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Offline Frankie Love

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #401 on: Mar 16, 2011, 04:42 »
Quote
almost zero looting, orderly evacuations, patient cooperation with civil defense, chipping in to help their countrymen,....

What's sad is you would never see that here. Kind of makes you wonder a bit...

Cycoticpenguin

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #402 on: Mar 16, 2011, 04:48 »
Having lived in the San Luis Obispo area, I got more than my fill of MFP.

When you're done checking out their page, you may want to see this guy's list of 11 Reasons to Oppose Nuclear Power. Surely, his 6 (yes, 6) blog followers agree:
http://lowcarbonkid.blogspot.com/2011/03/11-reasons-to-oppose-nuclear-power.html

And- here's a great article that showed up on CNN's Opinion page about an hour or so ago- Why Nuclear Power is Necessary:
http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/03/16/sjoden.nuclear.japan/index.html?hpt=C1


Holy cow.... so many innacuracies in that article. Apparently it takes 25 tons of uranium to operate a plant... thats one VERY expensive plant haha.

Offline Bradtv

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #403 on: Mar 16, 2011, 04:50 »
Senate panel speaking with NRC chairman Jaczko on C-Span3 atm...

Barbara Boxer needs a lot of help being educated about nuclear power.

She even asked how many plants are on seismic zones... as that "information was not available".

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Where+are+the+US+nuclear+power+plants+on+seismic+zones%3F

Second link, Senator.
« Last Edit: Mar 16, 2011, 05:13 by Bradtv »
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Cycoticpenguin

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #404 on: Mar 16, 2011, 04:57 »
What's sad is you would never see that here. Kind of makes you wonder a bit...

Yeah, different culture over there. I heard supermarkets with canned foods and water were being unscathed by looters. People were waiting in line patiently for the government to help them out. THAT would be the real shame of the situation if it were riotous.

Keln

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #405 on: Mar 16, 2011, 05:40 »
Holy cow.... so many innacuracies in that article. Apparently it takes 25 tons of uranium to operate a plant... thats one VERY expensive plant haha.

25 tons!?  :o

I don't think our license allows us to have even a tenth of that on site, and I work for a uranium enrichment company...

Every time I think these news reports have hit rock bottom in factuality, they prove me wrong, mere minutes later.

Keln

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #406 on: Mar 16, 2011, 05:54 »
Latest reports right now are saying the fuel pool at unit 4 is empty. Can anyone confirm this? I can't even begin to trust the news anymore on this subject (and am now questioning everything the news reports, regardless of subject matter).

Offline hamsamich

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #407 on: Mar 16, 2011, 06:08 »
The latest JAIF report says it is just low but that was hours ago.  If they were considering a water cannon and helicopters, sadly I assumed it was only a matter of time before it boiled dry...

Offline tr

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #408 on: Mar 16, 2011, 06:13 »
Holy cow.... so many innacuracies in that article. Apparently it takes 25 tons of uranium to operate a plant... thats one VERY expensive plant haha.
Our typical cores contain 94 metric tons of UO2 (3400 MWt class plant).  Given that most of the weight is in the U part of UO2, 25 tons sounds low.

Offline Dave Warren

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #409 on: Mar 16, 2011, 06:38 »
Latest reports right now are saying the fuel pool at unit 4 is empty. Can anyone confirm this? I can't even begin to trust the news anymore on this subject (and am now questioning everything the news reports, regardless of subject matter).

The Japanese power company (TEPCO) is reluctant to tell the truth. Big business rules that country more than it does ours. Our guys are inspecting the area in detail for the first time and we are certainly painting a graver picture than they have been. The NRC has even gone as far as saying that the Unit 4 SFP is dry. TEPCO says this is Bulls&^%$#t. The words "extremely high radiation" are being tossed around like radioactive particles. The NBC Nightly News staff got to see their shoes getting deconned tonight. Unit 4 is the worst problem but the other SFP's are rumored to have water leaking as a result of the explosions. Our people aren't allowed within 50 miles. Where are the Blues Brothers when you need them?

Offline hamsamich

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #410 on: Mar 16, 2011, 06:45 »
Excellent comment.  It's not chernobyl but it's not 3 mile island in more ways than just the accident level.  Not as secretive as the russians but not telling enough.

Xenon_Free

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #411 on: Mar 16, 2011, 07:00 »
Bear with me with me a few minutes while attempting to explain what is going on now in Japan.  This is for any people reading the thread NOT familiar with the industry jargon.

