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Endoscopic Exam of Fukushima Reactor

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the you'll-want-this-large-glove dept.

Japan 120

mdsolar writes with this excerpt from the Sydney Morning Herald: "Radiation-blurred images taken inside one of Japan's tsunami-hit nuclear reactors show steam, unidentified parts and rusty metal surfaces scarred by 10 months of exposure to heat and humidity. The photos — the first inside-look since the disaster — showed none of the reactor's melted fuel or its cooling water but confirmed stable temperatures and showed no major ruptures caused by the earthquake last March, said Junichi Matsumoto, spokesman for plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company." Here's a video.

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No sign of the fuel? (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38771986)

''Given the harsh environment that we had to operate, we did quite well - it's a first step,'' Mr Matsumoto said. ''But we could not spot any signs of fuel, unfortunately.''

Re:No sign of the fuel? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38771996)

It's more a lack of confirmation than an actual problem.

It's like saying "Well, this telescope is aimed at the night sky, but it's not in focus so we can't see Jupiter" rather than "OMG, the planet Jupiter is missing from the Heavens!"

Sorry, I ran out of car analogies.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (3, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772006)

More to the point, what does this mean for the layman?

Was the fuel consumed in the disaster? Did the containment vessel melt and the fuel escape? What are the possibilities, for those whose science courses are quite a few years back? :)

Re:No sign of the fuel? (3, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772044)

It could all be at a pile near the bottom of the reactor vessel and it simply can't be seen yet. If there was a meltdown, this is the most likely case. Then they need to look inside the containment vessel (which the reactor vessel is inside) and check the reactor vessel from below to see if there was any escape. Don't know if they've done this.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (-1, Offtopic)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772098)

> near the bottom of the reactor vessel

Radioactivity is spread all over Japan -- the soil is radioactive. Watch this video (and lots of similar ones on YouTube) this is children's playground just outside of Tokyo, nowhere near Fuckupshima. The geiger counter shows 6.4 micro sieverts/h 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 might have a problem.

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

Re:No sign of the fuel? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772102)

Err, he asked about the core. I answered.

Go start a new thread, please.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (1, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772468)

Radioactivity is spread all over Japan -- the soil is radioactive.

Soil is radioactive anyway.

Watch this video (and lots of similar ones on YouTube) this is children's playground just outside of Tokyo, nowhere near Fuckupshima. The geiger counter shows 6.4 micro sieverts/h while the normal background level is in 0.1-0.3 range.

Since we know nothing about the calibration history of this dosimeter, whether the measurement has been rigged, or even whether the device can when used properly actually measure what it purports to measure, the actual number is meaningless.

To give an idea of the problem of using this device for the purpose of measuring biologically harmful radiation as in the video, try answering the question, who makes it? For example, it doesn't actually have a brand or logo on the front of the case. A Google search for "dp802i personal dosimeter" (the only legible markings on the case itself) came up with a number of Chinese resellers of the product, but no information as far as I could tell as to who actually makes it.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38772682)

In the context of other issued reports made by the Japanese government there is no reason to believe this one either.They have issued reports and then "restated" them when other scientists attempted to confirm findings. They have underestimated the danger in everything from safe distance, number of "functioning" and "salvageable" reactors, amount of fire, days needed to extinguish those fires to airborne hot particles.

Is it possible the pumps shut down before being flooded?

Fun fact: You likely have inhaled a piece of the Fukishima core. a "Hot particle." atomic sized so there is only the smallest statistical risk of illness.
.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38774440)

In the context of other issued reports made by the Japanese government there is no reason to believe this one either.They have issued reports and then "restated" them when other scientists attempted to confirm findings. They have underestimated the danger in everything from safe distance, number of "functioning" and "salvageable" reactors, amount of fire, days needed to extinguish those fires to airborne hot particles.

I think the main problem here is widespread inexperience with managing ridiculous expectations. So what if neither TEPCO or the Japanese government had perfect knowledge of how the Fukushima accident would play out or reacted to that accident with perfect competence? In the real world, small errors happen even to the best.

Is it possible the pumps shut down before being flooded?

Why should we consider that scenario? Did the space aliens cause the pumps to shut down?

Fun fact: You likely have inhaled a piece of the Fukishima core. a "Hot particle." atomic sized so there is only the smallest statistical risk of illness.

The smallest statistical risk of illness is zero.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38777055)

Is it possible the pumps shut down before being flooded?

Why should we consider that scenario? Did the space aliens cause the pumps to shut down?

I don't think it is possible to preclude the possibility that the reactor systems suffered damage from the earthquake that may not have been readily apparent before the effects of the tsunami were felt. While reports indicate the reactors were "shut down" following the earthquake, this simply means the process was begun to halt the energy output of the reactors.

In order to properly understand the failure the entire chain of events needs to be established.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775837)

actually, the word "hot particle" is in nuclear safety used for something much, much bigger than an atom, it would be bit of contaminated dust or other material with the number of atoms having many, many zeros. You haven't inhaled any "hot particles" from Japan unless you live very, very close to the power plant.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772864)

In other words, it's about as radioactive as Denver, Co..

Re:No sign of the fuel? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772996)

It can get worse. And it will.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38776665)

Well, based on the fact that radioactive materials undergo decay, I can tell you with absolute certainty that the radiation hazard can only get better, never worse.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (-1, Redundant)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772984)

A physicist would tell you that finding the fuel there is about as likely as finding it a half kilometer down. Corium gets really fucking hot. Melt through anything hot. That's what they mean by "China syndrome".

Re:No sign of the fuel? (5, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773112)

Show me one case where a melted core traveled 500 m into the earth. One. There isn't any. At Chernobyl there is a big blob of it that traveled a few meters within the building and froze before burning through the concrete floor. At three mile island it didn't leave containment. Give the China syndrome a rest. It ain't real. There are enough REAL dangers without making shit up.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (-1, Redundant)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773170)

Show me one case where three cores melted down in the same week, within 500 meters of each other. One. There isn't any. This is a new thing and we don't know what's in it.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38773540)

That's intellectual laziness and you damn well know it. Several cores melting down "near" each other doesn't make their individual blobs of melted fuel any hotter.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773256)

BTW: Update me when you've got "eyes on" every last bit of the corium. I'm not expecting that update before I die,

Re:No sign of the fuel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38774154)

What's it like living in constant fear of the supposed 'known-unknowns'?

Re:No sign of the fuel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775248)

The china syndrome is sort of possible, but only for a different class of reactor.

The BWR reactors at fukushima are delayed neutron designs, and rely on carefully calculated neutron moderation to allow fission. A catastrophic fuel melt reduces fission as the fuel is no longer in the correct geometric configuration.

