Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Issue for The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA): IS ANSTO’s NUCLEAR REACTOR VIABLE?

December 26, 2021

ISSUES FOR URGENT RESOLUTION BY ARPANSA
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is the national regulator of all federal government aspects of nuclear and radiation sources and activities with the prime objective of protecting and keeping safe the nation’s population and environment from the harmful effects of radiation and other nuclear pursuits.

In its regulatory role ARPANSA will shortly have to address issues linked to nuclear waste and collectively are probably the most important and significant situation that has had to be dealt with by ARPANSA since its foundation over twenty years ago

ANSTO VIABILITY
The first is the need for ARPANSA to obtain an independent andcomprehensive assessment and report on the proposed increased
production of nuclear medicine by reactor generation by the AustralianmNuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at its Lucas Heights precinct

The reason behind this is that ANSTO is relying on its production of nuclear medicine as the mainstay of its activities and intends to become a major international producer and exporter of reactor generated nuclear medicine.

However this appears to be a misconceived and purposeless intention since nuclear medicine generated by reactor isotopes is in significant decline throughout the world due to its dangerous inherent state in being used in medical diagnosis and treatment

There is a world wide turning away by the medical profession from using reactor generated nuclear medicine because of its sever danger to patients coupled with its extremely high production costs.

More alternatives to this form of nuclear medicine are already extensively used as they are far safer and pose little risk to patients and additionally are much cheaper to produce with the involvement of major international drug companies

ARPANSA should seek the independent and expert assessment and review of the proposal and intentions by ANSTO as part of the licensing process for the increased storage facility for nuclear waste at Lucas Heights recently proposed by ANSTO

The assessment and review must include a financial examination to determine commercial and economic viability of the activities and proposals by ANSTO as this is an essential ingredient of the qualifications for the licence for the increased storage capacity

Since the suitably qualified experts for the assessment are not in Australia (as in any case this could create a conflict situation) ARPANSA will need to rely on and engage the highly qualified experts in this field available
from overseas

From the general tenor and prescriptions of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 and applicable regulations – which are referred to as the enabling legislation – it seems quite certain that the commercial and financial aspects must be included by ARPANSAin considering an application for a licence

This should be even more imperative since the funds sought by ANSTO for the increased storage capability at Lucas Heights are being provided by the federal government which is in direct and colloquial terms taxpayers’ money and it is an obligation of the government to protect public revenue and expenditure

There has never been any publicly released information by ANSTO on the financial aspects of the production and sale of its nuclear medicine but as justification for the production ANSTO has relied on the emotivearguments that in their lifetime everyone has or will have a need for nuclear medicine.

ANSTO claims that it has given to the government a recently commissioned independent study into future nuclear medicine supply in Australia and this study should be given to ARPANSA with all supporting information for assistance for its assessment and review as part of the licensing process.

Low dose radiation has its medical benefits, but has harmful effects on the immune system

December 25, 2021

Low dose ionizing radiation effects on the immune system, Science Direct, Environment International Volume 149, April 2021, 106212KatalinLumniczkya NathalieImpensb GemmaArmengolc SergeCandéiasd Alexandros G.Georgakilase SabineHornhardtf Olga A.Marting FranzRödelh DörtheSchaue

Abstract

Ionizing radiation interacts with the immune system in many ways with a multiplicity that mirrors the complexity of the immune system itself: namely the need to maintain a delicate balance between different compartments, cells and soluble factors that work collectively to protect, maintain, and restore tissue function in the face of severe challenges including radiation damage. The cytotoxic effects of high dose radiation are less relevant after low dose exposure, where subtle quantitative and functional effects predominate that may go unnoticed until late after exposure or after a second challenge reveals or exacerbates the effects. 

For example, low doses may permanently alter immune fitness and therefore accelerate immune senescence and pave the way for a wide spectrum of possible pathophysiological events, including early-onset of age-related degenerative disorders and cancer. 

 By contrast, the so called low dose radiation therapy displays beneficial, anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties in chronic inflammatory and degenerative diseases

 In this review, epidemiological, clinical and experimental data regarding the effects of low-dose radiation on the homeostasis and functional integrity of immune cells will be discussed, as will be the role of immune-mediated mechanisms in the systemic manifestation of localized exposures such as inflammatory reactions.

The central conclusion is that ionizing radiation fundamentally and durably reshapes the immune system. Further, the importance of discovery of immunological pathways for modifying radiation resilience amongst other research directions in this field is implied…………..  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016041202032167X

Health impacts of nuclear accidents

December 25, 2021

Too expensive, too slow: Even the baseload argument doesn’t work for nuclear. ReNeweconomy, Mark Diesendorf 29 October 2021 

”’………………………………………Health impacts of nuclear accidents

Another misleading pro-nuclear statement revived following the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in 2011 is that no excess cancer incidence has been observed around Fukushima, implying that no cancers will be induced. The logical error is to assume that the absence of evidence implies no impact.

It is still too early for most types of cancer, which have latent periods of 20–60 years, to appear around Fukushima. The only cancers likely to appear within a decade after exposure are thyroid cancer and leukemia.

A large increase in thyroid cancers has been observed in the region, but their cause is debated by some on the grounds that the increase could be the result of better screening. Leukemia is an uncommon disease and so even a large percentage increase would be impossible to verify statistically with high confidence (see UNSCEAR 2020).

Fortunately for the citizens of Tokyo, the wind was mostly blowing offshore during the meltdowns of three of the six Fukushima reactors, sending about 80 per cent of the emitted radioactive material out over the Pacific.

Soon after the disaster an exclusion zone was established around the power station and more than 100,000 people evacuated. For these reasons, Fukushima tells us very little about radiation-induced cancers.

The Chernobyl Forum, a group dominated by the International Atomic Energy Agency, estimated that the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 could be responsible for “up to 4000 cancer deaths” in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. However, the disaster also sprayed radionuclides over large areas of Europe outside those countries.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (Cardis et al. 2006) estimated that the disaster would be responsible for 16,000 cancer deaths in Europe by 2065.

Another estimate, by a team of medical researchers and practitioners in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia (Yablokov et al. 2006), found that the total number of deaths in their countries could be an order of magnitude higher, but a quantitative estimate was probably impossible due to uncertainties in the total quantities of radionuclides emitted, geographic distribution of radioactivity, and limitations in medical diagnosis and monitoring.

Most of the evidence that low-level radiation is carcinogenic comes from detailed studies of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, medical professionals who worked with radiation, uranium miners, children who received CT scans, children living near nuclear power stations, and children who were exposed in utero in the bad old days when pregnant women were routinely x-rayed.

This is the basis of the linear-no-threshold model, the scientific understanding that the number of cancers induced by ionising radiation is proportional to the dose received and that there’s no threshold.

Was the Fukushima disaster “natural”?

Pro-nuclear campaigners claim that the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi was entirely the fault of the tsunami, that it was all just “a natural event”.

Yet the choice of technology cannot be exonerated, because it resulted in mass evacuation, compensation payments (huge in total but inadequate for individuals), destruction of the local agriculture and fishing industries, temporary loss of national tourism, temporary collapse of the electricity grid, massive removal of radioactive soil and vegetation, a multi-decades-long continuing process to decommission the reactors, and the need to import vast quantities of fossil fuels. (The latter would have been greatly reduced if the government’s prior commitment to nuclear energy hadn’t resulted in its neglect of renewables.)

Total costs have been estimated at over US$500 billion, while the nuclear power station was insured for only US$1.5 billion. …………………. https://reneweconomy.com.au/too-expensive-too-slow-even-the-baseload-argument-doesnt-work-for-nuclear/

Countering the nuclear lobby’s deceptive spin about ionising radiation

December 25, 2021

The video below is several years old. Children in Ukraine and Belarus are still suffering with cancers and other serious health effects of the nuclear disaster. The ABC ‘s ”Foreign Correspondent” recently covered their plight, which is still terrible, but the video of that seems to be unavailable.

Extract from The nuclear industry’s updated songsheet remains outdatedPearls and Irritations, By Mark Diesendorf, 22 Oct 21

”…………. Another misleading pro-nuclear statement revived following the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in 2011 is that no excess cancer incidence has been observed around Fukushima, implying that no cancers will be induced. The logical error is to assume that the absence of evidence implies no impact.

For a start, it is still too early for most types of cancer, which have latent periods of 20–60 years, to appear around Fukushima. The only cancers likely to appear within a decade after exposure are thyroid cancer and leukemia. A large increase in thyroid cancers has been observed in the region, but their cause is debated by some on the grounds that the increase could be the result of better screening. Leukemia is an uncommon disease and so even a large percentage increase would be impossible to verify statistically with high confidence. (See UNSCEAR 2020b)

Fortunately for the citizens of Tokyo, the wind was mostly blowing offshore during the meltdowns of three Fukushima reactors, sending about 80 per cent of the emitted radioactive material out over the Pacific. Soon after the disaster an exclusion zone was established around the power station and more than 100,000 people evacuated. For these reasons, Fukushima tells us very little about radiation-induced cancers. 

Most of the evidence that low-level radiation is carcinogenic comes from detailed studies of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, medical professionals who worked with radiation, uranium miners, children living near nuclear power stations, and children who were exposed in utero in the bad old days when pregnant women were routinely x-rayed. This is the basis of the linear-no-threshold model, the scientific understanding that the number of cancers induced by ionising radiation is proportional to the dose received and that there’s no threshold. Therefore, even natural background radiation, to which we are all exposed, and medical x-rays contribute very small fractions of cancer prevalence…………https://johnmenadue.com/the-nuclear-industrys-updated-songsheet-remains-outdated/

Radioactive contamination from the partially-burned former Santa Susanna nuclear research facility

December 25, 2021

Radioactive microparticles related to the Woolsey Fire in Simi Valley, CA  SCience Direct, MarcoKaltofenaMaggieGundersenbArnieGundersenb    Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Dept. of Physics, Fairewinds Energy Education, 8 October 2021. 

Highlights

Wildfire in radiologically contaminated zones is a global concern; contaminated areas around Chernobyl, Fukushima, Los Alamos, and the Nevada Nuclear Test Site have all experienced wildfires.

Three hundred sixty samples of soil, dust and ash were collected in the immediate aftermath of the Los Angeles (CA, USA) Woolsey fire in 2018.

Radioactive contamination from the partially-burned former Santa Susanna nuclear research facility was found in the fire zone.

A limited number of widely scattered locations had evidence of radioactive microparticles originating at the research facility.

X-ray data showed that ashes from the fire could spread site contaminants to distant, but widely spaced, locations.

Abstract

In November 2018, the Woolsey Fire burned north of Los Angeles, CA, USA, potentially remobilizing radioactive contaminants at the former Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a shuttered nuclear research facility contaminated by chemical and radiochemical releases. Wildfire in radiologically contaminated zones is a global concern; contaminated areas around Chernobyl, Fukushima, Los Alamos, and the Nevada Nuclear Test Site have all experienced wildfires. Three weeks after the Woolsey Fire was controlled, sampling of dusts, ashes, and surface soils (n = 360) began and were analyzed by alpha- and beta-radiation counting. Samples were collected up to a 16 km radius from the perimeter of the laboratory. Controls and samples with activities 1σ greater than background were also examined by alpha and/or gamma spectroscopy or Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive X-ray analysis. Of the 360 samples collected, 97% showed activities at or close to site-specific background levels. However, offsite samples collected in publicly-accessible areas nearest to the SSFL site perimeter had the highest alpha-emitting radionuclides radium, thorium, and uranium activities, indicating site-related radioactive material has escaped the confines of the laboratory. 

In two geographically-separated locations, one as far away as 15 km, radioactive microparticles containing percent-concentrations of thorium were detected in ashes and dusts that were likely related to deposition from the Woolsey fire. These offsite radioactive microparticles were colocated with alpha and beta activity maxima. Data did not support a finding of widespread deposition of radioactive particles. However, two radioactive deposition hotspots and significant offsite contamination were detected near the site perimeter……………………………

4. Conclusions

A significant majority of samples (97% of 360 samples) collected in the study zone registered radioactivity levels that matched existing area background levels. Nevertheless, some ashes and dusts collected from the Woolsey Fire zone in the fire’s immediate aftermath contained high activities of radioactive isotopes associated with the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL). The data show that Woolsey Fire ash did, in fact, spread SSFL-related radioactive microparticles, and the impacts were confined to areas closest to SSFL and at least three other scattered locations in the greater Simi Valley area. Alpha and beta counting, high-resolution alpha and gamma spectroscopy, and X-ray microanalysis using SEM/EDS confirmed the presence of radioactive microparticles in the Woolsey Fire-related ashes and dusts.

Most of the fire-impacted samples found near the SSFL site’s perimeter were on lands accessible to the public. There were, however, scattered localized areas of increased radioactivity due to the presence of radioactive microparticles in ash and recently-settled dusts collected just after the Woolsey fire. These radioactive outliers were found in Thousand Oaks, CA, and Simi Valley, CA, about 15 and 5 km distant from SSFL, respectively. The Thousand Oaks samples had alpha count rates up to 19 times background, and X-ray spectroscopy (SEM) identified alpha-emitting thorium as the source of this excess radioactivity. Excessive alpha radiation in small particles is of particular interest because of the relatively high risk of inhalation-related long-term biological damage from internal alpha emitters compared to external radiation.

The nuclides identified as the sources of excess radioactivity in impacted samples were predominately isotopes of radium, uranium, and thorium. These have naturally-occurring sources, but these isotopes are also contaminants of concern at SSFL and were detected at generally increasing activities as the distance from SSFL decreased. In addition, the number of radioactive microparticles per gram of particulate matter also increased strongly with decreasing distance from SSFL. These data demonstrate that fire and/or other processes have spread SSFL contamination beyond the facility boundary………..

……https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0265931X21002277?dgcid=coauthor

Chris Busby on the truth about black rain, radiation and cancer

December 25, 2021

the major cause of cancer in the low and medium dose groups (0-100mSv) in the Hiroshima lifespan study was not the immediate radiation from the detonation, the external gamma radiation and neutrons, but was in fact exposure to Uranium 234 particles from the bomb itself which rained out over the city in the black rain. Torrential black rain fell over the city and surrounding areas from 30 minutes to several hours after the atomic explosion.

Hiroshima Black Rain and the Test Veterans,  https://www.labrats.international/post/hiroshima-black-rain-and-the-test-veterans     Chris Busby, 13th Sept 2021
    The absolute key study of the effects of radiation on cancer risk is the Lifespan Study (LSS) of the survivors of the Hiroshima bomb. It provides the evidence used by the Secretary of State for Defence (the MoD) to refuse pensions in all the UK Test Vet cases. Groups were assembled in 1952 some 7 years after the bomb and divided into high, medium and low doses on the basis of their distance from Ground Zero, with a No Dose group consisting of those who were outside the City and came in later. They were thrown out in 1973 as using them as a control gave too many cancers. This study continues today and the risks of different cancers after exposures are obtained from the excess risk of any type of cancer in each dose group. The risk factors for cancer which are currently the basis for all laws relating to exposure are based on this study. You have to get a Dose of about 1000mSv to get a 40% excess risk of cancer on the basis of the LSS results. Naturally, since no Test veteran got anywhere near this dose, all the pension applications (and appeals) are refused.

But on Sept 9th a scientific report I wrote was published in the peer-reviewed Journal Cancer Investigations. My paper The Hiroshima A-Bomb black rain and the lifespan study—a resolution of the Enigma shows that the LSS was dishonestly manipulated and that its results are totally unsafe. It spells the end of the radiation risk model and the beginning of justice for the test veterans. How?

What it shows, is that the major cause of cancer in the low and medium dose groups (0-100mSv) in the Hiroshima lifespan study was not the immediate radiation from the detonation, the external gamma radiation and neutrons, but was in fact exposure to Uranium 234 particles from the bomb itself which rained out over the city in the black rain. Torrential black rain fell over the city and surrounding areas from 30 minutes to several hours after the atomic explosion. Doses from the inhalation and ingestion of the Uranium particles in the black rain were very low. Since the Christmas Island vets were also exposed to rainout after the bombs, they are in the same category of victims as the Hiroshima low dose LSS victims (<5mSv). The Japanese government lost a court case in July on this issue, one which it will not appeal. Those living in the black rain areas who developed cancer will get compensation and attention in the same way as those who received an external dose from the detonation, even though the black rain victims’ dose was zero. The separation of external radiation from internal in terms of risk also shows that the types of cancers believed in the model to result from radiation must also be reassessed.

Of course, the MoD knew all this. It is the biggest secret of all, since it supports everything nuclear: bombs, energy, naval propulsion, Depleted Uranium, winnable nuclear war and raises the issue of enormous amounts of compensation. It had to be kept out. In 2013, during the run-up to the big test veteran appeal in the Royal Courts of Justice, I obtained from the late Major Alan Batchelor in Australia an official British document which was submitted to the Australian National Commission test vet hearings. It listed the quantity of Uranium isotopes in the Enriched Uranium used by the British in their bombs. I also had obtained a copy (when I was advising Rosenblatts in 2009 in the Foskett case) of a memo from 1953 on the dangers of Uranium 234 at the test sites. But these documents were suddenly made subject to the Official Secrets Act.

In 2013 after Rosenblatts had pulled out, Hogan Lovells removed all my 4 years of evidence and reports, 12 documents, and also removed me from the case without consulting any of the veterans they represented. In 2014 Judge Charles in the Upper Tier ruled that I could not act as an expert witness (I was biased) and anything I had written or argued previously had to be ignored. I neatly reverted from expert to representative and argued in 2016 before Judge Blake in the RCJ that the exposure of interest at Christmas Island was to Uranium from the material of the bomb. We flew in Professor Shoji Sawada all the way from Japan to make the same point. But Blake either ignored him or pretended to. In Blake’s final judgement he wrote:

14. . .it is submitted that prolonged exposure to radiation by inhalation or ingestion of radioactive particles deposited on the land or in the sea off CI is a real possibility. . .

