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Old 1st May 2012, 02:21 PM   #41
geni
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Originally Posted by shadron View Post
Can you be explicit about what this scenario is saying, that you would like addressed?
Well I've seen a few versions floating around but the 4 main senarios appear to be:

1)cooling is lost
2)Structural collapse of the cooling pool
3)One of the above causes the thing to catch fire
4)loss of cladding combined with structural damage allows for a criticality incident.


What would happen? My expectation would be that we would end up with a radioactive mess at the site itself and and further contamination of the exclusion zone.

I can find some info on what might happen if the water is lost (there is some interest since dry storage might be a better alturnative for older rods) but it tends to stop at the stage "and then the fuel catches fire" (or " runaway oxidation reaction" if you would prefer).

Quote:
I read the article referenced in the OP, pointed out that most of it originated within a month of the tsunami. It appeared to be a theoretical description of optimally dosing people from a fuel rod (assuming it was pure plutonium, which is about a factor of 15 too conservative for MOX fuel).
Sure the death toll is massively overkill but what would actualy happen?


Quote:
WhatRoughBeast, in the third post in this thread linked to a considered estimate of the correct required dosage of plutonium needed to be fatal to a human.
Cs137 is more likely to be a problem.
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Old 1st May 2012, 02:23 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Xulld View Post
but but but . . . . radiation is SCARY!
No it is intensely boring. Only thing I've got out of working with it is paperwork.
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Old 1st May 2012, 02:28 PM   #43
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Sunshine is radiation. It can cause skin cancer. If our oh-so-noble media who love a good scare story applied the same rationale to that as they did nuclear power, they'd have us all sleeping by day and coming out at night.
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Old 1st May 2012, 02:41 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Farsight View Post
Sunshine is radiation. It can cause skin cancer.
Which is well documented and the target of a number of health campaigns.

Quote:
If our oh-so-noble media who love a good scare story applied the same rationale to that as they did nuclear power, they'd have us all sleeping by day and coming out at night.
And what exactly is wrong with that?
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Old 1st May 2012, 02:45 PM   #45
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It‘s true! There‘s no cure for the sexually transmitted terminal condition we call life. . . .
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Old 1st May 2012, 04:15 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by geni View Post
Originally Posted by Farsight
If our oh-so-noble media who love a good scare story applied the same rationale to that as they did nuclear power, they'd have us all sleeping by day and coming out at night.
And what exactly is wrong with that?
What's wrong with that is that I and many others like to feel the sun on my face as I raise my glass of cold clear Peroni to my lips. Because we enjoy life, and the things that make life better, like electricity. We know it's not forever, and we wish to make the most of it. So we accept that there are risks, and when we weigh those risks, we weigh the benefits too.

Originally Posted by ynot
It‘s true! There‘s no cure for the sexually transmitted terminal condition we call life. . . .
LOL. Yes, life is dangerous. Let's ban it!

Last edited by Farsight; 1st May 2012 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 1st May 2012, 04:19 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by dasmiller View Post
(cue dramatic music)

In a related story, the town of Silbeyville, Iowa, was evacuated last night when it was discovered that an SUV driven by a Mr. Mort Smith posed an imminent, mortal threat to the entire population of the town. Base on a tip from a local mechanic, police had learned that the tires on Mr. Smith's vehicle had recently been balanced at the nearby TireMart, and in the process, TireMart had mounted 5 lead tire weights that totaled over 18 ounces of deadly lead.
And, in my usual pedantic way, I can tell you that if they used U238 or plut they'd have been able to get away with only half the weights, thus cleaning up the environment and lowering the hazard to passing congregations.
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Old 1st May 2012, 04:55 PM   #48
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To find the documentary just google nuclear nightmares BBC horizons documentary. I use google.co.uk if that makes a difference.

It isn't about the disaster per se but the long term effects of exposure to radioactivity. It examines what the public perception of radioactivity is compared to what the reality is. For example the perception is that Chernobyl caused massive amounts of cancer, in particular thyroid cancer in young children. The reality is very different. It also looks in detail at the amount if mutation around the site, also very different to expected.

Very well researched and presented documentary from BBC Horizions so is very factual.

The fact is radioactivity has become a 20st century bogeyman. Can't see it, smell it or taste it, yet it can kill. The problem is for some woosters it isn't nearly as dangerous as you think.

