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writing for godot

Breaking: Iodine-131 release in Europe.

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Written by Paul Klinkman   
Monday, 20 February 2017 04:09

I feel obligated to report on a breaking story.  ENENews reports that a number of European countries are seeing elevated iodine-131 levels. So, we're looking for a fairly massive release of a short-lived radioactive isotope, of a kind commonly found in nuclear power plants.

Other radioactive isotopes may also have been released, but most radiation detectors are geared for Iodine-131 because it's so common.   Iodine-131 has a half-life of 8 days, meaning that most of it will be gone in a month, but other, longer-lived .  It can be flushed out of a human body by taking non-radioactive iodine pills.  Otherwise it concentrates in the human pituitary gland and can cause nodules or carcinogenic tumors to grow there.

I want to connect a few dots.  On February 9 there was an explosion and a fire at a nuclear power plant in Flamanville, in northern France.  The plant's operator reported that....

Now, wait a minute.  Worldwide, the nuclear power plant's operator perpetually reports that everything is just fine, hunky dory, move along now, nothing to see here, even when there has been a meltdown.

I need to pass on another news report that of the five workers that were injured at the Flamanville explosion, they appeared to be drunk.  I leave open the possibility that all five of them were drinking like fishes on the job, these things can happen at nuclear power plants, but I also want to consider the more likely possibility that all five of them were pretty well cooked by gamma rays an hour before a reporter saw them, that they were hospitalized because they were suffering from radiation sickness, that most of their internal energy was going into repairing internal cellular damage, or alternatively that all five of them might have been a few neurons short of a full deck at the time.

So that's my connection.  The nuclear plant's operator reported that the explosion occurred in the turbine room and that no radiation at all was released.  I'm going to ask, though, doesn't slightly radioactive steam/water turn the turbines, and couldn't a large enough explosion involve a release of some of the high-pressure steam?  Or, couldn't the steam itself power the explosion?

 

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