born. New nucs were already in trouble with the unending licensing process, very high cost, and no assurance that the initial cost could be recovered except in the South East, where electric utilities were never deregulated. If Obama responds like he did to the Gulf well blow out, he will put a moratorium on new licensing processes, perhaps even shut down 1) all operating reactors, or 2) all BWRs or 3) the California reactors which are also in major seismic zones, until they can be reassessed for larger earthquakes coupled with some other major event like the tsunami.

With the Gulf well explosion, nuclear meltdown in Japan, and crude oil over $100/B due to uprisings in the Middle East, there are all sorts of nasty energy scenarios that could be developed. I think it is a triple looped roller coaster. HANG ON!

George


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aloges
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:04 pm

Quote:
With the Gulf well explosion, nuclear meltdown in Japan, and crude oil over $100/B due to uprisings in the Middle East, there are all sorts of nasty energy scenarios that could be developed. I think it is a triple looped roller coaster. HANG ON!

If only there were ways in this world to power things without nuclear or fossil fuels...   


  
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Revelation
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:58 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 26):
I got this from my dad, who is classmates with this guy, an MIT-grad Nuke engineer.

Seems to be a correct summation, but a few days behind the times.

Personally I could do without the gratuitous and uniformed anti-Obama rhetoric, but that's just me...
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Aesma
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:16 pm

And of course, the plants that we are talking about are old designs, so it's not comparable to the Deepwater Horizon accident which happened to state of the art technology.
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baroque
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:36 am

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 14):
for the liquid fluoride

Just as a matter of curiosity, have you ever worked with fluorine compounds - other than the very stable CaF2? I can see a variety of paths to chemical disaster if you have molten fluorine compounds. You may be able to fix the radiation dangers, but fluorine compounds are an excellent path to a range of other types of problems. Just as molten sodium is very elegant, provided you don't get it wet or exposed to oxygen!!

HF is really not a nice substance to have around.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:13 am

Quoting Baroque (Reply 30):
Quoting RayChuang (Reply 14):
for the liquid fluoride

Just as a matter of curiosity, have you ever worked with fluorine compounds - other than the very stable CaF2? I can see a variety of paths to chemical disaster if you have molten fluorine compounds. You may be able to fix the radiation dangers, but fluorine compounds are an excellent path to a range of other types of problems. Just as molten sodium is very elegant, provided you don't get it wet or exposed to oxygen!!

HF is really not a nice substance to have around.

Back when I studied chemistry, the joke was that all inorganic chemists were losing their hair early because of the fluorine compounds. In fact, most of them were bald by 40.

My father, who was a geologist and palaeontologist, used to work a lot with HF for etching rock samples. The stuff is extremely corrosive, it will eat through flesh right to the bone and it is very toxic at the same time.

Jan
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MD-90
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:41 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 11):
I believe that the generators were housed in large trailers. The plant was designed for an earthquake. It was not designed to suddenly be under ten meters of rushing water.

According to this MIT link, they were designed to withstand a tsunami about half the heights of what occured.

The Fukushima power plants were required by regulators to withstand a certain height of tsunami. At the Daiichi plant the design basis was 5.7 metres and at Daini this was 5.2 metres.

Tepco has now released tentative assessments of the scale of the tsunami putting it at over 10 metres at Daiichi and over 12 metres at Dainii.


Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 31):
My father, who was a geologist and palaeontologist, used to work a lot with HF for etching rock samples. The stuff is extremely corrosive, it will eat through flesh right to the bone and it is very toxic at the same time.

Sounds like what the xenomorph in Alien drooled!
 
baroque
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:41 am

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 31):
My father, who was a geologist and palaeontologist, used to work a lot with HF for etching rock samples. The stuff is extremely corrosive, it will eat through flesh right to the bone and it is very toxic at the same time.

   It is also used to "digest" (love that phrase) siliceous minerals to free organic matter for OM concentrates. It is a technique that I avoid like the plague. We set up a special lab for it at one time, which the University in its wisdom then demolished without AFAIK replacing the facility with anything nearly as safe.

A lab here in Aus had what appeared at first to be a minor accident with HF some years ago but the technician died. Not a substance to be messed around with. He was experienced with HF, but a small leak - and it got him. Not a very forgiving compound and once you have hot fluorides, it is very easy to produce small amounts of HF even when you are not trying to do so.

The only places I like fluoride are in my toothpaste and as a nice collection of fluorite crystals (the stable CaF2) on my mantelpiece. Oh yes, I also quite like fluorapatite, it helps me earn a living due to the way that fission tracks in the apatite from uranium fission start to anneal at temperatures above about 75C. And that technique would not work if there were not sources of neutrons to allow my colleagues to figure out how much U there was in the apatite to start with.

And what is the apatite technique used for?, To find oil and gas. So, many discoveries of oil and gas depend on the existence of a nuclear industry. Everything is connected as they say.
 
Mir
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:49 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 4):
Yes, in retrospect, one wonders about the wisdom of the elevated fuel rod pool as well. This is what is requiring the helicopters and the riot trucks.

Fuel pools are generally placed where minimum movement will be required to get the fuel from the reactor to the pool, as the fuel is highly dangerous after it comes out of the reactor. And since most reactors load the fuel from the top, having the pool near the top of the reactor makes the most sense.

-Mir
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NAV20
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:41 pm

The problems appear to be getting worse by the day. Radio-activity in the water under the reactors appears to be at catastrophic levels, and - even more seriously - it is now strongly suspected that one at least of the reactors has cracked.......

25 Mar 2011 Some of the so called 'Fukushima Fifty' have been exposed to 10,000 times the normal amount of radiation as they battle to cool and restore power to the damaged nuclear plant, according to the Japan nuclear and industrial safety agency. While the official death toll of the earthquake and resulting tsunami reached 10,000, many of the workers at Fukushima Dai-ichi, who have also been dubbed the Atomic Samurai, were taken to hospital after coming in to contact with contaminated water. Three men were scorched when knee-deep water sloshed down their boots and the contamination is believed to have come from one of the plant's six reactors - reactor 3 - which is thought to have been cracked."

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO110...actor-rockets-radiation-levels.htm

(Somewhat obscure source but the same thing has just been reported on our ABC radio evening news).

I've always counted on someone somewhere on A.net knowing more than I do about any problem anywhere! The only thing I learned about containing 'runaway' nuclear power stations on my own construction course was 'the Chernobyl solution' - pour in vast quantities of concrete, sand, and boron in the hope of plugging the leak. Can anyone on here tell us whether more 'organised' solutions are now available?

And also, in particular, say whether that sort of thing can be done robotically nowadays? I still recall that at Chernobyl the workers who built the 'sarcophagus' had to risk their lives to do it - and the poor blokes who poured in the boron etc. from the top, and those who tunnelled down to build a floor under the thing, had to go further, and literally 'sacrifice' theirs?

[Edited 2011-03-27 06:16:02]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
ltbewr
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:48 pm

The situation in Japan is getting much worse, it is now approaching Chernobyl levels. Clearly this is going to cripple Japan as to it's economy and it's people perhaps far worse than WWII did. 1000's of sq Kms. will have to be abandoned, key industrial areas forever affected, millions will die earlier due to cancer from the excess radiation as well as figure out some way to bury the destroyed plants.

This disaster should be a lesson to all around the world that nuclear is no longer worth the financial and human risks to continue it.
 
Okie
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:01 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 35):
And also, in particular, say whether that sort of thing can be done robotically nowadays?


Not sure, but I am sure that a sarcophagus would be the route to take at this point. I would speculate that we are talking at least months of cooling water to prevent future explosions (hydrogen) before trying to encapsulate the core.

I find it amazing the damage from the hydrogen explosions to the structure. Obviously there is a serious design issue that will have to be addressed to vent/discharge the hydrogen in such a manner that total destruction to the structure will not happen in the future. The damage to the building appears to be as serious issue preventing everything from proper instrument readings to access to remedial repairs.

