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  • Which countries currently have nuclear weapons?
    Which countries currently have nuclear weapons?
    D. United States, China, United Kingdom, France, Russia, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea

  • Why is cobalt used in nuclear reactors?
    Why is cobalt used in nuclear reactors?
    Many of the components or structures from which a nuclear reactor is made are made of metal. Cobalt occurs naturally in ores along with other metals such as nickel and iron. When these metal parts are exposed to the neutron radiation, generated when the uranium atoms split, the cobalt undergoes transmutation, the fancy name for when one element changes into another by radioactive decay, nuclear bombardment, or similar processes. So, as far as I know, cobalt is not intentionally used in nuclear reactors. Rather it is a by-product of the reactivity that occurs from the uranium atom splitting or fission that takes place in the core of the nuclear reactor.

  • Which Longhorn likely has been exposed to more radiation throughout their life-time?
    Which Longhorn likely has been exposed to more radiation throughout their life-time?
    Ivan, the iranian exchange student, from the town of ramsar-ivan, the iranian exchange student. since ramsar naturally exposes its population to 260 msv of radiation yearly (compared with 0.06 msv of a chest radiograph or up to 20 msv of a ct scan). this is called a high background radiation area (hbra). most of the radiation is due to dissolved radium-226 in water from hot springs and small amounts of uranium and thorium (due to travertine deposits). higher amounts background radiation are naturally emitted in many parts of the world including: guarapari (brazil), southwest france, ramsar (iran), parts of china, and the kerala coast (india). according to chandrasekara dissanayake, senior professor of geology at the university of peradeniya, sri lanka, the most interesting feature in all these cases is that the people living in these hbras do not appear to suffer any adverse health effects as a result of their high exposures to radiation. he also notes that their exposure amounts to 55 to 200 times more radiation than average background radiation. this indicates that radiation is a natural phenomena that longhorns should understand, not fear. however, thats not all. javad mortazavi, professor at kyoto university of education and member of the scientific committee of efn, takes this one step further when he explains that this radiation is a few times higher than the icrp [international commission on radiological protection] recommended radiation dose limits for radiation workers. this indicates that perhaps these safety recommendations are based to closely on public fear instead of scientific understanding of the risks. however, its not fair to just brush off safety recommendations. they do have their place, and high quantities of radiation (especially over short periods of time) can be dangerous. however one does not even start to see minor symptoms of radiation poisoning until exposed to about 350 msv.

  • How many nuclear plant operators at Fukushima Japan have been hospitalized due to the crisis?
    How many nuclear plant operators at Fukushima Japan have been hospitalized due to the crisis?
    3-on march 11, 2011, the controversy over nuclear power changed forever when a magnitude-9 earthquake off the coast of japan stuck the region. the earthquake was so forceful that it moved japans coast 15 feet eastward (according the gps stations in japan), rotated the earths figure axis six and a half feet, redistributed the earths mass to an extent that resulted in shortening the day by 1.8 micro-seconds, created a tsunami with waves towering at one-hundred and twenty-five feet tall, and left twenty-eight thousand people dead or missing and one-hundred and sixty-four thousand people living in temporary shelters. however, more relevant to nuclear power, the resulting tsunami left japans fukushima nuclear plant with three reactors in a state of nuclear meltdown, with radioactive material leaking into the ocean through a crack in a containment vessel. the horror of this tragic once in a burnt-orange-moon event should not be under-emphasized. still, despite this horrific chains of events, the nikkei weekly (japan) reports that only 3 workers [have been] hospitalized after stepping in water contaminated with concentrated radioactive materials. clearly, nuclear power is a serious matter that requires careful consideration to be used safely. however, longhorns ought to realize that they also reported that fukushima has not been nearly as devastating as chernobyl. in fact, the nikkei weekly reports that chernobyl killed 2 the first day of the incident and 28 more 3 months later. critics might note that fukushima has not yet reached the 3 month mark, but news sources dont seem to be predicting anything remotely similar. additionally, cambridge universitys professor david mackay, author of the book sustainable energy without the hot air, points out that in europe, nuclear power causes less deaths per units of energy produced each year than any other energy technology .1 deaths per gigawatts of energy produced yearly compared to oil, coal, and biomass that all individually produced over .2 deaths per gigawatts of energy produced yearly (murray 2). additionally, longhorns might find it surprising that wind power has killed 274 people.

  • Which of the following would expose a Longhorn to the most radiation?
    Which of the following would expose a Longhorn to the most radiation?
    Smoking 1.5 packs of cigarettes-smoking causes 13 msv. a flight to europe for spring break causes 9 msv. a chest x-ray causes .04 msv. living near a nuclear power plant causes 0.01 msv each year. of these options, running a nuclear power plant near campus would cause the least amount of radiation exposure. in fact, according to larry foulke who writes for the national center for policy analysis, even the partial meltdown at three mile island, the 3rd worst nuclear accident to ever occur, only resulted in .04 msv of radiation being exposed the population. therefore, this accident only produced the amount of radiation equivalent to a chest x-ray. however, this event caused the end of further us nuclear power plant construction? you must be asking: what about the other 2 meltdowns, chernobyl and fukushima? first, chernobyl is hard to take seriously since it was designed without any safety consideration. second, fukushima is not nearly as dire as the news media would have you think (take a look at the answer to question 3 for a more in-depth look a fukushima).

  • Suppose that UT President, William Powers Jr. proposed a new plan to save money on the cost of tuition. He is looking into inking a deal with the US government to create a nuclear waste...
    Suppose that UT President, William Powers Jr. proposed a new plan to save money on the cost of tuition. He is looking into inking a deal with the US government to create a nuclear waste...
    Us can turn its nuclear waste into something useful instead of burring it (and avoid the cost of storing it too)-according to iain murray, senior fellow at the competitive enterprise institute, a non-profit public policy organization, britain successfully reuses its nuclear waste as fuel. he notes that as a result, in 2040, britain will only need a tiny (42 feet by 42 feet) space to store the remaining waste that cant be further reprocessed. this means that the us could also use new breeder reactors to reprocess nuclear waste. us nuclear waste would literally be turned into a massive fuel source! there is no need to dump the waste at ut, it could be so small that it can be stored safely on cite at a nuclear facility. safety of ut facility and staff is a wrong answer since the site would be designed to be secure. cost would be a good reason to since the yucca mountain project currently being proposed would cost $8 billion, but really there is no reason to spend money to bury something we can use as a fuel source. some say breeder reactors are risky since they are cooled with liquid-sodium instead of water. however, ann maclachlan of the platts inside nrc magazine, reports that last year japans monju nuclear plant was able to restart its breeder reactor after a previous leak. in-fact, even after japans quake and tsunami there still have not been any reported problems with this reactor.

  • Use the following link to determine how many cigarettes a longhorn would have to smoke to get the equivalent radiation exposure to being 50 km NW of Fukushima (most effected area) on March...
    Use the following link to determine how many cigarettes a longhorn would have to smoke to get the equivalent radiation exposure to being 50 km NW of Fukushima (most effected area) on March...
    36-if you put 40556, that would be bananas. 3.6 msv amounts to the equivalent of smoking about about 36 cigarettes! you would think with the kind of media attention fukushima was getting the fist few days that the amount of radiation exposed to the public would have been several orders of magnitude higher. however, the cynical reader will point out that there has been more radiation released since march 17 and will want to know about the plant workers radiation exposure. the truth is that the amount of radiation escaping is changing day by day, but it is not enough to warrant a huge risk to the public. for example, the bbc monitoring asia pacific reports that only one fukushima plant worker has been exposed to 198 msv of radiation. checkout the answer to question1, which explains that not until around 350 msv would one even start to experience radiation poisoning. most would agree that this crisis presents many dangers, and many also see the plant operators as heroes. however, longhorns cant exaggerate the risks they are facing. some feel that there exists alternatives which dont present these types of safety risks and that the us ought to be exploring these safer alternatives. i urge these critics to visit the the grave of hans petersen, a former solar panel technician who fell to his death while checking a roof-top solar panel installation. his death is one of hundreds. all energy sources have risks, but ironically the most publicly feared power source, nuclear, has the best safety track record (checkout the answer to question 3 for more details). the dangers of other energy sources are under-emphasized since they execute people in more familiar ways.

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