Fukushima crisis continues to get worse

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Japan is one earthquake away from an unbelievably catastrophic nuclear disaster. As the Fukushima crisis – now in its 16th month – continues, experts are warning that spent fuel pools stored in the crippled reactor 4 building won’t be able to withstand another earthquake.

Reactor 4 holds the most radioactive spent fuel of any of the reactors on the site – and another earthquake could lead to a loss of cooling water – causing a radioactive fire spewing more radiation into the atmosphere than was originally released when the crisis began last year. It could also trigger a chain reaction of fires across the planet – leading to nuclear crisis far worse than the Chernobyl disaster.

This is a scenario that would not only leave Japan facing irreversible damage – but the entire planet as well. Keep an eye on this – it could happen here in America if we continue our addiction to the most dangerous form of energy on the planet – nuclear.

Thom Hartmann Administrator's picture
Thom Hartmann A...
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Dec. 29, 2009 10:59 am

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Yes. We've been keeping an eye on this on another thread, but it's good to have you notice it, Thom.

There are two critical parts to this issue. The most critical: The possibility that one earthquake -- before anything is solved to reduce precariousness the storage tank for reactor #4 at Fukushima -- could result in the end of civilization as we know it, as discussed with nuclear science-based references on this thread:

Only one Japanese nuclear reactor out of 54 is operating as of March 26, 2012... also updates from Fukushima Daiici

The other is the one you bring up, and perhaps we should be discussing this one more here, because it's U.S. related:

Quote Thom:

Keep an eye on this – it could happen here in America if we continue our addiction to the most dangerous form of energy on the planet – nuclear.

I personally have long been actively anti nuclear energy in any form, peaceful or otherwise. The embedded falsity of its potential for peaceful applications is finally rising above a long lasting and thick fog of propaganda, which I also feel has been accepted less critically than any sane population ought to have, and that, I suspect, is so in order to cover a deep-seated national guilt at being the first and thankfully so far only nation to ever consciously destroy two cities and murder huge numbers of their civilian populations.

It's tragically ironic that the very same nation we assaulted as an act of war with this horrific technology is now teetering on the brink of having to evacuate many of its citizens to somewhere else, after employing the same insane nuclear-basis as an energy technology that caused such suffering for them more than sixty years ago, for what it thought would be controlled peaceful purposes.

This is no time to stick our collective heads back in the sand. Our national conscience remains at odds over this and we are struggling for our humanity on many fronts. Meanwhile all of humanity may hang on the edge while "experts" we have so over idolized in our fervent belief in the mythology of progress struggle to solve the problems at Fukushima.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

This video update on the spread of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster site to more remote parts of Japan through construction materials and the food supply was on CNN this afternoon, and can be found on http://www.cnn.com/ :

Nuclear disaster spreads in Japan

http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_bn2#/video/world/2012/05/24/lah-japan-radiation-fears.cnn

miksilvr
Joined:
Jul. 7, 2011 12:13 pm

We have our own nuclear issues here in SoCal.

http://sciencedude.ocregister.com/2012/05/15/boxer-seeks-documents-on-troubled-san-onofre/171672/

"U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer requested documents Tuesday on design changes made to the San Onofre nuclear plant’s troubled steam generators — and on whether the changes were properly reviewed by federal regulators.

Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, made the request in letters sent to both the plant operator, Southern California Edison, and Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko.

The plant’s two reactors have been offline since January, and inspections revealed hundreds of worn tubes in the steam generators, two for each reactor, although the generators were only installed in 2009 and 2010.

Some of the tubes in both reactor units showed an unusual type of wear indicating they had been rubbing together. In all, Edison has plugged more than 1,300 of the tubes, though some were plugged as a precaution rather than due to wear.

The tubes carry radioactive water heated by the reactors, which is used to create steam that turns turbines to generate electricity. The Unit 2 reactor had been shut down for routine maintenance, but Unit 3 was shut down Jan. 31 after a leak in one of the steam-generator tubes resulted in a small release of radioactive gas.

Plant officials said there was never any danger to workers or the public.

Edison officials say they are still investigating the problems, and there is no startup date for the reactors.

While the number of tubes plugged is within the margin of safety for operating the steam generators — each pair contains nearly 20,000 such tubes — the nuclear plant’s months-long outage has raised questions about where the trouble began.

A consultant hired by an environmental group, Friends of the Earth, has contended that a series of changes made in the design of the steam generators, manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan, resulted in excessive vibration once the steam generators were installed and put into operation.

The vibration, in turn, caused the excessive wear in the steam generator tubes, the consultant contends.


One of four 640-ton steam generators shipped across the ocean from Japan; this one is lowered onto a barge after arriving on the West Coast in 2010. Register file photo by H. Lorren Au Jr.

The consultant, Arnie Gunderson, also contends that Edison did not fully inform the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the significance of the design changes, so that the changes were not properly reviewed by the agency.

An NRC statement released Tuesday said the changes were reviewed:

“In accordance with NRC requirements for making changes to the plant, Southern California Edison did inform the NRC of the steam generator design change. As part of the inspection activities for replacement of the steam generators in 2009 and 2010, portions of the licensee’s steam generator engineering design change evaluation were reviewed by NRC inspectors. And inspectors also observed the installation and testing of the new steam generators. A primary objective of the ongoing Augmented Inspection Team is to review the steam generator design changes to ensure they were properly reviewed and approved by the agency.”

Also Tuesday, a statement from Edison said that, at all times during the steam generator replacement and outages, “SCE has provided open and transparent information to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”

In the letter sent to Jaczko Tuesday, Boxer says that “the media and others have raised concerns that design changes in the San Onofre replacement steam generators contributed to accelerated wear in tubes carrying radioactive water.”

She asked for a written summary of how the NRC will determine whether the design changes should have required an amendment to the plant’s operating license, as well as “all documents” related to NRC’s determination that an amendment was not needed.

She also asked for documents related to the amendment decision in her letter to Theodore F. Craver, Jr., chairman of Edison International.

She asked in both letters that she be sent the documents by May 21.

The extended outage at San Onofre prompted the restart of two retired power generators at the AES power plant in Huntington Beach, part of a backup plan for power generation if an extended heat wave strikes Southern California while the nuclear plant is offline.

Edison officials have said that vibration is likely related to the steam generator tube wear, but have declined to comment directly on Gunderson’s assertions about design changes.

And while an Edison executive suggested earlier this month that the reactors might be restarted in June, the company later released a statement saying no restart date had been set, and that NRC approval would be needed for any restart plans.

“We’ll be making decisions based on engineering and safety data,” Edison spokeswoman Jennifer Manfre said Tuesday."

lovecraft
Joined:
May. 8, 2012 12:06 pm

I don't know how close you live to that reactor but my brother lives in Fallbrook and I live maybe 40 miles from it. This is NOT GOOD! I applaud Senator Boxer & Feinstein as they have both been on top of this issue making demands for our protection.

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 9:45 am

Let's see if we get brownouts this summer because of reduced capacity.

lovecraft
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May. 8, 2012 12:06 pm

How many surfers will begin to glow green before they shut it down permanently? I just had to add that! :-)

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 9:45 am

Now they are getting debris from Japan in ALASKA. This is sickening! Is JAPAN going to pay and aid in the clean up?

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 9:45 am

I'll never disagree on finding alternatives to Nuclear. It might be one of the most effective but it's also the most dangerous!

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Keystone would be way worse than we thought!

We already know that the Keystone XL pipeline is a disaster waiting to happen. But, it turns out that the impact of that tar sands pipeline could be even worse than we thought. According to a new study by the Stockholm Environmental Institute, Keystone could add four times more carbon pollution to our atmosphere than the State Department originally estimated.

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