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Japan Power

Fukushima Finally Reaches Cold Shutdown 201

Posted by Soulskill
from the super-powers-no-longer-for-sale dept.
mvdwege writes "The BBC reports that the reactors at Fukushima have reached cold shutdown, meaning they no longer need active cooling to stay at safe temperatures. Plans can now be made to start the cleanup of the site. Unfortunately, TEPCO has also admitted not all problems were out in the open until now; an estimated 45 cubic meters of contaminated water have leaked out of cracks in the foundation of a treatment plant."
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Fukushima Finally Reaches Cold Shutdown

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  • by qbast (1265706) on Friday December 16, 2011 @10:59AM (#38397438)
    Sky did not fall, Japan is not irradiated wasteland, Fallout is still just a game.
  • Pet peave (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:14AM (#38397626)

    Or maybe more than just that.

    the reactors at Fukushima have reached cold shutdown

    Ever since the meltdown, the whole concept of a REACTOR has been bunk. There IS no reactor, and there hasn't been one since the fuel melted through. There is a lot of material undergoing fission [wikipedia.org], but it is NOT a reactor (or reactors) anymore. Journalism has been on on the downhill for as long as I can remember. Sigh.

  • by radiumsoup (741987) on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:14AM (#38397628)
    authorities can't be trusted??? mighty wide brush you're painting with, and I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Conservative who is wary of anyone who runs for public office, so for me to say that is pretty substantial... what constitutes an "authority" in your mind, and why are they incapable of being trusted in a crisis? Who else would be better in this circumstance, private enterprise? /I can't believe I have to put it this way, but this is one of those times when a centralized government is absolutely needed to fix a problem
  • by bit trollent (824666) on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:18AM (#38397698) Homepage

    What a relief! I wonder when they'll start moving people back into Fukushima Prefecture. I can't wait to sink my teeth into some Fukushima vegetables and I know you feel the same way.

    When do you suppose that 12 mile radius exclusion zone will be lifted? This decade or next?

    Now that we've decided that the maximum radiation dosage for a Japanese child is the same as an American nuclear worker, it's only a matter of time before they play in the shadow of Fukushima again!

    And let's not forget how much better Tokyo is with 30% less electricity.

  • by confused one (671304) on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:25AM (#38397810)
    It's not possible the cracks were opened up by the, what was it, 9.0 magnitude earthquake, the 45 foot wall of water that came ashore shortly after that, and all of the 7+ magnitude aftershocks?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:26AM (#38397824)

    Clearly it's 'terrorism' to point out that for the cost of the cleanup alone, one could have built a whole lot of renewable energy. Nuclear doesn't make a whole lot of economic sense once the lifecycle cost is considered.

  • by KarolisP (1538799) on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:29AM (#38397876)
    thank you, I guess, for pointing out that earthquakes and tsunamis do indeed suck and destroy stuff. People will just get compensations and move on to somewhere else. There were definately WORSE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster) disasters than this and It is worth taking for what it is. Also there are areas that are intentionaly and knowingly made into deserts/toxic lakes or whatever, and it's no disaster at all... so... 12 miles radius is not that big of a chunk to ward off and let smolder in ruins, wouldn't be the biggest or out of proportion dead-zone of the world.
  • by tp1024 (2409684) on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:32AM (#38397920)
    Meanwhile, half a million people are homeless, about twenty thousand are dead. And all everybody cares to talk about is that some nuclear reactors weren't safe enough (through neglect of safety updates during the last three decades) to withstand a tsunami. If you criticize TEPCO for neglecting tsunami protection, why don't you criticize the whole Japanese government for neglecting tsunami protection along all of the coast?
  • by kenboldt (1071456) on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:45AM (#38398118) Homepage

    Agreed. It is staggering how many people can't grasp the magnitude of what the plant was put through.

  • Re:This is absurd (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BMOC (2478408) on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:52AM (#38398216)

    Containment has almost nothing to do with cold shutdown.

    Cold shutdown is defined as a fissionable material no longer requiring active cooling to remain at a stable temperature. This indicates that whatever fission may still be occurring in the nuclear material (whether it breached containment or not) it is in such small and sporadic amounts as to not be a concern to restart itself and continue melting through containment or into the open air.

    Please back the truck of panic up.

  • by islisis (589694) on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:53AM (#38398232) Homepage

    hope some people can finally take a breather, it's only been... 9 months...

  • by kthreadd (1558445) on Friday December 16, 2011 @12:00PM (#38398344)

    This whole event proves that authorities cannot be trusted during a crisis.

    If there is something that this mess shows is that private entities should not be allowed to control nuclear power plants.

  • by tp1024 (2409684) on Friday December 16, 2011 @12:06PM (#38398416)
    Nope.

    My point is that it is staggering how many people don't grasp the magnitude of what JAPAN was put through.

    It is just as staggering how many people don't care about the non-existence of vital, standard safety measures Fukushima Daiichi. Such as a sufficient number of emergency generators distributed over the site to prevent common cause failure. (Instead of having just 13 for 6 reactors, seven of which standing right next to each other along the sea shore with a safety distance of, oh, 25cm or so between each other.) Or catalytic converters to prevent hydrogen from reaching explosive concentrations (which took hours in all cases, as predicted in simulations 30 years ago) and filtered containment vents that can filter out 99.99% of the Cs-137 and 99% of elemental I-131. Most of the rest was contained by the containment, as it should.

    This needs to change, not just in Japan, but everywhere where safety measures are not up to date.
  • by tmosley (996283) on Friday December 16, 2011 @12:16PM (#38398574)
    Right, because CYA doesn't exist, and people never rise to the level of their incompetence. Government granted monopolies never result in poor quality service. Lack of competition is good, because it allows us as a whole to be more efficient. I don't care what reality says.
  • by bit trollent (824666) on Friday December 16, 2011 @12:27PM (#38398774) Homepage

    1) A 12 mile radius exclusion zone (& larger radius which people will avoid) is huge in a small country like Japan. Do you really think that Japanese people have chosen to have among the highest population density in the world even though they have a bunch of unused land?

    When we consider how common Fukushima's reactor design is, and how reluctant power companies are to invest in new reactors, despite proven safety problems with their design, a disaster like this seems almost inevitable.

    2) American nuclear workers carry dosimeters and are closely monitored. Children operate in a very different environment. Children are more susceptible to problems than adults, since they are still developing. I doubt that a nuclear plant would allow a worker to bring their child with them as they are exposed to radiation.

    3) The loss of so much electricity in the Tokyo area has caused shortages in many components crucial to Japanese and global commerce. There is nothing innovative about turning off the air conditioning in an unplanned 30% loss of power. There is something deeply honorable about it though.

    Summary: Large scale electric generation will always have drawbacks, but it's foolish to ignore their potential for destruction. As far as I know, the only part of Japan that 6 months after the Tsunami is uninhabitable by humans surrounds Fukushima.

    I don't oppose nuclear power, but when the risks are ignored or downplayed (like in your post and in TEPCO's policies) a nuclear disaster is inevitable. And when people notice that you've been downplaying the risks, their unlikely to trust the industry to build new reactors, even though they improve safety.

  • by slb (72208) * on Friday December 16, 2011 @12:43PM (#38399078) Homepage

    What a relief! I wonder when they'll start moving people back into Fukushima Prefecture.

    Fukushima prefecture is 14500 km2 and 2M inhabitants less than 8% of the territory and 3.5% of population have been evacuated.

    I can't wait to sink my teeth into some Fukushima vegetables and I know you feel the same way

    Most of the japanese would be perfectly OK eating food from Fukushima prefecture without fear-mongering idiots scaring a gullible population with occasional radiations level in food lower than one would find in a simple banana or brazil nut.

    When do you suppose that 12 mile radius exclusion zone will be lifted? This decade or next?

    Exclusion will be lifted next year for all areas with less than 20mSv/y of radiations level, that's more 80% of the evacuated area. Also half the radiations are due to Cs-134 with a half-life of 2 years. That mean all zones will be available in less than a decade, including municipalities like Namie or Iitate.

    Now that we've decided that the maximum radiation dosage for a Japanese child is the same as an American nuclear worker, it's only a matter of time before they play in the shadow of Fukushima again!

    There's a big difference between what you are allowed to receive every years during your carreer and a maximum environmental exposure that could hypothetically only happen one year. I'm sure the inhabitants of Ramsar who live with a natural radioactivity level of more than 100mSv/y would be laughing a lot at this.

    And let's not forget how much better Tokyo is with 30% less electricity.

    Yeah sure I wonder how any other energy production facilities would have fared facing the same earthquake and tsunami. Do you really think the Japanese government will be dumb enough to replace nuclear plants with tenth os thousands of off-shore tsunami-proof windmills ...

  • by cusco (717999) <brian.bixby@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Friday December 16, 2011 @12:52PM (#38399212)
    My wife grew up at 12,600 feet altitude, so most of the protection from UV and cosmic radiation offered to the rest of us by the atmosphere is non-existent. I sometimes wonder why skin cancers are almost unheard of there.
  • by radiumsoup (741987) on Friday December 16, 2011 @01:11PM (#38399518)
    I think you misunderstand my position (or, rather, I haven't explained it clearly enough...) I'm not saying that in general the competition generated from an appropriately regulated free market is bad - quite the opposite - I'm addressing the generalization by the post I was replying to that says "authority" can't be trusted in a crisis, whatever that's supposed to mean. "The authority" could be government, owners of the company, contractors slated to do the cleanup, volunteers, or those wild monkeys they let loose to track radiation with - I have no idea what the coward meant. Yeah, people generally are incompetent in anything they have no training in. That's why we call the trained ones "authorities" in their fields.
  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:24PM (#38400764)

    Nothing can remove that scar from my mine. I try to laugh about things like this, but it's really very difficult. I hope this is the last ever nuclear emergency in the world, but I doubt it will be.

    I dont think anyone wants to belittle how terrible cancer or radiation poisoning are, but when you take a dose of perspective and remember that the earthquake+tsunami (one of the most powerful events in recorded history as quakes go) killed some 16,000 people, injured another 6,000, and a further 4,000 are still unaccounted for, the Fukushima event becomes a mere blip. A plant was destroyed (as were another 125,000 buildings), the background radiation increased a bit, and some people may have gotten "slightly worrying" doses of radiation that will likely have no long term effects.

    The big travesty about the whole thing was that the immediate international response by the media seemed more focused on "OHNOES WHAT ABOUT US? RADIATION IS COMING" and "hah, see, nuclear IS bad" rather than on focusing on the scale of the devastation caused by the tsunami and the relief efforts. I think I saw a few videos of the wave, and heard one or two stories on the recovery (almost ALL linked in some way with the Fukushima issue), compared with the months of debate on NPR about how we shouldnt have nuclear in our country (conservative media was not innocent in all of this either).

    Its enough to make anyone feel bitter and cynical about our media.

  • by mjr167 (2477430) on Friday December 16, 2011 @03:01PM (#38401350)
    They did the same thing when Katrina hit New Orleans. They knew the sea walls and levees couldn't take that kind of hurricane before Katrina. What did they do after Katrina? Rebuilt to the pre-Katrina standards. There were also people on TV yelling about why was it taking so long to get back into the city, as if 30 feet of water was something you clean up with a wet-dry vac. You will also notice that no one ever talks about what went right. The fact that there is a nuclear power plant in New Orleans that rode out the storm just fine is not news. The other nuclear power plants in Japan that did not fail are not news. And sadly, OMG RADIATION makes a better headline than "small town no longer exists because of tsunami." Fear, destruction, and conspiracy sell.
  • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Friday December 16, 2011 @04:17PM (#38402466)

    How about the fact that rather than address radiation making its way into food and water, they merely raised the allowable amount of radiation in food and water?

    This might blow your mind... but often policy makers have to juggle multiple and conflicting priorities at the same time.

    In the case of the Japanese Crisis you had a country devastated by an enormous disaster with people freezing in makeshift shelters with inadequate food and water.

    Now you could say "sorry everyone you don't get to eat today." Or you can say "Here is some food that's irradiated above what in a normal situation we would expect but over a short period of time is a better alternative than hunger and malnutrition."

  • by DragonHawk (21256) on Friday December 16, 2011 @06:33PM (#38404334) Homepage Journal

    BMOC: Containment has almost nothing to do with cold shutdown.

    According to TEPCO, it does:

    TEPCO: Definition of "Cold Shutdown Condition": ... Release of radioactive materials from PCV is under control and public radiation exposure by additional release is being significantly held down.

    (Roadmap towards Restoration from the Accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station [tepco.co.jp], 17 Nov 2011, Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters, Government-TEPCO Integrated Response Office)

    TEPCO *is* changing the standard definition of "cold shutdown" somewhat. Now, they have *added* a containment requirement, so they're not really loosening any standards. Of course, normally "cold shutdown" doesn't include a containment requirement because normally the reactor vessel isn't breached.

    zeigerpuppy has a point in that "cold shutdown" normally implies a state of normal control. Cold shutdown typically means the reactor is stopped, doesn't need active cooling, and can be safely opened for maintenance. Fuku is still an active disaster site.

    I'm not advocating panic (what's the sense in that?), but fair criticism of TEPCO is, I think, well-deserved.

What ever you want is going to cost a little more than it is worth. -- The Second Law Of Thermodynamics

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