Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for Nuclear Meltdown


My theme for my 2015 A to Z Challenge came from my Disaster Crimes series. Disasters are a theme in each story, so it got me thinking about all the disasters that occur from natural disasters to manmade disasters.

Today’s disaster is...
Nuclear Meltdown

Nuclear Meltdowns occur within a nuclear reactor when the core melts due to extreme heat. Cooling systems are used to keep the temperatures of nuclear reactors from going above their limits, but sometimes things go wrong with these cooling systems. A loss of coolant, pressure, or a low flow rate can lead a nuclear reactor to reach its melting point. An external fire or failure to any part of the system can lead to a meltdown.

When a core melts, the area is contaminated by radiation and radioactive gases can then enter the environment, endangering humans and wildlife.

Image from Pixabay

FACT: The worst US nuclear power plant accident in history was when the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania had a partial meltdown in 1979. The cleanup cost about $1 billion.

When a nuclear meltdown occurs, zones close to the power plants will be evacuated. People will be urged to stay indoors and farmers will be asked to keep livestock under cover in precaution of radiation poisoning. Usually the only damage to occur lies within the reactor though, which causes damage to the reactor and the permanent shutdown of the plant such as was the case with the Three Mile Island plant.

FACT: In 2011, after an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, the Fukushima Daiichi power plant suffered meltdowns to three of their six reactors. Most of the fuel in reactor No. 1 melted.


QUESTION:
 Do you live near a nuclear power plant?
I'm a member of Tremp's Troops!

119 comments:

  1. Hi Chrys .. this would be monstrous .. I think I'd almost rather be killed than to have the effects .. Chernobyl, Russia, effects are still being felt - yet the land is recovering .. and that was 1982 .. I was in South Africa.

    It's definitely not a good scenario - as it's spread is so very very far .. cheers Hilary

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    1. It sure can spread fast and far. Radiation poisoning is terrible.

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  2. That one in Japan really did spread.

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  3. Great facts, always life threatening when a nuclear spill occurs.

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  4. No thanks goodness don't live near one.
    Yvonne.

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    1. I don't either. The closest one is several cities away, I believe.

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  5. The closest one to us is Dungeness which is 34 miles away. There are two of them, one of which is decommissioned. I remember going there for a school trip once.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. Going to a shutdown power plant on a field trip would be creepy and fun at the same time.

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  6. There is a nuclear plant in my hometown. I remember one of those forms we had to fill out for school every year was a permission slip for them to give us potassium iodide if something ever happened. Luckily it never did.

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  7. I live in a nuclear free country, and after reading this post, and I am glad. (Actually I have always been glad, this jut brought it to the forefront.)

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    1. A nuclear free country sounds very nice, Rhonda.

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  8. The spreading can get you even if you don't live close. I don't think there is any near here, but the wind could blow some this way I'm sure.

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    1. The wind is the biggest factor on how far it can go.

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  9. Replies
    1. You can so that again...and again. lol

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  10. I used to. There's one in Byron, IL close to Rockford. I always said if it goes, we're doomed! I feel like I'm having a nuclear meltdown. :)

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    1. Yikes! I wouldn't feel safe living close to one.

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  11. We have a few by us in Illinois, though not as many as we used to.

    I have to be honest. I don't fear nuclear power. I respect it, but I also understand the people they have working at these plants are the top people in their fields.

    I am more likely to get hit by lightning or trampled by a cow than to die in a nuclear disaster.

    --
    Tim Brannan, The Other Side Blog
    2015 A to Z of Vampires
    http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/

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    1. I respect your opinion, Timothy. I also respect nuclear power and the people who work in the plants. Although I don't think I'll ever be trampled by a cow. :P

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  12. What? No Simpson's comment?
    Seriously though, I was curious when you asked so I looked it up. We do indeed have a Nuclear Power Plant in Wisconsin. It's far enough away to not notice, but right by Lake Michigan so if anything were to happen, it would not be good. According to Wikipedia (and you know THAT has to be accurate):

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Point Beach was 90,909 to 1.

    Never tell me the odds.

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    1. Sorry. I missed out on that.

      The one here is pretty far too but it's in a major city so the results would be terrible.

      Those are some odds.

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  13. I think of what happened in Japan and get even more nervous.

    Good luck with the A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy
    http://pensuasion.blogspot.com/

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  14. I was thinking of Japan as well. Talk about a cooling system going bust! And, that was caused by a natural disaster, a Tsunami! Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

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    1. Yup, two disasters in one with that Japan catastrophe.

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  15. The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was recently closed down for good and is preparing to be decommissioned.

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    1. That's good news. Especially if something went wrong there.

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  16. My husband did growing up and they had a little radio in the kitchen specifically to warn them if something went wrong.

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  17. This is a nasty one. Wind is not always your friend.

