Japanese N-Plant Explosion


Realistically Surreal
Registered Senior Member
An explosion at a nuclear power plant is thought to have exposed the core: http://goo.gl/fb/TpHUW The pressure at Fukushima plant has been rising in reactors 1 and 2. Tests around the site reveal high levels of radiation. The build up of steam in the cooling system thought responsible after power failiure. Further evacuations underway...
...Evacuation zone increased to 20 km Japanese PM announces at 11:35 GMT. Massive explosion thought to have exposed the core. Fission bi-products found outside of containment. Comparisons being made with 3 mile Island...
Why didn't they bring in portable power generators when their back up generators failed? That would have powered up the cooling pumps and might have prevented this from happening. Although I'm no where near a nuclear reactor expert, I'd think they would have thought of bringing in the back up generator right away, I wonder why they didn't? :shrug:

This reactor is 40 years old so it wasn't built like they build them today where there's more safe guards in place for something like this that happens.
Jap government now claims core has not been exposed, but obviously the potential remains. Radiation around plant said to be decreasing.

Hi CT. I dunno why either. It looks like a steam explosion. The metal pressure-vessel seems to be intact thank God. Like you say, its an old plant, comissioned in 1971. Perhaps tertiary generators were not thought necessary.
It looks like they're in the process of bringing them in now...the better question: why not installed onsite?

I'm actually really surprised the Japanese weren't 100% prepared for this...they sort of have a culture of thoroughness and excellence...

I wonder why there isn't some sort of way to automatically shut down the reaction entirely, like maybe place the fuel pellets in cylinders, and the control rods could actually fit over them like jackets...and require external power to hold them up for the reaction to occur. So if there's a massive power failure the control rods drop and sheathe the fuel pellets automatically...
Hi Chimpy. The plants did go into automatic "safe mode" but the core still has to be cooled to avoid a meltdown. I have to say, a disaster like this is probably in excess of thier training in sheer scale alone. I'm sure there are heroics going on in those plants as we speak. It's amazing it could survive an explosion like that. If anyone can deal with it, the japs can.
the core still has to be cooled to avoid a meltdown

True that...the next time I get to see my uncle I'll ask him why they don't design some way of completely neutralizing the reactor core in case of catastrophic failure of everything else...I dunno, like keep a large load of lead pellets ready to drop on the whole thing, or bringing the fuel pellets automatically out of criticality, or some such...

That was actually his job, you see...making sure Japanese nuclear plants would not blow up...at one point, he was helping to design aspects of their plants.

Although I think this particular reactor would not have been one he had any part in designing, if it's 40 years old-he was only with General Electric since maybe the late 70s?
...Reuters article reveals plant bosses had previously "falsified safety records" leading to the resignation of the president and four senior execs...
Fucking hell.

Not really.

If it occurred, that would ultimately cause a meltdown, with the core becoming a molten mass that would melt through the steel reactor vessel, releasing a large amount of radioactivity into the containment building that surrounds the vessel

Even if that happens it would be an economic event, like 3-Mile Island, not a significant radiation event. Unlike the Graphite moderated Chernoybl, which some are erroneously comparing this PWR to, the reactor's fuel is inside a Containment structure that the Government has said was not damaged.

Spokesman Yukio Edano says the metal container sheltering a nuclear reactor was not affected by an explosion that destroyed the building it's in. The radiation around the plant did not rise after the blast but instead is decreasing, he said, adding that pressure in the reactor was also decreasing.


@BBCNews reports that Japanese authorities are preparing to inject seawater into Fukushima 1 in attempt to cool it.
...(Reuters) - Radiation leaked from Japan's earthquake-crippled nuclear plant on Saturday after a blast blew the roof off, and authorities prepared to distribute iodine to people in the vicinity to protect them from exposure...
It looks like they're in the process of bringing them in now...the better question: why not installed onsite?

From what I've read so far they had back up generators there already but something happened to them, they say water got into them and they wouldn't start up, but that's all I've heard so far. They should have flown in the portable generators as soon as they knew the back up generators were not going to work but they might have thought they could repair them quickly. Alas they didn't get them repaired and now look at what went wrong. :(
Technical info on Iodine anti radiation pills. They block absorbtion of radioactive iodine which is readily taken up by the thyroid gland. If Iodine was released, it is likely ceasium was also released. http://www.ki4u.com/print_me.htm
Not being technically savvy, could someone please tell me why you would build a nuclear power plant right on the coast, in a country that is prone to earth quakes and tsunamis?

It is probably a stupid question, but to date, no one has been able to explain to me the reason to build a nuclear power plant right on the coast (as in right on the water) in a country and area that is prone to seismic disturbances and tsunami's.. I get that they may use sea water to help maintain temperature or help run it.. but really.. is it prudent to build a nuclear station right on the water in an area that is so active?
Flooding the reactor with seawater is said to be a last-ditch effort. The water usually used to cool reactors is ultra-pure and this is going to "write off" the reactor. More details: http://goo.gl/fb/0kn45