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Fukushima Daiichi rated?

  1. Mar 16, 2011 #1
    Is there anyone who is willing to go on record to say that the multiple incidents (ongoing) will not be rated (when all is said and done) as a level 7 emergency?

    I would like to know if anyone has any firm convictions.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2011 #2


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  4. Mar 16, 2011 #3


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    Seems unlikely is what I'd say. It is worse than TMI (level 5) but is unlikely to come anywhere close to Chernobyl (the only level 7).
  5. Mar 16, 2011 #4


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    Only a fool (or a politician) would go on the record about that before it's "over", I think.

    Till then, the best anyone can do is talk about probabilities.
  6. Mar 16, 2011 #5
  7. Mar 16, 2011 #6
    I would say that current events are at INES level 6, but that the scale may need redefining at or above level 7 when all is said and done.

    This could become the worse accident ever on record and has made me truly wonder if such power systems can be made adequately safe.
  8. Mar 16, 2011 #7
    Why do you say that?

    Do you realize how destructive Chernobyl was?

    This accident doesn't even compare to it and you're calling it the "worst accident ever on record."

    Clearly you have no formal education involving nuclear engineering nor nuclear reactors. I would suggest you educate yourself before projecting something like that.
  9. Mar 17, 2011 #8
    The quote directly above your statement is "This 'could' become the worst accident ever on record."

    That's because their ability to control what's happening is extremely limited and they really aren't sure what to do.

    There are multiple problems here. Control systems in a mess. Sensing equipment mostly nonfunctional. The crews are being exposed, and have been exposed, to dangerous levels of radiation. The consequences of sea water cooling are not known. The people on site must be seriously tired and they have to be better than perfect right now.
  10. Mar 17, 2011 #9
    I think it is level 4.
  11. Mar 17, 2011 #10


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    Well, I don't know. FOR THE MOMENT, this is a level 5 accident if you look at the INES definitions, although officially they put it to 4 (which is, I think, a very bad policy). But I'm not sure they are going to contain the contents of the fuel ponds and the reactors. If they totally stop cooling, and abandon the site, which might be necessary if they have a full meltdown in one of the fuel ponds which seems to be ongoing now and the radiation level at the site or above it is unworkable, I don't see how one can avoid eventually EVERYTHING leaking out one way or another, as all containments will eventually fail without cooling and/or pressure relief. And then I think that one should classify it as a level 7 event, no ? Waiting for an expert to tune in...
  12. Mar 17, 2011 #11


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    Well from an economic standpoint it is far worse than Chernobyl and is by far the worse disaster to the nuclear industry. Losing 6 units (+2 under construction) is a what, ~$30 billion loss? It's like 15% of the entire generating capacity of TEPCO.
  13. Mar 17, 2011 #12


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    I'd put it 5, but I think it is a serious accident. TMI-2 is apparently rated 5, but I'm not sure if any deaths were attributed to radiation.

    There is a significant release of activity - outside of containment.

    Can nuclear power systems be designed to be safer? Yes, of course.

    First - don't put EDGs in a location where they can be destroyed. If the EDGs had worked, we wouldn't have this event.

    Second - realize that the Fukushima containment is Mk I, which was superceded by Mk II, then Mk III, and now modern containment systems. In the more modern plants, e.g., Mk III, the spent fuel pools have been removed from the top of the reactor building into a separate area. There were numerous improvements.

    I would expect regulators to consider some retrofit of Mk I containments.
  14. Mar 17, 2011 #13


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    U.S. shows growing alarm over Japan nuclear crisis
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/sc_nm/us_nuclear_usa [Broken]
    That might be enough to move it to INES 6.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  15. Mar 17, 2011 #14
    I'm uncomfortable with that whole rating system, especially rating it preemptively.

    TMI-2 was rated a '5', with no fatalities or associated radiation effects on longevity for anyone. SL-1 was rated a '4' despite the fact there were three fatalities and an explosion. My guess TMI was considered worse since the entire Island was off limits

    While it sounds like the, incredibly brave, workers are exposing themselves to detrimental, if not lethal, doses of radiation, unless there is a significant dispersal of radioactive isotopes, this accident could still be rated a '4' or '5'.

    Caveat Emptor, my knowledge of Nuclear Power begins and ends at the outlets in my home. I'm just a morbidly curious observer of this mess, and can only add that the Earthquake and Tsunami took thousands of lives.
  16. Mar 18, 2011 #15


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    At your request :biggrin: :
    That part is weird to me:
    The way the wiki describes it, the rating is based on the highest score of several different criteria:
    TMI is high on the first criteria but very low on the second.

    I think it is likely at this point that the damage in Japan is worse than at TMI so I expected it as well. It's natural that the rating comes after the disaster, so that doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that I consider human life to be vastly more important than plant damage and environmental damage much more important. So for an accident like TMI that destroyed the reactor, but caused no environmental damage or loss of human life, I don't consider that to be a reasonable rating. Putting TMI one level below Chernobyl makes them sound more similar than they really were. The scale should be more linear than hyperbolic.
  17. Mar 19, 2011 #16

    Michio Kaku has gone on record (without question) that this is an INES level 6 emergency. His interview earlier in the day suggested his last resort concept was hypothetical.

    I think his recommendation would be dangerous at this time based on what nearly happened at Chernobyl. Informed and knowledgeable opinions about the current state of affairs would really help right now.
  18. Mar 19, 2011 #17
    Michio Kaku does some good work sometimes, but I've seen him espousing anti-nuclear rubbish on more than one occasion.

    INES Level 5 makes sense to me. Comparable to TMI.

    Nobody has been injured or killed by radiation, no public members seem to have received any significantly large doses.
  19. Mar 24, 2011 #18
    Do some of the reactor incidents at Fukushima Daiichi deserve to be rated at INES level 6?

    "Level 6: Serious accident

    Impact on people and environment
    Significant release of radioactive material likely to require implementation of planned countermeasures.

    There has been only one such incident to date:

    * Kyshtym disaster at Mayak, Soviet Union, 29 September 1957. A failed cooling system at a military nuclear waste reprocessing facility caused a steam explosion that released 70–80 tons of highly radioactive material into the environment. Impact on local population is not fully known. This is the only accident to go over 5 on scale besides Chernobyl. [2]"

    And, if so, what could be expected as an implementation of planned countermeasures? Are there planned countermeasures that can address the scope of this (these) incident(s)?
  20. Mar 24, 2011 #19
    "Retrofit" - I would then expect the utility bean-counters to have them shut down and decommissioned, since their age and the decommission costs have been collected.
  21. Mar 24, 2011 #20
    JAIF continues to rate exploded Unit 4 as an INES rate 3 incident, somewhat underrated but I suppose nobody notices or is bothered to up-rate to much else to do at the moment http://www.jaif.or.jp/english/news_images/pdf/ENGNEWS01_1300976122P.pdf" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
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