Survival in Japan and Nuclear Radiation

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by tsneds, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine The Plumber Founding Member

    Ghrit, correct me if I'm wrong on my understanding of how they are trying to keep these reactors cool.

    I am envisioning a two part containment, first one being the reactor (pressure vessel) itself with piping running through it to cool the reactor. Pumps keep this water circulating through the pressure vessel to keep it cool. Since those pumps are not functioning, the traditional method of cooling the core is no longer working.

    Outer containment is being treated like a huge bathtub filling it with seawater hoping to keep the reactor cool. Meaning seawater is only in contact with the outer skin of the reactor, in an attempt that the seawater will cool the inner core enough to keep it from going critical (meltdown).

    How are they able to circulate the seawater as it is heated from cooling the reactor? Or is this part of what they are experiencing, no way to circulate the seawater even with an auxiliary pumps, like sump/garbage pumps.

    If the seawater is not being circulated out, then what is to prevent the water from turning into steam, much less flashing to steam. You know as well as myself what happens when water flashes to steam. Things go ka-boom, in an instant. There is not any type of container that I am aware of that could contain that amount of force. One gallon of water flashing to steam needs 1700 times the amount of space one gallon of water needed.
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    In this type of Plant, the Core sits in a Steel Pressure Vessel, which, under normal operation is cooled by water pumped thru the system, to make steam, that is then used to turn the turbine and make electricity. The Pressure Vessel itself sits in a concrete and Steel Containment, which is housed in a building. When the Power failed after the quake, the reactor SCRAMMED, and quit making steam, but there is a lot of heat still in the core. The pumps went to Backup Generator Power, and they were cooling off the core, until the wave hit, and killed the Backup Power Generators. Then the pumps went to Battery Backup, which is a short term solution. (about 8 hours) There was NO HOPE, of getting the Gensets back online, so when the Batteries ran dead, the pumps stopped. Replacement Batteries couldn't get to the site because of the roads, and rail disruption. So, the Cores started getting Hotter, and when they reached boiling, they produced Steam, with no place to go, and eventually Hydrogen Gas, and the pressure in the Core Vessel climbed, to the point of rupture. At this point, they vent the pressure and hydrogen into the containment, and eventually into the building, but as they do this the water level drops, around the core and it becomes exposed, and starts to MELT. Once the Fuel Rods are breached, they release fission Products into the Pressure vessel and what water is left. At this point they flood the core with Sea Water and Boric Acid, to poison any nuclear reaction, and replace the boiled off core water. This effectively ends any HOPE of ever repairing this core. The seawater then just boils off, just like the regular cooling water did, and more Hydrogen is produced. Eventually the Hydrogen builds to the point of Explosion, and in Unit #1, that explosion blew the Roof and some of the walls off the building, and containment, but did NOT damage the Pressure Vessel. the same thing happened in Unit 3 a day later, and they have those two units still being cooled by adding SeaWater and allowing the vented hydrogen to atmosphere. It is slightly radioactive, but lighter than air so it basically just goes straight UP, to the edge of Space, and isn't an issue. Oh, and the Buildings and containment is designed to allow for a Hydrogen Explosion without effecting the Pressure Vessel. Then yesterday, they lost control of Unit 2, and had a third Hydrogen Explosion. Immediately the Radiation Detectors for Iodine, Cesium and Strontium started going off, and this was their first clue that they had a Breach of the Core Pressure Vessel, AND that they had Melting of the Fuel Rods in significant numbers. All these things, are now being vented to atmosphere from Unit 2, and this is BAD, but not Desperate, YET. Last I saw, this is where they are NOW. 1 and 3 are still under control, and just venting Hydrogen, to atmosphere. Unit 2 is venting Fission Products, but they are not at anywhere near the Chernobel Level, YET. If they can keep things at this level, very GOOD... If NOT, then things can only go down hill very FAST, and there certainly IS a possibility for a Chernobel Level Release, if things go south. Here in the USA, We would only have an issue, if there was that LEVEL of Release. I am closer to this thing than just about ALL THE REST OF YOU, AND WOULD BE FIRST IN LINE FOR PROBLEMS. That is why I watch, as much as I am able, to see what is being reported. I also have my KI Tabs here, so that is NOT an issue for "Me"...

    I hope that explains the timeline and the ISSUE for my Monkey Friends.

    It has been a number of DECADES, since I was in this field, at the NRTS in Idaho, but I have tried to keep up with the technology,
    as best I can, from the outside.
    Monty and BAT1 like this.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    BT, you are very close. As pressure went up in the containment, H2 AND O2 are normal decomp products of water in a high radiation field (AND it is usual to keep an excess of hydrogen in the coolant to scavenge O2 and prevent boom boom inside the vessel.) It appears that they vented the steam/H2 into the reactor building rather than up the stack (which maybe they couldn't do for some reason.) The H2 found some O2 and an ignition source and POOF, that's what blew the roof and siding. That does not mean containment is breached. There is something else going on if the MSM is right.

    Colt, they for sure put sea water into the containment (suppression pool, normally MT IIRC, but also MAY have injected it into the reactor vessel itself. I can't tell from what I've read thus far. From outside in: Structural concrete down low, architectural skin above. Containment "vessel") - in the GE design, it can come in one of two flavors that I am familiar with, one it the inverted lightbulb and torus arrangement, the other is the truncated cone type. On the far inside is the reactor itself and the core is within that. Lots of pipe penetrations in the containment for steam out and feed water in, plus instrumentation out the yingie.
    BAT1 likes this.
  4. tsneds

    tsneds Monkey++

    This is the best learning experience ever for me,have dabbled in survivalism (have a quakecare kit,couple books) but now I will stay fully prepared at all times and build my library and preparedness tools as well as stay in an alert mindframe (already do that)

    So thank you

    By the way,radiation levels in Tokyo are 10 times normal according to Kyodo news and 33 times normal in the Prefecture West of Fukushima. A friend in the Japanese military tells me levels in my area are 10 times normal as well.
  5. RightHand

    RightHand Maslow's Contradiction Moderator Founding Member

    This is a reminder for all of us tsneds. One can never let their guard down. As much as we enjoy the social aspect of SurvivalMonkey, it's most important role is to function as a place of learning. I hope you will continue to participate after you return to the US and will give us some more detailed information about your experiences, your journey, and your suggestions for us all. Now we can learn from you. I'm particularly looking forward to your post that says "We're home" followed by "baby #2 has arrived safe and healthy"
    E.L. likes this.
  6. tsneds

    tsneds Monkey++

    I will definitely continue to participate and will let you know when I arrive home safely as well as when the baby arrives. Thanks again,

  7. tsneds

    tsneds Monkey++

    Along with Russia Today this is the best site I've found on the situation here, it's updated every hour or so, as soon as news comes in and is very informative.

    This one is good too.

    Also in local news

    Radiation levels shoot up in Tokyo, vicinity | Kyodo News

    Radiation levels shot up in Tokyo and its vicinity Tuesday following the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan that was triggered by last week's massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami, local governments said.

    But those levels did not pose immediate danger to human health, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said.

    In Tokyo, small amounts of radioactive substances, such as iodine and cesium, were detected, the metropolitan government said.

    In Ibaraki Prefecture, adjacent to Fukushima Prefecture where the troubled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is located, the amount of radiation at one stage reached 5 microsievert per hour, 100 times higher than usual, the Ibaraki prefectural government said.

    In Kanagawa Prefecture, the radiation level shot up 10 times higher than usual.

    In Saitama, capital of Saitama Prefecture, the amount of radiation reached 1,222 nanosievert per hour -- a figure about 40 times higher than usual.

    In Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, the amount of radiation showed a two- to four-fold increase, the Chiba prefectural government said.

