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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.

What a surprise about nuclear power plants at Fukushima!

Five years after the Fukushima nuclear plant was crippled during a devastating earthquake and tsunami, the plant operator has admitted that only a fraction of the clean-up has been accomplished to make the site safe.

As Japan prepares to mark the anniversary of the world’s second-worst nuclear disaster, it is clear that the progress to date – clearing up debris, and installing protective structures around the four reactor buildings that were destroyed – is largely skin deep.

The most technically complex and dangerous tasks, including locating and removing the nuclear fuel that has burned through the pressure vessels of three of the reactors and is believed to have pooled at the bottom of the containment chambers, are yet to begin.

The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco), believes that the work will take at least another 40 years to complete.


The current estimate by the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is that it will cost at least £100 billion to decommission the 19 existing United Kingdom nuclear sites.[6] Due to the radioactivity in the reactor structure, decommissioning takes place in stages. The plans of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority for decommissioning reactors have an average 50 year time frame.

It takes 50 years to dismantle a not-explodey nuclear reactor. It takes near 50 years to dismantle an explodey nuclear reactor.

My word.

The unknown thing that everyone knows about


Radon is a radioactive gas that causes 1,100 deaths a year in the UK, yet it’s largely unknown.

Unknown in the sense that the government prints maps of areas that might be at risk, runs a testing service for your house, companies manufacture and sell the solution (essentially, a fan to ventilate the basement) and all of this has been going on for decades.

That sort of unknown.

Radiation’s not that much of a problem then

Man is even more deadly to wildlife than a nuclear disaster, according to new research which has found animal populations in the Chernobyl exclusion zone have unexpectedly soared 30 years after the world’s worst nuclear accident.
Land surrounding Chernobyl – which was evacuated after the 1986 catastrophic nuclear accident – is now teeming with elk, deer and wolves.

And nature is a great deal more resilient than anyone thought.

Umm, no Guardian, no

Radiation from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has for the first time been detected along a North American shoreline, though at levels too low to pose a significant threat to human or marine life, scientists said.


The levels the group detected are extremely low. For example, swimming in the Vancouver Island water every day for a year would provide a dose of radiation less than a thousand times smaller than a single dental X-ray, Woods Hole said.

Too low to pose any would be closer.

Look out for the wave of idiots screaming about the earth being poisoned any moment now….

On that Isis dirty bomb

Islamic State fanatics claim to have constructed a dirty bomb after stealing 40kg of uranium from an Iraqi university.

Militants boasted of the device on social media, with one even commenting on the destruction such a bomb would wreak in London, four months after the chemical was reported missing from Mosul University.

Hmm. So, what is that uranium?

The transfer of some Al Jesira process samples to Mosul University could explain the higher than expected uranium chemical inventory. Thus, the 40 kilograms of uranium chemicals “stolen” from Mosul University probable consist of lab reagents such as uranyl acetate (plus other species), yellowcake, ammonium diuranate, uranium trioxide, uranium dioxide and there might be samples of UCl4 uranium tetrachloride], but only gram quantities…

None of that is concentrated, in the sense that the bits that go bang have been separated out from the bits which don’t go bang.

It’s not that unusual to find 100 ppm (parts per million) uranium in granite rock. There’s parts of Cornwall and Aberdeen that are so. That’s 100 grammes per tonne rock, so that 40 kg is about the amount of uranium we might expect to find in 400 tonnes of reasonably standard rock.

And I’m sure there’s one building or another in London that’s made out of 400 tonnes of granite. Doing no one any great harm over the centuries. And I’ll absolutely guarantee you that there’s 40 kg of uranium in the soil in Hyde Park. Heck, there’s probably that much in the bitumen on Oxford Street.

Imagine someone did set off such a dirty bomb in London. A quick spray down with some high pressure hoses (after the effects of the actual explosion of course) and you’d not actually be able to tell, from the residual radioactivity, that it had actually happened. For in that 40kg we are actually talking about 300 grammes of radioactive uranium (thereabouts).

Just to give some idea of the “danger” of this material. We used to use the same stuff as a glaze for pottery. We think it’s not a very good idea these days, that’s true, phased it out decades ago. But I’ve certainly seen stories of not very well managed school or art college potteries finding a bag or two of it (it sometimes came in 50 lb sacks) out in back left over from the old days.

Fukushima’s simple solution: dump it in the ocean

Another one of these reports from The Guardian about how difficult and vital and terrible is the Fukushima clean up:

Up to 400 tonnes of groundwater that flows into the basements each day must be pumped out, stored and treated – and on-site storage is edging closer to capacity. Decommissioning the plant will be impossible until its operator, Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco] addresses the water crisis.

Last month workers from Tepco and the construction firm Kajima Corp began inserting 1,550 pipes 33 metres vertically into the ground to form a rectangular cordon around the reactors. Coolant set at -30C will be fed into the pipes, eventually freezing the surrounding earth to create an impermeable barrier.

It’s a good illustration of why nuclear power is so damn expensive. Because it’s grossly, grossly, overengineered for safety.

That groundwater flowing out into the ocean after passing under the reactors? It’s simply not important. Nothing needs to be done about it. Let the damn stuff flow into the ocean.

The used an unused fuel assemblies? Sure, they need to be cleaned up. The melted reactor cores? Sure, damn right we don’t want to leave them lying around. The coolant water used on those reactor cores? Sure, run it through the purification circuit. But this groundwater? By the time it actually reaches the mouth of the bay the radioactivity is so diluted that it’s below safe drinking water levels*.

Just leave it be: except, of course, for the hysteria over the tiniest, teensiest bits of radioactivity.

*That might be a slight exaggeration but not by much.

This isn’t going to work I’m afraid

The boss of Urenco, the enriched uranium supplier that has been put up for sale with a price tag of £9bn, has made the case for mini-nuclear power plants to solve the energy problems of industry and developing countries.

Helmut Engelbrecht said there was a growing case for “small-scale, modular” plants – the type being developed by B&W mPower and America’s NuScale Power – to plug demand for energy without the costs of conventional nuclear.

“The challenge for the industry is to come up with something simple and reliable that can beat wind power on cost – a plug in and play unit,” he said.

Not because I doubt the technology at all. But because there are simplky too many people who will shout “Nuclear!” and that will be the end of it.

The idiots have poisoned the well and I just don’t think that any new variation of fusion nuclear will be politically successful. Sad, but that’s indeed my view.

Apologies, but shit happens, y’know?

Local residents and environmental groups have reacted angrily to the announcement that prosecutors have decided to drop the charges for responsibility for the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

As Japan nears the third anniversary of the March 11 earthquake that crippled the plant, no-one has been held accountable for the second-worst nuclear accident in history, despite the independent investigative committee set up by the government concluding in July 2012 that the accident was “man-made disaster” caused by shortcomings in Japanese corporate culture.

“Absolutely no-one is taking responsibility for this huge accident and when all these people are suffering,” Aileen Mioko-Smith, of Kyoto-based Green Action Japan, told The Telegraph.

“The investigation clearly stated this was an accident created by humans, not a natural disaster, but the judicial system here has now decided to side with the powers-that-be,” she said.

“The government will be happy with the decision, but it is completely irresponsible,” she said. “And I fear that failing to prosecute in this case will lead to another disaster in the future.”

Even if we accept that it was indeed human error that led to this disaster (something I’m entirely unsure about myself) this does not therefore lead to the conclusion that someone, somewhere, is criminally responsible.

Because, sadly, sometimes shit just happens. And for something to be a crime then the sequence of events has to be at least vaguely forseeable. And, oddly, no one really did forsee the idea of a massive earthquake followed by one of the world’s largest ever tsunamis.

This US Navy Fukushima lawsuit

Dozens of American sailors who assisted Japan during the 2011 nuclear disaster are suing the operators of Fukushima power plant for more than £612 million (US$1bn) in damages, claiming that they have become sick from radiation exposure.

The sailors were on board the USS Ronald Reagan super-carrier when it was diverted to northeast Japan following the devastation of the March 11, 2011 earthquake which triggered a tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster.

As they helped rescue victims and evacuate disaster zones, the claimants allege that they drank, bathed and waded through water contaminated with radiation from the damaged nuclear power plant and were reportedly exposed to radioactive plumes.

A total of 79 named claimants – including sailors, support personnel and dependents – allege that over the past three years, they have suffered from serious health issues as a result of radiation exposure from the plant, ranging from an array of cancers such as leukemia to eye diseases and fertility problems.

I’m afraid that I just don’t believe it for a number of reasons.

USS Ronald Reagan is a nuclear powered ship itself. Thus it is festooned with nuclear monitoring equipment. Which, amazingly, didn’t go off.

Secondly, if radiation were the cause of these illnesses this would be quite easy to test. Check the bodies of the people suffering from them for radiation. That they’re not waving this around as a bloody shirt leads one to suspect that they can’t find any such evidence.

“There is no indication that any U.S. Personnel supporting Operation Tomodachi experienced radiation exposure at levels associated with the occurrence of long-term health effects,” a US Navy spokesman told The Telegraph.

“All personnel were monitored, with very sensitive instruments. The worst case radiation exposure was less than 25 per cent of the annual radiation exposure that a member of the public gets from the sun, rocks or soil.”

I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe the claims being made in this case.