Reactor at operating power hit by Orphan Tsunami (no local quake) . What would be different to 3/11?

http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/pp1707/

U.S. Geological Survey
Professional Paper 1707

Prepared in cooperation with the Geological Survey of Japan (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology), the University of Tokyo, and the University of Washington.
Published in association with University of Washington Press.

The Orphan Tsunami of 1700—Japanese Clues to a Parent Earthquake in North America

By Brian F. ATWATER ,
MUSUMI-ROKKAKU Satoko ,
SATAKE Kenji ,
TSUJI Yoshinobu ,
UEDA Kazue ,
and David K. YAMAGUCHI

2005

quake
A simulated tsunami reaches Japan ten hours after its start along the Pacific coast of North America

“One winter’s night in the year 1700, a mysterious tsunami flooded fields and washed away houses in Japan. It arrived without the warning that a nearby earthquake usually provides. Samurai, merchants, and villagers recorded the event, but nearly three centuries would pass before discoveries in North America revealed the tsunami’s source.
The Orphan Tsunami of 1700 tells this scientific detective story through clues from both sides of the Pacific. The evidence uncovered tells of a catastrophe, a century before Lewis and Clark, that now helps guide preparations for future earthquakes and tsunamis in the United States and Canada.” Source: AS above.

http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2012/jul/13-year-cascadia-study-complete-–-and-earthquake-risk-looms-large

“13-YEAR CASCADIA STUDY COMPLETE – AND EARTHQUAKE RISK LOOMS LARGE

8-1-12

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A comprehensive analysis of the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the Pacific Northwest coast confirms that the region has had numerous earthquakes over the past 10,000 years, and suggests that the southern Oregon coast may be most vulnerable based on recurrence frequency.

Written by researchers at Oregon State University, and published online by the U.S. Geological Survey, the study concludes that there is a 40 percent chance of a major earthquake in the Coos Bay, Ore., region during the next 50 years. And that earthquake could approach the intensity of the Tohoku quake that devastated Japan in March of 2011.

“The southern margin of Cascadia has a much higher recurrence level for major earthquakes than the northern end and, frankly, it is overdue for a rupture,” said Chris Goldfinger, a professor in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and lead author of the study. “That doesn’t mean that an earthquake couldn’t strike first along the northern half, from Newport, Ore., to Vancouver Island.

“But major earthquakes tend to strike more frequently along the southern end – every 240 years or so – and it has been longer than that since it last happened,” Goldfinger added. “The probability for an earthquake on the southern part of the fault is more than double that of the northern end.”

The publication of the peer-reviewed analysis may do more than raise awareness of earthquake hazards and risks, experts say. The actuarial table and history of earthquake strength and frequency may eventually lead to an update in the state’s building codes.

“We are considering the work of Goldfinger, et al, in the update of the National Seismic Hazard Maps, which are the basis for seismic design provisions in building codes and other earthquake risk-mitigation measures,” said Art Frankel, who has dual appointments with the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Washington.”

Link to full paper: http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/pp1661f/

From the point of view of reactor cooling systems, the scenario of an orphan tsunami is technically very interesting. If reactor designers design for a repeat of Fukushima Diiachi 2011, they have to consider full power output and full engagement of the primary coolant system by the reactor. And with the reactor (reactors, both sides of the Pacific) in question would first experience shut down and emergency cooling ready mode (if the solenoids work) , but the destruction of the primary cooling when it is in full use. The backup pumps would useless, and probable loss of control.

And that I think is actually very frightening. It would be an entirely different type of reactor response and consequence than that seen in March 2011.

There is a way of course of alerting reactors to approaching orphan tsunamis. I hope there is a procedure for it in the manual. And that it is not covered in TEPCO Black Ink.

2 Responses to “Reactor at operating power hit by Orphan Tsunami (no local quake) . What would be different to 3/11?”

  1. CaptD Says:

    A very powerful article and one that the Nuclear Industry AND THEIR REGULATORS needs to respond to, if they want to regain their credibility; making excuses is N☢ longer acceptable when it could mean the difference between paying for improvements to these Reactors and a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster!

    • CaptD Says:

      I posted this at the Official NRC blog site: (Now in Moderation)
      http://wp.me/p1fSSY-O6

      How many at the NRC are trained Geologists beside the new Chairwomen?

      This is a very powerful article and one that the Nuclear Industry and the NRC needs to respond to, if they want to regain their credibility; making excuses is N☢ longer acceptable when it could mean the difference between paying for SITE improvements to or the decommissioning of these “at risk” Reactor Complexes and a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster, like Fukushima!

      Remember the risk of a once in a thousand year “event” could just as likely happen tomorrow as in a thousand years…

      Reactor at operating power hit by Orphan Tsunami (no local quake). What would be different to 3/11?

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