Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japanese Reactor Accident Thread

Continuing the thread and comments from my earlier post.

A timeline of the first 4 days of the crisis is here. The BBC live page is here. The most recent story from the New York Times, after the #2 reactor building suffered an explosion, is here. This statement from 7th Fleet that they've detected low levels of contamination in Yokosuka shouldn't be that surprising, but it's certainly not good news. Here's a link to the Nuclear Energy Institute page discussing the casualty.

The bottom line, as I see it, is that unless you are working in the reactor complex itself, you shouldn't have any real health worries. There's no need for you to buy KI if you're not on the east central coast of Honshu. That being said, the fact remains that, as one of my commenters in the earlier thread said, a major utility company is injecting seawater into three reactors that have all suffered explosions to buildings associated with their reactors, so that's definitely trending in the "bad" direction on the good/bad scale.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a previous poster posted:

From the CO, Fleet Activities Yokosuka:

.by Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 6:44pm.At approximately 0700 local (Japan) time, 15 March 2011, sensitive instrumentation on USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73) pier-side in Yokosuka, detected low levels of radioactivity from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant. While there is no danger to the public, Commander, Naval Forces Japan is recommending limited precautionary measures for personnel on Fleet Activities Yokosuka and Naval Air Facility Atsugi, including:

A. Limiting outdoor activities.

B. Securing external ventilation systems as much as practical.

These measures are strictly precautionary in nature. We do not expect that any United States Federal radiation exposure limits will be exceeded even if no precautionary measures are taken. We are continuing to analyze the situation and will update you as we learn more.

3/14/2011 8:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Facebook link for Yokosuka:!/notes/commander-fleet-activities-yokosuka/-for-immediate-release-/10150436699260153

This is getting ugly. For those on boats remember how the Japanese monitor water from submarines coming and going to port.

3/14/2011 8:56 PM

Anonymous T said...

Has anyone heard any news about the "reactor on fire" and the "high levels of radiation"? I'm looking for informed sources on what the situation REALLY is, but haven't been able to find any yet.

I'm kind of dismayed by the mass media uninformed hysteria over this. While this accident is not good, it absolutely pales in comparison to the number of mining deaths from coal, release of greenhouse gases (depending on if you care about such things), or the pollution from fracking, or basically any other form of power generation that actually has any chance of powering the world.

3/14/2011 9:08 PM

Anonymous Kolohe said...

I know there's both a time zone and a translation lag, but with the Western press saying all day today that 'this is a 4, TMI was a 5, Chernobyl was a 7' the industry is going to get a big black eye. Charitably, they may have been just behind in their updates, but really, it makes it look like they were dissembling from the get-go.

Having to release some amount of radioactive steam to the atmosphere on the first day already made it the equal of TMI, at least to hazards to the general public. And going to seawater was announced what, 2 days ago? That already means that while at the time there may have not been core damage per se, you're never using that core again.

3/14/2011 9:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, let's break out the calculator and use some 'public' radcon math here to sort out the scope of the heat problem:

* Decay heat curves indicate that we'll have power output from #2 reactor in the 0.5% range for well past 10 days (we are on day 4).

* The Unit #2 nominal full power output is 784 megawatts, continuous.

* So we're looking at 4 megawatts/day nominal heat output from the fire in the hole of what's left of Unit #2 for days to come.

Seems rather hot to me...but those are the numbers.

Other thoughts...?

3/14/2011 9:11 PM

Anonymous Kolohe said...

To be clear, this is no way as bad as Chernobyl, but it was pretty safe bet to make early on with the devastation of the earthquake & tsunami, and the repeated application of pretty extreme measures, and the Michael Bay explosions, that this was going to be worse than TMI. (plus, multiple units simultaneously; TMI, hell even Chernobyl only had one core with a problem)

3/14/2011 9:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Building on the last comment:

4 MW over 1 day = 345 gigajoules

1 stick of dynamite = 2.1 MJ

So every day the decay products are putting out the equivalent of 170,000 sticks of dynamite.

Probably good enough to make the whole thing go melty. Just pray it doesn't melt into a critical mass at the bottom of the vessel...

3/14/2011 9:33 PM

Anonymous 3383 said...

Ha, I remember the little boat (I have a pic somewhere) that circled us the whole time we were anchored out in Sasebo.

No surprise that the Reagan is picking up airborne.

We get those "shelter-in-place" alerts every so often from the area refineries. A couple of friends were well paid after getting chronic respiratory damage.

3/14/2011 9:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Responding to T:

Lots of moving parts here, needless to say, but the fire in Unit #4 is casting off high radiation as it involves the spent fuel there.

See the New York Times article that Joel points toward for more details.

3/14/2011 10:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Spent Fuel Pools (SFPs) are finally hitting the news in a way they deserve.

The fire at Unit #4 may have provided some motivation.

3/14/2011 11:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone should let us at home know where the base is in relation to the exploding nuclear plants and how near our sailors are to the epicenter of the earthquake. Should we be worried???

3/14/2011 11:46 PM

Blogger Harry said...

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3/14/2011 11:56 PM

Blogger Lisa Staples said...

I live in Yokosuka...We are about 220 miles south of Fukushima.

3/15/2011 12:08 AM

Blogger Lisa Staples said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/15/2011 12:11 AM

Blogger Lisa Staples said...

There are some people who are panicking by clearing out everything from the commissary.

Our base is also completely out of gas. Before we ran out they were rationing it by 10 gal allowed per customer. Gas stations off base are running low on gasoline as well (the lines are about 30 minutes long, no joke!)

3/15/2011 12:14 AM

Anonymous analee said...

Let us take a good care for our mother earth, the ocean and all that Gos has given..Acknowledging that apart from Him we can do nothing..

Let us continue to pray for our safety.

3/15/2011 1:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pressure drop in the primary containment to one atmosphere and a coinciding raise in rad levels.

I have no BWR experience, but that does not sound good at all.

3/15/2011 1:12 AM

Anonymous Bill said...

What is a millisievert? New one to this old COB.

3/15/2011 4:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sievert Si unit of equivalent dose 1 Sv = 1000 mSv (millisieverts) = 1,000,000 μSv (microsieverts) = 100 rem = 100,000 mrem (millirem)

3/15/2011 4:58 AM

Anonymous what me worry said...

#4 reactor is burning and spent fuel pool is burning releasing radioactivity directly into the atmosphere.

Dose rates up to 400 millisieverts per hour have been reported at the site.

Annual dose limit for radiation workers is 50 millisieverts per year according to NRC.

Exposure to 1000-3000 millisieverts in a day, recovery is likely but not guaranteed. Exposure between 3000-6000, death if untreated.

#3 reactor explosion was felt 25 miles away.

There is now a 15 mile no fly zone around the reactors.

Reactors #1 through #4 have all had one or more of: buildings blown sky high, fires, explosions felt 25 miles away, spent fuel rods burning, 400 millisieverts per hour dose rates, melted plutonium pellets.

3/15/2011 5:08 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Anon @ 9:11--

It's worse than that. The 784 MW rating is an ELECTRICAL rating. Given that a commercial nuke is about 35 percent efficient, the THERMAL output of the reactor is 784/0.35=2240MW, meaning 0.5 percent equivalent power is actually about 11.2 MW, not 4 MW.


3/15/2011 5:31 AM

Anonymous what me worry said...

BBC news:

"It appears that for the first time, the containment system around one of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors has been breached. Officials have referred to a possible crack in the suppression chamber of reactor 2 -a large doughnut-shaped structure below the reactor housing. That would allow steam, containing radioactive substances, to escape continuously. This is the most likely source of the high radioactivity readings seen near the site. Another possible source is the fire in reactor 4 building -believed to have started when a pool storing old fuel rods dried up."

3/15/2011 5:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

BBC news:

"It appears that for the first time, the containment system around one of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors has been breached. Officials have referred to a possible crack in the suppression chamber of reactor 2 -a large doughnut-shaped structure below the reactor housing. That would allow steam, containing radioactive substances, to escape continuously. This is the most likely source of the high radioactivity readings seen near the site. Another possible source is the fire in reactor 4 building -believed to have started when a pool storing old fuel rods dried up."

That would be correct. Steam is exhausted from the Drywell to the Suppression Chamber via vent pipes to deflectors normally under water to quench the steam and scrub some of the nasties. With no water, there is no quenching or scrubbing. And since the secondary containment was shot sky high, everything leaking from the supression chamber is immediately subject to airborne. Combine that with rumors of a SFP fire, and you've got one hot mess.

3/15/2011 6:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a good site that has links to different sites about the Japanese reactor accidents.


3/15/2011 6:34 AM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

Put me in the worried category now, since all these new and nasty problems are popping up all at once. The operators did what they could for as long as they could be the crap is finally hitting the fan. There is a bit of good news in that units 1 &3 have seemed to turned the corner on getting enough cooling, but the sad news it that in the meantime units 2 & 4 have reared their ugly heads. It is very bad and we can only hope that those 50 guys can get enough water on the spent fuel to put the fire out and to keep the pressure down in unit 2 to minimize the leaking of nasties.

This is above TMI, but currently below Chernobyl. That isn't necessarily a ringing endorsement. Just hope that the seawater injection can turn the corner on units 2 & 4 here in the near future. This sucks!!!

3/15/2011 6:36 AM

Anonymous SonarDave said...

When Sandy gets shirty, you know trouble is afoot...

I feel terrible for those 50 guys and/or girls copping 400 millisieverts per hour desperately trying to put a cap on this thing :(

3/15/2011 6:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As bad as this is, and it is very, very bad, it still pales to the actual damage and death caused by the tsunami itself.

3/15/2011 7:14 AM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

It is about at this point I expect Godzilla to appear and suck up all the nasties. I feel for these operators and the whole country of Japan as they are dealing with one crisis after another with no power, water, or food. I hope they soon turn the corner on this whole mess.

3/15/2011 7:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a pretty good article for anyone interested that doesn't contain the misguided hysteria that most sources present:

"You Can Stop Worrying About A Radiation Disaster In Japan -- Here's Why"

3/15/2011 7:54 AM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

Fukushima Daiichi
Units 1 and 3 at Fukushima Daiichi are stable and cooling is being maintained through seawater injection. Primary containment integrity has been maintained on both reactors.

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) reported an explosion in the suppression pool at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2, at 7:14 p.m. EDT on March 14. Reactor water level was reported to be at 2.7 meters below the top of the fuel. The pressure in the suppression pool decreased from 3 atmospheres to 1 atmosphere. Radiation readings at the site increased to 96 millirem per hour.

Dose rates at Fukushima Daiichi as reported at 10:22 p.m. EDT on March 14 were:

Near Unit 3 reactor building 40 rem/hr
Near Unit 4 reactor building 10 rem/hr
At site boundary 821 millirem/hr.
Kitaibaraki (200 km south of site) 0.4 millirem/hr.

We are working on getting updated information on radiation and dose rates at and near the plant.

Station personnel not directly supporting reactor recovery efforts have been evacuated, leaving approximately 50 staff members at the site. Operators are no longer in the main control room due to high radiation levels.

Safety relief valves were able to be re-opened and seawater injection into the reactor core was restarted around 1 a.m. EDT on March 15 and is continuing.

At Unit 4 on March 14 at approximately 8:38 p.m. EDT, a fire was reported in the reactor building. It is believed to have been from a lube oil leak in a system that drives recirculation water pumps. Fire fighting efforts extinguished the fire. The roof of the reactor building was damaged.

Here is a bit of good news, the fire was not from the SFP and the radiation seems to have been from unit 2. The rad levels spiked and dropped back down, but there does seem to be some direct leakage from unit 2 that is keeping the levels elevated. We will take what we can get and just hope that they can cool unit 2 down and find the hole (if there is one) and plug it, so they can control the release.

I am going back to concerned from worried, so put away the good stuff and breakout the pretty good stuff.

3/15/2011 7:59 AM

Anonymous ew-3 said...

Anonymous said...
3/15/2011 7:14 AM
As bad as this is, and it is very, very bad, it still pales to the actual damage and death caused by the tsunami itself.

Well said.

3/15/2011 8:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't take it anymore. Why are the people screening the public for contamination dressed up so much?

That's got to be significantly adding to the panic.

3/15/2011 9:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

40 rem/hour. Man, that sucks. I feel for those 50 guys.

Just as at Chernobyl, the greatest (direct) health impact is on the guys fighting desperately to fix the situation. These are true hero's - they know the dose they are sucking down. I hope they are being rotated out, but I'm a realist - some of them have to stay because of their intimate knowledge of the plant.

I hope their fellow countrymen realize what they are doing for them.

3/15/2011 11:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

very good video pf what is going on at the few reactors:

you have to copy and paste, but worth it.

3/15/2011 12:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"very good video pf what is going on at the few reactors:

you have to copy and paste, but worth it"

Video is to Charlie Sheen, almost as bleeped up but not Japan related. Troll.

3/15/2011 1:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

goes to Charlie, but pretty damn funny worth a look. in other news.... still pretty damn hot over there.
/mulligans cuz

3/15/2011 2:08 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

600mr at the fence line. Yep, nothing to worry about. Cue kevin bacon.

US complains "no good data" to base predictions on.

12 hour dose in Yokosuka, 30mr. 150miles away...

Yep, nothing to worry about. Trust us.

3/15/2011 5:06 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

No need for KI? Then there most likely will be no need for this, either.

Although this had once been mandatory for SSNs at SubBase Groton.

3/15/2011 5:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

0.2 mrem/hr is not a low radiation level when it is due to surface and airborne contamination.

3/15/2011 5:44 PM

Anonymous Carl said...

The fire at #4 does not appear to be a zirc fire. A zirc fire would mean that all the water would be gone from the spent fuel pool ... not half or "most" but ALL since even steam will prevent a zirc fire (albeit there could be hydrogen if the zirc is steam quenched.)

I've heard from someone at INPO that the best information is that it's a lube oil tank fire from an MG set in the reactor building. Since the pool is likely boiling anyway and now with some panels from the reactor building gone, the radioactivity from #4 would be from the boiling off of the pool water. Using a helicopter to dump borated water into the pool would be replenishing the pool. Using a helicopter would also signal that the fuel in the pool is not uncovered as the direct and shine dose from uncovered fuel would really torch the occupants of the helicopter.

The #2 containment appears to be intact but damaged from the hydrogen explosion yesterday. The explosion certainly looks directed upward which would mean it happened within the concrete confines of the reactor building instead of up on the operating deck like happened on #1 and, I think, #3. And being within the confines of the reactor building likely means damage to the torus since the drywell is pretty well surrounded by the concrete.

It's a sucky situation to be sure.

And to think that if the event had occured at a new AP1000 plant, we wouldn't even be having any of this conversation. Those plants would have ridden out the quake like these plants did initially and then they would have shrugged off the tsunami because they don't need offsite or onsite power to achieve and maintain safe shutdown.

3/15/2011 7:56 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

They are feeding the reactors with fire trucks. I am all confused on the plant explosion and what sequence it occurred.

So they were feeding one plant by a fire truck and it ran out of fuel. Should have had my V-8. It took them a while to find fuel and it implied they emptied the core. This lead to fuel melting...they were never able to detect vessel level again after that. So the hydrogen built up and that was the second reactor building explosion and resultant fuel melt. The explosion was so bad, it knocked off the cooling on another plant. The next core dried out, melting fuel and the third plant reactor building blew up and created another core meltdown.

It was the first time in the history of the world that running out of fuel in a fire truck cause the meltdown of two huge nuclear plants.

An identical GE mark I as the Fukushima plant was where I got my reactor license from.

3/15/2011 8:15 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I have been in this big time. This was in the opening stages...nobody was admitting the Fukushima plant was leaking a huge plume of radioactivity. I surmised within a few hours of the earthquake a meltdown was a sure thing. Might have been the first one to call it a meltdown in the world. So the Onagawa nuclear facility popped up it had a high radioactive reading too...they thought it was broken like the others. I was just listening to Japanese weather forecast on TV...noticed the wind direction was heading north. I thought the Onagawa plant was measuring Fukushima is about 60 miles north Fukashima. I confused the hell out of everyone.

So I thought how do I get the message out. Nobody thought there was a plume and it certainly wasn't that far out in the Ocean.

So I posed the question to my NYT's buddies chidingly...what are you going to do when a USA aircraft carrier radiation alarms light's up like a Christmas off the eastern coast of Japan? I next joked, how much is it going to cost to decontaminate a aircraft carrier? I utterly shocked everyone I sent that e-mail too.

The next day the world's media was filled with the news of the alarming radiation detectors of the USS Ronald Reagan...the NYT's called around and they dug out this story base on me.

It was exactly at this time the world first began to recognize the true international dimension of the leaking Fukushima reactors. It was right then recognized this radiation was going to circle the planet and all the big wigs over the planet could begin contemplating the planet wide dimension of the catastrophe.

3/15/2011 8:31 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

like a Christmas tree

3/15/2011 8:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


3/15/2011 8:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh great, HE is back! I thought HE was washed to sea in the tsunami!

3/15/2011 8:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I called the meltdown 2 minutes and 30 seconds after the quake, so I was the first in the world to call it.

3/15/2011 9:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On a brighter note, China, Russia and Poland have all announced that they will continue with their nuclear plant constructions, and depending on how much you believe unofficially welcome any extra contracts that the US nuclear industry and government is turning away or placing on hold. GE or Westinghouse, there is your next buyer and dont worry, because all of the fear mongers want to keep their electricity on and refuse to live like the Omish....Omish are good like cavemen instead?

3/15/2011 9:22 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

You got to document your call with a reputable source.

All employees from the four reactor facility had to flee and abandon the site because of extremely high radiation.

It is the end of the world!

3/15/2011 9:36 PM

Anonymous Former Squadron Rider said...

"It is the end of the world!"

Crap! And I was just starting to like it here.

Hey, Joel. If this is the end of the line, can we ask Mikey to get off first?

3/15/2011 9:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn Mulligan - you just ruined my day. I know you've just called force majeure on the world, but can we just have one more ridiculous argument with you before you call taps - just for old times sake?

3/15/2011 9:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mulligan, did you see this story... Huge lobster saved from pot.

Please go there. it is a big story that might give us (and you) hope after all.

Joel, code words are in effect


3/15/2011 10:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ordinarily, Mulligan annoys the shit out of me. But these posts were hilarious! Thanks for lightening the mood, Trollette. Maybe your next post can be about how THEY are consulting with you on how to fix this.

