[ RadSafe ] NRC Says Indian Point, Other Radioactive Leaks Led to Mistrust
Dan W McCarn
hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Mon Oct 9 01:04:16 CDT 2006
In reference to Stewart's remark, after dismissing the normal incompetence
of reporters to get any story involving "nuclear" or "radioactive" straight,
I think that the "x-ray equipment" mentioned are probably radio-teletherapy
sources such as Co-60, Cs-137, etc. that have seen their fair share of
problems in Mexico, Brazil, etc. that have sometimes become orphaned for one
reason or another. The IAEA made some recommendations years ago (1987)
after the Cs-137 accident in Goiania, Brazil (50.9-TBq; 1,375-Ci). Sources
such as these are not that uncommon in parts of the world and could lend
themselves to terrorism.
In one developing country (early 1990s), while reviewing the Site
Characterization (hydrogeological) of a nuclear waste "repository", I saw
numerous older, discarded sources placed in rusting 55-gal drums and dumped
into water-filled trenches with no passive protection or r/a materials
accounting. The inheritors of this unfortunate situation were not able to
give me an estimate of the source term for the facility which had been used
since the 1950s. They had no clue what had been dumped there. Fortunately,
this particularly sad situation was largely resolved following my visit.
I have serious concern over these issues. Orphaned and discarded sources
may just come back to haunt us all.
Dan W McCarn, Geologist
Houston / Albuquerque
Before dismissing the quote out of hand, bear in mind we really don't know
for sure what is being referrred to.
If by "x-ray equipment" the article is making reference to a linear
accelerator [linac] used in radiation oncology [and not just a simple x-ray
unit used for diagnostic purposes], these linac units can put out a steady
beam of photons in multiple energies of from 6MV to 18MV or more [as well as
electrons in multiple energies up to 20 MeV or more]. Linacs can be used to
irradiate target materials which can make radioactive isotopes which could
theoretically be used for illicit purposes. Just a thought which should be
Hospitals and therapy centers often upgrade their installed linacs and the
older units are deinstalled and sold in the US and abroad.
Stewart Farber, MS Public Health
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