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Suppresed Video of Japanese Reactor Sodium Leak

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the all-watched-over-by-machines-of-loving-grace dept.

Censorship 341

James Hardine writes "Following an announcement this week that the infamous Japanese Monju fast-breeder nuclear reactor would be re-opened with a new plutonium core, Wikileaks has released suppressed video footage of the disaster that led to its closure in 1995. The video shows men in silver 'space suits' exploring the reactor in which sodium compounds hang from the air ducts like icicles. Unlike conventional reactors, fast-breeder reactors, which 'breed' plutonium, use sodium rather than water as a coolant. This type of coolant creates a potentially hazardous situation as sodium is highly corrosive and reacts violently with both water and air. Government officials at first played down the extent of damage at the reactor and denied the existence of a videotape showing the sodium spill. The deputy general manager, Shigeo Nishimura, 49, jumped to his death the day after a news conference at which he and other officials revealed the extent of the cover-up. His family is currently suing the government at Japan's High Court."

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Hard to follow (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201550)

They shouldn't have let Shatner direct.

Governments can suppress the videos (5, Funny)

Aurisor (932566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201560)

Governments can suppress the videos, but they will never stop the first posters.

kdawson != editor (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201618)

Suppressed should not be misspelled by anyone who is employed. Kdawson, please submit your resignation to OSTG on Monday. Then go back to adult education.

Sincerely,
The Genius

Re:Governments can suppress the videos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22202122)

As juvenile as that sounds, that is a fairly profound statement

Re:Governments can suppress the videos (1)

DrTime (838124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202126)

That is why the CIA did the right thing by destroying those tapes of the interrogations. I am a liberal, but I agree with getting rid of those tapes to keep them off YouTube. Still, we have to make life as miserable as possible for the administration by investigating it. Just like they acted asses when Clinton was in office. It is just a game. A rotten game.

radioactive sodium too (4, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201594)

sodium cooled reactors also have a tendancy to produce radioactive isotopes of sodium like Na22 or Na24 from the high levels of neutron radiation exposure, the first produced by knocking a neutron out of Na23 and the second from neutron capture. sodium reacts with water to produce sodium hydroxide [caustic soda] and hydrogen gas, both of which are very dangerous in large quantities for obvious reasons.

Re:radioactive sodium too (5, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201702)

sodium cooled reactors also have a tendancy to produce radioactive isotopes of sodium like Na22 or Na24
Eh. The chemical dangers are more significant. Na-22 isn't particularly radioactive, and the highly radioactive Na-24 has a half-life of only 15 hours.

Re:radioactive sodium too (2, Interesting)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201782)

Na-24 has a half-life of only 15 hours.


What does Na-24 decay into, and how dangerous is that? How long does that stick around?

Re:radioactive sodium too (4, Informative)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201874)

I'm a chemist, but not big into nuclear.

Na-24 beta decays into Mg-24, which is stable and not dangerous.

Re:radioactive sodium too (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202016)

So essentially - all is cool if you stay cool and not pour water on it. Oxidized sodium is of course a bigger problem, but not even that is a big issue.

The big issue here seems to be not the coolant itself - it seems to be a relatively good coolant to use - but the fact that the accident happened. The larger problem that could have occurred would have been a core meltdown instead, and that would have been serious.

This stresses the fact that nuclear power has it's dangers, and that it's necessary to watch the handling processes thoroughly to avoid major disasters.

Another question is if it's really worth the cost or not to run nuclear power, but that's a different issue.

Re:radioactive sodium too (1)

Fordiman (689627) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202134)

If a coolant leak triggered a switch to manual operations and kept the reactor from actually melting down - well, that speaks to good engineering and shoddy workmanship on the coolant system.

Re:radioactive sodium too (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201918)

I forgot to add the Mg-24 is the most common magnesium isotope with about 79% abundance.

So what you think of regular Mg metal is mostly Mg-24.

Re:radioactive sodium too (5, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202086)

The thing to keep in mind is that sodium is so popular as a reactor coolant precisely because it doesn't form a lot of long lived radioactive isotopes when irradiated in a nuclear reactor.

Re:radioactive sodium too (5, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201734)

So they put liquid sodium on the fissile material as a coolant? Man, is there anything the Japanese *won't* put soy sauce on?

Re:radioactive sodium too (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201864)

Rice.

The Japanese won't put soy sauce on rice.

