Physical Insights

An independent scientist’s observations on society, technology, energy, science and the environment. “Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting at every stop. Many passengers would rather have stayed home.” – Carl Sagan

Posts Tagged ‘not even wrong

The Bomb That Fell On Niagara: The Sphere

with 5 comments

Feel like reading something really, really stupid? This seems appropriate.

It’s pretty obvious that if it looks like an ammonia gas tank, quacks like a gas tank, and they say it’s a gas tank, then it’s probably a gas tank.

It certainly doesn’t look like any early prototype of any nuclear reactor design I’ve ever heard of.

Almost 4,000 tons of radioactive radium-226, the largest repository in the western hemisphere, representing a staggering quantity of radiation.

4000 tons of radium!? In 1937, radium cost $25,000 per gram. That’s, uh, 91 trillion dollars, in 1937 US dollars, anyway.

There is also polonium-210 on site. According to Bob Nichols, a San Francisco-based researcher and writer who reviewed the same documents as Weyman, polonium was used as a trigger in nuclear weapons. Its presence in quantities sufficient to detect all these years and half-lives later is not easily explained by the KAPL wastes.

It ought to be obvious where any Po-210 comes from – it’s a daughter product of radium, and it’s present in secular equilibrium where ever there is radium present. In fact, given the quite short 138-day half-life of Po-210, the decay of radium is indeed the only possible source of any Po-210 detectable on the site today.

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Written by Luke Weston

October 12, 2008 at 2:52 pm