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As 1.5 Million Flee Hurricane Florence, Worries Grow Over Half Dozen Nuclear Power Plants in Storm's Path


#82

Although Tepco denied it at first, they later admitted that the earthquake broke so many pipes that they were unable to maintain the cooling even while they still had power, and as a result the core melted down before the Tsunami even hit. All the diesel generators in the world do you no good if you do not have the pipes available to direct coolant to the core.
It is interesting to note that the the builders had claimed that the design was so redundant that such an event could essentially never happen. Unfortunately it did.
Then when the Tsunami hit, the problem was greatly compounded.

Oh I forgot. Radiation is good for you. People used to expose themselves to radiation thinking it would improve their health. Unfortunately they then died horrible deaths from cancer as a result. Even Madame Curie, for which a measure of Radiation is named, died from Radiation exposure. Our government even considered renaming “Radiation” as “Sunshine Units” because big bad “Radiation” sounds so scary.

There is a reason that every home and auto insurance policy specifically does not cover damage due to radiation exposure, and it is NOT because Radiation is harmless.


#83

Thanks for the warning. All my preparations are done so I am ready either way. Have a good day my friend.


#84

Good luck, man! Yes, the storm is now tracking south. I don’t see that that mitigates the threat of widespread flooding and/or mudslides in a region already saturated with rain. Looks like this is going to be a doozy!


#85

“Although Tepco denied it at first, they later admitted that the earthquake broke so many pipes that they were unable to maintain the cooling even while they still had power, and as a result the core melted down before the Tsunami even hit.”

  • Do you have any credible documents that would actually verify this information. It just seems odd, because if this occurred then hydrogen would likely have leaked into the containment building prior to the tsunami, but the hydrogen explosions did not occur until well after the tsunami. If the meltdowns had already occurred in all reactors prior to the tsunami’s impact then why did the hydrogen explosions not occur until March 12 at 15:30, nearly a full day after the tsunami hit?

  • Also if coolant was unable to flow through pipes, then how were the wetwell suppression pools operational after the earthquake. If the pipes were ruptured then coolant would flow out of the pipes into the containment building as opposed to being filtered through the wetwell suppression pools. If coolant was not transferred to the wetwell suppression pools then steam could not have built up in these systems causing a pressure rupture in Reactor 2. Does your source claim this never happened now?

  • Additionally the pipes that transport coolant into the reactor core are located on either side of the core and completely separate from the spent fuel pools located above the reactor. If the leaks occurred in these pipes then excess hydrogen build up would have been released in the lower containment compartment, yet the hydrogen explosions occurred above the spent fuel pools. If what you are saying actually occurred then the explosions should have ruptured the sides of the building not the top. How does your source justify this?

  • If the plumbing was ruptured, then the tsunami would have had zero effect on the nuclear reactors. Both the diesel generators and heat exchangers are directly connected to the plumbing as the generators help pump steam into the wetwell suppression pools below the reactor core. If the plumbing was ruptured then the generators would have no effect. If the tsunami hit at this stage then the water may have mixed with the radioactive contaminants, but since you claim a meltdown had already occurred this would mean that the reactor core was spewing radioactive gas into the lower containment structure. If this had occurred then the explosions should have already occurred and the waves should have been existing from the sides of the structure.

  • If the plumbing was ruptured, then it would have been impossible for the operators to send radioactive gases into the chimney of the reactor. Does your source confirm that TEPCO lied about this particular operation?

  • TEPCO also claimed that they attempted to reduce heating in reactor cores by pumping seawater laced with boron into the reactors. If the meltdowns had already occurred and most of the pipes were ruptured then this operation would have been impossible. Does your source confirm that TEPCO lied about this particular operation?

“Oh I forgot. Radiation is good for you. People used to expose themselves to radiation thinking it would improve their health. Unfortunately they then died horrible deaths from cancer as a result.”

  • Try reading my comment again, because your entire response has nothing with my comment on why it is ridiculous to be concerned about 100,000 years.

#86

Hang Tuff. That’s all there is at some point.


#87

Not delusions. It’s much more banal than that: They are (well) paid employees of oligarchs, plutocrats and corporations via squeezing money from taxpayers an bribes, usually called “campaign contributions,” and post-“service” jobs. All good.


#88

You are talking about some hypothetical potential. But all of those other areas I mentioned have an actual death toll that far exceeds that from nuclear power, by orders of magnitude, and that’s even including Chernobyl, which was a reckless, unstable, uncontained, cheap, massive, Soviet design that nobody is advocating. And just as that was a design which was much worse than today’s commercial nuclear reactors, other designs could be much better. The hypothetical worst case scenarios for molten salt reactors would represent virtually no risk beyond the plant boundaries.

