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UNCLEAR UNSCEAR Report aims to UNSCARE

Christina Macpherson, 3 April 14, I have not yet read the latest report.  But I have seen many headlines – telling us that there will be  few or no health effects from Fukushima radiation.

Here are a few of the points that I noticed in the news reports.

  • It talks about cancer predictions for the whole of Japan with “ low impact” – rather than focussing on the Fukushima exposed population
  • It finds that there will be no discernable change in cancer rates for the whole of Japan, nor of birth defects.
  • It finds that any effects on terrestrial and marine ecosystems would be “transient”
  • effects on flora and fauna of marine ecosywas limited to the shoreline area adjacent to the power station
  •  the potential for marine effects over the long term was considered insignificant

Weiss,-Wolfgang-hypocrit

 

If you bother to analyse all this –  it really means nothing.  The report admits to a few thyroid cancers amongst children.  But that doesn’t seem to matter!

As to mixing up the exposed population with the whole Japanese population – then the cancer incidence increase would look negligible.  But it mentions “low impact” –  So there IS some impact!

There’s no “discernable ” change –  there could be  a change but they won’t be able to pin[point it, therefore it doesn’t exist?

As no-one really registers birth defects – there is no baseline to compare whether or not birth defects will increase. (also stillbirths, spontaneous abortions – all not measured)

Effects on ecosystems are “transient”.  That’s not what the studies by Dr Timothy Mousseau are finding. but then UNSCEAR hasn’t done any ecological studies, as far as I can find out

Marine effects are limited to the shoreline –  so where did the newly arrived radioactive Cesium in Pacific fish come from? (Radioactive cesium is unknown except from nuclear industry sources – does not exist in nature)

April 3, 2014 Posted by | Christina's notes | 2 Comments

Britain’s secret deals with USA on nuclear weaponry

secret-dealsflag-UKSecret talks on future of Britain’s nuclear arsenal, Guardian UK, Richard Norton Taylor and Ewen Macaskill, 3 April 14,

• UK’s nuclear arsenal relies on US components
• Nature, cost, and timing, of new warheads will also depend on US.
Buy-US-nukesWhile the Nato allies are collectively preoccupied by Vladimir Putin’s intentions in eastern Europe, Britain and the US are secretly renegotiating a pact which is a bedrock of their very special bilateral relationship.

Their Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA), first signed in 1958, is due for renewal this year. Britain relies on it to secure, maintain, and upgrade, its nuclear warheads.

“The UK regards safety, security and reliability as central to the maintenance of its nuclear warheads”, the Foreign Office stated in an “explanatory memorandum” on an amendment to the MDA ten years ago. It added: “The programme benefits from long-standing collaboration with US scientists, including the sharing of data and test results and the use of US test facilities”.

The extent to which Britain’s nuclear arsenal is dependent on American help, through the MDA, is clearly set out in The Bang Behind The Buck, a paper just published by the Royal United Services Institute.

It warns that the future shape of the US nuclear arsenal is uncertain and it is unlikely Britain will be able to decide the future of its own arsenal until the US has agreed on the future of its own arsenal, whatever condition the UK’s warheads are in………

The government should not get away with renewing in secret an agreeement that has serious implications for the non-proliferation treaty (NPT), the nature of Britain’s “independent deterrent”, and its relationship with the US.

As one commentator has remarked: “On past performance, most MPs will need some considerable external encouragement before accepting that the renewal of the MDA is a subject that ought to be debated openly and democratically, both within and without Westminster.

“At the moment, it rather looks as if the Conservative government of prime minister Cameron is intent on following in the footsteps of the Labour government of Tony Blair by ensuring that the US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement is in the bag for a further ten years before the parliamentary summer recess, and quite possibly before the Easter recess.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/defence-and-security-blog/2014/apr/02/nuclear-weapons-warheads-trident

April 3, 2014 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Increasing levels of radioactive cesium in Vancouver area

