The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Japanese residents near Sendai to get iodine tablets, in case of nuclear power accident

flag-japanKagoshima residents near Sendai nuclear plant given iodine tablets KYODO JUL 27, 2014 Local authorities in Kagoshima Prefecture on Sunday started handing out iodine tablets to residents living within 5 km of the Sendai nuclear power plant, which may be restarted in the fall.

It is the first time iodine tablets have been distributed under guidelines instituted by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, which was set up in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Iodine tablets help people protect their thyroid glands from radiation.potassium-iodate-pills

The move by the Kagoshima prefectural and Satsumasendai municipal governments came after Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant cleared a key safety hurdle for restarting operations earlier this month.

About 2,700 of the roughly 4,700 residents over 3 who live within the 5-km radius were given a supply of tablets after hearing an official briefing, submitting medical interview sheets and receiving the green light from doctors, according to prefectural officials.

Briefings for the remaining residents will resume in September, they said.

A total of 39 residents declined to receive the tablets. Children under 3 will receive the equivalent at shelters in the event of a nuclear accident, the officials said.

July 28, 2014 Posted by | health, Japan | Leave a comment

Delaware residents to get iodine tablets just in case of nuclear [power accident

potassium-iodate-pillsDel. distributing radiation protection tablets July 26, 2014  MIDDLETOWN, Del. (AP) — Officials say they’ll be distributing free potassium iodide tablets to Delaware residents who live within 10 miles of the Salem/Hope Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey.

 The tablets will be distributed Thursday and Aug. 28 at two locations in Middleton. Officials say the tablets can protect the thyroid gland from radioactive iodine, which a plant may release in an emergency. Evacuation is the primary way Delaware residents would get out of harm’s way in an emergency, but the tablets offer additional protection.

If a radiation emergency were to occur, officials would inform the public through the use of emergency alert system radio stations. The information would include evacuation instructions as well as instructions on when to take the potassium iodide tablets.

July 28, 2014 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Tokyo’s growing nuclear radiation danger

radiation-warningflag-japanTokyo should no longer be inhabited,’ Japanese doctor warns residents regarding radiation 25 July 14 (NaturalNews)In an essay addressed to his colleagues, Japanese doctor Shigeru Mita has explained why he recently moved away from Tokyo to restart his practice in western Japan: He believes that Tokyo is no longer safe to inhabit due to radioactive contamination caused by the March 11, 2011, meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The essay, titled “Why did I leave Tokyo?” was published in the newsletter of the Association of Doctors in Kodaira, metropolitan Tokyo.
Soil tests prove contamination

Dr. Mita opens his essay by contextualizing his decision to leave, noting that he had a long history as a doctor in Tokyo.

“I closed the clinic in March 2014, which had served the community of Kodaira for more than 50 years, since my father’s generation, and I have started a new Mita clinic in Okayama-city on April 21,” he wrote.

Dr. Mita notes that, for the past 10 years, he had been working to persuade the municipal government of Tokyo to stock iodine pills to distribute to the population in the case of a nuclear accident. Dr. Mita’s concern had been that an earthquake might trigger a meltdown at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant. All of his requests were rejected, however, under the excuse that there was no reason to expect such an accident.

When the disaster did occur — albeit at a different plant than Dr. Mita had feared — Tokyo did not act to protect its population, and still has taken no measures. Yet, based on soil surveys, Dr. Mita noted, “It is clear that Eastern Japan and Metropolitan Tokyo have been contaminated with radiation.”Dr. Mita compares radioactive contamination of the soil (measured in becquerels per kilogram, Bq/kg) in various parts of Tokyo with that observed in various portions of Europe following the Chernobyl disaster.

Prior to 2011, Shinjuku (the region of Tokyo that houses the municipal government) tested at only 0.5-1.5 Bq/kg. Today, levels at nearby Kodaira are at 200-300 Bq/kg.

“Within the 23 districts of Metropolitan Tokyo, contamination in the east part is 1000-4000 Bq/kg and the west part is 300-1000 Bq/kg,” Dr. Mita wrote.

For comparison, Kiev (capital of the Ukraine) has soil tested at 500 Bq/kg (Cs-137 only). Following the Chernobyl accident, West Germany and Italy reported levels of 90-100 Bq/kg, and both experienced measurable health effects on their populations.

Dr. Mita notes that the radiation situation in Tokyo is getting worse, not better, due to urban practices of concentrating solid waste in small areas such as municipal dumps and sewage plants. That is why, he says, radiation levels in Tokyo riverbeds have actually been increasing over the prior two years.

“Tokyo should no longer be inhabited, and… those who insist on living in Tokyo must take regular breaks in safer areas,” Dr. Mita writes. “Issues such as depopulation and state decline continue to burden the lives of second and third generation Ukrainians and Belarusians today, and I fear that this may be the future of Eastern Japan.”Patients showing radiation-induced sickness

Dr. Mita’s essay also chronicles the many cases he has observed of patients presenting with radiation-induced health problems. He notes that, since 2011, he has observed while blood cell counts declining in children under the age of 10, including in children under one year old. In all of these cases, symptoms typically improve if the children move to western Japan. He has similarly observed persistent respiratory symptoms that improve in patients who move away.

Other patients have shown symptoms including “nosebleed, hair loss, lack of energy, subcutaneous bleeding, visible urinary hemorrhage, skin inflammations, coughs and various other non-specific symptoms.” He also notes high occurrences of rheumatic muscle symptoms similar to those observed following the Chernobyl disaster.

“Ever since 3.11, everybody living in Eastern Japan including Tokyo is a victim, and everybody is involved,” he wrote.

Sources for this article include:

July 26, 2014 Posted by | environment, Japan, radiation | Leave a comment

Lack of knowledge about potential cancer risks of electromagnetic radiation from cell phones

Here’s What We Know About Mobile Phones And Cancer, Business Insider  LAUREN F FRIEDMAN JUL 22 2014, “……..Mobile phones emit “non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation” (the kind that comes from microwaves), not “ionizing radiation” (the kind that comes from X-rays). And it turns out that’s an important difference.

“Exposure to ionizing radiation, such as from radiation therapy, is known to increase the risk of cancer,” the National Cancer Institute explains, although even there, the dose matters a lot. “However, although many studies have examined the potential health effects of non-ionizing radiation from radar, microwave ovens, and other sources, there is currently no consistent evidence that non-ionizing radiation increases cancer risk.”

Non-ionizing radiation also does not cause DNA damage, something that’s usually considered a necessary trigger for cancer.

While people spend much more time with their cell phones than their microwaves, it’s still hard to get a good idea of the dose of non-ionizing radiation we get from them. The amount of radiation absorbed by individuals will vary depending on the kind of phones they have and how they use them.

A lot of uncertainty also comes from improved cell phone technology and increased usage over the years — the research just can’t keep up.

The Research So Far

“Studies thus far have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancers of the brain, nerves, or other tissues of the head or neck,” the National Cancer Institute notes on their website. But their fact sheet addressing the topic is not conclusive for the reasons above.

Since proximity is so important in radiation exposure, most research has looked for links between cell phones and brain cancer specifically, which only represents 2% of all cancers……….

The World Health Organisation, in 2011, concluded that the radiation emitted by cell phones was “possibly carcinogenic to humans” based on evidence they describe as “limited.” …..

More recent research, however, suggests that if anyone is at risk, it would be the heaviest cell phone users, not those who use their phones with moderation.

What’s Next

While the research has been inconclusive so far, scientists are working to figure out if there is a link between cancer and cell phone use — or if such a link can be ruled out.

One study in the U.K., known as COSMOS, began in 2010 and will follow 290,000 cell phone users for 20-30 years. Researchers will have access to participants’ phone records, which should give a much more reliable picture of usage than previous studies, which relied largely on people’s recollections of their cell phone usage from many years ago.

Such ongoing research will be crucial.

“It often takes many years between the use of a new cancer-causing agent — such as tobacco — and the observation of an increase in cancer rates,” Dr. John Moynihan, of the Mayo Clinic, points out. “At this point, it’s possible that too little time has passed to detect an increase in cancer rates directly attributable to mobile phone use.”

In the meantime, people concerned about the potential but as yet wholly unknown risks from cell phones can minimize usage, text instead of call, use a headset, and keep a distance from the phone as much as possible

July 26, 2014 Posted by | health | Leave a comment

Critical analysis of Fukushima report by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation

Fukushima: Bad and Getting Worse - Global Physicians Issue Scathing Critique of UN Report on Fukushima CounterPunch, by JOHN LaFORGE, 20 July 14 

There is broad disagreement over the amounts and effects of radiation exposure due to the triple reactor meltdowns after the 2011 Great East-Japan Earthquake and tsunami. The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) joined the controversy June 4, with a 27-page “Critical Analysis of the UNSCEAR Report ‘Levels and effects of radiation exposures due to the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East-Japan Earthquake and tsunami.’”

IPPNW is the Nobel Peace Prize winning global federation of doctors working for “a healthier, safer and more peaceful world.” The group has adopted a highly critical view of nuclear power because as it says, “A world without nuclear weapons will only be possible if we also phase out nuclear energy.”

UNSCEAR, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, published its deeply flawed report April 2. Its accompanying press release summed up its findings this way: “No discernible changes in future cancer rates and hereditary diseases are expected due to exposure to radiation as a result of the Fukushima nuclear accident.” The word “discernable” is a crucial disclaimer here.


Cancer, and the inexorable increase in cancer cases in Japan and around the world, is mostly caused by toxic pollution, including radiation exposure according to the National Cancer Institute.[1] But distinguishing a particular cancer case as having been caused by Fukushima rather than by other toxins, or combination of them, may be impossible – leading to UNSCEAR’s deceptive summation. As the IPPNW report says, “A cancer does not carry a label of origin…”

UNSCEAR’s use of the phrase “are expected” is also heavily nuanced. The increase in childhood leukemia cases near Germany’s operating nuclear reactors, compared to elsewhere, was not “expected,” but was proved in 1997. The findings, along with Chernobyl’s lingering consequences, led to the country’s federally mandated reactor phase-out. The plummeting of official childhood mortality rates around five US nuclear reactors after they were shut down was also “unexpected,” but shown by Joe Mangano and the Project on Radiation and Human Health.

The International Physicians’ analysis is severely critical of UNSCEAR’s current report which echoes its 2013 Fukushima review and press release that said, “It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers.”

“No justification for optimistic presumptions”

The IPPNW’s report says flatly, “Publications and current research give no justification for such apparently optimistic presumptions.” UNSCEAR, the physicians complain, “draws mainly on data from the nuclear industry’s publications rather than from independent sources and omits or misinterprets crucial aspects of radiation exposure”, and “does not reveal the true extent of the consequences” of the disaster. As a result, the doctors say the UN report is “over-optimistic and misleading.” The UN’s “systematic underestimations and questionable interpretations,” the physicians warn, “will be used by the nuclear industry to downplay the expected health effects of the catastrophe” and will likely but mistakenly be considered by public authorities as reliable and scientifically sound. Dozens of independent experts report that radiation attributable health effects are highly likely……….