3/15/2011 11:25 PM

Anonymous Stsc said...

So they pulled those 50 guys recently according to what I just read because it was too hot in terms of dose rate to be effective in combating the casualty. I hope they were swapping out often enough that they all survive because staying at their posts when everyone else was running for the past few days was a truly brave act.

So now it looks like it is really Hail Mary time...what is next on the contingency list to keep the spent fuel pools from creating an awful mess and is there anything anyone can do there for the shutdown but still super-hot reactors?

Praying for everyone over there. Earthquake, Tsunami, & now this fiasco looks like it could become a lot worse over the next few days...

3/15/2011 11:31 PM

Anonymous colon cleanse said...

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3/16/2011 12:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


The No. 4 reactor is an increasing cause for concern. Tepco believes that the storage pool may be boiling, raising the possibility that exposed rods will reach criticality. "The possibility of re-criticality is not zero," a Tepco spokesman said.

How do you get a configuration where that can happen? This keeps getting more bizarre!!

Old chief from the dark ages

3/16/2011 12:45 AM

Anonymous SonarDave said...

The perfect soundtrack to Mulligan's post

3/16/2011 2:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are going to need some robots, and fast!

3/16/2011 2:34 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

So if we get some colon cleanser from the spambot, does that mean all of Mike's posts get flushed?

3/16/2011 4:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a question from a non nuke here.
Regarding the Spent Fuel Pool (SFP) contents: gallows humor, perhaps...but at least there shouldn't be any trouble finding them.

Talk about 'hot.'

Why are "spent fuel rods" still hot? I thought they were depleted uranium like waht is used in the Bradley guns.

3/16/2011 5:50 AM

Anonymous dirty-blushirt said...

For those wondering what design factors went into the Japanese reactors, here's a few quotes from the Japanese Nuclear Standards site (translation courtesy of Bablefish):

"Japanese reactor sites are designed to withstand a magnitude 7 earthquake (this is the highest rating on the Japenese scale, equal to 9.0 on Richter Scale, ed)"

"Those reactors stationed at or near coastlines must be design-rated to weather a 25ft tsumani surge"

Those 2 ratings are exclusive of each other, and NOT inclusive. These plants were hit with BOTH an 9.1 (8+ japanese rated) earthquake AND a 30ft tsunami. Seems like things aren't as bad as they could be considering that the plants were hit with 2 disasters which both exceeded the design ratings at the same time.

ex-RO/EWS (SS)

3/16/2011 6:09 AM

Blogger FastAttackChief said...

I've got a new monitor comment for group seven. Contamination of DDG flight deck was risked when no ELT was present to frisk area.

3/16/2011 6:12 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So now you want to station ELTs on DDGs?

3/16/2011 6:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are "spent fuel rods" still hot? I thought they were depleted uranium like waht is used in the Bradley guns.

Wrong answer! Thank you for playing.

Spent fuel != DU

3/16/2011 6:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently they have been dumping boron on the burning pile and are in need of more boron.

Wasn't boron used at Chernobyl? Does this mean the cores are fully exposed?

3/16/2011 6:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tokyo asked for extra stocks because it had used most of its own on the troubled nuclear power station in Fukushima, 250 kilometres north of Tokyo, the Yonhap News Agency reported, citing the Ministry of Knowledge Economy in Seoul.

3/16/2011 7:08 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

So now you want to station ELTs on DDGs?

That would be about as close to a "good deal" as any nuke would ever get.

Of course, it probably wouldn't last long after the nuke started calling khaki-pants, "dumbasses" everytime they did something stupid--and when I was stuck among skimmers and airedales, et al, in recruiting duty, khakis did stupid stuff on a daily basis.

3/16/2011 7:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sparky, you must've had some serious problems with khaki wearers and airedales you met in the military. Was this the navy?

3/16/2011 7:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a common belief among E's everywhere that surface and airdale khaki wearers are jerks or just plain dumb, compared to their submarine brethren.
This seems to be widely true, although, I must say I've met some very cool surface nuke khakipants.

3/16/2011 7:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The arrogance goes both ways.

Nuke flunkies who make it to the surface fleet end up in deck department and are pretty much ridiculed as geek fails....the bubbleheads who were busted on drug charges end up hating life in the surface fleet because whenever they displayed their arrogance, we gave them hell...didn't have much respect for bubbleheads because their boats smelled like rotten feet and fritos everytime that hatch opened after their so-called "lengthy" deployments.

3/16/2011 8:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anon five posts up:

There's no point in dumping boron on a fully sealed reactor vessel. Hence, those vessels ruptured at least two days ago because they have indeed been using helicopters to dump it.

3/16/2011 8:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, can someone explain (without the arrogance) why spent fuel rods are still hot?

3/16/2011 8:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess (as someone with no nucular [OK, OK, I'll shut up!] experience whatsoever) is that spent fuel still has a lot of fuel (which is hot) left in it. That needs to get processed out at a separate facility where some of it is turned into more fuel and the rest goes into DU rounds.

An entirely new anonymous

3/16/2011 8:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, can someone explain (without the arrogance) why spent fuel rods are still hot?

Imagine immersing hot charcoal into a pool. Eventually, the coals cool off to a point where they won't fire up any longer. But, because of the nature of spent fuel rods and the uranium included in them (with the lack of a moderator) imagine taking them out of the water and suddenly they become hot again. It's just the nature of uranium, hence why spent fuel rods remain "hot" for a lot longer.

I'm sure I'm wrong in some regard about this. If I am, someone please point it out with full arrogance as needed.

3/16/2011 9:03 AM

Blogger Buck said...

The MIT Nuclear Science and Engineering students have a blog that pretty much uses civilian-understandable words.

In particular, look at their post on 'Decay Heat' for an explanation of why the spent fuel rods are physically still hot.

Something to keep in mind: 'Spent' fuel rods come out when they aren't generating heat as efficiently as needed. 'Spent' is a funny word - it's not ash, like spent coal. More like those D cell batteries that still work in your Mag-Light, only they're weak enough that you want to change them out for new ones.

3/16/2011 9:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Spent' fuel rods come out when they aren't generating heat as efficiently as needed. 'Spent' is a funny word - it's not ash, like spent coal. More like those D cell batteries that still work in your Mag-Light, only they're weak enough that you want to change them out for new ones.

That is a great explantion. Thanks.

3/16/2011 9:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that the boron was being dropped on the spent fuel pool. That's not to cool it, but to ensure that we don't get an accidental criticality if it melts into a blob. Think of boron as a neutron sponge.

I was also under the impression that the reactors themselves had already had boron or boric acid dumped in some time ago, when it was clear that they couldn't be salvaged.

{OK, can someone explain (without the arrogance) why spent fuel rods are still hot?}

No. We'd really like to, but there are rules. Explanations come with a side of arrogance. Think of it this way - if nukes didn't have the chance the call other people dumbasses, we would turn on each other. No one wants that.

3/16/2011 10:01 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Sparky, you must've had some serious problems with khaki wearers and airedales you met in the military.

Most of the boat khakis were good people. Most of the surface nukes had their heads on straight. Outside that, I pretty much had no use for khakis, an opinion which I felt was vindicated during my 32 months in recruiting. They hated me, I hated them back.

Not to go too far O/T, but some of the things I saw during that time would fill a thread by itself.

Back on topic, looks like the rad levels are coming down at Daiichi are coming down. According to presser from IAEA, "At 8 p.m. EDT March 15, a dose rate of 1,190 millirem per hour was observed. Six hours later, the dose rate was 60 millirem per hour, IAEA said."

Still wicked high, but perhaps a good sign. Lots of people/newsies calling the nuke sites trying to get info or quotes for a story.

3/16/2011 10:09 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

I've been asked by some of the folks who I still talk to on the left coast if they need to be buying Potassium Iodide. After I stop get the idea.

Oh, and for anyone curious, some of the more fun side effects of potassium iodide:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome when using Potassium Iodide Drops:

Acne; diarrhea; loss of appetite; nausea; upset stomach; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur when using Potassium Iodide Drops:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); black, tarry stools; confusion; fever; irregular heartbeat; metallic taste in the mouth; mouth sores; numbness or tingling of the hands or feet; skin rash; stomach pains; swelling in the neck or throat; unusual tiredness; weakness.

And let's not forget other fun stuff like renal failure and tubular necrosis. Whee!

3/16/2011 10:16 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

The world is terrified with a nuclear steam explosion or criticality accident... how is this for a term, prompt guys in Idaho have a lot of experience with this in SL-1.

You would not have a nuclear detonation....but the energy liberated from fissioning would energetically vaporize vessel components and water...the outcome would be no different that tnt. It has the potential to move a lot of cement and structural metal.

There is a international exodus out of Tokyo right now clogging the road and airports...

3/16/2011 10:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there is concern the spent fuel pools could regain criticality, this means the fuel/pool structure has a positive temperature coefficient of reactivity. Somebody tell me this concern isn't real and this isn't one of those "Microsoft type undocumented design features".

3/16/2011 11:08 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

you guys in Idaho have a lot of experience with this in SL-1.

Yup--drove within 1/4 mile of what was left of it every damned day I went to the site.

3/16/2011 11:27 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/16/2011 12:23 PM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

From NEI:


News reports that high radiation levels led to the evacuation of all workers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station are not accurate. Workers were evacuated for about an hour but returned to the site to continue efforts to restore safe conditions at the plant.

