8.9 magnitude quake hits japan - Page 9 - U2 Feedback

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Old 03-14-2011, 02:00 AM   #121
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I've basically given up trying to follow this nuclear news in the headlines, because the information seems extremely haphazard and incomplete.

The link posted from the nuclear scientist suggests that in at least one of the cases, once the control rods dropped in the only issue was handling the residual heat over the next several days until radioactive byproducts finally decayed out.

The New York Times says

Quote:
Japanese reactor operators now have little choice but to periodically release radioactive steam as part of an emergency cooling process for the fuel of the stricken reactors that may continue for a year or more even after fission has stopped. The plant’s operator must constantly try to flood the reactors with seawater, then release the resulting radioactive steam into the atmosphere, several experts familiar with the design of the Daiichi facility said.
A year? Good god. I'm not sure how much stake to put into that of course given the media's incompetence handling nuclear stories.
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:44 AM   #122
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Ah, a little more light shed on the situation from the NYT:

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The essential problem is the definition of “off” in a nuclear reactor. When the nuclear chain reaction is stopped and the reactor shuts down, the fuel is still producing about 6 percent as much heat as it did when it was running, caused by continuing radioactivity, the release of subatomic particles and of gamma rays.

Usually when a reactor is first shut down, an electric pump pulls heated water from the vessel to a heat exchanger, and cool water from a river or ocean is brought in to draw off that heat.

But at the Japanese reactors, after losing electric power, that system could not be used. Instead the operators are dumping seawater into the vessel and letting it cool the fuel by boiling. But as it boils, pressure rises too high to pump in more water, so they have to vent the vessel to the atmosphere, and feed in more water, a procedure known as “feed and bleed.”

When the fuel was intact, the steam they were releasing had only modest amounts of radioactive material, in a nontroublesome form. With damaged fuel, that steam is getting dirtier.


...

Fukushima was designed by General Electric, as Oyster Creek was around the same time, and the two plants are similar. The problem, he said, was that the hookup is done through electric switching equipment that is in a basement room flooded by the tsunami, he said. “Even though you have generators on site, you have to get the water out of the basement,” he said.


Another nuclear engineer with long experience in reactors of this type, who now works for a government agency, was emphatic. “To completely stop venting, they’re going to have to put some sort of equipment back in service,” he said. He asked not to be named because his agency had not authorized him to speak.

The central problem arises from a series of failures that began after the tsunami. It easily overcame the sea walls surrounding the Fukushima plant. It swamped the diesel generators, which were placed in a low-lying area, apparently because of misplaced confidence that the sea walls would protect them. At 3:41 p.m. Friday, roughly an hour after the quake and just around the time the region would have been struck by the giant waves, the generators shut down. According to Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant switched to an emergency cooling system that operates on batteries, but these were soon depleted.
It's kind of a shame that despite all the engineering prowess involved (and that had been involved, considering it was a 40 year old design), the key failure appears to be trusting in the seawall as an effective defense for the power plant. Were the nuclear plant farther in land, this quake wouldn't have caused an issue.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:18 AM   #123
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Just read a fantastic story from an old friend via facebook - he was in Japan, in a fairly isolated Ikea when the quake struck. As anyone who has been in a mega-Ikea would know, they're basically just huge warehouses with quite exposed lighting/air conditioning etc in the ceiling, and of course all of that furniture and junk. When it struck, it was quite clear that this wasn't ideal, and everyone made a hasty dash outside. A few hundred people suddenly outside in a muddy field, in the cold, and going nowhere - Ikea staff very quickly brought out blankets, cardboard to sit on for the masses, actual Ikea furniture - chairs, couches! - for seniors etc who needed something more, and hot chips and drinks from the cafe.

All trains and roads away from the area were shutdown, so no-one could leave, and nightfall was coming. Everyone was allowed back in to the more secure/less exposed parts of the Ikea building, and other office or cafe areas where staff had moved display beds and couches etc and set up a base for everyone to stay the night, continually operating their cafe and providing free food and drinks.

He loved getting to 'live' in an Ikea display for a night, getting served Swedish meatballs in bed. He's got great photos, pity I can't really link them here.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:31 AM   #124
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Yeah, and ever since then, I've been fascinated with Japan. My third visit, although you could say it was a bad time to visit... But yeah, I'm good.
If I remember correctly, you lived in the Phillippines, or Fiji or somewhere else in the Pacific, right? Have you been affected?
I was living in Saipan at the time which is a Pacific Island about a three hour flight south of Japan. We moved to the United States in the summer of 2009. I was in contact with friends in Saipan though and they were fine. They had maybe a two foot wave? No damage that I know of, so that was a relief.
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Old 03-14-2011, 08:29 AM   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earnie Shavers View Post
Just read a fantastic story from an old friend via facebook - he was in Japan, in a fairly isolated Ikea when the quake struck. As anyone who has been in a mega-Ikea would know, they're basically just huge warehouses with quite exposed lighting/air conditioning etc in the ceiling, and of course all of that furniture and junk. When it struck, it was quite clear that this wasn't ideal, and everyone made a hasty dash outside. A few hundred people suddenly outside in a muddy field, in the cold, and going nowhere - Ikea staff very quickly brought out blankets, cardboard to sit on for the masses, actual Ikea furniture - chairs, couches! - for seniors etc who needed something more, and hot chips and drinks from the cafe.

All trains and roads away from the area were shutdown, so no-one could leave, and nightfall was coming. Everyone was allowed back in to the more secure/less exposed parts of the Ikea building, and other office or cafe areas where staff had moved display beds and couches etc and set up a base for everyone to stay the night, continually operating their cafe and providing free food and drinks.

He loved getting to 'live' in an Ikea display for a night, getting served Swedish meatballs in bed. He's got great photos, pity I can't really link them here.
Wow, that's kind of awesome (in what is a horrible situation).
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:16 AM   #126
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My local convenience store in Chuo-ku...
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:08 AM   #127
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My local convenience store in Chuo-ku...
Wow.

Will you be staying in Japan for awhile?
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:09 AM   #128
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wow... you take care there, God Part III...
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:21 PM   #129
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More idiocy:

New York Liberty's Cappie Pondexter apologizes for Japan tweets - ESPN New York
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:37 PM   #130
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what's blowing my mind is the fact that this happened in Japan. Japan. the name is synonymous with technology, future, standards, order, etc. if any country on earth should be prepared for earthquakes and tsunamis, it's this one.

and still, look what happened. we are totally powerless and can be smashed like glass should the earth decide to hiccup.

just devastating.

(and what's even more staggering, is that tens of thousands of people, or more, are alive precisely because the Japanese government has such high engineering standards and people really do know what to do ... but then, there's only so much you can do)
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:53 PM   #131
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I'm kind of surprised (in a good way) by how relatively low it seems the number of deaths are. And it's because of exactly what you're saying. In spite of how awful this earthquake was/is, Japan does know what it's doing when it comes to engineering/tech.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:00 PM   #132
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it's still going to be tens of thousands dead.

sorry for my inarticulate existential crises, disasters on this scale tend to really affect me.

but, yes, strict building codes and government oversight have saved uncountable lives.
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:31 PM   #133
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This is all still really upsetting to me, and I haven't really wanted to discuss it online. Anyways, this article is about the last city in Japan I lived in. I'd fallen out of touch with essentially everyone I knew who still lives in the city, and hadn't been able to find much news about the city specifically. Since they're right on the coast (I could walk to the beach in 15 minutes from my apartment), and part of the area most affected by the disaster, I'd unfortunately been expecting the worst. I was so relieved to see this article just now, I've honestly been a little choked up just reading it.

Hilltop city in Japan becomes a refuge for earthquake, tsunami survivors - Yahoo! News
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:37 PM   #134
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Japan's tsunami warning system (which costs $20 mil./year, well beyond what many countries could afford) almost certainly saved many thousands of lives, despite the mercilessly short window of escape time. I don't think we'd have done nearly as well, frankly. Not that the human vulnerability which remains, even with the finest of systems in place, isn't devastating enough.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:40 PM   #135
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Breaking: Another explosion at the #2 reactor.

Japan earthquake tsunamiThis Just In - CNN.com Blogs

Also, the USGA has upgraded the quake magnitude to 9.0.
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