[ RadSafe ] Belgium Nuclear Safety

Joseph Preisig jrpnj01 at gmail.com
Sun Mar 27 00:51:06 CDT 2016


      Nuclear power plants are susceptible to terrorist acts.  If security
is breached, and if the terrorists knew what they were doing, then perhaps
they could drop the cooling water levels around the nuclear fuel, could
bring the control rods out and might start a significant nuclear event.
There are safety and backup systems which might kick in which might be
bypassed also.  No doubt, there would be some government response to
re-take control of the relevant nuclear plant.  Most modern nuclear plants
have pretty significant containment structures which would contain
releases.  The concrete floor of such a nuclear plant is fairly thick
also.  I don't think a Chernobyl-type event would happen.
     Getting radioactive material is possible, and perhaps a dirty bomb
could be constructed.  Most terrorists would probably be severely harmed in
making such a dirty bomb.  If doses get high enough, the terrorists would
experience gastro-intestinal effects which are probably quite
debilitating.  The other forms of bodily high-dose effects are described in
Eric Hall's Radiation Biology/Biophysics book.
    Highly enriched nuclear fuel (Uranium, Plutonium) is not usually found
around conventional nuclear power reactors.  Power reactor enrichment level
is something like 5 %.  Military/submarine reactors can have much higher
enrichment levels, but I suspect they are well-guarded.  To make a serious
nuclear device, one would probably want enrichment levels of 90% or above.
US highly-enriched nuclear material at Pantex or elsewhere is
well-guarded.  I suspect the guards there are well-armed and they are
authorized to use lethal force.
     I suspect there are persons on Radsafe capable of building a
rudimentary nuclear weapon, given the nuclear material is available.
Criticality is discussed somewhat in Health Physics and Nuclear Engineering
books.  Fundamental weapon (fission, hydrogen weapon) designs are described
in Wikipedia internet descriptions.  A person acquiring a copy of MCNP
(Monte Carlo N-Particle Program) would be well on his/her way to designing
a fundamental weapon.  Fundamental designs for fission and/or hydrogen
weapons have been described in Popular Mechanics or Popular Science.
     Getting highly-enriched Uranium or Plutonium (at the 90% enrichment or
more level) is necessary to building a nuclear weapon.  Otherwise, one has
to do the enrichment process via diffusion, laser enrichment, Calutron
enrichment or perhaps accelerator-based enrichment.   This enrichment task
is quite large.  The USA had an extraordinary commitment at Oak Ridge and
elsewhere to make it happen.  The North Koreans are clearly doing
enrichment, weapons design and are building rudimentary ICBM-type rockets.
Potential targets would include South Korea, Japan, Western USA etc.  If
the North Koreans had a submarine capable of launching rockets, they could
reach many other targets.  I certainly hope the USA's Star Wars and
Anti-Missile systems are in place and working.

     Joe Preisig

On Sat, Mar 26, 2016 at 10:50 PM, Jay Cafasso <jay.cafasso at gmail.com> wrote:

> I post this article to the list as a serious topic of discussion (no I am
> no anti-nuclear and no I do not see terrorists under my bed at night).
> First, as an American and a retired HazMat Specialist. My heart goes out to
> all of those who lost loved ones and to all first responders as well as the
> People of Belgium At-Large.
> Second, I would like to know ground truth with regards the article. I am
> well aware of the Mails record of stretching the truth. It's not like our
> folk here are pillars of the Fifth Estate.
> Lastly, what is everyone's opinion of nuclear safety? I am well aware of
> our track record here in the States.
> Thoughts? Fears? Serious Opinions?
> http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3510384/Belgian-nuclear-plant-guard-murdered-security-pass-stolen-two-days-Brussels-attacks.html?AID=7236
> Thank you..
> Jay Cafasso
> 12559 N400E
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