Thread: "Fukushima Fifty" Expect to Die
April 4th, 2011, 08:56 AM #1
"Fukushima Fifty" Expect to Die
"They know it is impossible for them not to have been exposed to lethal doses of radiation," mother of worker tells journalist.
The so-called Fukushima 50, who actually are a group of about 300 people who have been working in shifts of 50, have become heroes in Japan and are known as "atomic samurai."
April 4th, 2011, 11:25 AM #2
The Japanese will "Git 'er done"... and if a few people have to fall on their swords, they will.
I think it would happen here also in a grave situation like this. I just hope we don't have to prove it.Obama: The rich have the Federal Reserve and the poor have Harry Reid... LOL. Life really is unfair!
April 4th, 2011, 11:44 AM #3
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- almost Virginia
- Blog Entries
What is the downside to letting it simply melt down. Vs pumping raw seawater on it having radioactive steam vent, millions of gallons of water flow out through the cracks...
what would be the down side of pumping concrete over it and letting it melt down into the containment vessel?
Are the penalties significantly worse?
April 4th, 2011, 11:56 AM #4
It is believed that one reactor has already melted through the primary containment:
The radioactive core in a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor, experts say, raising fears of a major release of radiation at the site.
The warning follows an analysis by a leading US expert of radiation levels at the plant. Readings from reactor two at the site have been made public by the Japanese authorities and Tepco, the utility that operates it.
Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, told the Guardian workers at the site appeared to have "lost the race" to save the reactor, but said there was no danger of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe.
Workers have been pumping water into three reactors at the stricken plant in a desperate bid to keep the fuel rods from melting down, but the fuel is at least partially exposed in all the reactors.
At least part of the molten core, which includes melted fuel rods and zirconium alloy cladding, seemed to have sunk through the steel "lower head" of the pressure vessel around reactor two, Lahey said.
"The indications we have, from the reactor to radiation readings and the materials they are seeing, suggest that the core has melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel in unit two, and at least some of it is down on the floor of the drywell," Lahey said. "I hope I am wrong, but that is certainly what the evidence is pointing towards."
The major concern when molten fuel breaches a containment vessel is that it reacts with the concrete floor of the drywell underneath, releasing radioactive gases into the surrounding area. At Fukushima, the drywell has been flooded with seawater, which will cool any molten fuel that escapes from the reactor and reduce the amount of radioactive gas released.
Lahey said: "It won't come out as one big glob; it'll come out like lava, and that is good because it's easier to cool."
The drywell is surrounded by a secondary steel-and-concrete structure designed to keep radioactive material from escaping into the environment. But an earlier hydrogen explosion at the reactor may have damaged this.
"The reason we are concerned is that they are detecting water outside the containment area that is highly radioactive and it can only have come from the reactor core," Lahey added. "It's not going to be anything like Chernobyl, where it went up with a big fire and steam explosion, but it's not going to be good news for the environment."
The radiation level at a pool of water in the turbine room of reactor two was measured recently at 1,000 millisieverts per hour. At that level, workers could remain in the area for just 15 minutes, under current exposure guidelines.
A less serious core meltdown happened at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania in 1979. During that incident, engineers managed to cool the molten fuel before it penetrated the steel pressure vessel. The task is a race against time, because as the fuel melts it forms a blob that becomes increasingly difficult to cool.
In the light of the Fukushima crisis, Lahey said all countries with nuclear power stations should have "Swat teams" of nuclear reactor safety experts on standby to give swift advice to the authorities in times of emergency, with international groups co-ordinated by the International Atomic Energy Authority.
April 4th, 2011, 09:33 PM #5
- Join Date
- Mar 2003
- Joplin, MO
- Blog Entries
Why not just pull a Chernobyl, build a new containment vessel, and pump it full of boron? It seems the situation is past the "fix-it" stage. They should be taking a more long-term perspective.
I feel bad for anyone in that prefecture, and especially those who are working directly with the power plant. At this rate, the area will be poisoned permanently.Good job, friend-of-friends!
April 4th, 2011, 09:39 PM #6
- Join Date
- Oct 2001
- Uh, Central Oregon
- Blog Entries
April 4th, 2011, 11:27 PM #7
Right now, they are still fighting to control the situation... and they're nowhere near having it under control.