    The amount of radiation rose to 1.318 micro sievert per hour -- a figure 33 times bigger than usual -- in Tochigi Prefecture's capital of Utsunomiya, the Tochigi prefectural government said.

    The science ministry said it had asked prefectural governments to observe radiation levels as frequently as possible.

  8. Country_boy

    Country_boy Monkey+

    Somethings wrong with these numbers:
    1.3 microseiverts/hr (uSv/h)*24hrs/day*365 days/yr= 11.35 mSv/year. This is about 4 times average background radiation, not 33 times, unless Japan is some black home for normal background radiation (there are areas of the world where background radiation excedes 200 mSv/year due either to local sources or high altitudes/latitudes)

    And if 1222 nanoSv (1.2 microSv) in 40 times the "normal" level in Saitama they must also be in some area not influenced by the cosmic rays that strike the rest of the world.

    Or the article is just wrong.
    BAT1 likes this.
  9. Gordo

    Gordo Monkey+

    Hey take care tsneds and do what you think is best for yourself and your family.
    Unfortunately however, I agree with BAT1. When the WHO opens their mouth only NWO crap will spew forth. In my opinion after listening to many commentators and spin jocks, the situation is being played down.
    Like that dude from monty python as he gets more and more body parts cut from his torso- i'm OK, it will be fine :)
    Realistically it will not be fine and the sooner the cover-up stops and real measures are taken to solve the problem, the better off everyone will be. Look how long it took for the Russians to admit they were in deep do do.
    Also, BEAR has a valid point in relation to San Andreas. Lets hope that this isn't the "Ring of Fire" coming to life. Starting in New Zealand a couple of weeks ago and working its way through Asia to the United States....
    If this is nature - beware her fury.
    If this is HARP - prepare for false flag on a grand scale.
    BAT1 likes this.
  10. Gordo

    Gordo Monkey+

    Woops, sorry I forgot to warn you guys to put your tin foil hats on before that last line rattled from my fingers.../apologise (Australian spelling).
  11. tsneds

    tsneds Monkey++

    Woman from the State Department called my cell phone and asked me if we are alright and if we are leaving,whether we have tickets,etc. I asked if they are advising people to leave and she did not say directly just asked again if we have ticets and if we are ok or need any help leaving.

    Incredibly the Japanese are still saying there are no risks to health:

  12. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    Seems like that's government speak to get out of dodge.
    rush81 likes this.
  13. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    tsneds, Yep, you just received a Official, unOfficial, message from your Government, checking on your welfare, and telling you, that "We can't officially advise you to leave, but we are advising you to leave, ASAP, and WE will be on the plane right after that" You just have to understand HillorySpeak.... I sure am happy for you, that have your tickets, in hand, and will be GONE tomorrow. I would expect that many US Citizens in northern Japan, got the same phone call. You can be sure ALL your MONKEY Friends are praying for you, and yours, and will be much relieved when you let us know you'all are "Back in the USA"... Take care, and be watchfull....
    Falcon15, Tracy and RightHand like this.
  14. BAT1

    BAT1 Cowboys know no fear

    The Mark 1 or 4 reactors, [correct me if I'm wrong], store their spent fuel rods on top of their containment structures. Over the last 40 years they may have had up to 600.000 spent fuel rods stored there. Those were particularized in the explosions. That's why the levels went sky high.
    Systematic problems are yet to come from this. Fox news just announced a ban on all Japanese seafood products. Get off that Island.
  15. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    File:BWR Mark I Containment, diagram.png - Wikimedia Commons

    Correct, there is a spent fuel pool on the operating deck of the BWR plants designed by GE originally. This is the design I referred to earlier as the inverted lightbulb and torus design. I think the later design (truncated cone) also has pools on the operating floors, but that I can't say with certainty.

