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Ex-Chornobyl deputy head: "It was neither an earthquake nor a tsunami wave that caused disaster"

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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:15 AM
Original message
Ex-Chornobyl deputy head: "It was neither an earthquake nor a tsunami wave that caused disaster"
Ex-Chornobyl deputy head: Human factor caused Fukushima catastrophe
Today at 13:55 | Interfax-Ukraine

...............

"It was neither an earthquake nor a tsunami wave that caused the reactor disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. It was the human factor, as at Chornobyl," he said.

"The main difference between Fukushima and Chornobyl is in that the Japanese government and nuclear energy experts disregarded the information and organizational-technical lessons of Chornobyl. They were unjustifiably slow to react and failed to make real-time decisions," Kovalenko said.

..............

"I will open one secret. A situation similar to the one in Japan emerged in the Soviet Union when an earthquake measuring 8 points struck Armenia at 11:41 a.m. on December 7 1988, he said.

Almost all personnel left the station when the earthquake began. In the absence of operating and repair staff the danger of reactor overheating arose.



Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/101733/#ixzz...
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
1. Oh, and they built massive reactors on a fault line. Beside an ocean.
Let's not forget that act of entirely human genius.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
2. What a coincidence.
Anti-nukes have officially jumped the shark.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. How is this jumping the shark? I have no problem believing it was human decisions
that didn't fully prepare, and didn't take the right actions after the accidents.

I see a parallel between this and our government not requiring deep sea drilling to have the same safeguards required in other countries, allowing Corexit to "clean up" any spills, not having a plan in place to cover worst case scenarios.

As with all companies, TEPCO most likely erred on the side of cheap, and you consider this charge jumping the shark? I don't understand your thinking -- please explain.


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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. The earthquake was a once-in-a-millennium occurrence
and the inclination is to respond as if it could happen again tomorrow. It won't.

When highly improbable things happen which are catastrophic - a freak accident that kills a loved one, for example - there's a basic human need to attribute it to egregious malfeasance, when it's really the result of the cloud of uncertainty which surrounds us at every moment, and a bad roll of the dice.

That doesn't diminish the tragedy. But it does diminish our ability to develop policy which is based on a realistic assessment of risk. The earthquake was fifty times stronger than what Fukushima was designed to withstand, so it was outside - well outside - what engineers saw as a reasonable threshhold of safety. But there really is no such thing as a "worst case" scenario. No guarantees - for anything.

What's clear is that if we're going to have thousands of reactors we're going to have to up the standards, because the likelihood of an earthquake somewhere in the world will make another Fukushima far more likely.

Statistically speaking the BP disaster was probably thousands of times more likely, given the number of offshore wells in service.
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Shagbark Hickory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Well obviously it's more frequent than a millenium. 3 in the last 30 years.
And it doesn't take but one to really wreak havoc on the planet and economy.
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Aerows Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:40 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. Well, they had a 7.4 not long after you posted that...
...I realize the other one was 2 orders of magnitude stronger, but the fact remains that there is certainly a possibility of it happening again.

All poor Japan needs now is for Mt. Fuji to erupt.
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upi402 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:42 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. lol, ya right, it's always something...." once in a hunert years!"
:hurts: Do you realize this is seriously dangerous?

1) No mechanical system is immune from failure
2) If you think you've made a thing fool-proof , you've just shown you have no idea who you're dealing with
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TheMadMonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. Problem was not so much preparation.
The problem was slow, diffident reactions and decision which were based on perceptions of public opinion rather than the physical realities of the situation on the ground.

Hydrogen contaminated steam was deliberately vented into a confined space, to allow that steam time to "cool" radiologically. The explosion risk was known. And the liklihood of an unshielded ignition source in such a chaotic environment would be significant. And yet the risk was taken, because it offered the POSSIBILITY of low emission outcome.

No one wanted to be the one to sign off on doing the smart thing, (Vent radioactive steam into the atmosphere, no matter how little actual long term or non local risk it represented) because they feared the media would have a field day destroying anyone who did something as irresponsible as DELIBERATELY release radioactivity into the environment.


Far too much effort went into perception management, and perceptions were allowed to manage operations, rather than hard pragmatism. The sort of pragmatism which would have buldozers shoving anything and everthing in the way to one side with no immediate concern (except for operator safety) for any contaminants that might be present. The pragmatism which would deliberately recruit the terminally ill, with more than fair compensation. To choose a dirty but reasonably sure path over a potentially (hopefully) clean one with any significant chance of worsening the situation. To channel radioactive water into the sea, rather than letting it pool and become a hazard to emergency workers.

Perhaps the worst was the attempt to manage the perception of ultimate safety, by not having in place management procedures to anticipate and mittigate worst case events.

US ships can be locked down tight against far higher levels of radiation than were present in the early days of the crisis. (Probably even higher than they are right now). So why the fuck weren't the ones that all pulled a "Sir Robin", (Turned his tail and bravely fled.) in the bay feeding power to the then still operational pumps and cooling systems? Russia, for all their other nuclear faults, has it down to a fine art, feeding power to costal towns from nuclear subs whenever they lose their grid connection in winter.

As soon as handling equipment can be gotten into place, remove as much of the oldest fuel from the pools. A good deal of it is plenty old enough not to catch fire if exposed to atmosphere. For the moment just jam them one per barrel into barrels of borax powder. Work up to the youngest fuel.

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OneTenthofOnePercent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:32 AM
Response to Original message
4. Right, if there had been no earthquake and/or tsunami... fukushima would still be a disaster today.
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 10:32 AM by OneTenthofOnePercent
What load of crazy-bullshit.

Chernobyl's problem was
1) Lack of design to contain a meltdown (not a cause, but an intensifying the problem)
2) Ingornance of operators running the tests
3) Miscommunication of reactor conditions and actions taken on previous shifts.

Fukushima's problem is
1) Earthquake destroyed infrastructure to support plant activities
2) Tsunami destroyed on-site backup and support systems
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RZM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. Exactly n/t
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Schema Thing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
5. who knew that diesel engines won't run underwater?


:shrug:


:sarcasm:
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here_is_to_hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. Actually, they can...
Just snorkel the air intake and you are set.
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Schema Thing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:37 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. yeah about that.


apparently they thought diesel engines would run under water.

And obviously by that I mean w/o a source for the air intake.
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girl gone mad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 02:50 PM
Response to Original message
11. I tend to agree.
They had all of the information they needed to prevent this type of accident. They chose to pretend it could never happen, instead.
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