July 23, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) has 10 major flaws

text-UNSCEARhighly-recommendedFukushima: Bad and Getting Worse – Global Physicians Issue Scathing Critique of UN Report on Fukushima  CounterPunch, by JOHN LaFORGE, 20 July 14 Physicians find ten grave failures in UN report

The majority of the IPPNW’s report details 10 major errors, flaws or discrepancies in the UNSCEAR paper and explains study’s omissions, underestimates, inept comparisons, misinterpretations and unwarranted conclusions.

1. The total amount of radioactivity released by the disaster was underestimated by UNSCEAR and its estimate was based on disreputable sources of information. UNSCEAR ignored 3.5 years of nonstop emissions of radioactive materials “that continue unabated,” and only dealt with releases during the first weeks of the disaster. UNSCEAR relied on a study by the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) which, the IPPNW points out, “was severely criticized by the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission … for its collusion with the nuclear industry.” The independent Norwegian Institute for Air Research’s estimate of cesium-137 released (available to UNSCEAR) was four times higher than the JAEA/UNSCEAR figure (37 PBq instead of 9 PBq). Even Tokyo Electric Power Co. itself estimated that iodine-131 releases were over four times higher than what JAEA/UNSCEAR) reported (500 PBq vs. 120 BPq). The UNSCEAR inexplicably chose to ignore large releases of strontium isotopes and 24 other radionuclides when estimating radiation doses to the public. (A PBq or petabecquerel is a quadrillion or 1015 Becquerels. Put another way, a PBq equals 27,000 curies, and one curie makes 37 billion atomic disintegrations per second.)

2. Internal radiation taken up with food and drink “significantly influences the total radiation dose an individual is exposed to,” the doctors note, and their critique warns pointedly, “UNSCEAR uses as its one and only source, the still unpublished database of the International Atomic Energy Association and the Food and Agriculture Organization. The IAEA was founded … to ‘accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.’ It therefore has a profound conflict of interest.” Food sample data from the IAEA should not be relied on, “as it discredits the assessment of internal radiation doses and makes the findings vulnerable to claims of manipulation.” As with its radiation release estimates, IAEA/UNSCEAR ignored the presence of strontium in food and water. Internal radiation dose estimates made by the Japanese Ministry for Science and Technology were 20, 40 and even 60 times higher than the highest numbers used in the IAEA/UNSCEAR reports. 

3. To gauge radiation doses endured by over 24,000 workers on site at Fukushima, UNSCEAR relied solely on figures from Tokyo Electric Power Co., the severely compromised owners of the destroyed reactors. The IPPNW report dismisses all the conclusions drawn from Tepco, saying, “There is no meaningful control or oversight of the nuclear industry in Japan and data from Tepco has in the past frequently been found to be tampered with and falsified.” Continue reading

July 23, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference | 1 Comment

Some points of agreement on Fukushima between global physicians and UNSCEAR

highly-recommendedFukushima: Bad and Getting Worse – Global Physicians Issue Scathing Critique of UN Report on Fukushima  CounterPunch, by JOHN LaFORGE, 20 July 14 “……..Points of agreement: Fukushima is worse than reported and worsening still

Before detailing the multiple inaccuracies in the UNSCEAR report, the doctors list four major points of agreement. First, UNSCEAR improved on the World Health Organization’s health assessment of the disaster’s on-going radioactive contamination. UNSCEAR also professionally “rejects the use of a threshold for radiation effects of 100 mSv [millisieverts], used by the International Atomic Energy Agency in the past.” Like most health physicists, both groups agree that there is no radiation dose so small that it can’t cause negative health effects. There are exposures allowed by governments, but none of them are safe.

Second, the UN and the physicians agree that  areas of Japan that were not evacuated were seriously contaminated with iodine-132, iodine-131 and tellurium-132, the worst reported instance being Iwaki City which had 52 times the annual absorbed dose to infants’ thyroid than from natural background radiation. UNSCEAR also admitted that “people all over Japan” were affected by radioactive fallout (not just in Fukushima Prefecture) through contact with airborne or ingested radioactive materials. And while the UNSCEAR acknowledged that “contaminated rice, beef, seafood, milk, milk powder, green tea, vegetables, fruits and tap water were found all over mainland Japan”, it neglected “estimating doses for Tokyo …  which also received a significant fallout both on March 15 and 21, 2011.”

Third, UNSCEAR agrees that the nuclear industry’s and the government’s estimates of the total radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean are “far too low.” Still, the IPPNW reports shows, UNSCEAR’s use of totally unreliable assumptions results in a grossly understated final estimate. For example, the UN report ignores all radioactive discharges to the ocean after April 30, 2011, even though roughly 300 tons of highly contaminated water has been pouring into the Pacific every day for 3-and-1/2 years, about 346,500 tons in the first 38 months.

Fourth, the Fukushima catastrophe is understood by both groups as an ongoing disaster, not the singular event portrayed by industry and commercial media. UNSCEAR even warns that ongoing radioactive pollution of the Pacific “may warrant further follow-up of exposures in the coming years,” and “further releases could not be excluded in the future,” from forests and fields during rainy and typhoon seasons when winds spread long-lived radioactive particles – a and from waste management plans that now include incineration.

As the global doctors say, in their unhappy agreement with UNSCAR, “In the long run, this may lead to an increase in internal exposure in the general population through radioactive isotopes from ground water supplies and the food chain.”……”


July 23, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, incidents, Japan, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

text-Please-NoteJoy Thompson’s excellent explanation and advice on this  – se
text ionisingIs EPA About To Relax Radiation Protections From Nuclear Power? Jeff McMahon Forbes, 19 July 14Both proponents and opponents of nuclear power expect the Environmental Protection Agency in coming months to relax its rules restricting radiation Flag-USAemissions from reactors and other nuclear facilities. EPA officials say they have no such intention, but they are willing to reconsider the method they use to limit public exposure—and the public’s level of risk.
 (To see how different risk coefficients result in different standards, compare EPA’s strict standard for drinking water to FDA’s more relaxed standard for food)………

“We want you to know EPA is not proposing any changes to the standards at this time,” said Jessica Wieder of EPA’s Office of Radiation. “We’ve issued theANPR just to solicit public input and information early as we evaluate whether the standards need to be changed at all.”

