“Heavy metal” dust falls down from the air – REALLY?
Tedd Weyman (UMRC) email to Piotr Bein 22.3.2011
Uranium and Plutonium may be present in Japan, but they are heavy atoms and do not usually traverse long distances. – typical nuclear lobby spin
So how do water molecules stay in the atmosphere as clouds, then? Aerosols are subject to the law of fluid dynamics, which, at these scales, is a stronger force than gravity.
What makes any gas, smoke or steam cloud rise and float in the air? Any particulate cloud will become and remain airborne due to the aerodynamics of spheroids. Most materials in smoke and gas clouds are heavier than air. At the dimensions of the Daiichi aerosol emissions (< 1 micorn diameter), “weight” is not an issue in explaining the atmospheric transport behavior of the particulate cloud; electrostatic charge, temperature, humidity, wind speed and aerodynamic shape are the determinants.
Aerosols rise in the atmosphere as describe by Stokes Law and disperse/equalize in their fluid density as described by Brownian Motion.
If you ever watch dust in the sunlight, you will see that it seems to float (it does in fact, float) and is easily moved by the slightest disturbance of the air. Notice also in these dust clouds seen in sunlight that the density or volume of dust is equalized and if you stir up fresh dust, it quickly diffuses equally across the space. That is what is happening to the Uranium, Plutonium, Caesium, Strontium and Iodine released every moment that Daiichi is not covered/buried (since a nuclear “fire” can never, in our life time, be extinguished). Aerosols of radioactive particulate are dispersing equally across the entire globe, except where precipated out by other forces (humidity, static charge, compounding with water and raining out of the sky).
By the way, the term “heavy metal” is an incorrect concept and means nothing in chemistry, physics, or biology. All metals are “heavy”.