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The more political thread besides Japan Earthquake: nuclear plants scientific one

by jlduh
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jlduh
#163
May24-11, 08:08 AM
P: 468
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/23_34.html

Parents demand lower radiation limit for children

A group of parents of school children is calling for lowering the government-set radiation limit for children.The group is from Fukushima Prefecture, where a crippled nuclear power plant is posing the danger of nuclear contamination.On Monday, members of the group visited the education ministry and submitted a petition bearing more than 15,000 signatures.

After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident, the government set the yearly limit for accumulated external radiation for children undertaking outdoor activities at 20 millisieverts.
The parents have been pointing out that the government safety level is too high for children and are demanding that it be lowered to 1 millisievert per year.

[...]

A ministry official admitted that the 20-millisievert yearly level is not necessarily an appropriate limit for children. The official told the group that the ministry wants to consider all possible measures to reduce radiation risk.
Monday, May 23, 2011 21:29 +0900 (JST)
AntonL
#164
May24-11, 08:39 AM
P: 521
Japan to Set Up Panel to Probe Fukushima Nuclear Accident
http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2011052400126

Tokyo, May 24 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government decided Tuesday to set up an independent panel to probe the ongoing crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Yotaro Hatamura, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, will head the panel. Hatamura, 70, is known as the author of "Learning from Failure" and other famous books.
The panel, comprising some 10 members including legal and nuclear experts, is expected to be launched by the end of the month. It will investigate the cause of the nuclear crisis and study ways to prevent similar accidents.
The nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, was badly damaged by tsunami triggered by the March 11 earthquake, and continues releasing radioactive substances into the environment in the country's worst nuclear accident.
Why does one need legal experts on a panel to probe the accident.

I can think of only one and that is to advise on how to word the report to limit any liabilities resulting from the findings, thus overthrowing the independence of the scientific findings.
zapperzero
#165
May24-11, 11:06 AM
P: 1,044
Quote Quote by AntonL View Post
Why does one need legal experts on a panel to probe the accident.
There needs to be a feeling that the accident phase is over. Of course, this is far from true, yet, but no matter. Those who have lied and dissembled and censored news about three nuclear meltdowns surely have no qualms in misleading the public some more.

The other main reason is to set an agenda. It is the findings of the commission that must (and will) be hotly debated, so that other facts may slip by largely ignored. You will see talk about institutional paralysis at TEPCO, about the tsunami and the earthquake and what the prime cause of the accidents was and whether it was beyond design basis or not.

You will NOT see any discussion of regulator capture, design failures, the real costs of the nuclear industry, dual-use technologies, the role of France and Areva, the unholy alliance between Hitachi and GE...

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...7GO04420110524

Here's the money shot: "<<I am very sorry that the public is mistrustful of the various disclosures made by the government on the accident," Prime Minister Naoto Kan said in parliament on Monday.>>

The trust must be regained.
Bandit127
#166
May24-11, 02:19 PM
P: 189
Quote Quote by zapperzero View Post
It also sits on water's edge. The US Navy was able to provide a barge full of fresh water upon request. It was used without any trouble... only much later. Anyway, the reluctance itself is grounds enough for more than just sarcasm. I'd say some prison terms are in order for those who put their money above public safety.
We should remember that the Tepco engineers that are making the calls are doing so with woefully inadequate data, and what they did get was unreliable.

Data has improved, but is still woefully inadequate for sound and reliable decision making. And making conclusions of what did or didn't happen.

To call for prison terms when management might have been 'optimistic' in interpreting such sparse and unreliable data is short sighted I think. More likely (and quite rightly), they will not make a conclusion with serious consequences until they have sound data to support it.

That is good management. Any other way is speculation to pander to sensationalism.

One of the biggest failures in all of this is the failure of reliable data.

You can't blame Tepco for that, it is a function of the system of reactor design and risk assessment. That system has to improve. We should be fitting transducers, signal processing equipment and transmission in a way that can handle the same level of equipment failure in future.

