— Fukushima prognosis and how radioactivity affects the body: Medical facts from Dr. Helen Caldicott

With specific information on Tritium, Strontium 90, Cesium 137, radioactive Iodine 131, and Plutonium.

By Helen Caldicott, Volume 4, Issue 2 2014, Australian Medical Student Journal

…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. [2] 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. [3] 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. [4]

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. [5]

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

  1. X-rays are electromagnetic, and cause mutations the instant they pass through the body.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. [7]

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.


[1] Caldicott H. Helen Caldicott Foundation’s Fukushima Symposium. 2013; Available from: http://www.helencaldicott.com/2012/12/helen-caldicott-foundations-fukushima-symposium/.

[2] Japan sat on U.S. radiation maps showing immediate fallout from nuke crisis. The Japan Times. 2012.

[3] 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.

[4] Tests find cesium 172 times the limit in Miyagi Yacon tea. The Asahi Shimbun. 2012.

[5] Yablokov AV, Nesterenko VB, Nesterenko AV, Sherman-Nevinger JD. Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment: Wiley. com; 2010.

[6] Fukushima Health Management. Proceedings of the 11th Prefectural Oversight Committee Meeting for Fukushima Health Management Survey. Fukushima, Japan2013.

[7] Møller AP, Mousseau TA. The effects of low-dose radiation: Soviet science, the nuclear industry – and independence? Significance. 2013;10(1):14-9.
Originally published: http://www.amsj.org/archives/3487


— TEPCO: 5 Billion Bq of Strontium-90 flows to the sea every single day

From Fukushima Diary

5 Billion Bq of Strontium-90 flows to the Pacific on the daily basis in 2014. Tepco announced in the press conference of 8/25/2014.

This is due to the contaminated water overflowing from the seaside of Reactor 1 ~ 4 to Fukushima plant port.

They also announced 2 Billion Bq of Cesium-137 and 1 Billion Bq of Tritium flow to the sea every single day as well.

Fukushima plant port is not separated from the Pacific. Discharged nuclide naturally spreads to the sea.


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— Visible plume from NY Fitzgerald nuclear plant

From Activist Post

There’s No Covering Up This One — Visible Pollution Leaking from NY Nuclear Plant

by Matt Agorist
June 28, 2016

US Coast Guard officials have cordoned off a portion of Lake Ontario this week, after aerial spotters found a visible “sheen” that is coming from a nuclear power plant in upstate New York.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary aircrew first noticed the sheen on Sunday. Shortly after, a boat crew from the Oswego station tested the sheen and a “temporary safety zone” was put in place.

The Free Thought Project spoke to the Coast Guard Sector Buffalo Command Center on Tuesday and confirmed that the zone was still closed off, and there is no information as to when it will reopen.

The oil sheen is said to be coming from the vent for the hydrogen seal system of the Fitzpatrick plant is in Scriba, New York, approximately 10 miles northeast of Oswego.

According to the Democrat and ChronicleEntergy Corporation, which operates the plant, found the source of the oil on the roof of a turbine building, said Neil Sheehan, a public affairs officer for the NRC.

“It appears about 20 to 30 gallons that leaked were then drained through the plant’s discharge drain system to the lake,” said NRC public affairs officer Neil Sheehan. “The company has placed oil-absorbent pads on the turbine building roof and has also stopped all circulating water pumps to eliminate any further discharges.”

Despite the miles-long spill coming from their nuclear power plant, Entergy is claiming that the sheen has not impacted the operation of the plant.

It appears that this Fitzpatrick leak is likely the least worrisome of current leaks popping up around the country.

Although the media spotlight is rarely shined upon America’s aging nuclear infrastructure, U.S. nuclear power plants are decaying rapidly, precipitating numerous nuclear environmental disasters across the country.

To give you an idea of the scope of the crisis facing America’s aging nuclear infrastructure, a startling investigation by the Associated Press found radioactive tritium leaking from three-quarters of all commercial nuclear power sites in the United States.

As The Free Thought Project reported last month, a major nuclear disaster is unfolding in Washington state at what is known as the Hanford nuclear site. There have been reports that the Hanford has been leaking massive amounts of radioactive material for over two weeks.

