nuclear-news

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

For the first time, a full account of the horror results of UK’s nuclear bomb experiments

Britain’s nuclear bomb test legacy of early deaths and deformed children, Mirror, By Susie Boniface 14 NOV 2018

The horrific story behind the UK’s nuclear experiments have been told in full for the first time. After the horrors of the Second World War, it was deemed necessary for Britain to have a weapon that could unleash hell.

When atom bombs were dropped on Japan in 1945, LIFE magazine reported: “People’s bodies were terribly squeezed, then their internal organs ruptured…….

Of the 22,000 scientists and servicemen who took part in radioactive experiments in Australia and the South Pacific, just a handful are alive.

Their families report cancers, rare medical problems, high rates of miscarriage – and deformities, disability and death for their children – and their grandchildren.

Now, the full story of Britain’s nuclear experiments has been told for the first time in a new Mirror website that details not only the scientific, military and political battles, but the human fallout.

DAMNED features top-secret documents, eyewitness accounts and searing testimonies.

The site takes its name from an editorial written in 2002 by Mirror editor Richard Stott, who thundered: “How many more generations of the damned will our politicians allow to suffer before they accept the calamities of their predecessors and the consequences of their own cowardice?”

In May, the Mirror called for an award for the veterans and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has ordered a medal review.

DAMNED begins with Operation Hurricane in 1952, when Britain exploded its first atomic bomb, covers the Minor Trials in South Australia, which left the landscape littered with plutonium debris for decades, and reports on Operation Grapple in 1958 when the UK detonated its biggest weapon.

It also details the human cost and shows how every other nuclear nation on Earth came to accept and recognise their nuclear heroes – leaving Britain the only one to deny a duty of care………

In May, the Mirror called for an award for the veterans and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has ordered a medal review……….

DAMNED has a memorial section with the pictures and health problems of every veteran from our archives. Some of their stories can be read here: …… https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/britains-nuclear-bomb-test-legacy-13590455

Advertisements

November 15, 2018 Posted by | health, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Court order. USA Veterans Affairs must reveal numbers of troops exposed to radiation after 1966 Spanish nuclear disaster

Court forces VA to reveal extent of veterans’ contamination in Spanish nuclear disaster https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2018/11/14/court-forces-va-to-reveal-extent-of-veterans-contamination-in-spanish-nuclear-

November 15, 2018 Posted by | health, incidents, Legal, Spain, USA | Leave a comment

The cancer toll on nuclear workers: $15.5 billion in compensation and counting

Nuclear fallout: $15.5 billion in compensation and counting

They built our atomic bombs; now they’re dying of cancer

Nearly 33,500 former nuclear site workers died due to radiation exposure- report

Nuclear Fallout: This story produced in partnership with ProPublica and the Santa Fe New Mexican. (Richly illustrated with photographs, videos, charts, documents interactive map) 
Wave 3, By Jamie Grey and Lee Zurik | November 12, 2018  
LOS ALAMOS, NEW MEXICO (InvestigateTV) – Clear, plastic water bottles, with the caps all slightly twisted open, fill a small refrigerator under Gilbert Mondragon’s kitchen counter. The lids all loosened by his 4- and 6-year old daughters because, at just 38, Mondragon suffers from limited mobility and strength. He blames his conditions on years of exposure to chemicals and radiation at the facility that produced the world’s first atomic bomb: Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Gilbert Mondragon, 38, pulls the cap off a plastic water bottle that had been twisted open by his young daughters. He hasn’t the strength for those simple tasks anymore and blames his 20-year career at the Los Alamos National Lab. He quit this year because of his serious lung issues, which he suspects were caused by exposures at the nuclear facility. (InvestigateTV/Andy Miller)

Mondragon is hardly alone in his thinking; there are thousands more nuclear weapons workers who are sick or dead. The government too recognizes that workers have been harmed; the Department of Labor administers programs to compensate “the men and women who sacrificed so much for our country’s national security.”

But InvestigateTV found workers with medical issues struggling to get compensated from a program that has ballooned ten times original cost estimates. More than 6,000 workers from Los Alamos alone have filed to get money for their medical problems, with around 53 percent of claims approved.

The Los Alamos lab, the top-secret site for bomb design in 1943, has had numerous safety violations and evidence of improper monitoring, federal inspection reports show. Continue reading

November 13, 2018 Posted by | employment, health, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Prisoners in New York will learn about their radiation exposure due to body scans

November 10, 2018 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Trump administration heads for the dodgy science of the radiation sceptics

Is a Little Radiation Good For You? Trump Admin Steps Into Shaky Science, Discover Magazine, By Nathaniel Scharping | October 5, 2018 

For decades, studies have shown that even low doses of radiation are harmful to humans.

This week, the Associated Press reported that the Trump administration may be reconsidering that. The Environmental Protection Agency seemed to be looking at raising the levels of radiation considered dangerous to humans based on a controversial theory rejected by mainstream scientists. The theory suggests that a little radiation might actually be good for our bodies. In April, an EPA press release announced the proposal and included supporting comments from a vocal proponent of the hypothesis, known as hormesis. It prompted critical opinion pieces and sparked worry among radiation safety advocates.

EPA’s decision to move away from the radiation dose model widely accepted by the scientific mainstream. But by Friday, the EPA backed away from Calabrese’s stance in comments to Discover.

The debate cuts to the heart of the debate over the effects of low doses of radiation and reveals how difficult it is to craft clear guidelines in an area where scientific evidence is not clear cut.

Radiation Debate

When radiation damages our DNA, the body steps in to make repairs. Hormesis suggests that hitting the body with a little more radiation should kick our defensive mechanisms into overdrive. According to proponents of the theory, this results in the production of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce our risk for cancer and heart disease, among other things. That’s why hormesis backers want the EPA to raise the level of acceptable radiation, pointing out that it would also save millions in safety costs.

It sounds convincing, and proponents have dozens of studies to point to that they say back up their claims. But, there’s never been a large-scale human study of hormesis. And while studies of low-dose radiation are very hard to do, so far, most suggest that radiation is indeed bad for us, at any dose.

“Large, epidemiological studies provide substantial scientific evidence that even low doses of radiation exposure increase cancer risk,” says Diana Miglioretti, a professor in biostatistics at the University of California, Davis in an email. “Risks associated with low-doses of radiation are small; however, if large populations are exposed, the evidence suggests it will lead to measurable numbers of radiation-induced cancers.”

Long-term studies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing survivors show higher cancer risks. Marshall Islanders exposed to radiation from atomic bomb tests suffered a higher risk of thyroid disease. And patients who get CT scans, which deliver a dose of radiation equal to thousands of X-rays, saw cancer risks go up afterward. Researchers also found that radiation from childhood CT scans can triple the risk of leukemia and, at higher doses, triple the risk of brain cancers as well. Another found that low-dose radiation increased the risk of breast cancer among some some women.

And large-scale reviews of the evidence for hormesis find that it is decidedly lacking. Two studies, one in 2006 by the National Research Council, and another in 2018 by the National Council and Radiation Protection and Measurements looking at 29 studies of radiation exposure find no evidence for hormesis, and reiterate that the evidence points toward radiation being bad for us even at low doses.

Scientific Uncertainty

It’s difficult to study low doses of radiation, though, and that’s where much of the controversy comes from. At doses below a few hundred millisieverts (mSv), a radiation unit that accounts for its effects on the body, it becomes extraordinarily hard to separate out the effects of radiation from other things like lifestyle or genetics. Research on the effects of these small radiation doses often use data sets involving thousands of people to compensate for the minimal effect sizes, but even then it’s often not enough to be certain what’s happening.

“Data collected at low doses (defined by the scientific community [as] exposures less than 100 mSv) suffers from a ‘signal to noise’ problem which limits our ability to conclusively state effects one way or another,” says Kathryn Higley, head of the school of nuclear science and engineering at Oregon State University in an email.

A single CT scan delivers anywhere from 1 to 15 mSv, but some patients need many scans during the course of their treatment, increasing the total dose. Workers cleaning up after the Fukushima meltdown received radiation doses above 100 mSv in some cases. And current U.S. standards limit radiation workers to no more than 50 mSv of exposure per year.

Many studies indicate that there are dangers at that level, but it’s often an assumption. Those studies base their suppositions on what’s called the linear no-threshold model, which extrapolates more reliable data from studies of higher doses of radiation to lower doses. Though it may be an educated guess, for decades large-scale studies have indicated this is true.

……….. The EPA in recent days appeared to back away from the suggestion that it supported hormesis. The agency released a statement in response to the APstory affirming that it intends to continue using the linear no-threshold model when constructing radiation guidelines, something that contradicts Calabrese’s comments in the April press release.

“The proposed regulation doesn’t talk about radiation or any particular chemicals. EPA’s policy is to continue to use the linear-no-threshold model for population-level radiation protection purposes which would not – under the proposed regulation that has not been finalized – trigger any change in that policy,” said an EPA spokesman in response to a request for comment.

Radiologist Rebecca Smith-Bindman says the vast bulk of the evidence suggests even small amounts of radiation are harmful. We shouldn’t base our policies on an unproven theory, she adds.

“There is extensive evidence that ionizing radiation will cause cancer,” says Smith-Bindman, a professor of radiology at the University of California, San Francisco in an email exchange. “These data come from a range of different sources, including epidemiological data (such as studies of patients who have received diagnostic and therapeutic radiation and from environmental exposures and accidents), from animal studies and from basic science studies. While it is more difficult to precisely quantify the exposures — which will vary by many factors, such as age at exposure, and source of radiation, etc. — there is no uncertainty among the scientific community that radiation will cause cancer.”

She says that pointing to issues with the linear no-threshold model misses the point. Though it may not be totally accurate at very low doses, she says it’s unfair to use that uncertainty to cast doubt on data about radiation where there’s solid evidence.

…….. Miglioretti says “Based on the large body of evidence to date, I believe that revising the regulations to increase allowable radiation exposure limits will lead to an increase in the number of radiation-induced cancers in this country.”

That’s in line with what multiple experts Discover contacted believe — that radiation can harm even at low doses and raising limits would endanger the public, though the increase in risk would likely be small.

It’s not clear at the moment whether the EPA proposal to raise limits will pass, though it does follow in the footsteps of other Trump administration proposals to weaken safety standards. At the moment, it’s unclear what the effects on the public if the EPA raises radiation limits.

“Perhaps it might make nuclear power plants less expensive to build. It might lower the cost of cleanup of radioactively polluted sites,” says David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University in an email. “But [it] begs the question of whether cleanup to a less rigorous standard is desirable.” http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2018/10/05/epa-trump-administation-radiation-guidelines/#.W99ZFtIzbGg

 

November 5, 2018 Posted by | radiation, Reference, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Reclassifying nuclear wastes as “Low Level”

DOE proposes reclassifying high-level nuclear waste, could send more to WIPP Adrian C Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus  Nov. 2, 2018 A proposal to re-characterize high-level nuclear waste could bring more waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

The U.S. Department of Energy posted a notice in the federal register in October, requesting public comment on the potential change.

If approved, the DOE would change how it labels high level waste (HLW), allowing some of the waste resulting from processing nuclear fuel to be characterized as either low-level or transuranic (TRU) waste.

If the waste is deemed low-level, it can be disposed of at the generator site, or in a surface-level facility………

When the HLW is held at the site, the federal government pays for the facility’s utilities, costing tax payers billions of dollars a year, Heaton said.

Some of that money could be saved, he said, if the waste was moved.

“A lot of would pass the waste acceptance criteria at WIPP,” Heaton said. “It would extend the life of WIPP for sure. ………

Don Hancock, director of the Nuclear Waste Program at the Southwest Research and Information Center said the proposal is not only illegal, but hypocritical.

