What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
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What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
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03-04-2017 09:08 PM#1
OctoMother Superior
Posts: 42,645Joined: Feb 2011
What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
It's not a matter of if, but when it happens.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859

What will happen to nuclear reactors? How long can cooling systems be sustained offline?

As of November 2016, 30 countries worldwide are operating 450 nuclear reactors for electricity generation

I'm hoping our in-house nuclear expert will chime in to answer these questions that worry me.
03-04-2017 09:17 PM#2
AddeMember
Posts: 355Joined: Apr 2012
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
I've been wondering about that myself. In a Walking Dead kind of scenario, I would think the nuke plants would be a hundred times as dangerous as zombie.gif zombie.gif zombie.gif
Energy technology is developing to the point where we don't need this unsafe subsidized load of crap. Even Fukushima is not a wake up call for the IQ challenged that sit at the top.
03-04-2017 09:27 PM#3
OctoMother Superior
Posts: 42,645Joined: Feb 2011
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
I had a rather interesting conversation irl with an older man in the business. He thought nuclear power was the best alternative. I asked him if he can guarantee the underground storage will be safe for 10s of thousands of years, but he couldn't.

We can ruin this precious planet real quick and I think we should aspire to do the opposite: leave it in better shape than we found it.
03-04-2017 11:33 PM#4
StrigoiMember
Posts: 222Joined: Mar 2011
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
This outcome frightens many.

Un Strigoi printre noi
03-05-2017 05:37 AM#5
failboatbanned lol
Posts: 3,386Joined: Nov 2013
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
the fuel rods would still need cooling.
i guess there is some sort of emergency generator that would run on gas to cool them.
question is: how long would it be possible to get gas for those generators? without electricity pumps don't work. and without pumps it's getting difficult to get the necessary amounts of gas to cool the rods i guess...
so... it would probably be a matter of weeks - not months - until we get our first reactor meltdowns after a carrington event (or hacker attack).
in other words: we're ƒükkêd .

do you have any spare batteries?
03-05-2017 02:46 PM#6
DaJavooIf looks could kilt
Posts: 1,827Joined: Mar 2011
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
A Carrington event would pretty much toast everything ~ all integrated circuits, all cars on the road (except =/> 30yrs old) all planes in the air, all electronics that are not shielded, etc..

Wires carry and amplify the effects.

Communication wiped out, no advanced medical help, limited travel beyond foot power.

At best guess, only half or better of the planet would be severely affected so it would instantly become a case of haves versus have-nots.

Fail-safe operations would rely on DC power, assuming it would still work. Could some nuclear reactors be shut down and safely contained? I'm sure some would, but not all.

It would truly be an End of Days scenario, from the top of the techno food chain on down.
03-05-2017 03:24 PM#7
KreeperGriobhtha
Posts: 9,707Joined: Feb 2011
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
(03-05-2017 02:46 PM)DaJavoo Wrote:  A Carrington event would pretty much toast everything ~ all integrated circuits, all cars on the road (except =/> 30yrs old)

Cuba would rule the world.

chuckle.gif

İmage
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
03-06-2017 08:03 PM#8
dclementsMember
Posts: 101Joined: Jan 2017
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
(03-04-2017 09:08 PM)Octo Wrote:  It's not a matter of if, but when it happens.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859

What will happen to nuclear reactors? How long can cooling systems be sustained offline?

As of November 2016, 30 countries worldwide are operating 450 nuclear reactors for electricity generation

I'm hoping our in-house nuclear expert will chime in to answer these questions that worry me.
To be honest I don't know exactly what safety features a nuclear power plant has against EMPs and after reading your OP I send an email to one of my previous professors in the hopes of getting more information. My instincts tell me that a nuclear power plant has enough shielding in it to protect the outside from a release of radiation that it should protect it from much of the effects of a EMP coming from the sun. Also because a nuclear bomb gives off a very power EMP (on more powerful than any that could be caused by a solar flare I believe) goes off I would like to assume that the scientist in charge of designing power plants take that into consideration. However nuclear power plants are not designed for things like direct nuclear strikes or for that matter zombie apocalypse (where it could be assumed no operators would be left alive to take care of the plant) however such scenarios there would be some other much bigger problems at hand to worry about the release of radiation from the fuel rods in the core.

I will try to get more information but I did find this link which can explain some of the issues and the ways that a plant might deal with it:
https://www.decodedscience.org/after-an-...fely/10030

Last thing I can say is that in nuclear power, plants are being designed with better and better passive safety features (ie features that work even if the plant loses all power) and so hopefully this will be less of a problem as time goes on.
03-06-2017 08:42 PM#9
OctoMother Superior
Posts: 42,645Joined: Feb 2011
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
Thanks for responding. The comments at your link weren't as optimistic as the article. Also the link at the bottom of the page had some terrifying info and it does lok like we're completely fkd if we're hit with a massive solar storm.

Quote:AMERICA IS FACING THE EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT OF 124 SIMULTANEOUS FUKUSHIMA MELTDOWNS

According to Judy Haar, a recognized expert in nuclear plant failure analyses, when a nuclear power plant loses access to off-grid electricity, the event is referred to as a “station blackout”. Haar states that all of the US nuclear power plants are built to withstand electrical outages without experiencing any core damage, through the activation of an automatic start up of emergency generators powered by diesel. Further, when emergency power kicks in, an automatic shutdown of the nuclear power plant commences. The dangerous control rods are dropped into the core, while water is pumped by the diesel power generators into the reactor to reduce the heat and thus, prevent a meltdown. Here is the catch in this process, the spent fuel rods are encased in both a primary and secondary containment structure which is designed to withstand a core meltdown. However, should the pumps stop because either the generators fail or diesel fuel is not available, the fuel rods are subsequently uncovered and a Fukushima type of core meltdown commences immediately.

http://www.thecommonsenseshow.com/2014/0...meltdowns/
03-06-2017 09:04 PM#10
JayRodneyⓐⓛⓘⓔⓝ
Posts: 30,954Joined: Feb 2011
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
The fuel will remain radioactive for 250,000 years or so.
Man has never built anything able to last 250,000 years.
It's kind of a no brainer, we're toast.

wonder.gif
03-06-2017 09:30 PM#11
dclementsMember
Posts: 101Joined: Jan 2017
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
While thinking about the problem you presented it reminded me of an issue that I encountered while taking my introduction to nuclear power course. The problem is if it is possible to just shut off a reactor in the event of an emergency and if so why they don't just built such a shut off switch if they can.

The strange thing is IT IS POSSIBLE to build a emergency shut off switch and if I can remember correctly some reactors (like the ones one US Navy ships) have them. The problem is if you need IMMEDIATELY shut off a reactor you can build it in a reactor, but it has one problem; to shut a reactor down very fast you have to ruin the reactive properties within the system thereby damaging the reactor itself. This effectively either badly damages in best cast scenarios or completely destroys it.

When I was first learning about nuclear power I thought such 'kill switches' where a good idea (ie it is better to destroy a reactor than allow the problem to get worse) until I found out how often you have a situation where someone might be tempted to use it. In the nuclear power industry there is something called SCRAM (supposed for safety control axe man, where a guy with a axe was supposed to cut the ropes to drop control rods in the first reactor) and nowadays 'transient' condition. For obvious reasons a transient sounds a little less ominous than a SCARM. Anyways both SCRAM or transient condition is a situation where a reactor is behaving in a way that it shouldn't and the operators have to figure out what to do to solve it. Because it happens often enough (such I don't work in the industry I don't know exactly how often, but I get the impression for those that do that it is more often than they would like it to or perhaps than it should) having a kill switch to deal with the problem would likely be very costly in the number of reactors that are ruined from people to quickly using it instead of trying to resolve it through other means.

However even with that being said, if there are situations where either human intervention isn't possible (such as in the cause with theoretical mini or micro reactors that are fully automated) or a reactor too close to the people , such as in a vessel or one operating to close to a city or other populated area, it is plausible to install 'kill switches' in order to sacrifice a reactor before a situation gets any worse than it already is.

One last thing, even if a reactor DOES get shut down by a kill switch or through the normal shut down process, it will still generate residual heat which must be dealt with in some way. It is much much less than the heat generated when it is operating but it is still enough to boil any water in it (and potentially melt the core) if not dealt with properly. There are some that think a system can be built to deal with this automatically and some that don't, but it is likely in order to build a really reliable system to do this without people would be very expensive.

I personally believe that kill switches could be a good thing to have in a nuclear plants as an additional safety measure but I also understand why those that pay for and build the reactors would rather no allow the operators to have such a measure to deal with a problem if it arises.
03-06-2017 09:49 PM#12
dclementsMember
Posts: 101Joined: Jan 2017
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
(03-06-2017 09:04 PM)JayRodney Wrote:  The fuel will remain radioactive for 250,000 years or so.
Man has never built anything able to last 250,000 years.
It's kind of a no brainer, we're toast.
Actually, everything is radioactive. Even in your own blood there are trace elements of things like uranium, thorium, etc. that cause you to give off radiation to the other people you get near,just as they give off radiation to you as you get near to them. This also means of course that when you get near other people such as during concerts or other events, you are greatly increasing your exposure to radiation then you would normally get. Also when you are in a plane you are less protected by the atmosphere than you would be on the ground.

Some of this stuff is kind of trivial but some of it is not. For example, until people were concern from radiation from nuclear plants they were not worried about other sources until some guy in the industry mentioned how many more people are exposed to more radiation from their own basements than from plants, which cause people looking into it to buy radiation detectors for their own basements.

In a nutshell, it is meaningless to say something is radioactive to those that understand that EVERYTHING is radioactive and there are PLENTY of other threats than just nuclear power plants. In order for there to be a real problem the amount of radiation has to be a level that is higher than what one could be exposed to from background radiation. As well as the source be in a location where people could access it when going about their day to day business.

I'm not trying to say your concern isn't justified, I'm just asking that you look at the issue in a more pragmatic way.
03-06-2017 11:06 PM#13
dclementsMember
Posts: 101Joined: Jan 2017
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
(03-04-2017 09:17 PM)Adde Wrote:  I've been wondering about that myself. In a Walking Dead kind of scenario, I would think the nuke plants would be a hundred times as dangerous as zombie.gif zombie.gif zombie.gif
Energy technology is developing to the point where we don't need this unsafe subsidized load of crap. Even Fukushima is not a wake up call for the IQ challenged that sit at the top.
If a nuclear power plants is not safely taken offline there are a number of things that could happen which is mostly dependent ON WHAT the operators at the plant where able to do before they lost control. In most cases if there is nobody they to maintain a commercial plant the core will generate too much heat boil off any water it has remaining, melt the core and generally stuff like that.

I like to think most wouldn't be as bad as Fukushima (and instead they would be like Three Mile Island where some of the operators did nearly everything wrong to get things under control) but what little I know of commercial nuclear power plants, they are DEFINITELY not designed without human supervision and if the operators did nothing (or perhaps even make things worse) while events unfold there are a any number of things that could happen.

I think in almost all of the worse case situations you have the core melting (US reactor are designed to NEVER go super critical like Chernobyl and explode, but there could be some explosions caused by heat pressure, flammable gasses,etc) and a general mess on your hands. Multiply that by the several hundred nuclear power plants sites that could be affected by a zombie apocalypse and things would get really messy. When you also factor in things like cities catching on fire, millions or perhaps billions of people getting eaten or eating other people, general chaos and fighting among survivors, a melted core at a nearby nuclear power plant I believe is probably one of the most trivial problems a survivor would have to deal with unless they try to hide from the zombies by going into the power plant itself.

However your question sounds like the interesting premise of a horror movie where some survivors have to figure out how to shut down a nuclear plant while at the same time having to avoid deal with zombies during a outbreak of people becoming zombies; although I think most people would rather just head for the hills in that kind of a situation if they could. Also to make thing interesting the people shutting down the plant should not be the ones that actually operate the plant because that would make things too easy.
03-07-2017 01:34 AM#14
-NIGHTMARE-Member
Posts: 528Joined: Aug 2012
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
Again:Humans are the dumbest species on planet earth

' Welcome to My Nightmare '
03-07-2017 09:19 AM#15
JayRodneyⓐⓛⓘⓔⓝ
Posts: 30,954Joined: Feb 2011
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
(03-07-2017 01:34 AM)-NIGHTMARE- Wrote:  Again:Humans are the dumbest species on planet earth

No question. sad2.gif

wonder.gif
03-07-2017 12:37 PM#16
DaJavooIf looks could kilt
Posts: 1,827Joined: Mar 2011
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
As a reminder:

A Carrington Event would INSTANTLY render all electronics DEAD.

All shut down procedures (manual or auto) rely on devices that have integrated circuits.

I believe it's safe to say that only a minority of the hundreds of nuclear stations in operation have the quantity and quality of shielded electronics that would make and retain/perpetuate a safe shut-down.

Octo has brought up a serious as death scenario. Fish caught in the northern Pacific are not edible for the health conscious. What? Another 5 years for the southern Pacific to be a similar wasteland? Another 5 for the contamination to spread to the other oceans? It will NOT stop.

This is a slow death, but death none the less. Fukushima is not and will not get better on its own and we do not have the capacity to "fix" it. Suck that shït my pro-nuke debaters.

A Carrington Event will make most of the planet uninhabitable.
03-07-2017 05:03 PM#17
UniqueStrangerArt in my heart
Posts: 14,609Joined: Jun 2012
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
I was listening to some experts chiming in on a nuclear EMP blast from a satellite (North Korean satellites to be exact) and they both agreed on using this adjective 'apocalyptic'. They said the blast would disable electrical/electronic grids which are connected to water (clean, fresh) and food (and everything else most likely)...enough said, I think.
03-07-2017 06:58 PM#18
dclementsMember
Posts: 101Joined: Jan 2017
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
(03-06-2017 08:42 PM)Octo Wrote:  Thanks for responding. The comments at your link weren't as optimistic as the article. Also the link at the bottom of the page had some terrifying info and it does lok like we're completely fkd if we're hit with a massive solar storm.

Quote:AMERICA IS FACING THE EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT OF 124 SIMULTANEOUS FUKUSHIMA MELTDOWNS

According to Judy Haar, a recognized expert in nuclear plant failure analyses, when a nuclear power plant loses access to off-grid electricity, the event is referred to as a “station blackout”. Haar states that all of the US nuclear power plants are built to withstand electrical outages without experiencing any core damage, through the activation of an automatic start up of emergency generators powered by diesel. Further, when emergency power kicks in, an automatic shutdown of the nuclear power plant commences. The dangerous control rods are dropped into the core, while water is pumped by the diesel power generators into the reactor to reduce the heat and thus, prevent a meltdown. Here is the catch in this process, the spent fuel rods are encased in both a primary and secondary containment structure which is designed to withstand a core meltdown. However, should the pumps stop because either the generators fail or diesel fuel is not available, the fuel rods are subsequently uncovered and a Fukushima type of core meltdown commences immediately.

http://www.thecommonsenseshow.com/2014/0...meltdowns/
Your welcome. soapbox.gif

I won't lie and say that many if not most plants would have some kind of core melt down if the operators are unable to initiate shut down procedures or if those shut down procedures are unable to complete. Nuclear reactors have secondary cooling systems when their main system goes off line (whether it is for maintenance or an emergency) and without it's main or alternative system it is given it will overheat and do what some people describe as 'melt'. However even if a US reactor does 'melt' the containment dome (as well as the rest of the building) is designed to hold the majority of radiation and other hazards from escaping to the outside.

'Fukushima' was a type 50's-60's era reactor that was on it's last leg before getting shut down and replaced with another power plant. Believe it or not the people that designed where well AWARE of what their were and where not capable of handling and for them the problems at TMI and Fukushima where plausible problems (even though both of them had problems that were beyond the scope of their operating and safety capacity) however at the time of their design the release of some nonlethal radiation under the WORSE conditions wasn't as big of a concern as it is today; or even after the TMI incident for that matter.

Put it to you this way, plenty of people where exposed to radiation when they were testing nuclear bombs back in the 40's-60's and although some (or perhaps many) had health issues because of it, it wasn't what someone would call a 'EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT'. Nuclear bombs are very messy, they don't contain their radiation like the containment domes at power plants do, and even if you are not near one when they go off, they CAN spread their radiation to areas where people are living so they can be bothered by it. This is the reason (or at least I believe is the reason) there is a ban on nuclear weapon testing programs.

