So are nuclear power plants paying for their share of the water they use? It turns out, that despite all of us paying for water that we use, often by the cubic foot, all nuclear power plants get a free corporate welfare pass. They get to use as much water as they want, forever free. So how does this work?
“Each nuclear power plant is permitted to withdraw water from our nation’s water sources through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program, established in 1972 with the passage of the Clean Water Act. What most of these profit-yielding plants do not have to do, however, is pay for withdrawing this water (and then polluting it with tritium and other radioactive pollutants).
Now let’s contrast this for a moment. The agriculture industry and farmers of our country withdraw approximately 31 percent of our nation’s water. But the kicker is that nearly all farmers’ highest budget expenditure is crop irrigation. According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s water-use report, published every five years since the 1950s, the U.S. farming has become more efficient with water use.”
It is not just the free water use that may be a problem. Did you know that MOST of the water used in Illinois; (more that 75%), is used as nuclear reactor coolant? This precious water goes into these nuclear power plants cool, fresh and clean, and then it comes out carrying a LOT of waste HEAT, plus radioactive substances like tritium.
In cases of a nuclear plant accident, for hundreds if not thousands of miles around, water is polluted with radioactive toxins, sometimes forever. Then cities downstream drink this stuff. For more information about this issue, see the related articles at the end of this article.
Where does all of this waste heat and regular releases of radioactive substances released from ALL nuclear plants go? Well, it has to go into the air, which adds to the global warming and radioactive contamination problem. We have to multiply the effect of 400-1000 of these plants and associated spent fuel pools, so the total may be well over 2,000 HUGE heat and radioactive contamination sources.
Part of the problem with normally operating nuclear power plants is that they ALL emit radioactive toxins on a regular basis (with permission from the ‘regulators’). Mining also generates radioactive waste products that end up in the water supply.
Uranium Mines Dot Navajo Land, Neglected and Still Perilous;via A Green Road Blog
Enrichment of uranium also produces radioactive waste products that end up in water, air and food.
Stored radioactive waste spent fuel pools also generate radioactive gases. Leaks from nuclear plants and accidents release even more radiation.
Have you ever wondered what comes out of these nuclear power plants? Well, among other things, humanity and surrounding communities near these nuclear reactors get some of the following, especially in case of ‘accidents’, such as TMI, Chernobyl, and now Fukushima.
The industry says all of this is ok, and ‘safe’ for health, because low level radiation does not affect anyone. Even accidents are ok with them. They say that they can ‘take’ one of these huge eco disasters that makes thousands of square miles uninhabitable for millions of years once every twenty years or so.
The pro nuclear apologists say that internal radiation does not exist and cannot hurt anyone, because radioactive substances pass right through the body, without being absorbed. But neutral scientists and medical doctors say that is not so. Could there be deceptions and lies going on?
Low level nuclear radiation affects all humans in a negative fashion. Fetuses are thousands of times more sensitive to radiation than adults are. Radioactive substances act like potassium, calcium and iodine in the body, just to name a few, and substitute for these minerals in the body.
The low level radiation and toxic heavy metal such as strontium, iodine, cesium, uranium or plutonium destroys and mutates cells. They cause all kinds of negative genetic damage, while initiating cancer. The cancer shows up between five to 15 or more years down the road. But the negative health effects show up almost immediately.
All nuclear plants release radioactive tritium into the cooling water that they use, on a regular basis. This is fact. Apologists claim it is ‘harmless’, but let’s look into this deeper, shall we?
“According to Wikipedia, Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. The National Institute of Standards and Technology lists the half life of Tritium as 12.3 years. Since it takes about ten times that amount of time to fully decay into something else, the total time is actually 123 years for it to decay fully. Tritium is potentially dangerous if inhaled or ingested. It can combine with oxygen to form tritiated water molecules, and those can be absorbed through pores in the skin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium
Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen, which allows it to readily bind to hydroxyl radicals, forming tritiated water (HTO), and to carbon atoms. It is a beta radiation emitter. (According to Dr. Caldicott MD, a pediatrian expert on radiation, tritium inside the body causes genetic damage and initiates cancer, cell by cell. Could this be why cancer rates of children go up drastically the closer they live to nuclear power plants?)
