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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fuku blues, weekend edition

The bad news keeps gushing out of the Japanese nuclear meltdown site like highly radioactive wastewater to the sea. Now internal radiation exposure is being found in thousands of that nation's nuclear plant workers -- even some who "visited" Fuksuhima only briefly after the earthquake. It's scandalous that they haven't yet started checking local residents, who have been exposed to the bad air and soil for much longer. When they do, the results will likely be grim indeed. There is going to be an awful lot of cancer in Japan in the next few decades, not to mention birth defects in the coming months.

They keep finding really nasty items among the debris outside the blown-up reactors. Here's a story about a pile of something on the ground outside reactor 3, that's throwing a sievert an hour of radiation off its surface. Lord knows what you'd find if you dug into it.

Meanwhile, back on our side of the Pacific, according to this report, translated from French, there was a spike of airborne plutonium in California on March 24. This is about the time that the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric were denying the reality of the triple meltdown. Plutonium is particularly toxic if inhaled.

Comments (3)

Taleb (The Black Swan) has some comments on the predictability of catastrophic events:


Fred, you might be interested in Karl Popper's work on Scientific Determinism, particularly, Open Universe. Yaleb and Popper track quite well.

Let's look at that spike. It is 6.4 atto Ci or 6.4x10^-18 Ci. 1 Ci=3.7x10^10Bq, therefore 6.4atto Ci=237x10^-9Bq, or 0.237 micro Bq. A very small number indeed.

By comparison, if 1 atto compared to 1 foot, in atto terms, 1 foot is ~32 light years long!

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