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EDF contractors relax radiation exposure limits to speed up reactor repairs

By Benjamin Mallet – Friday 16 Sept 22, PARIS (Reuters)  https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/exclusive-edf-contractors-relax-radiation-exposure-limits-to-speed-up-reactor-repairs/ar-AA11UdIE?ocid=st– Some contractors helping French power giant EDF to inspect and repair its corrosion-hit nuclear reactors are planning to relax their rules on radiation exposure limits so that their workers can spend more time on the job, EDF told Reuters.

The company, which is rushing to get its fleet of nuclear powerstations ready for the winter, said the new threshold was in line with its own standards and remained well below French legal limits.

“We have been informed by some of our partners that they expect to increase the radiation exposure limit for some of their staff,” EDF said in emailed comments on Friday, responding to a Reuters query.

“The activities currently underway at our plants lead to a higher number of hours worked in the nuclear part of our sites. This additional activity had not been foreseen by our partners when they set their radiation limits,” the company said.

Two sources with direct knowledge of the repair works told Reuters that at least one EDF contractor, French company Monteiro, had already increased the maximum exposure its workers could be subject to, adding this posed no health risk.

A Monteiro spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

The sources said the changes to the safety guidance illustrated how EDF was racing against the clock to restart 15 reactors taken offline last winter after the emergence of stress corrosion at some plants.

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September 20, 2022 Posted by | France, radiation | Leave a comment

Lawmakers demand reparations for New Mexicans imperiled by nuclear bomb testing

Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus, 10 Sept 22,

When the U.S.’ first nuclear bomb was detonated in south-central New Mexico, it was believed to set off a chain of cancers and health problems suffered by the surrounding communities for generations.

People who grew up near the Trinity Test Site, near the remote communities of Carrizozo or Tularosa, were denied federal relief dollars afforded to other “downwinders” impacted by nuclear testing around the country.

Both towns were within 50 miles of the blast site, and advocates say they were exposed to radiation from the bomb testing.

They advocated for years that New Mexico’s downwinders be included in cash payments made to those affected by nuclear activities under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA).

Members of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium advocated for such support from state lawmakers during a Tuesday meeting of the interim Radioactive and Hazardous Waste Committee.

“It’s very emotional to reflect on all we’ve lost as a result of being exposed to radiation,” said consortium founder Tina Cordova, herself a survivor of thyroid cancer who said members of her family also suffered from myriad forms of the disease.’

The committee, made up of state senators and representatives voted to send a letter to Congress, calling on the federal leaders to expand reparations to include New Mexicans…………………………..

Cordova pointed to high infant mortality rates and diseases among the people living near the site, which she said were the result of testing at the site.

She also pointed to economic depression in the rural community as its residents struggled for years with high medical bills Cordova attributed to the testing.

“We don’t have a chance in New Mexico to develop generational wealth,” Cordova said. “This has contributed greatly to the poverty we see here.”

Congress voted earlier this year to extend the RECA by two more years, via legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and supported by the state’s entire congressional delegation and via a letter sent by the Radioactive and Hazardous Waste Committee.

But that legislation did not expand the compensation to include New Mexican downwinders, although it does give funds to some uranium miners mostly in the northern part of the state.

So far, downwinders were only federally recognized in parts of Arizona, Utah and Nevada attributed to activities at another nuclear test site in Nevada.  ………………………. https://www.currentargus.com/story/news/2022/09/09/reparations-demanded-for-new-mexicans-imperiled-by-nuclear-bomb-testing/66874718007/

September 19, 2022 Posted by | health, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Race Correction and the X-Ray Machine — The Controversy over Increased Radiation Doses for Black Americans in 1968

New England Journal of Medicine Itai Bavli, Ph.D.,  and David S. Jones, M.D., Ph.D.

In May 23, 1968, Howard Goldman, director of the New York Bureau of X-Ray Technology, acknowledged that x-ray technicians routinely exposed Black patients to doses of radiation that were higher than those White patients received.1 This practice, which adhered to guidelines from x-ray machine manufacturers, may have been widespread in the 1960s. Senate hearings held that month, as political unrest rocked the country, prompted public outcry and led to calls from state and federal officials to end the practice. Yet in the 21st century, despite growing interest in the problems of race and racism in medicine, race adjustment of x-rays has received little attention.2-6 It’s important to understand the origins of this practice, its rationales, its possible harms, and related controversies. The history shows how assumptions about biologic differences between Black and White people affected the theory and practice of medicine in the United States in ways that may have harmed patients. These insights can inform ongoing debates about the uses of race in medicine.7-10

………………………………….. despite recent attempts to mitigate the harmful effects of racial biases in medicine, race-based beliefs and practices, especially the use of racial categories, remain widespread.8 The history of race adjustment for x-ray dosing reveals how mistaken assumptions can be admitted into medical practices — and how those practices can be ended.