Besides being regularly vented from all nuclear reactors, radioactive Tritium has also leaked from 48 of 65 nuclear sites in the United States, temporarily increasing the local level of radioactivity by up to 375 times, above the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.
Like hydrogen, tritium is difficult to confine. Rubber, plastic, and some kinds of steel are all somewhat permeable. This has raised concerns that if tritium were used in large quantities, in particular for fusion reactors, it may contribute to global radioactive contamination.
Tritium has leaked from 48 of 65 nuclear sites in the United States, temporarily increasing the local level of radioactivity by up to 375 times the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium
Regulatory limits of Tritium Releases
The legal limits for radioactive Tritium in drinking water vary from country-to-country and from continent-to-continent. Some figures are given below.
European Union: 100 Bq/l
United States: 740 Bq/L (Safe Drinking Water Act)
Canada: 7,000 Bq/l
World Health Organization: 10,000 Bq/l
The problem with this is that researchers have found that children have toxic and irreversible heart damage with radioactive substances at a level of only 50 Bq/kg. Since tritium enters the body with water, and water is absorbed, radioactive tritium levels can readily and easily build up in the body.
For more information about how low level radiation affects children, read the following articles.
Tritium In North Atlantic Ocean
While in the stratosphere (post-test period), the tritium interacted with and oxidized to water molecules and was present in much of the rapidly produced rainfall. Most of the bomb tritiated water (HTO) throughout the atmosphere can enter the ocean through the following processes: a) precipitation, b) vapor exchange, and c) river runoff . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium
Tritium In Pacific and Indian Oceans
In a 1998 study, tritium concentrations in surface seawater and atmospheric water vapor (10 meters above the surface) were sampled at the following locations: the Sulu Sea, the Fremantle Bay, the Bay of Bengal, the Penang Bay, and the Strait of Malacca.
Results indicated that the tritium concentration in surface seawater was highest at the Fremantle Bay (approximately 0.40 Bq/liter), which could be accredited to the mixing of runoff of freshwater from nearby lands due to large amounts found in coastal waters. Typically, lower concentrations were found between 35 and 45 degrees south latitude and near the equator.
Results also indicated that (in general) tritium has decreased over the years (up to 1997) due to the physical decay of bomb tritium in the Indian Ocean. As for water vapor, the tritium concentration was approximately one order of magnitude greater than surface seawater concentrations (ranging from 0.46 to 1.15 Bq/liter).
Therefore, the water vapor tritium is not affected by the surface seawater concentration; thus, the high tritium concentrations in the vapor were concluded to be a direct consequence of the downward movement of natural tritium from the stratosphere to the troposphere (therefore, the ocean air showed a dependence on latitudinal change) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium
Tritium In Mississippi River System
The impacts of the nuclear fallout were even felt in the United States throughout the Mississippi River System. In a 2004 study, several rivers were taken into account during the examination of tritium concentrations (starting in the 1960s) throughout the Mississippi River Basin: Ohio River (largest input to the Mississippi River flow), Missouri River, and Arkansas River.
The largest tritium concentrations were found in 1963 at all the sampled locations throughout these rivers and correlate well with the peak concentrations in precipitation due to the nuclear bomb tests in 1962.
The overall highest concentrations occurred in the Missouri River (1963) and were greater than 1,200 TU while the lowest concentrations were found in the Arkansas River (never greater than 850 TU and less than 10 TU in the mid-1980s). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium
As for the mass flux of tritium through the main stem of the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico, data indicated that approximately 780 grams of tritium has flowed out of the River and into the Gulf between 1961 and 1997. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium‘
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