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Re: Irradation

  • Subject: Re: Irradation
  • From: "Phil Bunch" <pbunch@cts.com>
  • Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2001 09:27:20 -0600 (CST)

Listening to a piece on NPR Friday afternoon they were discussing
various methods that may be used. The electron method may not work
well over the long run since electrons will not penetrate more than a
few inches of paper. That means they would have to lay the mail out
one or two layers thick. I don't know much about the existing mass
mail processing systems but I suspect they were not designed with this
in mind. Most likely mass transport is designed to use bags or boxes.
There may be key points in the system where the mail is one layer
thick but if so I'll bet it moves past that point vary rapidly. If it
goes by too fast, it may require a very dense beam since the effective
dose has to be time dependent.

The higher energy systems will penetrate several feet of mail and
appear to be a better choice. The dose received COULD depend on how
deep the object  was in the pile. Those on the top layer might get
quite a dose while those on the bottom might receive less. Depending
on design this might not be a significant difference. If the dose
required to kill bacteria and/or viruses is relatively low one would
think they would design the system to handle as much bulk as possible.
At best sending seed would be a gamble.

If I recall correctly the report indicted that an electron system was
ready for commercial deployment but that due to this little problem
one should not go out an buy stock in the manufacturer just yet. The
high energy systems pose a greater exposure risk for mail handlers and
this will involve some serious design issues.

There are a lot of variables here!

Phil Bunch
Lemon Grove, California
32:44:00N 117:01:58W
540 feet (164 meters) amsl
USDA Zone 10a
Sunset Zone 23

-----Original Message-----
From: Don Burns <donburns@macconnect.com>
To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
Date: Saturday, October 27, 2001 18:18
Subject: Re: Irradation

>>What will be the effect on seeds and plants by the Post Office's new
>>irradation machines.  If you mail seeds or plants...  will they be
mush on
>>arrival?  What do you think?
>Good question. The news I saw on the TV talked about "electron beam
>radiation". Assuming for a moment that the TV news somehow succeeded
>getting it right (you U.S. news watchers know this difficult for
them, of
>course), then what this technique probably is is a heating effect.
>I was at the post office this morning, and while waiting in line
>about asking the clerk if there was any written information available
>the electron beam devices and how they affect other living things
such as
>seeds. But I did not ask. I had a vision of being surrounded by men
in dark
>suits and sun glasses.
>Don Burns
>Fort Lauderdale FL    USA
>Zone 10b

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