Saturday, April 30, 2011

Nuclear Cloud Over Fukushima

Nuclear Cloud Over Fukushima

Nuclear? Blast at Fukhshima reactor 3[/caption][Hu's on First] Check out my Fukushima Nuclear Crisis index at and the timeline at I'm gathering enough information that I might be in a position to do an on-line book on the complete story of the nuclear crisis since everybody else is just putting out news stories and blogs

Prompt Critical = Small Nuclear Bomb

I’m catching some new issues from trackbacks on the TEPCO pictures article. It’s evident that the US and even the world press has pretty much forgotten about the Fukushima nuclear crisis, but it’s far from over. TEPCO’s “plan for the future” is pretty much to let radioactivity continue to spill at baby-chernobyl levels for the next three months. They finally got a helicopter to take a look at unit 4 which had it wall blown out by an explosion and fire, and have a video of the fuel pool which at least has water in it now.

They still haven’t taken a close look at unit 3 which blew out the entire west concrete wall to the ground which was built more like the Pentagon than a steel shed, and nobody can find any sign of the giant overhead crane or the bus-sized green refueling platform that shows so obviously from unit 4.

The most striking theory has been presented by
from retired nuclear power exec Arnie Gunderson. His video is all over the blogs and even conspiracy oriented Russia Today and Wikipedia, but not a peep from CNN or FOX. He theorizes that the explosion was so big and violent, on top of evidence that nothing happened to the reactor core to spill radioactive debris as far as two miles away and 1000 ft in the air that what really must have happened at the spent fuel pool in no. 3 was “prompt criticality” — instantaneous, uncontrolled nuclear fission . He thinks that enough hydrogen accumulated in a largely dry pool to blow up like unit 1, but that it re-arranged the rods close enough to create a quick chain reaction that wasn’t big enough to level a city, but still cause an explosion like that at the 1961 SL-1 which generated heat fast enough for a steam explosion that killed 3, including impaling one unfortunate soldier to the ceiling. Gunderson spotted a bright flash in the south corner of the building above the fuel pool, and says that an explosion in the pool would be focused upwards. It would also instantly turn tons of uranium and plutonium into a giant vertical mushroom cloud of debris, and explain the plutonium detected at the site, and the large debris chunks they bulldozed between units 3 and 4. There has been NO report of what caused the huge gash in the roof of the turbine building, or if anybody has taken a look inside to see what fell there, though it looks like where the big square black roof seen in the air may have fallen.

Here is the video, it lacks a written transcript, but it makes 100% sense to this MIT engineer:

Gundersen Postulates Unit 3 Explosion May Have Been Prompt Criticality in Fuel Pool from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.

I’m still the only guy to mention that two truckloads of explosives on Mail Call only produced a clould of about 150 ft, the size of the reactor building, but another guy as produced dimensions that also puts the height of the cloud at 300 meters or 1000 ft. AREVA estimates 300-1,000 kg ~= 2000 lbs of hydrogen were produced . That’s 1/6 of what it takes to fill a 12,000 lb Goodyear blimp, and the size of ONE 2,000 laser guided bomb typically carried by an Strike Eagle or F-117 to hit buildings or bunkers. The no. 3 blast has to have at least 5-10 times as much energy to produce a cloud ten times as high, and certainly looks like a decent 10% or better fraction of the destruction caused by the 757 (or whatever it was for truthers) that hit the Pentagon, another concrete structure. That tells me there’s no way a ton of hydrogen could have made a blast that big, especially given how different it looks from no. 1 which was clean and horizontal and did not spill tons of debris 1000 in the air.

The original image is evidently from here:
Posted by George Valah

More and more evidence points to our own assessments about the Fukushima nuclear plants being far more accurate than the official story line. Now they are finally admitting leaks in 3 of the reactors, they are admitting that the number 4 fuel pool is leaking, and now experts are considering the possibility that the number 3 explosion wasn’t just hydrogen, but that it also had a nuclear impetus that spread the number 3 fuel pool fuel all over the planet…

Gunderson says this may explain detection of Uranium at the highest levels since we started shooting the stuff at tanks in the Gulf war using DU depleted uranium rounds from M-1 tanks. They are even finding Americium, heavier than plutonium, not only in Japan but in europe, it’s nonexistent in the environment but one ton of spent nuclear fuel contains about 100 grams of americium, so you go figure how much fuel went into the air to land that far away at detectable levels. We don’t know what the effects are at “safe” levels are.

The first question was posted on March 14, soon after the explosion on this youtube video
“world’s dirtiest hydrogen explosion” with this text:

Uploaded by voltscommissar on Mar 14, 2011

The Fukushima Daiichi No.3 explosion looks a LOT dirtier than the No.1 explosion two days earlier. In this de-colorized but contrast-enhanced silent movie, the mushroom cloud is dark, nothing like the translucent shock wave seen in No.1

The building explodes in a flash then the dirty mushroom thrusts rapidly upwards. It contains large chunks of debris. Near the ground white clouds of water vapour or pulverized concrete spread rapidly towards buildings 2 and 4

Japanese nuclear engineers and government regulators must immediately explain why this explosion is so different in colour, shape and ferocity if it is allegedly only a “hydrogen” explosion. Boy, they sure make those brittle reactor vessels tough if they can remain intact whilst venting all that hydrogen and steam, then being surrounded by such a monstrous explosion.

Are we really expected to believe that the aperture where the hydrogen/steam was venting from the reactor vessel somehow magically welded itself shut during the explosion? “Pig’s arse!” is a famous Australian expression of disbelief applicable to PR spin situations like this.

then this comment showed up and later mirrored across the blogosphere including

Fukushima And The Plutonium Mystery By Mary Hamer, M.D 13 April, 2011
(warning, I’ve previously put this site in my 911truther anti-war, pro-palestine, anti-Israel/semitic conspiracy category, but that’s for another day)

comment by The Rad RiderMarch 29th 06:36am later quoted across
internet: Study the close up views of the 3 reactor explosion and you will see that the blast was not the type of explosion one would expect from the ignition of hydrogen. The fireball seen in the corner of the plant may have been due to hydrogen but it was much too small to cause the main blast. Not only that, inspection reveals that this was a directional blast. Much as if a cannon had been fired straight up from inside the reactor building. This is what one would
expect if the reactor dome exploded with enough force to take out the removable concrete pads covering it. Injecting sea water into the molten core caused an immediate explosion of steam. If the temperature of the reactor vessel had reached critical temperature, it would not have had the integrity required to withstand this dramatic increase in
pressure. If my assessment is correct, the dark colored cloud we witnessed, that was shot approximately 1,000 feet into the air,contained the MOX core and made this accident worse than Chernobyl.

Now given that TEPCO says the core wasn’t involved in the explosion, that leaves Gunderson’s prompt criticality theory as a pretty plausible explanation that needs to be tracked down and either proven or disproven.

I don’t think it’s good that the conspiracy press is taking the lead on non-mainstream explanations. The US government and media needs to hold Japan and TEPCO accountable for figuring out what really happened out there. I’ve accumulated considerable research over the past year on terrorism from before 9/11 to Fort Hood and the connection with 9/11 “truth” theories that Betty Ong and her plane were “faked” and “no muslims” and even “no airliners” hit any of the buildings that day. The one thing that connects them all is they all try to deflect the blame from radical Islamist muslims/arabs to Israelis/Jews/Mossad or opposing US involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq all the way from “I don’t think Israel did it” Alex Jones all the way down to the crazy “Zionists did it” and “Nazis unite with Palestineans who hate Jews” sites like David Duke who now appears to be working for Iran, if not the entire anti-Israel pro-Palestine crowd. I think I’ve moved to the anti-Nuclear side, but I can’t stand that whole left-wing coalition of marxists, socialists and revolutionaries (where young radical Asian Americans traditionally hung out in the 70s and 80s) that’s picking up the Fukushima issue. I do think we need more conservatives tracking this down instead of leaving it up to the “terrorists, what terrorists?” and “Israel apartheid” crowd.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

‘Gamification’ of tasks is serious business

Software Development Times april 2011
‘Gamification’ of tasks is serious business

(Note: posted from .pdf at for educational review as it is not searchable on engines.  industry people can get a free subscription from them)

When the Serious Games Summit first began in 2004, the event was heavily focused on the military and business applications of tailor-made videogames.

Pentagon officials tested out rifle games
against wall projectors, while Alcoa discussed
its forklift simulation game
designed to teach employees about
warehouse safety.

But this year, the summit expanded
its focus to include the ramifications of
commercial gaming.

Benjamin Sawyer, director of the
Serious Games Summit at the Game
Developers Conference in San Francisco,
said that “gamification”—the act of
making a task into a game—is the big
new buzzword for this space. But he
also said that this year’s event marks the
first time that speakers have focused on
the ramifications of widespread gameplay
upon society.

“The first three speakers were not
about demos, they were about meaningful
pieces of work people were doing that
represent one of the serious outputs of
games,” said Sawyer. “Nina Fefferman [a
professor at Rutgers University] spoke
on making real decisions based on ‘World
of Warcraft.’ Her output isn’t a game; it’s
a new epidemiological tool derived from
real gameplay.” (Fefferman’s research
concerned an in-game plague that could
spread among players.)

In a different session, Jayne Gackenbach
of Grant MacEwan University in
Edmonton, Alberta, described a study
that compared the frequency and
severity of nightmares in military personnel
who played games frequently
against those who played games infrequently.
Her research showed that traumatic
dreams were more common in
soldiers who played games less frequently.

Most of the high-level gamers
she interviewed still had nightmares,
but they were able to control them and
had fewer instances of feeling helpless
or powerless in those dreams.

“With Jayne’s work, she’s trying to
show that maybe games could have
some ability to help people who suffer
from nightmares,” said Sawyer. “You
can see where she’s going with it: trying
to answer this larger question. Those
two talks show that not everything in
serious games is about the manifestation
of a game. It’s the manifestation of
the contributions games can make in
serious ways beyond entertaining us.”

Sawyer also said that the buzzword
“gamification” is being put to the test
this year, thanks to the popularity of
social games like FarmVille.

“Serious games always follow closely
behind commercial games, and so
social games are popular this year. I
think that’s what’s driving gamification.
People are looking to see what’s the
extreme side of the curve, and how do
we use that?” he said.

“The other theme is serious games
have a big interest in scalability. If you
want to affect people, you want to affect
a lot of them. If you look at 500 million
Facebook users, you think about how
you can get to them.

“Early serious games dealt with really
serious topics. You’d get these big
games for big topics. I think, now, people
are saying the problems are big, but
the games don’t need to be. But they do
need to be big in one way, which is
scale. The industry’s notion of what
scale was five years ago was a triple-A
hit title, which is different now.”

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Fukushima containment performance or failure from GE PR

My response to GE paper on containment performance. GE seems to be saying the containments performed like champs, and that they did not perform worse than the Three Mile Island containments which did NOT blow sky high:

Uh, the upper floor of reactor one completely blew out and the roof fell down onto the top level so there is no access until somebody/thing clear out the debris.

Reactor three top floor and roof are completely destroyed in hydrogen explosion that sent the roof about 500 ft into the air.

Reactor four explosion blew out roof panels, and destroyed concrete walls around nearly entire top level, with parts of lower levels. No word on damage to spent fuel pool.

All four reactors hit temperatures hot enough to essentially destroy fuel integrity and send enough radioactive iodine to be measured in milk in north america.

None of the concrete containment domes "blew up" spewing steam with radioactive badness across the globe, whether at "harmful" levels or not.

None of the reactors was designed to sustain such a failure - they are operating beyond all designed procedures, as described in the white paper, they were not designed to survive such a failure, and they have NOT survived in any manageable form besides improvised procedures such as the concrete pump. No procedure exists for disposing of radioactive water, nor for stopping release of radioactive steam / smoke or cooling reactor cores or fuel pools.

Japan deserves a big apology for America and GE for selling them plants like these even if we thought they were safe at the time.
Mark I Containment Facts and The New York Times

The New York Times published an online story last night and an accompanying graphic about the Mark I boiling water reactor (BWR) containment system used in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The story contains errors and distorts the facts about the technology with misleading comparisons of the BWR design and that of the pressurized water reactor (PWR).