If they were fast neutron liquid metal cooled designs (fast breeder reactors), like Fermi 1 or India's new PFBR reactors, then it's a different story. The reactivity *increases* if the geometry is changed when the fuel melts together. It really will get extremely hot.

The fuel would get contaminated by the concrete as it cuts through it, so 500 metres is ridiculous figure. Also, the containment will be designed to spread out the corium to reduce reactivity. However, I would estimate that in a worst case scenario, it would leave the primary containment and make it's way into the bedrock.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38777167)

We're dealing with very hot MOX fuel here too. That changes things.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775847)

no, most the corium is in the very thick pad of concrete under the containment vessel, where such stuff always winds up.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (4, Insightful)

Loki_1929 (550940) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772052)

"He said it would take more time and better technology to get to the melted fuel, most of which had fallen into an area the endoscope could not reach."

The current tools simply can't go where the fuel is, so they can't yet inspect it. They've confirmed there are no major breaches and are now looking over the information they've been able to gather to see what everything looks like inside. The fuel comment was a regret about the limitations of the tools they have to use, not so much a cause for alarm about anything being amiss.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (2, Interesting)

Idou (572394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773366)

They've confirmed there are no major breaches . . .

in the places that they have looked at so far (which was difficult because of all the moister i.e. "steam"). They also confirmed that there was no water where they had been claiming the water level was, so they just say "oh, the water level must just be a couple more meters down . . ."

This, plus your comment, supports the notion that this is not a scientific endeavor that we are observing but a propaganda one . . . The most optimistic view that cannot be unproven at the moment becomes the assumed truth up until the point reality slams into it, and then they retreat to the next most optimistic view. This is all "Baghdad Bob," and those who are buying into it do so because they are either extremely naive or are part of the propaganda machine.

not so much a cause for alarm

You do realize that at 3M they sealed things for 7 and a half years before investigating (claiming no fuel had melted the whole time). In contrast, the Japanese government is already drilling holes in reactors less than a year later in desperation. Nothing to see here folks, no cause for alarm . . . RIGHT. . .

Re:No sign of the fuel? (4, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772068)

Re What are the possibilities?
http://fairewinds.com/content/cancer-risk-young-children-near-fukushima-daiichi-underestimated [fairewinds.com]
January 17, 2012 Arnie Gundersen - energy advisor with 39-years of nuclear power engineering experience -(Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in nuclear engineering)

Re:No sign of the fuel? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38772698)

So...is he a MD? I have a degree in Computer Science, so can I give diagnosis to someone who got boinked in the head by a HP Proliant server just because 'I know computer'?

Re:No sign of the fuel? (5, Interesting)

wrook (134116) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773158)

I recommend doing a Google Search on Arnie Gundersen's name. He is a hired consultant for anti-nuclear lobbyists. There is a record of people complaining about the exagerration of his experience. From what I have been able to find, he does indeed have a master's degree in nuclear engineering. He also worked briefly as a technician in a non-operational plant (I haven't been able to find reliable reports on how long he was employed in that capacity, but I have read that he has never worked at an operational plant. It seems likely that he last worked in a nuclear facility in the early 70s.). Most of his career has been as a high school math teacher.

As a high school teacher myself, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that profession. But when these kinds of stories come out with quotes from him (and if you really do the googling, you will see that there are a *lot* of scary sounding predictions from him going back decades), you are always left with the impression that he is an insider in the nuclear industry. But rather he seems to be just a guy with an engineering degree who doesn't like nuclear power. At one point some anti-nuclear lobbyists latched on to him as being a credible source and have used him as an expert witness in trials or to make sound bites like the above. It appears (but I can not verify) that his 39 years of nuclear power engineering is mostly his work as a consultant for lobbyists rather than actively working as an engineer.

This is, of course, simply an opinion based on googling around. I recommend having a look yourself.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (2, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773522)

Detailed studies carried out by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) in 2003 reported an excess of leukaemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma near UK nuclear plants. Those are plants that did not have major accidents. This was an official government report using large amounts of evidence and has not been robustly refuted by any yet. The government's position has always been that there is no danger, so naturally they were not happy when this came out.

Furthermore a 1997 Ministry of Health report stated that children living close to Sellafield had twice as much plutonium in their teeth as children living more than 100 miles away. The University of Dundee's Professor Eric Wright, a leading expert on blood disorders said that even microscopic amounts of the man-made element might cause cancer. This is because radioactive material inside the body is far more dangerous that material outside the body, and will linger for the child's entire life. External radiation is blocked by skin and other tissue, but when it gets inside an organ it acts directly on it.

So, given those are the observed effects of nuclear plants that have released far less material than Fukushima it would be surprising if a lot of children living in that area didn't develop leukaemia or lymphoma.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38773714)

I didn't read the entire latest COMARE report, but the summary says "it has been concluded that the risk estimate for childhood leukaemia associated with proximity to an NPP is extremely small, if not zero".

Re:No sign of the fuel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775620)

From The Guardian's summary [guardian.co.uk] :

Not only did the committee find no increase in cases linked to emissions, but it also found similar numbers of leukaemia cases in proximity to sites that had been considered for nuclear power plants, but where building did not take place.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (1)

Strider- (39683) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773868)

Detailed studies carried out by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) in 2003 reported an excess of leukaemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma near UK nuclear plants. Those are plants that did not have major accidents. This was an official government report using large amounts of evidence and has not been robustly refuted by any yet. The government's position has always been that there is no danger, so naturally they were not happy when this came out.

Did they perform a similar study on the cancers of people downwind from coal power plants? There are far too many variables in cancer risks to narrow it down to just the nuclear power plant. I recall a similar study that showed elevated cancer risk allegedly from high voltage power lines and substations. In the end, it turned out that A) the data was cherry picked to support the conclusion and B) the affected areas had old, leaking transformers which were releasing PCBs into the environment.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38774460)

His analysis of the TEPCO data was pretty spot on, and much more accurate that TEPCO's. Maybe you just wish he weren't and expert. How could you know yourself really?

Re:No sign of the fuel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38772076)

The fuel was vaporized, and we are all breathing it now.
Or, there is a lava pool headed toward the water table.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772952)

If they do find it, I wonder why they can't just contain and remove it somehow. Fill the pit with concrete, let it harden, then cut it out, remove it, and store it elsewhere.

Oh man, I can just see the setup for a movie now. The core leaks out into the ocean which creates a giant radioactive whale that gets it revenge on Japan by curbstomping sushi restaurants.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38773016)

getting stopped by a 14 year old.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38774086)

Concrete won't contain the molten fuel. If it could, it wouldn't have breached the floor or the reactor in the first place.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (4, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772188)

It's more a lack of confirmation than an actual problem.

