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Topic Title: Japan Earthquake
Topic Summary: Nuclear Power Criticality Analysis and Maximum Credibility Analysis
Created On: 13 March 2011 07:25 PM
Status: Read Only
Related E&T article: Fukushima - the facts
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 15 October 2013 12:10 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

In the UK we use the term 'Reasonably Practicable' quite often and it's served us well. This type of term is lost on those with extreme views.

Regards.
 21 October 2013 01:21 PM
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WJCE

Posts: 11
Joined: 07 August 2013

Hello,

Don't work in the field but have been reading a fair bit on this over the last few months, this thread has been very informative.

The amount of people working their doing hastily cobbled together job roles and unfamiliar practises all under the spotlight of the world will make things sound bad. I still can't believe how bad this is all coming across with tepco seemingly making mistakes so often with the spills and the way radiation was measured. I have just been given the feeling that tepco cannot be trusted to paint a true picture. I may be wrong but this is the ay it has portrayed to me.

The biggest thing I can not understand is why are tepco not being criticised for the design of the back up systems in the first place? Was it their design? From the report I read the seawater cooling pumps failed before the generators got swamped so were doomed anyway and shutdown procedures were very difficult due to battery supplies powering instruments and valves to aid control were lost as these were in the same location as the generators? Surely they knew is would be the case once water had got that far?

According to Wikipedia (i know) these issued were pointed out years ago. So how many others in Japan have similar systems or indeed around the world where this could happen again?

Im not anti nuclear in anyway just a interested person on what went wrong and how it's sent a lot of countries anti nuclear.
 21 October 2013 03:51 PM
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kengreen

Posts: 400
Joined: 15 April 2013

WJCE,

I think you may be somewhat confused as you distribute blame? As I have read it there was but one thing wrong with the Japanese design and that was experience which was not available.

Indeed, the plant at Fukuima was well-designed and it operated accordingly, when the earthquake struck. The quake proved to be one of the largest as did the tsunami which followed; I deem it to be best practice to raise protection against known hazards with a margin of error added - like it or not, our world is ruled by accountants?

The question to be answered is whether any future design will be based on the lessons learned by the last disaster. We none of us sit at the right hand of God, be it in order of ascent or of decent.

Ken Green
 21 October 2013 04:29 PM
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WJCE

Posts: 11
Joined: 07 August 2013

Thanks for the reply ken, I did not mean to blame anyone I can't I don't know enough about it. I can put forward how it has been put to me in various news reports and reports I've read just through my own general interest. What I can say is as above I have more questions than answers, I'm not sure i will find the answers or understand them if I did get them.

My main question surround the back up systems. In the report I read it seemed to suggest generators and batteries were situated together, and were subsequently lost together (although sea water cooling pumps for generators were already non functioning), surely the to systems together was not a good idea?

I take your point about money and experience but would it have been hard to separate these two? Considering the impact this incident has had on the nuclear industry?

It also seems (read in a report) the latest generator there had the generator located higher than the previous ones, would this suggest the problem was known? Was their plans to move the others?

As I say im just a lowly electrician (amongst other things) so it's not hard to baffle me but I'm just trying to establish the inking behind the design and siting of these systems.
 21 October 2013 10:48 PM
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kengreen

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WJCE,

If there is a fault here. I would suggest that it lies in your confession that you read newspapers. . From experience, I can assure you that, if you are not willing to give a journalist a story/answers that he is seeking then he simply returns to his desk and digs out the load of twaddle that he has already hammered into his typewriter. I can assure you that I have not read a newspaper for at least 50 years and, believe it or not, the world has not noticed :-)

There is, I find a regrettable and growing tendency for technical journalism to go for the sensational rather than wait to ascertain facts.

Ken Green
 22 October 2013 07:17 AM
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poo

Posts: 227
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On the 1st October 2013 Rupert Wingfield-Hayes from the BBC reported form japan asking what we have learnt from the nuclear meltdown. The quote below is from the end of the report.

Finally let me end by quoting again Tatsujiro Suzuki, the deputy head of Japan's Atomic Energy Commission. I asked him why, if the nuclear industry knows there is a possibility of a disaster, does it continue to tell the public nuclear power is safe?

