APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Some NISA Onagawa details.

NISA says that the NISA resident inspector in Onagawa reports three of four available offsite power lines went down, but two are now available. Spent fuel cooling did go down briefly. Unit 2 lost some water from the spent fuel pool onto the refueling floor, and a window broke in the visitor gallery. Unit 3 also had water sloshed out of the spent fuel pool. There are some water leaks in various places. A blowout panel at the turbine building of No. 3 plant was found loose. Some water leaked or sloshed at a rad waste building. Some water leaks have been found in or near some of the reactor buildings. Tohoku Electric Power is conducting a complete site inspection presently and will report. However, it seems at this moment as if there are no problems of any serious nature at this plant site.

11:30 PM Eastern Thursday 4/7


  1. Wil, could you give your opinion on this NYT story: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/09/world/asia/09japan.html ?

    Some serious points i see in there:
    - 3,300 Rem/hour
    - Some corium left no 2 reactor vessel
    - Fuel thrown out in the environment due to explosions
    - "flashes of extremely intense radioactivity"
    - no equipment to reliably measure high doses levels

    Seems much worse than the Japanese would like us to know.

    Is there any alternative to cooling with water? Why not just bury the mess in a sand/boron/lead sludge like they did in Chernobyl and let the cooling happen through convection?

  2. If you read the nrc report, you will find that the times is exaggerating quite a bit.

    It seems to me that as the situation stabilizes, the media is becoming desperate to keep ratings, and therefore is exaggerating things quite a bit.

    The condition of the cores will not be verified until the reactor vessels are opened in several years, but I see no indication that the "core leakage" in #2 is anything more than bits of the core being carried by the cooling water.

    As far as the spent fuel being found out of the ponds, that seems to be a best guess based on small spots of neutron emmiters, and some high level material found between some of the buildings before the water leakage.

    I doubt that these are anything more than possibly bits of fuel pellets from the spent fuel that was caught up in the explosions, they will need to be picked up at some point, but large peices of fuel rods being out of the buildings seems very unlikely.

    burying the plant would greatly complicate the cleanup of the site, this is not the soviet union where "cleanup" of industrial accidents means letting it sit until it decays/disperses.

  3. Let's mince no bones about it; The New York Times has been unabashed in its opposition to ALL nuclear power, passionately and philosophically. That aside, it occurs to me that with all the alledged blundering, incompetence, equipment failures or equiptment MIA after and due one rare major geological event, that since these plants haven't erupted into Doomsday and mauled millions as most anti-nukers hoped (yes, hoped even in normal operation), it seems to me that were all these plants rigoriously brought up to specs and standards there should be no cause to oppose nuclear power -- unless one has lame philosophical beefs like it's a spawn of Darth Vader or "unnatural" (how much more natural can you get than the building blocks of nature -- the atom?) or want to abolish atomic energy to "pay" for what it did at Hirsoshima. Yea, TOO many actually think that way!

    James Greenidge

  4. I read the NRC report. The NYT story is a fair summary. The anti-nuke folks feel the way they do because they have looked into the details and don't like what they find - not because of any irrational or guilt "feelings".
    The point is that blundering, incompetence, equipment failures and rare events HAPPEN - they are happening RIGHT NOW - and this a very unforgiving technology that is accumulating long lasting poisons in the food chain and in our DNA.
    THAT is why they don't like it Mr. Greenidge.

  5. I've found that by and large the anti-nuke folks are looking into the details and completely misunderstanding, misinterpreting and miscommunicating information they've never looked at before. But then again, I don't expect them to be experts. It's the same thing as when climatologists tell us that only climatologists have the knowledge necessary to understand global warming, so that someone who isn't a climatologist isn't qualified to say whether or not it exists. In the same way, I don't expect one NY Times reporter to pick out one report on Peach Bottom and be able to use that to compare it to any other nuclear plant, a merry-go-round or a maple tree seed for that matter.

    No, I didn't find and read the specifically mentioned NRC report. Yes, I've read more NRC reports than anyone else you're likely to speak to, including many NRC and ORNL reports both on Peach Bottom 2 & 3 specifically, and using them as baseline examples for extrapolated accident studies applicable generally.

    If you want honest reporting on what's going on, and implications to plants here, you already have that with this blog. Anything else is superfluous. And if it's big media, probably untrustworthy... unless they've contacted us, a reactor vendor, an owner-operator, an architect-engineer or the NRC.