It couldn't happen to you...could it?Making a new friend now has me thinking about an environmental issue that I haven't thought much about since I wrote my book in 1990. However, this issue is not one of those that is going to effect our grandchildren in the Twenty-Second Century. It's something that effects people now. It could be effecting you...right now...as you read this.
Radiation PoisoningSymptoms of radiation poisoning1 can range from the list below to cancer from long term exposure to low doses: Symptoms of high dosage exposure:
- Bleeding from the nose, mouth, gums, and rectum
- Bloody stool
- Hair loss
- Inflammation of exposed areas (redness, tenderness, swelling, bleeding)
- Mouth ulcers
- Nausea and vomiting
- Open sores on the skin
- Skin burns (redness, blistering)
- Sloughing of skin
- Ulcers in the esophagus, stomach or intestines
- Vomiting blood
How can you contract Radiation Sickness?There are nine sunken nuclear submarines2 in the Atlantic and the Arctic seas with both nuclear reactor engines and unreclaimed nuclear missiles3. One is just off the coast of Newfoundland. Do you have a strong enough knowledge of ocean currents to know if you are effected or not?
Lost or damaged nuclear missiles (Broken Arrows) and other nuclear "accidents" has left nuclear litter scattered all over the Northern Hemisphere as detailed in this map (click here). Much of this litter is above ground and in the US. Do you have a sufficient understanding of wind currents to know if you are at risk?
Spent nuclear fuel (e.g nuclear waste)4 constitutes the highest risk to you. Since permanent storage at Yucca Mountain has been delayed this waste, (71,780 metric tonnes) is stored all over the United States. The map shows tonnes by state (Click here for larger version). Do you know how close you live to a temporary storage facility and groundwater movement to determine what risk you may be in? Keep in mind that 71,780 metric tonnes is equal to 78,021 tons or over 156 million pounds. That's 11 times the weight of the US Capital building. The Nuclear Energy Institutes4> lists sites built for the purpose of temporary storage of spent reactor fuel, but much of the spent fuel is stored onsite at the nuclear power plant
With this much radioactive litter lying around the risks of cancer from long time ionized radiation exposure to spent fuel increases dramatically. When you look at the list of cancers long term exposure can cause, you can see that often it is cancer attributed to other causes (Maybe, maybe not):
- Cancers of the bile ducts, bone, brain, breast, colon, esophagus, gall bladder, liver (primary site, but not if cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated), lung (including bronchiolo-alveolar cancer), pancreas, pharynx, ovary, salivary gland, small intestine, stomach, thyroid, urinary tract (kidney/renal, pelvis, urinary bladder, and urethra)
- Leukemia (except chronic lymphocytic leukemia)
- Lymphomas (except Hodgkin’s disease)
- Multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells)
Current guidelines are based on the conservative assumption that there is no safe level of exposure. In other words, even the smallest exposure has some probability of causing a stochastic effect, such as cancer.In its website Nuclear Regulatory Commission6 describes the construction of storage vessels but is remiss in documenting what radiation leakage radiates from pools and casks
What Can You Do?A good reverse osmosis filter will reduce radioactive levels in your water. Lining your house and making your own clothes out of aluminum foil isn't practical and I'm sure there are some health issues from too much contact with aluminum. Moving if you find that you are near a site is not a particularly feasible option, and runs the risk of moving closer to another spent fuel repository.
If you feel you are at risk you can contact the EPA's Radiation Protection Division; although if it is discovered that you are at risk, the time it might take to resolve the problem is might make moving and option
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Radiation and Indoor Air
Radiation Protection Division
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460-0001
The Best Solution......is a long term solution and it will take a few years to implement, so the sooner alternative sources of energy are implemented the quicker nuclear plants can be decommission. Contact the White House, your Congressmen, and your Senators and tell them you want wind energy! Don't waste time on petitions. Go direct. Takes no more time than signing an online petition If Denmark7 and Scotland8 can produce 100% of their energy needs from wind, so can we.
Even the birds will be safe......with the new wind turbine technology with six times the output reducing costs below that of other wind generators and way below the costs of nuclear power plants, especially maintenance costs:
- Radiation Poisoning. National Institutes of health
- Sunken Nuclear Submarines (Including Map)
- Missing Missiles: Der Speigel
- Nuclear Waste - Nuclear Energy Institutes
- <Exposure limits- NDT
- Spent Fuel - Nuclear Regulatory Commission
- Denmark Surpasses 100% Energy Needs with Wind
- Scotland Wind Power Overtakes Nuclear Power