The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Debunking James Hansen’s claims in favour of nuclear power

John Wayne squares off against Jim Hansen, Medium,  Albert Bates, 11 Jan 2020    “……. I greatly admire James Hansen …….  What annoys me, however, about Hansen, then and now, is his insistence, in utter disregard of best science, that nuclear energy can somehow save humanity from climate change because it is clean, safe, too cheap to meter and besides all that, is carbon-free. I watched with pity more than scorn when he took his time to repeat this nonsense at the recent UN climate conference in Madrid. He mounted fallacy upon fallacy in a pyramid of lies that had been heard since the 1940s coming from the Atomic Energy Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, International Atomic Energy Agency and others in thrall to the atomic devil.
Of course all of those assertions by Hansen are utter nonsense. It just goes to show that being a good climate scientist doesn’t automatically give you a doctorate in health physics. I was blessed to have met many of the world’s preeminent health physicists in the 1970s and 1980s while representing atomic victims in battles for fair compensation and writing my fifth book, Climate in Crisis: The Greenhouse Effect and What We Can Do. ………
So, when James Hansen ignorantly opines that there were no radiation fatalities from Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, or Fukushima and that the new generation of thorium metal reactors is inherently safe, I try to not gag ……..
 Comparing effluent to effluent, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has reported that emissions from presently licensed facilities produced under normal operating conditions will cause 1.7 million cancers and birth defects in the world population, barring accidents. That several-hundred page report was summarized in the Federal Register in 1979 (46 Fed. Reg. 39580). However, it excluded consideration of health effects from tritium, Tc-99, C-13 and 14 and other radionuclide emissions that were too inaccurate to estimate, they said.
By too inaccurate they meant that tritium is easily incorporated into water, and so passes through living cells very easily, and carbon is the building block of organic chemistry, inseparable from life, so if one were to try to measure their impact inside the human body, the mortality and morbidity rates would need to be raised orders of magnitude higher than 1.7 million. This could make nuclear power unacceptable so, for reasons having to do with their institutional DNA, the NRC was not going to do that……….
It is not difficult to debunk Thorium-141’s popular mythology using simple physics, as Drs. Arjun Makhijani and Helen Caldicott have, because thorium is not a naturally fissionable element and so must first be mixed with enriched Uranium-235 or Plutonium-239 before it can be fissioned under controlled conditions to make steam for a power plant. To do that mixing, never mind the reacting, is a dangerous, deadly, polluting and extremely expensive process generating loads of long-lasting and unrecoverable poisons. After reaction, the thorium blend leaves dangerous wastes like U-232, a potent high-energy gamma emitter that can penetrate one meter of concrete and will have to be kept safely out of our air, food, and water forever.
……… Officially, TMI caused no immediate deaths. But unofficial investigations and lawsuits claimed there were above-average rates of cancer and birth defects in the surrounding area. Anecdotal evidence among the local human population has been devastating.    Hansen would say that anecdotal evidence is not science, but when public health agencies are prohibited from doing the scientific studies that does not equate with no effects. We know from anecdotal evidence that large numbers of Pennsylvanians suffered skin sores and lesions that erupted while they were out of doors as the fallout rained down on them. Many quickly developed large, visible tumors, breathing problems, and a metallic taste in their mouths that matched that experienced by victims of Hiroshima, or who were exposed to nuclear tests in the South Pacific, Ukraine, Kazakstan, and Nevada.
Approximately 2 million people in the immediate area were exposed to doses that were sub-lethal for early exposure, but the latent genetic effects have been calculated, by Gofman among others, to cause life-shortening in the global population for perhaps one million people. Moreover, there is reason to suspect the doses those estimates are based upon were much lower than what may have actually occurred and gone unreported. Entire bee hives expired immediately after the accident, along with a disappearance of birds, many of whom were found scattered dead on the ground. A rash of malformed pets were born and stillborn, including kittens that could not walk and a dog with no eyes. Reproductive rates among the region’s cows and horses plummeted. The state and federal governments did nothing to track the health histories of the region’s residents. Instead, they significantly understated the scale of the release and the magnitude of the exposures, as later peer reviewed studies showed.
A National Institute of Health study in 1998 found “Results support the hypothesis that radiation doses are related to increased cancer incidence around TMI.”
Harvey Wasserman, writing for Common Dreams, said: “Meanwhile, the death toll from America’s worst industrial catastrophe continues to rise. More than ever, it is shrouded in official lies and desecrated by a reactor-pushing “renaissance” hell-bent on repeating the nightmare on an even larger scale.”
 ……….one thing for certain that can never be said of nuclear energy is that it is carbon neutral. Once you take into account the entire nuclear fuel cycle from exploration and mining, shipment of ores from Africa and China, milling, enrichment to fuel grade (enough gas and coal energy goes into that to power Australia), power generation, fuel removal and waste disposal, the fossil fuel footprint is so enormous as to be well beyond any suggestion of carbon neutrality.
[Here follows a long discussion on Marie curie, and then on John Wayne]
……… Declassified health physics reports from the Manhattan Project indicate that the senior scientists believed at least as early as 1945 that:

“. . . the genetic effect has no threshold and exposure is not only cumulative in the individual, but in succeeding generations. On this basis, there would be no tolerance dose, but rather an acceptable injury-limit.”[Parker, H.M., Instrument ation and Radiation Protection (March, 1947), Health Physics, 38:957,970, June 1980]


“Even sub-tolerance radiations produce certain biological changes (cosmic rays are supposed to have some biological effects), so tolerance radiation is not what one strives to get but the maximum permissible dose.”[Morgan, K.Z., The Responsibilities of Health Physics, The Scientific Monthly, 93 (August 1946); reprinted in Health Physics 38:949–952, June 1980.]

The question of what percentage of the population can be acceptably damaged came first to the attention of the AEC at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Biology and Medicine on January 16–19,1957. At this meeting the AEC advisors determined that a 20 percent increase in the rate of bone cancers and birth defects nationwide would be an “acceptable” effect of U.S. nuclear weapons testing activities. These scientists also acknowledged at this time that the long-term genetic effects were totally unknown.

The historical record indicates that prominent radiologists, health physicists, and geneticists of the time recognized even at the outset of America’s atomic power program that any large population exposure to even very minute amounts of ionizing radiation could create lingering public health problems and genetic damage, and these scientists went to some lengths, including sacrificing their own illustrious careers, to express their views publicly. [ long list of references given here]

[ discusses Fukushima]

….. atmospheric physicists should not opine on health physics. There is no dose of radiation below which there is not a negative biological effect. Indeed, there is a “superlinear” ratio of dose to effect at low doses, because doses that do not kill a cell cause genetic damage that is a larger health threat than dead cells, so humans and animals exposed to low doses are at greater health risk than those exposed to higher doses.

While there are hundreds of different radioactive isotopes within a nuclear reactor, the isotope Cesium-137 is easily measured and has become a standard by which to calculate impacts. During the two-day accident, 18 quadrillion becquerels of cesium were released into the Pacific (18 with 15 zeros). A typical abdominal or pelvic CT scan (the most often performed) is 14–18 thousandths of a becquerel, so during the accident the cesium dose to the environment was the same as about 1 quintillion (1 with 18 zeros) CT scans (repeated every second, continuously, for the next 300 to 600 years). Depending on the type of scan and the age and sex of the patient, a single CT scan will produce 1 cancer for 150 to 3300 exposures, or a median risk of 10 cancers per becquerel (or seivert).  [table here on original]

By that calculation, the cesium released during the Fukushima accident was capable of causing roughly 10 quadrillion cancers, but with one important difference.
When you receive radiation treatment like a CT-scan it is sudden and one-off. One second. The technician presses the button and it is on and then off. There is no danger from the machine when it is off. When radioactive elements like cesium-137 (and remember that is just one of hundreds of elements in a nuclear reactor) are released to the environment, there is no off-switch. Thus, the cesium released during the Fukushima accident is capable of roughly 10 quadrillion cancers per second. Inhaling or ingesting it can kill a person, a dolphin or a seagull, but then as the individual’s body decomposes after death — as bacteria, worms and fungi eat away the flesh and bone — the isotope goes back into the food chain to strike another individual, and another, and so on. The danger is limited only by the isotope’s half-life — the time it takes to decay to a harmless element, which for cesium-137 is 30.17 years. Scientists generally use 10 or 20 half-lives to bracket safety concerns, so for cesium 137, “safe” levels arrive in 302 to 604  years (around year 2322 to year 2624), admittedly an imperfect measurement since any residue, no matter how microscopic, may still be lethal, as we have known since before the Manhattan Project. Cesium is one of 256 radionuclides released during Fukushima, so we would need to calculate quantities, biological effectiveness, and the decay time of each of those to get the full health picture. Other isotopes in the Fukushima fuel include Uranium-235, with a half-life of 704 million years, and Uranium-238, with a half-life of 4.47 billion years, or longer than the age of the Earth.
At Fukushima, the end of the accident was not the end of the story. In 2013, 30 billion becquerels of cesium-137 were still flowing into the ocean every day from the damaged and leaking reactor cores. That is 300 billion cancer doses per second of man-made cesium added every day, or 109.5 trillion cancer doses per second added every year. To stop this assault on ocean life, and our own, over the next 5 years the owner of the plant constructed more than 1000 tanks to hold contaminated water away from the ocean. In September 2019, the Japanese government announced that more than one million tons were in storage but that space would run out by the summer of 2022 so it planned to begin releasing those billions of bequerels to the ocean again.

Swimmers and sailors who plan to compete in open water events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics might want to think about that, as might any who fish those waters or consume the catch.

What happens to ocean creatures who ingest radionuclides from leaking nuclear power plants is not very different from what happened to John Wayne, his sons and his co-stars. As the isotopes decay within the body of a dolphin or a coral polyp they send microscopic bullets hurling through DNA chains, causing tumors, sicknesses, defective offspring and death for untold generations. The chance that a single mutation will produce a beneficial result are less than one in a million. Radioactivity is, for practical purposes, forever, as we can see just by looking up at our Sun, a benevolent nuclear reactor providing us energy from the relatively safe distance of 93 million miles.

Even that radiation will kill a number of us, but far fewer than would die if, by some devilish plan or panic response, we follow Dr. Hansen’s advice.

January 21, 2020 Posted by | Reference, spinbuster, thorium | Leave a comment

Climate change afflicting the health of the world’s children

Warning: Climate change will bring major new health risks for kids

By Kathleen E. Bachynski, January 17, 2020  As we enter a new decade, headlines from across the world make all too clear that the effects of climate change are not just looming. They’re here, they’re now, and they’re devastating communities on every continent. For example, in Australia, unprecedented fires have emitted roughly 400 million tons of carbon, killed at least 25 people, and destroyed 2,000 homes. In Indonesia, terrible flooding has killed at least 67 people and caused 400,000 to abandon their homes. The loss of sea ice in the Arctic is shrinking access to food resources that numerous indigenous communities have depended on for generations.

But the health effects of climate change go beyond even the most immediate and obvious consequences of fires, floods, and melting ice. In November 2019, the medical journal The Lancet published a detailed report examining the effects that climate change will have on human health under two scenarios: one in which the world reins in emissions according to commitments laid out in the Paris agreement, and one in which the world does not. In both cases, children will be most vulnerable to the numerous health harms resulting from decisions made by their parents and grandparents. Children are particularly likely to suffer the effects of climate change for numerous reasons: Their immune and organ systems are still developing, they drink relatively more water and breathe in more air than do adults relative to their body weight, and they tend to spend more time outdoors. Understanding the full scope of the public health consequences of a changing climate, then, involves examining how the risks will affect the bodies of the youngest people.

According to the Lancet report, air pollution—specifically, exposure to fine particulate matter known as PM 2.5—represents the largest environmental risk factor for premature deaths across the globe. When people think of the public health effects of air pollution, they often imagine the worst-case scenarios. For example, the smoke from the fires in Australia is currently so severe that a day spent inhaling the air in east Sydney represents the equivalent of smoking 19 cigarettes.

But air pollution need not reach such extreme levels to cause serious harm. Far more commonly, people are unaware of the daily pollution that they are breathing in due to the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and gas. In fact, more than 90 percent of children are exposed to concentrations of PM 2.5 higher than the World Health Organization’s guidelines on outdoor air pollution. Over a lifetime, unhealthy air damages lungs and increases risks for a host of diseases, from asthma to pneumonia. And due to their small body size and the factors cited above, children absorb more of this pollution than do adults.

Similarly, The Lancet report notes that children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of heat. Specifically, young children are at greater risk for experiencing electrolyte imbalance, fever, respiratory disease, and kidney disease during periods of extreme heat. Rates of heat-related deaths are four times higher among children younger than one year old as compared to people aged 1-to-44.   Changing temperature and precipitation patterns are also influencing the transmission of disease from insects to humans. In particular, malaria and dengue are spread by mosquitoes, and climate suitability for transmission of these diseases is increasing in numerous parts of the world. Because children tend to spend more time outdoors, they are more likely to contract these diseases. In 2017, children accounted for 61 percent of all malaria deaths worldwide, and climate change is putting more children at even greater risk.

Changing climate patterns, droughts, and fires also threaten to reduce crop yields and increase food insecurity. Moreover, rising carbon dioxide appears to diminish the nutrient quality of crucial staple foods such as wheat and rice. Combined, these trends are likely to exacerbate the already serious global health problem of malnutrition, which currently accounts for nearly one-fifth of premature deaths and poor health globally.   The consequences of malnutrition are particularly severe among children. In 2018, 22 percent of children under five years of age were stunted, meaning they experienced impaired growth and development. Stunting is largely irreversible and includes serious consequences, from poorer cognition to increased risk of nutrition-related chronic diseases later in life.

Finally, The Lancet report observes that climate change has other health implications that are more challenging to quantify but crucial to address, such as mental health effects. Researchers have found that children are at high risk of mental health problems following the types of natural disasters that are likely to increase due to climate change. For example, one study found that 31 percent of a group of children who were evacuated during Hurricane Katrina reported clinically significant symptoms associated with depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control, children are at particular risk for stress after a disaster because they often understand less about what is occurring, feel less able to control events, and have less experience coping with difficult situations.

Protecting children from air pollution, heat-related deaths, infectious diseases, malnutrition, and mental health effects associated with climate change will involve the mobilization of all sectors of society to drastically reduce emissions and invest in health systems and infrastructure. The Lancet report notes a few promising signs, such as increased public and political engagement, and increasing health adaptation spending to improve communities’ resilience to a changing climate. Unfortunately, however, current efforts are falling far short of what is needed to meaningfully reduce carbon emissions on the scale needed to address the threat posed to human health. According to a 2019 United Nations report, greenhouse gas emissions must begin falling by 7.6 percent this year in order to meet the most ambitious goals laid out in the 2015 Paris climate accord. But the world is nowhere near this goal, and many countries are heading in the opposite direction. Notably, in 2018, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose by 2.7 percent in the United States. The United Nations has warned that every year of delay “brings a need for faster cuts, which become increasingly expensive, unlikely, and impractical.”

Waiting until action becomes more difficult, or perhaps even impossible, has appalling moral consequences. The longer we fail to act to address the risks of climate change, the more human lives we place on the line. And the majority of those lives will belong to the most vulnerable among us. It is no wonder, then, that children across the world have taken the lead in advocating for urgent, necessary action. The public health stakes for them—and for all people—grow higher with each passing year. Our health is fundamentally tied to our planet’s health. We must all consider, then, what actions we need to take to protect our planet—and thereby our communities, our children, and our selves.


January 21, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

Report shows that most young adults fear a nuclear attack this decade

January 21, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology - mental health, social effects, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In Turkey, renewable energy rising, as nuclear partnership with Japan is scrapped

January 21, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, renewable, Turkey | Leave a comment

John Wayne and the movie crew killed by nuclear radiation

John Wayne squares off against Jim Hansen, Medium,  Albert Bates, 11 Jan 2020     “……..The famous cowboy actor John Wayne may have been felled by the same foe, as was Marie Curie. From 1951 to 1962 the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) detonated more than 100 bombs in the southwestern US desert, sending huge pinkish plumes of radioactive dust across the stony valleys and canyons of southern Utah and northern Arizona. It gave each “shot” names like Annie, Eddie, Humboldt and Badger. Eleven of those tests were part of a series called Upshot-Knothole in Utah in 1953. In 1954, the Upshot-Knothole site was chosen as the location for a John Wayne film called The Conqueror.

The AEC sent a scientist with a Geiger counter to show Wayne that the location was safe enough for him to bring his wife and children to visit the set. The Geiger counter is said to have crackled so loudly Wayne thought it was broken. Waving it over clumps of cactus, rock and sand produced the same loud result. The Duke, by all accounts, shrugged it off. By 1980, 91 out of 220 cast and crew on The Conquerer had contracted cancer and 46 of them, including Wayne and co- stars Dick Powell, Pedro Armendáriz, Agnes Moorehead, and Susan Hayward had died. Those numbers did not include the families of the cast and crew. John Wayne’s wife and two sons all got cancer. While the two sons survived, the daughter of one of Wayne’s sons also died of cancer. Hayward’s son Tim Barker had a benign tumor removed from his mouth. Many of the Native American Paiute extras went on to die of cancer also……..

January 21, 2020 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

China’s nuclear ghost city 404 – a personal story

404: The City Left Behind by China’s Nuclear Ambitions, Jan 2020,
An artist goes looking for his past in a Cold War ghost town.   Li Yang grew up in what he thought was a boring town. It was called 404, like the error code, and sat a couple hours from the nearest city, in the sun-beaten Gobi Desert of western China. There was no commercial movie theater—just a zoo with a handful of cages, several small video game arcades, and a skating rink that eventually closed. To Yang, it seemed small and backwards. He dreamed of the day he’d leave and “see the big, outside world,” he says.

But despite the humdrum, 404 wasn’t exactly boring: It was once part of a massive nuclear weapons base in the People’s Republic of China. In 1955, following threats of nuclear attacks from the United States, Chairman Mao Zedong resolved to stock his own atomic arsenal.

The USSR promised to provide blueprints and a prototype for a bomb, and as part of the quest, helped build the Jiuquan Atomic Energy Complex, dubbed Plant 404. Though an ideological squabble caused the Soviets to withdraw just after construction started, China plowed forward. The site hosted the nation’s first nuclear reactor, which generated an estimated .9 tons of weapons-grade plutonium between 1966 and 1984, as well as plutonium processing factories and nuclear warhead workshops. (Later, the complex was converted for use by the civilian nuclear industry.)

China staffed its war complex with the country’s finest scientists, technicians, and other workers, who lived in a closed settlement absent from most maps. Yang’s grandparents and parents moved there in 1958, leaving their home in Beijing to forge a new one on a windy frontier a thousand miles away. At its height, Yang’s parents told him, the town had a population of some 50,000 people.

But by the time Yang was a kid, the population had dwindled. He remembers just about 100 kids in his grade. After dinner, people chatted under a statue of Chairman Mao in the square and took strolls. “Some walked around in the park, others along the half-mile main road,” Yang says. “Because the city was so small, people might meet each other several times in one night, until they were too embarrassed to say hello.”

Yang finally got his wish to leave in 2003, enrolling in college in Sichuan province and eventually settling in Beijing. But as he got older, he started to miss 404 and the simplicity of life there. He couldn’t move home if he wanted to, though. In the mid-2000s, according to Chinese media, residents seeking a better quality of life voted to relocate their housing to the more desirable city of Jiqyuguan.

Yang’s nostalgia grew so strong, though, that in 2013 he packed a couple cameras in his car and drove back to 404 to photograph what remained. The guards let him in since he’d lived there. The town wasn’t entirely empty—some people chose to stay, Yang says—but it was eerily quiet. Yang wandered his old haunts on foot, memories flooding back as he visited his old elementary school classroom, the public baths where he used to shower, and even his family’s former house, now demolished. One of two poplar trees he had planted out front was dead.

He returned three more times to produce the images in his series 404 Not Found. To Yang, they represent the home of his childhood—“the place I want to go back to but can’t,” he says. For others, they’re a fascinating glimpse at a remote town born from geopolitical strife during a period in Chinese history not often seen—however dull it might have seemed to the teenagers who lived through it.

A book on the series is out from Jiazazhi Publishing Project.

January 21, 2020 Posted by | China, environment, PERSONAL STORIES, wastes | Leave a comment

Vast swarm of locusts ruining the livelihood of 1000s in East Africa

Locust swarm 37 miles long and 25 miles wide threatens crops across swathes of east Africa, ITV News, 17 Jan 2020, A swarm of locusts measured at 37 miles long and 25 miles wide has been tracked in Kenya – and the insects are now threatening to decimate crops across swatches of east Africa.

The most serious outbreak of desert locusts in 25 years is posing an unprecedented threat to food security in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries, authorities say.

Unusual climate conditions are partly to blame.

Kenya’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development said: “A typical desert locust swarm can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometre.

“Swarms migrate with the wind and can cover 100 to 150 kilometres in a day. An average swarm can destroy as much food crops in a day as is sufficient to feed 2,500 people.”

Roughly the length of a finger, the insects fly together by the millions and are devouring crops and forcing people in some areas to bodily wade through them.

The outbreak of desert locusts, considered the most dangerous locust species, also has affected parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea and IGAD warns that parts of South Sudan and Uganda could be next.

The “extremely dangerous” outbreak is making the region’s bad food security situation worse, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned.

Hundreds of thousands of acres of crops have been destroyed…….

January 21, 2020 Posted by | climate change, environment, Kenya | Leave a comment

New report: China soon to join countries where renewables are cheaper than coal

Oil Price 19th Jan 2020, In September of last year Oilprice reported an incredible milestone for renewable energy when solar and wind power became cheaper than coal in most of the world. Now, a new report released this week by Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables has heralded another milestone: China will soon be added to that list of countries in which coal is no longer more economical than renewable energy.

January 21, 2020 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

The age of the individual must end – our world depends on it

The costs of a culture focused on an illusory idea of personal autonomy are making us ill and heating our planet. But a new age may be dawning, Guardian, Tom Oliver, Mon 20 Jan 2020  Last month, as I travelled to see family for a very mild Christmas in the UK, I thought about the bushfires simultaneously raging across Australia. They are just one example from a long series of extreme weather events in 2019, including cyclones in India and Bangladesh that displaced more than three million people, Cyclone Idai, which killed more than 1,000 people in southern Africa, floods that displaced tens of thousands of people in Iran, and entire townships laid to waste by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. The year ended with reports of record rates of Arctic ice melt that, through positive feedback effects, are likely to intensify climate heating and impact the future of humanity.

