Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Japan Doubles Fukushima Radiation Leak Estimate

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the but-hey-only-in-base-10 dept.

Japan 251

DrBoumBoum writes "The severity of the Fukishima disaster continues to go up, from incident level 4 to level 5 to level 7, and now to 20% of total Chernobyl radioactive spill. The story is not over yet as the plant keeps on leaking radioactive material and may still do so for a long time."

cancel ×

251 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Obligatory (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368374)

Me irradiate you long time.

D'ar! (0)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368388)

Wrong movie, Ebert.

Hmm... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368708)

I need to poop. Does anyone here want to be my groom of the stool?

Nuclear Hologram. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368382)

Fools. The lot of them. Trying to hide the real nature of this accident has undermined nuclear power technology greatly.

Re:Nuclear Hologram. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368418)

Wrong accident, Ebert.

Re:Nuclear Hologram. (3, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368590)

Fools. The lot of them. Trying to hide the real nature of this accident has undermined nuclear power technology greatly.

Yeah, 'cause nuclear power has always been such a good idea. Right? I mean the fucking inevitableirresponsible behavior from profit-driven plant operators has never been a significant problem. Right?

Re:Nuclear Hologram. (4, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369034)

It's only inevitable when you cut down on regulatory authority to satisfy the whack job libertarian lobby. All forms of energy have possible downsides to them, and some of them can be catastrophic in nature, hardly seems fair to single out the nuclear energy industry when the oil industry has more or less led us to the brink of disaster and wants to keep leading into the abyss.

Re:Nuclear Hologram. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36369100)

Japan has no whack job libertarian lobby.

Re:Nuclear Hologram. (3, Interesting)

discord5 (798235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369296)

Japan has no whack job libertarian lobby.

They have Toyama Koichi [youtube.com] who tries to overthrow the government by running in the elections, smile doctor Mack Akasa [youtube.com] , oh and Yuya Uchida [youtube.com] with his love ando peacu movemento. I think it's safe to say they have enough whack job politicians to be sure that some get elected, just like any other country.

There's more videos on youtube if you do a little searching on the political broadcasts for the elections, but most of 'm aren't translated.

Have fun

Re:Nuclear Hologram. (2, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369438)

who tries to overthrow the government by running in the elections

Well we certainly would not want candidates with opposing view points participating in elections, that would be inconvenient.

Re:Nuclear Hologram. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36369442)

The Soviet Union probably did, as evidenced by Chernobyl.

Re:Nuclear Hologram. (3, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369304)

All forms of energy have possible downsides to them, and some of them can be catastrophic in nature, hardly seems fair to single out the nuclear energy

Well few other energy sources make an area completely unlivable for decades or centuries when they fail.

Oil/coal have operational pollution issues, but they don't have catastrophic failure issues. Yes the Gulf Oil spill was a sort of catastrophic event, but even oil is eaten by microbes. The downsides are limited to a decade or so...and life continues there even during this time. Not great but not nearly on the scale of a nuclear accident.

If humans are involved in design, construction or operation, failures will happen. With nuclear, failure is not an option. 100,000+ people in Japan are permanently homeless. At least it's a foreshadowing for when the oceans rise and 10s of millions of people need to be relocated.

Re:Nuclear Hologram. (5, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369602)

Well few other energy sources make an area completely unlivable for decades or centuries when they fail.

Sea level rise from global warming is expected to flood some densely populated areas. Increased temperatures will make some currently hospitable areas inhospitable, and turn land presently viable for agriculture worthless. These changes are likely to be irreversible for thousands of years at the very least, possibly indefinitely, and the problems occur globally, not just within the closest few kilometers of the power plants.

There is very little doubt that the cost of adapting to the consequences of our greenhouse gas emissions will vastly exceed even the worst outcome of nuclear accidents. Yes, that includes Chernobyl. You can't declare the entire world an exclusion zone when it's the global climate you're messing up.

Re:Nuclear Hologram. (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36370188)

For the most part we don't need nuclear power. For electricity generation provided by nuclear power many places can use geothermal instead. Particularly Japan. It's cheaper, doesn't require foreign fuels or technologies, doesn't leave a mess afterward, the plants don't have to be decommissioned - and they don't have the potential for their lives to be extended long beyond their safe operating life due to political and fiscal exigencies because they don't become unsafe over time. The spent fuel doesn't stack up on the roof until it's five times the design level when there's no place to dump it - because there is no spent fuel.

This "OMG Fossil Fuels are the only alternative to nuclear" nonsense has got to stop.

