nuclear-news

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

Missouri Bill to honour nuclear veterans


Bob Bromley Bill seeks to honor veterans of the Nuclear Age,  
https://www.fourstateshomepage.com/news/local-news/bob-bromley-bill-seeks-to-honor-veterans-of-the-nuclear-age/ by: Gretchen Bolander Jan 17, 2022   JASPER COUNTY, Mo. — It’s been decades since the US entered the Nuclear Age, but a southwest Missouri lawmaker says it’s never too late to recognize the sacrifice made through the Atomic Program.

State Representative Bob Bromley of Carl Junction is part of an effort that’s underway to recognize the military veterans associated with the US Atomic Program.

“I think every time we get the opportunity to thank them we should. Because once they’re gone, they’re gone,” said Jim Beeler, military supporter.

Jim Beeler says it’s important to thank any vet for their service, and today, especially those who were a part of the US Atomic Program.

“It’s nice to see someone recognize that.”

State Rep. Bob Bromley is sponsoring House Bill 1652 which would designate a section of Highway 171 as “Atomic Veterans Memorial Highway.” Bromley says it’s important to recognize the role these veterans played in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, and the potential toll to their health after being exposed to radiation.

“There were 23 different types of cancers that develop with a lot of these veterans. And they were not eligible with their medical records and everything to get compensation,” said MO Rep. Bob Bromley, R.

Often tied to the top secret nature of the work. It took decades to change that.

“Some of them did not get compensated for their cancers and different things that was caused by this exposure to radiation ’til the mid 90s. And so it’s just very important to understand the sacrifice and the contribution that all these veterans made.”

The bill has already gone before the Veterans Committee and is expected to see an initial vote this week. Missouri is just one of a list of states considering this measure to recognize Atomic Veterans.

January 18, 2022 Posted by | health, Legal, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Can Santa Fe survive as a nuclear weapons suburb?

Will Santa Fe “fold up,” democratically and spiritually, when this new “Manhattan” fully appears? Is the faith of that man of peace, St. Francis — the very name of this city — obsolete to political leaders in the city and the state?

Can Santa Fe survive as a nuclear weapons suburb?  https://www.santafenewmexican.com/opinion/my_view/can-santa-fe-survive-as-a-nuclear-weapons-suburb/article_b6ab8ce8-7556-11ec-b47a-57273af4ebbc.html, By Greg Mello, 16 Jan 22,

Many Santa Feans understand that Los Alamos National Laboratory, the most lavishly funded nuclear weapons facility in the world, has embarked on a new mission: making plutonium warhead cores (“pits”) on an industrial scale, to involve 4,000 full-time personnel and 24/7 operations.

It’s among the dirtiest and most dangerous missions in the nuclear weapons complex, not seen at LANL since the 1940s. It’s centered in an old facility built for research and development, now to be driven far beyond its original capacity.

LANL predicts it will spend $18 billion to start up production over this decade. In constant dollars, this is 15-fold what the Manhattan Project spent in New Mexico — indeed it dwarfs the cost of every other project in New Mexico history.

The pits will cost at least $50 million apiece, 200 times their weight in gold. A single LANL pit, assuming all goes well, will cost as much as the combined annual salaries of 1,000 New Mexico teachers, or the equipment for 5,000 residential solar systems. A major reason our society is failing is because it is kept on a war footing.

This huge program has nothing to do with national security, except in the negative sense. It is not needed to maintain any stockpile weapon. As military planners say, it’s (very) “early to need” and there are now perfectly sound, cheaper plans to do without LANL’s production should something go wrong. Why wait?

After extensive analysis under both the Obama and Trump administrations, the National Nuclear Security Administration in 2017 firmly rejected what is now LANL’s pit plan. The New Mexico delegation fought back, enlisting congressional hawks to help blackmail the Trump administration into building an unheard-of two pit factories. Up to now, a barely functioning Congress has gone along with the game. Time will tell just how long this scam holds up.

LANL’s pit production, for all its cost and danger, just isn’t enough to support any foreseeable U.S. stockpile. If LANL is a pit factory, there will be two.

What about Santa Fe, then?

On July 18, 1945, Harry Truman wrote in his diary, “Believe [Japan] will fold up before Russia comes in. I am sure they will when Manhattan appears over their homeland.”

Will Santa Fe “fold up,” democratically and spiritually, when this new “Manhattan” fully appears? Is the faith of that man of peace, St. Francis — the very name of this city — obsolete to political leaders in the city and the state?

What exactly would Santa Fe stand for or mean if nuclear weapons — the ultimate in human disposability — became its main tangible product? When our schools and community colleges direct our young people into LANL’s “pipeline” of plutonium minions? Or do you suppose their potential for creativity, compassion and wisdom could be better developed in other ways, as the region faces the towering crises of the 21st century?

Can Santa Fe survive as a nuclear weapons suburb? It certainly can, as a kind of nuclear “Pottersville” — a sprawling, increasingly ugly “city” with growing inequality, a vacuum where shared ideals should be, with no real urban center or shared human purposes, its most cherished traditions washed away by too much money given to too few people doing “work” society doesn’t need or want. It would be a city divided against itself to be sure, with plenty of poverty, human tragedy and crime.

Santa Fe could be a city that aims for justice and peace, where the obligation of respect binding us together is fostered, where the potential of every child is honored. Those political values are incompatible with manufacturing more nuclear weapons.

Greg Mello is executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group.

January 17, 2022 Posted by | culture and arts, Religion and ethics, social effects, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Texas ‘downwinders’ should be eligible for nuclear radiation compensation, advocates say

Texas ‘downwinders’ should be eligible for nuclear radiation compensation, advocates say, TEXAS STANDARD,  By Michael Marks. January 12, 2022

Congress is considering a bill to pay more people who were harmed by nuclear development, but the legislation still excludes some Texans who saw fallout firsthand.

A bill to compensate more people who were harmed by U.S. nuclear development is moving through Congress. But advocates say that it still leaves out people who were affected by nuclear radiation.

Under proposed amendments to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, eligible people would get $150,000 from the federal government. That includes uranium miners from Texas, but not “downwinders”: people who lived down wind from nuclear test sites.

Istra Fuhrmann is a nuclear policy advocate for the Friends Committee on National Legislation. She spoke to the Texas Standard about the bill and its provisions…………………….  https://www.texasstandard.org/stories/texas-downwinders-should-be-eligible-for-nuclear-radiation-compensation-advocates-say/

January 13, 2022 Posted by | health, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Legal case over compensation for workers in ”uniquely dangerous” nuclear sites

High Court Takes Up Nuclear Site Workers’ Compensation Case (1)  https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/high-court-takes-up-washington-workers-compensation-challenge
Jan. 11, 202  

  • 9th Cir. upheld change to state workers’ compensation law
  • U.S. government warns of costly consequences for contracts

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider the federal government’s challenge to a Washington state workers’ compensation law in a case that could have costly consequences for U.S. government contracts involving hazardous work on federal property.

The justices agreed Monday to review a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision upholding a Washington law that presumes certain worker health conditions linked to cleanup work at the Hanford Site, a decommissioned federal nuclear production complex, are occupational diseases that can trigger workers’ compensation benefits.

The Department of Energy since 1989 has overseen cleanup at the Hanford Site, which produced weapons-grade plutonium for use in the U.S. nuclear program during World War II and the Cold War. The cleanup of the Hanford site is expected to continue over the next six decades and involve roughly 400 department employees and 10,000 contractors and subcontractors.

In 2018, Washington lawmakers passed legislation, HB 1723, that amended the state’s workers’ compensation law exclusive to the Hanford site, covering at least 100,000 current and former federal contract workers who performed services there over the past 80 years. The law states that presumed occupational diseases stemming from work at Hanford should trigger benefits eligibility, including cancers and other respiratory diseases.

The federal government argued the law exposes government contractors, and by extension the United States, to “massive new costs” that similarly situated state and private employers don’t incur

‘Uniquely Dangerous Workplace’

The Justice Department had asked the Supreme Court to take up the case, arguing the 2018 law discriminated against the United States and that state law shouldn’t apply to federal contract workers at Hanford. The government warned that the logic applied by a panel of Ninth Circuit judges opened the door to other states passing legislation targeting work at federal facilities.

“Congress did not permit States to adopt laws that impose unique burdens on the United States and the firms that it engages to carry out federal functions,” Justice Department attorneys argued. “The practical consequences of the panel’s mistake are far-reaching. Even if the Hanford site is considered in isolation, the decision is likely to cost the United States tens of millions of dollars annually for the remainder of the 21st century.”

Attorneys for Washington state, however, responded that courts have allowed states to regulate workers’ compensation for injuries or illnesses suffered during work on federal land. They argued Washington state has “long tailored its workers’ compensation laws to the dangers faced by particular employees,” noting statutes that protect firefighters and other workers facing special hazards.


“Hanford is a uniquely dangerous workplace, filled with radioactive and toxic chemicals, and private contractors operating there have routinely failed to provide employees with protective equipment and to monitor their exposures to toxic substances,” they argued.

Justice Department attorneys also argued the Ninth Circuit ruling clashed with Supreme Court precedent in a 1988 decision, Goodyear Atomic Corp. v. Miller, which described a similar situation of a state workers’ compensation award for an employee injured at a federally owned facility.

The full Ninth Circuit previously declined to take up the case, and said the Washington law fell properly within a part of federal law that authorizes states to apply their workers’ compensation laws to federal projects.

In a dissent to the Ninth Circuit’s denial of a rehearing, Judge Daniel P. Collins wrote that the panel’s decision clashed with high court precedent, calling it an “egregious error” that would have sweeping consequences.

The U.S. Solicitor General’s office represents the federal government. The Washington Attorney General’s office is defending the state law.

The case is U.S. v. Washington, U.S., No. 21-404, cert granted 1/10/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erin Mulvaney in Washington at emulvaney@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com; John Lauinger at jlauinger@bloomberglaw.com; Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com

January 11, 2022 Posted by | employment, health, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Six men stood directly under a nuclear explosion test – all got cancer.

Rough Job: A Nuclear Bomb Exploded Over These Six Men

When the AIR-2 Genie was launched at eighteen thousand feet from an F-89J interceptor and detonated over the Yucca Flats in Nevada there were six men directly underneath. They would later grow to develop serious health complications. National Interest by Peter Suciu 9 Jan 22
, Here’s What You Need to Remember: Above-ground nuclear tests were finally banned in 1963 as a result of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which limited radiation exposure to test personnel.

Instead of being granted three wishes the five United States Airmen and cameraman who volunteered to stand directly under a nuclear explosion during a test of the Douglas AIR-2 Genie air-to-air rocket in the Nevada desert were eventually “rewarded” with cancer while they were in their 1940s and 1950s. Whether it should be seen as a “successful” test that the AIR-2 Genie could, in fact, be used safely over populated areas remains a matter of debate, but the fact that test was the one and only one of its kind likely answers the question…………What was remarkable about the AIR-2 Genie test wasn’t just that it was the only live demonstration of a U.S. nuclear-tipped air-to-air rocket, but also that when it was launched at eighteen thousand feet from an F-89J interceptor and detonated over the Yucca Flats in Nevada there were six men directly underneath.

And they volunteered to be there. 

As Popular Mechanics reported, five men including Colonel Sidney Bruce, Lt. Col. Frank P. Ball, Major Norman “Bodie” Bodinger, Major John Hughes, and Don Lutrell volunteered to stand directly under the detonation point and stood their ground as the nuclear explosion went off 3.5 miles overhead. One additional man, George Yoshitake didn’t exactly “volunteer” but instead there to operate the camera and capture the moment for posterity.  

……………past nuclear detonations had been witnessed by those just miles away—so much so that Las Vegas actually promoted “atomic tourism” where people were encouraged to travel to “Sin City” and view various atomic tests taking place just outside the city. The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce even issued a calendar for tourists, which listed the schedule times of bomb detonations and the best places to view them—while the Sky Room at the Desert Inn was promoted to be one of the best places to take in the explosions!.

Sadly all six men present under the Genie detonation eventually developed cancer, but whether it was from that one incident is questionable as all the men were present at several nuclear tests. Their respective cancers could have been as much a cumulative effect of several tests as from being exposed to this one bomb.  

Above-ground nuclear tests were finally banned in 1963 as a result of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which limited radiation exposure to test personnel. …………. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/rough-job-nuclear-bomb-exploded-over-these-six-men-199199

January 10, 2022 Posted by | health, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Texas residents affected by New Mexico nuclear tests – radioactive fallout ignores state lines

Nuclear fallout ignores state lines: Lon Burnam and Istra Fuhrmann, https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/opinion/2022/01/07/nuclear-fallout-ignores-state-lines-lon-burnam-and-istra-fuhrmann/9122752002/  Early in the morning of July 16, 1945, native El Pasoan Barbara Kent was thrown out of her bunk bed at dance camp.

Just 13 years of age, she had traveled to Ruidoso, New Mexico, to learn ballet, unwittingly only a short distance from the site of the first nuclear weapons test. After the explosion awakened her, she says the camp owner came running in to tell the young girls to head outside, where the sky had turned from dark to blindingly bright.

Barbara Kent describes playing in pleasantly warm snow improbably falling in July, grabbing it in her hands and rubbing it on her face. Decades later, she realized that this “snow” had been radioactive fallout from the atomic blast. Today, she is the only survivor from the camp – all the other girls passed away from cancers before the age of 30.

El Paso is less than 150 miles from the epicenter of the nuclear bomb detonation known as the Trinity Test. While Kent happened to be in New Mexico that day, she was not the only Texan exposed to dangerous radiation levels. According to U.S. Census data, between 100,000-130,000 people lived in El Paso during the blast. Nuclear fallout from the explosion settled over thousands of square miles and exposed locals to radiation levels 10,000 times higher than what is currently allowed.

Unfortunately, many of our state’s lawmakers in Congress do not see radiation exposure as a Texas issue. They have not treated the problem with the urgency it is due. It’s time to acknowledge this historical wrong and compensate Texans and New Mexicans suffering from life-threatening illnesses due to nuclear weapons activities.

Congress has united in compensating nuclear testing survivors in the past. In 1990, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch introduced the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), which received strong bipartisan support and was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. Unless Congress acts, this compensation program is set to expire in July 2022. Making matters worse, Texas and New Mexico “downwinders” – locals exposed to nuclear fallout – have never been eligible.

Last month, communities affected by nuclear testing celebrated when the RECA Amendments Act of 2021 was overwhelmingly approved by the House Judiciary Committee. If passed into law, this bill will extend RECA by 19 years and allow New Mexican downwinders to claim compensation for the first time. Importantly, Texan downwinders just across the border are also pushing to be included.

Texas is currently covered in RECA as a uranium mining state that supplied material for America’s nuclear weapons arsenal. Uranium workers employed before 1971 who have developed radiation-related illnesses are eligible to receive a one-time RECA payment of $150,000. Many industry workers came from low-income Native and Hispanic communities and were never informed of deadly radiation exposure.

Greg Harman writes that “after 30 years of heavy [uranium] mining activity, cancer rates in Navajo Country began to shoot upward, doubling by the late ’90s.” RECA does not compensate post-1971 uranium miners, even though mining (and cancer cases) continued past this cutoff date. Texas contained the country’s third-largest uranium reserves and ranked second in the nation in drilling for uranium in 1971. As a result, many Texan uranium miners stand to benefit from the RECA extension, which expands eligibility to include workers in the industry post-1971.

We scored another victory when El Paso’s Congresswomen Veronica Escobar recently cosponsored the RECA Amendments Act. Now it’s time for Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to cosponsor and endorse the Senate version. This bill ensures that compensation for Texan uranium miners will not expire this summer. Advocates from local groups like the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium ask legislators to amend the bill’s language to include El Paso County.


Nuclear fallout does not respect state lines or dates on the calendar. Perhaps, in this case, neither should Congress. It is long past time to compensate Texans, New Mexicans, and downwinders of the 1945 Trinity Tests.

January 10, 2022 Posted by | health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Maori workers exposed to radiation in cleaning up USA’s failed nuclear reactor in Antarctica

Detour: Antarctica – Kiwis ‘exposed to radiation’ at Antarctic power plant,  https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/detour-antarctica-kiwis-exposed-to-radiation-at-antarctic-power-plant/NY5WTQ72JF4OFUW4F35ZSUCB6U/ 8 Jan, 2022 By Thomas Bywater, Thomas Bywater is a writer and digital producer for Herald Travel

In a major new Herald podcast series, Detour: Antarctica, Thomas Bywater goes in search of the white continent’s hidden stories. In this accompanying text series, he reveals a few of his discoveries to whet your appetite for the podcast. You can read them all, and experience a very special visual presentation, by clicking here. To follow Detour: Antarctica, visit iHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcasts.

The Waitangi Tribunal will consider whether NZ Defence Force personnel were appropriately warned of potential exposure to radiation while working at a decommissioned nuclear reactor in Antarctica.

It’s among a raft of historic claims dating from 1860 to the present day before the Military Veterans Inquiry.

After an initial hearing in 2016, the Waitangi Tribunal last year admitted the Antarctic kaupapa to be considered alongside the other claims.

“It’s been a bloody long journey,” said solicitors Bennion Law, the Wellington firm representing the Antarctic claimants.

Between 1972 and the early 1980s, more than 300 tonnes of radioactive rubble was shipped off the continent via the seasonal resupply link.

Handled by US and New Zealand personnel without properly measuring potential exposure, the submission argues the Crown failed in its duty of care for the largely Māori contingent, including NZ Army Cargo Team One.

“This failure of active protection was and continues to be in breach of Te Tiriti o Waitangi,” reads the submission.

The rubble came from PM3A, a portable nuclear power unit on Ross Island, belonging to the US Navy. Decommissioned in 1972, its checkered 10-year operating history led it to be known as ‘Nukey Poo’ among base inhabitants. After recording 438 operating errors it was shut off for good.

Due to US obligations to the Antarctic Treaty, nuclear waste had to be removed.

Peter Breen, Assistant Base Mechanic at New Zealand’s Scott Base for 1981-82, led the effort to get similar New Zealand stories heard.

He hopes that NZDF personnel involved in the cleanup of Ross Island might get medallic recognition “similar to those who were exposed at Mururoa Atoll”. Sailors were awarded the Special Service Medal Nuclear Testing for observing French bomb sites in the Pacific in 1973, roughly the same time their colleagues were helping clear radioactive material from Antarctica.

A public advisory regarding potential historic radiation exposure at McMurdo Station was published in 2018.

Since 1975 the Waitangi Tribunal has been a permanent commission by the Ministry of Justice to raise Māori claims relating to the Crown’s obligations in the Treaty of Waitangi.

The current Military Veterans’ Kaupapa includes hearings as diverse as the injury of George Nepata while training in Singapore, to the exposure of soldiers to DBP insecticides during the Malayan Emergency.

Commenced in 2014 in the “centenary year of the onset of the First World War” the Māori military veterans inquiry has dragged on to twice the duration of the Great War.

Of the three claimants in the Antarctic veterans’ claim, Edwin (Chaddy) Chadwick, Apiha Papuni and Kelly Tako, only Tako survives.

“We’re obviously concerned with time because we’re losing veterans,” said Bennion Law.

Detour: Antarctica is a New Zealand Herald podcast. You can follow the series on iHeartRadio, Apple PodcastsSpotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

January 8, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, health, indigenous issues, New Zealand, wastes | Leave a comment

Coronavirus cases doubled in a few days at Sellafield nuclear site

 CORONAVIRUS cases at Sellafield have more than doubled in a week as
Omicron continues to spread rapidly throughout the county. Numbers of cases
among those employed on the site rose from 320 in the week to Wednesday 29,
up to 712 in the week to January 5.

 Carlisle News & Star 7th Jan 2022

https://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/19829854.coronavirus-rates-double-week-sellafie

January 8, 2022 Posted by | health, UK | Leave a comment

Britain under pressure to follow Joe Biden’s plan to honour nuclear test veterans


Britain under pressure to follow Joe Biden’s plan to honour nuclear test veterans

Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey has written to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace urging the British Government to follow the White House’s example
, Mirror UK, ByBen Glaze, Deputy Political Editor, 30 Dec 2021

Ministers are under fresh pressure to grant medals to Britain’s nuclear test veterans after Joe Biden pledged to honour America’s nuke guinea pigs.

The US President announced legislation for an “Atomic Veterans Service Medal” to “honor retired and former members of the Armed Forces who are radiation-exposed veterans”.

The plan would cover those who “participated in nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962”………..

t is thought around 22,000 men, many of them on National Service, took part in hundreds of nuclear blasts in America, Australia and the South Pacific.

They now report a legacy of rare cancers, a higher risk of miscarriages for their wives, and 10 times the usual rate of birth defects in their children.

Genetic research has proved they have the same level of DNA damage as clean-up workers at Chernobyl……………….. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/britain-under-pressure-follow-joe-25819130

January 1, 2022 Posted by | health, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA reclassifies nuclear waste, with new interpretation, making it easier to move to storage.

The Biden administration has affirmed a Trump administration
interpretation of high-level radioactive waste that is based on the
waste’s radioactivity rather than how it was produced.

The U.S. Department of Energy announcement last week means some radioactive waste
from nuclear weapons production stored in Idaho, Washington and South
Carolina could be reclassified and moved for permanent storage elsewhere.

“After extensive policy and legal assessment, DOE affirmed that the
interpretation is consistent with the law, guided by the best available
science and data, and that the views of members of the public and the
scientific community were considered in its adoption,” the agency said in
a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The policy has to do with nuclear waste generated from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel to
build nuclear bombs. Such waste previously has been characterized as high
level. The new interpretation applies to waste that includes such things as
sludge, slurry, liquid, debris and contaminated equipment. The agency said
making disposal decisions based on radioactivity characteristics rather
than how it became radioactive could allow the Energy Department to focus
on other high-priority cleanup projects, reduce how long radioactive waste
is stored at Energy Department facilities, and increase safety for workers,
communities and the environment. The department noted that the approach is
supported by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future,
formed during the Obama administration.

The department identified three
sites where waste is being stored that will be affected by the new
interpretation.

 ABC News 29th Dec 2021

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/us-affirms-interpretation-high-level-nuclear-waste-81991323

January 1, 2022 Posted by | radiation, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Radioactive radiation could damage biological tissue also via a previously unnoticed mechanism

Radioactive radiation could damage biological tissue also via a previously unnoticed mechanism, Science Daily
Date:December 27, 2021Source:Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

Summary:When cells are exposed to ionizing radiation, more destructive chain reactions may occur than previously thought. An international team led by researchers has now observed intermolecular Coulombic decay in organic molecules. This is triggered by ionizing radiation such as from radioactivity or from space. The effect damages two neighboring molecules and ultimately leads to the breaking of bonds – like the ones in DNA and proteins. The finding not only improves the understanding of radiation damage but could also help in the search for more effective substances to support radiation therapy……….. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/12/211227154333.htm3

December 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health | Leave a comment

Environmental Ruin in Modern Iraq – largely due to depleted uranium.

In particular, she points to depleted uranium, or DU, used by the U.S. and U.K. in the manufacture of tank armor, ammunition, and other military purposes during the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The United Nations Environment Program estimates that some 2,000 tons of depleted uranium may have been used in Iraq, and much of it has yet to be cleaned up.

‘Everything Living Is Dying’: Environmental Ruin in Modern Iraq, Decades of war, poverty, and fossil fuel extraction have devastated the country’s environment and its people. Undark, BY LYNZY BILLING, 12.22.2021 All photos by LYNZY BILLING for UNDARK  ”’,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,   Miscarriages, of course, are common everywhere, and while pollution writ large is known to be deadly in the aggregate, linking specific health outcomes to local ambient pollution is a notoriously difficult task. Even so, few places on earth beg such questions as desperately as modern Iraq, a country devastated from the northern refineries of Kurdistan to the Mesopotamian marshes of the south — and nearly everywhere in between — by decades of war, poverty, and fossil fuel extraction.

As far back as 2005, the United Nations had estimated that Iraq was already littered with several thousand contaminated sites. Five years later, an investigation by The Times, a London-based newspaper, suggested that the U.S. military had generated some 11 million pounds of toxic waste and abandoned it in Iraq. Today, it is easy to find soil and water polluted by depleted uranium, dioxin and other hazardous materials, and extractive industries like the KAR oil refinery often operate with minimal transparency. On top of all of this, Iraq is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change, which has already contributed to grinding water shortages and prolonged drought. In short, Iraq presents a uniquely dystopian tableau — one where human activity contaminates virtually every ecosystem, and where terms like “ecocide” have special currency.

According to Iraqi physicians, the many overlapping environmental insults could account for the country’s high rates of cancer, birth defects, and other diseases. Preliminary research by local scientists supports these claims, but the country lacks the money and technology needed to investigate on its own. To get a better handle on the scale and severity of the contamination, as well as any health impacts, they say, international teams will need to assist in comprehensive investigations. With the recent close of the ISIS caliphate, experts say, a window has opened.

While the Iraqi government has publicly recognized widespread pollution stemming from conflict and other sources, and implemented some remediation programs, few critics believe these measures will be adequate to address a variegated environmental and public health problem that is both geographically expansive and attributable to generations of decision-makers — both foreign and domestic — who have never truly been held to account. The Iraqi Ministry of Health and the Kurdistan Ministry of Health did not respond to repeated requests for comment on these issues……………………….

experts who study Iraq’s complex mosaic of pollution and health challenges say. Despite overwhelming evidence of pollution and contamination from a variety of sources, it remains exceedingly difficult for Iraqi doctors and scientists to pinpoint the precise cause of any given person’s — or even any community’s — illness; depleted uranium, gas flaring, contaminated crops all might play a role in triggering disease……………………………

This is Eman’s sixth year at the hospital, and her 25th as a physician. Over that time span, she says, she has seen an array of congenital anomalies, most commonly cleft palates, but also spinal deformities, hydrocephaly, and tumors. At the same time, miscarriages and premature births have spiked among Iraqi women, she says, particularly in areas where heavy U.S. military operations occurred as part of the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 to 2011 Iraq War. 

Research supports many of these clinical observations. According to a 2010 paper published in the American Journal of Public Health, leukemia cases in children under 15 doubled from 1993 to 1999 at one hospital in southern Iraq, a region of the country that was particularly hard hit by war. According to other research, birth defects also surged there, from 37 in 1990 to 254 in 2001.

But few studies have been conducted lately, and now, more than 20 years on, it’s difficult to know precisely which factors are contributing to Iraq’s ongoing medical problems. Eman says she suspects contaminated water, lack of proper nutrition, and poverty are all factors, but war also has a role. In particular, she points to depleted uranium, or DU, used by the U.S. and U.K. in the manufacture of tank armor, ammunition, and other military purposes during the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The United Nations Environment Program estimates that some 2,000 tons of depleted uranium may have been used in Iraq, and much of it has yet to be cleaned up. The remnants of DU ammunition are spread across 1,100 locations — “and that’s just from the 2003 invasion,” says Zwijnenburg, the Dutch war-and-environment analyst. “We are still missing all the information from the 1991 Gulf War that the U.S. said was not recorded and could not be shared.”

Souad Naji Al-Azzawi, an environmental engineer and a retired University of Baghdad professor, knows this problem well. In 1991, she was asked to review plans to reconstruct some of Baghdad’s water treatment plants, which had been destroyed at the start of the Gulf War, she says. A few years later, she led a team to measure the impact of radiation on soldiers and Iraqi civilians in the south of the country.

Around that same time, epidemiological studies found that from 1990 to 1997, cases of childhood leukemia increased 60 percent in the southern Iraqi town of Basra, which had been a focal point of the fighting. Over the same time span, the number of children born with severe birth defects tripled. Al-Azzawi’s work suggests that the illnesses are linked to depleted uranium. Other work supports this finding and suggests that depleted uranium is contributing to elevated rates of cancer and other health problems in adults, too.

Today, remnants of tanks and weapons line the main highway from Baghdad to Basra, where contaminated debris remains a part of residents’ everyday lives. In one family in Basra, Zwijnenburg noted, all members had some form of cancer, from leukemia to bone cancers.

To Al-Azzawi, the reasons for such anomalies seem plain. Much of the land in this area is contaminated with depleted uranium oxides and particles, she said. It is in the water, in the soil, in the vegetation. “The population of west Basra showed between 100 and 200 times the natural background radiation levels,” Al-Azzawi says.

Some remediation efforts have taken place. For example, says Al-Azzawi, two so-called tank graveyards in Basra were partially remediated in 2013 and 2014. But while hundreds of vehicles and pieces of artillery were removed, these graveyards remain a source of contamination. The depleted uranium has leached into the water and surrounding soils. And with each sandstorm —  a common event — the radioactive particles are swept into neighborhoods and cities.

Cancers in Iraq catapulted from 40 cases among 100,000 people in 1991 to at least 1,600 by 2005.

In Fallujah, a central Iraqi city that has experienced heavy warfare, doctors have also reported a sharp rise in birth defects among the city’s children. According to a 2012 article in Al Jazeera, Samira Alani, a pediatrician at Fallujah General Hospital, estimated that 14 percent of babies born in the city had birth defects — more than twice the global average.

Alani says that while her research clearly shows a connection between contamination and congenital anomalies, she still faces challenges to painting a full picture of the affected areas, in part because data was lacking from Iraq’s birth registry. It’s a common refrain among doctors and researchers in Iraq, many of whom say they simply don’t have the resources and capacity to properly quantify the compounding impacts of war and unchecked industry on Iraq’s environment and its people. “So far, there are no studies. Not on a national scale,” says Eman, who has also struggled to conduct studies because there is no nationwide record of birth defects or cancers. “There are only personal and individual efforts.”…………………..

After the Gulf War, many veterans suffered from a condition now known as Gulf War syndrome. Though the causes of the illness are to this day still subject to widespread speculation, possible causes include exposure to depleted uranium, chemical weapons, and smoke from burning oil wells. More than 200,000 veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the Middle East have reported major health issues to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which they believe are connected to burn pit exposure. Last month, the White House announced new actions to make it easier for such veterans to access care.

Numerous studies have shown that the pollution stemming from these burn pits has caused severe health complications for American veterans. Active duty personnel have reported respiratory difficulties, headaches, and rare cancers allegedly derived from the burn pits in Iraq and locals living nearby also claim similar health ailments, which they believe stem from pollutants emitted by the burn pits.

Keith Baverstock, head of the Radiation Protection Program at the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe from 1991 to 2003, says the health of Iraqi residents is likely also at risk from proximity to the burn pits. “If surplus DU has been burned in open pits, there is a clear health risk” to people living within a couple of miles, he says.

Abdul Wahab Hamed lives near the former U.S. Falcon base in Baghdad. His nephew, he says, was born with severe birth defects. The boy cannot walk or talk, and he is smaller than other children his age. Hamed says his family took the boy to two separate hospitals and after extensive work-ups, both facilities blamed the same culprit: the burn pits. Residents living near Camp Taji, just north of Baghdad also report children born with spinal disfigurements and other congenital anomalies, but they say that their requests for investigation have yielded no results.  ……………………………………… https://undark.org/2021/12/22/ecocide-iraq/

December 27, 2021 Posted by | children, environment, Iraq, secrets,lies and civil liberties, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

NASA seems to be struggling with the fact that ionising radiation is a greater risk to women, than to men

The committee also recommended NASA provide all its astronauts with individual radiation risk assessment (based on age and sex), communicate a comprehensive picture of an astronaut’s own cancer risk, and continue to discuss changes in radiation risk during routine health briefings.

New NASA radiation exposure limit would bring equality to female, male astronauts,  Healio.com, Ryan Lawrence    20 Dec 21,
“Experts in oncology help advise NASA on space radiation health standard for astronauts”A committee of experts from science, medicine and academia, among other fields, has recommended NASA proceed with a proposal for a universal, career-long radiation dose limit for all astronauts

The Committee on Assessment of Strategies for Managing Cancer Risks Associated with Radiation Exposure During Crewed Space Missions, convened at the request of NASA, concluded that the career-long dose limit should apply to both men and women, a change from previous standards, and recommended improved communication methods for advising astronauts on cancer risks.

“The old radiation standards were very restrictive for women astronauts,” Amy Berrington de González, DPhil, senior investigator and chief of the radiation epidemiology branch at the NCI and a member of the committee, told Healio | HemOnc Today. “There has been a lot of progress in understanding of radiation risk in the last few decades, so bringing that in to see whether you could make the flying time more equitable for women astronauts, I think was really important.”

Berrington de González said the universal dose was established “for the most protective case” and applied to all astronauts.

As it currently stands, men and women have different allowable doses of radiation in space travel with NASA, which were based on reported relative susceptibilities to different radiation-induced cancers. The report recommends NASA move forward with its proposed single standard dose limit for all astronauts.

“I think NASA got worried because they saw some data from the Japanese atomic bomb survivors, who we use as our primary group for determining [radiation] risk, and it looked like there was an increased risk for lung cancer among women,” committee member Gayle E. Woloschak, PhD, associate dean for graduate student and postdoctoral affairs and professor of radiation oncology and radiology at Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, told Healio | HemOnc Today. “

 “Then the question was, ‘Should we have a different risk level for women than for men, considering Mars missions might limit a woman from going into space at all?’ And, you can imagine, there are ethical issues with that, too. Basically, we said there should be the same risks across the board for everybody.”

Before these proposals, the current standard set career exposure to radiation to not exceed 3% risk for exposure-induced death (REID) for cancer mortality at a 95 percent confidence level, to limit the cumulative effective dose received throughout an astronaut’s career.

NASA called for an independent review of the validity of the 3% REID, which has been the standard since 1989, because it is for low-Earth orbit missions exclusively. An update was necessary as NASA plans for longer-duration missions farther in the solar system.

“The radiation in deep space is different,” committee member Carol Scott-Conner, MD, PhD, MBA, emeritus professor of surgery in surgical oncology and endocrine surgery at Carver College of Medicine at University of Iowa, told Healio | HemOnc Today. “Once you get beyond the Earth’s magnetosphere, you get highly energetic particles from the sun. And these are things like the nuclei of iron. You can think of them as like cannon balls going through cells, as opposed to protons, electrons or gamma rays that we think of here on Earth. … If you go to Mars, and let’s say it takes you about 6 months, you’re exposed that whole time to this radiation.”

The committee also recommended NASA provide all its astronauts with individual radiation risk assessment (based on age and sex), communicate a comprehensive picture of an astronaut’s own cancer risk, and continue to discuss changes in radiation risk during routine health briefings.

https://www.healio.com/news/hematology-oncology/20211222/new-nasa-radiation-exposure-limit-would-bring-equality-to-female-male-astronauts

.

