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Thursday, October 27, 2011

☢ Fukushima Vs Atom Bombs - Putting Things In Perspective ☢

Hi folks,

I read a comment on enenews talking about the amount of radioactive material stored at the Fukushima nuclear plant and how this compared to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. I have had this in the back of my mind for quite some time but other events taking place have put me off from doing a post about this. Well now is the time.

Lets start with how much radioactive material is stored at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Actually it would be more correct to say how much was stored until the explosions at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Because reports show that Plutonium and spent fuel along with other radioactive material have scattered around the plant and the surrounding area.

The spent nuclear fuel:

Reactor Building 1: 50 tons
Reactor Building 2: 81 tons
Reactor Building 3: 88 tons Uranium / Plutonium (UO2/MOX)
Reactor Building 4: 135 tons
Reactor Building 5: 142 tons
Reactor Building 6: 151 tons
Common Spent Fuel Storage Facility located at ground-level: 1,097 tons Uranium / Plutonium (UO2/MOX)
Dry Storage also located at ground-level: 70 tons

The reactor unit cores contain less than 100 tons of nuclear fuel.
Numbers given by Marvin Resnikoff, a radioactive waste management consultant.

Unit 1
Unit 2
Unit 3
Unit 4
Unit 5
Unit 6
Central Storage
Reactor Fuel Assemblies
Spent Fuel Assemblies
New Fuel Assemblies

Now lets put things in perspective. Little boy the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima had 150 lbs Uranium-235. While the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki, the Fat Man contained 13.6 lbs Plutonium-239.

Both bombs leveled the cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki and brought great destruction to the Japanese.

However Soviet Union's most powerful 50 megaton Tsar bomba the biggest nuclear bomb ever made weighed 27,000 kilograms (60,000 lb).

The explosion of the Tsar Bomba put out the equivalent of 1,400 times the combined power of the two nuclear explosives used in World War II the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Little Boy (13–18 kilotons) and Fat Man (21 kilotons). Tsar bomba alone had 10 times the combined power of all the explosives used in WWII. And one quarter of the estimated yield of the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa.

But still the 27 tons of radioactive material in the Tsar Bomba is nothing compared to the amount at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. It’s hard to try and imagine but I hope these numbers will give you a little more understanding of the situation.

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☢ The Radioactive Chat ☢

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Geiger Counters - Radiation Detection Meters - Handheld Radiation Detector

When it comes to radiation detection meters you really have a wide field of gadgets to choose from, however radiation detectors are the most common to use. First of all if you need to know what type of radiation you are looking for. There are Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation detectors. And also there is neutron emission of nuclear radiation. And all these different types of emissions have radiation detectors for a specific type of radiation that you can buy radiation detector for. Some also measure both Alpha and Beta. Others detect Alpha, Beta and Gamma. While others let you measure Beta and Gamma radiation.

What most people have use for though are Dosimeters you can buy a handheld radiation detector pretty cheap that are good addition to a survival kit. There are different kinds that you can use that will detect radiation. There are radiation badges that will tell you when radiation become high. Workers at nuclear power plants use these to inform them of how much radiation they have been exposed to. Now also children in the Fukushima prefecture have each been given a radiation badge so they know if they are exposed to radiation. Some come in the shape of a pen that you can carry in your pocket while other are made more compact so that you can attach them to your keychain. And then you have what is called a personal radiation monitor. These are also called Dosimeters and also normally called Geiger counters. Although not all use the Geiger-Muller Tube for the radiation detection some use a semiconductor instead. These and mostly the older geiger counters seen are pretty big to carry around, so they might not be best suited for a survival situation where you only need to carry the most important things. However if you have land and want to check radiation around the property and drinking water then these are the geiger counters to get because they are very well built units.

These are the once that you normally see people use. They have different units of radiation detection, because when it comes to radiation there are many standards used. some give the measurements in Rads, while other use Sieverts. Some have the maximum radiation value for the measured radioactivity quite low but they will still give you an idea of the amount of radiation in the area. With the units ranging from between background radiation 0.001 mSv/hr all the way up to 10 Sv/h. Normally a dosimeter will measure radiation in micro siverts per hour. If you were to walk into one of the reactor units at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant you probably would get an error reading from your dosimeter because the radiation levels are so high there.

Note that some places outside the exclusion zone in Fukushima that are too radioactive for people to live in have areas where the radiation levels are above 30 Sv/h. So if you are in a area that have high radiation the radiation detectors would also there go off the scale. However Geiger counters or radiation detectors are still favored as general purpose alpha/beta/gamma portable radiation detectors and radiation detection equipment, due to their low cost and robustness. Most come with an LCD Display that show you the radioactivity in the area. Nowdays you will even get alarm sound and the possibility to connect the device to a computer. Either with a Infrared, Bluetooth or USB connection.

So if you look at the radiation detectors for sale that have this, then these radiation detection meters will allow you to make maps of contaminated areas that show where the radiation is high and low. This also will help you to see which areas are becoming more contaminated over time. With several nuclear reactors in the US and around the world located near fault zones that makes it a danger if a big earthquake would hit the area there is always a good choice to have a radiation dosimeter avaliable. I'm sure many in Fukushima would have been grateful to have dosimeters avaliable at the time of the disaster and I am sure you to would be grateful to have a geiger counter handy when you need one.