Skip to main content

No Time To Ban Bananas

In yesterday's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, an editorial cautioned readers not to overreact to news of a leak of tritiated water at the Kewaunee nuclear power plant:
But while concern may be warranted, overconcern - and overreaction - would be a mistake. Company officials assert that the amount of tritium found in the water "is not a threat to anyone's health." And while those officials may have a bias, their assertion is backed up by federal officials who say that no unsafe levels of tritium have been detected outside the plant's boundaries. And they are backed up by the Manitowoc County Health Department, which reports that "we have seen no tritium" in any of the weekly tests of wells near the plant.


The EPA allows up to 20,000 picocuries per liter of tritium in drinking water. In one of four shafts measured beneath the Kewaunee reactor basement, tritium was measured at 103,000 picocuries per liter, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. A Dominion spokesman put the health risk posed by the tritium found under the plant this way: "If you were to drink a cup of water that contained the highest level, that would be the same as the naturally occurring radiation you would receive by eating one banana."

And no one, as far as we know, is calling for a ban on bananas.
Technorati tags: , , , , , ,


Anonymous said…
According to the Journal of Chemical Education, vol81, No10, October 2004 - a large banana has about 511 picocuries of radiation. Thus one cup of the water would seem to contain the equivalent of nearly 50 bananas - by my calculation.
Anonymous said…
Please repeat your calculations with Sievert (mS). It is not the raw activity that counts when you try to compare internal exposure to radioactive elements (hint: Alpha, Beta, Gamma)

Popular posts from this blog

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.


The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.

What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…