Senator Richard Lugar Provided Essential Leadership to Prevent Nuclear War


Senator Richard Lugar, and admirable leader and statesman who worked effectively on urgent policy issues, has passed at age 87.  Senator Lugar worked across party lines and in cooperation with international communities to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology during the break up of the former Soviet Union.  Weapons and materials that could be used to make weapons were spread across 11 time zones and under loose control.  At times the nuclear scientists charged with their care were not … Continue Reading →

Chernobyl 32 Year Anniversary – Dark/Light Reflections


Inspector Geiger Counter Measuring Radioactivity on a Firefighters Discarded Clothing

Time flies by. It’s already been 32 years since the Spring day in April when things went terribly wrong in a place called Chernobyl.  I was a young man at the time.  My first company made radiation detectors and did some solar energy projects and research.  The winds shifted in Washington DC and solar had grown out of favor.  Today the winds have shifted in the Ukraine and the radioactive … Continue Reading →

Nuclear Issues in the News


Radioactivity, Fukushima
Sailors Aboard the USS Ronald Reagan Scrub the Decks During Fukushima Daiichi Events

The big news this week is that Donald Trump and Kim Jon Un will be meeting.

Let’s hope something good comes out of the meeting that will de-escalate the possibility of nuclear conflict.

Analysts are trying to determine if Russia is really deploying a nuclear powered cruise missile.

Also, as we approach the anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear events, Safecast is being covered by Japan Times.Continue Reading →

Still Hope to Prevent Nuclear War Yet US Ambassador Snubs Nobel Ceremony


Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Goes to ICAN

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 →

Acknowledging the Hiroshima Anniversary


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.

The Globe and Mail interviewed one of the survivors, a Hibakusha, Setsuko Nakamura here..

A few things about nuclear weapons are not really debatable:

  1. They are not precision weapons.  They destroy everything and everyone within a large radius including women and children.
  2. The effects of radiation
Continue Reading →

Three Mile Island Link to Thyroid Cancer?


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 →

Nuclear Proliferation Fears


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 →

Diablo Canyon Transition, Fukushima Apology


PG&E Reactors at Diablo Canyon
PG&E Reactors at Diablo Canyon

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.

nuclear, seismic, ring of fire, diablo canyon, fukushima
Diablo Canyon and Fukushima Daiichi – Reactors along the Pacific Oceanʻs  “Ring of Fire”

The deal will replace the power generated … Continue Reading →

Radiation Health Risks Revisited


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 →

Notable Nuclear “Events” 2015


Fortunately 2015 was a year with no major nuclear events. Let’s hope the same for 2016 and continue to watch these stories:

Continue Reading →

Airline Crew Radiation Exposure


Image Courtesy of NASA
Image Courtesy of NASA

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 →

Hiroshima Anniversary 2015 – Seventy Years Later


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 →

Dr. Ken Buesseler: Fukushima Cesium Approaching California


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 →

Nuclear Arms Race Continues


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 →

Reflections on the Hiroshima Anniversary


Hiroshima Peace Memorial
Hiroshima Peace Memorial

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.


DoomsdayClock_black_5mins_regmarkHow 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 →

Fukushima Daiichi Shadow Reveals Light in Quests for Safety and Transparency


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 →

Ocean Radiation Health


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 →

Safecast Reports on Beach Radioactivity in Half Moon Bay


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.

Reports linking elevated radiation readings on a beach near Half Moon Bay have gone viral and frightened many people.  Analysis of the sand here.Continue Reading →

Markers in the Nuclear Age


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.

Markers in the Nuclear Age
Beware of Tsunamis

This marker says:  “High dwellings are the peace … Continue Reading →

U.S. Involvement in Fukushima Daiichi Cleanup?


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 →

Japan Nuclear News


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 →

Japan, Fukushima, U.S. Policy, Questions and More Questions.


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 →

BBC Article asks “What Have We Learned from Fukushima”


“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 →

Getting Up-to-Date on Fukushima Daiichi


Fukushima Well

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 →

Is Fukushima Daiichi Emergency Over? Breaking News.


Members of a Fukushima prefecture panel inspect the construction site of a shore barrier near the No.1 and No.2 reactor building of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

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 →

Former Chief of Fukushima Plant Dies


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 →

Stray Nuclear Materials an Ongoing Concern


“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.

 … Continue Reading →

Japan Receives First MOX Fuel Shipment Since Fukushima Incident


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 →

Radioactive Iodine Release Map for Fukushima Published


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 →

Hanford Leaking Tank in the News


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 →