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Tokyo reporting they have lost control of pressure


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#21 selecto

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 08:30 PM

PS to my post above. Apparently the failure of the back-up generators
is what has caused the problem. Reuters.

And this from the land of Honda. (I've got two to keep things going here in Paradise when the wind blows.
Maybe I should get a backup for my backups.)

We have some critical communications junctions here in St. Croix. Most everything between the US and Latin
America goes through here. The building is hugemongous, and everything is run off batteries, which are
kept charged with local power. But they also have backup generators the size of greyhound busses, and
enough stored fuel to keep the batteries charged for months.

Edited by selecto, 11 March 2011 - 08:40 PM.


#22 turn55

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 08:52 PM

Now the caveat is they can design all this stuff but they never put this sort of emergency into practice.. so this is real life case of whether human engineering did the right stuff or they didn't design it for some fallacy somewhere (ie something they never thought about how it would behave). I see more problems in real world engineering from the fact people can't think up everything...


I didn't study and I am just using my engineering intuition, but who will be able to go in there to repair anything once inside the concrete dome is contaminated with the radioactive material? Is the reactor pretty much to be sealed and considered dead? Or you can wait some 500 years and it will be operable again?!? Or perhaps they have enough Chinese labor they can bring in there to go in and clean it? Where does the contaminated water go? I suppose the pressured water released also contains radioactive particles at this point or somehow magically they can cool the reactor, but not have the water contact them? A lot of questions, but when you find the pros who offer their knowledge, you gotta ask! :)


I don't know the full situation, but I gather they vented the primary containment into the atmosphere (ie outside the secondary containment) just for the purpose that they can get people in there to work on the reactor and salvage it. At worst case, they would vent into the secondary containment then would have to vent the secondary containment into something else and get people in suits or robots in there etc. It may make that reactor unusable.

Because it's a boiling water reactor, the water comes in direct contact with nuclear material and when they vent pressure, it is this radioactive water that's put into the atmosphere. They're only venting part of the pressure, not the entire vessel, so water will remain where they can cool the reactor and replace it with new water that's colder I assume.

The radioactive release is hazardous, but news makes it sound like people will drop dead on contact.. no, it will cause cancer and people will die slowly over decades.. remember, Japan had Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombed and they built cities back on it. Ofcourse that was maybe 100 lbs of uranium and 30 lbs of plutonium vs maybe thousands of pounds of the stuff.. but it's only water that came into contact with it..

In Chernobyl, the actual core caught fire and released all that stuff.. that was pretty nasty.

I am surprised they didn't release pressure and let it build up to 2x design capacity.. that is negligent. Much better to risk some folks developing cancer over decades with release into atmosphere rather than risk catastrophic primary containment collapse by preventing the pressure valve to work as intended..

Btw, part of 3 mile island problem was related to the pressure valve not working.. intentionally NOT using it is very stupid.



Actually, one of the big problems at TMI was a relief valve opened on high pressure and stuck open.

In Japan, not releasing pressure was probably based on the loss of power. May not have had power to the valves, or access for manual operation. Also the loss of power may have disabled the normal monitoring instrumentation. No operator is going to open a valve and initiate an unmonitored release to John Q Public without getiing as many nuts in the vise first. That takes time.

#23 dcengr

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 09:01 PM

Actually, one of the big problems at TMI was a relief valve opened on high pressure and stuck open.

In Japan, not releasing pressure was probably based on the loss of power. May not have had power to the valves, or access for manual operation. Also the loss of power may have disabled the normal monitoring instrumentation. No operator is going to open a valve and initiate an unmonitored release to John Q Public without getiing as many nuts in the vise first. That takes time.


When your pressure exceeds 2x design limit, either they're lying about the design limit or they had some other reason it wasn't being released. Or they're using a Safety Factor of 4, which wouldn't be out of hand considering criticality..

But apparently, they waited for direction from the government to release it and the government told them to do it, and they're doing it, so it doesn't seem like it's faulty equipment.

The big problem appears to have been the tsunami, not the quake as it's likely no one thought about placing the emergency generators high enough where it wouldn't get flooded. Simple stuff like that being overlooked is how things go to hell.
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#24 SemiBizz

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 09:15 PM

It ain't over yet... 6.1 Quake just hit Tonga a few minutes ago.

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#25 CLK

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 09:21 PM

Is it a good idea to stay indoors a few days, or is this radiation release something that will just fall to the ocean with the night time dew fall ? Right now the wind is out of the N at 8mph in Japan.

Edited by CLK, 11 March 2011 - 09:22 PM.


#26 dcengr

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 09:25 PM

Is it a good idea to stay indoors a few days, or is this radiation release something that will just fall to the ocean
with the night time dew fall ? Right now the wind is out of the N at 8mph in Japan.


Not a concern to us. Highly likely not even a concern to them.
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#27 SemiBizz

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 09:28 PM

USGS Another 6.8 Quake hits off East Coast of Honschu, Japan

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#28 arbman

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 10:19 PM

USGS Another 6.8 Quake hits off East Coast of Honschu, Japan


One of the 6+ earthquake actually happened at the other side of the island, the whole island is like moving to a new location;

http://earthquake.us...s/10/140_40.php

#29 Rogerdodger

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 11:11 PM

Oklahoma City even had one today just over a 3.
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Edited by Rogerdodger, 11 March 2011 - 11:12 PM.


#30 Rogerdodger

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 11:31 PM

'HOURS' TO PREVENT NUKE MELTDOWN

Officials are now considering releasing some radiation to relieve pressure in the containment at the Daiichi plant and are also considering releasing pressure at Daini, signs that difficulties are mounting. Such a release has only occurred once in U.S. history, at Three Mile Island.

"(It's) a sign that the Japanese are pulling out all the stops they can to prevent this accident from developing into a core melt and also prevent it from causing a breach of the containment (system) from the pressure that is building up inside the core because of excess heat," said Mark Hibbs, a nuclear expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Edited by Rogerdodger, 11 March 2011 - 11:32 PM.