Archive for September, 2015

Effects of cesium 137 contamination in Japan

September 4, 2015

I am afraid that there are many Japanese people now living on lands equally

contaminated with radioactive cesium. If Japanese children are allowed to routinely ingest foodstuffs contaminated with Cesium-137, they will likely develop the same health problems that we see now in the children and teenagers of Belarus and Ukraine.

Thus it is very important that we recognize the danger posed to children by the routine ingestion of contaminated food with Cesium-137 where ever they might live. It is also important to prevent further nuclear disasters which release these fiendishly toxic poisons into the global ecosystems. Given the immense amounts of long-lived radionuclides which exist at every nuclear power plant this is an urgent task.

The Implications of The Massive Contamination of Japan With Radioactive Cesium 
Steven Starr  Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility  Director, University of Missouri, Clinical Laboratory Science Program Helen Caldicott Foundation Fukushima Symposium  New York Academy of Medicine, 11 March 2013 A large number of highly radioactive isotopes released by the destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant grossly contaminated the Japanese mainland. Most of these radionuclides had short half lives which meant they would essentially disappear in a matter of days or months. For many of those who were exposed to them there will be major health consequences.
However, there were some radioactive elements that will not rapidly disappear. And it is these long-lived radionuclides that will remain to negatively affect the health of all complex life forms that are exposed to them.
text cesiumChief among them is Cesium-137, which has taken on special significance because it is has proven to be the most abundant of the long-lived radionuclides that has remained in the environment following the nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima. It has a 30 year radioactive half life which is why it persists in the environment. Scientists now believe that it will be 180 to 320 years before the Cesium-137 around the destroyed Chernobyl reactor actually disappears from the environment.

Cesium is water soluble and quickly makes its way into soils and waters. It is in the same atomic family as potassium and it mimics it, acting as a macronutrient. It quickly becomes ubiquitous in contaminated ecosystems.

It is distributed by the catastrophic accidents at nuclear power plants because large quantities of volatile radioactive cesium build up inside the fuel rods of nuclear reactors. Thus any accident at a nuclear reactor that causes the fuel rods to rupture, melt, or burn will cause the release of highly radioactive cesium gas.

Long-lived radionuclides such as Cesium-137 are something new to us as a species. They did not exist on Earth in any appreciable quantities during the entire evolution of complex life. Although they are invisible to our senses they are millions of times more poisonous than most of the common poisons we are familiar with. They cause cancer, leukemia, genetic mutations, birth defects, malformations, and abortions at concentrations almost below human recognition and comprehension. They are lethal at the atomic or molecular level……….

Sometimes these man-made radionuclides are compared to naturally occurring radionuclides, such as Potassium-40, which is always found in bananas and other fruits. However this is a false comparison since naturally occurring radioactive elements are very weakly radioactive. In the lab chart the radioactivity is described as the “specific activity”. Note that Potassium-40 has a specific activity of 71 ten millionths of a Curie per gram. Compare that to the 88 Curies per gram for Cesium-137. This is like comparing a stick of dynamite to an atomic bomb.

Highly-radioactive fission products such as Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 emit 10 to 20 million times more radiation per unit volume than does Potassium-40. So which one of these would you rather have in your bananas?

It is in fact the amount of Cesium-137 deposited per square kilometer of land that defines the degree to which an area is classified as being too radioactive to work or live. One may get an idea of the extreme toxicity of Cesium-137 by considering how little of it is required to make a large area of land uninhabitable………

as little as one third of a gram of Cesium-137, made into microparticles and distributed as a smoke or gas over an area of one square kilometer, will make that square kilometer uninhabitable.

Less than two grams of Cesium-137, a piece smaller than an American dime, if made into microparticles and evenly distributed as a radioactive gas over an area of one square mile, will turn that square mile into an uninhabitable radioactive exclusion zone. Central Park in New York City can be made uninhabitable by 2 grams of microparticles of Cesium-137. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

Remember, these nuclear poisons are lethal at the atomic level. There are as many atoms in one gram of Cesium-137 as there are grains of sand in all the beaches of the world.

So now that we have some idea of the extreme toxicity of Cesium-137, let’s look at the extent of the contamination of the Japanese mainland.

It is now known that the reactors 1, 2, and 3 at Fukushima Daiichi all melted down and melted through the steel reactor vessels within a few days following the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. This was not made public by either TEPCO or the Japanese government for two months.

The greatest amounts of highly radioactive gases were released shortly after the meltdowns and 80% of this gas released by the reactors is believed to have traveled away from Japan over the Pacific. However the remaining 20% was dispersed over the Japanese mainland………

Two million people in Belarus live on lands severely contaminated by Cesium-137. Most of the children that live there are not considered to be healthy although they were before the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl exploded in 1986. Fourteen years after the explosion, 45 to 47 percent of high school graduates had physical disorders, including gastro-intestinal anomalies, weakened hearts, and cataracts. And 40% were diagnosed with chronic “blood disorders” and malfunctioning thyroids.

I am afraid that there are many Japanese people now living on lands equally contaminated with radioactive cesium. If Japanese children are allowed to routinely ingest foodstuffs contaminated with Cesium-137, they will likely develop the same health problems that we see now in the children and teenagers of Belarus and Ukraine.

Thus it is very important that we recognize the danger posed to children by the routine ingestion of contaminated food with Cesium-137 where ever they might live. It is also important to prevent further nuclear disasters which release these fiendishly toxic poisons into the global ecosystems. Given the immense amounts of long-lived radionuclides which exist at every nuclear power plant this is an urgent task.  http://www.ratical.org/radiation/Fukushima/StevenStarr.html

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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, University of Victoria, leaders in studying radiation in Pacific Ocean

September 4, 2015

Great article. As an anti nuclear activist myself, I think that it is most important that we keep our concerns in proportion. The nuclear industry has so many bad effects, that we don’t ned to exaggerate ones that are not clear. Thankfully, despite government inertia, Buesseler and co are working to establish the facts on the effect if the Fukuhsima disaster on the ocean.


Radiation in the Ocean 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-neill/radiation-in-the-ocean_b_8072914.html?ir=Australia  Director, World Ocean Observatory The West Coast of the United States seems under siege by negative environmental news: earthquake predictions, oil spills, drought, critically diminished water supply, wildfires, and numerous accounts of unusual coastal events: algae blooms, whale strandings, cancer in seals, collapse of fish stocks, and more.

How to explain? Well, much of this can be attributed to climate factors where rising temperatures have resulted in multiple inter-related consequences: limited glacial melt, increased evaporation, no water, dry land, and the inevitable fire darkening that pristine Pacific air with smoke and ash the length of the coast.

The ocean phenomena may be different. The warming of the ocean surely has an impact on changing growth patterns of marine plants and animals, just as the changing pH or acidity of the ocean has been shown to modify habitat and migrations. But what else?

