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JeffD1
2011-Mar-17, 10:38 PM
More than once I have heard a news report about the "cloud of radiation" from the disabled nuclear power plant in Japan.
I have a hard time envisioning a 'cloud' of high speed alpha or beta particles or EMR.

They mean a 'cloud', or more properly perhaps, a 'plume' of steam, dust, smoke containing radioactive isotopes, right?

Amber Robot
2011-Mar-18, 12:20 AM
I believe they may be referring to steam that has radioactive elements in it.

Van Rijn
2011-Mar-18, 02:55 AM
Yes, I don't know how much of it is ignorance and how much is due to their "keep it stupid simple" rules, but I'm seeing much use of the word "radiation" where "radioactive material" or similar terms would be appropriate.

danscope
2011-Mar-19, 04:51 AM
But you have to remember: Ingestion of alpha emmitters is a very bad thing. They reside in you forever and they don't turn off. They continue to cook your bloodstream. They are not good for you.

Cobra1597
2011-Mar-19, 05:47 AM
But you have to remember: Ingestion of alpha emmitters is a very bad thing. They reside in you forever and they don't turn off. They continue to cook your bloodstream. They are not good for you.

One hopes this was somewhat of an attempt at sarcasm? Granted ingestion of alpha emitters is bad for you, but they aren't some magical thing that can violate the conservation of mass and energy.

Van Rijn
2011-Mar-19, 06:35 AM
But you have to remember: Ingestion of alpha emmitters is a very bad thing.


No, it's dose dependent, and everyone ingests alpha emitters because alpha emitters exist in nature. There's more wrong with what you said, but never mind. Please don't add to the bad science.

Trakar
2011-Mar-19, 06:54 AM
But you have to remember: Ingestion of alpha emmitters is a very bad thing. They reside in you forever and they don't turn off. They continue to cook your bloodstream. They are not good for you.

Bad, ...yes!
reside in you forever, and don't turn off,...not so much so.

danscope
2011-Mar-19, 05:09 PM
Us Navy handbook on radioactive particles. Argue with them.

Trakar
2011-Mar-19, 07:28 PM
Us Navy handbook on radioactive particles. Argue with them.

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/bio-effects-radiation.html

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf05.html

http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/PRTM-3r1_web.pdf

The Marine Corps manual seems to concur with these civilian sources of information: http://www.usmc.mil/news/publications/Documents/MCO%205104.3A.pdf

As does this joint forces military field manual on the Treatment of Nuclear and Radiological Casualties:
http://milmed.pmk.ac.th/FM%204-02x283%20TMT%20Nuc-Rad%20Cas.pdf

As stated earlier;
Dangerous,...yes!
reside in you forever, and don't turn off,...not so much.

Van Rijn
2011-Mar-21, 09:38 AM
Us Navy handbook on radioactive particles. Argue with them.

Quote the relevant text here. I fully expect that it will have little relation to what you claimed, aside from mentioning alpha particles. I would expect they would discuss dose and perhaps note some specific issues dealing with different radionuclids. I would hope it would discuss the differing risk between inhaling and ingestion (in ingestion, if you don't eat too much, there's a far chance that all of the material could pass on through without ever interacting with body tissue - it doesn't take much to block alpha particles.)

Van Rijn
2011-Mar-21, 09:52 AM
Bad, ...yes!


Well, I'd say that depends on dose. At low dose, it's possible to ingest alpha emitters but not have any of them produce alpha particles that interact with living human tissue. (it take very little material to block alpha particies . . . like the food and liquid that's getting processed in your gastrointestinal system).

And, anyway, the risk at low doses is also very low, so "bad" seems unclear. If there is a lot, sure. Think of alcohol: It always has poisonous effects, but small amounts are of little concern. Large amounts are a very different thing.

danscope
2011-Mar-21, 06:40 PM
Can you say " alvioli" ? Sure. That's a fancy word. They line your lungs. They are real little. Very small. And stuff lingers there. You don't want stuff there.

Van Rijn
2011-Mar-21, 09:05 PM
So no quote? I thought not. Oh, and did you notice where I mentioned inhalation risk versus ingestion risk?

Swift
2011-Mar-21, 09:26 PM
Gentle members,

We already have a whole bunch of Science & Technology threads going with debates on the dangers (or not) of nuclear power. May I suggest that we leave this one, in Bad Astronomy in the Media for only bad media reports on the event (even if it isn't astronomy). It is hard enough moderating all the current threads, please don't generate even more. Thanks,

danscope
2011-Mar-22, 03:01 AM
Hi Swift, As it shall be.
Best regards,
Dan

HenrikOlsen
2011-Mar-22, 03:48 AM
They reside in you forever and they don't turn off.
Mutually exclusive statements, including one which is just plain wrong.
If they're forever they aren't radioactive, if they don't turn off they're deeply magical.

Every single alpha emission is an atom that won't do that again.

JeffD1
2011-Mar-22, 04:02 AM
In reading responses what I come away with is that I was correct in noticing that the descriptors used were erroneous.

Yes, they mean clouds (ie. volumes of air) containing radioactive particulate or gaseous material.

Why does it bother me?

Because there is enough bad science in books movies and the nternet without trained journalists contributing to the dumbing down of the general population.

It reminds me of back when microwave ovens were first on the market and I experienced more than one person who was afraid to open the door before the beeping finished because they did not want to let the radiation out. I explained more than once that once the klystron cut off they could not open the door fast enough to still have microwaves bouncing out the open door.(like turning to watch the last light waves flow from a bulb as you turn the switch off)

As for long term residency of paritcles in the lungs,, I quit smoking 20 years ago. I ingested a huge amount of very fine , very bad stuff. Its been said that this clears out well once you quit. Surely after 20 years none of the carp I sucked in volutarily is still there. Would there be a reason why strontium or cesium might stay longer?

danscope
2011-Mar-24, 04:06 PM
Isotopes linger. Strontnium collects in the bones and joints and continues to damage those structures. And with a half life of .....oh it's only 90 years .... well, you be the judge.
Cesium 137 , half life of 30 years , beta and gamma emmitter. Liquid at 83 .