"We need to be prepared for the worst case. We need to tell the public this is the worst case. But if we tell the worst case, the public says ,'Don't build the reactor near here.' So that was the dilemma. And if you want to continue building nuclear power plants you have to keep telling people the reactors should be safe. But now that myth is gone."
 22 October 2013 07:29 AM
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AndyTaylor

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Of course the media is sensationalist in the way it reports events, they give us what they believe we want, that's largely our fault for continuing to watch/read/listen to what they feed us. In the case of Fukushima the news reports we see now will only be any bad news that they can dig up, any good news is deemed too boring for the mainstream news. But now looking back (and largely at the time) there has been more prominent reporting of the Fukushima situation than the situation in the rest of Japan. News reports have told us far more about the Fukushima clean-up than they have about the clean-up of the rest of Japan, simply because anything nuclear is considered sensational, I doubt most people have much idea what state the devastated towns and villages of Japan are in now, simply because that's deemed not as exciting as a nuclear incident.

-------------------------
Andy Taylor CEng MIET
 22 October 2013 07:38 AM
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AndyTaylor

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Originally posted by: poo

"We need to be prepared for the worst case. We need to tell the public this is the worst case. But if we tell the worst case, the public says ,'Don't build the reactor near here.' So that was the dilemma. And if you want to continue building nuclear power plants you have to keep telling people the reactors should be safe. But now that myth is gone."


Don't build chemical plants, don't build oil refineries, don't build dams, don't build coal/oil/gas power plants, don't drive cars, fly planes, sail ships ..... All these things individually have been responsible for vastly more deaths than those caused by all nuclear power incidents and the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs put together.

The typical reaction to anything nuclear is sensationalist and irrational, the dangers of nuclear power pale into insignificance compare to just the death toll caused by fossil fuel power generation, but coal is not as exciting as Uranium.

-------------------------
Andy Taylor CEng MIET
 22 October 2013 10:44 AM
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rogerbryant

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poo,

your posts read as though the earthquake and tsunami only affected to Fukushima nuclear complex. You completely ingore the fact that many kilometers of coastline were devasted, thousands of people were killed, and large areas of land are polluted with a chemical cocktail from the various semiconductor and chemical industries. It is hard to find figures, but it appears that several hundred thousand people are still displaced from their homes.

How many people have died are or going to die as a result of the radioactive materials that have escaped from Fukushima (real numbers not the Busby, Caldicot, Gundasen fantasies)?

How many people were killed directly by the tsunami?

How many are likely to die due to the chemical pollution?

I am quite sure that any excess cancers in the area will be automatically blamed on radiation, not on the other pollutants.

http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/119-a290/

http://postconflict.unep.ch/pu...st-tsunami_debris.pdf

If you actually look at what took place rather than just quoting various anti nuclear sources you would see that the power plants at Fukushima survived remarkably well and were a credit to their designers.

Best regards

Roger
 22 October 2013 12:18 PM
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poo

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Sorry Roger, I did not realise that Tatsujiro Suzuki, the deputy head of Japan's Atomic Energy Commission, was an anti nuclear source.
 22 October 2013 03:40 PM
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rogerbryant

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poo,

"quoting various anti nuclear sources "

You did not quote Tatsujiro Suzuki. You probably quoted Rupert Wingfield-Hayes although you may have taken that quote from another website.

As Tatsujiro Suzuki is a columnist for The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,

http://www.thebulletin.org/bio/tatsujiro-suzuki

which is certainly not pro nuclear I would think his views are somewhat anti nuclear.

Best regards

Roger
 22 October 2013 04:34 PM
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WJCE

Posts: 11
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Ken although I do read newspapers most of the information I have asked about I read from a report by a nuclear organisation, I maybe able to find it again. But does that really matter unless I have made a mistake in what I have written so be my understanding of the problems that arose?
 22 October 2013 05:59 PM
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kengreen

Posts: 400
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WJCE,

Seeing that the gods of IT saw fit to throw away my reply - let's try again.

No, it never matters who has made the mistake or the nature of that mistake. The only matter of importance is to investigate the sequence of events with the sole aim of discovering the cause(s) of the failure so that a repeat is avoided. It is completely useless to wail over the consequences of the past; we can but push on into the future.

the entirety of our technological advancement has always been to build on past failures, near misses, miscalculations and, dare I say it, the intervention of egos? The most complex of our achievements could never be designed - they were each and every one a development of the existing.

When faced with natural disasters, which involve powers beyond our imagination and certainly beyond our containment, there cannot be a correct and ultimate design. As I have written many times in the past, and written by others on this forum, the dangers experienced so far from nuclear energy are barely perceptible - all we have to do is muzzle the stupidity and ignorance of the media.I do not deny the very real tragedy for those directly victimised but I once cut back a hedge and exposed a bird's nest with seven chicks within who were dying for loss of a caring parent. Most certainly we are not unique.

