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Fukushima Nuclear Accident a simple and accurate explanation
Bravenewclimate ^ | 13 March 2011 | Barry Brook

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 layman’s 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 Germany’s 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 ...


TOPICS: Japan; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: japanearthquake; nuclear; reactor
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My son sent me this link last night and it seems like a good summary. I posted it last night in another thread 3rd Reactor of Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Plant Explodes(NHK), but, thought it might make a good post on its own.
1 posted on 03/14/2011 6:29:06 AM PDT by Netizen
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To: Netizen

Why bother? They are intent on mass hysteria to justify an agenda.


2 posted on 03/14/2011 6:34:33 AM PDT by crz
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To: Netizen

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.


3 posted on 03/14/2011 6:39:20 AM PDT by USCG SimTech (Honored to serve since '71)
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To: Netizen

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!


4 posted on 03/14/2011 6:39:49 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: USCG SimTech

I think he was using the “Fischer Price Nuclear Lab for Tots”, you might want to cut him some slack ...


5 posted on 03/14/2011 6:42:11 AM PDT by Scythian
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To: yldstrk
Build nuclear power plants! Save money!

Actually build new nuclear power plants and stop using 40 and 50 year old designs. New state of the art designs use a fraction of the nuclear material the old plants use and are orders of magnitude more efficient.
6 posted on 03/14/2011 6:47:05 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: USCG SimTech
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.

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."

7 posted on 03/14/2011 6:56:06 AM PDT by dfwright (The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left (Eccl. 10:2, NIV))
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To: yldstrk

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.


8 posted on 03/14/2011 6:59:10 AM PDT by DManA
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To: DManA
The earth quake didn’t break the power plant. Ironically the lack of power to the power plant doomed it.

"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"?

9 posted on 03/14/2011 7:05:07 AM PDT by stayathomemom (Beware of kittens modifying your posts.)
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To: stayathomemom

I’m guessing the plugs were not the right mate. Getting the goesinta to fit the goesoutta isn’t simple these days.

The NappyOne


10 posted on 03/14/2011 7:10:46 AM PDT by NappyOne
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To: stayathomemom

No - Made in GE


11 posted on 03/14/2011 7:13:06 AM PDT by RedhairRedhair (I STILL love my (scab made) Toyota)
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To: Netizen
Japanese Earthquake Implications Quick Q&A

Published in Sendai Earthquake by Kirk Sorensen 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.



Q: What’s going on with the reactor in Japan?

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 don’t 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 can’t 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 don’t 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. That’s not safe either.




Q: What about the radiation? Will I be harmed?

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.



12 posted on 03/14/2011 7:18:56 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." -- Barry Soetoro, June 11, 2008)
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To: stayathomemom

Yea, I read that too. Can’t be the whole story there. Couldn’t they cut the plugs off and hard wire it?


13 posted on 03/14/2011 7:25:50 AM PDT by DManA
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To: USCG SimTech

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.


14 posted on 03/14/2011 7:37:33 AM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: yldstrk

“Nuclear is the same as sunlight.”

You DO understand the difference between fission and fusion, right?


15 posted on 03/14/2011 7:45:05 AM PDT by swain_forkbeard (Rationality may not be sufficient, but it is necessary.)
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To: stayathomemom

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.


16 posted on 03/14/2011 8:13:53 AM PDT by depressed in 06 (Hope and change is share the poverty.)
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To: Netizen

Let’s get to the important part...Is there someone I can sue for something? The lawyer trolls must be planning their arguments already.


17 posted on 03/14/2011 8:51:37 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
With regards to your first answer: check out my post here.

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.

18 posted on 03/14/2011 8:57:00 AM PDT by raygun
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To: depressed in 06

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.


19 posted on 03/14/2011 9:41:18 AM PDT by stayathomemom (Beware of kittens modifying your posts.)
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To: depressed in 06
Makes me wonder if the diesel engines themselves ingested water. Diesel ignition depends on high compression of a fuel-air mix -- but water is essentially incompressible.

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...

20 posted on 03/14/2011 11:03:40 AM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...)
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