Restoration of electrical power to the site was underway at the Daiichi plant as of 6:00 a.m. EDT Wednesday. A temporary cable was being connected between an off-site power line and Daiichi reactor 3. Off-site power has not been available at the site since the earthquake on March 11.

Reactors 1, 2 and 3 at the plant are being cooled with seawater. There is some level of uranium fuel damage at all three units, and containment structure damage is suspected at units 2 and 3, NucNet reported.

Before the earthquake, Reactor 4 had been in refueling and was completely defueled. Attempts to provide cooling water to the used fuel pool at reactor 4 by helicopter were not successful.

Preparations are being made to inject water into the fuel storage pool using a high-capacity spray pump. There have been two fires inside the reactor containment building at reactor 4, but they have been extinguished. Although the reactor containment building at Unit 4 was damaged, the primary containment vessel remains intact.
At the Fukushima Daini site, all four reactors are safely shut down and cooling functions are being maintained.
(End of NEI Report)

Additionally, ALL US plants are going to be taking proactive measures regarding "b.5.B processes", Station Blackout procedures, station flooding readiness to include station walkdowns, and readiness to deal with seismic events (as I stated in previous thread.)

3/16/2011 12:42 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

It is all that fresh U-235 and plutonium they are worrying is plutonium that is giving people the heart attacks before the radiation shows up. They are using plutonium as a proportion of their fuel in unit 3.

What causes this...basically it was they had a weak centralized government.

Flaws in Japan’s Leadership Deepen Sense of Crisis

We have similar flaws with our was a government centric nuclear power plant meltdown...

Maybe I would define it as political centric nuclear power plant meltdowns...campaign contributions overrode doing good.

The human health fall out ain't is the economic damage from the panic that results in the most economic damage.

3/16/2011 12:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Decay heat is related to the radioactive decay of fission fragments (the isotopes that U-235 splits into) and also from activated core materials (things that pick up neutrons during core operation).

If things are not cooled sufficiently and are exposed to air, such is apparently the case with the spent fuel there, chemistry takes over and things oxidize at a rapid rate (a.k.a. burn), even metals if they reach a high enough temperature. The heat is supplied by the concentration of fission fragments and activated elements in the fuel rods.

Remember the fire triangle: heat, oxygen, fuel. In this case you have the heat and fuel in the same place. Normally, you can adequately manage the heat and oxygen by submerging in a pool of circulating water, but this containment building did not have these cascading failure scenarios as part of their design basis.

Covering them with seawater has it's own chemistry issues, but is better than uncontrolled burning in my estimation.

3/16/2011 12:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mulligan - there is no chance of prompt criticality in any scenario here. The boron completely precludes this.

That being said, you are right about one thing - plutonium is dangerous not so much because of zoomies as because of its amazingly bad toxicity. Its one of the most toxic substances on earth - the poison will kill you way before the zoomies.

3/16/2011 12:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the chemistry issues with seawater as opposed to fresh water, aside from corrosion? I mean, these plants are trashed, so who cares about more crud? Is there stuff in the seawater that will get activated in a nasty way?

I don't think we ever covered that in nuke school. Maybe the assumption that we'd all be dead if that happened precluded it ;)

3/16/2011 12:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dumping seawater is keeping things cool, but long term corrosion of the primary containment vessel (assuming at least one or two may be intact) at these degraded thermal conditions may result in additional environmental releases.

If the water evaporates out and the elements heat up again, the salts will become molten and corrode through nearly anything.

They don't have any choice right now, but I feel it may need to be dealt with.

3/16/2011 1:10 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

What is wrong with you people, just because you can say boron means a prompt criticality is impossible.

They are running around the dark and high radiation, no electricity, a rudimentary feed and bleed setup powered by a small fire trucks, they do fire trucks different than the USA with our honking monsters...they have no idea of the structure of the core...there is absolutely no scientific control of the boron concentration...they can't even get in water and you set your prayers on boron.

3/16/2011 1:32 PM

Anonymous COB said...

No water in the #4 SFP?

3/16/2011 1:36 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Grab your socks and hold your *****

3/16/2011 2:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


3/16/2011 2:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Mulligan said...
Grab your socks and hold your *****

I'll bet you say that often.

3/16/2011 2:48 PM

Anonymous ew-3 said...

Best site for following.

People are knowledgeable and have lots of resources.

3/16/2011 3:19 PM

Anonymous tmarks11 said...

TEPCO and the japanese government are doing themselves no favors with the accuracy of the information they are putting out.

Spent fuel storage pool is dry, fuel is heating up, they tell the press "there is a non zero probability of the spent fuel achieving criticality".

Chance of unintended criticality was much higher for thermal fuel rods when they were kept suspended in a moderator. Chance is much lower with the moderator removed.

But overheating spent fuel is much more of a concern then criticality at this point.

3/16/2011 3:35 PM

Anonymous 3383 said...

I need to find that Charlie Sheen filter and modify it into a Mulligan filter.

3/16/2011 4:57 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

What melted down plant detected neutron radiation...they did report detecting neutron radiation....

3/16/2011 5:29 PM

Anonymous i said...


3/16/2011 6:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good blog. Most of my questions have been answered. Just not directly.

I'm not a nuke engineer, and if you're not a nuke I recommend you google the DOE's handbook 1019. It's nuclear physics and reactor theory. If you're anything like me, it'll give you just enough science to make you dangerous or at least annoying.

I remain sufficiently man primeval to have only a loose grasp on what's going on. Here's how I understand it. Based on the talk about "decay curves" we have a fire that used to be really, really, really *&^#in' hot, but now it's just really &@#$in' hot and will remain so for about 10 days after fission is halted.

At which point it will be somewhat less so. I rely on the accumulated expert opinion gathered here to inform me if it's the "really" or the "%$@*in'" that should be dropped as the modifier describing what sort of hot it will be then.

I have sort of a dog in this fight. I spent enough of my 20 years in Japan to acquire a chef and a restaurant. And I'm looking at charts where they map out the theoretical path of radioactivity and I'm thinking, "Hey! That's where I get most of my fish."

I'm looking for insider information about if I need to beat the rush and get a new supplier, so I don't serve up sashimi with 3 heads or big ugly tumors.

3/16/2011 6:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got a call from a family member who lives in Yokosuka with her husband (skimmer type). It looks like they're evacuating the base, or at least some part of the base out of Japan completely, by ship.

This is happening right now, so it's not on the news yet.

3/16/2011 7:09 PM

Blogger Bill Lapham said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/16/2011 7:17 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...


I think least locally.

3/16/2011 7:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who believes the air dropped water thing helped?

3/16/2011 7:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spitting on a bon-fire?

3/16/2011 7:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn't overhead assets give us some idea of the heat signatures in those for structures, and wouldn't they look warmer than they did, say, a week ago?

3/16/2011 7:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Anon 7:53 -- I assume that is why the head of the NRC basically blew U.S.-Japan relations out of the water tonight with his comments about the "Extremely High" radiation levels at the plant. This public contradiction of the Japanese government is pretty much unprecedented and I think it's safe to assume is based on some pretty good info.

3/16/2011 8:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who believes the air dropped water thing helped?

Negative, ghost's like pissing on a phreatic erupting volcano.

3/16/2011 9:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

connect the dots with the ELT/DDG comment and the Yokosuka post...

3/16/2011 9:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: the yokosuka evacuation thing, I got more clarification from a less second-hand source. Apparently they are not evacuating right now, but they are thinking about it.

So... disregard.

3/16/2011 9:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"@ Anon 7:53 -- I assume that is why the head of the NRC basically blew U.S.-Japan relations out of the water tonight with his comments about the "Extremely High" radiation levels at the plant. This public contradiction of the Japanese government is pretty much unprecedented and I think it's safe to assume is based on some pretty good info."

What I fail to get is why the Japanese guv would lie about something that's so easily proven to be a lie. The urge to do it, I understand. Actually doing it? There's no percentage in it.

Combined with the fact that the Obama admin has been blowing US-whomever relations out of the water for no discernable reason for a couple of years now, I'll just have to express my doubts that this was based on any solid info.

I admit I could be wrong about this. But based upon Hillary Clinton's comments about the USAF supplying "coolant," being wrong about this just makes me qualified to take over as SecState when she quits.

3/16/2011 9:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the US administration is acting in a very time-lagged fashion, based on incomplete information from on-site personnel with trouble communicating.

There is certainly an element in the Japanese culture that denies disasters as a form of "positive thinking causes better outcomes". That being said, I think there's little or no real time communication to Washington.

3/16/2011 10:21 PM

Anonymous rick595 said...

In this GE MK I containment, the containment vessel is inside of the reenforced concrete Reactor Building. The top deck of the Reactor Building is the refueling deck, and the walls and ceiling are just weatherproof steel. The spent fuel pool is on the refueling deck.

The refueling deck roof and walls have been blown up by hydrogen explosions on most of the plants. This does not affect the containment integrity. With the roof over the spent fuel pool missing, helicopters could possibly dump water into the spent fuel pools.

3/16/2011 10:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pentagon & State Department family members to be evacuated. I guess they can get alot of them on the George Washington.

3/16/2011 10:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is certainly an element in the Japanese culture that denies disasters as a form of 'positive thinking causes better outcomes.'"

