Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Heavy Water
The Somali Pirates fire back … with steaming loads of bullbleep:
They might look like unsophisticated warlords, but they know what buttons to push to get Western leftists riled. I'm reminded of the depleted uranium nonsense of a few years ago.
In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country's food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.
Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.
Let's see … How is this story absurd? Let me count the ways.
- The same article also accused Western nations of overfishing in the waters off Somalia. So we're trawling for radioactive fish?
- The ocean waters tend to be readily mixed (at least near the surface). If we were dumping significant amounts of waste, we would get radioactive as well.
- It would be far easier to dump nuclear waste in the middle of the ocean beyond the 200-mile limit but nearer to nuclear reactors.
- Finally, the amount of radioactivity dumped at sea is likely to be minute compared with the amount naturally present. An article cited in a comment in the BoingBoing thread on this mentioned amounts in the hundred or thousand kiloCurie range. There are 3 parts per billion of uranium in sea water. Putting that together with the volume of the ocean and the definition of Curie, we get a figure of around a million kiloCurie of uranium in the ocean.