Cliche but nuclear is far safer than anything else (1, Flamebait)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369736)

Oil/coal have operational pollution issues, but they don't have catastrophic failure issues. Yes the Gulf Oil spill was a sort of catastrophic event, but even oil is eaten by microbes. The downsides are limited to a decade or so...and life continues there even during this time. Not great but not nearly on the scale of a nuclear accident.

Radioactivity :
1) IS "eaten" by microbes (well it's converted into energy and used), small plants and (I've read one paper claiming ...) even by small animals
2) has reduced far faster than predicted in all known sites (none of the nuclear test sites are unlivable, and even radiation levels in Hiroshima and Nagasaki have decreased faster than anticipated). So after decades, nearly all of the affected areas are perfectly liveable for humans, and less dangerous than natural high-radiation areas (Chernobyl is long since back to a perfectly safe place to live, only the actual plant itself is still dangerous, and only in long-term exposure)
3) radioactivity has failed to produce casualties and even mild increases in disease have been near-completely absent except in the case of atomic bombs

I mean can we please get some perspective. How many people died in Japan :

from water movement itself ? 12000 (and counting)
from fossil fuels ? 240 (and counting) (mostly refinery explosions or pressure problems)
from wind power ? about a dozen (let's avoid high towers when an earthquake hits)
from solar power ? 4 (again, don't be on rooftops maintaining or installing solar panels during earthquakes)
from nuclear power ? 0 (*one* got mild burns and *may* get sick in 20-30 years)

And let's just not compare number of people displaced due to nuclear power versus number of people displaced due to fossil fuels. We both know perfectly well the answer won't favor fossil fuels.

Care about CO2 ? Nuclear power does better than any other power source (including solar and wind, due to solar panels and wind towers being mostly made of oil)

Care about general environmental effects ? Nuclear does better than any other power source. In fact, all the places on earth with increased radioactivity have more and richer plant life, *and* animal life

In general nuclear power has tiny mining operations (as compared to fossil fuels, and compared to coal mining, uranium mining barely exists at all). The production facilities are equally tiny. A little place 400 meters on each side producing 5 gigawatts with *zero* other effects on the environment ? And the worst of it : the only argument, the waste disposal, is bogus : the waste from nuclear reactors is far *less* dangerous than the uranium that produced it, so nuclear waste actually makes the world safer. Just try producing a single gigawatt without destroying part of the environment with anything else, including wind, solar, or anything at all. (solar panels take away the main energy source for life on this planet for anything below them, and you need a *lot* of them for a gigawatt (and even a desert is teeming with life), and wind power obviously changes athmospheric flows, which doesn't matter in tiny quantities, but will have major implications if deployed at scale)

You want to make the world a safer place ? Great ! I'm all in favor of that. You should *support* nuclear power. In fact, you should support massively expanding our nuclear capacity, so it can replace other forms of energy. Given numbers like above, how can anyone claim to be an environmentalist and be against nuclear power ?

I mean, I try to maintain a distance from these kinds of things and it seems to me that all this anti-nuclear is just people with ipads, 50 inch tv's, jogging around the park in nike shoes with builting mp3 players shouting that modern technology is bad because the girl on the idiot box said so. I mean, you have to admit, it sure looks that way.

Re:Cliche but nuclear is far safer than anything e (2)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369976)

1) IS "eaten" by microbes (well it's converted into energy and used), small plants and (I've read one paper claiming ...) even by small animals

I'd like to see a source supporting this claim. Please understand, I quite strongly agree with you in general, but this one seems a little weird, and it's the first time I've ever heard it. If true, providing a reliable source would greatly strengthen your argument at large, and I think that would be a good thing.

Re:Cliche but nuclear is far safer than anything e (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 3 years ago | (#36370312)

I'd like to see a source supporting this claim.

Biologically induced nuclear reactions are nothing new. Here is the link [wikipedia.org] that you asked about :-)

Re:Cliche but nuclear is far safer than anything e (4, Informative)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36370286)

You make a good case, and you probaby would like this book by Bernard L. Cohen that says much the same:
    http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/BOOK.html [pitt.edu]

Also, at some point, even with meltdowns, we can just site new nuclear plants where the old one melted down. So, Fukushima is now a good place to site more plants, as is Chernobyl, given the evacuations and the grounds are already contaminated. We could also produce synthetic fuels in those areas and ship them elsewhere. And we could build lots of robots to do the work.

Thorium reactors are even safer and we have much more thorium (thousands of years) than uranium and plutonium (hundred years?) for reactors.. But ironically it is said that thorium technology was not developed in the 1940s and 1950s precisely because it was safer and you could not make bombs from it.