No doubt. If you're remotely familiar with Japanese WWII history, then you'll know the Japanese never lost a battle. Which is why the citizens of Tokyo were understandably confused when the skies over their fair city filled with B-29s and carrier aircraft circa 1945.

Having worked with them in more recent times, I've found them savvy enough to know they can't keep the truth from getting out. The best they can do is get some sort of story line out that will favorably influence people's understanding of the facts.

So I remain dubious that they'd outright lie about a radiological disaster. It's not something you can hide. They know that.

3/16/2011 10:46 PM

Blogger bigsoxfan said...

Time to come up with long term storage sites for spent fuel. The current situation isn't exactly the best option. WTF, it isn't like a prison in your back yard. Lets store the stuff quickly after use and move on with the program.
Thanks for all the information snd through evaluation of same at this blog. The usual media and industry sources have been a day late and a dollar short at best.

3/16/2011 11:15 PM

Blogger John said...

CNN states that unlike the #1 and #2 reactors in Fukushima Daiichi, the #3 reactor contains MOX fuel rods which contain plutonium. If cesium is detected in the air, is Plutonium also?

#4 reactor which was off line had spent fuel rods stored OUTSIDE of the reactor, this was the building on fire. Spent fuel rods are used to make recycled MOX fuel rods due to their plutonium content. Lets hope the fire was not near the spent fuel rods.

3/17/2011 1:18 AM

Anonymous dirty blueshirt said...

I found this excellent article while reading my daily tech site. It does a very good job of de-bunking most of the talking head hysteria on the MSM, using easily understandable terms.

I especially like the last 2 paragraphs:

Public perceptions of the disaster in general continue to remain muddled and panicky, with media often conflating the terrible loss of life caused by the quake itself with the situation at Fukushima. But the two are not related: and it remains just about certain that the harm caused by Fukushima will be insignificant compared not just to the quake and tsunami but compared to industrial accidents in general. One of the most serious health results of Fukushima is likely to be people all around the world making themselves ill by taking iodide pills unneccessarily

So far from Fukushima proving that nuclear power is dangerous compared to other technologies, it seems to be proving quite the reverse.
(italics mine)

3/17/2011 1:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gave the Janpanese operators the benefit of the doubt the first couple of days coping with multiple beyond DBEs and long term Station Black Out, so core damage was expected. However, the fact that the combination of utilities, regulatory agency, and government were unable to keep water in teh SFPs is a strong indication of gross incompetence.

3/17/2011 6:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, where is Sandy Salt?

3/17/2011 6:48 AM

Anonymous dirty blueshirt said...

Anon 6:15

In case you hadn't noticed, the SPFs are located at the top of the secondary containments, which were all damaged by the H2 explosions.

Keeping water in the ponds after those types of events would be problematic in the best of situations, but combined with the extended blackouts and almost complete lack of transportation to bring in backup power and personnel, you're now looking at the kind of inpossible situation they are dealing with. I think they are doing a pretty good job under the circumstances they are facing.

3/17/2011 7:12 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Right, if they tell the truth, they destroy the economic value of the 4th largest utility in the world. They have a fiduciary responsibility to preserve corporate money. Then the banks go belly up, next the economic system meltdown.

We think that was a status or credibility thing with the NRC commissioner, they are trying to jack up Jaczko's image in anticipation of a 90.0 politcal Tsunami hitting the USA.

This is a nation security threat to 20% of electrcity, I don't think the NRC itself is going stay standing. This is going to define our politics for the next five years.

This is a event that the world has never seen before, we are going to have to think up a new word for it to explain what happened. Chernobyl explains the radiological implication, but there is no words to explain the derivative or secondary affects that is going to change the outcome of the world with this. Everyone on the planet is going to change over this.

3/17/2011 7:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous5-0 said...

I appreciate all the info, but couldn't you anons at least give yourselves a number? It's confusing as hell...
And not for nothin', but shouldn't good Mr. Mulligan be face-down in his Guinness Stew by now?

3/17/2011 8:26 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I am Irish, booze doesn't affect me?

3/17/2011 8:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mulligan, are you Bi-Winning?

3/17/2011 9:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mulligan - you are so full of c*r*a*p. If you do know anything about nuclear power then you're deliberately ignoring your training.

Prompt criticality - the configurations in either the spent fuel pool or the reactor vessels specifically preclude prompt criticality. The reactivity addition rates are not available to get there. To get to prompt criticality, you have to get through criticality and the configuration changes that might take place either from core damage in the vessel or from loss of clad in the spent fuel pool would be slow enough (minutes vs. milli-seconds) that the criticality issue (bad enough) would result in further configuration changes to prevent prompt criticality.

Other commentors ...

Dumping 7.5 tons of water from a helicopter would absolutely be the right thing to do and the hyperbole in the main stream press about how all the water seemed to drift away after being dumped is laughable. Apparently no one has seen a waterfall. There is a lot of spray but that's not the majority of water! In fact, the spray provides excellent cooling of the fuel! It's better than purely localized liquid addition. Absolutely, the best would be a fuel pool full of water but the next best is spray and steam. If the pool is boiling, I'm happy because the heat is being very effectively removed. Just need to make up the water and that's where it sounds like the Japanese operators have failed ... this could have been fixed a couple days ago for the pool in Units 3 & 4.

Spent fuel storage - centralized storage vs on site storage is really an economic issue. It's not a safety issue. There is a dry storage facility at Fukushima Daichi but no one's heard any issues with that, right? That's because it's not significantly impacted by the quake / tsunami. They'll have to go look at the containers in the coming year or so to make sure the water from the tsunami didn't result in any adverse corrosion but the stuff is fine right now.

3/17/2011 10:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


R 170102Z MAR 11

3/17/2011 11:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


3/17/2011 11:06 AM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...


Fukushima Daiichi
The reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant are in stable condition and are being cooled with seawater, but workers at the plant continue efforts to add cooling water to fuel pools at reactors 3 and 4.

The status of the reactors at the site is as follows:

Reactor 1's primary containment is believed to be intact and the reactor is in a stable condition. Seawater injection into the reactor is continuing.

Reactor 2 is in stable condition with seawater injection continuing. The reactor's primary containment may not have been breached, Tokyo Electric Power Co. and World Association of Nuclear Operators officials said on Thursday.

Access problems at the site have delayed connection of a temporary cable to restore off-site electricity. The connection will provide power to the control rod drive pump, instrumentation, batteries and the control room. Power has not been available at the site since the earthquake on March 11.

Reactor 3 is in stable condition with seawater injection continuing. The primary containment is believed to be intact. Pressure in the containment has fluctuated due to venting of the reactor containment structure.

TEPCO officials say that although one side of the concrete wall of the fuel pool structure has collapsed, the steel liner of the pool remains intact, based on aerial photos of the reactor taken on March 17. The pool still has water providing some cooling for the fuel; however, helicopters dropped water on the reactor four times during the morning (Japan time) on March 17. Water also was sprayed at reactor 4 using high-pressure water cannons.

Reactors 5 and 6 were both shut down before the quake occurred. Primary and secondary containments are intact at both reactors. Temperature instruments in the spent fuel pools at reactors 5 and 6 are operational, and temperatures are being maintained at about 62 degrees Celsius. TEPCO is continuing efforts to restore power at reactor 5.

It is definitely shitty, but things are finally starting to work themselves out and with power and eyes on the SFP that is good news. I am looking to back off the good stuff and start in on the house brands until either Godzilla shows up or stuff actually starts glowing in the dark.

I do have one thing to add though, calling the poor bastards incompetent for not getting to the SFP sooner is a little harsh considering they were a little occupied with trying to cool the hottest rocks and H2 explosions.

3/17/2011 11:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a helicopter can dump 7.5 tons of water that equals 1875 gallons. Doesn't seem like very much water to cool the spent fuel pool, which might be boiling. Think of how many helicopters and how short a turnaround that would be required for any substantial GPM water flow.

3/17/2011 12:29 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Prompt criticality - the configurations in either the spent fuel pool or the reactor vessels specifically preclude prompt criticality.

Duh, they call it a meltdown and the configuation it no more...

Do you guys pay attention to what you write...

The NYT's is talking fuel pool steam explosions and power excursions...

3/17/2011 12:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: Sandy Salt 11:35am

"Access problems at the site have delayed connection of a temporary cable to restore off-site electricity. The connection will provide power to the control rod drive pump, instrumentation, batteries and the control room."

I was wondering about that since the rods are driven up hydraulically. Perhaps that was the concern when criticality was mentioned?

If containment is intact, are them emissions from the spent fuel, venting or both?

Still seems like a large part of the puzzle is missing...

BTW, is anyone else fed up with the MSM pounding the panic drums and not really having a fucking clue as to what they are talking about?

Old chief from the dark ages

3/17/2011 12:43 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

"was wondering about that since the rods are driven up hydraulically. Perhaps that was the concern when criticality was mentioned?"

Duh, more core...puddle on the floor...

All the electronics and motors in containment, including valve motors are fried...insulation melted...

Come on, they added water to the fuel pool, the result is they got a burst of radioactivity...

Oh, I got to cool the fuel pool to prevent a meltdown, but now i add water and I get a power excursion...

