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Radioactive Particles Found in Homes of Workers at Major US Nuclear Weapons Facility

Radioactive Dust Found in Homes of Workers at Major US Nuclear Weapons Facility,  Radioactive microparticles were detected in the homes of six workers in central Washington state’s Tri-City area who are associated with the Hanford nuclear site, a major Cold War-era plutonium manufacturing facility, scientists have reported. Sputnik News, 14 June 18 

A study published this month in the Journal of Environmental Engineering Science reported that small but still dangerous amounts of radioactive elements were found in dust collected by cloth wipes and vacuum cleaners in order to track the potential spread of radiation from one of the United States’ most notorious nuclear cleanup sites.

The same study also found radioactive particles in the homes of nuclear workers associated with the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and the Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado. All three sites are heavily associated with nuclear weapons production.

It’s believed the particles could have found their way into the homes in a variety of ways, including being attached to workers’ clothing and being stirred up by wind storms and wildfires, which are common in the region, and blown inside.

The tests found radioactive uranium, thorium, plutonium and americium particles that, while innocuous in the external environment, represent a “potential source of internal radiation exposure” if ingested, warns Marco Kaltofen, a civil engineer affiliated with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts and author of the study, the Seattle Times reported.

Exposure to these materials increases the risk of cancer, the study noted. Plutonium is “fiendishly toxic, even in small amounts,” said Glenn Seaborg, the physicist who discovered the element in 1941, as quoted in a 2011 fact sheet on the Rocky Flats site. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry notes in its public health statement on thorium exposure that the radioactive isotopes can sit in the soil for decades and cause lung cancer if inhaled. Uranium ingestion mainly targets the kidneys, the ATSDR notes, while americium destroys and irradiates bone tissue and can cause bone cancers such as leukemia or lymphoma and damage the thyroid.

“These radioactive particles are tiny and difficult to detect once you get a few inches away, but once inside the body, the distance from our tissue is essentially zero,” Kaltofen explained. While the skin can handle certain amounts of radiation safely, the body’s internal organs have no protection and a tiny amount can prove fatally toxic. Polonium-210, for example, is 250 million times more toxic than hydrogen cyanide, the New York Times reported.

The report’s conclusions come from years of testing coordinated with Hanford Challenge, a Seattle-based organization that has fought for decades for accountability in the federal cleanup of the Hanford site. Kaltofen used an unusual technique that involves both electron microscopy and a specialized X-ray analysis that can detect extremely low levels of radioactive particles. The samples were compared to those taken from the Hanford site, which served as a kind of fingerprint for identifying the particles.

The levels found in the Hanford workers’ homes represented a health risk exceeding that considered acceptable by the International Commission on Radiological Protection’s safety standards.

…….. The Yakama Nation, whose reservation sits only 20 miles from the site, for decades fought turning Hanford into a nuclear waste site, as did other affected tribes such as the Nez Perce and Umatilla nations. Three counties around the Yakama reservation have seen high rates of a rare and fatal birth defect called anencephaly, in which a fetus’ brain and skull fail to fully form, which is believed to be caused by irradiation, Earth Island reported. Higher rates of anencephaly are also associated with sites in Iraq where the US military used depleted uranium rounds during the Iraq War, Iraqi doctors in Basra and Baghdad have noted.

Indigenous nations in Washington aren’t the only ones negatively affected by the US nuclear weapons program: decades of uranium mining in the Navajo Nation have caused extensive irradiation of the countryside, creating a disease known as Navajo Neuropathy, NPR reported. One spring in northeastern Arizona was reported in 2015 to have uranium levels “at least five times greater than safe drinking water standards” by a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The contamination caused the early deaths of many children who drank from the spring or whose mothers drank the water while pregnant. https://sputniknews.com/us/201806141065421254-Radioactive-Dust-Found-US-Homes/

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June 15, 2018 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

High levels of radioactive Caesium in Ukraine region around Chernobyl a threat to children

Ukrainian villages still suffering legacy of Chernobyl more than 30 years on https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-06/uoe-uvs060718.php  UNIVERSITY OF EXETER 

Milk in parts of Ukraine has radioactivity levels up to five times over the country’s official safe limit, new research shows.

Scientists from the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter and the Ukrainian Institute of Agricultural Radiology sampled cow’s milk from private farms and homes in the Rivne region, about 200km from the site of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explosion in 1986. They found levels of radioactive caesium in milk above Ukraine’s safe limit for adults of 100 Becquerel per litre (Bq/L) at six of 14 settlements studied, and above the children’s limit of 40 Bq/L at eight sites.

The highest levels found were about 500 Bq/L – five times over the limit for adults and more than 12 times that for children.

“More than 30 years after the Chernobyl disaster, people are still routinely exposed to radioactive caesium when consuming locally produced staple foods, including milk, in Chernobyl-affected areas of Ukraine,” said Dr Iryna Labunska, of Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter.

“Many people in the area we studied keep cows for milk, and children are the main consumers of that milk.

“Though the level of soil contamination in the studied areas is not extremely high, radioactive caesium continues to accumulate in milk and other foods, such that the residents of these villages are chronically exposed to radioactivity that presents health risks to almost every system in the body – especially among children.”

The researchers say that some simple protective measures could be taken to bring radiation exposure levels below limits at a cost of less than 10 euros per person per year for the 8,300 people living in the six villages with the highest contamination.

Such measures include applying a caesium binder, called Ferrocyn, to cows, mineral fertilisation of potato fields and feeding pigs with uncontaminated fodder.

The cost of this would decrease each year as radiation levels fall – but if no action is taken, the experts warn that milk contamination will continue to exceed the 100?Bq/L adult limit in parts of Ukraine until at least 2040.

“The Ukrainian government has taken some of these measures in the past, but that stopped in 2009,” Dr Labunska said.

“Government and international monitoring needs to take place, along with help for people affected by this radiation.

“This situation should also act as a warning and a reminder of just how long the legacy of nuclear accidents can be.

“Without adequate countermeasures, what may now seem a purely historical event will remain a daily reality for those communities most impacted.”

###

The paper, published in the journal Environment International, is entitled: “Current radiological situation in areas of Ukraine contaminated by the Chernobyl accident: Part 1. Human dietary exposure to Caesium-137 and possible mitigation measures.”

June 8, 2018 Posted by | children, environment, radiation, Ukraine | Leave a comment

UK Environment Agency (EA) will let Atomic Weapons Establishment’s (AWE) release more radioactive isotopes into the air

NIS 31st May 2018 The Environment Agency (EA) have announced that they are planning to
approve the Atomic Weapons Establishment’s (AWE) application to to
increase the quantity of volatile beta emitters that AWE Aldermaston is
permitted to release into the environment.

Beta emitters are radioactive elements that produce beta radiation. Volatile is a chemistry term which
refers to a substance that tends to vaporise and become a gas. AWE’s
application for the increase to the limit was announced in late January,
and there was a consultation on the application which ended in February.

The Environment Agency have now released a draft decision which approves
the proposed increase to the limit. Under their current license AWE are
allowed to release 4.4 megabecquerels (MBq) of volatile beta emitters into
the air as gas every year. The draft decision allows them to increase the
limit to 100 MBq a year, an increase of 22 times, or 2200%. A becquerel is
a measure of the quantity of radioactive material. One bequerel is the
quantity of material where radioactive decay will occur once every second.
A megabecquerel means one million becquerels of material. The EA is running
a consultation on the draft decision, which closes on the 6th June.
https://www.nuclearinfo.org/article/awe-aldermaston/environment-agency-plans-approve-2000-increase-awe-discharge-limit

June 1, 2018 Posted by | radiation, UK | Leave a comment

Further research on how ionising radiation causes cancer

Ionizing radiation can cause cells to turn cancerous, Pakistan Observer Islamabad : It is well established that exposure to ionizing radiation can result in mutations or other genetic damage that cause cells to turn cancerous.

Now a new study led by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has revealed another way in which radiation can promote cancer development.

Working with cultures of human breast cells, the researchers discovered that radiation exposure can alter the environment surrounding the cells so that future cells are more likely to become cancerous.

“Our work shows that radiation can change the microenvironment of breast cells, and this in turn can allow the growth of abnormal cells with a long-lived phenotype that has a much greater potential to be cancerous,” says Paul Yaswen, a cell biologist and breast cancer research specialist with Berkeley Lab’s Life Sciences Division.

A cell’s phenotype is its full complement of observable physical or biochemical characteristics. Different cells can have phenotypes that look dramatically different or exhibit radically different behaviour even though their genetic makeup (genotype) is identical.

Signals from outside the cell can alter a cell’s phenotype by regulating (or de-regulating) the cell’s use of its genes. Studies have shown that if a cell develops a pre-cancerous phenotype, it can pass on these “epigenetic” changes to its daughters, just as it can pass on genetic mutations.

“Many in the cancer research community, especially radiobiologists, have been slow to acknowledge and incorporate in their work the idea that cells in human tissues are not independent entities, but are highly communicative with each other and with their microenvironment,” Yaswen says. “We provide new evidence that potential cancer agents and their effects must be evaluated at a systems level.”

Yaswen is the corresponding author of a paper describing this study that appears in the on-line journal Breast Cancer Research. Co-authoring the paper were Rituparna Mukhopadhyay, Sylvain Costes, Alexey Bazarov, William Hines and Mary Helen Barcellos-Hoff.

“The work we did was performed with non-lethal but fairly substantial doses of radiation, unlike what a woman would be exposed to during a routine mammogram,” says Yaswen, who is also a member of the Bay Area Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Center. “However, the levels of radiation involved in other procedures, such as CT scans or radiotherapy, do start to approach the levels used in our experiments and could represent sources of concern.”……….

This study was jointly funded the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), NIH, through the Bay Area Breast Cancer and the Environment Center, and by the NASA Specialized Center of Research.  https://pakobserver.net/ionizing-radiation-can-cause-cells-to-turn-cancerous-5/

June 1, 2018 Posted by | radiation, USA, women | Leave a comment

New research reveals significant Fukushima radioactive particle release

Fukushima radioactive particle release was significant says new research https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/uom-frp052418.php  UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER

Scientists say there was a significant release of radioactive particles during the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident.

The researchers identified the contamination using a new method and say if the particles are inhaled they could pose long-term health risks to humans.

The new method allows scientists to quickly count the number of caesium-rich micro-particles in Fukushima soils and quantify the amount of radioactivity associated with these particles.

The research, which was carried out by scientists from Kyushu University, Japan, and The University of Manchester, UK, was published in Environmental Science and Technology.

In the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, it was thought that only volatile, gaseous radionuclides, such as caesium and iodine, were released from the damaged reactors. However, in recent years it has become apparent that small radioactive particles, termed caesium-rich micro-particles, were also released.

