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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Nat. Gas and Nuc Accidents (was Re: natural gas explosion)
Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 93 05:59:25 GMT (Russ Brown) writes:

>The human body (avg approx 75 kg) contains about 0.1 microcuries...or
>100,000 picocuries if you like big numbers...of potassium-40.  Roughly
>1300 pCi per litre.  K-40 decay yields 1.46 MeV gamma, as well as 1.33
>MeV beta.  Half-life: 1.28E9 years.

>Milk contains about 2000 pCi per litre.
>Bananas contain about 4000 pCi per litre.

>The dose (for equal concentrations) from K-40 is at least (standards now
>being revised) 300 times that of tritium.  The _grave_ concerns
>expressed by many advocates about very low (<250 pCi/litre)
>concentrations of tritium in water from some nuclear facilities seems
>sort of silly if one considers that human urine (as a discharged waste)
>has about 2000 times the dose-risk per unit volume.

>Of course, being silly works in political arguments.

Yup.  While I was at TMI I supervised a mobile whole body counter (device
used to measure the body burden in radiation workers.)  My technicians
and I got a game going to see how accurately we could pick out the
high vegie consumption/vegetarian workers from their K-40 peak.  We
got to where we could hit it almost 100% of the time.  This was back
before everyone began wearing their feelings on their shoulders and
you could ask casual personal questions without being beaten over the
head with lawyers.  In some cases we would see K-40 peaks half again
as large in vegetarians.

Somehow I always got some perverse pleasure in knowing the health food
nuts/vegetarians were (relatively speaking) nuking themselves.


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