April 4th, 2011, 11:34 PM #8
They can't even get them under control well enough to get electricity to 2 of them so that they can even figure out how bad it is."Sometimes life is just what we make it."
April 4th, 2011, 11:37 PM #9
Isn't it weird that there's no date on the article? I know it's old news (relative to quake news) but why no date, so people will think it's current?"Sometimes life is just what we make it."
April 4th, 2011, 11:38 PM #10
April 4th, 2011, 11:40 PM #11
Thanks, but no mention of the original date.. course I missed the update date too."Sometimes life is just what we make it."
April 5th, 2011, 12:42 PM #12
Here's another story about someone going into the situation.
Japan tsunami survivor returns to help save nuclear plant - The West Australian
"To be honest, no one wants to go," Kohno, who is soft-spoken and bespectacled, told AFP at the evacuation centre in the city of Kazo north of Tokyo that has been his home since the March 11 disaster.
"Radiation levels at the plant are unbelievably high compared with normal conditions. I know that when I go this time, I will return with a body no longer capable of work at a nuclear plant."
Kohno, who was employed at the now-crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant for a decade, left northeastern Japan soon after the quake and tsunami, but a fortnight later he received an email he had been half expecting.
"Attention," read the email from his company, a subcontractor of plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. "We would like you to come work at the plant. Can you?"
Single and without a family of his own, he felt it was his duty to accept the assignment."Sometimes life is just what we make it."
April 5th, 2011, 02:03 PM #13
- Join Date
- Sep 2006
- Ransomtucky NY
- Blog Entries
Makes ya wish those responsible for the inadequate design could go try to fix it themselves. These workers don't deserve to die from design and regulation failure.
April 5th, 2011, 02:36 PM #14
That plant is 30 years old and TEPCO has owned it the whole time. This is not the first time TEPCO has been caught not doing things right and cutting corners. TEPCO and their board are responsible for much of the problems."Sometimes life is just what we make it."
April 5th, 2011, 02:43 PM #15
Case in point:
One of the reactors in the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant may have been relying on flawed steel to hold the radiation in its core, according to an engineer who helped build its containment vessel four decades ago.
Mitsuhiko Tanaka says he helped conceal a manufacturing defect in the $250 million steel vessel installed at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi No. 4 reactor while working for a unit of Hitachi Ltd. (6501) in 1974. The reactor, which Tanaka has called a “time bomb,” was shut for maintenance when the March 11 earthquake triggered a 7-meter (23-foot) tsunami that disabled cooling systems at the plant, leading to explosions and radiation leaks.
“Who knows what would have happened if that reactor had been running?” Tanaka, who turned his back on the nuclear industry after the Chernobyl disaster, said in an interview last week. “I have no idea if it could withstand an earthquake like this. It’s got a faulty reactor inside.”
Tanaka’s allegations, which he says he brought to the attention of Japan’s Trade Ministry in 1988 and chronicled in a book two years later called “Why Nuclear Power is Dangerous,” have resurfaced after Japan’s worst nuclear accident on record. The No. 4 reactor was hit by explosions and a fire that spread from adjacent units as the crisis deepened.
No Safety Problem
Hitachi spokesman Yuichi Izumisawa said the company met with Tanaka in 1988 to discuss the work he did to fix a dent in the vessel and concluded there was no safety problem. “We have not revised our view since then,” Izumisawa said.
Kenta Takahashi, an official at the Trade Ministry’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, said he couldn’t confirm whether the agency’s predecessor, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, had conducted an investigation into Tanaka’s claims. Naoki Tsunoda, a spokesman at Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the plant, said he couldn’t immediately comment.
Tanaka, who said he led the team that built the steel vessel, was at his apartment on Tokyo’s outskirts when Japan’s biggest earthquake on record struck off the coast on March 11, shaking buildings in the nation’s capital.
“I grabbed my wife and we just hugged,” he said. “I thought this is it: we’re dead.”
For Tanaka, the nightmare intensified the next day when a series of explosions were triggered next to the reactor that he helped build. Since then, the risks of radioactive leaks increased as workers have struggled to bring the plant under control.
Fukushima No. 4
Tanaka says the reactor pressure vessel inside Fukushima’s unit No. 4 was damaged at a Babcock-Hitachi foundry in Kure City, in Hiroshima prefecture, during the last step of a manufacturing process that took 2 1/2 years and cost tens of millions of dollars. If the mistake had been discovered, the company might have been bankrupted, he said.
Inside a blast furnace the size of a small airplane hanger the reactor pressure vessel was being treated one last time to remove welding stress. The cylinder, 20 meters tall and 6 meters in diameter, was heated to more than 600 degrees Celsius (1,112 degrees Fahrenheit), a temperature that softens metal.
Braces that were supposed to have been placed inside during the blasting were either forgotten or fell over when the cylinder was wheeled into the furnace. After the vessel cooled, workers found that its walls had warped, Tanaka said.
The vessel had sagged so that its height and width differed by more than 34 millimeters, meaning it should have been scrapped, according to nuclear regulations. Rather than sacrifice years of work and risk the company’s survival, Tanaka’s boss asked him to reshape the vessel so that no-one would know it had ever been damaged. Tanaka had been working as an engineer for the company’s nuclear reactor division and was known for his programming skills.
“I saved the company billions of yen,” said Tanaka, who says he was paid a 3 million yen bonus and presented with a certificate acknowledging his “extraordinary” effort. “At the time, I felt like a hero,” he said.
Over the course of a month, Tanaka said he made a dozen nighttime trips to an International Business Machines Corp. office 20 kilometers away in Hiroshima where he used a super- computer to devise a repair.
Meanwhile, workers covered the damaged vessel with a sheet, Tanaka said. When Tokyo Electric sent a representative to check on their progress, Hitachi distracted him by wining and dining him, according to Tanaka. Rather than inspecting the part, they spent the day playing golf and soaking in a hot spring, he said.
Wining and Dining
“The guy wouldn’t have known what he was looking at anyway,” Tanaka said. “The people at the utility have no idea how the parts are made.”
After a month of computer modeling, Tanaka came up with a way to use pumpjacks to pop out the sunken wall. While it would look like nothing had ever happened, no-one knew what the effect of the repair would have on the integrity of the vessel. Thirty- six years later, that reactor pressure vessel is the key defense protecting the core of Fukushima’s No. 4 reactor.
“These procedures, as they’re described, are far from ideal, especially for a component as critical as this,” Robert Ritchie, Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at the University of California of Berkeley, said in a phone interview. “Depending on the extent of vessel’s deformation, it could possibly lead to local cracking in some of its welds.”
April 5th, 2011, 03:40 PM #16
Is it number 4 that's leaking or number 2? (yes I can google but I figure someone knows of the top of their head)"Sometimes life is just what we make it."
April 5th, 2011, 04:05 PM #17
Two is leaking.
Four is just an example of "not doing things right and cutting corners"
Four was shut down with all the fuel removed and stored in a swimming pool next to the reactor. The swimming pool that all the water leaked out of because (likely) the seals on the doors in and out were composed of air filled tubes (think bike tubes) that required a constant source of air to keep inflated and sealed. No air = no seal = water leaks out = overheated fuel = hydrogen explosion.
April 5th, 2011, 05:45 PM #18
Seawater is now 7.5 million times the legal limit."Sometimes life is just what we make it."
April 7th, 2011, 10:31 PM #19
Don't Buy Japanese Seafood, (unless you want to be a a walking nightlight)!Mojo
If our military performed like the White House and Congress, we'd all be speaking a foreign language.
April 8th, 2011, 09:53 AM #20
A different plant is now leaking
Water Leaks At Onagawa Nuclear Plant After Latest Japan Quake - Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty © 2011
Last edited by surreal; April 8th, 2011 at 09:56 AM."Sometimes life is just what we make it."
Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)
By Theophylact in forum IMO CommunityReplies: 11Last Post: July 24th, 2010, 04:06 PM
By no1_vern in forum DebateIMO: Politics, Religion, ControversyReplies: 3Last Post: September 29th, 2008, 08:29 PM
By Theophylact in forum IMO CommunityReplies: 2Last Post: September 14th, 2004, 04:50 PM
By ShawnD1 in forum General Tech DiscussionReplies: 1Last Post: January 30th, 2004, 11:50 AM
By SickPup404 in forum IMO CommunityReplies: 11Last Post: July 10th, 2002, 07:02 PM