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rpell2
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re: Update: Plutonium-laced fuel heightens Japan's nuke woes
rpell2   3/18/2011 5:14:50 PM
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The following site (an Australian-based pro nuclear energy climate science blog of all places) seems to be offering some very good in-depth ongoing technical coverage of the Japan nuclear situation minus all the hysteria and fearmongering: http://bravenewclimate.com/ One recent post includes an essay on Fukashima by Ted Rockwell, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and editor of the 1956 handbook, "The Reactor Shielding Design Manual." Here's an excerpt: "A lot of wrong lessons are being pushed on us, about the tragedy now unfolding in Japan. All the scare-talk about radiation is irrelevant. There will be no radiation public health catastrophe, regardless of how much reactor melting may occur. Radiation? Yes. Catastrophe? No."

Mxv
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re: Update: Plutonium-laced fuel heightens Japan's nuke woes
Mxv   3/18/2011 12:31:40 PM
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SEND IN THE ROBOTS!

Duaine
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re: Update: Plutonium-laced fuel heightens Japan's nuke woes
Duaine   3/17/2011 11:53:41 PM
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There was once a famous response to this (one pound of Pu is enough to kill every person on earth) -- in fact, I think it said, 1 gram. I don't remember who said it. In any case, the response was (and I wish I had said it!): "Maybe so. But also, I have enough sperm to impregnate every woman on earth. Unfortunately, my delivery system isn't up to it!"

rpell2
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re: Update: Plutonium-laced fuel heightens Japan's nuke woes
rpell2   3/17/2011 2:40:35 AM
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It's easy (and a red herring) to claim there's no "safe" nuclear waste disposal method when "safe" is defined as absolute 100% guaranteed perfect safety with absolutely 0% possible risk to anyone, ever. By that standard, getting out of bed in the morning is unsafe ... And the argument also ignores the history of technological progress by essentially assuming that future generations will somehow lose the ability to continue to safely monitor and manage the relatively small quantity of waste being stored.

motti2
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re: Update: Plutonium-laced fuel heightens Japan's nuke woes
motti2   3/17/2011 2:08:22 AM
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here is the latest status report http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/IAEA-Chief-Heads-to-Japan-to-Assess-Nuclear-Crisis-118105754.html

Ed96
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re: Update: Plutonium-laced fuel heightens Japan's nuke woes
Ed96   3/17/2011 1:39:45 AM
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Concerning "mixed oxide fuels", I guess it is time to correct the misinformation. All irradiated commercial nuclear fuel by the time it is ready for discharge from a power reactor has substantial quantities of Plutonium in it. Plutonium is bred in light water reactors during operations. At the end of each fuel cycle, on the order of half of the power is produced by fissioning Plutonium that was created through the capture of neutrons by Uranium 238 atoms followed by Beta decay to "manufacture" Plutonium. About 97 to 98% of new fuel rods are Uranium 238, so many an atom is sitting around ready to capture a neutron and turn into a Plutonium 239 atam.

motti2
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re: Update: Plutonium-laced fuel heightens Japan's nuke woes
motti2   3/17/2011 1:05:44 AM
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The use of the top reactor storge pools for long term storage averted the rods being swept away in say as sea level storage pool might have, in the massive tsunami sea wave. But in this site, the proper storage of the used rods for ALL the reactors would be very short term in the elevated transfer pool, and very shortly therafter transfer to storage in the hills in a pupose built facility so no tsunami might affect safety nor operations ( earthquake resistant obviously ). If it gets confirmed that multple reactors storage pools run dry over time as seems to be the case, the magnitude of the radiation contamination and its spread to larger areas, might indeed possibly become catastrophic. Since all the reactors are pretty close together, high emissions in a modest area, can encompass all the reactors, limiting the chance for possible safe remediations, of pumping cooling water etc. since people will if radiation is highh be prevented from accessing any of the reactors or pools except with risk of deadly doses of radiation. This seems to be the makings of a potential huge calamity, and I hope and pray this does not transpire.

motti2
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re: Update: Plutonium-laced fuel heightens Japan's nuke woes
motti2   3/17/2011 12:59:24 AM
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The use of the top reactor storge pools for long term storage averted the rods being swept away in say as sea level storage pool might have, in the massive tsunami sea wave. But in this site, the proper storage of the used rods for ALL the reactors would be very short term in the elevated transfer pool, and very shortly therafter transfer to storage in the hills in a pupose built facility so no tsunami might affect safety nor operations ( earthquake resistant obviously ). If it gets confirmed that multple reactors storage pools run dry over time as seems to be the case, the magnitude of the radiation contamination and its spread to larger areas, might indeed possibly become catastrophic. Since all the reactors are pretty close together, high emissions in a modest area, can encompass all the reactors, limiting the chance for possible safe remediations, of pumping cooling water etc. since people will if radiation is highh be prevented from accessing any of the reactors or pools except with risk of deadly doses of radiation. This seems to be the makings of a potential huge calamity, and I hope and pray this does not transpire.

motti2
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Rookie
re: Update: Plutonium-laced fuel heightens Japan's nuke woes
motti2   3/17/2011 12:58:59 AM
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Apparently the present major risk is not the reactors themselves that have very thick containment vessels than still can melt through the bottom ( modest leak, little airborne likely / hoepfully ) BUT the actual major risk presently and going forward seems to be the spent fuel rod pools at each respective reactor - located at the top level of the actual reactor vessel. This configuration is seemingly for compact transfer of spent fuel from the reactor rod unloading station to a near lateral displacement at the top of the containment vessel. While convenient for transfer and compact configuration, for long term even medium term, the open pool spent fuel storage at the top of the containment vessel, if the water in the pool is lost and unable to be refilled with water nor kept continuously filled, then if that water is lost then the spent fuel rods in the open pool storage begin melting and combustion of sorts will occur. It is presently suspected that one of the reactors ?#4 - the spent fuel storage pool may be dry of water and early phases of burning and melting of the old fuel rods may be underway. Apparently if combustion of the old fuel rods occurs, all kinds of high level radiation gets emitted, and the flames and dust carry this some distance. If the same things come into play in each of the 6 reactors spent fuel storage pools at the site, at various times, the results might approach something akin to a stretched out Chernobyl, likley (hopefully ) smaller in peak radiation, but stretched out over time.

Etmax
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re: Update: Plutonium-laced fuel heightens Japan's nuke woes
Etmax   3/16/2011 11:27:44 PM
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Interesting idea, trenches are probably not good as they're more than 6km down and the pressures would destroy anything that tried to accurately locate the waste at these depths. Subduction zones aren't bad as many are only about 3km down. It would be a moving target though as it would have to be a fairly active area. There is probably more radio active material in the mantle than in the crust anyway.

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