Uranium in coal

This Observer piece is a curious mish mash.

But an Observer investigation has now uncovered disturbing evidence to suggest a link between the contamination and the region\’s coal-fired power stations. It is already known that the fine fly ash produced when coal is burned contains concentrated levels of uranium and a new report published by Russia\’s leading nuclear research institution warns of an increased radiation hazard to people living near coal-fired thermal power stations.

Yup, indeed, we know that. The radio-nucleide (spelling?) emissions from coal burning are far larger than the emissions from the nuclear cycle itself.

Yes, large amounts of coal burning could indeed have effects both from heavy metal poisoning itself and also from genetic defects caused by the low level radiation. Yes, we know this.

However, the question is, given that we ourselves were subject as a nation to this for a generation or two, why would the relatively recent introduction of the technology into the Punjab have such a large effect? A question to which I really don\’t know the answer: maybe it did have that effect here and we just didn\’t notice?

Or perhaps there\’s something else:

It was staff at those clinics who first voiced concerns about the increasing numbers of admissions involving severely handicapped children. They were being born with hydrocephaly, microcephaly, cerebral palsy, Down\’s syndrome and other complications. Several have already died.

Hmm. Bit of a rag bag of symptoms there. Some genetic, some possibly heavy metal poisoning but cerebral palsy? Isn\’t that oxygen starvation during birth?

Dr Carin Smit, the South African clinical metal toxicologist who arranged for the tests to be carried out in Germany, said that the situation could no longer be ignored. \”There is evidence of harm for these children in my care and… it is an imperative that their bodies be cleaned up and their metabolisms be supported to deal with such a devastating presence of radioactive material,\” she said.

Ah, and there we have the first sight of a possible nutter. Chelation therapy anyone?

2. Defeat Autism Now! Practitioner – Attended and am accredited by the Autism Research Institute, USA, to
offer bio-medical recovery consultations for individuals with autism.

We also get this:

There have also been claims that the contamination may have been exacerbated by depleted uranium carried on the wind from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At a seminar in Amritsar in April, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, a former chief of the naval staff, suggested that areas within a 1,000-mile radius of Kabul – including Punjab – may be affected by depleted uranium.

No, sorry, just ain\’t gonna happen. The relative amounts make it simply not possible.

As I say, this Observer piece is a bit of a mish mash. Yes, it really is true that coal burning releases both uranium and thorium. Yes, both heavy metals and yes, both radioactive. No, not things you want the children or anyone else to be ingesting.

However, the presence of nutters and nutters\’ theories in the piece makes one wonder.

1) Are the diseases actually being caused by heavy/radioactive metals exposure?Or have we got every disease extant being blamed upon them?

2) Is the exposure coming from the coal fired plants or changes in the source of water?

3) What should be done about it all? And no, using someone who thinks that chelation will cure autism ain\’t gonna be part of the solution. Sorry Dr. Smit.

4 comments on “Uranium in coal

  1. “And no, using someone who thinks that chelation will cure autism ain’t gonna be part of the solution. Sorry Dr. Smit.”

    Surely it depends on whether the chakras are out of alignment?

  2. Mish-mash seems a tad harsh. I did, after all, spend a month of my own time trying to get to the bottom of what struck me as an interesting story. The core fact is that the children in the two centres I visited do have very high levels of uranium in their bodies; further research shows that there are also elevated levels of uranium in the groundwater in parts of Punjab. I thought it only right to try to at least make reference to some of the more eccentric theories, though as you doubtless noted, I was not convinced by them, to say the least.
    So, to start at the top of your post:
    Why there in particular? The honest answer is that I’m not sure; what I do know is that the ash ponds are not lined, which would allow for leaching into the groundwater, and that the technology for fly ash capture seen in more modern plants is absent there. Add to that the fact that much of the ash is taken the neighbouring cement plant to be mixed into that product, which is then used extensively in construction in that area, and you have a potentially dangerous combination of factors.
    Now, the symptoms: it is clear that the children in the clinics have a range of conditions, of which cerebral palsy is the most common. Yes, one of the causes of CP is thought to be oxygen deprivation at birth, but so too is exposure to radiation while in the womb. Many also show evidence of kidney damage, which is associated with uranium contamination (among other things).
    On to the people involved: I’m not going to get into a debate about the practitioners. The way the children are being treated is irrelevant to the core story (the presence of uranium in very high quantities in the children). What the people in the centres believe to be the cause of the problems is neither here nor there – they are not experts in uranium contamination. They are simply treating the children in their own way.
    So, when another website cites “researchers” at those centres claiming that depleted uranium may be involved, I don’t place much weight on it.
    I did make passing reference to the DU claims, if only to acknowledge that this is one of the theories being touted around: I don’t subscribe to it. I find that the lack of an adequate delivery mechanism kills that theory stone dead. Apart from anything else, the wind is blowing in the wrong direction.
    I did also look at the possibility that the contamination is coming from the granite rocks that are certainly present in the vicinity, though from interviews with the parents of the affected children, I found that few actually drank that water: most took their supplies from the mains supply which is not drawn from groundwater supplies.
    At the end of it all, the raised levels of contamination around the power plants, coupled with the new research from Russia on the dangers of thermal power plants, seemed the most compelling argument.
    As for what should be done about it, it would be nice to think that the Indian government or the state government would have a closer look and perhaps carry out tests on a wider sample group to establish just how many people are contaminated, while at the same time trying to establish once and for all the source of the contamination. Because what is not in question is that the uranium is there, and it should not be. Somebody should be asking why that is.
    I hope that helps.

    Gethin

  3. Yes Gethin, someone will ask and then ask/consult someone else and so on and so on and so on…until it becomes so redundant no one will bother or care.
    What is India’s population? They care about their children? I wish I could wrap my head around the idea of “survival of the fittest” having grown up in central Canada.
    All that said, and you have done much research and study of this, BUT what are your guts telling you about the Uranium and where it came from? Please, no speculation or maybe’s… you’re there, you see it, you know. So many afraid anymore to say the truth or make constructive definite conclusions.

  4. DU shells are used against heavy armour, for anti-personnel use, HE or WP are the preferred option. The last I heard, Terry Taliban prefered leaping around the Hindu Kush like a mountain goat to rolling across the Kabul Plain like some modern day Guderian. This would indicate that DU shells have probably been used somewhat sparingly in the ‘stan.

    Besides, DU is good at stuffing panzers because it’s very heavy. Those aforementioned Hindu Kushes are very high. Yet we are being asked to believe that a stiff breeze can carry DU dust over Mount Everest.

    Yeah. And I’ve got a bridge for sale if anyone’s interested.

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