Catching up with readers.

Have been working on a (gasp!) non-rad essay.

Meanwhile, crosspatch with encouraging tap water news.

Also to the Tera-tonne Martian nuclear blast. I don’t buy that such an event could form through natural processes. So, aliens.

poul on the dosimeter situation, with other details:

Regarding the incident on March 24, it was found that a worker who should have been checking on-site radiation levels was absent…

I’m not certain Japan has many folks exactly like me and oldHP. They may have very few RCTs, instead training a number of workers in measuring dose rates. I sort of hope that’s the case, given some of the mistakes we’ve seen.

poul makes the excellent point that translations of Japan’s reporting is probably better than “Western” journalism. Well, there’s no “probably” to it. Although this jabs like a stick in my eye:

Water measuring between 10 and 20 centimeters deep was found in the pit. The radiation level has been measured at over 1,000 milisieverts per hour.

(bold emphasis added).  You see the little problem there?  For the record, you can’t measure stuff beyond your instrument’s range.  You merely detect it.  If you don’t know where something ends, how can you claim it’s been “measured”?

more crosspatch water reporting.

Finally, engineer bob attaches a very informative update.  And notes where some of the ocean contamination comes from.

Gotta run some errands. Anything with multiple links gets held up for an hour or so.

About wormme

I've accepted that all of you are socially superior to me. But no pretending that any of you are rational.
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17 Responses to Catching up with readers.

  1. oldHP says:

    Says that radiation levels in the reactor buildings are too high to go in and check on damage to pumps & pipes.

    WTF ??? They can wear SCBA & heavy protective suits for the airborne/beta… we need to know the gamma dose rates & if its from crap plated out on surfaces or if somehow the reactor itself is giving off crazy high levels (don’t think that’s possible).

    • wormme says:

      Agreed, the reactor shouldn’t be affecting personnel dose. If it is they got big problems right there in “River City”

      So they’re trying to swing back to freshwater as the primary and seawater as the secondary cooling. Hope it’s going well.

  2. crosspatch says:

    “Anything with multiple links gets held up for an hour or so”

    Actually, one trick is to post the URL but remove the “http://” portion of it. That generally gets it through the trap.


    It probably won’t format as a clickable link but you can cut/paste it.

  3. Leopold says:

    But wasn’t there a natural nuclear event in Africa 2 billion years ago?

    • crosspatch says:

      Sure, and they were probably pretty common 3 billion years ago when the natural abundance of uranium 235 was higher than what is used now for commercial reactor fuel.

      • wormme says:

        Yep. I’m just saying that stratification isn’t ever going to produce a tera-ton explosion.

        The only was I see Nature “contriving” a fission explosion like that is crashing two near-critical planetoids together.

        • crosspatch says:

          Which might have actually happened early on. I mean, if you consider that the area of the solar system 4.2 billion years ago would have had some 128 x the amount of U-235 as it does now.

          But maybe all that uranium couldn’t do much until the place cooled off enough for liquid water to form and begin to seep into the ground to slow those neutrons down. But I can imagine a comet with some large amount of water slamming the planet and initiating a reaction. And since there would also be twice as much u-238 as there is now, there would be a lot of conversion to Pu-239 as a result.

          Lead 204, the isotope that does not come from radioactive decay accounts for only 1.4% of Earths’ stable lead. Pb-206 is 24% Pb-207 is 22% and Pb-208 is 52.4%. Pb-207 comes from U-235. So I guess the world’s Pb-207 supply would be from U-235 that didn’t fission and naturally decayed.

          There must have been a huge amount of it flying around the solar system early on.

          • wormme says:

            You sure it’s 128x? I count six half-lives, which would be 64x.

            Apart from the quibble, good points. My argument is just that I don’t see a teraton configuration forming before megaton, kiloton, or even smaller configurations blow the whole pile apart.

          • crosspatch says:

            Yeah, I originally had 64 x … but then thought I miscounted by one and doubled it again.

            But in any case, I would imagine that around the time shortly after the accretion of the planet, such natural reactors might have been fairly common.

            In addition to the recent article that everyone is quoting, there was one in 2009 that I found fascinating at one of my favorite blogs:


            The Resilient Earth is as awesome blog.

          • wormme says:

            Just added to my list, thanks!

        • Leopold says:

          Sinus infection and massive (yet, so far, ineffective) amounts of drugs have rendered me very out-of-it.

          Yes, I see your point that stratification would be insufficient, even under the conditions that obtained 2 or 3 U-235 half lives ago. That, unfortunately, is not how I initially understood the intent of your post.

          I will just point out that one of the major trends in (real as opposed to political) science in my lifetime has been the acceptance of macro-scale catastrophic events in shaping the Earth/solar system. I can remember when astronomers claimed with a straight face that (practically) all those craters in the solar system had to come from vulcanism, because the alternative was unacceptable. I cannot conceive of anything shy of 10^5 kg of antimattter leading to a tera-ton explosion. But I am willing to accept the possibility that someone could *convince* me, based on good science. Definitely not saying the good science is there, yet, though.

  4. crosspatch says:

    This video at NHK shows the crack everyone is talking about (sorry iPhone/iPad users, it’s Flash video)

    So the crack is outdoors in the concrete and appears to run from a “pit” to something else.

  5. Mountainbear says:

    So Marvin the Martian messed up yet again? Now here’s a surprise.

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