March 2011

How a Reactor Shuts Down and What Happens in a Meltdown

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Like many of us, I am trying to follow up on what is happening in Japan. I am so sorry for the people in Japan. What a disaster! It is amazing how well Japan is prepared for it, yet, the forces of nature are unbelievably strong. I have never seen anything as powerful as this tsunami wave… Today in my science methods class, my students were asking me about it and 1986 Chernobyl explosion came to mind. I lived in Kharkov, Ukraine then. I still remember how my grandpa ( a physicists who worked on a particle accelerator himself)  brought a Geiger Counter from work and showed it to me. I was 16 then.  I will remember it forever… In Vancouver, we feel these events much closer than people on the East Coast. We have lots of friends here who are either from Japan or have connections with Japan. We also know we live in a very dangerous seismic zone…  This is something very close to home…

Obviously we have a lot of discussion about it on our physics teaching list. I just got this link from a colleague physics teacher. This is an animation posted in New York Times that answers many of the questions asked today… Living through Chernobyl (luckily I was 500 km East from the site), I cannot imagine how worried the people there are… If everything goes wrong, then the consequences can be very bad…

How a Nucelar Reactor Shuts Down

How a Nucelar Reactor Shuts Down

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