Tellurium 129 Presence Is Proof Of Inadvertent Recriticality At Fukushima

Tyler Durden's picture

For those wondering just why TEPCO and Japan in general have been in such as scramble to cover up as much of the reactor in a concrete sarcophagus, after up until now the utility had been perfectly happy to come up with one after another useless idea of delaying the inevitable moment of sarcophagation, here is Arnie Gunderson from Fairewinds and Associates explaining that now there is definitive proof, courtesy of Tellurium 129 and a order of magnitude higher concentration of Iodine 131 in Reactor 1, that the reactor is now undergoing sporadic events of recriticality: in other words, the fission reaction is recommencing on its own, and without any supervision, emitting undetectable neutron beams which are irradiating any and all personnel still on location. For the time being these recritical events are isolated, although courtesy of the whole premise behind a nuclear power plant, all it takes is for some form of critical threshold to be reached, and for a full blown self-sustaining chain reaction to result in Chernobyl part 2. If nothing else, we now know why the authorities are desperate to bury everything literally under the sand. Because at least a few thousands tons of concrete will provide a modest buffer for unprecedented amount of radiation before these hit the surrounding environment. Lastly, all those hoping that natural rod cooling is sufficient, and if the plant is left along long enough on its own, things will get better, are now proven wrong. We can only hope the outcome this time will be a tad more favorable than all the previously disastrously aborted attempts at restoring order.

Newly released TEPCO data provides evidence of periodic chain reaction at Fukushima Unit 1 from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.

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Cistercian's picture

 The fail is profound.God help us all.

Ray1968's picture

The big black swan just had a cygnet!

Selah's picture


And a $38 egg...


Fish Gone Bad's picture

For those who are just catching up on FairWinds take on all this, there is a fuel rail laying on its side next to an exposed core.  The core is emitting a buttload of gamma rays that are raining back to earth in a thing called skyshine and this makes working around the area lethal.  Add to that there is aerosolized radioactive elements from the exposed core AND all that water they are pumping in.   Then there is the problem of the radioactive water that is around the reactor in canals and the leakage into the ocean. Add to this clusterflock, there appears to be no staging going on, ie they are not about to fix this problem, because (gulp) anyone who goes near the place other than Marvel's Wolverine, is going to die in a short period of time.  And now there is the neutron problem, as if this problem couldn't get any worse. 

I don't think spraying Corexit is going to cover up this mess any time soon.

mkkby's picture

Thank you.  We are proud.

RichardP's picture

And yet, the fail has actually not occurred yet.  It looks like it is going to.  But it hasn't happened yet.  Don't get frozen into inaction by the fear of the future before it has actually happened.  Do something now that might change how things turn out.

watercarrier4diogenes's picture

So any and all workers and visitors to the site may have been "neutroned"...  "and how's that ache all over feeling coming along Mr. Prime Minister?"

malikai's picture

NHK isn't saying shit about it. In fact, they're talking about people returning home in the exclusion zone.

Also, why wouldn't they be putting borated water in the reactors/SFPs anyway? Are they out? And if there's criticality occurring in the #1 core, how are neutrons escaping confinement? That doesn't sound right to me. 

avonaltendorf's picture

I believe when they attempt to inject water into a reactor's primary cooling system (core, torus, turbine, condenser) it leaks out and ends up in the ocean or flashes to radioactive steam.

The spent fuel pools are hard to hit with hoses, except #4

Best bet is to waterflood all four reactors and turbines, cool everything down, then start pouring concrete.

Triggernometry's picture

Spent fuel rod assemblies can take over 18 months to cool down enough to move into permanent storage. I wish it were as simple as pouring water, but a year and a half of radioactive steam sounds like a nightmare.

Though I don't work in the power industry, I have a background in physics; and I've been scratching my head at what can be done to mitigate radiation release. Its clear much will have to be buried, but they might have to dig a hole big enough to bulldoze everything in, might take less time than waiting for everything too cool.

Urban Roman's picture

First thing they need to do is work some borax into the mess. It's going to be hard, because the borax needs to be right in the sputtering mess of white hot, near-critical jumbled fuel pellets and radioactive fission-product, cladding, control-rod, oxidized crud.

Forgiven's picture

Bummer.  I was hoping to add this to the long list of shit I'd like to forget about while watching Survivor. //Sarcasm off//

Cdad's picture

Great...because between Tokyo becoming Cancer Central, and the American Treasury market about to reach uncontrolled fission...I did not yet have enough shit to disturb my sleep tonight...Tyler.  

Thanks.  //sarcasm function offline entirely//

B9K9's picture

But it ain't so bad if you have first access to freshly printed money. After returning from the desert this weekend on virtually empty freeways (by LA standards), I explained to my wife (she of the 'ha, ha, MERS isn't collapsing chain-of-title, so there') the basic theory of why monetization is so pernicious.

You see, certain parts of PS entertain those who enjoy "first access", as exhibited by differerent direct & indirect contractor functions. Then, when you leave the resort(s), you once again enter the world where people who can't afford gas simply stay home, watch TV and drink some beer.

Tongue in cheek, I mentioned that I hope gas goes to $5-6/gal - imagine how empty the roads would be then. Of course, the revolution would kick off beforehand, so alas, I guess I won't get to experience a completely empty freeway.

One last note: in the 'good 'ole days', there would be 200 mile long trains of F350s, boats, sand rigs, RVs, etc returning back to the city. Today, only older retired guys in tricked out RVs, still pulling down whatever pensions are keeping them in the lifestyles to which they have become accustomed. Regular working stiffs don't get to play anymore.

Abitdodgie's picture

I used to live in Venice and coming back from Gorman was a bitch on Sundays, We would sit on the 405 coming over the supulveda pass for about 2 hours , but it did give us chance to finish all the beers

RichardP's picture

Celebration of Persian New Year today.  Big-time celebration in Balboa Park in S.F. Valley.  Maybe kept a few folks off the freeways today.

SheHunter's picture

Do some googling for updates on workers dying in the Gulf Cdad.  And then add that to the list.  Media's on mum about our situation down south but people cleaning up the Gulf mess are getting sick.. As in very sick.  When I re-find the link I'l post it.

cbxer55's picture


If that happens, I may actually watch the f---in stupid shop for the first time. ;-)

Fish Gone Bad's picture

The first person to make a lead tent wins.

Argos's picture

Sometimes I'm glad to be old, and this is one of them.

CR Bill's picture

no shit

I am glad to have evacuated to Costa Rica several years ago, cannot imagine going back


New Survivalist's picture

You and Jim Willie both.


So, if I may ask, are you retired or if not, how do you make a living?



max2205's picture

Radioactive elements abound in nature. This article has a list of radioactive elements which are arranged in the order of increasing atomic number along with their decay modes. Before we have a look at the radioactive elements list, let us understand what do we mean by a radioactive element first! That is, we must understand the phenomenon of radioactivity.

Radioactivity arrived on the scene of world physics in the 19th century, just when people thought they knew everything in physics! With its discovery in 1896, radioactivity opened up a Pandora's box of questions and revealed a new world, waiting to be explored in the microcosm of the atomic nucleus.

Let us understand radioactivity and how it led to developments which culminated into the invention of nuclear energy and nuclear bomb! We will also get introduced to certain terms like isotopes and ideas like half life, which will help us understand radioactivity better. Then we will make a list of radioactive elements and study their individual properties.

What is Radioactivity?
Radioactivity is a very interesting phenomenon in nature. Classical Electromagnetism cannot explain radioactivity. It's a spontaneous and random phenomenon whereby nuclei of certain chemical elements like Uranium, radiate gamma rays (high frequency electromagnetic radiation), beta particles (electrons or positrons) and alpha particles (Helium Nuclei).

By the emission of these particles and radiation, the unstable nucleus gets converted into a stabler nucleus. This is called radioactive decay. In the list of radioactive elements, all the elements which undergo decay are listed. Find more information on radioactivity through the articles, 'What is radioactivity?' and meaning of radioactivity decay.

The Term 'Radioactive' - A Misnomer
A radioactive element is a fundamental element whose atomic nuclei demonstrates the phenomenon of radioactivity. The name 'radioactive' may suggest to you that radioactive elements radiate radio waves, but unfortunately that is not so! The name 'radioactivity' is a misnomer because the radioactive elements have nothing to do with radio waves! The reason is that energy and frequency of a gamma ray which is emitted by a radioactive element, is far beyond that of the radio band of electromagnetic spectrum! So, we are just stuck up with the name!

