Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Physicist Michio Kaku warns that Japan nukes may go 'beyond Chernobyl'

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU
 
Tx4obama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 03:34 PM
Original message
Physicist Michio Kaku warns that Japan nukes may go 'beyond Chernobyl'
Physicist Michio Kaku warns that Japan nukes may go 'beyond Chernobyl'
http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/physicist-michi...

Rachel Maddow - total amount of Spent Nuclear Fuel Rods in the pools at Dai-ichi plant
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Maddow Video with fuel graphs: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel...




Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
1. And this post may get a trillion rec's.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 09:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
25. indeed
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 03:53 PM
Response to Original message
2. Get the concrete out and
bury these insidious WMD.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tx4obama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. I'm not so sure they can get close enough to the buildings to do that.
And dropping concrete from a helicopter isn't an option.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Buns_of_Fire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. I saw a video earlier where they're dropping seawater from helicopters. ???
Which, to my untrained eye, looked like a move born of desperation. If the cores and rods are that hot, it seems to me that the water would evaporate before it ever came in contact. I hope they know something I don't (which is very likely). :shrug:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tx4obama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. The majority of the water didn't fall on the building, so they stopped yesterday.
I don't know if they are going to try again or not.
Too much radiation is preventing the helicopters to get close enough to the buildings.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
PCIntern Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. ...and to my untrained eye, fricking missed the reactors with 80%
of the water. It looked like they were dumping it back in the ocean, like a scene from "The Longest Yard".
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jtuck004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-11 12:39 AM
Response to Reply #6
35. Dropping sand. boron, and dry concrete might wind up being the only solution until there is enough
Edited on Fri Mar-18-11 01:00 AM by jtuck004
of a barrier that pumpers can get in there.

http://www.kiddofspeed.com/chapter2.html


On the Friday evening of April 25, 1986, the reactor crew at Chernobyl-4, prepared to run a test the next day to see how long the turbines would keep spinning and producing power if the electrical power supply went off line. This was a dangerous test, but it had been done before. As a part of the preparation, they disabled some critical control systems - including the automatic shutdown safety mechanisms.

Shortly after 1:00 AM on April 26, the flow of coolant water dropped and the power began to increase.

At 1:23 AM, the operator moved to shut down the reactor in its low power mode and a domino effect of previous errors caused an sharp power surge, triggering a tremendous steam explosion which blew the 1000 ton cap on the nuclear containment vessel to smithereens.

Some of the 211 control rods melted and then a second explosion, whose cause is still the subject of disagreement among experts, threw out fragments of the burning radioactive fuel core and allowed air to rush in - igniting several tons of graphite insulating blocks.

Once graphite starts to burn, its almost impossible to extinguish. It took 9 days and 5000 tons of sand, boron, dolomite, clay and lead dropped from helicopters to put it out. The radiation was so intense that many of those brave pilots died.

It was this graphite fire that released most of the radiation into the atmosphere and troubling spikes in atmospheric radiation were measured as far away as Sweden - thousands of miles away.

The causes of the accident are described as a fateful combination of human error and imperfect technology.

In keeping with a long tradition of Soviet justice, they imprisoned all the people who worked on that shift - regardless of their guilt. The man who tried to stop the chain reaction in a last desperate attempt to avoid the meltdown was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He died 3 weeks later.

Radiation will stay in the Chernobyl area for the next 48.000 years, but humans may begin repopulating the area in about 600 years - give or take three centuries. The experts predict that, by then, the most dangerous elements will have disappeared - or been sufficiently diluted into the rest of the world's air, soil and water. If our government can somehow find the money and political will power to finance the necessary scientific research, perhaps a way will be discovered to neutralize or clean up the contamination sooner. Otherwise, our distant ancestors will have to wait untill the radiation diminishes to a tolerable level. If we use the lowest scientific estimate, that will be 300 years from now......some scientists say it may be as long as 900 years.

I think it will be 300, but people often accuse me of being an optimist.


This is a different kind of disaster, but if we can't cool it we have to get the boron to it and enough sand and dry concrete to begin to build a shield.

The difference being is that at Chernobyl there was just a big shell around the reactor - when it blew the pilots could drop right on top of the fuel.

Here the hottest fuel is encased in structures (inside the buildings, and inside the secondary containment which had the "spent" fuel rods) that would block the boron in the mix above. Which makes it a more interesting technical issue.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
girl gone mad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 05:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. Can't do it while they are still generating lots of heat.
They have to be cooled sufficiently or the pressure would build up inside of the containment.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #8
18. This nuke stuff
is simply wicked...so we need more water first, right?

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tx4obama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. But water is NOT going to help with the spent rods that are in pools that have been.....
cracked/damaged in the explosions.
If the concrete pools are damaged they will leak like a sieve and not hold water.
The spent rods must be 'covered' in water and the water has to be circulated in order to cool the spent rods down - and it takes months/year to cool them down completely.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. So we're up
the creek w/o a paddle....I wish nuclear fission had never been invented/discovered/came into being.

And isn't this a GE design...keeping the spent fuel rods around??? Many of these nuclear power plants are getting old...damn.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tx4obama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 06:36 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. As I see it - yes - we are up a huge creek w/o a paddle.
I don't understand why the talking heads are so cheery about the electric line to 'one' building.
That is not going to help much when the majority of the buildings/pools that are damaged.
There is somewhere around 2500 tons of nuclear fuel at the Dai-ichi plant and hooking up electricity to only one building is a drop in the bucket!

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 03:55 PM
Response to Original message
3. we're gonna find out one way or the other. nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tx4obama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 03:58 PM
Response to Original message
4. More info
Edited on Thu Mar-17-11 04:01 PM by Tx4obama

Danger of Spent Fuel Outweighs Reactor Threat

SNIP

Figures provided by Tokyo Electric Power on Thursday show that most of the dangerous uranium at the power plant is actually in the spent fuel rods, not the reactor cores themselves. The electric utility said that a total of 11,195 spent fuel rod assemblies were stored at the site.

That is in addition to 400 fuel assemblies that had been in active service in reactor No. 1 and 548 in each of reactors No. 2 and 3. In other words, the storage pools hold more than seven times as much radioactive material as the reactor cores.

SNIP

Richard T. Lahey Jr., a retired nuclear engineer who oversaw General Electrics safety research in the early 1970s for the kind of nuclear reactors used in Fukushima, said that the Japanese authorities may not have entirely understood the importance of keeping cool the spent fuel. The zirconium cladding on the fuel rods can burst into flames if exposed to air for hours when a storage pool loses its water, he warned.

When zirconium ignites, it emits extremely hot flames that warm up everything nearby and are very hard to extinguish, added Mr. Lahey, who helped write a classified report for the United States government several years ago on the vulnerabilities of storage pools at American nuclear reactors.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/18/world/asia/18spent.ht...



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
WhoWantsToBeOccupied Donating Member (413 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #4
16. Did NYT censor itself to avoid embarrassing "Japanese authorities"?
Original article: "Richard T. Lahey Jr., a retired nuclear engineer who oversaw General Electrics safety research in the early 1970s for the kind of nuclear reactors used in Fukushima, said that the Japanese authorities may not have entirely understood the importance of keeping cool the spent fuel. The zirconium cladding on the fuel rods can burst into flames if exposed to air for hours when a storage pool loses its water, he warned."

Now says: "Richard T. Lahey Jr., a retired nuclear engineer who oversaw General Electrics safety research in the early 1970s for the kind of nuclear reactors used in Fukushima, said that the zirconium cladding on the fuel rods could burst into flames if exposed to air for hours when a storage pool lost its water."
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tx4obama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 06:12 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Well that is interesting. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
laundry_queen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 09:32 PM
Response to Reply #4
26. Jesus, just like the graphite at Chernobyl.
That doesn't sound good at all. :scared:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FLPanhandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 04:01 PM
Response to Original message
5. I hate experts that come on and say "may"
I read this and it's full of "could", "can", "may", "might".

Every expert that uses such language needs to give the odds of each event when talking to the public.

e.g. Monkeys COULD fly out of my ass, but the odds are extremely low they will.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 05:02 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Flying monkeys spotted over Florida.
"They smell like shit," commented one observer.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tx4obama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 05:10 PM
Response to Original message
9. Additional info NOT in the Maddow links
SNIP

.... a separate facility fuel pool on ground level (not in the six buildings) contains 1,097 tons of nuclear fuel; and some 70 tons of nuclear materials are kept on the grounds in dry storage.

Above info at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=nuclea...

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
meow mix Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 05:13 PM
Response to Original message
10. at least someone is telling the truth, its far from over
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
11 Bravo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 05:30 PM
Response to Original message
12. And a rabid squirrel may infiltrate your house tonight and feast on your genitalia as you sleep.
"May" is such a special word.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
PCIntern Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Gives new meaning to the phrase:
Nuts to You!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #15
24. lol nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MilesColtrane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. Just to be safe, I recommend we set our hair on fire and run screaming, naked, down the street.
Edited on Thu Mar-17-11 06:28 PM by MilesColtrane
...because fore warned is fore armed
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
pokerfan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-11 12:34 AM
Response to Reply #20
34. ...
When in danger or in doubt,
Run in circles, scream and shout!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-11 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #20
41. Whatever.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Hugabear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-11 12:24 AM
Response to Reply #12
33. Except that Michio Kaku is one of the brightest physicists in the world
Edited on Fri Mar-18-11 12:25 AM by Hugabear
So when he says something "may" happen regarding an area that he has expertise in, I would take that a little more seriously than the threat of rabid squirrels munching on your nuts.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tx4obama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 07:33 PM
Response to Original message
23. Michio Kaku was on Lawrence O'donnell's show a few minutes ago! n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 09:33 PM
Response to Original message
27. Michio Kaku "may" be full of crap.
Or he "may" not. Who knows? Not me. :P
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tx4obama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. I would put my money on that he isn't. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
slay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 10:52 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. He's quite a good theoretical physicist IMO
i've only read one of his books and only had 1 year of college physics so i admit i'm no master of the physics-verse - but from listening to what he said - the physics of how those elements will react in water and fire seem correct. i would trust his judgement over the government's for sure! still, all this is just a possibility at this point - but a very possible one indeed. i would not take his warnings lightly if i were japan. that may be why they have not tried turning the power back on at reactor #2 until they know exactly how much of each element is present and how it would react to a spark/fire. :shrug:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Hugabear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #27
32. Yeah, what the fuck does he know
I'm guessing more than any of us on DU
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ReggieVeggie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 11:04 PM
Response to Original message
30. Kaku's opinion is an educated one
I'll take his over those of posters to an internet chat board (no offense)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Liquorice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. I've always liked Kaku. He is a very good writer and I've read all his books. I trust
his educated opinion too. He is not someone who seems prone to exaggeration.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
marew Donating Member (854 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-11 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #31
40. I've seen him in several documentaries.
And I've been impressed. I would more than tend to believe him.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Karmadillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-11 05:11 AM
Response to Original message
36. Kick
nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
rdking647 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-11 10:10 AM
Response to Original message
37. kaku is a theoretical physicist
Michael Bluck is an engineer.

Ill take the word of an engineer over a theoretical scientist


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michio_Kaku
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
thanks_imjustlurking Donating Member (462 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-11 12:15 PM
Response to Original message
38. I've felt that was obvious for several days now. nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-11 03:08 PM
Response to Original message
39. Thanks for posting this.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Tue Jul 22nd 2014, 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC