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This is what we know: Fukushima is a Boiling Water Reactor or BWR shown in schematic above. Just as as an automobile engine needs flowing coolant to keep from overheating, the reactor vessel will overheat if deprived of flowing water. Unlike your car engine, BWR's take a day or two to safely wind down in the event of an emergency.

This was not a nuclear explosion. Meaning a small scale mushroom cloud. I'm assured by experts that can't happen with this type of fuel. The power of the explosion was probably more like a conventional bomb or natural gas storage accident.

The danger to the larger local community is fallout from venting, or material from melting fuel rods lost in an explosion. Hence the evacuation. But so far, radiation reportedly detected outside the plant has been minimal.

What we don't know: Exactly what caused the explosion. The scope of damage done to the circulation system during the quake and in the unit that exploded, and how that damage might be affecting efforts to shut the reactors down.

News Links: Blast at Fukushima compounds fears of Japanese nuclear disaster

Video Link: Japanese official says pumping system caused nuclear plant blast

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Comment Preferences

  •  Kiss it goodbye, and the sooner the better (16+ / 0-)

    I mean nuclear power in general, not just this one plant. I hope to hell they can get this under control. But this needs to be the end of this dirty, filthy industry, which has never, ever been worth the risk to the planet.

    "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

    by Ivan on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:39:01 AM PST

    •  Ehm. (28+ / 0-)

      If I remember correctly, deaths per kWh are still the lowest for nuclear among all conventional power sources. Far fewer than for coal and similar things.

      Even hydroelectric power can cause deaths if plants fail. Shall we ban them as well? The question is one of risk and the number of deaths. If it is comparatively lower, it seems logical, at least for me, to use that power source.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:44:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, please stop! (17+ / 1-)

        Life itself causes death.

        By your thinking, "shall we ban life as well"?

        These duplicitous and disingenuous statements like:

        Even hydroelectric power can cause deaths if plants fail.

        are simply ludicrous.

        Face the facts:

        Nuclear power is a TomorrowLand science fiction fantasy from the 1950's.

        It's now 2011 and no one, anywhere, has solved the fundamental problems with nuclear power.

        So despite the fact that man devised a technology 60 years ago that would boil water to produce steam to spin a turbine,  60 yerars later man has still failed to find a solution to its very real and very fatal problems.

        Give it up, already.

        - bp

        "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

        by b00g13p0p on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:52:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Please. (27+ / 0-)

          Which solutions haven't been resolved? That an accident can happen? There is no activity where that is impossible. How many deaths have been caused by nuclear power since the 1950s? Less than 10.000? That's how many coal kills in the US alone.

          Storage? We can keep the stuff stored for hundreds of years, if not longer. I find it amusing that people who object to nukes conveniently fail to mention we've been polluting the atmosphere with no regard for the next few generations, and here we're obsessing whether, with poor maintenance, an accident might perhaps happen at a nuclear waste dump 500 years from now.

          Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

          by Dauphin on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:56:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  *plonk* n/t (0+ / 0-)

            - bp

            "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

            by b00g13p0p on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:02:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The big problem we have with your comments (11+ / 0-)

            is that you literally dont know what youre talking about. Youre using flat out made up spin and directly comparing two "solutions" that WE are fighting against though the places nuke nuts tend to hang out like option 2..

            Im curious.. youre aware of an honest, non industry-sponsored study that has tracked the generational health effects of TMI, Chernobyl and all the other accidents (that arent reported often and the only source is usually the nuclear corporation).

            Nuclear nuts are like monkeys with guns. They dont really understand it but it does coool stuff when they play with it.

            A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

            by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:03:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, there was that IAEA study... n/t (8+ / 0-)

              Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

              by Dauphin on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:06:44 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Huh? (22+ / 0-)

              Nuclear nuts?  Instead of an emotional reaction why not provide actual data re: nuclear power plants.  My best friend is a raporteur (sp?) with IAEA.  He's worked on radiation issues for 20 years.  He is hardly a nut.  He actually has worked on the IAEA reports.  

              Perhaps you should review the number of times catastrophic fly ash slurry spills  have occurred -- from residue from coal powered plants.

              " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

              by gchaucer2 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:23:31 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You dont get nuclear at all do you (14+ / 0-)

                you think its magic fairy dust, like dauphin and that "the authorities".. who btw will put you in prison if you a: step foot on a nuclear facility or b: steal any of the reams of data they keep from us, will "keep us safe!".

                And guess what.. they told thousands of american soldiers radiation was "perfectly safe".. too bad when they caught cancer, lukemia. Too bad when their childrens children suffered from genetic defects , cancer.. And of course after Nagasaki and Hiroshima nothing bad happened. Japan doesnt still have a taboo about talking about eugenic infanticide......  Perhaps you should think about that.

                What those of you who dont understand radiation and genetics really dont get is that one Chernobyl probably caused more longterm and massive changes in the human genome than perhaps the last hundred thousand years of mutation did. And quite probably longer  but of course it is literally unmeasurable.

                A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:34:57 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hilarious. (11+ / 0-)

                  Carry on with your incredible, loosely thrown together, rambling screeds.

                  " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

                  by gchaucer2 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:04:18 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  With advocates like you, what need for opponents? (6+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  frisco, buddabelly, xgz, dinotrac, BoxNDox, Dauphin
                  You dont get nuclear at all do you (4+ / 0-)
                  you think its magic fairy dust, like dauphin and that "the authorities".. who btw will put you in prison if you a: step foot on a nuclear facility or b: steal any of the reams of data they keep from us, will "keep us safe!".

                  Wow.  I'm about as left as they get, I certainly do not support unwarranted secrecy or bullshit like the Patriot Act, and the ignorance you display offends even me.

                  -7.75 -4.67

                  "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

                  There are no Christians in foxholes.

                  by Odysseus on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:49:31 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It is perhaps offensive (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Radical def, CMYK, Friendlystranger

                    but it is also the truth.

                    I see no more reason to be "nice and sweet" to these propaganda spouting nonthinkers than i do to tea partiers. They literally hang out on "nuke boards" and create "facts" in their little echo chamber to spread elsewhere. And frankly people willing to lie to support their delusions and convince us to do things that have horrible consequences for others disgust me.

                    A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                    by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:05:06 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  asdf (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Odysseus, buddabelly, xgz, Dauphin
                  And of course after Nagasaki and Hiroshima nothing bad happened.

                  If you confuse nuclear bombs with nuclear power plants, you have no business telling other people that they don't "get" nuclear.

                  Also:

                  What those of you who dont understand radiation and genetics really dont get is that one Chernobyl probably caused more longterm and massive changes in the human genome than perhaps the last hundred thousand years of mutation did.

                  This is an astoundingly illiterate statement.  Homo Sapiens Sapiens are only about 200,000 years old, and the oldest known Cro-Magnon remains are dated to 35,000 years.  

                  You seriously think that the contamination from Chernobyl has changed the human genome more than the last 100,000 years of human evolution?   Wouldn't scientists have noticed that?

                  Linking to a news article is journalism in the same sense that putting a Big Mac on a paper plate is cooking.

                  by Caj on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:43:53 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Um (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    CMYK, Friendlystranger

                    If you confuse nuclear bombs with nuclear power plants, you have no business telling other people that they don't "get" nuclear.

                    Radiation doesnt really care if it comes from fallout or a core turning melting. It affects your genes the same way.

                    This is an astoundingly illiterate statement.  Homo Sapiens Sapiens are only about 200,000 years old, and the oldest known Cro-Magnon remains are dated to 35,000 years

                    Your reading comprehension is perhaps lacking? We havent changed much in that 200, 000 years. That is the entire point of the statement.

                    Wouldn't scientists have noticed that?

                    How exactly? You think theyve mapped the genetics of all the people effected by chernobyl? Just as with Nagasaki and Hiroshima those surviving and those later coming in contact with high levels of radiation would have experienced mutation on a level not seen naturally, probably ever. That is the danger of nuclear raddiation. You somehow think theres a "norm" that things 'change back to"??? Evolution IS in fact mutation (random and , according to recent science, perhaps less random). Without it we are unicellular organisms.

                    A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                    by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:02:45 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Dauphin
                      Your reading comprehension is perhaps lacking? We havent changed much in that 200, 000 years. That is the entire point of the statement.

                      We have changed a huge amount in 200,000 years.  Human beings didn't even develop the capacity for abstract and symbolic reasoning until about 50,000 years ago.

                      Sure we have the same number of eyes and ears as our paleolithic ancestors, and were modern in an anatomic sense pretty far back; but to say that we haven't changed much is absurd.  You'd have to ignore almost all the traits that separate us from other animals.

                      Wouldn't scientists have noticed that?

                      How exactly? You think theyve mapped the genetics of all the people effected by chernobyl?

                      First of all, you claimed that Chernobyl modified the  human genome by more than 100,000 years of human evolution.  Yes, scientists would be able to notice something like that.

                      Secondly, you wouldn't need to map anything to notice a change that big.  You would just need to look at, or interact with, the people.  Assuming a mutation that big didn't kill them, you'd probably tell by dramatic changes in behavior and appearance.

                      Linking to a news article is journalism in the same sense that putting a Big Mac on a paper plate is cooking.

                      by Caj on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 07:14:38 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  A Dam burst (17+ / 0-)

            will not cause genetic damage. A Wind farm will not. A Solar Panel will not, except by way of the solvents used in its manufacture.

            Coal plants also release radioactivity, increasing genetic mutation rates and "accelerated genetic shift."

            The damage, genetic damage, or change, caused by radioactive releases are QUANTITATIVELY more unpredictable and random than other types of damages, and last into the distant future.

            Do NOT, if you are a supporter of Nuclear power, claim that this is not true, or you are faced with the certain fact that your logic is deeply flawed, and bring into question your intentions.

            I have in the past supported nuclear power, but never on the insane basis that you have here. You make me change my mind about nuclear power. I now am, again, an opponent, thanks to your lack of logic and selective emphasis on comparative harms.

            Good day.

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:06:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  double "plonk* /nt (0+ / 0-)
            •  I don't think that word means what you think (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dauphin

              Here is a helpful link to what the word "plonk" means.

              Plonking a user means that you have made his/her comments invisible in this and all future threads.  As far as I know, plonking is not possible on Daily Kos, so it is silly to pretend that you are doing so.

              Also, a "double plonk" makes about as much sense as deleting a file twice.

              Linking to a news article is journalism in the same sense that putting a Big Mac on a paper plate is cooking.

              by Caj on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:57:57 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Defending nuclear by citing how dangerous coal is (6+ / 0-)

            does nobody any good.  Coal use is damaging to us and our environment.  But so is nuclear.  Blind faith in technology doesn't make it go away.  

            Politicians are like diapers. They should be changed frequently ... and for the same reason

            by Road Dog on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:30:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Dauphin et al...Name us One kind of accident (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PreciousLittle

            in any other technology, that has the very substantial potential for thousands of years of deadly genome-rotting contamination, even remotely comparable to a major nuke catastrophe.

            However "remote" the risk of an "accident", or, more likely, criminal negligence, the potential destructive impact of a major event is far greater than any other man-made danger known.

            It's absolutely false logic to assert that other technologies may also have inherent risks, and to thus equate them, as such, "equally", let alone "less" risky.

            It's also an absolutely false meme, to project nukes as a viable "alternative" to global warming and fossil fuels, as if we "must" choose one or the other.

            The vast majority of Americans want to go green, whether you like it or not, and that means phasing out BOTH fossil fuels AND nukes.

            Global genetic destruction is simply not "worth" the risk, especially when we can go green instead, right now, rather than waiting god knows how many years to develop and roll out "safe" nukes (even if that should eventually prove feasible, which thus far, it simply has not).

            A bottom line decisive factor in this whole equation is that NOBODY is willing, or even financially able, to insure ANY nukes against a catastrophic event, simply because the damage could potentially be so huge.

            Not one energy company is willing or able to stand by this tech with their own resources, and no insurance company will touch it with a 10 foot pole.  

            Only by manipulating the democratic process, to shift virtually all cost and liability onto the government, does nuke power even approach "feasibility", and indeed, this is the sole, absolutely bogus basis for what now passes, falsely, for "insurance" on these plants.

            That one incontrovertable fact is enough to convince me that the whole concept is nothing but a big scam and a ripoff by Big Energy, who have been lying their asses off, viciously attacking and slandering environmentalists for over 30 years now.

            We shall never forget, and will never forgive, the false propaganda-based ploys of the rich, to risk killing us all, and the whole planet, for their own short term profit.

            Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

            by Radical def on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 12:30:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  the danger from a nuclear accident is acute exposu (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              buddabelly

              re that results in immediate death or near-term cancer. Second risk is from isotopes left around afterwards becoming ingested and causing a second wave of cancer. The risk of germ-line mutations is far at the tail of the dangerous outcomes.

              •  "the danger" is all three... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PreciousLittle

                which all occur in direct proportion to the scope of the event.

                Short term, long term, the effects are...absolutely horrible.

                I see no point to your remark, unless you merely seek to somehow dismiss, or detract from the unavoidable fact that this shit is Dangerous, and is Not "safe".

                From your other remarks here, it's clear you have no intention or desire to engage in rational discussion, so rant on...but I have no patience for it, and will leave it to other apt hands to refute your jive beyond here.

                I came here to find out what's happening with those nukes, not to be assailed with pro-nuke propaganda, or to duke it out with trolls and hacks...will go elsewhere for the news.

                Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

                by Radical def on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 01:23:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Don't accuse me of starting an argument :) (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elfling

                  I was replying to your comment! I agree there is alot of bad things that can happen. I just think the fear of germ-line mutations is pretty far down that list.. it's like if I worried that the danger of wind turbines is that a blade might be thrown off and land on my house.

        •  This HR is totally unjustified NT (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bushondrugs

          Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

          by JesseCW on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:02:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  If i remember correctly (5+ / 0-)

        Deaths per kwh for wind, solar and biofuel are ZERO. Which is less than any of your made up statistics, even the bullshit one about hydroelectric.

        And the kicker: There is absolutely no chance they will cause permanent genetic changes in the human race.

        | snark | But it makes so much more sense to switch to one of the most expensive forms of energy, that when there is an accidetn causes widespread genetic damage, cancer, lukemia, and continues to cause damage for generations. And of course we'll just ship all those kilotons of hazardous waste to the local dump because it isnt like it is dangerous or anything /end snark

        A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

        by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:55:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, now (7+ / 0-)

          try to scale wind and solar up on a global scale. Need I mention bottlenecks? Sure, you can substitute rare earths for common materials with no great loss of efficiency in wind turbines. But what about areas where you don't have a good wind resource? They're stuck with solar.

          And the only way to currently resolve the intermittency problem with solar is solar thermal, which is still about twice as expensive as other power sources, if memory serves, although it's improving. Now, the developed world can afford that. But what about the developing world, which can only offer the global economy natural resources and lower cost. Do you think they'll be jolly good soldiers, take one for the team, and kill their export industries for the sake of protecting the planet?

          As for accidents, how many deaths has nuclear power caused since the 1960s, hmm? There was one large scale disaster, and even Chernobyl didn't significantly change the balance.

          Finally, biofuels? Oh, they don't kill anyone directly, but since they happen to compete with agricultural land, they've tightened available food, raising prices in the event of natural disasters. That doesn't kill anyone. It just puts the world's poor in a position where they can die easily.

          Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

          by Dauphin on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:01:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And again (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ivan, juliesie, Msinformed, annieli, imokyrok

            you literally have no fucking clue what youre talking about. None. Apparently you read  some freerepublic report on wind power. The kicker about solar is that people can do a lot of it at their own homes.. very cheaply if the conditions are right. You also know absolutely nothing about how theyre built. You know how hard it is to build a solar generator. Take a motor. Connect one of many types of wind collection forms to it.

            The developing world? You're proclamation is that they cannot possibly afford to build wind generators, which are cheap.. but they can set up a uranium mining and processing industry and build a multibillion dollar plant and a storeage facility that could cost more than the nuclear plant to build andd maintain. Are you dishonest on purpose or just accidentally ignorant?

            On solar you quite Literally dont know what youre talking about. Theres a guy named Meteorblades here who's home has run on solar for decades.

            As for accidents id try to explain to you the permanent, generational effects of radioactive material. How it transfers its nastier properties to other elements. How the nuclear industry keeps a deathgrip secrecy lock on its "secrets". About how someone exposed to radiation above that we've evolved to , or through acute exposure to higher levels can suffer decades later and is actually likely to pass genetic changes along to their offspring.. but i doubt it would do any good.

            And of course you've been reading the oil industry bullshit about agriculture. And are willfully ignoring we have a huge farm program whos specific goal is to keep production DOWN.

            A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

            by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:15:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  While it would be marvelous if every home in the (7+ / 0-)

              world could tap into solar or wind--- we know that is not going to happen.  And the wind farms and solar farms do not produce enough to handle what only a few  plants can can do on nuclear.  I may or may not buy into the nuclear idea---but don't try to make wind/solar the end all----because it isn't.

              •  Yet another person (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ivan, JesseCW, imokyrok

                proclaiming that since third world nations which cant even afford coal plant can mysteriously afford the most expensive energy technology there is (other than some forms of solar)? And that they can build a stunningly large, expensive, and high tech infrastructure to support it?

                Because that's sooo much easier than taking a cheap electric motor (or better yet building a generator using wire and magnets that is more efficient) and attaching some form  of wind vane to it?

                A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:48:19 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Don't put words onto my comment. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  buddabelly, bushondrugs, Dauphin

                  Where did I say this?:

                  Yet another person (0+ / 0-)
                  proclaiming that since third world nations which cant even afford coal plant can mysteriously afford the most expensive energy

                  Stick to the facts, please...

                  •  Your premise (0+ / 0-)

                    is that the third world for some reason or other (almost anyone can create a wind turbine) and thus it is implied that therefore we must use nuclear power. The first is entirely untrue. The second seems to imply that while they cant take an old motor and tack a plastic/wood turbine on it they can create the infrastructure for a nuclear power facility...

                    Youre literally saying what i stated in the quote.

                    A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                    by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:09:33 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  ps forgive me for (0+ / 0-)

                    offending you.

                    A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                    by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:17:20 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  And, as always... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cdreid, bythesea, JesseCW

            you ignore that there are many other sources. Methane production from garbage and pig shit, for example, can be wonderful backups for wind and solar.

            Biofuels is tougher...but they don't have to compete with agricultural land if done soundly. And of course I should point out we already have competition from other industry for agricultural land...tobacco...wine...beer...etc.

            I don't even rule out some nuclear energy as part of the solution...but the costs are far more than you generally admit (those hundreds of years of storage are subsidized by taxpayers...as is the hugely expensive construction of the plant...the mining and transportation of the fuel are expensive and cause considerable environmental damage...etc. etc. etc.)

            I just don't see enough honesty about the problems from the dKos nuclear apologists.

            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

            by mole333 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:33:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The people you're quoting (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mole333, imokyrok

              who gnash teeth about "competing for agricultural land!" are as a rule willfully ignorant and quite simply have never been outside their own city. We have an entire government infrastructure who's only goal is to limit agricultural production because we have a tendency to massively overproduce and crash the prices.

              A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

              by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:50:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not to mention... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cdreid, 88kathy, imokyrok

                We could, for example, give incentives for coca growing areas to produce products for making biofuels instead. After all many such areas produced coffee when the market was better and switched to coca when coffee prices dropped. Seems like a perfect opportunity to reduce coca production while producing biofuels.

                And how about we use all that high fructose corn syrup to make biofuels rather than eating the crap?

                Many opportunities to make biofuels viable.

                FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

                by mole333 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:57:02 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  U.S. Wind capacity is awesome (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mole333, JesseCW

              The top quality onshore commercilizable potential has been recently described in the 2010 US Wind Map - it's about 10 times the current total  US electricity consumption/production rate. The eastern and northern (Great Lakes) combine offshore potential, also recently studied, is also at least 4000 GW on an average delivered basis. And using Low Wind Speed Turbines, which are now commercially available, taps into at least 50% of the US land area, giving at least another 2000+ GW potential on a delivered basis.

              Add it up and that's at least 25 times our current consumption, all available at prices cheaper than a subsidized new nuke (Price -Anderson, rad-waste trash disposal, etc).

              As for storage, a piece of cake, and quite affordable, too. Primarily pumped hydro, with the slightly more expensive option of compressed air for areas without hills and water -even seawater can do, ideal for California.

              So, we have wind derived electricity potential up the wazoo, and the same goes for electrical energy storage, just for starts. And what has been, until yesterday, one of the biggest competitive threats to wind power? Ultra subsidized nukes.

              But no more. The picture of the steam explosion at that Japanese nuke whose back-up cooling system bit the big one when a giant surge of seawater took it out-and probably shorted out a lot of electrical circuits that sent power to the cooling water pumps- well, that sealed the fate of the nuke industry in much of the world.

              Now, only those countries really addicted to their nukes, or ones trying really hard to mass produce nuclear weaponry and bomb-grade uranium and especially plutonium supplies, are going to be pursuing "the nuclear option".

              Nb41

              •  Hell (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Msinformed, Dauphin

                I read pretty much the same thing in Scientific American...in 1995! We could already have been doing it.

                But even if wind alone couldn't do it for technical reasons, it adds a huge chunk of clean, safe energy. Solar adds another. Top it off with some geothermal, methane from waste, etc. and mix in some major efficiency programs (money saving in the long run no matter what) and you have a pretty damned good solution. What is missing is the willingness to change, mostly because people are either too invested in what we have now or too lazy. I keep hoping for some major political push to make the change but it isn't easy in a country so dominated by Murdochs and Kochi.

                FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

                by mole333 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:39:46 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  If nuclear is so fucking cool Dauphin (8+ / 0-)

            Then let's repeal the Price-Anderson Act and take the taxpayers off the hook for the liability of nuclear plant failure.

            "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

            by Ivan on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:48:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Radiation causes generational problems (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW

            "how many deaths has nuclear power caused since the 1960s, hmm?"

            Actually, this is very, very difficult to determine since genetic changes due to radiation poisoning may not become apparent for decades after exposure.  That's the problem with radiation leaks.  The immediate number of deaths seems small, but the number of deaths that result from genetic damage is not tracked.  The nuclear power industry will always dispute such deaths, saying its impossible to prove a direct link between the radiation exposure and the resulting illness.

            But, if your child is born with genetic malformations or a genetic disease, or if your grandchild is affected, would it matter to you?  I think it would.  At least, I hope it would.  Is it worth the risk to take that chance?  Ask those who have asbestos poisoning or the survivors of those who died from asbestos.  Ask those whose children got leukemia at Love Canal.  Ask those whose children were damaged by mercury poisoning at Minimata.  Ask those whose children suffer from learning disabilities and other problems from lead poisoning.  The awful effects of those materials weren't recognized at first, either, and those companies attempted to cover up those deaths.

            We also don't know the ways that nuclear radiation is changing the environment since those changes might not become apparent for generations.  Nuclear power hasn't been around that long, and the environmentalists who might be working on this are constantly being discredited..

            So, comparing the number of deaths from various forms of energy production is not very useful.  Lets reduce our dependency on both coal and nuclear power.  Lets find better ways to produce power, such as solar panels built into the roofs of every house, especially new houses.  

            The petroleum and nuclear industries have been powerful enough to stop any serious research and development of new energy technologies, so we really have no idea what's possible.  Yet.  

            -6.63, -6.87 Just to the left of the Dalai Lama

            by ronik on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:29:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Personally, I also choose to worry (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elfling

              about dioxins (in Japan called 'environmental hormones') that are produced by the chemical industry with much help from the petro industry.  

              About two decades ago, the WHO reported that male fertility in Japan had dropped precipitously (1/23 what it should be, was the report when it came out).  The drop was quickly linked to environmental dioxins, and didn't take much for people to figure out that their elementary schools had often been built next to incineration dumps (for historic, economic and geographic reasons).  Decades after construction, the dumps were now burning plastic bags and permanently poisoning the kids.  

              More recently, when oil spilled in the Gulf, BP spread anti-coagulant.  Do we really know the genetic risks of that?    

              The dangers of nuclear industry are hideous, but the dangers of the oil industry are pretty hideous, too.  I simply don't see it that one is infinitely worse than the other.  Can we get rid of both?  It would be nice, but we would then have to confront a worldwide economic collapse.  Not a nice choice.  

            •  sounds like a conspiracy (0+ / 0-)
          •  depends on how direct, biofuels raise corn prices (0+ / 0-)

            which kills the Chiapan farmer financially, who then tries the deathwalk through my back yard to feed his kids, he's found when the vultures return in spring....

            to my mind that's a pretty direct link from biofuel to death.....

            Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
            I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
            Emiliano Zapata

            by buddabelly on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 01:09:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  farm deaths (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, elfling, RumsfeldResign, Dauphin

          there are on the order of 100s of fatalities on US farms each other. So, suggesting that there are no deaths related to biofuels is not entirely accurate.

          I'm a Bobby Kennedy Democrat

          by docstymie on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:16:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Youre right!! (0+ / 0-)

            We should stop people from growing food!!! It's .. dangerous like nuclear power!

            Seriously?

            A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

            by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:02:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  not the point (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elfling, buddabelly, bushondrugs, Dauphin

              that was not my point at all. You claimed deaths/kWh from biofuels was ZERO. I'm just submitting data that suggest you might be wrong.

              It's all about risk analysis. I prefer the alternatives to nuclear that you suggest. I'd also prefer to get the arguments correct in a discussion and not have to reply on hyperbole.

              I'm a Bobby Kennedy Democrat

              by docstymie on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:05:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  What youre doing (0+ / 0-)

                is stretching to absurd lengths...

                By the same token you could say making diapers is as hazardous as X.

                A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:35:09 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  And (0+ / 0-)

                the whole "argument" isnt one. It is a straw man. You could use the same technique to argue for DDT. IE with DDT you radically increase farm production and there are fewer deaths per year (or an equivalent) to the deaths due to farming each year. Of course.. you're discounting long term disease.. genetic effects etc in both.

                And btw you'll note the people i was debating with either said or recced this comment:

                As for genetic damage, so what? When compared to what we are doing now, I certainly consider its possibility a lesser evil than spewing carbon into the atmosphere.

                A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:39:52 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Genetic damage? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aitchdee, DavidW, JesseCW

            When a tractor rolls over you (or me) I lose body parts, but if I survive, my children do not inherit the scars.

            Not so with nuclear releases. We have thousands of "Downwinders" of Hanford Nuclear Reservation suffering and dying from thyroid cancer, pancreatic cancer and lung cancer. This is medically proven.

            BTW, I farm, and I do not want additional genetically damaging materials in my food chain. I will gladly die from falling under a tractor wheel, but I will not gladly die from genetic damage which I may have passed to my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great......you do the math.

            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

            by OregonOak on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:23:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I got cancer from a nuclear power plant (13+ / 0-)

          and there was no particular explosion. I was a kid. I've talked about this pretty widely on this site. But I lived in what is called a "cancer cluster." I lived under two miles from a power plant. And I got a very characteristic form of cancer, same as the kids at Chernobyl mainly got. My oncologists stated that it was most likely due to nuclear exposure. It was possible that it could have also been from a throat x-ray (but less probable, they felt). That power plant had been widely reported as problematic.

          But there was no explosion.

          And I did get severe, metastatic cancer that was typical of that sort of thing, in an area where other kids came down with high rates of that same kind of cancer.

          Nuclear power is not safe.

          I am proof of that.

          "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

          by mahakali overdrive on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:21:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Here, I wrote a diary about it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dauphin

          inspired by my comment, and how passionately I feel about this issue:

          http://www.dailykos.com/...

          "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

          by mahakali overdrive on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:03:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Death/kwh is pretty high for wind (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, Dauphin

          Working on a turbine 300' in the air is not a safe occupation.

        •  You don't remember correctly (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dauphin

          I have significant concerns about nuclear energy myself, but I don't think you're being effective here. Your arguments will be more powerful if you can open yourself a little to the true argument that is being made here - which is that due to tight regulations and limited use and a paranoid public, there are very few actual deaths from the use of nuclear power plants.

          Your claim that wind energy has produced zero deaths is quickly and easily proven incorrect. People fall from the towers when they go to service them, and are sliced by the blades; the dangers are regularly and clearly outlined in any account of working with wind turbines. Here is an example for you:

          http://www.wind-works.org/...

          Even solar can be dangerous. People fall from roofs, and perhaps most surprisingly, there have been bad incidents when firefighters have to deal with electrically live panels.

          Do they threaten a whole community in the same way? Absolutely not. But to claim the deaths as zero weakens your credibility.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 02:31:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I am getting a DKosLogicoPhobia right now /nt (0+ / 0-)
      •  Oh god (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dark daze, JesseCW, b00g13p0p

        I thought the nuclear apologists would give it at least a day's rest. I don't even disagree with some of your arguments, but you guys lay it on too thick most of the time. And at inappropriate moments. Not isn't the time for PR damage control.

        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

        by mole333 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:23:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Remember kids: Don't feed the Trolls! n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cdreid

        - bp

        "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

        by b00g13p0p on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:27:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The solution is to reduce (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sny, bushondrugs, b00g13p0p

        energy demand by changing our lifestyles and by reducing population. This is the only way we can survive in a sustainable way.

        An eye for an eye and the whole world will be blind.

        by rini6 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:56:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That solution reconciles both positions! (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, elfling, rini6, JesseCW, Dauphin

          I believe that nuclear (done properly) can be safer than some of the other dangerous energy forms that we've grown accustomed to using; for example, coal.  But perhaps we are comparing two evils.

          There is much evidence to support both sides of the debate as to which is more deleterious, in terms of ecosystem health, human sickness, and deaths--nuclear vs. fossil fuels (particularly coal).  

          The win-win would be to reduce our energy consumption so that we can get by with neither.

