Saturday, September 28, 2013

Royal Baby in Danger! Kate and William Struggle to Grasp Consequences




London (ANA) -- They looked like they were "an ickle spooked" as they heard the news, one bystander said. A consultant for the Royal Family® announced on Friday, "We are now within two months of what may be Baby George's most dangerous moment since his grandmother's visit. There is no excuse for not acting. All the resources our species can muster must be focused on that fuel pool in Japan, at Fukushima Unit 4."

The damaged power plant's owner, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), says that within as few as 60 days it may begin trying to remove more than 1300 spent fuel rods from a badly damaged pool perched 100 feet in the air. The pool rests on a building that is tilting, sinking and could easily come down in the next earthquake, if not on its own. Some 400 tons of fuel in that pool could spew out more than 15,000 times as much radiation as was released at Hiroshima, causing potentially life threatening harm to the Royal Baby®.

"I think someone told me that's enough even to get to England," Prince William commented late Friday. "The one thing I know about this crisis is that my people say Japan does not have the scientific, engineering or financial resources to handle it. The situation demands a coordinated worldwide effort of the best scientists and engineers the Emp--that our united species, acting as one, can muster. Or else there might be fewer pictures of my kid, and some of your kids would probably die, too."

Archibald Peabody, senior correspondent for Arken News Agency, asked British security officials why this situation was so serious, given that the problems at the Japanese nuclear reactor have previously been a background news item. For the past several years, thousands of tons of heavily contaminated water have been pouring through the Fukushima site, carrying long-lived poisonous isotopes into the Pacific. Tuna irradiated with fallout traceable to Fukushima have already been caught off the coast of California and canned for distribution throughout North America, but the issue had never been sufficiently menacing to justify international action until just recently, when scientists determined that fallout would eventually make its way in other directions, too.

Tepco continues to pour more water onto the proximate site of three melted reactor cores it must somehow keep cool. Steam plumes indicate fission may still be going on somewhere underground. But nobody knows exactly where those cores actually are.

Much of that irradiated water now sits in roughly a thousand huge but fragile tanks that have been quickly assembled and strewn around the site. Many are already leaking. All could shatter in the next earthquake, releasing thousands of tons of permanent poisons into the Pacific.

"I'm a little bit...nervous about it," said Princess Kate. "I read at...college that the places in not-England are...on some kind of 'planet' connected somehow to London, in a sort of...'connected'...[such as]...so that stuff might eventually get here, the way sometimes people come with cameras who I know aren't from around here." The Princess, looking fretful, then asked the evening child development specialist to go in and check on Baby George, and to "sort of pat his head, you know, to see if he's [all right] still 'cause for the Japanese [radiation]."



The water flowing through Fukushima is also undermining the structures that survived the original tsunami and earthquake, including the rickety one supporting the fuel pool at Unit Four. More than 6,000 fuel assemblies now sit in a common pool just 50 meters from Unit Four. Some contain plutonium, which scientists have determined to be unsafe for ingestion. The pool has no containment over it. It’s vulnerable to loss of coolant, the collapse of a nearby building, another earthquake, another tsunami and more.

Overall, more than 11,000 (Ed. a lot) fuel assemblies are scattered around the Fukushima site. According to long-time expert and former Department of Energy official Robert Alvarez, there is more than 85 times as much lethal cesium on site as was released at Chernobyl. There is already evidence of heightened rates of thyroid damage among Japanese children, indicating that the Royal Baby's® thyroid may be in danger in the years ahead.

Just prior to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that shattered the Fukushima site, the core of Unit Four was removed for routine maintenance and refueling. Like some two dozen reactors in the US and many more around the world, the General Electric-designed pool in which that core now sits is a humanitarian and engineering masterpiece, designed to be stored 100 feet in the air for reasons unfathomable to mortal man.

Spent fuel must also be kept under water. For safety reasons, General Electric clad these fuel rods in zirconium alloy, which will spontaneously ignite when exposed to air. Long used in flash bulbs for cameras, zirconium burns with an extremely bright hot flame.

Each uncovered rod emits enough radiation to kill someone standing nearby in a matter of minutes. A conflagration could force all personnel to flee the site and render electronic machinery unworkable.

According to Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with forty years in an industry for which he once manufactured fuel rods, the ones in the Unit 4 core are bent, damaged and embrittled to the point of crumbling. The engineering and scientific barriers to emptying the Unit Four fuel pool are unique and daunting, says Gundersen. But it must be done to perfection. Should the attempt fail, the rods could be exposed to air and catch fire, releasing horrific quantities of radiation into the atmosphere. If the pool collapses, before or during the attempt, the rods could fission and explode, producing a radioactive cloud that would cover what scientists call "the globe." The British Government has already begun work on a series of underground fallout shelters, in which the Royal Baby can breathe filtered air while supervising the growth of what one MI6 official called "a Morlock like race" of clones to help him "conquer the surface world once radiation levels are sufficiently reduced," some six thousand years later.

Former Ambassador James Radcliffe says full-scale releases from Fukushima "would destroy the outerworld environment as well as London. This does not connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of Baby George's quality of life."

Neither Tokyo Electric nor the government of Japan can go this alone. The world's best scientists and engineers have designed advanced, efficient nuclear reactors at critical locations across the globe, and now, we must appropriate billions of additional dollars in order to pay these great minds enough to stop working at the jobs they've been doing elsewhere for the past two years, and solve this completely unforeseen problem that has put the Royal Baby® in such unacceptable danger.

(c) 2013, Arken News. Thanks given to CNN and Common Dreams.

3 comments:

  1. I laughed, in part because some of the cliches from the original articles made it not only into the present mockery, but also in some of my friends' "spontaneous" and thoughtful ruminations over the problem (especially the so obvious part about the "best minds").

    As for the gravity of the problem, I am actually pretty sure it is overstated - it is messy and important, but not nearly as apocalyptic. 1000 tons of radioactive water is nothing (this is roughly the volume of a 3 small apartments stacked on each other. Surely the Pacific can handle that and much more.

    Don't know about the other reactor design idiocies - if they are all true, that's indeed scary and should be punishable somehow. But the numbers on amounts of radiation that could potentially be released have absolutely no citations or technical analysis, and I am betting $ 100 Arken dollars that they are vastly overstated and pulled out of some bloggers ass.

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    1. (The "100 feet in the air" thing was a half-assed attempt at tsunami survival, meant to survive the broadest part of the curve, e.g., smaller, less powerful waves. Most plants get away with that kind of corner-cutting much longer than Fukushima, a newer one, did.)

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  2. PS Screw Harvey Wasserman specifically, for exemplifying some of the worst traits of sensationalist interwebz writing.

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