Thursday, 23 July 2009

Radioactive Waste Incineration

The problem is that radiation risk science is in a class of its own because the nuclear industry is fundamentally a state enterprise. It's been partly privatised but the world powers made it inalienably a matter of national policy from 1942 onwards. Just think of the asbestos analogy. If firms were putting asbestos-contaminated material into incinerators on the reasoning that dilution and dispersion were acceptable risk reduction techniques they'd be shut down immediately. But asbestos never, in anyone's mind, stood between the west and the red menace. The radiation risk model chosen by the government deliberately avoids a real study of the effects of any internal radioactive dose, particularly from the family of alpha-particle emitters (remember the Russian journalist).There is a pretence that the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were only affected by the Gamma radiation of the explosion(the Saharan sun) and not by eating ,drinking and breathing in the radioactive dusts (the Saharan sand).To help matters along the relevant data for the first 5 years (1945-1950) were removed and Japanese research halted. Japan was, after all, under American military occupation. Many scientists lost their careers in the arguments over these issues, and Professor Rotblatt, a member of the Manhattan project, who won a Nobel peace prize for his work to stop atmospheric testing, saw the two issues of data withholding and alpha emitter exclusion as fatal flaws in our current safety standards.
So the present and future of emissions policy is inextricably bound up with governments' avoidance of liability for past errors and they'll continue with their denials until they are put into court, the science tested in a forum which absolutely requires balance, and the decision won.
Such a tactic would involve a legal challenge to the authorization of a particular incinerator to burn radioactively contaminated material, a crucial consideration would be that the incineration involved elements of high atomic number.
These issues may appear irrelevant to people not into what the government loves to call “low-level radioactivity”. Interested readers should log into the LLRC website and follow their noses… inventor of the atom bomb, inspector of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, witness to the Pacific UK, Australian ,NZ and USA servicemen’s exposures and active teacher and campaigner was there before them, but only the very restricted audience at London hospitals were privileged to hear.

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