Tag Archives: radioactive

Day 68: Video of work at Fukushima and a encouraging PDF

TEPCO has released a video that shows work being done at the Fukushima plant. Very interesting to watch.

One gets a real sense for the devastation the tsunami inflicted while watching that clip.

TEPCO also recently released this PDF file that gives an overview of work being done. I will add some pictures from it:

In the above picture one can see how they plan to rig up the new heat exchangers for reactor 1. Within the reactor building, but outside the containment, they will put a water to water heat exchanger. They will pump water from within the containment through this heat exchanger, where it transfers the heat to a secondary circuit that in turn flows to a heat exchanger outside of the reactor building that dumps the heat to the air. This is the original plan TEPCO had before they realized the full extend of the damage to the number 1 core and containment, so it is not sure they will progress as described. But the secondary heat exchanger and its piping is already being built.

Tepco also shows the above picture on how they plan to reuse leaking water from the containment as cooling for the reactor. It is not clear how the two plans are connected to each other. I would assume the second plan is the one that is going to be used instead of the first plan. Instead of taking water directly out of the containment they will use the existing leakage paths, purify the water and pump it back into the reactor.

For the number 2 reactor shown above the main problem is to stop the leakage from the suppression pool. They plan to excavate the reactor building in order to access the room where the suppression pool is housed and then fill the entire volume with grout. Considering that (probably) the suppression pool is leaking at number one as well then maby this plan will be implemented there as well (just my speculation).

Both in unit 2 and 3 are they planning to reuse the leaking water in the same manner as in unit 1.

In the rest of the document they give some basic information on how they plan to clean the massive amounts of contaminated water that exists on the site, some details on the protective building they want to build around the reactors and how to prevent more contamination of soil, water etc. Well worth scrolling through, massive work is certainly ongoing at the site and it seems TEPCO has a solid plan that they are implementing.  Of course more surprises will without a doubt pop up during work, but it looks promising. We are still waiting for more in depth information on the situation of the number 2 and 3 reactors.

English blogs:
All Things Nuclear TEPCO Says Core of Unit 1 Melted
Atomic Power Review Fukushima Daiichi update, Weds. morning 5/18

English News:
New York Times Venting Failure in the Nuclear Reactors at Fukushima Daiichi
Reuters UK nuclear power gets green light



Day 20 after the tsunami

Update 12:00(CET)/10:00(UTC)/19:00(JST)

New JAIF update for today, I will compare it with the NISA update from yesterday.

Reactor 1:
Water level in the core: 1.65 (1.60) meters below the top of fuel assemblies
Flow rate of injected water: 133 liter/minute
Core pressure: 612(592) kPa
Containment pressure: 210(230) kPa
Core temperature(feedwater nozzle): 251.2 (270.1) Celsius
Core temperature(bottom head): 130.2 Celsius
Dose rate within containment: 37.7 Sv/hour

Reactor 2:
Water level in the core: 1.5 (1.5)   meters below the top of fuel assemblies
Flow rate of injected water: 133 liter/minute
Core pressure: unknown
Containment pressure: 110 (100) kPa
Core temperature(feedwater nozzle): 174.3 Celsius
Core temperature(bottom head): Unknown
Dose rate within containment:  39.6 Sv/hour
Spent fuel pool temperature:  48 Celsius

Reactor 3:
Water level in the core: 2.3 (2.25)  meters below the top of fuel assemblies
Flow rate of injected water: 116 liters/minute
Core pressure: 121 (119)  kPa
Containment pressure: 173 (164) kPa
Core temperature(feedwater nozzle): 75.3 Celsius (under review)
Core temperature(bottom head): 116.0 Celsius
Dose rate within containment:  26.8 Sv/hour
Status with the reactors are pretty much unchanged. Work is proceeding with pumping away junk water from turbine halls so one can repair the coolant pumps. Work is slow however due to lack of any place to put the radioactive water.

IAEA released a new estimate on ground fallout yesterday and its not pleasant reading. Here is a quote:

Based on measurements of I-131 and Cs-137 in soil, sampled from 18 to 26 March in 9 municipalities at distances of 25 to 58 km from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, the total deposition of iodine-131 and cesium-137 has been calculated. The results indicate a pronounced spatial variability of the total deposition of iodine-131 and cesium-137. The average total deposition determined at these locations for iodine-131 range from 0.2 to 25 Megabecquerel per square metre and for cesium-137 from 0.02-3.7 Megabecquerel per square metre.

This is Chernobyl level ground deposits of Cs-137 around the plant and indicates one might have to expand the evacuation zone around Fukushima. The basis of the IAEA estimate is from the dust samples published by MEXT.


Bloomberg Fukushima workers face risk of uncontrolled reactions
Reuters Japan under pressure to expand evacuation
Kyodo news Kan to review plan to build more nuclear power plants from scratch

MIT nuclear information hub Plutonium in the environment
Depleted Cranium Great presentation on Fukushima Daiichi
Where are the clouds Ibakari analysis for 21 march
Atomic Insights Detectable radiation versus dangerous radiation

Expressen Vattenbombningarna kan ha skadat reaktorerna
Aftonbladet Nivån av radioaktivt jod når nya toppmätningar
DN Kärnkraftverk kan stängas för gott
SvD USA styrka skickas till Fukushima

Dr Angels Redan 1999 protesterade Greenpeace mot Fukushima
Linn Tummen upp för kärnkraft
Norah4you Dags att tala klarspråk Japan


This... is an ex-parrot!!