Also if your afraid of something going wrong at a nuclear reactor you should bear in mind that there are plenty of other ways you could be off by NBC or other types of warfare. For example if someone got hold of radioactive cobalt (used in research, agriculture, medicine, etc), modified it into aerosol form, and then sprayed it in a populated area, they would have effectively created a dirty bomb which would be difficult to detect without a radiation detector. Also when there is Ebola outbreaks with particularly lethal strains, all you need is a wealthy benefactor, a simple lab and a few supplies, some semi-trained crazies willing to carry the virus to populated areas in the developed world, a clever enough plan in order to avoid detection from the authorities while carrying it out, and you have a master plan to create a world wide epidemic . Which is why I believe the US military decided to 'help' when the problem got as big as it did.

There are many other things that a rogue state, or person with LOTS of money and the desire for revenge can do but I think you get the picture. Unfortunately there is only so many resources available to prevent bad things from happening and sometimes you have to either be blind to the real threats or accept there is a certain level of 'acceptable risk' to everything in life.

The people with money and power only do enough to make sure it is unlikely that EVERYTHING will get destroyed and/or our way of life (including the existing status quo) will really change that much. However even with the resources and power that we have there is only so much that can be done. While it is not much of any consolation, the pros and cons of nuclear power and technology are taken into this equation and existing nuclear technology within power plants are designed to handle ALL possible threats within reason. I know that trusting the egg heads that design and run power plants is asking a lot, but it really isn't that different than trusting other egg heads you trust with your life when you do things such as step into a plane or drive a new car.
03-09-2017 06:46 PM#19
dclementsMember
Posts: 101Joined: Jan 2017
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
I haven't got a reply from the professor nor have I heard anything from the guy who does xkcd who I also sent an email to. I have however found this other articles relating to the matter of what the nuclear power industry has done in considering what might happen during a solar event and/or nuclear EMP:

https://public-blog.nrc-gateway.gov/2011...er-pulses/
http://freebeacon.com/national-security/...tric-grid/

Here is some of what I found on the first link:

"The NRC requires U.S. nuclear power plants to be able to shut down safely in the face of many extreme events – tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes. But the NRC also takes into account far more unusual events, like solar flares and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) caused by a certain type of nuclear weapon. Both can affect generators, transformers and other parts of the electric grid – which in turn could affect nuclear power plants.

The NRC has been examining these issues for more than 30 years, starting in the late 1970s when the agency studied how EMP could affect nuclear power plant safe-shutdown systems. In February 1983 the NRC issued the study’s conclusion: nuclear power plants’ safety systems can do their jobs after an EMP event. The agency revisited the issue in 2007 to account for the increasing use of digital computer systems in nuclear plants, which potentially could be more susceptible to EMP. The agency continued to conclude as recently as two years ago that nuclear power plants can safely shut down following an EMP event.

The NRC has also examined potential “solar storms” and their potential to damage the electric grid. A strong geomagnetic storm on March 13, 1989, for example, severely disrupted electrical power equipment in Canada, Scandinavia, and the United States. After studying the event the NRC issued an Information Notice in June 1990, to ensure nuclear power plants understood how severe solar activity could affect transmission systems and other components of the power grid. Additional research in 2010 analyzed and compared solar or geomagnetically-induced current events to those of the EMP events previously analyzed. This work led to the same conclusion as the EMP studies – U.S. nuclear power plants can safely shut down if a solar storm disrupts the grid.

The edge of the NRC’s authority lies in a nuclear power plant’s electric switchyard, where our rules mesh with those of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees the nation’s electric grids. Another body, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) develops and enforces grid reliability standards. The NRC works closely with FERC and NERC on grid reliability issues, including the effects of solar or geomagnetic storms and EMP.

Earlier this year a citizen petitioned the NRC to revisit the issue of grid disruption, this time focusing on the spent fuel pools at U.S. nuclear power plants. The petition calls for a new rule that would require nuclear power plant spent fuel pools to have emergency systems capable of functioning for two years in the absence of an operating electric grid. The NRC is currently analyzing dozens of public comments on the petition, and the agency expects to issue a decision on the petition in the middle of next year."

