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Children and Health

Children are among the most vulnerable to - and least protected from - radiation exposure. Current "acceptable" exposure standards in the U.S. are based on "Standard Man" - i.e., a robust young male. This does not take into account the more serious effects of radiation exposure to pregnant women and children in particular, including to the unborn. Beyond Nuclear supports efforts to change these standards.

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Tuesday
May072013

Entergy's Palisades leaks 79 gallons of radioactive water into Lake Michigan, forced to shut down

Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor on the Lake Michigan shore in southwest MIAs reported by the Holland Sentinel, Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor has yet again sprung a leak, this time spilling 79 gallons of supposedly "very slightly radioactive water" into Lake Michigan, the headwaters of 20% of the world's surface fresh water, and drinking water for 40 million people downstream. 

Entergy and NRC spokespersons' repeated claims of no safety significance to the public flies in the face of decades of findings, as by the National Academy of Science (most recently in 2005), that any exposure to radioactivity, no matter how small, carries a health risk of cancer, and that these health risks accumulate over a lifetime.

U.S. Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) made public the serious nature of this particular leaking tank in June 2012. His information came from very courageous Palisades whistleblowers, and their attorney, Billie Pirner Garde. The leak, from the 300,000 gallon Safety Injection Refueling Water (SIRW) storage tank located directly above the control, began in mid-2011, and was flowing through the ceiling, and being captured in buckets in the safety critical control room, full of electrical circuitry and equipment that cannot get wet. The leak was concealed not only from the public and media, but even from the NRC's own Chairman, Greg Jaczko, as he toured Palisades on May 25, 2012. NRC later granted Entergy an exemption in 2012 to allow continued operations despite the degraded condition of the SIRW storage tank. 

In recent weeks, Beyond Nuclear learned from NRC officials that the now two-year-old leak has continued at a 0.5 to 1 gallon per day rate. But Saturday's leakage rate, which forced the reactor to shut down, was at 90 gallons per day, as documented in NRC's event notification report. Palisades' SIRW storage tank, just like the rest of the plant, is 46 years old, and obviously showing severe signs of "breakdown phase" age-degration, of increasing risk. 

The Detroit Free PressEnformable Nuclear NewsKalamazoo GazetteMichigan RadioWSJM RadioWKZO Radio,WWMT TV-3 KalamazooDetroit News,  and WOOD TV-8 Grand Rapids have reported on this story.

Beyond Nuclear issued a media statement, challenging flippant Entergy and NRC claims that this leak carries "absolutely" no risk to human health and safety. NRC's Region 3 spokeswoman has been exposed making false claims regarding radioactivity leaks more than once at Midwestern reactors in just the past year, prompting the demand for an investigation by a member of Congress. Last year, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) demanded an NRC investigation into Mytling's downplaying of a reactor leak at the troubled Davis-Besse atomic reactor near Toledo. In addition, Chicago watchdog group Nuclear Energy Information Service, via a Freedom of Information Act Request to the State of Illinois Dept. of Nuclear Safety, documented that Mytling's flip assurance -- that a radioactive steam leak at the Byron atomic reactor, in Jan. 2012, must have contained exceedingly low levels of hazardous radioactive tritium, as radiation monitors had not detected any -- was baseless and misleading, as no real-time tritium monitoring capability existed at the plant. Similar questions must now be asked of Mytling's questionable assurances that radioactivity levels in the water leaked into Lake Michigan were below detectable levels. Are there radiation monitors in place to verify such flip assurances?

Thursday
Feb282013

Cancer risk 70% higher for females in Fukushima area, says WHO

People in the area worst affected by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident two years ago have a higher risk of developing certain cancers, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday.

Girls exposed as infants in the worst hit areas have a higher risk of developing thyroid cancer over their lifetime.

In the most contaminated area, the WHO estimated that there was a 70% higher risk – up from a baseline risk of 0.77% to 1.29% – of females exposed as infants developing thyroid cancer over their lifetime. The thyroid is the most exposed organ as radioactive iodine concentrates there and children are deemed especially vulnerable.

The report estimated that in the most contaminated area there was a 7% higher risk of leukaemia in males exposed as infants, and a 6% higher risk of breast cancer in females exposed as infants. The Guardian

Monday
Dec032012

Researchers plan to study effects of Navajo Reservation uranium exposure on pregnancy and child birth

Three decades after the end of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation, researchers plan to conduct a study in response to community concerns about the effects of exposure to uranium waste on pregnancies and child development on the Navajo Nation.


The Navajo Birth Cohort Study is a three-year study on the Navajo reservation. It will provide early assessment and education on environmental and prenatal risks from exposure to environmental contaminants.


In 2009, Congress mandated and awarded money for the Navajo Birth Cohort Study. The money will support the University of New Mexico Community Environmental Health Program as it designs and conducts the study in collaboration with the Navajo Area Indian Health Services, the Navajo Division of Health, Southwest Research and Information Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.


Johnnye Lewis, Ph.D., director of the Community Environmental Health Program, Health Sciences Center, at the University of New Mexico, is the principal investigator in the project. She coordinates the professional research team drawn from the five agencies responsible for implementing the project.


"This particular set of funding is for Navajo, but this is not just a Navajo problem," said Lewis. "There are 10,400 abandoned uranium mine waste sites in the western U.S., many of those on tribal lands. So I think the information we gain from this study will have impacts much further reaching than just Navajo."


More information on the Navajo Birth Cohort Study is available by calling toll-free (877) 545-6775 or contacting a Clinical Liaison at the nearest IHS facility. Navaho-Hopi Observer

Monday
Nov262012

UN special report on Fukushima criticizes handling of radiation catastrophe, suggests positive steps forward

Anand Grover, the United Nations Special Rapporteur reports on Fukushima, some highlights:

-potassium iodine was not handled properly.

-government did not evacuate properly or communicate radiation doses and implications to the public.

-government neglected hotspots and used 20msv/year limit implying this was safe which is not.

-radiation monitoring stations did not adequately reflect exposure data. Therefore all validated data, alot being collected by private individuals, should be made public.

-provide holistic and comprehensive treatment for ALL radiation effected zones and include wider health consequences than the current health survey.

-err on side of caution and monitor health outcomes for an extensive period of time.

-allow individuals access to their health data and that of their children.

-initiate long-term monitoring of sub-contract workers at the ruined plants.

-evacuation centers did not provide adequate facilities for women with children and the disabled and elderly. Separation of families due to inadequate evacuation procedures has caused unnecessary anguish.

-government needs to strengthened food contamination monitoring.

-adopt an action plan with clear timeline to reduce contamination to 1msv per year.

-restore subsidies to all evacuees so they can make proper decisions about whether to return or leave.

-government ensure that TEPCO is held financially accountable and that taxpayers are not.

-ensure participation of effected people, particularly vulnerable groups during all parts of decision-making process, including health services and decontamination. This is not currently being done.

-implement the “act on protection and support for children, and other victims of the Tepco disaster” which was enacted in June, 2012. This act provides a framework for those affected by the disaster and provides opportunity to enlist affected people in decision-making. video

Monday
Nov192012

Uranium Exposure Linked to High Lupus Rates in Community Living Near a Former Refinery

High rates of systemic lupus erythematosus have been linked to living in proximity to a former uranium ore processing facility in Ohio, according to new research findings presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Science Daily. Cincinnati Children's blog.