My guess is that you could cut the total emissions from any possible future accident by half if you did that.
turbo
#167
May24-11, 02:34 PM
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Quote Quote by Bandit127 View Post
You can't blame Tepco for that, it is a function of the system of reactor design and risk assessment. That system has to improve. We should be fitting transducers, signal processing equipment and transmission in a way that can handle the same level of equipment failure in future.

My guess is that you could cut the total emissions from any possible future accident by half if you did that.
Not if plant-siting is allowed using the most optimistic (low) tsunami-surge estimates, low sea-walls, and locating emergency equipment and controls within the (overly optimistic) levels that could be flooded. Putting emergency diesel generators, battery banks, control rooms, and other critical systems where they can be flooded is a recipe for disaster, as we have seen. All the extra sensors in the world could not help mitigate such a disaster.
zapperzero
#168
May24-11, 02:44 PM
P: 1,044
Quote Quote by Bandit127 View Post
We should remember that the Tepco engineers that are making the calls are doing so with woefully inadequate data, and what they did get was unreliable.

Data has improved, but is still woefully inadequate for sound and reliable decision making. And making conclusions of what did or didn't happen.

To call for prison terms when management might have been 'optimistic' in interpreting such sparse and unreliable data is short sighted I think. More likely (and quite rightly), they will not make a conclusion with serious consequences until they have sound data to support it.

That is good management. Any other way is speculation to pander to sensationalism.

One of the biggest failures in all of this is the failure of reliable data.

You can't blame Tepco for that, it is a function of the system of reactor design and risk assessment. That system has to improve. We should be fitting transducers, signal processing equipment and transmission in a way that can handle the same level of equipment failure in future.

My guess is that you could cut the total emissions from any possible future accident by half if you did that.
I think you're trolling. Instrumentation matters very little here, if at all.

The laws of physics involved are known and they do not change. Such accidents were being modeled since the seventies, TMI even produced a nice case study to validate the models.

For a given core configuration, where starting parameters (water level, temps, pressures) are known, one can find out if and when the core melts. The process does not take days, for a reactor as big as those at Fukushima. The calculation can be done literally on the back of a napkin by anyone in possession of freshman year physics. So many MW of heat, so much fuel, so many tons of water, so much steel in the vessel that could melt. Easy.

There is no need for further measurements.

Good crisis management is the uncanny ability to make good decisions without having all the data. Take a pilot in a stalled fighter jet with an engine flameout, at low altitude. Does he try to determine the cause of his engine flameout and whether a recovery might be possible?

Smart pilots pull the ejector handle and generally live to find out the results of the post-accident inquiry. Brave pilots try something, anything. Sometimes it works. Bad pilots get confused and flustered trying to decide what to do. Bad pilots end up dead.
SteveElbows
#169
May24-11, 03:07 PM
P: 630
Quote Quote by zapperzero View Post
Smart pilots pull the ejector handle and generally live to find out the results of the post-accident inquiry. Brave pilots try something, anything. Sometimes it works. Bad pilots get confused and flustered trying to decide what to do. Bad pilots end up dead.
This argument seems to be getting political enough to belong in the other thread, but really I have to say something about this point. I do not want people who manage nuclear emergencies to 'try something, anything'. Dealing with nuclear incidents is a complex and sometimes almost impossible balancing act, depending on the exact details, and it is actually possible to do all sorts of things that would make matters worse. So whilst I do not want people to be paralysed by fear that their decisions may make things worse, I dont want them to take certain risks just for the sake of acting.
zapperzero
#170
May24-11, 03:52 PM
P: 1,044
Quote Quote by SteveElbows View Post
This argument seems to be getting political enough to belong in the other thread, but really I have to say something about this point. I do not want people who manage nuclear emergencies to 'try something, anything'. Dealing with nuclear incidents is a complex and sometimes almost impossible balancing act, depending on the exact details, and it is actually possible to do all sorts of things that would make matters worse. So whilst I do not want people to be paralysed by fear that their decisions may make things worse, I dont want them to take certain risks just for the sake of acting.
Me neither. That's why you need smart, even-keeled people in charge of nuclear reactors. Jocks are fine for fighter jets only. They make awful airliner pilots.
jlduh
#171
May24-11, 04:41 PM
P: 468
Quote Quote by AntonL View Post
some facts:
1. Reactor cooling was shut down manually after the quake and before the tsunami (Tepco should publish their official findings regarding this soon as instructed by NISA)

2. High radiation levels were measured at unit 1 well before the explosion indicating a possible breach in containment caused by earthquake.

