Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"Refit Woes" aka "The Co-60 Blues"

This story caught my eye 'cause it starts off like a Rad-Con problem. We probably haven't heard the last on this one--the Enviro. groups will be sure to make book on it.
About 20 litres of water containing Cobalt 60 was spilled last Friday during the refit of the Trident nuclear submarine HMS Victorious.
*taking out a pencil* Let's see now, if we assume a cylindrical bottle with an on-contact reading of...


At 6:46 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Why does "900...450...less than" or "dilution is the solution" come to mind?

20 liters? I'm not a big pro-pollution person, nor do I think dumping nuke waste in the harbor is a good general practice, but get real...it's about 5 gallons. Half my car's fuel tank. The local PWC has by various screwups dumped about 100 times that much raw poo in Pearl Harbor in the last couple of years...I'd be a little more concerned there.

Coolant tends to be very, very clean water...so it's a bit active, but even unprocessed coolant straight out of the primary is pretty harmless. You'd have to dump nearly the entire primary plant to have any real noticeable effect in the harbor (yes, during one EOOW/EWS training session we calculated it). Barring the presence of a fuel element defect or resin beads in the coolant, it's pretty much a non-event.

I'm all for environmental concerns but being worried about approximately 5 gallons of primary coolant is kinda silly. I'd drink it...if not for the chemicals that would give me the shits.

At 6:05 AM, Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

I am reminded of the supposed Rickover stunt in front of Congress where he did just that, Rob - drank some coolant to prove it is safe. Not sure if he actually did it, but it is a good illustration...


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