Ps

Used to work for a company who made handling equipment for nuclear power stations in the uk before I became a physics teacher and have spent a decent amount of time in power stations. The fear is loads greater than the risk.

Last edited by Montag451; 1st May 2012 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 1st May 2012, 04:57 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by geni View Post
Well I've seen a few versions floating around but the 4 main senarios appear to be:

1)cooling is lost
2)Structural collapse of the cooling pool
3)One of the above causes the thing to catch fire
4)loss of cladding combined with structural damage allows for a criticality incident.


What would happen? My expectation would be that we would end up with a radioactive mess at the site itself and and further contamination of the exclusion zone.
Well, what would really happen, as it presumably did in Japan, is that the cooling water was lost (drained, or evaporated) and the elements get hot, hot enough to melt if they are newly spent enough. They then pool, continue to get hotter upon concentration (at this point they are essentially the same as the fuel at the bottom of a meltdown reactor), possibly becoming critical and causing an excursion which may evaporate some of the material and flood the area with neutrons. The puddle either cools enough to solidify, or it gets hot enough to crack/eat through the containment. Once below containment, it probably gets spread out and congeals. It might contaminate spring water. Hot metals almost always react chemically (usually oxidization, but other forms are possible); see below for more on that.

What is worse than the fuel getting loose is the fission products accumulating in the fuel as it is used. They come out in a variety of half-lives (which is intimately, inversely proportional to their radiation intensity), physical and chemical properties (inorganic and organic), decay products and chains, and decay particles.

Quote:
I can find some info on what might happen if the water is lost (there is some interest since dry storage might be a better alturnative for older rods) but it tends to stop at the stage "and then the fuel catches fire" (or " runaway oxidation reaction" if you would prefer).
The fact that the material oxidizes in no way changes the amount or intensity of a given fractional mass of the material; what it can do, though, is to change the material's physical state. For example, burning uranium will will leave you with a pile of U2O. If all the uranium was burned, then you will get the same amount of radiation from the pile as from the fuel. The difference is the pile can be blown around by the wind easier; the fact of the burning essentially powdered the uranium and heats it, and makes it liftable by the wind. U2O may more easily be converted to other materials inside the body than the raw metal was. Particles, grains which contain concentrated amounts of a radioactive substance, are light enough to be breathed in on the wind and settle in the lungs, and still have enough atoms to form a area of concentrated decay particle damage. The variables go way up when the materials start migrating, and chemical change is a major factor.

Quote:
Cs137 is more likely to be a problem.
Yes, covered above in fission products. Cs137 is a direct fission product, with a half-life of 30 years, so it takes on the order of 300 years to allow it to decay to background; it is, and will be Chernobyl's main problem for the next 270 years, not the least of which reasons is that it is well spread across the area.

Last edited by shadron; 1st May 2012 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 1st May 2012, 05:42 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
Heck my car can kill 1,500,000 people.

Line them all up and let me run them over until the gas tank is exhausted. So we'd only need about 4600 cars to exterminate the human species!
I don't believe you.

Show me the math ( how you arrived at 1,500,000 ).
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Old 1st May 2012, 06:01 PM   #51
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Easy...
3 people per meter
500 kilometes per tank

500 x 3000 = 1500000

If you had them lined up head to head then you could crush twice as many.

Probably have to have sone sort of spiked wheels though and probably wouldn't kill them all

Last edited by Montag451; 1st May 2012 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 1st May 2012, 06:12 PM   #52
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Radioactive seaweed.

http://www.g4tv.com/videos/58173/rad...clear-fallout/
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Old 1st May 2012, 06:45 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by shadron View Post
Chernobyl was a meltdown following a hydrogen explosion and a possible prompt nuclear excursion. The fact of explosive reactor breach without a containment is key to that.

...
AND a fire. It was graphite moderated and the moderator burned. And that was significant in the spread of the fallout. The fire created and carried aloft many small particles (smoke) which the winds carried almost worldwide.
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:02 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
AND a fire. It was graphite moderated and the moderator burned. And that was significant in the spread of the fallout. The fire created and carried aloft many small particles (smoke) which the winds carried almost worldwide.
Oh, yeah, there was definitely a fire, for nine days, but more and more are coming to the conclusion that it was not caused by burning graphite.

I'll site the authority I did when I made that statement:

http://nucleargreen.blogspot.com/201...ctor-burn.html

and I'll add:

The World Nuclear Association: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/chernobyl/inf07.html
(Go to item f in the Notes, which start about 2/3's the way through the page).

a video, heating it to 1500 C:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the JREF. The JREF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


Note comments that say the temperature may have been as high as 6000 C. No corroboration of that found.

It is hard to find a final word on this, but it seems impossible to find any demonstration that a graphite fire could have happened in Chernobyl.

Last edited by shadron; 1st May 2012 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:16 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by wollclark View Post
"...floating on the driftwood..." hyuck.
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:29 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by shadron View Post
"...floating on the driftwood..." hyuck.
No actual critiques?
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:30 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by shadron View Post
Oh, yeah, there was definitely a fire, for nine days, but more and more are coming to the conclusion that it was not caused by burning graphite.

I'll site the authority I did when I made that statement:

http://nucleargreen.blogspot.com/201...ctor-burn.html

and I'll add:

The World Nuclear Association: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/chernobyl/inf07.html
(Go to item f in the Notes, which start about 2/3's the way through the page).

a video, heating it to 1500 C:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the JREF. The JREF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


Note comments that say the temperature may have been as high as 6000 C. No corroboration of that found.

It is hard to find a final word on this, but it seems impossible to find any demonstration that a graphite fire could have happened in Chernobyl.
Very interesting! Graphite is an ideal moderator for some things, it would be interesting if it could be rehabilitated.
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:49 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by wollclark View Post
No actual critiques?
OK, look. I do science and engineering; you can perhaps tell from my completely dry, pedantic postings above. This interview of a green journalist who seems to have been chosen for his on-mic personality rather than his knowledge on radiation from Fukushima, by a clueless interviewer who seems to think radiation floats to us across the ocean currents, in an MTV atmosphere, had almost no science in it. There is not much I can refute, as there are few statements of fact and no backup of assertions. How exactly do you want me to respond to that?

Michael Collins (interviewee) has few references in Google beyond notices/reviews of this interview. Some say he has won journalism awards. They also say his website is an award winner, though it looks no more impressive than, say, Myers' pharyngula site.

Posted in April 2012, but no indication on when the interview was done.

The first 3 minutes:

He starts with a conspiracy theory - the government won't tell you this.

"... makes Chernobyl look like a dinner mint compared to a buffet of bad news coming out of Fukushima."

Your government is failing doing followup testing.

We environmental journalists will give you the real dope.

He has his own testing station in Santa Monica inhis home (presumably air testing, since I doubt he has cattle for biological iodine or strontium testing, or access to samples of sea water (off Santa Monica? Are you kidding?). No specifics, about his testing or the results, except fear mongering.

Rainwater "off the charts".

You see, no science. Not a single number mentioned. As Robert Heinlein said, “What are the facts? Again and again and again – what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what 'the stars foretell', avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable 'verdict of history' – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!” [Emphasis mine.]

A question from me about his website: What exactly does "249% more radiation than normal" for seaweed mean in terms of average American human dose? Is it going to impact anyone in Denver, CO, or even Sacramento, CA?

Last edited by shadron; 1st May 2012 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:59 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by shadron View Post
Well, what would really happen, as it presumably did in Japan, is that the cooling water was lost (drained, or evaporated) and the elements get hot, hot enough to melt if they are newly spent enough. They then pool, continue to get hotter upon concentration (at this point they are essentially the same as the fuel at the bottom of a meltdown reactor), possibly becoming critical and causing an excursion which may evaporate some of the material and flood the area with neutrons. The puddle either cools enough to solidify, or it gets hot enough to crack/eat through the containment. Once below containment, it probably gets spread out and congeals. It might contaminate spring water. Hot metals almost always react chemically (usually oxidization, but other forms are possible); see below for more on that.
I don't think japan has lost cooling in any of its storage pools for a long enough period to be a problem. Yet.

Quote:
The fact that the material oxidizes in no way changes the amount or intensity of a given fractional mass of the material; what it can do, though, is to change the material's physical state. For example, burning uranium will will leave you with a pile of U2O. If all the uranium was burned, then you will get the same amount of radiation from the pile as from the fuel. The difference is the pile can be blown around by the wind easier; the fact of the burning essentially powdered the uranium and heats it, and makes it liftable by the wind. U2O may more easily be converted to other materials inside the body than the raw metal was. Particles, grains which contain concentrated amounts of a radioactive substance, are light enough to be breathed in on the wind and settle in the lungs, and still have enough atoms to form a area of concentrated decay particle damage. The variables go way up when the materials start migrating, and chemical change is a major factor.

Yes, covered above in fission products. Cs137 is a direct fission product, with a half-life of 30 years, so it takes on the order of 300 years to allow it to decay to background; it is, and will be Chernobyl's main problem for the next 270 years, not the least of which reasons is that it is well spread across the area.
So what kind of spread are we looking at in stored fuel fire? 1 mile of serious problems 10? 100? or are we looking at Tokyo becoming an excellent setting for post apocalyptic games if the wind blows in the wrong direction?

Caesium oxide looks pretty dense so I wouldn't expect it to get too far but is there something I've missed?
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Old 1st May 2012, 08:03 PM   #60
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Have there been any IAEA reports on Fukushima yet?
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Old 1st May 2012, 08:07 PM   #61
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http://www.oecd-nea.org/rp/chernobyl/c01.html

Seems to think graphite burned.

Problem is thinking it was like a normal fire. The temperature was hitting over 2000 degree with the graphite laid on top of the molten fuel.. Any inert gas was gone as the reactor itself was open.

Seems from reading the literature there is an attempt to rehabilitate graphite reactors by playing down the dangers of a possible burn.

Still think nuclear is the way to go though!
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Old 1st May 2012, 08:17 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by shadron View Post
He has his own testing station in Santa Monica in his home (presumably air testing, since I doubt he has cattle for biological iodine or strontium testing, or access to samples of sea water (off Santa Monica? Are you kidding?). No specifics, about his testing or the results, except fear mongering.

Rainwater "off the charts".
He says his radiation monitor can detect X rays, alpha, beta, gamma and another kind of radiation "too strange to tell you about" ?
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Old 1st May 2012, 08:31 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by ectoplasm View Post
He says his radiation monitor can detect X rays, alpha, beta, gamma and another kind of radiation "too strange to tell you about" ?
Wow; I didn't catch that. Wierder, even, than N-rayWPs, perhaps?
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Old 1st May 2012, 08:37 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by shadron View Post
OK, look. I do science and engineering; you can perhaps tell from my completely dry, pedantic postings above. This interview of a green journalist who seems to have been chosen for his on-mic personality rather than his knowledge on radiation from Fukushima, by a clueless interviewer who seems to think radiation floats to us across the ocean currents, in an MTV atmosphere, had almost no science in it. There is not much I can refute, as there are few statements of fact and no backup of assertions. How exactly do you want me to respond to that?

Michael Collins (interviewee) has few references in Google beyond notices/reviews of this interview. Some say he has won journalism awards. They also say his website is an award winner, though it looks no more impressive than, say, Myers' pharyngula site.

Posted in April 2012, but no indication on when the interview was done.

The first 3 minutes:

He starts with a conspiracy theory - the government won't tell you this.

"... makes Chernobyl look like a dinner mint compared to a buffet of bad news coming out of Fukushima."

Your government is failing doing followup testing.

We environmental journalists will give you the real dope.

He has his own testing station in Santa Monica inhis home (presumably air testing, since I doubt he has cattle for biological iodine or strontium testing, or access to samples of sea water (off Santa Monica? Are you kidding?). No specifics, about his testing or the results, except fear mongering.

Rainwater "off the charts".

You see, no science. Not a single number mentioned. As Robert Heinlein said, “What are the facts? Again and again and again – what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what 'the stars foretell', avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable 'verdict of history' – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!” [Emphasis mine.]
What about the geiger counter and the seaweed? The scare mongering gets to me.
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Old 1st May 2012, 08:37 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by Montag451 View Post
http://www.oecd-nea.org/rp/chernobyl/c01.html

Seems to think graphite burned.

Problem is thinking it was like a normal fire. The temperature was hitting over 2000 degree with the graphite laid on top of the molten fuel.. Any inert gas was gone as the reactor itself was open.

Seems from reading the literature there is an attempt to rehabilitate graphite reactors by playing down the dangers of a possible burn.

Still think nuclear is the way to go though!
That's not at all unusual; many people do think there was a graphite fire, but none have been able to demonstrate one.

The reactor used no inert gasses. What fed whatever fire was occurring is only air at about one atmosphere, once the lid was blown off. If you have a theory about how such a graphite fire may have happened, and empirical data to back it up, I'd be more than happy to consider changing my opinion.

Personally, I think solid fuel/moderator reactors ought to be phased out in favor of liquid fuel.

Last edited by shadron; 1st May 2012 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 1st May 2012, 08:43 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by wollclark View Post
What about the geiger counter and the seaweed? The scare mongering gets to me.
I added a little codicil to my posting that was apparently too late for your copy, but my question is, what does a 249% increase in normal radioactivity mean in seaweed? What isotope is it gathering? Is that isotope biologically active (like iodine in humans)? Is seaweed as a commercial product important enough to worry about this? If he brought his geiger counter up against a granite rock, would the increase in radioactivity be as significant as in the seaweed? Lot's of questions, no answers (even on his website).
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Old 1st May 2012, 08:45 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
Have there been any IAEA reports on Fukushima yet?
They seem to have a lot of pages on their site dedicated to Fukushima. I suggest a visit and search: http://www.iaea.org
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Old 1st May 2012, 10:23 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by shadron View Post
They seem to have a lot of pages on their site dedicated to Fukushima. I suggest a visit and search: http://www.iaea.org
Yeah, I eventually found them: http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/fukushima/

Lot of interesting stuff in there.
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Old 1st May 2012, 11:21 PM   #69
wollclark
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So, explain this as if it's to a stupid layman who also happens to be five years old...

Is this really a big threat? And if not, why not?
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Old 1st May 2012, 11:30 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by shadron View Post
WhatRoughBeast, in the third post in this thread linked to a considered estimate of the correct required dosage of plutonium needed to be fatal to a human. I'll add a few more:

Anti-nuke: http://www.ccnr.org/max_plute_aecb.html
Pro-nuke: http://atomicinsights.com/1995/05/ho...plutonium.html
Argonne Labs: http://www.ead.anl.gov/pub/doc/plutonium.pdf

I can add one more document to that list:

http://muller.lbl.gov/pages/PlutoniumToxicity.pdf

(The document was created by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in response to news reports of the dangers of plutonium arising from the recovery of ten ounces of plutonium at the Munich airport in 1994.)
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:13 AM   #71
shadron
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Originally Posted by wollclark View Post
So, explain this as if it's to a stupid layman who also happens to be five years old...

Is this really a big threat? And if not, why not?
That depends. Are you worried for yourself, or for humanity in general? What do you think of having to fence off, say, 100 square miles of Japan for the next 300 years? Do you think the risks have been well weighed and prepared for?

Personally, I don't think the stuff they're talking about in the OP link is real. It's boogieman stuff. It is designed to make people scared of nuclear power.

As for nuclear power generation: Recognizing that all methods of power generation have issues and seek to manage concentrated energy, how much risk is worth, say, keeping Times Square lit up? Or your computer lit up? Is it worth the occasional multi-billion dollar failure, which may endanger some humans as well? Is it worth it to be able to shutdown coal plants?
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Old 2nd May 2012, 04:04 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
The Facebook posting is proof that people are stupid and mendacious.
ftfy
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Old 2nd May 2012, 07:05 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by geni View Post
I don't think japan has lost cooling in any of its storage pools for a long enough period to be a problem. Yet.

So what kind of spread are we looking at in stored fuel fire? 1 mile of serious problems 10? 100? or are we looking at Tokyo becoming an excellent setting for post apocalyptic games if the wind blows in the wrong direction?

Caesium oxide looks pretty dense so I wouldn't expect it to get too far but is there something I've missed?
That is an entirely environmental question Did the fuel burn, or was just exposed (caesium is pyrophoric like potassium)? Was there an explosion? What were the winds, temperature, humidity? Rising convection currents? How much sea water used to cool made it back into the sea? Caesium generally appears to linger in the soil, but also is soluble in water, andf lakes are coming under more scrutiny lately. In humans it can be concentrated in muscle tissue as a replacement for potassium. It has a relatively low biological half-life, 60 days, which can be shortened to a month through treatment with Prussian Blue.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 08:34 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by shadron View Post
If he brought his geiger counter up against a granite rock, would the increase in radioactivity be as significant as in the seaweed?
I think that this is an important point that really should be emphasized every time such things are brought up. You find natural rocks pretty much everywhere, and also in/on many homes. Tables, kitchen workplaces, etc. made of natural rocks. Whole buildings are cladded in them sometimes.

Whenever someones tries to pull the "but that's x% higher than background radiation" stunt, it should be made clear that we have many "sources" of radioactivity, like those rocks, that we put willingly in/on our homes, and no one ever complains.

The cold war did a really good job to imprint that nonsensical-radiation-fear into most people, unfortunately.

Greetings,

Chris
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Old 2nd May 2012, 09:43 AM   #75
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I loved the radioactivity lab we did during university. The highest amount of background radiation was on the steps in front of the physics department, as the native granite contained measurable quantities of pechblande (uranium ore). There are lots of other anecdotes to do with radiation, but in short, it's not the boogeyman most people think of it.

That said, (to return to the original topic), Fukushima seems to have been mishandled to a pretty large degree, and the more I learned about it the worse it seemed. It deserves to be up there with Chernobyl, even though the loss of life was much lower (some workers killed in a hydrogen blast). Just one snafu after another.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 10:05 AM   #76
geni
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Originally Posted by ArmillarySphere View Post
I loved the radioactivity lab we did during university. The highest amount of background radiation was on the steps in front of the physics department, as the native granite contained measurable quantities of pechblande (uranium ore).
Hmm we have the long standing question of why the corridor outside the lab is twice as radioactive as the lab. Personally I suspect the tile glaze.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 10:50 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by ArmillarySphere View Post
It deserves to be up there with Chernobyl, even though the loss of life was much lower (some workers killed in a hydrogen blast). Just one snafu after another.
No workers were killed in any of the hydrogen explosions. The only deaths which occurred were three killed in the initial earthquake and tsunami flooding, and one or two more who have died from heart attacks during the cleanup procedures.

It also appears that contrary to some early speculation none of the spent fuel ponds ever boiled off enough to expose any of the fuel to air. This doesn't seem likely to happen in the future either, since the fuel in those ponds has been out of use for over a year and isn't generating much heat anymore.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 01:06 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by ellindsey View Post
It also appears that contrary to some early speculation none of the spent fuel ponds ever boiled off enough to expose any of the fuel to air. This doesn't seem likely to happen in the future either, since the fuel in those ponds has been out of use for over a year and isn't generating much heat anymore.
That's good news to me. Arnie Gundersen ("former nuclear power company executive") was speculating last fall that at least one of the explosions included a prompt-critical excursion from the associated fuel storage tank, based apparently on his analysis of the video. The amount of crap that was publicized in the last year is just mind-boggling.

Last edited by shadron; 2nd May 2012 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 22nd May 2012, 08:20 PM   #79
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Looks like he's still speculating.

http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories...ctor-4-120519/

Quote:
Reactor 4 -- and to a lesser extent Reactor 3 -- still hold large quantities of cooling waters surrounding spent nuclear fuel, all bound by a fragile concrete pool located 30 metres above the ground, and exposed to the elements.

A magnitude 7 or 7.5 earthquake would likely fracture that pool, and disaster would ensue, says Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with Fairewinds Energy Education who has visited the site.

The 1,535 spent fuel rods would become exposed to the air and would likely catch fire, with the most-recently added fuel rods igniting first.

The incredible heat generated from that blaze, Gundersen said, could then ignite the older fuel in the cooling pool, causing a massive oxygen-eating radiological fire that could not be extinguished with water.

"So the fear is the newest fuel could begin to burn and then we'd have a conflagration of the whole pool because it would become hotter and hotter. The health consequences of that are beyond where science has ever gone before," Gundersen told CTVNews.ca in an interview from his home in Vermont.
My favorite part:

Quote:
"It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on No. 4 reactor,"
The fate of the whole world eh?
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Old 23rd May 2012, 09:10 AM   #80
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According to this site:

http://ansnuclearcafe.org/2012/05/16...not-dangerous/

spent fuel which has been out of operation for more than 180 days is no longer capable of generating enough heat to self-ignite even when completely uncovered. It has been well over 180 days since any of the fuel at Fukishima was undergoing chain reaction.
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