So for a change, Gunderson statements are (part) true.
Since day 1, i tried to keep informed about this accident, and i managed to do it, thanks to this forum, pretty well, even if sometimes it's difficult to keep up with all the datas, facts, assumptions, errors, lies, that are around this disaster since the very beginning.

So i think I'm informed on this subject probably 2000% more than most of my french fellows, which have anyway no more info on the Fukushima disaster which has totally disappeared from the radars of the french medias (don't know if it's the case in other countries?).

And even if I'm pretty well informed, I confess it to you, I TOTALLY MISS this info that you mention AntonL: Tepco just admitted one week ago that the containment and the reactor at N1 Unit was damaged BEFORE tsunami hit! I don't know why and how i missed it, but I missed it... And if i missed it, i think many people in the world may have missed it also (was it the goal?)

A source at Tepco admitted it was possible that key facilities were compromised before the tsunami.

"The quake's tremors may have caused damage to the pressure vessel or pipes," the official said.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has so far said the reactor withstood the shaking and that the unexpectedly large tsunami caused a station blackout, which led to explosions.
So, let's summarize a little bit, in this jungle of information/communication:

1) Since March 11th, Tepco has good reasons to think that the reactor N1 was damaged by the earthquake, before tsunami hit. BUT: Tepco kept saying that the desaster was only the result of the tsunami and that the installations resisted the earthquake, until one week ago.

2) Tepco only released logs of the parameters from the reactors (since March 11) about 10 days ago. Then they admitted that core N1 melt very quickly in fact in the first day. BUT: during these two months, Tepco kept saying that N1 reactor fuel was 70% "damaged", revised 55% some weeks after (!).

3) Once they did this for N1, Tepco did it again for N2 and N3: they just recognized that the cores melt very quickly after tsunami. BUT, during these two months, they kept saying that these cores were "damaged" at a percentage lower than 30 or 40%!

4) For one month, Tepco released various analysis of isotopes (mainly the "big ones": I, Cs mainly, but not the complete list of nucleides that they analyzed). BUT finally they revealed one month after that they were all wrong, because of a software error...

5) At the end of March, Tepco did a complete survey (including additional elements, like Sr for example) of the water inside the basements of each reactor. They announced that they would disclose the results as soon as possible. BUT Tepco released them 2 months after the sampling!

Now the question is: do you really believe we can trust this company?

I was adviced not to criticized Tepco to quickly because "i was not in their shoes".

With all i have seen in the first two months and summarized above (and i didn't mention the lie about the fact that workers were sent on the site with one dosimeter for 2 for several weeks, and I may add some more elements, but let's keep synthetic), i just want to say that I HAVE NO WILL TO JUMP IN THEIR SHOES BECAUSE I REALLY THINK, AND MORE AND MORE, THAT THEIR SHOES STARTS TO HAVE A VERY BAD SMELL...

An other question is deeply in my mind: ok they lied (but they did it before, so is it a surprise?), but did they lie only to the general public or did they lie also to official organisations and government? In other words, what in the list above was known by the government, even we didn't know it?

For example, I'm wondering if KAN knew about this fact concerning N1 reactor being damaged by the quake (the workers entered the building the 11th of March and got their dosimeters beeping, 300 mSv it seems...) when he arrived at the plant on March 12, being pissed off by the fact that Tepco didn't vent yet?

And as a matter of fact, was it because Tepco management knew already something was already really bad from the containment standpoint that they spent 3 more hours to discuss before venting (or trying to vent)? Were they scared by this venting because of what they knew? Did the government knew it also?

This is a very important point. Because that kind of deliberate lie by not telling what they know or believe to know is kind of criminal when you consider the kind of subjects we are talking about, where the state of a reactor being breeched or not can imply different decisions for safety and health standpoint.

So I'm wondering: they lied, but to whom?

I'm also wondering: what will be their next move? Will they reveal that N2 and N3 got also hit by earthquake?
jlduh
#172
May24-11, 06:10 PM
P: 468
I reply to myself and put an example of lie that becomes obvious when re-reading some news from March 12 on N1 unit (the web keeps archives fortunately!):

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_1...10-503543.html

The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), has confirmed that the integrity of the primary containment vessel remains intact.
Ok, so we know that a few hours after the tsunami, March 11, some workers entered the reactor building (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-b...0110516a3.html )

Workers entered the No. 1 reactor building during the night to assess the damage only to hear their dosimeter alarms go off a few seconds later, sources at Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. Since they thought the building was filled with highly radioactive steam, the workers decided to evacuate.

Based on the dosimeter readings, the radiation level was about 300 millisieverts per hour, the source said, suggesting that a large amount of radioactive material had already been released from the core.
So Tepco knew this but we have read this sentence in many articles:

The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), has confirmed that the integrity of the primary containment vessel remains intact.
They didn't say that they BELIEVE it's still iintact, or that they think it could be damaged but have to be confirmed. No they CONFIRMED IT WAS INTACT.

There is one word to describe this: this is a LIE. Period.
rowmag
#173
May24-11, 06:37 PM
P: 209
Quote Quote by jlduh View Post
I'm also wondering: what will be their next move? Will they reveal that N2 and N3 got also hit by earthquake?
As a matter of fact, yes, at least for Unit 3. From this morning's paper:

http://www.asahi.com/special/10005/TKY201105240733.html

Summary: Unit 3 ECCS (Emergency Core Cooling System?) may have been damaged by the earthquake, before the tsunami arrived.
AntonL
#174
May25-11, 01:21 AM
P: 521
Quote Quote by jlduh View Post
....

And as a matter of fact, was it because Tepco management knew already something was already really bad from the containment standpoint that they spent 3 more hours to discuss before venting (or trying to vent)? Were they scared by this venting because of what they knew? Did the government knew it also?

This is a very important point. Because that kind of deliberate lie by not telling what they know or believe to know is kind of criminal when you consider the kind of subjects we are talking about, where the state of a reactor being breeched or not can imply different decisions for safety and health standpoint.

So I'm wondering: they lied, but to whom?

I'm also wondering: what will be their next move? Will they reveal that N2 and N3 got also hit by earthquake?
Japanese are a nation of honor, they do not lie; however not divulging facts to them is not lying and if not asked directly they will not reveal voluntary. Japanese (as a matter of fact all Asians) in their mentality will aways try and give a better scenario and more pleasing story than actually is. If this mindset is correct for nuclear managers that I doubt very much.

(It is known that co-pilots at Korean Air would say to the captain: "It is fine weather out there today, is it not captain?" actually meaning "Captain, it is dangerous to fly through that massive thunder storm ahead!")

Having said that and noting the resources spent in arranging a close looped cooling system by flooding reactor 1, I can only conclude that the radiation reports of the 11th evening were ignored, not considered or even not known to the planners of unit 1 cooling. Only once their flooding preparation started, only then they noticed things are not as expected which resulted in going through all the available data and brain storming sessions and new insight was found.
zapperzero
#175
May25-11, 08:18 AM
P: 1,044
Quote Quote by jlduh View Post
There is one word to describe this: this is a LIE. Period.
Keep a copy of that article.
zapperzero
#176
May25-11, 08:24 AM
P: 1,044
Quote Quote by jlduh View Post
So I'm wondering: they lied, but to whom?
To each other, to the public, to the shareholders (you would do well to remember that TEPCO still is a publicly traded company, one that has lost 80% in (shares) value since the beginning of the crisis) and to the international media.

The only truly serious bit is "lying to each other". That has hampered decision-making.
Astronuc
#177
May25-11, 08:52 AM
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Quote Quote by jlduh View Post
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/23_34.html

Parents demand lower radiation limit for children
It really is inappropriate to have any radiation exposure limit on children much above background + normal X-rays.

Children 18 and younger should not be exposed to elevated anthropogenic radiation levels beyond those of medical diagnostics. Because of illness or injury, some children may require exposure to radiation (X-rays, CAT-scan, radiotherapy, . . . ) above that of the norm.

When I studied health physics and radiation protection, we learned that children under 18 should not be exposed to elevated levels of radiation.
tsutsuji
#178
May25-11, 06:45 PM
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P: 1,220
Quote Quote by NUCENG View Post
TEPCO is apparently being careful in stating it may have been damaged in the earthquake,
I think you know the technicalities of nuclear power plants much better than I, so if you think that the published data are consistent with the "shut down manually" analysis, I am not going to refute this.

But, from a "more political" perspective, I think that the careful way for Tepco, if some uncertainty is remaining, consists in emphasizing the "Worker error may have led to meltdown" thesis (as the Japan Times title at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-b...0110517x1.html is saying) rather than the "Our NPPs's design can't resist earthquakes" thesis.

It is the same problem as for aircraft manufacturers whenever an airliner disaster occurs. It is better and "more careful" for them to assume that the pilot made a mistake than to assume that their design is wrong. In the first case they don't have anything to do. In the other case they have to recall all their airliners and apply retrofits to all of them. The second hypothesis is more costly.

Quote Quote by NUCENG View Post
Oops, that is right! Great point. They had cooling and AC power and expected to be able to control cooldown.
Also, generally speaking, earthquakes are something "normal" in Japan :

According to the JMA earthquake catalogues, over 100 thousand events have been recorded in every year, which roughly means that we have about 300 earthquakes per day in Japan.
http://www.koeri.boun.edu.tr/eew/abs...t_YAMAMOTO.pdf
sp2
#179
May25-11, 08:46 PM
P: 46
Quote Quote by AntonL View Post
Japanese are a nation of honor, they do not lie; however not divulging facts to them is not lying and if not asked directly they will not reveal voluntary. Japanese (as a matter of fact all Asians) in their mentality will aways try and give a better scenario and more pleasing story than actually is. If this mindset is correct for nuclear managers that I doubt very much.

(It is known that co-pilots at Korean Air would say to the captain: "It is fine weather out there today, is it not captain?" actually meaning "Captain, it is dangerous to fly through that massive thunder storm ahead!")

Having said that and noting the resources spent in arranging a close looped cooling system by flooding reactor 1, I can only conclude that the radiation reports of the 11th evening were ignored, not considered or even not known to the planners of unit 1 cooling. Only once their flooding preparation started, only then they noticed things are not as expected which resulted in going through all the available data and brain storming sessions and new insight was found.


Anyone with extensive experience of Japanese people and culture know that this idea

<<Japanese are a nation of honor, they do not lie>> is utter nonsense.

They lie all the time --just like every other people on Earth. They just work harder at spinning it, and rationalizing it, so they can pretend to themselves and each other that they're *not* lying.
The simple truth of 'saving face' is that it's all *about* lying.

AFAICT, the greatest effect of this tradition is that it tends to make bad problems worse, and more difficult to fix.

Fukushima, TEPCO, the regulators, and the Japanese government have given us so many prime examples of this effect in the last few months that it might be absurdly funny --if it weren't so utterly tragic.
rowmag
#180
May25-11, 10:27 PM
P: 209
Quote Quote by tsutsuji View Post
Also, generally speaking, earthquakes are something "normal" in Japan :
According to the JMA earthquake catalogues, over 100 thousand events have been recorded in every year, which roughly means that we have about 300 earthquakes per day in Japan.
http://www.koeri.boun.edu.tr/eew/abs...t_YAMAMOTO.pdf
Sure, though this was not a normal one. I can easily imagine the operators being in a state of confusion as to which procedures to follow, which instruments to trust, not knowing what's broken, etc. Especially being on the coast with tsunami warnings coming in.


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