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This post is meant to provide graphic illustrations to go along with a method I suggested a few days ago. Implementation has been modified somewhat since that offering. I am not seeking a grant, a patent(related to this particular method), or self promotion. Ideas that may be helpful to others in the world benefit no one if they are not published.

Transcript with sources below the fold:

Transcript and sources:
The following is offered as a possible method to slow the reaction and movement of corium in a reactor meltdown event. The terrain and subsequent possible pathways of molten corium down through the Fukushima containment building are complex. This method uses the similar physical attributes of (the flow of) round Lead beads to that of (the flow of)molten Uranium in an aqueous mixture to deliver the beads to the same general location as the escaping corium. Beads of Borosilicate or some other more or less soluble Boron compound can be delivered by the same means as both an abrasive against the molten uranium and a neutron absorber.

The coolant water around the molten corium will be vaporizing explosively as the lead beads are introduced. Initially, the mixture of Lead and Borosilicate beads will be carried to the corium by convection. Because of the greater inertia and potential high velocity of the lead beads rushing in, we might expect small chunks of uranium to be knocked loose and carried away with the laminar flow of water. This action may do the work of breaking up the entire mass of the corium and distributing it broadly into a heterogeneous mixture of lead, uranium, and Borosilicate particles. As the corium is broken up the fission reaction slows down. Until some small portion of the corium might be left beneath a blanket of Lead, Borosilicate. and Uranium particles.

At this point, the heat of the reacting Uranium may eventually melt the Lead beads directly around it creating a molten pool of Lead over the molten uranium. Because of its low melting point, Lead should boil vigorously. The robust action between the hard Borosilicate carrying Lead and the Uranium at their boundary may separate particles of uranium even more and distribute it throughout the molten lead mixture. This continued erosion and mixing of the uranium into the mass of molten Lead may lower its concentration and slow its fissile reaction. All of this takes place while coolant water continues to flow, although at perhaps a slower pace.

If the reaction is slowed enough, the cooling Lead may harden up reducing the need for the circulation of coolant water and significantly reducing the need for the storage of contaminated coolant. Not only that, but as molten lead and Lead particles find there way into cracks and crevices of the containment structure and cools, they may also plug water leaks in the structure.

Potential problems concern the kinetics of molten metal in an aqueous mixture. Because of its higher density, will the molten uranium mix with the molten Lead? Will the molten lead act as a blanket directing even more heat at the floor of the containment structure increasing the likelihood of a breach? Or, because of the much lower boiling point of water, will the action of boiling Lead create explosions of Lead-bound steam at their boundary layer? Even small explosions under water can create tremendous shocks to the structure that might be problematic.
Rumors about the critical state of the Fukushima reactors as late as this December 2013 prompted this open offer of a solution. I am not seeking grant money, a patent(related to this method), or self promotion. If the rumors are false and the Fukushima reactors are indeed in a state of cold shutdown, then obviously there is no need for such an untested method.


12:07 PM PT: The video was not visible earlier because for some reason "http:" was missing from the embed code. This is apparently a chronic problem at YouTube. I decided to republish the whole diary because I forgot the transcript. Sorry for jumping right to the conspiracy theorys. Thanks for your patience. I'm better now. :o)>

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Peace, Love, and Prosperity. See more on the R. Crosby Lyles channel on YouTube.

    by Rich Lyles on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 11:53:31 AM PST

  •  What is "corium"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What is its chemical symbol, atomic number, and properties?  I know Boron is used to poison nuclear reactions because it captures neutrons.    
    Water also "moderates" the nuclear chain reaction by slowing neutrons down so they can be captured by a Uranium nucleus.  If neutrons aren't moderated, they are traveling too fast to be captured, and the chain reaction stops of its own accord.   And water does a fine job of cooling molten metals, radioactive or not.  The Laws of Thermodynamics still apply.

    •  I think it refers to the reactor's molten core. (0+ / 0-)

      ...could be wrong though...looks like rocket science to me!

    •  Corium is the molten material that (0+ / 0-)

      the reactor fuel becomes when it melts down.  

      Critical reaction is a function of proximity. If you take enough fuel pellets out of a sleeve and put them in a pile of some dimension, that pile of pellets may burst into flame in a critical reaction.

      Note: An image search will show small bins full of fuel pellets side by side on a table. This might be confusing. However, these pellets are manufactured with a neutron absorbing "poison"  

      Burnable absorbers (or burnable 'poisons') such as gadolinium may be incorporated (as oxide) into the fuel pellets of some rods to limit reactivity early in the life of the fuel.
      This is for safe transportation and assembly. Not only that, but the concentration of fissile material, the shape, and size of each pellet is kept within precise limits. A meltdown throws all of that precision out the window. The fissile material becomes much more concentrated. It is only after a certain amount of inert material is assimilated that the reaction slows down.

      Peace, Love, and Prosperity. See more on the R. Crosby Lyles channel on YouTube.

      by Rich Lyles on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 03:33:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  a better way to prevent nuclear meltdowns . . . . (4+ / 0-)

    Don't build 'em.

    That has the added advantage of solving the "where to put the waste" thingie that we've spent 70 years not solving.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 01:19:36 PM PST

    •  I am an idealist too. But (0+ / 0-)

      This is the situation we have.  It's all bad. Demand for energy is high and growing all the time. Somebody is going to make their fortune selling it.

      Getting rid of these toxic time bombs may be as difficult as getting rid of greed and avarice.  

      Peace, Love, and Prosperity. See more on the R. Crosby Lyles channel on YouTube.

      by Rich Lyles on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 03:48:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's a little too late for that, since a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alx9090, Rich Lyles
      Don't build 'em.  
      bunch of them already exist.  I agree that we shouldn't build any more.  Wind power is cheaper, and an onshore wind farm can be built in only two or three years rather than the 5 or more for a nuclear reactor.  

      "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

      by Calamity Jean on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 04:08:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The only one of your links that works is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the one to Nova, and even that just goes to their general home page, not to anything specific about nuclear meltdowns.  

    "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

    by Calamity Jean on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 01:27:23 PM PST

  •  Junk Nuclear Engineering (0+ / 0-)

    In a reactor such as those at Fukushima, after a reactor scram occurs, the heat energy that causes nuclear fuel meltdown does not come from nuclear fission.  As a result, any thought that boron compounds will do anything to arrest the heat release in the fuel when coolant is lost is junk science.   And the idea of injecting lead particles of any size into a reactor undergoing a melt-down isn't technically feasible or demonstrated.

    •  I'm sorry but, you're wrong. (0+ / 0-)

      One of the links claimed that boric acid was injected after Xe was detected and this apparently had some positive effect. So obviously even a topically administered neutron absorber has an effect.

      The corium assimilates the materials that it burns through. So as it assimilated steel and concrete, the fissile material becomes less concentrated. With proper cooling, the  progress of melting downwards stops. There are photos of giant globs of corium hardened on the basement floor of the Chernobyl reactor that blew up . So it might be possible that the Fukushima reactors are indeed half-ass under control by now. Who really knows? I don't want to offend anyone with that statement, but there are a lot of accusations flying around.

      The Lead beads(balls), ball-bearings, and Borosilicate(balls) could be injected through a pipe or hose with a flow of water, or by some existing access pipe. Gravity does the work of carrying them to the corium.

      Peace, Love, and Prosperity. See more on the R. Crosby Lyles channel on YouTube.

      by Rich Lyles on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 12:31:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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