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Questions the skeptic DID answer ... a hysteria free thread

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posted on Mar, 18 2011 @ 01:35 PM
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The events of the past weak in Japan have sparked a number of discussions. Some have been rather good but when it pertains to the events at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant most have been based on either ignorance or fear or a combination of the two. While I am not a "nuclear engineer" or a "nuclear physicist" or an “expert” per say, I am a licensed engineer and have worked in the power and petrochemical industry for over a decade, including a relatively lengthy project at a nuclear power plant.

This post will attempt to clarify some of what I feel are the key issues. It’s a mix of opinion, facts and speculation based on these facts.

1.Why build a nuclear power plant in such an area with known hazards like Fukushima?

When siting a plant several things, aside from NIMBY considerations, are taken into account: how is your fuel going to be delivered, how are major components going to be shipped, how to interconnect with the grid, where is your water coming from for steam condensation and makeup water, and what site specific issues are present.

While time and money solve all problems there is always an optimal site based on these considerations when finalizing a location. One site may provide easy access to fuel and a grid interconnect, but it might be dry with little water for steam condensing. Another site might proved excellent access to all three but be in a hurricane or seismic zone.

All thermal power plants utilize the Rankine cycle to generate electricity. Water is pressurized, boils, expands through a turbine and the steam is condensed so the cycle can repeat. When we think of nuclear power we almost automatically associate the big natural draft cooling towers we see on the Simpsons. The fact is very few nuclear plants use natural draft cooling towers for steam condensation. Most, like Fukushima, DC Cook, San Onofre, Quad Cities, Indian Point etcetera .. use some natural body of water for their supplies of condensing water. It’s the simplest, least expensive, and safest way to do this. Simpler is always safer.

Fukushima was built where it was because the site met all the key siting criteria at the lowest cost. Fact is you cannot build anything in Japan in an area without some kind of seismic hazard. The plant was designed for an 8.0 earthquake and withstood the effects of a 9.0 … or thirty times as powerful as it was designed to withstand, without significant damage! All backup systems performed precisely as designed until the tsunami hot. If anything is to be said, this is a testament to the people who designed and built the facility.

The tsunami is ultimately what led to the cascading series of events seen at Fukushima. While the plant was built with this event in consideration, the wave was just slightly taller than the sea wall.

I would also add the nuclear plant at Fukushima performed much better than the hundreds of chemical plants, refineries, fuel storage depots and the like that were in the quake and tsunami effected zone, but since they don’t have the word “nuclear” in them little attention is being given to the release of millions of pounds of toluenes, furans, PCB’s, dioxins, aldehydes, heavy metals and the like.

2.Shouldn’t these plants be designed for all possible contingencies regardless of their probability of occurrence?

With all things your design is based off of what level of comfort you have with the probability of a failure and the consequences of that failure. This principle is true whether you are talking about aircraft, cars, dams, or nuclear power plants. An event that will kill 1,000,000 people and/or cause $100,000,000,000 in damage is serious but should it be considered and planned for in your design basis if the frequency of occurrence is 1 in 500,000 years?

People think that risk assessment and cost benefit analysis is just TBTB’s way of doing things on the cheap but in a world with limited resources and manpower it’s the only way to efficiently allocate scarce resources and whether you know it or not, everyone does it on an individual basis every day.

For example: did you shower today … did you know there is a quantifiable risk of death or serious injury from showering … on some level you do even if you cannot quantify it but you deem the risk is small enough and the positive outcome (getting all clean) far outweighs the risk. Did you exceed the speed limit by 10mph … did you know there is a quantifiable risk of death or serious injury from exceeding the posted speed limit … and so on.

You could certainly make the case that you don’t share the risk assessment the professionals have come up with for nuclear power but if that is your position you’d better be damn well able to explain what the numbers are and why you don’t agree with them. Ignorant posturing makes for good bar talk, but not serious debate.

3.How serious is the “meltdown”?

As I have stated in other posts, the term “meltdown” doesn’t have any agreed upon definition. One man might think a meltdown is a “china syndrome” event while another might think any damage to the fuel rod is a meltdown.

A “meltdown”, broadly speaking, takes place in several steps: fuel is exposed to air/steam, fuel rods heats, fuel rods swell, fuel rod begins to break apart, fuel rod fragments fall to bottom of reactor, fuel rod fragments get even hotter, fuel rod fragments melt through bottom of reactor, fuel rod fragments now sit on concrete pad under reactor. So far whats happened at Fukushima is fuel rod swelling and perhaps some breaking but because the rods are at least partially submerged, most of the fuel has not yet broken apart but some of it most certainly has.

The fragments of the fuel do manage to melt through the reactor vessel will most likely disperse and cool from that dispersal and will not have enough heat to melt through the concrete in the basement of the unit. This is not just my opinion, but is based on an individual who has performed these kinds of simulations on the GE Mark 1 reactor and is far more knowledgeable than I.

www.captainsjournal.com...

4.What about the spent fuel pools?

This, in my opinion is currently the most serious issue at Fukushima and the one that authorities have under control the least. The water that is being boiled off in these pools is responsible for the vast majority of the radiation releases seen on site.

5.What kind of idiot keeps spent fuel on the roof?

Every try and move a spent fuel bundle? Not easy to say the least. Ideally, you want to move it as short a distance as possible. The best way to minimize handling is to put the spent fuel storage as close to the reactor opening as possible. Since the reactor opens from the top it makes most sense to place the spent fuel storage pool as near to that location as possible.

6.What about the radiation?

What about it? A lot has been said about radiation exposure in general the radiation readings taken around the plant. My advice is to keep it all in perspective. A sievert (what is most commonly being reported) is a “dose equivalent” value and is meaningless without some time reference. If a report says “a high reading of 200 microsieverts/hr was reported” you would need to know the following to determine the dose: how long was the peak for what was the background (non-peak) reading? If you received a 200 microsieverts/hr does for 10 hours, you’d probably be dead. If, however, you received a 200 microsieverts/hr does for 1 seconds, it would be like smoking a cigarettes.

7.Aren’t we all being lied to about Fukushima by TPTB?

I would refer you to Hanlon’s razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”. Most of the reporters have little if any science background and know about as much about radiation as they do about the Hilbert's Nullstellensatz theorem. Combine this with many slick anti-nuclear experts (at least this is who I see being cited the most in the news) who feed them all their talking points and it’s a combination ripe for hysteria and misinformation. Unfortunately the US NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko is an antinuclear zealot who cut his teeth working for congresses most antinuclear member: Ed Markey.

8.Werent the GE Mark I’s dangers know about almost 40 years ago?

Old story … the individual who initially made the complaint had his concerns addressed in the 1980’s when all Mark 1 reactors including those in Japan were retrofitted with additional PRV’s. Why this story which was resolved 25 years ago, is news today is beyond me.

9 Why even take the risks of using nuclear power especially when risk free sources like solar and wind exist?

Systems like nuclear, fossil thermal and hydro have a benefit which is critical to our power supply: we control the fuel supply therefore we control the output. Renewable like wind and solar are out of our control .. we cant control the wind or the sun and the more we integrate them into our existing electric supply, the more we have to rely on spinning reserve in our natural gas fleet to make up for sudden unannounced changes in wind speed. For the time being, these are rather small and manageable but will grow exponentially as more wind and solar comes on line.

Basically if you like electricity on demand, water on demand, sewage on demand and all the perks of electricity, you have to be willing to accept some of the consequences.

And just another tidbit for you … particulate matter from the burning of fossil fuels leads to the premature deaths of what … 10,000 people a year in the US (or something on that order of magnitude) … how many premature deaths has nuclear caused in the US to date? One, maybe two?

10.Isnt your real mission here just to do the bidding of TBTB and divert this conversation in the direction they want it to go?

But of course! That’s why this post is so long … I get paid by the word!




posted on Mar, 18 2011 @ 02:14 PM
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Now now. You and I both know that any thread that does not impart a certain level of hysteria will never get any flags or stars.

Just to be nice I gave you one of each!



posted on Mar, 18 2011 @ 02:15 PM
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Originally posted by sixswornsermon
Now now. You and I both know that any thread that does not impart a certain level of hysteria will never get any flags or stars.

Just to be nice I gave you one of each!


Awww .. aint you a sweetie!



posted on Mar, 18 2011 @ 02:26 PM
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The tsunami is ultimately what led to the cascading series of events seen at Fukushima. While the plant was built with this event in consideration, the wave was just slightly taller than the sea wall.

No it was not build with this event in consideration.
Die Welt



Despite the situation in a disaster area by the sea, neither reactors nor security systems have been designed for a tsunami, two former Toshiba engineers said at a press conference of Japanese Citizen's Nuclear Information Center



posted on Mar, 18 2011 @ 03:30 PM
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reply to post by derpif
 


Just because he didnt see the design criteria in the material he was given to work with does not mean it wasnt taken into consideration:


The Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant was designed to withstand a 5.7-meter tsunami, according to Tepco. It wasn’t built to resist the 7-meter wall of water generated by last week’s earthquake or the 6.4-meter tsunami that struck neighboring Miyagi prefecture after the Valdiva earthquake in 1960, Tatsuya Ito, who represented Fukushima prefecture in the national Diet from 1991 to 2003, said in a March 16 telephone interview.


www.bloomberg.com...



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 06:04 PM
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Originally posted by SirMike

10.Isnt your real mission here just to do the bidding of TBTB and divert this conversation in the direction they want it to go?

But of course! That’s why this post is so long … I get paid by the word!


SirMike you know my dads a pipe fitter everyone calls him sirron much like you I suspect he picked his own nick name tho. On topic this is the kinda stuff I expect from my first ats rival. Tho your still a bit heavy on the relevant facts and lack of bias.
BTW any insite on the latest developments there we're still seeing new doom threads about it every day. and whats the real radiation threat for people on the west coast or inland?

edit btw how do you give stars? gave it a flag for the excellent work.

edit on 20-4-2011 by UcDat because: edit



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 09:32 PM
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Originally posted by UcDat
SirMike you know my dads a pipe fitter everyone calls him sirron much like you I suspect he picked his own nick name tho. On topic this is the kinda stuff I expect from my first ats rival. Tho your still a bit heavy on the relevant facts and lack of bias.
BTW any insite on the latest developments there we're still seeing new doom threads about it every day. and whats the real radiation threat for people on the west coast or inland?

edit btw how do you give stars? gave it a flag for the excellent work.

edit on 20-4-2011 by UcDat because: edit


Well its a mess for sure. I think the damage on unit 3 was worse than any (rational) person suspected. Give it 3 years and the inital report that this diaster will generate will answer nearly all the pertinent questions.

1. Where the siesmic and tidal adequately sized given the information known at the time
2. How did TEPCO's emergency repsonse planning (ERP) fail
3. How do other utilities ERP's stack up to TEPCO's
4. How did the passive safety systems perform
5. What lessons can be drawn from spent fuel storage

As for radiation ... on site its bad but so long as they can keep the fuel contained on site it should drop rapidly in the areas outside the plant. Its a local contamination issue at this point. Some fallout will be detected globally, but thats got more to do with the sensitivity of detection tools than any relative ammount of contamination.

I think the upgrade to a type 7 event is an attempt to envoke the force majeure clause of the insurance policies.



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 10:09 PM
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reply to post by SirMike
 





As for radiation ... on site its bad but so long as they can keep the fuel contained on site it should drop rapidly in the areas outside the plant. Its a local contamination issue at this point


Interesting Thread...just a quick question...what do you consider local?



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 10:44 PM
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I could fill pages with the amount of evidence to show we are being affected here in the US but many posters ignore those facts. Here is just a small note from a new reading today:

Highest Yet: 78 pCi/l of Iodine-131 found in raw milk from San Francisco Bay Area
UCB Milk Sampling Results, University of California, Berkeley Department of Nuclear Engineering:
enenews.com...

