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Author Topic: Is nuclear power testing linked to earthquakes?  (Read 341 times)

Offline thedoc

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Is nuclear power testing linked to earthquakes?
« on: 12/09/2016 10:53:02 »
Mr.Binesh Joseph Rajan asked the Naked Scientists:
   Hi Naked Scientist,

What is the relavance with nuclear power testing and earthquake?
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 12/09/2016 10:53:02 by _system »


 

Offline syhprum

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Re: Is nuclear power testing linked to earthquakes?
« Reply #1 on: 12/09/2016 11:28:42 »
Nuclear power generation has no relevance to earthquakes, I take it you mean the underground testing of nuclear weapons.
This has long since been banned and has only been done recently by one small country desperate for political prestige, when it was done frequently during the cold war era small earthquakes in the region of 4 on the Richter scale occurred but caused no damage.
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Is nuclear power testing linked to earthquakes?
« Reply #2 on: 12/09/2016 11:46:36 »
I see two strong connections:
1. The Fukushima earthquake and resulting meltdown of a nuclear power reactor suggests that if you build a nuclear reactor in an earthquake zone, you had better make sure you know what the real risk is, and build it so it can survive with no outside support. Or preferably, build it away from the earthquake zone (a bit hard for Japan, which is one big earthquake zone).

Overall, far more people died from the earthquake and tsunami (around 18,000) than died from the nuclear accident. Barring some unexpected future event while cleaning up the reactor, deaths from the nuclear accident should remain well under 1000.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster

2. Nuclear weapons tests create a unique signature of earthquake waves that can be detected far away.
North Korea's recent nuclear test was detected by the US Geological Survey:
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us10006n8a#executive

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty monitors earthquakes, atmospheric radiation and sounds in the atmosphere and in the oceans in an attempt to detect any nuclear explosions, such as testing nuclear weapons.
See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comprehensive_Nuclear-Test-Ban_Treaty#Monitoring


 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Is nuclear power testing linked to earthquakes?
« Reply #3 on: 12/09/2016 15:35:40 »
IIRC Fukushima was built to withstand "100 year incidents", which is a reasonable engineering criterion for any fixed structure - North Sea oil platforms being a common example - with no offsite release. Unfortunately it was hit by a "1000 year incident", and the subsequent containment effort was remarkably successful.
 
The whole story is a dreadful example of the influence of journalism. Massive death toll and devastation was all but ignored outside the immediate vicinity, because "water is safe", and a transient hint of radioactivity triggered a worldwide journalistic panic that still reverberates because "nuclear is dangerous". 
 
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Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Is nuclear power testing linked to earthquakes?
« Reply #4 on: 12/09/2016 19:55:42 »
Fukushima was not designed to survive a combination of a power cut and the failure of the backup generators.
It happened to be an earthquake that caused those problems to happen at much the same time. A storm could have achieved the same.

Major hazard sites in the UK are designed with consideration of  earthquake resistance in mind- even though we don't really have 'quakes.
 

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Re: Is nuclear power testing linked to earthquakes?
« Reply #4 on: 12/09/2016 19:55:42 »

 

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