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He (Gundersen) has been making the rounds of the advertiser supported media recently with stories about the dangers of “hot particles” that are so tiny they cannot be picked up by normal radiation detectors. (Note: Radiation can be measured at extremely low levels, far below the levels that can cause human health effects. There is a reason why doctors inject small amounts radioactive materials into their patients as tracers to assist them in diagnosing organ function – those tracers make bodily systems visible without endangering the patient. If the hot particles are so tiny and dispersed that they cannot be detected, they are nothing to worry about.)
If the hot particles are so tiny and dispersed that they cannot be detected, they are nothing to worry about.)
.But reactor No. 3 at Fukushima Daiichi, one of the units that has experienced severe problems in the past two weeks, has one characteristic that differentiates it from its neighboring reactors and from any operating reactor in the U.S. Among the hundreds of standard nuclear fuel assemblies in its core, which rely on the splitting of uranium atoms to release energy, are some that contain a mix of uranium and plutonium.
This so-called mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel was loaded into Fukushima Daiichi reactor No. 3 in 2010 and has found use in several other countries' power plants as well. And a big-budget U.S. government project is scheduled to begin producing MOX for domestic utilities in 2016.
Every day medical procedures as well as research utilize radioactive dyes such as radioiodine. This results in production of large amounts of radioactive wastes. An environmental waste consultant company called EcoEndeavors was commissioned to examine the sludge at an Ann Arbor, Michigan, Waste Water Treatment Plant, which receives waste from the University of Michigan hospital complex. The diagram below demonstrates the major contributors of wastewater from the various hospitals in the complex and the relationship between the wastewater plant and the Huron River. Radioactive releases from these institutions flow into a municipal wastewater treatment plant and are processed with other wastes into sludge matter that is removed, dehydrated, and either land-applied or incinerated. The treated effluent (or water) is then dumped into the Huron River. The sewage effluent may contain suspended particles and entrapped radioactivity not removed in the primary treatment.