The Description of the Fukushima Events by C. Lobscheid at Lawrence Berkley, April 5, 2011

This explanation is very clear and precise. It’s all in one place, and is a complete explanation from the technical knowledge base.

The description in its detailing of the chief vulnerability of the ECCS in situation of primary coolant system failure. Although most of the ECCS component were driven thermally (steam) directly from reactor heat, one type of ECCS is not – the ECCS piping valve operating solenoids. If these had been, no hydrogen explosions would have occurred, no melt downs would have occurred and no containment breaches would have occurred at the reactors located at Fukushima Diiachi. At least, for the reason of station blackout.

I cannot fathom a design regime so obsessed with protection of the core overlooking the potential for the ECCS to run over a long period of time as an integrated self powered system. Why self power the entire ECCS except for the valves that allow the emergency coolant circuits to flow?

It would not have cost much money to allow the the ECCS steam turbine to generate power to ensure the ECCS valves stayed open for an extended period.

The whole concept of “beyond design basis accident” is flawed if loss of external electricity is considered by the very learned to be beyond comprehension as a possiblity. The whole ECCS is so compatible with the idea of integral self powered ECCS valves – every other component is driven by the steam turbine, that it is very likely that the designers were told, no, the valves must not be powered by the ECCS steam turbine. Why? because the situation of zero external power was beyond the mental capacity of the guys in charge to contemplate.

In term of thier own lives, these guys don’t know what a torch is. (A self contained emergency backup)

A power blackout is not beyond any normal human’s design basis. The only ones who disagree are in charge of ECCS approvals.

The ignorance of the learned.

The fundamental vulnerability of nuclear reactors to failure and disaster is intrinsic to the reactor core. All a nuclear reactor has to do is generate sufficient heat to boil without ever approaching destructive overheat nor of ever, in anyone’s wildest imagination, approach that thermal limit.

The natural state of a core is to increase in temperature until self destruction occurs. The whole idea that the ancillaries humans put in place to limit that fundamental tendency are sufficient is fundamentally flawed.

The core is an unsafe device for it can melt, and on the way to doing this, the core generates sufficient hydrogen gas to destroy the ancillaries humans put in place to limit core temperature.

The potential for catastrophic heat generation is the fundamental weakness of the reactor core. Sufficient heat to boil is required. The ability to generate sufficient heat to generate hydrogen and melt uranium and plutonium is actually the core’s talent. This is not desirable from any perspective.

Nuclear engineers think they are building a power plant. Given the mindset, they fail to see that they are actually designing a uranium smelter. Cheap, for it needs no external power for the uranium to melt itself.

Technically sweet?

I conclude that within paragraph 5 of the NRC Acceptance criteria for Emergency Core Cooling Systems is the unwritten assumption that external could not possibly ever be interrupted. Wrong assumption. The ECCS has to remain operation for a sufficient period of time to ensure that decay heat does not turn the nuclear power plant into an explosive smelter of nuclear fuel.

Science does not understand the technology it spawns. No matter how well regulators understand the science, where a single function device has the potential for an alternate destructive function, any control system, when it fails, becomes a toggle switch which transforms the technology from one device to the other.

The heat of every nuclear power plant is a radiological weapon. All it needs is a trigger. The consideration of triggers is not science fiction, even if nuclear industry has spent the period since 1967 inculcating the leaders of the world to the contrary.

It is dumb stuff. Didn’t the need for a thermally self limiting core ever occur to the idiots in charge? Why not?

I think you know, given the choice of death by radionuclide inhalation or death by drowning – the nuclear industry justifies itself now in terms of end time events – I’ll take drowning thanks.

In the wake of Fukushima Diiachi, the disaster caused by a flat battery, the genius in residence at Adelaide University suggested the solution lay in the construction of a nuclear reactor in which the natural state of the core was molten, cooled by liquid sodium. Glenn Seaborg’s solution that nearly wiped out Detroit. The idea was presented as a futuristic vision rather than the sobering lesson from that time in history when the construction of FERMI 1 denied the ECCS testing program sufficient funds to prevent the Fukushima Diiachi disaster.

The boiling point of water is 212 degrees F. Triple it. That is all that is required. Anything more is stupid.

And a device which is claimed to be the powerhouse of the planet turns out to be unable to power its own cooling system from its own thermal reserves. That is completely nuts.

There is another problem intrinsic to reactors.

Every time the fuel is changed, there is containment breach. This annual containment breach at each plant, being deliberate, is deemed to be safe by the nuclear industry. Others disagree. Refuel – remove and replace the fuel in the core.

One Response to “The Description of the Fukushima Events by C. Lobscheid at Lawrence Berkley, April 5, 2011”

  1. CaptD Says:

    Nice and concise!
    Salute great “find”…

    The problem with nuclear is that something “else” will always happen and when it does you could get yet another Fukushima!

    What country can afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster?

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