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View Diary: MotherShip 10: Japan Nuclear Disaster (34 comments)

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  •  Buggars (4+ / 0-)
    “We’ve got at least 10 days to two weeks of potential drama before you can declare the accident over,”

    I thought that the boots on the ground had gotten control over the problems because the fuel is still in the vessels and the vessels are not melted through . Could the fuel still melt through ?

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Wed Mar 23, 2011 at 09:08:23 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  They are doing a balancing act right now (6+ / 0-)

      between temperature and pressure. If they lose the ability to control either of those things then things could get much worse very quickly. They need to keep this balancing act going until they get proper cooling equipment up and running and can verify that the fuel in the reactor is still in a condition that is amenable to cooling. This may take considerable time. Then they have to figure out the condition of the spent-fuel pools. The boots on the ground seem to be buying some time there but they can't keep it up forever. If the pools are as damaged as some here fear, then it's going to be a very hard task to get them to any kind of stable resolution. (Not that you ever call a spent fuel pool really resolved...)

      •  My understanding is that a fire in the spent (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden, cotterperson

        fuel cooling ponds is a much greater risk than meltdown of the nuclear reactor core.

        Typically, spent fuel cooling ponds accumulate all the used fuel fuel since the reactors started.  In the US, this is because there is no approved of final repositories.

        A typical spent fuel pond can contain up to 20 to 50 curries of Cesium 137.  By comparison, the Chernobyl accident released "only" 6 million curies, which was about 40% of the core.

         

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Wed Mar 23, 2011 at 10:10:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "between temperature and pressure" ? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bluesee, cotterperson

        If they keep it cool enough to not melt ...

        The boots on the ground seem to be buying some time there but they can't keep it up forever.

        I'm thinking that if they keep it from melting they have it beat , am I missing the bigger picture or something ?

        I think they are dealing with some crazy salt water chemistry ,
        I wonder if "salt water cooling" is in the books .    

        "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

        by indycam on Wed Mar 23, 2011 at 10:14:28 PM PDT

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        •  asdf (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pgm 01, neroden, Bluesee, Joieau, cotterperson

          It is.  Salt water (ie ocean) cooling was always a backup method for this plant.  It is a last resort, since the reactors will be completely unusable even without any core damage due to chlorine attacking the piping and structural materials.  That type of damage would be much more long term though than the time it would be used to cool the cores/pools down to an acceptable level to start final parts of recovery.

          "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

          by erush1345 on Wed Mar 23, 2011 at 10:22:03 PM PDT

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        •  There are several articles (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden, raines, cotterperson

          today about how there is a built-up crust of salt on the spent rods from the evaporated sea water. Apparently, if this crust builds up so that cooling water can't get to the rods, they could continue to heat up. The current ROV has a link to NYT and some discussion.

        •  Temp goes up, add water, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rja, neroden, Joieau

          temp goes down but pressure goes up. Repeat. Try not to let it melt. Try not to let it break the vessel. Try not to fill it with so much water there is no room for the steam.

          That's what I meant by a balancing act.

          As for the fuel pools. If the cooling systems are in good enough shape that once power is fully restored they can keep the pools cool then things get a lot better. But if one or more of them is inoperable (or there are leaks in the pool), and nobody can get close enough to repair it, what do you do?

          •  Your balancing image (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            brought the Natarage, the dancing multi-armed incarnation of Shiva, the destroyer, to mind - standing on the ego of mankind.

            "I almost died for the international monetary system; what the hell is that?" ~ The In-laws

            by Andhakari on Thu Mar 24, 2011 at 12:31:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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