Third explosion at Japanese nuclear plant may be “different” from others; Update: Situation “out of control,” emergency workers leaving due to radiation threat; Update: Fourth explosion

posted at 9:03 pm on March 14, 2011 by Allahpundit

This was at reactor number two, where the fuel rods were completely above the water line inside the containment vessel earlier today for more than two hours. How come? Partly it was due to a malfunctioning valve, but according to WaPo, the explosion at reactor number three earlier today actually damaged four of the five water pumps that were being used to cool number two. It’s only the fifth that’s still being used to try to contain the heating.

According to the Times, this blast might have been “different.”

This explosion, reported to have occurred at 6:14 a.m., happened in the “pressure suppression room” in the cooling area of the reactor and inflicted some degree of damage on the pool of water used to cool the reactor, officials of Tokyo Electric Power said. But they did not say whether or not the incident had impacted the integrity of the steel containment structure that shields the nuclear fuel.

Radiation levels around plant spiked after the explosion to 8,217 microsieverts an hour from 1,941 about 40 minutes earlier, the company said. Some emergency workers there were evacuated, though the levels would have to rise far higher to pose an immediate threat to health, officials said…

In the predawn hours of Tuesday Tokyo Electric announced that workers had finally succeeded in opening a malfunctioning valve controlling the vents, reducing pressure in the container vessel. It then resumed flooding the reactor with water.

But the company said water levels were not immediately rising to the desired level, possibly because of a leak in the containment vessel.

The LA Times claims there’s no evidence of damage thus far to the containment vessel in number two, and Kyodo News says radiation reached 8,000 micro Sievert only “temporarily” — although, for reference purposes, that’s eight times the amount you’d normally be exposed to in a year. As for what a “suppression pool” is, you can see it in the second frame of WaPo’s illustration of a boiler-water reactor. It’s a donut-shaped structure that sits below the containment vessel and uses water to relieve pressure inside the reactor by condensing the steam produced. Any nuclear technicians out there willing and able to offer input on what a damaged suppression pool might mean? Would it reduce Japan’s ability to vent steam from the reactor, or are they already doing that through other means by now?

Updates may be coming. Please stand by.

Update: If one of these reactors is destined to melt down, better that it be this one than reactor number three.

But the situation a reactor No. 3 was being closely watched for another reason. That reactor uses a special mix of nuclear fuel known as MOX fuel. MOX is considered contentious because it is made with reprocessed plutonium and uranium oxides. Any radioactive plume from that fuel would be more dangerous than ordinary nuclear fuel, experts say, because inhaling plutonium even in very small quantities is considered lethal.

Update: Abandon ship.

They initially suggested that the damage was limited and that emergency operations aimed at cooling the nuclear fuel at three stricken reactors with seawater would continue. But industry executives said that in fact the situation had spiraled out of control and that all plant workers needed to leave the plant to avoid excessive exposure to radioactive leaks.

If all workers do in fact leave the plant, the nuclear fuel in all three reactors is likely to melt down, which would lead to wholesale releases of radioactive material — by far the largest accident of its kind since the Chernobyl disaster 25 years ago…

“It’s way past Three Mile Island already,” said Frank von Hippel, a physicist and professor at Princeton. “The biggest risk now is that the core really melts down and you have a steam explosion.”

A Japanese cabinet minister confirms that part of the containment vessel itself in reactor number two has been damaged. Meanwhile, if you can believe it, a fourth reactor is now on fire and radiation levels have risen to the point where, in the vicinity of the plant, they’re actually a threat to human health. Which, of course, is another major problem since there are only so many workers with the know-how to perform the necessary tasks. Even if they’re willing to be rotated in or out, there may not be enough of them to safely staff the rotations.

And guess what? Even if a meltdown is averted — which now seems unlikely — the worst may be yet to come:

Even as workers race to prevent the radioactive cores of the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan from melting down, concerns are growing that nearby pools holding spent fuel rods could pose an even greater danger…

The threat is that the hot fuel will boil away the cooling water and catch fire, spreading radioactive materials far and wide in dangerous clouds

The pools are a worry at the stricken reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant because at least two of the three have lost their roofs in explosions, exposing the spent fuel pools to the atmosphere. By contrast, reactors have strong containment vessels that stand a better chance of bottling up radiation from a meltdown of the fuel in the reactor core.

It would take days or weeks for the spent rods to boil off so there’s time to deal with this problem if workers can get back into the plant. But if they can’t due to radioactivity — what then?

A nuclear engineer tells the Times that spent rods catching fire would actually be worse than a meltdown; a 1997 study says 138,000 “eventual deaths” could result within a 500-mile radius. If I’m understanding it correctly, it would be the equivalent of a giant dirty bomb going off.

Update: Looks like the fire has taken its toll on reactor number four. Kyodo News:

BREAKING NEWS: Hydrogen explosion occurs at Fukushima No. 4 reactor (11:53)

Update: A shred of good news: The fire at reactor number four is out. Why it’s out is a mystery, though. Are there still workers on the scene fighting it, or did it burn itself out? Or did the explosion somehow extinguish it?

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just in from BBC…..

0454: A no-fly zone is set for 30km-radius over the Fukushima nuclear plant, the Kyodo news agency is quoting ministry officials as saying.

Not something to make sleeping easier.

Limerick on March 15, 2011 at 1:04 AM

Limerick on March 15, 2011 at 12:25 AM

I’m impressed.

Actually I’m impressed with the total lack of nasty comments, so far.

Speakup on March 15, 2011 at 1:04 AM

I’m impressed.

Actually I’m impressed with the total lack of nasty comments, so far.

Speakup on March 15, 2011 at 1:04 AM

The Hammer Of Ed hangs over us all!

sharrukin on March 15, 2011 at 1:05 AM

You need to be asking if Satan exists.

TexasDan on March 15, 2011 at 12:59 AM

I’ve met that guy, he doesn’t exist.

Speakup on March 15, 2011 at 1:09 AM

Goodnight, all. Light a candle, even if you think it is silly.

Limerick on March 15, 2011 at 1:09 AM

Actually I’m impressed with the total lack of nasty comments, so far.

Speakup on March 15, 2011 at 1:04 AM

Go on over to the QOTD, you’ll find plenty. All Palin all the time with the usual suspects defending her every move……

……while we watch………..heck, I don’t even want to think where this all leads or where the winds may blow because I still can’t get my head wrapped around all of it.

Knucklehead on March 15, 2011 at 1:11 AM

Goodnight, all. Light a candle, even if you think it is silly.

Limerick on March 15, 2011 at 1:09 AM

Went out and bought some new ones today, and yes, they are lit.

Good night.

Knucklehead on March 15, 2011 at 1:12 AM

The Hammer Of Ed and Allah hangs over us all!

sharrukin on March 15, 2011 at 1:05 AM

If they let me post here they can’t be too strict.

Speakup on March 15, 2011 at 1:13 AM

If they let me post here they can’t be too strict.

Speakup on March 15, 2011 at 1:13 AM

Unless you start threatening to kill people, or going 6th grade. Five people got banned in one fell swoop. Otherwise they are pretty easy going.

sharrukin on March 15, 2011 at 1:15 AM

If they let me post here they can’t be too strict.

Speakup on March 15, 2011 at 1:13 AM

Five victims all in one thread, GrowFins being one of them.

Knucklehead on March 15, 2011 at 1:15 AM

sharrukin on March 15, 2011 at 1:15 AM

What did I miss fail to get banned from…err… miss?

NotCoach on March 15, 2011 at 1:20 AM

Five victims all in one thread, GrowFins being one of them.

Knucklehead on March 15, 2011 at 1:15 AM

Which thread was that?

pedestrian on March 15, 2011 at 1:20 AM

NotCoach on March 15, 2011 at 1:20 AM

I know what I missed; grammar school.

NotCoach on March 15, 2011 at 1:21 AM

What did I miss fail to get banned from…err… miss?

NotCoach on March 15, 2011 at 1:20 AM

This thread.

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/03/14/video-the-disgusting-terrorist-attack-in-itamar/comment-page-5/#comment-4402835

sharrukin on March 15, 2011 at 1:23 AM

Five victims all in one thread, GrowFins being one of them.

Knucklehead on March 15, 2011 at 1:15 AM

What thread would that be?

I can’t believe the fish ran out of air.

Yoop on March 15, 2011 at 1:23 AM

Which thread was that?

pedestrian on March 15, 2011 at 1:20 AM

The palis killing Jewish babies thread.

slickwillie2001 on March 15, 2011 at 1:23 AM

Which thread was that?

pedestrian on March 15, 2011 at 1:20 AM

I only walked in at the end and saw the carnage. I have no idea what they were arguing about.

You can start reading here, I guess.

DarkStar
Fins
Right4life
and a couple others.

Knucklehead on March 15, 2011 at 1:25 AM

who have been blithely asserting all along that this is a big nothingburger, mainly because they somehow believe if they repeat that often enough,

——–

Blow it out your axx you arrogant cxxnt.

No one here trying to rationally analyze this ever said it was nothing.

Skandia Recluse on March 14, 2011 at 11:16 PM

Isn’t this over the hedge?

Speakup on March 15, 2011 at 1:25 AM

Five victims all in one thread, GrowFins being one of them.

Knucklehead on March 15, 2011 at 1:15 AM

Growfins hijacked too many threads. Bu-bye.

Speakup on March 15, 2011 at 1:27 AM

[Comment deleted, user banned -- Ed]

dmh0667 on March 14, 2011 at 2:42 PM

[Comment deleted, user banned -- Ed]

Grow Fins on March 14, 2011 at 2:55 PM

[Comment deleted, user banned. -- Ed]

Dark-Star on March 14, 2011 at 3:37 PM

[Comment deleted, user banned -- Ed]

right4life on March 14, 2011 at 3:42 PM

[Comment deleted, user banned -- Ed]

KinleyArdal on March 14, 2011 at 4:28 PM

The list.

sharrukin on March 15, 2011 at 1:29 AM

Growfins hijacked too many threads. Bu-bye.

Speakup on March 15, 2011 at 1:27 AM

Speaking of hijacker’s, anyone seen AnninCa, the bestest threadjacker in HA history.

Knucklehead on March 15, 2011 at 1:29 AM

sharrukin on March 15, 2011 at 1:23 AM

I’m glad I missed it than. I posted early in that thread, but no stomach to stick around and argue with morons with no sense of empathy for the brutality of those attacks.

NotCoach on March 15, 2011 at 1:31 AM

I’m glad I missed it than. I posted early in that thread, but no stomach to stick around and argue with morons with no sense of empathy for the brutality of those attacks.

NotCoach on March 15, 2011 at 1:31 AM

All of the above where threatening to beat each other up and demanding addresses…………I kid you not.

Knucklehead on March 15, 2011 at 1:32 AM

I’m glad I missed it than. I posted early in that thread, but no stomach to stick around and argue with morons with no sense of empathy for the brutality of those attacks.

NotCoach on March 15, 2011 at 1:31 AM

Unfortunately Dave Rywall survived the great purge.

He was pulling the same trashy moral equivalence you are describing.

sharrukin on March 15, 2011 at 1:34 AM

Wow. After following the calm and organized response of the Japanese for these few days, that Pali thread was a real mess.

pedestrian on March 15, 2011 at 1:35 AM

All of the above where threatening to beat each other up and demanding addresses…………I kid you not.

Knucklehead on March 15, 2011 at 1:32 AM

Really?

I skipped over their posts so I didn’t get to see why they were banned.

sharrukin on March 15, 2011 at 1:35 AM

Knucklehead on March 15, 2011 at 1:32 AM

Lol

NotCoach on March 15, 2011 at 1:36 AM

Wow. After following the calm and organized response of the Japanese for these few days, that Pali thread was a real mess.

pedestrian on March 15, 2011 at 1:35 AM

So what else is new??? LOL

Knucklehead on March 15, 2011 at 1:38 AM

The best, rational info I’ve found is at the BraveNewClimate blog.

They have a very clear explanation of how these reactors are built, how they work, and what each step of risk is.

From what I’ve read, the radiation “leaks” are of some cesium and iodine, not the core uranium materials. The cesium and iodine have half-lives of seconds so only present risk very near the reactors.

I also understand that there can’t be an event similar to Chernobyl, the reactors aren’t built that way.

Read the Fukushima Nuclear Accident – a simple and accurate explanation post first followed by the latest, it was very interesting.

Common Sense on March 15, 2011 at 1:56 AM

Wow. HotAir is really riled up tonight. I’m glad I’m in a stable frame of mind. And I will try to avoid certain threads… But wow.

Maybe it’s the radiation effecting the brain.

The world does feel pretty tense right now. Like everything is going to heck in a hand basket and our country has a lunatic for a leader skipping off to play golf with his buddies. How very Romanesque.

The news does not feel safe. But it’s quiet at my house… my house is clean and safe tonight. I kinda wish I had better organized food storage.

petunia on March 15, 2011 at 1:56 AM

Common Sense on March 15, 2011 at 1:56 AM

Yeah, that was the CW about 24 hrs ago. The situation has deteriorated since.

Purple Fury on March 15, 2011 at 2:02 AM

The best, rational info I’ve found is at the BraveNewClimate blog.

Common Sense on March 15, 2011 at 1:56 AM

They have a big mistake right up front:

Units 4, 5 and 6 at the site were not in service at the time of the earthquake and their situation is stable.

It is #4 that is causing the most serious problems now. A factor 100 more serious than the next most serious so far, #2. The problem there is that the spent fuel rods which are outside the reactor overheated and started a fire.

Also, cesium and iodine have been detected in Tokyo. That would not be the case if the half-life was seconds. They were picking up several times normal radiation at 200km from the plant.

pedestrian on March 15, 2011 at 2:11 AM

That BraveNewClimate has a link to another site, which has a helpful Rules for Radicals type guidelines to help pro-nuke people downplay the events of the previous few days.

http://depletedcranium.com/this-is-our-generations-three-mile-island-lets-not-screw-it-up/

Wonderful. Now people will be able to point to that type of thing during the upcoming debate of the future of nuclear.

pedestrian on March 15, 2011 at 2:21 AM

The paradox of material and technological progress is that we seem to become more risk-averse the safer it makes us. The more comfortable we become, the less eager we are to take the risks that are the only route to future progress. The irony is that one reason Japan has survived this catastrophic event as well as it has is its great material development and wealth.

Now that’s a good thought. All the nuke stuff was way down today on the NYSE…I assume it will be worse tomorrow.

http://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2011/03/14/nuclear-power-is-worth-the-risk/

ZH has some headlines on the Tokyo radiation stuff…not harmful. Some of the commenters sound like they know technical stuff…I don’t know, but let’s hope they get it under control

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/tokyo-update-radiation-level-23-times-normal

Of course I bet Obama is hoping that they get it under control too…he needs to keep Nukes in the “portfolio”

r keller on March 15, 2011 at 3:05 AM

mainly because they somehow believe if they repeat that often enough, it won’t jeopardize the revival of nuclear power in the U.S.

Allahpundit

As if the revival of nuclear power in the U.S. was ever on the table, lol.

xblade on March 15, 2011 at 3:11 AM

Just had to make a pit stop and decided to check out what was goin’ on. Sort of wish I hadn’t now. Those guys over there in Japan just can’t seem to catch a break, it just keeps piling on. They’ve got to be exhausted. Wish I could help them. No matter how this turns out I’m afraid it’s over for nuclear power in here in the states. It will never survive this.

Oldnuke on March 15, 2011 at 3:24 AM

I am a US citizen currently living in Tokyo (156-0051) Setagaya-ku. Needless to say my interest is fairly up close and personal. Distance from Fukushima is around two hundred miles.

Sherman1864 on March 15, 2011 at 3:28 AM

I have not worked in the industry but i would be surprised if they regularly checked the water level in the cooling pool more than a couple times a shift. With the earthquake and tsunami, it might have sprung a leak. Japan has been on the receiving end of Sh!t happens recently.

Slowburn on March 15, 2011 at 3:32 AM

Sherman1864 on March 15, 2011 at 3:28 AM

Prayers for you especially, m’dear.

Is it possible for you to leave? You are welcome in my home in N. Idaho.

Opinionator on March 15, 2011 at 4:07 AM

Sure. Obama and the misses will take that much deserved vacation down south. And, he will continue with the high marks from the left. He is that astounding of a leader. We’ll be enchanted, and like doting parents over Michelle’s wardrobe, for this junket, proud of her selections and the elegance with which she can come off with such bewitching attire. All is well.

betsyz on March 15, 2011 at 4:45 AM

50 stayed

50 TEPCO workers stayed behind in a nuclear hell, fighting failing systems and near lethal doses of radiation for their families and country

God be with them, in their finest hours

EricPWJohnson on March 15, 2011 at 5:07 AM

Go on over to the QOTD, you’ll find plenty. All Palin all the time with the usual suspects defending her every move……

……while we watch………..heck, I don’t even want to think where this all leads or where the winds may blow because I still can’t get my head wrapped around all of it.

Knucklehead on March 15, 2011 at 1:11 AM

Just couldn’t help yourself could you? You had to inject
a snarky Palin comment on a thread that has nothing to
do with Palin; thousands of people are dead; the tragedy
is beyond horrifying; can get so much worse and you have
so much animosity towards a person you don’t know and obviously don’t know anything about, that you just “had to”. It is time to see your therapist.

Amjean on March 15, 2011 at 6:16 AM

If nothing worse happens (in an obvious way) watch for
the media to provide Obama cover for going to Brazil by
saying that Japan’s reactors are under control.

Sorry, but I think the media conspiracy would go that far.

Amjean on March 15, 2011 at 6:29 AM

Bad news for everyone around the planet when the 3rd largest economy in the world gets gobsmacked.

Limerick on March 15, 2011 at 12:02 AM

… Last night all I could say was “aw, shit”. This morning I’ve got nothing.

Jaibones on March 15, 2011 at 6:35 AM

Possible that the Japanese Govt isn’t being entirely iodine withe it’s Citizens?

And GE has how many similar reactors like this in the US?

Any of the on the Coasts or in seismic areas?

PappyD61 on March 15, 2011 at 6:44 AM

50 stayed

50 TEPCO workers stayed behind in a nuclear hell, fighting failing systems and near lethal doses of radiation for their families and country

God be with them, in their finest hours

EricPWJohnson on March 15, 2011 at 5:07 AM

God bless those brave souls, and god help all of us.

NY Conservative on March 15, 2011 at 7:08 AM

Scrolling quickly through this thread (busy today). I don’t see this linked yet:

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS_Possible_damage_at_Fukushima_Daiichi_2_1503111.html

Dramatic escalation in Japan
15 March 2011

FIRST PUBLISHED 1.22am GMT
UPDATE 1: 1.58am GMT Information from TV appearance, change of headline from ‘Possible damage to Fukushima Daiichi 2′
CORRECTION: 1.58am GMT Removal of potential inaccuracy on torus’ status in containment
UPDATE 2: 2.19am GMT Information from government, change of headline from ‘Damage to Fukushima Daiichi 2′
UPDATE 3: 3.20am GMT Details on fire from PM’s spokesman
UPDATE 4: 3.44am GMT Fire reported put out

UPDATE 5: 8.36am GMT More on torus, Containment shows ‘no change’

Article follows with details.

gh on March 15, 2011 at 7:14 AM

No more nuclear power. This is it folks.

WordsMatter on March 15, 2011 at 7:15 AM

Re donations:

The Salvation Army has been in Japan helping people since 1895. Yes, 1895. Among 80 centers and other facilities, they have two hospitals. And they minister to the soul as well as the body.

KyMouse on March 15, 2011 at 7:24 AM

He was speculating that the northeast side, with the US and Canadian West Coast, might be coming along soon.

Mt. Fuji has reportedly had some steam leaks along its sides — decomposing plant matter, or rising magma?

So many theories — so little time?

KyMouse on March 14, 2011 at 9:31 PM

An example of the hubris of Man: Mankind is in charge of the planet.

WordsMatter on March 15, 2011 at 7:24 AM

No more nuclear power. This is it folks.

WordsMatter on March 15, 2011 at 7:15 AM

That’s a very extreme reaction – and it’s only the end if we allow the left to define the parameters of the disaster – in false terms the way they did at three-mile island.

Three mile was a partial core meltdown – completely contained and for 30 years they’ve been trying to find people who were harmed by it and they’ve come up empty handed.

I don’t know what’s going on in Daiichi right now – but I’m damn sure not believing the press reports which have thus far proven frequently hyped and wrong.

At the end of the day – we’ll see the damage done – and we should act in a rational fashion on it.

And besides – these reactors are Gen I 40 year old tech. The new reactors (such as the Westinghouse AP1000) would not have been impacted by this disaster.

HondaV65 on March 15, 2011 at 7:36 AM

Five victims all in one thread, GrowFins being one of them.

Knucklehead on March 15, 2011 at 1:15 AM

Amidst the distressing turmoil
I smiled but for a brief moment.
The hammer has struck true and well
For the malodorous fish is no more.

Rod on March 15, 2011 at 7:41 AM

Any of the on the Coasts or in seismic areas?

PappyD61 on March 15, 2011 at 6:44 AM

San Onofre in Southern California

Rod on March 15, 2011 at 7:51 AM

HondaV65 on March 15, 2011 at 7:36 AM

I think that WordsMatter has a point. You’re correct about the vintage of the reactors. And no US reactors are subject to the kind of twin disasters of a major earthquake and a tsunami and so many other factors that have made the Japan disaster the worst case imaginable. The greenies and other leftists have too great a voice and until they’re politically marginalized we’re not going to see progress on nuke power.

I just woke up this AM to more bad news from Japan. I am terrified for them. I had thought that they were past the point of greatest danger, but it now appears that much worse is still possible. I hope that they can keep the radiological materials contained.

MJBrutus on March 15, 2011 at 7:55 AM

I don’t know what’s going on in Daiichi right now – but I’m damn sure not believing the press reports which have thus far proven frequently hyped and wrong.

At the end of the day – we’ll see the damage done – and we should act in a rational fashion on it.

And besides – these reactors are Gen I 40 year old tech. The new reactors (such as the Westinghouse AP1000) would not have been impacted by this disaster.

HondaV65 on March 15, 2011 at 7:36 AM

The facts won’t carry the day in this instance. Only the hyperventilating press reports full of less than half-truths will penetrate the public psyche. The public won’t stick around for the clean-up real story, by then they will have moved on to the next crisis, having made up their minds that nuclear power is scary and dangerous. It’s over.

WordsMatter on March 15, 2011 at 8:00 AM

And no US reactors are subject to the kind of twin disasters of a major earthquake and a tsunami and so many other factors that have made the Japan disaster the worst case imaginable.

MJBrutus on March 15, 2011 at 7:55 AM

Please correct me if I’m wrong but San Onofre is subject the same kind of twin disasters that occured here.

From their community info site:

Meanwhile, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station continues to operate normally. The plant was designed to safely withstand the maximum credible earthquake and tsunami forecast for our part of Southern California. A re-evaluation of the plant’s design submitted to state regulators last month demonstrated that SONGS has appropriate engineering features, processes and procedures to protect the public.

Rod on March 15, 2011 at 8:01 AM

Rod on March 15, 2011 at 8:01 AM

Thanks for the info, I should have researched (I was composing my message when the earlier posts were made) before speaking. I hope that their safety claims are justifiable.

MJBrutus on March 15, 2011 at 8:06 AM

But the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) cast doubt on Japan’s classification of the crisis at Fukushima as level 4 of 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Chernobyl was classified as level 7.

“Level four is a serious level,” ASN chief Andre-Claude Lacoste said, but added: “We feel that we are at least at level five or even at level six.”

BBC

The horrors of Chernobyl are relatively insignificant in real comparison to this Japanese catastrophe. People in the wind stream zones need to take measures to protect themselves from the radiation. And everyone should consider well from which ocean their seafood came; pick your poisons.

After their WWII conquest defeat, Japan chose to be a vanguard to get ahead of the rest of the world industrially. That’s not only understandable, but entirely to be expected. In hind sight, this entire subsequent generation reaps the winds of primitive nuclear technology constructed in the worst possible geological location. BUT BEFORE DESTRUCTION HIT HOME, these “ancient” nuclear plants should have been decommissioned long ago and replaced with the safe plants. Japan’s leaders in government and industry chose to gamble the odds instead (just as our own leaders regarding the Dollar). More is the pity for the poor victims. And all of Japan will be victimized now that the cloud of radiation has been cast over their entire nation’s production of goods for export, whether real or suspicion. Perception is everything in marketing.

God help the poor in heart.
Matthew 5

There is every reason now to forge ahead with the latest clean nuclear technology in the safest of geological zones, particularly now in our nation’s Central States.

maverick muse on March 15, 2011 at 8:07 AM

The facts won’t carry the day in this instance. Only the hyperventilating press reports full of less than half-truths will penetrate the public psyche. The public won’t stick around for the clean-up real story, by then they will have moved on to the next crisis, having made up their minds that nuclear power is scary and dangerous. It’s over.

WordsMatter on March 15, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Pretty much!

madne0 on March 15, 2011 at 8:12 AM

I hope that their safety claims are justifiable.

MJBrutus on March 15, 2011 at 8:06 AM

So do I. However, rather than stating that San Onofre is “designed to safely withstand the maximum credible earthquake and tsunami forecast for our part of Southern California” I’d rather they have said that it was designed to withstand the same events that occurred in Japan.

Rod on March 15, 2011 at 8:15 AM

MJBrutus on March 15, 2011 at 7:55 AM

God help the affected Japanese through the anticipation awaiting and surviving the 7.0 aftershock and possible subsequent Tsunami Deux. Yet the rescue missions must take place. We appreciate and honor the altruism as those workers realize that indeed they are in harm’s way.

John 15:13

maverick muse on March 15, 2011 at 8:19 AM

Rod on March 15, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Reports should produce numbers for calculations, not generalizations.

maverick muse on March 15, 2011 at 8:21 AM

Rod on March 15, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Reports should produce numbers for calculations, not generalizations.

maverick muse on March 15, 2011 at 8:21 AM

That’s been the problem all along with these liberal arts majors who are attempting to report on a technical subject which they have no understanding of.

HondaV65 on March 15, 2011 at 8:28 AM

maverick muse on March 15, 2011 at 8:19 AM

I’ve heard reports of skeleton crews remaining at the reactors trying to deal with the problems. I’m sure that they are more aware of anyone of the kind of risks that they are taking with their health. My heart and my respect goes out to them.

MJBrutus on March 15, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Rod on March 15, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Reports should produce numbers for calculations, not generalizations.

maverick muse on March 15, 2011 at 8:21 AM

I agree, and maybe that info is contained deeper in the site. (I wouldn’t understand it anyway)

In any case, since my sister lives about 10 miles from San Onofre, I’d like to read a general statement that’s just a bit more reassuring that “Japan” can’t happen there.

Rod on March 15, 2011 at 9:15 AM

That’s been the problem all along with these liberal arts majors who are attempting to report on a technical subject which they have no understanding of.

HondaV65 on March 15, 2011 at 8:28 AM

Not sure what this has to do with my posting stuff from the San Onofre site but that’s probably due to the fact that I was a theater arts major who dropped out making me even dumber than a liberal arts know-it-all.

Rod on March 15, 2011 at 9:19 AM

(((((Patrick)))))

I apologize. It’s just that I have a lot of family on both sides of WWII. I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. I am just a little emotional because of the devastation in Japan right now. And I feel a bit guilty because I have lights, a computer and a blanket, and a son tucked safely in bed; I have food in a working refrigerator and I am just so incredibly sad to think of what these people are going through.

Again, I’m sorry… I’m getting all emo on here and I’ll stop.

Key West Reader on March 14, 2011 at 11:17 PM

Oh, it’s fine.

I understand. Not a problem. I do sometimes leave short comments like that.

My best to your family in Japan.

-Pat

Patrick on March 15, 2011 at 9:36 AM

You must be a RINO if you don’t believe that Drudge, Fox News, and AllahPundit are a bigger threat to humanity with their hysterical fearmongering and mindless speculation than a nuclear contamination in Japan would be.

Bizarro No. 1 on March 14, 2011 at 11:33 PM

Alright, Leave Allahpundit the hell alone!

Yeah, he’s supposedly a “Candy-Assed RHINO”, but I’d rather have him doing what he does here, than that idiot Jim Hoft. Allah’s got class, style and he’s damned honest. More than I can say for Hoft. Who’s not above linking to racist sites to make a political point.

…..and Allah, you owe me 5 bucks! ;-P

Patrick on March 15, 2011 at 9:40 AM

The head of Cal Edison was just on Fox and said San Onofre could withstand a quake of 7.0. Umm. . . I don’t know. I don’t find that very reassuring.

NoLeftTurn on March 15, 2011 at 9:40 AM

(((((Patrick)))))

I apologize. It’s just that I have a lot of family on both sides of WWII. I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. I am just a little emotional because of the devastation in Japan right now.

Again, I’m sorry… I’m getting all emo on here and I’ll stop.

Key West Reader on March 14, 2011 at 11:17 PM

Key West Reader, having lived in Japan for nearly 10 years and still having many friends there I share your emotional response.

In this case you should keep in mind that Patrick is the very same commenter who a couple of days ago said this disaster was ‘Justice served – again’.

DarkCurrent on March 15, 2011 at 9:56 AM

In this case you should keep in mind that Patrick is the very same commenter who a couple of days ago said this disaster was ‘Justice served – again’.

DarkCurrent on March 15, 2011 at 9:56 AM

I also said this, ya douche bag.

I think there needs to be more banning here.

Patrick on March 15, 2011 at 10:01 AM

The threat is that the hot fuel will boil away the cooling water and catch fire, spreading radioactive materials far and wide in dangerous clouds…

I’ll cop to some confusion here. I thought the point of using uranium oxide was that it wouldn’t burn (i.e. combine chemically with oxygen, that process having been completed already)?

DrSteve on March 15, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Go easy on Scooter, y’all.

He had a White House Conference on Bullying, a golf game, and the Gridiron Club banquet to attend to last week. And now, he has a family vay-cay in Rio to deal with. However, as soon as he gets time in his busy schedule, I’m sure he’ll roll up his sleeves and aim his legendary laser-like focus toward helping one of our greatest allies.

kingsjester on March 15, 2011 at 10:06 AM

As to whether this thread or others has been full of advocates for nuclear power calling this event a nothingburger, I would respond by saying facts are more important than feelings in this case. The facts are not all in on this accident yet. But the scale of the tragedy elsewhere in Japan far outweighs the possible injury to anyone on the ground from nuclear radiation exposure at this point. Without a significant release of radiation from a damaged core and failure of containment, this will never result in effects as damaging as Chernobyl. And it has already exceeded the exposures from Three Mile Island. However, it has not reached levels dangerous to human life, as long as precautions and mitigation are followed.

For those who ask “if this isn’t serious, then why all the evacuations and sheltering orders”, I say would you wait until the worst happens and then sound out the alarm? Or would you send out word to shelter, through an abundance of caution, in case the worst happens? The risk is higher now that a reactor vessel has been damaged. It is not certain that uncontrolled releases are occurring, or are possible. I cannot say where the cesium and iodine traces are coming from, but suspect the spent fuel pool is the major culprit. Otherwise, the releases would be continuing and the radiation levels would not have dropped.

Until a postmortem is conducted on just what happened, we will only be speculating at the final outcome. But I know the Laws of Physics have not been broken. As long as the Men inside can put seawater into Reactors 1 and 3 (as they already have), and now into reactor 2 (as they are in the process of doing), there will be no continuing release of fission products to the environment.

Only the Laws of Good Judgment, and Proper Journalism have been compromised. I remain hopeful that this will end in a day or two and Tenacity and Dedication to their country will prevail over the Gods of Hysteria, Chaos and Mother Nature.

Subsunk

Subsunk on March 15, 2011 at 10:14 AM

I also said this, ya douche bag.

Patrick on March 15, 2011 at 10:01 AM

That’s good to see Patrick. I was just going over to that thread.

DarkCurrent on March 15, 2011 at 10:18 AM

I also said this, ya douche bag.

I think there needs to be more banning here.

Patrick on March 15, 2011 at 10:01 AM

He’s a douchbag for reminding everyone what you posted? And you think there needs to be more banning?

I thought Ed sent you packing. Did Allah let you back in? Is that why you’re now his self-appointed defender?

Alright, Leave Allahpundit the hell alone!

…..and Allah, you owe me 5 bucks! ;-P

Patrick on March 15, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Rod on March 15, 2011 at 10:27 AM

I thought Ed sent you packing

No Ed didn’t.

Because I didn’t break any rules around here. Unlike some.

Patrick on March 15, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Alright, Leave Allahpundit the hell alone!

Yeah, he’s supposedly a “Candy-Assed RHINO”, but I’d rather have him doing what he does here, than that idiot Jim Hoft. Allah’s got class, style and he’s damned honest. More than I can say for Hoft. Who’s not above linking to racist sites to make a political point.

…..and Allah, you owe me 5 bucks! ;-P

Patrick on March 15, 2011 at 9:40 AM

You misread my post, probably because you didn’t give your brain enough time to process it? I thought it’s intent was very obvious! :)

Bizarro No. 1 on March 15, 2011 at 10:42 AM

No Ed didn’t.

Because I didn’t break any rules around here. Unlike some.

Patrick on March 15, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Okay. Seeing that DarkCurrent says it’s good to see a post (an apparent mitagating post to your original repugnant one) I’ll go over the thread to see where I was wrong.

Welcome back … err … welcome not being banned … err … never mind

Rod on March 15, 2011 at 10:50 AM

The earthquake in Japan was a beyond design basis accident for these plants and the location of the affected reactors is unfortunately right above a major fault line, so what is happening right now isn’t totally unexpected. However, it is disappointing that the reactor design margins weren’t a bit more robust. Anyway, I don’t regard what is happening to the reactors in Japan to be a nothing-burger, but it’s potential for health effects is dwarfed but the 10,000+ immediate fatalities that have already occurred. The most that we will see from this accident is a small number of excess cancers in the distant future. And, for those worried about the potential for fallout in the US, dose for radioactive releases is reduced by approximately a factor of 1/r2, so, even if the doses were astronomical in Japan (which they aren’t), they would be minuscule (indistinguishable from background radiation) by the time any fallout reached the US. So, you should worry more about dieing in a car accident or falling off a ladder and not at all about the Japanese reactor accidents. Furthermore, if we allow the beyond design basis failure of 50 year old reactor designs to stop us from building newer, passively safe reactors, then we will deserve a future with rolling blackouts and/or more pollution. Nuclear power is still our best hope for abundant clean energy.

NuclearPhysicist on March 15, 2011 at 11:14 AM

The earthquake in Japan was a beyond design basis accident for these plants and the location of the affected reactors is unfortunately right above a major fault line, so what is happening right now isn’t totally unexpected.

NuclearPhysicist on March 15, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Yep, from what I can winnow out of the chaff the plants survived the earthquake part even though that was greater than design basis. What hammered them was the tsunami which was also well above design basis.

I don’t regard what is happening to the reactors in Japan to be a nothing-burger,

Again absolutely correct. This is about as serious as it can get at a Western Nuke plant. They’re well outside their safety envelope. No one should be trying to poo-pooh this incident as a non event just like they shouldn’t be inflating it hysterically. It’s very serious but it’s not a extinction level event. They’ve got the reactor shut down and they seem to be managing to keep it contained. What’s happening in these plants is just one facet of much larger disaster which, in my opinion, is being glossed over by our media.

Furthermore, if we allow the beyond design basis failure of 50 year old reactor designs to stop us from building newer, passively safe reactors, then we will deserve a future with rolling blackouts and/or more pollution. Nuclear power is still our best hope for abundant clean energy.

Again I agree totally. Unfortunately I have a rather cynical opinion of how this is going to affect nuclear, at least here in the States. Having dealt with the aftereffects of TMI and based on that experience I very much doubt that the industry will survive this. Very few companies will be willing to take the economic risk involved in building one of these plants. I realize that there are several licensing efforts in the works for new plants but that’s a very long way from actually starting construction. Even if the utilities can get government guaranteed loan protection, which I doubt, I don’t think they’ll take the chance.

Oldnuke on March 15, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Even if the utilities can get government guaranteed loan protection, which I doubt, I don’t think they’ll take the chance.

Oldnuke on March 15, 2011 at 12:38 PM

I hope you’re wrong, but irrational nuclear hysteria is a real phenomena in the US. If the commercial sector will not build them, the only way it will happen is if we get political leadership that is willing to buck the system and build them using federal dollars and then turn operations over to the commercial sector in return for a share of the profits going back into the US treasury.

NuclearPhysicist on March 15, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Even if the utilities can get government guaranteed loan protection, which I doubt, I don’t think they’ll take the chance.

Oldnuke on March 15, 2011 at 12:38 PM

I hope you’re wrong, but irrational nuclear hysteria is a real phenomena in the US. If the commercial sector will not build them, the only way it will happen is if we get political leadership that is willing to buck the system and build them using federal dollars and then turn operations over to the commercial sector in return for a share of the profits going back into the US treasury.

NuclearPhysicist on March 15, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Agreed. Look what little Bammie did to BP, after a conventional crude oil leak, -he illegally extorted twenty billion dollars from them and got away with it. Can you imagine what he would do to the utilities if he could get away with it?

The rape of the Chrylser bondholders is another example of his extralegal rage. When laws can be cast aside so casually by a tyrannical president, the risks skyrocket.

slickwillie2001 on March 15, 2011 at 1:32 PM

I apologize. It’s just that I have a lot of family on both sides of WWII. I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. I am just a little emotional because of the devastation in Japan right now. And I feel a bit guilty because I have lights, a computer and a blanket, and a son tucked safely in bed; I have food in a working refrigerator and I am just so incredibly sad to think of what these people are going through.

Again, I’m sorry… I’m getting all emo on here and I’ll stop.

Key West Reader on March 14, 2011 at 11:17 PM

(((Hugs))) I felt that way when I saw news reports of refugees from Kosovo, trying to escape the war. How women wwere giving birth on narrow mountainside trails … and I was worried about the fast route to my level 4 “birthing suite”.

Daisy_WI on March 15, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Even if the utilities can get government guaranteed loan protection, which I doubt, I don’t think they’ll take the chance.

Oldnuke on March 15, 2011 at 12:38 PM

I think you are right.

However – nuke plants WILL be built – and in massive numbers.

They’ll just be built in China, India, Russia, Iran …

And those nations will benefit from more robust energy options on an increasingly energy starved planet.

Which means – not just an economic power shift from the West to those nations – but a power shift as well.

HondaV65 on March 15, 2011 at 3:50 PM

I also said this, ya douche bag.
I think there needs to be more banning here.
Patrick on March 15, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Poor language like we see above is uncalled for especially on this piece about a real ongoing tragedy in Japan. Big fightin’ words anonymously spewed by anonymous malcontents are pitiful. I wonder how often St. Patrick up there tosses such language in an opponent’s face….I’d say zero times is the answer. Bullies and cowards make my bile rise. Isn’t Obama supposed to take care of these Patricks??

Sherman1864 on March 15, 2011 at 4:19 PM

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