tagged w/ Radiation Poisoning
A nuclear clash could starve the world
By Jayantha Dhanapala and Ira Helfand, Special to CNN
updated 7:57 AM EDT, Fri May 11, 2012
Sunao Tsuboi, who suffered horrific burns in Hiroshima, holds a photo of himself and friends taken hours after the explosion.
Writers: India, Pakistan and North Korea missile tests bring up dangers of nuclear war
Study shows war using half of 1% of global nuke arsenals would set off world famine
U.S. and Russia have huge nuclear arsenals, they say, a lethal holdover from Cold War
It's urgent for talks about reducing arsenals, they write, with a ban on weapons the goal
Editor's note: Jayantha Dhanapala is a former ambassador to the United States from Sri Lanka, U.N. under-secretary general for disarmament and chairman of the 1995 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference. Ira Helfand is the past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and current North American vice president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.
(CNN) -- Recent ballistic missile tests by India, Pakistan and North Korea -- which has ominously threatened to "reduce to ashes" the South Korean military "in minutes" -- are once again focusing the world's attention on the dangers of nuclear war.
This concern was dramatically underscored in a new report released at the Nobel Peace Laureates Summit in Chicago. Titled "Nuclear Famine: A Billion People at Risk" (PDF), the study shows that even a limited nuclear war, involving less than half of 1% of the world's nuclear arsenals, would cause climate disruption that could set off a global famine.
The study, prepared by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and its U.S. affiliate, Physicians for Social Responsibility, used a scenario of 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs exploded in a war between India and Pakistan. If there were such a war, the study estimated that 1 billion people, one-sixth of the human race, could starve over the following decade.
Along with recent events, these findings require a fundamental change in our thinking about nuclear weapons.
The study, in positing a war between India and Pakistan, shows the importance of understanding that smaller nuclear powers, not just the United States and Russia, pose a threat to the whole world.
But the greater lesson concerns the forces of the larger nuclear powers. Each U.S. Trident submarine can destroy 100 cities and produce the global famine described in the study. The United States has 14 of them, a fleet of land-based nuclear missiles, and an arsenal of nuclear weapons that can be delivered by bombers. The Russians possess the same grotesque overkill capacity.
Even the most ambitious arms reductions under discussion would leave the United States and Russia with 300 warheads each, most of them 10 to 30 times larger than a Hiroshima sized bomb. This would be a massive arsenal capable of producing the global famine scenario many, many times over.
These arsenals are an archaic, but lethal, holdover from the Cold War. Their continued existence poses an ongoing threat to all humanity.
Steps can and should be taken immediately to lessen this danger. Substantial numbers of these weapons remain on what The New York Times has described as "hair-trigger alert." They can be fired in 15 minutes or less and destroy cities a continent away 30 minutes later. This alert posture creates the needless danger of an accidental or unintended launch, and the United States and Russia have had many close calls, preparing to launch a nuclear strike at the other under the mistaken belief they were under attack.
The most recent of these near-misses that we know about took place in January 1995, well after the end of the Cold War. The United States and Russia should stand down their nuclear arsenals so that it takes longer to launch their missiles, lessening the danger of an accidental war. U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladamir Putin can take this step on their own without negotiating a formal treaty.
Beyond this, it is time to begin urgent talks aimed at reducing the U.S. and Russian arsenals as the next essential step toward multilateral negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, a binding, verifiable, enforceable treaty that eliminates nuclear weapons altogether.
As former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev observed on reviewing the new "Nuclear Famine" study: "I am convinced that nuclear weapons must be abolished. Their use in a military conflict is unthinkable; using them to achieve political objectives is immoral.
"Over 25 years ago, President Ronald Reagan and I ended our summit meeting in Geneva with a joint statement that 'Nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,' and this new study underscores in stunning and disturbing detail why this is the case."
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writers.
A nuclear clash could starve the world
By Jayantha Dhanapala and Ira... more
Japan shuts down last nuclear reactor
By Kyung Lah, CNN
updated 1:57 AM EDT, Mon May 7, 2012
Click link or photo above to play video
Japan is nuclear energy free
Japan closed down its last operating nuclear reactor on Saturday
Final shutdown follows a swing against nuclear energy after the Fukushima meltdowns last year
Thousands marched through Tokyo Saturday to celebrate the final closure
Government has warned that summer energy demand may prompt rolling blackouts
Tokyo (CNN) -- As Japan began its workweek Monday morning, the trains ran exactly on time, the elevators in thousands of Tokyo high rises efficiently moved between floors, and the lights turned on across cities with nary a glitch.
What makes this Monday so remarkable is that for the first time in four decades, none of the energy on this working day is derived from a nuclear reactor.
Over the weekend, Japan's last remaining nuclear reactor shut down for regular maintenance. In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, reactors have not been allowed back on. Japan is now the first major economy to see the modern era without nuclear power.
Tomari Nuclear Power Plant's reactor 3 in Hokkaido shut down Saturday evening in a much-watched move by government, industry and environmentalists, who are waged in a public battle over the future of Japan's energy policy.
"I think it is not easy, but this challenge is worth fighting for," said Greenpeace Japan's Junichi Shimizu. "There is an increased chance of earthquakes in Japan, so that has a significant risk to the Japanese people and the Japanese economy. The only way forward is to rapidly shift the energy source from nuclear to other sources of energy."
That's not the call just from environmental activists, but from a public suspicious of nuclear energy and its regulatory bodies since a tsunami and earthquake triggered nuclear meltdowns at three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011.
Thousands marched through the streets of Tokyo on Saturday, celebrating the shutdown of the final reactor.
The protesters waved colorful, traditional "koinobori" carp-shaped banners for Children's Day that became a symbol of the anti-nuclear movement.
That movement grew from the grassroots level in the wake of the disaster, as the country watched tens of thousands of residents living within a 20-kilometer (12-mile) radius of the nuclear plant evacuated and the area remaining turn into a contaminated wasteland.
Prior to the Fukushima disaster, Japan relied on nuclear for approximately 30% of its energy. As reactors have come off-line, the country has increased its imports of fossil fuels.
Japan's government predicts it won't be able to keep up that pace, and the void will result in an energy crunch this summer, possibly leading to rolling blackouts.
The national government's ruling party, the Democratic Party of Japan, has been urging local communities to allow reactors to return to operation.
The DPJ's deputy policy chief, Yoshito Sengoku, bluntly said without nuclear energy the world's third largest economy would suffer. "We must think ahead to the impact on Japan's economy and people's lives, if all nuclear reactors are stopped. Japan could, in some sense, be committing mass suicide," said Sengoku.
Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Japan's biggest business lobby, Keidanren, joined the plea in an April press conference. "We cannot possibly agree to do the kind of energy saving yet again this year, or every year from now on," he said, referring to the country's efforts to turn off air conditioners and shift operation of production lines to weekends. "The government must bring the nuclear power stations back into operation."
Economist Jesper Koll, managing director at JP Morgan, says Japan could avoid the economic fallout by defining a clear energy policy, something it has failed to do so far.
"The issue to the private sector of Japan is the government is taking its time in a very emotional, highly politicized debate. And the end result is very, very slow or no decision making at all. After all, if you don't have an energy policy, you don' really have an economic policy because everything revolves around the energy," he said.
Japan's prime minister has promised a clear energy policy sometime this year, perhaps this summer.
But Yukie Osaki, who used to live in Fukushima, says she won't accept any policy that includes nuclear energy. "Nobody believes the government anymore when it says nuclear plants are safe," she said.
"Japan is an earthquake country. It is already dangerous to have nuclear plants here. If we have another accident, we won't have anywhere to live in Japan anymore."
Japan shuts down last nuclear reactor
By Kyung Lah, CNN... more
Human Rights Examiner...
Exclusive: Gulf Plague survivors being radiated
April 29th, 2011 3:20 pm ET
Corexit is not the only killer loose from the Gulf Operation, commonly called "BP's Oil Spill 2010." A new report by environmental attorney Stuart Smith emphasizes that radiation amounts from the Gulf oil gusher are larger than discussed. In an exclusive interview, head of Gulf Coast Barefoot Doctors, Delia Labarre reported that radiation poisoning signs are what suffering Gulf people typically exhibit.
Small traces of radioactivity can prove deadly.
Smith's report title reflects the Gulf state of affairs, "Chernobyl in the Gulf", an accurate term according to head of Gulf Barefoot Doctor, Delia LaBarre. For almost a year, LaBarre has been witnessing people with "Gulf Plague," also called "BP Flu," "BP Crud," or "Blue Plague." Most of them have radiation poisoning signs she said.
LaBarre has almost single-handedly provided approximately 300 Survival Kits to Gulf Plague victims over the past year.
Ongoing atrocities in the Gulf that Smith lists since on-start of the Gulf Operation, that former top oil executive Ian Crane evidences as planned for depopulation include:
Residents up and down the Gulf Coast report tar balls and mats continue to litter beaches
Re-oilings are common
The multi-billion-dollar Gulf seafood industry is reeling from contamination
Dead dolphins and sea turtles wash ashore at record-breaking rates
Oyster beds are devastated
Increasingly large numbers of Gulf coast people and clean-up workers 'are getting sick.'
Oil production produces radiation
Oil production releases radiation. Oil waste is ladened with radiation. These radioactive elements include but are not limited to radium, thorium and uranium, all now in the Gulf Region in unprecedented dangerous amounts according to Smith.
Radioactive elements are typically extracted from the ground with oil and gas and then separated from the fossil fuels, all part of the daily production process to make the array of oil-based goods westerners use daily, from plastic to car fuel.
"Once the NORM [naturally occurring radioactive materials] is extracted, it is flushed directly back into the ocean in the waste-stream byproduct known as produced water. Their discharge into the Gulf of Mexico has been a daily reality since the 1950s – but the amount that was released into the water from the runaway Macondo Well is unprecedented."
Even a small amount of radioactive material can have a devastating impact on humans unfortunate enough to come into direct contact with it according to Smith.
Ground Zero workers familiar with radiation poisoning signs
"Reports of unexplained health problems are soaring... [f]rom flu-like symptoms to blindness to intense chest pain to severe sinus inflammation, people across the Gulf region are reporting debilitating illnesses in the wake of the spill."
Radiation poisoning symptoms include: neurological problems such as memory loss; headaches and balance problems; seizures; stomach and digestive problems such as diarrhea; sweating; dizziness; nosebleeds and bleeding from ears, rectum and urinary tract; trouble sleeping; and rashes or skin irritations.
"We've had reports on all these symptoms," LaBarre reported Friday. "They've been well documented."
Most people have assumed that Corexit has been the cause of the illnesses, but, LaBarre said that these "very well may be caused by radiation exposure, as Smith says," adding, "This information has definitely been covered up."
Smith's report was partially based on Dr. Chris Busby's research project.
As Dupré reported after the untimely death of oil guru Matt Simmons, "Heeding his call for evacuation soon after the explosion would have helped prevent ongoing chemical and radiation poisoning of thousands of children and adults now being poorly treated. It would have helped prevent the 'heavy resident death toll' that Simmons predicted. ("Gulf oil whistleblower, renewable energy guru Matt Simmons RIP (videos)", Examiner.com)
The Fukushima explosion is the worst nuclear disaster in Japan since World War II. This situation comes on the heels of—not one, but two—natural disasters, and the in the midst of this crisis, questions undoubtedly arise about the safety of radiation exposure.
As marketers, we are communicators. As such, we wanted to help everyone understand the different types of radiation, its effects and how to mitigate risks of exposure. Radiation is not something we think about every day, so there is understandably a lack of education around the topic.
The following infographic is the aggregation of numerous sources that are authorities on radiation. It details the threat levels of radiation exposure from events like the Fukushima explosion down to a dental x-ray. We hope that it will dispel the magnitude of everyday threats and help increase awareness around what Japan (and the world) is facing in light of these tragic circumstances.
If you would like to help the Japan recovery effort, please text REDCROSS to 90999 donate $10. If you would like to donate more, please continue on to the Red Cross website.
Disclaimer: As a digital marketing agency, Geary Interactive is not an expert about radiation or its effects. We compiled available information and presented in a way that is easily visualized and easy to understand.
Created by Geary Interactive, a digital marketing agency
Go to the link to access the interactive chart............
The Fukushima explosion is... more
Immense thanks to "misti," who brought to my attention this article, which I'd like to now copy and paste right here, so you all can see it...
The Ingenuity of the Commons
How To Remove Radioactive Iodine-131 From Drinking Water
Apr. 7 2011 - 9:03 am
IPhoto: mage of a water drop - Photo by spettacolopuro via flickr
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends reverse osmosis water treatment to remove radioactive isotopes that emit beta-particle radiation. But iodine-131, a beta emitter, is typically present in water as a dissolved gas, and reverse osmosis is known to be ineffective at capturing gases.
A combination of technologies, however, may remove most or all of the iodine-131 that finds its way into tap water, all available in consumer products for home water treatment.
First, the standard disclaimers: Every government agency involved in radiation monitoring—the EPA, FDA, USDA, NRC, CDC, etc.—has stressed that the radiation now reaching the United States has been found at levels thousands of times lower than standards of health concern. When it found iodine-131 in drinking water samples from Boise, Idaho and Richland, Washington this weekend, the EPA declared:
An infant would have to drink almost 7,000 liters of this water to receive a radiation dose equivalent to a day’s worth of the natural background radiation exposure we experience continuously from natural sources of radioactivity in our environment.”
But not everyone accepts the government’s reassurances. Notably, Physicians for Social Responsibility has insisted there is no safe level of exposure to radionuclides, regardless of the fact that we encounter them naturally:
There is no safe level of radionuclide exposure, whether from food, water or other sources. Period,” said Jeff Patterson, DO, immediate past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Exposure to radionuclides, such as iodine-131 and cesium-137, increases the incidence of cancer. For this reason, every effort must be taken to minimize the radionuclide content in food and water.”
via Physicians for Social Responsibility, psr.org
No matter where you stand on that debate, you might be someone who simply prefers not to ingest anything that escaped from a damaged nuclear reactor. If so, here’s what we know:
The EPA recommends reverse osmosis water treatment for most kinds of radioactive particles. Iodine-131 emits a small amount of gamma radiation but much larger amounts of beta radiation, and so is considered a beta emitter:
Reverse osmosis has been identified by EPA as a “best available technology” (BAT) and Small System Compliance Technology (SSCT) for uranium, radium, gross alpha, and beta particles and photon emitters. It can remove up to 99 percent of these radionuclides, as well as many other contaminants (e.g., arsenic, nitrate, and microbial contaminants). Reverse osmosis units can be automated and compact making them appropriate for small systems.
via EPA, Radionuclides in Drinking Water
However, EPA designed its recommendations for the contaminants typically found in municipal water systems, so it doesn’t specify Iodine-131 by name. The same document goes on to say, “Reverse osmosis does not remove gaseous contaminants such as carbon dioxide and radon.”
Iodine-131 escapes from damaged nuclear plants as a gas, and this is why it disperses so quickly through the atmosphere. It is captured as a gas in atmospheric water, falls to the earth in rain and enters the water supply.
This is what happened in Boise, Idaho, where iodine-131 was found in rainwater samples last week and then in drinking water samples a few days later.
Reverse osmosis works by forcing water through material with very tiny pores—as tiny as .0001 microns—so that almost nothing except water emerges on the other side. Almost nothing.
“Dissolved gases and materials that readily turn into gases also can easily pass through most reverse osmosis membranes,” according to the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. For this reason, “many reverse osmosis units have an activated carbon unit to remove or reduce the concentration of most organic compounds.”
That raises the next question: does activated carbon remove iodine-131? There is some evidence that it does. Scientists have used activated carbon to remove iodine-131 from the liquid fuel for nuclear solution reactors. And Carbon air filtration is used by employees of Perkin Elmer, a leading environmental monitoring and health safety firm, when they work with iodine-131 in closed quarters. At least one university has adopted Perkin Elmer’s procedures.
Activated carbon works by absorbing contaminants, and fixing them, as water passes through it. It has a disadvantage, however: it eventually reaches a load capacity and ceases to absorb new contaminants.
The EPA also recommends ion exchange for removing radioactive compounds from drinking water. The process used in water softeners, ion exchange removes contaminants when water passes through resins that contain sodium ions. The sodium ions readily exchange with contaminants.
Ion exchange is particularly recommended for removing Cesium-137, which has been found in rain samples in the U.S., but not yet in drinking water here. Some resins have been specifically designed for capturing Cesium-137, and ion exchange was used to clean up legacy nuclear waste from an old reactor at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site.
The best solution may be the one used routinely to treat water at the Savannah River Site. The process combines activated carbon, reverse osmosis, and ion exchange. If one doesn’t get the iodine-131, two others have a chance to capture the radiation through other means.
And that may be the best solution for the average drinker of tap water as well.
Once you have access to cleaned water, be sure to use it to wash your vegetables. The FDA has not yet begun monitoring U.S. produce for radiation because, the agency says, there is not yet a radiation threat here. The Chinese have been monitoring vegetables, and they’ve urged their citizens to wash their spinach:
The Ministry of Health also issued a statement Wednesday evening saying trace levels of radioactive isotope iodine-131 had been found in spinach planted in the open fields within the three regions.
It is has been proven that washing the spinach with water can effectively remove radioactive materials, the Health Ministry said.
It is believed that recent rains in these regions helped drop the radioactive iodine from the air to the ground, and the radioactive materials fell onto the surface of the spinach, the ministry said.”
via XinhuaImmense thanks to "misti," who brought to my attention this article, which... more