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Japan Science

Fukushima's Fallout Worse Than Thought 308

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the usda-recommended-daily-dose-of-cs-137 dept.
gbrumfiel writes "A new study posted for open peer-review suggests that the nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi released far more radiation than the Japanese government initially estimated. The study [PDF] uses global radioisotope and meteorological data to calculate the size of the release from the plant. Nature News reports that, contrary to official claims, the model shows that fuel being stored in a pool at unit 4 released a significant amount of cesium-137, a long-lived contaminant that has spread across the countryside. It also says that some Xenon-133 may have been released early on in the accident, suggesting that the plant was already damaged before it was hit by a tsunami. Overall, it estimates that Fukushima released about twice as much cesium-137 as the government claims and half as much as Chernobyl."
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Fukushima's Fallout Worse Than Thought

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @08:55AM (#37842884)

    See, once again we see proof of what happens when government gets in the way with all their environmental regulations, regulations, inspections, etc. If this company had just been left to the free market, clearly they would have made a better effort to maintain their reactors and improve safety features. Once we abolish the EPA, NRC, Dept. of Energy, etc. we won't have to worry about something like this happening in the U.S.

    • by tmosley (996283) on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @09:04AM (#37842938)
      *Implying that regulations prevented the disaster.

      We have to keep doing what we are doing, or EVERYONE WILL DIE!!!!@!@!11

      Truth is, if regulations had not been so severe, they would have been able to move that spent fuel to a safer location, or, God forbid, reuse it in a breeder reactor to generate energy while disposing of the long term radioactive waste. Instead, extremely heavy regulations made the situation WORSE because they forced the plant to store spent fuel in an insanely dangerous manner--they simply couldn't afford the cost of complying with disposal regulations.
      • by headhot (137860) on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @09:28AM (#37843164) Homepage

        Because packing up and shipping radioactive material is far cheaper then having it sit in a pool of water next to where it was extracted right? Companies always do the correct and far more expensive thing.

          I dont know about japan, but in the US regulators make them keep the fuel because congress cant get their shit together to open up the storage facility.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by DarkOx (621550)

          Probably yes it is cheaper, after you apply the risk factor to the potential costs of a disaster. I know as rational self interested person if I operated a power plant I'd sure as hell want to eliminate the possibility of a company ending disaster by getting that spent fuel someplace mostly safe.

          Do I care about the people living around my plant maybe or maybe not but I sure do care about the potential legal liability I face if I harm them; because that hurts me.

          This is a case where badly designed regulati

          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @10:05AM (#37843542)

            That's incorrect. Once you've piled up enough risk that an accident would end your career (which is what you care about, not the company), then you don't expend more money on avoiding additional risk. This "all in" behavior is not only painfully obvious, it's also empirically demonstrable. It's the same mechanism that renders harsher punishment for extraordinary crimes moot.

            The market will at best work to deflect the risk, not avoid it. Without oversight, these risks would be ignored completely, because their magnitude makes them career killers no matter what you do.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @10:12AM (#37843644)
            As a Professional in Risk Analysis and Management of various tangible and intangible assets, the person or people controlling the purse strings never see the risk right in front of them. I fight on a daily basis to try to keep my clients informed of the clusterfuck hovering above them and it's hard work, if it wasn't for regulation I'd be out of a job because most companies wouldn't give a shit and not just because of trying to keep expenses low but because they're idiots. I spend so much time covering my ass and ensuring that everything I do or say is properly noted and recorded to ensure they don't blame me when the shit hits the fan that it makes up most of my overhead. The market will solve the problem by killing itself and anything around it in the process and it's not just because of greed, it's because people are idiots. The people in charge of these things in the corporate structure are usually just idiots and the people writing the regulation are usually just lazy or living in academic fantasy land or are in no way, shape or form divorced from conflicts of interest.
          • "..after you apply the risk factor to the potential costs of a disaster."

            But private corporation seldom do that, and when they do it's always weighed against the impact on my bonus THAT qtr.

            The long history of corporation show that they will poison people, leave the countryside a barren waste land, and level mountains. Based on the history of corporation, I would wager that without regulation they would have dumped the nuclear waste about 50 miles off the coast.

            I'm not anti corporation, but why people scream about getting rid of regulation and ignore the history of corporate activity.

            • by Surt (22457) on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @11:35AM (#37844790) Homepage Journal

              Good grief yes. Deregulators drive me crazy. As if regulations didn't exist precisely because someone screwed up big enough to make us say: 'ok, now we have to regulate that so we don't have someone do that again.' As soon as you deregulate, you get 'that' again, whatever that was.

          • by rhakka (224319)

            You had me until "do so fairly". it will most assuredly NOT do so "fairly". it will do so in a way which maximizes benefit to the capital source in charge of the project. "Fair" doesn't even enter into the discussion, and that is why we are not all small government libertarians.

            If you can store it somewhere that would kill everyone around it, but those people don't purchase your product and don't have the legal ability/capital available to prove the case and prosecute you, then the problem is solved from

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          congress cant get their shit together to open up the storage facility.

          I think that accurately portrays our political situation. You'd be amazed at how much shit would get done if those yarks stopped fighting over who got to sit in the clown car.

        • by catmistake (814204) on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @10:46AM (#37844094) Journal

          congress cant get their shit together to open up the storage facility.

          Not to defend Congress, but we know that isn't the issue. No one wants the waste. Its not Congress, but the states. Yucca, we know now, is a political farse; all the science was bent to serve the politics.

      • Dude, there are almost no breeder reactors out there because they are very difficult to operate. There are currently no breeder reactors in Japan, that actually do any productive work. The one in Monju is still being tested after extensive repairs (it had a sodium leak and fire more than 15 years ago).

    • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @09:05AM (#37842962) Journal

      Exactly. Better to have a company lie to us than the government since nobody trusts companies, but too many people trust the government way to fully.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You raise an interesting point. So who exactly are you supposed to trust to provide you with accurate information? I suppose you could go and do it yourself, but then I would have to trust you. And I don't. This means I have to do it myself, also I have to do everything else in the world otherwise it's untrustworthy. That means you're going to have to trust me. Too bad for you.

        All this sounds rather impractical. How about we set up groups of people we trust to this for us. Maybe be we voted for or something

        • by mrxak (727974)

          Ideally, the free press will tell us the truth. We shouldn't trust our governments or the big companies. Unfortunately, they've become the big companies they ought to be reporting on.

        • by tmosley (996283)
          Do you trust Consumer Reports?

          Under a free market, such ratings and standards organizations would thrive to a much greater extent than they do today, and you could trust them because each organization would always point out the faults in others, forcing them all to be on their best behavior and totally open.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @09:29AM (#37843174) Homepage Journal

        Better to have a company lie to us than the government since nobody trusts companies, but too many people trust the government way to fully.

        You have the power to change government.

        How do you change a company that you're not directly doing business with, like a nuclear power company? I don't buy anything from Goldman Sachs, so how do I affect them?

        The market model is incomplete.

        • The same way you affect the government?

          In the 2010 US national elections there were roughly 90,000,000 votes cast. Thus you had a 1/90,000,000 overall 'affect'. Of course that is further dilluted by your affecting only the politics your state sent to Washington.

          Goldman Sachs has a market cap of about 52 billion with a share price of $102. So for $500 you could have the same 'affect' on GS as you do on goverment.

          In either case you could work to organize others. The Tea Party affected the government and the S

          • by rednip (186217) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {pinder}> on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @10:08AM (#37843582) Journal
            Thanks in part to the Robert's Court, if I had a hundreds of million dollars to support politicians, I have the same power over our government as Wall Street and the Koch brothers.
          • by geekoid (135745)

            Incorrect. You had your vote,and any vote you swayed.

            So corporation can only be changed by people whose bets interests is that they put profit over society?

            Yeah, well thought out.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            Goldman Sachs has a market cap of about 52 billion with a share price of $102. So for $500 you could have the same 'affect' on GS as you do on goverment.

            Not all stock comes with voting rights in corporate governance. In fact, I'm almost certain that the Goldman Sachs stock you're talking about does not give you voting rights.

            The Tea Party affected the government

            That reminds me: The bad burrito I ate last night has "affected" my digestive system.

        • by tmosley (996283)
          Lawsuit==>bankruptcy, responsible company buys the assets.

          Not exactly rocket science (just nuclear science!).
        • You have the power to change government.

          No, only the leaders. Through many leader changes government organizations generally stay the same, no matter who is in power, and seek only to protect their existence and to grow.

          How do you change a company

          You sue them and/or give them bad publicitly and effect direct change. See: Greenpeace.

          It's far more effective than trying to work through multiple layers to change an organization that will NEVER change in any significant way without disbanding - where companie

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            No, only the leaders. Through many leader changes government organizations generally stay the same, no matter who is in power, and seek only to protect their existence and to grow.

            Those "government organizations" only stay the same because you keep electing cowardly leaders. If people voted for politicians who were willing to change those "government organizations" it would get done. There are clearly delineated legislative and executive procedures for changing those "government organizations".

            How do you

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by felipekk (1007591)

          You have the illusion of power to change government.

          There, fixed that for ya.

          Before you answer with "You can vote", choosing between two different colors of embezzlers isn't really "changing the government". Yeah, the name changes, but the outcome is always the same.

    • You a regulation of some sort that gives the companies incentive to create safer nuclear power station. From a purely profit perspective, the chance for a big accident are too small to warrant good safety. You need at least something to make that risk tangible enough so that companies automatically choose safer designs.

      It's true that the field is over-regulated, or more accurately - that the wrong regulations are in place. There are strict specific rules on reactor safety - some of them might improve safety

      • by Qzukk (229616)

        Actually, in a free market world it's pretty easy: If a company causes more damage than it can pay back, all of its officers and employees are enslaved until they earn enough money to pay back the damages. We could even chain the doors shut to keep them from running away.

        Oh wait, they wanted big mommy government to save them by allowing them to just walk away from their debts and declare the area a superfund site so everyone else can pay to fix their shit when they screw up something bigger than they are?

        • Ina free market world, without governemental intervention (what you call mommy), those damage caused by the company are considered *externalities* and actually do not influence their bottom line, neither would they really be forced to repay for them. Example abound of company getting their profit, then leaving an horror clean up, or if sued and bankrupted, anyway never paying back for clean up. So yeah I find it funny when people praise the free market as solution for pollution (be it radioactive or others)
          • by mrxak (727974)

            A free market is not anarchy, a government is required to enforce contracts and provide for tort suits under a court system.

            If a company causes environmental damage, they can be sued the crap out of by those it effects. A jury can force the company to pay a lot more than some regulatory fines written by lobbyists that right now get taken into account as the cost of business by the people making the decisions. This actually provides a greater incentive not to cause problems, since companies right now can use

            • by geekoid (135745)

              but the free markets wants to get rid of tort suits. Because they are 'frivolous' .
              Hint, the US does NOT have a frivolous lawsuit issue, but that's all you hear about.

              The free market lies.

              • by tmosley (996283)
                You don't know what you are talking about. You are anthropomorphizing a system of economic interaction.

                You are further confusing "free markets" with "fascism", because it is the boards of directors of corporations that want limits on torts.
            • What do you think The Law is? It's a system designed to regulate human behavior.

              I love it when libertarians talk about The Law as if it is some sort of mythical beast, come from the heavens to save the peons - if they would just listen to it! Sounds remarkably like some other boondoggle I can't quite think of right now....

          • by tmosley (996283)
            Remove the government created corporate veil, and you can pursue individual shareholders, ensuring that no-one gets away scot-free.

            People tend to equate free markets with corporate rule, but the fact is that corporations can't exist without the government. Only companies can. And the owners of companies are liable for any and all damage they cause.
        • They cry "get off my back" when they're making a profit. But they come whining for subsidies when their gambling fails.

          Or, in a nutshell, privatize profits, socialize losses.

    • The problem with the free market is it's driven by money.
      The problem with government officials is they're driven by money.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by Pharmboy (216950)

        The problem with the free market is it's driven by money.
        The problem with government officials is they're driven by money.

        The bigger problem with government is that they can just print more money. In the free market, you have to beg, borrow and steal for money. In government, you only have to do that to win an election.

      • Dunno about your country, but in mine, there's virtually nothing that could drive or otherwise motivate a government official.

    • by alien9 (890794)

      What a crap. The blind confidence on that godess called 'free market' is driving USA to the pit.

      Mankind will always have herdish behavior and ultimately free market fails to prevent common people to avoid dangerous situations. What to say about big companies.

      Government control agencies, if not highly bribed, are the only means to enforce some minimum standards of security to competitive markets like energy, where companies will always happily embrace some degree of risk for the profit's sake.

      Once you abo

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @09:45AM (#37843324)

      I have read reports about child labour during the industrial revolution in the area my father came from (the north-east of the Netherlands), before it was abolished. Twelve hour working days, seven days a week, of hard, dangerous work for kids who should be at school, in factories run by people who said they were giving kids enough time to play by giving them one or two 15 minute breaks per day. When I was a kid in the 1960s factories in the area still dumped their waste in nearby canals, one of which ran in front of my grandmother's house. It was covered with a thick, dirty-white layer of foam which smelled like a kitchen sink that hasn't been cleaned for months. My father remembered how boys would set the canal on fire when he was young.