And even though I have posted it twice, the following information continues to be ignored:

2006 National Academy of Sciences study:

HEALTH RISKS FROM EXPOSURE TO LOW LEVELS OF IONIZING RADIATION
books.nap.edu...

Conclusion of this 400 page study:

“The committee concludes that the current scientific evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that there is a linear, no-threshold dose-response relationship between exposure to ionizing radiation and the development of cancer in humans.”


BUT NO! When those of us who feel there is reason to take a few precautions for our loved ones, share facts in a calm, responsible manner, we continue to be insulted with labels of 'hysteria' etc. And so it continues.



posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 10:48 PM
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Finally somebody with some reason..S&F for you



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 11:59 AM
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reply to post by SammyB
 


A couple of things, while the NAS has stated that “no dose of radiation is safe” they have no data to back this statement up. The linear threshold model is a liberal application of the precautionary principal as you cannot conduct an epidemiological study of radiation exposure at low levels of exposure and get any meaningful data. This being the case, the linear threshold model for radiation exposure is not science, it’s a philosophical argument.

As for the 78.378 pCi/L found in Bay Area milk here is some food for thought, its called the banana does equivalent.

One liter of milk weighs about 2.15 lbs, so one gallon weighs 8.6 lbs and the corresponding level of radiation in one gallon of Bay Area milk sampled in the article is about 310pCi/gallon, or 36 pCi/lb.

The “average” banana’s radioactivity is 1600 pCi/lb. There are 3 decent sized bananas in a pound, so the “average” radioactivity of an “averages” banana is about 530 pCi/banana. When compared to out Bay Area milk sample, it has roughly 2.25% the radioactivity of a banana.

So for all of you out there who are terrified to drink a glass of Bay Area milk, you can offset your radiation dose by eating one less banana for each two gallons of milk you drink. .

If I screwed up on my math or a conversion please correct me, but unless I am off by a factor of 1000, the point still remains.
edit on 21-4-2011 by SirMike because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 12:52 PM
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reply to post by okiecowboy
 


Okuma.



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 03:05 PM
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reply to post by SirMike
 


You are right...bananas are radioactive. Just one problem, google and learn. Following is one of many little factoids that can be found to blow your theory out of the water, although it is very popular right now with the MSM:

Bananas are radioactive—But they aren't a good way to explain radiation exposure. When you eat a banana, your body's level of Potassium-40 doesn't increase. You just get rid of some excess Potassium-40. The net dose of a banana is zero. This is according to: Geoff Meggitt (former UK Atomic Energy Authority)

“There's no iodine-131­­, cesium-137 or strontium-­­90 in bananas. The banana radiation is as meaningles­­s as claiming cosmic radiation from plane flights is more harmful than nuclear fallout. This is the kind of nonsense the press has been attempting to spread. It's misinforma­­tion meant to pacify the public and keep them unaware and uninformed of the dangers to human beings and the environmen­­t from nuclear accidents."
www.huffingtonpost.com...#
www...­.boingboin­g.net/2010­/08/27/ban­anas-are-r­adioact.ht­ml
www...­.physlink.­com/educat­ion/askexp­erts/ae254­.cfm

There are various kinds of radiation with different effects on the body. And yes, that study I quoted was long-term and scientific, by our nuclear commission, and proved that even low exposure is dangerous. Okay, you don't trust our government's conclusion, then I'll give you another:

[Daniel] Hirsch, a renowned expert on nuclear policy often quoted by major media outlets, spoke at the Stevenson College Event Center on the tragedy at the Fukushima plant and how the U.S. can prevent a similar meltdown at its 104 nuclear reactors, including the two in California. …"Every amount of radiation exposure increases your risk of cancer,” he said. “There is no safe level of radiation.”

Layered, constant exposure creates long-term problems with total accumulation adding up over the months and years.



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 03:48 PM
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reply to post by SammyB
 


You, or rather the source you cut and pasted, do make a marginally valid point about how particular isotopes accumulate and how quickly they are flushed out of your system. Its called a “thought exercise” and its intended to demonstrate the difference between absolute and relative risks and how to compare the two. Its apparently a subtlety that’s lost on some.

