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Thread: 9.0 Earthquake Strikes Japan

  1. #31
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Sustainable, possibly, but also everlasting. The problem of long term containment for spent fuel has not been solved, as has been shown in the terrible events in Japan. The nuclear refuse must be monitored and controlled, so that the radiation is contained and to assure that there is no contamination of future generations. What we're seeing now shows how fragile that effort can be.

  2. #32

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    What is pretty sustainable?

    And what does sustainable have to do with perfect?

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    What is pretty sustainable?
    Grinding away for decades producing a tiny (relative to other commercially viable) amount of (admitted vastly toxic but containable) waste. The fuel waste could be reprocessed into more useable fuel (and there are new designs that essentially self reprocess the spend fuel and only need refueling after several decades.)


    And what does sustainable have to do with perfect?
    There have been accidents (what got this conversation going.) But given the time and the number of units in use, very few.

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBMW View Post
    Grinding away for decades...
    Your personal definition. Decades is a minute number compared to half-life.

    producing a tiny (relative to other commercially viable) amount of (admitted vastly toxic but containable) waste.
    Tiny? What do you mean?

    The fuel waste could be reprocessed into more useable fuel (and there are new designs that essentially self reprocess the spend fuel and only need refueling after several decades.)
    As I said at first, "Not yet."

    There have been accidents (what got this conversation going.) But given the time and the number of units in use, very few.
    Backwards.

    I meant - what has sustainable (or green) energy to do with being perfect. Who says green energy is perfect?

    Accidents will always happen. Do accidents make wind farms not-green? Can you say the same for nuclear power plants?

  5. #35

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    It's not my definition. All of these plants in this country are a few decades old, and except for a few that have been retired, have been churning out electicity for most of that time.

    As far as saying the amount of waste is tiny, compare that by weight or volume to any of the other technologies that we've been using (except hydro, of course). I'm thinking in terms of exhaust gasses, since lately, more green means less carbon. I'd also consider other polluting gasses.

    They were planning to put all the spent fuel from all the reactors in the US on one site (Yucca Mountain, in NV). If it can all fit in one large hole in the ground, there isn't very much of it.

    I think, if properly run, nuclear can be very green.

    Look at one of the advantages nuclear has over wind or solar (not that either can really replace it), It's much more compact. A single reactor can put out 1,000 megawatts (give or take). The new ones will go to 1,500 MW or more. Usually they do these in pairs. How much ground do you have to cover with wind turbines or solar panels to produce this much power. At a certain point, when you carpeting vast swaths of land with these things, they start to seem less green. People are already bitching.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    Your personal definition. Decades is a minute number compared to half-life.

    Tiny? What do you mean?

    As I said at first, "Not yet."

    Backwards.

    I meant - what has sustainable (or green) energy to do with being perfect. Who says green energy is perfect?

    Accidents will always happen. Do accidents make wind farms not-green? Can you say the same for nuclear power plants?

  6. #36
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    BBMW, your definition of "tiny" is subject to debate.

    How much CO2 does it take to kill someone? How much otehr industrial waste does it take? Do any of these products break down over time? Do they effect other things around them?

    The main problem with nuclear is that it is a material that works in many ways:

    1. It starts off as a toxic chemical, but is not that dangerous because of its concentrations, weight eic.
    2. The radiation is what is deadly. PROXIMITY to is, even w/o ingestion can prove deadly
    3. It is cumulative. The longer you are exposed the higher the risk.
    4. It contaminates ANY other substance. It can make ANYTHING radioactive, from water to gold.
    5. Small amounts can be extremely dangerous.
    6. Large amounts cannot be stored together for risk of achieving critical mass (a true "dirty" bomb, not just nuclear material ejected by conventional expolsives).

    Fusion power is the only viable alternative right now, until we learn how to re-stabilize the fissive elements produced. Similar problems with radiation will happen, but not in the same manner. I believe that magnetic shielding can provide the protection, much like the van allen belt does for earth against the sun, for our possible fission plants.

    Not only that, it CAN be further developed to give us new resources of any element up to about 55 on the chart I believe (Iron?) coming from common elements like Hydrogen, Helium and Carbon.

    But calling fission power green now is like calling coal plants green. They just arent.

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBMW View Post
    It's not my definition.
    Whose definition then (of sustainable)?

    As far as saying the amount of waste is tiny...I'm thinking in terms of exhaust gasses, since lately, more green means less carbon.
    That's your definition of sustainable, more or less carbon?

    The fuel waste could be reprocessed into more useable fuel (and there are new designs that essentially self reprocess the spend fuel and only need refueling after several decades.)
    Reprocessing fuel/breeder reactors increase the problem of nuclear proliferation. I don't think that South Korea regards Kim's possession of weapons grade nuclear material as sustainable.

    I think, if properly run, nuclear can be very green.
    Like I said, not now.

    Look at one of the advantages nuclear has over wind or solar (not that either can really replace it)
    Now you're changing the discussion to which is better as an energy source. That involves other criteria besides sustainable.

    Nuclear power is a highly complex, potentially dangerous technology. Regarding it as green could lead to a head-in-the-sand approach, passing on problems to the next generation that become difficult to deal with. That's not sustainable.

  8. #38

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    March 16, 2011

    U.S. Calls Radiation ‘Extremely High’ and Urges Deeper Caution in Japan


    By DAVID E. SANGER and MATTHEW L. WALD

    WASHINGTON — The chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave a significantly bleaker appraisal of the threat posed by Japan’s nuclear crisis than the Japanese government, saying on Wednesday that the damage at one crippled reactor was much more serious than Japanese officials had acknowledged and advising to Americans to evacuate a wider area around the plant than the perimeter established by Japan.

    The announcement marked a new and ominous chapter in the five-day long effort by Japanese engineers to bring four side-by-side reactors under control after their cooling systems were knocked out by an earthquake and tsunami last Friday. It also suggested a serious split between Washington and Tokyo, after American officials concluded that the Japanese warnings were insufficient, and that, deliberately or not, they had understated the potential threat of what is taking place inside the nuclear facility.

    Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the commission, said in Congressional testimony that the commission believed that all the water in the spent fuel pool at the No. 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station had boiled dry, leaving fuel rods stored there exposed and bleeding radiation. As a result, he said, “We believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures.”

    If his analysis is accurate and Japanese workers have been unable to keep the spent fuel at that inoperative reactor properly cooled — it needs to remain covered with water at all times — radiation levels could make it difficult not only to fix the problem at reactor No. 4, but to keep workers at the Daiichi complex from servicing any of the other problem reactors at the plant.

    Mr. Jaczko (the name is pronounced YAZZ-koe) said radiation levels may make it impossible to continue what he called the “backup backup” cooling functions that have so far helped check the fuel melting at the other reactors. Those efforts consist of using fire hoses to dump water on overheated fuel and then letting the radioactive steam vent into the atmosphere.

    Those emergency measures, implemented by a small squad of workers and firemen, are the main steps Japan is taking at Daiichi to forestall a full blown fuel meltdown that would lead to much higher releases of radioactive material.

    Mr. Jaczko’s testimony came as the American Embassy in Tokyo, on advice from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told Americans to evacuate a radius of “approximately 50 miles” from the Fukushima plant.

    The advice represents a graver assessment of the risk in the immediate vicinity of Daiichi than the warnings made by the Japanese themselves, who have told everyone within 20 kilometers, about 12 miles, to evacuate, and those between 20 and 30 kilometers to take shelter.

    Mr. Jaczko’s testimony, the most extended comments by a senior American official on Japan’s nuclear disaster, described what amounts to an agonizing choice for Japanese authorities: Send a small number of workers into a increasingly radioactive area in a last-ditch effort to cover the spent fuel, and fuel in other reactors, — with water, or do more to protect the workers but risk burning off the pools of water protecting the fuel — and thus risk a broader meltdown.

    The Japanese authorities have never been as specific as Mr. Jascko was in his testimony about the situation at reactor No. 4, where they have been battling fires for more than 24 hours. It is possible the authorities there disagree with Mr. Jascko’s conclusion about the exposure of the spent fuel, or that they have chosen not to discuss the matter for fear of panicking people.

    Experts say workers at the plant probably could not approach a fuel pool that was dry, because radiation levels would be so high. In a normally operating pool, the water provides not only cooling but also shields workers from gamma radiation. A plan to dump water into the pool, and others like it, from helicopters was suspended because the crews would be flying right into a radioactive plume.

    Mr. Jaczko’s analysis suggests that a potentially dangerous chain of events could unfold, as workers trying to cool the adjacent reactors at the facility could also be exposed to intolerable levels of radiation. If they, too, had to withdraw, the problem could worsen, as reactor cores were go uncooled and spent fuel pools run dry.

    Earlier in the day, Japanese authorities announced a different escalation of the crisis at Daiichi when they said that a second reactor unit at the plant may have suffered damage to its primary containment structure and appeared to be releasing radioactive steam.

    The break, at the No. 3 reactor unit, worsened the already perilous conditions at the plant, a day after officials said the containment vessel in the No. 2 reactor had also cracked.

    The possibility of high radiation levels above the plant prompted the Japanese military to put off a highly unusual plan to dump water from helicopters — a tactic normally used to combat forest fires — to lower temperatures in a pool containing spent fuel rods that was dangerously overheating at the No. 4 reactor. The operation would have meant flying a helicopter into the steam rising from the plant.

    But in one of a series of rapid and at times confusing pronouncements on the crisis, the authorities insisted that damage to the containment vessel at the No. 3 reactor — the main focus of concern earlier on Wednesday — was unlikely to be severe.

    Yukio Edano, the chief cabinet secretary, said the possibility that the No. 3 reactor had “suffered severe damage to its containment vessel is low.” Earlier he said only that the vessel might have been damaged; columns of steam were seen rising from it in live television coverage.

    The reactor’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, said it had been able to double the number of people battling the crisis at the plant to 100 from 50, but that was before the clouds of radioactive steam began billowing from the plant. On Tuesday, 750 workers were evacuated, leaving a skeleton crew of 50 struggling to reduce temperatures in the damaged facility. An increasing proportion of the people at the plant are soldiers, but the exact number is not known.

    The Pentagon said Wednesday that American military forces in Japan were not allowed within 50 miles of the plant and that some flight crews who might take part in relief missions were being given potassium iodide to protect against the effects of radiation. Tokyo Electric said Wednesday that some of those at the plant had taken cover for 45 minutes on site, and left water pumps running at reactors Nos. 1, 2 and 3. There was no suspension of cooling operations, said Kazuo Yamanaka, an official at Tokyo Electric. The vessel that possibly ruptured on Wednesday had been seen as the last fully intact line of defense against large-scale releases of radioactive material from the stricken reactor, but it was not clear how serious the possible breach might be.

    The possible rupture, five days after a devastating earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant, followed a series of explosions and other problems there that have resulted in the world’s worst nuclear crisis since the Chernobyl accident in 1986.

    The head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, who is Japanese, said he would leave for Japan as soon as possible to assess the situation.

    The revised official assessment of the severity of the damage at the No. 3 reactor may have been intended to reduce some concerns about the containment vessel, which encloses the core, but the implications of overheating in the fuel rod pool at No. 4 seemed potentially dire.

    There are six reactors at the plant, all of which have pools holding spent fuel rods at the top level of the reactor building. Reactors 4, 5 and 6 were out of service when the earthquake and tsunami struck, and there were concerns about the pools at 5 and 6 as well, and possibly those at the other reactors.

    At a hearing in Washington on Wednesday held by two subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said, “We think there is a partial meltdown” at the plant.

    “We are trying to monitor it very closely,” he said. “We hear conflicting reports about exactly what is happening in the several reactors now at risk. I would not want to speculate about what is happening.”

    He said that his agency had sent 39 people to the American Embassy and to United States consulates in Japan “with the skills, expertise and equipment to help assess, survey and monitor areas.” The department has also shipped survey equipment that can measure radiation levels from the air, he said.

    The developments were the latest in Japan’s swirling tragedy since the quake and tsunami struck the country with unbridled ferocity last Friday. Emperor Akihito made his first ever televised appearance on Wednesday to tell the nation he was “deeply worried” about the nuclear crisis.

    International alarm about the nuclear crisis appeared to be growing, as several nations urged their citizens in Japan to head to safer areas in the south or leave the country. Prior advisories had largely been limited to simply avoiding nonessential travel. Germany urged its citizens to move to areas farther away from the stricken nuclear plant.

    Earlier Wednesday morning, Tokyo Electric reported that a fire was burning at the No. 4 reactor building, just hours after officials said flames that erupted Tuesday had been doused.

    A government official at Japan’s nuclear regulatory agency soon after said that flames and smoke were no longer visible, but he cautioned that it was unclear if the fire had died out. He also was not clear if it was a new fire or if the fire Tuesday had never gone out.

    Hiroko Tabuchi contributed reporting from Tokyo, and Keith Bradsher from Hong Kong.

    Interactive - How a reactor shuts down

    © Copyright 2011 The New York Times Company

  9. #39
    Forum Veteran Dr.T's Avatar
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    It's necessary a battalion of workers willing to die for nuclear radiation in Fukusima. The 'kamikaze' have always been a prototype of Japan culture. In Chernobyl, dozens of helicopter pilots were killed by nuclear radiation in their work after accident to seal the reactor blasted for the explosion.

  10. #40
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Shigeru Ban develops shelter for displaced Japanese

    Click image for larger version. 

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    architnet
    March 16, 2011

    We just received the following message from a reader...

    My friend and roommate from SCI-Arc, Wataru Sakaki and the people in the office of Shigeru Ban Architects are developing simple shelters for the displaced Japanese of the disaster last week, and they can use the architecture community's help. Below is the link to Shigeru Ban Architects' website with information on the design they are working on and where you can donate.

    Please do what you can

    ***

    AIA President offers assistance to Japan’s architects

    Editor At Large
    March 17, 2011.

    President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Clark Manus issued the following statement regarding the Japan earthquake:

    Our hearts go out to the people of Japan as a result of this horrific earthquake and tsunami. We are in contact with our colleagues at AIA Japan and the Japan Institute of Architects to offer not only our condolences but our profession's technical and professional expertise when the initiative begins focusing on rebuilding.

    The AIA has members that are able to participate in rapid damage assessments to help people quickly and safely return to structures, or to keep people away from unsafe structures. More than 1,000 AIA members have received specific training to perform this work and the AIA is in touch with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Japan Institute of Architects (JIA) to offer these resources ...

    The utterly devastated lives and communities of northern Japan are foremost on our minds. This unimaginable compound natural disaster cries out for a swift response to help alleviate the suffering and salvage the remaining fabric of families, friends, and loved ones.

    ©2009 JSN Global Media, LLC

  11. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.T View Post
    The 'kamikaze' have always been a prototype of Japan culture.
    Wasn't that when Shinto was in full force and the emperor was deified?

    The same today? Hmmm.

  12. #42
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Being willing to die for the good of the country goes far beyond the boundaries of Japan.

  13. #43

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    19 March 2011 Last updated at 03:12 GMT

    Japan earthquake: Tsunami survivor found eight days on



    Rescuers have found a survivor of Japan's earthquake and tsunami, eight days after the disaster devastated coastal areas in the north.
    The young man was found in the city of Kesennuma, in Miyagi prefecture - one of the hardest-hit regions - Japan's NHK broadcaster reported.
    The quake and the tsunami it triggered has killed at least 7,200 people. About 11,000 more remain missing.
    The disaster also damaged a nuclear plant raising fears of radiation leaks.
    The survivor, identified as Katsuharu Moriya and aged in his 20s, was rescued from the second floor of a wrecked house on Saturday, NHK reported.
    He is said to be in a stable condition but was in shock and unable to speak.
    He has been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
    One rescuer told the Associated Press news agency: "I found a man wrapped in a blanket. He was physically exhausted."
    Earlier, it had been believed that heavy snowfalls had all but ended hopes of rescuing anyone from the rubble.
    Alert raised
    Millions of people have been affected by the 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami.
    Many survivors have been left without water, electricity, fuel or enough food; hundreds of thousands are homeless.
    Meanwhile engineers are attempting to restart the cooling systems of reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which were crippled by the quake.
    They have been spraying water to cool overheating reactors and spent fuel rods, to curb the release of radiation. There are fears over four of the six reactors.
    A nuclear and industrial safety agency official said: "We are scheduled to restore electricity at number 1 and 2 [reactors] today.
    "Reactors number 5 and 6 also will be powered today. They are scheduled to restore power to number 3 and 4 tomorrow (Sunday)."
    On Friday the government raised the alert level at the plant from four to five on a seven-point international scale of atomic incidents.
    Japanese nuclear officials said core damage to reactors 2 and 3 had prompted the move.
    The operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) has said it was not ruling out the option of entombing the plant in concrete to prevent more radiation leaks - a similar method was used after the world's worst nuclear accident in Chernobyl in 1986.
    Prime Minister Naoto Kan said in a television address on Friday: "We will rebuild Japan from scratch. We must all share this resolve."
    He said the natural disaster and nuclear crisis were a "great test for the Japanese people", but exhorted them all to persevere.
    The government has now conceded it was too slow in dealing with the nuclear crisis.
    Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano accepted that "in hindsight, we could have moved a little quicker in assessing the situation and coordinating all that information and provided it faster".

    EDIT:
    An update on this story, just after my post --

    Rescue reports found to be inaccurate
    SENDAI, Japan, March 19, Kyodo

    News reports about a man rescued from his house eight days after the mega earthquake in Japan made urgent headlines around the world Saturday, but it has been found that he had returned home the previous day after staying at an evacuation center, according to his family.

    He had been staying in the shelter since the quake and tsunami hit the coastal city on March 11, and returned home in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, around noon Friday to clean it up.
    Last edited by hbcat; March 19th, 2011 at 01:01 AM. Reason: News update found

  14. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.T View Post
    The 'kamikaze' have always been a prototype of Japan culture.
    This is no longer a valid representation, if it ever was truly representative.

  15. #45

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