Wednesday, March 16, 2011
More on those Japanese nuclear reactors so close to each other:
And the spent rods also at the facility. Clive Crook writes
From the start of this calamity I have wanted to know, "What is the worst that can happen at these nuclear sites? Suppose everything that could go wrong does go wrong: what then?" ...
My father, who retired many years ago, was a mechanical engineer in the British nuclear power industry. He worked on the designs of several new reactors, specialising in the handling of fuel. I vividly recall his telling me decades ago that the thing that concerned him most about nuclear power was not the reactors but the storage of spent fuel. This needed to be very carefully managed. If planners insisted on giving nuclear installations the smallest footprint, everything would be on the same site. What would happen to the spent fuel if an accident meant a site had to be evacuated? Insufficient attention was being paid to this, he said. The conversation passed through my mind as soon as the first reports of problems at Fukushima appeared. Where do they put the spent fuel?
Today the New York Times tells us where: on "the top level of the reactor buildings". The piece worsens the worst-case scenario yet again, saying that this fuel may pose a bigger risk at Fukushima than the reactors themselves (reactors, plural, of course: the small-footprint approach bunches many of them together). Elsewhere one reads that hundreds of workers have already been evacuated from the site and only 50 remain, scrambling to stabilize six reactors, and to keep the storage pools replenished. What happens if and when those last workers are pulled out?
If one bunches one's nukes together is a Cluster Fukushima THE RESULT?
Those 50 workers are already dead men.
Since Yucca Mountain was smothered in its crib, we are doing exactly the same thing, storing all our nuclear waste right next to the reactors that produced it.
and BTW I consider those 50 men to be true heroes of the first order, worthy of all the honor the very honor-oriented Japanese society can bestow.