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plutonium primer

UPDATED with video from Picasso Dreams (scroll down) and Little Mr. Pluto (thanks A13).

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.

Plutonium explainer

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’s half-life
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.
Plutonium risks
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.

Answer: If you breathe A PLUTONIUM PARTICLE in, it will destroy you from the inside. The plutonium particles are INVISIBLE. Good luck!

Also, let's note that Plutonium is man-made and:
"Essentially all the plutonium on earth has been created within the past six decades by human activities involving fissionable materials."
Great! We love science.

A crane collapsed on fuel rods in reactor 3 at Fukushima two weeks ago.


Penny said…
AP: this is no Chernobyl.
The msm keeps telling us that.
Have you noticed the mantra?
Cripes it's almost as if we should zone out when we here it.

No Chernobyl, go to sleep, NO Chernobyl.

Hubby says, that's right it is no chernobyl, it is Fukushima.

Last night I watched some tv news, yeah I do that on occasion, and the news had already broke in Britian about reactor NUmber 2, so were waiting and waiting for it to be mentioned on tv news (Lehrer report) and nadda word.

Well they did a brief report, no mention of #2, and then you will never guess what was covered next?
An even bigger report on that.
I shake my head.

And you know what else, I am turning into one of these people who yells at the television!

malcontent said…
NPR this morning had Japanese officials finally admitting that they must decommission these reactors since they are not going to be able to salvage them.

Of course this was known since the first weekend of the disaster by those who ought to know...
Anonymous said…
Time to close down the nuclear industry.

- Aangirfan
malcontent said…
TEPCO President in hospital now with acute apoplexy.
dublinmick said…
Booger is eating my comments again!

Anyone who follows nuclear fusion knew there would be a meltdown from day one. With six of them all close to each other, only superman could fix it without being melted in the process.

Yes there must by 1000s of tons of plutonium laying around somewhere. The reports we can make out as much of it is stored directly over the reactors just as was the case in Japan. The U.S. by the way keeps some 40 times as much spent fuel on hand nearby also.

With the way the Pacific plate is moving I doubt very seriously humanity even has time to pull away from the use of nuclear power. That is assuming there was a genuine desire to do so and we can gauge by the vapid monsters on Tee Vee that nobody is even seriously considering it.

You see you can move away from nuclear power but the catch is the rods are still hot and must be water cooled for years in order for them not to explode. It is not like replacing the ink cartridge in a printer.

It may be a key to understanding why there are reported to be buildings on mars but no people. The earth may be following the same blueprint.

Humanity is finally beginning to notice what has been done to them.

WV... scart.... These google peeps are definitely developing a sense of humor.
Anonymous said…
Now that the posts are going up, let me say that the native American Red Elk is one of the more interesting fellows out there. He describes himself as a Heyoka, or teacher. He is interestingly half Indian and half Irish. He indicates there are always 12 of them on the planet at any one time.

He describes humanity as entering a period where they will be caught in a giant steel mouse trap from which there is no return. I suppose we could interpret that as an oil rig or a power plant, maybe both.

With the medis it is like watching two entirely different time lines. We could be discussing how to solve our problems instead of which country to take out next as we see in the below post by the five scripted androids. Most of them seem to be incapable of rational thought.
Anonymous said…
Great run down on plutonium, AP. I agree with Aangirfan; it's (past) time to close this nightmare industry down.

Greenpeace tried valiantly in teh Fukushima court to stop teh use of plutonium in Fukushima #3 reactor ten years ago. They warned of this exact disaster.

I hope the judge(s) in that court live by the reactor.

Submission to the Fukushima District Court
Skip to the last few pages if short on time. But all worth reading to see how the WHOLE industry is corrupt, incompetent and criminal

wv sicosch(its)
A13 said…
Hi A.P.
Filthy rotten stuff isn't it..and out Government of tools want to put a nuke waste facility in the middle of the desert up here in my state/ territory.
Some Humans have created so much misery and destuction haven't they?
Cheers A13

WV = auxamo...guess i might need some extra one day ;)
A. Peasant said…
hey all, thanks for weighing in.

