My alternate title:
"Nuclear Energy In Theory and As Practiced, With Illustrations at Times Gruesome, Wit Often Morbid, and Heart Most Decidedly In The Right Place."
Bill Kiesling : "The Fukushima Experiment: A nuclear meltdown survival guide"
...In the years following the Three Mile Island accident much was learned about what the utility did, and did not know at the time of the 1979 reactor meltdown in Pennsylvania.
It became painfully obvious that the control room operators, the utility executives, and the government overseers of Three Mile Island simply did not know at the time what was happening inside their damaged nuclear reactor core.
Why they did not know is really the heart of the matter, and the thing we should consider.
In the event of a runaway nuclear reactor (politely called a "power excursion" by the industry), Tepco executives in Japan, like their counterparts in Pennsylvania, don't have the foggiest idea what may happen when their reactors melt.
If you live within two hundred miles of a nuclear power plant, consider this: If the plant suffers a meltdown, no one on earth will be able to tell you what to expect...
Kiesling chronicles the incident cited by Nuclear Engineer Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds, as precedent for the unlikely nuclear criticality that he deduced was indeed occurring at Fukushima.
Yes. For those of you who did not know, or who (like me) thought such was not possible outside of a nuclear warhead, this is not the case. In fact, material at TepCo's Fukushima Daiichi Reactor Complex keeps going critical, intermittently. This is the only explanation for the presence, so many months after the initial incident, of any amount of short-lived radioactive elements such as Iodine-131, which has a half-life of eight days. Had there been no new criticalities, it would have decayed away by now. (And I'm not even mentioning the blue neutron beams that have been reported). (View Arnie explaining all this here.
....tragedy visited another experimental reactor on January 3, 1961. At about nine in the evening, three technicians were performing a maintenance operation on the SL-1 reactor in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The SL-1 was one of 17 test reactors scattered across 892 square miles of Idaho desert at the AEC's National Reactor Testing Station. The tiny SL-1 was meant to produce electricity for about a dozen homes in arctic military bases. For some time the reactor's nine control rods had been acting up, as had other reactor functions.
The SL-1 had been shutdown for about a week in expectation of major repair work, its control rods pushed firmly down and disconnected from the mechanical control rod drive. The number nine control rod was the most important. It was the only rod that could start the chain reaction when lifted away. To ensure that the cadmium control rods would not stick or jam, technicians had been "exercising" them, lifting them a few inches, then returning them. That night three technicians were standing on top of the reactor, reconnecting the control rods to the mechanical drive. The number nine control rod had to be lifted four inches by hand to be connected to the machinery.
During this operation the rod was lifted too far. In a fraction of a second the reactor became critical, a power excursion followed, and an estimated 1,500,000,000,000,000,000 atoms split.
By the time help arrived, one man was found dead. A second technician was rushed outside, but was so radiated that he had to be examined by a doctor wearing protective clothing. The second man quickly died. The third technician was found dead on the ceiling of the reactor building. A piece of control rod was jammed through his groin, pinning his corpse to the ceiling at the shoulder.
For twenty days, the bodies were packed in water, alcohol and ice, while scientists tried to cleanse the dead tissues of uranium. Finally the men were buried, but their heads and hands had to be removed and buried with other nuclear wastes.
appropriate, if gruesome, sound effects
Bill Kiesling's time saving
"list of rules for understanding nuclear meltdowns
and why they happen:"
and why they happen:"
Commercial atomic energy technology is a pseudo-science and is not based on proper scientific experimentation.
Theoretical physicists live to a ripe old age, experimental physicists die of radiation poisoning. Ergo, stay away from nuclear accidents.
Be sure to check out the rest -- here's the introduction...
Japan's Tepco utility executives and government officials are alternately accused of covering-up, withholding information, or downplaying the severity of their nuclear accident.
Truth is, as many of us nuclear meltdown veterans know, those utility executives and officials are as much in the dark as the rest of us.
If you live within two hundred miles of a nuclear power plant, consider this: If the plant suffers a meltdown, no one on earth will be able to tell you what to expect.
Welcome, then, to the Fukushima Experiment ...
by Bill Keisling
Be seeing you.