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Radioactive Lanthanum, Usually Lead-Shielded in Labs, detected in Japan's Air

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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 12:27 AM
Original message
Radioactive Lanthanum, Usually Lead-Shielded in Labs, detected in Japan's Air
http://www.idealist.ws/

* Always something new coming out of Fukushima

A radiation monitoring station in Takasaki, Japan, which belongs to a global network run by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) to detect clandestine nuclear explosions, has picked up airborne levels of radioactive lanthanum since March 13.

A half-century ago, radioactive lanthanum, also known as 'RaLa,' was used extensively in experiments conducted by the U.S. Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico. The lab, which considered RaLa so 'hot' that it had to be carried in heavily shielded containers during shipping, used the lanthanum isotope as a substitute for plutonium in implosion studies and dispersal experiments. (Dispersal experiments, which were conducted across the U.S. nuclear weapons complex during the early part of the Cold War, were haphazard attempts to determine how plutonium would be scattered in accidents involving a nuclear bomb.) Because RaLa is short-lived and simulates many physical qualities of plutonium, LANL used the substance in (explosive) open-air 'implosion' tests during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. But RaLa's short 'lifespan' was not nearly short enough to spare persons in neighboring communities and LANL workers from the harm posed by its extremely strong gamma energies.

Some of the health concerns over exposure to radioactive lanthanum - which emits powerful gamma rays capable of penetrating through bone and most forms of construction - were known by LANL health officials as early as 1944 but never shared with the public or the lab's workforce, ostensibly because of legal concerns and concerns over worker 'morale.' MORE AT LINK
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 01:02 AM
Response to Original message
1. How many years until half of Japan is stricken with cancers?
n/t
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Electric Monk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 01:33 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. What's the "half life" of Japan, at this point, in other words? Interesting question.
I don't know.
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Ghost Dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 09:20 AM
Response to Reply #2
7. That would be a useful scale of measurement to use. And to calculate compensation
for all, I'd suggest. The statistics are surely known.
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 11:59 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. Well, right. The "half life" of a country, from here on out...
n/t
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Art_from_Ark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 02:02 AM
Response to Original message
3. The levels were extremely high on March 16,
Edited on Sun Apr-17-11 02:03 AM by Art_from_Ark
which was probably the scariest day after the tsunami, when there were very sharp spikes in radiation levels. There were smaller spikes around March 20-21 and March 30. The following report (in Japanese) was issued by the CTBTO Takasaki site on April 9 (scroll down about half-way for the radiation tables).

http://www.cpdnp.jp/pdf/110413Takasaki_report_Apr9.pdf
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SpoonFed Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-19-11 05:04 AM
Response to Reply #3
16. they removed data?
Edited on Tue Apr-19-11 05:07 AM by SpoonFed
I just noticed something really interesting thing about this table,
the data for 14th to 15th is missing!

that corresponds to the day the 4th reactor building exploded.
the same day i noticed the centimeter sat imagery stopped for a day
seriously, you couldn't make this shit up.
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 02:05 AM
Response to Original message
4. Aw Shucks. That could'a come from anywhere.
:sarcasm:
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FBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 06:25 AM
Response to Original message
5. Usually lead shielded??? Oh no!
Wait... They didn't happen to report how MUCH had been detected, did they?

Oh look... They did.

I wonder why you left that out?

:sarcasm:
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caraher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 07:22 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. I thought the units they used were weird...
"The peak reading of RaLa at the CTBTO station in Takasaki, which is 200 kilometers from Fukushima Daiichi and 100 kilometers northwest of Tokyo, was 1,770,189 microbecquerels (millionths of a Bq) per cubic meter - this is the result of a sampling run from March 15th to 16th"

First, the precision of that number is literally unbelievable - 7 significant figures? Really? For measurement of 2 decays per second per cubic meter?

Second - why not say 1.8 Bq? Or if you wanna go the other way, 1,770,189,000 nanoBq (ooh look, an even bigger, scarier number)?

In any case, the "hot" La-140 sources used in Cold War bomb testing were http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RaLa_Experiment#Radiolanthanum_preparation">typically about 1000 Curies each, or tens of trillions of Bq.
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SpoonFed Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-19-11 04:57 AM
Response to Reply #6
15. The usual, calming, misdirection

> In any case, the "hot" La-140 sources used in Cold War bomb testing were typically about 1000 Curies each, or tens of trillions of Bq.

I love how the nuke industry apologists like to counter example from the nightmare of cold war as if this is somehow reassuring. Goes to show that basically the nuke industry has some of the same pathological traits as the cold war bomb industry. There is a reason the CTBT was adopted and adhered to by saner nations.

But nice attempt at a redirect.

So, with a half-life of 40 hours, they're measuring this shit 100's of km away from the plant.
http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=lanthanum+140
Why is that not of concern?

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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
9. Not good - rare earths are not volatile so they must have physically ejected from the containment
in fuel-derived particles

and they are internal and external hazards

yup
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FBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Then how did the containment re-seal itself?
It couldn't have been carried out in un-filtered steam, eh?

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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. The fact that they are outside the containment speaks volumes
yup
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FBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Can't answer?
Edited on Sun Apr-17-11 02:05 PM by FBaggins
Why make that so clear by dodging?

How long is the half-life? Long enough to still be in spent fuel? What kind of "containment" is there?

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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. What kind of containment? The kind that doesn't contain rare earth fission products
Edited on Sun Apr-17-11 02:53 PM by jpak
and there are a whole slew of rare earth fission products beside La - Ce, Pr, Nd, Pm, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy & Ho.

Ce has been detected at FD as well

yup
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FBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Still dodging?
Edited on Sun Apr-17-11 03:12 PM by FBaggins
How are you backing up the BS that they "must have been physically ejected from the containment"??? You're certain that none of it could be carried by steam or be ejected from a fuel pool during an explosion? There has to be a core that (all other evidence to the contrary) but have burst its vessel and primary containment and physically ejected parts of the core?

Really?

Ce has been detected at FD as well

In what amounts?

This BS is laughable. You guys jump from one "this is the big one!" threat to the next. Each one somehow proving that things are far worse than they seem (as if the way they seem isn't bad enough for you).

"They detected plutonium! That stuff is REALLY dangerous!!!" - Oh? How much was detected? "Well... roughly the amount that has been spread all over Japan for decades"

"They detected Iodine 134! There's active fission going on in there!!!" - Oh? and what about all the much more obvious signs of fission that aren't there? "Well... how else could it get there? And of course they're lying when they say they were wrong about what they detected".

Now it's Lanthanum? And how much of that has been detected? One or two Bq/m3???

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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-19-11 06:08 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. They acknowledge that they have three reactors where containment is breeched.
The robots are part of preparing to try and seal them.
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FBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-19-11 06:31 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. No they don't.
Not "breached" as in "ejected from the core".
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SpoonFed Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-19-11 09:08 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. hahahahah

not on fire as in
uncontrolled catastrophic oxidization!
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