Today the Nobel Peace Prize is being awarded in Oslo as the possibility of nuclear conflict is in the news again. Itʻs the holiday season, which is supposed to be about peace, reconciliation, brother and sisterhood. Now is not a good time and there is never a good time for nuclear conflict. Even if war is sometimes justified, nuclear war is not normal war. It is not precise, it creates fallout that travels … Continue Reading →
Seventy two years ago today the first nuclear weapon was dropped on human beings. The debate about whether its use was justified continues. The Washington Post asks “Was it Justified or Needless” here.
A few things about nuclear weapons are not really debatable:
- They are not precision weapons. They destroy everything and everyone within a large radius including women and children.
- The effects of radiation
Health effects from exposure to low dose radiation are always difficult to assess. It has long been assumed that there is no “smoking gun” to link a particular health issue to causation when dealing with the random effects of radiation exposure (especially when there are many other environmental and genetic factors to consider). Looking at a single type of health effect that can occur from radiation exposure, Thyroid Cancer (TC), researchers at Penn State University have postulated that Radiation-induced Thyroid … Continue Reading →
Dealing with deep space radiation is going to be one of the many challenges related to future space missions. This article, published in Nature, looks at health data from the Apollo Mission Astronauts. Not a lot of data to work with, but itʻs interesting. Itʻs also covered by Observer.… Continue Reading →
We have a basic intention here to provide links to news and information that is informative and hopefully empowering. It’s not very helpful to get stressful news about dangers that you have no control over. William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defense has produced a video titled “My Nuclear Nightmare DC.” His position is that we need to think about the dangers we are facing so that we can do something about them. We share this video with trepidation, because … Continue Reading →
A deal has been struck to decommission the PG&E reactors at Diablo Canyon. The reactors have been controversial for many years due to the close proximity of seismic fault lines. There has also been increased concern about the coastal location along the “Ring of Fire” since the tsunami generated nuclear emergencies at Fukushima Daiichi.
The deal will replace the power generated … Continue Reading →
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has released a special issue on nuclear energy in the Middle East. Challenges cited include availability of water to cool reactors, politics, security, and the danger posed if materials are diverted to weapons programs.… Continue Reading →
The NY Times reports on the tenacious complexities of nuclear arms control, specifically focusing on US policy initiatives and some of the unintended but potentially dangerous consequences.… Continue Reading →
Health Effects of ionizing radiation remains a topic that needs serious attention. Do health effects occur in a linear relationship to dose? That is the position of the BEIR Committee of the National Academy of Sciences. Some researchers argue that there could be a beneficial effect to low dose exposure, and others argue against it. Whether the curve is linear or supralinear or superlinear has also been a matter of discussion for years. Others argue that, as with sunlight exposure, … Continue Reading →
Fortunately 2015 was a year with no major nuclear events. Let’s hope the same for 2016 and continue to watch these stories:
- Use of radiation in medical diagnosis and therapies continues to rise and some experts believe US Doctors are not following guidelines.
- Cold War rad workers still struggle for compensation.
- South African Bishops are calling for a referendum on new nuclear power plants.
- Bangladesh has signed a deal with Russia for new nuclear power plants.
- Despite claims and efforts
I get questions periodically from pilots and flight attendants about occupational radiation exposure. It has been known for some time that the exposures received by some flight personnel would require monitoring with dosimeters if they were working in the medical or nuclear industries.
The challenges to determining dose to a person in flight is complex in different ways than dosimetry on the surface of the planet. High altitude radiation includes particles and rays from distant star … Continue Reading →
It was seventy years ago today, and one 99 year old veteran refuses to give up on his lifeʻs mission to make sure nuclear weapons are never used again. His story on NBC.
NHK Japan has a number of programs related to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and anniversary events here.
This opinion piece on CNN says that our nuclear policy today is “essentially the hope that our good luck will continue. This policy must change.”
I personally always pause on this … Continue Reading →
The good news is that is extremely diluted. The bad news is that it is still being released at the source at Fukushima Daiichi. Dr. Buesseler is considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on radioactivity in the world’s oceans. He shared the results of his findings today in a group conversation on Reddit, and there was a lively discussion that will undoubtedly continue.… Continue Reading →
The top US General in South Korea claims that North Korea is now capable of miniaturizing a nuclear warhead and putting it on an ICBM. See the NY Times story here.
Stars and Stripes Magazine reports on China’s growing nuclear weapons programs that bring a full triad of land, air and sea delivery capabilities here.
Foreign Policy says Putin has deployed nuclear weapons in Crimea, and may have violated the INF Treaty here.
NY Times covers the major renewal … Continue Reading →
Today marks the 69th year since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The wisdom of the bombing will likely be debated for centuries to come. This yearʻs commemorative ceremony will be attended by US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, according to The Japan Times.
How likely is such a horrific event to occur again, for whatever reason? I occasionally check the “Doomsday Clock” created by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. It is still standing at 5 minutes to midnight. … Continue Reading →
The National Academies of Sciences report on Fukushima, mandated by the US Congress, was released recently. The focus of this report is on lessons learned that can improve safety at U.S. nuclear power plants. Among many recommendations is one that the NRC and the U.S. nuclear industry must continuously monitor and maintain a strong safety culture and should examine opportunities to increase the transparency of and communication about their efforts to assess and improve nuclear safety.
Also addressed was the … Continue Reading →
Reuters reports on Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between Russia and Argentina here. The Latin American Herald Tribune reports on nuclear cooperation pacts between Russia and Brazil here. Brazil has large uranium reserves and has plans for a nuclear submarine and more nuclear reactors.… Continue Reading →
Dr.Ken Buessler, senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity, has launched a crowd funded project to assess ocean contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi event. See information on this program here.
