Skip to comments.Itís Not Over: Government Plans for the Worst: Forced Evacuation of Tokyo
Posted on 04/03/2012 1:17:11 PM PDT by SatinDoll
While it has for the most part disappeared from mainstream view, the Fukushima nuclear disaster is anything but over. In fact, the situation in Japan has gone from bad to worse.
Bottom line: There is no way to contain the radiation.
Even more alarming is that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and other agencies have warned that the nuclear storage pools (the containment units that are being used to cool the nuclear fuel) have been damaged and may collapse under their own weight.
Such an event would cause widespread nuclear fallout throughout the region and force the government to evacuate the nearly 10 million residents of Tokyo and surrounding areas, a scenario which government emergency planners are now taking into serious consideration.
(Excerpt) Read more at shtfplan.com ...
Since the link to The Mainichi Daily News takes you to a non-existent page, there is no way to verify any of this.
I call BS on the whole thing. Tabloid sensationalism to get blog hits.
The explanation, I am sorry to say, is incorrect. Only a tiny fraction of the fissional material is “used up” (converted into energy) in an atomic bomb, over 99% survives intact.
Well the article certainly overstates the danger to the USA, however the danger to Tokyo and surrounding area is very real. Chernobyl released less then 200 tons of material we are looking at almost 500 tons here in a pool failure and more like over 1000 tons in a total uncontrolled meltdown/release of all 4 reactors.
From what I understand about 2% of the radioactive fallout from Japan has fallen on the Cascades.
Since I worked in the nuclear power industry, by no means am I underestimating the seriousness of developments at Fukushima. But radiation from Fukushima killing tens of thousands of Americans so far? No.
If the spent fuel rods are still in the spent fuel pool surrounded by water and the building’s walls, I cannot understand why the walls haven’t been sandbagged or in some other way provided with exterior support. The pool’s water and walls would provide shielding allowing outside work, unless there is so much radioactive material strewn about the site that this prevents work to shore up the pool’s walls - no one is willing to work a suicide mission. Still, robotic machines could shoreup the walls. It is worth a try rather than let the pool collapse.
Since I’m not there and don’t know the details this is only speculation on my part. Tiger likes Rooster might have more details.
Do you have a source?
Fallout seems questionable as this wasn’t an incident like as Chernobyl, which involved a fire burning the coolant and steam line ruptures. The facility was swept over by a tsunami, destroying the infrastructure. If anything, most of the radioactive material would be in the flood detritus.
Canada will sell you all the uranium you need for hundreds of years. If you want it.
It may be sensationalism but those of us FReepers who did initial FR-looksies into this last year came to appreciate that there are decades worth of spent rods stored onsite, in pools two stories above the damaged reactors. And if the rods in the pools are not continually covered in water they will burn and meltdown “OUT IN THE OPEN AIR”.
Btw, open air storage only works when rods are separated from each other. The problem with the pools is that the rods are bunched together and require a constant pool of water to keep from overheating, burning and releasing fine particulate radioactive smoke into the air. Like the smoke emitted by the burning reactors the first six months.
So yes, if a spent containment pool(s) is holed and not retaining water the rods will burn and the potential radiation release is many times what was released in the initial reactor meltdowns.
I worked at the Trojan Nuclear plant which was shutdown in March, 1993, and the reactor fuel rods transferred to the spent fuel pool.
Within a few years, I know it was before 2000, the fuel rods were moved to outside storage in free air.
I don’t know if they are still stored there, or not.
The article is bull shit sensationalism.
I guess we could argue over whether 2% is a tiny fraction or not. Certainly there was enough used up to destroy both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That which wasn't used up was wasted and modern weapon design attempts to maximize that percentage.
Perhaps you can help by providing an estimate of how much plutonium exists today at Fukishima. If I am correct that at least one of the reactors was plutonium based, and given that spent fuel from that reactor may also have been on site, how much plutonium is there and how does it compare to the amount of plutonium used in the Nagasaki bomb?
I would be very surprised if the amount of plutonium present at Fukishima isn't much greater than that used in the Nagasaki bomb. Perhaps you will surprise me.
I will certainly admit that the internet today has much, much more detailed information about these subjects than when I was in college in the sixties.
I grew up during the era when it was claimed that electricity generated by nuclear reactors would be so inexpensive that we wouldn't need to meter it.
The number of years of uranium in the U.S. that I have heard claimed may well have been based on getting all of our electricity from nuclear. That, of course, hasn't happened. Notions of "peak uranium" may have been just as mistaken as "peak oil".
There was also a notable scientist working at my company who ridiculed anxiety about reactors melting down. I can't remember his exact claim, but I think it was that we should expect only one meltdown per 10,000 years. His prediction came just prior to the Three Mile Island incident.
One can't help but wonder what Japan's calculations of the economic benefits of nuclear will be in, say, ten years. Japan is woefully short of natural energy resources. They are really in a hard place.
I would have to do the math to determine how much plutonium is present at Fukishima and I don't have the data that would allow me to so. How many fuel rods, how old they are and what % was plutonium when new.
I think only one reactor was a plutonium reactor the other three are enriched uranium.
My main point was that in an air blast only the bomb parts (mostly) become fallout. Air blasts are much cleaner then ground blasts where tons and tons of dirt interact with the fissionable materials and become radioactive. Now perhaps the total radiation release is the same but ground blasts produce more much fallout.
Personally I think the article is greatly overstating the dangers. Spent fuel rods will over time cool down, so without knowing how long the rods have been in the pool it is difficult to know how great the danger. But if the rods are capable of melting the pool then the danger from those rods is very real. They are still pretty hot and there are hundreds of tons of them, not a few hundred pounds. And they will be reacting with the ground (dirt) not the atmosphere at 1500 feet.
I have read that the water temp in the pool is under 100C if so the rods are not all that hot. However that could change if all the rods wind up in a pile under the pool. The reactors are still very hot and still a big problem.
I’m guessing there is sufficient uranium in the US for generations to come. Much like there is sufficient oil. I just wonder if the political will exists to exploit it.
The General Electric BWRs (boiling water reactors) at Fukushima is old nuke technology from the late 1950s/early 1960s. The fact they were still operating says a lot about the durability of the technology and that it took a tsunami wave over 40’ high to wipe the place out!
The claims about inexpensive nuclear power was based on the belief that once a facility was built it was finished. No one anticipated the Atomic Energy Commission, then the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, would force utilities into the uncomfortable position of continuously redesigning and building at existing, licensed nuclear facities.
When the Trojan Nuclear Plant, Prescott, Oregon, was completed in 1976 for less than $500Million, it was originally planned to have a maximum of 4o people employed onsite. When it shutdown permanently in March, 1993, about 1300 people were laidoff. This is an example of why nuclear power became so expensive: it was regulated to death due to the redundancy of design and operating functions as well as continuous building.
The NRC wanted nuclear power generation to be “idiot proof”. Well, utilities don’t hire idiots to work at nukes, but the idiot proofing that has resulted sure makes it more difficult to make operational decisions.
There are a whole new generation of nuclear reators coming on line, and they just may be the answer to the energy crunch. These reactors are inherently safe and small, capable of powering a neighboorhood or industrial facility. Japan may or may not take the new nuclear technology as their future energy sources, but who knows?
I don’t have a source for you to read but the radiation continues to pour out of at least two reactors.
Jack, radiation is to a radioactive source like stench is to dog poop. Radiation is not killing Americans long distance from Fukushima.
There are three means by which radiation is blocked: distance, time, and shielding.
Distance: the United States is thousands of miles from the radioactive piles at Fukushima. It isn’t affecting us here.
Time: radioactive elements have a half-life.
Shielding: water, cement (concrete), and lead will shield against radiation exposure. Alpha particles from Plutonium and Polonium can be sheilded by a sheet of paper. Atomic particles in sea water are dangerous if swallowed or inhaled via water spray. I would not go skinny dipping in the sea near Fukushima.
The fear of atomic particles in seawater is perhaps the greatest concern to Americans, and I can understand that fear. Airborne atomic particles, such as in fallout, will be washed out of the sky by rain, and particles in seawater will sink to the seafloor.
Will enough radioactive particles in seawater make it to the northwest coast of the U.S. and Canada to be a major problem? I suspect not, but it is good to do due vigilance. The problem is measuring increased levels against existing background radiation levels, which can be effected by solar flares.
In summation, I am concerned about the environmental impact of the Fukushima event on Japna. The U.S. is far enough away that anything occurring here is unlikely to be related. Actually, there is a greater danger in driving to the local supermarket than in being contaminated by fallout from Fukushima.
Part of the ambiguity of this question is the distinction between "used up" and "converted into energy". The uranium is "used up" when it is no longer uranium. The mass "converted into energy" is a much smaller number which is the energy converted from the difference in mass of the original uranium and the by-products of uranium fission.
Also, did you mean to write "U235" for the Hiroshima bomb?
I read that the total amount of fuel at Fukushima is about 2000 tons and that the six reactors contained 100 tons.
It's complicated to compare the contamination potential of a bomb with that of the Fukushima incident, but there's certainly a lot of "stuff" at Fukushima. What an incredible mess.
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