The nuclear age turns 70 today, Ars Technica On July 16th 1945, the US tested the world’s first atomic bomb. by Jonathan M. Gitlin – Jul 17, 2015 Seventy years ago this morning, the world fully entered the nuclear age with the detonation of the first atomic bomb in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The bomb was the product of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret research program tasked with developing a bomb more powerful than any that had come before. The test, called Trinity, happened at 5:30am local time and yielded an explosion equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT (20kT).
Robert Oppenheimer, a physicist chosen to lead the bomb’s development, greeted the appearance of a second sun over the desert of New Mexico with a quote from a Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
Trinity was the first human-made nuclear explosion on Earth, but far from the last. …….
Growing worries about the harmful effects of radioactive fallout drove nuclear tests underground in 1963 with the passage of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and in 1996 most of the world signed onto the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (while the US signed the latter, it has never been ratified by the Senate).http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/07/the-nuclear-age-turns-70-today/
damchodronma, 11 July 15 Address each one with reason and science ! “Radiophobia” plants, insects, animals and people… radiophobia is propaganda… all species have the same response… they fall apart from the atomic level on up.
“The evidence from the Chernobyl affected territories reveals the real-world consequences of a simple and terrible new discovery: that the effects of low dose internal irradiation cause subtle changes in the genome that result in an increase in the general mutation rate. … first seen in cells in the laboratory. The Chernobyl evidence, shows that this seems to be true for all species, for plants and animals and humans. It has profound implications that go beyond radiation protection and risk models.
“Krysanov …find that mice living in the high irradiation zone, 22 generations after the initial exposure, are MORE radiosensitive than mice living in lower exposure areas. The same effect is reported for plants by Grodzhinsky who wryly points out that plants cannot exhibit the ‘radiophobia’ that many of the Chernobyl effects have been blamed on. This flies in the face of current ideas about genetic selection.
“The effects of genomic instability are apparent in the evidence of massive harm to the organs and systems of living creatures at low doses of internal exposure, resulting in a kind of radiation ageing associated with random mutations in all cells….
“WHOLE BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS COLLAPSE; at the cell level, at the tissue level and at the population level. Burlakova and Nazarov describe these subtle effects at lower doses of internal irradiation in laboratory cell systems and also people, Grodzhinsky shows the effects in plants, – higher for internal exposures than external, Krysanov shows the effects in wild animals and Yablokov and the Nesterenkos in the children and adults living and continuing to live in the contaminated territories. The effects clearly operate at what are presently thought to be vanishingly low doses.”
“ECRR Chernobyl: 20 Years On” (2006) pg 2
ECRR = European Committee on Radiation Risk
Dr. Chris Busby, Scientific Secretary wrote Introduction.
co-edited with Dr. Alexey Yablokov
But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West…………….
The West’s triple package of policies — NATO enlargement, EU expansion, and democracy promotion — added fuel to a fire waiting to ignite……….
To achieve this end, the United States and its allies should publicly rule out NATO’s expansion into both Georgia and Ukraine. The West should also help fashion an economic rescue plan for Ukraine funded jointly by the EU, the International Monetary Fund, Russia, and the United States — a proposal that Moscow should welcome, given its interest in having a prosperous and stable Ukraine on its western flank. And the West should considerably limit its social-engineering efforts inside Ukraine. It is time to put an end to Western support for another Orange Revolution. Nevertheless, U.S. and European leaders should encourage Ukraine to respect minority rights, especially the language rights of its Russian speakers.
Some may argue that changing policy toward Ukraine at this late date would seriously damage U.S. credibility around the world. There would undoubtedly be certain costs, but the costs of continuing a misguided strategy would be much greater. Furthermore, other countries are likely to respect a state that learns from its mistakes and ultimately devises a policy that deals effectively with the problem at hand. That option is clearly open to the United States…….
The Secret 1949 Radiation Experiment That Contaminated Washington, Gizmodo, 3 June 15 Sarah Zhang The physicists who invented the nuclear bomb worked out of Los Alamos in New Mexico, but the people who did the dirty work of making the bombs were in Hanford, Washington. Throughout the Cold War, Hanford churned out plutonium for our nuclear arsenal. It was also, conveniently, a place to experiment with radiation.
Today, Hanford is the most contaminated radioactive site in America—the site of a massive (and troubled) cleanup effort. Radioactive material is still accidentally leaking into the ground. Though Hanford’s plants routinely released small doses of radioactive material into the air, most of this damage came from an event in 1949 called Green Run.
