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Japan Power Hardware Science

Radioactive Water Found In Two Reactor Buildings 442

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hot-shower-won't-help dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said it detected several kinds of radioactive material in the water on the floor of reactor buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The isotopes found in the water were cobalt-76, technetium-99, silver-108, iodine-131, iodine-134, four isotopes of cesium, barium-140 and lanthanum-140. All have half-lives measured in hours or days, with the exception of cesium-137."
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Radioactive Water Found In Two Reactor Buildings

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  • you don't say! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdamThor (995520) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:21PM (#35640782)

    Huh. So you say they dumped water all over the radioactive disaster with helicopters, firetrucks, a big concrete pump truck, and now the basement of the reactor is filled with radioactive water?

  • Radioactivity? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JBMcB (73720) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:21PM (#35640786)

    Let's see - they've been pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of seawater into the spent fuel pools for over a week now. I would take a wild guess and predict that, yes, there will be some radioactive water lying around.

  • by 0123456 (636235) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:29PM (#35640922)

    This is extremely bad

    Oh my God, the protons in your body have a half-life of over 10^30 years!

    You, uh, do realise that the longer the half-life the _less_ radioactive something is? Generally speaking, plutonium is more likely to kill you because it's toxic than because it's radioactive (unless someone makes a bomb out of it).

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:29PM (#35640932)
    I'm fine with nuclear power. I'm not fine with nuclear power plants being run by greedy assholes that put the profit margin above the safety margin. We have a few reactors here in the U.S. that are obviously being ran "on the cheap", and frankly those companies should be ran out of town, and taken over by people that put the public safety first.
  • by radtea (464814) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:34PM (#35640988)

    They said we're all gonna dieeeeee!!!!!

    Which is what they said after TMI and Chernobyl and for all I know Windscale as well.

    If nuclear power is so damned dangerous where are the piles of dead bodies?

    Call me when the number of people in the past thirty years gets up to 0.1% of the number killed by automobiles, or half the number killed by coal power in all its dreadful glory.

    Nuclear power has serious economic issues. If it had significant safety issues it would have killed WAY more people by now.

    And no, Greenpeace propoganda about us not being able to prove that Chernobyl didn't kill 10,000 people world-wide per year in the past 20 years doesn't count. Every reputable health authority that has looked at the consequence of the Chernobyl disaster has pegged the number in the low thousands at the most. No fun fore those people, but the vastly larger number of people killed by coal and cars aren't having any fun either.

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:37PM (#35641028)
    Live in the Chernobyl exclusion zone for 20 years, and lets see how good your health is. I support nuclear power, but people like you really don't help at all. You're the opposite side of the Greenpeace coin.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:37PM (#35641030)

    This is all just a minor accident that could have been avoided if it weren't for the hippies who won't let us build completely safe reactors to replace the existing completely safe reactors. Right? RIGHT?

    IMHO the people who keep playing this down should go to Japan, get in one of those fancy radiation worker suits and CLEAN UP THIS HICCUP WITH THEIR OWN TWO HANDS, FFS.

  • by 0123456 (636235) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:42PM (#35641100)

    I'm fine with nuclear power. I'm not fine with nuclear power plants being run by greedy assholes that put the profit margin above the safety margin.

    Like Chernobyl?

  • Re:you don't say! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:44PM (#35641134) Homepage Journal

    Yes, and in related breaking news, it has been discovered that water is indeed wet!

    I am soo tired of the sensationalized stories surrounding Japan's "nuclear crisis." I'm interested in hearing objective news grounded in science, and that there are "trace amounts" of plutonium found on the grounds surrounding the reactor is only barely newsworthy. What is newsworthy is that the containment units withstood a 9.0 quake which is many orders of magnitude greater than the design specified. That is impressive and only underscores just how safe nuclear power is.

    The lesson for the future is to include redundant diesel generators, and always, always keep more diesel on hand for those generators even when the reactors are scheduled for decomission in the immediate future, because you never know when something like, Oh, I don't know, maybe a 9.0 earthquake might occur? :)

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:45PM (#35641148)
    Oh nonsense. From day one there has been a minority of pro-nuke people that have insisted this is all perfectly safe, and have been proven wrong over and over and over again. Those types of people do more harm to nuclear power than an army of hippies ever thought about doing. Flippancy isn't the way to deal with this issue, and acting like you're right all the time just makes you look like a jackass.
  • Re:you don't say! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:49PM (#35641216)

    I'm interested in hearing objective news

    No, you're interested in news reinforcing your subjective opinion; just like everybody else.

