Over Easy: Monday Science


Hope everybody is psyched up for July 4th. We should have good weather here for the fireworks, we’re fortunate enough to have the Rozzi’s running the major displays in the area.

Fukushima update:

Major newspapers are finally asking the question “Where is the corium?”. The current official position is “we don’t know, but we’re SURE it’s all still in containment”. Simulations show that it must have melted through containment, but differ on if it’s actually through the floor and into the groundwater. Personal guess: #1 is on the floor, #2 is in the pedestal, #3 is at the bottom of Fuku bay.

Plume models show 1MBq/M**2 on US west coast after explosion. It appears that despite Government concern, the Nuke industry was able to spike additional studies.

Somebody noticed the Polonium. Polonium is a alpha emitter, so is usually ignored with a statement like “Alpha radiation doesn’t even penetrate the skin”. True that, HOWEVER if ingested in microgram quantities it can be fatal. And it has been used in assassination(s) before.

An NPG that hosts Japanese reports that “every single person” has health problems and their beds are generally bloodstained after use. Yet the JG feels that the evacuated areas are safe for people to return.

They are concerned enough about the Torus in the reactors that they’ve issued a call for proposals to reinforce them. How they will get close enough to do the work is going to have to be part of the proposals.

TEPCO’s original plan to remove fuel debris was to flood the reactor containment and work under water. They have finally admitted that won’t work as the containment areas don’t hold water.

How TEPCO plans to remove the temporary bolt together tanks and replace them with welded tanks. Almost all of the major leaks are from the bolted tanks, which were only supposed to last for two years or so.

Toshiba, supplier of two of the reactors at Fukushima, is also hurting because of the disaster.

Japan is building a wind farm to make up for some of the lost Nuke generation. They are still publicly committed to Nuclear Power, but citizen opposition to restarting is becoming a real concern to politicians running for re-election.

And one of the companies responsible for waste disposal has caught a computer virus.

New Horizons is on final approach to Pluto. When I was a kid, they expected that probe to launch in 1989. It only launched 27 years late. I’m oddly excited to see what it will see.

The Dawn probe is finding out neat things about Ceres. There’s water. There are two bright spots they can’t explain. And there’s a pyramid shaped mountain in the middle of nowhere.

Rosetta has been given an extension until Sept 2016. And the lander is awake and transmitting still!

Don’t eat porcupines.

Boxturtle (Poor Python!)

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