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History of Nuclear Disasters

Updated on April 27, 2017

Nuclear Emergency In American: A Ticking Time Bomb

In a world after 9/11 the use of nuclear energy has become too hazardous due to the threat of blackout associated with terrorist attacks and natural disasters. It is time for the world to follow Germany's lead and began shutting down their nuclear reactors before the planet is left uninhabitable. A half-century ago the nuclear industry let the genie out of the bottle, that has committed mankind to a path of possible extinction. Currently today, 440 nuclear power plants are operating across countries around the world and many of them are located in earthquake zones which enhance the chance for a meltdown, and a massive release of radiation.

Corium in the basement of the Chernobyl Power Plant will emit deadly radioactivity for the next 20,000 years.

Chernobyl nuclear power plant after the accident fallout was equal to 300 Hiroshima type atomic bombs.
Chernobyl nuclear power plant after the accident fallout was equal to 300 Hiroshima type atomic bombs. | Source
Chernobyl's reactor four on fire. The plume of radiation associated with the explosion would circle the globe within a week.
Chernobyl's reactor four on fire. The plume of radiation associated with the explosion would circle the globe within a week. | Source
Corium is so deadly expose of just a minute is lethal.
Corium is so deadly expose of just a minute is lethal. | Source
Corium is the melted power rods of a nuclear power plant.
Corium is the melted power rods of a nuclear power plant. | Source
The new containment building over reactor number four which will stand for another hundred years. It will take decades to clean up the reactor.
The new containment building over reactor number four which will stand for another hundred years. It will take decades to clean up the reactor. | Source

Corium (melted fuel rods at a destroyed nuclear plant) -----The Most Dangerous Lava On This Planet

Corium is a lava-like molten mixture made up of portions of a nuclear reactor core, which formed during a nuclear meltdown, the most severe class of nuclear reactor accident. Corium is a very rare thing only produced in a nuclear meltdown. Corium lava was produced both during the Chernobyl and Fukushima Dai-ichi accidents, also along with minor amounts of Three Mile Island. Even long after the flow has stopped, corium lava will remain highly radioactive for centuries. We don't have pictures of the corium lava flow from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant because of the very high levels of radioactivity near the reactor. At Fukushima Dai-ichi, three or more corium melted out of the containment buildings into the ground. Government officials have discovered nuclear material has been flowing into the ground for months at Fukushima. Nuclear engineers know it's a very serious catastrophe if melted fuel burns into the ground, radioactive material will travel around the world once it is in the groundwater. After Chernobyl's reactors melted down the Soviet Union threw close to one million people into trying to stop the corium there from melting down to groundwater, because experts believe that a huge water-corium explosion would occur if it was allowed to just burn down, creating the so called China Syndrome. Once the corium reached groundwater, it was feared that this massive explosion would make the original Chernobyl explosion seem tiny in comparison. Thanks to the heroic efforts by the Soviet military, which would cost many their lives, and along with the vast resources from the government they stopped the corium from leaving the building at Chernobyl. By comparison, in Japan, they did nothing to try to stop the corium from melting out. The corium lava flow at Fukushima consists of fifty to a hundred tons of melted down reactor fuel. At Fukushima only fifty people remained on site and they were very close to evacuating everyone, just letting it continue to burn, until the government ordered TEPCO to stay and fight. So fifty brave men did what they could, compared to close the one million at Chernobyl. At Chernobyl, the nuclear engineer were very eager to find and study the corium, at great personal risk to themselves. They found this corium fairly quickly, where it has stopped and cooled in the basement below the reactor. In Japan, by comparison, no one seems very interested in discussing anything about the three piles of corium that lay beneath the plant, much less doing anything to find these ticking time bombs.

Nuclear Power Plants Built on Fault Lines

Nuclear power plants built on fault lines around the world.
Nuclear power plants built on fault lines around the world.
Nuclear power plant in California on a fault line and right next to the Pacific Ocean. The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant
Nuclear power plant in California on a fault line and right next to the Pacific Ocean. The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant

Nuclear Power Plants in the United States

Nuclear Power plants in the United States and the potential for accidents related to earthquakes.
Nuclear Power plants in the United States and the potential for accidents related to earthquakes. | Source

Germany Takes The Lead At Stopping A Ticking Time Bomb

The leaders of Germany have announced that their country will be nuclear free by 2022, their plan calls for the phasing out of all Germany's 17 nuclear reactors, and replacing 23% of the nations electricity that nuclear energy currently provides with renewable resources. The commission in charge of spear heading the transition determined the alternatives would be wind,solar, and water, as well as geothermal energy, and the so-called biomass energy from waste. Germany will be a kind of laboratory for efforts worldwide to end nuclear power in advanced economies. No other nation in the world is taking such steps forward in wake of the Fukushima disaster, Germany has decided the risk is too great to use nuclear energy as a source of electricity. Germany not only wants to renounce nuclear energy by 2022, they also want to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% and double their share of renewable energies from 17% today, to 35% by 2022.

Fukushima

Fukushima when the Reactor Exploded

Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Explosion
Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Explosion

Fukushima: A Nuclear Disaster That Will Affect The Planet For The Next One Thousand Years

Fukushima has hands down become the worst nuclear disaster in the history of nuclear powered electricity. The cumulative amount of radiation released from Fukushima already exceeds the infamous 1986 Chernobyl disaster which released enough radiation to equal 300 Hiroshima type atomic bombs. The implications of this are astounding as Chernobyl has long been regarded as the worst nuclear disaster in history. The exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl is still mostly deserted and will be for the next six hundred years give or take a century, having displaced hundreds of thousands of people, readings still show dangerously high levels of radiation near the plant. Nearly thirty years after building four exploded in those early morning hours in 1986, the fallout continues to cast a dark shadow over Europe. A study by the Norwegian Institute for Air Research revealed that smoke from forest fires in the exclusion zone released cell damaging radioactive materials, distributing it all over eastern Europe, as far south as Turkey and as far west as Italy and Scandinavia. The study has determined that the forest around the Chernobyl site are more vulnerable to retaining the radioactivity because the ions in dead leaves fall to the ground and re-enter the soil. A United Nations study states 4,000 people died when the nuclear reactor at building four exploded, and from the subsequent radioactive fallout, but the total cost will never be known. Not only is Fukushima a much greater threat to civilization due to its direct proximity to the ocean, enabling Fukushima to spread far more radiation across the planet than Chernobyl ever could. The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis has already released more than one hundred and sixty-eight times the radiation than was released from the detonation of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

Chernobyl Cleanup

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Control room in Chernobyl.
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Control room in Chernobyl.
Control room in Chernobyl. | Source
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Chernobyl And Its Legacy

The total price for the Chernobyl disaster can never really be determined, it has been estimated as many as 200,000 people have died from cancers associated with the radiation released during and after the crisis on April the 26th 1986. For over seven months 500,000 men waged hand to hand combat with an invisible enemy, their efforts prevented a possible worse second explosion ten times more powerful than Hiroshima that could have wiped out all of Western Europe only just revealed 20 years after the accident.

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Nuclear Emergency In America: A Ticking Time Bomb

The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis is undeniably the worst nuclear disaster in the history of human civilization and continues to this day. The nuclear crisis in Japan has been described as "nuclear war without war." On December 2013, record radiation was found in an area near a steel pipe that connects reactor buildings at Fukushima, the amount of radiation detected could kill an exposed person in less than twenty minutes. All land within 12 miles of Fukushima, a total of 230 square miles, has been declared too radioactive for human habitation, these areas have been declared permanent exclusion zones. Radioactive cesium has taken up residence in the exclusion zone, replacing all human inhabitants. Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years, and since it takes about 10 half-lives for any radionuclide to disappear, the exclusion zone will remain for centuries. The most frightening scenario is what would happen to nuclear power plants in the United States if they were to experience a long term blackout from a natural disaster such as an earthquake, flood, or even a tornado. The United States has twenty-three nuclear power plants with the same design as the Fukushima plant in Japan. Years before the nuclear emergency at the Fukushima plant in Japan, the Atomic Energy Commission knew that a power failure lasting for days at an American nuclear power plant whatever the cause could lead to a release of radioactive materials. Regulators have required that the 104 aging nuclear reactors in the United States develop plans for dealing with blackouts lasting up to only eight hours, based on the assumption that power could always be quickly restored in the event of an emergency. A complete loss of electrical power poses a major problem for a nuclear power plant because the reactor core must be kept cool, and the cooling systems that replenish the reactor core with water require massive amounts of power to work effectively.

Nuclear Emergency In America

A nightmare simulation staged by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission revealed that it would take less than a day after electrical power was knocked out for radiation to escape from a reactor at a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, there was simply no way to keep the reactors cool after the backup battery power ran out. There is a real possibility of a catastrophe if operators can't keep the reactor cool, the gases emitted during the melt-down of a reactor can cause an explosion similar to what happened at the Fukushima power plant in Japan in 2011. The New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12 lasted over three months and were felt as far away as Boston, some earthquake fissures were as long as five miles. Needless to say a melt-down would be a real possibility and would only complicate the recovery from such a disaster. On April the 28th 2011, the second largest nuclear power plant in the United States was shut down by a line of thunderstorms and tornadoes. The three-reactor 3,274 megawatt Alabama plant was the same design as the Fukushima power plant, and can power up to 2.6 million homes. The Browns Ferry power plant didn't receive a direct hit from a tornado, but was shut down because transmission lines to the plant were cut. It the plant would have taken a direct hit a disaster on an epic scale would have taken place. At Browns Ferry more than 1,415 metric tons of spent fuel rods were lying in three pools on a massive concrete pad above the plants three reactors. The power plant at Browns Ferry had as much radioactive fuel as all six of Fukushima's reactors contained. All that enclosed the pools of radioactive waste was a heavy garage with a metal roof and walls. It a large tornado would hit such a structure, those rods would have been strewn over a wide area causing an enormous release of radiation. Many nuclear power plants in America follow these same guidelines, it is surprising that we haven't experienced a nuclear disaster yet. The sooner we follow Germany's lead and begin to close our old outdated nuclear power plants the safer our children's future will be. I once watched a tornado hit a huge commercial greenhouse full of flowers, it turned pink. I wouldn't want to be around to see a large tornado after it picked up 1,415 metric tons of spent fuel rods.


Sources


Lochbaum, David. Fukushima: The True Story Of A Nuclear Disaster. The New Press. 120 Wall Street, 31st floor New York NY 10005. 2014

Parker, Vic. Chernobyl 1986: An Explosion At A Nuclear Power Station. Raintree a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. Chicago IL USA. 2006

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    • profile image

      Garrett Newton 7 months ago

      Very good Mark I am impress, looks like you did a lot of home work!

    • Mark Caruthers profile image
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      Mark Caruthers 2 years ago from Fayetteville Arkansas

      Thanks, its nice it caught your eye.

    • jgshorebird profile image

      jgshorebird 2 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

      Great information. Scary as hell.