      These things weren't stopped by market forces. These things were stopped by goverment regulations, but not until inspections became effective. You just have to look outside of the western world, at the oil mess in the Niger delta, the way batteries and ship wrecks are processed in India, to understand that without a stable goverment and regulations that are being enforced conditions similar to those during the industrial revolution still occur. Western companies behave reasonably well in western countries because they have to.

      If you abolish regulations and inspections what you get is not responsible corporations, you get a world where greed is far more important than your salary, your working conditions, your kids' schooling. I don't believe for a moment the west is immune to falling back. It's human nature.

    • by kikito (971480)

      I can't tell whether the OP is joking or not.

    • by Petron (1771156)
      Fukushima met or exceeded all government safety regulations. It also survived an earthquake that ranks in the top 5 in the world. Being hit by one of the worst tsunami's on the world right afterwards tho... The tsunami afterwards knocked out the diesel powered system for regulating cooling.

      So, taking your sarcastic point: Sure! Lets take what didn't work, and add more of it! Because adding more of what didn't work will make it work!

      In all honesty: There will always be unforeseen events. This disaste
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @10:09AM (#37843592)

      Since part of my job is risk management, allow me to explain how this game works. It's very unethical and very inhuman, so if you have a tender stomach, you might want to stop reading now.

      Risk management is about assessing and evaluating risk, then taking measures... or not taking measures. What matters is money. How much does it cost to mitigate or neutralize the risk? How likely is the incident going to happen? How much will it cost if it happens?

      An alert reader will notice that there's nothing about the effect of an incident in that question. What about the environmental damage, the damage to human life, the long term effect? How about making an area inhabitable for centuries? All that is summed up under "how much does the incident cost".

      And here's where government comes into play and how government dictates just what a company will do with the risk. If they act as they do far too often today, by not holding a company accountable for their actions, the sensible thing for a company is to carry the risk. Or rather, ignore it, since it will be carried by government and population. Again, the sensible thing to do from a risk assessment point is to simply forgo any and all safety and security measures beyond what's necessary to protect the company assets. Unless of course you may expect a bailout if your plant gets too hot to operate, then even that doesn't matter anymore.

      Companies do not care about safety beyond what is necessary to protect their assets. They would rather install a full blown security camera and tripwire system to keep you from stealing a single pencil than to invest a hundred bucks to change their smoke filters to keep their chimney from blowing a few metric tons of SOx into the surroundings unless you force them to.

      And remember when trying to "force" a company that fines are nothing but a risk assessment factor. If it's cheaper to pay the fine than to heed the law, fines will be paid. If risk, fine and expenses are high enough, creating a shell daughter company that will carry the risk and be promptly sunk in case of an incident is also an option.

      Laws are, to a company, just part of their risk management and cost calculation. Unless it's cheaper to follow the law than to break it, it will be ignored.

      • by tmosley (996283) on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @11:02AM (#37844342)
        Which is why the corporate form should be abolished, as it would be under a free market (the corporate veil and the inability to sue shareholders is a protection afforded to corporations by the government).
      • This is the tragedy of the commons to the fullest. Until a way is found to make companies not to behave like this, all the 99% protests are completely meaningless. Corporations will find a way on how to shift risk & responsability & costs on to general population to gain short term profits.

        And keep in mind- when we are talking about financial institutions like banks, the "commons" is our future. They will screw up long term prosperity of the entire world for short term profit. That is why crises
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Which government regulation did this company violate to cause this accident? None.

      If the government would have approved new plants this one could have been safely decommissioned and replaced by something much safer. So in this case it was actually government regulations which kept a horribly out of date reactor online well after its original EOL.

    • What if the government did get off their backs, but the company was also 100% responsible for any damages related to unsafe operation? What happened here would be a death sentence for TEPCO, but becuase of the government involvement, TEPCO will survive its mistakes.

      • by devent (1627873)

        Who will take then TEPCO into account if any incidents would happen? Also, regulations and inspections are in place to prevent any incidents to happen in the first place.

        Correction: What happened here would be a death sentence for TEPCO, but becuase of *bad* government involvement, TEPCO will survive its mistakes.

        Corruption is on both sides, and if the government corrupt in a democracy it's the fault of it's citizens. The Japanese people have elected their government, so why are the Japanese not taking thei

        • by tmosley (996283)
          Nice, blame the victims.

          This is TEPCO's fault, and their government enabled them. The government should have stepped back long ago and allowed them the freedom to replace that crappy plant with a newer model that would use up their spent fuel. That alone would have cut the severity of this disaster by 75%!
      • And what does a death sentence mean for TEPCO? It gets dissolved, its asset sold. What happens to the low level workers? They're out of a job and are staring poverty straight in the face. What happens to the executives? They're out of a job and are sitting on their porch in Hawaii figuring out which Mouton-Rothschild to have with their unicorn steak.

        Who makes the decisions that drives TEPCO towards a death sentence, and who pays for the mistakes? Two different groups, and one of them is statistically more l

    • by fusiongyro (55524)

      I think the real, deeper fallacy is the idea that we can find a way to prevent accidents from ever happening again, if we can just figure out which thing to do differently.

  • by rmstar (114746) on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @08:57AM (#37842906)

    nuclear plant operators downplaying, obscuring, lying etc. I am genuinely shocked!1!!

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Doesn't have to be limited to nuclear plants: Business in general will always downplay / obscure / lie about the downsides of their activities.

      In general, I'm aware that if something really went wrong in any kind of heavy industry near my home, I'd be Fuked.

    • I know of a nuclear power plant in Argentina that makes every employee and high level manager live near the facility (e.g., no farther than 5 km.), and they even let a few cows run in a tiny farm next to the plant. They do this for two reasons: so people won't freak out ("Those cows are healthy!") and to give its workers and managers a reason not to fool around.

      • ("Those cows are healthy!") and to give its workers and managers a reason not to fool around.

        I'm not too sure what you are saying there. Are they hiring?

        • by tmosley (996283)
          I would highly advise that you not move to Argentina right now. They are about to become Venezuela, but without the oil.

          In addition, they have set themselves up for an agricultural disaster in ten years, as they are now planting nothing but soy anywhere, which ruins the land.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Did you not read the article? of course you didn't that would take time from you being a dumb ass.

      The winds winds different then first thought. Maybe weathermen are part gf your grand conspiracy theory?

  • It also says that some Xenon-133 may have early on in the accident

    Wow, I knew that Japanese tends to leave a lot of words out compared to English (Jay Rubin's Making Sense of Japanese [amazon.com] is an accessible introduction to this tendency), but I had no idea that it extended to leaving out the verb.

  • by deathplaybanjo (1735092) on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @09:12AM (#37843024)
    thats rather significant http://xkcd.com/radiation/ [xkcd.com]
  • So in spite of early claims to the contrary, it is on the same order of magnitude as Chernobyl after all. Based on the new data, I wonder how large of an area around the facility needs to be abandoned, and for how long...
    • by w_dragon (1802458)
      In terms of Cesium-137 maybe, but it's the uranium and plutonium around Chernobyl that are really dangerous.
      • by aepervius (535155) on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @09:53AM (#37843410)
        U around Chernobyl might be polluting as heavy metal, but they are not dangerous per see to live "beside" as long as you do not ingest them. Heck, you can hold U 235 in your hand as long as you got a latex glove. Pu it depends on the isotope as Pu has a "relatively short" life comapred to U (Pu 239 has got a 24000 years half life). More problematic would be much shorter half life element, but still in the decades and century amount, like Cs 137. Because those are much more radioactive than U and Pu, but still long enough half life to be there for a long time. Much less a problem are isotopes which are highly radioactive, with minutes to a year of half life : by now they have gone thru so many half lives that not much is left (for 1 year half life , 20 years mean 1/(2^20)=less than 1 atoms left out of 1 million initially). So yeah, Cs is a big problem, bigger than U (heck some of which is released in the atmosphere by coal power) and Pu. The other one are more heavy metal pollution than radioactively dangerous , relatively speaking.
        • but they are not dangerous per see to live "beside" as long as you do not ingest them

          and that's kind of hard not to do as its in the water table, and in the soil, in the food growing in the soil, and in the animals eating the food growing there. So its not dangerous so long as you order your food and water from a distant, uncontaminated location.

    • Hmm, looking at the numbers...

      From the pool of old fuel rods (NOT the reactors), we have 5kg of Cesium.

      Plus a lot of Xenon. The Xenon release has a half life of ~126 hours. So, March 11 to today...

      That leaves 0.000000000000074 of the original amount left. Or about 1MBq....

      Oddly enough, most of this release seems to have happened as a side-effect of a complete lack of reprocessing of spent fuel rods, since they'd have been shipped off for reprocessing if that had been legal....

