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DocLightning
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:01 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 36):
This is a failure of risk management, not a failure of the principle of nuclear power. All that would have to be done to prevent this sort of thing is to earthquake-proof the plants. And while that's a costly endeavor, it's not an inherently complicated one.

The plants WERE earthquake-proof. They survived the earthquake fine. The backup systems worked fine.

However, how do you design a nuclear power plant that can survive a tsunami and still have those diesel generators working normally? They need air to run. Submerge them and they stop. Submerge them in saltwater and they stop for good. You can't prepare for that sort of thing.

Here we have a well-built nuclear reactor with not two but EIGHT backup systems and yet the nature of this "perfect storm" means that now authorities are saying that we may be facing a core meltdown.

Worst-case scenario:

If the temperature inside the core reaches 4,000°F, the uranium rods will start to melt into a flowing, radioactive slag. This intense temperature and pressure cannot be contained even by the reactor vessel and the radioactive lava will leak into the containment building. The containment building can't really handle temperatures like that, either (I can't think of any material made of protons, neutrons, and electrons that can) and so the radioactive fuel, which, like Chernobyl, was near the end of its fueling cycle, would be released into the environment.

The radius might not be as bad as Chernobyl if they can ensure that there isn't a huge explosion, but if that happens then there will be a large chunk of Northern Japan that will be unusable for tens of thousands of years.
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RayChuang
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:12 am

Like I said earlier, this unfortunate event will likely end any suggestions of building light-water uranium-fueled reactors.

The future is in advanced reactors like the liquid fluoride thorium reactor, which has the following advantages:

1) It uses thorium as fuel, and in a form that doesn't need to made into pellets at high cost. And thorium is 200 times more abundant than fuel-grade uranium.
2) The design of the LFTR does not involve high pressure, so there is no risk of explosion. Indeed, a LFTR is not capable of a meltdown. That means with the right engineering a LFTR would be completely safe even in a high-danger earthquake zone.
3) Since LFTR's run way cooler than uranium reactors, we can cut out the enormous expense for big water cooling towers or locating the reactor near a big body of water. That means a far smaller physical design of the powerplant itself.
4) LFTR's can actually consume the waste from uranium reactors as fuel (all those spent uranium fuel rods are now useful for a change), and the waste generated by a LFTR has a tiny fraction of the radioactive products a uranium reactor can generate, which means far less costly need to store nuclear waste.

In short, as part of the recovery from this unfortunate natural disaster, the Japanese should completely dismantle the current Fukushima nuclear power plant and replace it with a new, physically smaller facility with four LFTR reactors built to withstand even a 9.0 earthquake. It would be a showcase of how to do nuclear power right.  
 
Mir
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:45 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 50):
However, how do you design a nuclear power plant that can survive a tsunami and still have those diesel generators working normally? They need air to run. Submerge them and they stop. Submerge them in saltwater and they stop for good. You can't prepare for that sort of thing.

That one seems to have a simple (albeit costly) solution: put the generators where the seawater can't get to them. That may involve putting them higher up, or having them use a snorkel induction and exhaust system.

-Mir
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TheCommodore
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:05 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 50):
The radius might not be as bad as Chernobyl if they can ensure that there isn't a huge explosion, but if that happens then there will be a large chunk of Northern Japan that will be unusable for tens of thousands of years.

Exactly why I believe its just to much of a risk to even contemplate.

Im no expert on Nuclear power generation, but I really feel, that when your faced with possible outcomes like this, its simply not worth the risk.

Accidents will always happen, no matter how many fail-safe measures are in place.

Even with this reactor, there were 8 "back up" diesel generators, and they all failed !

[Edited 2011-03-12 20:06:28]
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A346Dude
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:22 am

Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 53):
Even with this reactor, there were 8 "back up" diesel generators, and they all failed !

