nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Deformities in Fukushima plants and insects

insect-Fukushima-13Fairewinds Video: ‘Anomalies’ in plants and animals documented by Fukushima residents, some severely deformed — Scientists: Genetic mutations observed in Fukushima include trees with peculiar distortions, insect abnormalities, tumors in birds, more (PHOTO) http://enenews.com/fairewinds-video-anomalies-in-plants-and-animals-documented-by-fukushima-residents-some-severely-deformed-scientists-genetic-mutations-observed-in-fukushima-include-trees-with-peculiar-disto?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

Fairewinds Energy Education, Apr. 10, 2014 — Chiho Kaneko, member of the Board of Directors of Fairewinds originally from Iwate, Japan (at 11:15 in): It’s not just people who are sicker. I met a home gardener who lives in Kawamata, Fukushima, 30-miles from Fukushima Daiichi. She grows luffas, whose fruit is often dried to make bath sponges. Last year, with some trepidation, she used the seeds saved from the year before. She found flower buds directly growing out of the fruit. Some of her pole beans were abnormally gigantic. Near Fukushima city, another person saw a frog so severely deformed that, at first, it was difficult to tell that it was a frog, save for its hopping. These are true events described by people I met who took notes and photographs of these environmental anomalies.

Asian Perspective Vol. 37, No. 4Anders Pape Møller and Timothy A. Mousseau, Oct.-Dec. 2013: A careful observer [who visits Chernobyl or Fukushima] will quickly become aware of the peculiar distortions of tree growth, numerous abnormalities in insects, and tumors and cataracts in birds, all caused by genetic mutations induced by exposure to the radiation [...] radiation causes damage to DNA molecules (leading to mutations if not repaired) [...] We have known for more than eighty years that low-dose radiation has cytotoxic effects and causes mutations. [...] we looked at 373 effect sizes from forty-six different studies [...] they showed a statistically significant negative effect of radiation [...] on mutation, physiology, immunology, and disease. As one would expect, effects were stronger on plants, which are stuck in one place, than on animals that can move around [...] As the first scientists in both Chernobyl and Fukushima, we have performed [fifteen] published tests, of organisms ranging from plants and insects to birds and mammals in Chernobyl, that support the hypothesis that low-dose radiation disrupts development, and all fifteen studies show a higher degree of asymmetry in the more contaminated plots. [...] we have assembled effect sizes from all published studies of mutation rates from Chernobyl, in total 151 estimates of mutations in forty-five studies of thirty-three species ranging from bacteria and plants to insects, birds, and mammals, including humans [The] findings are robust in showing a general, strong overall mean effect size of radiation on mutation rates. [...] Mutations accumulate with time and across generations, so we may only be seeing the first stages of the negative public health consequences [...] for humans.

Watch the Fairewinds video here

April 15, 2014 Posted by | environment, Fukushima 2014, Japan, Reference | Leave a comment

Personal account from Tokyo, of government’s duplicity in radiation readings

Wilcox,-Richard-1Japan’s Radioactive Potemkin Village: The Government’s Double-Dealing Data, rense.com. By Richard Wilcox, PhD, 4-12-14 “…….Can You Trust The Government?

According to the Japanese government official website, the Nuclear Regulation Authority , gamma radiation in Tokyo is just 0.034 microsieverts per hour (mcr sv pr hr) . This reading is taken 22 meters above the ground, in Shinjuku, a main hub of urban Tokyo. As luck would have it, I live not far from there and took a reading out my window several stories up in my apartment building and it regularly reads 0.13 mcr sv pr hr. According to the government chart, an estimated reading of 0.061 mcr sv pr hr is given for one meter above ground level. I measured one meter above ground where I live and the reading was 0.12 mcr sv pr hr.

What accounts for the noticeable discrepancy? Could it be the equipment or the location of measurement? The government chart gives an average reading for the ENTIRE CITY OF TOKYO, of 0.061, as if that is remotely accurate. I believe the government and authorities use two main tactics:

1. The place measurement monitoring devices high above the ground where it won’t read the worst radiation which naturally settles on the ground or in ditches;
2. They scrub and decontaminate the area in the immediate vicinity of the monitoring device in order to create a lower reading.

It could also be that tampering with the way devices are calibrated in order to get lower readings, or manipulating published data could occur, but I have no personal proof of these speculations.

Much of the problem with radiation science promoted by the nuclear establishment and their minions is that they limit the factors involved in their methodology and avoid the precautionary principle when drawing conclusions. In other words: don’t worry, be happy (even if your mitochondrial DNA is being damaged).

After the Fukushima accident I personally measured my kid’s school grounds. My readings were consistently higher what was reported by the school who simply measured above the ground in order to avoid the worst radiation.

When I was in the midwest in the US in March, I took outdoor readings above and on the ground that measured between 0.08 to 0.13 mcr sv pr hr. We now live in a manmade radioactively contaminated world due to above ground nuclear tests, nuclear power plant emissions, and nuclear accidents, in addition to natural background radiation from the sun or soil.

What I have witnessed first hand in Nihonmatsu is scientific fraud and misrepresentation of the facts. This is verified by my own dosimeter readings, and by the testimony of both Mr. Honda, the head of the temporary housing facility, and the experienced construction and decontamination worker who I talked with…..”

