Archive for the ‘secrets and lies’ Category

The truth about Lucas Heights and the supposed medical need for the nuclear reactor

April 7, 2019

Kazzi Jai shared a link. 18 Feb 19, Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste In The Flinders Ranges

X-rays and CAT scanners (which use x-rays) in hospitals do not use radioactive sources. The films from X-rays are very valuable due to their silver content, and can be recycled if they are no longer required. There are now hospitals which are using phosphor flat plate detectors on their X-ray machines, so that a digital image is obtained and kept on hospital computer files instead of generating a film.

The disposable items such as gloves, gowns, sheets etc used in hospitals for loved ones using nuclear medicine are withheld for a period of 10 or more days, then deemed, according to safety regulations, to be safe to be discarded in normal waste.

Of the isotopes which ANSTO – Lucas Heights reactor produces, only 28% are actually used in Australian Hospitals. The rest – 72% – are sent overseas. Which is interesting as the majority of Lucas Heights reactor use is for nuclear medical isotope production!
And of that 28% which is quoted as used in Australian hospitals, the majority of those isotopes are used for nuclear medical imaging – the rest is for treatment. So in fact actual nuclear medical treatment using isotopes is very small.

Also noteworthy is that now cyclotron/imaging partnership locations are found in all of the capital cities in Australia including Darwin – only Hobart does not. This means there will be less reliance on the isotope production from Lucas Heights, as cyclotrons allow generation of isotopes for imaging on site, and do not utilize radioactive sources such as a nuclear reactor to generate them! In other words they do not produce nuclear waste!

In Adelaide you will find the cyclotron and an imaging partnership in the SAHMRI building.

And ANSTO is heavily involved in the cyclotron sector as well. They have a cyclotron in Sydney and a similar piece of equipment called a synchrotron in Melbourne. But you rarely hear about those in South Australia……..

The solution to the waste generated at Lucas Heights – and they have the majority of the nuclear waste generated in Australia by the way, because they generate it there – is to keep it at Lucas Heights!

They claim it is safe there – then keep it there, until they have found a way to properly deal with the Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste, and the Low Level Nuclear Waste can follow that!

Double handling of Intermediate Level Nuclear Waste is NOT World’s Best Practice! Neither is transporting nuclear waste over 1500+kms away from where it is generated!

And Lucas Heights has plenty of space to deal with its waste – and we have been told by DIIS and ARPANSA that should a suitable site not be found, that production of isotopes would not be affected nor Lucas Heights licensing and regulations be affected, and they would simply build more buildings to accomodate it.

Oh….and here is a link on how X-rays in hospitals (both used in X-ray machines and CAT scanners) are generated, if you are interested –



The choice of Maralinga as nuclear bomb site – and the effects on Aboriginal people

April 7, 2019

Aboriginal people were still living close to the test sites and were told nothing about radiation. 

‘High rates of cancer were eventually documented in the 16,000 test workers, but no studies were done on Aboriginal people and others living in areas of fallout. It’s been called the cancer capital of Australia.’

Although many Aboriginal people were forcibly removed from their land, more than a thousand were directly affected by the bombs.

Vomiting, skin rashes, diarrhoea, fevers and, later, blood diseases and cancer were among the common conditions caused by the testing.

Three Mile Island nuclear accident exposed residents to far more radiation than officials claimed

April 7, 2019


Residents around TMI exposed to far more radiation than officials claimed 

Researchers under gag order couldn’t investigate true health impacts after Three Mile Island nuclear disaster

Residents around Three Mile Island were exposed to much more radiation from the nuclear disaster than was claimed by officials, a fact that was kept from researchers and the public for years.

After the Three Mile Island reactor core melted and radioactivity was released to the surrounding population, researchers were not allowed to investigate health impacts of higher doses because the TMI Public Health Fund, established to pay for public health research related to the disaster, was under a research gag order issued by a court. If a researcher wanted to conduct a study using money from this Fund, they had to obey two main parameters set forth by Federal Judge Sylvia Rambo, who was in charge of the Fund.*

  1. Those studying the health impact of Three Mile Island radiation emissions were prohibited from assessing “worst case estimates” of radiation releases unless such estimates would lead to a conclusion of insignificant amount of harm — that being “less than 0.01 health effects”. 
  2. If a researcher wanted to claim more harm or investigate a worst-case scenario, an expert selected by nuclear industry insurers would have to “concur on the nature and scope of the [dosimetry] projects.”

We don’t know how much radiation was released because monitors were non-functional

Data from radiation monitors from the time were unreliable. The Kemeny Commission concluded “An exceptional percentage (well over half) of health physics and monitoring instruments were not functional at the time of the accident . . .” (from Beyea) Without properly functioning monitoring equipment, dose reconstruction —  the method used to figure out how much radiation people were exposed to —  is at best unreliable, at worst, deceptive. 

Luckily, biology doesn’t lie

Biological data show some residents’ exposures were much higher — 60–90 rads — than officials or industry admitted at the time. To arrive at these doses, researchers (see the Wing study, below) used meteorological data to establish where the radiation plumes traveled that were released from TMI. Researchers then drew blood from people in these plume pathways who complained of symptoms associated with higher radiation exposure: vomiting, diarrhea, skin reddening (erythema). Using a chromosome test initially established in the 1960s and honed during examination of Chernobyl liquidators, researchers determined that the public in these plumes received 600-900 milligrays of radiation exposure — thousands of times higher than annual natural background doses; and very much higher than research paid for by the Fund could ever have assessed. Where mechanical dosimeters failed, residents’ blood did not.

Increases of disease with no cause

Studies conducted by three universities (ColumbiaPittsburgh, North Carolina Chapel Hill) on the impacts of the Three Mile Island disaster show breast, lung, leukemia and general cancer increases, some associated with proximity to the reactors, some in the pathways of the radioactive plumes. However, because of the proscriptive court order governing the TMI Public Health Fund, the two studies that were funded by it (Hatch, et al. from Columbia and Talbott, et al. from Pittsburgh) were unable to associate the disease increases in their studies to radiation exposure. These two investigators were forced to conclude “Radiation emissions, as modeled mathematically, did not account for the observed increase.” (emphasis added) Their compromised study conclusions help to prop up the continuing mirage that TMI did not damage health.

Independent research pointed to radiation as culprit

Only the research paper by Wing, et al., University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, was able to associate the cancer increases of lung and leukemia to radiation from Three Mile Island. These researchers had obtained independent funding, allowing them to not only investigate health outcomes, but to correlate them with radiation exposure, rather than rely on court-ordered restraints and industry-collected data. Lending further credibility to their research, Wing et al., examined bioindicators in the blood of residents. (See above).

Health studies need to focus on health outcomes, not dose

As demonstrated by the TMI Health Fund debacle, the starting point for any health study should NOT have been an assumption of dose, but an examination of disease increases in the surrounding community after TMI’s radiation releases. Assumptions, codified in the Fund, that doses were too low to cause health impacts were proved wrong by blood examinations. Yet, Judge Rambo decided, against this blood evidence, that higher doses from TMI were not worthy of study because they didn’t happen. This placed the researchers taking Fund money in a position of compromising their scientific integrity, and allowed the TMI Public Health Fund to serve as an instrument of obfuscation, rather than information.

Recent research points to continued concern

Current research has found that thyroid cancers in members of the TMI community carry a biological mark specific to radiation exposure, are more aggressive and appear earlier, than thyroid cancers outside of the TMI community. Although research is ongoing, these studies reveal that radiation from TMI may be implicated in thyroid disease – a correlation never admitted to by officials or industry.

Compromised science still with us

Despite the evidence in human blood, lived experience of the exposed, recognition of faulty monitors, and increases of cancers, the constant false narrative that TMI caused no harm remains. The faulty science that plagues the residents around TMI also pervades other radiation studies assessing health impact, including those following explosions at Chernobyl and Fukushima. We are still all impacted by this scientific and legal failing surrounding TMI, which makes it much harder to assess radiation’s impact on human health.

*“Radiation doses were calculated under an order from the court governing the TMI Public Health Fund. This order prohibited ‘upper limit or worst case estimates of releases of radioactivity or population doses . . . [unless] such estimates would lead to a mathematical projection of less than 0.01 health effects’. The order also specified that ‘a technical analyst . . . designated by counsel for the Pools [nuclear industry insurers] concur on the nature and scope of the [dosimetry] projects’” from Wing, 1997.

Cindy Folkers is the radiation and health specialist at Beyond Nuclear.

Where climate threat and nuclear threat meet: Top Secret US Cold War Nuclear Base in Greenland

April 7, 2019

Melting Ice Sheets Could Reveal Top Secret US Cold War Nuclear Base 11 Mar 19, Among the many Bond villainesque plans dreamed up during the Cold War, few come stranger than “Project Iceworm,” the shady US program to build a network of top secret nuclear missile launch sites beneath the Danish territory of Greenland. The largest and most impressive of the US bases was Camp Century, a warren of tunnels and labs under northwest Greenland’s ice sheet that was powered by its own portable nuclear reactor.

After just eight years of operation, Camp Century was decommissioned in 1967 due to engineering woes and a political scandal centered on whether Denmark had actually given the US full permission to house nuclear materials in their territory.

As the Cold War ended, the base was largely forgotten, not least because it was hoped to remain “preserved for eternity” under a blanket of snow and ice. However, with climate change knocking at the door, it looks like a different kind of thaw could reveal all.

A study published in 2016 used simulations to show that the ice above and around Camp Century could thaw by 2090 under a “business-as-usual” climate change scenario. Not only would this unearth the once-secret abandoned military base, but it also holds the potential to let loose the huge amounts of chemical and nuclear waste left at the site. These pollutants could leech into the surrounding surface water and spark a plethora of problems for the island’s human population and ecosystem.

Another study, published last year in the journal Global Environmental Politics, took a further look at the situation at Camp Century, arguing it has the potential to fire up some long-frozen geopolitical tensions. It’s not very clear how much Denmark knew about the US’ plans in Greenland. While they agreed the US could have the Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland, the issue of nuclear weapons in Danish territory was a big no-no. To make matters even thornier, Greenland has since transitioned to a self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark.

If the climatic scenario predicted does hit, as anticipated, who will be responsible for the clean-up of toxic chemicals and radioactive materials?

As the study argues, Camp Century is not the only problem. This scenario serves as just one example of how climate change could trigger a huge number of unforeseen consequences in international politics, especially when it comes to overseas military bases.

“The case could be the proverbial canary in the coal mine for future politics surrounding overseas military bases,” according to study author Jeff Colgan.

“Climate change can create knock-on environmental problems associated with a military base’s infrastructure or waste that disrupt the international politics that govern the base,” he wrote in the study. “Any cleanup costs or compensation related to the knock-on environmental problems create an unfunded liability for the host country, the country operating the base, or both.”

This is just another unexpected fallout of the climate issue we’re facing that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

Japan’s culture of cover-up and denial about the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe

April 7, 2019
Trust fails to recover from nuclear disaster, Borneo Bulletin    Simon Denyer  ……….facts and spreadsheets supplied by the government are one thing.

Rebuilding trust among locals may be significantly harder, thanks to a culture of cover-ups and denials that contributed to the nuclear accident and continues to dog Japan’s efforts to restart its nuclear industry, experts say.

…….. at least 24 countries and territories ban some produce from Fukushima. South Korea and China still impose a total food ban. The US prohibits Fukushima produce such as mushrooms, leafy vegetables and broccoli. Fishermen now only ply the seas two days a week: Fish from Fukushima, which once enjoyed a high reputation in Tokyo’s fish market, is no longer the flavour of the day.

The government blames “harmful rumours”, a phrase that dominated the two-day press tour and has been labelled the fourth disaster to hit Fukushima, after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident.

Yet there is a much deeper trust deficit that remains extremely hard to overcome.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the ill-fated plant, spent two months after the nuclear disaster denying that a meltdown had occurred. TEPCO later apologised for a “cover-up” that remains the source of much bitterness among people here.

Katsunobu Sakurai, former mayor of the nearby town of Minamisoma, said TEPCO gave out very little information about the disaster during a chaotic evacuation that ultimately led to the deaths of 3,700 people, including many elderly people whose medical care was interrupted.

In 2012, TEPCO was forced to admit that it had failed to heed safety warnings before the accident, or even consider the risk of a large tsunami, because it feared doing so would undermine public confidence in the industry.

Experts say TEPCO has still failed to come clean about the problems associated with decommissioning the reactors and decontaminating the environment.

“To me, talking about ‘harmful rumours’ sounds like they are making someone else the bad guy or villain, as if they are blaming people for saying negative things because they don’t understand science and radiation,” said Riken Komatsu, a community activist in Onahama.

“But those who have lost our trust do not have the right” to talk about harmful rumours, Komatsu added.

The government and TEPCO say the nuclear power plant itself could take 30 or 40 years to decommission and estimates the cleanup will cost

22 trillion yen (USD200 billion).

But in 2015, the plant’s manager told London’s Times newspaper that the technological challenges involved in removing hundreds of tonnes of molten radioactive fuel from three reactors could mean decommissioning will take 200 years.

The Japan Center for Economic Research, a conservative think tank, estimates the cleanup bill could come to 50 trillion to 70 trillion yen (USD460 billion to 640 billion).

One of the biggest problems involves groundwater that seeps into the reactor buildings, mixes with cooling water and becomes radioactive.

TEPCO has been trying to limit water contamination ever since the accident, creating a mile-long “ice wall” of sunken, frozen soil around the reactors to keep water out, and another concrete wall to prevent it from reaching the ocean.

In 2016, TEPCO admitted that the ice wall was only slowing – but not preventing – water seeping in. Today, around 100 cubic metres of groundwater still become contaminated at Fukushima every day, and one million tonnes of radioactive water is stored in 994 huge tanks around the site.

A new tank fills up every seven to 10 days, and storage space is running out.

TEPCO had initially claimed that 26 out of 27 radioactive nuclides had been removed from that water through an advanced treatment system, living only tritium behind.

But after reports by Kyodo news and local media, and a protest by fishermen, the company acknowledged last September that 80 per cent of the tanks contain water that is still contaminated with dangerous radioactive elements, including strontium-90, a bone-seeking radionuclide that causes cancer.

Launching his successful bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the situation at Fukushima was “under control”. One of his predecessors, Junichiro Koizumi said the water crisis showed that was a lie.

An external committee established by TEPCO to advise the board of directors said it is “very frustrated” at the company’s inability to communicate properly. ………

Nuclear meltdown at Santa Susana Lab and the government cover-up

December 4, 2018

L.A.’s Secret Meltdown; Simi Valley, CA(1959)Largest Nuclear Incident in U.S. history.

LA’s Nuclear Secret: Part 1  link–  Sep 22, 2015  Tucked away in the hills above the San Fernando and Simi valleys was a 2,800-acre laboratory with a mission that was a mystery to the thousands of people who lived in its shadow, By Joel Grover and Matthew Glasser  The U.S. government secretly allowed radiation from a damaged reactor to be released into air over the San Fernando and Simi valleys in the wake of a major nuclear meltdown in Southern California more than 50 years ago — fallout that nearby residents contend continues to cause serious health consequences and, in some cases, death. LA’s Nuclear Secret: Timelines, Documents, FAQ

Those are the findings of a yearlong NBC4 I-Team investigation into “Area Four,” which is part of the once-secret Santa Susana Field Lab. Founded in 1947 to test experimental nuclear reactors and rocket systems, the research facility was built in the hills above the two valleys. In 1959, Area Four was the site of one of the worst nuclear accidents in U.S. history. But the federal government still hasn’t told the public that radiation was released into the atmosphere as a result of the partial nuclear meltdown.

Now, whistleblowers interviewed on camera by NBC4 have recounted how during and after that accident they were ordered to release dangerous radioactive gases into the air above Los Angeles and Ventura counties, often under cover of night, and how their bosses swore them to secrecy.

In addition, the I-Team reviewed over 15,000 pages of studies and government documents, and interviewed other insiders, uncovering that for years starting in 1959, workers at Area Four were routinely instructed to release radioactive materials into the air above neighboring communities, through the exhaust stacks of nuclear reactors, open doors, and by burning radioactive waste.

How It Began

On July 13, 1959, the day of the meltdown, John Pace was working as a reactor operator for Atomics International at Area Four’s largest reactor, under the watch of the U.S. government’s Atomic Energy Commission.

“Nobody knows the truth of what actually happened,” Pace told the I-Team.

In fact, Pace said, the meltdown was verging on a major radioactive explosion.

“The radiation in that building got so high, it went clear off the scale,” he said.

To prevent a potentially devastating explosion, one that in hindsight the 76-year-old Pace believes would have been “just like Chernobyl,” he and other workers were instructed to open the exhaust stacks and release massive amounts of radiation into the sky.

“This was very dangerous radioactive material,” he said. “It went straight out into the atmosphere and went straight to Simi Valley, to Chatsworth, to Canoga Park.”

Pace and his co-workers frantically tried to repair the damaged reactor. Instead, he said they realized, their efforts were only generating more radioactive gas. So for weeks, often in the dark of night, Pace and other workers were ordered to open the large door in the reactor building and vent the radiation into the air.

“It was getting out towards the public,” he said. “The public would be bombarded by it.”

Pace said he and his co-workers knew they were venting dangerous radiation over populated areas, but they were following orders.

“They felt terrible that it had to be done,” he said. “They had to let it out over their own families.”

Area Four workers “were sworn to secrecy that they would not tell anyone what they had done,” Pace explained.

He remembered his boss getting right in his face and saying, “You will not say a word. Not one word.”

That was more than five decades ago, but radioactive contamination didn’t just vanish. It remains in the soil and water of Area Four and in some areas off-site, according to state and federal records obtained by the I-Team. And, evidence suggests that the fallout could be linked to illnesses, including cancer, among residents living nearby.

Arline Mathews lived with her family in Chatsworth, downwind of Area Four during some of the radiation releases. Her middle son, Bobby, was a champion runner on the Chatsworth High School track team for three years, running to the Santa Susana Field Lab and back to school every day. Bobby died of glioblastoma, a rare brain cancer often linked to radiation exposure. Mathews said there is no known family history of cancer and she blames the radiation from Area Four for her son’s illness.

“He was exposed to the chemical hazardous waste and radioactivity up there,” Mathews said. “There’s no getting over the loss of son.”

The Government Cover-up

Six weeks after the meltdown, the Atomic Energy Commission issued a press release saying that there had been a minor “fuel element failure” at Area Four’s largest reactor in July. But they said there had been “no release of radioactive materials” to the environment.

“What they had written in that report is not even close to what actually happened,” Pace said. “To see our government talk that way and lie about those things that happened, it was very disappointing.”

In 1979, NBC4 first broke the story that there was a partial meltdown at Area Four’s largest reactor, called the Sodium Reactor Experiment. But at the time, the U.S. government was still saying no radiation was released into the air over LA.

But during its current yearlong investigation, the I-Team found a NASA report that confirmed “the 1959 meltdown… led to a release of radioactive contaminants.”

For years, NASA used part of the site for rocket testing and research.

More Radioactive Releases

After filing a Freedom of Information request, the I-Team obtained more than 200 pages of government interviews with former Santa Susana workers. One of those workers, Dan Parks, was a health physicist at Area Four in the 1960s.

In the early 60s, Parks said, he often witnessed workers releasing radiation into the sky through the exhaust stacks of at least three of Area Four’s ten nuclear reactors.

“They would vent it to the atmosphere,” he said. “The release was done with the flick of a switch.”

Radioactive Waste Up in Smoke

Parks said he often witnessed workers releasing radioactive smoke into the air when they disposed of barrels of radioactive waste from Area Four’s 10 nuclear reactors.

“We were all workers,” he said. “Just taking orders.”

Workers would often take those barrels of waste to a pond called “the burn pits” and proceed to shoot the barrels with a high-powered rifle causing an explosion. The radioactive smoke would drift into the air over nearby suburbs and toward a summer camp for children.

“It was a volatile explosion, beyond belief,” Parks said.

Whatever direction the wind was blowing, the radioactive smoke would travel that way.

“If the wind was blowing to the Valley, it would blow it in the Valley,” he said.

Ralph Powell, who worked as a security officer at Area Four in the mid-60s, recalled being blanketed by that radioactive smoke.

“I saw clouds of smoke that was engulfing my friends, that are dying now,” Powell said.

Powell believes it wasn’t just his friends who suffered the consequences. He fears he may have exposed his own family to radiation, tracking it home on his clothes and car.

While Powell was working at Area Four, his son Michael was diagnosed with leukemia — a cancer linked to radiation exposure — and died at age 11.

“I suspect it caused the death of my son,” he said. “I’ve never gotten that out of my mind.”

Toxic Chemical Contamination

In addition to the radiation, dozens of toxic chemicals, including TCE and Perchlorate, were also released into the air and dumped on the soil and into ground and surface water from thousands of rocket tests conducted at the Santa Susana Field lab from the 1950s to 80s. The tests were conducted by NASA, and by Rocketdyne, a government aerospace contractor.

According to a federally funded study obtained by the I-Team, “emissions associated with rocket engine testing” could have been inhaled by residents of “West Hills, Bell Canyon, Dayton Canyon, Simi Valley, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Woodland Hills, and Hidden Hills.”

Contamination Moves into Neighborhoods

Radiation released at Area Four continues to contaminate the soil and water of the Santa Susana Field Lab.

In 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency completed a $40 million soil test of the site and found 423 hot spots — places contaminated with high levels of man-made radiation.

Other studies and government documents obtained by the I-Team show that radiation has moved off-site, and has been found in the ground and water in suburbs to the south, northeast and northwest of the Field Lab.

“Radiation doesn’t know any boundaries,” said Dr. Robert Dodge, a national board member of the Nobel Prize-winning nonprofit Physicians For Social Responsibility, which studies the health effects of radiation.

Dodge, who has reviewed numerous government and academic studies about the contamination at Santa Susana, said he believes the contamination has spread far beyond the facility’s borders.

“If the wind is blowing and carrying radiation from Santa Susana, it doesn’t stop because there’s a fence,” he said.

One of the places radiation has been found, in a 1995 study overseen by the U.S. EPA, was the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley. The Institute is a nationally-known center of Jewish learning, and the home to Camp Alonim, a beloved summer sleepaway camp that has hosted some 30,000 children.

In December 1995, The Brandeis-Bardin Institute filed a federal lawsuit against the present and past owners of the Santa Susana Field Lab, alleging that toxic chemicals and radiation from the field lab “have subsequently seeped into and come to be located in the soil and groundwater” of Brandeis “is injurious to the environment” and “will cause great and irreparable injury.”

Brandeis settled the lawsuit in a confidential agreement in 1997.

A spokesman for the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, Rabbi Jay Strear, told NBC4 that the groundwater and soil is “tested routinely,” and the results have shown the “the site is safe.”

The I-Team asked Brandeis-Bardin to provide NBC4 with those test results showing the site is safe and free of hazardous substances. The Institute refused, and in an email said “we are not in a position to devote the required staff time to respond to your more detailed inquiries, nor do we see the necessity for doing so.”

A government scientist who has studied the contamination at Santa Susana told the I-Team he thinks there’s a continued threat of radiation and toxic chemicals flowing from the field lab to places like Brandeis-Bardin, via groundwater and airborne dust.