    The cutaway on the right shows two pools on the operating floor and a cask in the hoistway on the right hand side. I believe, but do not remember for sure, that one pool is used for very short term spent fuel storage (for cooldown immediately after refueling operations.) The other pool can hold an entire core assembly for work, if needed or to store the reactor head such that the water acts as a shield. Or, the second pool can also be used to decontaminate components with a washdown system. The cutaway does not show the laydown areas for head shielding (also seen in the cutaway) that has to be removed for all in core work, nor does it show the laydown for the containment head cover. The shielding is lightly sealed forming a void space over the containment head (yellow). The containment itself is sealed at the bolt ring to separate ventilation systems. The containment head is a pressure boundary, that is to contain pressure within the containment itself if the suppression pool in the torus has to be used to handle steam generated by decay heat in the event the condensers (normally used for plant shutdown) are out of commission.

    ETA: Both pools can be opened to the reactor head so that materials can be moved from the reactor to the pools under water.

    After the cooldown of fuel rods has proceeded far enough, they go into the cask (an under water operation) and the cask is decontaminated and moved out to longer term storage pending cold transfer to where ever it has to go for reprocessing.

    These plants do not have the ability to change core components while operating.

    It is kinda interesting that the control rods are hydraulically operated from the bottom of the vessel. The upper half is the actual control section, the lower portions are inert to criticality. This assures that gravity will drive the control rods into the core if all else fails. The hydraulic system will dump the fluid (water) to a tank on power failure.

    Someone mentioned the term "SCRAM" which is the formal word for emergency shutdown, where the control rods are dropped into the core and stop the reaction (designed to do so under several conditions.) It's reputed that the original Chicago pile (where the first criticality experiments took place) had a single control rod suspended by a rope. Supposedly, a man was stationed at that rope with an axe, and if there was an accident, his job was to "Sever Control Rope And Move." Dunno 'bout that ---
  16. Catullus

    Catullus Monkey+++

    Helicopters dropping water on top?? CNN has a live feed of them doing this. Can you say "Hail Mary."

    Can you imagine the conditions on those helicopters. Wow.
  17. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine The Plumber Founding Member

    Hope you did not experience any significant delays in getting out of Japan and that you have indeed made it out already. Good luck to you and your family. I'm sure you'll be kissing the ground once you have made it home. (y)
  18. tsneds

    tsneds Monkey++

    I am safely back in KY,thanks for all the advice and help. A friend of mine who stayed in Tokyo sent me the following,I guess to say I jumped the gun:

    "18 March, 1600hrs, British Embassy Briefing for BCCJ Members

    On 18 March at 1600hrs, the British Ambassador to Tokyo, David Warren, and the UK's Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir John Beddington, held a telephone briefing regarding the situation at Fukushima. Over the past few days, there has been continuing concern about the situation, particularly in light of yesterday's amendment to British travel advice to "consider leaving" Tokyo.

    Sir John Beddington explained: At the beginning of this week, our concerns were mainly about possible meltdowns in the reactors. What the Japanese were doing was entirely proportionate to the situation and, even in our worst case scenarios such as extreme weather conditions, there was nothing remotely to worry about. There were two main reasons why we changed the British travel advice.

    1. Fuel Ponds
    If the fuel ponds that hold spent fuel rods were allowed to dry out, especially the pond in reactor number 4, the emissions would be highly radioactive. We worried that radiation would start coming out as a result of fire or minor explosions and this would cause more radiation than that coming from the reactors themselves. This is one of the reasons it was more important to be more precautionary around the Fukushima plant, and that was why the recommendation was adopted to extend the evacuation zone to 80km. We discussed this with our scientific colleagues in America and they agreed. There is STILL no massive danger but we wanted to be precautionary.

    2. Worst Case Scenario
    The British Prime Minister asked us to look at the plausible "worst case scenario" combined with unfavourable weather conditions, particularly with regards to Tokyo. I repeat that this is HIGHLY UNLIKELY. Even if our plausible worst case scenario happened, the danger to Tokyo would be modest. Although radiation would increase for a short time - no longer than 48 hours - the effects on human health would be mitigated by staying indoors not opening windows. For people living in Tokyo, immediate concerns can be allayed. If the UK were to find any traces of radiation, they would inform Tokyo of when the plume is due in order for people to take precautions. I stress that this is NOT the current situation; this is only assuming the worst case scenario. Both of our worst case scenarios (explosions in reactors and extreme weather conditions) are unlikely.

    To sum up, regarding the precautionary zone around the plant it was sensible to be precautionary, but even in worst case scenario, we are not worried about the human health risks. The US and France have heard these conclusions and they share our opinion.

    Q: Is there any chance of contamination in Tokyo?
    Sir John: Implications to people in Tokyo - none.

    Q: Given that the reactor was contained but then suddenly there was an explosion, how long do you foresee a dangerous situation continuing for?
    Sir John: The key issue is whether or not the Japanese can get sufficient water into the holding pond on reactor 4 and continue to get water into other holding ponds. In the case of reactors, adequate water is needed to keep them cool. That is critical. In terms of when we can all relax - this is dependent on how successful the Japanese are at cooling the reactors and ponds. When that begins to happen we can relax. In a week or so we will know if we really have to worry or not. In addition, afterwards, there are enourmous problems of clean up and that could take years.

    Q: Can you clarify about the contamination of food and water?
    Sir John: We have been working with our colleagues in DEFRA and the food standards agency in the UK. The message is to avoid food grown around the region of the plant of course. Normal sewage filtration processes take out radioactivity. If this was dangerous to anyone outside of Fukushima, the Japanese authorities would react and advise. In Chernobly the risks were significant - more dramatic and worrying, but even the risks were negliible for water because of filtration. Bottled water is always safe. Any problems related to tap water will not be connected with radiation but rather the sewage coming from broken pipes. In conclusion, microbiology is more of a concern than radiation. As for food in shops - in cartons, tins, bottles or boxes, there is no problem whatsoever. It would be unwise to eat food produced from gardens in the region. Anything left in the open air in Fukushima, dont eat.

    Q: You now advise to "consider leaving" - at what stage would you change that to "leave"?
    Sir John: Only in the worst case scenarios. The reason we said "consider leaving" - there are major disruptions to transportation and supply chain in the whole of Japan. We are NOT advising that people leave due to the risk of radiation. Even IF a plume were to reach Tokyo, it would not pose major health risks.

    Q: What does plausible worst case mean? Is there an implausible worst case?
    Sir John: Implausible - all reactors and all ponds go up at the same time and extreme weather conditions bring the plume to Tokyo; it's not sensible to consider this.

    Q: How do we know if the Japanese government is telling the whole story?
    Sir John: There would be a series of explosions at the reactors - the Japanese government cannot hide that if it were to be the case.

    Q: Why is the French giving different advice?
    Sir John: Their advice is not based on science.

    Q: Any reason for people in Tokyo to take potassium iodide? Children, pregnant mothers?
    Sir John: The Health Protection Agency is on the line. If we are looking at the "worst case scenario" it would be sensible for pregnant women, children and nursing mothers to take stabilising drugs as their thyroids are more sensitive radioactive iodine. However there is no need for anyone in Tokyo to take these drugs now. If necessary, there would be plenty of warning for people in Tokyo to take the tablets.

    Finally, we are continuing to monitor this situation every day, with nuclear and health experts."
  19. RightHand

    RightHand Maslow's Contradiction Moderator Founding Member

    No, I don't think you did jump the gun. While the situation may not end in the disaster that is possible, with a late term pregnant wife and small child, I think you did the right thing. You now have the opportunity to evaluate the conditions in Japan and decide when and if you will return.

    Very glad that you arrived home safely
  20. BAT1

    BAT1 Cowboys know no fear

    Glad you made it back. Sorry, I don't agree with Sir John. You did the right thing.
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