15. In the appeals relating to Messrs Battersby and Smith Dr Busby, on their behalf, advances a more radical submission that the guidance issued by the International Commission on Radiological Protection in the UK and EU is flawed and underestimates the risk to health from internal exposure to radiation, and in particular radiation from Uranium.

What the new paper shows, is that we were exactly right and Blakes judgement exactly wrong; he listened to the experts brought in by the MoD, who did not (or they say they were told by MoD lawyer Adam Heppinstall) not to address our experts or their evidence; to keep the evidence out. The Scots Upper Tier has now reversed the Charles decision on my expertise, Judge DJ May QC calling it “Unlawful”. The British Tribunals, however, ignore the Scottish UT decision and persist in keeping my evidence out.

The Lifespan Study was dishonestly manipulated to provide support for the continued radioactive contamination of the environment by atmospheric bomb testing. The evidence is that this stitch-up has resulted in the biggest public health scandal in human history. The internal radiation effects on the children born at the peak period, 1959-63 caused genetic damage, infant deaths and the cancer epidemic which began in 1980. The effect is also in the children and grandchildren as new data clearly show. My study of the BNTVA also found a 10-fold congenital malformation rate in the children and 9-fold in the grandchildren. The Black Rain paper proves that the risk model that permitted this is wildly wrong. For those who are interested, read the paper: it is easy to understand. Then get angry and do something.

Meanwhile, I do what I can: I have two test vet cases ongoing: Trevor Butler and Christopher Donne, and also a Nuclear submarine sailor in Scotland who died from lymphoma. Here I am up against twisty Adam Heppinstall once more. He has begun, in true style, by removing all our evidence from the Bundle.

Independent scientists speak the truth about ionising radiation.

October 5, 2021

How monolithic institutions decide what is safe for the rest of us, Beyond Nuclear, By Christine Fassert and Tatiana Kasperski, 12 Sept 21,

”………………..The condemnation of this [ Fukushima area radiation] threshold came first of all from within: the special adviser on radiation protection of the Prime Minister’s Office, Professor Toshiso Kosako, resigned in tears on April 30, 2011:

“I cannot accept such a threshold, being applied to babies, children, and elementary school students, not only from an academic point of view, but also because of my humanistic values,” he said.

Many critiques

At the international level, the decision to raise the threshold was also criticized by the two successive UN Special Rapporteurs, Anand Grover and Baskut Tuncak. Moreover, the two experts question the very foundations of radiation protection, which rely on the ALARA principle: As Low as Reasonably Achievable.

This “reasonably” indicates that criteria other than health are taken into account, which Grover criticizes, referring to the “right to health”. Indeed, the rapporteur points out that “the ICRP recommendations are based on the principle of optimization and justification, according to which all government actions should maximize the benefits over the detriments. Such a risk-benefit analysis is not in line with the framework of the right to health, because it gives priority to collective interests over individual rights”.

Tuncak echoes Grover’s criticism in his October 2018 report, stating that “the Japanese government’s decision to increase what is considered the acceptable level of radiation exposure by a factor of 20 is deeply troubling.”

Better protecting individuals

Similar arguments were also used by Belarusian and Ukrainian scientists who, in the late 1980s, opposed the lifetime dose limit of 35 rem (350msv) over a maximum period of 70 years from the time of the accident — a limit that Soviet experts in Moscow, with the support of ICRP representatives, including the head of the French Central Service for Protection against Ionizing Radiation, Pierre Pellerin, were trying to impose as the basis for all post-accident response measures. 

The Belarusian and Ukrainian researchers considered the 35 rem criterion to be unacceptable not only from a scientific point of view but also, and above all, from an ethical point of view.

They pointed out that under the conditions of scientific uncertainty about the effects of ionizing radiation, it was dangerous to underestimate the risks that radioactivity represented for the inhabitants of the affected territories, and they considered that the country’s authorities had a moral obligation to devote all the necessary means to greater protection of the inhabitants of the affected regions, especially the most vulnerable individuals.

The danger of low doses

The protagonists of the optimization of radiation protection in the post-accident context insist on the absence of studies proving significant health effects below these thresholds.

For a long time, the arguments for and against these thresholds have been discussed in the public arena and by social scientists in terms of scientific and medical “controversies” — opposing scientists connected to the nuclear sphere who have long denied the harmfulness of low doses, to scientists outside this sphere who consider that the risks were underestimated.

The question of the level of danger of low doses of radioactivity is one of the best known examples of such controversies, which regularly resurface despite the development of scientific knowledge about these risks.

This debate did not arise at the time of the Fukushima accident, but has been going on for a long time and is part of the “motives” also found in the debates about Chernobyl as well as other nuclear accidents such as Kyshtym, in Russia, in 1957………………… https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2021/09/12/vested-interests/

Eight vital questions about Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and its nuclear wastes.

September 14, 2021

With respect to the new building being applied for by ANSTO, the extended storage of ANSTO’s Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste on-site at Lucas Heights is warranted – until there is an availability of a proper final disposal option for ALL of the nuclear waste which ANSTO produces and generates. This is the only way that Australians will accept shifting this nuclear waste anywhere other than leaving it safely on site!

What the proposed Kimba site is, put simply, is the last site standing, from a greedy nominator and a dubious selection process and a very flawed and out dated proposal!

Lucas Heights is the very best place for this waste currently. Until a proper solution is found for ALL of the waste ANSTO produces – trotting out the exact same proposal from forty years ago is not a solution.

The new Intermediate Level Solid Waste Storage Facility at ANSTO Lucas Heights should be supported. And here are the reasons why. Kazzi Jai , Fight to Stop a Nuclesr Waste Dump in the Flinders Ranges, 15 Aug 21,

ANSTO’s Work Health Safety and Environment Policy includes the statement,

We are committed to effective stewardship, the sustainability of our operations and to responsibly interact with the local ecology and biosphere, and to protect it. We will minimize our environmental footprint through the sustainable use of resources and by the prevention, minimization and control of pollution.

Powerful words, but does ANSTO mean them?

Their current “stewardship” is to safely and securely deal with ALL the waste that they produce on site. The usage of the word “interim” (or “temporary” which was used in the past) simply refers to dry storage. In other words it does not make Lucas Heights a permanent disposal site for this waste. Other nuclear reactors around the world hold their nuclear site close to where it is generated – it makes good logical sense, because that means it can be monitored and is safe and secure.

The “sustainability” of their operations should include ANSTO’s (given their expertise in this field over the decades) continued stewardship of the waste they generate and produce on site.

It is a logical conclusion, since they were in fact, allowed the replacement reactor (now known as OPAL) to be constructed with the continued stewardship of the nuclear waste right there on site.

This means that the sustainability of ANSTO is, and remains, contingent on responsibility of generating this nuclear waste in the first place.

  1. Why is OPAL research nuclear reactor being touted as commercial one?

.ANSTO’s OPAL reactor is after all a research reactor – and that should be its main objective – research. But it is being used for more than that – it is being used for the industrial production of isotopes primarily diagnostic isotopes.

The OPAL reactor is currently used predominately for the production of what is termed in general terms nuclear medicine…. of which approximately 80% of its primary usage is for the production of Molybdenum-99 – which then decays to Technitium-99m (Tc-99m) – which is then used in diagnostic imaging in nuclear medicine. Not all diagnostic imaging in nuclear medicine uses Tc-99m.

This is as pointed out earlier, a commercial industrial production usage of the OPAL reactor.

We are told that our use of Technitium-99m in Australia is approximately 550 000 “available” doses a year according to ANSTO. We were told by Adi Paterson in 2017 Senate Estimates that Australia was using 28% of Technitium-99m generated by ANSTO, and the rest (72%) was exported overseas. At that stage, the export quantity involved equated to 1% of global demand of Technitium-99m. (5) But now ANSTO wants to increase their commercial production of export to 10 MILLION DOSES PER YEAR FOR EXPORT! That would make ANSTO one of the FOUR MAJOR PRODUCERS of Technitium-99m in the world!(6) But with increased EXPORT comes INCREASED WASTE PRODUCTION!

ANSTO cites COMMERCIAL SENSITIVITY regarding whether the production of Technitium-99m is viable or not – the public are not privy to the details of this information. But the Australian public are the ones SUBSIDIZING this COMMERCIAL VENTURE! Canada got out of isotope production simply because they could no longer justify the cost to their taxpayers!

But not all is doom and gloom! Canada have just released (December 2020) the approval of cyclotron-produced technetium-99m by Health Canada. (1)

ANSTO is also somewhat careful not to mention that they own PETTECH (which trades as PETTECH Solutions), which operates two medical cyclotrons for radiopharmaceutical production at the Lucas Heights campus. PETTECH has routinely supplied NSW hospitals as part of a state tender. In 2019 they sold it off to private company Cyclotek. (2)

Cyclotrons are also found in our major cities. In fact Australia has 18 cyclotrons according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 2019 listing. (3)

Cyclotrons are usually found also in partnerships with imaging services. This is because cyclotrons are used generally with PET scans which allow very precise scans of many parts of the body to be achieved. The thing with cyclotrons is that they do not produce nuclear isotopes and therefore do not produce nuclear waste. Cyclotrons produce isotopes as required by demand.

The world is changing with regards to nuclear medicine. Cyclotrons are coming into their own right. The field of imaging and diagnosis doesn’t rely solely on one technology only. CT-scans, MRI -scans, Ultrasounds – all can be used in conjunction with PET or SPEC scans. And the cutting edge advancements in cancer treatment is now immunotherapy and nanotechnology. Even LINAC machines – the ones used in radiotherapy and do not use a nuclear source and therefore do not produce nuclear waste because they use a Linear Accelerator to produce a high density x-ray beam to treat cancers, may be superseded by proton therapy units which again use a specific accelerator to treat cancers on an atomic level with minimum disruption to normal cells. Minimizing the damage done to normal cells is becoming more and more important in treating cancers. This cannot be done with radioactive isotopes simply because there is no control with regards to their decay and release into normal tissue.

““We can get product from Sydney to Boston as efficiently as it can be shipped there from Europe,” Shaun Jenkinson, ANSTO Nuclear Business Group Executive boasted in 2014.

With radioactive elements, time is of the essence. Technetium-99m has a half-life of just six hours, which means half of it will have decayed into something else in that time. This is why it is shipped as its precursor, molybdenum-99, which has a half-life of 2.75 days.”, he went on to say

.ANSTO’s molybdenum-99 exports bring in over $10 million each year to Australia. This figure is set to triple after 2016, when its new $100 million nuclear medicine processing facility starts up, bringing with it 250 new jobs.” (4)

Mr Jenkinson, who now is CEO of ANSTO replacing Adi Paterson, was at great pains in 2014 to point out that ANSTO could get “product” from Sydney to Boston efficiently. How about the other way round? Our usage of “product” – namely Molybdenium-99 (decays to Tc-99m) is very small in Australia. It actually hasn’t changed all that much even before the advent of OPAL replacing HIFAR in 2007, and with cyclotrons, will probably decrease even more in usage, given advancement in technologies – which is naturally what happens in any field! Why shouldn’t we produce Technitium-99m on cyclotrons like Canada are now doing, or import what we need in Australia – something we do regularly anyway when OPAL is offline for maintenance or other reasons for shutdown. Is ANSTO possibly providing Molybdenium99 (Technitium-99m isotope) below cost price simply to remain a player in the global market, and being propped up by the Australian taxpayer?

Is there still a window of opportunity for such a massive commitment to produce up to quarter of the world’s global demand given that the demand just may not be there any longer?

2. And anyway, is Lucas Height’s medical isotope still a viable proposition?

But is Is it still a viable proposition given the expense already occurring with dealing with the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste generated by the industrial production of Molybdenium-99. In fact again in Senate Estimates Adi Paterson stated (as part of answers to questions) that increasing output of Molybdenium-99 will in fact increase generation of liquid Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste! (7)This is the liquid part of the production of Molybdenium-99 ….which in itself is classified as Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste. This is separate to the reprocessed spent fuel rods in TN-81 casks plus the Intermediate Level technological waste sent back as equivalent nuclear waste from France.

3.Is the expense of ANSTO’s Synroc process justified ?

Then we have the expense of putting the liquid intermediate level nuclear waste generated from the industrial production of Molybdenium-99 into solid form via a process only Australia uses – Synroc. Why has no other place in the world grabbed the technology using Synroc? Is it because it is too expensive to warrant using? Or is it because Synroc is no different to vitrification into glass which is already being used? Regardless, both techniques still require intact shielding of the final waste product – whether it be Synroc or glass.

4. Is tax-payer funded ANSTO accountable for the decisions they make?

All of these points made should be investigated, rather than rubber stamped by committees who say that “ANSTO is doing a great job” – without actually asking the hard questions, and making ANSTO accountable for the decisions they make.

5.Is it sensible to transport nuclear waste 1700km to a small agricultural community, far from the essential nuclear expertise

With respect to the new building being applied for by ANSTO, the extended storage of ANSTO’s Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste on-site at Lucas Heights is warranted – until there is an availability of a proper final disposal option for ALL of the nuclear waste which ANSTO produces and generates. This is the only way that Australians will accept shifting this nuclear waste anywhere other than leaving it safely on site! The current proposal is flawed in so many ways – the largest gaping flaw is the deliberate intention of transporting Intermediate Level Waste and Nuclear Fuel Waste over state border, over 1700 kms across Australia, into a small agricultural community which exports grain and sheep ….and which has NEVER had any past or current dealings with the nuclear industry EVER…and leave it there SIMPLY AS DRY STORAGE IN THE SAME WAY THAT IT IS HELD AT LUCAS HEIGHTS…without the SAME security, safety and monitoring expertise as Lucas Heights has right there on site at a moment’s notice!

Should there develop a problem with say the TN-81 cask, do you think ANSTO will want it transported back to Lucas Heights – back across 1700kms? Remember too, that the TN-81 casks have only a 40 year guaranteed manufacturer’s warranty. What will happen after 40 years, when in all likelihood the cask will need replacing? Where is the Hot Cell for dealing with this waste in any possible timeframe when a problem with the seal, or a crack in the shielding – the only thing actually enabling safe handling and storage – may develop? Where in the middle of a wheat field in the middle of Australia will the expertise be? It won’t be in Kimba! In fact it won’t be in South Australia! And in fact it won’t actually be ANSTO’s problem!!

What the proposed Kimba site is, put simply, is the last site standing, from a greedy nominator and a dubious selection process and a very flawed and out dated proposal! Read the AECOM report – which they take great pains to point out was preliminary at best – to find out more! Lots of mitigation required with the Kimba site! So much for dealing with this waste in the MOST SAFE way possible WITH NO EXPENSE SPARED, given that this waste is classified as requiring intact shielding to be handled safely and to stop possible contamination to the environment.

Nuclear Waste must be dealt with in the utmost safe conditions with no expense spared. Nuclear waste – this is classified by ARPANSA, so there is no subjective input into this classification – must be highly regulated when it comes to handling and dealing with it. And this also take into account classification as well as quantity. Low level nuclear waste has a classified life of 300 years to decay back to background levels. Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste has a classified life of 1000 years….and High Level Nuclear Waste 1000’s of years – much longer than any of us here today! Even 300 years for the Low Level Nuclear Waste in comparison is BEFORE European colonization of Australia – for that comparison to be put it into perspective!

6. Why the pretend urgency, when Lucas Heights can safely store the nuclear waste until 2060 or beyond?

ANSTO owns and manages approximately 500 hectares at Lucas Heights. Of that, only 70 hectares has been developed by ANSTO.The OPAL reactor has a lifetime of 50 years. It was commissioned in 2007. That takes us into 2060…and then even if it was the end of the use of the reactor, the spent fuel rods from the reactor must be kept ON SITE in the holding cooling ponds for a further 8-10 years BEFORE there is any chance of dealing with them. So there is no urgency to shift ANY of this waste until a proper solution is found to deal with ALL of this waste – Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste FIRST and the Low Level Nuclear Waste can follow that! Handled once only – no double handling! Double handling is definitely against International Best Practise!

7. How much Federal money goes to ANSTO, compared with other scientific research?

What would be interesting is to know how much the Federal Government injects into ANSTO budget every year since its inception! There are over 1000 staff employed at ANSTO. How much of the Federal science budget is used up by ANSTO? Is it at the expense of other sciences like CSIRO and other research endeavours not involving nuclear science?To include into the argument by ANSTO that the proviso of construction of the new Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste storage building at Lucas Heights is contingent on the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) is up and running, is disingenuous since the NRWMF hasn’t even been declared yet!…let alone licenced!

8. Is it alright for ANSTO to cease all responsibility for its nuclear wastes, once they are sent to Kimba?

And keep in mind, ANSTO will ONLY be a customer for this proposed dump. ANSTO will not play any part in its management or development, apart from perhaps on a consultative basis. There is no “stewardship” involvement of ANSTO with this NRWMF – they wash their hands and books of all responsibility of the waste THAT THEY PRODUCE once it lands at the gates of the NRWMF!

The proposal part for the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste and Nuclear Fuel Waste is to leave it in the proposed TOTALLY ALL ABOVE GROUND NRWMF in INDEFINITE STORAGE which means it will be there essentially forever – in layman’s terms known as STRANDED or ZOMBIE WASTE – not to be dealt with any time soon in the future!

