April 7, 2011
18th Interview with My Dad, a Nuclear Engineer, about the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Disaster in Japan
Posted by Evelyn Mervine
You can listen to all the interviews on the new vimeo channel Brandon and I created. You can also listen to most of the interviews on Brad Go’s YouTube channel.
Here’s the vimeo channel:
This afternoon my dad and I recorded our 18th interview on the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. Please see the rest of the blog (sidebar) for previous interviews. We are no longer answering listener questions, but please do continue to send emails to [email protected] We really do appreciate all the comments and nice emails we receive! You can also follow me on twitter @GeoEvelyn.
Here are some websites we refer to in today’s interview:
In today’s interview:
1. My dad gives his usual update
2.We address a final batch of questions from listeners:
(a.) Is there a possibility that radioactive water is seeping into the ground? What potential harm could this cause?
(b.) How could it happen that, after much less than a century of nuclear power, we’ve got an accident that is completely beyond the design basis of a nuclear plant? Aren’t the designs of these plants supposed to take into account events far rarer than that? Was this so out of the blue that we can be reasonably sure something like this won’t happen again in the next, say, 200 years, or does this mean that in the next couple of decades, we might well have another disaster, perhaps of some completely different nature, that is so beyond the design basis of a plant that its safety mechanisms are as compromised as we’ve seen at Fukushima?
(c.) Why do they build several nuclear reactors close together, such as the 6 reactors and 7 spent fuel pools at Fukushima? What are the advantages of building several reactors close together? What are the disadvantages of building several reactors close together?
(d.) What missing information do you wish you had to help you better understand what is happening at Fukushima?
Hope to have an audio link soon. Here is the interview on vimeo:
Please see the announcement page for more information about these interviews:
If you have time and interest, please transcribe this interview. Our final wrap-up interview will take place on Saturday, April 9th.
"well i just think it's good news that it sounds like there's some people who know what they're doing and have access to all the data who are actually looking at that and determining if that is necessary or not, so, it's good that the officials are staying on top of that."why are you trusting that "the officials" are interested in collecting enough data and ensuring a wide margin of safety for local children? you failed to follow up on my question regarding the local report that the federal government was pressuring nearby schools to reopen on schedule despite A) reports of hotspots well outside the exclusion zone, B) no comprehensive survey identifying all hotspots, and C) continuing high risk of release (NRC reporting aftershocks could overstress already damaged containment, among other risks).it's a shame you are unwilling to address questions from someone critical of your willingness to eat what's fed to you. i hope no japanese families decided to stay based on listening to your reassurances that they could trust their government, only to have their kid catch leukemia in an undiscovered hotspot.btw, the danger of plants close together is less fratricide than correlated risk. 5/6 survived cuz their diesel generators weren't flooded — 1-4 all fell to the same unmodeled failure mode, the station outage combined with loss of generators. considered independently, these insults are unlikely to co-occur, but the risk models do not attempt to account for events correlated by common cause (such as an earthquake), due to lack of data. (this has been widely reported, but there has been no evidence reported for mutual damage from explosions, contrary to your suggestion.) for this reason, you can count on a continuing failure rate far above design.
efilster: Regarding, "It's a shame you are unwilling to address questions from someone critical of your willingness to eat what's fed to you."It's a shame you have poor listening skills as my father and I have patiently addressed your concerns, which are now bordering on troll-like behavior. We did address your concerns about trust extensively in one of our recent interviews, even saying that we should be skeptical of our trust in TEPCO and the Japanese government. Again, lack of listening skills- you hear what you want to and twist our words to suit your agenda.You sound to have very passionate, anti-nuke sentiments. We respect all viewpoints here, but if you continue to post nasty comments about my father & I- when we have been respectful and patient of you– then I will delete them and block you. You have been warned.
I see a lot of folks like efilster posting online, they all share one common characteristic, speaking with them is like speaking with an argumentative mother in law, they hear what they want to hear and listen to one word in 5 the rest of the time.That said, I had two questions that remain unanswered, but were addressed by your father. They were unanswered because he also could not find any detailed information to make an educated guess or opinion on.That all said, I wish to express thanks to you and your father for your efforts and taking so much time out of your already busy schedules to answer questions and give sane and competent guidance, unlike some media outlets.
I believe that you have a certain element of people who know what they are doing, or at least now trying to learn what they should be doing, in part with the aid of intervention from outside of Japan. Perhaps somewhat late to take advantage of the field of experts, but never-the-less now in effect. Also, as effister suggests, you also have a group that shows rather blatant disregard to the concerns of the Japanese people being directly effected by all this, be it intentional, or more out of callousness and a certain degree of disrespect. One example of this is the fisheries association, which apparently was not at all briefed before the dumping of contaminated water began. They are rather furious as a result of the way the situation was approached, TEPCO and the regulatory agency apparently not considering the practicality to show some recognition and diplomacy towards what would be the obvious concerns. The dumping may have been unavoidable, but if you look at the way the government is now throwing around apologies, the overall approach to the situation was a rather myopic one. Just one example among a number of this type of behavior than can be mentioned.
Stephen: Thank you so much. Of course my dad and I have not been perfect in these interviews, but we have tried to say calm & stick to the facts. We've also both put an enormous amount of work into this on top of our other obligations. I am a very busy, stressed out 5th year MIT grad student. But the Fukushima disaster was too important to not do something, and fortunately my advisors were supportive of these interviews. I'm sorry we couldn't answer all your questions, but we have tried not to answer anything we're not qualified to speak about or which we don't have enough information to speak to. When you pretend to be an "expert" or make up an answer, misinformation is spread such as the Bill Nye the Science Guy disaster on CNN: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Nye (See "Post-Science Guy career")djy: No doubt TEPCO and the Japanese government have engaged in some seriously dubious behavior. I am very sad about all the radiation & radioactivity that has been released into the Japanese environment and which continues to be released. It will be a long, long time before the environment around Fukushima recovers from this nuclear disaster. I really, really hope that the evacuation zones are such that people stay safe.
In relation to frustrations from some listeners about issues not discussed I'd first like to thank you for your level headed approach to reporting on this horrible incident and all the hard work you have both put in ..However while don't fully agree, I think eflister does make some important points about trusting government sources..I'd like to draw your attention again to the post I made in response to your last interview about the potential of an 'inadvertent criticality' occurring..I strongly feel this is an extremely serious development you and your father have neglected to mention to your viewers.. I'm not saying this has been purposeful as I appreciate you have been I'm sure been swamped with questions by the public and have have a life to lead away from these interviews, however..The impression your father gave that information from the authorities has been prima facie, to be clearer and better but in actual fact in my opinion, it seems like they have continued to keep the public uninformed and the situation has not changed or potentially gotten worse..The report released by TEPCO that shows evidence of 'inadvertent criticality' has been pulled from the web.. the data is as follows and relates to the no. 2 reactor:There has been the detection of:- 13 neutron bursts detected 1 mile away from reactor- Chlorine 38 (as a byproduct of Chlorine 37 from seawater + neutron)- Telerium 129 (which can only exist if fission is occuring)- high levels of Iodione 131 & 132 (compared with Unit 2 & 3)..I encourage your viewers to watch the last two updates from fairewinds.com:http://fairewinds.com/updatesI'm puzzled why your father has neglected to look into these developments, I understand he is a busy man but I think this information is a worrying development that warrants further scrutiny.. It seems as though fairewinds.com have been the only source that has looked into this which is quite disappointing..I also believe it exposes how the authorities have been playing down the issue and explains why there is so little information available..It clearly demonstrates how TEPCO and IAEA have not been completely truthful to the public, especially considering that they have not factored these data into their reporting and this is underscored by the fact that information about this worrying development was pulled from the web..Again, I thank you and your father for all your hard work and dedication and I've really enjoyed listening to your interviews..I'd appreciate some comments on these developments.Cheers
Hi Ramel,Sorry you had to post that comment so many times… I just found it in my spam filter. Sometimes blogger puts really long comments in the spam filter.Sorry that my father never commented on your questions, though it sounds as if he was not the only one. We are no longer answering questions, but perhaps you could direct your questions/concerns to Gunderson or perhaps even email the IAEA, NEI, or TEPCO directly?All the best,Evelyn