Clusters of Cancer

Researchers inside and out of government have contended that the radiation and toxic chemicals from Santa Susana might have caused many cancer cases.

“The radiation that was released in 1959 and thereafter from Santa Susana is still a danger today,” Dr.Dodge said. “There is absolutely a link between radiation and cancer.”

The I-Team tracked down dozens of people diagnosed with cancer and other illnesses who grew up in the shadow of Santa Susana — in Canoga Park, West Hills, Chatsworth, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley. Many of them believe their cancers were caused by radiation and chemicals from the field lab.

Kathryn Seltzer Carlson, 56, and her sisters, Judy and Jennifer, all grew up in Canoga Park around the time of the nuclear meltdown and for years after, and all have battled cancer.

“I played in the water, I swam in the water, I drank the water” that ran off the Santa Susana Field Lab, said Carlson, who finished treatment for ovarian cancer earlier this year and is now undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma. “I’ve had, I don’t know how many cancers.”

Bonnie Klea, a former Santa Susana employee who has lived in West Hills since the 60s, also battled bladder cancer, which is frequently linked to radiation exposure.

“Every single house on my street had cancer,” Klea said.

A 2007 Centers for Disease Control study found that people living within two miles of the Santa Susana site had a 60 percent higher rate of some cancers.

“There’s some provocative evidence,” said Dr. Hal Morgenstern, an epidemiologist who oversaw the study. “It’s like circumstantial evidence, suggesting there’s a link” between the contamination from Santa Susana and the higher cancer rates.

Silence From the Government

For more than two months, the I-Team asked to speak with someone from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the federal agency that’s responsible for all nuclear testing, to ask why workers were ordered to release dangerous radiation over Los Angeles, why the DOE has never publicly admitted this happened, and what it plans to do to help get the site cleaned up.

The DOE emailed the I-Team, “We will not have anyone available for this segment.”

So the I-Team showed up at a public meeting this month about Santa Susana and asked the DOE’s project manager for the site, Jon Jones, to speak with us. He walked away and wouldn’t speak.

Will the Contamination Ever Be Cleaned Up?

Community residents, many stricken with cancer and other radiation-related illnesses, have been fighting for years to get the government and the private owners of the Santa Susana Field Lab to clean up the contamination that remains on the site.

But efforts in the state legislature and state agencies that oversee toxic sites have, so far, stalled.

But residents, with the support of some lawmakers, continue to fight for a full cleanup.

“People are continuing to breathe that (radiation) in and to die,” Chatsworth resident Arline Mathews said.

“See that this is done immediately, before more lives are lost.”

Toxic effects of Maralinga nuclear bomb testing continue

November 3, 2018

Menzies “immediately agreed to the proposal,” without consulting any of his cabinet colleagues or the Australian parliament. Indeed, until weeks before the first test was carried out, only three government ministers knew about it.

The most devastating effects were suffered by two groups: Australian and British soldiers working on the tests themselves, and the Indigenous populations local to Emu Field and the later testing site of Maralinga.

One prominent member of the testing team, Sir Ernest Titterton, later said that if Indigenous people had a problem with the government, they should vote it out, ignoring that Indigenous Australians did not have full political rights until 1967.

an Australian defense ministry report was leaked to the press, warning that large amounts of plutonium left at Maralinga could potentially be a target of terrorists.

those wrongs have not been fully addressed. Health problems stemming from the tests continue for those still living, and while the veracity of Lester and other victims’ stories has been acknowledged, what exactly happened to them remains unclear, the details of the nuclear test still kept top secret.
“To this day we don’t know what Totem I did, those records are still classified by the British,

Busting Barry Brook’s uninformed propaganda about Fukushima nuclear disaster

November 3, 2018

Prof. Brook is probably, in my opinion, clearly very inadequate when he researches things such as nuclear industry. He claims academic privilege when he communicates his mere opinions related to a field he possesses no training or little training or qualifications in. He can’t have it both ways. The privilege which springs from his actual qualifications may give him status in other things on campus. Away from the lecture theatre though, his opinions of the nature of nuclear industry have zero academic weight….“I’m an academic and therefore I am right” does not wash with me

2003 saw Prof. Shimazaki speak at the first meeting of the government’s Disaster Management Council. This council formed government disaster policy. He urged the council to study the Jogan earthquake of 869 and warned the Japanese Trench could generate earthquakes anywhere along Japan’s Pacific coast.

since 2008 TEPCO management had been busy suppressing THE SAME CONCLUSION of grave risk of 15 metre tsunamis hitting the Fukushima coast, made by TEPCO’s own engineers using simulations and mathematics. 

Expert fore warning of the 2011 Tsunami Ignored and Suppressed by Nuclear Authorities. Nuclear Exhaust 12 Oct 18 

this post is in progress. Not finished.

I am again going to contrast the statements made by Barry Brook in regard to the tsunami defences at Fukushima Daiichi with the facts as presented by Mark Willacy. These facts are published in Willacy’s book, “Fukushima – Japan’s tsunami and the inside story of the nuclear meltdowns”, Willacy, M., Pan Macmillan, copyright 2013, Mark Willacy.

An interesting aspect of the work of Barry Brook is this: The views expressed by Barry are very frequently attributed by Barry to people who are, according to Barry, experts in nuclear industry. I have heard Barry’s public broadcasts in which Barry makes this attribution. I have not heard Barry give the names of his advisors and friends in the nuclear industry. However it is extremely likely Barry is correct in his attributions. Barry’s statements of opinions and claimed facts can reasonably be assumed to have been provided to Barry by unnamed – as far as I am aware – experts in the nuclear industry. The credibility of Barry statements ride therefore upon the credibility of the nuclear industry.

Of course it is no surprise to hear Barry Brook mirror the statements of nuclear experts from around the world in 2011. The narrative of the global nuclear industry as broadcast by the mass media and the narrative provided by Barry Brook were, as I recall, mutually re-affirming.

Here again is a selected, partial transcript of Barry Brook’s Australian ABC TV interview (please watch the complete interview at the youtube link

“Prof. Brook: “I think they (events) show the vulnerability of any human infrastructure to the forces of nature. Especially when they are unleashed with such fury as they were with that massive earthquake, the largest one to hit Japan in recorded times, and a 10 metre tsunami. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect any infrastructure along a coastline like that to survive an event like that. But what it does highlight is that decisions were made back in the ‘60s, when that nuclear power plant was planned and built, they did not anticipate the scale of the natural disaster that occurred here.”

Prof. Brook: “They predicted up to a 6.5 metres tsunami and protected against that. But of course, as events turned out, the tsunami was even bigger than that………

In a previous post I pointed out that Willacy had found that Dr.Yukinobu Okamura, the director of Japan’s Active Fault and Earthquake Research Centre, had, in 2007, found evidence in the geologic record that the Fukushima coast had been hit by massive tsunamis in its past. (Fukushima, page 26)

I also pointed out that in 2008 TEPCO engineers using simulations and calculations discovered that tsunamis as high as 15.7 metres were possible at the site of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. (Fukushima, page 29)

This discovery by TEPCO engineers was suppressed by TEPCO management from the Japanese people and Japanese government until 7 March 2011, or 4 days before the 3/11 quake and tsunami disaster. (Fukushima, page 29) (more…)

Australia’s nuclear waste, Scotland, and the substitution of nuclear waste types

November 3, 2018

As Gary Cushway points out, under current arrangements, the waste produced in the reprocessing of spent Australian nuclear fuel which was sent to Dounreay in the 1990s will stay at Dounreay; the vitrified waste produced at Sellafield is only being sent to Australia to fulfil a contractual agreement. If the transfer from Sellafield was halted, and the waste currently stored at different locations in Australia was kept where it is, the case for a national radioactive waste management facility in Australia would be drastically eroded.

Cushway believes that the Scottish Government could cancel the 2012 joint waste substitution policy and come to an arrangement with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) regarding management of the reprocessed Australian waste at Dounreay.

At the very least, more pressure should be put on the UK Government to stop the transfer of waste until its final destination is known.

Can Scotland help stop nuclear waste being dumped on Aboriginal land? At the very least, more pressure should be put on the UK Government to stop the transfer of waste until its final destination is known. Scots are yet to fully reckonwith the role that we played in the brutal colonisation of Aboriginal Australia, but the Scottish Government now has an opportunity to offer meaningful solidarity to Aboriginal communities who are still fighting to protect their land and culture.

  Linda Pearson     Linda Pearson, anti-nukes activist and Common Weal policy officer, explains how nuclear waste due to be transferred from the UK to Australia could be dumped on Aboriginal land, and what role the Scottish Government could play in preventing another act of racist disregard of Australia’s indigenous population in what is a long and brutal history of discrimination

APPROXIMATELY 10,000 miles from Scotland in South Australia, Aboriginal traditional owners are fighting against plans to build a nuclear waste dump on their land. It is the latest phase in a struggle to protect land and culture which has lasted over 20 years.

The Australian federal government claims that it needs to build a national radioactive waste management facility to store low level radioactive waste, which is currently held at several locations within Australia. The facility would also serve as an interim storage site for intermediate level waste which is being returned to Australia from the UK and France, as well as intermediate level waste from Australia’s research reactor at Lucas Heights, near Sydney. As a permanent site for the intermediate level waste has not been established, “interim” really means “indefinite”.

Earlier proposals to establish the dump, first at Woomera in South Australia, then at Muckaty in the Northern Territory, were defeated by sustained campaigns led by the traditional owners. The government has now shortlisted three other potential sites, all of which are in South Australia: one at Wallerberdina, near the Flinders Ranges, and two near Kimba.

The federal government has so far ignored opposition from Aboriginal groups at the proposed sites and there is a risk that the dump will be built without their consent.  A group of Adnyamathanha people, who live on land adjacent to the proposed site at Wallerberdina, have appealed to the Scottish Government to help prevent what they say would amount to “cultural genocide”.

What’s it got to do with us?

Nuclear waste substitution

In the 1990s, spent nuclear fuel was sent to Dounreay, Caithness, for reprocessing by a number of countries, including Australia. The contracts entered into at the time stated that the radioactive waste created during reprocessing would be sent back to its country of origin within 25 years. The waste is therefore now due to be returned.

To complicate the issue, Australia wants its waste returned in vitrified (glass) form, instead of in the cement form which is produced at Dounreay. Sellafield is the only location in the UK where the vitrification process can be undertaken. Therefore, in order to fulfil the original contract, the UK and Scottish governments agreed to a joint “Dounreay waste substitution policy” in 2012.  Under this policy, the waste generated during the reprocessing of Australian nuclear fuel will stay at Dounreay and a “radiologically equivalent” amount of vitrified waste will be shipped from Sellafield to Australia.

Human rights and “cultural genocide”

The Adnyamathanha want the Scottish Government to help stop the transfer of waste which may end up dumped at Wallerberdina, as they fear that radioactive contamination could poison the water and destroy sacred sites, such as the Yungapunganah waterhole. Adnyamathanha women, Regina Mackenzie, has appealed to the Scottish Government to “help us stop this racist act of impacting First Nation people who are a minority of this country we now call Australia”.

Scottish-Australian campaigner, Gary Cushway, has visited the Wallerberdina site, where he talked with the Adnyamathanha about the cultural significance of the land. He has since met with the Scottish Government on the group’s behalf. To its credit, the Scottish Government has acknowledged the Adnyamathanha’s concernsand gave assurances that they have been passed on to the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the UK Government.

However, Cushway believes that the Scottish and UK governments are content for the waste to be returned to Australia and for its final destination to be decided by the Australian Government. This is problematic, as Australian state and federal governments have a long history of ignoring the wishes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, violating their human rights and prioritising private profit over Aboriginal culture and heritage, especially where nuclear matters are concerned.

Aboriginal people in South Australia have already suffered the effects of radioactive contamination caused by the British atomic tests carried out at Maralinga and Emu Fields in the 1950s. The British Government had considered, but decided against, conducting the tests in Wick, Scotland, and the Australian Government was willing to let the tests go ahead near Aboriginal communities. Evidently, the British Government considered Aboriginal lives to be worth even less than Scottish lives and the Australian Government agreed.

Aboriginal people who lived in the area were not informed of the tests, nor were they warned about the dangers of radiation. A “black mist” of radioactive dust enveloped the land, bringing serious immediate and long-term health consequences and rendering much of the affected area uninhabitable.

Uranium mining has been imposed on Aboriginal communities since the 1950s, bringing further health problems and wreaking environmental devastation. A 1997 federal government report stated that the “history of uranium mining in Australia and its impact on Aboriginal people is deplorable. Past mining in places like Rum Jungle [in the Northern Territory] have left areas so degraded that traditional owners are unable to use them, while mines such as Ranger have been forced on traditional owners against their will”.

Other industries have been allowed to ravage sites of great cultural significance, such as Murujuga (also known as the Burrup Peninsula), on the coast of Western Australia. Murujuga has been dubbed the “largest open-air museum in the world”, as it is thought to contain around one million ancient rock engravings. Yet successive state governments have promoted the establishment of huge industrial projects in the area, including the largest natural gas and ammonia fertiliser production facilities in the world. The National Trust of Australia says that thousands of pieces of rock art have been destroyed in the process and there are concerns that that emissions from industry in the area could damage many more.

This racist disregard for Aboriginal lives and culture is intrinsic to the system of oppression which began in 1788, when Britain invaded and stole land that already belonged to more than 200 Aboriginal nations. Aboriginal Australians are the most incarcerated people on earth, while Aboriginal children are removed from their families at 10 times the rate of other children, and Aboriginal life expectancy is on average 10 years shorter than that of other Australians.

“No one is listening to us”

An Australian Senate inquiry is currently underway into the selection process for the site of the nuclear waste dump. Only the three sites in South Australia have been formally nominated at this stage, however, it is possible that other communities will be considered in future. Brewarrina in New South Wales was recently put forward by its shire council and Leonora Shire Council in Western Australia has backed a proposal for the dump to be located there.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which Australia adopted in 2009, states that “no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent”. However, traditional owners at each of the current proposed sites have expressed strong opposition to the dump proposal and have criticised the federal government’s lack of consultation.

A majority of Adnyamathanha traditional owners strongly object to the dump being built at Wallerberdina. In its submission to the Senate inquiry, the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association, which represents 2,500 Adnyamathanha people, states that its concerns about the dump have been ignored and it “has no confidence in or support for the current federal process”.

“No one is listening to us”, the submission says.

The Barngarla people are the native title holders of both proposed sites at Kimba, where the federal government has asserted that there is no Aboriginal cultural heritage to be concerned about. In its submission to the Senate inquiry, the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation disagrees, citing an assessment of the area by a cultural heritage consultant which found a number of significant sites. The submission describes the community consultation on the site selection process as “patently inadequate, bordering on non-existent” and states that “the need for Indigenous support has so far not played a part in the Department’s site selection process at all in respect of the sites near Kimba”.

Brewarrina in New South Wales is the site of what are believed to be the oldest manmade structures in the world, the Ngunnhu fish traps on the Barwon river. Local traditional owners are concerned about the damage that the dump could cause to the environment and the health risks it could pose to Aboriginal people, who make up 64 per cent of the population of Brewarrina Shire. They have describedBrewarrina council’s consultation process on its decision to nominate the area as a site for the dump as “grossly inadequate”. Trish Frail of Keep Bre Nuclear Free told ABC Radio that traditional owners in Brewarrina would help the other Aboriginal groups that are fighting against the dump proposal, because “it seems like governments are always seeking out small, isolated communities with a majority of First Nations People, and we want to be able to put a stop to that”.

What can the Scottish Government do?

A Friends of the Earth Australia submission to the Senate inquiry states that “the treatment of Aboriginal people by the federal government has been disgraceful and there is no indication that this will change”. Given the Australian Government’s apparent disregard for its UNDRIP obligations and its generally shameful record on Indigenous rights, the transfer of nuclear waste from the UK to Australia should be halted, at least until it’s clear that the waste will not be dumped on Aboriginal land against the wishes of traditional owners.

On top of these human rights concerns, the transfer would pose serious safety risks. Highlands Against Nuclear Transport (HANT), Friends of the Earth Scotland and the Scottish Green Party oppose the transport of nuclear waste between countries. Tor Justad of HANT believes that the transport of nuclear waste is never safe as “all the research into both military and civil nuclear accidents has demonstrated that as soon as you start moving nuclear weapons materials or civil nuclear waste, significant and unpredictable risks are created”.  In Australia, campaigners have raised safety concerns about the transfer of intermediate level waste from Lucas Heights in Sydney to an interim storage site, arguing that this would create unacceptable safety risks and the waste could instead be kept at Lucas Heights.

As Gary Cushway points out, under current arrangements, the waste produced in the reprocessing of spent Australian nuclear fuel which was sent to Dounreay in the 1990s will stay at Dounreay; the vitrified waste produced at Sellafield is only being sent to Australia to fulfil a contractual agreement. If the transfer from Sellafield was halted, and the waste currently stored at different locations in Australia was kept where it is, the case for a national radioactive waste management facility in Australia would be drastically eroded.

Cushway believes that the Scottish Government could cancel the 2012 joint waste substitution policy and come to an arrangement with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) regarding management of the reprocessed Australian waste at Dounreay. Instead of a radiologically equivalent amount of vitrified waste being sent from Sellafield, the Australian Government could pay the Scottish Government to manage the waste at Dounreay. This would save the Australian Government the costs of transporting and managing the waste in Australia.

Cushway believes that this plan would “benefit both the Australian and Scottish Governments and send a clear message to Indigenous Australians that the international community won’t sit back and allow the Australian Government to continue to damage what’s left of the world’s valuable Aboriginal culture”.

At the very least, more pressure should be put on the UK Government to stop the transfer of waste until its final destination is known. Scots are yet to fully reckonwith the role that we played in the brutal colonisation of Aboriginal Australia, but the Scottish Government now has an opportunity to offer meaningful solidarity to Aboriginal communities who are still fighting to protect their land and culture.


Australia’s nuclear testing before the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne should be a red flag for Fukushima in 2020

November 3, 2018

 Part time tutor in Medical Education, University of Dundee

The scheduling of Tokyo 2020 Olympic events at Fukushima is being seen as a public relations exercise to dampen fears over continuing radioactivity from the reactor explosion that followed the massive earthquake six years ago.

It brings to mind the British atomic bomb tests in Australia that continued until a month before the opening of the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne – despite the known dangers of fallout travelling from the testing site at Maralinga to cities in the east. And it reminds us of the collusion between scientists and politicians – British and Australian – to cover up the flawed decision-making that led to continued testing until the eve of the Games.

Australia’s prime minister Robert Menzies agreed to atomic testing in December 1949. Ten months earlier, Melbourne had secured the 1956 Olympics even though the equestrian events would have to be held in Stockholm because of Australia’s strict horse quarantine regimes.

The equestrians were well out of it. Large areas of grazing land – and therefore the food supplies of major cities such as Melbourne – were covered with a light layer of radiation fallout from the six atomic bombs detonated by Britain during the six months prior to the November 1956 opening of the Games. Four of these were conducted in the eight weeks running up to the big event, 1,000 miles due west of Melbourne at Maralinga.

Bombs and games

In the 25 years I have been researching the British atomic tests in Australia, I have found only two mentions of the proximity of the Games to the atomic tests. Not even the Royal Commission into the tests in 1985 addressed the known hazards of radioactive fallout for the athletes and spectators or those who lived in the wide corridor of the radioactive plumes travelling east.

At the time, the approaching Olympics were referred to only once in the Melbourne press in relation to the atomic tests, in August 1956. It is known that D-notices from the government “requesting” editors to refrain from publishing information about certain defence and security matters were issued.

The official history of the tests by British nuclear historian Lorna Arnold, published by the UK government in 1987 and no longer in print, reports tests director William Penney signalling concern only once, in late September 1956:

Am studying arrangements firings but not easy. Have Olympic Games in mind but still believe weather will not continue bad.

This official history doesn’t comment on the implications. And nowhere in the 1985 Royal Commission report is there any reference to the opening of the Olympics, just one month and a day after the fourth test took place 1,000 miles away.

The 1984 report of the Expert Committee on the review of Data on Atmospheric Fallout Arising from British Nuclear Tests in Australia found that the methodology used to estimate the numbers of people who might have been harmed by this fallout at fewer than 10 was inappropriate. And it concluded that if the dose calculations were confined to the communities in the path of the fallout and not merged with the total Australian population “such an exercise would generate results several orders of magnitude higher than those based on conventional philosophy”. There was no mention of the Olympic Games.

Neither Prime Minister Menzies nor his cabinet ever referred publicly to what had been known from the outset – that the British atomic tests in Australia would almost coincide with the Melbourne Olympics. The tests and the Games were planned simultaneously through the first half of the 1950s.

In May 1955, 18 months before the Olympics were due to start, Howard Beale, the Australian minister for supply, announced the building of “the Los Alamos of the British Commonwealth” (a nuclear test site in New Mexico) at Maralinga, promising that “tests would only take place in meteorological conditions which would carry radioactive clouds harmlessly away into the desert”.

An Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee was formed by the Australians but was closely controlled by physicist Professor Ernest Titterton, the only Englishman on the panel. The 1985 Royal Commission stated explicitly that the AWTSC was complicit in the firing of atomic detonations in weather conditions that they knew could carry radioactive fallout a thousand miles from Maralinga to eastern cities such as Melbourne.

Hazards of radioactivity

Professor Titterton, who had recently been appointed to a chair in nuclear physics at the Australian National University after working on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, and at Aldermaston in England, explained why the atomic devices were being tested in Australia:

Because of the hazards from the radioactivity which follows atomic weapons explosions, the tests are best carried out in isolated regions – usually a desert area … Most of the radioactivity produced in the explosion is carried up in the mushroom cloud and drifts downward under atmospheric airstreams. But particular material in this cloud slowly settles to the ground and may render an area dangerously radioactive out to distances ranging between 50 and several hundred miles … It would therefore be hazardous to explode even the smallest weapons in the UK, and it was natural for the mother country to seek test sites elsewhere in the Commonwealth.

The AWTSC published two scientific papers in 1957 and 1958 which flat out denied that any dangerous levels of radioactivity reached the eastern states. But their measurements relied on a very sparse scattering of sticky paper monitors – rolls of gummed film set out to catch particles of fallout – even though these could be washed off by rain.

Despite their clear denials in these papers, meteorological records show that prior to the Games there was rain in Melbourne which could have deposited radioactivity on the ground.

The AWTSC papers included maps purporting to show the plumes of radioactive fallout travelling north and west from Maralinga in the South Australian desert. The Royal Commission published expanded maps (see page 292) based on the AWTSC’s own data and found the fallout pattern to be much wider and more complex. The Australian scientist Hedley Marston’s study of radioactivity uptake in animals showed a far more significant covering of fallout on a wide swathe of Australian grazing land than indicated by the sticky paper samples of the AWTSC.

The 1985 Royal Commission report into British Nuclear Tests in Australia discussed many of these issues, but never in relation to the proximity and timing of the 1956 Olympic Games. Sixty years later, are we seeing the same denial of known hazards six years after the reactor explosion at Fukushima?