He said HLW is defined numerous times in laws passed by the U.S. Congress, and the DOE’s proposal would circumvent congressional powers.

“What it seems like they’re proposing is illegal,” he said. “They say they get to rewrite the law, not Congress. They’re a lot of opposition to this nationally.”

Hancock also said that if waste is truly less dangerous than previously thought, it could be safely kept where it is.

If it’s more dangerous to keep the waste at the generator sites, Hancock said the DOE should petition for more repositories.

All HLW must be sent to a geologic repository, per federal law, excluding WIPP which is licensed for TRU waste.

Aside from re-characterizing HLW as TRU waste, Hancock said the proposal was also intended to get around the law requiring HLW to go underground, by re-characterizing it as low-level waste.

“There was a consensus that there should be multiple geologic repositories,” Hancock said. “There should be multiple places in the U.S. where you can have safe repositories. That didn’t happen.”

Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, achedden@currentargus.com or @AdrianHedden on Twitter. https://www.currentargus.com/story/news/local/2018/11/02/doe-reclassifying-nuclear-waste/1831914002  

November 3, 2018 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Non nuclear production of medical isotopes – Canada

Canada to build advanced medical isotope centre, WNN 02 November 2018 Canada is to invest more than CAD50 million (USD38 million) on a new centre for advanced medical isotope research and development. The centre will be on the campus of Triumf, the national laboratory for particle physics, at the University of British Columbia.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday announced federal funding for the Institute for Advanced Medical Isotopes (IAMI) during a visit to Triumf.

The 2500-square-metre state-of-the-art facility will house a new TR-24 medical cyclotron, a cyclotron control room and six laboratories. It will also have technical rooms, quality control laboratories, office space, and electrical control rooms.

The construction of the facility is valued at CAD31.8 million, Triumf said. “With additional equipment and philanthropic funding, the total value of the IAMI project will be more than CAD50 million,” it added.

The government of Canada will contribute CAD10,232,310 to the project through the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan. The Province of British Columbia has contributed CAD12,250,000, Triumf is contributing CAD5,352,638 and, through fundraising initiatives, BC Cancer and the University of British Columbia are each contributing CAD2 million.

“IAMI promises to secure a local supply of several important medical isotopes, including critical imaging isotope technetium-99m (Tc-99m), and to enable Canadian access to the global Tc-99m market,” Triumf said. Canada is already a leader in the global medical isotope market – worth some USD3 billion – and contributes more than 50% of the world’s raw material for medical isotope supply.

Announcing the federal funding, Trudeau said: “The Institute for Advanced Medical Isotopes will be a state-of-the-art facility where industry leaders and academics can work together to push the boundaries of research and discover new ways to protect and improve our health. We will continue to invest in cutting-edge research and facilities – like the Institute for Advanced Medical Isotopes – to ensure Canada remains a world leader in medical research and   innovation.”………http://www.wor

November 3, 2018 Posted by | Canada, health | Leave a comment

One veteran’s story of radiation effects of participating in nuclear bomb testing

Wigan veteran reveals radiation exposure horror, https://www.wigantoday.net/news/wigan-veteran-reveals-radiation-exposure-horror-1-9425139  ANDREW NOWELL  02 November 2018
  A Wigan veteran has spoken of being a “guinea pig” in nuclear tests on a remote Pacific island and the shocking chapter of British military history being forgotten. Alan Evans was one of thousands of British troops exposed to high levels of radiation while atomic weapons were being tested on Christmas Island.
He spent a year at the desolate spot half the world away when he was just 20 years old and described how the lethal work was carried out with no proper safety equipment and no information about what was happening to them. His experiences left him with life-changing health issues, as half his stomach had to be removed shortly after being demobbed and his teeth were also taken out.
Mr Evans, who is now 80, also spoke of being one of the “forgotten veterans” who went to Christmas Island and says he just wants their experiences to be recognised. Mr Evans, of Lime Street, said: “They just told us we were going to Christmas Island. At 19 years old I thought that was alright. I hadn’t a clue what was going on. “They billeted us in tents all the time we were there and we were allocated these jobs. “I think they detonated five bombs while I was there. When they did everybody had to go down to what they called the port side and sit down with our backs towards the sea. We were only wearing shirts and shorts and a pair of sunglasses.
“When the explosion happened you could feel the heat and you could more or less see through your hands, right to the bones. “We would then be told to stand up and turn around to look out to sea. We could see the mushroom cloud forming. “I was given the job of monitoring people as they came back out of what they called the dirty area. I had a geiger counter if it the reading went up so far they had to have a shower. “We also monitored the pilots because their gear was full of radiation and had to scrub the planes down with brushes.
“We even had to do our laundry in the dirty area. We would clean the clothes there, hang them up to dry and then wear them again. We also buried these lead boxes of samples in a big pit we dug for them.
“We were guines pigs, purely and simply. That’s why we were put there.” Alan had joined the RAF in 1956 and ended up serving for four years, with his year-long stint on Christmas Island coming in 1958. Almost immediately after returning, though, he started to feel unwell but now suspects he encountered a wall of silence from the forces keen to keep the details of the nuclear testing quiet. His condition went downhill dramatically once he returned to civilian life.
He said: “When I got back I had about six months to do so I went to Catterick but I was unwell, I was being sick. I kept going to the medical officer but he kept fobbing me off and saying there was nothing wrong with me. “I was told while I was on home leave that I should demand an X-ray but they told me there was nothing there. “When I got demobbed I went for an X-ray and they found an ulcer in my stomach straight away. “I was in the operating theatre for several hours while they took half my stomach away. When I came round the nurse told me that if I had left it longer before seeking treatment I wouldn’t still be here because it would have burst when they opened me up. “When I came out of the forces I lost four and a half stone. The weight just fell off me. I was always a fit young man playing sport but I couldn’t do anything after I came home. “For the first 12 years of my working life after being demobbed if I did three days a week I was lucky. It takes me five or six hours to digest my food and I can’t eat a lot.” Mr Evans says he was recently heartened to see the issue of the Christmas Island veterans raised in the Wigan Observer by Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue.
He feels the story is nowhere near as well known as it should be and points out that Britain has treated those who were exposed to nuclear tests uniquely poorly. He says he has asked his family to continue battling in the future to ensure this particular episode in military history is not forgotten. However, despite his ordeal and the lifelong consequences he suffered as a result he says he feels absolutely no bitterness or anger towards the military. Mr Evans said: “We are the forgotten veterans and we are also the living proof of what happened out there. I spoke to people at the new armed forces hub and even they didn’t know about it. “It wasn’t exactly a war and we didn’t fight with guns so it is forgotten about, although it was almost as bad as being in a war. “I just think there should be recognition of what we have done, those of us left and the many lads who are dead and buried. “I know there’s a push again for us to get a medal but what’s happening with that we don’t know. “Every country in the world has recognised what we went through except Britain. The Isle of Man gave people compensation, but it’s not about the money.
“I’ve nothing against the forces. I would have stayed in but I couldn’t because I was medically unfit. “I enjoyed every minute I was in the military. The only bad thing was Christmas Island.”

