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Geologist Yoon Sung-hyo at Pusan National University strongly believes Mt. Baekdu could erupt any time soon.
Concern is growing about a possible eruption of Mt. Baekdu, the highest mountain on the Korean Peninsula, says this article by Park Chang-seok.
A South Korean geological expert has warned that the volcano – which last erupted in 1702 – could erupt sometime around 2014 and 2015.
If the volcano, located on the border between North Korea and China erupts, damage could be 10 to 100 times greater than that caused by the April 2010 eruptions in Iceland.
Massive Changbaishan stratovolcano, also known as Baitoushan and by the Korean names of Baegdu or P'aektu-san, is a relatively poorly known, but volcanologically significant volcano straddling the China/Korea border. A 5-km-wide, 850-m-deep summit caldera is filled by scenic Lake Tianchi (Sky Lake).
Mt. Baekdu’s caldera has nearly two billion tons of water. If volcanic heat evaporates the water and is mixed suddenly with volcanic ashes, it would be strong enough to engulf even Vladivostok in Russia and Hokkaido in northern Japan, according to experts. The construction of nuclear power plants by North Korea and China in the neighborhood may certainly pose a grave threat to all Northeast Asians, with the view that Mt. Baekdu’s explosion would for sure cause subsequent nuclear catastrophes, as seen in Japan’s 2011 tsunami disaster. A volcanic explosion is the most terrible natural disaster which cannot be easily avoided by human wisdom and knowledge.
With unrelenting outbreaks of record-breaking natural disasters around the world and especially in the wake of Japan’s massive earthquake that is now estimated to have killed nearly 10,000, the world’s eyes are drawn to Mt. Baekdu. Multinational and regional cooperative monitoring systems are needed beyond ideological barriers to take preemptive measures against a possible eruption.
By all indications, Mt. Baekdu is a real danger and it’s not clear how long it will stay inactive. A Mt. Baekdu eruption, if it takes place, will not be a matter for a certain country but a global concern to determine the future of Northeast Asian civilization.
I wasn't aware of this particular volcano, nor that there were nuclear facilities in the area. That's just great. Thanks for the post.
The Chinese nuclear development news network announced earlier this year that the Chinese government will start building four 1,250-megawatt nuclear reactors in Jingyu County, Baishan City, Jilin Province, and plans to operate them in March 2016. They are located about 100 kilometers from Mount Baekdu.
“The trophospheric westerlies blow from China to Korea most of the year, the jet stream in the stratosphere all year round,” Jeong Jun-seok, director of the Climate Prediction Division at the Korea Meteorological Administration, said. “In case of an accident in nuclear plants in China, radioactive materials are highly likely fly to the Korean Peninsula.”
On Oct. 1, 2006, a Russian satellite found the surface temperature of the mountain notably higher than before. The finding came just days after North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test in its northern territory, which could have been a catalyst reactivating magma flows, according to analysts.
The Korea Energy Economics Institute says China's Jilin Province has announced that it will launch the power plant project in 2012. Some 85 billion yuan, or 14-point-five trillion South Korean won, will be used to build six, 12-hundred-50 megawatt AP-1000 reactors.
AP-1000 is a pressurized water reactor developed by the U.S. firm Westinghouse.
So-called third-generation reactors have:
> a standardised design for each type to expedite licensing, reduce capital cost and reduce construction time,
> a simpler and more rugged design, making them easier to operate and less vulnerable to operational upsets,
> higher availability and longer operating life - typically 60 years,
> further reduced possibility of core melt accidents,*
> substantial grace period, so that following shutdown the plant requires no active intervention for (typically) 72 hours,
> resistance to serious damage that would allow radiological release from an aircraft impact,
> higher burn-up to use fuel more fully and efficiently and reduce the amount of waste,
> greater use of burnable absorbers ("poisons") to extend fuel life.
* The US NRC requirement for calculated core damage frequency is 1x10-4, most current US plants have about 5x10-5 and Generation III plants are about ten times better than this. The IAEA safety target for future plants is 1x10-5. Calculated large release frequency (for radioactivity) is generally about ten times less than CDF.
The AP1000 generating costs are also expected to be very competitive and it has a 60-year operating life. It is being built in China (4 units under construction, with many more to follow) and is under active consideration for building in Europe and USA. It is capable of running on a full MOX core if required.
This morning, my Google News Alert indicated that MSNBC and Bloomberg had both noticed that Westinghouse had transferred 75,000 documents relating to the design and construction of AP1000 nuclear reactor plants to China. One of those sources linked to a November 23, 2010 Financial Times report titled US group gives China details of nuclear technology.
Neither one of them linked to a June 2007 article titled China may export technology learned by building modern reactors that warned about the implications of a signed technology transfer agreement that was an integral part of Westinghouse’s sale of four AP1000s in March of 2007.
I guess it is not too surprising that this week’s reports are being portrayed as news since that early warning appeared on an obscure blog run by a guy who is not part of the mainstream media or a recognized contributor to the business press. There is also the distinct possibility that vain Western business leaders are finally waking up to the fact that it is a bad idea to sell the end results of decades worth of creative thinking to a group of expert copiers who have access to a vast number of extremely poor people willing to work hard for wages that would lead to starvation in most developed countries.