Richard Wilcox is a Tokyo-based teacher and writer who holds a Ph.D. in environmental studies and is a regular contributor to the world’s leading website exposing the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Rense.com. He is also a contributor to Activist Post. His radio interviews and articles are archived at http://wilcoxrb99.wordpress.com and he can be reached by email for radio or internet podcast interviews to discuss the Fukushima crisis at wilcoxrb2013@gmail.comhttp://www.rense.com/general96/jpsradioctv.html

 

April 15, 2014 Posted by | Japan, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Crooked Canadian company Lavalin trying to sell ?zombie nuclear technology to China and UK

flag-canadaCanada now dominates World Bank corruption list, thanks to SNC-Lavalin, Financial Post Armina Ligaya | September 18, 2013 Canada’s corporate image isn’t looking so squeaky-clean in the World Bank’s books — all thanks to SNC-Lavalin.Corruption’s double standard: It’s time to punish countries whose officials accept bribes

 Out of the more than 250 companies year to date on the World Bank’s running list of firms blacklisted from bidding on its global projects under its fraud and corruption policy, 117 are from Canada — with SNC-Lavalin and its affiliates representing 115 of those entries, the World Bank said.

“As it stands today, the World Bank debarment list includes a high number of Canadian companies, the majority of which are affiliates to SNC Lavalin Inc.,” said the bank’s manager of investigations, James David Fielder.

“This is the outcome of a World Bank investigation relating the Padma Bridge project in Bangladesh where World Bank investigators closely cooperated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in an effort to promote collective action against corruption.”

As a result of the misconduct found during the probe, the Montreal-based engineering and construction firm, and its affiliates as per World Bank policy, were debarred in April 2013 for 10 years, as part of a settlement with SNC-Lavalin. And in one fell swoop, 115 Canadian firms were blacklisted by the World Bank, making Canada seemingly look like the worst offending country.

It’s quite the jump from 2012, when no Canadian companies were barred……..http://business.financialpost.com/2013/09/18/canada-now-dominates-world-bank-corruption-list-thanks-to-snc-lavalin/

corruption

Lavalin looks to expand nuclear enterprise in China  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/lavalin-looks-to-grow-in-china/article17950935/ SHAWN MCCARTHY - GLOBAL ENERGY REPORTER OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail, Apr. 13 2014,  SNC-Lavalin Inc. is hoping to revitalize its international nuclear business through an effort with its Chinese partners to burn reprocessed fuel in a Candu reactor as a way to reduce radioactive waste.

Officials from Candu Energy Inc. are leading a Canadian nuclear industry mission to China this week, which will include a visit Monday to the Qinshan nuclear power station south of Shanghai where two heavy-water Candu 6 reactors are in operation. Candu Energy is the former Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., and is now wholly owned by SNC-Lavalin

The Mississauga-based nuclear vendor has been working with the Chinese operator of the Qinshan plants to fashion reprocessed fuel from the waste products of competing light-water reactors. The Candu could, in effect, become the blue box of the nuclear industry, company executives said in an interview.

“We’re very excited that this advances the discussion we can have about introducing more Candus into China,” Jerry Hopwood, the company’s vice-president of marketing and product development, said.

Candu reactors use heavy water, which includes a hydrogen isotope called deuterium, both for coolant and to moderate atomic reactions. Light-water reactors use ordinary water for both purposes.

Each approach offers different benefits, but the world market is dominated by light-water reactors, which require enriched uranium as fuel. In contrast, the heavy-water Candus can burn natural uranium as well as reprocessed fuel.

Mr. Hopwood said China now has 21 light-water reactors that produce two streams of energy-rich waste: spent fuel from the reactor itself and depleted uranium from the enrichment process. China plans to more than double its number of light-water reactors to meet the demands of its growing economy.

“Those reactors are going to produce a lot of waste fuel and China has a plan to recycle all the waste fuel from its reactor,” Mr. Hopwood said. “We believe there is a very strong opportunity to sell a significant number of Candu units in China.”

He said the partners have completed all the development and licensing work, and the Chinese operators expect to begin running reprocessed fuel in the two Candu reactors at an industrial level by the end of the year.

The company is also working with Chinese partners to modify the existing Enhanced Candu model so it will more efficiently burn the recycled fuel but also run on thorium, an abundant alternative to uranium that produces less highly radioactive waste. China has vast reserves of thorium but must import uranium, and develop a thorium-fired reactor.

As well, Candu Energy is one of two finalists in the United Kingdom’s competition to select a reactor design that will eliminate a stockpile of plutonium. “We think this work in China is paving the way for other options where Candu’s fuel-cycle ability is a benefit, notably in the U.K.,” Mr. Hopwood said.

The trade delegation will include Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation, Reza Moridi, who is a nuclear physicist, and several business leaders from the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries, an Ontario-based suppliers’ group that is eager to land export and service business in the world’s fast growing reactor market.

Critics contend the Candu 6 is an outdated design that lacks safety features included in newer reactors, and that it is a technology that the international marketplace has largely rejected since the 1990s.

“So yeah, the industry is trying to say Candu isn’t dead. Never say die,” said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, a nuclear campaigner at Greenpeace Canada. “If Candu isn’t dead, it’s a zombie.”

April 15, 2014 Posted by | Canada, politics international, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Failure of Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) has global implications

highly-recommendedNuClear News No.61 April 2014 WIPP failure has global implications
When a radioactive waste truck caught on fire inside the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) on February 5, it seemed like it was probably an isolated incident, not the beginning of a saga that could affect U.S. radioactive waste policy permanently and even radwaste policy internationally.
But the truck fire was followed by a still-unexplained offsite radiation release–including plutonium on February 14. That was then followed by a second, for a time unrevealed, and also still-unexplained, radiation release on March 11. It became clear that the WIPP saga will have long-term ramifications, not only for the nuclear weapons radwaste WIPP was built to handle, but also for the far larger and much more radioactive inventory of commercial high-level nuclear waste, not only in America, but around the globe. WIPP is currently closed and will remain so for some time.
flag-UKWIPP has played a crucial part in the history of nuclear waste proposals in the UK. In 1989, in the run-up to a referendum in Caithness in November of that year on whether or not to allow Nirex to search for a deep disposal site in the County, the Head of Information Services at Dounreay used WIPP as an example of a successful waste disposal site in an article he wrote for the John ‘O Groat Journal. In response a letter from the US Radioactive Waste Campaign described the article as “an outright lie”. McRoberts had claimed that WIPP was already receiving shipments and that the repository was dry. In fact the repository remained unopened at the time because in 1987 salt-laden water was fund to be seeping inside. One State Senator told the New Mexico press that:
“We have waste we aren’t sure about, stored in containers that haven’t been approved, travelling over roads that haven’t been improved and being put in salt beds we don’t know about. We’d like to put the brakes on before we get to the edge of the cliff.”
74% of voters in the Caithness referendum voted against Nirex’s plans in November 1989.
Given that WIPP, until the recent problems was the only deep geologic disposal facility operating in the world (in Europe, especially Eastern Europe, it is frequently–and incorrectly–described as a “high-level” radioactive waste site by nuclear advocates), the lessons, whatever they turn out to be, from the series of WIPP failures surely will affect other proposed and potential sites for years to come.
Many New Mexicans fought the project, knowing that in the expected 10,000-year life of the project there eventually would be problems. A poll found residents of southern New Mexico oppose the project three to one, but because of considerable encouragement from local businessmen and politicians, the project eventually moved forward. Locals felt their concerns had been ignored, while local and state politicians used the depressed economic conditions in southern New Mexico to push the project forward since it promised jobs. Given that it is a mere 15 years since the site began receiving waste, the concern appears to be justified.
Don Hancock, director of the Nuclear Waste Safety Program at Southwest Research and Information Center, who has been monitoring WIPP since 1975 and is familiar with the technical, policy, regulatory and legal issues related to the site, is reluctant to state there are any “guaranteed” methods of safely storing radioactive waste.
wastes-1“Given that long-lived nuclear wastes are dangerous for thousands of generations, emplacing them deep underground is a possible ‘solution,’ but it certainly isn’t ‘guaranteed,’ ” he said. “Neither WIPP, nor the proposed Yucca Mountain site in Nevada, are ‘ideal’ and meet publicly accepted standards. Both sites were picked for political, not technical, reasons, so it is not surprising that they are inadequate.”
Hancock believes that what is needed is a decades-long program to develop technical standards for any sites then a comprehensive national effort to identify the “best” sites that might meet the standards, then testing and establishing public “consent” for such sites (including a truck and train transportation system).
He also recommends careful state and national regulatory oversight of development, operation and decontamination and decommissioning of such facilities, and long-term safety procedures to help protect future generations, should nuclear waste operations be continued. http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo61.pdf

April 12, 2014 Posted by | Reference, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors a dodgy dream

No2NuclearPower nuClear news No.61, April 2014 14
Nuclear reactors that are small and modular—reactors that generate up to about a third the power of the typical commercial reactor—have received positive attention in the US Congress and elsewhere as a possible way of introducing nuclear generating capacity in smaller and more affordable increments.
But small isn’t always beautiful says Ed Lyman in a new Union of Concerned Scientists report.
Advocates assert that cost savings would be realised by mass-producing major components as standard modules in factories, and shipping the modules to sites for assembly rather than having each reactor custom-designed and built. Smaller-sized reactors would also have lower construction costs. Supporters also state that designs for small modular reactors (SMRs) would be inherently safer, so they could be located closer to densely populated areas than large reactors, even replacing coal-fired power plants at existing sites. Proponents even claim that certain safety regulations could be relaxed for SMRs.
Small-modular-reactor-dudBut the safety of the proposed compact designs is unproven—for instance, most of the designs call for weaker containment structures. And the arguments in favour of lower overall costs for SMRs depend on convincing Nuclear Regulators to relax existing safety regulations.
SMRs will probably require tens of billions of dollars in federal subsidies or government purchase orders, according to the Washington-based Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER). They will create new reliability vulnerabilities, as well as serious concerns in relation to both safety and proliferation, so they are unlikely to breathe new life into the increasingly moribund U.S. nuclear power industry. (7)
The report’s author Arjun Makhijani says: “SMRs are a poor bet to solve nuclear power’s problems and we see many troubling ways in which SMRs might actually make the nuclear power industry’s current woes even worse. SMRs are being promoted vigorously in the wake of the failure of the much-vaunted nuclear renaissance. But SMRs don’t actually reduce financial risk; they increase it,transferring it from the reactor purchaser to the manufacturing supply chain.” http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo61.pdf

April 12, 2014 Posted by | Reference, technology | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby’s new gimmick -thorium reactors, does not impress

Thorium-pie-in-skyNuClear News No.61 April 2014  There’s a modern mythology that suggests that thorium might be able to replace uranium and deliver a safer and cheaper nuclear reactor with more abundant fuel. In March press reports suggested that Chinese scientists have been told to accelerate plans to build the first fully-functioning thorium reactor within ten years, instead of 25 years as originally planned. The Telegraph said they “may do the world a big favour. They may even help to close the era of fossil fuel hegemony.” (1)

Jan Beránek, leader of Greenpeace International’s Energy Campaign says we’ve heard all this before. Thorium technology is in principal based on nuclear fission and therefore keeps fission’s inherent problems. While it partially addresses some of the downsides of current commercial reactors based on uranium (plutonium) fuel, such as limited reserves of uranium and unwanted production of plutonium and transuranic isotopes, it still has significant issues related to fuel mining and fabrication, reactor safety, production of dangerous waste, and the hazards of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. (2)

The Union of Concerned Scientists point out that thorium cannot be used by itself to sustain a nuclear chain reaction: it must be used together with a fissile material such as enriched uranium, uranium-233, or plutonium. The U.S. Department of Energy has concluded after a review that “the choice between uranium-based fuel and thorium-based fuel is seen basically as one of preference, with no fundamental difference in addressing the nuclear power issues [of waste management, proliferation risk, safety, security, economics, and sustainability].” (3)

UCS continues some people believe that liquid fluoride thorium reactors, which would use a high-temperature liquid fuel made of molten salt, would be significantly safer than current-generation reactors. However, such reactors have major flaws. There are serious safety issues associated with the retention of fission products in the fuel, and it is not clear these problems can be effectively resolved. Such reactors also present proliferation and nuclear terrorism risks because they involve the continuous separation, or “reprocessing,” of the fuel to remove fission products and to efficiently produce U-233, which is a nuclear weapon-usable material. Moreover, disposal of the used fuel has turned out to be a major challenge.

Even the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change commissioned a report which concluded in 2012 that the claims by thorium proponents who say that the radioactive chemical element makes it impossible to build a bomb from nuclear waste, leaves less hazardous waste than uranium reactors, and that it runs more efficiently, are “overstated“.http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo61.pdf

April 12, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, technology | Leave a comment

Low level ionising radiation could be even worse than we thought

In addition to the detection of statistically significant levels of certain illnesses among the liquidator cohort, they have made the argument that, instead of being linear, radiation health effects are “bi-modal” at certain low dose levels i.e. more harmful than the linear model predicts.

highly-recommendedRadiation and the Ronald Reagan, China Matters, 10 April 14 “….. I address the tendency of governments to minimize/mislead/suppress information concerning radiation releases from nuclear accidents and the overall uncertainty pervading their efforts. ….

The biggest minefield in the issue of nuclear accidents is the issue of the health effects of radiation exposure.  The international standard for nuclear safety is the “Linear No Threshold” or LNT model, which argues that the negative health impacts of low-level radiation exposure are, well, low.  People who give credence to claims of extensive radiation-related illness as a result of nuclear accidents are frequently dismissed as cranks.Interestingly, the only place that is serious about emphasizing the health hazards of radiation is a country very much in the news today, Ukraine.  Doing the right thing by Ukrainian citizens after the injustices inflicted by the Soviet Union on the Chernobyl front has been an important part of Ukrainian national identity, and claims of radiation-related illness are given a hearing largely denied to them in the West, Japan, or Russia.

radiation-causing-cancer

The international pushback against academics trying to make the statistical and biomedical case for extensive Chernobyl-related illnesses has been intense, including the attempt to explain any statistically significant health effects as a combination of “radiophobia” (the debilitating fear occasioned by radiation exposure) and the overall decline in public health in Ukraine following the collapse of the Soviet Union.  

In 2005 a symposium conducted by the IAEA, WHO, and UN concluded that only 50 people had died because of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl accident; that’s quite a distance from estimates of critics who think the toll might be as high as 50,000.In response, scientists such as Russia’s Elena Burlakova have carefully monitored the health of the sizable cohort of Chernobyl “liquidators” (the hundreds of thousands of workers who were exposed to high levels of radiation during cleanup at the plant and in the Chernobyl district) and conducted research to attempt to qualify the LNT standard for measuring the health effects of radiation exposure.

In addition to the detection of statistically significant levels of certain illnesses among the liquidator cohort, they have made the argument that, instead of being linear, radiation health effects are “bi-modal” at certain low dose levels i.e. more harmful than the linear model predicts.

Backhanded support for this challenge to the LNT model comes from a school of thought—“radiation hormesis”—now enjoying a certain vogue in the pro-nuclear crowd in Japan, that draws on the experience of inhabitants of Ramsar, a community of the Caspian Sea with high background radiation levels and low cancer rates, to argue that low levels of radiation are beneficial.

Challengers to the LNT model seem to be making some headway—the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists recently devoted a special issue to the subject—but there is considerable resistance to qualifying LNT and thereby admitting the possibility of rethinking and perhaps acknowledging the likelihood of extensive health problems from the release of low-level radiation by a nuclear accident.

Cleanup for a nuclear accident is expensive.  In an ironic recapitulation of the uncertainty surrounding the magnitude and destination of Fukushima’s radiation releases, the total cleanup bill has been estimated in a range from $10 billion to $50 billion to $250 billion.
To paraphrase Everett Dirksen, ten billion here, ten billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money and the possibility that even rare and occasional nuclear accidents will push up the total cost of nuclear power to unacceptable levels.

Understandably, the nuclear industry and people who have staked their hopes on nuclear power as a greenhouse-gas free alternative to carbon-based electricity generation resist the idea of expanding the accepted definition of significant radiation-related health effects, and with it the cost of any accident.

There is also, perhaps, the temptation to let the radiation illness problem take care of itself i.e. shy away from investigations of radiation sickness that might yield inconvenient or perhaps politically or financially catastrophic conclusions while demographics does its grim work of culling the irradiated herd…… http://chinamatters.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/radiation-and-ronald-reagan.html

April 11, 2014 Posted by | radiation, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Canada narrows list of possible locations for nuclear waste facility

Some were also drawn by the fact that for taking part in the selection process, they’ll get $400,000 even if they’re not chosen, providing they advance far enough in the process and a DGR is ultimately approved.

mi-bundles-container

7 of 22 municipalities dropped from list of potential sites

By Rick MacInnes-Rae, CBC News Posted: Apr 09, 2014

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/canada-narrows-list-of-possible-locations-for-nuclear-waste-facility-1.2604160

(Interactive map showing locations of possible nuclear dump sites on link)

Canada is a step closer to picking a place to store spent nuclear fuel underground for the next 100,000 years, a project that’s backfired on some of the world’s other nuclear economies.

Despite the stigma of radioactivity, 22 Canadian municipalities expressed interest in hosting such a facility. Four have now been moved up the list for further evaluation, while seven have been rejected as not suitable. The other 11 are still in the initial assessment phase.

Final approval could take another couple of decades, but if a site is found and approval given to build a Deep Geologic Repository (DGR), the project will generate thousands of jobs, some lasting generations.

Billions would be spent constructing a vast warehouse over 500 metres underground to contain some of the most radioactive waste in the world.

Deadly byproduct

Nuclear energy has helped meet Canada’s electricity needs for more than 40 years, but a deadly byproduct has been steadily building up as a result.

There’s a growing inventory of spent uranium pellets. The radioactive pellets are stored inside long silver tubes bundled together like 24-kilogram logs.

 

hi-candu_fuel_bundle

Spent uranium pellets from nuclear reactors are stored inside long silver tubes that are bundled together like 24-kilogram logs.

Heading the search for a secure place to store those tubes is the Nuclear Waste Management Organisation (NWMO), funded by Canada’s four nuclear agencies, which describes the situation this way: “If Canada’s entire current inventory of just over two million used fuel bundles could be stacked end-to-end, like cordwood, it would fit into six NHL-sized hockey rinks from the ice surface to the top of the boards.”

At present, spent fuel is stored at seven different sites across Canada, including at the reactors it once powered. But that’s not a long-term solution, because in time those reactors will be decommissioned and dismantled.

In its quest for a site, the NWMO took the novel step of asking Canadian communities if they’d think about hosting the highly-radioactive payload.

“Well, we didn’t know what to expect” said Jo-Ann Facella, director of social research and dialogue at the NWMO.

“We put out the plan that Canadians had come forward with and the government had selected as Canada’s plan. And an important part of that plan, it emerged from Canadians, is that these facilities only be implemented in a willing host.”

What also came back were expressions of interest from 22 different municipalities, tempted in part by the promise of employment if they’re chosen. Some were also drawn by the fact that for taking part in the selection process, they’ll get $400,000 even if they’re not chosen, providing they advance far enough in the process and a DGR is ultimately approved.

Continue reading

April 10, 2014 Posted by | Canada, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

After a nuclear catastrophe, radiation victims become “unpersons”

highly-recommendedWhen life becomes a shadow – after nuclear catastrophe, Ecologist Robert Jacobs 8th April 2014 Those caught up in nuclear disasters suffer many times over, writes Robert Jacobs. Ill-health and early death aside, they are also cut off from their former communities, identities and family life, and the victims of social and medical discrimination. Radiation makes people invisible. We know that exposure to radiation can be deleterious to one’s health; can cause sickness or even death when received in high doses.

But it does more. People who have been exposed to radiation, or even those who suspect that they have been exposed to radiation that never experience radiation related illnesses may find that their lives are forever changed – that they have assumed a kind of second class citizenship.

They may find that their relationship to their families, to their communities, to their hometowns, to their traditional diets and even traditional knowledge systems have become broken. They often spend the remainder of their lives wishing that they could go back, that things would become normal.

Unpersons

They slowly realize that they have become expendable and that their government and even their society is no longer invested in their wellbeing.

As a historian of the social and cultural aspects of nuclear technologies I have spent years working in radiation-affected communities around the world.

Many of these people have experienced exposure to radiation from nuclear weapon testing, from nuclear weapon production, from nuclear power plant accidents, from nuclear power production or storage, or, like the people in the community that I live, in Hiroshima, from being subjected to direct nuclear attack.

HibakushaFor the last five years I have been working with Dr. Mick Broderick of Murdoch University in Perth, Australia on the Global Hibakusha Project. We have been working in radiation-affected communities all around the world. In our research we have found a powerful continuity to the experience of radiation exposure across a broad range of cultures, geographies, and populations.

Fukushima – the victims’ future is all too predictable

About half way between beginning this study and this present moment the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi happened here in Japan.

One of the most distressing things (among so many) since this crisis began is to hear so many people, often people in positions of political power and influence say that the future for those affected by the nuclear disaster is uncertain.

I wish that it were so, but there is actually a deep historical precedence that suggests that the future for the people of Tohoku is predictable.

In this short article I will outline some continuities to the experiences of radiation-affected people. Most of the following is also true for people who merely suspect that they have been exposed to radiation, even if they never suffer any health effects.

