nuclear-news

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

Tritium and other radionuclides are hazardous,even in transport and storage

Zac Eagle Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch Australia, 11 Nov 19, 
This is from the International Atomic Energy Agency admitting some radionuclides will be released into the environment even in Storage!

“The specific aims of disposal are:

(c) To inhibit, reduce and delay the migration of radionuclides at any time from
the waste to the accessible biosphere;

(d) To ensure that the amounts of radionuclides reaching the accessible
biosphere due to any migration from the disposal facility are such that
possible radiological consequences are acceptably low at all times.”

Some radionuclides can NOT be contained as they will diffuse in transport and storage, eg tritium.

Tritium is a carcinogen (causes cancer), teratogen (causes deformations of the embryo during pregnancy) and mutagen (causes mutations to DNA). Even very low rates of tritium exposure can lead to cancer, leukemia, and birth defects. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

November 12, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Nuclear medicine has radiation dangers – a reminder to clinicians

Clinicians Get Real on Radiation: ‘Don’t Do Dumb Things’
Awareness of surroundings and others in the room are key to proper cath-lab radiation safety, a VIVA “roundtable” concluded.
TCTMD,
By L.A. McKeown November 07, 2019 S VEGAS, NV—Keeping cath lab staff as well as patients safe and within acceptable levels of radiation is a priority that operators can and should be doing on a daily basis, experts here agreed.

The most crucial message for clinicians is that “they are primarily responsible not only for their own personal safety and the patient’s safety, but of everyone in the room,” Mark Bates, MD, DSc (West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown), told TCTMD. He co-moderated a roundtable at VIVA 2019 on radiation protection strategies that provided a glimpse of how the future might look.

“I think 10 years from now we’re going to be in a position where a lot of procedures in the vasculature are going to be done with minimal radiation exposure as we optimize the existing technology, as well as some of the new laser- or light-augmented three-dimensional imaging,” he added…….

he encouraged operators to be aware of their trainees and monitor them for excess radiation exposure.

“As experienced interventionists, we see anatomy that we know is going to be a challenge,” he explained, “[but] we watch our trainees move through the algorithm and change to different wires and different catheters much slower than what we’re used to doing because they need to learn how to do it. Not only are they taking on radiation, but the patients are taking on a lot of extra radiation, too. I think we need to control the time that we allow trainees to perform certain aspects of the procedure.”……

Communication, Visualization, and Behavior Change

Gray noted that while you may have adequate shielding in your cath lab, it won’t help if you don’t use it correctly. A side drape, for example, that gets in your way and is pushed aside out of annoyance may make a difference in exposure levels for everyone in the room.

“That’s really the dumbest thing you could do, so don’t do dumb things,” he said. Gray added that understanding the effects of scatter on yourself may be a simple as looking at your hands for loss of hair on the fingers and wrists. At his institution Geiger counters are used when X-ray badges indicate elevated radiation exposures for individual operators. “So, you have an auditory signal that’s telling you that you’re on the pedal,” he said, adding that it may help in situations where staff are reaching over the table and may not even realize they are being exposed…….. https://www.tctmd.com/news/clinicians-get-real-radiation-dont-do-dumb-things

November 9, 2019 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Deadline looms for nuclear veterans and descendants study

A Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group is encouraging veterans and their families to come forward to take part in a study before the deadline closes.  In August, the group put out newspaper advertisements, wanting all veterans who were deployed to Mururoa Atoll in 1973 and their families, to be part of a study which closes at midnight today.

The study lead by University of Otago associate professor David McBride will look into the connection between nuclear veterans and their children, who may have been affected by their parents’ exposure to radiation.

So far only 166 people had signed up, according to Mururoa Nuclear Veterans president Gavin Smith.

Mr Smith implored more to join, saying about 500 people went to the Christmas Island and were exposed to nuclear tests in the 1950s and about 500 went to Mururoa during the 1970s.

“Everyone who has a veteran father or grandfather that served there and has maybe deceased or may be living but mentioned nothing of it, I urge them to contact the University of Otago,” he said.

He said the study was crucial because veteran’s children may have been affected by their parents’ exposure to radiation, which could make their offspring more susceptible to conditions like leukaemia and auto-immune diseases.

“Our study is open to all nuclear veterans. If we don’t do it in our generation, it’s going to be an even bigger battle for the next generation.”

The group, which was established in 2013 to press the government to help families with nuclear related illnesses, had 135 members who served at the protest.

Of those, 56 had children or grandchildren with unexplained medical conditions.

Testing would begin next week at the University of Otago, with a timeframe and details on the study yet to be confirmed.

November 7, 2019 Posted by | children, New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Radiation map of Fukushima now launched in English, in lead-up to Olympic Games

Citizens’ group in Fukushima puts out radiation map in English, Asahi Shimbun, By SHINICHI SEKIN E/ Staff Writer, November 3, 2019    FUKUSHIMA—A citizens’ group here has released an English radiation-level map for eastern Japan created with input from 4,000 volunteers in response to requests from abroad ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

“We want people outside Japan to understand the reality of radioactive contamination following the nuclear accident,” said Nahoko Nakamura, a representative of Minna-No Data Site (Everyone’s Data Site), which published the map……

Titled “Citizens’ Radiation Data Map of Japan,” the 16-page booklet summarizes the content of the original Japanese map, released in November last year. It also shows projected declines in radiation levels by 2041.

The Japanese version was based on results of land contamination surveys conducted over three years at the request of Everyone’s Data Site.

About 4,000 volunteers took soil samples at 3,400 locations in 17 prefectures in eastern Japan, including Fukushima and Tokyo, and measured radiation levels. The map was compiled with advice from experts…… http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201911030001.html

November 4, 2019 Posted by | Japan, radiation | Leave a comment

Toxic effects of uranium mining on indigenous communities

Coconino Voices: Solving Our Toxic Nuclear Legacy, https://azdailysun.com/opinion/columnists/coconino-voices-solving-our-toxic-nuclear-legacy/article_b8e2ef35-31fe-5cb0-a844-6c0fba973c19.html, BRYAN BATES, 30 Oct 19, 

    • When creating any system, whether a building, a community or an energy system, waste products need to be safely managed. This should be true if we’re building an energy system where the waste products can cause cancer and genetic mutations in humans or any organism within range of long-lived radioactive particles. However, it  hasn’t been.

First discovered in 1895, radiation was shown to kill bacteria in 1898; however, with a high energy potential and money-making promise, radioactivity was not linked to cancer and genetic change until much later and even then its true health effects were hidden from miners and the public.

Because the geologic Chinle Formation on the Navajo Nation is rich in Uranium, Navajo men were put to work without protection from known hazards. Several hundred Navajos became sick from radiation exposure, many at the same time that other Navajos enlisted in the Marines to become Navajo Code Talkers.

Health effects from mining Uranium persist on the Navajo Nation with numerous pit mines still open and potentially affecting water, plants, livestock and Navajo. The amount of pain, illness, death and cost are still unknown. (See Judy Pasternak, 2011, Yellow Dirt.)

With the geologic uplift of the Grand Canyon upwarp, it’s hypothesized that numerous vertical shafts eroded allowing broken rock carrying Uranium from the Chinle Formation to fall into these “breccia pipes”. Left alone, the Uranium and other metals remain isolated from the biotic world; drilled into, these metals can migrate into interconnected aquifers that discharge into the Colorado River, water often used to grow food. The Grand Canyon upwarp has the greatest concentration of Uranium containing breccia pipes in the world.

This region is sacred to the Hopi, Navajo, Pai and other native people. The Canyon Mine has promised to create jobs; however, tourism and outdoor activities “support over 9,000 jobs, contribute over $938 million annually to (local) economies, and generate over $160 million in annual state and local tax revenues. Uranium mining threatens these economic drivers while possessing little capacity to support the regional economy.” (www.grandcanyontrust.org).

Under President Obama, a twenty-year moratorium on Uranium mining was instituted to allow for compilation and review of scientific information and energy policy. President Trump has requested and will receive a proposal from the nuclear industry to assess opening up mining on the Grand Canyon upwarp.

