Linear No Threshold the best model for ionising radiation, new research shows

graph-radiationred-bone-marrow-dose.gif
Implications of recent epidemiologic studies for the linear nonthreshold model and radiation protection https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326387649_Implications_of_recent_epidemiologic_studies_for_the_linear_nonthreshold_model_and_radiation_protection
Article in Journal of Radiological Protection ·
Article in Journal of Radiological Protection · July 2018  Roy ShoreHarold Beck Jr. John D. Boice Lawrence Dauer DOI: 10.1088/1361-6498/aad348
Abstract
The recently published NCRP Commentary No. 27 evaluated the new information from epidemiologic studies as to their degree of support for applying the linear nonthreshold (LNT) model of carcinogenic effects for radiation protection purposes [1].
The aim was to determine whether recent epidemiologic studies of low-LET radiation, particularly those at low doses and/or low dose rates (LD/LDR), broadly support the LNT model of carcinogenic risk or, on the contrary, demonstrate sufficient evidence that the LNT model is inappropriate for the purposes of radiation protection.
An updated review was needed because a considerable number of reports of radiation epidemiologic studies based on new or updated data have been published since other major reviews were conducted by national and international scientific committees. The Commentary provides a critical review of the LD/LDR studies that are most directly applicable to current occupational, environmental and medical radiation exposure circumstances.
This Memorandum summarizes several of the more important LD/LDR studies that incorporate radiation dose responses for solid cancer and leukaemia that were reviewed in Commentary No. 27. In addition, an overview is provided of radiation studies of breast and thyroid cancers, and cancer after childhood exposures. Non-cancers are briefly touched upon such as ischemic heart disease, cataracts, and heritable genetic effects.
To assess the applicability and utility of the LNT model for radiation protection, the Commentary evaluated 29 epidemiologic studies or groups of studies, primarily of total solid cancer, in terms of strengths and weaknesses in their epidemiologic methods, dosimetry approaches, and statistical modeling, and the degree to which they supported a LNT model for continued use in radiation protection. Recommendations for how to make epidemiologic radiation studies more informative are outlined. The NCRP Committee recognizes that the risks from LD/LDR are small and uncertain.
The Committee judged that the available epidemiologic data were broadly supportive of the LNT model and that at this time no alternative dose-response relationship appears more pragmatic or prudent for radiation protection purposes.
 
Implications of recent epidemiologic studies for the linear nonthreshold model and radiation protection | Request PDF. Available Implications of recent epidemiologic studies for the linear nonthreshold model and radiation protection | Request PDF. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326387649_Implications_of_recent_epidemiologic_studies_for_the_linear_nonthreshold_model_and_radiation_protection [accessed Jul 20 2018].
Advertisements

Japan to deploy large patrol boats to guard nuclear plants

gghjjkk.jpg
July 22, 2018
TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Japan Coast Guard will deploy two large patrol vessels to areas of the Sea of Japan to reinforce protection of nuclear power plants against terrorism, sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.
Two new 1,500-ton vessels with helipads will be deployed between fiscal 2019 and 2020 to the coast guard’s Tsuruga office in Fukui Prefecture where several nuclear plants are located, according to the sources.
54 nuke pleant
nuke plants.png
tsuruga nuke plant
Patrol boats of similar size, each costing about 6 billion yen ($54 million), will be introduced in other parts of the country in the future, they said.
The government is moving to strengthen counterterrorism measures in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, in line with an agreement in February with the International Atomic Energy Agency to bolster Japan’s capacity to respond to nuclear terrorism.
The coast guard expects the new ships will also enhance its ability to respond to North Korean boats engaged in illegal fishing, and to unidentified ships sighted off the central Japan coast, the sources said.
The new ships could also be used to respond to emergency situations at nuclear plants in other areas, and crew will receive special training in dealing with radioactive substances, they said.
An additional 60 to 80 coast guard crew will be posted at the Tsuruga office, nearly doubling the personnel there.
The Tsuruga office belongs to the 8th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters, which is responsible for patrolling waters along a 2,000-kilometer stretch of Japan’s central and western coasts. That office operates three patrol boats, the largest being the 350-ton Echizen.
To better deal with China’s growing maritime assertiveness, Japan has allocated an initial budget of a record 211.2 billion yen to the Japan Coast Guard for fiscal 2018.

Fukushima Prefecture as if nothing has happened

Fukushima Pref. beach opens to swimmers for 1st time after tsunami, nuclear disasters

soma july 21 2018.jpg
Children play at Haragamaobama Beach, which opened for swimmers for the first time in eight years in the city of Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, on July 21.
July 21, 2018
SOMA, Fukushima — Haragamaobama Beach here was opened to swimmers on July 21 for the first time in eight years after the area was struck in March 2011 by a massive tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake.
The beach is the first in the northern part of the prefecture to reopen after the disaster. Three beaches earlier opened in the southern city of Iwaki.
Haragamaobama Beach attracted about 56,500 people in 2010. However, 207 people in the area died in the March 11, 2011 disaster, and the tsunami littered the beach with debris.
The beach is about 45 kilometers away from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, which was struck by meltdowns following the quake and tsunami. The city has not found any detectable levels of radioactive substances in seawater quality tests it started in 2016. It reopened the beach after preparing tsunami evacuation routes.
Sayaka Mori, 29, a nursing care worker in the northern prefectural city of Minamisoma, came to the beach with her 3-year-old daughter and played at the water’s edge. “I grew up at my home in front of the sea. It was natural to play at the beach. I want my child to know the delight of playing in the sea,” she said.

Only 24 of 70 beaches reopen to public since 2011 tsunami

 

jkjlùmù.jpg
A family plays on Hirota public beach in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, on July 20.
July 20, 2018
RIKUZENTAKATA, Iwate Prefecture–A public beach officially opened here July 20 for the first time in eight years, underscoring the destruction of sites along the Tohoku coast that bore the initial brunt of the 2011 tsunami.
Hirota beach in Rikuzentakata, a city that was devastated in the disaster, is one of 24 beaches that will be officially open to the public this summer in the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
That figure is only about a third of the 70 that were available before the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011.
Miho Mitsui, who lives in Rikuzentakata’s Hirotacho district, visited Hirota beach with her two young daughters on the morning of July 20.
“Until this year, we were disappointed at being unable to go into the sea, especially with the water so clear,” the 28-year-old homemaker said. “I want to come here every day.”
Before the 2011 disaster, Hirota and the city’s other public beach, Takata Matsubara, were key parts of social life among the locals.
Takata Matsubara beach became known as the site where a pine forest was wiped out by the tsunami, leaving only one “miracle pine tree” standing. The tree has since died, and the city is still trying to restore sand at the beach, which is still not officially open to the public.
For “officially opened” beaches, municipal governments and other operators provide maintenance and other care, check the water quality to ensure safety, and operate necessary facilities.
But at some of the sites in the Tohoku region, the beaches have essentially disappeared.
In the village of Tanohata, Iwate Prefecture, more than 100 kilometers north of Rikuzentakata, the two public beaches have been closed to the public over the past eight years for the construction of seawalls.
Tanohata Mayor Hiroshi Ishihara decided to use the Tsukuehama beach as a temporary public beach from July 26, saying it is “undesirable to deprive children, who live in the coastal village, of the experience of swimming in the sea.”
Haragamaobama beach in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, about 40 kilometers north of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, is also scheduled to reopen for the first time in eight years on July 21.
But south of the nuclear plant, in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, the city government in May decided that Kattsuo beach could no longer be considered a public beach. Much of the sandy area of the beach disappeared in plate movements caused by the offshore earthquake as well as the construction of seawalls.
Nobiru beach and the surrounding area in Higashi-Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, will remain closed for now.
A city government official said the beach area will reopen once “escape routes are set up (for possible future tsunami).”
The Iwate prefectural government has set up a technical review committee to explore the feasibility of restoring sand at Negishi beach in Kamaishi and Namiita beach in Otsuchi that were hit hard by the tsunami.
 
 

Fukushima’s nuclear signature found in California wine

The Japanese nuclear disaster bathed north America in a radioactive cloud. Now pharmacologists have found the telltale signature in California wine made at the time.
Throughout the 1950s, the US, the Soviet Union, and others tested thermonuclear weapons in the Earth’s atmosphere. Those tests released vast quantities of radioactive material into the air and triggered fears that the nuclear reactions could ignite deuterium in the oceans, thereby destroying the planet in a catastrophic accidental fireball.
Atmospheric tests ended in 1980, when China finished its program, but the process has left a long-lasting nuclear signature on the planet. One of the most obvious signatures is cesium-137, a radioactive by-product of the fission of uranium-235.
After release into the atmosphere, cesium-137 was swept around the world and found its way into the food supply in trace quantities. Such an addition is rarely welcomed. But in 2001, the French pharmacologist Philippe Hubert discovered that he could use this signature to date wines without opening the bottles.
cesium-137-in-wine.jpg
The technique immediately became a useful weapon in the fight against wine fraud—labeling young wines as older vintages to inflate their price. Such fraud can be spotted by various types of chemical and isotope analysis—but only after the wine has been opened, which destroys its value.
Cesium-137, on the other hand, allows noninvasive testing because it is radioactive. It produces distinctive gamma rays in proportion to the amount of isotope present. Dating the wine is a simple process of matching the amount of cesium-137 to atmospheric records from the time the wine was made. That quickly reveals any fraud. Indeed, if there is no cesium-137, the wine must date from after 1980.
There is one blip in this record, though. The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 bathed much of Europe, and other parts of the world, in a radioactive cloud that increased atmospheric levels of cesium-137 again. Hubert and colleagues can see this blip in their data from wines.
And that raises an interesting question about the Fukushima disaster of 2011, an accident of Chernobyl proportions caused by a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan following a huge earthquake and tsunami. It released a radioactive cloud that bathed North America in fissile by-products.
Is it possible to see the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in California wines produced at the time?
Today we get an answer, thanks to a study carried out by Hubert and a couple of colleagues. “In January 2017, we came across a series of Californian wines (Cabernet Sauvignon) from vintage 2009 to 2012,” say Hubert and company.
This set of wines provides the perfect test. The Fukushima disaster occurred on March 11, 2011. Any wine made before that date should be free of the effects, while any dating from afterward could show them.
The team began their study with the conventional measurement of cesium-137 levels in the unopened bottles. That showed levels to be indistinguishable from background noise.
But the team was able to carry out more-sensitive tests by opening the wine and reducing it to ash by evaporation. This involves heating the wine to 100 degrees Celsius for one hour and then increasing the temperature to 500 degrees Celsius for eight hours. In this way, a standard 750-milliliter bottle of wine produces around four grams of ashes. The ashes were then placed in a gamma ray detector to look for signs of cesium-137.
Using this method, Hubert and his colleagues found measurable amounts of cesium-137 above background levels in the wine produced after 2011. “It seems there is an increase in activity in 2011 by a factor of two,” conclude the team.
That probably won’t be very useful for fraud detection in California wine—the levels of cesium-137 are barely detectable, and even then, only if the wine is destroyed.
But the result does show how nuclear disasters can have unexpected consequences long after the fact.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1807.04340 : Dating of Wines with Cesium-137: Fukushima’s Imprint

Oi nuclear plant ruling reads like it was rendered pre-Fukushima

BBBB.jpg
A plaintiff and a lawyer hold signs on July 4 criticizing a ruling by the Nagoya High Court’s Kanazawa branch that nullified an injunction to halt operations at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture.
 
July 18, 2018
The Nagoya High Court’s Kanazawa branch declared that the nation, having learned its lesson from the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011, will not make the same mistakes again.
We have our doubts.
The July 4 ruling overturned the Fukui District Court’s decision of four years ago in favor of the plaintiffs, who sought an injunction against Kansai Electric Power Co. to suspend operations of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture.
The plaintiffs have decided against taking their case to the Supreme Court, which will finalize the high court ruling.
The Fukui District Court’s decision to halt operations of the Oi reactors was based on its own study of whether the reactors posed “risks of causing grave situations similar to the Fukushima accident.”
Its main focus was not to judge whether the reactors met the new safety regulations established by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, which was set up after the Fukushima disaster.
In contrast, the high court said it would be “only proper for a court to respect (the NRA regulations)” as they were “established based on the latest scientific and technological expertise of specialists from many fields.”
The court said there was nothing unreasonable in the NRA judgment that the Oi reactors met the new safety regulations. It concluded that the risks posed by the reactors were being controlled to a negligible level by socially accepted standards.
But what lessons has the Fukushima disaster taught us? Don’t they boil down to the fact that we believed in many experts who assured us of the safety of nuclear reactors, only to realize that an “unexpected” disaster could and did occur, causing tremendous damage we have yet to recover from.
The high court ruling read like something from pre-Fukushima days. We could not help feeling the same way every time we come across the view that the nation has more or less learned all the lessons it needed to learn from Fukushima.
One of the hardest lessons we learned–which the high court did not really address–is the sheer difficulty of evacuating citizens safely after a serious accident.
After the Fukushima disaster, local governments within 30 kilometers of nuclear power plants came to be required to establish evacuation plans for residents.
A reactor restart should be decided only after third-party experts determine whether the evacuation plan is appropriate and realistic enough.
This is not how things are being done, however.
The NRA specializes solely in examining the safety of plant facilities and equipment from a technological aspect. The administration merely reiterates that reactors that have passed the NRA’s safety tests should be allowed to restart.
There is a huge procedural flaw here, in that all such reactors are back online once the host local governments give the green light.
The high court did say that ending nuclear power generation is an available option. But it went on to state, “The final decision is not for the judiciary to make. It should be based on a political judgment to be left to the legislature or the administration.”
How have the Diet and the government received the high court ruling?
If they have truly learned lessons from Fukushima, their obvious responsibility should be to clearly present a policy to close nuclear plants and critically examine each case for a reactor restart, taking the evacuation plan set by the local government into account.

Fukushima nuclear plant operator resumes TV ads

japan-shut-down-all-reactors-in-the-wake-of-the-fukushima-crisis-the-worst-nuclear-accident-since-the-1986-chernobyl-disaster-1531881035985-7.jpgJapan shut down all reactors in the wake of the Fukushima crisis, the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster

18 Jul 2018

TOKYO: The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Wednesday (Jul 18) resumed television commercials, seven years after a 2011 meltdown that sparked the world’s worst atomic accident in a generation.

A retail arm of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) Holdings said it was placing commercials on television, radio stations, and trains, as competition among energy companies intensifies.

The decision is controversial, with some activists angered that TEPCO is spending on advertising while it remains on the hook for enormous costs stemming from the disaster, including clean-up, decommissioning and compensation payments.

But a spokeswoman for TEPCO Energy Partner said the new campaign was “necessary” to help Fukushima.

“Our achievement of sales targets will allow us to fulfil our responsibilities for Fukushima,” Megumi Kobayashi told AFP.

The commercials feature “Tepcon”, a rabbit mascot who shares “ear-grabbing” information about the company’s electricity and gas packages.

TEPCO took its commercials off the air in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, which was triggered by a massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami in March 2011.

The tsunami wrecked cooling systems at the Fukushima plant on Japan’s northeast coast, sparking reactor meltdowns and radiation leaks.

Japan shut down all reactors in the wake of the Fukushima crisis, the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

The government has poured billions of dollars into TEPCO to keep the company, which supplies electricity to Tokyo and the surrounding area, afloat.

It faces massive ongoing costs as it stumps up cash for decommissioning the reactors, cleaning up contaminated areas and paying compensation to those who fled their homes due to radiation fears.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/fukushima-nuclear-plant-operator-resumes-tv-ads-10540020

Japan’s growing plutonium stockpile fuels fears

the-fukushima-disaster-has-depressed-demand-for-fuel-for-other-nuclear-power-plants-but-japan-s-plutonium-stockpile-keeps-growing-1531810812983-4.jpg
The Fukushima disaster has depressed demand for fuel for other nuclear power plants, but Japan’s plutonium stockpile keeps growing.
 
17 Jul 2018
TOKYO: Japan has amassed enough plutonium to make 6,000 atomic bombs as part of a programme to fuel its nuclear plants, but concern is growing that the stockpile is vulnerable to terrorists and natural disasters.
Japan has long been the world’s only non-nuclear-armed country with a programme to reprocess spent nuclear fuel from its power plants into plutonium.
On Tuesday (Jul 17), a decades-old deal with the United States which allows Japan to reprocess plutonium was renewed, but the pact can be terminated by either side with just six months’ notice.
Plutonium reprocessing is meant to create a new and emissions-free fuel source for resource-poor Japan, but the size of its stockpile has started to attract criticism, even from allies.
Plutonium can be used to create nuclear weapons. Although Japan has vowed the material would never be used for military purposes, it has now amassed vastly more plutonium than it can use, since many of its nuclear plants are still offline after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
Experts warn the growing stockpile could be dangerous in case of a natural disaster, like the earthquake and tsunami that set off the Fukushima meltdown, and is also an attractive target for terrorists.
They also fear the reserve could encourage other regional powers, including China, to press for a similar reprocessing capability, boosting the amount of weaponisable plutonium in Asia.
And some even warn that North Korea could point to the stockpile as an excuse to avoid denuclearising.
This month Japan’s government vowed for the first time to “tackle a reduction in plutonium stocks” but gave no roadmap.
The country’s Atomic Energy Commission reportedly plans a self-imposed cap on the reserve, which now stands at 10 tonnes inside the country, with another 37 tonnes in Britain and France for reprocessing.
COSTLY AND COMPLICATED
“Promising to stop increasing the stockpile is the least they should commit to,” said Tatsujiro Suzuki, former vice chairman of the commission.
“What they really need to do is set a clear goal for reduction,” Suzuki told AFP.
“It’s time for Japan to fully review its nuclear recycling programme.”
The stockpile has attracted concern in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which forced the shutdown of all of the country’s nuclear plants.
Only some have resumed operations, and their fuel requirements fall far short of the stockpile Japan has already amassed.
Despite that, the government has continued work on a decades-long multi-billion dollar project to build a new reprocessing plant, using French and local technology.
Most reprocessing is currently done overseas, mainly in France, and Japan has struggled with technical problems at the new facility.
The planned reprocessing plant, in Aomori in northern Japan, has so far cost around US$27 billion, but the technical problems mean there is no sign of an opening date despite decades of work.
Experts say reprocessing plutonium into fuel is up to ten times as expensive as producing uranium dioxide fuel.
“Japan’s plutonium separation is very costly and has no economic or environmental benefit,” said Frank von Hippel, a Princeton University professor who researches nuclear arms control and policymaking.
REGIONAL RACE
Tokyo’s reprocessing programme also runs the risk of sparking a regional race, warned Thomas Countryman, a former US State Department official for arms control and non-proliferation.
“In the region, it is not in the interest of the United States or Japan or the world to see South Korea or China imitate Japan and enter the field of civilian reprocessing,” he told Japanese lawmakers last month.
“This would increase the risk to nuclear security, that is, the risk terrorists or criminals might divert plutonium, and it would increase regional competition in a technology that offers more risks than it does benefits,” he added.
China is already pushing for its own reprocessing capacity with the help of French and Russian partners, while South Korea has been researching reprocessing technologies but faces objections from environmentalists.
Japan, the only nation in the world to have suffered an atomic bomb attack, insists it would never use its plutonium for military purposes.
The reserves are subject to monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has not raised public concerns about the stocks.
But some activists fear Japan views the stockpile as a way of keeping its options open on nuclear weapons.
“Japan appears be caught up in the idea that in an emergency it can produce nuclear weapons with its reprocessing technology,” said Hideyuji Ban, co-director of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Centre, an anti-nuclear NGO.