nuclear-news

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

Fukushima’s citizen radiation testers still on the job.

Fukushima Has Turned These Grandparents Into Avid Radiation Testers, NPR,     Kat Lonsdorf (@lilkat_bigworldSeptember 11, 2020  Takenori Kobayashi lugs a garbage bag full of soil across a parking lot to an unmarked office. His wife, Tomoko, holds the door to a tiny work space with lab equipment and computers set up. On the edge of Fukushima’s former nuclear exclusion zone, this is the place the couple likes to call their “grandma and grandpa lab.”

It started as a makeshift operation in the city of Minamisoma the year after the 2011 nuclear disaster, when people — mostly elderly — returned to the area and were worried about high radiation levels in their food and soil.”We’ve given up hope that our children and grandchildren will come back to live here,” Tomoko, 67, says. Most young people decided to start lives elsewhere rather than return, not wanting to take the risks with radiation. “But in order for them to come back and visit us,” she continues, “we need to know everything is safe. So we test it all.”

Citizen science like this flourished in Fukushima after the nuclear disaster in 2011, when a tsunami triggered explosions at the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The wind carried radioactive material for miles, covering whole towns and neighborhoods with dangerous, yet invisible, particles. For weeks after the disaster, information was scarce and trust in the Japanese government plummeted. And now, almost a decade later, wide arrays of residents have taken it upon themselves to collect radiation data — from mothers worried about their kids to surfers monitoring beaches to individuals with Geiger counters in their homes — to help regain a sense of control.
Inside the lab, the Kobayashis pair get to work. One measures out soil into small containers, the other starts labeling — so coordinated and practiced, it’s almost like a dance. They put the samples through a donated gamma counter, a big cylindrical machine that measures radioactive particles. Today, they’re testing soil from a nearby farm.

A handful of other residents help run the lab, and throughout the years, experts from nearby universities have come to teach them all about the different equipment and radiation science.

“All the grandparents here are radiation professionals now,” Takenori, 71, says with a smile……..

The maps show that Fukushima’s radiation levels are decreasing, because of both natural decay of particles and large-scale Japanese government decontamination efforts. But there are still a lot of hot spots — places where radiation is worryingly high. The authorities have tried to ease concerns, testing food in supermarkets and setting up radiation monitors in public parks, outside train stations or flashing along highways, but trust in the government is still extremely low. Many residents say they still feel best collecting information themselves. ……… https://www.npr.org/2020/09/11/907881531/fukushima-has-turned-these-grandparents-into-avid-radiation-testers

September 12, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, radiation | Leave a comment

Low Dose Ionizing Radiation Shown to Cause Cancer in Review of 26 Studies

These results contradict the claims of the Japanese authorities who keep repeating that there is no impact observed below a dose of 100 mSv.

The US National Cancer Institute has dedicated an entire volume of its scientific journal, Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs, to the impact of low doses of radiation on cancers. The articles are open access.

 

jncmon_2020_56cover

July 13, 2020

An international team of experts in the study of cancer risks associated with low-dose ionizing radiation published the monograph, “Epidemiological studies of low-dose ionizing radiation and cancer: Summary bias assessment and meta-analysis,” in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on July 13, 2020.  

It is well established that ionizing radiation causes cancer through direct DNA damage. The general public are exposed to low doses of ionizing radiation from medical exposures like computed tomography (CT) scans, naturally occurring radiation (emitted from bedrock with the earth’s crust and cosmic rays emitted by the sun), and occupational exposures to medical, aircrew and nuclear workers. A key question for low-dose exposures is how much of the damage can be repaired and whether other mechanisms, including inflammation, also play a role. This critical question has been long debated for radiation protection standards.

After combing data from 26 epidemiological studies the authors found clear evidence of excess cancer risk from low dose ionizing radiation: 17 of 22 studies showed risk for solid cancers and 17 of 20 studies showed risk for leukemia. The summary risk estimates were statistically significant and the magnitude of risk (per unit dose) was consistent with studies of populations exposed to higher doses.

