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View Diary: Profile of A "Dangerous Nuclear Waste:"  Cesium, Part 3. (26 comments)

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  •  Another very interesting diary entry (2+ / 0-)
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    Plan9, NNadir

    It was rambly, but I don't think it was too rambly.

    I have two comments.

    First, and this is a very very minor point, although it is clear from the context, you left a couple of words out of your description of a becquerel. That is, a becquerel is a single nuclear decay of a single atom per second on average. Thus, your description of the consequences of ingesting 0.1 Bq of radioactive material is correct.

    Next, from reading your diaries, I can see where it would be easy for someone to get the idea that you are a little too cavalier about the potential dangers of radioactive material. I realize that you are not, and one of your follow-up comments to this entries explicitly mentions being "careful as opposed to cavalier." Nevertheless, I think it bears repeating.

    The tragic incident in Goiânia was a direct result of negligence on the part of the operators of the clinic and on the part of the state authorities. Radioactive material such as the cesium in Brazil can be very dangerous if not handled properly. Therefore, it should be regulated, tracked, and important safeguards should be in place to ensure that the material does not cause harm. This is a serious responsibility, but fortunately, the amount of material we are talking about is tiny compared to the many (non-nuclear) substances out there that can cause death and serious injury.

    •  Thanks for your correction. (2+ / 0-)
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      Plan9, bryfry

      I did in fact state the definition of a Bq poorly.

      I am in favor of tight regulation of nuclear materials.  It should be noted that modern information systems should make it somewhat easier to track the status of radioactive materials in the future than it might have been when the source was made and distributed.

      I think for part IV, I'll not ramble much, but cut to the chase.

      It's probably time to move on to another element.

      •  Tight regulation is good (2+ / 0-)
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        Plan9, NNadir

        I think that almost all nuclear proponents (or at least, all of them who have ever had any experience with radioactive materials) are in favor of tight regulation of nuclear materials. When it comes to nuclear power, this goes beyond just the radioactive materials, and encompasses all of the materials that are used to provide safety at the plant. The term "nuclear grade" is not a marketing ploy; it is an indication of a rigorous qualification process.

        Of course, this is obvious to those of us who have given the matter much thought, but most people out there have not done that. This is why I think it is important to give the right message, which is in a nutshell, if I might be so bold as to summarize:

        Nuclear power and the materials associated with nuclear power do involve risk; however, when properly managed (which is important and nontrivial, but well within our means), this risk is much less than many risks that we incur on a daily basis.

        You diaries have been quite good (in my humble opinion) at explaining the risks involved and putting them in perspective. I have enjoyed your point of view on this topic.

        Don't worry about rambling too much. Radioactive isotopes is a rather dry subject. It is nice to have a human element, and a bit of wandering, injected into the discussion.

        •  Thanks again for your comments. (1+ / 0-)
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          I enjoy your perspective as well.

          I have edited the diary to fix the Bq definition.

          You have summarized the intent of my diaries perfectly well in a few short sentences.   Clearly the risks about which I am most concerned are the risks of fossil fuels.

          I write these diaries on the fly, and never really know how much they will ramble until I write them.   Usually I cut them off when I've just run out of time.

    •  About 1,000,000 radioactive sources loose (0+ / 0-)

      Most of them used in the context of oil extraction.

      The UN agencies assigned to nuclear issues (UNSCEAR, mainly) have been doing a good job trying to get all these sources tightly regulated and tracked.

      "Well, I'd like to hold off judgment on a thing like that, sir, until all the facts are in." --General Jack Turgidson

      by Plan9 on Sun Feb 04, 2007 at 09:31:06 AM PST

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