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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Seals Being Killed By Fukushima Radiation????

No, some seals are sick and biologists are trying to determine why.  One possibility is Fukushima radioactivity, but the testing isn't complete.  But don't let those facts impede fear mongering!

Here is the link used by the fear monger which says that test results will take several weeks.

Why The LNT Model Will Be With Us For Many New Years

Sorry, LNT-deniers. 

The LNT model of radiation carcinogenesis isn't likely to change anytime soon.  It is the best model of radiation risk of cancer versus dose.  LNT doesn't "assume" the risk from low doses is absolutely linearly extrapolated from higher doses, as many LNT deniers like to frame the model.  It is based on historical evidence, and it could also be called Linear-Quadratic (curved line instead of straight).  But just like one ignores the curvature of the Earth when measuring a room for carpet, we can ignore the L-Q curvature in the low dose domain.

What's It Like Responding To A Fukushima?

Here's an interview with someone with some insight.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Yakuza & Nuclear Mafia

I wish I knew how to read Japanese so I could read the links presented in this article.

But based on what is written in English, ties between the yakuza and TEPCO seem fairly nonexistent.

Way To Spoil A New Year Celebration, Arnie

It looks like next year will bring much of the same bull as last year, thanks to folks like Arnie Gundersen.

Let's dig in!

NORM Wastes

Environmental groups are using exposure to naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) as a political ploy to stop drilling for fossil fuels.  The risks are trivial, especially concerning the landfilled material.  I had a post on the topic earlier.

Don't Use Tanning Beds Just Because It's Winter

Good advice.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

U.S. Nuclear Renaissance Imploding Result Of Fukushima

That's what some folks have determined.

The study is based on testimony one of the folks gave.

It is here.

Contrary Headlines On The Same Subject

It's about the less than stellar performance of a drug targeting ovarian cancer.  In one case it "disappoints" and in the other it "extends progression free survival".

Gene Identified With Pancreatic Cancer

Those with a mutant ATM gene.  The "AT" in ATM stands for ataxia telangiectasia, a condition which makes its sufferers hypersensitive to ionizing radiation.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

INL Plutonium Exposure Investigation Continues

Workers back at work.

Breast Cancer Radiation Treatment Linked To Increased Heart Risk

By hardening the coronary arteries.

Small Leak At Pilgrim

More here.

Nuclear Power Discussion

Good NPR discussion.

Diablo Canyon Compared To Fukushima


Spreading Fear Again

Arnie Gundersen on a public radio show.  Click on link, then on 12/27 "PLAY".  It's about 14 minutes.

Panel Recommends Less Prostate Cancer Screenings & Treatment

The standard prostrate screening test yields a high level of false positives.  And low grade prostate tumors pose little risk compared with surgery or radiation treatment options.  Other approaches are recommended.

Insights Into Fukushima Crisis

The early days were confusing, difficult times.

Alaskan Seals Tested For Radiation

They have strange injuries, but I'll be surprised if radioactivity is found to be the culprit. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fukushima Impact

Here's a soft AP story describing Fukushima.

Global Warming Global Disappointment

This article describes China's plan to build the largest coal plant in Asia.

And India has no plans to cut their CO2 emissions.

Someone should tell France that it's going to get hotter.

High Radioactivity Concentrations In Japanese Cedar Flowers

This is interesting.

Dirty Electricity????

Here's a video by the author of a book which shares the title of this post (sans question marks).  His point is that electromagnetic fields cause everything from suicides to cancer. 

"Half of the deaths in this country are caused by electricity..."

Monday, December 26, 2011

Nuclear Russian Roulette???

Here is anti-nuclear activist Dan Hirsch propagandizing to some locals who live near the San Onofre Nuclear Plant.  He is actually pretty polished and he doesn't make the outrageous pseudo-scientific claims of other anti-nukes. 

Let's dig in!:

Let's Help Tumor Cells Commit Suicide

Centrocountin should help.

Japan's "NRC" Criticized In Report

Japan's equivalent to the U.S. NRC is called NISA.

