Some really cheery news from Japan.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says that if the current situation continues for a long time, with accumulation of more radioactive substances, there will be "a huge impact on the ocean."Well OK. If it continues for a long time.
What are the odds of that?
William Brinkman, director of the Dept. of Energy's Office of Science, was in Oak Ridge this past week and spoke to the East Tennessee Economic Council on Friday. Brinkman touched on many topics, including Japan's nuclear emergency and how the DOE and its labs are trying to help. He didn't try to sugarcoat what he termed a "tremendous tragedy."I wonder if six months to a year qualifies as a long time? I wonder where they are going to put all the cooling water they are going to need for the next six months to a year? The cooling will have to continue for at least 24 months. Probably longer. Where is all that water going to go? Now if they could deploy heat exchangers they could probably use fresh water just for make up and let the sea water do the cooling. How long to deploy such equipment? And where will they get a nuclear qualified heat exchanger on short notice? If they have to manufacture one or six of them it will take time. The steam condensers that are part of the plant could be used if they are intact and they can get the pumps working and they can make the necessary plumbing arrangements. Good luck with that in a high radiation environment. In fact good luck with any solution in a high radiation environment.
The DOE science chief, who formerly was VP for research at Bell Labs, senior research physicist at Princeton and president of the American Physical Society, said it's a very complicated and "tricky" situation. He noted that ORNL and other labs are trying to address some of the difficult chemistry questions and help prevent additional hydrogen explosions or other setbacks.
"But it's probably not going to be over for six months to a year before things really settle down in a way in which we're absolutely sure that nothing is going to happen," Brinkman said.
H/T My friend Eric of Classical Values for the knoxnews link via e-mail.
Cross Posted at Classical Values