Swimming in a spent nuclear fuel pool

Swimming in a spent nuclear fuel pool

Posted in the Brattleboro Forum

Who Knew

Winooski, VT

#1 Jan 22, 2013
What if I took a swim in a typical spent nuclear fuel pool? Would I need to dive to actually experience a fatal amount of radiation? How long could I stay safely at the surface?

óJonathan Bastien-Filiatrault
http://what-if.xkcd.com/29/

Assuming youíre a reasonably good swimmer, you could probably survive treading water anywhere from 10 to 40 hours. At that point, you would black out from fatigue and drown. This is also true for a pool without nuclear fuel in the bottom.

Spent fuel from nuclear reactors is highly radioactive. Water is good for both radiation shielding and cooling, so fuel is stored at the bottom of pools for a couple decades until itís inert enough to be moved into dry casks. We havenít really agreed on where to put those dry casks yet. One of these days we should probably figure that out.

Hereís the geometry of a typical fuel storage pool:
Mike Mulligan

Brattleboro, VT

#2 Jan 22, 2013
People swim in those pools all the time...mostly males.

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