In the face of global catastrophe, it’s hard not to feel daunted. What can I, an individual, do to address such a crisis? Understanding that my daily actions are partly responsible for climate change, I feel a gnawing sense of sense of individual guilt……..
Developing human minds are like sponges and ours were submerged in ever more individualistic language. Phrases such as “unique”, “personal”, “self”, “me” and “mine” were used with increasing frequency in lyrics, TV shows and books. This immersion took its toll: analysis of data from almost 80 countries shows how the majority have shown marked increases in individualistic attitudes over recent decades.
Having a strong sense of self can be useful, but excessive individualism has its costs. The more we see ourselves as discrete entities, the more likely we are to feel isolated and lonely and to show “selfish” behaviours. As a consequence, rates of anxiety and depression are rising across the world, while the climate and biodiversity crises deepen ever further.
Yet times are changing. In the last decade, we may have seen individualism peak. ……..
 the new science of social networks shows how we are linked together so closely that ideas, behaviours and preferences flow between us in a way that makes it unclear where one mind ends and another begins. …….

January 21, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, culture and arts | Leave a comment

Marie Curie’s illness and death caused by ionising radiation

John Wayne squares off against Jim Hansen, Medium,  Albert Bates, 11 Jan 2020     “…….. In 1896, Henri Becquerel discovered that uranium emitted rays that resembled X-rays. Marie Curie suspected that the radiation was not the outcome of some interaction but came from the atom itself. Her work with uranium disproved the conventional wisdom going back to ancient Greece that atoms were indivisible and set up the later discovery of subatomic particles. Curie discovered that thorium, radium, polonium and radioactive bismuth occurred naturally with uranium. Radium was known to glow in the dark, which made it useful for painting the hour and minute hands on watches and clocks. It was later discovered that radium “radiated” more than just neutrons, but also protons and electrons, becoming another unstable element, radon, and that element radiated its subatomic particles to become others, polonium and bismuth, until those eventually became a  stable element, lead. Indeed, the radium Curie discovered was the progeny of another unstable element, thorium, which was the progeny of yet another unstable element, uranium.

Madame Curie was a physicist, not a medical doctor, so she did not recognize the health effects of handling uranium, thorium, radium and the other radionuclides. Indeed, she suspected the effects would be beneficial. One of the papers she and her husband published in the late 19th century announced that, when exposed to radium, diseased, tumor-forming cells were destroyed faster than healthy cells (the basis for today’s radio-chemotherapy). She carried test tubes containing radioactive isotopes in her pockets and stored them in her desk drawer. Although her many decades of exposure to radiation caused chronic illnesses (including near-blindness due to cataracts) and ultimately her death, she never acknowledged the inherent health risks. She likely did not recognize the symptoms when she began to feel weak and lose her hair. She died in 1934 from aplastic anemia without ever knowing that she fought the same mortal enemy as those who had painted the hands on watches and clocks, or those who had mined and processed the uranium on which she worked. After her death, and to this day, her papers and effects are too radioactive to be handled and her laboratory is unsafe to enter.also……..

January 21, 2020 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

UK’s nuclear region, Cumbria, has unusually high rates of certain cancers

NW Evening Mail 16th Jan 2020,   A WORRYING new report has found that Cumbria has the highest incidence rates of certain kinds of cancer in the North West. According to data collated by charity North West Cancer Research, the county ranks 11 per cent higher on key cancers than the national average. As part of the study, analysts assessed the impact of 25 key cancers across the North West and 37 cancers across Wales.
Of the cancers included in the project, the North West over-indexed on 14 cancers, highlighting stark contrasts between the national and regional pictures and demonstrating how those living across the region were more at risk of developing the disease.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | health, UK | Leave a comment

Radioactive micro-particles still a hazard to the Olympics in Japan

Nukewatch 10th Jan 2020. Hundreds of thousands of people—athletes, officials, media, and spectators—will flood into Japan for the 2020 Olympics.
But radiation exposure dangers from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe have not ended since the meltdowns and explosions spread radioactive contamination over large areas reaching down to Tokyo and beyond.

Soon after the start of the meltdowns in 2011, experts began warning of exposure to radioactive micro-particles or “hot particles”—a type of particle that poses a danger unaccounted for by regulatory agencies. In order to understand the special danger posed by these particles at the Olympics and beyond, we mustfirst understand the current state of radiation exposure standards.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | environment, Japan | Leave a comment

U.S. cities near nuclear weapons stations realise they are targets

Cities in the crosshairs are pushing back against nuclear weapons

“We forget that all power is local. And by forgetting to act locally, we are giving away all the power.” JON LETMAN, JANUARY 19, 2020 This article originally appeared on Truthout.   Two years after a mistakenly sent text alert warning of an inbound ballistic missile threat caused widespread panic and confusion across Hawaii, cities remain potential targets and nuclear jitters continue to grow around the world.