Re:radioactive sodium too (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201904)

You could have had a single-word, witty retort to an obvious racist joke that would have been both correct, and without any single comeback even being possible.

Quite possibly, the hardest thing to do on the Internet. Nay. It is the hardest.

But then you had to go look like a total idiot by explaining what everybody already knew.

Dumbass.

Re:radioactive sodium too (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202010)

You could have had a single-word, witty retort to an obvious racist joke that would have been both correct, and without any single comeback even being possible.

If we joked about French Crescants instead of soy sauce, would that be any different?
     

Re:radioactive sodium too (3, Informative)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201986)

sodium cooled reactors also have a tendancy to produce radioactive isotopes of sodium like Na22 or Na24 from the high levels of neutron radiation exposure


Except that the leak was in the secondary loop, which is never in contact with the core, and hence not radioactive. Had the leak been inside the primary loop you wouldn't have been able to walk up to it with a video camera because there would have been quite a bit of radiation shield and concrete in the way.

Not in this case, apparently (1)

Len (89493) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202140)

According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] ,

Fortunately, the leak occurred in the plant's secondary cooling system, so the sodium was not radioactive.

"Secondary" means that this sodium didn't pass through the reactor core so it didn't become radioactive.

Also (4, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201606)

Wiki leaks server suffers a meltdown after 9.1 MB video gets slashdotted.

Japanese government doesn't even try to cover it up.

Re:Also (5, Insightful)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201658)

9.1 MB video via https, mind you.

Re:Also (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201852)

Elighten me: does https invovle a lot of overhead for the server? Your comment seems to imply that; and if true, it would explain why https isn't used all the time, especially for sites like slashdot which require a login...

Re:Also (4, Informative)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201896)

Oh, hell yes. The initial key exchange to start an https connection is wonderfully expensive.

Note to web "masters" everywhere: you cannot distribute huge files to millions of people using MySQL and SSL. Full stop. Upload that shit to Amazon S3 or Akamai or YouTube or _anything_ other than mediawiki. Thanks!

Re:Also (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22202014)

That's why we have hardware accelerators that make https and other crypto protocols run nicely on modern hardware.

Video down? (1)

winphreak (915766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201608)

Looks like Wikileaks is having trouble with bandwidth of the full video.

Re:Video down? (5, Informative)

hyperherod (574576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201630)

An English subtitled version can be found here [dotsub.com] until that also runs out of bandwidth. Also a link to a version on YouTube [youtube.com] but this is with Japanese subtitles only.

Re:Video down? (1)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201640)

I can't imagine it helps that they linked to it on a secure server. That's going to be one melty server.

Re:Video down? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201660)

"nuclear reactor would be re-opened with a new plutonium core,"

"Someone set up us the bomb!"

Re:Video down? (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201784)

Darnit, I WANT THIS VIDEO!!!

darn you slashdot...

Youtube link (5, Informative)

pirodude (54707) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201622)

Uploaded to youtube http://youtube.com/watch?v=pwWQLMmn0tM [youtube.com]

Re:Youtube link (5, Informative)

pirodude (54707) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201638)

Re:Youtube link (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202004)

Dotsub is currently mirroring the incident in more ways than one - their server is on the verge of meltdown. Expect long loading times.

Re:Youtube link (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201790)

I had a chunk of my ear shot off in a college organic chemistry lab when someone dropped a small piece of sodium in the sink. Those guys were walking through a mist of it,leaving footprints though a powder of it. They have way way more balls then me. If there was water in any of those multitudes of pipes overhead that started leaking, the whole place would have been one large crater.

Nuclear Power and Global Warming (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201636)

Well I sure am glad that breeder reactors are as safe as proponents of nuclear power tell us. I'd hate to think of switching to nuclear power on the promises of better safety with new, high technology reactors only to have another nuclear accident which irreversibly contaminates the groundwater, or kills people. That won't happen with breeder reactors, right? They're intrinsically safe.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (4, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201704)

How many people die yearly in coal mining accidents? How about accidents on oil drilling rigs?

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (0, Offtopic)

doshell (757915) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201764)

How many people die yearly in coal mining accidents? How about accidents on oil drilling rigs?

Those do not incur the risk of radioactive contamination, which has long-term consequences that are more worrying than those resulting directly from the incident (I'm not saying every nuclear incident goes the way of Chernobyl -- just pointing out there is a risk). So it's not just a matter of comparing casualties resulting from the particular explosion/meltdown/whatever.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (0, Troll)

aztektum (170569) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201788)

I have long been saying life would be more interesting if we had more six-eyed fish and flipper kids walking around.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (5, Insightful)

Martz (861209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201818)

Instead the burning of coal slowly kills thousands of people a year through air pollution.

