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87

It happens that in 1986 I participated in the cleanup after the Chernobyl catastrophe. I worked as a radiation measurement specialist 20 m below that blasted 4th reactor. I worked at the station for the whole July. It was the worst time, for the radioactive dust levels increased till the finishing of the Sarcophagus. As we had only masks as protection (but ...

77

Try to use Radioluminescence Radiation is quite difficult to detect in low-tech environment, and because humans are among the species most vulnerable to radiation, it will be challenging to find any other organism that would serve as an indicator. However, if primitive people can synthesize radioluminescent phosphor materials like zinc sulfide, they can ...

51

One could use the canary in a coal mine type approach. Canaries get sick quick when there is bad air. If your canary stops singing you know to clear out fast. For radiation it would take longer. Your primitives would bring a cage with some small animal to the area and leave it for a few days. The cage has food and water adequate for the period. If the ...

47

I'd go with non-radioactive tugs. If main engine is only radiating when in use, then require ships to turn it off on parking orbit. If it is radioactive all the time, make it detachable, and require leaving it in parking orbit. Then tugs, using regular chemical drives would tug that ship to the station and dock it. Of course this would make docking and ...

29

Local flora and fauna One issue with radiation poisoning is that, as in most poisons, dosage is key. Also, with radiation poisoning, damage is accumulative. So any biological test ("canary") that you design may survive a few days, give you a false sense of security, and led you into a dangerous zone. Even if you realize in time and you do not die directly ...

26

Fertilized eggs. You place fertilized eggs about, and periodically (daily-ish) gather them back up and try to hatch them. My grandmother had a job doing just that at Berkeley in the 40s.

26

No, it won't be realistic. The radiation pressure produced by an electromagnetic radiation of intensity, or better irradiance, $I_f$ impinging at an angle $\alpha$ on a surface can be calculated according to $P_{Inc} = \frac{I_f}{c} \cdot \left(\cos \alpha\right)^{2}$ where c is the speed of light. You immediately see that, due to the c factor, you need ...

26

If the breath attack is purely radioactive it wouldn't be a very good offensive weapon because exposure to even large doses of radiation still take a while to kill, on the order of hours or days. To get such a large amount of radiation to immediately kill you would have to generate a powerful enough reaction to require tons of shielding to keep from frying ...

24

Your premise is problematic I am going to take two steps back and start by looking at what you want to achieve: a way to force humans to live under water. Nuclear fallout does not really help you there, because of the way fallout works. Fallout is not some evil magical gas that floats around and makes surface life equally problematic everywhere. In ...

22

I recommend changing your NSWR reactor from a traditional nuclear reactor to a series of LENR reactors. Traditional reactors use radioactive elements, which is exactly why you're running into radiation issues, but what if you remove the radiation all together? LENR reactors utilize the process in which a slow moving neutron is moved into an element; since ...

22

Actually the human body already has an organ that comes close to this; the eye. Astronauts since the 1960s have reported seeing flashes in their eyes, even when closed while in space. It turns out the flashes are the retina being impacted with cosmic rays outside the Earth's magnetosphere. In effect this means that astronauts that received more rapid ...

21

Rip it off from something that worked millions of years to get it. The bacterium deinococcus radiodurans is an extremophile. It can survive cold, dehydration, vacuum, acid, and ionizing radiation. It is, in fact, an organism with some of the highest radioresistance known. For instance, this guy can take an acute dose of 5,000 Gy. For a 50% chance of death a ...

19

The wreck was highly radioactive when it crash-landed, and the lethal dose would accumulate in minutes. This was enough for the primitive locals to create strong taboos about the ship (a cursed and haunted place -- the radiation-induced hallucinations were most vivid) Option 1: However, most of the radiation was in the form of fast-lived radionuclides, and ...

19

Since my area of expertise is telecommunications, I think that I should first try to explain a little bit about how everything works, so that we can at least do some informed speculation about what the aliens could or could not receive and what they could make out of it. Do note that this answer is currently mostly about plausibility part. First concept ...

18

Currently there are Small Module Reactors which use fission to generate an electricity output of less than 300 MWe. One of these, the NuScale produces 50,000 kilowatts/hour and is 76' by 15'. https://www.hpschapters.org/florida/6spring.pdf NASA is working on low-energy nuclear reaction(LENR) technology which they hope eventually to use to power cars, ...

18

Yes, it's been tried. Hashizume et al. attempted to use semiconductors (variants of which are also used in normal solar cells) which were subjected to gamma radiation from a radioactive isotope of cobalt. They generated up to 0.2 Watts/meter² — certainly not a lot. The energy conversion efficiency? 1%. Furthmore, the cells were, as the authors put it, "...

17

I think you could do it. Stuff that is irradiated with electromagnetic radiation (like X-rays or gamma rays) does not generally become radioactive. That is how they can use radiation to preserve food. If you see fresh (plastic wrapped) meat for sale with an expiration date a month+ out you can assume it has been irradiated. It might not say on the label....

17

So this is difficult to answer, because these are your nuclear reactors and your rules so you may handwave as you see fit. That out of the way, you're effectively talking about a nuclear bomb, not a nuclear reactor: The explosion alone would destroy a significant part of the surrounding environment. This more or less implies that any attempts to confine ...

16

Yes, but why would you? The water in question is being used to absorb ionising radiation, so the fish will also get a fairly high dose if they live near the outer wall. This is fine if you split the tank, perhaps having the outer half as a filtration system (for reasons I'm about to dive into), but could lead to a high rate of piscine mortality or genetic ...

16

Why not put a cap on the open end of the "torch"? Instead of extending the shadowshield to cover the entire reactor, build it in two pieces. One piece stays on the ship and protects it and the crew from the reactor's radiation. The other piece stays on the spaceport. When a ship wants to dock, a heavily shielded/remotely operated tug seals the other half of ...

16

Unfortunately, your premise is flawed I won't digress on the topic of magnetic shielding and the potential areas of effect, because the entire premise of "turning areas radioactive with radiation" is flawed (and a common misconception). The fact is that there is a difference between radiation and radiation emitting elements. While solar flares give off ...

16

Except for the spots where the radiation is high enough to be lethal immediately-or-close-to, they probably won't figure it out. Humans, especially primitive humans, are shockingly bad at nailing own the causes of what makes us sick. the examples are countless. Lead poisoning. From ancient roman pipes and to pewter cookware to leaded gas, we've been ...

16

Take two hairs, join them at one end and mount them on a metal nail fitted into a decent insulator (say amber or something similar), charge the arrangement with static, the hairs will move apart due to electrostatic repulsion. Add ionising radiation, the charge will bleed off and the hairs move together. It is a dead crude electometer, but would probably ...

15

It depends on where you are and what you consider an acceptable level of risk. If you're worried about an elevated risk of cancer, you'll need to stay in the shelter for about 300 years. The long-lived isotopes Strontium-90 and Caesium-137 (the two with half-lives long enough to stick around for a while, but short enough to produce high levels of radiation)...

15

To preface this, be aware that nuclear saltwater rockets don't involve nuclear reactors. The nuclear fuels are kept diluted as propellant and insulated in a neutron moderator, and the nuclear reaction that provides thrust occurs externally to the ship. The ship still needs an onboard power source, but if that source is non-nuclear (like solar panels), then ...

15

Nuclear fallout will first and foremost affect ocean plankton. Plankton is a mixture: it is part animal (including the larvae of many fish and crustaceans), part plant (microscopic algae). Plankton is the main food source for many creatures in the ocean. Contaminated plankton will kill the animals that eat it, and these animals will, like plankton that dies ...

14

Sola dosis facit venenum The activation of the gene M requires exposition of the subject to a minimum dose. Below the threshold the gene is not activated. In Hiroshima and Nagasaki the only one to be exposed above the threshold were vaporized by the bombs, while the others were cured, by removing the radioactive contamination, before reaching it. After ...

14

What the god needs is a heat-sink. An object which they can focus their excess awesomeness into so that it doesn't pour out into their surroundings. This is why many gods are associated with the objects which they carry. (Thor's hammer, Poseidon's trident, etc.) Those aren't really weapons because god's don't need weapons to be safe from mere humans. The ...

13

In the real world, radioactivity was discovered in 1896 when Henri Becquerel tested uranium for X-rays. It left an impression on the photographic plates, but these rays could be bent by a magnetic field while X-rays could not. The basic principle behind photographic plates was actually discovered in 1717 by Johann Schulze, who mixed chalk, nitric acid, and ...

13

Use atomic battery instead To reach 1 kW of power, you can use an atomic battery instead of a atomic reactor. Atomic battery work by having any quantity of radioactive material (238Pt or 90Sr are popular choices ) in one point, then transform the radioactive energy into electricity (usually,radioactivity -> heat -> electricity ) You can make an atomic ...

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