THIS IS PURELY HYPOTHETICAL – based again on information that is available to me.  I don’t know everything and I certainly don’t know what is going on at those plants right now.

There are two sites that were impacted, Fukushima I and Fukushima II (DAIICHI and DAINI respectively)

Fukushima II has four units and they have offsite power available, and are in cold shutdown – this means to me for all practical purposes of this discussion they are completely fine.  And reports agree with this assessment – their problems are over.

Fukushima I has 6 units, 4 together in one spot and 2 others about a half a mile a way (estimate from the pictures)

Units 5 and 6 (the two a half a mile a way) apparently have at least one Emergency Diesel Generator that they are somehow sharing between them, they were shutdown at the time of the natural disaster and they seem to be fairly stable.  Their priorities right now are establishing and maintaining spent fuel pool cooling and possible other decay heat removal equipment.  Given that it has been several days and the situation has not degraded all will probably be well at these units.  They are not out of the woods but it seems they have fared far, far better than their counterparts.

Unit 1 through 4 are of concern now. 

Unit 1 – They are injecting seawater to both the Reactor and the vessel that sounds the reactor and everything there that is necessary to keep the situation from getting worse is in place.  Their Spent Fuel Pool is probably being filled or maintained with an outside water source by now and so they seem to be stable in all serious respects… that is, the situation probably will not degrade further.

Unit 2 – They are injecting water into the vessel, apparently there are issues and they are having some difficulty.  It appears that the Reactor vessel itself is still intact but leaking.  However, containment (composed of two separate pieces the Torus and Drywell) is not completely intact.  The Torus has a hole in it, how big is hard to say.  As long as the drywell stays intact – which seems much more likely now that the torus is vented to the building - their issues can be kept in check.  The Torus is located in the deepest part of the reactor building surrounded by concrete and steel.  It is located in a watertight room and the building itself is watertight so, they would be able to flood the building (no small task but do-able) if leakage from the Torus was causing them an issue.  The spent fuel pool is not yet causing them a problem, they are taking measures to add water as necessary, there was likely not a high heat load in this pool since they had not recently shutdown to change the fuel out.  And it does not appear too badly damaged from the explosions, based on lack of steam/smoke coming from unit 2.

Next post for units 3 and 4.

kwicslvr

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #412 on: Mar 16, 2011, 07:10 »
"We continue to closely monitor the events in Japan at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The plant, which houses six reactors, was damaged in a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11.
 
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has reported that a partial collapse of the Daiichi Unit 4 Spent Fuel Pool (SFP) has occurred due to failure of the structural material surrounding the pool.  While it is unclear the exact extent of the damage, it appears that the SFP is not maintaining water.   

 

The Nuclear Energy Institute, in coordination with the industry’s Chief Nuclear Officers, is generating a list of available portable emergency equipment that can be sent to Daiichi to aid Tokyo Electric Power Co. in addressing this recent development.

 

Daiichi Units 1, 2 and 3 are beginning to stabilize. Current core temperatures are less then 200 degrees Fahrenheit in all three units. Units 1 and 3 primary containments remains intact, though the Unit 2 primary containment appears to have been breached.

 

The NRC has deployed a team of 11 experts to aid in the response to the events at Daiichi."   

Offline buckeye99

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #413 on: Mar 16, 2011, 07:56 »
Quote
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has reported that a partial collapse of the Daiichi Unit 4 Spent Fuel Pool (SFP) has occurred due to failure of the structural material surrounding the pool.  While it is unclear the exact extent of the damage, it appears that the SFP is not maintaining water.   

In all seriousness. They're going to need an ass-ton of meter-swingers. What a fricking mess that's gotta be. 

Xenon_Free

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #414 on: Mar 16, 2011, 08:13 »
I’ll make the statement again before I begin.

THIS IS PURELY HYPOTHETICAL – based again on information that is available to me.  I don’t know everything and I certainly don’t know what is going on at those plants right now.

Unit 3-  The Reactor and Containment are intact.  All fuel remains safely inside these structures and barring any further catastrophe it will remain safely bottled up and all will be well with the reactor.  Their Spent Fuel Pool is of concern, it looks like an awful lot of debris is in the pool, steam rising from the SFP area indicates it is heating up, likely due to boil off.  This is an acceptable condition when you take the gravity of the situation into account.  Water can be added to the pool to maintain level until a more permanent temporary fix can be engineered.  Radioactive gases are escaping from the pool with the steam, this is unavoidable to prevent unit 3 SFP from turning into unit 4 SFP.  If water can continue to be added then the situation can be controlled, not contained but controlled.  This goes into the Extreme Damage Mitigation that I posted about previously.

