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Japan Power Hardware

Spontaneous Fission In Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 266

Kyusaku Natsume writes "Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday that some of the melted fuel in reactor 2 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant may have triggered a brief criticality event. Tsuyoshi Misawa, a reactor physics and engineering professor at Kyoto University's Research Reactor Institute, said that if Tepco's data are correct, 'it's clear that the detection (of xenon-133 and -135) comes from nuclear fission.' Tepco spokesman Junichi Matsumoto said the test results suggest that either small-scale fission occurred in the melted fuel, or conditions to trigger criticality were temporarily met for some other reason. He said the same thing could also happen at reactors 1 and 3. But because the reactor's temperature and pressure level have not changed, the fission would not have been large-scale, Matsumoto said, adding that it would not thwart Tepco's schedule for achieving a cold shutdown at the reactors. In response, boric acid water was injected again on November 2. On the plus side, the concentration of radioactive materials in the air is low enough that workers inside some areas of Fukushima Daiichi workers soon will not have to use full face masks."
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Spontaneous Fission In Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2

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  • No (fission) Nukes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cryfreedomlove ( 929828 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @01:14PM (#37937140)
    I was a proponent of expanding nuclear fission electricity generation until Fukushima. Fission is a zero-carbon system and cheap at massive scale. However, my enthusiasm also assumed that the industry was regulated and transparent enough to be safe. Clearly it is not. The bigger nail in the coffin for me, however, is that the first month or more of issues with Fukushima were clouded with lies from the utility that runs the plant and from the Japanese government itself. Why should we ever trust anything the utilities say about nuclear safety ever again? They don't have the moral integrity to handle the responsibility of running a safe nuclear fission industry.

    I still hold out hope for the safe cold fusion dreams. It may not be a rational hope but it would be awesome.
  • Re:Subject (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @01:23PM (#37937272)

    Right. Do I have any volunteers?

    Actually the elderly in Japan volunteered to be the workers early on in the crisis since they were already old and wouldn't be much more adversely affected by radiation cancers in 20 years...

Someday somebody has got to decide whether the typewriter is the machine, or the person who operates it.