- Fundraising Appeal
- Three Mile Island
- General Interest
- Rare Earth Mining
- War & Peace
- Nuclear Testing
- Fossil Fuels
- NUCLEAR POWER
- NUCLEAR WEAPONS
- NUCLEAR WASTE
- PUBLIC HEALTH
- CLIMATE CHANGE
Medical and Environmental Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Symposium translations German and French where available
Tokyo Doctor Moves Because “It is clear that Eastern Japan and Metropolitan Tokyo have been contaminated with radiation.”
A Tokyo Doctor speaks out on radiation contamination in Tokyo and lack of transparency.
By Staff, www.save-children-from-radiation.org l 23 July 2014
Tokyo Doctor Moves Because “It is clear that Eastern Japan and Metropolitan Tokyo have been contaminated with radiation.”
Urges fellow doctors to promote radiation protection describes changes in blood tests and symptoms of radiation poisoning of people in Tokyo
Doctor Shigeru Mita, who recently moved to Okayama-city, Okayama prefecture, to open a new clinic there, wrote a short essay in the newsletter published by Association of Doctors in Kodaira, metropolitan Tokyo.
Although the target readers for this essay were not the general public, it has been cited in a weekly e-mail magazine published by journalist Kota Kinoshita, who has been organizing actions to urge people to leave radiation affected areas (including Tokyo) since 3.11, 2011.
On many occasions, public talks and gatherings, both Dr. Mita and Mr. Kinoshita have acknowledged the danger of radiation and they have called out for immediate action for radiation protection.
Read more at this link: http://www.popularresistance.org/tokyo-should-no-longer-be-inhabited/
Helen Caldicott l Australian Medical Student Journal Volume 4, Issue 2 2014
Due to my personal concerns regarding the ignorance of the world’s media and politicians about radiation biology after the dreadful accident at Fukushima in Japan, I organized a 2 day symposium at the NY Academy of Medicine on March 11 and 12, 2013, titled ‘The Medical and Ecological Consequences of Fukushima,’ which was addressed by some of the world’s leading scientists, epidemiologists, physicists and physicians who presented their latest data and findings on Fukushima. 
The Great Eastern earthquake, measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, and the ensuing massive tsunami on the east coast of Japan induced the meltdown of three nuclear reactors within several days. During the quake the external power supply was lost to the reactor complex and the pumps, which circulate up to one million gallons of water per minute to cool each reactor core, ceased to function. Emergency diesel generators situated below the plants kicked in but these were soon swamped by the tsunami. Without cooling, the radioactive cores in units 1, 2 and 3 began to melt within hours. Over the next few days, all three cores (each weighing more than 100 tonnes) melted their way through six inches of steel at the bottom of their reactor vessels and oozed their way onto the concrete floor of the containment buildings. At the same time the zirconium cladding covering thousands of uranium fuel rods reacted with water, creating hydrogen, which initiated hydrogen explosions in units 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Massive quantities of radiation escaped into the air and water – three times more noble gases (argon, xenon and krypton) than were released at Chernobyl, together with huge amounts of other volatile and non-volatile radioactive elements, including cesium, tritium, iodine, strontium, silver, plutonium, americium and rubinium. Eventually sea water was – and is still – utilized to cool the molten reactors.
Fukushima is now described as the greatest industrial accident in history.
The Japanese government was so concerned that they were considering plans to evacuate 35 million people from Tokyo, as other reactors including Fukushima Daiini on the east coast were also at risk. Thousands of people fleeing from the smoldering reactors were not notified where the radioactive plumes were travelling, despite the fact that there was a system in place to track the plumes. As a result, people fled directly into regions with the highest radiation concentrations, where they were exposed to high levels of whole-body external gamma radiation being emitted by the radioactive elements, inhaling radioactive air and swallowing radioactive elements.  Unfortunately, inert potassium iodide was not supplied, which would have blocked the uptake of radioactive iodine by their thyroid glands, except in the town of Miharu. Prophylactic iodine was eventually distributed to the staff of Fukushima Medical University in the days after the accident, after extremely high levels of radioactive iodine – 1.9 million becquerels/kg were found in leafy vegetables near the University.  Iodine contamination was widespread in leafy vegetables and milk, whilst other isotopic contamination from substances such as caesium is widespread in vegetables, fruit, meat, milk, rice and tea in many areas of Japan. 