Cesium-137Radio: “Surprisingly, high concentrations [of Fukushima cesium] found in Vancouver area” since ocean currents slow down — Levels are increasing — “Might be hotspots where radiation concentrates” — “Chances are high for marine life to absorb it… concern about mussels… clams, oysters” (AUDIO) http://enenews.com/radio-surprisingly-high-concentrations-fukushima-cesium-found-vancouver-area-because-movement-ocean-currents-june-last-year-increasing-levels-found-be-hotspots-radiation-concentrate-chances-h?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

RED 93.1FM (Vancouver, BC), “The Filipino Edition”, Mar. 30, 2014:

At 4:15 in

Joseph Lopez, reporter: In the Vancouver area, as of June last year […] there are increasing levels of cesium-134, the same isotope released from Fukushima. […]
Irene Querubin, host: I hope we’re not slowly dying by that.

At 7:00 in

Lopez: There’s a strong current called the Kuroshio current […] these are highways in the ocean […] it’s one of the strongest water currents […] and this current passes through Fukushima but it is so strong it helps keep the radiation levels in the Fukushima area lower, it blows it away. […] These radioactive isotopes, in a slower speed — because they’re slowing down in these areas like Vancouver […] where the water is not as fast as in the ocean, there’s a chance for the radioactive isotopes to settle down and be in the water and possibly be absorbed by bottom feeders. […] The radioactive isotopes [are] not observed much in Japan, in the Fukushima area, surprisingly […] but the current pulls it away and acts as a boundary because it’s so fast. Once the speed slows down in our area, the chances are high for the marine life to absorb it.

At 11:00 in

Lopez: They’re not doing any testing right now, that’s why the public should be concerned […] We don’t know why they’re not doing it. They should be doing it. […] It is true that the Pacific Ocean will dilute the radiation, but what they found is there might be hotspots where this radiation might be concentrated. And surprisingly the high concentrations have been found in the Vancouver area because in these waters there’s less movement, less speed. […] I’m surprised that Dr. Smith of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans would categorically state that there’s a zero chance of starfish die-off [being related to radioactive contamination]. It’s like saying the Titanic will never sink. […] I would be concerned about mussels as well […] and clams and oysters, because they are filters. […] Remember no Hear-This-waylevel of radiation is ever safe.Full broadcast available here

April 3, 2014 Posted by | Canada, oceans, radiation | Leave a comment

Entergy’s dilemma – can’t afford to decommission uneconomic Vermont Nuclear Plant

nuke-reactor-deadVermont Nuclear Plant Seeks Decommission But Lacks Funds, Clean Technica 3 April 14,  On Friday, the Vermont Public Service Board voted to authorize Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., the operators of the Vermont Yankee electricity generating station at 546 Governor Hunt Rd. in Vernon, to close down their nuclear power plant by the end of this year. Because Entergy planned to shut the Vermont nuclear plant down prior to its licensed end-term, the board was required to approve the shutdown……..

The Vermont nuclear plant is similar to those at TEPCO’s ruined Fukushima Daiichi site………
Vermont Yankee has had detractors for almost all of its 42-year history. Anti-nuclear protests clouded the plant in its first decades of operation. A cooling tower cell collapsed there in 2007, and tritium leaks as high as 2.5 million picocuries (125 times the EPA drinking-water standard) also occurred. Nonetheless, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission renewed the license for the Vermont nuclear plant on March 21 three years ago for operation at 1,912 MWe until 2032.
Entergy announced last August that it intended to shut down the reactor late this year for economic reasons. As has happened elsewhere, declining natural gas prices and low wind power prices are making nuclear-generated power too expensive. Coal-fired plants in the region are also at risk of closure…….

Another remaining issue is a 12-year-old National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systempermit that has been under review by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources for the past eight years. Continued discharges of warm water into the Connecticut River appear to have adversely affected water quality downstream and altered ecological systems in the watershed.

Entergy has reserved just over $600 million to date for decommissioning the Vermont nuclear plant, according to the Department of Public Service. This amount will not be adequate to meet the costs of full deconstruction, estimated at more than $1 billion according to the company’s 2012 Decommissioning Cost Analysis report.

The company has pledged to put $25 million toward site restoration after decommissioning the plant. However, presumably, the pledge would be moot if Entergy cannot totally decommission the plant.