Racialization of the X-Ray

The discovery of x-rays in 1895 revolutionized medicine. It allowed doctors to diagnose and treat many medical problems more easily.22 The ability to image teeth also transformed dental care. However, as x-ray technology developed in the early 20th century, false beliefs about biologic differences between Black and White people affected how doctors used this technology.

Ideas about racial differences in bone and skin thickness appeared in the 19th century and remained widespread throughout the 20th.

………………………………… The belief that Black people have denser bones, more muscle, or thicker skin led radiologists and technicians to use higher radiation exposure during x-ray procedures.

…………………………………….. In the 1950s and 1960s, x-ray technologists were told to use higher radiation doses to penetrate Black bodies. Roentgen Signs in Clinical Diagnosis, published in 1956, described the radiographic examination of a Black person’s skull as a “technical problem” that required a modified technique……………………………..

Debate and Denial in the Senate

The practice of giving larger x-ray doses to Black patients was brought to national attention in May 1968, when the U.S. Senate held hearings about the Radiation Control for Health and Safety Act of 1968.27

………………………… At the hearings on May 15, Ralph Nader mentioned that technicians exposed Black patients to higher x-ray doses: “A practice widespread around the country is that by technologists and their supervisors giving Negroes one-fourth to one-half larger X-ray dosages than white patients because of a generalized intuition or folklore.”27 

…………………………………… Race classifications have traditionally been based on skin pigmentation and other superficial physical traits. One might have expected x-ray technologies, which see through the skin to deeper structures beneath, to be spared racialization. They were not. During the 20th century, radiologists and device manufacturers embedded racial assumptions in the basic practices of radiology. Nader, a consumer advocate working on radiation safety, exposed the practices of race adjustment to public scrutiny, triggering investigation and rapid action by federal and state officials and by physicians and device manufacturers. However, radiologists and technicians retained the ability to determine x-ray exposures. We do not know how long the practice of race adjustment actually endured……………………….. more https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMms2206281

September 8, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference, social effects | Leave a comment

Exposure to ionizing occupational radiation affects over 24 million workers globally

 https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_854878/lang–en/index.htm

3rd International Conference on Occupational Radiation Protection, 5 Sept 22

Over 500 experts from all over the world are to exchange information and experiences on strengthening the protection of workers from radiation. 05 September 2022

GENEVA (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization is co-sponsoring the third international conference on Occupational Radiation Protection , organized with the International Atomic Energy Agency and hosted by the Government of Switzerland.

The conference, which takes place 5 – 9 September in Geneva, will review international standards and recommendations on occupational radiation protection, progress over the past twenty years, and will identify priority actions leading to an improved global occupational radiation protection system.

While radiation exposure is commonly associated with those working in the nuclear field or dealing with radioactive sources, workers in other professions, such as miners, aircrew, researchers, and healthcare professionals can also become seriously affected if adequate measures are not taken.

Moreover, accidents in nuclear power plants can have catastrophic effects not only for the workers but also for communities and the environment. Strict preventive and control measures therefore need to be in place.

“It has been a constitutional objective of the ILO since its establishment in 1919 to protect the health of workers,” said Vic Van Vuuren, Deputy-Director General for Policy Officer in Charge. “Today, we are still a long way away from this objective. Work-related deaths and injuries including those caused by exposure to radiation take a particularly heavy toll, especially in developing countries, where national systems for occupational safety and health are not well established.”

“This conference will serve as an excellent opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience and set the course for further concrete progress in enhancing the radiation protection of workers in all industries and countries and in making working environments safer and healthier, notably though building a global preventative culture.”

In June 1960, the International Labour Conference adopted the Radiation Protection Convention, 1960 (No. 115) , and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 114) . The Convention applies to all activities involving the exposure of workers to ionizing radiation in the course of their work and provides that each Member of the ILO which ratifies it shall give effect to its provisions by means of laws or regulations, codes of practice or other appropriate means.

It is the only international legal instrument that addresses the protection of workers against radiation. The Convention has been ratified by 50 countries .

September 6, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, employment, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Ukraine nuclear plant: what happens if it releases a radioactive plume?

An atmospheric scientist describes how researchers would track a toxic cloud in the case of an accident at the occupied Zaporizhzhia power station.

“…………………………………….. Nature spoke with Kusmierczyk-Michulec about how her work could help the world to cope with a possible accident at Zaporizhzhia.

What does the CTBTO’s nuclear-monitoring network do?…………………

How did the CTBTO help to track the plume from the Fukushima Daiichi accident?…………………….

How would we find out if there is a detection of radioactivity released from the Zaporizhzhia plant? Does your network have stations nearby?……………………………..

Are there prevailing weather patterns around southern Ukraine that would determine how the plume would probably move?

The answer is not so straightforward. Air masses can travel a long way, for a long time. After a few days, they may reach quite a far distance, depending on the weather conditions, wind directions and wind speeds. Prevailing weather patterns are not a sufficient indicator, especially in that region with quite variable wind direction……………………. more https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-02811-8

September 2, 2022 Posted by | radiation, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Radioactive Waste ‘Everywhere’ at Ohio Oilfield Facility, Says Former Worker

Community groups present health and environmental justice concerns to the EPA, alleging workers at Austin Master Services are coated in dangerous levels of radioactive waste.

DeSmog, By Justin Nobel, Aug 31, 2022 ,

As Bill Torbett and his colleagues went about their work, handling the sloppy radioactive detritus of oilfields in a cavernous building in eastern Ohio, their skin and clothing often became smothered in sludge. Waste was splattered on the floor and walls, even around the electrical panels. At the end of their shifts, they typically left their uniforms in the company washing machine, which didn’t always work, and left their sludge-caked boots and hard hats in the company locker room. But when the men arrived home after a long day, the job came with them too.

“We were literally ankle-deep in sludge and a lot of times knee-deep in different spots. All that shit is dripping down on you,” says Torbett, a 51-year-old former employee of Austin Master Services, a radioactive oilfield waste facility in Martins Ferry, Ohio. “You’re saturated in it, your hands are covered in it, the denim of your uniform would hold it, and the moisture would soak right through your under-clothes and into your skin.”

“How wet?” Torbett says. “Like if you got caught outside in the rain without an umbrella. Soaking wet.”

In fact, so alarming are the conditions at Austin Master and so lax is the oversight that workers have taken things into their own hands. In one case, a second former worker has covertly passed along their dirty boots, hard hat, and headlamp for independent radiological analysis. The levels of the radioactive element radium found in the sludge on this worker’s boots was about 15 times federal cleanup limits for the nation’s worst toxic waste sites.

And yet, Austin Master appeared to keep workers in the dark about what they were handling. “They really didn’t tell me the gist of the material, I just knew it came from frack sites,” according to Torbett, who worked at the facility from November 2021 to February 2022. “There was no discussion of the material and its radioactivity.”

In April, DeSmog revealed that Concerned Ohio River Residents, a local advocacy group, had documented elevated levels of radium outside the main entrance to the Austin Master facility, that state inspection reports showed a lengthy history of concerning operating practices, and that rail cars leaving the facility for a radioactive waste disposal site in the Utah desert had arrived leaking on five occasions.

The situation at the Ohio facility appears so severe that top officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5, which covers much of the Midwest, joined local organizers in a conference call in July and made an in-person visit to the area earlier this month.

The state of Ohio has authorized Austin Master Services to receive 120 million pounds of radioactive oilfield waste at its Martins Ferry location each year.

Austin Master has not replied to questions regarding the reported radioactivity levels on worker clothing. “There is nothing unusual or harmful about AMS’s process,” Chris Martin, a company spokesperson, told DeSmog in response to questions sent in March regarding work practices at the facility. “Austin Master Services takes a responsible approach to providing valuable waste remediation services and jobs in the Martins Ferry community.” Martin maintained that “there are no known complaints from AMS employees concerning work conditions.”

On July 1, American Energy Partners, a Pennsylvania-based energy and infrastructure services company, acquired Austin Master Services. In a press release, American Energy Partners describes Austin Master as “a full-service, comprehensive environmental services firm specializing in radiological waste management solutions” that provides “professional safety, industrial hygiene and health physics services.” The company has not replied to questions.

The conditions documented by state inspection reports and the contamination revealed by advocacy groups raise questions about the risks to first responders and the community should the Martins Ferry facility have an accident……………………………………

Welcome to the Messy World of Radioactive Oilfield Waste

The Austin Master facility is located in a former steel mill on the Ohio River, not far from the city of Martins Ferry’s drinking water wells and the football stadium of the local high school team, the Purple Riders. Austin Master receives truckloads of drill cuttings bored out of the Marcellus and Utica shale and of radioactive sludge that forms at the bottom of tanks and trucks that hold toxic liquids brought to the surface of fracked oil and gas wells. Right now, more than a third of America’s natural gas supply comes from wells in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Some of it is converted to liquefied natural gas, or LNG, and shipped overseas to customers in Europe and elsewhere.

Processing radioactive oilfield waste has proven enormously problematic for the oil and gas industry and its regulators, and given rise to a booming service sector of facilities like those run by Austin Master that collect, treat, and process the waste. Part of the problem is that a significant amount of oilfield waste is too radioactive to be shipped directly to traditional landfills. Instead, it must be “down-blended,” or mixed with material like lime or a corn cob base to lower the radioactive signature. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) does regulate the state’s roughly two dozen oilfield waste processing facilities, but in a limited way. In 2014, Austin Master received an ODNR order, known as a Chief’s Order, giving the company temporary approval to “process, recycle, and treat brine” and other oilfield waste.

At Austin Master’s Martins Ferry facility, Torbett says, trucks regularly dumped the more sludge-like or solid radioactive oilfield waste directly onto the floor of the former steel mill, and workers used common heavy construction equipment like Bobcats to maneuver it into various bins or pits. Waste that was more liquid-like was often dumped into metal containers called half-rounds, says Torbett. In one state inspection photo from August 2018, a worker with bare arms and no face protection or respirator holds a push broom……………………………….

It is work like this that has Massachusetts-based nuclear forensics scientist Dr. Marco Kaltofen deeply concerned about worker health risks. He said any time oilfield waste is moved around in piles at a processing facility such as Austin Master, dust is inevitably created and is likely to contain the radioactive element radium, which is commonly found in oilfield waste..

In addition to dust and wet spatter from the facility’s waste processing practices, Kaltofen voiced worries about the risk of radioactivity exposure to the people interacting with employees outside of work. “Workers’ skin can also become coated with this radioactive material, and either absorb it, or contaminate their families,” he added.

Earlier this year, a second former employee of Austin Master, who prefers to remain anonymous because they still work in the region, provided the boots, hard hat, and headlamp they used while working at the Martins Ferry facility to the organization Concerned Ohio River Residents, members of which have been previously instructed by Kaltofen in how to safely handle such items. The group then sent the worker items along to Kaltofen, who sent sludge from the boots to Eberline Analytical, a radiological analysis lab in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The lab returned the results in May, and they were startling, according to Kaltofen. They showed levels of radium-226 at 76.3 picocuries per gram, and levels of another form of radium common in oilfield waste, radium-228, at 8.66 picocuries per gram. This placed the radioactivity values at roughly 15 times EPA cleanup limits for topsoil at uranium mills and Superfund sites. ………………………………….

“Radium is commonly referred to as a bone seeker,” states a report of the National Research Council Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiations. If accidentally inhaled or ingested, the radioactive element tends to accumulate in the bones, where it continues emitting radiation and can lead to cancer…………………………..

“These results are alarming and it signifies the need for appropriate radiation protection measures in the oil and gas workplace,” adds Bemnet Alemayehu, a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) staff scientist with a PhD in radiation health physics and co-author of a 2021 report on this issue. DeSmog provided NRDC with Eberline Analytical’s analysis of the worker’s clothing. “Based on the data provided,” says Alemayehu, “it appears the radioactivity levels are high enough to cause” exposure risks to the oil and gas workers…………………………….

Raising Red Flags

Concerned Ohio River Residents, which received the clothing items from the former worker and sampled the soil on the public road outside the facility, has long been worried about the risks the Austin Master facility posed to workers and the community at large and is in touch with a number of former workers. In mid-August, members of the group toured officials with EPA Region 5 around the area, including a drive-by of the Austin Master facility in Martins Ferry.

Despite the dangers this type of oil and gas waste poses, a 1980 provision enacted by Congress has deemed it non-hazardous and therefore exempt from federal rules that would otherwise apply to hazardous waste. ………………………………

Meanwhile Ohio regulatory agencies appear to be equally hamstrung in their ability to manage or even systematically assess the situation. ………………………………

Industry workers and residents across the Marcellus and Utica shale tell DeSmog it is this general tone of dismissal and inaction from regulators that has them feeling aggravated when it comes to oilfield radioactivity and its harms………………………

DeSmog presented the Health Physics Society with information and documents concerning the situation at Austin Master, but the group has not replied to questions.

