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Japan declares 'nuclear emergency' after quake

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posted on May, 18 2011 @ 02:52 PM
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I have designed industrial control systems and avionics systems, and control systems for dam sluices in my past, and one thing ALWAYS taken into account was human stupidity in critical systems, and that if something can go wrong, it will, so you would design a system so that by default, if something goes wrong, i.e. the power fails, or the software crashes (!!!!), that the valves would revert into a fail-safe state, in this case, I would have designed the valves leading to the cooling system to be open by default, so that if something happens, the valves would default to their normal state, which should be open, so that cooling still takes place (the valves to the steam driven emergency cooling systems would be open). It seems either as though somebody is lying about the operation of the systems, or a total d*ckhead designed the system. It would take an operator to deliberately override the system, and that could be construed as sabotage. Normally you would design the system to have f.ex 2 transistors to switch both sides of the relay controlling the valve, so that even if there is a fault, the fail-safe cannot fail.

Just my 2 words.



Human error
A review of the reactor logs shows that the steam driven isolation condensers were shut down by the operators after the quake, but before the tsunami. Once the the backup generators failed, there was no power to open the valves for the condensers, that plus a failure to vent the reactors earlier (TEPCO upper management decision) had sealed the deal on the outcome for Fukushima, at least for reactor #1.


Documents released by Tepco Monday showed the isolation condenser— an emergency cooling system installed on Reactor No. 1 before the quake as a final resort in case of a total loss of power—worked only sporadically, if at all. Tepco officials explained that somebody appears to have manually closed the valves on the condenser soon after the March 11 quake—but before the tsunami hit about an hour later—to control the fluctuating pressure inside the reactor. Reopening the valves required battery power, so those valves likely couldn't be opened because the tsunami damaged the backup batteries. If the valves hadn't been shut, things might have turned out differently. Temperatures in the reactor climbed faster than initially expected, causing more and faster damage

"If the dog hadn't stop to s%#t, he'd had caught the rabbit" -for all the rednecks out there...
online.wsj.com...
NOTE!: on WSJ links, you will have to access them from a search engine to see the whole article, pasted links from other sites will only give you an abbreviated page.

TMI also had operator error thrown in the mix, exacerbating the meltdown.
www.threemileisland.org...

edit on 18/5/2011 by Hellhound604 because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 18 2011 @ 03:12 PM
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Originally posted by Hellhound604
I have designed industrial control systems and avionics systems, and control systems for dam sluices in my past, and one thing ALWAYS taken into account was human stupidity in critical systems, and that if something can go wrong, it will, so you would design a system so that by default, if something goes wrong, i.e. the power fails, or the software crashes (!!!!), that the valves would revert into a fail-safe state, in this case, I would have designed the valves leading to the cooling system to be open by default, so that if something happens, the valves would default to their normal state, which should be open, so that cooling still takes place (the valves to the steam driven emergency cooling systems would be open). It seems either as though somebody is lying about the operation of the systems, or a total d*ckhead designed the system. It would take an operator to deliberately override the system, and that could be construed as sabotage. Normally you would design the system to have f.ex 2 transistors to switch both sides of the relay controlling the valve, so that even if there is a fault, the fail-safe cannot fail.

Just my 2 words.



I think in the design of the GE BWR/3 Mk-1 reactor, the default is for the valves to be open on the isolation condenser on shutdown. They had to be closed by manual override by the operators. Unfortunately they required power to open them again, which they did not have. My understanding is the operators were trying to stabilize the RPV pressure. Sounds like a combination of a lack of a fail-safe and a lack of emergency operation protocol and training. That gets back to GE/Hitachi/TEPCO responsibilities
The caveat is that even with a perfect protocol response, if things are FUBAR, the bear eats you....

Because of this thread, I have acquired more than I ever wanted to know about the operation of GE BWR reactors.

edit on 18-5-2011 by Tworide because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 03:12 PM
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The ripples of distrust keep getting bigger....


Wednesday, May. 18, 2011
PM: Japan's nuke regulators need more independence

By MARI YAMAGUCHI - Associated Press



TOKYO — Japan's prime minister acknowledged Wednesday that the recent nuclear accident underscored that his country's nuclear regulators need more independence from the industry to ensure safety.



In Japan, a single ministry is responsible for both promoting nuclear energy and overseeing its safety, unlike most other nuclear power-producing nations that separate the two functions.



"Entities that promote and check nuclear energy belong to the same government institution, which raises a question of independence," Prime Minister Naoto Kan told a news conference where he also promised a thorough review of the nuclear power industry and its regulators.

