Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

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!

Fukushima Finally Reaches Cold Shutdown

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the super-powers-no-longer-for-sale dept.

Japan 201

mvdwege writes "The BBC reports that the reactors at Fukushima have reached cold shutdown, meaning they no longer need active cooling to stay at safe temperatures. Plans can now be made to start the cleanup of the site. Unfortunately, TEPCO has also admitted not all problems were out in the open until now; an estimated 45 cubic meters of contaminated water have leaked out of cracks in the foundation of a treatment plant."

cancel ×

201 comments

Have they addressed the meltdown?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397410)

The corium is all over the floor under the reactor pressure vessel in Unit 1. It's unknown how much it has melted through. This whole event proves that authorities cannot be trusted during a crisis.

Re:Have they addressed the meltdown?? (5, Funny)

grommit (97148) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397552)

No, they haven't addressed the meltdown. TEPCO decided early on that they would completely ignore the meltdown while they worked on getting the bathroom facilities working again.

Re:Have they addressed the meltdown?? (5, Insightful)

radiumsoup (741987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397628)

authorities can't be trusted??? mighty wide brush you're painting with, and I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Conservative who is wary of anyone who runs for public office, so for me to say that is pretty substantial... what constitutes an "authority" in your mind, and why are they incapable of being trusted in a crisis? Who else would be better in this circumstance, private enterprise? /I can't believe I have to put it this way, but this is one of those times when a centralized government is absolutely needed to fix a problem

Re:Have they addressed the meltdown?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397712)

Eh? No, as much as I hate to admit it, from an individual perspective, Authorities most definitely cannot be trusted...

Any true authority will not tell you the truth if they feel it would lead to greater issues for those they represent or have authority over.

If you're in the part of society that benefits from such deception, then you're probably happy about it. If you're the one who draws the short straw, you may think otherwise.

Re:Have they addressed the meltdown?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398628)

You didn't address the question: What constitutes authority? From my perspective an authority is any person with reasonable skills to complete the task and has some say in the direction of matters. I would definitely trust a person to make conscious decisions based on their expertise while it *sounds* like you'd prefer to have an amateur running the show so long as they spill every detail regardless of its validity and confirmed presence.

Re:Have they addressed the meltdown?? (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399476)

You didn't address the question: What constitutes authority? From my perspective an authority is any person with reasonable skills to complete the task and has some say in the direction of matters. I would definitely trust a person to make conscious decisions based on their expertise while it *sounds* like you'd prefer to have an amateur running the show so long as they spill every detail regardless of its validity and confirmed presence.

I am an authority on not trusting authority.

Don't trust me.

Re:Have they addressed the meltdown?? (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398678)

For someone with an individualist perspective you seem a abit trigger happy to generalize.

Re:Have they addressed the meltdown?? (1, Insightful)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398574)

Right, because CYA doesn't exist, and people never rise to the level of their incompetence. Government granted monopolies never result in poor quality service. Lack of competition is good, because it allows us as a whole to be more efficient. I don't care what reality says.

Re:Have they addressed the meltdown?? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398144)

So what part of that proves that authorities can't be trusted? (Which is a good idea even if you don't have anything to prove so.) Merely having corium "all over the floor" doesn't do that.

Re:Have they addressed the meltdown?? (2)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398600)

How about the fact that they lied for months (if they aren't still lying) about the severity of the meltdown, and allowed/forced people to live in areas that are irradiated? How about the fact that rather than address radiation making its way into food and water, they merely raised the allowable amount of radiation in food and water?

Re:Have they addressed the meltdown?? (4, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399022)

How about the fact that they lied for months (if they aren't still lying) about the severity of the meltdown

Don't you need evidence for such assertions? I see evidence that both TEPCO and the Japanese government made statements that later turned out to be false, but no evidence of lying, a deliberate falsehood.

and allowed/forced people to live in areas that are irradiated?

So what? Nobody was required to live anywhere irradiated.

How about the fact that rather than address radiation making its way into food and water, they merely raised the allowable amount of radiation in food and water?

Sounds like a reasonable solution to a tough disaster situation, especially given that radiation thresholds are intentional set too low anyway. They can change it back to the normal threshold when the disaster goes away.

Re:Have they addressed the meltdown?? (2, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398344)

This whole event proves that authorities cannot be trusted during a crisis.

