Articles tagged with "nuclear accident"
I read the news today (...) and it seems that there are a growing number of holes at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility. Although nobody has actually seen them, much less counted them all, holes from 3cm to perhaps 7cm in diameter are believed to exist in the primary containment vessels for at least two of the reactors. Tepco suspects that the holes were created by molten fuel eating its way through the steel walls. Water is being injected into the containment in an effort to continuously remove heat from the fuel, but the water leaking through the holes is bringing radioactive contaminants along with it while filling up the no-longer-drywell and the basement of the reactor building. A plant to process this water is being designed. In the meanwhile, highly radioactive water is being pumped to a storage facility next door. Unfortunately, this facility is almost full.
But perhaps this is not a problem, as the storage facility is apparently leaking as well.
The operator of Japan's troubled nuclear plant is trying to determine where contaminated water from a waste disposal facility is leaking to, after finding that the water level inside the facility has dropped.
The situation at the Fukushima nuclear reactors has evolved to one of chronic catastrophe or, more optimistically, feed and bleed followed by dialysis. For the viewer at home, the long-awaited debut of picture-taking robots inside the reactor buildings nicely complements the airborne fleet of drones that have been providing grist for armchair forensics experts everywhere. While we keep getting reassured that the Fukushima crisis is not as severe as Chernobyl, I will instead look a few years further back in an effort to learn something about the present dilemma. Fukushima should be more comparable to the Three Mile Island meltdown in 1979 than Chernobyl, but it has apparently left the former eating its radioactive dust. Why? Can anything be learned from this?
Yet another large aftershock shook the region around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, causing a brief evacuation of workers and an interruption to the electricity flow to external pumps used to provide fresh water to cool the reactor pressure vessels and spent fuel ponds. The injection of nitrogen into the No. 1 primary containment vessel, aimed at reducing the risk of additional hydrogen explosions, has also resumed. However, the pressure is rising slower than expected, suggesting a possible leak.
Three weeks have elapsed since the East Japan earthquake and tsunami triggered the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear reactors. Despite many optimistic predictions for a quick resolution to a minor mishap, it is clear that it will take a long time to even determine the exact condition of the reactors and spent fuel pools, not to mention any remediation of the radiation hazard in the immediate area. Data dissemination by TEPCO and the Japanese government has not exactly been smooth since the accident, and this has largely contributed to the confusion. Nonetheless, there has been much speculation and fitting together of puzzle pieces by visitors to this website and others.
But this post is not geared toward understanding what is going on at Fukushima, but rather on improving our collective understanding of all things nuclear. The goal is a compendium of educational and utility resources to make us better prepared to discuss what is happening in Japan and what will happen with nuclear power in the future. Suggestions by readers are requested. Let's keep it civil.