While I haven't looked into this matter to be certain whether or not ALL nuclear plants would be safe from a nuclear EMP pulse and/or solar flare this article leads me to believe that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the guys in charge of enforcing all regulations on the nuclear industry) are aware of the issue and are taking steps to insure that all nuclear plants they inspect have the capacity to deal with such problems if they ever happen.

I don't know if knowing that the NRC is aware of the issue, that there are regulations in place for nuclear plants to deal with such issues and protect the pubic during such an event, and that such regulations are enforced is enough to satisfy anyone concern about the problem (as it has been shown that nuclear power plants can still fail during what is considered by some to be a very unlikely event), I hope this satisfies the argument I made early where I said that the nuclear industry as well as the NRC are aware of the issue and have taken some measures to protect against it; even though I couldn't prove it at the time I said it.
03-09-2017 09:33 PM#20
DaJavooIf looks could kilt
Posts: 1,827Joined: Mar 2011
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
NIce sumbuddy has given a thought, but hey? Who ya' gonna' call if things go south and the cooling pools go tits up during the next Carrington event?

You can betcher ass nobuddy is gonna' answer the phone.
03-09-2017 11:22 PM#21
dclementsMember
Posts: 101Joined: Jan 2017
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
(03-09-2017 09:33 PM)DaJavoo Wrote:  NIce sumbuddy has given a thought, but hey? Who ya' gonna' call if things go south and the cooling pools go tits up during the next Carrington event?

You can betcher ass nobuddy is gonna' answer the phone.
To be honest I have no answer for that since there are always a number of issues that can happen even when a Carrington event doesn't take place, and it takes a certain amount of knowledge and 'faith' in the eggheads that design and build the things to not worry about it too much. As I told Adde in a recent PM, nuclear power is the closest thing we have today to real life alchemy (since it ACTUALLY CAN turn LEAD INTO GOLD even if doing it is too expensive) and it is almost a given that some people will look at it as an abomination; just as they did with medieval alchemy and/or the proton collider when someone mentioned it might create mico-black holes (which 'theoretically' just evaporate as soon as they come into existence) .

Since it is IMHO that knowing about and utilizing nuclear power to it's greatest is in our best interest (even if the way we are doing could be improved a bit), I'm still pro nuclear but I can understand the how and why others do not share my opinion, nor do I think anything I can say can help them with their phobia of it; including me mentioning of the nearly infinite number of things that are more dangerous than it .

Part of this is because nuclear power is a 'perfect storm' of things to be afraid of (fear of the unknown, fear of something unknowable, fear of something unsee-able, and on top of all that the fear of something that can potentially kill you). But if someone knows enough about it and overcome some of 'angst' in realizing it can sometimes be over their heads, then it is not so troubling. Or perhaps not any more troubling than the other dangers that we have to deal with on a day to day basis.
03-13-2017 04:02 PM#22
UniqueStrangerArt in my heart
Posts: 14,609Joined: Jun 2012
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
(03-09-2017 11:22 PM)dclements Wrote:  
(03-09-2017 09:33 PM)DaJavoo Wrote:  NIce sumbuddy has given a thought, but hey? Who ya' gonna' call if things go south and the cooling pools go tits up during the next Carrington event?

You can betcher ass nobuddy is gonna' answer the phone.
To be honest I have no answer for that since there are always a number of issues that can happen even when a Carrington event doesn't take place, and it takes a certain amount of knowledge and 'faith' in the eggheads that design and build the things to not worry about it too much. As I told Adde in a recent PM, nuclear power is the closest thing we have today to real life alchemy (since it ACTUALLY CAN turn LEAD INTO GOLD even if doing it is too expensive) and it is almost a given that some people will look at it as an abomination; just as they did with medieval alchemy and/or the proton collider when someone mentioned it might create mico-black holes (which 'theoretically' just evaporate as soon as they come into existence) .

Since it is IMHO that knowing about and utilizing nuclear power to it's greatest is in our best interest (even if the way we are doing could be improved a bit), I'm still pro nuclear but I can understand the how and why others do not share my opinion, nor do I think anything I can say can help them with their phobia of it; including me mentioning of the nearly infinite number of things that are more dangerous than it .

Part of this is because nuclear power is a 'perfect storm' of things to be afraid of (fear of the unknown, fear of something unknowable, fear of something unsee-able, and on top of all that the fear of something that can potentially kill you). But if someone knows enough about it and overcome some of 'angst' in realizing it can sometimes be over their heads, then it is not so troubling. Or perhaps not any more troubling than the other dangers that we have to deal with on a day to day basis.

We had an almost tits' up scenario at Fukushima recently...

Quote:If the water in the spent fuel pools had boiled off and exposed the rods, thousands of nuclear fuel assemblies would have been severely damaged, releasing massive amounts of radioactive materials into the environment.

Tepco guidelines state that the pools’ surface temperature must not exceed 65 degrees. If cooling functionality was completely lost, the surface temperature would likely rise to the limit in about seven days, according to Tepco. In the wake of the 2011 meltdown crisis at Fukushima No. 1, all 48 commercial reactors in Japan were eventually taken offline. Since then, four have been reactivated after passing stringent new safety rules set by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

Thank goodness there is a seven day window to save our asses.

And I also had a chance to ask my nuclear engineer nephew who is a now a nuclear plant construction consultant and he, as always, just smerks at my doomsday questions and reiterated what I have been reading about a Carrington event or an EMF from a nuclear blast from above...our food and water is on the grid and that it what will go tits' up and fast, and we will need more than seven days to fix it.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/11...MaW-mcpqSo
03-13-2017 07:51 PM#23
dclementsMember
Posts: 101Joined: Jan 2017
RE: What happens to nuclear reactors when the next Carrington event happens?
(03-13-2017 04:02 PM)UniqueStranger Wrote:  
(03-09-2017 11:22 PM)dclements Wrote:  
(03-09-2017 09:33 PM)DaJavoo Wrote:  NIce sumbuddy has given a thought, but hey? Who ya' gonna' call if things go south and the cooling pools go tits up during the next Carrington event?

You can betcher ass nobuddy is gonna' answer the phone.
To be honest I have no answer for that since there are always a number of issues that can happen even when a Carrington event doesn't take place, and it takes a certain amount of knowledge and 'faith' in the eggheads that design and build the things to not worry about it too much. As I told Adde in a recent PM, nuclear power is the closest thing we have today to real life alchemy (since it ACTUALLY CAN turn LEAD INTO GOLD even if doing it is too expensive) and it is almost a given that some people will look at it as an abomination; just as they did with medieval alchemy and/or the proton collider when someone mentioned it might create mico-black holes (which 'theoretically' just evaporate as soon as they come into existence) .

Since it is IMHO that knowing about and utilizing nuclear power to it's greatest is in our best interest (even if the way we are doing could be improved a bit), I'm still pro nuclear but I can understand the how and why others do not share my opinion, nor do I think anything I can say can help them with their phobia of it; including me mentioning of the nearly infinite number of things that are more dangerous than it .

Part of this is because nuclear power is a 'perfect storm' of things to be afraid of (fear of the unknown, fear of something unknowable, fear of something unsee-able, and on top of all that the fear of something that can potentially kill you). But if someone knows enough about it and overcome some of 'angst' in realizing it can sometimes be over their heads, then it is not so troubling. Or perhaps not any more troubling than the other dangers that we have to deal with on a day to day basis.

We had an almost tits' up scenario at Fukushima recently...

Quote:If the water in the spent fuel pools had boiled off and exposed the rods, thousands of nuclear fuel assemblies would have been severely damaged, releasing massive amounts of radioactive materials into the environment.

Tepco guidelines state that the pools’ surface temperature must not exceed 65 degrees. If cooling functionality was completely lost, the surface temperature would likely rise to the limit in about seven days, according to Tepco. In the wake of the 2011 meltdown crisis at Fukushima No. 1, all 48 commercial reactors in Japan were eventually taken offline. Since then, four have been reactivated after passing stringent new safety rules set by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

Thank goodness there is a seven day window to save our asses.

And I also had a chance to ask my nuclear engineer nephew who is a now a nuclear plant construction consultant and he, as always, just smerks at my doomsday questions and reiterated what I have been reading about a Carrington event or an EMF from a nuclear blast from above...our food and water is on the grid and that it what will go tits' up and fast, and we will need more than seven days to fix it.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/11...MaW-mcpqSo
As I said before your fear is more of a knee-jerk reaction to the unknown than a thoughtful analysis to pointing out a real and present danger. There are nearly ENDLESS sources of natural and cosmic radiation around you and you only have to worry when those levels (or those levels plus the levels from man made radiation) go to or above the level which can case radiation sickness or increase your rate of cancer. I'm pretty sure the danger from Fukushima even if the rods are exposed (which is unlikely since it didn't happen even during the accident) is nothing worse than what we have to deal with after a nuclear bomb was tested above ground; or anywhere close to it for that matter.

I think Greenpeace and a few other groups use to try to use statistical studies to help back their positions against nuclear power until they realized NONE of the studies done by the NRC, US government, Cancer Society of America, or their own studies showed any real threat to the US population from nuclear power plants. Every time you hear about X number of people died from radiation from this accident or incident (if the number is any more than 10) the number is pulled out of thin air.

During Chernobyl the causality rate was over 100 when you count the employees that died during the explosion and fire fighters that got killed during the aftermath (as well as the helicopter crew that crashed while flying too close and trying to check out the exposed core). It is unknown how many of them died because of radiation sickness or because of something else, but it is believed that less than half of those that died did so because of radiation sickness itself because usually when you are in an area where you CAN get a lethal dose of radiation from an accident you first are killed by either the initial explosion or fire afterwords; or crushed in collapsing structures, falls, and what not. In other words even if your job involves potentially dealing with radioactive sources, your much much more likely to be killed by the many other dangers that people have to deal while working at any industrial type occupation. As to the number of liquidators (ie. conscripts and contracts hired or forced to clean up afterwords) that died of cancer, none of the studies showed any statistical increase in cancer related death than what was to be expected. Although that doesn't mean that it is impossible that there were any, it just means that there wasn't any additional deaths than what would be expected from a statistical stand point.

The only thing that did turn up was that there was an additional 4,000 teen, adults, etc. who developed thyroid cancer who normally shouldn't have developed at that time. The thyroid gland is HIGHLY susceptible to radiation and unless you take something like potassium pills after and or before getting exposed to radiation, the radioactive potassium in the food you eat and rest of the environment around you can easily cause you to get thyroid cancer which it did in those 4,000 cases. However thyroid cancer is treatable (and/or at least easier to treat than other cancers) and of those 4,000 case only around 4 died (of course there where more cases than 4,000 of thyroid and 4 deaths but those are the numbers of people that got it and died that where ABOVE the statistical average and I believe the number is somewhere above double or triple when you count the gross number but I can't really remember). All other studies couldn't show an increase of cancer above the statistical average.

Also it is worth noting that such statistical studies could have there numbers screwed up if there is any truth to the idea that peoples immune system reacts FAVORABLY to radiation from time to time. While this may sound crazy, it is show that the human body will sometimes have it's immune system kicked into high gear when given low/non-threatening doses of toxins such as caffeine, snake poison, etc. and when any toxin does this it potentially screws up any study which CAN NOT take into account how many people are helped by being exposed to a toxin when determining how many where harmed by it. This is no different than if a medication was given to certain patients who had a potentially fatal disease and if the number of people it saved was equal to the number it killed, a statistical study might determine that it had NO EFFECT for the patient that took it. I'm not trying to say that getting exposed to radiation is a 'good' thing, I'm just saying that since or body's immune system is designed to handle it and other toxins and sometimes when dealing with one problem it is ready to deal with other threats (it might have know of), and such events have the potential of screwing up studies that are unable to take this into account.

My advice is if your REALLY worried about it, read up a little on how radiation works so you better understand any threat around you and also have potassium pills readily available because they ACTUALLY do work in helping to prevent thyroid cancer if you are exposed to any amount that is below acute radiation sickness. If you happen to get a dose that can cause acute radiation sickness (to the whole body or head that is) they will have to pump out your bodily fluids and replace it with non containment fluids and stuff like that so you can't do much to protect yourself from that other than reading up on radiation so that you know how to protect yourself int he first place. In reality your more likely to die by slipping in the shower, getting struck by lighting, killed in a car or motorcycle crash, bitten by a dog who has rabies, have your organs harvested by someone you met at a bar and sold on the marketable, etc, etc, etc.
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