Archive for October, 2013

Extraordinary manipulation of its own data, by World Health Organisation, on birth defects in Iraq

October 31, 2013

It is shocking to see this report declare “no clear evidence” for any abnormality in rates of “spontaneous abortions”, “stillbirths”, or “congenital birth defects” anywhere in Iraq.

from ”damning evidence” to “no clear evidence” – extensive data manipulation must have taken place. How and why the data was manipulated to render such drastically different results remains unknown to us.

The ultimate question to be answered is, how can this analysis, these results, and these conclusions be believed? In March, the same MoH reported ”damning evidence” of a rise in Iraq birth defects. Now in September, this new report must be viewed with extreme caution if not with suspicion and disbelief.

‘No clear evidence’ for rise in Iraqi birth defects A March finding of ‘damning evidence’ in the increase in cancers and other health issues was reversed by a new report.   16 Oct 13, 

 Dr Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, a native of Iran, is an environmental toxicologist based in Michigan. She is the author of over two dozen peer reviewed articles and the book, Pollution and Reproductive Damage (DVM 2009). A short and anonymous report just appeared on the World Health Organization (WHO) website. It is titled“Summary of prevalence of reported congenital birth defects in 18 selected districts in Iraq.” Previously, this report was referred to on the WHO website as a “joint study” with the Iraqi Ministry of Health (MoH) which began in May-June 2012. It was to examine the prevalence of congenital birth defects in a number of geographically dispersed areas of Iraq which were exposed to bombardment or heavy fighting, or were unexposed.

This joint investigation was initiated following widespread public alarm over unusual increases in poor reproductive and birth outcomes in Iraq after the US-led invasion. Across Iraq, increasing numbers of birth defects appear to be surfacing, including in MosulAl-RamadiNajafFallujah, Basra, Hawijah, and Baghdad. In some provinces, cancers also are rising. Sterility, repeated miscarriages, stillbirths and severe birth defects – some not found in any medical books – are reported widely.

This explains why many public health scientists awaited the release of the WHO/MoH report on birth defects in Iraq. (more…)

World becoming aware of radioactive pollution of oceans, from atomic bomb testing, to Fukushima

October 31, 2013

“In terms of the ocean, this is definitely an environmental catastrophe, and it’s still ongoing,”

 ”though contamination in the most seriously affected areas has been worse than a lot of things that have gone in the past, conscientious testing of seafood can help prevent it from becoming a human health disaster as well.”

“It also shows us that we have to redouble our efforts to fully understand the health consequences of the testing period, because that will help us prepare for the future consequences of Fukushima.”

This article has a misleading title. The author does not “downplay” Fukushima radiation hazards. On the contrary, he is pointing out the seriousness of radioactive matter in the oceans, and how this has been ignored in the past Scientists downplay Fukushima radiation hazards  DW 25.10.2013  Julian Ryall, Tokyo Experts agree that the radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant is an “environmental catastrophe,” but it is only a fraction of the fallout from atmospheric nuclear tests carried out in the 1950s and 1960s, they say…….

Tokyo Electric Power Co. confirmed Tuesday that radioactive cesium had again been detected about one kilometer offshore from the Fukushima nuclear plant, crippled in March 2011 by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the tsunami that it triggered……

People forget that the world we live in already has a lot of cesium-137 in the environment,” Dr. Mitsuo Aoyama, senior scientist in the Oceanography and Geochemistry Department of the Japan Meteorological Research Institute, told DW…….

Dr. Aoyama’s studies show that by 1970, an estimated 290 petabecquerels – an alarming 29 followed by 15 zeroes – of cesium fallout was in the north Pacific ocean from atmospheric weapons tests……

an ongoing study by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, based in Massachusetts, shows that in 1990 the rate in the Black Sea stood at 52 becquerels per cubic meter, at 55 in the Irish Sea – a legacy of problems at Britain’s Sellafield nuclear plant – and at 125 in the Baltic. (more…)

Nuclear power is a fnancial disaster, and the world’s elite know this

October 31, 2013

Because of costs, the de facto “solution” is firstly to extend reactor operating lifetimes, then partly decommission and dismantle reactors when they are taken out of service, delaying the decontamination of nuclear sites, and pushing all costs into the future. Unfortunately and until the reactors are made safe, they by definition pose almost open-ended risks. These extend from “simple” accidents and technical malfunction, to operator errors, and to the risk of them becoming giant Dirty Bomb targets in civil war, international war, or terror attacks. Even the most extreme non-nuclear industrial risks, notably at “Seveso or Bhopal type” chemical facilities, are pale by comparison.

Nuclear Power Dirty Bomb   The Market Oracle, Oct 28, 2013  By: Andrew_McKillop THE 100-YEAR CURSE Within the next 15 – 20 years as many as 100 industry standard Westinghouse-type 900 MW PWR pressurized water reactors, concentrated in the “old nuclear’ countries will have to be decommissioned, dismantled and their sites made safe – unless political deciders maintain the sinister farce of rubber stamping reactor operating lifetime extensions. The decontamination process could take as long as 100 years. In several countries, especially Germany, Switzerland and probably Japan the dangerous game of politically-decided reactor life extensions – to push back the date of final decommissioning – has already ended or is ending.

