Maralinga Contamination Worse Than Thought.

Submitted: Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 16:06
ThreadID: 141809 Views:1418 Replies:5 FollowUps:9
You probably won't get fried on the spot but if chary and you plan to visit then you may care to read this ABC News report first.
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Allan

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Reply By: Member - Warren H - Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 16:28

Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 16:28
Interesting report. A late soil physicist colleague did research on the soil properties of the test site, but only in relation to the use of 'in-situ vitrification' which was supposed to melt and encapsulate the soil plus waste in the pits where the waste was buried in the most recent clean up attempt. This method using electrode arrays and huge currents was apparently successful for the US test sites, but I believe because of the different soil properties here it only partially worked. I think there was also an issue supplying enough power. Hands were thrown up and fingers crossed I suspect. Funnily enough the son of another colleague is the chief scientist for the DoD in charge of contaminated defence site remediation, so it might be a case of PFAS one day and Pu the next, previously it was mustard gas munitions falling out of coal mine pits, never a dull moment in science.
NT Pajero
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 16:48

Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 16:48
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Hi Warren,

The Maralinga vitrification exercise went OK until a large explosion in the 13th pit. Must have scared hell out of them because the technique was then abandoned.

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Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 18:36

Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 18:36
Too late for SWMBO and I as we visited on Anzac Day 2013. Thongs and shorts perhaps not appropriate. LOL
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 19:06

Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 19:06
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Probably OK Warrie, provided you cleaned the sand out from between your toes before leaving. LOL
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Reply By: lindsay - Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 16:43

Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 16:43
Not too sure of the contaminating the water table. Tiekins was dispatched by the Fowlers Bay pioneers to look for water out there, so they could expand their pastoral interests. The both wells are, out on the range, he dug two wells quite deep and found no water. When we were their in 2008 they were as dry as a bone, so not sure where the water tables exist, maybe a bit of embellishment.
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 20:31

Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 20:31
This is what the actual report says Lindsay:

The arid environment at Maralinga is conductive to both dust and water-borne nano-particulate transport; although rainfall is limited (~?240 mm/year), it is often of a convective nature and characterised by high-intensity, short-duration events (=?3 days with?>?10 mm rainfall per year). Although direct evidence of nano-particle transport is still lacking at the ultra-dilute conditions at Maralinga, direct imaging of the nature of the Pu-rich phases in the hot particles and their behaviour during weathering suggest that this may be a primary cause for wild-life exposure

The nature of Pu-bearing particles from the Maralinga nuclear testing site, Australia
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Reply By: Batt's - Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 14:18

Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 14:18
Never understood why people would want to visit know contaminated sites obviously they've run out of niceplaces to go on holidays hope I never get to that stage in my life.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 14:36

Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 14:36
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Hi Batts,

Maralinga and the atomic weapon testing still holds a fascination or interest for many people.
For the most part it is safe to visit. Some areas are still off-limits to the general public.
The important measure is to not ingest any material.... eating or breathing. So I would take precautions if dust were raised as in a strong wind or from vehicle movement.
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Allan

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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 15:08

Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 15:08
Allan
Do you trade in your radioactive tyres after each visit? Hard to go there and not breathe. Particles may be airborne and you don't know.
All the dust and fallout from the Nuclear tests drifted to Sydney, Brisbane and the Cold Ghost didn't it?
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 15:38

Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 15:38
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True RMD, There could be some risk as there is in almost all activity. But it is minimal provided that you do not act recklessly. I didn't say to not breathe, I said to take precautions in breathing if the air became dusty.
And I should think that your vehicle tyres would shed dust picked up shortly after leaving the area.

The "dust" and "fallout" drifting from the tests was fine particulate matter able to remain in airborne suspension for an extended time. That is not the sort of dust residing on the current surface following extensive remedial work.

I thought that all this was well known to most people but you seem to need to have the obvious explained.
Or did you forget to put "LOL" at the end of your Followup?

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Allan

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Follow Up By: Batt's - Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 18:13

Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 18:13
Still dangerous going by the list of precautions you mentioned and there is airborn dust wherever you go so definitly not safe. Not convinced by your assumption that the dust will fall of tyres you'll spread it further afield what about all the nooks & crannies it can hide in a vehicle has a lot and it can gather in the air filter no not for me there's enough toxix stuff in our daily lives without adding another.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 19:20

Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 19:20
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Well, let's put it this way Batt's....... I will not be going again. Once in 1955 and again in 2013 was appropriate, but enough.
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Allan

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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 20:29

Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 20:29
Allan
I find it hard to believe your viewpoint is correct and not to be questioned while others who question otherwise are flawed. Yes, extensive cleanup was done, but extensive spread from initial blast and particle escape is way more widespread than any possible clean up could ever achieve. I think most people have no idea what the problem may still be. I don'tknow all but have a reasonable understanding on most things and you are simply putting me down by the "LOL" bit.

You did say.,"or breathe" in your statement.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 21:14

Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 21:14
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RMD, it's not actually my "viewpoint". I am quoting the official expression. Most of the area is classified as "safe for visitation" but not for "permanent habitation". I thought that was quite well known. There are also still signs forbidding the human consumption of animals caught in that area. But feel free to question those official expressions...... not me. As you say, most people "have no idea what the problem may still be".
It certainly was not my intention to put you down...... I thought you actually may have been making a joke about fallout reaching the east coast because it seemed to have nothing to do with being personally present on the Range area.

I did not say "to not breathe".... I said "take precautions in breathing" in respect to possibly ingesting hazardous material from a dusty environment. But that idea is not "official", that is my personal concept. Do you question that as a perhaps wise precaution?

There is no doubt that you deride my expression by misquoting and mis-interpreting what I say. If you have another viewpoint, say so, but don't twist my words to destroy my view.
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Allan

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