Pretty Desperate

From an AP piece:

Radioactive debris from melted fuel rods may have seeped deeper into the floor of a Japan’s tsunami-hit nuclear reactor than previously thought, to within a foot from breaching the crucial steel barrier, a new simulation showed Wednesday.

Emphasis mine. Note that they don’t actually know where the fuel has actually gone:

Some experts have raised questions about achieving the “cold shutdown,” which means bringing the temperature of the pressure vessel containing healthy fuel rods to way below the benchmark 100 Celsius (212 Fahrenheit). They say the fuel is no longer there and measuring the temperature of empty cores is meaningless, while nobody knows where and how hot the melted fuel really is.

Which all probably means that the reactor vessel is cooling down nicely due to the absence of any fuel. 30cm of concrete doesn’t fill me with great confidence. Didn’t the Russians end up mining under Chernobyl and pouring a new concrete slab?

It’s hard not to get the impression that Tepco is still winging it, and that this saga is a long way from over.

8 thoughts on “Pretty Desperate

  1. The original idea of the russians was to actually put in a cooling device, but that was impossible, so they just filled ground up with concrete. But I also think Fukushima Dai Ichi has a bit more ground security compared to chernobyl.

    OTOH, nobody of those tepco chaps has sent anything or anyone near it to check it actually out. So the fuel could be at the bottom of the pressure vessel, could be half through the controlling rod holes.

    Furthermore nobody knows how much has melted away, all, or parts or where, perhaps some if it is dislodged in the vessel and only the top parts that were the longest time exposed to hot steam melted. This is pure speculation time.

    It will be years until they will actually check this out or know for sure and hundreds of years until they can get that shit out of there and put somewhere more safe. I think they do not even know how to fix that and perhaps will just pure concrete inside this and say, whatever, shall the generations after us fix that up.

    I pity our children and children childrens who have to live with those retarded decisions to go with the most unstable and most unreliable way of nuclear power.

    • Yep, they have no idea. These simulation could be way off. I’ve not heard much about the mix of isotopes that they are finding in the cooling water as they filter. It presumably reflects the temperature of the fuel that comes in contact with the cooling water…

      There are undoubtedly safer (and unsafer) ways of doing nuclear power, but at this point there is very little point in crying over spilt milk.

      My take away from the whole thing is that we are not politically (or technologically) mature enough to make sensible choices. We embarked on a nuclear future without ever having a plan for waste, or considering how badly the naked greed of capitalism could fuck up things like obsolescence…

  2. Given that the half life of Uran goes from Uran-234 (245k years), Uran-235 (703 million years), Uran-236 (23.4 million years) and Uran-238 (4.5 billion years), a hundred years will not change much if anything.

    • Indeed. That’s the kind of thinking that was needed before the whole mis-adventure started.

      The reality was that people were blindly optimistic about our ability to tame nature. If you can dare carry that forward, the best to hope for is that we’ll learn to handle unstable isotopes of Ur better in the next couple of hundred years. Given the energies of the particles involved…

            • There are a lot of cyber-utopians and people willing on what they call the singularity, but i still reckon we a generation (at least) away from being able to *simulate* a brain. Right now we don’t even understand the basic processes of thought. Creating a conscious / sentient artificial life feels further away.

              Fortunately (in the sense that we are terrible stewards of our technological golems) Hard AI is called that for a reason…

Wise words...

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