Tag Archives: Chernobyl disaster

Arnold Gundersen, Fairewinds.com Video Reports on Japan’s Current Situation

3 Apr
Color photograph of the Three Mile Island nucl...

A photo of Three Mile Island from the 1970s

Copyright 2011-3011 By Alternative News Forum, All Rights Reserved. Updated daily.

4.2.11 Update:

Vermont based nuclear radiation expert and former Three Mile Island contractor Arnold Gundersen runs a website which posts revealing and factual information on the actual radioactive conditions emerging from the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor explosions and meltdown. His website is here and I highly recommend all readers watch his videos:

http://fairewinds.com/

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Residents of Japan Instructed to Remain Indoors on 3.31.11 Due to Large Radioactive Plume from Fukushima Plant

30 Mar
Greater Tokyo Area is the world's most populou...

Tokyo has a population of approx 35 million people

Copyright 2011-3011 Alternative News Forum, All Rights Reserved.

3.31 2011 Update:

ALERT: Dangerous levels of radiation are now escaping the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant and in Tokyo and northeastern Japan residents are being warned to stay indoors on 3.31.2011, and NOT to drink the tap water, or bathe in it. There is such a scarcity of news on this issue in the USA that I would venture to call it a virtual “news blackout” on how much radiation is now passing over the continental US. The weather website WoWeather.com indicates that plumes reaching US shores and washing over the mainland have tiny to negligible levels of radioactive material.

But those living in Japan near the Fukushima Plant, up to a 50 mile radius at least, should remain indoors on 3.31.2011.

Go to these links on the www.woweather.com international weather forecasting site to see up to the minute jet stream flows for airborne Iodine-131 and Caesium-137:

ALERT: For those in Japan stay indoors on 3.31.11 due to dangerous radiation plume from Fukushima plant.

http://www.woweather.com/weather/news/fukushima?LANG=us&VAR=niludmanc131&HH=0

http://www.woweather.com/weather/news/fukushima?LANG=us&VAR=niludmanc137&HH=0&LOOP=1

Video of the Month: March, Russellian Science, The Proper Place for Radioactive Elements in the Natural Order, Beneath the Earth

24 Mar
Simulation of many identical atoms undergoing ...

Radioactive Decay Rates Simulation

Copyright 2011-3011 Alternative News Forum, All Rights Reserved.

Tags: naturally occurring radioactive elements, the base elements, science of radioactivity, plutonium, uranium, the natural order, soil building, science

What Are The Adverse Health Effects of Radiation Exposure? Why Is the Obama White House Minimizing This Urgent Question?

16 Mar
Never forget Chernobyl

It's time to say NO to nuclear energy.

Copyright 2011-3011 Alternative News Forum, All Rights Reserved.

Re-posted on 3.16.2011 Courtesy of the BBC website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12722435

As American families scramble to procure potassium iodide tablets and to learn all they can about the health effects of radiation exposure, I have been at first baffled, and eventually irate over the lack of intelligent truthful and accurate reporting on this issue from the mainstream press. Scouring the web daily for good and helpful easy to read and understand articles on the topic of radiation exposure, I have noted with alarm and dismay that our US news media is putting out a steady stream of conflicting, confusing, incomplete and misleading articles on this topic.

‘Be prepared’: U.S. Surgeon General’s warning as terrified Americans panic-buy anti-radiation drugs and Geiger counters over nuclear fall-out fears

Cited:

  • Nukepills.com sells 250,000 potassium iodide pills while Anbex gets three orders a MINUTE instead of per week
  • Packs of 14 pills that usually cost $9.99 changing hands on Amazon.com and eBay for $250 to $400
  • Geigercounters.com begs people not to place any more orders after it sells out of radiation detection gadgets
  • Real-time radiation map of U.S. shows levels are currently within normal ranges
  • Japan Fukushima plant rocked by another fire and two more explosions, bringing the total to four
  • President Obama: ‘No danger of Japan nuclear fallout reaching the U.S.’ [ Are you KIDDING me? How WRONG is this statement! ]
  • American media outlets, elected local officials, Barack Obama: Get your story straight!

    As the Los Angeles County health official was just quoted as saying that iodine pills are not needed, the US Surgeon General was quoted the same day saying just the opposite. To make matters worse our own clearly incompetent and clueless Commander-in-Chief chimed in with the L.A. officials’ remarks, reiterating that “no nuclear fallout would reach the U.S”. Since when is Barack Obama a soothsayer on the nuances of the pacific jet stream? It’s an ill-informed  misstatement at least, and an overt blunder at worst to just assume that “no radioactive fallout will reach this country.” How absurd for him to make such an ill informed comment at this particular time. It does nothing to bolster the people’s flagging faith in this man leadership, which is always suspiciously missing in action when needed.