“You also seem to be suggesting that the same insanities by military and government decisions which “quashed research in the direction of safer reactors which would have prevented something like Fukushima” won’t be as insane in future?”

That research has mostly passed from government control in the U.S. The advanced reactor research is primarily taking place in the private sector now. And the research is focusing on optimizing the reactors for civilian applications. These will be very different from the military reactors that our current fleet was based on. And since the research is taking place mostly outside of government labs, that means that it does not depend on serving government dictates. Government could facilitate the research, but it’s not going to decide its direction. These reactors are going to have to compete on their merits, and they are being designed with that in mind.

“Our government/MIC/CIA are only more insane than they were when the first decisions were made to use nuclear power to boil water –”

You seem to be fixated on the notion that boiling water is somehow insane. What is it that you imagine is so evil or dangerous about boiling water that one would have to be insane to even consider it?

“First I don’t think California would be any happier with your throwing more radiated water/
waste into the Pacific to reach them”

The amount of tritium in seawater–mostly from bombs–used to be ten times what it is now, and nobody has ever found that it caused a problem for any life even at its peak. It has a very weak radiation profile, basically kicking out a neutrino (totally harmless) and a low-energy electron–about as damaging as static electricity. The residual bomb tritium remaining in the Pacific is still disappearing at a rate that would far exceed the rate of any controlled release from Fukushima. The net effect on California would be a small slowing in the rate of tritium disappearance such that the levels that would have been reached on a given day would instead be reached a few days later. And that’s with dumping the entire load of water in storage at Fukushima, which really wouldn’t be necessary just to free up a few years worth of storage.

“– and everything in between by marine life which is developing a nasty habit of washing up dead –”

All marine organisms die, and some of them wash up dead. That is how it has been for as long as there has been life in the oceans. But none of that has anything to do with Fukushima. No marine biologist has attributed or connected any West Coast marine death or disease event in any species to Fukushima contaminant radiation.

“And, this is the very thing they’ve been trying to prevent for the sake of us all – i.e., dumping it into the ocean and you not only call it “sensible” …”

Not just me. Most radiation experts have the same view.

“you follow up with an option to pollute Antarctica –”

Yeah, with ice. What harm do you imagine that could possibly do? The boat trip taking it down there would be the worst, most polluting, most life-damaging part of that plan, which is to say it would do nothing worse than what any of the thousands of other ships in the oceans are already doing every day.

"And, evidently, the government nor the owners of the nuclear reactor haven’t thought of this next one…
[Once the leaks are plugged, the pace of work could slow down. There would be nothing time-critical that would need to be dealt with, and working slower would actually give radiation levels more time to subside.]

I’m sure they’ve thought of it, and I expect they know that course would make more sense. The reason they are not considering it is because they have to placate public opinion, even if that opinion is based on ignorance, misconception, and/or sheer emotion. So they will try to turn it into a vacant site as quickly as possible (and do nothing with it afterwards) even if it would be safer, cheaper, and cleaner to work slower.

“And, I’m sure your suggestions come with the same guarantees our Congress and government gave us in regard to the existing nuclear reactors – NONE”

Guarantees are basically one-sided bets. They are assurances backed with some sort of tangible stake. They don’t actually do anything to change the probabilities they are based on. My suggestions are just based on an evaluation of the probabilities, picking the options that look like they pose the least risk.

“Meanwhile, Global Warming is only now about to reflect back to us in increasing events and increasing severity of events the damage done to Nature AFTER 1969 – and again there is no way to say how all of the harm done will compound in these events. Nor, of course, any way to guess what to prepare for.”

In terms of threats to nuclear reactors, we wouldn’t need to know every possible thing we might have to prepare for if we migrate to reactors which eliminate all the worst possible consequences. We don’t try to ensure that wind turbines cannot be damaged by any possible weather event, because it isn’t a big deal if a wind turbine gets damaged or destroyed, and we know that the aggregate cost of repairing or replacing some windmills occasionally would be trivial compared to the cost of making them all invulnerable. Same deal with minimal-consequence reactors. There would be no need to make, for example, a molten salt reactor impervious to everything that could possibly happen to it, because no matter what happens to it, it wouldn’t have any catastrophic failure modes.


#89

Yes, wildlife is doing well around Chernobyl. Fukushima is another story. Will organisms adapt to hundreds of reactors melting down and flooding the atmosphere and the oceans with radiation? I wish I knew the answer. I’m sure there will be life, especially microorganisms. My point is that we as a species have taken a remarkably beautiful life-supporting planet and will destroy it beyond recognition in the pursuit of resources for a human population that is beyond the carrying capacity of the earth.


#90

Only because Fukushima is more recent. If it were to be left alone for as long as Chernobyl has been, it would be just as rewilded as Chernobyl is now. But that probably is not going to happen. The area will be largely repopulated in another decade.

“Will organisms adapt to hundreds of reactors melting down and flooding the atmosphere and the oceans with radiation? I wish I knew the answer.”

Chernobyl’s one reactor discharge was easily ten times worse than the three units combined at Fukushima. But even if you had 100 Chernobyls, that would still only put out like around 10% of the radiation that atmospheric bomb testing did. Did you notice life on Earth having any trouble adapting to the fallout from the bomb testing days? Apart from the immediate vicinity of the bomb blasts, most life on Earth didn’t even notice.

“My point is that we as a species have taken a remarkably beautiful life-supporting planet and will destroy it beyond recognition in the pursuit of resources for a human population that is beyond the carrying capacity of the earth.”

If we were to migrate to molten salt fast reactors, those would have a very tiny energy resource extraction profile, and the very idea of a carrying capacity would not apply. And bonus, there would be no melt-down scenario for such reactors.


#91

Agree – but there are many of them suffering religious delusions, as well …
or using religion as an excuse for exploitation and outright destruction of nature.

“Christianity” underpins Elitism/Patriarchy –

Manifest Destiny and Man’s Dominion Over Nature are licenses to Elites for exploitation,
not only of Nature also including exploitation of other human beings according to various
myths of “inferiority.”


#92

Good news for you, thanks for the update. Hoping for others is all we have now.


#93

Trog –

The history of nuclear reactors isn’t over yet – and “Florence” is the next test of
the insanity – and Chernobyl and Fukushima are the proof of that insanity.

Nuclear reactors will never be insurable - except as a burden on the taxpayer.

Very clearly using NUCLEAR REACTORS to boil water for steam is insane.

And you are ignoring the impact of Fukushima on marine life and on California, and more.

Anyone who suggests that Fukushima’s contaminated water be dumped into the Pacific is insane.

And if that can’t be done you suggest polluting Antarctica –

Yeah, with ice. What harm do you imagine that could possibly do? The boat trip taking it down there would be the worst, most polluting, most life-damaging part of that plan, which is to say it would do nothing worse than what any of the thousands of other ships in the oceans are already doing every day.

and, your lack of respect for the public as they reject your views is reduced to their “ignorance, sheer emotion, misconceptions.”

Of course there are NO guarantees in regard to anything connected to nuclear reactors.

if we migrate to reactors which eliminate all the worst possible consequences.

This week, nuclear reactors are going to be subjected to 40 inches of rain.

You’re confirming with each new post the insanity of using nuclear reactors to boil water for steam.


#94

This was widely reported here on Common Dreams, some time after the initial “The tsunami was the culprit” hysteria that Tepco originally claimed. The documentation was presented then and even Tepco reluctantly admitted that the meltdown occurred before the tsunami. You probably commented on those threads since it seems that you are always coming to the defense of the Nuclear Power industry, but I do not remember for certain that you did. In fact it was somewhat of a scandal since Tepco was trying to say that there was nothing that they could have done differently. And of course the heavily subsidized Nuclear Industry does not want to hear that what they always claimed was impossible actually did happen because that has repercussions for follies such as the Diablo Canyon plant that is built in an earthquake zone.

The Nuclear Power Industry has always claimed that Nuclear Waste is not a problem because a solution (like some that you have proposed) is just around the corner.

Forty years ago I remember touring the now closed Trojan Nuclear Power Plant outside of Portland Oregon and they had a nice display claiming that the Nuclear Waste problem was solved back then. They could form the waste into glass-like structures that will be buried deep underground where they will never cause any problems. They had not actually implemented this solution but we did not have to worry our little minds about details such as what to do with their nuclear waste. Funny how the government did not use that “proven” technique in the failed Yucca Mountain storage site. And why did they not use these “proven” techniques for the Hanford waste that is stored in rusting steel tanks?

It is not leaking pipes that are the real problem. It is the leaking pipe dreams of corporations who are only concerned about their next quarter’s bottom line and governments who do not want to spend tax dollars to protect their citizens.


#95

Quark –

And the most damage was done by the US government’s lack of response –
and then it’s very racist response –

and not much can be said for it’s “after Katrina” response, either.

Elites are willing to let the public die in any weather emergency now.

And I’m hoping that the storm will weaken before it hits and everyone will be OK.


#96

Thanks I appreciate it. It comes clearer with time that my gain appears to be South Carolina’s loss. I think we will be fine. South Carolina however…


#97

I agree. I think we are at the very early beginnings of an atomic age.

