The Royal Wedding is over, and Britain can go back to its routine celebrity obsessions and police excesses. I’ll be raising a glass to Ian Bone, whose hit “Better Dead than Wed” dates from the last royal wedding, of which I was reminded by Red Pepper magazine. Best lines:
Nuclear Bulletin #22
27 iv 2011
The Word is Bail.
A summation of events since Bulletin 21 is in order: Japan has extended the evacuation zone and imposed tough measures against violators, prompting tensions with evacuees who assumed such removal would be temporary. Japan upgraded the catastrophe to Category 7, the same as Chernobyl, while credibly reporting that the total amount of material released was about one tenth the radioactivity released at Chernobyl. Given the much greater concentration of releases in nearby territory in Japan, this highlights my prior point that the long-range fallout effects of Fukushima will be minuscule compared to Chernobyl. Correspondingly, the on-site and near-site effects will be of similar magnitude, and numerous reports of radiation sickness among the workforce are beginning to appear.
Land, poverty and commerce have a website- www.landandpoverty.com. On it, you’ll be able to register for the World Bank’s conference on these very subjects, and see the latest iteration of the Bank’s Responsible Agricultural Investment principles – a set of rules that’ll make colonial land-grabbing exercises feel much better. Read more here, as well as an analysis of the Bank’s approach to land grabbing here.
It has been requested that I review some physics and chemistry basics to help sort out what’s what.
Typical light-water reactor fuel is 3% enriched meaning that it is comprised of 3% Uranium-235 and 97% Uranium-238, whereas natural uranium is only .7% U-235. Hence the requirement for uranium enrichment, which was, for the Japanese reactors in question, done in the United States by and large. (Some recent fuel may include old Soviet weapons uranium that was downblended in Russia and sold through the American company USEC.)