          •  That's a naive position (0+ / 0-)

            Let me guess, you're writing from a developed first-world country with all the creature comforts and infrastructure which that implies.

            •  More insults on this site... I guess DKos (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Odysseus, rini6, JesseCW, Dauphin

              does not welcome diverse opinions.

              So what if I am writing from the United States?  Is the idea that we should reduce our energy consumption really so naive?  More naive than thinking coal is safe or nuclear is safe?  More naive than thinking coal should be banned or nuclear should be banned?

              I don't even get what point you're trying to make.

              But I do feel like I've been called "naive" -- and I don't know why that was necessary.

              •  And that proves my point (0+ / 0-)

                If "we should reduce our energy consumption"

                There is an entire planet outside of the United States, much of it nowhere near as developed. Development requires energy. Reducing your needs where you are doesn't do much to help some person living somewhere without what we'd consider decent infrastructure improve their lives.

                I've seen the projections for coal plant construction for the next few decades, all over the world, and if you are concerned about carbon emissions you would be horrified, and yet there are few other options because those plants are going into places where people have decided that they'd like to live better (and therefore more energy-intensive) lives.

                Right now, there are two groups who are taking satisfaction, maybe secret and something they won't admit even to themselves, is what's happening in Japan: anti-nuclear activists and the coal industry. The latter's future prospects are now looking even better.

                •  The cheapest energy is solar, wind, tidal, and (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Odysseus

                  geothermal....if you take into account the costs that the fossil and nuclear industries prefer to externalize.

                  "Nuclear" is not an answer to any of the problems the developing world has.

                  It's far too damned expensive, costing more than renewable energy over time.

                  Using it means sacrificing sovereignty, or risking war while trying to develop refining and enrichment facilities.

                  Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

                  by JesseCW on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:34:03 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  It's naive to think that the earth (0+ / 0-)

                  as a whole can keep up this energy consumption and population growth without dire consequences.

                  An eye for an eye and the whole world will be blind.

                  by rini6 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:15:56 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  that argument is incorrect use of stats/risks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aitchdee

        Much of the nuclear power safety argument is based on the assumption that risk can be expressed as a single quantity and therefore e.g. the sum of risks from 1billion people riding bicycles can be meaningfully compared to the risk of a nuclear power plant melting down. But that's not measuring anything useful.

    •  Yeah. Let's burn coal instead. (9+ / 0-)

      The focus of the entire planet on a subject they know nothing about in an extreme accident situation, definitely supports the idea that we should use coal.

      No one needs to worry that coal might cause an injury, since coal kills continuously during normal operations.

      Great idea.

      •  Because thats not a straw horse at all (10+ / 0-)

        and we nuclear opponents (the majority of humanity btw) are really all about  burning the coal. Its not like we have been pushing for solar, wind and biofuel for 40 years or anything.

        A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

        by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:51:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is NOT a straw horse. Your "push" for wind (6+ / 0-)

          solar and biofuel is a failure, because it technically doesn't work.

          The biofuel bit, which was largely abandoned by humanity in the developed world still kills 1.6 million people a year, half of whom are under 5.

          World Health Organization Web Page on the area.

          The fact that a hysterical interpretation of the events at the reactor - which are serious - produces a stronger reaction from you than this continuous fact, and the fact that you appeal for more biofuels says everything we need to know about your inattention to "details," the details being 1.6 million deaths per year.

          Have a great day.

          •  Monsieur Nadir - (6+ / 0-)

            The tone of your comments -
            Merely indicates that your beloved nuclear is kaput.
            And thankfully so.

            •  As in 2007, I will need to fight ignorance... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mcrab

              again.

              The um, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa -the one that had a huge population of scientifically illiterate anti-nukes cheering so loud about the "end of nuclear power in this very space - is operating today.

              It's not like the anti-nuke prediction of the demise of nuclear power, which has inspired so many illiterate comments from Amory Lovins to the present company, amounts to much.

              Basically the world doesn't care about what provincial anti-science anti-nukes think.   The world recognizes that nuclear energy need not be risk free to be risk minimized.

              But I'll look forward to all of the anti-nukes here writing anti-building diaries, since, as in 2007, the vast majority of deaths were associated with, um, buildings.  We'll all look forward to calls to ban damns,  as the collapsed renewble energy dam that swept away 1800 houses, and inevitably killed people.

              The majority of energy related deaths in this case, as in every case before, will not come from the nuclear facility, but will come from the dangerous fossil fuel facilities that replace them as they are rebuilt.

              This is because death is inevitable from energy whenever a dangerous fossil fuel plant operates, both abnormally, and normally.

              Have a nice soothsaying mystic day.

              •  May I Quote from Yesterday? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HamdenRice, JesseCW
                I know more about nuclear energy than you will ever know.
                NNadir

                I'm sure he DOES know more about nuclear energy than I do, but he has no interest in convincing people about his views, he just insults anyone who doesn't agree.
                esquimaux

                You Know More - - - than everybody!!!
                johnnygunn

                As a matter of fact, while not claiming to know anything about the immediate condition of the reactor, I do know more about nuclear reactors that the vast majority of people in the world.
                NNadir

                http://www.dailykos.com/...

                And yet you paint any and all who disagree with you as idiots and superstitious fools.  You may be off the charts on the intelligence scale - but as far as common sense goes, not to mention strategy, you have much to learn.

                •  I stand by my remarks of yesterday. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  buddabelly

                  I would gladly repeat them again today.

                  There is nothing in your post of today that in any way convinces me of a need to revise my remarks of yesterday, nor those of 2007.

                  In about a week, I will write another diary like that I wrote in 2007.

                  In a week we will have more information.   I am perfectly convinced, since I understand nuclear energy and am well educated about the subject, that the death toll from the reactor will not even remotely approach the death toll from dangerous fossil fuel facilities operating normally around the world this week.

                  Have a nice day.   Thanks keeping track of my remarks.

              •  Oh, And By the Way - (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cdreid, Odysseus, NNadir, JesseCW

                One of my bicycles has more than 100,000 miles on it.
                So I walk the walk - actually, pedal the pedal.

          •  Ignorance is bliss (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aitchdee, HamdenRice, JesseCW

            Im rather curious why you're here instead of freerepublic. See we like facts and science here. We also dont like intentional dishonesty. That you would somehow equate dirt poor people who cook use wood/coal stoves as "victims of solar power" speaks of your nuttery. That the WHO would put out such a laughably ridiculous report speaks to the entitled upperclass lifestyle the writer was brought up in.

            In the cost continuum heres how it works cheapest to most expensive: Wind, Biofuel, Passive solar,  active solar/nuclear. And those last two are hard to judge against each other because we cannot calculate the Real cost of nuclear anymore than we can currently calculate the REAL cost of petroleum. It is even harder with nuclear because the cost of waste disposal.. cant be calculated because we dont have a plan for it.

            A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

            by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:00:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I disagree with any claim you make about (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Odysseus, buddabelly

              caring about science and facts.

              Anyone who reads my diaries, will find that the vast majority of them refer to literature in the primary scientific literature.

              There are hundreds of such diaries.

              I just checked your swell list of diaries.

              Um, you wrote a piece of science fiction, not very good science fiction, but fiction all the same:

              Space, the final frontier... (a fictional future economy)+*

              I have also had to hear your anti-science ravings in other places.

              You are not qualified to lecture me, or anyone else on science.

              Got it?

              No?

              I couldn't care less.

              I have a diary in preparation pointing out that the fact that because "creation scientists" dub themselves "scientists" does not imply that they know anything at all about science.

              If you had something to say about science you would say it.

              Instead you are making remarks about your interpretation of my political leanings, which are as speculative, wrong, as your tiresome bull about the nuclear plant.

              Nuclear energy need not be perfect or risk free to be vastly superior than all the stuff you neither know about nor care about.

              It only needs to be vastly superior, which it is.

              Have a nice day.   Try not to open a science book.   It may give you a headache.

              •  The voice of scientism speaks (0+ / 0-)

                I call it the Voice of the Nightmare, or VOTN for short.

                Your relentless, unreflective, scientisic superiority complex (here and elsewhere on the blog) fairly reeks of a fundamentalism of another, equally pernicious stripe--a troubling yet undeniable likeness which, if you had any humility or skill with metaphor at all, might give you at least moment's pause. I despair of any such event occurring any time soon, but perhaps you are very young?

                God bless our tinfoil hearts.

                by aitchdee on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:07:26 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hmm (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  aitchdee, buddabelly

                  personal attacks without a single factual contention. Other than "youre mean and speak about that sciency stuff and i dont like it". have a nice day

                  A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

                  by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:10:37 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Scientism? (0+ / 0-)

                  Ok, then.

                  Thanks for your input.

                  •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

                    Forbidden words from an unqualified commenter: run for your life! ;)

                    Here's a few more for you: dualism, materialism, reductionism, literalist: those oughta set your hair on fire.

                    God bless our tinfoil hearts.

                    by aitchdee on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:53:03 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Forbidden? Um, no. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      buddabelly

                      Funny as hell, um yes.

                      One cannot wait long enough for stuff like this.

                      It's a very sad day, actually, apparently many thousands, if not tens of thousands of people have been killed by things that um, nobody cares about.

                      At times like these, one can always use some amusement, and it is much appreciated.

                      I hope that "scientismists" can keep providing access to stuff like, um, computers, so we can all share in this.

                      Have a nice day.

                      •  Oh, don't be so defensive (0+ / 0-)

                        I'm merely curious what the word scientism means to you. Be a little forthcoming with me for a minute here; I'd sincerely like to know.

                        God bless our tinfoil hearts.

                        by aitchdee on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 12:09:29 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Um, um, um... (0+ / 0-)

                          I wouldn't interpret my remarks as "defensive."

                          Linguistic gibberish means, um, nothing to me.

                          But if you must know, if you insist on knowing,  what "scientism" means to me, one may glean something of my attitude by referral to the Sokal Affair.

                          Sokal, was of course, being a little mean, but I think he said a great deal about our culture, and the exercise was, in my view, a worthy one.

                          I am politically on the left - and Sokal was ridiculing the left to a certain extent - but I think he made a valid point on the intellectual matrix in which things like the current discussion are even possible.

                          Have a nice day.

                          •  "Deconstruct this!" (0+ / 0-)

                            said the pissy old humorless scientist to a sassy young cabal of lefty postmoderns. Sokal, whoa...you're hardcore. Nobody comes out smelling rosy in that old story.

                            And you, my friend, are airtight; I can't wedge a doubt in slantwise. You remind me of my Born Again Christian friends, who are also altogether certain about Truth--although I admit you're by far the witter, which is hopeful news.

                            God bless our tinfoil hearts.

                            by aitchdee on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 01:07:32 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Like I said, I very much admire what Sokal did. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            aitchdee

                            Whatever his subsequent work does and does not produce, he has accomplished a great deal in pointing to a major"intellectual" (or pseudointellectual) problem in our times, which like the rest of human history, contains a great deal of foci that are, well, insipid.

                            I do not consider a mote of a mite of a particle of a fragment of your comparison of me to creationists as any thing more than witless whining.

                            I've heard it before.

                            I am secure in my positions and am not inclined to apologize for them.

                            When I doubt - and I do doubt many things - I know whence the doubt comes, and apply it in a manner I am old enough to believe is appropriate.

                            Have a nice day.

                          •  All right (0+ / 0-)

                            The creationist comparison was unfair--you are not that. And I do, really do, understand where you're coming from (scientists and other mathboys in the family) and I do, in fact, respect your intelligence AND your worldview, despite appearances to the contrary, in this what is for me a highly unusual volley of comments. I'm an artist, a poet, for gods sake; not a internet snark jocky.

                            Wishing you a wonder-filled life, NNadir.

                            God bless our tinfoil hearts.

                            by aitchdee on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 02:15:18 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

            •  You're making an assertion about cost (0+ / 0-)

              and you'll need to provide a source... And once you provide that source, I will provide a contradicting reference from a credible organization, and then we will spend the next two hours fighting over minutiae. So the answer is don't make silly assertions!!

          •  Given your diary mocking the possiblity (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cdreid

            that earthquakes could cause meltdowns in Japan...

            Shouldn't you really stow it for a day or two?

            Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

            by JesseCW on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:38:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  To be fair (0+ / 0-)

              it is hard to believe the level of failure here. I dont think the most avid opponent of nuclear would have envisioned something this catastrophic.

              A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

              by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:22:49 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Your position is well known (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cdreid, HamdenRice, JesseCW, Joieau

        I give it no credence, and never have.

        "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

        by Ivan on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:51:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  There are times when the best thing to (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cdreid, elfling, mole333, Phil S 33, DavidW, JesseCW

        say is nothing. This might be one of those.

        “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”, Theodore Roosevelt

        by the fan man on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:03:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  the japanese public's response to this event (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dougymi, annieli, Bluefin, supercereal

      will be interesting.....and its not over yet.

    •  geez I wonder what an 8.9 next to a dam would do? (17+ / 0-)

      Ya think it might be bad?  Ya think people might be killed?  Ya think a wall of water from the reservoir might not crash downstream destroying everything in it's path?  Should we ban the building of dams based on that fear?

      I'm no nuclear apologist, but an 8.9 quake next to any infrastructure is gonna cause major problems no matter anything else.  Natural disasters are natural disasters.  Anything man-made next to one is a huge problem.  

      A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

      by dougymi on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:59:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think that refinery is still burning...but stuff (5+ / 0-)

        happens. Fuku 1 appears to be a technical challenge not the end of the world as we know it.

      •  Hence (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ivan, Pescadero Bill, JesseCW, Losty

        why building nuclear plants in the first place is a stupifyingly bad idea?

        And if the worst earthquake in history happened at the hoover damn those effected wouldnt pass along possibly horrendous genetic changes to generation after generation after generation..

        A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

        by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:17:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Chernobyl vs. coal-related radiation/deaths (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, rockhound, koNko

          If you think nuclear is a stupifyingly bad idea, then you should think the same thing about coal-fueled power plants that also spew pollution (including radioactive particles) that can cause genetic changes.

          If you really look at each energy source head-to-tail, on an equal basis (by amount of energy produced) and compare the amount of illness and death caused by each (even including Chernobyl), you would find that nuclear isn't the worst.

          So... I'm with you on no-nuclear, IF we can get rid of coal and other grossly polluting forms of energy.

          •  "If"? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cdreid

            They're both stupid and dangerous.

            Fight to replace both.

            Not complicated.  Not an either-or.

            Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

            by JesseCW on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:41:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  There was a time (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bushondrugs

            we may have faced that choice. In the 70's i thought exactly as you do for exactly the reason you do now. Your ideas seem to me the wise decision because of the technology.

            That time is long past though. We CAN replace coal and nuclear with wind/solar/biofuel. Right now. Wind has advanced rapidly and strangely enough hobbyists are doing amazing things on the small end of it (ie convert your house to wind energy). Solar is of course still extremely expensive but coming down. The big revolution is biofuels though and that revolution is ongoing. From algae based biofuels to genetically engineered crops etc etc etc etc. For biofuels you basically just need a plant that grows as fast as possible using as few resources as possible. Note: i realise biofuels do NOT help with the fight against global warming.

            A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

            by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:16:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  When a European country... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bushondrugs

              ...where there is a huge and active anti-nuclear, pro-green community has successfully weaned themselves totally from both nuclear and fossil fuel energy, we can talk about doing it in the rest of the world. But no one has been able to do it in basically laboratory-scale countries, despite huge pressure to do so......

        •  I think your fears about germ-line mutations (0+ / 0-)

          are a little severe..

          I'll readily admit that a worst-case-scenario-uncontrolled-release-of-radiation is a bad situation, but germ-line mutations are pretty far down my list. There is a huge amount of natural genetic mutation in a normally functioning human being before you add any additional radiation exposure.

      •  What happens after the flood? (0+ / 0-)

        How long do people keep dying of cancer?

        How long before crops can be grown again on the flooded land?

        Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

        by JesseCW on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:40:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  hundreds of thousands of people can die (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, buddabelly

          in a flood from a destroyed dam...

          Not "hundreds of thousands of people" in the "Chernobyl theoretical-but-not-what-actually-happened" sense, but "hundreds of thousands of people" in the "we had five minutes to evacuate, but couldn't, and all drowned" sense.

          •  200k+ in the last major Tsunami....not counting (0+ / 0-)

            the destroyed land and chemical pollution released.....

            However, there's just no sense in a true antinukes reasoning...

            It flat doesn't matter to them the damage caused by other power sources....

            I at least respect the true luddites who want to go all the way back to pre industrial society...at least they aren't hypocrites typing away on their coal/nat gas fueled computer while crying about theoretical dangers to nuclear.......

            Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
            I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
            Emiliano Zapata

            by buddabelly on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 01:25:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Climate change (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, RumsfeldResign, buddabelly

      will never be stopped without nuclear power as one of our clean power sources. Coal fired power plants are a far greater threat to the world - thru carbon emissions - than nuclear plants.

      There should never be a tax benefit for companies that screw over American workers.

      by bear83 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:05:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nuclear power is not clean (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW

        It never has been, and it never will be. And coal is not the only alternative to nuclear. So please quit peddling that stuff around here.

        "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

        by Ivan on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:32:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  For you have spoken, so mote it be? (0+ / 0-)

        Argument by assertion isn't argument, or so I argumentatively assert.

        Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

        by JesseCW on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:41:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  WNN...seawater injection started....msnbc, 6+ (11+ / 0-)

    aftershock in the region.

    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/...

  •  I feel sick at my stomach (5+ / 0-)

    Had just been wondering whether nuclear power was so very bad after all--they have it in France--but this has toppled me over the edge into "no nuclear reactors" territory again.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:40:48 AM PST

  •  conflicting reports re radiation (10+ / 0-)

    a cabinet minister is saying that radiation has actually decreased and that the containment vessel is intact.

    There were conflicting reports that cesium has been detected, and that radiation levels are high (get an annual dose within 1 hour) just outside the plant!

    If they're measuring cesium, wouldn't that imply a breach in the containment system as you only get that when a fission reaction is exposed?

    I don't think I'll take the word of the politician on this one, but I hope I'm wrong and he's right.

    I bet most of the people in the evacuation zone don't have power or communication and have no idea they are at risk.

    I want to move to the alternate universe where Gore was the President... anyone know the address?

    by zipn on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:41:19 AM PST

    •  there are a lot of conflicting reports (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deben, aitchdee, sherlyle, JesseCW, DRo

      I think the source you are referring to is Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, who is also serving as interim Foreign Minister.

      He did indeed report that radiation levels are decreasing. The were at 1015 microsievert/hour (I think I have that right). A few hours after the explosion that had dropped to 700 or so.

      Cesium is a bad sign, but one possibility I have heard mentioned is that it was present because Tepco workers were venting the containment vessel before the explosion. So in this case it does not necessarily mean a breach of the containment vessel.

      I agree with you. I hope he's right.

    •  Containment is breached. (8+ / 0-)

      If there is melting (and they ARE calling it "meltdown"), lots worse than cesium is getting out. Best to be hoped for is for the wind to be blowing off-shore. The plant sits right on the ocean.

      They could try the Chernobyl trick, flying helicopters over to drop boron. But if they're flooding with seawater boron might be pointless. Big, big mess where there is already a big, big mess. My heart goes out to the Japanese.

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:04:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why do you say containment is breached? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aitchdee

        There are many reports that are calling it a meltdown, but I think that refers to what is taking place to the fuel rods inside the containment vessel. The risk at this point, if I understand the situation correctly, is that the fuel might become so hot it will melt through the containment vessel. So meltdown and breach are not being used synonymously.

        •  If the fuel rods melt down (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aitchdee, JesseCW, Joieau

          it is about as bad as it gets. After that you get to china syndrome levels of horrid.

          The melting point of Uranium is 2069.6 °F. That is slightly lower than steel for a frame of reference and higher than copper, al etc. I dont know what kind of reactor this is but:
          Most reactors use water as a moderator. If thats the case here and the rods melted it is very very very very very bad. If they use graphite the melting point is Approximately 3 times the melting point of uranium which means it still isnt a nightmare and it just means that japan now has their very own permanent landmark to stupidity.. for the next few thousand millenia.

          So it is either very very very bad. Or BAD but not catastrophic.. yet.

          A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

          by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:25:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  If they are releasing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW

          iodine and cesium (among other things) the reactor's load is NOT contained. And fuel/fission products HAVE been released to the coolant (if there's any left). One report has them planning to flood with seawater. The sucker's toast.

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:05:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Melting of the fuel (0+ / 0-)

          is the definition of the word "meltdown" in nuclear terms.

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 01:05:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The Japanese government (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DavidW, dark daze, JesseCW

      doesnt have a very good track record of being honest to its populace.

      Also, I can kill you with my brain.

      by Puffin on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:25:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My take - 15 year nuc industry guy... (23+ / 0-)

      To qualify my remarks: I worked at a similar BWR in NJ (Oyster Creek), and was a certified nuclear systems engineer back in the day.  I'm going to try and keep my comments at a technically simple level.

      It's hard to tell for sure from the videos, but it looks like the secondary containment structure (reactor building) experienced a hydrogen explosion.  H2 generation is a byproduct of the nuclear reaction between water and fuel.  In an accident scenario, H2 gas can accumulate in a BWR secondary containment structure during an accident.  One small spark (remote operation of an electronically controlled valve or whatever) and it can blow up.  This was a big concern during TMI (you could actually go back and watch videos about it on YouTube if you wanted to).  

      So if my scenario is correct (and I suspect it is), the secondary containment building is gone or severely breached.  That was a huge explosion I witnessed on video.  I do not for one moment believe "authorities" who say that there is no significant release of radioactivity, but are releasing absolutely no information on what's going on with the facility.  Support systems to the primary containment (the reactor vessel itself) are probably compromised.

      That the secondary containment blew like it did is some serious, serious shit, folks, and you're not getting the entire story yet (if you ever will).  And there are more reactors on the same site with the same potential issues.

      Solidarity: The GOP inadvertently lit the fire in Madison, and we must now carry the torch, for as long as it takes.

      by Richard Cranium on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:25:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Correct (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW

        The concensus is hydrogen vented to secondary containment mixed with oxygen and exploded, taking out the roof and walls.

        Fortunately the pressure vessel appears to be undamaged. Trivia: most of the pressure vessels were/are manufatured by JSW in Hokkido (forged type) or Mitsubishi Shipbuilding (welded type). I'm going to guess the former based on the age, JSW used to have practically a monopoly until the welded types got qualified

        BTW, this secondary containment is an interesting old design of a cylindrial/conical structure within a square vault, some people were wondering about that so I researched the design and comment on the linked-back comment.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:46:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mind if I ask if that pressure vessel is steel? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, koNko

          Because extreme heat + salt water....

          Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

          by JesseCW on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:47:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

            It is steel clad with reinforced concrete.

            Based on the age of the reactor, I suppose the steel vessel was forged, which is a good thing since they are stronger and less likely to have flaws than welded vessels.

            Given the present situation, we humans are depending on these things to hold so quality matters.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 09:03:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  The air is safe, (7+ / 0-)

      says Christie Todd Whitman.  Cheney suggests they open the markets, or as W. Bush says, "Everybody just needs to go shopping."

  •  Thanks DS For Simple Analysis (8+ / 0-)

    The graphic was helpful. I am wary of corporate news pronouncements that no major radiation leaking.

    Action is the antidote to despair---Joan Baez

    by frandor55 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:41:48 AM PST

  •  THank you DarkSyde (5+ / 0-)

    for the diagram.  I wish I had half the education and knowledge that some here do.  I want to know and understand, and this makes a lot of other things I'm hearing suddenly make sense.
    Thank you.  

  •  We do know there is a pile of radioactive material (9+ / 0-)

    there and that it can't be moved and it can't be made un-radioactive.  We don't know if we are in control of it. We do know that the plans for decommissioning these plants (even when there has not been an accident but rather when their "life" is over) are not nearly as well thought through or established as are the plans for building them and making huge amounts of money in doing so. We do know that there is some serious trouble in River City and starts with "T" and rhymes with "P" and that stands for power.

    •  Again, hoping for an expert here (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cdreid, aitchdee, Phil S 33

      but my understanding is that the last ditch effort is to encapsulate the facility -- with rods in situ if the salt water/boric acid cool down can stabilize the rods.  The industry does know how to do this.

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:31:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Seems like some "experts" have left the building.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pescadero Bill, gchaucer2
        •  I know this is a horrific (3+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          rockhound, Phil S 33, bushondrugs
          Hidden by:
          buddabelly

          situation and fear of further degradation is legitimate since the explosion from the hydrogen gas build up, the use of salt water and boric acid -- novel and don't know what will happen, but there's some assertions, neither based on science or backed up with facts that seem to be generated by the media (CNN) who love this kind of story and an abhorance of nuclear energy.

          Right after word came out that the plants were compromised, Obama directed Sec. Chu to offer all possible assistance.   There's probably not another person on the planet that I trust more than Chu when it comes to respond to emergencies and think outside the box.

          " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

          by gchaucer2 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:43:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  the event again validates the criticism of nuclear (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cdreid, Odysseus, elfling, JesseCW, b00g13p0p

            as an attempt to violate Murphy's Law and nuclear safety arguments as misuse of statistics. The problem at this plant is that the backup safety systems were vulnerable to exactly the same failures that caused the primary system to fail. One would think it obvious that a nuclear plant built on the coast of a seismically active area would need to a backup that could provide power in the case of an earthquake/tsunami that interrupted grid power - but they apparently did not game out what would happen to the backup power generators in that event. In fact, it's hard to imagine what design alternative would have worked in this situation.

            •  *bing* *bing* *bing* We have a... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dark daze, Losty

              ...winner!

              The problem at this plant is that the backup safety systems were vulnerable to exactly the same failures that caused the primary system to fail.

              Gee: let's see.

              A water-cooled nuclear power plant is built 50 miles west (for sake of discussion) of a subduction zone.

              The cooling system runs on electricity.

              The backup system runs on electricity.

              The power source for the backup system is run by locally-installed diesel generators.

              The diesel generators get swamped by a tsunami from an earthquake on the aforementioned subduction zone.

              Question: what's wrong with this picture?

              Extra credit question: what could possibly go wrong?

              - bp

              "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

              by b00g13p0p on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:06:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  It's a hell of a day. (0+ / 0-)

              I'm recommending citizen k.

              You're dead on concerning the failure to properly assess risk.

              Will the revolution be easier if we HR each other a lot?

              by JesseCW on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:49:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  I think the links are reversed (7+ / 0-)

    but the CNN story looks like a pretty good summary of the situation at present.

    One thing I would add is that 3 people have been treated at a local hospital for radiation exposure, so radiation outside the facility is probably more than minimal.

    Another is that in a televised press conference Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano mentioned the presence of hydrogen in the containment structure, so it is possible that the explosion was caused by hydrogen.

  •  Default reaction of nuke industry: coverup (13+ / 0-)

    See this BBC article. I think it's safe to assume industry spokespersons are downplaying the severity.

    •  Anybody seen anything (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cdreid, JesseCW

      about the spent fuel pools? Heard before bed last night they were boiling too, sans circulation pumps. Nasty business.

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:06:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My biggest issues with this industry: (8+ / 0-)

      1) secrecy: because of the nature of nuclear fuel, the line of information/secrecy is on the order of nuclear weaponry. Keep the public in the dark as much as possible, lots of minimalize danger when an accident occurs.

      1.5) security: chance of causing havoc means tight security

      2) the players: to an extent, the same companies that bring you oil/coal

      3) large capital outlay: less likelihood of forthright disclosure

      “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”, Theodore Roosevelt

      by the fan man on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:12:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not unusual for any large industry trying to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cdreid

        protect itself or it's industry.

        •  That's under "large capital outlay". Again, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cdreid, aitchdee, dark daze

          because of the nature of nuclear material, hazardous and long lasting if released, the industry is that much more "sensitive" to bad news. Gov'ts have a interest in making sure the industry isn't rocked, therefore, the public gets bad info, happy talk. I don't see this as much with chemical releases. God forbid the public gets involved in demanding safer plants.

          “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”, Theodore Roosevelt

          by the fan man on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:50:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Oh they suck so bad! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cdreid, dark daze

      As I was monitoring the situation yesterday you could tell so easily who was getting some of that atom money.

      Every moment in life contains an off ramp. Never be afraid to use it.

      by Adept2u on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:54:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this DS (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aitchdee, sherlyle, hopeful human

    The other diaries are getting cluttered and difficult to read.  So many of us are interested.

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:47:15 AM PST

  •  Al Jaz liveblog has two brief updates (12+ / 0-)

    that may be relevant.

    #
    Timestamp
    10:59pm

    Of 90 people from within the 10km exclusion zone around Fukushima nuclear power plant tested, three have given positive results for radiation exposure, says Japanese public broadcaster NHK. That's just over three per cent.

    Some 45,000 people who live within the 10km radius were told to evacuate their homes in the early hours of this morning, when pressure inside reactors was building rapidly.

    #
    Timestamp:
    10:54pm

    Japanese authorities are making plans to distribute iodine to residents near the Fukushima nuclear plant. This helps to protect against radiation poisoning of the thyroid gland.

    ----------------------

    Plans to distribute iodine non-conclusive of course. But it sounds like they are anticipating the risk.

    •  They should have (6+ / 0-)

      distributed potassium iodide as a matter of course, long before this accident. Possible saving grace (per people's thyroids) is that this population consumes quite a lot of seafood, shellfish and seaweed as a regular part of their diets. All high in iodine, they may not be as susceptible to i-131 as other cultures are.

      Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

      by Joieau on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:09:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not to nitpick, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cdreid

        I wonder if the Japanese ate a lot of seafood before the nukings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

        Still, the point is good.  If it were my family, I'd be grateful if natural iodine had immunized us to any degree against radiation poisoning from a leak like this.

        •  If you get a bomb (0+ / 0-)

          dropped on you, you've got way bigger problems than iodine to your thyroid.

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:00:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The problem isn't iodine. It's radiation. (0+ / 0-)

            Iodine is an antidote.  Not sure anyway how death by a destroyed thyroid wouldn't be a big problem for any person.

            •  It would be. In about (0+ / 0-)

              five years. Iodine-131 was once the standard medical treatment for hypothyroidism and metabolic syndrome. Until it became clear that it caused a bigger problem of cancer of the thyroid. Removal works better, then supplements of the hormones.

              With a bomb you've got short-term issues. Gastrointestinal syndrome, acute radiation poisoning, leukemias... the cancers (organ, gland, bone) don't show up for a few years. You only get those if you've survived the acute exposure.

              Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

              by Joieau on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 12:06:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  One Proviso (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, Joieau

        Unfortunately, a side issue is that any I-131 released in a sea-side location in Japan will wind up in the water and will get into the seafood, which the population will eat.  Unlike other cultures which shun seafood, the Japanese will preferentially consume the very thing that they might need to avoid under these circumstances.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:41:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  True, and overland (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus

          it'll get in the milk. Along with the strontium. I'd avoid local food for awhile - seaweed and seafood from the other side of the island ought to be fine.

          Iodine-131 has a half-life of 8 days. After a few weeks it should diminish significantly.

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:02:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The first report is meaningless in itself (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bushondrugs

      Radiation monitoring equipment is so sensitive, and especially given the extreme monitoring that is certainly going on now, that "testing positive for radiation exposure" could mean exposure to anything between a dangerously high dose from to the equivalent of having just eaten a banana.

      No, not making a joke: bananas are naturally high in potassium, which has enough naturally-occurring radioactive isotopes that banana shipments will set of radiation detectors at ports.

  •  Agree with it or not (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puffin, superheed

    There really are not very many viable alternatives that will supply the amount of electricity we use. To replace nukes with solar, wind or any other form of energy production, would cost untold billions, and would have to be massive to supply the power needed. The levels of accidents from nukes since they started using them, is actually quite low. Dangerous? Extremely. But compare. Solar manufacturing currently contributes more to global warming/climate change. Wind towers, are absolutely disgusting looking, and it would take millions of them to even dent the electricity demand. Until something new is discovered, this is it. Like it or not.

    •  Um (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive

      Noone is suggesting solar as "the replacement for nuclear".

      What we're suggesting is a combination of Wind, solar  and biofuel. BTW.. Wind and biofuels are much much much cheaper than nuclear but lets not that get in the way. But i guess if we only have one major nuclear accident every 10 years or so its alright.... even though a very small percentage of our power is nuclear and we've been running away from it as fast as we can.

      A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

      by cdreid on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:59:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  wind turbines are beautiful (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cdreid, mahakali overdrive

      not in themselves, they are neutral that way, but in what they symbolise.

      'the amount of energy we use'... what makes you believe we've done the right thing burning through millions of years' fossil fuel reserves so wastefully, and what makes you feel we're entitled to use that much?

      we've been on a spree of blind, greedy ignorance, and finally we have invented clean ways of creating energy, and instead of backing them to the hilt, there are the straw man false equivalencies with occasional hydro accidents and talk of how much money it will take to cross over, while chalking up the astronomical sums involved in cleaning up after the TMI's, Chernobyls, and dealing with the wastes as 'externalities' that enable nuke power to tout itself as 'green'.

      we mis- and ab-use energy much more than we use it right now, if we trim the fat, we'd need just about what we could create with clean energy, and for the rest... get creative yourself helping design new ways of saving energy.

      it feels really good to have a solar hot water heater, for instance, there should be laws mandating them where they work.

      pretending we can go on as before, but nuked up, is delusion of the most pernicious kind, about as braindead as pretending we can deep water drill our way to energy independence, or continue to send young men to die in the middle east so the hummers can keep humming.

      'like it or not'... code for stay passive and don't stand up for what you believe. go along with the status quo, you know they've got your best interests at heart.

      why? just kos..... *just cause*

      by melo on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:09:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  CNN mentioning the possibility of full meltdown (5+ / 0-)

    this is terrifying

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
    I support Bob Massie for MA-Sen

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:51:14 AM PST

  •  More from NewScientist (4+ / 0-)
    When the reactor trips out, water needs to keep circulating to remove residual heat in the core. But, according to TEPCO, an hour after the earthquake, the diesel engines running the cooling system failed. This led to evaporation of water in the core and a build up of steam in the pressure vessel.

    TEPCO managed this by releasing the steam from the pressure vessel into the large surrounding building. This appears to be the building that has exploded.

    If heat continues to build up in the core, there is a possibility that it could melt, as happened in the Three Mile Island accident in the US in 1979.

    Linky thingy So basically, the blast was apparently caused by water vapor build up forcing a pressure release. Meltdown has not happened but could still happen.

    "Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning -- the good guys against the bad guys. Question is: Who are the good guys?" ("The Professionals," 1966; Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) to Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan).

    by brainwave on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:55:28 AM PST

    •  this needs much more explanations for the lay (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cdreid, aitchdee, brainwave, DRo

      person.

      Meltdown has not happened but could still happen

      How is a meltdown defined? According to that definition, can it happen, if no, why not?

      What else can happen, if not a meltdown.

      What sources are you watching? Please try to provide some links we could follow. Thanks.

      •  'Meltdown' is a very vague term (11+ / 0-)
        A meltdown occurs when a severe failure of a nuclear power plant system prevents proper cooling of the reactor core, to the extent that the nuclear fuel assemblies overheat and melt. A meltdown is considered very serious because of the potential that radioactive materials  could be released into the environment.
        link

        Did a

        severe failure of a nuclear power plant system

        happen in Fukushima? Yes. Did it happen to the extent that

        proper cooling of the reactor core
        was disrupted? Yes. Did it happen
        to the extent that the nuclear fuel assemblies overheat and melt

        Apparently not so far, but this is not entirely clear. Did it happen to the extent that

        radioactive materials  could be released into the environment

        Apparently not. There does not appear to have been a core breach. If there had been one, there would be a massive spike in environmental radiation. News of that should get out fast, although the evacuation of the population from the area makes that more difficult.

        "Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning -- the good guys against the bad guys. Question is: Who are the good guys?" ("The Professionals," 1966; Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) to Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan).

        by brainwave on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:15:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aitchdee, brainwave, sherlyle

          Your explanation is appreciated!

          Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

          by DRo on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:26:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  thank you - I am trying to search (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aitchdee, brainwave

          for answers I have, but am stuck with a "kaput" comcast service right now.

        •  Bear in mind (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cdreid, aitchdee, DRo

          When TMI was melting down, the operators didn't even know it and it was only by happy accident that they happened to get cooling restored before the meltdown was total.  They only found out how bad it had been years later when they were able to get a TV camera into the containment structure.

          There's nothing vague about the term meltdown; the core is either melting or it isn't.  There is some uncertainty about what the negative consequences of having the core hit the floor of the vessel in liquid form might be.

          •  Vague (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aitchdee
            A nuclear meltdown is an informal term for a severe nuclear reactor accident that results in core damage from overheating. The term is not recognized by the International Atomic Energy Agency nor by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
            link

            "Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning -- the good guys against the bad guys. Question is: Who are the good guys?" ("The Professionals," 1966; Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) to Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan).

            by brainwave on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:53:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Only vague to the very dense (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cdreid, Odysseus, aitchdee

              The core either has its design geometry or it doesn't.   There is no vagueness to that.  If part of the core still has its design geometry it's a partial meltdown.  If the whole thing is slag it's a full meltdown.  I would expect grade school children to understand that, much less the people who design nuclear reactors.

              The fact that an editor decided to whitewash the term by calling it "vague" in Wikipedia does not, in fact, mean there is any real vagueness there.

              •  The events involved in a meltdown form a causal (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sny, Odysseus, b00g13p0p

                chain. If you single out the melting of the fuel rods as a cut off point, you have a sharp definition in theory, which however in a situation such as appears to be unfolding in Fukushima right now is not super useful since it is hard to determine from the outside when this point has been reached. The most import threshold whose crossing can be observed from the outside is the breach of the reactor core. So instead of talking about 'meltdown' as a sharply defined event of which we cannot tell whether it is happening or not, it is more helpful to talk about the entire causal chain and say that we haven't yet reached the threshold of core breach (if indeed we haven't - cause the reports about the level of environmental radiation I'm seeing are still conflicting).

                "Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning -- the good guys against the bad guys. Question is: Who are the good guys?" ("The Professionals," 1966; Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) to Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan).

                by brainwave on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:33:52 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The melting marks a critical loss of control (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sny, Odysseus, HamdenRice, b00g13p0p

                  The reason the term exists is that it marks a very sharp change in your modalities for responding to the event.  Before melt, you have control rods, coolant channels, and a controlled geometry that was designed for a particular level of reactivity, and the theoretical possibility exists of getting the reactor back under control and even fixing it for further power generation.

                  After melting, your best case scenario is that you will get the slag pile under control before it generates enough energy to breach containment.  You're no longer pumping water through cooling channels designed to dissipate heat, you're flooding it and hoping for the best.

                  In a very practical sense, meltdown is the moment the reactor is destroyed.  It ceases to be a reactor and becomes a big pile of hazardous waste.

                  Now there is a lot of uncertainty about what happens to the ex-reactor after it melts; some designs are better at controlling that than others, and some melt configurations might be luckier than others.  But please stop spreading the whitewash that there is anything vague or uncertain about what a meltdown is.  The reactor is either intact or has melted; there is no in-between state, and the difference is very important.

                  •  It's a point of no return but it's not necessarily (0+ / 0-)

                    the first one. You loose control the moment you can no longer provide adequate cooling, no?

                    "Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning -- the good guys against the bad guys. Question is: Who are the good guys?" ("The Professionals," 1966; Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) to Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan).

                    by brainwave on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:56:08 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Before melt, control can be regained (0+ / 0-)

                      If you can restore cooling before meltdown, you may actually end up with a functioning reactor and no more public notice than an incident report.  Once it melts, all you get even if you can restore cooling is a less serious disaster.  It's a pretty stark point in the course of the incident.

            •  Can we say "self-serving"? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Losty
              The term [nuclear meltdown] is not recognized by the International Atomic Energy Agency nor by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

              Something about waving hands and looking at wookies comes to mind.

              "These are not the meltdowns you are looking for".

              - bp

              "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

              by b00g13p0p on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:11:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Meltdown (5+ / 0-)

        Meltdown is a slang term, which isn't really defined.  All it really means is that the core is overheating, and it could be anything from minor core damage releasing a little radiation (harmful to locals but not catastrophic) to a mushroom cloud (worse then Chernobyl).

      •  It's very simple: the core melts (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cdreid, mimi, aitchdee, HamdenRice, DRo

        There's no ambiguity about the term at all; the core either still has its physical integrity, or it's melting into slag.  The problem with it melting is that the design geometry which keeps the reaction under control is lost so you can't control its reactivity any more, and if it melts into a pool of water you get a steam explosion that blows the building apart, which would look an awful lot like a video I recently saw.

      •  A meltdown is a runaway nuclear (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cdreid, aitchdee

        reaction with nothing to stop it.  Unlike a bomb, there is no containment, so it doesn't "explode" in a mushroom cloud.  If the cooling stops, the reaction generates so much heat that no structure can support it; and due to gravity, it melts its way through the containment building's floor and on down through bedrock and into the earth's crust.

        Disclaimer: I'm not watching CNN or anything else.  ...turned off my satellite TV a year ago, thank God.

      •  It means the fuel melting and becoming uncontroled (6+ / 0-)

        If you don't know too much about nuclear power generation, think of it this way.

        The fuel, like uranium, is a metal that is radioactive.  If you put say, a bunch of bricks of this stuff together, in a pile, the radioactivity of one causes fission or increased radioactivity in the other and the whole pile heats up.  In fact the first crude reactor, built at U Chicago in the 1940s was called a "pile."  It's sort of a feed back mechanism.

        To prevent this from heating up more and more and more, various other substances are used to capture some of the radiation.  These are "control rods".  

        So you have this pile that gets hotter and hotter and if it gets too hot you slide in control rods to reduce the radiation.

        The structure is very, very important and highly engineered -- the uranium embedded in other substances and the control rods.

        The whole thing is under water.  The water is used both to capture some of the radiation, to cool the pile and also because it gets very hot and boils to generate electricity.

        In a power failure like this the control rods can't be moved and the pumps that circulate the water have stopped, meaning the water is boiling off.

        Without water and usable control rods, the pile just gets hotter and hotter.  If the pile just keeps getting hotter eventually it gets hot enough to melt metal, including the uranium.

        Then you get a pile of molten metal with no structure that you can't control with control rods.  This is the narrowest meaning of a "nuclear meltdown" -- the fuel has literally melted down.  

        This won't explode but it is extremely radioactive and almost impossible to clean up.

        At Chernobyl, all they could do was try to seal the entire mess in concrete and monitor it, and create an exclusion zone of about 20 miles around the reactor, abandoning the city of Chernobyl.

      •  See Richard Cranium's Comment Above n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        b00g13p0p

        This aggression will not stand, man.

        by kaleidescope on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:17:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Likely hydrogen explosion. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mimi, aitchdee

      The steam that would have been vented from the reactor would have had a lot of entrained hydrogen in it, as hot iron in contact with steam produces H2 and O2.  Sounds like the hydrogen exploded.  Very bad.

      A people who cannot correctly recognize their nation's problems will not be able to solve them.

      by peterborocanuck on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:23:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's possible, but not the likeliest scenario (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mimi, aitchdee, Phil S 33

        as far as I understand. At least based on this NewScientist piece, the most likely scenario was just a steam pressure build up. Like a pressure cooker forgotten on the kitchen stove blowing the lid off.

        Now, that would be dangerous enough for my taste. It did presumably expose the reactor core, even if the containment wall was not breached. All the same, something has happened that a great deal of very expensive technology had been put in place to prevent from happening.

        And then of course the next question is how is core beeing cooled now, after the explosion?

        "Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning -- the good guys against the bad guys. Question is: Who are the good guys?" ("The Professionals," 1966; Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) to Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan).

        by brainwave on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:30:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Reports I read (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aitchdee, brainwave

          indicate the pressure vessel is intact.  Reactor pressure vessels are among the most robust objects produced by man.  I've read they are filling the vessel with seawater to cool it.

          A people who cannot correctly recognize their nation's problems will not be able to solve them.

          by peterborocanuck on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:36:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, yes. The pressure cooker that blew the lid (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aitchdee

            off wasn't the pressure vessel, but the surrounding building. From the NS piece:

            TEPCO managed this by releasing the steam from the pressure vessel into the large surrounding building. This appears to be the building that has exploded.

            "Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning -- the good guys against the bad guys. Question is: Who are the good guys?" ("The Professionals," 1966; Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) to Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan).

            by brainwave on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:41:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Yes It Works Like This (0+ / 0-)

        The amount of gas dissolved in a liquid depends on the pressure.  The higher the pressure, the more gas that can be dissolved.  When you release the pressure, the gas comes out of solution.  

        That's what happens to the carbon dioxide dissolved in a bottle of soda.  You take the cap off, release the pressure inside, and the gas bubbles out of the liquid.

        So if the zirconium cladding on the fuel rods had split the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, but the two gasses remained dissolved in the water because of the immense pressure, and then if that pressure was relieved, the oxygen and hydrogen came out of the liquid water, came into contact with each other and re-combined explosively.

        This aggression will not stand, man.

        by kaleidescope on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:22:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  hmm, I hope we will have a bit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cdreid, deben

    more analysis than that.

    But so far, radiation reportedly detected outside the plant has been minimal.

    So far .... that's reassuring, isn't it? /Let's just go and flip the channel snark.

  •  how is this different from a TRIGA reactor? (0+ / 0-)

    ( or is it different ? )

    I had thought that a TRIGA was designed so that it automatically calmed down when it overheated...

    PLEASE donate to a global children's PEACE project: Chalk 4 Peace

    by RumsfeldResign on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 06:56:31 AM PST

  •  Four workers injured in blast ok (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cdreid, Phil S 33, sherlyle, Dauphin
    #
    1443: Kyodo News: The four workers injured in the blast at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant are conscious and their injuries are not life-threatening BBC liveblog
  •  we dropped (5+ / 0-)

    nukes on Japan during WW2 that were far more dangerous than these reactors are. Media seems to hype everything. Russian nuke specialists on tv say that a "nuke meltdown" like Chernobyl or 3 mile island is impossible with these reactors. They just aren't made the same at all.

    •  from what I know, it's "unlikely" to go "critical" (0+ / 0-)

      and explode.  Small consolation.

      •  Your use of "critical" implies that you don't (0+ / 0-)

        know what the term means in this context.

        If you Google "headache brain tumor", you will come away convinced that your headache is actually cancer—Seth Mnookin

        by ebohlman on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 01:06:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm certainly no expert (0+ / 0-)

          what I'm seeing is a "critical" in terms of nuclear power, where the containment is breached and the fuel melts, spewing "crap" all over.

          And then there's "critical" in terms of a fission/fusion reaction, which in this case doesn't look too possible.

        •  This seems to be a good explanation: (0+ / 0-)
          According to experts interviewed by The Associated Press, any melted fuel would eat through the bottom of the reactor vessel. Next, it would eat through the floor of the already-damaged containment building. At that point, the uranium and dangerous byproducts would start escaping into the environment.

          At some point in the process, the walls of the reactor vessel — 6 inches (15 centimeters) of stainless steel — would melt into a lava-like pile, slump into any remaining water on the floor, and potentially cause an explosion much bigger than the one caused by the hydrogen. Such an explosion would enhance the spread of radioactive contaminants.

          If the reactor core became exposed to the external environment, officials would likely began pouring cement and sand over the entire facility, as was done at the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in the Ukraine, Peter Bradford, a former commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said in a briefing for reporters.

          At that point, Bradford added, "many first responders would die."


          http://www.sfgate.com/...
  •  One plant worker confirmed dead (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aitchdee, mahakali overdrive, DRo

    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/...

    A seriously injured worker was trapped within Fukushima Daiichi unit 1 in the crane operating console of the exhaust stack and is now confirmed to have died.
  •  Truman (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puffin, truong son traveler

    Anytime I see nuclear and Japan in the same sentence, I see Truman.  Lest anyone forget, only the USA has used nukes to kill.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:02:31 AM PST

  •  About the cause of the explosion (11+ / 0-)

    I've had a chance to listen to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano's explanation for a third time, and he said the explosion happened when hydrogen and oxygen combined outside the reactor vessel and inside the containment structure.

    The hydrogen formed when water was added to the reactor vessel (since the water level had dropped to dangerously low levels and the fuel rods were partially exposed). I believe he said the gas was released when the reactor vessel was vented to reduce the pressure inside.

    We'll have to wait and see if the story changes, but at the moment this is the best explanation of the cause of the explosion I have heard (most of the day tv reports were saying the cause was unknown, so the level of specificity in Edano's explanation is a welcome relief).

    •  That would be very bad (6+ / 0-)

      that means the core is hot enough to thermally breakdown water, which is way above where it's supposed to be.

    •  Better make that former containment structure. /nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cdreid, DRo

      " There is nothing in the dark that is not there when the lights are on." — Rod Serling

      by jwinIL14 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:13:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Either way, the core is melting (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cdreid, Odysseus, aitchdee, DRo

      It takes temperatures over 2000C to thermally crack water into hydrogen and oxygen, and the core materials melt at those temperatures.  The thing is, you get both hydrogen and oxygen this way, and if you don't separate them somehow they recombine as soon as the temperature gets low enough.  If there is only a small area of intense activity in the core where water is being cracked, you'd expect the gases to recombine as soon as they flow away from that part of the core.  It really doesn't make sense to me that you'd get enough hydrogen out of the vent to cause the explosion seen on the video.

      The other possibility, which it looks more like to me from the video, is that the molten core caused a steam explosion which blew both the containment structure and the shell building.

      •  I'm fascinated and repulsed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bushondrugs

        all at once. Can you recommend a decent book/primer for the educated non-scientist who desires to learn as much about the subject as might be possible for a layperson?

        Your comments are outstanding; keep them coming.

        God bless our tinfoil hearts.

        by aitchdee on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:35:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, that's incorrect (0+ / 0-)

        Water decomposition can occur at 1000 C or lower in the presence of carbon dioxide and iron. It's one of the ways of commercially producing hydrogen.

        •  Remotely possible but very unlikely (0+ / 0-)

          First you are asking me to believe that the reactor designers left the very materials in place that would catalyze a reaction they're definitely aware of and wouldn't want.  (And where would the CO2 come from, anyway?)

          Second, the pressure of live steam at "only" 1000C is very close to the design pressure limits for typical reactor containment structures, and that's when those structures haven't been damaged in an earthquake or heated to 1000C for a prolonged period.

          We'll probably know for sure soon enough; if primary containment blew in that explosion they won't be able to hide it for long.  If it did, I'd expect them to try to hide it for as long as possible though, because that's what they always do.

          •  Changing goalposts are we? (0+ / 0-)

            "It takes temperatures over 2000C to thermally crack water into hydrogen and oxygen"

            No, it doesn't, I simply said your fact was wrong. it doesn't matter what you believe, it matters what is true, and you were wrong. I simply gave one example.

            But if you want a more specific one, fuel rods are made of zirconium alloys to contain the fuel. Zirconium alloys are one of the things that are used for hydrogen production from water decomposition at temperatures from 1400 degrees.

            •  No, moving from normal conditions (0+ / 0-)

              ...to your different situation where there are certain catalysts present.  Normally, without catalysts, it does take 2000C to crack water.  But I wouldn't expect the catalysts to be present in an environment where such high temperatures are a known hazard.

  •  seems likely the cooling pumps (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aitchdee, procrastinator john, Losty

    are gone now, or at least the explosion has crippled the cooling system.  So, what's to stop the core from heating up until...??

    •  Sounds about right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aitchdee, drofx

      The cooling system is irrelevant now. As far as I understand the situation, the only think keeping the core from heating up to the point of failure is seawater that is being pumped into what is left of the containment structure. That is the new cooling system.

    •  I think they are pumping in sea water (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aitchdee, drofx, gchaucer2

      Basically now that the closed system isn't working, it's possible to just pump in sea water in an attempt to cool it.

      At least that's what I read in one report.

      •  But where's the sea water going... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aitchdee, drofx, juliesie

        ...after they've pumped it in?

        If the reactor building is breached (and that may be an understatement) and if there's some suggestion that the actual containment shell may be gone, water poured in has to run out somewhere.

        Not a good thing...

        - bp

        "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

        by b00g13p0p on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:46:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Informed speculation, but (6+ / 0-)

          Since we don't know I can only speculate based on the basic design.

          From what I've read the reactor containment has not been breached (yet).  If the core is as hot as reports suggest (hot enough for water to under go hydrolysis), it likely turning to steam.  The system is a steam based pressurized system in normal times, so hopefully its staying within the closed system.

          If the steam pressure builds up because the pumps and condensors are down, then they will vent the steam releasing radioactivity into the environment.  But from what I've read about Boiling Water Reactors, the radiation in the steam is very short lived.

  •  Why are news outlets reporting nuclear meltdown (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aitchdee, skillet, DRo

    possibilities, because if I Google "nuclear Japan," I get dozens and dozens of stories that state that right now, within the past fifteen minutes, they are still combating a possible "nuclear meltdown."

    There may not have been a nuclear explosion. That doesn't mean there won't be one still. In fact, it seems there is a high degree of concern that there will potentially be one.

    There are wide reports of the Japanese Government having a somewhat poor record on reporting this AND that company, TEPCO, has 29 previous complaints on-file for falsifying reports.

    Nuclear meltdown threats are still being reported. Widely.

    "There are always two parties; the establishment and the movement." - Emerson

    by mahakali overdrive on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:16:50 AM PST

  •  If you can read it, the earthquakes continue (8+ / 0-)

    shaking the area. Mama E is still kicking out M6's regularly in and near Fukushima.

    Issued at Occurred at Region Name Magnitude    Maximum Seismic Intensity (JMA Seismic Intensity)

    00:00 JST 13 Mar 2011    23:54 JST 12 Mar 2011    Niigata-ken Chuetsu-chiho    M2.5    3
    23:56 JST 12 Mar 2011    23:52 JST 12 Mar 2011    Nagano-ken Hokubu    M2.4    3
    23:50 JST 12 Mar 2011    23:43 JST 12 Mar 2011    Iwate-ken Oki    M6.1    4
    23:47 JST 12 Mar 2011    23:43 JST 12 Mar 2011    Iwate-ken Oki    M6.1    4
    23:40 JST 12 Mar 2011    23:35 JST 12 Mar 2011    Niigata-ken Chuetsu-chiho    M4.4    5-
    23:39 JST 12 Mar 2011    23:33 JST 12 Mar 2011    Ibaraki-ken Oki    M4.3    3
    23:18 JST 12 Mar 2011    23:14 JST 12 Mar 2011    Ibaraki-ken Oki    M5.2    3
    23:07 JST 12 Mar 2011    23:03 JST 12 Mar 2011    Miyagi-ken Oki    M5.8    3
    22:35 JST 12 Mar 2011    22:27 JST 12 Mar 2011    Nagano-ken Hokubu    M3.9    3
    22:35 JST 12 Mar 2011    22:27 JST 12 Mar 2011    Iwate-ken Oki    M5.3    --
    22:31 JST 12 Mar 2011    22:24 JST 12 Mar 2011    Miyagi-ken Oki    M4.8    3
    22:25 JST 12 Mar 2011    22:15 JST 12 Mar 2011    Fukushima-ken Oki    M6.0    5-
    22:19 JST 12 Mar 2011    22:15 JST 12 Mar 2011    Fukushima-ken Oki    M6.0    5-
    22:09 JST 12 Mar 2011    22:05 JST 12 Mar 2011    Niigata-ken Chuetsu-chiho    M2.6    3
    21:59 JST 12 Mar 2011    21:54 JST 12 Mar 2011    Sanriku Oki    M5.9    3
    21:38 JST 12 Mar 2011    21:34 JST 12 Mar 2011    Fukushima-ken Oki    M3.9    3
    20:52 JST 12 Mar 2011    20:46 JST 12 Mar 2011    Ibaraki-ken Oki    M5.6    3
    19:57 JST 12 Mar 2011    19:53 JST 12 Mar 2011    Iwate-ken Oki    M5.8    4

    "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Es ist nicht mehr Angelegenheit.

    by Bluefin on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:17:46 AM PST

  •  cnn had joseph cirrcone on (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cdreid, Odysseus, sherlyle, DRo

    from the ploughshare fund.

    there are 55 nuclear reactors in japan...11 of them went offline yesterday after the earthquake. 5 of them have had coolant problems. at this time yesterday japan has never declared a nuclear emergency before. now they have declared 5 nuclear emergencies for each of these 5 nuclear reactors. the most serious one is the one we are looking at, at reactor number one at the daiichi facility. this is going to go down in history as one of the 3 greatest nuclear incidents if it stops now. if it continues, if they don't get control of this and we go from partial meltdown of the core to a full meltdown, this will be a complete disaster.

  •  Nuclear power is neither a absolute ... (9+ / 0-)

    danger, nor a safe method of power generation.  Coal, oil, hydroelectric and even wind and solar have their down side, as has been pointed out.

    However, I am pretty uncomfortable with nuclear power because of the problems associated with it that can keep on being a problem for generations, such as waste and aging plants prone to malfunction.  Admittedly coal, gas and oil are not much, if any, better, what with mountaintop removal, pollution, waste dumps and fracking.  Still the idea of a radioactive countryside, like in Ukraine around Chernobyl, that, beside the invisible radiation, looks to the average eye to be normal, gives me the creeps.

    The real problems are population and lifestyle. There are way too many of us and in the developed world we live too high.  We continue to "need" more and more energy to generate the GNP.  Under the current economic theories I am not sure how we get away from this ever narrowing downward spiral into dystopia brought on by higher population and ever expanding consumerism.  I hope that humans can solve this, but I am skeptical at present, especially considering the political climate.

    •  Hey, perhaps there is a solution (3+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately it would require US to make major lifestyle changes that we just aren't ready to make yet. Well, never mind then.

      "These days man knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing." - Oscar Wilde

      by metiche on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:32:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You can be the first to tell people (0+ / 0-)

      that they can't have kids. Tell me how that goes.

      Anyway, this is pretty much an absolute worst case scenario. Similar to TMI. And even then, it's unlikely there will be any significant uncontrolled release of radioactive material. In the end, the plant was destroyed, sure, but that's an economic loss, not a human loss. It will be expensive to clean up, but modern society is expensive. Think of all the funding that will be available for robotics!

      •  That may be true, in so far as ... (0+ / 0-)

        it goes, but at the same time the attack on family planning and the move to limit women's options in that regard are certainly counter productive to keeping population from swamping the system.  It almost makes you think that the ultimate goal is a pyramid scheme to keep creating new consumers (= more money for corporations) until their health and retirement needs eventually bankrupt the system and everything collapses.  The big winners in a system like that would be the few who made enough to keep themselves in the style to which they are accustomed.  The flaw is that their money may eventually be useless because there will be nothing left to buy.  Still they can live pretty well ...... for a while.  

        •  Population is projected to level off at 9B anyway (0+ / 0-)

          There's something darkly ironic in the fact that the best way to decrease birth rates is to increase the human development index. Energy use per capita is inversely related to childbirths per woman. The world is trending in this direction, and even with massive increases in efficiency, we are still going to have to come up with thousands of megawatts of generating capacity above and beyond the current state.

          •  That is way too many .... (0+ / 0-)

            people for a sustainable planet even if most of those people live in abject poverty and are slaves to the upper elite.

