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Third Blast At Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Plant

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the good-luck-over-there-guys dept.

Japan 691

iamrmani was one of several people reporting updates on the Fukushima Nuclear plant that has been struggling following last Friday's disaster. A third explosion (Japanese) has been reported, along with other earlier information. MSNBC has a story about similiar reactors in the US. We also ran into a story which predicts that there won't be significant radiation. But already Japan is facing rolling blackouts, electricity rationing, evacuating the area around the plant, and thousands dead already.

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B.O.C (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478124)

Oh no, they say he's got to go
Go go Godzilla, yeah
Oh no, there goes Tokyo
Go go Godzilla, yeah

Meltdown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478126)

Apparently, the fuel rods are exposed and undercooled now. We should brace for a meltdown, which (fortunately) won't be as much of a disaster as Chernobyl. It will be obviously worse than Three Mile Island, though. Let's hope that the population has evacuated the region.

Re:Meltdown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478162)

Well if this footage [youtube.com] is anything to go by, I'd say those poor folks are hosed.

Re:Meltdown? (4, Informative)

kylegordon (159137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478194)

A meltdown... into the bottom of the containment vessel.

Yes, it'll be a pain to tidy up, but it will be nothing like Three Mile Island.

Read http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/03/13/fukushima-simple-explanation/ [bravenewclimate.com]

Re:Meltdown? (3)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478460)

That writeup was a godsend. So, if they've flooded the uncooled reactors with boric-acid and seawater nothing could possibly go wrong - and if they had been unmanned and allowed to meltdown, nothing would have gone wrong either. And the materials released in the radioactive steam decay completely within seconds.

Re:Meltdown? (2)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478472)

I hope it is like Three Mile Island - no fatalities.

Re:Meltdown? (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478488)

According to the writeup, fatalities are impossible - unless you where standing on the thin roof when it collapsed from the hydrogen gas explosion.

Re:Meltdown? (4, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478520)

Excellent link, thank you.

So many people think of "nuclear meltdown" as "nuclear explosion". Not the case. Meltdown is just that; Melting down of the fuel. Gravity dictates that this fluid fuel will go down, so meltdown is of very little concern to anyone except the reactor ops. Remember that reactor 5 at Chernobyl exploded because of their idiocy on several levels, not because of any fault with the plant (which would have functioned perfectly well if the operators had followed procedure correctly and vented the pressure vessel when required).

I say bravo to the Japanese. They've done very well throughout all of this. The deaths reported are a result of a 9.0 earthquake and linked tidal wave, not any nuclear incident, and that just goes to show how safe it is. Interesting factoid from the article; The reactors were designed to withstand an 8.3 Richter scale quake. As the Richter scale is logarithmic, they withstood a quake seven times their maximum. The only "Woops!" point was when they shipped in portable generators to replace the tsunami-swamped diesel backups... With the wrong plugs.

Seriously, read that article and turn off CNN / Fox. They're actually lying to you.

Re:Meltdown? (0)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478238)

Apparently, the fuel rods are exposed and undercooled now. We should brace for a meltdown, which (fortunately) won't be as much of a disaster as Chernobyl. It will be obviously worse than Three Mile Island, though. Let's hope that the population has evacuated the region.

Normally I wouldn't reply to ignorant AC's but this takes the biscuit.

About the only good thing about Chernobyl was that it was inland so the meltdown did not reach the water table. In this case we have a Nuclear Reactor going critical right on the edge of an ocean. If this reactor melts down there is a very real risk it will contaminate the worlds oceans with radioactive waste. That will be a lot worse.

Also, I would be interested to know how much this thing could raise the temperature of the worlds oceans by, if at all. If anyone has any actual information please post a link (or a huge amount of maths justifying their theory)

Re:Meltdown? (5, Informative)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478280)

Also, I would be interested to know how much this thing could raise the temperature of the worlds oceans by, if at all.

You're a retard.

Re:Meltdown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478320)

Also, I would be interested to know how much this thing could raise the temperature of the worlds oceans by, if at all.

Ever try heating a swimming pool with a lighter? The chances are about the same.

