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View Diary: Would a little American nuclear emergency make you look up? We're having one (225 comments)

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  •  Browns Ferry suffered (12+ / 0-)

    a loss of offsite power 'event' the day the monster twisters roared through Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. They scrammed, but lost full cooling and circulation pumps for a bit (a backup EDG was offline) and unit 1 overheated. They got it controlled within a few days and were never completely without EDGs, but only one unit is back on line at this point.

    Had the tornado blown away the flimsy secondary containments and trashed the EDGs as well as cut offsite power, they could melt as easily and as quickly as Fukushima's reactors did.

    Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

    by Joieau on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 07:16:44 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Secondary containments... (10+ / 0-)

      ... and storage of high-level waste in pools outside the plants is the real disaster waiting to happen.

      High-level nuke waste is the most toxic crap on the planet.  One speck of plutonium a few microns across finds its way into your lung tissue, and you will die.  No doubt about it.

      There are 300,000+ tons of this stuff in the world, with a half-life of 50,000-1 million years.

      Probability approaches 100 percent that every single nuke plant in the world will be the site of a major catastrophe at some point.

      When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be peace. - Jimi Hendrix

      by CharlieHipHop on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 09:22:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, no (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vets74
        One speck of plutonium a few microns across finds its way into your lung tissue, and you will die.  No doubt about it.

        This is a lie that Nader made up at one point. While you certainly wouldn't want to around snorting the stuff, The idea that a single microscopic particle will kill you is given the lie by the fact that all of us, especially those in my generation, have measureable amounts of Plutonium in our bodies, thanks to open air nuclear testing.

        And quoting everyone's favorite source:

        The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the lifetime cancer risk from inhaling 5,000 plutonium particles, each about 3 microns wide, to be 1% over the background U.S. average

        The reality is that stuff like radio-strontium pose a much greater health risk that plutonium.

        •  3 microns? (0+ / 0-)

          How about 30 microns, still too small to see with the naked eye?

          And as you point out, Pu is just one of a whole smorgasbord of highly radioctive, million-year goodness we're dumping on future generations.

          When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be peace. - Jimi Hendrix

          by CharlieHipHop on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 11:27:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Let me explain... (0+ / 0-)

            ... a particle 3 microns across would emit enough particles that the body could safely absorb them.

            ... a particle 30 microns across would emit roughly 4/3*Π(27*27*27) more radiation than a 3 micron particle -- a hell of a lot more.  Could the body safely absorb this in one shot?

            When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be peace. - Jimi Hendrix

            by CharlieHipHop on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 11:38:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, your math is off (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              vets74

              Scaling by a factor of 10 means that the volume goes up by a factor of 1000, and assuming that emissions are proportional to volume,  that would still be within the limit of my quote.

              I don't argue that there is no risk involved. The only point I was making is that hysterical (and easily disproved) lies such as:

              One speck of plutonium a few microns across finds its way into your lung tissue, and you will die.  No doubt about it.

              Do nothing to make your case.

              In terms of relative risk, plutonium is relatively low on the scale, especially since it is not absorbed through the digestive system, unlike iodine, cesium, strontium .....

              •  No, your math is off (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Flint

                Assuming the particle was a sphere, it would not be a simple matter of scaling by 10.  In fact, even if it were a perfectly flat square it would not be a matter of scaling by 10.

                a square of 2x2 is 4 sq ft.
                a square of 20x20 is 400 sq ft.

                See how that works?

                Using standard calculations for  a spherical particle 30 microns in diameter would have ~82,000 more volume than a spherical particle of 3 microns in diameter.

                Do the math.

                When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be peace. - Jimi Hendrix

                by CharlieHipHop on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 01:03:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  OK, I will (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  vets74

                  A spherical particle 3 microns in diameter has a volume of

                  4/3*pi* (1.5)^3 = 14.137 cubic microns.

                  A spherical particl 30 microns in diameter has a volume of

                  4/3*pi* (15)^3 = 14137 cubic microns.

                  looking at the ratio we have 14137/14.137 = 1000

                  More generally, if you have a sphere or radius r, and you scale it up by a factor f so the new radius is f*r then the ratio of the volumes is (using ^ to indicate exponentiation)

                  4/3*pi*(r*f)^3      4/3*pi*(r^3) * (f^3)
                  -------------------- = -------------------------
                  4/3*pi*r^3             4/3*pi*(r^3)

                  The 4*3*pi*(r^3) terms cancel and you're left with the ratio being
                     f^3

                  so the volume increases as the 3rd power of the scale factor.

                  and what does this staement mean:

                  a square of 2x2 is 4 sq ft.
                  a square of 20x20 is 400 sq ft.

                  See how that works?

                  We we talking about volumes, and you have this strange example involving areas. And your example shows quite clearly that when you scale an object the area goes up as the 2nd power of the scale factor, and as I just showed, volume goes up by the 3rd power. This is high school geometry stuff.

                  •  right (0+ / 0-)

                    So a number to the 3rd power is a lot bigger than a number to the second power.

                    ANyway, the point is that a particle of 30 microns in diameter has significantly more volume/radiation than one of 3 microns in diameter.  

                    When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be peace. - Jimi Hendrix

                    by CharlieHipHop on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 01:34:39 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  but (0+ / 0-)
                      ANyway, the point is that a particle of 30 microns in diameter has significantly more volume/radiation than one of 3 microns in diameter.  

                      We never denied that. It's just that it's no where near as big as the numbers you keep making up. It is, in fact, 1000 times bigger.

                  •  You knew he was kidding himself (0+ / 0-)

                    when you saw the math error.

                    These guys don't know jack. And they don't care.

                    Ignorance and apathy... or just shills like the pack out of Leadership Institute.

                    Angry White Males + Crooks + Personality Disorder psychos + KKKwannabes + "Unborn Child" church folk =EQ= The Republicans

                    by vets74 on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 05:53:01 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Ooops! (0+ / 0-)

                  My math was off a bit, it's actually "only" ~10,275 times the volume.  My bad, but still more radiation than you would want to absorb in one shot.

                  When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be peace. - Jimi Hendrix

                  by CharlieHipHop on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 01:31:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Where the hell (0+ / 0-)

                    did 10,275 come from. I've shown you my calcs, now show me yours.

                    •  misplaced a decimal (0+ / 0-)

                      it's 1027 times the volume, close to your calculation.  I'm multiplying by 3.1459, not 3.14.

                      Even if my calculations were off, my point stands: there are plenty of 30 micron particles of plutonium out there, and you would not want to inhale one.  It's worse than disingenuous to say, "Well, you could inhale 5,000 3 micron particles..." in an effort to make Pu seem innocuous when it is, in fact, highly toxic.

                      When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be peace. - Jimi Hendrix

                      by CharlieHipHop on Wed Jun 08, 2011 at 05:17:51 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Why do the math when you can just google it? (0+ / 0-)
                  The large number of deaths and other health problems associated with particulate pollution was first demonstrated in the early 1970s [6] and has been reproduced many times since. PM pollution is estimated to cause 22,000-52,000 deaths per year in the United States (from 2000)[7] and 200,000 deaths per year in Europe.
                  The effects of inhaling particulate matter that have been widely studied in humans and animals now include asthma, lung cancer, cardiovascular issues, birth defects, and premature death. The size of the particle is a main determinant of where in the respiratory tract the particle will come to rest when inhaled. Because of their small size, particles on the order of ~10 micrometers or less (PM10) can penetrate the deepest part of the lungs such as the bronchioles or alveoli.[8] Larger particles are generally filtered in the nose and throat via cilia and mucus, but particulate matter smaller than about 10 micrometers, referred to as PM10, can settle in the bronchi and lungs and cause health problems. The 10 micrometer size does not represent a strict boundary between respirable and non-respirable particles, but has been agreed upon for monitoring of airborne particulate matter by most regulatory agencies. Similarly, particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers, PM2.5, tend to penetrate into the gas exchange regions of the lung, and very small particles (< 100 nanometers) may pass through the lungs to affect other organs. In particular, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that PM2.5 leads to high plaque deposits in arteries, causing vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis — a hardening of the arteries that reduces elasticity, which can lead to heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.[9] Researchers suggest that even short-term exposure at elevated concentrations could significantly contribute to heart disease. A study in The Lancet concluded that traffic exhaust is the single most serious preventable cause of heart attack in the general public, the cause of 7.4% of all attacks.[10]

                  link

                  Your 30 micrometer particle of doom isn't going to hang around in your lungs very long.

        •  Always trust the DOE (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Adept2u, Flint

          They would never lie to us. And the thing about plutonium isn't just a Nader squawk. It's pretty clearly understood to be the deadliest substance on earth.  Strontium-90 in the milk in the 50s hasn't killed me yet but I'll take a pass on the plutonium--in any amount.

          "And that's the way it is." --Walter Cronkite

          by Barnaby Grudge on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 07:56:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Not being a nuclear physicist, biologist, etc... (5+ / 0-)

        Photobucket

        I can only opt for the cautions, at this time.

        When a large majority of independent ecologists and biologists, etc. say it's "safe" I'd be eager to reconsider.

        But that doesn't seem to be the case, presently, so it should all be shut down and decommissioned, with any other major funding going to how to deal with the waste.

        Photobucket

        At the same time, a war effort economy of scale, like putting solar on virtually every roof of every structure, everywhere, and all other appropriate applications of alternative tech, putting everyone back to work.

        The green option has been clearly shown both feasible and viable, but it requires comprehensive, all-out commitment and implementation, for optimal results.

        It will shift international markets, compelling emulative competition, defusing international tensions, for justice and peace, to save the planet...

        Photobucket

        What's not to like about it?

        Intransigent, recalicatrant defense of the nukes is...illogical.

        Photobucket

        Which makes it suspect.

        Photobucket

         

        Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

        by Radical def on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 12:42:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Love it! Thanks for the fun pics & GREAT IDEAS! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Flint, Radical def, marina

          Meanwhile... We must sadly go back to our ongoing nuke catastrophe of the day...

          How Low Doses Of Radiation Can Cause Heart Disease And Stroke, ScienceDaily, October 23, 2009:

          A mathematical model constructed by researchers at Imperial College London predicts the risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, stroke) associated with low background levels of radiation. The model shows that the risk would vary almost in proportion with dose.

          Results, published October 23 in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology, are consistent with risk levels reported in previous studies involving nuclear workers. [...]
          http://enenews.com/...

          Melted Fuel at Fukushima May Have Leaked Through, Yomiuri Says, Bloomberg by Go Onomitsu, June 7, 2011:

          [...] The Japanese government will submit a report to the International Atomic Energy Agency that raises the possibility the fuel dropped through the bottom of the pressure vessels [of the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors], a situation described as a “melt through” and considered more serious than a “meltdown,” [...]
          http://enenews.com/...

          Plutonium found near Fukushima shows nuclear “crisis is far from over”, Yahoo by Laura Rozen, June 6, 2011:

          [...] There are several other ongoing concerns at Fukushima some three months after the natural disasters hit, according to arms control expert Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund.

          Among them, he said: [...] the very serious possibility that the molten fuel now pooled at the bottom of the reactors could start nuclear reactions again.

          “This crisis is far from over,” said Cirincione. “Recent readings show that the radiation levels are the highest they have ever been (and) the plutonium detected in the soil show radioactive particulates continue to spew from the reactors.”
          http://enenews.com/...

          Japan Concedes Severity of Blast, Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2011:

          Tokyo’s nuclear regulator revealed an apparent leak in the lid of Reactor No. 2′s containment vessel. That container was a crucial barrier between the overheating nuclear fuel rods at the reactor and the outside world, and the new information suggests radioactive substances were surging through holes that were collectively the size of a business card.

          http://enenews.com/...

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