Spank, spank.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Japanese Gov't Criticized Over Evacuation

Report expected to be formally released Monday, but here's the scoop.

Food radioactivity concenrtration limits to be reduced, too.

Better MRI Contrasting Agent Developed

Taking advantage of cancer cells' microenvironment allows this agent to target tumors as opposed to normal cells.

PTEN Gene Mutations Linked To Thyroid Cancer

PTEN (Phosphatase & TENsin homolog) mutations have been linked to many other cancers.  The gene normally regulates cell growth and death.  It has now been linked to thyroid cancer.

Plasmonic Nanocrosses Kill Cancer

I love the term "plasmonic nanocrosses".  They can bind to cancer cells, be irradiated with laser light which heats them, and kill the cancer cells.

"Harvesting" The "Webs"

Savannah River Site will be harvesting the weblike growths on their spent nuclear fuel.

"It's Alive!"  "It's Alive!"....or maybe not.

The U.S. NRC Approves New Reactor Design

Congrats to the AP1000!

Making Connections To Promote Tumors

Those evil inflammation and signaling pathways conspire to help tumors grow.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Slew Of Cancer Studies

This one shows how loss of gene Pten leads to tumor growth.

This one discusses the possibility of manipulating regulator T cells to suppress cancer.

Here's a study about a vaccine that utilizes the immune system.

This study discusses a positive feedback loop within carcinogenesis.

This study discovered a gene which links rare and seemingly unrelated cancers.

Japanese Research Reactor's Ceiling Catches Fire

No noted radioactivity released.

And The Propaganda Grows!

Tom Hartmann has been fooled (covered in first 1.5 minutes):

Fuskushima Newborns To Be Monitored

Until age 13.

What's RIF that?

A new study hints that LNT may need some refinement.

And maybe not.

Health Physicist Gift List P3

A bit more expensive than previous stocking stuffers, but very cool!

Here's more:

Tissue Structure Delays Cancer Onset

Advantageous mutations (associated with cancer tissue) can't proliferate as well within spatially structured cell populations (like in the colon) as compared with unstructured populations (like blood).

More here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

14,000 U.S. Deaths Due To Fukushima??

That's the new headline.

Things to notice:

Japan Revises Nuclear Power Cost By 50%

Post Fukushima.

Health Physicist Gift List P1

In case you were wondering what to give your favorite health physicist, here's a nice stocking stuffer

And it comes in a variety of dose ranges!

Japan Says Fukushima Reactors Are Stable

I posted on that last week, but here is a video clip which I didn't have earlier:


This article describes the renewed effort by the U.S. gov't to find a location for high level waste.  Yucca Mountain, in Nevada, was originally planned as the site, but due to politics has been cancelled.  It's hard to imagine any place else taking it without a similar political battle.  The only likely exception is the operating WIPP plant in New Mexico which disposes of transuranic wastes from nuclear weapons production.

NIMBY is the acronym for "not in my backyard".

Soybean Derivatives Enhance Radiotherapy

Soy isoflavones impede the DNA repair process of cancer cells which are trying to survive radiotherapy.

They have lots of other benefits as described in the article, and they are very safe.

Preventing Cancer Metastasis

Scientists have discovered a micro-RNA that is involved in preventing cancer blood vessel recruitment (cancers need to recruit blood to grow) is also involved in metastasis (spread to other parts of the body).

Here's some recent similar work.

Chickenpox Likes Life In The Shade

The virus doesn't spread where the ultraviolet radiation is more intense.

Using X-Rays To Track Uranium Mobility

Based on uranium's oxidation state.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cancer Snake Oil Merchant Nailed

He didn't just peddle cancer snake oil (actually coral calcium) but all kinds of lies.

Now he's been hit with a $38,000,000 fine.


Lack Of Gov't Trust Regarding Fukushima

Here's an LA Times article describing the lack of trust of the Japanese government following Fukushima.

This can lead to greater misinformation as the public hears from quacks, as in one of the lasts paragraphs of the article:

"Another guest was a cancer researcher who emphasized that no matter what assurances the government has made about public safety, children were showing up with "new clinical symptoms of low-dose radiation exposure."

There are no clinical symptoms of low dose radiation exposure other than those associated with cancer.  And it's too early for cancer to be symptomatic.

As If Fukushima Workers Didn't Have Enough Problems

It looks like some have contracted norovirus.

Hanford Whistleblower On Rachel Maddow Show

The clip is here.

Whistleblowing is a tricky thing.  On the one hand we all want people to be free to whistleblow.  But then, there are some who abuse whistleblowing as a way to intimidate their employer.

I don't know where this particular whistleblower is on the spectrum.

This link contains videos from the Hanford site.  If you click on the "Mobile Arm Retrieval System" video you can see inside one of Hanford's high level waste tanks.  The tank contents typically have a consistency of dried peanut butter and the MARS tool is used to remotely water blast the contents and vacuum them up.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Indian Point or Oyster Creek: The Next Fukushima?

Here's a pretty good op-ed about New York's Indian Point plant.

The author makes his case without exaggerated fear mongering.

Here's another op-ed concerning New Jersey's Oyster Creek plant.

It's not so good.  It supports an anti-nuclear activist who claims he has evidence that the plant didn't follow an NRC order. He even went to the NRC and made a presentation.  The NRC and the plant have both said he has it wrong. So if the author's point is that, "Its incumbent upon the NRC not only to determine whether there was full compliance with the order but, more importantly, to assess whether the fire safety protections in place today are sufficient to ward off a Fukushima scenario in Ocean County or anywhere else in the U.S."

It looks like they've already done so.

What NOT To Buy For The Holidays (Or Any Other Time)

It's the use of radioactive stones in order to induce radiation "hormesis".

What a bunch of new age coincidence the spokesperson in the video says, "God bless".

Yeah, the blessing involving the transaction of cash from your wallet to his.


That's the thought that entered my mind when I read this article about web-like growth on spent fuel assemblies..

(Recall that the original Spiderman got his superpowers after he was bitten by a radioactive spider.  In the more recent Hollywood version, the spider was "genetically enhanced")

On the serious side, if the growth is biological it may enhance our understanding of extremophiles.

Should Brachytherapy Be Used To Treat Breast Cancer?

In traditional radiotherapy an external beam of radiation is used to irradiate the entire breast.

In brachytherapy, a radioactive source is implanted into the breast yielding partial irradiation.

The latter approach is gaining in popularity, but there are pro's and con's.

Enchanced Radiation Therapy Efficacy Seen

Radiation therapy  (and drugs known as radiomimetics) damages the DNA of cancer cells (normal cells too, that why targeting is important in radiation therapy).

DNA has repair mechanisms to sometimes fix the damage.

So, if one can damage the repair mechanisms of the cancerous DNA, one can improve the efficacy of the radiation therapy.

And that's what some scientists have done, using folate as a "Trojan horse" to deliver an antibody into the cell nucleus.  The antibody impairs DNA damage repair.

Friday, December 16, 2011

U.S. National Institutes Of Health Bans Further Chimp Research

Happy Holidays to our hairy cousins!

Fukushima In Cold Shutdown

As expected, Japan announced today that the Fukushima reactors are in a state of cold shutdown.

Russia Seizes Radioactive Sodium Headed For Iran

It's Na-22 whose only value is for medical imaging.

It could be used in a dirty bomb (any radionuclide could), but a more effective dirty bomb would use an isotope with a longer half life.

Journalist Refudiates Status Of Fukushima

He was hired under false pretenses, only worked at Fukushima for "more than a month" and yet he knows that "absolutely no progress is being made.".

He's held news conferences.

And did I mention he's selling a book?

Radiation Safety vs Driving Safety

There is a Commentary in the latest issue of the Health Physics Journal about foregoing the Linear No Threshold (LNT) dose model for cancer risk assessment. The authors agree it is sound to use LNT for radiation protection regulation purposes, however.

So the authors basically are LNT-deniers and employ many of the denialist arguments I've blogged about before.

Don't Say The "M" Word

There is a derogatory word for African Americans that starts with the letter "n".  Rather than mention the word in the pubic media, people actually say "the n-word".

It looks like the Japan government was sensitive to the "m-word".

What To Wear To A Fukushima Event???

Here is one possible ensemble.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


For trying to illegally sell radioactive material.

Hanford Critical Mass Lab Demolished

One of Hanford's most contaminated buildings.  The article includes an embedded video.

Review Of Congressional Inquiry Into U.S. NRC Bickering

In case you missed seeing the actual hearing which was aired on C-Span 3, you can get a tidy review of it here.

Is "Cold Shutdown" The Right Term To Describe Fukushima?

Traditionally, "cold shutdown" has meant that there is an intact reactor, the control rods have been inserted to stop fission, and the temperature associated with decay heat is below the boiling point of water.

The Japanese government is saying that the Fukushima reactors will be in "cold shutdown" soon.

Is that appropriate?

The latest long term estimates for Fukushima cleanup is 40 years.  This article has an embedded video with some good, but brief, footage of the carnage.

Cool Radiation Video Camera

A camera that also detects radiation for a combined output.  This should be very helpful for documenting spill cleanups.

Fukushima Study Monkeying Around

Yes, literally.  The study is using monkeys to collect data.

First Japanese Debris Reaching U.S. West Coast

Slight chance some of it may be slightly radioactive.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Small Spill At Canda's Point Lepreau Plant

Details lacking.

Should The U.S. Phase Out Nuclear Plants?

USA Today had both sides of the argument.

Nuclear Countries Almost Had High Level Waste Disposal Solved

Unless you're Australian.

IAEA Coordinates Pacific Ocean Monitoring

Between different countries.

Now That Is RAD!

A description of RAD, the radiation detector on the Mars Science Lab.

Beautiful,Beautiful Gamma Rays

Have a look! 

Thanks Fermi (and you too, Tycho).

Japan's Industry Minister Wants TEPCO To Get Fishermen Persmission For Water Dumping

That isn't good governance, playing one group against another.  Either allow them to dump or not based on existing regulations.  If no specific regulations exist, the Ministry needs to make a decision and carve out a strategy to deal with repercussions.

Small Reactors Could Play A Future Role

Read more here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"The analysis of the scans indicates 38 patients had an exposure that may constitute a medical event"

WoW!  I was busy today and only now had a chance to review the NRC Event Reports (see my "Links Of Interest", right hand side of my blog). 

This is very "nonroutine"!

This Smells Fishy - Largest Doses Outside Of Fukushima

According to this Reuters article.  But the article only quotes the "local government". 

Who is that exactly?

Canada's Bruce Power Foregoing Alberta Plans

This will be bad news for some, good news for others I suppose.

Fewer, Larger Radiotherapy Doses For Prostate Cancer

This is good news for those with the disease, no one likes going to get treatment.

Utah Says Waste Blending Needs More Study

Maybe the company should change its name to DilutionSolutions instead of EnergySolutions, since in this case "dilution is the solution"!

High activity resin which would be prohibited for disposal at its Utah site is being diluted with low activity resin so that all of the resin can be disposed of there.  The State wants more info but is allowing the process to proceed, which is reasonable.

Santa Claus Brings Christmas To Fukushima

It's funny how a Germanic pagan figure gets associated with a Christian Greek Bishop and is now giving gifts to kids of a largely Buddhist or Shinto demographic.  I bet he doesn't have an Atomic Energy Lab:

New Gene Mutations Linked To CLL

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common form of leukemia.  Now new genes have been implicated in its evolution.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fukushima Children's Radiation Limit Not Safe!!! Or is it???

Here's a bit of fear mongering, which is actually one of the most convincing I've seen.  Let's dig in!

12/13/11 UPDATE - The YouTuber has blocked me from posting.  That's typically what propagandists do.

Want To Tour The Savannah River Site?

Now you can!

Radiation Therapy May Cause Cognitive Problems

Noted in breast cancer survivors.

Fire At Tsuruga Nuclear Plant

No reported release of radioactive materials.

The Higgs Particle

Here's a great article describing the search for the Higgs particle (a quanta of the Higgs field) which is what we think gives other particles their mass.

