Cracked nuclear fuel rods

A nuclear power plant in China owned by the companies developing new power stations in the UK has been shut down for “maintenance” after cracks were found in fuel rods.

China General Nuclear (CGN) said the reactor at the Taishan plant, about 80 miles west of Hong Kong, was safe and under control, and the damage was within the “allowable range”.

The problem is more likely at the plant that made the rods than with the reactor……or with the design or operation of the reactor that is.

Well, there’s safe and then there’s safe

Not that I’d recommend eating these piggies but:

A genetic study found that wild boar cross-bred with domestic pigs escaped from local farms in areas deserted by humans after a tsunami and an earthquake triggered the 2011 crisis at Fukushima nuclear power plant and displaced 160,000 people.

For years, hunters have been tracking down radioactive boar, which number in their hundreds and registered levels of the radioactive element caesium-137 300 times higher than is safe.

If the boar are breeding and carrying on happily at 300x “safe” then our definition of safe is pretty restrictive……

Well, possibly

Imagine a nuclear battery in a little box that uses decaying isotopes to generate cheap and clean electricity around the clock for decades with no combustion, fission, or noise. It just sits silently and emits constant power.

This far-fetched idea is becoming real. Vaulting advances in materials sciences are unlocking technologies that radically change the cost calculus of radioisotopes. Companies are springing to life with prototypes that could be on the market before the next general election.

As it happens, the UK is the world leader in the rarified field of isotope batteries. A British-Australian start-up with research operations in Cumbria has found a way to harness gamma rays from the radioactive decay of cobalt-60. Infinite Power thinks it can cut costs to levels that take your breath away. “It is the cheapest source of electricity on the planet,” says Robert McLeod, the chief executive.

I can’t actually imagine anyone allowing dispersed C-60 floating around the countryside.

We have had the occasional incident where a piece – from a cancer treatment machine – ends up in a scrap yard and kills people. It’s a gamma ray emitter which is why we use it as the radiation source to burn up cancers, also what makes the battery work. Whether it’s actually a good idea or not it’s just not gonna happen – public opinion just isn’t going to allow it in car battery chargers which is one of the suggested uses.

Well, yes, except

Depending on how countries classify waste, only about 0.2–3% by volume is high-level waste, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), a London-based industry group that promotes nuclear power.

Mostly derived from civil reactor fuel, this is some of the most dangerous material known on Earth, remaining radioactive for tens of thousands of years. It requires cooling and shielding indefinitely and contains 95% of the radioactivity related to nuclear power generation.

Well, no, not really.

But the idea was boosted in December 2018 by French Nobel prize–winning physicist Gérard Mourou, who, in his acceptance lecture, said laser beams millions of times brighter than the surface of the sun in bursts that last a millionth of a billionth of a second had the potential to neutralise nuclear waste, reducing its half-life to a few years and its radioactivity to very little.

Largely speaking and not wholly and exactly the higher the radiation danger now the shorter the period of time for which it is dangerous. And vice versa. The not wholly is because plutonium is nastily poisonous without radioactivity etc. Thorium poses heavy metal poisoning dangers rather greater than its radioactivity etc.

No, it doesn’t work this way

Hitler was just a ferry-ride away from getting hold of a crucial ingredient needed for an atomic weapon to blow up London, a new documentary has discovered.

In the middle of a Norwegian lake, 100 miles from Oslo, naval historians and scientists have located the boat on which the Nazis were transporting barrels of heavy water for use in German nuclear reactors.

The Hydro ferry was sunk on Churchill’s orders in 1944, but until now nobody knew if the craft really was containing vital component that Hitler needed for his nuclear arsenal.

The reason the Nazis didn’t get the bomb is that they didn’t take getting the bomb seriously.

Getting it in the sort of timescale the Americans did would have required devoting the same sort of resources to it that the Americans did. Getting it by 1960 was trivial but not of a great deal of use when Berlin fell in 1945. Getting it by 1944 when it might – might note – have made a difference required rather more effort. Which they simply didn’t devote to it.

