[ RadSafe ] Apparently large amount of Radon in Natural Gas Release near Los Angeles
farber at farbermed.com
Wed Jan 13 12:55:10 CST 2016
Hello all & Happy New Year,
SThe natural gas leak going on in the LA area in a broader sense once again shows the wisdom of Solomon. As the Old Testament book Ecclesiastes states:
Ecclesiastes 1:9 New International Version (NIV)
9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
To wit, the EPA has been evaluating potential US population dose to Rn-222 in natural gas since the 1970s. The recent Radsafe discussion on this point led to my recollecting a report issued by the EPA in Nov. 1973 (“Assessment of Potential Radiological Health Effects from Radon in Natural Gas” - EPA-520/1-73-004 -authored by Raymond H. Johnson, Jr, et.al.). Do a google search on “EPA radon natural gas” to get to an on-line link to a complete copy of this report.
This 69 page report evaluated the radiation dose from the use of natural gas in unvented kitchen ranges, and space heaters. At the time the EPA estimated that the tracheobronchial dose equivalent to individuals was 15 and 54 mrem/yr respectively based on the then average decay time of Radon in pipeline transport of natural gas from various locations of extraction and subsequent delivery to consumers. The EPA performed a rough calculation and determined that based on the average Rn-222 in natural gas in unvented domestic use there was a total US population dose of 2.73 million person-rem which could “potentially lead to 15 deaths a year from lung cancer”.
The point of this EPA report was to evaluate these potential health effects from Rn in natural gas vs. the rough cost of installing large holdup tanks or reservoirs between the point of natural gas extraction, before gas reached homes to be burned, so as to reduce the total radiation dose to the public by allowing the radon in natural gas to decay before being burned in unvented uses in homes.
In their “cost-benefit” determination the EPA wrote:
“Since control of radon levels in gas would cost over $100 million for each reduction of one ( SAF note: “theoretical") health effect, it was concluded that a requirement for such controls would not be cost effective on a national basis”.
What I find interesting is that requirements imposed on various parts of the nuclear fuel cycle since 1973 for reducing completely trivial radiation exposures equate to costs of well over $100 million for each reduction of one calculated health effect. Multi-million and multi-billion $ of expenditures have been imposed on the nuclear fuel cycle to “avoid” radiation dose of a few person-rem even as with waste disposal radiation exposure which might occur 10,000 years in the future from some assumed movement of radioactivity stored in some geological engineered disposal site, in an isolated salt bed, a thousand feet underground.
As the EPA report cited above, radon in natural gas resulted in a calculated 2.73 million person rem per year. This substantial dose was not considered as justifying any spending to reduce population dose from radon in natural gas, and warranted no concern. That is until some anti-nuclear activist/ plaintiff lawyer eager for a new lawsuit realizes that Rn-222 in a natural gas leak comes from the decay of U-238 which obviously violates all laws of man and God. Imagine what would be happening if some leak from any aspect of the nuclear fuel cycle was resulting in any ongoing, unplanned radiation exposure anything like what is happening with the natural gas leak near LA.
Stewart Farber, MSPH
Farber Medical Solutions, LLC
951 Old Clinton Rd - #20
Westbrook, CT 06498
On Jan 12, 2016, at 1:55 PM, Otto Raabe <ograabe at ucdavis.edu> wrote:
Since the half lives of radon and its decay products are only a few days,
surely the long residence time of natural gas in storage tanks and pipes
will result in the nearly complete decay before use.
On 1/11/2016 7:42 PM, Joseph Preisig wrote:
> Don't know what the radon levels are in the natural gas. Maybe some
> HP should go in and take a sample for counting at the gas well. Wear Scott
> Air Pack??? Count the samples and let all concerned know.
> I don't know if the natural gas is heavier than air. If so, it could
> fill in a little valley in California and choke off all the life in such a
> valley. The radon is a secondary threat.
> There are people who are proficient in capping natural gas wells in
> the petroleum industry. Someone call them. The gas well isn't on fire,
> right??? Is there a well head or well casings in place. If necessary,
> pour a concrete base around the well and let it harden. This might keep
> gas from getting out through the soil around the well. Call BP ---they
> capped a well underwater in the Gulf of Mexico a while ago, remember???
> The procedure is fairly simple if some sort of well head is above
> ground. Make a capping pipe which will closely fit over the well head.
> There should be a working big valve assembly at the top of the capping
> pipe. The capping pipe is placed with a crane or whatever above the well
> head. It may be necessary to have side ropes for people to hold the
> capping pipe in place. The valve should be open. Once the capping pipe is
> in place, attach via screws or whatever the capping pipe to the well head.
> Do not weld it in place???!!!
> Once the capping pipe is in place firmly, slowly close the valve and
> avoid sparking. Once the valve is closed, make the well head to capping
> pipe attachment assembly stronger. There, DONE??? Repeat process if it
> doesn't work the first time.
> Joe Preisig
> On Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 10:10 PM, Roger Helbig <rwhelbig at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Here is NY Times article on the gas leak from a storage well that has
>> been leaking since October and has led to Governor Brown declaring an
>> On Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 7:06 PM, Roger Helbig <rwhelbig at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Here is how news and anti-nukes are playing this, ignoring the fact
>>> that this appears to be naturally occuring radioactive material and
>>> has nothing to do with nuclear power or weapons
>>> Roger Helbig
>>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>>> From: nuclear-news <comment-reply at wordpress.com>
>>> Date: Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 6:18 PM
>>> Subject: [New post] Massive gas blowout in Los Angeles now releasing
>>> radioactive material
>>> To: rwhelbig at gmail.com
>>> Christina MacPherson posted: "TV: Radioactive material reportedly now
>>> being released from massive gas blowout in LA — Byproduct of Uranium —
>>> Expert: “A lot” has been detected in area… Very dangerous… May be
>>> coming up from ground into people’s homes — Official: Levels can cause
>>> Respond to this post by replying above this line
>>> Massive gas blowout in Los Angeles now releasing radioactive material
>>> by Christina MacPherson
>>> TV: Radioactive material reportedly now being released from massive
>>> gas blowout in LA — Byproduct of Uranium — Expert: “A lot” has been
>>> detected in area… Very dangerous… May be coming up from ground into
>>> people’s homes — Official: Levels can cause “significant long-term
>>> health effects” (VIDEO)
>>> Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Jan 8, 2016: Their animals are dying… their
>>> fish are dying in their fish bowls, their dogs are dying, their cats
>>> are getting sick. And their children are getting sick — they’re
>>> suffering nose bleeds, they’re suffering terrible debilitating
>>> migraine headaches, asthma attacks, respiratory infections, eye
>>> infections, ear infections, stomach ailments… The health impact — it’s
>>> not just methane coming out of that hole… This is global crisis, more
>>> importantly this is a local crisis. Because not only do you have
>>> methane — you have benzene, toluene, xylene, which are carcinogenic.
>>> You have hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide — which are neurotoxic,
>>> which can injure your brain, affect memory, injure your kidneys, your
>>> liver, your other bodily organs. There’s also a lot of radon gas being
>>> measured in the area. People believe — we don’t know if this is true —
>>> the gas that is leaking at 2 miles deep is now coming out and pushing
>>> that radon up into people’s living rooms, their bedrooms, their
>>> Lawyers and Settlements, Jan 7, 2016: The leak has caused a continuous
>>> flow of gases and fluids. Methane alone is leaking 100,000 pounds per
>>> hour, according to Los Angeles city attorney Mike Feuer. Along with
>>> that greenhouse gas is methyl mercaptans (odorants added to gas to aid
>>> in leak detection) and aromatic hydrocarbons. More concernedly, health
>>> officials have identified benzene and radon, both known carcinogens.
>>> CBS LA, Dec 11, 2015: Dr. Cyrus Rangan, the Director of Toxicology and
>>> Assessment for the county, came to CBS2/KCAL9 to answer questions….
>>> It’s been reported that radon is being released… “This is a
>>> theoretical possibility,” Dr. Rangan said, “and when you’re addressing
>>> a problem that might be several hundred or even several thousand feet
>>> deep, you might generate what are called preferential pathways for
>>> something like radon, beneath the Earth’s surface, to make its way up
>>> to the surface. So primarily our concern about radon is from the
>>> worker’s exposure, for the people actually doing the repair job. If we
>>> find radon there, we can address the situation. And if radon does
>>> exist in the work site then we may need to have to look at the
>>> residential community and monitor for it.”
>>> Lawyers and Settlements, Dec 12, 2015: There is the issue of radon, a
>>> naturally occurringbyproduct of uranium… as SoCalGas and its partners
>>> bore into the ground in an attempt to stem a leak that is unleashing a
>>> constant cloud of gas into the atmosphere, radon has crept into the
>>> Robert Kennedy Jr, Dec 17, 2015: Public officials and the gas industry
>>> have a tricky and deceptive way of saying things. Methane itself is
>>> not dangerous… methane is an indicator that other gases are involved,
>>> including radon and benzene, both carcinogenic and very dangerous… gas
>>> can escape through any perforation in the earth and on the way up to
>>> the surface, it can encounter the aquifers underground, where it will
>>> leave behind chemicals, including benzene and radon.
>>> Erin Brockovich, Dec 22, 2015: [B]enzene and radon [are] the
>>> carcinogens that are commonly found in natural gas.
>>> Los Angeles Daily News, Dec 2, 2015: [R]adon gas, which may
>>> potentially be released during repair operations, is also a concern
>>> [L.A. County Department of Public Health Interim Director Cynthia
>>> Harding] said.
>>> Los Angeles Times, Dec 2, 2015: Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael
>>> D. Antonovich said a new report by county public health officials had
>>> concluded that since the gas leak has continued for so long, emissions
>>> levels could produce “significant long-term health effects, including
>>> cancer.” Antonovich said the report had identified benzene as the
>>> “chemical of greatest concern,” because it is known to cause cancer.
>>> It also cited concerns about radon, another known carcinogen.
>>> KPCC, Dec 9, 2015: Public Health Director Cynthia Harding told members
>>> of the Board of Supervisors in a Dec. 1 letter [that radon] could also
>>> be released as the leak is repaired.
>>> Los Angeles Times, Dec 20, 2015: Health officials are also concerned
>>> that the company’s attempt to fix the leak by drilling into the ground
>>> to construct a relief well could release radon, a radioactive,
>>> naturally occurring and odorless gas that is found in geologic
>>> formations and causes lung cancer.
>>> Watch an interview with Robert Kennedy here
>>> Christina MacPherson | January 12, 2016 at 2:18 am | Categories:
>>> incidents, USA | URL: http://wp.me/phgse-lDB
>>> Comment See all comments
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