funranium: (Duck 'n' Cover)
Nuclearche: 1. (n) the onset of nuclear activity by a civilization.

I was talking to [info]benchilada about why carbon dating will not work for future archaeologists trying to date relics of our present due to the massive pollution of the planetary carbon cycle with a lot of Very Old Carbon, skewing the baseline carbon-14 to carbon-12 ratios.

However, I can envision the archaeologists of the future instead doing dating based upon the decay of nuclear weapons testing fission products.  To them, 1945 will be Year Zero by which to scale time.  The Nuclear Age is not just fancy words, we have created a
distinct geologic era.
funranium: (Duck 'n' Cover)
Once upon a time, long ago in the reign of Carter, in a far off magical kingdom known as San Onofre, there was a nuclear reactor.  It was beautiful reactor on the sea with a tsunami wall a ways off from the beach with guard towers on it, home to The Big Guys With Guns.  On the bluff above the beach, was Richard Nixon's ranch.  In a strange fit of populism quite at odds with his other elitism and restrictiveness, Nixon demanded the beach remain open to the public despite the security threat during his presidency and it stayed that way afterward.  Perhaps he wanted to show that the power plant was safe by letting sunbathers be there despite the threat to his person.  Perhaps he wanted a good killing zone with no cover for the pinkos and surfers.  We'll never know.

As everyone knows, where there are reactors you get NRC inspectors.  This is the story of a young inspector, let's call him Bob, who was far too diligent for his own good.

You Have To Read The Story Now After Looking At The Punchline Below )

Eventually, they filled the beach back in with fresh sand.  Thirty years later, they still talk about the NRC inspector that "molested the seagull".

funranium: (Duck 'n' Cover)
This was a conventional story of the decay of the nuclear arsenal and infrastructure, with the succession planning highlights I've written about before but am too lazy to find at the moment, that had me sighing with resignation and "Yup" until I hit the quote from Mr. Kristensen.

I took the moment to look up his CV.  After doing so, I find it difficult to accept his credibility especially in light that his retort did not address the decay.  Yes, we are making better missiles but missiles are just a delivery system completely separate from the bomb itself.  An artful dodge but:

A nuclear weapon needs three things: the delivery system, a device (the explosives and fiddly bits), and the actual fissile material.  Part one is doing as great as Lockheed is in general.  The infrastructure, knowledge and skill base, and the existing specimens of parts two and three are what aren't doing so well.  Some of that is due to woeful mismanagement by private contractors who run the nuclear complex for the government these days but mostly its just a lack of money and interest for the last 20 years.  The only reason LLNL survived the 1980s is that all those incidental side projects researchers used to do in order to keep their minds fresh while working on the weapons program turned into whole directorates in their own right.

That reminds me, looking at his CV, I didn't see any time working at any of the national labs or weapons plants.  Greenpeace is not really a substitute.  It also makes it kind of unlikely he'd be given the opportunity to tour these places, especially the parts that are in the most trouble.

funranium: (Rad Worker)

As I recall, Yucca Mountain is already being built prior to its permit being approved since digging a big hole but putting nothing in it is A-OK.  If I am interpreting this correctly, this means they are now trying to get the license that would magically transform a cement lined hole in the ground into the Yucca Mountain Repository...but still not operate.

This was supposed to be up and running in 19fucking68 and it was supposed to be the first of several.  As long as Harry Reid has anything to say about it, this will never go online so long as he draws political breath.  I will be surprised if Yucca Mountain accepts any waste before I retire.
funranium: (Duck 'n' Cover)
Since enough of you have asked my what I thought of the beginning of the new Indiana Jones movie, I thought I'd put all my thoughts together here.

First off, I did not hate it.  There was only one point in that scene where I had a headscratching moment and my willing suspension of disbelief wavered, which is bullet number 7:

Because I love bullet points, here is the list of thoughts for you:
funranium: (Duck 'n' Cover)
Weapons Program Audit
I Have Been In All Your Rooms
Too Many Secrets

We Need Our Funding
To Be Reliable Now
Replacement Warhead

Ten Year Old Survey
You Retired Five Years Past
I Lack Trust And Repeat
funranium: (Default)
This is an interesting looking book.  I will definitely be picking up a copy.  I will, of course, not necessarily be able to comment on anything in it.  I think I may find it enlightening as to the attitudes of some of my co-workers regarding certain regional powers and former US officials.

There was decent interview with the authors on NPR recently.  It's worth a listen though I did cringe from time to time.
funranium: (Rad Worker)
ATTENTION: Warren Ellis and Others Who Suckle at the Queen's Teat

Despite the demolition of Windscale (the name for the reactor they haven't used since the accident) it is not quite safe to stop drinking Ribena yet.  Be aware of the radiological hazards of your livestock as you get up to your "Country Ways".

Do not mourn Sellafield's passing for it should have gone long ago.  Mourn if it is not replaced by a new South African pebble bed reactor

December 2012

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