November 3, 2018 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Electromagnetic radiation from cell-phones is a cancer causer to rats

‘Clear evidence’ of mobile phone radiation link to cancers in rats, US health agency concludes
Uncertainty remains about risk to humans who experience much lower radio wave doses, 
Independent, Alex Matthews-King, Health Correspondent 2 Nov 18, A long-running US study on the effects of radio wave radiation, the sort emitted by mobile phones, has found “clear evidence” of high levels of exposure and heart cancers in male rats.

Some evidence of links to brain and adrenal gland tumours was also found in male rats, but in female rodents and male mice signs of cancer weren’t clear, the National Toxicology Programme (NTP) concluded in its final report on Thursday.

The programme is run by the US Department of Health and Human Services and was tasked with reviewing the toxicity of mobile phone radiation in response to the devices’ near ubiquity in modern life.

Radiation exposure in the trial was well above the levels most humans would experience, but researchers said the findings show the link between radio frequencies and tumours – at least for rats –  “is real”.

    • “The exposures used in the studies cannot be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience when using a cell phone,” said Dr John Bucher, a senior scientist at the NTP.

“In our studies, rats and mice received radio frequency radiation across their whole bodies. By contrast, people are mostly exposed in specific local tissues close to where they hold the phone.

“In addition, the exposure levels and durations in our studies were greater than what people experience.”………..

    • This is the most controlled study on exposure to date, and it raises many questions about the conclusions for humans – particularly as the lowest exposure levels were at the maximum levels allowed for mobile phones………

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/mobile-phone-cancer-radiation-rats-tumours-research-science-toxicology-study-a8612641.html

November 3, 2018 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Uranium mining in India – just another kind of nuclear disaster

The real cost of uranium mining  October 29, 2018

The case of Tummalapalle By Krishna Shree and Rajesh Serupally, First PostGangotri was 10 when the first boil appeared on her leg — an itchy pustule that soon led to others. Two years later today, both her legs are covered in scabby blisters that continue to spread. Doctors haven’t been able to diagnose her condition or cure it.

Gangotri is a chirpy, carefree child — she unselfconsciously showed us the skin disease (pictured above the headline) that has so changed her life. However, the mood in her village — Kottala in Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh — is one of anger. Gangotri isn’t the only one to suffer from the mysterious ailment, other cases abound, as do other conditions: unheard-of diseases, death of livestock, loss of crops. Bad news is in plenty, and residents point to one culprit: the neighbouring Tummalapalle uranium mine.

The mine started its operation in 2012 after getting the requisite environmental clearance in 2006; the uranium ore in the Kadapa Basin is the largest reserve in the country. The neighbouring villages of Tummalapalle, Mabbuchintalapalle, Bumayigaripalle and Rachakuntapalle of Velpula and Medipentla Mandals and 60 hectares in Kottala village of Vemula Mandal were acquired by Uranium Corporation of India Limited (a government enterprise) for ‘tailing disposal’ — these are the areas where waterborne refuse material is pumped into a body known as a tailing pond. This is where the radioactive mining waste has been dumped for the past six years.

The Tummalapalle project, consisting of an underground mine and processing unit, processes 2,350 tonnes of ore per day (according to a letter sent to the Uranium Corporation of India by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board). Only 1,305 grams of uranium can be extracted out of the 2,350 tonnes and the rest becomes radioactive waste which is dumped into the tailing pond. It’s been six years since the plant was commissioned, in April 2012. So if we do the math, then till today the plant has dumped some 51,46,500 tonnes (that’s 5,14,65,00,000 kg) of radioactive waste into the tailing pond.

The remnants of the mining process are stored in the form of a semi-solid slurry, pumped to the pond located six km away from the unit. This slurry contains thorium and radium, which are common components of the leached material and airborne dust from uranium ore tailings and waste piles. They pose a serious health hazard if inhaled or ingested. When we visited the tailing pond, we noted that neither is the area cordoned off, nor does it have restricted entry. The locals with their cattle frequent the area for grazing and other such activities, almost as if it is a normal thoroughfare.

Global safety protocol dictates that all tailing ponds be lined with bentonite clay and polyethene to avoid polluting ground water. But the tailing pond at Tummalapalle is unlined and the radioactive slurry has found its way into all the neighbouring water bodies. It has affected everything in its wake, from livestock to crops and has started to show its effects on the people as well.

The ground water in surrounding villages has become contaminated by uranium and other heavy metals according to a Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET) report. This test was carried out at the behest of YS Avinash Reddy (Member of Parliament elected from Kadapa ) after having received complaints from the locals about the apparent water contamination.

