[OT] Radioactivity

Michael L Torrie torriem at chem.byu.edu
Thu Feb 22 11:19:42 MST 2007

On Thu, 2007-02-22 at 11:14 -0700, Shane Hathaway wrote:
> Daniel C. wrote:
> > "We self-irradiate ourselves at 40 millirems (a unit for measuring
> > small doses of radiation) per year because of the potassium 40 we
> > carry in our bodies. "[In] double beds, you know your spouse will
> > irradiate you to about 2 or 3 millirems a year," McGaffigan said.
> > "These are doses we actually regulate at. And I've always wondered,
> > when people demand even tighter [nuclear] regulation, why they're not
> > demanding that double beds be regulated or bananas be regulated or
> > Brazil nuts be regulated.""
> Given this, I wonder why people object to pebble bed reactors.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_bed_reactor
> They seem like a dream come true for environmentalists, yet Greenpeace 
> seems to hate nuclear reactors in all forms.  I don't get it.

Even more ironically, they'd rather see coal-fired plants than nuclear.
Coal is not only dirtier, but also releases quite a bit of radiation
into the environment.  But it's the old adage that I don't mind being
killed by something I can see.  It's the idea of a silent killer that
really bothers people.

BYU has a coal plant that provides heating for all of campus.  During
the winter months, because of environmental regulations brought on by
lobbyists, they burn natural gas for a month or so.  When you add it all
up, the natural gas in this case has an overall greater environmental
impact for BYU than the coal does (not saying natural gas is dirtier in
general).  But environmentalists have never been good about calculating
the total costs of their pov.  In many cases their ideas would bring
about worse environmental destruction.  

> Shane
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