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Radioactive Water Found In Two Reactor Buildings

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the hot-shower-won't-help dept.

Japan 442

RedEaredSlider writes "Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said it detected several kinds of radioactive material in the water on the floor of reactor buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The isotopes found in the water were cobalt-76, technetium-99, silver-108, iodine-131, iodine-134, four isotopes of cesium, barium-140 and lanthanum-140. All have half-lives measured in hours or days, with the exception of cesium-137."

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Have any of the workers developed superpowers? (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35640750)

You can keep your sieverts. I prefer to measure radiation by the level of socially-isolating, mutated superpowers that it produces. Are any of the plant workers brooding yet, or developing secret identities, or lamenting how society has shunned them, or experiencing montage sequences where they learn how to use their new powers?

Re:Have any of the workers developed superpowers? (5, Funny)

matt_gaia (228110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35640978)

I propose a different measurement: How many Godzilla's will this produce?

And not the 1998, Matthew-Broderick-starring Godzilla either, because, let's face it... that Godzilla sucked.

Re:Have any of the workers developed superpowers? (1)

the_hellspawn (908071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641258)

You mean Jurassic Park 1 1/3 Invasion of New York? Yeah, that one did suck rotten eggs.

Re:Have any of the workers developed superpowers? (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641332)

let's face it... that Godzilla sucked.

Well Jean Reno was good, but yeah the rest of it was a waste of time.

Sober Second Thought: I must have a guy-crush on Jean Reno, I like him in everything he does.

Re:Have any of the workers developed superpowers? (1)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641426)

let's face it... that Godzilla sucked.

Well Jean Reno was good, but yeah the rest of it was a waste of time.

The ostentatious gum-chewing to make themselves look more like US soldiers was classic.

Re:Have any of the workers developed superpowers? (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35640982)

"The goggles! They do nothing!"

More like Cesium 1337 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641072)

Too many TKs if you ask me...

plutonium was just found outside (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35640776)

This does not have a half life in days, but years

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/28/3-types-of-plutonium-detected-at-japans-fukushima-daiichi-plant/

This is extremely bad

Re:plutonium was just found outside (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35640922)

This is extremely bad

Oh my God, the protons in your body have a half-life of over 10^30 years!

You, uh, do realise that the longer the half-life the _less_ radioactive something is? Generally speaking, plutonium is more likely to kill you because it's toxic than because it's radioactive (unless someone makes a bomb out of it).

Re:plutonium was just found outside (1, Informative)

the Atomic Rabbit (200041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641006)

> You, uh, do realise that the longer the half-life the _less_ radioactive something is?

That rule of thumb fails if said element happens to decay into yet another radioactive isotopes. Like, say, uranium...

Re:plutonium was just found outside (4, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641128)

That rule of thumb fails if said element happens to decay into yet another radioactive isotopes. Like, say, uranium...

Somewhat, though you're not going to get much of that other radioactive isotope if you start with a few grams of something that has a half-life of hundreds of thousands of years.

Re:plutonium was just found outside (-1, Redundant)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641174)

You are volunteering to ingest a few grams of Plutonium here? Enjoy the accumulation in the liver and skeleton. I recommend to take it finely ground up - as it presents here - and preferably by inhalation. Especially tasty. Fire up that bong, mate!

Re:plutonium was just found outside (5, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641330)

no more than i would lead.. but that is because of the same reasons.. it is more toxic to the body than it's radiation is.

Re:plutonium was just found outside (4, Insightful)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641404)

I wish I had mod points, but I'm tired of getting into arguments about it.

I would be far more concerned about the health and environmental effects of the big refinery fire that we didn't hear much about, than the Fukushima reactor so far.

Re:plutonium was just found outside (4, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641410)

The problem is, apart from the heavy metal toxicity, that it has a biological half time of decades. It bioaccumulates. So it's gonna stay around with you - ample time for that 5 MeV alphas to hit your DNA. You don't need a high activity when you carry it around in your liver for the rest of your life.

Re:plutonium was just found outside (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641384)

and follow it up with some lead, silver and arsenic just to be sure.

You can never have too many heavy metals.

