Monday, July 16, 2007

Bananas a Radiation Hazard?

No they're not, and that's the point. Bananas are a source of Potassium, including the natural radioisotope potassium 40. The point in the latest opinion piece at the "Energy Tribune", I Can't Hear You, I Have a Chenobyl(sic) in My Ear is summed up by this quote.
Living close to a nuclear power plant is approximately as dangerous as 1.4 bananas, as far as average radiation exposure is concerned.
Interestingly, if you are worried about Iran producing a Nuclear Bomb, or have decided that Global Warming is a fact, this article is for you.
Nuclear is truly carbon-neutral, well-proven (it provides 20 percent of America’s electrical power needs), relies on no nasty third-world types, and has the added benefit of burning the same fuel as nuclear bombs. Every nuclear power plant built means there will be slightly less uranium available for Armageddon, and that uranium’s world price will be high enough to make bomb-making ambitions less tenable. Why bomb Iran when we could just outbid them?
Well, the only real concern should be safety. According to this article, Nuclear Power Generation is very safe. You receive more Radiation from your night-time partner than from a Nuclear Power Plant. (Your mileage may vary on partners.) In fact a Nuclear Fueled Power Plant is safer than living close to a Coal Fired Power Plant.
According to the EPA, living within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant increases one’s annual radiation exposure by about 0.009 millirems (mrem) per year. Compare that to living within 50 miles of a coal-fired power plant, which (because of the uranium contained in coal and thus coal smoke) exposes you to 0.03 mrem per year – more than triple the radiation exposure from a nuclear plant.
Then consider this fact.
[E]ven if we include Chernobyl, nuclear power has killed far fewer people than soot from fossil fuels.
Three Mile Island, the worst nuclear disaster in the Western World, exposed those living within 5 miles of that facility to about as much radiation as anyone who has flown a thousand miles on commercial jet liners.

It is expensive and improbable that we can significantly reduce CO2 emissions due to mankind, but Nuclear Power could be an attractive alternative carbon-neutral energy source.

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