    It’s just one more WTF moment in observing the apparent incompetence of elected US public high officials in dealing adequately with a very serious potential national health crisis that is unfolding hourly. Minimizing the imminent threat of radiation clouds that could blow over the USA mainland and even stall over certain regions seems more than a little bit wicked to me.

    What in the hell is our local and national leadership thinking at this urgent moment? Are local public officials actually trying to convince Americans NOT to look at the potential nuclear fallout elephant in the living room? For God’s sake, why?

    No one in their right mind, as far as I am concerned, should be telling Americans NOT to procure supplies of potassium iodide tablets, yet that is exactly what one Los Angeles County public health official was just quoted as saying. Honestly, were it not for the UK, Canadian and Australian press, I would be hard pressed to locate good educational materials on the topic of radiation exposure at all.

    Why are our health and public safety leaders sticking their heads in the sand at this particular moment, when serious and strenuous national leadership and a unified health and safety message for the American public is so desperately needed?

    I’d like to thank the BBC, Australian and Canadian press for their helpful essays and reporting on both the nuclear events in Japan as they occurred, and the possible adverse health effects of exposure to airborne radiation. I could not locate a single article like this one below in the US press. What’s wrong with that picture?

    Chase Kyla Hunter

    Cited:

    What are the immediate health effects of exposure to radiation?

    Exposure to moderate levels of radiation – above one gray – can result in radiation sickness, which produces a range of symptoms.

    Nausea and vomiting often begin within hours of exposure, followed by diarrhoea, headaches and fever.

    After the first round of symptoms, there may be a brief period with no apparent illness, but this may be followed within weeks by new, more serious symptoms.

    At higher levels of radiation, all of these symptoms may be immediately apparent, along with widespread – and potentially fatal – damage to internal organs.

    Exposure to a radiation dose of four gray will typically kill about half of all healthy adults.

    For comparison, radiation therapy for cancer typically involves several doses of between one and seven gray at a time – but these doses are highly controlled, and usually specifically targeted at small areas of the body.

    Radiation dose Effect
    Source: World Nuclear Association: See http://worldnuclear.org/auswahl.cfm?select=1
    2 mSv/yr (millisieverts per year) Typical background radiation experienced by everyone (average 1.5 mSv in Australia, 3 mSv in North America)
    9 mSv/yr Exposure by airline crew flying New York-Tokyo polar route
    20 mSv/yr Current limit (averaged) for nuclear industry employees
    50 mSv/yr Former routine limit for nuclear industry employees. It is also the dose rate which arises from natural background levels in several places in Iran, India and Europe
    100 mSv/yr Lowest level at which any increase in cancer is clearly evident.
    350 mSv/lifetime Criterion for relocating people after Chernobyl accident
    1,000 mSv single dose Causes (temporary) radiation sickness such as nausea and decreased white blood cell count, but not death. Above this, severity of illness increases with dose
    5,000 mSv single dose Would kill about half those receiving it within a month

    How is radiation sickness treated?

    The first thing to do is to try to minimise further contamination by removing clothes and shoes, and gently washing the skin with soap and water.

    Drugs are available that increase white blood-cell production to counter any damage that may have occurred to the bone marrow, and to reduce the risk of further infections due to immune-system damage.

    There are also specific drugs that can help to reduce the damage to internal organs caused by radioactive particles.

    How does radiation have an impact on health?

    Radioactive materials that decay spontaneously produce ionising radiation, which has the capacity to cause significant damage to the body’s internal chemistry, breaking the chemical bonds between the atoms and molecules that make up our tissues.

    The body responds by trying to repair this damage, but sometimes it is too severe or widespread to make repair possible. There is also a danger of mistakes in the natural repair process.

    Regions of the body that are most vulnerable to radiation damage include the cells lining the intestine and stomach, and the blood-cell producing cells in the bone marrow.

    The extent of the damage caused is dependent on how long people are exposed to radiation, and at what level.

    Radiation and cancer

    • Most experts agree even small doses of ionising radiation – as low as 100 millisieverts – can increase the risk of cancer, but by a very small amount.
    • In general, the risk of cancer increases as the dose of radiation increases. Exposure to one sievert of radiation is estimated to increase the lifetime risk of fatal cancer by around 5%.
    • The thyroid gland and bone marrow are particularly sensitive to ionising radiation.
    • Leukemia, a type of cancer that arises in the bone marrow, is the most common radiation-induced cancer. Leukemias may appear as early as a few years after radiation exposure.
    • Other cancer can also result from exposure to radiation, but may not develop for at least a decade. These include cancers of the lung, skin, thyroid, breast and stomach.

    What are the most likely long-term health effects?

    Cancer is the biggest long-term risk. Usually when the body’s cells reach their “sell-by date” they commit suicide. Cancer results when cells lose this ability, and effectively become immortal, continuing to divide and divide in an uncontrolled fashion.

    The body has various processes for ensuring that cells do not become cancerous, and for replacing damaged tissue.

    But the damage caused by exposure to radiation can completely disrupt these control processes, making it much more likely that cancer will result.

    Failure to properly repair the damage caused by radiation can also result in changes – or mutations – to the body’s genetic material, which are not only associated with cancer, but may also be potentially passed down to offspring, leading to deformities in future generations. These can include smaller head or brain size, poorly formed eyes, slow growth and severe learning difficulties.

    Are children at greater risk?

    Potentially yes. Because they are growing more rapidly, more cells are dividing, and so the potential for things to go wrong is greater.

    Following the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in the Ukraine in 1986, the World Health Organization recorded a dramatic increase in thyroid cancer among children in the vicinity.

    This was because the radioactive materials released during the accident contained high levels of radioactive iodine, a material that accumulates in the thyroid.

    What risk does Fukushima pose currently?

    The Japanese authorities have recorded a radiation level of up 400 millisieverts per hour at the nuclear plant itself.

    A sievert is essentially equivalent to a gray, but tends to be used to measure lower levels of radiation, and for assessing long-term risk, rather than the short-term acute impact of exposure.

    Professor Richard Wakeford, an expert in radiation exposure at the University of Manchester, said exposure to a dose of 400 millisieverts was unlikely to cause radiation sickness – that would require a dose of around twice that level (one sievert/one gray).

    However, it could start to depress the production of blood cells in the bone marrow, and was likely to raise the lifetime risk of fatal cancer by 2-4%. Typically, a Japanese person has a lifetime risk of fatal cancer of 20-25%.

    Prof Wakeford stressed only emergency workers at the plant were at risk of exposure to such a dose – but it was likely that they would only be exposed for short periods of time to minimise their risk.

    The level of exposure for the general population, even those living close to the plant, was unlikely to be anywhere near as high.

    How can the Japanese authorities minimise the cost to human health?

    Prof Wakeford said that provided the Japanese authorities acted quickly, most of the general population should be spared significant health problems.

    He said in those circumstances the only people likely to be at risk of serious health effects were nuclear workers at the plant or emergency workers exposed to high levels of radiation.

    He said the top priority would be to evacuate people from the area and to make sure they did not eat contaminated food. The biggest risk was that radioactive iodine could get into their system, raising the risk of thyroid cancer.

    To counter that risk, people – in particular children – could be given tablets containing stable iodine which would prevent the body absorbing the radioactive version.

    The Japanese already have a lot of iodine in their natural diet, so that should help too.

    How does Fukushima compare to Chernobyl?

    Professor Gerry Thomas, who has studied the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster, said: “It is very unlikely that this will turn into anything that resembles Chernobyl.

    “In Chernobyl you had a steam explosion which exposed the reactor core, which meant you had a lot of radiation shooting up into the atmosphere.”

    Prof Thomas said although the Chernobyl disaster had led to a rise in thyroid cancer cases, the only people affected were those living in the immediate area of the explosion and who were young at the time.

    See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12722435

    Japan’s Emperor Addresses the Nation, An Indication of the Seriousness of Conditions in Japan

    Updated: Japan Fukushima Nuclear Plant, A Fourth Explosion, Airborne Radiation Now Confirmed

    15 Mar
    In thermal nuclear reactors (LWRs in specific)...

    Diagram: How Fuel Rods Work

    Copyright 2011-3011 Alternative News Forum, All Rights Reserved.

    There have now been a total of four devastating explosions at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant north of Tokyo since the 9.0 earthquake late last Thursday in Japan. Radiation leakage has been confirmed, and the threat of radiation poisoning to people in the surrounding region is growing more serious by the hour.

