Fukushima Daiichi

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Trippy, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You apparently need to review the aftermath of TMI as well. They lost control of the reactor, they didn't know what to do in response to the radiation releases and various threats of disaster that kept popping up in the subsequent days and weeks, and they solved most of their difficulties by 1) lying to the public about what they knew and didn't know, and what was happening 2) not monitoring the stuff they couldn't control or respond to (they did not track actual exposure regimes in the surrounding area, for example, and used landscape averages of estimated releases instead), and 3) being lucky - that core they had lost track of ? it didn't, as it turned out, burn through the containment shell after all. So their failure to set up a response for that event (they did not set up emergency mass evacuation procedures in potentially affected areas, for example) in that tense aftermath when it could have happened at any minute, didn't have the consequences it might have,

    and nuke proponents can now, years later, pretend that was not dumb luck, but instead an indication of competence and expertise - that the aftermath of TMI was "handled" well, and we can depend on the people who "handled" it to display competence and integrity in the future.

    Sure. You just don't have time right now.

    Make it to the Japanese. Be careful, though: They're a little angry, especially about being lied to by people pretending to expertise they don't have, in order to obscure the fact that their former pretensions to nonexistent expertise have made kind of a large mess. Again.

    The "many" you are talking about, that loudly and repeatedly foresaw this kind of event, were anti-nuke analysts warning against building such things. The entire nuke industry was in public denial - still is.

    The US had, at the time of Fukushima, a dozen or more large reactors and nuclear complexes in the same situation and with the same vulnerabilities as Fukushima Daichi. It happened to Japan instead of, say, California, by chance. All of your NRC and Price Anderson Act invocations need to be compared to the simple physical reality - the only reason Fukushima did not happen at, say, Diablo Canyon, is that Fukushima was closer to the epicenter of the quake. That is luck.

    The Price Anderson Act limits the liabilities of the nuke industry, exempts them from lawsuit if they meet certain easily met requirements regardless of culpability, and puts the US and local governments on the hook for all consequences of nuke mishap beyond certain limits both financial and physical. Without it nuke operators would be unable to get insurance, and without insurance no competent investor would take that large a risk - if US nuke operators had to carry the kind of insurance every other corporation has to carry, against the damages they could reasonably cause through easily possible mishap and screwup, they would all be out of business.

    But your point is odd, anyway: are we supposed to conclude, by accepting your bogus reassurances re US nukes, that such dependence on political whim is an argument in favor of nuke power?
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
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  3. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Er, what? Lying prevents nuclear disasters? Check your logic there....

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    The only reason? The 85' cliff that the Diablo Canyon plant sits on isn't a significant tsunami deterrent to you? In case you aren't aware, Fukushima was only 35' above sea level.

    You said dozens, but I defy you to find any US power plants that have the same earthquake and tsunami risk as Fukushima.
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  5. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

    Which is one of iceaura's red herrings since even WITH the same E&T risk, the US plants all have safety features that would have prevented the widespread release of radiation. Fukushima was a NON-upgraded Gen II Mk 1 BWR. No such plants exist in the USA.
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    ? My logic is that lying and overlooking and screwing up and getting lucky are not described as "handling the aftermath" by reasonable people. Do you describe such features of the response in the aftermath of TMI as "handling" ?
    Not relevantly, no. Reference here: http://www.opc.ca.gov/webmaster/ftp...tudy/Chapter_7C_Diablo_Canyon_Power_Plant.pdf
    The power block sits quite a ways up, but even 90 feet is not out of tsunami range in that part of the world (the official odds are on the order of one in 7 million, or about the same as the official odds at Fukushima Daichi of the wave that hit it - an essentially similar situation, in other words). Of more immediate concern, however, are the cooling water pumps and their generators - Diablo is inferior to Fukushima in that it relies on constantly refreshed, "once through", sea water pumping rather than incorporating plant height recirculation. These pumps and their emergency electrical supplies are much closer to the sea than the power block, with even their air snorkels no more than 14 meters up - the Fukushima wave would have drowned their air intakes, with unknown consequences dependent on the quake damage to the reactor itself, the emergency power supply integrity (the incoming power line has gone down on its own as recently as last June), and so forth.

    In addition to the normal hazards of flooding, the near seal level discharge pipe design creates an unusual tsunami hazard at Diablo, which is water hammer up the discharge tube - realistic envelope-back estimates by anti-nuke folks (50 ft cutout for the pipe, 20 meter wave moving at 40mph) run to a million ft/lbs and more, easily enough to take out all the discharge machinery and possibly a good share of the plant superstructure. No safety precautions have been taken for that.
    Here's a picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Diablo_Canyon_Power_Plant_from_Port_San_Luis.jpg
    Here's another: http://www.google.com.au/imgres?img...a=X&ei=A0lvUpXBCoS8iwLumYGQCg&ved=0CEUQ9QEwAg
    As you can see, no 85' cliff, discharge machinery and much else closer to the ocean than the power reactor vessels.

    The risk is of earthquake damage with flooding, creating loss of cooling capability coupled with structural damage in a reactor of Fukushima design (spent fuel pools in that location etc). There was a Fukushima design plant in Nebraska endangered by a mere river rise, just last spring, and had problems with its generators etc despite early warning and days of preparation - add an earthquake, and there's nothing between that and Fukushima (or much worse) but luck (a second nuke of different design in that flood was actually submerged in part, and had a generator fire on top of human error with bobcats etc that would have created even greater risk had the plant not been already shut down for maintenance. We hear a lot about nuke reliability, but a common theme in these accidents is to find the threatened plant already shut down temporarily for one reason or another).

    Which would make the scramble to retrofit several US plants with suitable safety gear after Fukushima somewhat mysterious, except that we know better anyway - the last major safety retrofit at Diablo Canyon was back in the 80s, and the engineers installed much of the safety upgrades backwards in one of the reactor houses due to a blueprint reading error (they were supposed to reverse the single set of blueprints, to match the mirror image construction of the two reactors, and did not).

    Besides, the notion that a nuke proponent can assert with confidence that this or that safety feature will "prevent the widespread release of radiation" is silly, by now. The track record there is long, bad, and without ambiguity: they don't know.
  8. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    No, I describe lying as having nothing to do with whether or not a nuclear disaster ensued and the fact that no nuclear disaster ensued means there was no nuclear disaster to lie about. Whether they lied or not, it is a non sequitor.
    Neither the words "tsunami" nor "flooding" appear in that report that I can see. Please quote what you see as relevant.
    But it is out of the range of a same-size tsunami as hit Fukushima, right? A tsunami would have to be much, much bigger to hit Diablo Canyon equally, right?
    1. You're claiming the odds of a 105 foot tsunami hitting Diablo canyon are equal to the odds of a 45 foot tsunami hitting Fukushima? I'd like to see your source for that! Especially considering the highest ever recorded was the 2004 Sumatra tsunami of about that height and California doesn't have similar offshore faults to create such a thing.

    2. If the odds are indeed 1 in 7 million (per year or per lifespan of the plant? Not critical, just curious), then fine; that means the tsunami risk at Diablo Canyon is insignificant and Fukushima was a spectacularly unlucky occurrence that is unlikely to ever happen again.
    The word "prevent" implies an absolute standard and I'd never use it. But the track record is, globally, 2 major accidents in 50 years and only a few dozen people killed (all by Chernobyl). Even if we don't stop to consider the risks of similar accidents in other places (ie, that Chernobyl bears little resemblance to reactors in in the West), that's still a pretty good record compared to the alternatives. I'll take a technology that kills about a person a year over a technology that kills 100,000 people a year any day.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    A nuke proponent is someone who will tell you with a straight face that Fukushima and TMI were not nuclear disasters.

    Whatever they were, the nuke experts and authorities in charge of handling them lied to the public about what was going on at the time, just as they did at Chernobyl, Sellafield, etc.

    It is within range of approximately the same supposed probability tsunami as the one that hit Fukushima, its electric fed pumps and water intake are within range of a Fukushima size wave - and within water hammer range, a factor nuke experts have little experience dealing with, of much smaller tsunamis. I don't believe anyone actually knows the minimum tsunami size and speed combination capable of taking out the core cooling structures at the top of the discharge tube via water hammer, but it's obviously much smaller and slower than the minimum flood wave for the power block.

    95 feet will do even without considering the water hammer and intake pump vulnerability lower down, with posted odds of one in 7 million, which is ballpark equivalent to the original (construction time) odds of the wave that hit Fukushima - there have been several such waves along the California coast in paleontological time. Actually, I think a meteor strike tsunami that size is in that category of probability - those odds are almost certainly unrealistically favorable, but there they are.
    Higher waves than that have been recorded from storms alone, and nobody knows whether the faults near Diablo can do that or not - if you recall, the pre-event claim was that the faults near Fukushima weren't capable of what they did either. Tsunami and quake prediction is still in its infancy, as a science.

    There were more people than that killed by the effects of the evacuation of Fukushima alone. The unrealistically low estimates from Chernobyl run into the thousands.

    This is the problem with allowing nuke proponents to treat lack of information as evidence of nothing having happened, and sheer luck as evidence of safety margin (with a nod to Richard Feynman, we can call that "Challenger hypnosis").

    Nobody tracked the exposure regimes at TMI, so when the rate of stillbirth and miscarriage bumped way up starting about six months later in the nearest major hospital serving people who lived downwind of the event, no establishment of correlation was even possible. Nobody has tracked cardiovascular problems, or any immune system stuff except certain cancers, or fertility problems, or anything like that, among various levels of exposure after any power nuke mishap, partly because nobody has ever collected sufficiently fine grained exposure data. But that failure is not evidence of harmlessness.

    Ignorance and luck are not circumstances from which safety can be inferred.
  10. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    I didn't mention Fukushima in that quote: don't put words in my mouth. And the lack of a nuclear disaster at TMI is from your previous quote:
    A threat of disaster is not a disaster. You keep conflagurating the two to make TMI seem worse than it was. In addition, the word is very non-specific and doesn't have a lot of meaning unless explained:

    TMI could very well be considered a disaster for the company that owned the plant, since they lost a reactor and billions of dollars because of it. TMI could not be considered a disaster for the public because nothing happened to the public except some unnecessary evacuations. The possibility that a disaster could have happened is wholly different from a disaster actually happening.

    In any case, my main point there was (and again) to highlight your trollish description of the situation that ended up stepping on its own feet. You inadvertently said that lying helped prevent a disaster because you wanted to throw the lying thing out there even though it is completely irrelevant to whether or not a disaster happened or how it was averted.
    Again, it looks like you're saying that the odds of a 105 foot tsunami in California are equal to the odds of a 45 foot tsunami in Japan. Regardless of what exactly you mean, that's a major claim that requires that you support it with a reference. Meaning a quote and a source (not just a link to something that doesn't address it).
    A tsunami is not like a wind driven wave. They are vastly different phenomena, involving vastly different amounts of water and energy.
    What is known is that a fault on land can't produce a tsunami that hits that land. The energy travels away from the epicenter of an earthquake.

    And in any case, you claimed you did know. You claimed that there are a dozen in the US with the same risk as Fukushima, but so far your best possibility is one where you acknowledge "noboty knows". In other words: you're speculating. Making this crap up as you go along.
    I consider that a separate issue, but whatever - you can have a few dozen more. It doesn't change the calculus any.
    I erred, but no, the low estimates for Chernobyl deaths are in the hundreds:
    There were 50 immediate deaths and 250 or so over the next few years. Additional cancer cases likely run into the thousands (perhaps as many as 10,000), but thyroid cancer has a survival rate well in excess of 90%, so the additional deaths from cancer are still in the hundreds.

