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Radioactivity in the Environment/ Open Lines

Date Tuesday - January 26, 2016
Host George Noory
Guests Libbe HaLevyOpen Lines

In the first half, Libbe HaLevy, award-winning playwright and host of the weekly Internet show "Nuclear Hotseat" discussed various nuclear incidents such as Three Mile Island and Fukushima, and the status of the methane leak in Southern California, and how radioactive radon gas (a major carcinogen) is being released along with the methane. After a gas well leaked in the wealthy San Fernando Valley community of Porter Ranch, thousands of residents were evacuated, and many in the area complained of various health problems. Yet, there's been little publicity about the dangers of radon, said HaLevy, adding that the odorless gas is a side product that arises from the fracking of petrochemicals.

Radon is heavier than air, so while the benzene and methane from the Porter Ranch leak are floating upwards and away, the radon lingers longer in the environment, she explained. Further, when radon decays it leaves lead and polonium byproducts that stay in one place, and lead is a particularly deadly substance, she warned. HaLevey recounted how in 1979, she was visiting a small town in Pennsylvania, when the Three Mile Island accident occurred-- she could actually see the cooling towers of the plant from where she was staying one mile away. An epidemiological study showed that the highest incidence of thyroid cancer and leukemia in the entire United States was within 50 miles of Three Mile Island, she reported.

The effects of Fukushima have never gone away, said HaLevy, who characterized the 2011 nuclear incident as the worst ecological disaster of the planet. The mainstream media has downplayed the effects, and there's been much contamination in Japan, especially to fish in the adjacent waters, she said, adding that "rainout"-- radioactive particles from the jet stream-- has fallen over the US and other countries. People need to become informed, learn what they can do to protect their health, and get active in terms of reform and safety, she advised.

Due to technical difficulties, Prof. Jan Bondeson did not appear. Open Lines were featured in the second half instead.

News segment guests: Frosty Wooldridge, Mish Shedlock

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Bumper music from Tuesday January 26, 2016

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