"The man who prefers his country before any other duty shows the same spirit as the man who surrenders every right to the state. They both deny that right is superior to authority."
Lord Acton

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Media: "Please set yourself into a comfortable panic and watch us"

The perfect sucker understands that pigs can stare at pearls but doesn't realize he can be in an analog situation.  - Nassim Taleb

The sheer ridiculousness over the past week and a half has left me, a dedicated cynic, in a state of awe.  Of course I'm talking about the nuclear chimera that has been blasted across most news sources.  The media outlets have delivered a masterpiece story of panic and devastation.  In watching any mainstream media, one must remember that they, the media, has an ultimate objective to attract the most ratings and views of their stories.  This has included every mainstream media outlet, and some of the not-so-mainstream including, disappointingly, Zerohedge... tsk tsk tsk.  The only 2 news sources that I have found who have delivered a consistent and fact based investigation of the subject have been from The Register and World Nuclear News which is an industry news source.  I have even heard nuclear engineers sensationalizing the facts.  You would think those people would know better.  Read this, and this

Net, these sources of media have, in their attempt to capture ratings, spread a blanket of misinformation and flat out lies to the unenlightened public during a millennial scale disaster to human life.  Nuclear power really is, from a risk perspective, the safest, and least harmful (to environment, humans, and animals) of all modern power generation methods.  When analyzing risks we must take into account all the effects and unintended consequences of taking and not taking a course of action (instead of nuclear, coal power will be a likely substitute).  Other indirect casualties of power plants are construction, maintenance and downstream accidents (from which wind power has generated a good number of casualties), and from which coal has a proven epidemiological effect of increased cancer and other respiratory illness.

Every day that goes by, the safer the situation is.  Fission stopped the moment the reactors scrammed.  Since then, heat has been residual as the fission byproducts break down.I'm not a nuclear engineer, but here's my rebuttal:

Fission creates heat, but heat does not create fission.  The fission reaction stopped when the reactors scrammed, meaning the chain reaction stopped while the earthquake was still going.  At that point, the reactors were non-op and in a cool-down state.  That departs from the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island events from the start.  In both of the other scenarios, the fission reaction continued, that is the reactors continued to operate.
This type of reactor (BWR) takes days to reach a point where the reactor and rods do not require active cooling (flowing water).  During this time, the major source of heat is from beta decay of the fission byproducts that are remaining in the jar.  At the moment the reactor is shut down, the decay heat is approx 6.5% of the previous core energy.  Following that, after about an hour the heat level reduces to approximately 1.5% of the previous core power (heat) level.  The Fukushima reactors were on battery power (and genset power for a time) for a total of several hours.  That was the most dangerous period of time.  At this point, the decay heat has fallen to a pretty low level, making a meltdown impossible, or as close to impossible as a reasonable person can calculate.

Uranium Oxide melts at 2800 degrees C
Zircaloy (cladding) fails at 1200 degrees C

The containment structure is a hermetically (air tight) sealed, very thick structure made of steel and concrete. This structure is designed, built and tested for one single purpose: To contain, indefinitely, a complete core meltdown. To aid in this purpose, a large, thick concrete structure is poured around the containment structure and is referred to as the secondary containment.

A really good rundown of the Fukushima situation is over here: 10+ Days of Crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant – 22 March 2010

1 comment:

  1. What does physical reality have to do with 'the news'?

    Truth falls victim to agenda.