[ RadSafe ] RE: Mangano: US Beta Levels Up 40% Since 1980

Sandgren, Peter Peter.Sandgren at po.state.ct.us
Tue Dec 27 08:17:24 CST 2005

I hope some of you learned folks have also sent your highly informative
letters to the publications that have seen fit to print Mangano's
unscientific claims.  For my 2 cents, I believe that anybody who
announces he/she has scientific and controversial "information" to share
will always find a reporter or newspaper to put their claims in print.  

The best defense and the strongest safeguard we have is the knowledge
and experience of you folks on radsafe.  For every distorted claim that
makes it into print, if two or three letters (with supporting scientific
references) come to contradict those claims, at least one of those
letters will be printed, and rad-fearful minds will be calmed.  These
email rebuttals that come into radsafe could, with a little polishing,
go far to hold back the tide of fear that threatens to close nuclear
plants around the country.  So, thanks to all of you who take the time
to write!  Please keep it up, and send them on to the newspapers.  Most
papers will accept email letters as long as the name and address (and
credentials!) of the writer are included. 

Happy New Year to all,
Peter Sandgren

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
Behalf Of farbersa at optonline.net
Sent: Friday, December 23, 2005 4:26 PM
To: goldinem at songs.sce.com
Cc: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] RE: Mangano: US Beta Levels Up 40% Since 1980

Happy Holidays to all:

If it were not for the fact that Mangano is so effective in fooling
gullible members of the media and the public with his unscientific
claims related to his being a 2nd generation Sternglass wannabe,  his
"claims" would be laughable. 

However,  in relation to his claims, the EPA has not even had a
consistent network of rainwater monitoring over the past 20 years
because there has been nothing worth monitoring outside of a brief
period in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident.

As an example of the absurdity of Mangano's environmental radioactivity
claims in relation to Vermont Yankee, back in 1989-90,  I carried out a
small study of Cs-137 in woodash derived from home fireplace burning of
mature hardwoods all over the US. Several samples were collected from
Vermont. One came from my own fireplace at a vacation home I had in
Warren, VT over 100 miles from Vermont Yankee. The Cs-137 measured was
approx. 15,000 picoCuries per kg of ash after hardwoods grown from the
area around Warren, VT were burned and analyzed by quantitative gamma
spec analysis.

Another sample of wood ash collected from the burning of mature
hardwoods growing around Vermont Yankee, was found to have only 1,500
picoCuries of Cs-137 per kg of woodash --or 1/10 the concentration of
Cs-137 100 miles to the north, no where near a nuclear plant. Hmmmm.

All the Cs-137 being measured in woodash in my study was derived from
the deposition of fallout from open air testing of nuclear weapons which
ended [except for a few small open air tests by the Chinese] and the
Chernobyl fallout in 1986 [which added about 1% to the pre-existing
Cs-137 deposition in New England based on my extensive review of
environmental rad data gathered around all the nuclear plants in New
England].  Actual areal deposition of Cs-137 around New England is
fairly constant and cannot account for the 10 fold variability of Cs-137
measured in woodash from samples only 100 miles apart. The factors that
appear to make a difference in the Cs-137 level in biomass are the
potassium levels in soil [low K, high Cs-137 uptake] and the stable Cs
variability  [high stable Cs in soil, high uptake of Cs-137 from soil to
plant -too complex to explain this counterintuitive behavior here] in
soil from one location to another.

Any Sr-90 deposition in the environment would be in proportion to the
Cs-137 given the relatively constant ratio of Sr-90/Cs-137 in fresh
fallout. So given the 10 fold lower concentration of Cs-137 in biomass
near Vermont Yankee measured in woodash, are we to conclude that being
in the proximity to a nuclear plant operating almost 20 years since 1972
to 1990, reduced Cs-137 [and perhaps Sr-90]  in the environment?? :-)
Perhaps the intake of air into the Vermont Yankee plant, and its
filtration before discharge up the stack cleans up the local
environment?  Offered for your amusement only. But we could make an
argument of this sort that has absolutely no significance if we wanted
to have some fun and mislead gullible readers.

If we wanted to play the games Mangano enjoys playing, we could argue
based on real environmental data that running a nuclear plant  for 20 or
so years reduces Cs-137 in the nearby environment dramatically vs. a
background area 100 miles away.  Is this true. Of course not. It is just
an indication of how variable environmental radioactivity including
Cs-137 and Sr-90 in biomass and other biota can be from one location to
another. If you pick your data points selectively, or look at narrow
windows of time for one set of measurements vs. another, you can make
"conclusions" that appear credible on a first glance,  but which are
only supported by that one set of data.

Going back to 1972, the National Academy of Science harshly criticicized
Dr. Ernest Sternglass and his inflammatory claims because his claims
were based on choosing only data which supported his hypothesis and
ignoring data which did not. Mangano has learned a lot from his mentor
Dr. Sternglass and is doing the same intellectually dishonest, and
unscientific manipulations that led to Dr. Sternglass being chastised in
an Appendix to the National Academy of Sciences 1972 Biological Effects
of Ionizing Radiation [BEIR] report.

Stewart Farber, MS Public Health
Consulting Scientist
radproject at optonline.net
[203] 367-0791

----- Original Message -----
From: goldinem at songs.sce.com
Date: Friday, December 23, 2005 1:09 pm
Subject: [ RadSafe ] RE: Mangano:  US Beta Levels Up 40% Since 1980

> Regarding the Mangano claim that Vermont rainwater gross beta 
> levels have
> increased over the years (due presumably to the operation of Vermont
> Yankee), Health Physics just published a paper on the analysis of 
> 22 years
> of air samples in New York State (Health Phys. 90 (1): 31-37; 
> 2006.  Kitto,
> et al, Long-Term Monitoring of Radioactivity in Surface Air and 
> Depositionin  New York State).  Great stuff, all kinds of 
> conclusions about how
> weather patterns affect gross beta and airborne cosmogenic 
> radioactivity.Note the sample locations were selected in part 
> because of proximity to
> three New York nuclear power plant sites.  However, the only 
> anthropogenic(wow, what a word) radionuclides were correlated with 
> sewage sludge
> incineration and a tritium-processing facility.  Also noteworthy, some
> analyses were conducted specifically for Sr-90 and/or Sr-89.  
> Nothing was
> ever detected in any samples so "they will not be discussed 
> further."  So
> much for increasing trends in environmental strontium and baby teeth.
> By the way, the final argument by Mangano about "increased 
> generation" by
> these "aging" power plants is actually quite wrong.  When plants 
> run well,
> as indicated by a 95% capacity factor, airborne releases are typically
> reduced.  Startups and shutdowns are usually responsible for greater
> effluent releases.  So the "increased" Sr-90 in rainwater (if 
> true, which I
> doubt) is negatively correlated with Vermont Yankee's operation.  
> Plus I'm
> quite sure that VY's Radiological Environmental Monitoring Program 
> confirmsno radiological impact from plant operation on the local 
> environs.
> Eric M. Goldin, CHP
> <goldinem at songs.sce.com>

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