Studying Radioactive Sulfur From Fukushima Teaches Us About Coal Pollution From China
In amongst all the coverage of and concern about the Fukushima nuclear disaster the fact that air pollution from coal power plants in normal operation kills far more people each year than does nuclear power rose to the top. As for the fallout of that nuclear disaster, Boing Boing has an interesting new story on how studying the radioactive sulfur from Fukushima is helping us learn more about coal pollution--and how unscrubbed coal emissions from China is partially masking the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.
Here's a bit of that:
This is why a study of radioactive sulfur from Fukushima matters. That disaster produced so much radioactive sulfur that it was obvious when the plume from Fukushima reached the shores of California. This signal was loud enough to stand out from the noise. The radioactive sulfur from Fukushima isn't exactly the same thing as the sulfur dioxide from Chinese power plants, but it is close enough that it can serve as a marker. It's a model that can tell scientists some important things about how sulfur travels through the atmosphere and how it crosses great distances, like the Pacific Ocean.