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Chernobyl military survivor reveals secrets

Secrets of Chernobyl spill out more than three decades after the nuclear disaster, By SERGEI L. LOIKO  sergei.l.loiko@gmail.com, JUN 30, 2019| CHERNOBYL, UKRAINE  [good photographs on original]

The measuring device was sounding off loudly on that night 33 years ago, not because of the convoy’s cargo — 30 antiaircraft missiles, three of them tipped with nuclear warheads — but because of where and when the post-midnight parade had kicked off: at the Chernobyl air defense missile base just three days after the explosion of a reactor at the adjacent Chernobyl nuclear power plant that had sent enough radioactivity spewing into the air that it at one point had the potential of poisoning much of Eastern Europe.

Chershnev knew that the missiles, the trucks and his crew were badly contaminated and that they should not have been ordered to drive through a city of more than 2 million people. But there was no bypass road at the time — and orders were orders. What Chershnev didn’t know in the early hours of the morning of April 30, 1986, was that a radioactive cloud had already caught up with them and blanketed the city on the eve of its annual May Day festivities.

The reaction to HBO’s recent “Chernobyl” miniseries has been almost as far-reaching as the initial tragedy and has spurred a daily line of buses packed with foreign tourists at the gate of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which extends for 20 miles around the plant. But Chernobyl still boasts secrets more than three decades later, including the story of Chershnev and his charges — a saga of dysfunction and disregard for human life that lays bare conditions in the waning years of the Soviet Union.

When the red alert sounded, Chershnev, then the deputy commander and chief engineer of the Kiev Air Defense Brigade, was responsible for the readiness of weaponry and equipment at the Chernobyl antiaircraft battalion’s base in a massive in-ground bunker with 10-inch-thick, rusty metal doors.

These days, the site also features a 10-yard-long missile launcher’s towing trolley, half-buried in silver moss, the former walls of a second smaller bunker surrounded by dense pines and a vast carcass of barracks with missing floorboards, dilapidated walls and a mural of a Soviet soldier cheerfully calling upon comrades to defend the motherland.

Seventy officers and men — ill-informed, unprotected and exposed to deadly radiation — were housed at the site along with the missiles back in 1986, under orders to arduously protect and save the weapons and structures rather than themselves.

The site included the nuclear plant and the Chernobyl over-the-horizon early warning radar station, a 500-meter-long, 150-meter tall installation designed to detect strategic missiles launched from the United States. The now-rusty structure still towers over the area and is a major tourist attraction, a frightening monument to the Cold War that even the complex‘s normally fearless marauders have not attempted to cut into pieces to sell as scrap metal outside the zone, a routine business in these parts.

In the aftermath of the 1986 explosion — as the government evacuated more than 50,000 residents from the town of Pripyat, including the families of nuclear plant workers, plus more than 75,000 residents of nearby villages — the men of the Chernobyl air defense unit stayed put until they received fresh orders.

“Three days after the explosion, on April 29, I arrived at the base with 30 heavy trucks and we loaded on them 30 missiles from the storage hangars,” recalls Chershnev, who headed the evacuation effort. “Twenty-seven of them were conventional, but the other three were tactical rockets with nuclear warheads. We were to take them to a facility outside Boryspil, near Kiev.

“After that, we were ordered to go back and salvage the remaining equipment that could be dismantled.”

The men traveled — without protective gear — for 14 hours at speeds lower than 20 mph as radiation from the explosion leaked into the air.

Chershnev admits he knew the dangers but says he was a career officer and could not disobey orders………….

When Chershnev got back from that trip, he repeated the ritual of burning his uniform.

“No one in the world knows that we existed and what we went through,” he said. “And all for nothing. All so stupid and futile. We didn’t save anyone. We didn’t clean up anything.

“All those I personally know and have kept track of all these years are either badly sick like myself or dead by now. My driver who accompanied me on all the convoys was discharged and died at 28. My fellow deputy brigade commander, … who was also dealing with contaminated equipment, died [in 1995] of cancer. Warrant Officer Petro Pozyura went blind. And so on and so forth. I have a heart ailment and every year spend a couple of weeks in hospital.”

The cardiologist who has been treating Chershnev for the last few years once asked him to retrieve his Chernobyl-era medical records from the military. But Chershnev was told that the records no longer exist.

“Here I am on a pension with a monthly Chernobyl health compensation of about $11 a month,” he concluded bitterly. “It is not even enough to buy a bottle of decent vodka, let alone medicines.”

The official death toll related to the explosion is listed as 39, but out of the officially registered 3.2 million people who were exposed to radiation in Ukraine alone, 1.3 million have died in the last 33 years, said Vladimir Kobchik, a former Chernobyl cleanup worker who is now a leader of a group that aims to protect the rights of fellow survivors.

“For the last four years, the government of Ukraine has been allocating $70 million annually for the needs of the affected. That is $37 per person per year! Not a penny more! How many of those remaining 1.9 million people affected by Chernobyl are sick [and] we can’t even tell? The doctors will never tell you you are sick or dying because of radiation.”……… https://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-ukraine-chernobyl-secrets-20190630-story.html

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July 1, 2019 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Anxiety over’Belarus nuclear reactor starting up: Lithuania buys iodine tablets

Lithuania to purchase 4 mln iodine tablets to use in case of BelNPP accident, Belsat, 28 June 19  The Lithuanian Ministry of Health will spend about one million euros on 4 million iodine tablets to be used in case of an accident at the Belarusian NPP. This year they should be distributed to residents of the Belarusian-Lithuanian borderland and Vilnius, ru.delfi.lt reports.

Minister of Internal Affairs of Lithuania Eimutis Misiūnas assures that the state institutions are ready for a possible accident at the nuclear power plant in Astravets. But he is not hiding the fact that the agency lacks coordination….

According to him, in case of “the worst scenario”, when the wind blows from east to west, Lithuania will have to evacuate about 20 thousand people in the 30 km zone of the nuclear power plant. Misiūnas believes that this is unlikely, as such weather conditions happen on average 16 days per year.

The first power unit of BelNPP will start operating in autumn. https://belsat.eu/en/news/lithuania-to-purchase-4-mln-iodine-tablets-to-use-in-case-of-belnpp-accident/

June 29, 2019 Posted by | Belarus, health, politics | Leave a comment

Hundreds of evacuees and their children continue to suffer from effects of Fukushima nuclear meltdown

‘Fukushima suffering continues’  https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/21-june/news/world/fukushima-suffering-continues 
by HATTIE WILLIAMS, 21 JUNE 2019  Eight years since the disaster, NSKK calls for nuclear-free world   
EIGHT years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, hundreds of evacuees and their children continue to suffer from debilitating conditions, Anglican priests told an International Forum for a Nuclear-Free World held in Sendai, Japan, last week.

The Tohoku earthquake, in 2011, triggered a tsunami which caused explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, in Okuma, leading to widespread radioactive contamination and serious health and environmental effects (News, 25 March 2011).

The disaster is estimated to have caused the deaths of about 1600 people out of the 300,000 who were evacuated from the area

The forum was organised by the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) — the Anglican Communion in Japan — whose General Synod passed a resolution in 2012 calling for an end to nuclear-power plants. A joint statement from the forum, due next month, is expected to encourage churches to join the call for a worldwide ban on nuclear energy, the Anglican News Service reports.

The chair of the forum’s organising committee, Kiyosumi Hasegawa, said: “We have yet to see an end to the damage done to the people and natural environment by the meltdown of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

“This man-made disaster will haunt countless people for years to come. We still see numerous people who wish to go back to their home towns, but are unable to. We also have people who have given up on ever going home.”

The week-long conference at Christ Church Cathedral, Sendai, was attended by bishops, clergy, and lay representatives from each NSKK diocese, as well as representatives from the US Episcopal Church, USPG, the Episcopal Church of the Philippines, the diocese of Taiwan, and the Anglican Church of Korea.

