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Fukushima Daiichi Reactor 1 Spraying & Cover Removal

Spraying of anti-scattering agent before taking down the wall panels of Unit 1 building cover at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
Video taken on: August 4 and September 3, 2016
Produced by: TEPCO Holdings, Inc.

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September 14, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Japanese steel in French nuclear facilities found to have high impurity level

The concentration of impurity in steel a Japanese manufacturer supplied to nuclear facilities in France exceeded the standards set by the European country, Japan’s nuclear watchdog said Wednesday, meaning the steel could be weaker than expected.

Briefed recently by French regulators about the finding, the Nuclear Regulation Authority is looking into allegations regarding the products provided by the Kitakyushu-based firm under scrutiny, Japan Casting & Forging Corp.

The NRA said it needs to carry out tests to evaluate whether the steel is in fact lacking in strength.

The French regulators said in June they found steel containing larger-than-expected amounts of impure substances in facilities such as reactor pressure vessels at 18 reactors operating in France and are investigating the matter. The steel products in question were made by Japan Casting & Forging and Creusot Forge, a subsidiary of France’s Areva SA.

In August, the NRA ordered local utilities hosting nuclear power plants in Japan to examine reactors and other major parts at the plants. The utilities have been asked to report the results to the NRA by the end of October.

Japan Casting & Forging is also under scrutiny in Japan as it is responsible for the construction of reactor pressure vessels in 13 Japanese nuclear reactors including the Sendai Nos. 1 and 2 reactors operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co. in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Currently, the two Sendai reactors are operating in Japan after passing stricter safety checks in the wake of the 2011 nuclear crisis that crippled the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

Japan Casting & Forging had said earlier it has removed the impurities from its steel as instructed by its clients.

The NRA said the standard for carbon content in metals — a gauge of impurity — is below 0.22 percent in France, while the figure in Japan is below 0.25 percent.

But in some products provided by the Japanese firm in some nuclear facilities, carbon content in steel was over 0.3 percent.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/14/national/japanese-steel-french-nuclear-facilities-found-high-impurity-level/#.V9l5QTX8-M8

September 14, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Fan club formed to promote Fukushima produce

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Nearly 5½ years after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, a fan club was launched last week with an ambitious membership goal: gain 200,000 members by 2020 and boost the region’s products in the process.

Called Team Fukushima Pride, the project’s fans aren’t devoted to a pop idol group, but instead the local specialties of Fukushima Prefecture.

Already it has the support of organizations such as Yahoo Japan Corp. and Synergy Marketing Inc., which runs the fan club for professional baseball team Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

Many people want to support Fukushima products but don’t know how to purchase them. I would like to organize a community for them and increase fans,” reconstruction minister Hiroaki Nagasawa, whose ministry spearheads the project, said.

At the heart of the project is a website that sells local products.

Hayato Ogasawara, spokesman for Fukushima Challenge Hajimeppe, an organization tasked with running the fan club and website, said the time of begging people to buy Fukushima products is over. Instead, the focus is to make Fukushima a brand of high-quality farm and marine produce.

Rather than stressing the safety of the products, we want to inform people simply how great producers and products” in Fukushima are, said Ogasawara.

He said since the disaster the prefecture has been working to assure the safety of its local produce.

We don’t conduct our own (radiation) checks on the products, but if asked we would explain the efforts of the prefecture,” he said.

Although many people supported Fukushima products in 2011 in the wake of the quake and tsunami, and subsequent radiation crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Ogasawara said sales figures have declined as a result of what he describes as the spread of misinformation about food safety, and due to diminished public focus on the area.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government continues to monitor radiation levels of the prefecture’s food products, ranging from vegetables and fruit to seafood. Among the 9,445 samples of 374 food items checked between April 1 and Aug. 31, just three samples were found to contain radioactive cesium exceeding the government limit of 100 becquerels per kilogram, according to the prefecture. The items that exceeded the limit were banned from distribution.

The market value of peaches grown in Fukushima is roughly 80 percent of the price levels before the disaster,” Ogasawara said.