Safecast has compiled reports and assessments of impacts on the Pacific Ocean, and added some perspective here.
We are continuing to cover the Surferʻs Beach, Half Moon Bay analysis of radioactive sand. We have determined it is not related to … Continue Reading →
All eyes are on the Pacific Ocean these day. Safecast offers an assessment of impacts here.
Elevated radiation levels at Surferʻs Beach in Half Moon Bay California raised concerns, but it is not related to Fukushima Daiichi events. More here.
Nonprofit Safecast is reporting that some beaches in California (and other places in the world) have natural sources of radiation from Thorium 232, Radium 226 and other NORM (Naturally Occurring Radiation Materials) sources. See their report here.
We have entered an age where everything has changed except our way of thinking, according to Albert Einstein. “Thus we drift towards unparalleled disaster,” he went on to say. Is that true? Or can we manage risks in this age, through thoughtful behavior, sound public policy, prevention, continuous improvement, international cooperation?
The Japanese people of times past left a gift for their descendants in the form of stone markers.
This marker says: “High dwellings are the peace … Continue Reading →
U.S. Department of Energy Director Ernest Moniz toured Fukushima Daiichi on Nov. 1. Secretary Moniz has extended an offer of U.S. help in the cleanup effort, especially with regard to water contamination issues. A Bilateral Commission has been created to strengthen “strategic and practical engagement on civil nuclear R&D, Fukushima cleanup, emergency response, nuclear safety regulatory matters, and nuclear security and nonproliferation” and will meet next week in Washington, D.C. Read Secretary Monizʻ statement at the Department of Energy website.… Continue Reading →
The Editorial Board of NY Times threw its weight behind Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumiʻs call for a national debate on nuclear energy in Japan in this Editorial.
Reuters is reporting on precautions being taken by Tokyo Electric as Typhoon Wipha moves through Japan here.
Safecast, an independent non profit organization, has mapped over 10 million radiation data points in Japan since the Daiichi incident. They have won a prestigious Good Design Award under the category of Service and … Continue Reading →
They call me the “Questions Girl.” I wish I could say I donʻt know why. But it wouldnʻt be authentic of me. I really care about the planet. I am insatiably curious about why things happen. My teachers tell me that is good as long as I know when to stop. Iʻm still learning about that.
The NY Times has been giving a lot of coverage to Fukushima these days. I like to read the Times every day when I … Continue Reading →
“People were just told to head north west……..but that was exactly the same direction the radiation cloud was moving. Some people were evacuated to an area where the radiation was even higher than here.”
Numerous reports were published by Three Mile Island Public Health Fund after the nuclear accident on March 28, 1979. Recommendations were made on emergency management, improvements in off-site monitoring, communications, and more.
On April 26, 1986 Chernobyl presented another opportunity to learn about managing a nuclear … Continue Reading →
What to do with spent fuel from reactors is in the news.
Reuters reports on the complex issues related to removing spent fuel from Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 here.
A lot of news is breaking on Fukushima Daiichi. While many sources point out worst-case scenarios, some of the pictures painted are clearly exaggerated. Even if the worst-case scenario plays out, it will not be the end of life on the planet, as some in the blogosphere have claimed. Humanity has survived the release of large volumes of nuclear radiation into the atmosphere during the days of nuclear weapons testing, and during the Chernobyl event. Still, there is a lot … Continue Reading →
Reports are coming in from a variety of sources that the ground water situation is getting out of hand at Fukushima Daiichi. Some, including sources quoted by Wall Street Journal, are speculating that the saturation of the ground water could cause the reactor buildings to topple. A variety of solutions are being explored including the possibility of freezing the ground water around the reactor. CNN is today quoting a top nuclear regulatory official as saying the situation is an … Continue Reading →
Masao Yoshida led the effort to contain the incident at Fukushima Daiichi following the March 11 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Colleagues say he was “prepared to die” in responding to the incident, and credit him with preventing the situation from becoming much worse. Our condolences to Yoshida-sanʻs family, friends, co-workers and associates. Read more at Wall Street Journal.… Continue Reading →
“Statistically speaking no reasonable person will say that this will never happen. The probability is there.” Khamma Mrabit, a director of U.N.ʻs International Atomic Energy Agency is quoted as saying this last week referring to the risk of diverted nuclear materials being used as a weapon by terrorists. 150 to 200 cases of diversion of nuclear materials are reported annually. Read the full Reuters article at Yahoo News.
Controversy and high security surrounded the first MOX fuel shipment from France since the Fukushima Daiʻichi incident. Many Japanese, including ex Prime Minister Kan, are wanting to turn away from nuclear power. The current Prime Minister Shinso Abe is pushing for restart of Japanʻs reactors. Read more in this Bangkok Post article.… Continue Reading →
A map showing how radioactive iodine spread after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been published online by the journal of the American Health Physics Society.
Researchers from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the US Department of Energy analyzed radiation data they jointly gathered using aircraft in April 2011. See the full NHK report and video.… Continue Reading →
Elevated radiation levels are being investigated at Hanford Reservation, where materials for cold war nuclear weapons programs were developed. The superfund site has several tanks filled with a mix of chemicals and radioactive materials in close proximity to the Columbia River. Billions of dollars have been spent to clean up the site, and completion is not expected for decades to come. New Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visited the site for the first time on Wednesday. More at CNN.… Continue Reading →