“That $400 million gap raises issues about where the money will come from to dismantle the plant safely,” MassLive editorializes. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/04/02/vermont-nuclear-plant-seeks-decommission-lacks-funds/

April 3, 2014 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Harvey Wasserman on the Nuclear Omnicide

Wasserman, HarveyThe Nuclear Omnicide http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Nuclear-Omnicide-by-Harvey-Wasserman-Chernobyl_Fracking_Fukushima_Nuclear-Cover-up-140401-599.html By  1 April 14 In the 35 years since the March 28, 1979, explosion and meltdown at Three Mile Island, fierce debate has raged over whether humans were killed there. In 1986 and 2011, Chernobyl and Fukushima joined the argument. Whenever these disasters happen, there are those who claim that the workers, residents and  military personnel  exposed to radiation will be just fine.

Of course we know better. We humans won’t jump into a pot of boiling water. We’re not happy when members of our species start dying around us. But frightening new scientific findings have forced us to look at a larger reality: the bottom-up damage that radioactive fallout may do to the entire global ecosystem.

When it comes to our broader support systems, the corporate energy industry counts on us to tolerate the irradiation of our fellow creatures, those on whom we depend, and for us to sleep through the point of no return.

Case in point is a new Smithsonian report on Chernobyl, one of the most terrifying documents of the atomic age.

Written by Rachel Nuwer, “Forests Around Chernobyl Aren’t Decaying Properly,” cites recent field studies in which the normal cycle of dead vegetation rotting into the soil has been disrupted by the exploded reactor’s radioactive fallout. “Decomposers — organisms such as microbes, fungi and some types of insects that drive the process of decay — have also suffered from the contamination,” Nuwer writes. “These creatures are responsible for an essential component of any ecosystem: recycling organic matter back into the soil.”

Put simply: The micro-organisms that form the active core of our ecological bio-cycle have apparently been zapped, leaving tree trunks, leaves, ferns and other vegetation to sit eerily on the ground whole, essentially in a mummified state.

Reports also indicate a significant shrinkage of the brains of birds in the region and negative impacts on the insect and wildlife populations.

Similar findings surrounded the accident at Three Mile Island. Within a year, a three-reporter team from the Baltimore News-American cataloged massive radiation impacts on both wild and farm animals in the area. The reporters and the Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed widespread damage to birds, bees and large kept animals such as horses, whose reproductive rate collapsed in the year after the accident.

Other reports also documented deformed vegetation and domestic animals being born with major mutations, including a dog born with no eyes and cats with no sense of balance.

To this day, Three Mile Island’s owners claim no humans were killed by radiation there, an assertion hotly disputed by local downwinders.

Indeed, Dr. Alice Stewart established in 1956 that a single X-ray to a pregnant woman doubles the chance that her offspring will get leukemia. During the accident at Three Mile Island, the owners crowed that the meltdown’s radiation was equivalent “only” to a single X-ray administered to all area residents.

Meanwhile, if the airborne fallout from Three Mile Island and Chernobyl could do that kind of damage to both infants and the non-human population on land, how is Fukushima’s continuous gusher of radioactive water affecting the life support systems of our oceans?

In fact, samplings of 15 tuna caught off the coast of California indicate all were contaminated with fallout from Fukushima.

Instant as always, the industry deems such levels harmless. The obligatory comparisons to living in Denver, flying cross country and eating bananas automatically follow.

But what’s that radiation doing to the tuna themselves? And to the krill, the phytoplankton, the algae, amoeba and all the other microorganisms on which the ocean ecology depends?

Cesium and its Fukushima siblings are already measurable in Alaska and northwestern Canada. They’ll hit California this summer. The corporate media will mock those parents who are certain to show up at the beaches with radiation detectors. Concerns about the effect on children will be jovially dismissed. The doses will be deemed, as always, “too small to have any impact on humans.” Harvey Wasserman edits  www.nukefree.org . His SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is at  www.solartopia.org . The Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show airs at www.progressiveradionetwork.com .

 

April 3, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Rick Perry, the nuclear industry’s man in Texas, wants radioactive waste dump

Perry,-Rick-money

 

 

Bloomberg reports that Texas Governor Rick Perry is pushing for a high level radioactive waste dump in Texas.

