×

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!

Safety Measures Fail To Stop Fukushima Plant Leaks

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the ways-in-which-broken-nuclear-plants-are-like-U.S.-spy-agencies dept.

Japan 157

AmiMoJo writes "The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant has been developing countermeasures to deal with repeated leaks from tanks of contaminated water. But despite the measures, 100 tons of radioactive water leaked on Wednesday and Thursday. 'The leaked water was among the most severely contaminated that Tepco has reported in the aftermath of the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, when damage caused by an earthquake and a tsunami led to meltdowns in three of the plant’s reactors. Each liter of the water contained, on average, 230 million becquerels of particles giving off beta radiation, the company said. About half of the particles were likely to be strontium 90, which is readily taken up by the human body in the same way that calcium is, and can cause bone cancer and leukemia.' The estimated volume of the leaked radioactive materials caused Japan's nuclear regulator to rank the leak a level-3 serious accident. The international scale of nuclear and radiological events ranges from zero to 7."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

157 comments

JIT (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305277)

just in time for the new godzilla movie

Solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305295)

Dilute it into the ocean; Presto! Nothing but background levels.

Re:Solution: (2, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 months ago | (#46305315)

Indeed, the total spill is about the same size as a large-ish residential pool. The ocean will never know.

Re:Solution: (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 months ago | (#46305697)

Except that much like mercury the radioactive material is biologically concentrated. I've heard the US has already drastically (20x?) raised its "safe threshold" levels for radioactive materials in foodstuffs to allow Pacific fisherman to continue to sell their catch.

Re:Solution: (5, Informative)

hey! (33014) | about 2 months ago | (#46305785)

Well, dilution *is* a reasonable approach to disposing of this waste, but what we have here appears to be an ongoing leak from a point source into tidal waters, which is not at all the way you'd design a project to dilute the waste.

There are several big differences between letting the stuff leak and a proper attempt to diffuse the waste over a large area of the ocean. First of all the leak is a point source discharging into an intertidal zone. My wife is a physical oceanographer who helped site a major sewage outfall, so I remember some of the concerns. Stuff that is discharged right near the shore doesn't diffuse nicely out to deep water, it gets transported along the shore with the same currents that deposit sand from rivers along the coast.

This means that the S90 may well get deposited in sediments. The concentration of S90 probably won't be enough to be a direct concern to humans, but because strontium is an analog to calcium, it can bioaccumulate [wikipedia.org]. This means the somewhat incomplete process of dilution gets undone when critters like benthic worms on the bottom of the food chain consume the S90, and are in turn consumed by ground fish and so on up the food chain. At each trophic level [wikipedia.org] the S90 is concentrated a little more.

I agree that the amount here reported is probably not a serious threat to human and environmental health, but the problem is that this process is ongoing. It is possible that what is going on doesn't present any threat to human or environmental health, but we can't be sure. By the time we figure it out it will be too late to do anything (or anything affordable) about it if it is a problem.

In a nutshell: dilution could work, but there's a significant chance that just letting the stuff leak into the sea won't do the job. This stuff needs to be contained or otherwise dealt with *now*.

Re:Solution: (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 months ago | (#46305909)

I'm not trying to be an apologist or anything. I was just adding some scale to the horrid-sounding headline. The list of "things I worry about" still does not include stuff like this. Perhaps it would if I at stuff that lives near the plant.

Re:Solution: (3, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | about 2 months ago | (#46306153)

I didn't think you were trying to be an apologist. I agree this situation is not an issue for global, regional, or even local panic.

There's a lot of ground between "not a serious problem at all" and "everybody run for the hills", and this situation falls into that territory.

Re:Solution: (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 months ago | (#46306131)

. First of all the leak is a point source discharging into an intertidal zone. My wife is a physical oceanographer who helped site a major sewage outfall, so I remember some of the concerns. Stuff that is discharged right near the shore doesn't diffuse nicely out to deep water, it gets transported along the shore with the same currents that deposit sand from rivers along the coast.

I'm not disagreeing with you or anything, just want to point out that the water didn't leak into the ocean, so this situation doesn't really apply (according to the article, so who knows).

Re:Solution: (1)

hey! (33014) | about 2 months ago | (#46306297)

That's a good point. According to the New York Times this particular leak has not as of yet reached the ocean yet. TEPCO says it won't make it to the ocean, but I'm reserving judgment on that claim given TEPCOs poor track record.

Still, even if ocean disposal is the best long term approach, that doesn't mean that it would be a good thing if this leak is washed into the ocean. It needs to be contained.

Re:Solution: (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about 2 months ago | (#46306561)

The Tohoku coastline on the south-eastern side of Honshu where the Fukushima nuclear plants are located is swept by the Kuroshio current [wikipedia.org], part of the North Pacific circulatory system dispersing material from the coast across the Pacific. Much of the fallout from the Fukushima disaster has already been thoroughly diluted into the ocean and marker isotopes such as Cs-134 (a fission product with a 2-year half-life therefore very little remaining from US nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific in the 1950s to confuse the results) are starting to be detected at very low levels off the US west coast.

380 million becquerels isn't a whole lot (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46306629)

Considering your smoke detectors have about 37,000 Bq of radioactive material in them, the amount of radioactive material released is equal to the same number becquerels as 10,270 smoke detectors.

Chernobyl's release of Strontium 90 was estimated at 200 PetaBecquerels. That is 200 * 10^15 power. Or 536 million times as much as that was recently leaked at Fukushima.

But hey, 380 million is a scary sounding number, so it works well for propaganda purposes.

Re:Solution: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305335)

How about a couple of hundred tons of QuickCrete?

Hope you've got a big mixer (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about 2 months ago | (#46305463)

I hope you've got a big mixer to make sure that blends evenly, because it turns out that dropping stuff in the ocean isn't like putting food coloring in a glass. The ocean is big and has currents and thermal zones that prevent even, global mixing. That's why Fukushima raised Strontium-90 levels 100-fold in some hot spots in the three months after the disaster. [phys.org]

Re:Hope you've got a big mixer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305549)

I've got a great mixer. It's called time. That food coloring in the glass doesn't instantly mix either.

Re:Hope you've got a big mixer (1)

mtpaley (2652983) | about 2 months ago | (#46305709)

Quote from the linked article "These findings point to an increase of up to two orders of magnitude – a hundredfold- in concentrations of strontium-90 in the sea, with respect to the background values for this part of the Pacific before the Fukushima accident". I am guessing that the background levels of strontium-90 are going to be minute, I am impressed that it is even detectable, this feels like a 100 times almost nothing is still almost nothing.

Maybe its time ONU does something with that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305297)

What are we waiting for?

What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (0)

t0qer (230538) | about 2 months ago | (#46305299)

Just curious,

Instead of pumping in (then polluting) seawater, why not just let the thing meltdown? It would essentially bury the fuel. After it drops down a 1000' or so, fill the hole in with cement. I wouldn't be too worried about volcanic eruptions, radiation is what keeps the earth core nice and soft.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (3, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 months ago | (#46305343)

I'm no nuclear engineer, but it seems to me that IF (big if) It were as simple as letting the fuel melt through the floor like a big ol' glowin' gopher [thecomicstrips.com], you'd have a hell of a time containing the vapor emitted.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (3, Insightful)

JudgeFurious (455868) | about 2 months ago | (#46305685)

Love that comic. Bloom County was amazing and I miss it daily. Seen that particular one many times and had no interest in copying it from that website (I already own at least one book that includes it) until I tried to run my cursor over it. I just wanted to read it and kind of use my mouse cursor sometimes like a person would their fingertip to follow the text. The moment I did that the big red COPYNO.com image replaced what I was trying to read and it became my mission in life to copy the damned picture. Out comes my screenshot utility and moments later I'm sending that out to several people just because I can.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 months ago | (#46305937)

Agreed... I almost did the same! Pop it on a public webserver somewhere.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46306173)

http://www.cartoonistgroup.com/properties/bloom/art_images/cg4f7e02339fe8a.jpg

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46306399)

Firefox/SeaMonkey: First, install NoScript (why aren't you already using it?) or otherwise disable JS. Second, right-click on the image and choose "View Image"; don't worry about "http:...NoCopy.php" in the status bar (if you have one). Third, you're done - there it is.

MSIE: Good luck with that...

- T

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46306737)

Ah, right, No-Script. I was wondering what they were talking about - forgot I was spared by much of what's so annoying about modern webbrowsing.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#46305345)

Barring a meltdown so clean that it probably happened in physics experiment land, I suspect that that is a very good way to send all the stuff with low vapor pressure merrily on a world atmospheric tour, along with anything that burns, forms finely divided oxide dusts, or is otherwise ill-mannered.

If they, say, had it under some sort of control, and could just let it melt under a shield gas atmosphere of their choice, they could probably call the process 'in-situ vitrification' and declare victory; but their whole problem is that they are working from a point well below that.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (4, Insightful)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about 2 months ago | (#46305361)

Once the melted core hit the water table (considerably shallower than 1000' down considering the proximity to the ocean), you would get a huge radioactive steam geyser throwing the fission products into the atmosphere.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (2)

jafac (1449) | about 2 months ago | (#46305781)

This depends on how much mass there is, whether it's concentrated in a small lump, or flows through the paths of least resistance, and separates, and spreads out, (like chernobyl did). If it spreads out, the reaction slows, and then, it's largely decay-heat that's left over (which is pretty significant, but still, not 3000 degrees C significant).

Youtube is full of videos of steam-clouds that have been around the plant since roughly June 2012. This *seems* to indicate that there's something hot contacting moisture in the ground, and forcing out steam over an area of soil, but it's not consistent with a 77-ton mass of molten material dropping into a lake (ie. worst-case steam-explosion situation which is often portrayed as the result of a meltdown). The plant is along the coast, so fog has never been an unusual occurrence, so that likely conceals the fact that the core is issuing radioactive steam through cracks in the soil. A simple sampling and test of the steam should reveal if this were the case. But we're not getting that kind of data from Tepco.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (-1, Flamebait)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 months ago | (#46305363)

Google Cherynobyl?

To this very day it is so radioactive you can't get within 50 to 100 miles of it?

What would happen if let it be is it would explode under pressure like Cherynobyl into a massive radio active steam and dust cloud and the resulting fires and highly molten core would create radio active dust high into the atmosphere that would spread for thousands of miles. It would get into your lungs and would render large parts of the ocean and a 1/4th of the island uninhabitable.

So basically it would spread which would make it worse as it would not just be in molten area melting its way into a slob of molten stone, steel, and plutonium into the earth. As a result it can't ever be removed from Cherynobyl.

FYI apples from Oregon were too radioactive to eat some 6,000 miles away after that disaster! That stuff spreads like crazy.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (1)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | about 2 months ago | (#46305483)

Chernobyl was a completely different design. It had carbon graphite moderator rods that, once they caught fire, turned the whole mess into a radioactive barbecue pit. They were literally roasting uranium over charcoal briquettes.

Fukashima won't put up the huge smoke clouds that Chernobyl did. The main concern with it melting down has to do with steam release after it hits the water table. Which is bad enough.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (2, Interesting)

ramper (1206148) | about 2 months ago | (#46305543)

"massive radio active steam and dust cloud and the resulting fires and highly molten core would create radio active dust high into the atmosphere that would spread for thousands of miles"

you mean like current coal plants do?

"Though the concentrations are low, the total amount of TENORM in fly ash is noteworthy (Beck
et al. 1980; Beck 1989). For example, in 2004, U.S. electric power plants burned approximately
921 million MTs of coal (U.S. DOE/EIA 2005d). If that amount of coal is burned with 1.5 ppm
uranium, 1,381 MTs of uranium would be concentrated, in addition to other TENORM quantities."

[http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/docs/tenorm/402-r-08-005-voli/402-r-08-005-v1.pdf] - EPA

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#46305573)

Chernobyl did not melt down.
It simply burned up.
It was a graphite moderated reactor. Think of a huge coal fire with mixed in radioactive products.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (5, Informative)

nojayuk (567177) | about 2 months ago | (#46305601)

"Google Cherynobyl? To this very day it is so radioactive you can't get within 50 to 100 miles of it?"

After the accident/explosion/fire etc. in 1986 the Ukrainian authorities continued to operate the three other undamaged reactors at Chernobyl (they needed the electricity supplies). After a few years folks started running tourist trips to visit the area including the evacuated towns surrounding the damaged reactor. Thousands of workers have been working on the reactor building for decades attempting to entomb it or at least cover it up so it doesn't leak quite as much residual radioactivity as it does even today.

Sure in a Hollywood disaster movie script the Chernobyl site is so radioactive you can't get within 50 to 100 miles of it. However this is real life which is kinda different.

Ah, I just realised you're trolling, aren't you? Silly me.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (1)

afidel (530433) | about 2 months ago | (#46305641)

Well, the field mice in the city do have a significantly raised mutation and mortality rate, but outside of the city and the area surrounding the plant things in the exclusion zone aren't really that bad as far as we can tell. The wolves are doing pretty well since there's so much prey with no people or other large predators in the area.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about 2 months ago | (#46305729)

There's still significant levels of radioactivity at and around the Chernobyl site, well above international safety limits for permanent human habitation. Animals tend to have short lives anyway, dying of starvation, disease, predation or accident rather than old age so their chances of developing a lethal cancer (the only real ill effect of mild raised levels of radiation) are low since they die of something else beforehand.

I'd be suspicious of regularly eating food grown in the Chernobyl area unless it was thoroughly tested. If I was to work or live there I'd expect my exposure to radiation to be limited with monitoring and if I took enough exposure over a given period I'd move out.

In the case of Fukushima the evacuated areas around the plant are much smaller and less contaminated than at Chernobyl. There was an illustration I saw once layering the Fukushima release plumes map to scale over the Chernobyl exclusion zone -- the entire area in Japan designated off-limits (less than 1000 square km) was about the size of the marker pinpointing the reactor site on the Ukranian map. Even so large parts of the original Japanese exclusion zone have been reopened to permanent occupation and some of the rest can be visited on a restricted basis while decontamination takes place.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305619)

To this very day it is so radioactive you can't get within 50 to 100 miles of it?

Tell that to the hundreds of people living within 15km. Or to the people that have been working *at* the plant, running the other nuclear reactors there until 2000.

But please, don't let facts stand in the way.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (4, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 months ago | (#46305711)

Google Cherynobyl?

To this very day it is so radioactive you can't get within 50 to 100 miles of it?

Unless you take a guided tour [ukrainianweb.com].

However, this demonstrates nicely the factual level anti-nuclear lobby operates at.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (1)

neumayr (819083) | about 2 months ago | (#46306809)

Or... maybe that's the pro-nuclear lobby portraying such easily refutable claims as the anti-nuclear agenda in order to discredit them..? Such tin-foil-hat-esque theories have lately proven to be closer to reality than I would like them to be.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46306271)

THis is a troll/joke right?

Usually the /. crowd are better educated than the general public/media...

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#46306283)

Chernobyl reactor design and failure mode and fire of no relevance to Fukushima issues or this discussion

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46306411)

Chernobyl is not so radioactive that you can't get within 50 to 100 miles. In fact, you can visit the ruins of Pripyat and get within a few hundred yards of the plant and still be within safe levels of radiation. Only the only areas with lethal radiation levels are within the sarcophagus which holds the ruins of the reactor. They ran another nuclear reactor which shared the same building as the destroyed reactor for over decade after the accident. Your biggest danger in visiting the area around Chernobyl are the unsafe structures and rabid wildlife.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46306633)

To this very day it is so radioactive you can't get within 50 to 100 miles of it?

Unless you're a presenter on Top Gear [telegraph.co.uk] that is..

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305375)

Idiotic. Once it gets down to the water table the plume goes horizontally.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305453)

That isn't how reactors work, once the material has melted through the rod containment, the critical shape for fission is ruined. The only heat left is from beta decay, which is not sufficient to do anything like you are thinking.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (3, Insightful)

chmod a+x mojo (965286) | about 2 months ago | (#46305517)

Ummm, Physics would happen? Unless you had a convenient hole to pool the melt in it will just spread out and solidify ( that what the "core catcher" dishes under the reactors are designed to do ) and stop "reacting" so you would not get the melt actually burning a hole in the ground, you just have a spread out highly radioactive glassy metallic mess sitting at hot temps because of the residual decay heat.

That and ground water, if the melt would burn down it's going to heat up water in the ground, resulting in radio-steam blasting from the hole, probable widening of the fractures the water is flowing through leading to ground instabilities, and irradiating of your groundwater supply.

As others have stated as well, anything the hot melt would burn would also be irradiated and sent to the atmosphere, as well as radio-decay gasses.

In other words, it would be a much more horrible headache than trying to control the decay heat until the fuel can be decanted and put into a longer term storage.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (2)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 months ago | (#46305541)

The would give you a nice fire that would carry a significant fraction of the nuclear material in fine-dust form quite far. As in making Japan inhabitable with wind in the wrong direction. This type of fire was what spread the Cernobyl nuclear material all over Europe. Of course that was a bit less than what they try to contain at Fuckupshima.

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305561)

1. It already melted down. Then it solidified. Keeping it solid is desirable because it is more difficult for the material disperse and because the material won't shift around in such a way that it could start a nuclear reaction again (e.g., if some of the melted nuclear fuel got into the right shape with some moderator around it). Also, keeping it cool discourages chemical reactions versus allowing it to get hotter.

2. A meltdown that penetrated the bottom of the reactor and its containment building would be a red-hot molten mass that, if it eventually reached groundwater (long before 1000 feet/300m in most settings), would generate steam explosions that could fragment and hurl radioactive material into the air a bit like a volcanic ash plume, except that it would all be highly radioactive.

Bad, bad idea.

The radioactivity within the Earth is a much milder scale. Those granite countertops that many people use for preparing food in their kitchen? The rocks generating radioactive heat inside the Earth are about that radioactive or less than that (granite is a bit on the "hot" side compared to typical mantle compositions).

Re:What would happen if they just let it meltdown? (2)

dfenstrate (202098) | about 2 months ago | (#46305901)

why not just let the thing meltdown? It would essentially bury the fuel. After it drops down a 1000' or so, fill the hole in with cement. I wouldn't be too worried about volcanic eruptions, radiation is what keeps the earth core nice and soft.

The most important reason is that 'corium' isn't actually hot enough to burn through the earth like that, nor does it conduct heat all that well, even if any part of it became hot enough.

The integrity of the fuel rods is challenged at 2200F (zircaloy-water reaction, which released the hydrogen that caused the reactor building roofs to blow off on three of the Daichi units.)

Steel melts at about 2600F. Concrete breaks down at about 1800F.

In addition, the fuel is a uranium-oxide mix, a sort of ceramic. This class of material is generally known for poor thermal conductivity. That's why the pellets are the size of a pencil eraser, they need to be small and have a high surface area in order to conduct heat from the center of the pellet- which might be at 3000F in normal operations- to the fuel cladding and into the reactor coolant, which might be around 600F.

Anyway, from what I know about western reactors (it's my line of work, but i'm not a reactor engineer per se), I seriously doubt the fuel would 'burn' through steel or concrete. The fission products escape because of physical destruction to the facility caused by the Tsunami, or because of relief valves that limit reactor coolant system pressure, or primary containment structure pressure.

Chernobyl's release was due to a massive overpressure event that physically broke the reactor vessel. Nothing ever burned through concrete (check out the photos of the 'elephant's foot')

Three Mile Island's core was found in the bottom of the reactor vessel; a small amount of fission products was released by mis-operation of support systems. The integrity of the reactor vessel was never threatened, though the containment building (much larger than Daichi primary containment structures) withstood several hydrogen burns.

I came here for the godzilla jokes (1)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | about 2 months ago | (#46305305)

I wasn't disappointed! On a serious note, I thought they were building the godzilla of ice walls to fix this?

Re:I came here for the godzilla jokes (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 months ago | (#46305435)

From the article:

the leak, discovered on Wednesday and stopped on Thursday, happened far enough from the plant’s waterfront that none of the radioactive water was likely to reach the Pacific Ocean, as has happened during some previous spills.

So presumably this leak was in a different part than any ice walls.

Re:I came here for the godzilla jokes (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 months ago | (#46305753)

Good to know the contaminated water will magically disappear rather than reaching the ocean.

More likely they simply mean the radioactive substances will be mostly filtered out by the intervening rock where it will hopefully decay faster than it migrates into the ocean and/or water table. Either that or they're just selling a bill of goods to keep public fear and outrage from surging. [Looks at their record so far] ...nah...they'd *never* do that...

Color me Shocked! (3, Insightful)

clonehappy (655530) | about 2 months ago | (#46305325)

It's not like everyone hasn't been saying this for 3 years now. If you'd been paying attention, you would already know this was the case. But I remember when people were saying this in 2011, 2012, even into 2013, they were nay-sayed and called coal shills and alarmists. Now what?

Re:Color me Shocked! (1)

gnick (1211984) | about 2 months ago | (#46305427)

The problem isn't that the technology isn't ready or developed enough to radically decrease energy costs. The problem is that the question is never, "How much are we saving monetarily and environmentally over coal plants?" or even, "How can we do this as safely as practical?" Either of those would motivate cheap, clean energy. The question is always, "How much more cheaply can we do this?" Which, inevitably, results in catastrophe.

Do steel-toed-boot makers say, "How much can we save by using aluminum instead of steel?" Of course not, because the liability the first time somebody crushes their foot is huge. Power stations are experts at the "Pass the Buck" game.

Re:Color me Shocked! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305529)

You realize that aluminum cost like 2x what steel does right?

Re:Color me Shocked! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305787)

And can be made with a higher tensile strength than steel

Re:Color me Shocked! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305831)

Depends on the application. In cars and boats often not. But sometimes. In boots I have no idea.

Don't you read the news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305515)

They have had it well under control for the past 3 years, that way they can blame global sea water contamination on a recent event.

Re:Color me Shocked! (2)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | about 2 months ago | (#46305655)

Ah yes, I remember well being called a Luddite for pointing out to the Pollyannas what a mess this was going to be. 'You'd get more radiation from flying coast to coast / a few xrays at the Dr / your granddad's old radium painted watch you keep in a box than this will ever create' they said. Where is a plate of (radioactive) crow when you need one?

Re:Color me Shocked! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46306285)

So you're implying that Fukushima has infected you with more of the radiations than you've received from radium in the past few years?

Re:Color me Shocked! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46306461)

Yes and still with the newly disclosed leak they are still fucking right! You still will get more radiation flying coast to coast, from xrays, and from radium watches your father kept in a box than from Fukushima

Take your anti-nuclear alarmist bullshit and shove it up your ass, you luddite!

