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More fallout from the fallout as radioactive strontium-89 is found in milk in Hawaii. The discovery highlights weaknesses, contradictions, and a seeming lack of transparency in US regulating standards.
Forbes l Jeff McMahon 27 April, 2011
A radioactive isotope of strontium has been detected in American milk for the first time since Japan’s nuclear disaster—in a sample from Hilo, Hawaii—the Environmental Protection Agency revealed yesterday.
“We have completed our first strontium milk sample analysis and found trace amounts of strontium-89 in a milk sample from Hilo, Hawaii. The level was approximately 27,000 times below the Derived Intervention Level set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” EPA said in a statement emailed to me yesterday afternoon. EPA posted the test result at epa.gov in a pdf.
In fact, the FDA has no Derived Intervention Level for Strontium-89. See FDA statement at the bottom of this post.
The two man-made isotopes of strontium—Sr-89 and Sr-90—are among the most dangerous products of nuclear fission to human and animal health. Both are “bone-seekers,” chemically similar to calcium, that collect in bone and marrow, where they are known to cause cancer. They are particularly dangerous to the growing bones of fetuses and children.
A world population analysis reveals the locations that could put the most people in danger should a nuclear accident occur.
Map showing the population size living within 75 kilometres of each of the world's nuclear power plants. Population increases with circle size and with colour, from green (< 0.5 million) to red (> 20 million). You need to download the Google Earth plug-in to view this graphic. For a larger version, click here.
In the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident, people everywhere are asking: could a similar disaster strike closer to home?
CRIIRAD, French independent radiation monitoring group releases warning to Europe that levels of radiation from Fukushima fallout may have already exceeded safe levels for children, pregnant women, and other high risk populations. They urge caution, warning that enormous amounts of radiation have been released in Japan and continue to be released. They do not see an immediate end to this danger.
The risks associated with iodine-131 contamination in Europe are no longer "negligible," according to CRIIRAD, a French research body on radioactivity. The NGO is advising pregnant women and infants against "risky behaviour," such as consuming fresh milk or vegetables with large leaves.
In response to thousands of inquiries from citizens concerned about fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Europe, CRIIRAD has compiled an information package on the risks of radioactive iodine-131 contamination in Europe.
The document, published on 7 April, advises against consuming rainwater and says vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid consuming vegetables with large leaves, fresh milk and creamy cheese.
The risks related to prolonged contamination among vulnerable groups of the population can no longer be considered "negligible" and it is now necessary to avoid "risky behaviour," CRIIRAD claimed.
When does protection become a form of oppression? Pro nuclear governments and "experts" have offered little except reassurance that everything is fine, and all will be well. But, as the situation in Japan continues to worsen, it is as clear now as it has been all along- they were never telling the truth. Is not revealing the extent of something so tragic really protecting us? And, if so, from what? The truth about nuclear power may be hard for some to hear. It may make us uneasy about our energy choices. But, the fact is, we have energy choices. We made a bad one with nuclear. There are better ones out there.
We have the resources and technology to create a true renewable energy future, we have the money (if we don't spend it on dead end technologies), and we have the time (just barely). What we lack is the political will to act on it. In cases like this it requires the will of the people. That is one thing democracies are good at. If enough people speak out against needless deaths from energy choices that are more about money and influence than about the future their voices will prevail. It is up to us now, to say this is enough.
AlJazeera l 4 April, 2011
In a nuclear crisis that is becoming increasingly serious, Japan’s Nuclear Safety Agency confirmed that radioactive iodine-131 in seawater samples taken near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex that was seriously damaged by the recent tsunami off the coast of Japan is 4,385 times the level permitted by law.
Airborne radiation near the plant has been measured at 4-times government limits.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, the company that operates the crippled plant, has begun releasing more than 11,000 tons of radioactive water that was used to cool the fuel rods into the ocean while it attempts to find the source of radioactive leaks. The water being released is about 100 times more radioactive than legal limits.
Meanwhile, water that is vastly more radioactive continues to gush into the ocean through a large crack in a six-foot deep pit at the nuclear plant. Over the weekend, workers at the plant used sawdust, shredded newspaper and diaper chemicals in a desperate attempt to plug the area, which failed. Water leaking from the pit is about 10,000 times more radioactive than water normally found at a nuclear plant
Thus, radiation from a meltdown in the reactor core of reactor No. 2 is leaking out into the water and soil, with other reactors continuing to experience problems.
Yet scientists and activists question these government and nuclear industry “safe” limits of radiation exposure.
“The U.S. Department of Energy has testified that there is no level of radiation that is so low that it is without health risks,” Jacqueline Cabasso, the Executive Director of the Western States Legal Foundation, told Al Jazeera.
WHO knew there was an entire group advocating the independence of the World Health Organization. It's a worthy cause, and about time it happened. W.H.O. should not be making agreements with any special interest groups if it really intends to uphold its mandate of protecting world public health.
The constitution of the World Health Organisation (WHO),
states the following principles:
“Healthy development of the child is of basic importance ...”
“Informed opinion and active co-operation on the part of the public are of the utmost importance in the improvement of the health of the people ...”
In Chapter 1, Article 1 - Objectives of WHO, it states :
“The objective of the World Health Organization shall be the attainment by all peoples
of the highest possible level of health”.
But on 28th May 1959, WHO signed Agreement WHA 12-40 with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which prevents WHO taking any initiative or action to achieve its objectives:the preservation and the improvement of health.
An analysis of the action taken by WHO in response to radioactive contamination,
from the start of the nuclear age up to the present day shows this quite clearly
and is what motivates our action.
|AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY AND THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION|
IEER's Arjun Makhijani offers a clear introduction to F. Dalnoki-Veress's article on worries about what the presence of chlorine-138 in the water in the turbine #1 building. While this seems highly technical, it could have enormous ramifications:
Chlorine-38, which has a half-life of only 37 minutes, is created when stable chlorine-37, which is about one-fourth of the chlorine in salt, absorbs a neutron. Since seawater has been used to cool, there is now a large amount of salt – thousands of kilograms – in all three reactors. Now, if a reactor is truly shut down, there is only one significant source of neutrons, namely, the spontaneous fission of some heavy metals which are created when the reactor is working and remain present in the reactor fuel. The most important ones are two isotopes of plutonium and two of curium. But if accidental chain reactions are occurring, it means that the efforts to completely shut down the reactor by mixing boron with the seawater have not completely succeeded. Periodic criticalities, or even a single accidental one, would mean that highly radioactive fission and activation products are being (or have been) created at least in Unit 1 since it was shut down. It would also mean that one or more intense bursts of neutrons, which cause heavy radiation damage to people, have occurred and possibly could occur again, unless the mechanism is understood and measures taken to prevent it. Measures would also need to be taken to protect workers and to measure potential neutron and gamma radiation exposure.
I have been consumed over the last few weeks by the events unfolding in Japan. I keep alternating between complete disbelief and acceptance of the gravity of the situation, but mostly disbelief. And I am not the only one. Most of the nuclear physicists and engineers with whom I have spoken since the incident cannot - will not - believe that it is possible that some of the fuel that is melting could somehow produce little pockets that could go critical. I believed them for the longest time until the following appeared on the Kyodo news website (relevant text italicized below for emphasis) and I did the following analysis. FD-V March 30, 2011
“Neutron beam observed 13 times at crippled Fukushima nuke plant
Daniel Wagner examines the potential impact of the combined disaster in Japan on the global economy, and observes that while there has been a lot of talk about radioactive iodine there has been very little information released about cesium-137 which has a much more profound effect on human health. The levels of cesium-137 found in the soil near the plant are worrying, calling to mind Chernobyl:
The levels were highest from two points northeast of the plant, ranging from 8,690 becquerels/kilogram to a high of 163,000 Bq/kg measured on 20 March from a point about 40 kilometers northwest of the Fukushima plant. The hottest spot is similar to levels found in some areas affected by Chernobyl. Assuming the measurement is no more than 2 centimeters deep, nuclear engineer Shih-Yew Chen of the Argonne National Laboratory calculates that 163,000 Bq/kg is roughly equivalent to 8 million Bq/m2. The highest cesium-137 levels in some villages near Chernobyl were 5 million Bq/m2. If true, Fukushima has already released higher levels of Cesium 137 than Chernobyl, making it the worst source of nuclear radiation release in history.
Huffington Post l Daniel Wagner 3 April, 2011
March 25, 2011
Fallout is covering our world. We hear: no immediate danger, negligible, insignificant. But radiation is cumulative. All exposure is significant in the longer, bigger picture. It's release of radiation into the environment that's not negligible, but negligent. Our carelessness will have consequences. Japan's tragedy spreads out across the globe, proving all nuclear accidents are local.