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Accueil du site > Webinars > The Lessons of Fukushima Daiichi : An In-Depth Technical Analysis

The Lessons of Fukushima Daiichi : An In-Depth Technical Analysis

Mardi 26 avril 2011 17:00-18:30
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Organisateur : EUCI

The massive earthquake that occurred off the coast of Japan on March 11, 2011 was one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded. It caused the island of Japan to move several feet to the east, slightly modified the earth’s rotation, and resulted in a tsunami that caused widespread devastation and loss of life. At the Fukushima Daiichi (or Fukushima I) Nuclear Power Plant, located on the Pacific Coast just west of the earthquake epicenter, this earthquake-tsunami combined event rendered the plant’s backup safety systems incapable of performing their design basis function, which was to safely shut down the nuclear reactors and maintain them in a safe, shut-down condition. As the world watched, events went from bad to worse. Much information about the plant was unclear or unavailable, conflicting opinions surfaced from experts and different world governments, and it remains uncertain where this all will go.

As these events continue to unfold, this webinar will discuss the design of the plant, including its safety systems ; identify the damage to the plant caused by the earthquake-tsunami ; explain what it means to safely shut down a nuclear reactor, considering the nuclear and thermal-hydraulic mechanisms involved ; describe how hydrogen gas is generated and the resulting explosions ; explain the plant operator actions to attempt to control the multiple units at Fukushima ; provide a timeline of events that occurred at Fukushima ; and place into perspective how different countries and agencies have responded to these events, including the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

This webinar will also explain in easy-to-understand technical terms the water-steam relation inside the BWR reactor ; what it means when the heat sink is lost by a combination of tripping the turbine and the loss of both normal and emergency core cooling capability ; the steam-pressure build-up inside the reactor vessel, resulting in uncovering the nuclear fuel ; the subsequent oxidation of the zircalloy fuel cladding ; and the attempts to relieve the pressure, which also released explosive hydrogen gas and volatile radioactive fission products. We will also discuss the design of the spent fuel pool and provide an understanding of why it became another challenge to maintain it within its design basis. As this is an ongoing event, the latest information and detail available will be incorporated into the webinar.

Considering that there was a nuclear power renaissance taking place around the world - and, to a lesser degree, in the U.S. - an assessment will be provided on how the Fukushima event will impact the nuclear power industry in the U.S. and worldwide. In the U.S., synergistic relationships between the decrease in power demand due to the recession, the low price and abundance of natural gas, and now, the Fukushima event, will be included as part of the assessment of the future of nuclear power. That assessment will consider statements made by the Obama administration and members of Congress.

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