Last night Liberal Democrat Olympic spokesman Don Foster MP called on the Olympic Delivery Authority to reveal scientific proof that the site would be safe for future generations.
The soil was contaminated by several former industries, including plants which made luminous dials for military use. Thorium, a radioactive isotope with a half-life of more than 14 billion years, was used in making London’s gas street lights.
Hmm, so, that half life (which I haven\’t bothered to check btw, but it looks like around and about the age of the Universe) shows, by definition, that it isn\’t very radioactive.
Just as an example of how not radioactive thorium is you could have a lump of a few pounds sitting on your desk and you wear a radiation detector (one of the film ones, not a Geiger Counter) and over the course of a year you wouldn\’t fog the film at all.
Yes, it was used in making gas street lights: to make the mantle. It was also used in all of those Calor Gas and the like camping lights. So anyone who went camping before the 80s (when use was gradually phased out) should be dead now of course.
Radium, used in the manufacture of luminous dials, decays into radon which can seep into the atmosphere, into water and into homes.
That is a slightly more valid worry, radon can indeed build up in homes and can and does kill people. However, we know how to deal with this, just ventilate the house properly. The odious Don Foster (my local MP for whatever sins I\’ve committed) only needs to travel some 10 miles outside his own constituency to the Mendips to see people who face much higher radon concentrations than anything which is likely to occur in London.
Or to Cornwall: or is Donny Baby insisting that London be safer than an entire county in the SW of England?