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

Chernobyl meltdown: the melted metal, with uranium and zirconium, formed radioactive lava.

How The Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Meltdown Formed World’s Most Dangerous Lava, Forbes, David Bressan   16 June 19    “………Even areas thousands of kilometers away from Chernobyl are still today contaminated with radioactive particles, transported by the wind in a gigantic plume over Europe.

As the cooling system of the reactor was shut down and the insertion of control rods into the reactor core failed, the nuclear fission went out of control, releasing enough heat to melt the fuel rods, cases, core containment vessel and anything else nearby, including the concrete floor of the reactor building. The fuel pellets inside the fuel rods are almost entirely made of uranium-oxide while the encasing in which the pellets are placed is made of zirconium alloys. Melting at over 1,200°C the uranium and zirconium, together with melted metal, formed radioactive lava burning through the steel hull of the reactor and concrete foundations at a speed of 30 cm (12″) per hour. Concrete doesn’t melt, but decomposes and becomes brittle at high temperatures. Part of the concrete was incorporated in the lava flow, explaining its high content of silicates, minerals composed mostly of silicon, aluminum and magnesium. Due to its chemical composition and high temperature, the lava-like material has a very low viscosity. When lava has low viscosity, it can flow very easily as demonstrated by stalactites hanging from valves and tubes in the destroyed reactor core.

Four hundred miners were brought to Chernobyl to dig a tunnel underneath. It was feared that the radioactive lava would burn through the containment structure and contaminate the groundwater. Only later it was discovered that the lava flow stopped after 3 meters (9 feet). Chemical reactions and evaporating water cooled the mixture below 1,100°C, below the decomposition temperature of the concrete.

About eight months after the incident and with the help of a remotely operated camera, the solidified lava was discovered in the ruins of the reactor building. Externally resembling tree bark and grey in color, the mass was nicknamed the Elephant’s Foot.

At the time of its discovery, radioactivity near the Elephant’s Foot was approximately 10,000 roentgens, a dose so high, only minutes of exposure would prove fatal. In 1996, radioactivity levels were low enough to visit the reactor’s basement and took some photographs. The photos are blurry due to radiation damage. The lava-like material resulting from a nuclear meltdown is also named corium, after the core of the reactor. An unknown uranium-zirconium-silicate found in the corium of Chernobyl was named later chernobylite. Chernobylite is highly radioactive due to its high uranium content and contamination by fission products. Corium will likely remain radioactive for the next decades to centuries.


June 17, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Full article at

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

How Russia’s nuclear industry co-opted religion

How the Russian Church Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Orthodoxy’s Influence on Moscow’s Nuclear Complex

June 15, 2019 Posted by | Reference, Religion and ethics, Russia | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

Chernobyl horror has nuclear lessons for SA  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How it happened

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

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

By the numbers

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

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

June 11, 2019 Posted by | health, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Historical Disasters at Plutonium Production Sites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The report states:

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

Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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

Holtec” nuclear waste canisters – a pot of gold for the company – a load of trouble for the future?

Halting Holtec – A Challenge for Nuclear Safety Advocates, CounterPunch,    7 June 19, The loading of 3.6 million pounds of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel has been indefinitely halted at the San Onofre independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI), operated by Southern California Edison and designed by Holtec International.

Last month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) fined Southern California Edison an unprecedented $116,000 for failing to report the near drop of an 54 ton canister of radioactive waste, and is delaying giving the go-ahead to further loading operations until serious questions raised by the incident have been resolved.

Critics have long been pointing out that locating a dump for tons of waste, lethal for millions of years, in a densely populated area, adjacent to I-5 and the LA-to-San Diego rail corridor, just above a popular surfing beach, in an earthquake and tsunami zone, inches above the water table, and yards from the rising sea doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense from a public safety standpoint.

The near drop incident last August, revealed by a whistleblower, has drawn further attention to the many defects in the Holtec-designed and manufactured facility.  It has been discovered that the stainless steel canisters, only five-eights inches thick, are being damaged as they are lowered into the site’s concrete silos.  Experts have warned that the scratching or gouging that is occurring makes the thin-walled canisters even more susceptible to corrosion-induced cracking in the salty sea air, risking release of their deadly contents into the environment and even of hydrogen explosions.

Furthermore, critics point out, these thin-walled canisters are welded shut and cannot be inspected, maintained, monitored or repaired.

Systems analyst Donna Gilmore is the founder of, and a leading critic of the Holtec system.  She explains her concerns this way in a recent email:

The root cause of the canister wall damage is the lack of a precision downloading system for the canisters.  Holtec’s NRC license requires no contact between the canister and the interior of the holes. The NRC admits Holtec is out of compliance with their license, but refuses to cite Holtec for this violation.

NRC staff said the scraping of the stainless steel thin canister walls against a protruding carbon steel canister guide ring also deposits carbon on the canisters, creating galvanic corrosion. The above ground Holtec system has long vertical carbon steel canister guide channels, creating similar problems.

Once canisters are scraped or corroded they start cracking. The NRC said once a crack starts it can grow through the wall in 16 years. In hotter canisters, crack growth rate can double for every 10 degree increase in temperature.

Each canister holds roughly the radioactivity of a Chernobyl nuclear disaster, so this is a critical issue people need to know about.

Unless these thin-wall canisters (only 1/2″ to 5/8″ thick) are replaced with thick-wall bolted lid metal casks – the standard in most of the world except the U.S. – none of us are safe. Thick-wall casks are 10″ to 19.75″ thick. Thick-wall casks survived the 2011 Fukushima 9.0 earthquake and tsunami.

U.S. companies choose thin canisters due to short-term cost savings. These thin-wall pressure vessels can explode, yet have no pressure monitoring or pressure relief valves. The NRC gives many exemptions to ASME N3 Nuclear Pressure Vessel standards (a scandal in and of itself).

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board December 2017 report to Congress raises concerns of hydrogen gas explosions in these canisters. The residual water in the canisters becomes radiated and results in buildup of hydrogen gas.

The gouged canister walls reduces the maximum pressure rating of these thin canisters, creating the perfect storm for a disaster.  Ironically, Holtec calls their system “HI-STORM”.

How many “Chernobyl disaster can” explosions can we afford? There are almost 3000 thin-wall canisters in the U.S.  Yet the NRC has no current plan in place to prevent or stop major radioactive releases or explosions.

Many are advocating that the San Onofre storage facility be moved to higher ground in thicker casks housed in more securely hardened structures.  Others are advocating for the waste to be shipped across country to New Mexico to a facility being proposed there by Holtec and a local group of entrepreneurs calling itself the Eddy-Lea Alliance.

Holtec International, a family-owned company, based in Camden, New Jersey, with mixed reviews from employees.  True to its name, the company has international ambitions for building small nuclear reactors (SMRs) and become dominant in the burgeoning global market of radioactive waste management.  It is working hard to convince the NRC and members of the public that concerns about its San Onofre ISFSI are over-blown and unfounded.

Holtec canisters are reportedly installed at three-dozen other reactor sites around the country, including Humboldt Bay in California.  Holtec is in the running, too, for a waste storage facility at the state’s Diablo Canyon nuclear site, scheduled for shutdown in 2025.

Holtec is also offering to buy four other US phased out nuclear power stations, – Oyster Creek in New Jersey, Pilgrim in Maine, Palisades in Michigan and Indian Point in New York.  As of this writing three of those proposed deals have yet to be approved, but on April 18, 2019, Holtec announced that it has closed the deal with Entergy to acquire the leaking and controversial Indian Point energy center just outside New York City after the last of its three reactors shuts down.

The pot of gold in the radioactive waste business is that, thanks to fees charged to ratepayers over the years, each plant has accumulated hundreds of billions of dollars in a decommissioning trust fund, which would all go to Holtec once the sales have been completed.

With Three Mile Island now scheduled for shutdown by the end of September, will Holtec attempt to buy TMI, as well?…………

June 8, 2019 Posted by | Reference, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

What Is Radiation Poisoning?

What Is Radiation Poisoning? Here’s What to Know About the Disease Seen on HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’

And what’s the deal with those iodine pills?, Health, By Christina Oehler June 03, 2019     “…….

In the three years following the Chernobyl explosion, about 530,000 recovery operation workers (think firefighters and other first-responders) were enlisted to help clean up the accident. These workers were exposed to extremely high levels of radiation— an average of 120 millisievert (mSv), or more than 1,000 times more powerful than a chest X-ray, according to the World Health Organization. Those who responded earliest are believed to have been exposed to levels even higher than that.

What is acute radiation syndrome?

According to the CDC, acute radiation syndrome occurs when a person is exposed to a very high level of radiation in a short period of time. The first symptoms of ARS include nausea, vomiting, headache, and diarrhea, which can occur within minutes to days after exposure.

After the initial symptoms subside, an ARS victim will usually feel fine for a period of time before relapsing. The person’s symptoms will vary depending on the level of radiation they received, but some of the symptoms include loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and possibly even seizures and coma.

Skin damage is another side effect of ARS, which becomes apparent in the third episode of the show. Swelling, itching and redness of the skin can occur. In more extreme cases, people can also experience permanent hair loss, damaged oil- and sweat-producing glands, skin discoloration, scarring and ulceration, or tissue death.

The higher the exposure, the more likely the person will die from ARS. Death from ARS typically occurs as a result of bone-marrow decay, which causes infections and internal bleeding.

What are the long-term effects of radiation exposure?

Valery Legasov, the chemist who worked to help resolve the Chernobyl explosion, is a main character in the HBO mini-series. He reiterates throughout the show that radiation exposure—even at moderate or low levels—can have long-term effects on a person’s health.

According to the EPA, exposure to radiation in moderate doses (like the nearby town of Pripyat would have had) can raise a person’s risk of getting cancer—in particular, thyroid cancer. Additionally, children and fetuses are at increased risk for radiation-related health problems. Exposure at moderate levels can cause cells to divide rapidly, which can result in developmental and birth defects in these sensitive groups.

What do iodine pills do?

Throughout the show, multiple characters recommend iodine pills as a treatment for ARS. Iodine helps the thyroid block harmful radioactive iodine from being absorbed, which ultimately could lead to cancer.

According to the CDC, the thyroid is the most sensitive organ to radioactive iodine, so preventing its absorption in the body can help reduce the risks of developing cancer. While plenty of foods (like table salt) contain healthy levels of iodine for a normal diet, they do not have the level of potassium iodine needed in the case of a nuclear fallout.

Iodine pills should not be taken unless recommended by health officials, in the case of a radiation accident. They also won’t protect against any of the other immediate health effects of radiation poisoning besides thyroid damage.

Ultimately, the levels of radiation needed to cause ARS would only happen in the case of a radiation crisis. While you can take solace in the fact that the levels of radiation from Chernobyl have decreased significantly over the past 30 years—and the fact that disasters involving nuclear power reactors are rare—you can learn more about what to do in case of a radiological emergency here.

June 8, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Temporary dome over radioactive trash on Runit Island – now leaking waste to the Pacific

May 28, 2019 Posted by | OCEANIA, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

Hibakusha: Nagasaki activist, 79, looks to entrust nuclear movement to next generation

May 23, 2019 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New research into plutonium workers’ internal radiation exposure.

May 23, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, employment, Reference, UK | 1 Comment

Illness and death legacy of employment in America’s nuclear weapons business

Government workers were kept in the dark about their toxic workplace
As US modernizes its nuclear weapons, NCR looks at the legacy of one Cold War-era plant,
National Catholic Reporter, May 20, 2019 by Claire Schaeffer-Duffy   

May 21, 2019 Posted by | employment, health, Reference, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

How the USA military co-opts nature conservation, and promotes the extinction of species

“Get Your Endangered Species Off My Bombing Range!” Counter Punch    “The Department of Defense’s ability to conduct realistic live-fire training, weapons system testing, and essential operations is vital to preparing a more lethal and resilient force for combat. . . . Starting in the late 1990s, the Department became increasingly concerned about “encroachment” pressures adversely affecting the military’s use of training and testing lands. Specifically, military installations saw two main threats to their ability to test, train, and operate: nearby incompatible land uses and environmental restrictions to protect imperiled species and their habitats.”
Such problems are to be resolved by the DoD Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program.
The program employs “buffer partnerships” that include the DoD, private conservation groups, universities, and state and local governments. Also involved, often as additional funders, are other federal departments: Homeland Security, Energy, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce; and agencies, for example, the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). REPI regards these as “win-win partnerships,” as they share the cost of land or acquire easements to preserve compatible uses and natural habitats, without interfering with bombing or other essential training exercises. In addition to the helpful funding, the military can muster impressive influence over local development authorities, town councils, and adjacent landowners…….
At Fort Benning, Georgia, home of the “Maneuver School of Excellence,” (as well as the notorious School of the Americas, now renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), live-fire and other training was threatened by threatened species and their habitats.   Now the base and its partners are restoring habitat and offering contiguous land for buyers who would use the land for recreation. Among the partners are the Georgia Land Trust, The Conservation Fund, the Alabama Land Trust, and the Nature Conservancy (TNC).

Nationwide, TNC is likely the conservation organization with the greatest amount of funding from the DoD. The TNC grants for Fort Benning alone included (but were not limited to) one for  $11,115,000, and another for $55,517,470. Both were described as: “Assist State and local governments to mitigate or prevent incompatible civilian land use/activity that is likely to impair the continued operational utility of a Department of Defense (DoD) military installation.”

Washington State, very receptive to military activities, despite the Hanford nuclear disaster area, has several REPI projects. One of them, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, on Puget Sound, is to eliminate the “threat” to live-fire exercises and other missions coming from imperiled species and incompatible development. The extensive area beyond its 91,000 acres became a designated “Sentinel Landscape,” a partnership headed by Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and Interior to “align resources” to protect military testing “while benefiting ALL partners and landowners.”  ……

The Defense Department has several other programs designed to prevent interference with live ammunition, bombing ranges, and other military activities. One is the Legacy Resource Management Program, which seeks civilian partners to help protect endangered species and “to promote stewardship of our nation’s. . . cultural heritage.” Already “The Department of Defense manages thousands of National Register of Historic Places-listed properties. . .” Also working with REPI is the DoD’s Office of Economic Adjustment; its Joint Land Use Studies Program helps local communities to avoid interfering with military operations by their civilian activities.

