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Radiation fears unfounded, campus expert says

Smith_Kirk200UC Berkeley New Center, Media Relations | March 17, 2011

What is the danger to people on the West Coast?

"The short answer is, essentially none. There is no such thing as zero risk, but the risk from the radiation from Japan is orders of magnitude from being dangerous, by any definition," says epidemiologist Kirk Smith, a professor of global environmental health in UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, is an expert on the health effects of radiation exposure, such as that from nuclear waste, nuclear power plant accidents and radon in households.

UC Berkeley engineers concerned about reactor leak


Saturday, March 12, 2011, KGO-ABC 7
"This increase of radioactivity in the control room makes me very nervous," said UC Berkeley Professor Joonhong Ahn.
 Ahn was born in Japan. He and every engineer in UC Berkeley's Nuclear Engineering Department is concerned about the quake damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant and the release of radioactivity that's resulted. Read full text

Fuel rods Zr cladding will not burn

March 18, 2011, BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO)
Prof. Peter Hosemann performed an experiment to show that the fuel rod cladding made of Zr will not burn under those conditions.
"Graphite and coal can burn and burns pretty violently and so if you have a fire it distributes radioactive particles much better than just water and steam would do," Prof. Peter Hosemann said. Read more. 
Listen KCBS radio interview audio HERE.
March 18, 2011.
Zircaloy tube non-flammability demonstration caption: Zircaloy cladding tube, oxyacetylene torch. After being burned with an oxyacetylene torch (>2000 degC) for approximately 5 minutes, the cladding cracks from chemical and thermal stresses but does not catch fire.

Zrconium getter chip flammability demonstration caption: Zr getter chips, oxyacetylene torch (4x playback speed). Getter chips, 87.5% Zr with 12.5% Ti, have a high surface area and can be ignited to a self-sustaining combustion reaction by the flame of a propane torch burning at about 900 degC.

Harmless traces of radiation detected in Bay Area


March 17, 2011, BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO ABC 7)
ABC-7 News
Kai Vetter, Dan Chivers interviewed. "We want to tell the public and you and everyone what radiation, if there is any, what radiation we have to deal with," Professor Kai Vetter said.

March 18, 2011, BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO)

UC Berkeley's Department of Nuclear Engineering continues to collect air samples for any sign of radiation. On Friday, they also collected rain to see if any radioactive particles fell from the sky.

"The rain is a very efficient way to wash out activity in the atmosphere and get the potential activity down to us. So this is actually a much more sensitive and efficient way for sampling," Professor Professor Kai Vetter from the UC Berkeley Department of Nuclear Engineering said. Read more.

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