I have been saddened by the discovery of a new nuclear fire in Leverkusen this morning. It is the second in a few months after the Karlsruhe explosion in May. German companies have started a very interesting and useful activity which is the use of NORMs and the transmutation of minor actinides to produce energy. This happens after, also, I have to say my own proposals to German decisionmakers especially as concerns the use of NORMs in coal. Since after neutron capture all the pollution (Ra226 included… even lighter atoms) becomes fissile, an ADS is an option. But the choice of secrecy creates management gaps because it kills all incentives to ensure real (cyber)security around it. “Secrecy is enough” becomes usually the motto. Myself I usually never recommend anything linked to computers and I am an advocate for transparency but this is usually not the norm…
The Karlsruhe fire involved an ADS filled with coal, so the NORMs capture neutrons; coal itself being an average moderator… it works finely, but I would have recommended the fracturation of the coal and centrifugation to harvest the NORMs and direct use in an olive-frame subcritical (where no accelerator is needed). I know the hacker is a man who is in paleontology and feared that coal recycling would destroy fossils (whereas people who have read my From an Einstein Syndrome to the People know that coal is the product of deep underground fusion of ternary fission products from the sides of plumes rising from the core black hole, so fossils are not found in — it’s solely in the superficial layers that fossils can be found). A few days after Nature also published a “warning against mining operations that would destroy the natural patrimony…”. The sentence should nevertheless be light because it’s a quite virtuous purpose even though scientifically wrong.
For the Leverkusen fire it seems to be an ADS used in critical mode (or an actual reactor, gas cooled). One indication of a relativistic neutron event (Mag 4 quake inbetween Greece and Turkey at 10h02 UTC on the day of the blast), the cloud pattern also looks more like a relativistic neutron event (explosion inside and not from a side), there are more quake signals and a definitive coconfirmation with a matching gamma ray burst signal : so yes relativistic neutron event.
Lastly, out of Germany, in Russia, May 31th, a thorium or DU stockpile took fire in Omsk. Major fire. The Tokamak T15 is used in Russia for conversion to fissile. But the use of the resulting U233 for reactor propulsion in fighter jets seems to have given an incentive for what I think was a criminal fire by a foreign agent.
The alpha emitting nanoparticulates spread by this Omsk fire are certainly a contributor to the massive fires ongoing in eastern Siberia. It’s a major addition of pyrophoric materials, that obviously feeds the fires.