And as we all know, that's not news because it isn't sensational enough.

One study I found when searching indicates that 25 reactor meltdowns per year would be required to being it inline with coal pollution deaths.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (1)

TobiasTheCommie (768719) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201926)

I would be very interested in reading said study

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (4, Informative)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201984)

I don't know about that study, but the statement itself seems to agree with this:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste [sciam.com]

Over the past few decades, however, a series of studies has called these stereotypes into question. Among the surprising conclusions: the waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. In fact, fly ash--a by-product from burning coal for power--contains up to 100 times more radiation than nuclear waste.

At issue is coal's content of uranium and thorium, both radioactive elements. They occur in such trace amounts in natural, or "whole," coal that they aren't a problem. But when coal is burned into fly ash, uranium and thorium are concentrated at up to 10 times their original levels.


Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (1)

TobiasTheCommie (768719) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202048)

Thanks, heard it a few times from sources i trust, just really wanted to have a source for it(the coal power plants are more radioactive)..

Still would like one with the specific 25 disasters a year (or what it was). But lets hope the original poster can give me/us that.

Again, thanks, bookmarked. :)

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (2, Insightful)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202120)

Any time.

I was just in my home state of Pennsylvania yesterday and saw a bumper sticker asking "Why not coal?" (Coal Miner's Union) The major industry around my area used to be anthracite mining, and when that collapsed, the town kinda went to shit, although it's coming back slowly. Given that, I understand why they'd want coal, just like I'm sure people in Detroit want the auto industry back, and the midwest wants ethanol.

Unfortunately, even though it would probably be a boon to my home town, I can't agree with bringing back coal. All of the evidence just seems to point to critical public safety issues due to the inevitable pollution. I'm a believer that, when the world changes, you change with it. Re-educate, find something else to do, and go do it. This resistance to change is what keeps communities poor in the global economy, and creates lobbies to bring back technologies and industries that are probably better off dead or significantly re-structured.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (-1, Flamebait)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201952)

Technically "meltdown" is when the plant shuts down and the carbon rods retract.

It's an explosion, specifically coolant pipes bursting, that's the real threat.

You see the plant has to balance the generation of power with the cooling down of the pipes transferring water (or some other material) around everything, so that the pipes don't burst. if the pipes burst, radioactive water vapor is released. that's a worst case scenario. The carbon rods are the implement used to generate power. the more of them there are exposed, the more power generated, and the more you have to worry about coolant. The retraction of the carbon rods is called meltdown.

Don't go thinking that it's the meltdown that's the bad thing. When the plant experiences a meltdown, the city or whatever loses power, but the real catastrophe is averted. Naturally you don't want a meltdown, but if anyone advertises a meltdown-free nuclear power plant, run screaming in the other direction. The alternative is far worse.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202018)

That's funny, I thought a "meltdown" was when the core overheats and actually begins to... you know, melt. I can't think of any reactors that actually use carbon as a mediator anyway...

=Smidge=

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202084)

Technically "meltdown" is when the plant shuts down and the carbon rods retract.

A meltdown is when for some reason the nuclear reaction isn't mediated, and the reaction "runs away" or takes off out of control. This would happen in older reactors if there is a loss of coolant and the control rods weren't dropped into the reactor (also known as a SCRAM) to stop the nuclear reaction from occurring. With breeder reactors, I'm unaware of what their procedure is for handling any sort of failure with the sodium coolant.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202216)

the 1950's called and they want their nuclear tech back. no one has built a new plant based on water cooling in 50 years.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (1)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202068)

Not to mention the un-filtered combustibles from coal-fired power stations release vast amounts of Mercury Vapors that contaminate our environment and food chains.
Scrubbing the gaseous elemental Mercury from the combustion gases is very expensive and not that efficient and many countries don't even bother. Look it up in your own country.
I'd rather have the *fear* of an unlikely contamination of my environment from non-global-warming nuclear power than the *certainty* of air pollution and Mercury in my food.

I live in the Central US and already pregnant women are strongly cautioned to NOT to eat freshwater fish more than once per 2 weeks (last I read) because of Mercury pollution from rain containing coal-combustion mercury vapor condensates. And this mean ALL lakes, streams, rivers, ponds, etc... I used to love to catch and eat my caught fish. Now I can only catch and release...

