Archive for March, 2010

Marie Curie – radiation researcher and victim

March 27, 2010

Due to their levels of radioactivity, her papers from the 1890’s are considered too dangerous to handle. Even her cookbook is highly radioactive. They are kept in lead-lined boxes, and those who wish to consult them must wear protective clothing.

10 Famous Incidences of Death by Radiation – Listverse March 25, 2010 by amasimp Marie Sklodowska Curie was a physicist and chemist and a pioneer in the field of radioactivity. In fact, it was Curie that coined the term radioactivity, though Henri Becquerel discovered the phenomenon years earlier. Curies research into the properties of two different uranium ores, pitchblende and chalcolite. led to the discovery of radium and polonium, other radioactive elements. (more…)

Cinéma du Parc

March 27, 2010

WEDNESDAY MARCH 31ST AT 9PMURANIUM- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -France. 2008. Dir.: Romain Icard and Emmanuel Amara. Digital Projection. 83 min.- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE Between 1945 and 2001, the French government exploited 210 uranium mines on its territory producing over 300 million tons of radioactive waste left in the open without any special protection. For decades and in full secrecy, these extremely dangerous radioactive wastes were spread or buried methodically near villages and cities. Worse still, they sometimes served for building roads, parking lots, and even housing, schools or play areas for children… All without any warning about the risks incurred!
Who is responsible for this state of affairs? Are the local populations in danger?

Presented at the Environmental International Film Festival (FIFE) of Paris 2009.

(original French version)

Cinéma du Parc

The Radiation Murder of Alexander Litvinenko

March 26, 2010

10 Famous Incidences of Death by Radiation – Listverse March 25, 2010 by amasimp Alexander Litvinenko was a former KGB officer who escaped prosecution in Russia and received political asylum in the United Kingdom . In November of 2006 he suddenly fell ill and was hospitalized. He died three weeks later and post-mortem tests showed he had been given a lethal dose of Polonium-210 via a cup of tea. (more…)

Uranium workers’ deaths by radiation accident

March 26, 2010

10 Famous Incidences of Death by Radiation – Listverse March 25, 2010 by amasimp Japan’s worst nuclear radiation accident took place at a uranium reprocessing facility in Tokaimura, northeast of Tokyo, on September 30, 1999. (more…)

Murder of Litvinenko by radiation poisoning

March 26, 2010

10 Famous Incidences of Death by Radiation – Listverse March 25, 2010 by amasimp Alexander Litvinenko was a former KGB officer who escaped prosecution in Russia and received political asylum in the United Kingdom . In November of 2006 he suddenly fell ill and was hospitalized. He died three weeks later and post-mortem tests showed he had been given a lethal dose of Polonium-210 via a cup of tea.

On his deathbed, Litvinenko accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of being behind his death.Subsequent investigations by British authorities into the circumstances of Litvinenko’s death led to serious diplomatic difficulties between the British and Russian governments.

Unofficially, British authorities asserted that “we are 100% sure who administered the poison, where and how”. However they did not disclose their evidence in the interest of a future trial. The main suspect in the case, a former officer of the Russian Federal Protective Service (FSO) Andrei Lugovoy, remains in Russia. As a member of the Duma, he now enjoys immunity from prosecution.

10 Famous Incidences of Death by Radiation – Listverse

Deaths of uranium workers by radiation

March 26, 2010

10 Famous Incidences of Death by Radiation – Listverse March 25, 2010 by amasimp Japan’s worst nuclear radiation accident took place at a uranium reprocessing facility in Tokaimura, northeast of Tokyo, on September 30, 1999.

The direct cause of the criticality accident was workers putting uranyl nitrate solution containing about 16.6 kg of uranium, exceeding the critical mass, into a precipitation tank. The tank was not designed to dissolve this type of solution and was not configured to prevent eventual criticality.Three workers were exposed to lethal radiation doses.

One of these workers, Hiroshi Couchi, was transferred to the University of Tokyo Hospital and three days after the accident he could talk and only his right hand was a little swollen with redness. However, his condition gradually weakened as the radioactivity broke down the chromosomes in his cells.The doctors were at a loss as to what to do.