Dr Babu Rao, a retired scientist from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT, Hyderabad) says, “They admit that they have not lined the pond as per the conditions given in the CFE (Consent For Establishment document). UCIL claims that they have followed the more stringent norms of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). It does not stand to scrutiny with the reality at the pond. Now that the pond is full, it is difficult to cross check the permeability of the bottom. Side slopes abutting the tailings are not lined or compacted — as is evident visually. Slopes are highly porous and may be causing severe seepage loss of liquid coming with tailings. Even the bottom is not seepage proof. Approximate calculations indicate a loss of at least 43 m3/day from the bottom surface. That is a lot of contamination.”

After numerous complaints, UCIL established an RO plant (Reverse Osmosis for water purification) in KK Kottala and Mabuchintalapalle. Kanampalli’s request was denied. Ravi Nayak, the Mandal Praja Parishad (MPP) president of Kanampalli told us, “Despite offering our land free of cost to set up the RO plant, UCIL never approved one for our village. Now we are buying drinking water from outside.”

In KK Kottala, Mabuchintalapalle and Kanampalli, as soon as people found out we were there to talk about the mine, they started pouring in with complaints. Most of these were about chronic skin problems which doctors had been unable to cure, uniformly present in people of all ages since all of them still use the contaminated groundwater for cooking, washing, bathing etc. They showed us their limbs covered in itchy black scabs. A similar pattern of skin problems was seen in the livestock as well.

Karthik, a nine-year-old from KK Kottala, has been suffering from skin problems for the past few years. He constantly itches his body, pain visible on his young face. His right thigh had finally healed after years of medication. But the disease has now reappeared on his left hand and is spreading again.

The rashes are just the first strike. Thorium and radium present in mine tailings which have contaminated the water sources, have been shown to lead to a higher risk of cancer (eg. cancer of the bone).

Uranium, which is a radioactive element, has a half life of 2,40,000 years and emits radiation for thousands of years. Uranium radiation has the ability to damage human DNA. A team comprising members of NAPM (National Alliance of People’s Movements) and HRF (Human Rights Watch) measured radiation at different places in and around the tailing pond on 11 June 2018, as part of their study of the impact of the mine. The reading were recorded using a Radiation Dosimeter. At the tailing pond, the reading was as high as 0.80-0.90 µSv Microsievert/hour (a measure of the amount of radiation that a person is exposed to during one hour in the specific area). And at a farm in Kanampalli, it was found to be 0.26 µSv Microsievert/hour. The maximum permissible limit is set at 0.24 µSv Microsievert/hour by internationally accepted standards on background radiation.

Chandra Nayak’s farm was once flourishing but the past few years have been bleak. When we visited, the farm only had droopy plantains trees with blackened, shrivelled branches to show.

The death of the cattle in the affected villages made us recount the words of Ghansham Birulee of Jharkhandi Organisation Against Radiation. Birulee was among the first people to witness the effects of uranium mining in Jaduguda in Jharkhand. “The animals started leaving Jaduguda area immediately after the mining started… They must have sensed the radiation earlier than the humans,” Birulee had said.

Back in Kunampalle, P Narsimulu a 65-year-old resident, says, “The livestock in the village has been dying in large numbers since last year. The goats have been shedding hair excessively. They are unable to walk properly due to weak bones. This is all due to radiation.”

The Lambada community in Kanampalli is among the worst affected. They do not own any land and depend on cattle (goats, cows, buffaloes) to make a living. We spoke to Bhaskar, who lost 30 of his goats over the last couple of years. “I didn’t even have money to take all of them to the vet. Each injection costs more than Rs 175 and the vet himself was 12 km away in Pulivendula. I just sat and watched them die one after the other.” ………..

Ashish Birulee say that “once the mining starts it would be very difficult for the locals to shut it down even when they finally learn and realise (the full extent of) the problems. Jaduguda should be taken as an example. Whatever the villagers are going through is real — severe health problems and cancers are very common. And the future is sure to be much worse, and people should take that as a given. UCIL will never accept the truth that uranium mining and dumping of radioactive waste negatively impacts human health and environment.”

“It took almost five decades for the effects of the radiation to become evident in Jaduguda. But by what we can see in Tummalapalle, it might take less than 15 years for it to become the next Jaduguda,” he adds. Birulee points out that UCIL still hasn’t answered a question which the people of Jaduguda have been asking for decades: “What will happen to us once the mining stops?”

If Jaduguda is any indication, UCIL will disappear from the site as soon as the project loses its economic viability. Those who live in the area will be left grappling with the tonnes of radioactive waste left behind. Where will these people go for help? Who should they complain to, about the way their lives have been bartered in the name of development and better economic prospects? Amid the finger-pointing any real solution remains elusive. https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2018/10/29/the-real-cost-of-uranium-mining/

October 29, 2018 Posted by | environment, health, PERSONAL STORIES, Uranium | Leave a comment

Study of 120,000 hibakusha atomic bomb survivors shows raised risk of breast cancer

October 29, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, women, Women | Leave a comment

Stop the return of women and child evacuees to radioactive parts of Fukushima – UN’s call to Japan

U.N. rights expert urges Japan to halt women and child evacuee returns to radioactive parts of Fukushima https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/10/26/national/science-health/u-n-rights-expert-urges-japan-halt-women-child-evacuee-returns-radioactive-parts-fukushima/#.W9PVHmgzbIU

KYODO  The Japanese government must halt the return of women and children displaced by the March 2011 nuclear disaster back to areas of Fukushima where radiation levels remain high, a U.N. human rights expert said Thursday.

The special rapporteur on hazardous substances, Baskut Tuncak, also criticized in his statement the government’s gradual removal of evacuation orders for most of the radioactive areas as well as its plan to lift all orders within the next five years, even for the most contaminated areas.

“The gradual lifting of evacuation orders has created enormous strains on people whose lives have already been affected by the worst nuclear disaster of this century. Many feel they are being forced to return to areas that are unsafe,” he said.

An official of Japan’s permanent mission to the international organizations in Geneva rebuffed the statement, saying it is based on extremely one-sided information and could fan unnecessary fears about Fukushima.

Tuncak expressed concerns about people returning to areas with radiation above 1 millisievert per year, a level previously observed by Japan as an annual limit so as to prevent risks to the health of vulnerable people, especially children and women of reproductive age.

“It is disappointing to see Japan appear to all but ignore the 2017 recommendation of the U.N. human rights monitoring mechanism to return back to what it considered an acceptable dose of radiation before the nuclear disaster,” he said.

In the wake of the Fukushima reactor meltdowns, the Japanese government heightened the annually acceptable level of radiation to 20 millisieverts, raising concerns for the health of residents.

In August, Tuncak and two other U.N. human rights experts jointly criticized the Japanese government for allegedly exploiting and putting at risk the lives of “tens of thousands” of people engaged in cleanup operations at and around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, a claim Tokyo dismissed.

October 27, 2018 Posted by | health, Japan | Leave a comment

The personal struggle – a rare brain cancer – nothing to do with his radiation exposure at Los Alamos National Laboratory?

Half Life Chad Walde believed in his work at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Then he got a rare brain cancer, and the government denied that it had any responsibility , Pro Publica, by Rebecca Moss, The Santa Fe New Mexican, 26 Oct 18,“………A Gap Between Records and Recollection

CHAD WAS CLEARED TO RETURN TO HIS JOB at the lab in late January 2015, four months after his diagnosis. He’d undergone radiation and two chemotherapy treatments, and Los Alamos’ occupational medicine staff said he was fit to continue working with classified material, his medical records show. At risk for seizures, he couldn’t drive or climb stairs or ladders. Chad carpooled and had Angela drive him to the laboratory several times a week. His supervisor offered him a desk job, a step down from his managerial role — but one that kept his health insurance running. He accepted. The only real alternative was termination.

Roark says the lab’s goal is to treat all employees with debilitating conditions with “utmost respect” and says when employees are unable to perform the functions of their jobs, Los Alamos “makes reasonable efforts to accommodate them,” which can result in job reassignment.

Separately, to process his claim for cancer benefits, the Department of Labor also told Chad it would need all of his medical and radiation exposure records from the lab. The Department of Labor sends these to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, another federal agency that uses a probability equation to determine if a worker had a high enough dose of radiation to cause cancer. If the computer found a 50 percent or higher correlation, Chad would get benefits.

When the records arrived from Los Alamos, containing a single CD and a brief letter, it was the first time Chad realized that his own experience differed from what the lab had noted in its records.

The lab had found “no records” of Chad having been exposed to anything or other environmental occupational hazards, the letter said. And his dosimetry report, a spreadsheet that showed his total dose of radiation annually, was scant.

The lab had not tracked Chad’s radiation exposure in 1999, his first year on the job, the report indicated, or in 2000, when the Cerro Grande fire burned. External monitoring began in 2001 but showed a clean zero for 11 out of the next 14 years. (Only in 2008, 2013 and 2014 were there any hits on the report.)

The report said his total dose was 0.254 rems over his career, well below safety limits and slightly less than an average person gets from background radiation from the sun and environment in a single year. A rem is a unit used to measure the absorbed dose of radiation, with 1 rem equivalent to a CT scan, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Chad marveled at the document. It didn’t track with his memory — or hold any record of the time he’d been called in for going over his limit and accused of taking his badge to the airport, or when he was sent home wearing disposable clothes.

“They aren’t on here,” Chad said when he looked at the document.

It also seemed impossible there were so many years that were completely blank.

Asked about the discrepancy between Walde’s memory and the reports, Los Alamos spokesman Roark said, in general, that the lab “maintains a comprehensive archive of worker radiation dosimetry data” and that it “provides any and all records in response to requests as quickly as possible.”

When NIOSH reviewed the records, it had a simple way to fill in the gaps. For the two years when Chad was not monitored, NIOSH assumed the maximum dose he could have been exposed to was the maximum background radiation at the lab (which was 0.4 rem), adding in the possibility of a couple missed readings.

NIOSH said Chad’s records showed he had been exposed to “various sources of radiation during his employment,” but the maximum dose he could have received at the lab, based on its calculations and assumptions, was a 3.744 rem dose to the brain. The agency modeled his probability for cancer based on how this amount of radiation would affect and mutate cells of the thyroid. It does not have a model for how external radiation might impact brain tissue.

On a phone call with a NIOSH claims representative in September 2015, Chad asked why the agency used general air monitoring data to fill in his missed readings. Chad, who made a recording of the call, said this would fail to account for the radiation present at the more dangerous nuclear areas he had been assigned to.

He told the representative how his badge often took hits. Like he’d told his father-in-law, and his friends, Chad said his boss kept asking him why his readings were “above the reporting levels.”

I “wonder if we are not missing something,” Chad said on the recording. “I also worry about the Los Alamos reporting,” relaying instances in which the lab certified an area free of radiation only to discover contamination later while he was working on a maintenance job. Chad began to talk about something he witnessed at the liquid radioactive waste plant but trailed off, saying, “I don’t know if I am allowed to say any of this stuff — never mind.”

image.jpeg

Chad Walde’s radiation shells hang in the garage of his family’s home. The shells help keep the head still while a patient receives radiotherapy. (Adria Malcolm, special to ProPublica)

Stu Hinnefeld, director of the divis  Stu Hinnefeld, director of the division of compensation analysis and support for NIOSH, said in an interview that those exposed to radiation have a “relatively low” likelihood of developing brain cancer compared with lung and thyroid cancers. He said the institute’s risk models, as a result, require a worker to have a much higher documented exposure to radiation than many of the other cancers in order to get compensation.

The Department of Labor concluded there was just a 2.67 percent chance his cancer was related to his radiation exposure history. His claim was denied on Jan. 14, 2016.