April 3, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Still time to submit to EU Commission against Hinkley nuclear rort

sign-thisThe EU consultation on state aid for the proposed new nuclear power plant, Hinkley Point C. Quick copy and paste submission. It Happens 1 April 14

 This is the submission done by Global 2000 ,which they say you are welcome to copy and paste  – Just add your name, email  address and the date at the end.  Send to stateaidgreffe@ec.europa.eu 
You don’t have to send it all and if there are any other points you want to raise, the scruffily put together facts in my last blog might be useful. There are some good links there too.

To: EU Commission – Directorate-General for Competition
E-mail: stateaidgreffe@ec.europa.eu
Subject: Hinkley Point C
I am very concerned about the current plans of the UK government to make a new nuclear power plant possible by granting enormous support for it. We would like to encourage the EU Commission to stick to its clear analysis, because we as CITIZENS/ NGOS/ BUSINESS in the UK do not want to be forced into paying a fixed high electricity price to EDF for several decades, with no chance of the possibly of making use of lower electricity prices…….. http://dandelionithappens-dendelion.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-eu-consultation-on-state-aid-for.html

April 3, 2014 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

A good business case for renewable energy

logo-IRENAIRENA: Making A Business Case for Renewable Energy , WSJ By ASA FITCH, 3 April 14  Solid progress has been made in the past three years promoting renewable energy as a policy choice, especially in parts of the developing world where demand is expected to grow rapidly, although more must be done to make clean energy a significant share of the global mix, according to the director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Renewable technologies are quickly becoming cheaper, IRENA director general Adnan Amin said this week, which is making things like solar, wind and geothermal power increasingly practical.

IRENA, an organization established by international treaty and based in Abu Dhabi, has grown its membership from 70 countries when it started operations three years ago this month to more than 130 today, which Mr. Amin said was another way to measure how interest in renewables has grown.

“The secret to renewables is going to be how fast we can get to scale, draw down the costs of the technology, create business models that can work in different environments, and utilize the fast-moving innovation processes for renewables,” Mr. Amin said. “All of that is coming together, and what we are seeing is remarkable progress has already been made, but the rate of change is accelerating.” Continue reading

April 3, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Lax record keeping and security in USA nuclear arsenal

du_roundsThe Guardians Of the U.S. Nuclear Arsenal Don’t Keep Very Good Records http://io9.com/the-guardians-of-the-u-s-nuclear-arsenal-dont-keep-ve-1557024074 3 April 14, The scathing 19-page report, available on the website of Energy Department’s Office of Inspector General, warns that the range of problems “may ultimately increase costs and could negatively impact the reliability and safety” of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

As the Global Security Newswire notes: In one case, officials incorrectly approved two components to be added to a variant of the W-76 nuclear warhead. The error, they said, cost between $20 million and $25 million, and held up preparation of new parts by an extra 12 months.

The United States never “treated the maintenance of original nuclear weapons [records] as a priority” during or after the Cold War…The auditors argued, though, that “recapturing the department’s original nuclear weapons data in a configurable format can potentially save tens of millions of dollars.”

Even worse—yes, there’s a “worse”—the investigation found that lax security at the Los Alamos National Laboratory “had given system access to approximately 30 nuclear weapons designers regardless of whether they were assigned to a nuclear weapon project.” Translation: Saboteurs could potentially tamper with existing weapons designs.

April 3, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Intractible dangers for space travel due to ionising radiation

text ionisingMars health risks exceed NASA limits Sky News 3 April 14,  Efforts to send humans to Mars would likely expose them to health risks beyond the limits of what NASA currently allows, an independent panel of medical experts said Wednesday.

Therefore, any long-term or deep space missions — which are still decades off — need a special level of ethical scrutiny, said the report by the Institute of Medicine.

‘These types of missions will likely expose crews to levels of known risk that are beyond those allowed by current health standards, as well as to a range of risks that are poorly characterised, uncertain and perhaps unforeseeable,’ said the IOM report.