Scientists have shown that these particles are mainly made of glass, and that they contain significant amounts of radioactive caesium, as well as smaller amounts of other radioisotopes, such as uranium and technetium.

The abundance of these micro-particles in Japanese soils and sediments, and their environmental impact is poorly understood. But the particles are very small and do not dissolve easily, meaning they could pose long-term health risks to humans if inhaled.

Therefore, scientists need to understand how many of the micro-particles are present in Fukushima soils and how much of the soil radioactivity can be attributed to the particles. Until recently, these measurements have proven challenging.

The new method makes use of a technique that is readily available in most Radiochemistry Laboratories called Autoradiography. In the method, an imaging plate is placed over contaminated soil samples covered with a plastic wrap, and the radioactive decay from the soil is recorded as an image on the plate. The image from plate is then read onto a computer.

The scientists say radioactive decay from the caesium-rich micro particles can be differentiated from other forms of caesium contamination in the soil.

The scientists tested the new method on rice paddy soil samples retrieved from different locations within the Fukushima prefecture. The samples were taken close to (4 km) and far away (40 km) from the damaged nuclear reactors. The new method found caesium-rich micro-particles in all of the samples and showed that the amount of caesium associated with the micro-particles in the soil was much larger than expected.

Dr Satoshi Utsunomiya, Associate Professor at Kyushu University, Japan, and the lead author of the study says “when we first started to find caesium-rich micro-particles in Fukushima soil samples, we thought they would turn out to be relatively rare. Now, using this method, we find there are lots of caesium-rich microparticles in exclusion zone soils and also in the soils collected from outside of the exclusion zone”.

Dr Gareth Law, Senior Lecturer in Analytical Radiochemistry at the University of Manchester and an author on the paper, adds: “Our research indicates that significant amounts of caesium were released from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in particle form.

“This particle form of caesium behaves differently to the other, more soluble forms of caesium in the environment. We now need to push forward and better understand if caesium micro-particles are abundant throughout not only the exclusion zone, but also elsewhere in the Fukushima prefecture; then we can start to gauge their impact”.

The new method can be easily used by other research teams investigating the environmental impact of the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

Dr Utsunomiya adds: “we hope that our method will allow scientists to quickly measure the abundance of caesium-rich micro-particles at other locations and estimate the amount of caesium radioactivity associated with the particles. This information can then inform cost effective, safe management and clean-up of soils contaminated by the nuclear accident”.

May 25, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Cosmic radiation will damage the brains of space travellers

Can we protect the brain from cosmic radiation? Medical News Today , As we prepare to enter a new era of space travel, we must find ways of averting health risks posed by the cosmic environment. Deep space radiation, in particular, is known to impair cognitive function………. One main threat comes from cosmic radiation, which can harm the central nervous system, altering cognitive function and leading to symptoms similar to those found in Alzheimer’s disease.

……. ‘Cosmic radiation may affect brain long-term’Previous research conducted by Rosi and team found that, after mice were exposed to a level of radiation roughly equivalent to what human astronauts might encounter during an outer space mission, their capacity to differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar objects was impaired.

Usually, when mice are faced with two objects — one that is new and unknown to them and one that they formerly explored — they will spend more time familiarizing themselves with the new object.

However, the animals that had been exposed to radiation tended to spend an equal amount of time exploring both objects, which suggested to the researchers that the mice had forgotten they had already been exposed to one of the two.

Other symptoms that the mice presented included problems with social interactions and a sense of elevated anxiety. Rosi and team note that this was likely because of the effect the strong radiation had on the microglia, or nerve cells found in the brain and spinal chord that are part of the central nervous system’s immune mechanism.

When microglia are activated, they can cause symptoms — such as impaired memory recall — that are consistent with those of neurodegenerative disorders.

This is partly due to the fact that they are driven to destroy synapses, or the connections formed between brain cells that allow them to convey information.

We are starting to have evidence that exposure to deep space radiation might affect brain function over the long-term, but as far as I know, no one had explored any possible countermeasures that might protect astronauts’ brains against this level of radiation exposure.”     Susanna Rosi………https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321898.php

May 25, 2018 Posted by | radiation, technology | Leave a comment

RADIATION FROM CELL PHONES, WIFI ARE HURTING THE BIRDS AND THE BEES; 5G MAY MAKE IT WORSE

 http://www.newsweek.com/migratory-birds-bee-navigation-5g-technology-electromagnetic-radiation-934830, BY DANA DOVEY 

May 22, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation | Leave a comment

Timothy Mousseau to lead research into radiation in Chernobyl dogs

South Carolina researcher wants to learn about radiation by researching stray dogs near Chernobyl https://www.postandcourier.com/features/south-carolina-researcher-wants-to-learn-about-radiation-by-researching/article_eee33baa-5454-11e8-89c1-17da43576a65.html By Mary Katherine Wildeman mkwildeman@postandcourier.com May 14, 2018 

    • When Timothy Mousseau, a researcher with the University of South Carolina, started visiting Ukraine nearly 20 years ago, he studied birds, insects and plants, “basically anything we could catch.” It was an excuse to go somewhere unusual and study something unconventional: How creatures large and small deal with exposure to nuclear radiation.

But as humans’ interaction with radiation grows more common, Mousseau has found the need for this kind of research has grown. This summer, the USC evolutionary biologist is shifting his focus to canines. And he will be bringing a group of pre-veterinary students with him.

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant was constructed during the 1970s in Ukraine. More than 32 years ago, one of the Chernobyl plant’s reactors exploded, causing “the largest peacetime nuclear disaster in history,” according to a report by The Guardian. The nearby town of Prypiat has remained uninhabited.

Although there are few people in the area, dogs left behind after the disaster bred, and today there are about 250 strays roaming the area, according to the Clean Futures Fund, a nonprofit aid group that is working to bring veterinarians to the site to vaccinate the dogs for rabies, as well as to spay and neuter them.

The USC team is also partnering with the Clean Futures Fund in their research.

The researchers, led by Mousseau, will be examining the animals for signs of tumors. The animals will be sedated, Mousseau said. They also will look for signs of eye cataracts, another sign of radiation poisoning, he said.

The students will be tasked with looking for changes in the animals’ genetics and microbiome. The dogs will also be outfitted with meters.

“What we’re really hoping to get at is a better idea of how much radiation it takes to cause significant genetic damage,” Mousseau said.

Mousseau is no stranger to media attention. His work has been featured in The New York TimesNBC and most recently, National Geographic. He breezes through an interview with ease. He said especially following the Fukushima disaster in Japan, there has been heightened interest in the effects of radiation on creatures.

Not to mention that radiation is creeping into Americans’ daily life, he said. He said the average dose Americans receive each year has more than doubled in the last 20 years. And more exposure could be on the horizon: A handful of companies are working to make commercial space travel happen.

In the medical field, diagnostic tools such as CT scans and portable devices used in a dentist’s office emit radiation. Then there is the radiation used to treat cancer, and it also has uses in medical research, according to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

CT scans can produce a little less than the same amount of radiation as the lowest doses seen in Japanese atomic bomb survivors, according to the Food & Drug Administration. Still, the FDA states a typical CT scan’s risk for causing cancer is “very small.”

All “nuclear materials” in medicine are regulated. But Mousseau said more research needs to be done to understand the body’s response to even tiny amounts of radiation. He thinks the dogs, with their naturally shorter life spans, will make for good test subjects.

“You can see the effects in a shorter period of time,” Mousseau said. “We can look at consequences much more quickly.”

The canines, with their lifetime exposure to radiation, make for desirable research subjects. But the researchers plan to help take care of the dogs, too, by monitoring their health.

Courtney Rulison, 21, said she found out about the opportunity when fliers were passed around to USC biology students.

Rulison, who aspires to become a veterinarian, explained she will help prepare the animals for spaying and neutering. She said she was picked because of her interest and expertise in the animals.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to take for this volunteer organization not to be needed anymore,” she said. “Or if these dogs can ever be adopted or leave Chernobyl. For right now, they have to stay there because they’re contaminated.”

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.

May 16, 2018 Posted by | radiation, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Japan’s planned Olympics torch relay route found to have high levels of radiation

the proposed torch route samples had the highest mean radioactivity due to their close proximity to the plant. Based on the measurement, we estimated qualitatively that the radiation exposure of people living near the Azuma Sports Park area was 20.7 times higher than that of people living in Tokyo. The main tourist and proposed torch routes had radiation exposure of 24.6 and 60.6 times higher, respectively, than in Tokyo.

our results showed that the highest radioactivity level was at the proposed torch route, which is located to the northeast of the plant.

Olympic officials should consider using the results of this project to decide whether the radioactivity level at the proposed torch route and the Olympic venues are within acceptable level.

Measuring Radioactivity in Soil and Dust Samples from Japan   Fukushima IQP Final Report. An Interactive Qualifying Project Report Submitted to the Faculty of the Worcester Polytechnic Instituteby Thang Pham Steven Franca Son Nguyen

Abstract

A radioactivity map of Cesium-137, a radioactive material emitted from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, was created by examining 30 soil and dust samples originating from Japan. A Sodium Iodide (NaI) detector measured gamma rays emitted from the samples. Qualitative evaluation of human exposure to radio-cesium in five sets of locations in Japan shows the radioactivity of tested samples. The Fukushima section of one of the Olympic proposed torch route has a 60 times higher activity of Cesium-137 than the activity of the samples from Tokyo.

Acknowledgements…….

Executive Summary

Overview

On March 11th, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit the Fukushima Prefecture of Japan (AESJ, 2015, p.19). This resulted in major structural damage to the surrounding area. Following the earthquake, a 13-meter tsunami hit the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant and disabled the backup the diesel backup power generator and the cooling water pumps needed to keep the Power Plant running in the event of a disaster. Since power restoration was unsuccessful and there was major structural damage caused to the Units by the tsunami, there were high concentrations of nuclear particles released into the air.

The amount of radioactive materials emitted from the Power Plant raised health and environmental concerns to the people living in the areas around the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant. In fact, several studies conducted after the accident determined the activity of radioactive isotopes in the environments. These studies around Fukushima provided excellent understanding of the activity of radioactive isotopes in the environment and the health effects on humans.

 With the upcoming XXXII Olympiad in 2020 hosted by Japan, it is necessary to look into the radioactivity of Olympic venues as well as tourist attractions in the host cities. Previous studies pose a major gap because they focused on regions that are closer to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, where the highest concentration of radioactive fallout is located. On the other hand, the radioactivity in other locations in Japan is relatively less studied. Since thousands of athletes and millions of visitors are travelling to Japan for the Olympics, there has been widespread concern from the international community about radiation exposure. Therefore, it is important to investigate the extent of radioactive fallout from the Fukushima Dai-ichi incident.

