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Author Topic:   Japan
Percy
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Posts: 22676
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 1 of 175 (608736)
03-13-2011 7:21 AM


Details of the extent of damage and mortality in the Japan earthquake/tsunami have been emerging slowly. I'm sure by now we've all seen the videos of the sea inundating the land. I at first assumed the areas had already been evacuated, but then in some places I saw it overtaking traffic, and now with a few preliminary estimates of missing in some towns coming in from a long swath of coast I sat down to do a back-of-the-envelope estimate of the time between the earthquake and the tsunami.
If the earthquake was 150 miles from shore, and if tsunami's travel at 500 mph, then residents had roughly 20 minutes to escape, and I'm trying to project what that means. On the one hand it feels very dire to me, but on the other we know that Japan takes the threat of tsunamis seriously and no doubt has detailed evacuation plans for the coast.
--Percy

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Percy
Member
Posts: 22676
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 132 of 175 (609439)
03-20-2011 8:15 AM


Information
I just this morning learned two interesting facts about US nuclear power from an expert on BBC radio whose name I don't recall:
  • Because of the lack of options for nuclear waste disposal, the NRC routinely gives permission to nuclear power plants to store many more and more densely spent fuel rods in cooling ponds than originally planned. If cooling were to break down the consequences would be far more dire than in Japan.
  • Most of our nuclear power plants do not have any long-term backup power generation capability, such as the diesel generators at Fukushima.
Just to briefly weigh in on the main discussion, all energy alternatives come with costs and risks that must be balanced. Where the balance points lie is complex and debatable and probably different for every location, and refusal to acknowledge this seems perverse. The difference in opinion on power options has a strong emotional core deriving from the fact that nuclear plants pollute through accident and catastrophe while other options pollute through normal operation.
And to briefly return to an issue introduced in the opening post but that hasn't been mentioned in a while, the number of dead/missing in Japan now exceeds 20,000.
--Percy

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Percy
Member
Posts: 22676
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 133 of 175 (609444)
03-20-2011 9:50 AM


Question about Nuclear Plant Design
Here's a question based upon this picture of a post-earthquake road in Japan:
Are nuclear power plant containment facilities designed to maintain integrity if something like this were to happen directly beneath them?
--Percy

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Percy
Member
Posts: 22676
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 146 of 175 (609608)
03-21-2011 4:38 PM
Reply to: Message 140 by Rahvin
03-21-2011 2:18 PM


Re: Question about Nuclear Plant Design
Hi Rahvin,
I think you're answering a different question than the one I was asking. I wasn't asking if nuclear containment facilities are built to withstand a quake severe enough to cause ground faults like the ones in that photograph. I was asking if nuclear containment facilities are built to withstand ground faults like that occurring directly beneath them. Seems like a nearly impossible design problem, so I thought I'd ask.
--Percy

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Percy
Member
Posts: 22676
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 147 of 175 (609702)
03-22-2011 12:54 PM


Elite Parking Space
--Percy

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Percy
Member
Posts: 22676
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


(1)
Message 149 of 175 (609704)
03-22-2011 1:04 PM


Robot Question
I see many comments in the news about the lack of close-up information about containment facilities and cooling ponds. This seems an ideal application for robots. Images, videos, temperature readings, radioactivity measurements, it seems like robots should be able to provide all of these types of things, yet I see no mention of robots.
I just now decided I should Google the topic before sending this out and discovered I'm not the first to ask this question: Where are the robots in Japan's nuclear crisis?
It came out a couple days ago, talks about some of the possible robot alternatives.
--Percy

Replies to this message:
 Message 150 by fearandloathing, posted 03-22-2011 1:54 PM Percy has replied
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Percy
Member
Posts: 22676
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 160 of 175 (610399)
03-29-2011 3:54 PM
Reply to: Message 150 by fearandloathing
03-22-2011 1:54 PM


Re: Robot Question
Hey, here come the robots:
--Percy

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Percy
Member
Posts: 22676
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 174 of 175 (612282)
04-14-2011 1:54 PM


Documentary
I just watched a documentary titled Witness: Disaster in Japan on the National Geographic channel. Doesn't seem to be on-line yet anywhere, but I expect segments of it will show up on-line, but it's best watched in HD. There seems to be a lot of previously unseen footage. Here's a description from Witness Disaster in Japan with National Geographic:
Raman Media Network writes:
Premiering on Wednesday, April 13, 2011, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, just over a month after the disaster occurred, Witness: Disaster in Japan weaves together an array of video sources some rarely seen, and others shown in more depth to build a comprehensive one-hour special that exemplifies the sheer magnitude of the disaster in chronological order, starting with the earthquake’s first tremor through the devastation caused by the tsunami.
I expect it will be rebroadcast, get your TiVo's ready.
--Percy

Replies to this message:
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