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Coal Ash is MORE Radioactive Than Nuclear Waste

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posted on Jan, 5 2008 @ 07:49 AM

Over the past few decades, however, a series of studies has called these stereotypes into question. Among the surprising conclusions: the waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. In fact, fly ash—a by-product from burning coal for power—contains up to 100 times more radiation than nuclear waste.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

At issue is coal's content of uranium and thorium, both radioactive elements. They occur in such trace amounts in natural, or "whole," coal that they aren't a problem. But when coal is burned into fly ash, uranium and thorium are concentrated at up to 10 times their original levels.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

[edit - spelling]

[edit on 5-1-2008 by harddrive21]

posted on Jan, 5 2008 @ 07:50 AM
I am not against Clean Coal Technology or new coal plants being built. I am not against new Nuclear Power Plants being built either. But this was interesting.

posted on Jan, 5 2008 @ 09:16 AM
If that is the case then this country and most countries around the world are more radioactively contaminated than ever imagined.

When I was a kid we'd do the "lets dig to china" thing in the yard, there was not an inch of yard that did not have coal ash less than two inches down.

I wonder if I glow in the dark.

posted on Jan, 5 2008 @ 09:28 AM
reply to post by Legalizer

LOL yeah! I remember doing the same with my little bro and hitting that same ashen layer a few feet (maybe inches, we were little kids) down. I can say, with full confidence, that I do not glow...from that at least.
I hate to say that Scientific American, as a source, may have been misleading, but it appears true. And that would imply that the US, Europe, China and all other nations are heavily contaminated. It may be worse in areas where they have Depleted Uranium shells laying around (certain war zones - like the Middle East, Kosovo area, etc).

Wikipedia has some awesome info here and at the bottom mentions the trace poisons :

Fly ash, like soil, contains trace concentrations of many heavy metals that are known to be detrimental to health in sufficient quantities. These include nickel, vanadium, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, barium, chromium, copper, molybdenum, zinc, lead, selenium, uranium, thorium, and radium. Though these elements are found in extremely low concentrations in fly ash, their mere presence has prompted some to sound alarm.

The U.S. EPA confirms that coal fly ash does not need to be regulated as a hazardous waste. [13] The EPA's headquarters building in Washington, D.C. is constructed with concrete containing fly ash. Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey and others conclude that fly ash compares with common soils or rocks and should not be the source of alarm.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

posted on Jan, 5 2008 @ 12:53 PM
Uranium decomposes to coal after x years so its not surprising to find radioactive materials near and in coal and its burning products. Also, your basement has radon. It all depends on the dose per unit time that is allowed.

According to the NRC regulations, any individual member of the public should not receive more than 100 millirem per year In actuality, the effect on the public is usually less than 1 millirem per year. For comparison, a worker is allowed to receive up to 5000 millirem per year.


posted on Jan, 5 2008 @ 03:47 PM
I don't think people realize how much radio activity there is around us, and even in us (quite naturally). I do think that much of what the public is fed is fear mongering, and hyping up how dangerous radiation is.

Two or three years back there was a documentary (ch 4 I think) shown here in the UK, which looked at what had become of Chernobyl in the years after the accident, and also included details of recent research into radiation. What they found was startling, but not for the reasons you'd expect.

Nearly all the residents had been evacuated at the time of the accident, and Chernobyl had become a ghost town, but one or two people stayed behind, surviving off the land with no ill effects whatsoever, despite the massive contamination the surrounding area was supposed to have received.

There were no ill effects to the natural environment either. The place was not over-run by two-headed frogs or giant mutant cockroaches, in fact, nature was thriving in the absence of people.

They also said that recent research into the effects of radiation on living things points to what were previously considered large doses of radiation actually being harmless to us, and perhaps even beneficial in smaller doses. There is no disputing that extreme doses are damaging to life, but very little research had been done into low/medium doses up until that time.

By posting this thread, the OP has hit on a topic that helps to put into perspective the dangers associated with radiation, and how the media manipulates the public perception of this. Well done and thanks for posting harddrive21! Flagged and starred!

posted on Jan, 5 2008 @ 05:04 PM
reply to post by C.H.U.D.

Radioactivity is everywhere and in all aspects of life. Whether its Radon as pointed out earlier in the post or exposure while flying, we can't escape it. But with how much coal this country and other developing countries burn, like China, if this is as toxic as is said, then it's significant. Hell, Tritium on gun scopes is radioactive (it is also found on watches that have the glow in the dark feature). Even smoke detectors use Americium-241 in them (Ionization Detector type). I guess the moral of the story is its everywhere, just don't bathe in it.

posted on Jan, 5 2008 @ 05:31 PM
Have you ever noticed that the people dumping the poison on you are the very ones who tell you how good it is for you. We all know the Government lies, that Industries lie and that the people who work for them lie. Let me expose this lie for you. Flyash from coal is more dangerous than nuclear waste. Flyash from coal can increase the presence of heavy metals 10 times its natural levels. USGS still considers that to be within safe levels. This is then compared with unspecified nuclear waste (the lie) implying that it is safer then that flyash. Okay, my choice of nuclear waste is the spent fuel rod from a nuclear submarine or one of the many nuclear reactors. I trust you see my point. Granted, neither is probably a good thing to have in your home, but they wouldn't have to bury my house in a deep lead mine.

posted on Jan, 5 2008 @ 05:36 PM
reply to post by debris765nju

Yeah I absolutely see your point. The people that rule are the ones that determine the rules. They tell us what is "ok" but it ends up in our backyards, not theirs. I would welcome a nuclear facility near my home, as well as a clean coal technology plant as long as I knew exactly where the byproducts were going. As for companies like GM, Delphi or DOW that have been dumping stuff here in the water and land in Michigan - its bad now, but for 75 years it was ok. They turned a Superfund site in Midland into the Dow Diamond (a baseball park for a minor league team). Insanity!

posted on Jan, 5 2008 @ 05:43 PM

Originally posted by debris765nju
Have you ever noticed that the people dumping the poison on you are the very ones who tell you how good it is for you.

Indeed. I couldn't believe what CHUD was spewing up there, it smelled so much of corporate regurgitation.

There was a documentary on PBS a year or two ago I believe, and it showed a Russian town downwind from Chernobyl, 80 miles I think, where many refugees ended up.
The deformities of these children were revolting beyond belief.
The city government is basically bankrupted from taking care of twenty years worth of children that are too sick to live at home with a family. The people who are having children have cancers and other diseases and all die young.

Yeah radiation in high doses, totally positive.
Rig your microwave to turn on while its open, come back and tell us how awesome you feel.
Stare at the sun, solar radiation gives you super vision!
Oh and get high on Chemo, better than sex!

[edit on 5-1-2008 by Legalizer]

posted on Jan, 5 2008 @ 05:51 PM
My wife and I sat and watched an HBO documentary on the birth defects from Chernobyl. It was called Chernobyl Heart. The images were heartbreaking. It covered everything from heart defects, physical deformities, mental shortcomings and other defects. It also went to the orphanages which were overflowing because people are dropping off deformed babies on a daily basis. It is enough to haunt you - but I do recommend seeing it if you have a chance.
Mind you the release at Chernobyl is thousands of times worse than other accidents. Just look at the survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

posted on Jan, 5 2008 @ 10:14 PM
reply to post by DarkSonic

Uranium decomposes to coal after x years so its not surprising to find radioactive materials near and in coal and its burning products.


Uranium DOES NOT decompose into coal. Coal is formed by several proccess that all concern the compression and heating of ORGANIC matter(mostly plant matter) over long periods of time to form hydrocarbons.
hydrogen and carbon no uranium involved in the proccess.
Uranium decays into lead 206/207, eventually it has a half life of 700 MILLION years.
I dont see how they can say its more radioactive than nuclear waste.
Fly ash is used in concrete and all sorts of other things people are around every day and they arent dying from it. Yet spend 5 minutes in a room filled with reactor waste and you will die with a few days.
The combustion of any hydrocarbon produces some trace amount of some radio-isotope.

The article is very misleading, it does not say that fly ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste what the say and I quote,

The chances of experiencing adverse health effects from radiation are slim for both nuclear and coal-fired power plants—they're just somewhat higher for the coal ones. "You're talking about one chance in a billion for nuclear power plants," Christensen says. "And it's one in 10 million to one in a hundred million for coal plants."

So what they are really saying is that over a lifetime of living in a stack shadow, that your chances of developing some sort of radiation induced malady, directly caused by the radio-isoptopes in fly ash, are between 1 in 10,000,000 and 1 in 100,000,000.
As compared to 1 in 1,000,000,000 for, developing some sort of radiation induced disease, living next door to a nuclear power plant.
The key word is stack shadow, so if you live within .6K in the stack shadow of a coal fired plant and spent a life time breathing in the plants exhaust, you might have a 1 in 50,000,000 chance of getting sick.
The concentration of radio isotopes is even less than what is found in naturaly occuring rocks and soils.

It seems some what biased and the last paragrah says it all,

The question boils down to the accumulating impacts of daily incremental pollution from burning coal or the small risk but catastrophic consequences of even one nuclear meltdown. "I suspect we'll hear more about this rivalry," Finkelman says. "More coal will be mined in the future. And those ignorant of the issues, or those who have a vested interest in other forms of energy, may be tempted to raise these issues again."

posted on Jan, 6 2008 @ 03:31 AM
Some very good information presented there Punkinworks. It's convenient that they toss around numbers in the tens of millions. Any contamination that goes downstream or become airborne will be a problem. A lifetime of exposure is the risk. I have a belief though that these heavy metals and radioisotopes go further than 1/2 a kilometer. I have no scientific data that will back that up, just a hunch (a careless worker or transport and we have this crud in the air or washed off into the water supply).
And yes - Uranium to Lead. Not Uranium to coal. Even if you believe in the abiotic theory of oil and hydrocarbon production, Uranium isn't in that equation.

posted on Jan, 6 2008 @ 10:31 PM
reply to post by punkinworks

you're right! i don't know why i said uranium decays to carbon. There is not even one connection between the two xD

thanks for the correction xD

posted on Mar, 5 2010 @ 06:51 PM
Here's Chernobyl Heart -- the amazing British expose on the radiation levels after the world's worst nuclear power meltdown:

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