Welcome to Part 5 of the long-awaited Nuked Radio Special on The Wigner Effect, with Leuren Moret and Laurens Battis. We are now half-way through the series of articles and videos that address the following question from a multitude of perspectives:
Is Fukushima Radiation causing problems with aviation and infrastructure?
Part 1 in the series introduced my guests, and gave an overall view of what the Wigner effect is, and how entropy figures in when we are discussing the escalation of flight emergencies and radiation, from an engineering and data collection standpoint.
Part 2 in the series (2 videos) addressed metal and glass – from nuclear reactors to aircraft – and the historic evidence of radiation-induced damage known in the field of materials science.
Part 3 in the series discussed the recent viral story about American Airlines flight 2293, whose cabin walls began ripping apart after takeoff. We also revisited a nuclear story of the past, when weapons testing pitted car windshields from coast-to-coast; and perhaps even more importantly, how authorities dealt with public perception.
Part 4 in the series explained what radiation does to humans at a cellular level – and what pilots, flight crews, and frequent fliers can expect to see from repeated exposure when flying through fallout. Leuren also explained how Gulf War Syndrome became one of the largest cover ups in the history of the U.S. Armed Forces from the illegal use of Depleted Uranium during the Gulf War, the Invasion of Iraq, and the ongoing Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
And in part 5 (2 videos plus the 1st in a new Wigner series), Leuren explains how Wigner dust was formed in the high temperature events that occurred during the initial accident at Fukushima, in both the reactors and the spent fuel pools. She also explains the difference in particle releases between new fuel and spent fuel, and what is continues to be released to this day, almost 4 years since the Great Tohoku earthquake in Japan.
We also read and discuss airplane events in the 8 days prior to our interview, many of which correlated to high radiation readings from EPA RadNet monitors. Before reading any further, I would encourage you to watch the following for the necessary background on the formation of Wigner dust, and how it behaves in the environment. The other above-mentioned videos are also linked within this article.
The last part of 2014 was an extremely bumpy ride in the world of space travel, aviation, and nuclear technology, starting with an FAA directive regarding metal fatigue in Boeing planes. We also saw a rocket explode, a spaceplane disintegrate, a plane crash into a safety center, sewage flowing through the aisles during a flight, and a wayward propeller that nearly decapitated a passenger in Canada. Severe turbulence sent over 2 dozen injured passengers and flight crew members to hospitals on 2 flights near Japan within days of each other, along with several small planes crashing into houses near airports in the US. There were multiple stories of passengers behaving badly – including a famous singer and an airline exec – with the former breaking a crew members foot, and the latter losing her job. There were a number of cardiac events and deaths, including a baby who went into cardiac arrest flying into Boston’s Logan Airport. Warnings about radiation in flight were posted by both a Spaceweather.com scientist and Nuke Pro, although with very different opinions on the source of their readings. U2’s Bono had a very well-publicized close call when a cargo door just ‘fell off’ the private jet he was flying in at 8,000 ft. There were a number of military planes and helicopters that crashed too, and sadly, we saw yet another major commercial airliner crash as well, AirAsia Flight QZ8501. Last but not least, there was also that “little issue” at a Honeywell Uranium plant in Metropolis, that turned out being a “bit bigger” than what we were initially lead to believe. Let’s take a quick look at a few of these events and see whether or not radiation may have played a part. At the end of this article there is a link to a short film documenting the last 10 weeks of 2014, with most of the events listed above included. This will be a new and ongoing series on You Tube showcasing these anomalies about every 10 weeks – or more often if necessary.
Honeywell Accident: On October 26th uranium hexafluoride was accidentally released from the Metropolis facility following a possible equipment failure. Preliminary findings appear to be materials failure in the bottom portion of a metal canister that held uranium hexafluoride. A plant news release quickly stated that no injuries occurred, and Honeywell reported that no nuclear material left the site. But union representatives reported that seven people suffered burns and seven to ten also suffered injuries. Possible Radiation Effect? Yes – based on preliminary findings per NRC; forensic evaluation of canister should definitively show fatigue or cracks in the canister, joints, or welds. I do want to stress that the NRC report was preliminary, and assessment of the canister manufacturing process may also be necessary, depending on what forensic NDT shows.
