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Radiation finally understood


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Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set new radiation guidelines that raise the acceptable limits on the radiation dose that can be tolerated by first responders and emergency personnel in the case of a nuclear incident, radiation spill, terrorist attack like a dirty bomb, or any other radiological emergency. This change is long overdue and has nothing to do with the present EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, or the Trump administration.

“According to radiation safety experts, radiation exposures of 5-10 rem (also known as 50-100 mSv) usually result in no harmful health effects, because radiation below these levels is a minor contributor to our overall cancer risk,” EPA said in the document. There has been a major push over the last 20 years by scientists in the field to change these limits — ever since Fukushima and Chernobyl showed the real danger of having too low limits. The Obama administration was also trying to raise these limits.

We have long known that our established radiation limits were absurdly low and have led to widespread fear and panic over radiation levels that are the same as normal background levels across many parts of the Earth.

Such unreasonable, and unscientific, limits cause unfounded fear, and have hurt and killed more people than the radiation released from events such as Fukushima or Chernobyl. Also the absurd amount of money spent to reach these low limits has been extremely wasteful.

I would personally extend these newer acceptable limits to nuclear waste manage facilities also. The WIPP 2014 minor radiation leak of Pu and Am did not physically harm anyone. However, it did scare a lot of people because of historically misunderstood radiation levels. The folks over in Andrews, Texas, have taken the time to understand and support the construction of the Waste Control Specialist (WCS) facility just across the state line from Eunice, New Mexico. The residence of Eunice also supported nuclear material handling when they approved the URENCO uranium enrichment plant to process uranium fuel for commercial power plants here in the U.S.

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This nuclear corridor between Hobbs and Carlsbad is also the site for a potentially very lucrative revenue generator for the state of New Mexico with the proposed Interim Consolidated Storage facility by the EDDY-LEA Energy Alliance. By law, the government must relocate all spent nuclear fuel to ICSF sites.

Nuclear is for life and the future. To be continued.

Martin Kral


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