Japan Times on Melt Through: “Molten ‘lava’ melted bottom of containment vessel,” says nuclear engineer given access by top official — Huge amounts of fission materials released into environment

Published: April 18th, 2012 at 9:53 am ET
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Yomiuri: “The worst-case scenario is a China syndrome” [...] A China syndrome refers to a situation in which nuclear fuel in a reactor melts and goes through a containment vessel -Masao Yoshida, former chief of the Fukushima Daiichi plant

Title: Fukushima: Probability theory is unsafe
Source: The Japan Times Online
Author: Kenichi Ohmae, Nuclear engineer
Date: Apr. 18, 2012
Emphasis Added

[...] As a nuclear core designer and someone who earned a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in nuclear engineering, I volunteered to look into the situation at Fukushima No. 1 in June of 2011. Mr. Goushi Hosono, minister of nuclear power and environment, personally gave me access to the information and personnel who were directly involved in the containment operations of the postdisaster nuclear plants. After three months of investigation, I analyzed and wrote a long report detailing minute by minute how the nuclear reactors were actually disabled (pr.bbt757.com/eng/)

Here are the highlights of my findings:

1. Three of the six reactors of Fukushima No. 1 had a complete core meltdown a few days after the tsunami hit. The molten fuel penetrated not only through the bottom of the thick pressure vessel, but also poked holes at the bottom of the containment vessel, thus releasing fission materials into the environment. The meltdown itself started at 11p.m. on the day of the tsunami, March 11, 2011.

2. As expected, the meltdown caused the fuel cladding material, zircaloy (zirconium alloy), to react with vapor and to create large quantities of hydrogen and zirconium oxide, which caused the catastrophic hydrogen explosion that blew out three reactor buildings. The hydrogen explosion took place on March 12, 14 and 15. The Japanese Government did not admit to the meltdown until three months later, nor did they admit to the damage to the containment vessels until a half year later. Our government tried to hide this important information for some reason, though judging from the amount of fission material released and from the size of the hydrogen explosion, the meltdown of the entire core was undeniable for anyone who has studied reactor engineering. [...]

Many long-held myths have been broken as a result of the Fukushima No. 1 meltdown.

As the molten fuel made its way through the pressure vessel and the molten “lava” melted the bottom of the containment vessel, it released huge amounts of fission gasses and particles to the air and water.

The assumed role of the containment vessel proved to be faulty against this type of melt through. [...]

The Lesson?

The Japanese government’s official explanation of the Fukushima disaster focuses only on the inability of anyone to predict an extreme natural disaster. Because of this focus, the rest of the world is not taking notice of the important lessons we need to understand to make the world a safer place. Many countries rely on nuclear energy, and yet these same countries assume that because they do not have to worry about earthquakes and tsunamis, what happened in Japan on March 11, 2011 does not apply to them. This could become a fatal mistake.

Read the report here

It appears Hosono is aware of this analysis: Top Japan official: Very strong possibility there is nuclear fuel outside containment vessel (VIDEO)

Published: April 18th, 2012 at 9:53 am ET
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61 comments

Related Posts

  1. More from Lead Investigator: “The ‘nuclear lava’ melted the bottom of the containment vessel, leaking a huge amount of fission gasses and particles to the air and water” April 20, 2012
  2. NRC on Fukushima: Fuel rods violently consumed by self-sustaining reaction — Molten core then “on the move” — Radiological impact is huge (VIDEO) December 21, 2011
  3. Worse than a ‘melt through’ – a ‘melt out’? — See Graphic July 9, 2011
  4. Molten fuel bore a hole at bottom of Containment Vessel at Reactor No. 1– Pressure Vessel is “completely broken” says Kyoto U. nuclear professor May 17, 2011
  5. NHK: Molten nuclear fuel “could be exposed from the water” at Reactor No. 1 (VIDEO) December 23, 2011

61 comments to Japan Times on Melt Through: “Molten ‘lava’ melted bottom of containment vessel,” says nuclear engineer given access by top official — Huge amounts of fission materials released into environment

  • patb2009

    when I saw the first press conference, where the Official spokesman said "We may be dealing
    with a meltdown situation here" and then he was promptly fired, i knew it was very bad.

