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  (Source: www.popsci.com)
The containment vessel of reactor No. 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may be ruptured after three workers within the plant stepped into water that contained "10,000 times the amount" of radiation that is normal for that area

While there has been some speculation surrounding the accuracy of CNN's reports on radiation in Japan as of late, the cable/web news giant has now released a new report stating that there may be a rupture in the containment vessel in reactor No. 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and that it may be the cause of surrounding water that contains 10,000 times the amount of radiation normally found in the area.

The 9.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Japan on March 11 has led to tsunamis, blackouts, radiation issues such as contaminated food, and a death toll that has passed the 10,000 mark and is expected to exceed 18,000

Now, CNN.com has reported that the containment vessel of reactor No. 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may be ruptured after three workers within the plant stepped into water that contained 10,000 times the amount of radiation that is normal for that area. The job of the containment vessel is to keep radioactive material from entering the atmosphere, and according to Hidehiko Nishiyama from the Japan nuclear and industrial safety agency, "contaminated water likely seeped through the containment vessel protecting from the reactor's core."

The three workers, which were laying cables in the basement of the No. 3 reactor, were escorted to Japan's National Institute of Radiological Sciences after stepping in the radioactive water. According to Japan's Health Ministry, a person living in an industrialized country is exposed to 3 millisieverts of radiation annually. For those working directly with the nuclear plant during the current situation, the maximum level of exposure is 100 to 250 millisieverts per year. The three men who stepped in the radioactive water was a 30-year-old with an exposure level of 180.7 millisieverts, a 20-year-old with 179.37 millisieverts and a third man with no age specified that was exposed to 173 millisieverts of radiation. All three men spent 40 to 50 minutes in the 15-centimeter deep water. 

While water in this area is normally boiled and has low levels of radiation, Nishiyama is concerned for the 536 other people working at the plant Friday when the incident occurred, and would like to improve radiation management measures. 

Nishiyama would also like to improve radiation management measures at reactor's 1 and 2, which have been manageable as of late but are still experiencing difficulties. For instance, reactor No. 1 has had issues with increased pressure, and reactor No. 2 needs to switch the water for its spent fuel pool from saltwater to freshwater in order to prevent further corrosion from the salt. 

Reactors 4, 5 and 6 are being watched as well, but do not pose as much of a threat since they underwent scheduled outages during the earthquake. 




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RE: Useful reference
By Solandri on 3/26/2011 5:40:12 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
The "supporters" of nuclear always came up with that argument: it is safe since there hasn't been many problems with it, comparing with others energy sources.
...
The backbone of human societies can only afford some sort of manageable calamities. If the damage is too severe it can all crumble like a castle of cards.

Ah yes, the "you have to weigh the worst case scenario more heavily" argument. If that's what you truly believe, then let me elucidate you: The worst power generation accident in history was the failure of a hydroelectric dam.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam#1975_Floo...

- 171,000 people lost their lives (approx 40x more than Chernobyl)
- 11 million people had to be relocated (approx 30x more than Chernobyl)
- nearly 6 million buildings destroyed (nearly 20x more than the number of people forced to leave Chernoby's affected area
- the reservoir created by the replacement dam flooded 768 km^2 making it uninhabitable (over 1.5x larger than Chernobyl's exclusion zone at 489 km^2)

So given that the worst case scenario for hydro is dramatically worse than the worst case scenario for nuclear, I take it that you are now convinced that hydroelectric power is too dangerous to use? And that we should be replacing our hydroelectric dams with safer technologies with smaller failure modes ... like nuclear power?
quote:
In the extreme, is like having, in the future, an amazing technology that provided clean energy (contrary to nuclear), but with the drawback that it had the probability of an world ending event happening once in 100 years.

Your sense of scale is quite a bit off. If we scaled wind power (the second safest power source) up to the amount of electricity generated by nuclear, wind would kill the same number of people as Chernobyl about every 12 years. Coal plants are much worse - their emissions about 250 Chernobyls worth of people each year. The only difference is that those deaths are distributed and don't make the news, while the smallest hiccup at a nuclear plant makes national news.


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