As simply some background information, while there was a massive release
of fission products from Chernobyl, it was _not_ a "nuclear accident" in
that there was not a nuclear explosion as in a weapon. The reactor
over-heated owing to mis-operation following a turbine overspeed trip
test which was conducted in violation of several safety procedures in
that all proscribed systems were not operational at the time. Anyway,
it was the fire that was the real culprit combined with the atrocious
design feature of having no reactor containment building as do all LWRs
worldwide. Being a graphite-moderated pile reactor design, when the
temperature reached a critical point, the graphite ignited and that fire
was the main feature of the accident. At its peak, it was hot enough
that it disassociated the H and O in water sprayed on it in attempts to
This type of accident is not physically realizable in a LWR, either P-
or B- type. As they are water-moderated. TMI was a core-melt
accidental LOCA (not the double-guillotine design type, but manually
induced by operator error(s) following the initial reactor trip and
stuck-open PORV). In that event, owing to the design features and the
containment, while there was significant fuel melt, containment was not
breached and once the fresh shift came on duty and recognized what the
previous shift had done wrong and restarted the primary RCPs and HPI to
re-cover the core w/ primary coolant and establish primary coolant
circulation, the incident was under control.
As noted earlier, if the operating shift had recognized they had an
incident that had been specifically addressed in (then) recent bulletins
to all utilities of the specific reactor design, they would undoubtedly
have not been fooled as they were and taken proper action initially and
the whole thing would have been simply a relatively short outage to
repair the PORV and implement the upgrades/operational guidances. The
upshot is, however, that while expensive, it essentially was a test of
the design and systems intended to deal with a LOCA that was as if a
full-scale test reactor had been sacrificed to prove the systems
adequate to the task.
So what? They can't physically make a nuclear explosive in any
configuration as they are insufficiently enriched even before being
"burned" in the reactor which only further reduces the enrichment (and
adds fission product "poisons").
If, hypothetically, those rods could be ground into the finest powder
possible and dumped into a lake that serves as the water supply for 3
million people, what do you suppose would be the results, and I mean PLURAL
results? The next day, the next week, the next year. Tell me about the
The people who did the grinding would begin to glow in the dark long before
they finished the first rod.
The containment vessels used to move spent rods around weigh, oh, 30 tons
and massive equipment is required to mess with this stuff.
It's true. I've seen footage of the containers being dropped from the 10th
floor onto a vertical pike, rammed broadside by a speeding locomotive, driven
at 65 mph on the trailer of a semi into a barrier of solid concrete.
Zippo. No breech of containment. The semi was "vaporized" and the massive
concrete barrier was pretty scarred, but the nuke container survived virtually
But it's not good enough... <sigh>
Did you happen to see the cry-baby, ponytail guy on the History Channel the
other night that maintained that such containers are NOT sufficient. An
accident could STILL release radiation.
Translation: No matter how well spent nuke fuel is contained, it should not
be transported. For that matter, such fuel shouldn't be used in the first
place. These are the REAL "flat earth" people. Amazing.
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