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Japan Power

Fukushima Finally Reaches Cold Shutdown 201

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 tp1024 ( 2409684 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:50AM (#38398196)
    In fact, most of the evacuation area (the southern and eastern part) is barely contaminated, it should have long been opened up again. On the other hand, there is an area to the northeast of the plant, outside of the evacuation area, that is contaminated by fallout and should have been declared an evacuation zone. On the whole, a realistic evaluation would yield a much smaller area than the 940 km^2.

    Of course, such subtleties escape the so-called environmentalists. (As does the fact that paving an area of 940km^2 [] with photovoltaics would yield no more energy than a 3.5GW power plant (ignoring all energy-storage issues) and turn it into something with a striking resemblance to Coruscant [].)
  • by eepok ( 545733 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:52AM (#38398218) Homepage

    This post is more inciteful than insightful.

    (1) A 12-mile radius is NOTHING compared to all the intentional disaster areas (nuclear *weapon* testing underground, on ground, and over water) or all the major landfills or holes in the ozone. Those are the damages we "accept" as part of our way of life. Fukushima's failure was not a guaranteed result of running the plant, but a RISK that only existed due genuine natural cataclysm that was fought with decades old technology (when much better is available now). Ya, I'd call that a win. By the way, how do you think an oil refinery or a coal mine would have fared in that same situation?

    (2) The maximum *allowed* radiation dose for an American nuclear worker is nothing to sneeze at when compared to a school bus driver, but then again, it's not deadly or else it wouldn't be allowed. People wouldn't work at nuclear power plants if they had good reason to believe that they would develop various cancers as a direct result. It's a heightened risk (one cannot deny that, mathematically), but it's by no means a death sentence nor does it guarantee a lesser quality of life.

    (3) 30% less electricity for any metropolitan area can be spell doom. But it didn't in Japan. For the Japanese, it's an opportunity to innovate. To remodel. To rethink ways. I wouldn't be surprised if more low-power-consumption tech comes out of Japan due to this disaster and the world as a whole benefits.

    Summary: *ALL* non-region-specific (solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric) power systems can fail due to cataclysm. Some fail before the stations even get the fuel (oil spills, coal mine collapses). None but nuclear have so many safe guards, even at the 1960s tech level, that can respond to such a major disaster with so little loss of life.

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:52AM (#38398230) Homepage Journal

    And worst of all, no lazer-breathing super monsters.

    About 20 years ago I was in Baltimore, MD, for a family member's memorial service. A walk-through photo exhibit of immediate and after effects of Chernobyl were on display - radiation illness, mutated offspring - human and animal. 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.

  • by tom17 ( 659054 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:54AM (#38398262) Homepage

    Sure, the current class of low efficiency(~5%), high pressure (~150ATM), radioactive steam-bomb, light water reactors don't seem to be making economic sense, especially when spent-fuel disposal and the locked-in fuel-supply-chain are taken into consideration.

    But when you look at technologies like LFTR, then all those problems magically vanish. Sure, there are hurdles such as Thorium mining infrastucture (Which brings its own benefits such as rare-earth elements that we are relying on other countries for) and high temperature (but low pressure) vessels to name but two, but that is what research is for. This needs to get recognised and get funded. It's cleaner (minimal waste), safer (lower pressure, passive cooling systems), efficient (most of the fuel is burned, steam turbines are more efficient) tech!

  • Re:This is absurd (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PNutts ( 199112 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @12:09PM (#38398482)

    I agree. They created a new definition to fit this scenario. They are calling it a "cold shutdown condition". []

  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @12:39PM (#38399022)

    How about the fact that they lied for months (if they aren't still lying) about the severity of the meltdown

    Don't you need evidence for such assertions? I see evidence that both TEPCO and the Japanese government made statements that later turned out to be false, but no evidence of lying, a deliberate falsehood.

    and allowed/forced people to live in areas that are irradiated?

    So what? Nobody was required to live anywhere irradiated.

    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?

    Sounds like a reasonable solution to a tough disaster situation, especially given that radiation thresholds are intentional set too low anyway. They can change it back to the normal threshold when the disaster goes away.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2011 @12:43PM (#38399074)

    1. The exclusion zone will be mostly lifted shortly (weeks to months). Of course, heavier contamination will remain offlimits due to abundance of caution (people live in the world where "natural" radiation levels are much higher than anywhere except next to melted reactor buildings, yet they are not "excluded" because the radiation levels of 50-300mSv/yr are "natural" (radium, uranium, etc.)). Contamination is mostly in a narrow streak from Fukushima going north west.

    2. Food is monitored. And even if you eat the most contaminated thing you can find illegally, you'll still be fine unless you start eating it for next couple of years. Finally, it is simple (no pun intended!) to measure amount of cesium you have in your body. Simplest is measuring amount of cesium in your pee ;)

    3. Tokyo does NOT have 30% less electricity. Japan is burning massive amounts of oil, gas and coal emitting a lot of CO2 and heavy metals and spending $38-$40 BILLION EXTRA on fuel PER YEAR so there are no shortages. All the fossil fuel plants that were offline because of nuclear are back online polluting. So only 2-3 years of non-nuclear fuel costs japan the same as compensation for their worst nuclear incident in last 65 years. (estimated compensation costs for Fukushima are up to $100-$110 billion).

    Yes, I do realize you wanted to be sarcastic in your statements.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll