I'm posting over here as well from another thread, Chernobyl.
This is the situation that Japan is faced with, as apparently the core has melted down and is in the process of escaping the containment vessel (if it hasn't already - some articles are a few months old!).
Right at the beginning of this segment, this man notes that if the "lava" with uranium comes in contact with water, it becomes much more dangerous, much more radioactive... Why is that? Does it mean it explodes upon contact with water? If so, what happens when it comes in contact with ground water? Underground nuclear explosion?
I'm seeing a lot of reports out of Japan suggesting the not-so-remote possibility that people may have to evacuate northern Japan at the least. They're finding that the exclusion zone may have to be expanded to at least 79 km because of strongtium-90 being found, and Cesium being found in higher levels around Tokyo.
Now, this makes me wonder about the wisdom of the decision I made to buy the LJ in September. I had realized that although the previous car was being built in the US for the US market, the parts were being sourced out of Japan ultimately (at least somewhere in Aisia). It made me wonder if I did the right thing by getting out of a vehicle made in Japan because of fear of radioactive parts arriving here, if they were really radioactive, and what that would mean for the entire Japanese car industry, never mind the entire electronics industry. The question is, Can Jeep supply us with parts made wholely from within the US? If they are sourced ultimately from Japan (electronics), does this mean a run on "uncontaminated parts" that arrived prior to the nuke disaster? What does it mean for Japan as a nation if its food, its products can't be trusted for fear of radiation? I believe that unless Japan gets control of the situation, it's finished as a country.
A different question here, as I'm asking because I'm not a nuclear scientist (hell, I barely passed one semester of chemistry in college (even with remedial chemistry before that) and one year of astronomy). Why is it that we have but early 20-century knowledge of how to handle nuclear waste? Why can we not take nuclear waste and make it "not radioactive" anymore? Is it that we don't have enough science, we don't have the right technology, or do we have politicians involved in the fatal decision to store the stuff instead (in this case, all involved politicians should be tried and sentenced to becoming nuclear engineers in prison in order to undo the damage they caused us)?