3/17/2011 1:03 PM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

Power is a wonderful thing and may solve several of the issues that they are currently having. It does seem to indicate the biggest issues are currently with the SFP and have a pump be able to refill or move the water would be helpful. Plus with enough juice they might be able to get the recirc pumps going which would also be a good thing. The fact that they were able to shoot water from the ground and get it anywhere close to where it was needed is its own mircle. I am taking what I can get at this point, but I would say fill those trucks up again and shoot some more water up there what do have to lose except some teeth and hair.

3/17/2011 1:08 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Come on, with all those energetic hydrogen detonations, did you see the force of them, there is no electrical cable left in the reactor building...all the buses and electrical control centers (breakers)are destroyed...

3/17/2011 1:18 PM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

Most of the cabling will be in steel conduit, so it might not all be destroyed. Plus, not all the pumps and equipment is located in the top of the building. They may not be able to get pumps going to the SFP, but they may get them going somewhere else so they can better focus on the SFPs. Like I said before bring the trucks back and shoot some more water up there. If you are worried about exposure then get another group of voluntolds. This isn't rocket science anymore and with a little bit of training you can teach someone to drive the truck in and start shooting.

3/17/2011 1:24 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Hey chief, what is the max reactor power level you want with them fire hoses?

I believe there is a 150 meter perimeter around any of the face a fast death over excessive radiation in it. I don't think the fire hoses spray can reach...

I think we are getting close to the term irreversibility...that is the concept the world is going to learn...

3/17/2011 1:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

SFP pumps are not located on the refuel floor, so assuming they rode out the quakes, when they get power, they should be able to get water into the pool. Of course, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near the demins or heat exchangers once they get it fired up.

3/17/2011 2:05 PM

Anonymous YNC(SS), USN, Retired said...

All these things said, and if the nuke engineering stuff is on the way to solution; except those pesky spent fuel elements. Why/how is it that State, and DOD are at this late date acting to move dependents and other civilians out of the country to "safe havens?"

Also, why/how is it that PCS transfers to Japan are being halted in place, but some TAD folks are following through with TAD? I can understand some TAD folks are going to provide technical and/or humanitarian assistance.

Thanks Sandy Salt and others for the down to earth information and explanations. No thanks to the sand kickers.

3/17/2011 2:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why/how is it that State, and DOD are at this late date acting to move dependents and other civilians out of the country to "safe havens?"

Probably because there ARE elevated levels of contamination and radiation. DFW airport was crapped up today by deplaning passengers from Japan. Not that any of it is at unsafe levels, but try telling that to anyone without a nuclear background.

3/17/2011 2:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Sandy for the ongoing assessment of the casualty. As I expected, it may have taken awhile to sort things out, but eventually things were brought under control.

The contrast between the level of discussion here and what I see elsewhere is pretty dramatic....I know that other places have to sell advertising for their raisin d'etre but being in full panic mode is irresponsible.

Monday I sent out a calming rational email to my friends to explain in easy to understand words what was going on...more than one person responded that it was nice to have it explained by someone that was more familiar with this situation and the background than the talking heads on TV.

I am sure I was not the only one trying to be a calming influence to the fear mongering and panic selling that has been the norm for the past few days.

3/17/2011 2:45 PM

Anonymous Watchbill writer said...

Is it just me, or...
If you can't get close enough to spray with a water cannon, how do you get close enough to connect cables, connectors, breakers, etc.? Isn't that stuff hard enough to work on (fast) in the best of time? Needless to say, these are not the best of times.

3/17/2011 3:50 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I believe the SFP pump and heat exchangers are one level below the refuel floor...the metal sheeting they blew off the top floor.

Second floor from top...

That equipment is placed right against the fuel pool nobody gets dosed up in the outer is right at the fuel assembly level in the fuel pool.

3/17/2011 3:52 PM

Anonymous 3383 said...

Why/how is it that State, and DOD are at this late date acting to move dependents and other civilians out of the country to "safe havens?"

US personnel in Japan are in no danger. But unless they are critically needed, infrastructure in Japan does not need more bodies to support. Electricity and transport are still affected, search and rescue is still going on, and providing food, water, and housing to nonessential foreigners is not a priority. I am confident that the USA presence in Japan is trying to provide Japan with any materials they can already, and reducing bodies onbase + reducing transportation needs for new bodies onbase will help reduce stresses on what the country has available.

3/17/2011 5:05 PM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

A couple of bits of good news, the water seems to have found its mark and there is a slight lowering of the radiation levels around the plant. Also, it looks like they will have a power line hooked up to unit 2 soon.

Pretty soon we might have to break out the cheap stuff and get snotty because all this research and typing is taking a toll. Just kidding, but seriously it is great news that things are finally turning in favor of the poor guys stuck at the plant. If getting your nards cooked off wasn't bad enough how about doing it hot, tired, thirsty and hungry because these guys don't have anymore food than anyone else apparently. I would have thought they would at least have MRE equivalents, if they don't then we should really get these guys some food and clean water.

3/17/2011 6:22 PM

Anonymous YNC(SS), USN, Retired said...

3383, I concur. Thank you. Shoulda thought of that myself. If it wasn't a consideration it sure should have been.

3/17/2011 6:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Monday I sent out a calming rational email to my friends to explain in easy to understand words what was going on..."

As one of the unnumerated anons who has declared to anyone willing to listen longly and loudly that I'm not a nuke engineer, let me weigh in.

We're not children. We don't need to be talked down to.

I'm not suggesting that was the intent of the person who posted the above words.

I see a cycle. Guys like you who are trained see the BS being spewed out and think the great unwashed are being needlessly panicked.

Not entirely without reason.

But as a member of the great unwashed, I talk to the rest of the herd on a regular basis and can provide you a little feedback. We know they're full of crap. We may not know a nuclear reactor from our elbow, but we know it's stupid to turn to the editorial board of Cosmo for tips on rebuilding your transmission.

I tell my friends to come here for their info. Or the Atomic Insights blog, or a couple of other sites.

The way I see it, if I can't trust what you guys are saying, what was I doing riding on the ships powered by the evil, nasty stuff you were maintianing?

3/17/2011 6:57 PM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

Here are the sites that I am currently following to get information:
Kyodo News

There is a lot of information out there and it does take some sifting through.

3/17/2011 7:07 PM

Anonymous a bblhd said...


3/17/2011 7:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 3/17 6:57 pm - you're right, you shouldn't be talked down to. I also have provided more real information to my friends and family than the main stream media hyperbole is providing ... without the hyperbole. It's not a good situation, absolutely granted. But it's far from doomsday {... right Mulligan? Oh, right, you're one of the hysterics who choose to try to panic people and actually LIE than engage in reasonable debate.}

Mulligan fear-monger: Prompt critical - still won't happen with a full on meltdown of corium on the floor. Physics doesn't lie and it can't happen. If you're so convinced that it can, then tell us all where the reactivity is coming from? Do you even know how much reactivity is required to go prompt critical? If you do, you're deliberately trying to scare people. If you don't, you don't know what you're talking about ... and deliberately trying to scare people.

Watchbill writer - the main switchgear is on the ground floor or slightly below grade. The fact that the emergency diesels operated for an hour after the quake tells me the switchgear is in good shape. Powering up the switchgear will allow them to power up the necessary systems to get cooling started. The question I've got is where their going to get the final cooling source. It would assume that the seawater intakes are intact so the ultimate heatsink can be used. NEI is reporting (that TEPCO is reporting) that the emergency diesel for Unit 6 is powering equipment for Units 5 & 6 which is really good news.

Anon 3/17 12:29 pm - actually this is a lot of water for cooling. While the optimum is to have the fuel completely submerged in liquid, the next best thing is to have either spray cooling over the tops of the fuel or some level of liquid such that the boiling is providing steam cooling. Either of the latter will prevent cladding failure and zirc fire but the safety margin for these configurations is extremely low. The peak clad temperature limit (in reactor cores during accidents) is 2200 F (required by U.S. statute ... don't know what Japanese law says but I'd be very surprised if this limit was not the same.)

Because of the risk of things like zirc fire and the relative ease of making up water to the spent fuel pool, it does surprise me that they hadn't done that sooner in Unit 4 and Unit 3. Even the hydrogen explosions don't explain that. A portable fire pump set up with suction at the seawater intake and fire hoses up to the fuel pool would have allowed sufficient makeup to prevent uncovering the fuel. Though the H2 explosion on Unit 3 would have displaced the fire hoses. Basically, several P500s and hoses delivered by helicopter to the site would have mitigated at least the fuel pool concerns.

It should be very interesting to see the lessons-learned reports in a year or so when published by IAEA and INPO.

3/17/2011 7:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Here are the sites that I am currently following to get information:
Kyodo News"

I'm good for three out of five. WNN and Kyodo I've not found as usefull.

Also, the shooting forums. As I was discussing today with a good buddy on the left coast, we were smart to get .416 Rigbys. Sure, the .375 is fine when a professional is backing you up on elephant, but when your taking on a mutant sea creature following a nuclear accident at a Japanese power plant, stopping rounds start at .40 caliber and 400 grains.

As an aside, if we're assigning numbers to the anons, I'll take any one available except the one assigned as Elliot Spitzer's client number.

He displayed a certain lack of style that I just don't want to be associated with.

3/17/2011 7:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't be confused at my lame attempts at humor.

The fact is, I did trust you guys with my life. I'll trust you to tell me the truth now.

If that makes me a "dumbass" then so be it.

3/17/2011 7:37 PM

Anonymous watchbill writer said...

anon 7:21
I guess what I meant to ask was, if it's too hot in the house to drag a fire hose up there and pour water in the pool, why is it not too hot to plug in the extension cord when we know it's not as simple as plugging in an extension cord?

3/17/2011 7:42 PM

Anonymous coondawg said...

This one is worth a reading. I know it's the NYT, but these guys have been like ol' Blue barking at a treed coon.

3/17/2011 8:01 PM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

Sometimes WNN and Kyodo actually have something, but they are the weak sisters in the group. It is likely to be fairly tough to hook up a cable to unit 3 or 4, but unit 2 isn't nearly has hot. Until they can get the levels down, things are going to be tough regardless of what they are attempting.

3/17/2011 8:03 PM

Blogger bigsoxfan said...

Watchbill writer @7:42 I’ll take a shot at your question from some reading I saw this afternoon at the Christian Science Monitor. The danger from radiation at this location isn’t so much the single exposure to the local RAD when connecting a power cable, but repeated exposure while spraying water is a problem. More exposure when spraying water for hours compared to a quick dash and plug for the power hookup. All the same, that damage control team has big brass ones. Hope I’m correct, I received a tremendous amount of valuable information from these pages and I really hope I’ve learned something. At least, I can be sure that I’ll be corrected by someone who surely knows better.

3/17/2011 10:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the 3rd commercial nuclear accident I have witnessed in my lifetime. Two by operator error and poorly managed response, now this due to natural disaster and, perhaps, an as yet to be determined series of other events. Each event at Fukushima in the end analysis will likely classify as it's own separate accident out of this disaster, unique in it's own way based on any number of factors at each plant.

In the previous two nuclear accidents, the media were just as panicked about the radiation as this one. With the knowledge and understanding of what happened at TMI-2 and Chernobyl-4, and some of the similarity of observed events during the past several days, this appears to be shaping up to be somewhere in between. The lack of hard data to back up that claim (for example: isotopic analyses of the outgassing vapors and site temperatures by remote thermal imaging) is troubling, and it is what is being kept from the masses. We all know this capability exists and is being used, but it is not being presented for people to make their own judgement. They will need to address the elephant in the room sooner or later. Not sure why they think it will be any easier later.

3/17/2011 10:12 PM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

@watchbill writer: not knowing the layout of a commercial plant, I would suspect that it is a matter of where one would have to physically be to "put water on the pool", or "plug in the extension cord". It makes sense to me that to add water, one might have to be in an area that is less shielded than wherever one would have to be to connect an alternate power source. It's all about time, distance and shielding where radiation exposure is concerned.

3/17/2011 10:18 PM

Anonymous SonarDave said...

Technical/terminology question from way up forward here - From the updates it appears that the primary containment on all reactors is intact - does this include the torus for each of these reactors? wasn't there talk of a leaking torus from Reactor 2 a few days ago? Does this mean the torus is considered part of the secondary containment, or are when they get isolated from the primary containment? Would a torus leak still be contributing to the radiation leak or is the spent fuel pools the main contributer here?

Thanks geeks <3

3/17/2011 11:42 PM

Anonymous dirty blueshirt said...

SonarDave, from information I have dug up, the suspected leak at #2 was due to a sticking/leaking steam release valve (a la TMI-2) causing an unintentional continual release from the torus.

Here's some more good info:

3/18/2011 12:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are two sources I'm using to get technical information. A good summary is at:

The latest good summary is:

It identifies Unit 2 primary containment as potentially damaged. From the reports, this would be the torus that would have been damaged from the H2 explosion (and the video of the explosion shows a very directed blast upward which tells me it happened within the concrete sections of the reactor building below the sheet metal portions from the operating deck upward.)

It would also appear that they are not trusting of the Unit 2 water tight integrity since they are flooding only the reactor vessel not the containment.

The other source that's good is:

These reports have technical information (pressures, temperatures, levels where available).

Watchbill writer - pulling hoses up to the (normally) open deck spent fuel pool with uncovered (or much less covered) fuel would be a significant dose rate. The open deck is up near the top of the reactor building (look at the picutres of Unit 3 ... the H2 explosion opened up the operating deck area ... that's the level of the spent fuel pool deck).

The switchgear to hook up power is down at ground level. If the radiation shine (a lot of scattering of the gamma rays on the N2 & O2 atoms in the air) can result in high dose rates at ground level but still much less than at the operating deck. Plus, once you drag the cable into the building, all the concrete above you and around you shields you from the exposure from the shine. It's a matter of distance and shielding where the respective work is being done.

3/18/2011 5:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Technical/terminology question from way up forward here - From the updates it appears that the primary containment on all reactors is intact - does this include the torus for each of these reactors?

The torus (aka suppression chamber) is part of Primary Containment. Reports have indicated that Unit 2's torus 'may' be leaking.

wasn't there talk of a leaking torus from Reactor 2 a few days ago?

There was and is talk - nothing definite.

Does this mean the torus is considered part of the secondary containment, or are when they get isolated from the primary containment?

The torus is part of Primary Containment connected by several large pipes to teh upside down light bulb. This all allows for steam quenching and pressure equalization. the torus is located in the basement of Secondary Containment.

Would a torus leak still be contributing to the radiation leak or is the spent fuel pools the main contributer here?

Depends on where the most fuel is damaged - in the reactor core or in the SFP. Wherever the most damaged fuel is located is where most likely culprit. This of course discount i\any radiation shine from the uncovered fuel in the SFP itself. Water is a wonderful thing.

3/18/2011 6:11 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

NYT: In a further sign of spreading alarm that uranium in the plant could begin to melt, Japan planned to import about 150 tons of boron from South Korea and France to mix with water to be sprayed onto damaged reactors, French and South Korean officials said Friday. Boron absorbs neutrons during a nuclear reaction and can be used in an effort to stop a meltdown if the zirconium cladding on uranium fuel rods is compromised.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the plant, said earlier this week that there was a possibility of “recriticality,” in which fission would resume if fuel rods melted and the uranium pellets slumped into a jumble together on the floor of a storage pool or reactor core. Spraying pure water on the uranium under these conditions can actually accelerate fission, said Robert Albrecht, a longtime nuclear engineer.

3/18/2011 7:54 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/18/2011 7:59 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

There is a nuclear industry philosophy, ethos or gestalt that needs triplicate absolutely positive proof only looking through the rear view mirror evidence to challenge their selfish self interest...their sense of entitlement...we are working to disrupt that ethos.

Sadly most of forces with all our sources of energy act in the same manner...and they spend most of their money sabotaging each other...

This is way bigger than nuclear power...

3/18/2011 8:11 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

I don't know how many more times the NYT is going help me bail me out with you guys...they are wasting a lot of print on you guys.

3/18/2011 8:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read this online?:

"Japan also raised the severity rating of the nuclear crisis from Level 4 to Level 5 on the seven-level INES international scale, putting it on a par with America's Three Mile Island accident in 1979, although some experts say it is more serious."

I have to throw a WTF here. What "expert" thinks that this is no more serious than TMI?

3/18/2011 8:16 AM

Anonymous Watchbill writer said...

All this water they're sprayin' and dumpin', doesn't that git all crappy too? Where is it going?

3/18/2011 8:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and one other thing. When you spray water on the spent fuel and it flashes to steam, does the steam cloud emit N-16 gammas? Is this what is responsible for the high (40 Rem/Hour) radiation levels at the site?

3/18/2011 8:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

N-16 comes from intense neutron bombardment of water inside the operating core, so no it is not from N-16. It is from the highly radioactive materials that are not sufficiently shielded or contained at the present time.

3/18/2011 10:54 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

3/18/2011 11:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

M2, are you off your meds AGAIN?

3/18/2011 2:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Now there's a word. It was what I was driving at when I asked if this was a fire that's dying down, or is it brewing up?

Is it a realistic concern that fission could spontaneously restart?

It's my impression from my crash course in nuclear physics and reactor theory that the fuel would have to remain in the core for the control rods to stop the reaction. At least, that's a question that occurred to me during my reading.

From the anon who isn't using Elliot Spitzer's old client number.

3/18/2011 4:37 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/18/2011 5:00 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Well, decay heat is enough to create a apocalypse, recridicality is beyond a apocalypse.

They have fuel racks that hold up the fuel assemblies straight up...inside the racks they have boron to prevent a recridicality event for each assemblies.

As example, in the Palisades nuclear plant they have had boron in the racks prematutrly wearing out and the utilites were hiding it. Palisades has a 50% reduction of boron and the NRc had to order them to compensate for it.

So the question is for a lot of plants what is the level of boron in you racks?

3/18/2011 5:05 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Main Steam Safety Relief Valves are the most important core cooling systems in a BWR like Fukushima plants. This is a brand new LER. You manually open them or they auto open, and they depressurized the vessel. This allows you to use the low pressure systems water injection systems.

"This event did potentially affect the ability of the RVs to perform their manual and automatic ADS function since the combined thread seal leakage and accumulator leakage impacted the ability of the RVs to satisfy design actuation requirements."

They put in new actuators and some plastic material failed on high temp. It used silicone before and it worked perfect. They began using this buna-a stuff for this new actuator and I guess they wanted to save a few pennies on this new stuff.

Translated, we put in new actuators and they failed after two years, it failed its design function in testing. We repaired it with the same bad material, we expect it to fail and affect the ability to perform their manual or auto function before the end of the next cycle. This valve is in the primary containment and they have to shutdown to fix it.

The picture of the rusted crucifixion cross on my front page come from the Vernon dam switchyard....the switchyard high voltage power line towers....the last ditch emergency power to save the population around 50 miles of Vermont Yankee goes through those towers.

3/18/2011 5:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


That's idiotic. 'Nuff said.

On the main topic, things are starting to look up with TEPCO bridging offsite power over to the plants.

I heard people were making runs on tin foil and duct tape. Some people are just really ill informed.

Heard a Cali based radiac found slightly elevated Xenon-133 levels. (enough to give you one millionth of your background levels)


3/18/2011 7:35 PM

Anonymous t said...

Mike Mulligan:

You are way out of your depth here (even more so than usual).

3/18/2011 7:44 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Doesn't matter, its only what people believe?

3/19/2011 6:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Food & water in Tokyo found to have low levels of contamination because of all this...

3/19/2011 9:38 AM

Anonymous Kissimmee Kid said...

Every thing is explained in this Japanese U-tube video. (With Subtitles.)

3/19/2011 11:16 AM

Anonymous HalfEmpty said...

Good news is bad news. I guess we're all gonna live a bit longer. Still there is the chance that some microscopic life in the seawater coolant survived and is getting better and stronger, working harder, getting stronger and getting ready to kick ass!

Also Mike please say howdy to MaryAnn, I was so worried there towards the end.

3/20/2011 4:44 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Yeah. REAL low, people. Apparently the fava beans found to be "crapped up" in Taiwan were found to have, and I quote, "11 becquerels of Iodine and 1 becquerel of Cesium."

IOW, so damned little it might not even be from the plant. On another site I did a quick calculation just to put it in perspective. Assuming all I-131, we were looking at 1.5E-16 grams of the stuff to give us that activity level.

And for the Navy nukes who never bothered to learn the new terminology, 1 Bq-1 disintegration/second. Yup, you read that right. 3.7E10 Bq = 1 Curie.

3/20/2011 1:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, NHSparky, if I understand right, 11 becquerels would be equal to about 300 uuCi? In other words, if spread out over 100cm2 that would be less than MDA? I agree - not worth worrying about.

3/20/2011 1:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this nuclear disaster stuff is so last week. Time to move on. You nucs had your fifteen minutes...we will see you again in 30 years when they start thinking about building some new plants.

Now get back to field day and us normal people will get back to making war and Charlie Sheen!

3/20/2011 3:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

UK Daily Mail is now reporting that there has been five fatalities among the workers stabilizing the plants with others taking sick. This isn't over by a long shot folks..... BZ for the employees that have just given their lives to keep their fellow citizens safe.

3/20/2011 3:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't find any official announcement of five dead. NISA has a running record of the injuries sustained during the earthquake and subsequent events. No reference to deaths from the nuclear events.

Radiation levels also continue to decrease and the facts betray M^2 hyperbole.

Radiation dose at the west gate of the Fukushima Daiichi was 83 millirem per hour on March 18 at 7:10 p.m. EDT and dropped to 36 millirem per hour by 8 p.m. EDT, Edano said. Radiation levels have decreased since March 16.

I've heard additional hyperbole about having to entomb the reactors instead of decommissioning them. It doesn't appear that based on current damage estimates that they would be any tougher to defuel than TMI.

I did misspeak up-topic about the spent fuel storage at Fukushima Daiichi ... apparently it is wet storage not dry storage. But reports are saying that the facility is fine.

Good news that power is being restored to the plants, albeit slowly (which makes sense).

3/20/2011 4:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When does Mothra attack? I've been waiting all week!

3/20/2011 10:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

he is actually going to be eating Memphis at the end of the week...

Stay tuned.

I knew you nuke bubbleheads were good for something. Keep up the good info!


3/21/2011 6:36 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

Regulator Says Fuel Pools at U.S. Reactors Are Ready for Emergencies


Published: March 20, 2011

So his staff tells notice I blurt, they respond...

Of course today we are waking up to the thought that the Japanese foods and water are contaminated to a unimaginable extent. One must remember the wind only shifted around towards the inland direction for only a few very seldom had blowing inland.

We been working on the fire fighting capabilities of the Fukushima site, the run off of water are notorious for creating enormous environmental consequences. We are looking at the Ocean currents off eastern coast of Japan. The running assumption is there has been enormous radiological discharges from the Fukushima site.

3/21/2011 8:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question to the forum of nuclear experts in here:

Does Zirconium Cladding Around Fuel Assemblies Burn Black Smoke?

3/21/2011 12:33 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/21/2011 12:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't look like it...

Two questions for the civilian nucs out there:

Do the SFPs require boron to stay subcritical or is it added for safety margin? (Trying to understand the need for so much boron in Japan)

Do any of the US plants have passive cooling systems? (Seems like that could have prevented the mess in Japan)

Old Chief from the dark ages

3/21/2011 3:59 PM

Anonymous ssnret said...

A fellow submarine sailor provided this graph and I think it might be relatively accurate. Joel or some of you other more knowledgeable individuals will provide the necessary corrections and it might be useful for those of us without the benefit of weekly Engineering Department Training.

3/21/2011 7:23 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

The new nuke talk about a passive system...the AP 1000 and the Chinese are going into them big time, and they just put a halt on the whole program. We are going to discover these guys are defective once built, then we will be putting add ons to them once operating.

I think most BWR's pools don't have boron in the water, but inside the high density racks have boron. All PWRs have boron in solution and some are required to have addition boron in them to make up for the degradation in the racks

I believe it would go critical if there was no boron in the pool either BWR or PRW...

You summed up the problem in our nuclear industry...all federal limits are just additional safety measure...

It is call core geometry...the rods and fuel are in there assigned position in the cores.

3/21/2011 7:23 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

So the aircraft carrier USS George Washington is fleeing the Japanese radiation and limping along with one reactor not workable because of the fear of a huge decontamination price and sailor dose.

3/21/2011 7:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya know, Mulligan, instead of guessing or creating fiction, why don't you just say you don't know or don't want to bother looking it up.

"waking up to the thought that the Japanese foods and water are contaminated to a unimaginable extent" - that's because YOU DON"T KNOW HOW CONTAMINATED the stuff is! Get facts! The ability to detect contamination is amazing. It's of concern and should be investigated but so far nothing points to the apocalypse you've been spouting. Where's the supercritical cores you said were coming?

"they just put a halt on the whole program" - how about a citation for this one? As far as I can tell, the Chinese are not slowing down.

"We are going to discover these guys are defective once built" - I guess Westinghouse should hire you at 7 figures to show them the errors they've made. Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back.

"I believe it would go critical if there was no boron in the pool either BWR or PWR" - and here you show your complete ignorance. This is demonstrably incorrect! 10CFR 50.68 (b)(4) clearly states that keff < 1 in unborated water. That's SUBCRITICAL for the Mulligans! Get your facts right!

To those who really want to understand the facts, the margin of safety is clearly reduced. Normally substantial subcriticality is required. During accident conditions, the margin of safety is reduced but subcriticality is assured. And the calculations that support this have conservative assumptions so there is some margin of safety, just not as much as desired during normal conditions.

I'm not sure what smoke a zirc fire would have but the radiation levels do not support that there has been a zirc fire. The radiation and contamination levels would be clearly life threatening in those cases. Currently the radiation levels and contamination levels aren't life threatening. The contamination that is being discussed in the last day or so is determining the extent of the contamination but the levels still appear to be low. I've been looking to find specific contamination levels.

Also, to date the Daily News claim of five dead has not been validated. NISA has said there are two employees that are unaccounted for after the quake (not after any explosions or subsequent events).

3/21/2011 8:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sigh...we need a sign in here that says "Don't Feed the Trolls."

3/22/2011 5:48 AM

Anonymous Squidward said...

I believe the boron was being dumped in out of an abundance of caution combined with the prevention of some very unlikely corner cases in the result of complete fuel element failure.

In the end result, it neither helped nor hurt.

Much more interesting than poor Mulligan's delusions is the news that the high volumetric flow seawater injection was being accomplished by...the Tokyo Fire Department's HYPER RESCUE SQUAD.

First, I just want to say that, if anyone were to have a Hyper Rescue Squad, it would be the Japanese. Second, I can only wonder what other disasters that the Hyper Rescue Squad has prepared for? Monster attack and giant robot incursion come to mind.

Personally, I'd put my money on the Hyper Rescue Squad over such threats. The only question that comes to mind is whether the Hyper Rescue Squad is staffed partially or completely by marionettes?

3/22/2011 7:32 AM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

We got them looking for used fuel pellets out on the grounds right now...

I mean, I can't help you if you don't believe what your eyes and ears are telling you.

There is a higher calling than the is about making inferences and associations that nobody else can see, then anticipating the future.

If I have to wait until somebody else writes it up...then that makes me key into other peoples thinking...that gets me off the hook where I don't have to make a independent interpretation of the events around me and make a judgement on same, and take action on what i know...

3/22/2011 9:28 AM

Blogger tennvol said...

Mulligan, let me use the last comment on this thread to express what a dumbass you are.

3/22/2011 12:21 PM


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