The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Japan’s coastal population: risks from radiation ignored by govt and IAEA

UK research clearly shows that coastal zone populations are exposed to doses of marine radioactivity under the following set of environmental parameters:

  1. resident in coastal zones up to at least 200kms downstream of a source of liquid radioactive discharges to sea
  2. resident in coastal zones adjacent to coastal waters with high suspended sediment loadings
  3. resident in coastal zones adjacent to extensive fine sediment inter tidal/sub tidal sediment deposits (salt marsh, mud flats etc)
  4. resident in coastal zones subject to prevailing onshore winds and storm or tidal conditions generating marine aerosols, sea spray and coastal inundation
  5. resident in coastal zones where such parameters (A to D above) have, elsewhere, been shown to enable/facilitate the penetration of marine radioactivity for across the shoreline and up to 10 miles inland from the coast.


Fukushima: Japanese government and IAEA ignore radiation risks to coastal population Tim Fukushima toiletDeere-Jones 28th September 2015 

Radiation can be carried long distances by marine currents, concentrated in sediments, and carried in sea spray 16km or more inland, writes Tim Deere-Jones. So Fukushima poses a hazard to coastal populations and any who eat produce from their farms. So what are the Japanese Government and IAEA doing? Ignoring the problem, and failing to gather data.

Review of the official Japanese marine monitoring programme reveals that the Japanese government is turning a blind eye to the risks of marine radiation from the stricken Fukushima site.

The strategy it has adopted, with the support of the IAEA, consistently ignores the latest evidence about the way marine radioactivity behaves in inshore marine environments and the potential radiological risks to coastal populations.

This strategy is based on a flawed hypothesis, developed by the nuclear industry through the late 1940s and early 1950s, when both oceanography and the study of the behaviour and fate of radioactivity in marine environments were in their absolute infancy.

As a result, the principal conclusions on the marine impact of the Fukushima event put forward in recent reports from the IAEA, the Government of Japan and it’s relevant agencies, minimise the environmental and public health negatives and emphasise a range of hypothetical ‘positives’.

This is a major flaw because the empirical evidence from ‘non-aligned’ research in the UK is that coastal communities are subjected to highly enriched doses of marine radioactivity through pathways of exposure, and from environmental parameters, which will not be analysed and researched under current Fukushima monitoring plans.

As a result, significant public health impacts of the event will not be documented, nor will important data about the way Fukushima marine radioactivity behaves at the coastline.

Failing to gather the evidence of coastal radiation Continue reading

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Japan, oceans, Reference | Leave a comment

Saskatchewan plan to clean up neglected Gunnar uranium mine site

Plan for cleaning up uranium tailings ready for approval BY ALEX MACPHERSON, THE STARPHOENIX SEPTEMBER 28, 2015 The cleanup of a derelict northern Saskatchewan uranium mine could move one step closer this week.

The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) — which is overseeing the multi-million-dollar Gunnar Remediation Project on behalf of the provincial government — will present its plan to cover the site’s three tailings deposits at a Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) hearing in Ottawa on Wednesday.

Canada’s nuclear watchdog will consider evidence presented by all interested parties, including the SRC and northern First Nations, before making its decision, which is expected in about six weeks, a CNSC spokesman said Monday…..

After Gunnar ceased production in 1963, the open pit and underground works were flooded with water from Lake Athabasca. The mine was abandoned the following year with little other decommissioning work.

“There was no Department of Environment when those mines were abandoned,” said Ann Coxworth, a nuclear chemist and member of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society board. “At the time, there was, I would say, rather limited understanding of the hazards of leaving those tailings in an unmanaged condition.”

The absence of baseline studies and the insidious effects of radioactive contamination make assessing the Gunnar site’s environmental impact difficult, but it’s clear the work needed to be done, Coxworth said.

“We know that it can’t be cleaned up. (But) the situation can certainly be improved.”……..

Jack Flett, regulatory affairs coordinator for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, said he hopes work on the Gunnar site continues.

“For me, it’s water,” he said, noting that the northern Alberta First Nation is downstream of the Gunnar mine. “Water is everything. Water is life.”…..


September 30, 2015 Posted by | Canada, environment, Uranium | Leave a comment

Radium isotopes in coal ash – from its thorium and uranium content

Radioactive Contaminants Found in Coal Ash, September 2, 2015
  • Avner Vengosh
  • Heileen Hsu-Kim
  • Nancy Lauer DURHAM, N.C. — A new Duke University-led study has revealed the presence of radioactive contaminants in coal ash from all three major U.S. coal-producing basins.The study found that levels of radioactivity in the ash were up to five times higher than in normal soil, and up to 10 times higher than in the parent coal itself because of the way combustion concentrates radioactivity.

