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Hot Right Now: Radiation Exposure Q&A
Hot keyword of the moment on March 14th, 2011, at 12:00 am local time (March 13th, 11 am US Eastern) is Radiation Exposure. Following the devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Japan, aftermath of the event includes a nuclear crisis as workers struggle to cool down nuclear reactors in the affected areas. This news about the possibility of radiation exposure in Japan is causing the world, including the Korea, to wonder about the exact side effects.
What are the immediate health effects of exposure to radiation?
Exposure to moderate levels can result in radiation sickness, which produces a range of symptoms.
Nausea and vomiting often begin within hours of exposure, followed by diarrhoea, headaches and fever.
After the first round of symptoms, there may be a brief period with no apparent illness, but this may be followed within weeks by new, more serious symptoms.
At higher levels of radiation, all of these symptoms may be immediately apparent, along with widespread - and potentially fatal - damage to internal organs.
Exposure to a radiation dose of four grays will typically kill about half of all healthy adults.
For comparison, radiation therapy for cancer typically involves several doses of between one and seven grays at a time - but these doses are highly controlled, and usually specifically targeted at small areas of the body.
How is radiation sickness treated?
The first thing to do is to try to minimise further contamination by removing clothes and shoes, and gently washing the skin with soap and water.
Drugs are available that increase white blood-cell production to counter any damage that may have occurred to the bone marrow, and to reduce the risk of further infections due to immune-system damage.
There are also specific drugs that can help to reduce the damage to internal organs caused by radioactive particles.
How does radiation have an impact on health?
Radioactive materials that decay spontaneously produce ionising radiation, which has the capacity to cause significant damage to the body’s internal chemistry, breaking the chemical bonds between the atoms and molecules that make up our tissues.
The body responds by trying to repair this damage, but sometimes it is too severe or widespread to make repair possible. There is also a danger of mistakes in the natural repair process.
Regions of the body that are most vulnerable to radiation damage include the cells lining the intestine and stomach, and the blood-cell producing cells in the bone marrow.
The extent of the damage caused is dependent on how long people are exposed to radiation, and at what level.
What are the most likely long-term health effects?
Cancer is the biggest long-term risk. Usually when the body’s cells reach their “sell-by date” they commit suicide. Cancer results when cells lose this ability, and effectively become immortal, continuing to divide and divide in an uncontrolled fashion.
The body has various processes for ensuring that cells do not become cancerous, and for replacing damaged tissue.
But the damage caused by exposure to radiation can completely disrupt these control processes, making it much more likely that cancer will result.
Failure to repair the damage caused by radiation properly can also result in changes - or mutations - to the body’s genetic material, which are not only associated with cancer, but may also be potentially passed down to offspring, leading to deformities in future generations. These can include smaller head or brain size, poorly formed eyes, slow growth and severe learning difficulties.
Are children at greater risk?
Potentially yes. Because they are growing more rapidly, more cells are dividing, and so the potential for things to go wrong is greater.
Following the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in the Ukraine in 1986, the World Health Organization recorded a dramatic increase in thyroid cancer among children in the vicinity.
This was because the radioactive materials released during the accident contained high levels of radioactive iodine, a material that accumulates in the thyroid.
How can the Japanese authorities minimise the cost to human health?
Professor Richard Wakeford, an expert in exposure to radiation, said provided the Japanese authorities acted quickly most of the general population should be spared significant health problems.
He said in those circumstances the only people likely to be at risk of serious health effects were nuclear workers at the plant or emergency workers exposed to high levels of radiation.
He said the top priority would be to evacuate people from the area and to make sure they did not eat contaminated food. The biggest risk was that radioactive iodine could get into their system, raising the risk of thyroid cancer.
To counter that risk people could be given tablets containing stable iodine which would prevent the body absorbing the radioactive version.
Japan Commits to Phasing Out Nuclear Power!
Real headline news!
But even though there may be some mushy words, like when politicians promise peace then go to war, it is a clear declaration; how dramatic!
Alternative and non-destructive renewable energy sources are not just a path to a better future, they are the only path we have if we want to see a future at all.
Amplify’d from www.nytimes.com
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Lowering Safety Standards?
Probably one of the most absurd things I’ve heard in awhile. And living in Fontana you hear a lot of crazy things from a lot of weird people. Recently the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission has lowered safety standards for nuclear reactors. Yes you read that right, LOWERED. Insane right? All to keep these plants operating. And this regulation changes are done by the federal government as well.
That photo is taken right off the NRC website. How do you expect to protect people and the environment by lowering safety standards to keep plants operating? Standards are seriously slipping in the nuclear industry. All this goes right back to..yeah you guessed it, giant nuclear corporations that don’t want to spend a single dollar on repairs to keep up with the past standards. Who get the federal government to loosen standards to keep their plants running. Yeah and this isnt anything new, its been going on for the last 30 years. A retired NRC engineer was quoted saying, “They do it to protect the acceptable lifetime of a plant and to squeeze more lifetime out of it.” Squeezing lifetime out of it? That sounds a little dangerous doesnt it? Wait no thats actually pretty dangerous. Not to mention the “Failed cables. Busted seals. Broken nozzles, clogged screens, cracked concrete, dented containers, corroded metals and rusty underground pipes.” Bending rules and loosening standards will squeeze life out of the reactors, but at what risk? The NRC is seriously undermining safety.
(Image taken from iWatchNews)
Those underground rusty pipes are already leaking into surrounding areas. The leaking of these pipes does release radioactive chemicals which seeps into the ground and mixes with the ground water. If you have no idea how rain is created here let me give you a little chart:
Does it all make sense now? Here let me break it down for you. In an area where radioactive particles mix with groundwater the water evaporates and condenses in rain clouds, which well, rain. So now to put it all together: radioactive leaks + groundwater + rain = more radioactivity in surrounding areas. This is quite a big concern since radioactive chemicals are known to cause a wide range of birth defects and probably one of the most well known illnesses, cancer. And to think all of this is going on here! In the United States of America! I understand that there will be leakages, you cant get around that. But lowering safety standards helps so much to find these corroding pipes. The lowering of standards increase the risk of a nuclear disaster greatly, as the pipes the majority of pipes that do leak are pipes which supply these nuclear reactors with water to cool them down.
This all links back to large corporations running this country. Having a say in the lowering safety standards on their own nuclear reactors? No doubt will they speak for the lowering of standards, they want to save every penny,“We gon’ git mo’ money, mo’ cake, mo’ chedda, no matter whut, suckas!”
Fukushima Nuclear Plant is Bad NewsAmplify’d from blog.alexanderhiggins.com
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Meanwhile, a confidential document released by The New York Times has confirmed multiple aspects of this disaster that we reported from the beginning.
“Perhaps the worse news is confirmation that radioactive fragments and particles, including the deadly Plutonium “MOX” fuel, has been shot high into the atmosphere during the hydrogen explosions,” wrote Alexander Higgins, a blogger and frequent Intel Hub Contributor.
A quick rundown of the problems that are now admitted confirms what some in the alternative media have reported from the beginning.
- Measures taken to keep the plant stable have created a wide array of problems.
- The weight of the water injections have made the reactors vulnerable to ruptures during an aftershock.
- The release of hydrogen mixed with seawater raises the possibility of an explosion.
- The mixture of seawater with molten fuel is blocking fresh water from reaching and cooling the reactors.
- New explosions could lead to further breaches in the containment vessels resulting in a much more serious release of radiation as well as a radioactive mass that would stay molten for a very long period of time.
- Pouring water to cool the reactors may not be able to be sustained indefinitely
- Fragments and particles of nuclear materials may have blown up to one mile high in the sky.
- Radioactive material lying around the plant needed to be bulldozed over.
- Because of the wide array of complex problems in three different reactors, a successful outcome is less certain than ever.
- Reactor 1 is likely fully blocked from new water entering to cool it and most likely has no water in it at all.
- Similar problems exist in reactor 2 and 3 although blockage is less severe.
- The spent fuel rods pose an even greater potential for damage then the reactors themselves.
- The hydrogen explosion at reactor four is believed to have released a huge amount of radioactive material into the environment in what is referred to as a “major term release”.
- Spent fuel rods are being exposed directly to the environment as opposed to the reactors themselves which are still in their containment vessels.
This is all happening at the exact same time as the corporate media continues to claim that this disaster poses absolutely no health threat to America. To top it off, the EPA is actively seeking to change the Protective Action Guidelines(PAGs) for radiation exposure.