With all that said, I'm still rooting for stuff like solar roadways, maglev wind, or the Rossi/Focardi eCat.
    http://www.solarroadways.com/ [solarroadways.com]
    http://www.maglevwindturbine.com/ [maglevwindturbine.com]
    http://pesn.com/2011/05/31/9501837_Cold-Fusion_Number-1_Claims_NASA_Chief/ [pesn.com]

Even various forms of hot fusion are looking promising.

Although solar thermal could have done the job from the 1970s and on. Renewables IMHO have been cheaper than fossil fuels when you consider the externalities like pollution, health impacts, risks, defense costs, and so on.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brittle_Power [wikipedia.org]

One can argue about the externalities from different nuclear options (such as who pays for the permanent evacuation around Fukushima or follow on effects like loss of agriculture or other economic problems in the area). If we do see a nuclear resurgance, it is going to look very different than today's plants (or should).

Conventional nuclear tends to be fairly centralized which has various political implications in a democracy. Yes there ideas like Hyperion, but they still probably require big central plants to make them and reprocess them. Mainstream nuclear in general requires a higher level of transparency then our society seems capable of on a sustained basis so far. Fukushima is just one more example of that lack of transparency or foresight.

Still, it's a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem, as if our society ran off of cheap thorium power, our politics might be better and less short-term if it assumed abundance instead of scarcity.

The good news is, we have lots of energy options, and the human imagination continues to invent more of them:
    http://www.juliansimon.com/writings/Ultimate_Resource/TCHAR40.txt [juliansimon.com]

Re:Nuclear Hologram. (2)

edalytical (671270) | more than 3 years ago | (#36370338)

100,000+ people in Japan are permanently homeless.

Really?

Re:Nuclear Hologram. (3, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369406)

Actually no, as a Libertarian I don't think you get neuclear power at all. These things only get built with subsides and loan grantees, that we don't support. The free market does not build these.

Re:Nuclear Hologram. (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#36370090)

The problem with modern libertarianism is there are no real repercussions for this kind of behavior. IF they were to take all the board members of Tokyo Electric Power Co. out to a rice patty and shoot them in their heads then maybe other power companies might think twice before getting sloppy. Really the damage they've caused warrants it.

Re:Nuclear Hologram. (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369508)

Trying to hide the real nature of this accident has undermined nuclear power technology greatly.

Ah, yes. Had they come right out and said "this is the worst accident since Chernobyl, one of the worst accidents ever, and will play out over months of increasing releases of radioactives and widening evacuation zones" everything would have been kittens and rainbows.
 
Pass me some of whatever that hallucinogenic is that you're smoking, because if it isn't already - it'll soon be illegal.

20% of chernobyl's radiation. (4, Insightful)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368434)

To anybody with even a remote understanding of nuclear physics that number means absolutely nothing. What matters, especially for long term effect, is the form of radiation. Which the article of course doesn't mention.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368448)

Well at Chernobyl we only got giant earth worms, nothing on the same level of the moth and lizard mutagens from the Japan incident.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368532)

Godzilla

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368554)

I wish there were more posts like this outside of Slashdot. I remember being in Tokyo at the time it happened and seeing CNN's "worse than Hiroshima" headline. Strangely and somewhat disappointingly I still only have one head and two eyes.

Hopefully this will also put some of the accusations of lying to rest too. When they know something they release the info, and besides which you can't cover up radiation.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368648)

*because* they can't cover up the detection of isotopes that are produced as a result of nuclear fission, they *have* to release *some* info or else we know they are withholding informaiton.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368738)

Strangely and somewhat disappointingly I still only have one head and two eyes.

Yeah, but only one of them is faceted, so it doesn't count

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36369194)

I have two heads and three eyes ma'am.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36369918)

Well, it has released 200 times the cesium 137 of Hiroshima and Nagasaki put together. And it's still leaking...

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (4, Insightful)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368558)

To anybody with even a remote understanding of human behavior, the words of the people in charge of Fukushima mean absolutely nothing.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (2)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368838)

To anybody with even a remote understanding of Slashdot, posts in the forums tend to become highly repetitive.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (2)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368866)

To anybody with even a ..... ah fuck it.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (1)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369306)

Who or what is this "it" to which you refer? Is it acquiescent?

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368580)

What matters is the isotopes which emit the radiation. This not only determines the form of radiation, but also the energy, the lifetime, and whether and where it accumulates in the human body.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368658)

If it's level 7, I think they mean the bad kind.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368930)

Imagine if it were a level 8.

SNPP all most had a level 10 once good guy 7G (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369016)

SNPP all most had a level 10 once good thing that the guy in Sector 7-G hit the right button.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369042)

Yawn, let me know when it hits 11.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368714)

Indeed. A germaine reference: Is Japan's nuclear disaster “on par” with Chernobyl? [stackexchange.com] (paraphrased):

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368724)

Blah blah blah - you're just an apologist!

