Fresh radioactive runoff at Japan plant

Dec 05, 2011
File handout photo from Tokyo Electric Power shows sand bags placed around the Fukushima nuclear complex on June 30. A fresh leak of radioactive water into the open ocean has been discovered at the crippled nuclear complex, its operator said Monday as cleanup efforts continued.

A fresh leak of radioactive water into the open ocean has been discovered at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear complex, its operator said Monday as cleanup efforts continued.

Crews were dispatched to find the cause of the runoff, which was discovered Sunday near a system used to treat contaminated water, according to Power Co. (TEPCO).

The plant operator said it was using sand bags to prevent further leakage after 45 tonnes of water were found pooled around the water-treatment system's condensation unit.

Most of the water remained inside the building, but about 300 litres (79 US gallons) was estimated to have escaped and run into a nearby gutter that leads to the ocean before crews could contain the leaks, a company spokesman said.

The water was contaminated with the and iodine but their levels were "roughly the same as or slightly higher" than ocean water near the plant, the spokesman said.

The water may also contain other , such as strontium, the company said. Strontium is linked to bone cancers.

It may take two to three weeks before it can be determined how much, if any, strontium is contained in the water, the utility said.

"We will keep investigating the problem" with the system, the spokesman said.

In the weeks after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami hit the plant, TEPCO dumped 10,000 tonnes of lower-level into the Pacific Ocean.

Subsequent reports have found the radiation was widely dispersed and did not pose a threat to human or animal life.

Fukushima's makeshift water-treatment system has been hit by a series of problems which forced officials to temporarily shut it down.

But TEPCO said the leak would not hinder its plans to bring the reactors to a state of cold shutdown by the end of the year.

Large areas around the Fukushima plant have been left contaminated with radiation after a series of meltdowns in the world's worst since Chernobyl.

The accident has not directly claimed any lives, but has left tens of thousands of people displaced and rendered whole towns uninhabitable, possibly for decades.

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Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011
Remember. To power a world of 15 billion people at U.S. levels of energy wastage via nuclear power, will require the construction of 200,000 new nuclear reactors. Roughly 450 are in service today.

Over the last 50 years of their operation, they have suffered 1 core explosion and 4 core meltdowns.

Feel free to do the numbers.
Uzza
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 05, 2011
Remember. To power a world of 15 billion people at U.S. levels of energy wastage via nuclear power, will require the construction of 200,000 new nuclear reactors. Roughly 450 are in service today.

Over the last 50 years of their operation, they have suffered 1 core explosion and 4 core meltdowns.

Feel free to do the numbers.

If they were Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, no such accidents would have happened.

There are more to nuclear than solid fuel, high pressure and water cooling.
Nanobanano
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 05, 2011
Feel free to do the numbers.


I take it you don't think any improvements have been made or could be.

The entire Fukushima system is extremely out dated and has very, very poor contingency planning from the design phase forward.

The issue with the spent fuel rods pond being in the same buildings with the reactors greatly complicated efforts to stop the meltdowns, and is again a reflection of a complete lack of foresight in the planning of the system. The spent rods should have been stored off-site in order to minimize the complexity of a catastrophic scenario.

The backup systems were too vulnerable, and basicly in a situation where anything bad enough to disable the primary systems was going to disable the backups as well. So many of the backup systems were effectively useless.

The entire system was a failure of imagination and foresight.
Isaacsname
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 05, 2011


Look through seismic records( IRIS )of the area where the quake hit, off the coast of Fukushima.

For the entire year before the month of the quake ~ almost no tremors recorded.

In the 3 weeks before the quake, almost 40 tremors.

If that's not an indication ( a cluster ) that it's time to shore things up a little, I don't know what is.

I keep asking myself,..with ample warning from seismic monitoring near coastal nuclear powerplants, how'd they miss that.

Seems to be a loud and clear warning to me.....
bluehigh
4 / 5 (4) Dec 05, 2011
Feel free to do the numbers.


Numbers Vendi?

Simple commonsense says this a huge environmental disaster of which we yet to learn the true extent.
rawa1
1.8 / 5 (4) Dec 05, 2011
If they were Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, no such accidents would have happened.

The liquid fluoride reactor are very prone to leakage of molten fluoride, because it's extremely corrosive. Such electrolyte must be kept in ceramic pipes, which are brittle and prone to rupture in contact with coolant. Those who are promoting molten salt reactors simply never saw it and they don't know anything about this technology.

