Ionising radiation’s effects on humans

Powerful Lies – The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster And The Radioactive Effects On Human Health By Richard Wilcox PhD 2-22-13,

 “…….The nuclear establishment would prefer the general public believe that nuclear radiation is essentially nothing to be concerned with. However, their own science and words belie the rhetoric. The Cult of Nuclearists have billions of dollars to devote to propaganda whereas the Nuclear Truth Tellers (NTTers) are marginalized by a whole host of economic and political tricks. One of the trump cards that the Nuclearists hold is that understanding the science of radiation effects when presented in an intentionally confusing way to mislead is beyond the capabilities of the average person to grasp, and that they have no other choice than to trust the experts. Fortunately there is a large body of literature that debunks the nuclear industry’s powerful lies.

Busby has two important and rigorously researched books on radiation science that are among the most important (31; 32). I also recommend a perusal through longtime activist Russell Hoffman’s incredible library of nuclear related books (33). Hoffman’s “Code Killers” is an easily understood, exhaustively researched and colorfully presented educational primer on the dangers of nuclear energy. It can be downloaded for free and is an ideal educational tool (34).

Insights Into The Science Of Radiation Biology

Paul Zimmerman’s 778 page book, “A Primer In The Art Of Deception: The Cult Of Nuclearists, Uranium Weapons And Fraudulent Science” (2009) is the equivalent of taking a college level course – if not an entire curriculum – from the self described “self-educated student of the subject matter” (Op. cit.). For an introduction to his work here is an outstanding audio interview (35).

Since 1938 when the uranium atom was first split, the US has accumulated some “700,000 metric tons” of depleted uranium as a byproduct of weapons manufacture and nuclear power waste. Why is nuclear waste and emissions a problem?

To quote Zimmerman:

“All atoms of uranium are radioactive. At some point in their lifetime, they spontaneously undergo radioactive decay and emit subatomic particles and energy from their nuclei. When this process occurs in the crust of the Earth, it is of no consequence to life. Decay while the atom is entrapped within the body of a living organism, however, is altogether different. When radiation from a radioactive atom is released into a biological medium, it creates damage to the molecular structures that make up that living system” (p. ii).

“There is not a single life-enhancing benefit to be derived from releasing ionizing radiation into the environment…. Ionizing radiation breaks chemical bonds, destroying in living systems biologically significant micromolecules, and as a result, altering biological function. On a planet teeming with life–impossible without the exquisitely precise interplay of biochemical choreography–ionizing radiation, concentrated by humans and then released, is a force of disorder, chaos and death” (p. 8).


Another basic point of understanding blurred in the public mind by the nuclear establishment is gauging the effect that natural uranium has on the human body versus uranium that has been concentrated for nuclear technology. The nuclear establishment claims that the effects of eating a banana which may be relatively high in uranium content, is equivalent to an insoluble microparticle of uranium which may become lodged in the lung after a depleted uranium (DU) munition explodes on the battlefield, or when a nuclear accident such as Fukushima releases large amounts of hot particles into the air where they can be swept by the wind and then inhaled.

Another quote from Zimmerman:

“The solubility/insolubility of particles released by nuclear weapons or radiation accidents would depend on the chemistry of the the nuclides involved. There is not a blanket answer for all radionuclides and whatever other atoms they might be bound to. Hot particles are particles composed of hundreds/thousands/millions of molecules which contain some quantity of radioactive atoms. How that particle behaves in the human body has a lot to do with how easily is dissolves in body fluid. Both soluble and insoluble particles of uranium, plutonium, radium, and the other alpha emitters release alpha particles into surrounding tissue. The significance of INSOLUBLE particles is that they can have a much longer residency inside the body, perhaps a person’s entire life. This gives them increased opportunity to successfully target biologically significant macromolecules such as DNA in their vicinity” (pers. comm.).

Uranium found in nature is present in the food and water chain, is soluble, consists of about 2 millionths of a gram of daily intake. Since it is widespread throughout many organ systems and is then eliminated through bodily processes, no cluster of cells receives a concentrated dose of radiation. Therefore, Zimmerman notes that uranium from nature “presents an infinitely small hazard to the health of the organism as a whole” (p. 46).

But there is a tricky linguistic distinction to be understood. The nuclear industry calls uranium that has been thoroughly processed into a purified form of uranium as “natural uranium.”

While it is true that originally this uranium was found in nature, it is in fact a man-made uranium product with nothing really natural about it. Just like some food products on the shelves of grocery stores that say “all natural” or “natural flavors” on the label even though there are dozens of artificial food additives in the product.

“Natural uranium — uranium that has been concentrated by human beings — represents an enhanced radiological hazard over the uranium found in nature. Since the 1940s, humankind has unearthed millions of tons of uranium-bearing ore, extracted the uranium and concentrated it. this man-made product is a new radiological pollutant that never before existed on the Earth’s surface” (p. 46).

The difference between uranium-bearing ore and uranium products that have been refined vary drastically in radioactive concentration. Weapons grade uranium is the most potent by far, but even yellow cake uranium that has undergone rudimentary refinement, and is used for nuclear reactors, is 300,000 times more radioactive than uranium found in nature when equal volumes are compared.

A main problem for human health are the alpha particles that are released in the process called “ionization.”

Zimmerman notes that:

“Ionization is the breakup of an electrically neutral molecule into positive and negative ions. To break the chemical bonds holding together each of the molecules in our body requires the impact of approximately 34 electron-volts” (pers. comm.).

Given this possibility:

“One alpha particle has the potential of creating–123,000 ionizations. In a cascading effect, the charged particles created in these ionizing events go on to initiate millions more ionizations. An alpha particle is a bull in the proverbial china shop. It massively disrupts the chemical integrity of the molecules that constitute a living system” (p. 51).

Although alpha particles do not penetrate great distance, they are “not weak.” Due to the small distance they travel in tissue, they are extremely destructive to the cells through which they traverse. The alpha particle’s ionizing behavior results in “massive assault on the chemical integrity of a small population of cells…” (p. 52).

In the article Radiation Roulette by Ron Edwards, reference is made to a study of the effect of alpha radiation on the stem cells of mice. One of the authors of the study, Eric Wright, had this to say in a letter to the journal Nature:
” ‘relative biological effectiveness’ — a measure of how damaging low-level radiation can be in the body — for isotopes that emit alpha particles is ‘effectively infinite’ ” (36).

Particles from uranium munitions contain uranium in vastly greater concentrations than uranium found in nature in uranium ore. When they are released as hot particles into the air from exploding DU munitions which burn, they can be inhaled by populations downwind. Similarly, hot particles which contain a great variety of radionuclides that are released after a nuclear disaster can also be inhaled by humans downwind of the accident.

Zimmerman confirms that “a comparison can be made between DU and hot particles released from nuclear accidents resulting from fire and/or explosions. It is the burning of DU that turns it into microparticles which produces the internal hazard. The same would be true for hot particles produced in nuclear weapons explosions and accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima. DU is a single radionuclide, uranium, with a tremendously long half-life. A nuclear reactor contains numerous biologically significant radionuclides with variable half-lives. The kinetics/biochemistry of uranium once inside the body is quite different from that of a host of radionuclides targeting different organ systems simultaneously with variable rates of disintegration due to the different rates of decay. The fact that DU is both chemically and radiologically hazardous, which nearly all radiobiologists deny, damns any other more active types of radiation gaining entrance into the interior of the body” (pers. comm.).

In other words, the hot particles that were emitted after the nuclear meltdowns and explosions at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant (FNPP) were every bit as dangerous, if not more so, than what soldiers in Iraq and other illegal war theaters experienced when DU munitions were used. This would especially be true for people living within close vicinity of the FNPP however researchers picked up significant numbers of hot particles in car engine filters as far away as Tokyo (37).


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