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Japan: Earthquake, Tsunami + Nuclear Disasters

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AFP reporting that the Japanese have formally requested assistance from the IAEA (The International Atomic Energy Agency - the UN Nuclear Agency) to help manage their current situation. I'm surprised it's taken this long.

Local News broadcaster NHK also reporting a potential issue with reactor 2 at Fukushima - with unconfirmed reports that the coolant supply was compromised by the shutdown of an air regulation system and exposure of the fuel rods. The BBC have also picked it up, but report it as unconfirmed.

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I've just had an e-mail from a client who's wife is from Japan, I contacted him this morning to see if her family and friends were okay here is the reply...

...sadly not everyone has been so lucky and the situation still seems very worrying regarding aftershocks and the leakage from the nuclear plants.

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With regards to the nuclear problems, its worth bearing in mind (this is only my opinion) that we only know what we are being told. The true hard facts may be scarier. Speaking from experience, the nuclear industry traditionally plays down problematic events, and one wouldn't like to think what any potential "real" situation is if (note the if) the Japanese aren't telling the full true story about what's going on at Fukushima.

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Interesting discussion going news24 about this. The radiation at the moment is blown out to see but the one place it blows onshore is where the other station recorded high levels of radiation 100kmh away. The fact that US has also moved it's fleet out of harms way also show that reports of "small amounts of radiation" is possibly rather economic with the truth. I see the word of partial meltdown have slipped out regarding the first reactor. Unless I missed it the reactor hadn't partially melted.

However saying people are at high risk is also going cause huge panic so it's perhaps it's best they don't know as there's very little the authorities can do due to the quake.

It does seem the number of quakes is slowing down at last which is good.

Other effects well expect the price of electronic goods to go up due to shortages of parts. Oil interestingly going down due reduction of demand.

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Its very difficult with the confused messages coming out, but trying to look at the situation methodically (as a non expert). It is clear from what is being said that the rods have been exposed for a substantial amount of time which means there is not enough cooling water going in. Its hard to see how you reverse that situation if you are already pumping in the maximum you can? If rods are exposed they will melt so surely the only remaining question is will the molten fuel be contained, and if Goto's comments and the Jananese reaction is anything to go by the answer is no?

I suspect that those running these plants will have known the outcome from almost the beginning. Its like the Titanic situiation it may not look although its going to sink but a situation has been in progress since Friday which has an inevitable end.

Edited by HighPressure

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Just on BBC 5..7 magnitude aftershock has just shaken the north-east of Japan, the US Geological Survey reports.

How long will these earthquakes last for and is it normal for so many aftershocks ?

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Just on BBC 5..7 magnitude aftershock has just shaken the north-east of Japan, the US Geological Survey reports.

How long will these earthquakes last for and is it normal for so many aftershocks ?

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/quakes_all.php

have a look at that site shows all the aftershokes earthquakes

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Just on BBC 5..7 magnitude aftershock has just shaken the north-east of Japan, the US Geological Survey reports.

How long will these earthquakes last for and is it normal for so many aftershocks ?

I think the aftershocks go on for a long time, weeks often but I have never before seen so many large aftershocks as in this Japan quake. However I have only actually been checking for a few years now and this was a very exceptional quakeand has recently been upgraded to a 9 by the Japan seismology team as if 8.9 wasn't bad enough poor devils..

Edited by coldfingers

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How can a designer blame a builder for building a shoddy design and then claim it was their fault because they knew? If this is the case, shouldn't the blame first fall on the designer and not the construction team? Do we blame an Architect/Engineer if a building falls over or do we blame the builder following their technical instructions?

Sorry very strange logic there.

They haven't taken notice of the technical specifications so therefore it's the companies fault for going ahead when knowing the limitations could well be tested and exceeded. The blame doesn't lie with the designer at all.

Japanese engineer Masashi Goto, who helped design the containment vessel for Fukushima's reactor core, says the design was not enough to withstand earthquakes or tsunamis and the plant's builders, Toshiba, knew this.

Now if the above is true some heads should roll. Again if True it shows that the Japanese nuclear industry weren't taking safety seriously enough and putting cost cutting first. Of course this depends on whether the statement has been truelly reported by the press.

Edited by The PIT

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It would be, if someone could produce any evidence for a correlation; maybe a repetitive clumping of 'quakes at or around these so-called 'supermoon' events? Without any supporting data such claims are less than hypotheses...

It needs to be properly researched and without this nobody is going to be able to say one way or the other but I suspect it is low on lists of priorities if most take a negative view.

As I said in a previous post the forces controlling the tectonic plates are already there but it is possible that a slight increase in the effect from the moon's gravity could act as a trigger in a critical situation.

If this were to be the case and along with other research it could alert prone regions to the possibility of an earthquake and/or tsusami and thereby save lives by alerting people and putting nuclear power stations into a "sleep" mode.

An interesting piece put out on 01.03.2011 by accuweather, apparently written after Joe laminate floori went off to join Lord Lucan and Shergar somewhere but most importantly before this latest quake in Japan. (Just ignore the plug for the Atrologer) Perhaps we should keep an open mind on the subject.

http://www.accuweather.com/blogs/astronomy/story/46417/extreme-super-full-moon-to-cause-chaos.asp

Edited by mike Meehan

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Do we not have satellites/weather balloons that can measure radioactivity in the atmosphere to help confirm whether their is a leak?

I'm sure after Chernoyble we kept getting reports of where the radiation cloud was?

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I think the aftershocks go on for a long time, weeks often but I have never before seen so many large aftershocks as in this Japan quake. However I have only actually been checking for a few years now and this was a very exceptional quakeand has recently been upgraded to a 9 by the Japan seismology team as if 8.9 wasn't bad enough poor devils..

The aftershocks can go on for months afterwards. I did hear them report on the BBC news that they were expecting another 'large' aftershock (around mag 7.0) in the next few days. If you check out the NOAA site, yoiu can see on the left hand side at the top the most recent 'quakes. If you refresh the page at intervals, you'll see just how many aftershocks are occurring in the Honshuu area - I'd say a new one every half hour to one hour at the very least, of around magnitude 4.5 upwards.

http://www.noaawatch.gov/themes/quake.php

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The aftershocks can go on for months afterwards. I did hear them report on the BBC news that they were expecting another 'large' aftershock (around mag 7.0) in the next few days. If you check out the NOAA site, yoiu can see on the left hand side at the top the most recent 'quakes. If you refresh the page at intervals, you'll see just how many aftershocks are occurring in the Honshuu area - I'd say a new one every half hour to one hour at the very least, of around magnitude 4.5 upwards.

http://www.noaawatch.gov/themes/quake.php

Hi Barb, another good site is here

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Maps/10/140_35.php

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Do we not have satellites/weather balloons that can measure radioactivity in the atmosphere to help confirm whether their is a leak?

I'm sure after Chernoyble we kept getting reports of where the radiation cloud was?

I don't think the current radioactivity release is high enough in the atmosphere for weather balloons to detect? Not yet anyway. I think it's a pretty complex subject, dispersal of radioactive matter, depending upon a number of variables such as particle size, height of explosion, wind direction in the lower, middle and upper atmosphere, weather conditions (raining or not), etc.

Hi Barb, another good site is here

http://earthquake.us...s/10/140_35.php

Whoa - that really drives home just how many aftershocks are going on, doesn't it! Thanks for that link. :)

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This is what a nuclear meltdown of a reactor looks like

Posted Image

Just "blowing off a bit of steam", huh?

The lower than would be expected levels of radioactive caesium and iodine (which have been detected) is because the reactors are right on the pacific shoreline and the wind is going out to the big wide ocean.

The official explanation won't last long if the wind turns direction though.

Don't want any aftershocks or tsunamis to further endanger the brave technicians trying to cool the remaining four reactors at Fukushima.

Edited by AtlanticFlamethrower

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Its very difficult with the confused messages coming out, but trying to look at the situation methodically (as a non expert). It is clear from what is being said that the rods have been exposed for a substantial amount of time which means there is not enough cooling water going in. Its hard to see how you reverse that situation if you are already pumping in the maximum you can? If rods are exposed they will melt so surely the only remaining question is will the molten fuel be contained, and if Goto's comments and the Jananese reaction is anything to go by the answer is no?

I suspect that those running these plants will have known the outcome from almost the beginning. Its like the Titanic situiation it may not look although its going to sink but a situation has been in progress since Friday which has an inevitable end.

Good question - in a pressurised water reactor, the water itself isn't just a coolant in the traditional way, it's the reactor's primary neutron inhibitor - it regulates the speed at which the fuel reacts - the control mechanisms are either control rods (usually of boron) or a fluid of boron injected into the coolant - boron is also a thermal neutron inhibitor. With no water there's nothing regulating the nuclear reaction as well as nothing for boron control rods to sit in. As you say, things go out-of-control very quickly in these circumstances - a matter of minutes. I'd be astonished if at least one of the reactors at Fukushima didn't suffer a partial fuel melt. As for the intactness of the reactor itself - no doubt we'll find out soon enough.