    • More importantly, does Japan have wolves?
      You can't have a post-apocalyptic naturist utopia without radioactive wolves.
      And cute little radioactive wolf puppies.
  • by ciderbrew (1860166) on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @09:23AM (#37843120)
    I'm going to be 100km away from that plant next year with my whole family. If, over the course of the few weeks holiday I become your radioactive giant IT guy / overlord. I expect you all to welcome me.
    I'm not too sure what I'll do with all your base; but thems will belongs to us.
    I'll also use my power to right wrongs.
  • What do they expect? "Your country is inhabitable"

    No this wasn't Arizona from the 50s or from the locals formerly living around Bikini, Madrid, Harrisburg or Chernobyl.

  • ftfpdf:
    "...Precipitation deposited a large fraction of 137CS on land surfaces...The plume was also dispersed quickly over the entire Northern Hemisphere, first reaching North America on 15 March and Europe on 22 March."

    After reading this, I wonder what kind of impact Nagasaki/Hiroshima/Chernobyl had globally. It seems to me that until we have a good disaster plan in place we should stop building these friggin things. We need a better a way of dealing with the catastrophes other than just waiting around for

    • by dward90 (1813520)

      Before you go all chicken little on nuclear power, find out how much 137CS "a large fraction" actually is. In my location in North America, the local nuclear experts saw a spike in Cesium equivalent to approximately one half of one banana [wikipedia.org].

      • by tmosley (996283)
        Over what time frame? A banana per femtosecond would kill just about anyone. But a banana a day is fine, just fine.
    • We do have good disaster plans. We also have better designs than those plants were using, but most places can't upgrade them because of regulations, politics, fear mongering, FUD, and idiocy.

  • On the one hand, it says nuclear power is green, carbon-free, let's build more nukes. On the other hand, it says all of the cs137 and sr90 waste from those nukes should sit in unsafe temporary storage sites forever rather than send it to Yucca mountain safe storage in Nevada. If nothing else, TFA should be a reminder that every nuke is cranking out long-lived cs137 and sr90 isotopes every day and they WILL go somewhere...hopefully not into our food chain like Fukishima's did.

    • ... rather than send it to Yucca mountain safe storage in Nevada.

      Hey, maybe you missed it, but everything you think you know about Yucca is political bullshit. [slashdot.org] There is no science there that hasn't been bastardized for politcal purposes.

    • by rubycodez (864176) on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @11:08AM (#37844436)
      So what? They stay in the fuel.

      Very stupid to put a gold mine of energy into Yucca mountain, we've only extracted less than 15% of the energy from that wrongly called "spent fuel". We can get the rest of the energy and as a side effect transform the stuff into short lived isotopes.

      Yucca mountain is junk engineering, a bad application of science
  • These numbers aren't a big change from estimates 5 months ago.
    42% of Chernobyl's Cs emission, but much lower land deposition - only 21% of total Cs emissions hit land.
    And this is from 3 or 4 separate failures at old ill-prepared sites following a once-in-a-thousand-year quake which hit a chain of volcanic islands which are plagued by quakes.
    Emission per failure is nearly a full order of magnitude below Chernobyl.
    Total land deposition is also nearly a full order of magnitude below Chernobyl.
    The lesson is to

  • by tp1024 (2409684) on Wednesday October 26, 2011 @10:48AM (#37844128)
    I haven't read it all yet, but page 23 shows the problem:

    The emission peaks on 12, 13, and 14 March are associated with venting events at units 1, 3 and 2, respectively. It is interesting to notice that in all three cases our a posteriori emissions start increasing earlier than our first guess emissions and drop more strongly at the end of the venting. This seems to indicate that contaminated air was leaking from the containment as pressure was building up, even before active venting started.

    If they had really understood what happened during the accident, they would have made a very different "first guess" for the emissions. In fact, their first guess would have been that contaminated air was leaking from the reactor buildings before active venting started. Why?

    Because of the hydrogen explosions. Containments are vented through the "smoke" stacks. If there had been no leak of the containment prior, during or after the venting, no hydrogen could have accumulated in the reactor buildings, because it would have left through the stacks. It didn't. Some of the hydrogen accumulated in the reactor buildings or they could not have exploded. This hydrogen came straight from the reactors and was as inextricably mixed with Xenon-133 as the proverbial piss in the water of the swimming pool.

    No surprise there at all. It is astonishing that the authors of the paper didn't come to that simple conclusion, namely, that their first guess was naive and their "discovery" was not all that interesting to begin with and hardly worth mentioning.

We can predict everything, except the future.

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