About That Plutonium in Reactor #3

The genie trying to get out of this particular bottle is a very nasty genie indeed.

Reactor #3 at Fukushima Daiichi is fueled by rods with 6% plutonium, obtained from spent fuel rods. (This is recycling we could do without.) It’s hotter and inflames more easily, which means…

that in the event of a core meltdown, a Mark 1’s containment vessel has a 42% chance of failing—a whole lot closer to a coin flip than you want with something like a nuclear reactor.

MOX: The Fukushima Word of the Day and Why it’s Bad News – Ecocentric – TIME.com

You do not want to be near the genie, for a very long time.

when plutonium is dispersed into the wind you want to be pretty much anywhere else. As I reported last week, there are four kidns of carcinogenic isotopes released when a nuke plant blows: iodine-131, cesium-137, strontium-90 and  plutonium-239. Plutonium is not only the most lethal of the four (“extrordinarily toxic” is how Dr. Ira Helfand, a board member for Physicians for Social Responsibility, describes it), it also hangs around the longest. It’s half life is a whopping 24,000 years, and since radioactive contamination is dangerous for 10 to 20 times the length of the isotope’s half.life, that means plutonium emitted in Fukushima today will still be around in close to half a million years.

op cit

This entry was posted in Disasters, Engineering and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s