Sure, we can look at certain aspects, this heavy water for example. Or the raid on the Norwegian plant itself. But no, they weren’t going to get there, not the way they were doing it.

Sounds like a sensible place to put it all

Nuclear waste could be stored under some of the most beautiful parts of the country prompting a row with rural campaigners.

A committee of MPs has controversially given the green light to Government plans which could see nuclear waste buried deep in vaults beneath England’s national parks.

The decision was condemned by campaigners who it put “our treasured landscapes under the threat of inappropriate and major development”.

No bugger’s allowed to do anything else with that land, is he? And it’s all being saved in perpetuity as well. What’s the hassle?


The dream of nuclear fusion is on the brink of being realised, according to a major new US initiative that says it will put fusion power on the grid within 15 years.

Well, maybe, and they do make the old joke. But this is nonsense:

The reaction also does not create greenhouse gases or produce hazardous radioactive waste of the sort made by conventional nuclear fission reactors.

You really wouldn’t want to stand around the chunks of steel which make up the reactor after it’s been on for long.

No, no, they don’t

Russia reports radioactivity 986 times the norm after nuclear accident claim

Rather, they report levels of one specific radioactive isotope near 1,000 times normal.

Background radiation up to 1 k normal levels would be a crisis. 1 k normal levels of this type of Ruthenium are an interesting little puzzle we’d like to find the answer to but not a danger to anything in any manner.

An increase of 1,000 times in the amount of music being played would be a large change. An increase of 1,000 times in one specific single being played on the radio is something different, no?

Environmentalism gone mad

For two decades, Alberto Rodriguez has worked in the same cavernous garage along the border between Queens and Brooklyn, surrounded by the clang of metal and the rumbling of engines awaiting repair.

It turns out that he has also been toiling amid potentially dangerous levels of radiation.

Mr. Rodriguez’s shop, Los Primos Auto Repair and Sale, is one of six businesses at the intersection of Cooper and Irving Avenues in Ridgewood, Queens, that have been targeted for demolition as part of a cleanup plan released recently by the Environmental Protection Agency. The businesses are within a Superfund site, the term for sites covered by a program that finances the cleanup of hazardous waste.

Ooooh, gosh!

Mr. Rodriguez’s shop sits atop land formerly occupied by the Wolff-Alport Chemical Company, which from the 1920s through the 1950s extracted metals from imported sand. In the process, the company produced waste containing two radioactive elements, thorium and uranium, which it disposed of by dumping the waste into sewers and perhaps also by burying it, according to the federal plan.

Well, OK, that’s not good practice, certainly. BTW, yes, they were producng rare earths, from monazite, which does indeed contain thorium and uranium. So, how dangerous is it?

If no further remediation were done at the site, a future resident would see an increased risk of cancer of about 0.005 percent, the plan predicted.

So, umm, nothing. And how much will it cost?

The projected cost of the government’s preferred plan for the Wolff-Alport cleanup is more than $39 million.

It’ll cost bundles. So, we’re to spend a lot to achieve nothing. It’s environmentalism gone mad I tell ‘ee!

I would wager that that risk is lower than moving across the Tamar into Cornwall…..and remember, the EU insists that Cornish pasties much actually be made in such a radioactive area these days.

This is a bit of a dilemma for a greenie, isn’t it?

The former island paradise of Bikini Atoll is slowing blooming back to life, 70 years after the United States dropped 23 nuclear bombs on it, including a device in 1954 that was 1,100-times larger than the Hiroshima atom bomb.

A team of scientists from Stanford University have been surprised to discover an abundance of marine life apparently thriving in the crater of Bikini Atoll, which was declared a nuclear wasteland after the bombings, with its 167 inhabitants relocated to other islands.

Steve Palumbi, a professor in marine sciences at the university, said the effects of radiation poisoning on ocean life have never been studied in-depth, and his team’s initial research suggests it is “remarkably resilient”.

Animals studied by scientists in and around the Chernobyl blast showed deformities and mutations, but the Stanford teams initial research suggest the marine life in Bikini may have fared significantly better.

We all know that the Great Barrier Reef is bleaching, dying, dead, as a result of a couple of ppm of CO2 floating around. Yet quite literally bombing the shit out of a place and leaving all the radiation lying around doesn’t seem to bother the wildlife very much.

Nuclear power it is then to save the planet, eh?

At which point, fair play to Monbiot, one of the very few greenies who has looked, thought and been convinced.

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.

That Moldovan Radioactive Uranium

We actually have a picture of how much it was:

Moldovan intelligence officials say they have seized an ‘imposing quantity’ of radioactive uranium from a criminal group and detained several people.
The Moldovan Intelligence and Security Service said the uranium was due to be sold for £154,000 but did not say how big the haul was.
In a statement, it said ‘a criminal group specializing in smuggling radioactive substances was uncovered’, adding that ‘members of the group were found to be Moldovan citizens’.

That picture:


Eyeballing it, I dunno. Half a kg? So you’ve only got to do that 50 more times and you too could have enough for a bomb. Assuming that it is HEU rather than LEU of course.

And I really do tend to think that you could do more damage in other ways for that sort of amount of money.

There was actually a big report a few years back about the radioactive smuggling stuff. I found it all most interesting myself for I have smuggled nuclear materials (that is, things that can be used in nuclear, not radioactive things. 40 tonnes of nuclear grade zirconium out of Russia and into being made into AlMag car wheels for boy racers was a particular favourite. My actual trade in radioactive things has all been entirely, even scrupulously, legal. Including police car outriders with sirens whooping and all the rest ). As far as I recall absolutely every buyer was the security services of one country or another. There just is no private market for this shit.

Bollixy bollixy bollocks, eh?

The true effect from Chernobyl may not be known for decades.

The blast immediately killed one person. A second died in the hospital after succumbing to injuries. While the reactor burned for two weeks, discharging the largest-ever uncontrolled amount of radioactive material into the environment,

Compared with other nuclear events: The Chernobyl explosion put 400 times more radioactive material into the Earth’s atmosphere than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima; atomic weapons tests conducted in the 1950s and 1960s all together are estimated to have put some 100 to 1,000 times more radioactive material into the atmosphere than the Chernobyl accident.” :This article is written in page 8(9) of “Ten years after Chernobyl:What do we really know? “of the PDF official document

And I don’t think that claiming an atomic bomb as being “controlled release” is going to work, do you?

Radiation’s just so deadly to life, isn’t it?

Radioactive wild boars are running rampage across northern Japan after being contaminated in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The animals are causing hundreds of thousands of pounds in damage to local farms, having been allowed to breed unhindered in the exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The number of boars in Fukushima has increased by more than 330 per cent in recent years, as local hunters cannot kill off the radioactive animals fast enough.

Even a tincture of radiation kills everything according to Greenpeace. Turns out not to be quite so…..

Well, no, not going to work

Isil terrorists are planning to use drones to spray nuclear material over Western cities in a horrific “dirty bomb” attack, David Cameron has warned.

World leaders are concerned that jihadists want to buy basic drones that are widely available online to transport radioactive material into the heart of major cities in a strike that could kill thousands.

What are they going to spray that would kill thousands?

Nuclear and radiation just don’t work that way. Chucking a few hundred grammes of something around just doesn’t kill people. Not thousands. Could cause problems, cause chaos even, but kill? Nah.

But why target a nuclear power plant?

The Brussels terrorists may have been plotting to make a radioactive bomb after it emerged 11 nuclear power plant workers have had their site access revoked amid fears of ‘insider help’.
Jihadi brothers Khalid and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui had secretly filmed the daily routine of Belgium’s nuclear programme chief, before they blew themselves up at Brussels airport and on a Metro train.
It is thought the brothers’ spying operation was possible preparation for a kidnap plot to force him to let them into one of Belgium’s two atomic facilities. However, it is likely they switched targets to the less well-guarded airport and Maelbeek Metro station after authorities became suspicious.

