Friday, March 11, 2011

Meltdown A Real Possibility In Japan

The earlier post about the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan having problems was an understatement.  The cooling system powered by batteries is not keeping up with the heat produced by the core of the reactor.

This story in the Los Angeles Times gives more insight including the following:
The six reactors at the site use some of the oldest nuclear technology, dating back to the 1960s.

The reactor uses a single cooling loop and does not have a containment dome, but rather uses a smaller containment vessel around the reactor core.

"These first-generation boiling water reactors have the least margin of safety of any reactor design," said Frank N. von Hippel, a Princeton University physicist and former White House advisor.

Without electrical power to circulate water inside the core, the cooling water would begin to boil off, he said. But operators still should be able to add new cooling water and keep the core fully immersed while it cools down.

"It doesn't sound like we are in meltdown mode," he said.

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