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View Diary: Losing the Pacific Ocean (162 comments)

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  •  MELTDOWNs are not like other nuclear events (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, Joieau, AllisonInSeattle

    Off the top of my head, no supporting research:

    A nuclear reactor meltdown concentrates the nuclear material in an ever increasing concentration until you get to criticality, At which point things really go bad.

    The problem is that once this meltdown process begins it is nearly impossible to stop. It never stops making stuff radioactive. They are pouring more and more water in and cannot stop the meltdown. Stop pouring water in and it goes super hot and criticality can be reached.

    Once critically is reached the nuclear materials (metal elements identified above) the forces of the nucleuses are stronger than other forces and nothing can pull them apart to stop the reactions. It could detonate or be so hot that it melts down through the crust.

    Ground water that it comes in contact with becomes super heated steam and the pressures are explosives. Destroying everything around and it and spreading even more radioactive materials.

    It is a never ending disaster and always gets worst. There is not enough water in the world to stop the meltdowns happening there.

    •  The coriums cannot reach (6+ / 0-)

      critical mass or they'd have done so within the first week. Now they are diluted by the assorted non-fuel metals, concrete and whatever else they've melted into their masses to reach critical mass. They are by now very likely unable to actively melt whatever they're in contact with, even if it's still more than a thousand degrees. It may not be technically solid, it is most certainly still plenty nasty, but if it's not maintaining a temperature hot enough to melt concrete or rock on contact, it's not on the move.

      The nitrogen injection was done in hopes that if the corium hit groundwater it would not cause an explosive hydrogen-oxygen atmosphere from intense radiolysis. They are now, per best guesses of a host of respectable 'experts' (including those at GE, which is co-owner of Daichi and designed these plants) sitting in water. The danger of more hydrogen explosions has passed, which is why they stopped injecting nitrogen. Caveat: Unit-3 is has been steaming for weeks now, its corium may be still on the move, probably much hotter than 1 and 2's flows. That was the MOX reactor, plutonium fuel.

      The earth is pretty darned good shielding for these puppies. The issue is the water, and the crap it's picking up from the corium on its way to the sea. I have given my best opinion (at this time) about how they could mitigate that to a far greater degree than doing nothing. It doesn't look like anybody's willing to do what is necessary. That's a shame.

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