Japan disaster: Fukushima summary of note

Every day you see headlines with folks waiting for a disaster from the nuclear plants. Every atom that might have come from the damaged plants is heralded. Sanity has suffered as another crisis is being shown as too good an opportunity for some to waste.

If you want a good rundown on what has actually happened and a clue as to one of the real scandals of the episode, see Fukushima Nuclear Accident – Exceptional Summary by Murray E. Miles. This is linked from Next Big Future’s Carnival of Nuclear Energy 46.

The issues, as far as disaster is concerned, is the unit 4 first level fuel pool. That is a small, temporary, pool used to assist moving fuel from the reactor to the main fuel storage pool and it broke during the disaster. Fortunately it had only a small amount of fuel in it but that fuel is a major source of some of the radiation of concern. The other issue is the politics behind the US 50 mile exclusion, which appears to be a political hit by the Chair of the NRC and not based on any guidelines as established for this sort of event.

There is a note that it took 5 years to get the undamaged parts of TMI back on line. That is the reference to see how long it will take Japan to get its undamaged power plants back online. In the meantime, there will be significant electrical power shortages to deal with that will hinder the climb back to normalcy.

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