Is Plutonium Dangerous?

Read this - by a true expert - to understand why plutonium is dangerous

From the Daily Camera

Niels Schonbeck: Plutonium continually radiates inside body

Posted:   08/17/2018 08:54:02 AM MDT

Updated:   08/17/2018 08:55:44 AM MDT


Bill Schwarz's letter, published on Aug. 9, calls LeRoy Moore's letter of Aug. 5 "confused." But he seems ignorant of the properties of plutonium-239, the principal form of plutonium at Rocky Flats. Moore's article mentions Robert Del Tredici's photo of a single speck of plutonium in the lung tissue of an ape. Any creature in the presence of airborne plutonium can inhale a particle, perhaps several.

Plutonium proves harmful only if taken into the body. Inhalation is the most likely way to be exposed. Once inside the body, the plutonium lodges somewhere — lung, liver, bone, brain, gonads — and continually irradiates surrounding cells for the rest of one's life. The speck or particle of plutonium in the body constantly emits bursts of radiation — not one, but many.

For example, a billionth of a gram of plutonium-239 — which contains about 2 trillion atoms — releases two alpha particles every second, causing 2 million chemical bonds to break every second. It is bond breakage that leads to mutations in the genome and ultimately cancer. Because plutonium is not spread out evenly in the environment, what remains uncertain is how many plutonium atoms are attached to your particular inhaled dust particle at Rocky Flats.

In his letter, Moore referred to physicist Fritjof Capra, a leading specialist, and very knowledgeable about plutonium. And he mentioned Del Tredici, because his photo taken at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley is a rare picture of the bursts of radiation actually happening inside a lung over a period of 48 hours.

Moore's letter carefully documented what he said.

Niels Schonbeck