…………………………………. fixing this issue in the United States goes beyond just personal protective equipment and straight to lawmakers, says Amy Mall, a senior advocate at NRDC. “We need Congress to act to end the dangerous oil and gas loopholes in our federal laws, including the gap for naturally occurring radioactive materials,” says Mall. “In addition, we urge the EPA to investigate this situation and other oil and gas waste sites around the country, and to revise its rules to reflect current knowledge about the risks to human health and the environment.”…………………………

While Waiting for Governments to Act, Citizens Are Stepping in

In July, Concerned Ohio River Residents and other Ohio advocacy groups sent a letter about Austin Master to EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

“We have identified environmental justice and human rights abuse under President Biden’s Executive Order 13985,” the letter stated. “Understanding your values and heavy emphasis on pushing for environmental justice, we call upon the United States Environmental Protection Agency to address disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental impacts on low-income populations here in Appalachia…We call upon your Office to investigate these issues because no other governmental or regulatory agency is stepping up.”……………………………. https://www.desmog.com/2022/08/31/worker-radioactive-waste-austin-master-services-ohio/

September 2, 2022 Posted by | employment, health, wastes | Leave a comment

European Union providing Ukraine with over 5 million doses of potassium iodide tablets

The EU is giving more than five million anti-radiation tablets to Ukraine,
as fears grow of an accident at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. The
Zaporizhzhia plant is under Russian occupation and has recently come under
fire, with both sides blaming each other for the attacks.

In some areas, officials are already handing out the pills, which can stop the body
absorbing radioactive iodine. Residents have been told only to take it if a
radiation leak is confirmed. So far, only people living within 50km (30
miles) of the power plant are being offered the potassium iodide tablets,
but the European Union is providing Ukraine with more than five million
doses which would allow for much wider distribution.

BBC 30th Aug 2022

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-62725485

August 31, 2022 Posted by | health, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Water fluoridation: Effective prevention for tooth decay and a win for the environment – Trinity research

Am I pleased to see this article! I have become very fed up with the pro-nuclear lobbyists portraying me, and other anti-nuclear people as being ”anti-vaxxers” etc.

Also fed up with those few poorly informed anti-nuclear persons who assume that being anti-fluoridation is the same thing.

In fact, fluoridation of drinking water (where fluoride is deficient ) is probably the best public health measure ever.

A bit like iodine added to salt, where there’s an iodine deficiency, fluoridation is a public health benefit (quite the opposite of nuclear activities)

Research findings also strengthen the case internationally for water fluoridation programmes to reduce dental decay, particularly in the most vulnerable populations. Peer-Reviewed Publication

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/963230TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN, 29 Aug 22,

Trinity College Dublin researchers collaborating with University College London have demonstrated for the first time the low environmental footprint of water fluoridation compared to other preventive measures for tooth decay. The study is published in the British Dental Journal  today [Monday 29th August 2022].

Water fluoridation is regarded as one of the most significant public health interventions of the twentieth century. But as the climate crisis worsens, the contribution of healthcare and the prevention of disease to the crisis must be considered. Action is urgent.

Influenced by this urgency, researchers quantified the environmental impact of water fluoridation for an individual five year-old child over a one-year period and compared this to the traditional use of fluoride varnish and toothbrushing programmes, which take place in selected schools across the UK, and internationally.

Today, over 35% of the world’s population have access to water fluoridation, with studies showing significant reductions in dental caries. Whilst data on the clinical effectiveness and cost analysis of water fluoridation are available, there has been no data regarding its environmental impact up to now.

To quantify this impact, the research team performed a Life Cycle Assessment  (LCA) by carefully measuring the combined travel, the weight and amounts of all products and the processes involved in all three preventive programmes (toothbrushing, fluoride varnish programmes and water fluoridation) . Data was inputted into a specific environmental programme (OpenLCA) and the team used the Ecoinvent database, enabling them to calculate environmental outputs, including the carbon footprint, the amount of water used for each product and the amount of land use.

The results of the study, led by Brett Duane, Associate Professor in Dental Public Health at Trinity College, concluded that water fluoridation had the lowest environmental impact in all categories studied, and had the lowest disability-adjusted life years impact when compared to all other community-level caries prevention programmes. The study also found that water fluoridation gives the greatest return on investment.

Considering the balance between clinical effectiveness, cost effectiveness and environmental sustainability, researchers believe that water fluoridation should be the preventive intervention of choice.

This research strengthens the case internationally for water fluoridation programmes to reduce dental decay, especially in the most vulnerable populations.

Associate Professor Duane said: 

“ As the climate crisis starts to worsen, we need to find ways of preventing disease to reduce the environmental impact of our health systems. This research clearly demonstrates the low carbon impact of water fluoridation as an effective prevention tool. “

Professor Paul Ashley, Senior Clinical Lecturer (Honorary NHS Consultant), UCL Eastman Dental Institute added:

“Renewed efforts should be made to increase access to this intervention.”

August 30, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health | Leave a comment

Fukushima town lifts evacuation order, but few former residents want to come back

More than 80% of the municipality is designated as a “difficult-to-return” zone still experiencing high levels of radiation, the spokesman said. And a survey conducted last August found that 60.5% of residents had decided not to return — far exceeding the 11.3% who wanted to come back.

Fukushima town lifts evacuation order, allowing former residents to return 11 years after nuclear disaster, By Emiko Jozuka and Jessie Yeung, CNN, August 30,

Tokyo (CNN)More than a decade after Japan’s worst nuclear disaster, the town that hosts the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant finally lifted its evacuation order on Tuesday, allowing former residents to come home.

The town of Futaba, previously deemed off-limits, is the last of 11 districts to lift its evacuation order, a spokesman for the town’s municipal office told CNN.

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck off Japan’s east coast, triggering a tsunami that caused a nuclear meltdown at the power plant and a major release of radioactive material. It was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

More than 300,000 people living near the nuclear plant were forced to evacuate temporarily; thousands more did so voluntarily. Once-bustling communities were turned into ghost towns.

In the years since, large-scale cleanup and decontamination operations have allowed some residents who once lived in the former exclusion zone to return.

…………………….Authorities began preparing for the town’s reopening this year; in January, they launched a program allowing former residents to return temporarily, but only 85 people from 52 households took part, the Futaba official said……………….It remains unclear, however, how many people will return — and how long the town will take to recover.

More than 80% of the municipality is designated as a “difficult-to-return” zone still experiencing high levels of radiation, the spokesman said. And a survey conducted last August found that 60.5% of residents had decided not to return — far exceeding the 11.3% who wanted to come back.

Futaba has no official timeline on when other areas of the town will be fully decontaminated.

But the spokesman expressed hope for the town’s future, saying Futaba aims to increase its population to 2,000 by 2030.

If other Japanese towns affected by the 2011 nuclear disaster are any indication, Futaba has a long road ahead. Even places that lifted evacuation orders several years ago have continued to face challenges.

For instance, Katsurao village, which lies about 40 kilometers (24 miles) from the plant, reopened to residents in 2016, but some households are still waiting for their sections of the village to be decontaminated.

Others may still have concerns about radiation. Despite the decontamination efforts, a 2020 survey by Kwansei Gakuin University found 65% of evacuees no longer wanted to return to Fukushima prefecture — 46% feared residual contamination and 45% had settled elsewhere.

CNN’s Kathleen Benoza contributed reporting.  https://edition.cnn.com/2022/08/30/asia/futaba-fukushima-nuclear-evacuation-order-intl-hnk/index.html

August 30, 2022 Posted by | Japan, social effects | Leave a comment

The cost of Ukraine’s de-Russification

 the burgeoning de-Russification in Ukraine is one of the issues that needs a cool-headed examination. The process of removing Russian cultural and linguistic influence from the country is not an easy — or necessarily equitable — thing to do, when around a quarter of Ukrainians still identify as Russian speakers.

The country’s insistence on its right to exist as separate from Russia is understandable, but expunging Russian cultural and linguistic influence risks future trouble.

Politico. BY JAMIE DETTMER, AUGUST 29, 2022

Wars transform nations and people — leaving them, whether victorious or vanquished, “all changed, changed utterly,” as Irish writer W.B. Yeats noted.

Yeats was writing about the armed insurrection against British rule in Ireland during April 1916. The uprising had lasted just six days, but Ireland would never be the same.

Ukraine’s ongoing epic defense of its national identity, territorial integrity and sovereignty has already lasted six months, and there is no end in sight. It has left widespread devastation, with towns and buildings wrecked, families traumatized and uprooted, livelihoods upended and lives lost and mourned.

But there’s another transformation underway — and it’s in Ukrainian hearts.

Being told endlessly that they don’t exist has led to the understandable Ukrainian reaction of insisting on their existence, and their right to exist as separate from Russia. This is leading them to try and expunge Russian cultural and linguistic influence on their country. But how they do so, and to what degree, is fraught with future danger.

In a March 2014 speech marking the annexation of Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin had declared that Russians and Ukrainians “are one people. Kiev is the mother of Russian cities. Ancient Rus’ is our common source and we cannot live without each other.”

But, although the two nations are ensnared by history, the full-scale war he launched in February has only demonstrated the opposite, and has made it much more difficult for them to live with each other.

Indeed, for a nation that Putin has argued doesn’t exist, Ukraine has been kicking up a storm, and is now taking the fight well behind military frontlines, brazenly crossing the border into Russia and occupied Crimea, disrupting Russian supply lines and logistics, leaving the Kremlin to fall back on preposterous lies to explain explosions witnessed by vacationing Russians…………………

Ukrainians’ firmer sense of nationhood and identity, fueled by fury at what is befalling them, risks becoming less inclusive and more Russian-hating. How could it be otherwise?

…………….  the burgeoning de-Russification in Ukraine is one of the issues that needs a cool-headed examination. The process of removing Russian cultural and linguistic influence from the country is not an easy — or necessarily equitable — thing to do, when around a quarter of Ukrainians still identify as Russian speakers.

……………………………… In January, Human Rights Watch also raised concerns about the lack of protections for Russian speakers in a new state language law that entered into force this year. The law requires print media outlets registered in Ukraine to publish only in the Ukrainian language, or to provide an accompanying Ukrainian version, or equivalent in content, volume and method of print, when publishing in another language. But while exceptions were made for other minority languages, such as English and official European Union languages, there were none provided for Russian.

………………….. in June, the Ukrainian parliament passed a set of new laws banning the distribution of Russian books printed overseas, and the playing or performance of Russian music by post-Soviet era artists, further seeking to distance the country from Russian culture.

But through the often tragic twists and turns of Ukraine’s tangled history, and the cultural imperialism of Russian czars and communist autocrats, Ukrainian and Russian culture are inextricably linked and have contributed to each other’s shaping — for good or ill.

…………………. there are risks in rejecting all things Russian……………..

In his independence day speech this week, Zelenskyy vowed Kyiv’s forces will retake Russian-occupied Crimea. But if that day comes, how will Kyiv approach de-Russification? Will it still insist on the use of the Ukrainian language in most aspects of public life on a peninsula where 65 percent of the population are ethnic Russian?

As Ukraine goes about trying to win this war, it also needs to think about how it will win the peace.  https://www.politico.eu/article/the-cost-of-ukraines-de-russification/

August 28, 2022 Posted by | culture and arts, politics, social effects, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Anti-radiation-sickness pills given out amid shelling near Ukrainian nuclear station

Fears of a potential leak at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has
prompted authorities to hand out anti-radiation sickness tablets, as
Russia and Ukraine blame each other . Ukraine said Russian forces fired on areas just across
the river from the plant, while Russia claimed Ukrainian shells hit a
building where nuclear fuel is stored.

Authorities were distributing iodine
tablets to residents who live near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, in
southeastern Ukraine, on Saturday in case of radiation exposure, which can
cause health problems. Much of the concern centres on the cooling systems
for the plant’s nuclear reactors.

 ITV 28th Aug 2022

https://www.itv.com/news/2022-08-28/anti-radiation-sickness-pills-given-out-amid-shelling-near-ukraine-nuclear-plant

August 28, 2022 Posted by | health, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Fears of ‘radiation cloud through Europe’ if Ukraine plant blows.

Nuclear horror warning: Fears of ‘radiation cloud through Europe’ if
Ukraine plant blows. NUCLEAR power expert Dr Paul Dorfman has issued a
stark warning over the dangers of military aggression close to the
Zaporizhzhia plant in Ukraine. Dr Dorfman added: “Radiation doesn’t
respect national boundaries, it’s a question of where the wind blows.

“What we’ve seen here is the weaponisation of civil nuclear, something
a number of people have been worrying about for a significant time now.
“The key takeaway from this is, if and when we get through this, what
does that imply for current and any prospective nuclear in the context of
an unstable world?”

 Express 26th Aug 2022

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1661001/Ukraine-nuclear-power-plant-disaster-leak-Russia-invasion-war-Zaporizhzhia-vn

August 28, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, radiation | Leave a comment

Astronauts Going to Mars Will Receive Many Lifetimes Worth of Radiation

Universe Today, In a recent study published in Space Physics, an international team of researchers discuss an in-depth study examining the long-term physiological effects of solar radiation on astronauts with emphasis on future astronauts traveling to Mars, to include steps we can take to help mitigate the risk of such solar radiation exposure. The researchers hailed from the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, India, United States, Italy, Greece, and Germany, and their study helps us better understand the in-depth, long-term health impacts of astronauts during long-term space missions, specifically to Mars and beyond.

Exposure to ionizing radiation is one of the main health risks to astronauts in crewed missions to Mars,” said Dr. Dimitra Atri, a Research Scientist at New York University Abu Dhabi, and lead author of the study. “Going to Mars is going to be humanity’s ultimate adventure in the 21st century — it would be unfortunate if the mission is successful, but astronauts suffer major health issues or even die because of radiation exposure. So, we need to estimate radiation exposure in a very careful way and study its overall impact on human health. It will also help us develop mitigation strategies to keep our astronauts safe.”

To conduct their study, the researchers utilized a computer simulation known as Geant4 with a model human phantom to calculate how each organ of the human body is affected by radiation doses from exposure to energetic charged particles for prolonged periods. These include impacts on an astronaut’s health such as Acute Radiation Syndrome, nervous system damage, and a higher risk of cancer. The CDC defines Acute Radiation Syndrome, also known as radiation sickness or radiation toxicity, as “an acute illness caused by irradiation of the entire human body (or most of the body) by a high dose of penetrating radiation in a very short period of time (usually a matter of minutes).”

Combining their data from the model human phantom with dozens of past medical studies, the researchers discuss the underlying impacts of ionizing radiation on physiological systems, to include the nervous, immune, and skeletal systems, and behavioral effects, along with impacts on genetic material and risk of cancer. They considered a crewed mission to Mars comprising of 600 days in cruise phase to and from the Red Planet and spending 400 days on the Martian surface. While they noted a knowledge gap regarding past medical studies and their own study, they stated radiation limits set by the European Space Agency, Roscosmos, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, and NASA would be surpassed during a crewed mission to Mars.

“It is a comprehensive study modeling the impact of charged particles — protons, alpha particles, heavier species on a human phantom by using CERN’s charged particle interaction code, said Dr. Atri. “We were able to calculate radiation dose deposited in various organs of the human body. ………….  https://www.universetoday.com/157285/astronauts-going-to-mars-will-receive-many-lifetimes-worth-of-radiation/

August 23, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, space travel | Leave a comment

Russian Military From Nuclear Plant Showing Signs Of Radiation Sickness – Paramedic

 https://ukranews.com/en/news/877286-russian-military-from-nuclear-plant-showing-signs-of-radiation-sickness-paramedic 21 Aug 22, The Russian military men, who were on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, were hospitalized with symptoms of radiation sickness. To find out what is really happening on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia NPP, it is necessary to immediately demilitarize it and put it under the control of international organizations.

Paramedic Bohdan Bondarenko, who is now on the front line, stated this on Facebook.

“The Russian military, who performed tasks at the Zaporizhzhia NPP, were taken to intensive care with signs identical to radiation sickness. The Russians, of course, talk about chemical poisoning, but brought the wounded from the nuclear plant. Not to mention  the level of trust in Russian information. Now, before it is too late, you need to do everything possible to get a true picture of the situation at the station,” Bondarenko said.

He noted that the military from the Zaporizhzhia NPP on July 31 were taken to a military hospital and are in intensive care. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation distributed information that examination of the victims “revealed the presence of an organic poison of artificial origin.” But this happened when the Russians fired on the Zaporizhzhia NPP.

“Around this time, Russia and Ukraine exchanged mutual accusations of shelling the station. Ukrainian Energoatom announced a possible radiation leak at the Zaporizhzhia NPP. At the same time, Rosatom brought its employees out of the station as an emergency, and the occupiers refused access to the station to IAEA inspectors,” writes Bondarenko.

The paramedic believes that the situation with the concealment of information by Russia resembles the behavior of the leadership of the USSR immediately after the Chornobyl tragedy.

“Something similar was last observed in the first month after the Chornobyl disaster. The leadership of the USSR desperately hid and distorted the truth, which led to catastrophic consequences both for the health and life of millions of people, and for the Soviet government itself, which was not forgiven for this lie. It is necessary to immediately demilitarize the station and put it under the control of the UN, IAEA or other independent structure. It’s a matter of survival. Aware of the level of opportunities of international organizations, or rather their level of helplessness, but there is no other,” Bohdan Bondarenko stressed.

August 21, 2022 Posted by | health, Ukraine | Leave a comment

India: Centres to be set up for people exposed to chemical, nuclear attacks

The Union Health Ministry has drawn up a proposal to set up two tertiary level centres for the treatment of people exposed to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents or attacks,

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi , August 21, 2022,

In a first, the Union Health Ministry has drawn up a proposal to set up two tertiary level centres for the treatment of people exposed to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents or attacks.

It is aimed at managing medical emergencies arising out of incidents such as the Bhopal gas tragedy, Visakhapatnam HPCL refinery blast, Tughlaqabad gas leak, Kanpur ammonia gas leak and other industrial accidents, official sources told PTI.

The detailed project report for setting up of these two chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) facilities at Stanley Medical College in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Jhajjar Campus, AIIMS has been readied.

The project report has been prepared by HLL Infra Tech Services Ltd (HITES) in consultation with experts drawn from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Defence and other sectors like the Department of Atomic Energy as well as its affiliate organisations like Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, they said.

The two facilities are to be set up over one-and-half years at an estimated cost of Rs 230 crore……………… more https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/centres-to-be-set-up-for-people-exposed-to-chemical-nuclear-attacks-122082100174_1.html

August 21, 2022 Posted by | health, India | Leave a comment