Chemists warming to Cold Fusion.

Point out news stories, on the net or in mainstream media, related to polywell fusion.

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Skipjack
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Post by Skipjack »

Yeah, I have been saying that for many years now. Those coal powerplants blow quite a bit of radioactivity into the air during normal operation (some say more than a nuclear plant during a medium sized accident). People just dont know that, because, for some reason noone talks about it. I guess all those "greenstocking owls" are afraid that it would take the fear out of people, if they realized that. Noone is affraid of coal plants, after all.

KitemanSA
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Post by KitemanSA »

The whole thing seems something of a hoax due to the EPA's rather idiotic "zero intercept" version of the radiation effect curve. I have read that there is a significant parcel of evidence that radiation is subject to the same J curve as most other toxic substances and that in fact those with more radon exposure, all else being equal, have a LOWER chance of cancer than those with less exposure.

Gallium
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Post by Gallium »

Be careful when reading things into People and Radon exposure.

The thing about Radon exposure is that it tends to be those of a slightly higher social standing who are exposed, the main source of this exposure being from granite. Not many people can afford granite kitchen surfaces and a lot of the statistics will also come from areas where the main building material was traditionally granite. And generally speaking, only the wealthier people in these areas will be in these older buildings. The result being that their lower rates of cancer through the lifestyle they lead would be reflected in the study. If it is a good study this is taken into account, but 9 times out of 10 it isn't.

But yes, the general point is correct. Coal produces far larger amounts of radioactivity through the release of trace elements contained within it than the heavily regulated nuclear industry. This is allowed mainly due to the general public being familiar with burning coal and not associating it with any real danger and nuclear power being the exact opposite.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

KitemanSA wrote:The whole thing seems something of a hoax due to the EPA's rather idiotic "zero intercept" version of the radiation effect curve. I have read that there is a significant parcel of evidence that radiation is subject to the same J curve as most other toxic substances and that in fact those with more radon exposure, all else being equal, have a LOWER chance of cancer than those with less exposure.
Radiation hormesis.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Art Carlson
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Post by Art Carlson »

StevePoling wrote:
Art Carlson wrote:Is radon from coal ash then also a significant problem? How would it compare to mine tailings for the same energy production?
Not radon, uranium. My understanding is that trace amounts of uranium are distributed in coal deposits. The process of burning releases the uranium from the coal. The uranium ends up concentrated in the fly ash.

I don't know how these concentrations compare with other waste sources.
The radiation from uranium and its products in a pile of ash isn't going to hurt me. But one of those products is radon, which, as a noble gas, will diffuse out of the pile into the atmosphere and, perhaps, into my lungs. BenTC's reference suggests that this is not near the top of the list of radiation dangers from flyash, which in any case "should not be sources of alarm".

D Tibbets
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Post by D Tibbets »

Art Carlson wrote:
StevePoling wrote:
Art Carlson wrote:Is radon from coal ash then also a significant problem? How would it compare to mine tailings for the same energy production?
Not radon, uranium. My understanding is that trace amounts of uranium are distributed in coal deposits. The process of burning releases the uranium from the coal. The uranium ends up concentrated in the fly ash.

I don't know how these concentrations compare with other waste sources.
The radiation from uranium and its products in a pile of ash isn't going to hurt me. But one of those products is radon, which, as a noble gas, will diffuse out of the pile into the atmosphere and, perhaps, into my lungs. BenTC's reference suggests that this is not near the top of the list of radiation dangers from flyash, which in any case "should not be sources of alarm".
I believe the various radon isotopes have short half lifes, so being in proximity to the uranium from which it is derived would increase the exposure during the short time it hangs around, especially inside a modern tight house where there may be little mixing of the internal with the external air (or a uranium mine shaft).

Dan Tibbets
To error is human... and I'm very human.

tombo
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Post by tombo »

In and near Gallup NM where I lived for a while there are coal mines and uranium mines near each other.
The local miners said that the rock layers containing coal and uranium were very closely related geologically.
-Tom Boydston-
"If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research, would it?" ~Albert Einstein

Axil
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Post by Axil »

Art Carlson wrote:
StevePoling wrote:
Art Carlson wrote:Is radon from coal ash then also a significant problem? How would it compare to mine tailings for the same energy production?
Not radon, uranium. My understanding is that trace amounts of uranium are distributed in coal deposits. The process of burning releases the uranium from the coal. The uranium ends up concentrated in the fly ash.

I don't know how these concentrations compare with other waste sources.
The radiation from uranium and its products in a pile of ash isn't going to hurt me. But one of those products is radon, which, as a noble gas, will diffuse out of the pile into the atmosphere and, perhaps, into my lungs. BenTC's reference suggests that this is not near the top of the list of radiation dangers from flyash, which in any case "should not be sources of alarm".
In fact, fly ash—a by-product from burning coal for power—and other coal waste contains up to 100 times more radiation than nuclear waste" to "In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy." The source for this statistic is Dana Christensen, an associate lab director for energy and engineering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as well as 1978 paper in Science authored by J.P. McBride and colleagues, also of ORNL.

Giorgio
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Post by Giorgio »

I think I already wrote this before.
Near the town where i lived my childhood we have a pretty big power plant coal based, and unfortunately the main winds push the ashes right toward a populated area. The leukemia cases in this area (in percentage of the living poplation) are the biggest in the region and one of the biggest in the country.

Coolbrucelong
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Post by Coolbrucelong »

Hello Gallium;
I cannot speak for Scotland but here in Pennsylvania Radon comes from the ground and occasionally from well water released into the house by use of the shower. I know lots of people with low levels of radon in the house- including my parents house. None of these houses have granite counter tops or flooring.

I am not saying granite in the house might not cause problems but here the Radon problem seems to be pretty much tied to geology and geography, not income level. If one house has a problem, the other houses in the neighborhood generally do as well baring major differences in construction.

Radon from the aggregate ( limestone and/or dolomite I suspect) in the concrete at Three Mile Island Nuclear Power plant and the Berwick plant I think as well sets off radiation alarms on the lower levels where the heavy gas collects on windless nights.

There have been many many studies looking for excess cancers in this area from natural radon levels. None to my knowledge have found any excess cancers and more than a few have found lower than normal cancer rates.

Studies looking for excess cancers from the radiation release during the TMI accident have similarly come up blank or with lower than suspected cancer rates.

I suspect radiation homesis (spelling) is at work here

Radon in your house? It is not a bug, its a feature
Optimist: Glass is half full
Pessimist: Glass is half empty
Engineer: Someone made that glass twice
as large as it needs to be.

Gallium
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Post by Gallium »

Also it should be noted that radiation from the fly ash of coal fired stations is not the main health hazard. It is the ash itself. Particulate matter in the atmosphere has a huge number of well documented heath effects ranging from increased asthma rates to increased number of heart attacks.

Gallium
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Post by Gallium »

(Sorry for the double post, but seeing as this addresses a different topic, I think it is meretted)

Hi there Coolbrucelong,

I would first like to agree with your post. Geography does make a difference with radon levels.

But I would like to draw your attention to the reason why I choose to comment on the social connection. Scotland does have a specific and high profile case of radon gas buildup:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberdeen

Aberdeen, aka, The Granite City. Every pupil doing chemistry class in a scottish school will most likely be taught about it at some point. Aberdeen and more importantly the area around it are prone to radon buildup from both the environment and the fact the buildings themselves are built of granite, with the gas building up in the areas of low air flow. These areas, however, also display the lowest levels of unemployment in Scotland and are also comparatively wealthy due to the oil industry. So the effect of that lifestyle would need to taken into account before any conclusions on the effects of radon can be deduced.

For example, this new scientist article from 1990 suggests that 2500 people in the UK will contract lung cancer due to increased radon levels in homes.

http://66.102.9.132/search?q=cache:7g6t ... en&ct=clnk

While I would not go as far to say "Yay! I have radon gas in my house!", I would say, so long as the areas are well ventilated, the effects are at a low enough level to not be a huge problem.

KitemanSA
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Post by KitemanSA »

IIRC, the article I mentioned earlier compared two dominantly farming areas, one in Minnesota which is built on granite and one further south, built on semamentary rock. The granite was a source of Radon and the SR was not. Equivalent socio-economic areas and similar exposure to most everything else, except the Radon, and the high Radon area had a markedly lower cancer rate.

Radiation hormesis, yeah, that was the term!

StevePoling
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Post by StevePoling »

This is my interpretation of public service announcements when radon became an issue. People started building tighter houses with fewer air leaks and converting unfinished basements for additional living space. This was after the energy shocks of the 1970s. In residential settings, the radon comes out of the ground. Radon, being a relatively heavy element is wont to concentrate in the lower levels of your home. Remediation consists sealing living areas from the ground and/or venting radon laden air from the basement to the outside.

This is what I grokked from stuff like This Old House, and not a nuclear engineering class. And I haven't been paying attention for the last decade or so. If any of you have, I'll take your word over mine.

Gallium
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Post by Gallium »

A quick wikipedia on the issue brings up the reason why there seems to be contrasting views.

The radiation hormesis hypothesis shows "substantial cancer rate reduction between 50 and 123 Bq per cubic meter".

The british study indicates action is needed in homes containing greater than 200 Bq per cubic meter.

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