Wichita plane crash: On October 30th four people were killed and six were injured after a plane crashed on the roof of a FlightSafety building shortly after takeoff. The pilot, who was contracted to take the plane to Mena, Arkansas for painting and then on to its new owner, was killed along with three people inside a flight simulator in the building. The pilot told air traffic control he lost power to the left engine about a minute into the flight. Possible Radiation Effect? Yes – based on the preliminary findings of the NTSB investigation, the plane had recently had 2 maintainance inspections, although whether or not NDT was included will not be released until the final report. “There were no issues with the aircraft that we know of…Otherwise, they wouldn’t have released the aircraft to fly it away”.
Baby has heart attack on a plane: On November 6th an 18-month-old was rushed to the hospital from Logan International Airport after going into cardiac arrest on a Jet Blue flight. The toddler was in full cardiac arrest when it was transported by Boston EMS, according to State Police Spokesman Matthew Guarino. Possible Radiation Effect? Yes. A few hours prior to this event EPA RadNet showed a radiation spike of 348 counts per minute (at ground level) at the station closest to Boston. Multiple news stories listed the city of Needham as the child’s home. Needham is surrounded by several nuclear plants, with Pilgrim and Seabrook both within 50 miles. A urinalysis for cesium should have been included as part of the cardiac workup, as well as diet and water source for the family, and whether or not filters are used in the family home and day care. What also needs to be taken into account is the radiation history of the parents, as well as medical testing performed on the mother during the pregnancy. As a reminder, cesium effects are immediate to heart muscle, not aggregated over the long-term. There have been no updates as to the childs current condition. It is also unknown what other pre-existing health conditions the child may have had.
Bono’s private jet loses cargo door during flight: Although this may seem like an isolated incident, this has actually happened several times in the past year or so with aircraft parts, doors, and in one case even an emergency slide falling off a plane mid-flight. There have also been a number of planes that have lost all or part of their wings; in Reno at an airshow in September, and in air tankers fighting forest fighters in California, Spain, and Australia. In this particular case, mainstream news reported Bono had weathered this incident “without missing a beat” – although less than a week later he was injured in a cycling accident in Central Park. Dean Lorich, a surgeon who operated on Bono, gave a statement to Rolling Stone saying that Bono fractured his eye socket, his shoulder-blade, his upper arm, and his left pinky finger. His humerus bone broke into six pieces, went through his skin, and required five hours of surgery. Additionally, Lorich wrote that Bono “will require intensive and progressive therapy” to fully recover. Probably just a coincidence, but one has to wonder what radiation exposure may have done to his mental processes and motor skills, as we have seen with pilots passing out and increasing seizure-like reports. Possible Radiation Effects? Yes. For both the private jet – and Mr. Bono.
AirAsia Flight QZ8501: This latest tragedy involving a commercial jet comes on the heels of 2 separate and severe turbulence episodes sending 2 dozen people to hospitals in the weeks prior. One who has studied Fukushima fallout might expect the monsoon season and revolitalization of fallout from Pacific storms to play a role, which is why we published a lengthy article on the related factors specific to this case in the days following the accident. Now that the wreckage has been found as well as both the flight data and cockpit voice recorder, we should have more info about this unfortunate event in the next several weeks. It is also interesting to note that in the week following the crash of 8501 – and at the height of the rainy season – two other events occurred with AirAsia planes; a jet skidded off the runaway in the Philippines after a possible braking problem, and an engine died just before takeoff in another, accompanied by a loud bang that scared passengers so badly that 60 of them refused to board another flight. Possible Radiation Effects? Yes. Although as a reminder the force multiplier is more likely scenario in the case of 8501, i.e. severe turbulence causing already weakened metal to go beyond design specs and fail, something we have already covered extensively in previous Wigner segments.
On Nov. 11th, Tony Phillips of spaceweather.com flew from California across the US to attend a science meeting in Washington DC. As an experiment, he decided to take a radiation sensor onboard the plane. During the apex of his flight to DC, cruising 39,000 feet above the desert between Reno and Phoenix, he recorded a dose rate almost 30 times higher than on the ground below.