Only a week after 19 workers were sent for medical evaluation after a waste tank they were moving was found to be leaking, 3 more workers have reportedly been injured at the site. The workers reportedly inhaled radioactive fumes – the same issue facing the 19 previously hospitalized workers, according to reports, bringing the total number of workers injured at the site up to 22.

On top of the Hanford disaster, in recent months, a fire at the Bridgeton Landfill is closing in on a nuclear waste dump, according to a Missouri emergency plan recently distributed by St. Louis County officials. The landfill fire has been burning for over five years, and they have been unable to contain it thus far.

There are clouds of smoke that have been billowing from the site, making the air in parts of St. Louis heavily contaminated. In 2013, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sued Republic Services, the company responsible for the landfill, charging the company with neglecting the site and harming the local environment.

Last year, city officials became concerned that the fire may reach the nearby Lake Landfill, which is littered with decades worth of nuclear waste from government projects and weapons manufacturing. Remnants from the Manhattan Project and the Cold War have been stuffed there for generations. The site has been under the control of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since 1990, but they failed to make any significant effort to clean up the waste.

In December of last year, the EPA announced that it would install a physical barrier in an effort to isolate the nuclear waste. But the timeline given by the EPA said it could take up to a year to complete. Residents aren’t comforted by that timetable, and think the government, despite years of warning, has done too little to stave off a possible environmental disaster. They are right.

To add to the legitimacy of the residents’ worries about the government’s timeline, the ground has yet to be broken, the fire is still smoldering, and the EPA just finalized, on Thursday, an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent (Settlement) requiring Bridgeton Landfill, LLC to start work on the isolation barrier system at the West Lake Landfill Superfund Site.

Aside from the threat of the U.S. military’s decades-old nuclear waste erupting into flames in the near future, there are also two nuclear reactors inside the United States, which have been leaking for months.

In Florida, a recent study commissioned by Miami-Dade County concluded that the area’s four-decades-old nuclear power plants at Turkey Point are leaking polluted water into Biscayne Bay.

This has raised alarm among county officials and environmentalists that the plant, which sits on the coastline, is polluting the bay’s surface waters and its fragile ecosystem, reports the NY Times. In the past two years, bay waters near the plant have had a large saltwater plume that is slowly moving toward wells several miles away that supply drinking water to millions of residents in Miami and the Florida Keys.

Samples taken during the study show everything from the deadly radioactive isotope, tritium, to elevated levels of salt, ammonia, and phosphorous. So far, according to the scientists conducting the study, the levels of tritium are too low to harm people. However, in December, and January, the levels were far higher than they should be in nearby ocean water which is a telling sign of a much larger underlying problem.

“We now know exactly where the pollution is coming from, and we have a tracer that shows it’s in the national park,” said Laura Reynolds. Reynolds is an environmental consultant who is working with the Tropical Audubon Society and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, which intend to file the lawsuit, according to the Times. “We are worried about the marine life there and the future of Biscayne Bay.”

Fifteen hundred miles north of the leaking reactors in Florida is the Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York. Since the beginning of this year, there’s been an uncontrollable radioactive flow from the Indian Point nuclear power plant that continues leaking into groundwater, which leads to the Hudson River, raising the specter of a Fukushima-like disaster only 25 miles from New York City.

The Indian Point nuclear plant is located on the Hudson River and serves the electrical needs of an estimated 2 million people. In January, while preparing a reactor for refueling, workers accidentally spilled some contaminated water, containing the radioactive hydrogen isotope tritium, causing a massive radiation spike in groundwater monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing by as much as 65,000 percent.

The tritium leak is the ninth in just the past year, four of which were severe enough to shut down the reactors. But the most recent leak, however, according to an assessment by the New York Department of State as part of its Coastal Zone Management Assessment, contains a variety of radioactive elements such as strontium-90, cesium-137, cobalt-60, and nickel-63, and isn’t limited to tritium contamination.

As the utility companies and government agencies continue to downplay the severity of these situations, the residents who live the closest to these spots are already feeling the effects.

According to a recent report, Radiation and Public Health Project researchers compared the state and national cancer data from 1988-92 with three other five-year periods (1993-97, 1998-02, and 2003-07). The results, published in 2009, show the cancer rates going from 11 percent below the national average to 7 percent above in that time span. Unexpected increases were detected in 19 out of 20 major types of cancer. Thyroid cancer registered the biggest increase, going from 13 percent below the national average to 51 percent above.

While the U.S. war machine spends hundreds of billions of dollars per year waging war against humanity, Americans at home are dying from a crumbling nuclear infrastructure. The realization that multiple nuclear disasters are currently unfolding across the country, while the mainstream media remains silent, speaks to the fact that most media is owned by the same benefactors that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

Matt Agorist is the co-founder of TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared. He is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. .


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Leaking beachfront nuclear reactor near Miami threatening Florida everglades

Posted on Zero Hedge

Submitted by Claire Bernish via TheAntiMedia.org,

According to a study released by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Monday, the waters of Biscayne Bay measured 215 times the level of radioactive tritium as is found in normal ocean water.

Tritium is a radioactive isotope traceable to nuclear plant cooling tower operations. In this case, the leak appears to be emanating from the aging canals in the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station located nearby.

“This is one of several things we were very worried about,” said South Miami Mayor and biological sciences professor, Philip Stoddard, as the Miami New Times reported. “You would have to work hard to find a worse place to put a nuclear plant, right between two national parks and subject to hurricanes and storm surge.”

Biscayne Bay harbors one of the largest coral reefs on the planet and is situated near the Everglades. Hot, salty water from the canals appears to be flowing back into both national parks, which has caused concern among environmentalists and others from the time Turkey Point planned to expand its reactors in 2013.

“They argued the canals were a closed system, but that’s not how water works in South Florida,” Stoddard remarked.

“How much damage is that cooling canal system causing the bay is a question to be answered,” Everglades Law Center Attorney Julie Dick told the Miami Herald prior to reviewing the report. “There are a lot more unknowns than knowns and it just shows how much more attention we need to be paying to that cooling canal system.”

Tritium, a hydrogen isotope, is considered a precursor indication of leaks from nuclear plants, as it ‘travels’ or spreads faster than, and often precedes, other radioactive agents.

“While the tritium levels far fall below levels experts consider dangerous, the telltale tracer provided the critical link that high levels of ammonia and phosphorus in sections of bay bottom — pollution that is more damaging to marine life — likely came from the canals,” the Herald explained. Samples for the county monitoring study were gathered during December and January — and the tritium levels seem to show Florida Power & Light in violation of both local water laws and federal operating permits.

FPL, which operates Turkey Point, will likely receive another violation due to the leak — the county issued a citation in October for tainted groundwater — to force FPL to bring the plant into compliance, the Herald reported Tuesday.

After news of the report made headlines, critics, including environmentalists, nearby rock miners, and Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, came forward in full force calling for the Environmental Protection Agency to intervene in the matter.

“For years our state regulators have failed to take seriously the threat to our public safety, to our drinking water, and to our environment posed by FP&L’s actions at Turkey Point,” Rodriguez asserted, according to the New Times.“Evidence revealed this week of radioactive material in Biscayne Bay is the last straw and I join those calling on the U.S. EPA to step in and do what our state regulators have so far refused to do — protect the public.”

The leak also serves as possible confirmation for environmentalists who have suspected radioactive leaks from Turkey Point as the cause of algae blooms appearing in the bay for years.

“Biscayne Bay has not traditionally had algae blooms,” explained executive director for Miami Waterkeeper Rachel Silverstein, reported the Herald. “That’s from pollution. From sewers, septic tanks and now we know, cooling canals.”

Indeed, though FPL claims it continues to protect the health of the bay, as the Herald noted, Turkey Point has created issues for the waterways since the facility began producing more energy three years ago. “When you look at the big picture,” FPL environmental director, Matt Raffenberg, insisted, the canals “are not impacting Biscayne Bay.”

At a meeting on Tuesday, county commissioners discussed the imperative need to bring FPL and Turkey point into compliance with the law.

“We’ve had stop gap measures we’ve approved,” Gimenez said. “So far they’ve not proved to be the solution.”

Referencing the last time FPL was forced to implement changes following a lawsuit in the 1970s, he added, “It’s time we enter the 21st century.”

FPL’s continued problems with Turkey Point might have finally crossed the legal line by violating the federal Clean Water Act.

“There’s a certain validation to critics in seeing this result in the study,” Stoddard said. “But more important, it’s now crossed the threshold of federal law here.”


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New York: Radiation leak at Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant worsens

Two posts.

From ENE News

CNN, Feb 6, 2016 (emphasis added): A leak at the Indian Point nuclear facility in New York has sent contaminant into the area groundwater, causing radioactivity levels 65,000% higher than normal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday… The groundwater beneath the nuclear plant… flows into the Hudson River at a point about 25 miles north of New York City… [T]he NRC plans to send an expert in health physics and radiation protection to the site

NY Daily News, Feb 6, 2016: Gov. Cuomo said the plant’s operator, Entergy, reported “alarming levels” of radioactivity at three monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000%… Other state officials also blasted the controversial nuclear facility’s most recent mishap. Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) said she was concerned not only for the surrounding community but also for the “impact this radioactive water may have on public health and our environment,” Jaffee added.

News 12 transcript, Feb 6, 2016: “Tonight on News 12 — a radioactive leak at Indian Point sparking a full investigation by the State over concerns of contamination… Officials discover alarming levels of radioactivity at several monitoring wells… with one’s radioactivity increasing by nearly 65,000%… Officials say… there is no immediate threat to the public.”

AP, Feb 6, 2016: It was unclear how much water spilled, but samples showed the water had a radioactivity level of more than 8 million picocuries per liter… The levels are the highest regulators have seen at Indian Point… Contaminated groundwater would likely slowly make its way to the Hudson River, [an NRC spokesman] said… Tritium [is] a radioactive form of hydrogen that poses the greatest risk of causing cancer when it ends up in drinking water.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Feb 6, 2016: “Yesterday I learned that radioactive tritium-contaminated water leaked… The company reported alarming levels of radioactivity at three monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000 percent.”

Gov. Cuomo’s letter to Commissioner Zucker (Dept. of Health) & Acting Commissioner Seggos (Dept. of Environmental Conservation), Feb 6, 2016: “I am deeply concerned… Indian Point has experienced significant failure in its operation and maintenance… levels of radioactivity reported this week are significantly higher than in past incidents… Our first concern is for the health and safety of the residents… I am directing you to fully investigate this incident… to determine the extent of the release, its likely duration, its causes, its potential impacts to the environment and public health, and how the release can be contained.”

Ellen Jaffee, New York Assemblymember, Feb 6, 2016: “I am concerned about the alarming increase in radioactive water leaking… My primary concern is the potential impact this… may have on public health and our environment.”

CBS 6 Albany transcript, Feb 6, 2016: “[The NRC] says that exposure to high levels of tritium may cause cancer in humans or genetic defects.”

Watch broadcasts here: News 12News 10CBS 6 | CBS NY


From Beyond Nuclear
February 20, 2016

Mum’s the word as radioactive leak at Indian Point gets worse

Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear power plant at Buchanan, NY is leaking more radioactive tritium at higher concentrations into groundwater draining into the Hudson River. Failure of a sump pump needed for filtering radioactivity in contaminated water accumulated from a refueling outage is believed to be the cause of this latest spill picked up in three onsite monitoring wells next to Unit 2.

The depth, breadth and flow rate of the underground contaminated plume remains unknown. One monitoring well (MW-32), which is 57 feet deep, first tested positive for high levels of tritium, radioactive hydrogen, at 8 million picoCuries per liter (pCi/L). In a press release, Entergy “voluntarily” admitted that a more recent follow-up test for tritium has now increased by 80%. Beyond Nuclear badgered the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for more transparency to find that tritium levels in three monitoring wells have soared.  Tritium concentrations  have risen in MW-30 from 1.5 million pCi/L to 2.7 million pCi/L, MW-31 from 38,100 pCi/L to 9.5 million pCi/L and MW-32 is now 14.8 million pCi/L.

But “voluntary” compliance automatically ducks reliable reporting, federal regulations and enforcement action.

Beyond Nuclear repeatedly called NRC for two days. Entergy publicly posted a dismissive, detail-less Event Notification to the NRC website that they “voluntarily” neglected to post when the tritium leak was first detected nearly a week earlier. Entergy’s account is more evidence of the inconsistency and non-transparency to be expected of voluntary reporting of corporate pollution. Contaminated groundwater is flowing offsite into the Hudson River where according to the NRC and the nuclear power company dilution is the solution to pollution. Actually, its more a cheap substitute for compliance with the federal licensing agreement to control and monitor all radioactive effluent pathways to the environment.

Uncontrolled releases of radioactive effluent through unmonitored pathways into the environment are violations, albeit unenforced, of NRC’s “minimum requirements” and performance criteria (GDC 60 & 64) stipulated in Entergy’s operating licensing agreement. This most recent radioactive leak is more evidence of deteriorating systems where Entergy has lost control of the radioactive effluent coursing through reactor buildings and migrating offsite into the river. Of equal concern, the NRC has abdicated its regulatory authority to nuclear industry’s “voluntary initiative” (aka the Groundwater Protection Initiative). Once again, Indian Point’s leaks are just the latest demonstration of an erosion in public health oversight and the control and monitoring of radioactive water to “Nuclear Regulatory Capture.”


“Leak First, Fix Later: Uncontrolled and Unmonitored Radioactive Releases at Nuclear Power Plants” — report

Uncontrolled and Unmonitored Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants

A Beyond Nuclear Report
By Paul Gunter, Director, Reactor Oversight Project
Revised Edition: March 2015

“Leak First, Fix Later” was first published in April 2010. Now nearly five years later, Beyond  Nuclear takes another look at the problem of aging and deteriorating piping systems carrying
radioactive liquids that still run under every nuclear power plant.

Nuclear power plants have an extensive network of piping systems dozens of which transport liquids that contain radioactive isotopes including tritium — a radioactive form of hydrogen — and long-lived strontium-90. These piping systems are not adequately inspected or maintained due to their inaccessibility.

U.S. reactors continue to experience leaks and spills of radioactive material into groundwater the unmonitored pathways from unknown and unanticipated sources.

Now, five years after our initial 2010 report, Beyond Nuclear has determined that the NRC has failed to mandate any corrective action programs that focus on inspection and maintenance programs aimed at groundwater protection by preventing ongoing radioactive leaks and contamination of water resources.

Full report at: http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/356082/26211376/1431107993237/LeakFirst_ReportLater_BeyondNuclear_March2015.pdf?token=z1pOj4O3mtw9GUIJX27aU%2FNIDIU%3D

– On tritium — excerpts from memorandum to NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane

From Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
By Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President
June 2013 issue Science for Democratic Action

Tritium is likely to be a critical radionuclide for estimating fetal dose from nuclear power plant operation. IEER concluded some time ago that the ICRP’s method of attributing the mother’s uterine wall dose from tritium (and from alpha-emitting radionuclides) to the embryo during the first eight weeks of pregnancy is incorrect. Though I have not yet looked at it specifically, it seems to me that the problem also extends to carbon-14, which was also identified as a key radionuclide in the feasibility study. The issue of a scientifically defensible approach for fetal dose estimation, especially during the early part of pregnancy, needs to be addressed because it is very important for a credible children’s case control study that is geared (rightly so, in my opinion) to the mother’s place of residence at the time of the birth of the child. IEER’s report, Science for the Vulnerable, which briefly covers this issue (especially see pages 73 and 85) can be downloaded from the IEER website.3

I recommend that the NRC request the EPA’s Science Advisory Board or the National Academies Committee to Assess Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation to provide it with scientific advice as expeditiously as possible on how fetal doses, including in the first eight weeks, from alpha emitters and relatively low-energy beta emitters, particularly tritium and carbon-14, should be calculated. This problem should also be addressed by the National Academies pilot study in the course of its work [which has now been cancelled by the NRC].

A related data problem is that the NRC does not require monitoring of tritium in rainwater, though this is recognized as a potential issue by at least some in industry. This could be a crucial exposure pathway especially during pregnancy, notably for people with private wells. In 2006, Ken Sejkora of Entergy Nuclear Northeast (Pilgrim Station) estimated that under adverse weather conditions, episodic releases could result in concentrations as high as 36 million pCi/L – 180 times the drinking water limit close to the stack (probably onsite, though this is not explicitly stated).  Sejkora used a source term of 1 Ci/day.4 While this choice is on the higher side of routine releases (for one sample year, 2004) I have looked at, even higher tritium source terms releases from US nuclear power plants have been measured. For instance, the Palo Verde plant reported 2,123 curies of tritium releases to the atmosphere in 2004 (all three reactors).

I recommend that the NRC require routine monitoring of
rainwater around commercial nuclear reactors. The NRC should also encourage nuclear power plant owners to consider making funds voluntarily available to private well owners nearby in case the well owners want to have their water tested for tritium and other radionuclides emitted from nuclear power plants.