1994-08-26 - Re: Nuclear Weapons Material

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From: mpd@netcom.com (Mike Duvos)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 2ae7df792ec39b0a36048325c04f1a139f767670e6983db45a84bcf7ed099d08
Message ID: <199408260034.RAA19466@netcom2.netcom.com>
Reply To: <199408252314.RAA25313@suod.cs.colorado.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1994-08-26 01:23:06 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 25 Aug 94 18:23:06 PDT

Raw message

From: mpd@netcom.com (Mike Duvos)
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 94 18:23:06 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: Nuclear Weapons Material
In-Reply-To: <199408252314.RAA25313@suod.cs.colorado.edu>
Message-ID: <199408260034.RAA19466@netcom2.netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Patrick Juola <juola@suod.cs.colorado.edu> writes:

 > My understanding is that the heavy metal toxicity of Pu
 > exceeds the radioactive toxicity by several (10?) orders of
 > magnitude.  In other words, the fact that Pu is an alpha
 > emitter is irrelevant to the risk -- it's simply like lead
 > poisoning only several billion times worse.

 > Simple arithmetic yields that the amount of alpha exposure
 > from a billionth of a gram of an alpha emitter with a
 > half-life measured in thousands of years is infinitismal.

The danger stems not from the radiation effects of the alpha
exposure, which are not significant, but from the fact that
continuous long term internal exposure will eventually cause your
cells to undergo malignant transformation.  This may take several
decades, but it will kill you just as surely in the end.

With regard to this risk, internal contamination with even a
billionth of a gram of plutonium is something to worry about.

Some believe, for instance, that a good part of the risk of lung
cancer from smoking comes from inhaling alpha-emitting isotopes
of polonium and other elements that are concentrated by the
tobacco plant.  I don't know enough about this theory to agree or
disagree with it, but it has been around for a number of years.

     Mike Duvos         $    PGP 2.6 Public Key available     $
     mpd@netcom.com     $    via Finger.                      $