The story claims that the BWR design is a “simpler containment.” The language suggests that simpler means weaker, which is not the case. In fact, there are containment design requirement differences. A PWR operates at over 2,000 pounds per square inch (psi). Conversely, a BWR operates at about half that – around 1,000 psi . In the event of a leak inside the containment system of a PWR, there are higher pressures that cause faster and larger volumes of instantaneous steam to be released. Therefore the containment has to have more free space in order to absorb the larger volumes of steam that are released.

Alternatively, a BWR operates at lower pressure and doesn’t have the same acceleration during a steam loss. Because the pressure loss is not as fast, the containment is not required to have as much free space and can be smaller in size. In either case, both designs are reviewed by the same regulatory processes – the same rules and the same requirements.

The Times also compares Three Mile Island and Fukushima, saying that the PWR reactor at Three Mile Island withstood a hydrogen blast. In fact, the hydrogen blast at Three Mile Island occurred within the primary containment. The hydrogen blast at Fukushima occurred in the reactor building – which is the secondary and not the primary containment. The indirect comparison between the blast at Three Mile Island and the blast at Fukushima is misleading.

Their graphic also confuses primary and secondary containment systems. They write: “Calculating how much heat needed to be disposed of, and with the torus to do that job, GE persuaded regulators that only a modest outer containment building was necessary.”

In fact:

The torus, which is a large, rounded suppression pool that sits next to the reactor core, is not the outer containment, it is primary containment.

By design, the outer containment is not a pressure containing building.

The reactor building (secondary containment) is kept at a slight vacuum to limit radioactivity release during refueling operations and during certain design scenarios.

The design pressures (meaning the pressures that each containment system is designed to withstand) of a BWR and a PWR primary containment are similar.
The Times also mischaracterizes the torus in a later description in the second paragraph. In fact, the torus is not kept at partial vacuum. It’s kept at ambient pressure. The secondary containment is kept at slight vacuum for reasons listed above.

The Times cites GE as one of its sources. GE did speak to them but the information they present is wrong.

Without a doubt, these issues are incredibly complex but that makes it all the more important for The New York Times to treat these issues with care.

Click to enlarge.

Learn more in these GE Reports stories:
* Setting the Record Straight on Mark I Containment History
* The Mark I Containment System in BWR Reactors
* An Update on GE Disaster Relief Efforts in Japan
* Facts on the Nuclear Energy Situation in Japan (Update)

Tagged as: Japan, Mark I, nuclear

Posted on March 19, 2011Print | Share this
Brent Weesner says:
March 20, 2011 at 10:55 am
If we really have to react on a Sunday morning to technical innaccuracies
in a non-technical newspaper, then we need to rethink the PR gameplan.
There is no disputing that TMI and Japan have had nuclear disasters.
Technical innacuracies in reporting will happen. I read them every day not
just in the public realm but in our own internal leadership publications.
Sure, as an engineer, it gets under my skin when Liberal Arts majors try to
act like they understand what they are talking about. Let it go.

Step away from the computer or flip to the Want Ads. GE has thicker skin than this.
If the technology is wanted, we’ll be there to sell it. You aren’t going to sway public
opinion with technical arguments.

FYI, when I was working for GE making nuclear weapon components and INFACT
won the Oscar for Best Documentary (I believe it was 1991) and shouted “boycot GE”
at the acceptance speech, we did not respond. Right move. Learn the lesson.

Anne Murray says:
March 20, 2011 at 10:57 am
Many thanks to the GE communications team working around the clock to communicate the facts regarding the Fukushima plant. You are doing a great job!

Irwin Mortman says:
March 20, 2011 at 7:26 pm
I worked for GE in the nuclear naval program which uses pressurized water reactors (PWR). Although the design of the PWR and the BWR are quite different I avoided giving the news media any serious credence. I was concerned the news media was using speculations in their reporting. There’s no doubt that providing any credible information of either the PWR or the BWR individually or as comparison s not straight forward task.

Thank you for providing credible information.

Francis Azzarto says:
March 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm
I worked in the same Naval Nuclear program that Irwin Mortman worked in and as much the subject of reactor designs, safety and risks are very difficult subjects it serves GE well to correct misinformation rather than ignor inaccurate reporting in such a major newspaper as the NYTimes. The fact is the reactors in Japan sustained the worst possible combination of events and still are maintaining some level of viable integrity. It speaks well for the GE design and the people and technology of Japan. As engineers it our responsibility to educate the public and not write ignorance. We have come a very long way from the technology of the 1960′s and 70′s and the public derserves to be educated with the facts of the tremendous progress.

Michael Cain says:
March 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm
It is quite evident that all that can be done is being incorporated in this disaster situation. It would behove the media to underego a specific class to underestand what it is they are trying to purvey to the public. would you let a domestic cat handler try to explain a wild lions motivations and actions.Not exactly the same scenario but a typical comparison. Thank you all involved Engineers.

Barry Woods says:
March 29, 2011 at 5:54 pm
Whether or not public opinion is altered by correcting the reported technical inaccuricies is irrelevant. Correct information needs to be given to the public, and GE has done just that. The media has not.

Often media coverage is erroneous, as Mr. Weesner (see his comments below) suggest because of the lack of scientfic/engineering education by many of those employed in the media.

At other times reporting is purposefully biased, by many in the media, to “sensationilize” their stories and thus attract readers/viewers/listeners. In he case of nuclear energy production, they can get by with this unprofessional form of journalism due to the public’s general lack of technical knowedge.

It is commendable that General Electric corrects reported inaccuracies, with regard to the nuclear facilities in Japan, as well as the current state of the situation.

It is only through proper knowledge of nuclear energy that the public can be induced to substitute reason over unwarranted fears.

Michael says:
April 1, 2011 at 11:40 am
Why SFP (spent fuel pool) is left outside the containment ?
The hydrogen explosion can destroy or damage the SFP also the cooling systems for SFP ?
How can be possible this big mistake in design ?

LT Brown says:
April 2, 2011 at 11:48 am
The media has persisted in saying it was the reactor when in fact it was the Spent Fuel Pool areas which have deflagrated. The error in the design for the SFP design falls with Hitachi and TEPCO as such a structure over the SFP in this country would get past the request for construction. The entire set of facilities sit on volcanic sand fill, not real solid foundation into the bed rock. Again the Japanese government and TEPCO licensing issue and responsibility. The facility being down so low near the coast line where they know a Tsunami and high water from Typhons (like a hurricane) is very probable thus one doesn’t put back up power systems on ground level outside the main building. These are Non-reactor issues in design done by TEPCO and their government regulatory agency (which has very little impact and nothing like the US NRC). Typically in this country, a back up power system from the main grid is from another offsite location which would not be affected by the same event (part of the safety basis analysis). Onsite backup generators are usually in more protected structures on on thop of the Aux Building, Key words are ‘would not be affected by the same event’. Looking at the issues affecting the situation in Japan, GE has done its work on making the reators safely shut down. I would wonder why the TEPCO management would not accept the intergrated analysis of the GE folks to make sure key elements for backup power were more robust and designed for such catastrophic events for the coastal site the reactors were placed. I think the future of reactor design will have the same protections as in US PWR facilities and future overseas units sold by companies in this country will consider the global impacts of localized events and insist that the entire facility be design more like the ones in the US. The SFP facilities will have similar safety structures, mitigation systems for SFP fracture/leakage. Major lesson learned here is that in the US and other countries we start to reprocess spent fuel assemplies as quickly as possible as not to have such exposure risk as has happened in Japan. The laws are on the US books but the Congressional powers have thwarted the implementation of the 1978 law and the $33 billion tax collected for reprocessing needs to be returned to its assigned account, and the IOU entitlement bunch must quit siphoning off such legally assigned monies. These funds provide for the DOE facilities with the dissolution, reprocessing, and waste encapsulation infrastructure to be modified to process the spent fuels from the ever expanding US SF assembly pools, wet storage and dry storage facilties onsite at the US reactors. We now see the real potential for a catstrophic event anywhere and ignoring the potential risk (both onsite and off-site as well as globally) is not a prudent path. Along side of this is the imperative learned that all facility safety systems adequacy need to be reviewed technically from an integrated event perspective often and upgraded often for the entire power facility.

Klaus says:
April 2, 2011 at 9:36 pm
There have been some very nice detailed discussions in the Economist and Bloomberg BusinessWeek. It would be quite informative were General Electric to discuss about the relative merits of passive safety mechanisms plus revolutionary technologies to migrate from water as cooling & moderation materials.