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Japan Power

30 Years To Clean Up Fukushima Dai-Ichi 342

0WaitState writes "Damaged reactors at the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant may take three decades to decommission and cost operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. more than 1 trillion yen ($12 billion), engineers and analysts said. Relatedly, Japanese officials and power plant operators are now working on the problems involved with disposing of 55,000 tons of radioactive water. '... international law forbids Japan from dumping contaminated water into the ocean if there are viable technical solutions available later. So the plant operator is considering bringing in barges and tanks, including a so-called megafloat that can hold about 9.5 megalitres. Yet even using barges and tanks to handle the water temporarily creates a future problem of how to dispose of the contaminated vessels.'" Yesterday's 7.1 aftershock caused brief power losses at three other nuclear facilities, and small volumes of contaminated water spilled, but no significant radiation leakage occurred before the problems were resolved.
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30 Years To Clean Up Fukushima Dai-Ichi

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2011 @12:22PM (#35759158)

    The weird thing is that the Pacific Ocean is so big that they could probably pump it into the depths and the radiation increase would be completely irrelevant.

    Not the most responsible-sounding thing to do and I'm not advocating it, just saying that it's weird how just dumping it into the middle of the largest ocean available would probably end up hurting fewer people than any competing kind of disposal.

  • Halflife? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @12:25PM (#35759216) Homepage Journal

    IANANS (I am not a nuclear scientist), but isn't this issue largely controlled by the radioactive material's halflife? If what ever it is that is causing this issue has decayed to the point that it poses no significant risk after 10 years, would the containment vessel be any more radiated?


  • Re:oblig (Score:4, Interesting)

    by locofungus ( 179280 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @12:56PM (#35759670)

    Plutonium is the most toxic substance known - even one atom will be harmful, even if not readily apparent.

    Except that the facts don't agree with you.

    Plutonium is a lot less toxic than something like dimethyl mercury.

    It's definitely not something you should eat or inhale the dust but it's no more toxic than a lot of other substances, many of which are contact poisons.


  • by siddesu ( 698447 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @01:10PM (#35759846)

    I have a small property in a city in a small, ex-communist country that had a large (4 boilers, 4 turbines) coal plant in operation until about 1992. Since I go there from time to time, I can tell you pretty well how things went year by year.

    When operation stopped (for various reasons, mostly lack of money and lack of cheap fuel after the collapse of COMECON), the plant was left to the elements. Until about 2002, the plant became a scrap iron mine -- the gypsies from the neighboring villages would come in, break shit up, cut out the metal and move it away. When iron became scarcer, they started to break up the buildings, piece by piece, extract window frames, nails, etc. Around 2002, the only thing that remained was a pile of rubble, mostly broken bricks, and a smokestack.

    Surprisingly, the rubble started to disappear about 2003. I have no idea what has happened to it, but the mountain of broken bricks has halved by 2004, and almost gone by 2005. In 2006, the smokestack was pronounced a hazard, and a demolition grant was obtained from the government to destroy it. It became a small brick peak where the mountain used to be, but in another year those bricks were gone too.

    In the end, the city government got an EU grant for "eco tourism area", spent a small amount of money (in the one to two million euros range) on removing the few remaining concrete blocks and , had some Dutch organization test the soil. Since they got a certification that allowed them to cultivate organic vegetables on part of the territory, I assume it wasn't very polluted.

    So, in less than 20 years, the plant was gone completely.

    Is this what you wanted to hear?

  • Re:Nuclear economics (Score:4, Interesting)

    by danhaas ( 891773 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @02:08PM (#35760802)

    Solar can be a base load power generator. The weather in desertic areas is reliable enough, and the heat absorbed during the day can be stored in molten salt for the night time.

    http://www.desertec.org/ [desertec.org]

    Tidal energy, though with a much smaller potential, also is reliable enough for base load power generation. The energy generated during the tides could be stored by pumping water up some sort of container (just a walled portion of the sea).

Wherever you go...There you are. - Buckaroo Banzai