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.



Beyond Nuclear on Thom Hartmann: "Military poisoned by Fukushima radiation"

On Thursday evening, Jan. 2nd, Thom Hartmann hosted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps on his television program, in a segment entitled "Military poisoned by Fukushima radiation," to discuss the apparent radiation sickness and maladies suffered by sailors who served on the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, which was anchored just a mile or two downwind and downstream from Fukushima Daiichi in Japan during the first, worst days of the catastrophe.

Arnie Gundersen at Fairewinds Energy Education has commented on the sick sailors in a podcast.

The re-launching of the lawsuit, brought by 71 sick (half with various cancers) Reagan crew men and women against Tokyo Electric Power Company, comes after the recent exposé by the Tampa Bay Times about sick U.S. Navy sailors who were ordered to dump radioactive wastes, over the course of 15 years, into the Atlantic Ocean, a half-century ago, aboard the Calhoun County.


Environmental coalition meets NRC's "Nuclear Waste Confidence" DGEIS public comment deadline

Environmental coalition attorney Diane Curran

(The risks of generating, storing, and ultimately "disposing" of irradiated nuclear fuel includes risks to human health, of course. Environmental coalition expert witnesses have looked at the risks of high-level radioactive waste storage pools, dry casks, and repositories leaking, and/or releasing catastrophic amounts of hazardous radioactivity due to natural disaster, accident, or attack.

Even the costs of storing and "disposing of" irradiated nuclear fuel reflects the risk to human health. After all, the high cost has entirely to do with the need to isolate the high-level radioactive waste from being released into the living environment.

Mark Cooper of Vermont Law School, expert witness on behalf of this environmental coalition, has estimated that storage and disposal of irradiated nuclear fuel could add $210 to $350 billion onto the costs of nuclear-generated electricity in the U.S. In addition, the once-per-century replacement of dry cask storage across the U.S., assumed by NRC in its "Nuclear Waste Confidence" DGEIS, would add another $100 billion per replacement, Cooper estimates. Cooper asserts that NRC cannot ignore such "staggering" costs in its EIS on the costs and risks of generating irradiated nuclear fuel in the first place -- that is, approving new reactor construction and operating licenses, and old reactor license extensions.)

An environmental coalition of nearly three dozen groups, including Beyond Nuclear, has submitted comments on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) "Nuclear Waste Confidence" Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS). The coalition is represented by a team of attorneys, including Diane Curran (photo, left) of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg, and Eisenberg, LLP, Washington, D.C.; Mindy Goldstein, Director, and Jillian Kysor, Fellow, Turner Environmental Law Clinic, Emory University, Atlanta, GA; and Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River Program Director, and Deborah Brancato, Staff Attorney, Riverkeeper, Ossining, NY.

The coalition is also represented by a team of expert witnesses, including Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Takoma Park, MD; David Lochbaum, Director, Nuclear Safety Project, Union of Concerned Scientists, Chattanooga, TN; Dr. Gordon Thompson, Executive Director, Institute for Resource and Security Studies, Cambridge, MA; and Dr. Mark Cooper, Senior Research Fellow for Economic Analysis, Institute for Energy and the Environment, Vermont Law School, South Royalton, VT.

The environmental coalition's comments, as well as its expert witnesses' declarations, have been posted on the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) website, as well as at the bottom of a press release featuring the work of Dr. Cooper on the economic costs of irradiated nuclear fuel management. The coalition's comment and expert witness declarations are also posted at the NIRS website.

Curran, on behalf of three environmental groups (Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Riverkeeper, and SACE), in alliance with Natural Resource Defense Council, as well as four state attorneys general (CT, NJ, NY, and VT) won a landmark legal victory on June 8, 2012. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that NRC had to carry out an environmental impact statement on its "Nuclear Waste Confidence" policy and rule, including the on-site storage risks of irradiated nuclear fuel in pools and dry casks. The Dec. 20th public comment deadline on the DGEIS is a part of that court-ordered process.


First public meeting for cancer risk study announced

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Committee tasked with planning the pilot study of Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations near Nuclear Facilities is scheduled to hold the first public meeting and Beyond Nuclear wants you to participate. If you live in the Washington, DC area, please attend the meeting in person:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 2-4pm, National Academy of Sciences Building, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW (Room 125)

Seating is limited so reserve your seat ASAP.

You may also participate in the meeting remotely by calling in or viewing the meeting by WebEx.

Email or call 202 334 3066 to either reserve your seat or participate remotely.

NAS will perform the pilot study of cancer risks in populations near seven U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (U.S.NRC)-licensed nuclear facilities using two epidemiologic study designs: (i) an ecologic study of multiple cancer types of populations of all ages and (ii) a record-linkage-based case-control study of cancers in children. The pilot study will have two steps: Pilot Planning and Pilot Execution. NAS has started the Pilot Planning step which is estimated to take one year to complete. For more information on the Phase I process and report, click here.

The seven nuclear facilities that are part of the pilot study are:

Dresden Nuclear Power Station, Morris, Illinois

Millstone Power Station, Waterford, Connecticut

Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, Forked River

New Jersey Haddam Neck, Haddam Neck, Connecticut

Big Rock Point Nuclear Power Plant, Charlevoix, Michigan

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, San Clemente, California

Nuclear Fuel Services, Erwin, Tennessee

The study is sponsored by the U.S. NRC. It is a continuation of a previous study that was completed in May 2012.


Homeless employed to clean up Fukushima nuclear plant

It has been learned that, to mitigate the consequences of Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, many homeless people were used. They worked quite often with no protection from radiation and even without pay. Voice of Russia


More suspected and confirmed cases of thyroid cancer diagnosed in Fukushima children

Fifteen more young people in Fukushima Prefecture have received definitive or suspected diagnoses of thyroid cancer, which is often associated with radiation exposure, prefectural officials said Nov. 12.

That raises to 59 the total number of young people who have been diagnosed with or are suspected of having thyroid cancer.

The latest figures show 12 people per 100,000 who were aged 18 or younger at the time of the accident developing thyroid cancer.

That compares with an average of 1.7 people per 100,000 in the general population between the ages of 15 and 19 who contracted the cancer in 2007 from Asahi Shimbun

From Fukushima Voice

26 Thyroid Cancer Cases Confirmed in Fukushima Children: Preliminary Results of FY2011-2013 Thyroid Ultrasound Examination

Thirteenth Prefectural Oversight Committee convened on November 12, 2013, releasing the results of the latest thyroid examination as part of the prefectural health management survey.