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Author Topic:   Japan
Taq
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Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 31 of 175 (608848)
03-14-2011 6:37 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by dronestar
03-14-2011 12:16 PM


Re: for Rahvin . . .
If a natural or man-made disaster causes another Chernobyl catastrophe, would you then still be a strong supporter?
How many lives lost would it take for you to change your mind? Hundreds? Thousands? Millions?
(I am not "anti-nuclear power", but I am curious with your response, as I think the latest news in Japan SHOULD at least give reflection)
Huntard and Jar,
If a natural or man-made disaster causes another Chernobyl catastrophe, would you then still be a strong supporter?
How many lives lost would it take for you to change your mind? Hundreds? Thousands? Millions?
(I am not "anti-nuclear power", but I am curious with your response, as I think the latest news in Japan SHOULD at least give reflection)
This interests me because there is a strong push to build a nuclear power plant near me, the first to be built in the US in quite some time. I wonder if this disaster will stall the project, or end it altogether.
On a related note, I wonder if the Japan disaster will heighten awareness of tsunami risks on the western coast of the US. From what I have been told, the Cascadia fault will, at some point, produce a tsunami. It's not a matter of if, only when.

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 Message 29 by dronestar, posted 03-14-2011 12:16 PM dronestar has replied

Replies to this message:
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 Message 33 by dronestar, posted 03-15-2011 9:41 AM Taq has replied

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 34 of 175 (608940)
03-15-2011 12:25 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by dronestar
03-15-2011 9:41 AM


Re: for Rahvin . . .
I think I mostly agree with Omnivorous' thinking Message 192 that when it comes to nuclear power safety, we might be able to trust scientists, however we shouldn't trust a de-regulated industry, a corporatist government, "terrorists", and, as shown in Japan, mother-nature to do the right/SAFE thing.
We shouldn't ignore the positives of nuclear power, either. Not to push this down the GW path too far . . . one of the positives is that nuclear power does not release CO2 (at least not during power production, uranium mining on the other hand . . .). At some point we need to get off of coal and natural gas, even if GW is not the main reason. While fission reactors are not the best option, they may be the lesser of two evils until the wet dream of fusion power is a reality (if ever).
And let's not ignore the political clout of petroleum, natural gas, and coal producers.

This message is a reply to:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 36 of 175 (608944)
03-15-2011 12:58 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by dronestar
03-15-2011 12:46 PM


Re: for Rahvin . . .
Yes, I understand the positives of nuclear power and of our currently poor options. However, when reading . . .
It is a real tragedy that something on this scale has to occur before safety features are considered. I have no doubt that some form of containment or back up cooling systems can be put in place that would prevent this same disaster from occuring again in other facilities across the globe. No doubt this will increase the initial cost of a facility. What those fixes are I don't know, but I find it hard to believe that a fix could not be found.
I will have to read more into how these reactors failed and what precautions could have been made before making any final conclusions. Obviously, putting reactors on the coast where they can get hit by a one-two punch of earthquake and tsunami is not a good thing. It also saddens me that a country ravaged by two US nuclear bombs 70 years ago has to go through this modern tragedy.

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 44 of 175 (608981)
03-15-2011 5:25 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by slevesque
03-15-2011 4:25 PM


Re: for Rahvin . . .
I don't really have a strong opinion on this since in Quebec we are world-leaders in Hydro-electricity (and the funny thing is, that there is a rising movement in the population claiming this is not clean energy :S) and also have a huge eolian potential in the northern part of the province, so Nuclear isn't really an option (we have only one nuclear plant, and apperently it's very safe)
You might want to check on those Canadian tar sand operations. It is one of the dirtiest, most destructive, and least effecient sources of energy there is.

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Replies to this message:
 Message 47 by slevesque, posted 03-15-2011 5:41 PM Taq has replied

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 48 of 175 (608986)
03-15-2011 6:03 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by slevesque
03-15-2011 5:41 PM


Re: for Rahvin . . .
I can't really speak for Alberta, nor for Ontario (which has multiple nuclear power plants if my memory is correct). But I can say that I am proud of our energy production here in quebec, but not so proud of the social movement against hydro-electricity these days.
As to Quebec independence, fair enough. I have met quite a few BCer's, they are usually a good bunch of people.
There is a lot of hydroelectric power generation in my area of NA as well. It is a mixed bag. The river that runs through my city used to be home to massive salmon runs. Now the salmon are nearly gone. In recent years there have only been less than 10 total salmon returning to some mountain lakes where there used to be 10's of thousands. This is all due to hydroelectric dams. It has really changed the local ecosystem. Now the talk is about breaching some of those dams and replacing the lost hydroelectric power with a massive nuclear power plant along the same river.
Just as an aside, the Snake River is misnamed. The story goes that the first Europeans asked the indigenous population for the name of the river. When they didn't understand the native tongue one of the locals made a hand gesture that looked like the movement of a snake and the river was named the Snake. The local was actually trying to portray a salmon moving upstream.

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 53 of 175 (608997)
03-15-2011 7:18 PM


NYT article
Interesting NYT article that details long standing criticisms of the reactor design:
MSN | Outlook, Office, Skype, Bing, Breaking News, and Latest Videos
quote:
The warnings were stark and issued repeatedly as far back as 1972: If the cooling systems ever failed at a Mark 1 nuclear reactor, the primary containment vessel surrounding the reactor would probably burst as the fuel rods inside overheated. Dangerous radiation would spew into the environment.
I'm not an expert on nuclear reactor designs, but it does sound like there is some truth to the idea that these reactors are substandard.
Edited by Taq, : No reason given.

