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Massive Earthquake Hits Japan

Discussion in 'The OT' started by phrelin, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. Mar 14, 2011 #61 of 127
    FHSPSU67

    FHSPSU67 CE'er & Retired Engineer DBSTalk Club

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    During my career I worked at Conemaugh, Homer City, and Keystone, Pennsylvania major generating stations. Johnstown is known as Flood City for a good reason. All three of these stations had their emergency diesels in the basement:(

    Not trying to justify it at all, and I do foreseehanges being made in this country.

    In addition I also worked with Johnstown's (Penelec's) Energy Management Center which was on the second floor. However, all the communication lines came in from underground lines:(
     
  2. Mar 14, 2011 #62 of 127
    Mike Bertelson

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    Anyone who is concerned about the “China Syndrome” don’t be. It doesn’t melt out of the containment building. Three Mile Island had about a 50% melt down and at no time was it in danger of fuel breaching the bottom of the reactor vessel let alone the containment building.

    The so called China Syndrome is a myth. In theory, the effects of breaching the containment building are pretty accurate. However, the Goldbergian sequence of events necessary to get supercritical fuel outside of the containment building is so improbably as to be effectively impossible.

    Trust me, it’s not a problem. I’d be more worried about the local release of contamination...but the “China Syndrome”, not an issue.

    Mike
     
  3. Mar 14, 2011 #63 of 127
    Mike Bertelson

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    You would need power for the pumps and component operation to devert the steam...not to mention installing a secondary turbine. If they had to power to do that then they wouldn't need the secondary turbine....I'm just sayin' :grin:

    Mike
     
  4. Mar 14, 2011 #64 of 127
    James Long

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    Besides ... from Japan it would melt through to somewhere near the French islands in the South Atlantic. China is too close.
     
  5. Mar 14, 2011 #65 of 127
    Mike Bertelson

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    Ok, the Caribbean Syndrome. :grin:

    It’s kinda moot anyway. It’s based on gravity so it wouldn’t go any further than the earth’s core. ;)

    Mike
     
  6. Mar 14, 2011 #66 of 127
    James Long

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    No, the South Atlantic (you're only off by 4900 miles in the southern North Atlantic). I guess the "dig a hole to China" thing we learned as kids stuck. But a hole drilled through the center of the earth from the northern hemisphere is going to end up in the southern hemisphere. Three Mile Island's hole would come out southwest of Australia (if it actually worked). Gotta hand out more globes.

    Hopefully they can get it all under control and be able to concentrate more on cleaning up the current disaster than worrying about the next one.
     
  7. Mar 14, 2011 #67 of 127
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    Myth or not, I would simply like to point out that all the theoretical physics and computer modeling in the world is not going to really help understand what is going on in a disaster of this magnitude. There simply has not been enough raw data for those models to be accurate.

    Am I worried about a China Syndrome? Not per se but I think that a Chernobyl-type event, that's not impossible.
     
  8. Mar 14, 2011 #68 of 127
    James Long

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    You're right ... the real problem isn't where a theoretical hole straight through would go but what it hits on the way through the core. We would likely end up with a man made volcano if a hole was actually dug ... but there are issues involved that would prevent that.

    Repeating Chernobyl is a bigger threat.
     
  9. Mar 14, 2011 #69 of 127
    mobandit

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    No, a Chernobyl-type event is also not possible given the current situation.

    First, the reactors at Chernobyl were a completely different design. They were a graphite-moderated reactor. A flaw in the design/operation parameters and a very flawed testing scenario allowed the Chernobyl reactor to experience an extreme power transition, which is what caused the core to overheat so violently.

    The reactors in Japan are boiling-water reactors, which are moderated by water. The design prevents the kind of power excursion that Chernobyl experienced, especially in the case where the core is shutdown by the insertion of the control rods. The Japanese cores were shutdown immediately when the earthquake struck. The only issue now is removing what is known as decay heat. The core produces heat from the decay of radioactive elements present in the fuel from the fission process. The fission process is no longer occurring at any significant rate, however the decay of the radioactive elements will continue to produce heat for a long time. The most dangerous time is the first 48 hours or so, after that the production of decay heat is reduced greatly, and continues to reduce over time.

    There is absolutely no danger of a "Chernobyl-type" incident at this point from the Japanese reactors.
     
  10. Mar 14, 2011 #70 of 127
    Mike Bertelson

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    I was just kidding....it sounded better than some unnamed point off the coast of Argentina or wherever that antipodal point winds up. :shrug: :D

    Mike
     
  11. Mar 14, 2011 #71 of 127
    Mike Bertelson

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    Not to mention that the Soviets overrode the built-in safety systems in order to so some testing so when the doo-doo hit the fan there was no way to stop it.

    Definitely not a consideration here.

    Mike
     
  12. Mar 14, 2011 #72 of 127
    dpeters11

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    From what I've seen of Japanese culture (though admittedly some of it may be stereotypical), they likely followed very strict protocols in operation and testing of their facilities.
     
  13. Mar 14, 2011 #73 of 127
    Stuart Sweet

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    mobandit,

    You and I probably read the same article since what you wrote seems very similar to that article. So to go line item by line item, the events at Chernobyl are not likely to happen. But that article failed to put my mind at ease about what I really meant, an area that becomes so significantly polluted that it is uninhabitable for a period of time beyond my lifespan, and a possible effect on global radioactivity. Is that possible? I'm not sure that anyone's talking about it but I think the thing we have to say over and over again is that it's impossible to model this kind of event, there is simply not significant amounts of real-world data.
     
  14. Mar 14, 2011 #74 of 127
    Laxguy

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    Where it wouldn't register even a tick on the thermometer or mass measuring device.....but I am sure someone has done calculations of how far down a real meltdown in an uncontained vessel would go. My bet is <15 miles.
     
  15. Mar 14, 2011 #75 of 127
    phrelin

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    A year from now we'll begin to understand what the implications are. I felt pretty sure we have no idea what the full risks are with this design when I read on the Kyodo News site:
    What I do know is my GE stock (as these are GE-designed nuclear power reactors) is down over 4% as speculators figured the nuclear power option might lose a bit of its shine, as it well should IMHO.

    (On the other hand, GE is also in the energy news because it "today introduced its 4.1-113 wind turbine, a four-megawatt (MW) class machine that is optimized for offshore use and is designed to bring a new level of reliability to the offshore wind industry. GE has signed a contract to supply a 4.1-113 wind turbine, along with associated services, to Göteborg Energi for installation in the Gothenburg, Sweden harbor in the second half of 2011, GE announced at the European Wind Energy Association’s EWEA 2011 today." I have to wonder how they would do in a big earthquake/tsunami event.)
     
  16. Mar 14, 2011 #76 of 127
    phrelin

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    Northern...
    The top headline at Kyodo News this morning was Confusion from deadly quake spreading, over 5,000 dead or missing. From that story:
    This is probably the "first world's" best disaster prepared nation. In the very short term, it's a human tragedy of major proportion. But I'm pretty sure that Japan's leaders are just now beginning to take in the nature of their problems as no one can really plan for a disaster of this magnitude.

    During the next four weeks we'll see what happens when a 21st Century first world country loses 20% of its power supply and truncates its public transportation and rail service for a significant period of time.

    And particularly in the tsunami impacted prefectures, while it's possible to distribute basic relief supplies using aircraft, it's a bit overwhelming to have to rebuild large numbers of bridges and roads to facilitate motor vehicle movement leading to a "normal" supply system for goods found in the retail markets. Basic public health is in danger as municipal water and sewer systems must be rebuilt.

    Then there's the whole economy problem of thousands of people having no place of employment that provided them with money to buy goods.

    It's got to feel pretty overwhelming.
     
  17. Mar 14, 2011 #77 of 127
    Mike Bertelson

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    I know you asked mobandit but I’ll chime in here. At Chernobyl the massive steam explosion actually spread highly radioactive graphite (which was on fire creating radioactive smoke) and fuel into the surrounding environment.

    A further problem is that there was no containment vessel for the reactor...at least not in the same sense as western nuclear facilities have. It really was a worst case scenario.

    The completely different design and containment will prevent this from happening. IMO, it shouldn’t be much worse than Three Mile Island.

    The one variable is the hydrogen explosions. At TMI the hydrogen was contained in an auxiliary building and didn’t actually cause an explosion. It is probable that there are higher levels of contamination in the local area than what was seen in Harrisburg. However, what was seen at Chernobyl was/is orders of magnitude higher than what’s likely to be seen in Japan.

    I was in Scotland at the time Chernobyl blew up and I saw measurable contamination on air samples (a major portion of my job at the time was radiation & contamination monitoring). Its effects were measurable thousands of miles away. I seriously doubt that you’ll see that in Japan.
     
  18. Mar 14, 2011 #78 of 127
    TBoneit

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    I'll probably offend some, However I believe we in the USA need to be proactive in getting nuclear power plants built. We have way to much dependence on fuel from overseas.

    The other option would be relaxing pollution standards and transitioning to Coal which it is my understanding we have plenty of.

    BTW switching to electric cars from gasoline powered just shifts the fuel usage from local to the power grid.

    Whatever happened to the technology that the Germans used in WWII to create Synthetic fuel?

    Stop turning food into fuel. The current mania for corn to alcohol is causing food prices to go up, The net gain is low and My experience is that Gasahol gives lower MPH.

    Ruins of the German synthetic petrol plant (Hydrierwerke Pölitz – Aktiengesellschaft) in Police, Poland
     

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  19. Mar 14, 2011 #79 of 127
    phrelin

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    I remember a pr event in the late 1950's regarding the Diablo Canyon plant. At the time, I thought this is the way to go. Since then I've learned more about the nature of what we know versus what we don't know about the Earth, engineering and tolerances, and nuclear physics. The overseas fuel problem is a political problem - it's about people. It's messy, it's dangerous. But IMHO substituting nuclear waste isn't the glowing solution to that problem. (Pun intended.)

    Well, we and the Chinese have enough coal reserves that we could make the world look like London in the 19th Century.

    From Wikipedia:
    Looks to me like these went the way of the turn of the last century electric car. But the economics and plus technology advances could make this a viable choice.

    While we're looking at the Japan lesson over the next year, don't forget to also look at the lessons for high speed electric rail in any place on the West Coast.;)
     
  20. Mar 14, 2011 #80 of 127
    hdtvfan0001

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    Every day the story seems to get much worse.

    It's all very upsetting and sad.
     

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