Wrong units (1)

ramper (1206148) | about 2 months ago | (#46305389)

It should obviously be reported as 90,000,000,000 milligrams of water with an average activity of greater than 6 billion picocuries. That'd be more frightening, I think.

Re:Wrong units (1)

Megane (129182) | about 2 months ago | (#46306817)

It should obviously be reported as 90,000,000,000 milligrams of dihydrogen monoxide with an average activity of greater than 6 billion picocuries. That'd be more frightening, I think.

FTFY

Really makes you think... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 2 months ago | (#46305421)

How nice it would be to have some one-on-one time with the engineering team that covered up the flaws in the containment vessel during initial construction.

In regards to the new cookies prompt, it's poor UX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305437)

Alright slashdot, you pop a cookies prompt up. I don't want to agree to it, I can still use the rest of the site and all the links work but it blocks my view of the first post.

Instead, consider everyone opt-out and if they haven't already accepted cookies, put a small box (not an overlay) in the top right to allow the user to opt-in.

Re:In regards to the new cookies prompt, it's poor (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 2 months ago | (#46305493)

Simple solution:

1) Install noscript
2) Don't whitelist fsdn.com or rpxnow.com

Result:
No beta. No popups.

Re:In regards to the new cookies prompt, it's poor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46306517)

or simply join soylentnews.org

Becquerels of particles (4, Interesting)

digitrev (989335) | about 2 months ago | (#46305487)

Becquerels of particles? Really? That's like saying (obligatory car analogy incoming) joules of cars. A becquerel is a measure of activity - each litre gives off 2.3e8 electrons per second. While this is a problem, this is a nonsensical way to talk about it. What's that law again? The one that says that "every news article in your field of expertise is utter garbage". I'm pretty sure it holds here.

Re:Becquerels of particles (1)

drainbramage (588291) | about 2 months ago | (#46306099)

Had me scratching my head.
Maybe that is why the new york times changed their motto to "Accuracy? We've heard of it."

Water cooling like it's 1959. Solid fuel like it's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305489)

It's 2014.

It will just continue like this... (-1)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 months ago | (#46305505)

Accidents of this magnitude cannot be controlled. The cleanup will take centuries, if it ever can be completed. Just look at the initial predictions at Cernobyl and now they are perpetuating temporary measures for the next 80 years.

Nuclear has failed. It is exceedingly expensive as the accident risk-cost needs to be added.

Re:It will just continue like this... (1, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#46305657)

nonsense, the leaking isotopes will decay in decades not centuries.

Fukushimi diachi is a local problem, never mind hysteria over non-events like the detected level of one extra xenon atom per cubic meter in the USA, that's nothing. less than nothing.

Chernobyl was just bad engineering meets bad management, other plants in the world can't do what that one did. And Fukushima diachi hasn't caused widespread damage like Chernobyl did.

Re:It will just continue like this... (3, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | about 2 months ago | (#46306011)

Strontium 90 has a half-life of 29 years. Obviously the process of decay will go on indefinitely, so it's pretty much meaningless to say that the leaking isotopes will decay "in decades".

What we need to know is how long will it take the concentrations of harmful isotopes to drop to acceptable levels. Thata of course depends on how many times greater the concentration is than acceptable levels.

If the initial concentration of S90 is acceptable, the answer is "instantaneously". If the concentration is 4x acceptable, the answer is "116 years". So it's not inconceivable that an S90 contamination problem could persist for centuries, although we have yet to determine whether we have such a problem.

Re:It will just continue like this... (2)

fnj (64210) | about 2 months ago | (#46306055)

Strontium 90 has a half-life of 30 years, genius. So if for example it's 100 times natural now, it will decay to 50x in 30 years, 25x in 60 years, 13x in 90 years, 6x in 120 years, 3x in 150 years, 1.6x in 180 years.

Cesium 137 has the same half-life: 30 years.

I suppose 180 years is "decades". Just as much as it is also "centuries".

Hell, a million years is 100,000 "decades".

Re:It will just continue like this... (1)

gnick (1211984) | about 2 months ago | (#46306659)

He did say "decay" in decades not "disappear" in decades. Using a 30-year half-life, that means it's decayed by half in 3 decades. If you want to chart out decay to 1.001x, it's about 30 decades (or 3.0 centuries). If you want it to decay down to 1x, wait until sometime after the universe achieves heat death.

BTW, sarcastically calling somebody "genius" because he didn't completely clarify his statement just makes you sound petty, genius. I'm not saying that I agree with GP, just that squabbling over decades vs centuries with no indication of what level of "decay" implies "decayed" makes less sense than squabbling over milliliters vs square meters of contaminated water. If it's at 100x and you're waiting for it to decay to 99x, it takes a little over 5 months (or 0.0043 centuries.)

