[ RadSafe ] The Campaign to Keep People Ignorant of Naturally Occurring Radiation Continues

Roger Helbig rwhelbig at gmail.com
Thu Dec 21 03:01:55 CST 2017

Jim Green exposes the nuclear lobby’s lies about bananas

by Christina MacPherson

“The more the nuclear industry claims eating plutonium, strontium,
cesium, iodine and other fuel and fission products is OK because
bananas exist and because the potassium is a needed nutrient, the more
I consider them to be blatant liars.”

The Banana Equivalent Dose of catastrophic nuclear accidents, Jim
Green, Online Opinion, 20 December 2017,

The ‘Nuclear for Climate’ lobby group recently attended the United
Nations’ COP23 climate conference armed with bananas, in order to make
specious comparisons between radiation exposures from eating bananas
and routine emissions from nuclear power plants.

One of the reasons the comparison is specious is that some exposures
are voluntary, others aren’t. Australian academic Prof. Barry Brook
said in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster: “People don’t
understand that they live in an environment that is awash with
radiation and they make decisions every day which affect their
radiation dose ‒ they hop on an airplane or eat a banana or sit close
to the TV.” True ‒ but people choose to hop on an airplane or eat a
banana or sit close to the TV, whereas radiation doses from nuclear
plants and nuclear accidents are usually involuntary.

Another reason why the comparison made by ‘Nuclear for Climate’ is
specious is that it ignores spikes in radioactive emissions during
reactor refueling. Radiation biologist Dr Ian Fairlie notes that when
nuclear reactors are refueled, a 12-hour spike in radioactive
emissions exposes local people to levels of radioactivity up to 500
times greater than during normal operation. The spikes may explain
infant leukemia increases near nuclear plants − but operators provide
no warnings and take no measures to reduce exposures.

The comparison between bananas and nuclear power plants also ignores
the spike in emissions and radiation doses following catastrophic
accidents. So, what’s the Banana Equivalent Dose (yes, that’s a thing)
of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters?

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the
collective effective dose from Chernobyl was 600,000 person-Sieverts.
The UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation
estimates radiation exposure from the Fukushima disaster at 48,000

Combined, exposure from Chernobyl and Fukushima is estimated at
648,000 person-Sieverts. Exposure from eating a banana is estimated at
between 0.09-2.3 microSieverts. Let’s use a figure of 0.1 microSievert
per banana. Thus, exposure from Chernobyl and Fukushima equates to
6,480,000,000,000 Banana Equivalent Doses ‒ that’s 6.48 trillion
bananas or, if you prefer, 6.48 terabananas or 6,480 gigabananas.

End-to-end, that many 15-cm (6-inch) bananas would stretch 972 million
kilometres ‒ far enough to reach the sun 6.5 times over, or the moon
2,529 times over.

Potassium cycle

Another reason the comparison made by ‘Nuclear for Climate’ is
specious is explained by Dr Gordon Edwards from the Canadian Coalition
for Nuclear Responsibility:

“[T]he body already has a lot of “natural” potassium including K-40
[which is unavoidable], and any new “natural” potassium ingested is
balanced by eliminating a comparable amount of “natural” potassium to
maintain the “homeostasis” of the body. In other words the body’s own
mechanisms will not allow for a net increase in potassium levels – and
therefore will not allow for an increase in K-40 content in the body.

“Here’s what the Oak Ridge Associated Universities has to say; (ORAU
was founded in 1946 as the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies.):
‘The human body maintains relatively tight homeostatic control over
potassium levels. This means that the consumption of foods containing
large amounts of potassium will not increase the body’s potassium
content. As such, eating foods like bananas does not increase your
annual radiation dose. If someone ingested potassium that had been
enriched in K-40, that would be another story.’

“The same argument does not work for radioactive caesium, or for any
of the radioactive pollutants given off by a nuclear power plant,
because most of these materials do not exist in nature at all – and
those that do exist in nature are not subject to the same homeostatic
mechanism that the body uses to control potassium levels. Consequently
any foodstuffs or beverages containing radioactive caesium or other
man-made radioactive pollutants will cause an additional annual dose
of ionizing radiation to the person so exposed.”