For some reason, I don't see the any tree-hugging Nuclear nay-sayers addressing this point. Because it clearly points toward MORE coal burning to power the exhaust scrubbers (and thus more CO2 released) versus Using Nuclear power and having Zero CO2 release.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202242)

coal plants release far more radiation into the environment then nuclear plants ever have. it's just effective fear mongering that's preventing them being used.

i'd like to see a link to that warnign though, i wasn't aware inland USA was that polluted.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (5, Informative)

Shining Celebi (853093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201954)

Those do not incur the risk of radioactive contamination, which has long-term consequences that are more worrying than those resulting directly from the incident (I'm not saying every nuclear incident goes the way of Chernobyl -- just pointing out there is a risk). So it's not just a matter of comparing casualties resulting from the particular explosion/meltdown/whatever.

Coal mining accidents might not incur the risk of significant radioactive contamination, but the combustion of coal does release massive amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere [ornl.gov] , and people living near coal-fired power plants are exposed to more radiation than those living near nuclear power plants.

I've always found these statistics to be interesting:

For comparison, according to NCRP Reports No. 92 and No. 95, population exposure from operation of 1000-MWe nuclear and coal-fired power plants amounts to 490 person-rem/year for coal plants and 4.8 person-rem/year for nuclear plants. Thus, the population effective dose equivalent from coal plants is 100 times that from nuclear plants.

Of course, in the case of an extreme nuclear accident, as in Chernobyl, we have a very big problem to deal with right away that wouldn't be possible with coal. But I think it's worth remembering that a great deal of radioactive material is accumulating from coal-fired power plants, and that could someday be a major problem too. Nuclear power is not the only source of radiation released because of human activity.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (4, Informative)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202066)

Of course, in the case of an extreme nuclear accident, as in Chernobyl, we have a very big problem to deal with right away that wouldn't be possible with coal. But I think it's worth remembering that a great deal of radioactive material is accumulating from coal-fired power plants, and that could someday be a major problem too. Nuclear power is not the only source of radiation released because of human activity.

There is another factor to consider in this. Chernobyl used a design whereby a lack of water caused a positive feedback loop in the reactor to cause it to get even hotter. U.S. and most other designs use a negative feedback loop so the less water/coolant there is in the reactor, the less energy is put out. A Chernobyl type accident is physically impossible in any reactor used in the U.S. 3 Mile Island is about the worst nuclear accident that can occur in a U.S. nuclear power plant and about three dozen things went wrong (including stupidity on the part of the plant operators) in order to cause it.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (4, Interesting)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201978)

Have you done any reading on the status of Chernobyl lately?

Since the accident, the natural wild life has returned in full force, and the region's ecosystem is healthier than it has been for centuries. Obviously without an in depth study we cannot be certain of mutation and cancer rates in those animals. But I'll venture a guess that natural selection took its course, and the overall population is healthy, allowing it to adapt and thrive in a mildly radioactive environment.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/bigphotos/33784558.html [nationalgeographic.com]

So there goes your whole argument. Now read up on blue fin tuna that has such large quantities of mercury that even 6 pieces of sushi per week exceeds the safe limit. Read about the Exxon Valdez spill and countless others that directly destroyed entire ecosystems.

At this point nuclear energy is safer than any conventional other energy source. It is also the only economically viable energy source, at least for the time being. People who believe that solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources are the way to go obviously have NO idea how much electricity is consumed in industrial processes. Statements like "this windmill can power thousands of homes" are meaningless, when a single steel foundry consumes that much in a half hour.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201710)

Well I sure am glad that breeder reactors are as safe as proponents of nuclear power tell us.
Are breeder reactors the type people are advocating for a return to nuclear power? I don't think so...

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (4, Informative)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202158)

Actually, they partially are. Breeders can be reduced to dramatically reduce the amount of waste generated, thus eliminating one of the major issues with nuclear power. I've seen predictions from 95% to 98% less waste.

A minor correction... (2, Informative)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202178)

Breeders can be used to reduce nuclear waste. The reduction of breeders does not help with that.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201798)

You realize breeder reactors are used for producing plutonium, and NOT for power generation?

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (2, Informative)

sjames (1099) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202052)

Actually, breeders can do both. Early examples were primarily for weapons grade Pu production but many designs exist geared more for commercial power production. The Pu they produce is well suited for further use in a reactor, but is much more difficult to process into weapons material. That, of course, is a big plus these days when the world has quite enough bombs.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (4, Insightful)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201802)

Nothing that involves a high concentration of energy and a low concentration can ever be completely safe. Energy is the ability to do work, and it may end up doing work you don't want it to do. Now here's the real problem: You feel you have been lied to, that somebody promised you breeder reactors are completely safe, or that other kinds of reactors are completely safe or something. Well, somebody lied to you all right, when they told you that any power generation could ever be completely safe.
        Read up on 'loss of blade' accidents for windmills, dam failures for hydro, and how coal releases radiation (lots of it) and other toxins (lots of them). Read up on what chemical compounds are used in solar cells, or just how hot a commercial sterling solar engine is at the mirror's focal point. Look at the political consequences of breeders, but also at the political consequences of the existing fuel oil demand. Look at the environmental consequences of nuclear, but also at the environmental consequences of big oil. Find out how even wave and tide, if scaled up to produce tens or hundreds of gigawatts, means thousands of small boat accidents a year, plus Manatees and probably many other species will inevitably become extinct and whole ecologies such as the everglades will likely follow. For any power source, read up on where it is to be located, and the human costs of sending the power to where it is to be used. THERE IS NO SAFE!

Quite right, and since the dawn of the human race (4, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201928)

We are descendants of a hunter gatherer species. For a long time our energy source was our own muscles, and in order to get plenty of high quality food to supply them, a relatively small primate had to learn to kill animals large and strong enough to kill it. The rewards of risk taking (i.e. hunting large ungulates) presumably outweighed the risks, because eventually we learned to domesticate them. There seems to be some evidence growing that civilisation was a step backwards caused by climate change because, even with intensive farming, humans have to work much harder to get sufficient food. Hence the pyramid system feeding the rulers and warriors, the priests that justified it, and the conflict between nomads and town dwellers.

We are also poor at judging risks outside our biological programming, which is why we deem it a reasonable trade off to have over a hundred thousand people a year across Europe and the US die in accidents, rather than have universal public transport. If a hundred thousand deaths a year is OK so we can go to the office exactly when we feel like it, why isn't it OK so we can turn on the dishwasher exactly when we feel like it? - and that's meant to be a serious question.

Re:Quite right, and since the dawn of the human ra (3, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202112)

It's more of the poor risk analysis. Deaths from coal based pollution and auto accidents happen daily in a series of small dramas affecting a handful of people at a time. When a nuclear accident happens it's all over the news and millions are involved in the same drama at the same time. That skews our risk assessment so that the emotional reaction to the infrequent large event is much greater even though the many small and frequent events kill far more people.

reletive novelty also plays a role. A video of one guy being killed by a bull will get a LOT more airtime than a thousand fatal carcrash videos will.

Jaws scared a great many people out of the ocean. I would guess that many times more people have died on the way to or from the movie than due to shark attack.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (1)

tkinnun0 (756022) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201980)

Nothing that involves a high concentration of energy and a low concentration can ever be completely safe. Energy is the ability to do work, and it may end up doing work you don't want it to do.
We must ban steel, because E=mc^2 and steel is denser than air!

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202222)

Iron doesn't fission or fuse, so steel is only risky if it's got mechanical potential energy. Ergo, we must ban weightlifting and tall buildings. All other elements besides iron are potentially capable of liberating energy by either fusing to make iron or fissioning to make iron, so it's all other elements we must ban. If we just make the whole universe iron, and pack it all into one ball so nothing can fall any farther, then everybody will ,at last, be safe. Uhm, wait...

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202070)

Find out how even wave and tide, if scaled up to produce tens or hundreds of gigawatts, means thousands of small boat accidents a year, plus Manatees and probably many other species will inevitably become extinct and whole ecologies such as the everglades will likely follow. For any power source, read up on where it is to be located, and the human costs of sending the power to where it is to be used. THERE IS NO SAFE!

Be honest though. As long as it is safe for humans, we don't care if it kills off every life form that we aren't actively breeding/farming on this planet. That's really how much we care about nature and wild life. PETA may think animals ought to be saved, but, truthfully, every other party would kill animals in hordes as long as we got anything positive from it like meals most of us think taste good.

Re:Nuclear Power and Global Warming (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202174)

I agree that the human race is unlikely to make the decision to save the Manatees at the cost of less jobs, fewer lifestyle options, and such, but it is becoming apparent that impoverishing the rest of the capital E Ecology or even local ecologies hurts us as well. Maybe Manatees aren't that significant, maybe Alligators can all go, just maybe we could pave the whole everglades without losing carrying capacity for humans, but take out enough species, whole biomes, and so on, and it will hit us too.
        Even before that, safe for which humans? Plenty of us wouldn't care about something that only kills people on the coasts, if we live inland, but those people on the coasts get to vote too, most places. If wave rockers on the Texas coast affect erosion of the few remaining sandbars protecting New Orleans, Texas may think they're great, but Louisiana won't.
        Even before extinctions, something that commits large parts of the world's coastlines to power generation will probably have impacts we don't like on good old us, for example, tankers hit coastlines sometimes - what happens when an oil tanker mishap also takes down part of the wind and wave grid for a double whammy? (Hint, the oil company says it was all the wave rocker floats fault and the tanker wouldn't have run aground at all if not for them - after all, if you had just loss a valuable asset in an accident involving your competitors, and they were about to sue you, wouldn't you try to prove they were at fault? Oil companies don't sue mother nature for putting rocks there, but when someone owns the coast and covered it with big moving objects that 'affect currents', that's different.)

This video will drive one procedural change (4, Insightful)

xC0000005 (715810) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201646)

They'll be certain to address the cause of the leak - videotapes. Whether or not the sodium leak problems will be addressed I can't say, but they'll ban video evidence of problems for sure.

Regarding Japan (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201650)

Where are my Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei subs? Episode 4 aired and afk hasn't released episode 3 yet.

All Fucking Kunts

Re:Regarding Japan (1)

nomessages (1160509) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201838)

AFK being...AFK then?

Safe Nukes (2, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201662)

See, nuke power is safe, and we always know how bad even these contained breakdowns are.

Re:Safe Nukes (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201712)

Seems there is still work to do. But once that's done, nuke power for everyone!

Re:Safe Nukes (2, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201826)

WRONG (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201956)

this is a prototype of a power station. Most breeders today are too small to generate more power than they consume, but once scaled up, they will. ALL future reactors will be breeders in advanced countries will be breeders. It is far too expensive for them not to be.

Re:Safe Nukes (1)

toppavak (943659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201848)

Especially the new micro-reactor types like this one [slashdot.org] discussed on slashdot earlier. While I dont think that the most effective application of these is in power generation for neighborhoods or small towns, I can see where a self-contained reactor that will generate 200kW for 4 decades might be useful in ships and spacecraft.

It makes me sad how much baseless fear there is of nuclear power out there. A coolant leak is a pretty major breakdown as Nuclear disasters go, and AFAIK nothing truly bad happened in this situation. I'm not saying that nothing could happen- but properly maintained and operated nuclear power is far safer than the majority of fossil-fuel based technologies out there and significantly more cost-effective as well.

I am amazed that we are not doing nuclear ships (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201990)

Yes, several were built and were decommisioned. But first they were designed poorly and that was when oil was CHEAP. Now it is pricey. We would be smart to either build nuclear ships or perhaps even better would be to build the bering strait brdige or tunnel.

Nothing will stop the resurgance of nuclear power (4, Insightful)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201684)

(continued title)
... except stupid people.
This SHOULD show that even a "disaster" is minimal by nuclear standards and that safety is about a billion times better than any type of plant, but who knows how this will be interpreted by those who are inclined to panic at what they don't understand.

Re:Nothing will stop the resurgance of nuclear pow (4, Informative)

Big Frank (921537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201726)

The next generation of nuclear power reactors is on the drawing boards today, and they aren't pressurized liquid sodium.

Re:Nothing will stop the resurgance of nuclear pow (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201908)

The next generation of nuclear power reactors is on the drawing boards today, and they aren't pressurized liquid sodium.
They aren't fast-breeder reactors or its sister design the Integral Fast Reactor [wikipedia.org] which has the benefit of producing no long-term radioactive waste (it decays to original levels of radioactivity after only 200 years or so).

Too bad.

Re:Nothing will stop the resurgance of nuclear pow (2)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201934)

3rd gen are past drawing board. The FBR and IFR are gen 4, and are almost certainly going to happen.

Re:Nothing will stop the resurgance of nuclear pow (0)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202038)

Well said, I fully agree, that's why it is important that this sort of information should be suppressed. It gives stupid people ideas about things they know absolutely nothing about.
It is important that governments should legislate that whoever "leaks" these sorts of things are classified as terrorists and should be locked away for life at the very least.
Governments have highly intelligent professionals advising the cream of our society (our politicians) who in turn make judicious decisions based on fact. As a safeguard, our politicians select judges who are impartial and above reproach to make sure that the best interests of the people are looked after.
These sorts of stories are so easily distorted and used to inflame situations that anywhere they "discuss" these things should immediately be shut down as it is obvious that those forums are deliberately manipulating the stupid people in our society, if people want to know something about nuclear power, they should contact their government.
Nuclear power is safe, this minor technical problem they experienced was well contained and it is a pity that now the stupid people will miss-interpret the events - one very good example why our democratically elected governments need more control over the media and the internet. Immediately lock up the families that are suing the Japanese government I say, more stupid people doing stupid things.
Misleading stories (nothing happened and yet the story - a fairytale I say - implies that there was a risk to people) do not help in the betterment of our society.
Please people, do not worry, your government is here to look after your best interests, Nuclear power is safer than any other form of power, your government will ensure it stays that way. Your government would not lie to you.

Re:Nothing will stop the resurgance of nuclear pow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22202152)

wow such arrogant dogma. you sound just like the iraqi information minister.
Nothing will stop nuclear power eh? the actual specifics of this latest cover up don't matter to you? if this stuff is no safe, they wouldn't want to cover it up surely?
I bet you posted this before you even looked at the details of the story didn't you.

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201720)

You can't stop the signal Mal

what? (5, Interesting)

mofag (709856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201724)

I watched the whole video and I didn't see anything of note. I didn't see the "small mountain of sodium" and I didn't see anyone die. What is it? can anyone explain what I was meant to see please?

Re:what? (4, Insightful)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201800)

You are not supposed to actually watch that video. You are supposed to just switch to the OMG WTF NUKULAR BAD groupthink.

Face it, nuclear power is Bad, so the fact that there is a video showing a bunch of kids in hazmat suits re-enacting Blair Witch in their school basement should we all the proof you need. Any grainy image of sewage pipes is a bonus.

Re:what? (2, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201866)

Here's the correct link [comedycentral.com]

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201892)

Aren't you terrified and screaming for the blood of purveyors of anything nuclear? My god man, "Camera angle graphically tells the story!" The cameraman is "Going back quickly" at a furious walking-pace! There's so much SODIUM you can't even see the footsteps in it! (Except when you can!)

I believe we've seen all we need to!

Re:what? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201906)

At several points in the video you can see a white substance coating things, especially on the underside. This is probably the sodium, meaning that the stuff escaped, despite assurances that this hadn't happened, contradicting earlier statements by the agency. Consequently, it means that there may have been a corrosive effect to a (much) larger part of the facility, meaning that the plant probably was damaged to a much greater extent than has been made public, but also that the consequences of another incident could be far worse.

Related video... (0, Offtopic)

boisepunk (764513) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201748)

I guess it would be a really bad time to mention Battling Seizure Robots! [seizurerobots.com]

Next (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201794)

Tomorrow's top story on Slashdot: The Chernobyl meltdown! Followed on Tuesday by breaking Three Mile Island news...

apple's at it again! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22201810)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22868682/ [msn.com]
 
face it fanbois. they make microsoft look like a charity.
 
but just keep denying it, keep buying into their lockin. keep getting fucked over again and again. it makes you easier to point out as a hypocrite and an asshat.

Maybe they were just trying to fight the monsters (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201858)

from "Horror at Party Beach" and thus needed....sodium! Someone should sing a song about it.

Sodium reactors and the Navy (4, Interesting)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201860)

I remember reading about some fracas with some congressman wanting to install sodium-cooled nuclear reactors on submarines and aircraft carriers. Hyman Rickover, who was running the Navy's nuclear-powered fleet at the time, got hauled in front of a congressional panel; he dropped a small chunk of metallic sodium into some water and asked, following the ensuing fire and explosion, whether there were any questions. The Navy commissioned one sub with a sodium-cooled reactor (the U.S.S. Seawolf), but it was the only one.

Re:Sodium reactors and the Navy (3, Informative)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202020)

Would not have made much difference to be honest. If you get several atmosphere pressure of radioactive water suddenly blowing a hole in your sub and disabling its power system, you would be fairly stuffed as well. The US navy stopped using sodium cooled reactors mainly because they wanted to standardize on one design. Sodium would have a lot of merits, even at sea. In particular, because it doesn't boil at the temperatures used you don't have any pressure in the reactor, so an explosion or leaking of primary coolant is a lot less probable ( and sodium or not, leaking of primary coolant would certainly be a show-stopper for a naval mission ).

Oh, and btw, the summary is misleading. Sodium is very corrosive to concrete and a lot of other materials, but provided it remains pure ( i.e, doesn't mix with water / air ) it is in fact very non-corrosive to steel, which is one of the reasons why it is used. It is certainly a lot less corrosive than 300 C water with boric acid in it.

Re:Sodium reactors and the Navy (1)

thygrrr (765730) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202030)

I find this unlikely. Cold (i.e. room temperature) sodium only sizzles in water, releasing a little bit of hydrogen in the form of bubbles, unless it's not a "small chunk".

Now, hot, liquid sodium... that's a different story. Don't blast that with a firehose... (didn't this happen with a reactor in Europe once?)

Re:Sodium reactors and the Navy (1)

E-Lad (1262) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202040)

Yeah, it's psychotic to want sodium cooled naval reactors.

The Soviets experimented with metal-cooled reactors in their Alpha class submarines. I believe the reactors in those boats employed bismuth, though. The problem with metals is that it was a maintenance nightmare. The ruskies had to build piers with steam plants on them just for the Alphas so the they could dock and shut down their reactors, less the liquid bismuth solidify in the coolant pipes and essentially writing off the entire boat. I do believe at least one Alpha was lost this way.

Re:Sodium reactors and the Navy (2, Informative)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202234)

Actually their main problem was that the plants they built ashore in order to heat the reactors didn't manage to supply enough heat so they ended up running the reactors non-stop without service, and they were not designed for that so they eventually broke under the stress. Also, lead-bismuth and sodium are very different coolants. While sodium reacts explosively with water , lead does not. Lead does however corrode steal quite aggressively while sodium is completely non-corrosive to steel ( unless it is mixed with air/water ).

I find it odd (1)

stox (131684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201884)

If there was any radioactivity in the area being videoed that there is no observable scintillation. Did they use shielded video cameras?

Re:I find it odd (2, Informative)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201968)

There wasn't any radioactivity in the area. The leak occurred in the secondary loop which is not radioactive. The primary loop is inside quite a bit of shielding so even if there was a leak there you couldn't just walk up to it with a video camera.

Those arn't space suits! (4, Funny)

BobSixtyFour (967533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22201924)

They're top-secret nuclear-powered "Gundam" or (Generation Unsubdued Nuclear Drive Assault Module) Mobile Suits!!

why sodium? (0)

RelliK (4466) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202062)

Why do they use sodium to cool reactors? It reacts violently when exposed to water producing highly corrosive NaOH. Why would you want to use that stuff? Seems like a really bad idea.

Re:why sodium? (4, Informative)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202184)

A number of reasons:

a) It is liquid at temperatures suitable for the reactor operation meaning you don't need any pressure in the cooling system. In contrast pressurized water reactors and gas cooled reactors need to keep the entire core under high pressure.

b) Sodium is a metal and hence conducts heat very well, this allows you to build a very compact reactor that is still capable of dissipating its heat after shutdown even if the cooling pumps were to fail.

c) Sodium doesn't absorb neutrons nearly as much as water does, and this allows you to build a reactor which produces more plutonium than it consumes, thus eliminating the need to enrich uranium.

d) Sodium atoms are heavier than hydrogen atoms, so the neutrons will not lose their energy as quickly. As a consequence the neutron spectrum is a lot harder, and capable of destroying much of the long-lived waste. The Waste from a breeder reactor would hit uranium levels of radioactivity in 300 years rather than tens of thousands of years.

e)While sodium is corrosive when mixed with air or water, pure sodium is almost completely non-corrosive to steel. This is in sharp contrast to 300 C pressurized water with boric-acid dissolved in it. A sodium cooled reactor generally experiences virtually no corrosion to the reactor core unless an accident occurs.

Basically, if it wasn't for the fire-hazard sodium would be close to an ideal reactor coolant.
 

Re:why sodium? (1)

Iguanadon (1173453) | more than 6 years ago | (#22202194)

The reactor design, a fast breeder reactor, is more efficient than other reactor types, but requires liquid sodium to cool the reactor. As long as its kept in a sealed loop it's as safe, if not safer, than pressurized water reactors. I believe new breeder reactor designs don't require liquid sodium at all. (I could be wrong though)
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