Monday, March 14, 2011

Stop the panic. (Japan nuclear plant problems)

The following is a short description/ explanation as to why the media should keep their mouth shut about things they don't understand.

First.  The reactors reported on the media have been shut down.  Meaning the nuclear chain reaction that is used to generate electricity has been stopped.  This happened automatically when the earthquake happened.

Second.  The nuclear fuel continues to generate heat after the reactor is shut down due to the decay of fission products that are produced while the reactors were operating.  This is the issue faced by the Japanese plants.  They need cooling water to remove this decay heat.  They lost power to their cooling water pumps so they were unable to provide the cooling that was needed which is why some of the fuel melted. 

These plants are built with 3 layers of containment.  The fuel pellets made of Uranium Oxide which are like little cylanders about the size of a cap from a magic marker are put into a round tube made of Zircaloy.  This Zircaloy "cladding" is the first barrier or containment.  The fuel melts at about 3000F and the Zirc at temps greater than 2000F.  These fuel rods are put into assemblies and then into the reactor vessel.  The reactor vessel is like a large pot.  This pot is designed to withstand temperatures and pressures in excess of the normal operating temps and pressures.  This is one heavy duty pot.  This pot is sealed  and is the second barrier or containment.  The reactor vessel and associated piping and systems are inside a steel and concrete building designed to hold the pressure from an accident inside and not leak.  This is called the containment building and is the third barrier.  These plants in Japan have and additional structure built around the containment that is not built to be pressure tight.  This is the structure that exploded.  While not a good thing it would be like your shed in the back yard blowing up.  Not required to keep the radioactive stuff inside.

As to the United States flying "special, important, coolant" over to Japan.  You've got to be kidding me.  Water is the coolant and last time I checked Japan was an island.  They already put saltwater in the reactors which will prevent them from ever being operated again.  The media is just making stuff up.  As far as radiation released.  The stuff if any that has actually been release is most likely Nitrogen 16 which has decayed to non radioactive isotopes in less than 30 seconds or noble gasses like Xenon which decays in a couple hours and once again poses little to no threat to the public.  If you have every been to the beach, flown in an air plane, gotten an Xray, or God forbid gone to a tanning bed  you could probably camp for a week or two right outside these plants in Japan and still not get the exposure you recieved from any of the fore mentioned activities.

If you have any questions, ask.  or check out this site   and please just turn off the news.  Bunch of booger pickin morons trying to scare the public.

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