Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Think Tank from another blogger.

This intermittent steam and or smoke. Hmmm, doesn't sound good to me. Seems to me like partial fires on fuel tubes probably as the spent fuel ponds. But the person below put together a cohesive "think tank" approach to what is going on in those tanks. And as the information from the Gov becomes more scarce, keep in mind that the prime brainwashing of bureaucrats everywhere is "make sure people don't panic" whatever the cost. People shouldn't panic, they should leave Tokyo before it becomes impossible to leave. Before the Government issues an order for all people to "stay in your houses, our experts have advised us that is the safest course of action".

Reuters Article stating 500mSV (thats like 200 years of normal radiation in 1 hour for a human body)

And a quick aside....There are 20 different radioactive products that can mess up humans, iodine protects against only 1 type, radioactive iodine. Having some iodine could provide some type of false sense of security, and eating salt won't even start to get the protection in place.

The following comment "lifted" from Zerohedge comment log. Why--because they pretty much nailed a plausible explanation.  What surprised me a little at the number of other bloggers who attacked this guy, because they disputed the validity of the thermal images.   So what?  The macro-picture that is being admitted, intermittent smoke and steam still is congruent with his possible explanation.    I do agree though the title "blistering heat" as it applies 128C is an exaggeration, 128C is roughly 270F or so, blistering would be 700F which I heard reported on a news channel for one of the reactors inner containment vessel.   Does it really matter which one?   If any one piece "goes off" in a serious way, it will make the site all but unworkable, then the only fixes will be by suicide runs.   We hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.

This comment comes with support of thermal imaging shown here

This is so disappointing. A forum of supposedly smart people, and the major arguments are over what temp water boils at, whether there is/is-not any water in the SFPs, or the spent rods are/are-not exposed and burning.

But in reality, this is not an either-or situation. The rod assemblies are quite long - I forget the figure, but it was something like 12 to 18 feet. Standing upright in an originally much deeper pool of water.
OK, so without cooling the pool water temp rises, till it reaches boiling point (100 deg C at 1 atm, since it's open to the air.) The water level begins to fall as steam boils off. This goes on for some time. Eventually, the water level gets down to the tops of the rods. Oh and don't forget, the pools certainly have a pile of building rubble fallen into them as well, but that won't alter the behavior much. Apart from hiding the water level from view.

Now what happens? The tops of the rods, emerging from the water, start to heat above 100 degC. But there's still steam passing them, and conduction of heat to the lower rod section still in water. So the exposed rods don't reach melting/burning temp yet. BUT, the steam passing them does get heated over 100 degC. Steam can reach any temp, up to the point the H and O dissociate. Hence we can have steam clouds rising that are over 100 degC, IF there are exposed rods.
As more length of the rods are exposed, some areas may not have steam passing (convection, downdrafts of air, air travelling sideways among the rod assemblies, etc.) Also the longer the distance down to the immersed rod sections, the less heat loss via downwards conduction in the metal tube walls. So overall, the lower the water, the greater the potential for upper sections of rods to reach bursting & combustion temp. Eventually, sections of tubes will combust.

But it will be an intermittent process. The greater heat output as areas of rods catch fire will draw updrafts of steam into the area from lower down, and may extinguish that fire. Causing another area to combust, that previously was in a steam updraft.
Also the overlying rubble will create areas of increased heat accumulation - but as rod bundles burn and collapse the rubble pile sitting on top of the rods will shift and settle.

With the probability of a rubble pile atop the rods in the pools, and the water level well below all that, I'd imagine that what we are seeing with the thermal images (if they aren't fakes) would be temps of rubble and steam only - thus hot spots at points where steam updrafts are rising through the rubble. With this process the temperatures can be anywhere from mildly warm to well over 100 degC, because what you're seeing is the 'mixed' temp of steam that has been rising through steel and concrete debris plus mixing with cooler pulled-in air. The only information it gives, is that if it is ABOVE 100 degC, there MUST be rod combustion going on. If there wasn't, the updraft would be 100 degC (boiling temp only) or less. If cooler, steam would have condensed back out to water, leaving rising hot air. But objects in the path of the rising steam would rapidly be heated to steam-temp, hence the visible steam clouds.

Anyway, the 128 degC spot tells me there are rod tops exposed sufficiently for them to burn. And the apparently random radiation spikes suggests the burning is occurring in bursts, just as I'd expect it to.

Incidentally, with upper sections of rods exposed and burning at high temps in air-steam, there will be reactions of oxygen from the steam reacting with the zirconium tubes, leaving H gas. Which may intermittently combust explosively in the vicinity. Another commenter in this thread mentioned ongoing random explosions heard. If true this also indicates exposed and burning fuel rods.

One more thing that will be happening - as the rod tubing burns and disintegrates, the ceramic fuel pellets will be falling out and down to where ever they can fall to. Some of them will undoubtedly make it to the bottom of the pool. Others will rest at the zone in which the rods are burning and disintegrating above the top of the remaining water. So, some piles of accumulating pellets in water, others out of water. An experiment in which will achieve criticality first. With random small hydrogen explosions occuring in the mess of rubble, burning zirconium and jumbled fuel pellets, there'll be plenty of confgurations being tried on for size.

What we are absolutely NOT seeing in the thermal images, is anything to do with the reactor pressure vessel temperature. The top of the pressure vessel is at the bottom of the same pool as the spent fuel, assuming all the dams between different sections of the pool were destroyed or at least made leaky. So the pressure vessel is under both the rubble, AND the water still remaining in the pool. We are not seeing spent fuel rod temps either. Just the end product in hot rising gasses of a very complex system.

Summary: It's not over yet. This is an ongong process that can suddenly go much worse at any moment. And probably will.

Action: Need to get water back into those pools, fast. Expend lives if it can help. Manually drag a hose to the SFP edge if at all possible, even if it takes multiple suicide teams. Or heli-drop a weighted hose end into the rubble above the pool.
Only if the pools can be refilled before a criticality occurs (which might burn through to the reactor pressure vessel(s)) is there any hope of getting this under control. MUST cover the spent fuel in water, to stop outgassing of radioactives, before any possibility of local decontamination and facility gradual dismantlement is possible.

In my opinion, entombment of this sized site, with 4 reactor pressure vessels in various states, 4 spent fuel pools up high and the site directly by the sea, is not possible. NOT POSSIBLE. It's worse than trying to rebuild the Egyptian pyramids.
People talking of entombment are grasping at a straw, because it has 'been done before' and because they can't face the possibility that there is no such solution here.

An aside. There are two collossal failures being demonstrated by this nuclear disaster. One was the poor design choices- backup diesels in the basement, fuel tanks at the water's edge, and spent fuel pools at the top of the 6 story reactor building, thus guaranteeing any difficult situation became an insoluble disaster.


  1. Personally, I am astounded that the Japanese built and operated those plants in a manner that clearly abandoned nearly all common sense. The only thing I can imagine is that they assumed if a tsunami was bad enough to cripple the reactors, that they would be the least of people's worries. If so, they got that wrong too.

    Sure you saw these:



    Clearly, it appears this is going to continue to get worse before it gets better.

    And to think *all of this could have been avoided if they had simply developed thorium fueled nuclear reactors*...

  2. 500 Milli SV per hour at #2, this is getting out of control.

  3. I tried to thank you for this yesterday, but Disqus did not cooperate.

    So, thanks. This is the kind of analysis that the major media should be presenting, but isn't. Surprise.

  4. dnarby, you know that there are dozens of plants in the US currently, same exact design, and most likely overloaded with spent fuel?

  5. Thanks, the more the news goes away, the more sure you can bet that this is getting more out of control. Watching a slow motion train wreck.


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