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Implicancias de la falla en Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

20 Marzo 2011 , Escrito por El polvorín Etiquetado en #Politica

Implicancias de la falla en Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant
 
 
Implications of the failure of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

 

 

Pressenza: ¿Qué tan grave es esto realmente? Steven …Quiero decir, hay un montón de incógnitas y entiendo que las personas próximas a la región de la emergencia nuclear en Japón, deben estar en grave peligro si no se puede poner bajo control los reactores atómicos … estamos al borde de un evento de extinción?

 

Steven Starr: No creo que esto sea algo parecido a un “evento de extinción” en contexto de guerra nuclear como los que he discutido en mis escritos. Tengo preocupaciones, sin embargo, porque el efecto acumulativo de poner toneladas de Cs-137 y otros devastadores venenos radiactivos de larga vida en los ecosistemas, con el tiempo podría gatillar el equivalente de un “evento de extinción genética” de formas complejas de vida. Te daré una explicación de largo aliento.

 

Hay una gran cantidad de radiactividad en los 6 reactores en Fukushima Daiichi. Ya se ha liberado tanto que es imposible para los bomberos y para los trabajadores, acercarse lo suficiente al reactor 4 y su estanque de enfriamiento como para reponer el agua que requiere el sistema en el estanque, tampoco se puede reconectar las líneas de energía.

 

Creo que lo que ocurrirá en los siguientes días, es que mucha gente sacrificará sus vidas en un esfuerzo desesperado para conseguir reponer agua de nuevo en los estanques que almacenan combustible gastado y en los núcleos de los reactores. No creo que estos esfuerzos tengan éxito. Los informes dicen que había 50 trabajadores en la planta y, normalmente hay 800 trabajadores, esos 800 no podía hacer frente a la fusión de un reactor en caso de una tragedia, y ahora hay tres reactores al borde de una tragedia de fusión (dos con los contenedores dañados y además un estanque de combustible gastado en el reactor 4, en llamas (y aún puede ser que el fuego no se controle. ¿Cuáles son las probabilidades de que tengan éxito?

 

El peor escenario es si tienen que abandonar con el tiempo los intentos de salvar a los reactores debido a los niveles de radiación muy altos como para que los seres humanos puedan estar en el lugar algo más que unos minutos sin desfallecer. Puede ser ya el caso del reactor 4, y tal vez del reactor 3. . . mi conjetura es que la radiación de las barras de combustible ardiendo en el combustible gastado del estanque del reactor 4 han contaminado el reactor 3, que está junto a él. Recuerde que hay seis centrales nucleares que están todas alineadas en la costa, creo que hay cerca de 2000 pies (unos 700mts) entre el primero y el último. Así que las explosiones posiblemente ya regaron altos niveles de radiación entre esos reactores.

 

Si los trabajadores no pueden llegar a estos reactores (no parecen ser capaces de hacerlo ahora), y no pueden conseguir restablecer los sistemas de enfriamiento de nuevo (lo que requerirá no sólo de electricidad, también de sistemas de refrigeración intactos y bombas de trabajo capaces de suministrar decenas de miles de galones de agua cada día), entonces no serán capaces de enfriar los estanques de combustible gastado (6 estanques, una encima de cada reactor, cada uno con al menos un par de miles de barras, y un estanque común grande a nivel del suelo que puede contener 6,800 barras), o los 6 núcleos de los reactores, que requieren algo más que sólo agua vertida sobre ellos, además tienen que enfrentar vapor de agua radiactiva. Es decir, que tienen que llevar agua a siete estanques separados de combustible gastado, que cada uno requiere alrededor de 12.000 galones de agua al día para mantenerse estable, y a los 6 núcleos de los reactores (no sé la cantidad de agua que se llevará allá). Y recuerde, hay 50 personas en el sitio.

 

También tenga en cuenta que según los informes, los contenedores de los reactores de 2 y 3 han sido dañados …¿qué significa eso? fusiones y fugas masivas que quizá no pueden ser prevenidas en tales circunstancias. También hay muchos informes de que el estanque de combustible gastado en el reactor 4 fue dañado, razón por la cual está seco, según el testimonio del jefe de la NRC ante el Congreso de los EE.UU., el otro día. Si el estanque está dañado y no puede retener el agua, entonces eso es un problema que ellos no pueden solucionar … Si ese es el caso, entonces la radiación podría fácilmente empeorar y hacer todo el lugar inaccesible e inhabitable. Si ese es el caso, no veo la forma en que pueden prevenirse la fusión de todos los otros reactores y estanques de almacenamiento de material reactivo viejo.

Si no pueden detener este proceso horrible, entonces seguramente habrá grandes emisiones de radiación. Pero …¿tal vez puede volcarse arena y hormigón en ellos? Si se vierte sobre las plantas desde helicópteros, se expone a los pilotos y tripulantes a niveles mortales de radiación. Nada sería fácil en este momento. Sin embargo, la situación en Fukushima no es lo mismo que Chernóbil, que explotó a plena potencia, y con esa explosión, la pluma radiactiva fue enviada hasta la parte alta de la troposfera, lo que le permitió atravesar todo el hemisferio norte fácilmente. No creo que los estanques de combustible gastado desencadenarían este tipo de explosión, aunque he leído que si todas las barras se funden, existe la posibilidad de llegar a la criticidad, y tal vez conseguir ese tipo de explosión. Si los reactores se funden, podría derretir a través del suelo el contenedor y también producir una explosión. No sé qué tan alto podían ir el humo y vapores radiactivos sin una explosión. La Embajada de EE.UU. ha recomendado un área de evacuación de 80 kilómetros, que creo que dice algo.

 

No se trata de una guerra nuclear con miles de detonaciones nucleares al mismo tiempo en todo el mundo, así que no creo que se pueda comparar Fukushima a un escenario apocalíptico. Creo que hacerlo es un error, porque es evidente que la guerra nuclear podría convertirse fácilmente en un evento de extinción masiva, incluso si una fracción relativamente pequeña de los arsenales nucleares operativos se detonaran en el conflicto.

 

Pero ¿cuáles son las consecuencias de dejar sueltos enormes cantidades de isótopos de vida larga, como el cesio-137 y plutonio? Cs-137 es lo que ha enfermado a cientos de miles de niños en Belarús y Ucrania, se acumula en la cadena alimentaria, y biomagnifica, envenena los alimentos. No tenemos absolutamente ninguna idea de las consecuencias a largo plazo si dejamos grandes cantidades de este material suelto en la atmósfera, especialmente las consecuencias genéticas a largo plazo! Aquí es donde las peores decepciones se han sucedido, las normas de seguridad radiológica CIPR son amañadas, no reflejan la actual comprensión biológica de cómo la radiación funciona en seres vivos, ¿qué hacen los radionucleidos en las células vivas cuando se abren paso dentro de los organismos vivos, especialmente en las formas de vida compleja. . . como nosotros.

 

Por lo tanto, tal vez si hay emergencistas lo suficientemente valientes para sacrificar su salud y su vida, y contra todos los pronósticos se las arreglarían para tener la situación bajo control en Fukushima Daiichi. Si no, entonces se dará inicio a la emisiones de radiactividad en grande, y grandes áreas del norte de Japón podría quedar inhabitables durante siglos.

 

 

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Implications of the failure of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

Written By: Website Administrator 3-18-2011
Pressenza l Steven Starr 18 March, 2011
Steven Starr from Physicians for Nuclear
Responsibility wrote for Pressenza about the events in Japan at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. “If enough brave people sacrifice their health and lives, against all odds they will manage to get the situation under control at Fukushima Daiichi. If not, then large areas of northern Japan could be left uninhabitable for centuries.”

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Pressenza London, 3/17/11 

Pressenza: Steven, How serious is this really? I mean, there are lots of unknowns and I understand that those close must be in terrible danger if they can’t bring it under control but are we on the edge of an extinction event?

Steven Starr: I don’t think this is anything like a nuclear war “extinction event” that I have discussed in my writings. I do have concerns, however, that the cumulative effect of putting tons of Cs-137 and other vicious long-lived radioactive poisons into the ecosystems could over time have the equivalent of a “genetic extinction event” for complex forms of life. I will give you a long-winded explanation.

There is a huge amount of radioactivity at the 6 reactors in Fukushima Daiichi. Enough of it has gotten loose to make it impossible for the firemen and workers to get close enough to Reactor 4 and its cooling pond to put water back into the pond, or hook up power lines (if any are indeed there to hook up).

I think what will happen soon is a lot of people sacrificing their lives in a desperate effort to get water back into the spent fuel ponds and into the reactor cores. I believe that these efforts are unlikely to succeed. Last reports said there were 50 workers at the plant and normally there are 800 workers; all 800 couldn’t deal with one reactor melting down, and now there are 3 reactors in meltdown (2 reportedly with damaged containment vessels) and a spent fuel pond at Reactor 4 that has been on fire (and may still be on fire). What are the odds they will succeed?

Worst case scenario is if they have to eventually abandon attempts to save the reactors because the radiation levels rise to high for humans to be on site for more than a few minutes without collapsing. It may be that is already the case at Reactor 4, and perhaps Reactor 3 . . . my guess is that the radiation from the burning fuel rods in spent fuel pond at Reactor 4 have contaminated Reactor 3 which is next to it. Remember there are 6 nuclear power plants which are all lined up on the coast, I think there is about 2000 feet between the first and the last. So the explosions we have seen surely have had the ability to distribute high levels of radiation to nearby reactors.

If workers cannot reach these reactors (they don’t seem to be able to do so now), and they are unable to get the cooling systems back on line (which will require not only electricity, but also intact cooling systems and working pumps able to supply tens of thousands of gallons of water every day), then they won’t be able to cool either the spent fuel ponds (6 ponds, one above each reactor, each holding at least a couple thousand rods, and one large common pond at ground level which can hold 6800 rods), or the 6 reactor cores, which require more than just water to be dumped in them, if they have to deal with radioactive steam they don’t want to vent (of course, they have been venting these anyway). That is, they have to get water to 7 separate spent fuel ponds, which each require about 12,000 gallons of water a day to remain stable, and to 6 reactor cores (don’t know how much water that will take). And remember, there are 50 people on site.

Also note that there have been reports that the containment vessels of Reactors 2 and 3 have been damaged, so what does that mean? Can meltdowns and massive leaks be prevented under such circumstance? Also there are many reports that the spent fuel pond at Reactor 4 was damaged, which was why it went DRY, according to the testimony of the head of the NRC before the US Congress the other day. If the pond is damaged and can’t hold water, then that is a problem that they CANNOT fix, as far as I can tell. If that is the case, then the radiation could easily get worse and render the entire place unreachable and uninhabitable. If that is the case, I don’t see how they can possibly prevent all the other reactors and ponds from melting down.

If they can’t stop this horrible process, then all bets are off, and then surely there will be huge releases of radiation. But maybe they can dump sand and concrete on them? Would hovering over the plants in helicopters expose pilots and crews to deadly levels of radiation? Nothing would be simple at this point. However, the situation at Fukushima is not the same as Chernobyl, which blew up at full power, and with such an explosion, the radioactive plume was sent all the way to the upper reaches of the troposphere, allowing it to easily traverse the entire northern hemisphere. I don’t think the spent fuel ponds would have anything like this sort of explosion, although I have read that if all the rods melt together, there is the potential to reach criticality, produce even more heat, and perhaps get some sort of explosion. If the reactors melt down, they could melt through the floor of the containment vessel and also produce an explosion. But this experiment hasn’t been done before. I don’t know how high the smoke/radioactive fumes could go without an explosion. The US Embassy has recommended an 80 km evacuation area, which I think tells you something.

This is not a nuclear war with thousands of nuclear detonations going off simultaneously all around the globe, so I don’t think you can compare Fukushima to such a apocalyptic scenario. I think doing so is a mistake, because it is quite clear that nuclear war could easily become a mass extinction event if even a relatively small fraction of the operational nuclear arsenals are detonated in conflict.

But what are the consequences of letting loose enormous quantities of long-lived isotopes, like Cesium-137 and Plutonium? Cs-137 is what is making hundreds of thousands of children sick in Belarus and the Ukraine, it builds up in the food chains, and biomagnifies, poisoning the foodstuffs. We have absolutely no idea of what the long-term consequences would be if we let huge amounts of this stuff loose in the atmosphere, especially the long-term genetic consequences! This is where the worst deceptions have been going on; the ICRP radiation safety standards are rigged, they do not reflect current biological understandings of how radiation works in vivo, what radionuclides do to living cells when they make their way INSIDE living organisms, especially complex forms of life . . . like us.

So, perhaps if enough brave people sacrifice their health and lives, against all odds they will manage to get the situation under control at Fukushima Daiichi. If not, then we will have only seen the very beginning of huge releases of radioactivity, and large areas of northern Japan could be left uninhabitable for centuries.

If the worst case scenario takes place, then huge releases of radiation will occur. Then, will we monitor their effects? There were great efforts to avoid such studies at Chernobyl; hence the WHO report which says 9000 people died, and the NYAS report that says 980,000 people died. Seems to be a discrepancy there, don’t you think? I have read the NYAS book, and I think it provides powerful evidence, such as the 450,000 children now suffering from “Chernobyl AIDS”, and the research being done by Dr. Timothy Mousseau of the University of South Carolina. I hope for a more open debate, but if history tells us anything, we will see a huge smear campaign directed at anyone who attempts to defy nuclear experts who tell us that really the worst thing about all these accidents is the money they cost.

My own worst fears are that by continuing to dump huge amounts of long-lived radioisotopes into the ecosystems, we will slowly but surely insure that future generations will be less and less likely to live long and healthy lives, or eventually, to be born healthy . . . or to be born at all. Ever since we started blasting millions of tons of radioactive material into the atmosphere, we have been performing a radiological experiment on all living things, including ourselves.

To give you an idea of what I am talking about, I have attached a map of radioactive fallout in the US which resulted from the 104 atmospheric nuclear weapons tests in Nevada (the precise number may be debatable, but the number was definitely at least 100, with the largest detonation being 74 kilotons). The US citizens certainly survived the fallout from these tests . . . but how did they affect human health? There is an assumption that all the thyroid cancers, leukaemia, etc have passed, but now we see one out of every three people getting cancer, with the total slowly moving towards one out of one. Putting endless amounts of dangerous mutagens into the environment only moves us closer to that endpoint.

Remember, I am an expert on nuclear weapons consequences, so when we get to nuclear reactors, it is different. And remember, nuclear weapons are designed to create worst case scenarios. I can confidently say that a nuclear war, as I have described it on my website (www.nuclearfamine.org) would indeed constitute a mass extinction event if thousands of strategic nuclear weapons are detonated in urban areas (and on nuclear power plants!).

Keep the attached fallout map in mind. You certainly won’t see everyone dropping dead from fallout from Fukushima, and so the nuclear industry will make sure to tell us that yes, it was a mistake, but we need clean, safe nuclear power, just as they continue to say that nothing really has happened here or at Chernobyl, that radiation is actually good for you, etc, etc. I don’t think this is an “extinction event” in the sense that you would picture a nuclear war. But releasing tons of Cs-137 to the winds is surely something that at the very least will doom many future generations to death, disease and endless misery. And how many radioactive exclusion zones do we want to create? Just because most of the radiation has been blowing out to sea doesn’t mean nothing has happened. Ever eat seafood?


About the Author: Steven Starr is a Senior Scientist with Physicians for Social Responsibility based at the University of Missouri.

He is leading world authority on the danger of nuclear winter and the nuclear launch-on-warning posture.

He has worked with the governments of Switzerland, Chile, New Zealand and Sweden in support of their efforts at the United Nations to eliminate thousands of high-alert, launch-ready nuclear weapons.

He has made presentations to ministry officials, parliamentarians, academics, citizens and students around the world, and specialises in making technical scientific information understandable to all audiences.

http://www.pressenza.com/npermalink/implications-of-the-failure-of-the-fukushima-daiichi-nuclear-power-plant

Reprinted by permission of the author.

Author’s note: The amount of spent fuel in the pools is understated in the article. The Union of Concerned Scientists state that there is a total of 800 tons of spent fuel located in the fuel ponds in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

www.nuclearfreeplanet.org/

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