    From there it was trivial to figure out that hydrogen releases was caused by the zirconium rods
    being above 800F. Well how do they get to 800F? because cooling has failed and the water has
    boiled off. if the water has boiled off, they wont stop at 800F, they will go straight to 3000F.

    IF they are at 3000 F, they will pool on the bottom and blow the drive seals, that means the corium is now on the bottom and burning its' way out and the CV will fail in 24 hours.

    really pretty straightforward, all you have to do is not believe the lies.

    sadly 99% of the world wants the lies.


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    • Spectrometising

      What did you say?? Reactor explosions are not only caused by a little hydrogen?? So i guess what you are saying is that the Zirconium and Cesium/Zirconium reacted during the high heat conditions and added violence to the explosion??
      In "Reactivity Profile"……"and cesium will react violently, even explosively, with an excess of zirconium powder [Ellern 1968. p. 249]."
      http://cameochemicals.noaa.gov/chemical/8183


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      • Spectrometising

        Gee ok…..so everyone has been tagged to follow some mythical and childishly simple hydrogen based scenario, and this Cesium/Zirconium information has been sitting there all the time spectro??

        Yes, that's right!! …..it seems everyone has been fooled into believing in CO2 and even hydrogen there on that planet. I guess that hearing the two words "hydrogen" and "zirconum" really let people feel as though they know something and walk away completely satisfied.,…

        So it's a little more complicated spectro??

        The truth is always a little more complicated, some would say a headache.

        In "Reactivity Profile"……"and cesium will react violently, even explosively, with an excess of zirconium powder [Ellern 1968. p. 249]."
        http://cameochemicals.noaa.gov/chemical/8183


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    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      GE said full melt-through would take 18 minutes.


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  • Whoopie Whoopie

    24 hours? omfg kiss our planet good bye


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    • HoTaters

      Whoopie, dear, please remember, it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings! I wish you good cheer today, despite the madness around us. Look in your beautiful child's eyes today and remember you have a purpose for living.


      Report comment

    • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

      Couple of things bear mentioning: to resign ones self to fate is the surest path towards that end. So, you must continue making a point of ringing the bell…louder than ever!

      Can't say why (or where) but I can assure you, we do go on. The earth will be devastated as you fear; as it's being devastated. We do go on; just no longer on our selfish terms…


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  • Plan Nine

    For the sake of posterity, if none other, I wish these "experts" who cling to the notion that they were "hydrogen explosions" would tell us HOW MUCH WORSE? they would have been if they were NUCLEAR explosions. Since the possibility of hydrogen production is inherent with these types of reactors, are the steel reactor pressure vessels not built to withstand the explosive pressure that hydrogen could produce, just as in an automobile engine?


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    • Plan Nine

      (sigh) – Where is an "expert" when you need him/her? Here's another question:

      Are not conventional explosives (hydrogen in FUKU's case) used to bring fissile material together quickly (SFP fuel assemblies in FUKU's case), in order to create a nuclear detonation? Any "expert" prepared to claim this could not have happened?


      Report comment

  • Take into account of Solar Flares that WOULD KNOCK OUR OFF-SITE POWER and meltdowns would ensue across hundreds of reactors after a very few hours !

    Tornado's, Hail Storms, Floods ! Just to scratch the surface !


    Report comment

  • farawayfan farawayfan

    Unbelievable minimization piece. Discussing safety issues "moving forward" while we've got 3 reactors and 4 SFPs (at a minimum) either completely destroyed or precariously hanging on. WRONG FOCUS. Argh.

    Oh, and we just need to think a little harder to make these things safe, eh buddy. Claptrap.


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  • Whoopie Whoopie

    Excellent read here brand new
    ~ snip~
    "if you want to operate a nuclear reactor, then you should not assume anything about potential disasters But there is also another important lesson to be learned, and it applies to all operating nuclear facilities around the world: If you have to ASSUME something, then you are NOT PREPARED.
    HEAR THAT PRO-NUKES? Assuming makes an A S S out of you.
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/eo20120418a4.html


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  • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

    The Ohmae Study may become the basis for the shutdown of US nukes, beginning with the 23 remaining GE MARK I death machines. Clearly, the MARK I design is based on faulty assumptions, and is one gigantic design flaw. GE Containment vessels do not contain anything. Now, they have had to put pressure release valves on them to release God knows what directly into the atmosphere! GE nukes have to be shut down right now! Ohmae says the following in his Study about containment vessels:

    "The assumed role of the containment vessel proved to be faulty against this type of melt through. If you go back to the original public discussions for the construction of these early nuclear plants, none of the safety devices, such as emergency cooling systems (ECCS), boric acid spray, etc., worked in Fukushima in 2011. What we found, regrettably, is that even the most critical emergency devices are dependent on the availability of power, either in alternating or direct currency."

