Nuclear Expert: Concern about structures at Fukushima plant holding up during typhoon — Risk of much, much more severe spread of contamination (VIDEO)

Published: October 23rd, 2013 at 9:39 am ET
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23 comments


Accuweather, Oct. 23, 2013: Asia Winter Forecast: Pacific Coast Typhoon Threat Early [...] Winter is forecast to get a late start over much of Asia with the risk of major tropical activity continuing in December in southeastern areas. Temperatures over much of the region are likely to average near to above normal. [...] The number of tropical systems in the Northwest Pacific during December will be lower than that occurring in October, but well above average. [...]

Real News Network, Oct. 22, 2013:

At 5:00 in

Jaisal Noor, Producer: There’s a typhoon that may make landfall this this week in Japan. Does this raise further concerns? [...]

Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D.,  Electrical Engineering (nuclear fusion), president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research: Well, one just hopes that the structures will hold up, because the structures that have been built to protect the reactor and the spent fuel, especially with reactor number four, are very critical to prevent the accident from becoming much worse. [...] so what happens with all these storms, severe storms, typhoons and so on, [...] is that there is a risk that there will be much, much more severe spread of contamination. Thankfully, that does not seem to have happened so far. But the longer it goes on, of course, the greater the risk.

Watch the interview here

Published: October 23rd, 2013 at 9:39 am ET
By

23 comments

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23 comments to Nuclear Expert: Concern about structures at Fukushima plant holding up during typhoon — Risk of much, much more severe spread of contamination (VIDEO)

  • "the longer it goes on, …the greater the risk."
    – Makhijani, Ph.D.

    That makes sense to me. ;)

    So the next set of questions are:

    1. How long will this go on?
    2. What will the 'risks' and damage be then?

    I know it's hard to imagine 3 out of control meltdowns that are feeding radiation contamination into both the sea and atmosphere nonstop with no end in sight daily possibly getting worse, but that is what they're saying.


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  • Lion76 Lion76

    Call me a layman but I cannot understand why the whole site hasn't been buried in boron by now. I mean, there seemingly isn't very much use for "logical" thinking anymore on this.


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    • Usefulbreather

      I agree. Or perhaps use a tunnel boring machine to go underground and create a deep sinkhole that could be set off collapsing the site and then fill it with Boron. Anything to stop the bleeding would be nice at this point. What I see are broom-pushers.


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      • 16Penny 16Penny

        Usefulbreather, The tunnel boring idea has popped into my head a few times. I think that before any subterranean work is done the fuel must be moved or the structures need to be reinforced to the point where it is inconceivable for them to be blown over by the wind, not in a few thousand years. Even then with all of the concerns about soil liquefaction, I would think tunnel boring work underground would not be wise directly under the buildings. I was thinking of this approach for trying to "locate" (cough, cough, wink, wink)or intercept the coriums using smaller off shoots from the main tunnel.

        Anyone want to sacrifice a tunnel boring machine?


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        • weeman

          We have all seen tunnel boring machines in operation, how do you handle the radioactive water that would pour in, how would you protect the workers and there is many from the contaminated rock and debris, in my opinion the radiation levels would sore till you could not work in tunnel?
          The tunnel boring machines also need constant mechanical repairs and carbine cutting heads changed regularly. I would still not put it out of the question with technical changes to unit?


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          • 16Penny 16Penny

            Having the borehole offset, not directly under the site would help avoid a direct encounter with any corium veins. If we had a more complete and ACCURATE understanding of the honest (Abe) conditions of the reactor core fuel it would help evaluate the potential for this approach. Yes the groundwater would be a problem. As it stands it is being left to do whatever it will as it encounters as is conditions of the geology.

            "As it burrows through the rock hundreds of feet below the surface, the Subterrene heats whatever stone it encounters into molten rock, or magma, which cools after the Subterrene has moved on."

            "The result is a tunnel with a smooth, glazed lining, somewhat like black glass, which is also apparently strong enough that it doesn?t even require reinforcing of the walls. It was featured in OMNI magazine, Sept 1983, p80."

            http://www.heartcom.org/200under.htm

            I guess the outcome might vary in different geology but if the bore hole is self sealing that would be handy, even if not 100% sealed. Offshoot tunnels going under the site would have to have airlocks installed etc. I'm not going there because not my specialty.

            The workers are largely exposed and under=protected as it is. Not saying it is a good thing but at this point I think all life on this planet would appreciate the sacrifice of a few to save the balance. I am sure there are others who would have better insight to worker safety than myself.


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            • 16Penny 16Penny

              The geometry and orientation of the tunnels could be designed to control the actions of water. Uphill, downhill. Starting inland from the site near a location where permanent water treatment and storage facilities were located might be something to consider. I think that we are past a point of a perfect solution (not building NPP's) but I think it is urgent to try something or two somethings that have a high probability of reducing the pollution that is spewing forth from our monument to greed and violence.


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              • 16Penny 16Penny

                Weeman, from the link above:

                "Nuclear subterrenes work by melting their way through the rock and soil, actually vitrifying it as they go, and leaving a neat, solidly glass-lined tunnel behind them."

                No drill head, less maintenance. By now they probably have a remotely operated version that a Cheetos junkie in Colorado can control.


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                • weeman

                  It will not matter what procedure is eventually established, none are going to be perfect and all will have pros and cons, as stated we are beyond redemption.
                  Keep that fertile mind motoring, the answers are their, somewhere, in someone?
                  One step at a time, never give up and don't lose hope, there is always a answer, even if it is the one we don't want to hear.


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        • 16Penny 16Penny

          I was thinking about the "pile up soil around SPF's to stabilize and prevent collapse" approach. That much overburden would definitely cause consolidation, potentially bearing capacity failure. :(

          But if applied in a very controlled and intentional manner, could placement of overburden be used to reduce the hydraulic conductivity of the site, slowing the rate of liquid loss out to sea and all points in the water table? I am not saying exclusively so borax it up and whatever, If a solution is planned it should be a wonderfully orchestrated flurry of movement until the radioactive releases are under control. I understand many think it is too late but I would still try.


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  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    TEPCO keeps releasing rainwater, that is building up around the tankfarm.
    http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/10/tepco-discharged-rainwater-of-2-tank-area-dams-again-not-even-a-typhoon-weather/
    They blame it on the rain.
    They say it is because of the last typhoon.
    They say they have to release water to make room for rain from the next typhoon.
    They say they are only releasing rainwater.
    They say the water they are releasing is only a little bit contaminated.
    Believe them?


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  • Gayla Gayla

    For an FAQ and more than 300 links to Fukushima information, see http://www.fukushimafaq.info


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    • 16Penny 16Penny

      I was looking at the page and Noticed they have a post on the left ribbon about bright lights correlating with radiation spikes. Only problem is that the post is from the future! Talk about being ahead of the curve. Do they post lotto numbers from next week?


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  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    Breaking News:
    Unit 4 SFP Cannot Handle Additional Weight of Transport Casks
    Transport Casks Will Be Placed Into Reactor Vessel For Loading
    http://www.fukuleaks.org/web/?p=11625
    "The change that TEPCO will be placing transport casks into the reactor well to load fuel into them is a concerning development. Transport casks weight as much as 50,000 pounds. Reactor vessels were not designed to hold up this much weight on top of the reactor internal systems. This change indicates that TEPCO does not have confidence in the pool’s ability to hold the additional weight of a cask. This change will add many new unanalyzed risks to the fuel removal process."


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    • 16Penny 16Penny

      From your link:
      "The cover is fitted with air filters that will prevent any release of radioactivity as the fuel is moved."

      When have they stopped releasing radioactivity? Poor grammar. I suggest:

      The cover is fitted with air filters that will [reduce] any release of [airborne] radioactivity as the fuel is moved.

      Word to the press, The secret is out, no need to keep lying. You did your job and cashed your check. Your actions are criminal and morally bankrupt.


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  • ftlt

    I don't get this Typhoon thingy. They have dittled about for near 3 years now. Do you really expect action there soon?

    If they fail to remove rods from the pools (if they even really try). The place will remain an open sore that is doing its nuclear thing for centuries.

    Northern Japan will become a ghost town (excepting for mutants) for centuries too.

    Then for the rest of us, it's time to await the next meltdown at a local nuclear plant near us.

    A bright future?

    ****The USA during the recent faux and contrived budget crisis quietly has changed the auspice of US defense contracting and overseas sales from the State Department to the Commerce Department. What does this have to do with Nuclear Energy?

    Think about what a shift this represents… Technology once of a closely controlled – the near sacred – industry of the state has now been allowed to and gone over to the border-less globalist's controls (in search of lower wages and unrestrained markets).

    Meaning: there is no longer a nation state of any real substance that once was the USA… Nuclear power industry is much the same… It is a globalist industry… The same corner store globalists, who pollute, commit genocide and practice war for the profit of the few everyday everywhere.

    To hope for the USA govt to take action on nukes, is now a useless course of action – The USA no longer exists. Nor does Japan.

    We must act a freemen. Read Twain on Freemen from the Conneticut Yankee in…


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  • Shaker1

    Well, actually, Phillip, that procedure makes some sense to me. First of all, the reactor well has a known geometry on which to set the casks for loading, that known geometry would seem to make at least a portion of the remote operation a repeatable task and one that could be practiced beforehand for some measure of perfection. The bottom of the pool is also known to contain debris, and the pool is known to be structurally compromised.

    Now, saying that doesn't personally make me more comfortable about the whole process, but it does imply that there might be some sound thinking involved. Either way, it seems, those assemblies are going to be raised with whatever consequences to thier individual integrity. Either way, too, they're going to have to spend some time in open air.


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  • razzz razzz

    Typhoon and storm problems? And here I was just worried about earthquakes.

    After five years when the melts aren't capable of producing boiling heat maybe they can think about temporarily burying things for about a hundred years until they can be approached, won't stop the leaking though.

    Yet to be seen how the offloading of spent fuel will go. It is not like it disappears after they unload it.


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  • hatrick penry

    "Don't believe everything that you breathe
    You get a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve" ~from the song 'Loser' by Beck

    The other side of the story on Unit 4: http://hatrickpenryunbound.com/?p=3928


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