It’s easy to beat the price down if the product is made in Fukushima. Our mission is to bring the price up and eventually develop fan bases for each producer there.”

Available for purchase are fruit, vegetables, sake and traditional crafts produced in the prefecture.

While the website allows anyone to make purchases, fan club members also have access to exclusive items.

Admission is free, and members are also offered opportunities to interact with Fukushima farmers through a special Facebook group and harvesting tours.

After the disaster, I felt what we farmers could do by ourselves (was) very limited,” said Emi Kato, 35, a rice farmer in the city of Fukushima, who is involved in the project.

But now there is a platform, which connects farmers and consumers. I’d like to keep on promoting the charm of Fukushima products.”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/14/national/fan-club-formed-promote-fukushima-produce/#.V9l5LzX8-M8

September 14, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Mutational signatures of ionizing radiation in second malignancies

This article is important, and should be seen by as many people as possible, as this scientific study will impact greatly the future of our anti-nuclear cause.
By establishing the genetic signatures of any cancer caused by ionizing radiation, any future denial from the nuclear lobby is now impossible. Those scientifically established signatures will also be extremely helpful in court for any future suit from radiation victims.

Abstract

Ionizing radiation is a potent carcinogen, inducing cancer through DNA damage. The signatures of mutations arising in human tissues following in vivo exposure to ionizing radiation have not been documented. Here, we searched for signatures of ionizing radiation in 12 radiation-associated second malignancies of different tumour types. Two signatures of somatic mutation characterize ionizing radiation exposure irrespective of tumour type. Compared with 319 radiation-naive tumours, radiation-associated tumours carry a median extra 201 deletions genome-wide, sized 1–100 base pairs often with microhomology at the junction. Unlike deletions of radiation-naive tumours, these show no variation in density across the genome or correlation with sequence context, replication timing or chromatin structure. Furthermore, we observe a significant increase in balanced inversions in radiation-associated tumours. Both small deletions and inversions generate driver mutations. Thus, ionizing radiation generates distinctive mutational signatures that explain its carcinogenic potential.

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Introduction

Exposure to ionizing radiation increases the risk of subsequent cancer. This risk exhibits a strong dose–response relationship, and there appear to be no safe limits for radiation exposure1. This association was first noted by March who observed an increased incidence of leukaemia amongst radiologists2. A leading cause of radiation-induced cancers appears to be exposure to medical radiation, either in the form of radiotherapy for an unrelated malignancy3 or diagnostic radiography4, 5. These iatrogenic tumours arise as de novo neoplasms in a field of therapeutic radiation after a latency period that can span decades6, and are not recurrences of the original cancer7.

Many, but not all, environmental carcinogens induce cancer by increasing the rate of mutation in somatic cells. The physicochemical properties of a given carcinogen govern its interaction with DNA, leading to recurrent ‘signatures’ or patterns of mutations in the genome. These can be reconstructed either from experimental model systems8, 9 or from statistical analyses of cancer genomes in exposed patients10, 11, 12. Ionizing radiation directly damages DNA, and can generate lesions on single bases, single-stranded nicks in the DNA backbone, clustered lesions at several nearby sites and double-stranded DNA breaks13. In experimental systems exposed to radiation, including the murine germline and Arabidopsis thaliana cells, ionizing radiation can cause all classes of mutations, with possible enrichment of indels14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22. Targeted gene screens in radiation-induced sarcoma have indicated an increased burden of deletions and substitutions with frequent inactivation of TP53 and RB1 (refs 23, 24, 25). In addition, a transcriptome profile that represents a state of chronic oxidative stress has been proposed to be specific to radiation-associated sarcoma26.

We studied the genomes of 12 radiation-associated second malignancies of four different tumour types: osteosarcoma; spindle cell sarcoma; angiosarcoma; breast cancer. These were secondary tumours that arose within a field of therapeutic ionizing radiation and were not thought to be recurrences of the original malignancy treated with radiation. We chose this experimental design for several reasons: the tumours are classic radiotherapy-induced cancers with high attributable risks for the radiation exposure; the radiation exposure occurs over a short time period relative to the evolution of the cancer; and the mutational signatures of sporadic breast cancers and sarcomas have been well documented10, 27, 28, 29. It should be noted that in the absence of biomarkers, a diagnosis of a tumour being radiation-induced cannot be definitively made (see Supplementary Note 1 for clinical details and further discussion).

We subjected these 12 tumours, along with normal tissues from the same patients, to whole-genome sequencing and obtained catalogues of somatic mutations. We compared our findings to 319 radiation-naive breast cancers and sarcomas processed by the same sequencing and bioinformatics pipeline: 251 breast tumours; 33 breast tumours with pathogenic BRCA1 or BRCA2 germline mutations; 35 osteosarcomas (see Methods for cohort details). In addition, we validated our findings in a published series of radiation-naïve and radiation-exposed prostate tumours from ten patients30.

The main aim of our analyses was to search for tumour-type independent, overarching signatures of ionizing radiation. Overall we identified two such signatures in radiation-associative second malignancies, an excess of balanced inversions and of small deletions.

To read more :

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2016/160907/ncomms12605/full/ncomms12605.html

September 14, 2016 Posted by | radiation, Reference | , , | Leave a comment

USA’s ‘show of force’- bombers fly over South Korea

U.S. bombers fly over South Korea in show of force after nuclear test, Reuters,  By James Pearson and Ju-min Park | SEOUL, 13 Sept 16 

Two U.S. B-1 bombers flew over South Korea on Tuesday in a show of force and solidarity with its ally after North Korea’s nuclear test last week, while a U.S. envoy called for a swift and strong response to Pyongyang from the United Nations.

Speaking in the South Korean capital on Tuesday, Sung Kim, the U.S. envoy on North Korea, added that the United States remained open to meaningful dialogue with Pyongyang on ending its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

“Our intention is to secure the strongest possible (U.N. Security Council) resolution that includes new sanctions as quickly as possible,” Kim told a news briefing after meeting his South Korean counterpart.

He said the United States would work with China, North Korea’s major diplomatic ally, to close loopholes in existing resolutions, which were tightened with Beijing’s backing in March.

“China has been very clear that they understand the need for a new U.N. security council resolution in response to the latest North Korean nuclear test,” Kim said.

However, China and Russia, which strongly oppose a recent decision by the United States and South Korea to deploy an advanced anti-missile system in the South to counter the North’s missile threat, have shown reluctance to back further sanctions…….http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-nuclear-idUSKCN11J059

September 14, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Donald Trump not psychologically safe for military service, (but OK for President?)

TrumpAuthor Eric Schlosser: That “emotionally unstable” Donald Trump could end up with the nuclear codes is “like the plot out of a science-fiction film”http://www.salon.com/2016/09/13/author-eric-schlosser-that-emotionally-unstable-donald-trump-could-end-up-with-the-nuclear-codes-is-like-the-plot-out-of-a-science-fiction-film/

Schlosser explained that in the military, Trump “would be forbidden from working with nuclear weapons Eric Schlosser, author of “Command and Control,” in a Facebook Live interview with Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir on Tuesday, warned of the dire possibility that GOP presidential nominee could wind up with sole control of the United States’ nuclear arsenal.

 “I feel compelled to make a political remark,” Schlosser said. “It’s extraordinary that there’s any possibility Donald Trump could be president of the United States and commander-in-chief and in charge of our nuclear arsenal. Under the law, the only person who’s authorized to order the use of nuclear weapons is the president. And he or she is pretty much unrestricted about when he or she wants to use them.

Schlosser explained that people who work with nuclear weapons in any capacity must pass a personnel reliability program — “basically a personality test to see if you should be let anywhere near nuclear weapons.”

“Donald Trump would fail that on every score,” he continued. “He’s a liar, he’s got all kinds of personal business problems and debts, he’s clearly emotionally unstable, and in the military he would be forbidden from working with nuclear weapons. And the notion of him being commander-in-chief, with the launch codes, capable of devastating cities and countries, is extraordinary. It’s like the plot out of a science-fiction film.”

September 14, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

The sugar industry joins the throng corrupting science

science-crooked

How the Sugar Lobby Skewed Health Research Archival documents reveal how the sugar industry secretly funded heart disease research by Harvard professors, Time, Alexandra Sifferlin @acsifferlin Sept. 12, 2016 The sugar industry has a long history of skewing nutrition science, a new report suggests. By combing through archival documents from the 1950s and 1960s, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), report that the sugar industry sponsored research that turned attention away from the sweetener’s link to heart disease and toward fat and cholesterol as the bigger culprits.

The documents the researchers reviewed in their report, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, included correspondence between the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) and nutrition professors at the Harvard School of Public Health. The letters discussed the SRF’s effort to respond to growing research linking sugar to coronary heart disease.

In 1954, SRF then-president Henry Hass gave a speech to the American Society of Sugar Beet Technologists that highlighted opportunities for the sugar industry to expand by encouraging people to adopt a low-fat diet. He said:

“Leading nutritionists are pointing out the chemical connection between [Americans’] high-fat diet and the formation of cholesterol which partly plugs our arteries and capillaries, restricts the flow of blood, and causes high blood pressure and heart trouble… if you put [the middle-aged man] on a low-fat diet, it takes just five days for the blood cholesterol to get down to where it should be… If the carbohydrate industries were to recapture this 20 percent of the calories in the US diet (the difference between the 40 percent which fat has and the 20 percent which it ought to have) and if sugar maintained its present share of the carbohydrate market, this change would mean an increase in the per capita consumption of sugar more than a third with a tremendous improvement in general health.”

What appears to have happened next were efforts by the SRF to increase skepticism over sugar’s link to heart troubles. In 1967, an SRF-funded report led by Harvard nutrition professors was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The report reviewed the available evidence that linked various nutrients to heart disease and argued that epidemiological and animal studies that linked sugar with heart disease were limited, and suggested the available science wasn’t up to snuff. The review also highlighted studies that linked saturated fat to heart problems, without the same critiques. The review was published in the journal without disclosing the sugar industry’s funding or role in making the study happen in the first place. (Later, in 1984, the NEJM began requiring disclosure of conflicts of interest.)……….

It’s not the first time researchers have found links between sugar industry connections and nutrition science. The same team of UCSF researchers behind the new study previously used sugar industry documents to reveal how advocacy groups influenced federal cavity prevention recommendations.

“What struck me was that I thought the evidence the researchers summarized in the review was stronger and more consistent for a sugar effect [on coronary heart disease] than for a fat effect,” says study author Stanton Glantz of UCSF. “No matter how good the evidence was linking sugar to heart disease, there was something wrong with it. But for fat, the evidence was fine. They set up a false dichotomy.”

In an editorial published alongside new study, Marion Nestle, a professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at NYU, writes that the Harvard professors who conducted the review knew what the funders wanted and provided those findings. “Whether they did this deliberately, unconsciously, or because they genuinely believed saturated fat to be the greater threat is unknown,” Nestle writes. “But science is not supposed to work this way. The documents make this review seem more about public relations than science.”………http://time.com/4485710/sugar-industry-heart-disease-research/

September 14, 2016 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Earthquakes cause South Korea to halt four nuclear reactors

Four South Korea nuclear reactors suspended due to earthquakes http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-quake-nuclearpower-idUSKCN11I1X5
South Korea’s nuclear operator said early on Tuesday it suspended operation of four reactors at a nuclear power complex as a precaution late on Monday after two earthquakes struck the country’s southeast.

The earthquakes, of magnitude 5.1 and 5.8, occurred on Monday night near the city of Gyeongju, according to South Korea’s meteorological agency.

The 5.8 magnitude earthquake was the strongest recorded in South Korea, an official at the meteorological agency said.
Two injuries had been reported as a result of the quake, but no serious damage had been immediately reported, the agency said.

State-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co shut down the Wolsong No.1, Wolsong No.2, Wolsong No.3 and Wolsong No.4 reactors, with a combined capacity of 2,779 megawatts, an official with the operator said.

It was not immediately clear when the four reactors would restart. The shutdown of the four takes the number of reactors offline in the country to seven, according to KHNP website. KHNP, owned by state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO), operates 25 nuclear reactors in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
(Reporting by Jane Chung,Ju-min Park; Editing by Tony Munroe and Alison Williams)

September 14, 2016 Posted by | safety, South Korea | Leave a comment

Subsidising NewYork’s nuclear power stations – not agood plan

Nuclear power vs. other carbon-free fuels While power markets do indeed undervalue low-carbon fuels, all of the other premises underlying the nuclear industry approach are flawed. In California and in Nebraska, utilities plan to replace nuclear plants that are closing early for economic reasons almost entirely with electricity from carbon-free sources. Such transitions are achievable in most systems as long as the shutdowns are planned in advance to be carbon-free.

In California these replacement resources, which include renewables, storage, transmission enhancements and energy efficiency measures, will for the most part be procured through competitive processes. Indeed, any state where a utility text-my-money-2threatens to close a plant can run an auction to ascertain whether there are sufficient low-carbon resources available to replace the unit within a particular time frame. Only then will regulators know whether, how much and for how long they should support the nuclear units.

Closing the noncompetitive plants would be a clear benefit to the New York economy. This is why a large coalition of big customers, alternative energy providers and environmental groups opposed the long-term subsidy plan.

Compete or Suckle: Should Troubled Nuclear Reactors Be Subsidized? http://www.theenergycollective.com/energy-post/2387838/compete-or-suckle-should-troubled-nuclear-reactors-be-subsidized September 13, 2016 by Energy Post by Peter Bradford, Adjunct Professor Vermont Law School.  Courtesy The ConversationSince the 1950s, U.S. nuclear power has commanded immense taxpayer and customer subsidy based on promises of economic and environmental benefits. Many of these promises are unfulfilled, but new ones take their place. More subsidies follow.

Today the nuclear industry claims that keeping all operating reactors running for many years, no matter how uneconomic they become, is essential in order to reach U.S. climate change targets. Continue reading

September 14, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

In Fukushima, a Determination to Move Past Nuclear Power

Local governments are making progress on their goal of generating all of the prefecture’s power from renewable sources by 2040

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Cattle farmer Minoru Kobayashi has built solar arrays on land that can’t be used for farming

IITATE, Japan—Many residents of Fukushima prefecture are still angry about the nuclear disaster five years ago that contaminated towns, farm fields and forests. But as the cleanup continues, local governments and some business owners here are channeling their frustration into something positive: clean-energy development.

Fukushima prefecture, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of Tokyo and roughly the size of Connecticut, was the site of the devastating meltdown of the Daiichi nuclear-power plant following an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Since then, most of Japan’s 50-plus nuclear plants, which were shut down after the accident for a safety review, have remained off line.

Determined to move away from nuclear energy permanently, local governments in Fukushima, as well as some local entrepreneurs, have taken advantage of national subsidies and embraced solar and wind power. Even as Japan’s overall move toward renewables appears to be stalling amid resistance from utilities and cheap fossil-fuel imports, the prefecture has made progress on its goal of generating 100% of the power its residents use from green sources by 2040.

New solar, wind and geothermal power generators, combined with Fukushima’s already abundant supply of hydropower, have boosted the share of renewable energy in the prefecture’s total power supply to more than one-quarter from one-fifth in 2009. By comparison, renewables made up just 14% of Japan’s overall energy production in the year ended in March.

Fukushima wants a “zero nuclear” power supply, says government spokesman Norihiro Nagao.

Among the business owners who have jumped into the fray is Minoru Kobayashi, 64, who ran a cattle farm about 25 miles inland from the Daiichi plant before the accident. Radioactive contamination forced him and his family to evacuate, along with their cattle, and the government tore down the family’s home and everything else within a 20-meter radius of the house.

Left with fields that couldn’t be used for farming, Mr. Kobayashi, along with a group of local farmers and investors, built four 50-kilowatt solar arrays on their land and plan to build 12 more by the end of next year. The group is selling power to the local utility at prices set by the government and expects to turn a profit by the end of this year. (The company signed power contracts with the local utility when prices were between 27 and 32 yen (26 to 31 cents) a kilowatt-hour. The current rate is 24 yen a kilowatt-hour.)

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Mr. Kobayashi says solar power represents more than just a business opportunity to him and his partners. “We welcome renewable energy as a protest to the nuclear power plant,” says Mr. Kobayashi.

Elsewhere, Yauemon Sato, who ran his family’s 226-year-old sake brewery for more than two decades, started the solar-power developer Aizu Electric Power Co. in Fukushima in 2013 with a group of friends and local business associates. The company has built 21 small and medium-size solar arrays and a one-megawatt solar farm in northern Fukushima. He says the new clean-energy businesses will create jobs and boost the economy.

We started this company as part of a social-justice movement,” Mr. Sato says.

Some business owners are even hoping renewable energy will become a tourist attraction.

In Tsuchiyu Onsen, a resort area known for its natural hot springs and proximity to national parks, local hotel owners joined forces to build a 400-kilowatt geothermal power generator and a small hydroelectric generator.

It has become a new selling point for the resort area, says Katsuichi Kato, 68, president of Genki Up Tsuchiyu Co. “There are many other hot springs towns,” he says. “We had to create a new industry: renewable energy tourism.”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/in-fukushima-a-determination-to-move-past-nuclear-power-1473818580

September 14, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | 1 Comment

Snowman Pear from Fukushima

Farmers are surprised to find this snow man shaped pear.
It’s about 3 cm diameter, and leaves are growing from the hollow.
“It’s not possible to have leaves on a fruit. I wonder why…” said Mr. Sato who found this pear.

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福島市笹谷の佐藤恒男さん(68)のナシ畑で、だるまのような形をしたナシが収穫され、近隣の農家から驚きの声が上がっている。

ナシは直径3センチほど。実の中ほどがくぼんでおり、くぼみから葉が生えている。

佐藤さんによると「実から葉が出ることは普通はあり得ない。なぜこんな実ができたのか不思議」と話した。

http://www.minyu-net.com/news/news/FM20160913-111130.php

September 14, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

DNA damage, cancer caused by ionizing radiation identified

This UPI article was published on Sept. 13, 2016.
I added below the source of that UPI article, the study published on the sciences website “Nature” on Sept. 12, 2016.
This article is important, and should be seen by as many people as possible, as this scientific study will impact greatly the future of our anti-nuclear cause.
By establishing the genetic signatures of any cancer caused by ionizing radiation, any future denial from the nuclear lobby is now impossible. Those scientifically established signatures will also be extremely helpful in court for any future suit from radiation victims.

Researchers found mutational signatures left by radiation-caused changes to DNA, which may lead to better treatment of cancers.

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Researchers found mutational signatures which appear to indicate changes to DNA caused by exposure to ionizing radiation, which may allow doctors to better treat cancer caused by non-spontaneous mutations.

LONDON, Sept. 13 (UPI) — Though scientists have suspected ionizing radiation can cause cancer, experiments conducted in England are the first to show the damage it inflicts on DNA and may allow doctors to identify tumors caused by radiation.

In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, scientists showed the effects of gamma rays, X-rays and radioactive particles on DNA, deciphering patterns they think will help differentiate between spontaneous and radiation-caused tumors, allowing for better cancer treatment.

“To find out how radiation could cause cancer, we studied the genomes of cancers caused by radiation in comparison to tumors that arose spontaneously,” Dr. Peter Campbell, a researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said in a press release. “By comparing the DNA sequences we found two mutational signatures for radiation damage that were independent of cancer type. We then checked the findings with prostate cancers that had or had not been exposed to radiation, and found the same two signatures again. These mutational signatures help us explain how high-energy radiation damages DNA.”

For the study, the researchers looked for mutational signatures in 12 cancer patients with radiation-associated second malignancies, and compared their tumors to 319 from patients not exposed to radiation.

The researchers found two mutational signatures they link to radiation. While one causes small deletions of DNA bases, the other — called a balanced inversion — includes two cuts to DNA, with the middle piece spinning around and rejoining in the opposite direction.

These mutations, especially balanced inversions, which do not happen naturally in the body, increase the potential for cancer to develop, the researchers say.

“This is the first time that scientists have been able to define the damage caused to DNA by ionising radiation,” said Adrienne Flanagan, a professor at the University College London Cancer Institute. “These mutational signatures could be a diagnosis tool for both individual cases, and for groups of cancers, and could help us find out which cancers are caused by radiation. Once we have better understanding of this, we can study whether they should be treated the same or differently to other cancers.”

http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2016/09/13/DNA-damage-cancer-caused-by-ionizing-radiation-identified/5151473765849/

Mutational signatures of ionizing radiation in second malignancies

« Ionizing radiation is a potent carcinogen, inducing cancer through DNA damage. The signatures of mutations arising in human tissues following in vivo exposure to ionizing radiation have not been documented. Here, we searched for signatures of ionizing radiation in 12 radiation-associated second malignancies of different tumour types. Two signatures of somatic mutation characterize ionizing radiation exposure irrespective of tumour type. Compared with 319 radiation-naive tumours, radiation-associated tumours carry a median extra 201 deletions genome-wide, sized 1–100 base pairs often with microhomology at the junction. Unlike deletions of radiation-naive tumours, these show no variation in density across the genome or correlation with sequence context, replication timing or chromatin structure. Furthermore, we observe a significant increase in balanced inversions in radiation-associated tumours. Both small deletions and inversions generate driver mutations. Thus, ionizing radiation generates distinctive mutational signatures that explain its carcinogenic potential. »

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2016/160907/ncomms12605/full/ncomms12605.html

September 14, 2016 Posted by | radiation | , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s lurch away from nuclear hasn’t caused fossil fuels to boom

The emergency shutdown of nuclear reactors hasn’t been an emissions disaster.

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In the wake of the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors, Japan shut down its entire nuclear fleet in order to develop more rigorous safety standards and inspect the remaining plants. As of now, plants are only beginning to come back online.

Given that Japan had recently relied on nuclear for over a quarter of its electricity, the expectation is that emissions would rise dramatically. But that hasn’t turned out to be the case. While coal use has gone up, it hasn’t risen by more than 10 percent. And a heavy dose of conservation has cut Japan’s total electricity use to below where it was at the end of last decade.

Based on the graph, it appears that nuclear was playing a decreasing role in Japan’s energy mix even prior to Fukushima, being displaced in part by natural gas and in part by petroleum. But that may be an artifact of the chart, given that nuclear was shut down entirely immediately after Fukushima, but the chart shows it persisting. In either case, post-Fukushima conservation efforts dropped Japan’s electricity use below a PetaWatt-hour, and further efforts have turned the drop in electricity use into an ongoing trend.

Fossil fuel use has gone up, but not by as much as might be expected. Coal rose by eight percent, and natural gas (transported in its liquefied form) rose by nine percent. These have largely reversed the expansion of petroleum use that began prior to the meltdown at Fukushima. Non-hydro renewables have also more than doubled their electrical production since that time. Combined with hydroelectric plants, they now provide more electricity than petroleum.

The net result of all of this? Carbon emissions have been relatively flat and have not exceeded the nation’s record year back in 2007. Thus, if nuclear plants are brought back online in significant numbers, Japan’s emissions should begin to drop considerably. If the growth of renewables and general conservation continue as well, Japan should see the drop in emissions accelerate.

And that’s going to be needed, given that Japan has pledged to drop its carbon emissions significantly from their recent peak.

http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/09/japans-lurch-away-from-nuclear-hasnt-caused-fossil-fuels-to-boom/

September 14, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment