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Power Japan

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Cleanup May Take More Than 40 Years 218

Posted by Soulskill
from the public-to-forget-about-it-within-40-months dept.
mdsolar writes "'A U.N. nuclear watchdog team said Japan may need longer than the projected 40 years to decommission the Fukushima power plant and urged Tepco to improve stability at the facility. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency team, Juan Carlos Lentijo, said Monday that damage at the nuclear plant is so complex that it is impossible to predict how long the cleanup may last.' Meanwhile, Gregory B. Jaczko, former Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said that all 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology."
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Fukushima Nuclear Plant Cleanup May Take More Than 40 Years

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  • by kurt555gs (309278) <{kurt555gs} {at} {ovi.com}> on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @07:21PM (#43531075) Homepage

    Is nuclear power really more cost effective per megawatt if you incluse the cost of long term storage and clean up after a disaster? Those numbers never make it into the calculations because they are inevitably paid by taxpayers.

  • fertiliser (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ssam (2723487) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @07:35PM (#43531175)

    It would be good if other areas of industry had the strong safety regulation that nuclear has. for example fertiliser plants.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @07:37PM (#43531197)

    it was the tsunami that actually caused the meltdowns

    Has anyone said otherwise? What's your point?

    they just didn't design for the eventually of a tsunami

    It doesn't matter what other things were done right, because in the real world it still had a meltdown.

  • by benjfowler (239527) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @07:39PM (#43531219)

    There are plenty of problems with LFTR, mostly to do with metallurgy, chemistry, toxicity (e.g. beryllium), the core freezing, etc etc etc.

    If there weren't, somebody would've built one by now. LFTR is no silver bullet, at least until all these problems are ironed out.

  • Re:fertiliser (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ebno-10db (1459097) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @07:41PM (#43531235)
    It doesn't take 40 years to clean up after a fertilizer plant explodes. BTW, what happens if they get another tsunami while they're cleaning up the mess?
  • Re:Brute Force (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @07:53PM (#43531323)

    Can't they just encase the plant in concrete/dirt and say fuk it? Seem to remember reading about Chernobyl being dealt with in similarly crude but effective fashion. Sure it would cost a lot to heap up that much rubble but hey, beats sitting on the thing for decades on end attempting to carefully spoon out all the nasties.

    Concrete doesn't last forever, nor does a big dirt pile when you're in an earthquake and tsunami zone. Burying it just makes it even harder to clean up when whatever containment method you used fails the next time.

  • Re:Brute Force (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @08:08PM (#43531471) Journal

    Can't they just encase the plant in concrete/dirt and say fuk it? Seem to remember reading about Chernobyl being dealt with in similarly crude but effective fashion. Sure it would cost a lot to heap up that much rubble but hey, beats sitting on the thing for decades on end attempting to carefully spoon out all the nasties.

    The plan at Chernobyl worked so well that we are now constructing a bigger, better, new sarcophagus to enclose the reactor and the current leaky and structurally unsound old sarcophagus...

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @08:20PM (#43531573)

    they just didn't design for the eventually of a tsunami to come and categorically knock them all out.

    Geological records show that a Tsunami about that size hits the coast of Japan every 300 years. The reactor was built to last 60 years. Just by random chance there was a 20% probability of being hit by a tsunami. But tsunamis don't happen randomly, they roughly happen at a known frequency, and northwest Japan was "due". So they failed to account for something that had a better than even chance of happening over the life of the reactor. This is why the greenies roll their eyes when the nukies say "Trust us, we know what we're doing!"

  • Re:fertiliser (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kaenneth (82978) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @09:00PM (#43531929) Homepage Journal

    Radioactive material has a half life at least. It'll sort itself out over time. but some chemical contamination lasts forever.

    Just because it's known exactly how long it'll last, to the point where the most accurate clocks are based on it. It sounds worse than something with no time limit.

  • by gr8_phk (621180) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @09:04PM (#43531961)
    The problem is that there were supposed to be other types of reactors that would "burn" the waste. That would generate even more power while getting rid of the "spent" fuel. Problem is those reactors never got approved due to proliferation risk. But of course they keep renewing licenses for the existing ones to create more waste and IIRC even allowing some more to be built.

    I'm not sure why this doesn't come up when they talk about where to bury the waste - building a reactor to make use of it IS an option. Of course the longer we wait, the more spent fuel will be contained in giant blocks of cement that can't be used as fuel either.
  • by Shavano (2541114) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @10:45PM (#43532725)
    It's not that hard to build a reactor that can't melt down at all.
  • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @11:27PM (#43533027)

    This is why the greenies roll their eyes when the nukies say "Trust us, we know what we're doing!"

    And the rest of us roll their eyes when the greenies expect us to roll back ~100+ years of progress because nuclear accidents have happened.

    Nuclear power has the lowest carbon output per megawatt of ANY base load power supply. Full stop.

    This is a chart of deaths per TwH of power:
    http://www-958.ibm.com/software/data/cognos/manyeyes/visualizations/2e5d4dcc4fb511e0ae0c000255111976/comments/2e70ae944fb511e0ae0c000255111976 [ibm.com]

    Nuclear? 0.04. Coal? *161*

    Wow, great, we've had Chernobyl and Fukushima as major incidents. You know how many people die every year because of coal-fired generation? Hundreds of thousands. Greenies can fuck off.

  • by delt0r (999393) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @06:54AM (#43534773)
    Breeding ratio for Th *fuel* is totally relevant. For every mole of 233U burnt, you need to convert at least a mole of 232Th to 233Pa. Otherwise you need Uranium in there somewhere. And yes this is considered part of the fuel cycle. As in current PWR mostly use a once through fuel cycle. That is what everyone calls it. Because that what it is. Breeders is specifically defined as a reactor that breeds as much or more fuel than it burns.

    233Pa removal helps with the neutron economy. Since your reactor is not infinite in size, and since there are other things that absorb neutrons and that neutron reflectors are not 100%. Keeping enough neutrons around to sustain fission is not as straight forward as it looks. When you need to ensure that at least one of these 2.3 neutrons are absorb by 232Th, its gets much harder. Given that 233Pa has a much higher neutron absorption cross section and that 234Pa is quite undesirable due to the creation of 234U, a nasty gamma emitter. It is constantly suggested to remove 233Pa in situ to solve some of the serious problems that 232Th cycles have.

    I am amazed at the profound misconceptions that a couple of naysayers have been able to propagate..

    Oh please. The last LFTR post a while back was "the waste is so safe you can eat it". There is a prevailing belief that LFTR are magic and stop nuclear being nuclear. Its wrong.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @07:42AM (#43535017) Homepage

    And the rest of us roll their eyes when the greenies expect us to roll back ~100+ years of progress because nuclear accidents have happened.

    Sigh. Can we please drop this particular straw man. Yeah, maybe there are a few extremists who rant on the internet about this, but it is hardly the mainstream point of view.

    I want the world to move forwards, not backwards. German and Japanese homes of a similar size to mine use less energy (and thus cost less to run) and are more pleasant to live in. I want that quality of life, and the way to get it is by being greener.

    You know how many people die every year because of coal-fired generation?

    Yeah, I do, which is one reason why I don't want more coal plants either.

    Fuck off. Seriously, just fuck off with your tired old straw men and false dichotomy arguments.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @07:46AM (#43535039) Homepage

    It wasn't due to proliferation risk, it was cost. All the LSFR reactors ever built were research testbeds and experienced major problems. None ever recycled fuel successfully in the way that would be needed for them to be commercially viable.

    The cost of development would be huge and the potential risks to the ROI are worrying to investors. It would make sense for the government to try to build one, if it were able to see beyond the next election or two and didn't have better options like renewables and fusion to throw money at.

    These things are just not commercially viable I'm afraid.

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