Yes, yes, yes, dirty bomb and all that. But you wouldn’t get the material for a dirty bomb from a nuclear power plant anyway. Just wouldn’t work.

I’ll not write a guide to where you would get something useful but the power station ain’t it.

Yet more lying toads about nuclear

5 Years Living with Fukushima is a report outlining the devastating health effects of the still ongoing disaster of the meltdown of three reactors at Fukushima Daiichi. We estimate 10,000-66,000 excess cases of cancer, half resulting in death from this event, even using the underestimated radiation emission data from the WHO and the Japanese government.

That’s in the coming decades. Call it three decades then?

Number of cancer cases a year in Japan is 800,000 or so. Over three decades call it 24 million cases. A 0.04% increase in incidence then. Not something we’ll ever be able to measure and perhaps not something that we’d be greatly concerned about.

But here’s how we know they’re being the most ghastly lying little cunts:

And the tragedy continues to
the present day. Approximately 300 tons of radioactive wastewater
flows unchecked into the ocean every day. The Fukushima disaster
already created the most severe radioactive contamination of the
oceans in human history.

I can’t be bothered to go back and look up the figures again but let’s get this right. The 300 tonnes a day is groundwater which is flowing under (possibly even through) the site and then out to sea. The only radioactivity it picks up is tritium as that’s the only bit that isn’t filtered out through the process of the ground water moving through the, erm, ground. The effect of that tritium upon the levels in the ocean is, to any level of reasonable accuracy, nothing. Because the oceans already contain quite a lot of it.

Thus, obviously, something contaminated those oceans more severely than this event did.

They’re cunts and they’re lying.

More lying toads on nuclear

Re Fukushima:

Already 16 cases of childhood thyroid cancer have been operated on in children who were cancer free two years prior. Fifty cases of possibly thyroid cancer by biopsy are awaiting surgery.

From their own briefing on the subject:

Although it is not appropriate to compare prevalence obtained by a general population
screening and incidence based on clinical diagnosis

How have they calculated their increase in prevalence? By comparing the result of a general population screening against previous incidence found by clinical diagnosis.

Lying toads, eh?

Greenpeace are lying toads, aren’t they?

Economic crises convulsing Russia, Ukraine and Belarus mean testing in areas contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster has been cut or restricted Greenpeace said, and people continue to eat and drink foods with dangerously high radiation levels.

Whether they’re dangerously high levels seems to depend upon the effect they have upon the humans that eat the forest mushrooms etc. And, given that they’re not all keeling over and glowing in the dark, maybe they’re simply not dangerously high levels?

No, let’s not go all the way to hormesis, let’s just stick with logic. Yes, we have Greenpeace et al shouting that certain levels of radioactive material in the environment is highly dangerous. We have Greenpeace shouting that those levels are in said environment, this is highly dangerous. But we’ve the actual evidence of the people living in that environment which indicates that it’s not highly dangerous.

Logically thus we should be re-examining our initial assumption about what is a highly dangerous level of radiation in the environment. That being the one thing Greenpeace will never do of course.


Fukushima: Tokyo was on the brink of nuclear catastrophe, admits former prime minister

No, it wasn’t.

This story tells us that the former Prime Minister thinks it was but that’s not quite the same thing.

Fukushima got as bad as it could already. One containment ruptured, several cores melt down, not really much else that can happen. The reactors didn’t have a graphite core, so a Chernobyl style fire wasn’t possible. We had the hydrogen explosion which was the only sort we could conceivably get (no, the cores would not, could not, go off like an atomic bomb). Those idiots mithering about a zirconium fire were just that, idiots.

As even George Monbiot has agreed, this whole Fukushima episode shows how damn safe nuclear power is. A truly massive earthquake followed by a tsunami that killed tens of thousands leads to the direct deaths from nuclear power stations falling over in the worst possible manner being, erm, zero.

The truth is that it’s all an expensive problem but not a dangerous one.