The last nail in the Nuclear Coffin….

2 09 2013

Things have been looking grim at Fukushima.  First, they realised that for some time they had been using a radiation meter that could not read beyond 100 milli Sieverts and believed that this was the actual radiation level there….  only to find out with another instrument that levels were in fact much higher, and that hundreds of tonnes of highly radioactive water were leaking into the Pacific Ocean daily for….  well no one knows.

Then it was decided (as I recently reported) that fuel rods lying perilously in a damaged above ground leaking pool that keeps those rods from melting down and causing an actual out of control nuclear reactor (read explosion + mushroom cloud…) were going to be moved, by hand…  because?  Well the cranes that normally do this have been destroyed by the earthquake, presumably ably assisted by the tsunami.

At the time I commented “what could go wrong?”……..

Christopher Busby

Christopher Busby

Well….  things have actually taken a turn for the worse, even before the attempt to move the rods.  According to RT, a credible source as far as I’m concerned, the latest radiation surge can’t be blamed just on random leaks.  It suggests not only additional water leaks at the site, but could also mean fission is occurring outside the crippled reactor, according to Chris Busby, an expert on the health effects of ionizing radiation and qualified in Chemical Physics at the Universities of London and Kent.  He has worked on the molecular physical chemistry of living cells for the Wellcome Foundation.  Professor Busby is the Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk from the European Committee on Radiation Risk.

Professor Busby said:

I think this is an indication that it has actually deteriorated significantly, very suddenly in the last week. What they are not saying and what is the missing piece of evidence here is that radiation suddenly cannot increase unless something happens and that something cannot be leakage from a tank, because gamma radiation goes straight through a tank. The tank has got very thin metal walls. These walls will only attenuate gamma radiation by 5 per cent, even when it is 1 cm thick.

Although they may think this is a leak from the tank, and there may well be leaks from the tank, this sudden increase of 1.8 Sieverts per hour is an enormously big dose that can probably kill somebody in 2 to 4 hours.

Today there was another leak found at 1.7 Sieverts per hour in more or less the same place. This huge radiation increase, in my mind means something going on outside the tanks, some radioactive fission is occurring, like an open air reactor, if you like, under the ground.

Radiation risks in terms of milliSieverts

We are no longer talking about readings in milliSieverts now (1/1000th of a Sievert).  Several new high radiation readings were detected during the daily inspection on Saturday near the tanks storing the radioactive water, forcing the operator to admit there might be even more leaks at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Professor Busby believes the situation is clearly out of control and that no one can go anywhere near it.  “Nobody can go in to measure where these leaks are or do anything about them, because anybody who is to approach that sort of area would be dead quite quickly. They would be seriously harmed”

What happens next is anyone’s guess, but from where I sit, it can only get worse, and frankly, if I lived in Japan, I would get the hell out of there before the rush…..

This will have a domino impact on all nuclear reactors in my opinion.  The cost of keeping those still operating will have to go up, and as the cost of decommissioning them becomes clearly extraordinary, often more than double the cost of building them, and sometimes, like Sellafield, orders of magnitude more, and in a climate of disappearing liquidity………  nobody will be able to afford to build any nukes.  There simply won’t be the funds, as all the money that could have been used disappears down the blackhole of decommissionings.

And now THIS also from RT…

And they said it would be too cheap to meter……

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9 responses

2 09 2013
mjmcevoy

With all the hype about robotics and survelliance drones, you would think that someone would be able to monitor the radiation levels. Either they robotics are not as good as claimed, or no one has thought about using them?

2 09 2013
lemmiwinks

Look into Chernobyl – they attempted to use remote controlled machinery to remove large (extremely radioactive) chunks of graphite which were formerly control rods in the reactor from the roof. The machines all stopped working (one drove off the roof) within a short period of time and so shifts (I think 20 minutes, but even then they were being affected quite seriously) of men began to shovel it off manually.

2 09 2013
gbell12

I love how the nuclear proponents always seem to have faith in technology and/or humanity, while the pessimists have always pointed at various human imperfections and failings.

And here we have supposedly technical people ***unaware that their meter was being maxed out***. Unbelievable.

I’d say “duh”, but that would be putting too much levity on the situation.

2 09 2013
lemmiwinks

Nuclear power is never going to be an option. Even when it’s working, they have no solution for the waste. Fukushima is a big, big deal and it’s not over by a long way. It’s many times worse than Chernobyl and that’s STILL not finished either.

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2011/03/nuclear-meltdowns-101.html

3 09 2013
MargfromTassie

Last nail in the nuclear coffin ? I fear not.

Amid Economic and Safety Concerns, Nuclear Advocates Pin Their Hopes on New Designs

Read more: http://science.time.com/2013/08/05/amidst-economic-and-safety-concerns-nuclear-advocates-pin-their-hopes-on-new-designs/#ixzz2dtQduTaH

3 09 2013
gbell12

The most rational position is to be against:

1) Any possible leaking of dangerous material.
2) Any generation of impossible-to-deal-with waste.

The field seems ripe for innovation. If engineers can develop reactors that can’t melt down, can’t explode, and don’t generate dangerous waste, then I think our position should change to be “nuclear – no problem”.

4 09 2013
lemmiwinks

The only source which ticks boxes one and two is the sun!

3 09 2013
Don

So nuclear advocates want to solve the problem of coal power generation waste, (CO2), with nuclear power generation that has waste that, while the amount is less, is more deadly and lasts in the environment for up to 1000 times that of current CO2 concentrations. We call our species homo sapiens where the species-name sapiens means “wise” or “sapient”. I sometimes wonder.

28 09 2013

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