Journal: Unprecedented phenomenon from using saltwater in Fukushima reactors — Forming new uranium compounds able to travel long distances… “like carbon buckyballs”

Published: January 27th, 2012 at 3:54 am ET
By

27 comments


Title: How sea water could corrode nuclear fuel
Source: UC Davis News & Information
Date: January 26, 2012
Emphasis Added

Japan used seawater to cool nuclear fuel at the stricken Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant after the tsunami in March 2011 — and that was probably the best action to take at the time, says Professor Alexandra Navrotsky of the University of California, Davis.

But Navrotsky and others have since discovered a new way in which seawater can corrode nuclear fuel, forming uranium compounds that could potentially travel long distances, either in solution or as very small particles. The research team published its work Jan. 23 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This is a phenomenon that has not been considered before,” said Alexandra Navrotsky, distinguished professor of ceramic, earth and environmental materials chemistry. “We don’t know how much this will increase the rate of corrosion, but it is something that will have to be considered in future.”

Japan used seawater to avoid a much more serious accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant, and Navrotsky said, to her knowledge, there is no evidence of long-distance uranium contamination from the plant.

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Uranium in nuclear fuel rods is in a chemical form that is “pretty insoluble” in water, Navrotsky said, unless the uranium is oxidized to uranium-VI — a process that can be facilitated when radiation converts water into peroxide, a powerful oxidizing agent.

Peter Burns, professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame and a co-author of the new paper, had previously made spherical uranium peroxide clusters, rather like carbon “buckyballs,” that can dissolve or exist as solids.

In the new paper, the researchers show that in the presence of alkali metal ions such as sodium — for example, in seawater — these clusters are stable enough to persist in solution or as small particles even when the oxidizing agent is removed.

In other words, these clusters could form on the surface of a fuel rod exposed to seawater and then be transported away, surviving in the environment for months or years before reverting to more common forms of uranium, without peroxide, and settling to the bottom of the ocean. There is no data yet on how fast these uranium peroxide clusters will break down in the environment, Navrotsky said.

Read the report here

Follow up to “Navrotsky said, to her knowledge, there is no evidence of long-distance uranium contamination from the plant”:


Title: Fukushima radiation could be ocean risk
Source: UPI
Date: Jan 26, 2012

Seawater used to cool nuclear fuel at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant after the 2011 tsunami could have corroded the fuel and spread radiation, scientists say. […]

Uranium in nuclear fuel rods is in a chemical form that is “pretty insoluble” in water, [Professor Alexandra Navrotsky of the University of California, Davis] said, but when radiation converts water into peroxide, a powerful oxidizing agent, uranium can be converted into uranium-VI, which in seawater is stable enough to persist in solution or as small particles.

The uranium-VI could form on the surface of a fuel rod exposed to seawater and then be transported away, surviving in the environment for months or years before reverting to more common forms of uranium and settling to the bottom of the ocean, researchers said. […]

Read the report here

Published: January 27th, 2012 at 3:54 am ET
By

27 comments

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27 comments to Journal: Unprecedented phenomenon from using saltwater in Fukushima reactors — Forming new uranium compounds able to travel long distances… “like carbon buckyballs”

  • Grampybone Grampybone

    I wonder what they have to say on the matter of what types of reactions with what kinds of isotopes produced the influx of Sulfur 35 on the west coast. Oh right I remember it was Chlorine mixing with “mox” fuel that produced it. There was no data saying what Sulfur 35 breaks down into after the initial reports. These new reports about oxidizing uranium could shed a better light on how these radioactive isotopes will travel once in the open ocean. There has been very little information on what plutonium does once it touches chlorine and seawater. Considering that the ocean is where most of the plutonium would have gone it would be good to know what it will do once in our ecosystem. This data on uranium could be the key towards predicting the outcomes of trillions of bequerls of radiation being released. (thats right I said Trillions with a capital T)

    • ion jean ion jean

      Right On, Grampybone…we’re seeing CURRENT releases in the Terabecquerels when they measure Cesium 137…add to that Strontium 90 releases they refuse to acknowledge or monitor that would equal about two thirds of any Cesium levels…hundreds of other radioisotopes that accompany that nuclear waste (again NOT measured!)…radioactive sulfur and chlorine and WOW! A new peroxide uranium in God knows what quantity…True these are our biggest hazards…any nuclide forming an oxygen bond is now soluble in air, water, HUMANS!

      Plutonium can do it too!

    • Toadmac

      Wonder if this could be the cause of all the reports from people who owned Geiger counters around the world recording high readings from rain? To my understanding the answers given from credible scientists do not give correct calculations on the short half life/energies of what was being detected? I was one of those reporters and I have not recorded really high readings from rain since November of last year? As she states “There is no data yet on how fast it would break down in the environment, Navrotsky said in a university release Thursday” I will be keeping a close eye on this. If anyone knows where I can get calculations/energies on this compound/isotope I would be very interested.
      Peace.

