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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Problems in Fukushima no. 1 confirmed

As we pointed out early yesterday, pressure is building up inside the reactor core in unit no. 1 at the Fukushima nuclear meltdown site. Today the folks who run the place acknowledged a special problem inside that unit and say they are thinking about injecting nitrogen into that reactor's core to prevent an explosion. Meanwhile the pressure inside no. 1 has continued to rise over the past day. It was at 589 kilopascals a week ago; the latest reading is 733.8 (or 106.4 pounds per square inch), a 24.6% increase. Yesterday it was 720.8.

Meanwhile, the convenient distraction of plugging a hole in a leaking pit has concluded. That one source of radioactive flow into the ocean has apparently stopped. But there are doubtlessly other leaks, unavoidable with that much water being dumped over the radioactive wreckage every day and a plant that's undergone not only a 9.0-point earthquake, but also three large explosions. The fishing industry around the plant has no doubt been ruined for a lifetime, and the dead or danger zone in the ocean will increase in size indefinitely.

Comments (17)

Or become "the best saltwater fishing in the world."

As bad as Chernobyl, and getting worse.
All of us who fish, or eat any salmon wild or farmed, better get one of those portable Geiger counters for the near term. After a few months any long lived fish will be too toxic to consume.
We can sort of joke about "neon sushi", but seriously what will the long term effects be on the genetics of all of the creatures of the oceans?
Damn! and I really like halibut and shell fish too!

Ther are lots of wild animals in the "exclusion zone" around Chernobyl too, but they are genetically mutated and the levels of radioactivity are so high they are fit for consumption, as are the wild boar in Germany, and some sheep in Wales.

I meant NOT fit for human consumption!

You have a source Portland native? A quick wiki check shows other wise. This link shows both good and bad news. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_Nuclear_Power_Plant_Exclusion_Zone#Flora_and_fauna

The FDA (or individual) should think about radioactive testing of fish consumables which could have come from this area. I am not sure about eating ocean going fish for the next couple of years because you might draw an old maid card to use an analogy. But live and learn hopefully.

Even before this event, I have to disagree with conservatives about building new nuclear plants as Nuclear is not really very economical. All in cost for nuclear (outside of disasters) is well over ten cents per Kwh, and maybe as high as 20 cents per Kwh. I'd much rather go with coal with Best available techonology for stripping out toxics like SO 2 and mercury. Heck at 20 cents per Kwh, High Desert focused solar plants can compete. The problem with wind and solar is they can't deliver in quantity like coal and natural gas. Energy efficiency (conservation) also can't deliver in quantity but it's far cheaper than even coal at less than 5 cents per KWH.

Dman: if you google you will find numerous sources reporting this news from last summer. The original source appears to be Der Speigel, the German newspaper/magazine which is a well regarded independent news source.
The BBC has reported on the lamb from Wales. The lamb has been contaminated since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. But interestingly not all lamb in GB is contaminated. Britain is very vigilant about testing so consumers there feel pretty good about their meats.

I like reading about advancements in the artificial leaf. Maybe we can cover a fraction of our energy needs with photosynthesis.
If it's inexpensive enough, every bit helps.
One thing that's a concern is losing the grid to a solar flare, etc...so why not at least have an emergency method for running some power right at home?

Jack, I'm concerned with all that BLACK smoke emitting into the atmosphere....
Let me take a guess here...If the smoke is black, Tokyo electric has not named a new CEO....As soon as we see white smoke my guess a new boss will lead the company into a permanent solution.
Till then it is up to all involved to say 10 Our Fathers and 10 Hail Mary's.

"The problem with wind and solar is they can't deliver in quantity ...."
Nobody wants "QUANTITY". Everybody wants electricity in their home. So make your own, as much as you want, at home.

"As bad as Chernobyl, and getting worse."
No no no. Lars Larson says "Chernobyl is MUCH worse than the little problem they are having in Japan way far away from here that has no effect on us whatsoever -- too bad for those foreigners over there, who are NOT Number 1 in the world like us Ahmurkins are, and therefor 'they' are less human less worthy and less alive than us."

"I have to disagree with conservatives ...."
No no no. You are not allowed and you canNOT disagree with conservatives. They are the deciders of whose voices and votes count, and if you disagree they hang up on you. That's why they 'don't have the guts' to come out of their bunkers and speak out their 'thoughts' at public meetings.

"... get one of those portable Geiger counters for the near term."
I discovered a new 'sport' (at least to me it is 'sport'). I was in BigBoxHomeHardware store looking for a radon detector to buy. Standing in the aisle with motion sensors, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and an Associate in a bright-colored carpenter's bib walked up and asked me if I needed help finding anything. I asked for radon detectors. He said they don't have 'em. I asked if they had Geiger counters, or any sort of radioactive contamination or radiation detectors, or those radiation sensitive-film 'exposure' badges which workers pin on their clothes in X-ray labs and nuclear plants.

He gaped at me speechless, his jaw hit the floor, the color drained out of his face, he figured I was a pesky liberal, he stammered some "uh ... er ... ah ... oh ... uh" and said, "no, those are not available." I asked, why not? He said, "that's not something anyone wants to know about." I said, "We likely need to learn. Why don't you 'buck it up the line' and call the corporate office and tell them to get some in here?"

He stood there and I mosied over into the next aisle. The expression on his face had greatly amused me, and before I left the store I stopped 3 other Associates and staged the same dialogue with each of them in order to see that expression again. Now I plan to do it in other Associated stores. It's a wonderful conversation-starting ice breaker.

It's like when you bump into someone whistling past the graveyard and you ask them, What's that tune you're whistling?

But Tenskwatawa if everyone had their own power generation, what would the big power companies do?
Of course individual power generation is totally possible and we even have such a system at our summer house up in BC. However the power usage has to be managed and we use batteries, an inverter as well as a back up propane generator.
To those people who say that solar, wind and wave do not work....I say come see our system! We produce about 98% of our power using no carbon fuel.

A stable, "correct" operating pressure in the reactor vessel is needed for cooling; Boiling water in contact with the rods does not cool well. Flowing liquid does. If it flashes to steam elsewhere, fine, but not in the rods. The higher the pressure, the higher the boiling point.

And that the vessel can actually hold some pressure is a tiny bit of good news from that cluster f*.

(And Bill, that MIT "leaf" puffery about a device the size of a playing card powering a 3rd world dwelling is pure BS. Dare I say it...it's BBO. It damages the credibility of the renewable efforts.)

"Or become [the best saltwater fishing in the world.]"
Had to google to test this claim. While the sea life may be thriving in the atoll, many articles dispute whether they are edible. Some of the diversity of coral has not returned since the A-bomb testing. Finally what ended my search was a Fox news item which touts the return of sport fishing and coral. (attributed in part to the lack of human population in the area) Buried at the end of the article is the following: "Though ambient radiation readings are fairly low at Bikini, radioactive material accumulates in the soil and in produce such as coconuts, making them unsafe to eat."
So, avoid the coconut prawns & fresh coconut pina coladas.

And fresh heart of palm and coconut crabs too, BTW.

All one has to do is read up on ciguatera and you can conclude that there will be more concentrated amounts of radiation in higher food chain fish over time.

No one says solar, wind, and wave power don't work - that would be ludicrous. They say they don't work as base load generation which is true with our current 1940s era grid.

Personal generation is great, and everyone should look into it, but there's still going to be a need for base load - Intel can't house enough solar panels in the city of Hillsboro to meet the needs of their fabs.

dman & PoNat,

an AP from 1April
re radioactive German boars
and the 'shrooms they nosh:

The piece does not seem meant for fools.

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