    Really, nuke industry? If this is the type of engineering you are using in the design of nuke plants, even you pro nuke industry insiders have to admit that nuke power is not the way to go. Even with all the cut corners and design flaws, nuke power needs massive public subsidies to operate. To bring nuke designs up to anywhere near "safe" will more than double the cost of each plant. Even industry insiders will have to admit that nuke power isn't cost effective.


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    • Whoopie Whoopie

      SPOT ON COMMENT especially after that Editorial at the Japan Times. Oh man, i'm posting you again. Mother f*ckers are going DOWN! YOU said it so well!


      Report comment

    • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

      philip:
      As an electrical engineer (and computer too), and having studied power systems engineering, i.e. "the grid", power distribution, etc. along with instrumentation and control systems, may I humbly request that you multiply the safety cost increase to at least 10X.

      One of the most critical design flaws in these BWR systems is what to do with spent fuel, which is a bit of an oxymoron.
      Spent needs to be interpreted as "not as profitable", or "not as efficient" as they would like it to be.

      The NPP financial/environmental mind set is so deeply flawed, it is hard to not rant.

      It is very close to the idea of 1st world concepts about consumer and industrial "trash". It gets thrown "away", yet where is "Away"?? That is a question few want to ponder.

      Around 1994, the largest man made object on Earth was the Fishkill garbage dump pile in NY state (kill is Dutch for stream). It is clearly visible from the Space Shuttle with the naked eye!

      We have no known safe storage technology that could last for 100k years or more.
      Yet to this day, there is no official "away" place for nuclear waste, yet the plants get built.

      Simply to boil water.

      End of rant.


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      • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

        Jeff: :)
        The point exactly. If the right place for spent fuel is not sitting over the reactor 100' up in the air in a pool of water at the top of the reactor building, then the entire fuel disposal issue will have to be addressed. If the public demands that nukes be shut down in order to address fatal design flaws like explosive fuel rods and the proximity of spent fuel to reactors, then they will probably never start up again. The first priority is to get the death machines shut down. Then we can turn our energies to keeping them shut down permanently.


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  • Whoopie Whoopie

    Taipower forced to halt operations after lawmakers accuse utility of “flat out lying”: Lawmakers demanded an exp… http://t.co/rkQrUmEj Why am I not surprised…


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    • Bobby1

      Broken bolts shut nuclear reactor

      Taiwan Power Co (Taipower), the operator of the nation’s nuclear power plants, said yesterday it has finished replacing and repairing six anchor bolts after local media reported that seven anchor bolts of the first reactor at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in Wanli District (萬里), New Taipei City (新北市), were found to be fractured or cracked during annual maintenance last month.

      Because the seventh anchor bolt interferes with other devices on site, it will be necessary to use alternative means to repair it, and its replacement has been scheduled for inclusion in the next major rehabilitation project, Taipower said…

      The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) yesterday quoted a Taipower official named Lin Te-fu (林德福) as saying GE charged US$3 million for the six newly replaced anchor bolts. The rehabilitation price was questioned by civil engineer Wang Wei-min (王偉民), who said the bolts were massively over-priced, and that as the fractures resulted from metal fatigue, all 120 anchor bolts should have been replaced to ensure safe operation.

      http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2012/04/15/2003530389


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      • Tenor

        Instead of being sued for billions for providing a dangerous, defective product, they charge $3 million for fewer bolts than needed. Do you spell that Hutzpha or Chutzpa or (Your Wicked Greed is simply) AWESOME!


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  • weeman

    Why do we spend 100,s of millions of dollars looking for messages from intelligent life in universe.
    To prove or disapprove the theory that once a spicies has the ability to destroy its self it does,
    this is natures safe guard, if not spicies would eventually distort nature.
    Makes sense what do you think, knowledge is a very dangerious thing


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  • "…The Japanese Government did not admit to the meltdown until three months later, nor did they admit to the damage to the containment vessels until a half year later."

    Why?

    As the above article states, anybody who knows Nuclear, (i.e… the U.S. Government and others), knew multiple 'meltdowns' had happened.

    Yet, our 'experts' printed the following on March 22nd, 2011:
    [ U.S. SAFE From Japan Radiation, Berkeley Lab Expert Says ]
    http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2011/03/22/mckone-q-a/

    This guy is a EXPERT liar!!!

    Tom McKone, a senior staff scientist in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (Berkeley Lab’s) Environmental Energy Technologies Division, is an EXPERT on health-risk assessments associated with exposure to environmental contaminants such as pesticides and radioactive material. He is also an EXPERT in modeling the transport of chemicals across vast distances, and determining how this transport affects human health.

    He knew and we know he knew. ;)


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  • jackassrig

    As one that has TRIED to design for blast for LNG, I can tell you it is Voo Doo science. I capitalize the word tried because there is no standard to adequately design for blast. As these old clunkers had no adequate software or standard to design for earthquakes, blast design was never considered because the reactors would never melt down. The fact that a blast event was never considered tells me that the designers of these monsters couldn’t even contemplate such a horrible event. In fact they could not even face the reality of such a thing. These nuclear nincompoops knew loss of water would result in a meltdown. How many times have I heard someone say that our design could never critical. Lies, lies, damn lies. Nothing is 100% reliable. It took a 9.1 earthquake to show how unreliable these monsters are. When #3 exploded, it took #4 with it.

    TEPCO should have realized earthquakes and hurricanes have been getting more and more violent as the years pass. TEPCO and Japan should have taken steps to protect the public. Life is sacred.


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    • Tumrgrwer Tumrgrwer

      Nothing is 100% reliable. It took a 9.1 earthquake to show how unreliable these monsters are. When #3 exploded, it took #4 with it.

      WTF…when, exactly did this happen? Number 3 took out #4????


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  • shiverca shiverca

    Many months ago there was a report that the fuel at least 1 reactor was less than 1 inch away from ex-vessel of the fuel so it's about time someone checked this.

    It's flowing under Japan right now, luckily it hasn't exploded like everyone believed would happen…at least, not yet anyway.

    Horrifying


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  • nedlifromvermont

    Little by little the truth comes out … safer than by the boat load …

    You enenewsers are holding the heart of the planet in your webspace.

    May God protect you and all of us.

    We do need to live on, if only for our children, and we will, but we do not have to go silently.

    Now is the time for the truth to be revealed … we are all in the gas chamber together.

    How is that G.E.? "You bring good things to life??" If this corporation, which my great grandfather, Charles A. Coffin, started with his associates in the 1890's, (including JP Morgan, future owner of the Titanic) cannot bring themselves to admit their complicity in the management failure which is Nuclear Power (Forbes) then G.E. should lose its corporate charter, be shut down and liquidated, the proceeds distributed to the victims of Fukushima.

    By the way, Germany, not known for hyperbole, estimates the economic damage from a worst case reactor accident (a la Fukushima) at seventeen trillion dollars. Got to love that Price Anderson liability cap of less than one tenth of one per cent of that number. Congress take note. You play us for fools at your own risk. And you get to breathe in the Cesium, too!


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    • What-About-The-Kids

      Thank you, Nedlifromvermont! Wow, that's one powerful grandfather you had!

      Are you a G.E. shareholder? If so, are you a member of the GE Stockholders Association, formed in 1980 for the express purpose of trying to urge other fellow GE shareholders to support removing GE from the nuclear business.

      Obviously, until now, they haven't been successful, but given the post-Fuku fiasco, I am anxious to see what the outcome of their April 25 shareholders' meeting in Detroit will be, given the GESA will introduce a resolution to withdraw GE from nuclear…


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      • What-About-The-Kids

        I LOVE Patricia Birbe, Chair of the GESA1 Read what she has to say:

        "It is unconscionable to continue to generate more highly radioactive waste for which no safe technology or location exists to isolate it from the biosphere, and may never exist,” says Patricia Birnie, Chair of the GESA.

