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View Diary: How Radioactive Is the Ocean? (100 comments)

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  •  Here I agree...but... (0+ / 0-)

    It is not a question of site selection alone (what save Danaii but not Diachi).

    Several things. First, it is true that had THIS tsunami hit along the Plains of Tokyo, it would be 10 to 1000 times worse in terms of deaths.  But sea wall mitigation can help decrease the height and volume of a tsunami. They should of built them higher and strong than they did. 33 meters? No, not necessary. But a series of interconnecting ones even 15 meters according to my hydrologist friend, would of sufficed to 'break' this tsunami.

    But even without the seawall, had the siting of the fuel tanks been reasoned wisely, they could of located those tanks behind the reactor building instead of the cheap way out for barge fuel unloading right at the waters edge. We would NOT have been having this discussion. It would of been that simple. But TEPCO only built to what they could get away with with regards to regulations. It seems this was TEPCO's historic way of doing business: do only what was mandated and nothing more.

    NNadir, I don't have a problem with the staff engineers and certainly not the union workers who handled crisis. But TEPCO has a sorrid and apparently well deserved reputation as the Kerr Mcgee of Japan.

    I await your diary on this question.

    David

    Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

    by davidwalters on Mon Jul 11, 2011 at 10:22:47 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I'll be honest here and say that I don't know... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bryfry

      ...much about Kerr McGee except that it was the subject of a popular conspiracy theory involving Karen Silkwood in the 1970's.

      Here, by the way, is something of a punchline about Ms. Silkwood's "defective" rods:

      Karen Silkwood's rods irradiated.

      It would seem that in spite of Ms. Silkwood's fabled effort to protect humanity from these "defective" rods, based on her two year experience in their manufacture, the rods were irradiated anyway, and exceeded their design performance.

      I have, I will confess, a rote reaction to what I regard as nuclear exceptionalism, the notion that any short coming in the nuclear industry is inherently worse than a short coming anywhere else, because nuclear is spelled with an "N."

      The system at Fukushima failed in an unusal natural disaster and by such failures, we learn things.   Whatever the failure may have been, on scale, it is trivial and hardly suggests that the hysteria caused by it is even remotely rational.    The number of dead will not be as large as the number of dead from the Piper Alpha oil platform explosion, but will be discussed ad infinitim, much longer than Piper Alpha was discussed.

      If Fukushima had never been built, more death and injuries and ecosystem destruction would have resulted from the alternatives, not that anyone would have cared.

      Thus even with the tsunami destroying it, Fukushima saved lives.

      Basically I blame the accumulation of used nuclear fuels as something of a shame, particularly because I have a neat design for hot reprocessing that will most likely go nowhere, but mostly because the thing that prevents such reprocessing is ignorance, fear and superstition.

    •  The TEPCO diary is almost ready, by the way. (0+ / 0-)
      •  Good, I look forward to it. (0+ / 0-)

        Karen Silkwood was a union organizer for OCAW, a very progressive union that represented workers in fuel enrichment facilities as well as oil refineries.

        I believe she was murdered by the Company in question for her union organizing, not for any 'expose' of fault fuel rods.

        The more interesting question, in part, is that Kerr McGee was part of the rather fake "Atoms for Peace" program and the only true attempt to tie peaceful civilian nuclear energy to the US military's WMD plutonium breeding program by building out a huge number of Breeder Reactors that could supply both forms of Plutonium for WMD and civilian nuclear plants. The fuel Silkwood was working on was for...Fermi I Fast Breeder in Michigan. The partial meltdown of that plant basically ended the whole program.

        Fast Breeders, then, were not ready for prime-time. Now, they are of course and we will see them built out in Russia and China over the next half decade or so.

        Back in day, companies like Kerr-McGee were simply arrogant f*cks who didn't care about any, and could get by almost non-existent labor and regulatory rules.

        NNadir, don't forget to post the blog via the Daily Kos Nuclear Group. You and I are the only posting via this way now, it appears.

        Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

        by davidwalters on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 07:55:01 AM PDT

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        •  Well, I am hardly the judge and jury in this case, (0+ / 0-)

          nor am I prosecutor or police officer.

          I really don't know the details, but I don't believe anything I hear about the case from anyone.    

          I am aware of the technical performance of the rods Kerr-McGee made and I believe the author of the link was motivate by public perceptions of what the case involved.

          I am aware of the case only inasmuch as I saw the movie, which came out when I was in the anti-nuke camp as I recall.    The movie presented it as a plutonium contamination/defective fuel rods case.

          I am a fluid phase reactor kind of guy, myself, and all fluid phase people express regret about liquid metal reactor types being developed in lieu of fluid reactors.

          At least three types of commercial reactors were potentially dual use besides liquid metal breeders, although the choice to use anything, whether it be nuclear materials or oil is a moral question that is not unique to nuclear.   They are CANDUs, Magnox (which were actually used as such) and graphite moderated reactors (which were also used as such.)    Except CANDUs, I'm not fond of any of these reactors.  

           In theory, and maybe in practice, any of these reactors including LMFBR can be used just as easily for thorium use and for weapons grade plutonium destruction/denaturation.   I rather like the Indian approach to LMFBR's and they have clearly identified the physics approaches to using it to consume plutonium and make U-233.

          All this said my take on accumulated weapons grade plutonium is that it represents a huge resource and any rational disarmament program would necessarily utilize that resource.  

          I have not been signed up to the nuclear group and don't really understand how groups work.

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