Castle Bravo H-bomb test photographed from an aircraft 50 miles away from ground zero (1 March 1954).
This week (August 6 and 9) marks the 69th anniversaries of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There were two terrible legacies from the Second World War, never fully understood, which became mainstream post-war and were insidiously repurposed into false positives. The first legacy involved discoveries made around social control, derived from Nazi propaganda and the Holocaust. The other legacy was nuclear.
The latter paved the way for the Cold War, atomic weaponry and the 'green' nuclear energy industry. Nuclear tests, such as 1954's Castle Bravo (above), punctuated a line of technological developments which eventually led to the rise of the Internet. At that point, the two legacies came full circle and reunited: the Atomic Age gave birth to the Digital Age.
These underground continuities are rarely recognized, but they are all around us; they include the most recent Fukushima headline - that 11,000 metric tonnes of subterranean trench water containing uranium and plutonium are leaking into the Pacific. Finally, on 6 August 2014, PBS reported that the China Syndrome is indeed occurring, and the radioactive core is exposed to ground water. In 2011, commentators estimated that the molten core - which is basically radioactive lava - could melt through the concrete floor of the plant within hours. The report claims that the core - in Reactor #3? - has melted two feet into the ten-foot concrete floor (or further? and in which of the three reactors?), although how this reassuring fact has been confirmed is a mystery:
3:30 – Miles O’Brien, PBS: Three of [Fukushima Daiich's] cores are now melted down, still steaming hot, their steel containment structures breached. Engineers believe some of the nuclear fuel has melted right through the steel containment vessels on to a concrete basement floor, where it is exposed to groundwater. [...] Each and every day, about 100,000 gallons of fresh groundwater seeps into the basements of the plant, where it becomes contaminated with a witch’s brew of radionuclide. [...] No one disputes the plant is steadily leaking radiation-tainted water into the sea. ...
14:05 — Masuda: Unfortunately, the fuel itself is exposed.
14:10 - O’Brien: Melted through?
14:15 — Masuda: Melted through the pressure vessel, and coming down to this room and it goes down to the floor.
Hiroshima in colour: "Sat unseen until the 1980s and wasn't available to the public until youtube and video share sites.." Video Source: Youtube.
24 Hours after Hiroshima. Video Source: Youtube.
See all my posts on Nuclear topics.