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Subject: Radioactive graphite bricks

Radioactive graphite bricks

From: Molly Lambert <lambert>
Date: Saturday, May 8, 1999
Concerning the ethics of conserving the bricks, I support Sally
Shelton's articulate contribution to this list (Conservation
DistList Instance: 12:84, Tuesday, May 4, 1999) and would like to
add two thoughts to the discussion.

First, if the bricks were to be "decontaminated" keep in mind that
the radioactivity is not eliminated but transferred to a new host
material/environment.  The half-life of the radioactivity depends
upon which radio-nuclides exist--ranging from several years, to
numbers of years seeming to require scientific notation.  Different
radio-nuclides emit different rays, which have different health
effects and corresponding government standards for "safe levels of

Second, the government's "safe level of exposure" ratings can be
significantly different than those of the non-governmental research
community--the U.S. Government taking a less concerned view of
exposure. So, I did a little calling around (a member of my family
has been involved in this kind of research) and found the following
resources that might be of some use:

    Argun Makhijain
    Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER)
    Washington DC.

Try <URL:>. This seems to be a
clearing house for many people's work in this area of research.
Makhijain is the in-house expert.

    John Gofman
    Committee for Nuclear Responsibility (CNR)
    San Francisco

Gofman is extremely well-known in the field.  His independent
research falls on the "no-exposure-is-safe" side of the debate.  He
used to be Medical Director of the Lawrence Livermore Labs (nuclear
weapons development research facility--UC Berkeley/Department of
Defense) and is Professor Emeritus of Medical Physics at UC
Berkeley.  CNR is a private non-profit.  I spoke with Egan O'Connor
there and she recommended Chapter 25 of Gofman's 1990 book and
Chapter 45 of his 1996 book--these and other materials are available
on the CNR web site: <URL:>.
He estimates a 500% higher risk than the government standards for
low-level radiation exposure.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:86
                   Distributed: Monday, May 10, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-86-002
Received on Saturday, 8 May, 1999

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