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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Making nuclear waste has to be stopped

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Special credits to Roger Bristol, Marius Paul and Leonard J. Siebert
August 22, 2018
Roger Bristol —  “Structural materials become neutron activated resulting in radioactive iron, cobalt, and nickel. I am not sure where the chlorine comes from. Carbon is from neutron activation of air and in the stainless steel reactor vessel. Tritium is a fission product and comes from neutron activation of deuterium naturally occurring in cooling water. Thorium and protactinium are decay products of fuel. Uranium-232 comes from neutron activation of a decay product of uranium. Neptunium, plutonium, americium, and curium come from successive neutron absorption of fuel. When uranium is struck with a neutron sometimes it fission and sometimes becomes a new nuclide.
The Ci is a unit of radioactivity. 1 Ci = 37,000,000,000 decays per second. Radium has a half-life of 1,602 years. The unit is based on the radioactivity of one gram of radium. To get the number of grams you would take the half-life and divide by 1,602 times the number of Ci and then multiply by the atomic weight divided by the atomic weight of radium (226).
l Graphite is used as a moderator in some reactors. To purify to graphite of neutron absorbing impurities chlorine is used leaving a residue of chlorine-35. Neutron activation creates the radioactive chlorine-36. Probably the weapons grade plutonium breeder reactors used graphite I suspect.”
 
Marius Paul — “Two other important topics about radioactivity:
(1) Half-lives can be deceptive, as some radioactive materials become more radioactive as time goes on, not less. Examples include radon gas and depleted #uranium. Even irradiated nuclear fuel, which decreases in radioactivity for the first 50,000 years, eventually increases in radiotoxicity after that period of time. Plutonium has a 24,000 year half-life, but when it disintegrates it is transformed into another radioactive element with a 700 million years half life. So half-lives can be deceptive.
(2) Some radioactive materials are very difficult to detect, even in a well-equipped nuclear plant, because they give off non-penetrating alpha or beta radiation – yet they can be extraordinarily dangerous. Examples are beta-emitting carbon-14 dust, which workers at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station tracked into their homes in the 1980s, and alpha-emitting #plutonium dust, which over 500 contract workers inhaled on a daily basis for almost three weeks at Bruce in 2009.”
 
Leonard J. Siebert — “One of the delights for me as I continue to attempt to educate people about Fukushima, is the sheer amount of both ignorance and erroneous information on the subject that plagues humanity.
One of the most laughable premises was that Plutonium, a transuranic element, exists in nature and people shouldn’t be alarmed by it.
Seriously, the article was published in a scientific periodical and while it was later retracted; the damage was done and I hear the comment repeated to this day by the Pro-nuke factions.
So in what will another subject for people to attack me about, question my expertise and accuse me of ‘fear mongering’; I will attempt to relate the facts in layman’s terms and even do so entertainingly.
In many of the reports I post about Fukushima and even in the media, the word ‘Transuranic’ or ‘transuranium’ often appears.
Now I get questioned all the time by ‘experts’ that love to tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about. However they usually take the tact of asking me basic physics or nuclear energy questions. It is not my goal to teach physics to anyone, plus that would take a lifetime to bring everyone up to the same understanding of the science with my statements. For me that is a waste of time and I have spent too many hours explaining processes that should be apparent to even a high school student in General Science, perhaps the ignorance in the science is a result of common core or too much Star Trek techno-babble; I cannot say. So I am only going to focus on terms, used in the media that are important for you to know. I will do my best to define them in a none bias manner but anyone with a REAL understanding of nuclear energy, knows that it is not clean, cheap, efficient, green or safe.
“Nuclear power is one HELL of a way to boil water.”- Albert Einstein. (He meant that with full irony for the fools he was addressing for even suggesting that idea, sadly the fools controlled the purse strings.)
 
So what is Transuranium?
I have to assume that chemistry managed to seep into your education and that you at least have heard of the Periodic Table of elements. (Please tell me you know the difference between an element and a compound, if you don’t; you need to look up element. This is one of the difficult things about writing anything about science, I have no clue how much you grasp.) On the Periodic Table elements are arranged from lightest (Hydrogen {H} atomic number 1) to the ‘current’ heaviest (Ununoctium {Uuo} atomic number 118). It is the ‘atomic number’ that defines what is Transuranium, anything with an atomic number below 93 is a natural element; anything with an atomic number above 92 (Uranium’s atomic number hence ‘Transuranium’) is an ‘artificially’ made element. So even though people love to affix the prefix ‘trans’ to many different aspects such a gender or race; it actually is a concrete term from Latin, meaning: Beyond, across or over.
 
All Transuranium elements are radioactive, unstable and decay into other elements, usually just as unstable and equally radioactive as the decay process can last eons. While I use the term ‘artificially’, I have qualify that with ‘on earth’. All of the elements with higher atomic numbers, however, have been first discovered in the laboratory, with neptunium, plutonium, americium, curium, berkelium and californium later also discovered in nature. They are all radioactive, with a half-life much shorter than the age of the Earth, so any atoms of these elements, if they ever were present at the Earth’s formation, have long since decayed. What the reader should take from this is the plan truth; the earth was becoming less radioactive, before we started splitting atoms.
 
Enrico Fermi discovered that the nucleus of most atoms could absorb a neutron or neutrons thus changing the element into a new atom in 1933. It wasn’t until 1940 that Edwin McMillan successfully produced Neptunium ({Np} atomic number 93) and 1941 that Glen Seaborg produced Plutonium ({Pu} atomic number 94) that things really started to stink. (See what I did there ‘Pu’; come-on this is really dry material, I have to make it fun to read.)
 
Now don’t start thinking that only transuranium elements are the only radioactive ones out there, because that would be dead wrong. Uranium is of course radioactive as is Radium ({Ra} atomic number 88), Polonium ({Po} atomic number 84), and Tritium ({H3} one of the Hydrogen isotopes). There are of course more many being isotopes like Carbon 14, the one we use for ‘carbon dating’ but it needs to be understood that all these elements and isotopes were in a constant state of decay here on earth. While nature does produce some of them in limited or small amounts, it was not until we began monkeying with fission, that they are now being created all too commonly.
 
My thesis here is part of a broader picture that I refer to as ‘Baseline Background’. What it states is that any increase in acceptable ionizing radiation; must be compared to the ‘pre-artificial fission’ of the Chicago Pile because every background measurement after that up until today, is artificially fortified by the folly of nuclear energy in use today.
 
Plain truth be known, the world is becoming increasingly radioactive and its exponential and showing no signs of letting up. You cannot adapt to it, you will not become a mutant nor can or will any other life on this blue marble. On the microbiological scale, you have already passed the point of no return, on the bio-magnification scale you have sealed the fates of yourselves and your children and Fukushima was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
 
For those who laugh and say; ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ and continue on nuclear energy’s present course; dying of cancer is not a condemnation I would wish on my worst enemy. Yet, you are worthy of your reward for you lack of foresight.”
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August 27, 2018 - Posted by | Nuclear | ,

1 Comment »

  1. Great article!

    Comment by Ken | August 27, 2018 | Reply


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