Are irradiation facilities safe?
Not always. · According to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 45 accidents and violations at U.S. (food and medical-supply) irradiation plants were recorded from 1974-89, at least two of which were covered up by irradiation company executives, some of whom were criminally charged in federal court and given prison time. · Irradiation plant workers are exposed to dangerous radiation hazards. Several have died or been exposed to near-fatal doses of radiation at facilities throughout the world. · Certain irradiation plants emit smog-forming, ground-level ozone into the environment. · Plants that use radioactive cobalt-60, which must be replenished after several years of use, endanger neighbors and the environment. Most of the cobalt-60 is mined in Canada and has to be transported great distances, raising the possibility of accidents involving radioactive materials. · The U.S. Department of Agriculture is helping a private company develop an irradiation machine that uses cesium-137, a