Skip to comments.Fukushima Nuclear Accident – a simple and accurate explanation
Posted on 03/14/2011 6:29:03 AM PDT by Netizen
Along with reliable sources such as the IAEA and WNN updates, there is an incredible amount of misinformation and hyperbole flying around the internet and media right now about the Fukushima nuclear reactor situation. In the BNC post Discussion Thread Japanese nuclear reactors and the 11 March 2011 earthquake (and in the many comments that attend the top post), a lot of technical detail is provided, as well as regular updates. But what about a laymans summary? How do most people get a grasp on what is happening, why, and what the consequences will be?
Below I reproduce a summary on the situation prepared by Dr Josef Oehmen, a research scientist at MIT, in Boston. He is a PhD Scientist, whose father has extensive experience in Germanys nuclear industry. This was first posted by Jason Morgan earlier this evening, and he has kindly allowed me to reproduce it here. I think it is very important that this information be widely understood.
(Excerpt) Read more at bravenewclimate.com ...
Why bother? They are intent on mass hysteria to justify an agenda.
2 problems with the contents near the end. He stated the iodine (131) and the cesium (137) have since decayed. The half lif of iodine 131 is about 8 days. The half life of cesium 137 is about 30 years. Has me call into question the reliability of all other statement contents if these 2 MAJOR facts of science are incorrect.
The explanation is
There was an earthquake. Everything is broken like happens when there is an earthquake. No power. Nuclear is the same as sunlight. End of explanation.
Build nuclear power plants! Save money!
I think he was using the “Fischer Price Nuclear Lab for Tots”, you might want to cut him some slack ...
I didn't read that at all. When speaking of the Cesium and Iodine released in the steam, he states:
"The Cesium and Iodine isotopes were carried out to the sea and will never be seen again."
When speaking about the Cesium and Iodine in the cooling water, he states,
"The radioactive Cesium and Iodine will be removed there and eventually stored as radioactive waste in terminal storage."
The earth quake didn’t break the power plant. Ironically the lack of power to the power plant doomed it.
First the earthquake severed power from the grid. Then the tsunami then gook out the backup diesel generators.
"The external power generators could not be connected to the power plant (the plugs did not fit)."
When I read this, my first thought was "Made in China"?
Im guessing the plugs were not the right mate. Getting the goesinta to fit the goesoutta isnt simple these days.
No - Made in GE
Published in Sendai Earthquake by on March 12th, 2011
I apologize for how long it has taken for me to get this blog post up, and I apologize in advance for answers that may prove to be inaccurate and overtaken by events. I am going to try to answer a number of questions I have received through email and Facebook and queries to this page since the Japanese earthquake struck.
A: The Fukushima-Daiichi reactors were damaged by the quake and the tsunami that followed. There were six reactors operating at the site, all of them boiling-water reactors (BWRs) built by General Electric between 1970 and 1979. These early BWR designs were not built to the same standards that BWRs and other light-water reactors (LWRs) are built to today, and do not have a full containment system that can hold all of the steam in that would be released from damage in the reactor vessel.
At the time of the quake, only three of the units (1, 2, and 3) were operating. They were immediately shut down. Fission stopped. BWRs dont use borated water and there was no need to add boron to the coolant. The first unit (FD1) appears to have the most difficulties. These older BWRs need emergency power to cool down safely, and their backup generators were damaged by the tsunami. That seems to be the root of the problem.
Q: What about the radiation released? Is it dangerous?
A: It would appear that some of the nuclear fuel in FD1 has melted and released gaseous fission products to the interior of the reactor. These would include xenon, krypton, and iodine. There are about seven isotopes of xenon that are radioactive and would be released in such an incident, with atomic masses of 133, 135, 137, and 138, along with three isomers, 131m, 133m, and 135m. With the exception of the isomers, each of these xenon atoms will decay into cesium and some into other elements past cesium. There is also krypton but its radioactivity and decay products are of less concern.
Xenon itself is not particularly dangerous. It is a noble gas and is not concentrated in the body. Cesium is more of a concern. Here are the seven decay sequences:
Xenon-131m will decay to stable xenon-131.
Xenon-133m will decay to radioactive xenon-133.
Xenon-133 will decay to stable cesium-133.
Xenon-135m will decay to radioactive xenon-135.
Xenon-135 will decay to very mildly radioactive cesium-135.
Xenon-137 will decay to radioactive cesium-137.
Xenon-138 will decay to radioactive cesium-138 and then quickly to stable barium-138.
Of all of these, the decay of xenon-137 to cesium-137 is probably responsible for the most risk, but xenon-137 decays so quickly that the mobility of cesium-137 is limited. I do not think this poses much risk because it cant get far. The xenon-135 has a longer half-life (9 hours) but decays to a nearly harmless form of cesium (135). I think this poses almost no risk due to the very long half life of cesium-135.
I apologize for this long explanation but you are going to hear the news about cesium being detected and I wanted to tell you why and what it means.
Q: Is nuclear power unsafe?
A: No. It is far safer than chemical power and renewable power. Look at the burning refineries and gas lines. There are no burning reactors. People are scared of radiation and dont understand what it means. The media makes little attempt to tell them. I am trying to be a resource to help explain because I have had some training in this area. A dam gave way due to the earthquake. Thats not safe either.
A: No. These isotopes of xenon and krypton and iodine decay quickly. The most dangerous is iodine-131 and the public can be protected during the 30-40 days it will decay by taking potassium iodide pills. These are effective and should be used by people in the evacuation areas.
Q: Will there be fallout? Will it reach the US or China?
A: No, there will be no fallout. It will not reach the US or China.
Q: Why are they detecting all this radiation?
A: Radiation is easy to detect in exceptionally small quantities. You can also identify exactly what nuclide it came from. This is very useful to diagnose what is going on. For instance, if you detect iodine or cesium, you can deduce that these are fission products and there may have been core damage. But simply detecting these isotopes does not mean they are present in sufficient amounts to harm people.
Yea, I read that too. Can’t be the whole story there. Couldn’t they cut the plugs off and hard wire it?
I think things have gotten a little more serious since that letter was written a day or two ago. Now we are talking about rods being totally exposed, fused together and now MOX fuel. This is not great folks. We have taken the tin foil hats out of the farrady cage and we plan to wear them on our way to the health food store today to buy kelp.
“Nuclear is the same as sunlight.”
You DO understand the difference between fission and fusion, right?
I am reminded of a Murphy Law corollary, that a device to protect a component will be protected by the component. I am not sure what Richter level the plant was designed for, but, it seems to have survived a 9.0, but, not the tsunami that came with it. The backup coolant system was a proven lower tech system that had little assumption of failure.
Let’s get to the important part...Is there someone I can sue for something? The lawyer trolls must be planning their arguments already.
The full Monty can be had by reading the lead-in article to that thread. Pretty much 'splains everything away.
Bottom Line: the Japs got it covered and there's really nothing to see here; this is bunch of hysteria mongered by the anti-nuke crowd. Unless they totally misengineered this thing (probably forgot to carry the two or sumpin'), there's more'n enough mass water in the primary loop to cool the reactor core to below crtical temp. That is unless something went horribly awry with the primary reactor containment vessel and significant mass of primary coolant loop water was lost. But, if that's true, the radiation counters be going Ah-OOOOH-Gah! Ah-OOOOOH-Gah! BIG TIME to grimace proportion.
I was reminded of trying to replace a hot water bottle for my mother several years ago. Her old “Made in USA” one had bit the dust. I ended up giving up getting her a new one. Every one I bought, though packaged differently, was made in China and had the same design flaw. The treads of the bottle did not match the threads of the stopper. They all leaked terribly and, although they looked good, were totally useless.
If those engines were running at speed and ingested water, the pistons, rods, heads, and/or cylinders may have been destroyed. That would explain why they have not been put back into operation...
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