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Response to The Stranger (Reply #45)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 01:43 PM

49. There isn't all that much "hubbub"

A couple news organizations go for the sensational story line (usually with no fact checking and awful sources)... but almost all of the "hubbub" is invented nonsense. A few key anti-nukes just trying to keep the paychecks rolling in from the suckers. They keep ending up dead wrong, so they have to come up with ever more panicked fantasies of how this time it's really going to harm large numbers of people. We've just been incredibly lucky up to this point and NOW the fate of the world rests on the edge of a knife.

why hasn't removal been completed by now(or a year ago)?

Two primary reasons:

They had to construct a substantial addition over the pool in order to perform the process

The longer you wait, the less radioactive the material is.

And here is the question I really wanted answered: How does criticality occur in this situation? That really still hasn't been answered. I had speculated that it was contact between rods, but you seem to think that is not a problem.

The more precise the answer, the few the people who are equipped to understand it. The middlin answer is that criticality in nuclear fuel usually requires a very precise distribution of fissile material (nor just a certain amount of it within a certain distance) and a moderator that slows down the neutrons without absorbing too many of them (as with a "neutron poison"). It's incredibly unlikely that dropped fuel would just magically align into a configuration that would sustain a chain reaction... and it approaches infinitely unlikely that it can do so in a pool filled with boron-laced water (a neutron poison).

Take another look at Chernobyl. The corium has been there for decades... with no water cooling it... melted into large lumps. Yet there's no criticality.

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