Swimming In A Deadly Sea: Awash In Radiation
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Although most of us are unaware of it, we are literally swimming in sea of radiation. Some of it is natural, like the cosmic rays that bombard our planet from space, trace amounts from elements that occur naturally in the ground, and even microwave radiation from sunspots and solar flares. But increasingly, the radiation we are subjected to comes from man-made sources, ranging from medical X-rays to leakage from appliances to cell phones. While much has been written about man-made radiation, most of us have little understanding of what it is and how it might affect us.
Cancer Cover-Up author Kathleen Deoul recently sat down with internationally recognized energy expert, Milton R. Copulos to get some straight talk about the radiation that surrounds us and what dangers it might pose.
Kathleen Deoul: Milton R. Copulos is with us today to talk about radiation and how it can affect us. Mr. Copulos is the author of over 1,000 articles, scholarly papers and books concerning energy and the environment. He has been an advisor on energy matters to numerous Secretaries of Energy, three Secretaries of Defense and served as a special consultant on energy and strategic materials to the White House in two administrations. He has been a guest lecturer at such prestigious academic institutions as MIT, the Graduate School of Nuclear Engineering at the University of Maryland, Texas A & M University and the Louisiana State University Energy Center. He was also selected as a faculty member for the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies sponsored by Harvard University in Salzburg, Austria.
Milt, to begin with, could you tell us a little about the radiation that surrounds us?
Copulos: That's a good question, Kathleen, because when people hear the word "radiation," the first thing that comes to mind is what is called "ionizing" radiation, the type associated with a nuclear reactor or an atomic bomb. Ionizing radiation is powerful enough to knock an electron loose from an atom, thus giving it a positive or negative electrical charge. Although ionizing radiation is powerful, the movies and television have given us a false impression of what radiation is and what dangers it might pose. Part of the reason for this is that fiction seldom makes the distinction between the various types of ionizing radiation and their relative strength.
Swimming In A Deadly Sea:
Awash In Radiation
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Kathleen Deoul, Media Matters