Whatever!

I'm going to the beach to lay in the Sun without block, talk on my cell phone without an ear piece that was charged by coal fired electric plants, after getting my CAT scan, and I'll have two Tuna fish sandwiches.

No radiation for me or any other heath hazards! You pro-nuclear fools! I'M NOT GOING TO GLOW IN THE DARK!

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368848)

Three reactors melted down, we're talking degrees of bad and there is no positive spin. Talk about preventing future accidents but trying to minimize what happened scares me more than the accident itself.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 3 years ago | (#36370030)

How many people have died or become ill because of this incident?

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36370214)

How many people have died or become ill because of this incident?

So far the score is: Uranium oxide 0 : Hydrogen hydroxide 28,000

But that doesn't necessarily mean nuclear power is safe ... it means water is fucking deadly.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368888)

To anybody with even a remote understanding of nuclear physics that number means absolutely nothing. What matters, especially for long term effect, is the form of radiation. Which the article of course doesn't mention.

Well, aren't we smug? Since, as you note, they haven't mentioned the "form" of the radiation, why are you so convinced that this 4X escalation is NOT the bad news that we, the undereducated-on-physics, are worried about?

To be sure, at this point I am very well able to doubt the ability of every US nuclear installation's ability to withstand acts of god. If they can't make them safe on Japan, which is historically volcanic, tectonic and hydrodynamic how can we suspect that the lesser stringent safety protocols used in the US would hold up against 100-year events.

The haughty distractors (yes) notwithstanding.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (2)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369384)

> What matters, especially for long term effect, is the form of radiation. Which the article of course doesn't mention.
Umm, iodine and cesium.
They're always the main isotopes emitted in a nuclear accident. Besides they're the only ones Tepco give information on.
There's no info about the rubble that got blown out by the explosions, but I assume that that isn't counted as part of the 770,000 figure

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (0)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369780)

They're always the main isotopes emitted in a nuclear accident.

Well then, I guess the Soviets missed the memo. Chernobyl was a problem because it created a plume containing uranium and plutonium tens of kilometers into the air which was then dispersed over western Europe.

Despite how scary it sounds ... no ill effects were ever measured.

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36370204)

Because actions were taken to prevent them

Re:20% of chernobyl's radiation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36369640)

Well, anyone with even a remote understanding of nuclear engineering already knew before reading this article that these reactors are fueled by uranium, meaning Fukushima spews mostly iodine-131 and cesium-137 just like Chernobyl. It follows that a direct comparison of the total activity release is entirely relevant.

Doubt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368444)

Why should we have doubted anyone over a governments predicitions or estimates. Always add an additoanl 40% to 60% more than what any government proclaims.

Re:Doubt? (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369358)

Always add an additoanl 40% to 60% more than what any government proclaims.

well add to projected costs and subtract from projected benefits anyway.

deaths (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368506)

i guess that will double the deaths to, um, where's my calculator... zero

Re:deaths (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368628)

yeah, no kidding. i laugh at all these idiots who think this has been such a terrible disaster even though nobody died. I mean look at the record of nuclear power: in 1980, no one died. in 1981, no one died. in 1982, no one died... in 1986, some people died. in 1987, no one died. in 1988, no one died. I mean, I could go on. eventually you just want to give up arguing with them. as the black knight said, we'll call it a draw.

Even 1986 ... (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369798)

The only reason people died in 1986 is because socialist politicians sent "workers" (that probably translates to you and me) into a 5000+ degree celcius cloud containing chain-reacting uranium.

And despite that cowardly moronic act, far fewer people died than in the average oil refinery accident.

I mean at what point do you start thinking these anti-nuclear people are just morons looking for something to shout "mommy !" for.

Re:deaths (2)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368996)

i guess that will double the deaths to, um, where's my calculator... zero

I'll take that as an admission you are only counting deaths from radiation sickness. Deaths which would occur within the first few hours, days, weeks or months of exposure.

Re:deaths (2)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369858)

No, let's include all deaths directly linked to radiation exposure from nuclear generation *in all of history*.

Let's add the total death toll for ALL nuclear accidents EVER. Well that would be ... 86 (64 from chernobyl, which was mostly the result of politicians not telling workers what they were doing at the site, resulting in people walking into a uranium cloud which was still chain-reacting. Granted the accident was bad, but a lot of these deaths were perfectly preventable with minimal precautions). This includes all deaths worldwide that have been proven to have something to do with radiation from nuclear power plants. Obviously there is no shortage of statistically unverified (or outright falsified) "studies".

Let's take the number of people dying in oil production alone THIS year (it's only June, so ...) : 800

Even wind power does far worse than nuclear [inquisitr.com]

Well we live in the age of reason, the age of enlightenment, so we let policy be decided by the scaremongering of popular celebrities. Isn't that what the 21st century is all about ? If we truly cared about loss of human life, we'd only have nuclear power.

The gaming industry is very lucky this year (1)

microbee (682094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368564)

A few studios are already planning the next major release for certain hot titles.

Fallout 4: New Japan. Welcome to the Tokyo wasteland!
Modern Warfare 3: Assassination of the No.1 terrorist in history by US SEALs in a foreign central urban area

Re:The gaming industry is very lucky this year (1)

Biff Stu (654099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368744)

Or better yet, combine the two...

Osamazilla, rising from his burial in the radioactive sea to demolish Tokyo.

Re:The gaming industry is very lucky this year (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369890)

The Onion already did that one. LINK [theonion.com]

Re:The gaming industry is very lucky this year (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369074)

Now that I think of it, why don't they do a Fallout in Asia? The closest they've come to that was Operation Anchorage and that was still in the North America.

"But but but" blah blah. (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368576)

everytime a fukujima related escalation came up, nuclear apologists came up and fucked around with excuses, insults, assaults, rationalizations, this that. this happened how many times ? 4 up to now ?

and yet, gee, another time the thing got escalated into an even more perilous situation.

yes, come, fuck around with shitty excuses AGAIN. i wonder what level of peril will be the level you stop doing that.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368660)

Perhaps when people actually start dying.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (2)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368742)

oh no - we CAN find some excuses for that cant we ? since they were saying 'it is not even near chernobyl' as an apology at one point in time, and when japanese government officially raised the level of disaster to 7, which is chernobyl level, they switched to saying 'not too much happened at chernobyl - it was mild'.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369096)

Show us deaths and / or injuries.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (3, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369346)

Is people losing their homes, farms and businesses to a nuclear exclusion zone for the next 300 years not bad enough?

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368672)

What I am most angry about is that all the promises of "cheap" go right out the window with the observed accident rate and costs. None of the numerous promises about reactor safety even remotely resemble the truth. To me the whole nuclear industry is a scheme to transfer huge amounts of money into certain pockets.

That they cause a lot of deaths and a completely unsolved long-term waste storage problem, which will increase cost even further (but for future generation and who cares about them) is just the icing on the cake.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368886)

The conflation of two aspects of the NIMBY crowd, "No new nuclear reactors," and "Nothing capable of refining weapons-grade material (i.e. it's a bomb omg!)," have made the cost of operating old, inefficient reactor designs prohibitively expensive. Breeder reactors that don't melt down and process nearly all the input material several times (resulting in a much smaller amount of waste that, while highly radioactive, is naturally radioactive for a far shorter period of time, in the span of decades) are not being built. The current state of nuclear power, what should be a far cleaner and more economical way of generating energy, is perverted into a NIMBY self-fulfilling prophecy: "It's dangerous, so we won't allow any newer designs and we will watch all the old, experimental reactors go up in flames, just to prove our point." Oddly enough, most of the nuclear reactors in the U.S. are doing just fine despite several decades of use, which is more than you can say for fossil-fuel refineries.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (2)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368966)

While I am for thorium reactors, I'm not deluded enough to blame the anti-nuclear crowd for the lack of upgrades that reactors are receiving. Fukushima was supposed to be shut down 10 years ago, but they keep extending the life of the reactor. Your bullshit argument only illustrates that there are nuclear nuts who make excuses for the old reactors still running, and that there are anti-nuclear nuts who ignore the newer reactors to say all nuclear is bad.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369240)

You forget that the biggest reason that fukushima was still running is because of NIMBY concerns in Japan not wanting new reactors built. The money was there for replacing it 10 years ago, but it was politically inconvenient and tepco couldn't get the permits. Based on a normal construction time it would have been replaced with a newer, safer design and we wouldn't be talking about this if it wasn't for the anti-nuclear nutjobs.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369452)

I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have designed it for a tsunami they themselves said could never happen. Saying this wouldn't have happened is cherry picking the result to suit your argument.

Given that this event exceeded the risk standards in place even today, any new reactors would have suffered the same fate. The topside cooling water storage would have helped, but that's no guarantee of success given the magnitude.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369718)

Most of the new reactor designs include fail-safes that don't rely on constant cooling for months to stop the reaction. Most can stop it within 2 days. the majority are even gravity based. One in particular involves a gravity based system that if something goes wrong triggers on its own and shoves graphite rods down into the reactor, stopping the reaction. I'd call that a pretty large guarantee of success. The facility wouldn't even have to be built as well as the original.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (2)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369892)

You forget that the biggest reason that fukushima was still running is because of NIMBY concerns in Japan not wanting new reactors built. The money was there for replacing it 10 years ago, but it was politically inconvenient and tepco couldn't get the permits. Based on a normal construction time it would have been replaced with a newer, safer design and we wouldn't be talking about this if it wasn't for the anti-nuclear nutjobs.

I suspect TEPCO's, the IAEA's and governments track record with the truth and compliance comes into the equation (imo).
TEPCO failed to meet it's obligations regarding maintenance of pumps and their word that it will be done was accepted despite being caught falsifying records on more than one occasion. [reuters.com]
Why did they get the green light to keep operating let alone extend the life of reactors operated by them that should have been decommissioned?
The risk of the generators failing due to a tsunami were identified in 1990 and raised in 2004 [bloomberg.com] , the only comment made now is that "it appears TEPCO did not address the risk"

To argue that the NIMBY crowd is at fault I believe is disengenuous when the root cause is more than likely profit and expediency. Who will foot the bill?

. France appears to be doing a good job and apparently the populace were quite happy having nuclear plants in their neighbourhood [wikipedia.org] - until this "accident". No NIMBYers there for some reason......

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (0)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368962)

"A lot of deaths" hahahahaha!

Oh wait, you were serious, let me laugh even harder.

The number of deaths related to nuclear power *pales* in comparison with the number of deaths from coal fired power every year, and is is nothing on the number of deaths from car accidents, yet no one bats an eyelid at those.

Is nuclear power safe? Yes. Is it immune to accidents? No. Are those accidents potentially dangerous? Yes. Are the public at large at risk from a 40 year old plant that faced a natural disaster far above the design specs, despite some human cock ups (like lack of generator back up due to incorrect connectors etc)? No.

The "completely unsolved" long term waste problem is "solved", but it's politically inconvenient since it requires the use of breeder reactors, which can also be used to make weapons grade material in large quantities, unlike the type currently used to commercial generation. They produce much less waste than coal fired plants (and don;t pump a lot of it into the atmosphere), and with the right mix of reactors you can reduce the quantity enormously, since the waste from one reactor becomes the fuel for another and you end up removing the highly activated nuclei and are left with a small amount of not highly active waste. The reason that current waste stockpiles outside US nuclear plants is because the US doesn't reprocess any waste any more, and won't export it to countries that do. Political reasons. Right there is another reason the costs are high - you want that highly active waste! It has useful material in that you can reprocess into new fuel.

The cost factor is largely down to red tape, economies of scale, and other hobbling that has so far made it very expensive to design, obtain permission for, and build a plant.

It's certainly not all rainbows and butterflies - a nuclear plant is a big, industrial, potentially dangerous thing, but that's no different to any other large scale industrial plant. Where's all the boogyman anti-chemical plant propaganda because oil refineries and other facilities are built within range of urban areas?

Nuclear power plants could have been our future, but they go so twisted up with politics, mismanagement and NIMBYs who don;t understand the issues that they were doomed from the start.

The "observed accident rate" is remarkably good for a large industrial system - certainly *way* better than coal or oil, and way better than most chemical plants. It's not zero, but for some reason nuclear is treated as a special case. Where was the outrage when Union Carbide killed 3000 people due to a methyl isocyanate escape (due to seriously shitty procedures and a cavalier attitude)? Where is the outrage that the Bhopal plant now stands idle with open pools of mercury on the ground, and the soil contaminated to extreme levels, despite it being in the middle of an urban area? Oh, but it's ok - it's not an amount of radiation equivalent to a cross country flight, so no need to get all sensationalist.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 3 years ago | (#36370256)

I have always wondered why we can use Nuclear power on our aircraft carriers and submarines which operate in small contained environments without any reported catastrophes.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (1, Informative)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368682)

It is a little known fact that the Chernobyl sarcophagus is at a danger of collapsing, requiring the international monetary fund to issue a few million dollars on its upkeep every few years. Through such simple means Ukraine is managing to consistently reduce its annual budget deficit and supply its government officials with sizable salaries. Japan just wants part of the action.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368748)

Thats little known? Pretty much everybody I know knows about the sarcophagus problem, and its not like I am anywhere near that place.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368792)

It isn't that little known, there is a plan to replace it, with some international funding already secured.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368988)

Little known? You mean "most well known thing ever", right?

It's been known since day one that the sarcophagus was designed to be a temporary structure - one of the corners is using the damaged reactor building as a load bearing structure, for example. And it was never designed to be hermetically sealed.

The subsequent talk about raising money for a permanent solution has been going on since the late 80s.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36369142)

Through such simple means Ukraine is managing to consistently reduce its annual budget deficit and supply its government officials with sizable salaries. Japan just wants part of the action.