  • Re:Radioactivity? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fibe-Piper (1879824) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:51PM (#35641278) Journal

    Let's see - they've been pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of seawater into the spent fuel pools for over a week now. I would take a wild guess and predict that, yes, there will be some radioactive water lying around.

    Makes sense to me. The problem is, through concentrated disinformation, the corporation in charge has been very good at minimizing the extent of the issues their lack of preparedness has caused the people of Japan.

    Everything is being relayed in terms of what they are doing to prevent this or that nuclear side-disaster; nothing to do with the effects of the disaster that has already occurred and continues to occur.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:54PM (#35641324)

    As someone who has an 8 year old nephew within 100k of the plant I find trace elements of Plutonium disturbing to say the least. This *may* mean that the MOX has been partially burned/vaporized, no? That would be bad. I'm not here to editorialize for or against industrial nuclear power, I actually think nuclear is here to stay for a while, but the shills constantly repeating "What is newsworthy is that the containment units withstood a 9.0 quake which is many orders of magnitude greater than the design specified." aren't doing your cause any good. TEPCO was warned, did cost/risk analysis, made their call and lost. What is newsworthy is that human error and/or corruption and/or cost cutting can undermine sound engineering. How does that fit into the typical slashdot one handed libertarian wank fest?

  • Re:you don't say! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mbkennel (97636) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:54PM (#35641326)

    The "trace amounts" are newsworthy because they indicate that the inner steel containment has been cracked and so have a few of the fuel pellets.

    In particular, these isotopes are fission products, which are supposed to stay solid and encased in their cladding.

    Previous radioactive materials were probably a consequence of neutron activation and had short half-lives, but weren't long term cause for concern.

  • by Amouth (879122) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:54PM (#35641330)

    no more than i would lead.. but that is because of the same reasons.. it is more toxic to the body than it's radiation is.

  • what happened at fukushima might not be as horrible as the media portrays. however, you have to understand, when the general public sees this kind of accident and some techie starts scoffing and arrogantly laughing and proclaiming how insignicant this accident is THEY STOP LISTENING TO YOU

    there is an educated person on a given subject matter, and an uneducated person. what does it take to turn the uneducated person educated? well, not the attitude you see on display in the post above

    when the educated person acts like an arrogant ass, the uneducated people doesn't learn anything except that you have an ego problem. they immediately tune you out, and most importantly, they decide, without your input, that nuclear power is too dangerous and insist to their politicians that we don't use it. because no one educated them. they just scoffed at them

    do you want nuclear power to be widely adopted? then impassionately and concisely summarize why things might not be as bas they seem to be to the average person. when they ask a stupid question, or display colossal ignorance on a subject matter, smile and educate them simply and succinctly. or laugh at them. and see nuclear power get mothballed everywhere

    frankly, ego problems like on display in the comment board above are more irresponsible than an uneducated public. because they show that the educated are more interested in proclaiming their "superiority" (eg, their ego problems) than actually informing people

    congratulations jackass: your attitude helps kill nuclear power

  • Re:you don't say! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:56PM (#35641366)
    Yeah. Of course. The containment withstood the quake. That's why it is still CONTAINING that plutonium. And I, Cs, Tc and whatnot. That is why we see dose rates of 1 Sv/h in water OUTSIDE the containment. But hey - no matter. Radiation is healthy and ingesting Pu is like chewing on an iron nail, as read further up this thread. You guys are getting somewhat embarrassing by now.
  • by H0p313ss (811249) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:57PM (#35641382)

    If anything, this demonstrates how safe nuclear power it.

    I hope that you can come back in five years and say that with a straight face. I think it's fair to say that at this point we have no idea what the long term issues will be with this reactor and the contamination.

  • by fishbowl (7759) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:59PM (#35641404)

    I wish I had mod points, but I'm tired of getting into arguments about it.

    I would be far more concerned about the health and environmental effects of the big refinery fire that we didn't hear much about, than the Fukushima reactor so far.

  • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:59PM (#35641410)
    The problem is, apart from the heavy metal toxicity, that it has a biological half time of decades. It bioaccumulates. So it's gonna stay around with you - ample time for that 5 MeV alphas to hit your DNA. You don't need a high activity when you carry it around in your liver for the rest of your life.
  • The real problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) on Monday March 28, 2011 @01:03PM (#35641462)

    We're missing the real problem here. If these test results are correct, (and there's some question about that) then there is still a critical reaction going on intermittently. The reactors's scrammed nearly two weeks ago and therefore couldn't be putting out something with a half life of days or hours unless fission had restarted. That would be a Very Bad Thing.

  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday March 28, 2011 @01:04PM (#35641474)

    They're almost as annoying pro-air-travel people who insist that air travel is safer than going by car.
    I mean only a little while ago there was all that news about a plane crash and they *still* insisted that air travel is "safer".

    while all sensible people know that the only safe way to get anywhere is by driving there or cycling.

  • i pointed out people with ego problems more interested at scoffing at the uneducated than educating them, and this yahoo replies by being exactly the sort of archetypical arrogant jackass i am talking about:

    "The unwashed masses stop listening because they want to be scared."

    oh, really? congratulations, you have an ego problem

    being uneducated on nuclear power is not uncommon, it is normal. being ready and interested in being educated is not uncommon, it is normal. unfortunately, techies with ego problems, more interested in ridiculing and denigrating the common man, is also not uncommon, and i guess, "normal"

    congratulations, you are a bigger part of the problem than the uneducated. because your attitude is caustic, wrong, and serves your stunted ego more than it serves the common good

    i see someone with an attitude like yours, and i think less of you than i think of a scared uneducated person

  • by khallow (566160) on Monday March 28, 2011 @01:25PM (#35641808)

    what happened at fukushima might not be as horrible as the media portrays. however, you have to understand, when the general public sees this kind of accident and some techie starts scoffing and arrogantly laughing and proclaiming how insignicant this accident is THEY STOP LISTENING TO YOU

    THEY WEREN'T LISTENING IN THE FIRST PLACE. Sometimes you only can get people to listen to you by disagreeing "arrogantly".

  • Re:you don't say! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 28, 2011 @01:34PM (#35641936)

    afaik, previous inspections and reviews did mention that the fukushima I plant was below standards in terms of disaster preparedness, but apparently TEPCO decided not to act on those concerns. Wether this was because of sheer penny-pinching irresponsibility or plans for imminent decomissioning (which most reactors have for at the very least 10 years of their life, enduring because of extension after extension, because the power is simply needed), i dont know.

    why they didnt just airlift a bunch of diesel generators to the scene, i can only guess, i would think TEPCO initially tried to downplay the entire situation as much as possible, to see if they could keep it all contained without needing outside help (the soviets did the same with chernobyl, denying everything up untill the point were no-one would believe the denials anymore), moreover, the japanase government might have been more concerned with the ten thousands of dead/missing and hundreds of thousands of homeless people at that point (which is fair IMHO, prioritising a nuke plant which MIGHT kill a few thousands even in a full scale chernobyl style explosion over hundreds of thousands of starving/freezing people would have been insane)

    I just want to say that the entire thing saddens me, the trouble with nuclear power is that post Three mile island and chernobyl, people are to affraid to allow for newer and safer reactors to be built, yet their energy demands make it impossible to get rid of all the older outdated reactors, had public opinion on nuclear power been less scared-cattle like, we might have a much safer and greener power situation right now (ironically)

    (posting anonymous to preserve moderation)

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Monday March 28, 2011 @01:54PM (#35642270)

    > The politicians should definately tell them to STFU, nothing gets in the way of a good democracy like voters always yappin'

    Yes it is time to tell a small but noisy bunch of socialists (scratch a green, find a red. Not every time but often enough, and the odds grow the higher ranking the green is) to STFU until they come up with a solution instead of mindlessly objecting to every single energy source. And until they are willing to lead by example, other than the admirable way they have at least given up on procreating more of their stupid kind. Give up the cars, planes, mansions and such. And no, driving a hybrid doesn't make it all right, ain't one yet that is net positive. Same for putting up solar panels subsidized by the taxes of people poorer than the sanctimionious pricks installing them.

    Pick an energy source that actually works and doesn't cause side effects. Now promise you won't start bitchin as soon as it actually starts providing a non-trivial percentage of the national energy supply.

    Oil? Oh the horror.... unless we are paying Petrobras to drill so we can import from them, then it must be ok.

    Natural gas? Nope. Coal? Ick, dirty... except this mythical 'clean coal' that will never be viable.

    Hydroelectric? Nope, harms fish.

    Geothermal? Causes earthquakes.

    Solar? Not even in the desert is it ok to deploy on a commercial scale. Great for preening greens to put on their roofs though, just as long as it isn't economically viable it is ok. And we won't worry about the ecological problems from producing photovoltaic cells until it goes into commercial production.

    Biofuels? Hello, converting commercially significant amounts of farmland is causing food shortages already and we aren't even getting much of our fuel from it yet. The Four Horsemen will ride long before we got off dead dinosaurs.

    Nukes? Please, you guys have been hatin on that since forever, mostly with FUD.

    Wind? Not anywhere greens can actually see the windmills... which happen to be where the energy tends to be needed, so until we can get better transport of electricity it is a problem, and the cost/benefit still blows. (ok, that was horrible)

    Tidal energy will almost certainly kill some rare fish in 100% of proposed locations.

  • if you understand something about the psychology of people's attentions, then you can and should begin to understand how it is permanent, intractable, and just an unchanging facet of human nature. now what? laugh at it? scoff at it? get depressed? use it to tell yourself how superior you are?

    analogy: car rides are far more dangerous than airplane flights. but the average person perceives the opposite. the psychological reason is the aspect of control, or the illusion of it. in an airplane, you are handing control of your life over to a pilot. a dedicated trained seasoned pilot with many safety and security protocols, but you are handing over control nonetheless. in a car, you have your hands on the steering wheel: you are in control. but this is an illusion, because you are on a road with hundreds of other people also driving, and texting, and applying makeup, and drunk, and they have power over your life by their actions behind the steering wheel. it doesn't matter how good a driver you are if one of the hundreds of assholes around you crosses over the yellow line

    psychologically, it is about what you can perceive as finite and concrete (a tsunami) versus what you cannot perceive as limitless and never-ending (nuclear decay and radiation). perception, and control: more important to human psychology than other risk factors

    so if you emphasize to someone what they can perceive, and what they can control, about nuclear radiation, you demystify it, you make it concrete, you make it within their grasp. and thus you reduce the fear and panic and hysteria

  • Re:you don't say! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GooberToo (74388) on Monday March 28, 2011 @02:04PM (#35642416)

    Thanks for your most excellent response.

    I just want to say that the entire thing saddens me, the trouble with nuclear power is that post Three mile island and chernobyl, people are to affraid to allow for newer and safer reactors to be built, yet their energy demands make it impossible to get rid of all the older outdated reactors, had public opinion on nuclear power been less scared-cattle like, we might have a much safer and greener power situation right now (ironically)

    This very fact is something I've been attempting to hammer home hard here. The reality is, anti-nukers have effectively created self fulfilling prophecy by actively preventing newer, safer reactors and literally mandating certification extension. Sadly, I've either been troll moderated or seemingly, un-read and left alone.

    People don't seem to understand that nuclear keeps energy prices low, dramatically reduces demand on existing energy supplies, is extremely clean, and is a primary component of base load energy. And yet, they maintain their energy demands while actively preventing newer, safer, more efficient reactors from coming on line. That in turn actively prevents older, deprecated models from going online; which creates the extremely high demand for certification extension. In the US alone, we have over sixty reactors which likely would have been depracted, phased out, and replaced with newer, safer, more efficient reactors if it were not for the environment solely created by anti-nukers. Furthermore, anti-nukers are actually increasing world-wide pollution and needless deaths.

    Anti-nukers are very successful as scaremongering, but the reality is, they are the primary cause of tens of thousands of needless deaths every year and are actively pushing to ensure ever higher energy prices. Because baseload can't expand, we're forced to grow based on much more expensive peak load technologies.

    There isn't an anti-nuker alive who isn't living in the middle of the woods, who doesn't deserve our loathing and disgust.

  • Re:you don't say! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Monday March 28, 2011 @02:21PM (#35642692)

    > It literally would have been trivial to have a generator, or a series of generators delivered within the first twelve hours.

    Or for that matter just airdrop complete self powered pumps and hook those up. Before the area became a radioactive hell on earth just how hard could it have been to drop in a pump, hook it up to the inlet and let it rip. Hell, in the DAYS that elapsed with no water in those reactors we could have flown a single pump from New Orleans that could have put enough water into those things to blow the fracking tops off the steel containment vessels and created geysers a thousand feet high over all four of those damned reactors. And it is a veritable certainly that somewhere in Japan existed an equally powerful pump or three. The investigations and recriminations over this pooch screw is going to go on for decades.

  • Re:you don't say! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Monday March 28, 2011 @03:13PM (#35643374) Homepage

    You know, at this point, I'm almost tempted to say who cares what's damaged or not? The contamination is happening, no matter what the cause. Residets of Iitate, 40km from the reactor [telegraph.co.uk] and outside the exclusion zone, are getting a free dental X-ray (40 microsieverts) every 4-6 hours (including pregnant women and children). That's merely considering radiation from external sources; if they feel much like breathing or eating, they'll be getting internal accumulation and exposure, which is orders of magnitude worse.

    Sure, what exactly failed matters for the cleanup and post-mortem, but regardless of how it happened, Serious Problems Occurred(TM) that have to be dealt with.

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