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How To Take Apart Fukushima's 3 Melted-Down Reactors

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the just-in-case-you're-in-the-neighborhood-with-some-free-time dept.

Power 167

the_newsbeagle writes "In Japan, workers have spent nearly three years on the clean-up and decommissioning of the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. They only have 37 years to go. Taking apart the plant's three melted-down reactors is expected to take 40 years and cost $15 billion. The plant's owner, TEPCO, admits that its engineers don't yet know how they'll pull off this monumental task. An in-depth examination of the decommissioning process explains the challenges, such as working amid the radioactive rubble, stopping up the leaks that spill radioactive water throughout the site, and handling the blobs of melted nuclear fuel. Many of the tasks will be accomplished by newly invented robots that can go where humans fear to tread."

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167 comments

Just blow it up (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46369743)

I figure a small 50-20 kiloton atomic bomb should do the trick...

Re:Just blow it up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46370317)

sudo mod parent up

Re:Just blow it up (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 5 months ago | (#46370689)

ACs can't invoke sudo....

Re:Just blow it up (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 5 months ago | (#46370679)

Nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

Wait for better robots (3, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 5 months ago | (#46369753)

Since they have a 40 year timeframe, they should just keep it contained for another decade or two and wait for superior robots to take over the task rather than relying on today's limited robots.

Re:Wait for better robots (5, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | about 5 months ago | (#46369983)

"Keep it contained" is a little optimistic. There is radioactive tea draining from the site to the sea. They are trying to use robots to install an ice dam in the beach to stop that, but have yet to begin installing it. It is unknown if it will actually work. They estimate they are losing 300 tons of fluid per day, of unknown composition but most certainly very radioactive. That is not "contained".

Re:Wait for better robots (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 5 months ago | (#46370011)

"Keep it contained" is a little optimistic. There is radioactive tea draining from the site to the sea. They are trying to use robots to install an ice dam in the beach to stop that, but have yet to begin installing it. It is unknown if it will actually work. They estimate they are losing 300 tons of fluid per day, of unknown composition but most certainly very radioactive. That is not "contained".

That's why step one is "Keep it contained". Use resources now to keep it contained, but don't try to do any real cleanup until the good robots arrive. Maybe start a billion dollar x-prize robot campaign -- outline exactly the kind of outlandish tasks they need a robot to do, and let private industry do it for a piece of the billion dollar prize.

Re: Wait for better robots (1)

PNutts (199112) | about 5 months ago | (#46370367)

You keep saying "keep it contained". It's not contained yet. "Step 1: Contain it." See the difference?

Re:Wait for better robots (1)

fnj (64210) | about 5 months ago | (#46371041)

You could say this is quibbling, but you can't "keep contained" that which has been wildly uncontained for 3 years. The phrase does not make sense. Rather one should say "contain further release of contamination within specified boundaries, and specify what is to be done about the vast contamination which has alrteady escaped those boundaries, at least some of it to the 4 corners of the earth's oceans".

Re:Wait for better robots (2)

bberens (965711) | about 5 months ago | (#46370153)

I wonder if 40 years is just the time frame they've calculated it will take for all the stuff to trickle into the ocean.

Re:Wait for better robots (1)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | about 5 months ago | (#46370203)

Well said, one of the moderate surprises was Europium.

http://enenews.com/japan-exper... [enenews.com]

Some are saying the exclusion zone should be a bit bigger based on this info.

Re:Wait for better robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46370307)

Well said, one of the moderate surprises was Europium.

>

Wow, how did that get all the way from Europe to Japan?

Re:Wait for better robots (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about 5 months ago | (#46370405)

Enenews? Really?

Re:Wait for better robots (2)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | about 5 months ago | (#46370547)

They may not be perfect, but they have posted information the Japanese government
lied about then it later came out to be true.

So at a minimum they are often forcing the corrupt government and corrupt Tepco to
tell the truth sometimes, I think its impossible to get them to tell the truth all the time.

