Monday, 14 March 2011

News Report: Happenings Inside Japan's Nuclear Reactors

A second blast on Monday rocked the quake-stricken nuclear plant in Japan where authorities have been working desperately to avert a meltdown.

Japan's biggest recorded earthquake has knocked out back-up cooling at several stricken reactors at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture north of Tokyo, causing a build-up of heat and pressure.
Happenings in the nuclear reactors?:
* The core of a nuclear reactor consists of a series of zirconium metal pipes or rods containing pellets of uranium fuel bundled into what engineers call fuel assemblies.

* Water is pumped between the pipes to keep them cool and create steam to drive an electricity-generating turbine.

* Back-up cooling has struggled at various times over the past three days at reactor units 1, 2 and 3 at the Fukushima plant.

* In the normal running of a reactor, high-energy neutrons from the uranium fuel bash atoms and break them into pieces in a chain reaction which creates heat, new radioactive elements such as strontium and caesium, and new neutrons which continue the process.

* The chain reaction halted within a few seconds of the earthquake at all the nuclear reactors in Japan, including those worst affected, as they automatically shut down: control rods made of boron were inserted into the fuel, absorbing the neutrons.

* However the natural decay of the radioactive materials in the reactor core continues to produce heat, called decay heat, which falls to a quarter of its original level in the first hour, and then disappears more slowly.

* Normally that heat is removed by coolant pumps whose back-up power supply was knocked out by the earthquake, tsunami or both at the Fukushima plant.

* Emergency workers are trying to cool the inner reactor cores and remove this decay heat by pumping seawater inside. They have added boric acid to the seawater to try and further halt nuclear reactions in a "belt and braces" measure.

* It is important to cool the reactor cores because even though the chain reactions have stopped, there is still enough heat to melt the metal sheaths surrounding the uranium fuel. If these are hot enough they react chemically with the surrounding water, producing an explosive gas hydrogen.

* It is that hydrogen gas which has caused the two explosions at the Fukushima plant, at unit 1 on Saturday and reactor unit 3 on Monday, experts and authorities say.

* Engineers have tried to vent the hydrogen into the atmosphere, which has also contributed to some local radiation because the gas contained small amounts of radioactive particles.

* The core of the reactor is inside a thick steel container called a reactor vessel, and around that there is a concrete containment shield. Around the whole there is a more open building with quite a thin covering not intended to be structurally important.

* The hydrogen explosions only damaged the outer building, which collapsed, not the inner shells, say authorities.

* If an inner reactor vessel were breached that would raise radiation levels. But there is no longer enough heat to blow these apart, experts say.

* The worst remaining risk is that the core melts, which would make it much more difficult and perhaps impossible to remove the fuel, which is what happened at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979. The site would have to be sealed permanently.

* Chernobyl in 1986 was a different situation where the control rods failed to control the fission chain reaction, leading to blasts which blew the reactor apart, releasing radiation which contaminated Ukraine and Europe in the world's worst civil nuclear disaster.

Credit: Reuters

Article: Cable TV NN24 And Nigerian Vice-Presidential Debate

The Debate
By Kenneth Uwadi
My wife noticed my excitement on March 11th 2011 and asked what it was all about. Don’t you get it? The vice presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Namadi Sambo will today engage three other candidates in a public debate. The other vice presidential candidates are John Odigie-Oyegun of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Fola Adeola of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Tunde Bakare of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).I want to hear their plans for Nigeria.
The  debate organized by cable television station, NN24  was scheduled for  6pm so I stayed  glued  to my TV. I waited and waited so that I can at least watch our Vice Presidential aspirants live –Puuurh, no success. Next day, Some one called me on phone and told me that the debate was not aired live allegedly because of satellite problems. I got angry. A debate is more fun if it is aired live.
When my wife later  told me she read from the papers  that VP Sambo did not attend the debate, I started having the low down blues and had to go  into a nearby restaurant to have a  drink so as to cool my temper. I sat at a table in the popular restaurant. The waitress smiled at me. She’s dumpy. Her backside is too big. She radiates kindness and sympathy as she smiled. But to me, if you live with her type for three months, you would know real agony. I ordered for a bottle of beer. The man at the table across from me has watery blue eyes and a head like a football, the type of head we call Mozambique. Officially, the Republic of Mozambique is a country in south-eastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania  to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland  and South Africa to the southwest. The capital city is Maputo, formerly known as Lourenço Marques .But I am talking about a guy with damn big head here and not a country.
Three men with beer bellies  sat at a table further down. They talk loudly of the Vice Presidential debate they watched from another TV station. I choose to call them Nnaemeka, Azuka  and Nnamdi .Why do you think I always come in here when I have the low-down blues? This particular restaurant is where you can get all the gossip about Nigerian politics. Then the waitress came  with the beer and she asked me if there will be anything else? And I told her, no, no, this will be fine for now. Then somebody behind me laughed, a cork laugh filled with sand and broken glass.
“What a nonsense debate. What  Tunde  Bakare, Adeola and Oyegun did was just criticizing  PDP. It does not look like a debate to me. The whole thing  was  set to embarrass PDP .No wonder our Vice President did not participate. Yes, I'm happy Sambo never showed up. It sucked from the word go. A clueless debate.  Secondly the candidates more or less gave speeches akin to manifestos in Student Union Government elections in Universities. The how of the matter was not addressed at  all ” Nnamdi  said
I began drinking my beer, watching the three men with beer bellies   as they talk.
“The candidates in that debate did not articulate a plan to move Nigeria forward. Every one of them  used the opportunity to criticise PDP . I watched them lie to Nigerians. We can now see how biased NN24 is.  NN24 has indeed shown us that they are not capable of organizing a good presidential debate  judging from the VP debate they organized.Bakare  even declared  himself winner of the debate. Does that not send signals that it was just a pre-arranged joke?  Bakare’s consistent attacks on PDP instead of telling us what he would do if elected, is a good reason for PDP to be absent.PDP has been wise to back out of these debate  for we that watched it, have seen it  as partial,  a debate of attacks rather than a debate of who's  plan is better for Nigeria. Presidential debates world over is always opportunities to tell the world what you are offering the people if elected. But the V.P. candidates spent their time talking about the PDP. When you dwell on your opponents rather than talk about yourself and what you have for the people, you are already a loser and that is what all these V.P. candidates that participated in the debate are.” Azuka said
As they were talking, Ann came into the restaurant, saw me, and looked away. Ann is not in talking terms with me. I have tried to reconcile with her without success. She was my class mate in the University. She is also the wife of my uncle who works in NDDC. You may not believe it but there are people who go through life with very little friction or distress. They dress well, eat well, and sleep well. They are contented with their family life. They have moments of grief but all in all they are undisturbed and often feel very good. That is Ann for you.
Somebody behind me laughed again. The same cork laugh filled with sand and broken glass.
Azuka was still talking. “To hell with NN24 cable TV   and their  bias  Presidential debate. We all know that Jonathan means well for Nigeria. Since he came into power he has shown us that he will do well if giving the chance. He has created new Federal Universities to address admission problems and correct some social imbalance in the system.  The Power situation in the country has improved beyond what it was .Yes, power generation has significantly improved. Supply of fuel stabilized for the first time in so many years. Today, all our refineries are working, saving us huge amounts of funds spent on importation of petroleum products .Crude oil sale has increased because of his handling of the Niger Delta issue. He set the stage for free and fair elections by constituting an electoral commission comprising of Nigerians with impeccable credentials for firmness and incorruptibility He appointed a credible man in the person of Prof. Jega to oversee our electoral system. let’s give him the chance to do more.”  Azuka   said.
My phone rang, my wife on the line. Well, time to go home.
“PDP is the party  that I tip to  win the April election .You can even see that PDP  has done better overall leg work  than other parties. PDP has gone into so many rural areas to drum up votes; yes, people live in rural areas and are eligible to vote, not just  Lagos and Abuja. Other parties think they can win the Nigerian election on the internet or on TV. If these parties cannot go to rural areas to campaign to get votes, how are they going to cater for these folks when they get into office? Buhari and Ribadu  to me  are just noise makers.” Nnaemeka  said
I pick up my bill.  I went to the register, paid. Pick up a toothpick and moved to  the door. My car, still there and I saw the three men with beer bellies  all getting into one car. They each have a toothpick and now they are talking about women. They drove away fast. It’s my  favourite  restaurant  and if I ever get rich I am going to buy it and fire the dumpy waitress and there will be enough ice cubes  for everybody.
 (Uwadi wrote from Mmahu-Egbema,Imo State, Nigeria)

News Release: MEND To Begin Bombing Of Strategic Locations All Over Nigeria

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (M.E.N.D) will soon commence  simultaneous bomb blasts and attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta and other strategic locations in Abuja and Lagos states of Nigeria.

Due to our commitment to avert avoidable loss of lives, advance warnings for immediate evacuation as previously will be issued and a final warning thirty (30) minutes prior to the blasts, after which will follow a statement of claim in line with our modus operandi.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (M.E.N.D) advises the general public in the strongest of terms, to stay clear from all political gatherings or meetings of any sort.

It should be recalled in our last Independence Day bomb blast that it was due to the callousness of the Nigerian security services and ignorance of the general public that led to the fatality.

Again, anyone who chooses to ignore this warning does so at their own peril as the aftermath of these blasts will be catastrophic.

The government of Goodluck Jonathan has shown its unwillingness to address the key issues of the Niger Delta but chosen instead, to continue doling out bribes to thugs and plunder the resources of the Niger Delta into his presidential campaign while deceiving the world and Nigerians that there is peace in the Niger Delta.

Our revolution like our brothers in Northern Africa will start with the crippling of the Nigerian oil industry to flush out all Western oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region and the simultaneous bomb blasts never anticipated in the history of this country.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta salutes the courage and dedication of its fighters who have against all odds persisted in the fight for justice.

 Jomo Gbomo