Nuke cleanup

Shaggy

Vice Admiral
I got to thinking about Repleetah and the weapons used there. If I remeber right it got the full NBC treatment.
Now Chemical and Biological weapons burn themselves out relatively quickly. Chemical weapons tend to break down and dissipate into the environment, usually with no ill effects and infectious organisms usually die off after awhile.
Nuclear effects tend to stick around a lot longer.
Now according to a PBS special I watched the reason why radiation is so damaging is because the radioactive molecules are zipping around really fast and they knock pieces of your DNA loose, causing mutations that turne into cancers. They didn't name any specific type of radiation, Gamma, Alpha, or XRays, so this probably isn't completely accurate.
But keeping this sort of thing in mind does anyone think it's at least theoretically possible to create machinery capable of cleaning up radiation on a planetary scale and keep the process from taking thousands of years or have to dig up loads of top soil?
 

PeteyG

I can have an avatar now
As I recall, it's not so much the radioactive particles zipping around that cause ill effects, it's the radiation that ingested radioactive molecules give off that cause the trouble.

Nuclear blasts in the air (hundreds of meters above the ground) have a much wider destructive area, and throw most of their dirty fission byproducts into the air, which will gradually fall to the ground over the course of hours, days, weeks, and years. Ground bursts (at or very close to the surface) put most of their nasty stuff right into the ground. A planetary ecosystem can absorb a certain amount of large nuclear explosions in the air (like ours has), and the exact areas where air bursts have happened can maybe be reinhabited in a matter of decades. Areas affected by ground bursts can be pretty much written off as no-go zones for a LONG time. All that depends on how big and how dirty the explosions are, of course...

If there were a lot of nuclear explosions, I could envision some kind of magical science-fiction planetary-scale air filter that would capture a certain percentage of fallout particles. But it would have to be put to work pretty quickly after the explosions to keep the fallout from settling and making the planet completely uninhabitable. Once the fallout starts hitting the ground it would be a really really big headache to deal with. I think the US government has some plans drawn up for post-nuclear war cleanup... somewhere.
 

McGruff

Banned
This works too, put the Kilrathi to work on Repleetah..........

I and my comrades at the Novodzerzjinskaja mine were conscripted by the war commissary. This happened, as I remember, on 20 August 1986. We were transported in An-12 military aircraft that can take a great many passengers. We were taken to the city of Belaja Tserkov. We changed into military uniforms and were brought at night by car to the village of Oranoje in the Ivanocskij area.

We worked in Chernobyl without any form of protective equipment; we had only a gauze mouth protector to stop the radioactive dust. We worked in the worst contaminated zone, which was surrounded by a barbed wire fence. Guards were placed all around so that no one could get into this zone. We were given different tasks according to orders. Some of us worked moving bricks, others washed the walls in the fourth block - we worked everywhere. We stood on the roof and threw down pieces of graphite, we were in the basement and emptied radioactive waste and water with buckets. In this waste there were big doses of radioactivity, and I repeat, we didnt have any sort of protective equipment.

We worked almost a whole month in this zone. During this time none of us were examined by a doctor. We didn't get especially good food, but were allowed to drink as much mineral water as we wanted. After each trip to the fourth block we took a sauna, and every day we got new boots and coveralls - but they were of miserable quality. The contaminated coveralls were burnt.

Once in a while we worked in places where we could only stay for five to ten minutes at a time. Such an occasion was when we, six men, carried water from the basement. In this basement there were filters (we worked there a total of one hour, this I made a note of) and I, as the oldest in the group, monitored the radioactivity - in this waste there was up to 70 roentgen and in the water up to 45.
But the foreman who gave us the equipment wrote down only 1.5 roentgen per hour. I objected, "How can you write down such a low radiation dose when we worked almost an hour in this contaminated basement! You must write the truth about us, as it was and is." But he said to us, "I am not allowed to write down such a high dose. I can see it is so high but still I cannot write down the truth because then my boss will complain."

More than three years have now passed since then. Our health has deteriorated, we have done our duty and now we are dying in si~lence. We can't even have children, even if we want to. These children could be born deformed. Doesn't the State see how young men fade away and die? I was at a hospital in Dontesk and I saw how the whole hospital was filled to capacity with persons who worked and lived in Chernobyl. But nobody can help them.

I am now working as a miner, it is heavy work but so far I keep going although my health gives me trouble. My hair is gone. I've started to lose my memory, I forget names of my friends, I even forget my ID number. My legs ache and I get dizzy spells. People look at me in astonishment.

Yes, we have done our patriotic duty, but our native country doesn't recognize us.
 

Iceman16

Vice Admiral
McGruff said:
This works too, put the Kilrathi to work on Repleetah..........

I and my comrades at the Novodzerzjinskaja mine were conscripted by the war commissary. This happened, as I remember, on 20 August 1986. We were transported in An-12 military aircraft that can take a great many passengers. We were taken to the city of Belaja Tserkov. We changed into military uniforms and were brought at night by car to the village of Oranoje in the Ivanocskij area.

We worked in Chernobyl without any form of protective equipment; we had only a gauze mouth protector to stop the radioactive dust. We worked in the worst contaminated zone, which was surrounded by a barbed wire fence. Guards were placed all around so that no one could get into this zone. We were given different tasks according to orders. Some of us worked moving bricks, others washed the walls in the fourth block - we worked everywhere. We stood on the roof and threw down pieces of graphite, we were in the basement and emptied radioactive waste and water with buckets. In this waste there were big doses of radioactivity, and I repeat, we didnt have any sort of protective equipment.