    Again, add all of these together and you still are well under the annual death rate from coal power.
    "Certain cancers" are what radiation causes. The health impacts of TMI were heavily studied and there is no serious debate in the medical community about the impact: none.

    Your implication that there were major health impacts from TMI that were not discovered or were covered-up is at best a fantasy and at worst a lie.
    The only one here doing that is you. The safety record is what it is. You are the one who is trying to invent (not infer) lower safety record than actually exists by fantasizing about things that didn't happen.

    Nuclear power has been around for 50 years. Hundreds of plants have operated for decades apiece. There have been dozens of accidents. Combining the reactor-years of operation with the types and severity of the different accidents gives a pretty clear picture of the accident rate of plants. It is only for the very rare and bad accidents that the data gets thin, but the thinness of the data is a product of the rarity; it is not a biproduct of luck. Environuts would have us believe that the only thing standing between a Chernobyl or Fukushima occurring every year instead of twice in 50 years is luck. But statistics don't work that way. The error margin in the risk factor can be 100% when you only have two data points, but it can't be 1,000%. And it isn't 100% if you have 50 data points either. Meaning you can't interpret what we've seen as a rate of 50 +- 48 major accidents. It is 2 +- about 2. And even that is assuming we don't learn from the mistakes, which clearly is also not true. So whatever you can calculate the major accident rate to have been for the past fifty years (it is about 1 major core damage accident per million reactor years), it is likely to be another order of magnitude better today.
    Since we have 300 reactors or so, that's 1:3.6 million to 1:12 million per reactor per year (reactor-year).

  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Uh, did you read your link? Your link includes no estimate of any deaths from Chernobyl other than from certain selected types of cancer suffered by workers and the subset of immediately exposed nearby residents, as recorded within ten years. That omits all the effects of the large scale radiation dispersal, all health effects other than those select cancers (anything involving the immune system, such as many forms of cardiovascular disease, are affected by radiation exposures of some kinds) and all the effects of the evacuations etc necessary to avoid more intense radiation exposure.

    You even mention the thousands of thyroid cancer cases in the immediate neighborhood (overlooking any estimate of distant plume-caused ones, as always), which you downgrade because they are usually survivable if caught early and treated by First World medical pros - not even a passing mention of the effects of the treatment, the effects of loss of the thyroid gland, and so forth. People who get thyroid cancer do not live as long as other people, on average, for a whole lot of reasons. Direct kill is not the only serious harm done by such radiation exposure. And a lifetime of First World medical care is not guaranteed to most people on this planet.

    How is it that nuke proponents miss this obvious stuff, over and over? Do you guys really not recognize that such estimates are not even credible approaches to direct kills, let alone estimates of total harm we can use to compare with anything or use to evaluate future plant installations?

    That is an assumption, adopted by all nuke power proponents and official researchers into serious mishaps so far. There is a fair amount of evidence and mechanism based argument that it is wrong.
    No, they weren't. They hadn't measured the exposure regimes, so there was no way to do that. They did run some statistical tests based on various assumptions, but all kinds of things (like the rash of stillbirths and miscarriages in the downwind hospital similar to those in the wake of Castle Bravo, which were likewise impossible to establish statistically, or the cardiovascular effects noticed anecdotally after Chernobyl and also impossible to evaluate) were impossible to check out statistically in the absence of the basic exposure data.

    Uh, dude - you want to reread that?
    Yes, they do.
    Why not? That depends on the variance of the severity, which is estimated by considering mechanism if you have so few data points. One would include, for example, the probability that an earthquake would hit during daylight weekday hours with three of six reactors shut down for maintenance - presuming independence of quake from TEPCO labor schedules and human diurnal behavior, that works out to about .04 or less, and the severity of the event would almost certainly have been multiplied by ten or more - so we are already around 1000%, and we haven't brought in TMI or Sellafield or Hanford or the like to augment your mythical "2".

    And that is without bothering to ridicule the official nuke industry probability estimates, so naively introduced by nuke proponents. Everybody's got their favorites - John Gall's is the government commissioned accident probability estimate that was sent back twice because it kept on coming in too high, and the third time was delayed because its scheduled publication date fell just after TMI; mine is the fact that none of the earthquake/tsunami probability estimates for existing reactors have been recalculated since Fukushima - apparently Bayes Theorem is a bit beyond nuke industry capabilities. But this is pretty good:
    So the odds Fukushima beat - losing three reactor cores in the 11 years after 2000 - were one in a million or better (using the apparent independence assumptions of the US government and our poster there, one in 48 billion) not counting the reactors that didn't actually melt down because by chance they weren't running at power. Likewise TMI.

    Professional gamblers have a term for people who see one chance in a million pay off a couple of times in a few years, and fail to re-evaluate their probability calculations - including a careful examination of the game, to see if it might be perhaps not wholly honest? Maybe? The word is "sucker".

    edit in: there were some overall casualty estimates from Chernobyl on Russ's link there, farther down on the page from his partial and artificially restricted counts. Here's a couple of quotes:
    With that caveat, and noting that the following deals with certain kinds of cancer deaths only:
    And when someone apparently includes other effects besides these limited cancer types:
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Not to double post here, but maybe I should pay more attention to the first part of that response - it's confusion may not be apparent to the casual visitor:

    We would be concerned, if worried about tsunamis, with the ocean faults - there are some serious ones just offshore of Diablo Canyon.
    As linked, the design odds of Diablo Canyon put the chances of a tsunami of power block height (85 feet) at about 1 in 7 million. (A tsunami nowhere near that big would overtop the snorkels for the cooling pumps and water hammer the coolant discharge machinery and superstructure, which would create an immediate direct threat of meltdown, but never mind that - continuing - - ) There are no published explicit design odds for Fukushima that I can find, but we can estimate them from known criteria and circumstance: the original design tsunami was 3.1 meters, and we know that discovery of a 1 in 10,000 risk triggered upgrade demands (to 5.7) We also know that tsunami height probability decreases exponentially, by powers of 10 more or less. So a tsunami four times the height of the design tsunami would be estimated at about 1/10,000 the likelihood, order of magnitude approximation. That puts us at 1 in 10 million for design odds, at a ballpark order of magnitude. That's in the ballpark of the power block height tsunami at Diablo. Again, it does not even take that big a wave to put Diablo into loss of coolant and meltdown risk.

    Those were the design odds. They have not been revised, for Diablo, in light of the experience at Fukushima or any other discovery. Nor have they been changed for the other Fukushima model reactors - 23 of them - scattered around the US, several near large bodies of water and earthquake faults both.

    The blithe confidence with which such bullshit is posted by nuke proponents should serve as a warning to the rest of us. Here's a link to an attempt to sort things out later: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1469835/ Again: just cancers, inadequate data lacking in particular exposure measurements, the whole spiel. But clearly TMI blighted the lives of a great many people, and killed more than a few, even without counting the cardio stuff, the stillbirths and miscarriages, etc.

    Evacuations are not evaluated as "unnecessary" by hindsight, of course. They are responses to possibilities at the time. If the core had burned through the outer shell - which it did not do by luck - the evacuations would have been revealed as inadequate - that's just as valid a hindsight observation, and far more valid a conclusion. They, we, were lucky - far from unnecessarily cautious. Years later, what they found when they located and described the core showed that the decision to not evacuate everyone for 20 miles in all directions was even more dangerous than they had known- correct, as it turned out, but not at all safe.

    Did not.
  13. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    I asked you before: please QUOTE your sources, don't just link them, because it is unreasonable to expect people to dig for the info. And in this case, I did dig and didn't see what you claimed.
  14. LabratSR Registered Member

    Hi, I'm new to the party. I just want to point out that this isn't really true. I'll post links when I'm able to. Carry on.
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    OK, what this time are you 1) doubtful of and 2) unable to verify with the 30 second websarch I used to find it?

    I can't quote pdf files here, for some reason, but I can direct your eyes to specific pages and sentences.
  16. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

    That is because the large scale dispersal results in exposure levels classified as "low" which have no discernible effect. One small person drinking 20 liters of water will almost certainly die. 20 small persons drinking 1 liter each will be on average benefitted. So it is with radiation. The people around Chernobyl have LOWER cancer rates than similar cohorts in the US. It seems that Chernobyl may have made them HEALTHIER!
  17. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    The PDF didn't say anything about tsunami danger in Diablo canyon. Please tell me exactly where I can find it.
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You need the word "tsunami" specifically?

    OK, here's a pdf file of a fact sheet put out by Pacific Gas and Electric, the company running the plant:


    T5, on page 8, is most directly informative. All the pages, from T1 on, support the analysis above.

    Here's another missive from the operators, one page, on the response to Fukushima's quake: http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1107/ML110700503.pdf The relevant detail is the claim that Diablo is designed to withstand a tsunami of 35 feet - not 85. (That is probably from the height of the snorkels - 13 meters and change - that are necessary to provide air to the machinery operating the cooling water pumps).

    In other words, Diablo is not designed to withstand even the wave that hit Fukushima, let alone the wave of equivalent probability (four times a design height arrived at on the same criteria at about the same time). And that is without any mention of such factors as water hammer in the discharge piping - a serious threat, as it opens near sea level.

    That is called "landscape averaging" above. It is based on models which specifically assume "dispersal" - that radiation releases will not be concentrated, and exposures will be to the landscape average dose with bell curve distribution and low variance - no concentrations of contaminants by any means are included (no bioconcentration, no geological or meteorological concentrations, all plumes disperse evenly throughout the landscape by assumption)

    These dubious assumptions have not been compared with measurements of actual exposure regimes inflicted upon a variety of people (children, the pregnant, the already sick or otherwise vulnerable, etc) for any large scale nuclear mishap, at Chernobyl or anywhere else. Actual exposure regimes have not been compared with medical consequences for any major nuclear mishap, at Chernobyl or anywhere else. These two major flaws are a consequence of actual exposure regimes not being measured.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Zero evidence of that. You could even more credibly claim that Obama was born in Kenya. After all, a lot of people have claimed that. No hard evidence, of course - but if a simple claim is all it takes, then the Kenyan theory is a lot more supportable than the "deadly TMI" theory.
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The latest link, non-zero in content (even though it restricts its scope to a few cancers, ignoring the stillbirths etc) is posted right there, in the part you quoted. Something wrong with it?
  21. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

    Actually, my words were "would have prevented" which certainly imply the same conditions as seen at Fukushima. Would it prevent every possible release? No. An astroid impacting a plant will certainly release radioactive material. But at that point, I truly doubt anyone would care. And besides, given the cheap, safe, reliable energy nuclear power can provide in the mean time, we are more likely to be able to prevent asteroid impacts than without it.
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    If you insist. You were still wrong, of course. Wrong two ways - first by thinking these safety features (whatever they are - do you even know?) were in place at the relevant US nukes (they still aren't, at Diablo Canyon, to pick one familiar example), second by thinking you can "know" they would have worked. That is a level of knowledge the nuke industry itself does not possess.

    It is the most expensive form of electrical power generation ever built, barring the PV panels on a satellite. It isn't safe. And those two features are the most reliable ones it has.
  23. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

    Wow! It is amazing how wrong one person can be! Yes they are installed on US reactors, they have been since shortly after TMI. They were offered at the time to the Japanese plants but were declined. (Ooops!)
    The only for of energy CHEAPER than nuclear is hydro. Here is the data from Ontario.
    Nuclear power is the SAFEST energy source extant.
    Here are the world wide numbers:
    Renewables kill . . . . .~2,000,000 per year.
    Fossil fuels kill . . . . . ~1,300,000 per year.
    Including all the accidents etc., on average,
    Nuclear Power kills . . . . . . . <300 per year.
    And this accounts for the high estimates of the absurdly conservative LNT model.

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