Articles in Nuclear
I just stumbled across this New Scientist story from a year ago (and presumably the situation hasn’t improved…)
European nuclear power plants ill-set for disaster
It’s just as well earthquakes and tsunamis are comparatively rare in Europe, because the continent’s nuclear power plants are ill-equipped to cope with them, a report has revealed. Commissioned in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan following an earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, the investigation by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group used “stress tests” to assess the readiness of Europe’s reactors for similar events.
Of 145 reactors checked, 121 had no or inadequate seismic instruments to detect earthquakes, and 32 lacked venting systems to prevent pressure build-ups in reactor vessels if the primary cooling system fails. Without these systems, reactors can explode and release radioactive pollution, as happened at Fukushima. Some 81 reactors did not have adequate equipment available …
I have frequently discussed the worrisome prospect of long-term power grid failures. NASA has acknowledged the risk, and it all it will take is a massive solar storm – like the Carrington Event of 1859. If the grid is down for months on end, it is expected that millions of people would die – western society just doesn’t know how to cope with out power.
But what about Nuclear Power Plants? Things would get even worse still if there were multiple meltdowns! And 100 million Americans live in a fallout zone.
To keep reactor cores cooled, electricity is required. Widespread blackouts can happen any time, so as a backup the nuclear facilities have diesel generators. That’s the only backup plan. If the generators fail to operate, or are damaged (by a tsunami, for example, in Fukushima), then meltdown occurs. It strikes me as extraordinary that such a terrible disaster can occur so …
I’ve ignored most of the conspiracy talk and amateur speculations that can be found online, like suggestions that the Fukushima disaster of 2011 is the cause of illness in the USA.
But when the report is from ABC Australia and they interview a senior nuclear reactor engineer from Japan, I listen:
One more major earthquake in Japan and the nation could face a nuclear disaster 10 times the scale of Chernobyl.
If there’s a crack in the pool and water drains out, the fuel rods will be exposed. It will then be impossible to cool the fuel. So if an accident happens, 10 times more cesium than has already been released by the Fukushima meltdown will go into the atmosphere. Depending on which way the wind is blowing, Tokyo could become uninhabitable.
HIROAKI KOIDE (voiceover translation): As soon as possible, those fuel rods should be removed. Earthquakes are striking almost every day around the Fukushima plant, …
In the USA, nuclear power regulators have overhauled community emergency planning for the first time in more than three decades, requiring fewer exercises for major accidents and recommending fewer people be evacuated right away.
This seems at odds with the recent nuclear disaster in Japan, and the fact that American reactors are getting older and more prone to failure. And suspiciously the changes were made on December 23, when no serious reporting was likely to occur.
An AP investigative series in June exposed weaknesses in the U.S. emergency planning program. The stories detailed how many nuclear reactors are now operating beyond their design life under rules that have been relaxed to account for deteriorating safety margins. The series also documented dramatic population growth around nuclear power plants and limitations in the scope of emergency exercises. For example, local authorities assemble at command centers …
Just in case you were falling for the radiation scaremongering… you might have noticed that the mainstream media have not reported on this, and I can’t see how you could suggest it is a “conspiracy”. Reality… it’s a non-story, despite what you may read:
Mutated dandelion in Tokyo
Radiation Heading towards the West Coast
Michigan Plants Mutated?
I figure if I looked in my garden I could find some mutated-looking plants. My years of fruit-picking (I grew up on an orchard) has me certain that odd-looking plants are not unusual. So, besides the pics of “mutated plants”, I haven’t seen any real evidence that Fukushima has affected anyone outside of the local zone.
Here’s a common sense look at the non-problem:
….in Iran, the natural radiation gives people a dose of up to 260mSv a year. They have been living there for thousands of years. No ill health effects have ever been seen.
A year after …
The combination of two existing drugs kept 80% of tested mice alive after being exposed to radiation. While many more tests are needed, stockpiling this combo could one day save millions of lives.
Mice exposed to radiation were administered a combination of the antibiotic fluoroquinolone and a synthetic version of the immune system protein BPI. While such radiation exposure would normally prove fatal for mice within thirty days, 80% of those treated with both agents were still alive a month later. Furthermore, the treatment was shown to be effective even if administered 24 hours after exposure.
Some hardcore survivalists might elect to purchase the products and have their own supply ready – for example this company sells BPI, and antibiotics are probably easier to obtain, although I have no idea about the legal side of things. Before doing so you would need to read the original research …
It is certainly reassuring when a leading politician mentions the possibility of a catastrophe that most people are unaware of. Newt Gingrich is the subject of an article this week at the NY Times:
In debates and speeches, interviews and a popular book, he is ringing alarm bells over what experts call the electromagnetic pulse, or EMP — a poorly understood phenomenon of the nuclear age.
The idea is that if a nuclear weapon, lofted by a missile, were detonated in outer space high above the American heartland, it would set off a huge and crippling shockwave of electricity. Mr. Gingrich warns that it would fry electrical circuits from coast to coast, knocking out computers, electrical power and cellphones. Everything from cars to hospitals would be knocked out.
In the introduction to the 2009 novel One Second After, Gingrich said millions would die in the first week alone.
The US military believe that the …
Heath nuts tend to be keen on antioxidants, and there are plenty of products out there that mention the benefits in their advertisements. They now seem to be of potential value to survivalists – taking a combination of antioxidants prior to having an CT scan reduced DNA damage by 50%:
In our initial small study, we found that pre-administering to patients a proprietary antioxidant formulation resulted in a notable dose-dependent reduction in DNA injury…
According to New Scientist (April 2, 2011) the formula included vitamin C, glutathione and uric acid. I can see this research leading the way towards experiments on mice to show which antioxidants can protect us in the event of a nuclear disaster.
The mainstream media has mostly ignored what seems to be a perilous nuclear situation within the USA, where a power plant has been half-drowned by the Missouri river. The lack of official concern could be because there is nothing to worry about. Or it could be due to something that is of great concern to 2012ers – lack of real disclosure. This video from MSNBC:
Since then, the rubber wall has been breached. Officials said:
The berm’s collapse didn’t affect the reactor shutdown cooling or the spent fuel pool cooling, but the power supply was cut after water surrounded the main electrical transformers, the NRC said. Emergency generators powered the plant until an off-site power supply was connected Sunday afternoon, according to OPPD.
So basically, if the supply of power from the emergency generators somehow fails, Nebraska will have a Fukushima on their hands. And even if the situation doesn’t worsen, it seems …
The best solution may be the one used routinely to treat water at the Savannah River Site. The process combines activated carbon, reverse osmosis, and ion exchange. If one doesn’t get the iodine-131, two others have a chance to capture the radiation through other means.
And that may be the best solution for the average drinker of tap water as well.
Easy! But if you are thinking that running your drinking water through activated carbon, reverse osmosis, and an ion exchange isn’t easy, perhaps consider moving away from nuclear threats.
The 37 meter tsunami isn’t historical, nor specifically predicted for the future. It was this year’s Japanese tsunami. Deduced from high-water marks.
That’s tall enough to engulf a 10-story building. But “we think we will see [evidence of] bigger waves in other areas,” says Satoko Oki, a seismologist at the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute.
The Japanese are #1 experts on tsunamis, and they …
In a SHTF scenario, safety features of nuclear reactors might be significantly incapable of preventing a meltdown. As we have seen in Japan, a country that gave us the word tsunami, their backup plan of diesel generators failed because the tsunami took them out. If your home or safe spot is within 50-100 miles of a nuclear reactor, you need to be aware of the risks. Not everyday risks, I’m sure the authorities have them covered. I mean rare events, any of which could be occurring in a 2012, end of the world situation.
Earthquake – anywhere in the world can have an earthquake. In 2012, a global cataclysm could be setting off earthquakes globally. Authorities saying “we don’t get earthquakes around here” does not equal safety.
Tsunami – your local reactor is only safe if it is a substantial distance from the coast. In the past mile-high tsunamis are known to …