Nuclear mascots of Japan: Little Mr. Pluto.
"But an animated video used in educational materials included a widely criticized scene showing Little Mr. PU shaking hands with a boy who safely downs a plutonium-tainted beverage to make the debatable point the substance would pass through a body without doing harm."
We have entered the auto-didactic age. Today we offer a quick lesson on Plutonium. Plutonium is a very dangerous radioactive material that some smart scientists discovered in 1941. Breathing in Plutonium particles is not advised. One of the brilliant scientists tragically died from cancer in his early forties.
Officials have detected plutonium in multiple locations around Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear facility. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said in a statement that the plutonium was discovered Monday in five locations around the plant.
...Safety officials say the amount of plutonium found does not pose a risk to humans, but critics say the finding supports suspicions that dangerously radioactive water is leaking from damaged nuclear fuel rods.
Does not post a risk to humans? Any amount of plutonium poses a risk to humans.
"Safety officials" have ZERO credibility. The people working the plant are called "SUICIDE TEAMS."
The radioactive core in one reactor at Fukushima's beleaguered nuclear power plant appeared to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel, an expert warned yesterday, sparking fears that workers would not be able to save the reactor and that radioactive gases could soon be released into the atmosphere. ...The damning analysis came as it emerged that workers at Japan's stricken nuclear plant are reportedly being offered huge sums to brave high radiation in an attempt to bring its overheated reactors under control.Back to the explainer:
What is plutonium?
Plutonium is a silvery-grey, radioactive metal. Its chemical symbol is Pu and its atomic number is 94. It was discovered in 1941 by Glenn Seaborg, Edwin McMillan, Joseph Kennedy, and Arthur Wahl.
Plutonium is man-made, and is created from uranium in nuclear reactors.There are 16 isotopes of plutonium, having mass numbers ranging from 232 to 247. Plutonium-239 is the isotope used in nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors.
Plutonium-239 is used in nuclear weapons because it is among the few materials whose atoms can be split to create a nuclear explosion. When Plutonium-239 atoms are split (or “fissioned”) massive amounts of energy are instantly released.
Approximately 110 tonnes of Plutonium-239 are generated each year in nuclear power plants across the globe.
Plutonium remains radioactive for very long time. It decays by releasing small amounts of energy over time. The radioactivity level of an isotope is determined by its half-life, or the amount of time it takes for half of the original quantity of the isotope to decay. Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,100 years.
Because plutonium is radioactive, it is difficult to handle and store. Plutonium reacts with carbon, halogens, nitrogen and silicon. When exposed to air, plutonium gets very hot and can spontaneously ignite. Because plutonium easily fissions, it cannot be stored in large quantities. Storing more than a few pounds of plutonium in close proximity to each other could cause a nuclear chain reaction that ends in large amounts of radiation to be released into the atmosphere.
When plutonium remains outside of the human body, it generally does not pose a health risk. However, when inside the human body plutonium is toxic and can damage living tissue, cause radiation sickness and cancer.
The most common ways plutonium enters the body is through inhaling contaminated air, or ingesting contaminated food or water. Exposure to plutonium through inhalation poses a much bigger health risk than when ingested.Plutonium is not easily digested by the stomach, therefore when plutonium is ingested it is generally passed out of the body.
However, when plutonium particles are inhaled they can become lodged in lung tissue and continue to give off radiation internally for years. The particles can also enter the bloodstream and travel to the liver, bone or bone marrow. If plutonium particles reach internal organs they can remain there for decades, continually damaging the surrounding tissue.Being one of the heavier elements, plutonium isn't able to travel as far through the air, meaning dangerous plutonium particles are unlikely to reach Canada's coast.
Great! We love science.
A crane collapsed on fuel rods in reactor 3 at Fukushima two weeks ago.