Fukushima nuclear accident

Fukushima nuclear accident

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accidentThe Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011 caused devastating damage. In thisassignment, you will write an essay that deals only with the difficulties associated with the cooling of theUnit 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Before writing your essay, you should perform the following calculations:1. The Unit 1 reactor was a “boiling water”type reactor. These reactors generally work under highpressure and produce steam at temperatures around 380C. The power plant is a “heat engine”, so some of this thermal energy is released to the atmosphere and some isconverted to electrical power. Use the efficiency equation from chapter 2 (page 60) to estimate the maximum possible efficiency for this reactor.2. The Unit 1 reactor was capable of producing 460MWof electrical power. Assuming that the plant’sefficiency was about 10% less than the optimal efficiency you foundin the previous question, what was the thermal power output (in units of MW) of the reactor?3. The reactor was shut down quickly after the earthquake struck, and hence the nuclear chain reactionwas halted. However, the highly radioactive fission fragments withinthe reactor continued to decay and thus produce heat (the so-called “decay heat”). Combine yourestimate of the thermal output during normal operation with the information in your textbook (see text above Fig. 5.13) to estimate the thermal output of the reactor just after the shutdown and one year after the shutdown.4. Heat can be removed from the reactor complex by allowing it to boil water. The process of boilingoff a gallon(=about4 liters)of water that is initially at 20C takes approximately 9.8×106 Joules (9.8MJ) . Combine this information with your previous work to compute the rate that water must be supplied (in gallons per second) to carry away the heat so the reactor does not heat upand melt. Remember that a Watt is a Joule per second, or1W = 1J/<link is hidden> you have completed these calculations, you should write your essayconcentrating onthe difficulties with keeping the reactor cool after the earthquake, even thoughit had been shut down. Work at least some of the numbers you have calculated into your essay.

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