What Makes an Element Radioactive?
To understand radioactivity, we need to explore the structure of an atomic nucleus. Every nucleus contains neutrons as well as protons. Neutrons are neither positively charged, nor negatively charged, they are neutral particles. Protons are positively charged. As you might remember from high school physics, like charges repel each other while unlike charges attract each other. In the nucleus, protons and neutrons are cramped together in a really very small space.

The protons in the nucleus, all being positively charged, repel each other! So if all the protons repel each other, how does the nucleus stay glued together and remain stable? It is because of the 'Nuclear Force'.

This force is more stronger than the electromagnetic force, but the range of this force is only limited to size of the nucleus, unlike electromagnetic force whose range is infinite! This nuclear force acts between the protons and neutrons, irrespective of the charge and its always strongly attractive! However, it has limitations of range! So, in the nucleus, there is a constant tussle between the repelling electromagnetic coulomb force of protons and the attractive strong nuclear force.

In a nucleus like Uranium, which has almost 92 protons, coulomb repulsive force becomes too much for the nuclear force to contain. Subsequently, the nucleus is very unstable and radioactive decay occurs, while Uranium decays into a more stable element. Such an unstable nucleus like Uranium, when gently tapped by a neutron, splits up into two other nuclei through nuclear fission, releasing tremendous amount of energy in the process! This is the principle on which nuclear energy and nuclear weapons are based!

The radioactive elements listed below shows all the decay modes of Uranium. A full explanation of radioactivity can only be given, if we plunge deep into quantum physics and elementary particle physics!

Types of Radioactive Decay
This decay may occur in any of the following three ways:
Alpha Decay: Nucleus emits a helium nuclei (called an Alpha Particle) and gets converted to another nucleus with atomic number lesser by 2 and atomic weight lesser by 4.
Beta Decay: Beta decay could be of two types. Either through emission of an electron or positron (the antiparticle of electron). Electron emission causes an increase in the atomic number by 1, while positron emission causes a decrease in the atomic number by 1.
Gamma Decay: Gamma decay just changes the energy level of the nucleus.
A radioactive element may have more than one decay mode. The list of radioactive elements below will give the decay modes of all radioactive elements.

Radioactive Isotopes
When two nuclei have the same atomic number, but different atomic weight or mass numbers, then they are said to be isotopes! Isotopes have the same chemical properties but different physical properties! For example, carbon has two isotopes, 6C14 and 6C12. Both have the same atomic number, but different number of neutrons. The one with the two extra neutrons is radioactive and undergoes radioactive decay.

The radioactive isotope of carbon was used to develop carbon dating tool, which has made the dating of various elements possible! In the radioactive elements' list below, all the radioactive isotopes of elements are presented.

Half Life of a Radioactive Element
Another term that you need to understand, if you want to understand radioactivity is 'Half Life'. Those of you from a chemistry background might have heard about half life in nuclear chemistry. Half life is the amount of time required, for half quantity of radioactive element to decay! For example C14has a half life of 5730 years. That is, if you take 1 gm of C14, then half of it will have been decayed in 5730 years! In the list of radioactive elements below, half lives of all the radioactive elements are presented.