Anyway, with compare to cold fusion ALL fission reactors are dirty sh*ts. Cold fusion is basically common chemical technology with respect to its security and environmental impacts. It even doesn't requires high temperature necessarily for keeping fluride reactors in their molten state. No corrosion or similar material problems, no radioactive waste or radioactive products which would require the reprocessing inside of closed factories. It just generates heat in its pure state.
Pyle
5 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011
Zephir, Could you do me a favor? Please separate your posts into the sense and nonsense sections. Your first paragraph above is spot on. After writing, hit send. Then write your second paragraph and close your browser.

The worst nuclear disaster we know about occurred on a hill overlooking the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. We are still learning about the impact of this disaster 60 years after it happened. Nuclear is messy.
kochevnik
5 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2011
If 200,000 nuke reactors were built, I doubt the 15billion would live very long. Probably humanity would die off trying to build the first 50,000 or so. Only takes a few plutonium spills in the atmosphere to give millions lung cancer. A few hundred would kill everyone.
Pyle
not rated yet Dec 05, 2011
Oops, I meant the worst nuclear accident in the United States. Doh!
Nerdyguy
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 05, 2011
Remember. To power a world of 15 billion people at U.S. levels of energy wastage via nuclear power, will require the construction of 200,000 new nuclear reactors. Roughly 450 are in service today.

Over the last 50 years of their operation, they have suffered 1 core explosion and 4 core meltdowns.

Feel free to do the numbers.


Good point. We should be using way more coal.
FrankHerbert
1 / 5 (52) Dec 05, 2011
Remember. To power a world of 15 billion people at U.S. levels of energy wastage via nuclear power, will require the construction of 200,000 new nuclear reactors. Roughly 450 are in service today.

Over the last 50 years of their operation, they have suffered 1 core explosion and 4 core meltdowns.

Feel free to do the numbers.


Good point. We should be using way more coal.


Shill baby shill!
Nerdyguy
2 / 5 (4) Dec 05, 2011
Remember. To power a world of 15 billion people at U.S. levels of energy wastage via nuclear power, will require the construction of 200,000 new nuclear reactors. Roughly 450 are in service today.

Over the last 50 years of their operation, they have suffered 1 core explosion and 4 core meltdowns.

Feel free to do the numbers.


Good point. We should be using way more coal.


Shill baby shill!


Other than anti-social comments, do you have anything at all relevant and/or intelligent to add? Perhaps a solution? I suppose you're convinced we'll all be just fine wearing hats with collectors?
Isaacsname
1 / 5 (1) Dec 06, 2011
http://www.iris.w...r/map.do

Check the dates and times for yourselves.

There is not a chance in hell that this cluster of tremors did not set off warning bells somewhere.

I really do believe that there are people who knew that there was a good chance this was going to happen before it did.
MarkyMark
5 / 5 (1) Dec 08, 2011
Remember. To power a world of 15 billion people at U.S. levels of energy wastage via nuclear power, will require the construction of 200,000 new nuclear reactors. Roughly 450 are in service today.

Over the last 50 years of their operation, they have suffered 1 core explosion and 4 core meltdowns.

Feel free to do the numbers.


Good point. We should be using way more coal.

What a silly unhelpfull comment, what we need is to build orbital solar collectors that can beam energy to collectors on the ground.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 08, 2011
If they were Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, no such accidents would have happened.

And the radiatioactive waste products of such reactors are just a problem for 300 years - not tens of thousands of years as with the conventional kind.
But then again: that doesn't make any difference because no country will be around for 300 years (at least no one will feel responsible for safeguarding the junk someone produced 300 years ago) - just as no one would care in ten thousand years to do so. So these types of reactors aren't a solution at all.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 08, 2011
Good point. We should be using way more coal.

How does that follow? There are, say it with me, a_l_t_e_r_n_a_t_i_v_e energy sources. I know the word may be a bit complicated to pronounce. But try it once in a while and you'll get used to it.

There is not a chance in hell that this cluster of tremors did not set off warning bells somewhere.

If they'd shut down nuclear recators every time there are minor tremors in Japan they'd never be operating at all.

What a silly unhelpfull comment, what we need is to build orbital solar collectors that can beam energy to collectors on the ground.

Yes. Let's pollute our atmosphere with toxic exhausts from thousands of rocket launches to get a tiny bit of clean energy. Do the numbers on that. Orbital solar power is a fantasy. (/sarcasm)
Pyle
5 / 5 (1) Dec 08, 2011
If they'd shut down nuclear recators every time there are minor tremors in Japan they'd never be operating at all.