Many have already become a part of the experiences of those affected by the Fukushima disaster. There are, of course, many differences and specificities to each community, but there is also much continuity…….. http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/Blogs/2351503/when_life_becomes_a_shadow_after_nuclear_catastrophe.html

April 9, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, Japan, radiation, Reference, social effects | 1 Comment

Fukushima insects have significant and unprecedented deformities

PHOTOS: Study finds deformities “significantly higher” in Fukushima insects — “To my knowledge, such deformations haven’t been reported” in species before — Lower body split in half, 2 tail-like appendages — 1,000% higher death rate in young than other Japan area — Urgent investigations called for, 8 April 14 http://enenews.com/photos-study-finds-deformities-significantly-higher-in-sample-of-fukushima-insects-to-my-knowledge-such-deformations-have-not-previously-been-reported-in-species-lower-body-split-in-ha?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

insect-Fukushima-13
Ecology and Evolution (Journal), Morphological abnormalities in gall-forming aphids in a radiation-contaminated area near Fukushima Daiichi: selective impact of fallout?, Shin-ichi Akimoto, Graduate School of Agriculture at Hokkaido University, 2014:Excerpts from Abstract: “This study compared the morphology and viability of gall-forming aphids between the Fukushima population and control populations [...] proportions of abnormalities and mortality were significantly higher in Fukushima [and] suggests that radioactive contamination had deleterious effects”

Continue reading

April 9, 2014 Posted by | environment, Fukushima 2014, Japan, Reference | 1 Comment

Nuclear industry PR ignores the latency period for cancer from radiation

nuke-spruikersSmWhen life becomes a shadow – after nuclear catastrophe, Ecologist Robert Jacobs 8th April 2014“…….It is disingenuous when nuclear industry apologists say things like “no one died at Fukushima” since they are well aware that for most of the people who will eventually get sick this process will take time.

We are currently in the latency period for these illnesses, a point not missed by nuclear industry PR people.

highly-recommendedLosses of homes, community and identity

Areas that experience radioactive contamination often have to be abandoned by those who live there. The levels of radiation may be high enough that continued habitation can be dangerous to health.

In these cases people lose their homes – often traditional homes that may have been the primary residences for a family for multiple generations. In these cases one’s identity may be deeply connected to the home and the land around the home.

For communities that have to be abandoned the bonds that have been built up and that sustain the wellbeing of the community are disintegrated. Friends are separated, extended families are often separated, and schools are closed.

People who have lived in the same place all of their lives have to make a fresh start, sometimes in old age, sometimes as children, and lose the communal structures that have supported them – shopkeepers who know them, neighbors who can be relied on, the simple familiarity that we have by being known and knowing our way around.

Loss of land and continuity

What is lost when a person is no longer able to eat an apple from a tree planted by their parent or grandparent? With the loss of community many people lose their way of making a living. This is especially true in less industrialized places where many people have been farmers or fishers or herders for generations.

When someone who has only known farming is taken from the land they have tended, when someone who is a fisher can no longer fish in areas where they understand the natural rhythms and habits of the fish, it can be impossible to start over.

Often such people are forced to enter service positions or become dependent on state subsidies, which further erodes their sense of self and wellbeing. Usually, those removed from their land because of contamination are placed into temporary housing.

In almost all cases this housing is not temporary, but becomes permanent. Since it is initially intended to be temporary housing it is often very shoddy and cramped.

It can become impossible for multigenerational families that have been living together for decades to remain together. This can remove care for the elderly, childcare for young families and further erodes to continuity of family identity, knowledge and support. Ill health from processed or radioactive food

Removal from land also is accompanied by the loss of a traditional diet. Those without access to the lands and seas that have provided food for their families for generations often begin a journey of ill health fostered by a new diet composed of processed foods.

In some communities such as the small villages around the former Soviet nuclear test site in Kazakhstan the people simply continue to live in dangerously contaminated homes. The state responsible for their exposures no longer exists and no government feels the responsibility to evacuate them.

They live very traditional lives and most of their food is from their own gardens and from livestock raised on their contaminated land. Many of the long-lived radionuclides simply cycle through this ecosystem and those living here can be contaminated and recontaminated over many generations.

Loss of traditional knowledge

In some remote places survival is dependent on centuries old understandings of the land. In Australia the areas where the British conducted nuclear testing in the outback are very difficult places to live.

Traditional communities in these areas often have songs that hold and transmit essential knowledge about how to survive in such a harsh environment, such as – where to find water, when to hunt specific animals, when to move to various areas.

When the British relocated them to live in areas hundreds of kilometers from their traditional homes this knowledge became broken. It became impossible for the refugee population to survive living a traditional life in areas where they had no knowledge of the rhythms of the land and animals.

This removal from their traditional lands led quickly to dependence on governmental assistance and severed what had been millennia of self-reliance. This led to the further erosion of community, familial and personal wellbeing……. http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/Blogs/2351503/when_life_becomes_a_shadow_after_nuclear_catastrophe.html

 

April 9, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, social effects, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Discrimination and the mental effects of being afflicted by ionising radiation

highly-recommendedWhen life becomes a shadow – after nuclear catastrophe, Ecologist Robert Jacobs 8th April 2014  “……Discrimination

HibakushaPeople who may have been exposed to radiation usually experience discrimination in their new homes and often become social pariahs. We first saw this dynamic with the hibakushain Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

They found it very difficult to find marriage partners since prospective spouses feared they would have malformed children, found it difficult to find jobs since employers assumed that they would be sick more often, and often become the targets of bullying. It became very common to hide the fact that one’s family had been among those exposed to radiation.

Many people are familiar with the story of Sadako Sasaki who died at the age of twelve after being exposed to radiation from the nuclear attack on Hiroshima ten years earlier.

Sadako folded paper cranes in accordance with a Japanese tradition that someone who folds 1,000 paper cranes is granted a wish. Sadako’s story has become well known and children around the world fold paper cranes when they learn her story, many of which are sent here to Hiroshima.

While Sadako has become a symbol of the innocence of so many hibakusha who were victims of the nuclear attack, her father tried to hide this fact so that his family would not suffer discrimination and was upset that his daughter had become so famously afflicted.

Fukushima victims bullied

Children whose families evacuated from Fukushima prefecture after the triple meltdowns at Fukushima found themselves the victims of bullying at their new schools. Cars with Fukushima license plates were scratched when parked in other prefectures.

Often this is the result of the natural fear of contamination that is associated with people exposed to a poison. In the Marshall Islands those who were evacuated from Rongelap and other atolls that became unlivable after being blanketed with radioactive fallout from the Bravo test in 1954 have had to live as refugees on other peoples atolls for several generations now.

The Marshall Islands have a very small amount of livable land and so being moved to atolls that traditionally belonged to others left them with no access to good soil and good locations for fishing and storing boats. They have had to live by the good graces of their new hosts, and endure being seen as interlopers.Becoming medical subjects – or ‘objects’?

Many people who have been exposed to radiation then become the subjects of medical studies, often with no information about the medical tests to which they are subjected.

For example Hibakusha of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki became medical subjects of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission during the American occupation of Japan after World War Two.

This study has continued to this day under the now jointly US-Japan operated Radiation Effects Research Foundation. In the early days of the study Japanese hibakusha had no choice about being subjected to the medical exams.

An American military jeep would appear in front of their homes and they had to go in for an examination, whether it was a good time or not. They were not given information about the results of their tests. This has happened in many radiation-affected communities.

In 1966 a US nuclear bomber blew up in midair and its debris fell on the small village of Palomares, Spain. Four H-bombs fell from the plane, one into the sea, and three onto the small village. None exploded but two broke open and contaminated part of the town with plutonium and other radionuclides.

To this day some of the residents of Palomares are taken to Madrid each year for a medical examination as the effects of exposure on their health is tracked.

They have never been given any of the results of the tests nor informed if any illnesses they develop were related to their exposures. They are subjects, not participants in the gathering and assessing of the effects of radiation on their bodies.

There is no doubt that such studies contribute data to our understanding of the health consequences of radiation exposures (the data itself is contentious for reasons that I won’t go into here), however for those from whom the information is gathered, being studied but not informed reduces ones sense of integrity and agency in one’s own health maintenance.

Many Pacific islanders exposed to radiation by the nuclear tests of the US, the UK and France had such experiences where they were examined and then sent off with no access to the results. Many report feeling as if the data had been harvested from them.

Anxieties belittled

Often the first thing that those exposed to radiation are told is that they have nothing to worry about. Their anxieties are belittled.

Radiation is a very abstract and difficult thing to understand. It is imperceptible – tasteless, odorless, invisible – adding to uncertainty that people feel about whether they were exposed, how much they were exposed to, and whether they and their loved one’s will suffer any health effects.

The dismissal of their anxieties by medical and governmental authorities only compounds their anxiety. When other members of their community develop health problems, such as thyroid cancer and other illnesses years later it can cast a pall over their own sense of wellbeing for the rest of their lives.

Every time that they run a fever, every time that they experience pain in their stomachs, nosebleeds, and other common ailments this anxiety rears up and they think – this is it, it’s finally got me. These fears extend to their parents, their children and other loved ones. Every fever that their child runs triggers horrible fears that their child will die.

Sadako was healthy for nine years following her exposure to radiation when she was two years old in Hiroshima. Then suddenly her neck began to swell and she was soon diagnosed with leukemia. This is the nightmare world that the parents of children exposed to radiation experience on a daily basis. Every ailment can rip them apart.

Radiophobia and ‘blaming the victim’ Radiophobia and ‘blaming the victim’

Iit is often the case that who is and isn’t exposed to radiation, especially to internalized alpha emitting particles, is unknown. So large numbers of people near a nuclear detonation, a nuclear production plant, a nuclear power plant accident, a uranium mining location and countless other sources of exposure to radiation worry about their health and the health of their loved ones.

Among this group, some have been exposed and some have not. The uncertainty is part of the trauma. Often, as is currently the case for the people of Northern Japan, all of these people are dismissed as having undue fear of radiation, and are often told that their health problems are the result of their own anxieties. In some cases that may well be true but it is beside the point.

For those who have experienced some radiological catastrophe – who may have been removed from their homes and communities and lost those bonds and support systems, who are uncertain as to whether each flu or stomach ache is the harbinger of the end, and who cannot be certain that contamination from hard to find alpha emitting particles is still possible when their children play in the park – anxiety is the natural response.

Even if it does cause health problems, it is not their fault: forces outside of their control have upended their lives and they now must live a life of uncertainty and often experience discrimination.

Of course they are going to suffer from the anxiety that this situation produces. To blame them for this is to blame the victims in the situation and is a further form of traumatization.

Their lives will be divided in two parts – before, and after

Radiation makes people invisible. It makes them second class citizens who no longer have the expectation of being treated with dignity by their government, by those overseeing nuclear facilities near to them, by the military and nuclear industry engaged in practices that expose people to radiation, and often by their new neighbors when they become refugees.

People exposed to radiation often lose their homes, either through forced removal or through contamination that makes living in them dangerous.

They lose their livelihoods, their diets, their communities, and their traditions. They can lose the knowledge base that connects them to their land and insures their wellbeing.

Radiation can cause health problems and death, and even when it doesn’t it can cause devastating anxiety and uncertainty that can become crippling. Often those exposed to radiation are blamed for all of the problems that follow their exposures.

After a nuclear disaster we count the victims in terms of those who died – but they are only a small fraction of the people who are truly victimized by the event. Countless more suffer the destruction of their communities, their families, and their wellbeing. The devastation that a nuclear disaster truly wreaks is unknowable.

