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April 13, 2011

Chernobyl's new hat



Photo caption: "The structure will have two cranes that can lift 50 tons each and medical and radiation protection facilities for 1,430 workers."

[via Steve Featherstone and BloombergBusinessWeek]

April 13, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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6.02*10^23 is a head, as in: The seat of the intellect; the brain; the understanding; the mental faculties; as, a good head, that is, a good mind;

Posted by: Kay | Apr 13, 2011 8:12:35 PM

The 25th anniversary of the disaster is only 13 days away: April 26.

Let's do the math, eh? Stonehenge is about 6,500 years old. The Egyptian pyramids are about 4,500 years old. Teotihuacan is about 2,000 years old.

Those are the oldest existing human-built structures on the planet. How long will an enclosure have to last to contain Chernobyl (or, the Japanese reactors)?

U-235, Pu-239, Cs-137 and Sr-90 are the radionuclides present today that will do the most harm to humans (I-131 and I-125 are well past 10 half-lives and no new Iodine radionuclides are being created at Chernobyl). Cs-137 has a half-life of about 30.17 years. U-235 has a half-life of about 703,800,000 years. Pu-239 has a half-life of about 24,200 years and Sr-90 has a half-life of about 28.8 years.

Looks as though humans are going to be dealing with containment issues for a substantial fraction of the remaining life of our sun ~ 5,000,000,000 years - with 7 half-life cycles of the U-235 reaching that far into the future.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Apr 13, 2011 12:55:59 PM

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