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The sea. The pacific already has a billions of tonnes of natural radioactives in it, so diluting the cooling water into the ocean slowly would be safe.

Uhm. done correctly, anyway. One needs to avoid local concentrations at any point.

by Thomas on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 02:32:14 PM EST
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It doesn't just dilute in a general fashion. Local concentrations depend on natural factors like wind and currents. "Doing it correctly" would be likely to turn out complicated and expensive.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 03:05:25 PM EST
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Several of the links point to TEPCO trying to do it correctly, and finding that none of the efforts, repeat, none, have stopped the leaks to the ocean or the groundwater. Leaks at ridiculously high levels not seen before.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 03:38:04 PM EST
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There are links in the article which claim the ocean does not dilute as expected, including a recently declassified study from early Pacific bomb testing.

Even if there is a dilution effect, the levels currently being seen are so far over the border that the high levels will now continue to flow for several lifetimes of the various elements.

and Thomas, if you want to argue "The pacific already has a billions of tonnes of natural radioactives in it," then you have to source what the natural elements are, and how they compare in radioactive effect to the highest concentrations of non-natural radiation that have ever been leaked into salt water.

We're not comparing radon in Denver cellars to several core melts leaking into the seas. One study in the link predicts higher measurements already in California, though of course I can't vet that.

Also, given the fledgeling science of radiation bio-effects, you need to define the word safe. Noting that nuclear power advocates have different standards for safe than a significant portion of the medical community.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 03:36:00 PM EST
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Noting that nuclear power advocates have different standards for safe than a significant portion of the medical community

Crazy Horse where did you learn understatement? ;-)

The reality is that a broad fraction of the pro-nuclear establishment is in denial about the validity of the consensus LNT (linear, non-treshold) model of radiation medicine accepted by the evidence-based community. It's why I never took them seriously, and still don't. Why buy power-generation technology from folks that you wouldn't trust to sell you a used car?
 

by mustakissa on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 04:05:42 PM EST
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LNT is the best available theory. Problem is, the predicted effects are so weak that it is completely impossible to actually know if it is correct, overly pessimistic, or overly optimistic. the statistical significance of available data is complete crap.

I would really like to see someone actually test it, but I have no idea how to construct a viable protocol for that. Raise a couple million fruitflies in a ultra-low radiation enviorment like a salt mine and use automated scanning on them, then step up exposure to various types of radiation? Getting useful sample sizes would be expensive. And insect models might still not be valid.

by Thomas on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 04:23:29 PM EST
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Eh, no. Dumping it into the ocean is the preferred way to get it into every fish-eating nation's food chain.

The "billions of tonnes" is mostly weakly radiating actinides with lifetimes of billions of years like U238 and Th232, which it is just silly to compare short-lived fission products like Cs137 or Sr90 to.

Quite apart from the fact that natural radioactivity isn't harmless either... chronic ionizing radiation effects on tissue are cumulative.

 

by mustakissa on Fri Aug 2nd, 2013 at 03:59:16 PM EST
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