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-   -   Radioactive fallout and flights into Japan (https://www.pprune.org/questions/445515-radioactive-fallout-flights-into-japan.html)

The Iceman 13th Mar 2011 13:30

Radioactive fallout and flights into Japan
 
Has anybody seen any notams regarding possible radioactive material in the atmosphere as a result of any leaks at the Fukushima nuclear power plant?

The following document, chapter 9, has some relevant information.

ICAO Doc 9691

411A 13th Mar 2011 17:21

Looking for an excuse not to go...are you?:}

OverRun 13th Mar 2011 19:04

At the risk of sticking my neck out (not that I have ever worried too much about that), the following CNN link gives a different and very relaxed look at the problem. He (the expert) sounds genuinely convincing that the problem is containable. At the CNN page, head towards the bottom and click the "Nuclear expert: this is no Chernobyl"
CNN link

aviatorhi 14th Mar 2011 12:43

When the containment units breach I'll get worried, otherwise I'd have to start avoiding my microwave as well.

Less Hair 14th Mar 2011 12:59

Well at least the US Navy is repositioning their 7th fleet out of the winds from the plant. Can't be entirely normal. Now that the second unit blew up there might even be some plutonium envolved.

Seventh Fleet Repositions Ships after Contamination Detected

gbour 14th Mar 2011 13:24

Japan / Nuclear, airline precautions
 
Are flights to/in Japan in any potential danger? Austrian seems to think so....

Vienna - Austrian Airlines will have army radiation experts on its flights to Tokyo from Monday, the Defense Ministry said.
The experts will measure radiation levels during landing in Japan and report any unusual findings, the ministry said.
Austrian Airlines said it would introduce a stopover in Seoul on its Tokyo flights, in order to reduce the time that the crew has to spend in Japan.

Gimmick or meaningful precaution?

aterpster 14th Mar 2011 13:38

gbour:


Gimmick or meaningful precaution?
Sounds like a greenie protest to me. The affected plants are not close to Tokyo at all.

Less Hair 14th Mar 2011 13:44

pls see
http://www.pprune.org/questions/4455...ml#post6305621

Bokkenrijder 14th Mar 2011 14:04

Please forgive me for not for 100% trusting some of the the politicians and regulators downplaying all of this. :hmm:

With the prevailing westerly jet streams and winds, won't many trans-Pacific flights will be smack in the middle (read: downwind) of any possible nuclear fall out?

Mike-Bracknell 14th Mar 2011 14:18


Originally Posted by aterpster (Post 6305689)
gbour:



Sounds like a greenie protest to me. The affected plants are not close to Tokyo at all.

Depends totally on which way the winds are blowing. The plants are 140km away, which is less than the distance between Chernobyl and Belarus, yet Belarus was badly affected by fallout - as (to a much lesser extent) was Sweden, and the UK (both thousands of miles away) in terms of sheep etc.

Besides, it sounds like the product of an over-active marketing and H&S dept to me.

aterpster 14th Mar 2011 14:39

Mike-Bracknell:
 
Chernobyl had no containment whatsoever and the situation was worst-case.

I would trust the Japanese authorities much more than some Austrian with an axe to grind.

In any case, people shouldn't be travelling to Japan unless they are on essential, disaster-related business.

Pelikanpete 14th Mar 2011 15:16

It's impossible to hide a radiation leak because anyone with a Geiger Counter will be able to detect it straight away. Geiger Counters are widely available at universities, hospitals, through the military and many other organisations.

The current levels being measured at the actual nuclear site where radiation levels are highest is currently equivalent to the dose received during a chest x-ray. So negligible.

The reactors at risk were built in 1971 (using 1960's knowledge) so feature a design that is not used on newer reactors. The main problem is that even though the fuel rods have been withdrawn from the reactor there is still sufficient heat being produced by the natural radioactive decay of the fuel materials that a constant circulation of coolant is needed to prevent overheating. Coolant circulation has stopped due to failure of the pumps and backup systems so the coolant around the rods has turned to very high pressure, superheated steam (and some hydrogen) and had to be deliberately vented which caused an explosion (but no damage to the actual reactors). If the fuel rods get too hot there is a small chance that they may melt and fall into the bottom of the currently undamaged reactor containers and cause a breech (by melting through the steel) which may then actually cause a genuine contamination problem. Engineers are rigging functioning pumps and using seawater to prevent the meltdown. Seawater was a last resort because it will mean that the reactors cannot be used again.

My opinion only:

Prognosis - risk of a wide spread or dangerous contamination is very low but worth taking precautions over.

How to avoid in the future? - phase out obsolete power stations and replace with newer and safer versions. Nuclear power is still the only real way of providing our ever growing energy needs whilst having a minimal effect on the environment. The Sun and entire core of this planet is one huge molten radioactive fusion reaction anyway and radiation is always around us naturally. We need to get over our paranoia about radioactivity and nuclear power and harness natures energy gift to us and stop burning as much non-renewable and polluting fossil fuels.

Mike-Bracknell 14th Mar 2011 15:29

My point was that it's not too far away to be affected *IF* the radiation leak was dangerous.....which i'm pretty confident is not the case.

Travel to/from Japan, whilst it's not advisable to the affected areas, shouldn't be banned totally as that would also negatively affect their economy in a big way.

411A 14th Mar 2011 15:39


Nuclear power is still the only real way of providing our ever growing energy needs whilst having a minimal effect on the environment. The Sun and entire core of this planet is one huge molten radioactive fusion reaction anyway and radiation is always around us naturally. We need to get over our paranoia about radioactivity and nuclear power and harness natures energy gift to us and stop burning as much non-renewable and polluting fossil fuels.
Well said.

crj705 14th Mar 2011 15:58


I would trust the Japanese authorities much more than some Austrian with an axe to grind.
Not sure I would agree with that. The Japanese authorities don't have a great history of honesty in the previous nuclear accidents. Don't forget, they will attempt to save face at all cost.

Being only about 200km from the reactor I am more than a little concerned. However, unless there is a catastrophic failure of the containment building I think we are relatively safe.....


In any case, people shouldn't be travelling to Japan unless they are on essential, disaster-related business.
South of Tokyo should be fine... But I would avoid the Tokyo area at all costs. A large number of the trains are still out of operation and the city is just a mess because of it. Oversold flights are leaving with 200+ seats open because people can't get to the airport.

cortilla 14th Mar 2011 16:15

Just a couple of points of order:

The centre of the earth is not a fusion reaction. It's probably mainly molten iron and nickel and possibly some oxygen. But it's far too cold to be a fusion reaction.

Yes the sun is one great big fusion reaction. But a) the sun is approximately 150 million kilometres away from us. b) nuclear fusion is a relatively 'clean' reaction and c) we can't do it on a commercially viable scale at the moment. The last time i had a good read on nuclear fusion reactions we'd only sustained one for fractions of a second.

What's happening in Japan is a possible catastrophic fission event.

Whether nuclear fission is really a viable power source is open to massive debate.

What austrian airlines is probably doing is a PR excercise to reassure their passengers.

robertbartsch 14th Mar 2011 16:18

Tracking nuclear material release?
 
While researching the latest news on the nuclear power plant problems in Japan, I read a piece about the '86 Chernobal accident that said radioactive material was spread around Europe and the world in the upper atmoshere.

Are there contingency plans to use aircraft to monitor exposure risks? If not, how would radioactive material be tracked?

Thx...

lomapaseo 14th Mar 2011 16:18


In any case, people shouldn't be travelling to Japan unless they are on essential, disaster-related business.
That kind of scare tactic is a sure fire way to shut down the economy. Best left to government authorities.:=

grumpyoldgeek 14th Mar 2011 17:18

The US and probably every other nuclear power in the world has aircraft and procedures for monitoring radioactive plumes. Not only can they detect and measure radioactivity levels, they can analyze the nature of the radioactivity and make a well-informed guess as to it's source, half-life and other things.

This was originally developed during the Cold War to track Soviet atmospheric tests.


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