The lives of those exposed to radiation, or those in areas affected by radiation but uncertain about their exposures, will never be the same. As Natalia Manzurova, one of the ‘liquidators’ at Chernobyl said in an interview published two months after the Fukushima triple meltdowns:

“Their lives will be divided into two parts: before and after Fukushima. They’ll worry about their health and their children’s health. The government will probably say there was not that much radiation and that it didn’t harm them. And the government will probably not compensate them for all that they’ve lost. What they lost can’t be calculated.”

April 9, 2014 Posted by | psychology - mental health, radiation, Reference, social effects | 1 Comment

Three Mile Island nuclear accident: 35 years later the lies continue

Three Mile Island – 35 years on http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2334940/three_mile_island_35_years_on.html Linda Pentz Gunter 28th March 2014  Thirty-five years ago today the USA had its worst ever civilian nuclear accident with a reactor meltdown at Three Mile Island. Linda Pentz Gunter reports on the lies and cover ups about the true scale of the radiation release and its impacts on human health. Today marks 35 years since the meltdown at Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Despite the long passage of time, myths and misinformation about the disaster still abound. Many questions may remain permanently unanswered.

The consequences of the TMI disaster were made more serious because, early on, emergency planning officials were repeatedly misinformed about the disaster’s progression and kept in the dark about the need for public protective actions.

Ironically, despite today’s popular ‘too much information’ shorthand, TMI is a story of ‘too little information’. What the public believes about TMI is far removed from what really happened. Continue reading

March 29, 2014 Posted by | Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Thorium – the nuclear power fuel of the perpetual future

Clamping down on tweets Mar 26th 2014,   by Economist.com Thorium the wonder fuel of Tomorrowland by Oliver Morton HOW the Doppler effect helped locate the likely remains of MH370, why thorium will not be the fuel of tomorrow and how Turkey (tried to) shut Twitter down

VIDEO:      http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2014/03/babbage-march-26th-2014?fsrc=scn/tw_ec/clamping_down_on_tweets
TRANSCRIPT by Noel Wauchope “……..Now we turn to thorium
Thorium can be used to fuel nuclear power plants  of a normal design.
There has always been a group of thorium fans who have been campaigning for this.
And there is a little  evidence that the idea of thorium nuclear power is making some  progress.

There is  a little  bit of interest about thorium in China, and in India .  The Indians have just unveiled a new thorium reactor design
It is an odd example of simultaneous nostalgia and neophilia .  You find this  in some technological areas where people  want the new thing  - that used to be the new thing but has never become the old thing –  because it’s never the thing that anyone did.
Thorium is  a great example of that  -   like airships
The purported  advantages are that :
Thorium is more common than uranium, that you can use it in  a form that doesn’t have to be enriched.You can design systems that don’t produce weapons grade uranium or plutonium
What are the benefits in a civilian sense ? The benefit basically that   – it hasn’t been done
We know today a lot of stuff about a lot stuff about of reactors –  about how  things go wrong and how not to go wrong
Most work on thorium reactors has been done by enthusiasts – but all this tricky stuff in which you look at ways that things could actually go  wrong and about how to engineer around them –  hasn’t been done.
 The idea that thorium can take off , whatever its intrinsic benefits  that thorium from a standing start canovertake uranium based reactors that you have 60 years’ of operational experience with. that’s very unlikely
Disadvantages _ To even start building a thorium reactor you have to have a uranium fast breeder reactor, which is pretty tricky  and pretty dangerous technology very few people have ever made to run very well
So this may end up being the fuel of the perpetual future  It’s hard enough to make nuclear reactors that you know how they work –  to work. Making these new nuclear reactors  work, I’m not sure that anyone will really put in the effort. It is true that there are some things that are quite attractive about it.
Thorium-dream
A reactor which works with molten salt to thorium has some advantages in that it doesn’t have to be kept under high pressure.  Some nice things technically – they’ve seduced some people, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will conquer the world.

 

March 29, 2014 Posted by | Reference, technology, Uranium | Leave a comment

How to limit your exposure to electromagnetic radiation

Waves of uncertainty over wi-fi  Stuff.co.nz 29 March 14“……..CUT BACK ON YOUR EXPOSURE

MOBILES AND DEVICES

Before buying a cellphone or internet-capable device, check out its SAR (specific absorption rate) rating – though in New Zealand you’ll likely have to go online for this information. The SAR measures how much the device’s emissions are absorbed by the body. Lower ratings indicate lower absorption.

Ensure your mobile has flight mode and use this as often as you can, including overnight, and when carrying it close to your body.

For long computing tasks, select a wired desktop or plugged-in laptop, rather than a wireless tablet.

Avoid holding a laptop or device on your lap or stomach – use a table instead, unless it’s in flight mode.

When you can, choose a text over a call. Keep phone calls to a minimum or use a hands-free kit.

Keep calls to a minimum where reception is bad – when a mobile is far from a cell tower, it has to boost its signal to connect.

Choose a wired mouse and keyboard.

 

CORDLESS PHONESradiation-spectrum

If possible, choose corded devices, or purchase one with speaker-phone capabilities.

Keep the main transmitting base of the cordless phone away from bedrooms and desks.

Keep calls short.

WI-FI

When installing a transmitting unit, ask for it to be put up high, such as on the wall or a shelf, away from bedrooms or where people sit.

Only turn the system on when you’re using it. Make sure the router is turned off overnight, especially.

Choose software on a laptop rather than cloud-computing technology such as Google Docs, if you’re using wi-fi. Typing in a Google Docs word processing means a wi-fi signal is sent with every single keystroke.http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/9882716/Waves-of-uncertainty-over-wi-fi

March 29, 2014 Posted by | radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 696 other followers