Green Run was a secret Air Force experiment that released Hanford’s largest single dose of radioactive iodine-131. On the night of December 2, 1949, at the behest of the military, scientists at Hanford let 7,000 to 12,000 curies of iodine-131 into the air, where it rode the wind as far as 200 miles. For a sense of scale, the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident released an estimated 15 to 24 curies of iodine-131 and the Chernobyl accident 35 million to 49 million curies.
The Green Run stayed secret until the 1980s, when it was revealed by Freedom of Information Act requests from local newspapers. The military details are still classified. More than half a century later, suspicion and controversy continue to lurk around Green Run, especially among the residents who lived downwind of Hanford.
There’s still much that we don’t know about the Green Run, but here is what we do.
Hanford, Factory and Farm …….Hanford was always more than a production facility; it was also a research complex. Up to 1,000 animals were housed on a farm near reactor F for experiments on the effects of radiation. The animals included fish, dogs, pigs, sheep, and even alligators. Sheep, especially, were given feed with iodine-131, the same radioactive material that the reactors were discharging into the air…….http://gizmodo.com/the-secret-1949-radiation-experiment-that-contaminated-1707748721
Nazi Human Experimentation NMR’s Blog 29 May 2015 Nazi human experimentation was medical experimentation on large numbers of people by the German Nazi regime in its concentration camps during World War II. At Auschwitz, under the direction of Dr. Eduard Wirths, selected inmates were subjected to various experiments which were supposedly designed to help German military personnel in combat situations, to aid in the recovery of military personnel that had been injured, and to advance the racial ideology backed by the Third Reich.After the war, these crimes were tried at what became known as the Doctors’ Trial, and revulsion at the abuses perpetrated led to the development of the Nuremberg Code of medical ethics…………..
the weapons are found. Not entirely safe, but “…relatively intact…” according to the Air Force. It’s a scary sounding moderation to describe radioactive A-bombs lying around in the woods of the Eastern U.S. unattended.
This is true. And it’s terrifying. It reads like an Ian Fleming or Tom Clancy thriller. But it’s real. Continue reading
Pappy’s Undark Girls Ghost Stories 2012 – 2014 by Lost Dutchman Ghost“…….The Radium Luminous Material Corporation used radium from carnotite ore to make luminous paint, which was sold under the brand name ‘Undark‘. The paint was used on military watches and compasses. Plant workers were told the product was safe and encouraged to handle the substance with their hands and mouth. When the girls went to the clubs after work, the paint was blazon on their lips and shone brightly in the darkness. They were very popular, but their looks could kill.
After several workers became ill with radioactive poisoning, plant workers (Grace Fryer and four others) sued for damages. A media sensation surrounded the case of the Undark Girls. It established several legal precedents and triggered the enactment of regulations governing labor safety standards; in addition to the historic reference of ‘provable suffering’.
Several of the plant workers died before the litigation was complete. The company enacted safety procedures and the illness ceased. Even after death, the bodies of the victims were so contaminated that radiation can still be detected at their grave sites, using a Geiger counter…….http://lostdutchmanghosthunters.blogspot.com.au/
How The First Lump Of Plutonium Made On Earth Got Lost http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2015/01/how-the-first-lump-of-plutonium-made-on-earth-got-lost/ SARAH ZHANG, 9 JAN 15, A few years ago, the first lump of plutonium scientists ever made on Earth disappeared from display in Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science. Berkeley physicists think they have finally found it again — thankfullybefore it got thrown out as radioactive waste.
This precious lump of plutonium dates back to 1941. Plutonium doesn’t exist naturally on Earth, except in trace amounts. So to study plutonium, scientists first had to make it. Berkeley physicist Glenn Seaborg got access to a newly built cyclotron, where he and his collaborators bombarded uranium with neutrons. The material then decays into the new element of plutonium.
After a year, they had enough plutonium for the first sample large enough to weigh. It was all of 2.77 micrograms.
Seaborg would go on to win a Nobel Prize for his discovery of plutonium and other transuranium elements. The room where he did his work in Gilman Hall has since become a US National Historic Landmark. That historic sample was converted into plutonium oxide and placed in a glass tube, where it was put on display in Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science.
In the late 2000s, however, Berkeley began to worry about the dangers putting the plutonium on display. The sample was removed and put away — except no one really knew where. Some time later, a box labelled “First sample of Pu weighed” was found at the Berkeley’s Hazardous Material Facility, a waystation for hazardous waste. Thankfully, a knowledgable eye saw it and discerned its historical value.
The label’s claim was promising, but how could we prove that this was actually Seaborg’s sample? With science, of course. The Physics ArXiv Blog explains:
It turns out that plutonium created in a cyclotron is very different from most plutonium, which is created inside nuclear reactors and then separated from spent nuclear fuel. That’s because this stuff always contains another isotope, plutonium-241.
This is a half-life of just over 14 years and decays into americium-241. So samples of plutonium from nuclear reactors, always contain americium-241 in amounts that grow over time. What’s more, Am-241 in turn decays producing gamma rays with an energy of 59 kiloelectron volts.
Eric Norman’s lab at Berkeley’s Department of Nuclear Engineering monitored the sample for gamma rays with an energy of 59 kiloelectron volts. They didn’t find any, meaning the sample was most likely created in a cyclotron like Seaborg’s. In addition, the mass matches up. The evidence all points toward this being the missing plutonium.
Now that Seaborg’s sample has been recovered, there’s talk of putting it back on display in his former office in Gilman Hall — perhaps a more fitting place than the trash bin. [The Physics ArXiv Blog]
“Nuclear Waste Dumping Diary.”
Jan. 20 1957: “371 tons atomic waste.”
Feb. 7, 1957: “368 tons atom waste.”
Nov. 13, 1957: “299 (tons) poison gas (and) A.W.”
One of Albernaz’s last entries was on June 12, 1958: “200 tons. Spec. weapons,” or special weapons. That was the day, Albernaz later told his wife, that he helped dispose of an atomic bomb.
none of the men who served on theCalhoun County are eligible for automatic VA benefits for radiation illnesses because they did not participate in underwater or atmospheric atomic tests and related activities, the government says.
Thus, the crewmen do not meet their country’s definition of “Atomic Veteran.”
USS Calhoun County sailors dumped thousands of tons of radioactive waste into ocean, Tampa Bay Times , 20 Dec 2013 William R. Levesque, Times Staff Writer They asked the dying Pasco County man about his Navy service a half-century before. He kept talking about the steel barrels. They haunted him, sea monsters plaguing an old sailor.
“We turned off all the lights,” George Albernaz testified at a 2005 Department of Veterans Affairs hearing, “and … pretend that we were broken down and … we would take these barrels and having only steel-toed shoes … no protection gear, and proceed to roll these barrels into the ocean, 300 barrels at a trip.”
Not all of them sank. A few pushed back against the frothing ocean, bobbing in the waves like a drowning man. Then shots would ring out from a sailor with a rifle at the fantail. And the sea would claim the bullet-riddled drum.
Back inside the ship, Albernaz marked in his diary what the sailors dumped into the Atlantic Ocean. He knew he wasn’t supposed to keep such a record, but it was important to Albernaz that people know he had spoken the truth, even when the truth sounded crazy.
For up to 15 years after World War II, the crew of Albernaz’s ship, the USS Calhoun County, dumped thousands of tons of radioactive waste into the Atlantic Ocean, often without heeding the simplest health precautions, according to Navy documents and Tampa Bay Times interviews with more than 50 former crewmen………. Continue reading
Officials were more interested in monitoring the activities of campaigners opposed to cruise missiles, documents released by the National Archives in Kew reveal.
A confidential file on “Nuclear winter – global atmospheric consequences of nuclear war” shows that civil servants in the department’s emergency planning section, F6, decided they did not need to research the disputed phenomenon.
An internal memo in December 1984 records: “It was agreed with F6 that no assessment of the [nuclear winter] theory would be carried out by the branch and as such our interest is limited to general reading which could not be regarded as following the subject in any depth.”………
Closer attention was paid to anti-nuclear activists. ………
Anti-nuclear groups were under surveillance. “Data is now collected on demonstrations and incidents by anti-nuclear groups at MoD establishments,” the file states.
In the battle for public sympathy, pro-nuclear groups received official help. “Continued government support – both financial and through the provision of nuclear PR material – will be necessary,” one report records. “Co-ordination of [their] activities … is best left, in general, to the groups themselves although periodic advice and encouragement from ministers will continue to be valuable.”
Architectural drawings of DIY nuclear blast-proof shelters were commissioned for the latest edition of the Protect and Survive pamphlets. They suggested householders excavate holes in their living rooms and build “igloo shelters”; the components cost £554 – about £1,500 in today’s money……A separate memorandum was headed: “Spontaneous evacuation of civil population in a future war.”……..
“The guts of the matter is that in a war emergency a task of the police would be to ensure that, as it does in peacetime (eg peak holiday weekends), that the country does not come to a grinding halt through traffic congestion howsoever caused.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/30/home-office-nuclear-winter-threat-scaremongering-war
Secret Nazi nuclear weapons testing bunker unearthed in Austria http://boingboing.net/2014/12/29/secret-nazi-nuclear-weapons-te.html Xeni Jardin , Dec 29, 2014 An underground weapons bunker built by Nazis to test nuclear and chemical weapons has been unearthed in Austria.
It was built using slave labor from the nearby Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. Austrian documentary filmmaker Andreas Sulzer noticed a reference to the subterranean site in the diary of an Austrian physicist recruited by the Nazis. The stronghold was located near the town of Sankt Georgen an der Gusen, and not far from the Bergkristall factory where the first operational jet-powered fighter, the Messerschmitt Me 262, was invented. Footage from the previously-unearthed Bergkristall site is below.
From The Independent:
Its exact location was determined using intelligence reports and radiation tests, which revealed higher than normal levels of radioactivity.
Andreas Sulzer, the filmmaker who is leading the exploration, discovered a critical 1944 report by the forerunner to the CIA, from an American spy who noted the existence of a secret weapons programme in the area.
Sulzer told the Sunday Times, “Prisoners from concentration camps across Europe were handpicked for their special skills–physicists, chemists or other experts–to work on this monstrous project and we owe it to the victims to finally open the site and reveal the truth.”
From the International Business Times:
It is believed that an estimated 320,000 inmates died building the labyrinth of concrete tunnels and shafts.
It is believed to be the location of a secret weapons programme, led by SS General Hans Kammler. Kammler is thought to have lived on the site during the war. Rumours continue to surround his death, with some suggesting he was given a new identity by the US government in exchange for details on Nazi weapons research.
The deadly V-2 rocket which struck at London during the final months of the World War II was tested at the complex. It is also thought that scientists experimented with the use of radioactive material and chemical gas.
Windscale fallout underestimated Rebecca Morelle Science reporter, BBC News 6 Oct 2007 The radioactive fallout from a nuclear accident that rocked Britain 50 years ago was underestimated, scientists say.
In 1957, a fire at the Windscale nuclear reactor in Cumbria led to a release of radioactive material that spread across the UK and Europe.
But new research claims the incident generated twice as much radioactive material and could have caused more cancers than was previously thought.
The research was published in the journal Atmospheric Environment. Risky act
The Windscale site was home to Britain’s first two nuclear reactors – the Windscale Piles – which were constructed to produce plutonium and other materials for the UK’s nuclear weapons programme.
But the rush to build them when little was known about nuclear reactors led to what was at the time the world’s biggest nuclear disaster, although it was later dwarfed by Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.
On 10 October 1957, a failure to properly control the temperature of the graphite moderator within the Windscale No 1 pile sparked a devastating fire, which caused radioactive contamination to spew into the atmosphere.
The fire was eventually put out by restricting the air flow, and with water – a risky act which could have caused an explosion – but a radioactive cloud was already spreading far and wide.
At the time of the accident the levels and spread of the radioactive materials was estimated, and measures were put in place to limit radioactive contamination. But a new study carried out by John Garland, formerly of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and Richard Wakeford, a visiting professor at the University of Manchester, suggests the contamination of the environment may have been much higher………http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7030536.stm
Windscale Piles: Cockcroft’s Follies avoided nuclear disaster By Duncan LeatherdaleBBC News 4 Nov 14 They were labelled a waste of time and money, but in 1957 the bulging tips of two exhaust shafts rising above Sellafield arguably saved much of northern England from becoming a nuclear wasteland. The towers of Windscale Piles have been a landmark for decades but soon the last of these Cold War relics will be gone.
Cumbria’s skyline will change with the removal of the towers – known as Cockcroft’s Follies – but had they not been in place 57 years ago, the entire landscape may have been drastically different.
Until Chernobyl exploded in 1986, the blaze that ravaged the uranium-fuelled reactor at Windscale Pile One in October 1957 was Europe’s most terrible nuclear disaster. It is still the UK’s worst atomic incident.
Without the filters – installed at the last minute by Nobel Prize-winning scientist Sir John Cockcroft – the effects of the radioactive dust blasted into the Cumbrian air would have been much more devastating……….
On October 10, 1957, a fire was discovered in reactor one. Uranium fuel cells had ignited with the blaze reaching 1,300 C (2,380 F) and workers battled to stop the whole facility exploding.
Men wearing radiation suits used scaffolding pipes to try and push the burning fuel rods out of the graphite reactor.
The high radiation levels meant they could only spend a few hours at the reactor, more volunteers were sought from a nearby cinema.
Water failed to put out the blaze and the fire was only extinguished when operators closed off the air in the reactor room.
The blaze burnt for three days and significant amounts of radioactive material, most notably iodine-131, were released and spread across the UK and Europe.
It is estimated about 240 cases of thyroid cancer were caused by the radioactive leak and all milk produced within 310 square miles (800 square km) of the site was destroyed for a month after the fire.
The level of radioactive material which did escape is estimated to be 1,000 times less than at Chernobyl……….
he decision of health chiefs to order the destruction of milk contaminated by radioactive iodine, which has been linked to thyroid cancer, also prevented these cancers.
“They did some quick calculations and ordered the milk produced in a certain area be destroyed,” he said.
“It would have been a courageous decision but, ultimately, proved to be right, as it stopped a lot of children consuming the radioactive iodine.”
After the fire the chimneys were sealed off. Indeed, 15 tonnes of uranium fuel remains inside still………
Cockcroft’s Follies prevented a catastrophe, but the 1957 fire was nevertheless a dark hour for nuclear in the UK……..http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cumbria-29803990
57 years ago today in 1957 :The Windscale Fire, Radiation Free Lakeland, 10 oct 14 ” ……..10th Oct marks 57 years since the worst nuclear accident in the UK. The bravery of those who fought the 1957 blaze was without question and they are remembered with our gratitude for preventing the far greater catastrophe of a full on Lake Counties nuclear sacrifice zone.
Official estimates point to a possibility of 240 additional cancer cases as a result of the Windscale fire. Studies reveal that the impacts of nuclear accident and routine emissions may be far wider reaching than the public is led to believe. One such study in 1995 by Dr John Bound, a former paediatrician at the Victoria Hospital, Blackpool; Brian Francis, of the Centre for Applied Statistics, Lancaster; and Dr Peter Harvey, pathologist at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary found that the Windscale fire
was followed by a surge in cases of Down’s syndrome. Their studies were poo poohed to protect the vested interests of the nuclear establishment.
This pattern has been repeated time and time again. History is now repeating itself with the plan for untried and untested new build near Sellafield.
The ruthless push towards new nuclear build on the beautiful coastline of West Cumbria mirrors the rush to build Windscale in order to produce plutonium for the atomic bomb. While “safety features” like the last minute addition of filters on the Windscale chimney helped mitigate the impact of the inevitable fire, the dangers from nuclear are inherent and accumulative. Nothing it seems is being learnt from history. The same old uranium burning technology is being proposed now for new build. The reactors being proposed are AP1000, a scaled up version of the commercially unattractive AP600. The AP1000 boasts higher efficiency, in other words it burns the uranium harder and longer producing much hotter wastes, reactors under construction now in America and China have cooling towers 600 – 800 ft. high. The other “alternative” is direct cooling with huge sea installations.
Sellafield is dangerous enough and a big enough terrorist target without putting untried, untested nuclear reactors next to it with the possibility of enormous cooling towers the size of New York sky scapers or huge sea installations.
Please remember the Windscale fire on the 10th. Remember the voluntary bravery of the Windscale workers and the involuntary bravery of all those unacknowledged babies, children, men and women who have died, or suffered health consequences as a result of the Windscale accident. The still highly radioactive chimney which stands 350ft tall has also claimed the life of steeplejack Neil Cannon who died after falling from the ongoing ‘decommissioning’. The death toll will continue without end if new build goes ahead. Surely the time has come for Cumbrians to say enough is enough and to join the resistance to new and more dangerous nuclear build.There is a petition here:
http://gizmodo.com/the-abandoned-communist-reactor-that-could-have-killed-1644415889The Abandoned Communist Nuclear Reactor That Could Have Killed Us All (Great pictures) Gizmodo 10 Oct 14
Ashley Feinberg Just 90 miles off the tip of Florida lies a half-baked, abandoned relic of the Cold War-era arms race—what was once going to be a joint Cuban-Soviet nuclear reactor. And thank god it never panned out. Because not only do we now have these incredible shots from photographer Darmon Richter, but every last aspect of this thing would have been a total and utter disaster………the whole project spent nearly a decade in limbo, until finally, in 2000, Fidel Castro told Vladamir Putin that he was done with the two countries’ former joint-dream. Now, the power plant at Juragua was officially little more than a testament to what could have been—which is a very good thing. Because as it turns out, “what could have been” basically entailed wildly dangerous conditions and potentially a whole mess of destruction.
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