Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday Morning EDT/ Thursday Evening Japan Time
Disaster Update

"The first experiment already illustrates a truth of the theory, well confirmed by practice, what-ever can happen will happen if we make trials enough."- Augustus De Morgan, 1866

"Anything that can possibly go wrong, does."- Jack Sack, 1952

The Nuclear Industry is not exempt from Murphy's Law

The official death toll is 9,787.  16,501 are missing. 

Fukushima Daiishi  
Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. 
Three workers at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear site have been diagnosed with high levels of radiation exposure, said to be 160-170 millisieverts of radiation. In comparison, the average American is exposed to 6.2 millisieverts a year.  Two have been hospitalized.
Repair work has been halted in the compound.
The reactors have been diagnosed with excessive salt buildup from the constant pumping of seawater into the cores to keep them cool enough to avoid further meltdown of the fuel rods. The salt is actually interfering with cooling of the rods.
It is feared that many were left behind to die inside the evacuation radius of 20 km around the devastated nuclear plant.
Reactor 1
Lights were turned on in the control room of reactor 1 today! But control and pumping systems are inoperable. The pressure in the reactor was said to be rising. There is much damage from the hydrogen explosion. Rods partially exposed.
Reactor 2
This plant was described as "quite stable" but radiation readings are high in its area. The containment vessel of the reactor is damaged. The building is relatively undamaged. Fuel rods partially exposed. Seawater continues to be pumped into reactor and spent fuel cooling pool.
Reactor 3
Yesterday's black smoke stopped this morning. Fuel rods partially exposed. It was announced today that three workers were exposed to high radiation working in the turbine area yesterday. Seawater was pumped all day into the  reactor but it is hoped to change that to fresh water since the salt buildup in the reactor is interfering with cooling. This reactor is damaged and the building is severely damaged. This reactor is especially dangerous since it uses deadly plutonium fuel.
Reactor 4
Spent fuel pool continues to be doused since it seems it was damaged by the earthquake and does not hold water.  It is fortunate that this reactor was offline at the time of the earthquake.
Reactors 5 & 6
Workers have not been able to activate the reactor cooling systems. Spent fuel pools must observed for rising temperatures since there is no circulating water and evaporation could expose spent fuel rods. These reactors were off line at the time of the earthquake.

"I am now almost certain that we need more radiation for better health."
- Dr. John Cameron

The late Dr. (of physics) John Cameron was a proponent of hormesis, the theory that radiation isn't that bad, and, in fact, a little bit  is good for you. Ann Coulter has latched on to this notion to defend nuclear accidents. Hormesis Theory, as best as I can understand, says that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And I would agree to a point. But I wouldn't want to gamble I would be a survivor. Or, that I would have the judgement to determine where hormesis ends and the process of death begins.

This approach to toxicity when applied to poisons, was famously used by Mithridates VI of Pontus, hence the eponymous term, Mithridatism.   He gave himself low doses of all known poisons to ensure his immunity. His father, Mithridates V had been poisoned and this part of the world had a long history of regime change in this fashion. Evidently it worked in his case. It is told that when he was surrounded by his enemies at the end and holed up in Panticapaeum he finally had a soldier run him through with a sword after failing at a suicide by poison. 
I would find it instructive and inspiring if the lantern jawed Ms. Coulter would volunteer her services to the disaster at Fukushima Daiishi as a test of the theory of radiation hormesis.

Tokyo officials announced today that tap water was within acceptable limits for radiation.
There's nothing to see here folks. Move on. There was nothing to worry about anyways.
"Japan's standards are too strict in the first place. Even if babies are given tap water, their parents don't have to worry too much about it."-Otsura Niwa, Kyoto University professor emeritus of radiation biology

The Damekh Stupa

The Four Noble Truths of The Awakened One
(catvāri āryasatyāni)

Life is suffering. (Suffering is real.)
The origin of suffering is attachment to things. (Suffering has an origin.)
The cessation of suffering is attainable by releasing things. (There is an escape from suffering.)
The eightfold path leads to the cessation of suffering. (This Way is known.)

But Buddhism also teaches that "Nothing is real."
But does that mean that the concept of "Nothing" has reality while "Things" have reality as well?
Or does it mean that No Things at all are real?
Or can both be true statements?

Or, is only Nothing real and the many "Things" are not real?

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