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255 comments

Words (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249174)

Words are fun.

"Dump" vs "Storage Site" or "Spent Fuel Storage" or "Waste Storage".

You can tell when someone is trying to sensationalize a story by the words they choose.

Re:Words (3, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249198)

Or, perhaps a discount source for radioactive materials? http://www.thedump.com/ [thedump.com]

Re:Words (3, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249582)

So, is TFA using strong words, or is the nuclear industry generally using euphemisms for their problems? You can't deny either of them. And the truth lies in the middle.

Re:Words (2)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249838)

Or maybe they are just calling a spade a spade. What does one do at a dump? They store waste. Its a correct word. I bet your local municipality calls their "dump" a "waste management facility" or something similar. I guess the connotations are less negative so the people who live near or work at it don't feel as bad?

"dump" has an undesirable connotation and I think that its fair use of the term, this is objectively not something you want in your back yard; so I don't "dump" is pejorative here.

Re:Words (5, Insightful)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249924)

Except spent fuel can be recycled in a breeder reactor. It is only "waste" if you give up on using it!

Re:Words (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250068)

Mod parent up!

Re:Words (4, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250134)

Calling it a dump is hardly sensational. The word "dump" has always had, in common parlance, a definition that equates to "a place where things no longer wanted or useful are discarded". Ergo, any place where we put the mess made by nuclear energy processes is a dump. It may rub your pro-nuke sensibilities the wrong, but you really need to get over that, because calling it "storage" is just plain stupid. Storage? Seriously? Stored there until... what? You find a way to render it useful for something? Please.

Nuts! (5, Insightful)

Peter H.S. (38077) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249196)

Yes, make a nuclear waste dump on a site known to be hit by magnitude 9.0 earthquakes and Tsunamis. Great idea that shows how safety conscious the nuclear industry is.

Sea level rise (4, Informative)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249242)

Japan is a signatory to the London Dumping Convention which prohibits disposing of nuclear waste at sea (as is the US). Putting a dump site close to the ocean (like at Humboldt Bay Nuclear) means that the site will have to be moved, likely at great expense, owing to seal level rise.

Re:Sea level rise (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249268)

Probably not. Even under the worst case scenario the sea levels aren't going to rise that much. At the end of the day they'll just build a dike if need be.

Re:Sea level rise (4, Insightful)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249352)

I think you are considering sea level rise this century which will likely be less than six meters. But nuclear waste is a problem for much longer than 90 years. The number should be 80 meters for complete melting plus tsunami wash so 150 meters or higher above current see level would be needed for a nuclear dump.

Re:Sea level rise (1)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249644)

Hmm.. I think both of your figures are two orders of magnitude higher than reality. As an aside to the current conversation, could you link for me where those come from?

Re:Sea level rise (3, Informative)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250018)

Some estimates for sea level rise this century come in at about two meters. An exponential process might lead to five meters: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/2/2/024002/fulltext [iop.org]

For the maximum possible sea level rise (expected under BAU carbon dioxide emissions eventually) 80 meters is calculated here: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs2-00/ [usgs.gov]

see level (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249686)

Is that a baseball term?

100.000 years (5, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249360)

The comments here once again show that people only look for the duration of their own lifespans (or perhaps a little more) regarding the storage of nuclear waste.

Nuclear storage must be done in a place which is inherently safe. Which is safe without human intervention in the next decades/centuries/millenia.
You can't dump it somewhere and make a plan to "build a dike if need be". Who will guarantee that a dike will be built if need be in 250 years from now? Or 2500 years from now?

Re:100.000 years (1)

calderra (1034658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249706)

I don't see how "this containment site broke" is a qualifier for a good containment site. Anyone care to explain?

Re:100.000 years (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250048)

Thing is, you can reprocess nuclear waste to reuse it one more time, reducing the decay time from a few millenia to less than a hundred years.

Re:100.000 years (3, Insightful)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250052)

Not that I think this is a good site location, but in your hypothetical, if there's no people or organized government around to do so who cares? In such a post-apocalyptical world no ones going to care about a little nuclear waste winding up in the ocean when there's a zombie ripping their face off to get to their delicious brains.

Re:100.000 years (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250296)

Not that I think this is a good site location, but in your hypothetical, if there's no people or organized government around to do so who cares? In such a post-apocalyptical world no ones going to care about a little nuclear waste winding up in the ocean when there's a zombie ripping their face off to get to their delicious brains.

A more likely scenario than a zombie apocalypse will be a change in government. One that may not be aware of the nuclear waste storage area and therefore unable to respond to it. Even if the same government is in place it may simply be forgotten.