And that's why you have multiple layers of redundancy. Even though this layer has failed, there still hasn't been any radiation release worth mentioning.
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Okie
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:05 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 50):
However, how do you design a nuclear power plant that can survive a tsunami and still have those diesel generators working normally? They need air to run. Submerge them and they stop. Submerge them in saltwater and they stop for good. You can't prepare for that sort of thing


I am not exactly sure what design efforts were made but there is a sea wall/jetty to protect the site, if you look at the satellite pics. I just do not think they were thinking of a 10 meter wave. While you are correct in the concept of the generators underwater, from the night shots of the facility it appears to be lit up like a Christmas tree. I would just be guessing of course but I would believe it should have been possible to have back fed power from some source. So while they mention the backup, generators the most probable situation is more likely that the electrical gear, transfer switches and motor control centers went under water and were shorted. NaCl and H2O is a pretty good conductor, in some professions I believe it is called and electrolyte. It will be interesting to find out exactly the turn/timing of events when they get the crisis over.

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DocLightning
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:06 am

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 51):

2) The design of the LFTR does not involve high pressure, so there is no risk of explosion. Indeed, a LFTR is not capable of a meltdown. That means with the right engineering a LFTR would be completely safe even in a high-danger earthquake zone.

As I understand it, a thorium reactor operates by having the fuel dissolved in liquid sodium fluoride. If the reaction gets hotter, the sodium fluoride expands, moving the thorium atoms farther apart, which quenches the reaction. Thus, it exists in stable equilibrium.

If the salt is released, it will be radioactive, but for hundreds of years, rather than tens of thousands. And the salt will rapidly solidify, rather than release products into the atmosphere.

So this sort of reactor is superior.

In other news, Japanese Authorities have said that a meltdown has almost certainly occurred at Fukushima Reactor 1 and that cooling systems have failed at Reactor 3. Reactor 3 may also have to be flooded.
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baroque
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:11 am

Quoting okie (Reply 47):
Exactly, just do not try to argue that point with any of the H2 crowd, they are convinced that the existing natural gas structure/pipeline's will work.

Ouch I would like to hope you were kidding, but I guess you are not. Now that WOULD be bloody dangerous. Give me a safe old nuclear power station in an earthquake any day compared with cascading hydrogen explosions all round.

Quoting A346Dude (Reply 54):
And that's why you have multiple layers of redundancy. Even though this layer has failed, there still hasn't been any radiation release worth mentioning.

Well that seem the best bet on the likely outcome. The Armageddon crowd to not appear to be winning their bets - thanks be to something or other. And as I wrote, I do hope someone adds up the radiation from these shut down nukes and compares it with the radiation from the stack gases and ash generated in the coal fired power stations now on line to replace the nukes.
 
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:52 am

Quoting Airport (Reply 49):
Chernobyl didn't stop the development of Nuclear Power

Uh... it did stop the US nuclear power expansion however.
 
TheCommodore
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:54 am

Quoting A346Dude (Reply 54):
And that's why you have multiple layers of redundancy. Even though this layer has failed, there still hasn't been any radiation release worth mentioning.

Yet,

but...

Excuse me for being ignorant then, and I really mean that, but why then the necessity to evacuate 45,000 people within a 25 km radius, or perhaps even further, as I heard some Japaneses expert say earlier on in the day ?

I would have thought, that if the levels of radiation are hardly worth mentioning, then all this is nothing right ?
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Flighty
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:28 am

Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 59):
why then the necessity to evacuate 45,000 people within a 25 km radius, or perhaps even further, as I heard some Japaneses expert say earlier on in the day ?

I am not an expert either. But when they lost 2-3-4 layers of safety, the plant became unacceptably unsafe. Yes... there has been no large radiation release. That we know of. But the plants are in a dangerous state! It is not up to the safety standards required for people to live nearby. They would not certify a plant like that. It is not meeting the standard. So, you add a layer of safety by evacuating people far away. Then, they can't be killed if ANOTHER bunch of unlucky stuff happens.

[Edited 2011-03-12 22:31:09]
 
A346Dude
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:40 am

Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 59):
Excuse me for being ignorant then, and I really mean that, but why then the necessity to evacuate 45,000 people within a 25 km radius, or perhaps even further, as I heard some Japaneses expert say earlier on in the day ?

Seems like a reasonable precautionary measure to me.

When a nuclear reactor is designed the engineers come up with all sorts of crazy scenarios and possible failure modes, then design against them. A large earthquake followed by a tsunami is not exactly that hard to envision in Japan. No engineering team worth its salt would build a plant on the coast of a seismically-active area and then act surprised when it gets hit by a tsunami. It was considered and if they did a good job the plant can handle this kind of event. So far it has.
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TheCommodore
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:21 am

Quoting A346Dude (Reply 54):
And that's why you have multiple layers of redundancy. Even though this layer has failed, there still hasn't been any radiation release worth mentioning.

Well, to me they don't appear to be working terribly well.

Conclusion, Unacceptably high risk to mankind, should some catastrophe occur, which it undoubtly has.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 60):
But the plants are in a dangerous state! It is not up to the safety standards required for people to live nearby. They would not certify a plant like that. It is not meeting the standard.

I have absolutely no idea what your trying to say, sorry !

Quoting A346Dude (Reply 61):
Seems like a reasonable precautionary measure to me.

Well, better you then me then.

It's been revised up. Now 250,000 residents, have been evacuated from surrounding areas.

If you somehow think that this is in anyway acceptable, I really beg to differ.

Hasn't the Japanese Government got enough to deal with at the moment. I am sure they would appreciate being able to focus on more pressing matters, like search and rescue for the 1,000's of victims still out there in the ruins.

Quoting A346Dude (Reply 61):
No engineering team worth its salt would build a plant on the coast of a seismically-active area and then act surprised when it gets hit by a tsunami.

That's another good point you raise,

Why in the hell build it right on the coast, with what looks like a small breakwater around it as the only protection ?
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DocLightning
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:21 am

Quoting Airport (Reply 49):
Chernobyl didn't stop the development of Nuclear Power,

All evidence to the contrary:

-Doc Lightning-

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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:18 am

Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 62):
Well, to me they don't appear to be working terribly well.

Conclusion, Unacceptably high risk to mankind, should some catastrophe occur, which it undoubtly has.

So, 40 years of electricity generation at many plants could not possibly be worth a small release of radiation?

What are the options for a country with near zero natural energy resources?

[Edited 2011-03-13 04:30:50]
 
Airport
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:30 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 63):
All evidence to the contrary:


You can throw graphs at me all you want, but please re-read. I'm not talking about the number of Power Plants built and watts generated from the Chernobyl event to today. It may have greatly slowed down the development of Nuclear Power Plants from then till now, but the lessons learned from Chernobyl continued research and development into Nuclear power to make it safer, more efficient, and with as much redundancy as technology can allow. Obviously Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and the wave of anti-nuclear media greatly slowed and discouraged efforts, but if it indeed stopped nuclear development entirely, then so much money wouldn't be spent on research and development, and so much debate in the 2008, and 2010 elections wouldn't be spent on whether the US should invest in building new Nuclear Power Plants. There's still quite a bit of public support on it.

Cheers,
Anthony/Airport

[Edited 2011-03-13 04:47:41]
 
zanl188
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:36 pm

Quoting Flighty (Reply 58):
Uh... it did stop the US nuclear power expansion however.

That was more 3 Mile Island.... The Russian reactor was a completely different design.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 50):
If the temperature inside the core reaches 4,000°F, the uranium rods will start to melt into a flowing, radioactive slag. This intense temperature and pressure cannot be contained even by the reactor vessel and the radioactive lava will leak into the containment building. The containment building can't really handle temperatures like that, either (I can't think of any material made of protons, neutrons, and electrons that can) and so the radioactive fuel, which, like Chernobyl, was near the end of its fueling cycle, would be released into the environment.

You are assuming the reactor was not shutdown prior to the cooling failure? Any reason to believe this is the case here? I thought the Japanese got the reactors shutdown after the quake but prior to tsunami...

Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 62):
Why in the hell build it right on the coast, with what looks like a small breakwater around it as the only protection ?

Pressurized water reactors required large quantities of water by the nature of the design. Hence are typically built close to large bodies of water. To move them away from the water introduces additional risks. As I read this thread the problem is that the plant was designed for the largest historical quake then known, a 7.0 IIRC.
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Aesma
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:29 pm

Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 62):
Conclusion, Unacceptably high risk to mankind, should some catastrophe occur, which it undoubtly has.

I don't see any risk to mankind, only to the Japanese people ! And not really worse than the pollution due to coal power plants, not to mention climate change.

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 66):
Pressurized water reactors required large quantities of water by the nature of the design. Hence are typically built close to large bodies of water.

You surely meant light water reactor, as Fukushima is not a PWR but a boiling water reactor. And yes water for cooling is needed by both, however not necessarily sea water, in France we have a large majority of reactors inland, they use rivers (which is sometimes a problem in the summer) and cooling towers. In Japan I think the problem is that it's basically a mountain range emerging from the sea, so the only flat parts are the shores (in fact it seems a lot is man made).
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planewasted
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:03 pm

Lets wait until after this is dealt with, and we know what really happened. Then we can compare the death toll from the nuclear power problems and the earthquake.
I think we will find that the nuclear power problems are of very, very small significance.

[Edited 2011-03-13 09:04:47]
 
TheCommodore
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:05 pm

Quoting CPDC10-30 (Reply 64):
So, 40 years of electricity generation at many plants could not possibly be worth a small release of radiation?

That remains to be seen doesn't it.

We don't know how much radiation has been released or the full ramifications of this still, unfolding disaster !

Quoting CPDC10-30 (Reply 64):
What are the options for a country with near zero natural energy resources?

The same as in any other country with zero energy resources I guess.

There was an "energy expert" being interviewed on our TV tonight about Japan's energy requirements, he stated and I have NO idea if he is correct or not, that Japan could satisfy its needs from conventional and renewable sources easily.

If that's correct, then perhaps it needs to be looked at again.

Quoting Aesma (Reply 67):
I don't see any risk to mankind, only to the Japanese people !

I was talking in the context of nuclear energy becoming more common around the world. Imagine a problem at a reactor in Israel. There are many countries surrounding, could be a very ugly situation for perhaps tens of thousands of people, if something serious happened.

Quoting Aesma (Reply 67):
And not really worse than the pollution due to coal power plants, not to mention climate change.

As I said, I'm not expert. But I'd imagine a reactor blowing up, isn't going to do anything positive for "climate change" !

So I fail to see any benefit if that the case.
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Flighty
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:13 pm

Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 62):
I have absolutely no idea what your trying to say, sorry !

They would not certify a nuke plant that has broken safety devices and could have a nuke meltdown at any time. You are asking, why evacuate people. I am saying the plant is in violation of normal safety standards. It lacks the necessary planning and additional safety features to make it 100% safe. When that is achieved, people can move back. Maybe that takes 2 weeks... I can only guess.
 
Mir
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:16 pm

Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 69):
Imagine a problem at a reactor in Israel. There are many countries surrounding, could be a very ugly situation for perhaps tens of thousands of people, if something serious happened.

Yes, nuclear accidents can be very serious. But we knew that. That's like being against the A380 because it would kill too many people all at once if it crashed.

The solution is to manage the risks so that the changes of an accident are minimized.

-Mir
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GQfluffy
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:56 pm

Sigh.

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

YES we're talking about multiple meltdowns in Japan right now, but we're also talking about a once a century-type earthquake. You can't plan for everything folks. Do you want clean power or not?

Not to mention these reactors are 40 years old, or at least the design was. I wonder if they had upgraded the backup and safety equipment on them since first built. It's not the reactor that was at fault here, it was the tsunami and the backup equipment.

As far as I'm concerned, (and keep in mind in less then two weeks I won't be living in Ohio, I'll be in California where the threat of possible fallout is much higher, not to mention there are nuclear power plants there in a high earthquake risk area) let's build as many nuclear power plants as possible.
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DfwRevolution
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:35 pm

Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 69):
We don't know how much radiation has been released or the full ramifications of this still, unfolding disaster !

And yet, you seem to be rushing to conclude that nuclear power is just too great a threat to mankind.

Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 8):
The risks are just to great to mankind. Especially in such a densely populated country like Japan.

How far do we all want to push the envelope. !

If we eventually conclude that no radiation of consequence escaped the containment vessel after the compound effects of the fifth largest earthquake on record coupled with a catastrophic tsunami, then you would think that would be a ringing endorsement that we are taking adequate precautions with nuclear energy. Furthermore, you can only assume that even more safety measures will be piled on nuclear operators in the future.

Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 59):
Excuse me for being ignorant then, and I really mean that, but why then the necessity to evacuate 45,000 people within a 25 km radius, or perhaps even further, as I heard some Japaneses expert say earlier on in the day ?

I would have thought, that if the levels of radiation are hardly worth mentioning, then all this is nothing right ?

Abundance of precaution, perhaps? If you've had the last 72 hours that Japan has faced, would you count on anything going in your favor?

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 50):
However, how do you design a nuclear power plant that can survive a tsunami and still have those diesel generators working normally? They need air to run. Submerge them and they stop. Submerge them in saltwater and they stop for good. You can't prepare for that sort of thing.

You could absolutely prepare for those sort of things. An earthen levy around the plant could protect against tsunamis. The buildings housing the backup generators could be hardened to keep flood waters out. The generators themselves could be housed within hermetic enclosures with access to an oxygen or external air supply.

Japan will certainly take steps to assure that this doesn't happen again.
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Glom
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:49 pm

A lot of talk about the Doom of Man. 10,000 people are dead people and their country devastated. None of that was due to the unique hazards of nuclear power (ie radiation). Therefore obsession over the problems of these installations seems rather petty in the context of the unfolding tragedy.

Everyone's predicting this to be of Chernobyl scale, but so far that hasn't come to pass. If it doesn't, as seems likely although I know things aren't over yet, then it shouldn't be the death of nuclear power. Far from it. It should reinforce faith in nuclear power because faced with this mother of all tests, the worst fears failed to come to pass.

I say "shouldn't" because even if things turn out ok (ok in this context meaning that of the five figure death toll, none of it is radiation related) this will surely be spun more negatively than it should be.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 12):
isn't it ironic that the only country to ever had nuclear bombs used in an act of war on it will also be a site of what may be one of the worst nuclear power plant disasters ever.

Bit premature to say that doncha think? Aside from a couple of expensive machines being written off, no-one has actually been hurt yet (I know some people have been hurt at the power stations, but they're not really "nuclear" injuries).
 
DfwRevolution
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:59 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 34):
With nuclear you are always tempting fate and playing with danger, whether an operational accident, natural disaster, or terrorism.

Japan's most immediate alternative to nuclear energy would be to import more LNG. That could well pose a greater threat to the public than nuclear energy.

Nuclear plants have redundant layers of safety and security. There are layers of armed guards and strict control of personnel access. There are redundant systems, and if those fail, there are redundant structural containment systems. So far, it looks like they still have containment at Fukushima.

On the other hand, LNG tankers travel with no serious protection into and out of ports. The only containment of an energy content equal to a small nuclear warhead are a few layers of steel. It is not inconceivable that an LNG tanker could be breached by terrorist possessing nothing more than a fast boat and an anti-tank rocket. Would we be singing a different song if one of those tankers had been swept inland and detonated?

I'm still a strong proponent of LNG because it is abundant, cheap, and clean. But like nuclear energy, we need to take adequate safety precautions - such as building off-shore terminals and re-gasification plants.
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EDICHC
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:49 pm

Quoting GQfluffy (Reply 72):

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

Cleanest - yes, most efficient - yes, safest NO.
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MD11Engineer
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Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:25 pm

Did anybody think about the fact that the surroundings of the power station were devastated by the tsunami and that a lot of people had to leave the area anyway because their houses were destroyed?

Jan
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CPDC10-30
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Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:04 am

Quoting EDICHC (Reply 76):
Cleanest - yes, most efficient - yes, safest NO.

Other than geothermal (which is available in very few countries), wind (which is sometimes economical but usually not) and solar (which has never yet been economical), I can't think of anything safer. Can you?

Hydro-electric has a massive impact on the natural environment unless it is run of the river (and hence generates much less power). Dam breaks have killed tens of thousands of people in the past. I shudder to think at how many millions of casualties there would be if an 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck near the Three Gorges dam.

Gas, coal, oil and other fossil fuels - depends somewhat on how much of a belief you have in climate change. Thousands of people are killed every year during the procurement of fuel. Has a huge effect on the environment and health even if you disregard climate change.

[Edited 2011-03-13 17:06:03]

[Edited 2011-03-13 17:07:24]
 
zanl188
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Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:01 am

Quoting CPDC10-30 (Reply 78):
wind (which is sometimes economical but usually not)

Actually there have been some deaths associated with wind in the US. NTSB released an advisory last week regarding unmarked meteorlogical towers that typically accompany wind farms... I'll see if I can dig it up...

http://ntsb.gov/alerts/SA_016.pdf

[Edited 2011-03-13 18:05:07]
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dxing
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Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:17 am

Quoting Glom (Reply 74):
Everyone's predicting this to be of Chernobyl scale, but so far that hasn't come to pass. If it doesn't, as seems likely although I know things aren't over yet, then it shouldn't be the death of nuclear power.

On TV tonite I've seen 3 different anti-nuke spokespeople all revved up saying that if it could happen there it could happen here and Indian Point in New York should be shut down permanently and immediately.
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EDICHC
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Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:45 am

Quoting CPDC10-30 (Reply 78):
Other than geothermal (which is available in very few countries), wind (which is sometimes economical but usually not) and solar (which has never yet been economical), I can't think of anything safer. Can you?

So you agree with me then it is not THE safest, which was my point. I had already acknowledged it is the most efficient and cleanest. So what is your point?
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JBirdAV8r
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:46 am

Quoting Glom (Reply 74):
then it shouldn't be the death of nuclear power.

Agreed. Chernobyl wasn't the death of nuclear power either.

Quoting Glom (Reply 74):
It should reinforce faith in nuclear power because faced with this mother of all tests, the worst fears failed to come to pass.

Absolutely, but I imagine people like Greenpeace and anti-nuclear power people are going to go bonkers over it again. I'm just hoping it doesn't gain traction this time.
I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
 
baroque
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:58 am

Eventually someone will calculate the likely cancers from the PAHs emitted by the burning refineries against the likely cancers from any radiation that is released.

I assume part of the reason for the evacuations is that at least some of the radiation is coming from caesium and iodine, both of which tend to be incorporated more by the young and therefore present a greater risk. And you cannot realistically evacuate children without their parent.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 77):
Did anybody think about the fact that the surroundings of the power station were devastated by the tsunami and that a lot of people had to leave the area anyway because their houses were destroyed?

Indeed. A little bit surprised they had not built sea walls to try to bounce a potential tsunami. Those awful pics of the waves coming in will provide excellent information to design any remedial structures. The amount of water following the wave front is the bit that surprises even if you already know it. Knowing from theory and seeing it happen are two different things.

I suppose it still could be a major nuclear disaster - that is beyond putting the plants out of commission and some damage - but I do rather wonder why so many were so ready to step in and declare Armageddon was upon us when nothing really was nof that, and yet so clearly as Jan points out, the surrounding areas were total goners. And you can hardly believe ALL of those cars and trucks were empty of people!

One person affected by radiation = 100 drowned or bashed to bits by debris.

Is that the new equation from this event?

Wonder how many others are 15 k out in the Pacific - or further by now?
 
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DocLightning
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:16 am

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 73):

You could absolutely prepare for those sort of things. An earthen levy around the plant could protect against tsunamis.

Ten meters high? What happens when a 9.2 earthquake hits? That's 1000 times stronger. A thousand meters high? Ten thousand?
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
baroque
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:27 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 84):
Ten meters high? What happens when a 9.2 earthquake hits? That's 1000 times stronger. A thousand meters high? Ten thousand?

Sigh, do some more maths and get back to us.
 
Mir
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:42 am

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 73):
If we eventually conclude that no radiation of consequence escaped the containment vessel after the compound effects of the fifth largest earthquake on record coupled with a catastrophic tsunami, then you would think that would be a ringing endorsement that we are taking adequate precautions with nuclear energy.

   Worst-case scenario would have been a core meltdown, and the containment structure would have held it. The consequence is a lost reactor, but that's more of an economic disaster for the plant operator than a health risk.

A nice article on why this really isn't a big deal in the scheme of things: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2688108/posts

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 84):
What happens when a 9.2 earthquake hits? That's 1000 times stronger.

3 times stronger. Not 1000.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
Flighty
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:47 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 86):
3 times stronger. Not 1000.

According to Wikipedia, enough energy was released in the recent Sendai earthquake to equal 80% of global annual energy consumption!! It was in the thousands of gigatons of TNT.  Wow!  Wow!
 
baroque
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:56 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 86):
A nice article on why this really isn't a big deal in the scheme of things: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-...posts

Absolutely brilliant letter Mir. Great find. Very thorough.
 
aloges
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:54 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 86):
A nice article on why this really isn't a big deal in the scheme of things: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2688108/posts

That piece includes a major blunder for an article complaining about other people's inaccuracies: there is no core catcher at Fukushima. If there was one, the picture would be very different indeed.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
JJJ
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:09 am

Quoting EDICHC (Reply 81):

I had already acknowledged it is the most efficient and cleanest. So what is your point?

Efficient also depends on how do you account for waste management.

Nuclear waste will be active and needing constant surveillance and checkups (meaning manned facilities) for thousands of years. Crunch the numbers and the cost of nuclear energy may effectively be infinite as even if we stop all nuclear reactors now, we'll have thousands of years ahead of us of taking care of waste.

I'm quite pro-nuclear myself (if anything because we're stuck with them as fossils pollute so much and solar/wind are unpredictable) but in order to make an economic decission all factors must be considered.
 
CPDC10-30
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:28 am

Quoting EDICHC (Reply 81):
So you agree with me then it is not THE safest, which was my point. I had already acknowledged it is the most efficient and cleanest. So what is your point?

My point is that it is the safest large scale source of energy for regions that don't have other renewable energy resources that can be exploited economically.
 
dxing
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:51 am

Quoting Baroque (Reply 83):
Indeed. A little bit surprised they had not built sea walls to try to bounce a potential tsunami. Those awful pics of the waves coming in will provide excellent information to design any remedial structures. The amount of water following the wave front is the bit that surprises even if you already know it. Knowing from theory and seeing it happen are two different things

"Wave" seems to be a misnomer IMO. Yes, it is visible as a wave coming in but it is actually a displacement of lots of water so once the visible wave hits, it doesn't recede like a normal wave does. While a sea wall might stop the complete washing away of structures, unless the wall is high enough it won't withstand being topped. On top of that the wall would have to go completely around whatever structure you wanted to protect or as the fine citizens of Galveston TX found out during Ike, the water will just come in the back door.

Quoting Mir (Reply 86):
Worst-case scenario would have been a core meltdown, and the containment structure would have held it.

We don't know that, and won't know that for sometime. As of this posting there are stories that the rods are exposed, seawater has been used to try and cool the reactor (essentially a death knell for the reactor if true by my understanding) and the seventh fleet has been pullled back from the coast due to contamination concerns. I think it is safe to say that the story is not finished unfolding yet

Quoting JJJ (Reply 90):
I'm quite pro-nuclear myself

I agree with you. I'm pro-nuc myself but until they can come up with a comprehensive plan to deal with the existing waste as well as any future waste I'm not much on commencing any sort of ramped up building plan.
Warm winds blowing, heating blue skies, a road that goes forever, I'm going to Texas!
 
EDICHC
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Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:22 pm

Quoting aloges (Reply 89):
That piece includes a major blunder for an article complaining about other people's inaccuracies: there is no core catcher at Fukushima. If there was one, the picture would be very different indeed.

Another complete blunder in that piece is where he says that the plant was designed to sustain an 8.2 mag quake but survived an 8.9. That comment is completely misleading as the epicentre of the quake was more than 100km away. The Richter scale is a long obsolete term for measuring the destructive force of an earthquake. From a constructional point of view the most significant factor is a building's potential to survive a certain level of Peak Ground Accelleration (PGA).

An 8.9 quake centred 100km away and 20km deep will generate a far smaller PGA than a 7.0 quake 10km deep. Perfect case in point was the two Christchurch quakes, a 7.1 11 km deep and 45 km from the city centre caused some damage to older buildings as the PGA measured around 0.8g. The Feb 22 quake was 'only' 6.3 (only one eighth of the total energy output of the 7.1 Sept 4 quake). Despite this, because the quake was much closer (10km) and shallower (5km deep) the PGA was was much much higher 1.85g, hence the extensive damage.
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windy95
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:45 pm

Quoting TheCommodore (Reply 8):
How far do we all want to push the envelope. !

Pushing the envelop is the way we advance as a society. Disasters happen, we learn from them and move on.

Quoting EDICHC (Reply 22):
source of power, that must go to wind power.

Sorry but to me wind power is one of the worst options. Inconsistant, A blight to the landscape and the Killer of many a bird.

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 73):
If we eventually conclude that no radiation of consequence escaped the containment vessel after the compound effects of the fifth largest earthquake on record coupled with a catastrophic tsunami, then you would think that would be a ringing endorsement that we are taking adequate precautions with nuclear energy. Furthermore, you can only assume that even more safety measures will be piled on nuclear operators in the future.

We also have to remeber that this is an older facility and newer ones have better tech and future ones will learn from this experience

Quoting Mir (Reply 86):
A nice article on why this really isn't a big deal in the scheme of things

Nice

Quoting dxing (Reply 92):
As of this posting there are stories that the rods are exposed, seawater has been used to try and cool the reactor (essentially a death knell for the reactor if true by my understanding) and the seventh fleet has been pullled back from the coast due to contamination concerns

This reactor was scheduled to be decommissioned at the end of next month.
 
EDICHC
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:06 pm

Quoting windy95 (Reply 94):
Sorry but to me wind power is one of the worst options. Inconsistant, A blight to the landscape and the Killer of many a bird.

You need to look at the context of the question...I was merely saying that wind power generation was safer than nuclear, not more efficient or reliable which I fully agree it is not.
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arffdude
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:30 pm

All of these comparisons to Chernobyl are a bit silly. The Chernobyl reactor was an old RBMK design with a very high positive void coefficient. It's like saying the Ford Pinto had horrible design flaws that lead to many accidents/deaths, therefore all cars today have the same flaws.

Also, keep in mind that in Three Mile Island the average person living in the area received a dose of 8 millirems of radiation; you get about 40 millirems of radiation in one medical x-ray.

If you want to be concerned about nuclear reactors, be concerned that RBMK reactors with positive void coefficients (although lowered since Chernobyl) are still in use today.

I'd really like to take a tour of Chernobyl/Pripyat today; there are several companies that do this. According to one, in a six hour tour of the area, you'll get less radiation than the 2 hour connecting flight to the local airport. Although you can't get closer than a few hundred feet of the reactor unless you're a filmmaker/scientist apparently.

edit: The morning news programs here keep going on about how a US warship sailed through some radiation off the coast of Japan and the sailors were exposed a month's worth of what a normal person is exposed to. That would be about 50 millirems, which again equals about one medical x-ray.

[Edited 2011-03-14 06:41:47]

[Edited 2011-03-14 06:43:17]
 
Mir
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:35 pm

Quoting aloges (Reply 89):
there is no core catcher at Fukushima.

Do you have a source for that? The diagrams I saw make it seem like there is one.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
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Aesma
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:39 pm

Quoting Baroque (Reply 83):
Indeed. A little bit surprised they had not built sea walls to try to bounce a potential tsunami. Those awful pics of the waves coming in will provide excellent information to design any remedial structures.

They had, but not high enough.

Yesterday I learned that one of our plants (Blayais in southwestern France) was flooded during the 1999 Martin storm. It's not directly on the sea front but in the Gironde estuary, nonetheless the storm pushed water upstream, to a limit that was predicted and protected from with walls. However, what was not predicted were big waves on top of it, topping the dikes. The 3 running reactors at the time were shut down, there was no lasting damage however (classified as level 2 incident).
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
baroque
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Is This The End Of Nuclear Power - Part 1?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:48 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 98):
Quoting Baroque (Reply 83):
Indeed. A little bit surprised they had not built sea walls to try to bounce a potential tsunami. Those awful pics of the waves coming in will provide excellent information to design any remedial structures.

They had, but not high enough.

Yesterday I learned that one of our plants (Blayais in southwestern France) was flooded during the 1999 Martin storm. It's not directly on the sea front but in the Gironde estuary, nonetheless the storm pushed water upstream, to a limit that was predicted and protected from with walls. However, what was not predicted were big waves on top of it, topping the dikes. The 3 running reactors at the time were shut down, there was no lasting damage however (classified as level 2 incident).

Presumably for something to work with a tsunami wave where the oscillation energy has become translational energy, some way would have to be found to reflect energy, otherwise it would just build up at any obstacle.

Lost most of my contacts with the wave folk, but I do keep in contact with one, so next time we are talking I will ask.

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