The general secretary of the Sendai Christian relief network Touhoku HELP, Dr Naoya Kawakami, whose church was affected by the tsunami, said: “I have been more than 700 times to meet with more than 180 mothers and about 20 fathers, all of whom have seen abnormalities in their children since 2011. . . Thyroid cancer has been found in more than 273 children, and many mothers are in deep anxiety.”

An NSKK priest, the Revd John Makito Aizawa, said: “Both religiously and ethically, we cannot allow nuclear-power plants to continue running. They produce deadly waste, which we have no way of processing into something safe. More than 100,000 years are necessary for the radiation of such deadly waste to diminish to the level that it was in the original uranium. This alone is a strong enough reason to prohibit nuclear-power plants.”

The partners-in-mission secretary for NSKK, Paul Tolhurst, said: “Driving past the power station and seeing the ghost town around us as the Geiger-counter reading kept going up is something I won’t forget. It was like the town time forgot: they still seem to be living the incident, while the rest of Japan has moved on.”

The forum’s statement is expected to call for a goal of conversion to renewable sources of energy, and set out ways in which a network can be built to take forward denuclearisation.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | health, Japan, social effects | Leave a comment

Nuclear power to solve climate change? Too many sound reasons against it.

The 7 reasons why nuclear energy is not the answer to solve climate change, https://www.leonardodicaprio.org/the-7-reasons-why-nuclear-energy-is-not-the-answer-to-solve-climate-change/, Mark Z. Jacobson , Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Director, Atmosphere/Energy Program, Stanford University, 21 June 19  

One nuclear power plant takes on average about 14-1/2 years to build, from the planning phase all the way to operation. According to the World Health Organization, about 7.1 million people die from air pollution each year, with more than 90% of these deaths from energy-related combustion. So switching out our energy system to nuclear  would result in about 93 million people dying, as we wait for all the new nuclear plants to be built in the all-nuclear scenario.

Utility-scale wind and solar farms, on the other hand, take on average only 2 to 5 years, from the planning phase to operation. Rooftop solar PV projects are down to only a 6-month timeline. So transitioning to 100% renewables as soon as possible would result in tens of millions fewer deaths.

This illustrates a major problem with nuclear power and why renewable energy — in particular Wind, Water, and Solar (WWS)– avoids this problem. Nuclear, though, doesn’t just have one problem. It has seven. Here are the seven major problems with nuclear energy:

1. Long Time Lag Between Planning and Operation

The time lag between planning and operation of a nuclear reactor includes the times to identify a site, obtain a site permit, purchase or lease the land, obtain a construction permit, obtain financing and insurance for construction, install transmission, negotiate a power purchase agreement, obtain permits, build the plant, connect it to transmission, and obtain a final operating license.

The planning-to-operation (PTO) times of all nuclear plants ever built have been 10-19 years or more. For example, the Olkiluoto 3 reactor in Finland was proposed to the Finnish cabinet in December 2000 to be added to an existing nuclear power plant. Its latest estimated completion date is 2020, giving it a PTO time of 20 years.

The Hinkley Point nuclear plant was planned to start in 2008. It has an estimated completion year of 2025 to 2027, giving it a PTO time of 17 to 19 years. The Vogtle 3 and 4 reactors in Georgia were first proposed in August 2006 to be added to an existing site. The anticipated completion dates are November 2021 and November 2022, respectively, given them PTO times of 15 and 16 years, respectively.

The Haiyang 1 and 2 reactors in China were planned to start in 2005. Haiyang 1 began commercial operation on October 22, 2018. Haiyang 2 began operation on January 9, 2019, giving them PTO times of 13 and 14 years, respectively. The Taishan 1 and 2 reactors in China were bid in 2006. Taishan 1 began commercial operation on December 13, 2018. Taishan 2 is not expected to be connected until 2019, giving them PTO times of 12 and 13 years, respectively. Planning and procurement for four reactors in Ringhals, Sweden started in 1965. One took 10 years, the second took 11 years, the third took 16 years, and the fourth took 18 years to complete.

Many claim that France’s 1974 Messmer plan resulted in the building of its 58 reactors in 15 years. This is not true. The planning for several of these nuclear reactors began long before. For example, the Fessenheim reactor obtained its construction permit in 1967 and was planned starting years before. In addition, 10 of the reactors were completed between 1991-2000. As such, the whole planning-to-operation time for these reactors was at least 32 years, not 15. That of any individual reactor was 10 to 19 years.

2. Cost

The levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for a new nuclear plant in 2018, based on Lazard, is $151 (112 to 189)/MWh. This compares with $43 (29 to 56)/MWh for onshore wind and $41 (36 to 46)/MWh for utility-scale solar PV from the same source.

This nuclear LCOE is an underestimate for several reasons. First, Lazard assumes a construction time for nuclear of 5.75 years. However, the Vogtle 3 and 4 reactors, though will take at least 8.5 to 9 years to finish construction. This additional delay alone results in an estimated LCOE for nuclear of about $172 (128 to 215)/MWh, or a cost 2.3 to 7.4 times that of an onshore wind farm (or utility PV farm).

Next, the LCOE does not include the cost of the major nuclear meltdowns in history. For example, the estimated cost to clean up the damage from three Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor core meltdowns was $460 to $640 billion. This is $1.2 billion, or 10 to 18.5 percent of the capital cost, of every nuclear reactor worldwide.

In addition, the LCOE does not include the cost of storing nuclear waste for hundreds of thousands of years. In the U.S. alone, about $500 million is spent yearly to safeguard nuclear waste from about 100 civilian nuclear energy plants. This amount will only increase as waste continues to accumulate. After the plants retire, the spending must continue for hundreds of thousands of years with no revenue stream from electricity sales to pay for the storage.

3. Weapons Proliferation Risk

The growth of nuclear energy has historically increased the ability of nations to obtain or harvest plutonium or enrich uranium to manufacture nuclear weapons. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognizes this fact. They concluded in the Executive Summary of their 2014 report on energy, with “robust evidence and high agreement” that nuclear weapons proliferation concern is a barrier and risk to the increasing development of nuclear energy:

Barriers to and risks associated with an increasing use of nuclear energy include operational risks and the associated safety concerns, uranium mining risks, financial and regulatory risks, unresolved waste management issues, nuclear weapons proliferation concerns, and adverse public opinion.The building of a nuclear reactor for energy in a country that does not currently have a reactor allows the country to import uranium for use in the nuclear energy facility. If the country so chooses, it can secretly enrich the uranium to create weapons grade uranium and harvest plutonium from uranium fuel rods for use in nuclear weapons. This does not mean any or every country will do this, but historically some have and the risk is high, as noted by IPCC. The building and spreading of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) may increase this risk further.

4. Meltdown Risk

To date, 1.5% of all nuclear power plants ever built have melted down to some degree. Meltdowns have been either catastrophic (Chernobyl, Russia in 1986; three reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi, Japan in 2011) or damaging (Three-Mile Island, Pennsylvania in 1979; Saint-Laurent France in 1980). The nuclear industry has proposed new reactor designs that they suggest are safer. However, these designs are generally untested, and there is no guarantee that the reactors will be designed, built and operated correctly or that a natural disaster or act of terrorism, such as an airplane flown into a reactor, will not cause the reactor to fail, resulting in a major disaster.

5. Mining Lung Cancer Risk

Uranium mining causes lung cancer in large numbers of miners because uranium mines contain natural radon gas, some of whose decay products are carcinogenic. A study https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/pgms/worknotify/uranium.html    of 4,000 uranium miners between 1950 and 2000 found that 405 (10 percent) died of lung cancer, a rate six times that expected based on smoking rates alone. 61 others died of mining related lung diseases. Clean, renewable energy does not have this risk because (a) it does not require the continuous mining of any material, only one-time mining to produce the energy generators; and (b) the mining does not carry the same lung cancer risk that uranium mining does.

6. Carbon-Equivalent Emissions and Air Pollution

There is no such thing as a zero- or close-to-zero emission nuclear power plant. Even existing plants emit due to the continuous mining and refining of uranium needed for the plant. Emissions from new nuclear are 78 to 178 g-CO2/kWh, not close to 0. Of this, 64 to 102 g-CO2/kWh over 100 years are emissions from the background grid while consumers wait 10 to 19 years for nuclear to come online or be refurbished, relative to 2 to 5 years for wind or solar. In addition, all nuclear plants emit 4.4 g-CO2e/kWh from the water vapor and heat they release. This contrasts with solar panels and wind turbines, which reduce heat or water vapor fluxes to the air by about 2.2 g-CO2e/kWh for a net difference from this factor alone of 6.6 g-CO2e/kWh.

In fact, China’s investment in nuclear plants that take so long between planning and operation instead of wind or solar resulted in China’s CO2 emissions increasing 1.3 percent from 2016 to 2017 rather than declining by an estimated average of 3 percent. The resulting difference in air pollution emissions may have caused 69,000 additional air pollution deaths in China in 2016 alone, with additional deaths in years prior and since.

7. Waste Risk

Last but not least, consumed fuel rods from nuclear plants are radioactive waste. Most fuel rods are stored at the same site as the reactor that consumed them. This has given rise to hundreds of radioactive waste sites in many countries that must be maintained and funded for at least 200,000 years, far beyond the lifetimes of any nuclear power plant. The more nuclear waste that accumulates, the greater the risk of radioactive leaks, which can damage water supply, crops, animals, and humans.

Summary

To recap, new nuclear power costs about 5 times more than onshore wind power

per kWh (between 2.3 to 7.4 times depending upon location and integration issues). Nuclear takes 5 to 17 years longer between planning and operation and produces on average 23 times the emissions per unit electricity generated (between 9 to 37 times depending upon plant size and construction schedule). In addition, it creates risk and cost associated with weapons proliferation, meltdown, mining lung cancer, and waste risks. Clean, renewables avoid all such risks.

Nuclear advocates claim nuclear is still needed because renewables are intermittent and need natural gas for backup. However, nuclear itself never matches power demand so it needs backup. Even in France with one of the most advanced nuclear energy programs, the maximum ramp rate is 1 to 5 % per minute, which means they need natural gas, hydropower, or batteries, which ramp up 5 to 100 times faster, to meet peaks in demand. Today, in fact, batteries are beating natural gas for wind and solar backup needs throughout the world. A dozen independent scientific groups have further found that it is possible to match intermittent power demand with clean, renewable energy supply and storage, without nuclear, at low cost.  Finally, many existing nuclear plants are so costly that their owners are demanding subsidies to stay open. For example, in 2016, three existing upstate New York nuclear plants requested and received subsidies to stay open using the argument that the plants were needed to keep emissions low. However, subsidizing such plants may increase carbon emissions and costs relative to replacing the plants with wind or solar as soon as possible. Thus, subsidizing nuclear would result in higher emissions and costs over the long term than replacing nuclear with renewables.

Derivations and sources of the numbers provided herein can be found here – https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/NuclearVsWWS.pdf

June 24, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, climate change, health, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

CT scan service shut following radiation leak

CT scan service shut following radiation leak, SABITRI DHAKAL, Kathmandu, June 22 Bir Hospital shut down its CT scan service yesterday after radiation was found leaking from its highly shielded room.

The hospital has closed its services upon the recommendation of Nepal Academy of Science and Technology as a monitoring team from NAST found higher level of radiation in areas around the CT scan room. It has suggested that the hospital adopt protection measures against radiation leakage. The hospital had fixed a new CT scan machine six months ago.

Immediate exposure to high level of radiation will harm blood and skin cells. Effect of radiation on gonads, one of the reproductive organs in a male or female can lead to birth defects in babies, said Dan Bahadur Karki, president of Nepal Radiologist Association.

Skin burns can occur when exposed to higher level of radiation. A long term exposure to radiation could result in cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The early symptoms of sickness from radiation are nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Radiation leakages can occur in hospitals due to defects in X-ray machines or when proper shielding of the X-ray room is not maintained. To prevent radiation leakage lead shielding is necessary, said Buddha R Shah, a senior scientist at Physical Science Laboratory, Faculty of Science, NAST.

The hospital is unsure of resuming the services any time soon as it lacks enough budget for repair and maintenance of the CT scan room. “It costs around 20-25 lakh to maintain the room. We don’t have enough budget. It takes two to three months for any maintenance work at the hospital incurring a cost of above Rs five lakh as the hospital administration has to go through a tender process,” said Kedar Century, director at the hospital………https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/ct-scan-service-shut-following-radiation-leak/

June 24, 2019 Posted by | ASIA, health, incidents | Leave a comment

USA war crimes – mass deaths in Fallujah, depleted uranium effects linger

there is no credible official figure for civilian casualties because the U.S. commanders and the Pentagon played down the killing of civilians in the Iraq conflict, though some estimates place deaths in the Mideast country at between a half-million and 1 million.

it was the widespread deployment of depleted uranium (DU) munitions that was to have lasting human damage.

The British scientific report entitled “Cancer, Infant Mortality, and Birth-Sex Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009” confirmed that DU was in shells and also in bullets that were fired in large, unreported quantities, causing radiation contamination. DU’s effects can last for a long period and resulted over time in physical deformities among children.

Ghosts of Fallujah Haunting America  http://americanfreepress.net/ghosts-of-fallujah-haunting-america/

June 21, 2019 Staff A U.S. legislator has arrogantly admitted publicly that his Marine Corps unit may have killed hundreds of civilians in Fallujah. Will these war crimes continue to go unpunished?

By Richard Walker

The admission by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) that his Marine Corps unit may have killed hundreds of civilians, including women and children, in the city of Fallujah in Iraq in April 2004 once again raises the question of whether U.S. forces committed war crimes and used chemical and other unnamed weapons during major battles in Iraq that year.

Hunter was an artillery officer in what became known as the First Battle of Fallujah in April 2004, a city known for its beautiful, ancient mosques 30 miles from Baghdad. It was transformed into a war zone when protesters killed four Blackwater contractors and hung their bodies from a bridge. An operation was launched to find those responsible, but it developed into a full scale engagement. What is remarkable about this First Battle of Fallujah is that it did not last long, so the revelation by Hunter encourages additional scrutiny since it was not the battle that garnered the most controversy. Nevertheless, we have now learned that one artillery unit, by Hunter’s reckoning, may have killed hundreds of innocent civilians.

It is worth noting that there is no credible official figure for civilian casualties because the U.S. commanders and the Pentagon played down the killing of civilians in the Iraq conflict, though some estimates place deaths in the Mideast country at between a half-million and 1 million.

While the first battle was bloody, the Second Battle of Fallujah, in November 2004, was the one that we at American Free Press focused on most, believing correctly that the mainstream media was relying too much on official accounts of what transpired and was being denied the truth. AFP followed the story conscientiously, and we continued to do so in succeeding years. We were confident our reporting would be proved accurate and that new facts would emerge to confirm the claims we made that Marines used chemical weapons and depleted uranium munitions.

The U.S. military suffered 71 dead and over 250 injured in the Fallujah battles, leading to comparisons being made with some of the major exchanges of the Vietnam War.

In November 2004, Fallujah was sealed off from the outside world and quickly became a free-fire zone. This would be the Second Battle of Fallujah. There were many Iraqi fighters in the city, but there were civilians, too, who did not want to leave or had been unable to escape.

The battle was akin to what one might associate with the Second World War battle for Leningrad, with many snipers on both sides. In Fallujah, however, Marine Corp commanders had more firepower than the Iraqi fighters and used it to devastating effect. Some might argue that they used it with abandon.

Within a month, in what was dubbed Operation Phantom Fury, 36,000 homes were leveled, as well as 60 schools and 65 mosques. The city resembled a wasteland. At the time, and later, AFP reported that the Marines used white phosphorus bombs similar to ones the Israelis used later in Gaza, but it was the widespread deployment of depleted uranium (DU) munitions that was to have lasting human damage.

