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Over Easy: Monday Science

Venus, as seen by radar


Fukushima Update:

Another scientist moves off the reservation: We must do radiation testing of people outside Fukushima prefecture.   Government official: “I don’t want to discuss the issue.” They then proceed to “analyze” the data based on their intentionally flawed methodology, which has the effect of wildly underestimating the actual impact. Though in their defense, we really don’t know what the impact of this kind of radiation exposure is. But we will.

While officially there is little impact to people, Bad things are happening to our close relatives. Monkey blood in the area is showing abnormalities that could lead to plagues amongst them.

The ice wall ain’t gonna help much, just delay the day of reckoning. And I can make the case that the wall will actually make things worse by reducing cooling to the melts and/or turning the entire worksite into a swamp of radioactive water. Speculate on what the ground inside the wall will do when saturated.

Still, TEPCO seems determined that the laws of physics will not apply when they conflict with the press releases. They seem to think that they can order water to freeze at 5 degrees C.

The JG would really like to restart their NPPs, despite citizen opposition. In hopes of restarting Sendai, they are giving iodine tablets to the local residents. Two each. Which is about a half days supply in the event of an accident.

Since Fukushima, Westinghouse has developed a SFP monitoring system that keeps an eye on water level and temperature and has installed the first one at Watts-Barr in Tennessee. This is good, but it DOES raise the question of why it wasn’t done sooner.

But US Nuclear Energy is safe! This story will tell you what the Nuke industry would like you to believe. Please. Be sure to note that the source of this story is the Nuclear Energy Institute.

There is not a lot of news about WIPP that we don’t already know, but here’s something. I do not put much stock in a criticality event. For that to occur, there would have to be at least 11lbs of weapons grade Pu in the barrel. But that 11lbs assumes a perfect sphere of weapons grade metal. IMO you’d need a LOT more Pu in a barrel to have any chance of starting something.

Now this is scary and stupid all at once. A very simple design flaw that could have had catastrophic consequences. I’m torn between blaming this one of having people design radioactive waste storage who do not understand radiation and radioactives and blaming it on administrators pretending that the radiation will never leak. H/T bgrothus.

We polluted the South Pole before we even got there!

The space station is getting a new clock. It’s a pretty special clock, accurate to 1 second every 300 million years and will enable them to prove/disprove some of Einsteins theories.

Can we terraform Venus? Should we?

We made a sponge that will turn solar energy into steam at 85% efficiency. Somebody explain to me again why we need nukes.

Boxturtle (Trouble is trying to earn getting declawed. On my workbench, with pliers)

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