Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Another I-Told-You-So

TEPCO has retracted the chlorine-38 measurements they published a couple of weeks ago.

There was much chortling over those measurements, because about the only way you could get chlorine-38 would be if there were "re-criticalities," if the fuel in the reactor cores or possibly the fuel pools were becoming critical again. I pointed out the improbability of such things happening.

I hope that now those who were looking for the worst will retract their overblown interpretations of China-Syndrome-type meltdowns, fires in the fuel pools, and those unexplainable "localized criticalities."

This is why I haven't been rushing to interpret every single number that comes out of Japan, particularly when it's a stand-alone number like the chlorine-38. The demand that TEPCO release all its information (first comment on Jeffrey Lewis's post) is out of line. If people weren't rushing to be the firstest with the worstest, they wouldn't have to feel dumb when the conclusions they've jumped to turn out to be incorrect. And radiation-measuring instruments are prone to error.

Plus, you know, the people they're asking to provide all that had, like, an earthquake and a tsunami, as well as some reactors to take care of?

1 comment:

Charles Bell said...

Cl-38 with a mass of 38 has an extremely small fission yield. Its off the chart low on the fission yield curve in the Nuclear Engineering textbooks. I do not see any nearby nuclides for neutron capture, beta gamma decay to produce it. Cl-38 has such a short half, how could it stay around long enough to get sampled. I saw that TEPCO report and wondered about it too. Its good that TEPCO retracted that. Some communication must have got fouled up inside TEPCO?? we may never found out what. I am baffled though about why some people think presence of a radionuclide means "re-criticality". I know of no such phenonmenon from Reactor Theory. Fission produces the nuclides in the well known distribution as shown in fission yield curve. The only way I know of to determine a reactor is critical is by its neutron flux response. I have witnessed that many times and trained on it. I have concluded that those "re-criticality" claims are a hoax. But I am always open to something based on science if there is a phenomenon like which has a real basis in scientific journal etc.