    Here are gathered facts and reports coming out of Japan as of early 3.15.11. These reports are from various international media sources, however the Canadian website for Globe and Mail has compiled the most timely information, for which I am deeply grateful. I have re-posted numerous items from their info-pages on radiation and the health of the human body. I am also advising readers to get familiar with live maps of the Pacific Jet Stream to observe how it blows over the continental USA.

    it is now confirmed that radiation is leaking into the atmosphere in Japan. Here’s the link: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/03/15/japanese-nuclear-panic-rises-agency-says-radiation-leaking-atmosphere/

    Also, we are learning that iodine tablets are sold out at online locations everywhere, and by the grace of God, another reasonable sized dose of POTASSIUM IODIDE, which is the type of iodine you would need to fight radiation sickness, occurs built into doses of SOLARAY Brand Twice Daily Multi-Vitamins. So if you cannot procure iodine tablets, stock up on this brand of multi-vitamin as an alternative. The dose may be small, but it is at least getting some of the right kind of iodine into your system.

    Watch these videos:

    3.13.11 Breaking: Japan Faces Nuclear Disaster As Radiation Levels Rise

    Cited from the New York Times 3.14.11 1149 pm, Breaking Info:

    “After an emergency cabinet meeting, the Japanese government told people living within 30 kilometers, about 18 miles, of the Daiichi plant to stay indoors, keep their windows closed and stop using air conditioning.

    Mr. Kan, whose government was extraordinarily weak before the sequence of calamities struck the nation, told the Japanese people that “although this incident is of great concern, I ask you to react very calmly.” And in fact, there seemed to be little panic, but huge apprehension in a country where the drift of radioactivity brings up memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the haunting images of post-war Japan.

    The two critical questions over the next day or so are how much radioactive material is spewed into the atmosphere, and where the winds carry it. Readings reported on Tuesday showed a spike of radioactivity around the plant that made the leakage categorically worse than in had been, with radiation levels measured at one point as high as 400 millisieverts an hour. Even 7 minutes of exposure at that level will reach the maximum annual dose that a worker at an American nuclear plant is allowed. And exposure for 75 minutes would likely lead to acute radiation sickness.

    The extent of the public health risk depends on how long such elevated levels persist — they may have declined after the fire at No. 4 reactor was extinguished — as well as how far and fast the radioactive materials spread, and whether the limited evacuation plan announced by the government proves sufficient.

    In Tokyo, 170 miles south of the plant, the metropolitan government said Tuesday it had detected radiation levels 20 times the usual above the city, though it stressed that that level posed no immediate health threat. In Ibaraki Prefecture, just south of Fukushima Prefecture where the plant is located, the amount of radiation reached 100 times the usual levels.”

    How radiation affects the body

    Published Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2011 1:04AM EDT

    Radiation can target many parts of the body. Symptoms vary, with severity depending on dosage or length of exposure

    The Risks of Radiation Exposure

    Radiation’s Effect Depends on the Amount of Exposure

    Cited: “Japanese authorities warned Wednesday morning that they believed that the population living in the area immediately surrounding the stricken nuclear reactors now faced a health risk from further increases in radiation leaks.

    Authorities said that radiation levels there had surged to levels that will “clearly have impact on the human body.”

    See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12732015

    More than 100,000 people have been evacuated from homes near Fukushima.


    There have been two explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, following Friday’s earthquake and tsunami, and a third reactor is reportedly at risk of fuel-rod meltdown.

    How great a danger do these problems pose for people in Japan and further afield?

    Has there been a leakage of radioactive material?

    Yes. Local government officials in Fukushima say 190 people have been exposed to some radiation. An American warship, the USS Ronald Reagan, has detected low levels of radiation at a distance of 100 miles (161km) from the Fukushima plant.

    How much radioactive material has escaped?

    The Japanese authorities say only low levels of radiation have been detected outside the plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency has described it as a level four event on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES), which is used for an accident “with local consequences”. No abnormal levels of radiation have been detected in Russia.

    What type of radioactive material has escaped?

    There are reports of radioactive isotopes of caesium and iodine in the vicinity of the plant. Experts say it would be natural for radioactive isotopes of nitrogen and argon to have escaped as well. There is no evidence that any uranium or plutonium has escaped.

    What harm do these radioactive materials cause?

    Radioactive iodine could be harmful to young people living near the plant. After the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster there were some cases of thyroid cancer as a result. However, people who were promptly issued with iodine tablets ought to be safe. Radioactive caesium, uranium and plutonium are harmful, but do not target any particular organ of the body. Radioactive nitrogen decays within seconds of its release, and argon poses no threat to health.

    How did the radioactive materials escape?

    There have been problems with cooling systems, causing the reactors to overheat. Production of steam has caused pressure to build up inside the reactor, so small amounts of steam have been deliberately released. Experts say that the presence in the steam of caesium and iodine – which are among the by-products of nuclear fission – suggests that the metal casing of some of the fuel rods has melted or broken. But the uranium fuel itself has a very high melting point so it is less likely to have melted, let alone vapourised.

    Could radioactive materials have escaped by any other means?

    The authorities have pumped sea water into three reactors. This water will be contaminated by its passage through the reactor, but it is currently unclear whether any of it has been released into the environment.

    How long will any contamination last?

    Radioactive iodine decays quite quickly. Most will have disappeared within a month. Radioactive caesium does not last long in the body – most has gone within a year. However, it lingers in the environment and can continue to present a problem for many years.

    Has there been a meltdown?

    The term “meltdown” is used in a variety of ways. As noted above, the reported detection of radioactive caesium and iodine may indicate that some of the metal casing enclosing the reactors’ uranium fuel has melted (a “fuel-rod meltdown”). However, there is as yet no indication that the uranium fuel itself has melted. Still less is there any indication of a “China Syndrome” where the fuel melts, gathers below the reactor and resumes a chain reaction, that enables it to melt everything in its way, and bore a path deep into the earth. If there were to be a serious meltdown, the Japanese reactor is supposed to be able to handle it, preventing the China Syndrome from taking place. Reports suggest that underneath the reactor, within the outer containment vessel, there is a concrete basin designed to capture and disperse any molten fuel.

    Could there be a Chernobyl-like disaster?

    Experts say this is highly unlikely. The chain reaction at all Fukushima reactors has ceased. The explosions that have occurred have taken place outside the steel and concrete containment vessels enclosing the reactors, which apparently remain solid. At Chernobyl an explosion exposed the core of the reactor to the air, and a fire raged for days sending its contents in a plume up into the atmosphere. At Fukushima the explosions – caused by hydrogen and oxygen vented from the reactor – have damaged only the roof and walls erected around the containment vessels.

    Could there be a nuclear explosion?

    No. A nuclear bomb and a nuclear reactor are different things.

    What caused the hydrogen release from the reactor?

    At high temperatures, steam can separate into hydrogen and oxygen in the presence of zirconium, the metal used for encasing the reactor fuel. This mixture is highly explosive.

    How do iodine tablets work?

    If the body has all the iodine it needs, it will not absorb further iodine from the atmosphere. The tablets fill the body up with non-radioactive iodine, which prevent it absorbing the radioactive iodine.

    What kind of radiation levels have been recorded at Fukushima?

    The Kyodo news agency reports that a radiation level of 1,557 microsieverts per hour was registered on Sunday. At this level, one hour’s exposure is roughly equivalent to one chest X-ray. Later measurements included 750 microsieverts per hour at 0200 on Monday, and 20 microsieverts per hour at 1145. The last of these measurements is not much to worry about – on a long-haul flight passengers are exposed to about five microsieverts per hour. Furthermore, moving away from the source of radiation, measurements would quickly tail off. Five or 10km away from the plant, the radiation level would be significantly lower.

    Is any level of exposure to radiation safe?

    In some parts of the world, natural background radiation is significantly higher than others – for example in Cornwall, in south-west England. And yet people live in Cornwall, and many others gladly visit the area. Similarly, every international air flight exposes passengers to higher than normal levels of radiation – and yet people still fly, and cabin crews spend large amounts of time exposed to this radiation. Patients in hospitals regularly undergo X-rays. Scientists dispute whether any level of exposure to radiation is entirely safe, but exposure to some level of radiation – whether at normal background levels or higher – is a fact of life.

    How do Fukushima’s problems affect the rest of the world?

    It depends on how much radiation is released. At present, the IAEA says the effects are of a “local” nature.

    Audio

    Live update: Mark MacKinnon reports from radiation testing in Japan

    Mark MacKinnon

    Globe and Mail Update
    Published Sunday, Mar. 13, 2011 9:49AM EDT
    Last updated Sunday, Mar. 13, 2011 3:58PM EDT

    The Globe’s east Asia correspondent witnesses Japanese residents tested for radiation after fears of leaks at nearby nuclear plant

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