Re:Meltdown? (2)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478332)

Nothing detectable on a whole ocean (I think). Even if the rods pack a big punch, you have around 1,260 billion billion Litre(or Kg if we assume it's pure water, even though it isn't) of water in the oceans. So you need around 5 million billion billion Joule to raise the oceans temperature by 1 degree Celsius. That's several orders of magnitude of the reactors ability.

Re:Meltdown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478370)

About the only good thing about Chernobyl was that it was inland so the meltdown did not reach the water table.

Not exactly, the only reason Chernobyl didn't contaminate the water supply was because they dug underneath the melting core and flooded the place with concrete. Chernobyl was actually built on top of (or at least close to) the water supply.

Re:Meltdown? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478400)

You don't need a "huge amount" of math. The oceans have a combined volume of about 1.4e18 m^3. Considering a it has a constant density of 1 g/cm^3 (standard water density. It's actually higher for ocean water, but let's make the approximations very conservative). With a heat capacity of 4187 J/kg*K (again, for standard water), this means you need about 5.7e24 J of energy to get the water one single degree higher. To get that amount of energy, you need to convert about 64000 tons of matter into energy. That's definitely not going to happen with a nuclear reactor, which doesn't have even 1% of that amount in fissible materiel (And fission doesn't convert 100% of the mass in energy)

See that this is a totally different process to global warming, where gases and particles in our atmosphere trap the energy transmitted to our planet by the Sun. You should worry about real problems like this, not to an insignificant amount of radioactive material being dissolved into a huge amount of water that already has much more radioactive materials naturally dissolved.

Re:Meltdown? (1)

pahles (701275) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478438)

You do know that in the past dumping barrels of nuclear waste in the ocean was quite common? Barrels that were not treated and are rusting away as we speak?

Not trying to condone it, but there are no known effects on a worldwide scale up until now...

Re:Meltdown? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478532)

I can only assume that you live in a space station and have never visited Earth. If you had, then you would have some idea of how big the world's oceans are (and, indeed, of how to use an apostrophe, but that's a different matter) and would realise that even dumping the entire reactor in the sea would have a negligible effect on the radioactivity sea water worldwide, although it would cause local problems, more related to the toxicity of various elements in the reactor than the radiation.

Journalism (5, Informative)

bogeskov (63797) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478128)

Poorly constructed sentence that last one, insinuating the deaths are related to the nuclear plant.

Re:Journalism (3, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478146)

regular natural disaster deaths aren't as sexy as nuclear ones.

last I heard they were pumping seawater+boron into the reactors, anyone know how's that working out?

Re:Journalism (4, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478164)

Destroying the reactors beyond repair. Turning to seawater cooling means they have given up all hope of salvaging the reactors in a working state, and will settle for just non-exploding.

Re:Journalism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478296)

I think all reactors in Fukushima I are almost end-of-life (all built in the seventies anyway), losing the reactors now is not the massive financial problem it could have been.

A dirty explosion would of course be worst possible outcome but that's not at all the situation now: saying they "will settle for just non-exploding" is just plain wrong. They are trying to control the cooling now, sacrificing the reactors if need be. This is looking better by the hour (even with these explosions), but if that somehow fails and the core(s) actually heat enough to melt down, that still doesn't mean there is going to be a dirty explosion: "controlled meltdown" is something .they actually practice.

Re:Journalism (3, Insightful)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478322)

small correction

the CORES are slag but they will be doing a more or less normal refueling after the rest of the plant has been repaired/upgraded.

Re:Journalism (5, Informative)

CnlPepper (140772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478556)

Sorry to dampen you optimism, but these reactors are going to be totally useless after this. The reactor vessel will almost certainly be beyond repair and it is central to the entire plant. Economically it would be easier to just build a newer design of plant.

Re:Journalism (4, Insightful)

fredjh (1602699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478190)

It's disgusting; CNN.com's current main page headline is "Japan's reactor problems mount; death toll rises."

WTF?

Re:Journalism (2, Informative)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478258)

Well, there were more injured in the second blast, perhaps that is how they spin it. There is a powerful anti-nuclear lobby active at the moment.

Re:Journalism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478314)

America Fail [lolpics.se]

Re:Journalism (0)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478336)

Could it be that the headline writer expects you to know about the earthquake and tsunami already, and to be capable of applying context to the headline?

Re:Journalism (1)

Artraze (600366) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478394)

No.

(Can you even be serious? The way nuclear power is portrayed these days? Give me a break.)

Re:Journalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478576)

No.

(Can you even be serious? The way Americans are educated and journalist report these days? Give me a break.)

There, FIFY.

Re:Journalism (5, Insightful)

fredjh (1602699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478474)

Of course, it could be that, but it's far more likely he's trying to link the two (otherwise it's a completely inappropriate use of the semicolon). Bias in the news is not about lying, it's about creating emotional responses one way or another and getting people to link things together in a way that suits your agenda... in this case, an anti-nuclear one.

CNN.com are not the only ones, and there is even a link to an article insinuating American plants aren't safe (even though they come out and say it). This is persuasive writing... not necessarily factually incorrect, but not journalism, either.

Re:Journalism (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478250)

Quite, that is some nasty reporting from someone who either has an agenda or who doesn't understand fuck-all. Also the rolling blackouts are due to the power plants having been shutdown. What do they expect? I have not heard about rationing, merely the president asking for people to conserve what they can. Lastly, most of the US does not suffer from earthquakes or tsunamis, so those similar reactors should be fine.

Someone is trying to blow this story sky-high. Why do they not focus on where the actual deaths are? Fucking media-journalice.

B.

Re:Journalism (1)

borrrden (2014802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478342)

Yes, there is rationing, though it was largely avoided today due to conserving efforts by train operators and large companies. 7 prefectures have been divided into 5 groups, which rotate among 3 hour power outages as needed. Today only group number 5 (5 - 7 pm) was needed. They are planning it again tomorrow, though. Since the trains are set to expand a bit, I assume that they will need to implement more of those outages.

Re:Journalism (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478328)

Journalism? We don't do that here, go look somewhere else.

History (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478498)

History shows again and again how nature points up the folly of men.

Thousands dead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478144)

Are you confusing the tsunami with the nuclear reactor failure?

Re:Thousands dead? (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478176)

He doesn't. Reading the summary it is very clear that the amount of radiation that will be leaked is proportional to the number of deads caused by the Tsunami.
But don't ask me how, I'm no nuclear scientist.

Re:Thousands dead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478306)

It says that six people are injured from the blast.

The "thousands already dead" are due to the tsunami.

The word "already" does not imply prognosed future deaths.

Bad summary, as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478148)

TFS seems to suggest that the thousands dead are a result of the problems at the nuke power plants. Either Taco's language skills are atrocious, or he's got some serious bias running...

Re:Bad summary, as usual (0)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478244)

Most summaries are written by the submitter, so I don't think it's fair to blame Taco (though I'm hoping we can find some way to blame it on kdawson).

correction (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478150)

Is not the third explosion.
  means number 3 which refers to the number 3 reactor in the plant.
Up to present there were 2 explosions in the plant and not 3.

what (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478152)

I would like to understand clearly and concisely why it has not been possible after so many days to maintain levels of coolant. I know the batteries are dead; I know the on-site generators all failed; I know there was some problem with connectivity on the generators shipped in... but why hasn't this problem been solved yet? Is it because, for each reactor, they're waiting until the last possible moment before they do the seawater+boron thing which will kill it forever? Even if that means a bit of venting and risking a hydrogen explosion in the outer building?

But already Japan is facing rolling blackouts, electricity rationing, evacuating the area around the plant, and thousands dead already.

But also many people died of the Plague also. Is this an attempt at nuclear power scaremongery? Hardly any death or injury has to do with the nuclear plant.

Re:what (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478262)

(theorizing, former nuclear control room operator here from a plant of the same style, GE Boiling Water Reactor, as the ones with the problem)

They've at a minimum lost coolant to relief valve operation after they lost cooling due to loss of offsite (and local emergency diesel) power. They possibly also have some pipe breaks within the drywell containment structure. The relief valve operation is a form of "zero power" cooling unto itself, but you need to make up for the lost coolant somehow.

