Monday, April 29, 2013

Radioactive Olympics Anyone?

Japan hosted the Olympics in 1998.   If there's ever a "radioactive" Olympics, northern Japan could play host.  They now have 112 Olympic-size swimming pools full of radioactive Strontium- and Tritium-laced water.  That would be Sr-90 , a bone seeker with a half life of 29 years, and HTO instead of H2O  (T= Tritium, and isotope of Hydrogen).   They are producing more than a gallon of new radioactive water every second, day and night.  This according to a report in the NYT:

One question is: where did the tritium come from?   After the Tohoku Earthquake, the reactors shut down using their control rods.  We know that they restarted themselves, producing fission reactions that caused the multiple meltdowns.   These fission reactions can create the neutrons needed to produce Tritium (which is 1 proton + 2 neutrons) , but this is rare (0.01 % of fusions produce it).   Another possibility, as suggested by Wikipedia's page on Tritium, is that the Tritium could be coming from the spent nuclear fuel.   Some experts implied they thought the fuel pool in Reactor #4 went prompt-critical and exploded.   It would be interesting to see if the water coming from Reactor #4 has a higher level of Tritium.

Speaking of Heavy water , yesterday I calculated how much of a 1 liter bottle of normal sea water NOT H2O.   Answer was that 6 drops of water per liter are HDO, where D = Deuterium.   This Deuterium comes to us from .... the Big Bang!    When we get fusion power working this Deuterium will be an important source to tap into. I also calculated that none of the water in your water bottle contains tritium (unless you got your water from somewhere near Fukushima)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Rats! We're leaking again

Fukushima bedeviled by leaks and rats: