Originally posted by violent torrent
Yes Orangetown, let us think about this on an unemotional, rational level. Your proposal is that uncontained radiation has the potential for "nuclear
explosion," but this is unfounded pseudo-science. Isotopes exist naturally, and are not subject to spontaneous explosivity. If they were, there would
be no existence, because isotopes are merely atoms, and if given atoms were to randomly and spontaneously explode, then the entire universe could not
exist. Your proposal is founded in irrational, sadly ill-informed, I dare say indoctrinated, erroneous thinking.
Ok..violent torrent. Commercial or other types of nuclear plants are not designed to implode and then explode. They do however have containment on
them. A nuclear weapon of the type we are discussing do not have containment after they have gone critical. They just don't go critical in the manner
done in a nuclear steam generating power plant. They do however produce the by products..particularly radiation and contamination.
I do not know where you got the idea that I was speaking of a nuclear weapon design being the same as a commercial or steam power plant design and
capable of causing the same result. I was referring in my post to the energy being real and useful...in existence.
However ..an uncontained criticality is bad news whether from a weapon type device or a nuclear power plant as evidenced by the now famous Chernobyl
There is also the nuclear accident in Japan some ten years or so ago. Surprisingly ..even within the trade ...this accident has been kept very quiet
and not spoken about within the community. There had to be the very quick and heavy hand of politics to cover this one up so completely and rapidly. I
thought this very unusual.
How do you "decontaminate" something at the atomic level?
Doesn't a meltdown occur when the rods become unstable due to lack of cooling?
They do indeed. When rods are removed from a reactor they are put into a special container and moved to a pit or pool of water. The water is a type of
containment. Also the rods have built into them a control feature which stops the reaction. Hence the term control rod. While the fuel is no longer
going critical it is emitting radiation from the criticality process. It is also contaminated from the same process. The water acts as shielding and
containment. The water also acts as coolant and the rods will remain there while the decay heat is brought under control and to a suitable level. This
process of managing the decay heat can take some time.
The decontamination I have done is to tools and equipments used in handling the fuel. It is not in the fuel itself. In this type of
decontamination...alcohol is used or sometimes DI or demineralized water
is used in wiping in a specific manner to reduce the measured contamination levels. Surveys are done after decontamination to see if the contaminants
are brought down to required levels. Some items are released and others are bagged up.."contained" and specially stored in controlled areas.
Some contamination is fixed within the material and cannot be removed by wiping. These items are stored or sometimes disposed of. Stored items are
once again specially bagged...contained.
All these materials and processes are carefully recorded..documented.
All of this type of decontamination is done according to special procedures and specific equipment is required..Anti contamination clothing and even
under certain conditions special ventilation's are required to keep contamination levels from going airborne if the levels are high enough.
If that is correct, then why don't nuclear weapons melt, being cooled by nothing?
Nuclear weapons do not melt down or explode until they reach critical mass. After such a weapon goes critical or explodes ..you are not worried about
cooling per se. Thus meaning you don't need to cool them as is done in a nuclear power plant after initial criticality. They are surprisingly
stable...compared to say...dynamite..particularly leaking dynamite...or let us say...black powder.
Nuclear fuel rods are the same until after initial criticality. Pretty stable until you begin the process of going critical. I've stood within inches
of fuel rods which have not gone critical. It is not a problem.
What would happen if you shot a pistol at one of the rods you work with? Would you blow up the plant with half of the state as well or would
it just ricochet doing nothing?
No ..nothing would happen. First off...I would not recommend firing a pistol at a fuel rod..not because I was worried about blowing up but because a
ricochet is a very dangerous thing. Also what you don't want to do to a fuel rod is mix certain kinds of unauthorized metals with the fuel rod or its
support structure. Copper is not one of them...nor lead.
and this question..
Another question. How do you have an "uncontained" nuclear reaction?
This is what happened at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine,
If I recall the lecture we got on it ...they went from some low power setting in testing to some more than 1500% power in about 4 seconds.
This caused the explosion which opened the power plant and spilled its radioactive/contaminated guts all over the site....uncontained.
They have pieced together a containment over the site but the material is still emitting radiation and contamination inside this containment. The
containment is also deteriorating last I heard unless new measures have been taken.
I don't know what are the survey levels around the plant but it must be considerable. Now that would be an interesting read. The survey data.
Three Mile Island did not breech the containment but there was a partial meltdown in the reactor as a bore scope was lowered into certain areas and
By the way..I don't believe the Chernobyl reactor has a containment structure built around it as does Three Mile Island and other plants. As I
recall Chernobyl is an early design nuclear power plant.
Chernobyl is to my knowledge still this way today..no containment structure around it. I believe there have been plans to shut down the other
reactors there but not sure where these plans stand today.