Fukushima, LENDIT and Reactor Safety R&D

Event Date: April 23, 2012
Speaker: Akira T. Tokuhiro
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Idaho
Type: Graduate
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: GRIS 166


The Fukushima Dai-ichi and Dai-ni nuclear power station with 4 GE-BWRs units at one site and 2 BWR units respectively co-located on the north-central eastern coast of Japan withstood a 9.0 earthquake and a large-scale tsunami on March 11, 2011. All six units were constructed via a GE/Hitachi/Toshiba collaboration from 1967-1979. In spite of the immediate shut down of all units based on ground-level acceleration and decay heat cooling for some 30-45 minutes, loss-of-offsite-power by ingress of water into the diesel generators’ pit, initiated loss-of-coolant accident; overall as a ‘beyond design basis accident’. Further, all units faced unanticipated challenge of cooling spent fuel pools situated above the reactors in lightly-structured buildings. Several hydrogen explosions later and now just over one year since ‘3/11’, the utility (TEPCO) and the Japanese Government are now facing a 20+-year cleanup effort. Evidence suggests that 3 reactor cores have partially-to-fully melted. The scale of the recovery, restoration and remediation effort will be very large.

The Fukushima accident is perhaps an example of ‘complex issues and challenges’ for today’s students. These grand challenges, such as climate change, sustaining the global economy, poverty, disease and social unrest will prevail for many years to come. The speaker contends that adoption of common metrics, length(L), energy(E), number (N), distribution (D), information (I) and time (time) [LENDIT] cuts across soft and hard science, engineering and computing domains, and as such offer an analytical ‘lingua Franca’. Perhaps the ultimate challenge along soft domains is predicting the unpredictable human being. The speaker will try to connect the dots along Fukushima, LENDIT and potential R&D areas.


Akira Tokuhiro is Professor of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at the University of Idaho. Dr. Tokuhiro has a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering (Purdue), MS in Mechanical Engineering (U. Rochester), B.S.E. in Engineering-Physics (Purdue) and 10 years of international experience in advanced reactor R&D (Paul Scherrer Institute and Japan Atomic Energy Agency), as well as experience at Argonne National Laboratory and Battelle Columbus Laboratories. At PSI, he was part of the Simplified Boiling Water Reactor safety systems testing project and a separate effects test for direct contact condensation. At JAEA he developed ultrasonic velocimetry for liquid metal separate effects thermohydraulics experiment, as part of an effort to develop the Japanese sodium fast reactor. He was previously on the Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering faculty at Kansas State University and University of Missouri-Rolla. He was also Director of the UMR Reactor and Senior Reactor Operator. His interests are in reactor engineering and design, thermal-hydraulics, liquid metals, convective heat transfer, ultrasonic and laser-based velocimetry, modeling & simulation in coupled thermohydraulics and reactor physics (multiphysics), application of gel materials, facial and voice expression biometrics and energy dynamics modeling &simulations. He is serving on the American Nuclear Society President’s Committee on the Fukushima (nuclear power plant) Accident and made a private visit to Fukushima in October 2011.

2012-04-23 15:30:00 2012-04-23 16:30:00 America/Indiana/Indianapolis Fukushima, LENDIT and Reactor Safety R&D GRIS 166