    • Weaponized Fukushima Fallout: Radioactive Fullerenes and Endofullerenes

      Uploaded by potrblog on Jan 28, 2012
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL0CEF65E235CD3314&v=454uu96gFzU&feature=player_detailpage

      http://pissinontheroses.blogspot.com/2012/01/weaponized-fukushima-fallout.html

      (c) 2012 http://www.POTRBLOG.com

      The improvised use of salt water to cool the Fukushima reactors and spent fuel pools resulted in the weaponization of Uranium fallout via the formation of Fullerenes and Endofullerenes. The term weaponization is based on our belief that this process significantly improved Probability of Kill (PK) values from a survivability / vulnerability analytical standpoint.

      See http://pissinontheroses.blogspot.com/2012/01/weaponized-fukushima-fallout.html for updates and further details

      : (

  • corollnary

    O/T: The imagery in this article brings to mind some ridiculous CGI toothpaste commercial… “For a brilliant smile… (brand name)”.

    *sigh

    • Add ‘glowing’ to the brilliant smile…

      Disclaimer; Teeth may fall out after use, and bone cancer may be common for those using strontium containing toothpaste…It may also cause leukemia and 2,000 other genetically linked diseases. But studies have shown that it prevents cavities, short term.

      It would probably become a best seller, if a huge corporation took it on and sold it as the newest fad in toothpaste… Lots of kids would want this new toothpaste that made their teeth glow in the dark.

    • vivvi

      You can clean your teeth with a wet toothbrush dipped in baking soda. Very effective, cheap, and not full of toxic nonsense.

  • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

    For another article regarding this issue, see:
    “How Seawater Could Corrode Nuclear Fuel”

    [ http://nanopatentsandinnovations.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-seawater-could-corrode-nuclear-fuel.html ]

  • arclight arclight

    DONT PANIC!!

    science has an answer.. phew.. remember bp??

    “Aspergillus fumigatus removed uranium(VI) very rapidly and reached equilibrium within 1 h of contact of biomass with the aqueous metal solution. Biosorption data fitted to Langmuir model of isotherm and a maximum loading capacity of 423 mg U g^−1 dry wt was obtained.

    Distribution coefficient as high as 10,000 (mg U g^−1)/(mg U ml^−1) at a residual metal ion concentration of 19 mg l^−1 indicates its usefulness in removal of uranium(VI) from dilute waste streams. Optimum biosorption was seen at pH 5.0 and was independent of temperature (5–50 °C ).

    Initial metal ion concentration significantly influenced uptake capacity which brought down % (w/w) uranium(VI) removal from 90 at 200 mg U l^−1 to 35 at 1000 mg U l^−1. Presence of 0.84 mmol Fe^2+, Fe^3+, Ca^2+ and Zn^2+ had no effect on uranium(VI) biosorption unlike Al^3+ (0.84 mM) which was inhibitory.”

    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/klu/bite/1999/00000013/00000010/00243137

    no nukes! (im back up and running 🙂 )

  • I love it “to her knowledge” there was no widespread dispersion of uranium. uh huh, how about 2600% background levels in Hawaii, and we weren’t even in the jet stream path, meaning it circulated around a bit before being measured in Hawaii.

    No doubt that at least tens of tens of uranium were aerosolized, maybe her new findings make it easier to understand how even dissolved uranium could have been launched in the Reactor 3 “launch”

    http://nukepimp.blogspot.com/p/uranium-aerosolized-into-atmosphere.html

  • markww markww

    RADIATION ESCAPING POSSIBLE FROM UNDERGROUND I was watching the Fukushima cam and saw the same sparking going on like the inserted camera in reactor number 2 sea water and radiation ???

    http://youtu.be/Tkwj__-qpM8 video i made from the camera

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    Excellent Editorial! INSPIRATIONAL! A Must Read! It’ll will make you feel GOOD!
    POWER TO THE PEOPLE: Japan can survive without nuclear energy
    http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201201270029

  • W8R W8R

    Tepco cam has been “sparkling” all night..
    Clear evidence of gamma production..

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    FACEBOOK BREACHES GOODWILL BY FORWARDING POSTS CONTAINING ‘TEPCO’ TO TEPCO company
    http://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/facebook-breaches-goodwill-by-forwarding-posts-containing-tepco-to-tepco-company/
    January 27, 2012
    The TEPCO company facebook page is here:

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tokyo-Electric-Power-Company/108110712556504?sk=friendactivity

    When you post on Facebook, any post containing “TEPCO” quickly appears at the above facebook page of Tokyo Electric Power Company.

    If you wish to engage in heavy duty communication with TEPCO, I guess they await our posts with baited breath.

    Check it out. I’ll be posting some Unit 731 stuff. Ive decided to label them TEPCO so I dont get confused.

  • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

    “Navrotsky said, to her knowledge, there is no evidence of long-distance uranium contamination from the plant.”

    BullKrap.. if there was no “evidence” then Navrotsky would not be studying this issue… no doubt, they measured this phenomenon in the air around the school and tried to figure out what/where/how/why it came from.. taadaa… a scientific paper is born..

    Really, we are not as naive as we once where..

    ..more scientific proof that we have no idea what we are doing with Nuclear technologies and have no right to be using it!!!

    Just say NO! NUKE!

    • Bobby1

      There is no evidence that there isn’t long-distance contamination from the plant.

      California and Hawaii had elevated levels of U-238 in March.

  • StillJill StillJill

    Oh,…THAT Evidence. We’re such pesky troublemakers!