Likewise, Linda Gunter explained in a 16 November 2017 article:

“At the COP23 Climate Talks currently underway in Bonn, a group
calling itself Nuclear for Climate, wants you to slip on their false
banana propaganda and fall for their nonsensically unscientific notion
that bananas are actually more dangerous than nuclear power plants! I
am not making this up. Here is the picture.

“The oxymoronic Nuclear for Climate people are handing out bananas
complete with a sticker that reads: “This normal, every-day banana is
more radioactive than living near a nuclear power plant for one year.”

“If you smell something rotten in this banana business, you are right.
So let’s peel off the propaganda right now. In short, when you eat a
banana, your body’s level of potassium-40 doesn’t increase. You just
get rid of some excess potassium-40. The net dose of a banana is zero.

“To explain in more detail, the tiny radiation exposure due to eating
a banana lasts only for a few hours after ingestion, namely the time
it takes for the normal potassium content of the body to be regulated
by the kidneys. Since our bodies are under homeostatic control, the
body’s level of potassium-40 doesn’t increase after eating a banana.
The body just gets rid of some excess potassium-40.

“The banana bashers don’t want you to know this and instead try to
pretend that the potassium in bananas is the same as the genuinely
dangerous man-made radionuclides ‒ such as cesium-137 and
strontium-90 ‒ that are released into our environment from nuclear
power facilities, from atomic bomb tests and from accidents like
Fukushima and Chernobyl.

“These radioactive elements, unlike the potassium-40 in bananas, are
mistaken by the human body for more familiar elements. For example,
ingested radioactive strontium-90 replaces stable calcium, and
ingested radioactive cesium-137 replaces stable potassium. These
nuclides can lodge in bones and muscles and irradiate people from
within. This is internal radiation and can lead to very serious,
long-lasting and trans-generational health impacts.”

An unfortunate incident in Goiania, Brazil in September 1987
illustrates the hazards of cesium-137, a fission product. Two people
stole a radiotherapy source from a disused medical clinic. A security
guard did not show up to work that day; he went instead to the cinema
to see ‘Herbie Goes Bananas‘. The radiotherapy source contained 93
grams of cesium-137. It was sold to a junkyard dealer. Many people
were exposed to the radioactive cesium and they spread the
contamination to other sites within and beyond the town. At least four
people died from exposure to the radiation source and, according to
the IAEA, “many others” suffered radiation injuries. Those injured
included eight patients who required surgical debridments, amputation
of the digital extremities and plastic skin grafts. The incident was
rated Level 5 (‘Accident with Off Site Risk’) on the 7-point
International Nuclear Event Scale.

Terrorists don’t arm themselves with bananas

There is a long history of nuclear power plants being used directly
and indirectly in support of nuclear weapons programs. Bananas are of
no interest to nuclear weapons proliferators. There’s no Treaty on the
Non-Proliferation of Bananas, no Comprehensive Test Banana Treaty, no
Anti-Banana Missile Treaty. Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump aren’t
threatening each other with bananas; not yet, at least.

Nuclear historian Paul Langley notes that terrorists don’t arm
themselves with bananas:

“The potassium cycle in humans is no excuse for nuclear authorities
anywhere on the planet to claim any benefit or natural precedent for
the marketing of nuclear industry emissions contaminated food.

“The fission products are not nutrients. Do not eat them. The nuclear
industry promises to keep its radioactive sources sealed. When the
industry invariably fails in this undertaking, it turns around and
claims that the residue of its pollution is like a banana. Crap. The
residue is like the residue of a rad weapon. Fact. It’s the same
stuff. Terrorists do not attempt to arm themselves with bananas. They
are not dangerous.

“Radio Strontium, Radio Iodine, Radio cesium have NO PLACE in food.
Nuke is not clean, it is not green and it relies on lies it has
concocted over decades. … The more the nuclear industry claims eating
plutonium, strontium, cesium, iodine and other fuel and fission
products is OK because bananas exist and because the potassium is a
needed nutrient, the more I consider them to be blatant liars.”

Christina MacPherson | December 20, 2017 at 9:07 pm | Categories: 2
WORLD, Reference, spinbuster | URL: https://wp.me/phgse-yJH

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