Radioactive Elements List
Here is a detailed and comprehensive list of radioactive elements along with their atomic and mass numbers, decay modes and half lives. Here 'Beta Decay (?-)' denotes Electron emission while Beta Decay (?+) denotes Positron emission.
Radioactive Element Atomic Number Atomic Mass Number Decay Type Half Life
Hydrogen (H) 1 3 Beta Decay (?-) 12 years
Beryllium (Be) 4 10 Beta Decay (?-) 2,700,000 years
Carbon (C) 6 14 Beta Decay (?-) 5,730 years
Calcium(Ca) 20 41 Beta Decay (?+) 100,000 years
Iron (Fe) 26 59 Beta Decay (?-) 45 days
Cobalt (Co) 27 60 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 5 years
(Ni) 28 59 Beta Decay (?+) 80,000 years
Zinc(Zn) 30 65 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 145 days
Selenium (Se) 34 79 Beta Decay (?-) 70,000 years
Krypton (Kr) 36 85 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 10 years
Krypton (Kr) 36 90 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 33 seconds
Rubidium (Rb) 37 87 Beta Decay (?-) 47 billion years
Strontium (Sr) 38 89 Beta Decay (?-) 53 days
Strontium (Sr) 38 90 Beta Decay (?-) 28 years
Yttrium (Y) 39 90 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 64 hrs
Yttrium (Y) 39 91 Beta Decay (?-) 58 days
Zirconium (Zr) 40 93 Beta Decay (?-) 950,000 years
Zirconium (Zr) 40 95 Beta Decay (?-) 65 days
Niobium (Nb) 41 93 Gamma 4 years
Niobium (Nb) 41 95 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 35 days
Molybdenum (Mo) 42 93 Beta Decay (?+) 10,000 years
Technetium (Tc) 43 99 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 210,000 years
Ruthenium (Ru) 44 103 Beta Decay (?-) 40 days
Ruthenium(Ru) 44 106 Beta Decay (?-) 1 year
Palladium (Pd) 46 107 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 7 million years
Silver (Ag) 47 110 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 249 days
Tin (Sn) 50 126 Beta Decay (?-) 100,000 years
Antimony (Sb) 51 125 Beta Decay (?-) 2 years
Tellurium (Te) 52 127 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 105 days
Tellurium (Te) 52 129 Beta Decay (?-) 67 minutes
Iodine (I) 53 129 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 17.2 million years
Iodine (I) 53 131 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 8 days
Iodine (I) 53 134 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 52 minutes
Xenon (Xe) 54 133 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 5 days
Xenon (Xe) 54 137 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 4 minutes
Xenon (Xe) 54 138 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 14 minutes
Cesium (Cs) 55 134 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 2 years
Cesium (Cs) 55 135 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 2 million years
Cesium (Cs) 55 137 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 30 years
Cerium (Ce) 58 144 Beta Decay (?-) 285 days
Promethium (Pm) 61 147 Beta Decay (?-), Gamma 2 years
Europium (Eu) 63 154 Beta Decay (?-), Beta Decay (?+), Gamma 16 years
Europium (Eu) 63 155 Beta Decay (?-) 2 years
Lead (Pb) 82 210 Beta Decay (?-), Alpha 21 years
Bismuth (Bi) 83 210 Alpha 3 million years
Polonium (Po) 84 210 Alpha 138 days
Radon (Rn) 86 220 Alpha, Beta Decay (?+) 1 min
Radon (Rn) 86 222 Alpha 4 days
Radium (Ra) 88 224 Alpha 4 days
Radium (Ra) 88 225 Beta Decay (?-) 15 days
Radium (Ra) 88 226 Alpha 1,622 years
Thorium (Th) 90 228 Alpha 2 years
Thorium (Th) 90 229 Alpha 7,340 years
Thorium (Th) 90 230 Alpha 80,000 years
Thorium (Th) 90 232 Alpha 14 years
Thorium (Th) 90 234 Beta Decay (?-) 24 days
Proactinium (Pa) 91 226 Alpha, Beta Decay (?+) 2 minutes
Uranium (U) 92 233 Alpha 162,000 years
Uranium (U) 92 234 Alpha 248,000 years
Uranium (U) 92 235 Alpha 713 million years
Uranium (U) 92 236 Alpha 23.9 million years
Uranium (U) 92 238 Alpha 4.51 billion years
Neptunium (Np) 93 237 Alpha 2.2 million years
Plutonium (Pu) 94 236 Alpha 285 years
Plutonium (Pu) 94 238 Alpha 86 years
Plutonium (Pu) 94 239 Alpha 24,390 years
Plutonium (Pu) 94 240 Alpha 6,580 years
Plutonium (Pu) 94 241 Beta Decay (?-), Alpha 13 years
Plutonium (Pu) 94 242 Alpha 379,000 years
Plutonium (Pu) 94 243 Alpha 5 years
Plutonium (Pu) 94 244 Alpha 76 million years
Americium (Am) 95 241 Alpha 458 years
Americium (Am) 95 242 Beta Decay (?-), Beta Decay (?+), Alpha, Gamma 16 hours
Americium (Am) 95 243 Alpha 7,950 years
Curium (Cm) 96 242 Alpha 163 days
Curium (Cm) 96 243 Alpha 35 years
Curium (Cm) 96 244 Alpha 18 years
Curium (Cm) 96 247 Alpha 40 million years

Hope this comprehensive list of radioactive elements will be useful to you. These radioactive isotopes have a lot of applications today, ranging from medicine to atomic energy. Since these radioactive elements are harmful, burning up radioactive waste or disposing it, is difficult. Every development in science and technology brings in new developments and problems. Now, it's for us to decide, how we want to use the power of technology placed in our hands.

Twindrives's picture

Let me smoke a bag of weed and get back to you. 

Dr. Impossible's picture

so, its no great secret that energy does not have a "decay rate" but more simply a "tranfer rate" knowing this, to find the "negitve attractor"(more aggressive the better) for these elements, creates a situation for a new high energy remove the atmoshpereic contaminates in a harnessed/directed force......maybe akin to a rail-gun design, ive even seen rail gun like plans, for launching solid mass into orbit.

downside....if you find that negitive, by accident, in an uncontrolled situation, bigger issue's i could see

Bubbles...bubbles everywhere's picture

Yes, very useful, thank you. I always wanted to know all the diferent ways I AM GOING TO DIE!!!!

LivermoreJim's picture

I know zilch about physics.  But if all ratioactive elements have half lives, why haven't they already naturally decayed given the enormous length of time since the creation of the solar system?  Is there a natural process that continually re-constitutes radioactivity in elements?

mick_richfield's picture

radioactive.  not ratioactive.

the time since the creation of the solar system is not relevant.  what's relevant is the time since the last nearby supernova that created these heavy elements that cause so much trouble.


why aren't they all gone, given that they all have half-lives?   um...becuase some of their half-lives are long enough that they haven't decayed to non-detectability yet.  Like U-238, whose halflife is 4.5 billion years.


plutonium, on the other hand -- if you ever see any of that -- it was definitely made by people.  longest half-life of any of its isotopes is 80 million years -- which means that if any of that stuff was made when our solar-system's stuff got made -- it has lived though at least 60 half-lives since then.  Which means it is reduced by a factor of a million trillion.  Give or take.


bob_dabolina's picture

Plutonium is good for you

It facilitates ocular beams as noticed in X-Men

UninterestedObserver's picture

Bob - Trav said not to panic so shut up and eat your plutonium like a good sheep

bob_dabolina's picture

Trav is legit.

We are all people sharing ideas, we won't always agree, and I hope we never do.

What a borring and unproductive world that would be if everyone agreed. 

Contrarianism is the purview of innovation.

prophet's picture

I completely agree with you that it is boring and unproductive.

bob_dabolina's picture

The process or the product?

I hope to be infinately bored by both as I will always be in the process of learning.

prophet's picture

The process and the product are tolerable for now, its some of the people who insist on unproductive, boring behavior that detract from the quality.

mick_richfield's picture

I actually tried out for the X-Men once. 

True story.


Dr. Xavier:  And ... (looks up) your power is?

Mick:  Sarcasm.

Dr. Xavier:  Excuse me?

Mick:  Oh, yeah.  Like you've never heard sarcasm before.

Dr. Xavier:  I ... see.  Yes.  Well, thank you, very much for coming!  Next?

Harlequin001's picture

Me too, at the interview I placed a small rock and on the table and glared at it and guess what happened... as if by magic... it didn't, then the whole building started shaking.

Which proves beyond doubt that I have the innate ability to force rocks to do well, nothing...

and so rests the case for the defence M'lord...

Of course, then the 40 foot tsunami hit and you could just make out a couple of exploding nuclear reactors in the background. Needless to say I withdrew my application 'cos I'm clearly far too powerful and didn't get the job, even with my new sideburns and snazzy specs, but I did get arrested by the Japanese police for walking home through downtown Tokyo with my underpants on the outside...

well, the bus driver wouldn't let me on...

and you probably still think there's a HAARP conspiracy... I still say it's not my fault, honest...

It's true...

LivermoreJim's picture

Thanks for the spelling lesson.  Let me return the favor.  It's 'Radioactive', not 'radioactive': the first word in a sentence is always capitalized.

UninterestedObserver's picture

He spelled "because" wrong as well.

mick_richfield's picture

oh no.  not if i don't feel like it.  i'm an artist.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

Just because people do not understand you, does not make you an artist.

Jim in MN's picture

"We are all...starrrrr stuffff"

Please identify the above quote to continue playing Planetary Science--The Dark Side