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Wed Jun 8, 2016, 02:21 PM

Fukushima: Worse Than a Disaster

June 7, 2016 | Counterpunch.org | Robert Hunziker

Disasters can be cleaned up.

Naohiro Masuda, TEPCO Chief of Decommissioning at Fukushima Diiachi Nuclear Power Plant, finally publicly “officially” announced that 600 tons of hot molten core, or corium, is missing (Fukushima Nuclear Plant Operator Says 600 Tons of Melted Fuels is Missing, Epoch Times, May 24, 2016- Link below).



Now what?

According to Gregory Jaczko, former head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), it is not likely the fuel will ever be recovered: “Nobody really knows where the fuel is at this point, and this fuel is still very radioactive and will be for a long time.”

A big part of the problem is that nobody has experience with a Fukushima-type meltdown, which now appears to be 100% meltdown, possibly burrowed into the ground, but nobody really knows for sure.

What’s next is like a trip into The Twilight Zone.

“The absolutely uncontrollable fission of the melted nuclear fuel assemblies continue somewhere under the remains of the station. ’It’s important to find it as soon as possible,’ acknowledged Masuda, admitting that Japan does not yet possess the technology to extract the melted uranium fuel,” (600 Tons of Melted Radioactive Fukushima Fuel Still Not Found, Clean-Up Chief Reveals, RT, May 24, 2016)...snip

...“Thirty years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, there’s still a significant threat of radiation from the crumbling remains of Reactor 4. But an innovative, €1.5 billion super-structure is being built to prevent further releases, giving an elegant engineering solution to one of the ugliest disasters known to man,” Claire Corkhill, PhD, University of Sheffield, New Tomb Will Make Chernobyl Site Safe for 100 Years, Phys.Org, April 22, 2016....snip
Full Article: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/07/fukushima-worse-than-a-disaster/

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Operator Says 600 Tons of Melted Fuel Is Missing
Epoch Times, May 24, 2016

The chief of clean-up at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which was devastated by a tsunami in 2011, says 600 tons of reactor fuel that melted during the disaster is missing, according to a report by Australia’s “Foreign Correspondent.”

Tokyo Electric Power Company’s chief of decommissioning at Fukushima, Naohiro Masuda, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that the company hoped to locate the fuel and start removing it by 2021.

However, Masuda says the technology needed to remove the fuel has yet to be invented....snip
http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2074093-fukushima-nuclear-plant-operator-says-600-tons-of-melted-fuel-is-missing/


Bad news for bots: Fukushima cleanup robots overpowered by radiation

600 tons of melted radioactive Fukushima fuel still not found, clean-up chief reveals
RT, 24 May 2016

The Fukushima clean-up team remains in the dark about the exact locations of 600 tons of melted radioactive fuel from three devastated nuclear reactors, the chief of decommissioning told the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent program in an exclusive interview.

The company hopes to locate and start removing the missing fuel from 2021, the Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) chief of decommissioning at Fukushima, Naohiro Masuda, revealed...snip
https://www.rt.com/news/344200-fukushima-melted-nuclear-fuel/

Nuclear fission to boil water- Fail

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Arrow 37 replies Author Time Post
Reply Fukushima: Worse Than a Disaster (Original post)
nationalize the fed Jun 2016 OP
All in it together Jun 2016 #1
nationalize the fed Jun 2016 #3
yourpaljoey Jun 2016 #2
AuntPatsy Jun 2016 #4
pansypoo53219 Jun 2016 #5
FBaggins Jun 2016 #6
NeoGreen Jun 2016 #7
FBaggins Jun 2016 #8
yuiyoshida Jun 2016 #10
FBaggins Jun 2016 #12
nationalize the fed Jun 2016 #15
yuiyoshida Jun 2016 #29
mahina Jun 2016 #36
yuiyoshida Jun 2016 #37
sulphurdunn Jun 2016 #9
FBaggins Jun 2016 #11
sulphurdunn Jun 2016 #13
FBaggins Jun 2016 #25
AtheistCrusader Jun 2016 #16
sulphurdunn Jun 2016 #19
AtheistCrusader Jun 2016 #20
sulphurdunn Jun 2016 #24
AtheistCrusader Jun 2016 #27
sulphurdunn Jun 2016 #34
AtheistCrusader Jun 2016 #14
notemason Jun 2016 #17
AtheistCrusader Jun 2016 #21
libodem Jun 2016 #18
NotHardly Jun 2016 #22
deathrind Jun 2016 #23
AtheistCrusader Jun 2016 #28
deathrind Jun 2016 #30
AtheistCrusader Jun 2016 #31
deathrind Jun 2016 #32
AtheistCrusader Jun 2016 #33
deathrind Jun 2016 #35
hunter Jun 2016 #26

Response to nationalize the fed (Original post)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 02:37 PM

1. Oh my this is a horrible ongoing disaster

China Syndrome? This is what using Nuclear power gets us. WE DON'T HAVE THE ABILITY TO CLEAN IT UP. we don't even know where the spent fuel (radioactive) is. Holy crap.

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Response to All in it together (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 02:44 PM

3. +1

We have to learn about this from foreign media, US media is talking about bathrooms and Beonce or whatever her name is.

It's a disgrace. Every American should be embarrassed. Maybe one day we will have NEWS organizations again, maybe not.

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Response to nationalize the fed (Original post)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 02:39 PM

2. 100% meltdown - the TRUTH finally comes out

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Response to nationalize the fed (Original post)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 03:03 PM

4. Ticking time bomb, no other description fits IMO

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Response to nationalize the fed (Original post)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 03:04 PM

5. so glad they TRIED to save their INVESTMENT FIRST.

not using sea water when it COULD HAVE STOPPED 100%. yeah. we need MORE nuke plants.

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Response to nationalize the fed (Original post)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 03:11 PM

6. The "trip to the twilight zone" is entirely in the fantasy concocted by the author

Some of the outright lies in the piece:

Jaczko is anti-nuclear, but he isn't nutty enough to claim that "it's not likely that the fuel will ever be recovered" - nor did he in the quote that was given

"The absolutely uncontrollable fission of the melted nuclear fuel assemblies continue somewhere under the remains of the station"

...is a flat-out lie (as is the formatting that leaves the reader with the impression that Masuda said it). This is the danger of extreme scientific illiteracy that infects so much of the anti-nuke fringe. It is absolutely 100% impossible that there is "uncontrollable fission" occurring "somewhere under the remains of the station".

Fission of reactor fuel always results in large amounts of radioactive iodine being created. It's impossible to miss or hide it... yet none has been detected for many years. Obviously the author lacks any semblance of a clue on the subject - as do his sources.

In 1986, Russian teams of workers found the melted corium of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant’s reactor core in the facility’s lowest level. Whilst “frying 30 workers” along the way, they contained it just enough to prevent burrowing into the ground, maybe. During containment work at Chernobyl, a makeshift robotic camera managed to actually photograph the monster, the melted core, nicknamed “the Elephant’s Foot.” Thirty years after the fact, the “Elephant’s Foot” is still lethal.

Also untrue. The Russians didn't "contain it just enough"... it stopped entirely on its own. This despite being much hotter than Fukushima's corium (because the meltdown occurred above full power rather than at a tiny percentage of same). While giving over very dangerous radiation levels, the Elephant's Foot did not "fry 30 workers along the way" (That's the death toll for workers a the plant who died of radiation poisoning in the weeks following the meltdown... none of them went to the "foot". The worker in the most famous photo of the "foot" (Artur Korneyev) has been inside the reactor dozens of times and is still alive (or at least he was earlier this year).

extraordinarily high radiation zaps and destroys robots at first sight when sent into Fukushima’s containment vessels.

Another lie. Dozens of hours of video have been sent out from within the containment vessels. One robot got itself stuck (but continued to operate otherwise). In all cases, the robots "died" when their cables were cut.

After all, the law allows any Japanese politician to put an offender behind bars for 10 years for breaking state secrets, which are (very embarrassingly) whatever the accuser claims to be “secretive.”


Made up out of whole cloth. Sure - just like the US/Europe/etc, you can be jailed for divulging state secrets... but those aren't "whatever the accuser wants them to be"... they have to be identified in advance and the offender has to know that it was classified (I'm still waiting for the anti-nuke fringe to provide evidence that anything having to do with Fukushima was ever classified under this act - which had nothing at all to do with the tsunami/meltdowns)... and the law does not "allow any politician" to jail someone. They have a criminal justice system just like other advanced countries.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #6)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 03:40 PM

7. "Entire Fantasy"...suggesting everything is just peachy? I would beg to differ...

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Response to NeoGreen (Reply #7)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 03:52 PM

8. Why do some people seem to think that makes sense?

Last edited Wed Jun 8, 2016, 06:58 PM - Edit history (1)

Either I accept any lie that someone wants to tell... or I'm suggesting that "everything is just peachy"

You really can't see a third option?

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10027890911

http://www.democraticunderground.com/112738245

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #8)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 03:59 PM

10. I report stuff from Japan and

Asia nearly every other day, no one bothers to read what I have to say, I guess

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Response to yuiyoshida (Reply #10)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 04:05 PM

12. It's confirmation bias combined with inadequate science education I'm afraid.

Along with active propaganda from those who profit from the deception.

I wouldn't take it personally. I think plenty of people enjoy your posts

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Response to yuiyoshida (Reply #10)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 04:29 PM

15. I do, everytime I see your posts

And I thank you for posting. I have a great deal of respect and enthusiasm for what Japan is doing regarding Hydrogen. (Not too many share this enthusiasm!- but that will change)

As we get closer to 2020 and the Olympics Tokyo and Japan will be in the spotlight. The work that they are doing will change everyone's life on earth. it is Incredible- and no mainstream media in the US is talking about it.

BTW: I visit https://www.reddit.com/r/japan/ regularly- it's a great source of news from that wonderful country. You might find it worthy of your time.

Please keep posting!

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Response to nationalize the fed (Reply #15)

Thu Jun 9, 2016, 11:12 AM

29. Hey thanks, its always great to get a new

source. I have quite a few I check on nearly every day.

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Response to yuiyoshida (Reply #10)

Fri Jun 10, 2016, 01:21 AM

36. I do.

And appreciate your posts very much!

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Response to mahina (Reply #36)

Fri Jun 10, 2016, 01:55 AM

37. arigatou!

mahalo!

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #6)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 03:55 PM

9. Are you saying that the meltdown has stopped?

 

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #9)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 04:01 PM

11. Can you be more specific?

Meltdown isn't a very specific term. It basically just means that fuel damage has occurred... so it is still "melted down".

If by "meltdown" you mean "still blazing hot", then yeah... the meltdown ended years ago. There's a decay heat curve that tells precisely how much heat is produced from the time the reactor shuts down.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #11)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 04:08 PM

13. Then how hot is hot right now?

 

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #13)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 06:57 PM

25. Slightly warm to the touch

Spent fuel doesn't even have to be kept in water when it's five years old. It can be air-cooled. This would retain more heat because there isn't any air circulation, so they continue to spray water... but the amount is comparable to a garden hose.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #9)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 04:39 PM

16. Of course. Just like Chernobyl.

That doesn't mean you want to walk up and lick the thing.

For the meltdown to continue, the remaining fuel needs to go critical and generate new heat. Right now it's just giving off decay heat. That's trifling by comparison to the heat output of an operating reactor core.

To go critical, the fuel needs to be geometrically arranged very precisely (not, after melting), and then immersed in a neutron moderator. That slows the neutrons down enough they hang around long enough to actually score a direct hit and fission another particle. Heat is generated. When that reaction is sustained, you get criticality. The sad, melted remains of the cores cannot achieve that anymore. Still hot as fuck, from decay heat, but no, not in meltdown anymore. It's a slagged heap of shit somewhere at the bottom of the containment, just like the portion of Three Mile Island that did the same thing.

Chernobyl is another good comparison. Heat wise, the core was rated to about 1mw of thermal output when operating normally. When it exploded, the core was running at 33mw thermal output. It's not molten anymore, and hasn't been for a long time. Even though it hit 30x the rated normal heat output of an operating, properly functioning reactor of that model and type.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #16)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 04:51 PM

19. How much damage did it do?

 

Is it still contaminating the water table and the ocean? If so, how long will that continue?

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #19)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 05:04 PM

20. It is, because water flowing in and out of the contaminated areas

Carries contamination with it. That will continue until they can fully sequester the water. Likely, that means freezing the ground. Problem is water expands when it freezes, so it will literally lift the entire complex an inch or more, which could have unintended consequences.

Likely it will continue to leak until they can accomplish that task, which will be years at best.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #20)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 06:10 PM

24. I see.

 

I am primarily concerned with the long term human and environmental effects of this. What do you know about those?

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #24)

Thu Jun 9, 2016, 10:28 AM

27. What remains is mostly a local issue, sadly.

Which is devastating to the local economy, which obviously is still recovering from the damage of the quake, and the evacuations.

Fishing is the big thing there, and while the fish (not the bottom fish) might be safe to eat, statistically speaking, consumers are afraid of it, so they don't buy it.
http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/feature/seafood-safety-and-policy

For the people, also a local issue, as long as the plant doesn't catch fire or get further wrecked by a huge quake. This threat is lowering over time, because they are removing fuel from the storage pools. No fuel in the pools, no risk of the fuel catching on fire if say, another earthquake renders us unable to fill the pools with water, and they boil dry.

So, improving, but the risk is still very real.

It's a terrible damn mess. There really aren't enough adjectives to describe what they face cleaning it up. I will be an old man, still reading the news about their progress, I'm afraid. And it will never be truly 'cleaned up', just at best, sequestered. And there is, and will be more human cost to it. Unavoidable. Whether they could have avoided all that, and done better with fossil fuels during the last 60 years, I will leave to historians to decide. Their move to renewables is making nuclear power obsolete, so there's light at the end of the tunnel at least, overlooking the fact they are burning a LOT of natural gas to make up for the offline reactors right now. That can ultimately kill people too.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #27)

Thu Jun 9, 2016, 01:31 PM

34. Very informative. Thanks

 

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Response to nationalize the fed (Original post)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 04:12 PM

14. That's a lie.

"“The absolutely uncontrollable fission of the melted nuclear fuel assemblies continue somewhere under the remains of the station. ’It’s important to find it as soon as possible,’


He didn't say that. Here's what he said:

" "We haven't seen where the nuclear fuel fell, so it's important to find it as soon as possible" Mr. Masuda said.


He didn't say uncontrollable fission continues under the station. That's a fucking lie.

The interview is here. http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2015/s4468353.htm You fucking tell me where in this half hour interview/segment Masuda says anything about uncontrollable fission continuing under the station. Sick and tired of the 'anti nuke' bullshit lies. Nuclear power is dangerous, risky, and has real consequences and detractions, you don't need to make up COMPLETE FUCKING BULLSHIT to argue your case.

I realize the OP didn't author that, but the source is a well known fabricator of complete and utter bullshit that cannot be found on any mainstream news source. Maybe, this time, the author of the piece in the link has gone too far, since you can easily fact check it.


http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2015/s4468353.htm
That's the interview. Masuda is in there. Never says a word about uncontrolled fission continuing. This IS the source of the "so it's important to find it as soon as possible" quote. But not that other made-up bullshit. He said (translated) "We haven't seen where the nuclear fuel fell, so it's important to find it as soon as possible" in reference specifically to reactor 1.


If fission was continuing, daughter products of the reaction would be IMPOSSIBLE to hide. Independent radiation monitors would detect it. It's not happening. It's bullshit.

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Response to nationalize the fed (Original post)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 04:40 PM

17. Checked numerous sources on Google news

only one I could find insisting it's just fear was on NewAmerican which also has an article supporting Trump's condemnation of his judge. So, I'm more inclined to listen to this:

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-06/02/c_135408172.htm

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Response to notemason (Reply #17)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 05:08 PM

21. That doesn't make any sense.

TEPCO admitted the cores melted or mostly melted within a month of the quake. (Reactors 1-3 melted to different degrees.)

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Response to nationalize the fed (Original post)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 04:50 PM

18. Why didnt the global mucky mucks

Build a fucking wall around that leaking sack of shit?

Poor kids, this is unacceptable.

Poor fucking pacific ocean water and any cell division on any level. We are all fucked.

Sour grapes has crept into my whole stinking attitude.

Forgive my swearing. I'm in a bad mood with an underlying clinical depression.

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Response to nationalize the fed (Original post)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 05:09 PM

22. I saw this movie, it was called "The China Syndrome" in

"China syndrome" is a fanciful term—not intended to be taken literally—that describes a fictional result of a nuclear meltdown, where reactor components melt through their containment structures and into the underlying earth, "all the way to China."
per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_China_Syndrome, this date.

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Response to nationalize the fed (Original post)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 05:23 PM

23. Wow...

600 tons does not sound that bad...

1,200,000 lbs sounds much worse...I see why it was used.

This will never be cleaned up.

If this material is burrowing its way thru the earths crust...what happen when/if it reaches the mantel...

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Response to deathrind (Reply #23)

Thu Jun 9, 2016, 10:30 AM

28. Given that the entire earth's core is quite radioactive... nothing.

Getting spent fuel together into a glob that is hot enough to burrow it's way down there is actually one credible low risk way nuclear waste could possibly be disposed of.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #28)

Thu Jun 9, 2016, 12:19 PM

30. I disagree...

Dumping non-radioactive/molten material into the ground has turned out to be very damaging to the environment and humans. I don't think dumping the melted core of a reactor into the ground is as benign as you think.

Thanks for the reply.



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Response to deathrind (Reply #30)

Thu Jun 9, 2016, 12:24 PM

31. You asked what happens if it hits the mantle.

The answer to that would be, pretty much nothing.

But you are correct to think there would be problems higher up. The cores didn't escape the containment at all, but if they had, that would be a lot worse, because they would have hit the water table under the buildings, and they'd have belched a LOT of radioactive steam, and the groundwater in that area would be contaminated MUCH worse than it is now. So you are correct, not benign.


But the mantle, no problem there. Nary a burp if it was there.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #31)

Thu Jun 9, 2016, 12:33 PM

32. So help me to clarify here.

It is my understanding that the cores did compromise the containment vessels. They did not?

So it is not as if the molten material is able to migrate into any little fracture or crack in the crust but it is actually a very very very hot vessel with the melted core containedinside that vessel that is slowly making its way down?

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Response to deathrind (Reply #32)

Thu Jun 9, 2016, 12:59 PM

33. The containments are compromised. No doubt there. They are leaking water.

But these are likely cracks, damage from the explosion in the condenser torus, and connecting pipes that were destroyed by the quake. The water doesn't drain fast enough to suggest it's all going right out a hole in the bottom.

When the cores melted (reactor 1 the worst/hottest) all that material splashed to the catchment at the bottom of the containment. When that happened, it stopped being critical, meaning no longer actively producing heat by fission. All it adds at that point is the decay heat of the fuel itself. The conditions for it to remain critical were gone.

The fuel landed on a platform designed to separate the fuel, add poisons (boron) that prevent criticality, and generally soak up heat. Steel, seven meters of concrete, etc. The fuel likely burned something like 70cm into the concrete in places, if I recall the report correctly. That further poisons the fuel with impurities, like steel and concrete. It would quickly reach a state like the 'foot' of corium under the reactor in Chernobyl. A slagged mess of incredibly radioactive crap. You see the 'foot' (below) in Chernobyl, because the RBMK reactor that exploded had no containment at all. Nothing to catch the slagged, molten corium, and contain it.

The containments on reactors 1-3 should have done better. They should be water-tight, and keep the contamination inside. They failed in that regard. Spectacularly so. But they did not fail to contain the core material itself. If the cores had remained critical, in the bottom of the catchment, then yes, they would eventually burn their way through all that concrete and steel, and escape from the bottom. But that kind of fuel can't work that way. It has to be in the geometric config of the core before it melted, and it needs a neutron moderator to truly run at full power/temp or runaway beyond that point.

Chernobyl unit 4 was a 3.2mw reactor, and when it exploded, the last instrument showed 33mw of thermal output (Almost 10x the design limit). It had no containment at all, and here is the lowest level of the basement where the corium halted and solidified, and remains today:



Fukushima Dai-Ichi is worse than 3 mile island by a lot, but the cores more closely resemble the state of TMI than Chernobyl unit 4. TMI's core only partially melted, and didn't escape the reactor pressure vessel, but did stay inside the containment.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #33)

Thu Jun 9, 2016, 02:31 PM

35. Thank you!

For the clarifying information and the time taken to put it together I appreciate it!

This is still a bad situation (only partly dead as opposed to all dead) but not as bad as I was thinking. The idea that the material is free flowing and migrating in all directions was disconcerting.

Once again, thank you!

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Response to nationalize the fed (Original post)

Wed Jun 8, 2016, 07:32 PM

26. Meanwhile in Australia.... GORGON!

It sounds like one of Godzilla's friends, doesn't it?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorgon_gas_project

Chevron and Shell and all the other fossil fuel mega-giants will be happy to make hydrogen for your car, and fuel your gas turbine power plants, adding more carbon dioxide to the earth's atmosphere until the oceans rise and the natural environment that supports our civilization collapses. Can a few nuclear power plant accidents do that?

I think most anti-nuclear activism is just another flavor of climate change denial.

A civilization that has banned fossil fuels, either by embracing nuclear power, or by rejecting most heavy industry (automobiles, airlines, container shipping, skyscrapers, the whole lot of it...) would look nothing like the civilization we enjoy now.

But we are probably beyond choice now. This fossil-fueled civilization will press on until death overtakes it.







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