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Demon Core

The demon core was a 6.2-kilogram (14 lb) subcritical mass of plutonium measuring 89 millimetres (3.5 in) in diameter, which was involved in two criticality accidents, on August 21, 1945 and May 21, 1946. The core was intended for use in a third World War II nuclear bomb, but remained in use for testing after Japan’s surrender. It was designed with a small safety margin to ensure a successful explosion of the bomb. The device briefly went supercritical when it was accidentally placed in supercritical configurations during two separate experiments intended to guarantee the core was indeed close to the critical point. The incidents happened at the Los Alamos laboratory in 1945 and 1946, and resulted in the acute radiation poisoning and subsequent deaths of scientists Harry Daghlian and Louis Slotin. After these incidents the spherical plutonium core was referred to as the “demon core”.

Our theme song was written and performed by Anna Bosnick. If you’d like to support the show on a per episode basis, you can find our Patreon page here.  Be sure to check our website for more details.

 

Episode 023: Marie Curie

Marie Skłodowska Curie (/ˈkjʊri, kjʊˈriː/;[2] French: [kyʁi]; Polish: [kʲiˈri]; 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934; born Maria Salomea Skłodowska; [ˈmarja salɔˈmɛa skwɔˈdɔfska]) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research […]

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Posted in: Podcast

Marie Curie

Marie Skłodowska Curie (/ˈkjʊrikjʊˈr/;[2] French: [kyʁi]Polish: [kʲiˈri]; 7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934; born Maria Salomea Skłodowska[ˈmarja salɔˈmɛa skwɔˈdɔfska]) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences, and was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.

 

Our theme song was written and performed by Anna Bosnick. If you’d like to support the show on a per episode basis, you can find our Patreon page here.  Be sure to check our website for more details.

Posted in: Podcast

The Goiânia accident

The Goiânia accident was a radioactive contamination accident that occurred on September 13, 1987, at Goiânia, in the Brazilian state of Goiás, after an old radiotherapy source was stolen from an abandoned hospital site in the city. It was subsequently handled by many people, resulting in four deaths. About 112,000 people were examined for radioactive contamination and 249 were found to have significant levels of radioactive material in or on their bodies.[1][2]

In the cleanup operation, topsoil had to be removed from several sites, and several houses were demolished. All the objects from within those houses were removed and examined. Time magazine has identified the accident as one of the world’s “worst nuclear disasters” and the International Atomic Energy Agency called it “one of the world’s worst radiological incidents”.[3][4]

 

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goi%C3%A2nia_accident

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The Chernobyl Disaster

The Chernobyl disaster, also referred to as the Chernobyl accident, was a catastrophic nuclear accident. It occurred on 26 April 1986 in the No.4 light water graphite moderated reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat, in what was then part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union (USSR).

During a late night safety test which simulated power-failure and in which safety systems were deliberately turned off, a combination of inherent reactor design flaws, together with the reactor operators arranging the core in a manner contrary to the checklist for the test, eventually resulted in uncontrolled reaction conditions that flashed water into steam generating a destructive steam explosion and a subsequent open-air graphite fire.[note 1] This fire produced considerable updrafts for about 9 days, that lofted plumes of fission products into the atmosphere, with the estimated radioactive inventory that was released during this very hot fire phase, approximately equal in magnitude to the airborne fission products released in the initial destructive explosion.[1] Practically all of this radioactive material would then go on to fall-out/precipitate onto much of the surface of the western USSR and Europe.

The Chernobyl accident dominates the Energy accidents sub-category, of most disastrous nuclear power plant accident in history, both in terms of cost and casualties. It is one of only two nuclear energy accidents classified as a level 7 event (the maximum classification) on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.[2] The struggle to safeguard against scenarios which were, at many times falsely,[1] perceived as having the potential for greater catastrophe and the later decontamination efforts of the surroundings, ultimately involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles.[3] During the accident, blast effects caused 2 deaths within the facility and later 29 firemen and employees died in the days-to-months afterward from acute radiation syndrome, with the potential for long-term cancers still being investigated.[4]

The remains of the No.4 reactor building were enclosed in a large sarcophagus (radiation shield) by December 1986, at a time when what was left of the reactor was entering the cold shut-down phase; the enclosure was built quickly as occupational safety for the crews of the other undamaged reactors at the power station, with No.3 continuing to produce electricity into 2000.[5][6]

The accident motivated safety upgrades on all remaining Soviet-designed reactors in the RBMK (Chernobyl No.4) family, of which eleven continued to power electric grids as of 2013.[7][8]

 

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster

 

Final skit music 

“Dangerous” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/