Replies to this message:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 76 of 175 (609097)
03-16-2011 3:24 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by Rahvin
03-16-2011 2:25 PM


Re: for Rahvin . . .
63 people died [from the Chernobyl catastrophe], with another ~200 over the next decade (the World Heath Organization actually lists only 50 fatalities due to Chernobyl, but I can be generous).
Any number put out there is going to be speculative. How many people developed cancers that they would not have otherwise developed due to the Chernobyl meltdown? Impossible to say, but I don't think anyone would argue that people probably did develop cancer due to genetic damage caused by contamination from the meltdown. WHO focused on acute cases of radiation poisoning, and those numbers are accurate and are not speculative.
Part of the issue is the psychology of radioactivity. People can't see it, taste it, or even see it under a microscope like we can with bacteria. People have irrational fears when it comes to something dangerous that they can't understand through one of the five senses. I have personally handled radioactive materials, and it is a bit spooky to hear the Geiger counter start screaming for the brief period that you are transferring concentrated working stocks. I have had to work with I-125 for a some protocols and I know that I followed every safety precaution, but I still get a little tense waiting for my thyroid scans to come back (every single one has been clean, but still . . . ). I consider myself to be a very rational person, but isotope work still makes me a little queasy.
It is very different for other forms of pollution. We can see and smell cigarette smoke and car fumes. We can see the smoke coming out of coal stacks. We can look at pictures of germs and mold to help us understand how disease is caused. We see these things all of the time in our regular day to day life. Radioactivity is just . . . different.

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 141 of 175 (609585)
03-21-2011 2:40 PM
Reply to: Message 133 by Percy
03-20-2011 9:50 AM


Re: Question about Nuclear Plant Design
Here's a question based upon this picture of a post-earthquake road in Japan:
From all appearances, that picture seems to depict a slump in the hillside. I would think that a large nuclear facility would need firm foundations and not be precariously perched on a hill side. Of course, I would also think that back up generators for a seaside nuclear facility would not be placed in the basement in a country where tsunamis are known to occur.

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 142 of 175 (609586)
03-21-2011 2:47 PM
Reply to: Message 135 by Rahvin
03-21-2011 12:55 PM


Re: Unexpected Tsunami??
Earthquakes in the range of 7-7.3 were expected, and the plant complex was designed with that in mind.
That isn't true. Japan has experienced several earthquakes in the 8.0 range in the last century. At wiki they list an 8.5 in 1896 and an 8.3 in 1923, both on the Richter scale. There are others of the same or greater magnitude in other scales. If they designed for 7-7.3 then they set the bar much lower than very recent earthquakes. There was also a magintude 8.2 quake in 1968 that was also accompanied by a large tsunami.
Edited by Taq, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 135 by Rahvin, posted 03-21-2011 12:55 PM Rahvin has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 143 by Rahvin, posted 03-21-2011 3:08 PM Taq has replied

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


(1)
Message 145 of 175 (609599)
03-21-2011 3:44 PM
Reply to: Message 143 by Rahvin
03-21-2011 3:08 PM


Re: Unexpected Tsunami??
Where in Japan did those other quakes strike? Was it the same fault? If so you have a point, if not then you don't.
That is the same question that hit me after I posted it. Did some additional research. Turns out, I do have a point.
The 1933 Sanriku earthquake occurred 100 miles further out but pretty much in the same area. It produced a tsunami that struck the NE coast where Fukushima is currently.
1933 Sanriku earthquake - Wikipedia
The location of Fukushima can be seen here:
Fukushima (city) - Wikipedia
The 1896 earthquake seems to have been from the same subduction zone as the most recent one and it measured around a 7.2 followed by a massive tsunami.
Given the numerous 8.0+ quakes around the entire region I think it is a bit short sighted to design for 7.3. Of course, we both agree on the poor placement of the generators. In the end, the reactors handled the quake just fine, so this is more of an aside. However, if anything they should have planned way better for the tsunami given the two massive tsunamis that hit in 1896 and 1933 along the NE coast of Japan.

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Taq
Member
Posts: 10190
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 168 of 175 (611989)
04-12-2011 3:39 PM
Reply to: Message 162 by Rahvin
04-12-2011 12:09 PM


Re: unreasonably pessimistic?
The decision to raise the threat level was made after radiation of a total up to 630,000 terabequerels had been estimated at the stricken plant.
That would classify the crisis at level seven on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (Ines).
It was not clear when that level had been reached. The level has subsequently dropped to less than one terabequerel an hour, reports said.
In comparison the Japanese government said the release from Chernobyl was 5.2 million terabecquerels.
This is a good measure of the total activity released, but it can also be misleading with regards to risk. Specific isotopes (e.g. Iodine-131) can become part of the body and do more harm than the same amount of radioactivity from a different isotope that passes through our digestive system or is excluded from our bodies. Given the ample warning before major failures I would suspect that the risk is much lower in this case than the straight comparison of Bq's between Fukushima and Chernobyl might indicate.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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