Recognizing the drawbacks of uranium reactors, Mike the Mad Biologist explains that using thorium for nuclear fuel would produce safer energy. Uranium was originally established as the element of choice “since it would yield plutonium which could be used to build nukes,” but thorium reactions produce less waste, less radioactivity, and no leftovers for warheads. Because of its other properties, thorium also works in new reactor designs that are safe from the threat of meltdown. On Effect Measure, Revere shows us the result of an unsafe workplace at a Dupont chemical plant which suffered four dangerous lapses in a span of two days. One of these was the death of a man who walked into a small leak of phosgene gas, a modern pesticide precursor which was once “used as a gas warfare agent in WWI.” And on Respectful Insolence, Orac discusses medical safeguards, such as simple checklists to ensure that surgeons remove the right organ from the right person without leaving anything behind. Disturbed by two recent cases where mismeasured radiation killed ailing patients, Orac warns, “the more complex the system, the easier it is for error to creep in.”
Links below the fold.
Continue reading “Safety: Life or Death”