Monitoring System on Hand for Bioterrorism

Scientists who monitor pollutants in rain and snow in the U.S. are offering their monitoring network to be used in the event of a wide scale bioterrorist attack. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s David Sommerstein has more:


Scientists who monitor pollutants in rain and snow in the U.S. and Great Lakes are offering their monitoring network to be used in the event of a wide scale bioterrorist attack. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s David Sommerstein has more.

The National Atmospheric Deposition Program is best known for its early detection of acid rain in the 1970s. It has a network of over 200 sites that measure chemicals like sulfur dioxides and mercury in precipitation. But coordinator Van Bowersox says the network could also be used in the case of an environmental emergency to trace things like anthrax spore.

“To help track perhaps the source of the material or perhaps just how wide dispersed the material may be. So this would be, for example, for a widespread release of a bioterrorism agent over a broad area.”

Bowersox says the samples of such agents would be sent to a special laboratory for analysis.

The idea wouldn’t be an unprecedented use for the network. The NADP surveyed the nation’s atmosphere for nucleotides following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It also measured the amount of particles in the air after the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m David Sommerstein.

Commentary – Floating Nukes

Russia has recently begun construction on a floating nuclear power
plant, designed to bring electricity to remote northern regions of that
country. Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Suzanne Elston
what could happen if we brought these floating plants to the Great


Okay, so on the surface it sounds like a really bad idea. Build
floating nuclear power plants, with dependable Russian nuclear
technology, and dot them along the shore of the Arctic Ocean. Sort of
like a little fleet of mini-Chernobyls-to-go. Critics are saying that
these barges will be sitting ducks, waiting for terrorists to tow
them away. And then there’s that ever-present threat to the

But I say, let’s not be hasty here. I think there’s a potential for
using these barges in the Great Lakes. First of all, they could help
us get rid of our nuclear waste problem. What Russia plans to do
with the spent fuel is tow the barges into shore every dozen years
and unload it. But I say flip it around. Take all the waste from our
land-locked plants and stick it on the barge.

This would solve no end of problems. No more worrying about burying
it in a mountain somewhere. Problem solved at a fraction of the cost.
We actually could float the stuff in the water around the barge,
which would solve another major environmental problem. There’s been
so much concern about invading species in the Great Lakes. A good
dose of radiation should render even the hardiest invader sterile.
Another problem solved.

And that’s just the beginning. The glow from all this spent fuel
would light up the water around the reactor. This would make it a lot
easier for sports fishermen to see what they’re doing. After all,
nobody’s supposed to eat the fish they catch from the Great Lakes,
anyway. If we keep the barges nice and close to the shoreline, they’d
light up those dark and dangerous beaches. We’d save on energy and we
wouldn’t have to worry about lighting bonfires. That would put an end
to all those rowdy beach parties. The glow would also help boaters
find their docks at night. No more search and rescue. Another bonus.

The more I think about it, the more I have to admit, this is one hot
idea. You gotta hand it to those Russians. I wonder what they’ll
think of next.

Suzanne Elston is a syndicated columnist living in Courtice, Ontario. She comes to us by way of the

Great Lakes Radio Consortium.

Commentary – It Can’t Happen Here

In the wake of the recent Japanese and Korean nuclear accidents, North
American experts were quick to point out that it couldn’t happen here.
Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Suzanne Elston disagrees:

A Summer Camp for the Children of Chernobyl

For many kids, summer camp means living in rustic cabins and taking part in outdoor activities. But some children are taking a break away from home to help them recover from the results of the Chernobyl accident. For the sixth year in a row, children from Belarus and Ukraine are spending the summer with families in Ohio…a visit some people believe is a matter of life or death. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Kevin Niedermier has more: