Fukushima: Mark 1 nuclear reactor design caused GE scientist to quit in protest

Thirty-five years ago, Dale G. Bridenbaugh and two of his colleagues at General Electric resigned from their jobs after becoming increasingly convinced that the nuclear reactor design they were reviewing — the Mark 1 — was so flawed it could lead to a devastating accident.

Questions persisted for decades about the ability of the Mark 1 to handle the immense pressures that would result if the reactor lost cooling power, and today that design is being put to the ultimate test in Japan. Five of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which has been wracked since Friday’s earthquake with explosions and radiation leaks, are Mark 1s.

“The problems we identified in 1975 were that, in doing the design of the containment, they did not take into account the dynamic loads that could be experienced with a loss of coolant,” Bridenbaugh told ABC News in an interview. “The impact loads the containment would receive by this very rapid release of energy could tear the containment apart and create an uncontrolled release.”

Full story: Fukushima: Mark 1 nuclear reactor design caused GE scientist to quit in protest

  • kelvin rider

    y did this terrible disaster have to happen

  • Drahcir

    GE made the Mark1 and then did nothing to upgrade this model?If they did one would wonder if they knew of the problem and never said anything about this?
    And they knew something was wrong thirty-five years ago.I wonder if they said anything to Japan?

  • Paul Taylor

    Large areas of northeastern Japan are a wasteland after the country’s strongest earthquake on record triggered powerful tsunami wave. The combined destruction of quake and tsunami flooding have killed hundreds and forced tens of thousands of people from their homes and workplaces. Hundreds of towns and villages in Japan’s northeast were devastated by the 8.9 magnitude quake that was centered 100 miles off the area’s Pacific coast. A tsunami wave 23 ft. high washed six miles inland, and receded to leave massive flooding, deaths and building destruction.

    Japan, one of the world’s top three economies, operates 55 nuclear power plants – 11 now shutdown due to the quake, five others placed on critical containment status, and the Fukushima reactor idled with a ruptured containment capsule releasing deadly radioactive gases, particles and debris. The unpredictable natural disaster of an earthquake in Japan has caused a nuclear power plant to fail, and release radioactive materials that are toxic for 300 to 3,000 years in the environment.

    The 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chernobyl in Ukraine spread radioactivity and death over eastern Europe and despair in the Western world’s nuclear power industry. Chernobyl, along with the non-lethal accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979, sent the industry into decades of decline.

    Enviro-groups will predictably leverage the new enviro-hysteria of “Fukushima” to stop the expansion of nuclear power in America. Just as they have used the examples of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island as pejoratives against the U.S.’s current 104 nuclear power plants that provide about 18% of our electricity. Nuclear power expansion is necessary in America for economic, security and environmental reasons. The energy from one pound of uranium is equivalent to 1.3 million pounds of coal energy. Nuclear power produces none of the greenhouse gases associated with global warming.

    Just as the “green screams” of “BP” demonized our oil production and oil independence, listen for the next enviro-groups’ rallying cries of “Fukushima” to demonize our nuclear energy production and energy independence.

  • emem

    If this true, this doesn’t speak very well of Obama’s buddy Jeff Imelt – Mr. stimilus supporter, green energy, etc……