nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

In remote Asia, solar power is transforming the lives of women

Climate News Network 1st Aug 2017, A solar revolution is transforming the lives of women in the remotest parts of Asia. They no longer have to wait decades to be connected to a power grid but are able today to exploit the huge potential of the abundant sunshine.

In societies where women normally play a subservient role and spend much of their time on menial chores, solar businesses are creating a new breed of female entrepreneur who are bringing electricity to their villages.

In the last two years two schemes designed to encourage women to bring the solar revolution to parts of rural India and Nepal have won international Ashden Awards, which bring the organisations involved
£20,000 (US$26,360) each in prize money and a lot of guidance to improve
and extend their businesses. http://climatenewsnetwork.net/women-take-control-solar-revolution/

August 4, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, social effects, women | Leave a comment

Ionising radiation’s cancer effect far greater in females than in males

The highest incidence of cancer, looking across 60 years, was among those who were children when they were exposed. This is not news. The surprise is that in this group, females suffered twice as much cancer across their lives than did males.

The difference between male and female, with males more resistant to radiation harm, is measurable in all the age-of-exposure cohorts, even into old age

For every two men exposed in adulthood who died of cancer, three women died of cancer

Females Exposed to Nuclear Radiation Are Far Likelier Than Males to Suffer Harm http://www.passblue.com/2017/07/05/females-exposed-to-nuclear-radiation-are-far-likelier-than-males-to-suffer-harm/, by Mary Olson • July 5, 2017 • The new nuclear weapons ban treaty, to be most likely adopted by the United Nations General Assembly this week, arises from hope for our future. The negotiations for the treaty have elevated new information about the damage from ionizing radiation to the world stage. That is exactly where it needs to be heard.

More cancers are derived from radiation than national regulators now report. They may not be aware that both age-at-exposure and one’s sex determine how much harm we suffer from radiation.

Women exposed to ionizing radiation during childhood suffer from cancer at a rate 10 times higher than predicted by traditional models used by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The models assume that “Reference Man” represents us all. Invented to simplify calculations, Reference Man is 25 to 30 years old, weighs 154 pounds, is 5 feet 6 inches tall, “Caucasian and has a Western European or North American” lifestyle.

There has never been a pause as more than 2,000 atomic tests since 1945 have been spreading radioactivity worldwide and hundreds of nuclear factories have proliferated. No one asked if Reference Man is an appropriate stand-in for all of humanity and radiation harm.

It turns out that adult males are hurt by radiation, but they are significantly more resistant than their mothers, sisters, wives or daughters. Use of Reference Man masks gendered impacts and therefore systematically underreports radiation harm.

My first paper on radiation, published in 2011, “Atomic Radiation Is More Harmful to Women,” answers a simple question from a woman who raised her hand at one of my public lectures in North Carolina a year earlier, asking, “Does radiation exposure harm me more than a man?” She did not mean in pregnancy; she meant her own body.

I was shocked. That was 2010; in decades of work on radioactive waste policy, I had never heard of gender as a factor in radiation harm. I could not even attempt an answer. When the literature yielded nothing, my mentor, Rosalie Bertell, suggested I look at the numbers myself. Bertell was a mathematician and a recipient of a Right Livelihood Award, which is called an alternative to the Nobel prizes. Bertell devoted her life to communities hurt by radiation, including the ones she pointed me to in order to examine the data.

Only one large data set includes all ages and both genders exposed together to a single flash of gamma and neutron radiation: the survivors of the US nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. They survived in shelters or other shielding amid the first horrific years. Sixty years of data on cancer incidences and fatality among the survivors — called the Hibakusha — was published by the US National Academy of Science in 2006.

I regret that this data even exists — it was my government that used the first nuclear bombs on cities full of people, and I certainly wish they had not. I nonetheless use the numbers. They hold a message for humanity: gender matters in the atomic age. That does not make it right.

The highest incidence of cancer, looking across 60 years, was among those who were children when they were exposed. This is not news. The surprise is that in this group, females suffered twice as much cancer across their lives than did males.

The difference between male and female, with males more resistant to radiation harm, is measurable in all the age-of-exposure cohorts, even into old age — the difference between genders is smaller when adults are exposed rather than when they are children.

For every two men exposed in adulthood who died of cancer, three women died of cancer. A 50 percent difference in the rate of cancer death from radiation exposure in adulthood is not insignificant to most female readers! Indeed, this finding is changing my own behavior in fieldwork.

The question, Why is gender a factor?, is waiting for researchers to tackle. A team lead by David Richardson in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 2016 showed that the A-bomb cancer data mirrors the outcomes of many smaller radiation exposures over time, adding up to the same exposure level as the Japanese survivors.

We are all getting these smaller radiation exposures.

The 10-females-to-1-male ratio cited here is the comparison of cancer outcomes from the youngest female survivors versus the 25- to 30-year-old males: the group that underpins Reference Man. This dramatic order-of-magnitude difference in biological research is like a siren blaring: pay attention!

It is time to retire Reference Man. Any level that is set for public exposure to radiation should be based on little girls. When we protect them, everyone is better protected. Unless we protect girls, our collective future is at stake.