Let me indulge myself in a bit of personal commentary for a moment and convey my frustration about debating nuclear power. When browsing the sheets, TV-programs and the web, I as a nuclear friend more often than not run into absurdities so staggering it leaves me wondering if this is reality or some really tripped out stage comedy.

The latest act in this Circus Macabre is Christer Borg, who in a recent blog entry argues against nuclear power with arguments so false I am relating to John Cleese's character in the famous parrot sketch: Mr. Praline is faced with a salesman who won't admit that the parrot he just sold is definitely deceased. The man behind the counter keeps arguing his fraudulent case with ever more ridiculous arguments until eventually he's trying to convince the customer that the stuffed Norwegian Blue parrot is not dead but "pining for the fjords".

Video provided kind courtesy of Monty Python

Let me show you what I mean... Christer Borg says:

A wrecked reactor is as deadly to all life as it was when Three Mile Island or the Chernobyl disasters took place.

Bringing up Chernobyl in discussions about  Swedish reactors, or any light-water moderated reactor for that matter since its the most prevalent reactor type in the world, is absolutely silly. If we chose to ignore the fact that the comparison requires an act of God, where He gets devilishly drunk and in a stupor goes on to rewrite the laws of physics, the death toll from the accident itself does not even reach 100 people yet.  Anyone arguing differently had best take it up with the UN.

"This parrot is no more!"

Three Mile Island is slightly more relevant to talk about because that concerned a reactor type that actually exists outside the former Soviet Union, as opposed to the accident prone RBMK-type of reactor that blew up at Chernobyl. But the argument is still trying to assert the vitality of a bleedin' demised parrot because the accident at TMI-2 left us with zero dead, zero injured and zero cancer cases. Why does Borg, when he wishes to speak against nuclear power, bring up an event which tells us that even when suffering a nuclear meltdown the safety measures of a western reactor works and prevents death and injury?

"It has ceased to be!"

Borg continues...

The issue of storing nuclear waste is as unresolved as it was thirty years ago.

This argument tries to ignore thirty years of research and development in the area, not to mention 1.7 billion years of geological truth.  The invalidity of the argument is laid bare the moment you step onto the homepage of SKB, Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB. SKB selects the site to build the Swedish deep geological repository in 2009. The year after that they hand in their application to the authorities seeking permission to begin work constructing the repository using the KBS-3 method, validated by science and Mother Nature in her very own experiment into nuclear waste storage.

"It's expired and gone to meet its maker!"

Borg: Operating nuclear reactors is as difficult as before.

OK, so if we again ignore reality, such as the extremely low accident rate compared to other sources of power and the lack of injuries resulting from nuclear power, his argument tries to deny the fact that design criteria for modern nuclear reactors specify them to be "Walk away safe". That is to say a modern nuclear reactor remains safe even if all of the operators simply walk away from the controls. I know of few other human activities that would allow that sort of abuse. And this did not exist thirty years ago.

"It's a stiff! Bereft of life. It rests in peace!"

Borg: Uranium mining is a detrimental to the environment as it has always been.

Again Borg tries to ignore progress and reality. To illustrate how silly his argument is: the radiation dose that a Swedish iron ore miner received in the LKAB mines in the 70's was twenty times that which an Australian uranium miner receives today. I can concede the fact that back in the last century uranium mining was no picnic. But then again that was the case for all mining. And today the situation is different as all mining, including uranium mining is subject to the same kind of environmental requirements as everyone else. Trying to claim nothing has changed is nearly too stupid for words, but Borg somehow manages to utter them with a straight face. I simply don't know how he does it. Overdosing on Botox perhaps?

"If you hadn't nailed it to the perch it would be pushing up the daisies!"

Borg: The centralization of this extremely dangerous activity...

"It's run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible!"

...makes it as perfect as before for callous and desperate terrorists.

...which is to say: bloody useless. A nuclear power plant is an unattractive target for terrorists. This case we have covered before here at Nuclear Power Yes Please in our last article "Wind power increases vulnerability to terrorism". Quick recap: distributed power, as endorsed by Borg, shifts our vulnerability from the resilient and easily defendable nuclear power plants to the network grid that is made fragile by distributed and fickle power sources such as wind.

"This... is an ex-parrot!"

As you can surely understand arguments such as those presented by Christer Borg leave me wondering what kind of reality some people live in. There just isn't any truth to his claims. Anyone with a web browser and half a pint of sense can verify that his argument is a load of fetid dingo's kidneys. How does he expect that anyone will not notice the gaping cracks in his anti-nuclear facade?

I'll leave you with the only piece of sense to come out of his ridiculous article... one that I think he in retrospect ought to feel really embarassed about having put there as it perfectly describes the futility of his behaviour:

A lie does not become more true just because you repeat it over and over.

/Michael Karnerfors, member of the network Nuclear Power Yes Please

- No I'm sorry! I'm not prepared to persue my line of inquiry any further as I think this is getting too silly!
- Quite agree, quite agree. Silly silly silly. Right, get on with it. Get on with it!