        Because of the ongoing accident at Fukushima, political leaders and citizens around the world are re-evaluating the risks of nuclear power. Germany, Spain, Italy and Switzerland have already chosen to phase
        out nuclear power, by either shutting down old reactors or not building new ones. In Japan, 53 of the nation’s 54 atomic reactors are currently not operating, as local governments, under popular pressure, refuse to allow restarts. The final Japanese reactor is due to shut down for scheduled maintenance in May, which would leave Japan a nuclear-free zone.

        "Siemens, the large German corporation, is phasing out its nuclear reactor manufacturing. Our association of GE shareholders is urging GE also to withdraw from the design, fabrication, and promotion of nuclear reactors. Instead GE should encourage electric utilities to purchase and install our company’s solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable, energy-efficient generating systems.

        "The challenges of the climate crisis demand that corporations act responsibly to help create a sustainable future, through safe, secure, clean and cost-effective renewable and efficiency technologies."


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            • What-About-The-Kids

              "The GE Stockholders’ Alliance (GESA) was formed in 1980 and consists of individual and institutional General Electric stockholders who believe that the Company would be stronger financially, serve its worldwide customers and stockholders better, and contribute to a cleaner, safer environment if it withdraws from Nuclear Energy and instead places its institutional talents and resources on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

              "Through the years GESA has submitted shareholder resolutions focused on the dangers of nuclear energy, the benefits of renewables, and the wisdom of promoting GE’s environmental stewardship and cleanup technologies."

              "We commend GE on its continuing advances in solar technology, wind power systems, and energy-efficient products. We believe GE has an opportunity and an obligation to provide leadership in phasing out dirty, dangerous and expensive nuclear power"

              For more information on GESA, please contact: Patricia Birnie, Chair. 5349 W. Bar X Street, Tucson, AZ 85713-6402. Or: patbirnie@greenbicycle.net

              Bless you, Patricia, for your and fellow Gesa members' efforts!!! Let's hope this latest resolution FINALLY gets the attention that it so deperately needs and NO LONGER falls on the deaf ears of those shareholders with, as Dr. Helen Caldicott (founder of Beyond Nuclear) says, "reptilian brains!"


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              • HoTaters

                Everyone has a reptilian brain or reptilian portion of the brain.

                What Dr. Caldicott said is some of them are defective.

                The reptilian part of the brain is the part that is supposed to warn us of danger and keep us from harm.

                When the reptilian brain isn't working correctly, well, you get things like nuclear weapons and nuclear power! Like the guy riding the bomb in Dr. Strangelove!


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                • What-About-The-Kids

                  Point well taken, HoTaters. :-) I was writing in shorthand. :-D LOL

                  I think the point I meant to say is we are dealing with those who are ruled by their reptilian brains. That is, while we all started out with simplified brains, over time we evolved more complex/structures for thinking at higher levels. But there are some who never seemed to fully develop those higher level thinking abilities or possibly, as you say, the reptilian parts of their brains are defective, and thus they are stuck in a mode of thinking that is just not very evolved…"Me want power! Me get excited at explosions! Me want to have all the nuclear toys to play with and intimidate my enemies with!" (And "me want to go to Columbia and get hot paid escorts to have fun with"…Sorry, I couldn't resist.) :-D LOL


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        • What-About-The-Kids

          Make that "Birne."


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          • What-About-The-Kids

            LOL Don't you just love these Smartphone keyboards? I didn't even hit the "comment" button, and was trying to add an "i" to "Birnie", and it posted the misspelled "Birne" anyway.

            So, to clarify, the spelling of Patricia's last name is "Birnie." Ms. Birnie is the Chair of the G.E. Shareholders Association (GESA) I referred to in my above posts.


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      • nedlifromvermont

        Thank you for that info W-A-T-Kids. No personal GE holdings, but I'm angry this company strayed so far into the abyss. Was my great grandfather … father's mother's father … and now I understand why my Dad always seemed so ambivalent about the famous tie-in … by the time I was born, 1956, GE had gone way way over to the dark side. Busby's insinuations about Immelt's March 2011 mission to Japan, to spread the radioactivity all around, to destroy future epidemiology, are shocking and ought to be investigated. I think I'll contact Patricia, though, in my capacity as head of the New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution, to give her a little ammunition. Thanks for the heads up. Nedlifromvermont.


