Posts Tagged ‘nuclear power’

Day fifteen after the tsunami

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Update 15:00(UTC)/16:00(CET)/00:00(JST)

NISA has released their update, link 1, link 2, link 3. I have also reattached the earlier JAIF figures at the bottom of the last update to see if it will fix the bug that gives an error when one clicks on the pictures.

As usual the NISA figures are between (). The NISA data is 3 hours older than the JAIF data.


Reactor 1:
Water level in the core: 1.65(1.65)  meters below the top of fuel assemblies
Flow rate of injected water: 7.2 cubic meters per hour
Core pressure: 476 (477) kPa
Containment pressure: 270 (270) kPa *note, in the last update I misstakenly wrote 370 kPa as containment pressure.
Core temperature(feedwater nozzle): 195.3 Celsius
Core temperature(bottom head) 146.3 Celsius
Dose rate within containment: 35.1 Sv/hour

Reactor 2:
Water level in the core: 1.1 (1.1)  meters below the top of fuel assemblies
Flow rate of injected water: 18.6 cubic meters per hour
Core pressure: unknown
Containment pressure: 116 (115) kPa
Core temperature(feedwater nozzle): 107 Celcius
Core temperature(bottom head): 100 Celsius
Dose rate within containment:  43.4 Sv/hour
Spent fuel pool temperature:  57 Celsius

Reactor 3:
Water level in the core: 2.3  meters below the top of fuel assemblies
Flow rate of injected water: 14.5 cubic meters per hour
Core pressure: 139 (139) kPa *note, I wrote the wrong pressure in the last update
Containment pressure: 106.6 (106.6) kPa
Core temperature(feedwater nozzle): 37.6 Celsius (sounds like an error on equipment)
Core temperature(bottom head): 106.1 Celsius
Dose rate within containment:  36.1 Sv/hour

Due to my error with containment pressure in the last update I withdraw my speculation that its hard to control the pressure in number 1. Rather it seems like the situation is fairly stable. Otherwise not much new information.

The US Department of Energy has done some arial surveys around Fukushima Daiichi and released the data. I have one pictures from it below(hats of to where I found the pictures). The dose rate unit used on the picture is millirad. 1 millirad=10 microgray =* 10 microsievert
*that equality between gray and sievert is only valid for gamma radiation. Gray measures the energy deposited while sievert is weighted in such a way that it expresses a cancer risk.  For gamma the weighting factor is 1.

Update 12:00(UTC)/13:00(CET)/21:00(JST)

No NISA updates have been released yet today, JAIF has released their update as usual(one hour old as of writing this).

Reactor 1:
Water level in the core: 1.65  meters below the top of fuel assemblies
Core pressure: 476 kPa
Containment pressure: 370 kPa
Core temperature(feedwater nozzle): no new data
Core temperature(bottom head) no new data
Dose rate within containment:  no new data

Reactor 2:
Water level in the core: 1.1  meters below the top of fuel assemblies
Core pressure: unknown
Containment pressure: 116 kPa
Core temperature(feedwater nozzle): no new data
Core temperature(bottom head) no new data
Dose rate within containment:  no new data

Reactor 3:
Water level in the core: 2.3  meters below the top of fuel assemblies
Core pressure: 202 kPa
Containment pressure: 106.6 kPa
Core temperature(feedwater nozzle): no new data
Core temperature(bottom head) no new data
Dose rate within containment:  no new data

All 3 reactors are now cooled with freshwater instead of sea water. It seems hard for them to get the pressure in the number one reactor under complete control. In JAIF's written update they say lights are on in all control rooms now. Levels of radioactive materials in the seawater around the plant is climbing. TEPCO is releasing updates on activity in both sea and air, I have attached levels as pictures in the bottom of this update.

The ground deposits of I-131 the prefectures around Fukushima ranges from less than 1 to 16 kBq per square meter. The cesium ground deposits ranges from less than 0.1 to 1.9 kBq per square meter(here are the last 3 MEXT updates on ground deposts link 1link 2link 3). The data form the worst effected prefectures are however omitted, we hope MEXT will make those figures available asap! As a comparison the ground deposits of cesium due to Chernobyl ranged from a couple of hundreds to a couple of thousand kBq per square meter.


Update, March 26, 12:00 (UTC) / 13:00 (CET) / 21:00 (JST)

Not much to add today. The radiation levels in the sea outside Fukushima I are sky-high. The long term effects are hard to predict now since a sea contamination is entirly different from a land contamination, where land is basicly a 2D area, which leads to a thin and high concentration on the surface, and where rains soon concentrate the contamination to "hotspots".  The sea on the other hand is a 3D volume where currents quickly dilute any contaminant by dispersing them over very wide areas.

The JAIF updates from 10:00, 16:00 and 21:00 (JST) for March 26 are pretty much uniform. The big news is that freshwater injection to the cores of 1, 2 and 3 has started as opposed to using salty sea water. Apart from that nothing new. The radiation readings at the main gate (1 km out) has stayed at 170 μSv/h all day. The west gate read 147 μSv/h at 13:30.

NISA has not said anything new since last night.


BBC We should stop running away from radiation
Hufftington post US brings fresh water to japan nuclear plant
NY Times Japan presses nuclear plant repair as more damage is found
Rod Adams Shaken, flooded, stressed by power outages, Fukushima Daiichi moves into second place
The Independent Fear and devastation on the road to Japan's nuclear disaster zone

Röda berget
Dr Angels blog
DN Radioaktivt jod tusen gånger tillåten nivå i havet
Aftonbladet Strålningen ökar runt Fukushima
SvD Radioaktivt vatten i reaktorer
Tänkvärt? Eller inte!
Grön horizont


Day fourteen after the tsunami

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Uppdate 22:45(UTC) / 23:450(CET) / 07:45(JST)

There has been no further info yet on the status of the exposed workers or the status of the reactors. Only news about the reactors is that both number 1 and number 3 have now switched to fresh water injection into the core and number 2 was supposed to follow promptly. I end todays updates with a few video clips of the explosion in one of the refineries that was hit worst by the earthquake and tsunami. This disaster has struck so many lifes, so many industries and so many towns that it is hard to fathom.


Uppdate 16:30(UTC) / 17:30(CET) / 00:30(JST)

The 2 workes taken to hospital reportedly got a dose to their feet and lower legs between 2-6 Sieverts from beta radiation.  They also got close to 200 mSv from gamma and an unknown internal dose.

They have not shown any signs of acute radiation sickness so far.  But the dose to the legs are very worrying and in the worst case might mean amputation.

Update 14:15 (UTC) / 13:15 (CET) / 22:15 (JST)

New updates from JAIF and NISA(link 1, link 2, link3). JAIF status is from 15:00 JST and NISA updates from 10:00 and 12:30 JST. As before the first number is from the JAIF update and the number within () is from the older NISA update.

Reactor 1:
Water level in the core: 1.65 (1.65) meters below the top of fuel assemblies
Core pressure: 450 kPa (450 kPa)
Containment pressure: 295 (295) kPa
Core temperature(feedwater nozzle): 197.8 Celsius
Core temperature(bottom head) 153.6 Celsius
Dose rate within containment:  38.9 Sievert/hour

If one looks at the JAIF status updates one can see a very encouraging piece of information, they have switched from seawater to fresh water injection into the pressure vessel! That is one significant step in the direction of stabilizing the reactor since seawater injection could never be a permanent solution. They are still not using the internal pumps however. The temperature of the core seems to have been brought under control and the high containment pressure is on a slowly declining trend. We can only keep our hopes up that they will be able to avoid venting the containment.

Reactor 2:

Water level in the core: 1.20 (1.2) meters below the top of fuel assemblies
Core pressure:  unknown
Containment pressure: 120 (120) kPa
Core temperature(feedwater nozzle): 107 Celsius
Core temperature(bottom head) 105 Celsius
Dose rate within containment:  45.6 Sievert/hour

Reactor 3.
Water level in the core: 2.3 m below the top of fuel assemblies.
Core pressure: 139 (139) kPa
Containment pressure:  107 kPa
Core temperature(feedwater nozzle): 42.8 Celsius (probably junk)
Core temperature(bottom head) 111,6 Celsius
Dose rate within containment:  51 Sievert/hour

Preparations are being made to switch from seawater to fresh water for reactor 2 and 3. If it goes as quickly as for number one it should be done within half a day. Work with electrical equipment on going.

We have earlier warned for the possibility that molten material in the core can be lying on the bottom of the vessel and eating its way through, now that seems unlikely considering how low the bottom head temperatures of the vessel are. All of them are below 200 degrees.

Dose rate at main gate around 200 micro sievert per hour.

Update 12:30 (UTC) / 11:30 (CET) / 20:30 (JST)

TEPCO is preparing to switch from salt water to fresh water for the core cooling. From NHK:

TEPCO says it intends to switch over from pumping sea water to pumping fresh water into the 3 reactors, as salt in the sea water could cause corrosion and buildup, hampering the smooth flow of water inside the structures.

The company has been pumping seawater as an emergency measure.

The power company also says preparations to switch to fresh water were completed at the No.1 reactor on Friday afternoon.
Operations to pump fresh water into reactors No.2 and No 3 are expected to start later in the day.

Update 10:00 (UTC) / 11:00 (CET) / 19:00 (JST)

Here are the status tables from the JAIF update described below and summary.

Reactor 1:
Water level in the core: 1.7 meters below the top of fuel assemblies
Core pressure: 465 kPa
Containment pressure: 310 kPa
Core temperature(feedwater nozzle): no new info yet today
Dose rate within containment:  no new info yet today

Pressure has decreased by about 60-80 kPa in both vessel and containment since yesterday.

Reactor 2:
Water level in the core: 1.10 meters below the top of fuel assemblies
Core pressure: unknown
Containment pressure: 120 kPa
Core temperature (feedwater nozzle): no new info yet today
Dose rate within containment: no new info yet today

Reactor 3.
Water level in the core: 2.3 m below the top of fuel assemblies.
Core pressure: 139 kPa
Containment pressure:  107 kPa
Core temperature (bottom head): no new info yet today
Dose rate within containment: no new info yet today

Containment damage is again suspected on number 3, otherwise no major changes since yesterday. Let's hope the containment is not damaged! Luckily the reactors in the possibly damaged containments are behaving more stable than the number one reactor (that has a undamaged containment).

Picture of reactor number 3 building

Update 08:45 (UTC) / 09:45 (CET) / 17:45 (JST)

The 16:00 JAIF update for March 25 has been published. Two changes: far seventeen workers have been exposed to more than 100 mSv of radiation.

100 mSv is the limit where an increase in cancer risk has been proven. At 100 mSv, the lifetime risk of getting cancer increases from about 25-32% to 29-36%.

Keep in mind that this does not say whether or not any of these workers will actually get any cancer, much less die from it. It is safe to assume that just as after Hirosima/Nagasaki, the medical authorities will keep those exposed under very close watch, meaning their chances of getting diagnosed early and thus surviving any cancer will be quite good.

The other change is that the radiation reading at the main gate has gone up again:

The Main Gate: 259.0μSv/h at 11:00, Mar. 25

The pressure in the #1 containment vessel is moving up and down.  #2 is stable. The #3 pressure is slowly decreasing. With the worries of a leak from #3, this may have more than one explanation, not all of them good.

Update 07:20 (UTC) / 08:20 (CET) / 16:20 (JST)

The 10:00 (JST) JAIF update for March 25 has the following new entries:

Monitoring results of seawater sampled at the coast near the Fukushima Dai-ichi NPS on Mar. 23rd showed that radioactive Iodine, Cesium, Ruthenium, and Tellurium exceeding the regulatory limit were detected. Also, monitoring results of seawater sampled at coasts within about 16km from the Fukushima Dai-ichi NPS in Mar. 23rd showed that radioactive Iodine and Ruthenium exceeding the regulatory limit were detected.

Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan reported the result of preliminary calculation of exposure dose in the surrounding area of Fukushima Dai-ichi NPS.

The dose rate mesaured at the main gate has dropped slightly, from 209.4μSv/h at 12:00, Mar. 24 to 193.8μSv/h at 06:00, Mar. 25.

The high exposure of three workers in the number three turbine hall suggests that #3 may have a leak after all, says the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

Water supplies continue to show taints of Iodine-131, but the readings fluctuate and it's still hard to make out a general trend. Tokyo is no longer under a recommendation not to drink the tap water, but concerned citizens continue to use bottled water to some extent.

Following the latest findings, the Tokyo officials said it will no longer warn against consumption of tap water in the metropolitan area.

''I believe readings will go up and down. But even if levels exceed standards temporarily, it will be no problem as long as they stay (most of the time) within the range throughout the year,'' Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said at a news conference. ''I hope people in Tokyo would act calmly.''

Still, people in the capital area -- located about 220 kilometers from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant -- and elsewhere continued to buy up limited supplies of bottled water from shops and vending machines.

The government has asked that people in the 20-30 km zone around the crippled Fukushima plant to evacuate volontarily out of concern for supplies for daily necessities.

The Japanese government has encouraged people living within 20 to 30 kilometers of the troubled nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture to leave voluntarily, with concerns over access to daily necessities rather than resident safety prompting the advice, top government spokesman Yukio Edano said Friday.




SvD mycket troligt en läcka i 3an
Kommunisternas blogg
Martin Mobergs blogg
Röda berget
Röda malmö

DN Kärnan kan vara skadad (den person som valde den här rubriken borde sluta använda google translate....)
DN cesium i grönsaker i Tokyo
Aftonbladet hotet i japan är osynligt

Patrick Takahashi doesn't estimate the situation correctly

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011


I realised that I forgot to counter the 5th argument by Takahashi. I have now added it.

In the Huffington post Patrick Takahashi flaunts some misconceptions about nuclear and the technological impact the Fukushima accident will have on future new builds.  We will take a look at some of the flaws here on his 4 point list.

1. Economics
Patric states that due to increasing regulatory demands on nuclear after this accident the price of nuclear will escalate into the industries oblivion. But that doesn't necessarily have to be the case and should not be the case of the issue is treated rationally by the regulatory bodies.  What Fukushima has shown us is that one can not rely on emergency diesel generators for core cooling and that spent fuel pools are sensitive. Let's look into those two issues.


George Monbiot: "Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power"

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

I can't say I fully agree with George Monbiot on this one... he may very well be jumping to conclusions. At NPYP we are so far very cutiously optimistic and extremely tense until we get the reassuring word that "all six reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi are now in cold shutdown".

Still... I think we are going to see lots more of this sentiment like the one he posted in The Guardian, headlined "Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power":

You will not be surprised to hear that the events in Japan have changed my view of nuclear power. You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.

A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.

Some greens have wildly exaggerated the dangers of radioactive pollution. For a clearer view, look at the graphic published by It shows that the average total dose from the Three Mile Island disaster for someone living within 10 miles of the plant was one 625th of the maximum yearly amount permitted for US radiation workers. This, in turn, is half of the lowest one-year dose clearly linked to an increased cancer risk, which, in its turn, is one 80th of an invariably fatal exposure. I'm not proposing complacency here. I am proposing perspective.

Elfte dagen av tsunamikatastrofen

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Uppdatering 21:16

Inget nytt från NISA eller JAIF, men en intressant artikel från NHK.

Strömmen har kopplats in till 3ans kontrollrum. Man jobbar nu på att få igång alla instrument och på onsdag(det är redan tidig onsdag morgon i Japan) ska man försöka starta pumparna. När vi vaknar imorgon så kanske vi förhoppningsvis kan få reda på ifall pumparna i 3an fungerar efter explosionen. Om de fungerar så bådar det gott för 1an och 2an. Får man igång pumparna till alla tre reaktorer så är nog krisen mer eller mindre över. Men vi får se hur lång tid det kommer ta, man har väntat och hoppats på det nu sen i lördags.

Uppdatering 16:25

TEPCO och NISA har släppt en uppdateringar med aktiviteter i havsvattnet. Om vi kollar sista mätpunkterna och konverterar till Bq per liter får man följande:

Nuklid   Bq/liter    Halveringstid

Co-58 16,68   70,86 dagar
I-131 1190   8,03 dagar
I-132 1362   2,30 timmar
Cs-134 150,4  2,07 år
Cs-136 23,5 13,04 dagar
Cs-137 153,5  30,08 år

Jag blev först lite rädd för att det skett en återkriticitet när jag såg så mycket I-132 i vattnet. Det har gått 132 halveringstider för I-131 sen reaktorerna stängdes, men jag ser nu att man kan få I-132 från sönderfall av Te-132 som har en halveringstid på ungefär 3 dagar och vid fission skapas ungefär dubbelt så mycket Te-132 som I-131. Det är därmed en jäkla numerisk slump att aktiviteten av de båda jod isotoperna är desamma. Eftersom Te-132 har en tredjedel av I-131's halveringstid och pga att det just nu finns en tredjedel så många Te-132 kvar sen fissionen stoppades så får man en lika hög aktivitet av I-131 och I-132(eftersom I-132 är i ungefärlig sönderfallsjämvikt med Te-132).


Pust där kan man lugna ner sig igen!
Bananekvivalenten pga I-131 innehållet i en liter vatten är 262, jag har inte doskonverteringsfaktorerna för de andra isotoperna framför mig så jag orkar dessvärre inte kolla dess bananekvivalenter.

Kyodo rapporterar att man fått igång el i kontrollrummet i 1an och 2ans gemensamma kontrollrum. Än så länge bara ljusen men förhoppningsvis snart också all instrumentation. Hoppas vi får mer info om statusen för 1an och 2an när de får igång mer instrument!

Statusen för reaktorerna ser annars i stort sett oförändrad ut




Uppdatering 11:40

NISA har släppt nya uppdateringar(1 och 2).

Reaktor 1.
Härdtryck 328 kPa
Vattennivå 1.8 meter under toppen på bränslet
Inneslutningstryck stabilt på 175 kPa
Wetwell(torusen) 155 kPa
Havsvatten sprutas in kontinuerligt

Reaktor 2
Härdtryck 83 kPa(det är lägre än atmosfärstryck så mätaren är nog trasig)
Vattennivå 1.35 meter under toppen på bränslet
Inneslutningstryck stabilt på 110 kPa
Wetwell(torusen) inga data
Havsvatten sprutas in kontinuerligt
El inkopplat till elcentralen

Reaktor 3
Härdtryck 137 kPa
Vattennivå 2.35 meter under toppen på bränslet
Inneslutningstryck stabilt på 100 kPa
Wetwell(torusen) inga data
Havsvatten sprutas in kontinuerligt

Reaktor 4
Ingen data från bassängen, men TEPCO säger att de uppskattat att det finns vatten.
El inkopplat till elcentralen

TEPCO har också meddelat att de kommer stänga ner hela kraftverket, inklusive reaktor 5 och 6 som inte har skadats.

Uppdatering 09:20

Här är även JAIF's uppdateringar(1 och 2),

Stråldoser, tryck etc verkar i stort sett vara som igår. Vattennivån i 3an verkar ha sjunkit 30 cm. Alla reaktorer är inkopplade på nätet och man räkna med att börja dra igång utrustning i 1an och 2an idag. I 3an och 4an verkar man ännu inte jobba med att kontrollera utrustningen. Man sprutar återigen vatten in i bassängen vid reaktor 3. Vid det här laget kan man nog gissa sig till att bassängen läcker rätt rejält, annars hade den varit vattenfylld.

Ingen mer rök från 2an och väldigt lite från 3an.

Små steg i positiv riktning alltså. Vi får ännu hålla tummarna för att pumpar odyl faktiskt ännu fungerar i reaktorerna.

Uppdatering 09:00

TEPCO meddelade vid 09:00 japansk tid (8 timmar sedan) följande statusuppdatering:

Unit 1 (Shut down)
-Reactor has been shut down. However, the explosive sound and white smoke
 were confirmed after the big quake occurred at 3:36PM Mar 12th. It was
 assumed to be hydrogen explosion.
-We have been injecting sea water into the reactor pressure vessel. 

Unit 2 (Shut down)
-Reactor has been shut down and the level of reactor coolant had dropped
 and the reactor pressure had increased because the Reactor Core Isolation
 Cooling System stopped. Measures were taken to lower the pressure within
 the Reactor Containment Vessel and to inject sea water into the Reactor
 while carefully confirming safety. The level of reactor coolant and the
 pressure of the Reactor resumed.
-At approximately 6:00AM on March 15, 2011, an abnormal noise began
 emanating from nearby Pressure Suppression Chamber and the pressure
 within this chamber decreased.
-We completed receiving electricity from the external transmission line
 up to the auxiliary transformer. We installed the power cable from the
 transformer to the temporary power panel. At 3: 46 PM, March 20th, we
 started energizing the load-side power panel.
-We have been injecting sea water into the reactor pressure vessel.

Unit 3 (Shut down)
-Reactor has been shut down. However, the explosive sound and white smoke
 were confirmed at 11:01AM Mar 14th. It was assumed to be hydrogen
-At 8:30AM on March 16th, fog like steam was confirmed arising from the
 reactor building.
-At approximately 6:15AM on March 17th the pressure of the Suppression
 Chamber has temporarily increased. We were preparing to implement a
 measurement to reduce the pressure of the reactor containment vessel
 (partial discharge of air containing radioactive material to outside)
 in order to fully secure safety. However, at present, it is not a
 situation to take a measure immediately to discharge air containing
 radioactive material to outside now. We will continue to monitor the
 status of the pressure of the reactor containment vessel.
-We are working on receiving external power supply to Units 3 and 4.
-We have been injecting sea water into the reactor pressure vessel.

Unit 4 (outage due to regular inspection)
-Reactor has been shut down. However, at approximately 6AM on March 15th.
 We have confirmed the explosive sound and the sustained damage around
 the 5th floor rooftop area of the Nuclear Reactor Building.
-On March 15th and 16th, we respectively confirmed the outbreak of fire
 at the 4th floor of the northwestern part of the Nuclear Reactor Building.
 We immediately reported this matter to the fire department and the
 related authorities. TEPCO employees confirmed that each fire had already
 died down by itself.
-At this moment, we do not consider any reactor coolant leakage inside the
 reactor containment vessel happened.


Reaktor 5 och 6 är utom fara sedan tidigare. Nu håller man på att testa all el-utrustning i reaktorer 1-4 så att man inte kraschar elförsörjningen när man kopplar in saker. Arbetet fick avbrytas vid tillfällen under dagen då rök och ånga sporadiskt visade sig.

TEPCO meddelar också att man nu uppskattar att vågen som träffade anläggningen var ca 14 meter, d.v.s. det dubbla mot vad man hade räknat med. Mer om det på NHK World.

IAEA meddelar att strålning på 161 mikrosievert per timme uppmäts på en plats i staden Namie i Fukushima prefekturen, ca 20 km från kraftverket. Det är 1600 mer än normal bakgrundsstrålning. Ingen information än om vad det är för ämne man uppmätt, vilket har stor betydelse för hur snabbt det försvinner.

Dagens länksamling (uppdateras löpande)




DN(1, 2)
Aftonbladet(1, 23)
Expressen(1, 2, 3 )


Yttre krafter påverkar inte vår kärnkraft
Bygg ut de orörda älvarna
Lek med elden
Kärnkraft är ingen lösning på klimatutmaningen
Hur bra är det egentligen med kärnkraft
Hur mycket orkar Japans folk


Nuclear friends: this is a call to arms

Monday, March 14th, 2011


The worst disaster Japan has seen in modern time is unfolding live on TV, right before our eyes. And yet they havn't even been allowed to bury and mourn their dead before the anti-nuclear opinion makers use and abuse their plight to gather support for their own cause.

This must not be allowed to stand unopposed!

Steve Packard at the Depleted Cranium blog has posted a call to arms, and we are following suite. Everyone in support of nuclear power must take these b-tards head on. Yes, I'm cussing here because it makes me furious that the anti-nuclears are so singlemindedly focused on abolishing nuclear power that they do not even allow the dead to cool before they try to use them!

I am copying Steve's rally here.

Pro-nukes can’t take this sitting down. There are some things we should have learned by now:

  • Don’t apologize.
  • Go on the offensive right away. Don’t take this sitting down. Get up in the faces of the anti-nukes and call them on their dishonesty. Shame them for instilling panic on a nation which is already dealing with tragic events. Drive hone the higher ethical authority that honesty brings. Pull no punches in showcasing their disgraceful media-whoring. Be sure not to forget the victims in this are the people of Japan who have endured the earthquake and call the anti-nukes for subjecting them to a campaign of fear.
  • Focus on the fact that the damage is confined to the plant. Remember that this was an enormous earthquake that destroyed nearly every industrial structure and facility. The plant will take a long time to repair, but bear in mind that this is the real concern, that it will take time to repair and that in the meantime, there can be power shortages.
  • Don’t forget that there are thousands dead from the quake and tsunami or that there’s an oil refinery burning. This is not a nuclear event. A nuclear plant may have been damaged, but this is not a nuclear disaster, it’s an earthquake.
  • Be careful about saying that newer reactors are “safer” or have better systems. While this may be true, it can also imply that the technology is inherently unsafe.
  • Avoid talking about a “disaster being averted” as that implies that the situation posed a threat of a disaster. Never acknowledge that any significant risk of a regional event existed, because it didn’t.
  • Take on the most ridiculous claims of a global disaster or the possibility of a meltdown causing deaths as far as the United States. Show these claims to be part of a campaign of fear that reaches the level of absurdity.
  • Don’t be afraid to call names. A liar is one who lies. If you lie, you’re a liar. When you catch someone lying call them a liar. It’s not an ad-hom attack, it’s a fact. They lied.
  • Comment! Comment! Comment! There are a lot of news stories out there (thousands) and most of them online allow readers to comment. It’s critical that the alarmist stories do not go unchallenged and without solid information to back the up. We need as many pro-nukes to make as many comments on as many stories as possible. It’s a lot of work, don’t get me wrong. This is all the more true considering many news organizations require you to register to comment. However, it’s also very important. If you can refute these on a few sites, you’ve done something to really help. If we can get major news stories to contain several pro-nuke comments, we’ve already made a huge impact.

So... go get'em... this is our Three Mile Island. Let's not mess this up...


Chris Busby and "The Tall Tale Of Ten Tons Uranium Gone Missing"

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Professor Chris Busby is a man that has made himself somewhat of a career in being the golden boy of nuclear opponents, saying just the things they want/need to hear. There is only one problem with this: he doesn't have a foot to stand on when it comes to his tall tales about the evils of nuclear power. Previously we have exposed his claims that the Chernobyl disaster supposedly caused an increase in breast cancer in Sweden. This turned out to be an unfounded conclusion, based on frivolous interpretation of data along with some outright cherry-picking and willful suppression of data that didn't fit the claim.

In the case of The Tall Tale Of Ten Tons Uranium Gone Missing, Busby and his colleague Cecily Collingridge have issued a report where they claim that there has been a leak of enriched uranium from the British nuclear power plants at Hinkley Point in the order of about 10 000 kg. We analyzed the data which he used to make his claim, and took the same steps as he did, following his chain of reasoning from data to conclusion. The result is hardly flattering for the Busby and Collingridge, because the claims they make hinge on...

- Unsupported postulates

- Sparse and highly uncertain data

- Graph fitting done on this data, while ingoring uncertainties

- Low resolution geological surveys

- Misreading of said surveys

- Ignoring local variations in said surveys

- Ignoring missing indicators that must be present if their claim was true

All over the place...
When you can fit any random graph of the data, in this case an elipsoid, something is not right.

The full analysis can be found in our forum. But I'll just cut right to the chase and ask the obvious question: how would 10 tonnes(!) of uranium go missing without anyone noticing? And more important: why didn't anything else go missing? The data that Busby uses to make his claim shows barely detectable levels of fission products, such as Cobalt-60 or Cesium-137. Considering that uranium is a lot less mobile than these products, if uranium goes missing but not the fission products, there cannot be a leak in the reactors because any such leak would have seen more fission products escape than uranium.

This leaves only one path as to how 10 tonnes of uranium could escape into the environment: when reactor fuel arrived fresh at the plants, someone took some fuel elements aside, stripped them of their cladding, ground them to dust and blew them out over the surrounding areas. Alternatively someone made a bonfire with them. And all of it happened without anyone noticing.

Since this is clearly not a reasonable explanation, we must conclude that Busby and Collingridge are wrong: there has not been a leak of 10 tonnes of uranium from Hinkley Point. The data they rely on does not support the claim, and it is only through their frivolous interpretation of the data, misreading some of it, and making unsupported assumptions that they arrive at the claim.

This begs a final question: claims have been made that there are numerous health problems around Hinkley Point, such as an increased incidence of childhood leukaemia. If there are no leaks from Hinkley Point, how would this be explained? Well... to find that answer, maybe you should go ask the one person making the claims: a certain professor Chris Busby.

/Michael Karnerfors and Mattias Lantz - members of Nuclear Power Yes Please

Say Yes To Fourth Generation Nuclear Power

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

By Michael Karnerfors, previsouly published at Currents, the Swedish-American Chambers of Commerse magazine

Today’s policies on nuclear energy dictate that we shall put fuel that is unspent – 95 percent of it – in an expensive hole in the ground. There are better ways. Fourth generation nuclear power helps save us from our own foolish plans.

Picture this…

You are on a family car trip. You need gas, so you stop at a station and fill up twenty gallons of fuel in your car. You drive ten-fifteen miles down the road, using up one third of a gallon of gas, and then you stop. To the puzzlement of your family you siphon all of the unused gas out of the tank. Two thirds of a gallon you pour out on the road and set fire to. The remaining nineteen gallons you give back to a gas station. Your family asks you: “Why are you doing that?!”. You reply to them: “Oh that gas will be sent back to the oil well and put it into the ground again, not to be used”

By now your family will call for an ambulance and have you committed on grounds of insanity, because such behavior is without doubt utterly ludicrous.

But what if I told you that this is how most counties in the world are managing their stock of nuclear fuel, including the US?

In the middle 1980’s most of the nuclear power plants that are in operation in the world today had been built. They are of the so called second generation nuclear power. After thirty years in operation the results from these plants are quite excellent. Apart from Three Mile Island (TMI) accident – which incidentally didn’t hurt anyone – none of the pressure and boiler water reactors of West or East Asia have had a major accident. They are sturdy and reliable designs.

They do have a few drawbacks though:

  • Only 5 percent of the energy in the fuel is extracted.
  • Of the energy extracted from the fuel, two thirds is washed away as waste heat.
  • When the fuel is taken out from the reactor, it is highly radioactive, necessitating storing it for 100,000 to 1 million years while it decays.

Today tens of thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel are sitting in casks or storage pools around the world, waiting for us to come up with a solution for it. For countries that do not allow reprocessing, there has only been one solution seriously proposed so far: deep geological repositories. You build caves deep into stable bedrock, and stuff the nuclear fuel there. Seen from a safety perspective that is a good idea because we know from the natural nuclear reactor site in Oklo, Gabon, Africa, that such repositories are extremely safe. A geological repository will keep spent nuclear fuel locked inside for literally billions of years. The only major worry is human intrusion.

Seen from a resource and sustainable development standpoint though, this is an awful(!) idea. 95 percent of the energy in spent nuclear fuel is unused. Why would we want to put that in the ground for hundreds of thousands of years when we can use it to get clean, safe energy instead?

Fourth generation nuclear power is an umbrella term for emerging reactors designs. Some of them have existed as experimental plants for decades. Countries like the U.S., Russia, France and India have been working on fourth generation for quite some time. The advantages of this new nuclear power are substantial: 

  • Fourth generation reactors use what we call “waste” today as fuel and extract twenty times the energy, used nearly twice as effective.
  • The storage time for the nuclear waste goes down to approximately 500-1,000 years instead of 1,000,000 years.
  • They can use plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons as fuel.

Two things have held fourth generation nuclear power back so far. First the negative attitudes towards nuclear power after TMI and Chernobyl. The second factor has been the fact that Uranium has been – and still is – dirt cheap considering the fantastic amounts of energy that is extracted from the material, even with the second generation reactors.

But today, when we are faced not only with the problem of nuclear waste but also the urgent need of phasing out fossil fuels, these accidents have in the grand perspective proven to be exceedingly rare and either harmless – like TMI – or not relevant to the issue of future nuclear power, because no one is building dangerous Soviet junk-reactors designed in the 1950’s anymore. Nuclear power is without doubt coming back.

While countries like the US and Sweden are mulling over how to get people to accept nuclear waste dumps in their neighborhoods, others – like Russia and South Korea – are moving forward aggressively in the field of new nuclear power. With the current rate of expansion China will be the world leader in a couple of decades; the country is breaking ground for ten(!) new nuclear reactors every year.

Until fusion power is commercially available, the question is what role the western world will take in the continuing history of nuclear power. Will we:

  • Stop the development of our own nuclear power and bury our nuclear fuel in the world’s most advanced and expensive garbage dumps, hoping no one touches it for a million years?
  • Move forward, develop new nuclear power and produce clean energy for hundreds of years while eliminating nuclear waste and nuclear weapons?

If the first option sounds good to you, I urge you to get a siphon and start draining your gas tank…

Michael Karnerfors, Lund, Sweden

The author is a Master of Science in Computer Science and Engineering, and co-founder of the independent network Nuclear Power Yes Please” (NPYP) which seeks to gather people who consider the issue of nuclear power too important to be squandered with junk arguments and outrageous claims aimed more to scare and terrify people rather than informing them on the issues for and against nuclear power.

Atomkraft? Kernenergie? Kernkraft? Ja, bitte!

Friday, September 24th, 2010
By Michael Karnerfors, 2010-09-24

For our German friends, there are now three versions of the Smiling Atom artwork available for download in German.

In case you are wondering why there are three versions, well it's because our german friends are a little ambivalent to the whole concept, which reflects on the language. :) Nuclear power can be translated synonymously to "Atomkraft" (Atom(ic) power), "Kernenergie" (nuclear energy) and "Kernkraft" (nuclear power). The person that requested a version (you know you can do that, right?) in German wanted "Kernenergie" and "Kernkraft". But in the old days, when the Smiling Sun logo was made, it said "Atomkraft? Nein Danke", so I included that as well.

I hear nuclear power in Germany is facing quite a few upturns and much debate, so I reckon this might come in handy soon. Best of luck to you!

Atomkraft? Ja, bitte

Atomkraft? Ja, bitte


Election gives no clear answer on nuclear power in Sweden

Monday, September 20th, 2010
By Michael Karnerfors, 2010-09-20

After the election in Sweden september 19, 2010, the situation for the Swedish nuclear power remains uncertain. While the pro-nuclear Alliance coalition did take the biggest count, and the anti-nuclear redgreen leftist coalition fell flat on its face, neither coalition got majority which leaves the the xenophobic Sweden Democrats (sd) with tiebreaker seats in the Swedish riksdag (parliament).

For the past 30 years in Sweden, no permit for building nuclear power reactors has been given, because it has been prohibited by law. The center-right Alliance that won the last election in 2006 tore up that law in June this year... almost anyway: it's not going away until the end of this year. The redgreen coalition, with the Green Party in it, promised they would rip up this decision and reinstate the law. For the most part it looked like a clean cut situation: if the Alliance wins, we get new nuclear power. If the redgreens wins, we get none.

Now when all the premilinary counts are in it turns out we landed on the knife's edge: neither coalition got majority. The (sd) party are pro-nuclear, by all means, but the question is what the Alliance will do now.  Will they seek passive support from (sd), or will they - as has already been hinted - seek support from the greens and have that party move from their redgreen coalition just to keep (sd) out of the government? And if the greens - which are dogmaticly opposed to nuclear power - end up in the government, what happens then?! It's completely impossible for them to go along with any pro-nuclear proposition, or they will split down the middle. On the other hand, three out of four parties in the Alliance are strongly pro nuclear and they went into this election that way, so they can't back down either and suddenly say no to nuclear power again.

So... all in all: this election leaves us with no clear answers on the nuclear power in Sweden for now.