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Monday Science: Fukushima Update

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Cutaway diagram of Fukushima reactor

Not that the weather here is weird, but we’ve just had three days of 55+ degrees, now were heading to the freezer with low today of 28 and low tomorrow of 17.

Fukushima Update:

Japanese Doctors are describing a “surge” in youth cancers. However, experts are “divided” as to cause.

Sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan reported metallic tasting snow. Caused by Fuku steam hitting the cold pacific air. No wonder they have radiation poisoning!

TEPCO is mulling sending managers 55 and older to Fuku. Or workers 55 and older. Heck, at this point they’ll take anyone fool enough to volunteer.

Very high radiation levels being found 80ft BELOW ground by reactor #4! Along with “record” high contamination by #2. Recall that #4 was NOT fueled at the time of the accident, thus could not melt down. So where is the radiation coming from? Possibly the melt from #2, already deep in the ground?

They have admitted to the first damaged fuel assembly from the #4 SFP. Described as “bent like a banana.” They killed the video feed while they were removing this, so can’t tell if it was broken enough to leak pellets or not.  They did remove it, but I bet it’ll take up two positions in their transport cask. It’s also not clear how badly damaged the rack around this assembly was.

TEPCO begins efforts to hide the true costs. Their “decommissioning company” will likely become a pit for taxpayer dollars while their main company balance sheet is protected.

The JG has a LOT of radioactive waste to deal with. So they’re planning to set up waste dumps WITHOUT local approval. They are also scrapping reactors #5 & 6, which were officially undamaged.

And other general things. They’re going to reduce the water injection to #2 & #3 in hopes of reducing the amount of water they’ll have to store. Analysis of samples taken from the TIPS system is listed. Oddly, despite the presence of Zirconium, they don’t see a connection to the core melt.

And to other news:

We’re still learning about graphene. It appears as though we could use it to filter electrons  based on spin! Quantum computing, here we come!

Alcohol fuel from corn seemed like such a good idea a few years ago, but now the disadvantages are clear.  However, getting biofuel from the leftover parts just took a step forward. This is still carbon, but it’s NOT tar sands.

A research study on where the money for climate change denial. Conservative groups. The Koch’s USED to be the largest funder, but recently have not been making PUBLICLY VISIBLE contributions.

A step forward for fusion power. I sure wish that solar had that kind of support, but fusion is still better than tar sands and fission. If we can ever get it to work.

Chemistry is NOT supposed to work this way. Na3Cl?!? NaCl3!?!? And stable after creation!

Human/Neanderthal breeding was more common than we thought.

Giant squid must migrate long distances to breed to have this low genetic diversity.

Boxturtle (My Great Pyrenees has learned to howl. Scared the heck out of me first time I heard it)

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