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View Diary: Nuclear This Week at MIT and Harvard (46 comments)

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  •  Well, yeah, but (0+ / 0-)

    the mountain land is at least not off limits due to radiation, however much it's screwed up. You could put wind turbines, solar panels, or, say, drive-in movies on the land.

    I live within view of the reputedly biggest hole in the ground, the Bingham mine. It provides about 1/6 of the copper production of the U.S. currently. Nobody is using the slopes of that, but that's because it's still in production and being dug. I imagine it will become a sort of pseudo-toroidal ski resort someday, except that the snow might be a little thin by then. I'd laugh at that thought except that some fool is planning a ski resort nearby in the Oquirrhs, which see not all that much snow, typically.

    Hope that stab at humor isn't inappropriate. I just think there's a difference between radioactively contaminated land and big digs.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 05:21:22 PM PDT

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    •  You could do that even if it was radioactive. (0+ / 0-)
      You could put wind turbines, solar panels, or, say, drive-in movies on the land.

      Turbines and solar panels don't mind radiation, and drive-in movies only exist so teenagers can be attacked by monsters.

      I just think there's a difference between radioactively contaminated land and big digs.

      And global warming? It makes everything else look like small potatoes.

      •  If it's an exclusion zone, (0+ / 0-)

        I would think that the tendency would be to exclude uses that include regular access by lots of people. I know that there are still people working at the reactor at Chernobyl of course. I don't know if new installations would be allowed, though.

        You're right about global warming, but I think that's already baked in the cake, if you will pardon the expression. The only real chance we had to avoid the tipping point(s) expired about 30 years ago when nuclear energy stalled here. Nothing else was ready to pick up the slack back then. Bear in mind that I'm not a nuclear opponent, but I wouldn't do anything to force it on whoever else doesn't want it, and that included a majority of people back then, however much things have changed in that regard since then.

        Moderation in most things.

        by billmosby on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 10:54:59 PM PDT

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    •  There's a big difference (0+ / 0-)

      But we disagree on which situation is preferable.

      I think that it's important at least to look at this "radioactively contaminated" situation that you talk about.

      In the case of a nuclear accident, the only important radioisotopes are the volatile radioisotopes, namely I-131 and Cs-137. The I-131 decays away to nothing in a couple of years. The Cs-137 lasts longer, but it is one of the less mobile radioactive metals in the environment. It tends to adhere quite well to soil, and thus tends to sit in the upper layers of topsoil where it is deposited. This is why cesium is generally not a major contaminant in groundwater where it is found (from the fallout from atomic bomb blasts, for example).

      The amount of money, energy, and effort it takes to remove the tops of entire mountains or to do other "big digs" could easily be used to remove the top soil layer of various "hot spots" (areas with higher readings of Cs-137 contamination) and bury this soil under the ground at specially chosen locations. The lack of mobility of Cesium means that it will stay where it's put (assuming that you're not stupid in selecting a location), and the fill dirt above where it is buried is sufficient to provide shielding against the gamma rays resulting from the barium-137m decay product.

      Certainly, disposing of this topsoil is no more environmentally damaging than digging huge holes in the ground. And if it comes to a choice between trucking some topsoil away or removing an entire mountain (regardless of what you decide to do with the land afterward), sorry, but I have to choose the mountain.

      Mountains don't grow back.

      Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
      -- Albert Einstein

      by bryfry on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:38:55 AM PDT

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