Watch A Live Update By Former GE Nuclear Expert Margaret Harding On Fukushima: Timeline, Facts and Implications for Nuclear Power

Tyler Durden's picture

Margaret Harding of Iowa State University is currently conducting a lecture on the latest developments at Fukushima. She has thirty years of experience in the nuclear industry. She was Vice
President of Engineering Quality at GE Nuclear Energy and is now a
consultant to the nuclear power industry. She serves on Iowa State's
Engineering College Industrial Advisory Council and has an undergraduate
degree from Iowa State. This is a live lecture. There will likely be a very strong pro-industry bias in the presentation, but at least she might have some additional facts.

For those who wish to catch up on missed data, can do so by following the American Nuclear Society's recap tweets here.



American Nuclear Soc

Harding - sea water cooling stopped, fresh water started to halt corrosion of metal in reactors
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American Nuclear Soc

Harding - fuel that was damaged is coated with boron which stops fission
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American Nuclear Soc

Harding - standing water level in units 1,
2, 3 is about one-third to two-thirds of normal levels, fuel is damaged
above the waer line
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American Nuclear Soc

Harding - 25 rem has some statistical risk of cancer, but radiation poisoning starts at 100 rem
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American Nuclear Soc

Harding - 19 workers to date have had exposures over 10 rem, US limit is 5 rem, cancer risk unclear
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American Nuclear Soc

Harding - so far 23 workers injured at in non-radiation related incidents
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American Nuclear Soc

Harding - "smoke" was really steam from warm water hitting 34 F outside atmosphere
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American Nuclear Soc

Harding - fire trucks are great emergency pumpers that put water back in spent fuel pool at unit 4
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American Nuclear Soc

Harding - uncovering spent fuel rods produced huge releases of radioactive iodine, cesium. Needed to get water back in pool fast
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American Nuclear Soc

Harding - use of helicopters well understood as part of emergency plan, not to fill pool, but remove radiation releases
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American Nuclear Soc

Harding - use of helicopters to drop water
scrubs isotopes out of the air being released by spent fuel rods
uncovered from loss of water
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American Nuclear Soc

Harding - spent fuel pool at has 1 1/2 inch steel liner with no drains - still intact - but water lost too fast
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American Nuclear Soc

Harding - water helps cool the fuel which is hot even though it isn't in the reactor anymore
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American Nuclear Soc

Harding - depth of the water in a spent fuel pool shields you from radiation
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American Nuclear Soc

Harding showing image of spent fuel pool at 4, some fuel hotter due to maintenance at reactor

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Aristarchan's picture

Margaret usually has very good situational data, and she has forgotten more about these things than people like me will ever know. Thanks for serving this up, ZH.

CitizenPete's picture

Agreed. But like many I know in the industry she suffers from a nuclear technology "normalcy bias".  

 

I prefer the perspectives of David Lochbaum from the UCS. http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/

Aristarchan's picture

I agree. I listen to them all, then make up my own mind based on what I know. I guess everyone has some bias, mine may be that I worked in the industry for a long time, and enjoyed it, but I try like hell to not let that cloud my judgement, although maybe it does sometimes. I know that after some time working with underground testing at the NTS, I felt kind of bad when nuclear testing stopped...I know that probably sounds horrible to a lot of people, but that is the way it was...maybe I just saw it as an era passing away that was a part of my life for a long time. Go figure.

Commander Cody's picture

Every licensed reactor operator knows more about how plants are designed and run than Ms. Harding.

Thomas's picture

I am an academic scientist with no skills in nukes. With that said, as I listened, I got this uneasy feeling. Experts will have a horse in this race but...

http://inthearena.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/16/margaret-harding-everyone-inv...

Strong GE/industry ties. This ought to be fleshed out before you accept everything at face value. She may be fine.

Thomas's picture

When I search her in Google Scholar, a very good source of academic literature, using the variants of her name including the following:

""margaret harding" iowa state nuclear

and I don't get squat. If I search my own name using similar boolean terms, I get lots of squat.

Thomas's picture

She just admitted to be pro-nuke in terms that, as I heard it, were disquieting. Again, everybody has a horse in the race, but hers is clearly marked. I think she is positioning for a big payday. (Think Roubini.)

CitizenPete's picture

It's not the "pay day" she is motivated by....   it is a psychological normalcy bias of the nuclear industry ...

... similar to gas well fracking drillers and operators mideset 

 

 

David Lochbaum came from the Nuke industry ... read his stuff -- he is the real thing.  I would love to work on his team some day:  

http://www.new.ans.org/pubs/magazines/download/a_554

 

Ident 7777 economy's picture

Strong GE/industry ties. 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
No. Kidding.