Re:Wait for better robots (3, Informative)

nojayuk (567177) | about 5 months ago | (#46370761)

I got tired of reading godlikeproductions and globalresearch and enenews and the other bullshit sites posting about the Fukushima disaster because they were garbage sources full of fairy tales, improbable conspiracies and Hollywood disaster movie physics. I've not read the item you posted but the link text claims says fuel pellets were blasted thirty kilometres by the force of the explosions. Think about that for a moment, the physics of it, launching ANYTHING that sort of distance requires precision engineering as in large artillery pieces or an explosion that would have levelled the entire site and for kilometres around it too. No giant explosion, site not levelled, no artillery in evidence, bullshit story.

Re:Wait for better robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46371639)

What happens is that they intentionally confuse the detection of Pu/U in soil samples with finding fuel pellets outside the reactor.

I've followed every lead on this, and there is no indication fuel assemblies or pellets were found outside the containments.

Re:Wait for better robots (3, Informative)

nojayuk (567177) | about 5 months ago | (#46371935)

Just keeping track of the circular loops of fairy stories, fantasy physics, delusions and "make shit up" that passes for citizen science and knowledgeable discourse on the subject of the radiation releases from Fukushima would be a full-time job and it wouldn't do any good anyway as the stories are self-reinforcing, passed from blog to blog and repeated in the comments with addenda and shifting decimal points among the Dark Conspiracy theories.

At least when you see enenews or globalresearch in the link or you find Arne Gunderson or Chris Busby headlining the DOOM! DOOM! and THRICE DOOM! story the link ends up at you know you've reached the bullshit zero energy point and you can stop there but the perpetual notion machine is still churning away in the background -- did you know that if a fuel rod is dropped while being moved from the SFP in reactor 4 it will trigger a flash-fission event resulting in a flux of neutrons so intense it will make the reactors in the Daini plant ten kilometres south of Fukushima Daiichi explode? I read that on the globalresearch website a few days ago, written by a Japanese guy who's been going into the exclusion zone to offer herbal therapy to folks living there, so it must be true /snark.

As for U and Pu being detected in soil samples at Fukushima, uranium is quite a common constituent of soil. The samples tested don't show any enrichment from natural levels whereas pollution due to fuel pellets would be at least 2% U-235 and maybe more. As for plutonium there's about the same amount of Pu-239 and Pu-240 as was present before the reactors were built courtesy of Fat Man, Castle Bravo and its sisters (amounting to about 150 megatonnes of Instant Sunshine in the Pacific) and even the Tsarbomba made its presence felt in the isotopic record. Some more was added in 1986 when Chernobyl let rip and its core burned to atmosphere. As long as the TEPCO engineers keep cooling the core remnants in the three reactors that's where the non-volatile elements like U and Pu will stay until they can be properly safed.

Re:Wait for better robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46372411)

I think they did find isotopes of Pu and U in ratios that would indicate they came recently from a power reactor, rather than from previous contamination from nuclear weapon tests. The amounts were utterly insignificant as far as contamination goes, it's just interesting they were able to detect and differentiate them at all. (I'm not talking about Cs-134/137 ratios here, or Iodine 126/131).

The amount of crazy from the anti-nuclear people bothers me too.

They have ruined a great opportunity to criticise nuclear power from a safety standpoint. Fukushima was undeniably a terrible disaster that captured the world's attention. It was even a photogenic one with explosions that could be played over and over on the news! It doesn't need to be exaggerated.

By lying about the situation, the public faces of the anti-nuclear movement have lost credibility and influence, when they could have been capitalising on appearing honest and trustworthy, by simply reporting the facts.

Re:Wait for better robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46371607)

It's not true that they have information the Japanese government lied about.

What ENEnews do is read the TEPCO press releases, and then write a story making no mention of the fact the information comes from a TEPCO press release. As their audience don't read anything from TEPCO, they think it's new information.

ENEnews have never revealed any information that wasn't in the public domain already.

Re:Wait for better robots (1)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | about 5 months ago | (#46370837)

Also RT covered the Europium:

http://rt.com/op-edge/chernoby... [rt.com]

Now you can say they are no better, but do you really want to tell us to
trust the "operation mockingbird" media ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Wait for better robots (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about 5 months ago | (#46370925)

Damn you, you made me click on a Chris Busby link without telling me. Why didn't you warn me?

Re:Wait for better robots (1)

chmod a+x mojo (965286) | about 5 months ago | (#46372187)

Seriously, where do you find this tripe? First the completely implausible "explosion defies all physical known laws to throw heavy mass 30km" story, and yes, nuclear fuel is damn heavy mass... it's what makes it actually reactive.

Then you get this wonderful piece of drivel. On the off chance you you really do care about this lets take a look at why it is an absolute crap article shall we?

at Fukushima the game is to madly pump water in, in order to stop it melting down and exploding.

Well, damn. Oh wait, there is absolutely nothing to back this up, plus "it" isn't defined. "it" could be anything from the entire complex to a workboot. This is besides the fact that if "it" melted down the reactions would stop and the decay heat would not be enough to keep the fuel from spreading and solidifying. Solid fuel that literally can't sustain a reaction ( hence why it is solid ) isn't just randomly going to explode. The only explosions possible would be steam or hydrogen gas explosions, and only during the actual melt, with little to no risk of explosion after the fuel melted and solidified. This is also ignoring the fact that to date there has never been a nuclear explosion at anything other than intentional detonations.

That said it's a bigger pain to contain and dismantle a big blob of re-solidified core material than it is to try and keep it from melting.

That explosion blasted a significant, but unknown, quantity of lethally radioactive bits and pieces of fuel element around the site (where I heard they were bulldozed into the ground - who knows?), but it also blew the top off the building, covered the fuel elements under the water with rubble and pieces of crane machinery, and no doubt twisted and melted a large proportion of the remaining spent fuel.

What a load of shit.... this kind of writing would get an F in high school science / journalism classes. It's all just a bunch of contradictions, " an unknown but significant"...."no doubt twisted and melted...".
The "journalist" "writing" this article can neither agree with himself nor bother to cite any type of sources.

I would go on further but I actually started laughing at what he said would happen if you broke a fuel assembly....

Re:Wait for better robots (1)

Killall -9 Bash (622952) | about 5 months ago | (#46372399)

Some are saying the exclusion zone should be a bit bigger based on this info.

Better idea: Make a video game [wikipedia.org] to get kids used to the idea of evacuating the country to France.

Re:Wait for better robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46371665)

Why would they need to use robots to make the ice dam? It really isn't that hot between the reactors and the port.

There have been steel piles driven, and other ground improvements to solidify the ground already in the same area and that was done by humans.

Re:Wait for better robots (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 5 months ago | (#46372225)

The groundwater wells between the reactors and the sea are giving readings as high as 2.7 million becquerels / liter [rt.com] now. Other reports say far more - up into the hundreds of millions of becquerels per liter. Previous readings were far lower. The becquerel is an exceptionally small unit, but it is not small enough for that level of radioactivity to not be a threat to the health and safety of someone digging a well. Just coming in contact with that would probably mean the end of your career in nuclear energy.

Re:Wait for better robots (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 5 months ago | (#46372075)

"Keep it contained" is a little optimistic. There is radioactive tea draining from the site to the sea.

(1) Bury it in concrete
(2) Quit adding water; no new water = no new tea.

Re:Wait for better robots (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 5 months ago | (#46372237)

This is groundwater flowing from the mountains to the sea. To quit adding water they would have to put a dam on the uphill side as well.

Re:Wait for better robots (1)

marcroelofs (797176) | about 5 months ago | (#46370049)

You have a point. Also US$15B will be US$100B in 40 years. And I think 40 years is optimistic.
I hope these costs will be added to the energy bill of the consumers, so that the 'cheap' nuclear energy will be honestly valuated against those 'costly' solar sources.

Re:Wait for better robots (1)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | about 5 months ago | (#46370577)

Fresnel CSP is cheap, and has a denser area coverage.