Unit 4 – The reactor is empty of fuel, there is no tremendous hazard from this draining completely dry when compared to the rest of the issues they are having right now.  This is NOT happening as far as we know.  The reactor has water in it and the condition inside has not changed from normal refuel status.  The grave conditions of the spent fuel pool are the #1 issue affecting any of these units right now.  They are attempting to add water with fire hoses, thinking about helicopters, and are probably working very hard on lining up a core spray or other method of adding water to the Reactor which would then spill over into the Spent Fuel Pool.  If, as has been posted, the Spent fuel pool is no longer completely intact these methods will minimize further damage and keep airborne radioactivity down somewhat.

It is interesting to me that the plants that seemed to be in the most trouble early on are “apparently” the most stable now, and the vice is true for the other two.  I am not using the word “interesting” in a flippant manner, I am trying to learn here too.   For knowledge I will never have to use, God willing. 

XF

JustinHEMI05

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #415 on: Mar 16, 2011, 08:17 »
I am with you XF, that has been my assessment when asked by non-industry friends and family. Like you, I try to choose my words carefully and always remind them that is it my best educated guess based on the updates available to us.

Justin

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Offline OldHP

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #417 on: Mar 16, 2011, 08:29 »
I am with you XF, that has been my assessment when asked by non-industry friends and family. Like you, I try to choose my words carefully and always remind them that is it my best educated guess based on the updates available to us.
Justin

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Agreed!  I am getting many e-mails asking for professional and personal opinion and use the same reminder.  I've directed many to this site and XF's posts in particular.
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Nuclear Renaissance

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #418 on: Mar 16, 2011, 08:41 »
Unit 3-  The Reactor and Containment are intact. 

I would have doubts about the Unit 3 containment. That secondary containment explosion was violent. The primary containment is very poor at handling external pressure shock, and unfortunately the vacuum breakers are all the way down in the basement. It doesn't make sense to me that its SFP would be steaming so much more quickly and in such greater magnitude than the other 2 running units, and makes me wonder if the steaming is coming from primary containment.

Xenon_Free

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #419 on: Mar 16, 2011, 09:16 »
I would have doubts about the Unit 3 containment. That secondary containment explosion was violent. The primary containment is very poor at handling external pressure shock, and unfortunately the vacuum breakers are all the way down in the basement. It doesn't make sense to me that its SFP would be steaming so much more quickly and in such greater magnitude than the other 2 running units, and makes me wonder if the steaming is coming from primary containment.

Good point, I guess I was basing this off of the pressure inside of containment which I believe is around 35 psig.  Assuming that in NISA update CV = containment vessel.  But who can say, even the JAIF says containment damage suspected. 

EDIT:  As far as the steaming goes, as you said the explosion was much more violent, possibly lower than normal level in the pool due to damage.   Keep it covered, that is all you have at the moment.
« Last Edit: Mar 16, 2011, 09:18 by Xenon_Free »

Nuclear Renaissance

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #420 on: Mar 16, 2011, 09:16 »
Has anyone seen an estimate of what the acceleration the Fukushima Daiichi site experienced was versus what its Design Basis Earthquake is? We hear a lot about the 9.0 magnitude, but of course that was at the epicenter offshore.

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #421 on: Mar 16, 2011, 09:27 »
I've been a gold member with this site for almost a year now.  I've never been happier or more grateful for this site prior to the incident in Japan.  We'll never know how many ordinary people have been educated in nuclear power theory and the events ongoing with the Japan's plants. Having no operations experience, I've not chimed in earlier.  I usually log on for entertainment but really wanted to express my appreciation to the experienced operations and  engineering members for their time and energy in educating the rest of us!!  +K +K +K +K Thanks to all of you!!
« Last Edit: Mar 16, 2011, 09:29 by retread »
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Cycoticpenguin

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #422 on: Mar 16, 2011, 09:32 »
Our typical cores contain 94 metric tons of UO2 (3400 MWt class plant).  Given that most of the weight is in the U part of UO2, 25 tons sounds low.


Im sorry. I was thinking about our refueling outage and how much we replaced vs the actual amount in the core. O.o


matthew.b

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #423 on: Mar 16, 2011, 09:48 »
I had heard that unit 4 had been down for 151 days at the time of the earthquake.  Anyone have some idea what that means thermally?  Is it still hot enough to melt cladding if it is only cooled by air?

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Re: Japan's Nukes Following Earthquake
« Reply #424 on: Mar 16, 2011, 11:05 »
From the NEI website


Fact Sheet
Used Nuclear Fuel Storage at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant
(Last updated 3/15/11)
Key Facts
 Used nuclear fuel at the Fukushima Daiichi plant is stored in seven pools (one at each of the six reactors, plus a shared pool) and in a dry container storage facility (containing nine casks).
 Sixty percent of the used fuel on site is stored in the shared pool, in a building separated from the reactor buildings; 34 percent of the used fuel is distributed between the six reactor fuel storage pools, and the remaining six percent is stored in the nine dry storage containers. There are no safety concerns regarding the used fuel in dry storage at Fukushima Daiichi.
 Used fuel pools are robust concrete and steel structures designed to protect the fuel from even the most severe events. Pools are designed with systems to maintain the temperature and water levels sufficient to provide cooling and radiation shielding.
 The water level in a used fuel pool typically is 16 feet or more above the top of the fuel assemblies.
 The used fuel pools at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors are located at the top of the reactor buildings for ease of handling during refueling operations.
 The used fuel pools are designed so that the water in the pool cannot drain down as a result of damage to the piping or cooling systems. The pools do not have drains in the sides or the floor of the pool structure. The only way to rapidly drain down the pool is if there is structural damage to the walls or the floor.
What Could Happen During an Accident?
 The systems that cool and maintain water levels in the pools are designed to withstand severe events. If these systems are unable to function, the heat generated by the used fuel would result in a slow increase in the temperature of the spent fuel pool water. The operating temperature of the pools is typically around 40 degrees C or 100 degrees F (the boiling point for water is 100 C or 212 F). This slow increase in temperature would result in an increased evaporation rate. Rapid evaporation of the water will not occur.
 Exact evaporation rates would depend on the amount of used fuel in the pool and how long it has cooled. The rate at which the pool water level would decrease (due to evaporation or mild boiling) in the absence of cooling system function would not be expected to lower water levels by more than a few percent per day. Given that there is approximately 16 feet or more of water above the used fuel assemblies, operators would have ample time (days to weeks) to find another way to add water to the pools before the fuel would become exposed. For example, water could easily be added using a fire hose.
2
 If the water level decreases below the top of the fuel assembly, oxidation of the zirconium cladding could occur. This oxidation could result in some hydrogen generation. However, only the fuel assemblies with the least cooling time (on the order of weeks after discharge from the reactor) would be susceptible to this oxidation. The temperature of the fuel assemblies decreases exponentially with cooling time. The rate of hydrogen generation depends on the temperature of the fuel assembly, with hotter temperatures leading to higher gas generation rates. However, the temperature of the cladding must rise to approximately 1,000 C before significant hydrogen generation rate occurs. This is extremely unlikely to occur after as little as 120 days (16 weeks) of cooling. As a reference, the melting point of zirconium is approximately 1,800 degrees C.
 Even if the water level in the pools was to decrease sufficiently so that the fuel were exposed to air, the same level of overheating that can occur in a reactor accident would not occur in the used fuel pool because the used fuel assemblies in the pool are cooler than in the reactor. It is highly unlikely that used fuel temperatures could reach the point where melting could occur, although some damage to the cladding cannot be ruled out. The likelihood of cladding damage, as with hydrogen generation, decreases substantially with temperature and cooling time.
 There has been some speculation that, if the used fuel pool were completely drained, the zirconium cladding might ignite and a “zirconium fire” might occur. Studies performed by the Department of Energy indicate that is virtually impossible to ignite zirconium tubing.
 At the surface of the used fuel pool, the gamma dose rate from radiation emanating off the used fuel assemblies is typically less than 2 millirem per hour. If the water level decreases, gamma radiation levels would increase substantially. This increase would be noticed at the radiation monitors near the reactor buildings.



I would suspect that there is some structual damage to the spent fuel pools.  I don't believe they have caught on fire at this point.  However, the only explanation of the rumored excessive levels is that the spent fuel is somehow, partially exposed.

 


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