One argument has been the effect of radiation leaking from the three nuclear power plant reactors shut down by the earthquake and resultant tsunami tidal wave that inundated Fukushima, Japan in 2011, and has been thereafter distributed by ocean currents; indeed there is evidence of a plume of increased concentration of Cesium-134, and other radioactive elements that have been observed at unprecedented levels, spreading out some 5,000 miles into the Pacific toward North and South America. In April of this year, there were headlines declaring that “Fukushima radiation has reached the North American Shore” and concerns were raised, spread through the Internet and press, that this was surely the cause of these otherwise inexplicable anomalous natural events.

There is no Federal agency that funds monitoring of radiation in coastal water, and the present effort, conducted since 2004 by Ken Buesseler, a marine chemist at theWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has been underwritten by crowd-funding and the efforts of volunteers taking samples to provide data on cesium isotopes along the west coast of Alaska, the U.S. mainland coast, and Hawaii, the information that has been used to model potential distribution and concentration of any contamination. A comparable effort has been launched in Canada, led by Jay Cullen of the University of Victoria in collaboration with government, academic, and NGO partners.

The radioactivity has been decreased by time, the natural half-life of the isotopes, and by dilution in a very large and deep body of water. In their samples, Buesseler and his “citizen scientists” did detect cesium-137 already in the waters as a result of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 60s, and cesium-134 which does not otherwise occur naturally in the ocean and can only be attributed to Fukushima, to serve as a first baseline for subsequent collection, analysis, modeling, and conclusion.

Buesseler channels his research through the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity at the Woods Hole Institute, where he offers a preliminary conclusion that “the amount of cesium-134 reported in these new offshore data is less that 2 Becquerels (a radioactive measure) per cubic meter (the number of decay events per second per 260 gallons of water.) This Fukushima-derived cesium is far below where one might expect any measurable risk to human health or marine life, according to international health agencies. And it is more than 1,000 times lower than acceptable limits in drinking water set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

Buesseler continues, “We emphasize that cesium-134 has not been detected YET as it has been detected offshore of North America by Canadian oceanographers… The uncertainty in the predictions by these ocean models only emphasizes the importance of collecting samples from along the shores. Remember too that those models predict interacting levels of both cesium isotopes for the next 2 or 3 years, the highest published prediction is for 20 to 30 Becquerels per cubic meter, or well below what is thought to be of human health and fisheries concerns.”

So, yes, and no. No definitive conclusion, no clear argument that radiation is the cause of those coastal events which distress us so. There is no solace in uncertainty, just as there is no certainty without evidence. The question is immensely important and thanks to Ken Buesseler and all those volunteers alongshore and in research vessels who are working to provide the substance for a real answer.

Dispelling the myths about “New Small Nuclear” – it’s not even new

September 4, 2015

When it comes to Nuclear Power, Small Isn’t Beautiful, Nor Safe Nor Cheap Nor Even New. USNRC NuScale Comment Deadline Monday Night 31 August, One Minute to
Midnight NY-DC Time 30 SundayAug 2015 by

NuScale Power, LLC, Design-Specific Review Standard and Safety Review Matrix“Docket Folder Summaryhttp://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NRC-2015-0160 (If you don’t like the questions answer a different question, as per the advice that an MIT Ph.D. gave their grad student, and MIT is big on nuclear, the head of the US DOE, Moniz, teaches there, so it should be ok for this!)

NuScale in 2003 when it belonged to the US Gov and was called “MULTI-APPLICATION, SMALL, LIGHT WATER REACTOR (MASLWR)” INEEL/EXT-04-01626

Greenpeace’s Justin McKeating made an excellent analysis of NuScale last year (see below our commentary).

However, he overlooked that the US DOE actually invented NuScale under the name of MASLWR. So, this is at least a second round of government funding. The US government dropped MASLWR and former DOE workers picked it up, probably after the patent expired, dubbing it NuScale. And, they are still feeding off the taxpayer pork barrel dole.[1][2] Plus, it’s NuScale Not! The nuclear industry only knows how to recycle the same old stuff.

There doesn’t appear to be much, if anything, new about NuScale. The only known immediate nuclear deaths from a nuclear accident, in the US, were from a mini-SL-1 reactor that made nuclear fallout in rural Idaho. [3] In 1968, in Lucens Switzerland, there was a mini-underground nuclear reactor, which had a major accident. Although smaller than NuScale, 100 Rem (1 Sievert; 1000 mSv) was measured in the reactor cavern, and it is ranked as a major nuclear accident. Radiation was measured in the nearby village; it continues to leak radiation from the cavern. From the beginning the Lucens Reactor was plagued by leaks in the underground cavern and corrosion issues due to its underground location. [4] NuScale too will suffer from additional corrosion and extra problems of hydrogen attack because it is part underground and stuck in water on all sides. Underground nuclear isn’t a magic fix, on the contrary.

NuScale is apparently not really passive either “Conduction through the vessel wall is by itself not a sufficient mechanism for heat removal in the present design. A circulation path is required to effectively remove the core decay heat. The sump makeup system is required.” [5] Furthermore, Italian researchers found that if if “SUMP valves are not operated and the ADS vent valves stuck open“, then there was a six hour “grace” period before CHF [Critical Heat Flux] “conditions are reached at top of the core. The dryout cannot be quenched. Primary system coolant released thorugh the HTC top valve outside the contaiment” [6]. Six hour grace period to meltdown-nuclear accident. So, these are neither passive, nor perfectly safe. And, they are proposing putting them in large groups, which makes one wonder what’s the point. A quick look online shows that NuScale has just submitted a laundry list of patents (July 2015) which, looking at the list alone, sound less original, than trying to patent a chicken sandwich, as someone recently did.

From Greenpeace:
When it comes to nuclear power, small isn’t beautiful. Or safe or cheap.
Blogpost by Justin McKeating – June 19, 2014 at 11:55
Not beautiful, safe or cheap: a message to the United States, where the Obama administration has pledged to waste money financing the Small Modular Reactor (SMR).

SMRs are supposed to be small and prefab – constructed from parts made in a central location and slapped together onsite like a cheap prefab home. Those parts can then be shipped out and built by staff who don’t necessarily have the skills to build larger, more complex reactors.

The trouble is, this is merely old nuclear technology in new clothes. So why is the US Department of Energy (DoE) is giving $217 million dollars over five years to NuScale, a SMR manufacturer.

 

Let’s note, with a weary shake of the head, that this is yet another public subsidy for the failing economics of nuclear power, and take a look why this is a bad investment of taxpayer dollars by the Obama administration.

Dr. Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School, has published a paper titled, The Economic Failure of Nuclear Power and the Development of a Low-Carbon Electricity Future: Why Small Modular Reactors Are Part of the Problem, Not the Solution.

In his paper, Dr. Cooper finds SMRs won’t be cheaper and, more worryingly, manufacturers and supporters of the technology want to short-circuit safety regulations to get them built.
With the Fukushima disaster in its fourth year and no real solution to the ongoing problems and massive contamination in the foreseeable future, maybe now is not the time to talk about reducing nuclear safety, particularly with experimental, untested technology.

 

Dr Cooper adds SMRs will be more expensive than traditional nuclear technologies and that up to $90 billion dollars will be needed to make SMRs commercially viable. That’s a huge sum that will drag financing away from renewable power projects that are vital in the fight against climate change.

We’ve been here before: the story of the nuclear industry wasting billions is an old one…….. https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/when-it-comes-to-nuclear-power-small-isnt-beautiful-nor-safe-nor-cheap-nor-even-new-usnrc-nuscale-comment-deadline-monday-night-31-august-one-minute-to-midnight-ny-dc-time/

 

New arms race, with USA’s super expensive new nuclear weapon?

September 4, 2015

Inside the Most Expensive Nuclear Bomb Ever Made http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/nuclear-weapon-obama-most-expensive-ever

Could America’s latest atomic weapon ignite a new arms race?

—By  and 

September/October 2015 issue Engineers at the United States’ nuclear weapons lab in Albuquerque, New Mexico,have spent the past few years designing and testing the B61-12, a high-tech addition to our nation’s atomic arsenal. Unlike the free-fall gravity bombs it will replace, the B61-12 is a guided nuclear bomb. A new tail kit assembly, made by Boeing, enables the bomb to hit targets far more precisely than its predecessors.
Engineers at the United States’ nuclear weapons lab in Albuquerque, New Mexico,have spent the past few years designing and testing the B61-12, a high-tech addition to our nation’s atomic arsenal. Unlike the free-fall gravity bombs it will replace, the B61-12 is a guided nuclear bomb. A new tail kit assembly, made by Boeing, enables the bomb to hit targets far more precisely than its predecessors.

Using “Dial-a-yield” technology, the bomb’s explosive force can be adjusted before launch from a high of 50,000 tons of TNT equivalent to a low of 300 tons—that’s 98 percentsmaller than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima 70 years ago.

Despite these innovations, the government doesn’t consider the B61-12 to be a new weapon but simply an upgrade. In the past, Congress has rejected funding for similar weapons, reasoning that more accurate, less powerful bombs were more likely to be used. In 2010, the Obama administrationannounced that it would not make any nuclear weapons with new capabilities. The White House and Pentagon insist that the B61-12 won’t violate that pledge.

The B61-12 could be deployed by the new generation of F-35 fighter jets, a prospect that worries Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of American Scientists. “If the Russians put out a guided nuclear bomb on a stealthy fighter that could sneak through air defenses, would that add to the perception here that they were lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons?” he asks. “Absolutely.”

So far, most of the criticism of B61-12 has focused on its price tag. Once full production commences in 2020, the program will cost more than $11 billion for about 400 to 480 bombs—more than double the original estimate, making it the most expensive nuclear bomb ever built.

This story comes from our friends at Reveal. Read more of their coverage of the B61-12 and national security.

Len Ackland is a former newspaper reporter and editor of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists magazine. He is the author of Making a Real Killing: Rocky Flats and the Nuclear West.

Burt Hubbard is the editorial director of I-News. His numerous awards include two prestigious Best of the West awards, a National Education Award for investigative reporting, and Reporter of the Year in Colorado.

Comparing “hormesis” theory of radiation with linear No Threshold Theory

September 4, 2015

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC): Consultation. US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC): Consultation. Dr Ian Fairlie Consultant on Radioactivity in the Environment LONDON United Kingdom www.ianfairlie.org, 28 Aug 15, Dr Ian Fairlie Consultant on Radioactivity in the Environment LONDON United Kingdomwww.ianfairlie.org “………..Comments on Hormesis It is true that some cell and animal experiments indicate that if small amounts of radiation were administered before later larger amounts, the damage done is less than if no previous small amount were given. (The word “tickle” is used in radiobiology lingo to denote such small amounts.)

On the other hand, other cell and animal studies using different doses, durations and endpoints fail to show this effect, and there is no human evidence, ie from epidemiology. But it is true that some evidence from chemistry indicates the same effect, and there is some theoretical support for an adaptive effect in animals and plants.

Hormesis advocates typically argue that although radiation attacks DNA and causes mutations, DNA repair mechanisms quickly correct these. These mechanisms are certainly numerous and busy – it is estimated over 15,000 repairs per hour are carried out in each cell – but from the sheer number of repairs, many misrepairs occur and it is the misrepairs that cause the damage.

But even if the existence of hormesis were accepted, the question remains – what relevance would it have for radiation protection? The answer- as stated repeatedly in official reports by UNSCEAR and BEIR etc – is zero.

For example, do we give “tickle” doses to people about to undergo radiation therapy, or to nuclear workers? Of course, we don’t. And what about background radiation? All of us receive small “tickle” doses of radiation – about 3 mSv per year of which about 1 mSv is from external gamma radiation.

Do these somehow protect us from subsequent radiation? How would we notice? And if it did, so what? That is, what relevance would it have for radiation protection, eg setting radiation standards? The answer is again ….none.

Indeed, as we show below, increasing evidence exists that even background radiation itself is harmful.

Comments on LNT On the other hand, the scientific evidence for the LNT is plentiful, powerful and persuasive. It comes from epidemiological studies, radiobiological evidence, and official reports. Let’s examine these in turn.

A. Epidemiological Studies Does the available epidemiological evidence show risks declining linearly with dose at low doses? Yes, recent epidemiology studies do indeed show this, and the important new points are that these are (a) very large studies with good confidence intervals, and (b) at very low doses, even down to background levels. In other words, the usual caveats about the validity of the linear shape of the dose response relationship down to low doses are unjustified. The most recent evidence is from a particularly powerful study by Leuraud et al (2015) which shows linearly-related risks down to very low levels (average dose rate = 1.1 mGy per year).http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanhae/article/PIIS2352- 3026%2815%2900094-0/fulltext The main findings from the Leuraud study are shown in graph 1.

