Nuclear Reactor Design

I haven't been online much lately... my "light" semester switching from 2 classes to something closer to 3.5 is getting in the way of having much fun time. However, the disaster in Japan is amazingly engrossing. The earthquake on it's own was amazingly large and the tsunami... well, there's really nothing you can do about things like that. Growing up in Alaska, we were always extremely worried about tsunami and this disaster demonstrates exactly why it's so important. Although if you don't have enough time to get away, there's not a lot to be done.

The whole reaction situation is blowing my mind though. I remember playing Sim City years ago and having and earthquake make reactors melt down. Here's the real life example of that.

I guess that I just didn't really understand the scale of nuclear reactors though. I always sort of assumed that you could shove the moderators into a reactor and it would be radioactive and everything but it would just sort of stop. On the scale though of a real reactor, there's so much heat produced that you need active cooling.

I'm going to make a very morbid prediction now. The Japanese are going to lose the city of Fukushima. I think they're going to manage avoiding too many deaths, but they've lost control of the reactors unless some miracle can be pulled out of their hats in the next couple of hours. The result is going to be a 20 mile circle contaminated with plutonium and all sorts of other nasties where people aren't going to be able to live for the next 1.25 Gyr.

I'm really hoping that I'm wrong though.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day

In honor of St. Patrick’s day here are a couple pictures of Celtic high crosses. We saw these on the Aran Islands and in County Clare while we were on vacation this past fall.

A cross in memory of Rev. Michael Ó Donochue (RIP 1893) Kilronan, Inis Mór, Co. Galway

The Doorty Cross (12th century) in Kilfenora Cathedral, Kilfenora, Co. Claire

Let us remember that this day is not about drinking beer, about dying rivers green, or even about eating ham and cabbage. I think in America, that is all too often all that the day means. It is good to celebrate our heritage, for example, by eating traditional foods, but part of this celebration of Ireland should include remembering that it honors a saint who spread his beliefs by telling stories and learning about the traditions of local tribes, rather than by using a sword and forcing people to abandon their existing language, culture, and way of life.