The direction of causality could easily be the opposite way around. If a candidate is known to be pro-internet-tax, then a pro-internet-tax business has reason to contribute to their campaign.
No, things were clearly not done correctly at Fukushima.
The risk of a hydrogen explosion was not appreciated when the plant was built, but was understood later, and in the USA plants of this type were retrofitted with a means of safely venting the hydrogen. This was not done in Japan.
There was a similar tsunami about 1000 years ago, yet the plant owners refused to consider the possibility of a recurrence. At another nuclear plant not far from Fukushima, the safety engineer in the 1970s insisted on building the sea wall a couple of metres higher. That extra height saved the plant.
There were passive cooling systems at Fukushima which did not operate, because although they could run without power, they could not be turned on without power.
Sea water could have been used sooner to cool the cores, but this was delayed as it would render the reactors unrepairable. (Of course, they ended up much more messily unrepairable anyway.)
All these are things which should have been anticipated and therefore could have been avoided.
(Sorry for the lack of references - this is from memory from my reading while the disaster was unfolding.)
The latest game they made up (on Friday) was two card draw poker (i.e. hand size is two cards). I worked through the probabilities with them to get the rank of hands correct. (It turns out to be straight flush, pair, straight, flush, high card.)
Looking at this page I see that you could dissolve NH4NO3/FeSO4 mixture and add lead(II) citrate, which should cause the Fe to precipitate as citrate and the SO4 to precipitate with the lead, leaving NH4NO3 solution behind which can be dried and used in a bomb.
Practical problems abound - most notably, can you get lead citrate, and can you find a way to reuse it? However, I have only high school chemistry and it is unlikely that I found the optimal 'cleaning' reaction in a few minutes of web searching. Can anyone with more chemistry than me comment on whether there are practical ways for a mad bomber to separate out the NH4NO3?
Here, listing 24 previous disasters, the largest of which was also in Texas. You'd think they, of all places, would know to keep large quantities of ammonium nitrate away from population centers (or vice versa).
Scarily, some of those disasters were from when a large quantity of ammonium nitrate powder had solidified and people tried to break it up with explosives.
The news reports I'm seeing don't actually say it was an ammonium nitrate explosion in this case, although it seems a reasonable supposition.
I suspect it goes something like this:
In the 1980s, the commercial scientific publishers discovered that they could keep raising their subscription rates at well above inflation, and university libraries would keep paying them. So not only did their profits soar, but their expectation for future revenue increases also soared. On the basis of this, the companies were rated as being very valuable and got bought out for very large sums. Now some suit somewhere has invested billions of dollars in such a company, having borrowed the money to do so, and believes he is entitled to a reasonable rate of return on investment, so the huge subscription costs become 'reasonable' in that they are needed to support that billion dollar debt. What is lost to him is that the price paid for the company was based on the unreasonable proposition that not only were the current subscription rates reasonable, but that they could continue to be raised.
While the scenario above is consistent with my knowledge, I confess it is largely guess work.
Having said that, $3000 per article for open access is not out of line with the rest of the industry. The first non-commercial journal I looked up (Bioinformatics, by Oxford University Press) also charges $3000 to open access a full length article from a first world country.
I have a similar, although more elaborate, idea for 'testing' global warming/anthropomorphic climate change. Alas, I don't have the millions of dollars it would cost.
It is basically a combination of a trial, a university degree course and a reality TV show. We recruit bunch (say 50) scientifically literate recent graduates who are not committed to one view or the other on climate change. We offer them a graduate level salary to participate. First we train them up with uncontroversial background knowledge related to climate (mathematical modelling, meteorology, physical chemistry etc.) Then the pro and anti climate change people get to send their best scientists and try to convince the students of their case. Some oversight committee acts as judge to ensure fairness. All lectures and course material are made available online.
Both sides believe the science favours them and an unbiased observer, given full information, will agree with them. Therefore both sides should be eager to have this opportunity. The economic cost of humanity being wrong about whether climate change is happening will be in the trillions. Spending this much to aid in coming to a consensus would, I feel, be money very well spent.
It can only be female crime fighting goats swinging through the city, as they'll be shooting web from their udders. And then the comic books will get hold of this idea and...
I notice that this did not prevent an uncontained failure of an A380 engine.
OK, so possibly it takes fewer R/C aircraft than geese to take out an engine. Then you wave a magic wand and say maybe the other engine will stop too. Losing one engine does not cause the other to fail, despite your appeal to 'additional stress'. Twin jets are able to fly with one engine. To be certified, they must demonstrate they can safely fly on one engine during the most stressful period of flight (a single engine failure late in the take-off roll.) They can also fly safely for a long time on a single engine. With appropriate safeguards, they are certified to do so for up to three hours (ETOPS-180) and coming soon, for over five hours.
Thanks. Is this why there is so much emphasis on 137Cs in the Fukashima aftermath? Lots of nucleotides must have been released, but media reports only talked about two, and I've been wondering why that was.
Oops, spotted an error. In the paragraph "None of the cross sections are hugely larger than the others..." read 59Ni for 59Co.
For the purpose of this post, I'll accept that they can convert protons to neutrons as described, although I'm very dubious about this.
Here is a table of nickel isotopes.
Here is the first source I found for neutron cross sections of nickel isotopes (pdf). (See figure 12, look at the left hand side of each 'destruction channels for ??Ni' plot for what low energy (thermal) neutrons will do.)
Cross sections are in barns, and are approximate as I'm eyeballing them off a logarithmic scale.
58Ni [stable, 68% abundant] (0.006 barn) -> 59Ni [-> 59Co, 76000 yr half life]
59Ni [unstable but long lived] (0.02b) -> 59Co [stable] or (0.005b) ->56 Fe [stable] or (0.004b) -> 60Ni [stable]
60Ni [stable, 26%] (0.006b) -> 61Ni [stable]
61Ni [stable, 1%] (0.002b) -> 62Ni [stable]
62Ni [stable, 4%] (0.006b) -> 63Ni [->63Cu, 100yr]
63Ni [unstable] (0.001b)-> 64Ni [stable]
64Ni [stable, 1%] (0.004b) -> 65Ni [->65Cu, 2.5 hr]
None of the cross sections are hugely larger than the others, so all these reactions will occur with reasonable frequency. So irradiating nickel with thermal neutrons, you are going to produce radioactive 59Co (76000yr), 63Ni (100yr) and 65Ni (2.5hr). The 65Ni isn't a problem - turn off the reactor, wait a couple of days, and it will all be gone. The 59Co is only a bit of a problem - with such a long half life, it isn't very radioactive. The 63Ni however is nasty. Like 137Cs (30yr) from the Fukashima reactors, the half life is short enough to be quite radioactive but long enough that you can't just wait it out. Finally, the nickel won't be 100% pure, so you have to worry about what neutron irradiation will do to the impurities.
The 65Ni means when you turn off your reactor, it will continue to produce residual heat for hours.
The article gives the impression that weak nuclear reactions aren't dangerous, but this is not so. If it were, nuclear reactor waste wouldn't be dangerous.
This reactor will be producing ionizing radiation when running (mostly gamma rays, some beta rays mostly from 65Ni decay, and a tiny amount of alpha particles from 59Co(n,a)56Fe.) This will require some pretty heavy shielding to stop it. (A good sized water bath should work, every 7cm of water halves the radiation and you want hot water anyhow. But concrete is less prone to leak away.) You'd also need to worry about stray neutrons, although I expect that can be fixed with a thin layer of something that has very high thermal neutron cross section and no dangerous daughter products.
In short, I don't think I want this in my basement.