In 2004, and for several years afterwards, the Pentagon admitted having used white phosphorus, a chemical weapon that should not be used against civilians but denied that DU munitions were on the battlefield.

The truth emerged in 2010, however, when a British scientist and his team revealed that levels of radiation illnesses in Fallujah were comparable to, if not higher, than those found in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atoms bombs were detonated there in 1945.

It is still believed that other chemical weapons were used in Fallujah by the Marine Corps, but never identified. For example, aside from evidence of radiation, traces of mercury and other poisonous substances were found that could not be linked to known weapons.

The British scientific report entitled “Cancer, Infant Mortality, and Birth-Sex Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009” confirmed that DU was in shells and also in bullets that were fired in large, unreported quantities, causing radiation contamination. DU’s effects can last for a long period and resulted over time in physical deformities among children. The DU bullets were reported to have cut through walls like a hot knife through butter. The Pentagon has been reluctant to confirm whether experimental weapons were used on that battlefield.

Daniel DePetris, a conservative columnist, believes America has learned little from the Iraq War even though most Americans believe it was a disaster that caused thousands of American lives and tens of thousands of casualties.

He offers opinions on what our leaders should do before going to war, but perhaps his best piece of advice to them is “. . . deliver a case to the American people about why military action is appropriate and make them fully aware of what can go wrong.”

He knows, like the rest of us, that in Iraq everything that could go wrong did go wrong, especially in Fallujah.

Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.

June 22, 2019 Posted by | children, depleted uranium, Iraq, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Cancers caused by unnecessary radiation treatment to children in 1940s and 50s. No warning was given

A generation of Canadian children was given radiation treatment and never warned of the cancer risks https://theconversation.com/a-generation-of-canadian-children-was-given-radiation-treatment-and-never-warned-of-the-cancer-risks-116403   Itai Bavli
PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (Public Health and Political Science), University of British Columbia  June 20, 2019
  On February 9, 2001, the Vancouver Sun published an article about Nancy Riva who lost her two brothers and was diagnosed with cancer as a result of thymus radiation treatment they received as children — in the belief that this would prevent sudden infant death.

Riva and her brothers were born in Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) in the late 1940s and underwent radiation treatment at the hospital as babies.

Radiation treatment for benign illnesses (that is not for treating cancer), like Riva’s inflamed thymus gland, was a standard medical practice worldwide during the 1940 and 1950s. The treatment was considered to be safe and effective for non-cancerous conditions such as acne and ringworm as well as deafness, birthmarks, infertility, enlargement of the thymus gland and more.

In the early 1970s, medical research confirmed the long-standing suspicion that children and young adults treated with radiation for benign diseases, during the 1940s and 1950s, showed an alarming tendency to develop thyroid cancer and other ailments as adults.

In our recent paper, published in the American Journal of Public Health, Shifra Shvarts and I have explored how health authorities in the United States responded to the discovery of the late health effects of radiation treatment.

Over two million people are estimated to have been treated with radiation in the U.S. for benign conditions. We show how an ethical decision at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago in 1973 to locate and examine former patients, who had been treated with radiation in childhood, led to a nationwide campaign launched in July 1977 by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) — to warn the medical community and public about the late effects of radiation treatment in childhood for a variety of diseases.

U.S. campaign promotes thyroid checkups

Media coverage of the Chicago hospital’s campaign had a snowball effect that prompted more medical institutions to follow suit (first in the Chicago area and later in other parts of the U.S.), resulting in the NCI’s campaign.

Hundreds of thousands of pamphlets were distributed in shopping centres across the U.S., asking people who had undergone radiation treatment to go to their family doctor for a thyroid checkup. In addition, television presenters opened their programs with warnings; notices were published in newspapers.

Meanwhile in Canada, an unknown number of patients, like Riva and her brothers, were treated with radiation. Interviewed by the Vancouver Sun in 2001, Riva wanted to raise public awareness about this issue, encouraging people who might have been treated with radiation as children to have their thyroid checked.

According to VGH’s officials, quoted in the article, locating former patients was logistically impossible. Spokeswoman Tara Wilson told Vancouver Sun reporter Pamela Fayerman:

“Under the Hospital Act, records only have to be maintained for 10 years after a patient’s last hospital admission, so it’s unlikely we would have these birth records, although people can still phone the hospital to check.”

No systematic investigation in Canada

Riva’s story raises the question of why the Canadian health authorities did not launch a campaign to warn the public, as happened in the United States. Early detection of thyroid cancer saved lives.

The U.S. campaign was known in Canada. On July 14, 1977 a Globe and Mail article titled, “U.S. increasing efforts to warn million potential cancer victims,” described the national program to alert the public of the late health effects of radiation treatment.

Moreover, in an article published in Annals of Internal Medicine in February 1978, two University of Toronto professors of medicine, Paul Walfish and Robert Volpé, discussed the long-term risk of therapeutic radiation and described the efforts made by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare to educate the American public about the late effects of the treatment.

To date, there has been no known attempt to systematically investigate how many children underwent radiation treatment in Canada for benign conditions and what has been done to alert the public and the medical community of the risks. From Riva we learn that in 2001 patients were still looking for advice.

Had the Canadian health authorities effectively warned the public of the long-term risk of radiation treatment, illnesses and deaths may have been prevented.

Perhaps some still could?

June 20, 2019 Posted by | Canada, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Birth defects in the Chernobyl region – nuclear health effects – theme for June 19

What about studying consequences rather than causes?  Studying birth abnormalities in places where they occur more often than is normal? The Omni-Net Ukraine Birth Defects Prevention Program, came up with this different approach, reported in July 2012.  http://ibis-birthdefects.org/start/pdf/BaltimoreAbstr.pdf Measuring radiation is difficult, and can produce ambiguous results.  But measuring babies with malformations is a concrete matter. Facts are facts here As Dr Vladimir Wertelecki says “ a baby that has no head is a baby that has no head.”

THE PROGRAM

The program started in 2000, conducting a 10 year study on 5 provinces of the Ukraine – measuring and monitoring all newborn babies. The study, led by Dr  Wertelecki, was done in co-operation with Ukraine health authorities.  This was a descriptive epidemiological study. It could prove only a difference between geographical areas. It cannot  prove the cause of difference.

Within 2-3 years it was obvious that the rates of spina bifida and other defects of the nervous system, were many times greater than expected, particularly in one province.  A few years later an excess of conjoined twins (“Siamese twins”) was found. They found other nervous system problems, mainly microcephaly (tiny head) ..  After 10 years of study they published a report showing an excess of frequency of anomalies of nervous system and of these conjoined twins.

This was found especially in the northern half of the province – an area that is a unique ecology niche – mainly wetlands. And this area also has a unique population, an ethnic group living there since recorded history. They live in small villages, very isolated, and they rely completely on local foods.

These foods are all radioactive. The soil there is such that plants absorb many times more radioactivity. People there are absorbing much higher levels of radiation. – 20 times more than there would be in soil 50 km. away.

Dr Wertelecki reminds us that there are many causes of birth abnormalities. One well recognised cause is foetal alcohol syndrome, due to alcoholism in the mother.   However, the program did in fact research this question.  6 universities joined it in a  very well funded and thorough study of pregnant women. It showed that in this Northern area, alcohol use among pregnant women is statistically less than in the Ukraine in general. . Alcohol does not explain the birth abnormalities. Radiation is the obvious major cause.

ABNORMALITIES IN THE DEVELOPING FOETUS- TERATOGENESIS

Little research has been done on the causes of this in humans. Studies on non human species show that foetuses in first three months are about 1000 times more vulnerable to environmental effects.