Now, this is indeed little known.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368820)

This isn't an escalation of the situation, it is an escalation of the reported release.

The situation is approximately as perilous as it was yesterday.

Re:"But but but" blah blah. (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369192)

What level of peril?

Sir Lancelot: We were in the nick of time. You were in great peril.
Sir Galahad: I don't think I was.
Sir Lancelot: Yes, you were. You were in terrible peril.
Sir Galahad: Look, let me go back in there and face the peril.
Sir Lancelot: No, it's too perilous.
Sir Galahad: Look, it's my duty as a knight to sample as much peril as I can.
Sir Lancelot: No, we've got to find the Holy Grail. Come on.
Sir Galahad: Oh, let me have just a little bit of peril?
Sir Lancelot: No. It's unhealthy.
Sir Galahad: I bet you're gay.
Sir Lancelot: Am not.

FuckupShima: Twice the glow fo the same money! (2)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368622)

These people give engineers everywhere a bad name. Incompetent and pathological liars. Incredible.

Re:FuckupShima: Twice the glow fo the same money! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36368894)

Realitymen to the rescue: The engineers are not the problem, like they aren't in allmost any case. It's the suits that toss every word in the washing-machine 'til it sais what *they* want it to say. That's the same in every corporation from here to japan. Engineers usually have ethics and tell the truth, unless ORDERED by their bosses, what the truth is...

Indeed (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368774)

The story is far from over, stay tuned for the next 100 admissions of "well, see it's a bit worse than we thought [read: admitted]".

Re:Indeed (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369176)

The story is far from over, stay tuned for the next 100 admissions of "well, see it's a bit worse than we thought [read: admitted]".

and yet so far we have ONE confirmed victim, and he died of bad heart condition not the radiation ....

Re:Indeed (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369912)

My bad. Massive radiation leak good. Gotcha!

Mean while near Tokyo (2)

cf18 (943501) | more than 3 years ago | (#36368936)

It is most worrisome that there are reports of radiation level near Tokyo is increasing.

"A group of Tokyo parents filed a request Tuesday asking the metropolitan government to change the way it determines radiation levels in the capital after their own study found relatively high levels of contamination around Koto Ward."
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110608a6.html [japantimes.co.jp]

5.77 microsieverts per hour of radiation measured near Tokyo at ground level
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9a0Q1v93SA [youtube.com]

Re:Mean while near Tokyo (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369252)

The article suggests it's coming from the sewage treatment plant. An earlier article reported that several sewage treatment plants had radioactive sludge. The contaminated water from the reactor has collected in basements and trench at fukushima and is likely seeping into the ground water.

Re:Mean while near Tokyo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36369794)

That's 5.7 MILLION picosievert. We're all gonna die.

Re:Mean while near Tokyo (1)

WoollyMittens (1065278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369880)

That adds up to about 50 milisieverts per year, just about the maximum you'd want to allow for a permanently inhabited area.

Nuclear reactions are still occuring at Fukushima (3, Informative)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369210)

There is ongoing self sustaining fission at Fukushima according to multiple sources: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/06/guest-post-are-nuclear-reactions-still-occurring-at-fukushima.html [nakedcapitalism.com]

Today, Tetsuo Matsui at the University of Tokyo, says the limited data from Fukushima indicates that nuclear chain reactions must have reignited at Fuksuhima up to 12 days after the accident.

As Time Magazine blogger Eben Harrell pointed out on March 30th:

The IAEA has said that the Fukushima nuclear power plant may have achieved re-criticality. “There is no final assessment,” IAEA nuclear safety director Denis Flory said at a press conference on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg News. “This may happen locally and possibly increase the releases.”

Arnie Gunderson says as of June 3rd:

Unit 3 may not have melted through and that means that some of the fuel certainly is lying on the bottom, but it may not have melted through and some of the fuel may still look like fuel, although it is certainly brittle. And it’s possible that when the fuel is in that configuration that you can get a re-criticality. It’s also possible in any of the fuel pools, one, two, three, and four pools, that you could get a criticality, as well. So there’s been frequent enough high iodine indications to lead me to believe that either one of the four fuel pools or the Unit 3 reactor is in fact, every once in a while starting itself up and then it gets to a point where it gets so hot that it shuts itself down and it kind of cycles.

Another recent post points out:

Radiation levels in water inside the silt fence near reactor 2 are high and rising, despite large amounts of dilution. Continued very high levels of Iodine 131 with a half life of 8 days are very hard to explain for a reactor that has been “shut down”. Normally Iodine levels would drop several orders of magnitude below cesium activity levels over the sixty day period shown in the graph, but instead they continue to track each other. The level of 10,000 Bq/liter I-131 is very problematic. It is much higher than would be expected for a reactor in cold shut down for 2 1/2 months.

The situation at Fukushima is not stable and in fact the danger is increasing. The stopgap cooling by injecting tons of water into the reactors and fuel rod storage is creating a massive burden of highly radioactive water that is a storage and disposal nightmare. There has been some limited success in providing recirculation cooling to the spent rod pool for unit 1, but that has a modest effect on the radioactive water situation.

The plan to reduce radioactivity in existing water and recirculate it for cooling is still in process. It is not clear if the capacity of this system will be able to keep up with current cooling needs, much less deal with the backlog. If the reactors and fuel storage are generating new radioactive material, the cleanup system is even less likely to be adequate.

If there is re-criticality the cleanup becomes that much harder. There is also the possibility of more fires/explosions because of radioactive decay heat sources. Continued earthquakes or typhoons could trigger other large release of radioactive material into the general environment.

The plant is leaking highly radioactive water right now and this problem is being swept under the rug. There will be a permanent exclusion zone at the plant site. Even worse, the ocean region will have long lasting radiation contamination that will cripple the seafood industry for a large area of the Japanese coast. Things are a lot worse then anyone is willing to admit.

Re:Nuclear reactions are still occuring at Fukushi (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 3 years ago | (#36370228)

Just to be clear, in a light water reactor, you need water between fuel rods to have fission. Neutrons have to be slowed down ("moderated") by interacting with the water molecules before they are of an energy that can effectively fission the U-235.

A solid pool of melted LWR fuel cannot become critical.

Meltdowns are impossible? (1)

spectro (80839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369332)

According to this documentary [youtu.be] , US officials wanted reactors built in such a way they could contain a full meltdown. GE and Westinghouse lobbied hard and got their way by adding more cooling backups instead.

This means these reactors were built under the premise that a loss of cooling and therefore a full meltdown is "impossible", then Fukushima happened...

So now we have 3 reactors with several tons of radioactive fuel melted at the bottom of their containment vessels. I believe the presence of Iodine indicates the fuel is still firing up self-sustained nuclear reactions. There is no way to contain it, no way to control it.

I am not an anti-nuke nut but Fukushima might make me one. The problem with these nuclear plants is that, if the impossible happens, we are all fucked.

Show me a nuke design built in a way a meltdown can just not happen, or if it happens, can be fully contained, controlled and cleaned without affecting the environment.

Re:Meltdowns are impossible? (2)

fnj (64210) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369476)

What you want is a Pebble Bed reactor. "A pebble-bed reactor thus can have all of its supporting machinery fail, and the reactor will not crack, melt, explode or spew hazardous wastes. It simply goes up to a designed "idle" temperature, and stays there. In that state, the reactor vessel radiates heat, but the vessel and fuel spheres remain intact and undamaged. The machinery can be repaired or the fuel can be removed. These safety features were tested (and filmed) with the German AVR reactor. All the control rods were removed, and the coolant flow was halted. Afterward, the fuel balls were sampled and examined for damage and there was none."

There are other issues to address with pebble bed designs (mostly to do with decommissioning), but it meets your requirement. It CANNOT melt down. Even if ALL systems fail and the operating personnel run away.

Re:Meltdowns are impossible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36369598)

Failsafe systems are the way. These reactors last for decades and we see bad operations/management decisions over and over. The nuclear industry just sounds lame, always claiming "those aren't the designs we use here" or "those are old reactors".

As though those arguments remove the problem.

Re:Meltdowns are impossible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36369854)

You forgot the part where the graphite pebbles catch on fire if they are exposed to air. That's one helluva failure mode!

Re:Meltdowns are impossible? (4, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36370060)

That German AVR reactor is also the most heabily beta-contaminated reactor site on the planet. And it contaminated both the soil and groundwater, and better yet in the form or radioactive dust.

Melting down is not the only possible problem...

Balance of Coverage (2, Interesting)

StupiderThanYou (896020) | more than 3 years ago | (#36369578)

Compare and contrast:
1. From the IAEA's preliminary report [iaea.org] (pdf):

To date no health effects have been reported in any person as a result of radiation exposure from the nuclear accident.

2. From Wikipedia's page on the 2011 tsunami [wikipedia.org] :

The Japanese National Police Agency has confirmed 15,365 deaths, 5,363 injured, and 8,206 people missing

Just sayin'.

Japan (-1, Flamebait)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 3 years ago | (#36370138)

I'm young enough to have once thought of Japan as an ally. I'm old enough now to realize how naive I was. I'm happy to know that US companies played a part in, once again, nuking those islands of douchebags.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>