Good Article On Radon

It's targeted for a Utah audience, but has lots of more general info.

Both Boys & Girls Can Benefit From HPV Vaccine

In minimizing their risk of cancer.

Hodgkin Lymphoma Patients Can Skip Radiation Therapy

Good news.  Read more here.

AREVA Expecting Large Losses

Read more here.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rep. Markey Defends NRC Chief Jaczko

Yesterday I had a post regarding infighting at the highest level of  the U.S. NRC.

It looks like Rep. Markey (a longtime anti-nuke) is coming to the defense of Jaczko (who used to work for Markey).

Radiation Won't Stop World Cup

The Club World Cup Soccer championships will be played in Japan.

I Should Have Been A Civil Engineer P3

This is obviously the third in a series.  A series whose length is contingent on Marco Kaltofen's actions. Here is Part 2 which includes a link to the original post.

Well, Marco's back at it, so here goes Part 3.

Criticism Of IAEA

And it ain't pretty.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

NRC Chief Jaczko Hurting The NRC

So says his fellow commissioners.

Contaminated Baby Food Maker Learning Politics

I've posted previously on the slightly contaminated baby food.  Here's more.

Genkai Plant Also Had Leak

Read more here.

What's Ahead For Fukushima?

A long and tough road.

This article summarizes some research on the the expected marine impacts.

And here's a video describing the current status:

An Ambiguous Japanese Report On Children's Doses

Here's an article about some radiation surveys taken in Koriyama, which shows that most children are not receiving very much radiation exposure.  But it's odd for the radiation experts to conclude that the levels "pose no harm to the children's health".  The risks are small, but they're not "no".

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's Fun To Watch A Cancer Cell Die

Ok, maybe not on the list of top ten fun things, but this article describes how suppression of a particular protein can cause some cancer cells to die.

And there's a video!

Ex-Fukushima Accident Leader Has Cancer

No, not due to Fukushima (though that won't stop the whackos).

Fukushima - Has The China Syndrome Begun?

That's the question being asked by some anti-nukes.

IF any of the cores have hit ground water, that's still a long way from the China Syndrome, which is associated with a core melting through the Earth.  Regardless, the inaccessibility of the cores is very problematic.  The situation needs to be stabilized before a second earthquake or tsunami affects the area.

Japan's Prime Minister is optimistic.

The anti-nukes, not so much:

Some TN Residents Feel Ignored By The NRC

As related to the licensing of a second Watts Bar reactor.

Radiation Ain't All Bad

Here's a link that covers the basics of radiation therapy.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

You're Mistaken...You Are Radioactive

Here's a video on the recent Fukushima spill.  At one point the guest's video image turns yellowish and he jokes that he isn't radioactive.  The hosts says something like, let's hope not. 

They don't realize we are all radioactive:

Turkey Point Nuclear Plant Helps Crocodiles

Crocodile smiles!

Cesium Found In Baby Milk Powder

It's far below any regulatory levels, but if a mother has a choice, will she buy that product or make another choice? 

"They're Admitting...blah, blah, blah"

Why is it whenever someone (let's say a nuclear power plant owner) learns something he/she didn't know before, and tells everyone else what he/she has learned....that "they're admitting" something?

To admit something suggests one has knowingly done something wrong and withheld that information from others, until one finally discloses the information.

This guy, Kamps, needs to admit he's a fear mongerer.

Chernobyl Wildlife

Tim Mousseau is a solid researcher.  It's a shame to have to listen to him via Dr. Helen Caldicott.  But he is worth listening to.  He has performed many studies of the Chernobyl ecology.

One of the "arguments" I've frequently encountered from pro-nuclear folks is that the Chernobyl ecology is thriving.

Merging Tsunami Responsible For Fukushima

A double whammy!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Natural Nuclear Reactors & Life

Here is an interesting article about a possible connection between naturally occurring nuclear reactors and life.  A reactor might improve genetic diversity (among survivors) locally, giving life more options for long term success.

Fukushima Spill

It looks like 45 tons of radioactive water spilled inside some sort of water purification facility at Fukushima.  Perhaps 300 liters escaped the building.  The article is nice in that it actually provides some radiation data, but it's not clear at what height the readings were actually taken.  Even if taken close to ground level, that's some pretty contaminated water!

This article includes an embedded video and states that the estimated radioactivity levels were 130,000 Bq/cm3 of strontium (I assume Sr-90).

This article states that 220 tons of water may have escaped the building, big difference from the first article.

Opal, What A Gem!

It's great for sequestering uranium!

Probably won't be much reassurance for those in Jaduguda, India.

Los Alamos Nuclear Weapon Facility In The Headlines

It's called the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement Facility.  It's almost as if it requires a contorted name in order to substantiate its price tag of almost $6,000,000,000.  It seems that the DOE wants to keep the facility in Los Alamos, even though it's earthquake prone.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hot Tires

I've heard of Hot Wheels (toy cars):

Now we have hot tires!

Japan's "Nuclear Gypsies"

Here's an interesting story about Japan's "nuclear gypsies" or those more typically referred to as "jumpers".

Some Hudson, NY Folks Had An Evening Of Fear Mongering

Recently with Helen Caldicott.

She claims over a million people died from Chernobyl, which is baseless (actually it's based on the discredited NYAS book).  The same book is responsible for claims about deformed children.

She says there's no "pill" you can take to rid the body of radioactive elements.  That's not true.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

More On Fukushima 1

I posted the other day that Unit 1 might be worse than first thought.

That seems to be the consensus.  CBS News covered the story with some good video.

U.S. Coast Guard Awaits Radiation Claims From LORAN Workers

LOnge RAnge Navigation is the source of the LORAN acronym.  It was a terrestial radio-based navigation system used by the Coast Guard prior to using more modern GPS systems.

These systems used vacuum tubes.  In a vacuum tube, electrons flow from a cathode to the anode within a sealed, airless tube.  The electrons emit X-rays as a result of a phenomenon called bremsstrahlung ("breaking radiation").  This usually isn't a safety problem until the voltage exceeds about 15 keV, because until then, the tube itself provides sufficient shielding of the X-rays. 

As the voltage increases, additional shielding is required in order to minimize the X-ray dose (since X-ray energy is proportional to the voltage which is causing electron acceleration).

It looks like the Coast Guard didn't inform the LORAN workers of the X-ray risk, and some workers may have been overexposed.  Though it's hard to tell from the article which doesn't give any dose estimates.

Radioactive Placards Make Folks Nervous

Radioactive placards are a paradox.  They are intended to warn first responders to a potential accident about the hazards associated with the cargo.  That's why they're big!  So they can be seen from a distance.

But, they also serve as advertising for potential terrorists.

Or, they just scare people!

Friday, December 2, 2011

VA Uranium Mining Controversy

To mine or not to mine.

That is the question.

Airport X Ray Backscatter Machines

PBS Newshour covered the topic last night.

Fukushima Earthquake Moved Sea Floor Half A Football Field


Lower Antioxident Levels May Explain Higher Male Skin Cancer Risk

Another explanation is that males have higher levels of myloid derived suppressor cells which might suppress the immune system.  A suppressed immune system could be favorable to carcinogenesis.

New High Clarity, Ultra Low Dose CT

Thanks Notre Dame, Purdue & GE Healthcare!

Though, I wish the article specified the degree of dose reduction.

There are around 60,000,000 CT scans performed each year in the U.S.

The delivered dose varies based on what is being studied.

Learn more here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Impact Of Fukushima On The Japanese Food Market

This video illustrates how exaggerated fears of radioactivity can impact people's lives.  From the mother who is concerned for her child, to the fishermen trying to make a living.

Fukushima Unit 1 Might Be Worse Than First Thought

Or it might not.  Hard to tell.

TEPCO really needs to call Bustice and Power Girl.  They know how to save nuclear power plants:

"Radioactive Box" Found In Boston Basement

What is it about the city of Boston and radioactive material?

Now a box labeled "radioactive" has been found in a basement! 

This article provides a better photo which shows the overreaction.

Woes For U.S. Enrichment Corporation

A sign of the times.