Mined Uranium would be used to generate nuclear electricity in reactors that are at or nearing their engineered lifespan. Building new nuclear reactors is massively expensive and concrete, the primary component of reactors, is the second largest emitter of climate changing CO2. (United Nations, IPCC report). Claims that nuclear energy is climate neutral only look at the internal nuclear reaction and ignore the entire fuel cycle necessary to keep the nuclear system functioning. Currently, nuclear waste is stored on-site at numerous reactors, several of which have moderate security and leaky infrastructure. The one national nuclear repository, Yucca Mountain, has been mothballed after expending $15Billion of taxpayer money.  

To be sure, mining engineers are very intelligent people, and if they can pull Uranium out of breccia pipes, they can pull Uranium out of 1940’s open mining pits and then close off any radiation leakage. These same engineers could pull nuclear fuels from corroding storage bins on-site at nuclear reactors across the country. If a future President decides we need fewer nuclear weapons, future engineers could pull those radioactive elements, though it is questionable whether nuclear power will even be necessary given energy conservation and emerging sustainable energy sources.

In short, our country is not at lack of energy, but our current leadership is at lack of offering practical energy options. The best option is to leave the Uranium in the ground and clean up our country’s toxic nuclear legacy.

October 31, 2019 Posted by | environment, health, indigenous issues, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

High levels of uranium in some Navajo women and infants near old uranium mining sites

US official: Research finds uranium in Navajo  women, babieshttps://apnews.com/334124280ace4b36beb6b8d58c328ae3?fbclid=IwAR2UqarRiUTIPwnRCA_DGkjKuahfFO4T_l9iFrXxb1P8qL5AnmrTc1m61W8By MARY HUDETZ, October 8, 2019, ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — About a quarter of Navajo women and some infants who were part of a federally funded study on uranium exposure had high levels of the radioactive metal in their systems, decades after mining for Cold War weaponry ended on their reservation, a U.S. health official Monday.

The early findings from the University of New Mexico study were shared during a congressional field hearing in Albuquerque. Dr. Loretta Christensen — the chief medical officer on the Navajo Nation for Indian Health Service, a partner in the research — said 781 women were screened during an initial phase of the study that ended last year.

Among them, 26% had concentrations of uranium that exceeded levels found in the highest 5% of the U.S. population, and newborns with equally high concentrations continued to be exposed to uranium during their first year, she said.

The research is continuing as authorities work to clear uranium mining sites across the Navajo Nation.

“It forces us to own up to the known detriments associated with a nuclear-forward society,” said U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, who is an enrolled member of Laguna Pueblo, a tribe whose jurisdiction lies west of Albuquerque.

The hearing held in Albuquerque by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, Haaland and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, all Democrats from New Mexico, sought to underscore the atomic age’s impact on Native American communities.

The three are pushing for legislation that would expand radiation compensation to residents in their state, including post-1971 uranium workers and residents who lived downwind from the Trinity Test site in southern New Mexico.

The state’s history has long been intertwined with the development of the nation’s nuclear arsenal, from uranium mining and the first atomic blast to the Manhattan project conducted through work in the once-secret city of Los Alamos. The federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, however, only covers parts of Nevada, Arizona and Utah that are downwind from a different nuclear test site.

During the hearing, Haaland said one of her own family members had lost his hearing because of radiation exposure. At Laguna Pueblo, home to her tribe, the Jackpile-Paguate Mine was once among the world’s largest open-pit uranium mines. It closed several decades ago, but cleanup has yet to be completed.

“They need funds,” Haaland said. “They job was not completed.”

David Gray, a deputy regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said the mine illustrates uranium mining and milling’s lingering effects on Indian Country.

On the Navajo Nation, he said, the EPA has identified more than 200 abandoned uranium mines where it wants to complete investigation and clean up under an upcoming five-year plan, using settlements and other agreements to pay for the work that has taken decades.

Udall, who chaired the hearing, acknowledged federal officials had shown progress but that the pace of cleanup has proven frustrating for some community members.

“They feel an urgency,” Udall said. “They feel that things need to happen today.”

In her testimony, Christensen described how Navajo residents in the past had used milling waste in home construction, resulting in contaminated walls and floors.

From the end of World War II to the mid-1980s, millions of tons of uranium ore were extracted from the Navajo Nation, leaving gray streaks across the desert landscape, as well as a legacy of disease and death.

While no large-scale studies have connected cancer to radiation exposure from uranium waste, many have been blamed it for cancer and other illnesses.

By the late 1970s, when the mines began closing around the reservation, miners were dying of lung cancer, emphysema or other radiation-related ailments.

“The government is so unjust with us,” said Leslie Begay, a former uranium miner who lives in Window Rock, an Arizona town that sits near the New Mexico border and serves as the Navajo Nation capital. “The government doesn’t recognize that we built their freedom.”

Begay, who said he has lung problems, attended the hearing with an oxygen tank in tow. The hearing held in the Southwest was especially meaningful for him after traveling in the past to Washington to advocate for himself and others, he said.

Associated Press reporter Felicia Fonseca in Flagstaff, Arizona, contributed to this report.

October 21, 2019 Posted by | children, Uranium, USA, women | 1 Comment

Hiroshima residents exposed to A-bomb ‘black rain’ developed health problems: lawyers

Hiroshima residents exposed to A-bomb ‘black rain’ developed health problems: lawyers

October 16, 2019 (Mainichi Japan)  HIROSHIMA — Nearly all of the 85 plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit who claim to have been exposed to radioactive “black rain” that fell on Hiroshima and surrounding areas in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city in 1945 have been diagnosed with health problems that could be related to radiation, their lawyers said.

The plaintiffs, of whom eight have already died, and their representatives have brought the case to the Hiroshima District Court, demanding the Hiroshima prefectural and municipal governments provide them health care benefits on the basis that they were exposed to the radioactive rain outside the designated area set by the central government. Research by the legal team representing the plaintiffs have revealed that almost all of the plaintiffs have been diagnosed with health issues that “radiation cannot be ruled out” as their causes.

The state has issued certificates for A-bomb survivors who were in the designated area near the epicenter. These certificates enable them to receive free medical care. As the actual health damage caused by the radioactive black rain remains unclear, however, the central government in 1976 named a 19-kilometer by 11-kilometer area northwest from the state-designated radiation exposure area “a special health checkup zone.” Those who were in this zone are subject to free health checkups, and if they develop illnesses involving at least one of 11 kinds of disorders that the government lists as potentially radiation-related, such as cardiovascular diseases, they are given the certificates…….https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20191016/p2a/00m/0na/006000c

October 20, 2019 Posted by | health, Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A new process supplies medical isotope 99Mo: no need for a nuclear reactor

Nuclear fusion process could create US supply of Mo-99 https://www.dotmed.com/news/story/48759, by Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | October 04, 2019  A new nuclear fusion process may shore up supply of the rapidly-decaying, cancer-detecting radioisotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) without the need for reactor facilities.

Nuclear technology company Phoenix and SHINE Medical Technologies, a medical isotope production company, this week announced that in July it surpassed a record for a nuclear fusion reaction in a steady-state system.

The reaction at SHINE’s medical isotope production facility produced 46 trillion neutrons per second, surpassing the previous record set at a California facility by nearly 25 percent.

The technology will drive SHINE’s production of Mo-99, which decays into the diagnostic imaging agent technetium 99m (Tc-99m), and other radioisotopes, with production scheduled to start in 2021 at a facility in Wisconsin.Currently, only a handful of government-owned nuclear research reactors produce Mo-99, which has a 66-hour half-life, and none of them are in the U.S., which uses half the global supply.

The companies say the eight Phoenix systems will help address limited accessibility to nuclear reactors for producing medical isotopes, used for cardiac stress testing and cancer detection, and meet a third of the global demand.

The companies expect to produce 20 million doses per year once the plant is up and running. SHINE has already sent Mo-99 samples produced by this method to GE Healthcare to be tested and verified.

Mo-99 is created by accelerating a particle beam into a target and generating a nuclear fusion reaction. The company developed a proprietary nuclear fusion process that uses a gaseous target instead of solid one, said Evan Sengbusch, president of Phoenix.

“The ion beam isn’t wasting energy with a solid matrix,” Sengbusch told HCB News. “It is cheaper than a nuclear reactor and doesn’t produce nuclear waste.”

October 5, 2019 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Dispute between Japan and South Korea, over radiation levels in Fukushima food exports

September 30, 2019 Posted by | Japan, radiation, South Korea | Leave a comment

A rude concrete sign indicates a deadly truth about nuclear radiation and cancer

 

September 24, 2019 Posted by | health, OCEANIA, USA, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iraqi children with congenital disabilities caused by depleted uranium

September 20, 2019 Posted by | children, depleted uranium, Iraq, Reference | Leave a comment

The health impacts of climate change

‘Like a sunburn on your lungs’: how does the climate crisis impact health?

Children, pregnant women and the elderly are the most at risk from extreme weather and heat – but the impact is already felt across every specialty of medicine

‘Americans are waking up’: two thirds say climate crisis must be addressed Guardian,  Emily Holden in Washington  16 Sep 2019 The climate crisis is making people sicker – worsening illnesses ranging from seasonal allergies to heart and lung disease.

Children, pregnant people and the elderly are the most at risk from extreme weather and rising heat. But the impact of the climate crisis – for patients, doctors and researchers – is already being felt across every specialty of medicine, with worse feared to come……..

  • Allergies

    Climate change makes allergies worse.

    As temperatures increase, plants produce more pollen for longer periods of time, intensifying the allergy seasons. Increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can make plants grow more and cause more grass pollen, which causes allergies in about 20% of people. Carbon dioxide can also increase the allergy-causing effects of pollen.

  • Pregnancy and newborn complications

    Pregnant people are more vulnerable to heat and the air pollution that is being made worse by climate change……….

  • “We’re finding that we have increasing numbers of children born already in a weakened state from heat and air pollution. That’s a totally different story than thinking about climate change as the cause of hurricanes over Florida … It’s a much more pervasive and ongoing impact.”In the developing world pregnant people can also suffer from food and water scarcity. Insect-borne illnesses – such as the Zika virus, which was spread by mosquitoes – are also a hazard to developing fetuses.
  • Heart and lung disease

    Air pollution gets worse as temperatures rise, stressing both the heart and lungs. The fossil fuel pollution that causes the climate crisis also is linked with increased hospitalizations and deaths from cardiovascular disease, and it is connected with more asthma attacks and other breathing problem……

  • Risks for children

    Children under the age of five experience the majority of the health burden from climate change, according to Salas’ report………

  • Dehydration and kidney problems

    Much hotter days make it harder to stay hydrated. They are linked with electrolyte imbalances, kidney stones and kidney failure. Patients who need dialysis as their kidneys fail can have trouble getting treatment during extreme weather events.

    Skin disease

    Higher temperatures and the depletion of the ozone layer increase the risk of skin cancer. The same refrigerants and gases that damage the ozone layer contribute to climate change.

  • Digestive illnesses

    Heat is linked with higher risks for salmonella and campylobacter outbreaks. Extreme rains can contaminate drinking water. Harmful algae blooms that thrive in higher temperatures can cause gastrointestinal problems, too.

    Infectious disease

    Changing temperature and rainfall patterns allow some insects spread farther and transmit malaria, dengue, Lyme disease and West Nile virus. Waterborne cholera and cryptosporidiosis increase with drought and flooding.

    Mental health conditions

    The American Psychological Association created a 69-page guide on how climate change can induce stress, depression and anxiety. The group says “the connections with mental health are often not part” of the climate-health discussion……….

  • Neurologic disease

    Fossil fuel pollution can increase the risk of stroke. Coal combustion also produces mercury – a neurotoxin for fetuses. Diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks increase the chance of neurological problems. Extreme heat is also linked with cerebrovascular disease, a disorder that affects blood supply to the brain.

    Nutrition

  • Carbon dioxide emissions are lowering the nutritional density of food crops, reducing plant levels of protein, zinc and iron and leading to more nutritional deficiencies. Food supplies are also disrupted by drought, societal instability and inequity linked with climate change.

