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Old August 11, 2013, 15:59   #14
Sagerider
Curio & Relic
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Montana
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I have worked in the nuclear power industry all of my working life, right about 40 years now. I have accumulated 25 Rem. and so far so good. No cancers or other issues. I have been to Fukushima a few times and two other nuclear plants in Japan. I worked hand in hand with a gentleman that blew the whistle on the way Japan and General Electric conductd business together. Hiding information and issues from the Japanese government was normal everyday practice. Things like normal repair issues, material failures and replacements of those components were not to be discussed with anyone. There was most likely an issue with the history there and public concern or even uninformed panic. Still I question all the lies.
Here in the USA we are open about the issues and problems and anyone can google up any plant they wish. As with any machine things break and wear out so repairs and replacement of components is a normal activity. Even our worst accident, Three Mile Island was what I would call a successful failure in that despite the efforts to destroy the plant the thing still shut it's self down with a minimal release of radiological materials into the environment.
Keep in mind radiation exposure is a natural everyday event brought to us from the sun and the cosmos at large. Certain areas of the world have natural occurring background radiation levels higher than others. Some areas have higher Radon gas levels coming up through the ground. Every time you take an airplane ride you get zapped more than if you stayed on the ground simply because at 40,000 feet there is less atmosphere shielding. Don't get me wrong here, I am not saying radiation exposure is a non issue. Any exposure is harmful to biological life. Some cells get damaged and repair themselves, others die and some mutate with the possibility of forming cancers. It all depends on the exposure levels and what that exposure is.
There are three basic types of particles, radiation, Alpha, Beta, Neutron and a ray, Gamma like in an X Ray. Neutron exposure occurs when a power plant is running, that is what makes the things work. Entry into an operating plant is not likely seeing as how the containment are sealed and purged to prevent possibilities of fires. There is no chance of exposure to the public let alone for the workers at the plant itself from neutrons. Alpha is a heavy particle and can lodge in the lungs causing damage to the cells in the surrounding tissues. It is not as energetic as Gamma but you do not want it inside your body that is for sure. Beta is smaller and can be stopped by such things as a thin piece of plastic. Lantern mantles from Colman lanterns emit Beta and can be found in every shop that sells sporting goods. Beta is a fission product and can damage your eyes causing cataracts if the exposure is chronic, chronic means a little over a long period of time like as in a chronic exposure to cigarette smoke. Acute exposure would be a lot over a short period of time. Very high levels of Acute exposures are the most problematic of course. This leaves Gamma which is highly energetic and the most penetrating. If Alpha partials are like shotgun slugs Gamma is like a 220 Swift. It will go through you like you were not there and keep right on going. Most of the everyday exposure we receive from the natural environment is gamma.
Different radio active elements emit different particles or ray as in the case of Gamma. Plutonium is about as bad as it gets emitting Alpha particles and it is also what is called a bone seeker. Most elements that get into your body by breathing, through the digestive tract or absorbed through the skin are naturally eliminated through the biological process like pooping and peeing. Plutonium though will lodge inside your bone marrow and emit heavy Alpha particles causing leukemia among other cancers. Internal exposure to Plutonium is very serious which thank goodness is normally rare.
The elements released from the Fukushima disaster are serious no BS bad boys.
Exposer for babies in the womb and the very young is the most harmful because the cells are growing very rapidly. But, here is the big BUT. Keep in mind there are thoughts among us that will do anything and say anything to promote their personal agenda including skewing facts and data. The Fukushima disaster is no joke and these fission products have been released into the environment on a massive scale. This release of highly radio active material has been largely down played simply because there is not a thing anyone can do about it. Unfortunately there is no such thing as RAD-B-Gone yet so this stuff is out there spreading it's way around the world. Lots of elements have relatively short half lives like cobalt
that has a half life of about five years meaning it is half as energetic from what it was five years ago and decreasing by half every five years. So in ten years it is only one quarter of what it was. Others however are very long lived like 250,000 years. A google search can be very informative and interesting.
Fukushima was a very unfortunate natural disaster but Chernobyl was criminal. The products from that unit went all over the world and they pretended at first like it never happened. This incidence of release of radio active material into the environment was caused by stupidity plain and simple. The problem with these releases is you can not just go out there and Hoover this stuff up. If you get near it for long enough it will kill you sooner or later.
I am sure there are negative effects in the northwest USA as well as Japan or any point where the ocean currents carry this stuff but due to the mass of the ocean the concentration levels are low relatively speaking. Keeping in mind any exposure is harmful and it depends on just how much. This is one of the factors that lead to the nuclear test ban treaties. North Korea and any new to the atomic world of course don't care and will test away without concern about the rest of the world. When we were testing back in the early days we had little real understanding of what the after effects.
I am not a ranting raving environmentalist by any means but I am a responsible adult. Dumping our garbage without regard to the long term effects to the rest of the world is crazy. There are vast areas of the ocean awash in plastic trash from every nation on the planet and it is getting no better. As the worlds population increases unabated it will only get worse. Ignorance is the next worse thing to want in the world. Folks spitting out kids that they can not afford to support and expecting the rest of the world to take on that responsibility has got to stop sooner or later. Every time I see these adds on the tube for help the starving children in Bungabonga I naturally feel sorry for their suffering but I am not the one who caused it and I sure as hell won't help them continue to make more starving children. The old words of wisdom are still relevant today. "If your gonna be dumb ya better be tough". Problem is we are not nearly tough enough.
Sorry for the long drawn out science lesson.
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The written word sometimes like poetry is never really finished but merely abandoned.

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The wind blows, the rain falls, the flag snaps its bravery in the dark as two dogs boil for attention at my feet.

Of course it is a true story. You just couldn't make up something like that, no way.

Last edited by Sagerider; August 11, 2013 at 18:57.
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