Thursday, 17 March 2011

Some Questions

About the Fukushima Daiichi reactors.

1  Were they modified to solve the  faults of the General Electrics Mark 1 design that were identified in 1972 and 1980?

2  Why are the Japanese relying on manned helicopters and water cannon to cool the reactors and spent rods? Japan is the world's biggest user of industrial robots because of labour shortages and consequent high wage rates. Japanese popular culture is very big on robots. Surely, working in nuclear reactors was the most obvious use of unmanned or autonomous vehicles/robots. An unmanned Chinook could be flown from Nevada on waterbombing sorties without fear of radiation poisoning and then buried when the job's done. If drones can zap terrorists in Pakistan then why can't they pick up buckets of seawater?

3  Is the lack of Black Swan thinking  or ignoring known risks the secondary cause of the problem? I've worked with civil engineers and while they are excellent at civil engineering, they are extremely narrowly focussed thinkers. That's why they learn at least as much from bridge collapses as in the laboratory.

Sometimes I think that scientists and engineers are as much of a danger to the planet as religious nutters.

Update 18/4/2011: Robots from Qinetiq

1 comment:

Jim Baxter said...

Also robots were shown to fail at Chernoblyl. Much better to send in bio-robots and then say afterwards that the radaitionlevels were higher than previously realised as their water turns to peroxiced around them.

There is your result and your contribution to the smooth running of the organisation, problem solved. Cheaper too.