EPA has concerns about several other deficiencies in the current rule, Littleton said, including:

 Water Resource Protection: When the 1977 rule was written, regulators believed exposure to ionizing radiation was most likely to occur through the air. Since then, EPA has had to grapple with leaks of tritium and other radionuclides into groundwater at nuclear power plants and other facilities.

“In addition to finding groundwater contamination in the vicinity of several nuclear power plants, radioactive contaminants including uranium, strontium, and cesium have been found in groundwater in other uranium fuel cycle facilities,” Littleton said. “These environmental problems could linger on long past the operational phase of these facilities.”

Spent Fuel Storage: When the 1977 rule was written, regulators expected used fuel rods to be stored at nuclear plants for no more than 18 months before being transported to reprocessing plants or a long-term waste depository. Now regulators expect fuel rods to continue to accumulate in increasingly crowded conditions at power plants until at least 2050.

“Since these wastes are stored for much longer duration, there’s a possibility that these wastes could contribute to higher public doses,” Littleton said. ”The agency believes that storage is a covered activity, but if we revise it could be prudent to state that the rule is applicable to long-term storage on site.”

Radionuclides: Because regulators in 1977 expected spent fuel to be reprocessed, the rule specifically restricts radionuclides likely to be emitted during reprocessing: krypton-85, iodine-129, plutonium-238 and other alpha emitters. The U.S. no longer considers reprocessing viable for most existing spent fuel…….

Alternative Technologies: The 1977 rule applies only to the uranium fuel cycle, so it does not apply to facilities that use other fuels, like thorium, and it may not be suited to emerging technologies like small modular reactors, Littleton said.

“Do small modular reactors pose unique environmental considerations, or do existing limits adequately address concerns with small modular reactors?”

The EPA is collecting public comments on the proposed rule revision until Aug. 3. The public may submit comments at

July 21, 2014 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

CT scan radiation cancer risk is reduced by Ohio hospital

CT-scanFlag-USAOhio hospital slashes CT radiation dose — and cancer risk By Brian Casey, staff writer July 16, 2014  By changing its scanning protocols, an Ohio hospital was able to cut by more than half the number of radiation-induced cancers that would have occurred following CT exams. The finding could alter the debate over the risks of medical radiation, according to a study in the July issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

In the article, a team of researchers led by Michael Rayo, PhD, of Ohio State University described their project to implement new scanning protocols to reduce radiation dose. The group relied on commercially available tools accessible to most U.S. hospitals, such as iterative reconstruction, tube current modulation, and weight-based variable kV.

While taking into account an overall reduction in CT utilization that occurred during the same time period, the researchers calculated that their efforts would lead to a 63% reduction in cancers induced by the CT scans, based on widely accepted data. If the same scenario were repeated widely around the U.S., it could offer a way out of the morass that has engulfed radiology since the radiation dose controversy erupted in 2007 (JACR, July 2014, Vol. 11:7, pp. 703-708).

Rising volume and radiation dose

CT utilization grew steadily in the U.S. from 1998 through 2008, the authors noted. But in 2007, research studies began appearing that raised the specter that thousands of cancers could be caused by medical imaging exams, in particular CT studies. One study postulated that as many as 2% of all cancers in the U.S. could be caused by exposure to CT radiation, while another estimated that some 29,000 cancers could be caused annually by CT use.

The findings have spurred members of the radiology community to find ways to reduce exposure to medical radiation, with two main avenues being pursued: The first includes efforts such as Choosing Wisely, which reduces exposure by eliminating unnecessary imaging exams, while the second involves developing protocols to reduce the radiation dose used in appropriate exams.

Rayo and colleagues decided to study the topic to determine the impact on radiation dose at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, a tertiary-care facility in Columbus. They felt that previous research had not addressed the potential effects of dose reduction protocols and utilization declines on cancer risk reduction.

The researchers examined data for both Medicare and non-Medicare patients treated at the hospital on an inpatient basis in the calendar years 2008 to 2012. They examined reimbursement codes for CT scans of four regions: the abdomen and pelvis, head, sinus, and lumbar spine.

To assess the effectiveness of dose reduction strategies, they calculated the average dose-length product (DLP) in 2010 and 2012 (the hospital implemented its dose reduction program in 2011). The group used a sample of patients for each anatomical region and extrapolated the averages to all the patients scanned for that area at the hospital during the study periods.

Finally, the researchers calculated cancer incidence for both the preintervention and postintervention periods based on data from the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) VII report. They divided the estimates into three anatomical regions (estimates were not made for sinus CT due to a small sample size of patients).

They found that overall CT volume grew 21% from 2008 to 2010 and fell by 30% from 2010 to 2012, for a net decline of 15% over the study period. Other changes are shown in the table below. [table in original article]………

Finally, the researchers applied BEIR VII data to calculate how many fewer cancers might develop if all patients were scanned at the lower levels. This translated into an estimated decline of induced cancers from 10.1 cases in 2010 to 3.8 cases in 2012, and a drop in resulting mortalities from 5.1 individuals to 1.9 individuals……….

July 21, 2014 Posted by | health, radiation, Reference, USA | 1 Comment

6 issues for America’s EPA on radiation safety limits

highly-recommendedFlag-USAEPA Wants My Opinion? Well, Here It Is, Enformable Joieau Website Joy Thompson 18 July 14,

radiation-warningThe Environmental Protection Agency – the overseers of the suspiciously on-again/off-again RadNet monitoring system in the wake of the 2011 mass meltdown/blow-outs at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power station – has helpfully extended the public comment period on its proposed “update” to 40CFR.190, “Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations.”

Citizens now have until August 4th to submit their comments on exposure limits, dose calculations, new fuel cycle technologies and related topics.

 Info and links to fact sheets Here:

Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR).

The EPA is seeking public comment and information that they may or may not use for planned updates to the old rules for Environmental Radiation Protection issued in 1977, ostensibly to make them easier to understand and implement. Given how often the public is treated to professions of ignorance from the nuclear industry (such as, “we don’t know how to measure beta radiation levels!” when caught disseminating blatantly false data), this could be a good thing. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission [NRC] is responsible for implementing and enforcing the standards established by the EPA, and we have watched with some jaded dismay as NRC has steadily abdicated its responsibilities, entrusting them to the utilities it’s supposed to be regulating. Utilities now enjoy little to no oversight or auditing of their monitoring or records, and requirements for public notification and protection (like evacuation of nearby residents if releases reach certain levels) have been demonstrated pointless because they are routinely ignoredPerhaps if EPA can tweak its rules so that even the NRC can understand them, we could expect much better compliance all around……..

To help interested people who may be confused by the technical gobbledygook that frames the issues in the EPA’s documents, I am listing the issues here, offering an abbreviated look at EPA reasoning in presenting these issues for comment, and supplying my own responses to the questions EPA is posing to the public………

Issue 1: Consideration of a Risk Limit to protect individuals. Should the Agency express its limits for the purpose of this regulation in terms of radiation risk or radiation dose?

EPA limitations on most cancer causing substances are expressed in terms of risk to the exposed public of developing cancer over time. This risk is a statistical exercise – averages divvied across populations – and easy to ‘fudge’ simply by adding more people to the risk pool……….
Because this sleight of mind has actually occurred for the purpose of covering up real harm to real people during the worst civilian nuclear accident this nation has experienced, we have no legitimate reason to expect that making this statistical trickery into official EPA “radiation protection” policy is intended to protect anybody from radiation harm during any future oops the industry suffers. We must remember that the EPA’s job is to protect the public from the nuclear industry, not to protect the nuclear industry from itself. And we must insist stridently that it do that job properly. Radioactive contamination moves in plumes. We know this from bomb testing back in the 1950s and ’60s. We know this from TMI2, we know this from Chernobyl, and we know this from Daiichi.

My Response to Issue 1:

Because both national and international radiation protection guidelines developed by non-governmental radiation experts such as the ICRP and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements recommend that radiation exposure standards be established in terms of dose to members of the public, the EPA should continue to base its limits on effective dose to members of the public.


Issue 2: Updated Dose Methodology (dosimetry). How should the Agency update the radiation dosimetry methodology incorporated in the standard?

EPA wants to go with the ICRP’s “effective dose” methodology that weighs damage factors so that doses to the public can be expressed without additional qualifications. This makes the statistical exercise of basing dose limits on a risk model easier. It also makes it easy for the people doing the radiation monitoring and dose calculations to cheat, but no rule or regulatory detail is ever going to prevent that in an industry born and bred in insular semi-secrecy and avoidance of responsibilities.

Current limits on exposures to the public during normal operation are 25mr [millirems] whole body, 75mr to the thyroid, and 25mr to any other organ, over a year’s time. There are no effective limits on accident releases, and anyone who followed the disaster at Fukushima in 2011 will understand why. If releases during an accident/event are calculated to deliver a set level of exposure [dose] to any member of the public over the duration of the event, the requirement for evacuation kicks in.

In the end, and given the past record of deception by the industry and its regulators concerning public exposures to radiation, it probably doesn’t matter which methodology is used to calculate and/or estimate doses to the public during a serious accident, so long as requirements for evacuation of the public when a certain set dose level is reached remain in place. That dose level should remain equivalent to the one(s) now in place.

My Response to Issue 2:

If using a more sophisticated method of calculating and estimating doses/harm to the public will make the task of radiation protection easier, there is no reason not to do so. If EPA decides to go to ICRP’s more recent methodology it should use the ICRP methodology that exists at present [60] and not the one ICRP might eventually quantify. Utilities should not be exempted from requirements for evacuation plans and notifications, nor should the allowable doses to the public be raised.


Issue 3: Radionuclide Release Limits. The Agency has established individual limits for release of specific radionuclides of concern. Based on a concept known as collective dose, these standards limit the total discharge of these radionuclides to the environment. The Agency is seeking input on: Should the Agency retain the radionuclide release limits in an updated rule and, if so, what should the Agency use as the basis for any release limits?

The original EPA release limits (Final Environmental Statement, 1976) were based on the assumption that spent fuel reprocessing would be the one area of the total fuel cycle that would release the most radionuclides to the environment. In 2014 we know from long experience with serious accidents, meltdowns and exploding reactor plants that the generation facilities themselves have proven to be the worst offenders. We do not reprocess commercial spent fuel in this country, and haven’t done so since the 1970s. The government reprocessing facilities that do exist are notoriously filthy, as are fabrication facilities working with plutonium to make MOX fuels. Still, in overall environmental contamination, power plants suffering nasty oopses are right up there for consideration. And power plants suffering nasty oopses are not subject to radionuclide release limits because there is no way to stop those releases.

Now, however, we are looking at decommissioning aged and aging nuclear facilities, doing something with the accumulated tonnage of spent fuel waste, and applying release limitations to any/all new technologies that will come with future nuclear energy development (if that happens). Nuclear pollution from these activities must also be considered.

My Response to Issue 3:

EPA should continue to use the existing standards of limiting environmental burden as a guide, calculate and apply equivalent radionuclide standards for individual facilities at any stage of the nuclear fuel cycle. This need not be based on estimated doses to the wider public or to individual members of the public. It does need to be recalculated as necessary whenever weapon/accident releases occur to release very large amounts of radionuclides to the biosphere, with an eye to maintaining a biosphere-wide environmental burden limit for all dangerous long-lived isotopes.

If such an effort ends up reducing the allowable radionuclide releases from any type of nuclear facility at any point along the fuel cycle to a level that cannot be reasonably applied, then those facilities should be closed and decommissioned. Humanity should not be asked to tolerate the nuclear pollution of our planet to the point where everyone’s health and longevity are materially compromised. If that means the end of the nuclear industry itself, then that’s what it means.

Civilization can survive that just fine.

Issue 4: Water Resource Protection. How should a revised rule protect water resources?

Ground and surface water are necessary resources for organic life forms and entire ecosystems. EPA says it wishes to prevent water contamination rather than have to clean it up after it’s polluted. This is great. Existing standards don’t impose water-specific standards because nuclear plants do not release what they consider to be significant radionuclides to water sources during normal operation, and any such releases have had far less impact on public health than airborne releases. There are some fluid effluent limits for specific radionuclides.

As the industry’s facilities have aged, however, water pollution issues have come to the fore. Tritium contamination of groundwater, aquifers, rivers and lakes has become more problematic. Unfortunately, there are no technologies in existence that can effectively remove tritium from water. EPA wishes to establish off-site water standards commensurate with the Clean Water Act, which has specific limitations on concentration of carcinogens.

My Response to Issue 4:

The basis of any new EPA ground and/or surface water standards should be the limits specified in the Clean Water Act, diminished by the concentration of pollutants that may already be present in the water source. The dirtier the ground/surface water already is, the less any nuclear facility will be allowed to release. If the allowance goes to zero, the facility must be closed and decommissioned.

Issue 5: Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste Storage. How, if at all, should a revised rule explicitly address storage of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste?……..

. The failure over the past 40 years to develop medium and long term spent fuel storage has turned operating nuclear plants into de facto storage facilities they were never designed to be. Government/industry agencies, commissions, industry think tanks and international bodies can recommend the development of medium and long term storage facilities all they like. Fact is if nobody’s building them, they flat don’t exist and recommendations accomplish exactly zip.

If it ever looks like such facilities may at long last come to be, then the EPA may have a regulatory role in limiting the amount of radioactive substances those facilities can be allowed to release in any form to the environment. …….

My Response to Issue 5:

The same limitations on releases to air and water from nuclear operations should be applied to on-site storage of spent fuel. There should also be a limitation on how much spent fuel can be stored in a single pool, as well as a time limit on how long it can stay there before being dry-casked. The industry should be forced to dry-cask all spent fuel in their pools that has been stored for 2 years or more. Any dry cask storage facilities on-site should have an area radiation limit to protect workers, and should not contribute at all to off-site radiation levels.

Issue 6: New Nuclear Technologies – What new technologies and practices have developed since 40CFR.190 was issued, and how should any revised rule address these advances and changes?……

It is highly unlikely that nuclear technologies will play much of a role in America’s energy future.

My Response to Issue 6:

Reality is that there is no pressing need for the EPA to develop separate or differing limits for possible future nuclear technologies that are entirely unlikely to be deployed. If any of them ever are deployed, the existing (or revised) standards should be applicable to any new nuclear technologies. All applications involving nuclear fission should have to abide by the EPA protective regulations throughout the fuel cycle to limit harm to the general public, nuclear workers and the environment.

EPA should definitely develop and apply specific rules for MOX fuels as those are fabricated and used in power reactors. Plutonium is a dangerous radionuclide, as are other high energy alpha and beta emitters that occur during production, enrichment and fuel fabrication. Limits on levels and releases of these elements should be strict, and dutifully enforced.

I hope that concerned people will go through the ANPR and fact sheets for themselves and draft their own replies to EPA. Remember that these must be submitted by August 4th. 


Comments should be identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0689. Comments may be submitted in the following ways:

• follow the on-line instructions.
• Email:
• Fax: (202) 566-9744
• Mail: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations – Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Docket, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0689, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460. Please include two copies.
• Hand Delivery: In person or by courier, deliver to: EPA Docket Center, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20004. During Docket’s normal hours of operation. Please include two copies.

July 19, 2014 Posted by | politics, radiation, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Interview with Navy sailor suffering after Fukushima radiation exposure

Emotional interview with Navy sailor suffering after Fukushima exposure: Others with same symptoms “told to be quiet… nobody’s heard from them” — Health is worsening, worried I’m going to die — Can’t really use legs or arms, hands ‘barely functional’ — Rashes all over body, spasms, shaking — Doctors tell us “it’s all psychological” (AUDIO)

Interview with Navy Lt. Steve Simmons who served on the USS Ronald Reagan for 3/11 relief mission
, Nuclear Hotseat hosted by Libbe HaLevy, July 8, 2014 (emphasis added):

  • 21:30 in — November 2011 I noticed something was wrong… The black-out was the first thing… I started dealing with gastrointestinal issues, at first I thought I was coming down with a stomach bug… Fevers as high as 102.9°F… January 2012 was the first time I was hospitalized… [They] sent me home with a sinus infection. Three days later I was readmitted to the hospital because my lymph nodes were swelling… that’s when my legs buckled and the muscle weakness started to onset… it’s been ascending from legs, trunk, arms, hands… I can’t really use the muscles much at all. I’m down to about 20 lbs. of grip strength in my hands, which is barely functional… I do have to catheterize every 4 hours in order to empty the bladder. The migraines still get worse. The fevers still come and go, and they keep calling it a fever of unknown origin. My vitamin D is in the gutter, they just keep calling it an unspecified vitamin D deficiency… 2nd degree burns on my legs just from being out in the sun for 3 or 4 hours… that had never been a concern. Nobody can figure it out. I’ve been getting these rashes that come and go; they’ll go up my arms, my neck, around my eyes, back, stomach, legs. I deal with tremors and spasms… I am [in a wheelchair]… There’s days I don’t even get out of bed… for a long time I thought I was the only one. I had no idea there were other individuals that were even sick or dealing with ailments… Doctors wouldn’t tell us anything… I’ve had doctors tell me maybe you’re better off not knowing what you’re dealing with… You can’t have over 100 or 200 people sick, and one who has died last April, and say there is absolutely no health risk.
  • 35:00 in — Finding out that there’s more people that are sick, finding out there were some other individuals at Walter Reed [Hospital]… almost identical symptoms to what I was dealing with… they we’re told to be quiet, and next thing I know they’re, who knows where they’re at, nobody’s heard from them, nobody has seen them. I have a buddy at Walter Reed right now, whose going through the same exact thing, very similar to what I’m dealing with — maybe 6 months to a year behind on the symptoms… His wife would call my wife and my wife would explain what he could expect next and sure as anything that happens next… Him and I both had doctors who have actively tried to convince us that there’s physically nothing wrong and it’s all psychological… This is ridiculous… He’s also in a wheelchair and when he went to the clinic to get fitted for a wheelchair, this doctor told him that it’s all in his head, and he doesn’t need a wheelchair… This is uncalled for.
  • 46:00 in — We now realize how bad it was… the worst disaster in history, then it’s time to acknowledge the fact that, yeah there is a problem, and there are going to be some effects on human life… If the worst case happens, and some more folks pass — I would have to be naive to think that nobody else is going to pass away from this — it’s only a matter of time before there’s more lives lost. I would be lying if I don’t think every day that I’m going to be next because of how bad my health keeps going downhill.

Full interview available here

July 17, 2014 Posted by | health, USA | 1 Comment

Harvard professor warns on the hazards of cumulative low level radiation from Fukuhsima

radiation-warningCalifornia Newspaper: Health effects in U.S. from Fukushima radiation? Stanford Professor: “Am I concerned? Yes I am, that’s because I know radiation … there’s increased risk … avoid radiation as much as you can” — UC Berkeley Nuclear Prof: “Everyone is really scared of it … that’s what the big problem is”

La Jolla Light
 (Calif. Newspaper), July 9, 2014: Scientists weigh-in on status of radioactive waters from Fukushima reaching California coast [...] the potential health effects cut to the heart of the contemporary scientific debate on the biological consequences of low-level radiation. [...] Experts project the radioactivity will be [...] two-to-20 times greater than the residual radiation already in the Pacific from the nuclear weapons tests [...] Bottom line? So what is the risk of swimming, surfing and splashing about in the low-level radioactive waters?

Dr. Herbert Abrams, Harvard and Stanford University professor of radiology & principal researcher for the National Research Council’s study ‘Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation’ who testified before Congress about its conclusions: “The underlying premise that has to be considered as you talk about radioactivity, the water and people being exposed to it, is that the effects of radiation are cumulative [...] what is the turning point? [...] common sense is to avoid radiation as much as you can.” [...] With the radiation from Fukushima predicted to [linger here for years] Abrams said the potential dose should not be dismissed as negligible. “Am I concerned? Yes I am. And that’s because I know radiation pretty well [...] It shakes up the cell and it goes after the genetic material … The bottom line is that (radiation) is a carcinogenic agent [...] there is increased risk. But how do you translate that into an understandable discussion of what’s going to happen to guys on their surfboards? I don’t know.” [...] Abrams issues his own warning about those scientists declaring the low-level radiation to be absolutely “safe” [...] “Physicists, or at least some of them, are the people in the nuclear industry itself. They play down (the risks) at such low doses, but they never talk about it as being cumulative.”

Prof. Kai Vetter, UC Berkeley Nuclear Engineering Dept.: “People don’t understand nuclear radiation and the impact [...] Everyone is really scared of it [...] It should not pose any health risk on swimmers, divers, people on the beach. [...] The psychological stress and psychological impact which might actually cause health effects, we should never underestimate that [...] that’s really what the big problem is, because there’s a lot of fear. There are a lot claims out there to increase the fear. From my perspective, it is completely unjustified and irresponsible to claim all the effects because that will just cause more and more fear in the public, which is probably the biggest impact. [...] In a way, we feel as a journalist. We see ourselves really as [doing a] service to the community.”

Dr. Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: “A lot of people are dismissive of it because it’s so low, and that’s not a good thing to do because radiation can kill [...] t doesn’t necessarily mean it’s at harmful levels [...] We know it’s out there and we know it’s moving slowly across [...] Any additional radioactivity can cause an increase in risk. [...] when no one makes measurements, then people will get more worried [...] We’re looking for agencies to step up [...] we’re not getting any success with places like NOAA or the Department of Energy and that’s too bad. I think they have some responsibility.”

See also: Medical Professor: “We really don’t know the extent of the ionizing radiation that’s going to be reaching us [from Fukushima]; we are just watching the West Coast unfold — There is no safe level”

Watch: Landmark BEIR study presents “strongest evidence to date that cancer risk not only exists at low doses of radiation, but may be even greater per unit of dose than at higher doses” (VIDEO)

July 12, 2014 Posted by | radiation, USA | 1 Comment

Judicious use of medical radiation

medical-radiationRadiation risk or timely diagnosis, Kevin MD,com  | CONDITIONS | JULY 8, 2014 “………..An article in Scientific American puts some of the radiation risk into perspective. It is long, but worth reading as it explains how risk has been calculated, the best guess as to the true level of risk, and what radiologists are doing to lower the radiation exposure associated with CT scanning.

According to that article, “Any one person in the U.S. has a 20 percent chance of dying from cancer [of any type]. Therefore, a single CT scan increases the average patient’s risk of developing a fatal tumor from 20 to 20.05 percent.”

No one ever comments about weighing the potential harms that may have been prevented by a timely CT scan diagnosis against the radiation risk.

CT scans should be ordered judiciously. The area scanned and the amount of radiation should be limited as much as possible.

But if you need a CT scan to help diagnose your problem, go ahead and have it. Bottom line: When it comes to accuracy in diagnosis versus radiation-induced cancer risk, parents overwhelmingly chose the former.

“Skeptical Scalpel” is a surgeon blogs at his self-titled site, Skeptical Scalpel

July 12, 2014 Posted by | children, radiation | Leave a comment

Internal radiation emitters causing cancers, birth deformities: depleted uranium’s legacy in Iraq

Fallujah-babyDepleted Uranium And The Iraq War’s Legacy Of Cancer, Mint Press News,  Depleted uranium was used in Iraq warzone weaponry, and now kids are playing in contaminated fields and the spent weapons are being sold as scrap metal. By   @FrederickReese | July 2, 2014 As instability in Iraq is forcing the United States to consider a third invasion of the Middle Eastern nation, the consequences of the first two invasions are coming into focus. For large sectors of the Iraqi population, American intervention has led to sharp spikes in the rates of congenital birth defects, premature births, miscarriages and leukemia cases.

According to Iraqi government statistics, the rate of cancer in the country has skyrocketed from 40 per 100,000 people prior to the First Gulf War in 1991, to 800 per 100,000 in 1995, to at least 1,600 per 100,000 in 2005.

The culprit behind all of these health issues is depleted uranium, a byproduct of uranium enrichment. With a mass fraction a third of what fissile uranium would have, depleted uranium emits less alpha radiation — up to 60 percent less than natural uranium, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. This “relative” safety offered a rationale for many nations — particularly, the U.S. — to put the waste material to use.

As depleted uranium is 1.67 times denser than lead, a depleted uranium projectile can be smaller than an equivalent lead projectile but produce similar results. This smaller size means a smaller diameter, less aerodynamic drag and a smaller area of impact, meaning that depleted uranium bullets can travel faster and inflict more pressure on impact, causing deeper penetration. Additionally, depleted uranium is incendiary and self-sharpening, making depleted uranium ideal for anti-tank ammunition. It is also used as armor plating for much of America’s tank fleet.

The problem with using depleted uranium, however, lies in the fact that depleted uranium is mostly de-energized. In practical terms, depleted uranium can have — at a minimum — 40 percent the radioactivity of natural uranium with a half-life that can be measured in millennia (between 703 million to 4.468 billion years). While the depleted uranium presents little to no risk to health via radiation due to its relatively weak radioactivity, direct internal contact with the heavy metal can have chemical toxicity effects on the nervous system, liver, heart and kidneys, with DNA mutations and RNA transcription errors being reported in the case of depleted uranium dust being absorbed in vitro.

While depleted uranium is not as toxic as other heavy metals, such as mercury or lead, pronounced toxicity is still possible through repeated or chronic exposure………

July 9, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium, health, Iraq, Reference | Leave a comment

The health toll of India’s uranium mining

India’s uranium mines expose villages to radiation, DW 25 June 14 India plans to source a quarter of its energy from nuclear power by 2050. But this ambitious goal could come at a cost. Radioactive waste from uranium mines in the country’s east is contaminating nearby communities…….Local activist Kavita Birulee says the villagers here are terrified of the radioactive waste. In Jadugoda, rates of cancer, miscarriages and birth defects are climbing…….

Health-related deformities

Just 40 years ago, Jadugoda was a quiet and lush green locality with no dust or radiation pollution. The people here lived a quiet rural life. But things changed when the Indian government started mining operations here in 1967.

Radioactive waste generated by three nearby government-owned mines has caused serious health-related problems in Jadugoda. The mines belong to Uranium Corporation of India Limited – or UCIL. They employ 5,000 people and are an important source of income for villagers in this relatively remote area. But the waste has put 50,000 people, mostly from tribal communities, at risk.

A recent study of about 9,000 people in villages near the mines has documented cases of congenital deformities, infertility, cancer, respiratory problems and miscarriages.

Nuclear scientist Sanghmitra Gadekar, who was responsible for conducting the survey on radioactive pollution in villages near the mines, says there was a higher incidence of miscarriages and still births.

“Also, laborers were given only one uniform a week. They had to keep on wearing it and then take it home. There, the wives or daughters wash it in a contaminated pond, exposing them to radiation. It’s a vicious circle of radioactive pollution in Jadugoda,” he said…….

Grim future

The mines are on the doorstep of the area’s largest city, Jamshedpur. If radiation pollution isn’t controlled, more people will be affected in the future. Local officials, however, are proud of their role in India’s nuclear defense industry.

Anti-nuclear pollution activist Xavier Dias has been trying to alert locals about the dangers presented by the mines.

“When you are talking about Jamshedpur, you are talking about a thousand ancillary industries, a huge population,” he said. “These are dust particles that fly around. They enter the water, the fauna, flora, the food system. And they are killers, but they are slow killers. They kill over generations.”

June 26, 2014 Posted by | health, India, Uranium | 2 Comments


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