If there is something that this mess shows is that private entities should not be allowed to control nuclear power plants.

Re:Have they addressed the meltdown?? (0)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398620)

Right, because the Russians did such a stand up job.

How about we lessen the restrictions on NEW reactors, especially breeder reactors, so we don't get into a situation where we are forced to stick all of our radioactive waste on the damn roof?

Re:Have they addressed the meltdown?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38399182)

Right, because the Russians did such a stand up job.

Well, then, I guess this just means we can't trust anyone* and we should all just live in a constant state of fear and suspicion. I know I was looking forward to dying at 25 due to stress-related issues, alone and afraid, constantly questioning everyone I've ever met!

*: Obviously, besides a handful of computer nerds on a website engaging in backseat nuclear regulation well after the fact. We all know we can trust them, since they know com-pew-tahrs, meaning they're really smarts.

Not telling the truth..... *gasp* (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397430)

Duh!

Pet peave (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397626)

Or maybe more than just that.

the reactors at Fukushima have reached cold shutdown

Ever since the meltdown, the whole concept of a REACTOR has been bunk. There IS no reactor, and there hasn't been one since the fuel melted through. There is a lot of material undergoing fission [wikipedia.org] , but it is NOT a reactor (or reactors) anymore. Journalism has been on on the downhill for as long as I can remember. Sigh.

Re:Pet peave (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398120)

There is a lot of material undergoing fission, but it is NOT a reactor (or reactors) anymore. Journalism has been on on the downhill for as long as I can remember. Sigh.

Fission? I doubt it. It should read "Decay Heat". Just for accuracy.

Re:Pet peave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398208)

There are probably still pockets of critical material. Maybe just orders of magnitude less than the amount of energy by the decay heat. :D
 
And by the way, *peeve
 
--Your Mom

Re:Pet peave (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398588)

What exactly do you think the difference between "fission" and "decay" is?

Re:Pet peave (5, Informative)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398874)

One involves the splitting of the nucleus into two roughly equally sized (I said *roughly*, pedants), and the other involves the emissions of much smaller particles such as alphas or betas. Fission in a nuclear power sense usually refers to that induced by neutron capture in a chain reaction, though there is a small amount of spontaneous fission for certain isotopes. The energy released by fission is much larger than from a typical decay.

For the pile of molten crap that the cores now consist of, almost all of the heat production is through decay, not fission.

Re:Pet peave (1)

randomencounter (653994) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399368)

The difference is very well defined. Decay comes in 3 forms: Alpha, Beta, and Gamma (named for the form of radiation given off by each type of decay). Fission is the splitting of an atomic nucleus into two parts that are (by the nature of the nuclei that *can* undergo fission) much larger than an Alpha particle.

Even in nuclei that are large enough to undergo fission normally undergo one of these forms of decay unless encouraged to do otherwise (in a reactor the encouragement is typically in the form of a neutron).

Re:Pet peave (2)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398340)

When there's a car wreck, what's left often isn't what you'd call a "vehicle" any more, but it's still entirely valid and prudent to say things like "the car finally stopped burning" to make it clear what you were referring to.

Re:Pet peave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398576)

However, they aren't REFERRING to the reactors themselves. They are REFERRING to the melted puddles of fuel below the reactors. GP is correct.

Re:Pet peave (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398434)

to be more accurate, the reactors are still there, however what was once know as "the fuel rods" are now a melted pile of slag on the bottom of the containment structure.

Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (3, Insightful)

qbast (1265706) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397438)

Sky did not fall, Japan is not irradiated wasteland, Fallout is still just a game.

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (4, Funny)

halivar (535827) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397514)

And worst of all, no lazer-breathing super monsters.

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (5, Funny)

AbrasiveCat (999190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397590)

Those super monsters take time to grow. Just give them time.

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398022)

I wonder, is it ghoulification process ,or i jusrt need a bath?

Either way, where do i order my box of plasma grenades and or gauss rifle?

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398230)

And worst of all, no lazer-breathing super monsters.

About 20 years ago I was in Baltimore, MD, for a family member's memorial service. A walk-through photo exhibit of immediate and after effects of Chernobyl were on display - radiation illness, mutated offspring - human and animal. Nothing can remove that scar from my mine. I try to laugh about things like this, but it's really very difficult. I hope this is the last ever nuclear emergency in the world, but I doubt it will be.

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398968)

-1 Buzzkill

Fukushima Residents and Farmers Disagree (2, Insightful)

bit trollent (824666) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397698)

What a relief! I wonder when they'll start moving people back into Fukushima Prefecture. I can't wait to sink my teeth into some Fukushima vegetables and I know you feel the same way.

When do you suppose that 12 mile radius exclusion zone will be lifted? This decade or next?

Now that we've decided that the maximum radiation dosage for a Japanese child is the same as an American nuclear worker, it's only a matter of time before they play in the shadow of Fukushima again!

And let's not forget how much better Tokyo is with 30% less electricity.

Re:Fukushima Residents and Farmers Disagree (5, Insightful)

KarolisP (1538799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397876)

thank you, I guess, for pointing out that earthquakes and tsunamis do indeed suck and destroy stuff. People will just get compensations and move on to somewhere else. There were definately WORSE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster) disasters than this and It is worth taking for what it is. Also there are areas that are intentionaly and knowingly made into deserts/toxic lakes or whatever, and it's no disaster at all... so... 12 miles radius is not that big of a chunk to ward off and let smolder in ruins, wouldn't be the biggest or out of proportion dead-zone of the world.

Re:Fukushima Residents and Farmers Disagree (2)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399144)

The Indian government never created an exclusion zone around the Bhopal plant, people are still living all the way up next to the fence even though the ground is irrevocably contaminated.

Re:Fukushima Residents and Farmers Disagree (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398038)

Now that we've decided that the maximum radiation dosage for a Japanese child is the same as an American nuclear worker, it's only a matter of time before they play in the shadow of Fukushima again!

Last I checked, US nuclear workers had lower safe limits than US children do, so that's not as much problem as you might think.

Re:Fukushima Residents and Farmers Disagree (5, Interesting)

eepok (545733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398218)

This post is more inciteful than insightful.

(1) A 12-mile radius is NOTHING compared to all the intentional disaster areas (nuclear *weapon* testing underground, on ground, and over water) or all the major landfills or holes in the ozone. Those are the damages we "accept" as part of our way of life. Fukushima's failure was not a guaranteed result of running the plant, but a RISK that only existed due genuine natural cataclysm that was fought with decades old technology (when much better is available now). Ya, I'd call that a win. By the way, how do you think an oil refinery or a coal mine would have fared in that same situation?

(2) The maximum *allowed* radiation dose for an American nuclear worker is nothing to sneeze at when compared to a school bus driver, but then again, it's not deadly or else it wouldn't be allowed. People wouldn't work at nuclear power plants if they had good reason to believe that they would develop various cancers as a direct result. It's a heightened risk (one cannot deny that, mathematically), but it's by no means a death sentence nor does it guarantee a lesser quality of life.

(3) 30% less electricity for any metropolitan area can be spell doom. But it didn't in Japan. For the Japanese, it's an opportunity to innovate. To remodel. To rethink ways. I wouldn't be surprised if more low-power-consumption tech comes out of Japan due to this disaster and the world as a whole benefits.

Summary: *ALL* non-region-specific (solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric) power systems can fail due to cataclysm. Some fail before the stations even get the fuel (oil spills, coal mine collapses). None but nuclear have so many safe guards, even at the 1960s tech level, that can respond to such a major disaster with so little loss of life.

Pfft, 12 miles of useless irradiated land? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398276)

That's like nothing!

Kill yourself.

Re:Fukushima Residents and Farmers Disagree (3, Insightful)

bit trollent (824666) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398774)

1) A 12 mile radius exclusion zone (& larger radius which people will avoid) is huge in a small country like Japan. Do you really think that Japanese people have chosen to have among the highest population density in the world even though they have a bunch of unused land?

When we consider how common Fukushima's reactor design is, and how reluctant power companies are to invest in new reactors, despite proven safety problems with their design, a disaster like this seems almost inevitable.

2) American nuclear workers carry dosimeters and are closely monitored. Children operate in a very different environment. Children are more susceptible to problems than adults, since they are still developing. I doubt that a nuclear plant would allow a worker to bring their child with them as they are exposed to radiation.

3) The loss of so much electricity in the Tokyo area has caused shortages in many components crucial to Japanese and global commerce. There is nothing innovative about turning off the air conditioning in an unplanned 30% loss of power. There is something deeply honorable about it though.

Summary: Large scale electric generation will always have drawbacks, but it's foolish to ignore their potential for destruction. As far as I know, the only part of Japan that 6 months after the Tsunami is uninhabitable by humans surrounds Fukushima.

I don't oppose nuclear power, but when the risks are ignored or downplayed (like in your post and in TEPCO's policies) a nuclear disaster is inevitable. And when people notice that you've been downplaying the risks, their unlikely to trust the industry to build new reactors, even though they improve safety.

Re:Fukushima Residents and Farmers Disagree (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398838)

Bikini Atoll still has warning bouys 100 miles out all the way around it.

Re:Fukushima Residents and Farmers Disagree (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398730)

When do you suppose that 12 mile radius exclusion zone will be lifted? This decade or next?

While I personally think that two decades is a bit short it is easy to forget what radiation is and what this implies.
When radioactive materials fall apart into more stable elements they radiate. Elements with a short half-life will radiate more but stabilize faster while elements with a long half-life will radiate less but do so for a very long time. The more stable an element is the less it radiates.
The most dangerous elements that causes the most radiation will be done within a few days. Those that last several thousand years can not radiate much.
This means that it would make sense to gradually reduce the 12 mile radius as the radiation decreases since the most significant decrease in radiation probably will be within this and the next decade. (Of course it will continue to decrease but the first 6 miles is 75% of the surface area.)

Now that we've decided that the maximum radiation dosage for a Japanese child is the same as an American nuclear worker

The truth is that no-one really know where the line is for what is safe or not. The limits are selected by observeing how much radiation a nuclear worker is exposed to and adding a margin. The same goes for how much radiation a regular citizen should be exposed to. For example IAEAs recommendation is 1mSv/Year with this method. Where I live the recommendation is set to 4mSv/Year because a lot of uranium and radon exists naturally here and it is pretty much impossible to get down to 1mSv/Year.

While it is not entirely incorrect to say that Japanese children is more resistant to radiation than American nuclear worker it would be good to explain why that is, because it is not because of genetic factors.The diet helps a lot when it comes to dealing with radiaton. [howtogetwellfaster.com]

People who eat miso regularly may be up to five times more resistant to radiation than those who do not eat miso. That is the conclusion of a team of researchers at Hiroshima University’s atomic bomb radiation research center.

Re:Fukushima Residents and Farmers Disagree (2, Insightful)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399212)

My wife grew up at 12,600 feet altitude, so most of the protection from UV and cosmic radiation offered to the rest of us by the atmosphere is non-existent. I sometimes wonder why skin cancers are almost unheard of there.

Re:Fukushima Residents and Farmers Disagree (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38399074)

1. The exclusion zone will be mostly lifted shortly (weeks to months). Of course, heavier contamination will remain offlimits due to abundance of caution (people live in the world where "natural" radiation levels are much higher than anywhere except next to melted reactor buildings, yet they are not "excluded" because the radiation levels of 50-300mSv/yr are "natural" (radium, uranium, etc.)). Contamination is mostly in a narrow streak from Fukushima going north west.

2. Food is monitored. And even if you eat the most contaminated thing you can find illegally, you'll still be fine unless you start eating it for next couple of years. Finally, it is simple (no pun intended!) to measure amount of cesium you have in your body. Simplest is measuring amount of cesium in your pee ;)

3. Tokyo does NOT have 30% less electricity. Japan is burning massive amounts of oil, gas and coal emitting a lot of CO2 and heavy metals and spending $38-$40 BILLION EXTRA on fuel PER YEAR so there are no shortages. All the fossil fuel plants that were offline because of nuclear are back online polluting. So only 2-3 years of non-nuclear fuel costs japan the same as compensation for their worst nuclear incident in last 65 years. (estimated compensation costs for Fukushima are up to $100-$110 billion).

Yes, I do realize you wanted to be sarcastic in your statements.

Re:Fukushima Residents and Farmers Disagree (5, Insightful)

slb (72208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399078)

What a relief! I wonder when they'll start moving people back into Fukushima Prefecture.

Fukushima prefecture is 14500 km2 and 2M inhabitants less than 8% of the territory and 3.5% of population have been evacuated.

I can't wait to sink my teeth into some Fukushima vegetables and I know you feel the same way

Most of the japanese would be perfectly OK eating food from Fukushima prefecture without fear-mongering idiots scaring a gullible population with occasional radiations level in food lower than one would find in a simple banana or brazil nut.

When do you suppose that 12 mile radius exclusion zone will be lifted? This decade or next?

Exclusion will be lifted next year for all areas with less than 20mSv/y of radiations level, that's more 80% of the evacuated area. Also half the radiations are due to Cs-134 with a half-life of 2 years. That mean all zones will be available in less than a decade, including municipalities like Namie or Iitate.

Now that we've decided that the maximum radiation dosage for a Japanese child is the same as an American nuclear worker, it's only a matter of time before they play in the shadow of Fukushima again!

There's a big difference between what you are allowed to receive every years during your carreer and a maximum environmental exposure that could hypothetically only happen one year. I'm sure the inhabitants of Ramsar who live with a natural radioactivity level of more than 100mSv/y would be laughing a lot at this.

And let's not forget how much better Tokyo is with 30% less electricity.

Yeah sure I wonder how any other energy production facilities would have fared facing the same earthquake and tsunami. Do you really think the Japanese government will be dumb enough to replace nuclear plants with tenth os thousands of off-shore tsunami-proof windmills ...

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397776)

Get out of here STALKER!

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397778)

Fallout is still just a game.

I am debating myself whether that's a good thing or not.

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398518)

That depends on if you're a vault dweller.

So many experiments. So it's a good thing that Fallout is still just a game if you're going to be a vault dweller.

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397824)

Clearly it's 'terrorism' to point out that for the cost of the cleanup alone, one could have built a whole lot of renewable energy. Nuclear doesn't make a whole lot of economic sense once the lifecycle cost is considered.

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397998)

What is the "lifecycle cost" to which you allude here?
Do you factor the cost of cleaning up after a tsunami into the "lifecycle cost" for your renewable energy project?

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398090)

That cleanup cost is spread out over a lot of energy, namely, the production of nuclear power worldwide over a couple decade period.

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (3, Interesting)

tom17 (659054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398262)

Sure, the current class of low efficiency(~5%), high pressure (~150ATM), radioactive steam-bomb, light water reactors don't seem to be making economic sense, especially when spent-fuel disposal and the locked-in fuel-supply-chain are taken into consideration.

But when you look at technologies like LFTR, then all those problems magically vanish. Sure, there are hurdles such as Thorium mining infrastucture (Which brings its own benefits such as rare-earth elements that we are relying on other countries for) and high temperature (but low pressure) vessels to name but two, but that is what research is for. This needs to get recognised and get funded. It's cleaner (minimal waste), safer (lower pressure, passive cooling systems), efficient (most of the fuel is burned, steam turbines are more efficient) tech!

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (2)

thsths (31372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397962)

Indeed, which probably is a good sign for the safety of the light water reactor type. It sounds like there was a core melt down and a criticality event way beyond what engineers even considered as a plausible scenario, but without a moderator it is bound to be self contained. That is very much unlike the event in Chernobyl, which demonstrated an inherently dangerous (as in explosive) reactor design, handled by an incompetent crew.

But there are certainly lessons to be learned. If we want to use nuclear energy as a low carbon option, I hope we can come up with a better design than what is currently used.

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398974)

In the sixty-five years since this type of reactor was patented, we've made a "few" advances in technology. Seriously though, go check out information on LFTR (Liquid Fuel Thorium Reactor), and wonder quietly to yourself when someone, ANYONE, will put the money into making it happen.
 
All it takes is one to get the ball rolling. We can build things as amazing as the LHC, I don't want to hear about how hard this would be!
 
http://thoriumremix.com/2011/
Watch the first five minutes!

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397984)

Just a 20Km exclusion zone, 40 year cleanup job and $60 billion to pay in compensation. Result!

Let's just hope there's no more earthquakes until they have completed the decommissioning.

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397990)

Sky did not fall, Japan is not irradiated wasteland, Fallout is still just a game.

Tell that to my in-laws and the remaining residents of their once beautiful (My Neighbor Totoro-esque) farming town. It's 35km from the plant, all the people under 50 years old have moved away to prevent long-term health risks. The only government assistance they have received is a geiger counter reading of their homes to tell them which corners to avoid extended exposure to for their own safety even though they are 5km within the evacuation zone. They can't sell any of their produce, they don't have any job opportunities, can't afford to relocate, so all they can do is live off their own irradiated land at their own risk while mother nature reclaims the surrounding centuries-old homes, temples, and cemeteries around them.

Radiation Map [blogspot.com] They live in the Eastern part of Kawamata where the orange, yellow and green meet up.

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398378)

Tell that to my in-laws and the remaining residents of their once beautiful (My Neighbor Totoro-esque) farming town.

How about you become part of the solution and you tell them that? Also, sounds like they were harmed due to the Fukushima accident. That means TEPCO is on the hook for damages. Document the harm and get a good lawyer.

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398182)

Sky did not fall, Japan is not irradiated wasteland, Fallout is still just a game.

Yeah. Oh, and mind the sushi, it's got three eyes.

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398362)

You leave Blinky out of this!

http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Blinky

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (5, Interesting)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398196)

In fact, most of the evacuation area (the southern and eastern part) is barely contaminated, it should have long been opened up again. On the other hand, there is an area to the northeast of the plant, outside of the evacuation area, that is contaminated by fallout and should have been declared an evacuation zone. On the whole, a realistic evaluation would yield a much smaller area than the 940 km^2.

Of course, such subtleties escape the so-called environmentalists. (As does the fact that paving an area of 940km^2 [wikipedia.org] with photovoltaics would yield no more energy than a 3.5GW power plant (ignoring all energy-storage issues) and turn it into something with a striking resemblance to Coruscant [wikipedia.org] .)

Re:Despite eco-terrorists shrill laments ... (2)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399432)

Wrong. High radioactivity is spread all over Japan now. The soil is radioactive. Watch this children's playground just outside of Tokyo, nowhere near Fuckupshima. The geiger counter shows 6.4 micro sieverts while the normal background level is in 0.1-0.3 range. You might say that is not a big problem, as it is in the ground only, but the dust particles get spread as the children play, once they breathe them in, they have a problem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOIDFh3wPXY [youtube.com]

Finally the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397440)

Finally the truth? What else are they keeping from us.

Cracks in the foundation...? (-1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397622)

Aren't they supposed to be inspected for this sort of thing on a regular basis? How the heck did they pass safety inspections with cracks that weren't properly sealed? I suspect that, although they've reached cold shutdown, the "fallout" from this incident is not yet done.

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397680)

I don't know... there was thing called an earthquake? Those have been known to make cracks in things.

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397750)

I don't know... there was thing called an earthquake? Those have been known to make cracks in things.

And then a tsunami...

And then multiple hydrogen explosions...

No, yeah, parent was right. The cracks HAD to have been there and missed during inspections...

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (1)

KarolisP (1538799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397904)

I don't know man.... was this quake of yours any serious?

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (0)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397944)

The whole point of the design of that reactor was that it was designed to withstand an earthquake of that magnitude. If cracks formed during the earthquake, then the design was faulty from the start.

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398538)

No, I disagree. My take is that "withstand an earthquake" merely means that it would shutdown without drama, not that cracks wouldn't form. In fact, I think it wholly unrealistic to expect any sort of design of a large mass of concrete not to have cracks after a huge earthquake like that.

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (0)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398920)

The soil test pylon in berlin that Hitler made would take a 12.0 earthquake without a crack. It's still there and they have no idea how to get rid of it, it's slowly sinking into the ground and will not stop until it hits bedrock.

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399280)

The soil test pylon in berlin that Hitler made would take a 12.0 earthquake without a crack.

What? I've tried googling a variety of terms and have yet to find anything about this object. Also, how large is it? Is it comparable in size to a nuclear reactor?

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38399204)

This is the problem with nuclear energy...everyone is so sure we can make it safe. Hubris is the problem.

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399454)

This is the problem with nuclear energy...everyone is so sure we can make it safe. Hubris is the problem.

I think it's ignorance myself. Suc as people who can't argue the point on its merits and appeal to a vague notion of "hubris" instead.

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397792)

I imagine they would have inspected for cracks after the earthquake that caused them except for the fact that a giant fscking tsunami followed the earthquake and caused all of these problems. After that it was really not a matter of some cracks - it was "crap, keep this thing from becoming an even worse incident"

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (4, Insightful)

confused one (671304) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397810)

It's not possible the cracks were opened up by the, what was it, 9.0 magnitude earthquake, the 45 foot wall of water that came ashore shortly after that, and all of the 7+ magnitude aftershocks?

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (2)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398582)

Don't forget the massive hydrogen explosions that blew the walls off the buildings. I'm sure that overpressure can't cause any significant cracking in concrete either.

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398936)

That explosion and resulting overpressure did damage the suppression pool at the base of one of the reactors. Reactor 2 if memory serves. This created a containment breach, if there wasn't one already due to melting of the fuel or breakage of coolant lines.

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397820)

Um, earthquake?

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397924)

Well, a very large earthquake, being steeped in contaminated water for almost a year, hydrogen explosions, large metal vessels being knocked over... there's a lot of ways those cracks could have formed during and after the incident.

Re:Cracks in the foundation...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398024)

Aren't they supposed to be inspected for this sort of thing on a regular basis? How the heck did they pass safety inspections with cracks that weren't properly sealed?

The same way they are passed in every country on the planet. Money.

45 cubic meters of water (3, Informative)

janeuner (815461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397688)

In units of volume, that is 12,000 US Gallons, or 45,000 liters.

Also, about ¾ the volume of a typical 40' shipping container.

Re:45 cubic meters of water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397948)

I think just about a 1/10000 Library of Congress.

Re:45 cubic meters of water (2)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398258)

Or 1/50th of an olympic swimming pool.

Re:45 cubic meters of water (1)

janeuner (815461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399066)

Harder to conceptualize. I assume the presser used cubic meters because 45 of something doesn't sound as bad as 45,000 of something.

50 one-meter cubes is just as difficult to visualize as 1/50th of a pool. However, most everyone has seen a semi-trailer, and many people actually stood inside one, so it seemed like a good point of reference.

Re:45 cubic meters of water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398268)

I hate to be that guy, but perhaps a more every day comparison would be that this is a bit less than what would fill a 24' round 4' deep above ground pool.

Re:45 cubic meters of water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398408)

In units of volume, that is 12,000 US Gallons, or 45,000 liters.

Also, about ¾ the volume of a typical 40' shipping container.

Thank you for explaining the SI derived unit of volume in, "units of volume".

Re:45 cubic meters of water (1)

janeuner (815461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398930)

Realized right after I clicked post that I should have said, "In the layman's units of volume," or something to that effect. Meh.

This is absurd (5, Informative)

zeigerpuppy (607730) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397738)

...an abuse of the definition of shutdown. Reality check: - 3 melt-throughs - melted cores outside pressure chambers - compromised secondary containments - nuclear fuel and fission products escaping into water and air - corium so radioactive it cannot be approached even by robots - precarious leaning of number 4 spent fuel pool - widespread plutonium, caesium etc. beyond evacuation zone - significant contamination in food - yet to come: increased malignancies and birth defects Does this sound contained to you? Seriously...

Re:This is absurd (3, Insightful)

BMOC (2478408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398216)

Containment has almost nothing to do with cold shutdown.

Cold shutdown is defined as a fissionable material no longer requiring active cooling to remain at a stable temperature. This indicates that whatever fission may still be occurring in the nuclear material (whether it breached containment or not) it is in such small and sporadic amounts as to not be a concern to restart itself and continue melting through containment or into the open air.

Please back the truck of panic up.

Re:This is absurd (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398626)

So we're not supposed to use the appropriate term because bad things happened?

Does this sound contained to you?

Yes. I was asked the same thing in early April of last year and my view remains the same. This accident has been contained ever since the beginning of April. Bad consequences can still happen, such as the possibility of increased cases of cancer and birth defects, but the accident isn't generating more future bad consequences now than it was in April.

The cracks were made public. (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397864)

Or at least the suspicion there may be seepage through cracks in the foundation. It was in the news quite a while ago, I guess they just released some numbers now and that's what the article was referring to? It's not the first "spill" either, one of the pools overflowed and some water was released into the ocean.

Still no tsunami protection for cities (5, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397920)

Meanwhile, half a million people are homeless, about twenty thousand are dead. And all everybody cares to talk about is that some nuclear reactors weren't safe enough (through neglect of safety updates during the last three decades) to withstand a tsunami. If you criticize TEPCO for neglecting tsunami protection, why don't you criticize the whole Japanese government for neglecting tsunami protection along all of the coast?

