Yesterday my roommate pointed out to me a story in the Taipei Times about a 30 kg Cesium radioactive fuel rod from a reactor found in the local dump. It was intercepted before being vaporised and spreading a deadly HIGHLY radioactive cloud into the surrounding athmosphere.
Homer Simpson does it again.
Seriously this doesn’t surprise me. I was in Kenting last year and saw that iron ore carrier which sunk off the coast. First I thought it was an old wreck until I looked closer and saw it was almost brand new looking. When I asked the locals and looked in the newspapers I couldn’t find any information. In fact it wasn’t picked up by any of the papers really until a week later when it began to split into three pieces. The head of Taiwan EPA got a call about it a day or two after it happened and promptly went on holidays for a week!
Now think about it. If they found one fuel rod it is highly likely other rods have been illegally dumped and vaporised already from the same reactor core set. Get your geiger counters out if you live near a scrap heap!
Also another question is whether it was imported or not. Unlikely but fuel rods are very expensive to store and dispose of (that’s an oxymoron) so the possibility is that it could have come from a another reactor in the region. Most likely it results from incompetence locally.
It will be interesting to see what happens to this story.
It’s very politically sensitive due to the ‘CNN War on Terror’ tm that is currently happening on a TV set near you. The rods can be traced due to the chemical signal tracing given out using a mass spectrometer. Cesium and Strontium come down in precipitation , are absorbed by plants and concentrated in animals milk. There are still parts of Europe as far away as Scotland and Ireland where on certain farms dairy farming is not allowed due to the fact that it rained a few days after the Chernobyl incident (around 1985 if memory serves me right).