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        • What-About-The-Kids

          My pleasure, NLFV! It is great to see you are actively working to rid our world (and New England) of nuclear pollution. Way to go!

          As someone with lots of family back East, I applaud your efforts! (Speaking of which, looks like CT is stepping up their efforts as well, and pushing for better testing and more transparency in that state's testing of food for radiation contamination. Did you hear about that? Hope more states follow suit as well!)

          Regarding GE's decent into the dark mad underworld of nuclear, the history is too sad to stomach. I am so sorry what they did to soil your great granddad's legacy. Sigh…it is a major condundrum of these megolithic multinational monopolies, not only do they become "too big to fail," they become too huge to manage and keep track of and the original vision gets lost somewhere along the way in the ever-increasing appetite for bigger and better profits. It is so tragic and frankly, downright frightening. The result: Zero accountability. "I didn't do it! Don't look at ME!" all the while they rape and plunder our beautiful planet and pollute it with generations-lasting nuclear waste.

          That is why Patricia Birnie's work as an "insider" as one of GE's shareholders offers some hope. By steadily and continually reminding the rest of the shareholders of the ugly legacy of the growing nuclear devastation of this planet their names will forever be attached to, perhaps the message will finally "hit home?" One…


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  • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

    Wow..finally someone said what I have been saying for years.. back up those expensive ridiculous nuke plants with solar panels..

    What a laughing stock these nuclear people are.. ridiculous.. imagine the industry when they are mandated to put solar panels, and wind turbines on sight in case of emergency..no wonder they spend so much to make solar look impossible..

    Great article.. wonder what took so long for it to get out.. study came from June of last year


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  • Misitu

    After the initial positive feeling from reading the extract, I went to the article and soon became very disappointed.

    NO acknowledgement of the earthquake as prime cause, NO mention of faulty maintenance.

    Just the already discredited sentiments that if only we can find some way of powering-down reactors in emergency then all will be fine.

    And yet, a warning that no risk assessment has taken place on a global scale for nuclear power generation.

    This author seems to have two heads, one aware of the scope of the disaster and prepared to educate the world as to what is needed – and the other which is blissfully unaware of the totally evil conjunction of nuclear power, tectonics, and inattention to maintenance.

    So, as usual, 10 points out of ten for warning the public, and minus several million points for missing the items of importance.

    Yes.

    Disappointing.


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    • Tenor

      Download very readable summary PDF (http://tinyurl.com/726avp9). As an industry insider, he is conducting a full frontal attack on nuclear power.

      1) He doesn't blame the earthquake or the tsunami. He blames the humans who run and profit from the Nuclear Industry. He says it's stupid to claim a higher standard for the tsunami can be a fix for NPPs because there's always a diaster that will exceed imagination.

      Omae blames the nuclear industry's basic philosophy of Risk Assessment and its magical thinking that somehow they've repealed Murphy's Law.

      The report notes: "Probability theory (i.e., Risk Assessment) should not be brought to use on events that have an enormous impact to society. Even if the probability is insignificant low, if the impact is enormous, the risk is also enormous.

      "Specifically, it's important for us to humbly accept the following two points. 1. The Design Philosophy itself was flawed.
      2. The 'primary containment vessel myth' has been busted."


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  • glowfus

    when superstition infects science, as in "can't melt down, nope never" and other go-to none-sense. look what we have now. radioactive superstition.


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  • StillJill StillJill

    Wow glowfus,…gotta get up early to get 'ahead' of YOU! (Not blowing smoke up,….just love a clean, quick mind!) :-)

    Yes,…..signing the science thingy bugged me! Was raised by Christian Scientists who made me STARK RAVING NUTS! (Sorry,…Tis' TRUE!)

    Trust science? Sure,…just as soon as fallen man has nothing the FUCK to do with it,…Yeah,…I'll trust SCIENCE.


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  • dosdos dosdos

    There's an old saying, "If science got you into it, only better science can get you out of it."


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  • Misitu

    Reading the Final Report, there is a detailed chronology of the damage at each of the 6 plants.

    There is no attempt to link the LOCA with the earthquake even though Tepco has subsequently acknowledged this.

    Therefore, a discrepancy. How to resolve?

    The first guess is that this report was compiled prior to the more recent findings.


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    • Misitu

      Mmm.
      At the other site, Dai-ni, "Core sub criticality confirmed" at 15:00, 15:01, 15:05, and 15:05 for units 1-4 respectively, that is, from _just_ 14 to 19 minutes after the quake.

      At Dai-ichi, Unit 2 confirmed sub-criticality at 15:01; no details for Units 1 and 3, and of course the other 3 reactors were not operational.

      Interesting, then, that it was not possible to confirm subcriticality of Daiichi 1 & 3.

      It appears that to confirm subcriticality is an important safety milestone, k<1 and a runaway fission reaction cannot occur/be sustained.

      Is this important?

      - not in terms of the big picture, understanding the huge risks that every NPP poses to the rest of the world (starting with "spoilt fuel").
      ;

      - maybe in terms of advocacy in court, should that ever be relevant, but again only in terms of establishing witness credibility, as again the big picture takes the trophy, "The Law Does Not Concern Itself With Trifles".

      M.


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      • Sub-criticality IS an "important milestone" in the shutdown of plants, but it wouldn't have mattered at Daiichi due to LOCAs caused by the earthquake and complete lack of coolant water.

        Sub-criticality confirmation means all control rods inserted properly, that's all. Given the amount of serious damage to the plants well before the tsunami hit, the meltdown die was cast. Scram failures (could result from differential shifting of vessel relative to rods) would in this instance be "trifles."

        It would ABSOLUTELY NOT be a "trifle" at any other plant in the event of earthquakes. Scram failure would lead to serious core damage just in the amount of time it takes EDGs to come on-line. You'd have a meltdown despite emergency power, since the emergency power generators only run the residual heat removal pumps – not the at-power operational systems.


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        • Misitu

          Thanks for that confirmation JoyB your second paragraph. And your third paragraph, I didn't mean to minimise the significance of the incident we're talking about; it's clear that I'm looking for some clarification of the term, which you kindly provide.

          Interestingly, in view of your clarification, subcriticality is NOT recorded as confirmed in units 1 and 3. This seems to relate to the condition of scram failure.

          My last paragraph sought not to make light of ANY part of this catastrophe – merely that, in the course of a hypothetical court case following, the apportionment of responsibility might treat this element more lightly than others. Others might include, among others, the plant construction and its maintenance policy. Apologies if I gave the impression of levity. I feel no levity in this regard.

          Thanks
          Misitu


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  • Radio VicFromOregon

    This article is another nail in the coffin of nuclear energy, at least as it is carried out today. He is saying that until 100% safety can be guaranteed, a reactor should not even be built. He is talking about a whole new technology. The people that are bringing about change in the attitudes of the public and governments can't piss and moan like we can here. They have to be measured and reasoned arguments that stand up to scrutiny. Otherwise, they will be ignored. It doesn't matter if they were nuclear or hydrogen explosions. He is saying that there shouldn't have been any explosions of any kind at any time. He is saying that all explosions are unacceptable. He is saying that assumptions are unacceptable. He is saying the government and TEPCO lied and that this is unacceptable. He is laying out the reasoning behind the lies and saying that these are unacceptable.


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    • VanneV anne

      "He is saying that until 100% safety can be guaranteed, a reactor should not even be built. He is talking about a whole new technology. "

      Anyone who thinks that a nuclear reactor can be built with 100% safety is not looking at the science. Radiation and safety are an oxymoron. Radiation is life killing under any circumstance.

      NO NUKES, NO WAY, NOT EVER!


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    • What-About-The-Kids

      Agreed, VicfromOregon! You covered it nicely! No explosions can 100% be prevented, so having NO NPPs is the only way to insure another Fuku won't happen again!

      And Anne, you are right, "safety" and "radiation" do NOT belong together on the same page. That truly is an oxymoron!


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    • Tenor

      Download his Summary PDF report Download very readable summary PDF (http://tinyurl.com/726avp9). It's really readable and beautiful – an Organizing tool for No Nukes!


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  • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

    Vic: :)
    100% spot on!


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