Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Planned ice wall at Fukushima will make soggy ground worse, risking nuclear reactors collapsing

Asahi: Buildings at Fukushima plant can start floating from too much groundwater — Expert: Blocking groundwater with ice wall may weaken soil and cause buildings to topple (AUDIOhttp://enenews.com/asahi-buildings-at-fukushima-plant-could-start-floating-from-continuous-flow-of-groundwater-expert-ice-wall-may-weaken-soil-and-cause-buildings-to-topple-audio
Asahi Shimbun,, Sept. 18, 2013: [...] The site receives so much groundwater that special equipment–rendered useless by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami–was set up to prevent the plant’s buildings from floating on the continuous flow. [...] The original site of the Fukushima No. 1 plant was a cliff more than 30 meters high. But 20 meters was lopped off [...] putting the groundwater level only a few meters below the surface. The plant itself was constructed on land containing gravel layers through which water can easily pass through. In the past, a brook trickled by the No. 4 reactor. [...] Without that pumping, the buildings faced the danger of being buoyed by rising groundwater. [...] TEPCO officials have pinpointed only two locations, including the turbine building of the No. 1 reactor, where groundwater is entering the building basements. They believe there are many more breaches. [...]
Atsunao Marui,, head of Groundwater Research Group at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology: “About 4 million tons of rain falls on the plant site over the course of a year. Of that figure, it is believed that between 1 million and 1.5 million tons seep into the ground.”
Gordon Edwards, nuclear expert (at 39:45 in): This underground river that we talked about flowing ice-wall-Fukushimathorough — the problem with this is they don’t really know how to stop it. […] They really don’t know how to stop this flow because it’s a major aquifer. One of the plans that they are talking about is… a wall of ice a mile long to act as a barrier to prevent the groundwater from going in to the cores of these damaged reactors, in order to try and solve the problem… And nobody knows if it’s actually going to work. In fact, some of the experts in Japan have said that by diverting the groundwater around the sides of the building, you may weaken the soil to the point where the buildings themselves topple — and that could be a far worse problem. So, they really don’t know what they’re going. They literally don’t know what they’re doing.

Russia’s Nuclear Reactors Could Take over the World, Safe or Not [Preview]

The federation is aggressively selling reactors to countries with little nuclear experience, raising safety concerns

<b>EXPORT:</b> Russia's VVER reactors

EXPORT: Russia's new VVER reactors, under construction in Novovoronezh, are being ordered worldwide.Image: STRIHAVKA JAKUB AP Photo

In Brief

  • Russia is preparing to sell unconventional reactors to developing countries that have little nuclear power experience.
  • The models include breeder reactors that make plutonium, mini reactors meant to float on the ocean and pressurized-water reactors equipped with passive safety features intended to stop a reactor meltdown without human intervention.
  • Western experts say some of the models may not be as safe as Russian officials maintain and could increase the chance that weapons-grade material would spread worldwide.

More In This Article

For any country that may be considering acquiring its first nuclear reactor, Russia's annual ATOMEXPO offers a seemingly simple solution. At a recent event, thousands of people from around the world flocked to a giant, czarist-era exhibition hall. A visitor could hear vendors such as Rolls-Royce talk about steam generators, watch reporters interview experts for a Russian nuclear-themed television program or pick up a “Miss Atom” calendar featuring the year's prettiest Russian nuclear workers.
The real action, though, was at a multilevel booth for Rosatom, Russia's state-owned nuclear company, which exuded a Steve Jobs vibe of pure whiteness and know-how. That was where “newcomers,” as the Russians fondly call them, from nations that do not have nuclear power plants heard about options and signed cooperation agreements for Rosatom to build or even operate reactors for them. At one point, photographers snapped shots of Nigerian nuclear officials as they clinked champagne flutes with Rosatom chief Sergey Kirienko, celebrating their baby steps toward joining Russia's growing roster of clients, including Turkey and Vietnam. Rosatom has already finished reactors in China and India. In July, Finland chose the company over French and Japanese competitors for its next reactor.

This article was originally published with the title Russia's New Empire: Nuclear Power.