Search This Blog

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Seismic vs. Marine Animal Safety

Is the challenge facing the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant.

Interesting to see some anti-nuclear groups against the seismic test.

Climate Change - What's Coming Is Worse Than What's Happened

Here's a great talk from a great educator, Dr. Richard Alley, from about 7 months ago on climate change.

Major Federal Nuclear Projects In Limbo

The Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (what a mouthful!) is in limbo.

And the National Ignition Facility is too.

Potential Treatment For Rad Induced GI Injury

The gastrointestinal tract (GI) is sensitive to high doses of radiation.  Damage can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, infection and ultimately death.  Prodromal effects can manifest at about 1 Gy.

A company called Synedgen has delivered an orally administered medicine which has shown dramatic reduction in animal mortality from GI injury.  And they've received more U.S. Army funding for further research.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Resort Turns To Sewage For Snow Due To Global Warming

Which has some people angry.

Epigenetics in Squamous Cell Carcinoma

It was thought the protein DNp63a regulated the common tumor suppressor gene p53.  But that's not the case. DNp63A, working with a partner protein, silences anti-proliferative genes which normally keep a cell from dividing too much.  With those genes silenced, cancer cells can proliferate.

Oh, The Hypocrisy

I've posted quite a bit in the past about the 2012 American Nuclear Society's President's Special Session, which was an orchestrated attack on the SCIENCE of health physics.

Who was the conductor of that meeting?

Risk Markers Found For Erectile Dysfunction Following Radiation

For prostate cancer.  Researchers found 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms in genes associated with erectile function following radiation treatment for prostate cancer.

Single Nucleotide Polymorphism - the two DNA chains differ in one base pair

Maybe A Once-In-A-Civilization-Lifetime Event

We may see a comet which blazes brighter than the Moon next year!

After Almost 20 Years, VT Ships Rad Waste To TX

A whopping 30 gallon drum and some unspecified volumes from the Vermont Yankee power plant.  Seems dysfunctional to me, in terms of cost and transportation distance.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Nuclear Fracking!

Hydraulic fracking has been in the news quite a bit lately.

It is part of the reason natural gas is so cheap, which is hurting one of its competitors, nuclear energy.

But hey, 50 or so years ago we tried nuclear fracking.

The problem?

Fukushima & Its Psychological Effects On Mothers

Psychological stress due to finances, separation from husbands, and worry over kids' radiation exposures.  The news report is all anecdotal so it's hard to know the real extent, but that there is some stress isn't surprising.  

Global Warming Slows Down World Economy

By about 1.6% per year.

And what are the current U.S. Presidential candidates' policies to address this?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The ANS & Big Tobacco

My last two posts of today addressed the science denial of the 2012 American Nuclear Society President's Special Session.  I thought I'd just close the day out with this old video of a former tobacco executive:

Letter To Nuclear News Editor

Don't know if it'll get printed or not, but it's in response to the subject of my last blog post.

Monday, September 24, 2012

ANS Publication Promotes Health Physics Denial

The publication, called Nuclear News, gave noncritical coverage of a few pages (including a letter by psychic Ted Rockwell) in its September issue.  Specifically it provided coverage of the "President's Special Session: Low-Level Radiation and Its Implication for Fukushima Recovery" from the 2012 ANS annual meeting.

HI Gets Rad Detector To Scan Japanese Debris

A radioisotope identifier at $15K.  Exciting times in HI.

Surplus U-233 Is A Waste

3,400 pounds and it's fissile.

French Trial Opens In Medical Radiation Scandal

Involving two physicians and a medical physicist responsible for the deaths of at least seven people.

The ICRP (Delusion) - Powerful Nemeses Of Global Nuclear Power!

You health physics deniers have always known they've existed!  You've known the name of their organization....the International Commission On Radiological Protection (ICRP)!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Decades Of Government Subsidies Have Helped Shale Gas

$100M in research and $10B in tax breaks.

The point being that government incentives can drive technologies.  In this case, a technology that cries out to be outdated by something else less polluting.  Republicans don't seem to understand any of this....the role of government, global warming, science......

The Moon Shots To Cure Cancer

The MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas has announced a new initiative to cure cancer based on former President Kennedy's optimism and pro-science outlook when he decided we would send a man to the moon.

The Center estimates the cost at about $3B for the first 10 years.