graph radiationred bone marrow dose

Two interesting things about this study are that 5 of the 13 authors are from US scientific institutes, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, University of North Carolina, and Drexel University School of Public Health.
Also that the study was funded by many international agencies, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, US Department of Energy, and the US Department of Health and Human Service.
It is legitimate to ask whether the NRC is in contact with these official US agencies about its consultation. The Leuraud et al study is merely the latest of many studies providing good evidence for the LNT model. Second is the Zablotska study after Chernobyl. Graph 2 below, [on original document] reproduced from Zablotska et al (2012), shows statistically significant risks for all leukemias and for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in over 110,000 Chernobyl cleanup workers. It can also be seen that there are 6 data points showing increased risks below 100 mSv – a commonly cited cut-off point.
Third is the very recent cohort study of radiation exposures from medical CT scans in the UK by Pearce et al (2012). 74 out of 178,604 patients diagnosed with leukaemia and 135 out of 176,587 patients diagnosed with brain tumours were analyzed. As shown in graph 3 reproduced from their study, [on original document] the authors noted a positive association between radiation doses from CT scans and leukaemia and brain tumours .The large dashed line showed a linear fit to the data with a 95% confidence interval shown by small dashed lines.
Fourth are the risks from background radiation – yes, even from background radiation. Kendall et al in 2012 conducted a large UK record-based case–control study testing associations between childhood cancer and natural background radiation with over 27,000 cases and 37,000 controls. Surprisingly, they observed an elevated risk of childhood leukaemia with cumulative red bone marrow dose from natural background gamma radiation. See the similar findings in a very recent study by Spycher et al (2015) discussed on page 10 below……..[more explanation and graph on original document]
Fifth is the final analysis of the UK National Registry for Radiation Workers (NRRW). This study of observed 11,000 cancer cases and 8,000 cancer deaths in 175,000 UK radiation workers with an average individual cumulative dose of 25 mSv and an average follow-up of 22 years. Graph 5 reproduced from the study shows the relative risks for all solid cancers with the continuous blue line representing the NRRW data, and the continuous red line the results from the US BEIR VII report for comparison – the two are very similar, as can be seen. An estimated ERR of 0.27 per Sv can be derived from this graph. [on original]
Sixth is the meta-analysis of 13 European studies in 9 EU countries on indoor radon exposure risks by Darby et al (2005). This examined lung cancer risks at measured residential Rn concentrations with over 7,000 cases of lung cancer and 14,000 controls. The action level for indoor radon in most EU countries is 200 Bq per m3 , corresponding to about 10 mSv per year. (This is derived from a UNSCEAR (2000) reference value of 9 nSv per Bq·h/m3 . This means that people living 2/3rds of their time indoors (5,780 h/year) at a Rn concentration of 200 Bq/m3 would receive an effective dose of ~10 mSv/year. Graph 6 [on original] reproduced from the study shows elevated risks at concentrations well below this level. The solid line is the authors’ linear fit to the data.
No evidence below 100 mSv? It is necessary at this point to directly address the argument often raised by hormesis advocates – that there is little evidence of effects below 100 mSv. This is incorrect. Older evidence exists -seehttp://www.ianfairlie.org/news/a-100-msv-threshold-forradiation-effects/ for a list of studies and the newer evidence, as we have just seen, clearly shows this fact as well.
B. Radiobiological Evidence Current radiobiological theory is consistent with a linear dose-response relationship down to low doses (ie below ~10 mSv). The radiobiological rationale for linearity comes from the stochastic nature of energy deposition of ionising radiation. It was explained by 15 of the world’s most eminent radiation biologists and epidemiologists in a famous article (Brenner et al, 2003) as follows:
“1. Direct epidemiological evidence demonstrates that an organ dose of 10 mGy of diagnostic x-rays is associated with an increase in cancer risk.
2. At an organ dose of 10 mGy of diagnostic x-rays, most irradiated cell nuclei will be traversed by one or, at most, a few physically distant electron tracks. Being so physically distant, it is very unlikely that these few electron tracks could produce DNA damage in some joint, cooperative way; rather, these electron tracks will act independently to produce stochastic damage and consequent cellular changes.
3. Decreasing the dose, say by a factor of 10, will simply result in proportionately fewer electron tracks and fewer hit cells. It follows that those fewer cells that are hit at the lower dose will be subject to (i) the same types of electron damage and (ii) the same radiobiological processes as would occur at 10 mGy
4. Thus, decreasing the number of damaged cells by a factor of 10 would be expected to decrease the biological response by the same factor of 10; i.e., the response would decrease linearly with decreasing dose. One could not expect qualitatively different biological processes to be active at, say, 1 mGy that were not active at 10 mGy, or vice versa. The argument suggests that the risk of most radiation -induced endpoints will decrease linearly, without a threshold, from ~10 mGy down to arbitrarily low doses.”……….. http://www.ianfairlie.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/US-NRC-Consultation-4-1.pdf

Radiation standards: “hormesis” explained

September 4, 2015

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC): Consultation. Dr Ian Fairlie Consultant on Radioactivity in the Environment LONDON United Kingdom www.ianfairlie.org, 28 Aug 15, 

Introduction On June 26 2015, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) stated it was seeking public comments by September 8, on petitions stating that the Linear No Threshold theory of radiation’s effects was not a valid basis for setting radiation standards and that the hormesis model should be used instead.

In more detail, the NRC has received three petitions for rulemaking requesting that the NRC amend its “Standards for Protection Against Radiation” regulations and change the basis of those regulations from the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) model of radiation protection to the hormesis model. (See the Appendix for details of the petitions.) The LNT model assumes that biological damage from radiation is linearly related to exposure and is always harmful, ie without a threshold.

The hormesis model assumes that exposures to low radiation levels is beneficial and protects the human body against deleterious effects of high levels of radiation. The NRC has stated it is examining these petitions to determine whether they should be considered in rulemaking and is requesting public comments.

US environmental groups are concerned that, if the NRC agreed with the petitions, it would introduce rules to weaken radiation protection standards at US nuclear facilities. On the other hand, according to two NRC staffers (Brock and Sherbini, 2012), the NRC apparently pays attention to the evidence on risks of low levels of radiation………

No evidence below 100 mSv? It is necessary at this point to directly address the argument often raised by hormesis advocates – that there is little evidence of effects below 100 mSv.

This is incorrect.Older evidence exists -see http://www.ianfairlie.org/news/a-100-msv-threshold-forradiation-effects/for a list of studies and the newer evidence, as we have just seen, clearly shows this fact as well. B. Radiobiological Evidence Current radiobiological theory is consistent with a linear dose-response relationship down to low doses (ie below ~10 mSv). The radiobiological rationale for linearity comes from the stochastic nature of energy deposition of ionising radiation. It was explained by 15 of the world’s most eminent radiation biologists and epidemiologists in a famous article (Brenner et al, 2003) as follows: “1. Direct epidemiological evidence demonstrates that an organ dose of 10 mGy of diagnostic x-rays is associated with an increase in cancer risk………..

The Importance of LNT in Radiation Protection Regardless of dissenting views on LNT, the reality is that most concepts used in radiation protection today are fundamentally based on the LNT theory. For example, LNT underpins the concepts of absorbed dose, effective dose, committed dose, and the use of dose coefficients (ie Sv per Bq of a radionuclide). It also allows radiation doses (i) to be averaged within an organ or tissue, (ii) to be added from different organs, and (iii) to be added over time.

LNT also permits annual dose limits; optimization -ie comparison of practices; radiation risk assessment at low and very low doses; individual dosimetry with passive detectors; collective dose, and dose registers over long periods of time. 9 In fact, the LNT underpins all legal regulations in radiation protection in the US and in the rest of the world.

Indeed, if the LNT were not used, it’s hard to imagine our current radiation protection systems existing at all. However this statement should not be misconstrued to mean that the LNT is used just because it’s convenient: the LNT is used because the scientific evidence for it is comprehensive, cogent and compelling……..

 

Conclusions

(i) the debate The validity or otherwise of LNT and hormesis have been the subject of hundreds of scientific articles and debates over several decades. Unfortunately, much of the literature on hormesis or adaptive response is based on faulty science or on misconceptions, or on misinterpretations, or on all three.

