There's been a lot of talk on the news about Japan's nuclear reactors melting down, or maybe melting down, or maybe nearly melting down, or some such thing.
Now, I happen to know a thing or two about nuclear reactors, so I had a lot of questions about what was actually happening and why the things I've been told are supposed to prevent this sort of thing weren't working.
I live near a nuclear power plant. I have good reason to wonder about such things.
The most basic question I had was why they couldn't just shove the control rods into the core to shut the whole thing down and call it a day. That's what I'd been told was the standard practice to keep everything safe when things are going all wrong.
Well… I did some searching and found an excellent explanation of what's going on that jive's with everything I knew about nuclear power, and seems to fill in most of the blanks about what I didn't know. If you're interested in such things, it's worth a read.
The information is written by Dr Josef Oehmen, a research scientist at MIT, in Boston. Very well done, Dr Oehmen!
Note that this link is to the re-post where I originally found this. The related link, below, is to the original posting. I include the re-post because it is presented in a more readable format, while the original post may contain updates as the situation develops.