    Trauma

    Extreme weather events, including hurricanes, floods and wildfires, often cause physical injuries. Doctors see minor fractures, crush injuries and smoke inhalation. Extreme heat is also linked with aggression and violence, and the climate crisis globally is connected with violent conflict and forced migration.  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/16/climate-crisis-health-risks-extreme-weather

September 17, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, health | Leave a comment

Environmental, health, threats of USA’s zombie uranium mines

When toxic waste piles — either solid rock or liquid confined behind earthen dams — are left unaddressed, the potential increases for “catastrophic failure

WHILE ‘ZOMBIE’ MINES IDLE, CLEANUP AND WORKERS SUFFER IN LIMBO As the governor of West Virginia and other mine owners warehouse their operations and avoid cleanup, the Trump administration stifles attempts to write rules that could restrict the practice. Center for Public Integrity, 8 Sept 19

…….RADIOACTIVE LEGACY

Remnants of America’s nuclear past litter the Grants Mining District in northwest New Mexico: signs warning of radioactivity, a spiked drill bit outside the New Mexico Mining Museum in Grants, businesses offering to help retired miners get U.S. Department of Labor health benefits.

Mount Taylor — “Tsoodzil” to the Navajo Nation — towers over the landscape. At the base of the 11,305-foot-tall inactive volcano sits the Mount Taylor Mine, idled in 1990 and allowed to flood.

The heyday of Southwestern uranium mining lasted just 30 years. Much of the industry, including this mine, has since remained in standby.

The country’s last operational underground uranium mine shut in 2015, and  open-pit mines haven’t produced in decades. Only one mill in Utah and four in-situ-leach operations, in which ore is dissolved belowground and pumped up, are still active. Two other mills and 15 in-situ-leach sites are either officially in standby or not producing. The American uranium industry employed only 372 people last year, down from 1,120 two decades earlier. Production from U.S. uranium mines fell 85 percent during that period, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

At current prices, mining uranium in the Four Corners remains untenable.

But now the Mount Taylor Mine is reopening, at least on paper. 

…  the Jackpile-Paguate Uranium Mine, once the world’s largest open-pit uranium mine, is now a Superfund site. In the broader Four Corners region, the U.S. Department of Energy is supposed to clean up more than 20 such Cold War relics, from former mills to waste piles. Some leak arsenic, lead, uranium and other toxic substances into groundwater. Recently, hoofprints were found leading from an unfenced pollution control pond near Slick Rock, Colorado, indicating that cattle likely drink from it.

Just inside the southeastern corner of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, an unsettling sign hangs from barbed wire: “DANGER. ABANDONED URANIUM MINE,” a pile of mine waste looming behind it. Residents here in the Red Water Pond Road Community are surrounded by two abandoned uranium mines and a mill…….

Living around or working in uranium mines can worsen, or even trigger, autoimmune disorders, kidney disease, respiratory issues, hypertension and cancer. A study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the University of New Mexico and Navajo agencies found that Navajo Nation citizens, including infants, had elevated levels of uranium in their bodies.

Paul Robinson, Southwest Research and Information Center’s research director, has tracked the industry for more than 40 years. While the New Mexico Mining Act mandates that waste rock and other infrastructure be stabilized before entering standby status, it allows operators to delay reclamation while mining is paused, he said.

Leaving the wastes that are generated at a mine uncovered is one of the ways to ensure airborne or waterborne release,” Robinson said.

Thompson Bell, a member of the Navajo Nation who spent five years as a mechanic in a uranium mine, grew up here and returned for the study. He said many of his mining coworkers died from lung cancer. The sheep and cattle that used to graze here have all but disappeared, the flocks given up for fear of contamination.

The thing about uranium, we found out: It destroys humans and land,” Bell said.

Opinion remains split locally about whether the return of relatively high-paying mining jobs — if that ever happened — would be worth the human and environmental consequences. Christine Lowery, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and a commissioner for the county where the Mount Taylor Mine is located, said she welcomes a cleaner economy.

Those mines were open for one generation,” she said. “The legacy lasts forever…….

The federal government leaves it to the states to impose limits on uranium-mine idling. The resulting patchwork of state rules are largely anchored on a 147-year-old federal law aimed more at promoting mining than managing it.

Over time, uranium production has dropped, stockpiles remained large, nuclear power’s share of the country’s electricity production fell, and power plants bought more uranium from overseas. Still, mine owners hope for a revival…….

 Modern surface mining in Central Appalachia has been linked to health problems ranging from cancer to birth defects. And in a 2012 study, Bernhardt estimated that surface mining impaired about one in three miles of southern West Virginia’s rivers.

But idling poses other risks, Bernhardt said. When toxic waste piles — either solid rock or liquid confined behind earthen dams — are left unaddressed, the potential increases for “catastrophic failure,” she said, even as opportunities to use the land for new purposes are delayed…..

Regulators in Virginia have few options. Justice mine cleanup liabilities in Virginia total as much as $200 million, and taxpayers could get stuck with a large share of that if the state takes over. That’s because those companies have put up only about $51 million for cleanup if the operations are abandoned. Half of that amount would likely be worthless in that scenario because, state records show, it is backed against the value of the companies. A pool of money Virginia set up to close gaps like this at 150 permits across the state, including some of Justice’s, has less than $10 million in it. ……..https://publicintegrity.org/environment/while-zombie-mines-idle-cleanup-and-workers-suffer-in-limbo/?fbclid=IwAR1PsslGwAV0UPxPBIn4qv1JTypoGVk1

September 10, 2019 Posted by | environment, health, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

The radiation poisoning of Iraq lingers on

“The destruction of a society”: First the U.S. invaded Iraq — then we left it poisoned      Scientist: Bombs, bullets and military hardware abandoned by U.S. forces have left Iraq “toxic for millennia”, Salon.com  DAVID MASCIOTRA  7 Sept 19

The political and moral culture of the United States allows for bipartisan cooperation to destroy an entire country, killing hundreds of thousands of people in the process, without even the flimsiest of justification. Then, only a few years later, everyone can act as if it never happened.

In 2011, the U.S. withdrew most of its military personnel from Iraq, leaving the country in ruins. Estimates of the number of civilians who died during the war in Iraq range from 151,000 to 655,000. An additional 4,491 American military personnel perished in the war. Because the bombs have stopped falling from the sky and the invasion and occupation of Iraq no longer makes headlines, Americans likely devote no thought to the devastation that occurred in their name.

With the exception of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who is currently polling at or below 2 percent, no candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination has consistently addressed the criminality, cruelty and cavalier wastefulness of American foreign policy. Joe Biden, the frontrunner in the race, not only supported the war in Iraq — despite his recent incoherent claims to the contrary — but as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee acted as its most effective and influential salesman in the Democratic Party.

The blasé attitude of America toward the death and destruction it creates, all while boasting of its benevolence, cannot withstand the scrutiny of science. Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan and recipient of the Rachel Carson Prize, has led several investigative expeditions in Iraq to determine how the pollutants and toxic chemicals from the U.S.-led war are poisoning Iraq’s people and environment. The health effects are catastrophic, and will remain so long after the war reached its official end.

previously interviewed Savabieasfahani about her initial research, and recently acquired an update regarding her team’s latest discovery that there is a close correlation between proximity to a U.S. military base and birth defects in Iraqi children.

Average Americans, even many who opposed the war in Iraq, seem to believe that once the military campaign is over the casualties of war stop accumulating. What is the purpose of your general research regarding the toxicity of the Iraqi environment resulting from American bombs, munitions and other materials? How does the American invasion and occupation continue to adversely affect the health of Iraqis?

Bombs and bullets have been used on an extreme scale in Iraq. Dropping tons of bombs and releasing millions of bullets leaves toxic residues the in air, water and soil of the targeted population. These pollutants continue to poison those populations years after the bombing stops

What’s more, the United States imported thousands of tons of military equipment into Iraq to use in their occupation. They include, tanks, trucks, bombers, armored vehicles, infantry weapons, antiaircraft systems, artillery and mortars — some of which are coated with depleted uranium, and much more. These eventually find their way into U.S. military junkyards which remain across Iraq.

There are unknown numbers of military junkyards scattered across the Iraqi landscape.

Fluctuations in temperature facilitates the rusting and weathering of military junk, releasing toxic pollutants [including radioactive uranium compounds, neurotoxic lead and mercury, etc.] into the Iraqi environment.

Uranium and its related compounds remain toxic for millennia and poison local populations through food, air and water contamination.

The exposure of pregnant mothers to the pollutions of war, including uranium and thorium, irreversibly damages their unborn children. We found thorium, a product of depleted uranium decay, in the hair of Iraqi children with birth defects who lived in Nasiriyah and Ur City, near a U.S. military base. 

The destruction of a society does not stop after U.S. bombs stop falling. Environmental contamination which the U.S. leaves behind continues to destroy our environment and poison our people decades after the bombs have stopped falling. The U.S. has a long history of irreversibly destroying human habitats. That must end…….

Forty-four years after U.S. forces left Vietnam, there are still Vietnamese babies born with birth defects from the American military’s use of Agent Orange. How long do you believe Iraqis will continue to suffer from the American-led war?

If left unmitigated, the population will be permanently exposed to elevated toxic exposures which can impact the Iraqi gene pool.

Through the use of the scientific method, you are gaining the ability to identify a severe problem in Iraq. Considering that the problem is a result of the U.S. invasion, what could the U.S. do to solve or at least mitigate the problem?

The U.S. must be held responsible and forced to clean up all the sites which it has polluted. Technology exists for the cleanup of radiation contamination. The removal and disposal of U.S.-created military junkyards would go a long way towards cleaning toxic releases out of the Iraqi environment.

You are a scientist, not a political analyst, but you must have some thoughts regarding the political implications of your work. How do you react to the lack of substantive conversation about the consequences of war in American politics and the press, and the American establishment’s evasion of responsibility on this issue?

I expect nothing from the American political establishment or their propaganda machines which masquerade as “news media” and feed uncritically off State Department press briefings.

Fortunately, there is a movement to criminalize environmental contamination caused by war. Damage to nature and the human environment must be considered a war crime.

Scientists are currently asking international lawmakers to adopt a fifth Geneva Convention which would recognize damage to nature as a war crime, alongside other war crimes. I hope that will make a difference in our ability to protect human lives and our environment. ……  https://www.salon.com/2019/09/07/the-destruction-of-a-society-first-the-u-s-invaded-iraq-then-we-left-it-poisoned/

September 9, 2019 Posted by | environment, Iraq, radiation, social effects, USA | Leave a comment

Spanish group gives summer holidays to kids from Chernobyl’s polluted region

Chernobyl nuclear disaster: Meet the NGO giving children a summer from the still present pollution,   Euro News 1 Sept 19, TV hit series Chernobyl may have revived interest in the 1986 nuclear disaster, but for one Spanish NGO, it’s never gone away.

Vallès Obert has helped organise summer holidays in Spain for around 2,000 children from the Chernobyl region since 1995.

It does this by finding families willing to host them.

The time away from the area helps their bodies recover from exposure to the toxic radioactive materials still present in the atmosphere around the diaster site…….

There are many people who have health problems”, explains Natasha, 14, who was born two decades after the incident.

She is being hosted by a family in La Roca del Vallès, near Barcelona, but will soon return to her hometown, Stanyshivka, about 60km from Chernobyl.

“After radiation, some people born cannot speak,” she told Euronews…….

Vallès Obert estimates two months a year outside the polluted environment helps their defences regenerate significantly.

Manuel, president of the association, explains that “there is an age range between 40 and 50 years old in which cancer problems begin to appear: larynx or stomach cancer, leukaemia… everything related to cancer”…….. https://www.euronews.com/2019/08/31/chernobyl-nuclear-disaster-meet-the-ngo-giving-children-a-summer-from-the-still-present-po

September 1, 2019 Posted by | children, Religion and ethics, Spain, Ukraine | Leave a comment