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How Tom Toles sees the way for astronauts to Mars, radiation and all

eyes-surprisedOh that radiation thing  By  E-mail the writer

Among the zillion ways that outer space is not like in the movies is lethal radiation. Other ways? Distances, travel speeds, costs, lack of anything but punishing, lifeless voids, and no economically harvestable anything. But let’s pause to reflect again, or possibly for the first time, about thatlethal radiation thingy.

Why we persist in a grade-school-level discussion about human space travel confounds me. Maybe it’s because we spent all our space education funds sending astronauts to grade schools, to tell them that there was a good career in human space travel, which there wasn’t and never will be. The ‘humans have always explored’ theme is true, but the main thing that is left unexplored is that theme itself. Yes, humans have always explored, and what it’s been about is finding things and places that are of value and doing it in a way that makes sense. You don’t walk into an erupting volcano just because people like to explore.

We have all the information we need already about habitation suitability in our solar system (slim to none), and we have all the information we need about its value aside from cheap thrills (none). We have the technology to robotically do everything humans can do in space at a tiny fraction of the cost. It’s still exploration!

Okay, the story cited here does say that in a trip to Mars, barring a big solar event, the amount of radiation received might “not be lethal” as long as you get lucky and beat the odds of your measurably increased cancer risk from a years-long adventure in a bath of ‘galactic cosmic rays.’ The good news? A Mars trip might not be “impossible!” “The space agencies could decide that the importance of a Mars mission would justify the waving of the the [safe] radiation exposure limit.” Woot. WHAT importance, again?


June 4, 2013 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

Fukushima children and thyroid abnormalities: predictions of thyroid cancers

thyroid-cancer-papillary“Rates of thyroid problems in children near Fukushima nuclear plant are high” — Expert: Parents have reason to worry — Gov’t accused of cover-up

Title: Frightened to return: A Fukushima father’s story
Source: The Independent
Author: David McNeill
Date: June 1, 2013
h/t Anonymous tip Rates of thyroid problems in children near the nuclear plant are high

[…] Last December, the eldest of the two was diagnosed with adenoidal cysts, the prelude to a type of cancer that often strikes the salivary glands. “I was told by the doctor that it’s very rare,” [Yoji Fujimoto] says. […]

“I’m convinced this is because of the Fukushima accident.” […]

[Steve Wing, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina] says that parents like Mr Fujimoto do have reason to worry. “We know that doses to populations are both unquantified by the official agencies, that evidence suggests relatively high doses, and that children and women are more vulnerable to radiation. So the questions and deep concerns for the people in Fukushima will continue for the rest of their lives.” […]

“I expect a growth in the numbers of thyroid cancers in Japan from next year,” [Dr Alexey Yablokov, a Russian biologist] said. […]

Parents accuse government scientists of making their minds up before the [thyroid] survey began – Professor Suzuki’s team said last July that their aim was “to calm the anxiety of the population”.

Yoji Fujimoto

“I have absolutely no faith in what the Fukushima government is saying”
“They want people to go back and live there so they clearly want to keep a lid on the impact of the disaster”
“There is so much information not getting out at the moment — It will be too late for my children when it is eventually released”

See also: UN: “Fukushima nuclear disaster poses no IMMEDIATE health risks” — Unknown if increase in thyroid cancer is due to radioactivity

June 4, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, health, Japan | 1 Comment

Tokyo anti nuclear rally – 60,000 protest

protestor-Japan60,000 in Tokyo Protest Government Plans to Restart Nuclear Power Earth First Newswire by Adam Westlake / Japan Daily Press, 3 June 13

Approximately 60,000 people rallied in Japan’s capital of Tokyo on Sunday, June 2nd in order to protest recent government plans to restart the country’s idled nuclear reactors. People gathered in Shiba Park and later marched towards the parliament building. Among the organizers was Kenzaburo Oe, a Nobel literature laureate, who called on the Japanese government to leave the nuclear power plants in suspension out of fears for safety.

The Japanese government has previously stated that it will most likely allow those reactors to return to power which have been approved by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), whose new safety guidelines are scheduled to be adopted in July. One of Japan’s largest-ever protests saw 170,000 people gather in a similar fashion in July 2012, around the same time that then-Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda decided on the first two reactor restarts since the March 2011 Fukushima disaster. As of now, the anti-nuclear protestors say they have collected over 8 million signatures of those opposed to reactor restarts……

June 4, 2013 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Biggest pile of plutonium in the world: Britain’s nightmare

TRANSMISSION: Tuesday 19th February 2013 2000 – 2040
REPEAT: Sunday 24th February 2013 1700 – 1740
REPORTER: Rob Broomby
PRODUCER: Ian Muir-Cochrane
EDITOR: David Ross

plutonium238_1Britain has accumulated the biggest stockpile of civil
plutonium in the world, a target for terrorists and future bomb-makers. What was once thought to be a valued asset is now a costly liability. The Government faces a dilemma. Should it try to
turn the stuff into nuclear fuel at huge cost or write off the plutonium altogether? Previous attempts to deal with the problem went disastrously wrong, costing the taxpayer more than a billion pounds. Tonight File on 4 investigates what’s been called one of the most embarrassing failures in British industrial history. And now MP’s are worried taxpayers could be asked to pay up again. Continue reading

June 4, 2013 Posted by | - plutonium, Reference, UK | 1 Comment


Uranium is France’s major strategic economic interest in the Sahel,

How long before the bombings hit Paris?

Niger’s Uranium Facilities Under Assault Oil Price, By John Daly, 03 June 2013 One of the scariest scenarios for Western intelligence analysts is the possible nexus between terrorism and nuclear materials Recent events in Africa have heightened these scenarios. Continue reading

June 4, 2013 Posted by | Niger, safety | Leave a comment

South Korea and USA planning nuclear pyroprocessing

flag-S-Korea  Meanwhile, South Korea and the U.S. are set to sign a pact that will allow the two nations to step up their joint research on pyroprocessing technology, said a senior official at Seoul’s foreign ministry.
Flag-USA If adopted, the pact would enable the International Atomic Energy Agency to guarantee the safety of pyroprocessing technology.
 S. Korea renews ‘firm commitment’ to enriching uranium in talks with U.S.
SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap)– South Korea’s chief negotiator renewed his “firm commitment” on Monday to enriching uranium and reprocessing nuclear fuel for the nation’s civil nuclear energy program as Seoul resumed formal negotiations with Washington aimed at revising a bilateral nuclear accord. Continue reading

June 4, 2013 Posted by | reprocessing, South Korea, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Radiation Exposure from Eating Pacific Bluefin Tuna Affected by Fukushima Nuke Accident Miniscule, US Researchers Say

Monday, June 3, 2013

The comments on the EXSKF link are interesting..[Arclight2011]
32 microsieverts per year or 0.032 millisievert per year, for the Japanese people in Japan, 0.9 microsievert per year or 0.0009 millisievert per year for people in the US.

Exposure from radioactive polonium in fish is much greater than radioactive cesium of Fukushima origin, says Professor Nicholas Fisher at Stony Brook University in New York. (See Table 1 at the bottom of the post.)

He also says the the amount of radioactive cesium in bluefin tuna caught off the coast of San Diego in 2012 dropped in half, compared to the bluefin tuna caught in 2011.

Unlike most of the Japanese media these days, the US media, including CNN below, still talks about radiation in terms of dental X-ray or transcontinental flight. Just give us the number, please.

From CNN (6/3/2013):

Fukushima tuna study finds miniscule health risks

Go ahead, order the sushi.

Levels of radioactivity found in Pacific bluefin tuna that spawned off Japan around the time of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident are far below anything that would pose a health risk and have dropped in fish caught the following year, U.S. researchers reported Monday.

The latest findings follow up on a 2012 study that found radioactive cesium, a nuclear reactor byproduct, in tuna caught off California in the months after the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi. The attention that study received led scientists to take another look at the data, said Nicholas Fisher, a marine science professor at New York’s Stony Brook University.

“People did not know how to translate that into a dose, or into what risk do I have from eating that tuna,” Fisher said. “The paper that’s coming out today addresses that.”

They found that anyone who eats the bluefin — highly prized for sushi and sashimi — would get about 5% of the radiation they’d get from eating one typical banana, a fruit high in naturally radioactive potassium. The results were released Monday by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Even subsistence fishermen, who eat far more fish than the typical American, would receive a dose of radiation from the cesium isotopes released in the meltdown equivalent to a single dental X-ray, Fisher and his colleagues reported. That translates to a “worst-case scenario” of two additional cancer deaths for every 10 million people in that category, he said.

The doses were calculated from fish caught off San Diego in August 2011. A follow-up study with fish caught in 2012 found the amount of cesium-134 and -137 dropped by about half in those tuna, Fisher said.

(Full article at the link)

Japan’s Kyodo News says exposure from radioactive polonium in fish is much greater than radioactive cesium of Fukushima origin.

It also says the radiation exposure would be 0.032 millisievert in one year.

The paper abstract:

Pacific bluefin tuna transport Fukushima-derived radionuclides from Japan to California

Daniel J. Madigan, Zofia Baumann, and Nicholas S. Fisher


The Fukushima Dai-ichi release of radionuclides into ocean waters caused significant local and global concern regarding the spread of radioactive material. We report unequivocal evidence that Pacific bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis, transported Fukushima-derived radionuclides across the entire North Pacific Ocean. We measured γ-emitting radionuclides in California-caught tunas and found 134Cs (4.0 ± 1.4 Bq kg−1) and elevated 137Cs (6.3 ± 1.5 Bq kg−1) in 15 Pacific bluefin tuna sampled in August 2011. We found no 134Cs and background concentrations (∼1 Bq kg−1) of 137Cs in pre-Fukushima bluefin and post-Fukushima yellowfin tunas, ruling out elevated radiocesium uptake before 2011 or in California waters post-Fukushima. These findings indicate that Pacific bluefin tuna can rapidly transport radionuclides from a point source in Japan to distant ecoregions and demonstrate the importance of migratory animals as transport vectors of radionuclides. Other large, highly migratory marine animals make extensive use of waters around Japan, and these animals may also be transport vectors of Fukushima-derived radionuclides to distant regions of the North and South Pacific Oceans. These results reveal tools to trace migration origin (using the presence of 134Cs) and potentially migration timing (using 134Cs:137Cs ratios) in highly migratory marine species in the Pacific Ocean.

Full paper PDF:

Part about radiation exposure for Japan and for the US:

Table 1 showing the radiation dose:

Does Corporate Funding Corrupt Science?

Published on Apr 19, 2013

“Cycle of bias” described at 10 minutes suppressed by sponsor and issues on manipulation of the Peer review process as in the above “report” and check out the comment at 1hr 04 mins [Arclight2011]

June 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chernobyl fallout in the Baltic Sea sediments investigated


Marine Pollution Bulletin

Volume 70, Issues 1–2, 15 May 2013, Pages 210–218

…..These results are an important amendment to the radioactivity baseline of the Baltic Sea…..

Artificial radionuclides 90Sr and 241Am in the sediments of the Baltic Sea: Total and spatial inventories and some temporal trends

  • a Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, P.O. Box 14, FIN-00881 Helsinki, Finland
  • b Water Protection Association of The River Kokemäenjoki, P.O. Box 265, FIN-33101 Tampere, Finland

Kaisa-Leena Hutri, Jukka Mattila, Tarja Tuulikki Ikäheimonen, Vesa-Pekka Vartti. Artificial radionuclides 90Sr and 241Am in the sediments of the Baltic Sea: Total and spatial inventories and some temporal trends. Marine Pollution Bulletin 70 (2013) 210-218. DOI:


The Baltic Sea was contaminated by radioactivity following global nuclear fallout and later by the Chernobyl accident. Despite the decrease of radioactivity caused by radioactive decay, radionuclides have a prolonged residence time in the water of the Baltic Sea due to slow water exchange and relatively rapid sedimentation. Very little is known about the amounts or spatial differences of 90Sr and 241Am in the Baltic Sea sediments.

In this study, 20 sediment cores taken around the Baltic Sea were investigated to estimate inventories of these radionuclides.

The rough results show that the Chernobyl fallout added the amount of 90Sr in the same areas where the increase of 137Cs can be detected, whereas this is not the case for 241Am which is more evenly distributed in the sea bottom. In addition, local differences occur in the concentrations. These results are an important amendment to the radioactivity baseline of the Baltic Sea…. subscription only

Continue reading

June 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Good news: ionising radiation type scanners removed from airports across USA

thumbs-upFull-body scanners at airports replaced with less-revealing, low radiation machines  June 03, 2013 — Airports across the U.S. have removed the full-body scanners that used x-rays to create what looks like nude images of passengers.

The remaining 250 machines were removed about two weeks before the June 1st deadline set by Congress.Some critics said they were too revealing, while others expressed health concerns over radiation exposure.

Passengers still have to undergo full-body scans. However, the scanners now use radio waves that produce a less-detailed image.

June 4, 2013 Posted by | health, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Tepco Detects Radioactive Cesium In Groundwater and other contamination issues in Japan



Published on Jun 3, 2013

TEPCO detects radioactive cesium in groundwater
TEPCO officials have detected radioactive cesium in groundwater at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. But they said levels were much lower than legal limits.

Monju’s data transmitting system fails
A technical glitch prevented data from the Monju fast-breeder nuclear reactor in Fukui, central Japan, from being sent to the government’s monitoring system for more than 4 hours on Monday.

Rallies held to oppose restart of nuclear plants
Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Tokyo to oppose moves to bring the country’s nuclear power stations back online.

Residents win radiation uncertainty compensation
A group of nuclear accident evacuees in Fukushima has won a compensation settlement decision from a state-backed legal arbitration body for radiation exposure and future health uncertainties.

Tohoku summer festivals opens in Fukushima City
Thousands of people are in Fukushima City in northeastern Japan for a 2-day event combining 6 local summer festivals.
The event was first held 2 years ago to promote tourism in areas hard hit by the March 2011 disaster.

Cancer rates spiking in North America, after the Fukushima disaster
Kevin Blanch 6/3/13…………

2013.4.6 Namie street dust 86.09μSv/h at 1cm above ground
Published on Jun 2, 2013 by birdhairjp…

[Spare contaminated water] 20,000m3 of highly contaminated water still retained in seawater trenches,”4.2 tera Bq/m3″…

[Express] “Highschool students picnic in 0.93 μSv/h in Kohriyama city”
Posted by Mochizuki on May 31st, 2013 ·…

[Express] “150 bags of decontamination waste in my garden of Da-te city”
Posted by Mochizuki on May 31st, 2013…

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 11, Issue 22, No. 1, June 2, 2013.
Life and Death Choices: Radiation, children, and Japan’s future

Two years after the start of Japan’s nuclear disaster, parents fear for their children’s future.…

published Sunday, June 2nd, 2013
TVA eyes building 2 smaller reactors on the Clinch River in Oak Ridge
The next new nuclear reactor for TVA may be built in a factory and shipped to the Tennessee Valley in a truck or railcar.…

Nuclear site scrap metal could be headed to recyclers
June 2, 2013 12:16 am
By Len Boselovic / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A U.S. Department of Energy proposal to recycle scrap metal from its nuclear facilities has set off the radiation detectors of environmental groups, some in the metals industry and one member of Congress.…

New Mexico plant may lack space for remote-handled Hanford waste
A national repository may run out of space for the hottest radioactive waste it was designed to store if changes are not made, according to an audit by the Department of Energy Office of Inspector General.…

Skullduggery alleged over mayors’ ‘secret’ nuclear-waste storage meetings
By Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press June 2, 2013
TORONTO – Municipal leaders in the Ontario region that is home to one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants are facing allegations they discussed proposed storage facilities for radioactive waste in secret because they feared damaging their electoral fortunes.…

June 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Harm from radiation, among families of nuclear workers

radiation-warningSome Atomic Energy Workers Passed Effects of Radiation and Chemical Exposure to their Spouses and Children Huntington News,  June 3, 2013 –   BY TONY E. RUTHERFORD, NEWS EDITOR “……“Big Jim” took a job working around radioactive elements in 1954 at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) in Piketon, Ohio. Workers told his daughter how they kept their lunches warm by laying them on uranium yellow cakes and poked fun of individuals who put around their clothing before painting.  They wore radiation exposure badges, but by “doing his job” Jim later developed four cancers.

 “My dad talked about the A plant, but he never told us what it was,” Joan Fearing  (Big Jim’s daughter) said. “Mom washed his work clothes.”  She passed away from a rare form of cancer too.  “When my mother was dying, she still did not tell us what it was.”

The Cold War ended the arms race. Nuclear weapons were replaced with atoms for peace at electrical power plants. However, the atomic legacy appears passed to the  21st Century. Continue reading

June 4, 2013 Posted by | employment, health, USA | 3 Comments

Climate change on top of Marshall Islands’ nuclear disasters

climate-changePacific islands’ deadly threat from climate change  By Phillip Muller,  May 30 2013 Phillip Muller is foreign minister of the Marshall Islands.

For almost 70 years, my country, the Marshall Islands, has been fighting for its survival. Unfortunately, the threats we face are the result of forces we cannot control.


From 1946 to 1958, we endured the horror of 67 atmospheric nuclear tests. The most powerful was the “Bravo shot,” equivalent in power to 1,000 Hiroshima bombs. Now our residents are confronted by a different kind of atmospheric danger: the existential threat posed by climate change.

After a prolonged and unseasonable droughtthat began late last year, the severe lack of drinking water in our northern atolls led my government to declare a disaster area on May 7. This humanitarian crisis is climate-induced. Continue reading

June 4, 2013 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Rapidly increasing popularity of solar panels, in Japan

solar-panelflag-japanJapan’s post-Fukushima solar boom SMH, June 2, 2013 Domestic shipments of solar cells and modules in Japan leapt by their most in at least 30 years last fiscal year as government efforts to spur clean energy after the 2011 Fukushima disaster began to pay off.

Local shipments rose to 3,809 megawatts in the 12 months ended March 31 from 1,404 megawatts the previous year, the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association said today on its website. The increase was the largest since 1981 when the figures were compiled for the first time.

The data underscore the popularity of solar in Japan as pressures mount to boost energy supplies after the Fukushima Dai-Ichi accident led to the shutdown of almost all the nation’s nuclear reactors. Japan started offering above-market rates in July for renewable sources such as solar and wind. Continue reading

June 4, 2013 Posted by | decentralised, Japan | Leave a comment

Britain’s quite horrible problem of stockpiled plutonium

plutonium238_1UK’s plutonium stockpile dilemma By Rob Broom byFile on 4 June 2013, Britain has accumulated the biggest stockpile of civil plutonium in the world. What was once a valued asset is now viewed as a costly liability and a target for terrorists.

Previous attempts to deal with the stockpile have gone wrong and the government now faces a dilemma. Should it try to turn the stuff into nuclear fuel or write off the plutonium altogether?

Amid tight security at the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria, is a store holding most of Britain’s stockpile of plutonium. Continue reading

June 4, 2013 Posted by | - plutonium, Reference, UK | 1 Comment

It’s already happening: the effects of global warming

globe-warmingThe Effects of Global Warming by Marc Lallanilla , LiveScience Staff Writer  31 May 2013   “……. global warming is having a measurable effect on the planet right now.

Increase in average temperatures
One of the most immediate and obvious impacts of global warming is the increase in temperatures around the world. The average global temperature has increased by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) over the past 100 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Since recordkeeping began in 1895, the hottest year on record for the 48 contiguous U.S. states was 2012. Worldwide, 2012 was also the 10th-warmest year on record, according to NOAA. And nine of the warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. Continue reading

June 4, 2013 Posted by | climate change, Reference | Leave a comment