[ RadSafe ] Understanding Radioactivity: a primer for news media

Jerry Cohen jjc105 at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 14 16:02:06 CDT 2011

    You don't seem to understand radioactive hazards as viewed by the news 
media. First, the danger of exposure to radioactivity has nothing to do with 
curies, Bq, rem, rad , Sv or similar irrelavent information. The hazard of 
radioactive materials in the environment is due entirely to it's source. 

    For example. naturally occuring radioactivity is benign and harmless. 
Anything natural or "organic" is good for you--that's why people pay extra for 
such items at the supermarket. If it comes from a nuclear power plant, it is 
extremely dangerous. The nature and quantity of the radioactive materials is 
irrelavent---if it comes from an NPP, it is a serious hazard, and thats why it 
is called "deadly radioactvity". If it is nuclear waste, you don't want it 
anywhere within several hundreds of miles from where you live. That's why, after 
spending several billions of dollars to find an acceptible method to dispose of 
nuclear waste--no solution has been found.
    I hope this clarifies matters. If not, check with Busby.  Best regards,   
Jerry Cohen

From: Stewart Farber <SAFarber at optonline.net>
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List 
<radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Sent: Wed, September 14, 2011 12:28:35 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Sr-90 in Maple Syrup, Ra-226 in mineral waters, Cs-137 in 
woodash, etc. was: Re: Re. Tritium found near VT Yankee (panic time!)

Fun facts on environmental radioactivity:

As far as any State Health Department or self-serving politicians in New England 
expressing concern about trivial levels of H-3 in river water,  or Sr-90 in fish 
from any river -upstream or downstream of a nuclear power plant, perhaps they 
should realize how the presence of fallout radioactivity in maple syrup, or 
Ra-226 and Ra-228 in the mineral waters being marketed by private companies in 
their States could be highlighted, much to the detriment of commercial endeavors 
---IF one were so inclined.

Many years ago, I used to review radioactivity measured in every media routinely 
sampled [and in some media like wood-ash not sampled as part of REMP programs] 
around nuclear plants in New England including Vermont Yankee. There was,  and 
still will be measurable low-levels of Sr-90 in maple syrup from fallout due to 
nuclear bomb testing prior to the Test Ban Treaty in 1963-- with dose 
implications dwarfing by many, many orders of magnitude the dose consequences 
from any trace levels of H-3 claimed to have been found in the Connecticut River 
for example.

If trivial doses from things like H-3 in river water are an issue of concern to 
regulators or politicians given the minute doses possible, let's put the dose 
consequences of things like:

-- Sr-90 in commercial VT maple syrup due to bomb testing,
-- or Ra-226 in commercial VT bottled waters due to God & the Big Bang
-- or Cs-137 due to bomb testing [ present in 10,000 or so cubic meters of ash 
from small VT wood burning power plants] at levels up to 9,000 or so pCi/kg ash 
[300+  Bq/kg ash] being spread on home gardens and on large commercial organic 
farming co-op farms in Northeastern Vermont, on the table, as it were,  for 
honest evaluation.

It's totally amusing [on a certain level] that stores like Whole Foods  or other 
Organic food product retailers are almost consistently strongly anti-nuclear 
power, and against food irradiation but are selling Organic produce being 
fertilized with wood ash with elevated levels of Cs-137 from nuclear test 
fallout. Organic food and organic product sales is now a $27 billion a year 
market in the US. How much radioactive wood ash is used as fertilizer in organic 
farming to replenish depleted potassium, and how would many consumers like to 
know woodash spread on the fields where their crops are grown contain elevated 
levels of Cs-137 [and Sr-90]? I doubt Organic food consumers would be terribly 
thrilled with knowing this fact.

How fast would VT agencies or politicians be to criticize a trivial level of H-3 
in river water with essentially zero dose implications, or in a trivial amount 
of groundwater flowing into the CT river,  if  applying the same standards to 
commercial products in their State were put under the same microscope? It would 
be fascinating to witness politicians and certain State agencies scramble to 
minimize the significance of the above sources of nuclear test and natural 
radiation exposure from their commercial products if the public knew what they 
were consuming.

Stewart Farber, MS Public Health

Farber Medical Solutions, LLC
Bridgeport, CT 06604
SAFarber at optonline.net

On Wed, 14 Sep 2011 13:17:42 -0400, Fredrick L. Miller 
<millerfl at tricity.wsu.edu> wrote:

> The Vermont Department of Health would be well advised to stay upstream
> of any and all universities engaged in research within the United States
> lest they send themselves into a blind panic over this imminent public
> health menace.  Best they stick to testing syrup and making sure the
> quaint factor is turned up high enough for tourist season.
> Fred Miller
> -----Original Message-----
> From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
> [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Steven Dapra
> Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2011 7:55 PM
> To: radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu
> Subject: [ RadSafe ] Tritium found near VT Yankee (panic time!).
> Aug. 18
>     The article begins:
> "The Vermont Department of Health said it has found detectable traces
> of radioactive tritium from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in
> the Connecticut River."
>     Has anyone ever found non-detectable traces of anything,
> radioactive or not?
> http://news.yahoo.com/radioactive-tritium-found-river-near-vermont-yanke
> e-plant-184050307.html
> Steven Dapra
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