Chad’s dates of employment made him more likely to be rejected than if he had worked at the lab in a prior era. Overall, the Department of Labor has approved nearly 60 percent of claims filed by Los Alamos workers for cancer and beryllium disease. But for workers who started working at the lab after 1996, that figure falls to 45 percent, according to data requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

A spokesperson for the Department of Labor said, “While gaps in past records have existed at some sites, workers in the modern era have more extensive monitoring records. There are no unexplained gaps or readings in this employee’s radiation dose records.”

Still, Chad wanted to appeal. Over the next year, he would undergo another surgery and start experiencing frequent seizures, at one point spending two days in a coma in Texas, where the family had traveled for the twins’ volleyball tournament, when the spasms refused to subside. The family held “Gray Be Gone” fundraisers, referring to the color of the tumor tissue, to raise money to send Chad to MD Anderson for treatment. He also started clinical trials with a doctor in New Mexico.

During that time, Chad learned that he was not the only person at Los Alamos who thought missing records had led the Department of Labor to deny a claim.

For more than a decade, workers at Los Alamos have been telling federal officials that similar data and records problems have prevented them from getting compensation. In June 2005, at a NIOSH forum for the lab’s technical workers’ union, one worker said the lab “had lied and falsified documents right and left … the monitors were turned off, people weren’t qualified to be doing the monitoring, the equipment was never calibrated,” according to meeting minutes.

Another man, an X-ray technician, said his personal radiation badge always showed up with zero contamination.

Falsified radiation data or medical records have been documented at other labs, including in 2003 at Savannah River Site in South Carolina and Hanford Site in Washington state. Radiation records also were falsified at an Ohio nuclear facility in 2013. The Department of Energy fined lab managers in South Carolina and Ohio more than $200,000 each for “willful falsification.”

Los Alamos has not been fined for willful falsification of health records, but it has been cited within the past year for serious safety violations and for failing to check laboratory rooms for toxic chemicals before allowing workers to enter. Internal incident reports from the early 2000s, obtained by NIOSH, described how records had been removed from radiation log books, “deliberate tampering” with nasal swipe samples (used to test if a worker inhaled radioactive particles) and problems with workers not wearing their radiation badges.

Soon after Chad’s diagnosis, another electrician on his crew, Cesario Lopez, told Chad he’d recently had part of his kidney taken out after being diagnosed with cancer. Both Lopez’s mother and uncle, who worked at the lab before him, had been diagnosed with cancer, too. Lopez applied for and was denied compensation by the Department of Labor but has appealed.

Then Chad learned about his friend Gilbert Mondragon. Mondragon started working as an electrician on the fire protection crew in August 1999, three months before Chad. Mondragon was just 19 and from the beginning saw Chad as a mentor. Chad, he said, taught him how to have a good attitude at work and find value in it. That became harder after Mondragon was diagnosed with kidney cancer in the spring of 2014 at the age of 34.

Like Chad, Mondragon’s radiation report showed 14 straight years of zeroes, and only two years, 2006 and 2007, in which his badge took any hits, totaling 67 millirems of radiation over 16 years.

“It’s not like people think it is,” Mondragon said about lab safety. He, like Chad, recalled several times he’d been decontaminated and given new work clothes or boots.

Mondragon believes some of the zeroes are also the result of being told, by his supervisors, to take his badge off when he was doing work in contaminated places. “Now I know better,” he said, “but it’s too late.”

Roark, the lab spokesman, denies workers were ever told to remove their badges, saying its “Radiation Protection Program would never allow, endorse or recommend removing dosimeters to avoid contamination.”

Ken Silver, who sits on a Department of Labor advisory board and is a professor of environmental health at East Tennessee State University, testified before Congressin 2007 that instructing workers to remove their radiation badges was a common practice for “cleanup crews” at Los Alamos in the past. Silver said this practice was based on the belief that if a badge was contaminated, workers would go on to spread radiation throughout the laboratory, which he called a “flimsy assumption.”

Los Alamos officials did not testify at the hearing. But the lab says its rate of injuries has dropped significantly since 2006 and is well below the industry average. The laboratory says it does not track the cause of death for its employees.

Hinnefeld said NIOSH has looked into allegations that workers were told to remove their badges and, “We hear that on occasion.” But he said, in the past, officials have concluded that this wouldn’t affect how the agency reconstructs a worker’s radiation exposure because a single missed reading is unlikely to hold much weight in the overall career of a worker.

Diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, which his physician has linked to chemical exposure, Mondragon resigned from the lab this winter. The doctors’ visits have consumed his life. His cancer claim, like Chad’s, also was rejected by the Department of Labor, but he was told he would likely be accepted if he were to develop another cancer.

For the last six months, he has relied on the help of an oxygen tank to breathe, trailing a long, green plastic tube wherever he goes…..more https://features.propublica.org/los-alamos/chad-walde-nuclear-facility-radiation-cancer/

October 27, 2018 Posted by | health, investigative journalism, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Medical staff need to be more aware of cancer risks in nuclear medicine

Strategies needed to address radiation exposure risks during venous procedures, Venous News, 

 Research presented at the European Society for Vascular Surgery’s annual meeting (ESVS; 25–28 September, Valencia, Spain) has shone a light on the potentially high cumulative radiation exposure associated with certain venous procedures. Addressing the issue, Stephen Black (Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London, UK) called for further studies to identify strategies that can reduce radiation exposure, and highlighted the need for increased awareness among interventionalists.

Black indicated that there has been an increase in treatment options for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in particular and for chronic venous patients over the last few years. While the advances are exciting, it is easy to forget that they come with potentially harmful side effects. Black compared modern venous procedures with endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR), drawing particular attention to the young age at which venous patients typically require treatment, corresponding with a much longer lifetime of follow-up and potential reintervention procedures.

“It is important to highlight the potential for harm in this patient group who are an average age of 30–40 years, as opposed to the older patients who typically undergo EVAR, for example. The EVAR 1 trial reported an increased incidence of malignancy in patients treated endovascularly after 15 years follow-up. Patients who need thrombolysis or inferior vena cava (IVC) reconstruction are often younger than those with arterial problems and may also require long-term surveillance and secondary interventions, exposing them to further radiation,” Black pointed out.

To investigate the radiation exposure associated with venous procedures, Black and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients with symptomatic ilio-femoral deep vein thrombosis and chronic IVC reconstruction, followed for a minimum of one year in order to capture reintervention data. Estimated radiation exposure from the related preoperative, index and postoperative interventions were measured in dose-area product and fluoroscopy time. ………

He concluded, adding that more needs to be done to raise awareness about the importance of reducing radiation dose wherever possible, and maintained that more strategies, such as the use of IVUS, need to be identified and put into practice. https://venousnews.com/radiation-exposure-risks-during-venous-procedures/

October 27, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health | Leave a comment

Chad Walde believed in his work at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Then he got a rare brain cancer

Half Life Chad Walde believed in his work at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Then he got a rare brain cancer, and the government denied that it had any responsibility. Pro Publica, by Rebecca Moss, The Santa Fe New Mexican, 26 Oct 18, “……..That unanswered question — what killed Chad Walde? — nagged at Angela.
There had been other funerals, even that month, for other people who had worked at Los Alamos, one of the nation’s most important nuclear weapons laboratories. Several, like Chad, had died of cancer. Others had thyroid diseases and breathing problems, and they suspected that some of the maladies might stem from contaminated work environments or from the large fire that burned through the vast lab property in 2000. Nobody knew for sure if the illnesses were connected to work at the lab, but they wondered.

For decades, Los Alamos had been criticized for sacrificing workers’ health and safety in the name of atomic progress. In 1999, Bill Richardson, the energy secretary, acknowledged that nuclear sites had concealed information and “sent many of our workers into harm’s way.” He said the government intended to “right the wrongs of the past.” Then, in 2000, Congress passed a compensation act, offering medical benefits and payouts for workers with radiation-related cancers and other occupational ailments. But the government, and Los Alamos in particular, has said that those lapses were in the past, and that they have put in place rules and practices to protect safety. The lab says radiation exposures have been “consistently recorded” over many decades.

Despite these pledges, Chad and his co-workers said safety problems continued. They witnessed accidents and heard the sudden, unexpected blare of radiation alarms. They watched crews come in to decontaminate buildings and run radiation detectors over their hands and feet. They had their limbs scrubbed and clothing replaced. Sometimes days would pass before anyone realized contamination had spread. Many workers say their memories of poor work conditions and high personal radiation readings don’t match the government’s scant records .
image.jpeg

Angela Walde poses for a portrait inside her home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Adria Malcolm, special to ProPublica)

In addition to Chad, at least four others on his maintenance crew had been diagnosed with cancer in the past five years.

Before his death, Chad filed a claim for federal benefits, joining more than 1,400 people who said they became sick from radiation exposure for work done within the last 20 years at the lab, according to data obtained by the Santa Fe New Mexican under the Freedom of Information Act. An additional 335 dead workers also had claims filed on their behalf.

Angela would later discover that Chad’s personnel file contained little mention of the radiation exposures and no record of the safety scares her husband had told her about over the years.

Now, in the church, she listened to the country music playing softly and to the minister in prayer. After his treatments, Chad would laugh and tell his friends, “I get more radiation sitting in my office at Los Alamos.” Even when he was suffering and in pain, he would smile and say he was living the dream.

Looking at his closed coffin, Angela wished she could go back 18 years and tell him to find a different job, far from laboratories and nuclear weapons.b

A New Career, and the Risk of Radiation

ON HIS FIRST DAY OF WORK AT LOS ALAMOS, Chad Walde got dressed in the dark. It was the fall of 1999 and a week before his 27th birthday. The drive from Albuquerque to Los Alamos took nearly two hours, and as he got on the highway in a small, white Ford Escort, just after 5 a.m., the hulking peaks of the Sandia Mountains would have been cast in silhouette.

The town of Los Alamos was just beginning to stir around the time he arrived. Log cabins preserved from the government’s military takeover during World War II mingled with modern buildings. The roads had been named after famous scientists and atomic testing grounds. Trinity Drive. Bikini Atoll Road. Oppenheimer Drive. Gamma Ray. When he reached the white laboratory gates, lines of cars had already begun to form, each stopping at booths to present armed guards with ID.

Inside, Chad was issued a special Z number, unique to each employee at Los Alamos, which would become a proxy for his identity there. In the days to come, he underwent several medical exams and was asked to detail any prior exposure to 81 hazardous radionuclides, explosives, chemicals, gases or lab animals. He circled no to each. He wasn’t perfect: He smoked, drank intermittently and, for a man over 6 feet tall, was overweight. A doctor found no abnormalities on his head, eyes, heart, lungs, thyroid, limbs or spine. His bloodwork came back normal.

Chad was still adjusting to life as a civilian. He had left the Navy four months earlier and moved his family back to Albuquerque, where he’d been working odd jobs as an electrician. After four years on the USS Lake Champlain, sailing to ports in the Middle East and Asia, Chad still missed the sea, the way the sun turned red as it set in the middle of the ocean. Now, he’d be working at a hallowed place. And, making $22 per hour, he’d earn more than he ever had in his life.

Chad knew about the lab’s historic role in creating the first atomic bombs, but little else. He didn’t know that its nuclear mission had come with a human toll.

Employees of the complex had long complained of health problems, but quietly, often only to friends and families. Speaking ill of the lab was considered by some as anti-American, and some whistleblowers said they were often ostracized by colleagues and pushed out or fired for reporting problems. Most who’ve sought state workers’ compensation over the years for illnesses they attributed to their work at the lab have had their claims aggressively challenged in court.

Out of a fear of liability, the famed nuclear scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who served as the lab’s first director, mandated that health records be labeled top secret, according to a memo written by his colleague in 1946 and declassified in the 1990s………more https://features.propublica.org/los-alamos/chad-walde-nuclear-facility-radiation-cancer/

October 27, 2018 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference | Leave a comment