" – and “Florence” is the next test of the insanity"

Florence will test many systems in the area, including some wind and solar installations. But you don’t care if any of those fail the test because their failures would only cause local damage and represent local hazards. You are more concerned about the reactors, even though they are much more robustly built, because their hypothetical worst case scenario has a larger harm potential–no matter how unlikely it is. But that maximum threat potential isn’t inherent to all forms of nuclear power. We could have reactors for which the worst case failures would still be contained within the plant boundaries.

“– and Chernobyl and Fukushima are the proof of that insanity.”

They merely demonstrate that nuclear power can be done badly–same as for most human endeavors. They do not establish that it cannot be done well.

“Nuclear reactors will never be insurable - except as a burden on the taxpayer.”

That’s sheer speculation. You have no idea how the insurance industry would regard entirely different kinds of reactors. Even they would need to do an evaluation before they reached a conclusion.

“Very clearly using NUCLEAR REACTORS to boil water for steam is insane.”

Why? You keep saying this, but you haven’t given a single reason as to why it is insane.

“And you are ignoring the impact of Fukushima on marine life and on California, and more.”

What Fukushima impact on marine life and California? What would be an example of a single biological effect on any Pacific marine or West Coast species?

“Anyone who suggests that Fukushima’s contaminated water be dumped into the Pacific is insane.”

Why? What’s insane about it?

"And if that can’t be done you suggest polluting Antarctica –
[Yeah, with ice. What harm do you imagine that could possibly do?]

And the question still stands.

“and, your lack of respect for the public as they reject your views is reduced to their “ignorance, sheer emotion, misconceptions.””

Well, yes. Humans get like that about things they don’t understand sometimes. In Korea, they have a dread fear of fan death.

And that’s with technology as simple as an electric fan. Hardly surprising that ignorance can sometimes prevail where a much more complex technology is involved.

“Of course there are NO guarantees in regard to anything connected to nuclear reactors.”

Even before we build them, there are attributes we know molten salt reactors will definitely have. They will have a zero percent chance of experiencing core meltdowns, or pressure ruptures, or hydrogen explosions, or spent fuel zirconium fires.

“This week, nuclear reactors are going to be subjected to 40 inches of rain.”

It would be ironic if that causes a major problem for our water-filled, water-moderated, water-cooled reactors which were derived from submarine reactor designs.

“You’re confirming with each new post the insanity of using nuclear reactors to boil water for steam.”

Calling it insane isn’t enough to establish that there is anything at all insane about it. If you want to show that it is insane, you have to present an actual case.


#98

Nope. That did not happen. Your memory is playing tricks on you. Tepco never admitted any such thing, and Common Dreams did not even mistakenly report that they said any such thing. I was here then (I was an anti-nuke then) and I was following the story closely. The big outrage was that Tepco was not admitting to meltdowns and calling them by that name. They were only saying that their readings and simulations indicated that fuel damage had occurred. It was weeks later revealed that their simulations were showing total loss of fuel in at least one reactor, which would definitely qualify as a meltdown in popular parlance, but Tepco was sticking to the industry standard terms.

You can see a summary timeline of how events unfolded–based in large part on Tepco’s readings, records, and findings–here:


#99

There are many accounts of the pipes bursting in the 40 minutes BEFORE the tsunami hit.
Here is just one of them from the Atlantic:

From the article:
In September of 2002, TEPCO admitted to covering up data concerning cracks in critical circulation pipes in addition to previously revealed falsifications.

The reason for official reluctance to admit that the earthquake did direct structural damage to reactor one is obvious. Katsunobu Onda, author of TEPCO: The Dark Empire (東京電力・暗黒の帝国), who sounded the alarm about the firm in his 2007 book explains it this way: “If TEPCO and the government of Japan admit an earthquake can do direct damage to the reactor, this raises suspicions about the safety of every reactor they run.

But it is a lot easier to deny the facts and stick to the Nuclear Power Playbook: All plants are designed to be absolutely safe so that failure is virtually impossible. Nuclear waste is of no concern because someday we will figure out a solution.
(Of course Fukushima, Chernobyl, TMI, Browns Ferry, Hanford and all of the other accidents, problems, or near disasters contradict the official line and show the absolute hubris of the designers, operators, and regulators.)


#100

Good info!


#101

That wasn’t your claim. You said Tepco admitted that the earthquake broke so many pipes that they were unable to maintain the cooling even while they still had power, and as a result the core melted down before the Tsunami even hit. An article which has accounts of some broken pipes from a few anonymous workers who didn’t really know what the pipes went to doesn’t confirm any part of your claim. Not that they couldn’t do cooling, not that Tepco admitted any such thing, and especially not that there was any core meltdown before the large tsunami hit. It was hours after the large tsunami before fuel first became uncovered in reactor 1.