It's like saying "Well, this telescope is aimed at the night sky, but it's not in focus so we can't see Jupiter" rather than "OMG, the planet Jupiter is missing from the Heavens!"

Sorry, I ran out of car analogies.

"Dude! Where's my car?" is probably all the analogy you need.

Re:No sign of the fuel? (2)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38774434)

McCOY: Endoscopic examination is unrevealing in these cases!
DOCTOR #1: A simple evacuation of the expanding nuclear disaster will relieve the pressure.
McCOY: My God, man, drilling holes in the reactor not the answer. The containment must be repaired. Now put away your butcher knives and let me save this reactor before it's too late!

Informationless News (2)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772014)

They should have just hired an animator to draw th e inside of the reactor. It'd be a lot more informative, and given that the interim asessement of Tepco's response "reveals at times an almost cartoon-like level of incompetence.", woud be quite appropriate.
http://www.economist.com/node/21542437 [economist.com]

Re:Informationless News (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773448)

First they are criticised for making assumptions, now they check exactly what is happening and you criticise them for verifying the integrity of the reactor vessel and the internal conditions. It is hardly informationless, we clearly know for certain more than we did before. TEPCO made some big mistakes but you could at least try to not instantly disapprove of everything they do without considering it first.

Or perhaps you have a better idea? What would you be doing differently at this stage?

Re:Informationless News (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38774072)

Or perhaps you have a better idea? What would you be doing differently at this stage?

Nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

Video (4, Informative)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772036)

Der Spiegel [spiegel.de] has some video, the commentary is all in German, but at least it's better than still pictures...

Re:Video (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38772970)

Press release documents (pictures, videos, etc):
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/news/110311/index-e.html

pravda.JP (-1, Flamebait)

mad flyer (589291) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772038)

Putting any statement from one of the clowns from Tepco is just one step UNDER reporting a batboy headlinefrom weekly world news. Those guys are professionnal liers with ENORMOUS interest in asserting that no damage was done by the quake and all was fault of what they claim was a highly unprobably strong tsunami. If any rpoof arise from damage by the quake it would compromise all safety claims made toward japanese nuclear program.

As for those claiming that nuclear is safe because even with this accident everything is fine... just read a little more about all the food and radiation scandals going on. And realise that it's not over yet... For the comparison with Chernobyl... at least the Russian evacuated cities and got the plant under cocoon in less than 9 month, here the japanese are still in denial and only accept to acknowledge problems when they are cought red faced. Seriously, read a little more with carefull distance and neutrality on the topic from a wider panel of sources including ex-skf blog and fukushima diary...

Re:pravda.JP (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772080)

just read a little more about all the food and radiation scandals going on.

Do you have any reliable sources on the amounts of radiation found in the food? Last I recall it was such that the food would give you the equivalent of a quarter of a chest x-ray per year.

For the comparison with Chernobyl... at least the Russian evacuated cities and got the plant under cocoon in less than 9 month, here the japanese are still in denial and only accept to acknowledge problems when they are cought red faced.

Fortunately, none of the reactor vessels were blown open with the cores on fire. That's why they built a sarcophagus over Chernobyl.

Re:pravda.JP (5, Informative)

Loki_1929 (550940) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772210)

Putting any statement from one of the clowns from Tepco is just one step UNDER reporting a batboy headlinefrom weekly world news. Those guys are professionnal liers with ENORMOUS interest in asserting that no damage was done by the quake and all was fault of what they claim was a highly unprobably strong tsunami. If any rpoof arise from damage by the quake it would compromise all safety claims made toward japanese nuclear program.

In fact, the truth is exactly the opposite. Japanese requirements for seismic safety at that site were that it should be capable of withstanding an earthquake of about 7.75. The earthquake which hit the nuclear power plant was a 9. The best outcome for TEPCO in this scenario would be to simply be able to say "we met all safety requirements, but the quake was massively larger than anyone expected and so now we're doing everything we can to help". Instead, the plant actually withstood the quake and, what's more, actually shut itself down automatically during the quake. What happened next is what screws TEPCO (rightfully so).

As for those claiming that nuclear is safe because even with this accident everything is fine... just read a little more about all the food and radiation scandals going on. And realise that it's not over yet... For the comparison with Chernobyl... at least the Russian evacuated cities and got the plant under cocoon in less than 9 month, here the japanese are still in denial and only accept to acknowledge problems when they are cought red faced. Seriously, read a little more with carefull distance and neutrality on the topic from a wider panel of sources including ex-skf blog and fukushima diary...

Two people who were working at the nuclear power plant actually received more radiation than the "lowest one-year dose clearly linked to higher cancer risk" (http://xkcd.com/radiation/). Modeling and estimates say that between 100 and 1000 will have a somewhat shortened lifespan as a result of this disaster, but those are quite likely erring on the very high side considering that actual measurements of radiation in plants and soil within the exclusion zone have thus far been much lower than what existing models would suggest should be there. Most of what's actually been observed has been stuff that's very difficult for humans or animals to really get exposed to unless they're sitting there eating fist-fulls of dirt (due to the fact that the radioactive materials in question bond strongly to the stuff in the soil and thus aren't readily absorbed by plants of animals in normal contact with said soil).

This was a 40 year old power plant with known safety issues that neither the owners or the regulators took seriously. It was a 40 year old plant that got hit by an earthquake nobody involved in safety for the plant saw coming. It was a 40 year old plant that survived all of that and was only finally brought down by terrible design issues that led to small explosions and a fairly small release of radiation that may or may not result in a small number of people with slightly shorter lifespans. If that's the worst you've got against nuclear power plants, you should be dropping to your knees and praising Jesus for giving us the intellect to harness the power of the atom.

Coal kills thousands of people every year in mining accidents, plant accidents (mostly fires and explosions), and due to radiation exposure and heavy metal contamination of ground water from all the waste products. Hydro power plants have killed tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands in single accidents. Solar power kills a number of people every year due to various causes such as installers falling off rooftops and electrocutions. Electrocutions and falling deaths during installations also kill a number of people working on wind power every year. If all you people have are Three Mile Island (where nobody died and nobody received any significant radiation exposure) and Fukushima (where nobody died and two people received enough radiation to warrant concern for their health looking forward, but who are just fine today), then you might want to actually step back and rethink your arguments.

The fact is, mankind has not yet discovered ANY form of power generation which is safer for everyone than nuclear power. Should nuclear power plants be designed properly? Yes. Should they be regulated and monitored for safety with real and reasonable standards? Absolutely. Is there any alternative we know of today which is safer and as or more effective? No. Sorry, but there just isn't. Maybe one day in the distant future we'll come up with something we can actually use, but right here, right now, a CANDU power plant is the safest and most effective power plant you can have.