Re:It will just continue like this... (0)

FirstOne (193462) | about 2 months ago | (#46306085)

Bzzzt.. wrong-o, this a Pacific wide scale disaster, various ocean layers don't mix as much as they hoped it would.

Sr-90 (beta emitter, calcium replacement has a half life of 28.79 years.. I.E. three decades later nearly half of the original material remains..

Cs-137 both a Beta and Gamma emitter, has a half life of 30.17 years.. Again half of the original amount will still be around in 30 years..

There is a significant risk the Fukishima Area will get too hot for humans, or electronics to work in/around. Thus insuring nearly all the contents of the reactors and spent fuel pools end up in the environment.

Note: Where there is high levels of Beta radiation from Sr-90 their will also be high levels of Gamma radiation from Cs-137, no protective suit, nor reasonable amount of lead shielding will protect from high levels of Gamma radiation. It would take 3" of solid lead shielding to reduce Cs-137 Gamma radiation component by 100x (which is not enough)..

Re:It will just continue like this... (1)

FirstOne (193462) | about 2 months ago | (#46306223)

Correction make that 1.5" of solid lead to block 99% of gamma radiation(not listed in article) from Cs-137.. (The remaining 1% will still be extremely detrimental in short order. )

.

Re:It will just continue like this... (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#46306263)

there is no significant CS-137 contamination even ten miles from Fukushima. Not a danger to humans, and the levels now are less than 1/10,000 from when the disaster happened.

Re:It will just continue like this... (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#46306235)

Nonsense, the concentration in the pacific is negligible and not a danger. you have no understanding of units of meaure of radioactive contamination. You read alarmist nonsense without sense of proportion or scale.

The area around Fukushima that is considered of any possible danger to humans is quite small, measured in low double digits of kilometers

Fire and charge them (1)

phorm (591458) | about 2 months ago | (#46305533)

But workers first determined that the alarm and information from the gauges were malfunctions, as they found no abnormalities around the tank, at least when the alarm went off.

Seriously, this isn't stuff that you shrug your shoulders on and ignore. Fire them, and possibly charge them (employees and employer) with whatever Japan's equivalent to "criminal negligence" is

Re:Fire and charge them (2)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 months ago | (#46305559)

They cannot. They are having serious trouble finding people to work there as it is. Don't forget that these workers risk infertility, malformed offspring and worse.

Re:Fire and charge them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305797)

Nonsense. Pay them more money. You have a supply and demand problem. When demand is outstripping supply, you need to pay more to increase the supply. Prime Minister Abe should be able to understand that.

Re:Fire and charge them (1)

number17 (952777) | about 2 months ago | (#46306891)

You have a supply and demand problem. When demand is outstripping supply, you need to pay more to increase the supply.

Unless it is a perfectly elastic demand curve.

For example, I will give a billion dollars to kill yourself. Only you can collect it after the deed is done. No matter how much I increase supply, demand will stay the same; right around 0.

Re:Fire and charge them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305615)

IIRC the on-site workers are often hired from homeless shelters and paid minimum wage. It seems that no one who has a choice will work there.

Re:Fire and charge them (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 2 months ago | (#46305827)

You are unaware of what they are dealing with there. It is a testament to the dedication of the workers that these leaks do not happen more often. This is not a normal nicely-planned storage facility, it is a bunch of tanks put in way too quickly for proper planning. This cannot just be fixed, because building it properly is difficult when workers are limited by their maximum allowable radiation dose.

Glow Little Glowworm..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305595)

Anyone who has played Fallout will have a tune in his heart as he reads this cherry news.

Shouldn't that be LEVER 4? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#46305699)

As I understand Indecent levels, level 3 tops out just before the actual release of radioactive materials outside the plant. Once you have materials leaving the plant in an uncontrolled manner, we are at Level 4.

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

Must have been a beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46305813)

Cause slashdot proves it, beta = fail. Fkuc Beta.

Still fewer cancers than fossil fuels (2, Informative)

Ckwop (707653) | about 2 months ago | (#46306065)

Fukushima is a serious nuclear disaster. It's a very situation that we should all be concerned about. But this should not lead to any pause in our appetite for nuclear energy.

What people often fail to appreciate is that even coal fired powerstations release quite large amounts of radioactive material in to atmosphere. Coal fired powerstations burn about a million times as much material as a nuclear powerstation per joule of energy produced. Some of that material is radioactive. That stuff isn't been sealed in a container in burrried in a mountain, it's being blown up chimney stacks along with the rest of the rather unpleasant stuff.

