April 9, 2011

19th (and Final) 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:

Brad Go’s YouTube channel: 

This evening my dad and I recorded our 19th interview on the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. Please see the rest of the blog (sidebar) for previous interviews. This is the final interview in our series. If you would like to send a message to me or my father about this or any of the previous interviews, you can do so in a comment below or by sending an email to [email protected]. You can also follow me on twitter @GeoEvelyn. My dad in particular has put an enormous amount of work into research for these interviews. If you would like to send him a thank-you message, I promise to pass it along to him.

In today’s interview:
1. My dad gives a quick update about Fukushima

2. My dad discusses 5 types of Generation III and Generation III+ nuclear power plants (click on links below for more information on each plant):


(b.) APR1400

(c.) AP1000

(d.) ESBWR

(e.) Thorium Reactors

Several links, thanks to a listener also named Mark:

Summary of multiple videos on Thorium reactor, (16 minutes):
One of the better long videos on Thorium reactor, (55 minutes):
A written article on the Thorium fuel cycle:
A written article on the molten salt reactor that the Thorium fuel uses:

(3.) My dad talks about the importance of evaluating spent fuel pool safety & long-term storage of spent fuel rods

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 or volunteer to transcribe Interviews 17 & 18 (16 is in progress). This is our last interview.

Some Final Notes:
As I announced before, I will be compiling all of the interview transcripts into a book that I will be self-publishing on Lulu. My goal is to have this book available by the end of April. I will try to keep the cost of the book fairly low, and I will donate 25% of the book profits to charities (such as the Red Cross, see the sidebar for a list of charities) benefiting Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster relief. The remaining profits I will use to recover some the expenses I had to put forth (paying for several different recording softwares before Skype came forward and helped, a new headset, and video hosting costs on vimeo) over the past month. Anything leftover I will share with my dad, who has put forth a tremendous amount of effort for these interviews. If you would like to support us (and Japan disaster relief), you can buy the book from Lulu when it comes out and/or you can use the paypal button (see blog sidebar) to make a small donation.  If you prefer that 100% of your money goes to Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster relief, please consider a donation to one of the charities listed on my blog sidebar or any of a number of other relief organizations.

The interview audios and transcripts will remain freely available here always. I also hope to put together the audios in podcast format in the near future– if you have tips on how to make this happen, please post a comment or send an email.

Finally, I would like to say a big THANK YOU you to all of the people who volunteered their time and expertise to help me with audio quality, hosting, and transcriptions. My helpers are too numerous for me to list here, but I will compile a long thank you list (first names) to put in the Lulu book. I have already mailed many of you pretty rocks as thank-you presents. There are still a few of you I need to mail rocks to– I will try to do so in the next couple of weeks. Note that I am a geologist and so I consider *most* rocks pretty, but hopefully some of you appreciate the rocks I have sent you.

I would also like to say a big THANK YOU to all of the thousands upon thousands of people who listened to these interviews, read these interviews, and sent my father and I comments and emails. We hope that these interviews have been helpful for you, and we are happy that we were able to continue them as long as we did– a full month.

In the near future this blog will return to being a geology blog. I hope that a few of you will stay to learn about geology and read about some of my geological travels and adventures. However, I will not be offended at all if many of you decide to no longer follow this blog, which will no longer focus on nuclear power.

As a transition back to geology, in a few days I will blog a little about the Oklo Natural Nuclear Reactor— a nuclear reactor that occurred naturally due to some unusual conditions a long, long time ago in what is today Gabon, Africa. There is no danger of natural nuclear reactors developing on Earth today, but this is an interesting ancient geological phenomenon that can teach a little about nuclear reactors, including possible lessons for long-term storage and migration of nuclear fission products.