Currently, astronauts are launched into low-Earth orbit, where they spend three to six months at a time aboard the International Space Station (ISS), but journeys to Mars could take up to 18 months.

NASA has said it aims to send people to the Red Planet by the 2030s and is working on building a heavy duty launcher and spacecraft for this purpose.

Health risks from short-term missions in space can include nausea, weakness and blurred vision, while long-term risks include radiation-induced cancer and the loss of bone mass……..http://www.skynews.com.au/tech/article.aspx?id=963933

April 3, 2014 Posted by | health, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Major Findings from studies of Wildlife in Chernobyl and Fukushima:

http://www.totalwebcasting.com/tamdata/Documents/hcf/20130311-1/Mousseau-NYAM-Caldicott-edited.pdf

Screenshot from 2014-04-03 03:39:26

1) Most organisms studied show significantly increased rates of genetic

damage in direct proportion to the level of exposure to radioactive

contaminants

2) Many organisms show increased rates of deformities and developmental

abnormalities in direct proportion to contamination levels

3) Many organisms show reduced fertility rates…..

4) Many organisms show reduced life spans……

5) Many organisms show reduced population sizes…..

6) Biodiversity is significantly decreased…… many species locally extinct.

7) Mutations are passed from one generation to the next, and show signs

of accumulating over time.

8) Mutations are migrating out of affected areas into populations that are

not exposed (i.e. population bystander effects).

April 3, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Construction cost overruns of Olkiluoto reactor rival skyscrapers, Pyramids and the Taj Mahal!!!

the great pyramids

Woes continue to mount around the construction of Finland’s Olkiluoto 3, the new generation European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), as new cost estimates for its completion have reached new heights, hitting the $11 billion dollar mark, Hesingen Sanomat reported, outpacing expenditures on ultra-luxury hotels and paying for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center three times over.

The project, which as of last year this time was already running $7 billion, or €5 billion, over its originally estimated price tag of €3 billion, sheds a dim light on the practicality and expense of the first-of-its kind reactor, which has been touted as a revolution in nuclear power production.

Nils Bøhmer, Bellona’s general director and nuclear physicist called the new round of cost overruns “absolutely insane” and questioned why such lavish sums could not be expended in the field of far cheaper renewable and alternative energy sources.

oikukiuto_photo

The coverage of the newly announced bill for the reactor in Helsingen Sanomat, Finland’s usually staid and respected daily paper of record, took a positively jeering parry at the cost overrun, and summoned comparisons to the world’s most expensive casinos, luxury hotels  and even the Pyramids and the Taj Mahal to make its point.

The paper drew on the cost of Singapore’s ultra-luxury Marina Bay Sands Hotel and casino, the world’s most expensive building, which, on its completion, weighed in at €5.2 billion.

But as time has shown, the building of any nuclear power plant is always a gamble, making the newspaper’s comparison quite apt.

 

marina bay sands hotel

The original contract between Finland’s Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) and Areva-Siemens signed in 2003 envisioned the plant would cost € 3.2 billion, with a completion date of 2009. TVO announced in December 2011 that it anticipated the 1600 MWe plant to begin commercial operation in August 2014, some five years later than originally planned. By that same year, the ancitipated costs of the plant had balloned to €8.5 billion, according to data released by Areva.

The giant facility, which is under construction on an island in the Baltic Sea, is forecasted to be large enough to supply 10 percent of Finland’s electricity needs.

Though Hesingen Sanomat’s Tuesday report did not report any further delays to the beginning of commercial operation of Olkiluoto 3, it was quick to point out that the reactor’s cost would equal that of three new skyscrapers of the type that are being reconstructed at New York City’s World Trade Center One.

In fairness, the paper pointed out that Canada’s Darlington Nuclear Generating Station located on the northern shore of Lake Ontario and running 4 CANDU reactors, similarly ran into insatiable cost overruns. By its completion the plant had cost €13.8 billion do built.

But this is arguably a slightly better deal: Darlington kicks out 3,512 MWe of energy to Olkiluoto 3’s projected 1600 MWe. Roughly, each of Darlington’s reactors cost some €3.5 billion and produce 878 MWe of energy a piece, according to Ontario Power Generation, the plant’s owner.

This means they two reactors at Darlington can produce the slightly more power than Olkiluoto 3 for a discount of a billion Euro.

Furthermore, Darlington only blew its original budget parameters by twice its initially announced cost, according to the March 4, 1993 edition of The Toronto Star, where Olkiluoto 3 has surpassed that to almost three times its originally planned cost.

Bøhmer said the tremendous skyrocketing of building nuclear reactors was attributable to the fact that reactors require tons and tons of concrete. But even so, he said, the experience of some 60 years of building nuclear power plants worldwide should lead to more accurate cost estimates than the nuclear industry can produce.

What becomes especially troublesome, he added – especially with all that concrete involved – is how much it will cost to dismantle these nuclear facilities, including Olkiluoto 3.

“This is math no one does at the beginning,” he said. “This leads to further uncertainty about the growing costs of the nuclear industry, because there are no cost analyses for dismantlement and safe storage of the resulting nuclear waste.”

For the accountants running the book on Olkiluoto 3, there is bound to be hell to pay eventually. In that case, they can always slip the country to Hong Kong and ease their conscience a bit in the knowledge that the airport there cost a cool $21 billion.

Charles Digges

charles@bellona.no

April 3, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Los Angeles secret nuclear meltdown at the Santa Susana Laboratory – 1957

http://theperiledsea.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=6439274%3ABlogPost%3A119782&commentId=6439274%3AComment%3A119927&xg_source=activity

 

The world’s first nuclear meltdown happened 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles, and released hundreds of times more radiation than Three Mile Island. And I’m betting you’ve never heard of it.

I was at the SMMTC board meeting on Thursday night, and two of the parks representatives were arguing about whether Runkle Canyon was owned by the National Park Service or another agency. I pulled out my iPhone to check it out on Google, but was surprised to see that most of the links mentioned a nuclear disaster. I’ve lived in Simi Valley for 5 years, Runkle Canyon is only a few miles from my house, and that was news to me.

Digging in deeper, I discovered that the world’s first commercial nuclear reactor was opened at Rocketdyne’s Santa Susana Laboratory in 1957, powering 1100 homes in nearby Moorpark. As an experimental facility, it had no concrete containment shell, and it was using the highly reactive element sodium as a cooling agent, rather than water. In 1959, the cooling system failed, 13 out of 43 fuel rods melted, and a large amount of radioactive gas was leaked into the air. No measurements were taken at the time, but the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Advisory Panel report estimates that the total radiation released could have been up to 500 times that of Three Mile Island.

For 20 years the accident was kept secret, with a small report stating that only one fuel rod had melted and no radiation was released. In 1979 a UCLA professor uncovered documents showing the true extent of the accident, and since then there’s been a struggle to reconstruct exactly how much contamination there was, and how to clean it up. Home developers have recently been pushing to buy the site from Boeing and build a …! Luckily there was a recent agreement to keep the area an open space as a new state park.

I’m still happy here in Simi Valley, but now I’ll be keeping a careful count to catch any newly sprouted fingers or toes. For more information on the accident itself, check out this History Channel excerpt:

April 3, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Miyakoji area near Fukushima not safe, there are high levels of radiation in the air – epidemiologist

This is either the first or the second worst atomic disaster in history. Maybe it is the first or second worst environmental disaster in history. This is not a small leak. So, we should be very cautious in allowing people to return to an area so close to these huge amounts of radiation.

http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_04_02/Miyakoji-area-near-Fukushima-not-safe-there-are-high-levels-of-radiation-in-the-air-epidemiologist-0452/

2 April 2014, 23:59

Residents of a small district around 12 miles from the Fukushima plant are allowed to return home – for the first time since the nuclear disaster that took place more than three years ago. The decision, which took effect on Tuesday, applies to 357 people in 117 households from a district of Tamura city after the government determined that radiation levels are low enough for habitation. The Miyakoji area of the north-eastern city of Tamura has been a no-go zone for most residents since March 2011.

The government ordered evacuation after a devastating earthquake and tsunami caused a triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant. But many of the evacuees are still undecided about going back because of fears about radiation levels, and especially its effect on children. The Voice of Russia talked to Joseph Mangano, epidemiologist, and Executive Director of Radiation and Public Health Project research group.

