1. Professor Anthony Ingrafea, one of the world’s leading experts on fracture mechanics, based at Cornell University, told the the magazine Ecologist: “Oil and gas are not interchangeable. We are not going to decrease oil imports by increasing gas production. Whereas the national energy plan that says over some period of time, 20 years maybe, at most, we are going to downplay and downsize the use of coal and increase the use of natural gas in what are coal-fired power plants. That would be a great thing to do, except 20 years from now we’re now out of natural gas… then what are we going to use for electricity? Natural gas burns cleaner than any other fossil fuel, but it is not cleaner in its lifecycle. The lifecycle cost, in terms of carbon dioxide emission, and methane emission, from the development of gas from unconventional sources like shale is at least as dirty as coal.”

  2. Well Rod, you have done an excellent job of farreting out the story that the the Natural Gas experts of the Energy Collective have chosen to ignore. Texas also has a radioactive wast problem associated with the fracking industry.

    1. @Charles – you started it with your question. I just got curious and did some searching for more information. Thanks for reminding me of an interesting angle to the energy battle for mind share.

  3. @DV72XL, I’ve worked w/ Tony… He’s a great guy and he’s become a spokesperson for people in our area who are resisting hydrofracking.
    NORMs are a big problem for fossil fuels in general; one coal burning power plant releases about as much radioactivity to the atmosphere as all the nuclear plants in the U.S… And that doesn’t count the mercury and all the volatile oxides.
    One trouble with hydrofracking is the huge volume of water that’s involved… Quite possibly, a single well could have several hundred large trucks driving up each day to bring in fresh water and truck away the waste. Lately, though, people have been experimenting with systems that clean up water and recycle it on site and this could drastically reduce water use and would also keep the waste products more concentrated for easier disposal.

  4. When it comes to dealing with low levels of domestic radioactivity due to naturallly occuring radioactive materials (Norm), eg Radon gas in the hot shower, ignorance is bliss because the benefits to the individual clearly outweighs the risk.
    When it occurs in industry suddenly norm is unacceptable and the one-eyed man is king leading and legislating for a population of the blind. Can I suggest that we open both eyes and educate the population about real and perceived risks.
    We could of course educate ourselves more fully first and the take a more pragmatic approach. Here are three point to consider for a a start. Firstly all life evolved in a radioactive enviroment where norm was much much more radioactive than today. Second,nearly all of us have highly evolved DNA repair mechanisms within our cells and also tissue mechanisms of cellular repopulation that at low levels of exposure helps the body to deal with or eliminate non-repairable radiation effects(Apoptosis). Third there is now considerable doubt about the current radiation protection paradigm that all radiation doses must be consideredharmful(No threshold theoryl). However, there is also is a large body of data (Radiation Hormesis) that says radiation eg from norm may be considered essential and perhaps health promoting.

  5. @Radbd – I would take a more pragmatic approach that includes the information that you have summarized as long as you change your opening statements:
    How about the following instead of your first two paragraphs?
    When it comes to dealing with low levels of radiation from any source we should open both eyes and educate the population about real and perceived risks.
    Forgive me for my suspicion, but your response that focuses on minimizing fear of “Norm” makes me believe that you are a fossil fuel industry advocate. Have you made any similar comments anywhere in response to the numerous attacks on the nuclear industry based on releases of tritium that are measured in “picocuries” (10^-12 curies)?

    1. I think statements like this from the article reprint contribute to public paranoia on radioactivity:
      You start with the world where you and I are getting an exposure from the sun, from the soil we walk on, from the brick in our house that on average is about 400 millirems a year — which is dangerous, said Tom Lenhart, a former member of the federal-state Interagency Steering Committee on Radiation Standards. “The EPA would never allow that kind of exposure. So you are starting from a baseline of dangerous exposure, and this is what makes regulating it a nightmare.”
      The citizens of Colorado are exposed to some of the highest background levels in the US, but the cancer rates are on the order of 10% lower than the national average.

      1. Well, the solution is obvious. The EPA needs to ban nature … or at the very least, it should ban nature in public places.

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