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(Boston Globe)   Top-secret train carrying high-level radioactive waste has left Western New York and is on its way to Idaho   ( divider line
    More: Scary  
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12645 clicks; posted to Main » on 16 Jul 2003 at 8:40 PM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

99 Comments     (+0 »)

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2003-07-16 07:15:56 PM  
Q: What glows in the dark and heads west?

A: It's not a top secret train filled with radioactive waste
2003-07-16 07:36:56 PM  
oh, i already saw this tv movie. the guy from west wing who used to do drugs saves the day.
2003-07-16 07:46:46 PM  
Wow. More nuke-ya-lur waste for my backyard. Seriously. I will see these casks as they pass my house in a few days. Then I'll see them again as they move the waste someplace else in a few years. Gotta love the government.

Oh yeah, FYI- they don't glow in the dark (except when you're on acid) but they are pretty obvious containers.
2003-07-16 07:50:43 PM  
If we know about it, it's not all that Top Secret now, is it?
2003-07-16 08:45:18 PM  
laugh out loud funny headline. good job!
2003-07-16 08:49:09 PM  
Shhh, don't tell anyone.
2003-07-16 08:53:16 PM  
Attention terrorists: This is not the nuclear waste you're looking for. Move along.
2003-07-16 08:53:31 PM  
New York seems to think it's the center of the universe...until they have some nuclear waste to deal with.

Why the hell can't they send it to Nevada or Utah? They're both much better candidates for mutations. Couldn't make the populations any worse...
2003-07-16 08:53:49 PM  
This wouldn't be a problem if someone would just develop beaming technology.
2003-07-16 08:54:42 PM  
Asshat headline writer. Now everybody who visits Fark has to be killed.
2003-07-16 08:56:36 PM  
The scarier part is it's all being delivered to a small, isolated shack with no electricity whose owner is known for buying lots of pipes even though he has no running water...
2003-07-16 08:58:15 PM  
Where is the Federal Railroad Administration that is supposed to inspect ahead of these trains? Haven't seen them for a couple of years...
2003-07-16 08:58:36 PM  
Dude, I live right next to the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. It is not uncommon to see huge casks containing radioactive waste headed to the desert out here. Really makes you feel good about yourself, and the extraordinary number of two headed calves that are born every year out here.
2003-07-16 09:06:44 PM  
green1-Glow in the dark? some of this stuff glows in the LIGHT. Ever seen a containment pool?

Actually, I'm all for finding a central place to stash this sort of waste and doing away with nuclear power completely. Sure, it's theoretically cheap and almost completely non-polluting in the short term, but the waste is seriously deadly and leaves thousands of generations with a untenable disposal problem.

But, hey, we americans don't give a shiat about the future of the planet.
2003-07-16 09:17:56 PM  
I hope they don't try the whole hook-a-helicopter-to-the-train won't work.

[image from too old to be available]
2003-07-16 09:26:14 PM  
FredGarvin: Here, here!
2003-07-16 09:29:41 PM  
Thank you, liberal media, for once again showing terrorists some of our weak-points
2003-07-16 09:29:53 PM  
''We knew it was due to go sometime and we're happy it's gone,'' she said, ''because West Valley is not a suitable place for all that waste to be kept.''

Aaaaaand, your suitable place might be where, exactly? Is there a suitable place to put something that's emitting alpha/beta/gamma particles for the next 100,000 years?
2003-07-16 09:31:24 PM  
They move that stuff all the time....where do you think all the waste from refueling nuclear reactors on Naval ships get to Idaho?? They teleport it?? No, they put it in big containers with heat sinks filled with water and load them on flatbed cars and haul them to Idaho....been done for ages
2003-07-16 09:31:50 PM  
The Feds spent millions, if not billions, developing the technology to get this solid waste out of contaminated cooling water. Then they shut the facility down, before they could teach anyone else how the process worked and apply the research to other facilities. Thanks Hillary.
2003-07-16 09:32:17 PM  
why do we make stuff that cant be destroyed? like radioactive waste and stuff? what are they gonna do with it in idaho? what happens when idaho becomes more populated and they need to put it somewhere else?
2003-07-16 09:34:09 PM  
zeelicious because it's better than coal power (in many ways).

And they don't "make" the radioactivity. Just dig it up, refine it, and convert it.
2003-07-16 09:36:54 PM  
Drop it somewhere in the Atlantic Ridge things, ya know, that deepest part of the ocean, don't think anybody will care then, until Godzilla actually happens...and only Japan will be prepared...
2003-07-16 09:38:41 PM  
Forgot to add something to my post...

/cue Twilight Zone music
2003-07-16 09:39:12 PM  
As a person in Idaho, I don't care if it comes here. We can get rid of all the idiots from Washington...
2003-07-16 09:42:16 PM  
Could someone explain to me how radioactive waste is more dangerous than a nuclear explosion? If people can live in Hiroshima and Nagasaki only a few years after( actually, during) the atomic explosions and not turn into a gelatinous blob of flesh and brains, why is it radioactive waste will kill us for 100,000 years?
2003-07-16 09:43:06 PM  
I heard Mr. Ladin and company plan on putting quarters on the train track in hopes of an old wives tail actually coming true. In all reality this kinda sucks considering I lay my head a few miles away from the INEEL.
2003-07-16 09:44:48 PM  
Thanks for the kudos, judasdiomedes. I grew up in Oak Ridge, where they enriched the u-235 for the Manhattan project, I know more than you want to know about radiation. I do believe we should do all we can to secure all the nuclear waste we can, because it's good for one thing, guess what? Weapons. Big bad ones.

And judas, did anyone ever tell you that you look just like a BMW motorcycle engine?
2003-07-16 09:46:33 PM  
Oh cry me a river. High-level nuclear waste is only bad if 1) You're standing directly next to it, and it's unshielded. 2) It's ground up into a fine powder and released into the air or water. I love how when it comes to radioactivity, people base all their knowledge on rumors they've heard.

This stuff on the train is highly protected. The train can crash head on into concrete, and the caskets protecting the stuff will hold together. I'm sure it'll be protected with many levels of security help aleviate so many unfounded fears.

I saw someone mentioning that there's two headed cows in Idaho. Umm..ya...another rumor from a friend. And somehow, he also decided to link that up to radioactive exposure from waste. Really, if are so worried about getting nuked, then 1) Don't go outside, the sun blasts you with it, 2) Don't buy smoke detectors, they have Americanium (a radioactive element), 3) Don't get X-Rays. 4) Don't eat bananas (high in potassium..which has a common radioactive isotope). 5) Don't stand on the earth (radon). Fact is, you get nuked every day. This radioactive waste is nothing compared to what you're getting blasted with already. A few tons of radioactive waste highly protected and shielded will probably add roughly .0000001% to your daily exposure.
2003-07-16 09:46:43 PM  
Actually the train's going to Ohio.

/That'll keep em guessing
2003-07-16 09:49:35 PM  
At least it's not being carried on a genuine, bona fide, electrified, six-car monorail
2003-07-16 09:51:21 PM  
Rudy easy. With the nuclear bomb all the fissionable material is used up in an instant in a chain reaction over critical mass. Thus, virtually all radiation is expelled in a single huge burst, turning everyone close into goo. A couple years later the few atoms that survived have been spread around and are only weakly admitting radiation at the normal half life.

If you put the same amount of uranium in a drum and let it decay naturally it would be a danger for much longer, because it would decay at the natural half life, but would release fewer neutrons at any one time.
2003-07-16 09:51:50 PM  
outlaw_rudy: Because in a nuclear explosion, the radioactive material is consumed. This is what Einstein's famous E=mc^2 equation represents. The turning of mass into sheer energy.

Now if you spill radioactive material into the environment, it will take thousands of years to decay into safe levels. Most radioactive material isnt *that* dangerous unless its ingested internally because it will lodge in your body and eventually give you cancer. Thing about it is, if its in the dirt then plants will consume it. Animals consumes the plants, people consume the animals...and then people get sick.
2003-07-16 09:52:57 PM  
I'll field that one from Outlaw Rudy, everyone.

Rudy, the difference is that there's no real difference at all. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still radioactive and will remain so for the next umpty-thousand years. The difference is scale. Nuclear products these days are MUCH more potent than they were back in WWII. They've increased in potency by exponential degrees, like the rate of computers have done so since the days of ENIAC and UNIVAC. Add to that fact that there's just simply MORE of it, and this is a serious concern.

My question is this: why don't we simply send it down into the Earth's core? I read an article in this month's Scientific American about an idea to melt a few tons of iron into magma, and drop it, with a magma-proof probe, into the core. Since iron is heavier than pretty much everything else in it's way from here to the core, it'll keep sinking all the way down. Just replace "nuclear waste" with "probe", and voila'! Problem solved for at least 3 billion years when the Earth's crust completely recycles.
2003-07-16 09:53:30 PM  
Wait...I thought Superman took care of all this in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
2003-07-16 09:54:51 PM  
Yeah people, listen to Helix. We have nothing to fear in radioactive waste. The goverment is in control of it and that means we have nothing to fear. Consider this problem swept under the rug.
2003-07-16 09:56:33 PM  
Quick! Someone derail it before it spills its toxic nuclear waste!
2003-07-16 09:57:02 PM  
shader, what'd you say?
2003-07-16 09:57:17 PM  
If the New York doesn't want it, and Idaho and Nevada don't want it, send it to somebody that DOES want it. Like Iran or Syria for example.

2003-07-16 09:57:42 PM  
adrien: That is the most ridiculous tripe i've ever heard. Are you honestly suggesting that the U-235 of today is more 'potent' than the U-235 of 1945? The reason hiroshima and nagasaki are not radioactive is because there was very little fallout from the explosion because 1. there wasnt much material to begin with (nuke bombs only have a couple kilos of material), and 2. it was consumed as the fuel of the explosion.

May einstein have mercy upon your soul.
2003-07-16 09:57:52 PM  
Hey, Media, it was top secret for a reason. Thanks for letting the cat out of the bag.

Oh, I heard they were going to stick all this stuff in a mountain in the Nevada desert (from a teacher at the very beginning of the school year). Confirmation, anyone?
2003-07-16 10:01:36 PM  
SquirrelWithLargeNuts there's a facility in Nevada that has been planned for a very long time, Yucca Mountain, that was finally passed last year. As far as I know it's still being stalled by environmental protests and general NIMBY backlash.
2003-07-16 10:04:55 PM  
Well, AdrienVeidt, I don't think they want radioactive material in the earth's core. It could spew up at any time, in almost any place. I think it's best to keep it where we have complete control of where it goes. Once it's in the earth's core, we can't stop it if we find some traces of it in... say a water supply used by a major city.
2003-07-16 10:12:22 PM  
I live about 30 miles from the West Valley "demonstration" (ie nuke dump) project. I've drive by it many times in my 31 years. I'm glad to hear more of the waste is gone.

...but why can't the papers wait until it's long gone before anouncing it to the terrorists????????
2003-07-16 10:16:55 PM  
Hmmm, my understanding of 'top secret' is evidently incorrect.
2003-07-16 10:19:09 PM  
''It is in safe and secure hands and under the government's control,'' Energy Department spokesman Joe Davis said from Washington.

Does this line give anyone else the heebie-jeebies?
2003-07-16 10:26:46 PM  
Also, the radioactive waste can be used to make dirty bombs, if it is recovered by terrorists. Which would suck.
2003-07-16 10:28:39 PM  
It's really being shipped in 4 unmarked Cabriolets driven by tanned blonde headed 20 year olds. The train is just a cover story :p

Oh, and just to make sure that I'm not banned, can anyone see me?
2003-07-16 10:29:14 PM  
My dad works there - he has been seriously stressed out for a couple weeks with no explanation, until now!

I called him and asked him if the train left and he almost lost it, until I told him that it was already in the papers.

Pretty funny stuff. I did an internship there Freshman year, it was pretty cool. Dealt with anaerobic bacteria and nitrogen intertion..
2003-07-16 10:36:11 PM  
miketbj2 : In geology we learned that the half life "clocks" in atoms reset in conditions of the mantle. Think of what is done in core conditions.

That and you want it to disperse. It's like putting an eyedropper of red dye in the ocean, the ocean ain't going to change color.

The problem would be making sure it gets deep enough.
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