Re:plutonium was just found outside (4, Informative)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641300)

.... not really no.

it ups it but if your isotope with a 20K year half life decays into something something with a halflife of say (for an example that would be easy on the math)5 seconds then you'll get twice as much radioactivity out of it (assuming the seconds products are as dangerous forms of radiation) with a little variation.

a isotope with a 20K halflife will still be utterly dwarfed in terms of radiation output by something with a halflife of a few decades even if the former has a decay chain 10 isotopes long because it can only add a linear multiplier, not an exponential increase in radiation output.

once you're into halflives in the tens of thousands be more afraid of heavy metal poisoning than radiation poisoning.

Re:plutonium was just found outside (2)

cforciea (1926392) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641370)

Sort of. You only generate the fast decaying isotopes as quickly as your slower isotope decays, so the radioactivity in cases like that only goes up linearly. An isotope with a 2 million year half-life is still going to emit way less radiation than one with a 2 day halflife, even if it decays into an isotope that decays into an isotope that decays into an isotope each with a half-life of seconds.

Re:plutonium was just found outside (4, Informative)

increment1 (1722312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641314)

From what I read, plutonium is pretty bad if you inhale or ingest it, otherwise not too much of a problem. If it gets into you it can stay in you for years, causing cancer and bone problems (it can get into your bones and bone marrow).

Outside of your skin, the radiation is too weak to cause much concern, but when it is inside you, the radiation is enough to cause reasonably serious harm (or at least the potential therein).

Re:plutonium was just found outside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641060)

Uhmmm, you can eat Plutonium and nothing will happen to you. It is supposedly toxic, but the reality is that it is almost as poisonous as biting on a steel nail. The longer the half life or something, the less it radiates, which should be obvious to anyone who tries to think about it.

Re:plutonium was just found outside (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641098)

Plutonium is very toxic. It will kill you because it's a toxic heavy metal, not because it is radioactive. But most people are oblivious to that.

Re:plutonium was just found outside (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641154)

> you can eat Plutonium and nothing will happen to you
Very true. If Plutonium is the name of your pet duck.

you don't say! (5, Insightful)

AdamThor (995520) | more than 3 years ago | (#35640782)

Huh. So you say they dumped water all over the radioactive disaster with helicopters, firetrucks, a big concrete pump truck, and now the basement of the reactor is filled with radioactive water?

Re:you don't say! (2, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641134)

Yes, and in related breaking news, it has been discovered that water is indeed wet!

I am soo tired of the sensationalized stories surrounding Japan's "nuclear crisis." I'm interested in hearing objective news grounded in science, and that there are "trace amounts" of plutonium found on the grounds surrounding the reactor is only barely newsworthy. What is newsworthy is that the containment units withstood a 9.0 quake which is many orders of magnitude greater than the design specified. That is impressive and only underscores just how safe nuclear power is.

The lesson for the future is to include redundant diesel generators, and always, always keep more diesel on hand for those generators even when the reactors are scheduled for decomission in the immediate future, because you never know when something like, Oh, I don't know, maybe a 9.0 earthquake might occur? :)

Re:you don't say! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641204)

Believe it or not, bravenewclimate.com has been a very science- and fact-based source of information and discussion re: the nuclear situation in Japan.

Re:you don't say! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641216)

I'm interested in hearing objective news

No, you're interested in news reinforcing your subjective opinion; just like everybody else.

Re:you don't say! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641292)

No, you are wrong. The containment did not withstand 9.0 earthquake. How do you imagine a good containment will let that water they dumped from helicopters and police cannons in. The containment failed. It failed long ago. They were able to get that water to the fuel rods, while dumping it from 100 meters above, meaning only one thing - containment and reactor vessel are broken, so the water did reach the fuel rods..

weird. are you paid? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641324)

As someone who has an 8 year old nephew within 100k of the plant I find trace elements of Plutonium disturbing to say the least. This *may* mean that the MOX has been partially burned/vaporized, no? That would be bad. I'm not here to editorialize for or against industrial nuclear power, I actually think nuclear is here to stay for a while, but the shills constantly repeating "What is newsworthy is that the containment units withstood a 9.0 quake which is many orders of magnitude greater than the design specified." aren't doing your cause any good. TEPCO was warned, did cost/risk analysis, made their call and lost. What is newsworthy is that human error and/or corruption and/or cost cutting can undermine sound engineering. How does that fit into the typical slashdot one handed libertarian wank fest?

Re:you don't say! (3, Insightful)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641326)

The "trace amounts" are newsworthy because they indicate that the inner steel containment has been cracked and so have a few of the fuel pellets.

In particular, these isotopes are fission products, which are supposed to stay solid and encased in their cladding.

Previous radioactive materials were probably a consequence of neutron activation and had short half-lives, but weren't long term cause for concern.

above post: example of techie vs public disconnect (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641360)

what happened at fukushima might not be as horrible as the media portrays. however, you have to understand, when the general public sees this kind of accident and some techie starts scoffing and arrogantly laughing and proclaiming how insignicant this accident is THEY STOP LISTENING TO YOU

there is an educated person on a given subject matter, and an uneducated person. what does it take to turn the uneducated person educated? well, not the attitude you see on display in the post above

when the educated person acts like an arrogant ass, the uneducated people doesn't learn anything except that you have an ego problem. they immediately tune you out, and most importantly, they decide, without your input, that nuclear power is too dangerous and insist to their politicians that we don't use it. because no one educated them. they just scoffed at them

do you want nuclear power to be widely adopted? then impassionately and concisely summarize why things might not be as bas they seem to be to the average person. when they ask a stupid question, or display colossal ignorance on a subject matter, smile and educate them simply and succinctly. or laugh at them. and see nuclear power get mothballed everywhere

frankly, ego problems like on display in the comment board above are more irresponsible than an uneducated public. because they show that the educated are more interested in proclaiming their "superiority" (eg, their ego problems) than actually informing people

congratulations jackass: your attitude helps kill nuclear power

Re:you don't say! (3, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641366)

Yeah. Of course. The containment withstood the quake. That's why it is still CONTAINING that plutonium. And I, Cs, Tc and whatnot. That is why we see dose rates of 1 Sv/h in water OUTSIDE the containment. But hey - no matter. Radiation is healthy and ingesting Pu is like chewing on an iron nail, as read further up this thread. You guys are getting somewhat embarrassing by now.

Re:you don't say! (2)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641256)

No, what is being said is that this most likely indicates holes in the reactor containers. Those same containers that TEPCO has been saying are safe since the week when we had daily explosions. In another week, they'll finally come around to say, one by one, that they've had meltdowns in 1, 2 and 3, and that there is significant leakage from the spent fuel in 4.

Then, maybe, we can start learning the truth of what really is happening in Fukushima.

Uncontrolled Nuclear Reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641374)

The isotopes in question all have very short half lives. If they're being found in quantity two weeks after the reactors were shut down, it means that somewhere in the plant there is an uncontrolled nuclear reaction going on. To put it mildly that is extremely bad. If the plant becomes to radioactive for either humans or robots to work there, the other reactors are going to melt down and the spent fuel pools are going to boil off and burn. That is approaching a very large value of bad, and I wouldn't want to be in Tokyo if it happens.

Re:you don't say! (4, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641430)

Several of the radioactive elements they're finding have half lives of a few hours (I-134 and Ag-108 are less than an hour). For those decay products to be found in significant quantities 2 weeks after shutdown indicates the source of the water has a large concentration of these decay products. This would suggest a leak in the reactor's containment, rather than residual run-off from the water dumping/spraying operations. Reactor 2 sustained a hydrogen explosion inside containment, probably within the torus/suppression pool. So this isn't really a surprise.

Reactor 3 had no reports of a similar explosion, but they are inferring that containment is breached based on higher than expected radiation measurements. That is the more worrisome one, since it's using a MOX fuel rather than plain uranium. However, they are reporting that reactor 3 isn't losing pressure, so maybe there isn't a leak.

If you check my post history, you'll see I'm adamantly for nuclear power. But we shouldn't downplay what these reports are telling us.

Radiation from the INNER CORE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641436)

Well, /. does the headlines and summary wrong as usual. The most importation fact isn't even mentioned, the water contains radiation which only source could be the core of the nuclear plant, which means - the inner containment is broken . . . that is the HEADLINE!

Radioactivity? (4, Insightful)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35640786)

Let's see - they've been pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of seawater into the spent fuel pools for over a week now. I would take a wild guess and predict that, yes, there will be some radioactive water lying around.

Re:Radioactivity? (2)

polar red (215081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641214)

Radioactive fishes. radioactivity will accumulate in the top of the food-chain.

Re:Radioactivity? (3, Insightful)

Fibe-Piper (1879824) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641278)

Let's see - they've been pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of seawater into the spent fuel pools for over a week now. I would take a wild guess and predict that, yes, there will be some radioactive water lying around.

Makes sense to me. The problem is, through concentrated disinformation, the corporation in charge has been very good at minimizing the extent of the issues their lack of preparedness has caused the people of Japan.

Everything is being relayed in terms of what they are doing to prevent this or that nuclear side-disaster; nothing to do with the effects of the disaster that has already occurred and continues to occur.

Glibness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641428)

Let's see - they've been pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of seawater into the spent fuel pools for over a week now. I would take a wild guess and predict that, yes, there will be some radioactive water lying around.

The point of the water was that it would be boiled off as it served its purpose of controlling the overheated fuel. It was not supposed to flood the basements, tunnels and threaten to carry radioactive material into the sea. As such, the presence of large volumes of contaminated water suggests that the emergency response was that much more flawed, and the chances that this situation will turn out to be no big deal are that much smaller.

"half-lives measured in hours or days" (3, Informative)

amazeofdeath (1102843) | more than 3 years ago | (#35640794)

Technetium-99 has a half-life of over 200k years. Of course, it's still days, just a lot of them.

Re:"half-lives measured in hours or days" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35640866)

Unless it's Technetium-99m, which has a half-life of 6 hours.

Re:"half-lives measured in hours or days" (3, Informative)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 3 years ago | (#35640946)

And decays to technetium-99, so almost all the initial technetium-99m from the fission reaction while the reactor was active has almost certainly become plain old technetium-99 by now.

Re:"half-lives measured in hours or days" (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35640948)

Unless it's Technetium-99m, which has a half-life of 6 hours.

At which point it decays into...wait for it....wait for it.....Technetium-99

Re:"half-lives measured in hours or days" (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641064)

The reason that materials with half lives of 200k years last so long is because they don't emit much radiation, i.e. they're relatively safe to work with (unless they're poisonous).

The ones you need to worry about are the ones which are decaying rapidly, i.e. the ones with short half-lives.

Re:"half-lives measured in hours or days" (2)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641444)

The ones you need to worry about are the ones which are decaying rapidly, i.e. the ones with short half-lives.

The ones with very short half-lives are not so bad either, since they only need to be contained for a relatively short amount of time until they aren't dangerous anymore.

The worst are the ones with half-lives short enough that they're pretty energetic, long enough that they'll stick around, and which can bioaccumulate. Cesium-137 and Strontium-90, for instance. Or several plutonium isotopes.

Re:"half-lives measured in hours or days" (3, Informative)

Artraze (600366) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641348)

As others pointed out, they're probably referring to Tc99m, which has a short half life. The fact that ground state Tc99 has a half life of roughly forever is probably why it's not mentioned... It's so long that you need a lot of it to get a lot of decays. It's also fairly unreactive and doesn't form any particularly soluble salts (as best as I can tell), so the exposure possibility is limited. Finally, it decays with a fairly low every beta (294keV) and only very rarely emits a low energy gamma (90keV @ 0.0006%).

Compare to Cs137 which has a 30yr half life, so it has the same decay rate as 7,000 times as much Tc99. It forms highly soluble salts and can be absorbed by the body and concentrated in plants. On top of that, it has a much higher decay energy, and usually emits a strong beta (514keV) and gamma (662keV). It makes the Tc99 look like so many bananas. So, they aren't technically correct, but Tc99 isn't really important.

For reference:
Tc99m: http://ie.lbl.gov/toi/nuclide.asp?iZA=430399 [lbl.gov]
Tc99: http://ie.lbl.gov/toi/nuclide.asp?iZA=430099 [lbl.gov]
Cs137: http://ie.lbl.gov/toi/nuclide.asp?iZA=550137 [lbl.gov]

Re:"half-lives measured in hours or days" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641414)

Technetium-99 went out with web 1.0. It's now decayed into "Technetium 2011".

I heard it on TV! (2, Funny)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35640796)

They said we're all gonna dieeeeee!!!!!

But apparently I find out how, after these commercials... damnit! Now I gotta hang around this channel all day!

Re:I heard it on TV! (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35640964)

We are all going to die. Of course, I can't tell you how, since we will die in many different ways. However, I can tell you this, 200 years from now, everyone who is alive today will be dead. There are several theories as to why this is the case, but personally, I blame it on breathing oxygen. I don't know if you have noticed, but everyone who breathes oxygen, dies sooner or later.

Re:I heard it on TV! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641022)

I blame it on breathing oxygen. I don't know if you have noticed, but everyone who breathes oxygen, dies sooner or later.

Unfortunately, 100% of people who don't breath oxygen also end up dead, and usually in a shorter period of time.

Tough call.

Re:I heard it on TV! (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641344)

Thats just the withdraw symptoms. That's what so terrible about it. Once you breathe it in you instantly become addicted, and once addicted you can not go very long without very serious side effects, including death.

Re:I heard it on TV! (2)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641222)

I can tell you this, 200 years from now, everyone who is alive today will be dead.

Except Cher, who will still be around.

Re:I heard it on TV! (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641296)

We are all going to die. Of course, I can't tell you how, since we will die in many different ways. However, I can tell you this, 200 years from now, everyone who is alive today will be dead. There are several theories as to why this is the case, but personally, I blame it on breathing oxygen. I don't know if you have noticed, but everyone who breathes oxygen, dies sooner or later.

Bullshit. I breathe oxygen, and I haven't died! And there's no proof that I will!

Re:I heard it on TV! (4, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 3 years ago | (#35640988)

They said we're all gonna dieeeeee!!!!!

Which is what they said after TMI and Chernobyl and for all I know Windscale as well.

If nuclear power is so damned dangerous where are the piles of dead bodies?

Call me when the number of people in the past thirty years gets up to 0.1% of the number killed by automobiles, or half the number killed by coal power in all its dreadful glory.

Nuclear power has serious economic issues. If it had significant safety issues it would have killed WAY more people by now.

And no, Greenpeace propoganda about us not being able to prove that Chernobyl didn't kill 10,000 people world-wide per year in the past 20 years doesn't count. Every reputable health authority that has looked at the consequence of the Chernobyl disaster has pegged the number in the low thousands at the most. No fun fore those people, but the vastly larger number of people killed by coal and cars aren't having any fun either.

Re:I heard it on TV! (2, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641028)

Live in the Chernobyl exclusion zone for 20 years, and lets see how good your health is. I support nuclear power, but people like you really don't help at all. You're the opposite side of the Greenpeace coin.

Re:I heard it on TV! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641092)

And everyone complaining about how terrible nuclear power can be is the entire coin itself. The rest of us are the jar, and what we care about is having modern, safe reactors.

Re:I heard it on TV! (5, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641148)

Oh nonsense. From day one there has been a minority of pro-nuke people that have insisted this is all perfectly safe, and have been proven wrong over and over and over again. Those types of people do more harm to nuclear power than an army of hippies ever thought about doing. Flippancy isn't the way to deal with this issue, and acting like you're right all the time just makes you look like a jackass.

Re:I heard it on TV! (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641390)

... What if we're not acting? Nobody is being flippant, at least no more flippant than the auto and coal industries about the safety of their products.

Re:I heard it on TV! (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641172)

People and animals do live in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone though.

Thousands of people, many of them elderly, refused to leave 25 years ago, now about 4-500 live there.

Animal life is exploding there as well, with very little animal mutations seen so far.

Re:I heard it on TV! (1)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641282)

Work down a coal mine for 20 years and let me know how good your health is.

Re:I heard it on TV! (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641290)

> Live in the Chernobyl exclusion zone for 20 years...

Except of course nobody lives in the exclusion zone. Which is why there are no pile of dead bodies. Yes the worst case scenario (to date) rendered quite a few square miles uninhabitable for generations but we hopefully learned something from that incident. In Japan they had a lot more go wrong than human stupidity and there still aren't any bodies. It isn't over yet though and things still keep going wrong for em so it is a bit early to say there won't be any.

There just aren't any methods of obtaining large amounts of useful energy that don't involve risk of some sort, almost all of which have proven themselves more dangerous than a modern fission reactor. And the Green solution of giving up on Western Civilization as too dangerous to the Earth isn't a solution either unless we want to murder 90% of the current human population first because low energy means famine with our current population and since sane people won't just walk into the gas chambers war will come before famine and there are damned sure going to be environmental consequences from that.

Re:I heard it on TV! (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641342)

Yeah so what you're saying is that it's perfectly safe, until something happens, and then you just abandon a 50 mile radius around the plant, and call it safe.... You're doing no favors for the nuclear industry by making these types of arguments. How about we just put the money in to them to actually modernize them and make them safe?

This truly is News for Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35640828)

I didn't know about the Lanthanum-140 contamination.... thanks Slashdot.

It's a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35640836)

that Cesium 137 wasn't found in the water.

Re:It's a good thing (1)

matt_gaia (228110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35640884)

Um.... it was found in the water.... What the summary said was that Cesium-137 has a much longer half-life than the other isotopes.

The Daily Chimpout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35640926)

Today, featuring Panama City Burger King Chimpout. [youtube.com]

I'm fine with nuclear power. (4, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35640932)

I'm fine with nuclear power. I'm not fine with nuclear power plants being run by greedy assholes that put the profit margin above the safety margin. We have a few reactors here in the U.S. that are obviously being ran "on the cheap", and frankly those companies should be ran out of town, and taken over by people that put the public safety first.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (2)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641058)

It appears that this reactor was poorly designed in the first place (the technology was new for them and they did not know what they were doing). If they had known what they were doing, they would have worried more about Tsunamis.
It also appears that the company operating it had a *very* cosy relationship with the people responsible for safety. Used elements were simply left on site and had been for years. The safety people apparently did not bother coming around and actually checking.

Recent news indicated they were on top of the problem. Nope, the news was apparently manipulated.

I hope to hell their counterparts in California are learning from this debacle.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641184)

Well, they bought the plant from General Electric: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_I_Nuclear_Power_Plant
I hope the guys did know what they were doing in the USA.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (3, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641226)

Couple that with a culture that tends to frown on whistle blowing and reporting your superiors and you have a real problem on your hands. While this is the first major nuke incident in Japan, there is a long record of serious safety violations and technicians and engineers not willing to go behind their bosses back to report them. In 2003 [ft.com] TEPCO was caught forging documents at ALL 17 of it's reactors. This is far from an isolated incident.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641284)

Spent fuel has to be "left on site" in cooling pools for 10 to 20 years, depending on what type of cask storage to which it is going, and that's IF there is on-site cask storage. So "used elements" couldn't have been anywhere else but on site.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (2)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641312)

Actually, from what I can tell, the reactor design was "outsourced" to companies that had been doing it for some time, like General Electric. And the operating company had cooperated with them several times before at other plants.

The only real problems are the lack of strong oversight (as you mentioned) and the fact that the reactors were very close to the end of their designed lifespan anyways, and were due to be shutdown within a year (a month, for one of them) due to their age.

The solution to the latter is simple: start shutting down old reactors and building newer, safer ones. Solving the problem of the government and corporations being too close, especially in Japan (seriously, while it's bad in the US, it's even worse in Japan), is a bit less trivial.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641328)

Why do they build the poorly designed ones in places where they're going to fail? Shouldn't they build the good ones in the dangerous places and the not-so-good ones where nothing happens to them? Luckily US engineers aren't quite as daft as the engineers who built this crappy plant in that backwater country Japan.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641066)

And yet, that's what we have. It's not that the Japanese "couldn't" have ensured that the backup power was operational, it's that they didn't. Unfortunately, I work close to some people with some rather interesting insight into Japanese business and the Japanese nuclear business in particular.

Somehow I feel the US is not as bad as that, but I would be afraid to "test" to see if that is actually the case. And given the safety record we see in coal mines, I get the feeling there is simply a lot that I don't know and probably don't want to know.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (2)

danlor (309557) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641068)

I'm not.... not sure I ever will be again. I have long supported nukes for power as a good alternative to our many other heavily polluting technologies. But I was over looking a major detail. The systems are not and cannot be fail safe.

At the same time, there is no other competing technology that has anything close to the potential downside that nuclear energy has. I always worried about reactor control, and never really gave much thought to the holding pools. But the pools have much more fuel, and are not heavily protected. If cooling is disrupted, even when everything is "shut down", you are looking at a horrible disaster. Its not worth it.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641206)

Back during the Eisenhower administration, people were talking about power "too cheap to meter". Now, I admit, if it really were too cheap to meter (producing huge amounts of electricity), I think I could live with maybe 1 or 2 nuclear power plants per country.

But given that it's not, and the (small) risk of catastrophic failure, it hardly seems worth it.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (1)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641240)

Not sure why you feel that way. These reactors have been through a 9.0 earthquake and a tsunami, but still there's not a single death due to direct exposure to radiation. If anything, this demonstrates how safe nuclear power it.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641306)

You're not doing any favors for nuclear power by making this type of argument. It's so safe that hey evacuated a 30km area around it. Not a single death that we know of, but workers have been going in to fields with very high radiation. I'd wait a little bit before you celebrate how safe this is.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (3, Insightful)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641382)

If anything, this demonstrates how safe nuclear power it.

I hope that you can come back in five years and say that with a straight face. I think it's fair to say that at this point we have no idea what the long term issues will be with this reactor and the contamination.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (2, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641100)

I'm fine with nuclear power. I'm not fine with nuclear power plants being run by greedy assholes that put the profit margin above the safety margin.

Like Chernobyl?

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641262)

Is that supposed to refute what I said? Chernobyl used a bad design, and they were experimenting around on it, during the night shift. In other words, the public safety aspect was low on their list. We don't live in a communist system, so just saying Chernobyl doesn't refute anything. The reality is that we have private companies that run our reactors, and if those companies aren't putting public safety first, then they don't deserve to run the reactors. If you disagree with that, then I'm not sure what to tell you.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641104)

Better yet, make it mandatory that the CEO of said company lives above ground within 3 miles of their most powerful reactor.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641124)

I've heard this kind of argument before. Harsh accusations without any sort of supporting evidence. You are entitled to your opinions, but without backing them up you are 'obviously' just a zealot.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641168)

Yeah I'm a zealot for wanting safely ran nuclear reactors. You're saying there are no unsafe reactors in the U.S.? Speaking of zealots...

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641352)

I didn't take a side. I said back it up. There are a million misleading news stories out there creating even more misguided readers and listeners. When you make statements like that, the idiots will believe you if you are right or wrong. Yellow journalism only helps to increase ratings and create ignorant hordes. If you think US nuclear safety is that bad, tell us why.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (2)

evildarkdeathclicheo (978593) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641144)

We don't have a power crisis, we don't have peak food, peak oil, or peak facebook views. We have peak people. Radioactive water is a solution, not a problem. -W

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641356)

And that all comes down to people's wallets. Everyone thinks someone else should pay. Safety? Get someone else to pay, not me they all say. That's why we run things with the lowest bidder. They run "on the cheap" because that is what people want.

Re:I'm fine with nuclear power. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641406)

I greedy assholes that put the profit margin above the safety margin

Anybody doing business is that way, buddy...

My theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35640994)

One or more of those reactor buildings contains a reactor.

Re:My theory (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641302)

that is leaking either from broken coolant/steam loop or containment vessel

"No problem..." is what we'll read here (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641030)

This is all just a minor accident that could have been avoided if it weren't for the hippies who won't let us build completely safe reactors to replace the existing completely safe reactors. Right? RIGHT?

IMHO the people who keep playing this down should go to Japan, get in one of those fancy radiation worker suits and CLEAN UP THIS HICCUP WITH THEIR OWN TWO HANDS, FFS.

Re:"No problem..." is what we'll read here (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641304)

No, this is a major accident, and the reactor safeties have performed quite well considering the amount of damage sustained.

My God! (1)

Sigmon (323109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641116)

I hope they don't find any Cobalt Thorium G!

Freudian typo in caption in story (1)

devjoe (88696) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641132)

The photo in the story comes with this caption: Aerial view shows white smoke billowing from a window in the No. 2 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 23. The Japanese unclear safety agency, NISA, said radioactive contaminants were found in water pooling on the floor of the turbine building. Unclear safety indeed!

Re:Freudian typo in caption in story (1)

Fibe-Piper (1879824) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641334)

Re:Freudian typo in caption in story

Or oddly accurate anagram found in caption!

Cobalt-76 ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641194)

Cobalt-76 ? really? It seems to me that they should publish this in a peer-reviewed journal as it seems they have found a new Isotope.
At least according to these [bnl.gov] two [kaeri.re.kr] nuclid charts cobalt-76 is unknown.

Can you say : ( +4, Helpful ) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641322)

Chernobyl [wikipedia.org] ?

Yours In Novosibirsk,
Kilgore Trout

Blame Microsoft (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35641372)

For the technetium.

cesium-137 (1)

trb (8509) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641376)

All have half-lives measured in hours or days, with the exception of cesium-137

which has a half-life of 30 years.

This event totally altered German elections ... (2)

acidfast7 (551610) | more than 3 years ago | (#35641418)

it's nice to see people not only get upset about something once in a while, but to actually vote against it as well. The greens had double digit gains here in German elections. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg_state_election,_2011 [wikipedia.org]
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