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Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor Unit#3 explosion on March 14th 2011

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Published on Mar 31, 2011

This is raw video of the explosion of Unit 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant explosion, which occured on March 14, 2011. The apparent cause was hydrogen gas which was generated by excess heat from either the spent fuel rods, or the operating fuel rods in the reactor itself, or possibly both.

This video does not seem to be part of the public record of this terrible failure, and yet, I feel it needs to be seen and understood. What made the failure of Fukushima Daiich Unit#3 occur was not just the use of radioactive fuel, but a failure to correctly manage and anticipate the risks associated with a complex system design. Part of the danger of a nuclear plant comes not just from its use of toxic radioactive fuel, but also from the systemic complexity that results from the concomitant requirement to generate a lot of electric power.

The local fireball blast, and the mushroom cloud of radioactive debris into which the Reactor Unit #3 building disintegrates, documents an event that many nuclear specialists said simply was not possible. Physics specialsts with Phd's told me personally that it was not possible for a modern civilian nuclear plant to explode in a "fireball and mushroom cloud" type of scenario. Anyone who even queried if such and event was possible was dismissed as a naive and uneducated person.

And yet, here we are. This video shows a modern, well-constructed nuclear reactor building exploding like a small tactical nuclear weapon. Policy makers must *never* rely on the assertions of mere physical scientists.

Science always requires extreme skepticism. I still believe civilian nuclear power plants can be operated with sufficient safety to be useful. And I suspect we will have no choice going forward but to continue to rely on nuclear power. But we need to retain, embrace and perhaps even foster more skepticism and adversarial methods in science and engineering. The Japanese model of "consensus" descision-making is not helpful. The eccentric mavericks who warned us of the dangers of these fission-reactors have been proven correct by the force of events.

We all need to learn from this.
- Rus

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