Okie
 
baroque
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:33 pm

Quoting okie (Reply 37):
I find it amazing the damage from the hydrogen explosions to the structure. Obviously there is a serious design issue that will have to be addressed to vent/discharge the hydrogen in such a manner that total destruction to the structure will not happen in the future.

True, but where is Connies to give us the real answers!!! Hope it is non-disclosure problems and not that he is not able to post. Re the H2 release, my understanding is that problem was known and was addressed quite some time ago, but alas, not engineered back into this perambulating disaster zone that TEPCO was running. I guess this goes along with countries needing proper regulation of banking, that the nuclear industry should be properly regulated and solutions to known problems engineered back in as they are found. Not 10,000 +++ deaths of course, but so far, the US bank crash has had more effect on the Japanese GDP than the quake, tsunami and nuclear event all together are going to have by about an order of magnitude. Nevertheless of leaving TEPCO free of regulations to make it keep up to date on safety is proving huge.

Fair to suggest that no nuclear power station owner will be similarly complacent in future. Rather strange though to hear of folk worrying about fault zones in the E of the US. Unless you guys have built one on the New Madrid fault, outside the West coast, there is nothing close to the intensity of this recent Japanese quake. And they miss the point that the plant seems to have coped with the quake just fine, it was the tsunami what dun it in!!!
 
aloges
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:06 pm

Quoting Baroque (Reply 38):
Fair to suggest that no nuclear power station owner will be similarly complacent in future.

I've had a brain wave - or fart, possibly - on how to ensure that. Since nuclear power plants are often not properly safeguarded when for-profit corporations run them (since that costs money) and the ones run by government authorities haven't proven to be much better, how about having not-for-profit NGOs run them? If there wasn't much financial or political pressure on the operators, but they had to comply with very strict security rules, couldn't we improve plant safety significantly? The statutes of such an organisation would have to focus on safety, then power generation and only then on the bottom line.

I realise of course that every single nuclear lobbyist previously, currently or in the future on the face of this planet would machine-gun this idea until he ran out of ammunition because the plants are absolute cash-cows, but I thought this was nonetheless an interesting hypothesis.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
baroque
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sun Mar 27, 2011 4:16 pm

Quoting aloges (Reply 39):
Since nuclear power plants are often not properly safeguarded when for-profit corporations run them (since that costs money) and the ones run by government authorities haven't proven to be much better, how about having not-for-profit NGOs run them? I

I certainly sympathise with the idea of looking for a better "mousetrap" but not sure of NGOs either. I would favour removing the "for profit" bit as it clearly does cause problems and divorcing them from government. But you would need have strong government supervision. NGOs, hmmm. Bit nervous about them. Can be simply wonderful, but not all are. And this is one area where mistakes are not the forgivable sort.

I have never heard much about problems with the French stations. Is this my ignorance or are they a bit better? Googling "Problems with French Nuclear Power stations" give results swamped by 3 Mile Island and Japan - big help.

Do the French have a better mousetrap? Well they do have some very nice cheeses!!!!

Definitely something different needs to be done in Japan at least!! The UK did not have a lily white escutcheon either. My landlord from 1939-1941 was a WW I VC and after WWII worked at Windscale and died of cancer. Amazing character, in 1940, he built a pig stye out of driftwood washed up on the shores of the Irish Sea from U-boat sinkings. He did not have any nails, so he used screws and "emplaced" them with a sharp belt from a crow bar! Sometimes Tom Mayson's methods of building pig pens reminds one of the supervision systems of nuclear power stations.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Fletcher_Mayson
 
Okie
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:31 pm

Quoting aloges (Reply 39):
I realise of course that every single nuclear lobbyist previously, currently or in the future on the face of this planet would machine-gun this idea until he ran out of ammunition because the plants are absolute cash-cows, but I thought this was nonetheless an interesting hypothesis


I not going out on a limb about the plants themselves being cash cows, but for the country that they provide the energy to produce products and raise the lifestyle (ie more products) they are the route that provides the most bang for the buck for the countries inhabitants.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 38):
Re the H2 release, my understanding is that problem was known and was addressed quite some time ago, but alas, not engineered back into this perambulating disaster zone that TEPCO was running


I think the answer here was that this operation with this type of reactor was at the end of its life and one if not more of the reactors was in the process of being decommissioned. Units 5 & 6 were decommissioned/not in operation unit 4 was not fueled.
One of the main thoughts I have here is that not that you are calling it a level 5 or 6. The issue is that when you consider Unit 4's holding pond that you have 4ea level 5/6 problems to amass large scale resources to deal with the problems and not just one reactor to deal with.

I sort of got tired of the poop coming from the media and have just been going to the IAEA.gov website for information.
You sort of get the idea early on with the reports they were getting from TEPCO that they were getting a little frustrated with conflicting information. Right now IAEA seems to be the best source of information but you just have to remember that we are talking dot gov.

Okie
 
NAV20
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:32 am

Quoting aloges (Reply 39):
how about having not-for-profit NGOs run them? If there wasn't much financial or political pressure on the operators, but they had to comply with very strict security rules, couldn't we improve plant safety significantly? The statutes of such an organisation would have to focus on safety, then power generation and only then on the bottom line.
Quoting Baroque (Reply 40):
I would favour removing the "for profit" bit as it clearly does cause problems and divorcing them from government. But you would need have strong government supervision.

I'm not sure how putting the stations on a 'not for profit' basis would help. It would have all sorts of 'side-effects;' not least, that power produced by the nuclear stations might well sell for less than that produced by conventional or 'green' means. In any case, how would you set the companies up? Presumably the various governments would have to use taxpayers' money to buy them at market value from the present owners, and then set up said 'not for profit' companies; so how would the taxpayer ever get his money back? Going further, suppose one of the new companies had an accident like the present one - a 'not for profit' company would not have the financial reserves to carry out containment and/or repair, nor would it be able to borrow for the purpose; so presumably the taxpayer would have to 'front up' yet again?

In any case, the biggest problem, seems to me, is that first-generation nuclear plants like Fukushima are all of 40 years old, and of out-dated design; in particular, they are miles behind more modern ones in the 'containment' field. Fukushima was designed and constructed by a consortium led by General Electric; and I believe that there are over 20 plants of similar age and old-fashioned design operating in the USA alone.

There's no doubt in my mind that all affected governments are going to have to set up regulatory measures aimed at requiring the 'phasing out' the older, riskier plants. But after that, the 64-dollar (or perhaps more like the 64-trillion-dollar) question arises; do said governments allow replacement of the out-dated plants with more modern (and hopefully much safer) nuclear ones - or do they allow only conventional (presumably mostly coal-fired) power stations instead?

Sorry to ask so many questions when I don't know the answers to any of them. But I guess I can say in my defence that no-one ELSE knows any of the answers either........  

[Edited 2011-03-27 20:34:13]
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:10 am

Another aftershock being reported with magnitude 6.5 off Miyagi, with tsunami alert which was canceled shortly thereafter.

Seems this tragedy will just never end...
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baroque
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:19 am

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 42):
Sorry to ask so many questions when I don't know the answers to any of them. But I guess I can say in my defence that no-one ELSE knows any of the answers either.......

Therein lies the problem that I think Aloges and I were addressing at least in part. Most of the answers are well known, but they can be summarised as $$$$$$$$$ and $$$$$$$$$$. Therein lies the private enterprise trouble. Try and pass the remedial work past the bean counters and    You have to find a way around that. If private enterprise will not KEEP the things safe, then they should not be operating the plants.

Then again, most coal fired power stations are arguably even more dangerous, just the dangers are not properly costed!

Quoting okie (Reply 41):
have just been going to the IAEA.gov website for information.

Maybe you mean IAEA.org????
As in
http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html
Radiation measurements in the containment vessels and suppression chambers of Units 1, 2 and 3 continued to decrease. White "smoke" continued to be emitted from Units 1 to 4.

Surely someone has figured out what the white "smoke" is by now. Grrrrrr!
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:13 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 28):
Personally I could do without the gratuitous and uniformed anti-Obama rhetoric, but that's just me...

"Gratuitous" anti-Obama rhetoric? Concerns that the biggest fallout of this whole crisis in Japan will be politicians following their gut instincts and jumping the hysteria bandwagon in a hunt for short-trerm approval rating gains and another 25 years of stalled r&d in this field are well justified. I don't know how much in tow of the greens Obama is but look at Angela "Jerkel" (as someone nicknamed her on Economist.com), who I thought was much more level-headed. Her brain works in 4-years cycles just as any other politicians'.

Quoting aloges (Reply 39):
Since nuclear power plants are often not properly safeguarded when for-profit corporations run them (since that costs money) and the ones run by government authorities haven't proven to be much better, how about having not-for-profit NGOs run them?

This is a pointless mantra of a certain segment of the political spectrum... anything done for-profit is inherently evil so let's turn it into NPO/NGO and everything will be fine.
Where is the guarantee or rather what implies that those glorified NPOs will recruit the best people, implement better safety culture and regulatory body will provide proper oversight?
 
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:03 pm

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 45):
Concerns that the biggest fallout of this whole crisis in Japan will be politicians following their gut instincts and jumping the hysteria bandwagon in a hunt for short-trerm approval rating gains and another 25 years of stalled r&d in this field are well justified.

Reply #26 points out that this so-called nuclear re-birth was already stillborn, for reasons that long predate the Obama administration, yet there was a great rush to presume Obama would take some sort of knee jerk reaction, which just hasn't happened. So IMHO it is gratuitous abuse of Obama.

Personally I think there definitely should be a review of nuke plants in major earthquake zones. Clearly in this case the design standard was set way below what the Earth actually delivered, and some systems that should work independently of external power or central batteries, like the equipment to vent and flare off hydrogen, failed in an unacceptable way and caused deaths both directly (via people crushed by the falling roof) and indirectly (via accelerating the crisis).

We also now see the urgency of restoring power to the plant as soon as possible. IMHO it's important to try to understand how quickly we could restore power to our nuke plants after a worst-case earthquake so we could be able to monitor the plant and assess damage much more quickly than what is happening in Japan. For instance, perhaps we need a second set of backup generators cocooned in earthquake-proof structures that can take over in a small number of hours once the primary backups fail.

Clearly there are some lessons to be learned, no?
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baroque
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:22 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 46):
Clearly there are some lessons to be learned, no?

Not only yes, but this disaster is in effect a test that should never have been allowed to be so exhaustive, but a test that should be used to develop major improvements. Again, the stations did not fail from the quake, but from the tsunami. Away from tsunamis, H2 venting, and any lessons from the behaviour of the primary structures in the quake(s) should be invaluable.

As you say, no need to head off on political witch hunts.   
 
Okie
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:26 pm

Quoting Baroque (Reply 44):
Maybe you mean IAEA.org????


Correct, my bad

Quoting Revelation (Reply 46):
We also now see the urgency of restoring power to the plant as soon as possible. IMHO it's important to try to understand how quickly we could restore power to our nuke plants after a worst-case earthquake so we could be able to monitor the plant and assess damage much more quickly than what is happening in Japan. For instance, perhaps we need a second set of backup generators cocooned in earthquake-proof structures that can take over in a small number of hours once the primary backups fail


While I see your point on the additional generators, the problem here was the Tsunami. Even now as they are trying to back feed the system they are still dealing with the problem of electrical equipment that was submerged in sea water (shorting out electrical components) preventing their use. The workers that got the radioactive water in/over their boots were trying to lay a temporary electrical line around the submerged electrical equipment. The building and reactors as far as we know at this time handled the earthquake without a problem.


Okie
 
baroque
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RE: Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 2?

Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:39 pm

Quoting okie (Reply 48):
The building and reactors as far as we know at this time handled the earthquake without a problem.

Which is a hell of a plus!!! If only sea water did not have all that NaCl, even that would not have been as much of a problem as it is!!

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