Re:pravda.JP (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772344)

What are some of the great hydropower catastrophes?

Re:pravda.JP (5, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772422)

Look up "Banqiao dam failure" on wikipedia, or google it. 26k dead from flooding alone, more than 140k dead from secondary effects. Severe ecological effects and property damage as well. China's got a bad history when it comes to dams.

Even the most severe estimates for Chernobyl are a fraction as many dead, short and long term combined - the highest figure I've ever seen put forward was grossly inflated (the person posting it treated every additional cancer caused by the radiation as "fatal", see if you can spot the logical error there), and it still fell well short of Banqiao in deaths. Fukushima's repercussions aren't fully known yet (Chernobyl's are known because it's been twenty-five years), but there will be far fewer deaths than Chernobyl caused, even according to the people who think Tepco is downplaying the severity.

Other nuclear accidents have single digit fatalities (SL-1 comes to mind), or no fatalities at all. Three Mile Island was a zero casualty disaster, where nobody was killed or irradiated and the final cost was measured in dollar figures alone.

It isn't that nuke plants are intrinsically safe - they aren't. It's that we're so paranoid about nuclear safety we go out of the way when designing for failure, such that the actual damage done by a meltdown is a fraction of what it would be in a plant with few or no safety systems. If we built hydro dams the way we build nuclear plants they'd be incapable of killing anybody when they fail. But we don't. We don't built anything non-nuclear to nuclear-spec safety levels. Which means both the anti-nuke ninnies and the nuclear fanboys are wrong - the former for inflating the danger by pretending there are no adequate safeties and the later for pretending there are no risks.

Re:pravda.JP (5, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772446)

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dam_failure [wikipedia.org] for more. The average estimate for the one you mention is actually 171,000, according to Wikipedia, plus it left some eleven million people homeless.

Put another way, that one hydroelectric incident killed more people than all the nuclear accidents in human history, and some of the higher estimates for that incident (as high as 230,000) actually exceed the official estimate for total deaths for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, plus the immediate deaths from Chernobyl combined.

The big difference between nuclear power and hydro power in terms of safety is that it is always possible to avoid the danger in the latter case. Just don't build within a couple hundred miles downstream of one.... (On the other hand, I suppose you could make the same argument about living downwind from a nuke plant....)

Re:pravda.JP (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773126)

The big difference between nuclear power and hydro power in terms of safety is that it is always possible to avoid the danger in the latter case. Just don't build within a couple hundred miles downstream of one.... (On the other hand, I suppose you could make the same argument about living downwind from a nuke plant....)

Not really; not so much. The topography of the earth away from active volcanos is pretty stable. You know where the water from a burst dam is going to go; with zero chance that it could ever go the opposite direction. But winds change all the time. You can have a wind in a diametrically opposite direction from where it was just hours ago.

Re:pravda.JP (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775969)

This does not occur in most places. That's why most airports have most or all of their runways pointing in only one direction. In most places, the vast majority of your wind is going to be within a few degrees of coming from the same direction every time.

The only place I've ever lived where wind direction changes by 180 degrees is California. I think it probably has something to do with the sun heating the water off the cost, but I'm not certain. It's very odd to realize that the wind blows in one direction in the morning and in the opposite direction in the evening. It's certainly not typical in most parts of the world. :-)

The above is an irrelevant Godwin (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772606)

It's just like comparing a mugging to a war - entirely different things. Why not bring up Kratatoa to point out how more dangerous geothermal is - it's no more irrelevant.
As with anything industrial there is a very long list of accidents and incidents associated with nuclear materials. The US list is relatively short (here's one I found in 5 seconds with google: http://www.lutins.org/nukes.html [lutins.org] ) and there is a more complete international list hosted on the web server of a physics department in the US that I can't recall at the moment. Now while some of what you've written is interesting it appears the readers can learn a lot more than you can tell them (and more accurate information) after five seconds of googling. Maybe you should put in a little bit of time to catch up before dragging up old disasters that have NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH NUCLEAR POWER. I hope I've made that clear enough for you to get the point because this repeated irrelevant example is annoying.

Re:The above is an irrelevant Godwin (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772702)

"Maybe you should put in a little bit of time to catch up before dragging up old disasters that have NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH NUCLEAR POWER."

Sorry, a whoosh is coming for you. The point was to compare it to other industrial disasters that has "NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH NUCLEAR POWER". The point is, it's easy to say that hydropower is cheaper, if you employ different safety standards. (In our case expected deaths in 40 years of operation.)

Let's put it simply (0)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773290)

Sorry, a whoosh is coming for you

No, sorry you have missed the point. Posts like the above dam example are a case of "look over there" misdirection of comparing apples to neon lit aardvarks. It's a big impressive example that is nothing but a distraction to get people to ignore real safety issues and pretend that they don't exist at all. The issues may not be large, but that doesn't matter because even if they were they would be obscured by a completely fucking irrelevant divide by zero error that is really the equivalent of pointing out a crime isn't bad because Hitler did worse. Hence it's just pulling a Godwin.
Now do you get it?
It's a disgusting little technique that derails any attempt at rational discussion.

Re:The above is an irrelevant Godwin (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38772786)

Actually, the gp is totally relevant when discussing nuclear safety.

Otherwise you can just through some numbers around and say LOOK NUCLEAR ... BAD without any point of reference.

If you want to discuss nuclear safety, you must have a reference point, which should be the safety of other power generating sources.

If you want a car analogy, more people die each year on France's roads than in plane crashes in the whole world in the same timeframe (3000 for french road accidents, +=1200 for aviation accidents). But if you believe the media, planes are far more dangerous.

Also, if your lutins page is anything approaching an exhaustive list of nuclear accidents of the last 50 years, that's pretty good going (especially since people dying in a plane crash carrying nuclear weapons is counted as fatalities, even though the weapons were unscathed and not involved). No one would even attempt to do such a listing for coal since it would take too much time (and yes, I know that this is an US list).

Re:pravda.JP (2, Informative)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773030)

Look up "Banqiao dam failure" on wikipedia, or google it. 26k dead from flooding alone, more than 140k dead from secondary effects. Severe ecological effects and property damage as well. China's got a bad history when it comes to dams.

The Banqiao dam was not just a hydroelectric dam - it was also intended as part of a system of flood control. If you read the rest of the Wikipedia article the Chinese government actually ended up rebuilding it despite the disaster because not having it was causing problems with flooding downstream. We can't really say for sure whether more or less deaths would have occured if the dam never existed in the first place since it was something like a once-in-2000-years flood, but I think it's fair to say that they were if anything a result of the dam failing to control the flooding and not of it being built.

Also, it took a combination a flood bigger than the dam was designed to control and seriously under-designing the dam and shoddy construction of that design and operating it poorly and failure to evacuate the flood-prone regions in order to cause this many loss of lives.

Re:pravda.JP (4, Insightful)

stjobe (78285) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773416)

Also, it took a combination a flood bigger than the dam was designed to control and seriously under-designing the dam and shoddy construction of that design and operating it poorly and failure to evacuate the flood-prone regions in order to cause this many loss of lives.

Also, it took a combination of an earthquake bigger than the plant was designed to withstand and the biggest tsunami wave in recorded history and the backup pumps flooding and failing and still there was no radiation-caused loss of life at Fukushima.

So let's tally up the deaths then, shall we:
Direct deaths: Banqiao: 26.000 Fukushima: 0
Indirect deaths: Banqiao: 140.000 Fukushima: 0

No matter how anyone trembling in their pants at the thought of the invisible bogey-man radiation tries to spin it, nuclear power is safer than any other means of producing electricity we have - even when it goes badly wrong.

Re:pravda.JP (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773738)

Also, it took a combination of an earthquake bigger than the plant was designed to withstand and the biggest tsunami wave in recorded history and the backup pumps flooding and failing and still there was no radiation-caused loss of life at Fukushima.

First, you don't actually know that, because you have to count a cancer gained from the incident as such, let's say if they happen any time within the next decade, and there's time for that to happen yet. Second, radioactive particles were spewed across the globe by Fukushima and the Jet Stream, so harmful radioactivity is still being emitted. This crisis is not over and won't be for years. The damage, however, has been spread out across the planet.

Re:pravda.JP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38777847)

Dear fucking god you can't be that stupid can you? Tell you what, radiation is spread around the globe every day from solar flares and and wind picking up dust from one inert area of the planet and dropping it in another.

The radiation levels only about 100km away from the disaster barely measure above the background level, and don't come close to a dangerous level, and you're worried about the globe?

Personally I hope you get hit by a car on the way home from work (but don't die because that will defeat my point). That'll give you some perspective and something tangible to worry about in the future.

Banqiao Dam Disaster (2)

Guppy (12314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38774114)

No Kidding.

http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/aug1975.htm [sjsu.edu]

A hydrologist named Chen Xing objected to this policy on the basis that it would lead to water logging and alkinization of farm land due to a high water table produced by the dams. Not only were the warnings of Chen Xing ignored but political officials changed his design for the largest reservoir on the plains. Chen Xing, on the basis of his expertise as a hydrologist, recommended twelve sluice gates but this was reduced to five by critics who said Chen was being too conservative. There were other projects where the number of sluice gates was arbitrarily reduced significantly. Chen Xing was sent to Xinyang.

Read "sent to Xinyang" as "exiled", a punishment used since the time of the emperors.

Re:pravda.JP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38776767)

It's funny, because your last paragraph also highlights the reasons that Chernobyl failed as hard as it did. Russia flat out did not include any of the modern safety equipment or good design practices that American reactors had included for years. Chernobyl is an example of how to do things wrong, just as Banqiao is an example of how to do things wrong.

Re:pravda.JP (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773586)

These arguments get rolled out in every debate about nuclear so I'll debunk a few of them for you.

Firstly looking at deaths alone is completely ignoring the major health problems associated with various technologies, nuclear and coal in particular. Repeated studies in the UK have found that children living around nuclear plants have a higher change of getting lymphoma or leukaemia. The negative effects of pollution from coal and coal mining are obvious.

The Banqiao dam failure had nothing to do with hydro power and adding deaths from it to hydro's tally is just deliberate distortion of the figures. The dam was built for another purpose entirely, to prevent flooding downstream. Hydro was just a nice side benefit. You are trying to blame the car stereo for the engine exploding.

If we built hydro dams the way we build nuclear plants they'd be incapable of killing anybody when they fail. But we don't.

Actually WE do, it is just poorer nations that tend to skimp on it. That is why we don't trust them with nuclear either. You could argue that older plants are worse, but actually if you look at newer plants built in the UK they are just as bad or worse. It isn't a design issue alone, it is a money issue, specifically pressure on management to make more of it.

Focussing on deaths alone also ignores the huge economic and social costs. The area around Fukushima is basically a write-off now. Even if some people are willing to go back their businesses and jobs have gone, and there won't be enough of them to form viable communities. They are already having that problem where the tsunami destroyed towns, and people actually want to go back there.

It isn't just disaster areas that have that problem either. In the US you don't clean up nuclear sites after use completely, you just bury the reactor in concrete and leave it. The site is unusable. In the UK we do a full clean up, although it takes 80 to 90 years, costs an unbelievable amount of money and it is far from clear if anyone will want the land afterwards anyway.

Nuclear is dying I'm afraid. No-one wants to invest in it. China is about the biggest builder of new plants, but is only investing about $10bn over a few years compared to over 75bn per year in renewables. Why just secure your own countries energy needs when you can be a major player in a new market too. That was how we pitched it with nuclear in the 60s, but problems with the technology and limited exportability screwed it up.

Re:pravda.JP (1)

acoustix (123925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773920)

Actually WE do, it is just poorer nations that tend to skimp on it.

So, are we poor in the US too? There was a famous dam failure [youtube.com] in West Virginia. Of course it nothing to do with power generation, but let's stop pretending that it's possible to mitigate all deaths in the event of a massive failure.

Re:pravda.JP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775310)

Anyone claiming anything humans do is 100% safe is guilty of hubris.

Re:pravda.JP (0)

mad flyer (589291) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772504)

There have been quite some big dam failure including 1 in France (under De Gaulle I think, wikipedia on Malpasset dam: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malpasset [wikipedia.org] ). But when a damn fail... you drown... and when the water is gone you can rebuild few month later without much afterthough... No need to close for decades or century huge part of the country or argue endlessly how much radiaoctive ood you can eat before glowing in the dark with lecturing morons across the globe saying that the potatoes emit less than a chest Xray anyway... Discarding the fact that a chest XRay is an extremly short blow and vital organs are protect by the skin or lead apron... while the potatoe will radiate internally and radioactive isotope will stay forever damaging your DNA from inside...

Re:pravda.JP (3, Insightful)

nojayuk (567177) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772848)

A small irrigation dam in the hills above Fukushima city in Japan failed after the 2011 earthquake. Four people inspecting the dam at the time were drowned and a few houses below it were swept away, their occupants missing presumed drowned too. Google "Fujinuma dam collapse" for details.

It was an irrigation dam, not for power per se but it used the same technology other power dams use. That one incident directly killed more people and destroyed more homes than the Fukushima radiation releases have done to date.

Elsewhere a dam collapsed during flooding in Nigeria in September 2011, killing over a hundred people and destroying homes and property in its wake. It barely made the world news unlike the events at Fukushima.

Re:pravda.JP (-1, Flamebait)

jimmydigital (267697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773422)

That one incident directly killed more people and destroyed more homes than the Fukushima radiation releases have done to date.

Are you being purposefully obtuse? Do you realize that this multiple meltdown incident has contaminated a huge swath of land in Japan and fresh water sources? This part of the country is one of the big farming areas.. I've seen estimates that about 1/3 of the rice consumed in Japan comes from Fukushima prefecture. As the people who live there move back.. resume farming... people will eat the livestock, fish, and produce that comes out there... these particles of radiation will be breathed in and otherwise work their way up the food chain. These sorts of incidents don't have to kill a million people on day one.. that will come in the next 5-7 years from increased cancer rates. The fact that our own FDA has no plans to screen fish coming out of the pacific ocean should be scary if you like to eat fish.

Re:pravda.JP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38773528)

No, dipshit, that the FDA with real scientific data instead of hysteria, realizes that there's no threat, means that there's no measurable risk. Stop being a cunt.

Re:pravda.JP (4, Informative)

nojayuk (567177) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773638)

Hyperbole much?

I don't know where you get the bit about a third of Japan's rice being grown in Fukushima province. A lot of the rice eaten in Japan is imported, for one thing. For another thing the major part of the contamination from the Fukushima reactors was deposited in mountainous terrain to the north-west of the plant. Nearly all rice-growing in Japan is done on coastal flatlands such as the Kansai region, a looong way from Fukushima.

The tsunami smashed a lot of agricultural areas along the Tohoku coast, polluting them with salt, building debris, fuel oil etc. and they will need several years remediation before crops can be grown there again. This is basically the same situation for the agricultural areas contaminated with fallout although decontamination there might be easier as less soil needs removing and treating.

As for radioactivity levels, I do hope you are aware that seafood swims in radioactivity? Seawater has about 10Bq/litre of radioactivity due to the presence of potassium-40 (K-40). A rough BOTE calculation says there are 50 million tonnes of this radioactive isotope in the world's oceans continuously emitting beta particles and gamma rays. The few kilogrammes of cesium-134 and -137 deposited in the sea by the Fukushima explosions are a spit in the bucket by comparison. The short half-lives (2 years and 30 years) of the cesium isotopes means their radioactivity will diminish in a short timescale -- the amount of cesium and strontium fallout deposited in the Pacific during the H-bomb tests in the 1950s has already decayed significantly, for example. Conversely K-40 has a half-life of over a billion years meaning it will be a threat to life until the Sun goes into its red giant phase.

The FDA already recommends limits on eating seafood. This is due to the high levels of mercury found in fish like tuna. Unlike radiation this cumulative toxin never decays and more is being added every year to the seas, due in part to coal-burning power stations. Attempts are being made by the EPA to reduce the US contribution to this ongoing natural disaster from the current level of 50 tonnes a year at the smokestack but the coal industry is pushing back on this, not surprisingly. In comparison guess how much mercury the nuclear power industry adds to the seas each year? Yep, you you're right. A big fat zero.

Re:pravda.JP (1)

jimmydigital (267697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38778741)

I don't know where you get the bit about a third of Japan's rice being grown in Fukushima province. A lot of the rice eaten in Japan is imported, for one thing. For another thing the major part of the contamination from the Fukushima reactors was deposited in mountainous terrain to the north-west of the plant. Nearly all rice-growing in Japan is done on coastal flatlands such as the Kansai region, a looong way from Fukushima.

I get it from various sources... I don't recall exactly where I read that tidbit.. but it's easy enough to find sites like this one. http://www.pref.fukushima.jp/kokusai/IADwebsite/aboutfuku/aboutfuku8.htm [fukushima.jp] Where it specifically mentions all the agricultural products that come out of that area and articles like this one: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45337452/ns/world_news-disaster_in_japan/t/japan-bans-rice-grown-near-crippled-fukushima-nuclear-plant/#.TxuQOyOZNCI [msn.com] Interestingly.. those 'safe levels of radiation' mentioned in the article have been something of a moving target lately. Governments worldwide have been changing regulations to drastically increase what's considered safe with regard to food specifically from Japan. Google it yourself if you doubt what I'm saying.

This is basically the same situation for the agricultural areas contaminated with fallout although decontamination there might be easier as less soil needs removing and treating.

One has to look at the decon methods they are using.. and how effective they are likely to be. I've seen estimates that to really decon it right you have to remove 4" of top soil. That would be devastating to the environment there and utterly impossible on the scale we are talking. That's not how they are de-contaminating though. In many cases they are removing less depth or simply ploughing the soil to turn it over. They are also dumping radioactive soil into Tokyo Bay where it's sure to end up in marine life.. so not really getting rid of it.. just moving it around making it harder to find. The latest numbers I've seen were about 1400 square miles needs to be de contaminated. That's not just farm land.. that's cities.. woods.. private houses etc. Crops grown in contaminated soil can uptake hot particles and pass them on to the people or animals that consume them.

As for radioactivity levels, I do hope you are aware that seafood swims in radioactivity? Seawater has about 10Bq/litre of radioactivity due to the presence of potassium-40 (K-40). A rough BOTE calculation says there are 50 million tonnes of this radioactive isotope in the world's oceans continuously emitting beta particles and gamma rays. The few kilogrammes of cesium-134 and -137 deposited in the sea by the Fukushima explosions are a spit in the bucket by comparison.

Seriously? I guess that would be ok if your fish are all pulled from that 'average' ocean.. but of course that's where math and the real world part ways. Fishing is done near coast lines where the continuing discharge of radioactive water is going to create a hot zone to the east of Japan. It makes no sense to talk about worldwide averages when the danger is coming from a single point near a major food source. Big fish eat little fish.. and dilute contamination gets concentrated.. that's what I meant by working its way up the food chain.

The fact is.. the numbers you see in the press releases are based on estimates.. wild guesses actually. No one really knows how much material got released.. what it was or how far it might have gone. Ocean and land surveys are ongoing and as the numbers start to get updated.. we are finding out it was much worse than anyone thought initially. This is not hyperbole.. it's a realistic examination of the disaster that happened last year.. and the continuing disaster of bad policy and bad cleanup methods.

Re:pravda.JP (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773592)

That one incident directly killed more people and destroyed more homes than the Fukushima radiation releases have done to date.

While they may physically still be standing most of the homes in that 20km exclusion zone are effectively destroyed. Everything in them needs to be decontaminated and most people don't want to go back anyway. Chances are most will be demolished and maybe rebuilt as they have fallen into disrepair anyway.

Re:pravda.JP (3, Informative)

mad flyer (589291) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772492)

You got wrong from the first statement, so I wont bother with the rest of your rant:

The earthquake was 9 at the epicenter. Far from Fukushima Daiichi (150km) were it was much much lower (6+) hence the problem for Tepco.

Bias is cute... but sometimes check a bit more before posting it...

All the other statement you make have no backing or reference to be check except the cute but limited in it's scope XKCD graph... I know XKCD reference are usually thread winning arguments on Digg on fark but I expect better here.

Just know that as of today the Jgov is insisting on spreading radioactive waste in standard recycling plants all over japan spreading pollution everywhere and that farmer are growing rice and vegetables on contamined soil and selling them everywhere. Most supermarket now openly lie about the origine of the farm product they sale to protect their profit. Aeon group has been cought red handed several times already including for vegetables harvested during the short timespan where it was illegal to sell product from fields near Daiichi.

Go to f_ckedgaijin.com, there is a LONG thread were all your claims have already been considered and burried deep to the earth core...

To finish:
>>Fukushima (where nobody died)
You should have started here... would'nt have wasted more time with your shortsighted ness... After all, Chernobyl only killed 40 people... why should we even care...

Re:pravda.JP (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38772544)

Coal kills thousands of people every year

You are off by a large margin. Coal contributes to approximately 1-2 MILLION early deaths EVERY YEAR. 1 in 7 people will die early because of coal pollution.

And if you don't believe me, just look at your "clear skies". If you want to see what clear sky looks like, then look at this,

http://good-wallpapers.com/pictures/4519/Deep_blue_sky_wallpaper.jpg [good-wallpapers.com]

Yes, this probably looks "touched up" to you guys, but the sky itself is how it looks around here on a really clear day (central canada - about 3000km from any coal plants and 1500km from any city larger than 50k people). When you look straight up, it is almost black. When you look at the horizon, there is no haze. No smog. No particulates. It is clear, right down to the horizon.

Now go outside in any of the cities you live in, and look up. I will bet your zenith looks more milky than my horizon.

When I came over from Eastern Europe, Toronto was "super clean" in comparison. In comparison to this place, Toronto air is extremely polluted. Eastern Europe is much worse and I can't even imagine places in China.

When snow falls here, it stays WHITE as the day it fell for 6 months. And when it melts, it is as white as 6 months prior. In Eastern Europe, snow became gray and black within HOURS thanks to coal soot.

So if you ask me what is the most dangerous pollutant on this planet, it is coal and oil and gas, in that order. Nuclear is super clean in comparison, and if any radiation escapes, it is because of a fault, not by design.

So, have seen a blue sky?

PS. CANDU has its problems. It is not as economical as some others. It is not as safe as some different others. But it is pretty good. But above all, nuclear doesn't pollute by design. And this is something that cannot be said about fossil fuels.

Re:pravda.JP (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773410)

The sky looks like that in most of Australia too ... I know exactly what you mean by the sky overhead looking very dark/almost black too. I have to admit, first time I visited the northern hemisphere (Europe and US) one of the first things I noticed is how the sky is so hazy and "white" a lot of the time, rather than really blue.

However I'm not certain that's entirely to do with particulates and pollution from man-made sources. Humidity (or lack thereof) has a lot to do with it as well.

Re:pravda.JP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38774128)

That looks like it was shot on Fuji Velvia 50 transparency film which is known for artistically exaggerating blues (among other colours).

Re:pravda.JP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775765)

You're forgetting water vapor jackass.

Many places(like toronto) are not desert, and have a larger than 0 humidity.

Re:pravda.JP (3, Insightful)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773058)

Solar power kills a number of people every year due to various causes such as installers falling off rooftops and electrocutions. Electrocutions and falling deaths during installations also kill a number of people working on wind power every year.

And how many people died during construction of the nuclear power plants? Not that I think this makes nuclear power special, rather that if you count installation deaths from one form of power generation system then you should from all the others too. Fair is fair. Building sites are hazardous places.

Re:pravda.JP (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773722)

In fact, those statistics ARE taken into account, and it is STILL more dangerous to work on solar. However, the danger is spread about very unevenly, and you can take personal charge of your danger as a solar installer. Safety is up to you. As a nuclear plant engineer, safety is up to you, and a whole lot of other people.

Re:pravda.JP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775052)

Divide by the power produced and you have a much different picture. 1,000,000 KW for nuclear vs. 10-20 KW for a personal solar install. Furthermore, the construction of a nuclear plant is done methodically with safety in the forefront of everyone's mind at every step. A contractor installing a solar panel on a roof is much more likely to rush and make mistakes. Furthermore, solar panels also have shorter lifetimes, and thus must be replaced more frequently adding to the installation risks.

There is also the mining process to consider. To produce the same amount of power, 100s to 1000s of times more material must be mined for producing solar panels than for the plant and fuel for nuclear. There are many deaths associated with mining. Generally Coal is the worst since the methods used leave unstable tunnels, and Uranium and rare-earth mines (for solar materials) tend to be surface mines that are much safer. Still, there is a significant increase in risk due to the vastly larger amount of material that needs to be mined.

Then there is operational safety. Solar panels need to be cleaned and maintained. I don't want to go onto an icy roof to shovel snow off my solar panels - I might fall off my roof. Nuclear also has risks, but again when you divide by the power output it is clear that Nuclear is much safer overall.

Re:pravda.JP (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38777865)

The deaths quoted for Nuclear are still lower than for solar when counted as deaths per tWh generated, even when you take into account the full lifecycle and all the past accidents. Google it.

Fanboys stuck in the early 1960s (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38773344)

CANDU power plant is the safest and most effective power plant you can have

Please learn about the subject matter before coming out with drivel that implies we had some sort of golden age in the 1960s and have never progressed since. It's depressing.
Also, want plutonium for your third world bomb program? CANDU!

Re:Fanboys stuck in the early 1960s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775526)

Also, want plutonium for your third world bomb program? CANDU!

There are much more efficient ways to produce plutonium. Furthermore, CANDU is not that great at producing plutonium in the first place as it burns plutonium. CANDU has been used to burn those plutonium stockpiles

http://www.ccnr.org/nas_mox.html#adv [ccnr.org]

In normal CANDU operations with natural uranium fuel, more than half of the energy is provided by fissioning plutonium produced in the fuel as the reactor operates. As a result, adding plutonium to the initial fuel would represent a smaller change in the physics of the reactor core than in the case of LWRs. Moreover, the structure of the CANDU reactors allows plenty of space for added controls . . . . Thus, relatively few physical modifications would be required to handle substantial quantities of plutonium in CANDU reactors.