            •  Poverty is decreasing globally (0+ / 0-)

              this is a more important goal than decreasing global population, as you can't really have one before the other without some serious hard biological limits concerning resource availability and competition. That would not be a pleasant place, and I would hope in the 21st century, it is not the only outcome.

              •  You have data to prove this? (0+ / 0-)

                I find this difficult to believe, based on India, Haiti, and what I've seen in Mexico and Trinidad.

                •  OK - I see the UN is reporting ... (0+ / 0-)

                  a decrease in abject poverty, but since much of this is based on welfare and government work programs, can it be sustained?  It is also patchy, with sub-Saharan Africa falling behind, while India and China are pulling ahead.  I really fail to see this lasting if food shortages and thus higher food prices become the norm, while population grows to 8 billion.  You are I think overly optimistic.
                   

  •  Japanese media now reporting almost (7+ / 0-)

    10k people missing from Minamisanriku. Unbelievable.

    "I smoke. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your fuckin' mouth." --- Bill Hicks

    by voroki on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:31:23 AM PST

  •  Let's See - (5+ / 0-)

    Given the recent experience with BP in the Gulf,
    I find it baffling how so many people here at DKos are rushing to defend nuclear industry pronouncements.

    Politics does, indeed, make strange bedfellows.

    •  Nuclear has always been... (5+ / 0-)

      ...a Very Big Shiny Object for certain segments of the male, intellectual, engineering-will-solve-all-problems crowd.

      I mean, it doesn't get any Bigger or Badder than nuclear.

      Sort of like the Dodge Ram Truck of the nuclear age.

      And remember, the All-Nuclear_Future(tm) was founded back in the Tomorrowland world ot the 1950's, along with the Monsanto House of the Future(tm) and Autopia(tm).

      And we know how well those worked out...

      - bp

      p.s. excuse all the (tm)'s but all of these fantasies have become so cliched...

      "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

      by b00g13p0p on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:42:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  what can they possibly hide? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnnygunn, dark daze
    •  Um, there is no comparison (7+ / 0-)

      between the BP gross negligence and this catastrophic event.  I've read more misinformation in this diary about nuke plants, nuclear energy, this ongoing event.

      Many comments I have read which you seem to think as defense of the nuclear industry are merely correcting knee-jerk reactions which are based in neither science nor fact.

      I have no problem with people being opposed to nuclear power -- I do have a problem with bullshite arguments.  That has been a continuing problem with many enviro groups -- go with the emotional and data be damned.  

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:54:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  you are talking out your ass (2+ / 1-)
        Recommended by:
        cdreid, DRo
        Hidden by:
        Odysseus

        we have no idea how bad this may get.

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:26:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why is everyone insulting each other today? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          missLotus

          Earlier in the week, I saw a diary about the relative lack of women and minorities on DKos.  No wonder!

          Can't people disagree a little more politely?

          •  I think part of the surlyness is due to... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bushondrugs, stolen water, DRo

            ...extreme frustration.

            The Pro-Nukes crowd has been trumpeting how great nuclear power was going to be since the 1950's.

            In all that time they have not been able to come up with any definitive answers to the very substantive issues that have been raised.

            Fast forward to 2011 and you still have die-hard Nukers right here in this diary who have sunk to the level of waving their hands and going "Oh yeah? Well what if a dam collapsed?!?!?!?!"

            But they still haven't addressed the problems with nuclear energy, nor come up with any solutions.

            People are getting a little tired of all the cheerleading and are simply calling bullshit.

            - bp

            "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

            by b00g13p0p on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:45:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I see most of your point... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              truong son traveler

              It's just that I don't like to be put into little boxes, like the "Pro-Nukes crowd" or "die-hard Nukers" (or "anti-nuke zealots" for that matter) on the basis of a comment or two.

              The reality is that many energy sources have steep risks associated with them.  We need to be able to openly discuss comparative risks and ways of reducing the hazards.

              We ought to be able to have that dialogue.

              [By the way, don't mock the "what if a dam collapsed" crowd too much -- have you seen Three-Gorges Dam and its environmental impact?]

              •  Point taken about boxes. About dams... (0+ / 0-)

                ...I'd say this.

                Even a breach of the Three Gorges Dam (and that's a superlative example of the breed) is going to have disastrous effects in that flood plain/drainage system only.

                Which is, of course, enormous for the case of the Three Gorges.

                But it's not going to have any direct effect upriver, or in the next drainage over the nearest ridge.

                Nor is it going to have any effect 150 miles miles (or one thousand, or whatever miles) downwind.

                Nor might it have any effect 50 or 100 years later.

                So I think there's a substantive difference between a nuke meltdown and a dam collapse.

                - bp

                "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

                by b00g13p0p on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:42:34 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not a geologist, I take it? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  truong son traveler

                  A catastrophic failure at Three Gorges would result in massive landslides upriver (as are already occurring due to changes in groundwater levels, which would become significantly worse in the rapid water change due to a failure). The flood plain and drainage system "only" has tens of millions of people who would be directly impacted, and Shanghai right in the way. Depending on the exact failure mode, the resulting flood could either scour productive land down to bedrock (so yeah, it would have an effect on farming for a rather long period of time) or lay down massive layers of silt which would bury industrial infrastructure and prevent cleanup, leading to chemical waste being leached into the river system for quite some time. A sufficiently large water release could alter the path of the river in locations, rending habitable areas inhabitable and isolating communities that depended on the river for access.

                  The resulting mass death of potentially ten of millions and the effects on the 400 million people who live in the Yangtze Valley would be a long-term disaster not only to China but a significant chunk of the world economy.

                  There is no nuclear facility anywhere in the world whose worst realistic failure mode would come close. So yeah, substantive difference. Only not in the direction you think.

            •  You would be fucked if a dam collapsed (0+ / 0-)

              Do you think it's never happened?

      •  Union of Concerned Scientists (4+ / 0-)

        If you haven't already seen Rachel Maddow's show from last night, you might want to watch it, and hear her guest from the Union of Concerned Scientists talking about the known issues with certain containment facility designs.
        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

  •  For finding out if people you know in Japan are OK (4+ / 0-)

    http://japan.person-finder.appspot.com/

    Missing people in Japan, most generally:
    http://www.mps.or.jp/...

     

  •  One assumes there was independant (5+ / 0-)

    monitoring of radioactive level.  Not totally trusting govt officials these days.

    Ordinary political process is dead. The Supreme Court killed it. In Chambers. With a gavel.

    by Publius2008 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:45:09 AM PST

    •  Exactly (5+ / 0-)

      but I don't think there is an independent agency doing that right now.   As time goes by, I am less and less trusting of the information coming out.  I'm giving the benefit of the doubt right now that it may be difficult to get good information out, given that the people who know what's going on are devoting themselves to trying to solve a life and death situation, communications are probably difficult and it would be easy to get signals crossed.

      Also, it's hard not to think of the way our government lied about the environmental conditions in the wake of 9/11.

  •  The car analogy isn't good (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stolen water

    The difference being gasoline doesnt continue to decay generating vast amounts of heat.  Nuclear fuel continues to do so and for longer than 2 funky days.  They actually need cooling ponds to dunk those things in for long periods of time and they require fresh water as well to keep cool.  I don't see anyone talking about those things, and if they have the same issue as the reactor thats another bundle of kittens.

    Every moment in life contains an off ramp. Never be afraid to use it.

    by Adept2u on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:46:40 AM PST

    •  Great link, thanks. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aitchdee
      Of course, downplaying nuclear emergencies is nothing new, and the authorities do have an incentive to try and minimize panic as they increase the exclusion zone around the reactor. Yet from the evidence we have at the moment, the situation, to me at least, looks far more serious than official statements might lead one to believe.

      Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

      by DRo on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:15:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fascinating point - reactor now complete writeoff (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aitchdee, DRo

      I mentioned up thread that there are reports they are trying to cool the reactor by pouring in sea water.

      The Nature blog article you linked to says that they are doing that, and this means that they have already decided the plant is a complete write off because normally only super pure water is used as a coolant.

      This is very bad news.  They have decided they had to destroy the reactor to save ... well what?

      •  To prevent a larger incident (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, aitchdee, ebohlman, DRo

        Same principle as a firefighters demolishing a building to prevent a fire from spreading.

      •  In other words (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DRo

        to prevent meltdown (and a "cracking" of the floor, as I've heard other seemingly knowledgeable posters call it), they had no choice but to sacrifice, or destroy, the reactor. Have I got it more or less right?

        What are your primary concerns now? Thanks for all the excellent comments. Many, many thanks.  

        God bless our tinfoil hearts.

        by aitchdee on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:06:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Getting control of the ignorant anti-nuke hysteria (0+ / 0-)

          As half the commenters here have shown, it's widespread and harmful.

          Calm, rational, grounded discussion is always welcome.

          -7.75 -4.67

          "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

          There are no Christians in foxholes.

          by Odysseus on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 09:42:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Please provide us... (0+ / 0-)

            ...with a calm, rational, grounded discussion (your words) that addresses any or all (your choice) of the substantive problems that have dogged the nuclear industry since the 1950's.

            cricket_chirp.wav

            Yeah.

            I thought so.

            - bp

            "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

            by b00g13p0p on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:08:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Not calling people "ignorant" would be a (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aitchdee

            good start.

            There are sound reasons to want to avoid nuclear energy, just as there are sound reasons to consider it as an option.

            Calling your opponent "ignorant" and using words like "hysteria" doesn't help.

            •  Of course there are good arguments (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bushondrugs, truong son traveler

              The posters here are making none of them.

              Do you see cdreid saying "The historically bad business practices of nuclear operators suggest that we should try a different model"?  Nope.  Hysteria and ignorance.  Conflation of a social problem with a technical one.

              Put me on the corporate board of directors.  I'd kick 47 different kinds of ass and make sure the damned thing was safe.  Oh, but I forgot, that's not an option for leftists to ever take.

              Things cost what they cost.  Lying about the cost doesn't help anyone.

              The existing reactors have well known failure modes.  Guess what?  This reactor is no different, and seems to be failing exactly along known models.  Do you see b00g13p0p saying that?  I don't.  Instead, understandable damage to one installation is extrapolated into DOOOOOOOOOMMMM!!! from all possible expressions of nuclear power.  (The extra exclamation points mean that it's really serious!!!)

              Ignorance.  Demagoguery.

              Braidwood is almost literally in my back yard.  Zion is about an hour from my house.  Dresden, Byron, LaSalle and Clinton are nearby.  I live every day with nuclear power, for which ComEd is the worst of the worst.  I'm happy to embrace the potential for someone to do it right, versus the criminals who are clearly doing it wrong.

              -7.75 -4.67

              "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

              There are no Christians in foxholes.

              by Odysseus on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:17:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  As a former finance person ... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aitchdee, bushondrugs, DRo

          I'm really just looking at the cost benefit analysis that the executives and government are going through.

          These reactors are very expensive.  During Three Mile Island, the power company and staff worked very hard not only to prevent a runaway meltdown but to save the plant.

          Whatever is happening within this Japanese plant is so serious that they are destroying the entire reactor by dumping corrosive seawater into the core.  

          This means either that the danger faced by the larger society and environment was so great that it was worth billions of sacrifice to prevent or that the plant was already considered unsalvageable.

          This is strong evidence that the plant was experiencing a real meltdown.

          •  There's one bit of critical info missing (0+ / 0-)

            And you really need to know it before you consider a cost-benefit analysis.

            Unit 1, the one that had the explosion, was already scheduled to be permanently shut down and decommissioned this month.

            •  In that event, (0+ / 0-)

              we may never know what really took place there today.

              God bless our tinfoil hearts.

              by aitchdee on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:21:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, we will (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                aitchdee, truong son traveler

                This will be one hell of a well-studied event. As someone mentioned previously, there will be serious questions asked of the industry in regards to the status of its backup systems, especially in a case like Japan where the incident that threatens the plant also affects the supposedly independent power systems. There will be questions over whether the failure was due to inherent issues with BWR designs, something specific to that particular design, or something so incredibly unlikely that it counts as what insurance companies would call an Act of God.

                One thing that's coming out of this is that so far the Japanese are demonstrating that government response and safety measures under the worst conditions can be effective in reducing the risk to the public. There will be a lot of study of that to see if it can/should be replicated by other nations (as opposed to the clusterfuck that was Chernobyl on the other end).

            •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

              I was surprised to learn that the reactor was scheduled for decommissioning, which changes the cost benefit analysis.

              Still, I suspect that flooding it with seawater increases costs of decommissioning, which makes me think they were very concerned about what was happening.

      •  Fukushima (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bushondrugs
        This is very bad news.  They have decided they had to destroy the reactor to save ... well what?

        They are sacrificing the reactor to save Fukushima.  More cynically, if Fukushima blows the chance of Japan building another nuclear power plant approaches nil.  

        2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

        by Yamaneko2 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:01:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  previous incident (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon

    bbc
    japan's shaky nuclear record

    While Japan holds a good reputation for public safety, its nuclear industry has suffered several setbacks in recent years.

    This includes an accident at a plant in Tokaimura in 1999 caused by workers trying to save time by mixing excessive amounts of uranium in buckets, which killed two people and injured hundreds, and the temporary suspension of all 17 of Tokyo Electric Power Co's (Tepco) plants in April 2003 after it admitted falsifying safety records.

    wiki's summary:

    Japan's previous most deadly accident at a nuclear facility took place at a uranium processing plant in Tokaimura, north of Tokyo, on September 30, 1999, when an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction was triggered after three poorly trained workers mixed Uranium nuclear fuel in a bucket. The resulting release of radiation killed two workers, and exposed hundreds more to radiation above legal limits.[3]
  •  Without an obvious core breach I'm feeling a lot (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, truong son traveler

    better (for now).......The issue on the table should be the rebuilding of Japan......This is going to be VERY expensive.

    •  It buys time to get water to the vessel (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, truong son traveler

      But this is probably going to be trading emergency worker lives for time to get the temperature in the core trending in the right direction.

      These are damn strong designs I have learned even if everything screws up.. and disaster can be averted very simply by getting coolant (water, simply water) into the vessel.

      But they have to get the temperature down quickly, blown up building or not.

  •  Update 8:13 from CNN not good (5+ / 0-)
    Tokyo (CNN) -- Reactors at two Japanese power plants can no longer cool radioactive substances, a government official said Saturday, adding that a small leak had been detected at one of the facilities.
    Atomic material has seeped out of one of the Fukushima Daiichi plant's five nuclear reactors, about 160 miles (260 kilometers) north of Tokyo, said Kazuo Kodama, a spokesman for Japan's nuclear regulatory agency.
    Potentially dangerous problems in cooling radioactive material appear to have cropped up there, as well as at another of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. nuclear plants, Ichiro Fujisaki, Japan's ambassador to the United States, confirmed to CNN.

    http://www.cnn.com/...

    Every moment in life contains an off ramp. Never be afraid to use it.

    by Adept2u on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:23:41 AM PST

  •  I would guess that it is near the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moira977

    level of TMI.  TMI had a hydrogen bubble.  As long as they have power on site and can keep the core covered.  we can pray it does not get worse.

  •  Building explosion (8+ / 0-)

    In past life, I was head field engineer on several nuclear plants both pressurized water and boiling water reactors.

    The plant explosion blew apart the building that surrounds the Containment Building.  This building houses most of the pumps that supply safety injection water, containment spray and residual heat removal heat exchangers.

    From video it appears it was a hydrogen explosion.

    Many questions have not been answered.  Is actual containment building around the reactor still intact?  Has reactor vessel or piping been damaged?

    Without diesel power the operators may not have any plant information, such as temperatures, pressures etc.

    The plant station batteries can power the control system, but  are only designed to last for hours..not days.

    The operators may not know to what is happening inside the reactor vessel.. they may have no control information.

    Flooding containment building with sea water is a last resort... but it may stop a full core melt down.

    •  CNN story of pumps causing explosion (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      The CNN story is 100% wrong.

      Look at video and you can see the shock wave radiating out from blast.  

      35 Reactors in US are boiling water designs.  Many are the GE Mark 1 boiling water design, similar to the Japanese plants... vintage 1970's.

      Flooding of diesel generators was not a consideration in most designs.

      Can the generators flood at Millstone 1 in Connecticut or Grand Gulf 1 in Vicksburg?  Bet this question will be asked by NRC shortly.

  •  Nuclear accident rated 4 of possible 7 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stolen water, DRo
    @bbcbreaking
    #Japan's #nuclear agency rates accident at Fukushima plant at 'four' out of a possible seven on the international scale, from AFP

    http://twitter.com/...

    I don't know how they can rate it yet, but there it is.

    •  Wha? An international scale of nuke accidents? (0+ / 0-)

      Google's not helping.  

      Anybody know what this scale is?

      •  It's INES (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mcrab, bushondrugs, b00g13p0p, DRo

        INES – The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale

        The IAEA developed it in 1989 so it there would be something for nuclear incidents that resembled the Richter scale for quakes, the Fujita scale for tornadoes and the standard 5 point scale for hurricanes. It takes three things into account: effects on people and the environment, effects on facilities, and effects on "Defence in depth" (that is the measures used to protect people, the environment and facilities.

        Basically anything 1-3 is a relatively minor incident. A 1 would be something like a member of the public receiving a dose of radiation over statuatory limits allowed to the public (but well within safety limits allowed to people who work with radiation). So someone receiving something equivalent to the exposure they'd receive on an airplane flight, which is nonetheless higher than is allowed outside a reactor, would be an example.

        A 3 is a "Serious Incident" would be someone receiving over 10 times the annual dose limit allowed for workers (the limit is, it should be noted, much lower than that actually proven to be dangerous), or someone receiving a radiation burn (note: not necessarily meaning they are contaminated: a sunburn is a radiation burn), or contamination in areas of the facility where it isn't supposed to be, or that all the active safety measures to prevent a problem had been used activated. Before the failure of the cooling plants, the Japanese plants affected would all have been rated a 3 because the reactors were automatically shutdown and the backup safety systems had been activated.

        From 4 to 7 you get accidents. In a 4, and "Accident with Local Consequences", you have minor release of radioactive material that might require local food control (such as making sure it is washed before using, or monitoring it to see if there is contamination), and/or at least one death from radiation, and/or more than 0.1% of the fuel being released due to melt or other damage to the core, and/or release of contamination within the facility that the public might be exposed to.

        Three Mile Island was rated as a 5 because of the severe damage to the core (although there was no significant environmental impact or impact on human health). The idiots who mixed uranium in a bucket and died as a result back in the 1990s also caused a level 5 accident because the three of them died (although no damage to the facilities or danger to the public).

        A level 6 would be a release of significant contamination likely to require implementation of countermeasures. If everyone has to start taking iodine and food in a wide area has to be monitored, you've reached the level of an "Serious accident".

        Chernobyl was rated a 7, which basically mean everything has gone to shit.

        Note that the level of the incident gives you guidelines, but the specifics of a given incident have to be understood. As mentioned, both the uranium-in-a-bucket incident and TMI are at the same level even though the two situations were very different in terms of damage to infrastructure and casualties.

  •  That gaphic is misleading... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stolen water

    it shows reactor water turning the turbine.  That is incorrect.  It is closed system.  The hot radioactive water is use to heat water flowing through a second system. It is that water that is used to turn the turbine.  Of course that little fact doesn't matter much when it all goes kablooie...

    "Aubrey, may I trouble you for the salt?"

    by Borg Warner on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 08:44:09 AM PST

  •  From Stratfor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, johnnygunn
    And so now the question is simple: Did the floor of the containment vessel crack? If not, the situation can still be salvaged by somehow re-containing the nuclear core. But if the floor has cracked, it is highly likely that the melting fuel will burn through the floor of the containment system and enter the ground. This has never happened before but has always been the nightmare scenario for a nuclear power event — in this scenario, containment goes from being merely dangerous, time consuming and expensive to nearly impossible.

    Read more: Red Alert: Nuclear Meltdown at Quake-Damaged Japanese Plant | STRATFOR

    http://www.stratfor.com/...

  •  core damage possible......tell us something we (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stolen water
  •  West Coast at Risk (0+ / 0-)

    If there is an explosion or release of a large amount of radiation, the jet stream will carry it to the West Coast of the U.S.  
    I am preparing a shelter.  Go to CDC to learn how to create a shelter at home.

  •  HBGary profile management (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stolen water

    Not to be distracting during such a serious situation, but do you ever wonder if those paid trolls using the online profile management software which allows corporations to add comments to blogs and websites in order to tilt public opinion in their direction... do you ever wonder if they are signed into Dailykos?

  •  NewScientist now saying meltdown averted (0+ / 0-)

    See here.

    "Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning -- the good guys against the bad guys. Question is: Who are the good guys?" ("The Professionals," 1966; Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) to Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan).

    by brainwave on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:00:27 AM PST

    •  Cesium WAS detected, so some melted down (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brainwave

      I've seen it stated on several mainstream news sites that cesium was detected so some degree of meltdown has occurred.  

      This appears to be a question of degree, not that of a "did it or didn't it?"  Seems NewScientist's headline doesn't match the body of their report.  

      Instead the meltdown has been halted by addition of boric acid and seawater.  It was underway so the last resort was used to stop it.

      Renewing the Bush tax cuts was the ultimate sell out of a presidency without any scruples.

      by Celtic Pugilist on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:00:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Seems as though you are right n/t (0+ / 0-)

        "Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning -- the good guys against the bad guys. Question is: Who are the good guys?" ("The Professionals," 1966; Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) to Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan).

        by brainwave on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 07:07:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Nuke facility designs not durable enough (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bushondrugs

    The magnitude of this quake suggests that ALL nuke facilities need to be designed as a self-supporting, self-contained module that will remain intact even if the ground below them shifts 10 feet or so right down the middle.  

    Loss of cooling is what leads to meltdowns and releases.  It's becoming apparent that the emergency cooling system should be included within the protective box, not outside it.  That's not going to be easy and it will be very expensive, but appears to be necessary to handle these sort of natural catastrophes.

    I worked through some rough calcs last night that suggested the control room operators would be getting some rather nasty radiation doses depending on how long they remained.  These weren't fatal doses, but enough to have serious health consequences.

    Renewing the Bush tax cuts was the ultimate sell out of a presidency without any scruples.

    by Celtic Pugilist on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 10:01:00 AM PST

  •  so nuclear energy is safe, huh? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    b00g13p0p, michaelmhughes

    ...that's what all of the anti-environmentalists have been saying lately, that nuclear energy is one of the few options we need to keep on the table because of the finiteness of fossil fuels and, they claim, because it has allegedly proven to be "safe." All it takes is one natural disaster to prove that there is no such thing as "safe" nuclear energy.

    One of the main lessons we need to take from this earthquake in Japan is that those who are claiming that we must develop nuclear energy to solve our energy problems...are simply delusional.

    •  Modern reactors ARE safe. (0+ / 0-)

      This reactor was built 40 years ago and was scheduled to go offline soon.

      A molten salt reactor has none of these issues.

      Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. --John F. Kennedy

      by Beelzebud on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 11:23:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  CANDUs as well. (0+ / 0-)

        The way they're designed, pretty much anything that happens to the core shuts it down without human intervention. Operators have to constantly ensure that they keep the reaction going, not keep it from running away.

      •  Not for another 10 years I read. (0+ / 0-)
      •  all nuclear reactors (0+ / 0-)

        ...be they old or new...are subject to the vagaries of mother nature. That means that there is no such thing as a safe nuclear reactor. Perhaps you might mean that they are "relatively" safe. However, as long as there is any chance whatsoever that a nuclear energy plant can break down leaking radioactivity (which is always), that's reason enough for me to never ever build another one and seek to close all of the rest down. The fact is that nuclear energy is not safe, no matter what the nuclear energy concerns tell people.

  •  TMI vs. Fukushima - role of hydrogen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CMYK

    I worked at TMI for 12 years but I wasn't a technical person. However, when I was reading about the 5 reactors in trouble last night and especially this one, I thought about the hydrogen bubble at TMI. Remember that?

    Now that there's been an explosion, I really wonder about it.

    Here's what the NRC said about TMI:

    Within a short time, the presence of a large hydrogen bubble in the dome of the pressure vessel, the container that holds the reactor core, stirred new worries. The concern was that the hydrogen bubble might burn or even explode and rupture the pressure vessel. In that event, the core would fall into the containment building and perhaps cause a breach of containment. The hydrogen bubble was a source of intense scrutiny and great anxiety, both among government authorities and the population, throughout the day on Saturday, March 31. The crisis ended when experts determined on Sunday, April 1, that the bubble could not burn or explode because of the absence of oxygen in the pressure vessel. Further, by that time, the utility had succeeded in greatly reducing the size of the bubble.

    Now here's what WaPo reported about hydrogen and this explosion:

    Japan's chief government spokesman, Yukio Edano, later told reporters that the blast occurred when vapor from the reactor's steel container turned into hydrogen and mixed with outside oxygen, the Kyodo news agency reported. Edano said the explosion blew off the roof and walls of the building around the containment vessel but did no serious damage to the container itself.

    It makes me wonder how and why did this vapor escape from the containment vessel? Is it due to design - a PWR vs a BWR? Or is it due to a breach in the vessel?

    •  Neither (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      juliesie, BlueSue

      The current thinking of what's happened is this: the pressure inside the vessel was increasing, and had to be relieved. Because of the precautionary evacuation which cleared the area of civilians, it was safe to relieve pressure by venting steam: any radioactivity would be minimal and clearing the surrounding area would allow it to dissipate and decay without risk of exposure.

      The release of steam would cause the radiation meters to spike (thus resulting in that "1000 times normal" reading that was reported), and one or more fuel rods might have been compromised to an unknown extent, thus explaining the small quantity of cesium that was detected: a little bit was carried out by the steam release.

      However, opening the valves would have also released any hydrogen that had built up in the core due to the water reacting with the zirconium and decomposing. The hydrogen built up to explosive levels outside the pressure vessel, and something set it off when it and oxygen had reached the proper mix.

      The result was a relatively low-speed explosion that overpressured the walls and ceiling of the facility, essentially heaving them outward. The frame of the building appearing pretty much intact supports this. It doesn't actually take that much overpressure to shove down a wall not designed for it.

      (As a comparison, a 0.3 psi overpressure is sufficient to blow open doors or damage their frames in a noral building.)

  •  This reactor is not modern (0+ / 0-)

    This reactor was built in the seventies.

  •  This has been (0+ / 0-)

    an extremely interesting diary for me to read. Living within a 12-15 mile radius of a nuclear plant built on the ocean - it's
    given me some idea what to expect when the 'big one' hits.

    Seriously, you all have given me a layman's mini-education that I could never have gotten from PG&E!

    Since Diablo was built in the mid-80's, maybe now's a good a time as any to decommission it. But what to do with the pools of spent rods? Between attacks on unions and education - will
    we have the scientific community we're going to need for achieving  safe solutions to such problems?

    A house that does not have one warm, comfy chair in it is soulless. May Sarton

    by brook on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 12:12:53 PM PST

  •  I had hoped... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    juliesie

    to get the latest info here, on the status of the endangered nukes...but it seems I'll have to go elsewhere for that...

    Unfortunately all I've found is the same tired old "arguments" of the pro-nuke trolls, going around and around, ad nauseum, yet again, with their jive, pat, Chamber of Commerce furnished propaganda lines, ruthlessly slagging environmentalists for being stupid, deluded, and worse, trying to tell us that there's nothing happening here, so move on, etc. etc.

    Thanks to those who are patient enough to engage such swine in a principled manner, and to try to bring some logic and reason to the topic, but I no longer have such patience, after over 30 years of their vicious attacks and insults.

    I just want to throttle the bastards.

    Bring the Better Democrats!

    All Out for 2012!

    Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

    by Radical def on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 12:58:09 PM PST

    •  Yeah, damn those pro-nuke industry shills! (0+ / 0-)

      I mean, what kind of idiot listens to James Lovelock and the like anyway? People like him don't care about the environment!

      •  Look, I'm no "expert", am unfamiliar w/yr ref (0+ / 0-)

        I'll acknowledge some subjectivity on my own part, too.

        I'm curious, might click on a link, read some clips...

        I'm not really wonky enough to care about all the gory technical details of most issues. I'm not a scientist.  I have to rely on what most doctors, biologists and environmental scientists think and say, on this topic, or, say, health care, food safety, or whatever.

        Most seem staunchly against nuclear power, and that's good enough for me, especially in the face of unprincipled attacks against them from the right wing reactionary conservative Chamber of Commerce monopoly corporate fascist "opposition".

        I'm aware that some like Stewart Brand have endorsed nukes, and that has given me pause for thought, but they are a small minority, as I understand it, and thus unconvincing, per se.

        That might make an interesting diary, I suppose, but unless it eschews the usual hippy-bashing Big Energy pro-nuke rhetoric, it would be a thin disguise.

        Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

        by Radical def on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 05:27:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Chamber "Logic": (0+ / 0-)

    Photobucket

    Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

    by Radical def on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 01:26:48 PM PST

  •  Forbes: reports say it was a meltdown (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PreciousLittle
  •  Nuclear veracity (0+ / 0-)

    I've come to the conclusion that there are required courses in obfuscation and fact fudging at most engineering schools for the education of future nuke plant operators. As I understand it Hydrogen gas is a byproduct of the fission process, and any crack or loose fitting in the reactor vessel  will fill the containment building with the explosive element. This a rapid oxidation process, like the one that happens in the main engines of the Space Shuttle. The problem is that the exploding containment building will tear all the necessary plumbing out of the reactor. I have read that the utility is dumping boron and water into the runaway reactor. This is exactly what the Chernobyl heros did while giving up their lives. Next? The total meltdown, fire and plume of radioactive fission products into the jet stream and off to us in the Northwest.

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