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Intel Briefing – April 2012

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Plutonium near Fukushima plant poses little risk, study says.
The levels of radioactive plutonium around Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are not much higher than the amount of plutonium remaining in the environment from Cold War-era nuclear weapons tests, and it probably poses little threat to humans, a new study indicated. The paper, published March 8, provides the first definitive evidence of plutonium from the accident entering the environment, the authors said. It examines the area within a roughly 20-mile radius of the plant and details the concentration of plutonium isotopes deposited there after explosions ripped open multiple reactors. At the three sites examined, the levels for certain isotope ratios were about double those attributed to residual fallout from above- ground nuclear tests conducted by the U.S. and former Soviet Union at the dawn of the Cold War. Plutonium can not vaporize like elements such as cesium-137, but the force from hydrogen explosions may have blown out small amounts of plutonium in the form of particulate matter.

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Norovirus blamed as almost 500 Dist. 300 children absent.
Nearly one-third of the student population, about 500 students, was absent March 9 from Westfield Community School, and Community Unit School District 300 in Algonquin, Illinois, alerted parents to numerous reports of the norovirus. More than half — 262 — of all elementary school students and 223 middle school students were absent March 9 from Westfield, a District 300 spokeswoman said. Those numbers jumped from 35 percent of elementary students and doubled in the middle school from the day before, she said. That is when the Carpentersville-area district e- mailed families and staff to let them know about the high rate of students reporting norovirus symptoms. The Kane County Heath Department confirmed norovirus samples from several students who were sick March 9, according to a written statement. The virus is more commonly known as the stomach flu or food poisoning.

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One bad part dooms $72.8M Global Hawk.
According to Defense Tech, the U.S. Air Force lost an EQ-4B Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle because a single part came undone, Defense Systems reported March 8. The part, a Line Replaceable Unit, came undone August 11, 2011, rendering the aircraft uncontrollable in a mission over Eastern Afghanistan by interrupting the flow of electricity to its aileron and spoiler actuators — the tiny motors that control the movements of an aircraft’s flight control surfaces, the story added. Apparently, the screws holding the part in place were not tight enough and probably shook loose due to typical flight vibrations, the article said, quoting an Air Force finding.

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Posted by FanningCommunications on Apr 2nd, 2012 and filed under Intel Brief. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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