Panicked responses to the erroneous text alert — which read “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL” and was accidentally issued on January 13, 2018, to Hawaii residents via the Emergency Alert System and Commercial Mobile Alert System — revealed how believably close nuclear fears hover to our everyday life

And now two years later, at the beginning of 2020, those fears have grown even stronger following a year in which talks aimed at denuclearizing the Korean peninsula faltered, fears of a nuclear clash between India and Pakistan spiked, and Russia announced it had deployed its first hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles.

Meanwhile, the U.S. abandoned the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty and continued to undermine the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran nuclear deal) after it unilaterally withdrew in 2018. Now, many fear the U.S. will likely withdraw from the Open Skies and New START treaties.

As the U.S. modernizes its nuclear arsenal at a cost that could exceed $1.5 trillion and the other eight nuclear armed states upgrade their own nuclear weapons, ordinary citizens and the leaders of cities, towns, and municipalities around the world are resisting nuclear weapons through efforts like the Back from the Brink campaign and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons’ #ICANSave Cities appeal.

Across the U.S., cities like SeattleAlbuquerqueColorado Springs and others are located near key military installations, which some see as a good reason to oppose nuclear policies. Today, more than 40 U.S. cities including, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Honolulu have adopted a Back from the Brink resolution, which puts forward five policy goals aimed at reducing the threat of nuclear war: no first use of nuclear weapons, end sole authority to launch a nuclear attack, take U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert, cancel modernization/replacement of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and ultimately seek the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Back from the Brink aims to prompt cities, counties, and local governments to pressure Congress and the Trump administration to adopt the above five points.

Dozens of smaller cities from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Arcata, California, have adopted the resolution, as have local and state governments across the U.S. More than a dozen more cities (Little Rock, Chicago, Madison) and states (New York, Vermont, Washington) have proposed resolutions.

In a joint article, three council members representing Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Montgomery County, Maryland, wrote, “As leaders of the Greater Washington area, home to the seat of our federal government and headquarters of its military — we are particularly at risk. We are living in the crosshairs of America’s enemies, both hostile governments and terrorists.” That risk, and the financial costs associated with nuclear weapons, led all three communities to adopt Back from the Brink resolutions…………

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) launched its #ICANSAVE cities appeal in 2018, calling on cities large and small around the world to formally support the 2017 U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The ban treaty, currently ratified by 34 nations, will enter into legal force once 50 nations have done so.

ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn says that while, for many people, nuclear weapons can feel abstract and theoretical, it’s important to remain focused on their fundamental purpose.

“What these weapons really are made for is to wipe out whole cities. These are not precision guidance that will take out a specific military facility,” Fihn told Truthout. “We are so obsessed by staring at these world leaders, we forget that all power is local. And by forgetting to act locally, we are giving away all the power.”………..

January 20, 2020 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Low dose radiation causes cell mutations – new research

Low doses of radiation used in medical imaging lead to mutations in cell cultures,–

Discovery that radiation creates breaks that allow in foreign DNA must be confirmed in animal studies  January 16, 2020 Source: PLOS

Common medical imaging procedures use low doses of radiation that are believed to be safe. A new study, however, finds that in human cell cultures, these doses create breaks that allow extra bits of DNA to integrate into the chromosome.

Common medical imaging procedures use low doses of radiation that are believed to be safe. A new study, however, finds that in human cell cultures, these doses create breaks that allow extra bits of DNA to integrate into the chromosome. Roland Kanaar and Alex Zelensky of Erasmus University Medical Center and Oncode Institute and colleagues report these new findings in a study published 16th January in PLOS Genetics.

Scientists have long known that exposing cells to high doses of ionizing radiation generates mutations by creating double-strand breaks that let in external segments of DNA. These extraneous fragments of DNA can occur in the nucleus, left over from natural processes, such as genomic DNA repair and viral infections. In the new study, researchers investigated whether low doses of ionizing radiation have damaging side effects by irradiating human and mouse cells grown in the lab. When they counted the cells that had taken up foreign DNA, they found that low doses of radiation, in the upper range of common diagnostic procedures, create mutations through inserted DNA even more efficiently than the much larger doses studied previously.

While the new results in cell cultures are potentially concerning, the study’s authors stress that translating radiation’s effects on lab-grown cell cultures to effects in the body is premature. Future experiments using animal models will be necessary to determine the full effects of low-dose radiation, and whether its use in medical imaging has an impact on patient health. If the same phenomenon does occur inside the body, then doctors may need to take into account levels of extraneous DNA, such those resulting from a long-term viral infection, when assessing a patient’s risk from a procedure that requires radiation.

“Most molecular radiobiological research is focused on high doses of ionizing radiation relevant to cancer treatment, while effects of physiologically relevant doses of radiation on the cell are notoriously difficult to study at the molecular level,” said author Roland Kanaar. “Our discovery that mutagenic insertion of foreign DNA into cell’s genome is remarkably responsive to doses encountered during diagnostic, rather than therapeutic, procedures provides a new simple and sensitive tool to study their consequences and revealed surprising molecular genetic details of how cells cope with natural amounts of DNA damage.”

January 20, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation | 3 Comments

Japan’s Olympics – recovery for Fukushima? rescue for the nuclear industry?

Can Japan’s ‘Recovery Olympics’ heal  Fukushima’s nuclear scars?fFukushima’s power plant. Three nuclear reactors melted down, spewing radioactive particles into the air. Jan. 14, 2020,  By Keir Simmons, Yuka Tachibana and Henry Austin, FUTABA, Japan — Nine years after “Fukushima” became synonymous with nuclear disaster, the area will help kick off the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo by hosting the opening ceremony’s torch relay near its devastated power plant.

But this symbol of rebirth — part of a planned renaissance for a region ravaged by the strongest earthquake in Japan’s history and deadly tsunami that engulfed entire communities — raises questions of whether nearly a decade is enough time to recover and make the area safe.

Officials in Japan told NBC News they were hopeful that the games, which open on July 24 and have been dubbed the country’s “Recovery Olympics,” would convince skeptics that the answer is yes.

“It’s an opportunity for Japan to change people’s perception, people’s view of Fukushima,” said Naoto Hisajima, the director general of disarmament, nonproliferation and science for Japan’s Foreign Ministry. “The Olympic torch will pass through Fukushima, and there’re going to be Olympic events in Fukushima.”

………  Three nuclear reactors melted down, spewing radioactive particles into the air.

Authorities acted quickly, scrubbing buildings and removing about 4 inches of soil and vegetation from the surrounding area. That lowered radioactivity to levels that are safe for people to be in contact with, according to Dr. Claire Corkhill of the U.K.’s University of Sheffield.

Corkhill’s team is helping plant operators come up with a plan to dispose of the highly radioactive melted cores — the parts of the power plant’s nuclear reactors that contained fuel components, like uranium and plutonium, that generated the heat to produce the power.

They are so toxic that only remotely controlled robots can get to them, but the robots are unable to remove them because “the intense radiation tends to fry their circuits,” she said.

Corkhill said that it will take decades to completely shut down the plant and that the operators still don’t know how to reach the cores.

Space to store the 1 million tons of water — equal to 400 Olympic-size swimming pools — that must be pumped through the reactor to keep the fuel cool is also running out, she warned.

While the water has been treated to remove most of the most dangerous radioactive components, traces of tritium remain.

Japanese authorities have suggested releasing the water slowly into the sea over a number of years, which Corkhill said was standard practice for power stations around the world.

It’s “the most feasible option at the moment,” she said.

Many residents are doubtful, however — particularly fishermen and women who test every catch for radiation…..

Sean Bonner and Azby Brown are part of environmental organization Safecast, which gives Geiger counters to Fukushima residents, as well as other people across Japan, to take radiation readings. It then collates the data and publishes them live on their website, which is an open source for radiation information.

Brown described trust as a “nonrenewable resource.”

“Once you’ve lost it, you don’t get it back,” Bonner said. “So we see our system as a side effect of people desperate to find something they can trust, because they’re not trusting information from the news. They’re not trusting information from authorities or institutions.”

While the cleanup continues, some areas remain off limits. Two miles from the plant, the town of Futaba remains uninhabited. Radiation levels are so high that former residents have to seek special permission to enter the town.

Katushide Okada, 75, said he had run a rose garden in the town since he was 23.

“We left with only what we were wearing,” he said. “We haven’t been able to go home since.”

Okada, who now lives in Tsukuba, about 130 miles to the south, in Ibaragi Prefecture, added, “This is a manmade disaster.”

Radiation hotspots have been found in J-Village, the starting point of the Olympic torch relay, according to Greenpeace.

After conducting its own tests, Greenpeace said radioactive contamination still remained in the parking lot and the nearby forests at the Olympic sports complex in Fukushima Prefecture. …….. Keir Simmons and Yuka Tachibana reported from Futaba, Japan, and Henry Austin from London.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment