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RE: Bacteria in Nuclear Reactors

I don't think that the author is taking a position on Nuclear Power.  I
think the main point is that if life can exist in the primary loop of a
nuclear power plant, it can certainly exist on other planets.

-----Original Message-----
From: jeff.king@srs.gov [mailto:jeff.king@srs.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 1998 2:21 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Re: Bacteria in Nuclear Reactors

     Back in Environmental Microbiology class (something like 8 years
     we discussed the archaebacteria and other microbes that have been 
     found in extremely harsh environments.  Places like the outskirts
     boiling hot springs, the bottom of the Marianas trench, the arctic,

     and saturated salt lakes.  One of the the beasties that came up was

     radiococcus microdurans (SP?) which, if I recall correctly, had
     cultured out of the primary cooling loop of a nuclear reactor.
     serves to tell me that the bacterium was capable of surviving 
     exposures up to one megarad.  Don't have my class notes anymore, so
     can't verify this, but I believe the report of a bacteria adapted
     life in a reactor is correct.
     It is not clear to me how reporting this fact has the potential to 
     make the Planetary Society an anti-nuke group.
     Jeff King
     Facility Representative
     US Dept. of Energy
     Savannah River Operations Office

______________________________ Reply Separator
Subject: Bacteria in Nuclear Reactors
Author:  rgmorgan@lanl.gov at Mailhub
Date:    5/11/98 2:58 PM

Hi folks,
In the May/June issue of The Planetary Report (a publication for the 
members of the Planetary Society, a space-exploration advocacy group
is not noticeably [so far] an anti-nuc group.  See their web site at 
http://www.planetary.org), Christopher Chyba said (in part) "bacteria
adapted to survive the levels of radiation common in the cooling water
nuclear reactors."
I'd be a bit surprised to learn that bacteria could survive in the
or secondary loops of a power reactor...but there's a bunch of other 
possibilities.  Does anyone know anything about bacteria in reactor
Thanx, ron
       Ron Morgan <rgmorgan@lanl.gov>
       Operational Health Physics (ESH-1)
       Los Alamos National Laboratory
       MS E-503, Los Alamos New Mexico, 87545 (USA) 
       Phone (505) 665-7843
       Fax   (505) 667-1009
       Voice pager 104-1787