3 Comments

  1. > … challenge associated with understanding
    > radiation …

    Yes indeed. I don’t think I’ll ever understand it.

    The Grey represents the total energy deposited in a given mass of any material, and the Sievert modifies the Grey by way of a weighting factor to account for the absorptivity of a given material (skin vs. gonads, say, for purposes of biological effects) and type of radiation. So far so good?

    Where do they account for the amount of radioactive material, or its geometry?

    Should I be just as scared of a thimbleful of of that radioactive water as of a gallon?

    Should I be equally afraid of a gallon of the stuff in a small sump pit as of a gallon spread all over the floor?

    When they talk about radioactive water, they are really talking about the stuff _in_ the water, right? Stupid question: Is distillation not an option for cleaning up this water?

    Thanks Rod, and congratulation on the new site.

  2. To Rod, and others who are qualified to comment

    Perhaps you can use me as a proxy; like many who will come after me, I was agnostic regarding nuclear . . . prior to Fukushima; and still that way, but now seeking deeper understanding, and trying to intelligently discern science fact from propaganda. And I am cognizant of the fact that I am trying to compress into days an evaluation that for many of you has stretched to decades.

    I value what I read here for the honest discussion it seems to attract and the relative lack of thoughtless comments. In particular the gentleman with 20 years experience on Mark I’s (Jim?) has been extremely helpful in helping the determined layman understand some of the finer points, even though I suppose he hasn’t been met with consensus agreement from others here.

    I have a question that I can sense is polemic, and I ask it here in sincerity, and only because I respect the honest evaluations that have been given. What about the medical idea that has been forward, on internal radiation dangers, i.e. the supposed dangers of stray isotopes which become presented to us internally, either through breathing or ingestion? Obviously, with a little reading, one begins to sense that the whole debate of long-term safety may rest on affirming or defeating the sensibility of this proposition: it is the pivot of whether the tally from Chernobyl is 1M or else “many orders of magnitude” smaller.

    Being new to the literature, I can only see that some proponents of this view have credentials and some proper peer-reviewed studies. Although it is obvious that some, like Dr. Busby, seem to be somewhat scientific pariahs, and the balance of the literature discards their concerns. On the other hand, as a reasonable person I can’t help but notice that the IAEA would have a vested interest in downplaying such concerns, as long as they weren’t directly and unfailingly provable.

    In summary, what do you all think of these viewpoints? Again, being new to the literature, the theses behind their claims makes as much sense as low level external radiation being hormetic. If I defend nuclear power for further investment, what do I say regarding this, to those who raise such issues?

    Sincerely, Philip

    1. @Philip – thank you for the compliments regarding the reader base here at Atomic Insights. They really do make this site something that is far different from what it would be if there were no comments. The quality of the comments on many aspects of various issues make it worth working hard to start the conversation.

      With regard to the hazard of internal doses caused by ingestion of radioactive isotopes, there is a tremendous body of scientific research that should put your mind at ease. One group of people, women who were employed as painters for radium dial watches, have contributed, inadvertently, to our understanding of how very large internal doses can be very damaging. That same group has also helped researchers to understand what happens to people who are exposed at much lower levels. The answer is quite encouraging.

      Another group that has helped me to understand just how wrong people like Ralph Nader are when trying to scare people about plutonium is a group of former weapons manufacturing technicians who inadvertently breathed in plutonium dust particles when their protective equipment failed. That group is quite tiny – consisting of a couple of dozen subjects, but the I Pee Pu club was carefully monitored for many decades after their internal exposures occurred.

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