There were few precedents and proven medical treatments for victims of radiation poisoning. A local television crew followed the story for 83 days until Hiroshi died. Their observations are chronicled in the book, “A Slow Death: 83 Days of Radiation Sickness”

10 Famous Incidences of Death by Radiation – Listverse

Solve the existing nuclear waste problem, and no more nuclear reactors

March 26, 2010

Areva’s La Hague reprocessing plant has annually discharged 100,000,000 gallons of radioactive liquid wastes into the English Channel via an underwater pipeline

Chain reaction: The nuclear debate is among the most pressing of our times.Our Future Planet  2 March 2010  Giles Crosse “………Perhaps the most widely feared question is whether there’s a way to make nuclear safe?“Not really safe, no. Not building any more reactors would help, but we don’t have a safe method for long term storage of the waste we already have. We’ve created a hazard which will remain dangerous for over a million years. The best we can do is to stop making it worse.” (more…)

Nuclear power a failure on economics, energy and climate change

March 12, 2010

“The question really is whether we can afford to throw billions of pounds and years of effort chasing yet more nuclear pipe dreams”

“In the next decade meeting our existing renewables and efficiency targets would safely close the ‘energy gap’ and cut emissions, while leaving plenty of potential to expand renewables even further later.”

Chain reaction: The nuclear debate is among the most pressing of our times.Our Future Planet  2 March 2010  Giles Crosse lines up the arguments. (more…)

Niger’s poverty, but uranium wealth for foreign companies

March 8, 2010

Niger’s uranium coup, boilingspot: 7 March 2010 On February 18, Niger’s President Mamadou Tandja was overthrown in a military coup. A military junta calling itself the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy, headed by Major Salou Djibo, took power Tony Iltis | Green Left Online | 6 March 2010 “……the junta is unlikely to confront the causes of Niger’s extreme poverty: Western-imposed neoliberal austerity and the environmentally and socially destructive plunder of natural resources, particularly uranium…….……the coup ensures that political power remains with the same military officer caste from which Tandja came………….The military domination of Niger’s politics has its roots in the discovery of uranium in the then-French colony shortly before independence in 1960. Independence was conditional on secret agreements giving France preferential access to mineral resources and continued military influence……..
France is the world’s largest nuclear power generator: almost 80% of France’s electricity is nuclear generated. French nuclear-generated electricity is exported to neighbouring European countries.

France also has a large nuclear weapons arsenal and is dependent on Niger for its uranium supplies.

Niger is the world’s third-largest exporter of uranium. Uranium mining in Niger is dominated by Areva, the world’s largest nuclear corporation that is part-owned by the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). Areva gets 45% of its uranium from Niger.

Exploration licences to mine uranium have also been granted to mining companies from the US, South Africa, China, Canada and Australia.

 

The neocolonial secret agreements giving Areva below-market prices mean that very little of the wealth from Niger’s uranium remains in the country.

What little wealth is left over is pocketed by the military-based elite. The main difference the coup is likely to make is changing which elite pockets from this wealth goes into.

The United Nations ranks Niger as the fourth-poorest country in the world….Niger’s poverty is worsened by environmental destruction from the uranium mining industry, which is concentrated in the arid north of the country.

Pambazuka News said on January 14 that the “use of non-renewable water sources for … underground mines and … leakages of radioactive matter, including the contamination of water, air and soil; the use of lethal radioactive scrap metal for sale in markets; radioactive ore used to build roads; and dumped radioactive tailings (pulverised uranium rock)”.

Health worker Butali Chiverain described to Al Jazeera on August 31, 2008, some of the effects the uranium has on the local population and mine workers: “There are illnesses which people hadn’t seen before. There are also skin diseases with bumps breaking out especially on the feet, which touch the soil……He said that water in the region had 10 times the level of radioactivity considered safe.

Then-environment minister Mohamed Akotey admitted to Al Jazeera that the government had no ability to monitor the mines. “Today these companies have environmental teams at the mines. At the same time the government does not have the means to make studies at the different locations.”

boilingspot: Niger’s uranium coup

Nieger’s uranium wealth goes to AREVA and other foreign companies

March 8, 2010

Niger’s uranium coup, boilingspot: 7 March 2010 On February 18, Niger’s President Mamadou Tandja was overthrown in a military coup. A military junta calling itself the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy, headed by Major Salou Djibo, took power Tony Iltis | Green Left Online | 6 March 2010 “……the junta is unlikely to confront the causes of Niger’s extreme poverty: Western-imposed neoliberal austerity and the environmentally and socially destructive plunder of natural resources, particularly uranium……. (more…)