From the point of view of an epidimiologist, how safe is the Miyakoji area?

It is not safe. First of all, any level of radiation has a health risk, has a safety risk to it but especially in an area that is only 20 km away from Fukushima, that is very close, we know that there are high levels of radiation in the air, in the water and in the food. And anybody who returns will be breathing and drinking and eating this radiation which creates a health hazard and a special hazard for certain groups such as unborn babies, young children and pregnant women.

I was talking to Ryugo Hayano, Professor of Physics at the University of Tokyo. He says that the level of radiation right now in this area is somewhere from 1.5 to 2.5 millisieverts. And he says that this is a safe level of radiation. You disagree with that.

I definitely disagree, and not only do I disagree but the blue-ribbon panel called the BEIR committee, on exposure of levels of ionizing radiation, disagrees. They have put out 7 reports in the last 40 years and everyone of them concludes based on hundreds of scientific studies that all levels of radiation are harmful. The higher the radiation, the higher the risk but there is no safe level. That is like saying if you smoked 4 or 5 cigarettes a day, that would be not harmful. It is only a few. First of all, you have to do the studies.

These people are not doing any health studies, and number two, these studies are going to show there is some risk because tobacco is not safe and radiation is not safe, and especially in a case like this. This is either the first or the second worst atomic disaster in history. Maybe it is the first or second worst environmental disaster in history. This is not a small leak. So, we should be very cautious in allowing people to return to an area so close to these huge amounts of radiation.

What do you suggest Tokyo should do?

The government should, especially the government health officials, should do much better job in monitoring the levels of radiation in air, in all the diets, and they should be extra-vigilant in making sure that nobody lives close to the plant like this, 20 km away. That is what a health department does, it protects people.

Why do you think they are doing the exact opposite right now providing incentives for people to actually come back to that zone?

They are doing it for reasons other than health reasons, I can tell you that. Any good health official, any good health department is going to be cautious especially when you had such a massive meltdown with such high radiation which by the way is not over. Unlike even Chernobyl which was over in just a few weeks and months, 3 years later radiation is still being released from Fukushima, every single day, large amounts are going into the air and into the Pacific Ocean. So, it is not the time to be telling people to return to areas so close to this terrible disaster.

April 3, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Los Alamos resumes nuclear-waste shipments to temporary storage “before wildfire season peaks”

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 6:49 p.m.

http://www.aikenstandard.com/article/20140402/AIK0106/140409830/1013/los-alamos-resumes-nuclear-waste-shipments

Los Alamos resumes nuclear-waste shipments

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — Los Alamos National Laboratory, under a tight deadline to get nuclear waste off its northern New Mexico campus before wildfire season peaks, has begun trucking containers to temporary storage in west Texas while the government’s only permanent nuclear dump remains shuttered by a radiation leak.

The first shipments arrived at a commercial nuclear waste dump in Andrews County on Tuesday, more than a month after the nation’s only permanent repository for the waste in southeastern New Mexico was closed by back-to-back accidents, Los Alamos and U.S. Department of Energy officials said.

Shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad were halted Feb. 5 after a truck hauling salt in the half-mile deep mine and repository caught fire. Nine days later, radiation leaked above ground at the facility, contaminating at least 21 workers and sending toxins into the air around the dump. Officials insist all the levels were way below those deemed unsafe.

A series of shortcomings were cited two weeks ago by a team that investigated the truck fire. Officials hope to get underground this week to begin investigating what caused the radiation release.

The dump’s closure left federal officials scrambling to find an alternative for the last of nearly 4,000 barrels of plutonium-contaminated tools and protective gear from decades of nuclear bomb-building at Los Alamos. The lab has promised to have all the waste, which is stored outside on a mesa, removed by the end of June.

The state of New Mexico pressured Los Alamos to speed up removal of the waste after a massive wildfire in 2011 that lapped at the edges of lab property. Los Alamos said about 100 shipments remain, and it hopes to send about 10 a week until the waste is cleared.

 

April 3, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment