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Old 04-01-2011, 05:27 PM
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Mom is probably overstating the case, and is highly unlikely to be well versed in what radiation even IS, much less what its effects are. Most people, including the Japanese, don't even have the factual data from the WWII bomb survivors, and continue to be scared spitless at the prospect of encountering any at all. The site is now crawling with health physicists (a couple of dozen from the US), and the plant areas are under continuous close monitoring. The article is correct that several of the workers will, indeed, have very high exposure. How many of them will have ill effects is another question. Meanwhile, over 30,000 people will have died from the earthquake and tsunami. But this is scarier, isn't it?


Sigh.


wim


In a message dated 3/31/2011 1:45:42 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

Japan's Nuclear Rescuers: 'Inevitable Some of Them May Die Within Weeks'

By Dominic Di-Natale
Published March 31, 2011

AP
March 14: A Red Cross rescue worker, in red, is scanned for signs of radiation upon returning from Fukushima to his hospital in Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture.


Workers at the disaster-stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan say they expect to die from radiation sickness as a result of their efforts to bring the reactors under control, the mother of one of the men tells Fox News.


The so-called Fukushima 50, the team of brave plant workers struggling to prevent a meltdown to four reactors critically damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, are being repeatedly exposed to dangerously high radioactive levels as they attempt to bring vital cooling systems back online.


Speaking tearfully through an interpreter by phone, the mother of a 32-year-old worker said: “My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation.


“He told me they have accepted they will all probably die from radiation sickness in the short term or cancer in the long-term.”


The woman spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity because, she said, plant workers had been asked by management not to communicate with the media or share details with family members in order to minimize public panic.


Related Video

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Japan is dealing with a major nuclear crisis following the deadly magnitude 9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

She could not confirm if her son or other workers were already suffering from radiation sickness. But she added:


“They have concluded between themselves that it is inevitable some of them may die within weeks or months. They know it is impossible for them not to have been exposed to lethal doses of radiation.”


The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (or TEPCO), says medical teams conduct regular testing on the restoration workers for signs of contamination-related illness. It claims there have been no further cases following the three workers who were treated last week after coming into direct contact with radioactive water. There are no reports of new members of the Fukushima 50 developing radiation sickness.


Although two suffered radiation burns to their legs and ankles and absorbed radiation internally, they have since been released from the hospital and are regularly being checked for signs of any deterioration in their condition, says TEPCO.


The company has pledged to improve the tough conditions for workers who stay on the site due to the short turnaround of shifts on safety grounds.


Some restorers directly tackling the problems with the fuel rod containment chambers are limited to 15 minutes at a time inside the reactor buildings or working near highly radioactive substances, including traces of plutonium that have appeared at numerous locations within the plant complex.


Living conditions for the hundreds of employees staying within the plant’s perimeter to support the restoration efforts are also equally as hazardous, say the authorities.


Banri Kaieda, the interior minister who also acts as a deputy head of the nuclear disaster task force jointly set up by the government and TEPCO, said 500 to 600 people were at one point lodging in a building within the complex. He told a media conference it was “not a situation in which minimum sleep and food could be ensured.”


Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says that workers were only eating two basic meals of crackers and dried rice a day, and sleeping in conference rooms and hallways in the building.


According to Kaieda, not all of the workers had apparently been provided with lead sheeting to shield themselves from potentially radiation-contaminated floors while sleeping.>>

“My son has been sleeping on a desk because he is afraid to lie on the floor. But they say high radioactivity is everywhere and I think this will not save him,” said the mother of the worker who spoke to Fox News.

Meanwhile, bad weather has delayed TEPCO's plans to limit the spread of radiation from the plant. It has intended to spray a water-soluble resin to affix radioactive particles and substances to the debris sent scattered across the devastated complex to prevent it from being dispersed by wind and moisture.


It will now attempt on Friday test the synthetic solution using remote control vehicles to spray an area of 95,000 square yards at reactors four and six. The company hopes the resin will provide sufficient protection to allow restoration workers better access to areas critical to restoring the reactors' cooling systems to prevent a meltdown.


Growing pools of dangerously radioactive water and deposits of plutonium have been inhibiting access to important parts of the plant.


A large sea tanker is also being prepared to siphon and ship the water from the plant after it was discovered that run-off containers and drainage tanks were almost full at three of the most critical reactors.


The government says it has yet to be decided where they will dispose of that water.


http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/03/31/japans-nuclear-rescuers-inevitable-die-weeks/
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  #12  
Old 04-02-2011, 03:28 PM
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Tucker's done a fantastic job here. Am amazed, actually, and appreciate the opportunity to have a link to the TV segment containing the Caldicott madness. Someone had told me that she had been on -- again amazing. I had thought (and fervently hoped) that she might truly have dropped off the map 'down under', but alas, it appears it's not to be. The woman's an incorrigible panic monger. Ugh. This is the first article of this depth that I've seen which didn't have some major error in it somewhere along the line. I'm not sure his one phrase about plutonium

(Plutonium is forged in supernovas, along with all the other heavy elements, but it disappeared on earth long ago.)


is completely correct. But it's an unimportant nit. I'm thinking about the Oklo natural reactors in Gabon. I think there is still some evidence of Pu there, but wouldn't want to argue with anyone about it.

Bottom line - great piece for which I thank you. I'm going to pass it around a little.

Spring is here. Region J annual conference in Corvallis next weekend. I'm going down and visit with the kid and family for a few days. Am struggling this weekend with getting all the tax materials together for the accountant. I HATE this stuff, but there's no super bookkeeper in the wings to do it for me. Our stuff is SO complicated. Grumble grumble.

Back to the mines.

Hug.


wim




In a message dated 4/1/2011 10:07:24 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

Pass the Plutonium

By William Tucker on 4.1.11 @ 6:09AM

People think that Fukushima will mean the end of nuclear power, but I'm convinced it's the opposite. We're going to lose our nuclear virginity over this accident and start seeing the world as adults. In fact it's already happening.

Exhibit A is George Monbiot, the left-wing British columnist and global warming fanatic with the Guardian who explained to readers three days after the earthquake, "Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power."

You will not be surprised to hear that the events in Japan have changed my view of nuclear power. You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.

Monbiot's point is quite simple. For years we've lived with the impression that a nuclear meltdown is the equivalent of a nuclear bomb going off, killing thousands and leaving whole landscapes uninhabitable. Now we've had one and look what's happened. The fourth worst earthquake in history has failed to crack open the concrete containment and the difficulty arose only because the utility didn't have enough backup electricity on hand. Fukushima remains a horribly dangerous situation and the workers who are bringing the reactor under control ought to be given a parade down Broadway when it's finally over. But what has the toll been so far? One worker died in a steam explosion and others have been exposed to levels of radiation that may increase their chances of getting cancer somewhere down the line. But this is basically an industrial accident.

As Monbiot points out, coal mining in China kills more people in a week than ever died as a result of Chernobyl.

The real problem at Fukushima has been that headline writers can't seem to keep the phrases "catastrophe" and "holocaust" out of their vocabulary. At one point, one cable news website headline read, "Steam Explosion at Reactor, 10,000 Dead." The 10,000 deaths, of course, were from the earthquake but you have to read the story to discover that. This week in the print edition of the New York Times, theScience section ran a headline, "When All Isn't Enough to Stop a Catastrophe," claiming that "Nuclear plants have plans for every contingency, but no one can predict everything that might go wrong." But the only catastrophe the authors could come up with was the failure of an emergency shutdown system in New Jersey in 1983 where there was no fuel melt and no one was hurt.

The story ended with a risk analysis specialist saying, "On a continuum, there is no question in my mind that the dangers from fossil fuel burning should worry us more."

One by one, the nuclear myths have fallen. In the immediate aftermath, reporters and commentators right up to Bill O'Reilly were anticipating a dreaded "meltdown" would be the equivalent of a nuclear bomb. In fact, a meltdown simply means the fuel has melted to the bottom of the steel pressure vessel, which is inside the concrete containment structure. In days of yore environmentalists dreamed up "The China Syndrome," which had the fuel melting through the pressure vessel, then through the concrete containment and continuing on its way to China until it hit groundwater, at which point it would cause a steam explosion that would kill everybody in Los Angeles -- or at least that's what Jane Fonda was told. Three Mile Island proved this wouldn't happen. Fukushima has confirmed it.

Another hot button has been plutonium, an artificial element formed in a reactor. (Plutonium is forged in supernovas, along with all the other heavy elements, but it disappeared on earth long ago.) In the effort to portray nuclear power as the devil's handiwork, Ralph Nader once labeled plutonium "the most toxic substance ever known to mankind." In fact it is about as toxic as caffeine. Bernard Cohen, the tireless crusader for nuclear common sense, offered many times to eat as much plutonium as Nader would eat caffeine on "The Tonight Show" but Nader never took him up.

Failing to convince anyone of plutonium's toxicity, Nader next announced that "one pound of plutonium would be enough to kill everyone on earth." The scenario here was plutonium, if ground into fine dust and breathed in by everyone on earth, would eventually give everyone lung cancer. As the late Petr Beckmann responded, "So would tomorrow's production of hatpins kill everyone on earth if carefully placed in each individual heart."

All this came back again last week when traces of plutonium turned up in seawater. Was the nuclear holocaust eminent? Not at all. The plutonium in seawater is no more dangerous than barium or americium or any of the other radioactive elements that accumulate in nuclear fuel rods. We don't want to be exposed to too much of them, but iodine-131 is the truly bad actor because it migrates to the thyroid gland and causes thyroid cancer.

The usual route of exposure is ingestion from milk and vegetables, however, and it can be carefully monitored. Naturally we want to limit exposure to these radioactive elements as much as possible, but radiation is not a death ray and exposure does not equal instant death.

So the encouraging news out of Fukushima is that that all these bad things have happened and we're still miles away from anything that could be called a "nuclear holocaust."

Monbiot debated the venerable Helen Caldicott on Democracy Now! on Wednesday and it took Caldicott only 30 seconds to conjure up another doomsday scenario. The fuel rods in one reactor, she said, had already melted through the steel pressure vessel (not true) and were lying on the concrete floor. The plutonium in the rods would soon react with the concrete and cause a hydrogen explosion, which would blow the containment structure to smithereens and scatter a radioactive plume all over Japan, making it uninhabitable forever, and then drift over to the United States and kill a lot of people here as well. Caldicott has been conjuring such apocalyptic visions for thirty years but now it seemed oddly quaint. Even the Democracy Now! anchor looked skeptical. Monbiot gently chided her for making "unjustifiable and excessive claims for the impact of that radiation" and accused her of encouraging "what could be far more devastating to the lives of the people in Japan -- a wild overreaction in terms of the response in which we ask the Japanese people to engage." That's not the kind of reaction Caldicott usually expects.


But there's more. At the hearings of the Senate Energy and Water subcommittee on Wednesday, Democratic Majority Whip Dick Durbin, one of the most liberal members of the Senate, asked Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko and Deputy Energy Secretary Peter Lyons why we aren't reprocessing our nuclear fuel. "I remember reading about Sisyphus in college and how he kept pushing the rock up that hill only to have it roll back down again and I realize now the name of that hill was Yucca Mountain," Durbin began.

"What about nuclear reprocessing?" he continued. "There was a time when we took a national position not to reprocess because it might create the opportunity for someone to use plutonium to develop a nuclear weapon.

Yet today two of our closest allies, Britain and France, have decided that reprocessing is not only okay, it's a great commercial investment. They are receiving waste from other countries and not only reprocessing it but dramatically reducing the amount of radioactive material."

Now you have to realize how important this is. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter caved in to environmental hysteria and banned nuclear reprocessing on the grounds that we were saving the world from the proliferation of nuclear weapons. John McPhee had written a book, The Curve of Binding Energy, postulating that someone might steal plutonium from a reprocessing factory and use it to make a bomb. His authority was Ted Taylor, one of the U.S. Army's most prolific bomb designers, who had started regretting his work and was also convinced that because he could make a bomb in his basement anyone else could as well. Taylor warned McPhee that there would be "dozens," even "hundreds of [nuclear] explosions a year" once we began to reprocess. Carter swallowed all this and banned reprocessing his first few months in office.

The result was the everlasting pseudo-problem of "nuclear waste." Reprocessing reduces the volume of spent fuel by 95 percent. The amount is already remarkably small (as Gwyneth Cravens, author of Power to Save the World, says, "All the nuclear waste we've ever produced in this country would fit into one Best Buy"), but with reprocessing it is even smaller. The French store all their high-level waste from 30 years of producing 75 percent of their electricity beneath the floor of one room at Le Hague.

Now no Democrat has ever wanted to admit that Carter might have made a mistake, since he meant so well. If they do question the ban on reprocessing, they usually blame President Ford, who temporarily suspended it the year before. Yet now here is Democratic Majority Whip Durbin ending his remarks by saying, "Is that thinking from the Carter Administration really appropriate today?"

Don't be too quick to write off the nuclear renaissance.

The world is changing. Nuclear is going to have its day.

http://spectator.org/archives/2011/04/01/pass-the-plutonium
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:16 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Interrogation of Helen Caldicott's Responses

Caldicott, Stewart, and their professional hysteria-building colleagues have had nothing new to say for the last 30 years, and I'm delighted that both Monbiot and the professors noted here aren't rolling over and allowing any of it. Why the non-technical public continues to give credence to this kind of silliness in the face of endless empirical data to the contrary simply amazes me. And it annoys me that Caldicott is still capable of making me waste my perfectly good adrenaline by reacting to her. Blatt.


wim -


In a message dated 4/7/2011 11:06:10 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,

Interrogation of Helen Caldicott’s Responses

Posted on April 4, 2011 by George

This is supporting material for my article Evidence Meltdown.

By George Monbiot, published on monbiot.com, 5th April 2011.

In all these cases I asked Helen Caldicott for the sources of the claims she had made. Here are her replies, and my responses to her replies.

Helen Caldicott, Quote 1:

“There could be a huge hydrogen explosion, which would rupture the containment vessel, and out of Unit 2 would come huge plumes of radiation, which, if the wind is blowing towards the south, could devastate much of Japan forever.”

HC’s source:

“Read the NY Academy of Sciences Chernobyl report and extrapolate from there”

My response:

a. As my article explains, the Yablukov book has little scientific standing and has not been peer-reviewed.

b. Here is what Professor Robin Grimes, Professor of Materials Physics, Imperial College, London, tells me:

“The word “forever” is clearly nonsense as radioactivity does decay. Given the present temperatures and pressures within the reactors and the decay heat, which is now only a few percent of what it was, the pressure vessels are not going to rupture via a brittle fracture. At worst it will leak slowly. If it did, the levels of contamination would increase locally. More difficult to clean the mess and cost.”

Helen Caldicott, Quote 2:

“people will continue to die from cancer for virtually the rest of time.”

HC’s source:

“This is all in my book and previous book NUCLEAR MADNESS and depends upon the half live of the tran-suranic isotopes and their extraordinary toxicity and food chain bio-magnification. Also Professor Tim Mousseau has been studying the deformities and species reduction in birds etc in the exclusion zone around Chernobyl, I am ccing him also so you can question him”

My response:

Without specific passages and references, it is hard to know what to make of this. But “virtually the rest of time” sounds, at the least, like a stretch. I’m not sure how work on birds answers a claim about people.

Helen Caldicott, Quote 3:

“a millionth of a gram of plutonium, or less, can induce cancer, or will induce cancer.”

HC’s source:

“That is referenced in my book.”

My response:

No it’s not. It’s mentioned three times, but not referenced.

Helen Caldicott, Quote 4.

“One x-ray to the pregnant abdomen doubles the incidence of leukemia in the child.”

HC’s source: “This is the classic work of Dr Alice Stewart in the Oxford study and is referred to in the BEIRV11 report”

My response:

Professor Gerry Thomas, Chair in Molecular Pathology, Department of Surgery & Cancer, Imperial College, London, tells me this:

“There is a confusion between relative risk and actual risk. One obstetric examination may increase the relative risk of Leukaemia and childhood cancer by about 40% but the actual risk of developing these types of conditions in childhood is extremely rare the actual risk is very small. The earlier the foetus is exposed to radiation the more significant damage to development may be – however, as most women do not know they are pregnant for 4 weeks at least, I suspect that a good many accept medical treatment without knowing their are pregnant. If I needed an emergency abdominal scan I would have it on the basis that if it was that serious I may not be around to deliver my baby and therefore both of us would die – I’d rather run the small risk of damage and cope with the consequences. We work on the ALARA principle – as low as reasonably attainable, so avoidable X-rays are not carried out on pregnant women. Interestingly there appears to be less thyroid cancer post Chernobyl for those who were in utero at the time of the accident as opposed to those who were under 1. Could be better DNA repair in the foetus, or less exposure due to the fact that the mother’s thyroid took up the iodine, and those born were exposed to radioiodine in milk.”

Helen Caldicott, Quote 5.

“And over time, nuclear waste will induce epidemics of cancer, leukemia and genetic disease, and random compulsory genetic engineering.”

HC’s source:

“This is basic radiobiology that I learned in 1st year medical school and was initially derived from the classic experiment of Mueller of the effects of radiation on drosophila fruit fly for which he won the Nobel Prize and the radiobiology is explained in my book. I don’t see how you can derive all the basic medical information you need George in 8 hours to write and article for tonight!”

My response:

Professor Gerry Thomas tells me this:

“Absolutely no evidence for this whatsoever – we live in a radioactive world, we are superbly adapted to it. There are areas of the world that are exposed to natural background radiation 10+ times higher than the average (same maximal dose as radiation workers receive). These populations do not show an increase in cancer.”

Helen Caldicott, Quote 6.

GM: “you’re saying you would dismiss the U.N. Scientific Committee as being part of the nuclear industry?” HC: “I could, yes.”

HC’s source:

“Absolutely! In light of the Chernobyl report as the WHO et al have never done the necessary epidemiological studies necessary to make such a statement. The NYAS report has covered much of the medical and scientific investigation which desperately needed to be done. Tim Mousseau participated in this report and I would encourage you to talk to him re your questions. His number is ************. Dr Janette Sherman is the editor talk to her, her email is above.”

My response:

I asked her about UNSCEAR. Strangely, she refers to the WHO. Does she know what UNSCEAR is?

Professor Gerry Thomas tells me:

“I actually was a member of the UNSCEAR committee on the Health effects of the Chernobyl accident and wrote the section on the molecular biology of thyroid cancer. I can assure you that none of us are in the pay of the nuclear industry. I was anti-nuclear until I worked on the after effects of the Chernobyl accident – now I am very pro-nuclear as I realise that we have an unwarranted fear of radiation – probably due to all the rubbish about a nuclear winter we were fed during the cold war.”

Helen Caldicott, Quote 7:

“the incubation time for cancer is any time from two to 60 years.”

HC’s source:

“This is basic medical knowledge derived from the American Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission who studies the Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from which we, the medical profession have derived the basic data we use for patient doses”

My response:

Professor Gerry Thomas tells me:

“Cancer is not an infectious disease so it does not have an incubation time. As we cannot definitely say what has caused a cancer (there is no radiation profile that would stand up in court) we cannot prove what the latency is for radiation induced cancer. All we can say is that different cancer types seem to present themselves in the population at different times – leukaemias seem to have a shorter latency, but thyroid cancer in the young can appear within 4 years. We simply do not know the life-time risk without doing the Lifespan studies such as those instigated after the atomic bombs in Japan. Even here the increased incidence of cancer in the population is around 1%. I suspect that more Japanese have developed lung cancer as a result of smoking than all the radiation induced cancers put together.”

Helen Caldicott, Quote 8:

“Forty percent of the European land mass is still radioactive.”

HC’s source:

“This is in the NYAS report.”

My response:

Two things bother me about this: first her reliance on this flawed work for so many of her claims, secondly the non-specific nature of the reference. This is a 343-page report. If she has read it, why not provide a page number?

Professor Robin Grimes says:

“If that includes granite then yes. Granite has thorium and uranium in it. In Cornwall for example the average background dose is more than twice that in London. Does that make London more healthy?”

Helen Caldicott, Quote 9:

“Turkish food is extremely radioactive.”

HC’s source:

“this also is in the report”

My response:

Oh no it isn’t. Here’s what the NYAS report says: “TURKEY. Some 45,000 tons of tea was contaminated with Chernobyl radioactivity in 1986–1987, and more than a third of the 1986 harvest could not be used (WISE, 1988c).”

That says nothing about Turkish food, today.

Helen Caldicott, Quote 10.

“GM: if she’s honestly saying that the World Health Organization is now part of the conspiracy and the cover-up, as well, then the mind boggles.” HC: “Yeah, I am.”

HC’s source: “Yes the mind has been boggling for some time, this to my mind is the greatest conspiritorial coverup in the history of medicine.”

My response:

Er, right.

[Helen did not provide a source for Quote 11]

Helen Caldicott, Quote 12.

“These unregulated isotopes include the noble gases krypton, xenon and argon, which are fat-soluble and if inhaled by persons living near a nuclear reactor, are absorbed through the lungs, migrating to the fatty tissues of the body, including the abdominal fat pad and upper thighs, near the reproductive organs. These radioactive elements, which emit high-energy gamma radiation, can mutate the genes in the eggs and sperm and cause genetic disease.”

HC’s source:

“This is also described in my book, we use Xenon to trace abnormal fatty tissue in the body, George I simply don’t have time to look up all the references for these statements, you really need a lecture in basic medicine”

My response:

Her book actually says (page 55): “There have never been any epidemiological studies performed on the effects of exposure to the noble gases xenon and krypton.” In other words, it flatly contradicts her own claim.

Helen Caldicott, Quote 13:

“Tritium is a soft energy beta emitter, more mutagenic than gamma radiation, that incorporates directly into the DNA molecule of the gene.”

HC’s source:

“There is a huge literature on tritium in the Journal of Health Physics extensively referenced in Nuclear Power is not the Answer”

My response:

Helen says something similar in her book, viz:

“Because tritium is a soft energy beta emitter, meaning that it does not penetrate very far, all the radiation it gives off is readily absorbed by the surrounding cells, hence it is biologically very mutagenic.” (Page 57)

But no reference is given for this statement.

The subsequent statement “it is incorporated into molecules, including DNA within bodily cells” is also unreferenced.

She does give references for part of the discussion of tritium that follows (Page 57), but as these were published in 1978, 1979 and 1982, it will take me a while to find them and check them out. I’ll do so next time I’m in the library. Only one of them refers to the Journal of Health Physics, so I don’t know what she means when she says “There is a huge literature on tritium in the Journal of Health Physics extensively referenced in Nuclear Power is not the Answer”.

Helen Caldicott, Quote 14:

“Cancers will inevitably increase in frequency in exposed populations, as will genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis in their descendents.”

HC’s source:

“George please learn the basic elements of genetics!”

Professor Gerry Thomas tells me:

“Cancers will not inevitably increase – depends on the isotope involved, and the actual exposure to the population. Reality check – Chernobyl resulted in 136 hospitalisations for acute radiation sickness, 28 of these died. There have been 5000 extra thyroid cancers, of which 1% may die of their disease over their lifetimes (I.e. 50 – and that is probably an overestimate. End of story – no other scientifically validated further effects. No inherited defects seen in a population that was exposed as children (many of those exposed as children have already had children themselves, and I have personally met some of these). It is interesting how few second cancers result in the population treated with radiotherapy (and/or chemotherapy, which in many respects has a similar biological effect – induction of DNA damage) – even in a population that may have been enriched for those with germline defects that predisposes to cancer. This suggests to me that as a species we have superbly honed defences for this type of insult.”

http://www.monbiot.com/2011/04/04/interrogation-of-helen-caldicotts-responses/
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:41 PM
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Q+A-What's going on at Japan's crippled nuclear power plant?

Wed, May 25 2011
(Writes through)

TOKYO, May 25 (Reuters) - Three of six reactors at a Japanese nuclear plant damaged in a March 11 earthquake and tsunami suffered meltdowns within days, the operator said this week, raising worrying questions about why the scale of the disaster was not disclosed sooner. [ID:nL3E7GO044].

The announcement of the meltdown more two months after the event came as a U.N. nuclear safety team began an investigation into the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, 25 years ago.

Following are some questions and answers:


WHAT IS HAPPENING?

Cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant were knocked out by the disaster but Tokyo Electric Power Co only acknowledged on Tuesday that nuclear fuel rods at the plant's No. 1, No. 2 and No.3 had suffered meltdown.

Radiation continues to seep into the sea and the air, although at lower levels than at the peak of the crisis in mid-March.

Nearly 80,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes, most of them from a 20-km (12-mile) radius around the plant. The crisis has prompted Prime Minister Naoto Kan to call for a complete review of a national energy policy.

Tepco is trying to bring the reactors to a cold shutdown, where the water cooling them is below 100 degrees Celsius. Efforts to cool the reactors have brought down temperatures and the rods are no longer melting but the No. 1 reactor is still leaking radiation and the No.2 and No.3 reactors are also believed to be leaking.

To achieve a cold shutdown at the No.1 reactor, Tepco is aiming to decontaminate the water already accumulated there and then pump it back to cool the reactors.

Officials are also concerned about the slow pace of cooling at the No. 3 reactor, and the No. 4 reactor was so badly damaged by a hydrogen explosion that workers will have to try to shore it up with steel beams and concrete to prevent a collapse.

In an effort to limit the spread of radioactive dust, the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 reactors will be covered with giant tent-like polyester covers supported by steel beams.


WHAT IS HAMPERING TEPCO?

Water is a huge headache. It has pumped in tens of thousands of tonnes of it to cool the reactors and much of it has ended up as contaminated runoff, accumulating as huge pools.

It is building tanks and towing in a massive barge to secure extra storage and is looking to build plants to treat some of the water. The operator caused an international outcry in April when it was forced to dump thousands of tonnes of contaminated water into the Pacific.

The approaching rainy season and typhoons and lightning during the summer could pose extra problems.


HOW LONG WILL THE CRISIS LAST?

Tepco aims to stabilise the plant by January. But with the extent of the damage to the reactors gradually being revealed, some experts said the process could take longer.

Even after the plant is under control, recovery work at the site is expected to continue for years. (Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro, Yoko Nishikawa and Mayumi Negishi; Editing by Nick Macfie)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...7GP05020110525
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:51 AM
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Cool

3 months later...

Published: Thu 2011/06/16 15:52 JST
One of the greatest things about Japanese culture is the diligence,
speed and patience that the Japanese have and you can see through
these photos just how much work they have done in such a short time
to get things back to normal.
Other Kanto Tohoku quake related photo posts below.
Post Earthquake Japan
Tokyo Power Outages
Supplies Shortage Tokyo
Otaku Room Earthquake
Foreign Media Reporting
Tokyo Evacuation?
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http://www.dannychoo.com/cgm/archive...apan-26166.pdf
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Old 06-17-2011, 05:18 PM
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reconeil reconeil is offline
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Default Thanks for the update.

If counting on receiving such info from copycat press/media, one would think the Japanese nuclear catastrophe just never happened.

Only matter of significance now obsessing America's journalist (?) echoers,...is Weiner.
Obama's national perversions or marxist changes are pretty-well covered, too.

That: "Talking Heads" make Big Bucks for constantly reporting about such phonies instead,
is absolutely amazing!

But then & after all, what's to be gained by similarly stroking & supporting The Japanese, anyway?

Neil
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