In the header at the top of the page: 

Vice President of Engineering Quality at GE Nuclear Energy and is now a consultant to the nuclear power industry.

Ya think?

I give her +10 points for openness and not obfuscating.

 

Highrev's picture

I give her +10 points for openness and not obfuscating.

About time we start seeing some "openness", don't you think?

 

I don't think it has anything to do with honesty though, rather it's more to do with damage control of what is now impossible to hide.

 

 

Urban Roman's picture

For balance, you could read Dr. Helen Caldicott:

http://www.nuclearfreeplanet.org/

mee-mee-mee's picture

that women is a paid Shill, I heard "dilution" mentioned a couple of times.

serotonindumptruck's picture

Wouldn't it be great if we could dispose of all hazardous/nuclear waste by dumping it into the ocean? After all, according to Margaret here, dilution of toxic and radioactive waste streams into large bodies of water is an acceptable treatment.

CitizenPete's picture

A good followup question might have been:

 

"so, you wouldn't want me to pee into your coffee cup, but if I piss in the pot it's all good?"

mee-mee-mee's picture

that women is a paid Shill, I heard "dilution" mentioned a couple of times.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

Yeah yeah yeah ... heard ya the first time ...

Are you a Greenpeacer by any chance?

Geesh ...

 

mee-mee-mee's picture

accidental double post...are you a red necked nuclear dude?

serotonindumptruck's picture

I couldn't watch more than a couple of minutes. She should stick to the facts and not attempt to minimize the serious nature of the disaster. She sounds like a propagandist.

NotAllowed's picture

Wow, according to her this is really a non-event.  Sounds like the Radon in my basement is deadlier and scarier than what happened in Japan.  What a relief, I was actually worried about this situation.

bob_dabolina's picture

I was thinking the same thing. I could hear her voice but all I could see was Immelts wallet.

buzzsaw99's picture

GE can suck it bitchez.

Heroic Couplet's picture

Jack Welch, senior vice president while someone named Wendt was GE CEO, and later GE CEO, Karl Rove, who is the Republican shill for nuclear power, and Rush Limbaugh all need to be standing as close as close is possible to Fukushima and broadcasting to show everyone how safe the situation is. Nothing less is acceptable and I don't mean Photoshop. Talk the talk. Walk the walk.

divide_by_zero's picture

How about GE CEO Immelt and his buddy Obama too(if we can get him off the back 9).

New_Meat's picture

wishing to see her video, but no joy

sundown333's picture

Harding-Pumps won't work? No problem. Go to K-Mart and purchase a swimming pool pump. $12.95. Problem solved.

Harding-Radiation Poisoning? Can't happen. No level is high enough to kill anyone.

Harding-Plutonium? No Problem. Have a piece on my desk for a paperweight. Never hurt me but keeps my coffee warm!

/sarc.

MSimon's picture

The point she made at the end: a design that could passively cool for 3 days without power would probably averted this accident. I agree.

 

What that means is we should move forward faster with new designs and once they are built and tested the old junk should be replaced.

Careless Whisper's picture

oh, so now we're going down the road of "we learned from our mistakes". the new ones will be better so this won't happen again. yeah right.

Ident 7777 economy's picture

oh, so now we're going down the road of "we learned from our mistakes". 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Please spot me a time in the history of mankind when it's been any different ... especially when it involves technology of any kind ... from trebuchets to trusses ...

 

mee-mee-mee's picture

yer, lesson learnt is Nuclear is too risky. As someone noted the other day.

"Nuclear is like flying, is it the safest way to travel, but when is fails, it fails a big way"

 

Greater Fool's picture

Yeah, I love the "three days" specificity there. So we do all the work to hit the three-day standard, and fifty years afterwards something happens where power is lost for five days, and oh well we just need to increase the tolerance to seven days....

Be honest about it: The reason reactors are vulnerable to this kind of failure is that it happens maybe two-three times a century and spread over the couple hundred nuke plants either in operation now or planned, it's more economical to take the huge hit with that frequency than to take a very large construction cost hit every time you build one.

MSimon's picture

From three days to infinite days is not a big stretch. The question is: how much will it cost.

 

BTW nothing is risk free.

 

buzzsaw99's picture

Gubbermint Electric builds reactors every bit as well as Gubbermint Motors builds cars. DIE BITCHEZ!! I wouldn't buy a toaster from those sum-bitchez!