Dr Wertelecki’s team focused on teratogenesis – changes caused by environmental interference to a developing foetus, a foetus with with normal genes.  This must be distinguished from gene mutations, inherited from parents and the two processes have different effects.  The genetic, inherited defects are most likely to cause mental disability. But with the teratogenic abnormalities, the baby, if it survives, most often is of normal intelligence.

This process can begin very early, before the ovum has been implanted in the wall of the womb –  before the woman knows that she is pregnant. That very early “line” of the embryo can split. In this case – the result is – twins.  This split can be incomplete – resulting in conjoined twins, (“Siamese twins”).  A  fetiform teratoma is a sort of failed Siamese twin,  a monster like mass, containing a mixture of tissues.

Abnormalities that are started at a little later stage of pregnancy include spina bifida, ( opening in lower back  body wall), opening in front body wall with  heart on the exterior,  anencephaly (absence of head or of most of the skull and brain)

Later effects  –  anophthalmia , (missing eyeball) , microphthalmia (tiny eye)

Full article at http://noelwauchope.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/a-baby-that-has-no-head-is-a-baby-that-has-no-head/

June 16, 2019 Posted by | children, Christina's themes, Reference | 6 Comments

UN and Western countries covered up the facts on the huge health toll of Chernobyl radiation

Soviet doctors treating Chernobyl-exposed suddenly had an unwelcome crash course in this medical problem. They found that radioactive contaminants, even at relatively low levels, infiltrated the bodies of their patients, who grew sicker each year. Gradually, health officials understood they had a public health disaster on their hands. Thousands of archival records document the catastrophe. Ukrainian doctors registered in the most contaminated regions of Kiev province an increase between 1985 and 1988 in thyroid and heart disease, endocrine and GI tract disorders, anaemia and other maladies of the blood-forming system.

In two closely watched regions of the province, infants born with congenital malformations grew from 10% to 23% between 1986 and 1988. And 46% of newborns in some fallout regions died within 28 days of life. Half of these deaths were stillborn, the other half had congenital malformations “that were not compatible with life”. 

Consultants from UN agencies dismissed the findings of scientists in Ukraine and Belarus…

Why would UN officials whitewash evidence of Chernobyl health damage? At the time the US, Russia, France and the UK faced huge lawsuits from their own exposures of people to radioactive contamination during four decades of reckless bomb production. If they could assert that Chernobyl was “the worst disaster in human history” and only 54 people died, then those lawsuits could go away. And that is indeed what happened.

Chernobyl horror has nuclear lessons for SA  https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/life/2019-06-04-chernobyl-horror-has-nuclear-lessons-for-sa/  

As we consider this energy option it is key to bear in mind that the manipulation following this disaster means the full scale of damage can only be guessed at, 04 JUNE 2019 – 05:10 KATE BROWN  Powerful storms, record-breaking temperatures and rising water levels remind us daily of the impact of climate change and our need to address it. Policymakers are debating what shape the post-carbon future will take and SA is one country where that conversation is taking place.

Proponents of nuclear power argue that nuclear energy is the most viable and powerful alternative to fossil fuels. Opponents point to waste storage problems, plus the slow pace and high cost of building new reactors. And, they ask, what about when something goes wrong?

I recently published a book called Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future, about the 1986 explosion of reactor number four at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, which was at the time a republic in the Soviet Union. I found as I worked through 27 archives that much of what we are told about the Chernobyl accident is incomplete or incorrect. People were far sicker and far more people died than we are led to believe. Chernobyl contaminants were not safely enclosed within the Chernobyl Zone. Nor has the chapter been closed. We are still ingesting Chernobyl fallout from 33 years ago. 

The official tally records 300 people hospitalised after the accident. These were mostly firemen and plant operators, but I found that Soviet leaders gave orders to release information on Chernobyl patients from only one Moscow hospital. In the months after the accident, villagers in contaminated regions streamed into many other hospitals. Archival records show that not 300 but 40,000 people were hospitalised for Chernobyl exposures in the summer after the accident. Many of them were children.

Journalists tend to focus on the Chernobyl Zone, a 30km circle around the plant that was depopulated in the weeks after the 1986 accident. Many correspondents report that nature in the zone is “thriving”, teeming with animals and plants that prefer radioactivity to human habitation. That story is wrong on two counts.

First, shortly after the accident, pilots chased clouds of radioactive fallout flowing northeast from the burning reactor. They manipulated the weather to make radioactive rain land on rural Belarus in order to save several Russian cities, including Moscow. That triage operation saved the contamination of millions of people but created a second Chernobyl Zone that few know about today.

At the time, Moscow officials told no one in Belarus about the weather manipulation operation. The head of the Belarusian communist party, Nikolai Sliunkov, only found out about the accident, about 5km over the Belarusian border, by phoning the head of the Ukrainian communist party several days later. The 200,000 people who lived in the Mogilev province under the seeded clouds of fallout were mostly farmers. They ate what they grew and lived with high levels of radioactivity for up to 15 years until the territory was finally evacuated in 1999.

Nor is nature in the zone thriving. I observed the work of two biologists, Tim Mousseau and Anders Møller, who have since 2000 conducted twice-yearly experiments in the Chernobyl Zone and published hundreds of papers on their findings. Their studies show cascades of extinction in the most contaminated areas. “Every rock we turn over,” Mousseau commented, “we see damage.”

The records of the Soviet state committee for industrial agriculture reveal how radioactive contaminants concentrated in the food chain and in places of human habitation. A few weeks after the accident, Soviet shepherds corralled 100,000 head of livestock from a 60km radius around the Chernobyl plant. While teamsters drove the bleating animals to slaughterhouses, Moscow agronomists issued a special manual for meat packers with instructions to mix low- and medium-level radioactive flesh with appropriate proportions of clean meat to make sausage.

The sausage was to be labelled as it normally would and to be shipped across the great Soviet Union, everywhere but Moscow. Meat with high levels of radiation was to be stored in freezers until the radioactivity decayed. Soon managers in Belarus were asking for more freezers. They asked again and again, but no freezers arrived, so they located a refrigerated train car and packed in 317 tons of highly radioactive meat and sent the dubious gift to the Georgian Republic, where it was rejected and passed on.

For the next three years, the radioactive ghost train circled the western half of the Soviet Union; no-one wanted it. Finally, four years later, KGB agents buried the train and its radioactive meat inside the Chernobyl Zone, where it should have gone in the first place.

I found that over 200 Chernobyl clean-up workers were awarded damages at a wool factory in Chernihiv, Ukraine. That was strange. We are used to thinking of clean-up workers as the firemen who fought radioactive flames after the accident, not female wool workers 80km away in a relatively unscathed city. Curious, I drove to Chernihiv and found only 10 of 200 women on the list still at their jobs.

The rest had died or retired as invalids. What had the women been doing to get such high doses? They were simply picking up bales of wool to sort at their tables. Each bale measured up to 3.2 milliroentgens an hour. That is a lot of radioactivity, like hugging an X-ray machine while it is turned on. “Oh we were full of radiation. Ping, ping, ping,” the sorters remembered. “We took off our smocks and they balled them up and threw them away.”

I wish I could say that other branches of the Soviet agricultural industry better managed the catastrophe. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Sanitation inspectors quickly learned that almost everything was contaminated over permissible levels: milk, berries, eggs, grain, spinach, mushrooms, honey, even mothers’ breast milk.

As with meat and wool, Soviet officials were unwilling to toss out contaminated agricultural goods, so they issued more manuals about how to process these radioactive provisions. Contaminated milk was to be dried or turned into butter or candy. Irradiated sugar beets repurposed into animal feed, contaminated potatoes into starch, dirty berries became preserves, and vegetables transformed into pate. The processed food was to be stored for months or years until the most pernicious isotopes decayed.

The insistence on selling radioactive food was not uniquely Soviet. Chernobyl fallout also landed in Greece and contaminated fields of grain. The Greeks harvested the grain and exported 300,000 tons to Italy. The Italians didn’t want the wheat. The Greeks refused to take it back because, they said, they were “afraid of the reaction from Greek wholesalers”. The two Mediterranean neighbours started fighting. Finally, the European Economic Community agreed to buy the contaminated wheat. They mixed it with clean grain and shipped it to Africa and East Germany as “aid”.