So yes, CANDU is "old" and has been improved over the years. It is not the best. It is not the safest. But drawing the "non-proliferation" card is a low blow. CANDU is excellent at burning plutonium, hence it is not a good design to making plutonium. There are much more efficient designs if you want to do that.

You needed to learn just a bit more (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38777921)

Apparently the trick is to change the fuel frequently if you wish to use CANDU as a plutonium breeder while still pretending it is for civilian use, plus tritium can be obtained even more easily (Operation Shakti -> ~56kT bomb). That is exactly why Turkey wanted one and was blocked from buying one after pressure from the USA and Israel some years ago.
Also the "more efficient designs" (eg. CIRUS - a different Canadian design used to make the plutonium for Operation Smiling Bhudda -> ~8kT bomb) make it very obvious what the aim is and are less flexible if you want to change your aims. WTF do you think Argentina and Pakistan got their CANDU reactors for? What do you think the Indians are using their new "unsafegaurded" CANDU inspired reactors for? Military reactors are not just for keeping fluffy bunny slippers warm and you are very naive to state things like "drawing the non-proliferation card is a low blow". It's what these things can be used for.

Re:You needed to learn just a bit more (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#38778577)

Huh? Why the hell would Argentina want a nuclear weapon? It's what these things can be used for. Yes, and a pipe wrench can be used to hammer nails, but it would be a stupid use of either tool.

You really need to get your news from somewhere besides Glen Beck.

Re:You needed to learn just a bit more (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38778699)

Why would South Africa? They had three nuclear weapons by the time they scrapped them and they didn't even have a neighbour such as Chile that they fight with from time to time and still dispute the border with. Now do you understand? The same fucking reason India and Pakistan got the bomb.

Re:pravda.JP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38774940)

People, a simplified and likely incorrect explanation, the famed 9 is the estimated power at the source and it's Moment magnitude scale not Richter that's not beeing used nowadays. You lived at most few tens of thousands of kilometers from it but probably didn't feel a thing yet at the Fukushima site it was probably some 8-8.5 magnitudes in Richter scale, if i had to guesstimate.

Re:pravda.JP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38777211)

Thank you for the information. It' nice to hear a level headed, confidant, and rational voice in all this chaos.

Re:pravda.JP (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772974)

As for those claiming that nuclear is safe because even with this accident everything is fine... just read a little more about all the food and radiation scandals going on.

So basically what you are saying, is that if you were driving your 1910 Ford Model-T on the road, and had a collision with a car built in 2011, you think they will take equal damage, and so all cars are bad things. Because exactly zero progression in technology has made cars any safer...

Except in this case the Model-T got hit by a truck at 90mph, and the driver survived.

No, I'm not going to point out how factually incorrect your statement is, I just came to make a car analogy.

Blurred (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38772070)

Trying to figure out if the small white speckles are gamma rays or neutrons hitting the CCD. Beta probably wont penetrate that far through the camera body and alpha certainly won't.

The bright white, fast moving streaks are drops of water, probably from core spray inlets (similar to a shower) which has been flowing since the incident.

Chernobyl photography (exclusively film) was similarly damaged by radiation. Taking those photos eventually killed the photographers.

The fuel isn't visible because it slagged into corium at the bottom (or below) the pressure vessel. The camera can in from the top and there is a big collection of crap in the way. It may be years before the slagged fuel is sighted.

Re:Blurred (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772696)

Despite the blurry images, one can appreciate the interior design and decoration. It didn't change much since my last visit.

Re:Blurred (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38774888)

The video is of the primary containment, not inside the reactor pressure vessel. There would not be lagged pipes and girders inside the actual RPV. The core spray is inside the RPV, so we are not seeing that. So the water must be condensation. There should not be any leaking water in the primary containment. It looks in a hell of a state.

Re:Blurred (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38776375)

I doubt that neutron radiation will be visible with a CCD, as the neutrons are not directly ionizing while the gamma rays certainly are.

That is not endoscopy (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772506)

That is not endoscopy, by my ass. Shit, even Goatse comes closer to that.

Re:That is not endoscopy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38774478)

That is not endoscopy, by my ass. Shit, even Goatse comes closer to that.

I think you're thinking of colonoscopy...

Journey to the center of the earth. (0)

englishstudent (1638477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38772802)

Fukushima was bad. You can expect whatever they told you in the media to be a whole lot worse.

Drama (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775444)

1: What's the temperature inside the reactor room?
2: About three hundred degrees.
<pause>
1: That's not bad. Is there any water remaining in the pool?
2: No.
1: Humidity?
2: None.
1: Sh*t.
<pause>
1: Pebbles or slag in the bottom of the pool?
2: No idea.
<pause>
1: Bring the Aldrich catalog, Fisher, VWR, and anything else you are able to find. I want sensors. Digital sensors, photoelectric multiplier tubes, diode arrays, sensors for any wavelength, frequency, ridge pattern, oscilloscopes, and anything else you are able to find that we may attach to a spool of wire. Find one of the guys, put him in a lead suit, get him in that room and have him throw the sensors around in an orderly fashion--but don't waste time painting a fresco in there. Don't even worry about the hardware or the software or the interfaces to read the sensors. Just put everything on a bundle of wires, label and number each one, get that guy in there, put the sensors in there, and get him back. Block and weld everything until you are reading no radiation from inside the room.
<pause>
2: Then what?
<pause>
1: After we figure out how to bring those sensors online I want you to drill a microscopic hole in one side of that room and a microscopic hole in the other side. Begin pumping superheated water steam, puff-by-puff, into that room and sample the puff by puff on the other side. Do that very carefully until we fill the room with superheated steam, keep it up for a few more years, collect the water and sell it to the chemists. We'll have fifteen or twenty years to figure out how to market them into running reactions in heavy water.

Opposing oppinions (1)

katarn (110199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775514)

Fox News reports [foxnews.com] is reporting that although Tepco can't see the fuel because of steam in the containment area, and although they can't find the current water level, the internal temperature of 112F qualifies as proof that the "cold shutdown" has been successful.

The other point of view at the washington post [washingtonsblog.com] is that if they can't see the fuel, it has broken completely through the containment system, and "Given that steam forms when water boils this is an indication that the reactor is not in cold shutdown." Also "If the reactors are “cold”, it may be because most of the hot radioactive fuel has leaked out."

The New York Times [nytimes.com] pointed out last month: A former nuclear engineer with three decades of experience at a major engineering firm who has worked at all three nuclear power complexes operated by Tokyo Electric [said] “If the fuel is still inside the reactor core, that’s one thing” . But if the fuel has been dispersed more widely, then we are far from any stable shutdown.”

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