— EPA plans to vastly raise drinking water radioactivity limits; register for July 13 telebriefing “Dangerous Drinking Water”

From Nuclear Information and Resource Service

July 1, 2016

Dear Friends,

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has quietly proposed to raise the allowable levels of radioactivity in drinking water a nuclear incident to hundreds of times their current limits. If this guidance goes through, EPA’s action will allow people to drink water with concentrations of radioactivity at vastly higher levels.

Look no further than the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan to understand concern that the EPA will not act to protect public health in an emergency. In this case, the EPA is attempting to ensure that it would not have to act decisively to protect public health!

But there is still time to act.

Call in to the July 13 telebriefing to find out more.
http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5502/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=81984

You are invited to join us on WEDNESDAY JULY 13 for a national telebriefing: Dangerous Drinking Water, with presentations by leading experts and activists:
•Diane D’Arrigo, Radioactive Waste Project Director, Nuclear Information and Resource Service
•Daniel Hirsch, Director, Program on Environmental and Nuclear Policy, University of California Santa Cruz
•Emily Wurth, Water Program Director, Food and Water Watch

•Moderated by NIRS Executive Director, Tim Judson

The open and free event will be on the phone, starting at 8 pm eastern, 7 pm central, 6 pm mountain and 5 pm pacific. We will reserve the second half of the program for questions and discussion.

Register to attend the July 13 telebriefing.
http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5502/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=81984

The program will focus on EPA Guidance that massively increases the permitted levels of radioactivity in drinking water for years after any nuclear incident that requires consideration of “protective action,” ranging from a spill, leak or transport accident to a dirty bomb or nuclear meltdown—a nuclear accident of any kind, big or small. Allowable concentrations of radioactive elements allowed to come out of your tap would rise hundreds or even thousands of times above the current Maximum Concentration Levels allowed under the Safe Drinking Water Act regulations. Click here to review EPA’s proposal.
https://www.epa.gov/radiation/protective-action-guides-pags

Nuclear Energy is Dirty in many dimensions, but first, and foremost because of its dangerous ionizing radiation. The EPA guidance, allowing us to drink highly radioactive water is a clever effort to bypass existing limits, which the law prevents from being weakened. It is yet another way to shift liability and cleanup costs to the public from industry and government in case of a “nuclear event.” For instance, for most radionuclides the Safe Drinking Water levels are based on no more than 4 millirems a year exposure from drinking water; the proposed water PAGs would allow 500 millirems a year with no notice, and no action to limit exposure to adults. This difference protects the government and industry from any liability from massively increased health consequences.

Although EPA for the first time ever admits that those under 15 years of age are at greater risk than adults the draft PAG only pays lip-service to considering a lower level which is still enormously higher than current water limits. This is in addition to rest of EPA PAGs, which allow even more exposure from air and food.

Call in to learn more about this federal guidance and how to help stop it.
http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5502/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=81984

Thanks for all you do,

Mary Olson, Southeast Office Director

Stay Informed:

NIRS on the web: http://www.nirs.org

http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5502/t/0/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1367594

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Hanford has been dumping nuclear waste along the Columbia River and on the Spokane Indian Reservation for years — revelations from Washington (VIDEO)

This information demands immediate investigation. It explains the epidemic of babies born without brains and the cancers in Washington. This is the tip of the iceberg to massive waste contamination across the United States and Canada, and the public and the environment have been put at permanent and severe danger by the nuclear cartel and all its entities. This video of information and maps is riveting. The photos in the “Safe Side of the Fence” show the casual disregard of public safety shown by the nuclear cartel, additionally documented by the casual dumping of barrels of high level nuclear waste into the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Towns named in the video include Kenniwick, Welpinit, Bonners Ferry, Grand Forks (BC), Sandpoint, Richland.

Mount says that in contrast to news media reports of 3000 gallons leaking, the total is actually 100,000 gallons leaking, and the waste has rotted the bottoms of the storage tanks.

This affects the drinking water and water used for agriculture.
This affects all the agricultural products grown in the region.
This affects tourism. Who would visit Washington (or Idaho) with their family, drink the water, eat the food, or walk through their forests?
This impacts the incredible sacred Columbia River and its vital fishery.
It affects Oregon and particularly Portland and all the towns bordering the Columbia.
And it affects the Pacific Ocean, massively contaminating that sacred entity.

Combined with the U.S. Navy’s escalating use of the Olympic Peninsula and Washington State as a electronics weapons range (which the public is fighting), the military’s contamination of Puget Sound with radioactivity and munitions use, Fukushima radiation pummeling the West Coast, and Washington’s corrupt political establishment, Washington State doesn’t have a prayer for a viable future.

From William Mount
April 20, 2016

http://drwilliammount.blogspot.com

Nevada’s atomic test legacy: underground aquifers are radioactive

…polluted 1.6 trillion gallons of water…About a third of the [underground atomic] tests were conducted directly in aquifers…

Federal drinking water standards in 2009 when this article was written

..For alpha particles, the standard is 15 picocuries per liter; for long-term radionuclides, it’s 50 picocuries per liter

radioactivity in the water reaches millions of picocuries per liter.

From Los Angeles Times

Nevada’s hidden ocean of radiation

by Ralph Vartabedian
November 13, 2009

YUCCA FLAT, NEV. — A sea of ancient water tainted by the Cold War is creeping deep under the volcanic peaks, dry lake beds and pinyon pine forests covering a vast tract of Nevada.

Over 41 years, the federal government detonated 921 nuclear warheads underground at the Nevada Test Site, 75 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Each explosion deposited a toxic load of radioactivity into the ground and, in some cases, directly into aquifers.

When testing ended in 1992, the Energy Department estimated that more than 300 million curies of radiation had been left behind, making the site one of the most radioactively contaminated places in the nation.

During the era of weapons testing, Nevada embraced its role almost like a patriotic duty. There seemed to be no better use for an empty desert. But today, as Nevada faces a water crisis and a population boom, state officials are taking a new measure of the damage.

——————————

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, November 18, 2009 Correction
Nevada radiation: An article in Friday’s Section A about contaminated water at the Nevada Test Site said the federal drinking water standard for radiation is 20 picocuries per liter. There are actually three standards, depending on the type of radiation: For alpha particles, the standard is 15 picocuries per liter; for long-term radionuclides, it’s 50 picocuries per liter; and for short-lived tritium, it’s 20,000 picocuries per liter. The article also said the test site is northeast of Las Vegas; it is northwest.

—————————-

They have successfully pressured federal officials for a fresh environmental assessment of the 1,375-square-mile test site, a step toward a potential demand for monetary compensation, replacement of the lost water or a massive cleanup.

“It is one of the largest resource losses in the country,” said Thomas S. Buqo, a Nevada hydrogeologist. “Nobody thought to say, ‘You are destroying a natural resource.’ “

In a study for Nye County, where the nuclear test site lies, Buqo estimated that the underground tests polluted 1.6 trillion gallons of water. That is as much water as Nevada is allowed to withdraw from the Colorado River in 16 years — enough to fill a lake 300 miles long, a mile wide and 25 feet deep.

At today’s prices, that water would be worth as much as $48 billion if it had not been fouled, Buqo said.

Although the contaminated water is migrating southwest from the high ground of the test site, the Energy Department has no cleanup plans, saying it would be impossible to remove the radioactivity. Instead, its emphasis is on monitoring.

Federal scientists say the tainted water is moving so slowly — 3 inches to 18 feet a year — that it will not reach the nearest community, Beatty, about 22 miles away, for at least 6,000 years.

Still, Nevada officials reject the idea that a massive part of their state will be a permanent environmental sacrifice zone.

Access to more water could stoke an economic boom in the area, local officials say. More than a dozen companies want to build solar electric generation plants, but the county cannot allow the projects to go forward without more water, said Gary Hollis, a Nye County commissioner.

The problem extends beyond the contamination zone. If too much clean water is pumped out of the ground from adjacent areas, it could accelerate the movement of tainted water. When Nye County applied for permits in recent years to pump clean water near the western boundary of the test site, the state engineer denied the application based on protests by the Energy Department.

(The department did not cite environmental concerns, perhaps to avoid acknowledging the extent of the Cold War contamination. Instead, federal officials said the pumping could compromise security at the test site, which is still in use.)

“Those waters have been degraded,” said Republican state Assemblyman Edwin Goedhart of Nye County, who runs a dairy with 18,000 head of livestock. “That water belongs to the people of Nevada. Even before any contamination comes off the test site, I look at this as a matter of social economic justice.”

Continue reading

Monterey Peninsula tourists: Stay out of the rain!

It rained on the Monterey Peninsula in central California on Monday, November 2. This is on the West Coast, bordering the Pacific Ocean.

Measurements were taken in the morning in Monterey with an Inspector Alert radiation monitor.

The background air radiation level was approximately 31 CPM.(alpha, beta and gamma radiation)

The radiation monitor was then enclosed in a bag and placed in the rain. Measurements of beta and gamma radiation generally ranged from 70s to 113 CPM (alpha radiation was blocked by the bag). Readings in the 90s were common. Measurements might have been higher if alpha was included.

On Tuesday morning, the day after, a 10-minute timed measurement of air radiation levels. The reading average over 10 minutes was 44 CPM (alpha, beta, gamma) — a 42% increase in air radiation levels from Monday.

This was “hot” rain.

Rainfall and snowfall should be regularly tested for radiation levels. If you get higher than normal readings, alert your family, friends and schools. Children should not be playing in the rain unless low radiation levels are verified. They should also not be playing outdoors when airborne radiation spikes occur. School districts should have good quality radiation monitors, and post the numbers for students and staff to refer to.

When it rains or snows, use umbrellas, and use precautions in storing rain- and snow-contaminated items, such as shoes, inside your home. Dump bird baths and outside pet water after rain, wash out, and fill with fresh water. Frequently dump and refill due to fallout, and if getting high rad readings, do this daily. It won’t eliminate the exposure, but it will reduce their internal intake.

Japan pressures Philippines’ government to accept Fukushima farm produce

From Manila Times
July 15, 2015
by James Konstantin Galvez

Tokyo is pressing Manila to relax its import restrictions on farm products from the Fukushima prefecture in exchange for more trade concessions under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), the Department of Agriculture (DA) revealed on Wednesday.

Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano said that Japanese negotiators want to resume exports of Fukushima-grown produce —including dairy, rice and fresh vegetables—to the Philippines after these were suspended amid concerns about radiation contamination following the nuclear crisis in March 2011.

“They want us to lower our food safety requirements based on the fact that Canada and other countries have already accepted their farm products. But I don’t see any reason why [we should],” Serrano told reporters.

The DA official said that if exports from Fukushima were to resume, all products coming from the prefecture should first undergo tests at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) to ensure that they are radiation-free.

“Even if Mars already accepted their produce, it still has to undergo study by our own experts. We have to be careful since it’s their own technical report, which may differ from our own study,” Serrano said.

It can be recalled that by January 24, New Zealand, Australia and Canada had lifted import restrictions on products from Fukushima Prefecture based on measurements of radioactive material. Britain allows imports as long as a government-issued radioactive material inspection certificate is submitted.

However, agricultural products from Fukushima prefecture are still widely shunned in other overseas markets, putting more pressure on the Japanese government revive its export market.

“It’s not a matter of volume. Even if [the shipment] is just one gram, if it has radioactive content, it will not pass the requirements under the Food Safety Act,” Serrano added.

“It’s very political for them to show that they have already addressed the problem. It’s what they want to project. There’s pressure. But I don’t see any reason to give in to their demand,” Serrano stressed.

http://www.manilatimes.net/tokyo-urges-manila-to-accept-fukushima-farm-produce/200631/

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

Massive debris removal project underway along Alaska coast

This typical mainstream news article downplays Fukushima impacts.

What testing for radioactivity is being conducted?

Are the planned disposal sites licensed for radioactive debris and at what level of radioactivity?

Which agencies are overseeing that process?

What public hearings are being held on the cleanup and the disposal?

From Associated Press
By BECKY BOHRER
July 12, 2015

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A massive cleanup effort is getting underway in Alaska, with tons of marine debris — some likely sent to sea by the 2011 tsunami in Japan — set to be airlifted from rocky beaches and taken by barge for recycling and disposal in the Pacific Northwest.

Hundreds of heavy-duty bags of debris, collected in 2013 and 2014 and stockpiled at a storage site in Kodiak, also will be shipped out. The barge is scheduled to arrive in Kodiak by Thursday, before setting off on a roughly one-month venture.

The scope of the project, a year in the making, is virtually unheard of in Alaska. It was spurred, in part, by the mass of material that’s washed ashore — things like buoys, fishing lines, plastics and fuel drums — and the high cost of shuttling small boatloads of debris from remote sites to port, said Chris Pallister, president of the cleanup organization Gulf of Alaska Keeper, which is coordinating the effort.

The Anchorage landfill also began requiring that fishing nets and lines — common debris items — to be chopped up, a task called impossible by state tsunami marine debris coordinator Janna Stewart.

Pallister estimates the cost of the barge project at up to $1.3 million, with the state contributing $900,000 from its share of the $5 million that Japan provided for parts of the U.S. affected by tsunami debris. Crews in British Columbia will be able to add debris to the barge as it passes through, chipping in if they do. Pallister’s group has committed $100,000. Delays due to weather could drive up costs, which Pallister said is a concern.

The cost to operate the barge is $17,000 a day, Stewart said.

Many of the project sites are remote and rugged. Crews working at sites like Kayak and Montague islands in Prince William Sound, for example, get there by boat and sleep onboard. The need to keep moving down the shoreline as cleanup progresses, combined with terrain littered with boulders and logs, makes it tough to set up a camp, Pallister said. There’s also the issue of bears.

While relatively few people visit these sites, it’s important to clean them, Stewart said. Foam disintegrates, which can seep into salmon streams or be ingested by birds, she said. There’s concern, too, with the impact of broken-down plastic on marine life.

What’s not picked up can get swept back out, she said.

“It’s like it never really goes away unless we get in there and actively remove it,” Stewart said.

Alaska has more coastline than any other state. And Alaska cleanup operations often are expensive and dangerous, said Nikolai Maximenko, a senior researcher at the Hawaii-based International Pacific Research Center.

“Even without the tsunami, Alaska is well-known for being polluted with all these buoys and other stuff from fisheries activity and from other human activities,” he said.

It can be hard to definitively distinguish tsunami debris from the run-of-the-mill rubbish that has long fouled shorelines unless there are identifiable markings. But Pallister and others say the type and volume of debris that has washed up in Alaska is different since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which killed thousands in Japan.

Before the tsunami, a lot of old fishing gear would be on the beach. But afterward, the debris included an inundation of Styrofoam and urethane, Pallister said. Objects such as property stakes and crates used by fishermen in coastal Japan also have begun showing up, he said.

Crews plan to do cleanup work in the Gulf of Alaska this summer, which will add to the material that has already been cached in heavy-duty bags above the high-tide line. All this would be loaded onto the barge.

The logistics are complicated.

Dump trucks are expected to ferry the large white bags of debris from the Kodiak storage yard to the barge after it arrives. Tom Pogson with the Island Trails Network, which worked on the Kodiak-area debris removal, said that will be the easy part.

In other locations, the bags will be airlifted by helicopter to the barge, which Pallister expects will be “pretty maxxed out” when the barge, roughly the size of a football field, is fully loaded.

Debris will be sorted for recycling in Seattle, with the remaining debris taken by train for disposal in Oregon, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

http://news.yahoo.com/massive-debris-removal-project-underway-alaska-153231933.html

Censored US gov’t emails reveal proposal to test West Coast residents for Fukushima fallout — “Many cases of cancer may end up being attributed to exposures”

UPDATE: See below

From ENE News, June 1, 2015

FOIA Document — Excerpts from email by Per Peterson, Chair of Dept. of Nuclear Engineering at Univ.of California Berkeley & scientific adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu , Mar 23, 2011 at 1:35p (emphasis added) [FOIA document also here]:

  • [Sent to John Holdren, senior adviser to Pres. Obama on science & technology, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, DOE/NRC officials, and others who were redacted]
  • I would like to raise another issue which now merits expeditious, near term action. There is a short time window… during which it will remain possible to… measure any I-131 that members of the public may have ingested…
  • Collecting this data… would be very valuable…
  • UCB faculty [is in] general agreement that prompt action should be taken
  • Many cases of thyroid cancer, and other health problems, may end up being attributed to exposures from the Fukushima accident… on the U.S. west coast
  • It is possible that we will find that some people have received doses of I-131 and other radionuclides that could exceed the levels… Protective Action Guidelines are designed to prevent. This could provide a basis for immediate action to change PAG’s…
  • It could identify individuals who have had significant exposure… alert them and their medical care professionals to monitor for potential health effects
  • There are very strong reasons to gather data, but it must be done in a way that is broadly viewed as being in the interest of the public and the individuals involved…
  • I would recommend that we look at making facilities at the national laboratories… available to the public… Thoughts?

Reply from Dick Garwin, IBM Fellow (who Enrico Fermi called the only true genius he’d met): Right on, Per! But it seems to me that one could promptly validate the use of a single counter…  since the thyroid is so efficient in concentrating iodine

Per Peterson, Mar 23 @ 2:27p: Dick, Good idea… An important point for doing this in the U.S… is that the protocols must receive approval by a Human Subjects Committee. If one were to initiate an effort to perform whole body counting at LLNL and PNNL, the human subjects review can likely be done faster if it is initially for lab employees who would volunteer to be counted… Again, collecting statistically useful data on uptake of 1-131 and other radionuclides on the U.S. west coast and in Japan could be very valuable in the longer term, when many people may begin to believe that the Fukushima accident is the cause of a variety of health problems.

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s internal correspondence concerning the emails above:

  • Kathy Gibson (NRC), Mar 23 @ 3:03p: Please confirm that you are looking at this…
  • Gibson @ 5:46p: Are they talking about members of the public in US or Japan?
  • Stephanie Bush-Goddard (NRC) @ 5:54p: … the public in the US
  • Gibson @ 6:07p: Do we think it is a bad idea
  • Bush-Goddard @ 6:12p: … Yes, setting up additional monitoring stations for the public (without detecting anything) could cause additional alarm… I think they are responding to the public RASCAL run that shows very high doses to the Thyroid.
  • Gibson @ 6:35p: [NRC’s Radiation Protection and Health Effects Branch] think it’s a bad idea for people in the US because there (so far) isn’t measurable iodine in the US… They think this may be a funding opportunity for the entities making these proposals.

Per Peterson, Mar 25 @ 2:13p: … we have detected small concentrations of… radioactive materials in rainwater in Berkeley… I am now working with faculty in our school of public health to see how we can… verify what exposures have occurred. I do believe that these measurements will be very important in the longer term in assessing the consequences of the Fukushima accident.

See also: Former DOE official rips UC Berkeley for comparing ingestion of fallout to air travel

http://enenews.com/govt-emails-reveal-proposed-plan-test-west-coast-residents-fukushima-radiation-many-cases-cancer-being-attributed-exposures-doses-could-exceed-epas-emergency-levels

UPDATE:

The Big Picture, Jun 24, 2015 — Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear (emphasis added): “A recent revelation of Nuclear Regulatory Commission internal emails… reveal that there was concern at the highest levels of the U.S. government, and rightly so, about the radioactive iodine-131 escaping from Fukushima Dai-ichi… and reaching the United States… Rainwater at 242 times safe drinking water act permissible levels — so you better believe we got radioactive iodine-131 in the United States. Likely people ingested it — either breathed it in, or drank it in milk, or various other ingestion pathways. It attacks the thyroid gland… it does a tremendous amount of damage. And these emails… show that US government officials were worried about that, were calling for studies to be done to try to track the health damage. And what do you know, those studies did not happen… The monitoring and testing and the epidemiology were woefully inadequate to non-existent… The nuclear industry will try to bury the truth, and that sure happened after Fukushima… I think there’s been a huge dereliction of duty at the federal and the state levels.”

Kamps appears to be referencing an ENENews report from earlier this month, Censored US gov’t emails reveal proposed plan to test West Coast residents for Fukushima fallout — “Many cases of cancer may end up being attributed to exposures” — Doses could exceed emergency levels

The report quoted internal emails from March 2011 by the head of UC Berkeley’s nuclear engineering department, who wrote: “UCB faculty [is in] general agreement that prompt action should be taken… Many cases of thyroid cancer, and other health problems, may end up being attributed to exposures from the Fukushima accident… on the U.S. west coast… It is possible that we will find that some people have received doses of I-131 and other radionuclides that could exceed the levels [which] Protective Action Guidelines are designed to prevent. It could identify individuals who have had significant exposurealert them and their medical care professionals to monitor for potential health effects.”

On the Friday before UC Berkeley’s nuclear chair sent this proposal to a small group of government officials and experts, ABC’s San Francisco affiliate reported on public comments made by UC Berkeley’s nuclear department:

ABC (San Francisco KGO-TV), Mar 18, 2011: Nuclear engineers here at UC Berkeley say… don’t be alarmed. The tiny particles are just so small, they pose no threat at all… not harmful at all. One scientist here says you can get more radiation exposure on a flight… One model forecasts that the radiation plume… will reach California today… experts say this map is very misleading. First of all, there is no ‘plume’. Second of all, you cannot predict how the weather is going to carry radiation particles over here to the West Coast, if any at all.

The map above is a model developed by Japanese and European experts showing the strength and location of the Fukushima plume while over the West Coast on Mar. 18, 2011 — the same day as the broadcast of UC Berkeley’s claim that “there is no plume”. According to the map’s scale, dark red areas along the West Coast indicate the Fukushima fission product xenon-133 had a concentration in the air column of 1,000,000 becquerels per square meter.

Watch the interview with Kamps here

http://enenews.com/fukushima-plume-model-shows-1-million-bqm2-west-coast-after-explosions-tv-emails-reveal-highest-levels-govt-worried-about-health-impact-radiation-exposure-uc-berkeley-experts-claimed-publicly-pl