What were the effects of ingesting radioactive contaminants in food? Some Moscow experts in radiation medicine concurred with the UN and international experts in asserting that the doses villagers were taking in were too low to cause any detectable health problems.

The specialists made this prediction extrapolating from the Japanese bomb survivor Life Span Study.⁠ The study has a troubled political history. After the war, American officials were anxious that nuclear bombs would be banned like chemical and biological weapons. So they censored information about Japanese exposures to radioactivity and seized measurements of fallout which Japanese physicists had collected.

After tossing out Japanese scientists’ real-time measurements, American scientists had five years later to reconstruct doses survivors received. They included in their dose estimates only exposures from the bomb blast, one very large x-ray, and denied the fact of radioactive fallout. As calculated, a dose in the form of a large external x-ray differed greatly from the chronic low doses of radioactivity that residents of Chernobyl-contaminated territories ingested daily in their food, water and air.

Soviet doctors treating Chernobyl-exposed suddenly had an unwelcome crash course in this medical problem. They found that radioactive contaminants, even at relatively low levels, infiltrated the bodies of their patients, who grew sicker each year. Gradually, health officials understood they had a public health disaster on their hands. Thousands of archival records document the catastrophe. Ukrainian doctors registered in the most contaminated regions of Kiev province an increase between 1985 and 1988 in thyroid and heart disease, endocrine and GI tract disorders, anaemia and other maladies of the blood-forming system.

In two closely watched regions of the province, infants born with congenital malformations grew from 10% to 23% between 1986 and 1988. And 46% of newborns in some fallout regions died within 28 days of life. Half of these deaths were stillborn, the other half had congenital malformations “that were not compatible with life”.

With these prospects, many women did not have the courage to reproduce. An uncommonly high percentage of women, up to 75%, chose to terminate their pregnancies. By 1989, doctors were noticing a dramatic rise in thyroid cancers and leukaemia among exposed children, normally very rare occurrences.

For three years, Soviet physicians had to sit on this information, telling no one but their bosses. Finally, in the spring of 1989, censors lifted the ban on Chernobyl topics. Residents made alliances with doctors and radiation monitors. They organised, petitioned, broke laws and carried on when dismissed as ignorant provincials in order to get the world to understand the new precarious life they led. Soviet officials found crowds on the streets more threatening than radioactivity. They called in UN agencies to send foreign experts to do an “independent assessment”.

Consultants from UN agencies dismissed the findings of scientists in Ukraine and Belarus. Again extrapolating from the Japanese Life Span Study, the UN experts stated in 1991 that radioactivity at Chernobyl levels would cause no major damage to human health except for the risk of a small number of future cancers among children. They reiterated this statement despite evidence they possessed and failed to publicly acknowledge of an alarming childhood cancer epidemic under way.

The denials came at a critical time. Just after UN consultants declared they found no Chernobyl health effects, the UN General Assembly held a pledge drive to raise $346m to help pay for resettling people living in highly contaminated regions and for a long-term epidemiological study on chronic low doses of radioactivity, something scientists around the world had called for since the Chernobyl plant blew. Unfortunately, the big donors begged off, pointing to UN experts’ assessment that there had been no Chernobyl health effects. As a consequence, the pledge drive raised less than $6m.

Why would UN officials whitewash evidence of Chernobyl health damage? At the time the US, Russia, France and the UK faced huge lawsuits from their own exposures of people to radioactive contamination during four decades of reckless bomb production. If they could assert that Chernobyl was “the worst disaster in human history” and only 54 people died, then those lawsuits could go away. And that is indeed what happened.

Today, the low Chernobyl death toll is used as a rationale to continue building nuclear power plants; it’s said to be far safer than the thousands who die annually from burning coal. But that number — 54 dead — is incorrect. The Ukrainian state currently pays compensation not to 54 but to 35,000 people whose spouses died from Chernobyl-related health problems. This number only reckons the deaths of people old enough to marry. It does not include the mortality of young people, infants or people who did not have exposure records to qualify for compensation. Off the record, Ukrainian officials give a death toll of 150,000. That figure is only for Ukraine, not Russia or Belarus, where 70% of Chernobyl fallout landed.

Underestimating Chernobyl damage has left humans unprepared for the next disaster. When a tsunami crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011, Japanese leaders responded in ways eerily similar to Soviet leaders: with denials, obfuscation and a declaration of bankruptcy. Today, 33 years after the Chernobyl accident, we are still short on answers and long on uncertainties. We understand little about low-dose exposure because no large-scale studies have been conducted.

Ignorance about low-dose exposures is tragic and not entirely accidental. Before SA leaders invest in a new generation of power reactors to stem global warming and solve SA’s energy crises, it would be smart to ask a new set of questions that is, finally, useful to people exposed over lifetimes to chronic doses of man-made radiation. Unfortunately, few people on earth have escaped those exposures.

How it happened

On 26 April 1986, 17 employees of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant turned off Reactor No 4’s emergency system to carry out a routine experiment. When the operators finished the test, they planned to take the reactor offline for several weeks of routine maintenance. After shutting down the reactor, the chain reaction in the reactor core went critical, meaning operators no longer controlled it. The reactor’s power surged, causing two explosions that blasted open the concrete lid of the reactor and sent a blast of radioactive gases into the atmosphere.

Plant worker Sasha Yuvchenko felt the thudding concussions and looked up from the machine hall to see nothing but sky. He watched a blue stream of ionising radiation careening toward the heavens. “I remember,” he later reflected, “thinking how beautiful it was”.

By the numbers

  • Archival records show that not 300, but 40,000 people were hospitalised for Chernobyl exposures in the summer after the accident.
    • Off the record, Ukrainian officials give a death toll of 150,000. That figure is only for Ukraine, not Russia or Belarus where 70% of Chernobyl fallout landed.
    • Official UN figures predict 9,000 people will die due to Chernobyl-related cancer and leukaemia in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Greenpeace believes the death toll could be over 90,000.
    • The Chernobyl explosion released 400 times more radioactive material into the earth’s atmosphere than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
    • The region surrounding the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant will not be safe for human habitation for at least 20,000 years.

    • Kate Brown is an historian of environmental and nuclear history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her latest book is Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future.

June 11, 2019 Posted by | health, Reference, Ukraine | 4 Comments

Violence of nuclear power – from start to finish in the very very long future

Born Violent: The Origins of Nuclear Power, Asian Journal of Peacebuildling, 2019, Robert (Bo) Jacob

Please excuse the “t”s and “f”s which have somehow turned into squares my copying problems.

(Copious references are provided on the original) “…his article traces the origins o nuclear power technology as it was speciically developed to produce nuclear weapons or use against a civilian population in war……

It will trace numerous radiological disasters during the production history o the Hanord reactor fleet and at other military plutonium production reactor sites during the early Cold War.It will describe the later emergence o the nuclear power production industry which used nuclear reactors to also produce energy or civilian use and the history o partial and ull nuclearuel meltdowns that accompanied that industry……..

Hanford during the Cold War…..During the Cold War, the United States produced over 60,000 nuclear weapons, most o them with the plutonium produced at Hanord. This includes both ission weapons like the one used in the nuclear attack on Nagasaki, and also in thermonuclear weapons. While nuclear weapons were not used in wararea ater 1945, over 2,000 weapons have been detonated in nuclear tests, roughly hal o those (1,054) by the United States. The United States tested 928 nuclear weapons at the Nevada est Site, and another 67 at the Pacific Proving Grounds in the Marshall Islands.  wo hundred and sixteen o those tests were in the atmosphere, which distributed vast quantities o radioactive allout in heavy quantities close to the test sites, and also globally when the atmospheric clouds reached the upper atmosphere.