AP, right on, and even more so, if they had shut down the nuclear reactors the disaster might have been 10% less bad than it was. The waste storage still would have been a problem with the reactor shut down.

Orbital solar power is a fantasy.
And so were $400 handheld computers with more computing power than super computers in 1980. It will all happen faster than we can now imagine, assuming we don't do something to set us back 200 years in the mean time.
CHollman82
1 / 5 (1) Dec 08, 2011
I think it's quite telling that accidents like this cause the general public to want to abandon the technology rather than work to make it safer...

No one wants nuke or coal plants but no one wants $10/kwh elecricity either... people need to make up their minds.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 08, 2011
And so were $400 handheld computers with more computing power than super computers in 1980.

There are certain numbers one cannot ignore.
1) It takes a certain amount of energy to lift 1kg into orbit.
2) A solar panel cannot be more efficient than 100%
3) A solar panel (or even a mirror) of a certain size has a certain weight
4) Solar constant means you need a certain size of installed powerplant in space.

Do the numbers and you will find that to just get 10% of world energy from orbital solar you need more than one hundred thousand launches of today's most modern rocket systems. To the tune of 400 trillion dollars or thereabouts. (not counting earthbound distribution systems)

And we need the changeover soon - not in 100 years. We don't have the time to build that kind of a space fleet (even if it didn't overkill the atmosphere.)
Space based solar will come when we have the leisure to play at pimping our planet - at the earliest.
rawa1
1 / 5 (1) Dec 08, 2011
The worst nuclear disaster we know about occurred on a hill overlooking the San Fernando Valley in Southern California.
You apparently (and purportedly) omitted the Fukushima, Chernobyl, Kyshtym, Windscale, Three Mile Island, First Chalk River, Lucens and many others. All these accidents are labelled worse than the San Fernando Valley accident. http://en.wikiped...accident
Pyle
not rated yet Dec 08, 2011
Zephir: I tried to correct my statement in a later post, I had meant to say worst nuclear disaster in the United States. Regarding the San Fernando/Santa Susana/Simi Valley accident, there were estimates that as much as 250 times as much radioactive iodine-131 was released into the atmosphere than at Three Mile Island. I think the "official" story on the Sodium Reactor Experiment at Santa Susana is still being written. An EPA survey was ongoing last time I checked. Boeing, the current land owner, settled for some undisclosed amount to the neighboring residents and their descendants as a result of the high cancer rates and other health problems caused by the disaster.

@AP: Sounds very rational. I say wait and see. More better coming faster than we all can imagine. But I am a fearless optimist today.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 09, 2011
Sure, changs will be coming.

But you, too, have been reading physorg for a while. You know that the time it takes from successfull research to market is on the order of decades. The only technology I could envision that would make space based solar economically and ecologically viable would be a space elevator (rockets just use a lot more energy than any solar panels sent up could produce).

But we don't even have a material yet that can do it (and no idea how to manufacture, deploy, maintain or use such a structure). That would be again decades until something like this would be up and running. And then we'd only START at sending up powerplants.

We don't have that kind of time. The changeover must happen in the next 50 years or so. There are many alternative technologies that are tried and tested which can accomplish this changeover. They are less 'sexy' but they work and are way cheaper. I say: Let's save the planet and worry about 'sexy' later.
rawa1
1 / 5 (1) Dec 09, 2011
I tried to correct my statement in a later post, I had meant to say worst nuclear disaster in the United States.
With proper choice of space-time interval you could convert the positive effect into negative one easily - for example the global warming into local cooling. This is what the demagogy is called....
CHollman82
5 / 5 (1) Dec 09, 2011
Sure, changs will be coming.


Are you saying the Chinese are invading?
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 09, 2011
Damn typo.

Are you saying the Chinese are invading?

No need. Judging by the names of the researchers who do all the brakthroughs they are all ready there.
But why would they invade? Being a major lender they already own most of the stuff. Would you invade your own home? Unless, of course, some country would suddenly decide that it didn't honor these debts anymore. Then all bets are off.
Isaacsname
1 / 5 (1) Dec 10, 2011
AP, you are severely missing the point.

When an area on a fault-line registers almost zero activity over a year's time, and then in the space of a few weeks there's a cluster of 40 or so tremors registered, it's time to start paying attention.

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