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Over Easy: Monday Science

Volcanoes wake up quickly and tend to be grumpy

Good Morning!

Fukushima Update:

TEPCO has discovered that the #3 reactor is heavily damaged by falling debris. Personally, I think the plug displayed was damaged by the different explosion in #3.

Remember the worries I posted about damage to the racks in the #4 SFP? It looks like that happened in the #3 SFP as well. But worse. The damaged fuel rods obviously didn’t dump enough pellets to create a criticality, but how we’re going to remove the damaged rods I’ve no idea. The water itself is VERY hot from the spilled fuel. I suppose they’re going to have to lower torches from a safe distance and try to cut them out.

Here is an update report on a visit to the #4 reactor. Heavily damaged, as expected. They’re reporting about 20% of the fuel assemblies have been removed from the #4 SFP.

They’re seeing so much gamma radiation around the work area in #4 that they have had to put down lead plates and reduce work times. The gamma is likely coming from neutron activation of some of the nickle parts, turning them into cobalt 60. The #4 reactor was empty at the accident, so where did a neutron flux that intense come from? Perhaps the “different” explosion at unit 3?

Japanese Doctors are starting to issue more dire warnings.

The US and Canada have received about 13% of the Fuku emissions according to this study.

Very hot material found about 15km from Fuku. Probably from #3, though it’s not clear if it came from the explosion or floated in from the sea.

Remember last week I reported new record cesium levels? Well, that record has been broken. Officials admit there may be a new leak. TEPCO and the JG are still preparing the world for dumping massive amounts (“controlled releases”) of very hot (“within government guidelines”) of radioactive water. They’re still trying to come up with reasons the world will accept. IMO this is a cost issue, they simply don’t want to pay the price to store the water.

New study on Flu evolution may change textbooks.

Worries about the safety of a particle collider arise at exactly the same time the government would like to close it. How convenient.

Is it possible that the core of a black hole is a Planck star rather than a singularity? Interesting paper, but it has not survived peer review yet.

The next step for gene therapy?

Volcanos can go from dormant to active quicker than we think.

Attn Lurkers: For each new name I see, I will increase my animal shelter donation by $5.

Boxturtle (20 new names, I’ll get ’em a used A/C unit for the cat room)

Photo by Wolfgang Beyer, used under Creative Commons license

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