Carnival of Nuclear Energy 207

1. ANS Nuclear Cafe – “Food Irradiation Can Save Thousands of Lives Each Year” by Lenka Kollar

“Not using irradiation is the single greatest public health failure of the last part of the 20th century in America,” says Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. Lenka Kollar discusses the potential for food irradiation to prevent needless death and disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 6 people get food poisoning each year in the United States and that 3000 die from foodborne illness. Food irradiation can drastically decrease these numbers by killing harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella in meat and produce.

Irradiation does not change the nutritional value of the food, nor does it make it radioactive or dangerous to eat.

The United States already uses irradiation to clean medical equipment and other consumer products.

Spices and Processed food – your eating irradiated ingredients already

Spices are commonly irradiated and the practice is growing for imported fruits and vegetables. Americans are already eating much more irradiated food than they realize because irradiated ingredients in processed foods do not need to be labeled.

Irradiation advocates have fought to remove the label because it does not change the food, while other treatment processes such as chemical washes for chickens and fumigation for strawberries do not require labels. The word “irradiation” scares consumers because they are unfamiliar with the technology.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 25 percent of the world’s food supply is lost every year due to pests and bacteria while people die of hunger. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide are affected by diseases caused by contaminated food. Irradiation using radioisotopes has proved effective in controlling pathogenic bacteria and parasites in food products and can make our food safer and last longer.

Food Irradiation is permitted by over 50 countries, with 500,000 metric tons of foodstuffs annually processed worldwide.

David Byron, Head of the IAEA´s Food and Environmental Protection Section says, “We look at irradiation as a form of pasteurization. It´s like any other food process. There are no residues, no radioactive material.

Campylobacter, listeria, salmonella, shigella, E. coli, vibrio, yersinia bacteria and the waterborne parasite cryptosporidium are some of the most common causes of food poisoning.

Approximately 1.8 million children in developing countries (excluding China) died from diarrhoeal disease in 1998, caused by microbiological agents, mostly originating from food and water.

Of course the deep green environmentalists will say that we will save all those people some other way than using irradiated food. But they have not been saved. The deaths continue and the plumbing and other food infrastructure projects are slow and food poisoning continues in the US and Europe.

2. ANS Nuclear Cafe: “Return to the 1970’s” by Will Davis

In the 1960′s, visions for nuclear power were hopeful and plentiful — nuclear plants of all sorts imaginable were under construction and under consideration. Will Davis examines government decisions made in the 1970’s that curtailed the development and deployment of nuclear energy in the US – and asks if we, as a nation, are embarking on similar mistakes now

3. Atomic Insights – Vermont Yankee: Clean Kilowatt Cow That Deserves Saving

Vermont Yankee is a 650 MWe nuclear power plant in excellent physical condition. It has an operating license that is valid through 2031 and it is run by a well-trained operational staff. Unfortunately, it is scheduled to be closed at the end of this year, even though it supplies an area that doesn’t have enough generating capacity with reliable fuel to meet its peak demands.

4. Is there any way to change course or speed and change the future, or is the decision to destroy Vermont Yankee past the point of no return?

The Hiroshima Syndrome – Fukushima Third Anniversary

A consolidation of Fukushima Commentary postings and comments from March 12 through March 28, concerning Japanese and international news reports about the third anniversary of the Fukushima accident, on a dedicated page.

5. Japan’s Quake/Tsunami 3rd Anniversary

The impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on the more than the 300,000 Japanese refugees who not due to Fukushima. All on a dedicated page. The news coverage was about double of the 2nd anniversary.

6. Nextbigfuture – JET are planning a new DT [deuterium-tritium] campaign aimed at trying to get maximum performance and a new fusion yield record for MCF [Magnetic confinement fusion].

As a bit of context, DT runs are a pain in the neck to run – you have all kinds of hazmat and health physics red tape so doing a DT campaign isn’t the norm – and consuming tritium is a problem as there is a finite stock on site at Culham with a facility for recovery and recycling (i.e. there is a finite number of DT shots JET can run without getting a new delivery of tritium, which is difficult and complex). That means DT campaigns are done relatively rarely.

7. Nextbigfuture – China is increasing natural gas and nuclear energy usage to reduce the use (or at least slow the use of coal)

One shorter-term clean-energy target—increasing natural gas to 10% of the power mix by 2020, from about 5% last year—might be achievable. New pipeline supplies from Central Asia, Myanmar and possibly Russia, higher output from China’s own offshore reserves, exploitation of its huge onshore deposits—trapped in shale—and an increase in long-haul ship-borne liquefied-natural-gas deliveries could add up to enough gas.

By the end of 2013, China’s wind-power capacity exceeded 75 million kilowatts, No. 1 in the world. Its solar-power capacity passed 15 million kilowatts and was growing faster than any other country’s, according to Liu Zhenya, chairman of Chinese utility State Grid Corp. Still, China is struggling to meet its 2015 target of getting 11.4% of its electricity from such nonfossil fuels, officials said in December, despite heavy government subsidies.

China aims to raise its nuclear capacity to 200 gigawatts by 2030, from only 14.6 gigawatts last year. But it probably won’t reach that goal, energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie forecast in a report Monday—which will offer opportunities for mining companies to supply huge amounts of additional coal to make up the power shortfall.

8. Dr Hayes at Newsok had a recent post of interest to those wanting a bit more insight on the WIPP release event. How much radioactivity did the WIPP release?

Each hospital with a nuclear medicine department, state or private university, and any other licensed radioactive material user across the country is allowed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to release into sanitary sewage up to 1 Curie of any type of radioactivity per year (under conditions specified in 10 CFR 20.2003). If the radioactivity discharge comes through nuclear medicine patient excreta, then there are no limits whatsoever on how many Curies can be freely discharged into a sanitary sewerage system.

The reason this is of interest is that the recent WIPP release was less than a few millicuries, basically 1000 times smaller than the aforementioned yearly sanitary sewerage limit for each and every single university or hospital across the US which is regulated by the NRC. This is not to say that the hospital release limits are not safe, please don’t hear that, rather the release from the WIPP really was small (although to them, any release was way too much). Clearly the benefit from nuclear medicine applications are worth the environmental impact from the patient excreta release.

Given all this, it is interesting to note that the WIPP did not violate any regulatory based dose limits in their release but did certainly violate their goal to never have any kind of release whatsoever.

9. Nuke Power Talk – Gail Marcus comments at Nuke Power Talk on the energy ramifications of the current situation in the Ukraine.

10. James Conca at Forbes – Cancer And Death by Radiation? Not At Fukushima

It’s always amazing when a U.N. report that has important ramifications comes out with little fanfare. The latest one states that no one will get cancer or die from radiation released from Fukushima, but the fear and overreaction is harming people (UNIS; UNSCEAR Fukushima; UNSCEAR A-68-46). This is what we’ve been saying for almost three years but it’s nice to see it officially acknowledged.

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