It can be built for half as much as parabolic trough, and the price is
continuing to drop. Once most of it can be 3d printed it will drop
even faster.

http://social.csptoday.com/tec... [csptoday.com]

Re:Wait for better robots (1)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | about 5 months ago | (#46370701)

But I think Japan's best bet for stable power is likely something like the Aquanator,
and Geothermal.

http://atlantisresourcesltd.co... [atlantisresourcesltd.com]

Re:Wait for better robots (3, Insightful)

preaction (1526109) | about 5 months ago | (#46370315)

They're inventing and improving the robots as they clean up the site. "Necessity is the mother of invention" and all that. Without a site to clean up, there's no way to build better robots to clean up nuclear sites.

Re:Wait for better robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46370951)

Your comment reminds me of the effect that Moore's law has on the question of "when should I start brute-forcing an encrypted message?" The answer usually turns out to be never since a CPU made next year will accomplish the task more than a year quicker than one made today.

Re:Wait for better robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46372375)

Right...so akin to "just contain" is "just preserve/record"....

Boon for the robotics industry (1)

Kevin Adams (3556369) | about 5 months ago | (#46369759)

Before even finishing the summary my first thought was that this will result in some significant activity in the robotics industry.

Re:Boon for the robotics industry (1)

joaommp (685612) | about 5 months ago | (#46369821)

Big bucks following...

Re:Boon for the robotics industry (1)

Tailhook (98486) | about 5 months ago | (#46369927)

They'll have to fund some R&D instead of padding TEPCO retirement portfolios. Not the worst thing that could happen.

I have a plan (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about 5 months ago | (#46369767)

Tunnel 100 ft. below the reactor and build a huge leak-proof chamber. Use controlled detonation to collapse the reactor, building, and all into this chamber. Fill it with water and close/seal it off. Build something cool on top.

Re:I have a plan (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46369819)

And 9/11 was an inside job.

Re:I have a plan (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 5 months ago | (#46369901)

Tunnel 100 ft. below the reactor and build a huge leak-proof chamber. Use controlled detonation to collapse the reactor, building, and all into this chamber. Fill it with water and close/seal it off. Build something cool on top.

If it's easy to build a leak-proof, earthquake-proof chamber than can contain high grade nuclear waste indefinitely, maybe all reactors should have this huge chamber, then all they have to do after an accident is fill it with water and cap it off, and maybe build a playground on top.

The could use a nuke underground (1)

Marrow (195242) | about 5 months ago | (#46371227)

Drill a long way down....set off a nuke. It creates a huge cavern with fused walls. Then drill down into the cavern and drain the waste into it.

Re:I have a plan (1)

malvcr (2932649) | about 5 months ago | (#46371747)

For Plasma they are using a containing magnetic field.

And this is more troublesome than radioactive material.

They have 37 years to find the way to create a strong-enough and stable magnetic enclosure that be able to surround all the infrastructure, to attach it to a rocket and to send it to the sun.

Because, I don't think that they be able to create a magnetic or any other type of enclosure that last several thousands years until the radioactivity disappear by itself.

The other option is to clean everything. I really don't know what is more difficult.

Re:I have a plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46369907)

Tunnel 100 ft. below the reactor and build a huge leak-proof chamber. Use controlled detonation to collapse the reactor, building, and all into this chamber. Fill it with water and close/seal it off. Build something cool on top.

A few metric fucktons of radioactive waste isn't ever really "cool", now, is it?

think different, man (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 5 months ago | (#46369997)

just keep piling more fuel on it until it gets hot enough to melt rock, it melts down to, errr, China, creating a volcano, build geothermal plant to extract power from volcano.

Re:think different, man (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 5 months ago | (#46370035)

just keep piling more fuel on it until it gets hot enough to melt rock, it melts down to, errr, China, creating a volcano, build geothermal plant to extract power from volcano.

If a USA runaway reactor will melt down to China, then I think a Japanese reactor will end up in the USA somewhere. So the USA is who can exploit it for geothermal energy, though we'll probably have to pay TEPCO for it.

Re: think different, man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46370077)

Chinese Sindrome reference maybe?

Re:think different, man (1)

marcroelofs (797176) | about 5 months ago | (#46370089)

Down to China. Do you know where Japan is, relative to China? Are you from the US?

Re:think different, man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46370155)

Whoosh

Re:think different, man (1)

kylemonger (686302) | about 5 months ago | (#46370133)

And when the three thousand degree molten blob reaches the water table causing radioactive steam to roar out of every well in northern Japan, what then?

Re:think different, man (1)

stigmato (843667) | about 5 months ago | (#46370729)

Why contract TEPCO to build turbines over every well and capture it for electricity production of course!

Re:think different, man (2)

compro01 (777531) | about 5 months ago | (#46370393)

just keep piling more fuel on it until it gets hot enough to melt rock, it melts down to, errr, China

Actually, reactor melting down from Japan would end up in the south Atlantic, near the coast of Uruguay.

Re:I have a plan (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 5 months ago | (#46370017)

That depends, does it mutate iguanas into giant city-destroying monsters?

And if you're talking temperature then of course it's "cool" - the whole fucking planet if practically frozen solid, thousands of degrees colder than most cohesive matter in the universe.

Re:I have a plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46369923)

No offense, you just don't understand what's going on. There's no such thing as a "leak-proof chamber". That's something from scifi. In the real world, things age, crack and leak.

The Fukushima Event is yet another glaring message for Humanity that until real adults show up, we need to stop messing around with nuclear power. I mean, what sort of industry can withstand the inclusion of a randomly occurring 4-decade cleanup program? That $15 billion projected cost is assuredly too low. This is a sick joke, really.

Re:I have a plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46369999)

They should just do what the oil industry does and offload the cost onto the tax payers while they go on vacation.

Re:I have a plan (1)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | about 5 months ago | (#46370499)

Nuclear power can be done as was shown with the US navy, but it requires
spending lots of money, and the problem with it as a utility is the bean
counters start bypassing safety.

But in the case of Fukushima stuxnet also got involved...

http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/no... [berkeley.edu]

Re:I have a plan (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#46371077)

Notice that they don't have evidence for the assertion made in the link. For example, actually finding stuxnet on a Fukushima controller or PC would have been evidence. A controller that happens to be acting irregularly after a magnitude nine earthquake? There could be other reasonable causes, such as damage from a magnitude 9 earthquake.

Re:I have a plan (2)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#46371053)

The Fukushima Event is yet another glaring message for Humanity that until real adults show up, we need to stop messing around with nuclear power.

Or we could just keep people who don't have a clue what a "real adult" is out of the decision loop.

I mean, what sort of industry can withstand the inclusion of a randomly occurring 4-decade cleanup program?

Or one could implement sensible land use instead. Nuclear plants and other heavy industry doesn't require pristine environments, for example. So instead of spending tens of billions and decades to make Fukushima look pretty, they could spend a lot less in time and money and turn the area into a useful industrial park. And the plus is that if down the road, someone spills more chemicals or releases more radioactive material, then it's in an area that is already compromised and for which one doesn't need to do white glove-level clean up.

Re:I have a plan (1)

marcroelofs (797176) | about 5 months ago | (#46370073)

I hope you're not an engineer lol. Filling that sealed chamber with water will cause a pressure cooker to build itself and explode, thereby spreading the problem over all the pacific and beyond.

Re:I have a plan (5, Funny)

bob_super (3391281) | about 5 months ago | (#46370223)

Meh, you just need to engineer it so it blows UP.
Vertical, one shot, with enough pressure to propel each reactor at escape velocity.
I'd do the math for you, it's elegant, but there isn't enough space in this comment.

Re:I have a plan (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 5 months ago | (#46370323)

maybe the math is elegant, but for some reason i cant believe the explosion would be...

how would you keep the reactor from being blown to tiny bits? put some sort of super-material base under it?

how much explosives would it take for a one-time event to accelerate all that tonnage to escape velocity?

Re:I have a plan (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 5 months ago | (#46370443)

No explosives needed. You have a runaway source of energy, just make it boil a whole lot of water, which you already have plenty of.
I'll run all the preliminary studies on how much steam pressure is required for a reactor to achieve escape velocity, just send $100M to my Nigerian account.

I disagree, the explosion would be very elegant.
How close you want to be to the cloud, and the debris field if you have a release before enough steam is built up, would be a question for the US/Russian/French, who all have ample expertise in uncontained nuclear vents.

