Tag Archives | Radiation

Will You Drink Fukushima Milk?

Photo: FiveRings (CC)

Photo: FiveRings (CC)

How do you feel about drinking milk with trace radiation from Fukushima’s nuclear disaster, even if our government assures us there’s no health hazard? From US News:

In an update to its ongoing radiation monitoring following the Fukushima Daiichi reactor crisis in Japan, U.S. government officials announced late Wednesday that milk sampled March 25 in Washington state contained low levels of radiation not likely to cause harm to humans.

In a statement released jointly by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, the two agencies said that their screening of milk from Spokane, Wash., showed levels of iodine-131 that were “more than 5,000 times lower than the Derived Intervention Level” set by the FDA.

The level of iodine-131 found in the Spokane milk is “far below levels of public health concern, including for infants and children,” the FDA and the EPA both said.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Fukushima Radioactive Fallout Nears Chernobyl Levels

Fukushima PrefectureReported by a source no less than the New Scientist:

Japan’s damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima has been emitting radioactive iodine and caesium at levels approaching those seen in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Austrian researchers have used a worldwide network of radiation detectors – designed to spot clandestine nuclear bomb tests – to show that iodine-131 is being released at daily levels 73 per cent of those seen after the 1986 disaster. The daily amount of caesium-137 released from Fukushima Daiichi is around 60 per cent of the amount released from Chernobyl.

The difference between this accident and Chernobyl, they say, is that at Chernobyl a huge fire released large amounts of many radioactive materials, including fuel particles, in smoke. At Fukushima Daiichi, only the volatile elements, such as iodine and caesium, are bubbling off the damaged fuel. But these substances could nevertheless pose a significant health risk outside the plant.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Japan’s Safety Regulators: Fukushima No. 3 Nuclear Reactor May Have Been Breached

Atomic EnergyDavid Jolly & Hiroko Tabuchi report in the NY Times:

TOKYO — Japan’s effort to contain the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant suffered a setback, an official said on Friday, citing evidence that the reactor vessel of the No. 3 unit may have been damaged.

The development, described at a news conference by Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director-general of the Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, raises the possibility that radiation from the mox fuel in the reactor — a combination of uranium and plutonium — could be released.

One sign that a breach may have occurred in the reactor vessel, Mr. Nishiyama said, took place on Thursday when three workers who were trying to connect an electrical cable to a pump in a turbine building next to the reactor were injured when they stepped into water that was found to be significantly more radioactive than normal in a reactor.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Radiation Dose Chart

Randall Munroe of the blog xkcd took the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake tragedy (with its resultant fears of nuclear contamination) as an opportunity to construct a chart putting into perspective the quantities of radiation received from various sources — allowing for comparisons between Fukushima, Chernobyl, living near a coal plant, taking a walk, getting an x-ray, flying on an airplane, and the largest and deadliest cases of exposure. Read and learn:

radiation-dose-chart-4490-1300581517-54

Read the rest

Continue Reading

A Glowing Report On Radiation

Radiation warning symbolWhile manufactured “arguments” continue to wage about topics such as climate change and evolution, Anne Coulter has stepped up the game, adding the benefits of radiation to the pot:

As The New York Times science section reported in 2001, an increasing number of scientists believe that at some level — much higher than the minimums set by the U.S. government — radiation is good for you. “They theorize,” the Times said, that “these doses protect against cancer by activating cells’ natural defense mechanisms.”

Among the studies mentioned by the Times was one in Canada finding that tuberculosis patients subjected to multiple chest X-rays had much lower rates of breast cancer than the general population.

And there are lots more!

A $10 million Department of Energy study from 1991 examined 10 years of epidemiological research by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health on 700,000 shipyard workers, some of whom had been exposed to 10 times more radiation than the others from their work on the ships’ nuclear reactors.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Fake ‘Radiation’ Text Messages And E-mails

Fukushima Nuclear Reactors 1-4. Photo: National Land Image Information (Color Aerial Photographs, Ministry of Land, Infastructure, Transport and Tourism

Fukushima Nuclear Reactors 1-4. Photo: National Land Image Information (Color Aerial Photographs, Ministry of Land, Infastructure, Transport and Tourism

Many citizens across Asia have been warned about faux messages being sent, such as this e-mail: “Japan Government confirms radiation leak at Fukushima nuclear plants. Asian countries should take necessary precautions. If rain comes, remain indoors first 24 hours. Close doors and windows. Swab neck skin with betadine where thyroid area is, radiation hits thyroid first. Take extra precautions. Radiation may hit Philippine at around 4 pm today. If it rains today or in the next few days in Hong Kong. Do not go under the rain. If you get caught out, use an umbrella or raincoat, even if it is only a drizzle. Radioactive particles, which may cause burns, alopecia or even cancer, may be in the rain.” BBC reports:

A fake text message warning people that radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant has leaked beyond Japan has been panicking people across Asia.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Radioactive Plume Could Hit The U.S. By Friday

Japan Nuclear power plants map

Japan's nuclear power plants

If the quake and tsunami were karma for Pearl Harbor, I guess this is karma for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The New York Times reports:

A United Nations forecast of the possible movement of the radioactive plume coming from crippled Japanese reactors shows it churning across the Pacific, and touching the Aleutian Islands on Thursday before hitting Southern California late Friday.

Health and nuclear experts emphasize that radiation in the plume will be diluted as it travels and, at worst, would have extremely minor health consequences in the United States, even if hints of it are ultimately detectable. In a similar way, radiation from the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 spread around the globe and reached the West Coast of the United States in 10 days, its levels measurable but minuscule.

The projection, by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, an arm of the United Nations in Vienna, gives no information about actual radiation levels but only shows how a radioactive plume would probably move and disperse.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Anti-Radiation Pills Flying Off U.S. Drug Store Shelves

IoSatVia Fox News:

One drug supplier says it has sold 250,000 anti-radiation pills to people in the U.S. concerned about possible exposure from Japanese nuclear reactors.

Troy Jones, president of Nukepills.com, said his company sold out over the weekend of potassium iodide pills, which prevent against radiation poisoning of the thyroid gland. Jones, in an interview with FoxNews.com, said that the pills were sold to dozens of U.S. pharmacies, corporations, hospitals and nuclear labs.

“You name it,” he said. Jones said that he has back-ordered more than a million tablets and is expected to get another 10,000 of the liquid potassium iodine. He also said that he has donated about 50,000 pills to Japan, many of them going to a hospital in Tokyo.

Despite assurances from health officials that Americans are not at risk from Japanese nuclear reactors, U.S. drug stores are reporting a sudden increase in sales of the over-the-counter anti-radiation pills.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

TSA Admits Radiation from Body Scanners Is 10 Times Higher Than They Initially Stated

ScannersDavid Kravets writes in WIRED’s Threat Level:

The Transportation Security Administration is re-analyzing the radiation levels of X-ray body scanners installed in airports nationwide, after testing produced dramatically higher-than-expected results.

The TSA, which has deployed at least 500 body scanners to at least 78 airports, said Tuesday the machines meet all safety standards and would remain in operation despite a “calculation error” in safety studies. The flawed results showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected.

At least one flier group, the Association for Airline Passenger Rights, is urging the government to stop using the $180,000 machines that produce a virtual-nude image of the body until new tests are concluded in May.

“Airline passengers have enough concerns about flying — including numerous ones about how TSA conducts its haphazard security screenings — so it is TSA’s responsibility to ensure passengers are not being exposed to unhealthy amounts of radiation,” Brandon Macsata, executive director of the group, said in a statement.

Read the rest
Continue Reading