The Water Has To Go Somewhere

For a rough calculation I like 250 gallons water per ton. So 50 tons of water is roughly 12,500 gallons. Let us make it easy and say 10,000 gallons a day. If the cooling water is applied for 100 days that is 1 million gallons. If it goes on for 1,000 days (roughly 3 years) that is 10 million gallons that needs to be dealt with. Fukushima is going to need a tank farm. Except big construction projects like that are difficult in a high radiation environment.

It would also be nice if we knew what the level of radioactivity was in the "mildly" radioactive water. "Mild" in comparison to what? Where are the numbahs? Some one knows. And they do not appear to be talking.

Another good video from Russia Today.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 04.06.11 at 08:28 PM


To put the ocean dumping into perspective, there are 70 million cubic miles of water in the Pacific Ocean, according to Dumping 10,000 gallons a day equals 1413 cu ft of water. There is 163 billion cu ft in a cubic mile.
Therefore, 10,000 gallons is dispersed at the rate of 1 part to 115 million in a cubic mile of water.

Of course this will add up over several years, and will be carried in higher concentrations by currents. I wouldn't want to eat fish from the north Pacific after awhile.

Frank   ·  April 7, 2011 1:23 AM


You are quite correct. Bioconcentration is the #1 risk for people outside Japan. And the most dangerous are the bivalves (clams etc.) that filter a LOT of water to "make a living".

Bivalves are also called filter feeders.

M. Simon   ·  April 7, 2011 3:43 AM 'An additional 4.6 billion tonnes of uranium are estimated to be in sea water'

Obviously adding 10 million gallons of somewhat radioactive water is going to be a huge issue and could turn large swaths of the ocean into lifeless wastelands.

Daran   ·  April 7, 2011 1:50 PM


Swimming in the ocean is not a problem. Eating the food will be. And it is not Uranium that is the problem. It is fission fragments like Sr90.

Are you nuclear trained? I am by the US Navy. RO qualified. The geekiest you can be and still be in the front lines. WAR ships don't you know.

M. Simon   ·  April 7, 2011 2:09 PM

Point being that the natural decay of uranium in the ocean also releases radioactive materials. Add to that whatever leeches from the ocean bottom or is exposed through volcanic / seismic activity etc. etc.

Outside from the usual FUD mongering from the greens there is no reason why this water couldn't be pumped into a coastal tanker and dumped somewhere in the middle of the ocean (sinking the entire tanker with it if cleaning it is not economical).

If a 'nuclear industry expert' thinks 10 million gallon constitutes an 'astronomical' amount of water and that it is necessary to store it in tanks for 300 years then we are dealing with 'progressive science' and not the type of science that build civilization as we know it. (Majored in Electrical Engineering btw.)

Daran   ·  April 7, 2011 3:20 PM


Spontaneous fission of uranium is rather rare. The more usual decay path is the emission of alpha, beta, and gamma rays leading to an isotope of lead.

That is why I asked if you were nuclear trained. I was attempting to measure your level of ignorance. As I suspected it is rather high. You have now removed all doubt.

And you might want to reflect that the half life of uranium is measured in the billions of years. That stuff does not give off a lot of atoms even of lead. The half life of the stuff considered dangerous is on the order of 50 years or less.

M. Simon   ·  April 7, 2011 3:41 PM

Outside from the usual FUD mongering from the greens there is no reason why this water couldn't be pumped into a coastal tanker and dumped somewhere in the middle of the ocean (sinking the entire tanker with it if cleaning it is not economical).

Damn are you ignorant. Such dumping is prohibited by international law for fear it will concentrate in the food chain. Look up the row the Japanese had with the Russians for dumping radioactives at sea.

BTW when I left the Navy I mustanged my way into being an aerospace EE. Just a bit below rocket scientist. I did have software flying on the SR-71, the F-16 (some very nice math routines) and the A-320 among others. No degree. Heh. Oh. Yeah. I'm an expert in hardware as well.

M. Simon   ·  April 7, 2011 3:50 PM

Since I didn't attend the US school system my understanding of nuclear decay and background radiation may be better than you think. But if you have nothing better to do perhaps you can do some quick math showing how 50m gallon of contaminated water dumped into the ocean will significantly increase global radiation levels.

Japan can play nice with the usual suspects of the international community and pretend that this 50m gallons of radioactive water is the greatest threat they are currently facing, or they can decide that they have bigger concerns (for example the reactor vessels themselves) that require their attention and resources and ship it out.

Daran   ·  April 7, 2011 5:18 PM


In case you missed it:

and I'll add one:

Don't they teach you guys over there how to use Google? Or read.

M. Simon   ·  April 7, 2011 10:41 PM

The post I linked on radioactive bioaccumulation says it doesn't happen.

This paper says it does:

The nuclear industry is regulated assuming bioaccumulation occurs.

M. Simon   ·  April 7, 2011 11:11 PM

Let me add that the nuclear atmospheric test ban treaty was agreed to due to fears of bioaccumulation.

And let me add. I'm no liberal. I'm libertarian actually. And I like nuclear power. But I think current designs are crap.

Let me also add that I think there needs to be a world wide emergency response team that can respond in hours and deliver emergency generators etc. any where in the world in 24 hours or less.

It would also help if reactors were better designed. There are some on the drawing boards that can go for 3 days without power after an emergency shutdown. If you add to that a 24 hour response team you have a much safer nuclear industry.

M. Simon   ·  April 8, 2011 2:11 AM

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