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We need to add to this the problem with the spent fuel pools, especially the one at #4, which has a working core also in storage. The problem with water that has +1 Sievert surface radioactivity is that it makes access to everything more problematic. Plus, there is an excellent chance that the spent fuel pool at #3 boiled dry or almost dry at one point.

I still do not know if they have applied boron powder or boric acid to the spent fuel pools or the cores. Of course boric acid is soluble and will leak out if there are leaks but will crystallize and remain if pools or reactor cores boil dry.

Metalic boron melts at 4000K, is insoluble in most acids and forms an oxide when heated in air. I don't know if it forms a surface, oxide-like, anodization that prevents further oxidation, but it seems to be a good substance to turn into small granules and drop into spent fuel pools with water. It is a good conductor of heat at higher temperatures also.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:31:49 AM EST
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Boron oxide is a glass.  (Think pyrex)

I would go with borax (sodium borate decahydrate) personally.  It's readily available, non-toxic, and at higher temperatures it releases lots of steam and turns into glass.  It is also anty-toxin.

by njh on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 07:36:00 AM EST
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