Re:Still no tsunami protection for cities (5, Insightful)

kenboldt (1071456) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398118)

Agreed. It is staggering how many people can't grasp the magnitude of what the plant was put through.

Re:Still no tsunami protection for cities (2)

Kizeh (71312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398306)

Nova aired an NHK look at some of the survivors / victims that were seen on the various cell phone etc. videos right after the tsunami. Turns out, a fair bit of the people who got caught were unaware because they were doing something where they didn't hear the radio, the sirens, and didn't see the locals run for the hills. It would be time to consider other ways of notifying the population, maybe cell-phone based stuff?

Re:Still no tsunami protection for cities (4, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398416)

Nope.

My point is that it is staggering how many people don't grasp the magnitude of what JAPAN was put through.

It is just as staggering how many people don't care about the non-existence of vital, standard safety measures Fukushima Daiichi. Such as a sufficient number of emergency generators distributed over the site to prevent common cause failure. (Instead of having just 13 for 6 reactors, seven of which standing right next to each other along the sea shore with a safety distance of, oh, 25cm or so between each other.) Or catalytic converters to prevent hydrogen from reaching explosive concentrations (which took hours in all cases, as predicted in simulations 30 years ago) and filtered containment vents that can filter out 99.99% of the Cs-137 and 99% of elemental I-131. Most of the rest was contained by the containment, as it should.

This needs to change, not just in Japan, but everywhere where safety measures are not up to date.

Re:Still no tsunami protection for cities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398526)

Maybe because the entire design was incredibly stupid? First.. who puts a nuclear plant right next to a well known tsunami zone? Second... all of it's backup systems where in the basement... under water... During it's construction the local citizens protested it's construction, engineers walked off the project do to safety and design concerns... yet they where all ignored.

Sorry but there is plenty to criticize.

What about the !reactors? (0)

Jedi Holocron (225191) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398146)

Sure, the "reactors" have reached "cold shutdown."

How is this possible, you might ask?

Simple, because the fissile material is _outside_ of the "reactors."

'nuff said.

Re:What about the !reactors? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398864)

Simple, because the fissile material is _outside_ of the "reactors."

It puzzles me how people don't get it. While there are clearly failures in the design such as the complete loss of power to the reactors, the hydrogen explosions, and having to use sea water to cool the reactor, the reactors are designed to handle meltdown when these sorts of circumstances happen and they did.

If I drive a recent car into a brick wall, I don't expect the vehicle to operate after that point. But I do expect that I'll have a good chance of surviving, given that I wore a seatbelt and the other safety devices of the car are maintained correctly. If my house burns down, I don't expect to be able to use it ever again as a house, but I do expect that I'll be alerted to the fire and be able to easily escape the house.

Things often fail catastrophically. One doesn't expect the catastrophe to happen in a nice manner. So in cases where it matters, you can design the device or structure so that it fails in a way that minimizes the damage from the catastrophe. That's what happened here.

otsukaresama desita (3, Insightful)

islisis (589694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398232)

hope some people can finally take a breather, it's only been... 9 months...

Sangokujin, Back to Work (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398856)

The 10s of millions of Sangokujin, ethnic Koreans and Taiwanees and South East Asians and Southern Chinese who look like Koreans, who were expatriated from their home countries during Nippon's years of Colonial Conquest from about 1890 through 1945 even though now born in Nippon but who by Federal laws are not Nipponise, i.e. they have the designation of Perminent Foreign Resident, will now be bus loaded back to the Fukushima area to work and absorb the radiation from the various nuclides released in the disaster to re-become the subjects of the Emperior.

Well, "cold shutdown", sort of. (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399410)

They had to redefine "cold shutdown" to get there. Normally, cold shutdown of a reactor means temperature is below boiling and pressure is at 1 atmosphere. It's then possible to take the lid off the reactor and replace fuel rods.

Humans still can't enter the containment, and probably won't be able to do so for decades, if not centuries. So cleanup is going to have to be a robot job. Some kind of machinery is going to have to go in there and take the core apart, transferring each bit into a separate storage container.

Strangely, Japan seems to be behind the US in mobile robots for doing heavy work. They had to send to the US for iRobot units just to look around inside the containment, and for remote-controlled concrete pumping trucks to pour in water.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

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>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...