HormesisThis is particularly the case with several US and UK journalists who write with confidence on how radiation risks are exaggerated. Their knowledge and experience of radiogenic risks are limited to say the least, but these journalists, almost on a weekly basis, misinform and mislead the public about radiation risks, so the existence of the US petitions is perhaps unsurprising.

However real scientists are increasingly standing up and opposing the poor science used by hormesis advocates. Very recently, four Swiss scientists from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Bern; the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel and the University of Basel published a study which revealed that exposure to high rates of background radiation resulted in increased cancer risks to children (Spycher et al, 2015).http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1408548/

In reply, 17 scientists (Siegel et al, 2015) mostly from the US, some of whom were members of a hormesis pressure group “Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information” objected to these findings. They alleged that the government would have to evacuate children living in higher radiation areas and relocate them to lower radiation areas. They stated that studies like this should not be taken seriously without public health policy implications being examined. (http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1510111/)
The Swiss scientists in turn responded (http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1510111R/) that the proposed evacuation was “nonsensical” in view of the very low numbers involved. In a spirited rejoinder, they refuted the poor science cited and added that “the Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information a priori exclude the possibility that low-dose radiation could increase the risk of cancer. They will therefore not accept studies that challenge their foregone conclusion”.
(ii) the petitions After briefly examining the three US petitions, my conclusion is that they do not merit serious consideration. It seems that the petitioners, who may or may not have axes to grind about radiation risks, have seized on the possible phenomenon of hormesis 11 to make ill-considered claims that radiation is protective or even good for you.

In other words, the petitions appear to be based on preconceptions, or even ideology, rather than the scientific evidence which points in the opposite direction. The petitions should not be used by the NRC to justify weakening regulatory standards at US nuclear facilities. A question remains whether the NRC should have accepted the petitions for review. Presumably the NRC has discretion not to review or to refer back spurious, mischievous, or ill-founded petitions.

 The NRC should seek guidance from the five US scientific agencies and Government departments mentioned above whose scientists have published evidence on the matter. Credits. Thanks to Dr Jan Beyea, Cindy Folkers, Dr Alfred Körblein, Xavier Rabilloud, Dr Marvin Reznikoff and Dr Gordon Thompson for comments on drafts. Any errors are my responsibility.References…….. http://www.ianfairlie.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/US-NRC-Consultation-4-1.pdf  (NRC):

 

Advanced Boiling Water Nuclear reactors: doubts on reliability, safety, chemistry

September 4, 2015
No2NuclearPower nuClear news No.77, September 2015 ABWRs According to World Nuclear News (WNN) there are four operable Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) in Japan while two more are under construction. Another two are being built in Taiwan and two planned for Lithuania, although another two have been shelved in the USA. The design is already licensed in Japan and the USA. WNN points out, disturbingly that ABWRs can run on a full core of mixed oxide (MOX) nuclear fuel, raising the prospect of armed plutonium shipments travelling from Sellafield to Anglesey and Gloucestershire. (6)
New Civil Engineer says the four Japanese ABWRs were built to time and budget. (7)  But none of these have a capacity factor above 73% and two have capacity factors of less than 40%. A capacity factor is the amount a plant generates compared to the amount that would be generated if it was operating at full power all of the time.
Nuclear power plants are costed on the basis that they will achieve capacity factors of 80 – 90%. With a capacity factor of 45% any nuclear power project comes out needing twice the power price to be an economic proposition. 12 In fact figures given by the IAEA show that all four reactors had average energy availability factors of less than 50% for the period 2007 to 2011. (8)
This makes the ABWR one of the least reliable reactors in the world. The ABWR at Longmen in Taiwan is still under construction and is over budget and subject to large delays. There are also serious concerns over the safety of the plant both from the risk of earthquakes and Tsunami as well as poor construction and design. This concerns have given a rise to a large number of people opposing nuclear power in Taiwan with the BBC reporting over 200,000 people taking part in anti-nuclear protests. (9)
Hitachi-GE The development of the modular ABWR design was unique, and has led to an unusual situation where it can be offered by three different companies. The ABWR was co-developed by Toshiba and GE, which then worked with Hitachi to construct the first two units in the late 1990s. GE and Hitachi went on to form joint ventures of their nuclear businesses, resulting in two daughter firms: GE-Hitachi and Hitachi-GE. Both those joint ventures can build ABWR, as can Toshiba, although its version differs in some technical respects due to intellectual property issues. (10)
Even assuming Hitachi receives approval for its ABWR reactor it will still need to attract financial backers before it builds reactors at its sites on Anglesey and in Gloucestershire. (11) Dr Tim Fox, head of energy at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers reckons that Hitachi might have a more readily available supply of credit than EDF. He said the fact that eight ABWRs had already been built across the world would be attractive to investors and in all likelihood speed up the licensing process. (12) Given that only four have ever operated this is likely to prove rather an overoptimistic assessment. Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Ltd.” was founded on July 1st, 2007 as a strategic global alliance by Hitachi, Ltd. and General Electric Co. (Its US counterpart is “GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy)” HitachiGE Nuclear Energy, Ltd. offers nuclear power plant construction and maintenance in cooperation with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy
GDA Process Concerns about reactor chemistry issues related to ABWRs have been raised by UK regulators in their assessment of the design. As part of the generic design assessment (GDA) of the ABWR, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA) raised a regulatory observation in April 2014 requesting Hitachi-GE to define and justify the reactor design’s source terms, amongst other related matters. According to the regulators, “The definition of the radioactive source term; the nature and amount of radioactivity, is a fundamental part in understanding and therefore being able to control the hazards associated with any nuclear facility. Once defined, it is important that the requesting party is able to demonstrate and justify that this source term is appropriate to be used as the basis for the safety and environmental cases. Failure to adequately define or justify the source term could ultimately mean that the design, operations or controls specified for the UK ABWR may not be soundly based.
Hitachi-GE responded with its definition and justification in January 2015. However, the regulators said the responses “do not meet our expectations”. This, they said, “is considered to be a serious regulatory shortfall”. (13)
A second regulatory issue was raised by the regulators in July regarding a series of “shortfalls” in the probabilistic safety analysis (PSA) of the ABWR. The regulators consider a “suitable and sufficient” PSA to be an integral aspect of the UK ABWR’s safety analysis within GDA. “Overall, the UK ABWR PSA information received so far does not provide ONR with confidence that HitachiGE, without further work and changes, will be able to deliver a modern standards full-scope PSA for the UK ABWR, which is suitable and sufficient for ONR to carry out a meaningful assessment within the project timescales,” ONR said.
“This is considered a serious regulatory shortfall which ONR, in line with our Guidance to Requesting Parties, is now escalating to a Regulatory Issue.” (14) Justification Horizon Nuclear power received approval from the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on 28th January 2015 under the regulatory justification process for the ABWR reactortype. (15).
Under this process the operator has to show that the benefits of building a nuclear facility of that type outweigh any detriment that might be caused by discharges of radioactivity into the environment. On 21 January 2015, a committee of the House of Commons (The 9th Delegated Legislation Committee) spent a grand total of 17 minutes examining the decision in favour of the merits of Wylfa Newydd on Angelsey.
A few days later, on27 January, the matter was “examined” in the House of Lords, led by junior energy minister, Baroness Verma, who observed of the project: “it must first undergo a high-level assessment to determine whether its economic, social or other benefits outweigh the health detriment that it may cause.” The entire Lords examination lasted 12 minutes. That’s a total of less than half an hour between two Houses of Parliament. That is surely a scandal! (16)…..” he said.(17)  http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo77.pdf

Inadequate assessment of radioactive iodine in Fukushima food and water

September 4, 2015
After the nuclear accident, residents of Iitate Village had an earnest and urgent request that went unheard: “We would like to have measurements taken of the residents before iodine 131 becomes undetectable.” Then five months later, when
graph Iodine -131 half lifeno iodine would be detectable at all, it was announced that a whole body counter study will begin to measure the internal exposure dose of Fukushima residents. Now, however, dose assessment is said to be impossible due to “the lack of direct measurements in residents immediately after the accident.” Government experts should have been well aware of the half-life of iodine 131. Why did they not conduct a thorough survey at the time while iodine 131 was still detectable?
Ordinarily one would conduct an internal exposure survey as soon as possible. But the Oversight Committee Chairman Hoshi keeps putting it off, repeating, “This is a future task for us to discuss and decide.”
 
Oshidori Mako Interviews Experts Regarding Excess Occurrence of Pediatric Thyroid Cancer in Fukushima, Fukushima Voice, English Version 6 Aug 15,”…….
Issue to be considered #3: 
Was the contaminated food under control?
Were there sufficient post-accident exposure studies?
Both epidemiologists and clinicians state in unison, “Dose assessment is not our specialty, so all we can do is to accept the reported assessment.”
I interviewed a dose assessment expert and one of the members of the Oversight Committee for “Fukushima Health Management Survey,” Professor Shinji Tokonami of Hirosaki University.
Mako: “Professor Tokonami, as an expert, do you think the dose assessment after the Fukushima nuclear accident has been adequate?”
“I think it has been inadequate,” replied Professor Tokonami. “There have been hardly any measurements taken of residents’ exposure doses after the nuclear accident. The half-life of iodine 131, which damages thyroid gland, is 8 days, and it cannot be measured later. All you can do is retroactively estimate the dose from fragmented data of iodine remaining in soil and air.”
Mako: “Can we still conduct such retroactive estimation?”
Prof. Tokonami: “Iodine moves around in various ways in the environment. After the accident, the radioactive plume released from the nuclear reactors, including radioactive iodine, dispersed in every direction. I think the individual exposure dose will vary widely depending on where each person was at the time of the accident and whether the person was hit by the radioactive iodine plume.”
Mako: “Investigation by the Oversight Committee mostly had to do with estimation of external exposure dose based on the record of people’s behavior; it lacks the internal exposure dose assessment based on food intake. (During the 2nd Oversight Committee Meeting, Shunichi Yamashita, who was then chair of the Committee, said, “This Committee will mainly deal with external exposure, and internal exposure is only considered peripherally.”) The Basic Survey questionnaire by the Fukushima Health Management Survey asks people to write in a four-month record of their behavior from March 11, 2011 to July 11, 2011. In regards to internal exposure, there is only a section on the last page of the questionnaire to “declare any consumption of produce grown outside on bare soil or water from a private water-supply system,” and the declaration period is only for 20 days—from March 11 to the end of March. Isn’t it necessary to conduct more survey on the internal exposure dose?
Prof. Tokonami: “I heard of occasions where residents were drinking water from the stream. It is possible to estimate the dose from recorded data if we know which private water-supply system was used by making calculations based on the amount of daily water consumption.”
Mako: “Isn’t it necessary to conduct detailed dose assessment at least in children diagnosed “confirmed or suspicious of malignancy”?
Prof. Tokonami: “We can’t conduct any direct measurements now. What we could do is repeat dose reconstruction from answers on behavior questionnaire of the thyroid cancer patients as well as from some scattered data available.”
Contamination of food and contaminated drinking water at evacuation centers
I learned through my investigation that contaminated vegetables, especially leafy vegetables, were in distribution after the 2011 nuclear accident. The government explains, “No contaminated food was distributed. Everything was under control.” However, when I visited the labs and research institutes which actually analyzed commercially distributed foodstuff, they said, “Some vegetables were loaded with iodine,” showing me various measurement data. Of course, this doesn’t mean every foodstuff was contaminated. Suspension and restriction of shipments of contaminated foods was working to some extent. However, some contaminated foods would occasionally slip by into distribution. Some researchers called it, “a bomb vegetable.”
In reality, the provisional regulation values for food was established on March 17, 2011, in response to the nuclear accident. Then, on March 19, 1,510 Bq/kg of iodine 131 was detected in milk from Kawabata Town, Fukushima Prefecture, and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labour (MHWL) sent out a request to ban its sale. Also on March 19, 15,020 Bq/kg of iodine 131 was detected in spinach from Takahagi City, Ibaraki Prefecture, and 14,500 Bq/kg of iodine 131 in spinach in Hitachi City, Ibaraki Prefecture.
But the MHLW website simply states, “We were contacted by Ibaraki Prefecture regarding the press release shown below.” and there were no special measures actually taken by MHWL itself. Takahagi City and Hitachi City are in Ibaraki Prefecture where pediatric thyroid cancer cases have been detected other than Fukushima Prefecture. Is this simply coincidental?
On March 20, there were reports, from Tochigi, Chiba and Gunma Prefectures, of vegetables exceeding the provisional regulation values. Again, here, MHLW merely “requested voluntary suspension of shipment” from each of these prefectures, without actually taking any direct measures. It wasn’t until March 21 that MHWL finally issued an order for restricting shipments. Furthermore, it’s not as if the suspension of shipments and the radiation testing were being applied to every single food item. Unfortunately, university research labs or research institutes declined to publicize their own measurement data for this article. Apparently, releasing such proof that contaminated food was in distribution after the accident is difficult in the current atmosphere as it goes against the announcement by the government.
