14 Mar 2011 dangermaus   » (Journeyer)

Fukushima Nuclear Accident

I am chatting with a friend of mine in Japan, and found this interesting article for her, as I unfortunately can't do more from here: Fukushima Nuclear Accident - a simple and accurate explanation. The article states that there will be no risk, as the nuclear reactor is protected by three protective shells, which are still intact. The inner most shell is designed to contain the meltdown, if it should occurr. The building blasts which occurred in reactor 1 and 3 is simply hydrogen leaking from vents, and radiation is not a threat as it is easily dispersed in the time you spell R-A-D-I-O-N-U-C-L-I-D-E. The blasted building itself is just to protect the reactor from weather.

So, according to the article, there might be another explosion in reactor 2 due to hydrogen, but without further consequences. This because the control rods entered the core when the earthquake occurred and stopped uranium decay, and now it is a matter of removing the residual heat produced by reaction collaterals, which is done with seawater.

The building itself resisted an earthquake 7 times bigger than what it was designed to stand for. The problem was that engineers did not build a wall high enough to protect the diesel generators of the emergency cooling system from the tsunami.

I think openness shown by Japanese authorities is a major help in preventing the complete catastrophe. Exactly the opposite happened during Tschernobyl disaster. Workers sent out to manually insert control rods into the reactor came back browned by radiation reporting there was no reactor anymore to put the control rods in, but they were not believed by their chiefs. Also readings from dosimeters were ignored. Well, the smaller ones reported an 'E' for error, while the bigger ones broke immediately when they were powered on, as the watch hand jumped away. And there was the graphite everywhere around the building as witness that the core exploded. Not to mention the blue hyonized air on top of the reactor building!

Missing openness in chain of command is also the cause of another disaster in history (in 1686), the Vasa ship maiden voyage. The test for the ship's stability completely failed when sailors run on the ship's deck from one side to the other, but nobody dared to inform the king as he was behind the lenghtened ship design.

And remember that such disasters can happen in big software projects as well!

Deltasql 1.3.5

Deltasql 1.3.5 is released with some neat features: diffing of edited scripts implemented by phptreegraphext library and plotting the development tree of a project with PEAR Text_Diff library, both released under LGPL.

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