Fukushima’s children are dying 
June 16, 2014

Some 39 months after the multiple explosions at Fukushima, thyroid cancer rates among nearby children have skyrocketed to more than forty times (40x) normal.

More than 48 percent of some 375,000 young people—nearly 200,000 kids—tested by the Fukushima Medical University near the smoldering reactors now suffer from pre-cancerous thyroid abnormalities, primarily nodules and cysts. The rate is accelerating.

More than 120 childhood cancers have been indicated where just three would be expected, says Joseph Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project.

The nuclear industry and its apologists continue to deny this public health tragedy. Some have actually asserted that “not one person” has been affected by Fukushima’s massive radiation releases, which for some isotopes exceed Hiroshima by a factor of nearly 30.

But the deadly epidemic at Fukushima is consistent with impacts suffered among children near the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island and the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl, as well as findings at other commercial reactors.
 
The likelihood that atomic power could cause such epidemics has been confirmed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which says that “an increase in the risk of childhood thyroid cancer” would accompany a reactor disaster.

In evaluating the prospects of new reactor construction in Canada, the Commission says the rate “would rise by 0.3 percent at a distance of 12 kilometers” from the accident. But that assumes the distribution of protective potassium iodide pills and a successful emergency evacuation, neither of which happened at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl or Fukushima.

The numbers have been analyzed by Mangano. He has studied the impacts of reactor-created radiation on human health since the 1980s, beginning his work with the legendary radiologist Dr. Ernest Sternglass and statistician Jay Gould.

Speaking on the Green Power & Wellness Show, Mangano also confirms that the general health among downwind human populations improves when atomic reactors are shut down, and goes into decline when they open or re-open.

Nearby children are not the only casualties at Fukushima. Plant operator Masao Yoshida has died at age 58 of esophogeal cancer. Masao heroically refused to abandon Fukushima at the worst of the crisis, probably saving millions of lives. Workers at the site who are employed by independent contractors—many dominated by organized crime—are often not being monitored for radiation exposure at all. Public anger is rising over government plans to force families—many with small children—back into the heavily contaminated region around the plant.

Full article

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A cloud chamber and the birth of helium atoms.

The tracks here show the natural radiation in the atmosphere around us. Thicker tracks are big heavy alpha particles, whispy ones are beta particles, but they all work in the same way.

The atmosphere in the chamber contains a lot of alcohol vapour. When charged particles fire through the atmosphere they cause little droplets to form, and these are the clouds you can see.

This is similar to how a track forms behind an aeroplane, where the exhaust can help the droplets of moisture form together into a cloud.

When you then add an Americium pole into the chamber, the alpha particles emitted (with their two protons and two neutrons) grab electrons and form Helium atoms. 

Watch the full video with Dr Peter Wothers on YouTube.

Gamma Ray Bursts - the biggest blast in the universe

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most powerful events in the Universe. GRBs are flashes of gamma-rays that last from less than a second to several minutes. They release a tremendous amount of energy and they are thought to occur when stars explode and subsequently collapse into black holes. In the explosion, two jets of very fast-moving material are ejected from the star’s magnetic poles. If a jet happens to be aimed at Earth, we see a brief but powerful gamma-ray burst. 

Because light moves at a finite speed, looking farther into the Universe means looking back in time. Astronomers have detected GRBs in extremely distant objects more than 13 billion light years away. It is believed that the very first stars formed when the Universe was between 200 and 400 million years old. The events that took place then were very powerful, with huge amounts of matter compacting into giant black holes, super heating the surrounding matter and forming quasars, the massive rotational centres of primitive galaxies. Our own galaxy probably evolved from events like these. We are seeing the echo’s of creation.

Fathom the Universe

Artist impression GRB shining through two young galaxies - credit: L. Calçada, ESO

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Plutonium: The scary element that saved the crew of Apollo 13

Plutonium may be the most feared and fearsome substance in the entire periodic table.

It’s best known as the main ingredient of atomic bombs like the infamous Fat Man, dropped on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, which killed some 70,000 people. Japan surrendered six days later, but the threat of nuclear annihilation locked the world into Cold War for decades.

Yet the story of plutonium is not all about Armageddon or the threat of it. It is also the story of an incredible voyage of discovery into an unknown world.

You’ve probably heard the quote “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” It was what Commander Jim Lovell told the Nasa command centre back on Earth in the moments after the Apollo 13 spacecraft had been rocked by an explosion.

It was April 1970, and Apollo 13 was 56 hours and 200,000 miles into its mission, mankind’s third attempt to land people on the moon.

One of the oxygen tanks had exploded, severing the spacecraft’s main power supply, and causing the temperature on board to plummet dangerously and carbon dioxide levels to rise.

Lovell and his crew had to retreat to the lunar module, which carried a suite of scientific instruments powered by a warm battery containing 8.5lb of pure plutonium.

That battery helped save the astronauts’ lives.

Continue Reading.

"Most dangerous picture in the world"

That olive blob over there is the extremely deadly radiation that was so dangerous it melted through the floors of the Chernobyl power plant. In fact, the two taking the picture didn’t survive, and they knew this, because scientists can’t even go remotely near it, and these badasses gave their own lives just to upload a picture of what spread all over the Ukraine. Also, the reason why the picture is so fuzzy is because there’s so many radiation particles in the room. Holy shit. I mean, Goddamn, would you do this?

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The UN International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies officially begins today with the opening ceremony in Paris, France. This international event is part of a collaborative effort between UNESCO and other scientific bodies wishing to promote the study of light science as a potential solution to the current global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Oxford Medicine Online has celebrated this momentous event by exploring some of the innovative ways light is already being harnessed to solve medical challenges in this infographic. You can also view the infographic as a PDF to learn more about the medical applications of light.

To discover thought provoking content about radiation from Oxford Journals, explore the Journal of Radiation Research, Radiation Protection Dosimetry, and the Journal of the ICRU today.

Sun may determine lifespan at birth, study finds

In an unusual study published Wednesday, Norwegian scientists said people born during periods of solar calm may live longer, as much as five years on average, than those who enter the world when the Sun is feisty.

The team overlaid demographic data of Norwegians born between 1676 and 1878 with observations of the Sun.

The lifespan of those born in periods of solar maximum—interludes marked by powerful flares and geomagnetic storms—was “5.2 years shorter” on average than those born during a solar minimum, they found.

"Solar activity at birth decreased the probability of survival to adulthood," thus truncating average lifespan, according to the paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

There was a stronger effect on girls than boys, it said.

The Sun by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. Credit: NASA