This is BIG!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Here's The Moron (Climatology Denier) I Was Looking For

I mentioned in a previous post of today, that I had looked for a YouTube clip of the The Young Turks which featured a moronic climatology denier (from last night's show).  Well, the clip has been posted (sadly it's truncated), and the moron's name is  Jack Burkman.  Of course he's a Republican science denier political strategist :

23 Nuclear Plants In Tsunami Risk Areas

According to a study in the Natural Hazards journal summarized here.

DoE's Comprehensive Epidemiologic Data Resource

And you know it's known by its acronym CEDR.  CEDR is a web-accessible database full of radiation health data and environmental data that  is available to anyone.  It is explained in this video:

Under Pressure - Arctic Sea Ice At Record Seasonal Minimum

The lowest since 1979.  The six lowest seasonal minimums have all occurred in the last six years!

The Young Turks had a moronic climatology denier on their show last night, but I couldn't find a clip on YouTube.  Here's another on climate change from a couple of days ago:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

TMI Unit 1 Shuts Down Unexpectedly

Second time in a month.

Hey, What About Health Physics?

Here's a talk from last month given by Genie Scott of the National Center For Science Education (NCSE) and given to the American Chemical Society.  The topic is the attack on climate change and evolution education.

Feathered Dinosaurs Drive Creationists Crazy

Actually, they're a bit crazy to start.  The fact that dinosaurs appear to have had feathers just makes them more whacko.  The article mentions one particular creationist named Ken Ham.  Mr. Ham and a couple of his fellow science deniers felt compelled to respond to Bill Nye's recent criticism of creationism.

Forbes Spreads Heartland Institute Climate Change Denial

I just came across this piece of nonsense or I would have included it in my last post.  See that last post if you're not familiar with the Heartland Institute.  One of their Senior Dummies Fellows has a piece in Forbes describing the growth of ice in Antarctica.

Let's dig in!

PBS Gives Venue To A Climate Change "Skeptic"

PBS you've disappointed.  What's next a homeopath skeptical of medicine?  An astrologer skeptical of astronomy?

Anthony Watts was a T.V. weatherman and is associated with the right-wing, anti-science, anti-regulation group Heartland Institute. In case you're not familiar with this despicable group, watch this:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rad Waste Market Games

This article shows how the radioactive waste market favors one particular company called EnergySolutions (ES).

Business Insider Magazine Promotes Science Denial

Why would a business magazine have a science section?

More importantly, why would it have a science section and then promote science denial?

Let's dig in!

Hey Mitt - A Nuclear Weapon Is Not A Dirty Bomb

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney doesn't seem to understand the difference between a dirty bomb and a nuclear weapon.  He would if he was reading the RIB Joint.  Obviously the construction and blast effects are hugely different.

Dirty bombs are easy to make (see last link), but nuclear weapons are difficult:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How Nuclear Power Devastates Human Health!

Well, it doesn't.  So why this podcast title?

"Dr. Wladimir Wertelecki on birth defects caused by Chernobyl and how nuclear power devastates human health"

It's Helen Caldicott's podcast, that's why.

Pager-Sized Gamma Spec Dosimeter

Here's a new video by Tom (the computer scientist who likes health physics better, and who can blame him?) describing a pager size, gamma spectroscopy/dosimeter.  If you're not into health physics, just pass on it.  But if you're into it, this product is pretty cool!  That didn't have toys like that when I was growing up.

Hanford Groundwater Treatment

I recently described groundwater remediation efforts in Nevada.  Hanford is also addressing their contamination as described in this video from a few months ago.  Groundwater remediation is challenging due to the differential flowrates and the nature of the contamination.  And everything is below ground!

Hanford Happenings

They are kicking butt in emptying tank waste and they've cleaned up 1.5 M tons of contaminated material at F Reactor.

The urinalysis results of a couple of workers came back okay, after they were contaminated when a pipe seal failed.

And for all that good news, almost 290 workers there will be laid off.

Monday, September 17, 2012

NRC Engineer Accuses Agency Of Coverup

Regarding the potential for flooding of reactors located downstream of dams.

Radiation Emergency Medical Mgt.

We hope there will never be another radiation emergency involving high acute doses of radiation, but it's bound to happen eventually.  Here are two good resources on the subject of how to handle victims.

How Nuclear May Slow Arctic Fossil Fuel Exploration

If this report is true, the Russians appeared to have dumped large quantities of radioactive waste in the area.  Now they'll be working with the Norwegians to find it before before raping extracting the fossil fuels.

