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Indeed. But what I'm not seeing there is anything to suggest that uranium is many times more problematic than lead, which we have some experience with to use as a basis for modelling.

Now, it may indeed be that we have been underestimating the toxicity of particulate lead. But as long as uranium is roughly comparable to lead (give or take an order of magnitude), historical data on the health effects and lifetime of lead pollution should still give estimates for uranium that are at least in the right ballpark. So the wild claims that uranium pollution makes an area uninhabitable for millennia need to be taken with a teaspoonful of salt.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 02:23:44 PM EST
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There is a very specific claim which is that the European ECRR recommended multiplying radiation doses by 1000 in the case of Uranium in the body, and Chris Busby does not contest that number. He does say that, were that factor applied to the specific AREVA's environmental impact study he's discussing, it would make the project exceed legal safety limits... One would have to read the report to see if this is going from 90% of the legal limit to 900 times, or from 0.2% to 2 times the legal limit.

In any case, one interesting feature of lead poisoning is that

No safe threshold for lead exposure has been discovered--that is, there is no known amount of lead that is too small to cause the body harm.
Specifically,
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization state that a blood lead level of 10 μg/dL or above is a cause for concern; however, lead may impair development and have harmful health effects even at lower levels, and there is no known safe exposure level.

...

The levels found today in most people are orders of magnitude greater than those of pre-industrial society. Due to reductions of lead in products and the workplace, acute lead poisoning is rare in most countries today; however, low level lead exposure is still common. It was not until the second half of the 20th century that subclinical lead exposure became understood to be a problem. During the end of the 20th century, the blood lead levels deemed acceptable steadily declined. Blood lead levels once considered safe are now considered hazardous, with no known safe threshold.



So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 06:02:36 PM EST
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