Re: I have a plan (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 5 months ago | (#46371279)

getting the reactor into orbit isn't the problem, just shove enough explosives under it and you're good. The problem is finding enough unobtanium to build the containment cylinder around the reactor to keep it from exploding out disintegrating.

Re: I have a plan (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 5 months ago | (#46371527)

For $15B cash, you can easily launch all three remaining shuttles with one reactor each. Just add enough boosters to get them off LEO, and you don't even have to care about damaging the heat shield...
The museums may complain, but I'm sure quite a few NASA people and subcontractors would be happy to get off unemployment to help.

Re:I have a plan (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 5 months ago | (#46370905)

I'm glad you're not an aerospace engineer. That's crazier than the "Let it melt the Earth until it reaches China" comments.

Re:I have a plan (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 5 months ago | (#46371017)

how do you know I'm not, and why would I need to be?
Some people suggested to let it be stomped by Godzilla, I'm pointing out it probably outputs enough energy to blow itself up into space.

We've got 40 years to think outside the box, your turn!

At least I didn't suggest to give the Falklands to China so that it could melt through the ground in the right direction...

Re:I have a plan (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 5 months ago | (#46372461)

I'm venturing a guess that an aerospace engineer would've been indoctrinated to not try to propel the heaviest rocket ever launched with a pseudo-controlled nuclear-powered explosion of some sort.

I can't seem to find any sort of estimates on how much a reactor would weigh, but it's a lot. I'll stick to doing math per ton.

Let's see: Escape velocity is 11.200 m/s. Since E= 1/2*m*v^2, one kilogram would require 62,72 MJ, disregarding drag (which will not only significantly increase energy requirements, but also completely tear the reactor apart, spreading bits and pieces of it around the world).

Now, the hard part: Estimating how much one of those things weighs. I'll pull a number out of my ass, since there don't seem to be any estimates (I wonder why...).

Let's say the thing weighs at the very least some 5.000.000 kg, accounting for the building (I'd bet that it's heavier any day, but this is enough for our scenario).

That means, without air friction and in ideal circumstances, we'd need 313,6 TJ. Let's see what Wolfram Alpha has to say about it:

87ish GWh... Since at full power it generated 750 MW I'll venture a guess that it'd never generate enough power to even come close to lifting off without a nuclear explosion. At that point, we might as well grab a nuke...

74,952 kilotons of TNT... That's a smallish nuclear bomb, which means even the best case scenario requires an immense explosion. In real life, to get 313,6 useful TJ, you'd need a larger explosion, since you'd never be able to funnel all the energy so as to properly launch the thing.

That means something like heating water and using the resulting steam as propellant is out of the question - it's never be enough.

Let's recap:

You detonated a nuke under the reactor and propelled it to escape velocity.
It was torn apart by aerodynamic stresses, spreading what was a relatively contained problem over a much larger area.
You also added the small issue of the damage caused by the detonation, which destroys a large area and contaminates an even larger area.

OR

You added a lot of water and let it boil. Instead of a rocket, you got a cloud of radioactive steam.

Re:I have a plan (1)

bondsbw (888959) | about 5 months ago | (#46370869)

So now that you have found the fatal flaw in my plan, I revise it:

Don't seal it off. Make it into a swimming pool [xkcd.com] .

(Or maybe just don't seal it off.)

Why haven't they deployed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46369787)

the Japanese Miracle yet?

Re:Why haven't they deployed (1)

RailGunner (554645) | about 5 months ago | (#46370173)

I was wondering why they hadn't deployed MechaGodzilla yet. Rodan could show up at any time.

Re:Why haven't they deployed (1)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | about 5 months ago | (#46370507)

Is that copy what they did at Chernobyl ?

40 years (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46369813)

I wonder where they got that estimate. At worst it should take them less than five years. What they're really saying is that they've got no clue, no plan, and no place to put the radioactive materials once they've got it sealed up.

Re:40 years (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#46369893)

I wonder where they got that estimate. At worst it should take them less than five years. What they're really saying is that they've got no clue, no plan, and no place to put the radioactive materials once they've got it sealed up.

Estimated time until the last of the responsible parties retires and no longer has even a nominal obligation to give a fuck?

Re:40 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46369977)

Probably from TMI. Read the timeline on the link below for more information:

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/... [nrc.gov]

Note that the reactor stayed covered in place for about 4 years, and the catastrophe was not anywhere near as bad as Fukushima. Can't even imagine how long it will be until Chernobol is cleaned up.

Most of the worst stuff has been moved to the Idaho National Laboratory, where it sits in long term storage (and will until someone figures out if they want to recycle the fuel or bury it). I imagine the actual reactor site is pretty safe today but will require monitoring for an indefinite time.

Just modify the constraints... (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#46369871)

Some tasks are difficult because of the assorted parameters that you have to adhere to while doing them. In this case, relatively low tolerance for irradiation of workers and human morbidity and mortality are probably major inconveniences.

This being so, it seems only logical to employ TEPCO management as decommisioning operators. It's not like they were good for whatever their existing job descriptions are, and we can safely value their radiation exposure as unimportant, or even a benefit.

Re:Just modify the constraints... (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 5 months ago | (#46370325)

Right. Because one disaster is made better by using the few people that demonstrated that they are some of the worst options for operating a nuclear power plant. Yeah if may make a few people feel better, but in the end you'll have just as bad if not worse disaster plus a bunch of dead radioactive worthless executives to also contend with.

Re:Just modify the constraints... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#46371099)

Because one disaster is made better by using the few people that demonstrated that they are some of the worst options for operating a nuclear power plant.

That didn't happen at Fukushima. I find it interesting how people can't wrap their heads around the idea that magnitude 9 earthquakes can cause nuclear accidents.

Blow it down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46369919)

Bury underknee and plant Nuke to sunk contamanation to the centre of the Planet. Or Rocket to the Moon.

Re:Blow it down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46371069)

Could you repeat that in English please? Or minus the 12 cans of beer?

This is really a simple process (1)

JudgeFurious (455868) | about 5 months ago | (#46369973)

Step One: Find someone born on Krypton......

Re:This is really a simple process (1)

gnick (1211984) | about 5 months ago | (#46370083)

According to a recent documentary I saw, apparently the DNA of pretty much the whole race is stored in one Kryptonian. I dozed off about half-way through, but if I understand correctly, we just need to give him a call by shining a bat-shaped spot-light into the sky.

Re:This is really a simple process (2)

RailGunner (554645) | about 5 months ago | (#46370163)

Batman: Good evening, Commissioner.
Gordon: Batman, we need you to look at a reactor melt-
Batman: I've already fixed it. I capped it with a WayneTech dome.


Meanwhile in Metropolis:

Lois Lane: Reports of a melted reactor in Japan have -
Clark Kent: This looks like a job for...
Superman: Superman

Superman: Hmm, leaking radiation.. OH GOD IT'S LIKE KRYPTONITE IT HURTS IT HURTS BATMAN, HELP ME!!

UnStAbLe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46370033)

The problem is, due to the imminent collapse of the structure as they have become brittle, and the failure of containment, which is ongoing; the rods have a high likelihood of becoming exposed to air ant starting to burn. The resulting plume may then circle the globe and cause and extinction level event. As it is the whole think is woefully under reported and mismanaged which might be irrelevant, except it is many times worse than Chernobyl, even at this point. Beta particles have been discovered on the eastern US seaboard, which are the worst kind of fallout. Perhaps the US should take over the cleanup?

Re:UnStAbLe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46370165)

The resulting plume may then circle the globe and cause and extinction level event

Yeah, like that last time when Chernobyl exploded and all life on Earth became extinct. You just couldn't resist the hyperbole could you?

Beta particles have been discovered on the eastern US seaboard, which are the worst kind of fallout.

"Beta particles" aren't "fallout".

You quite literally have no idea of basic physics, let alone nuclear engineering, do you?

Re:UnStAbLe (0)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | about 5 months ago | (#46370621)

Printing $65 billion a month is the only reason the US hasn't had a Economic collapse.

The US is technically bankrupt if it was run as a business.

Back in 2010 the FDIC even had a negative balance sheet.

The US in financial terms can't rescue a little girl's lemonade stand except
by printing more funny money.

The only reason it is working now is due to the faith of all the ppl on the treadmill.

Re:UnStAbLe (1)

fnj (64210) | about 5 months ago | (#46371083)

It's not faith. It's necessity.

Re:UnStAbLe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46370725)

Everything you said was fucking stupid. Please kill yourself.

Just wait for Godzilla to show up. (1)

RailGunner (554645) | about 5 months ago | (#46370125)

He'll stomp a mud hole in any nuclear reactors.

Don't know (3, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | about 5 months ago | (#46370265)

If they don't know how they'll do it, how do they know it'll take 40 years and 15 billion dollars?

Re:Don't know (5, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#46370327)

The "37 years remaining" reminded me of the old joke: A museum guide tells visitors "...and this ancient artifact is six thousand and thirteen years old". A tourist asks: "How do the scientists know that so precisely?" The guide responds: "I don't know how they did that, but when I got the job thirteen years ago, they told me it was six thousand years old". (Or something along the lines of this...)

Re:Don't know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46370333)

If they don't know how they'll do it, how do they know it'll take 40 years and 15 billion dollars?

There's gotta be sandbagging involved, either literally or figuratively.

Re:Don't know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46370347)

shhhhh

Re:Don't know (2)

erichill (583191) | about 5 months ago | (#46370975)

If the final price comes anywhere near as low as $15 billion (adjusted for inflation) I'll be very, very surprised.

Will this be cheaper? (0)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 5 months ago | (#46370337)

Dig a hole adjacent to the powerplant, about 1 km deep.

Build an enclosure covering both the top of the hole and the power plant.

Set off series of small explosives to reduce the power plant to small sized rubble. The enclosure should be able to contain the debris and be airtight. They could spray gasoline on the debris and burn them repeatedly to weaken the structures before setting off these small explosives. The explosives will be set using remote controlled vehicles.

User remote controlled bulldozers to push the rubble into the hole

Back fill the hole with the tilings.

Cover it with a concrete slab some 30 meters thick.

Re:Will this be cheaper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46370445)

This is a very bad plan. Fire and explosions are the worst things you can do to this stuff. This will just create highly radioactive dust and spread it around. Any enclosure that should be able to keep that in could not be opened for months or years after the operation ended at least because everything, even the tiniest specks of dust air, will be highly radioactive.

Besides, how do you keep the ocean next door from seeping into your hole?

Re:Will this be cheaper? (1)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | about 5 months ago | (#46370677)

Agreed, they can learn from what they went thru at Chernobyl.

No need to reinvent the wheel except in a case where it can be proven as viable.

I think one thing that might make it cheaper for them would be hybrid concrete called
papercrete.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Will this be cheaper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46371735)

Chernobyl was a terrible way to deal with a nuclear accident. All they did was drop enough stuff on it to prevent slow down the release of radioactive materials. They have no long term decommissioning plan at all.

TEPCO intend to actually defuel the reactors and clean up the site, which is a far better solution.

Re:Will this be cheaper? (1)

confused one (671304) | about 5 months ago | (#46371159)

So.... Just so I'm following. You want to build an air-tight container, then burn the rubble with gasoline inside the container... Oxygen? Combustion gas (radioactive combustion gas)? any consideration for these given?

and as to your hole... water table? Fault lines?

Very carefully. (1)

confused one (671304) | about 5 months ago | (#46370349)

How do you disassemble the Fukushima site? Very carefully...

Mr Roboto, radioactivato (1)

ehiris (214677) | about 5 months ago | (#46370541)

I for one look forward to our radioactive robot overlords.

Seriously, if the Japanese are very good at something, it is finding a reason to build robots. Maybe the fallout will be better robots.

Kaiju! (1)

FishOuttaWater (1163787) | about 5 months ago | (#46370703)

Too soon for a new wave of Tokyo-eating monsters? ..in the movies, I mean.

The Dork Slot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46370749)

Encase it in a concrete sarcophagus like Chernobyl, with a slot on the top to insert commentators who tell us nuclear power is cheap and safe
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