Radioactivity in the Atmospheric Effluents of Power Plants That Use Fossil Fuels

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Science  17 Apr 1964:
Vol. 144, Issue 3616, pp. 288-289
DOI: 10.1126/science.144.3616.288


Analysis of the fly ash produced by combustion of pulverized Appalachian coal has shown that a 1000-megawatt coal-burning power plant will discharge into the atmosphere from about 28 millicuries to nearly 1 curie per year of radium-226 and radium-228. An oil-burning plant of similar size will discharge about 0.5 millicurie of radium per year. Comparison of these data with data on the release of fission products from nuclear-powered generating stations shows that when the physical and biological properties of the various radionuclides are taken into consideration, the conventional fossil-fueled plants discharge relatively greater quantities of radioactive materials into the atmosphere than nuclearpowered plants of comparable size.