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December 21, 2007

Strange but true ...

It seems that the arguments about power supplies will soon get even more heated - pardon the pun - but it now transpires that coal ash is more radioactive than the waste from a nuclear pile.

The extended post has the extract from the Journal Scientific American, one of my favourite reads. As an anarchic colleague I have a great deal of respect for once remarked when someone complained about a small radio active source we were using for a demonstration (It was an Alpha source!) - its a radio active universe sonny. You might escape exposure if you get into the habit of wearing four inches of lead all the time and covering you from head to foot - otherwise just grow up and be realistically sensible!

I can't wait to see what Greenpeace and F(r)iends of the Earth make of this .....

Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste
The popular conception of nuclear power is straight out of The Simpsons: Springfield abounds with signs of radioactivity, from the strange glow surrounding Mr. Burn's nuclear power plant workers to Homer's low sperm count. Then there's the local superhero, Radioactive Man, who fires beams of "nuclear heat" from his eyes. Nuclear power, many people think, is inseparable from a volatile, invariably lime-green, mutant-making radioactivity.

Coal, meanwhile, is believed responsible for a host of more quotidian problems, such as mining accidents, acid rain and greenhouse gas emissions. But it isn't supposed to spawn three-eyed fish like Blinky.

Posted by The Gray Monk at December 21, 2007 08:31 PM

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Even with several inches of Lead you would still be exposed to some sort of ionizing radiation. The thing that always made me laugh was the green peace people in their boats protesting the nuke subs were getting more radiation exposure, then the sailors on the subs. All their exposure was coming from the biggest reactor in the solar system, I think it's called the sun.

Posted by: skipjack at December 21, 2007 07:13 PM

True. One day I will write up a story here from the early days of my career when the "safety" monitors went bananas over a visit to our harbour by a nuclear powered ship. I'll just mention in passing that the harbour was also the location of an ore dump for loading of Manganese, Chromite and another ore. Around a million tonnes of it in all.

Oh, and the dust from this blanketed the city .....

Posted by: The Gray Monk at December 21, 2007 08:52 PM

If you have access to a geiger counter put it on it's lowest setting and run it over green leafy veggies. It will go crazy, green leafy veg's are great alpha emitters. Just a fun fact from mother nature.

Posted by: skipjack at December 23, 2007 07:29 PM