It can be hard to sort out exactly what’s happening in Japan right now, or what the status of the nuclear situation is. Euan Mearns has done everyone a great service in pulling together a summary of known and unknown and credible, intelligent speculation, while clearly indicating which is which. It is well worth a read. Consider this useful analysis by Joules Burn, quoted in the piece:
Since residual weld stresses and tensile stress in piping, valves, control tubing, etc are always present, Standard Operating Reactor water quality standards require keeping chlorides at parts per billion levels. Seawater has about 3.5% or 35 grams per liter of salinity!!!
I have no way of knowing how many days they have before a stainless steel component suddenly cracks, but, If it were me, I would be advocating an emergency program to get pure deionzied cooling water back into this stainless steel system ASAP. In laboratory tests in boiling chlorides, cracking of stainless in tensile stress can occur within days- They have at most a few months if they keep boiling sea water in this system and yet another disaster occurs. I am sure there are competent scientists in Japan’s nuclear industry and government regulators. I hope they are on top of this threat!
It can be very hard to sort out the news details, and I’m grateful to The Oil Drum for providing this kind of useful analysis!