    The finding raises concerns about the environmental and human health risks posed by coal ash, which is currently text thoriumunregulated and is stored in coal-fired power plants’ holding ponds and landfills nationwide.

    “Until now, metals and contaminants such as selenium and arsenic have been the major known contaminants of concern in coal ash,” said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “This study raises the possibility we should also be looking for radioactive elements, such as radium isotopes and lead-210, and including them in our monitoring efforts.”

  • Radium isotopes and lead-210 occur naturally in coal as chemical by-products of its uranium and thorium content. Continue reading

September 28, 2015 Posted by | environment, radiation, Reference, thorium | Leave a comment

Research shows that there is no safe low level of ionising rdaiation

The study effectively “scuppers the popular idea that there might be a threshold dose below which radiation is harmless.”

Even so, the significant issue regarding radiation exposure for humans is that it is a “silent destroyer” that takes years and only manifests once damage has occurred

radiation-warningRadiation Impact Studies: Chernobyl and Fukushima, Dissident Voice,  by Robert Hunziker / September 23rd, 2015   Some nuclear advocates suggest that wildlife thrives in the highly-radioactive Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, animals like it, and not only that, a little radiation for anybody and everybody is harmless and maybe good, not bad. This may seem like a senseless argument to tackle were it not for the persistence of positive-plus commentary by nuke lovers. The public domain deserves better, more studied, more crucial answers.

Fortunately, as well as unfortunately, the world has two major real life archetypes of radiation’s impact on the ecosystem: Chernobyl and Fukushima.  Chernobyl is a sealed-off 30klm restricted zone for the past 30 years because of high radiation levels, whereas PM Abe’s government in Japan has already started returning people to formerly restricted zones surrounding the ongoing Fukushima nuclear melt-down.

The short answer to the supposition that a “little dab of radiation is A-Okay” may be suggested in the title of a Washington Blog d/d March 12, 2014 in an interview of Dr. Timothy Mousseau, the world-renowned expert on radiation effects on living organisms. The hard answer is included further on in this article.

Dr. Mousseau is former Program Director at the National Science Foundation in Population Biology, Panelist for the National Academy of Sciences’ Panels on Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities and GAO Panel on Health and Environmental Effects from Tritium Leaks at Nuclear Power Plants, and a biology professor – and former Dean of the Graduate School, and Chair of the Graduate Program in Ecology – at the University of South Carolina.

The title of the Washington Blog interview is:

“Chernobyl and Fukushima Studies Show that Radiation Reduces Animal and Plant Numbers, Fertility, Brain Size and Diversity… and Increases Deformities and Abnormalities”

Dr. Mousseau made many trips to Chernobyl and Fukushima, making 896 inventories at Chernobyl and 1,100 biotic inventories in Fukushima. His mission was to test the effects of radiation on plants and animals. The title of his interview (above) handily serves to answer the question of whether radiation is positive for animals and plants. Without itemizing reams and reams of study data, the short answer is: Absolutely not! It is not positive for animals and plants, period.

Moreover, low doses of radiation, aka “radiation hormesis”, is not good for humans, as advocated by certain energy-related outlets. Data supporting their theory is extremely shaky and more to the point, flaky.

Furthermore, according to the Cambridge Philosophical Society’s journalBiological Reviews, including reported results by wide-ranging analyses of 46 peer-reviewed studies published over 40 years, low-level natural background radiation was found to have small, but highly statistically significant, negative effects on DNA and several measures of good health.

Dr. Mousseau, with co-author Anders Møller of the University of Paris-Sud, examined more that 5,000 papers involving background radiation in order to narrow their findings to 46 peer-reviewed studies. These studies examined plants and animals with a large preponderance of human subjects.

The scientists reported significant negative effects in a range of categories, including immunology, physiology, mutation and disease occurrence. The frequency of negative effects was beyond that of random chance.

There is no threshold below which there are no effects of radiation.

With the levels of contamination that we have seen as a result of nuclear power plants, especially in the past, and even as a result of Chernobyl and Fukushima and related accidents, there’s an attempt in the industry to downplay the doses that the populations are getting, because maybe it’s only one or two times beyond what is thought to be the natural background level…. But they’re assuming the natural background levels are fine. And the truth is, if we see effects at these low levels, then we have to be thinking differently about how we develop regulations for exposures, and especially intentional exposures to populations, like the emissions from nuclear power plants.

Results of Major Landmark Study on Low Dose Radiation (July 2015)

A consortium of researchers coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, examined causes of death in a study of more than 300,000 nuclear-industry workers in France, the United States and the United Kingdom, all of whom wore dosimeter badges.1

The workers received on average just 1.1 millisieverts (mSv) per year above background radiation, which itself is about 2–3 mSv per year from sources such as cosmic rays and radon. The study confirmed that the risk of leukemia does rise proportionately with higher doses, but also showed that this linear relationship is present at extremely low levels of radiation.

The study effectively “scuppers the popular idea that there might be a threshold dose below which radiation is harmless.”

Even so, the significant issue regarding radiation exposure for humans is that it is a “silent destroyer” that takes years and only manifests once damage has occurred…….


September 26, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Nuclear power station at Bradwell would damage the marine environment

water-dropsflag-UKMP warning over new nuclear power station in Essex East Anglian Daily Times 25 September 2015 Matt Stott  An Essex MP has claimed a new nuclear power station at Bradwell would cause “significant damage” to the marine environment. Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin expressed concern over the impact the site would have on the region’s fishing industries and ecology.

His intervention comes days after Chancellor George Osborne indicated a £2 billion Government guarantee for Chinese investment in the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset could pave the way for further deals, including a majority Chinese-owned nuclear generation facility at Bradwell.

It is thought the site, next to the former nuclear power station, could be shared with between owners EDF and Chinese firms to build and run a new nuclear plant.

Mr Jenkin said: “There should be no new nuclear at Bradwell, unless the concerns about damage to the estuary and storage of nuclear waste on site can both be unequivocally resolved. “There seems no way that a new nuclear power station would avoid significant damage to the marine environment in the estuary.

“When the Magnox station was decommissioned, there was explosive recovery in the marine environment. I have been informed that a new power station would take six times more flow of water than its predecessor.

“The estuary cannot supply the volume of cooling water without severely damaging the natural life-cycle of organisms in it. This jeopardises the ecology, our local fishing industries and goes against the aim of the Marine Conservation Zone.”

He added: “It is also a significant concern… that high level nuclear waste would have to be secured and stored on the site for some decades after a new facility has reached the end of its operating life, before it can be safely transported.

“This raises questions about how could it be stored safely over such a long period.”………

September 26, 2015 Posted by | environment, oceans, UK, water | Leave a comment

San Onofre High radiation levels endangered employees

san-onofre-deadfExplosive report on radioactive waste handling at San Onofre High radiation levels endangered employees San Diego’s NBC affiliate is unleashing a story on nuclear waste deposited by Southern California Edison Corporation that may explain why the pristine State Beach is referred to in internal memos as
“Jap Mesa.”

Apparently the Geiger counter readings at some locations are so high that the site is reminiscent of Ground Zero at Hiroshima andNagasaki.

Key findings  include…

– Attempts to keep documents on toxic radiation a secret.
  According to the NBC report, SCE is attempting to keep radioactive

pollution a secret by forcing parties who are involved in negotiations

about the future of the property to sign non-disclosure agreements.

– Radioactive debris left on Beach and “Jap Mesa.”
“Hundreds of pieces” of contaminated radioactive equipment was
stored on both sides of the I-5, the heavily traveled freeway that
bisects the San Onofre Nuclear Waste Dump that is currently
under construction,

– Radiation levels at the beach-front property so alarming,
that in places inspectors from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
refused to to perform routine radiation surveys.

– Southern California Edison controlled NRC radiation inspections

According to a former SCE Safety Officer, Edison’s cozy relationship

with inspectors from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission prevented
proper inspections. The former employee revealed that NRC inspectors
rarely conducted inspections outside areas that were identified by SEC.

– Trailers housing SCE employees had elevated readings

In an apparently rare incident where an NRC inspector conducted
radioactive testing without SCE’s supervision, a trailer housing

security guards had elevated readings.

– Calls for Third-Party Investigations

Former San Onofre employee and Safety Officer Vinod Arora is
calling on an independent third-party to thoroughly inspect the
tainted 25-acre parcel at San Onofre.

Get the full report and the confidential documents here.

September 23, 2015 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

Pacific Ocean radioactive isotopes from Atomic Testing compared with from Fukushima nuclear disaster

Fukushima inputs are much smaller in magnitude and despite ongoing release unlikely to exceed weapons fallout. 
The weakness of this approach is that there are other pressures (ocean acidification, warming, oxygen depletion) on the marine environment that one could qualitatively say might make the ecosystem more vulnerable to these very small increases in radiation.
Pacific-Ocean-drainHistory of Bomb Strontium and Cesium Isotopes in Pacific Compared to Fukushima Sources (EXCELLENT GRAPHS) by MarineChemist

The purpose of this diary is to compare the concentrations of Sr-90 and Cs-137 in the North Pacific Ocean over the last 50 years to the concentrations predicted to arrive on the west coast associated with waters affected by release of radionculides from the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Given present levels that are being measured in the eastern Pacific and barring release rates that significantly exceed past rates in March-April 2011 the impact on marine organisms and the marine environment is going to be very minimal.  What follows below the fold is a comparison of the concentrations measured and predicted over much of the Pacific owing to Fukushima to the concentrations that were present in the mid-1960s from the fallout of atmospheric weapons testing that is free from any discussion of safe doses or models of radiation exposure to organisms. Continue reading

September 21, 2015 Posted by | oceans, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Salem nuclear plant cooling-water affecting the Delaware River

nuke-tapFlag-USANew round of debate over Salem nuke’s water intake  
A regional environmental group set the stage Friday for a new round in the decades long battle over Salem nuclear plant cooling-water demands, submitting the most-detailed critique yet of the site’s 3-billion-gallon-per-day draw from the Delaware River.  Jeff Montgomery reports for the The News Journal:

Delaware Riverkeeper, a multi-state environmental and conservation group, said New Jersey’s renewal of a federally required permit for the twin reactors’ intakes would be “irresponsible,” based on newly submitted and past economic and ecological studies.

The comments came at the end of a public response period that New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection recently extended after opponents accused the agency of providing inadequate time to assess the massive permit.
Salem’s regular authority to draw from or discharge into the Delaware River expired in 2006, but the plant has been operating under the previous approval, pending a decision on the “best available technology” to reduce fish losses, heating of the river and other environmental burdens.
Billions of fish, fry, eggs and other aquatic organisms are caught and killed, or impinged, on the plant’s intake guards while even larger numbers die when sucked into plant systems. Estimates of economic losses in the Riverkeeper group’s latest filings were more than 70 times higher than company supported estimates from the past.
“Salem is surpassed in its impingement and entrainment impacts on fish by only one other facility in the nation,” a power plant in Florida, Maya van Rossum, the Riverkeeper’s director, said on Friday. “Salem is the largest predator in the Delaware Estuary and Bay, and has been for over 40 years.”

September 21, 2015 Posted by | USA, water | Leave a comment

Timothy Mousseau dismisses radiation as cause of giant wolffish

 When images of a “mutant” wolffish caught off the coast of Japan started making the rounds this week, panic ensued. But like a fictional “Godzilla”, this fish is actually nothing to be worried about. For starters, it’s not as big as it looks. Remember last year’s “giant” mantis shrimp? Just like in that photo, what you’re seeing here is the result of forced perspective. By bringing the fish closer to the camera’s lens, fisherman Hiroshi Hirasaka is creating an optical illusion. For that very same reason, trees often look like they’re growing out of the back of a subject’s head in family photos and Frodo Baggins looks so small in Peter Jackson’s Lord of The Rings trilogy.

As for the idea of giant, mutant Fukushima fish … there is no scientific evidence to support claims that fallout from the Fukushima disaster has, or will, cause this to happen. Even right after the disaster, a swim in nearby waters would have dosed you with just 0.03% of the daily radiation an average Japanese resident receives. And much of that fallout has disappeared because of natural decomposition and decay.

Besides, even in the extremely unlikely event that radiation was the culprit here, we would actually expect to see smaller, not larger, fish. “Very, very few mutations lead to extra-large size,” explains University of South Carolina radiation specialist Dr Timothy Mousseau. “[Instead], they grow less efficiently, they’re less capable of catching food and they tend to not live as long.

All that said, this catch is still an impressive one. Wolffish (family Anarhichadidae) average about three feet in length (110 cm), but can get bigger. What Hirasaka has landed is a very old and very healthy specimen. “If you look hard and long enough there’s always a few that manage to survive long enough to achieve these large sizes,” says Mousseau.

September 19, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015, oceans, spinbuster | 2 Comments

Nuclear radiation depletes the ozone layer, will eventually destroy planet’s oxygen

HAZARDS OF LOW LEVEL RADIOACTIVITY, Nuclear Reader, ………OZONE BREAKDOWN The protective layer of ozone around the Earth filters out solar and cosmic rays and prevents them from reaching our planet. Ozone surrounds the Earth in a layer between six and thirty miles above sea level. It is formed when light rays strike molecules of oxygen, which is 02, and causes them to break into two separate oxygen atoms, or an 0 and 0. An atom of oxygen then combines with a molecule of oxygen and forms ozone which is 03. It breaks down again and then recombines again. And so on; unless it is interfered with.  Radiation interrupts the process of ozone formation.

text ozone-depletion

1957 – Walter Russell published his book Atomic Suicide, whose principle message was that the development of the nuclear weaponry and nuclear industry, if it continued, would eventually destroy the planet’s oxygen.

“The element of surprise which could delay the discovery of the great danger, and thus allow more plutonium piles to come into existence, is the fact that scientists are looking near the ground for fallout dangers. The greatest radioactive dangers are accumulating from eight to twelve miles up in the stratosphere. The upper atmosphere is already charged with death-dealing radioactivity, for which it has not yet sent us the bill. It is slowly coming and we will have to pay for it in another century, even if atomic energy plants ceased today.”

(Russell, Walter and Lao. Atomic Suicide? University of Science and Philosophy. Virginia 1957 p. 18)

1982 and 1984 – Two German reports conclude that radioactive krypton, which is released in the daily operation of nuclear plants and through the reprocessing of used reactor fuel elements, is affecting the distribution of the electric fields in the atmosphere.

1987 – The ozone hole is twice as large as the U.S. It is discovered that ozone is not only diminishing over the south pole but globally.

1987 – 1988 – Consensus has it that various man-made chemicals are the sole cause of ozone breakdown; especially compounds of chlorine (CFC’s) and bromine (from halon fire extinguishers) and there was an attempt to implicate hair spray and refrigerators.  A leading authority on the ozone problem, NASA’s Dr. Robert Watson, admitted many scientists were “baffled” by findings of ozone depletion even in areas where CFC’s action was negligible. He called the extent of the hole’s growth “absolutely unexpected”.

April 6, 1989 – “Scientists reported yesterday that for the first time they have detected an increase in “biologically relevant” levels of ultraviolet radiation reaching the ground as a result of the ozone hole over the Antarctica.”  This is the first indication that the depletion of ozone is beginning to cause the potentially harmful effect that has long been predicted.” (The Washington Post 4/6/89)

Late 1990 – University of California researchers publish their findings that phytoplankton are reproducing less profusely than before. Observing the plankton in the Belingshausen Sea (in the Antarctic) they found that increased UV appears to be suppressing the phytoplankton’s productivity by 6 to 12%.

1992 – Both NASA and The World Meteorological Society reported 10 to 25% ozone depletion measured over the northern United States, Canada, Europe and the Antarctic; and the ozone hole is now three times the size of the United States.

1994 – An article in a German journal Strahlentelex (March 3, 1994) argues that the nuclear industry is responsible for the hole in the ozone. The authors, Giebel and Sternglass explain that radioactive gases like krypton-85 from nuclear plants and from the recycling of spent fuel go up to the stratosphere where they create water droplets from the moisture which in turn form ice crystals which enhance the destruction of the ozone by the fluorohydrocarbons.
(Krypton-85 has a half-life of 10.7 years and a whole life of 217 years.)

March 1996 – The World Meteorological Agency reports “the extremely worrying” development of an unprecedented 45 percent ozone thinning over Greenland, Scandinavia and Western Siberia.

Summer 1997 – Research from the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Program find “krill abundance in the Antarctic Peninsula region is down 60 to 90 percent since the early 1980’s”…….



September 18, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, Reference | 4 Comments

Kazakhstan’s disaster of dead animals near Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site

“Rapid, stunning and complete” die-off of animals near nuclear site — 150,000+ antelopes bleeding from internal organs, pits brimming with corpses — Experts completely baffled: “It’s really unheard of… 100% mortality, I know of no example in history like it… Doesn’t make any sense” (PHOTOS) 

NBC News, Sep 3, 2015 (emphasis added): Now, the researchers have found clues as to how more than half of the [Kazakhstan saiga antelope] herd, counted at 257,000 as of 2014, died so rapidly. Bacteria clearly played a role in the saigas’ demise. But exactly how these normally harmless microbes could take such a toll is still a mystery, [Steffen Zuther, with the Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative] said. “The extent of this die-off, and the speed it had, by spreading throughout the whole calving herd and killing all the animals, this has not been observed for any other species,” Zuther said. “It’s really unheard of.”… Tissue samples revealed that toxins, produced by Pasteurella and possibly Clostridia bacteria, caused extensive bleeding in most of the animals’ organs. But Pasteurella is found normally [and] usually doesn’t cause harm unless the animals have weakened immune systems. (Below: Semipalatinsk nuclear test wasteland,  Kazakhstan)


Live Science, Sep 2, 2015: [In] four days, the entire herd — about 60,000 saigas — had died off. Workers struggled to keep up with the mass dying, quickly burying the animals that died in heaps. Scientists were completely baffled… necropsies revealed that bacterial toxins from a few species of pathogen had caused bleeding in all of the animals’ internal organs… [Pasteurella] rarely causes harm unless their immune system has already been weakened by something else. And genetic analysis suggested this was a garden-variety pathogenic form of the microbe, which has never caused such a rapid, stunning and complete crash in a population before. All told, more than 150,000 saiga have died [which]may be an underestimate, as that number only counts saiga who have been buried…

New York Times, May 29, 2015: The numbers and images that describe a mass dying of the critically endangered saiga… in the Betpak-dala region of Kazakhstan are stunning. Hastily bulldozed pits brim with corpses… The enormous new saiga die-off is particularly devastating… there had been previous die-offs… in 1955, 1956, 1958, 1967, 1969, 1974, 1981 and 1988.

Richard Kock, Royal Veterinary College: “It’s very dramatic and traumatic, with 100-percent mortality…. I know of no example in history with this level of mortality.”

BBC, Jun 1, 2015: An unknown environmental trigger is thought to have caused two types of normally benign bacteria found in the antelopes’ gut to turn deadly… “Over two days (in the herd I was studying) 80% of the calving population died,” [Zuther] told the BBC. The whole herd then died within two weeks… Two different bacteria, pasteurelosis and clostridia, have been found in every dead animal studied. These bacteria are naturally found in the animals… so something must have reduced the immunity of the animals… “There’s no infectious disease that can work like this,” said Prof Kock… losing 100% percent of some populations within two weeks “doesn’t make any sense” from a biological or evolutionary perspective, Prof Kock said… all individuals affected by the sudden die-off are from the largest remaining Betpak-dala population

U.S. National Research Council, 2001:Radionuclide Contamination at Kazakhstan’s Semipalatinsk Test Site — 498 nuclear tests were conducted [and] vented underground detonations occurred through 1989… some Kazakh scientists opine that residual radioactivity is responsible for ongoing health impacts… Pathologies in cohorts born after the atmospheric tests appeared to be significantly higher… [Prof. Saim Balmukhanov, the prominent director of the Institute of Oncology] made a particular case that various pathways of exposure to plutonium particles from the soil may be a causative agent… There is little doubt that people living in the STS region suffer from a range of adverse health effects, includinghigh rates of infectious and noninfectious diseases, cancer, and hematological disorders… The STS is located in the plains of the dry Eurasian steppe… Steppe fauna includes… the migratory saiga antelope… [I]nformation exists suggesting that plants at the test site can hyperaccumlate radionuclides… During meetings with ecologists from Kazakhstan State National University a claim was made that in the past, there were 100 species of higher plants at the STS, now there are fewer than 40Many animal species have disappeared

September 11, 2015 Posted by | environment, Kazakhstan | Leave a comment

How ionising radiation gets into water

water-radiationby Gordon Edwards, Ph.D.

(1) When nuclear fuel is used in a nuclear reactor or an atomic bomb, the atoms in the fuel are “split” (or “fissioned”) to produce energy.  The fission process is triggered by subatomic particles called neutrons.  In a nuclear reactor, when the neutrons are stopped, the fission process also stops.  This is called “shutting down the reactor.”

(2) But during the nuclear fission process, hundreds of new varieties of radioactive atoms are created that did not exist before.  These unwanted radioactive byproducts accumulate in the irradiated nuclear fuel — and they are, collectively, millions of times more radioactive than the original nuclear fuel.

(3) These newly created radioactive materials are classified as fission products, activation products, and transuranic elements.  Fission products — like iodine-131, cesium-137 and strontium-90 — are the broken pieces of atoms that have been split.  Activation products— like hydrogen-3 (“tritium”), carbon-14 and cobalt-60 — are the result of non-radioactive atoms being transformed into radioactive atoms after absorbing one or more stray neutrons.  Transuranic elements — like plutonium, neptunium, curium and americium — are created by transmutation after a massive uranium atom absorbs one or more neutrons to become an even more massive atom (hence “transuranic,” meaning “beyond uranium”).

(4) Because of these intensely radioactive byproducts, irradiated nuclear fuel continues to generate heat for years after the fission process has stopped.  This heat (“decay heat”) is caused by the ongoing atomic disintegration of the nuclear waste materials.  No one knows how to slow down or shut off the radioactive disintegration of these atoms, so the decay heat is literally unstoppable. But decay heat does gradually diminish over time, becoming much less intense after about 10 years.


(5) However, in the early years following a reactor shutdown, unless decay heat is continually removed as quickly as it is being produced, the temperature of the irradiated fuel can rise to dangerous levels — and radioactive gases, vapors and particles will be given off into the atmosphere at an unacceptable rate.


(6) The most common way to remove decay heat from irradiated fuel is to continually pour water on it. Tepco is doing this at the rate of about 400 tons a day. That water becomes contaminated with fission products, activation products and transuranic elements.  Since these waste materials are radiotoxic and harmful to all living things, the water cannot be released to the environment as long as it is contaminated.

(7) Besides the 400 tons of water used daily by Tepco to cool the melted cores of the three crippled reactors, another 400 tons of ground water is pouring into the damaged reactor buildings every day. This water is also becoming radioactively contaminated, so it too must be stored pending decontamination.


(8) Tepco is using an “Advanced Liquid Processing System” (ALPS) that is able to remove 62 different varieties of radioactive materials from the contaminated water — but the process is slow, removal is seldom 100 percent effective, and some varieties of radioactive materials are not removed at all.


(9) Tritium, for example, cannot be removed. Tritium is radioactive hydrogen, and when tritium atoms combine with oxygen atoms we get radioactive water molecules. No filtration system can remove the tritium from the water, because you can’t filter water from water. Released into the environment, tritium enters freely into all living things.


(10) Nuclear power is the ultimate example of the throwaway society. The irradiated fuel has to be sequestered from the environment of living things forever.  The high-quality materials used to construct the core area of a nuclear reactor can never be recycled or reused but must be perpetually stored as radioactive waste.  Malfunctioning reactors cannot be completely shut off because the decay heat continues long after shutdown.  And efforts to cool a badly crippled reactor that has melted down result in enormous volumes of radioactively contaminated water that must be stored or dumped into the environment.  No wonder some have called nuclear power “the unforgiving technology.”…….

September 6, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference, water | 1 Comment

USA’s secret plans with Japan to dump radioactive trash into oceans

Pacific-Ocean-drainUS tried to conspire with Japan to dump nuclear waste into world’s oceans, reveal documents (NaturalNews) When nuclear energy production technology first began to emerge in the US in the 1950s, neither scientists nor the US government considered what would be done with nuclear reactors once it was time for them to be put out of commission. And recently-released documents reveal that, in an effort to hastily deal with this problem after the fact, the US government actually tried to conspire with Japan to gain secret approval for dumping decommissioned nuclear reactors into the world’s oceans.

In 1972, the United Nations (UN) had proposed the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, also known as the London Convention, to deal with the growing, global pollution problem. The agreement’s provisions sought to specifically regulate the environmental pollution that signing nations could and could not dump into the oceans, which of course included nuclear production materials.

But since a finalized version of the agreement had not yet been fully established, the US government took advantage of the situation by seeking to insert an exemption cause permitting the dumping of decommissioned nuclear reactors into the ocean. And since Japan had also been involved in developing its own nuclear energy program, the US thought it could gain additional support for the exemption clause from its Asian ally.

But Japan allegedly did not comply, according to Kumao Kaneko, 74, who was a member of the Foreign Ministry team involved in the negotiations at the time. So the US decided to go it alone in proposing its exemption clause, which was meant to be a last-resort option — and it was eventually successful in achieving its goal.

Though the US made no mention of any long-term plans to utilize the ocean as its nuclear dumping ground during the proposal, it now appears as though the country had every intention of using the ocean as a nuclear disposal facility. And since the London Convention clause still exists to this day, all other signing countries are free to dump their nuclear waste in the ocean as well.

Russia, a signing member of the London Convention, openly admitted back in 1993, for instance, that it dumps nuclear reactors and fuel into the ocean because it allegedly has no other safe way to dispose of such materials (…).

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), however, claims the US stopped dumping nuclear reactors into the ocean a long time ago. And US officials claim that decommissioned nuclear reactors are today buried in the ground rather than dumped into the ocean:

September 6, 2015 Posted by | history, oceans, USA | Leave a comment

St Louis suburb anger about radioactive landfill

text ionisingAnger builds at EPA over radioactive landfill, The HIll, By Timothy Cama – 08/29/15  Leaders in a St. Louis suburb are urgently calling on top Obama administration officials to quickly clean up a landfill with radioactive waste that they believe could catch fire.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working for 25 years on the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo., which has housed barium sulfate waste from the Manhattan Project since the 1970s.

The EPA is still studying the site and considering a wide range of actions to contain the radioactive material under its Superfund program for cleaning severe environmental contamination.

 But with an underground, smoldering fire in an adjacent landfill, residents and leaders say it’s only a matter of time before the flames hits the radioactive waste, potentially sending it airborne and spreading it in an unpredictable way.

“What we have is an emergency,” said Ed Smith, energy program director with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “It’s a slow-moving emergency.”

Dawn Chapman, an organize of local activist group Just Moms STL, along with Byron DeLear of Energy Equity Funding, called directly on President Obama to act in a recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch opinion piece.

Matt LaVanchy, a local fire department official, told radio station KTRS that he believes the fire could be less than 1,000 feet from the radioactive material, and is trying to train firefighters for possible outcomes.

“There’s a possibility, the potential, of radioactive material being carried away by the result of the smoldering or the combustion event,” he said.

Residents have been working closely with Sens. Claire McCaskill (D) and Roy Blunt (R) and Reps. Lacy Clay (D) and Ann Wagner (R), who have written multiple letters and taken other action to put pressure on the Obama administration to take care of the problem.

Beyond the fire risk, locals argue that the radioactive material could also be compromised by floods, tornadoes, earthquakes or other disasters.

Angered with what they see as EPA’s slow movement on the matter, local leaders want the Army Corps of Engineers to take over as the lead agency overseeing the radioactive waste……..

The Department of Energy and Exelon Corp., which used to own the company that processed the uranium thought to have produced the waste, are also potentially responsible for the cleanup.

September 6, 2015 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

Ken Buesseler, Jay Cullen, lead independent research into radiation in the Pacific Ocean

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

Great article. As an anti nuclear activist myself, I think that it is most important that we keep our concerns in proportion. The nuclear industry has so many bad effects, that we don’t ned to exaggerate ones that are not clear. Thankfully, despite government inertia, Buesseler and co are working to establish the facts on the effect if the Fukuhsima disaster on the ocean.


Pacific-Ocean-drainhighly-recommendedRadiation in the Ocean  Director, World Ocean Observatory The West Coast of the United States seems under siege by negative environmental news: earthquake predictions, oil spills, drought, critically diminished water supply, wildfires, and numerous accounts of unusual coastal events: algae blooms, whale strandings, cancer in seals, collapse of fish stocks, and more.

How to explain? Well, much of this can be attributed to climate factors where rising temperatures have resulted in multiple inter-related consequences: limited glacial melt, increased evaporation, no water, dry land, and the inevitable fire darkening that pristine Pacific air with smoke and ash the length of the coast.

The ocean phenomena may be different. The warming of the ocean surely has an impact on changing growth patterns of marine plants and animals, just as the changing pH or acidity of the ocean has been shown to modify habitat and migrations. But what else?

One argument has been the effect of radiation leaking from the three nuclear power plant reactors shut down by the earthquake and resultant tsunami tidal wave that inundated Fukushima, Japan in 2011, and has been thereafter distributed by ocean currents; indeed there is evidence of a plume of increased concentration of Cesium-134, and other radioactive elements that have been observed at unprecedented levels, spreading out some 5,000 miles into the Pacific toward North and South America. In April of this year, there were headlines declaring that “Fukushima radiation has reached the North American Shore” and concerns were raised, spread through the Internet and press, that this was surely the cause of these otherwise inexplicable anomalous natural events.

There is no Federal agency that funds monitoring of radiation in coastal water, and the present effort, conducted since 2004 by Ken Buesseler, a marine chemist at theWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has been underwritten by crowd-funding and the efforts of volunteers taking samples to provide data on cesium isotopes along the west coast of Alaska, the U.S. mainland coast, and Hawaii, the information that has been used to model potential distribution and concentration of any contamination. A comparable effort has been launched in Canada, led by Jay Cullen of the University of Victoria in collaboration with government, academic, and NGO partners.

The radioactivity has been decreased by time, the natural half-life of the isotopes, and by dilution in a very large and deep body of water. In their samples, Buesseler and his “citizen scientists” did detect cesium-137 already in the waters as a result of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 60s, and cesium-134 which does not otherwise occur naturally in the ocean and can only be attributed to Fukushima, to serve as a first baseline for subsequent collection, analysis, modeling, and conclusion.

Buesseler channels his research through the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity at the Woods Hole Institute, where he offers a preliminary conclusion that “the amount of cesium-134 reported in these new offshore data is less that 2 Becquerels (a radioactive measure) per cubic meter (the number of decay events per second per 260 gallons of water.) This Fukushima-derived cesium is far below where one might expect any measurable risk to human health or marine life, according to international health agencies. And it is more than 1,000 times lower than acceptable limits in drinking water set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

Buesseler continues, “We emphasize that cesium-134 has not been detected YET as it has been detected offshore of North America by Canadian oceanographers… The uncertainty in the predictions by these ocean models only emphasizes the importance of collecting samples from along the shores. Remember too that those models predict interacting levels of both cesium isotopes for the next 2 or 3 years, the highest published prediction is for 20 to 30 Becquerels per cubic meter, or well below what is thought to be of human health and fisheries concerns.”

So, yes, and no. No definitive conclusion, no clear argument that radiation is the cause of those coastal events which distress us so. There is no solace in uncertainty, just as there is no certainty without evidence. The question is immensely important and thanks to Ken Buesseler and all those volunteers alongshore and in research vessels who are working to provide the substance for a real answer.

September 4, 2015 Posted by | oceans, Reference | 2 Comments


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