The Fukushima meltdown disaster is not over and will never end. The radioactive fallout which remains toxic for hundreds to thousands of years covers large swathes of Japan and will never be “cleaned up.” It will contaminate food, humans and animals virtually forever. I predict that the three reactors which experienced total meltdowns will never be dissembled or decommissioned. TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) – says it will take at least 30 to 40 years and the International Atomic Energy Agency predicts at least 40 years before they can make any progress because of the extremely high levels of radiation at these damaged reactors.
This accident is enormous in its medical implications. It will induce an epidemic of cancer as people inhale the radioactive elements, eat radioactive food and drink radioactive beverages. In 1986, a single meltdown and explosion at Chernobyl covered 40% of the European land mass with radioactive elements. Already, according to a 2009 report published by the New York Academy of Sciences, over one million people have already perished as a direct result of this catastrophe. This is just the tip of the iceberg, because large parts of Europe and the food grown there will remain radioactive for hundreds of years. 
Medical Implications of Radiation
Fact number one
No dose of radiation is safe. Each dose received by the body is cumulative and adds to the risk of developing malignancy or genetic disease.
Fact number two
Children are ten to twenty times more vulnerable to the carcinogenic effects of radiation than adults. Females tend to be more sensitive compared to males, whilst foetuses and immuno-compromised patients are also extremely sensitive.
Fact number three
High doses of radiation received from a nuclear meltdown or from a nuclear weapon explosion can cause acute radiation sickness, with alopecia, severe nausea, diarrhea and thrombocytopenia. Reports of such illnesses, particularly in children, appeared within the first few months after the Fukushima accident.
Fact number four
Ionizing radiation from radioactive elements and radiation emitted from X-ray machines and CT scanners can be carcinogenic. The latent period of carcinogenesis for leukemia is 5-10 years and solid cancers 15-80 years. It has been shown that all modes of cancer can be induced by radiation, as well as over 6000 genetic diseases now described in the medical literature.
But, as we increase the level of background radiation in our environment from medical procedures, X-ray scanning machines at airports, or radioactive materials continually escaping from nuclear reactors and nuclear waste dumps, we will inevitably increase the incidence of cancer as well as the incidence of genetic disease in future generations.
Types of ionizing radiation
- X-rays are electromagnetic, and cause mutations the instant they pass through the body.
- Similarly, gamma radiation is also electromagnetic, being emitted by radioactive materials generated in nuclear reactors and from some naturally occurring radioactive elements in the soil.
- Alpha radiation is particulate and is composed of two protons and two neutrons emitted from uranium atoms and other dangerous elements generated in reactors (such as plutonium, americium, curium, einsteinium, etc – all which are known as alpha emitters and have an atomic weight greater than uranium). Alpha particles travel a very short distance in the human body. They cannot penetrate the layers of dead skin in the epidermis to damage living skin cells. But when these radioactive elements enter the lung, liver, bone or other organs, they transfer a large dose of radiation over a long period of time to a very small volume of cells. Most of these cells are killed; however, some on the edge of the radiation field remain viable to be mutated, and cancer may later develop. Alpha emitters are among the most carcinogenic materials known.
- Beta radiation, like alpha radiation, is also particulate. It is a charged electron emitted from radioactive elements such as strontium 90, cesium 137 and iodine 131. The beta particle is light in mass, travels further than an alpha particle and is also mutagenic.
- Neutron radiation is released during the fission process in a reactor or a bomb. Reactor 1 at Fukushima has been periodically emitting neutron radiation as sections of the molten core become intermittently critical. Neutrons are large radioactive particles that travel many kilometers, and they pass through everything including concrete and steel. There is no way to hide from them and they are extremely mutagenic.
So, let’s describe just five of the radioactive elements that are continually being released into the air and water at Fukushima. Remember, though, there are over 200 such elements each with its own half-life, biological characteristic and pathway in the food chain and the human body. Most have never had their biological pathways examined. They are invisible, tasteless and odourless. When the cancer manifests it is impossible to determine its aetiology, but there is a large body of literature proving that radiation causes cancer, including the data from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
- Tritium is radioactive hydrogen H3 and there is no way to separate tritium from contaminated water as it combines with oxygen to form H3O. There is no material that can prevent the escape of tritium except gold, so all reactors continuously emit tritium into the air and cooling water as they operate. It concentrates in aquatic organisms, including algae, seaweed, crustaceans and fish, and also in terrestrial food. Like all radioactive elements, it is tasteless, odorless and invisible, and will therefore inevitably be ingested in food, including seafood, for many decades. It passes unhindered through the skin if a person is immersed in fog containing tritiated water near a reactor, and also enters the body via inhalation and ingestion. It causes brain tumors, birth deformities and cancers of many organs.
- Cesium 137 is a beta and gamma emitter with a half-life of 30 years. That means in 30 years only half of its radioactive energy has decayed, so it is detectable as a radioactive hazard for over 300 years. Cesium, like all radioactive elements, bio-concentrates at each level of the food chain. The human body stands atop the food chain. As an analogue of potassium, cesium becomes ubiquitous in all cells. It concentrates in the myocardium where it induces cardiac irregularities, and in the endocrine organs where it can cause diabetes, hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer. It can also induce brain cancer, rhabdomyosarcomas, ovarian or testicular cancer and genetic disease.
- Strontium 90 is a high-energy beta emitter with a half-life of 28 years. As a calcium analogue, it is a bone-seeker. It concentrates in the food chain, specifically milk (including breast milk), and is laid down in bones and teeth in the human body. It can lead to carcinomas of the bone and leukaemia.
- Radioactive iodine 131 is a beta and gamma emitter. It has a half-life of eight days and is hazardous for ten weeks. It bio-concentrates in the food chain, in vegetables and milk, then in the the human thyroid gland where it is a potent carcinogen, inducing thyroid disease and/or thyroid cancer. It is important to note that of 174,376 children under the age of 18 that have been examined by thyroid ultrasound in the Fukushima Prefecture, 12 have been definitively diagnosed with thyroid cancer and 15 more are suspected to have the disease. Almost 200,000 more children are yet to be examined. Of these 174,367 children, 43.2% have either thyroid cysts and/or nodules.
In Chernobyl, thyroid cancers were not diagnosed until four years post-accident. This early presentation indicates that these Japanese children almost certainly received a high dose of radioactive iodine. High doses of other radioactive elements released during the meltdowns were received by the exposed population so the rate of cancer is almost certain to rise.
- Plutonium, one of the most deadly radioactive substances, is an alpha emitter. It is highly toxic, and one millionth of a gram will induce cancer if inhaled into the lung. As an iron analogue, it combines with transferrin. It causes liver cancer, bone cancer, leukemia, or multiple myeloma. It concentrates in the testicles and ovaries where it can induce testicular or ovarian cancer, or genetic diseases in future generations. It also crosses the placenta where it is teratogenic, like thalidomide. There are medical homes near Chernobyl full of grossly deformed children, the deformities of which have never before been seen in the history of medicine.
The half-life of plutonium is 24,400 years, and thus it is radioactive for 250,000 years. It will induce cancers, congenital deformities, and genetic diseases for virtually the rest of time.
Plutonium is also fuel for atomic bombs. Five kilos is fuel for a weapon which would vaporize a city. Each reactor makes 250 kg of plutonium a year. It is postulated that less than one kilo of plutonium, if adequately distributed, could induce lung cancer in every person on earth.
In summary, the radioactive contamination and fallout from nuclear power plant accidents will have medical ramifications that will never cease, because the food will continue to concentrate the radioactive elements for hundreds to thousands of years. This will induce epidemics of cancer, leukemia and genetic disease. Already we are seeing such pathology and abnormalities in birds and insects, and because they reproduce very fast it is possible to observe disease caused by radiation over many generations within a relatively short space of time.
Pioneering research conducted by Dr Tim Mousseau, an evolutionary biologist, has demonstrated high rates of tumors, cataracts, genetic mutations, sterility and reduced brain size amongst birds in the exclusion zones of both Chernobyl and Fukushima. What happens to animals will happen to human beings. 
The Japanese government is desperately trying to “clean up” radioactive contamination. But in reality all that can be done is collect it, place it in containers and transfer it to another location. It cannot be made neutral and it cannot be prevented from spreading in the future. Some contractors have allowed their workers to empty radioactive debris, soil and leaves into streams and other illegal places. The main question becomes: Where can they place the contaminated material to be stored safely away from the environment for thousands of years? There is no safe place in Japan for this to happen, let alone to store thousands of tons of high level radioactive waste which rests precariously at the 54 Japanese nuclear reactors.
Last but not least, Australian uranium fuelled the Fukushima reactors. Australia exports uranium for use in nuclear power plants to 12 countries, including the US, Japan, France, Britain, Finland, Sweden, South Korea, China, Belgium, Spain, Canada and Taiwan. 270,000 metric tons of deadly radioactive waste exists in the world today, with 12,000 metric tons being added yearly. (Each reactor manufactures 30 tons per year and there are over 400 reactors globally.)
This high-level waste must be isolated from the environment for one million years – but no container lasts longer than 100 years. The isotopes will inevitably leak, contaminating the food chain, inducing epidemics of cancer, leukemia, congenital deformities and genetic diseases for the rest of time.
This, then, is the legacy we leave to future generations so that we can turn on our lights and computers or make nuclear weapons. It was Einstein who said “the splitting of the atom changed everything save mans’ mode of thinking, thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.”
The question now is: Have we, the human species, the ability to mature psychologically in time to avert these catastrophes, or, is it in fact, too late?
Disclaimer: The views, opinions and perspectives presented in this article are those of the author alone and does not reflect the views of the Australian Medical Student Journal. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors or omissions.
 Caldicott H. Helen Caldicott Foundation’s Fukushima Symposium. 2013; Available from: http://www.helencaldicott.com/2012/12/helen-caldicott-foundations-fukushima-symposium/.
 Japan sat on U.S. radiation maps showing immediate fallout from nuke crisis. The Japan Times. 2012.
 Bagge E, Bjelle A, Eden S, Svanborg A. Osteoarthritis in the elderly: clinical and radiological findings in 79 and 85 year olds. Ann Rheum Dis. 1991;50(8):535-9. Epub 1991/08/01.
 Tests find cesium 172 times the limit in Miyagi Yacon tea. The Asahi Shimbun. 2012.
 Yablokov AV, Nesterenko VB, Nesterenko AV, Sherman-Nevinger JD. Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment: Wiley. com; 2010.
 Fukushima Health Management. Proceedings of the 11th Prefectural Oversight Committee Meeting for Fukushima Health Management Survey. Fukushima, Japan2013.
 Møller AP, Mousseau TA. The effects of low-dose radiation: Soviet science, the nuclear industry – and independence? Significance. 2013;10(1):14-9.
The terrible things that are done in the name of pragmatism. As japanese citizens are moved back into contaminated areas with radiation levels at the top limit of what an EU nuclear worker would be allowed in terms of exposure the health cost to Japan will rise. This is not unknown. The most vulnerable will be children and fetuses, then women. This is not unknown. An actual EU nuclear worker would not be allowed to work forever at this level of exposure. This is also not unknown. Yet is is happening anyway, just as the radioactive plume of contamination is still to some extent being treated as if it were plotted with a compass, evenly. When in reality there are areas within the evacuation zone that are safer than areas outside it. This too is not unknown. What does that say about the nuclear industry, or the human race's capacity for denial or cupidity? This is worse than the "perfect crime." This is an unspeakable act of barbarism.
Gordon Edwards l CCNR Background: April 7 2014
Three years after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, 357 people are being allowed to go home in a small corner of a town right on the perimeter of the original evacuation zone, 20 km away from the stricken plant. These are the first people allowed to re-populate the evacuated areas, from which almost 140,000 were displaced -- so those eligible to return home represent about 1/4 of 1 percent of those evacuated.
Massive decontamination efforts have been underway throughout a huge area stretching far beyond the original evacuation zone. See http://ccnr.org/Decontamination_Efforts.pdf . But decontamination is never 100 percent.
In this particular case, the radiation levels are deemed by the authorities to be low enough to allow rehabitation, having been brought down to a level no greater than 20 millisieverts (mSv) per year. That level happens to represent the maximum legally allowed radiation exposure limit for an atomic worker in the EU; indeed, no atomic worker would be allowed to work at that exposure level for an entire year under ordinary circumstances.
According to the US National Academy of Sciences BEIR Committee (BEIR = Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) if 100 people are exposed to 100 mSv, you would expect to see 1 extra cancer case caused by that radiation exposure. So if 140,000 people were returned to their homes at an exposure level of 20 mSv per year, you would expect to see 280 extra radiation-induced cancer cases in that population for every single year that the exposure continued.
It is impossible to say which individuals will get those cancers, and it is impossible to prove that any individual case of cancer was, in fact, caused by radiation. For this reason, John Gofman -- an award- winning nuclear physicist as well as an award-winning medical doctor -- described the deaths caused by such low-level radiation exposure as "the perfect crime". You know people are dying; you know what is killing them; you know who did it; but you can't prove it!
To say (as UNSCEAR has reported) that these extra deaths will be "not perceptible" simply means that statistics is too crude an instrument to reveal the truth; by the same token, you could say that any mass murderer would be responsible for an "imperceptible" number of deaths if it weren't for the bullet holes or knife wounds or eye witnesses to testify to the murders. Without a "smoking gun" to identify those who died of radiation exposure you can pretend that no one was killed.
Gambling with People’s Lives – The Perfect Crime?
The situation is further complicated by the fact that the 20 mSv described above refers only to external gamma radiation, without taking into account the internal emitters -- the radioactive materials which will be ingested, or inhaled, or otherwise absorbed into the bodies of men, women and children living in these still-contaminated areas, because of radioactive contaminants in the food, water, and the residual radioactivity in the dust that is kicked up by children at play, by men working outdoors, or by women washing the family's clothes.
It is well known that embryos, babies and children are much more sensitive to the damaging effects of ionizing radiation than adults are. In fact women are also more sensitive to radiation damage than men of the same age, sometimes by up to a factor of two. Because we are not dealing with an adult male work force, but a community of folks of different genders and all ages, the predictions of radiation- induced cancer cases may be woefully underestimated.
And cancer is not the only harmful biomedical effect of protracted exposure to low-level radiation. There is a growing body of evidence that heart attacks and strokes are increased by such chronic radiation exposure, as well as damage to the reproductive cells of both men and women. Every girl is born with her ovaries intact, already containing all the eggs that she will ever have; radiation damage to these eggs at a very early age can result in genetically damaged children or grandchildren much later on in life.
The immune system is likewise compromised by radiation exposure due to the fact that some critically important white blood cells are particularly depleted by radiation exposure, thereby leaving the exposed person more susceptible to infectious diseases of all kinds.
Those people who agree to move back into contaminated areas declared "safe" by the Japanese authorities will be rewarded with a one-time payment of about $9000. Those people who decide NOT to go back home when the authorities invite them to, will have their monthly support payments of $1000 per month stopped.
Dealing with the consequences of a nuclear disaster is no easy matter.
Gordon Edwards, CCNR
Read more here
As the three year anniversary of the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi just passed, our minds have been on the health of the Japanese people, in particular the children. This week’s film is a reissue of a film we released last year featuring Ian Goddard and Fairewinds’ Arnie Gundersen discussing the risk of cancer in children in and around Fukushima prefecture. The statistics are astounding especially for young girls. For every year a young girl is the in the radiation zone 1 in 100 girls is going to get cancer due to their exposure from Fukushima. As each year passes it compounds, so if a young girl is there for 10 years, 10 out of 100 will get cancer. The statistics are terrifying and the Japanese government has allowed families with young children to return to Fukushima prefecture.
Researchers have discovered leaf litter is not decaying at the normal rate in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. After conductiong experiments with leaf litter uncontaminated by fallout they have established this is true. Tim Mousseau, Univ of S. Carolina: “The gist of our results was that the radiation inhibited microbial decomposition of the leaf litter on the top layer of the soil."
Nearly 30 years have passed since the Chernobyl plant exploded and caused an unprecedented nuclear disaster. The effects of that catastrophe, however, are still felt today. Although no people live in the extensive exclusion zones around the epicenter, animals and plants still show signs of radiation poisoning.
Why nuclear accidents happen has long been obvious. The technology uses highly dangerous radioactive fuel, the current reactors are aging, the new reactors are overbudget and years behind schedule due to unresolved safety problems, or exist only as elegant designs on computer screens unrealizable in the real world. Any real safety culture is absent, corporate interests lie with the government money and preferential treatment they receive, government interests lie with corporate money for campaigns and an excuse to maintain their nuclear weapons programs (or the potential to start one). The the damage is subsidized by the taxpayers and ratepayers. An industry that has no liability for its actions and harm will cut corners.
But the horror of the fallout (literally and figuratively) of nuclear accidents that do happen is that instead of the well oiled disaster management plan you would expect of an industry whose materials involve forever deadly waste and long-lived carcinogenic isotopes- the clean-up falls to people unsuited in anyway for the serious work ahead, untrained, unskilled in some cases, unprepared, and desperate. Desperate to stay alive, desperate because they have no guidance, desperate because they, like the Fukushima reactor, are slowly being distanced from corporate responsibility and left to struggle and worry at a facility that is becoming more and more fragile.
NARAHA, Japan — “Out of work? Nowhere to live? Nowhere to go? Nothing to eat?” the online ad reads. “Come to Fukushima.”
That grim posting targeting the destitute, by a company seeking laborers for the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, is one of the starkest indications yet of an increasingly troubled search for workers willing to carry out the hazardous decommissioning at the site.
The plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, known as Tepco, has been shifting its attention away, leaving the complex cleanup to an often badly managed, poorly trained, demoralized and sometimes unskilled work force that has made some dangerous missteps. At the same time, the company is pouring its resources into another plant, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, that it hopes to restart this year as part of the government’s push to return to nuclear energy three years after the world’s second-worst nuclear disaster. It is a move that some members of the country’s nuclear regulatory board have criticized.
Read full article here