Radiation Exposure and Risk

Ionizing radiation damages living things and contaminates the environment, sometimes permanently. Studies have shown increases in cancer around nuclear facilities and uranium mines. Radiation mutates genes which can cause genetic damage across generations.



Childhood leukemias increased 37% near nuclear power facilities

An examination of over 60 epidemiological studies confirms the link between increases in childhood leukemia and proximity to a nuclear power reactor. Seventy percent of these studies indicate this link, including studies from the UK, Germany, France and Switzerland. 

Difficulty arises when trying to link this leukemia to radiation exposure from these nuclear facilities because the amount of radiation the reactor operators claim these populations are receiving should not, according to current risk models, be high enough to cause health impacts. In fact, the discrepancy is 10,000 fold between official dose estimates and the increased risks which are so clearly shown in these studies.

The author, Ian Fairlie, ( interviewed on Nuclear Hotseat) suggests the following explanations:

  • First, the cancer increases may be due to radiation exposures from NPP emissions to air.
  • Second, large annual spikes in NPP emissions may result in increased dose rates to populations within 5 km of NPPs.
  • Third, the observed cancers may arise in utero in pregnant women.
  • Fourth, both the doses and their risks to embryos and to fetuses may be greater than current estimate.
  • And fifth, pre-natal blood-forming cells in bone marrow may be unusually radiosensitive. The Ecologist

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) first suggested in 2012 that refueling outages at reactors could be causing in utero health problems because reactors release radiation in larger batches during the year, but get to average this larger dose over the year, making the dose appear to be smaller.

In the US, the National Academy of Sciences is currently determining how best to assess cancer risks from radiation exposures around nuclear facilities here. this meta analysis should provide insight into how to look for such impacts.

The meta analysis, "A hypothesis to explain childhood cancers near nuclear power plants" published in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity Volume 133, July 2014, Pages 10–17, has not yet received any letters pointing out omissions or errors.


Cover up and play down a disaster

An International Conference on Fukushima and Chernobyl was held 4-7 March 2014, hosted by the German chapter of IPPNW and local chapters of the Protestant church.

"The nuclear disasters of Fukushima and Chernobyl seriously affect humans, nature and society. Opinions on the dimension of the damage differ considerably. Representatives of UN Organizations like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) claim that there is no danger for the health of the affected population. In sharp contrast, studies conducted by physicians and other independent scientists have led to the conclusion that ionising radiation has indeed resulted in a great deal of impairment to health.

Physicians, scientists and journalists from Japan, Belarus, Germany, the USA, France and UK will meet at an international conference on the effects of nuclear disaster on nature and humans from March 4-7 in Arnoldshain to compare notes on the effects of ionising radiation. The conference is organised by IPPNW and the protestant church in Hesse and Nassau." View the presentations on their website.


Dr. Keith Baverstock

Fukushima: the roles of WHO and IAEA


Dr. Larisa Danilova

Endocrine Diseases in Post-Chernobyl Period in Belarus


Dr. Winfrid Eisenberg

Leukämie bei Kindern und andere biologische Indikatoren für Niedrigdosisstrahlung


Dr. Ian Fairlie

Fukushima and Chernobyl: Comparison of Source Terms and Health Effects


Furitsu Katsumi M.D. Ph.D.

A Critique of the radiation standards of ICRP, and the health risk assessments of severe accidents by WHO and UNSCEAR on Chernobyl and Fukushima


Dr. Ulrich Gottstein


Dr. Kaoru Konta


Akari Konta


Dr. rer. nat. Alfred Körblein

Infant mortality in Japan after Fukushima


Prof. Dr. Mikhail Malko

The Chernobyl Accident and its Consequences


Dr. Eisuke Matsui

People of Futaba-machi and “Low Dose” Internal Radiation Exposure


Timothy A. Mousseau & Anders P. Møller

Biological Consequences of Chernobyl and Fukushima


Oshidori Mako


Dr. Martin Repp

Religion, Medicine and Nuclear Disaster


Prof. Dr. Inge Schmitz-Feuerhake

Genetische Folgen ionisierender Strahlung im Niedrigdosisbereich


Dr. Dörte Siedentopf


Isamu Takamatsu M.D.

Health problems after the accident of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Outbreak of childhood thyroid cancer in Fukushima


Dr. Olga Zubets

Cancer Epidemiology in the Republic of Belarus


"The Hottest Particle"

Arnie GundersenAs posted on the Fairewinds Energy Education website:

Three years ago, Fairewinds was one of the first organizations to talk about “hot particles” that are scattered all over Japan and North America’s west coast. Hot particles are dangerous and difficult to detect. In this video Mr. Kaltofen discusses the hottest hot particle he has ever found, and it was discovered more than 300 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi site. If Fairewinds Energy Education was a Japanese website, the State Secrets Law would likely prevent us from issuing this video.  Arnie Gundersen [photo, left] provides a brief introduction and summary to the video.


Japanese government suppresses efforts to account for radiation impact

A decontamination worker at the entrance of Futaba, an abandoned town near the Fukushima nuclear plant. Credit Toru Hanai/Reuters "...Off the record, university researchers in Japan say that even now, three years after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, they feel under pressure to play down the impact of the disaster. Some say they cannot get funds or university support for their work. In several cases, the professors say, they have been obstructed or told to steer clear of data that might cause public “concern.

'Getting involved in this sort of research is dangerous politically,” said Joji Otaki, a biologist at Japan’s Ryukyu University who has written papers suggesting that radioactivity at Fukushima has triggered inherited deformities in a species of butterfly. His research is paid for through private donations, including crowdfunding, a sign, he said, that the public supports his work. “It’s an exceptional situation,” he said." The New York Times


Fukushima’s Shameful Cleanup

According to a New York Times editorial board opinion piece, "A pattern of shirking responsibility permeates the decommissioning work at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. An increasing proportion of the 3,000 contract laborers at Fukushima are poorly trained, with little technical expertise or knowledge of radiation. They earn about $150 a day, less than what a regular construction job pays. Few are given insurance coverage. Many are destitute, recruited by ruthless labor brokers, some with ties to the mob...

'It was the Japanese government, which had been leading the promotion of nuclear power, that made the Fukushima cleanup Tepco’s responsibility... This arrangement has conveniently allowed the government to avoid taking responsibility for the nuclear cleanup."

The opinion piece concludes that the government of Japan needs to be in charge of the disaster management, the sooner the better. While the NYT editorial board correctly recognizes the incompetence of the current Fukushima "clean-up", independent scientists have stated in a letter to the UN Secretary-General the need for cooperative action of many parties at the international level. Action by just one corporation or one government is clearly failing.

Japan's government also appears to be manipulating investigation into the health impacts of Fukushima radiation, a story reported in the NYT just last week.  Because of its close ties to, and support of, the nuclear industry, and its supposed interference with health studies, the government of Japan is obviously too compromised to handle the ongoing Fukushima disaster alone.

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