4 thoughts on “Japan nuke scare in perspective”

  1. The new certified “Standard Designs” ALREADY ANTICIPATE a worse problem than what happened at one of the 53 nuclear reactors in Japan. In spite of the worst Earthquake in Japanese history andt hen the subsequent Tsunami, all 53 shut downand all but one successfully cooled down wihtout much problem. One did have problem, providing enough coolant while cooling down. But with 72 hours gone by all are cooled down, by now, and several have probably been re-started by now.

    The BWR of the Genration II design, have provisions to pump emergency coolant water into the reactor if commercial power is down,so thesy csn cool off for 0-72 hours with no damage. They are designed with several stabnd-by emergency diesel electric generators in different locations to insure that power is available to run the pumps. In one or two of the 53 Japanese reactors, a sufficient number did not start, so the power was limited topower thepumps for them.

    These are needed after the reactor is shut down for from 0-72 hours as the big reactor cools down. Nevertheless some did, and emergency coolant water was pumped throughout, although not enough apparently. One of the reactors had it extra coolant water contaminated in the Tsunami waters, so reluctantly they had to use un-purified seawater, and they did so.

    The new American designs ALREADY ANTICIPATE this problem, and don’t need pumps at all, or the emergency generators to power them. Instead they were re-designed with the coolant tank above the reactor, so it can flow down into the reactor by gravity.

    In addition the reactors were re-designed to hold much more coolant, so less would have to be added and the time to do so expanded from 45 minutes, to several of the 72 hours needed. The reactors were also re-designed to let natural thermal convection circulate sufficient coolant, thus no pumps or power for them, would be needed at all.

    It is reasuring that the new Gen III+ reactor designs would ahve ridden through even the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, wihtout any concern. They are confirmed to be even better than we thought.

    These new “Standard Designs” are what everyone wanted reactors to be, even most of the critics, back in the 70s and 80s.

    Of course, we will always have genuine cloacal cavities, like DEMO-gogue Ed Markey, who couldn’t find his own arse with both hands, and will always complain simply to hear himself bray.

  2. I immediately asked myself why the design of a nuclear reactor had the emergency generators and pumps below grade in the basement (reported on the news I watched so I am not sure that is true) and was amazed no one had given thought to the idea that these reactors are sitting within site of the ocean and flooding should certainly be thought a probability to occur.
    Either we had politicians making decisions about the construction and safety of these reactors or we had incompetent engineers. If I could see that as a possible problem in design in a few minutes, then where were the experts on this one?

  3. You’d trust politicians over engineers? Most politicians don’t even understand what they’re looking at when presented with a technical issue: Their decisions are at best random.

  4. I didn’t say I trusted politicians at all! In fact I thought I had made my point that it is idiotic to trust politicians to have any say in a nuclear power plant design. My regret is that it appears that the engineers involved did not seem to see a problem with emergency generators being below grade within site of the ocean in a location where a tsunami was likely to occur. If they did see this and shrugged it off, then they should turn in their sheepskins.

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