Thursday, May 10, 2012

Getting to Know Cesium-137

5000 atomic bombs worth of cesium-137 in spent fuel pool 4

Perhaps up to 12,000 atomic bombs worth of cesium-137 in spent fuel pool 3 (the one that probably exploded). Even more in the common spent fuel pool.
How toxic is cesium-137?

[excerpted] "Experiments with dogs showed that a single dose of 3.8 millicuries (140 MBq, 4.1 μg of caesium-137) per kilogram is lethal within three weeks;[105] smaller amounts may cause infertility and cancer.[106] The International Atomic Energy Agency and other sources have warned that radioactive materials, such as caesium-137, could be used in radiological dispersion devices, or "dirty bombs".[107 ]

105:  Redman, H. C.; McClellan, R. O.; Jones, R. K.; Boecker, B. B.; Chiffelle, T. L.; Pickrell, J. A.; Rypka, E. W. (1972). "Toxicity of 137-CsCl in the Beagle. Early Biological Effects". Radiation Research 50 (3): 629–648. doi:10.2307/3573559. JSTOR 3573559. PMID 5030090.

106: "Chinese 'find' radioactive ball". BBC News. 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
107: Charbonneau, Louis (2003-03-12). "IAEA director warns of "dirty bomb" risk". Washington Post (Reuters): p. A15. Retrieved 2010-04-28.

MAJIA HERE: Even cesium-133, which is not regarded as toxic, has been shown to be toxic for people if too much is ingested. Furthermore, it is toxic to plants.

"Cesium-Induced Torsades de Pointes" N Engl J Med 2002; 346:383-384January 31, 2002

Cesium toxicity for plants:

"Cesium toxicity in Arabidopsis." by Corrina R Hampton, Helen C Bowen, Martin R Broadley, John P Hammond, Andrew Mead, Katharine A Payne, Jeremy Pritchard, Philip J White Plant Physiology (2004) Volume: 136, Issue: 3, Publisher: American Society of Plant Biologists, Pages: 3824-3837     DOI: 10.1104/pp.104.046672  PubMed: 15489280

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