Japanese meltdown fears rise after fuel core melts through vessel

Kapkao
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Japanese meltdown fears rise after fuel core melts through vessel

-but 'no danger of Chernobyl-style catastrophe'.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/29/japan-lost-race-save-nuclear-reactor

Quote:
The radioactive core in a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor, experts say, raising fears of a major release of radiation at the site.

The warning follows an analysis by a leading US expert of radiation levels at the plant. Readings from reactor two at the site have been made public by the Japanese authorities and Tepco, the utility that operates it.

Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, told the Guardian workers at the site appeared to have "lost the race" to save the reactor, but said there was no danger of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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I was looking to start a new

I was looking to start a new thread but, I'll just hitch on to yours, if you don't mind...

I read this article last night (which caused me to have bad dreams about taking radioactive capsules!) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42397653/ns/world_news-asiapacific/

I have some questions...

If, as is stated in the article, iodine-131 is quickly 'dispersed' (not neutralized) in water and the air, why is there work being done at a feverish pace to stop and contain the leak? Why not just let  it all go out to sea? Why bother to contain it in the first place?

I think 'They' are lying.

Why the concern by Power Plant News Today?

Iodine-131.

 

Iodine-131 is a major concern in any kind of radiation release from a nuclear accident

because it is volatile and because it is highly radioactive, having an 8-day half-life. It is

of further concern in the human body because iodine is quickly swept up by the thyroid,

so that the total intake of iodine becomes concentrated.

 

Iodine is a member of the Halide family:

A halide is a binary compound, of which one part is a halogen atom and the other part is an element or radical that is less electronegative (or more electropositive) than the halogen, to make a fluoride, chloride, bromide, iodide, or astatide compound. Many salts are halides. All Group 1 metals form halides compounds which are white solids at room temperature.

A halide ion is a halogen atom bearing a negative charge. The halide anions are fluoride (F), chloride (Cl), bromide (Br), iodide (I) and astatide (At). Such ions are present in all ionic halide salts.

 ...and the fact that it has an effect on the thyroid, says to me, it works basically the same way as fluoride does in the body.

It is a fact that both iodine and fluoride accumulate and concentrate in the body.

 

So, I guess my question is; since toxic iodine-131 is being 'dispersed' into the environment - just as toxic sodium silicofluoride is through the drinking water system, is the plan of the media and the government to just poo-poo this away as nothing to be concerned about?

Makes sense for the pharmaceutical companies... more new drugs to be put on the market to counter the ill effects that will inevitably show up months and years down the road.... just as they are now doing with the effects of 60 years worth of 'fluoride' consumption.

 

'Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.' A. Einstein


Sandycane
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Is it possible that this

Is it possible that this sudden eruption in Libya is nothing more than a False-Flag event drummed up to take our attention away from the nuclear disaster???

It sure looks that way - you have to hunt for information on Japan now instead of it being front page news as it was three weeks ago.

'Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.' A. Einstein


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More on Iodine-131:Much

More on Iodine-131:

Much smaller incidental doses of iodine-131 than are used in medical therapeutic uses, are thought to be the major cause of increased thyroid cancers after accidental nuclear contamination. These cancers happen from residual tissue radiation damage caused by the I-131, and usually appear years after exposure, long after the I-131 has decayed.

 

'Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.' A. Einstein


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 OK. this could actually be

 

OK. this could actually be good news. However, in the way that nuclear engineering counts as something that few people understand.

 

I don't want to be over technical or anything but under technical is at least as bad here.

 

That much having been said, you can hold small a small amount of nuclear fuel in your hand safely. You will not get cancer of the hand from the event.

 

What makes a nuclear reactor special is having tons of fuel in a specific arrangement. In fact, that is essential to the whole deal. 20 tons of fuel set up in such a way that it can be dealt with makes a nuclear reactor.

 

Now having all of the fuel in a puddle in the floor is a very different matter. That pretty much kills the whole deal. Along the way to that, some of the cement is going to melt into the fuel but that is taken into account.

 

As far as the Iodine 131 is involved, what you need to know is that it decays to other stuff very quickly. Any cancers that come from it will happen in the first couple of months.

 

The whole idea that cancer can happen many years later is kind of not there at all.

 

If you work in a bad place and are exposed to stuff that causes cancer for 30 years, then yah, you may well be fucked.

 

What we are looking at here is people who will be exposed to a known cause of cancer for a couple of weeks. Let me put this in simple terms:

 

You really don't want t be there. If you are there, then you are screwed. However, the iodine 131 will mostly be gone by the beginning of summer. If you are not screwed by that point, then you are most probably as safe as you would be from flying around the world.

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cj
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chemistry 101

Our bodies require certain elements in order to perform the metabolic chemical reactions necessary for life.  CHNOPS - carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur - are required in large amounts.  But we all require other "trace elements" - many of which are poisonous in large amounts, but are fatal if missing from our diet.

Table salt is sodium chloride.  Too much table salt often raises our blood pressure and we may die slowly.  Not enough table salt and we die quickly.  Our bodies use table salt to move molecules across the cell membrane.  Sodium on one side and chlorine on the other.  The affinity between sodium and chlorine is so strong that it will pull the molecules through a cell membrane.  Without this, we will die as our cells starve to death.

Sodium is a metal.  A very poisonous metal all by itself.  Put a small - very very small - piece of sodium in water, and it will spark and fizz and quickly disappear.  Too big of a piece and you will have an explosion, so don't try this at home.  In water, the sodium breaks the water molecules and recombines as sodium hydroxide (lye) and pure hydrogen.  Sodium has a +1 charge.

Chlorine is a halide.  It is called bleach when you purchase it in the store.  We use chlorine to kill bacteria in swimming pools and public water systems.  Chlorine - as do all the halides - has a charge of -1.  So together, sodium and chlorine share sodium's extra charge and sodium chloride is neutral and is not poisonous.  Chloride is said to be an ion of chlorine or to be an ionized form of chlorine.

Yes, our bodies accumulate sodium chloride.  And so as we age, we require less.  We also lose salt when we sweat.  So in hot weather, we require more salt to cope with the loss from sweating.  Growing up in Yuma, AZ, I learned that if you are craving salt in hot weather, eat some right away.

On to iodine.  Yes, our bodies concentrate iodine in our thyroid.  That is because our thyroid gland needs iodine to function properly.  Without enough iodine, we can get goiter which may lead to abnormal thyroid functioning.  See the wiki article on goiter.

People figured this out when they noticed that people living near the sea - and there fore ate sea salt - almost never had goiter.  And people living far from the sea - and ate salt from other sources than sea water - often had goiter.  Some biopsies, some lab work, and they figured out those people who lacked iodine very often had goiter.  Sea salt is not just sodium chloride - it has many other trace minerals as well as iodine.  Adding iodine to all salt was an easy and inexpensive way to prevent most goiters.

Your mom probably bought iodized salt when you were growing up.  And since it does accumulate, you may have enough to last you the rest of your life.  I use sea salt almost exclusively any more - costs more, but then, I don't have to worry about trace elements in my diet.

Radioactivity - an element has too many of a particular particle, and so it emits the extra.  Alpha emitters throw off 2 protons and 2 neutrons.  They are very heavy and will be stopped by a sheet of paper.  If you swallow one, it immediately reacts with what ever it comes in contact with.  Very dangerous if swallowed, but not dangerous otherwise.  Radon is an alpha emitter and so is its daughter products.  Since Radon is a noble gas - neutral charge - it doesn't react at all.  Its daughter products are not so noble and are very dangerous.  Which is why you want to check your house for Radon gas.

Beta emitters have extra electrons.  The electrons are stopped by air as they are very light.  But if you swallow them, they can cause a lot of damage.  That is why radioactive iodine mostly damages the thyroid.  It can cause damage elsewhere, but our body says - iodine! thyroid!

X-rays are a type of gamma radiation.  That is why you try to minimize the number of x-rays you have in your life and why the technician stands behind a shield.  "Soft" emitters are low energy and can be generated by electricity.  "Hard" emitters are high energy.  The high energy ones do the most damage.  We are being bombarded by hard emitting gamma radiation every day.  It comes from the sun and other stars.  Yet we have evolved to cope - or there would be no life on earth.

Half life and daughter products

A half life is when 50% of the radioactive isotope has lost its extra particles and has converted to another element - the daughter product(s).  Sometimes the daughter products are also radioactive and sometimes not.  Radon's daughter products are all radioactive, all alpha emitters, and all heavy metals.  Which is why Radon can do so much damage when it is concentrated in your house.  Iodine 131 daughter products are regular Iodine and Xenon - another noble gas which does not form molecules with other elements.

An 8 day half life means most of the Iodine 131 is long gone before it reaches the US.  What does get here is also very dispersed.  That is, it spreads out in the atmosphere and ocean, so it is much less concentrated than in the damaged reactor.  Everyone probably has a little Radon in their house - it is in the soil everywhere.  But if you live over granite and/or have an old well in your basement, you are much more likely to have high concentrations of in the house which increases the likelihood of ingesting some Radon.  The less iodine 131 in the atmosphere, the less likely you - or the dairy cattle - are to ingest some.

To be safe - avoid milk or water that has amounts of iodine 131 higher than normal back ground levels.  Yes, there is iodine 131 all around you all of the time.  It just isn't enough to cause a lot of damage.  No, you can not get rid of all of it.  Take comfort in that all life has evolved to cope with some damage from radiation - or there would be no life.

The companies selling the products to minimize damage from Iodine 131 are making a killing off of people who are uninformed or easily scared.  If you have any damage, it will be in less than 8-16 days after you ingest any.  If you discover damage years later - you must have ingested it from something other than the nuclear reactor damage in Japan.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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Interesting replies... but,

Interesting replies... but, you didn't answer my questions:

If Iodine-131 is so easily dispersed in the Pacific and has an 8 day half-life, why bother to contain it in the first place?

'Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.' A. Einstein


cj
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Sandycane wrote:Interesting

Sandycane wrote:

Interesting replies... but, you didn't answer my questions:

If Iodine-131 is so easily dispersed in the Pacific and has an 8 day half-life, why bother to contain it in the first place?

 

Because it can do a lot of damage locally to the people who live there.  They don't live thousands of miles away and they don't have a lot of choice in alternate food sources.  They are close enough they could get it from the air as well.  Hence, all the masks you see in photos from near the plant.  There is also - from what I understand - a risk of plutonium also being released.  That would be a major concern as plutonium has a really long half life and is a gamma emitter - the most dangerous.  So if the iodine 131 is contained, then any plutonium is also contained.  Whew!

Also, the more released, the more is dispersed, the higher the concentration elsewhere, the more likely one of us thousands of miles away will be exposed. 

We keep an eye on it, help them get it under control.  And for humanitarian reasons, help them with the aftermath of helping those exposed locally.

A lot of the hoopla so far is just fear mongering to make scary headlines and sell stuff no one here really needs and hopefully won't ever need.  And, too, the journalists are not scientists which is good news and bad news.  They write so that most people - without university degrees - can understand.  Which has a tendency to over simplify the issues.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Sorry, cj, I don't buy it.

Sorry, cj, I don't buy it. No offense to you.