This is a forty year old proposal which has been dragged out yet again, WITHOUT ONE RED CENT SPENT on dealing with the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste properly at all! “Tag-a-long” does not equate to dealing with this waste properly!

It is simply making this a case of putting this waste “out of sight and out of mind”!

Lucas Heights is the very best place for this waste currently. Until a proper solution is found for ALL of the waste ANSTO produces – trotting out the exact same proposal from forty years ago is not a solution.

The indefinite Store for ANSTO nuclear fuel waste & ILW in South Australia IS UNTENABLE, as the CURRENT PROPOSAL by the Federal Government have put forward.

And that is why the additional Intermediate Level Nuclear Storage building must be allowed to be built at Lucas heights.

1. https://www.triumf.ca/…/cyclotron-produced-technetium…2. https://www.cyclotek.com/cyclotek-acquires-the-business…/3. https://nucleus.iaea.org/…/public_cyclotron_db_view.aspx4. https://www.ansto.gov.au/news/going-global-nuclear-medicine5. https://www.aph.gov.au/…/Industry/answers/AI-5_Ludlam.pdf6. https://www.aph.gov.au/…/Industry/answers/AI-6_Ludlam.pdf7. https://www.aph.gov.au/…/Industry/answers/AI-7_Ludlam.pdfAPH.GOV.AUwww.aph.gov.au

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Maralinga nuclear bomb tests – British and Australian governments’ callous cruelty to First Nations people.

September 14, 2021

Australia’s Chernobyl: The British carried out nuclear tests on Indigenous land. It will never heal.   https://www.mamamia.com.au/maralinga-nuclear-testing/ CHELSEA MCLAUGHLIN, JULY 5, 2021  For tens of thousands of years, the Aṉangu people lived on the warm, red earth of their country.

The land provided them with food, water and shelter as they travelled around an area we now know as outback Far North South Australia.

But after colonisation, they were moved off their land: forcibly removed, sent into missions across the region and displaced by train lines linking Australia’s east and west that impacted their water supply. 

Much of the information around the tests was highly classified, and some information remains so.

For tens of thousands of years, the Aṉangu people lived on the warm, red earth of their country.

The land provided them with food, water and shelter as they travelled around an area we now know as outback Far North South Australia.

But after colonisation, they were moved off their land: forcibly removed, sent into missions across the region and displaced by train lines linking Australia’s east and west that impacted their water supply. 

Much of the information around the tests was highly classified, and some information remains so.

Thirty per cent of the British and Australian servicemen who were exposed during these tests died of cancer, though a Royal Commission in 1984 was not able to reach a conclusion linking their health issues directly to the blasts. 

Similarly, many locals died prematurely, went blind and suffered from illness that may have been linked to radiation.

British nuclear scientists, wanting to determine the long-term effects of the tests on Australia and its citizens, ordered the testing of dead Australian infants and children for radiation contamination.

Between 1957 and 1978 in hospitals around Australia, bones were secretly removed from 21,830 bodies. They were reduced to ash and sent away to be analysed for the presence of Strontium 90, a radioactive isotope produced by nuclear fission.

Unsurprisingly, none of the First Nations people of the region were told about the tests and many of the bones were taken without permission.

Associate professor Liz Tynan, the author of Atomic Thunder: The Maralinga Story, told Mamamia‘s The Quicky First Nations people were still in the area during the periods of testing, and this led to disastrous consequences.

Tynan said the Milpuddie family – Charlie, Edie, two kids and their dogs – were found by British service personnel in 1957, camped on the crater left by the bomb Marcoo soon after it had been detonated. 

They were rounded up and most of the family, not Edie, but most of them, were given showers. Edie didn’t wish to have a shower,” Tynan explained.

“They were tested for radioactivity and the geiger counters did detect radioactivity, particularly on the young boy Henry. Anyway, there were rather insensitively treated I suppose, given showers, had clothes put on them and then take off down south to a mission.”

Their dogs were shot in front of them. Edie was pregnant at the time, and she later lost her child.

“It was a tragic story and indicative of the callous approach to Indigenous people that was displayed by both the British government and their officials that were conducting the tests, and by the Australian government as well,” Tynan said.

Following the testing, many Aṉangu people returned to the area, but the lands that had previously sustained and protected them were now poison.

We still don’t know the truth impact of the bombs at Maralinga, as well as nearby Emu Fields and the Montebello Islands off the coast of Western Australia.

“The South Australian Department of Health commissioned a fairly extensive study, [but] that study was hampered by the fact there was no base-line data from which to understand the general health of the population before the tests,” Tynan said.

The study did show an increase in various cancers, but most of the findings were inconclusive due to a lack of information. Indigenous Australians were not counted in the census at the time and there was very little known about the health of the populations.

In 1964, a limited cleanup of the Maralinga site, named ‘Operation Hercules’, took place. 

A year after a 1966 survey into the level of contamination at the site, a second clean-up titled ‘Operation Brumby’ filled 21 pits with contaminated equipment and covered them with 650 tonnes of concrete.

Tynan said it was later found the survey data was drastically wrong, and the contamination was 10 times worse than thought.

It wasn’t until decades later, with the help whistleblowers and scientists, that the government began to realise the true, horrifying extent of the damage done to the land at Maralinga.

Under an agreement between the governments of the United Kingdom and Australia in 1995, another clean-up took place. And while this was more thorough than the previous, it still came with issues.

Whistleblower Alan Parkinson, who wrote the 2007 book Maralinga: Australia’s Nuclear Waste Cover-up, exposed the unsatisfactory methods.

The plan had been to treat several thousand tonnes of debris contaminated with plutonium by a process called situ vitrification. Against the advice of Parkinson, the government extended the contract of the project manager, even though that company had no knowledge of the complex process of vitrification.

Parkinson was let go from the project.

The government and the project manager then embarked on a hybrid scheme in which some pits would be exhumed and others treated by vitrification. After successfully treating 12 pits, the 13th exploded and severely damaged the equipment. The government then cancelled the vitrification and simply exhumed the remaining pits, placed the debris in a shallow pit and covered it with clean soil.

Parkinson told The Quicky another, complete clean-up of Maralinga could take place, but it was unlikely because of the cost and the courage it would take to admit the previous attempts were insufficient.

Around the same time as the 90s clean up was the Australian government push for a nuclear waste dump to be located nearby. 

Fearing even further poisoning of their country, First Nations woman Eileen Wani Wingfield co-founded the Coober Pedy Women’s Council to campaign against the proposal.

The plan was eventually abandoned, but has popped up again in many forms over the decades. Currently, the Coalition is amending a bill that could see a site set up near Kimba.

Glen Wingfield, Eileen’s son, has spent his life working and learning from his parents’ tireless campaign for protection of their country.

The theme of NAIDOC Week 2021 is Heal Country! but as Wingfield told The Quicky, much of the Aṉangu lands in and around Maralinga are beyond healing.

“A lot of the Aboriginal communities that live in and around that area, they just will not and do not go back near that country. I think that’s a word, healing, that we can’t use in the same sentence with that area.”

Tynan agreed, saying there are parts of the area that will be uninhabitable for a quarter of a million years.

“There are parts of the site that you can’t go to, that are still very dangerous,” she said.

“The real problem at Maralinga was the plutonium which was detonated in a series of trials… The particular type of plutonium they used, plutonium 239, has a half-life of 21,400 years which takes hundreds of thousands of years for that radioactivity to diminish.”

Wingfield said the broken connection between these people and their lands is “just downright disgraceful and horrible”.

“No amount of conversation will ever cover what’s been done for people in and around. The lasting effects of health issues on people have been passed through people who were there to generational abnormalities… I think when you talk compensation and stuff, I don’t think we’ll ever get close.”

Radiation, nuclear wastes, transportation, uncertainties – extract from Expert response to pro nuclear JRC Report

September 14, 2021

The DNSH-related TSCs state, among other things, that the repository facility must guarantee that the waste is contained and isolated from the biosphere. This also applies if extreme natural phenomena occur such as earthquakes, tornadoes, floods or the loss of technical barriers. 

……  nuclear energy has been used for several decades, but there is still no repositoryfor high-level radioactive waste operating anywhere in the world. Responsibilities are therefore passed on to following generations and they are restricted in their freedom of choice. Section 6 of this expert response will deal with this matter in greater detail. 

General results of the reviewThe JRC Report contains unfounded generalisations at many points. Conclusions are drawn from individual, selected examples and their global validity is assumed. Readers without any detailed specialist expertise will find it hard or impossible to recognise this.


.……….  The JRC presents the disposal of high-level radioactive waste as a completely resolved problem by citing the example of the disposal projects in Finland and France. This largely ignores the fact that the Finnish repository is still under construction and the licence application from the operational company has already been delayed on several occasions. Both countries are still years away from starting to operate the facilities. 

The JRC Report does not mention the aspect of transportation in its presentation of the life cycle analysis. This would have been necessary for a conclusive overall presentation of all the aspects of nuclear power.

the JRC Report states that a closed fuel cycle provides the advantage of significantly reducing the space required for a deep geological repository for HLW. It is necessary to add here that not only the volume, but also the decay heat at the time of disposing of the waste is relevant for the size of the disposal facility (KOM, 2016, p. 227). Additional low- and intermediate-level waste would also be produced and this would increase the disposal volume.

Expert response to the report by the Joint Research Centre entitled “Technical assessment of nuclear energy with respect to the ‛Do No Significant Harm’ criteria in Regulation (EU) 2020/852, the ‛Taxonomy Regulation’” 2021

“”………… 4.6 Ionising radiation and its impacts on people’s health and the environment during all the life cycle phases (apart from disposal and transportation)The JRC Report largely restricts itself in Part A 3.4 to the “impact of ionizing radiation on human health” (JRC Report, Part A 3.4.1, p. 167ff) and the environment (JRC Report, Part A 3.4.2, p. 173ff). The impact of emissions of non-radioactive substances is only considered at one point (publication [3.4-1]). ……..


The figures quoted for the radiation exposure of human beings in Part A 3.4.1 of the JRC Report are plausible. It is correct that human exposure to radiation as a result of the civil use of radioactive materials and ionising radiation is low in comparison with radiation exposure from natural sources and its range of variation. However, the report does not match the latest findings in radiation protection when specifying average effective doses per head of the population for nuclear facilities and installations. According to the latest recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), the so-called “representative person” in the sense of the ICRP has to be considered an individual in the population, who is exposed to higher levels of radiation because of his or her lifestyle habits. 

5 Criterion 2 in the Taxonomy Regulation – the DNSH criteria: disposal of radioactive waste, transportation, research and development The subject of disposing of radioactive waste is considered in this section. It professionally examines the scientific statements in the JRC Report about the topics of storage (section 5.1 of this expert response), disposing of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste (section 5.2), disposing of high-level radioactive waste (section 5.3), transportation (section 5.4) and research and development (section 5.5). Sub-headlines have been used to interconnect the subsections 


……….. The JRC Report does not adequately consider the fact that no successful, deep geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste, including the permanent seal, has yet been introduced anywhere in the world. 


5.1 Interim storage of radioactive waste The JRC Report generally fails to provide any basis for the findings that are listed in the Executive Summary of the report related to storing radioactive waste. As a result, questions must be raised about the transparency of the conclusions that are drawn

…………..  the assessment of interim storage consistently takes place according to the standard adopted by the JRC, which, however, is inadequate from an expert point of view. For beyond design basis events it is impossible to exclude that uncontrolled discharges of radioactive substances and therefore considerable effects on the environment may occur through incidents and accidents or by some other intrusion involving third parties (e.g. terrorist attacks) when operating storage facilities; a risk therefore remains. A holistic assessment of using nuclear energy must therefore include a risk assessment related to these events too (cf. section 2.1 and 2.2.1 of this expert response). 

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