Project goals and Objectives

The goals of the project were to measure the radioactivity of Cesium-137 in soil and dust samples from Japan and to generate a map that illustrates the activity of Cesium-137 in five locations in Japan.Understanding the radioactivity in Japan soil would help in giving an estimation of human exposure to radioactivity in the studied areas. The primary objectives of this project were to:

  • Perform soil sample preparation for measurement, including categorizing, drying and sub-sampling
  • Measure the activity of Cesium-137 in the samples and analyze the radioactivity at different locations in Japan.
  • Generate a map to illustrate the radioactivity level in Japan soil.
  • Estimate qualitatively human exposure to radioactivity for people living in the studied areas.

Development of methodology

 The employment of various study methods and experiment designs helped complete the objectives. Through literature review and discussion with advisors and lab instructors, we were able to develop main steps and setting for our study.

Primarily, we performed preparation for 87 soil and dust samples collected in Japan and transferred to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). The samples were classified into five categories based on their original location: Tokyo samples, Azuma Sports Park samples, proposed torch route samples, tourist route samples and non-Olympic samples. All the samples were dried and sub-sampled so that their physical conditions were consistent throughout the testing phase. From the 87 samples that are dried and sub-sampled, we eventually further narrowed to 30 samples for radioactivity measurement.

Previous studies on radioactive nuclides accumulation in soil and dust samples from Japan identified that Cesium-137 had the highest concentration among radionuclides in Japan soil (Saito et al., 2015). Therefore, we set our goal to measure the activity of Cesium-137 in the samples from Japan. A thallium-activated sodium iodine detector, or NaI (TI) detector, measured the concentration of Cesium-137 in the soil samples. The calibrating sources used for Cesium137 measurement were Cesium-137, Sodium-22 and Manganese-54. The experiment reported the radioactivity of the background and the radioactivity of Cesium-137 in the samples above the background. Measurements were made in triplicate to provide counting variability statistics.

At the beginning of the project, samples were selected randomly for measurement. Our focus then shifted, as we looked deeper into the four main areas that will be important to the XXXII Olympiad in 2020. These Olympic areas included Azuma Sports Park, tourist attractions in Tokyo, a proposed torch route, and official designated tourist routes. Time constraint and large amount of samples, limited testing which resulted in results on only a limited part of each sample set.

After finishing measuring, the radioactivity of the soil and dust samples helped generate a map that shows the activity of Cesium-137 in Japan soil. Since there was a large variation in the measured activity between samples at different locations, we decided to analyze the results based on the samples’ original locations.

 Our results were cross-referenced with information and results gathered from literature reviews. Understanding the activity of Cesium-137 in Japan soil, we were able to give a qualitative estimation of human exposure.

Results and Analysis

 By the end of the project, we were able to measure the activity of Cesium-137 in 30 soil and dust samples. The results showed a great variation in radioactivity between samples from different locations. The activity of Cesium-137 in the 30 samples ranged from 38.6 Bq/kg to 28041.5 Bq/kg with the mean radioactivity of 4903.3 Bq/kg (standard deviation, σ= 6611.0 Bq/kg).

Among the five categories of locations, the Tokyo sample set had the lowest radioactivity mean of 117.6 Bq/kg. The following locations are ordered by increasing mean of radioactivity: Azuma Sports Park samples (2703.9 Bq/kg), main tourist routes samples (3206.0 Bq/kg) and proposed torch route samples (7896.0 Bq/kg). Only one of the non-Olympic samples, which originates from the Entrance to Fukushima Dai-ichi waste mounds, had a radioactivity of 14119.8 Bq/kg. Due to this outlier, this sample set was omitted from the other sets.

The measured results showed that the Tokyo sample set had the lowest radioactivity level, which was understandable based on its significant distance from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. On the contrary, the proposed torch route samples had the highest mean radioactivity due to their close proximity to the plant. Based on the measurement, we estimated qualitatively that the radiation exposure of people living near the Azuma Sports Park area was 20.7 times higher than that of people living in Tokyo. The main tourist and proposed torch routes had radiation exposure of 24.6 and 60.6 times higher, respectively, than in Tokyo.

The results in this study were in agreement with published results qualitatively. Saito et al. reported a much higher deposition of Cesium-137 in the area to the northeast of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant and the further away from the plant, the lower the deposition of Cesium-137 (2015). Accordingly, our results showed that the highest radioactivity level was at the proposed torch route, which is located to the northeast of the plant. The further away from the plant for example, in Tokyo and the Azuma Sports Park, the lower the activity of Cesium137. However, because of the differences in sampling techniques and reported unit of radioactivity, there could not be an established direct comparison.

Recommendations

Given the aforementioned results, there is significant evidence through our testing, that there are still high amounts of radiation in areas close to the Fukushima Prefecture. Past and current tests found that high amounts of radiation remain at the origin of the disaster. The results showed a significantly higher amount of radioactive materials in the proposed torch route compared to those in Tokyo.

 Given the results from testing, we confidently make the following recommendations:

  1. Further study on the activity of Cesium-137 on the proposed torch route is necessary to understand how much radioactive materials remain.
  2. A more detailed study with more soil and dust samples can give a more accurate map of specific areas of interest.
  3. Olympic officials should consider using the results of this project to decide whether the radioactivity level at the proposed torch route and the Olympic venues are within acceptable level. 4. Qualified health professionals should use this data to make connections about short and long-term effects on health.

Authorship……….

