Tiny Bit Of Spent Nuclear Fuel Found Near Chernobyl Is Still Shockingly Radioactive (VIDEO)

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Green – The Huffington Post
Tiny Bit Of Spent Nuclear Fuel Found Near Chernobyl Is Still Shockingly Radioactive (VIDEO)
It has been nearly 27 years since the meltdown at Chernobyl, the world’s largest nuclear accident, yet the area still has pockets of surprising radioactivity.

There may be no better evidence of this than a YouTube video produced by Carl Willis, a nuclear engineer with a delightfully disconcerting hobby: poking around radioactive sites with a Geiger counter and documenting his encounters. In a video from 2011, Willis explores Chernobyl’s Number 5 reactor, eventually finding a “hot spot” he traces down to a tiny speck no larger than a grain of salt.

After some rudimentary tests, Willis concludes the small particle is a fragment of spent nuclear fuel, likely ejected in 1986 when the Number 4 reactor exploded.

In an email to The Huffington Post, Willis said that, despite its radioactivity, the particle didn’t present an immediate health hazard, so long as he kept a distance from it. “You would not want to eat or breathe this particle,” he cautioned. “Outside your body, it’s a non-issue though.”

“Most people don’t get to fool around with spent nuclear fuel,” he added.

How well does this radioactivity represent the ongoing crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi, the world’s second-largest nuclear disaster? According to Willis, not all that well.

Put simply, he says, “the Fukushima accident happened in a very different way from Chernobyl. … [Y]ou will not find chunks of fuel around Fukushima.” Additionally, he notes, “Understanding of Fukushima is still evolving. Indeed, the situation there itself is still evolving.”

WATCH the video, above.

Space Station Photo Over Vancouver Is Stunning
Chris Hadfield may no longer be aboard the International Space Station, but a spectacular photo captured by a Vancouver photographer on Sunday night shows that the station still inspires a sense of wonder.

Alexis Birkill was taking photos of the Point Atkinson Lighthouse in West Vancouver when he decided to stay out a bit later and do some star photography.

As a subscriber to NASA’s “Spot the Station” service, he knew that the ISS would make a pass in the sky near Vancouver that night. The station appears particularly bright just after sunset or before sunrise when it is lit but the sky remains dark, he wrote on Facebook.

iss photo vancouver

The photo, which shows the station travelling across the sky in a streak of light, was captured in a series of shots from different times, blended together.

First, Birkill took a five-photo post-sunset panorama at 7:20 p.m. He then shot the station at 7:51 p.m. and followed that up with a five-photo panorama of the night sky at 8:30 p.m.

He then put the shots together to produce an image of the ISS cutting a bright trail through the night sky

Birkill is not the only photographer to catch spectacular space near Vancouver recently.

Surrey photographer Paulo Cabazal took a series of incredible shots of the Northern Lights over Pitt Lake on Oct. 8 and 9.

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