Re:100.000 years (0)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250112)

Anything highly radioactive will be gone after years or at most decades, anything left over is barely going to be above background levels. So long as it's made into a form that doesn't easily enter the water table (glassification) it's really a non-issue. The concept that there will be dangerous amount of radiation after a lifetime is pure hysteria.

Re:100.000 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250226)

So long as it's made into a form that doesn't easily enter the water table (glassification) it's really a non-issue.

Have you ever seen "glass pebbles" on beach? Did you wonder where the missing glass from initialy sharp shards went? It turns into silicate sand particles and the grinding never really stops, sand grains are getting ever smaller, and yes, they can enter the water table, much sooner then 100,000 years.

Re:100.000 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250232)

You dont need to store nuclear waste for 100.000. You need to store until you have better tech/knowledge to handle it ( 100 Years).

Re:100.000 years (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250266)

I thank the Gods every day that /.ers are not responsible for managing this..

Except for your post, I would gladly have you oversee as QA anyday Sir!

Re:Seal level rise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249590)

I thought about this much, and came to the conclusion lower seal levels can be obtained by clubbing most baby seals at birth, this way you won't have to dump anything, except all the data into new penguin farms, each of which can discard the rest of the signatory nuclear conventions from Japan, London or the US.

  I'm running for president by the way. Vote for me and I promise I turn baby seals into fertilizer for the Humbolt Green Works.

Re:Sea level rise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249278)

"seal level rise"
I had no idea climate change (which may or may not be a natural cycle, depending on who you want to argue with) had such an effect on aquatic mammals! We don't want those seals to become irradiated!

Re:Sea level rise (1)

pmontra (738736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249300)

Maybe they're moving the ocean somewhere else. It would be less bizarre than proposing to store nuclear waste there.

Re:Sea level rise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249384)

If the problem with the plant was cooling and atmospheric radiation release, why don't we have undersea nuclear plants? The ocean is a helluva heatsink and in the event of catastrophe, radiation would not spread as far as long as the plant wasn't near a major current. According to this source [epa.gov] , water also acts as a radiation shield. Waste from the site would need to be disposed of on land, but most of the global population is near the sea *and* desalinization takes a lot of energy if we need drinking water as well. It's a no-brainer.

Re:Sea level rise (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249562)

Maybe because there are people working at the plant, and working under water isn't that easy. Also remember that things like Diesel generators don't like water (actually, that's how the whole thing started in Fukushima, the Diesel generators being damaged by the Tsunami).

Another thing to consider is that sea water is an excellent electric conductor. I leave it to your imagination what it means for an under-water power plant.

Re:Sea level rise (1)

calzakk (1455889) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249514)

Radioactive seals swimming around... not good.

Re:Sea level rise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249542)

Sea level rise. Climate change is just a sociaist hoax you moron. And even if it is real (but not caused by man, obviously), the Rapture will arrive long before the sea levels can rise anywhere near that much.

Re:Sea level rise (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249622)

It's funny that you dismiss a scientific argument as a hoax, but claim a 2000 year old bedtime story as the truth.

Or...

whoooooooooooosh. I very much hope whoooooooooooosh.

Re:Nuts! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249274)

Water's good for nukulars, so tsunamis are a good thing I think. These guys have awesome scientists on there team so u can be sure they thought about the risks.

Re:Nuts! (1)

kmdrtako (1971832) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249556)

nukulars?

awesome scientists?

on there team?

so u can be sure?

Is that you, W?

Response to the voice of common sense... (1)

Pollux (102520) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249284)

I'm sure most posts that show up in this thread are going to be very similar in nature to the parent, but don't jump to conclusions so quickly. When the industry talks about long-term storage, here's what they're referring to... (from the article):

The disposal of high-level waste is more complicated since it needs to be solidified into borosilicate glass and placed inside heavy stainless steel cylinders about 1.3 meters high, the World Nuclear Association said. The casks are then usually transferred to interim storage sites before a long-term underground repository is built.

Storing nuclear waste as borosilicate glass in dry-cask storage is an expensive process, but once complete, the casks are quite durable. This is a much safer storage option compared to leaving the spent fuel pellets in a swimming pool.

Re:Response to the voice of common sense... (2)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249374)

>>>The casks are...a much safer storage option compared to leaving the spent fuel pellets in a swimming pool.

Yes true. I've heard that the explosion threw some of those pellets into the surrounding neighborhood, therefore getting them converted to stable "casks" is certainly better.

But the *safest* place would be somewhere not subject to earthquakes or drownings by tsunami. Like the Nevada or Sahara desert. That's where Japan should be storing its nuclear waste products for the next 1000 years.

Safest (3, Interesting)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249758)

Be careful. The safest thing is to not create nuclear waste in the first place. That is only common sense.

Re:Safest (2)

bertok (226922) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250236)

Common sense, but wrong.

There is an inherent risk in all power generation technologies -- just about the truly safe power generation method is solar, but that's not practical everywhere, and has only been cost-effective recently.

All other methods kill people. Coal kills thousands a year directly, tens of thousands indirectly. Oil kills people -- think oil rig fires, accidents, wars over oil, etc... Natural gas isn't fantastic either, producing it is just as dangerous as drilling for oil, it just pollutes somewhat less. Even wind power has the occasional industrial accident, mechanics falling off the tall towers, getting electrocuted, or whatever.

We aren't better off without power either -- the availability of cheap energy enables fertilizers, medicines, and heating -- without which we'd starve, get diseased, or freeze. Manufacturing of all modern goods requires electricity, and we need manufactured goods to live! There's too many of us now to survive without tools, machines, and automation.

Essentially, it's a tradeoff: one thing that kills people vs another source of death. We just pick the one that's better overall. In that sense, nuclear power is a very good trade: it's killed something like 40 people directly in its entire history, and no more than a few thousand indirectly, mostly from one accident at a poorly-managed old plant. Nuclear material from Fukushima has killed 0 people so far.

For contrast, the construction of the Hoover dam has claimed 112 lives [wikipedia.org] , but you'd be hard pressed to find people who think that it was a bad idea to build it.

Re:Nuts! (1, Interesting)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249380)

"known to be hit by magnitude 9.0 earthquakes" is a tad excessive of a way to put it. Particularly due to the fact that it is inaccurate to put it as plural. There has been a total of 1 9.0 earthquake there, in recorded history. I'm not completely disagreeing with the possible risk I'm not sure what the damage a smaller earthquake would do to a nuclear waste storage facility, just the way you phrased it sounds kind of silly. It's akin to saying "look at the idiots building the freedom tower, in an area known for having planes crash into tall buildings".

Tsunami stones (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249852)

Some of the old tsunami stones were washed away and some were not. Evidence of past seismic activity similar to this year's?

Re:Nuts! (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249886)

The problem with your analogy is the place is subject to all sorts of earthquakes. Yes, not all of them are 9.0 but they are subject to regular earthquakes. It would be like if the trade centers had to weather a plane (of varying sizes) crashing into it monthly.

Re:Nuts! (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250192)

The problem is that the area has had higher tsunami's in the not so distant past, there are stones along the hillside (some more than 600 years old) that show a line below which past tsunami's have wiped out homes.

Re:Nuts! (2)

he-sk (103163) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250204)

First of all, the geological record in Japan contains proof of previous tsunamis of the same height as the most recent one and presumably caused by an earthquake of similar strength. So your decision to only count earthquakes of which there is a seismological record while excluding other data is somewhat arbitrary.

Secondly, the 1952 Kamchatka earthquake [wikipedia.org] , although it occurred north of Japan, was also a 9.0-magnitude quake, did result in a tsunami, and most importantly, was caused by the same fault line that brought us the recent quake.

In other words, the GP's use of plural is completely justified.

Re:Nuts! (2)

darkstar949 (697933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249438)

I hate to say it, but there really isn't any way to keep the plant from being a nuclear waste dump to some extent since they are going to have a really hard dismantling the entire site to dispose of the damaged reactors for a couple of decades. As such, it is likely better to put the entire site under nuclear waste dump protocols and just write the entire site off as an active power plant.

However, I don't see adding additional waste to the site from other locations as a very good idea, so hopefully they are just limiting things to the damaged reactors and the containment necessary.

Re:Nuts! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249456)

How long will it take the tectonic plates to build up enough energy for another 9.0 earthquake? We know they happen here, but we also know when the last one happened.

Can't some forms of nuclear waste be stabilized? Imbedded in solid materials, rather than just stored as liquids in a brittle shell? I'd rather clean up after dropping hard-boiled eggs than raw ones.

yellowstone (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249586)

i don't think we should go on looking at tectonics as a stored-energy situation, based on probabilities. there is this whole entire other way of describing zones as 'active' and so on that goes against all of that, but for some reason scientists use both models. how can a serious scientist seriously look at the problem of earthquakes and volcanoes as both an assurance (where some areas are definitely more likely to be hit by these disasters than others) and also as a probability (where if one of these disasters just occured, it's less likely to happen again anytime relatively soon)? i mean, by putting a region under a category as 'active' that would by necessity mean that it's therefore that much less likely for anything to happen there, because it already happened before.

i know i sound confused but i'm not. i think the scientists who try and predict or assess these things need to pick one of two models and stick with it, and i don't think the gambling-based probability model is where it's at. i think they should just get to the nitty gritty on categorizing different regions based on what they can observe in nearby fault lines and volcanoes, and just always keep alert over those regions.

consider what all of this crap means about the american northwest, for example. there's been this spooky thing going on with yellowstone national park for some time, which should have brought to american awareness the fact that the entire area there is a huge, flat, supervolcano. that's heating up to the point where it melts peoples' shoes. the big tip-off should've been "old faithful" going nuts. "gee something's going to happen, here". man, if people thought mt. st. helens was bad, if yellowstone blew it would be like mt. st. helens was a pimple and the person's eye just fell out of their head. there would probably be many thousands dead from the explosion alone, and then millions from the after affects. life west of the grand canyon would get nasty. and yet our science hasn't progressed to the point, yet, where it's become obvious that these zones we keep picking up on, like "the ring of fire", are best considered connected for a *reason*? perhaps because they all operate on the same mechanism?

and before you go saying that yellowstone blowing is fringe or some bullshit, don't forget:
1. there are several very serious scientists trying *right now* to warn people about yellowstone
2. it's a safety issue affecting potentially millions of lives and the american economy on a level like you're seeing japan facing, now, on top of what problems we already have
3. pretending it's fringe just because you don't "get it" amounts to disinformation

Re:Nuts! (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249646)

The entire island is surrounded by faults and oceans and they have no such thing as "un-used" land. No matter where they put it, it will be near a site that will eventually be earthquake active. About every place they could put it would fall under "hit by magnitude 9.0 earthquakes and Tsunamis", just probably not on record.

Re:Nuts! (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249804)

But is trying to move all the nuclear waste of multiple melted down nuclear plants going to be more risky than just making it a nuclear waste dump in place in a not so optimal location?

Both choices have risks.

Do you really know enough about both sets to declare it nuts already?

How to choose a site? (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249204)

do they choose it based on the assumption that there will be no big natural desasters close to this place?

Re:How to choose a site? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249446)

earthquakes and tsunamis don't hit the same place twice, right?

Same scale as the Chernobyl (0)

oobayly (1056050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249234)

Can anyone provide a source for this, I'm not denying this is the case, I'm just interested to know how, seeing as about 25% of the graphite was ejected and something like 5% of the core burned in the open for 9 days.

On topic, I can't see it being the best site for a nuclear waste dump. From my limited knowledge, though my uncle is a geologist specialising in nuclear waste disposal I would have thought you need an incredibly stable area.

Disclaimer: I'm pro nuclear, but not rabidly so.

Re:Same scale as the Chernobyl (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249322)

You are such a liar and that little attempt at distraction by saying you are pro-nuke is just icing on the cake.

Graphite was NOT ejected and the core did NOT burn 'in the open'. The whole thing was and is encased in a thick concrete protective shell just specifically so that no nuclear material could escape containment. That mean the CORE and all radioactivity associated. There is and was NO THREAT to anyone's health at Fukushima.

Your luddite technphobe anti-nuclear bullshit propaganda is LIES and you are trying to put humanity back in the dark ages.

Re:Same scale as the Chernobyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249406)

You are such a liar and that little attempt at distraction by saying you are pro-nuke is just icing on the cake.

Graphite was NOT ejected and the core did NOT burn 'in the open'. The whole thing was and is encased in a thick concrete protective shell just specifically so that no nuclear material could escape containment. That mean the CORE and all radioactivity associated. There is and was NO THREAT to anyone's health at Fukushima.

Your luddite technphobe anti-nuclear bullshit propaganda is LIES and you are trying to put humanity back in the dark ages.

grandparent was referring to chernobyl - where events took place as they described.
Fukushima was quite different as you pointed out.

Re:Same scale as the Chernobyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249408)

Easy now... He is talking about Chernobyl.
He wants to know why Fukushima was classified as a 7 on the ines scale (same as chernobyl).
(maybe Fukushima is a seven, but then Chernobyl should have been a 10)

Re:Same scale as the Chernobyl (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249426)

There is and was NO THREAT to anyone's health at Fukushima.

Sure, that must be the reason why they created an evacuation zone around Fukushima. Governments just like to evacuate people for no reason, right?

But the ejection of graphite and 9 day burning of the core obviously referred to Chernobyl. He doubted the claim that Fukushima was the same scale as Chernobyl, of which you hopefully don't deny that it had graphite ejection and burning. And since you even claim that there was no thread at all for anyone's health at Fukushima (which you hopefully don't claim for Chernobyl), you actually confirmed his doubt, after calling him a liar.

Next time before you answer a post, maybe you first read and understand the post you answer to, instead of blindly reacting on a few trigger words.

Re:Same scale as the Chernobyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249500)

He was talking about Chernobyl. Fukushima doesn't even USE graphite moderation.

Re:Same scale as the Chernobyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249524)

Correct, although that doesn't mean no radioactive material leaked. However, even a Chernobyl scale disaster can be much less problematic, if it's handled better.

Re:Same scale as the Chernobyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249532)

Wow, way to knee-jerk, fool.

He was questioning the claim in TFA that Fukushima was "on the same scale as the Chernobyl disaster in 1986", and pointing out that the Chernobyl incident involved radical mass ejection and exposed burning.

Reading comprehension just not your strong suit, or are you a "luddite technphobe anti-nuclear bullshit" scammer trying to make the pro-nuclear side look bad?

Re:Same scale as the Chernobyl (1)

oobayly (1056050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249572)

Of course, you could have read my post properly. Also it would be quite difficult to eject graphite from the core of a BWR, due to the distinct lack of it.

Your reaction is why I put my disclaimer, unlike you I'm not a rabid supporter. People like you do more damage to the perception of the nuclear industry more than any anti-nuclear campaigner can.

There is and was NO THREAT to anyone's health at Fukushima.

Official (and verified) reading quote over 1000mSv/hr, several hours exposed to that would certainly be a threat to somebody's heath.

Oh, you're an AC, <sigh>, what a waste of electrons.

Re:Same scale as the Chernobyl (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249614)

I caught a lot of fish with that one, but I threw them all back until I landed you.

Re:Same scale as the Chernobyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249630)

You are a fscking IDIOT! 300,000 people plus will die eventually from cancer from Fukushiama disaster.

Do you know that most nuclear power plants need people to do various chores in nuclear power plant while being exposed to radiation. Why don't you do your duty and work in a nuke plant as a temporary worker cleaning out the nuke reactor and other mundane but necessary tasks. Nuclear power plants are safe so why don't you work there n one of the lower paid jobs akin to a dishwasher in a restaurant?

Fukishiama had a melt down of the core in at least 3 of the plants there. This disaster is characterized by incompetence, corruption and greed. These plants are 20+ years old and should have been shut down as most plants in US today are too old and should be shut down.

Nuclear energy is really too expensive Not for Government subsidies. No insurance company will insure any Nuke plants. There is no place to store radioactive garbage.

How many nuclear accidents do we need and how many people have to die of cancer for Nuke plants to be shut down?

Stupid fuck tech arseHole.

The only thing we need now is for FRANCE to have a nuke accident and it will be the end of NUKE energy once and for all.

Re:Same scale as the Chernobyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249834)

Nice try!

You're obviously doing a double bluff to convince people of how pro-nuke people are rabid idiots, aren't you?

Re:Same scale as the Chernobyl (2)

Mascot (120795) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249404)

There are tons of articles if you do a google. From what I've seen, it boils down to: Chernobyl rating, but not Chernobyl bad.

Re:Same scale as the Chernobyl (1)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250000)

The scale is not based on the consequences. Not directly as in "level x means y people died/ z km^2 became unusable". It is more of a statement on how much the plant was damaged/can be repaired/(mis-)operated.

So you could have a accident at the maximum level completely confined in the plant, and a low-level incident killing people (typically because large turbines are dangerous/small radioactive releases can be really badly placed and timed).

Of course there is a moderately strong correlation between the two, in practise.

Re:Same scale as the Chernobyl (1)

DarenN (411219) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250240)

Actually the scale is not about damage to the plant either. The International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) considers three factors [iaea.org] [PDF]. The first factor refers to the effects on people and the release of radioactive materials, the second to the plant itself and the third to the failure of safety systems.

Obviously, the Fukushima accident (that's a INES term, by the way) is very high on the second and third factors, and it remains to be seen how high on the first factor.

Godzillas Nest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249262)

Is this gonna be the birthplace of Godzilla?

Nuclear Dump (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249292)

God already took a nuclear dump there didn't he? Who are we to argue? /troll

pfft (2)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249336)

i've been saying this from day-1 "they're going to have to scrap the whole thing, it'll never function properly or safely ever again, and you watch, it'll be more than just encased, they're going to completely fill it with materials that slow radiation".

like ocean mud. three to one, place a bet with me, grimy mud from the bottom of the deepest oceans will be involved because it was discovered that more than any other substance including lead and ceramics, mud from the bottom of the ocean is the best barrier against radiation. the only reason they wouldn't do that would be to spare expense. i'd say ten to one but two factors against it happening are: 1. it's expensive to do 2. apparently the people involved with this plant are cheap asses who spare every possible expense whenever they can.

anyways. i thought it was horrendous that they kept trying to keep it as a viable, working power station for so long. greedy dumbfucks.

Re:pfft (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249436)

You are angry because you misunderstood what they were doing.

The second they injected seawater into each of reactors 1, 2 and 3, they knew they were abandoning the investment in those reactors. Since then, their efforts have been to restore active cooling, which is the best long term solution to the problem (they can bring the fuel under control, remove it and store it properly).

Trying to bury it would have been foolish.

Re:pfft (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249484)

but, every time they approached the press about cooling the reactors, it was always coupled with statements about providing power, so gee, you can't really blame me, can you? after all, i'm not a nuclear engineer!

It is all a big cover up. (5, Funny)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249396)

(read quickly because this comment will deleted soon by those in power)

Since Nuclear power is statisticstically safe, and the power plants would have shutdown in the earthquake it is very unlikely that such a disaster really happened there. All that we can see is that real news is censored [alexanderhiggins.com] , everybody in a wide area was moved away [bbc.co.uk] , A No fly zone was erected [centreforaviation.com] , even as radiation at high altitudes is completely neglect able,and independand research are kept a great distance [greenpeace.org] .

All that surely must point to something more serious and it can only lead to the conclusion that the tjunamis was caused aliens landing and that they came to land close to fukushima, or that the hatching eggs of godzilla caused the tsunami and now they are researching Godzilla at that location, or whatever, this region was filled with old folklore [fishpond.com.au] that either came to life or is now lost for the next decades.

By making a storage there it is a sure thing that they can keep the peopla away for some more decades, while they at the same time have a good excuse to build some huge buildings that can hide the cover-up. And since no more people live there, there is no-one who can protest.

Re:It is all a big cover up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249462)

(read quickly because this comment will deleted soon by those in power)

facepalm.jpg

Those in power must be the mods... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249522)

facepalm fail. the link does not resolv.

Re:It is all a big cover up. (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249534)

cool story bro

Re:It is all a big cover up. (1)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249660)

Not sure if serious, so can't mod funny. >

Re:It is all a big cover up. (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249970)

You should have modded funny. It doesn't matter whether the poster believes it or not.

Like joy, you should take your humor wherever you find it.

Why are nuclear plants so hard to shut down? (1)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249442)

Hello nuclear engineers, can someone explain why it takes so long to shut down a nuclear power plant? I think my high school physics book was written by a pro-nuclear lobby. It assured me a nuclear plant can drop some control rods into place and stop the reaction. That may be true, but it still leaves a huge safety problem if it takes several weeks or even months for the reaction to stop.

Proposals for 'passive' cooling systems involve putting a big tank of water over the plant. If the plant shuts down you let gravity feed the cooling system. If a major incident happens, such as an earthquake or tsunami, it is likely to damage the tank and let all of the water out. What good is a passive system that is subject to the same problems as the plant itself?

Why can't we build a nuclear power plant that requires an active system to keep feeding the reaction, and make the reaction stop within minutes rather than weeks?

Re:Why are nuclear plants so hard to shut down? (2)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249464)

i just found this article in bloomberg, it's a play-by-play analysis. the tone is fairly apologetic and tends to put the people responsible into a heroic light, but wtfe. after you read this you'll know why all the different shit happened. it's fairly in-depth.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-25/japan-s-terrifying-day-saw-unprecedented-exposed-fuel-rods.html [bloomberg.com]

Re:Why are nuclear plants so hard to shut down? (4, Interesting)

mortonda (5175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249550)

This has been repeated many times here on slashdot. The reaction stopped, but the core is still VERY hot and has to be cooled for a while. This is what failed. When the core gets hot enough, the fuel melts the containment and falls to the bottom, and might start reacting again.

I'm not a nuclear engineer, but I wonder if we could come up with some sort of design that would allow the fuel rods to mechanically fall in different directions to spread out the heat.. ideally without any extra power needed.

Re:Why are nuclear plants so hard to shut down? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249930)

They already have designs that self cool and the nuclear reaction actually has a negative feedback, which needs to be blocked.

The newer core designs, aka not 60 years old, would have kept the cores cool even without power and the rods would have went into a negative feedback cycle which would have cooled them down faster.

The newer, safer, less-waste designs are much more expensive, so here's hoping to actually putting money into new plants.

Re:Why are nuclear plants so hard to shut down? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249976)

ESBWR is close - the core stays in the same place, but there are heatpipes going to large cooling pools at the roof of the building.

Worst-case, you need a fire truck at the 72 hour mark.

Re:Why are nuclear plants so hard to shut down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249610)

The control rods stop the nuclear fission reaction immediately. The problem is just after you drop the control rods the fuel rods are full of the decay products from the fission. Many of these elements have relatively short half lives and radioactively decay over the next minute/day/week/month. This decay process has a significant heat output which is a shame because it's encased in several feet of very thermally resistant concrete which allows heat out very slowly. Consequently the inside continues to heat up until either the concrete melts or breaks to allow the heat out more quickly.

Re:Why are nuclear plants so hard to shut down? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249734)

Hello nuclear engineers, can someone explain why it takes so long to shut down a nuclear power plant?

I am not a nuclear engineer, but my understanding of the problem is that the fission byproducts decay very fast and release a lot of heat in the process, so until those byproducts are gone the rods need to be cooled.

Re:Why are nuclear plants so hard to shut down? (3)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249858)

The splitting of atoms stops the moment you drop in the control rods ( i.e in a second or two ), but the waste products are still intensely radioactive, generating megawatts of heat. This is still a lot better than having the reactor running, because the heat generation from the waste is very predictable and stable, and it is also less than 10% of the full reactor power, dropping to less than 1% within a day or two.

The reason passive cooling is believed to be safer is pretty much that it does not rely on any machinery, electric power or moving parts. In this particular situation the problem was that all the water from the tsunami short-circuited the electronics of the plant, so the cooling pumps ceased to work. It is possible to build a nuclear plant in such a way that pumps are not needed at all. As an example in the ESBWR design by Hitachi the reactor is tall and positioned further down than the turbines and heat exchangers. Thus the hot steam rises upwards while the colder water flows down, with no need for pumps.

You are correct that if the water itself is lost then a meltdown is very likely to occur unless it can be replaced quickly. However if the reactor's containment structure is solid enough then most of the radioactive fallout would still be contained without contaminating the environment. One of the problems with the Fukushima Daiichi power plant was that its containment is of a poor design and was unable to withstand the pressure. Contrast this with the three mile island plant where the containment dome kept almost all of the radioactive gases inside.

Another issue is that many reactors have teh nuclear fuel in zirconium tubes. This is good in one way because zirconium does not absorb very many neutrons so you don't need to enrich the uranium so much. However, if the zirconium overheats then it can react with the cooling water to form explosive hydrogen gas. This need not cause a problem if the containment is strong enough to contain a hydrogen explosion, or if the plant has the ability to safely vent the hydrogen to the atmosphere. Neither of this was the case at Fukushima, and it is strongly suspected that hydrogen explosions were involved in damaging the containment.

Re:Why are nuclear plants so hard to shut down? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249968)

Google "decay heat".

It's toughest to manage in the first couple of hours after reactor shutdown. Had they kept the cooling systems going just a bit longer, there would likely have been significantly less damage.

"Proposals for 'passive' cooling systems involve putting a big tank of water over the plant. If the plant shuts down you let gravity feed the cooling system. If a major incident happens, such as an earthquake or tsunami, it is likely to damage the tank and let all of the water out. What good is a passive system that is subject to the same problems as the plant itself? "
1) So far there is no evidence that the plant (especially safety-critical items) suffered significant quake damage - One of the service pits cracked, but that's not supposed to be safety-critical. (Obviously, since they DID play a part, future plant designs are going to take that into account.)
2) Nothing within the reactor or turbine buildings was damaged by the tsunami - only unprotected (but unfortunately safety-critical) items outside of the reactor and turbine buildings. (This is why an ABWR probably would have survived without problems - they have additional backup generation inside the turbine building)
3) Newer plant designs have even more quake-hardening than the Fukushima reactors

End result - An AP1000 or ESBWR almost surely would have weathered this disaster without core damage. Both eliminate the need for backup generators.

Re:Why are nuclear plants so hard to shut down? (1)

Vaphell (1489021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249986)

it's like when you burn coal/wood (mechanics aside) - when you put out the fire, the leftovers still generate decay heat. So now imagine that the coal you burn is several orders of magnitude more potent and generates so much decay heat that it can melt itself and everything it touches with no problem, destroy the containment and initiate tons of chemical reactions thanks to plentiful energy. You need to cool it for months if not years - that's how much decay heat it produces.
Nuclear fuel has enormous energy density/output so you don't have to burn millions of tons of coal - that's the point of using it.
If you want actively feed the reaction, just go back to coal.

As for cooling systems being not foolproof - that's one of main problems with 40 years old designs. Knowledge progressed but real world applications did not. Nuclear industry froze in time because of TMI and Chernobyl.

Re:Why are nuclear plants so hard to shut down? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249998)

sigh....
The chain reaction will stop as soon as the rods are dropped. There is left over heat from decay product that is that must be removed by the coolant or else the core can get hot enough to melt. I keep hearing people talk about the reaction going on after that but the fuel in a standard reactor requires a moderator like water for the reaction to continue even without the control rods. Now this does not apply for graphite moderated reactors like the one at Chernobyl but a modern western power plant reactor with no coolant will not support a chain reaction. The coolant is also the moderator so you can not the imaginary runaway blob of radio active death that is so popular in the media.

Did you not bother to listen to CNN, read a newspaper, or pay attention to any of the other news sources when this was happening?

Re:Why are nuclear plants so hard to shut down? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250290)

The root issue is that fission is a messy process. You smash one reasonablly stable nuclius into multiple peices but these peices are not always stable (i'm not sure if any of them are stable) which have varying half lives. As those decay they produce heat and decay products which themselves have varying half lives. As these elements decay they produce heat.

Stopping fission reactions is relatively easy (just kill off the neutron flux with control rods) but there is no way of stopping the fission products that have already been produced from decaying.

Let's hear the answer from Gieco (0)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249502)

Is Jersey a dump for bad reality shows featuring big hipped women and douche bag men [youtube.com] ? - Gieco Spokesman

One problem is (2)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249530)

that while common logic dictates long term storage in bedrock that is highly stable, there is no such place in Japan. Well, there is plenty of bedrock, but being situated pretty much on top of an active fault line, there is little in the way of truly stable bedrock. There is plenty of better places to build deep geological repositories, most nations don't really want to have somebody elses nuclear waste transported along their coasts to reach those places - if the were even willing to accept the waste in the first place, which is far from likely.

It may be that using a broken power plant is the best option for Japan right now. If that is the cause, I just found another reason why I'm glad I don't live in Japan (earthquakes and tsunamis are near the top on that list).

Re:One problem is (1)

vikisonline (1917814) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249814)

I'm sure Iran or North Korea wouldn't mind. We should talk to them.

Fukushima in my pants (1)

slashpot (11017) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249564)

I have Fukushima in my pants.

Re:Fukushima in my pants (3, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249620)

I have Fukushima in my pants.

Ah, I understand: You weren't able to keep your containment closed, and now your pants are contaminated. :-)

Waste (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249640)

About 90 percent of the world's 270,000 tons in used nuclear fuel is stored at reactor sites, mostly in ponds of seven meters deep, such as those exposed at the Fukushima site when hydrogen explosions blew the roofs off reactor buildings.

- Tell me this doesn't you cringe. The only kind of nuclear power I'd ever accept is that which doesn't leave behind nuclear waste and doesn't have the potential to explode.

Re:Waste (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249788)

then you want breeder reactors, which leave 1/10th the amount of waste, generate 10x more power, and have less harmful radioactive waste byproducts with halflives of a century rather than 10,000 years

problem is, breeder reactors make plutonium. nobody wants anyone making plutonium

nuclear power is over, it's a historical, ostracized energy source as of march 11, 2011. all serious nations are moving away from nuclear. nuclear is a wonderful power source in all regards except for the waste nightmare and the fact that althought hings rarely go wrong, when they do, they REALLY go wrong

if you deny nuclear power is an endangered species, you indeed are living in denial, and you just remind me of baghdad bob:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Saeed_al-Sahhaf [wikipedia.org]

I hope Japan can solve its nuclear issue (1)

jenkiskhan (2134118) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249772)

Although a bit terrifying to what happened in Japan, but I hope they are able to solve problems in Fukushima Nuclear Earthquake damaged by the Tsunami a few months ago. Damage caused by the world community is very disturbing, because the resulting radiation and until recently its handling is still encountering several problems. I am sure, with the ability of Japanese nuclear experts and assisted by several scientists from the United States, France, Russia and other countries, then the matter would be resolved, sooner or later. Fukushima hopefully not become a nuclear waste as feared by some people

Hey, guys, dump it all over here! (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250180)

What could go wrong?

Japan: I meant to do that! (1)

Idou (572394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250182)

Pee Wee style [youtube.com] .

Personally... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250212)

I rather like the idea of making Fukushima a seaside holiday resort for the small contingent of disgusting slashdotters who believe that nuclear power is a viable and completely safe form of energy production.

There they can do various leisure activities and maybe take some special classes on statistics, morality and 'bad science' and how it is that corporate cocksuckers can discredit real scientists the world over.

Contamination Containment Site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250286)

When you can't take things 'out' of storage - it is not really storage, but the fencing up of a disaster zone.

It also suggests they have given up with removing the crap, and will concrete the mess in, and prey
leaks from the bottom don't get too much worse.
Like Chernobyl and 3 Mile Island they can't remove the contamination and bulldoze it to the ground.
The core has melted, it is a glowing radioactive disaster. Oh, tell the people it is now a storage
site - that will work.

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