Don't believe me? Reflect on this passage taken from this (PDF) document [ohio-state.edu]:

The EPA found slightly higher average coal concentrations than used by McBride et al. of 1.3 ppm and 3.2 ppm, respectively. Gabbard (A. Gabbard, “Coal combustion: nuclear resource or danger?,” ORNL Review 26, http://www.ornl.gov/ORNLReview... [ornl.gov] 34/text/colmain.html.) finds that American releases from each typical 1 GWe coal plant in 1982 were 4.7 tonnes of uranium and 11.6 tonnes of thorium, for a total national release of 727 tonnes of uranium and 1788 tonnes of thorium. The total release of radioactivity from coal-fired fossil fuel was 97.3 TBq (9.73 x 1013 Bq) that year. This compares to the total release of 0.63 TBq (6.3 x 1011 Bq) from the notorious TMI accident, 155 times smaller.

So far, there has not been a single confirmed death due to Fukushima accident. In comparison, there were 20 deaths in the US just mining for coal in 2013. This is not to mention all the deaths being caused by cancers and other health problems being caused by breathing polluted air.

If we're ever going to get on top of this climate change challenge, nuclear must be leading the charge. Nuclear is a safe, non-polluting technology. Modern designs are fail-safe in every sense of the word. The newer designs can even cope with a loss of external power (like Fukushima experienced) yet still stay safe.

This is the 21st century. The technology is mature, sensible and safe. Really, we should be looking to retire every coal fired plant as a matter of urgency, if only to reduce the amount of radioactive contamination of the atmosphere!!

Re:Still fewer cancers than fossil fuels (3, Insightful)

un4given (114183) | about 2 months ago | (#46306441)

I don't dispute your claim that coal puts a lot of radioactive material into the air, and I'm not anti-nuclear. However, with a coal power plant, it is a gradual and controlled release of radiation and if the coal-fired plant malfunctions or gets damaged, the release of that radioactivity stops. Contrast this with nuclear power, where a failure releases huge amounts of radioactivity at one time, in a concentrated area and continues to release radiation as additional systems fail (e.g. hydrogen explosions due to lack of cooling). The problem becomes compounded when you can't fix it, because the site is too radioactive to sustain human life.

"100 tons of radioactive water" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46306087)

I'm calling you on sensationalist bullshit. If I go to the west coast of the USA and take a piss in the sea, do you start calling the Pacific Ocean "a trillion tonnes of piss water"?

That's a dilution factor, not a measure of radioactivity. Quit fucktard sensationalist FUDing.

Still no good water processing plant (2)

Animats (122034) | about 2 months ago | (#46306185)

TEPCO still doesn't have adequate water-processing capacity [the-japan-news.com] Fukushima. They installed three units of the "advanced liquid processing system" (which is basically a big ion-exchange resin water purifier) in 2012, and they are still not working reliably. [asahi.com] Failures are occuring for dumb reasons: "TEPCO officials believe the cause of that problem was due to a failure to remove a rubber pad from the tank, leading to a blockage in the system." On another occasion, they had to shut down because a crane failed.

Toshiba has overall charge of the project. Why a major Japanese company is having so much trouble with routine industrial tasks is not clear. As a result of all these processing problems, Fukushima has far too much contaminated water in temporary storage.

The process won't remove tritium, but that, at least, has a decay life of only 12 years, and it's not concentrated by biological processes like strontium and cesium, so dumping tritum-contaminated water isn't too bad.)

Not comforting (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 months ago | (#46306281)

It does not improve my comfort with nuclear power that these people are still in charge of this plant.

Jello (1)

WillgasM (1646719) | about 2 months ago | (#46306305)

Is the water in these storage tanks still being used for cooling? If not, just add a whole bunch of gelatin. That'd at least make it much more manageable. You can thank me later, environment.

Note on Relative size of that amount of water... (2, Interesting)

trims (10010) | about 2 months ago | (#46306619)

100 tons of water is 24,000 gallons, or about 3600 cubic feet of water.

That's roughly about the same amount as two (2) of the large tanker trucks that fill up a gas station.

Or, in Olympic Pool metrics, about 1/24th of a Pool.

In radiation terms, 230m Bq per liter (for 24,000 Gal = 91,000 L) or 21 Trillion Bq.

A single (average) coal plant puts out about 4 Quadrillion Bq via emissions pollution. So this spill is roughly 0.5% of the yearly output of a coal plant (or, 46 hours of operation of one).

In terms Banana Equivalent Dosage, you're talking about 1.4 Trillion bananas per hour to start with, halving every hour.

And Now You Know.

-Erik

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>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...