A 2015 article in The Lancet   describes how “risk modelling studies o exposure to ionising radiation rom the Nevada est Site in the United States suggest that an extra 49,000 (95 percent CI 11 300–212 000)cases o thyroid cancer would be expected to occur among U.S. residents alive at the time o the testing—an excess o about 12 percent over the 400,000 cases othyroid cancer expected to develop in the absence o allout” (Simon and Bouville 2015, 407-408).

The Marshall Islands had ar ewer tests than the Nevada test site, however the United States tested its thermonuclear weapons exclusively at the Pacific Proving Ground which resulted in massive amounts o radioactive allout aecting the local population and also entering into the Paciic Ocean rom which the radionuclides could disperse throughout the Pacific Rim.

One test, the Bravo test o 1954, which was the largest weapon ever tested by the United States, created a vast and lethal allout cloud that enguled numerous Marshallese atolls. he entire population o Rongelap Atoll suered rom radiation sickness after the Bravo test.  The Japanese tuna fishing boat the DaigoFukuryu Maru , among many others, was also exposed to the allout cloud. When it came to port in Yaizu, Japan two weeks after the test, its crew was hospitalized or radiation sickness. One crew member, radioman Aikichi Kuboyama, died ocomplications rom his exposure six months later,even though he was physically located about 100km rom the actual detonation point. All of these illnesses and deaths can be traced back to the nuclear reactors at Hanford.

During its years o production, Hanord was the site o numerous substantial radiological releases that endangered the local population as well as those downwind. ……..  Large releases o radiation into the nearby ecosystem would be routine during the operation o the Hanord reactors and especially the plutonium extraction procedures.  hese activities would leave a disastrous legacy once the plants were closed……

Historical Disasters at Plutonium Production Sites

Hanord did not suffer a major uel meltdown or catastrophic fire. However, all other nuclear weapon states have also operated multiple plutonium production reactors and the first two large-scale nuclear disasters occurred in such reactor complexes, happening within two weeks o each other.

On September 29, 1957, writes Kate Brown, as a soccer game was beingplayed in a stadium in Ozersk, in the Chelyabinsk Oblast near the Ural Mountainsin Central Russia, where the Mayak Production Association was located, a loudexplosion was heard nearby.Te source o the blast was an underground storage tank holding highly radioactivewaste that overheated and blew, belching up a 160-ton cement cap buried twenty-oureet below the ground and tossing it seventy-five eet in the air. Te blast smashedwindows in the nearby barracks and tore the metal gates off the perimeter ence.

The explosion and subsequent radiological disaster, known as the KyshtymDisaster, occurred just eight years and one month after the detonation o the firstnSoviet nuclear weapon made with plutonium produced at Mayak, the plutonium production that was the target o surveillance motivating the Green Run at Hanord.

he radioactive cloud rom the explosion, “settled over an area o 20,000square kilometers, home to 270,000 people” (Rabl 2012). Te Soviet authorities were slow to react to the crisis. “A week after the explosion,” writes Brown, who did extensive fieldwork in the region as well as at Hanord, “radiologists ollowed the cloud to the downwind villages, where they ound people living normally,children playing bareoot.  hey measured the ground, arm tools, animals and people. he levels o radioactivity were astonishingly high” (Brown 2013, 239-240). he contaminated area would eventually be known as the East Urals Radioactive race (Ichikawa 2015).

Eleven days later a fire ignited in one o the reactors at the Windscale Works, the plutonium production site o the United Kingdom located in Cumbria in Northwest England. he ire burned inside o the reactor or three days and released massive amounts o radiation blanketing surrounding communities and downwind areas.  “While the authorities denied large releases o radioactivity at the time, this was not a correct portrayal o the situation…On 12 October, authorities stopped the distribution o milk originating rom seventeen areaarms. However, just three days later, milk rom a ar wider area (200 square miles compared to the previous 80) was restricted” (Makhijani et al. 1995, 418). Falloutrom the accident was detected in Ireland, and the confiscated milk was dumped into the Irish Sea (Bertell 1985)

The Establishment of Commercial Nuclear Power…….  Many o these plants would experience occasional leaks or releases oradiation into their local ecosystems. Several would have catastrophic nuclear accidents.  In addition to the accidents at plutonium production reactors citedabove, partial core meltdowns would occur at Santa Susana in Simi Valley,Caliornia (1957), Fermi-1 in Detroit, Michigan (1966), the Lucens reactor inVaud, Switzerland (1969), Leningrad-1 in Leningrad, USSR (1975), and hreeMile Island-2 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (1979).  A ull, catastrophic nuclearmeltdown occurred at Chernobyl-4 (1986) and three ull meltdowns occurred at Fukushima 1-2-3 in 2011.

In addition to these dire nuclear accidents, the spent uel rom normal operations at nuclear power plants pose a vexing problem or tens o thousands o generations.  hese spent uel rods will need to be eectively contained or millennia as they will remain highly dangerous or over 10,000 years, and seriously dangerous or over 100,000 years. Almost all o this spent uel, millions o tons, sit in temporary or intermediate storage on the grounds o the reactors where the uel was burned. Finland will be the very irst nation to attempt to permanently store the spent uel rom its very limited nuclear power program in deep geological storage at the Onkalo site on the Baltic Sea, beginning in the2020s. All o the spent nuclear uel rom the long history o operation at Hanord still sits in temporary storage, some o it or over seventy years now (Deense Nuclear Facilities Saety Board 1997).

he challenges o containing this highly toxic waste or millennia and insuring that the sites are not damaged by geologicalorces or breached by uture human societies is speculative at best. The ongoing capacity o nuclear power to damage the health o human beings and other creatures or millennia, through the risks posed by this waste, means that we can never adequately grasp the ull violence that will result rom its production (Jacobs2018).  o date, over seventy years after the successul operation o CP-1, not one spent uel rod has been placed in “permanent” storage anywhere on the planet………

Beyond the visible, nuclear waste may kill and harm for tens of thousands of years to come. Hundreds of thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel rods will remain deadly for over 100,000 years and must be successfully contained for that entire period of time to protect the health of thousands of generations of humans and other creatures yet unborn.   Nuclear power will remain violent long past the generation of any electricity that will benefit any being. The legacy waste of operating nuclear power plants—for weapons or for electricity—will remain dangerous for longer than human civilization has so far existed.

June 11, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, Reference, safety, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Western governments in denial of Chronic Radiation Syndrome affecting nuclear test veterans

The concept of a Chronic Radiation Syndrome was first reported by Japanese doctors who observed survivors of the atomic bombs dropped upon Japan in 1945. There, the name for the syndrome is Bura Bura disease. It is not accepted by the West.

the USA was in possession of the 1971 Soviet description of Chronic Radiation Syndrome in 1973 at the latest.

In 1994 the US Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute Bethesda, Maryland, published “Analysis of Chronic Radiation Sickness Cases in the Population of the Southern Urals”.

From the 1950s, nuclear veterans and civilian Downwinders reported syndromes of ill health similar to Chronic Radiation Syndrome to their governments. This includes the government of the USA and the government of Australia. These reports certainly did not result in Chronic Radiation Syndrome entering the Western medical lexicon.

During the 40-year period of operations at Mayak, all studies on radiation exposure of personnel at the plant and of the off-site population, the doses of exposure, and the possible health effects from radiation exposure were classified for national security reasons”.

anyone who spoke of the reality of disease and disablement suffered by those afflicted by the nuclear weapons tests in Australia were subject to threats of imprisonment by government and to attempts of censorship by the British and Australian authorities (Marsden, cited in Cross). It took 3 decades for the Australian government to release nuclear veterans from the threat of legal action and imprisonment if they spoke.

Chronic Radiation Syndrome,  https://nuclearexhaust.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/chronic-radiation-syndrome/   Paul Langley, 9 June 19 The claim that Australian nuclear veterans suffer enhanced risk of cancer has been confirmed by the Australian Government only as recently as 2006. The official government position is that the enhanced risk suffered by the nuclear test veterans is shown in health survey results. However the Australian government refuses to acknowledge that radiation exposures due to the testing of nuclear weapons as the cause of this increased risk.

Scientists under contract to the Australian government located at Adelaide performed the analysis of the 2006 health survey results. These scientists initially suggested that exposure to petrol fumes in the Australian desert might be the cause of the increased cancer risk suffered by nuclear veterans.

This suggestion, present in the Health Survey draft report, did not make it into the final report. Instead, we are presented with a mystery. Though the scientists claim certainty in their position that the nuclear veterans’ exposure to nuclear weapons detonations was not the cause of their increased cancer risk, the scientists are unable to find any other cause.

It’s a mystery, apparently, to Australian science in the service of the State. Not that this is uniquely Australian. It is universal among the Nuclear Powers. (It is all the more perplexing given Dr. P. Couch’s compassionate and detailed submission to a Senate inquiry examining the impact of the British Nuclear Tests in Australia on the personnel involved. Dr. Couch’s submission described the suffering endured by Commonwealth Police personnel who guarded the Maralinga Nuclear Test Site after military activity had ceased. One would have logically thought that if personnel were affected by service at Maralinga in times after the cessation of weapons testing, then so were the military personnel who actually saw the bombs explode, and who saw the plutonium dust disperse during the “minor trials”. )

The report states:

“The cancer incidence study showed an overall increase in the number of cancers in test participants, similar to that found in the mortality study. The number of cancer cases found among participants was 2456, which was 23% higher than expected. A significant increase in both the number of deaths and the number of cases was found for (figures in
brackets show increase in mortality and incidence):

Continue reading

June 10, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s “Reference Man” gives a distorted, inaccurate picture of radiation impacts

Mary Olsen: Disproportionate impact of radiation and radiation regulation. Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (accessed) 9th June 2019 
Abstract.  Reference Man is used for generic evaluation of ionizing radiation impacts,  regulation, and nuclear licensing decisions made by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (US NRC).
The United States Code of Federal Regulations, 2018 edition, Chapter 10: Part 20 ‘Standards for Protection  Against Radiation’ contains eight references to ‘reference man’ as the basis for regulation and calculation of radiation exposure.
Findings from 60 years of A-bomb survivor data show that Reference Man does not represent the human life cycle with respect to harm from radiation exposure. Findings reported here show females are more harmed by radiation,
particularly when exposed as young girls, than is predicted by use of Reference Man; the difference is a much as 10-fold. Since females have been ignored in regulatory analysis, this has resulted in systematic under-reporting of harm from ionizing radiation exposure in the global population.

A critique is also offered on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to include females in its regulation. Recommendations for interim regulation to provide better protection, and questions forfurther study are offered.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03080188.2019.160386

June 10, 2019 Posted by | radiation, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

12 year old children from irradiated areas in Ukraine helped by a Scottish charity

Chernobyl’s TV success will help with fallout from nuclear horror that never ends

A Scots charity supporting children from communities affected by radiation hopes the hit show will encourage more people to lend their support. Daily Record , Emylie Howie, 9 JUN 2019

t’s the television series that has reignited interest in the nuclear disaster that shocked the world 33 years ago.

Now a charity is hoping the ­success of the hit show Chernobyl will result in an increase of support for victims of the power station ­catastrophe.

Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline brings 10 to 12-year-olds from areas affected by radiation in Ukraine and Belarus to live with families in ­Scotland for four weeks.

Co-ordinator Michael Lafferty, of Saltcoats , Ayrshire, said he hopes Sky’s HBO show will ­encourage more people to volunteer to look after the children.   He said: “I’m hoping this ­programme leads to a bit more ­interest in families who’d like to host children and give them time away from radiation.

“We’re now dealing with children of the people who were alive at that time and when these kids grow up and have kids of their own we may see more genetic malformations.

“The radiation is going to be there for hundreds of years.”

The series dramatises the ­Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster in Soviet Union-ruled Ukraine.

During a test on April 26, 1986, reactor four exploded, releasing huge amounts of radiation into the atmosphere until the resulting fire was put out nine days later.

The official death toll was 31 but the figure is thought to be in the millions as a result of radioactive poisoning. Belarus and Ukraine received more than 70 per cent of the fallout and many children were born with severe ­disabilities or illnesses, ­including thyroid cancer, bone ­cancer, leukaemia and facial defects…….. https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/chernobyls-tv-success-help-fallout-16487018

June 10, 2019 Posted by | health, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Mini series Chernobyl unfolds the horror of radiation sickness – a warning for the future

‘A horrible way to die’: how Chernobyl recreated a nuclear meltdown, Guardian,  Julie McDowall, 5 June 19, 

From ‘painting on’ radiation sickness to making the explosion less ‘Die Hard’, the acclaimed drama has gone to great lengths to evoke the chaos and terror of the Soviet-era disaster.

We were lucky to have survived the Cold War without a nuclear attack. The pop culture of that chilly era warned what the bomb would do: the crisping of the skin; the slow agony of radiation sickness; the pollution of the land; and the death of cities.

The bomb didn’t explode, but some people experienced a fragment of this horror. The Chernobyl disaster of 1986 brought explosions, radiation sickness, evacuations, contaminated earth and, finally, medals awarded and memorials erected. It was war after all – but not against the west; this was another type of nuclear enemy.

Sky Atlantic/HBO’s drama Chernobyl unfolds over five distressing episodes that show the 1986 explosion was more than just another disaster in a decade horribly cluttered with them: it was a ghastly taste of nuclear war, a monstrous cover-up and, finally, an event that helped bring down the Soviet Union.

So it is fitting that the series begins with the explosion, as if to get it out of the way so that we might focus on what happens afterwards………..

Surprisingly, Parker didn’t look to photos of Hiroshima or Nagasaki victims for examples of radiation damage, as he suspects these were tempered by wartime propaganda. He went instead to medical textbooks, and this allowed him to pioneer a technique for Chernobyl where he “layered” the skin: painting the actors’ bodies with wounds, then putting a semi-translucent layer on top, giving the impression that sores are forcing themselves to the surface as the body degrades from within. The effect is dreadful to see. Yet, Parker was strict in saying these men must not be relegated to Hollywood “zombies”, and he explains that the director made sure sympathy stayed with these characters: even as they lie rigid on the bed, gurgling and fading, they still speak, and a wife may still hold her husband’s rotting fingers.

“It’s the worst way to die,” says Parker. “Beyond anything you can imagine. The most horrible way to die. I think it’s the worst, in line with medieval torture.” What makes it particularly atrocious is that the victims were denied pain relief. In the latter stages of radiation sickness you cannot inject morphine, he explains. “The walls of the veins are breaking down.”

So the Chernobyl disaster produced agonising deaths without pain-relieving drugs, which brings us back to the horror of nuclear war. Plans for the NHS after a nuclear attack show drug stockpiles would quickly be exhausted, and those who were hopelessly injured would be allowed to die without the tiny mercy of a supermarket paracetamol.

Chernobyl is a compelling and brilliantly realised drama, but it’s also a warning – of the dangers of lies, arrogance and complacency, and of nuclear war itself.

The final episode of Chernobyl airs Tuesday, 9pm on Sky Atlantic. The whole series is available to view on Sky Go and NowTV

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/jun/04/one-day-your-skin-just-slips-off-how-chernobyl-restaged-nuclear-disaster  

June 8, 2019 Posted by | health, media, Resources -audiovicual, Ukraine | Leave a comment

30 years later, a Soviet general still suffers from effects of radiation at Chernobyl nuclear disaster

YEARS OF HELL General, 85, portrayed in Sky Original’s Chernobyl still suffers crippling radiation disease more than 30 years after disaster https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9239830/sky-original-chernobyl-general-tarakanov-radiation/ By Jacob Dirnhuber 6 Jun 2019,

June 8, 2019 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, Ukraine | Leave a comment