A novel feature of the research effort was the investigators’ use of epidemiological and statistical techniques to identify and evaluate possible sources of bias in the observational data, for example confounding, errors in doses, and misclassification of outcomes. After a thorough and systematic review, they concluded that most did not suffer from major biases.

The authors concluded that although for the most part, absolute risk of cancer will be small, the data reinforce the radiation safety principle to ensure that doses are “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA).   

Additional research is needed to explore risks for cardiovascular disease (CVD) at low doses. Because CVD is a very common disease, even small risks at low doses could have important implications for radiation protection and public health.  

The 26 epidemiological studies were published between 2006 and 2017 and included a total of 91,000 solid cancers and 13,000 leukemias. Studies were eligible if the mean dose was <100 mGy. The study populations had environmental radiation exposure from accidents, like Chernobyl, and natural background radiation, medical radiation exposure like CT scans and occupational exposure including nuclear workers and medical radiation workers.   

Reference:

Epidemiological studies of low-dose ionizing radiation and cancer: Summary bias assessment and meta-analysisExit Disclaimer,” JNCI Monographs. Volume 2020. Issue 56. July 2020.

https://academic.oup.com/jncimono/issue/2020/56

https://dceg.cancer.gov/news-events/news/2020/low-dose-monograph

September 1, 2020 Posted by | radiation | , , , | 1 Comment

Radiation hazard at Dead Horse Bay, Brooklyn

August 27, 2020 Posted by | environment, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Analysing the evidence on effects of ionising radiation on wildlife

Nature 21st Aug 2020, Tim Mousseau et al: We re-analyzed field data concerning potential effects
of ionizing radiation on the abundance of mammals collected in the
Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) to interpret these findings from current
knowledge of radiological dose–response relationships, here mammal
response in terms of abundance.

In line with recent work at Fukushima, and
exploiting a census conducted in February 2009 in the CEZ, we reconstructed
the radiological dose for 12 species of mammals observed at 161 sites. We
used this new information rather than the measured ambient dose rate (from
0.0146 to 225 µGy h−1) to statistically analyze the variation in
abundance for all observed species as established from tracks in the snow
in previous field studies.

All available knowledge related to relevant
confounding factors was considered in this re-analysis. This more realistic
approach led us to establish a correlation between changes in mammal
abundance with both the time elapsed since the last snowfall and the dose
rate to which they were exposed. This relationship was also observed when
distinguishing prey from predators.

The dose rates resulting from our
re-analysis are in agreement with exposure levels reported in the
literature as likely to induce physiological disorders in mammals that
could explain the decrease in their abundance in the CEZ. Our results
contribute to informing the Weight of Evidence approach to demonstrate
effects on wildlife resulting from its field exposure to ionizing
radiation.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-70699-3?s=09

August 25, 2020 Posted by | environment, radiation, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Cumulative exposure to ionising radiation from diagnostic imaging tests

August 23, 2020 Posted by | radiation, Spain | Leave a comment

Northern Europe: detecting radiation and where it comes from

August 22, 2020 Posted by | environment, EUROPE, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Bikini Atoll – food grown there is radioactive – but, it’s “technically habitable”!

Technically Habitable    The background radiation of the island has been found to be at normal levels, and even lower than that of some major US cities. While you could walk around on the island and suffer no real ill effects, living there is an entirely different story because of the aforementioned soil and subsequent food contamination.

Ironically for the islanders of Bikini Atoll, the word ‘bikini’ likely comes from ‘pikinni’ which, in the Marshallese language means ‘coconut place

The Radioactive Coconuts of Bikini Atoll, Beginning in 1946, a series of Atomic bombs were tested on and around the Marshall islands, of which Bikini Atoll is one, as both a means of testing and refining the incredibly destructive power demonstrated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki just a year earlier, as well as making a clear statement of US atomic superiority over the Russians.  Medium 21 Aug 20,  Danny Kane

For those that don’t know, Bikini Atoll was the US’ test site during the 1940s and 1950s for 23 separate Nuclear bombs.