Regardless, you will take an additional dose of radiation from consuming a banana, or any substance with K40 in it.

So lets follow your argument to its logical conclusion: what is the quantifiable risk for the most sensitive demographic associated with consuming two glasses of Bay Area milk a day with 78 pCi/L of Iodine-131?

See if your Google will tell you that.

As for Daniel Hirsch’s comments, they certainly reflect the opinion of the National Academy of Sciences, but as I will demonstrate, it’s a philosophical, not scientific argument.

Average radiation exposure for an average person in the US from all sources is 360 millirem/year. Lets say you live within 5 miles of a nuclear power plant. You are going to receive about .4 millirem/year additional dose from this exposure. Now the linear no threshold model for ionizing radiation would tell us that in a population of 100,000 people there will be one additional lifetime cancer vs an equivalent population that was not exposed to the additional .4 millirem/year.

However, you could never construct an epidemiological study of 100,000 and expect to discern 1 additional case of cancer between the two. With a number that low (even if the number was in the 100’s) it would be impossible to account for differences in the population group that could have also resulted in that number. In other words, you could not adequately control a group of that size to see changes that small.

And if you cant construct an experiment to prove it .. it aint science.

Google and learn … blow my theory out of the water. Oh brother!



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 03:56 PM
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reply to post by SirMike
 


I have to leave for most of the day in a minute but first I wanted to let you know I will get back to this. Yes, google and learn. There is a ton of information about bananas and radiation, as well as the dangers of low-level radiation. In your arrogant way, you suggested I copied and pasted my info. I gave quotations to what I copied. The rest comes from my little old brain piecing together information. This really is a no-brainer for those who are not too afraid to look at the data unless they are an mis-info agent. Fear is no reason to hide your head in the sand and pretend this isn't happening.

More later.



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 04:04 PM
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reply to post by SammyB
 


I know you gotta go .. but here's the kicker ... THERE IS NO DATA! Thats why the "studies" on low level exposure dont qualify as science.



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 04:05 PM
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On my way out the door but first had to come back and write: WOW, so you knew you were using disinformation when comparing bananas to the radiation in the milk! Interesting



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 04:16 PM
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reply to post by SammyB
 


If your indolent mind cant see the value in a example like the one I mentioned this is going to be a long debate.
edit on 21-4-2011 by SirMike because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 04:30 PM
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reply to post by SirMike
 


I find it interesting that in defense of your position you are committing several logical fallacies at once. These include:
Negative proof fallacy: Since you can't be proven false, your statement must be true.
Argument form ignorance: Assuming a statement is false because it lacks evidence.

And you also threw in:
Incomplete comparison: Not enough information has been provided to make an accurate comparison.
with your banana analogy.
One thing for sure is your statements wouldn't hold much merit in a courtroom.



posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 04:43 PM
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reply to post by SirMike
 





The fragments of the fuel do manage to melt through the reactor vessel will most likely disperse and cool from that dispersal and will not have enough heat to melt through the concrete in the basement of the unit.


are you refer to the corium as fuel fragments? and are you saying corium can't melt thru concrete?




Since the reactor opens from the top it makes most sense to place the spent fuel storage pool as near to that location as possible.


yeah we are seeing how well that's working out




As for radiation ... on site its bad but so long as they can keep the fuel contained on site it should drop rapidly in the areas outside the plant. Its a local contamination issue at this point. Some fallout will be detected globally, but thats got more to do with the sensitivity of detection tools than any relative ammount of contamination.


so the Chernobyl level of ground contamination 30km from the plant is a local issue?




As for the 78.378 pCi/L found in Bay Area milk here is some food for thought, its called the banana does equivalent.


do you really think the banana dose equivalent even compares...??

all radioisotopes are not created equal k-40 and u-238 or I-131 or Cs-137 do not affect the body in the same way
regarding K-40 our bodies have a homeostatic control system...if we take in extra k-40 you get rid of k-40 net gain zero



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