Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fukushima info.

I've been avoiding posting info and discussion on the nuclear power plant meltdowns in Japan for three reasons; 1) the available information has been awfully crappy; 2) there's tons of discussion elsewhere for those who want it, and 3) it's depressing as hell, and who needs that right now.

But; Nicole Foss over on The Automatic Earth posted a link today that I think you really have to see. This guy provides the hardest information available; analysed by an unquestioned expert from inside the nuclear power industry; in a very clear and calm way.

The expert is Arnold Gundersen. Just a bit of his info: "A former nuclear industry senior vice president, he earned his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in nuclear engineering, holds a nuclear safety patent, and was a licensed reactor operator. During his nuclear industry career, Arnie managed and coordinated projects at 70-nuclear power plants around the country. " More résumé stuff here.

He's been making videos for general information since the disaster started. But this one startled me; with critical information - which we are not hearing. Yes; it's worse than they're telling us; still. Watch, and listen. Then pass this on. Personally; I find it criminal that our own government is not telling us what they know; manifestly; they are not.

Gundersen Postulates Unit 3 Explosion May Have Been Prompt Criticality in Fuel Pool from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.

The highlights for me: there have been "pieces of fuel rods" - found

up to TWO MILES away from the power plant.

Uranium, Plutonium, and Americium-have been captured

out of the air- in the continental USA.

And while Arnie won't say so quite yet; I don't see any

"alternative hypothesis"to the one that says there was a

small atomic explosion in the spent fuel pool at #3.

That's what "criticality" means. Enough uranium got pushed together

to start a chain reaction. When that happens outside a nuclear bomb,

the explosion quickly blows the uranium apart, and the reaction

stops. Most of the difficulty in building a good big bomb is

figuring out how to hold the uranium/plutonium together long

enough for a "good" energy yield.

If you're in the mood for more real information on all this;

the NYT has a good one up, about internal management

practices in the Japanese nuclear industry (and ours.)


Dani said...

Greenpa - thanks for the links - very, very interesting.

I, personally, abhor nuclear power stations and feel if ever there is going to be a main cause for Armageddon, they will be the one.

I also have huge questions WHY the governements of the world are trying to play God and are not informing the public at large about the seriousness of the situation in Japan. Who / what has given them that right?

shadowfoot said...

Thanks for the link and info!

A slight technical addition, that I got from a friend of mine who worked both on a nuke sub and at a nuclear plant -- the important phrase is 'critical prompt' -- or in the case of the link you have there "Prompt Criticality". Nuclear plants are always going 'critical' -- if they don't, that means no reaction, and thus no power.

That was one thing that irritated my friend no end about the movie China Syndrome, was how they kept going on about how things were going critical, which is actually normal.

That clarification aside, I'm sincerely against nuclear power and glad my friend is out of the biz.

Heather G

Greenpa said...

Heather G- right you are, about criticality, of course. I'm pretty sure Arnie stuck to his technical jargon on purpose; but it's a jargon few of us out here understand, of course.

I'll just add, by way of ADDITIONAL clarification- the criticality inside a nuclear reactor is CONTROLLED - very very very carefully; that's what all them control rods are for. The exact spacing of the fuel rods, the age and composition of the fuel, the depth of the control rods; all go to keep the number of fast neutrons zipping around- and causing other atoms to fission right now- within very carefully defined limits.

What happened in the spent fuel pool was UNcontrolled criticality; the beginning of a nuclear explosion; except without a carefully made bomb, you get a "fizzle"- just enough of an explosion to blow the uranium/plutonium mass apart, so the critical mass is dispersed.

Jean said...

Greenpa, might you find time to look at
and see if you could work some sense into it? I love wikipedia because a few knowledgeable people - or even kids - can keep the rest of us up to date on events, but this one seems to be tying everyone in knots. I understand that a BED is a bit far-fetched but the idea has caught on and I'd like to get a senisble answer for a one-banana whole-dose. '0.1 μSv quoted as the BED'

Anonymous said...


I love your site (have been lurking a few months) and I agree our government is not telling us what they know about this disaster (and the media acts like it's a non-story--why?)

However--I just wanted to point out that Plutonium has not actually been detected here (Gunderson says in the video it was detected at the site, i.e., Fukushima) and his scary claims of "vaporized Plutonium and Uranium" travelling across the Pacific have not been verified by the grad students at UC Berkeley's Nuclear Engineering Dept. who have been doing their own testing of air, rain, grass-fed milk, tap water, etc. and have a great public Web site and public forum about their results.