What will they be left with? (Japanese Reactors)

Let’s assume they get the upper hand, cool things down, whatever. No more leakage of radiation.

What will they be left with? Will they be able to do repairs and get their reactors back to working order? Will they be forced to bury all four in lead/concrete or something? Will they have to build 4 new reactors from scratch? What will the millions do for electricity in the mean time?

They have over 50 more online. Way more then the U.S. I’d assume they’ll be reviewing the safety procedure and backup systems on the plants still operating.


“Way More”?

The USA has 104 reactors in 65 sites according to my manual count here:


That’s a surprise. I’ve only heard of a few in the U.S.

I stand corrected. :wink:

Yes, but will there be opposition to the opening of any new nuclear plants? And as to what they’re going to do in the meantime, I heard that Gazprom is increasing deliveries of LNG. But they don’t have enough generating capacity to replace the destroyed plants.

And I also found an article that said that Russia is considering laying a cable from Sakhalin to Japan to supply power.

In terms of what they’ll do with those specific reactors: There are levels of damage that could be repaired. I think we’re probably past that level, but the information is pretty spotty right now. At some point, it’s easier (safer, more cost-effective) to just bury the thing in cement or some kind of structure and forget about it. With such high levels of radioactivity, you can reach a point where it’s simply impossible (or, at least, excessively hazardous) to work in those areas.

Chernobyl is currently covered with a cement “sarcophagus” and there are plans to update that with a steel enclosure sometime in the future.

In comparison, Three-Mile Island was repaired and eventually put back into service.

It appears that the Japanese incident is somewhere between the two, so we’ll just have to see what’s possible once it all settles out.

The reactors are already old enough to be considered past their expected lifespan. Japan has plenty of other plants without those reactors. They will likely be stripped down and the area encapsulated till they decide it’s worth the investment to do something further with the land.

Actually, the sarcophagus was a rush job (no surprise, considering the circumstances) and the concrete is crumbling, so it’s rather urgent to replace it with a better job. Only that costs money that the Ukraine doesn’t have and nobody else wants to pay for them, either, because the Ostrich tactic is so popular.

The “Japanese incident” as you so quaintly put it, is NOT OVER yet. Core melt down is still an imminent possibility. The govt. announced the possibility of three blocs melting on Monday - before bloc 2 exploded so hard that they think the inner shell is cracked (nobody can get close enough to really see what’s going on), and before bloc 4 (which was shut off to cool down the spent rods) started catching fire.

When the exposed rods heat up to full temp. of over 2 000 deg. C, then they will melt through the containment concrete shell like hot iron through snow and seep into groundwater plus explode a bit more into the air. That would be a bit of a problem for keeping that thing running.

Generally speaking, everything I have heard is that the reactors are so severly damaged that any repair is a hopeless, futile job. However, the Japanese population still seems to believe the govt., and the pro-nuclear propaganda, so all the screw-ups and lack of adequate back-ups that caused this catastrophe will probably not result in an indictment of the company, or the shut-down/ upgrade of other, older reactors.

Constanze, I didn’t mean to imply that the problems in Japan are over, or even at their peak. We just don’t know what’s going to happen yet - and have pretty scarce information on has already happened there. I just wanted to provide an answer to the part of the OPs question about repairs with comparisons to some other disasters relative to where things are rated in Japan right now. On a 1 to 7 scale, I believe Three-Mile was at 4, Chernobyl was 7 and Japan is (so far) in between.

French nuclear authority rate it a 6 along with the Finns.

The partial meltdown at TMI was in unit 2. Unit 2 has never been put back into service, nor will it ever be. Unit 1 was unaffected by the partial meltdown in unit 2. It was, however, shut down for several years after the accident at unit 2 out of an abundance of caution. It was restarted in the mid-1980s.

Level 4 is an incident with only local consequences. Considering that the USS Ronald Reagan detected radiation 100 miles out to sea, I think we can safely say that the Japanese have been downplaying things.

There are six reactors at Daiichi, not four.

Since they pumped in highly corrosive seawater and boron into reactors 1 through 3, they will not likely be able to reuse them, a fact which TEPCO acknowledged today.

I rank the Finns a 6 as well. The Swedish women’s beach volleyball team is a 9, though.

Many sections of Japan, including Tokyo, have undergoing rolling blackouts because of insufficient supply. I don’t know if they can restore any of the reactors (possibly 5 and 6), but there will be resistance by people to this.

Not necessarily, many people I’ve talked to are very concerned. Some are not and fit your description, but many others do not.

It will be interesting to see what happens.

They have increased it to Level 5.

When the exposed rods heat up to full temp. of over 2 000 deg. C, then they will melt through the containment concrete shell like hot iron through snow and seep into groundwater plus explode a bit more into the air. s.[/QUOTE]

This does not happen. Anti nuclear people like to assume that fission continues after the meltdown. If you assume fission keeps happening after the meltdown, then you can get some very bad outcomes.

In real life, fission stops after the meltdown. The core needs a certain geometry to maintain fission and it loses this after it melts. There have been studies showing that the core won’t melt through the vessel. And even if it did, the containment is designed to retain the core.

The China syndrome is a movie, not a real outcome.

Half the core melted in Three Mile Island in the first few hours. They did not know it at the time (indeed did not know for years till they opened it). The core never breached the reactor vessel and there was a containment vessel as a fall back if it did.