Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Disaster


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Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Disaster

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Avr 1, 2011, 2:28pm

This is a cut n paste from the Toronto National Post of some fantastic
graphic illustrations of the Fukushima Nuclear Plant.  For
a larger PDF version of this click on the link.

Modifié : Avr 1, 2011, 11:16pm

Here is a cross post from the "Pro & Con" section of one of my rants. Coincidentally the "Nightline" ABC tv network show has since done an interview of a professor of robotics at the University of Tokyo on the possibility of using robots to monitor the nuke stations. Other broadcasts have shown the beach nearby the plants to be full of "wave breaks" that look like WWII defensive structures.

And to edit in since it has not been said yet on this topic; sympathy to all who are suffering from the natural disasters in Japan. I can not imagine an entire town disappearing with everyone in it.
I think I just figured out what has been bugging me about the lack of progress in the Japan nuke situation. What's missing is the ability to remotely view the accident site. I heard someone finally sent a "high altitude drone" predator type plane from the USA to take photos of the site.

I guess because they are used to make money, there are all sorts of robots to view and work on oil wells at over 1 mile beneath the ocean but evidently the world wide nuke association is going to once again rely on admitted "suicide missions" {words of Dr. Michio Kaku American physicist on Nightline this week} by military people to view and or solve the nuclear accident. Repeating the events of Chernobyl in Russia years ago.

With the billions thrown around on nuke power there should have been an "amphibious beach assault", like the marines in WWII, with the vehicles containing robots to observe and deploy material at the plants. Operated by remote or one mile plus fiber optic umbilical cords {or both} these should be crawling, flying all over the plant. Companies like Dean L. Kamen's, who invented wheel chairs that walk up stairs, and NASA contractors could surely come up with equipment to do the job. I am certain all the equipment would be garbage after use because of radiation contamination but that could be worked into a global budget.

Why they haven't already used WWII type amphibious landers to put pumps and generators on the site I can't understand.

Modifié : Avr 4, 2011, 12:33pm

An update on the condition of the reactors in Japan, below is a photo of a
quake caused crack. To see photos of the 8 inch crack described below and others click on this link :

"The 8-inch-long (20-centimeter-long) crack was discovered in the maintenance pit over the weekend. It is sending radioactive water into area that is normally blocked off by a seawall, but a crack was also discovered in that outer barrier Monday.

Though it later authorized the dumping of slightly radioactive water, the government said Monday it was growing concerned about the sheer volume of contaminated materials spilling into the Pacific. It is not clear how much water has leaked from the pit so far."

and from the same article.

"The crack in a maintenance pit discovered over the weekend was the latest confirmation that radioactivity continues to spill into the environment. The leak is a symptom of the primary difficulty at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex: Radioactive water is pooling around the plant and preventing workers from powering up cooling systems needed to stabilize dangerously vulnerable fuel rods."


"We must keep putting water into the reactors to cool to prevent further fuel damage, even though we know that there is a side effect, which is the leakage," Nishiyama said. "We want to get rid of the stagnant water and decontaminate the place so that we can return to our primary task to restore the sustainable cooling capacity as quickly as possible."


Modifié : Avr 13, 2011, 9:53pm

Well I think I found the answer to why remote "robotic means" are
not being used to monitor or repair the nuke plants in Japan.  The cynical
answer is implied in the title of the NYT article "Japanese Workers Braved Radiation for a Temp Job"  I guess temps
are cheaper than the costs associated with designing and using mechanical

Black humor perhaps but it reminds me of Saturday Night Live's
spoof of the 3 Mile Island disaster where temps were hired to mop up the mess
without being told of the danger and president Jimmy Carter was turned into a
giant, if I remember correctly, by the radiation

Avr 13, 2011, 5:21pm

Thanks for sharing this.

Modifié : Sep 1, 2013, 2:17pm

Hey what do you know, they have used robots at the Fukushima Plant.  I found a couple of articles that give a little background on the subject.  I realize suggesting using independently mobile robots for nuke reactors is perhaps tantamount to suggesting using water on forest fires but I was surprised at what appeared to me to be unusually low tech solutions.  The quotes below are from a Jon Herskovitz Reuters article: it is a short article with some interesting quotes from people in the industry.

"Kim Seungho, a nuclear official who engineered robots for South
Korea's atomic power plants, said: "You have to design emergency robots for
plants when they are being built so they can navigate corridors, steps and close

"The Fukushima plant was built in the 1970s, well before robots were
able to work on sophisticated tasks."

"In one of Japan's worst nuclear accidents, two workers were killed
in September 1999, when workers at a nuclear facility in Tokaimura, northeast of
Tokyo, set off an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction by using buckets to mix
nuclear fuel in a lab."

Above is one of the two iRobot company's
robots from USA sent into the Fukushima to measure radiation levels.

::changed some paragraph indentation:::

Mai 14, 2011, 8:33am

Don't I recall that the folks at Chernobyl use a remote control toy from GUM Department store? I'm sure it was considerably cheaper than these current versions.

Modifié : Sep 1, 2013, 11:38am

Sandy and everyone, Michio Kaku, PhD, and others have been explaining that because of the vast amounts of ionizing radiation being released from the Fukushima Daiichi site, all instruments - robotic or not - quickly become non-operational. Thus, even 2 1/2 years later, all instrumentation placed there or sent in has been very short-lived. Here's one snippet from a 2012 follow-up interview with Dr. Kaku:


Even robots are "quickly fried" by the vast amounts of ionizing radiation, says Kaku.

Modifié : Sep 1, 2013, 4:11pm

#8 That reads interestingly but I would only trust the info with links that actually verify statements from the people they are attributed to. Under "solutions" statements like:

"The best solution to radiation poisoning, some have said, is to raise the vibrational level of the person higher than the level of the radiation. Makes some sense but the great question, if true, is how to do that. How do we raise our vibration that makes it more difficult to tear our cells apart with nuclear particles and the energy they put off?"

invalidate any opinion that the honorable Dr. Sircus offers. He seems to be making a pitch for products of questionable value along with some verifiable techniques. IMOHO

Yep I doubt few if any robots are designed to operate in that environment but they could be "hardened" with shielding etc. to make them a bit more robust. Not much of an alternative except for the elderly Japanese scientists who are putting themselves in harms way by working at the plant. I agree with the tone of the article that the true potential impact of the disaster is not understood by a majority of people.

Modifié : Nov 24, 2013, 1:11pm

Authoritative news on the Fukushima disaster is infrequent, but the following Associated Press story reports on the Fukushima decomissioning so far:


I found this AP article's section on its interview with nuclear engineer Masahi Goto of special interest. He designed Fukushima Daiichi's Unit #3 reactor, but is now actually pessimistic that decommissioning can be completed.

So far this year, the most informed coverage I have seen on this disaster in the mainstream media includes Reuters, Bloomberg News, occasionally the NY Times and the Associated Press, and occasionally The Economist.