"We don't necessarily have a sturdy structure in this regard," he said.



www.thestate.com...


Des



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 03:17 PM
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Others are trying to connect the dots....from the Wall Street journal.



* JAPAN NEWS
* MAY 18, 2011, 3:45 A.M. ET

Fukushima Daiichi Diary: Other Problems



By PHRED DVORAK And YUKA HAYASHI

A Wall Street Journal examination of the first 24 hours after the Fukushima Daiichi accident shows that disaster piled on disaster, worsening the nuclear crisis faster than anyone had initially thought could happen. Here's a more detailed look at some of the other problems that the stricken plant, regulators and operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. were grappling with.

online.wsj.com...



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 03:20 PM
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I'm glad the AVMA is working on the poor animals in the stricken area of Japan...


Expert panel to address radiologic impact on animals near Japan nuclear plant

Japan nuclear disaster animal relief planning
Drs. Kelly Preston and Gordon Cleveland, both with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, confer with two Japanese professors with the help of a translator.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare in April announced a team of radiation and animal rescue experts had been assembled to develop a plan for aiding animals inside the evacuation zone around the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan.

Limited data are available about decontaminating and treating animals affected by radiation, and standards don't exist for determining whether an animal has been exposed to an unsafe level of radiation. Moreover, little is known about the survivability of wildlife and pets, or the viability of farm animals, exposed to radiation.

The goal of the IFAW-led summit is to develop... www.avma.org...



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 03:24 PM
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reply to post by Destinyone
 


Grim isn't it? Here in the UK, I just did a weekly shop, and I'm sorry to say, at every opportunity deleted items that may be sourced from areas I consider to be more at risk, and where possible found alternatives from others. (I do have a four year old to consider).

e.g. All meats from UK (quite a lot is globally sourced, some from far East), cereals from UK (not USA), rice from Spain (not Thailand or India - yes - I know - but it's all too close), fruit and veg from UK, no more Alaskan fish, pacific or Thai tuna...etc...Now there are some things it would be impossible to alter, wheat, corn, I guess that mainly comes from USA? Also, what plume data am I really basing this on, how reliable is it, I really don't know any more, but the last presentations I saw indicated UK was getting lucky at least initially, and certainly compared to our Chernobyl period.

The other point though, is that in the conspicuous absence of data (that stacks up to what we now know) that now appears to have been removed from public view (EPA), rather than stepped up - as one may think would be common sense - I am perhaps even more inclined to react by not buying their produce. It appears that for example, USA and Japan governments are choosing more or less to attempt business as usual re: exports, or at least ramp up the acceptable dose standards...you know, if I could see more concern and adherance to prior standards I would feel better about buying in confidence...

Of course, this pails in comparison to the suffering and choices facing those in Japan, and indeed the USA. But perhaps if more see how concerned people are about it way over here, despite or perhaps because of the whitewash and BS, and that consumers are gradually waking up and voting with their wallets, we may see more responsible behaviour (I wish).

As I say, I think that one reason accurate true data on this ISN'T emerging in real time, is that you may quickly see an escalation in the world food price and even availability of key staples (wheat..?) and a combined impact on both the JApanese and USA (1st/3rd largest world economies) that would rapidly spread and trigger all manner of instabilities world wide?



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 03:24 PM
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reply to post by Destinyone
 

Hope they can help some little critters but i think most will be put down. housing is a problem I think
Shame.

OnlyLove



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 03:39 PM
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reply to post by Tworide
 


SO, are you telling me that a car's ABS system (that doesn't allow human override (unless you are a hacker) ) is safer than a nuclear reactor???? OMG, then the nuclear industry got what they deserved!!!!!!! (pity about the innocent bystanders)



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 03:41 PM
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reply to post by curioustype
 


Curioustype....I agree with you 100%. I know that I'm not thinking of purchasing food items originating in Japan. Hopefully others, by doing the same as you and I, will eventually have an impact. I'll miss so many things I would normally have no qualms on buying.

Des



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 03:55 PM
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reply to post by curioustype
 


Whoe...... slow down, the weather here in the States and Canada has not been conducive to start our growing season on time.
The floods in Missississippi also have stopped us from putting seed in the ground that can be radiated on by the rain.



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 03:55 PM
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Originally posted by Tworide

Human error
A review of the reactor logs shows that the steam driven isolation condensers were shut down by the operators after the quake, but before the tsunami.

Documents released by Tepco Monday showed the isolation condenser— an emergency cooling system installed on Reactor No. 1 before the quake as a final resort in case of a total loss of power—worked only sporadically, if at all.


Hmm


Unit 1 did not have the steam-driven vessel makeup system that was installed and used on Units 2 and 3. Unit 1 had what is called an isolation condenser to perform vessel water inventory control and vessel pressure control (see Figure 2).

The isolation condenser is a large tank of water. If the normal makeup flow of water to the reactor vessel is lost, battery-powered valves open to allow steam produced by decay heat in the reactor core to flow through thousands of tubes in the isolation condenser. That steam is condensed back into water and flows by gravity to the reactor vessel. This process controls the amount of water in the pressure vessel, since it limits the steam (and thus water) lost through relief valves to the torus (which is part of the primary containment vessel).
This process also controls the reactor vessel pressure, since the water in the isolation condenser absorbs decay heat that would otherwise cause the pressure inside the reactor vessel to rise.

But the water inside the isolation condenser is of finite volume. In less than 90 minutes after a reactor shut down from 100 percent power, the decay heat from the reactor core will have warmed that water to the point of boiling and begun to boil it away. Boiling water reactors with isolation condensers are supposed to use electric powered pumps to refill the isolation condenser tanks well before its water boils away. Workers at Fukushima had no pumps available to top off the tank after the earthquake took away the normal power supply and the tsunami took away the backup power supply.



Figure 2: A schematic showing the isolation condenser at the upper left. The blue lines show the water flow from the reactor vessel—the cylinder on the right surrounded by the inverted lightbulb shape, which is the primary containment vessel.



It’s worth noting that modeling of the crisis indicates that meltdowns should have occurred at all three reactors (1. 2, and 3), given the length of time they were all without cooling. The modeling also suggests that without cooling the molten fuel would have melted through the bottom of the reactor vessel about 7 hours after the fuel relocated to the bottom of the vessel. TEPCO says that cooling water was injected in to prevent this. According to Figure 1, the injection of cooling water started about 10 hours after the water level dropped below the bottom of the fuel in the reactor.


TEPCO Says Core of Unit 1 Melted



edit on 5/18/11 by makeitso because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 04:10 PM
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Originally posted by Hellhound604
reply to post by Tworide
 


SO, are you telling me that a car's ABS system (that doesn't allow human override (unless you are a hacker) ) is safer than a nuclear reactor???? OMG, then the nuclear industry got what they deserved!!!!!!! (pity about the innocent bystanders)


I was in the middle of an edit on that one when it erroneously posted, loose nut behind the mouse (I need a fail-safe!), I'm not sure what you read, you may want to re-read.
But yes they got what they deserved, and the innocent bystanders (includes us) got the shaft.



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 04:21 PM
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I fully agree with you. I last learnt about nuclear reactors more than 30years ago in an introductory engineering course, and I always assumed, that due to the weaknesses of the simplified reactors we learnt about (BWR's), that nobody would ever, ever use them..... So, it came as quite a shock to me to learn that Fukushima used that actual design ..... and now it is even worse, when all the fail-safe systems failed!!!!!! The designers of these systems should be put in front of a firing squad..... or even better, they should go out and clean their mess themselves, instead of sending poor lackeys to do their dirty work.
edit on 18/5/2011 by Hellhound604 because: grrr.... now I have a finger-mousepad coordination problem.....



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 04:36 PM
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A varied mix of very good articles from the same source, Business Week Magazine.


THE CRISIS HITS HOME IN HOKKAIDO

For a look at how badly the Japanese crisis can affect the lives of ordinary citizens, just head for Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island. The failure of Hokkaido Takushoku Bank Ltd., the dominant local bank, has dealt a devastating blow to the island's already fragile economy. And its citizens now worry that public works projects in their prefecture may soon dry up, as the central government in Tokyo runs out of funds. www.businessweek.com...



JAPAN'S REAL CRISIS
Until its hidden debt mess is cleared up, no recovery is possible

If only Japan would listen. That sentiment, in one form or another, has been a favorite among foreign governments, executives, and commentators for years. In the 1970s, as the Japanese created the world's most dynamic automobile industry, Americans urged them to curb their exports. When Japan rode a wave of prosperity in the 1980s, Western governments demanded that the country open up its restricted markets. And today, as Japan staggers into recession, finance ministries around the world are begging the government of Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto to spend, spend, spend. Cut taxes, Mr. Hashimoto. Prime the pump by tapping Japan's $10 trillion in savings. Just act, and you can kick off a recovery in Asia that will prevent a global slowdown and end the region's crisis. www.businessweek.com...



CLYDE PRESTOWITZ: VIEWS FROM AN OLD JAPAN TRADE HAWK

Q: How sick is the Japanese economy?
A: I think Japan is in serious trouble, and it will take them awhile to get out of it. I don't think they can really get out of the swamp without struggling with deregulation and a restructuring of the economy. I don't mean just Big Bang stuff, but getting government out of all businesses and really breaking up the cartels and quasi-cartels. That will require significant political changes and cause significant pain to vested interests. www.businessweek.com...



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 04:48 PM
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Originally posted by Hellhound604
I fully agree with you. I last learnt about nuclear reactors more than 30years ago in an introductory engineering course, and I always assumed, that due to the weaknesses of the simplified reactors we learnt about (BWR's), that nobody would ever, ever use them..... So, it came as quite a shock to me to learn that Fukushima used that actual design ..... and now it is even worse, when all the fail-safe systems failed!!!!!! The designers of these systems should be put in front of a firing squad..... or even better, they should go out and clean their mess themselves, instead of sending poor lackeys to do their dirty work.
edit on 18/5/2011 by Hellhound604 because: grrr.... now I have a finger-mousepad coordination problem.....


HellHound,

This is an organization that keeps tabs on such monsters as the BWR nuclear reactors. TMIA (Three Mile Island Alert)

Gets down to the nitty gritty of politics in the U.S. www.tmia.com...




Nuclear Expert Warns Congress U.S. Power Plants Not Safe
Submitted by webEditor on Mon, 05/16/2011 - 13:26

Congressional lawmakers were warned today that U.S. nuclear power plants are by no means safe and that government agency and nuclear industry representatives have not been telling the whole story.

David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer who serves as director of the Nuclear Safety Project with the Union of Concerned Scientists, has the credentials to know whereof he speaks. From March 2009 until March 2010, Lochbaum worked for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a Boiling Water Reactor technology instructor at their Technical Training Center.

His duties included teaching the severe accident management guidelines to NRC employees for their initial qualifications and requalifications.

Lochbaum was asked to testify before a joint session of the Energy and Environment and Investigations and Oversight Subcommittees of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

Read more www.tmia.com...





NRC: Meeting with petitioner requesting GE BWRs Mark I Reactors license suspension
Submitted by webEditor on Mon, 05/16/2011 - 13:23

FORTHCOMING MEETING WITH PETITIONER REQUESTING ACTION UNDER 10 CFR 2.206 REGARDING IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION OF THE OPERATING LICENSES OF GENERAL ELECTRIC (GE) BOILING WATER REACTORS (BWRs) MARK I UNITS BOILING WATER REACTORS ML11126A096

Download PDF



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 04:51 PM
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reply to post by rbrtj
 


Thanks - perhaps that will leave me less worried about some cereals or bread that I think forms the bulk of our US imports (Ithink tomatoes - largely in processed forms - from the West may be another big one). Thanks anyway, I appreciate the sentiment.

I'm afraid I remain highly cautious about feeding my son anything that may have been fished from the Pacific though, pending more substantial longer term analyses.



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 04:59 PM
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reply to post by Destinyone
 


Thanks Des, I read the PDF - so that meeting is on June 8th 2011 so if you have doubts about GE/BWR safety contact that petitioner pronto!



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 07:13 PM
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reply to post by curioustype
 


From what i gather cereal grains like wheat, corn and oats are not as worrisome because they do not have big leaves that catch the rain.
I would definately stop smoking since tobacco has huge leaves, like some other vegetables.
I look for hot house toamtoes and wash every thing gently under the tap prior to serving which we do any how because of the odd e-coli chance.
As far as potatoes go, I peal them after they get washed.
I use to eat the skins and all but with the varoius forms of info I just decided to play it safer even though I'm 46 have no kids or a wife.



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 07:40 PM
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reply to post by rbrtj
 


Thanks for your calm response. I'm really not out to stir up alarm , but I do feel strongly that the way that increasingly revelations from Japan back up some of our more serious concerns and hypotheses of what occured/is occurring there, and it's connotations, there is a gulf between that and the approach of authorities to handle the response in what I would consider to be a responsible and reassuring manner.

Show me exactly what the fallout is, show me where it is in real time, let me double-check how to deal with that, they can/should do that, so why aren't they? I think the path chosen by the (Jap, USA...) gov's to muddy the waters on fallout data reporting may come back and bite them, but, hey it's not my decision.



posted on May, 18 2011 @ 07:49 PM
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Tepco posted a pic of the U.S. Navy barge that brought fresh water, now leaving Fukushima.

It has several canvas covered objects on deck that were not there when it arrived, and its sitting lower in the water than when it arrived carrying 225000 gallons of fresh water.



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