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Fukushima Commentary (blog)
Op-Ed on whether or not the Fukushima accident is ongoing and has the potential for world-wide apocalyptic disaster. In addition, we have a regular hosting of the Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers.
"Fukushima : The First Five Days"...a book taken from the records kept by the operating staff at Fukushima Daiichi during the first crucial days of the crisis. It is now available at all E-book outlets. For the PDF and bundle... (click here)
"Kimin: Japan's Forgotten People" - A book about the untold story of Japan's 300,000 tsunami refugees, ignored by the world's news media. For availability... (click here)
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November 20, 2016
335thCarnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers
The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by Dan Yurman, Dr. Gail Marcus,
Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… High level nuclear waste, primarily used nuclear fuel bundles, is deadly for more than 10,000 years.
Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include…
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From Dan Yurman at Neutron Bytes –
Will completion of Bellefonte be a boom or bust?
A Tennessee businessman bought the two unfinished reactors from TVA for $111 million. His plan to complete them may encounter serious headwinds. https://neutronbytes.com/2016/11/19/will-completion-of-bellefonte-be-a-boom-or-bust/
From Dr. Gail Marcus at Nuke Power Talk – (2)
Innovative Nuclear Energy Systems: A Fascinating Symposium
Gail discusses a symposium she recently attended in Japan that featured a special memorial session on Prof. Mujid Kazimi from MIT and presentations on innovative nuclear technologies spanning different reactor types and different parts of the fuel cycle. This is one in a series of symposia, with the next scheduled for 2019. http://nukepowertalk.blogspot.com/2016/11/innovative-nuclear-energy-systems.html
Waste from Solar Panels: End-of-Life Challenges
Though a little off-topic for Nuke Power Talk, there has not been much discussion to date of a growing waste problem—in solar energy. Solar panels have a limited lifespan and require special processes to disassemble the layers that make up a panel. Given its diffuse nature, solar energy will require very large numbers of panels as its use grows, creating a new waste disposal problem. http://nukepowertalk.blogspot.com/2016/11/waste-from-solar-panels.html
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Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) answer for this week… Fiction!
Used nuclear fuel can be recycled to make new fuel, leaving about 5% of the used furl bundles as radioactive by-products. More than 90% of these by-product elements lose their radioactivity in less than five years. The remaining waste will require a storage time of less than 300 years. Finally, less than 1% of the by-products are radioactive for 10,000 years, but still having much shorter half-lives than the original uranium in the un-used fuel. In fact, the long-lived activity is less radioactive than some things found in nature. (K.S. Krane, Introductory Nuclear Physics, John Wiley and Sons, 1988)
October 23, 2016
331st Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers
The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by Dr. James Conca, Meredith Angwin, Jessica Lovering, Dan Yurman, and Dr. Gail Marcus.
Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… Guacamole almost as radioactive as bananas.
Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include… Fukushima apples featured in a world cocktail competition, how the Vermont Yankee decommissioning fund helps schools, why Britain’s Hinckley Point C is not a stealth military project, the case for a nuclear energy investment bank, and how replacing CFCs with HFCs might not be a good choice.
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From Dr. James Conca at Forbes Magazine –
Fukushima Apples Are Dynamite In Cocktails
The 42nd World Cocktail Championships kicked off in Tokyo this week It is an unusual event for discussing a Fukushima accident topic, but that is exactly what Yoshikazu Suda is doing. He’s a a bartender in Tokyo’s Ginza district who hails from Fukushima. During the contest, several varieties of fruit will be used, but only Fukushima-grown apples will be used in the fruit-cutting event. Contrary to fears, Fukushima-grown food has no detectable radiation from the accident. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2016/10/19/fukushima-apples-are-dynamite-in-cocktails/#34ea856d16c3
From Meredith Angwin at Yes Vermont Yankee –
Vermont Yankee Decomm Fund Supports Local Schools
(guest post by Guy Page)
When Entergy announced that Vermont Yankee was closing, the company made a Master Settlement Agreement with the state of Vermont. It included a $5.2 million donation from Entergy to the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund. Part of this money is now being used to help Vermont schools convert to advanced wood-heating systems. (Guy Page is involved with the Vermont Energy Partnership) http://yesvy.blogspot.com/2016/10/vermont-yankee-decomm-fund-supports.html#.WAk9cjKZMUE
From Jessica Lovering of The Breakthrough Institute –
Britain’s Civilian Nuclear Program Is Not a Stealth Military Program
Last week, Peter Wynn Kirby, a social anthropologist at Oxford, wrote in the NY Times that the United Kingdom promoted the Hinkley Point C project as “a stealth initiative to bolster Britain’s nuclear deterrent.” The author’s argument was entirely dependent on a “painstaking study” authored by the Science Research Project at University of Sussex. While the study offers up self-described circumstantial evidence for links between British civilian and military nuclear suppliers, their main argument is that there can be no other explanation for the United Kingdom’s support for nuclear power. http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/voices/britains-civilian-nuclear-program-is-not-a-stealth-military-program
From Dan Yurman at Neutron Bytes –
The Case for a Nuclear Energy Investment Bank
America needs a government-backed investment bank to secure capital at reasonable interest rates for development of advanced reactors. This blog post describes the kinds of mechanisms that could be developed to provide the capital and financing mechanisms that are the missing links in the chain of events that need to be completed for nuclear start-ups to get the one thing they need most – customers. https://neutronbytes.com/2016/10/22/the-case-for-a-nuclear-energy-investment-bank/
From Dr. Gail Marcus at Nuke Power Talk –
More Unintended Consequences: Air Pollution versus Climate change
Gail Marcus reflects on a meeting she recently attended that identified some unintended consequences of the effort to save the ozone layer by eliminating the use of CFCs. One replacement, HFCs, may be good for the ozone, but is a potent greenhouse gas. She draws parallels between this case and other times when one technology replaced another. http://nukepowertalk.blogspot.com/2016/10/more-unintended-consequences.html
From Andy Dawson at Energy Matters –
UK Electricity 2050 Part 1: a demand model
A modeling exercise on what a decarbonized UK energy system might look like. It'll be appearing in the parts, this being the first. It deals with demand levels and patterns with respect to substantial electrification of road transport, based on the assumption of removal of natural gas and oil from heating. http://euanmearns.com/uk-electricity-2050-part-1-a-demand-model/
From Brian Wang at Next Big Future –
First two generation 3+ nuclear reactors will be operation in China by the end of this year
The first four reactor coolant pumps for Haiyang unit #1, in China’s Shandong Province, have be4en run simultaneously at full speed. The AP1000 is set to begin operating by the end of the year. Because it uses passive safety design, the AP1000 has 50% fewer safety-related valves, 35% fewer pumps, 80% less safety-related piping, 85% less control cabling, and 45% less seismic building volume than the Westinghouse generation II PWR. http://www.nextbigfuture.com/2016/10/first-two-generation-3-nuclear-reactors.html
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Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) answer for this week… Fact.
A recent scientific study found that many common household items are detectibly radioactive, including foods. Most people already know that bananas are radioactive, as well as potatoes, carrots, lima beans, red meat, low sodium table salt, beer, and brazil nuts, But, no we know that guacamole must be added to the list. Researchers from North Carolina State University found that the avocado is almost as radioactive as the banana: 0.16 micrograys per hour vs. 0.17 µGy/hr. Is this a lot? Of course not. It is trvial, and much, much less than any reasonable level of concern. By the way… carrots top the list as perhaps the most radioactive food, at more than double the level of avocados and bananas, closely followed by brazil nuts. https://news.ncsu.edu/2016/10/radioactive-avocado-2016/ -- http://www.houstonpress.com/restaurants/8-foods-you-didnt-know-are-radioactive-6410052
September 18, 2016
August 20, 2016
Does the Asahi Shimbun Comprehend the F. Daiichi Ice Wall’s Purpose?
On Friday, August 19, 2016, the NRA said the F. Daiichi “ice wall” is failing. (1) Nuclear Regulation Authority panel member Yoshinori Kitsutaka explained, “The plan to block groundwater with a frozen wall of earth is failing. They need to come up with another solution, even if they keep going forward with the plan.”
The Asahi Shimbun alleges that the report of failure is because the amount of groundwater flow on the ocean-side of the wall remains constant. The Asahi fails to understand that the ice wall is only supposed to change flows inside, not outside the wall. This should be self-evident by reading the first bullet on the cover page of Tepco’s weekly report on the thermal status of the wall, “The purpose of the Landside Impermeable Wall construction lies not in freezing soil to form an underground wall but in keeping groundwater from flowing into the reactor/turbine buildings and preventing new contaminated water from being generated.” (2)
The Asahi’s materially-incorrect assertion is analogous to someone building a tall fence to keep deer out of their garden, but calling it a failure because the number of deer seen outside the fence has not changed! The F. Daiichi “ice wall” is designed to keep the groundwater inside the fence from flowing outward and possibly contaminating fresh groundwater flowing from the mountains to the sea. Thus, it makes no rational sense to assume that the NRA’s judgment of “failure” is because groundwater flows outside the ice wall have not changed.
So, where did the Asahi get this incorrect idea from? Is it merely an inability to correctly decipher Tepco’s statement of purpose posted with each and every weekly report? That seems unlikely, to say the least. Surely the staff at the Asahi can read and comprehend! Or, is the Asahi continuing its aversion to statements posted out of the Tepco Press room? Perhaps, but the data being used by the newspaper to make its “failure” rationale is entirely coming from Tepco! In this case, the Asahi would be accepting the data but rejecting Tepco’s statement of purpose, which would be contradictory. This would also suggest a most egregious form of cherry-picking.
The only remaining option is that the Asahi has garnered the incorrect notion from the NRA! If this is the case, we are faced with a far worse situation. The NRA is supposed to have sufficient engineering and technical expertise to regulate with expert capability. But, if it promotes this sort of misinformational speculation - and proffers it as fact - then we have a regulatory failure!
The reason for our critical questioning of the Asahi is that it has the second-largest, circulation of all newspapers in Japan (12 million), exceeded only by the Yomiuri Shimbun (14 million). The Asahi is read by at least 10% of Japan’s adult population, thus it is an important source of information in the minds of a significant number of Japan’s citizens. That this news outlet provide its readership with correct information, seems essential. Utterly false reporting should be avoided like the plague! It doesn’t matter where the untrue information came from. The Asahi is historically an antinuclear bastion, without question. But, an on-going pursuit of the nuclear-critical persuasion, which flies in the face of truth, is unforgivable! The people of Japan deserve better.
It’s Official: F. Daiichi Unit #2 was not a Melt-Through
On July 28, 2016, Tepco posted a detailed handout showing Unit #2’s previously-molten fuel (corium) is re-solidified and remains inside the reactor vessel (RPV). This conclusion was drawn as a result of muon imaging, with a dark “shadow” covering the interior of the RPV’s bottom head. (1) One obvious deduction is drawn by the Asahi Shimbun, which says that past speculations of a unit #2 melt-through are probably incorrect. (2) It says, “The latest finding negates past studies that have suggested that most of the nuclear fuel inside the reactor had melted through the vessel.” Unfortunately, the Asahi has been the only news outlet in Japan to make such a flat statement. Could the Asahi be incorrect?
On page four of the handout, we can see that most, if not all of the corium remains in the bottom head of the RPV. The image also shows that some of the damaged fuel is still in the core area, where it was located before the March, 2011, tsunami-spawned nuclear calamity. If we compare the unit #2 core barrel image with the March 19, 2015, image of unit #1, we see a drastic difference. (3) Unit #1’s core barrel showed brightly, indicating full meltdown and core relocation. The core was no longer there. However, the unit #2 image does not have a nearly as bright core barrel appearance. In fact, it is quite possible that a small-but-significant fraction of the original core remains in its original location. In fact, Tepco admits that at least 20 tons of material remains. Based on the relative density of the shadowing in the unit #2 core barrel region, with literally no brightness to indicate complete degradation from top to bottom, it is entirely possible that the maximum estimation of fuel (50 tons) remains in the core barrel region.
Where do these numbers come from?
Page six of the handout states that of the 210 tons of fuel and support structures that originally comprised the undamaged core, 20-50 tons remain in the core barrel area and “about 160 tons” is collected in the RPV’s bottom head. The inherently limited resolution with muon imaging compels an approximation of the respective masses. The 20-50 tons estimation leaves the door open for continuing speculation that as much as 14% of the core might possibly have worked its way through the bottom head and re-solidified on the base-mat beneath the RPV.
At this point we might ask… why leave the door of worst-case speculation open? If there had been any significant melt-through of the bottom head - and as much as 30 tons is pretty significant – the molten condition of the corium would possibly have cascaded through the breach. That there is a substantial pooling in the bottom head strongly suggests that if there were any melting-through, it must have been a mass much less than 30 tons. In fact, it suggests the possibility that there was no melt-through at all.
So why is Tepco leaving the door open for partial melt-through speculations?
Tepco has long-succumbed to Press and political pressure to accommodate worst-case scenario speculations. This is one time its “conservative” reporting has shown them to be timid and unwilling to draw a firm conclusion that flies in the face of their previous computer-based speculations. For more than three years, Tepco and the Nuclear Regulation Authority have made status reports that entirely cater to worst-case speculation, no matter how thin the evidence for such conjecture might be. In the case of the unit #2 muon image, worst case assumption ought to be rejected.
It is time for Tepco and the NRA to assert themselves and draw a conclusion that is most likely. When compelling evidence emerges that literally demands rejection of the low-probability worst-case scenario, there should be no room left for the worst-case scenario to perpetuate!
The Fukushima Daiichi Unit #2 muon scanning image virtually demands that we conclude that there was no compromise in the lower RPV head. It is likely that none of the corium, while still molten, made its way through the head or any of the penetrating control rod drive mechanisms (CRDM). To conclude otherwise make no sense to this reporter!
July 6, 2016
No Melt-through at F. Daiichi Unit #2 Suggests the Same with Unit #3
July 3, 2016
316thCarnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers
The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by Nick Thompson, Rod Adams, Dr. Jim Conca, Dan Yurman, and Brian Wang.
Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… The earliest Asian conception of empty space can be found in the Tao Te Ching.
Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include… More opinion on the 2025 closure of Diablo Canyon, whether or not proxy campaigns against nuclear energy are funded by non-nuclear competitors, the possible impact of “Brexit” on nukes, Uranium in seawater is 100% renewable, and the latest big news on the fusion front.
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From Nick Thompson at Thompson Energy.com –
When nuclear is closed in California, what takes its place?
From Rod Adams at Atomic Insights and Forbes Magazine (2) –
Corporate environmental contributions: Greenwashing or worse? (Atomic Insights)
How Will Brexit Affect UK Nuclear Energy? Variety Of Views (Forbes)
From Dr. Jim Conca at Forbes Magazine -
Uranium Seawater Extraction Makes Nuclear Power Completely Renewable
From Dan Yurman at Neutron Bytes (2) -
What about nuclear energy in UK after Brexit?
Renewables cannot replace the power of Diablo Canyon
From Brian Wang at Next Big Future (2) –
LPP Fusion can consistently achieve the ion energy to ignite hydrogen boron in an average shot
Third Generation Laser Uranium Enrichment Technology is likely over 5 times more energy efficient and more compact than the best centrifuges
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Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) answer for this week… Fact…probably!
The Tao Te Ching is credited to Lao Tze (i.e. Tzu) about 400 BCE. In Chapter 11, we find what is understood as perhaps the first notion of inner space. http://www.wussu.com/laotzu/laotzu11.html -- https://mydescentintomadness.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/tao-te-ching-verse-11/ However, at about the same time, Buddhism’s Dvadasanikaya Sastra was written down (408 BCE). It says that the greatest wisdom is found in emptiness (sunyata). http://www.buddhanet.net/cbp2_f6.htm
May 22, 2016
310thCarnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers
The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by Dr. Jim Conca, Rod Adams, Dr. Gail Marcus, Steve Alpin, Dan Yurman, John Dobken, and Meredith Angwin.
Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… The Fukushima nuclear accident occurred the same year as the 50th anniversary of the world’s first nuclear-powered satellite being launched.
Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include… Australia as a global nuke waste repository, natural gas is the energy source actually replacing nuclear, the economic challenges facing nukes, why mixed oxide fuel is so expensive, and a brief history of the antinuclear persuasion.
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From Dr. Jim Conca at Forbes Magazine (3) -
Australia Should Cash In On A Single Global Nuclear Repository
Natural Gas, Not Renewable, Is Replacing Nuclear Power
Children Win Another Climate Change Legal Case In Mass Supreme Court
From Rod Adams at Forbes Magazine –
(Note; Rod has become a new contributor to Forbes. This gives the nuclear blogging community another voice at Forbes, in addition to Dr. Jim Conca.)
Addressing Economic Challenges Facing Nuclear Power Plants
…and from his home website, Atomic Insights -
How Did the MOX Project Get So Expensive?
From Dr. Gail Marcus at Nuke Power Talk –
Positive Signs for Nuclear Power: Views from ANS Officers
From Steve Alpin at Canadian Energy Issues –
Ideology, altruism, and money: a brief history of the anti-nuclear movement
From Dan Yurman at Neutron Bytes -
Surrender at Ft. Calhoun
From John Dobken at Northwest Clean Energy –
It's about value (and the future)
From Meredith Angwin at Yes Vermont Yankee (2) –
Cesium in the biosphere: Guest post by Stewart Faber
Payments on the Grid: What Every Citizen Should Know
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Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) answer for this week… Fact.
On June 29, 1961, the Transit 4A satellite became the first test flight of a nuclear power source developed for use in spacecraft. The drum-shaped satellite weighing about 175 pounds was launched by a Thor-DM21 Able-Star rocket. The U.S. Navy's Bureau of Naval Weapons used Transit 4A as one of four navigational satellites used by ships and aircraft. It was a primary tool in regular updating of the navigation systems on Polaris missile submarines. Transit 4A used Plutonium-238 isotopic decay as the source of heat, which was converted to electricity by an array of thermocouples. http://www.space.com/12118-space-nuclear-power-50-years-transit-4a.html
April 17, 2016
305thCarnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers
The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by Dr. Gail Marcus, Dan Yurman, Rod Adams, Brian Wang, and Meredith Angwin.
Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… Democritus, the ancient Greek natural philosopher, was the first to theorize the concept of the atom.
Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include… confusing correlation with causation, roadmap for SMR operation at INL, metallic fuels for LWRs, EMC2 Fusion’s advances in “Wiffle Ball” plasma, and a course on what may be hidden in the electric bill.
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From Dr. Gail Marcus’ Nuke Power Talk –
Drawing the Right Conclusions
From Dan Yurman’s Neutron Bytes –
NuScale announces roadmap for SMR operation at Idaho site by 2024
From Rod Adams’ Atomic Insights –
Lightbridge metallic alloy fuel provides upgrade path for LWRs
From Brian Wang’s Next Big Future (2) –
2013 Independent Review declares EMC2 Fusion's progress to be most significant advances made in plasma physics and magnetic fusion over the past 50 years
World Energy Mix in 2035 will have more nuclear because China will build it
From Meredith Angwin’s Yes Vermont Yankee –
The Grid: My Course at OSHER Dartmouth
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Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) answer for this week… Fiction.
Democritus is often credited with the first promulgation of atomic theory, but he attributed the notion to his predecessor, Leucippus. Leucippus supposedly wrote The Big Cosmology, which has been lost to history. However, Democritus’ Little Cosmology (also lost) was referenced by Aristotle, who opposed atomic theory and the notion of space being empty. Aristotle tells us that Democritus got his idea from Leucippus and defined the atom as the irreducible minimum quantity of matter, each type of atom differing only in shape. To Democritus, space was infinite in extent and atoms infinite in number. His only attributable statement to have survived is, "Nothing occurs at random, but everything happens for a reason and by necessity." https://www.scribd.com/doc/26307868/Democritus-Biography