We worked almost a whole month in this zone. During this time none of us were examined by a doctor. We didn't get especially good food, but were allowed to drink as much mineral water as we wanted. After each trip to the fourth block we took a sauna, and every day we got new boots and coveralls - but they were of miserable quality. The contaminated coveralls were burnt.

Once in a while we worked in places where we could only stay for five to ten minutes at a time. Such an occasion was when we, six men, carried water from the basement. In this basement there were filters (we worked there a total of one hour, this I made a note of) and I, as the oldest in the group, monitored the radioactivity - in this waste there was up to 70 roentgen and in the water up to 45.
But the foreman who gave us the equipment wrote down only 1.5 roentgen per hour. I objected, "How can you write down such a low radiation dose when we worked almost an hour in this contaminated basement! You must write the truth about us, as it was and is." But he said to us, "I am not allowed to write down such a high dose. I can see it is so high but still I cannot write down the truth because then my boss will complain."

More than three years have now passed since then. Our health has deteriorated, we have done our duty and now we are dying in si~lence. We can't even have children, even if we want to. These children could be born deformed. Doesn't the State see how young men fade away and die? I was at a hospital in Dontesk and I saw how the whole hospital was filled to capacity with persons who worked and lived in Chernobyl. But nobody can help them.

I am now working as a miner, it is heavy work but so far I keep going although my health gives me trouble. My hair is gone. I've started to lose my memory, I forget names of my friends, I even forget my ID number. My legs ache and I get dizzy spells. People look at me in astonishment.

Yes, we have done our patriotic duty, but our native country doesn't recognize us.
hmm, thats...interesting I guess...
 

Shaggy

Vice Admiral
Okaaaay.
Thanks for the new info PeteyG.
So with the time that's passed on Repleetah, the radiation would have sunk more into the ground. Then it would require more work in the dirt rather than in the air?
 

PeteyG

I can have an avatar now
Yeah, I would imagine that most of the bad stuff would have settled to the ground. That pretty much gives you three options:

1. Scrub everything down really good.
2. Dig up lots of deep rock and bury sections that you want to reinhabit.
3. Wait for everything to cool off (long, long time).

I couldn't imagine that Repleetah would be worth salvaging... as I recall the only major point of interest was a research station, and neither side really committed to taking the planet, because it wasn't worth it. Repleetah would probably just be left as-is, since it would cost so much to clean up and there are lots of other planets for people to live on.
 

Joker057

Spaceman
I feel compelled to correct PeteyG. Airburst nuclear explosions cause the second least amount of nuclear fallout. Surface nuclear explosions cause the most amount of fallout by irradiating the ground and throwing it up into the air... up to 30,000 ft to be blown around by the jet stream of higher altitudes. Sub-surface nuclear explosions are the least dirty for obvious reasons. If the blast is contained underground there is no fallout going into the atmospehere. Hence why all of our (US) nuclear tests are conducted underground nowadays. The most effective nuclear explosion for warfare purposes are determined by the target, but for the widest area of damage and airburst would be the detonation of choice. If hitting an underground complex, a surface blast would be the choice. Generally a surface blast is detonated a few feet underground generally using a delay fuse causing a whole lot of earth to be radiated and thrown up in to the air, whereas an airburst explosion is fused by using a radar altimeter. My two cents. Peace.
 

junior

Spaceman
And don't forget the Genie nuclear air to air missile.


I read once (in Popular Mechanics, or something similar) that every now and then, some scientist gets the bright idea of building a cruise missile that uses an unshielded nuclear reactor to power it. The idea is that you launch the thing, and then it irradiates your enemy's territory before finally exploding at its target location. The problem, however, is figuring out where and how to test the thing without doing the same to your own territory.
 

Lynx

Spaceman
I'm sure you think now that you're very smart. Are you patting yourself at the shoulder right now?
 

Ridgerunner

Vice Admiral
Remember, the best nuke is the nuke used that saves the most lives.

Might be necessary to let another one go in a few years, if a certain part of the world don't get it's act together.
 

Shaggy

Vice Admiral
Yeah this is getting a little off track from what I intended. Okay little is an understatement. :D
Seriously though, what I'm wondering about is the theoretical possibility of clean up. If what I heard on the dirty bomb special is true then it should simply be a matter of capturing the high speed particles in order to cool the radiation.
If that's not right then what actually constitutes radiation?
 

Demon

Spaceman
Well, that is the radiation but it is the radioactive particles in the fallout, which has presumably covered the entire planet, that gives off these particles. So, to catch these particles, you would have to have a blanket over the entire planet, like digging up the surface and burying under deeper layers.
 

Shaggy

Vice Admiral
Demon said:
Well, that is the radiation but it is the radioactive particles in the fallout, which has presumably covered the entire planet, that gives off these particles. So, to catch these particles, you would have to have a blanket over the entire planet, like digging up the surface and burying under deeper layers.
Thank You for the clarification.
The basic idea I had was to employ a prototype ship with nanobots programmed to collect the radioactive particles and load them aboard a shielded transport for disposal in a black hole. :)
Apparently there would be loss soil etc.
 
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