Of course, the Russians were hardly unique:

Groundwater Monitoring At The NNSS

The Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), used to be called the Nevada Test Site, which is where the U.S. tested many nuclear weapons.  We can easily measure surface and airborne contaminants from the site, but groundwater contamination is much more difficult.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

France To Cut Nuclear Energy Dependence

According to President Hollande, from 75% of their energy mix to 50%.

They also intend to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate Change - Think & Tap Your Feet

Here are two recent, wonderful videos. One is a comprehensive, serious discussion on the topic of climate change, including the denial of the science.  So it's long.  The second video is part education and part inspirational, for those without the time or inclination for first.

Warren Buffett Does Radiation

Because he has prostate cancer.

I don't know what his specific treatment plan was, but this video shows what a person can generally expect (some of this video may be graphic to some folks, but it's just reality):

Gundersen - Wing And Some Fear

Arnie's got some more media attention, this time in The Japan Times.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

More Science vs Religion

I don't really get much satisfaction out of bashing theology or religion.

I'm motivated to criticize them because they reflect bad science, bad history and bad logic. 

So playing on my last post, here's a very recent discussion on the topic.  

It's an evolutionary biologist (Richard Dawkins) and a rabbi (Jonathan Sacks) from September 12:

Dr. Sich - The Name Fits!

We met Dr. Sich in the last post, and when I had searched for the video which I embedded, I saw a second one which is more recent (uploaded Jan, 2012).  It has to do with science and theology and I was curious as to whether Sich would stand up for science or not.  Well, you know the answer from the title.

Let's dig in!

Chernobyl vs Fukushima

A video was just posted to YouTube called the "The Truth About Fukushima".  It was a clip from this older (uploaded April, 2011) video comparing Chernobyl to Fukushima, which I hadn't seen.  So rather than post the recent, shorter upload, let's explore the original:

Friday, September 14, 2012

FBI Clears Company In Lost TX Source

It's an Am-Be source used for well logging.  The Am-241 emits an alpha particle which strikes the Be-9 leading to C-6 and a neutron.  Neutron energies typically range from 2-10 MeV, averaging around 4.5 MeV.  You get about 35 mrem/hr  per Ci of Am-241 at 30 cm, and these devices typically have something like 10 Ci, so expect around 350 mrem/hr at 30 cm.

UT Rad Waste Board Won't Include EnergySolutions

The EnergySolutions exec who was considered as a nominee to the Board by the Utah Governor has yanked his application.  See my earlier post here.

"Had he gone on to serve, Shrum would have been the first representative of the disposal site to be on the board since 1997, when a corruption case erupted involving the former company owner, a member of the radiation board, another board member and the former director of the radiation office."

That was a no brainer!

Daniel Hirsch vs San Onofre

Dan Hirsch is my favorite anti-nuke.  He spins a bit and he's obviously biased, but he doesn't grossly exaggerate, lie, cherry pick, and fear monger the way many of the other prominent ones do.  If you listen to him here, it's obvious he keeps up with what's going on.  This talk is from the end of last month, I'm not sure what the venue was.  At the end, the video says to go to another one for the Q&A, but I couldn't find the second one:

Hanford Completes Removal Of Highly Rad Sludge


Troubling NYT's Energy News

It looks like Japan is looking to phase out nuclear power.  Though they'll increase their use of renewables, they're certain to increase their use of fossil fuels.  Of course, they could change their minds in the future.

Fossil fuel ads are reported to dominate the television presidential campaign at over $153M compared with $41M by those looking to modernize.

Nuclear and wind energy interplays are discussed, with Exelon in a weird position

Thursday, September 13, 2012

IAEA's New Database Of Fukushima Rad Info

Hey, I was told that there's a conspiracy to hide information from the public, right Arnie (see previous post)?

Obviously not.

Here's a tiny sample of the database's output.  I searched for "Radionuclide Concentrations In Leaves" between March 11 and March 25, 2011 for "All" locations.  I got 8 long pages of data, just a few lines represented below:

Gundersen Does Japan P2

I didn't expect to be doing a second part, but I guess Arnie was busy while in Japan.  I'm not sure what this latest venue was, here's my post on an earlier press conference.

It's very long and slow due to the need for translations, so watch it at your own risk.

Dr. Nobel...I Have A Prize For You

We all recognize the name Nobel.  It's associated with prizes in science and peace.

Michael Nobel is the great-grandson of Ludvig Nobel, who was the brother of Alfred Nobel.  It was Alfred who established the prizes we're familiar with.

Michael Nobel is peddling nonsense.  He's featured promoting the sale of Propectin, an apple pectin product, which is touted to reduce Cs-137 levels in the body.

UT Governor Reconsiders Rad Waste Board Nomination

If you recall, a state audit of EnergySolutions' site operations found independent, state regulatory oversight lacking, with one state senator demanding the head of the agency be fired.

The Governor of the state is now reconsidering one of his nominations to the state Radiation Control Board, an EnergySolutions employee.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Marshall Institute's Climate Denier Also A Creationist

The George C. Marshall Institute earns its living through science denial.  Dr. Roy Spencer is on their Board of Directors and is most famous for denying climate change.  It looks like he is motivated by his religion.

They Found It Carcinogenic, Now Defund Them

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) falls under the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services.

What does it do?  It identifies substances that are known or reasonably anticipated to cause cancer.  They document their findings in their Report On Carcinogens (the ROC and yes, it includes ionizing radiation).

But what about the companies which earn their profits off the sales of a substance which has been added to the ROC?  As in styrene or formaldehyde.

Oops...Wade Did It Yet Again

Yup, Wade Allison yet again with his latest anti-science (which seems to be fueled by an anti-government bias) hyperbole, Appreciate Nuclear And Its Safety.

Should The NRC Protect Real Estate?

The NYT has a blog in which the author attended an NRC commission meeting on the subject.  Currently, NRC regulations address doses to people and health risks, not the financial implications of land contamination, relocation of people, the shutting down of businesses, etc.

The Chairman or woman, Allison Macfarlane, considers the matter a priority, so a vote on the matter is possible before the year's end.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dirty Bomb Threat Lurks In Hospitals

Speaking of audits and regulators (see my previous post), the GAO has found that the physical security associated with certain radioactive materials at many hospitals is lacking.  Those radioactive materials could  be incorporated into dirty bombs.  (And it is the anniversary of 9/11)

The NRC challenged the findings.  They've prepared some new security regulations, 10CFR37, but they haven't been issued yet (though they've issued orders similar to the regulations).

UT State Senator Hot Over Rad Waste

A bit of ancient history...a company named Envirocare of Utah became the first privately owned, low level radioactive waste disposal site after its owner bribed the head of the state licensing agency (Dept. Of Environmental Quality).  Eventually that owner sold the company for something like $500M, and today it is a publicly traded company called EnergySolutions.

More recently, it looks like some Utah state auditors concluded that the state regulators do not provide sufficient independent oversight.  In particular they were concerned the site could accept higher than Class A waste (the lowest classification, followed by B & C) or waste from foreign countries.

Let's dig in!

Gamma Spec

Gamma spec is shorthand for gamma spectroscopy.  Gamma spec is the process and equipment used to discern and identify radionuclides which emit gamma radiation.  Here's our friend Tom (the computer scientist who enjoys health physics, and who can blame him?) showing us his system.  He didn't do very well explaining radioactive decay, but he excels here:

But It Looks Like Every Other Anti-Nuke "Documentary"...

...except it's in Japanese.  It's called "Fukushima - Memories Of A Lost Landscape", and from this trailer it's all about appeals to emotion. 

Monday, September 10, 2012


The NFL is the National Football League, and LNT is the Linear, No Threshold theory of cancer induction from ionizing radiation.

Why Do Radioactive Atoms Decay?

Tom, the computer scientist who seems to like health physics better, tries to explain:

Well, I wonder if that didn't add to the confusion.  Let's dig in!

Fukushima Monster Fish

Will probably get tested for radioactivity concentration (not that radioactivity has anything to do with its size):

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012

UK - You've Got A Problem

It's your health minister Jeremy Hunt who promotes homeopathy.

Homeopathy is the nonsense that the more one dilutes something, the more effective it is.

It's a sham, a scam, and imbecilic.

T.D. Luckey used homeopathy to promote his radiation hormesis propaganda.

(Obviously, the U.S. has problems too.)

TEPCO Educates The NAS

The U.S.'s National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is studying the Fukushima accident in order to reach conclusions on improving U.S. nuclear power plant safety.  A delegation from TEPCO and from the U.S.'s Institute for Nuclear Power Operations gave the NAS committee a briefing yesterday which is summarized here.

The Measurement Problem(s) P2

I would have included this in my prior post, except I wasn't aware of this bit of news when I scribbled it.

The Measurement Problem(s)

Science thrives on measurements, but there are many measurement problems.  Just because we can't directly measure something, doesn't mean we should ignore other evidence that informs us about the likely nature of what the measurement is.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Science Is Enriching & Fulfilling"

Yes it is, especially when compared to the alternatives.

You're Not Allowed Science Anymore....

If only it could be so.

"Fukushima Was Blown Up On Purpose"

Well, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with that.  Leave it to the icky David Icke.  Not only that, Fukushima is part of a larger plot to increase the Earth's radioactivity.  And the earthquake and tsunami, were triggered using HAARP as was Haiti's quake in 2010.

Oh, and global warming is a lie and people in Japan are "going down" from the radiation.

Fukushima - International Exchange Activities

Here's a short video documenting a visit to Fukushima by some American high school students.  Some will think of this as education and outreach, others as propaganda:

LANL Contamination Event

Trivial, but it made the local news.  I had problems getting the video to play all the way to the end.

Are watchdog groups "watchdogs" or chihuahuas?

More info is available at the NRC Event Reports link provided on right hand side of page.

DNA Porn P3

A third part certainly wasn't planned, but here's a good overview of ENCODE, the project which produced the studies in part 2.  Embedded within that link is a good graphic, an almost 17 minute podcast, and a just under 5 minute video which includes a little animation.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fukushima Dose Registry For U.S. DoD Personnel

The registry will let servicemembers get data on the low doses they received from Fukushima if they were in Japan at the time.  I tried to view some dose estimates but I had problems getting data.

DNA Porn P2

Here's a neat coincidence...I had no intention of posting a second part.  In the original post I introduced the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and provided a link to their great video animations of DNA.

Well, CSHL and their co-collaborators have just published a bunch of papers in a number of journals regarding ENCODE (ENcyclopedia of DNA Elements).  The papers are summarized in three articles and I'll summarize those below.  Most of what's covered isn't totally brand new, it's just that these studies are more comprehensive.

Sorry, no animations.

$1M Reward Offered To Birthers, Creationists & Hormies

It's really time for those folks to put up or shut up.

But we know they won't.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DNA Porn

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a non-profit research and education institute specializing in the subject of genetics and molecular biology.

One of their wonderful products is a litany of scientifically accurate 3-D animations of DNA, which gets me excited.  Of course, my favorite, is DNA damage!  But it's too short!

U.S. Presidential Candidates Answer Science Questions

Following up on an earlier post, the U.S. Presidential candidates have provided written responses to 14 scientific questions.  A debate would have been preferred, but you get what you get.

Consilience & The Death Of A Messiah

Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, died a couple of days ago.  Funny how Messiah's come and go, and the world keeps moving along according to the laws of physics.  Moon's aim was to unify all the other religions under his (of course!).  Like Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion, Moon had been jailed for being a con man.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Oops...Wade Did It Again!

That would be Wade Allison.  I've written many posts criticizing his technical mistakes in the past, just search his name.

Looks like he'll be continuing his international book tour:

First They Came For Biology, And I Did Not Speak Out

My title is a parody of this Martin Niemoller quote related to Nazi persecution:
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Well, the science deniers are attacking all of the sciences, AND I AM SPEAKING OUT.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

HP Denier Preaches To Choir, Choir Says "Amen"

Sometimes the behavior of a preacher and his believers is disturbing:

Here's a recent video in which Dr. Jerry Cuttler addresses the right-wing, science deniers Doctors For Disaster Preparedness (DFDP) regarding Fukushima.  We've come across the DFDP many times before and they're disturbing:

IAEA Fukushima Update

Recently released (look in upper right corner of linked webpage for PDF).

Good radiological and plant status data.  They even discussed "dosimetergate", where some workers shielded their dosimeters in order to make it look like they didn't receive as much dose as they did, so they could work longer.

And Get Off The Counter Kitty

In keeping with my previous post of humor, felines, and natural radioactivity, granite countertops are another household source of trivial amounts of radioactivity (in addition to kitty litter).

The Marble Institute of America has found it necessary to discuss countertop radioactivity on their website.

Tom Counts Kitty Litter

There's a guy on YouTube who is a computer scientist who also seems to enjoy some aspects of health physics.  He's purchased his own gamma spectroscopy system.  The system allows him to detect (count) the gamma radiation emitted by the natural radioactivity found in kitty litter and identify which isotopes are present.  In case you were wondering:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

This mit Is Much More Interesting Than This Mitt

This is the boring Mitt, Mitt Romney the U.S. Republican presidential candidate:

Skepticism vs. Denialism

With Dr. Richard Milne of Edinburgh University in a talk from last year.  The beginning applies to all the science deniers (climate science, health physics, medicine, etc.).  At about 19:30, he starts going into the cliimate science.