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Fukushima Missing Fuel -
Perhaps No China Syndrome?

By Ted Twietmeyer

China Syndrome is a term for a radioactive meltdown which continues infinitely into the Earth. This is unlikely when we take a close look at what is probably happening right now to the reactors cores.

 Earth inherently has a number of systems to compensate for most of the problems that naturally occur. Earthquakes relieve tectonic plate stresses, tidal waves dissipate energy created by  undersea sudden tectonic plate drops, rain relieves droughts, hurricanes equalize pressures, forest fires wipe out dead wood and old growth which creates new growth, volcanoes relieve magma pressures that build up, etc...

 Down deep in the Earth radioactive material is commonplace. Radioactive granite, uranium and other materials come from deep in the Earth. Go deep enough and you will reach magma almost anywhere. A few miles down a oil well temperatures reach about 400F. Source of this information is a Texas oil well testing and instrumentation company I designed systems for back in the eighties.  The deeper you go the hotter it gets until eventually you reach molten rock. In some locations on Earth, magma is close enough to Earth's surface to allow economical power generation using superheated steam. This is probably the most ecological friendly way to generate power.

 What happens when several tons of molten, highly radioactive fuel in the molten state melts down deep into the Earth? As long as fuel remains hotter than the melting temperature of the rock, it will continue to melt downward into the Earth. It may not remain in one large mass like mercury. The melted fuel mass remains molten only as long as enough of it remains together to stay above critical.

 Slowly downward moving fuel must  leave a trail of molten uranium mixed with rock on it's way down until an insufficient quantity of fuel is left together to remain molten. Melted rock above the molten fuel will probably flow back into the hole above it by gravity sealing it off. This would happen because the molten mass is radiating intense heat in all directions, not just downward or sideways. Almost needless to say, molten fuel will also contaminate local ground water as it passes through that layer.

 For discussion purposes, consider what happens if the melted fuel material were somehow able to stay together like mercury. Acting and moving like magma, melted rock above the fuel mass will flow down into the void by gravity above the mass, sealing it off from the surface above it inch by inch. At some point as this process continues, the melted radioactive mass will be absorbed into Earth's magma and become diluted. It will cool down to magma temperatures when it becomes diluted enough and will stop moving downward.

 Long before that point, there would be no more measurable radiation from the fuel mass at Earth's surface. Radiation from the melted fuel mass will not reach the Earth's surface, when sufficient rock (and distance) forms a natural shield. While this it is not a perfect ending to a reactor melt-down, it will eventually cleanup at the reactor site a practical possibility.

 Perhaps one day, somewhere a volcano around Japan will spew out radioactive lava mixed with Fukushima uranium if it travels down that deep.
 But that is still a long way from China!






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