There was no solar storm in progress. According to the article, the extra radiation was just a “regular drizzle” of cosmic rays reaching down to aviation altitudes. The article also states “This radiation is ever-present and comes from supernovas, black holes, and other sources across the Milky Way.” <- But what about multiple, ongoing, unmitigated nuclear meltdowns??
The radiation sensor used by Tony Phillips is the same one that Earth to Sky Calculus routinely flies to the stratosphere to measure cosmic rays. It detects X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.
However on a recent trip by the ever-popular blogger Nuke Pro from Chicago to Honolulu, he found something even more concerning with his Inspector Geiger counter. Not only were the radiation levels extremely high during his 9 hour flight, but they measured out as beta radiation, as opposed to gamma radiation as had been reported by Philips. As Nuke Pro stated in his article, there is no beta in cosmic radiation. Radiation fields in the upper atmosphere in his estimation were also much, MUCH higher than in the past, going back 20 years.
This week we also learned that – surprise, surprise – Fukushima released 13,000,000,000 times more neutrons than initially estimated. This was reported by Scientists from Tokyo Institute of Technology, Univ. of California San Diego & Kyushu Univ. on Oct 16, 2014. Neutron radiation is the type most often associated with radiation effects such as Wigner, as we have already covered in the early segments from this series.
Priyadarshi et al.: Evidence of neutron leakage at the Fukushima nuclear plant… “Despite the obvious implication for human health… there are no quantitative estimates of the neutron flux leakage…We calculated the total number of neutrons that leaked from the reactor core [and] estimate that a total of 4 × 1011 neutrons per m2 were released before March 20.” We are now almost 4 years into the accident, with no mitigation of the three runaway nuclear cores beneath the site…except for pouring water on them 24/7/365 and creating massive amounts of radioactive steam.
The Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparations list neutron radiation as “a kind of ionizing radiation which consists of free neutrons… Neutrons readily pass through most material, but interact enough to cause biological damage. Neutron radiation is considered to be the most severe and dangerous radiation available. Neutrons can also travel great distances.”
Other rad-related news came from Spaceweather as well this week as a followup to the previous radiation measurements posted from Tony Phillips’ flight. They wrote:
SPACE WEATHER BUOYS INVESTIGATE COSMIC RAYS: The flux of cosmic rays around Earth has been increasing for the past week. To investigate, spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus are launching a series of Space Weather Buoys to the stratosphere. Carried aloft by helium balloons, each Buoy carries a pair of radiation sensors, a GPS altimeter, and multiple cameras to record the flight. Another launch happened yesterday, Jan. 14th. By the end of the week we hope to share data showing how atmospheric radiation levels are responding to the ongoing uptick in cosmic rays.
Now let’s get back to that Boeing Directive I mentioned at the beginning of this article. Airworthiness Directives (ADs) are legally enforceable regulations issued by the FAA to correct an unsafe condition in a product. A product includes an aircraft, engine, propeller, or appliance. Kudos to Flash News Network for catching this important directive. The actual AD reads as follows:
October 28th, 2014
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain The Boeing Company Model DC-10-10, DC-10-10F, DC-10-30, DC-10-30F (KC-10A and KDC-10), DC-10-40, MD-10-10F, and MD-10-30F airplanes. This AD was prompted by an evaluation by the design approval holder (DAH) indicating that the forward cargo compartment frames are subject to widespread fatigue damage (WFD). This AD requires an inspection of the attachment holes at the forward cargo compartment frames and the cargo liner for cracking, and repair if necessary. This AD would also require installing new oversized fasteners in the forward cargo compartment frames. We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the forward cargo compartment frames, which could result in loss of the fail-safe structural integrity of the airplane.
Regardless of where it is coming from, all radiation is deadly to biological systems. The same goes for aircraft flying at altitude, in high radiation fields that they were never designed to fly through.
Just one more…
Next in the series: Rads & Static; Aggregation Kinetics
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