Tag Archives | Radiation

Fukushima’s Fallout is Already Harming Our Children

Picture: Fry1989

Harvey Wasserman writes at Counterpunch:

Thyroid abnormalities have now been confirmed among tens of thousands of children downwind from Fukushima.  They are the first clear sign of an unfolding radioactive tragedy that demands this industry be buried forever.

Two years after Fukushima exploded, three still-smoldering reactors remind us that the nuclear power industry repeatedly told the world this could never happen.

And 72 years after the nuclear weapons industry began creating them,  untold quantities of deadly wastes still leak at Hanford and at commercial reactor sites around the world, with no solution in sight.

Radiation can be slow to cause cancer, taking decades to kill.
But children can suffer quickly.  Their cells grow faster than adults’.  Their smaller bodies are more vulnerable.  With the embryo and fetus, there can never be a “safe” dose of radiation.  NO dose of radiation is too small to have a human impact.

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Iran Battles Plague Of Giant Genetically Mutated Rats

SINA English reports on the perils of city living:

Iran has sent in sniper teams to clear Tehran’s streets from the massive rodents weighting up to five kilos plaguing 26 district of the Iranian capital, the city’s environmental agency said.

“They seem to have had a genetic mutation, probably as a result of radiations and the chemical used on them,” said Ismail Kahram, Teheran city council environment adviser.

“They are now bigger and look different. These are changes that normally take millions of years of evolution. They have jumped from 60 grams to five kilos, and cats are now smaller than them.”

The “mutated rats” have been running rampant in the capital, as traditional poison appear to have no effect on them. To stop them, the council has deployed ten snipers teams armed with infra-red sighted rifles. So far 2,205 rats have been shot dead.

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A Gamma Ray Blast Irradiated The Earth In The Eighth Century

Radiation in centuries-old tree rings reveals what occurred. If the event were to repeat itself today, it could wreak havoc on humankind’s technology. Phys.org writes:

A nearby short duration gamma-ray burst may be the cause of an intense blast of high-energy radiation that hit the Earth in the 8th century, according to new research led by astronomers Valeri Hambaryan and Ralph Neuhӓuser, based at the Astrophysics Institute of the University of Jena in Germany.

In 2012 scientist Fusa Miyake announced the detection of high levels of the isotope Carbon-14 and Beryllium-10 in tree rings formed in 775 CE, suggesting that a burst of radiation struck the Earth in the year 774 or 775.

Drs. Hambaryan and Neuhӓuser suggest that two compact stellar remnants, i.e. black holes, neutron stars or white dwarfs, collided and merged together. When this happens, some energy is released in the form of gamma rays. If they are right, then this would explain why no records exist of a supernova or auroral display.

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Space Travel Can Cause Alzheimer’s, Study Warns

A hidden danger of attempting to establish a colony on another planet — many of the pioneering colonizers could be feeble-minded or demented upon arrival. Via Space Daily:

Long journeys into deep space, including a mission to Mars, could expose astronauts to levels of cosmic radiation harmful to the brain and accelerate Alzheimer’s disease, said US research Monday.

The NASA-funded study involved bombarding mice with radiation doses comparable to what voyagers would experience during a mission to Mars, and seeing how the animals managed to recall objects or locations.

Mice that were exposed to radiation were far more likely to fail those tasks — suggesting neurological impairment earlier than such symptoms typically appear. The brains of the mice also showed signs of vascular alterations and a greater than normal accumulation of beta amyloid, the protein “plaque” that is one of the hallmarks of the disease.

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Experts: The Technology Needed To Clean Up Fukushima Doesn’t Yet Exist

One and a half years later, the consensus seems to be that the site of the Fukushima nuclear accident cannot be cleaned up or contained until future generations invent the technology to do so, Washington’s Blog notes:

World-renowned physicist Michio Kaku said recently: “It will take years to invent a new generation of robots able to withstand the radiation.” The world leader in decommissioning nuclear reactors, and one of the main contractors hired to clean up Fukushima – EnergySolutions – made a similar point in May:

Concerning the extraction of fuel debris [at Fukushima], “There is no technology which may be directly applied,” said [top EnergySolutions executive] Morant.

A top American government nuclear expert – William D. Magwood – told the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works:

There will need to be new technologies and new methodologies created to be able to enable them to clean the site up and some of these technologies don’t exist yet, so there’s a long way to go with that…There’s a long, long way to go.

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Army’s Cold War Experiments On St. Louis Residents Revealed

Our military secretly sprayed experimental, possibly radioactive chemicals in minority and low-income communities in St. Louis during the 1960s to see what would happen, KSDK in St. Louis reports:

Lisa Martino-Taylor is a sociologist whose life’s work has been to uncover details of the Army’s ultra-secret military experiments carried out in St. Louis and other cities during the 1950s and 60s.

[KSDK] verified that the spraying of zinc cadmium sulfide did take place in St. Louis on thousands of unsuspecting citizens. What is unclear is whether the Army added a radioactive material to the compound as Martino-Taylor’s research implies.

Army archive pictures show how the tests were done in Corpus Christi, Texas in the 1960s. In Texas, planes were used to drop the chemical. But in St. Louis, the Army placed chemical sprayers on buildings and station wagons. Documents confirmed that city officials were kept in the dark about the tests.

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The Fukushima Disaster Produced Mutant Irradiated Butterflies

Radiation turns your dreams to nightmares, via Mother Jones:

Researchers collected butterflies immediately following the nuclear meltdown and six months later, both from the surrounding areas of Fukushima and from various other localities in Japan. As compared with the butterflies collected from elsewhere, Fukushima butterflies showed some abnormally-developed legs, dented eyes, deformed wing shapes, and changes to the color and spot patterns of their wings, with an overall abnormality rate of around 12 percent.

While these levels of mutations were still relatively mild, more alarming were the same data on butterflies collected six months later, in September of last year. The overall rate of similar mutations among these butterflies was around 28 percent, while this number skyrocketed to around 52 percent in the second generation produced from the collected butterflies.

The study renews worries that humans, too, might be affected by the released radiation in the Fukushima area, but the researchers insist that this is not an easy line to draw.

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Radioactive Oatmeal from Fukushima

Via Food Quality news:

Are we about the enter the era of carrying a radiation detector to scan all food before consuming? Damn!

Radiation has been detected in commercial oatmeal in Hong Kong. Despite assurances about “low levels” of radiation, there isn’t truly ANY safe amount of radiation. This is a reasonable concern with extremely hot particles like Cesium-137, which is the culprit in this case.

Even at the miniscule level of 7 Becquerel per kg, I can’t help but wonder about the lifetime bio-accumulation of these particles in the body if they became common in many food products.  There is a lot of conflicting information from all sides of all issues on the radiation legacy of Fukushima … because nobody truly knows the long-term effects.

No recall has been issued by the Hong Kong Center for Food Safety(CFS).

Read more at Food Quality news.

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Demon Core: The Haunted Piece Of Plutonium That Killed Several At Los Alamos

Multiple scientists tragically received fatal doses of radiation in freak accidents when handling the so-called Demon Core. Was it karma for our dropping the atomic bomb? io9 writes:

Ever heard of The Demon Core? It was named by Los Alamos scientists — who are generally not a superstitious lot — after it claimed multiple lives, in a series of strange and horrible accidents. Discover a legend of science… that’s worthy of a horror movie.

The Demon Core was a hunk of plutonium that was being used to refine the atomic bomb, just after it had been used in Japan. One of the first reactions tests was conducted, unofficially and without other scientists present, by a gifted 24-year-old physicist named Harry Daghlian. He had built up walls around the core, monitoring it all the while, and then placed a brick on top of the walls. The reaction started cranking up to critical levels, and Daglian hurried to withdraw the brick.

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Full Third of Fukushima Children Face Cancer Risk

 

Photo: Mononeko (PD)

According to  Russia Times, a Japanese public health organization has released grim finding: Aafter examining 38,000 children from the Fukushima Prefecture, site of the infamous nuclear disaster, the organization has estimated that a third of the prefecture’s children will be at risk for developing cancer as a result of radiation poisoning.

The Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey reports that over 13,000 of the children examined exhibited swollen cysts or nodules on their thyroids. Radiation penetrates soft tissues and settles in thyroids. Over time, the nodules can swell and become cancerous.

The children of the effected Prefecture will receive cancer screenings every two years until they turn 20, and will then continue to receive screenings every five years until the end of their lives.

Some physicians in the international community feel that the Japanese are not adequately publicizing the results of the study and minimizing the true danger that the children face.… Read the rest

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