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    1. Nope, not always. Especially in hurricanes.

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  18. I think our area in British Columbia, Canada is in part of the area where the fallout is shown in that diagram. I believe there is a nuclear reactor in Washington, which is near to us. We could always see the huge funnels when we drove by. Haven't been in that area for a few years now. Nuclear power is scary if we lose control of it or it falls into the wrong hands.

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    1. Nuclear power has it's benefits, I suppose, but it can be deadly if something goes wrong. Or...you're right...if it's in the wrong hands.

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  19. I didn't know that about the cooling system in the nuclear plant. I don't live anywhere near one thank goodness. What a mess that was in Japan in 2011! It all started from the tsunami. Is a nuclear meltdown considered a 'natural disaster' or man made? :)

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    1. That was a mess. I remember watching CNN for updates.

      Good question. I think that depends. Since this one happened because of a tsunami, I'd say it leans toward the natural side as it wasn't anything someone did wrong.

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  20. Such huge potential for good and still so capable of mass destruction. What a dilemma man has.

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  21. We do live near a nuclear plant here in So. CA., Onofre (?) We camped in a state park right next to it. There were directions what to do if..., posted in the bathrooms.

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    1. I don't think I'd ever camp next to a nuclear plant. Haha. A least they had directions in the bathrooms. :P

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  22. Three Mile Island is in the school district where I live and where I taught. There's a lot of things that happened as a result of that accident that are still being denied. My students were very afraid after 9/11 that someone would attack the plant and the protective fighter jets patrolling overhead didn't help.

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  23. I remember 3 mile Island. All the people who suffered from the effects from their health to losing their homes. It is devastating and I wouldn't want to live near one

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    1. It's terrible what they had to endure because of that.

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  24. Terrifying! And worse when they try to keep leaks a secret. I keep thinking of Erin Brockovich...

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  25. I think a nuclear meltdown is one of the worst disasters. The after effects last so long. And the devastion is awful.

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  26. I do live near a power plant. Ironically, many, many years ago when the power plant was being proposed, the town in which we lived rejected having the plant open. So they offered it to the town right next door and they accepted. We got none of the tax benefits and all of the worst threats! Not cool.

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  27. That's some seriously scary stuff.

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    1. It is and a threat that is all too real for many people.

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  28. Nuclear meltdowns are great for movie disasters. Not so much for real life.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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  29. So this is the first one that I do seriously worry about - I suppose because it's not just the immediate damage, but the years and years of devastation and illness after x

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    1. It's something that is more likely to happen in many places.

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  30. Our nearest nuclear reactor is at Dungeness about 25 to 30 miles away. I have been on a tour of it, our physics class went and it was really interesting.
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
    FB3X
    Wittegen Press

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    1. It would be interesting to take a tour of one.

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  31. We only have one in my entire country, and it should have been shut down years ago. It's just an accident waiting to happen... and since we are a tiny country, everyone is within the danger zone XD

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    1. Oh dear! I was going to say only having one is good, but then you reminded me how small your county is. Not good at all.

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  32. No, thankfully. I'm definitely not a fan.

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  33. No nuclear plants for me, thank you. They're too dangerous and they make people sick.

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  34. I'm happy to say I live nowhere near a nuclear power plant! It's all wind farms round these parts... much less scary.

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  35. Very �� scary. I'd like to say I don't live near one but I'm not so sure.

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  36. There are a couple of nuclear plants in my general area, although none of them are super close. I actually had the opportunity to tour through one once, which was fascinating. They stopped giving tours for security reasons in more recent years. My clear impression is that they took safety extremely seriously in that plant.

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    1. You can never take safety too seriously, right? :)

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  37. My husband is from Oak Ridge, the city that was built to develop the atomic bomb. We live about three hours from there. There's no telling what would happen if someone attacked one of those buildings!

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  38. I'm happy to be able to answer no to your question.
    I always think of Chernobyl with this topic. If I remember correctly it's still not safe to be there for any length of time.

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  39. Yes, we have Indian Point about 20 miles up the Hudson River! We laugh how the authorities say the ten mile radius will be affected. Does the nuclear waste actually know when to stop is what I'd like to know.

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    1. Nope, it sure doesn't. It could keep on traveling as far the wind blows it.

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  40. I still remember driving with my grandfather someplace. We passed the nuclear power plant, and he had to roll up all the windows in protest. (He was the kind of guy who protested all sorts of things.)

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    1. I like him. I think I'd roll up my windows too. ;)

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  41. We live about 150 miles from the closest nuclear power plant but there are several nuclear powered aircraft carriers that are about 10 miles from here. Thankfully they seem pretty safe.

    Sean at His and Her Hobbies

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    1. Nuclear powered aircraft carrier? I never heard of that before.

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  42. Used to live close by, but it has been shut down for a number of years.

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  43. I used to live near a nuclear power plant but it was closed probably 2-3 years ago.

    betty

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    1. It seems a lot of them are closed now, but not enough.

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  44. They built and almost activated a nuclear plant about 120 miles from me in Longview, WA, but it never went live. Sadly, we are well within that 10 day fallout from Fukishima and many of our marine species have suffered "inexplicable" die-offs ever since. We used to have these cool huge purple starfish all over our beaches and they all died the same year Fukushima happened. Also, our beaches are littered with debris from Japan, so you know the fallout is here, too. Scary!

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    1. That's terrible! Purple starfish? I never knew there were purple ones. They sound pretty. And how sad that they all died all died.

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  45. Would you believe that after we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we were so innocent of "nuclear" that my uncle actually stood and gazed down on the crater? I suppose it did nothing to him, as he lived a long, full life.
    Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
    I am Ensign B of Tremps' Troops
    with the A to Z Challenge

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  46. I got in a fight with my ex about Three-Mile Island over the phone once. He insisted, against all scientific evidence to the contrary, that there were a lot of health complications and such which the media hushed up. I told him about the extensive, numerous scientific studies saying otherwise, but since he's so into woo, his personal feelings trumped scientific truth.

    Given how absolutely devastating the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, with "just" plutonium (Nagasaki) and uranium (Hiroshima), it's really frightening to imagine a nuclear bomb ever getting loose and detonating anywhere.

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    1. I personally think there are a lot of health complications that are being hushed up...

      That is frightening.

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  47. Aha! I finally found the comment box. I couldn't find it. :P
    We don't live by a nuclear power plant. How sad for the surrounding peoples in those areas? :(

    Elizabeth Mueller
    AtoZ 2015
    My Little Pony

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    1. What? That's weird. Sorry it was hiding from you.

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  48. No nuclear plants here that I know of. Thanks goodness!

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  49. I saw a news report last year that the Fukashima meltdown is still a big problem. I had this (I guess) silly dream that specialists from different governments would step in to help clean it up. Not so. It's just the company trying to clean it up on their own. The government doesn't want to admit it's a big problem. The company is storing millions of gallons of contaminated water every day in tanks that they now know are leaking. They haven't been able to stop the water rushing into the meltdown site, so they just keep building more tanks. SO NOT GOOD :(

    You can find me here:
    ClarabelleRant

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    1. Many places are still contaminated and dealing with the fallout of Fukashima's meltdown.

      That's not good at all.

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  50. Thankfully, no. However, my husband did spend six years in the Navy on a Nuclear-powered ship.

    Scribbles From Jenn - Visiting from the A to Z Challenge

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    1. Yikes! I could never step foot on a nuclear-powered ship.

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  51. That's a very interesting spread of radiation. I would have thought it would just expand equally from the focal point, but it seems here that the wind has affected it or something :P

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    1. The wind had a big impact on where it went. That's for sure.

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  52. Okay...this theme is just a cool one. I'm going to have to go back and catch up on A through M. Thank you so much for visiting me! I look forward to reading the rest of your A to Z! Elle @ Erratic Project Junkie

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    1. Thank you, Elle! And thanks for visiting me back. :)

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  53. I think we are free of any nuclear plants close by. At least there are none that I am aware of. Of all the disasters, this one frightens me the most.

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    1. I think it's more frightening because something like this can happen at any time, in many places around the world.

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  54. If humans were at peace with each other, we won't need nuclear weapons.

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  55. Luckily we don't live near a nuclear power plant. They are very efficient in what they do, but more needs to be done to make them safer.

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    1. There does need to be a lot more precautions and safety measures in place.

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  56. Such a scary thing, with after-effects that I still don't think we fully understand. Chernobyl is still being extensively studied, if I recall correctly.

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    1. Those affects could be far worse than we could ever imagine.

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  57. I always though Chernoble was the worst melt-down. Or was that the worst melt-down in U.S. History?

    And its funny, but I've always lived near a nuclear power plant- I grew up about 20 minutes from Indian Point and now I live about 20 minutes from the Limerick Generating Station. Neither way am I in the immediate impact one, I'd get the slow, painful death from radiation either way.

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    1. In my research, the Three Mile Island one was the worst for the U.S.

      Yikes! I hope nothing ever happens at that plant or the station.

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  58. I grew up about 40 minutes away from Sellafield nuclear power plant in Cumbria. I remember watching a documentary on the nuclear bombs in Japan when I was about 7 or 8, and it terrified me so much, that I made a 'safe place' for myself in my wardrobe...doubt it would've given much protection if Sellafield had had a leak, but that's how much of an impact it had! In Cumbria, we sometimes still have to check our sheep for radiation from the Chernobyl fallout!

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    1. Aw! I probably would've done the same thing as a kid.

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