There is another circumstance of individuals not having information regarding what kind of food and drinking water they consumed. During my information gathering activities in Iitate Village, Fukushima Prefecture, in May 2011, someone who evacuated from Iitate Village told me the following story: “Immediately after the accident, about 2,000 Minamisoma residents evacuated to Iitate Village, running away from tsunami. But when they learned Iitate Village became contaminated with radioactive materials, they evacuated from Iitate Village. This means evacuation centers in Iitate Village existed only for 3 to 4 days. But several days later, on March 20, it was discovered that the private water-supply system in Iitate Village was extremely contaminated. It was the evacuees at the evacuation centers that were using the contaminated private water-supply system.”
An MHLW document released on March 21, 2011, states that, as of 12:30 pm March 20, the private water-supply system in Iitate Village had 956 Bq/L of iodine 131 and 153 Bq/L of iodine 132. The document stated that, as of 8:30 am March 21, there was 492 Bq/L of iodine 131 and 54.1 Bq/L of iodine 132.
According to this document, there is a significant amount of iodine 132 detected, with a half-life of 2-3 hours. By the following day, iodine 131, with a half-life of 8 days, is nearly halved. Why was something with a half-life of 8 days reduced to half the amount by in one day? Professor Tokonami says, “When it comes to tributaries, a private water-supply system receives intake from various streams, and dilution might be fast.” The half-life of iodine 131 is 8 days, and that of iodine 132 is 2-3 hours. Considering the fact iodine 131 was nearly halved from March 20 to March 21, calculating backwards to March 15 the iodine 131 concentration is estimated to be several tens of thousand Bq/L.
The man I interviewed in Iitate Village turns out to be a public worker who managed the evacuation centers at the time, and he was extremely regretful that he “inadvertently provided the evacuees with contaminated drinking water.” I interviewed five Minamisoma residents who evacuated to Iitate Village, and none of them was aware of the contamination in the private water-supply system they used during evacuation.
Un-investigated Iodine 131
Is it not necessary to conduct a detailed internal radiation exposure questionnaire survey while people’s memory is still fresh and while information can be traced? How can we complete dose assessment without even conducting surveys that can still be conducted?
Nuclear Safety Commission recommended an additional survey on March 30, 2011, citing inadequacy of thyroid monitoring on 1,080 children. However, the Special Headquarters for Measures to Assist the Lives of Disaster Victims turned down the recommendation stating, “An additional survey is not to be conducted as it may create a significant degree of anxiety for the survey subjects and their families, as well as the local communities.”
After the nuclear accident, residents of Iitate Village had an earnest and urgent request that went unheard: “We would like to have measurements taken of the residents before iodine 131 becomes undetectable.” Then five months later, when no iodine would be detectable at all, it was announced that a whole body counter study will begin to measure the internal exposure dose of Fukushima residents. Now, however, dose assessment is said to be impossible due to “the lack of direct measurements in residents immediately after the accident.” Government experts should have been well aware of the half-life of iodine 131. Why did they not conduct a thorough survey at the time while iodine 131 was still detectable?
In April 2011, an organization of young adults from Iitate Village called Magenedo Iitate (literally means Iitate won’t be beaten) pleaded to various organizations such as Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), Fukushima Prefectural Office, and MHWL to conduct measurements of the internal exposure dose of children: “We were told that priorities were given to Self-Defense Force soldiers, police officers and firefighters in regards to internal exposure measurements in parts of East Japan around Fukushima, with residents set aside for later time. We asked them to at least measure the internal exposure dose of the children, telling them we would pay our own way to get wherever the internal exposure testing is conducted, even Kyushu or Hokkaido.” At the end, their plea was never answered. Now, they can barely contain their outrage: “They can’t conduct the dose assessment due to lack of direct measurements of the residents in the immediate post-accident period? We begged to have direct measurements taken, for fear of lack of data impeding dose assessment. They waited until the iodine was gone before starting the whole body counter measurements.”
Internal exposure survey needed
It is not acceptable to disregard what can still be done, such as gathering scattered data (measurements of food, atmosphere, and soil) and redoing a detailed behavior questionnaire, in order to investigate which plume might have been encountered by residents or the contamination level of food that was being consumed by them. Internal exposure survey is included in the Basic Survey of Fukushima Health Management Survey, but it covers only 20 days’ worth of information up to March 31, 2011. Shouldn’t we at least conduct a more detailed investigation on the internal exposure of children diagnosed as “confirmed or suspicious of malignancy,” gathering such information as what they ate during 2011?……
This is the 5th post-accident year. If a study were to be conducted to investigate the internal exposure during 2011 of the children diagnosed as “confirmed or suspicious of malignancy,” we should not wait too long as the longer the wait the more the memory fades. Ordinarily one would conduct an internal exposure survey as soon as possible. But the Oversight Committee Chairman Hoshi keeps putting it off, repeating, “This is a future task for us to discuss and decide.” It has been four years since the Oversight Committee was launched. Chairman Hoshi has not given any concrete statements regarding specific time tables. All he does is keep repeating the same word, “This is a future task.”
Since the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, Oshidori Mako & Ken have attended and covered Tokyo Electric’s regularly scheduled press conferences and almost all the committee meetings sponsored by the government or Fukushima Prefecture. They are active in conducting interviews of experts as well as on-site fact-gathering investigations. The number of the Tokyo Electric press conferences attended by Oshidori Mako and Ken is the highest of all the Japanese journalists. http://fukushimavoice-eng2.blogspot.jp/2015/08/oshidori-mako-interviews-experts.html

Excess thyroid cancer in Fukushima children not the result of “screening effect”

September 4, 2015
A relationship between radiation exposure and pediatric thyroid cancer has been consistently denied by the Central Government as well as the Prefecture. But the Interim Summary might have brought this subject back to where it started. Some changes were beginning to be noticeable amongst the researchers and physicians following these patients.
When the Chernobyl accident occurred, IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) reported that the occurrence of pediatric thyroid cancer in the affected areas began to increase 4-5 years after the accident. 
 
Oshidori Mako Interviews Experts Regarding Excess Occurrence of Pediatric Thyroid Cancer in Fukushima, Fukushima Voice, English Version 6 Aug 15, “………
Issue to be considered #2: 
Up to now, many experts have insisted diagnosis of pediatric thyroid cancer in Fukushima was due to screening effect. However, some physicians are beginning to doubt it. What is happening now?……
 
Regarding the surgeries on pediatric thyroid cancer cases in post-accident Fukushima, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki from Fukushima Medical University discussed the details at the 4th session of the Thyroid Examination Assessment Subcommittee held on November 11, 2014.
According to Dr. Suzuki, surgeries were conducted on 55 cases of pediatric thyroid cancer at Fukushima Medical University post-accident up to June 30, 2014. One of 55 cases turned out to be a benign nodule after surgery. Remaining 54 consisted of 52 cases of papillary cancer, and 2 cases of poorly differentiated thyroid cancer. (According to the Clinical Management Guideline or CMG, poorly differentiated cancer is more aggressive than differentiated cancer because of the faster progression due to the faster speed of cancer cell division)….
….of 54 cases that underwent surgery at Fukushima Medical University, 17 had lymph node metastasis, and 2 had distant metastasis with suspicion of multiple lung metastasis. (Thyroid cancer is supposed to progress slowly, but in these cases the progression might have been faster due to young age). Surgical methods included total thyroidectomy in 5 cases and hemithyroidectomy in 49 cases. Total thyroidectomy involving the removal of the entire thyroid gland necessitates lifelong dependence on thyroid hormone medication.
In essence, Dr. Suzuki explained that “surgery was indicated and there was no overdiagnosis” in regards to tumors with large diameter, suspicion for metastasis, or proximity to the trachea or the nerve.
A clinician’s opinion
When I asked Dr. Shimizu regarding Dr. Suzuki’s explanation, he said, “I think Dr. Suzuki’s explanation is reasonable as it is the observation of a specialist actually operating on these patients. I also think the opinion of Dr. Miyauchi, the top surgeon from the Japan Society of Thyroid Surgery, is right.”……….
There was only one occasion during the Subcommittee session where Dr. Shimizu voiced his opinion strongly. It was the 2nd session of the Subcommittee held on March 2, 2014.
“I realize I am the chair of the Subcommittee, but there is something I would like to say outside my role as chair. It has been 10-plus years since I participated in thyroid screening programs in Chernobyl (Editor’s note: Since 1999, Dr. Shimizu has been to Chernobyl as a volunteer, participating in medical support activities, including thyroid ultrasound screening and surgery), but I would like to describe a patient who had thyroid surgery. It was a girl, age 5 or 6, with a large scar in the neck and a hole for tracheostomy in the middle of the neck. This girl will be able to keep living. But she has no voice, she can’t soak in the bathtub up to her neck, and she can’t enjoy conversations with people. What happened to her is that her recurrent laryngeal nerve was damaged on both sides. I don’t know if it is because the nerves had to be resected along with cancer due to the progression of the cancer, or if the nerves were damaged in surgery as they were not identifiable due to the advanced stage of cancer. All I can say for sure is that if the cancer had been detected earlier, this wouldn’t have happened to her………
A relationship between radiation exposure and pediatric thyroid cancer has been consistently denied by the Central Government as well as the Prefecture. But the Interim Summary might have brought this subject back to where it started. Some changes were beginning to be noticeable amongst the researchers and physicians following these patients.
Initial Screening was originally implemented in order to establish a base for studying health effects of the Fukushima NPP accident on thyroid gland. But discovery of excess occurrence was, in a way, unexpected……..
Dr. Tsugane, an epidemiologist, reported, “It is difficult to explain the current situation, with the number of thyroid cancer cases for ages 18 and under in Fukushima Prefecture exceeding 100, solely on the basis of screening effect.”…….
Dr. Tsugane has requested the Division of Surveillance, Center for Cancer Control and Information Services at National Cancer Center to calculate the estimated number of pre-accident cases in Fukushima, from incidence rate based on regional cancer registry. And theanalysis led to the expression, “several tens of times larger,” mentioned in the “Interim Summary Regarding Thyroid Examination.” In essence, the Interim Summary by the Thyroid Examination Assessment Subcommittee overturned the earlier assessment by the Oversight Committee.
The meaning of Initial Screening
When the Chernobyl accident occurred, IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) reported that the occurrence of pediatric thyroid cancer in the affected areas began to increase 4-5 years after the accident.
[Editor’s note: IAEA actually did not admit the excess occurrence during the investigation 4-5 years after the accident. However, 8 years after the accident, WHO finally recognized the excess occurrence which began in the fourth post-accident year. Ryuichi Hirokawa, editor of DAYS JAPANand founder/director of Chernobyl Children’s Fund, Japan, covered a symposium in Ukraine three years after the accident where excess occurrence of pediatric thyroid cancer was reported. He also interviewed Belarusian specialists discussing excess occurrence of pediatric thyroid cancer as well as leukemia. However, at the time, such reports were ignored by organizations like IAEA and ICRP (International Commission on Radiation Protection), which insisted there were no health effects. It wasn’t until the eighth post-accident year that excess occurrence became too obvious to be ignored that it was finally acknowledged by these organizations].
Due to the fact that the Chernobyl pediatric thyroid cancer occurrence began to increase 4-5 years after the accident, it was decided after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident that the first round (Initial Screening) of thyroid examination be completed before the effect of the nuclear accident appeared. This way the result of Initial Screening would be considered baseline without the effect of radiation exposure to compare with the result of Full-Scale Screening, scheduled to begin 4-5 years after the accident. However, 112 (confirmed and suspected) cases of thyroid cancer were diagnosed during Initial Screening which supposedly had no effect of radiation exposure. People began to wonder if 112 was too high a number under the circumstance……
Excess occurrence of pediatric thyroid cancer as a result of Initial Screening might be related to the nuclear accident after all, and the thyroid examination outside Fukushima Prefecture might be necessary—that is what a member of the Oversight Committee is saying now. What is the basis of the experts who have kept insisting “there will be no effect of radiation exposure” since immediately after the accident? ….. http://fukushimavoice-eng2.blogspot.jp/2015/08/oshidori-mako-interviews-experts.html

MOX nuclear reprocessing costs twice as much as deep burial of wastes

September 4, 2015

Disposal beats MOX in US comparison  http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/WR-Disposal-beats-MOX-in-US-comparison-2108151.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter  21 August 2015

America is reconsidering how it will dispose of 34 tonnes of plutonium as the previous plan involving a MOX plant has been said to be twice as costly as a dilution and disposal option in a leaked Department of Energy (DOE) report.

The plutonium arises from a June 2000 nuclear weapons reduction agreement with Russia under which both countries would put 34 tonnes of plutonium beyond military use. Russia opted to use its plutonium as fuel for fast reactors generating power at Beloyarsk.

The USA, meanwhile, decided to build a mixed-oxide (MOX) nuclear fuel plant at Savannah River, where the plutonium would be mixed with uranium and made into fuel for light-water reactors. The design is similar to Areva’s Melox facility at Marcoule, but modified to handle metal plutonium ‘pits’ from US weapons and their conversion from metal to plutonium oxide. It is this part of the process that has been problematic. Construction started in 2007 with an estimated cost of $4.9 billion but work ran into serious trouble before being ‘zeroed’ in the DOE’s 2014 budget, putting development on ice.

The Union of Concerned Scientists yesterday published what it said was an unreleased DOE report that compared the cost of completing the MOX plant to other options. Use in fast reactors was considered briefly, but with this technology not readily available in the near term, the prime comparison was against a ‘dilution and disposal’ option which would see the plutonium mixed with inert materials and disposed of in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, in New Mexico.

Despite being 60% built, the MOX plant still needs some 15 years of construction work, said the leaked report, and then about three years of commissioning. Once in operation the plant would work through the plutonium over about 10 years with this 28-year program to cost $700-800 million per year – a total of $19.6-22.4 billion on top of what has already been spent. Not only is the price tag very high, but the timescale is too long: the report said this would not meet the disposal timeframe agreed with Russia.

The cost of the MOX plant could not be mitigated by income from sales of the MOX fuel because the regulatory process to gain approval to use MOX would be too burdensome for a commercial utility. The report said “it may be unlikely” that even a utility in a regulated market where fuel costs are passed on to consumers would “bear the risk of MOX fuel even if it is free”.

Dilution and disposal would cost $400 million per year, said the report, “over a similar duration” as MOX, working out at close to half the cost. Other advantages for dilution and disposal are that it requires no new facilities to be created or decommissioned after use, although the increase in WIPP disposal means “it may eventually become desirable to explore expansion of WIPP’s capacity” beyond currently legislated limits. This unique geologic disposal facility was said to be of “tremendous value to both DOE and the State of New Mexico”.