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View Diary: Everything You Never Wanted to Know about Nuclear Containments (214 comments)

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  •  Good question (16+ / 0-)

    I believe we have crossed the threshold for a sigh of relief regarding the reactors themselves.  Within the next day or so I expect to hear that the cores in all three units are stabilized and on track for cold shutdown.  Having off-site power restored was a major plus in this regard.  There may be systems that have problems at each plant, but once power was restored more options became available.

    The fuel pools are another story.  Given the damage to the refuel level it is quite likely that standard methods for maintaining the fuel pool water levels are not functional.  The degree of success or failure in this effort will be reflected in the levels of radiation being measured in the region.  This is because the fuel pools are the remaining significant source of radioactive material that is currently open to the environment.

    This link provided by vets74 has a map of recent radiation measurements along with trend information.  A significant jump in these numbers would be consistent with degrading conditions at the fuel pools.  

    If there is positive news about the fuel pools it will likely be trumpeted by TEPCO.

    Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

    by kbman on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 06:13:44 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Assuming the loss of water from the pools (5+ / 0-)

      is do to cracks incurred during the earthquake. I wond if it might be worth trying some sort of junk shot followed by stop-leak type stuff. The stuff you used to add to your radiator to stop it from leaking. It you can fill those cracks, you stop the leaks and will allow for the refilling of the pools.

      One good idea for the material to drop is powdered bentonite, perhaps in a slurry with some water miscible solvent like glycerol so that the finely powdered bentonite get into the water and as it absorbes water it expands (takes ~12-24 hours to fully expand) and plugs the holes.

      Just a thought on how to deal with cracked/leaking spent fuel rod pools.

      we are but temporary visitors on this planet. The microbes own this place <- Me

      by yuriwho on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 07:03:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, I'll pass that along to Stan as well (4+ / 0-)

        I believe he has contacts who could get this information into the right hands.

        My concern on something like this is that it needs to hold back an enormous amount of water pressure as the pools fill.  And depending on the level in the pool when this is attempted, would there be enough bonding immediately to give the material a chance to get a foothold, or would the weight of the column of water pushing through a skinny crack provide just too much pressure.

        Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

        by kbman on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 07:13:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not sure, I know if you got a brain storm going (6+ / 0-)

          between a group of 20+ materials chemists, they would provide you with 3-4 best ideas based on assumptions about the sizes of the cracks that need to be filled.

          we are but temporary visitors on this planet. The microbes own this place <- Me

          by yuriwho on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 07:17:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  For example (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kbman, WI Deadhead, worldlotus, LookingUp

            floating golf balls of various sizes would partially plug bigger cracks as the pool if willed with them + water, add those first. If you have evidence they have reduced flow rate you can decide what to add next. Continue until you are down to small balls that float but won't melt, finally add bentonite to plug it all up.

            Btw, bentonite is basically shrunken & dehydrated clay powder. It will expand about 4-5 fold upon contact with water. It may not be the best material to choose but there are many more polymers that expand slowly upon exposure to water that you could choose from.

            To make good decisions, having imagers of the cracks to be plugged would be essential.

            Where are the robots?

            we are but temporary visitors on this planet. The microbes own this place <- Me

            by yuriwho on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 07:36:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  iRobot (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              yuriwho, kbman

              Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

              by jam on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 07:59:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I dont think robots are very useful (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kbman, erush1345, BachFan

                In this case other than cameras or big mechanical stuff like remote control heavy vehicles.

                The reason is the environment and the terrain. Workplace is a mess of rubble, water and radioactivity.

                Some of the space bound robots might be able to survive since they are radiation hardened and might be able to navigate, but they are pretty purpose built and probably too small to do what is needed in terms of mechanical work although they might be useful for surveying the interior if they meet the above conditions.

                But that shouldn't stop anyone from thinking or trying, I'm frequently mistaken and know far less than what I don't know.

                What about my Daughter's future?

                by koNko on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 01:41:26 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I was figuring radio controlled mini helicopters (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  erush1345, yuriwho, koNko

                  with lights and camera to do reconnaissance inside the reactor buildings and survey the refuel floor from close up.

                  Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

                  by kbman on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 02:44:20 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Good Idea. (0+ / 0-)

                    Fukushima DataBlogSo you have proven my last statement correct.

                    Yeah, my basic take on this is robots or drones could help to get more information inside that might be visible from arial observation although I suppose the US military may have provided some sophisticated imaging gear and I'm certian they are keeping the buildings under constant thermal imaging monitoring.

                    But sometimes line of sight is importiant and the reactors that suffered explosions are really a mess.

                    BTW I think you might be interested in this link information is well orgamized:

                    Fukushima DataBlog

                    And this:

                    Fukushima Timeline

                    I've added these and others to a comment to the Tip Jar in Diary 17.

                    What about my Daughter's future?

                    by koNko on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 09:38:40 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Lead filled concrete (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kbman, erush1345, BachFan, yuriwho, BusyinCA

            Reinforced with chopped aspestos or glass fiber, of the type with additives that cause it to expand rather than contract on curing. Such concrete (minus the lead) is used for strutural repairs particulatly underwater and readally available.

            Whatever is added is ideally a liquid that can be pumped or dropped in to avoid mechanical damage in the installation process.

            BTW, lead is magical stuff. I've spent the better part of the last 10 years working on the problems that happen when you take it away, but in some instances it is irreplaceable and the cost/benifit balance in this case is net positive in many respects not just for the radiation shielding but the mechanical properties, it has great plastic properties and creep stress endurance.

            But I'm sure the engineers working this problem have already thought of that and even more, junk drops and entoumbment are already issues in play.

            Anyway the above would be my home-brew recipie. Don't try this at home without a Hazmat suit folks.

            Photobucket

            Happy Day.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Sat Mar 19, 2011 at 01:32:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  bad idea (0+ / 0-)

        because then you get radioactive clays and slurries
        and containment is breached, it's going to go everywhere.

        George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

        by nathguy on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 09:24:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Brought to you from Click and Clack. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        yuriwho

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