If the Japanese fail to keep the reactors cool and fail to keep the pressure in the containment vessels at an appropriate level, you can get this, you know, the dramatic word "meltdown." But what does that actually mean? What a meltdown involves is the basic reactor core melts, and as it melts, nuclear material will fall through to the floor of the container. There it will react with concrete and other materials that is likely.
Remember this is the reasonable worst case, we don't think anything worse is going to happen. In this reasonable worst case you get an explosion. You get some radioactive material going up to about 500 meters up into the air. Now, that's really serious, but it's serious again for the local area. It's not serious for elsewhere, even if you get a combination of that explosion it would only have nuclear material going in to the air up to about 500 meters.
If you then couple that with the worst possible weather situation, i.e. prevailing weather taking radioactive material in the direction of Greater Tokyo and you had maybe rainfall which would bring the radioactive material down, do we have a problem? The answer is unequivocally no. Absolutely no issue.
The problems are within 30 km of the reactor. And to give you a flavor for that, when Chernobyl had a massive fire at the graphite core, material was going up not just 500 meters but to 30,000 feet; it was lasting not for the odd hour or so but lasted months, and that was putting nuclear radioactive material up into the upper atmosphere for a very long period of time. But even in the case of Chernobyl, the exclusion zone that they had was about 30 kilometers. And in that exclusion zone, outside that, there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate people had problems from the radiation.
The problems with Chernobyl were people were continuing to drink the water, continuing to eat vegetables and so on and that was where the problems came from. That's not going to be the case here. So what I would really reemphasize is that this is very problematic for the area and the immediate vicinity and one has to have concerns for the people working there. Beyond that 20 or 30 kilometers, it's really not an issue for health.
Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will Archive Favorite posts Twitter: @steve_hsu
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Fukushima meltdown: worst case scenario?
UK government Chief Scientific Officer Professor John Beddington comments on the developments at Fukushima nuclear plant. I hope he is correct.
Labels:
energy,
expert prediction,
japan
blog comments powered by Disqus
Subscribe to:
Post Comments (Atom)
Blog Archive

▼
2011
(267)

▼
03
(25)
 Ruh Roh!
 India = Silicon Valley + Africa ?
 Paul Allen: Idea Man
 Misers' methods for reading the NYTimes
 Statins, cholesterol and medical science
 We're different on the inside
 TEDxCaltech
 Annals of socially constructed gender roles
 Poker prodigies
 Pebble bed reactors
 Duty, Honor, Country: Fukushima grunts
 Almost over? part 2
 What is reality? Philip K. Dick
 Wellesley girls
 Jon Jones, phenom
 Nuclear Boy is sick
 Fukushima meltdown: worst case scenario?
 Buffet on derivatives
 Taiwan photos 11
 Tigers, cubs, and elite clubs
 Social Animals
 Almost over?
 Classics on the arxiv: von Neumann and the foundat...
 With Pascin at the Dôme
 Swoosh!

▼
03
(25)
Labels
 physics (293)
 finance (248)
 globalization (223)
 genetics (219)
 brainpower (198)
 photos (135)
 technology (132)
 science (126)
 economics (124)
 China (123)
 american society (122)
 psychometrics (121)
 credit crisis (115)
 travel (103)
 innovation (99)
 higher education (90)
 psychology (89)
 human capital (86)
 universities (84)
 iq (80)
 startups (79)
 credit crunch (78)
 biology (69)
 gilded age (67)
 careers (66)
 elitism (61)
 income inequality (61)
 cognitive science (60)
 autobiographical (57)
 evolution (56)
 books (55)
 ai (54)
 genomics (52)
 quantum mechanics (52)
 genetic engineering (50)
 social science (48)
 caltech (47)
 bgi (46)
 genius (46)
 cdo (45)
 kids (43)
 statistics (43)
 derivatives (41)
 education (39)
 mma (39)
 talks (39)
 history of science (37)
 mortgages (36)
 bubbles (35)
 behavioral economics (34)
 silicon valley (34)
 bounded rationality (31)
 hedge funds (31)
 intellectual history (31)
 mathematics (31)
 podcasts (31)
 MSU (28)
 literature (28)
 academia (27)
 efficient markets (27)
 geopolitics (27)
 quants (27)
 many worlds (26)
 sports (26)
 black holes (25)
 expert prediction (25)
 physical training (25)
 sci fi (25)
 subprime (25)
 ufc (25)
 entrepreneurs (24)
 housing (24)
 machine learning (24)
 political correctness (24)
 taiwan (24)
 foo camp (23)
 harvard (22)
 history (22)
 jiujitsu (22)
 obama (22)
 economic history (21)
 film (21)
 ultimate fighting (21)
 athletics (20)
 computing (20)
 feynman (20)
 google (20)
 wall street (20)
 berkeley (19)
 bjj (19)
 cds (19)
 affirmative action (18)
 goldman sachs (18)
 movies (18)
 race relations (17)
 security (17)
 treasury bailout (17)
 freeman dyson (16)
 university of oregon (16)
 von Neumann (16)
 internet (15)
 japan (15)
 quantum field theory (15)
 singularity (15)
 blogging (14)
 cryptography (14)
 gender (14)
 neuroscience (14)
 nuclear weapons (14)
 personality (14)
 realpolitik (14)
 biotech (13)
 conferences (13)
 oppenheimer (13)
 venture capital (13)
 cosmology (12)
 happiness (12)
 india (12)
 politics (12)
 probability (12)
 scifoo (12)
 algorithms (11)
 autism (11)
 hedonic treadmill (11)
 malcolm gladwell (11)
 meritocracy (11)
 music (11)
 aspergers (10)
 fitness (10)
 geeks (10)
 les grandes ecoles (10)
 mutants (10)
 net worth (10)
 olympics (10)
 social networks (10)
 string theory (10)
 wwii (10)
 chess (9)
 entropy (9)
 eugene (9)
 flynn effect (9)
 neanderthals (9)
 new yorker (9)
 ability (8)
 christmas (8)
 complexity (8)
 football (8)
 government (8)
 italy (8)
 keynes (8)
 nerds (8)
 nobel prize (8)
 robot genius (8)
 usain bolt (8)
 aig (7)
 alpha (7)
 ashkenazim (7)
 basketball (7)
 crossfit (7)
 dating (7)
 encryption (7)
 harvard society of fellows (7)
 height (7)
 hugh everett (7)
 manhattan (7)
 qcd (7)
 real estate (7)
 television (7)
 Einstein (6)
 alan turing (6)
 anthropic principle (6)
 art (6)
 blade runner (6)
 data mining (6)
 determinism (6)
 dna (6)
 fx (6)
 games (6)
 nassim taleb (6)
 nsa (6)
 privacy (6)
 success (6)
 teaching (6)
 turing test (6)
 volatility (6)
 Fermi problems (5)
 academia sinica (5)
 bayes (5)
 bobby fischer (5)
 climate change (5)
 econtalk (5)
 energy (5)
 environmentalism (5)
 france (5)
 free will (5)
 game theory (5)
 james salter (5)
 luck (5)
 noam chomsky (5)
 philip k. dick (5)
 philosophy of mind (5)
 poker (5)
 prostitution (5)
 renaissance technologies (5)
 research (5)
 software development (5)
 tail risk (5)
 war (5)
 warren buffet (5)
 100m (4)
 Go (4)
 Iran (4)
 Poincare (4)
 borges (4)
 cambridge uk (4)
 charles darwin (4)
 class (4)
 creativity (4)
 fake alpha (4)
 feminism (4)
 global warming (4)
 godel (4)
 hormones (4)
 humor (4)
 inequality (4)
 intellectual property (4)
 iraq war (4)
 kerviel (4)
 markets (4)
 microsoft (4)
 mixed martial arts (4)
 monsters (4)
 paris (4)
 patents (4)
 perimeter institute (4)
 pseudoscience (4)
 russia (4)
 soros (4)
 trento (4)
 vietnam war (4)
 200m (3)
 babies (3)
 bill gates (3)
 brain drain (3)
 censorship (3)
 charlie munger (3)
 chet baker (3)
 cold war (3)
 correlation (3)
 demographics (3)
 ecosystems (3)
 equity risk premium (3)
 facebook (3)
 fannie (3)
 fst (3)
 information theory (3)
 intellectual ventures (3)
 judo (3)
 kasparov (3)
 lewontin fallacy (3)
 lhc (3)
 michael lewis (3)
 moore's law (3)
 nathan myhrvold (3)
 neal stephenson (3)
 new york times (3)
 nonlinearity (3)
 path integrals (3)
 quantum computers (3)
 risk preference (3)
 sad but true (3)
 search (3)
 sec (3)
 sivs (3)
 society generale (3)
 solar energy (3)
 alibaba (2)
 assortative mating (2)
 bear stearns (2)
 bruce springsteen (2)
 charles babbage (2)
 cheng ting hsu (2)
 cloning (2)
 david mamet (2)
 democracy (2)
 digital books (2)
 donald mackenzie (2)
 eliot spitzer (2)
 empire (2)
 exchange rates (2)
 freddie (2)
 gaussian copula (2)
 industrial revolution (2)
 james watson (2)
 jim simons (2)
 language (2)
 ltcm (2)
 magic (2)
 mba (2)
 mccain (2)
 national character (2)
 nicholas metropolis (2)
 no holds barred (2)
 offices (2)
 oligarchs (2)
 olympiads (2)
 palin (2)
 pca (2)
 pop culture (2)
 population structure (2)
 prisoner's dilemma (2)
 rationality (2)
 skidelsky (2)
 smpy (2)
 socgen (2)
 sprints (2)
 thailand (2)
 variance (2)
 abx (1)
 anathem (1)
 andrew lo (1)
 antikythera mechanism (1)
 athens (1)
 atlas shrugged (1)
 ayn rand (1)
 bay area (1)
 beats (1)
 book search (1)
 bunnie huang (1)
 car dealers (1)
 carlos slim (1)
 catastrophe bonds (1)
 cdos (1)
 ces 2008 (1)
 chance (1)
 children (1)
 cochranharpending (1)
 cpi (1)
 david x. li (1)
 dick cavett (1)
 dolomites (1)
 drugs (1)
 eharmony (1)
 epidemics (1)
 escorts (1)
 faces (1)
 fads (1)
 favorite posts (1)
 fiber optic cable (1)
 francis crick (1)
 gary brecher (1)
 gizmos (1)
 greece (1)
 greenspan (1)
 heinlein (1)
 hypocrisy (1)
 igon value (1)
 iit (1)
 inflation (1)
 information asymmetry (1)
 iphone (1)
 jack kerouac (1)
 jaynes (1)
 jfk (1)
 john dolan (1)
 john kerry (1)
 john paulson (1)
 john searle (1)
 john tierney (1)
 jonathan littell (1)
 las vegas (1)
 lawyers (1)
 lee kwan yew (1)
 lehman auction (1)
 les bienveillantes (1)
 lowell wood (1)
 lse (1)
 mating (1)
 mcgeorge bundy (1)
 mexico (1)
 michael jackson (1)
 mickey rourke (1)
 migration (1)
 mit (1)
 money:tech (1)
 monkeys (1)
 myron scholes (1)
 netwon institute (1)
 networks (1)
 newton institute (1)
 nfl (1)
 oliver stone (1)
 phil gramm (1)
 philanthropy (1)
 philip greenspun (1)
 portfolio theory (1)
 power laws (1)
 randomness (1)
 recession (1)
 sales (1)
 simulation (1)
 singapore (1)
 skype (1)
 standard deviation (1)
 star wars (1)
 starship troopers (1)
 students today (1)
 supercomputers (1)
 systemic risk (1)
 teleportation (1)
 tierney lab blog (1)
 tomonaga (1)
 twitter (1)
 tyler cowen (1)
 ussr (1)
 venice (1)
 violence (1)
 virtual meetings (1)
 virtual reality (1)
 war nerd (1)
 wealth effect (1)