Saturday, February 25, 2012

Radioactive wasteland

Top image is the Japanese nuclear plat at Fukoshima. Look carefully at the amount of reinforcing rebar that was used in the concrete. It is very close to the amount used in creating a bank vault and the concrete is actually thicker. You can imagine the amount of force that it took to rip this building apart, but a destroyed building is the least of their worries. It's the aftermath of the waste that will haunt them for years or make that centuries to come. Some people were wondering when this will be "cleaned up". The answer is simple...Never. Not in our life time or our childrens' life time or their childrens' childrens' lifetime. The half life for such radioactive material is somewhere around 10,000 years. People think of nuclear energy as the clean alternative energy source but fail to see the byproducts and the legacy.

You'll note the reading on the dosimeter in the bottom photo 102. (click to enbiggen) Even at a distance that's equal to one chest xray per hour. Not an acceptable level even under normal conditions at a nuclear plant. If memory serves correct it works like this. Workers in a plant carry at all times a clip on pocket meter. It indicates exposures but isn't meant to be an alarm. At the end of the day the worker turns in the meter to be read getting a new on on the next shift. Should a worker be exposed to more than a maximum dosage then he can no longer work there. In large dosages the radiation destroys DNA causing a multitude of physical problems that can be both immediate and long term. That's why it's used to try and fight cancer. The theory is that by interrupting the DNA of the cancer cell it can not reproduce. Unfortunately the side effects from that and the chemotheropy used are not too pleasant.

They say life is slowly coming back to Chernobyl which is true to some extent but it's not a place I'd care to go for a vacation any time soon. And it looks like certain parts of northern Japan are off the list as well.

In an upcoming post stay tuned for my rant on stupid people.


The Blog Fodder said...

Depending on who does the study, the recovery of Chernobyl (30 mile exclusion zone) is a long way off. EU have monitoring labs in Zones 3 and 4 and most products tested from some parts of these zones can be exported outside these zones. The radiation cloud skipped over them. Kyiv got more radiation than some places closer.

Randal Graves said...

The more irradiation we accept, the quicker uncontrolled vomiting becomes a fashion accessory.

BBC said...

Oh hell, they're used to that shit, after all, we did drop two bombs on them in WW11.

Demeur said...

Fodder it makes me wonder what type of mutations will occur in the food chain and what effect that will have in the long run.

Randal and you thought heroin cheque was cool.

Billy that was mainly alpha radiation which has a short half life. We were all exposed to that over here a few weeks after it happened. You can thank GE for that.