12:51PM EDT October 25. 2012 – HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Federal regulators say a pilot study of cancer risks posed to residents near seven nuclear power sites in the United States will update 22-year-old data, but an industry group says the study won’t come up with anything new.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it will study cancer types in infants and the general population near six nuclear power plants and a nuclear-fuel plant for the Navy. The $2 million study is expected to begin in the next three months and continue at least into 2014.
The Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry group, opposes the study, saying it won’t likely provide any meaningful data.
The sites are in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and Tennessee.
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese authorities are investigating subcontractors on suspicion that they forced workers at the Fukushima nuclear plant to underreport the amount of radiation they were exposed to so they could stay on the job longer.
Labor officials said Sunday an investigation had begun after news media reports of a cover-up at the Fukushima Daichi plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
A subcontractor of plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company acknowledged having nine workers cover their dosimeters with lead plates late last year so that the instruments would indicate a lower level of radiation exposure.
Takashi Wada, president of Fukushima-based subcontractor Build-Up, said over the weekend that the dosimeter falsification had taken place.
“We should never have done that,” Mr. Wada said in an interview with the TBS network, broadcast on Saturday.
The investigation marks the first time the government has looked into the case, believed to be part of a widespread practice at the plant, since it was hit by the worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl.
The government more than doubled the emergency radiation exposure limit soon after the accident, but lowered it to the previous level in December.
By Zareena Hussain
Issue 65 : Wednesday, January 7, 1998
Associate News Editor
MITand Quaker Oats Co. agreed last week to pay $1.85 million to children at the Walter E. Fernald State School who were subjects of nutrition studies during the 1940s and 1950s as part of an out of court settlement. The students were fed breakfast cereals laced with minute amounts of radioactive iron and calcium tracers. Children were encouraged to take part in the testing with promises of gifts or trips to Red Sox games.
Fernald had been officially designated as a school for retarded children, although some of the residents at the time of the experiment were not retarded.
Following the declassification of federal records on post-war radiation experiments in 1993, a state task force investigating postwar radiation experiments throughout Massachusetts found children at Fernald were used in experiments without the informed consent of parents. A class action suit against MIT and Quaker Oats was filed by former students in December 1995. (more…)
For years, people living around the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant wondered if the secret operations at that facility could somehow be endangering the health of people and animals living nearby.
And the FBI’s spectacular dawn raid of Rocky Flats in June 1989, certainly didn’t do much for property values.
In 1990, property owners filed a class-action suit against the operators of Rocky Flats, charging that the plant had affected both the health and welfare of nearby residents. By the time Merilyn Cook, et al., vs. Rockwell International Corporation and Dow Chemical finally went to trial in U.S. District Judge John Kane’s courtroom in late 2005, more than 12,000 people had signed onto the class-action suit (more…)
Special issue of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on the risks of exposure to low-level radiation
Every time a release of radioactivity occurs, questions arise—not only about the true exposures, but also about the health risk at low doses. Predictably, debates unfold in the news media and galvanize social media networks. Sometimes these conversations enlighten the public, but often times they only exacerbate the confusion and fear about the significance and reality of exposure. Fukushima is the latest example of this warped communications strategy.
This special issue of the Bulletin examines what is new about the debate over radiation risk, specifically focusing on areas of agreement and disagreement, including quantitative estimates of cancer risk as a function of dose. In this issue, we don’t pretend to put the questions about the scientific jigsaw puzzle to rest, but we do hope to provide a sophisticated update for you, presented by people whose work has increased understanding within the field. For example, social scientist Paul Slovic updates his classic work on perception of radiation risk. Roger Kasperson, another social scientist, writes on the intriguing framework that he and colleagues developed about the social amplification of risk, which helps to explain public reactions to events like Fukushima and Chernobyl. By implication, Kasperson’s analysis raises a challenge for those who communicate risk information, (more…)
John P. Christodouleas, M.D., M.P.H., Robert D. Forrest, C.H.P., Christopher G. Ainsley, Ph.D., Zelig Tochner, M.D., Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., and Eli Glatstein, M.D. New England Journal of Medicine 2011; 364:2334-2341June 16, 2011
On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck the east coast of Japan. The total number of people who died in the earthquake and the tsunami that it generated is still being assessed, but the official estimation already exceeds 14,000.1 The natural disaster also caused substantial damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the consequences of which are still unclear. The purpose of this review is to put the emergency at the Japanese power plant, even as it is evolving, into the context of the extensive literature on nuclear-reactor accidents by analyzing the mechanisms and major short-term and long-term health risks of radiation exposure. In addition, we briefly discuss the accidents at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in (more…)