The radiation and gender “siren”  has not been heard widely, but it has been heard. In 2014, I was honored to present my findings at the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons and exhilarated to read the draft treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, where one basis for the need for the new treaty is the disproportionate harm to women and girls from ionizing radiation.

The treaty falls within the jurisdiction of humanitarian law, which includes the most human activity of all: making babies, from which flow future generations. For these countless people to come, I celebrate that the news on radiation has been heard at the UN as it takes the next vital step of voting on a new nuclear-ban treaty.

It is a sturdy seedling of hope.

July 10, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, women | Leave a comment

Angry reaction to nuclear power plant’s bikini contest for selecting female interns

Fury as nuclear power plant holds sexy bikini contest to pick new female intern, A NUCLEAR power station has sparked anger after holding a raunchy bikini contest to choose its new female intern. Express UK , By TOM PARFITT,  Jun 27, 2017 The Temelin Power Station, in the Czech Republic, launched the competition to recruit young women based solely on their bikini bodies.

Officials selected 10 female candidates and then organised a bizarre photoshoot in one of the station’s cooling towers.

The sexy shots were then posted online, with fans asked to vote for the hottest to get the internship job.

But bosses were forced to apologise and scrap the unique recruitment process after a social media backlash.

Human rights lawyer Petra Havlikova said: “The competition is absolutely outside the bounds of ethics.

“In 2017, I find it incredible that someone could gain a professional advantage for their good looks.”…..

June 28, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, women | Leave a comment

Women heading the Ban the Bomb movement

 http://thebulletin.org/women-and-ban-bomb-movement, Ray Acheson, 15 JUNE 2017This week at the United Nations in New York City, governments, international organizations and civil society groups are gathering to resume negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons. And women are at the forefront of this effort—as they have been at the forefront of the anti-nuclear resistance since the beginning of the nuclear age.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) —where I work as director—was one of the first civil society groups to condemn the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (The term “civil society” gets used a lot and has many different definitions, but is generally accepted to mean groups working in the interests of citizens but outside of government or business; some examples include charities and non-governmental organizations such as the Red Cross.) Women were leaders in the campaign to ban nuclear weapon testing in the United States, using powerful symbols such as a collection of baby teeth to show evidence of radioactive contamination. Women led the Nuclear Freeze movement in the 1980s, calling on the Soviet Union and the United States to stop the arms race. Now, women are the leading edge of the movement to ban nuclear weapons in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

When the three-week-long negotiations at the UN resume on June 15, women will be continuing this tradition, both in the conference room and on the streets. As part of its efforts to ban nuclear weapons, the WILPF is organizing the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb, on June 17, to be held in mid-town Manhattan. Other events will be held across the globe to show solidarity with the march, in places as far apart as Australia and Scotland. The event has over 30 sponsors and endorsers from around the world.

In my opinion, the process of banning nuclear weapons serves another purpose as well: It acts as a challenge to much of the existing discourse, which has been distinctly patriarchal in tone.

In fact, much of the opposition to the nuclear ban process has been highly gendered. Those who talk about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and call for the prohibition of weapons of mass destruction are accused of being divisive, polarizing, ignorant, and emotional. Meanwhile, opponents to the ban say that they support “reasonable,” “realistic,” “practical” or “pragmatic” steps, and call anything else “irrational” and “irresponsible.”

Many women may recognize this rhetorical assault. When a certain type of man—think Donald Trump—wants to assert his power and dominance and make women (or other men) feel small and marginalized, he often accuses them of being emotional, overwrought, relentless, repetitive, or irrational. This technique has been employed for as long as gender hierarchies have existed.

In the case of the ban treaty, this approach links caring about humanitarian concerns to being weak, and asserts that “real men” have to “protect” their countries. It not only suggests that caring about the use of nuclear weapons is spineless and silly, but also implies that the pursuit of disarmament is an unrealistic, irrational, and even effeminate objective.

Of course, the fact that masculinity is equated across so many cultures with the willingness to use force and violence is a social phenomenon, not a biological one. Boys come to learn to define themselves as men through violence. The way that norms of masculinity such as toughness, strength, and bravado are displayed in the media, at home, and in school teaches boys to exercise dominance through violent acts. Boys learn to think of violence as a form of communication.

Nuclear weapons are themselves loaded with symbolism—of potency, protection and the power to “deter” through material “strength.” For many, such symbolism obscures the real point of the existence of these arms—to destroy—and their horrendous effects.

Nuclear weapons are not just symbolically gendered. Women face unique devastation from the effects of the use of nuclear weapons, such as the impacts of radiation on their reproductive and maternal health. Women who have survived these radioactive effects also face unique social challenges; they are often treated as pariahs in their communities.

Consequently, denying the rationality of those that support a nuclear weapons ban is also a denying of the lived experience of everyone who has ever suffered from the use or testing of nuclear weapons.

This is why it’s essential to ensure gender diversity in negotiations, and why it’s important to include a gender perspective in those negotiations. To celebrate the nuclear ban—and women’s leadership in achieving it—there will be the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb.

This post is part of Ban Brief, a series of updates on the historic 2017 negotiations to create a treaty banning nuclear weapons. Ban Brief is written by Tim Wright, Asia-Pacific director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and Ray Acheson, director of Reaching Critical Will.

June 16, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war, women | Leave a comment

Women face up to climate change threat, some choosing not to have children

climate-doomsdayWomen are breaking the climate taboo and questioning whether to have kids in such a world, Fusion, By Renee Lewis, 20 Dec 16, Climate change has caused a reproductive justice crisis, activists say, as its projected impacts lead some to question how they could have a baby with such an uncertain future.

Nearly 200 nations came together to sign a climate treaty in Paris last year, but even their collective efforts to reduce emissions will not be enough to keep the planet at a safe level of temperature rise.

President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to expand fossil fueldevelopment, meanwhile, scientists say the world may have entered its sixth mass extinction event.

 All of these things point to a precarious future for our species—a business-as-usual scenario will mean some six feet of sea level rise and some regions of the world becoming uninhabitable or disappearing under rising seas by the end of the century.

With little time to spare, many are trying to take matters into their own hands and consider their options. A group of 21 youth recently sued the federal government for its role in creating the climate crisis and for leaving them to inherit a polluted planet—calling it generational injustice.

Others worry more about future generations.

“Decision makers have repeatedly put big business and fossil fuels over a future for our children,” said Meghan Kallman, co-founder of Conceivable Future. The women-led network hopes to bring awareness to the threat climate change poses to reproductive justice, and to end U.S. subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

Kallman and co-founder Josephine Ferorelli brought up a taboo question—how this affects a person’s decision on whether or not to have kids.

“How does this affect people of childbearing age?” Kallman asked.

The response they’ve received has been overwhelming, with many people commenting on articles written about the group: ‘That’s my reason!’

Women as well as men are consciously deciding not to have children, knowing that their kids could inherit a future that is unlivable.

“People are still shocked when they ask why I don’t have children, and I tell them ‘for environmental reasons,’” Shannon O., 38 years old,said in a testimonial for Conceivable Future. Having a child, especially in America where consumption levels are so high, adds another carbon footprint. For example, an American woman who makes lifestyle changes such as recycling and driving a fuel-efficient car saves almost 500 tons of CO2 emissions in her lifetime. But choosing to not have a child would dwarf that, preventing almost 10,000 tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere………

The testimonies are part of Conceivable Future’s strategy to build a conversation—and a movement—around this question. Ferorelli said they hope the movement will become powerful enough to enact change at the local level—especially with Trump’s statements on expanding the fossil fuel industry.

“Now more than ever, we need to organize at the grassroots level, because the possibility of federal action is pretty severely limited,” Ferorelli said.

The group encourages anyone who’s interested in talking about these issues to host a house party. There, they can discuss these often taboo topics openly in a comfortable environment.

Across the country, people have hosted house parties and sent in nearly 70 testimonies…….. http://fusion.net/story/376997/climate-change-causes-people-to-reconsider-having-kids/

December 24, 2016 Posted by | climate change, USA, women | Leave a comment

Medical radiation poses risks for nurses

text-from-the-archivesFor patients, unnecessary procedures (usually imaging procedures) and radiation dosing errors represent the bulk of risk from medical radiation, whereas incidental, unintended radiation exposure is the primary concern for nurses and other health care workers…

Radiation safety for patients—and nurses   Oncology Nurse Advisor, Bryant medical-radiationFurlow, October 26, 2011  Diagnostic and therapeutic radiation have prolonged and improved millions of patients’ lives, and represent indispensable and increasingly sophisticated tools in clinical oncology. But medical radiation’s gifts have come at the potential cost of unintended irradiation of patients and health care workers and increased lifetime risks of secondary cancers. This concern has grown with improving patient survival times, particularly among pediatric cancer patients. Continue reading

December 7, 2016 Posted by | health, Reference, USA, women | Leave a comment

“Just Mums” have become a powerful lobbying force for action on radioactive wastes.

Just moms” have become a surprisingly powerful force, successfully lobbying the state health department to challenge some of the federal government’s findings that downplayed the site’s risks,

Just Moms continue to rally the public to demand tests from the state. The women also took trips, uninvited, to the state offices and asked for meetings so they explain why they believed the nuclear waste posed a threat. The aggressive community lobbying appeared to pay off: the state health department agreed to test the site for evidence that the radioactive waste has spread, and late last year, the Missouri State Attorney general finally released the findings. Among the disturbing conclusions: possible radioactive waste has in fact been found “off site” in the nearby foliage. What’s more, groundwater wells outside the perimeter of the landfill were found to be contaminated with carcinogens like benzene in “high concentrations,” the state said

Community reacts to STL County’s emergency plan for looming #WestLakeLandfill disaster

Community reacts to STL County’s emergency plan for looming #WestLakeLandfill disaster Two Stay-at-Home Moms Are Waging War Against the Feds Over Illegal Toxic Waste Broadly, by Amy Martyn JUN 1 2016  https://twitter.com/justmomsstl

What do you do when there’s 10,000 barrels of illegally dumped uranium two miles away from your home and the government tells you not to worry about it?

Dawn Chapman and her family are stuck in an absurd and depressing situation: Less than two miles from the Chapmans’ neighborhood in Bridgeton, Missouri, sits a landfill where radioactive uranium was illegally dumped by a government contractor forty years ago. Since the Environmental Protection Agency is not required to warn people of such things, most people in the area—including many elected officials—knew nothing about the dump for decades.

“It would be great to be able to leave this area, but we couldn’t honestly sell our house right now, ” Chapman says. “Even ethically, with what’s going on, I wouldn’t want to sell my house to another family.”

Karen Nickel learned about the dump site during a town hall with the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps have successfully removed illegally dumped nuclear waste from other sites across the nation but because this particular site, West Lake Landfill, is under the control of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Corps does not have the authority or funding to conduct a clean-up here. Nickel and other mothers are fearful about what health problem such close proximity to radioactive waste could cause their children. “A lot of their children are coming forward with cancers and such, a couple of my daughter’s friends have brain tumors,” Nickel says……

In the past four years, the “Just moms” have become a surprisingly powerful force, successfully lobbying the state health department to challenge some of the federal government’s findings that downplayed the site’s risks, revealing possible inconsistencies in public statements made by the EPA, and pissing off both the EPA and landfill operator Republic Services. Ed Smith, the policy director for the non-profit Missouri Coalition for the Environment is an admirer of the women. “There’s a lot those moms have done that wouldn’t have been done otherwise,” he says.

The first major success for Just Moms came when Karen and Dawn sniffed a foul odor in their neighborhood. The landfill owners told them that it was due to a “smoldering event,” created by underground gasses that can ignite some of the landfill garbage. The landfill, the moms were told, was in it’s third year of a sustained underground trash smolder, something that’s common among underground landfills—but landfills are typically not next to tons of uranium. Nevertheless, officials assured the moms that a limestone wall between the uranium and the trash would keep the fire from reaching the toxic materials. There were two landfills, the operators insisted: one for nuclear waste, one for trash……….

Chapman and Nickel countered the paid lobbyists with their own attack. For one week in 2014, they focused their sites on United States Congressman Roy Blunt, their federal representative who had previously been publicly silent about the landfill. From their Facebook page:

“EVERY DAY from 8am-4pm please call his WASHINGTON DC office. Make it a part of your daily routine!!!!,” the moms urged supporters in an online post. “Emails are good, but 2,000 phone calls everyday will make a bigger impact!!!”

The effort worked……..

Just Moms continue to rally the public to demand tests from the state. The women also took trips, uninvited, to the state offices and asked for meetings so they explain why they believed the nuclear waste posed a threat. The aggressive community lobbying appeared to pay off: the state health department agreed to test the site for evidence that the radioactive waste has spread, and late last year, the Missouri State Attorney general finally released the findings. Among the disturbing conclusions: possible radioactive waste has in fact been found “off site” in the nearby foliage. What’s more, groundwater wells outside the perimeter of the landfill were found to be contaminated with carcinogens like benzene in “high concentrations,” the state said…….. https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/two-stay-at-home-moms-are-waging-war-against-the-feds-over-illegal-toxic-waste

June 3, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, wastes, women | Leave a comment

What Are The Public Health and Environmental Impacts of Radiation Exposure?

highly-recommendedCancer, Coverups and Contamination: The Real Cost of Nuclear Energ27th September 2015 Andreas Toupadakis Ph.D Contributing Writer for Wake Up World 

“………Another important factor in the equation of the cost of nuclear power is public health. This factor is downplayed if BREAST-CANCERnot completely ignored in most cost analyses so, while the corporations continue to benefit, the risks of nuclear power generation are passed onto the unaware public. However, informed citizens know that cancer is devastating their families and ask why. Let’s look at some facts about breast cancer, among so many other kinds.

Breast cancer kills 46,000 women in the U.S. alone, each year. It is well known that cancer rates depend on the degree of exposure to carcinogens. But what are the carcinogens that cause cancer?

Physician, author and activist Dr. Janette D. Sherman MD is a practicing physician who specializes in internal medicine and toxicology with an emphasis on chemicals and nuclear radiation that cause illnesses, including cancer and birth defects. In her fully-documented book “Life’s Delicate Balance: The Causes and Prevntion of Breast Cancer” (New York and London: Taylor and Francis, 2000), Dr. Sherman explains an established cause of breast and other cancers: ionizing radiation from x-rays and from nuclear power plant emissions and the radioactive fallout from atomic bomb tests. Dr. Sherman also asks a simple question, which medical and nuclear insiders are otherwise unable to answer;

“How [else] can one explain the doubling, since 1940, of a woman’s likelihood of developing breast cancer, and also increasing in tandem with prostate and childhood cancers?”

How is it known that ionizing radiation in our environment – that is, in air, water, soil and food – plays an important role in causing breast cancer? Because when women from their non-industrial homelands move to nuclear and industrial countries, their breast cancer rate inevitably goes up. In 1984, a study of Mormon families in Utah downwind from the nuclear tests in Nevada reported elevated numbers of breast cancers. Girls who survived the bombing of Hiroshima are also now dying in excessive numbers from breast cancer. There are also a number of ecological studies showing that women living near nuclear power plants suffer from elevated rates of breast cancers.

It is not a secret that all nuclear power plants leak radioactivity routinely into local air and water, and that any exposure to ionizing radiation increases a woman’s danger of breast cancer. Clearly there is an epidemic of cancer that is sweeping the western world, and the only way to prevent the nuclear industry from further contributing to this problem is to end nuclear power permanently. This is also the conclusion of the ECRR 2010 recommendations report

“The Committee concludes that the present cancer epidemic is a consequence of exposures to global atmospheric weapons fallout in the period 1959-63 and that more recent releases of radioisotopes to the environment from the operation of the nuclear fuel cycle will result in significant increases in cancer and other types of ill health.”

But is breast cancer from nuclear power plants the only cost of nuclear power to public health? How about dozens of other illnesses? Studies have clearly linked radiation exposure to increased rates of childhood cancers, thyroid damage, skin complaints, endocrine disruption, pregnancy issues (such as miscarriage) and emotional trauma, which itself negatively impacts the body.

“In 2007, the latest of a long series of childhood leukemia studies was published: this one from the German Childhood Cancer Registry, showing a statistically significant effect on child cancer in those living within 5km of nuclear plants (KiKK 2007). The size of this study, and the affiliation of the authors, made it impossible to conclude that this was anything but proof of a causal relationship between childhood cancer and nuclear plant exposures to radioactive releases…

“The Committee has examined the considerable weight of evidence relating to the existence of childhood cancer clusters near nuclear sites, including evidence from aggregations of nuclear sites in the UK and Germany and has concluded that it is exposure to internal radiation from discharges from the sites which is the cause of the illness.”………http://wakeup-world.com/2015/09/27/cancer-coverups-and-contamination-the-real-cost-of-nuclear-energy/

September 28, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, radiation, Reference, women | Leave a comment

Women not equally involved in expert discussions on #nuclear disarmament

nuclear-and-womenIn the debate towards nuclear disarmament, where are all the women?, Institute for Security Studies  26 August 2015 This year marks seven decades since the use of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Commemorating this devastating event raises critical questions about efforts to eliminate and curb the spread of nuclear weapons. Among the many debates, there is, however, one pertinent question that is often overlooked: where are all the women?

On the face of it, contexts where nuclear weapons and efforts at disarmament are typically discussed appear to be gender neutral – that is, allowing for the equal participation of women and men.

Organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) have come a long way in creating a gender-equitable space in the peace and security arena. The AU, for instance, has dedicated this year to African women’s empowerment and development. Yet, are women and men equally involved in initiatives and forums for eliminating and curbing the spread of nuclear weapons?

An analysis of the level of participation of women and men in two particular forums revealed some compelling findings. The analyses were based on data collected from the lists of participants available online from the Review Conferences of Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT); and the United Nations Programme of Fellowships on Disarmament………..

These analyses make it clear that women and men are differently involved in initiatives, discussions and negotiations in arenas for curbing and eliminating nuclear weapons. There are other factors that might explain the underrepresentation of women, intended or unintended, in nuclear weapons platforms that merit further investigation. Which factors, for example, might dissuade women from considering a career in a field related to disarmament and arms control? Is there a marked shortfall of women with the relevant expertise, and if so, why? Continue reading

August 31, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, women | 1 Comment

Medical science’s blind spot about the causes of cancer, especially about ionising radiation

These days, our science is often directed by funding, and funding increasingly is directed by large corporations whose incentives are to increase profit. This research emphasis leads to a focus on tertiary treatment in high-tech healthcare centers, while blind spots develop about the causes of illness, especially environmental ones, including PCBs, heavy metals, radiation, and pesticides.

Lies, damn lies, and radiation health, A Prosperous Way Down by Mary Logan  2013,Recent news about Hanford leaks, a flurry of news surrounding the two-year anniversary of Fukushima, and today’s news about breast cancer rates in the US center my thoughts on blind spots in health research. I will use ionizing radiation again as an illustration of environmental linkages to disease, beginning with the trigger for this post, which was a new World Health Organization (WHO) report. Previous posts about nuclear hazards are linked here and here.

This week, the WHO published a preemptive report on Fukushima, only two years after the disaster. The WHO concluded that “for the general population inside and outside of Japan, the predicted risks are low and no observable increases in cancer rates above baseline rates are anticipated.” This conclusion is from the same organization that has been muzzled on the topic of ionizing radiation contamination of our environment since 1959, when they agreed to misinform the public in subordination to the global nuclear governing body, the IAEA, to protect civil and military nuclear interests.  If you believe that Fukushima has not increased background risk and there will be no increases in cancer rates, I have a bridge to sell you. Mark Twain’s maxim about lies, damn lies, and statistics can be applied here. The point of this post is to examine western medicine’s epistemology of disease, specifically examining how we select the risk factors that are involved in cancer and other diseases.

Epistemology is the study of the nature and scope of knowledge. Our society lacks a broad understanding of how ionizing radiation behaves once it is accidentally released into the environment. There are two main reasons for this. Bednarz (2010) describes Mitroff and Silvers’ discussion of Type 3 errors, where we unintentionally solve the wrong problems through our narrow worldview and reductionist focus in science, and Type 4 errors, where we intentionally solve the wrong problems, because we are pursuing goals such as profit that subverts the science. In our western system of medical research, we commit both Type 3 and Type 4 errors as a result of our narrow worldview and our economic mandate for profit and growth. These type 3 and 4 errors result in blind spots, especially regarding environmental linkages to disease.

In another medical report this week, a new epidemiological study of breast cancer reports increasing rates of breast cancer in young women (Johnson, Chien, & Bleyer, 2013). The pattern of increased incidence in younger patients would be compatible with the epidemiology of radiation-caused cancers, which are more common in the young who have faster cell division/turnover. The increased incidence could also be compatible with many other accumulating environmental toxins.

“The number of American women ages 25 to 39 diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer — which has already spread to other organs by the time it’s found — rose about 3.5% a year from 2000 to 2009, according to a study in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association. The trend began in the 1970s, although the most rapid increases occurred in about the last decade, the study says. The study doesn’t provide any clues about what might be driving the increase, says study author Rebecca Johnson, a pediatric and adolescent oncologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital. . . .

The number of women in this age range diagnosed with advanced disease rose from about 250 a year in 1976 to about 850 a year in 2009, Johnson says. The largest increases were in the youngest women, from ages 25 to 34, the study says. There were also slight increases in metastatic diagnoses among women ages 40 to 54, but no increase in older women” (USA Today, 2/27/13).

Western medicine’s emphasis on treatment and pharmaceuticals, with abandonment of science that is focused on prevention and risk factors in fields such as epidemiology, public health, and environmental medicine points to reductionist science and the influence of money in directing the focus of research. Recently, Dr. Susan Love said that  “. . . her experience [of a recent diagnosis of acute myelogenous leukemia] has emboldened her in her quest to focus on the causes of disease rather than new drugs to treat it.” This aha! moment from a well-known breast cancer researcher illustrates our blind focus on research oriented towards treatment with increasingly costly drugs that may not cure.These days, our science is often directed by funding, and funding increasingly is directed by large corporations whose incentives are to increase profit. This research emphasis leads to a focus on tertiary treatment in high-tech healthcare centers, while blind spots develop about the causes of illness, especially environmental ones, including PCBs, heavy metals, radiation, and pesticides. In Love’s case, her leukemia is even more likely to be attributable to radiation exposure than other diseases. Strontium-90 is a bone-seeker, playing havoc with bone marrow. Should we be focusing on and funding genetic testing and treatment as the future of medicine, or should we be widening our view to encompass better science about preventive care and attention to burgeoning environmental risk factors? Especially since the cost of healthcare in America is now at 18% of GDP, and rising without brakes.http://prosperouswaydown.com/epistemology-radiation-health/

August 7, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, women | Leave a comment

Near nuclear power stations, breast cancer rates are 5 times higher

BREAST-CANCERBreast Cancer Rates Skyrocket Near Nuclear Power Plants http://naturalsociety.com/breast-cancer-rates-skyrocket-near-nuclear-power-plants/ by Robert Harrington
 June 26, 2015    Rates as much as 5x higher A scientific research paper in Great Britain asserted that breast cancer rates increased to 5x the normal rate for women who lived near one of three nuclear power plants that they studied. The two others nuclear power plants doubled the incidence for those women living downwind from the reactors.

For decades the American public has been assured that there is very little chance that nuclear radiation escapes from the normal operation of a nuclear power plant. Yes, there may be catastrophic mishaps like Three Mile Island, or Chernobyl, or Fukushima, but absent those once-in-a-decade nuclear disasters, the people living near these plants have nothing to worry about … until now.

“Women living downwind from nuclear power plants are at five times greater risk of developing breast cancer, experts have warned.” [1]

The entire nuclear power industry was launched on the premise that they could be constructed so as to safely contain any and all radiation. Because so many nuclear reactors are relatively close to populated areas, this assumption was key to the promotion of nuclear power generation. If radionuclides could easily escape, then the whole business model and engineering paradigm would be fatally flawed.

“Other forms of cancer showing elevated levels included prostate, leukemia, mesothelioma and pancreas.” [1]

Scientific studies, such as this one conducted by Dr. Chris Busby, are rarely undertaken because the Nuclear Energy Industry would rather not know the true statistics. Were the facts surrounding nuclear discharges to become known to the general public there would be a groundswell of opposition to nuclear power plant sitings anywhere near densely populated areas.

Given that the worst cancer statistics concern carbon dioxide, gas-cooled graphite block reactors, in all likelihood they would be permanently shut down until a durable resolution could be implemented. It is this type of reactor that generates releases into the air which are higher than most other types of nuclear reactors.

Like the U.K., the U.S. nuclear power industry has also seen a great number of reported releases throughout the country over the past few decades. As these nuclear reactors age, they become the victim of a phenomenon known as technospheric breakdown[2]. Since many of them were constructed in the 1970s, those that have not been decommissioned have been operating for a long stretch of time. The average age of commercial reactors in the USA is 34 years.

In view of the extraordinary stresses which exist in the reactor environment, the 40-year license that is granted by the NRC seems far too long. There are several points of inherent weakness within the structural engineering of nuclear reactors, as well as within the controlled atomic fission process that were designed in what could now be described as the nuclear Stone Age. And, yet, the same fatally flawed nuclear energy paradigm is still being promoted worldwide today.

When more studies are conducted, which indicate a spike in cancer rates in locations which have a nuclear power plant nearby, governments across the planet will be forced to respond appropriately. After all, the presence of ionizing radiation will always manifest as various forms of cancer the longer a residential or business area is exposed to it.

Hence, governments will eventually be compelled to remedy the many compromised nuclear power stations which are frequently making these contaminating releases.  Not to do so will inevitably translate to an explosion in healthcare costs.

ConclusionJust as the Fukushima nuclear disaster has shown the complete folly of building nuclear power plants on one of the most seismically active (as well as tsunami-prone) group of islands in the world, there are now other well documented serious issues which ought to disqualify plants from being built. It would seem that those reactors with considerably higher rates of nuclear releases would qualify them as menaces to the community. Simply put, they shouldn’t even be there.

Additional Sources:

[1] Daily Mail

[2] The Millennium Report

June 28, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties, women | Leave a comment

High levels of breast cancer near UK nuclear power stations

BREAST-CANCERNuclear power station cancer warning: Breast cancer rates are FIVE TIMES higher at Welsh plant – and twice as high at Essex and Somerset sites, experts reveal

  • Studies looked at rates of various cancers in people living close to Trawsfynydd, Bradwell and Hinkley Point power stations
  • At the Welsh plant breast cancer rates were five times higher than expected
  • At Bradwell and Hinkley Point they were twice as high as UK average
  • Researchers warned their ‘very clear’ findings are ‘remarkable’  

By LIZZIE PARRY FOR MAILONLINE  9 June 2015 Women living downwind from nuclear power plants are at five times greater risk of developing breast cancer, experts have warned.

In three separate studies, a team of scientists looked at the rates of various cancers in populations living close to Trawsfynydd power station in North Wales, Bradwell in Essex and Hinkley Point in Somerset.

They discovered breast cancer rates, in particular, were higher than expected national averages at all three sites.

At Trawsfynydd, rates of the disease were five times greater than average, while in Essex and Somerset women had double the risk of developing breast cancer.  Continue reading

June 10, 2015 Posted by | health, UK, women | 1 Comment

The very big gender gap – women don’t like nuclear power

Men and Women Divided on Nuclear Power, Morning Consult  DAVIS BURROUGHS   |   MAY 24, 2015 As the nuclear power industry pushes to build more reactors, they face pronounced unpopularity among an unexpected bloc: women.

A Morning Consult survey finds that a plurality of female voters, 42 percent, oppose increasing the use of nuclear power to generate electricity in the United States; 38 percent support it. A strong majority of men, 70 percent, support using more nuclear power, while 23 percent oppose.

The male-female gap is uniquely wide on this issue.

nuclear-and-women

Previous Morning Consult polling has found much smaller differences between men and women on energy issues. In one poll from Jan. 2015, the gender split on approval for other energy source was 7 percent for natural gas, 10 percent for coal, 3 percent for wind, and 1 percent for solar. For nuclear, the split was 27 percentage points.

“It’s tough to speculate on what makes women more averse to nuclear power than men,” said Sheril Kirshenbaum, director of The Energy Poll at the University of Texas at Austin. “Across issues, women are both less engaged on energy topics, and far less likely to express concern.”……..

A separate survey question reveals three possible explanations as to what’s driving female voter’s concerns over building more nuclear facilities: trepidations over storing nuclear waste, the risk for a disaster or meltdown, and the availability of “better” energy alternatives.

“It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure that one out,” said Linda Mayrand, a survey participant from Melbourne, Florida, “there are better alternatives.” Mayrand said she would never live within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission designated evacuation zones, areas that span a 10-mile radius from a nuclear power plant……..

Nicky Davies, a campaigns director for Greenpeace USA, an environmental advocacy group, said the nuclear industry has two Achilles heels. “It is a fact that there’s no safe way to expose of nuclear power,” and secondly “it’s incredibly expensive.”……….

The Morning Consult poll was conducted from April 5 and 7, 2014, among a nationwide sample of 2,047 registered voters. Results from the survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. http://morningconsult.com/2015/05/men-and-women-divided-on-nuclear-power/

May 25, 2015 Posted by | USA, women | Leave a comment

Nuclear power link to breast cancer

there was twice the chance of dying of breast cancer if you lived next to the Blackwater than if you lived next to the Crouch.

BREAST-CANCERBreast cancer and nuclear power – statistics reveal the link ‘they’ wanted to hide,
Ecologist  Chris Busby 18th May 2015  The link between nuclear power and cancer is real, writes Chris Busby, and revealed in the UK’s cancer statistics – if only you look for it. Previous approaches have focused on rare cancers over large, poorly selected populations. But look at common cancers among those most exposed to nuclear radiation, and the statistical evidence is overwhelming.

Do nuclear sites cause increases in cancer in those living nearby? This is the question which has always been the key to stopping the development of nuclear energy.

For if the answer is Yes, the laws would cut in; human rights would cut in. Check Mate. The nuclear industry and its supporters have always known this, just as the cigarette companies and the asbestos makers recognised their own specific nemesis.

You can argue about the economics of nuclear till you are blue in the face, but they can always move the goalposts, global warming, future security of supply, special new safe thorium reactors and so forth. But killing people with your radioactive discharges: that’s it. The End.

This week saw the publication in a peer-reviewed journal – Jacobs Journal of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine – of a study which I carried out in 2003 of breast cancer mortality 1995-2002 near Bradwell nuclear power station in Essex. Continue reading

May 20, 2015 Posted by | Reference, UK, women | 1 Comment

Concerns of mothers and children in Fukushima

Oshidori, MakoMako Oshidori in Düsseldorf “The Hidden Truth about Fukushima”, Fukushima Voice version 2E 28 May 2014 “…….. Next, I would like to talk about mothers in Fukushima. These mothers (and fathers) live in Iwaki City, Fukushima. They are active on school lunch issues. Currently, Fukushima produce isn’t selling well due to suspected contamination. So the prefectural policy is to encourage the use of Fukushima produce in school lunches, in an attempt to appeal its safety. As a large municipality, Iwaki City had been purchasing produce from distant prefectures instead of Fukushima produce, but after the accident, the policy changed to use Fukushima produce in school lunches in order to appeal safety of Fukushima produce by showing it’s safe enough to give to children.
They are collecting signatures for a petition to oppose the use of Fukushima produce in school lunches. Some say stricter radiation testing (in food used in school lunches) could help, but the mothers claim that currently in Japan only cesium is measured and they have no idea if there is any strontium. They oppose the use of Fukushima produce in school lunches for fear of finding out, ten-plus years down the road, that there was actually plutonium in the food that children ate.
Their concern is not so much if it’s safe or not, but it should not be a scientific issue but an ethical issue to use children as a way of appealing for safety. However, currently, about 70% of the municipalities within Fukushima Prefecture use Fukushima produce to children in school lunches as a way of appealing for safety. These mothers constitute a minority group, and therefore, they are pressured and harassed. They are told to leave Fukushima if they are worried about the contamination. I investigated details of these harassments, but I have been asked not to write about it and disseminate it. It’s because they are afraid the harassment might worsen once it becomes clear which specific harassments bother them.
This is a photo [in original] from the October 2012 Fukushima visit with Mr. Nesterenko, the director of BELRAD Institute in Belarus. The most surprising moment for him came when he took measurements in this area of Oguni Elementary School.
It says 27.6 μSv/h. He asked me then if all the students had evacuated. I said they were in class as we spoke. He said the radiation level qualified for immediate mandatory evacuation in Belarus. He told me that he thought Japan was a wealthy country but that he was apparently wrong. At the time, some Date City government workers happened to come by, so I told them there was a spot with a very high radiation level. They told me they already knew about it. This spot has really a very high radiation level, but the inside of the elementary school has been decontaminated and deemed safe. However, Mr. Nesterenko kept asking what it was that they meant by saying it was safe inside as there is no air filter for school buildings and air from the high radiation spot still flows inside. I was shown by the mothers the radiation level for the spot was 179 μSv/h in September 2012, which was a month before our visit. The principle of the school sent a letter to families stating everything was okay because the radiation level came down to 3.9 μSv/h after decontamination.
The mother who showed me the letter said she wanted the children evacuated immediately with the radiation level of 179 μSv/h. However, the evacuation never happened and the school remained in normal operation, so her family evacuated voluntarily at their own expense. During my 2012 visit there, out of 200 families at this school, only 2 families were concerned about radiation exposure. Now those 2 families moved away. Even after the move, they are constantly talking about they don’t know if they are just crazy, worried about nothing, or if it’s actually dangerous.
waste-bags-Fukushima

By the way, the current measure to deal with areas contaminated with a high level of radioactive material is to remove the soil, put it in bags, and place them in an empty lot. It’s not just Fukushima Prefecture. Neighboring prefectures in eastern Japan, such as Ibaraki Prefecture, Gunma Prefecture, Miyagi Prefecture and Iwate Prefecture also have a lot of areas with contamination where people live. They decontaminate, put the soil in bags, and stack them in an empty lot. By the way, these bags look small, but each bag actually weighs 1 ton. It’s rather large. ……

Translation by @YuriHiranuma http://fukushimavoice-eng2.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/mako-oshidori-in-dusseldorf-hidden.html

March 28, 2015 Posted by | children, Japan, social effects, women | 1 Comment