December 24, 2021 Posted by | radiation, space travel, USA | Leave a comment

‘Anti-5G’ necklaces are radioactive and dangerous, Dutch nuclear experts say

‘Anti-5G’ necklaces are radioactive and dangerous, Dutch nuclear experts say,  Officials issue product alert and say ‘quantum pendants’ could damage DNA with prolonged use, Guardian, Daniel Boffey in BrusselsSat 18 Dec 2021 People who wear “anti-5G” pendants to “protect” themselves from radio frequencies emitted by phone masts have been told by the Dutch nuclear authority that their necklaces are dangerously radioactive.

Owners of “quantum pendants” and other “negative ion” jewellery have been advised to store them away, as they have been found to continuously emit ionising radiation.

The product alert was issued by the Dutch authority for nuclear safety and radiation protection (ANVS) in relation to 10 products.

“Exposure to ionising radiation can cause adverse health effects,” the safety agency said. “Due to the potential health risk they pose, these consumer products containing radioactive materials are therefore prohibited by law. Ionising radiation can damage tissue and DNA and can cause, for example, a red skin. Only low levels of radiation have been measured on these specific products.

“However, someone who wears a product of this kind for a prolonged period (a year, 24 hours a day) could expose themselves to a level of radiation that exceeds the stringent limit for skin exposure that applies in the Netherlands. To avoid any risk, the ANVS calls on owners of such items not to wear them from now on.”……………… https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/dec/17/anti-5g-necklaces-radioactive-dutch-nuclear-experts-quantum-pendants

December 17, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation | Leave a comment

UK’s nuclear test veterans ‘were victims of a crime

UK’s nuclear test veterans ‘were victims of a crime’ with one suffering 100 tumours

Many of the 22,000 men who served at nuclear bomb tests carried out by Britain have died from cancers and suffered rare blood disorders – Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram heard their tales of horror Mirror UK,  BySusie Boniface, 15 Dec 2021

Campaigning giants Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram have vowed to win recognition for Britain’s nuclear test veterans, telling them: “You were victims of a crime.”

The two metro mayors likened 70 years of official denials about the Cold War radiation experiments to Hillsborough, forced adoptions and the contaminated blood scandal.

Around 22,000 men served at 45 bomb tests and more than 600 radiation experiments in Australia, America and the South Pacific between 1952 and 1991. Many have died from cancers and suffered rare blood disorders. Their 155,000 descendants show 10 times the usual rate of birth defects, which the government refuses to investigate.

After meeting survivors, Mr Burnham said: “It feels like you were victims of a crime, and that has been passed down through your families.”

Mr Rotheram added: “The pattern of these scandals is the always the same. They deflect the truth, they make it about money, they deny, suppress, cover up, and blame.”

John Morris told them: “I don’t want their money, I just want the damned truth.”

In 1957, aged 20, he was among troops exposed on a beach when the 1.8 megaton Grapple X bomb was exploded 20 miles away. “I wore a shirt, shorts, and sunglasses. The flash was white, the heat like a blowtorch on your back, then we were knocked off our feet,” said John, 84, from Rochdale.

“There were 2,000 men running around, terrified. We couldn’t get in our wagons to get away because the tires had melted. If I told you to stand 20 miles away from the Sun, would you do it?”

After his return home, John was diagnosed with a radiation-related blood disorder. His first-born Steven died in 1962, aged four months, in an unexplained cot death. Daughter Liz Bacon said: “We’re made to feel unreasonable just for questioning it. He didn’t even get the autopsy report until 2018.”

Ex-railway manager Archie Hart, 84, of Warrington, told how he was an 18-year-old stoker on HMS Diana in 1956 when the ship was twice ordered to spend 8 hours in the fallout of atomic bombs in a human experiment designed to test the effect on ship and crew. Archie, wearing just a cotton hood for protection, was on deck throughout, and within two years began developing benign tumours.

“There’s 100 all over my body, some the size of tennis balls,” he told the mayors. “I can’t do the dance of the seven veils anymore, because my body’s an unsightly mess. What they did to us was morally wrong, and their cavalier attitude in the years since is causing problems to this day for the generations that follow.”

Both men have survived cancer, but told the mayors: “We were the lucky ones.”

Alan Owen, whose Royal Navy dad Jesse died aged 52 after witnessing 24 US bomb tests in 78 days in 1962, said: “The Americans compensated my family, but our own governments delay, deny, until we die.”

For more than 30 years the Mirror has campaigned for justice for the brave men who took part in Britain’s nuclear weapons tests.

The Ministry of Defence has fought back every step of the way.

We have told countless heartbreaking stories of grieving mums, children with deformities, men aged before their time and widows struggling to hold their families together, all while campaigning for recognition.

Two years ago we launched an appeal for a medal for the 1,500 survivors.

For the first time we were able to prove some were unwittingly used in experiments.

Our appeal was backed by then-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson but his review foundered after he lost his job.

……………….. Mr Burnham said: “These are the tactics of the British state: to deflect onto the victims, use a lack of progress to grind people down, and create mental torture so people cannot fight injustice.”………………

Both mayors supported the idea of a medal for its “totemic significance” to veterans, whose average age is now 85, and promised to support a nuclear tests education programme to be rolled out across their regions’ schools, with veterans meeting children to discuss their personal legacy………………………  https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/uks-nuclear-test-veterans-were-25708681

December 16, 2021 Posted by | health, UK, weapons and war | 1 Comment