News Japan Earthquake, Tsunami, & Nuclear Disaster

Urwumpe

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There are reports about a spontaneous human chain protest at the German nuclear power plant Neckerwestheim, but that is just a slightly related event. Such chain reactions happen often here.
 

Wishbone

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She is a Sciences-Po grad, not a nukie. That's one of the ways to sift through the media mud: check the credentials.

EDIT: Russian EMERCOM claims there is no current radiation threat for Russia. Don't buy that though until someone actually flies a sampling aircraft, since all transport models use a lot of assumptions, even the most detailed ones.

EDIT #2: The above-mentioned statement was issued by the PA department. Unfortunately PR/PA types have the tendency to speak through their behinds without solid information at hand.
 
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tblaxland

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"the question is now to see if the containement structure will hold..."
Presumably she is referring to the pressure vessel, since the containment building is already gone in the explosion as far as I can tell :shrug:
 

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They have said that it is unlikely that major damages has occurred to the pressure vessel. If that helps...
Even if pressure vessel is still intact the explosion almost certainly destroyed what was left of cooling system and further progression of meltdown is likely
 

Urwumpe

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Presumably she is referring to the pressure vessel, since the containment building is already gone in the explosion as far as I can tell :shug:
That is not exactly true. The containment of the reactor has multiple levels, the building around it is pretty much just there for keeping the rain out.

http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_risk/safety/concerns-about-relying-on.html

This reactor was likely a Mark I or Mark II containment structure, but I can't yet tell for sure.

---------- Post added at 12:25 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:22 PM ----------

Even if pressure vessel is still intact the explosion almost certainly destroyed what was left of cooling system and further progression of meltdown is likely
The circulation pumps are inside the primary containment structure, likely not affected by the hydrogen explosion outside it.

Again as reference:



The hydrogen that is produced during the early meltdown inside the core gathers inside the pressure vessel in the steam region and is vented by with the steam into the suppression pool below the reactor. From there it gets removed to special hydrogen recombiners usually, lets assume that this machine was not available and hydrogen gathered inside the building but above the primary containment.
 
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Wishbone

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What use the pumps may be after the meltdown is still debatable...
 

Belisarius

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Since the power systems to the cooling circulation system is what failed, it hardly matters if they're intact or not, they were not operational since the quake and nobody could get them running again.
 

Urwumpe

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What use the pumps may be after the meltdown is still debatable...
If they still pump liquids they are VERY important. Any Watt of heat removed is one Watt that brings you away from a Europe Syndrome. Even of the fuel assembly gets completed destroyed, as long as you contain most damage inside the pressure vessel, you are still saving many lives.

Once the primary containment is open but the pressure vessel is intact, you have a bad situation, but are still able to prevent big damage.

If the pressure vessel bursts open, or just the primary circuit, you have a very very very bad situation.

---------- Post added at 12:40 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:35 PM ----------

This graphic here shows the layout of a older generation of such reactors:



The torus below is likely in this Japanese reactor integrated into the primary containment structure as suppression pool and not outside it, but the part above the pressure vessel should be similar.

---------- Post added at 12:45 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:40 PM ----------

The Japanese government now officially speaks of a meltdown.

Well, it is pretty hard to deny it now, after the symptoms of one had been already visible for hours.

Mystery:

One German expert claimed in TV (N24) that the explosion happened while workers tried to cast a column into concrete.

Not sure why they did they and how reliable this information is, but it is possible that either they tried to reinforce the containment or the building was internally much worse damaged by the Earthquake as known.
 
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Wishbone

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But can we use the pumps now? Hope that the fascination of the Japanese with robots extended to procurement of rad-hardened ones.
 

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The hydrogen that is produced during the early meltdown inside the core gathers inside the pressure vessel in the steam region and is vented by with the steam into the suppression pool below the reactor. From there it gets removed to special hydrogen recombiners usually, lets assume that this machine was not available and hydrogen gathered inside the building but above the primary containment.
So maybe without the building hydrogen can float away freely and is no problem anymore.
 

Urwumpe

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But can we use the pumps now? Hope that the fascination of the Japanese with robots extended to procurement of rad-hardened ones.
Honestly: I don't know. I hope so.

If not, the alternatives are not much different to Chernobyl. you need to risk the lives and health of many rescue forces to bring as much cooling water as possible over and into the reactor, and at the same time make sure that "On ne passe pas" applies to anything nuclear that you can contain.

Running away and waiting for the bad things to pass won't work, this way you just let the situation to quickly slip from worse to worst.

---------- Post added at 12:53 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:51 PM ----------

So maybe without the building hydrogen can float away freely and is no problem anymore.
The problem is, this explosion sure also had effect on critical gear for the reactor. Many pumps are outside the primary containment structure and such a violent explosion does not just focus on damaging only the cheap stuff.

Also it means that you can no longer easily access the reactor for fighting the meltdown, since you need to fight through debris to access it.
 

Belisarius

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Let's be realistic: the pumps failed through lack of power since the quake and nobody was able to get them operational. It's very much less likely that they can be made functional now.
Only helicopter dumps of water seem to be feasible now. Fortunately it's right next to the coast so each helo could do several runs.
Our best wishes must go to those now risking their lives on the scene in the face of an imminent critical meltdown.
 

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Two things from Reuters a few minutes ago:
He also says that data shows amount of radiation levels decreased after the explosion, and that the amount of radiation is staying at a low level.
by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 11:58 AM
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Edano says Japan will allow Fukushima plant owner Tepco to fill the reactor with sea water to cool it down, and that there was an explosion at the plant, but not at the reactor container.
by Reuters_MarkKolmar edited by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 11:58 AM
 

Belisarius

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Latest video shows the concrete structure of the outer shell completely gone but the metal girder structure intact.
The containment structure is described as completely intact - BBC
 

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Dammit, local news suck.
"Likely because of the explosion of hydrogen, which is also used in the cooling system"
The fake sound of the explosion is pasted right over the graphics.
This fake thing is circulated as something official: http://img847.imageshack.us/img847/438/fallout.jpg
"The radiation is ten times over normal, and it's a year worth of it in an hour".
And a lot of "be scared" sensationalism, immediately followed by business and election news.
 

Urwumpe

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"The radiation is ten times over normal, and it's a year worth of it in an hour".
This one is at least partially true. 106 mSv measured at the personal dosimeter of an radiation worker means a lot more than just one years dose.

But that is not ten times over normal, that is already 700,000 times over normal in a nuclear power plant.
 

SiberianTiger

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Two things from Reuters a few minutes ago:

"Edano says Japan will allow Fukushima plant owner Tepco to fill the reactor with sea water to cool it down,"
Is the reactor located on the shore below sea level? With failed pumps, I think this is the only possible situation when you can use a flowing sea water for that. But what harm to environment will it do! :facepalm:
 

Urwumpe

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Is the reactor located on the shore below sea level? With failed pumps, I think this is the only possible situation when you can use a flowing sea water for that. But what harm to environment will it do! :facepalm:
You can also use fire truck for that job. It isn't exactly good to use seawater there, but its better than a full meltdown.

By the known confirmed information, we are already in stage 4 of the meltdown, only two stages are left until there is a full meltdown, "debris bed formation" and "relocation to the lower plenum". Stage 5 is a pretty rapid and short one that happens once the temperatures escalate beyond 1700 K, pushing the temperatures quickly beyond 2150 K. Stage 6 usually sees a cooling, but can also turn into recriticality, with the nuclear reaction rates increasing again and with temperatures further escalating.
 
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Belisarius

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Is the reactor located on the shore below sea level? With failed pumps, I think this is the only possible situation when you can use a flowing sea water for that. But what harm to environment will it do! :facepalm:
It's just next to the sea about 10m above sea level. With high-pressure hoses they could spray water over the structure, and use helicopters with big buckets to dump water on top of it.
The water would run off back into the sea, but it probably wouldn't be contaminated if the containment structure is resisting.
Of course this would only cool the outer shell of the containment structure, not the core.
 
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