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Japan Nuclear Reactor Explosion - pass the salt please?

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by rdt, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. rdt

    rdt SW Portland Active Member

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    OH MY GOD THE SKY IS FALLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ok, not exactly, but it does look like we on the west coast might be getting a dose of fallout in the near future.

    BBC News - Japan earthquake: Explosion at Fukushima nuclear plant

    So I thought to myself, how about a quick review of safety precautions? Heres what i recall off the top of my head:

    *Iodine tablets so my body has no room to absorb radioactive iodine;
    *Dont eat contaminated food/water;
    *Bathe/change clothes regularly, especially after rolling around on the ground (for instance working under a car);
    *Dont your infants/toddlers crawl around outside and eat stuff on the ground for a while;

    Anyone else? Memories/tips from Chernobyl? For instance, I had a friend whose dad gave her iodine tablets and kept her home from school for several days in late april '86.
     
  2. HenryJ

    HenryJ Eastern Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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  3. Sodbuster

    Sodbuster Beaverton, OR Chief Cook/Bottle Washer

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  4. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    Assuming that the Japanese plant in question is a pressurized water reactor (most of them are) then a Chernobyl type release is not going to happen. The worst that can happen is a steam explosion that ruptures the containment, contaminating the area immediately around the building. Any 'radioactive' steam will have long dissipated before it reaches the US.

    Edit: OK, its a boiling water reactor. My statement stands.

    Keith
     
  5. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    Unless the prevailing winds bring radiation here then it will of course go elsewhere..

    Regardless I have potassium iodine ready to rock, as well as NBC suits and masks
     
  6. Gunner69

    Gunner69 Hillsboro Member

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    Not heartless but it shows that you have never been to the beautiful land of Japan. The people and history of that island nation are rich and breathtaking. It's funny that you refer to them as "dummies" as it clearly shows your ignorance of the world outside of Ohio.

    Where do you propose these people move to? It's an island, real property is in very limited supply, but assuming that they could find someplace else to live.. Most of the communities and villages that were ravaged by the quake and ensuing Tsunami were simple farm and fishing villages, the residents of which have lived there for generations, how would you propose that they continue to feed and support their families if they sold and moved away from the coast? Or do you just assume that the Japanese government should just foot the bill and put all these people on welfare?
     
  7. MHarne

    MHarne Portland, OR New Member

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    It is a island!! Give me a break. Where should they go? I disagree with Gunner69, I believe that is very heartless. We should be praying for these people not insulting their intelligence.
     
  8. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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  9. MA Duce

    MA Duce Central Oregon Well-Known Member

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    OK then answer this....in the Rhone and Loire regions why are all the cities on the flat and not on the hillsides? Could it be agriculture? In the Po valley of Italy same question..... Japan has very little arable land, and it is along the coast...the steep hills come right down to the sea in a lot of places...especially in northern Honshu where the tsunami hit. You say "If you live in a flood plain sell and move out" OK where to when most of the hill country is impossible to build on and extremely expensive if you could, and would require you to drive a long distance to tend your rice paddies or to get to your fishing boat. In Ohio I am sure there are similar examples of location because of agriculture.
     
  10. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    Break: Land in Japan is at a premium..really. They do not have the luxury that we Western US folks have to build on a hill (which is what I am soon to do)
     
  11. rdt

    rdt SW Portland Active Member

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    so i started the post cause i thought having a quick review of fallout preparation would be relevant to those of us living in the NW where we are downwind of japan.

    Actually this is a thread about fallout, not tsunamis and flood plains.

    I did not start the post so we could have some argument about the theoretical best place to build a house. Besides which i hate when people blame the victim, or confuse individual choice with social forces a person was born into. By that logic everyone living on the west coast is dumb for living down wind of japan (and china), or because we all choose to live in an earthquake zone. By that logic everyone in north america (including ohio) is dumb for living near a super volcano due to blow and wipe out most life on the continent (i am speaking of yellowstone of course.) By that logic everyone everywhere is dumb for living anywhere. actually this off topic discussion is stupid.

    *****
    sorry to rant but jeez . . .

    for us in the NW, we ARE downwind of japan. sure radioactive water degrades and dissipates, but i thought fallout was the heavier radioactive materials vaporized and launched skyward when the structure (or whatever) blows up. isnt most of the fallout from a nuclear bomb the irradiated dust (formerly the ground/buildings/people/etc in the blast zone)?
     
  12. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    There is a big difference between an actual nuclear explosion and a steam explosion in a nuclear power plant of the type currently affected in Japan.

    You are quite correct in that with a nuclear explosion produced by a bomb, not only fission products but more importantly tons of heavily irradiated particles from the environment surrounding the explosion are carried miles high into the upper atmosphere to be disbursed where ever the winds may carry them.

    In the case of the Japanese reactors, the nuclear chain reaction ceased immediately upon a reactor safety mechanism, called a scram, being initiated. This happened within seconds to minutes following the initial tremors, either by automatic circuitry or manually by operators. (I haven't heard any reports to say either way.) It must be stressed...right now there is no nuclear reaction occuring in these cores. The problem the engineers are dealing with now is called 'decay heat', which is heat produced by the decay of fission byproducts left over after the chain reaction itself ceased. Think of a pot so hot that it continues to boil the water within it for minutes after removing it from the stove. Until the decay heat reduces to a level that no longer boils water, a means of cooling must continue to be applied to the core. Now, here's the difference. If cooling fails, the core becomes so hot that the pressure of the water turning to steam inside the containment builds to a point where it shatters the containment and an explosion results. Since the core is at this point most likely melting, pieces of the fuel elements, irradiated portions of the reactor structure and other contaminated debris will be spread over the immediate area, limited mostly by the radius of the explosion. Fission products which are gaseous will be released into the environment as well as some small measure of particulates entrained in the steam cloud, which too will be carried by the wind wherever they may. Harmful if concentrated, but they quickly disburse and many decay relatively quickly over weeks and months.

    Make no mistake, this is a terrible accident, but the affects of the worst case scenario that I described above are nearly all limited to the area immediately around these sites and I am unconcerned about gross short and long term harm to us here on the West Coast of the US.

    Keith
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  13. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    I must add to my previous post, the reactors in question are 50 year old designs which require mechanical cooling means, in this case electrically driven pumps, to keep the core cool. Some more modern designs are actually capable of cooling themselves in an emergency by means of convection circulation only with no pumps or other devices to assist. It is unfortunate that these sites are not of this newer type, as we would not be having this discussion.

    Keith
     
  14. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    The pumps are DEAD in several reactors already.. the Japanese are pumping sea water into the reactors in an act of desperation in an attempt to keep the cores from melting down

    This could be a Chernobyl X6 with us, downwind. Ignore or poo poo it at your own peril. The wise have been ready for this sort of disaster for many years now. I have my alarming dosimeter and NBC gear ready to go

    Even 1,000 X drop in initial radiation levels at the site of the disaster (due to radioactive half life) is increased radiation levels. This will be especially dangerous to children if any fallout gets this far
     
  15. deen_ad

    deen_ad Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Japan moved 8 feet west, earth axis moved 4 inches and the plates moved almost 60 FEET. No wonder there we massive tidal waves!

    8 US Presidents have been NRA members
    80 MILLION gun owners didn't shoot anyone today, a few criminals did!!

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    The "Feedback Score" is low by 4, not everyone posts it I guess.

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  16. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    No argument there. I already said as much, except that the use of the word desperation indicates a last gasp effort. The use of seawater is an acceptable, albeit last resort, means to keep the fuel elements from melting. Since fresh water, in quantity, is assuredly at a premium right now, they had little other choice. (We had the same contingency plan 30 years ago.)

    You do realize that your NBC gear isn't going to get you far? You'll be OK against alpha and beta contamination as long as you keep your gas mask on, but unless you are walking around with at least a two inch thick suit of lead, the gamma is going to fry you where you stand.

    Seriously though, I understand folks' fear. Its an unknown science to most people, and between movies like The China Syndrome and the media running around blathering on about 'the reactor going critical' (as if that's a bad thing...it isn't) people have little else to base their concerns on. These engineers are doing precisely what they need to do to keep these cores cool. Time is on their side; by successfully maintaining cooling to this point, it will only be easier to maintain as time goes on, as the decay heat is decreasing at a predictable rate by the hour.

    Keith
     
  17. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    I can only imagine the destruction if Krakatoa, the New Madras earthquake of 1811 or the eruption of Mt. Mazama happened today. Or the devastation when Rainier goes. Bye bye Seattle.

    Keith
     
  18. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    Nuclear power (excepting maybe military subs tiny reactors) has no place on an inhabited planet's surface.. we were being told it was safe back when these older designs were installed.. and it was pure BS
     
  19. MA Duce

    MA Duce Central Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Interesting analogy...considering a Trident sub's S8G reactor pumps out 45 megawatts, which could power a small city.
     
  20. rdt

    rdt SW Portland Active Member

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    seems like this is proceeding past the situation you are describing. two maybe three cooling failures (resulting in explosions) possibly leading to full on meltdowns, all in the middle of a complex of 10 reactors. Rods exposed to the atmosphere, radioactive steam being released, finding radioactive material being found out to 60 miles.

    If it melts down, that means the fuel rods vaporize, right? maybe not a nuclear explosion, but its still an explosive event, right?