Pen, i have also noticed (as of yesterday - haven't seen teevee today) that the heads can barely squeeze a moment in to talk about it around the amazing, death-defying, anti-gravity situation in Libya, which somehow despite all odds remains balanced on the knife's edge day after day after day. funny that. at least it keeps them all very busy and remains in the center of attention, so there's much less time to talk about fukushima.
A. Peasant said…
will check out the link James. thanks.

thanks everyone for your thoughts. one of these days we should learn what sorts of clean technology has been kept from the world while they went on and on with this polluting and money-grubbing. just sickening.
A13 said…
me again, Here's something to either make you laugh or cry....

"So it should come as no surprise that the country’s nuclear-power industry also has attempted to soften its image with a pantheon of cute characters used to promote the use of nuclear energy. The Japan Atomic Power Co., a Tokyo-based consortium funded by electric utilities, uses a pair of mascots to represent two of its educational facilities. Terre-chan is a smiling globe with hands, feet and a baseball cap perched atop the North Pole and Genmaru is a friendly green angler fish with a dangling bulb glowing yellow."

Desensitising the kiddies and making them feel guilty if they develop cancer in later life..or sooner..
A. Peasant said…
A13, that is really classic. i added Little Mr. Pluto to the post, thanks. the Japanese are masters of cute, as i learned from Cute Overload a long time ago.

beulahman has a video too of Nuclear Boy:

"In other news, the shit is out of the diaper."

and it's great until the narrator gets all 'don't worry every day will get better' ...

dublinmick said…
Nobody said the apocalypse would be easy. Today is my birthday also, now I feel like a true Aries. Corexit/radiation super storm headed for me. Nobody said the apocalypse would be easy.


400 lightning strikes in 20 minutes, widespread flooding, power outages near Brooksville and points east. This is from the first hours of this storm, although it was turbulent overnight.

Majority of storm still out in Gulf, aimed at coast just north of Clearwater. Storm moving 45 mph. They keep extending the tornado watches. Wind 100 mph in places.

Lots of reported tornado sightings. Everything canceled, people running for cover. Weather guy on channel 8 is explaining it as just another cold front. Lots of high rises on the beach near St. Pete are in big trouble in about 15 minutes.

Dutchsinse called this two days ago on YouTube.

Report from St. Pete: "My dogs have been freaking out since Sunday night."

National Weather Service: "Main threat straight line winds." Hmm, that would put the multiple tornadoes second. Lightning and hail #3.
A. Peasant said…
be careful dubs. and happy birthday. sheesh. keep us posted.
dublinmick said…
/31/11 noon EDT

MacDill Air Force Base, the command and control center for the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is under siege at the moment with hundreds of lightning strikes and several waterspout funnel clouds approaching from Tampa Bay. The base is located on the southside of Tampa, on the shores of Tampa Bay.

The second half of this last portion of the superstorm that has plagued central Florida throughout the morning is traveling at 50 mph bearing winds of 80-90 mph. It seems to be moving east a few miles south of MacDill.

No reports as yet from the Crystal River nuclear plant a hundred miles north of Tampa. It seems to be north of the major part of the bad weather at this time. Reports of debris in the air from Largo, nearer the Gulf coast to the west of Tampa.

367 lightning strikes on active local weather map on Channel 10. Roof damage closer to the coast.

Fears of tornadoes wrapped in rainstorms have not materialized as yet. 300-foot tower collapses. Tractor trailer overturned and blocking major commuter route between Tampa and St. Pete.

New tornado warnings posted to the northeast in Polk County.
A13 said…
Happy Birthday D.M :)
Stay Safe Where you are there.
We get Cyclones where i am, and it's not good.
Many Regards