T.S. Eliot’s poem "The Hollow Men" says, "This is the way the world ends, Not with a bang but a whimper." The Japanese nuclear plant meltdowns may end the same way. How will the affected plants finally be closed? A look at what happened at Chernobyl can give us a clue: Several times a month, especially after it rains in that part of the Ukraine, the water that has seeped through the cracks in the reactor is removed so that radiated water does not escape into the atmosphere. The area endangered by the Chernobyl reactor is 15,000 square miles–about the size of Switzerland–and the danger will last for over 300 more years, even though the meltdown occurred 25 years ago.

In the March 20th edition of the New York Times, Ellen Barry describes what has become of the 200 tons of melted nuclear fuel and debris that is still deep inside the reactor: It has burned through the floor and hardened, in one spot, into the shape of an elephant’s foot, and is still so highly radioactive that no one can get near it. But there are measuring instruments nearby and they give radiation readings that are 2,000 times the yearly limit recommended for workers in the nuclear industry.

Meanwhile, what happens to radioactive particles and gases released from Japan’s crippled nuclear power plants is even more difficult to predict than the weather, since where they end up DEPENDS on the weather. Atmospheric scientist Tim Canty says, "Projected air mass patterns vary dramatically from day to day, and it’s these changing conditions that control the dispersal of radiation." Wow! Where else are you going find all this important information IN ONE PLACE–and with links so you can know FOR CERTAIN that this is REAL SCIENCE. You can trust unknowncountry.com to tell you the truth (and we correct ourselves if we’re wrong). If you want this kind of reporting to be there the next time you fire up your computer, be sure to subscribe today!

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