Buck Johnson's picture

I'll post a link to her LinkedIN about her, but to say she is a nuclear energy shill is a big understatement.  I saw this presentation and as one poster put it (NotAllowed), she almost makes it seem that it's Radon in my basement.  And then She was saying that Plutonium isn't to dangerous but other things are is a slight of hand.  Yes Iodine and Cesium is dangerous and yes she was right that Iodine-131 has a half life of 8 days, but what she obfuscated was that Cesium-137 has a half-life iof 30 years and is the primary pollutant around the Chernobyl area and what is still in soil and animals in parts of europe.  I'll post a link also, but Cesium has a biological half-life of 1 to 4 months and Plutonium has a biological half life of 100 years in the bone and 40 in the liver.  And this doesn't take into account the effect if your continuing to breath or ingest in.  It's called bio accumulation, which she really didn't talk to much about other than to say the dangers are minimum at best.

Why Chernobyl was bad and Japan which will be much much worse, is that contamination or fallout will be in the environment (air, water, plant life, animal life) for decades if not centuries.  Because you go eat the animals or eat the mutated plant life or just walking in the ground dirt or dust you ingest or inhale the radioactive substances that will bioaccumulate inside you and irradiate your tissue and chromosomes so that if you happen to survive cancer, you won't be able to have normal kids and risk poisoning your loved one from the exchange of bodily fluids and radiating her (the gift that keeps on giving).  Google Chernobyl children and the effects of the radiation on them and you will see. 

She knows her stuff but when you see her bonifides, you will see that GE's her patron.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/margaretharding?goback=.cps_1245860936248_1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_half-life

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesium-137

http://www.ieer.org/ensec/no-3/puhealth.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Forest

 

TruthInSunshine's picture

She's a shill. Just my opinion.

She reminds me of Josef Oehmen, yes, the Josef Oehmen, of MIT/Nuclear Energy Mouthpiece infamy.

 

kaiserhoff's picture

And we still have no consistent thermal imaging, much less gas chromatography.  The naval officers know exactly what's going on.  Are we trying to hide this from Putin, Godaffy, what?  Why in the cornbread hell is anything about this  disaster classified?  OK, I know damn well, but some one's ass should be burned in public over this, so citizens, especially parents, can make their own informed decisions.

WTFisThat's picture

GE damage control team running overtime.

Chumbadumba's picture

I just had a massive criticality excursion from my bowels!! I can barely walk!

LOLOLOLOL!

I AM CHUMBADUMBA!

Mr. Mandelbrot's picture

Who the hell are you and what is wrong with you?  

Madhouse's picture

I support nukes with just one tiny rule. We all know they are safe and well designed for any accident. We know they are better for the environment and our country compared to that dirty oil. The rule is this: all workers and managers including the executive level must live in the upstream path of the prevailing winds in that area and within a 10 mile square area of the plant. And let's put one in ,oh, say Annendale, just west of D.C. ...

See, tiny rule....

...now STFU please...fucking lying pieces of shit

 

MSimon's picture

When I was a nuke I lived inside the plant for months at a time.

Madhouse's picture

Ya see, 'Bamas new Buddy, the waning head of GE needs a little boost - his GE nuke bet - from the bubba if ya know what we mean... so please ignore the EPA manipulation. We thought Bush was bad....wow...feeling dumb sheeple ?  Like I said, 1st Lady bringing the kids down to the Carib or Brazil very soon...

clarkbar's picture

Harding is a PSYOP.

 

clarkbar's picture

"Harding - use of helicopters to drop water scrubs isotopes out of the air being released by spent fuel rods uncovered from loss of water" Hahaha, right.

Welfareisfraud's picture

Well nuclear is one of the biggest welfare recipients out there...

Youri Carma's picture

Must Hear: Update on Fukushima: Discussion of High Level Radiation Releases and the Previous "Worse Case Senario" Planned for by The Industry March 31, 2011 http://www.fairewinds.com/multimedia

To be clear radiation levels mean shit! If you breath just one particle you're done!

- 1,000,000 death 25 years after Chernobyl

Steve Mar 30, 2011 at 1:33 am
http://maxkeiser.com/2011/03/29/japanese-nuke-propaganda-video/#comment-270769

I live in Japan too, but thankfully not in Tokyo,

I work in a nuclear station here in Japan and I can tell you Mike we will find out in a couple of years the effect of the sh#t in the air from Fukushima.

People are going to suffer and people will die. The Elec companies are all owned by the elite and don’t give a sh#t if people die.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92fP58sMYus

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJeiwVtRaQ8

"RUN AWAY AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE!" Chernobyl Scientist On Japan Nuclear Meltdown Risk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDTX_tYu4-0