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#218976 - 03/13/11 05:36 PM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: ]
KG2V Offline


Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
Originally Posted By: IzzyJG99
I hope this doesn't end up becoming a "proof of concept" of the China Syndrome. Naturally it won't bore a hole through one side of the Earth and come out the other, but would be pulled to the center (burning all the way) into the core of the Earth.

"The China Syndrome" as portrayed in popular writing is a joke

Let's say, god forbid, the containment vessel melts through (remember, it IS designed to try and prevent that - again, see TMI), MOST of the slag pours out - critical here is that SOME - even say a few ounces is left behind. You now have less mass. Some of the mass will now evaporate, and condense on the walls of the containment building (from what I understand, it's actually designed that MOST/all will do so, but...), so now you have LESS melting into the earth - now, the earth itslef say starts to melt - what happens? Yep, more heat and more radioactive mass is pulled away, evaporates, coats inside of building, again, diluting and cooling the slag - fairly quicky, the slag gets below the temp it CAN melt earth, and it stops. HOW quickly is this is the question?

One real example - let's look at Chernobyl - folks, the core totally slagged, and there was NO containment vessel, or containment building. How far did the core go? Answer, it's in the basement of the building, and yes, it's been seen by humans (ooops - the guy realized once he turned the corner and ended up looking at it he was dead), but there was no 'China Syndrome'.

This is a picture of part of the core - there was a TV show that showed more

73 de KG2V
You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
Blog: http://kg2v.blogspot.com

#218980 - 03/13/11 06:02 PM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: Pete]
Eric Offline

Registered: 09/09/06
Posts: 323
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: Pete
I'll go back to my main point ...

Why are they not simply telling people the truth - or at least the facts as they have them? .... Layers and layers of denial. It's just not a good way to handle information related to a public safety hazard.

other Pete

I actually think this falls more to Hanlon's Razor "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

My guess is that the guys that know what is really happening are way too busy to give good status reports that have been boiled down to a level that laymen can understand. On top of that the pressure to say/do something (brought on by our continuos live news reporting) is resulting in a lot of vague / halfway accurate information being presented by the spokespersons for the company and government.

Press reports in my field (not nuke power) are always filled with a lot of misinformation and factual mistakes. None of it intentional (I hope) but it is understandable since it takes a long time to develop the skills and domain knowledge for my field. Similarly, early disaster reports focus on getting something out, not necessarily getting confirmations. These factors combined lead to a lot of vague speculative and even doom and gloom types of reporting since "if it bleeds it leads" is the general mantra of our press.

- Eric
You are never beaten until you admit it. - - General George S. Patton

#218982 - 03/13/11 06:06 PM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: MartinFocazio]
Pete Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1341
Eric ... you're probably right. The guys who really know what's going on are way too busy to talk to us. It would be nice if we could give them a way to communicate to the outside world - in a calm and rationale manner. Unfortunately, they are probably sworn to some sot of secrecy agreement and can't make their own press releases.

Bob ... I was thinking the same thing as you. Yeah - we know that reactors with meltdowns can't really go through the Earth. But assuming this one ever did, this scenario should be called "The Peru Syndrome".

other Pete

#219012 - 03/13/11 09:16 PM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: MartinFocazio]
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Part of the problem has to do with language. All the reports are coming out in Japanese and being translated into english. Communicating nuances across languages is very difficult.

There is also the general imprecision of the terminology independent of the language used. I've seen 'meltdown' used to describe everything from small parts of the core overheating because they were immersed in water, to the entirely theoretical and never seen China Syndrome. There are clearly melt downs and meltdowns. One is an accident that might be recovered from with an overhaul. The other is an OMG ... feet-don't-fail-me-now event.

The best reports seem to be that the hydrogen explosion at unit one blew the weather cladding off the upper, unarmored, non-containment, portion of the building. It didn't rip open the containment or catastrophically tear apart the controls or piping. It may have caused or made small leaks worse. Certainly didn't do anyone any good. At least one man, the gantry crane operator who remained at his duty station, died.

Last word I heard was unit one and three were having problems cooling the reactor cores, the core/s have been damaged because water levels dropped and portions of the cores were exposed but any damage happened after the reactor control rods were driven home to shut down the reaction. The problem is that the reactors are still hot and require active circulation of water to prevent boiling off the water and exposing the cores. This was lost when the diesel generators were damaged by the tsunami.

The Japanese engineers have started injecting seawater and intend to add boric acid to further moderate any nuclear reaction.

Several sources are claiming, and this is the part subject to revision, that core temperatures are still abnormally high but moderating or coming down.

#219017 - 03/13/11 10:03 PM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: Art_in_FL]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077
There are clearly melt downs and meltdowns.

Chances are that the nuclear engineers on site don't know what level of meltdown has occurred in the reactor and the inspection and measurement sensors will have been destroyed. The series of events need to be published especially when the timing if the addition of the sea water/boron salts were added, presumably before the hydrogen explosion as this may have triggered the reactor to start producing hydrogen which then migrated its way through the reactor pressure vessel by the process of of hydrogen embrittlement. The sea water when cooling down the nuclear reaction may have caused the uranium hydride to start liberating the hydrogen at these lower temperatures only for the reactor to then heat up again.

As the reactor geometry has become distorted (due to heat and pressure) and the zirconium cans seem to have burst this may have led to puddles of enriched uranium forming on the bottom of the reactor which is then subject to some very complex phase/chemical/nuclear/neutron interactions. i.e. a lack of a moderator maybe keeping things cooler i.e. stopping fast neutrons from becoming slower thermal neutrons with high degrees of neutron radiation passing through the reactor pressure vessel making it very difficult for any human beings to be able to get near the reactor. Poisoning the reactor with the boron salts may indeed have the reverse effect to the desired one simply because no one knows the extent of the reactor fuel puddling and the extent of the partial melt leading to an uncontrollable reactor pile. No one will know the extent of the reactor fuel can alignment geometries. This is why they are using words such as 'assuming a melt down has occurred'

The reality is that the engineers at this plant are not in control simply because they cannot even determine what they are meant to be controlling yet alone have the assets in place to control the reactor.


They might be lucky with this one but I wouldn't count on it. It should also be remembered that these nuclear engineers had the bright idea of building chains of nuclear reactors on the sea shore (historically subject to Tsunamis) next to a major fault line (historically subject to earthquakes). I think you could say that they lacked some foresight of what could go wrong in the very first place.

Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (03/13/11 10:10 PM)

#219045 - 03/14/11 02:01 AM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077


Fukushima Nuclear Reactor No 3 goes bang. frown

Even more worrying is that Reactor is a larger mixed fuel reactor MOX mixed oxide (Uranium/Plutonium) rather than just a Uranium type reactor as used in No 1 reactor.


#219052 - 03/14/11 03:20 AM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077
OMG, just seen the video of the No 3 reactor totally disintegrate. Looks like the pressure reactor vessel was thrown 1500 ft into the air in large pieces. All that appears to be left is the steel building framework with a missing reactor pressure vessel.

#219053 - 03/14/11 03:32 AM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: MartinFocazio]
Pete Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1341
"Chances are that the nuclear engineers on site don't know what level of meltdown has occurred in the reactor ..."

My thoughts too.
I don't know how they can keep coming out with such affirmative statements that these reactors are intact, and their containment systems are in good shape. It appears to be hopeful speculation. It is encouraging if they are pumping seawater onto the reactors, and also adding boric acid. But this requires workers to be in close proximity. It would certainly imply that these workers are at substantial risk of exposure to radiation themselves. Meanwhile, they are now reporting that 21 people living in the vicinity of these reactors have had exposure to radiation - but they are not saying how much.

It appears that the news statements have consistently played down the real seriousness of this problem - ever since it started.

Over here in the USA I am not particularly worried. But i do think it would be prudent for the USA to get some aircraft into the air and to monitor radiation levels in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean - downwind of these reactors. I'm not sure we're ever going to get solid data from the Japanese.

other Pete

Edited by Pete (03/14/11 03:32 AM)

#219055 - 03/14/11 04:07 AM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: MartinFocazio]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Pity the Spiderwort doesn't bloom for another three months...

#219062 - 03/14/11 06:33 AM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
ame Offline

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 162
Loc: Korea
Originally Posted By: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor
OMG, just seen the video of the No 3 reactor totally disintegrate. Looks like the pressure reactor vessel was thrown 1500 ft into the air in large pieces. All that appears to be left is the steel building framework with a missing reactor pressure vessel.

I think you're making this up. Things are very bad as they are, without any need for scaremongering.

Can you link to the video?

When you say "looks like..." do you mean "It is a fact that..." or "I am speculating that..."?

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