As AFF above points out, the detection of Caesium 137 and Iodine 131 is not a good sign - it's a by-product on the nuclear reaction and should be entombed entirely within the reactor itself. Also - why hand out stable Iodine unless it's to combat the absorbing of the radioactive iodine - since Iodine 131 has no place outside of a an intact reactor core, the fact that it's being handed out isn't very reassuring.

Edited by Just Before Dawn

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Good question - in a pressurised water reactor, the water itself isn't just a coolant in the traditional way, it's the reactor's primary neutron inhibitor - it regulates the speed at which the fuel reacts - the control mechanisms are either control rods (usually of boron) or a fluid of boron injected into the coolant - boron is also a thermal neutron inhibitor. With no water there's nothing regulating the nuclear reaction as well as nothing for boron control rods to sit in. As you say, things go out-of-control very quickly in these circumstances - a matter of minutes. I'd be astonished if at least one of the reactors at Fukushima didn't suffer a partial fuel melt. As for the intactness of the reactor itself - no doubt we'll find out soon enough.

Look at this!

Posted Image

If that's not a total meltdown 3000 ft mushroom cloud tell me what is. That's not superficial damage, that's the worst it gets.

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Look at this!

Posted Image

If that's not a total meltdown 3000 ft mushroom cloud tell me what is. That's not superficial damage, that's the worst it gets.

So why hasn't one nuclear expert come out and said this then? Just a thought.

Edited by Nick L

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So why hasn't one nuclear expert come out and said this then? Just a thought.

They have (below). The government is covering-up for political reasons, which they can do for a while as long as the wind blows out to sea. The Russians tried to cover-up Chernobyl.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Meltdown Caused Nuke Plant Explosion: Safety Body

TOKYO (Nikkei)--The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said Saturday afternoon the explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant could only have been caused by a meltdown of the reactor core.

The same day, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), which runs the plant, began to flood the damaged reactor with seawater to cool it down, resorting to measures that could rust the reactor and force the utility to scrap it.

Cesium and iodine, by-products of nuclear fission, were detected around the plant, which would make the explosion the worst accident in the roughly 50-year history of Japanese nuclear power generation.

Edited by AtlanticFlamethrower

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I don't think the current radioactivity release is high enough in the atmosphere for weather balloons to detect? Not yet anyway. I think it's a pretty complex subject, dispersal of radioactive matter, depending upon a number of variables such as particle size, height of explosion, wind direction in the lower, middle and upper atmosphere, weather conditions (raining or not), etc.

Whoa - that really drives home just how many aftershocks are going on, doesn't it! Thanks for that link. :)

Not only that but the vast majority of the earthquakes on that link are since Friday 400+ since the big quake.

Just as a footnote, the USGS site reports every earthquake in the US over 2.5 and every earthquake over 4.5 in the rest of the world, so even to be on that map they have to be 4.5+

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BTW does anyone know if there is online data for moon's distance from the Earth for the past 100 years? I want to do a correlation with large Earthquakes. I've got the data for that, just need the moon data. Anyone can double-check Supermoon claims themselves.

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Personally I don't think we are getting the full story on the 'meltdown' situation. The Japanese themselves don't trust the nuclear authorities and neither should we.

The Japanese must abandon their nuclear programme now surely and decommision remaining plants over time as new sources of power are sourced?

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The Japanese have a record for being somewhat economical with the truth as far as nuclear goes. The way I view it, the fact the US moved their fleet which was 100 miles away speaks volumes.

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The Japanese must abandon their nuclear programme now surely and decommision remaining plants over time as new sources of power are sourced?

I don't think so, although they will have a lot of questions to answer.

As cold as it sounds man needs accidents and disasters to learn from, and lessons will be learnt from this situation. Whether it was poor design, cost cutting who knows but the nuclear programme will go on.

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The nuclear company has past form too for dubious safety claims which makes me wary on what they say is happening

The company at the centre of a nuclear reactor crisis following the biggest earthquake in Japan's recorded history has had a rocky past in an industry plagued by scandal.

http://my.news.yahoo.com/japans-nuclear-power-operator-chequered-past-20110312-021851-532.html

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