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  1. That story had some inconsistencies on the technical side. It said, “It was fuelled by strontium-90 pellets, an unusual few because of their high radioactivity levels.” So I was a little confused. They must have mixed up an RTG filled with strontium titanate like the ones the Russians make.

  2. I spent a number of days at “McMudhole” in 1974 and 1975 on my way to and from a research project on the Ross Ice Shelf. Besides the smoking, I also noticed quite a bit of alcohol consumption (in which I also took part). It would not surprise me if there were also a contributing factors, especially when combined with smoking (in which I did not take part).

  3. Oddly, there are similar stories around here.
    At one of the first public meetings that I attended about Vermont Yankee, years before I started blogging, a woman came up to testify. She explained that she had moved to the Brattleboro area thirty years before. At that time, she and all of her friends were healthy. Now, thirty years later, many of them were getting sick “because of living near that reactor.” The number of different types of illnesses (I remember cancer and autoimmune diseases) ascribed to “that reactor” was legion. It never seemed to occur to her that if she and her friends were in their twenties and early thirties –thirty years ago–they were now older and more likely to get sick. No, it was “that reactor” that did it!

  4. You missed this particular source on Nukey Poo in your Atomic Insights coverage (Bulletin of Atomic Scientists).
    Discusses the many challenges of building a nuclear reactor in Antarctica: shipment by C130 Hercules aircraft, siting (at frost line), inability to build concrete containment vessel (use of gravel backfill instead), management issues surrounding radioactivity seepage and argon-41, distilling sea water and melted snow (gathered from miles) for steam generators, hydrogen fire in containment tanks and eight week shutdown (requiring diesel back-up), plans for second reactor cancelled (“unless there is some miraculous breakthrough with a plant that needs hardly anyone to maintain it”), shutdown earlier than anticipated after 11 years (unclear the reason), removal plan for PM-3A (3 years), and more.
    I was unaware of this facet of arctic/antarctic exploration (something that interests me a great deal). Energy challenges in extreme environments, and this particular failed experiment, sounds like a worthy topic for a book.

  5. We reap what we sow. Governments in the US, the UK, and Canada (in cases that I know of) are facing claims from vets from being exposed to radiation during service. In Canada, some vet is at this moment insisting he is sick due to a posting in Afghanistan in an area with high levels of DU from previous action. What we have to understand is that these same governments have brought this on themselves with their acceptance of the LNT hypothesis. They can’t have it both ways.

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