Table of Contents…….   47 pages   Very well supplied with references, diagrams, maps, … https://web.wpi.edu/Pubs/E-project/Available/E-project-031418-011249/unrestricted/Fukushima_IQP_Final_Report.pdf

May 12, 2018 Posted by | environment, radiation | Leave a comment

2017 Testing of Radiation in Japan Shows Massive Radiation Around 2020 Olympics, Especially the “Torch Route’

” http://www.nukepro.net/2018/05/2017-testing-of-radiation-in-japan.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NukeProfessional+%28Nuke+Professional%29

 https://t.co/C739fxObPH

Link above is to a PDF, 47 page, readable report.  Very well done.   stock out

May 11, 2018 Posted by | Japan, radiation | Leave a comment

There’s money in monitoring ionising radiation

Radiation Detection, Monitoring & Safety Market Worth 2.26 Billion USD by 2022  PUNE, IndiaMay 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ —

According to a new market research report Radiation Detection, Monitoring, & Safety Market by Product (Detection & Monitoring, Safety), Composition (Gas-filled detectors, Scintillator, Solid-state detector), Application (Healthcare, Homeland Security & Defence, Industrial) – Global Forecast to 2022, published by MarketsandMarkets™, the global market is expected to reach USD 2.26 Billion by 2022 from USD 1.71 Billion in 2017, at a CAGR of 5.7% during the forecast period (2017-2022).

The key factors propelling the growth of Radiation Detection, Monitoring and Safety Market are growing security threats, growing prevalence of cancer worldwide, increasing safety awareness among people working in radiation-prone environments, growing safety concerns post the Fukushima disaster, growing security budgets of global sporting events, growth in the number of PET/CT scans, increasing usage of nuclear medicine and radiation therapy for diagnosis and treatment, and use of drones for radiation monitoring.

….The healthcare segment dominated the market on the basis of applications in 2017 

The Radiation Detection, Monitoring and Safety Market is segmented on the basis of applications into healthcare, homeland security and defense, industrial applications, nuclear power plants, and other applications (environmental monitoring and academic research). In 2017, the healthcare segment accounted for the largest share of the global market. Factors such as the growth in the number of PET/CT scans and increasing usage of nuclear medicine and radiation therapy for diagnosis and treatment, increasing research activities, and growing incidence of cancer are driving the growth of this segment.

North America held the largest share of the market in 2017 

In 2017, North America accounted for the largest share of the Radiation Detection, Monitoring and Safety Market, followed by Europe. Factors such as favorable government initiatives, increasing number of nuclear power plants, rising prevalence of cancer, and increasing awareness of radiation safety are contributing to the large share of this geographical segment………https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/radiation-detection-monitoring–safety-market-worth-226-billion-usd-by-2022-682063101.html
 

May 9, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, radiation | Leave a comment

U.S. Department of Energy sending helicopters to measure radiation levels

UF flyovers part of DOE radiation study http://www.gainesville.com/news/20180508/uf-flyovers-part-of-doe-radiation-study

The flyovers are part of a research project measuring baseline levels of radiation in the environment.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration says the public shouldn’t be alarmed by a low-flying helicopter near the University of Florida.

It’s a part of a routine procedure, officials say.

According to a Department of Energy press release, the public might see a twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter flying at about 150 feet or higher around UF and in Gainesville until early Wednesday evening.

The helicopter is operated by the Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System from Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and is equipped with radiation-sensing technology.

The manned helicopter will fly in a grid pattern over the area at about 80 miles per hour, the release says.

The flyovers are part of a research project measuring baseline levels of radiation in the environment.

May 9, 2018 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

How safe is cellphone’s electromagnetic radiation?

Why does this article not mention the difference in vulnerability between children and adults?

What is mobile phone radiation and how safe is it? ABC Science,By science reporter Belinda Smith

“…. What is electromagnetic radiation?

We are surrounded by all sorts of different types of electromagnetic radiation every day: your eyes pick up visible light, your bag is scanned by X-rays at airport security, microwaves heat your lunch and too much ultraviolet light gives you sunburn.

At its essence, electromagnetic radiation is energy comprising an electric field and magnetic field, which travel together, but perpendicularly, in waves.

Sometimes the length of these waves (or wavelength) is very short — a few nanometres for X-rays — while others are much longer — a few centimetres up to kilometres.

It’s these long wavelengths, called radio waves, that are the electromagnetic radiation of choice for mobile phones and base stations.

Unlike shorter wavelengths, such as visible light, radio waves can pass through walls. The longer the wavelength, the better it can penetrate solid stuff.

Another term you might see is frequency, which is the number of times a wave makes a full oscillation each second.

Frequency and wavelength are closely related. Wavelength is the speed of light divided by the frequency, so long wavelengths also have low frequency.

What are ionising and non-ionising radiation?

The radio frequency end of the electromagnetic spectrum is home to what’s known as “non-ionising radiation”, said Rodney Croft, from the University of Wollongong and director of the Australian Centre of Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research.

It’s the high-frequency, short wavelength radiation, such as X-rays, that can tinker with your DNA and are linked to cancer.

These waves are small enough and carry enough energy to knock electrons off atoms, ionising them.

Radio frequency used in mobile communications simply doesn’t have the energy to do that. But that’s not to say it doesn’t exert any effects on the matter it travels through.

“It’s an oscillating wave, which swings between positive and negative,” Professor Croft said

“If you have a bunch of molecules rotating, that causes friction, and energy is given off as heat. It’s how a microwave oven works.”

Does anyone regulate radio frequency limits?

In Australia, mobile phone and base station exposure limits are set by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The ARPANSA standard looks at how much energy a user absorbs from a mobile phone over time.

The maximum limit is currently 2 watts per kilogram of tissue. Phone manufacturers usually specify their maximum absorption rate in their manual.

You can find how much radio frequency is emitted by base stations at the Radio Frequency National Site Archive.

According to ARPANSA, it’s “typically hundreds of times below the [ARPANSA] limits”.

What are the effects of mobile radio frequency on tissues?

So are we microwaving our head whenever we answer the phone? A tiny bit, but not enough to be worried about, Professor Croft said.

He and his team found mobile phone radiation exposure increases the temperature of the outer grey, wrinkled layer of the brain called the cortex, but it’s only “maybe about 0.1 degree, which is very small compared to the temperature variation the body normally has to contend with”, he said.

“We do find that we get a slight change to thermoregulation, so the body, even with that small change, is sending a bit more blood out to the periphery to cool it, so your body doesn’t end up warming up.”

……...What about cancer in rodents?

Mobile phones are classed as “possibly carcinogenic” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, putting them in the same category as aloe vera, bracken fern and Asian pickled vegetables.

And while radio frequency is non-ionising radiation — remember, it can’t knock electrons off atoms, fiddle with genetic material and trigger tumour growth like ionising radiation can — studies still investigate possible links.

Research published in February this year by the US National Toxicology Program found tumours grew in the nerves around the heart of male rats if they were bathed in extremely high levels of mobile radiation.

But, Professor Croft said, “there were so many difficulties with that study.

………Risks and benefits

Despite research showing no link between safe levels of radio frequency and cancer, telecommunications companies and other organisations do offer suggestions if you want to reduce exposure.

The obvious action, Dr Halgamuge said, is to limit mobile phone use: “You have no control over base stations, because that radiation is around you all the time, but you do have control over your mobile phone.”

The ARPANSA also recommends using hands-free or texting instead of calling, “but none of those things are actually based on any health effects”, Professor Croft said.

………So: does radio frequency have any effect on human tissue, apart from heating it a fraction of a degree?

That question is still open, Professor Wood said.

“Even though some of the evidence [that radio frequency causes damage] on the face of it looks quite compelling, there’s still a question of consistency…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-04-30/mobile-phone-radiation-health-explainer-biophysics/9702630

May 4, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation | Leave a comment

New Study Shows Full Extent of Radiation Damage to Hiroshima Victims

 https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a20113160/new-study-shows-full-extent-of-radiation-damage-to-hiroshima-victims/  A study decades in the making shows victims may have absorbed double a deadly dose. By 

A weapon drastically different than any other ever used in war, the atomic bomb in Hiroshima instantly killed over 100,000 people and left thousands more dealing with radiation fallout. By the end of 1945, it is estimated that 160,000 people had been killed directly from the bombing. Several historians have argued that while the bombs effectively ended World War II, their unprecedented destructive capabilities started the next global conflict, the Cold War, at the exact same time.

Attempting to measure the damage done to Hiroshima by the atomic bomb overwhelmed science for decades. There were simply no computers or radiation-measuring devices capable of understanding the damage. Personal stories, like those of the survivors describe in John Hershey’s Hiroshima and art works of survivors, took hold as the dominant narratives.

But that didn’t mean scientists weren’t trying. When the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) formed in 1947, the agency quickly realized it would need long term study to understand what had happened. Japanese scientists like E. T. Arakawa and Takenobu Higashimura were releasing studies about the effects of the bombings by the early 1960s.

In 1973, Brazilian physicist Sérgio Mascarenhas was trying to date archaeological items in his home country based on radiation absorption. Radiation occurs naturally in sand through elements like thorium, and techniques like radiocarbon dating use similar principles.

However, Mascarenhas realized that this method might have applications beyond archaeological items. He flew to Hiroshima and, with help from the Institute of Nuclear Medicine in Hiroshima, was able to obtain a jawbone from a bombing victim’s body. While he gained some understanding of what the victim’s body had endured, technical issues stood in his way. He was unable to separate background radiation levels from the bomb blast radiation.

Flash forward four decades later and Angela Kinoshita of Universidade do Sagrado Coração in São Paulo State has reexamined the jawbone using modern technology. Kinoshita’s team was able to determine that the jawbone absorbed 9.46 grays of radiation. A mere 5 grays can be fatal. That number lines up with measurements taken of bricks and other inorganic objects measured at the time. The work is published in PLOS ONE.

Beyond gaining a better understanding of what happened to the victims of Hiroshima, who ranged from prisoners of war to soldiers to civilians, the study offers insight into what might happen if a nuclear weapon was ever used again.

“Imagine someone in New York planting an ordinary bomb with a small amount of radioactive material stuck to the explosive. Techniques like this can help identify who has been exposed to radioactive fallout and needs treatment,” says study co-author Oswaldo Baffa of the University of São Paulo in a press statement. Source: Discover

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Japan, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

In new technique, scientists calculate radiation dose in bone from victim of Hiroshima bombing

Scientists calculate radiation dose in bone from victim of Hiroshima bombing  https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/fda-scr042718.php

In an article published in PLOS ONE, Brazilian researchers describe the first retrospective dosimetric study by electron spin resonance spectroscopy using human tissue from nuclear attack victimsFUNDAÇÃO DE AMPARO À PESQUISA DO ESTADO DE SÃO PAULO

The bombing of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States in 1945 was the first and only use of nuclear weapons against civilian targets. A series of studies began in its aftermath to measure the impact of the fallout, in terms of both the radiation dose to which the victims were exposed and the effects of this exposure on DNA and health in general.

Continuing research that started in the 1980s under the leadership of physicist Sérgio Mascarenhas, Full Professor at the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazilian scientists have published an article in the journal PLOS ONE describing a method of precise measurement of the radiation dose absorbed by the bones of victims of the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan.

The investigation was conducted during the postdoctoral research of Angela Kinoshita, currently a professor at Universidade do Sagrado Coração in Bauru, São Paulo State. Her supervisor was then Oswaldo Baffa, Full Professor at the University of São Paulo’s Ribeirão Preto School of Philosophy, Science & Letters (FFCLRP-USP).

“We used a technique known as electron spin resonance spectroscopy to perform retrospective dosimetry. Currently, there’s renewed interest in this kind of methodology due to the risk of terrorist attacks in countries like the United States,” Baffa said.

“Imagine someone in New York planting an ordinary bomb with a small amount of radioactive material stuck to the explosive. Techniques like this can help identify who has been exposed to radioactive fallout and needs treatment.”

As Kinoshita explained, the study is unique insofar as it used samples of human tissue from victims of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

“There were serious doubts about the feasibility of using this methodology to determine the radiation dose deposited in these samples, because of the processes involved in the episode,” she said. “The results confirm its feasibility and open up various possibilities for future research that may clarify details of the nuclear attack.”

The equipment used in the investigation was purchased during a project coordinated by Baffa and supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP.

Origins

In the 1970s, when he was teaching at the University of São Paulo’s São Carlos Physics Institute (IFSC-USP), Mascarenhas discovered that X-ray and gamma-ray irradiation made human bones weakly magnetic. The phenomenon, known as paramagnetism, occurs because the hydroxyapatite (crystalline calcium phosphate) in the mineral portion of bone tissue absorbs carbon dioxide ions, and when the sample is irradiated, the CO2 loses electrons and becomes CO2-. This free radical serves as a marker of the radiation dose received by the material.

“I discovered that we could use this property to perform radiation dosimetry and began using the method in archeological dating,” Mascarenhas recalled.

His aim at the time was to calculate the age of bones found in sambaquis (middens created by Brazil’s original inhabitants as mounds of shellfish debris, skeletons of prehistoric animals, human bones, stone or bone utensils, and other refuse) based on the natural radiation absorbed over centuries via contact with elements such as thorium that are present in the sand on the seashore.

On the strength of this research, he was invited to teach at Harvard University in the United States. Before leaving for the US, however, he decided to go to Japan to try to obtain samples of bones from victims of the nuclear bombs and test his method on them.

“They gave me a jawbone, and I decided to measure the radiation right there, at Hiroshima University,” he said. “I needed to prove experimentally that my discovery was genuine.”

Mascarenhas succeeded in demonstrating that a dosimetric signal could be obtained from the sample even though the technology was still rudimentary and there were no computers to help process the results. The research was presented at the American Physical Society’s annual March Meeting, where it made a strong impression. Mascarenhas brought the samples to Brazil, where they remain.

“There have been major improvements in the instrumentation to make it more sensitive in the last 40 years,” Baffa said. “Now, you see digitally processed data in tables and graphs on the computer screen. Basic physics has also evolved to the extent that you can simulate and manipulate the signal from the sample using computational techniques.”

Thanks to these advances, he added, in the new study, it was possible to separate the signal corresponding to the radiation dose absorbed during the nuclear attack from the so-called background signal, a kind of noise scientists suspect may have resulted from superheating of the material during the explosion.

“The background signal is a broad line that may be produced by various different things and lacks a specific signature,” Baffa said. “The dosimetric signal is spectral. Each free radical resonates at a certain point on the spectrum when exposed to a magnetic field.”

Methodology

To make the measurements, the researchers removed millimeter-scale pieces of the jawbone used in the previous study. The samples were again irradiated in the laboratory using a technique called the additive dose method.

“We added radiation to the material and measured the rise in the dosimetric signal,” Baffa explained. “We then constructed a curve and extrapolated from that the initial dose, when the signal was presumably zero. This calibration method enabled us to measure different samples, as each bone and each part of the same bone has a different sensitivity to radiation, depending on its composition.”

Thanks to this combination of techniques, they were able to measure a dose of approximately 9.46 grays (Gy), which is high in Baffa’s view. “About half that dose, or 5 Gy, is fatal if the entire body is exposed to it,” he said.

The value was comparable with the doses obtained by other techniques applied to non-biological samples, such as measurement of the luminescence of quartz grains present in brick and roof tile fragments found at the bomb sites. According to the authors, it was also close to the results of biological measurement techniques applied in long-term studies using alterations in survivors’ DNA as a parameter.

“The measurement we obtained in this latest study is more reliable and up to date than the preliminary finding, but I’m currently evaluating a methodology that’s about a thousand times more sensitive than spin resonance. We’ll have news in a few months,” Mascarenhas predicted.

About São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)

The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) is a public institution with the mission of supporting scientific research in all fields of knowledge by awarding scholarships, fellowships and grants to investigators linked with higher education and research institutions in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. FAPESP is aware that the very best research can only be done by working with the best researchers internationally. Therefore, it has established partnerships with funding agencies, higher education, private companies, and research organizations in other countries known for the quality of their research and has been encouraging scientists funded by its grants to further develop their international collaboration. For more information: http://www.fapesp.br/en.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Brazil, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment