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#219111 - 03/14/11 05:01 PM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: unimogbert]
MartinFocazio Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2153
Loc: Bucks County PA
Originally Posted By: unimogbert

U- But once the u-slag collects in a pool, there is the chance that the new geometry (of a puddle of hot fissionable slag) can go to criticality then supercriticality creating uncontrolled heat and radiation and fission products. Of course eventually the active badness has to stop as fuel is consumed or splattered about to where it no longer has the geometry to remain critical. Even Chernobyl stopped thrashing about.


OK, so that confirms what I was thinking, which was we might have any number of outcomes, starting with Very Extremely Bad - which is where we are now, and moving on through a series of events, with multiple scenarios ending in many ways, one of which is a supercritical event, which would, I'd imagine, be worst of the worst case scenarios. I hadn't even thought a supercritical event would be on the scenario list, it must be an extreme outlier, owing to the fact that there's all kinds of issues with the mass of the fissionable material and the speed of the reaction.

Finding a great deal of good data out there on this. Scary, but it sounds like they are doing all they can.

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#219135 - 03/14/11 08:15 PM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: Pete]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 860
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: Pete
unimogbert ... thanks. That's an important distinction. Does "exposed fuel rods" mean that the rods are simply not covered by coolant, or that they are seeing the sky.


Even if the seawater on the reactors has caused some problems, I'm not sure that cooling them down wasn't the best idea. I don't necessarily think that was a mistake. However, the explosions are posing a serious risk to workers at the power plant.

other Pete



I don't know what the newsies mean when they say things because they are usually so horribly (and willfully) misinformed. A plant engineer's definition would be that the rods are not covered with water.

Seawater is acceptable if there's no distilled or potable or fresh water available.
Even urine would be better than letting the rods be uncovered.

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#219187 - 03/15/11 03:54 AM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: MartinFocazio]
Pete Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1372
Well ... at this stage my frustration is aimed primarily at the world media. It now appears that they are deliberately milking this nuclear crisis in Japan to extract every ounce of fear that can be generated. The most recent statements about "catastrophic amounts of radiation leaking from the power plant" seem over the top.

It does appear that radiation levels have gone up ...

NEWS: In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said that radiation has spread from four reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Fukushima province that was one of the hardest-hit in Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami ... He urged anyone within 19 miles (30 kilometers) of the plant to stay indoors or risk getting radiation sickness. ... "The level seems very high, and there is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out," Kan said.

But this news seems inconsistent with the nuclear facts issued by the professor from MIT. Maybe one of the inner containment vessels has developed a leak. But surely we are not at a "catastrophic" disaster level??

other Pete

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#219192 - 03/15/11 04:09 AM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: Pete]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Pete
It does appear that radiation levels have gone up ...

I agree that it's a difficult situation to decipher. However, now that a shelter-in-place order has gone out to anyone in the 30km zone, it seems we have finally crossed that threshold between something that the engineers have been struggling with, to something that is now affecting the greater public outside the plant.

My American friend who works in Tokyo just emailed me that they are leaving Japan with the kids before things get any worse. Heaven help the Japanese, they've been through enough already!

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#219213 - 03/15/11 09:46 AM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: Arney]
Eric Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 09/09/06
Posts: 323
Loc: Iowa
Just an update.

It looks like radiation levels are dropping again. They peaked at around 12,000 mSv yesterday and have dropped back to around 600 mSv and falling as of about 6:10 ET. One article this morning, suggests the increase in radiation was due to a fire in the spent fuel pond for reactor #4, which makes sense.

Rapid drop in levels is a (relatively) good sign that most of the escaping radiation is due to shorter lived isotopes.

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


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#219224 - 03/15/11 12:51 PM Re: Fukushima Nuke Plant Explosion [Re: Pete]
MartinFocazio Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2153
Loc: Bucks County PA
Originally Posted By: Pete
Well ... at this stage my frustration is aimed primarily at the world media. It now appears that they are deliberately milking this nuclear crisis in Japan to extract every ounce of fear that can be generated.


I've been parked on this page, which seems to be rather well moderated and has good information:

http://live.reuters.com/Event/Japan_earthquake2

There are quite a few nuclear engineers in there, and the main thing that has them talking at the moment is the cooling pool in #4, which, they say, is a far greater concern than anything else right now.

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#219227 - 03/15/11 01:23 PM KI pills sold out in US [Re: MartinFocazio]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
A different tack, but has anyone else noticed that KI pills are sold out everywhere here in the US? I mentioned last night that my friend in Tokyo is bugging out of Japan for her children's sake. Earlier in the day, though, my friend had said it is sold out everywhere over there and was asking if I could get any over here and send it. I thought it would be easy to find it somewhere but it appears to be sold out all over, which surprised me.

Either the normal supply is rather small, or else demand over here is much higher than I anticipated. I'm curious if Americans are buying KI because of fears of radiation drifting from Japan, or if they're primarily worried about their local nuclear power plants?

I ran across this article about the situation.

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#219229 - 03/15/11 01:28 PM Re: KI pills sold out in US [Re: Arney]
Krista Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/10
Posts: 101
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: Arney


Either the normal supply is rather small, or else demand over here is much higher than I anticipated. I'm curious if Americans are buying KI because of fears of radiation drifting from Japan, or if they're primarily worried about their local nuclear power plants?

I ran across this article about the situation.


It's interesting that you posted this... I was literally JUST looking online at ordering some for my kits! For me, it's not a fear that radiation will drift over here. Rather, it's a reminder that anything can happen at any time, and maybe I shouldn't put off buying them any longer!
_________________________
Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.

~Marion C. Garretty



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#219231 - 03/15/11 01:35 PM Re: KI pills sold out in US [Re: MartinFocazio]
falcon5000 Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 662
Yes Arney you are right about the pills becoming scarce. I have a friend of mine who has been stationed over there for quite awhile and is under 200 miles from the site. Fortunately the military has adequate supply of Potassium Iodide and he has said the detector on the ship has went off several times but the Rads was so low that it is not a concern at this time. They are monitoring the levels but for now it is small at his location. I was curious to see if the pills were still available out of curiosity and you were right they are about non existent. I think people in Cali are getting a little paranoid and have been consuming up the surplus as well as the military. I hope all will go well for the Japanese people over there and my prayers go out to them, I lived over there for a year and they are a really good bunch of people.
_________________________
Failure is not an option!
USMC Jungle Environmental Survival Training PI 1985

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#219239 - 03/15/11 02:08 PM Re: KI pills sold out in US [Re: MartinFocazio]
Pete Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1372
I may be speaking as an "old guy" here, but one thing worth remembering is that the USA conducted a lot of nuclear tests in the 1950's. A number of nuclear weapons were exploded above ground during that time, though the public was never properly informed. So the USA has actually gone through the release of radiation from real atomic bombs. It's obviously not a desirable thing to do. But we have been through it. Life goes on. We did not turn into Zombie Land.

I mention this to counteract the state of confusion & fear that is sometimes perpetuated by the media. I don't believe that long-term readers of this blog are getting caught up in fear, but members of the public may be taking it too seriously. Even if the Japanese nuclear plants were to become a high-magnitude crisis, which I seriously doubt, could that outcome possibly be more serious then several nuclear weapons being detonated in Nevada? Obviously not.

other Pete

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