But when it does end, nuclear debt will go into overdrive from its already extreme high setting. Nuclear power is capital intensive, lives on subsidies, thrives on false hopes and dies in debt. (more…)

“Indentured servitude” – unemployed Japanese tricked into Fukushima clean-up work

October 31, 2013

‘Nuclear Slaves’ at Fukushima: Workers have debts paid off, forced to stay as ‘indentured servants’ — Foreign workers may soon be needed at plant, official reveals

Voice of Russia, Oct. 27, 2013: “Nuclear slaves” discovered at Fukushima […] An in-depth journalistic investigation uncovered that thousands of unemployed Japanese were tricked into working underpaid and highly dangerous jobs on the site of Fukushima’s nuclear disaster. […] Yakuza act as enforcers who keep the “nuclear slaves” from complaining or leaving their jobs. […] Reuters reports that “labor brokers” […] resort to “buying” laborers by paying off their debts and then forcing them to work in hazardous conditions until their debt to the “labor broker” is paid off. Such “employment schemes” are commonly referred to as “indentured servitude”  and are a form of slavery […] Lake Barrett, a former US nuclear regulator and an advisor to Tepco, told the news agency that existing practices won’t be changed for Fukushima decontamination: “There’s been a century of tradition of big Japanese companies using contractors, and that’s just the way it is in Japan. You’re not going to change that overnight just because you have a new job here, so I think you have to adapt.”

Asahi Oct. 28, 2013: TEPCO President Naomi Hirose […] explained that it is getting difficult for the utility to secure sufficient manpower at the plant and that it was grappling with tasks the company was not familiar with.

AP,, Oct. 28, 2013: Hirose acknowledged that TEPCO is having trouble finding a stable pool of workers at the plant […] TEPCO Vice President Zengo Aizawa said […] that uncertainty remains over the long-term decommissioning process. “We are not sure about our long-term staffing situation during the upcoming process of debris removal, which requires different skills,” Aizawa told a news conference. Asked if the company may have to consider hiring foreign workers, he said TEPCO is open to that idea even though it’s not an immediate option. […] [Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the NRA] called on Hirose to implement sweeping steps to safeguard workers from high doses of radiation and other troubles […]

UPDATE: Fukushima Worker: I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012, now stomach and intestinal cancers found recently — Each developed independently, not from one spreading — Worked at plant for just 4 months in 2011

Easy materials for dirty bombs – depleted uranium and nuclear wastes

October 31, 2013

Nuclear Power Dirty Bomb   The Market Oracle, Oct 28, 2013  By: Andrew_McKillop ”……RECYCLE, REUSE AND DEFEND THE ECONOMY Nuclear waste business, as we know, is not business friendly and leads to the very basic reflex of simply dumping a considerable and growing part of the world’s unmanageable nuclear wastes from the current world fleet of around 436 operating civil reactors (depending on how many Japanese reactors are broughtback into service). Proliferation risks are deliberately restricted to only conventional explosive nuclear weapons and their radioactive materials – totally ignoring both Depleted Uranium weapons using “recycled” nuclear wastes, and the potential future Dirty Bomb targets of active and “partly decommissioned” reactors lurking on the horizon. These with almost no possible doubt will be prime targets in coming civil wars and international wars. These nuclear war options are above all cheap, and of course very dirty.

Since the 1991 Gulf War 1 against Iraq, the war against Afghanistan starting in 2001, and the second war against Iraq of 2003 at least 2500 tons of Depleted Uranium weapons have been used by the US, UK and France in these “delightfully far away” over the horizon wars against lesser races and nations. Depleted Uranium ordnance, to date has caused a conservatively estimated 10 000 cancer deaths, and as many as 50 000 still-living cancer victims in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This has easily calculated economic consequences. When this concerns free market white democrat middle class consumers, the same types of cancers are costed at roughly $ 40 000 for a cancer death and $ 25 000-per-year for surviving cancer sufferers.

The “cute idea” of recycling nuclear wastes as DU ordnance has a cosy market-friendly smell, to some, but the economic damage that these filthy weapons generate smells a lot worse. Those who profit from misery and death will finally pay. The same weapons can be turned around and used on them………

If no mishaps occur Trawsfynydd nuclear cleanup will take nearly 100 years

October 31, 2013

The final decommissioning at Trawsfynydd and elsewhere depends on finding a safe long term solution for where to deposit the ILW as well as the High Level Waste (HLW) currently stored at Sellafield. This includes the spent nuclear fuel which was removed when the plant closed.

Trawsfynydd timeline

1959: Construction started

1965 to 1991: Electricity generation
1993 to 1995: Decommissioning starts – fuel removed and sent to Sellafield
1995 to 2016: Recovery of waste and preparations to put the plant into a ‘passively safe’ state
2020-26: Reduction in height of reactor buildings
2040s: Scheduled removal of Intermediate Level Waste to deep geological storage
2074: Final site clearance starts
2083: Site returned to pre-existing state

How do you close a nuclear power station? BBC  By Steven Green 28 Oct 13 As the UK embarks on building what could be a new generation of nuclear power plants, work continues to decommission the first generation of nuclear power stations at sites including Trawsfynydd in Snowdonia which will take an estimated 90 years to complete. (more…)

Geologists discuss nuclear waste burial

October 31, 2013

Radioactive Waste: Where to Put It? Oct. 27, 2013 — As the U.S. makes new plans for disposing of spent nuclear fuel and other high-level radioactive waste deep underground, geologists are key to identifying safe burial sites and techniques. Scientists at The Geological Society of America (GSA) meeting in Denver will describe the potential of shale formations; challenges of deep borehole disposal; and their progress in building a computer model to help improve understanding of the geologic processes that are important for safe disposal of high-level waste.

In the United States, about 70,000 metric tons of spent commercial nuclear fuel are located at more than 70 sites in 35 states. Shales and other clay-rich (argillaceous) rocks have never been seriously considered for holding America’s spent nuclear fuel, but it is different overseas. France, Switzerland, and Belgium are planning to put waste in tunnels mined out of shale formations, and Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom are evaluating the idea. (more…)

How Low Energy Electrons (LEE) damage DNA

October 31, 2013

Understanding DNA damage!+Science+News+-+PopularOctober 25, 2013 Every day, all day, our DNA gets beaten up by chemicals and radiation — but remarkably, most of us stay healthy. Now, an investigation by a team of French and Canadian researchers has produced insights into a little-studied but common radiation threat to DNA: low-energy electrons (LEEs), with energies of 0-15 electron volts. The team has devised the first rough model of a close DNA cellular environment under threat from LEEs, revealing for the first time their effects on DNA in natural, biological conditions. Their work appears in The Journal of Chemical Physics, which is produced by AIP Publishing

The team’s work is an important step forward in understanding how LEEs injure DNA because it provides a realistic experimental platform for analysis of results. The goal is to use this knowledge to improve current uses of radiation, such as in cancer treatments.

“The way by which these electrons can damage DNA, and how much damage they inflict, quantitatively, is of major importance not only for general radiation protection purposes, but also for improving the efficiency and safety of therapeutic and diagnostic radiation therapy,” said Michel Fromm, the lead researcher from Université de Franche-Comté in Besançon, France, whose expertise is in creating nanometer-scaled DNA layers. His co-author on the paper is Leon Sanche, of Sherbrooke University Québec, Canada, who is one of the world’s leading authorities on LEE research.

The team explored specific features of a small DNA molecule called a plasmid on a specialized thin film they created, which was irradiated by an electron gun. The impact produced transient particles called anions, which dissociate into “pieces” of DNA. When analyzed, these molecular fragments provide insight into the mechanisms of DNA strand breaks and other DNA injuries that health researchers seek to understand, repair and prevent.

“The fascinating point is that each time the close environment of DNA changes, new mechanisms of interaction of LEEs appear,” Fromm said.

Contrary to the pro nuclear spin, Germany’s renewable energy transition is a success

October 31, 2013

Myth-busting Germany’s energy transition Smart Planet By  | October 12, 2013 Major English-language media have been propagating a false narrative about the stunning success of Germany’s transition to renewable energy: theEnergiewende. To hear them tell it, the transition has been a massive failure, driving up power prices, putting Germany’s grid at risk of blackouts, and inspiring a mass revolt against renewables.

Nothing could be further from the truth……..

I debunked a few of the hoary tropes about the Energiewende one year ago, such as the notion that the grid can’t handle a large share of variable renewable power. But apparently many in the major Western media still haven’t gotten the memo.

So let’s clear out the fog and debunk a few of the favorite myths about theEnergiewende.

Myth: After the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan two-and-a-half years ago, Merkel quickly decided to begin phasing out nuclear power and lead the country into the age of wind and solar.” (This one is from the above-mentioned Der Spiegel article.)

Fact: Germany’s switch to renewables started in 1991, and the nuclear phaseout started in 2002. (more…)

The women who fought, and held back, the nuclear industry

October 31, 2013

In their determination to publicize its hazards, the intervening women were pioneers alerting the American public to the scientific consensus that all radiation exposure is cumulative and damages cellular DNA.

No Nukes and Intervening Women  Renee Parsons : 04/16/2012 In an era when Occupy Wall Street protestors are beaten and arrested like hardened criminals, more than 40 years ago in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, there was another organized protest movement that captured the nation’s attention as it spread from New Hampshire’s Clamshell Alliance to the Abalone Alliance in southern California..In the mid-to-late 1970s, massive civil disobedience and notably peaceful arrest of protestors were taking place from the tidewater of Virginia to the farmlands of Oklahoma against the construction and operation of commercial nuclear power reactors.

What is less well-known is that at the root of the controversy, prior to public demonstrations of opposition, were a handful of exceptional women, mostly “housewives” whose thankless work done at their dining room tables provided those demonstrators and an uninformed country with the true realities of the “peaceful” atom. (more…)