The military has a poor reputation as regards the environment—we think about the Marshall Islands, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, poisoned aquifers, toxic waste burns, underwater sonar, and much more. It has paid attention to the criticisms. It still engages in its former ways, including the world record of oil consumption and extensive toxic emissions, but now there is a soft cop.

The DoD now emphasizes its need for natural landscapes for realistic training, its wish to avoid displacing or accidently bombing locals, and its help in protecting endangered species. However it does not want any environmental restrictions to poke into its activities. The military wants more land, airspace, and ocean clearance, and will make concessions. It uses the carrot, and the commanding influence of military power. The REPI Program supplies funds and also leverages contributions from state and local governments and conservation organizations, which are henceforth partners…..
 there are serious concerns about the REPI project, and similar ones that partner with civilian governments and nongovernmental environmental organizations. First of all, by publicizing its protection of red-cockaded woodpeckers, gopher tortoises and others, their habitats, working farmlands, forests, and wetlands, the DoD emits a dust cloud over the intense environmental destruction of land, sea, and air resulting from military operations and their preparations. Militarization is worldwide and beyond, into space. In addition to the contribution of the US, other nations’ militaries are increasing in size, activities, and lethality. Many have been armed by us, or against the threat of us; some in response to other perceived threats. ……

Toxic wastes are produced (and not sequestered) at many US domestic bases; our military has granted us the bulk of superfund sites. As Joshua Frankhas stated:

US military sites, which total more than 50 million acres, are among the most insidious and dangerous Pentagon legacies. They are strewn with toxic bomb fragments, unexploded munitions, buried hazardous waste, fuel dumps, open pits filled with debris, burn piles and yes, rocket fuel…….
Another major concern about REPI and other military “partnerships” with civilian institutions and terrain is that it erodes the boundaries, however weak these days, between civil and military.  Might the US be turning into a banana republic or a military dictatorship? Penetration is not new; the US Army Corps of Engineers have been developing and maintaining recreational lakes and flood control projects for a long time. However, the military is slowly expanding into every nook and cranny of civilian life. …..

May 18, 2019 Posted by | environment, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Low level radiation exposure and increased risks of hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cerebrovascular disease

Moderate dose of radiation increase risk of hypertension

ANI May 6, 2019, Prolonged exposure to low-dose radiation could increase the risk of hypertension.  Washington: A study has revealed that prolonged exposure to low-dose radiation could increase the risk of hypertension, a known cause of stroke and heart ailments. The study published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association was conducted on workers at a nuclear plant in Russia.

“It is necessary to inform the public that not only high doses of radiation but low to moderate doses also increase the risk of hypertension and other circulatory system diseases, which today contribute significantly to death and disability. As a result, all radiological protection principles and dose limits should be strictly followed for workers and the general public,” added Tamara Azizova, lead author of the study. Uncontrolled hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure and other serious health problems. Earlier studies linked exposure to high doses of radiation to increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and death from those diseases.

This study is the first to find an increased risk of hypertension to low doses of ionizing radiation among a large group of workers who were chronically exposed over many years.

The study included more than 22,000 workers. The workers were hired between 1948 and 1982, with an average length of time on the job of 18 years. Half had worked there for more than 10 years. All of the workers had comprehensive health check-ups and screening tests at least once a year with advanced evaluations every five years.

The researchers evaluated the workers’ health records up to 2013. More than 8,400 workers (38 per cent of the group) were diagnosed with hypertension, as defined in this study as a systolic blood pressure reading of 140 mm Hg, and a diastolic reading 90 mm Hg. Hypertension incidence was found to be significantly associated with the cumulative dose.

To put it in perspective, the hypertension incidence among the workers in the study was higher than that among Japanese survivors of the atomic bomb at the end of World War II but lower than the risk estimated for clean-up workers following the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

The differences may be explained by variations in exposure among the three groups, according to the researchers.

Following the atomic bombing, the Japanese experienced a single, high-dose exposure of radiation, the Chernobyl workers were exposed to radiation for a short time period (days and months), while the Russian workers were chronically exposed to low doses of radiation over many years.

While the development of cancer is commonly associated with radiation exposure, “We believe that an estimate of the detrimental health consequences of radiation exposure should also include non-cancer health outcomes. We now have evidence suggesting that radiation exposure may also lead to increased risks of hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cerebrovascular disease, as well,” said Azizova.

May 7, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, Reference | Leave a comment