No, a nuclear power plant has not contracted smallpox

An Indian nuclear power plant has contracted what is being described as smallpox in a bizarre disease outbreak.
The Kakrapar Nuclear Power Plant in Gujarat has been shut down as officials attempt to work out what is corroding leaking pipes inside the complex.
Experts have said the pipes, which are made from a rare alloy, have contracted a smallpox-like virus which is spreading throughout two Indian Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) at Kakrapar in Gujarat

Officials have been desperately trying to work out what is causing the strange symptoms, but after a year, they are still none the wiser, according to NDTV.
Just over a year ago on March 11, 2016, a unit started leaking and had to be shut down in an emergency due to the amount of water gushing from it.
Several weeks after the leak it was revealed four huge cracks had formed on a coolant tube which was blamed for the incident.
As a result, tubes were exposed to high temperatures and a heavy load of water, which caused them to corrode.

Dunno which of the two the Indians use, zirconium niobium (like the Russians) or zirconium tin (everyone else). But the combination of heat, water and atmosphere does produce corrosion. And it’s dangerous because the corrosion itself can then go bang.

But it’s not smallpox and it’s not a virus.

15 thoughts on “No, a nuclear power plant has not contracted smallpox”

  1. When I was a lad The Beezer comic ( I think) used to have a story called “The Iron Eaters” about these giant multi-coloured sponges that rolled around the landscape absorbing all the iron they could find and getting bigger.

    I have often thought it a shame that D C Thompson and Co did not take over all the UK’s newspapers.

    The stories would have more truth in them.

  2. I betcha the crack journalist glazed over when they tried to explain to him what was happening, so they gave him the analogy. Then, being a genius, he embraced the analogy as reality, and reports the pipes have a ‘smallpox-like virus.’

  3. I thought at first that this was from an Indian rag, but Daily Fail says it all. Surprised they used smallpox as an analogy as it’s been eradicated for well over a generation, so many of their readers won’t relate to that.

  4. This does not even qualify as Fake News – Drivel is more appropriate.

    A virus is a small biological agent that can ONLY replicate inside the living cells of other organisms.

    “…zirconium niobium (like the Russians) or zirconium tin…”

    Must be wrong, those pipes must be made of animal or plant tissue.

    If a virus could infect inorganic material, in what could we contain it?

  5. Perhaps he’s overhead a mechanic talking about Tin Worms and how one could hear them munching away in Lancias.

  6. ‘Also, a gas turbine generator in the south of the country is reported as being “a bit coughy.”‘

  7. I wonder what the quality control was like on the pipes. Having worked with Indian and Chinese mills, I know you have to inspect very closely and do material tests because the certificates they hand over are not infrequently fraudulent. This is based on my 40 plus years as a Materials Engineer in Oil and Gas, I have no reason to think Nuclear would be any different

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