Nearly all emergency procedures that have a chance of keeping the plant intact depend on power being available, without power, you have to resort to destructive methods (sea water pumped in via fire pumps for instance) to keep things cooled off. Note also, that the equipment that would normally reduce or eliminate hydrogen buildup (the apparent cause of the building explosions) also require power.

While the earthquake was the root cause, the seawater being able to reach and apparently shutdown the emergency diesel generators onsite is why the problems got MUCH larger than what could have been.

Re:what (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478264)

I would like to understand clearly and concisely why it has not been possible after so many days to maintain levels of coolant.

Supposedly the pump control room was flooded but yeah after three days that's really not much excuse.

Re:what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478290)

Hardly any death or injury has to do with the nuclear plant.

Don't worry, there is plenty of time for that.

Re:what (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478298)

As far as I understood, the seawater+boric acid solution has been applied to reactors that were scheduled to be scrapped quite soon anyway. For an operational reactor, you do not want to do this until the very last moment. As for why there are no other power sources available to power the pumps... that is a good question.

Re:what (2)

borrrden (2014802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478412)

Hmmmm could it perhaps have something to do with the fact that the entire area lies in god-forsaken ruin?

Re:what (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478462)

no. If the army can airlift in an amount of coolant, they can also airlift in a portable generator or generator container. It is not like all of Japan is washed away. My only guess is that they would not be big enough or be able to provide the right type of electricity.

Third blast? (4, Informative)

Steve Max (1235710) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478170)

As far as I can tell, TFAs are about the SECOND blast, which happened on reactor 3 of the plant. NHK has nothing about a third blast. Am I missing something? Was there a third explosion, on reactor 2?

Re:Third blast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478228)

The Japanese article in the link is referring to the reactor number 3 of the plant.
There was no 3rd explosion.

Re:Third blast? (1)

acoustix (123925) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478234)

As far as I can tell, TFAs are about the SECOND blast, which happened on reactor 3 of the plant. NHK has nothing about a third blast. Am I missing something? Was there a third explosion, on reactor 2?

Correct. The title is completely wrong. I hope it is updated soon.

Re:Third blast? (4, Insightful)

tsj5j (1159013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478252)

This is correct.

From my limited understanding of Japanese, the article refers to reactor #3, not explosion #3.
I know Slashdot has limited editors, but shouldn't you at least click and check the links before posting such an important piece of news?

Many local news outlets will pick up and spread this piece of disinformation.

Re:Third blast? (5, Insightful)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478354)

Many local news outlets will pick up and spread this piece of disinformation.

You think local news outlets read Slashdot? Really??

Re:Third blast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478542)

Yep. Have you seen local news in your region lately? Nuff said.

Re:Third blast? (5, Informative)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478256)

There is no explosion. There will be one tomorrow though.

About 2 hours ago Tokyo Electric Co reported that they've decided to flood reactor #2 after its cooling died earlier during the day. It is not clear when and why it died. Anyway, since it died, flooding procedure was begun. However, they are so far failing to cover the whole active zone with water. TEPCO's official said that that is suggesting the reactor core has melted to some extent.

Just 10 minutes ago it was confirmed that water is flowing in slowly, and about half of the fuel is covered.

Re:Third blast? (5, Informative)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478388)

Indeed. It would help probably the global set of journalists to just refresh this page every hour or so [tepco.co.jp] . It was obvious for quite a while that an explosion outside the third reactor was likely, since it was experiencing exactly the same sequence as the first reactor.

Re:Third blast? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478416)

There is no explosion. There will be one tomorrow though.

Well, of course. There's always boom tomorrow.

Re:Third blast? (0)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478464)

The conditions that are being created in reactor #2 at the moment are exactly the same that caused the explosion in #3 today. There is a hot bare core, probably partially molten, there is water on top of it, there is enough temperature to dissociate it into hydrogen and oxygen. What makes you think there is no risk of explosion tomorrow?

Re:Third blast? (1)

borrrden (2014802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478304)

Yes, this article is about the 2nd explosion at reactor number 3. So far there have been explosions at reactors 1 and 3. Reactor 2's building is still intact.

Re:Third blast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478466)

Yes, the submission is wrong. There have been 2 hydrogen explosions, involving reactor #1 (Saturday) and now reactor #3 (today/Monday). From the video, the latter hydrogen explosion was substantially bigger than the first one. Another reactor (#2) has apparently had loss of coolant and exposure of the fuel for some unknown time (i.e. a real potential for a meltdown).

(1)Bad for nuclear (2)I'm sure Japan will be OK (0, Flamebait)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478182)

(1) All of these explosions are being seen 'round the world, and the anti-nuclear types (aka environmentalists) will be opposed to building any new plants, thereby derailing Obama and Biden's plans. It might also have negative affects in the EU, blocking their efforts to convert to nuclear.

(2) Japan's one of the world's richest countries (with the second-fastest internet service). I suspect they'll pull out of this just fine.

Just like a Bill Gates or Donald Trump are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, and don't need social security or food stamps.

Re:(1)Bad for nuclear (2)I'm sure Japan will be OK (-1)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478198)

(Score:-1)
Why??? Karma bombed by moderators (I suspect).

(1) All of these explosions are being seen 'round the world, and the anti-nuclear types (aka environmentalists) will be opposed to building any new plants, thereby derailing Obama and Biden's plans. It might also have negative affects in the EU, blocking their efforts to convert to nuclear.

(2) Japan's one of the world's richest countries (with the second-fastest internet service). I suspect they'll pull out of this just fine. ----- Just like a Bill Gates or Donald Trump are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, and don't need social security or food stamps.

Re:(1)Bad for nuclear (2)I'm sure Japan will be OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478222)

blocking their efforts to convert to nuclear.

It would be a good thing that wind and solar won't be sabotaged anymore. /sarcasm

Re:(1)Bad for nuclear (2)I'm sure Japan will be OK (2)

fredjh (1602699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478318)

It's funny, because last week the republicans were talking up nuclear power, too... and now the media (what I heard this morning, anyway) is firmly planted in trying to show why republicans are idiots for pushing nuclear power when it was part of Obama's agenda, too.

Ahh, to politics and never letting a crisis go to waste, and to never letting facts about Three Mile Island and the current tragedy get in the way of a good story.

Re:(1)Bad for nuclear (2)I'm sure Japan will be OK (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478574)

Nuclear needs to be promoted but it has to be with a plan for sustainable energy too. Every energy source has it's pros & cons (Japan demonstrates the major con of nuclear), but renewables aren't the solution by themselves either.

Re:(1)Bad for nuclear (2)I'm sure Japan will be OK (4, Insightful)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478386)

I think the opposite. If Japan manages to get through this with only minor radiation problems (as so far) I think it will be a positive for nuclear energy. I mean, WTF more could you possibly do? A Mag 10 quake right under the reactor core? One thing that will come out of this is that both Japan and the US currently require backup power for the cooling system of only about 12 hours while the Eurolanders require 24-48 hours. There will definitely be a push to try to up this to 72 hours though of course practicalities may get in the way.

Re:(1)Bad for nuclear (2)I'm sure Japan will be OK (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478546)

As far as I understand it, there are three things to fix:

- Use a modern design, not one from the 1970s, so that a meltdown is avoided by physics and not engineering

- Build bigger tsunami barriers, to cope with the once in a hundred years of flooding.

- Do not place backup generators on low ground.

Read this first (5, Informative)

kylegordon (159137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478204)

Before commenting, try and understand the design and facts

http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/03/13/fukushima-simple-explanation/ [bravenewclimate.com]

Re:Read this first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478366)

Well, isn't that all nice and dandy? Who's the author again? At this point, it's unfortunately becoming clear that the situation is worse than what the Tokyo Electric and the government are saying. One can only hope that they aren't covering up events too much...

Re:Read this first (1)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478424)

Before commenting, try and understand the design and facts

http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/03/13/fukushima-simple-explanation/ [bravenewclimate.com]

Mod parent up. That was a really interesting read.

Re:Read this first (2, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478514)

Not saying the guy isn't smart, but read the disclaimer at the top. He works for MIT, sure, but he's no nuclear physicist. In fact, it's basically stated that his "nuclear credentials" are based on his _father's_ expertise, NOT his. Essentially "my dad was a nuclear physicist so I'll write like I'm an expert too!". Again, he's smart and accomplished, but I'd submit he's sorely under qualified to make _any_ statements about the situation at hand.

Re:Read this first (1)

colinhow (1730144) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478456)

Thank you - that article is fascinating.

Unfortunate (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478208)

Much like Three Mile Island (which also didn't release any significant radiation), this will set nuclear energy back years. And with the carbon problem and increasing dependence on fossil fuels, we need it now more than every. Solar and wind aren't ready, and so much progress has been made in nuclear plant safety.

Re:Unfortunate (0)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478284)

Solar and wind already cost less per KW than nuclear. I'd call that ready.

Re:Unfortunate (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478344)

Solar and wind already cost less per KW than nuclear.

Does this mean we can end all those solar and wind subsidies, then?

Re:Unfortunate (0)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478398)

No, we can transfer all the Nuclear subsidies to solar and wind. How about that?

Re:Unfortunate (4, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478406)

From even the most optimistic sources I've read, solar costs something along the lines of 3-4 times more than nuclear per KwH. Wind power is supposedly cheaper than solar (by about about half), but can't deliver a consistent supply and is *heavily* dependent on location and weather (i.e., it's only cheaper if you're in a pretty consistently windy location with favorable weather). That's what I meant by "not ready."

Re:Unfortunate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478444)

Solar and wind aren't useful to replace base load, which is what nuclear's best at.

10,000 dead (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478212)

Yes, this is intentional anti-nuclear scaremongering. Look at the AP and Reuters reports. Every one of them starts out with a headline that says something about nuclear explosion or meltdown and then goes straight into saying that 10,000 people have died and several thousands are missing and cities were "flattened" and on and on about hydrogen (bomb) explosions and just complete utter bullshit.

any risk of a china / usa syndrome? (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478302)

any risk of a china / usa syndrome?

Re:any risk of a china / usa syndrome? (0)

Magada (741361) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478326)

A what? Piss off to ebaumsworld, will ya?

Re:any risk of a china / usa syndrome? (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478352)

No.

Re:any risk of a china / usa syndrome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478372)

Only if you put a "Keep Straight Ahead" signage in the Earth core.

Re:any risk of a china / usa syndrome? (1)

trollertron3000 (1940942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478422)

It depends. If Michael Douglas can get the information to the press in time Hanoi Jane can stop it possibly. We'll see.

Since I'm sure to be modded down for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478316)

http://www.asahi.com/national/gallery_e/view_photo.html?national-pg/0314/TKY201103140242.jpg [asahi.com] (from the Japanese article) I'll post this anonymously. I'm not one to look for penises in everything, but this one was hard to ignore.

Re:Since I'm sure to be modded down for this... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478458)

Yes, you will be modded down, but only because it is clearly a uterus.

Radiation Leak Detected off shore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478338)

From the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12733393

"...the US said it had moved one of its aircraft carriers from the area after detecting low-level radiation 160km (100 miles) offshore."

Also, regarding "there won't be significant radiation" - if you read the comments in the blog, another physicist is calling the OP a shill for the nuclear industry.

So between the radiation leak and the contrary viewpoint to the industry shill, I'd say there is significant chance of a radiation leak, it's just a matter of degree...

RIP nuclear power (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478356)

First the Chernobyl clusterfuck turned nuclear power from The Answer To All Our Problems to A Scary Thing, then the non-event of TMI combined with some shitty old movie was enough to scare America off of it forever...now these events might be enough to damage nuclear power's reputation beyond repair with the rest of the international community. And what's left to take its place? All the fossil fuels you could ever want*, including lots of filthy, filthy coal.

The Chinese will probably push forward with their nuclear plans. On one hand, it's good that it will reduce the coal use of one of the planet's biggest energy consumers, on the other hand, China has a reputation for not giving a fuck about the environment or safety (they're in the middle of their Gilded Age after all), and the last thing anybody needs is another Chernobyl, plus any improperly set up Chinese nuclear waste sites won't get a super-funded cleanup any time in the forseeable future. Maybe they'd get some political prisoners to do the cleanup work to save costs on hazmat suits and decontamination gear.

*Until they run out

Oh god, the ignorance circle jerk begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478402)

Even Demand Progress is in on the circle jerk.

WTF.
http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/georgianukes/?akid=360.21834.6IpMej&rd=1&t=1

This is dumb. Why do we still have to burn coal everywhere, even in disaster-safe Georgia?

Achilles Heel (1)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478358)

A while back I was watching World's Toughest Fixes and they would not show the cooling buildings at the nuke plant where the show was filmed. I guess that now makes sense (one can argue it is theater). Why blow up the reactor proper when you can go after a much softer target and achieve basically the same effect. I am all for nuclear power but this needs to be addressed IMHO.

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478432)

Pebble bed reactors (the same design as the micro-reactor concepts that keep popping up lately) always fail safely by design:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_bed_reactor [wikipedia.org]

The downside is the greater volume of waste - it's safer waste, but because of that there isn't much use for the spent fuel.

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478516)

I saw the show too, when it was on British TV and it was just a load of jobsworth security theatre nonsense. "You can't film that! It's a security risk!" when the things they "can't film" are gigantic cooling towers that are visible from miles around, and the plant layout which was supposedly the "secret" is easily visible on Google Maps - I went there specifically after watching the show to generate my own mini Streisand Effect.

If they hadn't made such a big fuss about nothing, no one would care. Anyone wanting to attack that plant just needs to drive near it, or fly over it in an aircraft, or go on Google Fucking Maps and switch to photo view. I doubt they'd be drawing up plans based on a few seconds of shots in a Discovery channel show.

The "cooling buildings" on that plant were the two enormous towers - they are an obvious target, but they are only one piece in a very redundant system, and are tertiary systems - it's just "politeness" to cool the river water back down before pumping it back out into the environment. If the towers were destroyed you'd just pump the water from the tertiary loop back out into the river while it was still warm, which would probably kill a lot of fish, but makes absolutely no odds to the power plant itself.

If they didn't want to do that they could just vent steam directly into the atmosphere to control the temperature.

Radioactive releases Could Last Months (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478392)

It seems it's a lot worse than initially thought. There is a probablity of a complete meltdown. In the best case, there will be radioactive discharges for months.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/14/world/asia/japan-fukushima-nuclear-reactor.html?_r=1&hp [nytimes.com]

Re:Radioactive releases Could Last Months (1)

borrrden (2014802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478468)

I have trouble trusting this article at all. For one thing, it says it cannot be confirmed if any of the reactors use MOX fuel. Um....they've been saying that reactor 3 uses MOX fuel for days now. Where has the Times been? Other than that it is generally vague about a timeline or any evidence that it "could last for months."

Re:Radioactive releases Could Last Months (1, Insightful)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478540)

Don't forget that they don't ever discuss the levels of radiation released, because then they might have to admit they are minimal.

Time for passive cooling systems (1)

DeltaQH (717204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478428)

The active cooling system seems to be the Achilles heel of a nuclear reactor.

Time to design and build nuclear reactors with passive cooling systems that do not need external resources to be operational.

Re:Time for passive cooling systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478504)

Cooling systems is not just "cooling". It's an integral part of the generation system.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a0/PressurizedWaterReactor.gif [wikimedia.org]

See? The red loop. That's the cooling system. Without it there's no steam to move the turbines.

Thousands dead from quake+tsunami, not reactor! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35478440)

Could the OP please amend the text so that it doesn't read like the reactor problems have already resulted in thousands of deaths? I'm worried that the reactor may indeed cause many deaths in the future, but I'd prefer not to have the article prematurely (and I hope inadvertently) villainizing nuclear power.

NOBODY has died because of the reactor! (2)

melstav (174456) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478480)

All of those people who died were killed by the tsunami or the quake. Okay, technically, there have been a VERY SMALL (like on the order of a few dozen) number of injuries and a few fatalities directly related to the reactors. But those were all among people who were actually *working in* the power plants.

NOT third explosion? (1)

unwesen (241906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478524)

Google translate suggests that this is not, in fact, a third explosion, but an explosion at the third reactor core. Which I've seen on the news a few hours ago. So it's the second explosion. Could anyone with better understanding of Japanese confirm?

Re:NOT third explosion? (1)

unwesen (241906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35478536)

Ah, right, people already caught that :D

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