Ken Green
 25 October 2013 02:44 AM
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poo

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Roger, Tatsijiro Suzuki is a busy man. He is is the vice chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) It says so on the link you posted.
I think it is refreshing for him to admit that the japanese nuclear industry lied to the Japanese public about the risks involved in building and running a nuclear power station. That is why there is so much oposition to nuclear power in Japan now. Someone had to say it.
Ex-PM Koizumi used to be pro nuclear, but after the meltdown he is now anti nuclear.
 25 October 2013 09:04 AM
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rogerbryant

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Poo,
It makes sense to me to have people with mixed views in such bodies.

I don't think that the Japanese nuclear industry lied to the public about the risks. In the same way I doubt that all the other industries using toxic and hazardous chemicals along that coastline or those who built towns along the coastline lied about the risks. All these facilities were designed using the knowledge and standards available at the time. Japan, and many other places on the Pacific Ring of Fire, have significantly increased risks of earthquakes and volcanic activity. There must be some form of acceptance of the risks by the people who live there as there must be by the people who choose to live on the San Andreas fault line.

If you look at the images of the coastline the nuclear facilities had addressed the risks rather better than the rest of the area. As far as I can find 1 of the 16,000 plus deaths took place at Fukushima Daiichi and none at the newer Fukushima Daiini 12km south which was hit by a higher wave.

In contrast the oil refinery at Sendai burnt out of control for 6 days and there are no records of the chemicals that have been spread over the surrounding countryside from the various factories and chemical plants.
Do we hear about this in the media? Do we hear about Fukushima Daiini?

What we do get are the lies and scaremongering from people like Busby and Gunderson. Millions are not going to die due to the radiation escapes. The control limits put on radiation levels are unrealistically low and resulted in unnecessary evacuations and stress. The same was found after Three Mile Island and Chernobyl (names everyone knows, who remembers Bhopal and Vajont which killed far more) but the lessons have not been learnt.

What are the acceptable levels for organic solvents (a powerful carcinogen) in the soil around the various factories and chemical plants? Is anyone measuring these? Will any resultant cancers be blamed on radiation?

I would suggest that you look a little deeper into the claims of Caldicot, Busby, Gunderson, etc. and see if you can find any facts rather than just circular referencing and made up numbers.

Nuclear power does have risks, but they are certainly in proportion to its benefits as a low pollution form of energy and are very much lower than any of the fossil fuel sources.

Best regards

Roger
 08 November 2013 09:49 AM
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WJCE

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So ken the middle paragraph of your last reply about learning from mishaps is my point, has what's happened changed design of back up systems, which seemed to fail completely? Bearing in mind one reactor with a different design seemed to work fine.

In the news this week (which I know you all think is lies) they are removing fuel from reactor 4. But it keeps getting mentioned 1,2 and 3 are still to radioactive to enter or start work on, are they any estimates as to when these will be safe to inspect or work on?
 08 November 2013 12:00 PM
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rogerbryant

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WJCE,

An interesting question. In general with radioactive decommissioning work the longer you can wait the easier it is. In non-accident cases there will typically be a delay of more than 40 years between shutdown and starting to dismantle the reactor core structure.

For reactors 1 and 3 where the containment appears to be undamaged a 40 year plus delay would be sensible. As the decay heat reduces with time less and less cooling is required to maintain cold shutdown.

For reactor 2 where containment damage is suspected it may be appropriate to try and do something sooner, however external measures such as the ice wall may be more sensible.

For your interest here are a couple of reports from around the time of the earthquake on what took place. The second one is rather more detailed however section 7.2 on Tsunami defences is quite interesting.

http://operatingexperience.doe...Reactors+20110323.pdf

http://de.scribd.com/doc/72479...iichi-MASTER-11-08-11

Best regards

Roger
 10 November 2013 10:30 PM
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WJCE

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Thanks for the links roger really good and well explained stuff in there. Although there are a few conflicting views compared with this I read:

http://fukushima.ans.org/report/Fukushima_report.pdf

Will comment further when I get the time. During the fuel removal how often do you think the updates will be?
 10 November 2013 10:47 PM
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WJCE

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fukushima.ans.org/report/Fukushima_report. . PDF
 15 November 2013 08:47 AM
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Rowsell34

Posts: 14
Joined: 08 November 2013

That earthquake in Japan is a big event a disaster
IET » Energy » Japan Earthquake

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