Beginning in 1946, a series of Atomic bombs were tested on and around the Marshall islands, of which Bikini Atoll is one, as both a means of testing and refining the incredibly destructive power demonstrated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki just a year earlier, as well as making a clear statement of US atomic superiority over the Soviet Union.

The Micronesian inhabitants of Bikini Atoll were approached in 1946 by the US government and asked to re-locate while the tests were being carried out. They would be transported to Rongerik Atoll, which is about 6 times smaller than Bikini Atoll — it also has insufficient food and water supplies and was uninhabited at the time………..

The islanders on Rongerik Atoll were starving, the land their being far less fertile than their native Bikini. They were then moved to Kili Island. It was little improvement for the islanders. Relying on fishing for a large part of their diet, they found Kili, which has no lagoons and rough seas most of the year particularly difficult to survive on.

But on March 1st, 1954, the fate of Bikini Atoll was about to take a destructive turn. Ironically, the bomb that was detonated was one of the few not detonated on the Atoll, instead it was detonated on an artificial island 900m from Namu island. This was the infamous Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb. It exploded that day with the force of 15mt , far more than the 6mt that was expected. It was 750 times more powerful that the Fat Man bomb that levelled Nagasaki. It denoted with 2.5 times the expected yield and remains the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated by the US, equivalent to 15 million tonnes of TNT.

Appropriate precautions hadn’t been taken for such a large detonation, and so nuclear fallout rained down on Bikini Atoll, Rongelap Atoll and Rongerik Atoll. 20,000 people were affected by the Castle Bravo detonation and 15 islands and atolls were contaminated. People showed signs of acute radiation sickness, and, on Rongelap, 2 cm of nuclear ash blanketed the entire island. Children, unaware of the fallouts affects, began playing with the falling ash like snow.

Returning Home

Another 19 atomic bombs would be detonated on and around Bikini Atoll, the last one Juniper on July 22nd, 1954, almost 12 years to the day since the Baker detonationNow, the fight to return to Bikini Atoll really began. Struggling to survive on Kili Island, the islanders were eager to return home.

In spite of all we’d put it through Bikini Atoll had recovered from its years of abuse at the hands of the US. Having been bounced between various islands and atolls since the testing began, Kili had become their permeant home since 1948, but the islands desperately wanted to return home. It wouldn’t be until 1968 until they got the chance. President Lyndon B Johnson promised that the islanders could return, but an investigation by the Atomic Energy Commission found that the radiation levels in the coconut crab, an essential food source for the islanders, were far above normal and acceptable limits. As such, the islanders were forced to remain on Kili island.

Three families did move back in 1972, followed by others in 1987 despite later advice. Issues continued to plague the islanders though, with a boy who’d been born on Bikini Atoll dying from cancer caused by the radiation. In 1982, those that had returned would be evacuated for a second time when it was found that the top 15 inches of soil contained high concentrations of Caesium 137, which would then make its way into the various plants and fruits the islanders ate — and yes, even the coconuts were affected. This resulted in a high number of stillbirths, miscarriages and genetic abnormalities in the children born from those affected by the atomic tests conducted in and around Bikini Atoll. What’s more men were four times as likely to develop lung cancer on the island, women 60 times more likely develop cervical cancer

Over $150 million has been paid to the Bikini islanders as compensation and to reconstruct homes, facilities and institutions for the islanders, many of whom now live on Kili Island. The call to return to Bikini Atoll is still strong though and many point to the fact that the island is still technically habitable.

Technically Habitable

The background radiation of the island has been found to be at normal levels, and even lower than that of some major US cities. While you could walk around on the island and suffer no real ill effects, living there is an entirely different story because of the aforementioned soil and subsequent food contamination.

One proposed solution, and the one favoured by the islanders themselves, is to scrap the topsoil. The top 15 inches of Caesium 137 contaminated soil would be removed and replaced with potassium rich soil. The plants, preferring the potassium over the caesium, would quickly switch to that. While Caesium 137 would still be present in the earth, it would be absent from the food.

There are unfortunately a number of issues with this. Removing the topsoil would have a devasting effect on the ecology of the island and scientists have argued that it would effectively turn Bikini Atoll into a wasteland. This is to say nothing of the expense and the fact that the scraping of the topsoil would likely have to be repeated on occasion to ensure that Caesium 137 didn’t return to the food supply.

Right now, the islanders live on a majority imported food supply and it’s likely that they could continue to do this on Bikini Atoll. It is hardly a return to normal life on the home island though and if the islanders are forced into the same food import practices they’ve had since the 40s, many argue why return to the island at all. Many islanders seem willing to take the risk of destroying the island if it means that they can return their a potentially grow food once more like their ancestors of old.

And so, it remains to this day. The Bikini islanders have never returned home, instead being forced into limbo. Most live on Kili Island today and there are as many as 2,400 Bikini islanders, with fewer than 40 of them having been alive to witness the fires of nuclear fission all those years ago. A great many of them have never even visited their home island, which in recent years has become a tourist attraction. A great many diving tours are offered, especially of the sunken USS Arkansas and the USS Saratoga aircraft carrier, two of the many ships sunk in the testing, as well as the colossal crater left by Castle Bravo…………..

Ironically for the islanders of Bikini Atoll, the word ‘bikini’ likely comes from ‘pikinni’ which, in the Marshallese language means ‘coconut place’………https://medium.com/@dannykane97/the-radioactive-coconuts-of-bikini-atoll-9bfb568b8b07

 

August 22, 2020 Posted by | environment, radiation, Reference, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Hiroshima survivor explains why 75 years of radiation research is so important

Watch: Hiroshima survivor explains why 75 years of radiation research is so important   https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/08/watch-hiroshima-survivor-explains-why-75-years-radiation-research-so-important  By Joel GoldbergAug. 3, 2020 , 

Seventy-five years ago on 6 August, the United States dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Up to 120,000 people died in the bombing and its aftermath. Some of the survivors, known as hibakusha, would eventually enroll in the Radiation Effects Research Foundation’s Life Span Study, which continues to examine the effects of atomic radiation on the human body. The study’s findings have been the basis for radiation safety standards around the world, ranging from power plants to hospitals. Decades of archival footage and images, survivor  drawings, and the testimony of research participant Kunihiko Iida convey the kind of misery that results from an atomic bombing—as well as the message of peace and humanity that can result from scientific research.

August 10, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

“..clear evidence of excess cancer risk from low dose ionizing radiation…..”              

DCEG 13th July 2020, An international team of experts in the study of cancer risks associated with low-dose ionizing radiation published the monograph, “Epidemiological studies of low-dose ionizing radiation and cancer:  Summary bias assessment and meta-analysis,” in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on July 13, 2020. It is well established that ionizing radiation causes cancer through direct DNA damage. The general public are exposed to low doses of ionizing radiation from medical exposures like computed tomography (CT) scans, naturally occurring radiation (emitted from bedrock with the earth’s crust and cosmic rays emitted by the sun), and occupational exposures to medical, aircrew and nuclear workers.

A key question for low-dose exposures is how much of the damage can be repaired and whether other mechanisms, including inflammation, also play a role. This critical question has been long debated for radiation protection standards. After combing data from 26 epidemiological studies the authors found clear evidence of excess cancer
risk from low dose ionizing radiation: 17 of 22 studies showed risk for solid cancers and 17 of 20 studies showed risk for leukemia. The summary risk estimates were statistically significant and the magnitude of risk(per unit dose) was consistent with studies of populations exposed to higher doses.  https://dceg.cancer.gov/news-events/news/2020/low-dose-monograph?s=09

July 27, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75 years ago are still claiming lives and causing suffering.

July 25, 2020 Posted by | Japan, PERSONAL STORIES, radiation, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New CT scan method lowers radiation exposure

New CT scan method lowers radiation exposure, Science Daily 

Date:  July 23, 2020
Source:  University College London
Summary:
A CT scan technique that splits a full X-ray beam into thin beamlets can deliver the same quality of image at a much reduced radiation dose, according to a new study. The technique, demonstrated on a small sample in a micro CT scanner, could potentially be adapted for medical scanners and used to reduce the amount of radiation millions of people are exposed to each year.

A CT scan technique that splits a full X-ray beam into thin beamlets can deliver the same quality of image at a much reduced radiation dose, according to a new UCL study.

The technique, demonstrated on a small sample in a micro CT scanner, could potentially be adapted for medical scanners and used to reduce the amount of radiation millions of people are exposed to each year.

A computerised tomography (CT) scan is a form of X-ray that creates very accurate cross-sectional views of the inside of the body. It is used to guide treatments and diagnose cancers and other diseases.

Past studies have suggested CT scans may cause a small increase in lifelong cancer risk because their high-energy wavelengths can damage DNA. Although cells repair this damage, sometimes these repairs are imperfect, leading to DNA mutations in later years……… https://www.sciencedaily.com/

July 25, 2020 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Plutonium particles from Fukushima a bigger problem than previously thought

Plutonium Particles Scattered 200km From Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Site, Scientists Say   https://theswaddle.com/plutonium-particles-scattered-200km-from-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-site-scientists-say/, By Aditi Murti, Jul 22, 2020  Plutonium fragments may have spread more than 200km via caesium microparticle compounds released during the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan. These findings are according to research done on the region’s soil samples, published in Science of The Total Environment, by an international group of scientists.
The Fukushima Nuclear disaster occurred when a massive tsunami crashed over the plant’s walls, causing three operating nuclear reactors to overheat and melt down. Simultaneously, reactions within the plant generated hydrogen gas that exploded as soon as it escaped from containment. During the disaster, caesium — a volatile fission product created in nuclear fuel — combined with other reactor materials to create caesium-rich microparticles (CsMPs) that were ejected from the plant.
CsMPs are incredibly radioactive, and scientists study them in an attempt to both measure their environmental impact and to gain insight into the nature and extent of the Fukushima disaster. In one such research process, scientists discovered tiny uranium and plutonium fragments within these micro-particles. The range of plutonium particle spread was previously estimated at 50km, and this research changes that number to 230km. This discovery is vital as it provides a reason to extend testing for plutonium poisoning in human-inhabited regions further than before, and helps scientists understand how to decommission the nuclear reactors in the plant.   Decommissioning nuclear plants is extremely important after they cease to function, in order to reduce residual radioactivity in the region to safe levels.
With respect to immediate implications for health, scientists note that radioactivity levels of the plutonium are similar to global counts from nuclear weapons tests. While this means that radioactivity levels may not pose an urgent, critical danger, scientists also note that plutonium poisoning in food items remains a threat. If plutonium were ingested — a possibility in this region — it could create isotopes that significantly increase radioactivity doses, and poison the body
Due to high radioactivity levels, humans are still unable to enter the Fukushima plant nine years after the disaster. Yet, scientists continue to work towards safely decommissioning the reactors within the plant from the outskirts.

July 23, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, radiation | Leave a comment

Fukushima may have scattered plutonium widely

Fukushima may have scattered plutonium widely, Physics World 20 Jul 2020   Tiny fragments of plutonium may have been carried more than 200 km by caesium particles released following the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan in 2011. So says an international group of scientists that has made detailed studies of soil samples at sites close to the damaged reactors. The researchers say the findings shed new light on conditions inside the sealed-off reactors and should aid the plant’s decommissioning……..

Mapping plutonium spread

To date, plutonium from the accident has been detected as far as 50 km from the damaged reactors. Researchers had previously thought that this plutonium, like the caesium, was released after evaporating from the fuel. But the new analysis instead points to some of it having escaped from the stricken plant in particulate form within fragments of fuel “captured” by the CsMPs…….

Implications for decommissioning

The researchers note that previous studies have shown that plutonium and caesium are distributed differently in the extended area around Fukushima, which suggests that not all CsMPs contain plutonium. However, they say that the fact plutonium is found in some of these particles implies that it could have been transported as far afield as the caesium – up to 230 km from the Fukushima plant.

As regards any threat to health, they note that radioactivity levels of the emitted plutonium are comparable with global counts from nuclear weapons tests. Such low concentrations, they say, “may not have significant health effects”, but they add that if the plutonium were ingested, the isotopes that make it up could yield quite high effective doses.

With radiation levels still too high for humans to enter the damaged reactors, the researchers argue that the fuel fragments they have uncovered provide precious direct information on what happened during the meltdown and the current state of the fuel debris. In particular, Utsunomiya points out that the composition of the debris, just like that of normal nuclear fuel, varies on the very smallest scales. This information, he says, will be vital when it comes to decommissioning the reactors safely, given the potential risk of inhaling dust particles containing uranium or plutonium.

The research is reported in Science of the Total Environment.   https://physicsworld.com/a/fukushima-may-have-scattered-plutonium-widely/

July 21, 2020 Posted by | - plutonium, Fukushima continuing, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Radioactive Contamination of Europe

Free News 17th July 2020, An international consortium of scientists has specified a map of
concentrations of cesium and plutonium radionuclides in soils in
Switzerland and several neighboring countries. Using an archive of European
soil samples, a team of researchers led by Catherine Meisburger from the
University of Basel was able to track down the sources of radioactive
fallout between 1960 and 2009.

This study was published in the journal
Scientific Reports. On the new map of radioactive contamination of the
soil, there are not only Switzerland but also several neighboring countries
– France, Italy, Germany and Belgium. The map is based on a new
calculation method, namely the use of the ratio of cesium to plutonium.
These two radionuclides were released during military nuclear tests in the
1960s. Additional cesium fell into some countries during the Chernobyl
accident in 1986.

https://freenews.live/a-new-map-of-radioactive-contamination-of-the-soil-with-cesium-and-plutonium/

July 20, 2020 Posted by | environment, EUROPE, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

New fast test to detect ionising radiation

Scientists create a speedy finger-prick test to scan for radiation exposure in mice, Stat, By JULIET ISSELBACHERJULY 15, 2020  
Researchers have developed a simple finger-prick test that scans a single drop of blood to rapidly determine whether the body has been exposed to toxic levels of radiation.

Catastrophic radiological events — like nuclear detonations — can threaten massive populations with acute radiation syndrome, which wreaks havoc on the gastrointestinal system and destroys bone marrow, leading to infections and internal bleeding. In preparation for the possibility of such a public health disaster, scientists at Ohio State have devised a speedy and scalable method for estimating radiation exposure. They published their proof-of-concept research, conducted in mice, Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine.

Timing is key when it comes to assessing radiation dosage in members of an exposed population. Victims above a certain dose threshold require immediate and aggressive treatment, such as a blood transfusion or cytokine therapy.

“Early detection will save lives,” said Naduparambil Jacob, senior author of the study and a molecular biologist at Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The current “gold standard” test for radiation exposure is a dicentric chromosome assay, which looks for hallmarks of radiation-induced DNA damage. The problem is that this test takes around three or four days to yield results — a waiting period that can make it harder for clinicians to know how to proceed and can potentially jeopardize patient outcomes.
“If it takes you four days to get the result, then it’s not helpful in immediate management,” said C. Norman Coleman, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute who was not involved with the study. “The idea of getting some kind of number pretty quickly that tells you what you need to do is useful for the medical system and also for the patient.”

The test Jacob’s team developed has the capability to turn out a number within hours……….   https://www.statnews.com/2020/07/15/radiation-syndrome-exposure-test/

July 15, 2020 Posted by | radiation | Leave a comment