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View Diary: Losing the Pacific Ocean (162 comments)

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  •  Yes, of course it will (15+ / 0-)

    eventually dilute out to the volume of the world's oceans, more or less depending on low-level turbulence and temperature gradient layers. But by the time it's completely diluted, it's not going to be all that dangerous.

    The pro-nuke shills have said from Day-1 that yes, dilution is the solution to pollution and when you divvy the curies evenly with the total volume of water in this planet's oceans it's no big deal. What they DON'T say is that it'll take at least 300 years for that to happen, and by that time the cesium-137 and strontium-90 will essentially be decayed out. And even that is not really ever going to be an even distribution, because the heavy metals will tend to ride lower than ultra-lights like tritium. The nastiest elements will accumulate in certain places on the sea floor just as they accumulate along and in drainage pathways on land over time.

    Bottom-dwellers should by rights be forever banned. They won't be, any more than what might be done to mitigate Fukushima won't be done. Again, a very big shame.

    •  Absolutely (18+ / 0-)

      In addition, bio-accumulation in predator fish is just beginning. It starts with small near-shore fish and shell-fish in the highly contaminated area surrounding Fukushima. Those are consumed by larger fish passing through the area. Eventually, those fish are consumed by really big fish, the kind that have large geographic ranges; the kind that may end up in nets far from Japan. As a precaution, I have stopped buying fish caught in the Pacific.

      But, some Pacific fish--for example, salmon--don't stay in the Pacific. They return to fresh water streams in places like Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. There, many will die, their radioactive carcasses polluting those streams. Others will be consumed by local wildlife--birds, bears, turtles, etc.  Another cycle of bio-accumulation thus begins.

      The US government should have begun educating the public about what, if anything, it is doing to monitor fish for radioactivity and regarding its long-term plan for monitoring contamination of US streams and wildlife. But, the US government's approach to long-term radiological contamination has always been inadequate and will continue to be inadequate as long as food industry profits do not suffer.

      •  Well, we do know they'll be (13+ / 0-)

        trying hard as they can to protect the corporations, but I am a little bit relieved the FDA has taken action on direct imports from the area. A little late, but welcome. The EPA has managed to skip its duties for public protection through its almost complete reliance on LD50 in a single exposure in order to declare an issue, and nobody's getting LD50 in a single day's exposure outside the exclusion zone.

        It will eventually all dilute itself out to less-lethal levels, with room for a few 'oopses' in particularly sensitive (or just unlucky) individuals. Over literally hundreds or even thousands of years. We still have hot spots leftover from atmospheric bomb testing days, after all. It'll take longer than anyone alive today will ever get to experience.

        Thanks, Linda. Your knowledge in these areas is valuable. My guess is that they won't actually bother with any real 'plans' for mitigation or warning to the public. Though I have seen that some of the agencies that should be concerned are "looking into it." FWTW.

        •  MELTDOWNs are not like other nuclear events (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenearth, Joieau, AllisonInSeattle

          Off the top of my head, no supporting research:

          A nuclear reactor meltdown concentrates the nuclear material in an ever increasing concentration until you get to criticality, At which point things really go bad.

          The problem is that once this meltdown process begins it is nearly impossible to stop. It never stops making stuff radioactive. They are pouring more and more water in and cannot stop the meltdown. Stop pouring water in and it goes super hot and criticality can be reached.

          Once critically is reached the nuclear materials (metal elements identified above) the forces of the nucleuses are stronger than other forces and nothing can pull them apart to stop the reactions. It could detonate or be so hot that it melts down through the crust.

          Ground water that it comes in contact with becomes super heated steam and the pressures are explosives. Destroying everything around and it and spreading even more radioactive materials.

          It is a never ending disaster and always gets worst. There is not enough water in the world to stop the meltdowns happening there.

          •  The coriums cannot reach (6+ / 0-)

            critical mass or they'd have done so within the first week. Now they are diluted by the assorted non-fuel metals, concrete and whatever else they've melted into their masses to reach critical mass. They are by now very likely unable to actively melt whatever they're in contact with, even if it's still more than a thousand degrees. It may not be technically solid, it is most certainly still plenty nasty, but if it's not maintaining a temperature hot enough to melt concrete or rock on contact, it's not on the move.

            The nitrogen injection was done in hopes that if the corium hit groundwater it would not cause an explosive hydrogen-oxygen atmosphere from intense radiolysis. They are now, per best guesses of a host of respectable 'experts' (including those at GE, which is co-owner of Daichi and designed these plants) sitting in water. The danger of more hydrogen explosions has passed, which is why they stopped injecting nitrogen. Caveat: Unit-3 is has been steaming for weeks now, its corium may be still on the move, probably much hotter than 1 and 2's flows. That was the MOX reactor, plutonium fuel.

            The earth is pretty darned good shielding for these puppies. The issue is the water, and the crap it's picking up from the corium on its way to the sea. I have given my best opinion (at this time) about how they could mitigate that to a far greater degree than doing nothing. It doesn't look like anybody's willing to do what is necessary. That's a shame.

      •  As I mentioned above, those of us in the CA Delta (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linkage, Creosote, flowerfarmer, Joieau

        who are fighting the BDCP because it will likely extinct the Salmon runs may end up wanting the Salmon runs extinct to protect the northern watershed. Very sad indeed!

        if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

        by mrsgoo on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 08:16:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And by that time... (6+ / 0-)

      ... every damn nuclear facility on the planet will have experienced a catastrophic failure.  It's been 50-odd years and we've already had two big ones that we know about.  I hear the Hanaford situation is looking impossible too but of course we'll never hear about it.

      Human beings have never engineered anything 1) as toxic as nuclear waste 2) durable enough to contain anything but the bones of some pharoahs for longer than a few hundred years.

      We are well and truly fucked.

      The meek shall inherit the Earth that the stupid destroyed.

      by CharlieHipHop on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 09:37:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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